It’s finally October which means Halloween is on its way and the season brings along all sorts of family fun. Pumpkin carving, for example, has been a staple of the holiday for many years and is a great way to get everyone involved in decorating. Here are some fun and helpful tips to enhance your pumpkin carving and to help your finished pumpkins last longer.
Pick the right pumpkin. You’ll have a lot of trouble creating the perfect pumpkin decorations if the pumpkin is not up for the task. Look for a pumpkin with:
- A flat bottom so that it sits up straight
- A stem of at least 1 to 2 inches (pumpkins without stems don’t last very long)
- No preexisting holes, cuts, or soft spots
Color is key. It’s helpful to know pumpkins that are a lighter shade of orange will be much easier to cut into and therefore might be a better option for children. However, dark orange pumpkins keep better and last a bit longer.
Store your pumpkin someplace cool. A pumpkin kept in a cool place until it is carved will last longer after it’s been carved. Do not freeze your pumpkin or it will get mushy.
Clean your pumpkin. Before you start carving, wash your pumpkins with warm water and let them dry.
Make it last. To prevent your pumpkin from deteriorating after you’ve carved it follow one of these tips:
- Coat the cuts with petroleum jelly
- Spray the pumpkin with a solution of 1 tbsp bleach and 1 qt water
- Submerge the whole pumpkin in white vinegar
If at any point your pumpkin starts to deflate, soak it in cold water for a few hours until it pops back into shape.
Placement is essential to presentation. Try to keep your newly carved pumpkins out of direct rain or sunlight as these will shorten their lifespan. Also, the heat from real candles will cook the pumpkin from the inside and cause it to deteriorate, so use electric tea lights to keep your spooky friends looking good as new through the holiday.
VA mortgages are an excellent loan option for qualified service personnel. With no down payment and no monthly mortgage insurance required, VA mortgages are a great benefit for those individuals who have served their country. Depending on your loan program needs, most if not all settlement charges can be financed. This may reduce cash out of pocket to almost nothing. Homestead Funding Corp. is proud to offer VA mortgage programs to our service men and women, veterans, and their families.
There are other benefits to VA mortgages which include the ability to use gift funds to cover closing costs and prepaid expenses. The program allows borrowers to purchase the following eligible properties: Single family homes, condos, planned unit developments (PUDs), townhomes and 2-4 unit owner-occupied homes. We also offer VA Streamline Refinance options for those who already have VA mortgages. If you think that you or someone you know may qualify for a VA mortgage, please see the eligibility chart here.
As a VA approved mortgage lender, Homestead Funding has helped thousands of families finance their dream homes. If you or someone you know could benefit from a VA mortgage, Homestead can help! Contact us today to learn more about this program!
Shopping for the Right Mortgage
The list of available mortgages has grown significantly over the years, leaving you to sift through all the information on all the different options before finally finding the one that works best for you. There are ways, however, to make this process easier. Seek advice from an experienced mortgage professional and have them help you to consider these questions:
- How long do you anticipate living in this home?
- Do you expect any changes in the next few years such as expanding your family or having your children go to college and/or move out?
- Do you expect any major changes in income due to promotions, relocations, retirement, pensions, or inheritance?
- Are you expecting any changes in your investments?
- Are you conservative, aggressive, or somewhere in between when it comes to investment strategies?
These questions are important because they help determine which loan program will best fit the stage of life you’re in. Each loan has different aspects that appeal to and benefit different kinds of households. They’ll also help you determine whether or not you’re working with the right mortgage professional. If they don’t ask these questions, they may not be your most helpful choice.
Ultimately though, the most important factor you have to consider is cost. Make sure you’re given a complete picture of how much your mortgage will cost you over the period of time you intend to have the loan. This will illustrate the greater picture of your financial goals and allow for adjustments should changes occur sooner than anticipated. The recommended time frame for this projection is anywhere from three to seven years.
Call Homestead Funding Corp. today to find out what mortgage is right for you!
Getting ready to move? Make the process a little less stressful by using this checklist to keep yourself organized!
4 WEEKS PRIOR TO MOVE:
|__||Set up a "move" calendar|
|__||Have a garage sale or set up sales on Facebook sites or Craigslist|
|__||Donate old books to your local library|
|__||Donate un-needed furniture to charity|
|__||Donate old towels and blankets that are still in good condition to your local vet|
|__||Discard all aerosols, paint, oils, and other flammable or toxic chemicals (many times this needs to be set up months in advance as each community has their own specific drop stations for these items)|
|__||Contact insurance company to transfer policies (life, auto, homeowners)|
|__||Contact doctors, dentists for copies of medical records if you are changing practices|
|__||Contact schools for copies of student records if moving to a new school district|
3 WEEKS PRIOR TO MOVE:
|__||Review tax deductions on moving expenses|
|__||Arrange cut-off date for utility companies (telephone, gas, electricity, water, garbage, cable)|
|__||Request change of address kit from post office|
|__||Check out voter registration information for the new area|
|__||Call friends and relatives to let them know you are moving|
2 WEEKS PRIOR TO MOVE:
|__||Transfer stocks, bonds, bank accounts and contents of safe deposit boxes|
|__||Prepare a list of clothing that will not be packed with household goods|
|__||Take time to check off previous listed items while you still have time|
1 WEEK PRIOR TO MOVE:
|__||Label items you will need to access easily and place them in separate room or closet|
|__||Clean out your refrigerator and let it air out at least 24 hours before moving|
|__||Drain outdoor equipment: Water hoses, propane tank from BBQ grill, gas and oil from lawnmowers|
|__||Schedule with utility companies to have utilities turned on at your new home|
MOVING OUT DAY:
|__||Remember, items packed last will be unloaded first|
|__||Conduct a final review of the house, including attic, stairwells, closets, cupboards, storage, garage, and behind doors|
MOVING IN DAY:
|__||Have the house ready for delivery prior to the truck's arrival|
|__||Take a break, sit back, relax and ENJOY YOUR NEW HOME!!|
First time home buyers are not the same as years gone by. They generally play the same role, but their primary characteristics have evolved. By understanding these characteristics, we can better recognize what drives their decisions and be more prepared to connect with them to meet their unique needs.
Delaying their home purchase — In the early 1980s, the median age for a first time home buyer was 29.6. Now, it’s 32.5. It’s assumed that buyers are working to pay off their student loan debt before buying a home. They are then able to save more and afford a better home in a nicer neighborhood later on. They may also wait until they have an established career and a more reliable income, making them less of a risk for larger loans.
Renting Longer — Today’s first time home buyers have been renting longer, approximately six years total, before purchasing a home. As a result, they may not know the extra costs that exist in owning a home. Be sure to help them understand how the loan repayment process works and of any and all additional costs.
Buying on their own — Fewer people are getting married lately, or they are waiting longer to do so. First time home buyers who fall into this category are less likely to co-borrow and typically take out smaller loans to purchase smaller houses.
Experiencing less wage growth — A first time home buyer has probably had a flat income the past few years while home values have increased. This makes buyers more likely to wait to find the home they want at a price they can better afford.
Buying more expensive homes — Fist time home buyers were once known for buying “starter” homes—typically older homes with only one or two bedrooms. However, in recent years they have been purchasing more expensive homes. This may be due to fluctuating inventory, saving more money for down payment, or changing lender standards. Regardless of the reason why, you can help these clients by exploring products that accommodate larger loan amounts.
The factors and characteristics that drive today’s first time home buyer also affect their borrowing needs. Here at Homestead Funding Corp., we are able to adapt to these needs in order to understand and respond to each client’s thought process to create the relationship necessary for a positive mortgage experience. ecessary for a positive mortgage experience.