Lichman Group

Articles Tagged "Sun City"

September
7

Inexpensive Home Security Upgrades

Home Security Upgrades

When you think of home security upgrades, you may think of expensive security systems. Many upgrades, however, are very affordable and will help your family and belongings stay safer. In many cases, you'll even be able to do the work yourself.

Our real estate agents share the following inexpensive home security upgrades that can make your home safer:  

  • Smart outdoor lighting
    Motion-activated LED lights for the exterior of your home can help shine a spotlight on any potential unwanted visitors. Use this feature for floodlights, step lights, and path lights, and consider buying ones that will send you an alert when motion is detected.

  • Upgraded door locks
    Upgrade the locks on the doors that lead to the outside of your home, and while you're at it, buy a better strike plate (the metal that's on the doorpost). Look for one that has holes for up to six screws, and when you attach it, use three-inch screws. These improvements will make it more difficult for a thief to kick your door in.

  • A safe for valuables
    If you have valuables that are small in size, such as expensive jewelry, a safe provides an extra level of security against thieves. You can get a basic one for around $100, with options such as fire protection raising the price. Bolt your safe to the floor using the holes provided inside in most models and hide it in the back of the closet. If you choose a wall safe, you can mount it inside a wall and cover it with a picture.

  • Foot locks for patio doors 
    Standard patio door locks are easy for a burglar to pick. To make it more difficult for intruders to gain access to your home in this way, add a foot lock. They utilize a bolt that fits into a grommet that holds the door secure, and they're easy to install using a drill.

  • Window stops  
    Window stops prevent windows from being opened more than six inches. This makes it impossible for burglars to raise your windows and climb into your home. Since they open six inches, however, you'll still be able to raise your windows enough to get some fresh air and ventilation inside your home.

  • Tamper-proof shed hinges
    If you have a shed with a standard hinge and a door that swings outward, it's easy for thieves to pop the pins, remove the door, and steal valuable property like lawnmowers and tools. To prevent this buy and install a security hinge that comes with tamper-proof pins and a locking tab.

  • Home security system  
    Wireless security cameras can help monitor your home and provide an extra layer of protection. Consider buying a system that has built-in sensors that are triggered by motion and trigger an alarm. An alert is then sent to your smartphone, and a video clip of the incident is uploaded to the Cloud.

  • Wide-angle door viewer  
    Entry doors don't usually come equipped with peepholes, and if they do, they're usually quite small. This makes it easy for potential intruders to hide out of view and also distorts images, making it hard to identify exactly who's at your door. Install a wide-angle door viewer so the images will be clearer and a burglar won't be able to simply step to the side to remain undiscovered.

Contact us to find out more about home security upgrades and to visit Round Rock homes for sale. If finding a home with some of these features is a priority, we'll help you identify ones that meet your criteria.

August
16

What First-Time Buyers Need to Know About Credit Scores

Round Rock Credit Score

Your credit score is an important piece of financial information that influences your ability to purchase a home. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with 850 being the best possible score. 

Our real estate agents know that lenders will use your credit score when determining whether to approve your mortgage application. Here are a few things you should know about your credit score and homeownership as you prepare to buy your first home. 

  1. There's a Wide Variation in Acceptable Credit Scores
    The required credit score to purchase a home depends on the mortgage that you intend to use. For example, if you're applying for a conventional home loan, you'll likely need a credit score of at least 620. However, if you're interested in a jumbo home loan (a mortgage that exceeds conforming loan limits), it's best to have a credit score of 700 or higher. Some loans are ideal for buyers with less than stellar credit. An FHA loan has a minimum credit score requirement of 500. You'll need to make a 10 percent down payment if your credit score is between 500 and 579. For borrowers with credit scores of 580 or higher, FHA loans permit a down payment as low as 3.5 percent of the home's purchase price. USDA and VA mortgage programs don't have a specified minimum credit score. Instead, the lenders who issue these loans are permitted to set their own requirements. Generally, to qualify for a USDA or VA mortgage, you'll want a minimum credit score of 640. 
  1. Your Credit Score Affects Your Interest Rate and Loan Costs
    Your lender will use your credit score (along with other financial information, like your debt to income ratio and employment status) to decide what interest rate to offer for your loan. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. A lower interest rate can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. Many lenders also use your credit score when determining the costs associated with a mortgage. For example, buyers with higher credit scores are offered lower PMI (private mortgage insurance) rates. They may also qualify for mortgage programs with minimal mortgage points or lower loan costs. 
  1. There are Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Credit
    Before you start attending showings for Round Rock homes for sale, it's best to take steps to ensure your credit is at its best. Start by making all of your loan payments on time. If you've had late payments in the past, the effects of those late payments will decrease over time. Check the balances on your credit cards. If you're utilizing more than 30 percent of your available credit, pay them down, so your utilization is under the 30 percent mark. Ideally, do this for each card and for your credit card balance as a whole. For example, if you have a $4,000 balance on one card with a $10,000 limit, pay the balance down, so it's less than $3,000. If you have a card with a $2,000 balance and $10,000 credit limit and another with a $5,000 balance with a $10,000 limit, focus on paying the second card down, so it's less $3,000. Thoroughly review your credit reports and dispute any information that's incorrect. If you only have one type of debt on your credit report, consider opening another product to diversify your credit usage. For example, if you only have credit cards, take out an installment loan (and vice versa). 

Are you ready to buy your first home? Contact us today to start your search!

March
15

7 Tips for Introducing a Pet to Your Home

Austin Pet Tips

When moving to a new home or adding a furry friend to your family, a little preparation goes a long way in helping your pet better understand the boundaries and feel more comfortable in their new home. Our real estate agents know that homebuyers value the happiness of their four-legged family members when moving to a new property. Follow these tips to ensure a smooth transition when introducing your pet to a new home. 

  1. Introduce Your Pet to the Home Ahead of Time
    While it might not always be possible to take your pet to Round Rock homes for sale before your move-in date, ideally, you should introduce your pet to their new home ahead of time. Dogs especially benefit from a previous introduction to their surroundings. During this time, walk them around the neighborhood and their new yard. 
  1. Keep Supplies in an Easy-to-Access Area
    Whether you're welcoming a new pet or moving your pet to a new home, you'll want to make sure you have everything you need to take care of them. Some items to have on hand include toys, a leash, collar, food, treats, litter and litter box or poop bags, food, and water bowls, grooming supplies, and cleaning supplies for your floors. When moving to a new home, pack everything in a container or bag that you keep with you. If adopting a new pet, conduct a shopping trip before your pet arrives. You don't want to have to scurry for pet essentials when you're trying to welcome your new family member. 
  1. Avoid Giving Your Pet Free Reign of Your Home
    It's best to establish boundaries with your pet right from the get-go. Otherwise, you risk confusing your pet, delaying the training process, and damaging your home. Ideally, you should block off any areas that you don't want your pet to enter until they learn what areas are off-limits. 
  1. Try to Bring Your Pet Home When You Have a Few Days Off
    Introduce your pet to your new home when you have a few days to help them get acclimated to their new space. Try to pick a period when you can stay at home and don't have many other tasks on your to-do list. Your pet should be your primary focus during this time. 

  2. Establish a Schedule for Your Pet
    Decide ahead of time what your pet's day will look like in their new home. What time will they be fed, and who will do the feeding? How often will their walks and playtime be? While every moment of your pet's day doesn't need to be allocated, you should have a basic idea of when your pet's mealtimes and play sessions will be. 

  3. Discipline Your Pet When Necessary 
    Your pet isn't going to behave perfectly. When they misbehave, know how to set them straight. Don't yell or scare them. Instead, stick with a firm "No!" or "Tsk!" When you catch your dog or cat doing something you want them to do, reward them with a treat and plenty of affection. 

  4. Create a Safe Space
    New surroundings are often overwhelming. See that your pet has a safe spot to retreat to when they feel scared. For a dog, a kennel is a terrific option that mimics a natural den. A seldom-used room is an excellent safe area for a cat.

Ready to explore new homes perfect for your whole family...pets included? Contact us today!

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