Follow these tips to stay secure on-the-go. Staying safe on the go!

Password-protect your smartphone: Always lock your phone when it’s not in use, set it to automatically lock after being idle for a set amount of time. Set your phone to use a longer and stronger password than the default 4-digit unlock code if this option is available on your phone. For even better security, set your phone to erase all data after 10 bad password attempts.

Clear data from your smartphone frequently

Delete text messages from financial institutions, especially before sharing, discarding, or selling your phone. If you visit banking websites using your phone, delete the cookies and cache regularly. Better yet, use dedicated apps for online banking.

Always download apps from reputable sources

Criminals try to lure people into signing up for mobile banking using fake apps and/or websites.

Always visit your direct mobile banking site to verify the sources of your online banking applications. If you’re considering adding an app to your mobile device, review the app’s permissions so you understand what the app is capable of doing before you decide to download it.

Remove personal information before replacing your smartphone.

Don’t rely on carriers, recycling firms or phone deposit banks to “clean” your phone before disposal or resale to third parties. Follow your phone manufacturer’s instructions to remove all personal information from your phone before decommissioning it.

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Do you want to be a Home Owner? Here is why it pays off…

Daily Real Estate News | Home owners’ net worth is significantly higher than renters. A typical home owner’s net worth is $195,400 compared to a renter’s $5,400.

The Fed’s next survey of household finances, which is conducted every three years, is due out this yaer and the renter to home owner gap is expected to widen further due to price increases.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, predicts the figure to jump to $225,000 to $230,000 in median net worth for home owners in 2016 and around $5,000 for renters.

If that proves correct, the typical home owner will be ahead of a typical renter by a multiple of 45 on a lifetime financial achievement scale.

First Increase in over a Decade as FHFA Announces New Loan Limits

FHFA.gov | The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2017 will increase.

As of Jan. 1, households will be able to get larger FHA loans for their home purchase. In high-cost areas borrowers will be able to get loans as high as $636,150, almost $11,000 more than what they were able to get in 2016. In low-cost areas, they’ll be able to get loans for up to $275,665. That’s up from $271,050.

Questions? Contact Randy Orchen at (949) 689-4845

Tips to Maximize Your Home’s Interior Appeal

Once you have committed to selling your home, there are a number of things you can do to help get the best possible price in the shortest amount of time.

Remember that first impressions count, it is important you make your home as attractive as possible to potential buyers. You should do everything you can to make that first impression a positive one. People who consider buying your home will be as critical as you are in searching for your new home.

Here are some tips which have proven valuable to homeowners in preparing their homes for showing.

Interior
Start with a full housecleaning from top to bottom. Don’t let dirt & clutter obscure your home’s good points. Discard unused & unnecessary items in storage areas & closets. Eliminating clutter will give your home a more spacious look.

  • Walls should be clean & free of smudges, fingerprints, & dents. Consider a fresh coat of paint. Inspect woodwork & wallpaper for problems.
  • Arrange furniture to make each room appear more spacious. Store badly worn furniture.
  • Wash windows & sills. Launder curtains & drapes.
  • Shampoo rugs and carpets. Floors should be waxed.
  • Repair loose doorknobs, sticking doors & windows, & warped drawers.
  • Fix leaky faucets and eliminate discoloration in sinks.
  • Tighten loose stair banisters, & be sure steps are free of objects.
  • Light fixtures should be in good repair. Replace discolored or cracked switch plates.
  • Clean out closets to display their roominess. Be sure clothes are hung neatly other objects tidily arranged.
  • Bathrooms should be sparkling clean. Repair caulking in tubs & showers.
  • Bedrooms should be neat with attractive spreads & curtains.
  • Clean & organize the basement, attic, & garage.

Once you have committed to selling your home, there are a number of things you can do to help get the best possible price in the shortest amount of time. Remember that first impressions count, it is important you make your home as attractive as possible to potential buyers. You should do everything you can to … CONTINUE READINGMAXIMIZE YOUR HOME’S INTERIOR APPEAL WITH THESE TIPS

Maximize Your Home’s Interior appeal with these tips

Once you have committed to selling your home, there are a number of things you can do to help get the best possible price in the shortest amount of time.

Remember that first impressions count, it is important you make your home as attractive as possible to potential buyers. You should do everything you can to make that first impression a positive one. People who consider buying your home will be as critical as you are in searching for your new home.

Here are some tips which have proven valuable to homeowners in preparing their homes for showing.

Interior
Start with a full housecleaning from top to bottom. Don’t let dirt & clutter obscure your home’s good points. Discard unused & unnecessary items in storage areas & closets. Eliminating clutter will give your home a more spacious look.

  • Walls should be clean & free of smudges, fingerprints, & dents. Consider a fresh coat of paint. Inspect woodwork & wallpaper for problems.
  • Arrange furniture to make each room appear more spacious. Store badly worn furniture.
  • Wash windows & sills. Launder curtains & drapes.
  • Shampoo rugs and carpets. Floors should be waxed.
  • Repair loose doorknobs, sticking doors & windows, & warped drawers.
  • Fix leaky faucets and eliminate discoloration in sinks.
  • Tighten loose stair banisters, & be sure steps are free of objects.
  • Light fixtures should be in good repair. Replace discolored or cracked switch plates.
  • Clean out closets to display their roominess. Be sure clothes are hung neatly other objects tidily arranged.
  • Bathrooms should be sparkling clean. Repair caulking in tubs & showers.
  • Bedrooms should be neat with attractive spreads & curtains.
  • Clean & organize the basement, attic, & garage.

Here is why it pays to be a Home Owner

Daily Real Estate News | Home owners’ net worth is significantly higher than renters. A typical home owner’s net worth is $195,400 compared to a renter’s $5,400.

The Fed’s next survey of household finances, which is conducted every three years, is due out this yaer and the renter to home owner gap is expected to widen further due to price increases.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, predicts the figure to jump to $225,000 to $230,000 in median net worth for home owners in 2016 and around $5,000 for renters.

If that proves correct, the typical home owner will be ahead of a typical renter by a multiple of 45 on a lifetime financial achievement scale.

5 Tips for saving a down payment

For most Americans, a down payment is the only thing standing between renting and owning a home. Although it may seem like a daunting task to save enough to get out of the renting cycle, there are some tricks to saving money quickly. Here are a few:

Develop a budget & timeline.
Start by determining how much you’ll need for a down payment. Create a budget and calculate how much you can realistically save each month – that will help you gauge when you’ll be ready to transition from renter to homeowner.

Establish a separate savings account.
Set up a separate savings account exclusively for your down payment and make your monthly contributions automatic. By keeping this money separate, you’ll be less likely to tap into it when you’re tight on cash.

Shop around to reduce major monthly expenses.
It’s a good idea to check rates for your car insurance, renter’s insurance, health insurance, cable, Internet or cell phone plan. There may be deals or promotions available that allow you to save hundreds of dollars by adjusting your contracts.

Monitor your spending.
With online banking, keeping an eye on your spending is easier than ever. Track where most of your discretionary income is going. Identify areas where you could cut back (e.g. nice meals out, vacations, etc.) and instead put that money into savings.

Look into state and local home-buying programs.
Many states, counties and local governments operate programs for first-time home buyers. Some programs offer housing discounts, while others provide down payment loans or grants.