Identity Theft

Here are 5 ways to protect yourself from identity theft and unpleasant work to fix your credit and get your money back. These are all basic and we have all heard them before, but how many of us are really doing them?  Also, the 5th item is so important some banks will compensate a higher interest rate on your deposits if you check your account online – that should tell you something.  The article is “5 Ways to Thwart Identity Theft” by John Pettit at CBINSIGHT.COM and the link is  Finally, a great, free way to check your credit is

All the best,

Lee McLain

The Rake, Hoe, and Shovel: Little Costs that Really Add Up

Most people will say that buying a home means thinking about a down payment, closing costs, and tax escrows. But what a lot of people forget about is that buying a home means buying much more than just a house.

When I first started out as a loan officer, my first boss told me, “don’t forget about the rake, hoe, and shovel.” So often, people shopping for homes are tempted to spend on the top of their budget and beyond to get the kind of house that they want. But buying a bigger home often means that there are going to be expenses that are needed to make that house into a home.

For example, are you getting an extra bedroom? How much will it cost to buy a new mattress, bed frame, bedding, and other furniture? All of that could be at least an extra $3000! Appliances like washing and drying machines and fridges are often taken with the sellers, all of which can cost at least another thousand. Of course, moving from an apartment to a house often means lawn care—do you have a lawn mower, weed eater, and edger, or are you planning on using a lawn care serve?

Planning for the extra expenses that your new home will need means accounting for the “rakes, hoes, and shovels,” all of the little costs that can really add up. That new home will certainly be a lot more comfortable if you plan to have a cash cushion—not hard plastic— to feather your new nest.