Put Your Tax Refund to Work Today!

Use your tax refund to help buy that dream home you have had your eye on! We know it is tough to pull together a down payment for a home, due to unavailable resources for a down payment. However, many people overlook the fact that numerous tax rebates given around this time of year would be the perfect amount to put down on a home.

Consider using this large sum of money you receive from your tax rebate towards a down payment on a home. Interest rates are still at an all-time low, so it is a great time to be homebuyer. Do not let the low mortgage prices, which are slowly creeping back up, pass you by because of a down payment. Put your refund to good use and get your taxes done early so you are able to buy early! If this is not incentive enough, at Integrity Financial Services we love helping you figure out the financial logistics of such a plan. Let us get you on the right track to make your down payment process easier by using your tax refund intelligently. The more a buyer puts down, the lower the mortgage. Low mortgage balances carry low mortgage payments it is that simple.

Even if you have your down payment plans covered, you can use your tax refund to pay for the other large ticket items of home buying such as closing costs, appliances, furniture, or carpet, the list of expenses goes on! Make sure you budget for this and if you need help, consider using your tax refund. Regardless of what you choose to use your refunded amount on, completing your taxes earlier means being able to use it earlier. Let us at Integrity Financial Services help you reach this point as quick as possible. Give us a call today at 1-877-760-9854 and let us help you get the maximum refund.

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‘Tis the Season for Real Estate

When is the best time to buy or sell real estate? When the flowers are in bloom, you want to start your real estate exploring by looking for an agent and getting your house on the market. Real estate works in cyclical fluctuations and just as pumpkins flourish in October, or peppermint pops up around December, houses are “in season” when spring has sprung up until the end of summer.

 

It is important to note when selling season is because it can help you make smarter purchases. Knowing when fellow homeowners are looking to buy or sell means, you can prepare your home for sale during the winter months to get it in tiptop selling condition. Interior maintenance, room-by-room decorating, exterior fixes and fully manicured lawn care all take good time to complete before displaying your home on the market.

When everyone’s potted plants are in bloom, the kids are on summer vacation and it is pleasant walking around outdoors, makes spring a logical time to begin the season for real estate. Ensuring that your credit is ready to take on real estate season is vital to your success! Currently, mortgage rates are still low, but the prices are creeping back up and the race to get a good deal will begin this March and April. Qualifying with good down payments, income and a good credit score will be the deciding factor for getting the best mortgage rate.

Get ready for the biggest purchase of your life by making sure your credit can handle it and that your ride to home ownership is a smooth one. At Integrity Financial Services, we can help prepare you for your real estate ventures and continue to do so as you experience every financial undertaking as a newly claimed homeowner. Inquire about our variety of mortgage and loan programs today by giving us a call at 1-877-760-9854. We are waiting and ready to help your find success this real estate season. From all of us at Integrity Financial Services, we wish you happy house hunting!

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Be Smart About Your Money in 2013


A new year means new opportunities, fresh starts and smarter decisions than the year before. Money isn’t happiness, but it sure does help to be smart with it. Make personal finance easy for yourself this New Year by following only a few simple rules:

  • Stop eating out – $10 lunches at work may be convenient but they are not logical. Though it may be difficult, set a limited weekly budget for lunches at the least. Even better though is to bring in your lunch from home or enjoy your dinner leftovers. If anything doing this for a month will make you appreciate your meals more!
  • Get the best deal – Few people enjoy haggling for money, but when the outcome is saving $200.00 a month on your phone bill you won’t regret getting a little feisty with a customer service representative. Always push your boundaries and be confident that you truly are receiving the most possible for your money.
  • Purge – Hello ebay, Craigslist and Amazon! Make easy money and get organized by sorting through your garage, attic or basement and selling it. Either have it sold for you online, or get creative and throw your own at-home auction or yard sale.
  • Invest – Investing is smart. Having money is great, but putting it where it will give you greater returns is even better. Think about an individual retirement fund for you and your spouse to enjoy down the road.
  • Plan for the future – “Down the road” is here and you need to start saving for your living expenses during your retirement. Another thing to account for is children and supporting them comfortably for 18 years and even being able to assist them with higher education. Nobody has a crystal ball, but everyone knows money is always needed! Start saving now.

Make 2013 your year and enjoy the many benefits of being smart with your personal finance decisions. By following these tips you’ll be well on your way to a heftier wallet without even feeling like your trying! Have questions about your personal finances? Contact us at Integrity Financial today and we will be happy to help you!

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Spread the Wealth and Donate Unwanted Gifts

As joyful and pleasant as the holidays can be, a lot of us enjoy the de-stressing sigh of relief that follows when the hustle and bustle gradually tapers back to its normal load. Though the larger portion of the holidays work may be over, there are always things to be done before they can be completely wrapped up. Lists of things still remain like getting friends and family to the airport for departures, cleaning up after the large holiday party, and returning items for different sizes, or figuring out what to do with the gifts that completely missed the mark.

Save yourself some trouble and feel loads better by forgetting about returning or re-buying this year and donating your unwanted or unsuccessful holiday gifts to needy charities instead.

Charities are always in need of a wide range of items, not just the holidays, which your misplaced gifts are sure to satisfy.  You may not want or even need a gift you received among many, but remember that someone out there someone does. Depending on the charity, the condition in which your donated item is in does matter. Children or hospital organizations have to require new condition, so your unused or discarded Christmas gifts from this year (or maybe last year’s too!) can find a new home.

Donating is easy and gives you a better feeling about those awkward unwanted gifts. Many charities make it easy to donate by allowing drop offs or shipments and may even be tax deductible. Don’t bother standing in the long return lines to force yourself buying a replacement gift you may or may not want, be mindful of those in need and keep the giving spirit alive!

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Closet and Garage Space Is a Deal Breaker

As the demand rises for home owners requesting more and more space within their homes, garages are becoming a more important feature within homes. The space of a garage and the way it is utilized and maximized is crucial for today’s demanding buyers.

Garages are increasingly important when weighing the decision of whether or not to purchase a home and are a larger part of the value of any property. Traditionally, having car park space is convenient and ideal. However, today garages are increasingly looked at as extra space for storage and renovating into room space, etc. Therefore, if a home doesn’t have a garage to utilize this space in the first place, it may prove a complete deal breaker for any potential home buyer. The average two-car garage will return an investment two to two-and-a-half times. It doesn’t mean you have to have one with polished or painted floors and other fancy amenities, but it does have to be clean and roomy.

In the same camp as garages, closets are now a vital asset in any home – and large quantity! Closet space is also a “deal breaker” for today’s prospective home buyers and it makes sense too. If they are unable to visualize how their current “stuff” will fit in the closets then it is more beneficial to the sale of the home. On the other hand, if it appears that the amount of “stuff” they have has no potential home then they immediately feel unwelcomed.  Like garage space, this closet dilemma is an easy fix! To make closets appear more spacious, clear out what you don’t need and hang everything on matching hangers.

Today’s home buyers have many legitimate needs and desires they need satisfied before making the largest purchase of their life. Don’t let wasted space bring your potential sale to a halt and ensure that your closet and garage spaces are not deal breakers!

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Increase Your Home’s Value with Small Bathroom Updates!

Being conscious of your home’s exterior and interior state and making an effort to keep it at its premium is extremely important to the resale value.  One of the best ways to put additional value into your home is by small bathroom updates. Small bathroom updates equal a big return.

Everyone wants to get the most value for their home. The trick is getting the most value while spending the least amount of time and money. One of the keys for adding value to your home is to repair, replace or remove anything that could turn buyers away.

Even if you can’t afford a full remodel, small changes such as replacing dated wallpaper or replacing old lighting will update the room without denting your wallet. Other cost-effective changes to your bathroom could be replacing an outdated vanity, changing old plumbing and lighting fixtures or adding a new tile floor. Any of these updates will guarantee a lot of bang for your buck and give your bath an updated, modern look.

It’s always important to be smart when it comes to spending money. Putting money into a few small bathroom updates is a guaranteed return on your home if you ever need to sell it in the future. So tie up those sneakers, grab your keys and head to the nearest home improvement store to begin your updating today!

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As Low as You Can Go

Convention Rates are at the lowest rate they have ever been! It won’t get any cheaper to borrow money than right now. After the election, no matter who wins, people believe the interest rates will go up, so it is important to consider the 30 day window given to lock in these record-low interest rates.

How Can You Benefit from These Historic Low Rates?

- Refinance AGAIN because it is even lower now and you can save a few hundred (depending on your loan amount) if you do it again

- A 1% increase in interest rate is more important and a 10% increase in the value of the home long term.

- If the lower payment of your new mortgage recoups the closing costs in 24 months or less and you plan to keep the home for at least that long, then refinancing can be worth it.

- Buy a home or rental property because of these low interest rates and low home prices – the amount you can save in interest payments over the length of your loan is huge!

- Refinance your home. Now is a good time to switch to a fixed-rate mortgage. While you’re at it, look into refinancing your 30-year mortgage into a 15-year loan so you don’t inadvertently add many years of interest payments to your mortgage.

Reap the benefits of these record low rates now before they finally rise (because they will) and be smart about your spending! Don’t wait for the “rock bottom” any longer – it is NOW. Give us a call to discuss many great loan plans for you and get into your dream home for a fraction of what it is truly worth!

 

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How Dressing up Your Home’s Exterior Improves Resale Value

With the popularity of home makeover reality and improvement shows, there is a real interest in beautification and restoration of our homes interiors and exteriors.

This is not only because we concern ourselves with keeping up appearances, but also because home improvements can positively reflect your home’s worth and resale value.

Exterior home improvements make your home standout to prospective buyers, which is important in this depressed real-estate market.

We find the following affordable tips both helpful and practical for a quick exterior fix aiming to save you money:

- Add color – Planting attractive containers with mums or pansies around the exterior of your home may seem only superficial, but it can change the facade of your home from drab to warm and welcoming.

- Gauge Proportions – Having plants in proportion to your home is important to the outward appeal. Overgrown shrubbery immediately indicates a lack of effort towards both the exterior and interior of the upkeep of your home.

- Add interest – Outdoor interest through hardscapes, such as decks, flagstone, patios, pergolas, retaining walls  and more can be done year around . Though many of these seem work intensive, it is minimal to the savings it will give you in the long run.

- Upkeep – In early fall, aerate and fertilize the lawn so it becomes healthy.

- Plant spring-flowering bulbs like tulips and daffodils in the fall.

These small outdoor updates are guaranteed to improve the look and feel of the exterior of your home without the costliness of a major renovation. First impressions count and the exterior of your home should not fall by the wayside, especially if it means saving money!

Call us today for more detailed information on how Integrity financial can save you money. We are happy to help you!

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Maximizing Energy Efficiency to Cut Energy Costs

Pinching pennies to maximize your cash flow is always a sensible and rewarding endeavor to attempt. However, we all know that using our money sense can be difficult to remember at all times. In fact, we agree that it is nice to indulge where it counts, so where exactly should we pinch our pennies?


There are many ways to maximize the energy efficiency of your home and this ultimately saves you a considerable amount of money in regards to your overall energy costs.Saving on energy can range from the type of light bulbs you purchase to the type of roofing you have on your home. Here are a few tips to how you can start to save energy and save even more money!

- Get a home energy audit every couple of years with your power company to find ways to cut costs.

- Check with your utility company for rebates whenever you install energy-saving equipment.

- Add more energy-efficient insulation to your attic.

- Turn down your home thermostat two degrees. It might not sound like much, but it adds up.

- Buy a programmable thermostat, especially if your home is vacant most of the day. Set it to turn on a half hour before anyone arrives home.

- Adjust your thermostat to a comfortable temperature and wait. Turning your thermostat up or down dramatically wastes energy and increases your heating costs.

- Fix leaky faucets

- Invest in weather-stripping kits if you’ve got drafty doors.

- Trade your standard candescent bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs.

- Turn off your computer when not in use, or use the energy-saving “sleep” mode.

- Seal energy leaks. Caulk over cracks and small holes around windows and exterior walls.

- Participate in your power company’s special energy-saving program.

- Buy major appliances that sport the “Energy Star” sticker. That shows the appliance meets or exceeds standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

- Consider a front-loading washing machine. They use 50 percent less energy and one-third less water.

- When building a home or replacing a roof, select a roof based more on energy efficiency. Light-colored roofs do the best job of reflecting the sun, and cool quickly at night.

At Integrity Financial we believe in being economically responsible in order to live within your means and live a comfortable and satisfying life. Call us today for more tips and tricks on how you can save more money!

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Staying Financially Fit

Staying financially fit is similar and dissimilar to staying physically fit. Luckily, no long hours of cardio, calorie counting, or weightlifting is needed to stay financially fit. However, the same level of dedication, time and knowledge can be applied to see effective results. Fads and trends don’t just happen with apparel and pop culture. At Integrity Financial we have recognized several trending steps that result in financially fit and happy individuals.

Steps to Being Financially Fit – You Can Do It!

1. Work closely and intelligentlywith your banker:

You’re not compelled to accept whatever your bank says. Though their professional advice is important to seek out, you are an independent person who needs to think wisely before blindly accepting or signing anything.

2. Follow all the procedures to purchase a house:

It is essential to fill out the documents correctly and submit them to the lenders without any delay. Call your lender from time to time, and enquire about the status of your mortgage application. Stack the copies of all the papers in a file. In case, you misplace the original paper, you can use the photo copy of the original document.

3. Take out your credit card from the freezer:

If you keep your plastic card in the freezer for a long period of time, then the credit card company will consider it as an inactive account. Payment history is used to calculate your credit score. Inactive accounts don’t contribute payment history, and this makes a negative influence on your credit score.

4. Stay calm and stick to your plans:

The market trends change throughout the year. Don’t make snap decisions, stick to your original financial plan, save funds in your retirement accounts, and make wise investments. Stay financial disciplined irrespective of the behavior of the market.

5. Balancing your balance sheet:

Net worth is grown by two simple ways; increase assets and/or reduce liabilities.

When mortgage rates drop, saving mortgage interest is a way of reducing overall payments to the mortgage holder. Therefore, you will have more cash in the bank by the end of the loan. Pay close attention to interest rates and call your Integrity Financial Mortgage Banker to run the analysis on a refinance.

6. Get your free credit report and check it once:

You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year. Have a look at the copy of your credit report, and figure out if there is any misleading information on it.

Taking care of your financial fitness can ensure a hassle free life. Manage your finances effectively by making smart, informed decisions. Do you have further questions regarding your financial fitness? Contact us at 727-531-0000 at Integrity Financial Today, we are happy to help you!

 

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