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Building Credit Without Credit Cards

Building Credit

A credit card is one of the main ways to building your credit.

By using a credit card wisely and not running up huge bills and paying them off in full on time, consumers can improve their credit score. Building a good credit score can make getting a home, car and other loans easier, and at better interest rates.

Some people who have poor credit may have difficulty improving their credit score fast enough, and others may not even want a credit card. A credit card isn’t the only way to build credit. Here are some other ways:

Get a small loan

Apply for a small loan from your bank or credit union. If you’ve had an account in good standing for a few years, you should be able to get a small loan. Some banks may only offer secured loans, meaning you’ll have to come up with some collateral such as a car to qualify for the loan. However you get a bank loan, pay it back on time and your credit score should improve.

Monitor student loan payments

You should be working hard to pay all of your loans on time. Repaying student loans on time will help build your credit as much as any other loan. On the opposite side, missing a student loan payment can hurt your credit score.

Ask utility providers for help

Electricity, gas, cable TV, internet and other utility providers report delinquencies to the credit bureaus. Some, however, also report positive payment history, such as on-time payments, to the credit bureaus. Call your utility providers to see if they report positive payment history, which can improve your credit score. If they don’t, ask if they can give you a letter of reference in support of a credit application.

Report rent payments

Just like utility companies, not all landlords report on-time payments to credit bureaus. Ask your landlord if positive rent history is reported. If not, ask if it can use a third-party website such as Rental Kharma to verify your rent payments each month. Another way is to sign up with a rent payment service that uses Experian’s RentBureau. Your rent is paid through the service and independent verification that you’ve paid your rent on time isn’t needed.

Become an authorized user

A friend or family member who has excellent credit can add you to their credit card as an authorized user. It allows you to use their credit card and share their credit limit.

As long as the main card holder pays the bill on time every month and keeps the balance low in relation to their credit limit, your credit score may benefit. Check first that the card issuer reports authorized users to the credit bureaus.
You won’t be responsible for paying the bill, so being an authorized user won’t help your credit profile a lot, but it will help some if it’s reported.

Feel free to contact us for other helpful information.

Ruben & Nancy Villlarreal

The Villarreal Team

Office: 281-370-5100

19510 Kuykendahl Rd #B

Spring, Texas 77379

 

How to Up the Cozy Factor in Your Home

Looking for a home so cozy you almost want to cuddle with it?

Cozy Homes

The following design elements can create a comforting, warm space that you will never want to leave.

Warm colors. Add warm colors to your walls, accents, linens window hangings and more to create a cozy vibe inside. Deep orange, rusty reds, buttery yellows and soft off-white colors can all add a “stay at home” vibe to your space.
Plush textures. From fleecy blankets thrown over every chair, to faux-fur pillows and rugs, having textures you want to lounge on will seriously up the cozy factor in your living space.

Soft lighting. Nothing derails a cozy home faster than harsh lighting. Add dimmers to your overheads and add ample accent lights on the walls and tables for a soft, warm glow.

Well-designed storage. Clutter is the antithesis of a cuddly space. From properly organized closets to sneaky storage spaces (like under your sofa seats or ottoman), having a place to stow away your belongings that aren’t being used will create a sleek vibe.

Extra lounge areas. Move past the living room set for lounge spaces. An oversized sofa, a sweet day bed, a hammock, big cushy floor pillows—all of these lounge areas can up the cozy ante in your home.

If we can assist you with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to contact us at 713-557-7095.

Creating an amazing Master Suite

These 5 features ensure that you Master Suite leaves nothing to be desired.

dressing room

DRESSING ROOM:

Equipped with a vanity, island and a full-length mirror, these room are more luxurious than walk in closets in your Master Suite. You can customize this space in any shape or form, for it to be an extension of your needs or your creative personality. Whether you are a shoe lover, purse collector or you want to incorporate a chase lounge to relax on while in you dressing room. The sky is the limit.

sitting area in master

SITTING AREA:

A sitting room can make a large bedroom feel more intimate while providing a space for more downtime. To sit and read a book in a quiet nook is always relaxing. In addition, a comfy place to have a private conversation is a wonderful addition to any bedroom.

spa-like bathroom

SPA-LIKE MASTER BATHROOM

Double sinks alongside a soaking tub and rain shower are just the beginning. Saunas, steam rooms and massage rooms are on the rise. Adding a couple plants or candles can enhance the vibe and feel of your master bath into an oasis.

bringing outdoors in

CONNECT TO THE OUTDOORS:

Stepping outside your bedroom, into fresh air, allows you to feel more connected to nature. This helps to start or end your day in a relaxing way. Imagine an evening breeze blowing through your outdoor space, calming the stress of the day. Or starting the day with a cup of coffee or tea out on your patio, can set the pace for a very productive day.

The Ruben & Nancy Villarreal Team http://rubenandnancy.com

#rubenandnancy #thevillarrealteam #rubenvillarreal #bethperque #rayhumphrey #dawnyasimmons #robinwebster #nancyvillarreal #andreeward #ashleysilvey #springtxrealestate #woodlandsrealestate #springrealtors #woodlandsrealtors #homedecoratingideas

The Villarreal Team
Recognized as one of the Top Real Estate Teams in Texas

Kitchen Trends That Are Going Out of Fashion

Most of us spend a lot of time in the kitchen, preparing meals and cleaning up. In many cases, we spend so much time in our familiar kitchen space that we don’t pay much attention to what it looks like. But the trends, they are a-changin’. Today’s kitchens are sleek and practical.

White hygge kitchen with hexagonal tiles, wooden countertop and simple cupboards

Design experts list seven kitchen looks that are quickly going out of style:

Short backsplashes.

Backsplashes that reach up to six to eight inches above the countertop are sorely outdated. If you’re up for a remodel, take the backsplash all the way up to the upper cabinets to make your kitchen feel bigger and cleaner.

Distressed wood cabinets.

Once the darling of country-style kitchens, the clunky distressed wood of yesteryear is giving way to natural wood or white finishes.

Over the stove microwaves.

When microwaves came into fashion, homeowners put them over the stove to save counter space. But today’s families want necessities accessible for the entire family. Some are redesigning cabinets to move the microwave into an under-counter nook where smaller family members can reach it.

Top-of-cabinet décor.

Gone are the days of filling the space between the tops of your cabinets and the ceiling with dusty accessories like artificial flowers or greenery. Removing them from above the cabinets gives the room a more open feel.
Hanging pots and pans. Once, every kitchen shown in a magazine had a big, beautiful, hanging rack filled with copper or stainless-steel pots and pans. Kitchen designers today are making room for them in drawers or cabinet, trading in that outdated country look for cleaner, minimalist lines.

Anything but stainless steel.

Over the years, kitchen appliances have gone from white to copper to avocado green and back again. But the desired look today is the cool, sleek look of stainless steel.

Kitchen desks.

At one point in time, every upscale kitchen featured desk space—a little nook where you could scan the mail, pay bills, etc. But those mess-collectors are now yesterday’s news. Moving desk chores to another room can give your kitchen extra space and alternative storage options.

The Ruben & Nancy Villarreal Team http://rubenandnancy.com/

Ruben & Nancy Villarreal
Owners/Agents
RE/MAX Integrity
19510 Kuykendahl Rd.
Suite B
Spring, TX 77379

Office Phone: (281) 370-5100
Mobile Phone: (713) 557-7095
Email Me: sold@rubenandnancy.com

3 Ways to Pay Down Your Debt Faster

Here are a few thought to help you get on the path of being debt free.

When we think about lottery winners, we likely imagine new cars and mega-mansions. But according to a recent survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), most of us would actually use our lottery winnings to pay down our debt.

Debt help

Among the 1,729 people who took part in this online poll, 87 percent indicated that they would use their winnings to become debt-free. Conversely, only 8 percent would use the funds to invest and grow savings before considering other priorities.
Since most of us will never win it big, the NFCC offers the following tips for paying down debt:

  • Rethink the approach toward debt management. When progress is slow on the road to being debt-free, consider increasing monthly payments to make faster progress. Additionally, consider prioritizing all extra payments to the accounts that are charging the highest interest rates. Even the slightest adjustments can make a big difference.
  • Pay yourself first. Contributing to a personal savings account and 401(k) before turning attention to other expenses will help keep important financial goals in sight, and will maintain steady progress toward reaching them.
  • Declutter your accounts. If dealing with more than a few accounts, it helps to merge them into a single loan or credit card with one payment. This is called debt consolidation, which works best when resulting in lower interest and fees.

Source: www.NFCC.org

The Ruben & Nancy Villarreal Team

The Villarreal Team
Recognized as one of the Top Real Estate Teams in Texas

Your Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

Home maintenance

Spring cleaning time…Home Maintenance time.

It’s no secret that springtime can breathe new life into a home. And in many markets, spring is the most popular time to buy or sell. Freshly manicured lawns and immaculate interiors add a certain appeal that may not be there during other seasons. This is the perfect time of year for home maintenance and sprucing up your home and/or yard.

A property that’s in excellent condition is sure to catch the eye of a buyer. Even if your home isn’t currently on the market, it’s a good idea to make a habit of regular upkeep.

Ready to tackle your home maintenance tasks?

Here’s your spring to-do list.

  • Gutters and downspouts: Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.
  • Siding: Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting.
  • Exterior caulking: Inspect caulking and replace if deteriorating. Scrape out all of the eroding caulk and recaulk needed area.
  • Window sills, door sills, and thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint or replace if necessary.
  • Window and door screens: Clean screening and check for holes. If holes are bigger than a quarter, that is plenty of room for bugs to climb in. Patch holes or replace the screen. Save bad screen to patch holes next year. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware. Wind can ruin screens and frames if they are allowed flap and move so make sure they are securely fastened. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.
  • Hot water heater: Lubricate circulating pump and motor.
  • Evaporative air conditioner: Clean unit, check belt tension and adjust if needed. Replace cracked or worn belt.
  • Foundation: Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for cracking, heaving, or deterioration. If a significant number of bricks are losing their mortar, call a foundation professional. If you can slide a nickel into a crack in your concrete floor, slab or foundation call a foundation repair professional near you immediately.
  • Roof: Inspect roof surface flashing, eaves, and soffits. Perform a thorough cleaning. Check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls.
  • Deck and porches: Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for loose members and deterioration. Open decks and wood fences need to be treated every 4-6 years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. If the stain doesn’t look like it should or water has turned some of the wood a dark grey, hire a deck professional to treat your deck and fence.
  • Landscape: This is a natural for spring home maintenance. Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes from structures. Limbs and leaves can cut into your home’s paint and force you to have that side of the house repainted. A little trimming can save a lot of money and time.
  • Sprinklers: Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads. If there is an area of your yard that collects too much water or doesn’t get enough, run the sprinklers to figure out the problem. If it’s not something you can fix yourself, call a professional before your lawn needs the water.

Thank you for taking the time to read this home maintenance checklist information.

We hope if proves to be helpful to you. As always, we are never to busy for your referrals. For more information about The Villarreal Team or Ruben & Nancy, visit us at www.rubenandnancy.com

Ruben & Nancy

8 Issues Sellers Should Address BEFORE The Home Inspector Does

image12.jpeg

You’ve received an offer on your home and you’re thrilled at the prospect of getting the deal done. But first you need to make it through the next hurdle: the home inspection. In most real estate contracts, a home inspection contingency is in place, allowing the buyer a chance to back out should significant mechanical or structural issues come to light during the inspection.

While you may think your home will pass with flying colors, it’s at this stage that many deals fall through. With so much at stake, it makes sense that sellers would want to do as much as they can in advance to get their home in the best possible shape before this top-to-bottom review. By addressing any problems, sellers can assure buyers that the property is in move-in condition and save themselves a lot of negotiating and repair work down the road.

The following are areas where unpleasant surprises often arise and, ultimately, either kill the sale or cost the seller a bundle.

1. The foundation

image2.jpeg

As you look around the interior and exterior of your home, check both the ceilings, moldings, and lower

Be sure to check all walls for any cracks that could indicate a shift in the foundation. If you spot any, find a qualified foundation repair contractor or a structural engineer who can assess the situation and let you know if your issues are cosmetic or require repairs to the foundation. Rule of thumb: The sooner you deal with the issue, the better (and less expensive) it will be.

2. The chimney

image11.jpeg
Over time, the elements take a toll on a chimney. Just like your foundation, you may start to see cracks emerge. Or, you might not be able to spot them if they’re at the very top. Either way, if there’s a structural issue that makes it unsafe, a home inspector will definitely point this out to your buyers.

3. Water damage

Water inspection

Just because water isn’t cascading down from the ceiling, that doesn’t mean a home inspector won’t notice if you’ve had a leak that’s caused water damage. Stains on ceilings are often a tell-tale sign of previous problems. While your issue may have been something relatively harmless, like an overflowing toilet, buyers will suspect the worst if they notice signs of trouble. If you have a leak, fix it. Then, remove any reminders of the problem by covering stains with a fresh coat of paint. If you’re dealing with ceiling tiles, water and bleach can go a long way to restoring them to their once-clean appearance.

4. Moisture and mold

Mold inspection

Unfortunately, mold typically follows a leak. And nothing scares away buyers quite like that funky fungus. So be sure your home is mold-free by checking every nook and cranny. For example, are your bathrooms vented properly? In some homes, those helpful ceiling fans are actually sending moist air straight to the attic, causing mold to grow.

If your basement is often damp, be sure to run a dehumidifier and check for mold there as well. Should you discover mold in any location, it’s best to contact a professional who can perform removal and remediation before the inspection. Plus, you’ll feel better — both mentally and physically — once it’s gone.

5. Electrical issues

Electrical inspection

Any homeowner who’s tried to take a few shortcuts by not hiring an electrician should make sure the work they’ve done is up to code prior to the inspection as electrical violations are both common and easy to spot. Faulty wiring is a fire hazard so the sooner you address it, the safer for everyone.

6. The roof

Roof inspection

As most homeowners know, replacing a roof is not cheap. So it makes sense that home inspectors are going to take this section of the inspection very seriously. If you know your home could benefit from a roof replacement, consider taking care of it before putting your place on the market. Even if you believe the roof has a few good years left in it, hearing that it’s nearing the end of its life is enough to send buyers running.

7. Heating and cooling systems

Heating & Cooling inspection

Regardless of the season, a home inspector is going to want to see that heating and cooling systems are functioning efficiently. Consider the age of your furnace or HVAC system. Have they been well-maintained over time? If you have an oil tank, buyers may ask you to remove it as these have been known to leak and cause environmental hazards.

8. Plumbing

Shower inspection
From leaky faucets and loose toilets to lead in the pipes and low water pressure, plumbing problems can cause your deal to go down the drain. If you’re aware of a problem but put off calling the plumber, now’s the time to take care of it.

American Confidence In Housing At An All-Time High

Fannie Mae just released the July edition of their Home Purchase Sentiment Index(HPSI).

American Confidence in Housing at an All-Time High

The HPSI takes information regarding consumers’ confidence in the real estate market from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey and condenses it into a single number. Therefore, the HPSI reflects consumers’ current views and forward-looking expectations of housing market conditions.

Great News! The index reached its highest level since Fannie Mae began their survey. Breaking it down, the report revealed:

  • Americans who say it is a good time to buy a home increased from the same time last year.
  • The share of those who say it is a good time to sell a home increased from last year.
  • The amount of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job over the next 12 months increased dramatically (16 percentage points) from last year.
  • Americans who say mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months increased dramatically (24 percentage points) from last year.

The day after the index was released, Freddie Mac also announced the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate fell to its lowest level in three years.

Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae explained the uptick in the index:

“Consumer job confidence and favorable mortgage rate expectations lifted the HPSI to a new survey high in July, despite ongoing housing supply and affordability challenges. Consumers appear to have shaken off a winter slump in sentiment amid strong income gains. Therefore, sentiment is positioned to take advantage of any supply that comes to market, particularly in the affordable category.”

Bottom Line

Consumers are feeling good about the real estate market. Since Americans are not worried about their jobs, see mortgage rates near an all-time low, and believe it is a good time to buy, the housing market will remain strong for the rest of the year.

The Villarreal Team believes every family should feel confident when buying & selling a home.  Give us a call, we’d love to discuss the advantages of home buying and/or selling in today’s market and assist you with any other real estate needs you may have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RE/MAX Integrity

19510 Kuykendahl Rd #B

Spring, Texas 77379

281-370-5100

5 CRITERIA FOR PRICING A HOME

Pricing your Home can be stressful. But we can assist you in determining the best price for a quicker sale.

When you put your home up for sale, one of the best ways to determine the asking price is to look at comparable sales. There’s rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, so a pricing decision often relies on comparisons to several recent sales in the area.

Here are five criteria to look for in a sales comparison when pricing your home.

  1. Location: Homes in the same neighborhood typically follow the same market trends. Comparing your home to another in the same neighborhood is a good start, but comparing it to homes on the same street or block is even better.
  2. Date of sale: It varies by location, but housing markets can see a ton of fluctuation in a short time period. It‘s best to use the most recent sales data available.
  3. Home build: Look for homes with similar architectural styles, numbers of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage, and other basics.
  4. Features and upgrades: Remodeled bathrooms and kitchens can raise a home’s price, and so can less flashy upgrades like a new roof or HVAC system. Be sure to look for similar bells and whistles.
  5. Sale types: Homes that are sold as short sales or foreclosures are often in distress or sold at a lower price than they’d receive from a more typical sale. These homes are not as useful for comparisons.

Home Pricing

The Villarreal Team
Recognized as one of the Top Real Estate Teams in Texas

TOP TIPS FOR HOUSE HUNTING ONLINE

Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online.

Keep the following three things in mind.

  1. While hunting, stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (HAR) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter.
  2. Pictures can be deceiving. Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fish eye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
  3. See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call us and let us schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to see the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process.  As your Realtor, we will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.
If a new home is in your near future, contact us and let us help find you your dream home!  The Villarreal Team assisted over 250 families with their real estate needs in 2018, and would love to add you to our list this year!
Contact us anytime at:
713-557-7095

#rubenandnancy #thevillarrealteam #springtxhomesforsale #househuntingonline

The Villarreal Team
Recognized as one of the Top Real Estate Teams in Texas