Don’t Walk And Eat

New research suggests that eating while walking may lead people to overeat later in the day.

Walking is a powerful form of distraction which disrupts our ability to process the impact eating has on our hunger. Walking can be regarded as a form of exercise which can justify overeating later on as a form of reward. When we don’t fully concentrate on the process of taking in food, we fall into a trap of mindless eating and don’t recognize the food that has just been consumed.

It takes about 20 minutes for our brain to catch up to our stomach. By slowing down we are able to recognize when we are getting full and stop before overeating.

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Should I get a 30-year or a 15-year mortgage?

If paying off your house is a priority, a 15-year mortgage is something to consider if you can handle a larger monthly payment. That is the biggest drawback for most people. But, if you can afford it, a 15-year mortgage can be a great way to go because of the money saved. And we’re not talking about pennies. It could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The shorter term actually makes the loan cheaper because it is less risk for a lender. Because of that they offer lower rates – anywhere from a quarter of a percent to a full percent.

And the government-supported agencies that finance most mortgages impose additional fees, called loan level price adjustments, which make 30-year mortgages more expensive.

But a 15-year mortgage isn’t the only way to pay your house off sooner. Making additional principal payments can reduce your balance without tying you to a higher monthly payment. One extra payment per year can make a big difference. Making an extra mortgage payment each year (totaling 13 payments in a 12-month period) could reduce a 30-year mortgage loan to approximately 22 years.

The most budget-friendly way to do this is to pay 1/12 extra each month. For example, by paying $975 each month on a $900 mortgage payment, you’ll have paid the equivalent of an extra payment by the end of the year.

Overpaying also offers a shorter path to an equity position, so when you are ready to sell, you have more equity in your home and are in a greater buying position. And if you do get into a situation where you need cash you can always pull the equity out of your home.

I’d be more than happy to discuss this further with you and answer any questions you may have. Just give me a call.

Real Estate Trends That Will Dominate 2016

Realtor Magazine ® | This year may have marked the best for housing since 2007, but the market will likely get even rosier, according to a recent real estate forecast by realtor.com®. Realtor.com® highlights the following housing predictions for 2016:

1. ‘Normal’ is coming.

Expect a healthy growth in home sales and prices – at a slower pace than in 2015. “This slowdown is not an indication of a problem-it’s just a return to normalcy,” writes Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist

2. New-home construction focuses more on affordability.

In 2016, builders will likely shift to more affordable housing to cater to the entry-level buyers. In addition, credit access is improving enough to make the first-time buyer segment more attractive to builders.

3. Higher mortgage rates.

Mortgage rates will likely be volatile in 2016. But the recent move by the Federal Reserve to guide interest rates higher should push mortgage rates higher in the new year than the historical lows they have been at for years – although so far, there has been very little change.

4. Rents to go up even higher.

Rental costs are skyrocketing, and the costs are likely to only go up in the new year. More than 85 percent of the nation’s markets have rents that exceed 30 percent of the income of renting households.

3 ‘Home Improvement’ habits to avoid

Daily Real Estate News | Home owners can overdo it when it comes to the upkeep of their home. This Old House recently spotlighted several ways that home owners’ enthusiasm for home ownership may actually harm the house.

1. Having light bulbs that are too bright. You want a well-lit home, but exceeding a lamp or light fixture’s recommended wattage can be dangerous, particularly with incandescents or halogen lights. The best way to keep safe is to check the fixtures label to make sure you use the correct wattage.

2. Planting trees near driveways or walkways. A line of trees to the house may up its curb appeal but adding young trees near driveways or walkways could be putting your slab at risk. As these trees grow taller, their roots will go outward, potentially pushing up the paving and causing it to buckle or crack.

3. Spreading too much mulch outside. Over-mulching will suffocate plants, confuse their root systems, and prevent water from percolating into the soil, notes the article at This Old House. “If you’ve mulched so much that tree trunks and flowers’ and shrubs’ lower branches are covered by or dragging in it, you’ve gone overboard.” Have mulch no thicker than 3 inches.

Record lows may be ahead for mortgage rates

CNBC.com | The industry has been concerned about higher mortgage rates in 2016, but so far, rates have been low. And they may even head into record-low territory soon, according to analysts.

About two months ago, the Federal Reserve raised its funds rate for the first time in years. Since then, however, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been dropping, with some analysts believing that rates could fall into the 2 percent range.

What’s behind the drop in rates? Investors are flooding into the U.S. bond market, which is leading to the drop in mortgage rates, CNBC reports. (Mortgage rates follow loosely the 10-year Treasury bond yields.)

The lower mortgage rates help home buyers lessen their monthly payments and also qualify for larger loans – which could help provide a boost to the spring home-buying market.

Call today to find out how much you can afford for your next home or vacation home.

Clean Kitchens – Cut Calories

A new study indicates that dirty, cluttered and chaotic kitchens can make you consume more unhealthy snacks.

Cluttered and chaotic environments can cause stress, which can lead us to grab more of the indulgent snacks – twice as many cookies according to this new study!

In the study conducted at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, women were asked to wait for another person in a messy kitchen – clutter everywhere, dirty dishes in the sink, and the phone ringing. There were bowls of fresh carrots and bowls of cookies sitting out.

They ate twice as many cookies compared to women in the same kitchen when it was organized and quiet. In total they ate 53 more calories from cookies in 10 minutes time. Very few of the carrots were consumed.

The scientists theorize one reason the women in the cluttered kitchen ate more calories is that a chaotic environment can make you feel you have little control over anything you do – and eating sweet, sugary treats make us feel better, even if only for a moment.

Although the study was done with women, the belief is that the findings would be the same for men.

Is Your Home A Target for Burglars?

Research shows most burglars are between the ages of 15 and 24 and live within a mile or two of their targets. Many scope out homes beforehand. Some even pair up with service people whose occupations can give them access to a house.

Burglars want to be in and out of a house within five to seven minutes. They run through the house and in less than a minute figure out where the good stuff is. Generally they go to the master bedroom first – that’s where most people keep jewelry and cash. Offices are also hot spots because of computer equipment.

The homes that tend to be safer are the ones that are in cul-de-sacs (the layout prevents an easy getaway) and those located on street corners (more visibility). And it’s not necessarily true that prowlers will stay away from a property if you have a dog. But a barking dog can help draw attention to a burglary.

If you’ve been burglarized once, there is reason to worry. There’s about a 30 percent chance you’ll fall victim again within a few months. Thieves assume you’ll have new stuff by then, plus they already know how to get in.

Here are some things you can do to reduce your chances of a break-in.

Landscaping. Keep landscaping low around doors and windows so as not to provide cover for people trying to figure out how to get in.

Alarms. Install an alarm and flaunt it with a sign on the lawn or in a window.

Pet doors. Get rid of pet doors. A burglar could send a child through a dog door to unlock the main door. Also, keep the garage door closed, and lock the entrance between the garage and the house.

Dead bolts. Put dead bolts that go into the door frame 1.5 inches. As for sliding doors, don’t prop a broomstick in the track. Burglars can still lift the door off its track. You’re better off installing a lock that goes through the doorframe. Your windows are fine with standard locks, but avoid burglar bars, as they can be a fire hazard.

Safes. If you want a safe, buy a fireproof model, the heaviest possible, and bolt it to the floor. If you’re going on vacation, the best thing to do is put valuables in a bank safe deposit box.

Vacations. When going on vacation, create an “illusion of occupancy.” Enlist a neighbor to park his car in your driveway at night, bring the garbage can to and from the curb (make sure there’s trash in there), and shovel the driveway if it snows. Also smart: Mow the lawn so it doesn’t get overgrown, and have newspaper and mail delivery put on hold. Install outdoor motion-sensor lights, and put a couple of indoor lights on timers so the house is lit from dusk until 11 P.M. For insurance purposes, keep documentation of all your belongings.

Social media. Don’t advertise on social media that you’re on vacation. You’re essentially telling the world that you’re leaving the house unattended. Wait until you get home to make posts about your trip.

25 Things Dads Should Teach Their Sons

Back in the day, it was common for men to spend much of their day in the company of their sons – either on the family farm or in the family business. In those settings, dads could teach their sons the practical lessons of everyday living, as well as the lessons of leadership, protection, and provision expected of manhood.

Today, society has taken on an entirely different look. The age of technology is separating us from one another. Kids have their faces buried in their phones and don’t take the time to look up and see that there is a whole world out there and that they should have a meaningful part in it.

Dads, therefore, have to be intentional about creating opportunities to teach their sons – to model manhood, to teach industry and resourcefulness. One way to do that is to compile a list of things that fathers can teach their sons all the while building confidence in their abilities as emerging men. You can, of course, modify this list any way you want, but there’s great stuff here.

1. Speak in public – public speaking is the one thing most people fear most.
2. Read good books – it sparks the imagination.
3. Play a musical instrument – especially because of the discipline required.
4. Play individual, two-person, and team sports.
5. Build a personal standard of excellence – to give 110% in anything you do.
6. Camp out – pitch the tent, cook stuff over the fire, the whole thing.
7. Be on time. Being late is controlling other people’s time and is insulting.
8. Learn a second language.
9. Learn how to fix things. There’s great pride in making something that’s broken work again.
10. Tie a knot – such as a bowline, square knot, taut-line, and figure eight, among others.
11. Use basic tools – hammer, saw, wrench, screwdriver.
12. Paint a room – trim and all.
13. Handle a gun and a knife – for safety, protection, sport, and hunting.
14. Laugh at yourself – a very valuable asset.
15. Be a gentleman – open doors, stand when a woman approaches, etc.
16. Grow stuff – especially stuff you can eat.
17. Iron a shirt – and do laundry and other work around the house.
18. Manage money – keep a balanced checkbook, show generosity, and learn basic saving and investing.
19. Shake a hand – a firm shake and look ’em in the eye.
20. Give a man hug – not that funky side thing men do today but a full arms spread eagle with bold back slaps.
21. Keep promises – a man’s word is his bond.
22. Dress like a gentleman – coordinate pants, shirts, jackets, ties, belts, socks, etc., appropriately to the occasion.
23. Tip – understand that many jobs are dependent on tips.
24. Serve others – shovel walks, help with heavy loads, etc.
25. Handle loss – loss can be a great preparation for success.