Archive | April, 2012

Finance Options for Your Home Renovation

30 Apr

Planning to renovate your house?  Before you begin any projects involving your house, you should take a look at your finances.  Do you have enough money on hand to cover the expenses of your project?  If not, how do you plan to obtain the necessary finances for your home renovation?

Before you look for financing options, you will first need to determine how much the renovation will cost.  Once you know your budget, there are several different avenues you can explore:

  • Credit Card – If you have a high credit limit and your budget for renovation fits within that limit, you can use your credit card to fund your renovation. You can even call your credit card representative and have your total credit balance restructured to a monthly payment.
  • Personal Loan – If you only need a small amount to cover the overall expenses, you can apply for a personal loan. What is good about personal loans is that they have low interest compared to other types of loans, plus you can choose to pay your loan within one to five years.
  • Equity Loan – This type of loan requires that you have equity, usually in your house, secondary properties, or car. Since you have equity to assure the loan, the interest rates are usually low.
  • Mortgage Refinancing – Refinancing your mortgage is another good way to obtain financing for your renovation.  Refinance your mortgage balance, but at a higher principal, so you will have extra money to cover your remodel and related unexpected costs that may arise.
  • Loans from Relatives or Friends – If you do not feel knowledgeable or comfortable enough to take out a loan for your home renovation, you can simply borrow the money you need from a relative or a friend.  Just be sure you establish a repayment structure up front.
  • Personal Savings – If you have a savings account, you can use that money to fund your renovation.  Or, borrow money from your retirement fund, if you have one, and try to repay the borrowed money gradually through monthly deposits. This way, you do not have to negotiate with other people or lenders nor will you have to deal with interest.

Before applying for loans or choosing a financing option for your home renovation, talk first to your financial planner, so he or she can advise you on what the best option is for you.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

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Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma Helps NALC’s National Food Drive

26 Apr

The National Association of Letter Carriers will be holding its annual national food drive, Stamp Out Hunger, on May 12, 2012. In support of the event, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma will be facilitating the sorting, packing, and distribution of food donations to those in need throughout the city.

Stamp Out Hunger is one of the largest food drive programs in the country and is held every second Saturday of May.  Letter carriers from all over the country give plastic bags to residents for them to fill with donations and they then collect the bags and pass them along to Regional Food Bank branches for sorting and distribution.  This gives citizens who want to help an opportunity to support the fight against hunger.

In Oklahoma, 19 metro-area post office sites will be participating in collecting food donations, and letter carriers will provide donation bags to residents in approximately 100 cities in central and western Oklahoma.  People are asked to donate nonperishable items such as canned foods, rice, peanut butter, meat-based soups, and beans. Monetary donations are also accepted trough the Regional Food Bank website.

Volunteers for the food drive are also welcome. The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is accepting volunteers for sorting and packing food donations, and interested parties can simply contact the office of the Regional Food Bank for more information.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

OKC Astronomy Club Free Star Party For The Public

24 Apr

Those who are fascinated with stars, galaxies and planets now have the chance to see the astronomic wonders with a great view for free at the Star Party on April 28. Hosted by the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club, the Star Party is a free public viewing of the different objects beyond earths atmosphere in celebration of International Astronomy Day.

Since its foundation in 1958, the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club advocates bringing to the public more information concerning the wonders of the universe. Members of the club put forth lots of effort in continually researching worthy information related to astronomy, giving opportunities to amateur members and providing the public with valuable information for education purposes.

Club members also host several star parties each year that will make star-watching a more exciting hobby, including the Star Party this April 28 for the International Astronomy Day. The event will focus on star and planet gazing for the public including astronomical objects such as the plants Saturn, Mars and Venus, as well as different star clusters and galaxies. Members of the club will conduct solar viewing at first through various telescopes before opening the arena for public viewing.

Those who would like to come and experience a wonderful night of watching stars and planets can go to the Windsurfer’s Point on April 28 before dusk. Windsurfer’s Point is located on the northeastern shores of Lake Hefner.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

Garage Sale Tips: How To Run A Successful Yard Sale

23 Apr

Spring cleaning is in season! With lots of things to organize and clean, you may be left with several boxes of unused things that may clutter space in your attic or garage. Throwing them out would be an impractical idea unless they are already beyond repair. What better way to get rid of this still-useful junk than to have a yard sale? Set up a make-shift store in your front yard, have friends over and earn extra money from your unwanted goods.

Throwing a garage sale also requires the right strategies in order to be successful. It is sometimes not enough to pull out some tables, set up the things you want to sell and wait for your customers. You might get a few buys each day but would you rather have more customers overall in just one day? Of course! So, gather up all your garage-sale gear and follow these tips for a more successful yard sale:

  • Create some extra entertainment. While you do a garage sale, have a lemonade stand too. Add in some hotdogs on sticks, corndogs and popcorn to offer more options for your potential buyers. Decorate with balloons and play some lively music.
  • Promote. Put up some advertisements like colorful signs that guide your buyers towards your front yard or have a kid ride a bike with a small board that promotes your garage sale. Hand out pamphlets days before your garage sale.
  • Make your “store” more inviting. Potential buyers are often intimidated by dark garages. So, set up your garage sale to where it is convenient to browse. Also make sure to plan your presentation like classifying your things on separate tables and placing huge cardboard labels for every category.
  • Be accommodating. Good customer service is always a key ingredient to a successful business. Extend your help to potential buyers. Ask what they are looking for and offer them recommendations. Most importantly, always talk to them with a smile, whether they buy something or not.
  • Price reasonably. Remember, buyers would expect a discounted price given that items at garage sales are second-hand goods. Do not price an item with the same price as you had bought it years ago. Try to slash off at least 50%. But, don’t price too cheap. Provide allowances so you can allow your buyers to negotiate.
  • Bring out things that are still useful like toys, collections, working appliances and even homemade items. People who normally buy at yard sales tend to look for items that are still very functional.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

Seven Design Tips to Make Your Small Kitchen Look Bigger

19 Apr

Small kitchens may seem like a huge impediment for homeowners who desire larger kitchen spaces because they prohibit them from having the appliances and necessities that they want, and they often end up looking cluttered.  However, even if space is limited, there are still ways to make your kitchen look larger than it is.

Here are seven design tips to follow to make your small kitchen appear bigger:

  • Use of space. Consider the essential usage of your kitchen and determine your needs inside the space.  Do you need a huge freezer and refrigerator or will a regular sized refrigerator with a small freezer on top suffice?  Is a dishwasher necessary or can you settle for manual dishwashing in the kitchen sink?  Do you need an oversized oven or will a regular sized oven do? Identifying these needs will help you buy only the things are essential to your activities and get rid of the unnecessary things that may take up more space in your kitchen.
  • Mirrors and reflective appliances. Mirrors and stainless appliances reflect light and imagery, which creates the  illusion of a larger space. Opt for these materials where possible.
  • Lights and bright colors. Creating the impression of natural lighting can make your kitchen space look bigger. Colors that are cool to the eyes, such as light blue or light green, will make the walls look like they are receding, thus creating an illusion of more space.
  • Open spaces. Closed spaces, such as cabinets with closed doors, can make a room appear narrow.  If you open up the spaces, by replacing solid cabinet doors with glass ones, for example, it will give the impression of more space  Your eyes will be able to pass through spaces more easily because they will flow together.
  • Natural light. Bringing in more natural light can enlarge a small space. Do away with heavy and dark curtains or other window treatments. As much as possible, open your windows or use no curtains at all. If privacy is your issue, cover your window with light-colored sheer treatments.
  • Smaller furnishings and appliances. Instead of the standard big kitchen island in the middle of the room, use a narrow but long table. This will free up more floor space and still give you a functional workstation.  Also, buy smaller appliances, so there is more available free space for cooking or additional appliances.
  • Glass materials. Using glass materials for your cabinet doors and countertops will allow light to bounce around and brighten the room.  If you have a kitchen door, you can even convert it into a glass door, so you can look out to other areas of the house.

 

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

Myriad Botanical Gardens Oklahoma Opens Children’s Fountain

17 Apr

A new attraction is set to open in arguably the most beautiful garden in Oklahoma City. The Myriad Botanical Gardens will soon open a huge interactive fountain for children. The new children’s fountain will resemble a storm cycle complete with a spray-ground feature.

The Myriad Botanical Gardens have been an attraction in downtown Oklahoma City since 1988. Located at 301 W. Reno Avenue, the beautiful garden stands on a 17-acre piece of land that offers a beautiful and serene oasis in the middle of the city with abundant trees and exotic plants. It also features a degree of an animal reserve, as well as additional rare plant species, contained within the artificial biosphere – the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory.

The new interactive fountain is made to resemble a storm cycle with its mosaic blue cloud sculpture. The pillar that holds the clouds resemble tornadoes while the sculpture features flash outward like lightning, large sprays boom like thunder and several drizzle features represent a heavy rain storm.  The cycle runs for approximately 15 minutes at which point all of the remaining water is sprayed on the ground.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

Making it Easier for Kids to Clean Their Room

16 Apr

Making your kids clean their room can be a difficult task.  They are usually uninterested in picking up and putting away their own clutter. However, if you don’t teach them how to clean their room and keep it neat and tidy, they will always rely on you to do it…or, you’ll just face  a cluttered kids room day after day.

In order for you to get your kids clean their room, make it easier for them. You cannot blame them if the closet is too high or there are no places to put their toys away. Making it easier for them to clean will help them organize things more easily and quickly, which will encourage them to keep up the practice.

Below are some useful tips for making it easier for your kids to clean their room…

  • Add more storage. If they do not already have one, place a huge chest in their room for all of their toys and set it on the floor beside their bed so they can easily open and close it whenever they want. To make it easier for them to pick up their clothes, place a small hamper on the floor in which they can toss their dirty clothes.  To store miscellaneous papers, art materials and books, add a variety of small storage boxes to their closet.
  • Install lower hooks for hanging things. Your kids can put away hats and jackets by themselves if they reach the hooks to hang them on.  Look for hooks that are easily raised and lowered so you can adjust them as your kids grow.
  • Put small pillows on their bed, so it is easier for them to pick them up and move them when making their bed.
  • Choose the right sized furniture. When picking out furniture for your child’s room, functionality is important.  For example, be sure your child can reach all of the drawers in his or her chest of drawers, so they can put things away on their own.
  • Streamline their things, from clothes to toys.  Keep only those things that are still useful and either donate or store away unused clothing and toys. This will free up extra storage space in your kid’s room and leave them with fewer things to clean and organize.
  • Schedule a cleaning time for your kids. Set aside about 30 minutes to physically supervise them and help them clean their room.  But, when you do help, make sure you are only helping when it is truly needed, so you don’t end up doing it all yourself.
  • Establish accountability. Make your kids understand that their room is their area and they should be accountable for the things inside it. If two kids share a room, assign certain tasks and accountability to each one, so they know specifically what they need to clean and organize.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031