Start the Year with a Look at Your House Budget
The holidays are over, you've made all your returns and even redeemed your
gift cards, it's time to sit back and relax, right? Sorry, but there's one
more important activity this season requires - getting your financial house
in order. Uncle Sam is just around the corner waiting for his share of your
2007. It's time to gather up all your important financial documents
necessary to file your taxes. (Don't mistakenly recycle your W-2 like one
of my clients did.)
Don't Miss Out on Any
When you're filling out your taxes, make sure that you don't forget any of
those ever-important deductions. Just some of the deductions include:
and home equity interest
Look Closely at Your
Now that you have all your financial documents together, do yourself a favor
and review your household budget and your mortgage program. Take a good
look at your mortgage and ask yourself some important questions:
your rate fixed or adjustable? Is it time to refinance?
you paying interest only and making no progress on your principle?
you have more than one mortgage? If so, should you consider
Many people don't realize that a homeowners'
insurance rate increase will make your monthly mortgage payment higher, if
the two are rolled in together. People think that a 30-year fixed rate
mortgage means that their payments will never change. Sometimes, they do.
While you're looking at your payments, it's a good idea to review other
household expenses as well.
If you're suffering from the increase in oil prices, you're in good
company. The cost of filling up your gas tank has doubled in the past year
or so, as has filling the heating oil tank. For many people, that means
bidding a sad farewell to their disposable income. Still to others, it
means cutting something else out of the budget. Review your house budget:
you get a timer for your thermostat to cut down on heating expenses?
How about cranking it down even lower at night?
your cable, telephone, and Internet charges. The new combination
packages just may save you enough money to offset some of those
gasoline price increases.
low can you go on your grocery bill? There are lots of websites that
help you plan out meals for the week and shop accordingly.
January's Home Value Improver
Spruce Up Your Kitchen on a Budget
You probably have an idea of what you would do to your kitchen if you had a
spare $80,000. Chances are, you don't have that money lying around, but
you'd still like to spruce up the room in which you spend much of your
time. The kitchen is one area in which small changes can be very gratifying
in their level of changes. Consider the following areas:
Cabinets. Your cabinets take up the lion's share of
the real estate in your kitchen. Brighten up a kitchen by painting cabinet
doors. I had a client who even stenciled tasteful sailboats on the cabinets
of her home on Cape Cod, and it looked fantastic. If that sounds too time
consuming, you could also replace a wooden panel in a pair of cabinet doors
with glass for an open look.
Countertops. It used to be that formica and Corian were
your only choices. In the past decade or so, granite has hit the kitchen
scene as strongly as stainless. The granite trend has given rise to even
more types of countertops. Some formica bears a striking resemblance to
granite, but the prices don't resemble each other at all. Surfaces such as
Silestone offer all the benefits of granite, and are actually made of
granite, but they don't stain and offer an even wider variety of colors.
Drawers and Baskets. If you want to add
a more open look, remove a few drawers and replace them with pretty wire or
Windows. Of course, new curtains or blinds can add
the finishing touch that a kitchen may be lacking. With a few extra
dollars, you can even install one of those bowed-out plant windows.
New Hardware. Changing up the hardware in your sink can
add a sleeker look as well as practicality. A pull-out faucet looks nice,
and makes cleaning much easier. New hardware on the cabinets can make a big
Backsplash. Sure, it seems like wasted space, but bead
board along your backsplash can give the area a more finished look. It's
also a good place to hang pretty saucers. (Be sure to get some inexpensive
plate hangers to do it, though.)
here to share this newsletter with a friend
If you are trying to follow all the news and changes happening
in the mortgage industry, you have probably realized how overwhelming it
can be. As the government, businesses and consumers try to make sense of
the tumultuous times, it's challenging to figure out what, if anything, to
Like you, I am attempting to stay abreast of it all. And since it's my day
job, I'm able to devote more time to it. Additionally, my experience of
riding out the highs and lows of this business have given me valuable
insights, which I am always happy to share.
Please feel free to call or email anytime for more information on any
P.S. You're receiving this E-Newsletter because you have a
prior relationship with me or with Westchester Mortgage. If I've sent this
to you in error, or if you want to remove yourself from the list at any
time, just click the SafeUnsubscribe link at the bottom of this
Click here to read my
Mortgage Minute in ForeclosuresMass.com's monthly newsletter.
This month's topic: Can you really afford that mortgage