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  • How to Childproof Your House

    Children are often oblivious to the many dangers around them. Accidents in the home are a leading cause of injury and death among children. Here are a few ways to childproof your home and keep your little one safe.

    Potential Hazards
    Look at your home from a babys or toddlers perspective. Ask yourself: What would catch my eye if I were low to the ground? Look for those things that your child would reach for, pull down, play with or put in their mouth.

    When babies are learning to walk, they grab furniture and bookcases for support. Many injuries and deaths occur each year when young children pull on furniture or televisions and the objects fall on top of them. Secure heavy objects to the walls to prevent this. Keep dressers and filing cabinets closed when you’re not using them. Cover sharp corners on furniture to prevent injuries if your child falls.

    Use childproof gates to keep your baby or toddler out of hazardous areas, such as specific rooms or stairs. Choose gates that are difficult to climb and do not have V-shaped openings, which can trap children.

    Open windows from the top or keep them closed. A screen is not strong enough to prevent a child from falling out of a window. Do not place furniture near windows because that can make it easy for a child to climb onto a windowsill. Children can be strangled by cords on blinds. Use window coverings without cords.

    Outlets are a common source of injuries. Children are tempted to play with them and stick objects in the openings, which can lead to electrocution. Use outlet covers with safety latches to protect your child.

    Store any medications, vitamins, cleaning supplies or other chemicals in cabinets with childproof locks to keep them out of reach. Properly dispose of any expired medication. Store the phone number for your local poison control center in your cell phone.

    A child can drown in just a few inches of water. Never leave a child unattended in a bath, even if he or she is sitting in a chair. Install a latch on the toilets lid to keep it closed. If you use a bucket of water for cleaning, never leave it unattended and dump it as soon as you finish. Always supervise a child using a pool or kiddie pool.

    Install smoke detectors throughout your house and check the batteries regularly. When your child is old enough, explain the dangers of fire and how to prevent accidents and injuries. Never allow a child to touch the stove. Put away any appliances that use heat, such as a hair dryer and curling iron, when they’re not being used.

    Look Around Your Home
    Your child will want to explore your house as soon as they’re able to crawl. Dangers are everywhere, and they will increase as your child becomes more mobile. Take the time to childproof each room in your home to prevent accidents.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • What to Do If a Bank Offers You Credit Card Protection

    A common phone call that new credit cardholders get from their bank is an offer for credit card add-on products, such as protection against fraud and identity theft. Payment protection is another service offered regularly, providing a monthly payment to the cardholders account if they lose their job or are sick in the hospital.

    Credit monitoring and debt-cancellation products are optional and are paid for through a monthly or annual fee.

    Before signing up for these products, consumers should know some facts about them, such as that theyre not required to activate a new credit card. There are also some questions to ask the salesperson to make sure theyre only getting the add-on products they want. Here are some things to consider:

    Buying them is optional: Not only are such products not required to be purchased before a credit card is activated, but some salespeople imply that theyre free. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that one bank didnt ask consumers if they wanted the product, but confirmed enrollment by asking for their city of birth.

    The bank also made it seem like consumers were receiving a benefit or simply updating their account, or that they were agreeing to receive more information about the product.

    Services paid for not always provided: The CFPB has also found that some cardholders didn’t receive the credit monitoring services they paid for because the bank didn’t properly process their authorization or match the cardholders information to their files.

    Hard to cancel: Debt cancellation products can be marketed as easy to cancel, but thats not always the case.

    The CFPB found that a bank had a sales incentive plan that paid customer service representatives for a “save” when they kept a customer enrolled after attempting to cancel. Consumers were often unable to cancel unless they were willing to demand cancellation multiple times in succession.

    Get it in writing: Before buying any credit card add-on products, review the terms, costs and benefits in writing. When asking for written information, make it clear that you don’t want to enroll in anything until you have the written information and decide you want the product.

    Also avoid “trial periods” until you read the terms of the trial period in writing. Some trial periods allow the company to begin automatically charging you for the product at the end of the trial period, unless you call or write the company.

    I hope you found this real estate information helpful. Please contact me for all your real estate needs today!

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • 4 Wellness Features for a Luxury Home

    These four features will provide the utmost relaxation, pleasing friends and family alike.

    Outdoor Sauna

    An easy addition to the backyard, an outdoor sauna provides multiple benefits to your body and cardiovascular health.

    Plunge Pool

    For those who enjoy the restorative properties of hydrotherapy, a plunge pool will have you feeling fresh and energized.

    Massage Room

    For the ultimate in personal wellness, a tranquil massage room is the perfect way to bring your home spa to the next level.

    Meditation Studio

    Daily meditation can help promote both mental and physical well-being. A designated place to practice will help incorporate it into your routine.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • How to Get the Best Mortgage Refinance Rates

    If you can find a lower mortgage rate than the one you already have, then refinancing a mortgage can make sense. Here are some of the best ways to get a low rate:

    Raise Your Credit Score
    For a conventional loan, borrowers with a credit score of 740 or more will usually get the best interest rates. Having a minimum credit score of 620 will often lead to a higher rate. Raising your credit score can help. Some methods take longer than others, but improving your score is one of the best moves to make when refinancing a mortgage.

    Start by paying your bills on time, which has the biggest impact on a credit score. You can also improve your credit utilization, meaning using less of the credit available to you on your credit cards.

    For example, if you have three credit cards with a total credit limit of $10,000, but all of the card balances add up to $5,000, your credit utilization rate is 50 percent. Ideally, it should be under 20 percent to get the best mortgage rate. The credit utilization rate can be dropped by paying down the credit card balance, using less of the credit available or getting a higher credit limit.

    Lower Debt
    Reducing your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, by paying down your credit card balance is another big way to improve a credit score. A DTI of 36 percent or lower is preferable. To lower your debt, put off big purchases, such as a new car or appliances, until after youve refinanced your mortgage.

    Shop Around
    Dont refinance with the first lender you find, or even with your current lender. There are many loan products available, and many lenders that offer them.

    Research what national banks, credit unions, community banks and your current lender offers for mortgage refinances before choosing one thats right for you. Some lenders may have in-house loans that they dont sell on the open market that are more flexible and have better rates and terms than other lenders.

    Be sure to pick a lender that youre comfortable with and trust, and dont just focus on the interest rate. The lender you choose will be helping you with one of the biggest financial transactions of your life, and you want to work with someone who has your best interests in mind.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • How to Preserve Your Antique Rugs

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

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