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The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has brought with it the need to rethink how we do everything. From everyday tasks to bigger events like moving, we must reassess what we do and how we do it. So, if it’s time for you to move, how do you undertake that process in the midst of a pandemic? We laid out a few tips for successfully and safely completing a move during the pandemic. Read on to find out more.

Clean and Disinfect as You Pack

Packing up everything is a great opportunity to do some major sanitizing. Wipe down all your belongings as you pack them away. This will help ensure you’re only bringing items into your new house that are as germ-free as possible.

Clean Your Current Home Before Moving
One of the best ways to prevent taking germs into your new home is to clean your current home meticulously before your moving day. If you’re hiring a moving company or having any friends and family come to help you, this is essential for keeping them as safe as possible.

Clean Your New Home
We know you’ll be excited to get started in your new home, but before you unpack, clean and disinfect the entire house. Then, wipe down all your boxes. This way, you will have done your best to be off to a good, clean start in your new home!

If You’re Hiring Movers, Provide Them with Cleaning Supplies

Whether you’re hiring professional movers or having friends and family help, make sure you supply everyone with hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, and a place to wash their hands with soap.

Only Use Store-Bought, New Boxes
You can certainly use boxes you already have at home, but if you’re looking to get more boxes, make sure to get store-bought ones. This will provide better protection against the coronavirus than recycled or free boxes that could be host to the virus.

While doing anything can be overwhelming during a pandemic, these tips should help you handle the unique challenges of moving in a pandemic. Make sure to follow CDC guidelines, and stay safe!


General

How to Vacation in 2020

Jul 15
12:14
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Category | General

With social distancing guidelines in place, travel restrictions, and a completely new normal, it’s time to reconsider how we navigate the 2020 summer season. To help spread ideas for how to enjoy the summer and still get a vacation in, we laid out several things you can do for fun, even amidst a pandemic.

Camp in Your Backyard

You don’t need to go anywhere far away as long as you have a backyard! Set up a tent, build a fire, roast marshmallows, and you’ve got yourself a fun camping experience.

Go for a Hike
Despite social distancing, we can still enjoy nature. Make a fun road trip out of visiting a good hiking spot. This is a great way to enjoy a trip and some fresh air.

Go Somewhere New
Even if you’re not venturing far away, you can still enjoy the thrill of traveling to an unknown destination by exploring a nearby destination you’ve never been to. Try taking a road trip and make turns you’ve never made before. You might discover new things and feel a sense of adventure – all while staying close to home.

Have a Spa Day

You can bring the spa home by lighting some candles, enjoying a soothing bubble bath, and playing some relaxing music. Bonus points if you can get a family member to give you a back massage.

Replicate Your Dream Vacation
If you were planning to head off to some exciting, far-away destination, you can still enjoy aspects of that vacation at home. Immerse yourself in the culture and food of your dream vacation destination by eating their cuisine, playing their music, and even watching movies set in that location.

As long as you shift your environment, step out of your comfort zone, and experience new things, you can still experience the thrill of change and adventure without having to go very far. It’s important to take time for yourself, so make sure you do some unwinding and don’t skip a vacation this summer.


General

Upstate NY Homes are Moving Fast

Jul 1
3:05
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Category | General

After months of quarantining in the New York City which has been the U.S. epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, more and more New Yorkers are sick of being stuck in small spaces and paying high rent prices. They feel as if they are stranded in a city they can no longer enjoy to the same extent, and are now looking to make the move to more open spaces in upstate New York.

While some are purchasing primary homes, others are buying up secondary homes, so they’ll know they’ll always have a safe space to go to when they need a break from the city life. Counties such as Sullivan, Ulster, Greene, and Delaware are seeing their homes for sale swept right up, even in the face of a pandemic. With this sudden skyrocket in demand, supply of homes for sale are falling. That means if you have your sights set on a new home, you may want to act fast and strategically.

How Important is Getting Preapproved?
With people flooding to upstate New York in droves, it’s now more important than ever to make sure you get a preapproval. When you get preapproved, you receive a commitment from a lender to finance a certain amount. This makes your offer very competitive, which is extremely important when you’re buying in a hot market. This will play a key role in boosting your chances of snagging that new home or upstate retreat. Reach out to us and one of our Loan Originators will help get you through the process. We make it simple to complete this process, so you’re ready to make a great offer on the home you’re looking for.

How Do You Handle a Bidding War?
Another side effect of low supply of coveted homes is bidding wars. With high competition, you should be prepared for the possibility of finding yourself in a bidding war. In order to be successful, there are a few steps you can take to bump up your competitiveness. First and foremost, make sure you get that preapproval since that may help lower your chances of ending up in a bidding war.

If you’ve done that and you still find yourself at war, consider offering to do your inspection immediately. This is attractive to a seller because it speeds up the process and means the seller won’t waste as much time.

If that doesn’t seem competitive enough, you still have more options to help your offer win. You can personalize your offer by writing a letter to the sellers about why you love the property so much. If you can humanize your offer and strike a chord with the seller, you might have a better shot at getting the house.

Finally, you can always increase your offer. This is most certainly your best bet if you want your offer accepted over someone else’s. Remember that it doesn’t always have to be a large increase as sometimes even just a few thousand dollars more can give you the edge you need. If you find that increasing your offer takes the price above the appraised value of the home, you might a larger down payment. Since a lender won’t finance any amount of money above the appraised value of a home, increasing your down payment will lower the amount you need to borrow. This allows you to increase your bid and still borrow the amount you need to purchase the home.

Buying a Home in New York
Outside of the city are so many beautiful areas to buy your next home. Whether you’re looking in the Capital Region or in popular areas south of it, you’ll need to prepare for a competitive market. Luckily, we can provide the support you need to successfully get you through the journey. We have financing available for all types of buyers, whether you’re looking for a primary or secondary home. We also have options for all kinds of budgets, so you can achieve your goals, no matter your budget. Our Loan Originators are looking forward to guiding you through the process and getting you into the home of your dreams. Contact us today to see how we can help you achieve your homeownership goals.


General

If you’re looking to refinance, improving your home’s curb appeal can strengthen your house’s appraisal value. And if you’re trying to sell, upgrading curb appeal can help your home sell quicker and for more money. Plus, enhancing curb appeal is a great move, even if you’re not selling or refinancing, because who doesn’t admire the results of any kind of home improvement? Whether you’re looking to refinance, sell, or just improve your home, bettering the curb appeal can make a huge difference – and it doesn’t have to be difficult! Here’s a list of simple projects you can take on to instantly skyrocket curb appeal.

1. Decorate with Lights

Consider adding lights such as lanterns on exterior walls or along walkways. Then make sure to turn them on at night. This will give your house a warm, welcoming glow. If you already have exterior lights, dust them off and clean them up – it will make a huge difference!

2. Spruce Up the Door

Even doing something as simple as hanging a wreath on your front door can really improve your curb appeal. Another option is to paint your door which is a great and inexpensive way to add a pop of color that enhances the look of your home. Choose a color that appears inviting and accentuates your home.

3. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint
Adding a layer of fresh paint to your home can really brighten and freshen up the look of your home, making your home appear cleaner, newer, and well-maintained.

4. Add Plants and Greenery

Think planters, hanging plants, and window boxes. Adding even a little bit of greenery can strongly improve your home’s appearance. Place planters by the door to accentuate this key spot, and keep symmetry in mind as you decorate.

5. Create a Clear Walkway
Line the path or walkway to your door with flowers, stones, and lights. This will make your home appear inviting and attractive.

6. Tend to the Lawn
Mow the grass, rake leaves, pull weeds, and trim shrubs. A little yard work goes a long way toward making a home look great.

7. Decorate Your Porch

A porch decked out with chairs, tables, benches, or swings livens up a home. You can hang flower baskets and string lights too.

8. Pressure Wash the Exterior
Consider pressure washing the siding, garage, driveway, walkway, and roof to make your home look shiny, clean, and new. This is also a great step to do before you apply a fresh coat of paint to the siding or garage.

9. Upgrade Your Mailbox
Replace your old mailbox with a shiny, new one. This is a simple way to instantly boost your curb appeal.

10. Replace Your House Numbers

Another way to make a difference in your home’s curb appeal without having to spend too much or do to much is to replace your house numbers. This is your chance to improve upon the overall look and feel of your house, so make sure to pick numbers that have a design that compliments your house.

11. Upgrade Little Things like Doorknobs and Door Knockers
Take this opportunity to look around and identify little bits of hardware or areas that you can easily replace. Changing out an old doorknob for a new one can do a lot for improving your house’s curb appeal.

12. Fix Up Little Issues
Now is the perfect time make easy, quick repairs of odds and ends like ripped screens and broken lightbulbs.

13. Conceal Electrical Fixtures
Paint electrical boxes attached to your house with the same color as the siding so that they’ll blend in. This is an easy way to hide what would otherwise stick out and take away from your curb appeal.

14. Clean Your Gutters
Clean gutters will make all the difference in the outside appearance of your home, so consider dedicating some time to this project.

15. Wash Your Windows

Another easy way to make the outside of your home more enticing is to wash your windows. Washing away dirt and grime will make your home look newer, which is a great way to possibly sell your home quicker and for more money.

Improving your home’s curb appeal doesn’t have to be an unreachable or expensive goal. There are plenty of easy, simple ways to make a difference which will help you sell or refinance your home. If you’re looking to refinance, speak to one of our Loan Originators today. We can help walk you through the steps you need to take so you can achieve your goals.


General

Since the CDC recommends social distancing and self-quarantining to slow the spread of COVID-19, children find themselves at home and no longer physically around the friends and teachers they’re used to having around all the time. Here’s how to keep your kid stimulated, challenged, and having fun while quarantined. 

1. Virtually Tour Museums and National Parks 
 
Just because you’re staying inside doesn’t mean you can’t explore the exciting and interesting places the world has to offer. From museums to national parks, virtual tours are a great way to experience these places without leaving your home. The National Museum of Natural History is offering virtual tours of their current and past exhibits which you can find here. Many national parks are also offering online tours. Find Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park’s tour here

2. Reading and Family Story Time 
Reading is always a great pastime, but now is an even better time for kids to crack open some books. For younger kids, read to them and talk about the pictures by encouraging your child to describe what they notice about the illustrations. Ask them what they think characters are feeling and have them predict what will happen next. 

3. Turn a Walk into an Adventure 
 
Take a walk in your neighborhood and bring with you a check list of different objects you want your child to point out. Name and talk about the things that catch the kid’s attention. Describe the object and what the child thinks about the object. 

4. Video Chat with Friends 
A good way to help your child continue social interaction while quarantined is to have them video chat with their friends. Even simply coloring together while video chatting is great for helping children feel closer. 

5. Online Yoga Classes for the Family 
 
It’s important to stay active all the time but especially now that we’re spending more time at home. YouTube has lots of free kids’ yoga classes to choose from to keep your kid busy, active, and having fun. 

Take this time as an opportunity to try new activities and encourage creativity with your kids. Whatever you decide to do with your family as you’re all home, remember to have fun and cherish this time spent together. 


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