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Helpful Tips

keyboard and coffee cup

Here is a way to protect yourself from predatory lending,
potential identity theft and telemarketers

Important Notice to All Borrowers:

Did you know that when a mortgage inquiry is logged on your credit report, your personal information is then automatically added to lists that are being sold by Experian, Trans Union and Equifax to certain kinds of mortgage lenders?

Predatory lending is a serious issue, especially in times of economic downturn, when unscrupulous mortgage lending companies become more aggressive in luring in home-buyers with bait-and-switch tactics. Additionally, the more companies that have your personal credit data, the greater the risk that you will become the victim of identity theft.

Consumer Credit Opt-Out

The good news is there are preventative measures you can take to protect yourself from predatory lending, potential risk for identity theft and even hassling telemarketers:


You will need to provide enough personal identification for this service to verify it is correctly removing your personal record from the marketing lists. In addition to being removed from these new lists, you may also choose to be removed from the lists that are currently sold to credit card companies to generate pre-approved card solicitations. You can opt out for a period of five years or permanently.


Helpful Tips

Paint cans in different colors

Update Your Home's "Curb Appeal" on a Budget

Simple Inexpensive ways to increase the value of your home:

Whether you are trying to get your home ready to sell, or just looking to increase your investment, there are many inexpensive ways to add value to your home in a weekend.

Add curb appeal:

  • Paint your front door with a pop of color to make your home stand out and look welcoming. Replace your door knob if it is shaky or dated. The front door can set the tone for potential buyers.
  • Make sure your yard is neat and free of weeds and add a few inexpensive plants that are native to your area.
  • Pressure wash your home exterior, deck, sidewalks, and driveway, and wash the outside of your windows to immediately brighten the look of your home.

Updating the interior:

  • Add a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color to your walls. It will instantly make your home appear brighter and newer.
  • Declutter your home. This can make your space appear larger and open, giving potential buyers the perception that there is enough storage in the home for their belongings.
  • To spruce up your bathroom and kitchen without breaking the bank, start with replacing dated hardware. Change out old knobs on your drawers and cabinets, update faucets and shower heads, and replace old lighting.

 

You don’t need to spend $50,000 on a kitchen renovation to show your investment some love. There are plenty of smaller, less involved projects that will make your home look more updated and enticing to potential buyers.


Helpful Tips

Hurricane as seen from a sattelite

Are You Prepared for When a Storm Hits?

Here we are in hurricane season, which will quickly be followed by winter! Make sure you and your home are prepared by doing the following when alerted for oncoming storms:

  • Bring in any outside furniture or toys that could be picked up by the wind
  • Make sure all your doors and windows are securely closed
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer down to the lowest temperature so your food will last longer if the power goes out
  • Turn off your propane tanks and unplug any small appliances
  • Talk about an evacuation plan with your family
  • Fill your car’s gas tank
  • Have a collection of disaster supplies handy 

What disaster supplies should you have ready?

  • Water and food that is non-perishable to last you at least three days
  • Portable battery charging pack for your mobile devices
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlight (with extra batteries)
  • Battery operated radio (with extra batteries)
  • Local maps
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

Weather can be unpredictable, but a storm doesn’t have to take you by surprise. Make sure you have what you need in case a storm hits so you and your family can weather it out together!


Helpful Tips

Fire fighters battling a blaze

Fire Safety Preparedness in your Home

A fire can become life threatening in just two minutes and will quickly produce black smoke making it extremely hard for you to see. That is why it is important for you and your family to not only take steps to prevent fires, but have a plan together in the worst should happen. Educating and preparing yourself can be a life saver.

  • Make sure that smoke alarms are on every level of your home and test them monthly.
  • Create a home fire escape plan for you and your family and practice it twice a year.
    • Every family member should know two ways to escape from each room in your house.
    • Inhaling smoke is very dangerous, so make sure you stay low as you escape from your house.
    • Practice feeling your way out of the house with your eyes closed.
    • Make sure you have a designate meeting area outside in the case of a fire.
    • Get out and stay out! Never go back in for people, pets, or things.
    • Make sure to time your fire drill and keep it under two minutes to escape.

There are precautions you can take to help decrease the risk of a house fire:

  • Don’t overload your electrical circuits.
  • Unplug hair dryers and other small bathroom appliances when they are not in use.
  • Do not run extension cords under rugs and carpets.
  • Replace frayed electric cords.
  • Stay in the kitchen anytime you are frying, grilling or broiling food.
  • Keep baking soda on hand for extinguishing kitchen fires.
  • Have portable fire extinguishers that are easy to access.

Get your family together and have a conversation about how to prevent fires and implement a plan in case there is a house fire in your home, it could save your lives.


Helpful Tips

Fireworks in red, white and blue

Use caution handling fireworks this Independence Day!

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year and cause an average of $43 million in property damages. Make sure your Fourth of July is both fun and safe with these firework safety tips!

  • Homemade fireworks are illegal, so never try to make your own.
  • Sparklers are not safe for small children to use, they burn very hot (hot enough to melt some types of metals) and can set clothes on fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are ignited in a clearing without nearby structures, power lines, homes, bushes and dry leaves.
  • Have a bucket of water and a hose nearby when setting off fireworks in case there is an accident.
  • Pets should be kept securely indoors to keep them from running away or getting injured if the loud noises spook them.
  • Always wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.
  • Never shoot fireworks off from inside a container.
  • Never hold fireworks in your hand when lighting them.
  • Never put any part of your body over fireworks when you ignite them.
  • Do not try to relight a firework.
  • Do not carry fireworks in pockets.
  • Soak all fireworks before throwing them away.
  • Remember, fireworks are not legal everywhere. Check your local ordinances first.

Be safe and smart this Fourth of July and Enjoy your holiday!


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