Posts in May 2021

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8 Easy Ways to Boost Air Quality in Your Home

May 18, 2021
Has the air in your home ever felt stale? Damp? Dusty? Modern houses are becoming more energy-efficient, which is excellent for the environment but less ideal for the air we’re breathing in our homes. Tightly sealed windows and doors mean less air is filtered in and out, which means managing air quality is more important than ever. Luckily, there are easy steps you can take to improve the quality of air in your home and maintain that new standard. Here are eight easy ways you can take control of your home’s air quality:1. Get an Air PurifierHere’s our first two-for-one recommendation. A high-quality air purifier can filter and circulate clean air indoors and reduce allergens and pollutants. You’ll be especially thankful for your air purifier during high-pollen days in the spring and summer.2. Invest in a High-Quality VacuumSpend the money to get a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter that can suction up and hold dust, mites, and allergens. And be sure to clean that filter often, so you’re getting the most out of it.3. Throw Open Your WindowsThis sounds like an easy one, but people don’t always realize how important it is to let in fresh air by opening all your windows. Be sure to open windows not just to bring in new air but also to keep your house from taking on odors when you’re cooking. Of course, don’t go for this option if it’s an especially high pollen count day or if there are natural issues causing pollutants or dust in your area.4. Regularly Clean Your Vents and DuctsIt’s time to call in the professionals and invest in a cleaning every now and again. You might be surprised how much dust, mildew, and other junk accumulates in your vents over the years – and how badly that affects your air quality.5. Don’t Neglect Your Dryer VentsThis one isn’t just a hazard to your air quality. You should thoroughly clean your dryer vents at least once a year to remove lint, hair, dust, and whatever else might accumulate in there. By keeping this vent clear, you’re also minimizing fire risk, so don’t skip this one.6. Avoid VOC ProductsHairspray, household paint, synthetic pillow stuffing, cleansers, and wrinkle-free sheets can contain volatile organic compounds or VOCs. These compounds can irritate your sinuses and make it difficult to breathe, so you should try to stick with products with low VOCs or none at all. Personal care products can sometimes contain VOCs, so check labels often to make sure you’re avoiding them.7. Check for Water and Keep Humidity LowWater leaks and humid air can cause mold and mildew to form, which are top home air pollutants. Regularly check for water damage and fix any leaks you find. Additionally, use dehumidifiers in places like crawl spaces and basements to keep humidity low.  8. Bring Some Green into the HouseDid you know some plants can act as air purifiers? In addition to giving off oxygen, many household plants like bamboo palms, spider plants, and Boston ferns actually remove chemicals from the air. Add plants in your house to bring vibrant life – and better air quality – to every room.Managing the air quality in your home doesn’t have to be a full-time job – or cost a ton of money. Installing air purifiers, investing in a high-quality vacuum, and taking care to bring non-toxic products into your home will go a long way in making sure your family is staying healthy and breathing clean air.

How to Get Approved for a Mortgage When You're Self Employed

May 4, 2021
Working for yourself has many benefits: Flexible hours, more freedom on projects, and no dealing with bosses or co-workers. However, some things are a little more complicated when you’re freelancing… and one of those things is buying a house. But don’t worry! With just a little bit of prep work, you can realize your dream of owning a home.Why is the Home-Buying Process Different for Freelancers?The majority of the home-buying process is the same for everyone. You’ll complete the same applications, get your credit score verified, and disclose debt and assets. What’s different is the process of proving your income.Mortgage lenders need to verify how much a borrower is earning and a history of earnings. For traditionally employed prospective buyers, lenders can contact their employer for these details. Freelancers need to provide this on their own.What Do Freelancers Need to Prove Income?Typically, lenders want to see at least two years of income history. These are a few examples of documents you might need to provide:Employment verification in the form of letters from clients or a licensed CPA, proof of licenses you hold, and evidence of insurance for your business.Income verification through at least two years of tax returns, bank statements, and profit-and-loss forms.How Can Freelancers Improve Their Chance of Being Accepted?Lenders are going to look closely at your credit score, credit history, and current debts. They will also consider savings or assets, which can be used for a down payment and cover closing costs.You can improve the chances of having your mortgage loan accepted by improving your credit score, keeping your debt-to-income ratio low, keep balances on credit cards low, and start saving for your down payment.Tips for Increasing Your Credit ScoreA high credit score can prove to lenders that you’re able to repay a loan. Check your credit score to make sure there aren’t any errors – and correcting them if there are.Make sure you don’t open any new credit lines, including credit cards, car loans, or anything else.Do not close any credit card or other accounts right now! Even if you have a credit card you haven’t used in years, don’t be tempted to close it out. Doing this can affect your credit utilization ratio, which affects your credit history.Owning a Home Isn’t Just a Dream!Don’t be discouraged by the extended process for freelancers to secure a mortgage. As long as you can gather the documentation you need to verify and document your income, you’ll be ready to start the process. If you’re a few years out from starting the process, now’s the time to boost that credit score, get your debt-to-income ratio low, and start saving. Good luck!
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