Back to School – Yay or Nay?

Back to School – Yay or Nay?

In the words of The Jackson 5: ABC, easy as 1-2-3…It’s that time of year again. Some parents are relieved, some are lamenting how quickly the precious years go by. Some children are excited, some scared to death, and most are wishing the summer didn’t go by so quickly. For me, I must admit, I dread the increased morning traffic during the school year. In the world of real estate, markets tend to slow a bit once school is back in session. Families with children typically don’t like to make a move during the school year. For those families without school aged children, it can be a great opportunity to sell because there may be a lower inventory. Buying can be a bit easier as well, since there are typically less buyers competing for the same houses. You may still be on the fence about selling or buying. I suggest speaking to a local Realtor. They can advise you on your local market and run a comparative market analysis on your current home if you are considering selling. In some markets such as mine, Nashville, you will barely feel the effects of a turn in the market. We are experiencing high volumes of people moving into our area – 80+ per day! Similar markets are somewhat insulated, in that there really isn’t a bad time to buy or sell. A-B-C If you are one of those people that have enjoyed some frolicking over the last few months and now have some extra time on your hands, this is a great time to do a few things around your home that you may have put off over the summer. Here are the ABC’s: A – Arrange. Move things around. Sometimes we just get bored with things. If we rearrange furniture or repurpose a room, it may make us love our home all over again and keep us from feeling like we need to do the unthinkable – move! B – Box up. Use plastic bins to box up seasonal items and store away to keep things neat and decluttered. You may also make a trip to your local Goodwill or similar charity store – if you’re like me, you won’t even miss it. C – Clean. I don’t think this one needs much explanation. Now is a great time to find that Cheeto hidden in the sofa cushion and remove the fingerprints from the backdoor that you keep walking past. 1-2-3 If you feel a bit more ambitious – it’s easy as 1,2,3: 1 – Get outside. The weather is beautiful. Go pull some weeds, cut unruly limbs on trees, plant some mums for fall, sweep the front porch or...

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What Is Mortgage Life Insurance?

What Is Mortgage Life Insurance?

From time to time, I want to share information with you that I am clearly not an expert on. I will have guest bloggers share their expertise and educate us all. This blog is written by my friend, Tim Wilhoit. He owns his own life insurance agency in Nashville TN called Your Friend 4 Life. I recommend you speak to him or someone as knowledgeable as him to make sure you are covered for the inevitable and to understand how insurance can help make life easier while you’re still here!     Mortgage life insurance has been around for decades. It was renamed to help boost sales of decreasing term life insurance. Decreasing term life insurance was a product designed years ago with the philosophy that as a person repays their debts they should not need as much life insurance. Therefore it was acceptable to decrease the face amount left to the beneficiaries with time. In the 80s, as Americans became more and more in debt and age has very little to do with becoming debt free, sales decreased on these products. Life insurance company marketing departments took the old product and put it in a new wrapper called Mortgage Life Insurance or the popular Credit Life Insurance products. The aggressive marketing program on these products is astounding. It begins once a person closes on a new house or refinances their house, the game begins. The mailings are almost nonstop. These mortgage life insurance companies pay mortgage companies to use their letterhead and logos to “trick” the new home buyer into thinking this is important because it came from my mortgage company and I assure you your mortgage company has no idea that you even received this mail piece. The new home owner fills compelled to open this “official looking” letter and many fall for it and return the card. This begins as process of lead companies that sell the new home owners information to scores of mortgage life insurance agents who are on the phone immediately to sell this wonderful important product. However, if you were called and an agent explained that as you pay off your mortgage the life insurance benefit decreases because it is really decreasing term life insurance and your family does not get the difference you probably would not buy it. The second way mortgage life insurance companies repackaged decreasing term life insurance is called credit life. Credit life insurance is popular in the auto industry. When you purchase a car and finance it, you are pressured into purchasing credit life. This salesperson is paid to guilt you into this life product by telling you if you should die your car note will be paid...

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How to prepare your home to sell

How to prepare your home to sell

You have decided it’s time to sell. So what now? You need to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. You are about to embark on an adventure. No matter what kind of market you are in, Buyers are picky. Here are some tips on how to prepare your home to sell.   1. Pack up. Not everything, just things you don’t use on a daily basis or at least during the listing period. Out of season clothing and shoes, serving pieces and china, the stuff we accumulate because we think we will use it some day. Go to your local liquor store and get free boxes. You can also contact your Realtor because chances are, they know someone that has just moved and has boxes they would gladly give away if you will pick them up. Or, if you prefer, buy plastic bins that stack easily and are good for storage in your new house.   2. Pare down. This is your chance to get rid of those things you have been meaning to donate. Make 3 piles. Pack, pitch, and donate. If you haven’t used it or worn it in a year or two, chances are, you won’t miss it. It’s also a good teaching moment for children. They can feel good about choosing toys and games to give to those that don’t have as much.   3. De-personalize. Do you have a wall of photos? A collection of…well, anything? Take it down and pack it up. You wouldn’t want anything valuable to be damaged and some people have a hard time picturing themselves in a space that is filled with others’ personal items and photos – especially if it’s not their style/taste. I have had many a buyer who was distracted by the cute baby photos or the costly guitar collection. Make it easy on them, and me!   4. Honey-do. We all get busy and let things go a little longer than we intend. Now is the time to pick up that hammer and paintbrush or at least the phone to call in a professional. Does the front door need freshening up? Could the carpet use a deep clean? The little things that you have let go could cost you big money if they aren’t taken care of before a buyer sees them. Fix them before you list and you will have less headaches later.   5. Store. You have pared down and packed up. Now you need to make sure the couch doesn’t take up the entire living room or that the dresser that has been in front of that closet for years, is moved so potential buyers can see inside. It may cost you...

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