Who doesn’t love getting a tax refund?
It’s exciting to know that your bank balance will get a boost. But remember, a refund isn’t a bonus -- it’s your hard-earned money, which is why you should make the most of it.
If you’re thinking of buying a new home this year -- whether it's your first home or the one you plan to retire in -- financial planning is critical.
Expecting a refund? Make a bigger impact on your home purchase with these tips:
1. Lower Your Mortgage Rate: Did you know you can pay “points” up front to lower the interest rate of your mortgage? If you plan to stay in your home for a long time, this could result in significant savings over the life of your loan.
2. Pay Closing Costs: Closing costs average about 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price. Many buyers roll it into their mortgage and pay it off over the life of the loan. But you could use your refund to pay it up front and avoid paying interest.
3. Save for a Down Payment: In some cases, your refund could cover your entire down payment. Some loans only require 3 percent down, so this is more realistic than you might think.
4. Boost Your Credit Score: Paying down your debts can have a significant impact on your credit score and the mortgage rate you’ll qualify for.
5. Renovate or Update Appliances:Many buyers are tempted to open a line of credit to pay for these purchases, but that could negatively impact your mortgage loan. Using your refund is the smarter move.
Remember, a tax refund is only one factor to consider in your homebuying budget. Get in touch today for a referral to a financial planner or mortgage lender if you need help preparing your budget. Let’s work together to plan your path to homeownership.
Smarter Technology for a Smarter Home
Smart tech has come a long way for homeowners. With the right tools, you no longer have to get up to turn on lights or change the thermostat. Have a habit of forgetting to lock the front door or turn on your porch light at night? Smart home tech can help with that, too.
Are you thinking of installing a few smart devices in your home? Here are some of the most popular and practical options to consider:
This includes motion-activated doorbell cameras, door locks with timers and garage doors controlled by smartphone apps. These technologies can offer. Read More>
The month of January is a time when people reflect about the past year and what they hope to accomplish in the coming year. With all the bad news these days, I thought it might be nice to share the 99 best things that happened in 2018. There are some great ones! Take a look at
Well it is that time of year again when people make resolutions to eat more healthily and exercise regularly. I am happy to report that as a Greek American I have grown up eating the Mediterranean diet and loveit! If you’re a fan of the Mediterranean diet, get ready to do a victory dance. For the first time, the Mediterranean diet has won the gold as 2019’s best overall diet in rankings announced Wednesday by US News and World Report. Read more here. https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/02/health/mediterranean-best-diet-2019/index.html
The holidays are a fun and joyous time but also a very busy one, and holiday stress and anxiety in children can and does happen. During the holidays, there are lots of fun activities and events going on, both at home and at school. And while that can be a good thing, the reality is that all that hustle and bustle means schedules are often out of whack, bedtimes get pushed back, and routines are disrupted. As a result, it’s inevitable that kids may feel some degree of holiday stress.
I read this great article and it give you specific ideas how to help your children enjoy the holidays by keeping to a schedule, feed them regularly, don't overstimulate and don't over do the activities.
This is a good read: https://www.verywellfamily.com/holiday-stress-and-anxiety-in-children-620516
As we head into the holiday season, I want to express gratitude for my life, family, friends, colleagues and neighbors. Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful. readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. As I was walking out of the grocery store today, a man was asking for donations to feed families on Thanksgiving. A woman, whom I did not know, and I both put money in is box.
I have family and friends affected by the horrible fires in Northern and Southern California. The last fire we had near Napa and San Rafael sent many homeless people looking for housing in the Bay Area. I know I tried to help those people as much as I could. Now, I decided to help the firefighters by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief. I hope you will too.
My husband just rode in the Cycle of Hope benefiting Habit for Humanity. Oakland has spent a lot of money putting bike paths everywhere. It is becoming a city where bicycling is fully integrated into daily life. More and more people are biking as a means of transportation and recreation.
You can get a free map from the City of Oakland outlining seven types of bike-ways, each with specific characteristics. For instance, you can locate bike paths that provide a paved right-of-way that is completely separated from the street. They are typically shared with pedestrians and often called mixed-use paths. Don’t like that, then try bike boulevards that are routes on quiet residential streets.
If you want to know all that Oakland has to offer bicyclists go on www.oaklandbikes.info for extensive information. Remember know the rules of the road. Take a bike safety class. Wear a helmet. Be visible at night. Give respect, get respect and have fun!
Piedmont schools have ranked high in mathematics for many years. My 3 adult children, now in their twenties) were in the advanced math class throughout their education in Piedmont. Two of my children were engineer majors at Stanford and the other one graduated Magna Cum Laude in economics at Santa Clara. But Piedmont Schools also excel in many other arenas. All three of my children sang with the A Capella Choir at Carnegie Hall and were college athletes. What makes the schools so great, is the breadth of classes, activities, sports, and community service. For a small town, we do a great job of supporting our schools. Just wait until you see the new auditorium we plan to build for the Arts!!
2017-18 CAASPP RESULTS: Unified (K-12) School Districts- For Mathematics: Piedmont Unified ranks #2 in the state of California (and #1 in Northern California) in the percentage of students who either met or exceeded the standards in Mathematics.
-Piedmont Post Wednesday, October 31, 2018.
Won’t you adopt a pet?
This weekend is National Pet Adoption Week. Taking place on Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14, animal shelters and pet supply stores will be opening their doors for the public to come and adopt these furry friends.
I have fostered 3 puppies and adopted 5 dogs, and these adoption events are the perfect opportunity to add a little more love to your home with a new family member. I don’t just understand real estate, I understand what a home is all about. Won’t you adopt a pet?