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HOW TO PULL CASH FROM THE HOME YOU JUST BOUGHT

 

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

As this exuberant housing market takes shape, the chance to harvest equity – to tap into idle cash – from your home may prove to be a worthwhile endeavor. In March 2011, Fannie Mae lifted the requirement that you had to hold title to a property for six months before you were allowed to access your cash equity.

The change has since allowed homeowners to acquire property and then immediately cash-out refinance to replenish liquidity, purchase other real estate, do home improvements or pay off debt. However, while it is a viable strategy, successfully sealing the deal on the “delayed financing” is something else entirely. Here’s what you need to know.

Read more here:  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/pull-cash-home-just-bought-100031717.html

 

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Real Estate’s New Big Buyers: Middle-Aged Women

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013

Middle-aged women have become the fastest growing group of single female home owners, according to a new study by the real estate brokerage Redfin. The number of 45- to 54-year-old single female home owners has soared 120 percent from 1982 to 2012. 

“Probable causes for this phenomenon include the large baby boomer population entering this age group over the last several decades and the prevalence of divorce leading to the creation of more female-headed households,” according to Redfin. 

Single females have long been big consumers of real estate. Among unmarried home owners, single women have outnumbered men since at least 1982, when the Census began collecting such data. 

While middle-aged women are increasing their buying, women younger than 35 appear to be delaying home ownership until later on in life, the report shows. 

The Redfin report revealed the top U.S. cities for single successful women, factoring in the percentage of women with four-year college degrees, percentage of women with a salary greater than $65,000, and the percentage of women who are single between 25 to 39 years old. Below are the rankings, as well as the percentage of residents who are women who are single and 25 to 39 years old:

  1. Arlington, Va.: 24%
  2. Alexandria, Va.: 22%
  3. Cambridge, Mass.: 22%
  4. Washington, D.C.: 22%
  5. San Francisco: 21%
  6. Seattle: 18%

Four Tips to Save on Your Cable

Tip #1: Shop Around and Switch Providers

Before you get into shopping mode, you should first consider your budget and the services/channels you want.  From there, check out Consumer Reports, the product testing organization with print and online publications, to assess the different services that providers offer.

Once you’ve done your research, you could then make a more informed decision about which cable provider has the best overall deal. You should also check with friends to see what they think of their current provider.

At this point, if another provider appears to be a better match for you based on factors such as price, performance, and customer satisfaction, it might be time for you to make a switch. You’ll also want to keep in mind that certain providers don’t offer coverage in select areas, so make sure to look into that too.

Tip #2: Bundle Cable with other Digital Services

Digital “bundles” often combine a variety of telecommunications services – including TV, Internet, and local and long-distance telephone service.

The benefits of bundling services include:

  • Convenience of dealing with a single provider
  • Receiving a  discounted price for using additional services
  • Receiving a single bill instead of separate bills for individual services

However, bundling isn’t an automatic solution to saving money on your cable TV bill.  You have to do the math and really figure it out.  Don’t go into bundling blindly.

Tip #3: Inquire about Discounts and Promotions

Cable TV services typically require some sort of contract that makes you commit to a subscription rate for a year.  But once this honeymoon period ends you should contact your service provider to inquire about possible discounts and promotions.

Discounts and promotions often come to an end, so you’ll want to consider the following factors when inquiring about discounts:

  • Make yourself aware when any promotion ends, how much the price will increase, and whether the promotion locks you into a contract.
  • Make sure you understand the ‘fine print’ of your service plan, as early cancellation fees could be expensive – even if you are paying a discounted rate.
  • Never ignore those change-of-terms notices you receive

Remember, not all discounts are created equal. Really take some time to shop around and compare offers from different cable providers.

Tip #4: Cut back on Premium Channels

If you decide that the premium channels are just playing the same thing over and over again, maybe it’s not worth the $10 or $15 a month you pay for them.

If you’re worried that you might miss out on something by not having a particular premium offering, you might want to track your viewing habits for a period of time to see how many hours you are really spending with a particular channel. If the number is high, you’ll at least know your money is being well spent. If the number is low, it may be time to ax certain channels from your subscription list.

 

Weatherproofing Your Windows

Step 1

Cut metal or vinyl v-strips to fit in the sash channels.

Cut them long enough to extend at least 1 inch beyond the sash ends when the window is closed. Cut vinyl with scissors; cut metal with tin snips.

Step 2

Remove the adhesive backing and stick the vinyl in place.

Tack metal strips in place, driving the tacks flush so that the window sash will not snag on them. Flare out the open ends of the metal V-channels with a putty knife to create a tight seal with the sash.

 Step 3

Wipe down the underside of the bottom sash with a damp rag and wait for it to dry;then attach self-adhesive closed-cell vinyl foam to the edges of the underside. The surface must be at least 50 degrees for self-adhesive strips to stick.

 Step 4

Seal the gap where the top sash meets the bottom sash.

For double-hung windows, raise the bottom sash completely to the top, and then lower the upper sash a couple of inches. This reveals the lower rail, which is normally hidden. Seal with V-channel weather stripping. If the top sash is stationary, tack tubular gasket to the outside of the lower sash so that it compresses slightly against the top sash when the window is locked shut.

Step 5

Apply paintable caulk around both the interior and exterior window trim. Smooth with a wet finger.

 

Schools Names Family-Friendly

Two Houston County Schools Named Family-Friendly

The Georgia Department of Education wants to encourage parent involvement in schools across the state.  They went on a search for the most family-friendly schools, and turned up two, out of only three selected, in Houston County.  Morningside Elementary in Perry and Miller Elementary in Warner Robins stood out among the state’s best.

Christal Reid comes to this Morningside Elementary classroom five days a week. With the amount of time she spends there, you might assume she’s the teacher, but no. She is a parent volunteer.

Reid said, “I think it’s one of the best schools there is, and my child loves to come.”  She feels 100-percent welcome, too.

That is the goal of family-friendly strategies principal Pat Witt incorporates.

Witt said, “There’s a lot of things were doing here at Morningside that are innovative ways of making sure families stay involved with their children.  We have come up with some creative ways of going to them, going to their house, going to their place of business.”

Miller Elementary is celebrating their successes, too.

Principal Gwen Pearson-Kilgore said, “We have an open door policy. Parents are free to come, to call.”

She said they invite parents into the classrooms once a month, sometime for the entire day.  The parent resource library offers adults an education in technology and their child’s curriculum.  For parents that don’t have computers at home, they’re welcome to use the computers set-up there.

The state also graded them on customer service, looking at their phone manners, waiting areas, signage and student work displayed throughout the building.  The state chose the winners using some surprise tactics. Employees or selection committee members posing as parents called or visited the schools, incognito.

In late November, State School Superintendent John Barge will visit both schools to present them an award

JANUARY HOMES SALES RISE!

Pending home sales are on an upward trend, which has been uneven but meaningful since reaching a cyclical low last April, and are well above a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 2.0 percent to 97.0 in January from a downwardly revised 95.1 in December and is 8.0 percent higher than January 2011 when it was 89.8. The data reflects contracts but not closings.

The January index is the highest since April 2010 when it reached 111.3 as buyers were rushing to take advantage of the home buyer tax credit.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said this is a hopeful indicator going into the spring home-buying season. “Given more favorable housing market conditions, the trend in contract activity implies we are on track for a more meaningful sales gain this year. With a sustained downtrend in unsold inventory, this would bring about a broad price stabilization or even modest national price growth, of course with local variations.”

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 7.6 percent to 78.2 in January and is 9.8 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index declined 3.8 percent to 88.1 but is 10.8 percent higher than January 2011. Pending home sales in the South increased 7.7 percent to an index of 109.1 in January and are 10.5 percent above a year ago. In the West the index fell 4.4 percent in January to 101.9 but is 0.7 percent above January 2011.

“Movements in the index have been uneven, reflecting the headwinds of tight credit, but job gains, high affordability and rising rents are hopefully pushing the market into what appears to be a sustained housing recovery,” Yun said. “If and when credit availability conditions return to normal, home sales will likely get a 15 percent boost, speed up the home-price recovery, and thereby significantly reduce the number of homeowners who are underwater.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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