Tips for Keeping Your Home Cooler

By: Arleen Claudio-Gore of GoodCopy Printing & Digital Graphics

As the dog days of summer arrive, here are a few tips to keep your home cooler with little or no air-conditioning to save energy and money:

• Apply energy-saving, high-reflectivity window film on east- and west-facing windows, to keep you cool in summer but let in warming sun in the winter.

• Make sure your ceiling fans are running counter-clockwise.  Check each fan for a little switch on the side to reverse the direction.  In the winter, you want fans to run clockwise to pull cool air up and force warm air back down into the room.  Reverse them in the summer to circulate cool air.

• Turn off ceiling fans when you leave a room.  Remember that fans are meant to cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.

• Close the drapes.  For best results, use energy-efficient black-out curtains which provide thermal insulation to block light and save energy.

• Avoid using heat-generating appliances such as ovens, washers, dryers, and dishwashers during the hottest part of the day.  Do cleaning chores in the cooler evening hours and consider grilling outside or using a microwave instead of turning on the oven or stove.

• Run a dehumidifier to moderate your home’s humidity level and help you feel cooler.

• Add awnings on south- and west-facing windows to reduce solar heat gain by up to 77%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

• In the evenings, create cross-ventilation by opening windows on opposite sides of your home.  Put a box fan in one side to pull cool air into the house, and another box fan to blow hot air out.

• Power down appliances you’re not using, especially TVs and computers, which generate heat.

• Replace incandescent lightbulbs with cooler-running LEDs.

• Keep lamps, TVs, and other heat-generating appliances away from your air-conditioning thermostat.

• Shade your air conditioner.  If your A/C is in full sun, it’s working harder than it needs to.

Attorney Marléna J. Soble Joins HLF

We’re proud to welcome Attorney Marléna J. Soble as Of Counsel to the Hamad Law Firm, LLC.  Attorney Soble is an experienced real estate attorney that has been working with us for quite some time.  See more about her here!

Retirement In Connecticut

Retirement in Connecticut is often seen as an expensive choice for many.  With high tax burdens, including taxable pension income, coupled with expensive property taxes and general cost of living expenses, many people choose to move out, come retirement time.  Florida is the stereotypical destination, but North Carolina and other states are certainly up-and-comers as well.

Some articles lately have challenged this “conventional” wisdom, however.  Reminding people of the metro-NYC location and/or New England location, the services available, the style of living, and more, these articles point out that living in Connecticut after retirement may be worth it, after all.

Published yesterday, April 2nd, 2014, this MarketWatch article by the Wall Street Journal is a good, if quick, read: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/retire-here-not-there-connecticut-2014-04-02?pagenumber=1

Adding some statistics and a lot of information about active retirement communities, TopRetirements.com provides more: http://www.topretirements.com/state/connecticut.html

Finally, Connecticut Magazine gives a breakdown of good towns to retire in: http://www.connecticutmag.com/Connecticut-Magazine/May-2008/20-Great-Places-to-Retire/

Creditworthiness – Don’t Hurt Yours

There’s one simple rule you need to listen to when you’ve applied for a loan: DO NOT CHANGE YOUR CREDIT PROFILE.

Whether you’re refinancing or purchasing, there is no easier way to cause problems for your mortgage loan officer, your bank, and the approval of your loan than to play with your money too much.

What does this mean?  Some of it is obvious:

-       Continue to pay your bills as normal

-       Do not buy another property

-       Do not hide assets or, especially, debts.  This includes hiding fully paid off properties – make sure you’re upfront about them.

But there’s a lot more to it than that.  Almost everything we do in the modern American world affects our creditworthiness, so here’s a list of other things to keep in mind.

-       Credit cards: Don’t apply for a new one, don’t cancel and old one, and do not increase your credit limits

-       Employment: Don’t change jobs, even for one for more money, without talking to your Loan Officer about it first.  This is especially true if you do not have regular employment (in other words, you’re a “Freelancer,” “Contractor,” “1099 employee,” or some other such description).

-       Co-signing: Just don’t do it.  Whether it’s your kid’s student loan or your mother’s car loan, it’s going to affect your credit profile.  Once you apply for a mortgage, do not do this.

-       Vehicles: Another big “nope.”  Don’t buy a new car, truck, van, boat, airplane, or spaceship.  Don’t do it even if you’re buying in cash.

-       Banks: Don’t change your bank.  Don’t close accounts.  Don’t open accounts.  Don’t move large amounts of money between accounts.

-       Documentation: Document everything you do, especially if it involves large sums of cash.  Keep a list of all of your open bank, credit, loan, etc., accounts.  Document all money going in and out of them.

-       Purchases: Similar to what I said for vehicles, just don’t make large purchases.  Large amounts of cash moving in or out of an account look suspicious and require significant documentation.

-       Down payments, cash at closing, inspection costs, bank costs, etc.: Large amounts of money ARE going to move out of your accounts during the process.  Make sure they relate to the loan, and document both where the money is going to and where it came from.  Do not deposit a large amount of money shortly before closing – the lender will want documentation on where that money came from.  You cannot use someone else’s money for cash at closing without the approval of the lender.  If you’re taking money from your 401k or from investments prior to pay the amount you owe at closing, do it ahead of time and tell your lender about it.

-       Other properties: Disclose them.  Even if they’re completely paid off, your lender needs to know about them.

Purchasing a house – or refinancing your existing one – is one of the largest transactions most people will make in their lives.  Pay attention what you’re doing, and to these rules, and don’t be caught unawares.  If you’re looking for a new bank or loan officer, contact us today for a referral!

We really are everywhere!

In 2013, the Hamad Law Firm, LLC, performed closings in at least 139 different towns, villages, cities, and areas of Connecticut, including:


Amston
Andover
Ansonia
Ashford
Avon
Beacon Falls
Berlin
Bethany
Bethel
Bloomfield
Bolton
Branford
Bridgeport
Bristol
Broad Brook
Brookfield
Brooklyn
Burlington
Canton
Chaplin
Cheshire
Clinton
Colchester
Cos Cob
Coventry
Cromwell
Danbury
Danielson
Darien
Deep River
Derby
Durham
East Granby
East Hampton
East Hartford
East Haven
East Lyme
Eastford
Easton
Ellington
Enfield
Fairfield
Farmington
Glastonbury
Goshen
Greenwich
Griswold
Guilford
Hamden
Hebron
Killingworth
Lebanon
Litchfield
Madison
Manchester
Mansfield Center
Marlborough
Meridan
Middletown
Milford
Monroe
Mystic
Naugatuck
New Britain
New Canaan
New Hartford
New Haven
New Milford
Newington
Newtown
North Branford
North Granby
North Haven
Northfield
Northford
Norwich
Oakville
Old Greenwich
Old Saybrook
Orange
Oxford
Pawcatuck
Plantsville
Pomfret Center
Portland
Preston
Prospect
Redding
Ridgefield
Rocky Hill
Sandy Hook
Seymour
Shelton
Somers
South Glastonbury
South Windsor
Southbury
Southington
Southport
Stafford Springs
Stamford
Stonington
Stratford
Suffield
Thomaston
Tolland
Trumbull
Unionville
Vernon
Vernon-Rockville
Wallingford
Waterbury
Waterford
Watertown
West Granby
West Hartford
West Haven
West Simsbury
West Suffield
Westbrook
Weston
Westport
Wethersfield
Willington
Wilton
Windsor
Windsor Locks
Winsted
Wolcott
Woodbridge
Woodstock
Yalesville

Banks

We’re often asked what banks we work with.  The basic answer is… almost anybody!  But here’s some examples from the last year.  This list is by no means exhaustive.  No matter who you’re using, talk to the Hamad Law Firm, LLC, first!

Atlantic Home Loans, Inc.
Berkshire Bank
Caliber Funding, LLC
Customized Mortgage Solutions
EverBank
First Niagara Bank, N.A.
First Place Bank
Hartford Funding Ltd
HomeQuest Mortgage
Investors Home Mortgage
iServe Residential Mortgage
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
Mortgage Master, Inc.
Newtown Savings Bank
NMA FCU
People’s United Bank
Pleasant Valley Home Mortgage
RBS Citizens, N.A.
Santander Bank
Savings Bank of Danbury
Sovereign Bank, N.A.
Total Mortgage Services, LLC
TriState Mortgage Corporation
Washington Trust
Webster Bank, N.A.
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
Liberty Bank
T.D. Bank, N.A.
McCue Mortgage
CertusBank, N.A.
CitiBank
Discover Loans
East-West Mortgage Company
Gladewater National Bank
Independent Bank
LYC Mortgage
NationStar
Poli Mortgage Group, Inc.
Quicken Loans
Roundpoint Mortgage Company
United Wholesale Mortgage

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from our family at the Hamad Law Firm, LLC.

Mortgage Rates Continue to Rise

It had to end sometime.  This year’s historically low mortgage interest rates, at least for the time being, have come to an end.  Rates have continued to rise for the 3rd week in the row, now passing 4% (for a conventional 30-year fixed-rate loan) in Connecticut and 3.74% nationally.

What does this mean?  Interest rates below 4% have become very hard to find, but if you asked anyone five years ago about 4% rates, they’d have laughed at you – it wasn’t even imagined!  So rates are still very good, they’re just not at historic lows.  If your rates are higher you should still consider refinancing.  Even a small reduction in your rate can add up to significant amounts over time.

If you are looking to refinance, get your paperwork ready.  You don’t have to submit it immediately – you might want to see what happens to rates over the next couple weeks – but you’ll want to be able to jump on a rate when you’re ready to move.  Remember, you’ll need tax returns, bank statements, information on previous addresses and recent credit inquiries, changes in marital status such as divorces, and more.  It’s a lot of paperwork.  You should be prepared to provide details about everything that has any affect on your money residency.

As mortgage rates rise, mortgage volumes have fallen off.  Both purchase and refinance activity has declined, with refinance activity declining significantly to 74% of total national market volume (as of May 23, 2013).

For More Information:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/where-we-live/wp/2013/05/23/mortgage-rates-are-trending-upward/

http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/05/23/mortgage-rates-rise-for-3rd-week-in-row/

How to choose a Realtor®

Every day we hear horror stories about Realtor’s:  Client’s Realtor’s aren’t responding to them; they’re not showing the house; they’re not finding houses worth seeing; they aren’t working very hard; they’re driving up purchase prices to make more commission; they’re not setting up property viewings as requested.

Not all complaints are valid in all situations, but enough are that finding the right agent is a proper concern.  You need to find somebody that knows your area and that works the way you work.  Do you like e-mail?  Make sure the Realtor regularly uses e-mail.  Do you want constant updates on what is going on?  Make sure they are someone that is going to keep you informed.  There’s a hundred variables and a hundred risks when you sign on with anyone, including a Realtor.  It’s a very personal service and you need to be sure that you will enjoy the experience and profit from it.

So what does that tell us?  How do you find the Realtor that is right for you?  There is no easy answer to the question.  At the Hamad Law Firm, LLC, we can often point you in the direction of Realtor’s that we have used before and that we know will work well with you, but that’s only one answer.  Personal referrals not just from us but from anyone you know are very important.  Looking at someone online can only tell you so much – find out what your friends, your relatives, your business associates know about Realtor’s in your area.  If you don’t get good leads from that, go to the internet, see what you can find, and most importantly talk to the Realtor before you commit to dealing with them.

If you’d like a recommendation, be sure to contact the Hamad Law Firm, LLC, today.

We’ve Moved!

We’re proud to announce that we’ve moved our offices to 131 Dwight Street, New Haven, CT!

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