Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley - CENTURY 21 Cobb Real Estate

Posted by Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley on 12/10/2017

These days keeping track of your money can be a hassle. Between all the different ways you can spend your money it’s easy to lose track of your spending. Luckily there are some great apps for money management. Below are a few favorites— all rated with 3.5 stars and up. LearnVest: LearnVest is a money management platform, but it’s also much more. You can link up your various accounts to keep track of your spending, savings and goals (that you set). But the best part about this app are the articles you receive via email from them. The articles that they send are full of helpful information related to early retirement, saving for your wedding, how to pay down debt, rebuilding bad credit, smart saving, and so much more. Every article is worth the read. This app is available on iOS. Mint: Mint is a well-known money management platform. You can hook up your bank accounts, credit cards, 401k and loans and set up budgets. The app utilizes graphs to show you how you spend your money and provides you with bill reminders. It will even give you your net worth. The only downfall to the app is that it has a difficult time connecting to small banks’ online banking systems. This app is available on iOS and Google Play. Daily Budget: This is a do-it-yourself app. If you are one that is weary about putting your personal banking information onto your phone then this is the money management app for you. You plug in your income, reoccurring expenses and it gives you a daily budget. You can add in additional income and expenses as they occur. But, you will have to pay for the full version if you want to utilize all income and expense categories. This app is available on iOS. Comparable apps are available on Google Play. Prosper Daily: This app’s main emphasis is on protecting your accounts. You can link up your bank accounts and credit cards and approve or deny charges as they occur. But, it is also good for a high level review of your accounts. You are able to view your balances on your credit cards and checking account all in one place. Another pro of this app is that you are able to categorize your charges making it easy to keep track of what you are spending your money on. One of the great new features now available is the ability to view your credit score. And beyond that it provides insight into why your score is the way it is and how to improve it. This app is available on iOS and Google Play. These apps will aid you in getting in front of your spending and back in control of where your money is going. Be sure to take full advantage of the offerings that each app has, as it will only benefit you in the long run.

Posted by Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley on 12/13/2015

The first step in home buying is getting a mortgage. Many home owners also find themselves in a maze when they start the refinance process. Navigating the mortgage process can be confusing. There is so much to know between rates, types of mortgages and payment schedules. Avoiding making a mistake in the mortgage process can save you a lot of money and headaches. Here is a list of the biggest mortgage mistakes that potential borrowers make. 1. No or Low Down Payment Buying a home with no or a low down payment is not a good idea. A large down payment increases the amount of equity the borrower has in the home. It also reduces the bank’s liability on the home. Research has shown that borrowers that place down a large down payment are much more likely to make their mortgage payments. If they do not they will also lose money. Borrowers who put little to nothing down on their homes find themselves upside down on their mortgage and end up just walking away. They owe more money than the home is worth. The more a borrower owes, the more likely they are to walk away and be subject to credit damaging foreclosure. 2. Adjustable Rate Mortgages or ARMs Adjustable rate mortgages or ARMs sound too good to be true and they can be. The loan starts off with a low interest rate for the first two to five years. This allows the borrower to buy a larger house than they can normally qualify for. After two to five years the low adjustable rate expires and the interest rate resets to a higher market rate. Now the borrowers can no longer make the higher payment not can they refinance to a lower rate because they often do not have the equity in the home to qualify for a refinance. Many borrowers end up with high mortgage payments that are two to three times their original payments. 3. No Documentation Loans No documentation loans or sometimes called “liar loans” were very popular prior to the subprime meltdown. These loans requires little to no documentation. They do not require verification of the borrower's income, assets and/or expenses. Unfortunately borrowers have a tendency to inflate their income so that they can buy a larger house. The problems start once the mortgage payment is due. Because the borrower does not have the income they are unable to make mortgage payments and often end up face bankruptcy and foreclosure. 4. Reverse Mortgages You have seen the commercials and even infomercials devoted to advocating reverse mortgages. A reverse mortgage is a loan available to borrowers age 62 and up. It uses the equity from the borrower’s home. The available equity is paid out in a steady stream of payments or in a lump sum like an annuity. Reverse mortgage have can be dangerous and have many drawbacks. There are many fees associated with reverse mortgages. These includes origination fees, mortgage insurance, title insurance, appraisal fees, attorney fees and many other miscellaneous fees that can quickly eat at the home’s equity. Another drawback; the borrower loses full ownership of their home and the bank now owns the home Avoiding the pitfalls of the mortgage maze will hopefully help you keep in good financial health as a home can be your best investment. .

Posted by Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley on 10/11/2015

Do you have clogged drains? All of us will experience a backed up drain at some point in our life. Store bought drain cleaners have harsh chemicals and can be expensive. Homemade drain cleaners can be an effective alternative to the store bought ones, and you probably have everything you need in your home already. Here is how to clear your drain the natural way in just a few minutes: 1. Pour ½ cup baking soda into the drain. 2. Pour ½ cup of vinegar into the drain. 3. The ingredients will start bubbling and fizzing. 4. When the bubbling and fizzing has stopped pour boiling water into the drain. 5. Flush the drain with hot water. You may have to do this a few times, but soon your drain should be as good as new.

Posted by Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley on 5/31/2015

The warmer weather is here. If you don't have air conditioning or just want to save money by not turning it on as often there are lots of ways to keep cool. So before you turn on the air or get overheated here are some tips on how to cool down your home as well as some tips for cooling yourself.   1. Keep the blinds shut Keep the heat out by closing your blinds, curtains and windows during the day. This will block the sun's heat. Keep everything shut until night falls and its cool enough to open the windows. 2. Open the windows After nightfall open the windows to allow the cool night air to blow throughout house. 3. Use a fan Place ceiling fans and window fans in upstairs rooms to draw off the heat and push the heat outdoors. Set up fans to suck up the cooler air from the floor below, and blow the hot air upwards towards the ceiling. 4. Create your own air conditioner Believe it or not you can make your own air conditioner. Place a metal bowl of ice in front of a fan, and adjust the fan so that the air is blowing over the ice. 5. Avoid adding heat Don't add heat to your home especially during the day. Wait until the evening to take a hot shower, wash dishes and clothes or turn on the oven.

Posted by Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley on 5/17/2015

Buying a home can be very confusing and not to mention the new terms you need to know. This is especially true when it comes to navigating the mortgage process. One important term to understand is the Good Faith Estimate. The Good Faith Estimate or GFE is a government-mandated form mortgage brokers and lenders are required to give prospective borrowers within three days of a loan application. The GFE summarizes the terms of the loan. It can be used to compare loan offers from the same or different lenders. An approximation of the final figure of the loan costs are on the GFE and must be as accurate as possible, it is important to note that some GFE can have a 10 percent tolerance. The top two sections on Page 1 provide a summary of the loan terms and estimated settlement charges. There is also a section the covers when the GFE expires and whether the interest rate is locked or floating. You will want to go over the GFE closely; it will disclose the initial loan amount, interest rate, monthly payment and loan terms. Remember that the payment includes principal, interest and mortgage insurance, if any, but not property taxes or homeowners insurance. You can find a Guide To The Good Faith Estimate by clicking here.