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XERISCAPING – A FUNNY WORD!

XERISCAPING – A FUNNY WORD!
“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”  – Khalil Gibran

According to Wikipedia, Xeriscaping “refers to landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation. It is promoted in regions that do not have easily accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water, and is gaining acceptance in other areas as climate patterns shift.”

Xeri, comes from the Greek “xeros,” meaning dry, and “scape,”  is a kind of view or scene. When you put the two words together you have a  landscape with slow-growing, drought-tolerant plants to conserve water and establish a waste-efficient landscape.  Xeriscaping will also reduce the high cost of your water bills and comes in very handy during the drought periods we sometimes have in Florida.

For an in-depth explanation with lots of suggestions for choosing plants please click on the following link – xeriscaping. This link will bring you to the IFAS website, which looks like a newsletter.  There is a plethora of helpful information other than gardening and landscaping.  For example, you can find helpful information on energy, water conservation, waste management, wildlife, natural history, food and other local information.

There is a home on NW 8th Avenue in Gainesville that makes use of one aspect of xeriscaping.  All the plants have been strategically planted so that the water runoff on the property goes to these plants. It is truly a zero maintenance yard in spite of the variety of plants growing there.This home sits next to Rattlesnake creek and boasts a magnificent variety of trees such as:

  • Japanese persimmon
  • grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Satsuma tangerine
  • an avocado tree from Mexico and
  • Three varieties of olive trees
    1. green olive
    2. black olive
    3. brown olive
  • a Hong Kong Orchid tree and/or Mountain Ebony
  • camellias
  • two kinds of Bougainville’s
  • Paw Paw trees, and of course
  • Saw Palmettos

If having all this fruit isn’t enough, the home itself is an architects’ delight with  2 story soaring windows in the family room, an updated kitchen, a mother-in-law suite, a loft overlooking the pool area and a free form salt water pool.

There is a ravine along the back portion of the property, where rattlesnake creek runs, which has a cross-country trail system running through it.   This ravine sustains the life of, and breeding habits of, 60 of the 65 varieties of dragon flies found in Florida.

This home has over 3000 square feet of heated and cooled living space and is located only 8 blocks from the University of Florida in Gainesville. This is not only a great home, but you can purchase it at the great price of only $219,000.00.  This is a pre-approved short sale and the home will not last long on the market. For more information about this great home, please click on the following link: MLS# 329532.

Regarding the slide show below, the smaller pictures are of the home cleaned up when someone who cared about the property was living there.  The larger pictures are of the home in its current condition.  It can very easily be restored to the way it used to look – all it needs is some elbow grease and trimming of the yard. If you would like to take a tour of this property, please call for an appointment at the numbers below.

Jocelyne Grandjean-Brown

CDPE Trained

RE/MAX Professionals

Gainesville, FL 32606

Office: 352-375-1002

Cell: 352-870-9929

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MOVING ON UP!

MOVING ON UP!

“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.” –  Henry Ward Beecher

The kids are warring over bedroom space — even the dog wants more room! So one Saturday you innocently load everyone into the car, in search of a larger home. Emotionally, it makes sense.

But financially, are you prepared to part with some of your hard-earned equity (not to mention a bit more of your paycheck) in order to purchase a larger home? It’s going to cost you money to move up.

Simply explained, equity is the difference between what you owe on your home (all its mortgages, liens, etc.) and what you could obtain on the open market LESS YOUR COSTS OF SALE. (And the last part of that sentence is often overlooked by over-zealous move-up buyers!) But looking before you leap can make the difference between a financially prudent new purchase and a haunting economic disaster! Let’s evaluate the costs.

1) Some increased costs of purchase are obvious: You’ll be paying a larger mortgage payment monthly to own a larger home (depending on your down payment) your taxes will increase, and yes, even your home owner’s insurance will be more. And if your down payment isn’t at least twenty percent of the purchase price, you may even have private mortgage insurance to pay. It all adds up; but

2) Some increased costs of purchase aren’t so obvious: What about upkeep and maintenance? Utilities? Even the extended period of time it takes to clean the home on the weekend, taking time away from your family and other “fun” things—are you prepared for that?

3) One category most of us overlook when taking the “move up” plunge is to evaluate the chunk of equity it will cost us to sell our existing home, pay our buying costs, and move into another. Since 80% of all sellers hire a broker to sell their existing home (often saving money overall in doing so), you’ll no doubt benefit by that cost. You’ll add to it the additional sales costs of title insurance, transfer taxes, deed preparation, tax pro-ration—-basically all the costs paid by the seller when you purchased the home.

So should you move up? The answer depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re purchasing a home that will appreciate faster than your current one, gives you more space, is in a better neighborhood, and/or will make you psychologically happier, it may make sense to move. It’s true that happiness becomes the over-riding factor to the move-up buyer. Yes, you may want different features than you have in your current home; but you also know that housing is housing— but being happy where you live is paramount!

The bottom line is that homebuyers purchase with their “gut” and justify the purchase with their wallet. Long after you’ve crunched the sales cost numbers and consulted with an expert to evaluate a new neighborhood, you’re still likely to follow your gut instincts and purchase the home that tugs hardest on your heart-strings. After all, it’s what living the American Dream is all about.

REVIEW YOUR CREDIT REPORT BEFORE YOUR LENDER DOES

REVIEW  YOUR CREDIT REPORT BEFORE YOUR LENDER DOES

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other. ”  –  Abraham Lincoln

Consumer credit information is obtained and stored in the United States by three major credit bureaus, Experian, formerly known as TRW, Trans Union Corporation and Equifax.

Credit reports contain significant information on more than 190 million Americans, about the entire adult population of the United States. These reports include your name, date of birth and social security number.

Offered in the reports for lenders to see are your lists of credit card accounts, including credit limits, your outstanding balances, payment history (late payments) for each account, your current loans, and any bankruptcies, civil judgments or liens against you. The credit report should also state the name of any company who has requested a copy of your report.

The biggest complaint that most people have about these credit reporting services is that they are often inaccurate, and getting the problem corrected is time-consuming and often difficult. An astonishing two out of five people are reported to have one or more errors on their consumer credit reports, so the odds of your having an error are high. When credit reporting companies make a mistake, they don’t incur any penalty, but you well might.

Although these credit reporting services include instructions and contact information so that you can correct mistakes on your reports, the damage could already be done. An inaccurate report that cannot be quickly cleared up can cause you to miss getting a loan on time to get your dream house. You may have to wait as long as 30 days to hear that a complaint has been corrected. And you will have to supply the corroboration that the account is in fact paid in full, or paid on time, etc. A canceled, dated check will do nicely.

Not anticipating that there might be a problem, people often wait to check their credit reports until they apply for a loan. Then they find out from the lender that there is a problem. If you are able to show proof that the report is in error, the lender will usually proceed with the loan, but s/he will insist that the credit reporting service post the correction before the loan goes through. If the lender is not satisfied that this has been done before closing, s/he may opt to close the loan at a higher rate or put off closing until the information has been posted.
As you can see, either way, it will be a nightmare for you if there is a problem. That’s why you should review your credit report before you go to a lender.
You will have to see the reports from each of the credit reporting services. One report isn’t enough. Again, you will be surprised at how often they are out of date, or inaccurate. And they don’t accept information from each other. If you call Experian and say that Trans Union’s report is correct but Experian’s isn’t, they will still make you prove the error.

So you have a choice – contact each of the credit reporting companies separately or use a new service which offers access to all three from one convenient site. QSpace, makers of iCreditReport.com, is the first service to deliver credit reports in real time over the Internet. iCreditReport.com gives Internet users the ability to access their credit files at any time, determine if their report contains information or inquiries that they do not recognize, and challenge inaccuracies more rapidly. iCreditReport.com allows users to instantly receive their personal credit reports over the Internet for $8 a report.

iCreditReport.com offers users a quick and secure method which includes the highest encryption protocols for securing transmissions, for users to monitor their personal credit records online. The proprietary system authenticates your I.D., then will release credit information to you in a secured environment.
In order to ensure privacy on the user’s side, the service does not use unsecured connections such as email, nor doe it store credit reports on its servers once the transmission is complete.

Watch Out for Credit Scoring

Lenders also get more than the credit report when they access credit rep orting company records – they get a score or a credit rating on the borrower. The score indicates a statistical probability that the borrower will default on the loan.
According to real estate columnist, Robert Lee, innocent maneuvers to consolidate your debts can inadvertently cause your score to go up. Lee advises caution when canceling many cards with small balances and then shifting the debt to a single or fewer cards.

“The maneuver will effectively raise the ratio of your unpaid balances to the maximum credit lines available on fewer cards. To the software (used by the online lenders,) it appears as if your financial situation has tightened,” says Lee.
So not only do you have to worry about your balances but the score they produce.

Lee explains that quick fixes won’t help you get the loan, but that there are some strategies you can follow to raise your score. One of them is paying a visit to Fair, Isaac and Co. Inc., a company which developed credit scoring for mortgage applications. The site includes consumer information on credit scoring. Used by both the site offers information on how credit scores are developed and used and how they can be improved.

Once you obtain a credit report, even if it is all in order and your credit is good, you will not be able to use the report to get a loan. Your lender will still want to run his/her own credit check, but at least the report will be a step in the right direction toward getting you pre-qualified and prepared to buy.

A word of caution. The reason lender fees are so high for credit report checks is that they typically will run your credit report a second time, right before closing. So when you hear that your loan has been approved, don’t do anything foolish like go out and run up a lot of bills. Every action will show up on the credit report.

Many closings have been delayed or canceled because the lender has found out something new that changes the dynamics of the loan. Don’t allow your closing to be one of them.

GATOR FLOWERS?

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GATOR FLOWERS?

It was such a beautiful morning, I decided to pick flowers before going to work. I  had some gladioli growing I thought would serve me better in a vase on the dining room table than in the front yard.  I didn’t have enough, so I decided to add a few flowers from the hydrangea bush.  I arranged the flowers and left them on the table for my husband to see when he came home from work.  They looked pretty and I thought the flowers would make him smile when he came home hot and tired. One thing I didn’t realize was how well the arrangement is suited to Gainesville.  When my husband came home he immediately saw the flowers and the colors – orange and blue.  When I  got home,  he said he thought the flowers were very pretty, but wasn’t I carrying the “Gator” thing a bit far?  Where in the world did I find orange and blue flowers?

For those of you that are not familiar with Gainesville, Florida, this is a big, big football town and the football team for the University of Florida is the Gators – and you guessed it, the school and football colors are orange and blue. 

If I had wanted to get a flower arrangement with orange and blue flowers, I probably wouldn’t easily find them – and here they were, growing in my yard all along.

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