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Credit Card Mistakes You Could Be Making

by Scott Darling


There are practical
 uses for credit cards, such as rewards points, cash back on purchases, and airline miles to name a few.  Having a credit card can also have drawbacks if you’re not responsible with that piece of plastic.  Read on to see if you’re making any of these mistakes… 

 

  • Paying the minimum payment every month keeps your credit score in check, but the interest added to the balance can make a negative impact on your credit.  Pay as much as you can afford over the minimum billed amount, or, better yet, pay off the balance each month. 
     

  • Late payments not only damage your credit, but if you’re sending it late every month, the late fees and interest on the balance will max that credit card out, and it could take years to pay it off.  Set up an auto-pay plan or mail your payment a week in advance of the due date. 
     

  • Spending just to receive rewards is a good way to get you into credit trouble!  Sure, those rewards are great, but they’re usually a small percentage of your purchases.  The added interest will be far more than any rewards you’re seeking and will cost much more in the end. 
     

  • Cash advances may seem like help, but the interest on them starts as soon as that money is in your hand, and there are usually extra fees involved.  Cash advances are essentially cash loans and are treated as such.  Beware of “convenience” checks your card company offers to you because they are cash advances in disguise. 
     

  • Maxing out your balance, or worse, spending over your credit limit, is a good way to reduce your credit score.  The over-balance fees are tremendous, and not having any available credit left on the card will affect the credit utilization ratio. 
     

  • Tossing your statement without reading it can cause you to miss important announcements from the company, as well as fraudulent activity, or changes in your minimum payment due. 
     

  • Using your credit card at the grocery store or to pay utility bills will help in an urgent situation, but only if you can pay the full balance at the end of the month.  If you’re using a credit card for everyday purchases, it’s time to get your finances under control. 

 

Don’t let mistakes cost you money and a good credit rating!  Keep your balance less than 30% of your credit limit, maintain a manageable monthly payment, and your credit report will benefit.  Credit cards are good tools to use to build credit or keep your score high, but only if used wisely.   

 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: mirror

Trick-or-Treat Home Safety Tips!

by Scott Darling


It won’t be long before the streets of your neighborhood are filled with children, and some parents, who will be costumed and carrying bags and buckets for Halloween treats!  Since many homeowners don’t regularly use the front entrance to their home, they may 
not think about all the little feet that will be tramping up the path to your door.  Make sure everyone has a safe trip for their candy by following these tips before October 31! 

 

  • - Do your own walk-up to your front door, and examine everything, including the driveway and front steps.  Make sure there are no loose pieces or large cracks that can cause anyone to take a tumble.  Porch railings should be secure. 
     

  • - Yard decor should be fixed securely so the wind can’t blow it over, or curious little hands cannot pull it down. 
     

  • - Battery-operated LED tea lights are inexpensive and much safer to use in place of lighted candles.  Many options are available for LED’s, including a flickering light that is perfect for your jack o’ lantern. 
     

  • - Speaking of lights, make sure that not only is your porch light switched on, but that the path you’ve created is well-lit. 
     

  • - Decor that hangs from the trees is scary and fun, so make certain they are hanging at least ten feet from the walkway, making certain they don’t obstruct anyone’s view. 
     

  • - Take an afternoon close to Halloween to be sure any shrubbery, trees or edging isn’t in the way of where trick-or-treaters must walk.  Inspect for loose branches in nearby trees and remove them. 
     

  • - If you have room in the garage, consider parking the car there.  The folks that are coming and going would likely appreciate the extra room to pass others. 
     

  • - A constantly-ringing doorbell or persistent knocking can cause your pets some distress and a lot of barking.  Confine them to a room, or even better, to their crate.  Check out these other great tips about your pets and Halloween from the ASPCA. 

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​​Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

 

Photo credit: asecurelife.com

Get Your Kids Involved in DIY Home Projects!

by Scott Darling


Many people assume that children and home projects don’t go together, but why not?  Oh, sure, electric tools and saws don’t necessarily need to be handled by young ones, but there is so much more than can help you with than a major remodel!  
 

 

  • - Start simple:  cleaning is probably the easiest way to begin engaging your children in home-keeping.  Most love to sweep, dust, vacuum and help with dishes. 
     
     

  • - Little ones are naturally curious about what’s outside, so gardening can be a lot of fun, as well as being educational.  Not only can they assist with planting projects, but even preschoolers can be handy with a rake or help with weeding. 
     

  • - When you’ve decided that your walls need new paint, sit down with the color chip cards, and let them help you decide on color.  Painting the sample swatches on the wall is a great way to introduce a paintbrush or roller, and simple techniques. 
     
     

  • - Planning on purchasing a furniture kit?  Let the children help build it; learning how to follow directions that use symbols and handling simple tools is a great start to working those motor skills in a new way. 
     

  • - Any small repair--tightening drawer pulls, replacing a door handle or sink faucet--can easily involve any age child.  Give them an age-appropriate job, such as passing needed tools, shining a flashlight or using simple tools under your watchful eye. 
     

  • - Putting up new curtains or hanging decor on the walls are great ways to teach school-age kids about using a level or measuring tape.  Math skills in DIY?  Absolutely! 
     

  • - Do you perform your car maintenance?  Everyone should know how to check the oil and other fluids, as well as tire pressure.  Showing your children that keeping the family car in good running condition is as necessary as taking care of the house! 

 

Get your family excited about helping, have patience, and keep them safe while you’re working.   You’ll find that while you’re spending time with them, those DIY jobs will start them on a journey of learning how to be a good homeowner and a handy one at that! 

 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

 

Photo credit: plumbzebra

Selling Your Home From Out of State

by Scott Darling


When a move out of state is necessary, selling the house your leaving behind may seem scary. A well-thought-out
 plan is an absolute must for the sale to go smoothly.  Read on for some tips to help you get your home-selling plan in place: 

 

  • - Look for a REALTOR® who has experience with long distance sales and is comfortable handling the process with a seller that isn’t local.  Be available for lots of electronic communication with them. 
     

  • - Find a tax attorney or accountant with a background in handling out-of-state home sales, because you may have double capital gains taxes to pay.  A professional will be able to walk you through the tax process and let you know if there are any credits you can claim at the end of the year. 
     

  • - Unless your current home is paid for, you will have to pay as if you live in two homes once you move.  Bridge loans are always a possibility, and you’ll need to be certain your home sells within a certain time period, as bridge loans are short-term.  Learn more about bridge loans, and decide if one is the right fit for your budget. 
     

  • - Pricing to sell as soon as possible is imperative, so make certain you and your agent are on the same page.  From realtor.com®: “Your for-sale listing will have the most impact as soon as it is published. That’s when you’re most likely to get fair market value for the home—before people start questioning why your house has sat on the market for so long. 
     

  • - Consider a remote closing, especially if you are so far away that when it comes time to close on the property, you have to spend a lot in travel costs. 
     

  • - Consult your insurance agent before you move, as your homeowner’s insurance will need some changes on your policy, as the house will be vacant. 
     

  • - Leave the electricity on, and have timers on outdoor lighting, and in a few rooms inside.  Keep your security system in place, as well. 

 

Be wary of cash offers that aren’t through your real estate agent, as well as calls from those who call themselves investors.  Smart scammers see an empty house and know that the sellers are eager to move on.  In case the sale doesn’t happen within a certain time frame, talk to your agent about whether leasing or renting is a good idea for you.  Just keep in mind that your situation needs a REALTOR® with experience and confidence to handle the transaction. 

 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

 

Photo credit: nasbc.co

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Scott Darling
RE/MAX Action Associates
403 W. Lincoln Highway #101
Exton PA 19341
(610) 594-SCOT
610-363-2001
Fax: (610) 363-5275