What You Need To Know About Debt Consolidation

February 18, 2020 Liz Johnson

If you’re carrying around a lot of debt, the number of payments and the various interest rates you have can make managing it quite difficult. Some people choose to get this under control through debt consolidation. By consolidating your debts, you can reduce multiple items to a single payment with a single interest rate, making your finances easier to manage. Before rushing into debt consolidation, though, it’s important that you take the time to understand exactly how it works and what its benefits are.

Consolidating Your Debt

As its name implies, debt consolidation is the process of combining multiple debts into one that is (theoretically) easier to make payments on. Debt consolidation can even combine different types of debt such as loans and credit cards into a single debt. At its most basic, debt consolidation establishes a new loan or line of credit and then uses that to make payments against the other debts to pay them off. This leaves you with a single remaining debt. Depending on how you manage your consolidation, though, there may be a few differences in your experience.

Consolidation Loans

Taking out a loan to consolidate debt is one of the most common forms of debt consolidation. These loans are typically pretty straightforward, since the borrowed money is used to pay off existing debts and you simply need to pay off the loan after that point. In some cases, you may even be able to piggyback debt consolidation on top of a loan taken out for a purchase, borrowing extra to pay off existing debt. Just be sure to check with your lender to make sure this sort of use is okay before borrowing the money for it.

Credit Card Consolidation

Credit card consolidations typically occur when taking out a new card, using balance transfers to consolidate your existing balances to a single card. This is especially useful if the card has an introductory interest rate such as a 0 percent APR for six months or some other promotion. The theory remains the same, however; instead of having balances across multiple cards, you have only one balance to focus on and pay down.

Debt Management Programs

Though not necessarily a true “consolidation”, debt management programs are another way to get debt under control. These programs can negotiate with debtors, allowing you to make payments on a negotiated schedule without worrying about late fees and other costs piling up. You may have restrictions placed on you such as not being able to take out additional loans, but you will have the advantage of not having to work through getting your debt under control by yourself.

The Effects of Consolidation

Debt consolidation can have a major impact on your financial health, both improving your credit score and helping you to pay down your existing debts faster. It can also save you time and money, since you’ll only have one set of interest charges instead of multiple to keep track of. Best of all, most forms of debt consolidation won’t have a negative impact on things like buying a house since there isn’t a special classification to the loans or transfers in most cases. Even debt management won’t necessarily interfere, since its restrictions are usually focused on unsecured loans instead of secured ones like a mortgage.

What to Watch Out For

There are a few things that you should be careful of when looking into debt consolidation. Perhaps the most important is to avoid getting yourself even deeper in debt once you pay off the balance of your credit cards or other lines of credit. The goal is to pay off what you owe, so hold off on using your cards again until you’re more financially stable. You should also watch out for predatory lenders and fraudulent debt consolidation companies that will charge you a significant amount for things that you could manage on your own for free.

Is Consolidation Right for You?

If you aren’t sure whether debt consolidation is right for you, HomeKeepr may be able to help. Sign up today for free and get in touch with loan experts who can advise you on getting your finances in order without having to sacrifice your big dreams like owning your own home.

This Valentines Day, Give The Gift of A House!!

We have a gorgeous new listing open this weekend for you to view! Come check it out and fall in love!!

Open House
Sunday, February 16th
(1:00 pm-4:00 pm)

Finally, a Next-Gen home in Tehaleh on a greenbelt is now available! This amazing Bainbridge (Home Within A Home) by Lennar will not disappoint even the pickiest of buyers! Main home features 3 beds, 2.5 baths + loft & tech center. Main floor suite is 1 bed + .75 bath & has separate entry. Home features Smart Home Automation by Amazon & is Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™. Chef’s kitchen boasts an over-sized quartz kitchen island, stainless appliances & large pantry. Fully fenced, private back yard, A/C too!

Weekly Tehaleh Homes Listing Round Up

LISTED FOR $529,950 AND NOW PENDING AT $535,000!!!!
Do you love Magnolia homes? This 5 bedroom, 2.75 bathroom home on a true greenbelt is what you’ve been looking for! Main floor features 2 story great room which opens to the chef’s kitchen with gas range, walk-in pantry & upgraded cabinets, bedroom & 3/4 bath plus durable LVT wood flooring throughout. Open spindle staircase leads you to the loft, Master with 2 walk-in closets & 3 additional bedrooms. Double french sliders lead to covered patio with fireplace to enjoy the tranquility of your private back yard.
  http://bit.ly/36Got3F 
LISTED FOR $489,950 AND NOW CONTINGENT AT $492,000!!!!
Move in ready 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home with a large flat back yard is ready for you to call home! Gleaming wood floors throughout the main level aside from the office and 1/2 bath on main. Kitchen boasts huge island that opens to great room with tons of natural light. On the main floor you will find a planning/tech center, spacious mudroom and laundry room. Upstairs you’ll find a huge master suite, 3 more bedrooms, bathroom and loft.
 http://bit.ly/37SG9u6
Listed at $649,950
Exquisite MainVue resale features 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms + all of the luxury that comes standard with a MainVue home! Extra special because it backs to a gorgeous pond & park with views of the Cascades. Main floor den is set away from main living areas for privacy. Great room boasts an abundance of natural light with ceiling-height walls of sliding glass that opens to the Outdoor Room with fireplace. In the kitchen enjoy Quartz counters, huge pantry & Electrolux appliances. Amazing master suite, A/C & more!
http://bit.ly/36GUE4v 

Homeownership Among Singles: A Growing Trend

February 6, 2020 Liz Johnson

When a lot of people think of buying a home, they picture it as a part of settling down and building a family. There’s a pretty good reason for this; couples and families do make up a significant portion of the home-buying population. But there is a growing trend among buyers that bucks this tradition: Single people have become increasingly likely to shop for a home in recent years.

The Importance of Singles Buying Homes

There are multiple reasons why the increase in singles buying homes is noteworthy. The uptick may be due in part to overall changes in society, with individuals marrying or starting families later in life, after trying to achieve stability. It also speaks to the increased economic power of the Millennial generation, with those in their 20s and 30s able to buy a home of their own even as they’re working on building a career.

Of course, there is one other important thing about more singles buying homes that is easy to overlook. Those looking to sell their home may focus on making their property as appealing as possible to older buyers or those with families, missing out on this growing segment of homebuyers. Realizing that more singles are buying homes allows sellers to market their property to a wider range of buyers, increasing the likelihood of selling a home quickly and without having to compromise substantially on asking price.

Women as Homebuyers

One specific aspect of the increase in single homebuyers that is worth noting is the fact that single women are significantly more likely to buy homes than single men. In fact, as many as 1 in 5 potential buyers is likely to be a single woman according to recent trends. This is around twice as likely as a buyer being a single male. This difference is especially noteworthy when you consider that, on average, women typically earn only around 80 percent as much as men working in similar roles.

This is another point that sellers should consider when putting their homes on the market. Not only is it increasingly likely that singles will be interested in the property, but when they are, they will probably be women shopping for a home. This really shakes up old mindsets that focus on married couples buying with the husband as a negotiator trying to get the best price on the home purchase.

Attracting Single Buyers

Single homebuyers may have different criteria when shopping for a house than couples or families. They may look for smaller properties, homes with large yards for gardening or other characteristics that might not be as important to couples or families. Location can be viewed differently by single buyers as well; they are less likely to be concerned with school districts and proximity to parks or other family destinations, and more likely to consider proximity to work or attractions that appeal to singles.

Realizing how the priorities differ when it comes to buyers who are single versus couples and families can affect how you advertise the home you have for sale. Listings in areas that aren’t ideal for families can be targeted toward single buyers instead, focusing on those aspects that a single woman or man might find appealing. Even if you don’t target your sales specifically toward singles, being mindful of the differences can help you to create home listings that have a wider appeal across a range of potential buyers.

Prepping Your Home

If you’re putting your home on the market, it’s important to keep single buyers in mind. If you aren’t sure how to do this, you might consider bringing in a decorator or interior design expert that can help you to make your home as appealing as possible to a wider range of potential buyers. Sign up for a free HomeKeepr account today to find the pro that can help you find the buyer that’s right for you.

Weekly House Round Up!

18323 131st St E, Bonney Lake
Do you love Magnolia homes? This 5 bedroom, 2.75 bathroom home on a true greenbelt is what you’ve been looking for! Main floor features 2 story great room which opens to the chef’s kitchen with gas range, walk-in pantry & upgraded cabinets, bedroom & 3/4 bath plus durable LVT wood flooring throughout. Open spindle staircase leads you to the loft, Master with 2 walk-in closets & 3 additional bedrooms. Double french sliders lead to covered patio with fireplace to enjoy the tranquility of your private back yard. 
 http://bit.ly/36Got3F 
19635 139th St E, Bonney Lake
Move in ready 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home with a large flat back yard is ready for you to call home! Gleaming wood floors throughout the main level aside from the office and 1/2 bath on main. Kitchen boasts huge island that opens to great room with tons of natural light. On the main floor you will find a planning/tech center, spacious mudroom and laundry room. Upstairs you’ll find a huge master suite, 3 more bedrooms, bathroom and loft. Tehaleh features 20+ miles of trails and 11 parks.
 http://bit.ly/37SG9u6
14515 Overlook Dr E, Bonney Lake
Exquisite MainVue resale features 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms + all of the luxury that comes standard with a MainVue home! Extra special because it backs to a gorgeous pond & park with views of the Cascades. Main floor den is set away from main living areas for privacy. Great room boasts an abundance of natural light with ceiling-height walls of sliding glass that opens to the Outdoor Room with fireplace. In the kitchen enjoy Quartz counters, huge pantry & Electrolux appliances. Amazing master suite, A/C & more!
http://bit.ly/36GUE4v 

Weekly Listing Round Up

Exquisite MainVue resale features 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms + all of the luxury that comes standard with a MainVue home! Extra special because it backs to a gorgeous pond & park with views of the Cascades. Main floor den is set away from main living areas for privacy. Great room boasts an abundance of natural light with ceiling-height walls of sliding glass that opens to the Outdoor Room with fireplace. In the kitchen enjoy Quartz counters, huge pantry & Electrolux appliances. Amazing master suite, A/C & more!
http://bit.ly/36GUE4v 
Move in ready 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home with a large flat back yard is ready for you to call home! Gleaming wood floors throughout the main level aside from the office and 1/2 bath on main. Kitchen boasts huge island that opens to great room with tons of natural light. On the main floor you will find a planning/tech center, spacious mudroom and laundry room. Upstairs you’ll find a huge master suite, 3 more bedrooms, bathroom and loft. Tehaleh features 20+ miles of trails and 11 parks.
http://bit.ly/37SG9u6
This listing is NOT in Tehaleh but if you are wanting property to spread out, or as a weekend get-away spot, this one is perfect!
Imagine living on your very own private 60 acres, on the river, in the gated community of Carbon River Heights! Come build your dream home while you live in the very comfortable, light & bright 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom ADU on top of the 2 car garage. Ductless AC/ heat plus all appliances stay! Close by is the 28×60 shop with RV dump, power & pellet stove & room for 6+ cars. Both buildings connected to auto start diesel generator w/ 400 amp svc & 140gal tank. Features include chicken coop, greenhouse, fire pit.
http://bit.ly/2RdGctD

January Business Spotlight

Do you have trouble finding amazing skincare that actually does what it says it will? I did too until I found MaxDahlia. This brand is truly the real deal, they focus on developing formulas using only the most beneficial, scientifically proven ingredients that are clean and non toxic and combining them with plant based nutrients.

I recently did an interview with the owner and local Tehaleh resident, Meisha to dig deeper into her business and find out how she started creating fresh skincare.

Meisha launched MaxDahlia just 1 year ago but has been working on creating skincare and perfecting her formulas for several years prior. She told me that she has been obsessed with skin care and the beauty industry since she was 8. 

Starting a skincare business wasn’t really on her radar until she got pregnant, at that point she became very cautious about the products she was using on her body. Meisha really started digging into what ingredients were in the products that were on the market and knew that she could do better. She started taking tons of chemistry, biology and organic biology classes and did a ton of research on each ingredient that she uses in her products today.

When I asked Meisha what she loved most about her business she said that when clients reach out to her and let her know that their skin has improved and looks great. She truly feels that with the hectic schedules and worries in everyone’s daily lives their skin shouldn’t be something they have to worry about. Connecting with her clients has a huge impact on her.

One of the toughest questions I asked Meisha was which product was her favorite. I was really intrigued to find out since I personally love her whole line. She told me that she loves Flora-A Treatment Creme Oil, her routine in the evening and finishing up with Flora-A is her favorite way to end her day. Needless to say this was a tough question for her to answer.

When Meisha isn’t in her lab mixing products and filling orders you can find her spending time with her two kiddos and husband, doing Yoga (another big passion of hers), going to a great rock concert in the area, or creating new skincare products. After our conversation I could truly feel the passion she has for her business and her clients.

Weekly Listing Round Up

Move in ready 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home with a large flat back yard is ready for you to call home! Gleaming wood floors throughout the main level aside from the office and 1/2 bath on main. Kitchen boasts huge island that opens to great room with tons of natural light. On the main floor you will find a planning/tech center, spacious mudroom and laundry room. Upstairs you’ll find a huge master suite, 3 more bedrooms, bathroom and loft. Tehaleh features 20+ miles of trails and 11 parks.
http://bit.ly/37SG9u6
Exquisite MainVue resale features 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms + all of the luxury that comes standard with a MainVue home! Extra special because it backs to a gorgeous pond & park with views of the Cascades. Main floor den is set away from main living areas for privacy. Great room boasts an abundance of natural light with ceiling-height walls of sliding glass that opens to the Outdoor Room with fireplace. In the kitchen enjoy Quartz counters, huge pantry & Electrolux appliances. Amazing master suite, A/C & more!
http://bit.ly/36GUE4v 
This fantastic Richmond resale was off the market in 27 days!

Home Maintenance Tips For The New Year

As the holidays end, family and friends return home, and you start the task of putting your own home back together, now is a good time to take some steps to ensure that you and your home are prepared for the new year.  Below, we will help you navigate these preventative home maintenance areas and ensure that your home and family are starting the new year happy, healthy and safe.

Kitchen

Now that all the cookies and goodies have been made it’s time to show your kitchen a little more than the usual wipe-down. Before you declare the kitchen off limits until spring and settle on the couch with your favorite cocktail, take care of these few items.

-Range Hood

Now is a good time to clean underneath your range hood, including the filter.  Over time grease and other food particles get trapped in the filter making for a yucky mess and keeping your vent from allowing all the odors and steam to escape.  This filter can be cleaned in your dishwasher on the hottest setting (usually the pots and pans setting). If the filter is too clogged, you can purchase a new one on Amazon or at your local hardware store.

-Refrigerator

Refrigerators have a bad habit of collecting spills and odors.  Take the opportunity to clean out your fridge and disinfect the bins.  Wipe down the gaskets on the door(s). Change out the water and air filter if yours is equipped with those to keep your water and ice fresh and odors at bay. On the back of the refrigerator are coils that help to regulate the temperature.  These are dust magnets, especially if you have pets.  Unplug your fridge and use the hose extender on your vacuum to evict those dust bunnies and help your fridge be at its best.

Now that you have a clean refrigerator, take the opportunity to stock with fresh fruits and vegetables to help kick-start healthy habits.

Dishwasher-

Many people tend to overlook their dishwasher until they start to have a smell or the dishes don’t get washed properly. To avoid a dishwasher disaster, make sure to remove the filter and manually wash it.  Look for signs of tears and replace.  Inspect all hoses if you have access to them.  Inspect the arms and use a paper clip or sewing needle to loosen any debris from the water holes.  Spray a degreaser and wipe down the gasket along the door.  Finally, run an empty load with vinegar and baking soda to destroy odors. 

-Fire extinguisher

Confirm that you have a kitchen fire extinguisher and that it is still charged. The pressure gauge should have a green area.  If the needle is in this area it is good to go.  If it is in the red, toss it or have it recharged. If you don’t have one, you can buy them at Costco or on Amazon. 

Bathrooms

-Vent fans

To keep mold and mildew at bay, ensure that dust buildup is removed.  These fans help draw moisture out and keep air circulating.  Remove dust with an old toothbrush or remove the cover and wash in soapy water.

-Medical Supplies

Now is a good time to restock those first aid kits and medicine cabinets.  Throw out any expired medications and ointments and ensure you have necessities such as Benadryl, Tylenol and Motrin, band-aids, ice packs, gauze etc.

-Check Caulk

Look at areas around tubs, showers and toilets that have caulking.  Replace any cracked or missing areas.          

Bedrooms and Living Areas

 –Purge those closets

We all have those pieces of clothing that we hang on to because “I may wear it one day.”  If you haven’t worn it in the last year, toss it.  Check clothes for holes, rips, missing buttons etc.  Try to organize your closet in a system that works for you.  Some people prefer by color.  Some prefer by type of clothing. You may even put together an amazing new outfit you didn’t know you had!! For kids, toss out any toys/sports equipment that are broken, missing parts, or that they just don’t need/ touch anymore. 

Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms

These are things we don’t usually pay attention to… until we really need them.  Take the time to ensure batteries are replaced and alarms are working. 

Make an inventory/update files

Now is a good time to review your homeowner’s insurance policy and ensure that your coverage is up to date.  Make an inventory of items in your home, especially big-ticket items, or new items that you acquired over the holidays.  Its also a good idea to get all the owners manuals and warranty papers for items in your home and store in a safe place like a safe or home office.

-Inspect gas fireplace

Gas fireplaces are soaring in popularity.  Whether fueled by propane or natural gas, your fireplace should be inspected yearly. It is best to call a certified chimney sweep contractor to make sure that the vents are not clogged and allowing dangerous fumes to enter your home or that valves and connections aren’t leaking which can lead to explosions.

Outside

As you’re outside taking the Christmas lights down, or deflating that blow up Santa Claus, pay attention to the outside of your home and get the jump on any possible problem areas.

-Spigots and hoses

Disconnect hoses from spigots, drain water completely and put a cover on your spigot.

-Gutters

If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to clean the leaves and other debris from your gutters.  This will help protect from your roof and ensure water is draining properly.  Inspect your roof and ensure there are no holes or missing shingles.

Sidewalks and patios

Sweep off these areas of leaves and debris.  Head to your local hardware store and stock up on snow shovels and ice melt to head off any slips and slides during winter weather.

-Lighting/security

Replace any broken light fixtures/burnt out bulbs.  Ensure that security cameras are placed in areas that focus on entry and exit points to your home and windows are not easily opened from the outside.

Home maintenance can seem daunting at times but remember, it doesn’t have to all be done in a day. These are just a few simple, quick things you can do that will make a big difference.

Weekly Listing Round Up

Okay guys, lets get real for a minute.  We have lots of clients who are looking and not finding because inventory is very low right now.  If you have been on the fence about selling, or just want more information to see where your home value stands, don’t wait!! Let the Liz Keeps It Real Estate Team help you make that thought a priority. If you’re a buyer, let us know what you’re looking for so we can match you with someone who has the perfect home. Check out this awesome home below while you’re at it.  

Exquisite MainVue resale features 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms + all of the luxury that comes standard with a MainVue home! Extra special because it backs to a gorgeous pond and park with views of the Cascades. Main floor den is set away from main living areas for privacy. Great room boasts an abundance of natural light with ceiling-height walls of sliding glass that opens to the Outdoor Room with fireplace. In the kitchen enjoy Quartz counters, huge pantry and Electrolux appliances. Amazing master suite, A/C and more!

http://bit.ly/36GUE4v