Steps for buying your new home
1. Figure out how much you can afford
What you can afford depends on your income, credit rating, current monthly expenses, downpayment and the interest rate.
Homebuying programs in your state
2. Know your rights
Fair Housing: Equal Opportunity for All- brochure
Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)
3. Shop for a loan
Looking for the best mortgage: shop, compare, negotiate – brochure
Let FHA help you
Learn about interest only loans
Avoid Predatory Lenders
4. Learn about homebuying programs
Homebuying programs in your state
Let FHA help you (FHA loan programs offer lower downpayments and are a good option for first-time homebuyers!)
HUD’s special homebuying programs
Good Neighbor Next Door(formerly known as Teacher/Officer/Firefighter Next Door)
Homeownership for public housing residents
Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program(Section 184)
5. Shop for a home
Wish list – what features do you want?
Home-shopping checklist? take this list with you when comparing homes
Homes for sale(including HUD homes)
“Fixer-Uppers – home purchase and repair programs
Manufactured (mobile) homes
Build a home
Shopping for a Home FAQ’s
6. Make an offer
Making an offer
7. Get a home inspection
For Your Protection Get a Home Inspection
10 Questions to ask a home inspector
8. Shop for homeowners insurance
12 ways to lower your homeowners insurance costs
9. Sign papers
You’re finally ready to go to “settlement” or “closing.” Be sure to read everything before you sign!
Settlement Costs and Helpful Information
10 Fall Clean-up Tips
1. Feed your lawn. Think of fall fertilization as refueling and replenishing your lawn after a long, hot summer. Fall fertilization will help maintain your lawn’s root health and replenish nutrients that were expended in summer
months. Fall feedings should be timed when plants are still absorbing nutrients, so don’t wait too long. Depending on your region, fall feeding can take place beginning on Labor Day or into early October.
2. Remember to water. Before you put away that watering can and retire your sprinklers for the season, remember that thriving plants are still thirsty. Water early in the day to avoid evaporation and disease development. And water
deep: When you see moisture soak into the soil of container plants and beds, apply another dose.
3. Air out the soil. Thatch build-up and foot traffic can compact soil, which cuts off oxygen and nutrient supply to the roots. Aeration loosens soil and literally airs out the earth. Soil plugs that are removed can be left on the lawn
– they will eventually break down, providing nutrients to your lawn. Balding turf, matted-down grass, sparse new growth, pools of water and tough ground are signs you need to aerate.
4. Level and reseed. Start spring on level ground by filling ruts and low spots where water collects now. Early fall is the best time to reseed a lawn so turf roots establish before winter. Loosen soil with a dethatching rake, add a soil
amendment and evenly apply seed.
5. Divide plants. If your perennials are overcrowded, fall is an ideal time to divide the root ball and replant. Cutting back the plants prior to transplanting can help reduce shock.
6. Plant fall bulbs. Plant in fall to enjoy spring’s first blooms – crocus, daffodil, tulip. The best time to plant is after the first frost so the bulbs will stay cool all winter. Dig holes for bulbs and fertilize before replacing soil.
7. Pick up leaves. Fall cleanup will save time for gardening come spring, and clearing your lawn of leaves and sticks will prevent the heavy, wet foliage from suffocating the turf. Dark, moist environments are breeding grounds for disease.
8. Mow low. Make the last mowing of the season a short cut since you’ll retire lawn equipment until spring comes around again.
9. Decorate for the holidays. Fall is the time to think festive! Draw attention to your landscape with lighting, and find ways to incorporate a pop of color by filling containers with seasonal selections – mums for fall.
10. Clean up. Wash down the patio furniture and store it for the season. Make sure to pick up toys so they don’t get buried or lost.
Back-to-School Tips for Parents
Starting the new school year can be a time of great excitement… and anxiety. Help calm your child’s fears (and your own) with these teacher-approved tips.
Meet the new teacher.
For kids, one of the biggest back-to-school fears is “Will I like my new teacher?” Breaking the ice early on is one of the best ways to calm everyone’s fears. Take advantage of your school’s open house or back-to-school night. Some teachers welcome phone calls or e-mails — another great opportunity to get to know each other before the year begins.
If personal contact with the teacher isn’t possible, try locating the teacher’s picture on a school website or in a yearbook, so your child can put a name with a face. If your child’s teacher sends a welcome letter, be sure to read the letter together.
Tour the school.
If your school hosts an open house, be sure to go. Familiarizing your child with her environment will help her avoid a nervous stomach on the first day. Together you can meet her teacher, find her desk, or explore the playground.
With an older child, you might ask him to give you a tour of the school. This will help refresh his memory and yours.
Connect with friends.
A familiar friend can make all the difference when heading back to school. You might try calling parents from last year’s class and finding out which children are in your child’s class this year. Refresh these relationships before school starts by scheduling a play date or a school carpool.
Obtain the class supply list and take a special shopping trip with your child. Having the right tools will help him feel prepared. While keeping basic needs in mind, allow for a couple of splurges like a cool notebook or a favorite-colored pen. These simple pleasures make going back to school a lot more fun.
School supply lists also provide great insight into the schoolwork ahead. Get your child excited about upcoming projects by explaining how new supplies might be used. Let him practice using supplies that he’s not used before — such as colored pencils or a protractor — so he will be comfortable using them in class.
Avoid last-minute drilling.
When it’s almost time to stop playing, give a five-minute warning. Giving clear messages to your child is very important.
Chat about today’s events and tomorrow’s plans.
While it is important to support learning throughout the summer, don’t spend the last weeks of summer vacation reviewing last year’s curriculum. All kids need some down time before the rigors of school begin. For some kids, last-minute drills can heighten anxiety, reminding them of what they’ve forgotten instead of what they remember.
Ease into the routine.
Switching from a summer to a school schedule can be stressful to everyone in the household. Avoid first-day-of-school mayhem by practicing your routine a few days in advance. Set the alarm clock, go through your morning rituals, and get in the car or to the bus stop on time. Routines help children feel comfortable, and establishing a solid school routine will make the first day of school go much smoother.
Halloween Safety Tips
Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Feel free to excerpt these tips or use them in their entirety for any print or broadcast story, with acknowledgment of source.
ALL DRESSED UP:
Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.
CARVING A NICHE:
Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.
HOME SAFE HOME:
To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL:
A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters.
Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
Never cut across yards or use alleys.
Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.
©2013 American Academy of Pediatrics
– See more at: http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Halloween-Safety-Tips.aspx#sthash.VkqjcwWq.dpuf
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