How to Build Good Credit from Bad Credit

While there are a lot of people out there who have bad credit simply because they have no credit, there are also a lot of people out there who have bad credit for the reason most think others have bad credit for – for making some un-wise financial decisions.

The range of credit scores goes from 300 all the way up to 850. Contrary to what some may believe, there aren’t very many people out there with a rock bottom credit score of 300. According to nerdwallet.com, principal Scientist at FICO, Tommy Lee says, “FICO scores of 300 are extremely rare; in fact, only 1% of the population has a score less than 470, and 4% have a score less than 500.” And, even those who have a score less than 500 are those individuals with some severe late payments, those who have negative remarks from public records or collections, and those whom are using well over their credit limit (meaning their credit cards are far past what would be considered maxed out). These individuals might have such insurmountable debt that bankruptcy is the quickest way to recovering their credit respectability.

However, let’s assume you aren’t quite there yet and your credit is still salvageable. How can you begin to rebuild that credit? Some of the biggest things that affect your credit score and that you can start improving on today are:

1) Making Payments on Time: You need to start making all your payments on time! Nothing matters more than paying on time, every time, and it should be your first priority. When getting any kind of credit, paying late should never be an option, and if it needs to be, then maybe you should think twice about taking out that credit. It’s not worth the potential credit score and financial havoc it could wreck on you.

2) The Amount of Credit You Use: Always be keeping track of just how much credit you are taking out. This is especially important if you have multiple lines of credit going at one time. Make sure you know the TOTAL amount of credit being built, not just one at a time, and like mentioned above, be paying those payments on time.

3) Stop Your Credit Bleeding: We mentioned not spending too much on credit, but what is “too much”? Well, a good rule of thumb is to not be spending more each month than you can actually afford. This seems like an obvious fix, but many people will splurge on things like a new computer, or a new wardrobe, promising, “I’ll pay it back over time.” However, then their car breaks down, or they have an emergency doctor visit, and so on and so forth. The point is, you never know what life will throw at you, and it’s far wiser to pay off any residual debt you already have and slowly save for those “splurge” things that, when you think about it, really can wait. If you can’t afford to pay for them that month, then you can’t afford them.

4) Make a Budget: Not only will a budget put your monthly finances into perspective for you, but it will also help you stay accountable to yourself and what payments need to be top priority. Then, any extra money you have that isn’t going towards paying off your credit, can go towards a night out with your friends, or perhaps even a savings account (*gasp!).

 

These are just a few tips on how to start turning that credit score around. If you have a horrid credit score, the good news is that you can only go up from there! We hope this article was helpful! If you have any more questions about how to build your credit back up, we’d encourage you to go speak with someone at your bank. We’re sure they’d love to help you on your road back to financially stability.

Homeowners Buying a New Home in the 2020’s

If you are currently a homeowner, there’s a 45% chance that you’re planning to sell your home and move to a new one within this decade according to lendingtree.com.

With a booming market there are plenty of reasons homeowners might be considering making a move in the next 10 years. Moving because you want a newer and nicer home, moving to cash out on the investment that is your home, changing cities or states, moving closer to kids or grand-kids, retiring, opting to go back to renting rather than owning, and so much more!

CLICK HERE to read this great article from lendingtree.com on how and why homeowners are making an address change in the 2020’s.

Valentine’s Day Date Ideas in Prescott

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Every year on February 14th we celebrate this holiday about love. Candy, flowers, chocolates, and other gifts are spent on our significant others as well as dates and nights out on the town. While the exact origins of Valentine’s Day itself can be a bit murky, we think a day to tell those we love how much we care about them isn’t such a bad idea.

That being said, Prescott has a ton of fun things to do to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your loved one! In case you’re in need of some last minute date ideas, we’ve got you covered!

Fun Things to Do in Prescott for Valentine’s Day:

  1. The classic “Dinner and a Movie.” Sometimes this is an oldie, but a goodie, especially for those with kids who don’t often get to go to a movie that isn’t rated PG. There are some good movies out right now too and you can choose from either the Picture Show or Harkins to go to.
  2. The Square: Going to Downtown Prescott affords so many things to do! Great places to eat and go for a drink after, walking around the downtown area and strolling through the antique store, coffee shops, book stores, and so much more!
  3. A Day Date: It’s not too late to start your date now! Go for a hike or a nice drive. Prescott has plenty of trails to choose from!
  4. Mini Road Trip: Prescott is so conveniently close to other towns, it would be easy to take a little road trip. Go to Flagstaff for some snow, Sedona to see the gorgeous red rocks, Jerome for a meal and a little bit of history, or even Phoenix which will have so many places to eat and things to do (not to mention beautifully warm weather).
  5. Games: If you’re looking to have some good old fashion fun, maybe go to Freedom Station by Harkins for some mini golf and arcade games. Or, you could go bowling at Plaza Bowl or Antelope Lanes. Another option is to “hit” up Full Swing batting cages in Prescott Valley.
  6. Go to a Brewery: Prescott has quite a few breweries to choose from if this sounds fun to you! Prescott Brewing Company, Superstition Meadery, Lonesome Valley Brewery, Granite Mountain Brewing, LazyG Brewhouse, Thumb Butte Distillery, and more.

These are just a few options of some things to do in Prescott tonight, or this weekend, to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your better half! Have fun!

Deep Cleaning and De-Cluttering Your Home

Somehow we are already in the middle of February as time in 2020 moves just as fast as every other year.

Soon it will be Spring and that means it’s almost time to do some much needed Spring cleaning. Whether it’s deep cleaning your home, yard work, accumulated clutter around the house, old appliances, or whatever else you can think of, it’s time to take a hard look at your home and see what needs to go. Depending on the extent of cleaning needed, it might be a DIY job, or you might need to call in some professionals.

Here are some things to consider when it comes time to do your Spring cleaning this year:

The different types of trash in your home and getting rid of it

When it comes to your household waste, it falls into three categories, each with its own process of disposal.

  • Household trash is your everyday waste: food, food packaging, cans, cardboard boxes, diapers, etc. Your weekly trash pick-up handles this.
  • Junk includes old furniture not worth selling or donating, old warn out cloths, worn out appliances and household accessories. This includes things such as old mattresses and box springs, televisions, barbecue grills, refrigerators, washers and dryers, old microwaves, and more. When buying a new appliance, always ask if the merchant will haul away the old one. Remodeling construction debris also is common, but your contractor should dispose of it.
  • Hazardous waste includes paint and stains, cleaners, oils and pesticides. Do NOT put it in the trash or pour it down the drain. Refrigerators are both junk and hazardous material, since they contain refrigerant gas and a small amount of oil. Old fluorescent lights have gasses that make them hazardous.

For these things, check your city or county website to see if it offers extra services, such as pick up of large appliances or old furniture, for a small fee. Sometimes municipalities will schedule special days a couple of times a year to pick up large household items. The same applies to household chemicals. Many cities or counties have facilities where residents can drop off old paint, pesticides and other household hazards. Otherwise, you might consider hiring a junk removal service to come and hall things away for you.

Deep cleaning and De-Cluttering

In case you aren’t quite sure what types of deep cleaning things to do for your spring cleaning, here are some ideas:

  1. Cleaning the baseboards
  2. Wiping off the ceiling fan blades
  3. Emptying and cleaning your fridge and cabinets
  4. Cleaning the lint out of your dryer vent
  5. Shampooing your carpets
  6. Trimming trees and bushes
  7. Spraying your home for insects
  8. Shaking out rugs and curtains
  9. Replacing water filters, light bulbs, smoke detector batteries, etc.
  10. Dusting EVERYTHING
  11. Go through every closet, dresser, garage, and storage area to get rid of old cloths and things you don’t use anymore.

*A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn it or used it in over a year, it can probably go.

These are just a few suggestions to go along with your normal cleaning this Spring. Once everything has been cleaned and all the junk taken away, it’s amazing how much more open and fresh your home will feel!

How to Keep Snakes Away from Your Home

Although here in Prescott we’re still having some cooler weather, pretty soon things are going to start heating up! With warmer temperatures comes that beautiful weather we’re all looking forward to, however, it also brings along other things with it.

That’s right, it’s almost snake season again, not to mention bugs too, but for now we’ll focus on our slithering friends.

In Arizona, now is about the time where snakes are going to start coming out of their homes again. It’s not so much about the time of year for them as it is the right temperature, and if you didn’t know, we have plenty of species of snakes to go around. Rattlesnakes, bull snakes, gopher snakes, king snakes, and the list could go on. So, with so many snakes soon to be out and about, how do we keep them away from our homes?

Well, while we’re in real estate and have some knowledge on all things Prescott, it’s probably best to ask the experts on this one. That being said, we turn to Rattlesnake Solutions, whom you can follow on Facebook.  They have all the knowledge on snakes in Arizona.

Here is their latest in-depth article about How to Keep Snakes Away from Your Home.

Are We In a Housing Bubble?

With higher home prices that just keep rising and a competitive real estate market, the phrase “housing bubble” is one that has been getting tossed around a lot as of late. People are wondering and worrying if there will be another housing market crash, afraid to buy in the event that there is or propelled to sell to make the most of their money while they can.

Well, while no one can say for certain because we can’t predict the future, many real estate professionals are leaning on the side of no, we are not headed for another crash.

Check out this article from scottsdalerealtors.org that details why many believe this is not a concern to be had:

Financial blogger Logan Mohtashami is not the first and certainly won’t be the last to write about whether the U.S. is entering another housing bubble.

With more than 30 years of experience in the home lending business, he recently remarked “it is bullish for housing that year-over-year real home prices went negative last year” as shown on the three Case-Shiller indexes below.

“Despite what some want you to believe, this housing cycle is not in a bubble. Look at the difference in the metrics for the real bubble years of 2002-2005 compared to the current cycle years 2012-2020.” – Logan Mohtashami | HousingWire

Did the Valley mirror this cycle? See the Cromford Market Index graph shared by senior analyst Tina Tamboer at the Scottsdale REALTORS® Influencer Marketing panel.

“What pushed demand so high?,” Tamboer asked the sellout crowd. “Dumb loans and false demand — somebody buying the house who’s not going to live in it and not going to rent it. Now, we’re back to normal demand, but we have no houses for them to buy.”

Despite the market rollercoaster, Tamboer said homeowners who kept their homes through the Bubble and the Crash saw a 20-year average Annual Appreciation Rate of 4.5%. Between 2009 and 2019, that rate more than doubled to 9.3% as shown below.

Listing Feature – 9560 N. Rincon Ridge Trail

Check out our gorgeous new listing in the desirable Legend Hills!

This home has breathtaking views of both the city lights and distant mountains, including Mingus Mountain as a backdrop.

Coming with its own gated entry and perimeter fencing, this single level home sits on 2.07 acres well-suited for dogs, horses, and kids (two hoofed animals per acre are allowed per the HOA – no pigs but goats are okay).

This warm and inviting home has 4 bedrooms, an office/den, and a great room with an open floor plan. The great room features a gorgeous floor-to-ceiling stacked-rock wood-burning fireplace and wood-look tile flooring runs throughout all living areas.

The master bedroom is roomy and inviting with its own entrance onto the back porch, a spacious walk-in closet, dual vanity sinks, a large walk-in shower, and a luxurious bathtub.

Other features include a walk-in pantry, 4-burner stove plus griddle, granite counter tops, a split bedroom floor plan, 8 foot doors, 9 foot ceilings, a separate laundry room with ample storage and utility sink, covered decks in the front and back of the house, a 3-car garage with a paver driveway, and a dog run.

There are also great wells in this area – pumping 30+ gpm at the time of drilling.

Interested in this amazing listing? Give us a call at 928-771-1111, we’d love to tell you more about it!

When to Refinance Your Home

Refinancing your home.

In Arizona, with a booming market and homes appraising for great values, this is probably a topic that has come up among many homeowners whom perhaps want to make the most out of the investment that is their house, but aren’t quite ready to move yet.

In fact, refinancing is probably something that most homeowners consider at least once throughout the lifespan of their home loan.

Refinancing your mortgage can have many benefits, one being that it may allow you to pay off your previous loan by applying for a new one that has better financial advantages.

While there are many good reasons to refinance, here are five common ones:

  1. Scoring a lower interest rate. The number one reason homeowners decide to refinance is to secure a lower interest rate on their mortgage. Not only does this save you money in the long run and decrease your monthly payment, but you can start building equity in your home sooner.
  2. Using an improved credit score. Even if interest rates have not dropped in the market, if you’ve improved your credit score over the last few years, you may be able to reduce your mortgage rate.
  3. Shortening the loan’s term. If interest rates are decreasing, there is a chance you may be able to get a shorter loan term with little to no change in your monthly payment, allowing you to pay off your loan sooner.
  4. Switching from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate. If you chose an adjustable-rate mortgage with great introductory rates when you initially financed your home, that rate may increase significantly over the years. By switching to a fixed rate while interest rates are low, you can protect yourself from future increases.
  5. Cashing out home equity. If there is a big purchase or payment on the horizon, such as funding a wedding or going back to school, your best option may be to use the equity you’ve built in your home to borrow money at a lower cost.

If you think refinancing your home might be something you’re interested in, give us a call at 928-771-1111. We’d love to connect you with one of our trusted lenders and see how they can help you achieve this goal!

 

Giving Your Deck a Facelift

As we come to the end of January, the shorter winter days are behind us. Gradually getting more sun with each passing day, Spring will be here before we know it – hallelujah! With Spring comes birds chirping, blooming flowers and green trees, and warmer weather that invites you to come and enjoy the outdoors with those you love.

After a snowy, grim winter though, thinking about having others over to your home and possibly starting up that grill that’s been sitting since summer makes you take a harder look at that outdoor hosting space. How is it looking? Specifically, how is your deck doing? Hanging out with your family or hosting friends on your old, dingy deck is not very appealing.

Lucky for you, refreshing it doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Try your hand at the makeover ideas below:

Depending on the shape it’s in, sometimes all your deck needs is a little love. If it’s still fairly new, your deck might just need a deep cleaning and a new coat of sealant. There is a multitude of deck finishing and cleaning solutions on the market to choose from to achieve this. However, if it’s more worn down, the rejuvenation process may be a bit longer, including searching for larger repairs, tightening any hardware, giving it a good cleaning, applying a stain, sealant, and paint, and more.

Add lighting. Ambient lighting can completely transform your outside space into a relaxing, cozy oasis. Consider adding solar lights that don’t require a plugin or battery replacement. The lights turn on automatically when the sun sets, making your deck come alive. You can also consider paper lanterns, rope lights, mason jar lamps, or small twinkle lights, depending on the style and mood you’d like to set.

Build a privacy screen. Privacy screens come in all styles, shapes, and sizes. Consider purchasing and installing bamboo fencing or lattice panels for a quick and easy solution. Or, if you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can build a wooden frame and grow climbing plants or vines or stretch outdoor fabric in between. Whichever route you end up choosing, make sure you get the most out of your efforts by evaluating all lines sight before building.

Don’t exactly have the money to do some much needed repairs to your deck and home? Here are some options to consider:

Home Equity. Getting a home equity line of credit allows you to borrow money against the value of your home. You receive usually up to 80 percent of your home’s value, minus the amount of your loan.

Retirement Funds. Homeowners can consider pulling money from a 401K or IRA account, even though they aren’t specifically meant to cover a home renovation. This option might incur additional penalties or tax payments, but may be worth it when making improvements that will benefit them financially in the long run.