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By thehometown78122813, Aug 23 2017 10:43PM

Moving is a stressful time, so saving money in a move is always helpful. Particularly in a big move, there are many moving parts to manage, so saving money may not always be top of the priority list. However, saving money in a move can be easy when properly planned.

Saving money in a move can be easier when you get rid of stuff before you move. Why pay to move belongings that you do not intend to keep? By going through your possessions before packing and weeding out the things that are not important to you, you save money in packing supplies and moving labor costs.

Ask for free boxes to help in saving money in a move. Many retail stores and grocery stores are happy to give boxes another life, rather than throwing them in the trash. Check local bulletin board sites to find someone in the community who has moved recently and has boxes to get rid of. Boxes can be expensive, so the more you can get for free, the more money you can save.

Get multiple quotes from moving companies to see what your options are in saving money in a move. In-

person quotes are preferable to online or over-the-phone quotes, since they will be able to give a more accurate quote for your belongings. You can also get a good feel for the professionalism of the company and make sure you feel comfortable with them. Check online to see for any red flags in customer experiences with each company.

Use the quotes to set a budget for saving money in a move. The quotes will help you estimate expenses for the moving labor, but do not forget packing supplies, meals necessary when home items are not available, any necessary hotel nights, gas, and other expenses involved.

Saving money in a move can be done, particularly when you plan ahead. Be sure to get rid of things you do not need or want after your move, hunt down some free boxes, get multiple mover quotes, and use them to make a budget to help in your saving endeavors.

By thehometown78122813, Jul 28 2017 02:53AM

Summer is still in full swing. This may be a time for some families to be looking for a new home, but for many families, it is vacation time. The last thing you want to do when you return from vacation is deal with a loss from theft, so here are a few tips to keep your home secure while you are away.

First, ask a neighbor to keep their eyes open. It is always good to have a neighbor you trust know when you'll be away so they can pay a little extra attention to what is happening around your home. The key there is that it is someone you can trust. It is even better if you have someone you trust who can stay in the home for you while you are away.

Next, use timers for electronics. You can use them on lamps and such, but also think about using a timer to turn on your TV for a bit in the evening. The noise associated with it and the familiar flickering of light that comes with a TV will be a deterrant to would-be thieves.

Don't forget to stop your mail and package delivery services. You don't want a pile of packages on your porch while you are away from your home. Not only is that an invitation for someone to steal the packages, it sends a pretty clear message that no one is around to retrieve them.

Consider waiting until you get home to share pictures of your travels on social media. Avoid posts saying where you are or posting pictures of all the fun things you are doing real-time. No matter how you have your privacy settings, putting that information out on the internet puts you and your home at risk.

If you are going to be away for an extended time, make sure someone mows your lawn for you. An unkept lawn, especially in these summer months can be a giveaway that no one is home.

What are other ways you work to keep your home and belongings secure while you are out of town?

By thehometown78122813, Jul 3 2017 08:54PM

Summer home maintenance does not have to be a riddle for home owners. There are many relatively simple tasks you can do to keep your home in good repair. Complete the following summer home maintenance tasks to keep your home looking and functioning at its best.

Test your alarms. Push the test button on your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detector (if you have one) to be sure they are properly functioning. If the alarm does not sound, replace the batteries and test again. If you have a monitored security alarm, it may be a good time to test that as well to be sure your monitoring company responds quickly.

Clean vents and fans. Dust your ceiling fans and vent covers in bathrooms. Remove those covers to vacuum dust out of the vent and keep everything nice and neat. This is a great time to replace your air filters, as well! Take care of all your air flow areas, and you should see a good decrease in dust in your home.

Make those windows shine! Summer home maintenance can seem tedious, but cleaning windows is one of those tasks for which you will see an immediate payoff. Let that sunshine in and enjoy the light, bright happiness of summer.

Check your paint and siding on your home. If necessary, touch up any paint blemishes. This keeps your home looking great, but it will also protect your home from weather and bugs. Keeping the siding in good repair can also put off repair and replacement expenses for a lot longer!

Check your roof. If it is safe to get on your roof, do it! Check the entire roof for missing shingles, mold, or anything you would not expect to see up there. Repairing small problems on your roof are much easier and cheaper than replacing your roof or dealing with damage inside your home from a leaking roof.

There are many tasks you can complete with summer home maintenance, but these are a few that can make a big impact. What other items do you check off your list in summer to keep your home in tip-top shape?

By thehometown78122813, Jun 21 2017 10:45PM

We all are tempted to click on that link to teach us the latest life hack to make our lives so much easier, but homeowner hacks? They exist, and they really can make your home life a little more pleasant. Some of these tips and tricks can help save you money, some can save you time, and some can help save your sanity! Here are a few homeowner hacks to help in your home!

Appliances and Electronics

There are so many ways you can make the appliances and electronics in your home work better for you, and maybe even save money on a repair. For example, many refrigerator repairs can be preventing by doing a little troubleshooting. Is your fridge not cooling as well as it should? Check the temperature dial or controls. It is possible a child turned it or something in the fridge moved it to where it is not set at a cool enough temperature. Also check to make sure there are not items blocking the vents in the freezer or refrigerator (since that is where the cold air enters to keep food cold!).

Some of our favorite homeowner hacks have to do with ways to keep your home more organized. One way to do this with electronics is to attach remotes to the underside of coffee or end tables. A little Velcro strip will do the job, and the remotes will not clutter your surfaces or get lost in the couch cushions.

Plumbing

Homeowner hacks run the gamut of rooms and functions of the home. Plumbing is a great place to use a few of these tips and tricks. Make sure you have low flow shower heads in all showers in your home. These not only help save on water costs, they help reduce energy cost, as well. That is, unless you prefer all your showers cold. The shower heads on the market now even provide a good high-pressure feel without using all that water.

Be sure to fill any gaps where your pipes enter the wall. Check behind toilets and under sinks for gaps by pulling back the metal plate where it meets the wall. If there are gaps around the wall, use an expanding foam to seal them up.

If you plan to be out of town and do not need your sprinklers to run while you are gone, turn off your main water valve. Then you won’t return to your home to find a lake in your floor!

Security

Lock your garage door when you plan to be out of town. Placing a padlock on the latch will prevent someone from breaking into your home and opening the garage from the inside, making loading up a truck with your belongings much easier.

If you want to do a little something to prevent any intruders from entering, reinforce your doors to make them harder to kick in. Use an edge guard to protect the door, and replace the screws holding the strike plate in place on the frame with longer screws. The combination will help protect you and your home.

These are just a few of the homeowner hacks that can help you make the most of your home.

By thehometown78122813, Jun 6 2017 01:00PM

Some first-time buyers do not know what all their best funding options might be, or even what funding options they might have. Interest rates are still low for now, so many are looking to buy their first home. These potential buyers may not have all the cash they would like to have lined up, however. Many first-time buyers will dip into some retirement savings. If this is the case, what are some funding options for first-time home buyers?

There is really a progression to follow when considering using money from a retirement account to put down on a home mortgage. There are many different retirement account types, and you would be best served to speak with your financial advisor to see what is your best option. However, these are the best options in order of what types of retirement account to draw.

Roth IRA

Your first choice for an account to draw money for a down payment should be a Roth IRA account. Taxes have already been paid on the Roth IRA contributions, so there is no additional penalty (other than spending some of the money you’ve put away for retirement) to drawing your contributions back from this type of account before retirement. However, remember that if you draw so much as to dip into the investment income from the contributions you have made into your account before retirement, there will be some additional considerations. If your contributions have been in your account more than 5 years, you are able to draw up to $10,000 without penalty for a first-time home purchase. If your money has not been in the account more than 5 years, you can still draw the money, but you will have to pay taxes on it, so it loses value for you. So, when dealing with a Roth IRA, draw contribution money first, then investment income only if necessary.

Traditional IRA

If you do not have a Roth IRA account to use, the next option might be a traditional IRA. Withdrawals from a traditional IRA are likely to be subject to income taxes if the buyer is not yet 59 ½ years old. If all monies in the IRA were from previously tax-deductible sources (rolled over from 401(k) accounts, investment earnings, etc), the amount drawn could be up to 100% taxable at the buyer’s current tax bracket.

401(k) Loan

A loan from a 401(k) account can also be a viable option, in the absence of an IRA account. This option is appealing when compared to a credit card, as the loan is paid back to your own account at an interest rate, rather than a bank. However, trying to pay a new mortgage loan and the 401(k) loan payment can cause your finances to be strained. Also, if you happen to lose your job, that money could become due in a very short period of time (perhaps 60 or 90 days). If you cannot repay it at that time, you will end up paying income taxes and an additional penalty on the loan.

Traditional 401(k) Withdrawal

Finally, a first-time buyer might consider withdrawing a down payment or a portion thereof from his or her 401(k). A withdrawal before the age of 59 ½ from a 401(k) would be subject to a 10% penalty and income taxes on the withdrawal. So, for example, if someone withdrew $25,000 from a 401(k) for a down payment and was in the 25% tax bracket, he would pay $2,500 in penalty and $6,250 in income taxes on that amount. Now that $25,000 withdrawal is really only worth $16,250 to the buyer.

None of these funding options are ideal for a first-time buyer, as they all take funds from your retirement nest egg. However, all buyers are in different situations and must consider all options. Discuss your goals with both your financial advisor and realtor, and they may be able to help you get creative to find a more suitable funding option for you.

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