Dispelling Refinancing Myths

“Refinancing” is a scary word for many people, but that shouldn’t be the case for you. For many homeowners, refinancing can not only lower your monthly payments and help with your monthly budget, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

YOU’RE NOT TOO LATE.

For years now, we’ve been hearing that interest rates will be on the rise, and although there have been some small increases, you’re still in a great position to drastically lower your interest rate. The general rule is if your mortgage interest rate is more than one percent above the current market rate, you should consider refinancing.

IT’S NOT TOO TIME CONSUMING.

Don’t brush off refinancing just because it seems like a long and daunting process. An informational call with a lender to see how rates compare will only take a few minutes. There are also some programs for streamlining the application process. And besides, isn’t the amount of money you could save worth the time and effort?

ARMS CAN BE REFINANCED, TOO.

Seeing your Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) increase after the introductory period can be incredibly stressful and place a squeeze on your budget. Many people assume they’re stuck, but ARMs can be refinanced, just like fixed-rate mortgages. You can even switch to a shorter term fixed-rate mortgage, such as 15 or 23 years. The longer you’re planning to stay in the home, the more sense it makes to look into refinancing

Things to do before you Move into your New Home

Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and you’re probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture. But before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should cover first.

Change the locks

Even if you’re promised that new locks have been installed in your home, you can never be too careful. It’s worth the money to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. Changing the locks can be a DIY project, or you can call in a locksmith for a little extra money.

Steam clean the carpets

It’s good to get a fresh start with your floors before you start decorating. The previous owners may have had pets, young children, or just some plain old clumsiness. Take the time to steam clean the carpets so that your floors are free of stains and allergens. It’s pretty easy and affordable to rent a steam cleaner—your local grocery store may have them available.

Call an exterminator

Prior to move-in, you probably haven’t spent enough time in the house to get a view of any pests that may be lurking. Call an exterminator to take care of any mice, insects, and other critters that may be hiding in your home.

Clean out the kitchen

If the previous occupants wanted to skip on some of their cleaning duties when they moved out, the kitchen is where they probably cut corners. Wipe down the inside of cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, clean the oven, and clean in the nooks and crannies underneath the appliances

Short Sale & Foreclosure: How are they different?

As unfortunate as it can be when homeowners fall behind on mortgage payments and must face the possibility of losing their homes, short sales and foreclosures provide them options for moving on financially. The terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different, with varying timelines and financial impact on the homeowner. Here’s a brief overview.

A short sale comes into play when a homeowner needs to sell their home but the home is worth less than the remaining balance that they owe. The lender can allow the homeowner to sell the home for less than the amount owed, freeing the homeowner from the financial predicament.

On the buyer side, short sales typically take three to four months to complete and many of the closing and repair costs are shifted from the seller to the lender.

On the other hand, a foreclosure occurs when a homeowner can no longer make payments on their home so the bank begins the process of repossessing it. A foreclosure usually moves much faster than a short sale and is more financially damaging to the homeowner.

After foreclosure the bank can sell the home in a foreclosure auction. For buyers, foreclosures are riskier than short sales, because homes are often bought sight unseen, with no inspection or warranty.

Shopping for Organic Food

Organic food usually tastes better, and is better for you, but it can also be very expensive compared to non-organic products. Organic food can cost nearly 50 percent more, thanks to the extra labor required to produce it and consumers’ demand exceeding supply.

So how do you get tasty organic food without spending a ton of extra money? Follow these tips to get more bang for your buck.

Shop at farmers’ markets: You can get fresh organic produce for far less at a farmers’ market than you’d pay at the grocery store. It’ll taste just as good, and you’re getting your food straight from the source.

Choose seasonal produce: Out-of-season produce usually has to be imported, and that can really drive up the price. Focus your meals on in-season fruits and vegetables so that you don’t end up paying $6.00 for a pound of organic asparagus.

Shop more frequently, and plan your meals around bulk sales: The trick here is to only buy what’s needed for your meals, and to only plan for a week of meals at most. That way you’re less likely to throw food away, because you can use leftover produce for more meals before it goes bad.

Grow your own: A home vegetable garden will provide some extremely cheap organic produce, and gardening can also be a fun and rewarding hobby.

The Simple kind of Life

Do you ever think how can I simplify my life? Most likely you have! But where do you start? It probably is overwhelming to even try to figure out how to begin and then how to continue and maintain a “simple kind of life”. My friend, Lisa, can help!

She provides organizing services in your main living areas, bedrooms, storage areas, closets and paperwork. In addition, she can help with time management, moving and holiday decorating/planning. Lisa services the entire Kansas City metro.

Lisa loves helping people get organized and decluttering their homes, which provides a home that is more peaceful and less chaotic. She will motivate you, so you won’t feel overwhelmed by clutter.

You will like working with Lisa, as she is friendly, organized, trustworthy and a hard worker. She has great ideas and systems that will help you! It’s time to start spending your life doing what you want to do!

References are available upon request. Contact Lisa today for a consultation. Isn’t it time you had “The Simple kind of Life ?”

Contact Lisa at ldbender50@sbcglobal.net or 913-907-7405.

Kansas School Districts

Whether you are moving to the Kansas City area or just wanting some information on the school districts, here is a list of the main school districts on the Kansas side of the metro.

Blue Valley Unified School District: This district is made up of students in Overland Park, Leawood and Olathe. It is a 91 square mile district in southeast Johnson County. The administration building is located at: 15020 Metcalf
Overland Park, Ks 66223
913-239-4000
email: bluevalleyschools@bluevalleyk12.org
website: https://district.bluevalleyk12.org

The district features:
21 elementary schools (8:35-3:40)
9 middle schools (7:45-2:50)
5 high schools (7:45-2:50)
3 specialty schools

Desoto Unified School District: This district is made up of Desoto, Shawnee, Lenexa, Olathe and unincorporated areas. It is 100+ square mile district in northwest Johnson County. The administration building is located at:
35200 W. 91st Street
Desoto, Ks 66018
913-667-6200
website: www.usd232.org

The district features:
7 elementary schools (8:50-3:50)
3 middle schools (7:55-3:00)
2 high schools (7:50-2:55)

Gardner- Edgerton Unified School District:
This district is made up of Gardner and Edgerton. The district is located in the southwest corner of Johnson County. The administration building is located at:
231 E. Madison St.
Gardner, Ks. 66030
913-856-2000
website: www.usd231.com

The district features:
7 elementary schools (K-4)
3 middle schools (5-8)
1 high school (9-12)

Olathe Unified School District: This district is made up of Olathe, Overland Park and Lenexa. This is the second largest district in the state. The district is located at:
14160 S. Black Bob Rd.
Olathe, Ks 66063
913-780-7000
website: www.olatheschools.com

The district features:
35 elementary schools (8:20-3:40)
9 middle schools (7:50-3:10)
5 high schools (8:00-3:00)
7 specialty schools

Shawnee Mission Unified School District:
This district is made up of Fairway, Lake Quivira, Leawood, Lenexa, Merriam, Mission, Mission Hills, Mission Woods, Overland Park, Prairie Village, Roeland Park, Shawnee, Westwood and Westwood Hills. It is 72 square miles in northeast Johnson County. The district is located at:
7235 Antioch Rd.
Shawnee Mission, Ks 66204
913-993-6200
email: askthedistrict@smsd.org
website: www.smsd.org

The district features:
33 elementary schools (8:10-3:10)
5 middle schools (8:45-3:45)
5 high schools (7:40-2:40)
2 specialty schools

Spring Hill Unified School District: This district is made up of Olathe, Overland Park and Springhill. It is 71 square miles in the southwest Kansas City metro. The district is located at: 101 E. South Street
Spring Hill, Ks 66083
913-592-7200
website: usd230.org

The district features:
3 elementary schools
2 middle schools
1 high school

Buying A Home

After making the decision to purchase a home, you will need to get pre approved for a loan, unless you are purchasing a home in cash. It is best to do this before starting to look at houses. This will allow you to know what price range you can begin searching. It will also save you from falling in love with something you cannot afford. When you submit an offer on a home, a pre approval is included with the offer, this will show seller’s you are qualified to purchase their home.

First step is to fill out a loan application. If you do not know of a lender, contact a real estate agent, they can always point you in the right direction, as they work closely with lender’s on every transaction.

On this application, it will ask for basic information, along with your social security number, past 2 years of work history and financial information. All of this information is used to obtain a credit report. Typically, a credit report will be ordered from all 3 credit bureaus. In addition, payment history and any major credit issues will be checked.

Items you may be required to provide:

**Recent paystubs and  W-2s for the most recent 2 years. If you receive commissions and/or overtime, lenders may require a 2 year history/explanation of this.

**Tax returns, if you are self-employed or own rental property, you may be required to provide tax returns for the most recent 2 years.

**Bank statements: Lenders normally ask for 1 – 2 months of bank statements. This provides documentation of where a down payment and closing costs will be coming from. A “gift” letter may be required, if any of the down payment or closing costs is being given by a family member or company.

**Additional information: Teachers may be required to provide a copy of their teaching contract, explaining their pay schedule. Large deposits and/or name changes may need to be explained.

You will receive a Loan Estimate within 3 business days of submitting your loan application. This will detail the costs and terms for the loan in which applied.

After receiving your pre approval, it is always a good idea to shop around for a loan with the best terms.

Now the fun begins! Time to start looking for a home.