Understanding Your Credit Score and Its Effect on Purchasing a Home

What’s Your Credit Score?

If a home purchase is in your future, one thing you absolutely have to think about is your credit score. No matter what your timing looks like, it’s a good idea to think about it sooner rather than later, because having a good credit score can be the difference between obtaining the mortgage you need to buy your dream home—or settling for less because you didn’t qualify for the money you need. Here are some great tips on understanding your credit score from RISMedia.

Unfortunately, many prospective buyers don’t think about their credit score until they’re already in buying mode. And more often than not, at this point, it may be too late to do anything to fix your credit score. Therefore, it’s important to remember that if you have a bad credit score, it’s not something that can be fixed overnight or by simply making a phone call.

If you’re not sure where you even stand on the credit score spectrum, the first thing you’ll want to do is obtain a copy of your credit report. Your report will list all the details that were used to calculate your score, including past payment information concerning loans, credit cards and other bills.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly five percent of consumers have a major error on their credit reports, and approximately 25 percent of all reports have some sort of error that can negatively affect a score.

Once you receive your credit report, look it over and make sure there are no errors or discrepancies. For instance, if there’s an entry for an outstanding bill on a credit card or a late payment on a car loan that’s incorrect, you’ll want to take action quickly, as these items will lower your credit score. Be sure to dispute any errors you find with the Credit Bureau.

If there are no mistakes within your report, and your score isn’t where you want it to be, there are a number of things that can be done to gradually increase your number. To start, make a list of the money you owe and start paying off any debts you may have incurred over the years. Eliminating debt is the best way to see your score rise. Also, be sure to pay everything on time path forward. Late payments are seen as a huge negative when it comes to your credit report and overall score.

You’ll also want to refrain from opening any new accounts or taking out other loans, as this will simply add to the problem. Be sure to stay away from closing accounts that you have a strong history with as well. By closing accounts, you run the risk of eliminating a good payment record.

And last but not least, beware that debts that get sent to a collection agency typically stay on your report for years. While most people think paying these items off will cause them to vanish from their credit report, it’s simply not true.

If you feel that all hope is lost, there are agencies out there that you can pay to help you improve your report and remove negative items. Before you go this route, think about the expense you’ll be incurring, and whether it’s worth it in the long run.

Checking your credit score is something you should think about doing annually regardless of whether you’re planning to move or not. By keeping up to date with your report, your credit score will be solid when you’re ready to buy your next home.

To learn more about understanding your credit score, contact the Petersen Partners team today at info@petersenpartners.com or 770-379-8040. We’re the #1 team with the experience and professionalism you can trust.

Rugs as Staging Accessories

Styled, Staged and Sold asked a home stager what their favorite accessory was and the answer makes perfect sense:

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Stager: Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, Cheshire, Conn.

Why I love it: “One of my favorite accessories is rugs — in all shapes and sizes. Rugs are great for staging because they can dress up any space. We sometimes even layer rugs over existing carpeting to play down flaws and update an all sea of beige carpeting. Rugs can anchor furniture and often better showcase hardwood floors.”

Make it work tips:

1. When staging a room, look for a modern neutral rug that goes with the décor, such as organic rugs like sisal for under a kitchen table or even with a colored border.

‪2. If there is hardwood don’t go too big with the rug. Try a 5×7 under a kitchen or small dining table when there is hardwood to add color.

3. Don’t use too many patterns. Think about the rug when the room will be photographed. You don’t want it to overwhelm the photo. When in doubt, use a neutral beige rug that will make the photo and the room pop.

Curb Appeal Ideas from Around the US

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When you’re selling your home, curb appeal is everything. It’s literally what gets a buyer out of the car and knocking on the door to come in. Even if you’re not selling your home, curb appeal is important for the same reason. It makes your home inviting to guests and even to you after a long day. HGTV Magazine  took a spin through neighborhoods all across the country and found eye-catching houses worth a closer look. Check out the comprehensive photo gallery full of design ideas from color palettes to accessories. Most of these ideas could easily be done in a weekend! Check it out here: www.hgtv.com

8 Easy Ways to Eliminate Pet Odors from Your Home

freshhomeIf you’re one of those families that has multiple pets, you know it can be hard to keep your home clean and smelling fresh. Here are some tips on how to keep your home from smelling like a pet store!


Bathe and groom your pets regularly.
This will keep excess dirt, oils, dander, and any odors that may be on your pets’ coats from being carried throughout your house. Brushing and grooming can be done more often, since it is just as important. Whenever possible, brush your pets outside to prevent loose hair from finding its way onto and into furniture and carpeting.


Get rid of the hair on your furnishings.
Use a vacuum cleaner with a pet attachment or a lint roller to do away with loose hair at least once a week. If the lint roller or vacuum attachment isn’t working, try using a rubber glove (assuming that a little dampness is all right for your furniture, of course). Put in on your hand, moisten it a bit, and gently glide it over the surface.


Vacuum the floors.
You should try to vacuum your floors once or twice a week, depending on the number of pets you have in your home. This will help lessen the amount of hair and cat litter on the floor that leaves behind those lingering pet smells. You can also use a squeegee to pull up the stray hairs in your carpet that your vacuum can’t get to.


Check your air filters.
Pet hair can build up and clog your air filters. Be sure to change your air-conditioning or furnace filters at least every three to six months.


Be sure to always use disinfectants.
Many odors are caused by bacteria. Try using high-quality sanitizing cleaners that kill more than 99 percent of germs for those lingering odors and surface bacteria. Be sure to use products that are safe for curious tongues and noses!


Eliminate those urine odors right away.
If your pet has an accident inside, clean the area right away using an enzymatic cleaner. These are designed especially for eliminating pet odors and destroying any pheromones and molecules left behind.


Don’t forget to wash their bedding.
If your pet has a bed with a removable cover, be sure to wash that, as well as other pet bedding, at least twice a month. Keep up with the litter box. You should scoop the cat litter at least once a day. Keep the litter fresh with baking soda, as this can be used to absorb the smell. Try using a plug-in air freshener in the room where you keep the litter box.

– See more at: http://americanlifestylemag.com/8-easy-ways-to-eliminate-pet-odors-from-your-home/#sthash.kofSsVEN.dpuf

Local Independence Day Celebrations

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Celebrating in Cobb County this weekend? Here are some spots to see fireworks and celebrate this 4th of July:

Acworth

July 4th Concert and Fireworks – July 4 – Cauble Park – Noon

Austell

Coca-Cola July 4th Fest – July 2 through July 4 – Six Flags  – 9:30 p.m.

Kennesaw

Salute To America – July 3 – Downtown Kennesaw – 6 p.m.

Mableton

Independence Concert & Celebration – July 2 – Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre – 7 p.m.

Marietta

Fourth in the Park – July 4 – Historic Marietta Square – 10 a.m.

Powder Springs

Independence Day Celebration – July 4 – Power Springs Town Square – 4 p.m.

Cobb County Farmers Markets

unnamedFrom Cobb Travel & Tourism, here’s a helpful list of farmers markets in the area.

Explore and enjoy the farm-to-table initiative at one of many Cobb County popular Farmers Markets. Stock up on fresh produce at these Cobb locations:
Acworth: Historic Downtown Acworth Farmers Market
Kennesaw: Farmers Market and Dinner at the Depot
Marietta: Marietta Square Farmers Market

The Cobb County Farm Bureau and Cobb County Parks are partnering to bring a new Farmer’s Market to Cobb. Starting May 24 and running 3-7 p.m. every Tuesday through October at Lost Mountain Park. Shop and eat locally-grown items from vendors providing eggs, meat, breads/baked goods, jams/jellies/preserved items and produce. SWEET! Click here for more details.

Food Trucks in Your Area

unnamedThere’s just something tasty and fun about food trucks. We love them and think it’s one of the best parts of summer. Food trucks make a great date night or family night. Here’s a guide to when and where you can try your local food trucks:

Monday: Kennesaw – Dinner at the Depot
Monday: Marietta – Paper Mill Village Food Trucks
Tuesday: Smyrna – Food Truck Tuesdays
Tuesday: Atlanta Galleria Office Park – Food Truck Lunch
Thursday: Mable House Arts Center – Summer Food Trucks
Friday: West Cobb – Food Truck Fridays

Spring Lawn Care

Check soil temperature to see when to apply herbicide

Depending on your weather, your grass will now start growing in earnest, so be ready for the first cutting. Don’t mow when the grass is wet — you could spread diseases, and wet clippings clog up lawn mowers.

Fertilizing: Both spring and fall are good times to fertilize your lawn. In the northern third of the country, where winters are cold, fertilize in fall — cool weather grasses go dormant over winter and store energy in their roots for use in the spring.

For the rest of the country, apply fertilizer just as your grass begins its most active growth. For best results, closely follow the application directions on the product. You’ll spend about $50 to $75 per application for an average 1/4-acre lot.

Aeration: Aerating punches small holes in your lawn so water, fertilizers, and oxygen reach grass roots. Pick a day when the soil is damp but not soaked so the aeration machine can work efficiently. Read More about lawn aeration.

Pre-emergent herbicides: Now is the time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent crabgrass and other weeds from taking root in your lawn. A soil thermometer is a handy helper; you can pick one up for $10 to $20. When you soil temperature reaches 58 degrees — the temperature at which crabgrass begins to germinate — it’s time to apply the herbicide.

Start Getting Your Lawn Bare Foot Ready Now With These Tips

Early Spring

Like so many maintenance jobs, everything goes smoother — and you’ll get better results — with proper preparation. Early spring is the time to get ready for lawn-growing and mowing season.

Related:
How to Bring Back Your Lawn After Winter Damage

Sharpen mower blades to ensure clean cuts. A dull blade tears the grass, leaving jagged edges that discolor the lawn and invite pathogens.

Sharpen mower blades once each month during grass-cutting season. Have a backup blade (about $20) so that a sharp one is always on hand.

Tune up your mower with a new sparkplug ($3 to $5) and air filter ($5 to $10). Your mower might not need a new sparkplug every season, but changing it is a simple job, and doing it every year ensures you won’t forget the last time you replaced your sparkplug.

Buy fresh gas. Gas that’s been left to sit over the winter can accumulate moisture that harms small engines. This is especially true for fuel containing ethanol, so use regular grades of gasoline.

If you need to dump old gasoline, ask your city or county for local disposal sites that take old fuel.

Clean up your lawn. Time to get out the leaf rakes and remove any twigs and leaves that have accumulated over the winter. A thick layer of wet leaves can smother a lawn if not immediately removed in early spring. Cleaning up old debris clears the way for applying fertilizer and herbicides.