Buying & Selling Tips

    • 4 Springtime Skin Care Tips

      27 May 2022

      (Family Features) Spring brings sunshine and plenty of exciting opportunities to head outdoors for fun with family and friends. While those joyous moments make the season special, all that sun exposure can wreak havoc on the skin without the proper precautions.

      Whether you’re dining outdoors, going for a swim, sweating out a bike ride or just spending a few moments soaking up some sun, it’s important to ensure you’re taking care of your body so you can enjoy those rays all season long.

      Stay Hydrated
      As an important aspect of overall health, staying hydrated also helps maintain your skin’s water content. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially as temperatures rise and you spend more time outdoors. Another delicious way to avoid dehydration – leading to energy drain, in mild cases – is to eat fruits and vegetables with high water content. One example is watermelon, which is 92% water and can help restore fluids.

      Prioritize Skin Protection
      Whether you’ll be in the sun for a few minutes or a few hours, it’s paramount to protect skin by applying sunscreen. On days when the UV index is 3 or higher, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends applying a broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 15 or higher. Another option is to wear light, loose clothing that covers as much of the skin as possible while staying comfortable in the heat.

      Refresh Your Face
      As one of the parts of the body that sees the most sun exposure, your face is perhaps the most important area to care for during the sunnier months. An at-home, all-natural DIY facial offers a brightening, hydrating way to treat yourself.

      For a true glow-up from the comfort of your own home, try this quick and easy solution: Mix 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (to help exfoliate and purify) with 1 tablespoon of watermelon juice (for hydration). Apply the mask to your face and neck for 10 minutes then rinse off and pat your skin dry.

      Keep Your Whole Body in Mind
      While your face is likely to see a lot of sun, that shouldn’t mean neglecting the rest of your body. This gentle body scrub can give you that glow you’re looking for with a sweet, fruity scent.

      Here’s how to exfoliate and polish your skin: Combine 1 1/2 cups of white sugar, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1/4 cup of watermelon juice. If you’d like, add 1 teaspoon of microplaned watermelon rind zest and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

      Store the scrub in an airtight container for up to 1 week and, when you shower, gently rub a handful of scrub on your skin then rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

      For more skin care solutions and other health and nutrition information, visit watermelon.org.

      Sidebar: Subtle Care for Sensitive Skin
      For many, spring skin care can be as simple as following a basic routine. However, those with more sensitive skin may require additional attention. Try this calming, cleansing at-home remedy to moisturize and tone sensitive skin.

      Watermelon Mask and Toner
       
      Watermelon Banana Mask:
      1 tablespoon watermelon juice
      2 tablespoons ripe mashed banana
       
      Watermelon Toner:
      1/3 cup watermelon juice
      1 tablespoon witch hazel
      1 teaspoon distilled water

      To make a watermelon banana mask: In a bowl, mix watermelon juice (for hydration) and mashed banana (to ease inflammation). Apply a mask to your face and let sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Pat dry.

      To make watermelon toner: In a small bowl, combine watermelon juice with witch hazel and water. Apply toner to clean face and let sit 2-3 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Pat dry.

      Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Should You Take out a Jumbo Loan?

      27 May 2022

      People who need to borrow money to buy a new home typically take out a conventional mortgage. If you want to purchase an expensive property, a conventional mortgage may not be able to provide the amount of money you need. In that case, you may want to consider a jumbo mortgage.

      What is a Jumbo Loan?
      Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac limit the amount that a customer may borrow through a conventional mortgage. A jumbo mortgage is a non-conforming loan that allows a homebuyer to borrow more than is typically allowed. The limit depends on location. 

      Some lenders only allow a jumbo mortgage to be used for a primary residence, while others will approve an application for a vacation home or investment property. In some cases, a second appraisal may be required.

      Can You Qualify for a Jumbo Mortgage?
      Jumbo loans can’t be guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, which means a lender won’t be protected if a borrower doesn’t make the required payments. Since jumbo loans are riskier for lenders than conventional loans, the requirements for jumbo mortgages are more stringent. 

      Lenders set their own jumbo mortgage criteria. If you apply for a jumbo loan, a lender may request more documentation than it would for a conventional loan to make sure that you have a consistent income and will be able to afford the monthly payments.

      Down payment requirements are typically higher for jumbo loans than for conventional mortgages. The percentage you have to put down may depend, in part, on your credit score. Minimum credit scores depend on the amount to be borrowed but are generally stricter for jumbo loans. Debt-to-income ratio guidelines are more stringent for jumbo loans than for conventional mortgages. 

      You may need reserves with enough money to cover 12 months or more of mortgage payments. The requirement may be lower if you have a large down payment, high credit score and low debt-to-income ratio. A lender may count a percentage of your retirement savings as reserves.

      A jumbo loan may have a fixed or adjustable interest rate. Rates for jumbo loans are typically close to those for conventional loans. Jumbo mortgages generally have higher closing costs.

      Is a Jumbo Loan Right for You?
      If you live in an area where home prices are high in general, or if you live in a place where houses are more affordable overall, but you want to buy an expensive property, a jumbo mortgage can help you get the home of your dreams. It can be risky, though. The payments may be a stretch, so you should be sure that your finances are in order, your job is secure and the house you want to buy is worth it before you consider taking out a jumbo mortgage.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Which Home Projects Require a Permit and Which Don't?

      27 May 2022

      Before you begin to tackle a home improvement project, you may have to secure a permit from your local government. Rules vary from one location to another. Below are some general guidelines, but you should check with your local building department before you undertake a renovation project to make sure you comply with any relevant laws.

      Projects That Typically Require a Permit
      If you want to make structural changes to your home, you will have to secure a permit. Those changes may include adding or removing walls, changing the configuration of one or more rooms, finishing a basement, building an addition, or demolishing part of the house. Replacing the roof, installing new windows or exterior doors and building a new garage or deck will probably require a permit. You may also need a permit for large roof repairs.

      You will most likely have to get a permit before you begin to make changes to a major system in your house, such as the plumbing, electrical, or HVAC system. The local government will want to make sure the work is done according to code.

      Projects That Generally Don’t Require a Permit
      Minor renovations, such as replacing your kitchen cabinets or countertops and painting walls, can usually be done without a permit. If you want to construct a fence, check with the building department. The rules may depend on the height of the fence and the type of material used.

      Your local government may allow you to build a shed without a permit if it doesn’t exceed a certain size and is a minimum distance from the property line. If you want to construct a larger shed or install electricity and/or plumbing, you will most likely have to get a permit.

      Why You Shouldn’t Make Home Improvements Without Getting a Permit
      If you proceed with a project without securing the necessary permit, you may face serious consequences, either immediately or years later. If the local government finds out that you’re having work done without a permit, you may be required to stop the renovations and pay a fine. You may also be required to restore your home to the condition it was in before the work began. That means you may spend thousands of dollars and wind up with nothing to show for it.

      Renovations performed without a permit may not be done correctly. If you don’t get a permit, the work won’t be inspected. That means your family may live with a serious safety hazard and be unaware of the danger until someone gets hurt.

      Even if you don’t get caught making home improvements without a permit and don’t face any safety issues, the decision may come back to haunt you if you decide to sell your house in the future. A home inspection may reveal that work was done without a permit, which may create complications for a potential buyer and may even cause the deal to fall through. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Celebrate Spring Moments With a Taco Feast for the Senses

      26 May 2022

      (Family Features) Busy calendars loaded with holidays, celebrations, parties and reunions make spring a perfect time for gathering with family and friends. Plus, springtime itself is worth celebrating thanks to warmer temperatures and longer days. Making the most of those joyous occasions calls for a menu filled with variety to keep everyone coming back for more.

      Few options say “variety” quite like this Epic Taco Party Feast from Ericka Sanchez, creator of “Nibbles and Feasts.” Pay homage to Hispanic-style culinary and cultural traditions by loading your table with an array of family favorites like taquitos, tacos, rice, guacamole, pico de gallo and more. Add in the wholesomeness of Real California dairy like Cotija and Queso Fresco cheeses and cremas for a top-notch feast.

      Elevating your dishes starts with these delicious options, but freestyling the menu is what truly makes it your own. Mix up proteins based on your loved ones’ preferences from carne asada and carnitas to shredded chicken and meatless options. Sprinkle, drizzle and layer cheeses according to your own cravings then finish with a range of toppings for customized classics.

      Creating a taco and taquito table in your own style doesn’t just give your crowd what they crave; it also celebrates the people, culture and delicious dairy that goes into favorite foods while encouraging guests to connect through food and flavor. Make your own memories this spring by looking for the Real California Milk seal on cheese and dairy brands, which means you’re supporting family farmers by using quality, sustainably sourced dairy to foster family moments.

      Find the full recipes, instructions and more ways to celebrate with food at RealCaliforniaMilk.com. 

      Epic Taco Party Feast
      Recipe courtesy of Ericka Sanchez (@nibblesnfeasts) on behalf of Real California Milk

      Top Row, Left to Right:
      Cheese taquitos
      Salsa verde
      Real California Cotija Cheese, crumbled
      Pico de gallo
      Potato taquitos
      Real California Queso Fresco, crumbled
      Real California Crema
      Tequila with chili salt (optional)

      Middle Row, Left to Right:
      Carne asada tacos
      Real California Queso Fresco, crumbled
      Chicken street tacos
      Real California Chipotle Crema
      Carnitas tacos with hard shells
       
      Bottom Row, Left to Right:
      Real California Cotija Cheese, crumbled
      Real California Crema
      Mexican rice
      Carne asada tacos
      Guacamole

      To assemble the top row: Place cheese taquitos in pan, salsa verde in bowl, Cotija cheese in bowl, pico de gallo in bowl, potato taquitos on plate and Queso Fresco in bowl. Garnish potato taquitos with pico de gallo, guacamole, Queso Fresco and crema. Optional: Add tray with tequila, cups and chili salt.

      To assemble the middle row: Place carne asada tacos on a plate, queso fresco in a bowl, chicken street tacos on a plate, chipotle crema in a bowl and carnitas tacos on a serving tray.

      To assemble the bottom row: Place Cotija cheese and crema in bowls, potato taquitos on serving tray, Mexican rice in bowl, carne asada tacos on plate and guacamole in bowl.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • What to Do If You Have to Cover Two Mortgages at Once

      26 May 2022

      People who want to sell their current home and buy a new one at the same time often face a dilemma: they find a new home they love before they sell their old one and have to figure out how to cover the cost of two mortgages at once. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some options to consider.

      How to Pay for Both Home Loans
      If your house has been on the market for months but you haven’t found a buyer, you might have more success renting it out. Renting out your home can provide you with a stream of income to cover your existing mortgage so that you won’t get in over your head when you have to begin making payments on your new home. If you’re considering renting out your home, you can either rent the property for a few months until you receive an offer or find a long-term tenant.

      Another option is to use a home equity line of credit to access cash. You may be able to get enough money to cover your new mortgage payments for several months until someone buys your old home. If you don’t find a buyer, however, you run the risk of using up too much of the equity in your old house, not being able to make the HELOC payments, and winding up in foreclosure. You also may not be able to open a home equity line of credit while your house is on the market. This may only be an option if you have an existing HELOC.

      A bridge loan can allow you to use equity from your old house to make a down payment on a new property. This can give you flexibility, but you may have to pay a higher interest rate for a bridge loan than for a HELOC. If your old house doesn’t sell, you may struggle to cover the payments.

      How to Avoid Winding Up With Two Mortgages at Once
      If you would rather not have to deal with this type of stress, you can take steps to avoid having to pay two home loans at the same time. One option is to write a contingency into your purchase contract stating that the deal will only go forward if you sell your current home within a specified period of time. Be aware that many sellers won’t accept those terms.

      Another option is to work out an arrangement that will allow the seller of your new home to stay there for a period of time after closing and pay you rent. If the seller hasn’t closed on a new house yet, or wants to have repairs or renovations completed before moving into a new home, a rent-back deal can give both of you more time and help you avoid having to make double mortgage payments.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.