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Aug. 16, 2018

How To Install Under Cabinet Lighting Power

How To Install Under Cabinet Lighting Power

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Learn how to install your own backsplash!

Lighting Steps
1. Go to the main electrical panel and turn off the power to the existing under cabinet lights and outlets.
2. Unscrew the old light fixtures from the underside of the cabinets.
3. Use a jigsaw to cut a hole in the cabinet back for an old-work junction box.
4. Cut a similar hole in the wall directly above the cabinets.
5. Push two nonmetallic electrical cables through the upper hole and down into the hole cut inside the cabinet.
6. Cut a hole in the kitchen wall for an old-work switch box, then use a fish tape to pull a cable into the hole.
7. Push the ends of the cables through the rear of the switch box, then screw the box to the kitchen wall.
8. Wire a dimmer switch into the box; be sure the switch is designed for use with LED lights.
9. Make the wire connections in the junction box inside the cabinet. Screw a blank cover onto the junction box.
10. Make the wire connections inside the light fixtures, then screw the fixtures to the underside of the cabinets.
11. Run a new cable to the wall beneath the cabinets, then install the 120-volt outlet strips.
12. Make the final wire connections at the outlet strips and test your work. 

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Posted in BoydTeam Blog
Aug. 14, 2018

Battle of the Countertops Granite vs Quartze

Battle of The Countertops Granite vs Quartz

If you’ve recently shopped for new kitchen countertops, you know firsthand how many options there are today. For most people, the choices often boil down to granite or quartz. Two out of five homeowners choose one of these two surfaces, often for durability and easy cleaning. If you, too, have whittled it down to granite or quartz, here’s a quick way to learn all about their pros and cons.
Posted in BoydTeam Blog
Aug. 14, 2018

Is Phased Retirement Right For You

Is Phased Retirement Right For You

One day you’re a full time employee and the next day you’re not. That’s what retirement can feel like but if you’re looking for more of a gradual exit or no exit at all, you might consider phased retirement.

American Has a Problem

America has a big labor problem—a massive amount of highly skilled workers are retiring or have reached retirement age and that has companies concerned. Not only are people they at retirement age, they hold all of the high-level knowledge.

Even worse, many industries are experiencing a shortage of young workers to fill the gaps.

On the other side, many of those 50 and 60-something workers don’t want to retire. A Merrill Lynch-Age Wave study revealed that 72 percent of pre-retirees over the age of 50 want to continue working in some capacity. Nearly three-quarters of Americans don’t see themselves traveling the world or working in the yard all day.

A Win-Win

Rarely does it happen but in this case, the two sides compliment each other. Employers have an opportunity to retain employees of retirement age because they want to work. That’s where phased retirement comes in. Instead of completely retiring, those workers could reduce their hours, only work certain days, move to a less stressful department, or work from home.

According to a GAO report, companies report four key benefits to phased retirement:

  • Retaining highly-skilled, knowledgeable workers
  • Training and mentoring of younger, newer employees
  • Ability to transition workers into retirement
  • Easier forecasting of future workforce needs

 

For the employee, they receive benefits as well:

  • Ability to earn income especially if retirement savings are sufficient
  • Remaining mentally and physically active
  • Able to put off collecting Social Security longer making future benefit checks larger

Are Companies on Board?

Despite employers hearing that pre-retirement employees aren’t ready to leave, and a clear benefit to the company, a surprisingly few companies embrace phased retirement. A study from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) found that 77 percent of employers believe that their employees plan to continue working after retirement but only 31 percent of those companies embrace phased retirement. And by the way, the GAO report above is titled Phased Retirement Programs, Although Uncommon, Provide Flexibility for Workers and Employers. Both studies agree that phased retirement isn’t as common as it should be.

Why So Negative?

The biggest reason seems to be the fear of lawsuits. Could a company open itself up to litigation if it gives a benefit to employees based on age? Because phased retirement often comes with an attractive benefits package, why can’t a younger employee work part time and get the perks of a “phased” employee?

There’s also the management issue. Having employees coming and going on different schedules and working only certain days makes it difficult on company managers who have to keep things operational and efficient every day. And, of course, some companies aren’t overly excited about paying for benefits like health insurance and retirement for employees who are now contributing half as much as they once did.

Finally, it’s hard to promote somebody when there’s somebody else hanging around in doing half of the job.

Tough on the Employee

Phased retirement has its benefits but also some potential headaches for the employee too. Reduced work hours will likely mean some reduction in pay and the amount of money moving into their retirement accounts. There’s also the issue of continuing to earn an income if they want to receive Social Security benefits, and the urge for an employer to continue treating the employee as a full-time employee despite their part-time status.

How to Sell It

If you’re one of the almost two-thirds of the pre-retirement workforce that wants to try phased retirement, it will take some salesmanship. First, make a strong case for how it will benefit the company. What’s the win-win for them?

Second, consider learning a new skill. Is there another job that may not require full-time hours that would only require a little additional training?

Does your company need somebody to travel to other offices and train or evaluate? Do they regularly hire outside consultants in areas where you have expertise? Think of “outside-the-box” angles like these instead of fighting for your current position, especially if what you do now is clearly a full-time effort and the company isn’t going to hire somebody to shadow you even for a short period.

Find out if you’re on track: Retirement Calculator

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Posted in BoydTeam Blog
Aug. 14, 2018

To Stage or Not To Stage

To Stage or Not To Stage

Some Highlights:

  • The National Association of Realtors surveyed their members & released the findings of their Annual Profile of Home Staging.
  • 50% of staged homes saw a 1-10% increase in dollar value offers from buyers.
  • 77% of buyer’s agents said staging made it easier for buyers to visualize the home as their own.
  • The top rooms to stage to attract more buyers are the living room, master bedroom, kitchen, and dining room.
Posted in BoydTeam Blog
Aug. 14, 2018

Why Credit Union Credit Cards Are Your Better Choice

Why Credit Union Credit Cards Are Your Better Choice

You may be considering a credit union credit card as an alternative to getting a credit card from one of the major credit card issuers. Before you make the leap, it helps to be informed about the difference between credit union credit cards and credit cards from big credit card issuers

How Are Credit Union Credit Cards Different?

A credit union credit card is issued by a credit union. Credit unions are nonprofit organizations that allow members to borrow from pooled deposts at low interest rates.

Major credit card issuers, on the other hand, are for profit banks that must always keep their stockholders in mind.

Credit union credit cards often have lower interest rates, lower fees, and are more consumer-friendly than credit cards from major credit card issuers. Interest rates on credit union loans are currently capped at 18 percent. Federal law limits the interest rate for most credit union loans at 15 percent, but allows the National Credit Union Administration Board to raise the limit if it’s necessary for the safety of credit unions.

There is no federal limit on the interest rate for bank loans. Instead, interest rates are typically based on the market and competition, but there has once been a rogue credit card issuer that charged an interest rate of 79.9 percent. Of course, paying your balance in full each month allows you to avoid paying interest whether you have a credit union credit card or a credit card from a major credit card issuer.

Are Credit Union Credit Cards for Everyone?

Note that while there are some advantages to credit union credit cards, there are some downsides too. First, the general public can’t just apply for a credit union credit card as with a non-credit union credit card. You have to be a member of the credit union and membership is exclusive.

You typically need to be affiliated with a certain group or employer to join.

Because the credit union itself is a non-profit organization it doesn’t offer credit cards for a profit. Instead, members of the credit union indirectly benefit from credit union credit cards. When the credit union makes money, its able to reduce fees and offer better interest rates to members.

Credit card approval isn’t guaranteed simply because you’re a member of the credit union. The credit card issuer will still perform a credit check and review your income to determine whether you qualify for the credit card. Credit unions are often more lenient with members and may be more willing to give you a second chance if your credit card application is denied. This is a little tougher to do with a major credit card issuer.

All your credit union accounts are tied together, which means some accounts may become collateral for others. If you have a checking account and a credit card account with the same credit union, for example, your checking account balance may be at risk if you default on your credit card payments.

Otherwise, credit union credit cards are just like other credit cards. You can use them for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances (if your card issuer allows).

You’ll have to make at least the minimum monthly payment on your balance to keep your account in good standing. Most credit unions will report your account history to the credit bureaus, which is an extra incentive for making your payments on time.



Posted in BoydTeam Blog
Aug. 14, 2018

Top 5 Benefits of Hiring a Real Estate Agent

Top 5 Benefits of Hiring a Real Estate Agent | Simplifying The Market

Top 5 Benefits of Hiring a Real Estate Agent

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers in which they surveyed recent home buyers and sellers about their experiences. An entire section of the profile is dedicated to buyers’ experiences with their real estate agents.

If you are looking to buy in 2018, here are the top 5 benefits of using a real estate agent when buying your dream home as cited by recent buyers:

1. Helped the buyer understand the process – 60%

If you are new to the home buying process, an experienced real estate professional can explain exactly what to expect during the entire transaction so you aren’t caught off guard.

2. Pointed out unnoticed features/faults with the property – 56%

Whether it’s pointing out possible uses for an extra bedroom/office, or using their trained eye to see potentially disastrous hazards that may be hiding out of site, your agent is there to protect your interests and make sure your home buying experience is a good one.

3. Negotiated better sales contract terms – 47%

When it comes to negotiating the complex terms of your contract and coming to an agreement with the seller, it never hurts to have someone who has been there before on your side. If earlier in your search you found a couple of less than desirable features on the home you are going to purchase, your agent can make sure that contingencies are in place for you to pay the best price. Their analysis of comparable properties in the area will also help to make sure that your dream home is priced properly for the market.

4. Provided a better list of service providers – 46%

Real estate agents are titans of networking. Many have a list of preferred providers who they have worked with in the past and who they trust to work as a part of your team to make your dream come true. This can include mortgage professionals (listed as the #8 reason to use an agent at 22%), home inspectors, plumbers, contractors, painters, landscapers, home stagers, and so many more!

5. Improved the buyer’s knowledge of search areas – 44%

Local real estate professionals are often members of community organizations and are usually well versed in their area’s history. Their ties to the community make them a great resource whether you plan to relocate to a new area or across town.

Bottom Line

If your plans for 2018 include purchasing your dream home, let’s get together to discuss your options and to help you make the most powerful and confident decisions for you and your family.

Posted in
Aug. 14, 2018

Thinking of Selling Your Home? Why You Need A Pro in Your Corner

Thinking of Selling Your Home? Why You Need A Pro in Your Corner | Simplifying The Market

Thinking of Selling Your Home? Why You Need A Pro in Your Corner

With home prices on the rise and buyer demand strong, some sellers may be tempted to try and sell their homes on their own (FSBO) without using the services of a real estate professional.

Real estate agents are trained and experienced in negotiation and, in most cases, the seller is not. Sellers must realize that their ability to negotiate will determine whether or not they get the best deal for themselves and their families.

Here is a list of some of the people with whom the seller must be prepared to negotiate if they decide to FSBO:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The termite company if there are challenges
  • The buyer’s lender if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value
  • The title company if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or other permits
  • The town or municipality if you need to get the CO permits mentioned above
  • The buyer’s buyer in case there are challenges with the house your buyer is selling
  • Your bank in the case of a short sale

Bottom Line

The percentage of sellers who have hired real estate agents to sell their homes has increased steadily over the last 20 years. Let’s get together and discuss all we can do to make the process easier for you

Posted in
Aug. 14, 2018

Thinking of Selling Your Home? Why You Need A Pro in Your Corne

Thinking of Selling Your Home? Why You Need A Pro in Your Corner | Simplifying The Market

Thinking of Selling Your Home? Why You Need A Pro in Your Corner

With home prices on the rise and buyer demand strong, some sellers may be tempted to try and sell their homes on their own (FSBO) without using the services of a real estate professional.

Real estate agents are trained and experienced in negotiation and, in most cases, the seller is not. Sellers must realize that their ability to negotiate will determine whether or not they get the best deal for themselves and their families.

Here is a list of some of the people with whom the seller must be prepared to negotiate if they decide to FSBO:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The termite company if there are challenges
  • The buyer’s lender if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value
  • The title company if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or other permits
  • The town or municipality if you need to get the CO permits mentioned above
  • The buyer’s buyer in case there are challenges with the house your buyer is selling
  • Your bank in the case of a short sale

Bottom Line

The percentage of sellers who have hired real estate agents to sell their homes has increased steadily over the last 20 years. Let’s get together and discuss all we can do to make the process easier for you

Posted in
Aug. 14, 2018

Buying a Home Is Cheaper Than Renting in the Majority of the US

Buying a Home Is Cheaper Than Renting in the Majority of the US | Simplifying The Market

Buying a Home Is Cheaper Than Renting in the Majority of the US

The results of the 2018 Rental Affordability Report from ATTOM show that buying a median-priced home is more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property in 54% of U.S. counties analyzed for the report.

The updated numbers show that renting a three-bedroom property in the United States requires an average of 38.8% of income.

The least affordable market for renting was Marin County, CA, just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, where renters spend a staggering 79.5% of average wages on rent, while the most affordable market was Madison County, AL where 22.3% of average wages went to rent.

Other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Average rent rose faster than income in 60% of counties
  • Average rent rose faster than median home prices in 41% of counties
  • While median home prices rose faster than average rents in 58% of counties

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let’s get together to find your dream home

Posted in BoydTeam Blog
Aug. 14, 2018

Renters Under 50 Want to Buy a Home!

Renters Under 50 Want to Buy a Home! | Simplifying The Market

Renters Under 50 Want to Buy a Home!

Every year, the New York Federal Reserve publishes the results of their Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE). Each survey covers a wide range of topics including inflation, labor market, household finance, credit access and housing.

One of the many questions asked in the housing section of the survey was:

Assuming you had the financial resources to do so, would you like to OWN instead of RENT your primary residence?

Over three-quarters of respondents under the age of 50 said that they would prefer to own their home, rather than rent. While only 52.6% of those over 50 would prefer to own. The full breakdown can be found in the chart below.

Renters Under 50 Want to Buy a Home! | Simplifying The Market

When renters were asked what the average probability of owning a primary residence at some point in their future was, 66.4% of those under 50 believed that they would eventually own their home, while only 23% of those over 50 did.

Renters Under 50 Want to Buy a Home! | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Many had wondered if young Americans had lost their desire to own a home, but for those renting now, that dream is still alive.

Posted in BoydTeam Blog