The cool temps have arrived and there are armies of pests busy looking for ways to infiltrate our homes. We can take steps to avoid the bands of bugs and vermin hoping to claim our dwelling for themselves.
Seal It Up
While this tactic is relatively time-consuming, expending the energy to seal up your windows, doors and foundation is definitely effective. Without easy entry, pests hoping for a new home will have to go next door. As an added benefit, you will also increase your energy efficiency, thus lowering your heating and cooling bills, while also protecting your home against water damage resulting from leaky foundations. There are DIY options out there for the aspiring handyman, but plenty of companies specialize in this type of work, as well.
Keep a Clean House
It’s easier said than done, but keeping your home clean is a great way to help prevent pests. Understanding that a lot of common household nuisances are attracted to food (think ants and mice), it is essential to keep your non-perishable items in airtight containers and promptly clean up spills and kitchen messes. Maintaining a tidier home can alert you to potential problems much sooner, too, as bugs have fewer places to hide, helping you avoid an all-out infestation by catching the issue early.
Make Fleas Flee
Fleas are right up there with bed bugs and head lice when it comes to the amount of work it takes to rid your home of infestation. Because of this, prevention is your best bet. Pet owners of both indoor and outdoor animals should be vigilant with monthly anti-flea meds. Use of these products is encouraged throughout the winter months, as well, since unforeseen thaws and warmer temps are all it takes for eggs to hatch. A few bucks a month will save you a huge hassle and extermination bill down the road – not to mention hours of itching.
There are several products at various retail stores that will stop pests and insects from wanting to enter your home. Utilizing these at key times throughout the year is very beneficial. There are also Professionals who offer a regular routine service to take care of this for you.
Home is where you often go to relax and de-stress after a long day. Sometimes though, home can be the cause of our stress. This happens to a lot of us when our house is cluttered or unorganized.
There are many steps you can take to eliminate the clutter and start creating a stress free environment for yourself. Here’s just a few of them:
IDENTIFY YOUR STRESS TRIGGERS
Does it drive you crazy when you get home from work and there are ten pairs of shoes by the door? Do you hate opening your overstuffed pantry cabinet and getting a can of green beans straight to the face? Whatever your top stress trigger is, remove it immediately! It may seem small but your irritability will begin to diminish by removing even one of your stressors. The more stress triggers you remove, the better you’ll feel.
TAKE A WEEKEND TO ORGANIZE
None of us feel like cleaning when we get off work, so make the effort to set aside a weekend and get everything in your home cleaned and organized. By doing this once you can maintain the cleanliness by simply picking up the house 10-15 minutes every couple of days. Closets, storage areas and pantries seem to get the least attention but we are reminded each time we view those spaces that they may need some organizing. Choose small projects here and there so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
FIND YOUR HAPPY PLACE
With your stress triggers eliminated and your house clean and organized, you can begin to find what relaxes you. Create a space where you can go to feel your best. Whether that be the living room you designed or your bedroom that always brings you comfort. By taking even a couple minutes to yourself in this setting you can reduce some of the stress picked up throughout the day!
While there are many other steps and strategies to reduce stress at home, these are a couple that can be done quickly and easily (and even provide some instant gratification).
You probably spend the majority of your time at work and at home. You have the ability to control the stress levels at one of these places, use it!
One of the first things home buyers comment on is all of the paperwork that a mortgage company needs to process, underwrite and approve a loan. While it may seem like they’re taking everything short of a DNA sample, everything has a purpose.
There are different required documents whether you’re buying your primary residence, a lake home (with a second home mortgage), or refinancing your current mortgage—there are different requirements and they all serve a purpose. The following are some of the most essential documents you will need to provide.
BANK, RETIREMENT, AND INVESTMENT
The most common requirements from mortgage companies are 2 months (or the most recent quarterly) of statements. If you provide an activity printout, it needs to be stamped and signed by a teller at your bank. This certifies that you didn’t just create something on your computer.
The two-month window is used to confirm that “your money” that is being used to buy your house is actually your own earned money. One tactic of loan fraud is when “Person A” has a substantial amount of cash, but doesn’t qualify because of either bad credit, low or undocumented income, etc., so they give “Person B” that cash to buy a home for them.
The typical time frame required for pay stubs from your employer is the past 30 days. Most pay stubs show total hours worked, hourly/salary/commission wages, and also year-to-date earnings. They can also inform the lender of other things that may have been forgotten by the borrower to claim as income or debt—including withholdings for child support, 401(k) loans, and other situations that will affect your usable income.
Lenders can use “claimed” income from your tax return (gross income – deductions = claimed income). People who are contractors, self-employed or union workers who write off business expenses or other union dues can report less income on their mortgage file than they actually earn. This is the only way to actually see that information in any detail.
DIVORCE DECREE AND CHILD SUPPORT
The court documents are the only certifiable source to document what you pay/receive in child support or alimony. This is an additional factor in determining your income.
Mortgage companies need to contain the necessary information to pass an audit from any of the federal regulators. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two such regulators, have guidelines that must be followed in order to keep both the homebuyers and the mortgage lender safe from potential risk.
Different loan programs, borrowers, and scenarios will all have different requirements. It’s the responsibility of the mortgage company to paint the clearest picture possible to get your file approved.
Some people don’t like the notion of digging so deeply into your personal and financial lives but keep in mind that this part of a reputable mortgage company’s due diligence because they are lending a lot of money. If you were going to lend that much money to a complete stranger, wouldn’t you do your fair share of research too?