Tag Archives: home buying

Easy Kitchen Hacks to Help Save on Groceries

Tired of wasting on groceries? Try some of these simple hacks…

Store leftovers in clear, airtight containers

There is little that home cooks can do about rising prices at the local market, but there are plenty of ways to make your grocery fund go further. Check out a few of these simple kitchen hacks to save pennies that add up to dollars.

Grate your own cheese. You pay big time for the convenience of pre-grated cheese. Buy an economical chunk of cheddar, or whatever type of cheese you like, and grate it yourself. Freeze what you don’t need right away so you’ll always have some on hand.

Chop and freeze herbs. Most recipes call for just a tablespoon or two of fresh herbs, but they come in bunches and unused portions often go to waste. Chop what you don’t use and pack it in ice cube trays with a little water. Throw the cubes into your soups or stews, or mix them with butter in your veggies.

Stop tossing brick-hard brown sugar. Store it with a marshmallow to keep it from hardening. If it’s too late for that, put the box or jar of hardened sugar into the microwave for 20 seconds to soften.

Roll your lemons. Don’t use two when one will do. You’ll get a lot more juice out of a lemon when you roll it on the counter before you cut it. 

Keep homemade cookies fresh. Lay a slice of fresh bread over them in your storage container. If they’re still around after a few days, change the bread to keep them fresh a little longer.

Skip the cooking spray. It’s more expensive and less nutritious than the tablespoon of olive oil, butter or coconut oil you need in your skillet.

Make leftovers more appealing. People turn up their noses at microwaved leftovers because they often wind up dry and tasteless. You can save on lunch by adding a bit of moisture to make them taste like they’re fresh-cooked. Wrap bread in a damp paper towel before nuking. Put a glass of water in the microwave when heating pastas, meats or stews.  

Renegotiating After the Home Inspections

Negotiations don’t necessarily end when you and the seller sign the contract to purchase. You have the right to have the home you’re buying inspected for soundness, which you can include as a contingency to your offer. That way, if the inspection reveals a serious issue, you and the seller can address it through renegotiations.

During the inspection process, the inspector is required to tell you about the condition of the appliances, heating and cooling, electrical and plumbing systems, foundation, roofing, exterior materials and so on.

Depending on where you live, you may also get separate inspections for pests and environmental issues such as radon. You’ll also learn if your future home is up to current building codes and what needs to be done to bring it up to code.

Most sellers expect to make reasonable repairs and replacements if the inspection reveals an issue that wasn’t obvious when you first agreed to terms. As long as communication remains open and civil, the seller should have as much desire to make the sales contract work as you do.

The Home-Buying Equation


Buying a home for the first time can seem daunting. One way to alleviate the process is to organize your finances before embarking on the house hunt. Unsure how to get yours in order? Remember A + B + C + D + E:

Ask + Budget + Check + Differentiate + Estimate

Before you start searching for a home, ask a real estate professional for guidance. He or she will have expertise related not only to financing, but also to negotiating a deal in your favor.

Next, set a budget that takes into account your down payment, your anticipated monthly mortgage payment (with interest), and your closing costs. These figures are all important considerations in the home-buying process.

Prior to house-hunting, check your credit report and score. Your credit is a determining factor in a lender’s approval or denial of your mortgage loan application, as well as your mortgage interest rate. Take steps to correct any errors on your report, or improve your score, if necessary.

Shop around for mortgage lenders to differentiate between loan offerings—even a slight variation in rates or terms can lead to significant savings over the life of your loan. Your real estate professional may recommend a lender, but it is ultimately your choice with whom to obtain a mortgage.

Estimate oft-forgotten homeownership-related expenses, such as your monthly homeowners insurance premium, your maintenance costs, your moving expenditures, your property taxes and your utility rates. These will all play a role in your overall affordability.

Completing A, B, C, D and E will not only prepare you for the home-buying process, but also lay a strong financial foundation for you as a new homeowner. The result of the equation speaks for itself!

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

PenFed Announces 30-Year Fixed, Jumbo Loans

People oftentimes ask me what I like about being with Prudential PenFed Realty – being able to offer our clients awesome products like 3.625% on jumbo loans up to $4 Million is at the top of the list. Questions? Ask me! Want to know how to offer your clients these great programs? Call me!

For the full scoop visit https://www.penfed.org/30-Year-Fixed-Jumbo-Mortgage/

Buying New Construction?

Ten Benefits of Having a Buyer’s Agent

Many unwary home buyers stumble upon a new neighborhood under construction, walk into the on-site sales office, and contractually commit to buying a home through the seller’s or builder’s real estate agent without being represented by their own agent.  This is a bad idea for most home buyers.  On the surface, it might not seem necessary to involve your own real estate professional in a transaction where the desired property has been identified and viewed, and where you can easily deal directly with a builder or the builder’s agent, but believe it or not, using your own real estate agent is the smart thing to do, not only because doing so provides you with an experienced professional who is looking out to advance and protect your interest (and not that of the seller or builder), but also because it doesn’t cost you a penny since the seller typically pays the real estate commission.  Any home buyer who is thinking about new construction should consider the following advantages to using a Buyer’s Agent.

Here are ten advantages to using your own real estate agent when buying new construction.

1. Just as a real estate professional calls on experience and knowledge of an area to help buyers locate pre-owned homes in a community, he or she can also direct buyers interested in newly-built homes to developments and communities that match client specifications.

2. A Buyer’s Agent can recognize and suggest builders with a reputation for delivering a high-quality product, responding quickly to issues, and being financially sound.  Not all builders are created equally, and neither are the houses they build.

3. A Buyer’s Agent may be familiar with how a builder prices his or her products and where there may be room to negotiate price or upgrades.  Typically builders are not very flexible on price but many have been known to add anything from “free” granite counter tops all they way to “free” bonus rooms to close the deal and some will offer substantial closing cost assistance if you can close by a certain date.

4. Without representation, you are one buyer purchasing only one home, whereas a buyer’s agent can bring more weight to the negotiating table since a buyer’s agent may significantly impact a builder’s bottom line by providing a steady supply of customers.  [Note: The builder may require your Buyer’s Agent to accompany you on your first visit to the site.  Check with the builder or better yet, play it safe and have your agent accompany you on the first visit.]

5. The lender approval process may go smoother if a Buyer’s Agent is involved scheduling visits, accompanying you to lender meetings, and helping expedite required documents.

6. What might seem like a simple transaction can grow legally complex and risky – you need adequate projections to ensure you don’t forfeit your deposit otherwise have to buy a house that it not what you were promised.  A Buyer’s Agent is familiar with those complexities and the risks inherent in the home buying process.  When such questions arise, Buyer’s Agents can steer buyers to the right advisors and services.

7. When relocating to a new area, Buyer’s Agents can be particularly valuable resources. In addition to providing local area information regarding schools, day care or elder care services, public transportation, proposed development, and so on, once construction is under way, they can periodically stop by the work site, supply you with progress reports, and photograph or videotape phases of the construction.

8. A Buyer’s Agent can assist you as you face hundreds of design choices and consider which upgrades could potentially add value to the home when it comes time to sell.

9. A Buyer’s Agent can accompany you at the site while you okay the plumbing and electrical locations prior to dry walling, as well as on the walk-through or builder orientation.  Recognizing a missing or oddly placed plumbing or electrical outlet is a skill that comes with experience and can save you lots of headaches and money later.

10. Lastly, and as stated above, most often the builder pays the Buyer’s Agent’s commission, thereby allowing you to enjoy the individual attention, support, and protection afforded by your own agent at no cost to you.  You enjoy individual attention and support at no cost to you.