Real Estate Information

Kingwood, Atascocita, and Humble Texas Real Estate Update

Lorna Calder


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Its Here: The Home Buyer's Guide to Getting Mortgage Ready

by Lorna Calder

Home Buyer's Guide to Getting Mortgage ApprovalDon’t wait until you’re ready to move to start preparing financially to buy a home.

If you’re like the vast majority of home buyers, you will choose to finance your purchase with a mortgage loan. By preparing in advance, you can avoid the common delays and roadblocks many buyers face when applying for a mortgage.

The requirements to secure a mortgage may seem overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. But we’ve outlined three simple steps to get you started on your path to homeownership.

Even if you’re a current homeowner, it’s a good idea to prepare in advance so you don’t encounter any surprises along the way. Lending requirements have become more rigorous in recent years, and changes to your credit history, debt levels, job type and other factors could impact your chances of approval.

It’s never too early to start preparing to buy a home. Follow these three steps to begin laying the foundation for your future home purchase today!


Your credit score is one of the first things a lender will check to see if you qualify for a loan. It’s a good idea to review your credit report and score yourself before you’re ready to apply for a mortgage. If you have a low score, you will need time to raise it. And sometimes fraudulent activity or erroneous information will appear on your report, which can take months to correct.

The credit score most lenders use is your FICO score, a weighted score developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation that takes into account your payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%), and credit mix (10%).1


FICO Score - source


Base FICO scores range from 300 to 850. A higher FICO score will help you qualify for a lower mortgage interest rate, which will save you money.2

By federal law, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Transunion). Request your free credit report at

Minimum Score Requirements

To qualify for the lowest interest rates available, you will usually need a FICO score of 760 or higher. Most lenders require a score of at least 620 to qualify for a conventional mortgage.3

If your FICO score is less than 620, you may be able to qualify for a non-conventional mortgage. However, you should expect to pay higher interest rates and fees. For example, you may be able to secure an FHA loan (one issued by a private lender but insured by the Federal Housing Administration) with a credit score as low as 580 if you can make a 3.5 percent down payment. And FHA loans are available to applicants with credit scores as low as 500 with a 10 percent down payment.4

Increase Your Credit Score

There’s no quick fix for a low credit score, but the following steps will help you increase it over time.5

1. Make Payments on Time

At 35 percent, your payment history accounts for the largest portion of your credit score. Therefore, it’s crucial to get caught up on any late payments and make all of your future payments on time.


If you have trouble remembering to pay your bills on time, set up payment reminders through your online banking platform, a free money management tool like Mint, or an app like BillMinder.

2. Avoid Applying for New Credit You Don’t Need

New accounts will lower your average account age, which could negatively impact your length of credit history. Also, each time you apply for credit, it can result in a small decrease in your credit score.

The exception to this rule? If you don’t have any credit cards—or any credit accounts at all—you should open an account to establish a credit history. Just be sure to use it responsibly and pay it off in full each month.

If you need to shop for a new credit account, for example, a car loan, be sure to complete your loan applications within a short period of time. FICO attempts to distinguish between a search for a single loan and applications to open several new lines of credit by the window of time during which inquiries occur.

3. Pay Down Credit Cards

When you pay off your credit cards and other revolving credit, you lower your amounts owed, or credit utilization ratio (ratio of account balances to credit limits). Some experts recommend starting with your highest-interest debt and paying it off first. Others suggest paying off your lowest balance first and then rolling that payment into your next-lowest balance to create momentum.

Whichever method you choose, the first step is to make a list of all of your credit card balances and then start tackling them one by one. Make the minimum payments on all of your cards except one. Pay as much as possible on that card until it’s paid in full, then cross it off your list and move on to the next card.


Interest Rate

Total Payoff

Minimum Payment

Credit Card 1




Credit Card 2




Credit Card 3




4. Avoid Closing Old Accounts

Closing an old account will not remove it from your credit report. In fact, it can hurt your score, as it can raise your credit utilization ratio—since you’ll have less available credit—and decrease your average length of credit history.

Similarly, paying off a collection account will not remove it from your report. It remains on your credit report for seven years, however, the negative impact on your score will decrease over time.

5. Correct Errors on Your Report

Mistakes or fraudulent activity can negatively impact your credit score. That’s why it’s a good idea to check your credit report at least once per year. The Federal Trade Commission has instructions on their website for disputing errors on your report.

While it may seem like a lot of effort to raise your credit score, your hard work will pay off in the long run. Not only will it help you qualify for a mortgage, a high credit score can help you secure a lower interest rate on car loans and credit cards, as well. You may even qualify for lower rates on insurance premiums.6


The next step in preparing for your home purchase is to save up for a down payment and closing costs.

Down Payment

When you purchase a home, you typically pay for a portion of it in cash (down payment) and take out a loan to cover the remaining balance (mortgage). 

Many first-time buyers wonder: How much do I need to save for a down payment? The answer is … it depends.

Generally speaking, the higher your down payment, the more money you will save on interest and fees. For example, you will qualify for a lower interest rate and avoid paying for mortgage insurance if your down payment is at least 20 percent of the property’s purchase price. But what if you can’t afford to put down 20 percent?

On a conventional loan, you will be required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI) if your down payment is less than 20 percent. PMI is insurance that compensates your lender if you default on your loan.7

PMI will cost you between 0.3 to 1.5 percent of the overall mortgage amount each year.8 So, on a $100,000 loan, you can expect to pay between $300 and $1500 per year for PMI until your mortgage balance falls below 80 percent of the appraised value.9 For a conventional mortgage with PMI, most lenders will accept a minimum down payment of five percent of the purchase price.7

If a five-percent down payment is still too high, an FHA-insured loan may be an option for you. Because they are guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, FHA loans only require a 3.5 percent down payment if your credit score is 580 or higher.7

The downside of getting an FHA loan? You’ll be required to pay an upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) of 1.75 percent of the total loan amount, as well as an annual MIP of between 0.80 and 1.05 percent of your loan balance on a 30-year note. There are also certain limitations on the types of loans and properties that qualify.10

There are a variety of other government-sponsored programs created to assist home buyers, as well. For example, veterans and current members of the Armed Forces may qualify for a VA-backed loan requiring a $0 down payment.7 Consult a mortgage lender about what options are available to you.




Conventional Loan


Qualify for the best rates and no mortgage insurance required

Conventional Loan


Must purchase private mortgage insurance costing 0.3 - 1.5% of mortgage annually

FHA Loan


Upfront mortgage insurance premium of 1.75% of loan amount and annual fee of 0.8 - 1.05%


Current Homeowners

If you’re a current homeowner, you may have equity in your home that you can use toward your down payment on a new home. We can help you estimate your expected return after you sell your current home and pay back your existing mortgage. Contact us for a free evaluation!

Closing Costs

Closing costs should also be factored into your savings plan. These may include loan origination fees, discount points, appraisal fees, title searches, title insurance, surveys and other fees associated with the purchase of your home. Closing costs vary but typically range between two to five percent of the purchase price.11

If you don’t have the funds to pay these outright at closing, you can often add them to your mortgage balance and pay them over time. However, this means you’ll have a higher monthly payment and pay more over the long term because you’ll pay interest on the fees.



Once you have the required credit score, savings for a down payment and a list of all your outstanding debt obligations via your credit report, you can assess whether you are ready and able to purchase a home.

It’s important to have a sense of how much you can reasonably afford—and how much you’ll be able to borrow—to see if homeownership is within reach.

Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is one of the main factors mortgage companies use to determine how much they are willing to lend you, and it can help you gauge whether or not your home purchasing goals are realistic given your current financial situation.

Your DTI ratio is essentially a comparison of your housing expenses and other debt versus your income. There are two different DTI ratios that lenders consider:

Front-End Ratio

Also called the housing ratio, this is the percentage of your income that would go toward housing expenses each month, including your mortgage payment, private mortgage insurance, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and association dues.12

To calculate your front-end DTI ratio, a lender will add up your expected housing expenses and divide it by your gross monthly income (income before taxes). The maximum front-end DTI ratio for most mortgages is 28 percent. For an FHA-backed loan, this ratio must not exceed 31 percent.13

Back-End Ratio

The back-end ratio takes into account all of your monthly debt obligations: your expected housing expenses PLUS credit card bills, car payments, child support or alimony, student loans and any other debt that shows up on your credit report.12

To calculate your back-end ratio, a lender will tabulate your expected housing expenses and other monthly debt payments and divide it by your gross monthly income (income before taxes). The maximum back-end DTI ratio for most mortgages is 36 percent. For an FHA-backed loan, this ratio must not exceed 41 percent.13

Home Affordability Calculator

To get a sense of how much home you can afford, visit the National Association of Realtors’ free Home Affordability Calculator at

This handy tool will help you determine your home purchasing power depending on your location, annual income, monthly debt and down payment. It also offers a monthly mortgage breakdown that projects what you would pay each month in principal and interest, property taxes, and home insurance.

The Home Affordability Calculator defaults to a back-end DTI ratio of 36 percent. If the monthly cost estimate at that ratio is significantly higher than what you’re currently paying for housing, you need to consider whether or not you can make up the difference each month in your budget.

If not, you may want to lower your target purchase price to a more conservative DTI ratio. The tool enables you to scroll through higher and lower price points to see the impact on your monthly payments so you can identify your ideal price point.

(Note: This tool only provides an estimate of your purchasing power. You will need to secure pre-approval from a mortgage lender to know your true mortgage approval amount and monthly payment projections.)

Can I Afford to Buy My Dream Home?

Once you have a sense of your purchasing power, it’s time to find out which neighborhoods and types of homes you can afford. The best way to determine this is to contact a licensed real estate agent. We help homeowners like you every day and can send you a comprehensive list of homes within your budget that meet your specific needs.

If there are homes within your price range and target neighborhoods that meet your criteria—congratulations! It’s time to begin your home search.

If not, you may need to continue saving up for a larger down payment … or adjust your search parameters to find homes that do fit within your budget. We can help you determine the right course for you.


It’s never too early to start preparing financially for a home purchase. These three steps will set you on the path toward homeownership … and a secure financial future!

And if you are ready to buy now but don’t have a perfect credit score or a big down payment, don’t get discouraged. There are resources and options available that might make it possible for you to buy a home sooner than you think. We can help.

Want to find out if you’re ready to buy a house? Give us a call! We’ll help you review your options, connect you with one of our trusted mortgage lenders, and help you determine the ideal time to begin your new home search.

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.


  1. Quicken Loans Blog –
  2. myFICO –
  3. Bankrate –
  4. Bankrate –
  5. myFICO –
  6. The Balance –
  7. Bankrate –
  8. Bankrate –
  9. Bankrate –
  10. The Balance –
  11. Investopedia –
  12. Bankrate –
  13. The Lenders Network –

5 Reasons Why You Should Call Us TODAY!

by Lorna Calder

Sure we can help you buy and sell a home but did you know we can do so much more? In fact, we offer our amazing clients a variety of services regardless of whether we are working with them on a home sale or purchase.

1. You will be informed on our local market!

The housing market nationally may look similar to our local market but there are many important differences. We can help you decide if now if the best time to buy or sell from giving you the full scoop on what's happening locally in our market. Also, we can product for you a FREE Comparative Market Analysis to let you know how much your home is worth. Give us a call today and we can start the discussion!


2. We can answer all of your Real Estate questions!

If we are currently working on a transaction together, we will guide you through the ENTIRE process and answer any question you have. We are also here to answer any questions you may have even after the transaction is closed, no matter how long ago it closed. We can provide you tips on your list of improvements or your home's curb appeal that will help to save you money, find the correct professional to do the job and help to make it even more sell-able in the future. 


3. We are delighted to share our professional network!

Because of the social nature of the Real Estate business, we are in contact with a wide array or reputable tradesmen, service providers and anything in between for our local area. It doesn't matter if you need a handyman for a simple job or a contractor for a remodel, we can help you find the right person for the job. We can even help you find landscapers, pool service companies and roofers!We assure you that if you call us today, we can help you find the right person for the job!


4. We are your "Community Connection"

We are very involved in our community! It doesn't matter if you are new in town or have lived here for many many years, we can provide you with updates on what's happening in our neighborhood. Shannon and Lorna live in Kingwood and Christina lives in Atascocita, so we are very familiar with the areas!


5. Will you be moving out of the area?

If you have decided to move away from the area, allow us to connect you with a TRUE professional that can give you the level of service we would provide. Moving can be a stressful event but we know many top-notch Real Estate professionals in Texas and many other states that will make the experience a breeze! And while we will be saddened by your departure, we will make sure that you are in good hands.


So remember, give us a call TODAY whether you are relocating, want to buy or sell a home, need a professional tradesman, want the neighborhood scoop or would like the update on the Local Market; we are here for YOU! Call us today, 281-361-2280!



© 2018 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. RMMK JANUARY EREPORT S


2018 Market Insight

by Lorna Calder


What’s in store for the market in 2018? While it’s impossible to know  for sure, experts analyze current trends to predict what may happen.


Home prices and values are expected  to rise modestly 

Home prices have been increasing around the country, with cities such as Dallas, Portland and Seattle experiencing the  largest year-over-year price gains.1 In fact, Washington has  experienced the fastest rise in housing prices in the United States over the past few years.2 While the National Association of Realtors anticipates 2018 home prices will rise by 3.5  percent, Freddie Mac predicts they’ll increase 4.9 percent.3  This percentage may seem modest, but for cities such as Detroit, Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Diego, rising home prices may continue the 2017 trend of creating more pressure in the market.1 The good news is home values in 28 states have risen to above pre-crisis peaks and are at an all-time high.2 

Rental prices are no longer increasing at the rate of home prices in most areas.4 Although the leveling off of rental  prices may take some financial pressure off renters, for  those thinking of buying, it’s a good time to turn their  dream of homeownership into reality.



Existing home sales have leveled off for now

Experts predict 2018 will spell more of the same for home sales. Many believe this is due to the increase in interest rates in 2017, which may have reduced the purchasing power of many homebuyers. Home purchases are expected to rise a modest 2.8 percent (5.8 million) in 2018.3  

However, patience may pay off for potential buyers. While  the combination of economic recovery, comparatively low mortgage interest rates and job growth may have brought more interested buyers to the market, inventory has been tight over the last few years. In response, homebuilding has been up and new homes are expected to hit the market this year, increasing inventory for potential buyers.5,6 Many experts are predicting 2019 will be a buyers’ market in many areas. 


Will 2018 be a banner year for new homes?

Many experts predict that new home sales will drive the  market in 2018.3 A total of 1.33 million housing starts are  expected for 2018, an increase from 1.22 million in 2017.3  While total home sales are expected to increase over two  percent, new home sales are expected to increase eight  percent, reaching 670,000 sales.




Sources:  1. Kiplinger 2. Home Buying Institute 3. NAR, 4. CNBC  5. First Tuesday Journal  6. Business Insider  7. Freddie Mac 8. Fannie Mae

© 2018 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. RMMK JANUARY MF S


Tips For Holiday Travel if You’re Driving 🚗

by Lorna Calder




Make sure your car is ready. If you plan on going for an extended drive, then it may be best to take your car to the local mechanic for a tune up! They will check things like your tires and fluid levels to make sure you won’t have a blunder on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere!


You should plan your route ahead of time. It helps to know the route you will be taking whether you plan to drive a few hours or a few days. If you do plan to do a trip that takes a day or two, call and book your hotel stays ahead of time to ensure you get a room. Also, look up fun things to do along the route like restaurants and sightseeing activities.


Keep your insurance or roadside assistance information handy. Having this information at the ready will help if you are to get in a predicament, this will make it a bit easier instead of having to search for the paperwork when the incident happens.


Plug in your cell phone. Always keep your cell phone plugged into the charger in the car. Things like listening to music or using a navigation app will quickly drain your battery.


Purchase a safety kit. It will include things like jumper cables, flashlights, flares and caution cones. You can also buy ones specifically for winter travel that will have things like ice scrapers, tire chains, tow rope, snow shovels, blanket and first aid kit.


Have safe travels this Holiday Season!


With Love,

The Lorna Calder Team 

Tips for Holiday Travel if You’re Flying ✈️

by Lorna Calder


Many people use the Holidays as a time to get together and go visit family, making it one of the busiest times for Travel. If you plan to travel by plane, here are some very helpful tips to make it a bit less stressful!



Research, Research, Research! It helps to do your research, regardless if it’s a last minute trip or one planned weeks or months in advance. If you can, you may want to consider choosing flexible travel dates to help you nab the best prices. If your airport is a busy hub, consider flying out of an airport nearby, you may save time and money!


Plan Carefully. There are factors that can delay your flights like inclement weather with flying in the winter or holidays like Spring Break and Thanksgiving. Unless you have some quick feet, you may want to avoid short layovers so you don’t miss your next flight.


Pack Light. This is a hard one for some, especially us ladies, or if you are packing gifts to bring to your destination or back but most airlines are now charging for checked bags. You can save money by sending those gifts ahead of time or generally packing lighter and dong laundry at your destination.


LEAVE EARLY. This goes for flying AND driving! Leaving early will allow a buffer for things like traffic, security and parking. If you can take a light rail system, public transportation or something like Uber/Lyft, that can help save time and money.


Stay on Top of Flight Changes. You can download your Airline’s app and stay up to date on changes to your flight like delays, cancellations or early arrivals.



Not only is it the Holiday Season but it’s also Cold and Flu Season! With the close proximity of other travelers to you in the airports and on the plane, it’s important to consider these tips to keep the germs at bay.


Stay Hydrated. Bring an empty plastic or reusable water bottle to the airport to refill after you get through security. The cabin pressure tends to dry out eyes and nose and staying hydrated will prevent this from happening and keep germs at bay. It may also help to prevent blood clots from sitting too long.


Bring You Own Pillow and Blanket. Some airlines still may provide these for you but you cant be sure that no one else has touched them. Be safe and bring your own to reduce the risk of coming in contact with germs or viruses. Those handy little neck pillows are also SO MUCH MORE comfortable than the flat limp pillows they provide.


Bring Some Healthy Snacks. Make it easy to tote items like nuts or dried fruits!


Move Around to Prevent Blood Clots. When flying, blood clots can be a major concern especially if you have a long flight overseas or cross country! Get up and walk around the cabin as much as you can, when it’s safe. Or when you are sitting down tap your feet or move your legs in a small bicycle motion to get that blood flowing. 


Enjoy your Holiday Season! 

With Love, 

The Lorna Calder Team

How to Host a Holiday Party Without Breaking the Bank!

by Lorna Calder

The Holiday seasons are upon us and now is the time to start planning for your Holiday party. Doesn't matter if you are a veteran at Holiday Parties or a first-timer, here are some great tips to help you plan a party that is fun, festive and budget friendly. 

Set a Budget. Map out all of your expenses, such as food and drink costs, entertainment, invites and decorations. If you are not sure how much any of these cost, do a little research online or ask friends and family. If you have hosted a party similar to this or the same as last year, you can get an idea of what it may cost from that experience. Also, there are programs you can use such as Party Budget Estimator from Evite, it will calculate your costs based on the information you type in, number of guests and the length of the party time. 

  • Prioritize the spending of your money. What is the most important part of your party? Is it the food or the entertainment or enhancing the decor? If you're on a tight budget, setting your priority list will help you to estimate how much things will cost.
  • Choose a venue carefully. If you plan to host at a restaurant or a venue outside of your hme, make sure you reserve it FAR in advance. Most of us host it in our own homes, that can save LOTS of money right there. 


Create That Guest List. Your budget may dictate the size of your party but there are other ways to cut cost so you can entertain more people. Is it a sit down type or party or something much larger? Kids or just adults? If you do decide to invite children you will want to keep their interests in mind like different types or foods or fun activities like cookie decorating, gingerbread house building, crafts or holiday movies.  

  • Send invitations. Be sure to send paper invitations as soon as possible. Everyone starts to fill up their calendars with Holiday activities pretty quick so you want them to get the invites ASAP. 
  • Save money with email invitations. Email invitations are FREE to send and allow you to have more management over who responds. You can also use Facebook and make an event page to invite guests and send reminders of the upcoming event. This can be especially helpful if you are having a potluck style, that way you can keep track of who is bringing what in the Comments below your event page. 


Plan Your Entertainment. You always want your guests to have fun at your event! You can use a digital music service like Pandora or Spotify to create a Holiday Playlist to stream through Bluetooth speakers or an entertainment center or TV. 

  • Do your guests like to sing? Rent or buy a Karaoke machine.
  • Encourage your guests to dress for the event. Make sure to let them know on the invite. Is it formal? Ugly sweater? Have fun with the theme.
  • If you are having kids there, hire someone or ask a family member to dress up as Santa Claus and pose for photos with the kids. 
  • Again, if you are having kids at your party, hand out goody bags filled with Holiday themed crafts, cookies or toys. 
  • If you plan to do a gift exchange or White Elephant, make sure you give a budget for guests to stick to. 


Plan a Great Menu. It always helps to plan your menu, whether you are having it catered or preparing it yourself.

  • If you are having the party catered then you should hire the caterer as soon as possible because the Holidays are the BUSIEST time of the year and they can book up quick. You can look online for recommendations, post something on Facebook asking for recommendations or ask your family and friends. If your guests have any dietary restrictions or you have a specific menu in mind, talk to your caterer and let them know. 
  • Have fun with it! Look all over the internet like Pinterest or scour magazines to find the perfect recipes. To help reduce stress, make as much of the meal in advance as you can and freeze or store it in the fridge until the party day. Also, if you care to cut down on cost even more, host a Holiday BRUCH, yes breakfast foods are much less expensive and it will be just as fun. 
  • If you are planning to do a potluck then you should supply the main dish and have everyone else bring the sides and desserts. You can manage when people are bringing by putting an RSVP card int he paper invite to send out asking what they are bringing OR if you choose to do an evite or Facebook event page then have them comment what they would like to bring. You can also post a comment on the Facebook event page with ideas of what to bring.
  • Everyone loves a good Holiday drink! But lets not break the bank with it! Serve up a Holiday punch or a signature Holiday drink that way you wont have to sit there constantly making them or making a multitude of different things. 


Decorate. In order to save money here, use decorations you already have or borrow from family and friends. If you have kids, get their help to make things creative and crafty. You can also take FREE items from nature, such as pine cones, branches and twigs and dust them with glitter or paint them. Also, discount store like Dollar Tree offer a wide variety of cheap decorations that you can make look great.


Biggest thing is to remember to HAVE FUN and DON'T STRESS! 


THE Holiday Party Checklist 🎄

by Lorna Calder
The Holiday Season is right around the corner and if you are planning to host a party it can become stressful! But don't let it be! Here is a great checklist you can use to plan a fun and budget-friendly party that everyone is sure to LOVE!
Click HERE for a PDF version to print out!
© 2017 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. RMMK NOVEMBER EREPORT S

❄Tips to Winterize Your Texas Home❄

by Lorna Calder

I always get a good chuckle when I see a Texan in a thick jacket when it’s 60 degrees outside. Even though we only get maybe a good 4 weeks cumulative of weather under 40 degrees it’s still important to winterize your Texas Home. Here a few simple tips of how to do just that!



1. Replace Worn Out Weather-stripping

Drafts are no good, especially if you want to keep your home nice and toasty this winter and save money on heating costs. There is an easy way to tell if your home’s weather stripping is failing, making your home smell delicious at the same time. Light a stick of incense and hold it up to windows and doors where they meet the window sill and door jamb. If you do in fact have a draft, you will see the smoke travel towards the draft area on in away from the draft area. You can purchase and replace weather stripping yourself, finding the necessary tools and items you will need at your local hardware shop OR you can get a handyman to do the job for you. We have recommendations on who to use if you need it!

2. Caulk and Seal

Whether you have 40 year old windows or new windows, the “glazing” they use to seal those windows over time will crack and break causing gaps that will let the outside elements in. Take a caulking gun and some caulk to any cracks or gaps that you may see around your windows and door frames. This will help to save you money on heating costs by not allowing that precious heat to escape and also keep the outside cold from coming in.

3. Clean Your Gutters

Those fall leaves and fallen pine needles will surely clog up your gutters. If left they can cause blockages that make the gutters heavy and fill with rain water that could freeze and possible make them pull away from fascia boards. A few ways to clean them yourself are by getting up on a ladder and hand scooping them out or you can try to use a leaf blower. If you have a two story or don’t feel comfortable getting up on a ladder, you can call a local handyman to help with this task. We know a few, give us a call and we can give you a recommendation.

4. Hire a Chimney Sweep

If you haven’t had your chimney cleaned in a while then it may be time! This will help prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide from entering your home. It is recommended to do this once a year, let us know if you need a recommendation on who to hire!

5. Get Your Furnace Inspected

Let’s be proactive instead of reactive on this one! Instead of having your heater go out on you mid-January, have a service technician come out during Fall to inspect and run a bit of maintenance on your furnace, that will ensure you have a smooth winter ahead of you when it comes to heating. Need a professional, we know a few. Call us today for a recommendation.

6. Trim Trees and Bushes

Cut all dead and living branches hanging over your house to minimize risk of them coming down with the next storm. Also, trimming bushes away from your home will prevent water penetration into your home. Need a professional, licensed Tree Trimmer? We know a few!

7. Change Your Air Filter

THIS IS AN EASY ONE PEOPLE, and one that is forgotten about too commonly. First, changing the filter will make your heating system have to work less hard to get warm air into your home saving you money and your heating system stress. Secondly, don’t you want the air filter to do its job by removing dust, allergens, mold spores, dander, etc. from the air? Yes, well change it! I personally change mine every 3 months but you can do it more often than that or longer than that depending on your living condition: kids, pets, types of outdoor trees, indoor plants, etc. Set yourself a reoccurring reminder on your phone to replace them, you can find them at hardware store or big box stores like Target even Costco!

8. Gather up That Firewood

Fun Fact: Ash is the only tree that will burn “green,” right after it’s cut down. Stock up on firewood NOW before it becomes more of a demand and prices go up. Search Facebook Marketplace or local Social Sites like Nextdoor!

9. Cover Outside Faucets and Pipes

Whether it’s an old sock, towel with duct tape or professional insulating material; your pipes and faucets should be covered during winter to make sure they won’t freeze if the temp gets too low. I usually wrap mine up at the end of Fall and just leave them wrapped until the end of April. No harm in leaving it on there that long, you don’t want to be running outside when it’s 11pm and 28 degrees outside to cover pipes you forgot!

If you need a recommendation on for a Tree Trimmer, Handyman, HVAC professional, Chimney Sweep or anything else, we have a HUGE database of folks that we have worked with before both personally and professionally! Call us today to get their information 281-361-2280

🍂 House Hunting Checklist 🍂

by Lorna Calder

"When I was searching for my First Home, I was starry-eyed with the whole process: "OOOH look at the size of the bathroom, the granite is SO PRETTY, wow the new fixtures are perfect, the home is so cute, the paint color is great!" I wasn't  really looking at the meat and bones of WHERE I was going to be living, WHO I was living by, WHAT was near, etc." - Christina (Client Care Coordinator, The Lorna Calder Team)


This is a great start to the home hunting process, although it doesn't replace the eyes and knowledge of a Realtor on The Lorna Calder Team, it's something great to bring along to showings so you can jot down notes and answer questions you may need to be asking yourself. I have attached the PRINTABLE PDF version right below! Enjoy!




Want to maintain that Good Credit?

by Lorna Calder

You can make sure that when you get your credit in good shape that it STAYS THERE!

Here are a few ways to do just that!

Maintain low balances on your credit cards and revolving lines of credit.

Once you’ve paid them down, keep the balances low by using them only for emergencies.  If the balance is currently high on one or more cards or credit lines, begin paying them down, starting with the card or credit line with the highest interest rate first.


Set up automatic bill pay.

Many creditors and utility companies make it easy to pay your bills on time by sending reminders before the payment is due. Additionally, setting up an automatic payment will ensure the bill is paid on time.


Keep rate shopping within a 30-day window of time. 

If you’re thinking of taking out a loan to buy a car or a home, limit your rate search to a small timeframe so the inquiries will likely be treated as a single one. The more inquiries into your credit, the more likely they’ll count against your score.


Reconsider closing accounts.

Even if you don’t use a line of credit anymore, it may not be a good idea to close it. Closing several accounts at once may raise red flags and impact your credit. Instead, leave the balance at zero and try not to use it. 


Be responsible.

It takes time to build great credit; it also takes time to rebuild your credit once it’s damaged. Once you’ve earned a great credit score, continue good financial habits to maintain it.


The difference between "Good Credit" and "Excellent Credit"


What is a "Good" credit score?

Its usually lenders who decide what they would consider as good credit, the credit tier generally breaks down as follows:


What is the dividing factor between people with "Good" credit and people with "excellent" credit?

Although people with excellent credit have more open revolving credit accounts, they don’t actively use them  and the debt they do carry makes up a lower percentage  of their overall available credit. 



© 2017 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. RMMK AUGUST EREPORT S






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