Coffee and Croissants

Coffee and Croissants

The sharp smell of coffee in the morning is a must for most of us to get ourselves started; throw in a pastry—croissant—and we have enough to seize the day. I know this is a common ritual because I witness these transactions in hundreds of bank statements every year. But these transactions only bring us down. Any specialist will tell you that this diet leaves you with a pile of sugar and a desire for more.

I am no nutritionist and I am not here to talk about your morning eating habits but rather to talk about the habits of your daily spending and how that matches up with the important parts of your overall financial position. In the past, Continue reading

Hurricane Irma Advice

As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida families are strapping in for the nightmare roller coaster ride of their lives. With the Category 5 hurricane expected through the Florida Keys and a path which looks as though it will rake the entire west coast, things are looking ominous.

Before Hurricane Irma

We all have about 24 hours left to finalize preparations and make our properties as safe and secure as possible. Now is the time to clear up your yards and collect anything which could become a missile when this hits.

Roofing, building, construction materials and excess pieces of wood and nails used during preparations need to be brought inside and secured in a room away from your family.

Terrace furniture should be put in your pool or brought inside the property.

If you use gas bottles, make sure that they are turned off, disconnected and secured in a room away from the family.

Find time to place copies of all personal and financial paperwork online. Should your property be damaged or be flooded, you will still be able to access important information. This includes passports, driving licenses, ID’s, credit card and banking information.

If you can get through try and increase your credit limit as things could be a mess for several weeks. Withdraw sufficient cash to last you a week or so.

For many the main form of communication during and after Hurricane Irma will be cell phone and internet. Ensure that your devices are fully charged and the same with extra batteries if you have them.

We expect many telephone landlines to be down and recommend downloading, Skype, WhattsApp and or Zello all of which are free to download. If there is a decent signal, at least you will be able to stay in contact.

Once you have secured your family and your own property, help your neighbors. Many older residents will struggle with both the preparation and aftermath of the hurricane.

 

During Hurricane Irma

While the hurricane passes, find a secure place – a bathroom is ideal – and remain indoors. Wherever you choose to hole up ensure that you can get out. Rising waters could trap you if not prepared. Move all furniture and heavy items away from the room where you intend to stay and preferably place them in another room behind a closed door.

If the eye is due to pass directly overhead head remember that their will be a period of time where it will appear as though the hurricane has passed. This will be the eye of the storm and at this point you are only halfway through.

Take a few minutes to inspect your property and make secure anything which could become airborne. Then get back inside again and buckle up.

Depending on where Hurricane Irma tracks, you could be suffering hurricane force winds for up to 12 hours. During this time there will be a lot of noise, the temperature will probably fluctuate rapidly and the air pressure drop could be felt in your chest. There is also the risk of tornadoes.

Keep any required medication with you and administer as necessary.

Although you will not feel like it remember to drink plenty of water in order to remain hydrated and eat on a regular basis. Fruit and nuts will provide energy and nutrients. Stay away from alcohol. Children will need to be kept occupied. Coloring, drawing and board games will help distract them.

 

After Hurricane Irma

If you plan on using a generator once the storm has passed, ensure that there is plenty of ventilation as dangerous and toxic fumes will creep up on you before you know it. Ideally your generator should be placed outside of the home.

Check on your family and deal with minor injuries yourself. Unless a situation is life threatening do not call emergency services.

Make a tour of your property and immediately remove or secure any items which could cause injury through collapse. Isolate electricity if there is any sign of damage to wiring in the property, outside of the property or in the street. Do not attempt to remove downed cables unless you are a professional who knows what you are doing.

Check with your neighbors, especially people who live alone or the elderly.

Make a tour of their property and immediately remove or secure any items which could cause injury through collapse.

Isolate electricity if there is any sign of damage to wiring in the property, outside of the property or in the street.

Text message family members to let them know you are OK. Try not to use phone lines as they will be either down or very busy.

 

Flooding

Tidal surge will add to the rainfall and this could cause extensive flooding in your area. Secure your belongings so they do not cause damage to property or impede emergency services.

Whenever possible try to remain dry. Should flood water get into the sewerage systems,bacteria can cause serious issues. If you need to go outside into flood water, rinse off and change your clothes once back inside.

 

Pets

Keep all pets either in a cage or on a leash before, during and after the storm. They will not understand what is occurring and their natural instinct could be to run. Keep them calm, watered and fed.

 

Insurance Claims

Make sure that you have video and or photographs of your entire property and belongings before Hurricane Irma hits. Being able to show documented proof of before and after will assist insurance companies and assessors. If you have receipts of items from clothing to household goods through to big ticket purchases, put them online so you have proof.

 

Looting

Several of the areas already hit by Hurricane Irma are now suffering from looters. Try to put some form of neighborhood watch in place with your neighbors to avoid this.

 

That’s all I can think of for now. Stay safe!

Marty

 

 

Things Not To Miss

Things Not To Miss

I am sure you all can relate to having planned a business trip, vacation or simply just trying to head off to school or work only to find you missed or left something behind.  No matter how minor an item may have seemed at the time, later on it turned out to be a devastating thing to have forgotten or missed when getting ready.

I have seen very well-established business people, attorneys, doctors, engineers and others, overthink or feel something so little is so insignificant that it doesn’t apply to them. I have seen the most disciplined and the not so disciplined miss or forget the do’s and don’ts when going through the mortgage loan process.

All the same rules apply to everyone, no matter what your background or financial position is. Everyone is treated fairly and equally, whether you’re a financially strong or a millennium thinking you’re just entitled to it.

Here are some of the basics:

Do be accountable and responsive to your lenders request

Do pay the IRS and your student loans

Do pay your bills on time

 

Do not put cash in to your accounts, unless you are a very well documented cash business

Do not open or close any credit lines

Do not bounce checks

 

Do not spend money, rather save money

Do not go out and spend $400 a month on fast food, make your own coffee and bag a lunch

Do not move money throughout all your accounts without first asking

Do not hide that you own other properties

Do not lie on your application

Do not withhold information about alimony or child support

Do not lie about being married or not, no you cannot buy a house for your girlfriend without your wife knowing

Do not buy your new furniture before you buy the house

Do not buy a new car, put band aids on the old one instead

Do not schedule days off from work without a clear to close on your mortgage loan

Do not call your landlord bad names, I need them to fill out your verification of rent

Do not be afraid to ask questions.

 

Asking questions could save you thousands of dollars. Remember attaining home ownership is something you work for and earn, it’s not an entitlement.

Think about and plan everything you do and we will see you at a happy closing table

 

Prepared VS the Not

Every week we hear the same thing, “I want to get prequalified but I do not want you to pull my credit because it will lower my credit score.” This is most often followed by “What are your rates?”
Let’s first of all, get the rate question out of the way. Continue reading

Being a Responsive Consumer

Being a Responsive Consumer

Our office is structured so that all calls or emails get returned by the end of the business day. The office is set up with coverage from 8:30am until 7pm and we also have staff on call after hours and on the weekends. We know how important it is for the consumer as well as the Realtors to have access to us. We understand the importance of the time frames in your purchase and sales agreements. We only wish you did too.

In order for you as a buyer and your Realtor to be competitive in the market it’s important to Continue reading

Know who you are dealing with

Know Who You Are Dealing With

We all get excited when trying to buy a property, especially first time how buyers who have been renting for years. Trying to take the emotions out of a purchase can be really tough for the novice buyer. You may even find yourself under pressure from a good closing Realtor trying to push you over your purchasing limits.

I have even seen seasoned investors get caught up in making a bad purchase. Continue reading

Setting Expectations

Setting Expectations

It’s not unreasonable for any one of us to have certain expectations of licensed professionals. Most often our expectations are based on something we have heard from someone or an advertisement we have seen but did not contain all the facts. We come to expect a certain standard when requesting a specific service, but more often than not, these expectations are not met. Continue reading

Protect Your Credit

Protect Your Credit

Keeping an eye on your credit isn’t as easy as it seems. Today many companies, banks, doctors, hospitals, utility companies, insurance companies seem to do just as they please with your private information. When in fact they violate federal laws on a daily basis without regard to who you are or what truthfully happened.

Most everything today is run by computers – there is no more ‘one on one’ with real people. There is no way a computer can Continue reading