Down Payment – Why Size Matters

House and Money with Pad of Paper and PenWhether you are a first-time home buyer or a seasoned vet, a down payment is typically required by the lender.  The amount required can range between 3-20% of the final sales price on the property.  So how much should you put down and what will that mean for your monthly mortgage payments?

A larger down payment can benefit you in several ways.  As the size of a down payment increases, the overall monthly amount due will decrease because less money is borrowed.  The size of the down payment will also determine the types of mortgages you are eligible to apply for.  For example, if you are only able to put down 5% you will be limited in the loans you qualify for as well as the number of banks that will loan to you.  Additionally, a higher interest rate might apply.

There are several mortgage calculators available online that calculate the monthly mortgage payment based off the price of the home, interest rate and down payment amount, like this one on Zillow.

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Fitness: Out with the Old in with the New

workoutIf you are interested in changing your workout regimen to stay motivated and engaged, there is no shortage of new classes or workouts that promise to keep you on your toes and make your heart pound.  Last year Cross Fit was the rage but here are some new fitness trends to check out:

  • Body Weight Training: This includes exercises that don’t need gym equipment and therefore can be done anywhere.  Think lunges, squats, push-ups and burpees.
  • Barre Class:  This total body workout combines ballet, yoga, and Pilates and can be less intimidating than high intensity boot camps.  Barre studios are popping up all over the country like Pure Barre and and Barre3 (which also offer virtual classes online).
  • Spin Class:  Widely popular last year, it continues to still is hot.  This indoor cycling fitness class promises to torch calories and incorporate some light weights as well.  My favorite studio is Soul Cycle but check out Fly Wheel too.
  • HIITs: This stands for High Intensity Interval Training and is similar to a fitness boot camp or a P90x workout.  You go really hard for a set time on a specific exercise and then have a short recovery after which you repeat.  This will get your metabolic rate up and tone muscles.
  • Short Workouts: This is a broad term but similar to HIITs.  It focuses on getting the maximum calorie burn and toning by working out anywhere from 7 to 20 minutes at a time.  This is great for people with limited time to work out.

What’s your favorite workout or class?

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Valentine’s Day Fun Facts

AA92QxKValentine’s Day is a holiday for love, romance, flowers and candy.  Every year thousands celebrate this time to show appreciation and affection for their loved ones, just as they did this past weekend.  Here are a few Valentine’s Day fun facts that you might not know regarding this recent Hallmark holiday.

 

  • The holiday got its name from the Christian Martyr, Saint Valentine and dates back to the 5th century
  • By the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made cards on Valentine’s Day became common in England which eventually spread to America
  • Over 75% of candy sales for Valentine’s Day are comprised of chocolate confections
  • The famous conversation hearts, Sweethearts, were first made by the New England Confectionery Company in 1866 and every year 10 new conversation-heart sayings are created
  • Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the most popular holiday for greeting cards; it is the second coming in behind Christmas
  • Richard Cadbury, in 1868, introduced the first Valentine’s Day box of chocolates

Did you enjoy your Valentine’s Day?  Let me know if you received something special!

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Winning at The Big Game Commercials

The ‘Big Game’ did not disappoint this year with the over play and with it being a tight game.  The Patriots won against the Seahawks 28 – 24 with the win being attributed to one of the worst play-calls in all of Big Game history.  Aside from the game itself, I enjoyed some tasty football fare to snack on while watching the most expensive commercials, reported to cost be 4.5 million per 30-seconds, that had the expectation to entertain and provide a wow factor.  I was disappointed in general with most of the adds not being exceedingly memorable or engaging.

downloadMy favorite was the Budweiser commercial, “Lost Dog,” featuring the cute puppy that finds its way back home to his owner after almost being devoured by a wolf only to be saved by his friends, the famous Clydesdale horses.  This commercial also trended highly with male and female audience members alike making it the overall top rated commercial.  The Always brand had an inspiring add, “Like a Girl,” which emphasized the importance of giving young girls the confidence to do amazing things in life.

What was your favorite commercial this year?

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Super Food for The Big Game

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI look forward to watching the commercials every year during the Big Game and sure I love watching the game too but the creativity in those ads is at its best.  However you can’t have a Big Game party without great food and drinks.  In the spirit of staying healthy and eating clean I have shared below some of my favorite game day foods with a fresh spin.

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Wings are a staple for the Big Game party but can be really high in calories.  Try this lighter version which still packs all the flavor, Cauliflower Buffalo Wings.  If it’s nachos you crave, these Grilled Sweet Potato Nachos come fully loaded but you can add your favorite toppings and give them your own twist.  To top off the nachos, make this delicious vegan queso for a dairy-free rendition.  Your guests won’t be able to tell the difference.

Spicy-Black-Bean-Sliders-with-Chipotle-Mayo-2For a heartier fare that can stand alone as an entrée or large appetizer, I love to make sliders, which are mini-sized burgers.  These Spicy Black Bean Sliders with Chipotle Mayo will make any super bowl fan cheer.  If you are hosting any guests that adhere to a gluten-free diet, this Cheesy Black Bean and Quinoa Taco Bake makes a great main dish.

In the spirit of football and the Big Game Sunday, I recommend enjoy what you serve as well as the company you have!

What are your favorite Big Game Foods?

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Keeping it Clean in 2015

We are all guilty of trying to attain perfection instead of progress when it comes to achieving our goals and then tend to beat ourselves up when we slip.  If your resolution of eating clean (consuming a largely plant based diet with few organic meats and fish and avoiding gluten, sugar, dairy, and processed foods) has taken a U-turn, here are a few recipes to get you back on track to feeling healthy and energized!

smooothie_grandeThis green smoothie from one of my favorite clinical nutritionists, Kimberly Snyder, will not only leave you feeling satisfied and energized but it also aids in weight loss, fights ageing, and helps you have clearer skin.  It’s clean drinking packed with fiber, vitamins, enzymes our body needs, and is very hydrating.  I also love this protein-packed smoothie from Sakara.

Lunch can get boring very fast as we reach for the same thing over and over again out of habit.  Switch things up with this Vegetarian Taco Salad that is a huge crowd pleaser and has lots of bright, bold flavors (I omit the cheese to keep it clean and use Kale for the greens).

bowl_done3After a hard day at work, dinner can seem like a free-for-all.  We justify indulgent (poor) food choices because our day was long or overly tiresome.  A lot of dishes can be prepared ahead of time on the weekend making it is easier to eat clean, healthy foods.  Try this Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl which is hearty and perfect on a cold night.  Spaghetti Squash is a great substitute for pasta noodles.

What are some of your favorite clean eating recipes?

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

New Year’s Resolutions Go High Tech

MaleSmartPhone.adamrIt’s that time again, where everyone set’s a lofty list of resolutions for the New Year and usually winds up breaking them within the first few weeks.  Only about 8% of American’s actually are successful in keeping their goals.  How can make sure you stay on top of your list and fall privy to the norm?

There are several mobile apps that can help keep you motivated and on track whatever your resolutions maybe.  If you are trying to lose weight or get healthy check out apps such as Happy Scale, MyFitnessPal, WellnessFX, CodyApp (one of my favorites), or SleepCycle.

Did you know that two-thirds of Americans don’t have a budget, according to a Gallup poll?  If keeping your finances in check is your resolution, look to download Level, Mint, or a mobile app provided by your personal bank.  This can keep you on budget while on the go and help you set goals for spending and saving.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions and how do you plan to keep them?

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Surviving Visits with Family

UpsetWomanEven after the Holidays it can be a stressful time surviving visits with family.  For some, visits can last a while and big family gatherings can lead to more anxiety.  It’s easy to set high expectations for this time of year since being with the family is supposed to have happy, peaceful, and cheery overtones.  However, this can also cause us to overextend ourselves which inevitably can result in stress, resentment and/or frustration.  Here are a few tips to surviving the extended time with family:

  • Don’t set expectations – this can lead to disappointment if a family member is not living up to what you envisioned or if the schedule you wanted to follow is not going as planned.
  • Focus on the true reason for the company – don’t get caught up in the menus, shopping and entertaining.  This is when you need to enjoy spending time with those you love and be grateful.
  • Accept family members for who they are – people’s values, opinions and ideals can change over time. Focus on what you have in common with each other.
  • Forgive one another – if you do get into an argument forgive each other and agree to move forward.

How do you handle extended visits with family?

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

 

Hostess with the Mostess

TableDecorePWhether you plan to host a last minute soiree or have been planning one for weeks, there are some helpful tips to keep you stress free reduce your stress levels.  I have been planning to host my own party for a few weeks now and here are some helpful tips I live by:

  1. Menu Planning – Two or three weeks before your event sit down and make a list of everything you want to make for your party including food, drinks or any party favors or decorations. Opt for dishes that can be made ahead of time.
  2. Grocery Shopping – Depending on what you are preparing, buy all ingredients a week before hand. If you leave anything off the list you still have plenty of time to get it.  Also, buy more than you think you will need (double recipe batches); you don’t want to run out of food for your hungry guests!
  3. Baking and Cooking – For the recipes that can be made in advance, start preparing these a few days ahead of time. I made a few different items each night which means I won’t be rushing to get everything done the day of the event.
  4. Presentation – We eat with our eyes first so make sure your food is presented on beautiful platters, cutting boards, serving trays or some other creative fashion to create a beautiful spread of food and drinks.

Guests will be impressed with your soiree and how calm and collected you are as a host.  More importantly you will enjoy being the hostess with the mostess as you are able to enjoy your party along with your guests.

Digital House Hunting

DigitalTools.pIn an age where it seems almost everything we need done these days can be accomplished via a phone app or the internet, why shouldn’t this be true when searching for a house to buy?  Thanks to technology, it is!  Several different digital tools make this process easy and allow you to hunt from the comfort of your couch.  Here are a few digital tools to check out:

  • Mortgage Calculators – there are several apps or websites that breakdown all the details of a mortgage based on interest rate, term of the loan and property value. Karl’s Mortgage Calculator, which is free, is online.
  • Home Search Locators – BidSelect, Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin all allow you to search digitally for a property based on different search criteria. Some of these websites also offer smart phone apps.
  • Sex Offender Lists – If you have children this is especially important to consider when buying a home. There are now two major sex offender registries that can be accessed digitally online.

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

 

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