Protect Your Identity When Buying a Home
Identity theft is a really serious problem for many Americans. The fallout from having your information stolen and misused can last for years. That’s why it’s crucial to protect both your personal and financial information when purchasing a home. Here are some steps you can take to safeguard yourself during the process.
Secure Personal Information
Keep any documentation that includes your social security number, birth date, driver’s license number, and financial account numbers in a secure place. When you do share, make sure they’re transmitted through an encrypted platform or delivered in person.
Look Out for Phishing Scams
Be cautious with unsolicited emails or phone calls asking for personal information. Never open any suspicious-looking email, even if it appears to be from your lender or title company. Always verify the identity of all phone callers.
Use Secure Websites
When searching for homes or mortgage information online, browse sites that start with “https” and have a padlock icon in the address bar, which indicates a safe connection.
Monitor Your Credit Report
Check for suspicious activity, such as unauthorized loans or accounts. Do this often, as identity thieves usually act quickly.
Know Who Has Access
Confirm who will have access to your information, in what setting they’ll see it and how it will be disposed of once it’s no longer needed.
Shred Sensitive Documents
After the home-buying process is complete, take it upon yourself to shred sensitive documents.
Buying a home is fun and exciting, but it’s important to stay vigilant with your personal information. A licensed real estate professional and reputable lender will be invaluable in providing financial protection and peace of mind.
Selling a Smart Home: What Stays and What Goes?
The global smart home market is expected to exceed $170 billion by 2025, according to Strategy Analytics. In the U.S. alone, 37% of households already owned one or more smart devices by 2020. So what do you do with all this smart tech when you sell your property?
Clearly identify what you intend to take with you to avoid any last-minute confusion that could jeopardize your deal. The rule of thumb says any smart tech that’s connected, mounted or nailed down stays with the house. Common examples include smart blinds, HVAC controls, exterior floodlights, and alarm systems. On the other hand, sellers typically take smaller, freestanding devices like smart speakers.
Before the closing date, sellers should wipe their digital account information and log out of all smart systems. As an extra kindness to their buyers, sellers could create a list of all smart items that will stay, including warranty information, age of the product, proof of purchase, names and model numbers, and instructions on how to do a factory reset.
Pros and Cons of Paying Cash for a Home
Even if you have enough cash to buy your house outright, it may not necessarily be the best decision for you. Consider the following pros and cons, then discuss your options with a qualified tax adviser or financial planner.
Making a cash offer greatly reduces the amount of paperwork (and fees) involved in buying a house and can save thousands of dollars in mortgage interest and closing costs. Also, owning a debt-free property can provide financial peace of mind.
Some buyers feel more comfortable keeping more of their assets liquid for greater flexibility or in case of emergency. Depending on your savings and investment income, you may prefer to take advantage of the tax deductions available on mortgage interest.
Stylish Home Tech: Where Function Meets Fashion
If it looks cool while keeping you cool, it must be stylish home tech.
Household devices and appliances that function well and have a sleek, modern design define stylish home tech. This includes products such as smart home systems, smart lighting, comprehensive entertainment packages, and appliances with advanced features and design.
Today’s sophisticated tech allows you to easily set up and operate various home elements. Lighting and window coverings can be controlled from a smartphone or tablet. Innovative TVs can stream content or respond to voice commands. Some front doors come equipped with motion-activated lights and a video doorbell. You can even buy a wall-mounted, Wi-Fi enabled air conditioner that’s disguised as framed artwork.
Modern kitchen appliances have certainly evolved to be both functional and chic, with enhancements like energy efficiency, quiet operation and touch controls. Many manufacturers also offer a variety of slick finishes, including fingerprint-proof stainless steel, shatterproof glass doors and panels that change colors to reflect the home’s design palette. Now that’s some trendy tech.
Get Ahead of Repairs Before Selling
You put your best foot forward for a job interview. Selling a house is no different. Instead of a stylish suit and top-notch grooming, your property will be dressed for success with a modest investment in these essential details.
- Make sure everything works, including garage doors and openers, locks, windows, hinges, light switches, toilets, faucets, and built-in kitchen appliances.
- Brighten dark rooms with fresh paint in light, neutral shades.
- Refinish or repair worn hardwood floors.
- You don’t need a full remodel to spruce up a kitchen or bath. Freshen paint colors, modernize hardware and lighting, and consider replacing dated countertops.
- Replace or paint the front door and add an attractive planter and new house numbers. Be sure exterior walkways, fencing and lawn are in tip-top shape.
- Give your home a deep cleaning before the first showing is scheduled.
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