Which Weekend Project Boosts Your Investment?

Photo Credit: http://www.blog.coldwellbanker.com

Weather is warming up!  It may inspire you to get your tool belt on and do some home improvements.  Coldwell Banker is here to help make sure that the projects you’re doing are making a solid return on your investment.  You’d be surprised at how much your home value can increase with the right projects.  Learn about which 5 projects you should get started on today.  Interested in finding out what your home could currently be worth in the condition it is in today’s market?   Use our valuable interactive pricing tool!

Hump Day Love: Mandell JCC Valley Sports Arena and Community Center

Winter for parents can just be described as a season of patience because your kids’ energy will be completely bottled up so your patience is tested.  It’s no surprise that I went looking for any outlet I could do get my son’s energy out. Thankfully, I found Mandell JCC Valley Sports Arena and Community Center in Canton that had a great indoor preschool soccer program on Saturday mornings.  

Per their website:

As a trusted, local name in sports, fitness, and building community, the Mandell JCC of Greater Hartford is proud to expand its reach into the Farmington Valley. Formerly the Valley Sports Center, the Mandell JCC Valley Sports & Community Center branch offers a variety of youth and adult sports programs, leagues, children and preschool enrichment classes, along with Jewish holiday and cultural events. No membership is required. Team rentals, drop-in play and pre-registration for classes and leagues are available.

They offer preschool, youth, teen and adult programs and leagues.  There are parent and child programs for 2-Year olds. Then in the next hour you can go to a small group personal training session for yourself.  Or maybe you’re looking to join an adult basketball league or your teen is looking or some indoor hitting practice?  Need a place for a birthday party?  This complex has everything and its all indoors so your fun can extend across any season! 

Are you interested in the town of Canton or learning more about what it offers?  Visit properties here!

Tip Tuesday: Getting Your Credit Ready!

Remember our blog post about the first thing you should if you’re thinking about purchasing a home?  If not, you can review it here.  The sum of the article is the first thing you should do is talk to a Mortgage Lender.

There are 3 main reasons for this:

  1. Competitive offer.  Home inventory is low right now so to craft an attractive offer you need to make sure that the seller knows that you’re serious.  A good way to do this is to get pre-approved in order for the seller to know that you can afford the home and are ready to begin the mortgage process as soon as an offer is accepted.
  2. It keeps you in perspective.  Why look at and fall in love with a home that’s $300,000 only to find out that you can’t afford it and can only afford $225,000.  No other home will compare and you’ll be heartbroken.  On the other hand, you may be surprised at what you can get approved for and can afford higher than you thought.
  3. It will set you up for the future.  The lender may tell you that you can’t get qualified right now, but they’ll also tell you why not and what you can do about it.

This brings me to today’s Tip Tuesday….Get Your Credit Ready!

Credit: LA Times

The Spring and Summer real estate market is on its way and you’re excited about potentially buying a home!  But, can you?

  •  You might be worried that your credit isn’t in the shape it needs to be to get pre-approved for a mortgage.  
  • Or you may not know if your credit is in the shape it needs to be.  
  • Or you may have good credit but want to improve it to get a better interest rate.  

So what can you do today about it?  

The Simple Dollar recommends 3 main items:

1) Find out what’s currently appearing on your credit score.

2) Talk to a Mortgage Lender about which balances would help your credit score by paying them down and which ones are fine to keep in installment payments.

3) After you get approved for a mortgage or even after you get an accepted offer on a home, don’t open new credit accounts!  It will decrease your credit score and thus affect your mortgage application.

A preferred Lender that many of our clients work with, Ed Angiollo of Trademark Financial Group recommends:

“Make sure you’re not late on your payments, which seems obvious but many people assume that being late on one month isn’t a big deal and it is.  Also, keep your credit card balances below 50% balance to available credit.”

Finally, don’t hold off on buying a home just because you think it requires a significant down payment.  The National Association of Realtors found that the average home buyer in the past few years paid a 6% down payment, but there are mortgage programs that require as low as 3.5%, 1% and even 0% down payment.  

  • How can you find out about these mortgage programs?
  • How can you get referred to a Lender to find out what shape your credit is in?

Contact us at harrisonrealtyteam@gmail.com or 860-539-9076 and we’ll make the appropriate referral based upon your needs!

Hump Day Love: New England Air Museum Open Cockpit Day

  • Need a way to new way to entertain your kids inside during this snow season?  
  • Have a personal love and fascination of planes and helicopters?  

We have the perfect solution for you!  New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks is hosting Open Cockpit Day on Saturday, February 18th from 10am-4pm.

Those are the faces of happy kiddos!

We went last month and the kids loved it.  Our oldest couldn’t wait to go to school on Monday and tell his friends and teachers that he went to the museum to sit in airplanes!  If you’re looking to gain history and knowledge regarding historic aircrafts then this is the event for you.  Kids and adults will be stimulated and entertained!  Activities are free with museum admission.

Also, don’t forget to go to our website and look under “Local Insights” to find activities like this one and more in your area of CT!

Hump Day Love: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse – W. Hartford

Ok, let me begin by saying that we’re parents of a 3-year-old and 1-year-old so our ability to enjoy a full night out, just the two of us is rare.  Therefore, when we get the chance to do it, we fully enjoy it.  My parents graciously got us a gift card for Christmas for Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse in West Hartford.  We couldn’t wait to use it and we already knew exactly for what occasion (again, we’re parents of youngsters so we know and look forward to which days we can get out).  Jason’s birthday was the perfect day to treat ourselves.

Two parents happy for a night out

I made us a reservation for the evening of his birthday.  It was very easy to do.  I went to their website, chose the date and time and was able to write in that it was Jason’s birthday.  I immediately received an email confirmation and received an email confirmation a few days before our reservation.  All very easy and all very accommodating.

We get to the restaurant and they greeted us by saying Happy Birthday to Jason.  They sat us at a very comfortable table where we immediately previewed their wine menu off of an iPad (very 21st century).  After ordering wine, we immediately got to the menu.  We ended up with the Fleming’s Salad (delicious) and I must say definitely enough to share especially since the food that followed was plentiful.  Jason treated himself to the Aged New York Strip Steak and I had the regular New York Strip Steak.  Both were cooked exactly the way we asked for them (I’m very particular about how I like my steak cooked so this was especially pleasing to me) and both were phenomenal!  I do have to say that it was surprising to me how much richer in flavor the aged strip steak was in comparison to the regular.  So if you can go and indulge yourself, get the aged version.  We ordered 2 sides to share.  Off of a recommendation from a friend we got the Fleming’s Potatoes.  We would have never ordered them to begin with because they have jalapeno and I’m not a jalapeno fan but I’m glad we followed the recommendation because they were heaven.  In addition we ordered the chipotle mac and cheese and if you don’t like spicy things then don’t order this because the chiptole was very evident.  It was good but I’m not sure I would order it again…a little too strong for me.  In the middle of dinner, the server asked us if we wanted the chocolate lava cake because they cook each one fresh and to order so it takes about 30 minutes to cook and we needed to order it in the middle of dinner.  With that lead up, how can you resist?  It was decadent and the calories were worth it.  Upon enjoying our chocolate lava cake, Brandy and coffee, they treated Jason to a birthday card and some chocolate truffles to take home.  a nice touch!

I mean…how good does that look?!

My only negative (and I use that for lack of a better word) experience was when Jason ordered Brandy.  The service was impeccable, but when Jason noted that the Brandy selection seemed thin she said “Yea, we don’t have a big brandy option.”  So we accepted it and moved on.  Then we went to the bar after dinner and saw all of the Brandys on the shelves of the bar and were surprised.  When we asked why they weren’t on the menu, the bartender said they can’t list everything because then their menu would be too long.  Understood.  However, it would have been appreciated if the server had mentioned that they have more Brandys than what’s listed and if we asked for something then she could find out if they had it.

The entire experience was the perfect way to indulge in a rare date night out.  We must warn you that it’s not easy on the wallet but if you’re looking for a treat….this is the place!