5 Tips for Transitioning to Homeschooling During School Closures

In a time of school closures and social distancing, a lot of parents are being thrust into the life of homeschooling their children. Even if your child’s teacher has put together a comprehensive distance learning packet for you to draw from, the proposition of being your child’s teacher can still seem daunting. Here are some tips we put together to help you get through this time stronger, and hopefully smarter, than ever.

  1. Know your audience. There are some kids who work really well independently and some that need a little more support. Depending on your child’s specific situation, you may be able to create a full day plan for them and have a few check-ins throughout the day. If your child needs more interaction, or is on the younger side, you may need to get them set up in an area of the house near where you will be and be available to keep them on task. 
  2. Set up a designated space. Being at home can signal to kids that it is time to relax so having a designated area, or two, in the home where the teaching and learning activities will take place can help create a productive environment for the children. Find a basket or box that the children can store their materials in so that clean up at the end of the school day can return the area to its previous purpose.
  3. Create a schedule. A homeschool schedule does not have to exactly follow their previous in-school schedule, but creating a plan can help everyone know what is expected of them. It is OK to let the kids sleep in, kids and teens are notoriously sleep deprived, but try to aim for two to four hours of planned learning each day, depending on the age of your children. A great way to help with this is to break the day up into blocks and use your connected home device to set alarms notifying the change of blocks. 
  4. Find their passion. When you are at home with your kids finding things to keep them entertained can be a challenge. If you can try to incorporate things they are interested in with their learning, you could find some success. For example, baking could easily become lessons in math (measurements), science (ingredient reactions) and art (decorating the finished product). Try to look at your individual child’s interests and see if you can tie learning into them to keep things light and fun. There are tons of resources online that can help you find lessons in everyday activities. A quick Google search these days will turn up some great options!
  5. Be forgiving. This includes being forgiving of yourself. This is a new, and stressful, situation and we need to take the time to be kind to ourselves and our children as we navigate our new reality. If you need to put on a movie or give the kids some extra electronics time to make it through the day, so be it. Making it through this trying time with your sanity is much more important than how many worksheets you were able to do in a given day. 

The experts at Cambria® Mortgage™ are always available to provide guidance and answer questions about home ownership. For more information, visit CambriaMortgage.com or call 952-942-0110.

But First, Get Pre-Approved

If you’re thinking about buying a home this year, I’m sure you already have many things on your to-do list. Maybe you have been looking into reevaluating your budget and saving for a downpayment; you’ve probably started to get an idea of what your credit looks like; heck, you may have even begun to dream up your future home online. The list goes on… But what is the #1 thing you should do right now?

Celebrate Homeownership Month with Cambria Mortgage

June is here, and you know what that means… It’s officially summer and school is out; the longest day of the year comes and goes; wedding season is typically in full swing. But what else? National Homeownership Month. We celebrate a key American value and the cornerstone of our economy every single day of June.

Back to Basics: How to Create (and Stick to) a Budget

For many, the recent global health crisis has thrown us a financial curveball. With any budget, and especially with the amount of uncertainty at large, it’s important to periodically examine your finances to make sure you are optimizing your assets and preparing for the future. If you do not currently have a budget, this is a great place to start. Read on for tips to create, and live by, a budget.

Stay at Home Stay-cations

It’s no secret that many people are getting the itch to travel now more than ever. We’re feeling restricted and cooped up. Let’s face it, we’re in need of a vacation that just can’t happen in our current circumstances. So, we improvise. In this article, we’re laying out our favorite ways to get a little R&R with a mini “staycation”.

Preparing to Purchase: 5 Things to Do to Get Ready to Purchase Your New Home

Buying a new home is an exciting prospect. The spring and summer housing market is heating up and rates are low ‒ you are ready to take the leap…right?! If you are feeling compelled to ‒ or maybe just pondering the idea of ‒ making the move into a new home purchase, make sure you don’t hit any potential bumps along way by following our tips below.

Spruce Up Your Outdoor Living Space

No matter if your outdoor space is a city balcony or a sprawling acreage in the country, having a space you love is key to enjoying the short summer months. Read on for tips to add some charm and charisma to your outdoor space.

Creating Opportunities Using Tools We Already Have

Oftentimes, opportunities don’t create themselves. It’s up to us to set goals and make a plan to achieve those goals… There will be many instances where we must regroup and rethink our plan along the way too, especially now. While a lot of what is happening right now is being handled on a day-to-day basis, having a plan is still possible and we have the power to create opportunities for ourselves. Whether you’re looking to branch out and build a business, find a new job or just curate new friendships… read on for suggestions on how to avoid feeling derailed and unsure of what to do next and instead build that door to opportunity.

Your Future Home: Up Close & Personal…at a Distance

If you find yourself taking the online home search to a whole new level during this Stay at Home order, you’re not alone. The housing market is booming and–just like you–consumers are still buying homes. While new guidelines are being implemented and the way we buy homes is changing, the need to be fully informed is not. For your benefit, we have compiled a list of tips for diving into your next potential neighborhood from a distance.

Quarantine Baking: It’s a Thing

If you are currently sheltering in place, or have made the transition to working from home, you may have picked up some new hobbies to keep you busy. It seems that many people have turned to baking during this time judging by the amount of recipes floating around the web! If “Quarantine Baking” has become one of your new hobbies, check out the recipes we sourced for you below. Make sure you take some great photos and tag us on Facebook if you make any of them!

Celebrate Mom From Afar

This year Mother’s Day celebrations may look a little different. Despite being in quarantine, there are still ways to make the one who gave you life, cared for you and shaped you into who you are as a person (no pressure) feel loved and appreciated. Check out some unique ideas that show mom you care while still maintaining social distancing measures and keeping everyone safe and healthy.

Hop, Skip and Plant Your Way to Spring Curb Appeal

Throughout most of the country spring has officially sprung, even in the frozen tundra of the upper midwest (finally). Along with the spring sunshine comes new growth and blooming gardens that brighten up our homes and lives. To make sure your curb appeal is on point, check out these spring tips below.

Tips for Getting a Mortgage Virtually

To many, the mortgage process may seem daunting to begin with… add a pandemic to the mix and it’s a recipe for disaster right? Wrong. While things around the office definitely look a lot different while we are in the midst of social distancing, things aren’t all that different when it comes to the mortgage process. Being we live in a world of advancement and technology, we were ready for a situation like this and haven’t missed a beat. Here are a few of our most helpful tips to make the virtual mortgage process a breeze.

Good News from the Housing Market (Why This is NOT 2008)

The most popular phrase during this pandemic seems to be, “during these uncertain times…” Some may even use this phrase when referring to the housing market. While a comparison to 2008’s housing crisis is certainly reasonable, the current housing market shows positive signs that keep us optimistic and show this is not a do-over of 2008. Read on for factors in the current housing market that show things are looking up.

Simple Ways to Recharge

It feels like day 572 of quarantine and chances are—at least once during this uncharted time—you’ve felt mentally depleted. Whether that is a product of the news coverage, juggling work with having the kids home 24/7, missing loved ones or just wanting to leave the house without fear of sickness… we understand. We’ve put together a list of five simple ways you can recharge your batteries and get back to feeling 100% again.

Ideas to Support Local Businesses and Keep Your Community Strong

Pandemic or not, choosing to shop small makes a difference; but during times like these the difference is even greater. For many locally-owned businesses, consumers choosing to shop small may be the difference between continuing to serve our communities post-pandemic or closing its doors for good. Local businesses are essential for our economy; they provide goods and services along with employment opportunities and a sense of community. These small businesses have been there for us, now it is our turn to be there for them.

3 Things You Can Take Control of Today

While the world is indeed still spinning around, sometimes it seems as if it is spinning out of control. The feelings of uncertainty and anxiety you may be experiencing during this time are valid. But it’s our hope that we can help you feel a better sense of security and control. Here is a list of three main things you can always take control of.

Finding Joy in Times of Uncertainty

When everything is going smoothly, it’s easy to be grateful. Ironically, it seems in times of stress–when we need a positive outlook most–we forget how great the life we are living really is. If the current state of our world has been weighing you down, here are some ways you can find the joy you’ve been missing again.

We Are Open and Here to Serve You

With the recent unprecedented effects of COVID-19 that have impacted local businesses we want to assure you that as an essential business, Cambria Mortgage remains open and able to serve you. Your dreams of homeownership do not need to be placed on hold.

Secrets for #WFH Success

Many companies are encouraging employees to practice social distancing on a whole new level by avoiding coming into the office altogether and instead, working from home. For many of us, working remotely is a new practice. Some may be jumping for joy—we see you millennials—while others may be feeling a little out of sorts. No matter your attitude on the situation, we’ve put together a list of our best tips for staying productive while working from home.

A Financial Planner’s Insight on a Changing Market

The present economic climate seems to be trending toward a bear market for the first time in 11 years. Bear market? Don’t let that last sentence come off as a bearer of bad news… When the market shifts like this, it is not a time to worry; it is simply a good indicator that it’s time to take a look at your current portfolio and prepare for the future.

Our Dedication to You

During this unprecedented situation regarding COVID-19, we wanted to take a moment and check-in with our valued clients and business partners. Our thoughts are with those impacted by this pandemic and we are thankful for all who are working hard to keep our communities safe. We want to assure you we are also working hard to provide the service and support you have come to expect with minimal disruption while keeping our clients, partners and employees protected.

Why Refi? What it Means to Refinance and Why You Should Look into it

Interest rates, interest rates, interest rates. That seems to be the only thing in the headlines regarding mortgages these days. The TV, radio and internet ads are all telling you NOW IS THE TIME TO REFINANCE! But why? What does it mean to refinance and what do you have to gain? Read on for the many reasons to refinance to see if it really is time for you to take a closer look.

Catch More Zzzzz’s Without Counting Sheep

Everyone loves a good night’s sleep, but for some it is as elusive as the perfect selfie. With small changes you could see an improvement on your nightly slumber. Read on for how to improve your sleep habits and wake-up feeling rested and refreshed.

Reasons to Refinance

The term refinance encompasses so much in terms of home loans. There are many different types of refinances and many…

A Look Ahead to 2019

A review of 2018 and a look ahead to 2019 may look a little frightening from a financial perspective, however,…

Seasonal Migration; Not Just for The Birds

As the weather takes a turn for the worse, the thought of getting away to a warmer climate becomes more appealing. The term “snowbird” is often used to describe those who migrate from colder climates to sunny locations for extended periods each year. Becoming a snowbird and owning a home in another state can provide more than just a respite from the cold. Read on for more about the benefits of being a snowbird.

Fall Décor Trends

When the seasons start to change it is fun to be able to update our surroundings with new and exciting décor. Read on for Etsy’s six fall home décor trends:

Learn to Love Your Space Again for Free

Making changes to your decor can get expensive, but leaving things the same can make you long for an update. Before you throw in the (old) towel, read on for tricks to redecorate your space for free.

Paths to Becoming a First-Time Homebuyer

Owning a home has traditionally been part of the “American Dream”, but in today’s financial climate some Americans doubt they can afford the dream. The good news is that there are many programs available today to assist first-time homebuyers in obtaining a mortgage. Here are more details about the programs and options available.

Unknown Dangers Lurking in Your Home

Our homes are where we feel our most comfortable. We feel safe inside. Unfortunately, there could be some hidden dangers inside your house that can affect you and your family. Read on for what to look for to keep your home safe.

Tips to Maximize Your Credit Score

When looking at your financial portfolio, credit score is a vital piece of the equation. Maintaining a solid credit score is not difficult, but it does require management. If you have had struggles with your credit in the past, it could take some time to rebuild, but it is a worthwhile effort. Here are some tips to help you maintain, or repair, your credit score.

Realize Your Remodel with Finance by Cambria

Now that summer is upon us, it’s a great time to start planning your next kitchen or bath remodel with Cambria®. Whether you’re dreaming of a sparkling, all-white kitchen with pristine countertops and a stunning center island crafted of Ella™, or a sophisticated master bathroom with a coastal-chic vibe featuring Oakmoor™, Finance by Cambria is an ideal way to pay for your remodel.

Tips for Maintaining a Luxurious Lawn

Summer means time spent outdoors and having a good-looking lawn creates the perfect space for play and lounging. Here are some tips to help you get and maintain a luxurious lawn.

Planning The Perfect Picnic

The time for long days spent in the sun and nights by the fire has arrived. Take full advantage of your time outdoors by planning a picnic for your next outing. Here are some tips to help you plan.

Your Service. Our Honor.

VA loans are the most powerful loan programs available and are reserved exclusively for veterans and active-duty service members. Cambria Mortgage considers it an honor to help vets get the benefits they’ve earned with their service to our country. Read on for more information on the exclusive benefits of a VA loan. 

Preparing for Spring Cleaning

The thought of cleaning before cleaning may seem odd, but making sure that your cleaning tools are in tip-top shape can save you time when you start your spring cleaning. Read on for ways to get yourself prepared to get cleaning.

Why A Preapproval Is Key to Your Home Buying Success

Home values are rising. Inventory is low. If you are looking to purchase a home right now, these factors can heavily influence your search. Having a preapproval for your mortgage used to be a nice thing to have; today it is essential and here’s why.

Liven Up Your Space with an Indoor Garden

While the calendar may say it is spring outside, the weather doesn’t always cooperate. If you are getting tired of the winter blahs it may be time to spruce up your space with an indoor garden. Read on for tips to green up your digs.

2018 Mortgage Forecast

2017 saw another strong year for the housing market, and 2018 looks to continue the trend. At Cambria® Mortgage™, we are grateful to be able to assist our clients from start to finish to find the best loans for their current situations. Read more about how Cambria Mortgage can assist you with your homeownership needs in the year ahead.

Tips to Get Ready for Entertaining

As the holiday season approaches, there are many opportunities to entertain friends and family. Getting prepared for all of these events doesn’t have to take all of your time and energy. Here are some quick tips to ensure you can enjoy your gatherings.

End of the Year Financial Organization

As we approach the end of 2017, it is a good time to take a look at your finances and make sure your current strategies are still working for you. Here are some places to look for ways to maximize your fiscal year.

Should I Buy an Investment Property?

Owning and investing in real estate has the ability to provide many short- and long-term financial benefits. In fact, we often hear about some of the world’s wealthiest people being involved in real estate investing. Before deciding to purchase your first investment property, make sure it is right for you by doing your research and being prepared. Read the tips below for getting started with investment properties.

Organize Your Closet Like a Pro: 10 Tips to Elevate Your Style Storage

Not surprisingly, celebrities often enlist the help of professional closet organizers to help keep their massive wardrobes in check. In fact, Kim Kardashian got her start as a closet organizer for many celebrities in the early 2000s. Below are tips from professionals that you can use in your own closet to keep things in order.

Reverse Mortgage: Why Acting Now Will Help You Get the Most Out Of Your Home

Beginning in October 2017, there are changes coming to the FHA backed Reverse Mortgage program that could affect the funds available to you from your home. If you or someone you know has ever thought about the benefits of a reverse mortgage, now is the time to act. Read on for information on Reverse Mortgages and how to get the most out of your home.

10 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

When making the decision to sell your home or purchase a new one, it is important that you are comfortable working with the real estate agent you choose. The sale and purchase of a home are large transactions and you want to be sure that you are finding the right fit, not just the easiest or first person you meet.

Buying Vs. Renting: Why Now Is a Great Time to Become a Homeowner

The choice between buying a home and renting is among the biggest financial decisions many people will make. Homeownership has long been touted as the American Dream, but you may wonder if you are ready to make that dream a reality. Read on to learn why now is a great time to make the jump from renting into homeownership.

Ready for a Retreat? Tips for Purchasing a Second Home

When summer finally hits and you start to dream of getting away on the weekends, it might be time to start looking at purchasing a second home. There are many reasons to purchase a second home and only some of them are financial, however, those reasons should not be overlooked.

Designing Your Home to Sell

When looking to get the most out of your home sale, the topic of staging may have come up. By highlighting your home’s strengths and downplaying its weaknesses, you can help yourself attract the most potential buyers.  Here are some tips to help you stage your home like the pros: 

How to Host the Perfect Summer BBQ

Summer in the Midwest means time outside. On these beautiful summer days there is nothing better than a BBQ to bring friends and family together. Here are some tips on how to host the perfect summer BBQ.

Building Your Dream Home

Many people dream of being able to design and build their dream homes to their exact specifications. Building a new home can be a dream come true, but it can also have its challenges. Read on for more information about building your dream home and construction loans.

Looking at a Fixer-Upper? The Benefits of a Renovation Loan

If you are searching for your dream home and are not finding what you are looking for, it may be time to consider a home that you can purchase and renovate into the home you’ve always wanted. If you don’t have the cash on hand to tackle a renovation after you purchase the home, consider a Renovation Loan. Here are more details and benefits of a Renovation Loan:

Choosing a Down Payment Option That is Right for You

When looking at purchasing a new home, one of the biggest questions that could come up is what to do about the down payment. There are many options for down payments so it is important to find the option that is right for your current situation and your future financial goals.

Spring Cleaning: 8 Places to Focus to Freshen Up

Winters can get long and homes can start to show the effects of being closed up for months at a time.  As the warm weather approaches, getting the house in tip-top shape jumps to the top of most to-do lists.  Here are eight places to focus to get your home feeling fresh.

Rates are Rising: Why Not to Worry

The recent headlines allude to a rising rate environment, but that may not tell the whole picture. While rates have increased slightly in the past few months, they are still near historical lows and should not be seen as a deterrent for buying a home or securing a lower rate with a refinance.

2017 Mortgage Forecast

As 2016 draws to a close, we’re grateful for the strong housing market, which has enabled us to help hundreds of individuals and families invest in real estate, purchase new homes and vacation homes, and reduce their interest rates. As we look ahead to 2017, we anticipate the local housing market will remain strong.

Cold Weather Curb Appeal: Easy Ways to Winter-Ready Your Home

Now that the Halloween pumpkins have been relegated to the compost heap and the autumn leaves have all been raked and bagged, it’s time to think about spiffing up the exterior of your home for the holidays and beyond. Here are some easy ways to give your home a warm, welcoming vibe that lasts all winter long.

Welcome Home: Discover the Cambria Mortgage Difference

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions of a lifetime. Given the financial and emotional value of your investment, it makes sense to work with a mortgage company you know and trust. We asked John Schroeder, CEO/President of Cambria® Mortgage™, to explain the hometown difference.

Color Your World: How to Pick the Perfect Paint

With the holidays just around the corner, October is a perfect time to give your rooms a fresh coat of paint in a fabulous new color. But, unless you’re a design professional, it can be challenging to pick the perfect palette with confidence. Here are some tips for getting it right the first time.

Your Lifestyle, Your Mortgage: Choosing the Right Home Loan

As we swing into the fourth quarter of 2016, it continues to be a strong year for real estate. With historically low interest rates for primary and secondary residence loans, now is a great time to refinance your current home loan, buy a new home, or invest in a vacation home with a mortgage that fits your lifestyle.

Countdown to a New Home

Thinking of buying a new home? The experts at Cambria® Mortgage™ can help you streamline the process, make the right decisions, and enjoy a smooth, stress-free experience.

5 Ways to Landscape Like a Pro

Landscaping is a great way to create curb appeal and add beauty to your home. The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here are five simple, cost-effective ways to landscape your lawn and garden like a pro.

5 Common Mortgage Myths: Get the Truth from Cambria Mortgage

The idea of getting a home mortgage loan can be daunting, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. The good news is that many long-held beliefs about mortgages are no longer true. Here, the experts at Cambria Mortgage explain some of the most common misconceptions.

VA Home Loans: A Powerful Expression of Gratitude

At Cambria® Mortgage™, we’re proud to specialize in VA home loans, a powerful loan program available to veterans and other qualified military personnel. Read on to learn more about the program’s many benefits.

Ready. Set. Update! 5 Easy Weekend Projects

Ready to give your home a fresh new look? Pick a summer weekend, roll up your sleeves, and take on one of these simple, satisfying projects. If you’re better suited to playing creative director than contractor, enlist a local expert to help.

Discover the Benefits of Reverse Mortgages with Jeff Flanery, CRMP, of Cambria® Mortgage™

As part of Cambria Mortgage’s commitment to helping our customers find the best mortgage loan programs for their needs, Jeff Flanery, CRMP, Reverse Mortgage Specialist with Cambria Mortgage, is hosting a series of seminars for seniors and family members. At these informative, no-obligation seminars, Jeff will explain the many benefits of reverse mortgages, how they work, and who is eligible.

Staging Your Home: 5 Tips for Success

With robust buyer demand and a limited supply of homes for sale, homes in this area of the country are generally selling faster than last year, with prices close to—and often greater than—their asking prices. To maximize this opportunity, consider staging your home.

Designing with Houseplants: Green Thumb Not Required

Flip through any top interior design magazine and you’re likely to see houseplants, either in artfully composed vignettes or as centerpieces on dining room tables and dramatic sculptures in living rooms. If you weren’t born with a green thumb, growing houseplants is easier than you think, as long as you select the right kind for your home. To give you a head start, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite low-maintenance houseplants.

Vacation Homes: How to Buy a Piece of Paradise

Do you find yourself returning to the same pristine lake every summer, wishing you owned your own piece of paradise? If so, it might be time to listen to your heart and consider buying a cabin or other vacation home. We asked Matt Helling, Vice President of Sales and Operations at Cambria Mortgage, for his advice and insights.

5 Classic Home Styles and How to Spot Them

There’s just something special about a traditional home. Crafted of timeless brick, stucco, masonry, and wood, these charming houses are filled with warmth and character. If you’re in the market for a classic home, here’s how to spot five beloved home styles.

Jumpstart Your Remodel with Finance by Cambria

Now that spring is just around the corner, it’s a great time to start planning your next kitchen or bath remodel with Cambria. Whether you’re dreaming of a sparkling, all-white kitchen with pristine countertops and a stunning center island crafted of Ella™, or a sophisticated master bathroom featuring the elegant, serpentine swaths of Roxwell™, Finance by Cambria® is an ideal way to pay for your remodel.

5 Tips to Enhance Your Home’s Security

According to the FBI, a home burglary occurs somewhere in the United States every 15 seconds, with the majority of residential break-ins happening in daylight while homeowners are away from their houses or condos. When it comes to home security, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has some sage advice.

Plan a Winter Getaway

With 100-plus days of winter looming on the horizon, it’s not too late to start planning a warm weather getaway. And, with a wealth of bargain travel websites at your fingertips and these useful tips, you can escape to Florida, Mexico, or the Caribbean without blowing your budget.

Blue Skies for Homeowners: What to Expect in 2016

If your list of New Year’s resolutions includes refinancing your existing mortgage or buying a new home, now’s a great time to get started. “We’re very optimistic about the economic outlook for 2016,” says Matt Helling, Vice President of Sales and Operations at Cambria Mortgage. "With historically low mortgage interest rates, attractive programs, and a loosening of credit guidelines, 2016 looks to be a strong year for homeowners."

Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for You?

Jeff Flanery, Reverse Sales Manager with Cambria Mortgage, has been helping people transition to reverse mortgages for nearly 14 years. “I work exclusively with reverse mortgages, which is extremely gratifying, as I love helping people extend their nest egg and live better in retirement,” Flanery says. Here, he offers a brief overview of reverse mortgages and their benefits.

Ready. Set. Entertain! Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

As much as we look forward to the holidays, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day can often feel like an endless round of decorating, cooking, and entertaining. To reduce stress and prevent holiday burnout, use these tips to make this season easy, enjoyable, and memorable.

Gift Giving Made Easy: Fun and Ingenious Ways to Streamline Your Holiday Shopping and Manage Your Budget

When it comes to holiday gifts, it really is the thought that counts. While it can be fun to indulge your family and friends with extravagant gifts, it’s not always necessary. With a little forethought and planning, it’s easy to manage your budget and impress your loved ones with cost-effective gifts that convey how much you care about them.

Ready to Invest in Income Properties? 5 Tips to Get Started

Investing in income properties can provide an array of short-term and long-term financial benefits, including regular cash flow, tax deductions, potential appreciation, and more. We asked Jim Starr, realtor with Edina Realty, for advice on getting started.

Get Your Garden Winter-Ready: 7 Easy Ideas for a Fall Weekend

Winter is a gardener’s friend, providing flowers, shrubs, and trees with a well-deserved opportunity to rest and rejuvenate after a lush, showy summer. To give your garden a jumpstart on next spring, spend a sunny fall weekend planting, mulching, and watering. With these autumnal preparations, your efforts will be rewarded next spring with a healthier, more beautiful landscape.

Getting Your House in Order: How to Build Your Own Home Repair Rolodex®

With cooler weather just around the corner, now’s a great time to get your personal Rolodex® of home service experts in order—before you actually need them. After all, the best time to call an electronics installer is before you buy the deluxe home entertainment system, and the worst time to find a friendly, cost-effective plumber is after your pipes have frozen. To help create your list of trusted home experts, here are some tips for finding the right people for each job.

Ask the Expert: Finding the Right Financial Advisor

As we head into the last quarter of 2015, most of us would like to earn more, save more, and invest more money in the year ahead. We asked Bruce Helmer, noted financial advisor, author, speaker, and radio host, for his advice.

Remodeling ROI: How to get the biggest bang for your renovation buck

If you’ve been thinking about remodeling your home, you’ve probably realized that it’s both an emotional and financial decision. For example, if you love to cook, a new kitchen with a chef-grade stove may bring you countless hours of joy and entertainment. But if you might be selling your home within the next few years, you also want to know the kitchen will pay for itself when the “For Sale” sign goes up in your front yard. Here are some tips to help you get the biggest bang for your renovation buck.

Get the Low-Down on Down Payments

A happy family that chose a home loan that best suits their needs and budget. Whether you’re considering building a brand-new home, rehabbing a mid-century treasure, or buying a historic downtown loft, you’ve probably realized there are two key things to consider—what you can afford as a monthly mortgage payment, and what you can afford to “put down” on your home as a down payment.

It’s Home Tour Season!

As home design enthusiasts know, summer is an exceptionally exciting time, because it’s when home tours are in full swing. Starting in June with the Artisan Home Tour and the Luxury Home Tour, home tour season offers an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the endlessly inspiring world of architecture, construction, and design.

Ask the Expert: Smart Savings Strategies for Every Age

When it comes to financial advice and guidance, it makes sense to talk to an expert. We asked Bruce Helmer, financial advisor and founder of Wealth Enhancement Group, headquartered in Plymouth, Minnesota, to share his proven strategies for success. He’s a regarded financial advisor, author, speaker, and radio host and says no matter where you are in life, you can use these tips to make the most of your savings dollars.

Why Refinancing Makes Sense Right Now

By replacing your original mortgage with a new, more cost-effective loan, you can lower—and lock in—your interest rate, improve your term, reduce your monthly mortgage payments, and save thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

Save Money On Your Mortgage With an FHA or VA Loan

Thinking of buying a new home or refinancing an existing mortgage? Now’s the time! With low interest rates, flexible requirements, and a long list of other borrower benefits, FHA and VA loans are designed to make home ownership easy and affordable. To find out if you’re eligible, keep reading…

5 Easy Ways to Create Beauty and Value

Spring is a great time to amp up your home’s curb appeal. Set aside a sunny Saturday and use these five easy, cost-effective ideas to jump-start your efforts. P.S. Once the neighbors see the fruits of your labors, don’t be surprised if they start spiffing up their own homes!

There’s No Place Like Home

At the end of The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy clicks her heels three times, chanting, “There’s no place like home,” she’s not thinking of a rental apartment. While we appreciate rentals, especially in the form of beachfront summer cottages, Tuscan villas, and Tribeca lofts, we have a special affinity for the word home. No matter where we grew up, home has a feeling of permanence, and a sense of comfort and peace in our busy world.

Why Using a Realtor Will Pay Dividends

Buying or selling a home is among the biggest decisions you make in life. With so much on the line, it makes sense to work with professionals who have a wealth of information about the process from beginning to end. Not only do realtors have vast knowledge about the market trends driving prices and sales in your area, but they also have access to an immense network of other professionals and potential buyers. When it comes to marketing your home and working through the details of an offer, realtors can be trusted to present your home in the best possible light and negotiate a deal that’s right for you and your family.

When to Do It Yourself and When to Call in the Pros

Let’s face it: there’s no shortage of DIY home repair and renovation information on TV, in magazines, and certainly online. In fact, tune in to HGTV any time of the day or night and you can immerse yourself in home remodeling projects and the brave folks who attempt them.

Want to Save Money in the New Year?

After the Christmas bills pile up, many homeowners find themselves in a financial crunch and in need of some long-term financial savings strategies. There is good news for 2015, though. Interest rates are still near historic lows, which means this could be a great time to boost your monthly budget by refinancing your home mortgage.