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                 AIRPORT TIPS

To make your way to a flight on time and to get through security as quickly as possible you can try the following tips:

1) Sign up. The TSA's PreCheck, a trusted traveler program, has spread to more cities across the U.S. and is now available at some 40 airports. Members of the program are pre-screened and can then whiz through security, sometimes without having to take off their shoes or remove laptops from cases. The U.S. Customs Department's Global Entry program is another shortcut for frequent international travelers, especially as the federal government contracts and customs lines potentially get longer.

Critical Security Checkpoints:
To make clearing security as easy as possible...
-Review the guidelines for liquids and gels on your Flight carriers Carry-On Baggage page before your flight.
-Have your government-issued photo identification and boarding pass ready for inspection.
-Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off, since all footwear must be x-rayed.
-Remember to place all coats and jackets in a bin for x-ray screening.
-Make your laptop easily accessible for inspection.
-Avoid wearing anything metal or place these items in your carry-on baggage for screening

2) Check flight status. Although this is obvious, many people often fail to do this one simple but critical thing.

I recommend doing the same before abandoning your ride or your car just before you head to the terminal; flight status updates change by the minute, so a last-second check is always a good idea.

Most airlines will text you flight status updates if you sign up on their Web sites, and sites like Flightaware.com do the same by text, on the Web and through smartphone apps.

4) Check in online. Especially if you are not checking bags, this can save you a heap of time. I have found that when checking bags, having the pre-printed boarding pass in your hand doesn't help all that much, and check-in agents often reissue another boarding pass when you check in your bags -- but it sure doesn't hurt.

5) Before you leave for the airport, put your ID, credit card and boarding pass (if applicable) in an easily accessible part of your wallet or bag. There are two reasons for this: one, by going through this exercise, you make sure that you don't leave home without these crucial items. Two, you don't waste your (and other people's) time fumbling around for them at the moment you need them.

Check the airport parking situation online. Knowing ahead of time where to park, which lots are open and how far they are from the terminal can save you a lot of anxiety on your drive in, as well as keep you safer as you navigate tortuous and almost always poorly marked airport ring roads. Additionally, during peak travel periods, lots fill up quickly, so you will want an alternate parking plan.

When you are ready to board always take inventory of what you will need to do when you get to the front of the security line. Do a quick mental review of everything you are wearing that you will need to remove (such as shoes, jewelry, watch, jacket), and what you have inside your carry-on bag that might need to be taken out (liquids, electronics). When you get to the front of the line, blast through your mental inventory and make it happen. Done well, you can go from fully clad for winter weather, with laptops and iPads in your bag, to a T-shirt, pants and socks, and all your sensitive electronics in their own bins, in seconds.

Using these tips will get you through the airport, on your flight and towards your destination as quickly as possible.

more traveler informaiton tips available at the TSA website:  https://www.tsa.gov/precheck/faq
          WHAT TO KNOW
  BEFORE YOU BUY A HOUSE



Most buyers conduct a lot of research online before ever stepping foot in a home. Buyers spend an average of 6 to 8 weeks, according to the National Association of REALTORS, trying to figure out where they want to live. But once the neighborhood is selected, most buyers end up buying a home after 2 or 3 home tours.

Figure out what you can afford before you look. Get pre-approved for a home loan before your home search so that you don’t waste time on those that you can’t afford. Scour your credit history and resolve any black marks before applying for a home loan.

Homes typically should cost about two and a half times your salary as a rule of thumb, although you also must consider your monthly expenses and what you want to save. Because you will be responsible for unforeseen repairs and property taxes, a healthy amount of savings can come in handy.

Beware of mortgage brokers who are a little too fast and loose with approving you. If you qualify, you may be able to make a down payment as low as 3 percent interest. Paying down “points” is good for those living in a home for three to five years, as it takes a dent out of the interest rate as you pay a portion of the interest at closing.


              
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TOP 5 REASONS TO REFINANCE YOUR MORTGAGE


There are so many reasons why most people refinance their loans. Here are the Top-5 reasons why they do and why you should too:

1. Lower the monthly payment. You can lower your monthly expense by stretching out your mortgage repayment over a longer term and / or by dropping your interest rate. If that’s your goal, investigate 40-year mortgages, interest-only payments and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). Each of these mortgages comes with trade-offs, so get additional refinance information about their pros and cons before proceeding.

2. Lower the interest rate. Refinancing to a home loan with a lower mortgage rate can reduce your monthly payment and the amount of interest you pay. If you plan to keep your home for many years, consider 15- or 30-year fixed home loans; otherwise, you'll find that ARMs and hybrid ARMs, which are fixed for 3-10 years before they begin adjusting, carry the lowest mortgage rates.

3. Pay the mortgage off faster. Switching to a 15-year mortgage gets you a couple of advantages. Mortgage rates on 15-year loans are about half a percent lower than rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans. Your home equity goes up and your interest expense goes down. The trade-off is that your mortgage payment is higher; make sure you can afford it before committing to this loan.

4. Convert an ARM to a fixed-rate mortgage. If you plan to keep your home for a long time, taking a fixed loan with a higher rate than your current ARM may make sense in the long run. It keeps you safe from inflation and makes budgeting easier. In this case, 15-year and 30-year fixed mortgages are the most appropriate.

5. Trade home equity for cash. If you want cash to renovate your home, pay college tuition, consolidate debt, or for any other reason, cash-out refinances and home equity loans were made for you. Use the home equity loan if you like the mortgage you have, and the cash-out refi if you don’t.

you might be able to improve the terms of your mortgage by refinancing, and it isn’t that hard to do. If  you’re considering taking advantage of lower rates, swapping a fixed-rate mortgage for your adjustable loan (or vice versa) or cashing out some of your home equity, these five steps can help you navigate the refinance process.

Determine if you should refinance. Refinancing is one of those things that shouldn’t necessarily do just because you can. Your decision depends on your objective, your timeframe, and your profile. First, you need to know what you’re dealing with - your current rate, program and payoff. Then use a refinance calculator to see how your loan stacks up against refinance mortgages

Find a lender. There are several ways to find mortgage lenders. The old-school way is to get out the yellow pages and start dialing. A more efficient method is to get quotes from lenders online, then interview two or three of the most competitive. You’ll want to be comfortable with the person who helps you choose and apply for your mortgage refinance.

Choose a refinance program. Chances are good that more than one refinance program will work for you.a The 15-year fixed loans accelerate your payoff and come with lower rates but higher payments than 30-year loans. 30-year fixed rate mortgages are safe and make budgeting the easiest. And hybrid ARMs come with the lowest rates, which arae fixed for 3, 5, 7 or 10 years. In addition, homeowners with little equity may want to explore government refinance mortgages and streamline refinance programs.

Apply for your refinance. You’ll have to complete an application with a mortgage loan officer or broker and probably document your income and assets. Unless your refinance is a streamline program, your home will be appraised. This is where it pays to have an experienced professional working with you to get your refinance approved - good ones head off most of the eleventh-hour surprises and help you close your loan smoothly.

Lock in your refinance rate. Mortgage rates move with financial markets and can change several times a day. If you want to lock in a target rate, you may have to move quickly.




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