Massachusetts’ Mortgage Program Hits a Chord

Massachusetts’ Mortgage Program Hits a Chord

The Massachusetts state government debuted a new lending program that would help home buyers afford monthly payments.  The program, MassHousing, has helped to quadruple the number of borrowers compared to last year.  MassHousing allows borrowers to opt out of paying for mortgage insurance, which is meant to be a reserve for lenders when borrowers can’t make payments.  Mortgage insurance usually adds hundreds of dollars to a homeowner’s cost every year– instead of paying insurance, MassHousing borrowers pay a slightly higher interest rate.  Even with the higher interest rate, borrowers are likely to save hundreds of dollars and allows below-average buyers to afford their dreams.

Student Loan Debt Hurts First-Time Home Buyers

Student Loan Debt Hurts First-Time Home Buyers

As the presidential election draws closer, we have heard a lot about the importance of rethinking student loan debt.  The amount owed for student loans is higher than money owed to credit cards and is now over $1 trillion.  In today’s market, first time home buyers are being rejected by banks because the amount they owe (on student loans, credit cards, and cars) would be crippling when paired with a mortgage.  Mortgages payments generally take up 33% of someone’s monthly income, and high student loan debt makes it hard for young home buyers to stay afloat.  Experts suggest paying off loan debt significantly before embarking on making a large real estate purchase; they also suggest restructuring and consolidating student loans so that they can be paid off over time.

For more information on paying off student loans, click here.

Roswell Park Revamps ICU, Aims to Inspire Hope

Roswell Park Revamps ICU, Aims to Inspire Hope

Yesterday Roswell Park Cancer Institute opened its brand new Intensive Care Unit.  The state-of-the facilities are larger than the former ICU center and the Institute hopes to take on more patients.  Roswell also added more nursing stations and more modern medical equipment for patients.  The biggest change are the individual patient rooms, which now have large windows overlooking the Buffalo skyline and the UB medical campus.  These windows, though a New York State regulation, are meant to bring the natural world in to patients undergoing treatment.

In a statement at the ribbon cutting ceremony, Dr. Donald Trump, Roswell’s President and CEO said, “We invested the time and effort to create a space that is calming and attractive, but also incorporates cutting-edge equipment and strategic design to enhance our ability to provide care effectively and efficiently. These features are essential extensions of the skill and the caring that our clinical staff provide, and great care can only happen when all these elements are present.”

Spring Cleaning: Surprising Health Risks in Your Home

Spring Cleaning: Surprising Health Risks in Your Home

Sometimes, buying cheaper isn’t always better– in some cases, it can be downright risky.  While you may not expect these everyday household items to be a health hazard, research has found that germs and disease cling to parts of your home you wouldn’t expect.  The best way to get rid of the risk is to replace things when possible:

1. Carpets: Old carpets could have mold and fungus within or below the carpet fibers.  Shampooing or cleaning carpets can actually do more harm than good, for mold grows in damp environments.  Steam cleaning with a solution of vinegar, alcohol, soap and warm water actually helps kill mold colonies.

2.  Water Pitcher Filters: Surprising as it may be, older filters give out contaminated water shortly after they expire.  If your pitcher is releasing water from the filter at a slower rate, chances are its time to change the filter.  Make sure to stock up on these filters so that you are always drinking clean water.

3.  Air Fresheners: Refill solutions for air fresheners can actually be harmful to your health.  Oils released from refills could actually be harmful to your skin, and touching the oils can cause dermatitis and other skin reactions.  Make sure to never get these solutions on your skin and follow the refill instructions to insure safety.

4.  Ammonia:  Mild inhalation of the standby cleaning product could cause respiratory problems, so be sure to keep it away from young children.  Contact with skin can also cause allergic reactions.  When using this product, be sure to wear gloves and avoid prolonged inhalation.

5.  Toothpaste: Most mainstream toothpaste brands add artificial sweeteners and toxins to help clean the surface of your teeth.  Be careful not to ingest toothpaste and consider organic, flouride-free toothpastes instead.

6.  Furniture Polish: Like ammonia, inhalation of furniture polish poses serious health risks, including “polish poisoning,” and eye irritation.  If you ever have any of these symptoms, it is important that you call 911 and poison control immediately.  Try not to spend too much time inhaling near the polish, and if you must use it, take breaks during polishing.

Mobile Apps Affecting Home Searches

Mobile Apps Affecting Home Searches

If you’re looking for property, investigating a neighborhood, or checking on a school district, there’s an app for that.  These apps are helping on-the-go buyers keep track of the properties they visited– House Hunter, example, allows buyers to keep a file on each home they visit.  The app also keeps photos of homes organized and calculates your monthly mortgage payment for each home.  Other apps, like Homesnap, allow buyers to track the home’s value and square footage by just taking a picture of the home.  Even without using apps, homebuyers can find plenty of useful information from their smartphone: including neighborhood information that proves invaluable when it comes time to buy.  Knowing what there is to do around them is essential to many buyers, and smart phones are making it easy to access information necessary for keeping track of properties.