It’s finally here– back to school has started for most students and it’s bringing some big changes. As a parent you want your kids to succeed in school, so what can you do to really help them beyond buying #2 pencils?

IF you’re starting to transition into the school-year routine, you’ll appreciate this WebTV video. If you’re not, someone you know certainly is so please feel free to pass this along to them.

Check out the episode of “Real Living TV” I just posted on my blog and get some great tips on putting your kids on the right path.

I would love your feedback!

Good credit is important, we all know that. But how important is it? What real impact does it have on your life? Well, here you go:

#5 – Your job… or lack thereof.

You may not know it but many employers both big and small are now pulling credit before they hire you. Credit is important because it does demonstrate a person’s character. Like it or not, part of your character is how well you fulfill your obligations and pay your debts. There is a possibility that your credit can be the difference between you and your competition for a job. Times are changing.

#4 – Your insurance

badcredit moneyMost insurance companies now use credit score to help determine your premium amount. Most insurance companies also have what they call high risk offerings and credit can often be one of the single most important aspects of whether you are considered high risk or not. Placing you in a high risk, poor credit, insurance situation means you will flat out pay more for your insurance. A lot more in many cases. A standard auto insurance premium might be increased by 25-35% with bad credit customers.

#3 – Renting a home or apartment

Today’s rental market is very competitive and landlords and management companies can now afford to be more picky about who they rent to. Given that a bad credit score is an indication of your general ability or willingness to pay your bills, these companies have a right to choose what they consider to be more responsible, lower risk renters. It seems unfair to those with credit issues, but it makes sense from a risk assessment on the part of a management company. It may be very hard to find an apartment in a decent area if you have poor credit.

#2 – Buying or leasing a car

In terms of leasing, you may be outright rejected for a lease if you have bad credit. It’s very likely that leasing will not even be an option for you at all. In terms of buying a car, many car dealers (used or new) have poor credit lenders that will offer you a loan but at a serious price. Not only will you likely be required to put a hefty amount down but you will likely pay rates as much as 10 times the good credit buyer. There’s a huge difference in payment with a 20% vs. a 2% car loan. It can literally be thousands of dollars more you will spend on the overall cost of the vehicle.

#1 – Buying a home

loan deniedToday’s home lending market is pretty rigid. Since the basic collapse of the housing market and devastating impact of the mortgage lending crisis, banks and underwriters are no longer willing to turn the other cheek when it comes to bad credit. Most of the time, this simply means you will not be able to buy a home. Other times, you may be able to but it will cost you more through a higher interest rate. Even a slightly higher rate can make such a difference in a monthly mortgage payment that it will take the borrower completely out of getting approved because of the impact on the monthly budget.


Take your credit seriously. These are the 5 big ways that credit impacts your life. There are many other small ways that add up to higher living costs and lower self esteem.

What if you could cut major time and interest off of your mortgage? Not only is it possible, it’s not even that difficult to do.

We’re talking cutting 8 to 10 years off of your mortgage! If your mortgage payment is $1000 per month, that’s $12,000 PER YEAR multiplied by the number of years shaved from the life of the debt.

Check out this episode of “Real Living TV” to learn how you can use bi-weekly mortgage payments to start saving big.

img-curb-appealWhether you are planning on selling your home or not, stepping up your home’s curb appeal goes a long way to getting some positive attention for your home. Potential buyers, neighbors and you will love your home with a few of these easy and inexpensive steps.

Add some coordinated pops of color:
Most homes in the modern era lack character in their basic color schemes. If you home has essentially a two neutral color design, find a way to add some bold pops of color and then just make sure the pops of color work well together. This might mean you add planters painted a bold yellow or red or maybe even painting your front door a bold color that makes your entrance stand out. There are lots of ways to add color without digging in to new siding or trim.

Go Postal:
The mailbox is an often missed opportunity to add some class to a function and very visible element of your home. mailbox designBy upgrading the style of your mailbox and mounting stand, as well as the landscaping around it, you can really send a message of quality and style. Make sure the mailbox design matches the style of your home. A great place to get ideas for this is on Pinterest. Your postal worker will love it and so will your real estate agent.

Show a touch of Patriotism:
Adding an American Flag to your front lawn or porch area of your home evokes good feelings for many people and can immediately create a bond with any potential buyers. No matter your political affiliation, a flag can add that pop of color and be an inviting element to your home. Add a little iced tea and you’ll tap into some real feelings of Americana all visitors, buyers or guests.

Light the way:
Sidewalks and walking paths are almost always better with a little dim light to set the mood for a summer night of Landscape-Outdoor-Garden-Lightingrelaxation. With landscaping, you have to be a little careful. Some potential buyers are overwhelmed by too many bedding areas and too much outdoor plant maintenance. Keeping your garden areas clean and focused is best but adding some light to make them beautiful during the day or night can really set your home apart from others. They also look nice during the daytime hours so some low voltage lighting is a quick and easy upgrade for your curb appeal.

Clean and simple:
When people see a home that is clean and simple but adds some nice design touches such as we’ve discussed, they are immediately impressed by pride of ownership and it sets a real tone for their visit. Too much clutter (yes, even outside) can really make a rough first impression. Don’t force people to have to be creative on how they will use outdoor spaces, give them a little vision without overwhelming their senses. Keeping things tidy and trimmed is a great message to send and will do a lot to making your home more attractive to all who pass by. The good news is that, this one doesn’t have to cost much money at all. A little sweat labor and you’re golden.
These are some good, cheap ways to elevate your homes appeal this summer.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home this summer, don’t make a move without reaching out to me by using the contact page on this site.

Mother’s day is fast approaching and the traditional Mother’s Day brunch is bigger than ever.

If you and your family hope to treat your Mom to a great brunch this year, than you should check out the latest episode of “RealLivingTV”.  I just posted it and it’s packed with great brunch spots throughout the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin.  Don’t forget to make reservations as most of these brunch spots will fill up fast.

I hope this helps and I would love your feedback.

Some pretty big changes are coming, most notably the going away of the HUD1 settlement statement and the Good Faith Estimate as we traditionally know them.

It remains to be seen how valuable these changes will be to consumers.  Watch this video more more good detail:

credit reporting changesThis article posted earlier this week in the New York Times outlines some pretty big changes coming to the three major credit agencies, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

If you have ever had an error or tried to fix something on your credit report, you know how difficult and arduous the process can be and there seems to be no guarantee that real problems will get resolved.

Obviously, in real estate and real estate lending, we are quite intertwined with credit so these changes are a welcome site so long as they actually get implemented in a successful manor.

The article does a nice job of outlining some of the changes but does end on an interesting note.

In this quote:  “The settlement is a huge victory that will benefit consumers,” said Chi Chi Wu, a lawyer at the National Consumer Law Center. “Of course, making sure that the credit bureaus comply with the agreement will be another task.”

For those of us who know… making the credit bureaus comply with anything can be a strong wish at best…

Here’s a link to the entire article on Coming Credit Reporting Changes and it’s worth the read.


What would you say if you were told that you could cut major time and interest off or your mortgage? Not only is it possible, but you can even do it on your own without paying for a service!

Check out this episode of “Tips for Life TV” to learn how you can use bi-weekly mortgage payments to start saving big.

I would love your feedback!

How many times have you heard the phrase, “Did you see that one video?!

I found 6 awesome, outrageous and inspiring viral videos that you’ll want to check out on this episode of “Tips for Life TV.”

Didn’t see your favorite on the list? I would love your feedback!

Click on the links below to watch the full videos from the episode:

Are you tired of always picking up after your kids? When should kids start to learn about being responsible and even learn the value of a dollar? These are good questions.

I just posted an episode of “Tips for Life TV” with great ideas for getting your kids to be more confident and independent.

Check it out!