Monthly Archives: January 2017

Dodge Winter Lawn Damage

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Winter conditions can present a wide range of challenges to your lawn and landscape, but there are precautions you can take to protect your lawn, as well as your trees and shrubs, from seasonal harm.

Preventive steps from the lawncare experts at TruGreen can help your lawn survive the winter season’s harsh elements.

Snow Plow Damage

Install brightly-colored boundary markers along the edges of paved areas to help protect lawn and shrubs from snow plow and snow thrower blades. Lightweight wooden stakes, at least four feet tall with bright reflective tape and brightly covered fiberglass rods, serve as good markers. Avoid heavy metal, fence posts and other large objects, as they can pose a hazard to snow plow operators.

Cold Temperature Stress

More so than any other season, trees and shrubs are vulnerable to changing weather conditions during the winter. Wide temperature fluctuation and extremely low temperatures are the biggest factors of tree stress, meaning your trees are more susceptible to things like frost cracks, sunscald and winter burn.

Keep twigs and limbs from breaking under the weight of ice by carefully brushing away, whenever possible, any snow load from plants, which will reduce the weight on the limbs and decrease the damage. Placing a burlap cover around shrubs such as boxwood and yews will help reduce winter desiccation.

Proper fertilization can help keep your trees and shrubs healthy well into spring, and allow them to better tolerate winter. A service can help with tree and shrub services customized to meet your landscape’s every need, including applications to control overwintering insects, pests and mites.

Freezing Temperatures

Damage to plants, shrubs and trees as a result of sustained low temperatures can typically go undetected until spring or early summer, when plants fail to produce new growth. To help prevent damage, maintain a two- to three-inch layer of mulch to help protect the crown and roots from weather extremes.

Winter Dehydration

During the colder months of winter, plants cannot replace moisture lost from leaves and needles. This leads to “dehydration” – technically known as desiccation. To help avoid this problem, maintain proper watering late into the fall, or water during periods of winter thaw.

Ice Melt

Ice-melting agents, such as rock salt and products containing calcium and magnesium chloride, may accumulate in the soil and cause damage to plants. Use extreme care when applying ice-melting agents to prevent damage to your plants or concrete surfaces.

Source: TruGreen.com
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

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Top 5 Reasons the Mortgage Process Gets Bogged Down

Questions? Call Maxine for answers! 703-836-1464

Questions? Call Maxine for answers! 703-836-1464

Things are moving along at a nice pace and then BAM! out of no where come mortgage issues… how could this happen?!  Believe it or not, there are a few very common things that frequently are the sources of those bumpy roads. Read on for some tips from Jason Banks, with Presidential Mortgage.

1)         Internet banking – With the invent of internet banking, we find clients are very active with money transfer.  Each transfer has to be paper trailed and followed.  We once had a client with 23 different accounts that they would push money to every month.
2)         One day sale! – I get called a few times a month by the client that is at LOWES, HOME DEPOT, SEARS, etc. stating they have a fantastic sale on Washer Dryer.  Keep in mind, the mortgage process is like a recipe…change one ingredient and you may not end up with a house.
3)         Availability of Funds – any time a borrower is withdrawing funds from a 401k, IRA, TSP, or some other “non-cash” account, we recommend that the client withdraw the funds at least 2 weeks prior to settlement.  We have had clients try to wait to the last minute only to find out it is a 10 day process…
4)         Lack of Urgency – The mortgage process is many times a very tight time line.  I find that for some clients, they are not aware that every day counts.  I have sent loan papers out on a Monday to be told they can get them back to me within a week OR SO….  The quicker we get the loan package the quicker we can get everything ready to submit.  On every file we hope to have the loan ready to submit the minute we get the appraisal in hand.
5)         Appraisals – The timing of appraisals continues to be an issue.  We are now requesting the reports be turned into us with 15 days.  This is up from 10.  So please write your contracts accordingly as we cannot push appraisers for expedited service based on HVCC guidelines.

Everyone wants a smooth deal… taking these observations to heart will be a huge help in keeping the mortgage process moving smoothly along.

Peering into the Future of Housing: Predictions for 2017

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WalletHub recently announced its 10 financial predictions for 2017, forecasting several economic to-bes in the coming year. Many have implications for housing, including:

Two Rate Hikes

WalletHub is seeing double in 2017, pegging the Federal Reserve to raise the key rate twice—a quarter point each—to bring the target rate to 1.00-1.25 percent. Interest rates, including for mortgages, will follow suit. (Case in point: credit card interest rates went up 24 basis points in the beginning of 2016, after the Fed raised the key rate 25 basis points in December 2015.)

…but Higher Home Sales

WalletHub forecasts existing-home sales to hit 6 million next year, fueled by—wait for it—rising rates.

“If interest rates rise slowly, we may see a nice bump in home sales and mortgage availability as buyers see low interest rates slowly fading and banks have higher rates to buffer against risk,” Dr. Robert Eyler, director of the Center for Regional Economic Analysis at Sonoma State University, told WalletHub.

WalletHub’s estimate is more optimistic than the 5.52 million offered by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

More Time for the CFPB

WalletHub senses the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court this fall, won’t get the boot, even with the “You’re fired” administration taking office.

“[The CFPB’s] good work will be undercut by some politicians, even further than it already has been,” Jeffrey Frankel, professor at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, told WalletHub. “I hope and guess that it will not be abolished outright.”

…and for Credit Scores to Improve

WalletHub has a sunny outlook for credit scores, anticipating the average score to rise to 675 from 668 next year. The reason? Millions of homeowners will see foreclosures and short sales—black marks from the crash—drop off their credit reports, helping their case for a new mortgage.

Source: WalletHub
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.