Monthly Archives: March 2015

Refinancing Your Mortgage: Should You Be Bothered About It?

Refinancing MortgageShould you consider refinancing a mortgage? Some homeowners will have to face this difficult question at some point. The decision to pursue it (or not) is a major one, so it is important to give it serious though. Timing is key, and you should equip yourself with as much relevant knowledge as possible to make the right decision.

Refinancing multiple times is no small deal. You need to figure out what you want to accomplish to determine whether the plan is ideal or if it might be a better idea to stick with your current loan. The thought can be extremely overwhelming, so here are a few reasons to help you decide if it is time.

Lower Interest Rate

The interest rate will inevitably become one of your biggest expenses, so it makes absolute sense to come up with a solution to reduce it. Grab the opportunity to refinance if interest rates are low. You can save money by refinancing the mortgage for a home currently financed at a higher interest rate. Note, however, that a 1% decrease can be significant for a $500,000 loan compared to a $100,000 mortgage.

Reduced Payment

Refinancing during times of low interest rates means lower payments. If this is something you would like to see happen, then do your research and find out more about current mortgage rates. As Altius Mortgage, a trusted mortgage lender in Utah, puts it: “Take note that even a 1% difference between mortgage rates can result in a 10% difference in your monthly payments. If you’re waiting for the best rates to come along, it’ll help to know a few of the factors that affect their rise and fall.”Your financial status and loan type are some of the things that can affect your refinancing.

Short-Term Loan

You can shorten the term of your mortgage when you refinance, but that could also mean you are paying more than what you previously spent. You can enjoy a low interest rate, but your payment may slightly increase. As long as the increase still fits within your budget, refinancing will not be a problem. Consider the additional costs when making the move, though. This may include bank, attorney, and appraisal fees.

Done properly, refinancing your current mortgage rate is a wise decision. It can be a money-saving more, as long as you know when and how to.

What You Need to Know When Investing in House and Land Packages

Investing on a new homeMore often than not, buyers are quick to presume that established homes or units are the better and more pocket-friendly investments options than house and land packages. However, once hidden expenses—under the guise of ‘extras’—of older or established properties come to light, the circumstances suddenly change.

Here is why.

House and Land Package Defined

Simply put, when you purchase a house and land package, you’re buying both the house and the land it is set to be constructed on. These are normally offered in key neighbourhoods of new development estates and you can typically choose from a range of predetermined home designs.

Standard and Extra Package Inclusions

One of the main draws of investing in house and land packages is the standard and extra inclusions it comes with, says Modeina. When you factor in the costs of these inclusions like landscaping and interior finishing for example, investing in a package deal is much like purchasing an established property, with the big difference that what you’ll be purchasing is a new property.

Because all houses are brand new, you won’t have to worry about maintenance issues for five years at least. This is especially great for investors who are keen on renting out their property as soon as it’s ready. House and lot packages also have additional resale value since their home plans are pre-designed with the intent of complementing the design philosophy of the whole development area.

Great Savings

From a financial standpoint, it is easier to invest in house and land packages than in established properties. You will require less money since you won’t have to spend on stamp duty for the house component of the home and land package you’re interested in purchasing. Stamp duty is charged by states from all real estate sales. Its calculation is dependent on the location and value of a property which means that you will be charged lower taxes with a lower property value.

Additionally, packages come with warranties from developers so in the event that unforeseen incidents arise, you can easily come to the developer for assistance.

The points below illustrate that house and land packages make for better savings in the long run. You will have better support from the developer, as well.

Invest in a New Home Today

New homeNow is a good time to buy real estate. Banks are encouraging homebuyers to borrow money by offering low interest rates and tax benefits. Home prices have also been consistently high, making owners confident about the values of their properties.

The type of property to purchase is an important issue for homebuyers. There are considerations for old and new properties, and also whether to get a house or a unit. Houses typically allow more freedom and also include the land in the ownership, which is why they are still popular options for homebuyers.

Here are some reasons why new housing estates, especially in Melbourne and other locations, are a great investment choice:

New properties are ready to go

Should you wish to free yourself from thinking about renovations and maintenance, then new housing estates are the way to go. They require very little effort from you. The developer usually guarantees the structural integrity of the house and you can rely on them if problems or issues arise.

New properties are more attractive

Most new houses follow contemporary designs, so that means lots of open space and light. These are always attractive features in any home. If you are planning to rent it out, it is easier to find tenants. It is also generally easier to ask for higher rent for new properties than older ones.

New properties last longer

New houses usually last longer than older ones before needing repairs or renovations. The tax benefits from depreciation are also higher. Your new house’s durability, of course, depends on the materials used and on the quality of construction. Choosing a property from a reputable developer should ensure that you get more value for your money.

The price for new housing estates may typically be higher than for old properties, but if you think about it, saving on renovation costs, getting higher rentals and tax benefits, may be better in the long run.

DIY Repairs: These Parts of Your House Need It Most

DIY toolsMost things naturally decay with time and wear and tear. No matter how much you invest in high-quality materials for your home, your ceiling will sag, your floors end up with scratches, and your door hinges will loosen because of rain, foot traffic, and many other reasons.

Deterioration, however, does not have to spell the end. Rather, it is a means to something better. When your windows do not close properly or your walls look stained and dirty, perhaps it’s time for some repairs or a complete remodelling project. Here are the most common parts of the house where you can put plasterboards and other materials to use, as discussed by experts like Gyprock:

Roof and Ceiling

Familiarity with roof materials and how to fix common problems can save you a lot of money. Your roof and ceiling are life partners. Often, problems with your ceiling come from roof damage. Depending on where you live, your roof material and type should match the local climate. Broken shingles and cracked metal panels allow moisture and excessive heat to permeate through your attic and ceiling, damaging the entire roofing system.

Walls and Siding

Building, fixing, and decorating your walls are fun DIY activities. You can ask for help from everyone else at home to do things like repair plaster, build a wainscoted wall, or even mount a flat screen television together. You can replace aluminium siding with vinyl when it starts making noise. This may sound like a heavy task, but it can be done with proper knowledge, the right tools, and a positive attitude.

Floors, Doors, and Windows

Your floors, doors, and windows will need your DIY repairs the most. Replacing vinyl or wood flooring, fixing broken doorknobs, and oiling your window mechanisms are necessary for these key house parts to function, after all. DIY projects for floors, doors, and windows can also save you money in terms of energy efficiency, utility bills, and long-term use.

Your first DIY projects may not be perfect, but as in most things, practice will improve your skills and knowledge. You may consult experienced builders at the beginning of your home improvement plans to make sure you’re doing the right thing.

Before You Say Goodbye: Things You Risk When You File For Divorce

Relationship with Your ChildrenMarriage, like any relationship, has its trials. Unfortunately, there are circumstances that mediation and counselling can’t resolve. This time, dissolution of marriage may be the solution.

Marital problems may arise from simple situations such as irreconcilable differences or three years of separate living. It may also come from graver causes like impotence, adultery, desertion, neglect, felony, maltreatment, alcohol dependency, and insanity. When faced with these troubles, a couple may file for petition and get a divorce attorney. Utah law only requires the appealing spouse to be a state resident for three months prior to the application.

Ending a marriage may seem the right thing to do, but as a divorcee, you must be ready for some repercussions.

Your Reputation

Utahans have a strong belief in marriage and family, despite the light regulations in divorce. Going through the legal process leaves a negative impression, not only in the eyes of family, but in the eyes of the public also. It leaves a stigma that associates the whole family with the reasons of the failed marriage. Whatever the cause and decision of the court may be, people will always speculate about your ability to sustain a relationship and a family.

Relationship with Your Children

The court suggests not involving your kids with the process as much as possible. Unfortunately, the process will always involve discussing your children’s custody and support. Whether you keep them or not, the separation process will leave a scar alienating you from their feelings. They may rebel or be emotionally unstable. Though counselling and therapy may relieve the trauma, they will still feel incomplete without one of their parents by their side.

Your Financial Situation

Apart from the property division, you will be facing other financial issues like child support and the processing fees. The procedure can be quite costly. Expenses include the filing fee, OCAP fees, payment for the records and statistics office, petition and summons fee, lawyer PF, copying costs, and even the divorce education and orientation fees for the children.

Dissolving the family may sometimes be the only solution. Continuing a dysfunctional marriage may cause bigger problems and trauma. But before you say goodbye to your spouse, consider the aftermath and your actions—if only to soften your fall.

3 Ways to Make Your Child’s Bedroom Allergy-free

BedroomAllergies affect a person’s quality of life, especially among children. It can prevent them from having a healthy and happy childhood, which is important for their upbringing. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) reported that 8.3 million children in the U.S. have respiratory allergies. If you’re protecting your child from such a plight, better start with their private space – the bedroom.

Start with the Bed

The bed can turn into a breeding ground for dust mites, so it’s best to cover the mattress and pillows with anti-allergy protectors. For the blanket, make sure that its fabric won’t trap dirt and dust. Order custom blankets to have a choice on the type of fabric, pattern, size, and color.

Avoid headboards made of fabric or if possible, avoid headboards altogether because the surface collects dust. Don’t put many stuffed toys on their bed, as these trap dust mites, dirt, and dust. If your child insists, however, make sure to wash them regularly.

Purify the Air

Did you know that a cubic foot of air holds more than 30 million pollutants? That’s a hundred times more pollutants than outdoor air. Most harmful particles in your home aren’t visible to the human eye, so it’s best to install dehumidifiers to reduce their numbers. These also help in monitoring the humidity of your kid’s bedroom, so you can prevent the growth of mold.

Say No to Carpets

It’s common for an American home to have wall-to-wall carpeting, but don’t bring it to your kid’s bedroom. Remember that the bedroom also serves as their playground. If they play on the floor, you’re exposing them to bacteria, dust mites, and other microorganisms. Use hardwood flooring and area rugs instead, as they’re both easy to clean.

Don’t let allergies ruin their childhood. Make your kid’s bedroom allergy-free, so they can enjoy their private space without any kind of threat.

Accused of Burglary: What Defense Strategies You Can Use

BurglaryWhat if you are wrongly accused of burglary? Being a felony crime with serious consequences, a conviction here can easily ruin your life. The jail time is bad enough on its own, but a felony conviction will stay on your record for years, and will make it almost impossible to get a good job in the future.

In situations like these, the right defense can make all the difference. What possible strategies do you have?

Establish an Alibi

There are many ways to prove your innocence in a burglary case. The best and easiest way is to provide a reliable alibi. If you have any eyewitnesses that can put you at a different place than the crime scene when the burglary happened, you are usually quite safe. Cases are rarely this convenient, though, so you may have to explore other options.

Miller &Steiert, P.C. says that there are different types of defense for complex criminal matters. Remember that all you really need is a doubt; if your lawyer can attack the credibility of the prosecution’s evidence, or question the reliability of a forensic technique, they may not have enough to convict you.

Affirmative Defense

Many defendants also use the affirmative defense; this is when you admit that you engaged in the behavior that the prosecution accuses you of, but argue that it was not actually a crime. How does this work? For burglary cases, this is usually a matter of consent or intentions.

Imagine that the prosecution accuses you of breaking the window of your friend’s car, and then stealing the laptop and cash inside. You can admit that you indeed took these items, but only to keep them safe, as the car was in a dangerous area. In addition, you deny breaking the window, and insist that you used a key; this implies that someone else broke the window after you were gone.

If you can sufficiently prove that you had permission to enter a property, and did not intend to commit a crime, then getting an acquittal is likely.

Seeking a Plea Bargain

When all else fails, getting a plea bargain can significantly reduce your sentence, and may even keep your record relatively clean. Your top priorities are to avoid jail time and to keep this event from affecting your career – almost everything else is negotiable.

Tooth Decay: When Do You Need Treatment?

dental careAre you having a difficult time flashing your stunning smile? Maybe it is time to have your teeth checked. Tooth decay is a not only a painful problem to deal with, it also creates unsightly black or brown spots on your teeth.

Signs of Tooth Decay

There are signs of tooth decay that you must be aware of to determine if you need treatment or not. Check if you have any of these signs:

  1. Persistent toothaches
  2. Evident holes in your teeth
  3. Black or brown stains on the surface of your teeth
  4. A mild or sharp pain when you drink or eat sweets or anything that is hot or cold
  5. A painful sensation when you bite

These symptoms may help you determine if you have tooth decay or not. Determining the symptoms before they get worse helps you limit or prevent the ill effects of tooth decay.

Treatments

Now that you know the signs, it is important to know the treatments you can take. Mill Street City Dental Centre, one of the dental offices in Perth, shares the treatments you may get for tooth decay:

  1. Restorations – Restorations or fillings are recommended when a dentist determines you have a heavily damaged or decayed tooth, or when a filled tooth needs to be redone. A follow up appointment may be necessary to finalise or re-polish the restoration.
  2. Extractions – In severe cases wherein teeth are no longer restorable because of severe decay, dentists may recommend tooth or teeth extraction.
  3. Inlays/Onlays and Crowns – In instances where the damage to the tooth is severe, the tooth needs reinforcing for long-term preservation through placement of a crown or an inlay/onlay. An inlay/onlay is a large restoration treatment that protects the tooth from further damage. Crowns are similar in a way, as they completely encircle a tooth. Dentists may recommend crowns for weakened teeth that cannot be restored using an inlay/onlay.

Consulting a dentist will determine which treatment is right for your tooth decay. Restoring your teeth to their former health will surely boost your confidence.

Great Minds at a Young Age: The World’s Child Prodigies

ProdigySome children benefit from enrichment classes at an early age. Extraordinary minds merely require the right opportunity to reveal natural talents. While there is an ongoing debate on nature versus nurture when it comes to intellectual development, it is unarguable that some children surpass society’s expectations of what is ordinary.

As Heguru Education Centre puts it, early childhood education can bring out the full potential of an individual. Let’s get to know the people who achieved great intellectual capacity at a young age:

Gregory Smith, Philanthropist and Human Rights Advocate

Gregory was able to read at the tender age of two. By the time he was ten, he was already studying in a local college for higher learning. After completing his degree, Gregory founded the International Youth Advocates.

Gregory was able to win an audience with former US President Bill Clinton and Soviet Union Head of State Mikhail Gorbachev. He also delivered a speech in the United Nations. Gregory was among the youngest nominees in history for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Akrit Jaswal, Surgeon

As India’s youngest physician, Akrit had displayed a high aptitude for learning when he was barely a year old. Before the age of five, his interest in the field of medicine was already apparent in the various medical books and journals that he preferred to read.

Akrit began performing surgical operations when he was seven. Since then, he has devoted himself to learning more about the healing process of the human body. He has great contributions in medical research and application—his current work focuses on finding a cure for cancer. Akrit has an IQ of 146.

Kim Ung-Yong, Physicist and Engineer

With an IQ of 210, Kim is referred to as one of the smartest people in the world. The Guinness Book of World Records recognises him as the person with the highest IQ level recorded.

At the early age of three, Kim entered university to study physics. At seven years of age, he went to NASA to complete his studies. From there, he achieved a doctorate degree and made significant contributions to NASA’s research. He also pursued a doctorate degree in civil engineering.

These prodigies show us that age is not a limitation to achieving greatness. If anything, they serve as an inspiration for the next generation.

Three Principles To Help Overcome Your Alcohol Addiction

A substance abuse counselor in Salt Lake City can provide effective and motivational solutions. While you are looking for one, help your loved one kick the habit with these three principles:

  1. Instead of keeping a person away from alcohol, try suggesting new activities.

Alcohol rehabilitation does not mean preventing one from drinking alcohol. It means curbing, if not altogether removing the desire, to drink alcohol. You succeed if a person develops a preference over anything other than alcohol.Alcoholic Person

For instance, they can play sports with friends or invite siblings to cook meals. Physical activities like running can take their mind off consuming alcohol.

It might take a while and would need constant vigilance on their part, but with the right activity, you’ll soon see progress. In the beginning, they may need a lot of encouragement; later on, it might become automatic.

  1. Alcohol rehabilitation is not about destroying the habit of drinking alcohol.

It is about building a person’s confidence to overcome alcohol addiction. By helping them gain confidence, you are telling them that they can do it. Tell them that avoiding alcohol is doable—do it repeatedly if you must.

  1. Sometimes, positive reinforcement is more effective.

The thing is, you can scare a person all the time by reminding them about what alcohol can do to the body. However, this method is a negative reinforcement technique that typically destroys a person.

According to Renaissance Ranch, what you can do instead is give an addict – or yourself – a reminder that turning away alcohol indicates a conscious choice to become a new person.

Many people are discouraged to pursue rehabilitation because they believe that there is no solution to it. To get away from alcohol addiction, a person must first acknowledge the problem. Then, help them do something about it.