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May Events in Cobb County

All of the Cobb County events in May:

The Marietta Square Farmers Market: Gathers an average of over 60 vendors on Saturdays and over 25 on Sundays, offering a variety of fresh, locally grown, seasonal produce, and garden products. The Marietta Farmers Market is open every Saturday April through December from 9 a.m.-noon, and on Sundays May through October, from 12-3 p.m. For more information, visit their website at: www.mariettasquarefarmersmarket.com or their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mariettasquarefarmersmarket or call (770) 499-9393.

Brown Bag Concert Series: Grab your lunch at one of the many great restaurants around the square and meet your friends and co-workers at Glover Park for the Brown Bag Concert Series. The event features free music and takes place in the Historic Marietta Square Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m. For more information, call the Marietta Parks & Recreation Department at (770) 794-5601.

Marietta Square Art Walk: (formerly the First Friday Art Walk) The Art Walk is a free, self-guided tour showcasing local original art. Enjoy late-night shopping, patio dining, fine art and live music around every corner. Local artists are hosted by Marietta Square area restaurants, galleries, museums, venues and boutiques; participating venues display an official Art Walk banner in their window. Takes place in historic Marietta Square on the first Friday of each month from March to November (May 6 this month). 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., rain or shine. For more information, please visit www.artwalkmarietta.com or call (770) 429-1115.

Smoke on the Lake: The annual backyard barbecue festival features a Friday night concert under the stars and a Lord of the Wings competition. On Saturday, the BBQ competition takes place from 10-4. Teams from all over the Southeast will compete in professional and amateur divisions. Each participating BBQ team will be preparing their own special flavor of chicken wings and you get to be the judge. The event is hosted by the Rotary Club of North Cobb and the City of Acworth. Takes place at Cauble Park on Lake Acworth (2293 Beach St., Acworth, GA 30101) May 6, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. & May 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please visit smokeonthelake.org or call (770) 423-1330.

Taste of East Cobb: Enjoy some music, food and fun. The event features delicious dishes from the some of the most popular restaurants in the area. While there, you can also enjoy great live entertainment, the Kid’s Zone with giant inflatables and hands-on activities, unique products from local vendors, and a silent auction. On Saturday, May 7 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. At Johnson Ferry Baptist Church (south parking lot): 955 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta, GA 30068. For more information, please visit TasteOfEastCobb.com or call (770)518-6441.

May-retta Daze: An annual arts and crafts festival that features exhibitors and artists showcasing handmade goods including painting, pottery, woodwork, metal, glass, fabric, soap, candles and more. All work is made and displayed by the artists, and the event draws both local Georgia artists and artists from around the Southeast. takes place the first weekend in May. The 40th annual festival takes place Saturday, May 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. & Sunday, May 8 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. At Glover Park in Marietta Square. For more information, call (770) 794-5601.

Marietta Greek Festival: The The 26th annual event celebrates Greek traditions, culture and delicious Greek food. The Hellenic Dance Program will be performing throughout the festival. The event also features a Greek marketplace with more than a dozen vendors with food and hand-crafted items. Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church tours are available throughout the weekend and last approximately 10 minutes. The Byzantine style sanctuary and church tour showcases the rich color, distinctive iconography and beauty of the interior of the Orthodox church. May 13 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. May 14 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. May 15 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. At Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church, 3431 Trickum Road, Marietta, Georgia 30066. Free parking and shuttle service is available at the following locations: Simpson Middle School- 3340 Trickum Rd. Marietta, GA 30066 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints- 3195 Trickum Road Marietta, GA 30066-4666 (Friday and Saturday only) Lassiter High School- 2601 Shallowford Road Marietta, GA 30066-3038 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) Admission: Adults $4. Children 12 and under free. Adult Weekend Pass $5. For more information, please call (770) 924-8080.

Mableton Day: It’s a time to to bring the community together to have some fun, celebrate the end of the school year, and raise funds to help build or expand non-profit programs that enrich our South Cobb County community. The day begins with the Mableton 5K and Mableton Jr. Fun Run, and then continues with a Car Cruise-in, Entertainment, Arts and Crafts, vendor booths, food, Kids Corner and more. Come meet your neighbors and learn more about your community. The 11th Annual community celebration is May 14th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mable House Complex, 5239 Floyd Road in Mableton, Georgia.

Yaarab Shrine Circus: The circus is coming to town, and it happens to be the biggest Shrine Circus in North America. Don’t miss the opportunity to see all-new top circus acts from around the world with clowns, bears, elephants, horses, motorcycles, acrobats, and daredevil acts. Plus, enjoy a giant Carnival midway featuring over 40 rides and attractions. The circus begins on Saturday, May 21, and ends on Monday (Memorial Day) May 30. At Jim R. Miller Park, 2245 Callaway Road, Marietta. For more information, please visit yaarabshrine.net/yaarab-shrine-circus.html or  call (404) 872-5818.

Glover Park Concert Series: Enjoy music under the stars, and be sure to bring a picnic and blankets or set up your lawn chairs after 4 pm (no tarps or tents). Takes place on the last Friday evening of each month from April to September (May 27 this month). Personal tables can be set up in the street on North Park Square after 6 p.m. but not in Glover Park. The free outdoor concerts take place at 8 p.m. rain or shine. May 27 show: The Tams, Carolina Beach. For more information, call (770) 794-5601.

Cobb County Memorial Day Ceremonies:

  • Marietta: The National Memorial Day Association of Georgia is hosting the annual event that honors our Veterans, both past and present, who served as well as those who gave their life for our country’s freedom. The ceremony features patriotic music, posting of the colors, prayers, a gun salute, as well as inspiring speakers. All Veterans as well as the general public are invited to attend. The event takes place at noon on May 30, 2016. At the Marietta National Cemetery, 500 Washington Avenue Northeast, Marietta, GA 30060. For more information, please call (404) 510-4668.
  • Smyrna: The Smyrna ceremony is organized by the Smyrna Veterans Committee and it is those members of the community who officiate. The ceremony is sponsored by the City of Smyrna, Smyrna Veterans Committee, Veterans Memorial Association of Smyrna, American Legion Post 160 and Smyrna Rotary. It’s a public event and all are invited to attend and participate in this memorial service to honor those who have sacrificed in defense of our nation. At 20th Century Veterans Memorial (2800 King Street) on May 30. Seating will start at 8:30 a.m. and pre-ceremony/ceremony activities will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Smyrna Community Center (200 Village Green Circle, Smyrna, 30080). Cobb County Cobb county Cobb County Cobb County Cobb County Cobb County  Cobb County 
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Home Maintenance Checklist

A non-maintained home can lose around 10% of its appraised value. Whether you’ll sell your home soon or stay for a while, be sure to keep up its maintenance.

  • Watch out for moisture: Your home’s foundation, walls, roof, and floors can all be subversively affected by water damage. When it rains, check to see if your gutters are overflowing, if water is flowing away from your house like it’s supposed to, and if there’s any moisture coming inside. After an especially heavy rain, check your basement, foundation, siding, roof, doors, windows, and ceilings. Also, be sure to check your water-based appliances about twice a year, including your dishwasher, refrigerator, HVAC, water heater, etc. Drain your water heater once a year. change your HVAC filter. Fix any leaks you find immediately, as moisture is the biggest threat to houses.
  • In the kitchen: Under the kitchen sink, remove everything so you can check for leaks. Re-caulk the line between your backsplash and the wall in back of it. Clean out your cabinets and wipe them out. Pull out the refrigerator to clean the area underneath it, including the drip pan. Tighten any screws, such as the ones in hardware. Check for any stains or marks anywhere, including the walls, and wash them off.
  • In the basement: Check your ductwork for leaks that are wasting energy. Also, caulk and seal windows to prevent air leaks. Check for dark stains, which could be plumbing leaks. Add a basement ceiling or brighten it up with paint for a change.
  • Outside: Check window and door frames for wood rot. Improve your yard and landscaping health by keeping up with their maintenance.
  • Floors: Check for bulges under carpet, and for discoloration on wood floors, which can be linked to foundation problems.
  • Inspect your fire extinguishers
  • Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and test your home for radon
  • Maintenance fund: You might not need to save the “recommended” 1-3% of your home’s initial price annually to afford its necessary repairs, but be sure to save an appropriate amount. Be sure to keep up with when you’ll be needing a new roof, siding, or any other big ticket project, and save up accordingly beforehand.
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Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. It’s important to know what new homeowners waste money on so that you won’t.

  • Too big of a house: You can save money by buying a home that has only the space you really need and will use. Shocker, we know. Do you really need that fifth bedroom, or a formal dining room? What will you use that space for, and just how often? Keep your budget in mind- if you spend more money on a home than you really should using your given loan, it can make your mortgage and budget go all out of wack.
  • Immediately fixing up outdoor space: Before you add that outdoor kitchen, think about how often you’ll actually use it. Also, where can your budget be better spent (or saved)?
  • Yard maintenance: Paying for a yard service to come by may seem necessary and important at first (especially if you’ve never owned your own yard before), but it can be something homeowners waste money on. Even if you’ve become part of an HOA that offers it at a discounted rate, it will save you a lot of money in the long run to mow and fertilize the yard yourself.
  • Old insurance: It may help your finances to re-investigate the best type of insurance company and plan for your current needs. If you’re using the same insurance company you used for your renter’s insurance years ago, this may be especially true. An insurance company may have great prices compared with other companies on one type of insurance, but worse prices on other types.
  • Extended warranties: When you’re buying a new appliance, the salesperson will most likely attempt to sell you one of these. However, the likelihood of an appliance breaking down within the extended warranty period is low, and if it did happen then it would cost the same or less to fix it. It’s better to spend nothing and to have the slight possibility of paying something, than to spend some and have the slight possibility of the thing breaking.
  • Too much stuff: Especially if you’re moving from a smaller space to a bigger one, it may seem necessary and fun to want to fill the extra space. However, if you wait a bit to figure out your budget and style of decor you want, it will be worth it in the long run. Usually the things that are bought “just to have” are those things you’ll rarely use, and won’t make a difference to have in the long run. In other words, if you didn’t buy it out of need, then you don’t actually need it.
  • Buying a house with a swimming pool: Unless you are really enthusiastic about owning one, and willing to shell out maintenance money for it (for cleaning, water, chemicals, and possibly heating), owning a pool can eat up money you could use otherwise. If you know you’ll spend a lot of time enjoying it, then go for it. However, if you already know that it’s something that sounds better in theory than actuality, then avoid it.
  • Having improperly insulated windows: You’ll save money in the long run to have a home energy audit, and to fix those windows that are inefficient in insulation. Homeowners waste money frequently on heat and air that doesn’t even stick around in their house.
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What to Avoid as a Homebuyer

Buying a home is a definite process; one that works best if you’re an informed homebuyer  and know what to avoid.  There are things that can go wrong, but there are also things that can go right, leaving you with your dream home.

  • Caring too much about (fixable) aesthetics: Almost everything is fixable and changeable in a house. Unless it would bust your budget to fix, don’t get too caught up in those fixable things, especially if it’s something as simple as the light fixtures or paint in a room.
  • Waiting too long to take action: If you are sure you’ve found the home you want, then don’t wait too long to make an offer, especially if it’s currently a competitive market. If too much time passes between seeing a house and and making an offer, the seller may not take it as seriously.
  • Ignoring what the seller/s want and need: Buying a house is different from any other kind of business deal in that the seller of the “product” has to choose you. Sellers have different motivations for selling a house, whether it be for money or another reason. Your Realtor will attempt to fully understand the sellers’ reasoning and what they want out of the transaction so they can help you “win” the house.
  • Talking to seller/s without your Realtor present: The other “team” is not your enemy, so try and avoid that mindset. However, it’s better to communicate with your Realtor, who then communicates with the sellers’ agent. Don’t talk with the sellers directly, because if you agree on something in person, it won’t be the same legally as it would on paper and through your agents.
  • Low-balling a counteroffer: Don’t be too stingy. The stingier you are as a homebuyer, the harder it will be to get the bid on the house; you can be rejected, or unnecessarily lengthen the process of counter-offering. The best way to go about it is to make an offer not too far off from what you would actually pay. You’ll have a more realistic and appropriate price point to go on.
  • Being rude or too emotional: We get it, once you’re comfortable with the process of seeing houses and dealing with offers and counter-offers, it may be getting easier for your feelings to just slip out. However, stay polite to the agents and other people involved in the deal when you talk about the house, the financial aspects, and really everything in general. You wouldn’t want your mood and manners (or lack of) as a homebuyer to make a deal head south.
  • Always looking for a better deal: The market is always changing, and it’s never going to be the same as tomorrow. There could be a “better deal” later on, but on the other hand, the house that you really like could be sold before you make up your mind. If you do your research about the house, the area it’s in, and have a Realtor who will make counter-offers, then you should be set to get the appropriate price for a home.
  • Falling in love at first sight: “Fools rush in”- Probably coined by a homebuyer who quickly bought a house before doing their due diligence and had to learn the hard way. Even if you  think you LOVE the first house you look at, be sure to look at at least a few more in case you don’t know what you’re missing.
  • Overpaying: This fits in with the above rule in some cases; if your emotional attachment to a certain house overshadows your sense of practicality, you can end up overpaying.
  • Assuming a short sale or foreclosure is a deal: A slashed price tag may seem like a great deal; however, you may actually overpay for a short sale or a foreclosure in the long run. Be sure to hire a great Realtor who knows their way around the current local and national housing market. They will know the appropriate price for each property.
  • Forgetting about added costs: Home maintenance, utilities, property taxes, insurance, etc. are things that you need to remember before you make  a budget for the house you’ll buy.
  • Forgetting to get everything in writing and on file: Appliances, fixtures, etc. are things that could either stay or go, depending on what’s in writing. Be careful not to just assume that you’ll own everything that was in the house after you close.
  • Skipping the inspection: First of all, know that an inspection and an appraisal are not the same thing. An inspection can save you a lot of money in the long run; many things may not be visibly in need of repair, yet would cost you lots to fix over time. Don’t be a homebuyer that misses the important details!
  • Busting your budget by buying all new things for your new home or paying for a house you can’t afford: First of all, don’t spend what you can’t afford on a house. On that same hand, don’t think that just because you bought a new house means you “need” all new furniture to fill it.
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Current Home Decor Trends – Spring 2016

Spring is a time for inspiring and bringing about new changes- including fresh home decor trends.

  • Graphic Tiles: Certainly a trend that has come in and out of style, but who’s to say it’s not here to for good this time? This allows for a lot of home personalization, and also for a statement accent.
  • Sectional sofas: As a low-key trend that’s been around for years, it seems as if it might stick around. People have recently started to move back towards functionality as a main focus in their house and their belongings. Because who doesn’t love a big, comfy couch you can choose the shape of?
  • Natural (including reclaimed) materials: From pallet benches to reclaimed wood tables to stone accent pieces, this trend puts an emphasis on both the rustic look, and the “green” movement.
  • Black and white: One of the newer home decor trends has been all-white rooms (or nearly). Yet lately, there has also been a popular black-and-white look, which is sometimes paired with a pop of green from a potted plant or succulent. If you don’t want to commit to the full black-and-white look, then you can paint a window frame black in an all/nearly-white room.
  • Statement light fixtures: There have been almost limitless options popping up for this new trend. Pendant lights are a popular trend, which are lights that hang down. You can utilize this trend while still having a simple space.
  • Interesting stairs: Certain styles of houses (like contemporary) include stairs as a focal point more than others (think suspended stairs). This may look out of place in more traditional homes, but if you have the right space for it, then renovating your stairs may be a nice investment.
  • Open floorplans: Since families are increasingly busy, there’s a need for a space where everyone can be together while simultaneously doing the things they each need and want to do. It also makes the house seem bigger, and allows parents to better watch their children.
  • Minimal design: The minimalistic aesthetic has been in and out of style over the years, but it’s back, and in a way that frees up clutter, and makes your home easier to take care of and more functional.
  • Calm color palette: Cold shades of gray were popular last year (and not just the fifty). However, the latest decor trends in color have still been some grays, but with more warm stone hues than cold hues. The calm color popularity is possibly due to people attempting to find a calm space amongst busy lifestyle chaos.
  • Warm-toned metals like copper and rose gold: Home accents with these metals have been increasingly popular. From lamps to planters to clocks, these are perfect paired with natural elements like marble and wood.
  • Smooth tech: Technology that’s smooth in texture, shape, and functionality has arrived. Consumers have proved that they want technology that’s innovative, fresh, and that aesthetically works with its background, and even serves as part of it.
  • 1970’s inspirations: Think geometric shapes, bold accent colors, and earthy elements.
  • Rounded furniture: This may be an ode to the mid-century modern movement, but it’s probably also one of funtionality and space-saving tactics.
  • Old-world/ethnic/folk textiles & artisan goods: These are having their moment; hand-made options are especially popular. This style is a great accent paired with a simple/neutral aesthetic.
  • Industrial design: Think painted or exposed brick, cement floors, iron, Edison bulbs, black matte metal, dark wood, etc.
  • Texture as a speaking point: Unique textures have become more popular to have as accent pieces, as complementing pieces for more neutral/plain elements, and even for contrasting against other textures.
  • Minerals like geodes and quartz
  • Geometric accents: Like pentagonal candle-holders, rhombuses painted on walls, etc.
  • Timeless materials like marble, brick, subway tiles, & hardwood floors are one of the more permanent home decor trends
  • Matte finishes
  • Blue-and-white tableware: Think classic British tea china.
  • Leather details
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April Events in Smyrna

Spring is in the air here in Smyrna! The events taking place here in April are sure to be a joy for the town, and for your entire family. Check them out!

Spring Rev Fest: Rev Coffee is proud and excited to announce Rev Spring Fest 2016. Rev Fest is a one-day music and arts festival held twice a year that features local artists and musicians. The event will be on Saturday, April 16th, in the front and side parking lots of Rev Coffee. The motivation behind Rev Fest is a merging of artists, musicians, and businesses in Smyrna, and surrounding communities. Our hope is to provide a venue for local artists to display their talents and passions, while at the same time inviting the community to observe and enjoy in a comfortable and entertaining environment. The festivities begin at 10:00 am. A variety of artists will have booths set up for viewing their work. The music gets going at 10:00 and will continue until 8:00 pm. Rev is located at 1680 Spring Road, Smyrna, Ga 30080.

Jonquil City Jog 5K: Saturday, April 23rd at 8 am. Participants run (or walk) for fun, education, and pie at this annual race for education held in downtown Smyrna. Proceeds benefit the Campbell High School Educational Foundation, Inc.- a non-profit organization that provides financial and community support to Campbell High School students. Campbell High School is a recipient of a  Georgia School of Excellence award, and has an outstanding International Baccalaureate program. Register now: www.active.com

Spring Jonquil Festival: The City of Smyrna welcomes all on the weekend of April 23 & 24. The Spring Jonquil Festival is held on the beautiful Village Green in downtown Smyrna, next to the fabulous Market Village. The festival features over 175 arts and crafts booths, 15 food booths, an entertainment stage, and a variety of children’s activities. Bring the family and shop, play, eat, drink, and just have a great day together. Visit the Crawfish Boil hosted by the Merchants in the Market Village on Saturday from 1 pm-10:45 pm, and Sunday from 1 pm-8 pm. Friends of the Smyrna Library will have their book sale during the Spring Jonquil Festival, so plan to get some phenomenal deals on all types of books.

50th Jubilee Spring Festival: Saturday, April 30th, at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 4300 King Springs Road, Smyrna. All are welcome from 11 am to 4 pm! Enjoy entertainment, food, crafters/vendors, a rock wall, giant slide, carnival games, Knights of Columbus “Knights on Bikes” motorcycle display, Smyrna Fire and Police Departments, a dessert contest, and more! For more information, contact Nina at nad105@live.com

Smyrna Food Truck Tuesdays: Starts Tuesday May 3rd! At Taylor-Brawner Park from 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm. (3180 Atlanta Road, Smyrna, GA 30080) The City of Smyrna, Georgia Power, and Cobb Travel & Tourism (Atlanta’s Sweet Spot) have “powered” up to bring you Food Truck Tuesday along with lots of entertainment and fun. We look forward to weekly announcements. Stay tuned towww.facebook.com/cityofsmyrnaga for the latest news, and the weekly lineups too.

Courtesy of Our Town Monthly magazine, April 2016 edition

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Financial Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a House

A home is one of the largest purchases you’ll ever make, so be sure to make the most knowledgeable financial decisions you can.

  • Don’t change your job before you submit a home loan inquiry (if you can help it). Lenders want to see stability. And your paystubs.
  • Don’t change banks. This falls under the “stability” category.
  • Don’t buy a car, boat, or anything you’ll have to finance; your debt-to-income ratio is something you don’t want to worsen before you buy a house.
  • Don’t buy furniture on credit before buying. That pesky debt-to-income ratio again.
  • Don’t charge too much on your credit card, or increase your debts too much.
  • Don’t skip out on or be late on payments. This is one of the most important elements of your credit score. You need to show you can responsibly manage money.
  • Don’t make abnormally large (cash) deposits into your bank account. Two months is the amount of time lenders prefer your down payment to have already been sitting in your account.
  • Don’t lie on your loan inquiry. Be honest about all of your income, debts, and liabilities.
  • Don’t co-sign a loan for anyone. even if you’re not the one making those payments, it increases your debt-to-income ratio.
  • Don’t have inquiries made into your credit. Searching for new credit makes you look risky to lenders.
  • Don’t apply for new credit. Applying for credit can lower your credit score, which is something you don’t need right before a lender will be looking at it.
  • Don’t close an credit accounts. It may seem like the right time to get a better balance of your finances, but it can lower your credit since you’ll have a higher usage of debt compared to your limit on one card and to your overall credit availability.
  • Don’t transfer money around without having proper paper documentation. Your lender requires the most recent bank statements, and if you have any unusual deposits, they’ll need to see the origin of funds. If you can, put all of the necessary funds for your home purchase into one account before applying for a mortgage. If you can’t, make sure the funds are available somehow.
  •  Don’t give an earnest money deposit directly to the seller. A neutral party will hold that money until closing in case anything happens to deter the sale of the home.
  • Don’t forget to line up home-owner’s insurance. Your lender will want to see that you’re covered.
  • Don’t forget to have money for closing costs set aside.
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Your Spring Home Checklist

It’s that time of the year again- a time to start fresh, and to leave the dullness and drear of winter behind. Spring forward with these tips for your home.

  • Plan your garden and landscaping out, and move forward with it
  • Inspect your home’s exterior for any winter damage that could have occurred
  • Clean your windows on both the insides and the outsides
  • Clean your home’s entryways. Brighten up your front doorway by replacing or cleaning your welcome mat/s and your door and porch decorations. On the interior, de-clutter, put away any winter coats or apparel hanging up, sweep, dust, etc. Also, remember the hall closet!
  • Clean your kitchen extra well. Be sure to wipe down those places you might normally neglect, like appliances, the backsplash, and on both the insides and the outsides of cabinets. Also, vacuum under the refrigerator, and in every inch of closets and the pantry
  • Go through your pantry and cabinets and check the expiration dates. Toss the food that’s expired, and donate what you know you won’t eat. Also, get rid of those appliances you never make use of
  • Go through your whole wardrobe and divide the things you actually wear from those that you don’t. Sort out your things into what you want to donate or sell, and what you want to save. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used or worn it in a year or more, you probably won’t miss it. An easy way to divide up what you use from what you don’t is to have a container in your closet you can drop clothes into to donate; you can also start the year out by turning your clothes hangers to face one direction, and each time you wear an item, turn the hanger around. What’s left unworn and un-turned at the end of the year is what you should donate.
  • Sort out your paperwork. This includes magazines, mail, coupons, documents, etc. Use a shredder to get rid of what you don’t need. Organize the rest with a filing cabinet, filing boxes, or something of the like.
  • Swap out your heavy drapes and curtains for something more airy and light. Spring is a great time to let light and a breeze into your home. This will also give you a chance to clean your heavier curtains while they’re down.
  • Clean pillows, slipcovers, rugs, and curtains. Just check the directions first!
  • Swap out bedding for something lighter-weight, if necessary.
  • If you have any dark features in your room like artwork or pillows, consider replacing them with something lighter (at least for a few months!)
  •  Add some mirrors and other sparkly décor to add light to a room.
  • Have some houseplants in various rooms. Greenery and new life is one of the main indicators of spring, so why not add some “spring” indoors?
  • Get your HVAC checked. Specifically before you turn on your air for the first time, if you can help it. Or at least replace the filter.
  • Clean patio furniture. Hose them off, scrub them down, and launder washable pillows/pillowcovers
  • Tune up your landscaping tools. This includes the lawnmower, weed-whacker, etc.
  • If you’ve moved for business in the past year, be sure to check out all the possible tax deductions you can make.
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Design Tips for a Small Patio

It’s that time of the year again- time to bask in the sun and enjoy conversation on a warm, sunny patio. Luckily, you can still enjoy these things even if you have a small patio.

  • Add bright colors, or at least a pop of color. this will add distinction, liven it up, and make it feel more expansive.
  • If you have a chance to, make the floors of your patio patterned or something else that’s visually appealing. Another alternative is to make the floor the same type as the room your patio leads into (even if the size of tiles, etc. is slightly different) as to create visual continuity.
  • Benefit from multi-functional furniture. Make your patio end-table or footrest work double; use a type that has a drawer on the inside.
  • Use space-saving (and smaller in general) furniture, like folding tables and chairs. Look into sawhorse tables; they’re easy to set up and take back down.
  • Add plants surrounding the patio to give the space depth and dimension. It will feel like you’re in a semi-private room.
  • Use a mirror. If there’s a wall, hang it or prop it there. Mirrors open up any space you can think of.
  • Use a well-placed rug on your patio to brighten it up, and make it look even better and bigger.
  • Hang outdoor curtains for an easy privacy or ambient fix.
  • Use a few varying textures, materials, and colors, but don’t make it look too busy.
  • Go vertical by planting plants that will grow in an upward fashion as opposed to out, which will emphasize height rather than width.

Now go outside and make use of your small patio!

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A Timeline of Things to Do Before Buying Your First Home

The home-buying process may be a bit overwhelming for those who are shopping for their first home; they don’t know what to expect yet. However, there are plenty of resources to help you out, including your Realtor.

12 Months Before

  • Check your credit score. The three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) are required to give you one free credit score per year. Sometimes there are mistakes, (and that’s why you want to request your credit score so far ahead of time) so be sure to check for these.
  • Figure out what you can, and want to, afford. Lenders usually want to ensure your debt-to-income ratio, which includes your mortgage and all other debts, is not higher than 43%.
  • Ensure what you can pay for the down payment. There are various plans and loan types available, so don’t feel too scared to figure it all out.

9 Months Before

  • Make a checklist of priorities you want met in your new house. If you can keep these at the front of your mind when you start searching for a home, you’ll be able to weed out what you don’t want, and communicate what you do want with your Realtor better. If you’re making these decisions with a partner or spouse, be sure to establish the things that each of you won’t bend on, and also the things that you can compromise on. It could become a point of contention later on, if it’s not established early in the game.
  • Research areas, neighborhoods, school districts, etc. (But don’t forget that your Realtor will know all of this info too as well!)
  • Start saving for extra home-buying expenses. Buying your first home might present more miscellaneous costs than you previously thought, so be aware early on. Also, It’s always beneficial to have extra money set aside for emergencies or unexpected needs that may arise. Create a home maintenance funds account for that.

6 Months Before

  • Gather your paperwork for the loan. This will include your W-2’s and personal tax returns from the past 2-3 years, bank statements, your most recent pay stubs, credit card and loan statements, addresses from the past 5-7 years, and most recent retirement account statements (like a 401K.)

3 Months Before

  • Get pre-approved. Meet with your lender, and he/she can inform you of how much you can afford, after looking at your credit score.
  • Meet with your chosen Realtor. Once you discuss the amount you were pre-approved for and what you want in a house, you can start shopping for your first home together.

2 Months Before

  • Make an offer on a house. It usually takes around 4-6 weeks to close, so this will give enough wiggle-room just in case.
  • Get a home inspection. Anything that is discovered unexpectedly can delay closing, or at least make things a bit more complicated in terms of costs.

One Month Before

  • Ensure all your financial documents and lending paperwork are correct, and in perfect order.
  • Get home insurance, and bring proof of it to the closing.
  • A couple days before closing, do a final walk-through to make sure everything looks the same as agreed upon.
  • Make sure you have the required funds to bring to the closing, such as wired money, cash, or a cashier’s check.

 

Congratulations on your new home!