The Art of Feng Shui

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The practice of Feng Shui has been around for thousands of years and has grown more popular in the United States since the 1990s. Feng Shui is not a religion, but the practice of arranging your environment in a way that makes you feel good. Think of the last time you were in an area that just didn’t “feel” right.

There are many tips for feng shui, but the best place to start is with a bagua which is a tool for mapping out the energies in your home. Feng Shui is a great to use when working to unclutter your life through acknowledging the things that no longer serve you so you can let them go. Consider what you should keep and what you should throw out by asking yourself questions such as, Is this something I love?

Feel free to share your thoughts and how you have used feng shui to organize your life on Facebook. We always enjoy hearing from you.

The Chef in You

We all have things we are good at and others we are not so good at. One thing that I am not good at: I am not a cook. I mean, sure I can create something as I go along, but I am not a fan of following recipes. Some of my rebellion stems from my father who cannot cook anything without adlibbing. But the thing is, he is a great cook unlike me.

Image by Zanthia

So, how do you become a better cook? Well first of all, cook more often. The more you cook, the more you improve. Make dishes you like! I mean if you are going to put the effort into making the meal, you should at least enjoy it. Become an adventurous eater, incorporate your some of the stuff you discover into some of your dishes. For the full list of tips to become a better chef, read Adam Roberts Blog, 10 Quick Ways to Become a Better Cook.

For great recipes and video tutorials, check out the amazing website All Recipes and allow your inner chef to come out.

Are you a good cook? Share some of your tips and favorite recipes with us.

Navigating the Home Buying Process

With the market slowly on the rise, if you are considering buying a home, now is the time. The benefits are overwhelming when owning your own home too. Not only is there a sense of pride in owning your home, but it is a greplaceit (1)at investment, has tax advantages (in most cases), and allows you to build equity.

As you begin the process of home buying it is always good to understand what steps need to be taken to own your home. Here are some things to do before and while you are moving forward:

  • Hire a real estate agent. Hire a qualified agent to help you find your dream home and make the whole buying process easier. Real estate agents are here to help you, answer your questions, and make sure nothing is overlooked.
    • Shop for mortgage rates and terms. Even a half of a percent difference could mean huge savings for you in the long run. Speak with a mortgage lender to better understand the rates and what you qualify for.
    • Prequalify for a loan. If you go in to the home buying process knowing how much you can afford can make all the difference and let sellers know you are serious about moving forward in the home buying process.
    • Visit properties. Take time to shop around, see what you like and don’t like. Your real estate agent can be a huge help here by finding properties that will meet your needs and stay within your budget.
    • Research. Take the time to tour houses and talk with your agent about what features can help or hurt the resale value of your home. Take note of what you liked and didn’t like so you have a more concrete picture of what you want/need in a home.
    • Make an offer. Once you have narrowed in on your dream home, you will want to make an offer. Utilize your agent to help you negotiate and handle the financial and contractual side of the dealings.
    • Arrange a home inspection. After the offer has been accepted, you will want to set up a home inspection. Be sure to hire someone who is certified to check the home for leaks, cracked walls, or foundation problems. Note, you can negotiate repairs as part of the purchase.
    • Close. This is where you sign the final paperwork and receive the keys to your new home.
  • Prepare for your life in your new home. Now you can relax and get comfortable in your new home. Unpack and make the home your own.

What are some questions you have to home buying? We are here to help and will answer any of your questions.

 

The Perks of Owning Your Home Compared to Renting

Home worthBuying a home is a big decision, but with the housing market on the rise it is more cost effective for you to buy now. If you are on the fence about renting vs. owning, here are some things to consider. First of all, when you own your own home, you have the freedom to decorate, remodel or alter the landscaping however you choose. You gain a sense of belonging in the community and gain more self confidence in reaching your goals. Then there is of course the financial benefits of owning your own home.

When it comes to the financial benefits of buying a home, here is one way to see why now is the best time to buy. Let’s say your dream costs $250,000 today, at 4.41% interest, your monthly principle and interest mortgage payment would be $1,253.38. Then let’s say you decide to wait to own for another year, with the rates and prices increasing, the same home costs $270,000, at a 5.7% monthly interest. That makes your monthly payment at   $1,567.08; a $313.70 difference in monthly payments. Now looking at it over the long term (30 years) you would have saved $112,932 over that time by buying now.

Still on the fence about buying? For many, the idea of taking on a mortgage can be intimidating. However, unless you are living with your parents, you are paying a mortgage ~ either yours or your landlords. When you look at it that way, doesn’t it make more sense to invest in your own property (where there is an actually return on your investment) than on someone else’s?

Some other benefits to owning your home are:

  • You can build equity in your home
  • Your mortgage payment could be tax deductible
  • More privacy with a home
  • Fixed payment, your rent could always go up
  • Pride of ownership

What is holding you back from moving forward to buying your own home? Give us a call today at 801-774-1615 to find out what we can do for you.

 

 

 

Before You Purchase a Home Ask Yourself These Questions

Buying a home is an exciting and stressful time. How do you know you are ready? Will the bank approve the loan? How do you hire a qualified home inspector? There are so many things to consider new-home-for-sale-1405784261lz0when buying a home. Some important things to consider are:

    • Don’t buy if you can’t stay put
    • Aim for a home you can afford
    • Get professional help
    • Choose carefully between points and rate
    • Do your homework before bidding

For a first time homebuyer, there are some basic questions to ask: how to choose a home, how to negotiate, how to make an offer, how do you make the transition between renting and buying, to name a few.

Savings for a Home

When moving forward with buying a home, it is recommended to put a down payment of 20% on your home, although it is possible to get a loan with less down. Regardless to how much you can afford to put down, it is important to know how much house you can afford.

Dave Ramsey has some great advice for potential home buyers when making the decision to buy a home along with 3 mistakes to avoid.

Share your thoughts. Is there anything you would add?

Transform Your Outdoors into a Relaxing Oasis

Regardless if you have a small or large patio or deck area, you can still turn it into a peaceful hideaway for some rest and relaxation. When creating your space, think about how best you can utilize the area, such as sized of the outdoor furniture and how you can protect yourself from the sun.

Isunbeds-by-the-poolf you are working with a small space, stackable or folding pieces are a great way to create a welcoming space, but keep it uncluttered when you don’t need the extra chairs. Multi-functional furniture, such as watertight chests, is another way to save on space and use as storage.

Dealing with a larger space, how about hammocks or hanging chairs to create a whimsical setting. Sun lounges, deck chairs and even an outdoor sofa are some other things to consider to add to make your outdoor space more inviting. To have your furniture last longer, buy furniture made of woven synthetic fibers which are durable to weather and UV rays.

Protect yourself from the sun by including parasols, retractable awnings or shade sails. These are also great to keep your area cooler in those hot months when you are trying to stay cool.

What are some things you’ve done to create your perfect outdoor getaway? Share your thoughts and tips with us.

See the World and Stay Within Your Budget

To me, there is nothing more beautiful than beaches. The sand between your toes, the sound of the waves as they crash against the rocks, the sunsets, and the enjoyment of just relaxing. I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve always found the peace around water.photo-1419064642531-e575728395f2

There are so many beautiful beaches around the world to see, but when it comes to traveling to those destinations, financially it can be a little tight. However, there are a lot of great deals out there if you know where to look. Hipmunk and Kayak have always been great resources for finding great deals, along with other great sites to help you save money and still have a great time.

Another valuable resource to saving money is Rick Steves, world travel expert, who has great tips for packing to keep things simple. With the extra fees the airlines charge now a days for baggage, it is nice to have his tips on what to pack.

What are some of your vacation plans for this summer? What are some of your travel tips that safe you money?

Unplugging from Technology: Fun Activities for the Family

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With all the technology kids are surrounded by ~ the iPads, computer games, television ~ sometimes it is good to have them unplug from technology to explore and socialize with others. Remember when you were a child, lying on the grass making out the different images in the clouds? Racing friends down the street on your bike, building snow forts and snowmen…Every parent has heard that saying from their child at one time or another. How many times have we caught ourselves saying the same thing? How do you keep the boredom away on rainy days or to pull your child away from the television?

There are a lot of fun activities to do with your children to keep them entertained, such as: an indoor camp-out, build a bird feeder, put on a play and perform it for mom/dad, assemble an art box, bake some cookies or have them help cook dinner, play catch in the backyard, or having some science fun with the whole family.

Do you think technology has taken over our lives? What do you and your family do to unplug?

Important Terms to Know About Real Estate

How much do you really know about real estate? Whether you are a professional or not, there are some key terms you should know when it comes to real estate. Here are 3 real estate terms you should have a better understanding of to help you finding your home.

Fixed rate vs. Adjustable mortgage rate. A fixed mortgage rate is one where the interest rate will stay the same over the course of the loan. Whereas an adjustable mortgage rate, the interest rate will fluctuate either up or down. To decide which option is best for you, talk with your loan officer, bank, or credit union.

Pre-approval Letter. Before you even start looking for a home, you should meet with your bank or a mortgage lender to find out how much you can get a home loan for. This will help you and your real estate agent know how much of a home you can afford. When meeting with the loan officer or mortgage lender, remember to ask them about closing costs and other fees and if they’ll be covered in your loan.

Buyers agent vs. Real estate agent. A Real Estate Agent (sales agent) is anyone who is licensed to advise the public on real estate issues. In most states, to become a Real Estate Agent you have to complete a specific real estate course and take a state and federal exam.

Real Estate Agents work under the guidance and the legal protection of their broker. If you are interested in becoming a licensed sales agent in Utah please check out Utah Department of Commerce: Division of Real Estate for the necessary requirements and for further education check out the available courses for new agents.

Whereas to become a Broker, more education is required along with having to pass the brokers exam. Brokers are more liable or legally responsible for any mistakes made by agents or salespeople who work for them. If you are interested in becoming a broker in Utah visit Broker Registration site on the Utah Department of Commerce: Division of Real Estate page.

Creating The Perfect Bookshelf

smallbookshelfOne of my favorite things to do to get the year started on a creative note is to reinvent my shelves. There is nothing like taking down the clutter and allowing your artistic side out. But if you are anything like me, getting your shelves to look just right is sometimes easier said than done.

It can be tricky to find that perfect balance, but here are some simple ideas to keep in mind:

  • Keep It Simple—this is a great time to go through the shelves and get rid of the items you no longer love or make you happy
  • Change Things Around—customize your shelves by laying books horizontal to build height and add colorful pieces of artwork…perhaps an interesting piece you collected in your travels
  • Decorative Boxes—incorporate boxes and basket throughout your shelves. Not only do these add a new element to your scheme, but are a great way to increase storage
  • Wallpaper—make your bookshelf pop with an interesting design by wallpapering the back area of your bookshelf. Not a fan of wallpaper? No problem, use paint instead to give that backdrop a splash of color
  • Accessories—integrate plates, pictures or artwork to add dimension

Remember there is no wrong way to do a bookshelf and have fun. This is your chance to let your creativity flourish.