Erika Sullivan Realty Group



Posted by Erika Sullivan Realty Group on 2/10/2019

It’s never too early or too late to start encouraging your children to explore new things and learn new skills. Children will spend most of their time at home, playing with various toys, and learning from their families.

 One way we can encourage kids to learn is to create a positive learning environment within our homes.

 Doing so doesn’t have to be an expensive or time-consuming project. There are many ways you can integrate fun learning experiences into your child’s daily life at home.

 In this article, we’re going to cover some of the cheap and simple ways to create a positive learning environment right at home so that you can build upon what they have learned (or what they will be learning soon) at school.

 Reading

It may come as no surprise that kids who read frequently are statistically more likely to excel at school. However, that doesn’t mean you just need to sit them down with a copy of Hamlet and wait for their Ivy League acceptance letter.

Reading can be an important way to learn and bond together with their child. The best way to encourage them to read is to read together the books that you’ll both enjoy.

Slowly building a home library or bookshelf is a fun way to visualize your hard work and all of the books you’ve read together. The best part is that you kind find countless used children's books for less than a dollar at your local thrift store.

Let your child take the lead

Creativity is something that is fostered and taught. Children are lucky to have active imaginations that let them make up games and stories on their own. However, you can help steer that creativity into fun projects at home that will produce something they can be proud of.

A good way to do this is to let your children direct you in the direction of their interests. If they ask you, “Can I try?” while you’re mixing cake batter, you’d often be surprised at how capable they are. Getting them involved doesn’t have to mean spending hundreds on a chemistry set that will be used just once--find ways they can help with projects that exist already around your house.

Be a mentor

Parenting is full-time work. It can be hard to find time to spend learning with children after a full day of work and cooking dinner, and it’s tempting to spend the rest of the night binge-watching Netflix shows. However, it’s possible to relax while still setting a good example for your child.

Watching science shows or nature documentaries together can help you both learn something new. Making trips to museums or growing a garden together on the weekends are other ways you can learn new things and skills and have fun with your children at the same time.

When it comes to food, eating healthy, home-cooked meals and nutritious snacks can be a way for both of you to improve your health and learn the benefits of nutrition.




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Posted by Erika Sullivan Realty Group on 2/3/2019


 

If Downton Abbey or Pride and Prejudice speak to your inner self, add a little Victorian charm to your décor with well-placed picks of porcelain. If farmhouse style is more your thing, vintage ceramic ware can bring your design to life.

In housewares, ceramics and porcelain span the gambit from lanterns, pitchers, and vases to delicate teacups, figurines, ornaments, and even knobs and pulls. Deciding where to add your special touches is the first step. But once you know where you want it, you need to find it.

Vintage shops, antique stores, and flea markets offer a lot of choices, but not all of it is antique. And if it is vintage, it might not prove hand-painted. It might be transferware or otherwise mass-produced. So, know what it should look like before you go antiquing.

What is transferware?

Historically, as a means of mass-producing ceramic or porcelain pieces, manufacturers would create an engraving on a copper plate. The inked engraving transferred onto paper and then the paper applied to the un-kilned clay object—anything from fine bone china to earthenware—allowed the clay to absorb the ink and create the design. Then, with the paper removed, glazing and firing developed the final piece with design intact. Developed in Staffordshire, England in the mid-1700s, the area became widely known for mass-produced wares destined to grace the tables of the burgeoning middle class. In the 1820s and 1830s, many designs became popular in the United States. 

While not as valuable as hand-painted pieces, transferware is highly collectible and sought after by dealers. Modern reproductions of transferware use a different, printed technique to recreate the look of the original, but they are not indeed transferware since they use different methods to imprint the designs.

To distinguish transferware from hand-painted pieces, scrutinize the edges. If the pattern runs off the side, it's likely to be transferware. Hand-painted designs flow with the shape of the dish.

Is it porcelain?

Porcelain is translucent. That means that light shines through it. So, use your cell phone’s flashlight feature to see if the beam comes through. If you can’t see a glow from the other side, it most likely is earthenware or stoneware ceramics. 

Check for stamps, initials, signatures, and other identifying marks. Often, vintage ceramics from the Eighteenth century or older showed stamped marks while newer porcelain or ceramic ware have printed or impressed marks.

Should I buy it?

No matter what the provenance, if you like the piece and it brings you joy, display it with pride.




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Posted by Erika Sullivan Realty Group on 1/27/2019

Unfortunately, selling a house sometimes can be a long, complicated process. And if you're not careful, you risk costly, time-consuming mistakes that may prevent you from achieving your home selling goals.

When it comes to selling a house, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. Lucky for you, we're here to teach you about the home selling journey and ensure you can enjoy a fast, seamless home selling experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to simplify the home selling process.

1. Boost Your House's Curb Appeal

The first impression that your home makes on potential buyers can have far-flung effects on the home selling journey. If your house dazzles homebuyers, you may increase the likelihood of a quick, profitable home selling experience. On the other hand, if your home misses the mark with buyers, you may struggle to stir up interest in your house.

Perform home exterior upgrades to enhance your house's appearance. Mow the lawn, trim the hedges and clear debris from any walkways. Also, repair any cracked or damaged siding to further bolster your house's appearance and ensure homebuyers will fall in love with your house as soon as they see it.

2. Eliminate Clutter

Clutter may dominate your home's interior, and if you don't clear it out, you risk missing out on opportunities to sell your house.

Fortunately, there are many ways to eliminate clutter. For example, a yard sale is a quick, effective way to sell assorted items before you list your residence. Or, you can list items online or donate them to charity.

If there are various items you want to keep, you may want to rent a storage unit. With a storage unit at your disposal, you can keep a wide range of items safe and outside your home until your residence sells.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a housing market expert who is committed to helping home sellers achieve the optimal results. He or she will work with you throughout the home selling journey and ensure you can enjoy a successful home selling experience.

Usually, a real estate agent will meet with you, learn about your home and craft a personalized home selling strategy. This housing market professional then will promote your residence to buyers and host open house events and home showings. Furthermore, if a homebuyer makes an offer to purchase your house, a real estate agent will help you review this proposal and determine whether to accept, reject or counter it.

A real estate agent also will respond to your home selling concerns or questions. Thus, if you are uncertain about how to navigate the home selling journey, a real estate agent is ready to offer guidance.

There is no need to stress as you get ready to list your residence. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can eliminate the guesswork commonly associated with selling a house.




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Posted by Erika Sullivan Realty Group on 1/20/2019

Anyone can buy a home – all it takes is hard work and diligence to evaluate your home financing options. Fortunately, we're here to help you streamline the process of finding the financing that you'll need to pay for a residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine how you will afford a house.

1. Take a Look at Your Current Financial Situation

Put together a monthly budget that outlines your current spending patterns. This will enable you to review how much you earn, what you're paying for housing and other pertinent financial information.

After an in-depth review of your current financial situation, you'll be better equipped than ever before to determine how much you can pay for a house. Then, you can create a homebuying budget to help you move closer to acquiring your dream residence.

2. Get a Copy of Your Credit Report

In all likelihood, a lender will receive your credit score to determine whether you are a viable candidate for a mortgage. If you request a copy of your credit report today, you can learn about your credit score and take steps to improve it before you apply for a mortgage.

The three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) provide one free copy of a credit report annually. If you submit a request for your credit report, you can gain unprecedented credit insights in no time at all.

Furthermore, if you find errors on a credit report, don't hesitate to contact the reporting bureau. This will enable you to fix any credit report mistakes prior to applying for a mortgage.

3. Reach Out to Local Lenders

Banks and credit unions are happy to meet with you and discuss a variety of mortgage options. These lenders are available in cities and towns nationwide and can teach you everything you need to know about home financing.

Ultimately, lenders can explain the home financing process and ensure you can avoid any potential pitfalls along the way. And if you ever have mortgage concerns or questions, lenders are available to respond to them at any time.

If you need extra help prior to kicking off a home search, you may want to contact a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional understands the ins and outs of purchasing a house and can help you plan accordingly.

Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying goals. This housing market professional then can ensure you won't have to break your budget to afford a terrific residence.

If you want to buy a home but have limited finances at your disposal, a real estate agent is happy to assist you. Or, if you are searching for a mortgage but don't know where to begin, a real estate agent can put you in touch with top lenders.

Work with a real estate agent, and you can improve your chances of acquiring a first-rate house at an affordable price.





Posted by Erika Sullivan Realty Group on 1/13/2019

If buying a home is something you’re considering, you might be curious about the different types of mortgages that are available to you. After all, the interest rate on your loan could have a huge impact on your finances over time, saving you thousands of dollars.

In today’s post, I’m going to demystify the home loan by explaining the most common types of mortgages. That way, you’ll be able to approach a lender with a bit of context and knowledge to help make the best mortgage decision for you and your family.

Fixed-rate mortgages

The most common types of home loans in the United States today are fixed-rate mortgages. A fixed-rate mortgage has the benefit of stability in terms of its interest rate--year after year, or the lifetime of your loan, you know exactly what percent of interest you’re going to pay.

Fixed-rate mortgages most frequently come with repayment terms of 15 or 30 years. However, some lenders offer different repayment periods.

As with any debt, paying off a mortgage in a shorter term typically amounts to paying less interest over the lifespan of the loan. For this reason, buyers who can afford higher monthly mortgage payments often opt for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.

If you can’t afford higher monthly payments, a 30-year loan will typically have lower mortgage payments, but at the expense of paying more interest over the life of the loan.

The 30-year option is the most often in the United States, where first-time buyers typically have too many other monthly bills to afford a high mortgage payment.

Adjustable-rate mortgages

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were once an ideal option for first-time buyers who could purchase a home at a very low interest rate and then refinancing once that rate was set to rise. However, after the housing crisis of 2007, trust in the housing market drastically declined.

In recent years, ARMs have begun to make a comeback. However, they currently still only account for around 5% of home loans.

Adjustable-rate mortgages come with one important advantage and one huge disadvantage over fixed-rate mortgages. The upside is the ability to borrow money for a home at a lower interest rate than other mortgage types. The down side? Your interest rate isn’t locked in for the length of the loan, meaning your rate could, in theory, rise dramatically before you sell or pay off the home. This is exactly what happened to borrowers during the subprime mortgage crisis.

Guaranteed loans

There are a number of special loan programs that have been sponsored by the government over the years. Among them are USDA rural development loans, VA loans for veterans and their spouses, and FHA loans offered by the Federal Housing Authority.

All of these loans make it easier to buy a home with little or no down payment or a credit score that’s less than perfect. That makes these options great for first-time homeowners.




Tags: Buying a home   Mortgage  
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