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Monthly Archives: May 2012

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Houston County Schools Rank High with US News & World Report

May 18th, 2012 by gaelite

How do Houston County high schools stack up against others in Central Georgia? According to the latest US News & World Report high school rankings, the news is good.

Houston County, Warner Robins, Perry and Northside High Schools all ranked in the top ten for “College Readiness” in Central Georgia according to US News & World Report, based on the percentage of students who took and passed Advanced Placement (AP) exams. The Houston County Career and Technology Center also merited a National Bronze Recognition.

In fact, Houston County high schools fared well across the board as each student body scored at or above state averages in math and English proficiency.

To find the full report for Houston County schools, visit US News & World Report here.

 
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US 30-year mortgage rate falls to record 3.79 pct.

May 17, 2012 10:17 AM ET

By MARCY GORDON

WASHINGTON (AP) – Average U.S. rates for 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgages fell to record lows for the third straight week. The steady decline has made home-buying and refinancing more affordable than ever for those who can qualify.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan dipped to 3.79 percent. That’s down from 3.83 percent last week and the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The 15-year mortgage, a popular option for refinancing, declined to 3.04 percent. That’s down from last week’s previous record of 3.05 percent.

Rates on the 30-year loan have been below 4 percent since early December. But so far, those cheap rates haven’t been enough to ignite home sales.

While sales of previously occupied homes picked up in January and February, they fell again in March and remain well below healthy levels.

Low mortgage rates have helped boost builder confidence, which rose in May to a five-year high. And home construction has improved in the past six months, a reflection of that increase in confidence.

Builders broke ground in April at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 717,000 homes, the government reported Wednesday. That nearly matches January’s pace, the best since October 2008.

Construction rose for both single-family homes and apartments. And builders requested more permits to build single-family homes, a sign they expect more demand in the coming months.

Still, many would-be buyers can’t qualify for loans or afford higher down payments required by banks. Home prices in many cities continue to fall. That has made those who can afford to buy uneasy about entering the market. And for those who are willing to brave the troubled market, many have already taken advantage of lower rates — mortgage rates have been below 5 percent for more than a year now.

Mortgage rates are lower because they tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. Slower U.S. job growth and uncertainty about how Europe will resolve its debt crisis have led investors to buy more Treasurys, which are considered safe investments. As demand for Treasurys increases, the yield falls.

To calculate the average rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week.

The average rage does not include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for 30-year loans was 0.7 last week, unchanged from the previous week. The fee on 15-year loans also was 0.7, the same as the previous week.

The average one-year adjustable rate was 2.78 percent last week, up from 2.73 percent the previous week. The fee on one-year adjustable rate mortgages was unchanged at 0.5.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

HOW TO SEAL GRANITE COUNTER TOPS

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Instructions

  1. Sealing Granite Counter Tops

    • 1

      Test the counter top to verify it needs sealing by placing several drops of water on the surface. The counter top should be sealed if the granite absorbs the water in under 5 minutes.

    • 2

      Purchase a granite counter top sealer from a retail hardware store.

    • 3

      Clean the granite to remove dirt and dust particles. Let the granite dry for 24 hours prior to applying a sealer.

    • 4

      Apply the granite sealer using a clean rag or foam brush on one section of counter top that is approximately 4-5 feet in length. Let the sealer set for 3-4 minutes as the stone absorbs it. Apply a small amount of sealer once the first coat is almost dry. Rub in the smaller, second coat of sealer with a clean, dry rag. Repeat this process on all sections of the counter top.

    • 5

      Allow the sealer to dry at least two hours. Apply another coat of sealer in the same manner. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the number of applications recommended.

    • 6

      Test each section of counter to verify there is enough sealer present after the counter is fully dry. Place several drops of water on the counter top section and leave for 30 minutes before wiping the water. Granite that leaves no spots is sealed sufficiently.

 

 

Read more: How to Seal Granite Counter Tops | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_5553867_seal-granite-counter-tops.html#ixzz1v8fkalUj

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5 Things to do Before Listing Your Home

Deciding to list your home for sale is a momentous time. Take a moment to look over these tips for what every seller should do before they put their home on the market.

Organize Your Paperwork: Every homeowner should have a detailed list of all past repairs, updates, and upgrades they’ve made. This will help your agent know what should be mentioned on the MLS. Did you put on a new roof in 2010 or install a new water heater in 2009? These are great selling features because they mean less work in the future for the prospective buyer.  Also included in this list should be any home warranty information. These warranties will most likely transfer with title of the home.

Get Ready to Declutter: Even before you’ve officially listed your home for sale, you should start getting rid of things you don’t need. Starting now will mean a more thorough and less rushed job of clearing things out.  Having a yard sale is a wonderful way of making a little extra pocket change while reducing the amount of things you’ll have in your home during showings and that you’ll need to pack up and move. It’s a win-win!

Clean, Clean, and Clean Some More: Dirty homes are a real buyer turnoff. Now is a great time wash down walls, spruce up paint, and give your entire home a thorough cleaning. Do your carpets need refreshing? Consider renting a carpet shampoo machine or hiring a professional carpet cleaning company to come in and revamp your carpets.  Chances are buyers will ask for this anyway come closing time.

Get an Inspection: Having a pre-sale inspection can mean identifying problem areas. Perhaps you’re unaware that your foundation needs repaired. This will severely affect your listing price. It’s best to be prepared and realistic in today’s market.

Make Repairs or Get Estimates: Your inspection will likely leave you with a list of repairs, large and small, that need made. Keep in mind that prospective buyers will also get an inspection of your home and will find these same issues. You may wish to go ahead with large repairs. If not, be sure to at least get estimates so you are fully prepared for negotiations (you’ll know what the real cost should be) or so you can provide the estimates for buyers.

Start Staging: Staging is like prepping your home for its first date. You want to have it clean and well-dressed. This means turning up the curb appeal with neat landscaping, fresh paint, and flowers.

Congratulations on deciding to list your home for sale. Be proactive about making a good first step by following these tried and true tips

 
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Great Kitchens Sell Homes

May 14th, 2012 by gaelite

The kitchen is the most important room to stage in your home. Potential home buyers will want to view it void of unnecessary countertop appliances and clutter. By showcasing your kitchen in the best possible light, you can potentially sell your home faster and increase the closing price.  Even in a slow real estate market, making your kitchen attractive to a buyer could make the difference.

Clean up the kitchen

Studies have shown that one of the dirtiest places in the home is the kitchen. Before you list, pull out those rubber gloves and give everything a good scrub so that the kitchen sparkles. Replace unsightly floor tiles, or in a worst-case scenario, consider a complete floor makeover. Pay special attention to the cabinetry; in older homes, it is common to see cracks in the beaded caulking between the ceiling and the trim above the cupboards. For less than $10, you can buy a pre-mixed tube of crack filler and make it look like new. Also, to give the kitchen an inexpensive facelift, consider replacing the fixturing – an affordable way to give doors and drawers a second wind.

Clutter is a kitchen killer

Kitchens are the focal point of almost every home. A great rule of thumb for the staging of a kitchen is to leave no more than two appliances on your counter. After you have uncluttered the kitchen counter, brighten and soften the space by adding some fresh fruit, new dishtowels, a cookbook, and plants or flowers.

Modernizing today will help you sell tomorrow

Modernizing your kitchen can help you sell your home for years to come. Renovating your kitchen now will let you enjoy new appliances while boosting the value of your home for the future. While you may want to take specific appliances with you, stainless steel can make almost any kitchen sing. Another way to add value to your kitchen is to install concealed appliances – hiding the dishwasher and fridge, for example, can really spice up your kitchen for buyers. Also popular are dual microwave/convection oven (prices can vary between $200 – $900 for higher-end stainless built-ins) – another appliance quickly becoming a staple in most modern kitchens.

If you can’t replace appliances, be sure to have them repaired and cleaned. It’s also a good idea to clean your fridge and stove, as buyers will almost always open oven and fridge doors.

Lighting

Take the time to make sure all the existing light fixtures have working light bulbs. Make sure the blinds are open on all the windows and, if required, add a small table lamp or two to accent a dark corner.

… And the kitchen sink

Another kitchen remodeling idea is to upgrade your “sinkware.” New faucets, soap dispensers and sinks (whether you are reglazing or replacing altogether) are affordable ways to give the kitchen an immediate facelift. Don’t forget, buyers love to turn on the kitchen faucet when touring a home.

The kitchen is the most important room and biggest selling feature in your house. Staging it properly can make every potential buyer say, “this could be my kitchen.”

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Five Musts Before You List Your Home
by Carla Hill

Deciding to list your home for sale is a momentous time. It means you will be moving on to a new stage of life, no matter if you’re moving up or sizing down. Take a moment to look over these tips for what every seller should do before they put their home on the market.

 

 

  • Organize Your Paperwork:Every homeowner should have a detailed list of all past repairs, updates, and upgrades they’ve made. This will help your agent know what should be mentioned on the MLS. Did you put on a new roof in 2010 or a install a new water heater in 2009? These are great selling features because they means less work in the future for the prospective buyer.

    Also included in this list should be any home warranty information. These warranties will most likely transfer with title of the home.

     

  • Get Ready to Declutter: Even before you’ve officially listed your home for sale you should start getting rid of things you don’t need. Starting now will mean a more thorough and less rushed job of clearing things out.

    Start with one closet and work your way through the entire home. Sort items to toss, keep, sell, and donate.

    Having a yard sale is a wonderful way of making a little extra pocket change while reducing the amount of things you’ll have in your home during showings and that you’ll need to pack up and move. It’s a win-win!

     

  • Clean, Clean, and Clean Some More: Dirty homes are a real buyer turnoff. Now is a great time wash down walls, spruce up paint, and give your entire home a thorough cleaning. Do your carpets need refreshing? Consider renting a carpet shampoo machine or hiring a professional carpet cleaning company to come in and revamp your carpets.

    Chances are buyers will ask for this anyways come closing time. You’ll beat them to the punch and have a shiny, sparkling home to show for it.

     

  • Get an Inspection: Did you think inspections were only for buyers? Having a pre-sale inspection can mean identifying problem areas. Perhaps you’re unaware that your foundation needs repaired. This will severely affect your listing price. It’s best to be prepared and realistic in today’s market.

     

  • Make Repairs or Get Estimates: Your inspection will likely leave you with a list of repairs, large and small, that need made. Keep in mind that prospective buyers will also get an inspection of your home and will find these same issues. Head them off at the pass and do some fixing up. You may wish to go ahead with large repairs. If not, be sure to at least get estimates so you are fully prepared for negotiations (you’ll know what the real cost should be) or should you can provide the estimates for buyers.

     

  • Start Staging: Staging is like prepping your home for its first date. You want to have it clean and well-dressed. This means amping up curb appeal with neat landscaping, fresh paint, and flowers. It means rearranging furniture and removing clutter.

    Congratulations on deciding to list your home for sale. Be proactive about making a good first step by following these tried and true tips.

Published: May 10, 2012

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Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 12.  Remember Mom and let her know how much she is loved AND appreciated.

Do you know how Mother’s Day got started?

The modern holiday was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother. She then began a campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday in the US. Although she was successful in 1914, she was already disappointed with its commercialization by the 1920s. Jarvis’ holiday was adopted by other countries and it’s now celebrated all over the world.

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