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7 Ways To Keep Your Information Secure

by Rose Price

 

7ways to keep your information secure

12 million Americans were

victims of identity theft in 2011.

Source: Reuters

Your homeowner’s insurance

policy may have coverage for

identity theft. Call your agent

to find out.

Smartphone users are 33% more

likely to be victims of identity theft.

Source: Reuters

Having your identity stolen can be a scary experience, but if

you act quickly, you can limit the impact on your credit.

Here’s how:

• Place a fraud alert on your account through the three

credit reporting companies—Equifax, TransUnion and

Experian. Fraud alerts are active for 90 days; after that, you’ll

have to reactivate the alert if you feel that it’s necessary.

• File a report with your local police department.

• File an Identity Theft Report using the tools available

on the Federal Trade Commission’s website at

www.consumer.ftc.gov.

• Contact your bank, credit card companies and loan

companies to place a fraud alert on your account or

close your existing accounts.

If your credit, ATM or debit card is lost or stolen:

• Report your loss immediately to the card issuer. Once you

report it, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized purchases

made thereafter.

• Get a copy of the transaction history associated with the

lost or stolen card, and look for unauthorized charges.

• Follow up with your card company. Write a letter to

the card issuer to confirm that you reported the card lost

or stolen.

• File a police report.

If your identification has been lost or stolen,

contact the DMV for a replacement. Ask them to

note the loss or theft in your file, or ask for a new

identification or driver’s license number.

3 wayso protect your

r smartphone

1. Protect your home screen with a password.

2. Only download apps through a trusted website

that monitors the apps.

3. Don’t reveal too much personal information on

social media sites.

If a thief has stolen your wallet or purse, he can

get your address from your identification. Change

the locks on your home to be on the safe side.

Mortgage Rates Heading Toward Historic Lows

by Rose Price

 

 
Mortgage Rates

 

Mortgage rates fell again this week and continue to trend downward, inching closer to historic lows. It is the third consecutive week in which home loans saw a decline, according to the latest survey by mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. However, the week-over-week change in home loans was minimal or “rangebound,” to use mortgage industry-speak.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan saw a minor change, moving slightly down from last week’s 3.43% to 3.41%. As it stands, loans are now just .1% away from the historic low reached in November, 3.31%, which was the lowest average for a 30-year fixed dating back to 1971.

The relatively static change can likely be attributed to continued stabilization of U.S. economic conditions. The bond market has especially benefited from uncertainty in the stock market, a relationship that will continue to have a dramatic effect on mortgage rates moving forward, according to mortgage expert Al Bowman:

This leaves the stock markets to be the biggest influence on bond trading and changes to mortgage rates. If we see sizable stock gains, bonds will likely be pressured, leading to slightly higher mortgage rates. On the other hand, if the up and down pattern in stocks continues tomorrow, we are due to see the major stock indexes in negative territory. If that is the case, we should see a positive morning in bonds with a slight improvement to mortgage pricing.

The 30-year fixed wasn’t the only loan to see a slight dip. The average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage also fell marginally, creeping slightly downward from last week’s 2.65% to 2.64%, which is now just a hair above (.01%) above the historic low.

Additionally, hybrid 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage went down from 2.62% from a week ago to 2.60%. The 1-year ARM, however, saw a slight increase week-over-week, moving up to 2.63% from last week’s 2.62%.

While some attribute the continued decline of interest rates to the bond and job markets, Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, points to weak consumer spending. “Retail sales contracted for the second time in three months, falling 0.4 percent in March,” Nothaft said in a statement. “In addition, the University of Michigan reported their Consumer Sentiment Index dropped 6.3 points in April to settle at 72.3, its lowest level since July. The April reading snapped a streak of three consecutive gains.”

Barring a surprise, rates are expected to remain consistent moving forward, presenting home buyers and people looking to refinance an opportunity to benefit from rates at near-historic levels. In this week’s Mortgage Rate Trend Index by Bankrate.com, 87% of the experts and analysts polled believe that rates will either continue their downward change or remain relatively unchanged.

Article copyright- Realtor.com-

 

5 Ways To Prep Your Home For An Open House

by Rose Price

Preparing your home for an open house can be a little like getting ready for a blind date. You don’t know what you may be facing but it is important to look your best. Open houses can often be stressful for homeowners because they know that strangers will be tromping through the door evaluating every last detail. You know the home needs to be as clean as possible but here are a few other things to keep in mind as you prepare.

Depersonalize as much as you can: You don’t want strangers seeing all your personal stuff and that’s reason enough to put photos, awards and sentimental objects elsewhere but there’s another reason as well. All that stuff is distracting and your potential home buyer could spend more time looking at what is in the home than actually seeing their lives taking place there. Your goal is to have your home appear as a blank slate, just waiting for a new buyer to make their mark. Pets should be out of the home not just for the day but ideally for a few days in order to allow any lingering odors to dissipate.

Don’t shove it all in the closet: You’ve got clutter, you need to get it out of sight, at least temporarily. The first instinct might be to move it all out to the garage, put it up in the attic, stack it in the basement, or fill up the closets. But remember your potential buyer probably has a fair amount of clutter too. They will be looking at all those storage spaces and the more available room they see, the more it will look like your home has all the space they need. Ask relatives or friends if you can temporarily store some items with them. You can also rent a storage space. The important thing is to make your home appear spacious and inviting.

Warm it up: The old trick of baking bread or cookies works to appeal to clients because it makes the home feel warm and lived in. Scented candles can work a similar magic. Fresh flowers or plants are also a nice touch and one that stagers often use. Another trick from stagers is to use colorful pillows and softly draped throws to provide a bit of color in bedrooms and living spaces. The home needs to be depersonalized but it still needs to look lived in and so a stack of plates left on the counter, fruit in the fruit bowl, towels in the bathroom, all go toward showing that the home is a great place to live.

Keep it bright: Light sells homes. Windows should be freshly cleaned on both the inside and the outside for maximum sunlight potential. Also go around and check to make sure all your light bulbs are working and that they are bright enough to really show off the rooms to their best advantage. Open all curtains and shades and take down any heavy curtains that might block some of the light streaming in.

Make a day of it: You know you shouldn’t be hovering around your open house but instead of going down to the local coffee shop and waiting until it’s over, reward yourself with a real mini vacation. Even the happiest of moves are stressful, so defuse some of that by taking yourself and your family out for a little reward. Put some distance between you and the home by going on a small day trip. Then later you can reconnect with your Realtor after he or she has had time to gather up all the impressions about the home.

Remember, you may not get an offer on the first day but an open house can lead to future showings and an eventual sale.

 

Top 5 Ways to Find the Right Neighborhood for Your Family

by Rose Price

Top 5 Ways to Find the Right Neighborhood for Your Family

When making the decision to move your family, it's imperative that you find a neighborhood that best suits your family's lifestyle, needs and wants. Researching a new neighborhood before getting too far into the home-search process is critical to making the right choice. Talk to a local real estate professional and keep the following five considerations from relocation.com in mind while scoping out new locations:

1. Keep your eyes peeled. Observing the neighborhood at various times of the day is a good way to get a feel for the overall vibe of the neighborhood. Be sure to visit at night as well as during the day. Pay attention to things like noise, traffic and parking. Though these may not be the first things you would think about when visiting, they will be highly important to you should you decide to move there.

2. Research the local hospitals. How far away will your potential new home be from a hospital? Is that particular hospital well established? Conducting some online research about the hospital's reputation is a good idea as well, especially for families with ailing members.

3. Check up on the school system. For those with - or planning to have - children, the school system should be one of the top areas of concern when considering a move. School ratings can be viewed online, along with various forums of parental commentary. What are others saying about the town's teachers, education, after school programs, etc.? If you can, ask others in your neighborhood about the schools, as their personal feedback speaks volumes more than an online report.

4. Research crime rates. Crime rates in a town or city are a large concern for many new homeowners. Visit the local parks both during the day and at night. How safe do they appear? What sort of police presence do you observe around town?

5. Dive deep into local amenities and public transportation. Convenience can be a make-or-break factor for a particular neighborhood, especially if you're relying on public transportation to get to work or schools. What kinds of stores are in the neighborhood and do the store hours match your lifestyle? Look into schedules and routes for busses, trains or taxis, if necessary.

A successful move doesn't solely depend on the property you purchase. To increase your family's chances of happily settling into your new home, do your due dilligence on the neighborhoods and communities you are considering. A professional real estate agent will also have a wealth of local expertise to tap into, so select the right person to work with. The more you know, the better home choice you'll make.

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.

Sincerely,

Rose Price
roseprice@champaignrose.com
Prudential Landmark
Office: 217-352-1933
Mobile: 217-202-8843
http://www.ChampaignRose.com

This email was sent by RISMedia, Inc. on behalf of Rose Price.

Avoid DIY Disasters

by Rose Price

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

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Rose Price
Landmark Real Estate
One East Main Street, Suite 200
Champaign IL 61820
217-202-8843
217-352-1933
Fax: 217-378-1281