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8 Steps to Improve Your Credit Score

by Sandi Pressley

Have you checked your credit score lately? Having good credit is important in this world, particularly if you plan on buying a home. Even though there are mortgages available to those with lower credit scores, it's always a good idea to raise your score as high as you can before you apply for a mortgage. A higher score will yield a lower interest rate and less money you have to put down.

What are some basic ways to get your score higher?

1. Pay Bills on Time

Of course we always hear this. But it can't be stressed enough how critical it is to you overall score. In fact, it makes up 35% of your score. If you have trouble remembering due dates, try setting up automatic payment, or use a bill pay service from your bank.

2. Correct Errors on the Credit Report

Check your credit reports for errors, even minor ones. You may be surprised how many can slip through. If you find any, call the creditor that's reporting the error and follow up with a letter with the same request. Then notify all of the credit bureaus of the changes and let the creditors know you've done so. This will help motivate them to make the needed corrections.

3. Raise Your Available Credit

If you ask an existing creditor for a higher limit, this can help raise your score.

4. Keep Old Credit Cards Open

Do you have an older card that you're thinking of closing? Keeping the card open can help your score. 10% of credit scores are based on history.

5. Consolidate Cards

Try not to have smaller debts spread among several cards. This will not help your score. Try to consolidate smaller balances onto one card, or at least fewer cards.

6. Don't Rack Up Balances

Keeping a lower credit utilization ratio will also help your score. 30% of your limit is a good goal. That means, for example, if you have a $1000 limit, then you would keep your balance below $300.

7. Negotiate

A defaulted card can cause a lot of damage to your credit score. Try to work with the creditor to accept a partial payment for a debt in collections in exchange of reclassifying the debt as paid.

8. Don't Keep Applying for New Credit

10% of your score is affected by new credit applications. Don't apply for a new card unless you absolutely have to.

Of course there are other ways to maintain a great credit score. But if you start with these points, you will be on your way to a better score in no time.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.


HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

3620 Monte Vista Boulevard NE, Albuquerque, NM  $330,000

3 Bedrooms/ 2 Bathrooms (2 full, 0 partial) / 1590 Square Feet

Vintage beauty in the heart of NOB HILL!! Vintage feel in harmony with modern elements. This updated and remodeled classic home features a versatile floor plan with 3BDRs/2BAs plus two living areas, an office/study, second kitchenette and second entrance. Desirable URBAN location is close to shopping, restaurants, parks, Nob Hill, UNM and transportation!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

Have you checked your credit score lately? Having good credit is important in this world, particularly if you plan on buying a home. Even though there are mortgages available to those with lower credit scores, it's always a good idea to raise your score as high as you can before you apply for a mortgage. A higher score will yield a lower interest rate and less money you have to put down.

What are some basic ways to get your score higher?

1. Pay Bills on Time

Of course we always hear this. But it can't be stressed enough how critical it is to you overall score. In fact, it makes up 35% of your score. If you have trouble remembering due dates, try setting up automatic payment, or use a bill pay service from your bank.

2. Correct Errors on the Credit Report

Check your credit reports for errors, even minor ones. You may be surprised how many can slip through. If you find any, call the creditor that's reporting the error and follow up with a letter with the same request. Then notify all of the credit bureaus of the changes and let the creditors know you've done so. This will help motivate them to make the needed corrections.

3. Raise Your Available Credit

If you ask an existing creditor for a higher limit, this can help raise your score.

4. Keep Old Credit Cards Open

Do you have an older card that you're thinking of closing? Keeping the card open can help your score. 10% of credit scores are based on history.

5. Consolidate Cards

Try not to have smaller debts spread among several cards. This will not help your score. Try to consolidate smaller balances onto one card, or at least fewer cards.

6. Don't Rack Up Balances

Keeping a lower credit utilization ratio will also help your score. 30% of your limit is a good goal. That means, for example, if you have a $1000 limit, then you would keep your balance below $300.

7. Negotiate

A defaulted card can cause a lot of damage to your credit score. Try to work with the creditor to accept a partial payment for a debt in collections in exchange of reclassifying the debt as paid.

8. Don't Keep Applying for New Credit

10% of your score is affected by new credit applications. Don't apply for a new card unless you absolutely have to.

Of course there are other ways to maintain a great credit score. But if you start with these points, you will be on your way to a better score in no time.


The Best Schools in Albuquerque

by Sandi Pressley

My how the time flies! It's already time to start thinking about where your children are going to school, especially if you're moving into the Albuquerque area. To help you find the best schools in Albuquerque, Niche.com has rated thousands of schools across America. The good news is that they gave an “A” grade to 17 schools in the Albuquerque Public Schools district. They base these ratings on a number of factors such as test scores, reviews, and other criteria.

One school in the district that shines is North Star Elementary School. Niche.com says “North Star Elementary School is a highly rated, public school located in Albuquerque, NM. It has 604 students in grades K-5 with a student-teacher ratio of 18 to 1. According to state test scores, 70% of students are at least proficient in math and 63% in reading.” Those are outstanding marks for sure!

What are people saying about Albuquerque Public Schools? One reviewer said “Most of the teachers are very caring and thoughtful throughout the Albuquerque Public School system.” Another reviewer notes “Albuquerque has a great diversity which allows a better sense of community.” In regards to offering a safe learning environment, one student says “They are alert when there are serious issues going on and they try their best to resolve the problem by taking care of the students and keeping them safe.”

Some of the top rated schools in Albuquerque Public Schools that received at least an “A” grade are:

North Star Elementary School
Hubert H. Humphrey Elementary School
San Antonito Elementary School
Dennis Chavez Elementary School
Double Eagle Elementary School
Desert Ridge Middle School
The Family School
La Cueva High School
Early College Academy
Eldorado High School
College & Career High School
Sandia High School

You can read the full reviews on Niche.com. You can also search homes for sale in the Albuquerque Public Schools area with our powerful home search tool.


HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

11716 Easy Goer Road SE, Albuquerque, NM  $289,000

3 Bedrooms/ 3 Bathrooms (2 full, 1 partial) / 2600 Square Feet

Beautiful Southwest style home in Volterra. Light, bright and open floorplan with plenty of entertaining space!  Mountain views! The secondary bedrooms are large plus a loft and the utility room is upstairs for convenience! Mountain views! Beautifully maintained landscaped front and backyards!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

How to Find the Perfect Home

by Sandi Pressley

Buying a home is likely the biggest decision you’ll make in your life. It’s a decision that you will likely be living with for years. Everyone dreams of finding the perfect home. What is the perfect home, and how can you find it?

Defining the "Perfect Home"

The perfect home, as it were, is a home that fits your needs the best. You define what you want or need in a home. To that end, you should make a list of what’s important to you in a home. Separate what you want and what isn't important. If you have a partner buying with you, compare your lists and compare them to see what you can compromise on and what you can't.

Also think about the homes you lived in before and what you did and didn’t like. Keep those things in mind when searching for a home.

How Much Can You Afford?

Getting in over your head with payments can really ruin the experience of a new home. Determining how much you can afford really the first thing you should do. Don't make the mistake of basing it on the maximum amount you can borrow. You should set a budget so that you can comfortably handle the monthly payments.  And if this is your first home, you need to keep in mind other expenses such as taxes, repairs, appliances, furniture, and so forth. Try to save money aside for unexpected expenses. It would be a shame to find a beautiful home and then have to struggle financially to live there.

Get the Right Help

Finding the right agent makes all the difference. And don’t be tempted to go it alone either. Working with a real estate professional can make the difference between a smooth experience and complete disaster. Real estate agents can find properties you may not be able to.  They can also negotiate the best price and recommend the best lenders.

Location, Location, Location

Location makes all the difference when buying a home. Bad neighbors can ruin even the most desirable home. Test out the community and compare it to what you like or don’t like about your current neighborhood. Drive around the area at different times of the day and ask yourself how safe you would feel living there.  Also test your commute during rush hour to the neighborhood.

Do Your Homework

This takes some time and money, but is well worth it. Compare property values around the home and look at trends. What are homes selling for in the area? This information can help you negotiate a better price. Also make sure to hire your own home inspector to find potential issues.  Finding these up front can help you as well in negotiations with the seller.

Finding the perfect home is not impossible if you follow these basic steps.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.


HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

11716 Easy Goer Road SE, Albuquerque, NM  $289,000

3 Bedrooms/ 3 Bathrooms (2 full, 1 partial) / 2600 Square Feet

Beautiful Southwest style home in Volterra. Light, bright and open floorplan with plenty of entertaining space!  Mountain views! The secondary bedrooms are large plus a loft and the utility room is upstairs for convenience! Mountain views! Beautifully maintained landscaped front and backyards!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

How to Save on Granite Countertops

by Sandi Pressley

Granite countertops are an ideal choice for bath and kitchen remodels.  They’re always in style, durable, and take less maintenance. You may think that installing a granite countertop will be too expensive. Yes, the can be.  But you don’t actually need to buy the most expensive granite to get amazing results. Here’s what you should know about granite counters and how you can cut back the cost of installing one.

Costs

A granite countertop will cost between $2000 - $4500, which includes materials and installation. Typically granite is priced by the square foot, which can include delivery, installation, and simple edge finishes.  Extra costs will be incurred with further features such as decorative edge treatments and cutouts for sinks or stove tops. You also need to take into account plumbing hookups and disposal of your old countertop.

The grade of the countertop will affect the price as well. The grade is based on the availability of the stone, color, shipping and distinctiveness.  This doesn’t, however, always reveal the granite’s overall quality.

Saving Money

1. Shop around

Check big box stores, design studios, granite fabricators, and companies that specialize in prefabricated granite counters. Hiring an established company will yield the best results. Check online reviews and talk to family or friends who have had granite installed. When you have two or three companies selected, visit each one to talk about the project and see examples of their work. You can save hundreds of dollars just by carefully comparing and shopping around.

2. Buy the sink and faucet separately

Try to buy the sink, faucet and any plumbing separately so you can get the lowest prices on each item.

3. Use a remnant

Granite companies may offer discounts on smaller pieces of stone left over from other projects.

4. Go prefab

Prefabricated counters are already cut and polished, and are great for simple counters that don’t need many cuts.

5. Have the installer do final measurements

Have the installer take the final measurements and make a template which the final estimate will be based on. This will avoid making expensive mistakes.

Adding a granite countertop is a great way to make your home look better and raise the resale value of your home.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.


HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

11716 Easy Goer Road SE, Albuquerque, NM  $289,000

3 Bedrooms/ 3 Bathrooms (2 full, 1 partial) / 2600 Square Feet

Beautiful Southwest style home in Volterra. Light, bright and open floorplan with plenty of entertaining space!  Mountain views! The secondary bedrooms are large plus a loft and the utility room is upstairs for convenience! Mountain views! Beautifully maintained landscaped front and backyards!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

People Are Flipping Over Home Flipping

by Sandi Pressley

You buy  a home, fix it up, then sell it for a higher price. It's the growing trend of house flipping. In fact, over 207,000 single family homes and condos were flipped last year, and increase of 3000 over 2016 and the most since 2006.

Don’t be fooled by what marketers and the TV tell you. It’s not as easy to flip a home as they would make it seem.  But flipping a home is certainly worth the effort if you protect yourself.

Here's a few ways you can avoid the pitfalls:

Be careful where you take advice. 

Since 2008, it’s been easier to make a profit when flipping a home since prices have been rising. But when prices fall, it’s not so easy.  Try to get advice from home flippers who have been through several market cycles and know how to handle the changes.

Keep an eye on the market.

If you see increased inventory, longer days on the market, or falling home prices, be on guard. If any of these situations happen, it could take more time to sell and you may not sell for as high a price as you anticipated.

Avoid short term loans.

Flippers tend to go with short-term loans, but they can actually be more costly as interest rates rise. This will obviously eat into your profits.

Don't cut corners.

Permits are a necessary part of remodeling a home, so don’t try to get around them. You could be held liable for damages or have to redo work that was done without the proper permits.

Make the Time.

Your time is an important commodity to take into account when flipping a home. If you have a full-time job on top of it, you have to make sure you have the time and energy to devote to the renovation. If you don't have the time, make sure you find someone to partner with who has the time and experience. After taking an honest look at your time, you may discover that flipping a home is not the right move for you.

Flipping a home can be a rewarding adventure and a great way to make money if you do it right.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.

HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

9400 Bear Mountain Trail NE, Albuquerque, NM  $689,900

4 Bedrooms/ 3 Bathrooms (3 full, 0 partial) / 3451 Square Feet

Custom elegance abounds in this beautiful Tuscan style home with views of the Sandia Mountains! Oversized lot in gated community. Guest suite/office w/full bath on the main level. Gourmet kitchen featuring Subzero fridge, two ovens, gas cooktop, granite countertops, large island & bkfst nook and walk-in pantry. 

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

Installing a New Garage Door - What to Expect

by Sandi Pressley

Installing a new garage door isn’t probably the first thing that comes to mind, not until it gets damaged or fails to work. But even if your garage door works fine, it’s probably time to update it, especially if your home is a few decades old. Replacing a garage door, including the opener, can run around $2300.  Of course that number will vary depending on size and who installs it.

Here are some factors that will affect cost and what options are available.

Size

Standard garage doors are 8-10 ft wide, and 2-car garage doors are 12-18 feet wide. You will find garage doors in different heights and thicknesses. Of course, the bigger it is, the higher the cost.

Type

The more affordable doors include sectional or roll-up doors. One-piece or swing up doors, along with swing out and sliding doors will cost more.

Materials

Steel: Steel doors are durable and low maintenance, making them a popular option. Yet they are also heavy, hard on the opener opener and easily dented. Steel is one of the most affordable garage door materials, with two-car garage doors ranging from $750 to $3,500 depending on style and construction.

Aluminum: Lighter than steel, rust-resistant and ideal for wider doors. Aluminum is also affordable like steel, but is a poor insulator and easily bends. Aluminum two-car garage doors typically range from $1,500 to $2,000.

Wood and composite wood: Solid wood garage doors are heavier than steel and aluminum doors, require upkeep and are more expensive. Composite doors are lighter and less expensive than solid wood, but not as durable as metal or synthetic materials. Wood or composite wood two-car garage doors range from $1,200 to $4,000.

Fiberglass: Fiberglass doors are light and available in many styles, along with being resistant to rot. Fiberglass is affordable, but can yellow with age and sometimes cracks in extreme temperatures, making them a less desirable option in climates such as in Albuquerque. These garage doors typically range from $1,500 to $2,000 for a two-car garage.

Vinyl: Vinyl garage doors are lightweight, low-maintenance and can take a beating, which makes them great for high-traffic homes. The down side is that vinyl can fade, and style options are limited. These range from $900 to $1,500.

Professional installation

In most cases, you should have your garage door professionally installed, as most homeowners don’t have the right equipment to install a door, and doors can be dangerous if installed incorrectly. Hiring a professional may cost up to $500, but is well worth the price.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.

HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

9400 Bear Mountain Trail NE, Albuquerque, NM  $689,900

4 Bedrooms/ 3 Bathrooms (3 full, 0 partial) / 3451 Square Feet

Custom elegance abounds in this beautiful Tuscan style home with views of the Sandia Mountains! Oversized lot in gated community. Guest suite/office w/full bath on the main level. Gourmet kitchen featuring Subzero fridge, two ovens, gas cooktop, granite countertops, large island & bkfst nook and walk-in pantry. 

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

Top Things to Do in Albuquerque

by Sandi Pressley

Whether you own a home in Albuquerque or plan to buy one soon, the good news is that Albuquerque is filled to the brim with exciting things to do.  Albuquerque is an outdoor lover’s dream come true.  It’s also home to a world famous art scene.  Get ready to have a good time. Here’s a list of some of the top things to do in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Coming up in October 6-14, 2018, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a wonder to behold. Imagine all the colors as hundreds of hot air balloons take flight in the Southwestern skies. Spectators and pilots from all over the world come together every year for this amazing event.  Watch he mass ascensions every morning, then the 'glowdeo' in the evening.  There’s live music and performers strolling through the crowds. Certainly the perfect event for the whole family to remember for years to come.

Explora Science Center and Children's Museum of Albuquerque

Explora is an innovative place for the whole family to learn together. Explora is part science center and part children's museum that offers hands-on activities in science, technology, and art for people of all ages. Explora is located in historic downtown Albuquerque and is a short walk to restaurants, shops, and the nearby park.

Balloon Rides

You don’t need to wait until the Balloon Fiesta to enjoy the wonders of balloon flight.  You can take a balloon ride in Albuquerque just about any time with these balloon ride services.

Petroglyph National Monument

One of the iconic images of the Southwest is prehistoric rock art, known as petroglyphs. You can explore the thousands of images that have been found on the West Mesa volcanic escarpment, located along a 17-mile canyon outside of Albuquerque.

Unser Racing Museum

If you love racing, or appreciate automotive history, this is the ideal experience for you and your family. The museum covers the early days of racing to the latest technology, including a racing and interactive kiosks for all ages to learn more about racing in a fun, educational environment.

Of course this just scratches the surface of all the ways you can enjoy yourself in Albuquerque.  Join us every week for more information about Albuquerque and real estate news.

And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.


HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

1625 Los Alamos Avenue SW, Albuquerque, NM  $489,000

3 Bedrooms/ 3 Bathrooms (2 full, 1 partial) / 2775 Square Feet

Beautifully situated in Coveted Albuquerque COUNTRY CLUB NEIGHBORHOOD! Near parks and bike paths, and just blocks from downtown. Warmth and Charm exudes thru-out. Don't miss out on this one! 

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

Protect Your Pets During the 4th

by Sandi Pressley

The 4th of July is a time to have fun with friends and family, and our furry friends are part of that fun. You might be tempted to bring your pets to watch fireworks or give them yummy treats from the grill. But fireworks and festive foods can potentially be harmful for pets.  What can you do to make sure you and your pets have a good time and stay safe? Here’s a few tips from the ASPCA:

Keep pets away from alcohol. Alcoholic beverages can potentially poison pets. They can make them very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or induce a coma. Death from respiratory failure can happen in severe cases.

Don’t use sunscreen or insect repellant on animals. Ingesting sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. Insect repellants can cause neurological problems.

Keep them away from matches. Some matches contain chlorates, which can damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can irritate their skin, and can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression if ingested.

Keep your pets on their normal diet. Changing your pet’s diet even one time can give them severe indigestion and diarrhea. And older animals have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. Keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to your animals.

Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. If your pets ingest the luminescent substance in these products it won’t kill them, but excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still occur.

Keep citronella candles, insect coils and tiki torch oil products out of reach. Ingestion can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.

Never use fireworks around pets! Lit fireworks can cause severe burns, and ingesting unused fireworks have obvious health risks. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.

Don’t bring pets to large crowded fireworks displays. If you attend a large fireworks display, don’t give into bringing your pets.  Leave them home to keep them from the noise.  If they do become scared from the fireworks in the neighborhood, at least they’ll be inside and safe from running away.

Be prepared in the event that your pet does escape. And keep your pets’ IDs up to date! Not only tag and ID outdoor, animals, but indoor pets as well. Indoor pets can escape, so make sure you can find them more easily.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.

Have a Safe and Happy 4th of July!


HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

1625 Los Alamos Avenue SW, Albuquerque, NM  $489,000

3 Bedrooms/ 3 Bathrooms (2 full, 1 partial) / 2775 Square Feet

Beautifully situated in Coveted Albuquerque COUNTRY CLUB NEIGHBORHOOD! Near parks and bike paths, and just blocks from downtown. Warmth and Charm exudes thru-out. Don't miss out on this one! 

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

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