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Posted by Bo Lee on 10/18/2020

Photo by Precondo via Pixabay

Some mortgage companies offer loans with points. In a nutshell, paying points means paying down the interest rate. One point is equal to 1 percent of the mortgage amount. On a $200,000 mortgage, one point is $2,000. The percentage the interest rate lowers depends on the mortgage company and the market. For example, one point might be equal to a quarter of a percent interest. A loan with 4 percent interest and two points might go down to 3.5 percent interest.

Pros and Cons of Points

If you do pay points, you could get a tax break. Since tax laws are constantly changing, make sure you can claim points if part of your decision is based on the tax break. Other considerations include:

  • If your mortgage is an adjustable rate (ARM), some mortgage servicers only give you the discounted rate until the mortgage rate adjusts. Some may hold the discount rate over. For example, if you have an ARM that starts at 4 percent and you buy two points for a discount of ½ percent, you may lose that discount when the loan adjusts, especially if it changes to a higher interest rate. However, if the bank carries the discount over, the new rate might increase to 6 percent, but your one-half point discount would mean that your new rate would be 5.5 percent.

  • You need additional cash to buy points. If you plan on putting 20 percent down, but you want to purchase points and do not have more cash, you could be less than 20 percent down. However, compare the scenarios to determine which method is better in the long run. If you put less than 20 percent down, the mortgage servicer may charge you PMI, which would negate any savings.

  • You may save more by putting more down. If you put $40,000 down on a $200,000 mortgage, you are going to pay interest on $160,000. If you put less money down and buy points instead, your interest rate will drop, but you may end up paying more for the loan in the long run. Enter the numbers into a mortgage calculator to determine which way you save more.

Scenario

If your mortgage is $200,000 and you put $40,000 down, thus cutting the amount you finance to $160,000, and do not buy points, the total interest you will pay over the length of the loan will be about $115,000.

Using the same scenario, you instead put $36,000 down and buy two points. This drops your interest rate to 3.5 percent from 4 percent. You will save about $16,700 over the life of the mortgage. And, you would have to stay in your house without refinancing for 49 months to break even on your savings. In this case, your $4,000 ends up saving you a net of $13,500 on interest (savings minus the $4,000 it cost you to save).

Before you agree to points or a larger down payment, discuss the scenarios with your accountant or tax attorney to determine which method is best for your situation. If you have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), buying points could end up costing you.




Tags: Mortgage   PMI   Points   Downpayment  
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Posted by Bo Lee on 4/5/2020

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

If you’re looking to add curb appeal or want to create a pleasant outdoor environment to enjoy your leisure time, investing in a good DIY project can help you to spruce up your outdoor space.

1. Install a Window Ledge

A window ledge is a versatile project because it can serve a variety of purposes. You can create an outdoor bar (or breakfast counter) by placing stools underneath it. Or, you can use it to hold flowers, herbs or decorative items.

  • Purchase sturdy lumber to suit your purpose (larger for counter space, smaller if using as a decorative shelf), along with wood brackets.
  • Paint the wood with quality paint to withstand against outdoor elements.
  • Firmly secure the brackets to your outdoor wall (remember to leave enough space under your windowsill to fit the shelf).
  • Place your shelf on the brackets and screw it on.

The beauty of this DIY project is you can customize it however you want. It can be installed for practical purposes or to simply add some cosmetic flair to your home’s exterior.

2. Build a Ladder Garden

If you want to start a garden but unsure you’re ready to tackle a full-fledged one or are short on space, you can begin your green adventure by building a ladder garden. To start, all you need is an old wooden ladder, wood and paint.

  • Measure, cut and position your boards to create battens and shelves. (Good Housekeeping has some excellent tips of the what and the how to do this.)
  • Secure slatted shelves to every other rung of the ladder (to leave room for your plants to grow).
  • Trim shelves to remove excess wood.
  • Paint the ladder and shelves with exterior wood paint.

Once you’re done, simply add your planters. Think of items you have that can be upcycled to serve as planters to really create a distinctive look—galvanized metal tubs, terracotta pots, old tin cans and vintage wood crates are all great options.

3. Create Hanging Planters

Outdoor areas, such as porches and decks, often could benefit from some greenery or a splash of color. A great DIY project is to create a hanging planter. All you’ll need is a metal colander, twine, glue and paint (optional).

  • Choose a rust-resistant paint for your colander and let dry (optional step).
  • Tightly wrap each colander handle with a half-yard of twine each. Be sure to leave enough twine on both ends of the handles to use for hanging your planter. Secure each piece of twine by knotting and gluing.
  • Repeat on opposite side of the colander.
  • Bring all four pieces of twine together and tie a knot at the top to use for hanging.
  • Place coffee filters at the bottom of the colander before filling with soil.

What’s great about this easy project is you can use old colanders, new colanders or vintage ones found at thrift stores. It’s a unique and attractive way to add some “wow” factor to your outdoor space.

Many people don’t want or can’t afford to give their yard a complete landscape overhaul. However, by adding a few nice DIY touches, you can easily increase the appeal of your outdoor space.




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Posted by Bo Lee on 4/15/2018

Whether you have a free-standing pantry, or a dedicated room for storing your kitchen essentials, there’s certain things that you should do to make sure your pantry is organized and that you have easy access to all of your items. Here’s some tips for good organization in your kitchen pantry: Be Careful With Stacking Canned Goods If you stack large items with other smaller items, such as different sized canned goods, it can pose a problem. An alternative to this storage dilemma is that of using risers. If you don’t want to put risers in because you feel that they’ll take up too much space, remember that these storage tools are giving you space in a different sense. However you choose to stack your canned goods, remember that the shortest item should be in the front. Organizing your canned goods by height can help to save you time and space. Store Open Items In Airtight Containers Items that have been opened should be stored in an airtight container with a lid. This can save you money by keeping items fresh. Also, you and your family will know what food items have been opened and need to be finished up before new items are ripped open. Keep cereals, crackers, cookies and even pet food fresh with the use of this simple tactic. Stacking Bins Save Space If you’re like most of America, your town probably recycles. Consider getting stacking bins for the pantry or kitchen area to place recyclables in. Make sure these bins aren’t too large. This way, you’ll be on top of taking the recycling outside to where it needs to be. This organizing tip helps to keep your kitchen clean. Also, be sure that these containers are easy to open for your convenience. Categorize Your Snack Foods Your kitchen pantry area will stay much more organized if you keep things in categories. Cookies and other sweet snacks should stay on one shelf in one area. Snacks for the kids should be easy to grab for little hands (that is of course if the kids have free reign over the kitchen!) Savory and salty snacks are a different category that will be on a completely different shelf and area. Baskets can be a great accessory for single-serve items. Boxes that snack items come in often take up a lot of space that could be better used. Bags of chips and other items are the same way. These bagged items can be transferred to sealable containers. Baskets are also easy to carry around if you’re offering a choice of snacks. Be sure you have clips to close bags and packages to keep snack items fresh. How Deep Is Your Shelf? Be mindful when it comes to shelving items like bottles that are all the same size. This can make things hard to find. These types of items are often best stored on a lazy Susan, or other type of turn-style storage that easily spins and allows you to see what’s available for your cooking use. This way, you’ll never have to move a bunch of things to find what you’re looking for! These kitchen pantry storage tips will help you to stay organized and save time both cooking and cleaning.




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Posted by Bo Lee on 3/1/2018

TRULY a Lovely Starter Home! * Well Maintained * Move-In Ready * A Unique Style home * Enter into a comfortable open Living Room with a Wood Burning Fireplace and Cathedral Ceiling * A BEAUTIFULLY RENOVATED KITCHEN (2016) with White Cabinetry, Granite Counters, S/S Appliances, a Pantry Closet and Spacious Dining Area * Hardwood Floors on the 2nd level * Just a few steps up to the 2nd floor to Three Great Bedrooms with Closets w/Organizers * UPDATED BATHROOM * Just a few steps down into the Lower Level is the Light & Bright Family Room * All Windows have been Replaced * ENERGY EFFICIENT HOME with Blown-in Insulation * GAS FURNACE 2011 * Ceiling Fans in the LR and All the Bedrooms * ROOF 2015 * A Good Size Private Backyard with a nice Deck and plenty of room for outdoor fun! * GREAT LOCATION - close to Shopping, Rt. 140 and Rt. 495 * YOU'LL LOVE THIS ONE!

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Posted by Bo Lee on 11/10/2017

You'll be PROUD to come HOME to this GORGEOUS PICTURESQUE NEIGHBORHOOD OF WILDLIFE ESTATES with Wide Streets, Sidewalks, Mature Plantings & Trees! This Beautiful Colonial sits on a Professionally Landscaped Corner Lot. Lovely Classic Brick Paved Walkway leads you to the Front Porch of this 4 BEDROOM 3.5 BATH home that has been METICULOUSLY maintained. A delightful KITCHEN THAT'S BEEN RENOVATED over the years includes Stainless Steel Appliances: a Sub-Zero Refrigerator, Thermador Range, built in Microwave & Wall Oven, Dishwasher & Trash Compactor. The Main Level also includes a Living Rm that opens to the Dining Rm, a Fireplaced Family Rm, Powder Rm, Mudroom area & convenience to a 2-car Garage. The 2nd level encompasses a large Master Bedrm w/ a Walk-In Closet (w/built in organizers) & a Beautifully RENOVATED MASTER BATHRM, 3 Good Size Bedrms, another Nicely RENOVATED HALL BATHRM & steps to the LAUNDRY closet! Grand Space in the FINISHED BASEMENT with a KITCHENETTE & FULL BATH! WOW!!!

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