5 Myths About Credit Scores

5 Myths About Credit Scores

Anyone who has purchased a home or is currently wanting to buy, or rent can tell you that credit score is one of the most important factors considered by banks or rental owners. A bad score can affect a lot of areas of your life but is particularly detrimental in the real estate world.

Everyone has an opinion about credit scores, but we are here to breakdown these frequently-believed 5 myths and explain what they really mean.

 

All debt is bad and will lower your credit score. MYTH.

Debt is a scary word. Most of us believe that having ANY debt looks bad and will negatively affect credit. However, there is a big difference between debt that can benefit your score and debt that can hurt it.

If you rack up thousands in credit card debt or do not pay bills on time, this will surely hurt your rating. If you take out a mortgage on a home, this shouldn’t hurt, if you make your payments on time.

 

Checking my score will damage my rating. MYTH.

This myth is simply NOT true. When you use a service to check your own score, it has no impact on your rating. Furthermore, you are allowed one free check per repository (Transunion, Experian and Equifax) each year.

It’s when you APPLY for credit and a creditor is required to check your score that may bring down your rating. Especially if you do it frequently. (Think of all those department store cards you are offered for 10% off your purchase. Too much of a good thing can be bad for your credit score.)

 

If you don’t use a credit card, you should close it. MYTH.

Find that you aren’t using a card as often as you used to? It’s not always wise to close the account. A portion of your credit score is determined by the LENGTH of time that credit is open. If you can, try and use the credit card every now and then to avoid the creditor closing your account entirely due to inactivity.

 

You can improve your score “immediately” by paying off debt. MYTH.

You should always try and make your monthly payments and pay debt off to avoid interest that accrues. But if you miss a payment, making that payment (even the very next day), won’t remove the problem from your score. Missed or late payments can drop your score significantly, so it’s critical to pay debts on time.

 

If I payoff a collection, it will be removed from my credit report. MYTH.

Make every attempt to settle a debt BEFORE it goes to collection. If not, pay it off as soon as possible. Once it is paid off, the collection remains on your report for 7 years.

Need info on how to repair your score? Visit www.myfico.com for more information.

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Selling Your Home In Winter

Selling Your Home In Winter

Selling your home in winter may give you a competitive edge. Typically, there aren’t as many other homes on the market. You will see more “real” buyers instead of window shoppers. But the one difference in marketing your home in the winter is that many aspects of your home are more visible without the summer foliage and landscaping. You must be sure that your home still shows well in the cold winter months. 

 

Here are some tips: 

 

  • Make sure any wood trim or shutters, as well as your front door, are in great shape and have a new coat of paint. 
  • Trim and cleanup any dead plantings or shrubbery left over from the growing season. 
  • Even if you can’t have live plants at this time of year, you can put out seasonal decorations in your planters and a wreath on the front door for a welcoming touch. 
  • Make sure you keep the driveway and entryway clear of any snow and ice for would-be buyers. Don’t forget the deck or patio. 
  • Stage your outdoor areas with a fire pit and comfy outdoor pillows and throws, to promote welcoming spaces that might not be as obvious in the cold months. 
  • Make sure your exterior and entry way lights are on. This is not only welcoming but it will make for a safer environment. 
  • Lay out a special welcome mat or shoe protectors to keep the snow off your floors. 
  • Light up the rooms and turn up the heat. If you have a gas fireplace, you may want to turn it on and warm up the ambiance for showings. 
  • Show off what your home looks like in the warmer months with photographs. If you have special features, like a garden, patio, or deck that look great in summer, make sure to point them out. 

In many ways, it’s easier to make a home feel cozy and inviting in the winter. When a would-be buyer walks out of the cold into a warm house with an inviting fire in the fireplace and lamps on in late afternoon, they will feel the inviting atmosphere. 

Today’s home buyers start their home search online. Make sure your home is in “show shape” for your real estate marketing photos. Declutter. Depersonalize. Show off your home’s selling points. Help the buyer visualize their “stuff” in your home. 

Be sure to work with a Signature real estate agent to get your home ready for online house hunters. Listen to our agent’s advice about price, condition and what items need to be tidied up to get your home market ready. We have your best interests in mind and want to help you achieve a quick sale! 

 

July 4th Events around Winston Salem

July 4th Events around Winston Salem

No day is more symbolic of summer than July 4th. We celebrate the birth of our country with cook outs, pool parties and fireworks. Looking for local events? We have you covered! Looking for inspiration for your July 4th event? Visit our “Celebrate July 4th” Pinterest Board for party ideas, recipes. patriotic playlists and more! Click Here to go to our Celebrate July 4th Pinterest Board

Lewisville’s “Annual July 4th Celebration.” Begins at 6 pm. Live music and fireworks. Free. Shallowford Square. The fun begins with live music beginning at 6:00 p.m. from the incredibly talented “The Extraordinaires” band followed by a spectacular fireworks display at dark. This is one of the best fireworks displays in Forsyth County. Admission is free. Concessions/Eats are available for purchase. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and enjoy a festive July 4th celebration. No pets permitted in Shallowford Square. A rain date of Thursday, July 5th, 2018 will apply. Click Here for Lewisville’s Annual July 4th Celebration Information 

 

Salem Band “Stars and Stripes” Concert at Salem Square at Old Salem. 7:30-9 pm. The Salem Band is the oldest continuous mixed wind ensemble in the nation. Bring a blanket or chair. Event is Free. Food vendors on site. Make your plans now to join Salem Band as we honor veterans in our community with music of the Armed Forces, Big Bands, Yankee Doodle, and marches. Arrive early for pre-concert music by the Salem Saxophone Quartet. And of course, don’t miss our Salem Band piccolo and brass players on “Stars & Stripes Forever.” All concerts FREE in Salem Square, Old Salem. Bring a blanket or lawn chair. Food vendors on site. RAIN-DATE is Thursday, July 5. Click Here for more information on Salem Band’s Stars and Stripes Concert!

“Uncle Sam Jam” in High Point. Oak Hollow Festival Park. Celebrate the Fourth of July at the Uncle Sam Jam with High Point Parks & Recreation, the host of this local tradition since 1973. In addition to food, beverage and novelty vendors and the Family Fun Zone for kids, this year’s Uncle Sam Jam will feature a live, family-friendly musical performance from Earth to Mars: The Bruno Mars Experience. Gates open at Oak Hollow Festival Park, 1841 Eastchester Drive. Admission cost is $10 per vehicle. Food, beverages and novelties will be sold by onsite vendors. The Family Fun Zone features inflatables, a rock climbing wall and a bungee trampoline for kids, and an all-inclusive pass for this area is $20 per child. The fireworks show over Oak Hollow Lake will begin at 9:45 p.m.

“Reds, Whites and Blues” at Raylen Vineyards and Winery. 12-4 pm. Live Music and Food for Purchase. Celebrate America’s birthday at Raylen! We will have live music by Colin Allured from 12:00 – 3:00 PM and food for purchase by Route Bistro LLC from 12:00 – 3:30 PM. Click Here for More Information on Raylen’s Red’s Whites and Blues Event

“July 4th Concert and Fireworks” at Kernersville Raiders Football Field. 6:30 pm. Live Music and Fireworks. Free. Click Here for More Information on the July 4th Concert and Fireworks

“Fantastic Fourth Celebration.” Davidson County Fairgrounds in Lexington. 4-10 pm. Free. Live Music, fireworks, food vendors and rides and amusements for children. Join City of Lexington, NC Parks & Recreation for a FREE Independence Day celebration at the Davidson County Fairgrounds! Enjoy live music from the Reggie Buie Group and an amazing fireworks display. Kids of all ages can purchase tickets for the awesome rides and amusements starting at 4:00. Refreshments will be sold by local favorites: Sunset Slush of Lexington, DG Concessions, Light of the World Church, and A&E Concessions and Catering, LLC. Click Here for More Information on the Fantastic Fourth Celebration 

“Independence Day Extravaganza” at BB&T Ballpark. The City of Winston-Salem and the Winston-Salem Dash are proud to present the annual Independence Day extravaganza at BB&T Ballpark on Wednesday, July 4. The fun begins at 4 p.m. on First Street and concludes with Winston-Salem’s official Fourth of July fireworks show following the Dash’s 7 p.m. game against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. First Street will be open to the public between Peters Creek Parkway and Green Street, and attendees will enjoy music by Stereo Doll, Dash inflatables and several food trucks in this area. Beer will also be on sale throughout the afternoon. BB&T Ballpark’s gates open at 5:45 p.m. in advance of the Dash game. An extended fireworks display will follow the game, and there will be a special Kids Run the Bases, presented by Fleet Feet.

“Independence Day Parade and Celebration.” Downtown Mt. Airy. Parade starts at Veteran’s Park at 11 am. Celebrate from 11 am – 2 pm with pie eating contest and games.

“Live Music with Shelley Ruffin and Soul Revival” at Raffaldini Vineyards in Ronda NC. 12-5 pm. Click Here for More Information on Raffaldini’s Live Music with Shelley Ruffin and Soul Revival 

“July 4th at Wise Man Brewing” in Winston-Salem. 12 pm-12 am. Celebrate Independence Day and enjoy live music with “3 PC and a Biscuit” at 8 pm. Click Here for More Information on July 4th at Wise Man Brewing

Happy 4th from Signature Real Estate!

Curb Appeal: Front Door Paint Choices

Curb Appeal: Front Door Paint Choices

Front door paint choices are everything when it comes to curb appeal. Pulling out all the stops is warranted whether you are selling or just wanting to make your home look as inviting as possible. When it comes to your home, the front door, is symbolic of the undeniable first impression. Refresh your existing color or adopt a vibrant or eye-catching shade instead. Paint is the easiest and least expensive way to make an impact of how your home is first perceived.

Tempted for a makeover? We rounded up the season’s must-have shades so that you can reinvent your statement entry. Read on for the front door paint color ideas we love:

It’s no secret that a vibrant red—the official color of summer 2018—is an attention-getter. Real Red by Sherwin-Williams is one of our favorites.

Red is the most popular door color.

A stunning blue door may be a statement all on its own, but it has a dynamic effect when paired with a brick exterior—there’s a reason why cobalt blue and terracotta is a popular favorite color combo right now. Dark Royal Blue by Benjamin Moore is a great choice.

A pop of orange coupled with a whitewashed exterior and greenery, instantly makes for a truly accent-worthy entry.Tangerine Dream by Benjamin Moore is refreshing.

Orange doors are trendy. Like red, the color grabs your attention.

Green has always been a winner but a new, fresh green makes a big statement. Paired with a whitewashed or gray backdrop and the look is pure perfection with a dynamic twist.  Spanish Olive by Valspar is a nice choice

Paired with white, cream or gray, greens with a “yellow” tint look fresh.

Dusty Pink is the grown-up version of a classic pink. Pair the color with soft grays and blues or brilliant whites. It’s elegant! Calamine by Farrow & Ball or Pink Ground by Farrow & Ball are great.

Dusty Pink with white trim looks elegant

Black is always in style and a matte finish lends a modern touch. Coupled with a cream or white exterior or red brick, it is versatile and compliments most homes. Tricorn Black by Sherwin Williams is great.

Gray is also a timeless choice that is soft but can also extend a hint of modern elegance to the front door. Gray is is lovely when paired with a whitewashed exterior and matte black hardware. Calluna by Farrow & Ball is a fave with a hint of lilac.

Have a gorgeous wood door? Take it back to the basics by highlighting the original finish of your front door. Strip the wood of its paint and top with a wood finish or stain. Depending on the exterior of the home, opt for a stain that complements its surrounding. Remember that your front entry is your “welcome sign” and make the effort to make it as inviting as possible.

 

Top 5 Winston Salem Parks

Top 5 Winston Salem Parks

 

Winston Salem is blessed with over 70 public parks and greenways with amenities like picnic shelters, playgrounds, ball fields and pools. Our parks offer something for all ages and interests and some even offer history lessons. We enjoy them all but have narrowed down our Top 5:

5. Historic Bethabara Park: Bethabara is the site of the first Moravian settlement in North Carolina and is a National Historic Landmark. The park offers visitors an opportunity to observe life in colonial America and is home to the oldest standing church with an attached residence in North America. The park is situated on over 180 acres and is home to over 100 species of birds. Hike the trails, take in the scenery, learn about the earliest settlers of the area from costumed interpreters and visit the gift shop. There are also many festivals and celebrations throughout the year including Highland Games, Concerts and Christmas by Candlelight.

4. Quarry Park: The newest park in the city, Quarry Park, was formerly a rock quarry for Vulcan Materials. Now filled with water, the quarry is a beautiful spot for viewing the vistas of downtown Winston Salem. There are several scenic overlook spots and an observation pier. Walking trails provide a perfect spot to exercise your furry friends.

3. Hanes Park: Located in the heart of Winston-Salem, Hanes Park is accessible by many neighborhoods including West End, Ardmore, Buena Vista, downtown and Ardmore. Filled with mature landscape, the park makes a perfect picnic spot. The playground is perfect for little ones. Tennis lovers can work on their game at the Joe White Tennis Center. The park is also close to R.J. Reynolds High School which is on the National Historic Register.

2. Miller Park: Located in the Ardmore Neighborhood, Miller Park has a community center with programs for all ages including an after school program. The park includes fitness trails, playground, basketball courts, tennis courts, softball field and more. Ardmore is the largest historic district in the city and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

And the #1 Park is Salem Lake: Considered a hidden gem in our city, Salem Lake is just minutes from downtown and offers a 365 acre lake with 7 miles of walking trails. This is the perfect spot for dog walking! The park also offers pier and boat fishing and is great for kayaking or stand up paddle boarding. In the fall, Salem Lake is a great spot to enjoy the changing colors of the leaves and there are even free guided fall foliage hikes.

For hours and admission fees, please visit the City of Winston Salem website at http://www.cityofws.org/Departments/Recreation-Parks

Help Home Buyers Fall In Love!

Helping home buyers fall in love with your property takes more than running the vacuum and fluffing the pillows. It’s all about de-cluttering, repairing, updating, and de-personalizing. Buyers need  to imagine themselves living in your home. Here’s an extensive list of areas to focus on as you prepare your home for the sales market:

LIVING AREA

  • When placing anything from accent pillows and table lamps, go for symmetry, which is pleasing to the eye.
  • Light it up with lamps. Chic lamps provide both added lighting and appealing decor.
  • Make that fireplace glow. Scrub away soot stains and replace the old screen.
  • If you’re using staging furniture or buying slip covers, choose light colors for an airy, inviting feel.
  • Whatever amount of furniture you have in your living room, remove a few pieces to make the room feel spacious.
  • Use bright, coordinated accessories like accent pillows and throw blankets for a chic splash of color.
  • Help buyers imagine their life in your home. Set the scene by displaying a board game or tea service on the coffee table and arrange furniture in conversational groups.
  • Let a slideshow of beautiful images play on your television like a screensaver.

KITCHEN

  • Clear everything from countertops except one or two decorative items, like a vase of flowers or bowl of fresh fruit.
  • Pack up all the dishes except one attractive, matching set. Do the same with glassware, flatware, and cookware, and pare down all other cupboard and drawer items down to the minimum.
  • Freshen up and modernize cabinets with a fresh coat of paint or stain and new hardware.
  • Seriously evaluate your appliances. Can they look new again with a good scrubbing? Give it the old college try or consider replacing with new models. The Real Estate Staging Association strongly recommends stainless steel.
  • Remove those fridge magnets and photos and give the door and handles a good cleaning.
  • Scrub dirt, grime, and stains from walls, cabinets, and back splashes.
  • Clean cabinet interiors, especially under the sink.
  • Clean and organize the pantry, leaving some empty space to make it look bigger. Store items in decorative baskets and display a few jars of fancy jam and other upscale condiments.
  • Empty all trash cans and move them out of sight.

BEDROOMS

  • Go gender neutral in the master bedroom. Ditch those dainty, floral pillow shams or NASCAR posters.
  • Pack up all but the clothes you’re wearing this season to make you closets look larger.
  • Swap out the motley crew of mismatched hangers in your closet for a set of wooden ones to create a classy, boutique look.
  • Put jewelry and other valuables in a safe spot.
  • Consider giving extra bedrooms a new identity as a home office or another interesting function.
  • Remove televisions or video game consoles from bedrooms to depersonalize and create a serene setting.

BATHS

  • It’s de-grime time: Scrub and sanitize the walls, floor, shower door — virtually every surface that comes in contact with steam.
  • Spend extra time scrubbing that tile grout and re-caulk around the tub if necessary.
  • If your bathroom tile is dated, try paint instead of replacing it. Start with a high-adhesion primer and either epoxy or latex paint.
  • Remove clutter from the counter tops, tubs and tops of toilets. Clean surfaces until they gleam.
  • Pack up and hide all your personal products — from medicine to razors.
  • Create a luxury spa look with a fancy soap dispenser, fluffy white towels, decorative baskets, candles, plants, a white shower curtain, and a new bath mat.
  • Fix leaky or running toilets and replace toilet seats.
  • Remove hard water stains on faucets and shower heads. (Try vinegar!)
  • Take a daring sniff of the drains. Odorous? Clean them out, and deodorize with baking soda, boiling water, or vinegar.
  • Time for a new sink anyway? Try a pedestal sink to optimize precious bathroom space

WALLS, WINDOWS and MORE

  • Have a dark corner or hallway? Brighten it up with a decorative mirror.
  • Neutralize the walls. If any rooms are painted in dark colors, repaint white or beige.
  • Paint adjacent rooms the same color to make the whole space feel larger.
  • Fill nicks and holes in walls and touch up with paint.
  • Sorry, wood paneling. It’s time. Paint over paneling with a neutral color. To really cover your tracks, use wood filler between panels and paint over the entire thing.
  • Make sure every switch plate and outlet cover matches and looks brand new.
  • Wash the windows, inside and out. Repair any holes or tears in screens.
  • Replace those family portraits with interesting art placed strategically throughout the house. Avoid leaving dead space on walls.
  • De-clutter! Consider it pre-packing for your move. Box up books, clothes, and personal items and place them (neatly!) in the garage or — better yet — a rented storage unit.
  • Don’t forget to include memorabilia in those de-cluttering bins. Family photos, diplomas and the kids’ artwork should all go.
  • Keep closets, basements and attics as empty as possible to maximize the appearance of storage space.
  • Transform underused areas of the house — the alcove under the stairs or the end of a hallway — into functional spots. Add a desk to create a mini office, or a chair and small bookshelf for a reading nook.
  • Swap dim lights for high-wattage bulbs.
  • Check every door, drawer, and cabinet to ensure they open and close easily. Swap out any faulty — or dingy — hardware.
  • Damaged or aging hardwood floors? Replace damaged boards with new wood, sand down the entire floor, and re-stain.
  • Do a deep (deep, deep) clean. Hire a professional cleaning service to clean your home from top to bottom — including carpets — before viewings.

EXTERIOR

  • Hang attractive house numbers that are legible from the road.
  • Brighten up your porch with fresh paint or stain.
  • Add a fresh coat of paint to the front door, preferably red, black, blue, or wood stain, so long as it complements the trim and doesn’t blend, says The Real Estate Staging Association. Steer clear of unconventional colors like purple.
  • Buy a new doormat to welcome home buyers.
  • Power-wash the house exterior, walkway, steps, driveway and porch.
  • Make sure the locks and doorbell function.
  • Make that mailbox look clean and welcoming or get a new one.
  • Plant lots of colorful blooms in attractive pots and planter beds.
  • Trim back trees and shrubs from the approach to the front door.
  • Whip that yard into shape with fresh sod or new seed
  • Store yard equipment and children’s toys out of sight.
  • Repair shaky banisters.
  • Dress up any imperfect planting area with mulch or pine straw.
  • Make sure entryway lights function and are free of cobwebs and insects.
  • Hide trash cans, recycle bins and garden hoses.
  • Don’t forget your outdoor living space. Stage your patio like a second living room, with fashionable furniture, accent pillows, an outdoor rug, and other patio-friendly decor.

PETS

  • Scrub those pet stains on the carpets and rugs until totally gone or replace them if necessary. Try cleaning formulas made especially for pet odors.
  • Pet odors soak into your best friend’s favorite things. Completely remove pet beds (or Fido’s most-loved couch), blankets, toys, play structures, food bowls, and the like.
  • Use air fresheners that eliminate odors, rather than simply mask them. There’s nothing worse than the smell of artificial pine with kitty litter undertones.
  • Repair or remove any furniture that’s been scratched or gnawed on.
  • Clean all pet “presents” from the yard.
  • Keep cat boxes immaculate and hidden away, or — better yet — see how your feline-loving friends feel about a temporary houseguest and remove litter boxes altogether.
  • Remove any dog or cat doors. Pets? What pets?
  • When you leave the house for a showing, take all the furry (or feathery or scaly) residents along with you.
  • Make a pet hair sweep the last thing you do before you leave the house.

SHOWINGS/OPEN HOUSE

Add a seasonal touch with flowers. Tidy like you’ve never tidied before!  Avoid cooking any foods with strong scents. Last, but not least – take off. After all that staging work, you deserve a trip to the spa while potential home buyers are busy falling in love with your house!

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