Why is it still so Cold in April??? Where is SPRING??

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Apr 242018

Where is SPRING??

If you’re wondering why the springtime weather is taking its sweet, sweet time to show up, you’re definitely not alone. Winter is having itself a grand old time sticking around in many parts to the United States, like that awkward last party guest who just hasn’t gotten the hint they need to leave. In fact we had, three different storm systems that set cold-weather records, and dumped snow in many parts of the country where t-shirt season should have already been in full swing. Could you hear that collective ughhhh?

 The Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic, and New England braced for a trio of potential “snowmakers” that lead to some very unwelcome accumulation of white stuff and even more unwelcome chilly temps.

Do you know how much house you can REALLY afford???

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Apr 202018

How Much House Can I Afford?

When determining what home price you can afford, a guideline that’s useful to follow is the 36% rule. Your total monthly debt payments (student loans, credit card, car note and more), as well as your projected mortgage, homeowners insurance and property taxes, should never add up to more than 36% of your gross income (i.e. your pre-tax income).

While buying a new home is exciting, it should also provide you with a sense of stability and financial security. You don’t want to find yourself living month to month with barely enough income to meet all your obligations: mortgage payments, utilities, groceries,
debt payments – you name it.In order to avoid the scenario of buying a house you truly can’t afford, you’ll need to figure out a housing budget that makes sense for you.

How Much House Can You Afford?

This table used $600 as a benchmark for monthly debt payments, based on average $400 car payment and $200 in student loan or credit payments. The mortgage section assumes a 20% down payment on the home value. The payment reflects a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for a home located in Kansas City, Missouri. Plug your specific numbers into the calculator above to find your results. Since interest rates vary over time, you may see different results.
Monthly Pre-Tax Income Remaining Income After Average Monthly Debt Payment Maximum Monthly Mortgage Payment (including Property Taxes and Insurance) with the 36% Rule Estimated Home Value
$2,000 $1,400 $120 N/A
$3,000 $2,400 $480 $79,000
$4,000 $3,400 $840 $138,000
$5,000 $4,400 $1,200 $197,000
$6,000 $5,400 $1,560 $256,000
$7,000 $6,400 $1,920 $313,000
$8,000 $7,400 $2,280 $360,000
$9,000 $8,400 $2,640 $416,000
$10,000 $9,400 $3,000 $523,000

In practice that means that for every pre-tax dollar you earn each month, you should dedicate no more than 36 cents to paying off your mortgage, student loans, credit card debt and so on. (Side note: Since property tax and insurance payments are required to keep your house in good standing, those are both considered debt payments in this context.) This percentage also known as your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI. You can find yours by dividing your monthly debt by your monthly pre-tax income.

The 36% Rule

The 36% rule applies to your total debt. This includes your mortgage, student loans, credit card debt, etc
Pre-tax Monthly Income 36% Limit for Total Monthly Debt
$2,000 $720
$3,000 $1,080
$4,000 $1,440
$5,000 $1,800
$6,000 $2,160
$7,000 $2,520
$8,000 $2,880
$9,000 $3,240
$10,000 $3,600

Most banks don’t like to make loans to borrowers with more than 43% debt-to-income ratios. Although it’s possible to find lenders willing to do so (but often at higher interest rates), the thinking behind the rule is instructive.

If you are spending 40% or more of your pre-tax income on pre-existing obligations, a relatively minor shift in your income or expenses could wreak havoc on your budget.

Banks don’t like to lend to borrowers who have a low margin of error. That’s why your pre-existing debt will affect how much home you qualify for when it comes to securing a mortgage.

But it isn’t only in your lender’s interest to keep this rule in mind when looking for a house — it’s in yours too. Since lenders tend to charge higher interest rates to borrowers who break the 36% rule, you’ll probably end up spending more on interest if you go for a house that places you beyond that limit. Plus, you may have trouble maintaining your other financial obligations, including building up your emergency fund and saving for retirement.

8 Must See Destinations in Asheville, NC

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Apr 162018

There are so many different fun/educational/breathe taking things to experience in Asheville. Below are just a few of the locations that are on most peoples destination list as a go to see and come back to revisit. The Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville have been home to everyone from railroad barons and Hippies to Foodies and serious Brew Masters. Asheville has a reputation as a mecca for artists and musicians, thanks to its near-perfect blend of natural beauty and culture. Whether your passing through on a road trip or spending a long weekend, don’t miss these 8 points of interest in Asheville, North Carolina. Each destination listed below has a link to there website for more information to visit and best times to come enjoy a meal in the welcoming City of Asheville….

The Biltmore Estate

Asheville’s most famous house is also its largest: George Washington Vanderbilt II’s 1889 sprawling mansion covers 178,926-square-feet, and is perched on a nearly 11-square-mile estate. It’s also the largest private residence in the United States.

The Mothlight 

There’s something to listen to every night of the week in Asheville, between its array of nightclubs, seasonal festivals, and impromptu open air performances, whether from touring big-name bands or local traditional musicians. But for a guaranteed performance, check out the live music at The Mothlight.


A rich food scene awaits the hungry traveler, with chefs from around the world — Spain, India, even Brooklyn — having opened restaurants in this new culinary capital. (One of Asheville’s best-loved restaurants is the Spanish tapas bar, Cúrate.) But don’t neglect to sample the local cuisine, either. Biscuits, barbeque, and mountain trout are all popular here.

                                    Bhramari Brewing Company

Asheville has some of the most breweries per capita in the United States, with about 100 types of local brews to sample. Get started with an individual brewery tour, or a beer-themed tour of the city’s offerings. We love Bhramari Brewhouse’s taproom deck, which is perfect for sampling craft beer and (of course) live music.

Asheville City Hall

A construction slowdown during and after the Great Depression essentially froze Asheville’s Art Deco downtown in time, much to residents’ and visitors’ lasting gratitude. City Hall and the S&W Cafeteria building are two prominent examples of the city’s famous architecture.

Thomas Wolfe House

Before dying at age 37 of tuberculosis, Asheville native Thomas Wolfe experienced a meteoric rise with the publication of his 1929 bestselling first novel, Look Homeward, Angel, set in a fictionalized version of his family home, now open to the public.

Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the country’s most famous — and most beautiful — roads, the Blue Ridge Parkway runs 469 miles across the top of the Appalachian Mountains. A park as well as a road, it links Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the south to Shenandoah National Park in the north. And it goes right through Asheville.

Craven Gap

Strap on a pair of hiking boots and hit the trails: Craven Gap offers great views less than 15 minutes from downtown Asheville, though travelers can also try a stretch of the nearby Appalachian Trail.

Spring Maintenance Checklist – More Than Cleaning

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Apr 132018

Too many homeowners believe spring maintenance is all about the cleaning. Sure, spring cleaning comprises a big chunk of any spring home maintenance schedule, but maintenance aimed at various structures, appliances, and systems within the home is, arguably, just as important. Nearly all homeowners love to see spotless windows for that first sunny, 70-degree day, but you can’t forget your roof and the possibility that ice dams formed over the winter. Indeed, just as much as that first spring day should provide an excuse to go for a hike or a picnic, it should also provide a reminder that your outdoor spring maintenance is waiting. Follow this spring maintenance checklist to ensure your home is in optimal condition for the rest of the year

Spring Maintenance Checklist

  • Gutters and downspouts: Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.
  • Siding: Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting.
  • Exterior caulking: Inspect caulking and replace if deteriorating. Scrape out all of the eroding caulk and recaulk needed area.
  • Window sills, door sills, and thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint or replace if necessary.
  • Window and door screens: Clean screening and check for holes. If holes are bigger than a quarter, that is plenty of room for bugs to climb in. Patch holes or replace the screen. Save bad screen to patch holes next year. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware. Wind can ruin screens and frames if they are allowed flap and move so make sure they are securely fastened. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.
  • Drain waste and vent system: Flush out system.
  • Hot water heater: Lubricate circulating pump and motor.
  • Evaporative air conditioner: Clean unit, check belt tension and adjust if needed. Replace cracked or worn belt.
  • Heat pump: Lubricate blower motor.
  • Foundation: Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for cracking, heaving, or deterioration. If a significant number of bricks are losing their mortar, call a foundation professional. If you can slide a nickle into a crack in your concrete floor, slab or foundation call a professional immediately.
  • Roof: Inspect roof surface flashing, eaves, and soffits. Perform a thorough cleaning. Check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls.
  • Deck and porches: Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for loose members and deterioration. Open decks and wood fences need to be treated every 4-6 years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. If the stain doesn’t look like it should or water has turned some of the wood a dark grey, hire a deck professional to treat your deck and fence.
  • Landscape: This is a natural for spring home maintenance. Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes from structures. Limbs and leaves can cut into your home’s paint and force you to have that side of the house repainted. A little trimming can save a lot of money and time.
  • Sprinklers: Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads. If there is an area of your yard that collects too much water or doesn’t get enough, run the sprinklers to figure out the problem. If it’s not something you can fix yourself, call a professional before your lawn needs the water.


What Bulbs Should New Home Buyers be Planting Now to have Summer Blooms

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Apr 102018

It is always a struggle to know what to plant and when it will bloom….especially when you are starting from scratch after buying a new home. Check out the below link. I found it very helpful when picking things to suggest to clients when they ask for my opinion.  I have most of these flowers in my personal flower beds.
Happy Planting