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How to Get Kids to Save Energy

by The Schnoor Team

These switch plate stickers remind kids why it's important to turn off the lights when leaving a room.

Want your kids to pitch in and help save energy? Green parenting bloggers weigh in on getting kids to flip the switch and stop wasting energy.

Kids have more important things to think about than turning off the lights. But discovering the lights blazing in an empty room for the umpteenth time is enough to make any parent scream, especially when the power bill arrives. 

The good news is, you can train your kids about the importance of saving energy right from the start. Here’s great advice from some of our favorite bloggers who know a thing or three about kids.

1. Let them take charge.

Jenn Savedge, who blogs at The Green Parent, practices a little reverse psychology — she urges her kids to remind her to turn off the lights.

“They get such a kick out of ‘telling Mommy what to do’ that it’s first and foremost on their minds,” Savedge said. “If I walk out of a room without doing it, they’re happy to point it out and then dash back and do it for me. 

“Works like a charm and keeps the whole thing from becoming just one more thing that Mommy nags them about.”  

The key to getting children to do anything is to make it “theirs,” says Monica Fraser, a mother of two who blogs at Healthy Green Moms

“I get them to police me because they get inspired to turn off the lights ‘better than me,’” she said.

2. Find their motivation.

For Sommer Poquette’s 8-year-old son, it’s money.

“If I have to ask more than three times for my son to do anything in particular, he loses $1 out of his piggy bank,” says Poquette, who blogs at Green and Clean Mom

“I do this so he learns that leaving the lights on costs me money, but also because he’s very motivated to earn money and spend money, so I hit him where it hurts the most: the wallet! Amazingly, he listens very well and never lets me get to the fourth ask!”

Fraser’s kids are motivated by the idea of helping out friends and neighbors.

“Because my children are quite young, I have said that we must remember to turn lights off and shut water off when brushing so that our neighbors have enough,” she says. “They know their neighbors, and certainly wouldn’t want to use all the water.”


3. Incorporate non-verbal reminders.

Gentle reminders, such as stickers on the light switches, help kids remember to turn off the lights when they leave a room.

“They’re each in charge of shutting off their bedroom lights each morning and during the day,” Poquette says. “We have stickers above the light switches to remind them. As a family, we all offer each other friendly reminders.”

Sticky notes don’t just apply to light switches, either. Tiffany Washko, who blogs at NatureMoms, places Post-It Notes labeled “Turn Me Off” and “Unplug Me” all around the house as reminders.

“Putting them by the light switch, on the side of the TV, on the wall next to the power bar that controls game consoles, etcetera, is a great visual reminder,” Washko says. 

“We also require each child to do a walk-through each morning before they leave for school and turn off anything that may have been left on. Once they consistently remember, we stop requiring it … that is, until they have a few lapses, then we rinse and repeat.”

4. Explain to them why it’s important.

The full implications of saving energy may not immediately be clear to kids, but they’ll be more likely to remember to turn off the lights if they understand why it’s important.

“To teach them about the importance of turning off the lights and saving energy, we’ve read them several children’s books,” says Poquette. “My son understands the value of a dollar, so I’ve shown him our energy bill and explained to him what this means and how energy is produced. 

“I think being up front with your kids, and explaining things to them in simple ways they can understand, is the best policy.”

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/save-money-add-value/save-on-utilities/how-to-get-kids-to-save-energy/

COURTNEY CRAIG                                                                                                                                      is an Atlanta-based writer and editor. She believes no effort is too small when it comes to green living, which she tries to keep in mind while renovating her recently purchased first home. 

Spring Cleaning Guide If You Love, Love, LOVE Houseplants

by The Schnoor Team

An outdoor shower and dirt massage will do wonders.

You like having a clean house, and you LOVE having a green house. But a trail of dead leaves on the floor isn’t a good look no matter what.

This plan will help keep your home clean and green, while helping your plants stay healthy, too.

Give Plants a Spring Check-Up

Use a magnifying glass to check for bugs. Look for the marks they leave, like scarring, a cotton-like “fluff,” or webbing. (Hint: The undersides of leaves are a favorite hiding spot.) A few applications of a standard houseplant insecticide should take care of the critters.

Trim yellow and dead leaves. ”Aesthetically, plants look nicer without dead or dying leaves,” says Liza Wheeler, an “interior landscaping artist.” And creating a clean, green slate will make it easier to spot new problems as they arise, she says.

Massage the dirt to break it up. “The soil can get kind of cruddy from watering, so breaking it up makes it look cleaner,” Wheeler says. “It also helps aerate the soil slightly.”

Give them an outdoor shower. A little fresh air and a drizzly spring day — or a gentle spray from the hose — will help plants shake off the dust and cobwebs of winter. Don’t forget to wipe off the saucers and exteriors of pots.

Clean the Areas in Your Home That Your Plants Cover Up

Moisture and dirt can find their way out of pots and onto your floor, countertop, or shelf.

While your plants are drying outside after their shower,

clean the spots where they sit, checking for any damage, which could be caused by a cracked pot. Also clean any walls and baseboards that your greenery hides.

Clean the Windows

Crystal-clear windows allow more sunlight to reach plant leaves, fostering photosynthesis and respiration, freshening your indoor air. Besides clean windows make the entire home feel fresh and bright.

Organize Your Plant Supplies and Tools

Make lovin’ on your plants easier with some simple organizing solutions:

  • Do some organizing and purging to clear space in a cabinet or on a shelf to keep all your supplies together and easily accessible.
  • Stow frequently used items like a spray bottle and fertilizer in an easy-to-carry cleaning caddy.

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/cleaning-decluttering/house-plant-care/?site_ref=mosaic

AMY HOWELL HIRT

has written about home design for 13 years. Her work has been published by outlets including “The Home Depot,” “USA Today,” and Yahoo! Homes. She previously served as home and garden writer and columnist for “The Cincinnati Enquirer.”

5 ‘Gotta-Dos’ In April for a Worry-Free Summer

by The Schnoor Team

Battle bugs before they bite (or sting!) you — and check the attic for problems.

#1 Tell Insects to Bug Off

Early spring warmth awakens insects, so start to protect your home now. Seal openings in eaves, decks, and other structures to keep out carpenter bees.

Nix mosquitoes by eliminating standing water or treating it with larvicide. Call a pro to destroy wasp and yellow jacket nests, unless you’re experienced enough to engage in a bee battle.

#2 Prep Tools for Lawn Care

Ladies and gentlemen, start your mowers. April’s the month to get this vital piece of equipment ready to roll. An unmaintained machine can cost money, slow you down, and leave your lawn vulnerable to disease. So, before you pull the starter rope: 

 

Replace spark plugs and the air filter.

Change the oil and sharpen blades.

Fill the tank with fresh gasoline.

While you’ve got your gloves on, clean, sharpen, and repair your garden tools. When your azaleas are ready to prune, you’re not going to want to keep them waiting.

#3 Tune Up the Air Conditioner
   
With flip-flop weather comes another summer tradition: cranking up the air conditioning. Tune your AC in April, before the mercury and service rates rise.

Ask your HVAC company if they have a twice-a-year maintenance plan. Often, you can get discounted rates if you join, and you don’t have to worry about finding someone to do it each spring and fall.

Now you only have to worry about which pair of Havaianas to wear.

#4 Check the Attic (and Garage)

How long has it been since you looked in the attic? Yeah, us too.

April’s the time to inspect this oft-ignored space — before it gets too hot. Look for signs of animal activity (raccoons love attics), and repair or replace damaged insulation or wiring.

Ensure stored items are still secure; tighten container lids and dust covers and replace moth repellants.

While we’re talking storage, how’s the garage? If soccer balls, bikes, and luggage have taken prime parking space, regain control with a storage system. Your car (and your partner) will thank you.

#5 Clean Up Bird Feeders
   
Besides spreading diseases to birds, dirty bird feeders attract rodents and hurt curb appeal. Gross.

Give your bird feeders a deep clean — not just a rinse-out.

Empty them, take them apart, and wash with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts hot water. Rinse well to remove all traces of bleach, air dry, and refill with seed.

Clean under feeders, too, because moldy or spoiled seed on the ground can make pets sick. Don’t forget the bird bath.

A pretty yard that’s a healthy haven for birds makes a good impression — one that says “this is a well-cared-for home.”

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/home-maintenance-tips/when-to-spray-for-bugs/

KELLEY WALTERS
is a Southern writer and editor. She focuses on interior design and home improvement at outlets from HGTV to Paintzen. She lives in Italy a month every year, drinking Negronis and writing in internet cafes. 

5 Surprising (and Useful!) Ways to Save for a Down Payment

by The Schnoor Team

 

One of the biggest misconceptions of home buying? The 20% down payment. Here’s how to buy with a lot less down.

Buying your first home conjures up all kinds of warm and fuzzy emotions: pride, joy, contentment. But before you get to the good stuff, you’ve got to cobble together a down payment, a daunting sum if you follow the textbook advice to squirrel away 20% of a home’s cost.

Here are five creative ways to build your down-payment nest egg faster than you may have ever imagined.

1. Crowd source Your Dream Home

You may have heard of people using sites like Kickstarter to fund creative projects like short films and concert tours. Well, who says you can’t crowdsource your first home? Forget the traditional registry, the fine china, and the 16-speed blender. Use sites like Feather the Nest and Hatch My House to raise your down payment. Hatch My House says it’s helped Americans raise more than $2 million for down payments.

2. Ask the Seller to Help (Really!)

When sellers want to a get a deal done quickly, they might be willing to assist buyers with the closing costs. Fewer closing costs = more money you can apply toward your deposit.

“They’re called seller concessions,” says Ray Rodriguez, regional mortgage sales manager for the New York metro area at TD Bank. Talk with your real estate agent. She might help you negotiate for something like 2% of the overall sales price in concessions to help with the closing costs.

There are limits on concessions depending on the type of mortgage you get. For FHA mortgages, the cap is 6% of the sale price. For Fannie Mae-guaranteed loans, the caps vary between 3% and 9%, depending on the ratio between how much you put down and the amount you finance. Individual banks have varying caps on concessions.

No matter where they net out, concessions must be part of the purchase contract.

3. Look into Government Options

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, offers a number of homeownership programs, including assistance with down payment and closing costs. These are typically available for people who meet particular income or location requirements. HUD has a list of links by state that direct you to the appropriate page for information about your state.

HUD offers help based on profession as well. If you’re a law enforcement officer, firefighter, teacher, or EMT, you may be eligible under its Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program for a 50% discount on a house’s HUD-appraised value in “revitalization areas.” Those areas are designated by Congress for  homeownership opportunities. And if you qualify for an FHA-insured mortgage under this program, the down payment is only $100; you can even finance the closing costs.

For veterans, the VA will guarantee part of a home loan through commercial lenders. Often, there’s no down payment or private mortgage insurance required, and the program helps borrowers secure a competitive interest rate.

Some cities also offer homeownership help. “The city of Hartford has the HouseHartford Program that gives down payment assistance and closing cost assistance,” says Matthew Carbray, a certified financial planner with Ridgeline Financial Partners and Carbray Staunton Financial Planners in Avon, Conn. The program partners with lenders, real estate attorneys, and homebuyer counseling agencies and has helped 1,200 low-income families.

4. Check with Your Employer

Employer Assisted Housing (EAH) programs help connect low- to moderate-income workers with down payment assistance through their employer. In Pennsylvania, if you work for a participating EAH employer, you can apply for a loan of up to $8,000 for down payment and closing cost assistance. The loan is interest-free and borrowers have 10 years to pay it back.

Washington University in St. Louis offers forgivable loans to qualified employees who want to purchase housing in specific city neighborhoods. University employees receive the lesser of 5% of the purchase price or $6,000 toward down payment or closing costs.

Ask the human resources or benefits personnel at your employer if the company is part of an EAH program.

5. Take Advantage of Special Lender Programs

Finally, many lenders offer programs to help people buy a home with a small down payment. “I would say that the biggest misconception [of home buying] is that you need 20% for the down payment of a house,” says Rodriguez. “There are a lot of programs out there that need a total of 3% or 3.5% down.”

FHA mortgages, for example, can require as little as 3.5%. But bear in mind that there are both upfront and monthly mortgage insurance payments. “The mortgage insurance could add another $300 to your monthly mortgage payment,” Rodriguez says.

Some lender programs go even further. TD Bank, for example, offers a 3% down payment with no mortgage insurance program, and other banks may have similar offerings. “Check with your regional bank,” Rodriguez says. “Maybe they have their own first-time buyer program.”

Not so daunting after all, is it? There’s actually a lot of help available to many first-time buyers who want to achieve their homeownership dreams. All you need to do is a little research — and start peeking at those home listings!

https://www.houselogic.com/buy/first-time-home-buyer/down-payment-assistance/?site_ref=mosaic

ERIK SHERMAN

covers business, technology, finance, personal finance, and economics for such outlets as CBS MoneyWatch, Inc.com, Fortune.com, and Forbes.com. He’s the author or co-author of 10 books on a variety of subjects.

 

How to Rent Your Home

by The Schnoor Team

 

Step-by-step directions for getting the highest possible rent and the best tenants when you rent your home.

Whether you plan to turn your home into a rental property, or if you purchased a property specially as a rental property, the steps for finding a tenant are the same. You’ll need to:

  • Check local laws.
  • Get yourself the right paperwork.
  • Price the property to appeal to renters.
  • Vet the people who want to move in.

Regardless of whether you manage the rental yourself or hire a professional real estate manager, you’ll earn top dollar from your investment property by following these 10 steps:

1. Make sure you’re allowed to rent the property.

If you live in a homeowners association, check for rental restrictions and find out if local government requires a rental license or inspection. A professional property manager will know the local laws, but may not know your HOA’s rules.

2. Know the local eviction laws.

Talk to a real estate attorney or your professional property manager to find out how the eviction process works in your area. In some places, you can remove a non-paying tenant within a month, but in others, it can take months and months — during which you’re not being paid.

3. Establish the rent.

Do market research to set your rental price. See what similar homes are renting for on Craigslist, in the local newspaper, and on the local multiple listing service. If you allow pets, compare pet-friendly properties’ prices. If you have a REALTOR® managing your rental, she will show you comparable prices.

4. Do your rental home paperwork.

You’ll need to set up these finance and legal items before you rent your home:

Apply for any rental licenses your local jurisdiction or community association requires.

Open a savings account to hold the security deposit. Most states require deposits be held in a separate account rather than an account where you keep your own money.

Purchase a landlord’s insurance policy.

If you’re doing your own property management:

Open an account with a company that does credit and criminal history background checks on prospective tenants.

Have a local real estate attorney draft a lease and a rental application for you.

Set the minimum credit score, credit history, and income you’ll take. In an upscale community, you can demand a credit score of 720 or higher and no late payments (that’s stellar credit), but in a low-income area where tenants are often unskilled laborers and therefore more at risk of unemployment, expect to reduce that to 620 and no late-rent payments.

The tenants should have income of about three times the rent. So if your place rents for $1,000 a month, look for at least $3,000 a month in income.

5. Photograph your home with your furniture in it.

Stage and take pictures of the rooms before the first tenants move in. That way, if your current tenants have awful decorating taste or are clutter bugs, you can use your pictures to show your house in its best condition when searching for new tenants.

6. Advertise everywhere you can.

If you’re in a college town, contact the university’s housing office.

If there’s a large employer within walking distance of your home, contact its employee relocation division to see if it posts rental listings.

Sites such as Craigslist offer free ads, but watch out for check scammers who answer your ad along with the legit renters. A REALTOR® can help you post your property in the local multiple listing service.

These last four steps apply if you’re showing the property yourself, rather than having a REALTOR® find tenants for your rental:

7. Group showings into one or two days per week.

When you respond to prospective tenants, showing the house every day wastes your time and annoys your current tenants. Having multiple groups viewing the property at the same time will make prospective tenants realize they could lose the place if they don’t make an offer.

A Friday night showing gives you a jump on the landlords doing Saturday showings. Follow up with a Sunday showing to catch everyone who couldn’t make Friday night.

8. Get your deposit ducks in a row.

Get an application, a deposit check equal to at least one month’s rent, and a signed lease from everyone who wants to rent your place. Process them in the order in which you received them. You’ll cash the check and sign the lease back to them only after their background and credit checks come back clean and you’ve verified income and employment.

Anyone who won’t give you a deposit check isn’t a serious applicant, so don’t waste your time vetting them.

9. Verify everything the tenant says on the application.

You’ll definitely want to weed out prospective tenants who give you a cell number that’s answered by a friend pretending to be the applicant’s employer or landlord.

Look up the phone number for the employer and verify employment and income with someone in human resources.

If you can, call your prospective tenants’ previous landlord — not the one they currently have. If they’re bad tenants, their current landlord may tell you they’re wonderful — just to get rid of them.

Call the bank branch listed on the deposit check and verify that there are sufficient funds in the account to cover the check.

10. Take the first tenant that meets your income and credit requirements.

If you don’t, you risk violating Fair Housing Laws. The credit checking company will give you the paperwork you must send to anyone who fails the credit check. Call everyone else who wanted your house promptly so they can move on.

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/home-thoughts/how-rent-your-home/

DONA DEZUBE

has been writing about real estate for more than two decades. She lives in a suburban Baltimore Midcentury modest home on a 3-acre lot shared with possums, raccoons, foxes, a herd of deer, and her blue-tick hound.

Spring Cleaning List

by The Schnoor Team

 

Don’t you just love that feeling you get when you check items off a list? Get that adrenaline going with our spring cleaning list.

Spring cleaning isn’t quite the ritual it once was, but there’s still a basic human need to open up and spruce up our homes when the weather gets warmer.

To help you scratch your itch to spring clean, we’ve put together a spring cleaning list for those pieces and parts of your home that are most neglected throughout the year. Plus, we’ve added tips to make the chores easier.

Before you begin: Turn up the tunes with our Spotify spring cleaning playlist. Now you’re ready to tackle your spring cleaning list:

Walls: Dust your walls with your vacuum brush attachment, then clean using an all-purpose cleaner and rinse. Repair your walls by patching holes and dings and touching up paint.

TIP: Don’t use a spray cleaner, which will only leave streaks on your walls. Soak a cloth in cleaner, then wipe. To rinse, follow up with a clean cloth soaked in plain water.

Baseboards: Dust with a microfiber cloth or use your vacuum brush attachment, then spray with an all-purpose cleaner and wipe clean.

TIP: Clean your baseboards after you clean your floors since cleaning floors tends to kick debris up onto baseboards.

Windows: Use a microfiber cloth soaked in a solution of ¼ cup vinegar, ¼ to ½ teaspoon dish soap, and 2 cups water.

TIP: Don’t be tempted to use more vinegar. Too much can make windows appear cloudy.

Window screens: To deep clean your window screens, you should remove them. Place outside on a tarp or other clean waterproof surface, then use a garden hose, an all-purpose cleaner, and a soft brush (gently on the screen) to clean. Repair any torn window screens.

TIP: When removing your screens and hardware, label their location as you go to make re-installing them a breeze.

Shelves: Remove all items from shelves, and dust both the items and the shelves.

TIP: Use museum putty to secure items that tend to fall over, especially if you live in earthquake-prone areas.

Driveway: Use a pressure washer to give your driveway (and garage floor) a good cleaning. It’s amazing what a difference a sparkling driveway makes to your home’s curb appeal.

TIP: Try using Coke or Pepsi to remove oil and grease stains. It’ll take a little elbow grease, too, but the acidity of dark colas helps remove oil stains, as well as other tough stains, such as rust.

Siding: Using warm, soapy water and a soft-bristled brush attached to a long handle, clean your home in sections small enough to keep soapy water from drying before you can rinse.

TIP: Pressure washers can make the job go easier, but if you’re a power-washer newbie, you risk stripping off paint or damaging your siding. Try one of the newer, lighter, electric power washers, which are easier to handle, or stick with the old-fashioned method. Either way, wash from the bottom up to help prevent streaking.

Upholstery: Vacuum your sofas and chairs. Spot clean or steam clean as needed. Freshen dusty pillows, throws, and curtains by tossing them in the dryer on low or no heat. Or, take them outside on a nice day to fluff and bask in the sun as an energy-saving alternative.

TIP: To spot clean, use “whipped detergent” — a mixture of half dish soap and half water. Beat to a froth. Soak a cloth in the mixture, wash the stain, then rinse with a cloth soaked in fresh water.

Ceiling fans: Spray the inside of an old pillowcase with cleaning solution, then slip the bag over each blade and wipe clean.

TIP: Before you go up a ladder to clean your ceiling fan, check to see if the fan is turning in the right direction to keep your home cool. If you feel a breeze underneath the blades when turned on, your fan is set for summer. If you don’t feel a breeze, change the direction.

Air conditioners: Change your air conditioner filter, or clean it by soaking it in a vinegar-and-water solution for 1 to 4 hours (depending on how long it’s been since you last cleaned). Let dry completely before replacing.

TIP: Let the filter dry outside in bright sunshine to kill bacteria and to help remove odors.


Source: https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/home-maintenance-tips/spring-cleaning-list/

LARA EDGE

has bought four homes, sold three, and downsized into an urban home less than half the square footage of her old one. She has 20 years of editing experience, most recently at HGTV, which inspired her to do some DIY, and to know when it pays to hire a pro.

How to Spring Clean If You’d Rather Play With Your Kids Instead

by The Schnoor Team

 

The key is to focus on the things your kids touch. Oh, and throw a party.

Ah, the guilt of parenthood: Your kiddos deserve real QT, but also a clean home.

Since there are only so many hours in a day, this spring cleaning plan hits the hot spots that tiny ones tend to find, so your fam can get back to the fun in a clean (if chaotic) space.

Clean Soft Surfaces

Kids are all over carpets, couch cushions, pillows, and duvets, and somehow even curtains (is that … peanut butter?).

These dirt-collecting materials need a deep-cleaning to get rid of allergy-causing dust, food particles, and all the general eww that little hands smear around.

Wash throws, pillow covers, and (most) pillows in the washer. Use a steam cleaner (or hire a pro) for carpet and upholstery. Some curtains may require dry cleaning (always a good idea to check the tag to see what the manufacturer recommends).

Then notice how your whole home feels and smells infinitely cleaner.

Involve Kids in a Purge Party

Kids can accumulate a staggering amount of toys and doodads. Help them sort through what they can donate: They’ll learn the value of decluttering, helping others, and taking care of a house. Also: less stuff.

“The benefit for parents is that they can spend more quality time with their children because they aren’t spending all of their time cleaning and organizing,” says Alyssa Trosclair, a professional organizer with Centsibly Organized.

Hit the Undersides of Tables, Counters

Wipe off the bottoms of high-chair trays, the dining table, and the underside of countertops ledges, where sticky stuff often festers, missed during daily wipe-downs — but easily accessible to tiny hands.

While you’re at it, pull apart any tables with leaves and wipe down the cracks. You may find enough crumbs to make the grossest loaf of bread ever.

Clean Low-Lying Surfaces

The track of a sliding door is a sterile place to stash your pacifier, right? Little ones sure think so.

Cleaning door thresholds, baseboards, as well as the lower portions of doors, walls, and furniture is important when you’ve got crawling and toddling hands in the household. Oh, and don’t forget the floor registers.

Do a Size Check on Winter Clothing

Puffy coats, wool hats, scarves, gloves, and ginormous snow suits practically need their own house. And that’s not counting those 2-inch-thick sweaters. Purge the items you know won’t fit a fast-growing child next year, and clean the rest.

Because when the first big snowfall hits, kids won’t want to wait while you wash their crusty hat from last season.

Don't Forget Door Knobs, Light Switches, Etc.

Light switches, door knobs, cabinet handles, and remotes are some of the germiest places in your house. Cleaning them might be the most consequential to-do on your spring cleaning list.

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/cleaning-decluttering/cleaning-with-kids-in-the-house/?site_ref=mosaic

AMY HOWELL HIRT

has written about home design for 13 years. Her work has been published by outlets including “The Home Depot,” “USA Today,” and Yahoo! Homes. She previously served as home and garden writer and columnist for “The Cincinnati Enquirer.”

 

3 Ladera Rd - Santa Fe, NM

by The Schnoor Team

 

Beautiful Kim Dressel custom home! Large single story on 1.75 acres. Lovely front courtyard entrance with brick walkway leading to the front portal with exposed beams & vigas. At the foyer you'll begin to see the fine detail of this home. Saltillo flooring, art niches, exposed beams & vigas throughout. 3 amazing fireplaces for cozy comfort. The great room offers superb sunsets and boasts a huge custom fireplace with hand carved mantel. The kitchen is large with lovely tile counter tops, big island, loads of cabinets another fireplace in the nook, stainless steel appliances, and a built in desk. Imagine cooking and entertaining here! 10 skylights for natural light. The owner's suite is private and has another beautiful kiva fireplace, full bath and large walk in closet. 3 more bedrooms on the other side. The home sits back nicely from the road and offers a monument entrance and nice curved driveway. The south and west portals are all brick with more exposed beams and vigas. Enjoy the views! Radiant heat and split mini systems for your comfort.

10 Westwind Rd, Santa Fe, NM

by The Schnoor Team

Stunning single story 5 bedroom 3 bath home immaculately maintained. Amazing mountain and sunset views from professionally landscaped yard. Privacy abounds, situated on the end of cul-de-sac with no neighbors to the West. Upon entry, you'll notice the high ceilings, large vigas and beautiful flooring. This versatile open floor plan offers 2 living areas and a formal dining room. The kitchen is large with ample cabinets, cozy breakfast nook and is open to the family room. The owner's suite is private with access to the portal. Owner's bath includes a separate tub and shower, huge closet with professional closet system. beyond the living areas are 4 more bedrooms and 2 baths. One is a true suite with an on-suite full bath. Great for guests, teen area or mother-in-law quarters. You'll want to spend lots of time enjoying the outdoor area. So lovely and private with both covered and uncovered areas boasting thick flagstone. Views of the Jemez mountains and incredible Santa Fe sunsets! Newer roof and stucco, radiant heat and fireplace. Partake in the walking/biking trails right outside your door!

Contact us today for details!

4 Tips to Determine How Much Mortgage You Can Afford

by The Schnoor Team

 

What’s a rule of thumb to determine how much mortgage you can afford? There’s no one rule, but these four tips will tell you.

Home ownership should make you feel safe and secure, and that includes financially. Be sure you can afford your home by calculating how much of a mortgage you can safely fit into your budget.

Why not just take out the biggest mortgage a lender says you can have? Because your lender bases that number on a formula that doesn’t consider your current and future financial and personal goals.

Think ahead to major life events and consider how those might influence your budget. Do you want to return to school for an advanced degree? Will a new child add day care to your monthly expenses? Does a relative plan to eventually live with you and contribute to the mortgage? Do you like to travel?

Consider those lifestyle issues as you check out these four methods for estimating the amount of mortgage you can afford.

#1 Prepare a Detailed Budget

The oldest rule of thumb says you can typically afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. So, if you earn $100,000, you can typically afford a home between $200,000 and $300,000.

But that’s not the best method because it doesn’t take into account your monthly expenses and debts. Those costs greatly influence how much you can afford. Let’s say you earn $100,000 a year but have $1,000 in monthly payments for student debt, car loans, and credit card minimum payments. You don’t have as much money to pay your mortgage as someone earning the same income with no debts.

Better option: Prepare a family budget that tallies your ongoing monthly bills for everything — credit cards, car and student loans, lunch at work, day care, date night, vacations, and savings.

See what’s left over to spend on home ownership costs, like your mortgage, property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and community association fees, if applicable.

#2 Factor in Your Downpayment

How much money do you have for a down payment? The higher your downpayment, the lower your monthly payments will be. If you put down at least 20% of the home’s cost, you may not have to get private mortgage insurance, which protects the lender if you default and costs hundreds each month. That leaves more money for your mortgage payment.

The lower your down payment, the higher the loan amount you’ll need to qualify for and the higher your monthly mortgage payment.

But, if interest rates and/or home prices are rising and you wait to buy until you accumulate a bigger downpayment, you may end up paying more for your home.

#3 Consider Your Overall Debt

Lenders generally follow the 43% rule. Your monthly mortgage payments covering your home loan principal, interest, taxes and insurance, plus all your other bills, like car loans, utilities, and credit cards, shouldn’t exceed 43% of your gross annual income. 

Here’s an example of how the 43% calculation works for a home buyer making $100,000 a year before taxes:

*Your gross annual income is $100,000.

*Multiply $100,000 by 43% to get $43,000 in annual income.

*Divide $43,000 by 12 months to convert the annual 43% limit into a monthly upper limit of $3,583.

*All your monthly bills including your potential mortgage can’t go above $3,583 per month.

You might find a lender willing to give you a mortgage with a payment that goes above the 43% line, but consider carefully before you take it. Evidence from studies of mortgage loans suggest that borrowers who go over the limit are more likely to run into trouble making monthly payments, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warns.

#4 Use Your Rent as a Mortgage Guide

If you’re struggling to keep up with your rent, buy a home that will give you the same payment rather than going up to a higher monthly payment. You’ll have additional costs for home ownership that your landlord now covers, like property taxes and repairs. If there’s no room in your budget for those extras, you could become financially stressed.

Also consider whether or not you’ll itemize your deductions.

If you take the standard deduction, you can’t also deduct mortgage interest payments. Talking to a tax adviser, or using a tax software program to do a “what if” tax return, can help you see your tax situation more clearly.

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/finances-taxes/taxes/4-tips-determine-how-much-mortgage-you-can-afford/

G. M. FILISKO

is an attorney and award-winning writer. A frequent contributor to publications including Bankrate, REALTOR Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, personal finance, and legal topics.

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