Equifax Data Breach: What to Do

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Content provided by Dean Hayes, Bay Equity Home Loans

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the recent Equifax data breach where their systems were compromised, and information on over 143,000,000 people was stolen. That information includes social security numbers, names, addresses and birth dates – all the information needed to open a new credit account.

Click here to view the blog in its entirety.

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

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Before the Anacortes weather grows colder it’s important to prepare for the winter months to prevent costly damage to your property. Below are the suggested fall preventative home maintenance steps for homeowners from HomeAdvisor.com.

 

Gutters and Downspouts

  • Clean gutters and downspouts frequently throughout fall to prevent build up of leaves and other debris.
  • Neglected gutters can lead to wood rot problems and pest infestations, not to mention ruined gutters.
  • Be sure water is not coming down behind gutters and that all support brackets are securely in place.
  • Ensure that water drains properly and doesn’t pool. Pooling can cause damage to foundations, driveways, and walkways.

 

Windows and Doors

  • Change summer screens to cool weather storm windows and doors.
  • Inspect and repair any loose or damaged window or door frames.
  • Install weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors to prevent drafts and to lower heating bills.

 

Heating Systems

  • Replace the filter in your furnace.
  • Consider having a heating professional check your heating system to ensure optimal performance and discover minor problems before they turn into costly major repairs.
  • Clean your ducts to better your heating system’s efficiency as well as to reduce household dust and to provide relief to those with respiratory problems.

 

Plumbing

  • To prevent pipes freezing and bursting, ensure that the pipes are well insulated.
  • Know how to locate and turn off the water shut-off valve in case pipes do freeze.

 

Chimney and Fireplace

  • Call a professional in to inspect and clean your chimney. Fireplaces that are regularly used during the season should have an annual cleaning to prevent dangerous chimney fires.
  • Test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when closed.

 

Attic Ventilation

  • Be sure attic insulation doesn’t cover vents in the eaves to prevent winter ice dams on the roof.
  • Be sure ridge vents and vents at eaves are free of plants and debris.
  • Check bird and rodent screens for attic vents to prevent any unwanted guests.

 

Landscape and Yardwork

  • Although grass appears to stop growing in the fall, the roots are actually growing deeper to prepare for winter. Now is the best time to fertilize and reseed your lawn.
  • Prune your trees and shrubs after the leaves turn to encourage healthy growth.
  • Trim any tree limbs that are dangerously close to power lines or the roof of your house. Heavy snow and ice can cause damage in the winter.

 

Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC is the Anacortes real estate experts. Located at 809 7th St. in Old Town Anacortes, Team Groesbeck is available daily for all of your real estate needs throughout Anacortes, Skagit County, Island County and beyond. Please contact us at (360) 941-3734, (360) 899-5027 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com 7 days a week.

Improving Your Credit Score

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Content provided by Dean Hayes, Bay Equity Home Loans

One of the biggest misconceptions about buying a home is that you need perfect credit in order to qualify. In fact, many programs allow much lower credit scores when qualifying a home buyer. But there are still certain minimums that you have to meet. So, how do you go about improving your credit scores?

Click here to view the blog in its entirety.

 

Free State Park Day: August 25

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Deception Pass and other state parks throughout Washington will allow entrance without a Discover Pass on Friday, August 25, in recognition of the National Park Service’s 101st birthday.

Additional free days this year are Sept. 30, Nov. 11 and Nov. 24.

The Discover Pass is regularly $30 for an annual pass and $10 for a day pass and is required for vehicle access to state recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources.

Please note, free days apply only to day use (not overnight stays or rented facilities). A Discover Pass will still be required on these days to access lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

For more information, visit www.DiscoverPass.wa.gov.

For all of your real estate needs, contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, in Old Town Anacortes: (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

6 Home Projects That Cost Less Than a TV

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Looking to revamp your home without breaking the bank?  Here are 6 home projects that will dramatically improve the looks of your home for less than the cost of a new TV:

  • Update your entryway: A new welcome mat, house numbers, plants, doorknobs, lighting or painting the front door are all quick fixes that will spruce up your home for an affordable cost!
  • Modernize your bathroom: You do not need to do a total remodel to make a large impact.  Use reclaimed materials, paint and update linens to achieve a new look.
  • Repaint your interior walls: For $200-$300, repainting an entire room or adding an accent wall will revive a dull space, or paint the trim or built-ins with subtly contrasting colors to give the room a pop of color.
  • Upgrade cabinet hardware: Install stylish hardware to jump start your kitchen’s new look.  If your kitchen has a contemporary design, go with sleek, understated hardware. Ornate, classically inspired aesthetics work best for traditional cabinets.
  • Light fixtures: Before you install new fixtures, it’s important to consider your dĂ©cor. If you have a flair for the modern, go for the subtle-but-stunning aesthetics of pendant lighting. If your home has more of a traditional design, consider the lavish ornamentation of baroque-inspired chandeliers or candle wall sconces.
  • Clean the carpets: Unblemished carpets make a huge difference in the appearance of your home — especially if you experience a lot of foot traffic. Spot cleaning small stains is a simple do-it-yourself job, but it’s best to leave larger jobs to the pros.

For all of your real estate needs, contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, DAILY at (360) 941-3734 or at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com, or visit our Old Town Anacortes office at 809 7th St.

Credit Reporting Changes May Improve Mortgage Approvals

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Content provided by Dean Hayes, Bay Equity Home Loans

There are some changes coming to credit reporting guidelines, and it could help more people qualify for a home mortgage.

Already, qualifying for a home mortgage is getting easier each year. Guidelines are being loosened, debt-to-income ratios raised, co-signed debt is easier to disregard, and reserve requirements lowered. It’s worth noting, however, that guidelines are no where near as Mortgage Credit Availability Index July 2017 loose at they were in 2006, which is a good thing. Yes, it’s harder to get a mortgage today, but it should be.

Click here to view the blog in its entirety.

For all of your real estate needs, contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, in Old Town Anacortes: (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

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Can’t Qualify for a Home Mortgage Because You’re Self-Employed?

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Content provided by Dean Hayes, Bay Equity Home Loans

We all know the challenges that self-employed individuals have when it comes time to qualify for a home loan. Being self-employed, you have the opportunity to write off as many expenses as you can, which helps you show a lower net income and pay less federal income taxes.

Unfortunately, that works against you when it comes time to qualify for a home loan.

Click here to view the article in its entirety

For all of your real estate needs, contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, in Old Town Anacortes: (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

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June is National Pet Preparedness Month!

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Help keep your pets safe during disasters and have a plan and the necessarily supplies they need.

  • Make sure your pet has a microchip and the contact information and photo of your pet are up to date.
  • Always have a collar and ID tag on your pet, and travel with a leash.
  • List additional phone numbers and email addresses to ensure someone is able to be contacted in the event your pet is lost.
  • Keep a list of important contacts for your pet, such as veterinarians and pet sitters.
  • Upload important medical documents for your pet and keep extra copies for yourself.
  • Keep vaccinations up to date.
  • Always make sure your pet has enough food and water. Storing canned pet food may be a good option as a standby.
  • If evacuation is necessary, never leave your pet behind! Pets most likely cannot survive on their own and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.
  • If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets; consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets in an emergency.
  • Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.

For more information about pet emergency planning, visit www.ready.gov/animals.

Tips for Traveling Safely with Pets

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Taking a trip with your pet this summer? Here are some things to consider to make sure everyone is ready!

1 – The most important animal-travel tip is to never leave your pet alone in a parked car. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), when the outside temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the interior of a parked car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes and 120 degrees within half an hour. And that’s even if you leave the windows cracked an inch or two. ASPCA also warns that the dangers are not limited to the warmer months: “In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing an animal to freeze to death.” Be your pet’s advocate and always remember their safety.

2 – Consult your veterinarian before embarking on a trip, especially if your pet hasn’t traveled before or if you have any health concerns. Before a long trip, take some shorter drives around town with your pet to see how they respond. Take longer and longer ones as you get nearer to your departure date. If your pet gets really anxious, consult your veterinarian to see what they suggest may to help.

3 – If you’re traveling across state lines, bring along your pet’s vaccination record, especially rabies. Some states require this proof at certain interstate crossings and they are required if you travel into Canada!  Check in with your veterinarian to make sure your vaccinations and records are up to date.

4 – Always take breaks! Make sure to check that your pup is welcome everywhere you plan on stopping. Check in with bringfido.com while visiting new areas to find restaurants, parks, and fun activities that are dog friendly.

5 – Book pet-friendly hotels! GoPetFriendly.com is also great site to check for tons of information on traveling with pets.

6 – Always prep a pet-friendly travel kit. Bring food, water, bowls, a leash, plenty of potty bags, grooming supplies, any prescribed medications a pet-friendly first-aid kit, and any travel documents. Don’t forget your dog’s flea, tick and heart worm preventatives. If you need medication or supplies on the road, your veterinarian has an online store to shop from that can ship anywhere in the US!

7 – Put your leash somewhere accessible and put your dog’s leash on before you open the car door. Also make sure your pet wears a collar and tag imprinted with your name, phone number and any relevant contact information. Some states also require that your dog wears a tag with his state dog license information.

8 – If you are camping or doing lots of outdoor activities like hiking, make sure to do nightly tick checks, and it doesn’t hurt to give your pup extra pets and treats while you’re at it!

Buying a Home Young

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Content provided by Dean Hayes, Bay Equity Home Loans

In its February installment of the National Housing Survey, Fannie Mae saw surging Millennial confidence in the housing market, even with mortgage rates seemingly poised to rise, and home prices at near-record levels.

Along with more job security and increasing income, Millennial home buyers are increasingly married with children – all three legs of the home demand stool.

Nearly half (49 percent) of Millennial buyers reported at least one child – up from 45 percent last year and 43 percent two years ago.

As with every aspect of the marketplace, young buyers with children are the key to shaping the future of real estate.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.