Brian O'Neil - RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by Brian O誰eil on 10/20/2019

Whether your adult children have left the nest or you recently decided to "upsize" to a larger house, you're now faced with the minor "problem" of what to do with that extra space.

While some homeowners just use it for storage or guest bedrooms, there are plenty of other possibilities that are well worth considering.

Exercise room: In spite of the many proven benefits of regular exercise -- ranging from increased strength and endurance to weight control and slowing down the aging process, many people have trouble getting started and staying motivated. It's a lot easier to come up with a laundry list of excuses than join a gym and stick with an exercise program. It's surprising how many people actually join a health club, but then stop going after the novelty (and their enthusiasm) wears off.

However, when you create a dedicated fitness space at home, most of your former excuses no longer hold water! With a home gym or exercise room, you not only have convenience, privacy, and 24/7 availability, but there are no parking issues, traffic problems, membership fees, or noisy weightlifters. If you prefer a regimen that's less vigorous, there's always the option to use the room for yoga, tai chi, and meditation.

Home office: With more homeowners telecommuting, consulting, freelancing, blogging, and starting ecommerce stores, it makes sense to set aside a dedicated space in your home for business and career development. A home office is also a quieter place to go for other tasks, such as paying bills, applying for jobs, social networking, catching up on your email correspondence, or planning your next vacation.

Home library: If you or any of your family are avid readers, a room with lots of built-in shelving, comfortable furniture, and adjustable lighting would be the perfect place to curl up with a good book and a hot cup of tea. Not only would a home library be the ideal environment for reading, studying, or doing research, but it might even encourage your children to cultivate more of an appreciation for reading and learning.

Craft room: Whether there are artists, embroiderers, or jewelry makers in your household, a special room for artistic endeavors lends itself to creativity, while helping to keep craft supplies and projects confined to one area of the house! A craft room can also be ideal for storing gift-wrapping supplies and holiday cards.

Music room: If your family is musically inclined, a separate room for practicing instruments is beneficial to both budding musicians and those who want to watch TV, do homework, or have quiet conversations elsewhere in the house. A dedicated music room can also be a good spot for making music videos, recording music, and having jam sessions.

As you can imagine, extra space in your house gives you and your family the opportunity for more physical, intellectual, and creative development. Designating a spare room, a finished basement, or an attic area for artistic expression or personal development may even encourage others in your family to discover and cultivate their hidden and emerging talents!





Posted by Brian O誰eil on 10/13/2019

Have you ever surprisingly noticed that you have exhausted the data plan just after a week? Especially when you planned for it to last a month? It's a common occurrence, and below are some tips on how to prevent going over your data plan:

Set a limit

A data limit pops up a warning when you've used up some amount of data within a specified period. Smartphones mostly come with a default limit of 2GB and your data connection will be disabled until you wave off the warning. The settings can be adjusted to accommodate your plan. All you need to do is estimate the amount of data you wish to use up monthly and set a limit, so you don't go overboard. To set the limit, tap 'Settings' on your smartphone, navigate to 'Data Usage' or 'Data Connection' depending on how your device was modeled, and customize the data limit.

Check for 'vampire' apps

Not to worry, they don't have blood-sucking fangs. They are simply apps on your mobile phone that have access to data in the background. Even when they are not in use, these apps can siphon data to deliver notifications or to remain actively connected to a cloud. Checking your device's data usage will reveal what app uses 'authorized' data and the others that use data behind your back.

Turn on data saver

Data saver is a built-in feature in smartphones to help you keep your data consumption in check. Enabling the data saver will restrict access to 'vampire' apps and also prevent you from going over your data plan by stopping auto downloads. For apps with the auto-enabled download option, you have to click on received files to download them when data saver is running. You'll agree this can help to avoid downloading unnecessary files that eat away your phone's ROM and at the same time, regulate your data consumption.

Disable auto updates

Your mobile phone won't be one without applications, and every day, these apps get outdated. Newer versions with improved features are rolled out to app stores. Apps without restricted access will always get these updates whenever they are available.

If you're using an Android smartphone, for example, you'll notice Google Play Services pop up frequently in your notification bar, with movements to indicate download progress 釦hat's an auto update right there. Well, it is to ensure the necessary apps are up to date and free from malware. However, other apps may have auto update enabled in their settings and will use your data whenever they get the chance to get the latest version available. To prevent this, you can set auto updates to happen when you're connected to a Wi-Fi network only.




Tags: technology   smartphone   apps  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Brian O誰eil on 10/6/2019

Buying a home should be an unforgettable journey, one that enables you to purchase a high-quality house at a budget-friendly price. If you start planning for the homebuying journey today, you may be able to reduce the risk of encountering homebuying hurdles as you attempt to acquire a first-rate house.

Ultimately, there are many important decisions for homebuyers to make before they enter the real estate market, including:

1. Where Do I Want to Live?

As a homebuyer, you'll want to know where you want to go so you can map out your property buying journey.

Consider your current and future plans before you enter the housing market you'll be glad you did. This will enable you to consider where you'll be in the next few months and years and plan accordingly.

For example, if you currently work in the city and intend to stay at your present job, you may want to search for a home that makes it easy to commute to work.

On the other hand, if you plan to start a family in the foreseeable future, you may want to consider purchasing a home near various top-notch parks and schools.

2. How Much Can I Spend on a House?

You know that you'd like to become a homeowner, but how much can you afford to pay for a residence? Meet with several banks and credit unions, and you can start budgeting for a home.

Banks and credit unions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. Then, with a mortgage in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a good idea about how much you can spend on a residence.

Many banks and credit unions are available, and they are happy to teach you about the ins and outs of numerous mortgage options. Plus, lenders will respond to your mortgage concerns and queries and help you make an informed mortgage decision.

3. Will I Need to Hire a Real Estate Agent?

If you're on the lookout for your dream home, why not hire an expert to guide you along the homebuying journey? With a real estate agent at your side, you can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing your ideal residence.

A real estate agent will provide expert support at each stage of the homebuying journey. As such, he or she will help you set realistic expectations before you begin your search for your dream house.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you informed about new properties as they become available and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. This housing market professional will even offer expert real estate insights that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.

When it comes to purchasing a house, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent to help you along the homebuying journey and simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Brian O誰eil on 9/29/2019

Credit plays an important role in your ability to secure a home loan and to qualify for a low-interest mortgage. However, many first-time homebuyers aren稚 aren稚 sure about the exact relationship between credit scores and mortgages.

This doesn稚 come as much of a surprise considering the many factors that go into your credit score and into your lender痴 decision to approve you for a mortgage. So, in this article, we池e going to cover three commonly asked questions that homebuyers have about credit scores and how they池e used by mortgage lenders to determine your eligibility for a home loan.

Will my credit score go down if I check my credit report?

If you池e thinking of buying a home in the near future, one of the first things you値l want to do is check your credit. However, if you致e heard that some credit inquiries briefly lower your credit score you might be hesitant to find out.


This common misconception stems from the fact that taking out new lines of credit results in a temporary decrease in your credit score. The difference between checking your credit and a credit inquiry is simple: a credit check you can access for free online through a service like Credit Karma, whereas a credit inquiry is performed by a lender or creditor with whom you致e applied for credit.

In short, checking your credit score online won稚 affect your score. In fact, the major credit bureaus are required to allow you to check your credit for free once per year.

Can I get a loan with low credit?

Increasing your credit score is a lengthy process that requires careful financial management. Many people who have had difficulties paying off bills, loans, and credit cards will have to rebuild their credit. Or, if you池e young and don稚 have a diverse history of credit payments, you値l be starting from scratch to build your score.

If you池e hoping to get an FHA (first-time homeowner loan), the lowest your score can be is 580. However, that doesn稚 mean you should always take a loan with a low credit score. When you don稚 have a good credit history, lenders will seek other ways to guarantees their investment. This comes in the form of higher interest rates or PMI (private mortgage insurance) which you値l have to pay on top of your monthly home insurance and mortgage payments.

Will applying for a home loan affect my credit?

Simply stated, yes. However, applying for a loan or get preapproved is considered a credit inquiry and won稚 leave any lasting negative on your credit score. Making several inquiries within a short period of time, however, can significantly lower your score, so choose your inquiries wisely. And, be sure to monitor your credit score on a monthly basis so you have an idea of where you stand along the road to applying for a home loan.




Tags: Buying a home   homebuyers   FAQ  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Brian O誰eil on 9/22/2019

Planning to sell your house in the next few weeks or months? If so, you likely will want to declutter to improve your house's appearance and make it easy for potential homebuyers to envision what life might be like if they purchase your residence.

Ultimately, donating items may prove to be exceedingly valuable, particularly for those who want to declutter and move in the near future.

By donating items that you no longer need, you can quickly and easily remove clutter from your residence. Plus, you may be able to secure a tax credit for your charitable contributions.

Before you donate your items, however, you should take a close look at your personal belongings and decide which things to keep and which to give to charity.

Now, let's take a look at three items that you can donate to charity:

1. Clothing

If you intend to move from Florida to Alaska or vice-versa there may be a wide range of clothing that you can donate before you move.

Ensure that any clothing that you plan to donate is clean. If necessary, wash any dresses, t-shirts and other apparel that you intend to donate.

Also, it is always better to err on the side of caution when you donate clothing. And if you have clothes that are faded or torn, you should dispose of these items.

2. Electronics

For those who plan to downsize, donating electronics is ideal. That way, you can get rid of electronics that won't fit into your new home and do a good deed at the same time.

Evaluate your electronics and make sure they work correctly before you donate them. In addition, it often pays to tape any electronics cords, wires and accessories to the items themselves.

Check out a charity's electronics donations policies prior to scheduling a donation pick-up too. By doing so, you can guarantee that a charity can pick up and use your excess electronics.

3. Appliances

In many instances, an individual may move into a new address that comes equipped with a new refrigerator, washer, dryer and other appliances. If this happens, you may want to contact local charities to see if they can pick up your current appliances.

Reach out to a local charity to find out whether it can pick up your current appliances you'll be glad you did. If the answer is "Yes," you may be able to avoid having to move big, heavy appliances on your own.

As the aforementioned list shows, there are lots of great items that you can donate to charity. Conduct an in-depth search of charities in your city or town, and you can work with a local charity that can use your excess items.

Lastly, if you ever have questions about which charities in your area will accept donations, don't hesitate to reach out to these organizations directly. And if you're looking for extra assistance as you declutter your residence and prepare to list your home, it certainly helps to contact an expert real estate agent as well.




Categories: Uncategorized