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What Every Seller Needs to Know About Closing

by The Schnoor Team

Walk-throughs, closing costs, and other items to check off your list before the big finish!

Closing time. The end of the road. The last hurrah — and hurrahs are in order.

If you’re here, then you’ve found a buyer, negotiated home repairs, and are ready to move out — and on. But before you can make this sale official (and get paid!), you still have a few items to cross off your list.

Here, we’ve laid out everything you need to know to have a successful settlement.

Closing Is the Final Step

Closing, or “settlement,” is when both parties sign the final ownership and insurance paperwork, and the buyer becomes the legal owner of the home.

Typically, closing day takes place about four to six weeks after you signed a purchase and sale agreement. During this window, the buyer’s purchasing funds are held in escrow until all contingencies, like the home inspection contingency and appraisal contingency, are met.

Your agent will be able to answer questions and offer support through closing. Here’s what to expect from the process, start to finish.

Before You Close, You’ll Have a Final Walk-Through

Most sales contracts give the buyer one last chance to do a walk-through of the home within 24 hours of settlement. This is their chance to check that the property is in good condition, and to make sure the agreed-upon repairs were completed.

In most cases, no problems arise at this stage of the transaction. (If something is amiss, your agent can walk you through it.) The final walk-through mostly gives buyers peace of mind knowing that you, the seller, have adhered to the conditions of the sales contract and home inspection-related repairs.

Follow These Steps to Prepare for the Final Walk-Through

To help ensure that the walk-through goes smoothly, take these six steps ahead of time to prepare:

Step #1: Clean house. Your home should be spotless for the final walk-through. Assuming the buyer is taking ownership on closing day, you should be fully moved out at this point. But moving can be messy. After purging, packing, and moving, you may want to do one more deep cleaning.

Step #2: Leave owner’s manuals and warranties. Make the buyer’s life easier by providing all manuals and warranties you have for home appliances. Print physical copies and put these documents in one place for the new owner. If you have receipts from contractors for repairs, leave them with the manuals.

Step #3: Provide a vendor list. Give the buyer contact information for home contractors or maintenance companies that you’ve used in the past. These vendors are familiar with your home, and the new owner will appreciate having a list of servicers they can trust will take good care of their new home.

Step #4: Check for forgotten items. Do one more check throughout the home to make sure you’re not leaving anything behind. One exception: You may want to leave unused or leftover paint cans in the colors currently in use within the home — but confirm with the buyer first.

Step #5: Turn off water shut-off valves. The last thing you want before closing is a flood. With the buyer’s permission, turn off your house’s main shutoff valve 24 hours before closing.

Step #6: Lock up. Until settlement is complete, you’re legally responsible for the home — meaning you’d be liable if there’s a break-in before closing. So, the day before settlement make sure to close window coverings and lock the entry doors. If a house looks un-lived in, it’s a welcome sign to burglars. It’s a good idea to leave a porch light on, or to set an interior light to turn on and off with a timer.

If the final walk-through reveals an issue with the house, don’t panic. The standard protocol is for the buyer’s agent to immediately alert the listing agent that there’s a problem. Then, both parties work together to solve it. Typically, either the closing gets delayed or there’s additional negotiation, such as monetary deduction of the sales price. In other words: There are options, and your agent can help you through this.

Up Next: The “Closing Disclosure”

Let’s assume the final walk-through is smooth sailing. (Woo-hoo!) What happens next?

You’ll get info about your closing costs from the title company.

Meanwhile, the buyer’s mortgage lender must provide the buyer with a Closing Disclosure, or CD, three business days before settlement. This is a formal statement of the buyer’s final loan terms and closing costs. As the loan borrower, the buyer is entitled to a three-day review period to see if there are any significant discrepancies between their CD and Loan Estimate (LE) — a document buyers receive when they apply for a loan. The LE outlines the approximate fees the buyer would need to pay.

In most cases, there are no major differences between the CD and LE. However, if certain closing costs differ by 10% or more between the estimate and the disclosure, the buyer’s loan has to go back to the mortgage lender so that cost differences can be reviewed. If that happens, closing is usually delayed until the issue is resolved.

Expect to See These People at the Closing

The closing typically takes place at the title company, attorney’s office, or the buyer’s or seller’s agent’s real estate office. (Unless you live in a state that allows for electronic closings — eClosings — with remote notaries. In that case, the involved parties can opt to sign documents digitally.)

The list of legally mandated attendees will depend on your state, but usually you’ll be joined by:

  • Your agent
  • The buyer
  • The buyer’s agent
  • A title company representative
  • The loan officer
  • Any real estate attorneys involved with the transaction

Remember to Budget for Closing Costs

Closing costs can vary widely by location, but you’ll generally pay closing costs of 5% to 10% of the home’s sales price. So, on a $300,000 home, you can expect to pay anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 in closing costs. In most cases, these costs are deducted from your proceeds at closing.

Closing costs for sellers typically include:

  • The commission for the listing agent and buyer’s agent
  • Transfer taxes or recording fees
  • Loan payoff costs
  • Unpaid homeowner association dues
  • Homeowner association dues included up to the settlement date
  • Prorated property taxes
  • Escrow, title, or attorney fees

Be Sure to Bring These Things to Closing

At the closing you should have:

  • A government-issued photo ID
  • A copy of the ratified sales contract
  • House keys, garage remotes, mailbox keys, gate keys, and any pool keys
  • A cashier’s check, or proof of wire transfer, if your closing costs are not being deducted from the sales price. (Yes, it’s OK to use a cashier’s check — especially if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of a wire transfer, which can take time to clear. With a cashier’s check, you’re guaranteed the money you need for settlement will be there at closing.)

Don’t Forget to Dot These I’s and Cross These T’s

Before you rush off to pick out paint samples for your new place, remember to do these two steps that are often overlooked by sellers:

Transfer utilities. Don’t want to pay for the new owner’s utility bills? Coordinate with the buyer so that utilities — including not only gas and electric but also water and cable — are transferred to the buyer on closing day.

Change your address. You obviously want your mail to be sent to your new home. Setting up a forwarding address will also ensure that you can be reached if there are any post-closing matters.

Finally: Celebrate!

At last, your home is officially sold. Congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the back — and then start settling into your new phase of life.

Source: "What Every Seller Needs to Know About Closing"

Fishing in New Mexico

by The Schnoor Team

One of the nicest things about fishing in New Mexico is the year-round season for most waters. Add the broad variety of species from panfish to trout, bass and catfish, northern pike and walleye, and you have one of the best places to fish in the nation. And don’t forget about the phenomenon of winter ice fishing in the so-called desert Southwest

Out-of-state anglers must purchase an annual fishing license, a one-day license or a five-day license. The fishing license year is April 1- March 31.

A few lakes and parts of some streams are designated “Special Trout Waters,” more commonly referred to as “Quality Waters.” On most of them, only artificial flies and lures with single, barbless hooks can be used. All have restrictions on bag and possession limits. Many Indian pueblos and reservations offer public fishing, mostly for rainbow trout, some with bass or catfish.

FISHING IN NEW MEXICO BY REGION

NORTHWEST

Navajo Nation – Whiskey Lake, north of Gallup at 8,000 feet, offers average catches of 14- to 18-inch rainbow trout and a decent opportunity for 20-24-inch and larger fish (closed Dec.-Apr.). Navajo fishing and boat permits are available at sporting goods stores in the Gallup and Farmington areas. Reliable advice on routing to Whiskey and all lakes on the Navajo Nation is strongly advised. Visit the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife website, http://www.nndfw.org/ for more information.

Navajo Lake State Park - This 15,000-acre irrigation impoundment in the Four Corners area is home to rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon (landlocked Pacific sockeye salmon), largemouth/smallmouth bass, northern pike, channel catfish, crappie and bluegill.  For information on Navajo Lake and the San Juan River below the lake, visit www.emnrd.state.nm.us/spd/navajolakestatepark.html.

San Juan River - The San Juan River is a famous trout stream because the water portion directly below the dam is nearly always cold and clear because the dam slows the water and filters out the mud. This stretch is among the most hallowed trout fishing waters in North America. The rich waters spawn abundant flora, which in turn creates a fine environment for insect proliferation, which in turn supports one of the most prolific trout populations in any large river, both in terms of quantity and average fish size. It is illegal to fish with more than two flies on a single line when fishing the special trout water on the San Juan River.

NORTH CENTRAL

Cochiti Lake - A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) lake 50 miles north of Albuquerque and about 10 miles west of 1-25 has black bass, white bass, bluegill, crappie, walleye, catfish and northern pike. While Cochiti Lake is located within the boundaries of Cochiti Pueblo, permission to fish there is not required, as it is a USACOE facility. Visit www.corpslakes.usace.army.mil

Heron Lake - Less than 20 miles southwest of U.S. 64 near Tierra Amarilla, Heron is a no-wake, 6,000-acre lake that favors fishing and sailing.  Produces 14- to 20-inch kokanee, and 10-to 20-plus-pound lake trout. Many visitors use guides to provide proper equipment and advice. Visit www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/

Jemez Mountains - Jemez streams and Fenton Lake are accessible via N.M. 44 northwest out of Bernalillo, then N.M. 4 north out of San Ysidro.  Jemez waters are heavily stocked with catchable rainbows. Some streams have good populations of brown trout. Visit www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/

Jicarilla Apache Reservation - Probably the best lake in the state for large rainbow trout is Stone Lake - 18 miles south of U.S. 64 out of Dulce. Stone Lake is currently stocked with rainbow trout, largemouth bass and brown trout. Stone is most easily fished from small boats and float tubes, and is an extremely productive fishery with an unbelievable diversity and abundance of aquatic invertebrates. Tiger salamanders and Fat head minnows also contribute to trout diets in this lake and growth rates of 2 inches have been recorded at Stone Lake. However, prolonged drought conditions have seriously affected the Jicarilla fishing lakes, and decreased opportunities for fishermen. There are seven fishing lakes ranging in size from 35-500 acres, when full. Two of these lakes, Hayden Lake and La Jara Lake are currently dry. The other lakes including Stone Lake, Mundo Lake, Enbom Lake, Dulce Lake and Horse Lake have been impacted by drought conditions but are currently stocked for fishing. Bait fishing is allowed at Mundo and Enbom Lakes. At Stone Lake, however, only artificial flies and lures, with barbless hooks, are allowed. Mundo Lake offers rainbow trout, brown trout, largemouth bass, channel catfish, and bluegill. Stone Lake also has rainbow, brown and largemouth bass; Enbom Lake has rainbow trout; and Dulce Lake features channel catfish. Visit www.jicarillahunt.com/fishing

Private Waters on the Brazos River - The Brazos River east of Chama flows mostly on private land. Two long-established lodges with a variety of accommodations and prices offer access to the river’s fine rainbow and brown trout - Corkins Lodge to 2.5 miles of private access, and Brazos Lodge to public access.

Red River and Lower Red River - The Red River originates in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area above Red River, NM.  The Red is New Mexico’s largest tributary to the Rio Grande.  There are two distinct sections on the Red River, the Upper Red and the Lower Red. The Upper Red River flows along Highway 578 and continues through the town of Red River.  This section is heavily stocked with rainbows and has wild browns and includes a 3-mile section of designated Special Trout Water.  The Upper Red fishes best May through October. The Lower Red River is a 4-5 mile stretch from Questa, NM to the confluence with the Rio Grande.   This wild canyon section features pocket water, riffles, plunge pools and short deep runs.  Easier access is at the Red River Fish Hatchery parking lot, ideal for a half day.  The better fly fishing requires hiking down one of two trails in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Area of the Rio Grande, west of Questa, NM.  Wild brown trout and some rainbows averaging 10-14 inches inhabit the Lower Red plus a few 15-16 inchers.  In the winter nice cuttbows migrate into the Lower Red from the Rio Grande.  The main fly fishing season is September through mid April, with fall and spring being best.  The summer can be hit or miss with runoff and rain.

Rio Chama Below El Vado Lake - In and around El Vado Ranch, rainbow and brown trout inhabit the many holes, pools and ripples of the nearby lakes and streams. In fact, this part of the Rio Chama is spectacular and it is not uncommon to hook an 18-20 inch trout. Take N.M. 112 west of U.S. 64 near Tierra Amarilla and proceed to Cooper’s EI Vado Ranch right at the river; parking fee applies.

Rio Grande - Anglers along the Rio Grande will be challenged by native brown trout, German brown trout, rainbow trout, and northern pike. All anglers, 12 years or older, must have the following: a valid New Mexico fishing license, a Wildlife Habitat Improvement validation, and a Habitat Management and Access Validation (Only those younger than 18, 100% Disabled Resident Veterans and Resident Anglers 70 and older are exempt from purchasing this validation.) in their possession. Licenses are available at the Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center. To improve trout fisheries, "Special Trout Waters" have been designated north from Taos Junction Bridge to Colorado. Anglers need to be aware of special restrictions that apply in this area. Visit www.blm.gov/nm

NORTHEAST

Cimarron River – The Cimarron River flows east out of Eagle Nest Lake, U.S. 64, through Cimarron Canyon State Park. Good for 10- to 14-inch rainbows and browns. A stretch of Special Trout Water starts near Tolby Campground.

Clayton Lake - A 176-acre impoundment, about 15 miles northwest of Clayton and north of U.S. 64, Clayton Lake State Park has one boat ramp. Fish for rainbows, walleye, largemouth, catfish and big bluegill.

Eagle Nest Lake State Park – Eagle Nest Lake, a 2,000-acre impoundment alongside U.S. 64 northeast of Taos, is one of the state’s premier kokanee and trout lakes, surrounded by the stunning scenery of the high mountains of the Moreno Valley. The lake at 8,300’ elevation is a cool retreat from summer heat or a winter wonderland. Good in open water or through the ice for 14-inch plus rainbows.

Springer Area Lakes - Springer Lake is about 5 miles west of Springer. Best (Apr.-June and Sept.-Oct.) for 5- to 25-pound northern pike. Lake 13 on the Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge, off N.M. 445 just outside the village of Maxwell, produces rainbows in the range of 12 to 24 inches.  Charette Lakes on a mesa southwest of Springer usually offer good fishing for 10- to 14-inch rainbows and perch. Maxwell and Charette Lakes closed Nov.-Feb.  Contact the Springer Chamber of Commerce, 575-483-2998 or springercofc@railnet-isp.com

Valle Vidal - The Valle Vidal is a lush mountain basin located in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, in northern New Mexico. It is managed by the Carson National Forest primarily for its wildlife, as well as its outstanding scenic and recreational opportunities. The Valle Vidal is a veritable Rocky Mountain paradise, with abundant populations of regional wildlife, including mule deer, black bear, mountain lion, bald eagles, and native Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Shuree Ponds, open July 1 to Dec. 31, are stocked with 15-inch-plus rainbow trout, with one reserved for anglers under 12. Daily bag is two 15-inch or bigger fish.

Three lakes along 1-40 between Tucumcari and Santa Rosa usually offer good fishing for walleye: Ute Lake, 25 miles northeast of Tucumcari along U.S. 54 near Logan; Conchas Lake, 31 miles from Tucumcari via N.M. 104; and Santa Rosa Lake, about 10 miles north of 1-40 out of Santa Rosa. The lakes also have small mouth/largemouth bass and channel catfish; great some years for crappie; and Ute and Conchas also have white bass. Be sure to check water levels before planning any fishing trip.

SOUTHEAST

Brantley Lake - An impoundment on the Pecos River reached via CR 30 off U.S. 285, 12 miles north of Carlsbad, Brantley Lake has largemouth/spotted/white bass, walleye, catfish, crappie and bluegill. If you go, concentrate on the upper portions of the lake for channel catfish and white bass. Brantley is catch and release fishing only due to contamination concerns.

Rio Peñasco on Private Land - The Peñasco is a spring creek with nine miles of trout water teeming with wild browns and rainbows along NM 82 east of Cloudcroft. A number of springs help maintain a water temperature of 52-60 degrees year round. Most of the wild browns and rainbows average 10-14 inches with realistic odds of trout reaching 20 inches. The constant water temperatures and tremendous aquatic insect population allow the trout to grow year round. The entire length of the Peñasco is privately owned. Mel and Jennifer Foley (505-687-2221) operate a 2-mile section known as The Rio Penasco Fishing Company. The Foleys offer day trips and overnight camping in comfortable tent-cabins with a full bathhouse. The Mesilla Valley Flyfishers have a two-mile public access lease on the Cleve Ranch. A $10 daily permit is available at the well-posted parking areas along US Highway 82 or by calling the Anglers Nook in Las Cruces, NM (505-522-3810). Five miles of the Penasco on the Mulcock Ranch (505-687-3352) is available for day fishing with a nominal rod fee. The Mulcock Ranch currently features a bunkhouse available for camping.

Ruidoso Area – The Ruidoso River: The Ruidoso River is still recovering from the flooding of 2008 and intermittent low water levels due to drought in recent years. Fishing may be fair for small brown trout and good for rainbows if water levels allow stocking. Grindstone Lake: Stocking of rainbows has been sporadic the last few years due to water quality problems. During the summer, try fishing early in the day (before the sun hits the water) and cast to rising fish. Check stocking reports and lake levels before planning a fishing trip. Bonito Lake remains closed for fishing until further notice.

SOUTHWEST

Bill Evans - Some 30 miles northwest of Silver City and about four miles southwest of U.S. 180, Bill Evans Lake is 300 feet above the river that fills it. Water from the Gila River is pumped up a high mesa to where a sparkling lake is impounded.  The lake annually fills anglers' creels with crappie, channel catfish, bluegill and largemouth bass. Trout, although present throughout the year, are more active from October through May. Compared to other southwestern lakes, Bill Evans has relatively cool waters and largemouth bass grow slower than in warmer lakes. Call New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, 575-522-9796.

Caballo Lake - About 16 miles south of Truth or Consequences via 1-25, Caballo Lake holds a large population of walleye in the 14-24 inch range and fishing should be very good. Fishing should be very good for blue and channel catfish ranging from 10-20 inches.

Elephant Butte Lake - New Mexico’s big one, Elephant Butte Lake is a few miles north of Truth or Consequences, just east of 1-25. Current lake conditions appear to favor blue catfish. Fishing for them should be excellent. White and largemouth bass fishing will be fair throughout the lake during late spring and summer. The Department plans to stock 1 million striped bass fry this spring. Several large stripers were found in recent surveys, but they are few and far between. Fishing should be good for walleye.

Silver City Area - Fishing Lake Roberts for largemouth bass and bluegill is generally good from spring to early summer. Channel catfish should be good in summer. During the winter, fishing for stocked rainbow trout should be good. Fishing at Quemado Lake should be good for stocked rainbow trout throughout the year, but slows in the summer as water temperatures increase. Tiger muskies are available throughout the year and are currently being caught at record sizes at Quemado, as well as at Bluewater Lake (you can only keep one, however, and it has to be longer than 40 inches). Fishing for stocked rainbow trout at Snow Lake is best from November- March. Expect fishing to be slowest in the summer. Both the Gila River and the San Francisco River along with their many tributaries are located within the Forest. Upper reaches and headwater tributaries of both rivers offer trout fishing, the lower reaches of both rivers offer quality warm water fishing opportunities. Visit the www.wildlife.state.nm.us fishing report.

CENTRAL

Sandia Pueblo lakes - Open all year. North of Albuquerque; take the Alameda exit west about a mile to N.M. 313, then north about a mile.  Three small lakes with bass, catfish and rainbow trout; Anglers can expect to catch 10- to 13-inch rainbows. Subject to availability, sometimes stocked with 3- to 8-pound rainbows.

Tingley Beach: The three ponds at Tingley Beach provide something for everyone. Whether you want to fish the Catch and Release pond, or want to expose a young angler to the sport at the Kid’s Pond, you’re set at Tingley Beach. Catchable-size trout and catfish are stocked from October through April in large quantities. If you live within Albuquerque or the surrounding communities, Tingley Beach is a classic “urban fishery” and it’s hard to beat.

Source: "Fishing in New Mexico"

9 Ways to Disaster-Proof Your Home Against Summer Storms

by The Schnoor Team

Turns out a tidy yard and clean gutters do way more than just look nice.

Sure, cleaning your gutters and trimming your trees may not seem like heroic tasks, but hey, when a thunderstorm is doing its worst outside, those mundane little jobs are your home’s armor.

So suit-up the whole place. These nine tips will get your home ready for summer disasters, like water damage to your home, power outages, and fires. (You’ll save yourself a pretty penny, too.)

#1 Clean Gutters to Prevent Water Damage

It’s a fairly simple task, but so easy to put off. Who wants to schlep out a ladder for an afternoon of gutter cleaning?

But clogged gutters mean storm water can overflow, saturating — and possibly penetrating — your home’s foundation. Gutter build-up can also contribute to water seeping into your attic and damaging walls.

While you’re scooping debris, check the downspouts for clogs by flushing them with water from a garden hose.

Or skip the hassle and hire a pro.

#2 Protect Your Roof from Storm Damage by Trimming Trees

You know what happens in severe storms. Tree limbs break away and fall. If huge tree limbs are dangling over your house, you’re at risk for major roof damage. Cut back limbs to reduce their weight.

Also, make sure they’re at least four feet above the roof. Tree limbs make great balance beams for critters to tumble into your attic; don’t make it easy on them.

#3 Install a French Drain to Keep Storm Water Away

A French drain — named after a guy named French, not the country — is a lightly sloped trench (1 inch per 8 feet) filled with round gravel and a pipe that diverts water away from your house.

The drain can be shallow or deep depending on whether you’ve got a soggy lawn or a bigger problem with water entering your basement during heavy storms.

#4 Prepare for a Power Outage with a Generator

An hour in the dark is an inconvenience, but a power outage of a day or two — especially when it’s 100 degrees outside — can be hazardous to your health (and pricey, as all your refrigerated and frozen foods spoil).

Invest in either a portable or standby generator, depending on how much you want to spend and how much power you need.

Generators vary by wattage output — the amount of power they can generate at one time. So check appliance needs: a four-slice toaster might use a whopping 1,650 watts – way more wattage than a portable AC unit (often under 500 watts).

#5 Prevent Fires with Hardscaping and a Tidy Yard

And you thought a well-maintained lawn and that flagstone patio were just for fab curb appeal (and to make the neighbors jealous). Au contraire. Stone doesn’t burn.

You can also deprive flames of fuel by keeping the grass short and irrigated, removing dry leaves and dead plants, and pruning dead branches. If you needed extra motivation to get off the patio and get that yard work done, there you go.

#6 Install Impact-Proof Doors and Windows

Think a door is just a door? When it’s rattling on its hinges mid-storm, you’ll change your mind.

Impact-resistant windows, doors, and garage doors can inhibit high winds that cause structural damage from entering your home.

Bonus: Impact-resistant features can also protect your home from intruders, reduce outside noise, and stop warm or cool air from escaping.

#7 Update Your Insurance

Sometimes you really do need to read the fine print.

Once a year, review your homeowners insurance to make sure you can rebuild your whole house in case of a disaster. See if you’re adequately covered for things like flood damage, too.

Plus, make updates based on recent home improvements, like that fancy burglar alarm you just installed, and ask about any new discounts for bundling with your car insurance.

#8 Check Fire Extinguishers

Scary stat alert: 660 people died in home fires in just the first two months of 2018.

While a fire extinguisher doesn’t technically expire, it’s possible for its seal to weaken over time, causing the pressure to drop and rendering it useless. Check that the locking pin is intact and the pressure gauge or indicator is pointing to “full.” (Sometimes this is a green bar.)

And did you know you’re supposed to keep a fire extinguisher on each floor? Or that different rooms require a different type of extinguisher? If not, a fire-safety shopping spree might be in order.

#9 Pick Wildfire-Wise Plants

Speaking of fires, homeowners too often don’t consider how their plant choices help or hinder them.

Plants with stems that contain wax, terpenes, or oils are super flammable — as are junipers, hollies, eucalyptus, and pines.

Particularly if you live in a wildfire-prone area, choose fire-resistant foundation plantings like azalea, boxwood, hydrangeas, and burning bushes. (Ironic, right?)

Succulents, like sedum, have high water content and are less flammable. If you use bark mulch, which is highly flammable, keep it moist. Less flammable mulches are gravel, decorative rock, or bark-and-rock combinations. You can find a whole bunch of plants appropriate for your area at Firewise.org.

Source: "9 Ways to Disaster-Proof Your Home Against Summer Storms"

New Mexico River Adventures

by The Schnoor Team

Whitewater Rafting, Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle boarding...Do it all! New Mexico River Adventures specializes in the highest quality outdoor adventures available in New Mexico including whitewater river rafting, kayaking, and Stand Up Paddle boarding Come experience the best professional guiding, service and instruction on the Rio Grande and Rio Chama. Adventure, fun, and fantastic food, too! New Mexico River Adventures' Guides are fun, informative and well equipped with an immense amount of experience on the rivers of Northern New Mexico and around the world. Enjoy a trip with these experienced, fun guides who really know each river's history, geography, and unique plant and animal life, as well as being great cooks! Visit our Brand New River Headquarters! At New Mexico River Adventures we believe that your trip starts the minute you arrive at our headquarters. Upon arriving, our guests will appreciate the welcoming atmosphere as well as the private and secure parking. Don't worry if you forgot any items for your trip as our outfitters store provides easy access to any items you might need. After checking in and meeting your guides, you will enjoy our private changing rooms and restrooms before it's off to the river. After the trip, our headquarters is the perfect atmosphere to relax and chat with the guides and other guests as you view the whitewater photos from your trip. You can choose from single-day excursions, multi-day adventures, or customize your own trip!


Source: "New Mexico River Adventures"


How to Keep Your House Cool Without AC

by The Schnoor Team

Want summer comfort but hate the AC? Follow these tips on how to keep your house cool without frosty air conditioning.

You don’t have to switch on the air conditioner to get a big chill this summer.

These tips will help you keep your house cool without AC, which will save energy (and avoid AC wars with your family.

Block That Sun!

When sunlight enters your house, it turns into heat. You’ll keep your house cooler if you reduce solar heat gain by keeping sunlight out.

Close the drapes: Line them with light-colored fabric that reflects the sun, and close them during the hottest part of the day. Let them pillow onto the floor to block air movement.

Add awnings: Install them on south- and west-facing windows to reduce solar heat gain by up to 77%, says the U.S. Department of Energy. Make your own by tacking up sheets outside your windows and draping the ends over a railing or lawn chair.

Install shutters: Interior and exterior shutters not only reduce heat gain and loss, but they also add security and protect against bad weather. Interior shutters with adjustable slats let you control how much sun you let in.

Apply high-reflectivity window film: Install energy-saving window films on east- and west-facing windows, which will keep you cool in summer, but let in warming sun in the winter. Mirror-like films are more effective than colored transparent films.

Open Those Windows

Be sure to open windows when the outside temperature is lower than the inside. Cool air helps lower the temps of everything — walls, floors, furniture — that will absorb heat as temps rise, helping inside air say cooler longer.

To create cross-ventilation, open windows on opposite sides of the house. Good ventilation helps reduce VOCs and prevents mold.

Fire Up Fans

Portable fans: At night, place fans in open windows to move cool air. In the day, put fans where you feel their cooling breezes (moving air evaporates perspiration and lowers your body temperature). To get extra cool, place glasses or bowls of ice water in front of fans, which will chill the moving air.

Ceiling fans: For maximum cooling effect, make sure ceiling fans spin in the direction that pushes air down, rather than sucks it up. Be sure to turn off fans when you’re not in the room, because fan motors give off heat, too.

Whole house fans: A whole-house fan ($1,000 to $1,600, including install) exhausts hot inside air out through roof vents. Make sure your windows are open when you run a whole-house fan.

Power Down Appliances

You’ll save money and reduce heat output by turning off appliances you’re not using, particularly your computer and television. Powering down multiple appliances is easier if you connect them to the same power strip.

Don’t use heat- and steam-generating appliances — ranges, ovens, washers, dryers — during the hottest part of the day. In fact, take advantage of the heat by drying clothes outside on a line.

Plant Trees and Vines

These green house-coolers shade your home’s exterior and keep sunlight out of windows. Plant them by west-facing walls, where the sun is strongest.

Deciduous trees, which leaf out in spring and drop leaves in fall, are best because they provide shade in summer, then let in sun when temperatures drop in autumn. Select trees that are native to your area, which have a better chance of surviving. When planting, determine the height, canopy width, and root spread of the mature tree and plant accordingly.

Climbing vines, such as ivy and Virginia creeper, also are good outside insulators. To prevent vine rootlets or tendrils from compromising your siding, grow them on trellises or wires about 6 inches away from the house.

Speaking of shade, here are smart, inexpensive ideas for shading your patio.

Want more tips for staying cool this summer? Substitute CFL and LED bulbs for hotter incandescent lights.

Also, try insulating your garage door to prevent heat buildup.

Source: "How to Keep Your House Cool Without AC"

Mold. UGH. Soooo Gross. Here’s How to Kill It Forever

by The Schnoor Team

By the way, bleach doesn’t work. And don’t try to scrape it off, either.

Ugh. Mold. It’s ugly. It’s tenacious. It’s the uninvited guest that keeps visiting — no matter how rude you are to it. But, unwittingly, you may be setting up the perfect conditions for mold’s return: a food source, lots of moisture, and a pleasant temperature.

“You’ve got to eliminate one of those three legs of the stool so mold won’t grow,” says Pete Duncanson, director of system development for ServiceMaster Restore. “And it’s always easier to prevent than to remediate.”

Assuming you like warm showers and a comfy thermostat setting, there’s not much you can do about the temperature mold loves. But you can get rid of mold — and permanently prevent it — by controlling the other two factors: food and moisture. Here’s how.

Starve It Out

Mold is a horror flick cliché. It’s everywhere. It’s alive. It spreads by spores floating in the air. And it can grow on any surface — porcelain, plastic, copper, silicone — as long as that surface is coated with organic matter.

“Mold doesn’t live on your shower walls or the grout or caulk; it actually lives on the deposited skin cells and soap residues (which have your skin cells in them),” Duncanson says. So. Gross. So, yes, if you want to get rid of mold you gotta break out the cleaning bucket. There’s no way around it. But the good news is that you don’t need toxic cleaners. Soap and water works just fine with some elbow grease, says Bob Justewicz, a director at the National Association of Mold Professionals. But two warnings:

  1. Don’t bleach it. Online chat rooms and myriad websites might have you believe that bleach kills mold. Both professionals say it’s not true. “Bleach or peroxide removes the stain, but they don’t kill the mold,” Duncanson says.
  2. Don’t scrape it. Remember, mold is alive (it’s ALIVE!) and reproduces through microscopic spores. “If you brush [mold spores] with your hand, they just go into the air and look for new places to colonize,” Duncanson says.

What about those daily shower sprays? Will they work? They are of some benefit, says Duncanson, in that they help push mold’s food sources down the drain. But as a solo act, no, they won’t keep your bathroom clean.

Dry It Out

How? Use your exhaust fan. “Running the fan any time the bathroom is in use is a good idea,” Duncanson says. “Then leave it on for 30 minutes after or at least as long as the shower ran.”

But make sure your fan actually exhausts outside through the roof or a side soffit and not into the attic. “If it’s going into the attic, you’re causing moisture to go into an unconditioned space, and you can cause mold growth there.”

No exhaust fan? “Any movement of air will help dry out the bathroom,” says Justewicz. “Even a desk fan on the vanity will help.”

After a shower, use a towel or squeegee to wipe down shower walls. Open the shower curtain to let it dry. Mop any water spills on the floor and counters. Avoid piling in too many shampoo and body wash bottles. They’re a perfect place for moisture and mold spores to hide.

Make It Stay Away

Here are a few more tips if your bathroom mold seems especially strong-willed:

Re-caulk. Mold adores crevices — probably because it knows you can’t reach it there. If lots of mold has built up on your caulking, it’s probably because it’s spread deep into unseen spaces behind it. If so, re-caulking may solve the problem. Just be sure to follow these tips to keep the problem from getting worse:

  1. Once you’ve removed the compromised caulk, be sure to thoroughly clean and dry the area before putting down new caulk.
  2. Use caulk labeled specifically for the bathroom, which means it will be mold resistant.
  3. Let it cure for at least 24 hours (or as long as it needs to) before taking a shower or bath. If it’s not dry, it’ll allow moisture to creep back in, undoing all your hard work.

Check everywhere for mold. If it keeps coming back, it may have a colony somewhere you haven’t found. Check behind the toilet and under the sink. Moist drywall and wallpaper are tasty treats for mold.

Install a humidity monitor. Affordable at around $10, they can let you know when moisture is building before it turns into an indoor rain forest.

Know when to get help. If it keeps coming back, or you see areas of mold the size of a quarter or bigger you want professional help. “You’re dealing with excessive moisture or a food source that needs to be controlled,” Duncanson says.

How to Get Rid of Bathroom Mold

  1. Use soap and water, not bleach. Bleach only discolors it; it does not get rid of mold.
  2. Keep your bathroom as dry as possible. Use squeegees on shower walls and doors. Use an exhaust fan religiously. Wipe wet areas with dry towels.
  3. Recaulk your tile if necessary. Be sure to get caulk that is meant for humid and wet areas, like bathrooms.
  4. Get a humidity monitor to let you know when moisture is building up to mold-friendly levels.

​​Source: "Mold. UGH. Soooo Gross. Here’s How to Kill It Forever"

Will My Taxes Look Different Now That I’m a Homeowner?

by The Schnoor Team

Magic 8 ball says yes. Here’s what to know to itemize tax deductions as a homeowner.

The federal tax law signed by President Donald Trump Dec. 22, 2017, may affect home ownership tax benefits described in this article. The new law goes into effect for the 2018 tax year and generally doesn’t affect tax filings for the 2017 tax year.

Taxes? Gross! Who wants to think about government paperwork, especially when your hand still aches from signing the 977 forms required to buy your first house? But listen up: As a new homeowner, you can typically wave bye-bye to the 1040-EZ form and say hi to itemizing your deductions on Schedule A.

That means you can combine the thousands you’re now paying in mortgage interest and property taxes with what you’re already paying in state and local income taxes. And bam! Suddenly, you’ve got more to deduct than the $6,300 standard deduction.

For recent first-time homeowners Ben and Stephanie Liddiard, buying a rambler in Layton, Utah, led to tax savings that fattened Ben’s paycheck by $100 every two weeks. If you’re like the Liddiards, home ownership will give you more deductions, so your taxable income will decrease and you could owe less in taxes.

What Deductions Should I Itemize?

  • Loan costs and fees
  • Mortgage interest
  • Property taxes
  • Private mortgage insurance

Not everyone who buys a home will end up itemizing and owing less in taxes, says Anna Berry Royack, an accountant who sees many first-time home buyer tax returns at her Liberty Tax office in Catonsville, Md.

To find out if you’re eligible to itemize, add up your deductions with your handy home closing paperwork, says Berry Royack. The document you’re looking for is either a HUD-1 Settlement Statement or a Closing Disclosure. (Lenders used the HUD-1 until late 2015, when they switched over to the more consumer-friendly Closing Disclosure.)

Here are the details on what you need to look for:

One-Time Deductions

Loan costs and fees. “Different lenders call their loan costs and fees different things,” Berry Royack says. “Look for an ‘application fee’ or ‘underwriting fee.’ Also, if you paid points to get a lower interest rate, that’s often deductible in the first year. Your lender might have called that ‘buying down the rate’ or ‘discount fee’ instead of ‘points.’ Points are easy to find on the Closing Disclosure because they’re at the top of page 2 and labeled ‘loan costs.’”

Recurring Deductions (Woo Hoo!)

1. Mortgage interest. Most homeowners can deduct the interest portion of monthly mortgage payments — not the principle — each year. Exception: When your mortgage is close to being paid off, the interest is less than the principle. So even when combined with other deductions, you might not have enough to exceed the standard deduction. But that’s a loooong way off for most of us.

To see how the mortgage interest deduction plays out in real life, consider first-time homeowners Ben and Stephanie Liddiard. They moved from a $1,000-a-month rental apartment to a $168,000, five-bedroom, two-story, 2,300-square-foot house outside Salt Lake City.

They had some deductions as renters, but those expenses were less than the $6,300 standard deduction they each got ($12,600 for marrieds), so as renters, they opted to take the standard deduction.

When they bought their home, the combination of mortgage interest, property taxes, Utah’s 5% income tax, charitable contributions, and some unreimbursed medical expenses incurred during Stephanie’s pregnancy, added up to more than $12,600. Hello, itemization.

All these deductions reduced their income, so they owed about $2,600 less in federal and state income taxes.

Once they knew how much lower their tax bill was going to be, the Liddiards had two choices:

  1. Leave their payroll tax withholding as it was and get a $2,600 refund the following year.
  2. Adjust their tax withholding so the extra $2,600 wasn’t taken out of their paychecks any more.

The Liddiards went with No. 2. “I changed my withholding so I get about $100 more [in each] paycheck instead of a big refund,” Ben says. That’s smarter than letting the IRS hold on to that until refund season since the IRS pays zero interest on the money you overpay in taxes.

Tip: You know what would be an even smarter move? Opting to automatically divert that $100 per paycheck into a home repair savings account. Once you’ve saved a tidy 1% of the value of your home, you could use that money to fund your 401(k) or your kid’s college costs.

2. Property taxes. Property taxes are also deductible, but they can be tricky in the year you buy the home because both you and the sellers owned the property during that year. Sadly, you only get to deduct the property taxes you owed for the portion of the year you owned the home; the seller gets the rest of the deduction.

This info shows up on the Closing Document as “adjustments for items paid by seller in advance” or “adjustments for items unpaid by seller.”

Tip: Who pays the property taxes in the year of the sale — the buyer or seller — is negotiable, but not who gets the deduction. Say you live in a sellers’ market and to sweeten the deal agree to pay the full year of property taxes for the seller. Nice negotiating! But you still can’t claim the full year deduction under IRS rules.

Other stuff on the not-so-deductible list:

  • Transfer fees for changing title from the sellers to you.
  • Recordation fees to put the title change into public record.
  • Homeowner or community association fees. They feel like a tax because you gotta pay ‘em, but they’re not.

3. Mortgage insurance. Private mortgage insurance, which many homeowners pay each month if they put down less than 20%, is deductible for many every year you pay it.

Private mortgage insurance protects lenders when they accept low down payments. To claim the deduction, your adjusted gross income (AGI) must be no more than $109,000. The deduction phases out once your AGI exceeds $100,000 ($50,000 for married filing separately) and disappears entirely at an AGI of more than $109,000 ($54,500 for married filing separately).

Other types of insurance, like homeowners insurance, aren’t deductible unless you can claim a portion of the home insurance because you work at home exclusively. “People can get those two confused,” Berry Royack says.

Other Deductions You Might Overlook

As the Liddiards found, sometimes buying a house is the trigger that, combined with other deductions you might have, makes it worth busting out Schedule A. That stuff you donated so you didn’t have to move it was probably a charitable donation. Those state and local taxes you paid could pay you back via itemization. Hopefully, you don’t have to, but you can maybe tack on medical and dental expenses above 10% of your income and casualty and theft losses.

Special Circumstances to Keep in Mind

If this is your first year doing your taxes as a homeowner, it’s worth splurging on an accountant to make sure everything goes down without a hitch. This is especially true if one of these special circumstances apply:

  1. You work from home. If you take conference calls in the same place your dog lives — that is, your home office is your exclusive, regular place of business — you might be able to deduct a portion of your home ownership costs under the home office deduction. “That’s a $1,500 deduction for a 300-square-foot office. Or you can deduct more if you have a larger office or the actual costs for you home office are higher,” Berry Royack says. The standard home office deduction is $5 per square foot. If you’re self-employed, you’ll be taking this deduction on Schedule C.
  2. Your lender sold your mortgage to a different lender. “That happens to a lot of people about five minutes after they walk out of the closing,” Berry Royack says. “If you’re one of them, you’ll need to remember to look for two sets of year-end disclosures — one from each company that had your loan.”

Add the numbers from both year-end forms to get the amount to deduct. If the numbers don’t look right, call the agency or company that services the mortgage and double-check the figures or ask your accountant to do it. “We see a lot of returns [at our firm], so we usually can tell if your property tax figure looks right, and we know where to check,” Berry Royack says.

Source"Will My Taxes Look Different Now That I’m a Homeowner?"


Explore your backyard: Family Fun!

by The Schnoor Team

When you plan your trip to New Mexico, you can count on plenty of adventures for the entire family.

You can choose to paddle along a picturesque lake or to negotiate the white waters of a rushing river. Take a ride through the Old West on a historic train. Go camping and get away from it all. Encounter the unknown. Maybe a long afternoon exploring the shops in Santa Fe is more your speed. Or the thrills of the Albuquerque adventure parks. No matter how many years young you might be, New Mexico is all about family fun.

Source: "Explore your backyard: Family Fun!"

Kitchen Color Schemes: How to Avoid Kitschy Colors

by The Schnoor Team

The timeless beauty of versatile hues.

The kitchen is the heart of the household, a place where you prepare meals and make memories. So it only makes sense that your kitchen’s color scheme reflects your unique tastes and personality, right?

The answer to that is yes — and no.

Although there may be a special hue that gets your heart thumping, there are many reasons why it makes sense to opt for a neutral palette in your kitchen. Many design professionals agree that using shades like white, beige, or gray as the foundation for your kitchen not only open up a spectrum of colorful possibilities, but enhance the value of your home.

The Never-Regret Factor

“Timeless colors are perfect, whether for resale or for your dream home,” says Jackie Jordan, Dallas-based director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams. “Your kitchen won’t suffer from this-looks-like-it-was-done-in-the-90s comments if you opt for a neutral palette.”

“It’s a space where potential buyers envision themselves spending a lot of time,” agrees Sue Pelley, spokesperson for Decorating Den Interiors in Easton, Md. Thus, although you may believe your purple cabinets are divine, others may think they’re dreadful. And that, she says, can be a real barrier to a sale.

The Versatility of Neutrals

But does going soft and natural mean you have to stifle your inner Van Gogh? Not a chance.

“A neutral kitchen is the perfect canvas to personalize as your tastes change,” says Jordan. “It gives you the opportunity to accessorize with fun rugs, dinnerware — even just a fresh vase of flowers to liven things up.”

“I love being able to change moods with colors, often inspired by the changing seasons,” says Wendy F. Johnson, a certified kitchen and bath designer based in Manchester Village, Vt. “Neutrals can provide the base for a huge range of related or contrasting colors to be used with them, from bright and saturated to peaceful, muted hues.”

Texture also adds enormous impact to a neutral kitchen. A combination of materials from rough to smooth and matte to high gloss creates visual contrast and reflects light differently throughout the day, says Johnson. “For example, you can mix barn wood walls and satin painted drywall, white oak cabinetry with glass insets, lustrous concrete countertops with a stone tile backsplash. These might all be in the same tones, but there is nothing boring here.”

Using Color to Complement Your Kitchen's Size

Your kitchen’s square footage is another important factor to consider when choosing a color palette. If the space is small, opt for paler hues for cabinets, walls, and countertops. Shades of white, bone, or cream reflect light and help a tiny kitchen feel brighter and more spacious.

Neutrals are also a great choice for kitchens that open up to other rooms, notes Pelley. “If your kitchen is part of a great room design, remember that any new paint will need to work with the color schemes in those rooms, too.”

Non-Permanent Ways to Add Pops of Color

Rather than committing to a single color scheme, a neutral kitchen lets you sample the rainbow. One option is to choose coordinating window treatments and chair cushions to liven up the space, says Johnson. An eye-catching poster, multihued area rug, or a collection of pottery displayed on a shelf all add personality to your kitchen and are easy to change when you’re ready for something new.

Paint is another low-cost way to incorporate a pop or two of color into a neutral room. You can grab a brush and paint your kitchen chairs or counter stools, or add a bright hue to the interior of a glass cabinet. Ready for something bigger? Consider rolling a bold shade on a single wall to create lively contrast in an otherwise single-color space.

Top Neutral Color Schemes

Neutrals may be timeless, but there are some combinations that look especially fresh. “I love warm grays and whites — always have,” says Johnson. “There are so many natural materials available in these tones that mix together beautifully, and all colors look gorgeous against this type of palette.”

Sherwin-Williams’ Jordan also favors white and light grays in a kitchen. “It’s a sleek and modern combination that works perfectly with the ever-popular stainless steel appliances and subway tile.”

When it comes to a big-ticket item like a kitchen, it makes sense to choose a palette that will endure for the long term, says Johnson. “Those of us who thrive in colorful surroundings will groan at this, but even we need some soft, peaceful environments sometimes.”

Source: "Kitchen Color Schemes: How to Avoid Kitschy Colors"

What You Need to Know About Researching Home Prices

by The Schnoor Team

There are a lot of home pricing resources out there, and some are far better than others.
When it’s time to sell your house, you may be feeling a little anxious. A chapter of your life is closing. There’s a lot of money on the table. You may be thinking “Is my house priced too high?” “Too low?” “Am I leaving too much money on the table?” These are big questions.

Luckily, you have a few resources at your disposal to figure out where your house stands among the crowd: a listing agent’s expertise and guidance, plus online property sites to get insight into the market.

So take a deep breath. Then do your homework. The more you know, the more confident you’ll be when it’s time to make those big decisions. 

Turn to Local Experts — Because They Really Know Their Stuff

The good news: Local market info is freely available online, so you, the seller, can get a sense of what your house is worth.

The bad news: Local market info is freely available online, so most buyers will also have a general idea of what they think your home is worth.

When pricing your house, a listing agent has your back in a way an online property listing site just can’t. An agent:

Has real world experience in your community. 
Knows the nuances of your neighborhood’s micro-market. 
Can expertly assess how your home compares to similar ones recently sold in your area.
Can tour your property to determine, inside and out, where your house fits in the real estate landscape. 

A website will do none of the above. 

An agent will, yes, consider online market data to help you set the price of your home. But he or she will also rely on first-hand knowledge about your home’s unique perks (and quirks), as well as about the neighborhood, to better inform your listing price. 

He or she can also recommend ways to market your house (Instagram-able photos, blog-worthy descriptions, etc.), pro stagers who can set your home up to dazzle buyers, and inspectors and contractors who can make any needed repairs.

That being said, you’ll want to have your own sense of what your house is worth too. As invaluable as a listing agent is to your selling journey, being the seller means you’re also the final decision maker. 

So keep your laptop out. We’re going to do a little research.

Source: "What You Need to Know About Researching Home Prices"


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