Find The Lowest Rate

So you’ve got your new home picked out and you’re ready to embark upon the long process of securing a home loan and ultimately taking ownership of your dream home. Armed with that excitement, you take to the Internet in hopes of uncovering a hidden interest rate nugget, that low rate that other people have overlooked and that you have found through persistence and effort. Well, as you embark on that trip, there are some things to keep in mind during the pursuit for the lowest interest rate possible.

There are probably thousands of web sites offering financial data that can be pertinent to your search, so it is important to quickly cut through them all and pick one that seems to be at least somewhat reputable and has easy-to-access information. You’ll probably want to focus your search on a 30-yeark, fixed-rate mortgage to get a barometer of the interest rate climate initially.

There are many sites out there that will go into detail on interest rate fluctuation but finding one with graphs that can show you the trend of that rate over time will provide you with a great piece of ammunition when trying to determine what the short term market might do and what kind of interest rate would, in the end, be a good one for the time frame you’re looking at.

In addition, there are scores of financial articles written every day about the state of the real estate market and doing some reading on the current state of the market will help you greatly in your pursuit for a low interest rate. Sites like the Wall Street Journal online and other respected newspapers usually publish their full financial sections online. Google News and other outlets can additionally offer a slew of recent financial articles with a search or two.

Each loan has its own special set of financial aspects, so comparing them can be difficult at first glance. Thankfully, there are sites out there that will do it for you and doing a search for financial loan comparisons will give you a few good results. By putting in some information about you and your financial status, you can get some loan offers back that are tailored to your situation and can be compared against each other. This is a great step to help save time that might otherwise be spent deciphering the many loan options available through a multitude of lending agencies.

Finally, be thorough in your search. If you are truly looking to get a full picture of the loans available to you, contacting your local institutions (banks and credit unions) is a great step in the process and sometimes the added benefit of supporting local business or having a nearby branch office can make up for an interest rate shortcoming. It is up to you to assign priority to something like that.

Interest rates are important but while you’ve set out to pursue the lowest rate possible, you might find that there are other benefits you haven’t considered that are important as well. These aspects should also make their way into your loan comparison as things like convenience, reliability and other factors differ from lender to lender. Decide what is important to you and what concessions you would make to accommodate one of those other desires.

Finding the lowest interest rate possible is a noble goal and with the avalanche of online information at the fingertips of anyone with an Internet connection, finding that rate is easier now that in the past. However, as you go through your search, keep in mind that a mortgage is more than just an interest rate and remain open to other benefits that might offset a bit of a higher rate.

This is another original article by Joe Lane, co-owner of The Lane Real Estate Team at http://www.joelane.com/. Are you looking for an experienced Tri City WA Real Estate agency? With 20 years of service based, business experience, Joe and Colleen Lane work hard to serve home buyers and sellers for the Tri Cities of Washington’s Kennewick, Richland, Pasco, and surrounding areas.

Easy exterior projects that add lasting beauty to your home


(ARA) – In the current economy, homeowners want to improve their home’s exterior while saving time, labor and money. You can enhance your lifestyle by choosing options that extend product performance and add beauty and enjoyment to outdoor living.

The easy patio fix that’s eco-friendly

Adding pavers to any outdoor area can transform cracked slabs or troubled grass areas into virtually instantaneous living space. But most do-it-yourselfers shy away from working with heavy concrete or brick. Andy Vander Woude of AZEK VAST Pavers says you can install a new patio, walkway or driveway with new pavers that install three times faster on a unique grid system over a traditional sub-base. At less than half the weight of concrete, they contain up to 95 percent recycled scrap tires and plastics. “There is no need for wet saws or heavy equipment,” Vander Woude said. “You can also resurface an old patio, deck or flat roof without the sub-base preparation – just assemble the grid and lay the pavers in like a big puzzle.” He added, “It’s a way to create instant living space that respects the planet.”

Add curb appeal for lasting first impressions

You can increase curb appeal with stylish and functional, quality amenities that dress up an entryway, yard, patio, porch or deck. According to the experts at Walpole Woodworkers, known for outdoor furnishings handcrafted in Maine since 1933, consider classic accents such as lantern and mailbox posts, pergolas, arbors, window boxes, deck planters and birdhouses handcrafted from new advanced materials, with long-lasting benefits and low-maintenance. Walpole offers these and many other products handcrafted in modern cellular PVC. This advanced material looks just like natural wood, but won’t rot, split, or warp and will maintain its good looks for years, virtually maintenance free. Call 1-800-343-6948 for a free catalog.
Light up the night

With the emergence of inspired outdoor living spaces and new trends in materials, it only makes sense that homeowners search for a way to enjoy their deck parties well into the night. Deck rail lighting has become extremely popular, with LEDs the preferred way to create ambient lighting. Michael Gori, Director of Product Management at AZEK Building Products, makers of AZEK Deck, said lighted post caps and light strips concealed under the hand rail are in high demand. “The lighted post caps add an elegant touch, while the hand rail lighting casts a downward glow, reducing hot spots and attraction to insects,” he said. “The combination of the two light sources adds a dramatic effect for nighttime entertaining.” Gori adds, “With warm, ambient lighting, there’s no longer a need to head indoors when the sun goes down.”

Know when to paint caulk

Did you ever poke your finger at a caulk bead to see if it’s dry and ruin your nice work? “Caulk needs to dry for about one to two hours, before it can be painted-whether you’re working indoors or out,” says Jason Ringling, marketing director at Red Devil, a company with a 140-year old history in the industry. “Painting too soon can cause sagging and cracking and then the entire job has to be re-done.” He says that there is a new technology called ColorCure sealant that turns from pink to white when it’s ready to paint, so there’s no guesswork. And if the job gets interrupted, you know exactly where you left off. “Formulations are getting smarter to help you work more efficiently,” he adds.

When fixing up or adding beautifying elements to your home exterior, be sure to investigate all the options–from new formulations in caulks and sealants to alternatives to traditional materials that offer easy installation and better performance over time.

Buying a home: Prepare by getting your finances in order

(ARA) РFor those considering buying a home, the current real estate market presents some unique opportunities. One of the side effects of the economic roller coaster ride of the past few years is that home prices have gone down and more homes have gone on the market. For buyers, that means more choices and better deals.  However, those same tumultuous years also can also teach buyers a lesson: Make smart buying decisions and be wise with your finances.

Impulsive buying is never a good idea when it comes to a purchase as significant as a home, but it was something of a trend at the height of the mid-2000s. Now, with banks lending far more cautiously, you need to be absolutely certain that your finances are in order – and healthy – to be able to get the best deal on your purchase.

There are a number of steps you can take to get ready to buy a home, and you might need to work on them simultaneously. Consider that you’ll need to start saving, if you haven’t already, but you’ll also need to review your credit score and do what you can to either maintain it or work toward healthier credit. Both of these tasks will help make the home-buying process better for you.

Your credit is an important factor in determining the terms under which you can get a mortgage. Broadly speaking, the better your credit is, the more positively you’ll be viewed by lenders – and that can lead to better interest rates. And because you’ll be paying off your home for years to come, it’s important to get the best rate possible.

Start by checking your credit report. You’re entitled to one free check of your report, from TransUnion and other credit reporting agencies every year. ¬†As much as you need to check your report to find out what shape your credit is in, it’s also essential to review it for inaccuracies or fraudulent activity, both of which can have a negative impact on your score.

If your credit health needs some work, start taking action immediately. Paying bills on time, reducing your overall debt and limiting new credit inquiries can all help to build your credit – but be patient as it can take time for your positive actions to take effect. Nevertheless, the sooner you make the effort, the sooner you’ll see results.

Making a prudent decision about buying a house comes down to an honest assessment of what you can afford. Keep in mind that you might be approved for a loan that’s larger than what is practical for you to afford. While it may be tempting to buy a pricier house, the stress of struggling to make payments could diminish your enjoyment of your new home and even put you at financial risk. One rule of thumb is that most borrowers can afford a home loan that runs about two and a half times their annual salary.

Buying a home is a complex process, but one that is ultimately very rewarding when done right. By organizing your finances well in advance, you’ll help set yourself up for success. For more information about credit and buying a home, visit www.transunion.com.