Do We Have A Generation “ME” problem?

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Yesterday, another tragic school shooting has devastated Colorado once again at a K-12th grade charter school less than a 5-minute drive from my own daughter’s high school. The wounds from Columbine seem to get ripped open for our communities over and over again when we get the alerts that our schools are on lockdown or lockout or there is an actual active shooter situation. Everyone has had ENOUGH!

First, I want to offer my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of 18-year-old, Kendrick Ray Castillo, the STEM student who was killed in this awful event, a young man just a few days away from graduating high school. Now instead of planning his graduation party, his parents are planning his funeral. It’s devastating to think about. I simply cannot imagine what it feels like to lose a child.

I also offer my heartfelt thoughts and prayers of healing to the faculty, students, first responders, team of doctors who treated the injured patients and everyone’s families affected by the shooting.

Many students acted courageously by attempting to stop the shooters, including Kendrick and it is believed that this heroic response saved the lives of so many students. The prompt arrival of the first police officers on scene and their actions of entering the school immediately, running toward the threat, also undoubtedly prevented further tragedy.

I took to Facebook to find as much information as was available to us in the immediate aftermath. As expected, my FB friends expressed a gamut of emotions- and rightfully so as we try to make sense of yet another school shooting tragedy. Grief, fear, confusion and anger… just to name a few.

The Second Amendment argument inevitably surfaces almost instantly following any school shooting, but that’s not what this article is about.

The resounding theme whenever a school shooting happens is that “our kids have a right to feel safe at school”. I cannot agree more! In fact, every child has a right to feel safe whether they are riding in the car with their parents, watching a movie premier, attending a marathon, flying on an airplane, worshipping at church, or enrolled in a day care located in a federal building. And I believe EVERYONE has a right to feel safe doing these activities. Unfortunately, evil exists and people make horrific decisions that cause tragedies beyond our comprehension.

Of course the question of “Why?” undeniably surfaces. We want to make sense of a senseless act. What has changed since I was a kid growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s?

I believe in the era where the internet was born, we (my generation) were bombarded with tragic news stories that spread not only quicker but to a greater audience. This resulted in my generation becoming overly cautious as we had our own children. Let me expand on this thought by first talking about my own childhood.

Growing up, my parents warned me about kidnappers. My mom went as far as offering up actual instructions of what to do in the event someone tried to lure us in their vehicle. She encouraged my brother and me to always be aware of our surroundings. Despite this possible threat, we were allowed to ride our bikes to school, almost a mile away from home. In addition, we would ride our bikes around our neighborhood to visit any friend we wanted to or ride to our local Circle K, which was conveniently located across the street from an inpatient mental health facility. We didn’t have cell phones, GPS tracking devices or any other technology that kept us in constant contact with our parents. We might’ve been at one friend’s house and then we all decided to go to another friend’s house where we might play a pick up game of whiffle ball. This is where the distinction between how my generation was raised and how I and my peers raised our children comes in.

As a child, playing with my peers afforded my friends and I the opportunity to problem solve and accept the outcomes of situations when they arose (even when the outcome was sometimes not in my favor). That taught us to not only come up with solutions, but the value of compromise- when appropriate- and also to cope with the end result.

We were allowed to have a healthy level of competition and develop our strengths at school. For example, I cannot carry a tune (just ask my older daughter and her friends from the Alabama tailgate, I’m 100% certain that they will all concur). I had friends with amazing voices and other musical talents. I wished I could sing better and I admired them for their ability, but being aware that they were superior in that area did not make me feel bad or less worthy. I knew I had my own set of talents and strengths and was encouraged to nurture those. Because I loved sports, I also looked forward to our annual Field Day. You bet I was competing for as many blue ribbons, as possible. I won some, I lost some. I was okay with that. Same with softball and basketball games that I played in as I got older.

Now, not all of my friends were athletically-inclined, but our schools afforded them opportunities throughout the years to support and develop their talents, as well.

I loved and broke hearts and had my heart broken many times. I was bullied horribly my freshman year and was, at times, a bully (I have since had the opportunity to apologize to that person as an adult and she was very gracious). These aren’t fun experiences to go through but they are a part of life. EVERYONE must learn to deal with it and develop the most basic level of coping skills when these undesirable circumstances occur.

Let’s now consider how my children and their peers (the “internet” generation) have been raised. Long gone are the days of pick-up whiffle ball games in someone’s backyard. They are now scheduled play dates where the moms hangout (and likely get involved when a dispute occurs). In organized sports (now year-round) where the parents and coaches handle any conflict that arises.

We’ve witnessed a decrease in personal accountability while the lack of respect for authority is on the rise. Parents now blame teachers and administrators for their child’s shortcomings rather than address the issue with the child. There is little consequence for actions and behavior and there’s seemingly a mounting sense of entitlement (a recipe for disaster).

Lives are undeniably busy with everyone going in all different directions. As an example, kids are pressured to do sports year-round and be the best at it, while maintaining straights A’s in AP classes. The standards of what being “home” feels like and “family dinners”, including quality of food, have changed drastically over the last couple of decades. Mostly everything has become more important and has replaced the value of quality family time, which should consist of down-time. These kids need to just take a breath sometimes from life, sports, other activities, school and most definitely the little devices constantly in front of their faces.

The old-school field day doesn’t even exist anymore, everyone gets that participation trophy or ribbon. They don’t have to work for it and the life lesson that you win some and you lose some falls by the wayside. Or that hard work pays off. They’ve lost incentive to actually earn what they want.

Nobody wants their child’s heart to be broken, but it will heal. Parents need to teach their children coping skills when these sort of circumstances arise. Rejection is a part of life, everyone needs to learn how to handle it. Period.

It’s become a generation “ME” where they constantly take pictures of themselves and their value is determined by the number of the likes they get on their Instagram posts. The pressure for this age group appears to be astronomical, I believe mostly because of the constant access they have to technology. They take “keeping up with the Jones'” to a whole new level constantly comparing themselves with their peers. Additionally, this generation seems a whole lot braver behind their keyboards and write things they would never say to a person’s face.

Let’s rewind back to my childhood again. When I was in school, I either had to say it in person or call the person on the phone. I risked 1) getting into a fight, something most people wish to avoid, or 2) actually hurting the person. I would see it on their face or hear it in their voice. Talk about going to bed feeling like a complete jerk. It’s the emotional connection with the other person during those kind of interactions that teach us to do better and be sympathetic toward others. Those emotional connections are lacking when these teenagers communicate primarily through text or social media platforms. Cyber-bullying has been out of control, but thanks to legislative efforts and enough sympathetic souls that recognize it’s not okay, hopefully it’s taking a turn in the right direction.

Now, I’m not saying this entire generation fits this mold described above. In fact, there are many more kids and young adults, than not, that I know who interact very well with adults, exhibit tremendous amounts of sympathy and kindness, and have learned valuable coping skills and will be very successful in life.

This next question also inevitably surfaces when a tragedy strikes. I myself have brought it up from time to time. Is this a mental health issue? In some cases probably, but in most cases I feel its a declination in accountability and teaching our children to feel sympathy/empathy toward others. By the way, in our community, the affluent Douglas County, Colorado it can take 2-3 months to get a child into the Children’s Hospital mental health facility for an intake appointment. Honestly, these kids think they have problems? I will validate that some do have genuine mental health issues that need to be treated, but I believe a majority of these issues can be addressed and corrected in the home, especially if the behavior is a matter of being spoiled rotten. Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional and the aforementioned section is merely my opinion from observation through the years.

We can only hope this same generation that I helped mold can start to recognize and understand the many perils associated with unfettered access to technology and that they decide to significantly limit the use with their own children. Hopefully, they choose to sit down and have home-cooked family dinners and discuss issues and feelings to ensure they are developing sympathetic children and remain involved in their children’s lives. May they nurture their children’s strengths and talents so the pressure of what their peers think about them matters just a little less (though it will still matter). Maybe they can undo some of this social ineptness that now exists. There will be a greater respect for authority versus a lack of accountability, an appreciation for things people do for them versus a sense of entitlement. They will understand the value of hard work and healthy competition so that when they get out into the real world they can feel confident in themselves to become a productive, contributing adult member of society.

#Enough #SchoolShootings #Society #RaiseKidsRight

Two Packing Hacks I Can’t Live Without and One Other Tip!

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I travel a lot for both work and pleasure. I tend to overpack every single time. I mean, who doesn’t?

One of my favorite trips was last year when I went to London with my sister-in-law. We were only going for a few days so we decided to bring carry-ons. There was no option to overpack for this trip.

I needed to pack 3 sweaters, 2 pairs of jeans, a swimsuit for the Blue Lagoon in Iceland during our layover, and my toiletries in a smaller than usual piece of luggage. Jeans and sweaters sure can take up a lot of space!

Three sweaters and two pairs of jeans with plenty of space leftover!

I found a couple of tips online and thought I would share. They truly made a difference in the amount of space each article of item occupied- check it out in the picture!

Below is a step by step instruction on how to compact your articles to use as little space as possible.


Step One and Two: Lay your jeans out and fold one leg over the other.

Step One
Step Two

Step Three and Four: Fold one of your pant legs out like in the image below and then start to roll from the waistband all the way down to the straight pant leg.

Step Three
Step Four

Steps Five and Six: Once rolled all the way to the bottom of the straight pant leg, use the part sticking out and wrap around the rolled portion.

Step Five
Step Six

Making room for sweaters… and any other top in four easy steps!

Lay out your top and fold the bottom slightly
Fold over so sleeves are on top of one another
Fold sleeves in and roll sweater from the top to the bottom
Tuck the sweater into the section you rolled in Step One.

I also love the handy packing cubes. I still use the strategies above but pack inside the cube to keep everything organized for longer trips. You can order these on Amazon.

Happy Travels!

#Packing #Luggage #Travel #CarryOn #Vacation

Have you ever wanted to be an artist? With “My Paint By Numbers”, you can be! Caution: It’s Addicting!

I’m sure everyone remembers the paint by numbers when we were kids. I feel lucky enough to have come across a website for adults and it is so much fun! This is like Canvas and Cocktails on steroids!! I personally love it because it helps me limit technology/social media use.

My first painting- Safari Sunset

My Paint By Numbers offers a large variety of categories to choose from. My personal favorites are the elephants, beach houses and Mediterranean village scenes.

It’s as easy as selecting your favorite one, two or three and placing your order! It takes about three weeks to arrive. You can even order a custom canvas piece by uploading a photo. Note: The colors for the custom canvas I painted were not as accurate as the photo and I had to make adjustments on my own.

Included in your order:

  • Canvas with numbers
  • Paintbrushes
  • Numbered paint
  • Some prints include a piece of paper with the matching numbers (this is very handy as you begin to paint). I reference mine a lot. Tip: if your canvas doesn’t include a paper print replica, be sure to take pictures of your canvas with your phone, in sections if necessary, so you can reference it as you begin to paint.

I also bought:

  • A foam board- cut it down to fit the canvas (most are 16 x 20)
  • Clothespins to secure the canvas to the foam board
  • Small tabletop easel

When your canvas arrives, set up your painting area. In addition to clipping the canvas to the foam board and placing on the easel, I have a cup with water, another cup to hold the dry paintbrushes not in use, a folder paper towel and usually my phone and earbuds so I can “watch” Netflix while painting.

I start with the darkest color and my painting journey begins. I fill in all the numbers on the canvas that correspond with that color of paint. Then I continue in order of darkest to lightest of paint. I’ve done it many different ways, this is my favorite. Depending on if you’re left or right-handed, will determine which side of the canvas to start on to avoid smearing areas you’ve already painted. I’m left-handed so I start at the top right corner and make my way to the left and then keep moving down and to the left. Also, I choose to lay the foam board almost flat and paint versus painting upright on the easy. That’s just a matter of personal preference.

Second painting- Beach House Escape

Tips:

  • There have been times I thought I would run out of a particular color, I never have, it’s okay to be generous so there are white spots in the painted areas. If you do run out or think you will, you can email them with your order number and the color you need and they will send. That could take a few weeks so plan accordingly if you are running low. Worst case, continue on with the other colors and finish that number when the extra paint arrives.
  • If paint seems a little chunky, I just add water and stir it up will, it goes on a lot smoother and will ultimately take less time to complete your painting.
  • As you get close to completing your work, it’s fun to stand back and see your painting come to life. Shadows, accents etc. make it look professional.
  • Work on it when you’re in the mood and take a break when needed. It’s a very rewarding hobby!

You’ve completed your painting! Now what?

My third painting- Small Town By The Sea

Canvas needs to be stretched around stretching bars. I purchase already stretched canvas from Michaels and remove the canvas to use the bars. I bought them on sale for 5 for $10 so the bars (already put together) were only $2/each). If not on sale, you can always use their 40% off coupon they usually have available. Now you can either purchase a canvas stretcher from Amazon and staple gun with staples or take it to Michael’s custom frame shop and have them stretch the canvas for you (which is what I do). If you do it yourself, there are canvas stretching videos available on YouTube.

My Paint By Numbers offers custom canvases from your photos. I painted this photo of Bubba for my mother-in-law. Bubba passed away in November of 2018. Some of the colors were off. Had I used their suggestion, his hair would’ve been green! So I made small adjustments.

It’s time to show off your hard work! Your final task is to pick a frame that compliments not only your painting, but also your home décor.

Happy Painting!

Note: These are my suggestions based on my personal preferences. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any good tips!

#Paintbynumbers #Addicting #Hobby #Artist #Acrylic


Sweet and Savage Spotlight Musician Gabe Walsh

Gabe Walsh is a dynamic country artist with a smooth, soulful tone to his voice. Gabe was born and raised in Blue Rapids, KS but has been living in and performing full time in Nashville, TN since 2014. He established a permanent residency at the World Famous Tootsies Orchid Lounge within days of moving to town and held that residency until late 2018 when he started touring. He released a 5 song EP in 2015 titled “Let The Whiskey Talk” and after focusing on writing for a couple of years, he released a single titled “Once Upon A Time” in 2018. The music video for that single has surpassed 51,000 views on social media. Walsh has opened for many artists during his career in the music industry such as Granger Smith, Walker McGuire, Joe Nichols, and many others!

Gabe Walsh

My oldest daughter, Lexi and I had the pleasure of meeting Gabe Walsh almost three years ago when we were in Nashville and became friends with this talented and down to earth musician.

Recently, my husband AJ and I enjoyed spending an evening with Gabe while he was here visiting friends in Colorado.

I absolutely love his song “Once Upon A Time” featuring Landon Magee. The lyrics are inspiring and I bet you will find yourself playing this song on repeat!

Check out Gabe’s “Once Upon A Time” official music video now available on iTunes and Spotify.

Last week, it was my honor to host an interview to learn more about Gabe’s musical career. I hope you enjoy! Feel free to ask him questions or leave comments about his music in the comments below. Be sure to follow Gabe Walsh Music on Facebook!

Q: Who are you inspired by?

Gabe: I get inspiration from many different artists. I’ve always been a lover of all genres. I grew up listening to mostly rock, pop, and R&B music, but fell in love with country music in my late teen years. As for a person, I most recently became inspired to be a great entertainer after attending a Garth Brooks show. I was so inspired by his performance that I spent the money and went to his show the very next night.

Q: Do you collaborate with others? 

Gabe: I co-write with artists and songwriters almost every week in Nashville. When it comes to recordings, my recent single “Once Upon A Time” was written with and features my buddy Landon Magee.  

Q: What is that process when you collaborate with others?

Gabe: Co-Writes always seem to be different. Everyone has a unique style of writing and usually if I haven’t written with someone before, we chat for a while and try to get to know each other better. Sometimes a great song or ideas are created just from those conversations. 

Q: Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 

Gabe: There really isn’t any hidden meaning in what I write. Some of my work is inspired by real life events and some of it is completely made up. It’s always fascinating to see a story come to life from one simple idea. 

Q: How do you interact and respond to fans?

Gabe: I try to stay active on social media, but I always prefer to have face to face interaction with fans. I’ve never been crazy about putting my personal life on display for others, but I try to do as much as I can for social media. None of what I do would have any meaning without the people who want to listen to my music, so the fans mean a lot to me.

Q: What is your favorite part about this line of work?  Your least favorite? Why?

Gabe: My favorite part about being a musician is the travel. I can’t get enough of it. I want to travel to as much of the world as possible and it blows my mind that I found a passion and career that allow me to do that. There’s not much I can think of that I don’t like about my line of work. If anything, sometimes I wish that I could stay in certain cities longer than just the weekend of shows. I could dive into some topics like stream royalties, base pays from bars in Nashville, etc., but all of that isn’t important to me as long as I’m able to pay my bills and focus on what I love. 

Q: Tell me about your favorite performance venue. 

Gabe: I don’t know if I have a favorite venue. I’ve enjoyed so many over the years. There’s many that I would love to perform at in the future. Red Rocks in Colorado is definitely one on my bucket list, as well as the main stage at the Country Stampede in Manhattan, KS. I started going to that festival since I was a teenager and have always wanted to be on the big stage to represent my home state.

Q: If you could open for any artist, who would it be? 

Gabe: George Strait would be a good start. He has some of the most passionate fans in country music. I’d love to get them on my side. I’ve always loved Blake Shelton as well. Hopefully someday soon I’ll be sharing the stage with artists on his level.

Q: Since you’re currently in Colorado for a couple of weeks, do you plan to visit one of be the most coveted music venues – Red Rocks- or have you been there before? 

Gabe: As I mentioned earlier, Red Rocks is one of my dream venues but I’ve only seen it on video and pictures. I will definitely be trying to get out there this week while in the area. I might even take my guitar and stand on the stage just to see what it would be like to do the real thing.

Maybe next time Gabe is in Colorado, he can host an acoustic show at Red Rocks, how amazing would that be? Either way, I’m trying to get him to come back this summer and play in some local bars and breweries. I hope if you’re here in Colorado, the Denver metro area, that you will join us.

Remember to like his Facebook page and share his music!

Also, don’t forget to follow Sometimes Sweet, Sometimes Savage’s blog!

#Musician #Singer #Songwriter #Acoustic #Band #OnceUponATime



Nine Beauty Products To Complete Your Look That You Don’t Want To Miss Out On…

As I’ve gotten older, I learned less is more in regards to makeup. The first cosmetic item that I eliminated was eyeliner below my eyes. I found it likes to find it’s way into those creases and crevices that have formed from years of smiling, worrying, sleeping and any other way we abuse the sensitive skin around our eyes.

Actually, I should say, my loving teenage daughters pointed this out. And I’m grateful for their youthful advice as I do feel I look younger.

Change is hard, especially after habits created for more than two and a half decades, but it doesn’t take long to get used to a new, more youthful look.

Here are my favorite and reasonably priced beauty products:

For Lashes:

For Foundation:

For Brows:

For Cheeks:

  • Finish off your look by highlighting your cheeks (feel free to dab the tip of your nose, too with the Sun Dipped Anastasia Glow Kit For blush- pick your favorite brand and color!

Your look is easy and now complete!

#Beauty #Lashes #LashBoost #Mascara #Makeup #Brows

Boost Your Immune System With This Easy Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Elderberries are a super berry known for boosting the immune system, reduce symptoms and duration of a cold or the flu, contain anti-inflammatory properties and more. They are also high in antioxidants and Vitamin a, great for healthy skin.

My wonderful sister-in-law, Tiffany turned me onto this. She has the best “medicines” for illnesses and a huge heart to help others. In the past when I was sick, she would hop in her car and bring me bone broth and elderberry syrup. Talk about miracle super foods!

To read more about the benefits of elderberries click here.

Ideally, everyone should consume a small dose of this syrup a day-especially during the cold and flu seasons. BUT Elderberry syrup is expensive!

I also recently bought elderberry gummies on Amazon for when I travel and can’t take the syrup.

This homemade elderberry syrup recipe is SO easy to make, delicious and worth the initial investment recommended below to add an immunity boost to your health year round. The recommended dose is located at the bottom of this article.

This is what I purchased to get preserve my syrup and dried elderberries.

Ingredients for Homemade Elderberry Syrup:

  • 3/4 cup dried elderberries
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp dried cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp dried cloves or 1 drop clove essential oil or 4 whole cloves
  • 1 TBSP of fresh ginger or 1 drop ginger essential oil or 1 tsp dried ginger
  • 1 cup raw honey

Directions:

Ingredients
  • In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the elderberries, water, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 35-40 minutes.
  • Allow the liquid to cool and then drain the liquid using a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth.
  • Gently press all the liquid out of the berries using the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Add the raw honey and mix well.
  • Store in the airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to two months.
Bring to a boil
Strain ad gently press liquid out of berries
Add honey
Pour into glass airtight container
Store in refrigerator for up tp two months.

Dose:

  • Adults: Take one tablespoon daily
  • Children: Take one teaspoon daily
  • When experiencing an illness coming on or while sick, repeat dose four times daily.

#Elderberrysyrup #Immunity #Boost #Coldseason #fluseason #superfood

Take Control of Your Homebuying Experience 🏡

Are you in the market to purchase a home? The process, even if it goes as smoothly as possible, can be very stressful.

With 18 years of experience in mortgage lending, I can tell you that there are definite steps you can take to better control the process which will help minimize the stress associated with buying a home. Whether you have purchased a home before or are a first-time homebuyer, below are some tips to guide you through the process.

First- talk to a trusted mortgage broker/lender. Complete a loan application and get pre-qualified to determine not only the loan amount you qualify for but how much you can actually afford.

Note: There is a distinct difference in how much you get approved for and how much you can afford. You don’t want to be broke every month because your house payment is so high. Don’t forget other payments such as utilities that aren’t factored into the housing payment.

Fact: You do not need to put 20% down in order to buy a home. There are many programs available with low or no down payment options. Yes, in most cases you will have mortgage insurance included in your payment initially, but as you build equity, there are ways to have that removed. A mortgage expert can discuss this with you.

Don’t let the area you live in price you out of the market because you continue to put off purchasing a home. Get in to a condo, townhome or house as soon as you’re able so you can begin to experience the benefits of homeownership.

Now that you know how much house you can afford, you and the real estate agent you have selected can begin to shop for homes.

What factors should influence your decision?

  • How much house do you need? Two, three or four bedroom? Will the size meet you and your family’s needs?
  • What neighborhood would you like to live in?
  • Is the home located in a quality school district? Even if you don’t plan to have children or they are grown, good school districts can impact the resell of your home down the road.
  • What style of home appeals to you? Ranch, Two-Story (consider the problem with stairs for aging parents who visit or for when you get older). Talk to your real estate professional about the resell value of the different styles of homes available.
  • How much maintenance will the home require and what might those costs be? Depending on the age of the home and appliances, for example, you might find yourself replacing large ticket items such as a water heater, furnace or fridge.
  • What about lot size? Is it so large that you will spend every Saturday working on the lawn? Maybe that’s your thing and you will love it or maybe you would rather relax out back instead. How much water will it take and what will that monthly expense be to water the lawn?
  • Finally, talk to your agent about anything negative about a property that you’re interested in that could affect the resell? Is it located on a busy street with heavy traffic, is the lot too big or too small, do neighbors maintain the exterior of their properties – if it’s not located in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association that ensures properties are maintained.

If you have ever watched the “Buying {insert respective geographic location} shows, the individual or couple provide the agent with a wish list- great idea- and a budget- even better idea! Especially since you’ve consulted with your mortgage expert and you know much you can afford.

BUT, inevitably in these shows, the agent takes them into properties that exceed their desired budget, they immediately come across as overly concerned- maybe the shows tells them to act dramatic. We finally get to the end of the show, they pick a property beyond their budget and put in an offer that falls within their budget. Their offer gets accepted and everyone is happy… well everyone except maybe the seller.

So this brings up a great point, you might be able to shop in a slightly higher price range, but make an offer that falls comfortably in your range. This is where your real estate agent’s expertise is priceless. Can you lowball the offer price? These are the factors that will come into play that will answer your question:

  • Is this a buyer’s or a seller’s market?
  • How long has this listing been active?
  • How does the listed price compare to similar homes in the area?
  • How badly do you want that specific home?

You find a home that is perfect for you, so you put in an offer and the seller accepts! This is very exciting and nerve-wrecking! As I stated earlier, even if the process goes as smoothly as possibly, it will still feel stressful. I believe that is because you will grow emotionally attached to the idea of owning that home. You lie awake at night, thinking about where you will place certain pieces of furniture or the family events you can host.

Just relax and be sure to get your mortgage expert the items they request in a timely manner…and before you know it… the keys to your new home will be handed to you. If you’re being asked to provide something that you don’t understand… just ask. Your mortgage and real estate professionals are on your side and ready to assist you.

What about the home that you walk into and can envision hosting family gatherings, it’s located in the perfect neighborhood, and it’s even in your price range? Let’s say that it’s an older home, but has seemingly been updated throughout… gorgeous updates! Then you walk into the master bathroom. Oops, its seems as though this one got skipped in the renovations. Your heart sinks, the home was perfect until you entered the gross, outdated bathroom… and now you can no longer envision living here.

Don’t get discouraged! There are mortgage loan programs that will allow you to finance desired improvements and updates at the time of purchase. Make sure your mortgage expert offers renovation loans. Fannie Mae Homestyle, FHA 203k and VA renovation loan programs are available! You can get into the home of your dreams, finance the renovation costs into your loan and have that completed in just a few short months! Crisis averted! Phew.

Many investors who will review your credit worthiness and ability to repay the mortgage allow your file to be submitted as a “To Be Determined” property- meaning you haven’t actually found the home of your dreams yet and are still shopping.

By submitting your income information, your file will actually be reviewed and approved by an underwriter. This could improve your “buying power” when you decide to put in an offer since you’ve already received an actual conditional lender approval.

Getting started with your mortgage expert is easy! Be sure to gather the following information and documentation so you are prepared to accurately complete the application:

  • SSN for all applicants
  • Residential history for two years
  • Employment history for two years
  • W2s
  • Two years of tax returns
  • 30-days of paystubs with YTD income
  • 60-days of bank statements
  • Other asset accounts, if required for qualifying
  • Source of down payment
  • Name and number of Homeowner’s Insurance Agent

Tips:

  • Make sure you work with a mortgage expert that has access to a vast number of loan programs so they can find the right one for you!
  • VA loans do not require any down payment or mortgage insurance. Thank you for your service to our great country! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
  • With certain programs, your down payment can be gifted.
  • If using funds deposited to your asset account, they have to be seasoned for 60 days or the deposit will have to be source/explained.
  • You’re making what is likely the largest financial commitment of your life, I would consider talking to a financial advisor about life insurance and other solutions to protect your family and home.
  • Don’t make major purchases during the application process as that can negatively impact your approval.
  • Don’t make significant deposits to your accounts or withdraw money from your accounts without first talking to your mortgage professional.
  • Some expenses associated with buying/owning a home might be tax deductible. Consult with a tax professional to learn more.

Have any questions about loan programs or the home buying process? Comment below and I’d be happy to answer them.

Happy House Hunting!

#Homeownership #Mortgages #RealEstate #AmericanDream