Summer vacation? Is your home ready?

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As you get ready to travel to you favorite summer vacation spot, take a few minutes to run through this checklist and prep your home before you leave; it could make your return just a little bit sweeter!

Light it Up-
The kitchen (usually in the rear of the home) is a favorite break-in spot.  Move a lamp into the kitchen and arm it with a timer that you can set to come on at random times.  Also illuminate the main exterior entrances of your home with outdoor timers as well.

Don’t Socially Announce –
Don’t post pictures on Facebook until you are home and don’t change voicemail greetings to say that you are out of town.

Keep Cool –
Don’t turn off your homes AC, mold and mildew can grow in a few days with warm temps.  Instead set the thermostat to 82 Fahrenheit and your home will stay cool enough to prevent both.

Unplug –
A power surge can damage small appliances or cause fires.  Unplug all items that are not plugged into a surge protector, such as a toaster and coffeemaker; and turn all surge protectors to off.

Don’t Forget to Flush –
Flush the toilets and leave the lid up (just this once) so you won’t come home to icky, stagnant water.

Tidy the Kitchen –
Run the dishwasher to clean all dirty dishes.  Remove them and leave the door open.  This will allow the interior to dry completely and it won’t smell musty when you return.

Trim –
Prune tree branches that extend over your house, especially if they are dying or are dead.  Doing this will help prevent expensive damage if a storm hits while you are away.

Stop your Mail –
Have your mail held while you are gone and suspend your newspaper deliveries. Or you could ask a trust worthy neighbor/friend to bring your mail inside while you are away.

Lock All Entryways –
Most burglars will use force to gain entry, but they often look first for open windows and doors.  Double check that all are locked (even on the 2nd story), replace any broken window panes, and bring in any hidden keys.

Set the Alarm –
Notify your security company that you will be away.  Give a relative or friend the security code, the company name, your itinerary, and your contact numbers just in case.  Also test your smoke alarms before you depart to make sure they work.

Get help –
Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your home every other day if possible and to bring in any unexpected deliveries like a phone book or circulars.  Make sure you give them a key.

Taking time to prepare your home can help give you greater peace of mind while you travel.

Go on, relax and have fun!

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Summer vacation? Is your home ready?

Happy Father’s Day!

Homesale Realty would like to say Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers!
Have a wonderful day!

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AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Happy Father’s Day!

2015 Best Small Towns

Recently, Livability released their yearly small town rankings –
The 2015 Top Best Small Towns

The list is produced to shine light on cities and towns that seem to go unnoticed in comparison to the big metropolises. To create the list, Livability examined more than 40 points each for more than 12,000 towns with populations between 1,000 and 20,000.  These scores were weighted based on an exclusive survey conducted for Livability by the leading global market research firm, Ipsos Public Affairs. These cities and towns allow for the tight-knit communities key to small-town living coupled with the amenities you’d expect in larger cities.

Of the 100 Towns, three of our local service areas made the top 50!

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Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Ranking 16th place on the list. Population: 18,816
Located in Cumberland County, PA.

Nestled in the highly productive Cumberland Valley agricultural region, Carlisle provides a quaint setting for families. While school age children attend the Carlisle Area School District, higher education classes can be taken at Dickinson College, U.S. Army War College and the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. The Carlisle Regional Medical Center offers excellent care, and many residents enjoy the borough’s 18 public parks. Green spaces, restaurants and cultural attractions provide many things to do in Carlisle.

Carlisle Amenities
As redevelopment in one part of the town continues, Carlisle retains its enviable status as one of the country’s loveliest, most livable small towns, graced with a historic downtown full of 18th-century buildings and the stories that go with them. Among its other amenities are great shopping and a vibrant cultural and social scene enriched by international residents who come to the Army War College, the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet or Dickinson College, and Penn State School of Law, all headquartered here.

Thousands of visitors also flock here for the famous Carlisle collector car events, historic sightseeing and numerous outdoor recreational attractions.

A highly rated public school system and the availability of “a good healthy mix of housing, from large homes to neighborhoods with row houses, condominium and apartments” make Carlisle a very livable community.

 

Bel Air, Maryland
Ranking 42. Population: 10,228
Located in Harford County, MD

Founded in 1780, Bel Air has 25 homes and buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, including an entire Bel Air Courthouse Historic District and Harford Furnace Historic District. The town today has amenities like Harford Mall as well as five neighborhood parks, and residents are proud of a thriving arts community with theater, art galleries, concerts and festivals. A 182-bed Upper Chesapeake Medical Center tends to the area’s health needs.

 

Hershey, Pennsylvania
Ranked 46th. Population: 13,876
Located in Dauphin County, PA.

Often referred to as “The Sweetest Place on Earth” or “Chocolatetown USA,” Hershey, Pa., offers a range of cultural and recreational amenities that make life sweet for residents. Of course, it’s home to the Hershey Chocolate Factory as well as roads like Cocoa Avenue and streetlights shaped like Hershey Kisses. Affordable housing options, Amtrak rail service and a Tanger Outlets shopping complex sweeten the scene. Schools in Hershey provide strong education options that include Derry Township School District and Penn State College of Medicine.

 

Content belongs to Livability.com 

“Top 100 Best Small Towns.” Top 100 Best Small Towns. Journal Communications, June 2015. Web. 15 June 2015. <http://livability.com/best-places/top-100-best-small-towns/2015&gt;.

 

2015 Best Small Towns

Neighborhood Spotlight – Westminster, MD

Thinking about moving? Carroll County, Maryland has a diverse selection of neighborhoods and locations to choose from. Located at the seat of Carroll County is Westminster. Westminster, Maryland, provides a balanced quality of life and well-established neighborhoods.

Westminster real estate is a popular choice among home buyers due to the town’s active community and year round family-fun events. Every year, the city hosts the Carroll County Fair, the Maryland Wine Festival, Common Ground on the Hill, and art festivals. Plus, Westminster is only a short drive to Washington D.C., Baltimore City and Philadelphia.

SERPENT RIDGE VINEYARD    winebottles

Visit Westminster’s first vineyard winery. The winery specializes in handmade wine from grapes grown in the Serpent Ridge Vineyard, select Maryland vineyards and other carefully chosen sites. Serpent Ridge consists of a little over 2 acres of grapes, which encourages a very hands-on approach to wine making. The bottles are sealed with a Zork, an innovative approach to bottle closures.

TAKE YOUR DOG TO THE PARK

If you own a dog, or are an avid dog lover, be sure to visit the Bennett Cerf Dog Park. The dog park is a large one acre fenced in area where dogs are permitted to be taken off-leash to exercise and socialize with other dogs in a safe environment. Adjacent to the dog park is a walking trail, baseball field and picnic pavilions.

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HAVE A SWEET TOOTH?   starry

Make sure you check out Starry Night Bakery. This creative cafe and bakery not only makes delicious baked goods but also hosts open mic night for local artists. Starry Night Bakery was featured on the Food Networks hit show, Cupcake Wars. 

If you are considering moving, why not consider moving to Westminster? Contact your local Homesale Agent to help locate your next home in Westminster, Maryland.

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Neighborhood Spotlight – Westminster, MD

5 Tips to Refresh Your Deck

June IOV Ecard

 

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty wants to give you the opportunity to complete your dream renovation, CLICK HERE to find out more information on the BHHS $50,000 HGTV Fixer Upper Sweepstakes. You have from now until June 15th to enter.

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AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

5 Tips to Refresh Your Deck

Mortgage Approval and Student Loans

Are you looking to purchase your first home – either in the next month or year, but feel that your student loan payments are holding you back? Don’t get discouraged and push the dream of owning your first home aside. It is possible for you to be approved for a mortgage while you are still paying off your student loans; you just need to manage your debt-to-income ratio and overall credit score. Make sure you keep these main things in mind before you begin the homebuying process.

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DEBT-TO-INCOME RATIO (DTI)
A mortgage lender will calculate your debt-to-income ratio. This ratio will determine your ability to make monthly payments on your future mortgage. Your debt-to-income ratio is calculated by adding up all of your monthly debt payments, including your expected mortgage amount and then divided that by your gross monthly income (earnings before tax and other deductions).  The maximum acceptable DTI is roughly 43%. However special government programs and lenders might approve borrowers with higher DTI ratios depending on certain criteria.

 

REFINANCE OR CONSOLIDATE YOUR STUDENT LOANS
If you have the ability to pay off your student loans, pay them off as quickly as possible by reducing other monthly expenses and paying more than the minimum amount.

However, depending on your loan situation, you might be able to refinance or consolidate into a longer repayment term for lower monthly payments. Or you could enroll Federal Loans into other repayment programs better suited for your financial situation, which could improve your DTI ratio as well.

 

CREDIT SCORE
Your student loans play a major part in determining your credit score, which factors into the approval of your future mortgage. Paying your monthly student loans and other bills on time each month is a great way to build good credit.

Your credit score not only helps lenders evaluate whether your future mortgage loan should be approved but also the mortgage’s interest rate. If you have a high credit score, you are eligible for lower interest rates and a variety of loan options. On the other hand, those with unfavorable credit are faced with higher interest rates and less loan options and possibly denial of a mortgage request.

However avoid quick fixes. Don’t close existing credit cards just because you are not using them at the time. Also do not pay off all your credit cards at once (unless you do this every month). Don’t drastically change the way you handle your credit. Such changes can be viewed as a quick fix and negatively affect your credit score. Therefore, if you plan on purchasing a home in the next few months, pay your bills in a timely manner/as you normally do, don’t close any credit cards, avoid opening new credit cards, and avoid making other large purchase.

To obtain your credit score, you can request a FREE Annual Credit Report here.

Other options to consider include bringing in a co-signer on your home loan or finding a way to make a bigger down payment to reduce the amount of money you need to borrow to finance your home.

MORTGAGEmormaster

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Mortgage Approval and Student Loans

Repairing Your Credit Score

If you are applying for a mortgage, loan, or credit card, your credit score will play a key part in determining if you will be accepted or not.

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[Info-graphic provided by Cashnetusa.com]

Find out more about a mortgage quote from one of many programs so that your mortgage is custimized to fit your needs. Our knowledgeable mortgage consultants will work with you every step of the way to navigate today’s mortgage environment and get you to the closing table.

Maryland Mortgage Lenders

Pennsylvania Mortgage Lenders

Repairing Your Credit Score