How to Improve Your Credit

We all know that a low credit score is not a good thing, but the thought of improving your score might seem like a daunting task.  Credit scores play a big role in determining whether you’ll qualify for a loan and what your loan terms will be. So, keep your credit score high by doing the following:

Check for errors in your credit report.

Thanks to an act of Congress, you can download one free credit report each year at annualcreditreport.com. If you find any errors, correct them immediately.

Pay down credit card bills.

If possible, pay off the entire balance every month. Transferring credit card debt from one card to another could lower your score.

Don’t charge your credit cards to the max.

Pay down as much as you can every month.

Wait 12 months after credit difficulties to apply for a mortgage.

You’re penalized less severely for problems after a year.

Avoid finance companies.

Even if you pay off their loan on time, the interest is high and it may be considered a sign of poor credit management.

Shop for mortgage rates all at once.

Having too many credit applications can lower your score. However, multiple inquiries about your credit score from the same type of lender are counted as one if submitted over a short period of time.

Don’t order items for your new home on credit.

Wait until after your home loan is approved to charge appliances and furniture, as that will add to your debt.

Don’t open new credit card accounts.

If you’re applying for a mortgage, having too much available credit can lower your score.

If you’re interested in finding out if you’re ready to buy a home, contact me and we can discuss the next steps.

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*This list was compiled from REALTORMag, the official magazine of the National Association of REALTORS.

Homeowner’s Springtime Checklist

Despite the fact that Spring did not greet us with a very warm welcome, it has arrived!  Spring is a great time to get outdoors and tackle some larger home projects.  Now that the threat of winter storms has passed (it CAN’T snow again can it???), you can look for damage and make any needed repairs, as well as prepare your home and garden for the Summer.

Here are some tips on what to watch for this season ranging from clogged gutters to torn screens to mosquito prevention.

Clean gutters and downspouts.  After the last frost has passed, it’s important to have your gutters and downspouts cleaned and repaired. “Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause the wood trim at the eaves to rot, and that can invite all kinds of critters into your attic space,” says Victor Sedinger, certified home inspector and owner of House Exam Inspection and Consulting.

Having your gutters and downspouts cleaned early in the season can also help prevent damage from spring rains.  “Gutters and downspouts should be clean and running free,” Sedinger says.  “If your downspouts are installed properly, water is diverted away from the house so that no water collects around your foundation.”

Reseal exterior woodwork.  Wood decks, fences, railings, trellises, pergolas and other outdoor structures will last longer and stay in better condition if they’re stained or resealed every year or two. Take this opportunity to make any needed repairs to woodwork as well.

Check for signs of termites.  Beginning in March and going through May or June, be on the lookout for these winged insects.  “Termites swarm in the Spring,” Sedinger says.  “If there’s a bunch of winged insects flying out of a hole in the woodwork, that’s probably termites.  Call a licensed professional pest control company.  You’ll save money and trouble in the long run.”

Inspect roof.  Winter storms can take quite a toll on the roof. Now that Spring has arrived, start by making a simple visual inspection of your roof.  “It doesn’t require a ladder, and you certainly don’t have to get on a roof to look,” Sedinger says. “Use binoculars or a camera or smartphone with a telephoto feature if you need to.”  Look for missing shingles, metal pipes that are damaged or missing or anything that simply doesn’t look right.  If you notice anything that needs closer inspection or repair, call a roofer.

Paint exterior.  If you’re planning to repaint your home’s exterior this year, Spring is a good time to set it up.  Want to paint but can’t decide on a color? Explore your town and snap pictures of house colors you like, browse photos on websites such as Houzz or work with a designer.

Inspect driveways and paths. Freezing and thawing is rough on concrete, asphalt, and other hardscaping materials. Take a walk around your property to look for damage to walkways, paths and driveways, and schedule repairs as needed.  Asphalt can often be patched, but damaged concrete may need to be replaced entirely.

Check sprinkler and irrigation systems.  Checking your sprinklers or irrigation systems in the spring can save water — and save your plants. Sedinger shares these tips for checking your watering system:

  • Run the system through all the zones manually and walk the property.
  • Make sure none of the heads are broken or damaged.
  • Adjust any heads that are spraying the house, especially windows, as this can cause moisture problems.
  • Adjust heads that are spraying the street, sidewalk or porches to avoid wasting water.
  • If you don’t know how to maintain your sprinkler system, call a professional to do it. You’ll save money on your water bill and protect one of our most valuable natural resources.

Prevent mosquitoes.  In recent years, we’ve become more aware of the potential danger mosquitos can pose to our health. “West Nile virus and Zika virus are just the latest diseases caused by these winged pests,” Sedinger says. The best way to prevent mosquitos around your home is simply by getting rid of any standing water.  “Walk around your property (and peek at your neighbors). If you see anything or any area where water stands, fix it, tip it, get rid of it or maintain it regularly,” Sedinger says.

Check screen doors and windows.  Screens are designed to let the breeze flow in and keep bugs out — but they can only do their job if they’re free from holes and tears. Before setting up your screens for the warm months ahead, be sure to carefully check each one and repair any holes or tears, no matter how small. You can find screen repair kits at most hardware and home improvement stores.

Schedule air-conditioning service.  “Home inspectors see a lot of air-conditioning systems that are just not taken care of,” Sedinger says. “Just because it gets cool doesn’t mean it’s working efficiently.” To get the longest life out of your cooling system and keep it running as efficiently as possible, change the filters at least once each season, and hire a licensed professional to service the equipment before the start of summer.

I hope some of these suggestions help you to get your home and yard ready for taking full advantage of the Spring and Summer seasons!  It’s no fun having to take a break from warm weather play and entertaining to take care of an urgent issue relating to home ownership!

As always, if you or anyone you know is interested in buying or selling a home, please contact me!  I’m here to help!

*These tips were taken from Houzz.

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Annapolis Restaurant Week is Coming Up

Are you a foodie?  Clear your dinner schedules and get ready for some deals and savory dishes later this month.  February 22 through February 28 marks Annapolis’ eighth annual Restaurant Week.  Approximately 42 restaurants in Annapolis will be participating this year’s Restaurant Week.

Take the opportunity to try that little-known restaurant you’ve been meaning to try or indulge in your tried-and-true spot.  Fixed-price luncheons and three-course fixed-price dinners make for an enjoyable tasting of some of the area’s most popular restaurants without eating a hole in your wallet in the process.

For more details and a complete list of participating restaurants, go to www.annapolisrestaurantweek.com.

Happy Eating!

Santi

Welcome to my new and improved real estate website!

santi white backgroundI am excited to announce the launch of my new and improved mobile responsive website www.GetsYouHome.com – your online resource for all Anne Arundel County (and beyond) real estate!  I always endeavor to provide clients with easy access to up-to-date listings and information impacting the real estate industry.   My goal is to enable you to make the right decisions about one of your largest investments, whether you are buying or selling a home.

This feature rich website has everything you need to help you in your search for local homes for sale or rent in Annapolis and its surrounding areas.  Start your advanced search for Anne Arundel County real estate now or search by map.  The bottom of my website’s home page has quick links available for you to quickly get to all of the area’s active waterfront, foreclosure, and rental listings.  If you have any questions about a listing or real estate in general then contact me by email or reach me on my mobile at (443) 994-9923.

Are you interested in being notified of the hottest listings to hit the market? Be sure to sign up for FREE New Listing Email Notifications to stay informed of new listings as they the hit the Annapolis area real estate market. Only get listings emailed to you that meet your specific criteria.  Sign up today!

Are you interested in the learning about the current value of your home?  Sign up for a Free Market Analysis.

If you have any questions — don’t hesitate to contact me – your Annapolis area real estate expert.

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