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July 2011

There are 5 blog entries for July 2011.

Are you thinking of renting because the cost of your home is too much for your present budget? Perhaps your property taxes have gone up, or you underestimated the cost of maintenance on your home.  Many factors can affect whether you can afford your present home; but instead of living in an apartment, you may want to  consider downsizing to a smaller home and still have an investment (if you plan to live in the new home longer term).  A smaller home may lower your property taxes, insurance and maintenance; utilities would most likely be lower too.  Check to see what's on the market in your new budget/price range, and compare the size and and cost to an apartment.  You might be surprised that you can still have a place to call home.

One of our expert

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Fort Worth is ranked as #4 best city to live in America by BestPlaces.net, a website that helps people find the best places to live, work or retire.  BestPlaces.net considered crime rates, number of colleges, access to activities, the health of the population, and stability to determine the best cities to move to in America.

We're excited that Texas and Fort Worth continue to get ranked in the top 10 places to live, but we're not surprised, especially when it comes to our great city of Fort Worth, Texas.  Fort Worth has so much to offer to its citizens, and it continues to grow while still maintaining that down-home style of living.  Looking for the big city life?  Fort Worth is only 30 minutes from Dallas, so we feel like we have it all living here in

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Being house poor has little to do with the cost of your house. You might live in a stylish residence valued at $3 million, and you would still be considered house poor if your house takes up a disproportionate amount of your income. Generally, you're perceived as house poor if you devote too much on your house payments and home repair. But what exactly is too much?

While you can find some rules of thumb by which lenders assess the reasonableness of your real estate costs, the valuation of your property and the amount of your mortgage payment are only half of the picture.

You're deemed house poor if your housing costs keep you from:

* Saving the equivalent of 3 to 6 months earnings in an unexpected emergency money reserve account
* Setting money

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A Home Maintenance Checklist is a list you should use on a regular basis throughout the year.  Make up your own checklist that fits the needs of your home.  Following are some items you may want to include on your personalized checklist:

1)  Check and clean gutters.

2)  Check around windows and doors for any leaks.  Check to see that there are no cracks in the windows and that door trim is in good condition.

3)  In the winter, drain your outdoor faucets and hoses if you're in a cold climate or are experiencing below freezing weather.

4)  Check for missing roof shingles.  Inspect ceilings and attic for any water leaks or stains.

5)  Check plumbing fixtures for leaks.

6)  Examine the house for insects and use a pest control service on a regular

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1) Make sure all of the doors to your home are locked, even when you are at home.  Glass-panelled doors make for easier access.

2) Have a peephole installed on your door, and refrain from opening the door to strangers.

3) Check your door lock systems.  Use sturdy, commercial-grade locks on all of your doords.

4) Check windows regularly to make sure they are locked.

5) Install exterior lighting with motion detectors to light up your home at night.

6) Keep some of your interior lights on throughout the day and night.  Using light timers is even better.  They create a sense of activity in the home.

7) Maintain the outside of your home.  Keep shrubbery around windows trimmed low.

8) Install a security alarm system.  Use the sign and decals the

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