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6 Apps You Should Be Using

For better or worse, smart phones and technology are here to stay. 
Of course, it’s not all bad. In fact, there are several great apps out there that can keep us informed, connected, protected, and make us more productive. 
Here are 6 of my favorite and most used apps. (None of these are paid endorsements, they’re really just great apps that I love!)

Weather Bug. So much better and more detailed than the basic weather app on my phone. I love Weather Bug!
Marco Polo- A teenage told me this was an ‘old person’s Snapchat’. Whatever. I turn 35 this year, I'm not old. Maro Polo lets you send video messages to friends, even groups, and it saves the video so you can go back later for reminders. I literally use this app every day now.

Tiny Scanner- Go ahead and buy the pro version (I got it for .99) if you plan to use it regularly, but the free version lets you send a few scans. It’s great if you need to send docs quickly, keep receipts for taxes, or just want a PDF copy of things. And it save…

Baggage

August was traditionally a time for me as a Children's Pastor to prepare for kids going back to school. I carried that tradition into being a Lead Pastor as well for several years, and we would hold special Back-2-School Bash events with free food, free backpacks, and a few times even free laptop computers!
The purpose and goal was always to be a blessing in our community, have some fun, and point to Jesus.
My purpose today is the same! I want to be a blessing to my community, both as a real estate professional and minister. I want to have some fun, because life is too short not to. And I want to point to Jesus, because one thing I know is that when life ends, you can't take your cars or houses or bank accounts with you!
So, as we get close to the back to school season, let me take a moment and share this short, fun, and impactful message that I shared at a back to school event a few years ago to several hundred students and their families.
Enjoy!


Reconsider Doing These Updates If You Plan To Sell

When you are starting to think about selling your home, if you're like most people, you're going to walk around and look at things that might need some attention. You may even decide that you want to invest a little money into improvements to make your home worth more and more enticing to propective home buyers.

That's a perfectly reasonable thought, really.

Personally, before I was in the real estate business and my wife and I were looking to buy our first home, she went in looking at things like space for the kids and to entertain and how functional the kitchen was. I went in asking what I was going to have to pump into the house to fix or update things after we bought it!

The reality is, if you want to put your house on the market, you're most likely going to have to update your hot water heater if it was installed when Ronald Reagan was President! But what about the things that provide 'glitz' and 'glamor' that might seem like they'd bring a great …

Understanding Hard and Soft Credit Inquiries

This information was adapted for your use from this original article and includes my thoughts: Credit Karma Blog

So many people do not understand how credit works, or what can harm their credit. I've talked to people who were afraid to find out their own credit score or check their credit report because they didn't want to hurt their credit.

Thankfully, their ignorance about the differences between a 'hard inquiry' and a 'soft inquiry' of their credit are easy to fix. Sadly, that same ignorance can lead to problems if people don't learn and understand the differences and get the right information!

Let me be clear: You checking your credit report or score will NOT hurt your credit. There are many ways you can conduct such a 'soft' inquiry and get information. That is something I will talk about more in a different post.

There are also ways you can hurt your credit score, without meaning to in some cases. Conducting a 'hard' inquiry is always goin…

Understanding Mortgage Interest Rates (VIDEO)

How do you get the interest rate that you do?

Well, there are many factors, including your credit worthiness and the interest rate set by the Federal Reserve.

The Khan Academy however, has produced a fantastic video that breaks everything down simply and makes it easier to understand.

If you are starting the process, or thinking about starting the process, of buying a home then take a few moments and watch this video to get a better understanding.


What is an Earnest Money Deposit?

When buying a home it is important to understand each part of the process. One thing that can confuse some people is the need to pay an earnest money deposit and how that works with their downpayment.

What is an earnest money deposit? Why are you writing that check?

Simply put, earnest money is money you put out to show you're serious about making an offer. If your offer is accepted, it becomes part of your down payment. If your offer isn't accepted, it is returned to you.

This short video put out by loanDepot (a company I am not endorsing in any way, just sharing the information from) is a great, quick explanation to help you out!

Again, my sharing this video is not a suggestion to use this company, or an endorsement. When buying, do your research looking for a lender.

I do think the info in this video is very well stated and informative, however!



Quick Solutions to Help You Sell Faster

Getting your home ready to be listed and want to ensure you are on top of your game when it comes to being prepared? Great!

Many prospective buyers aren't just turned off by things like major damage or repairs, which are usually addressed anyway. They get focused on details that others might not even think are important, and decide to pick house B over houses A and C simply because they look more 'move-in-ready'.

Here are a few tips on things to take a look at and do as you get ready to list:

Clean/Replace Blinds ($5-15): Dirty blinds are an eyesore, and you can easily clean them with a damp cloth. Broken blinds are easy to replace, and make a huge visual difference. Even knotted-up strings, missing wands and crooked hardware can turn off potential buyers. They see the replacements necessary as the result of poor maintenance. Don't send the wrong message by missing this easy fix!
Loose Doors and Drawers ($0-10):
Potential buyers will cringe at the look of a loose dooror d…

Who is the Holy Spirit?

Well, this blog IS called "The Real Estate Pastor!"
This video message is one I taught back in Howell, Michigan about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. So many people misunderstand who He is and what He wants to do. And while His work is incredible, His goal is simple...
Take a few moments and see what a bottle of Coke has to do with understanding the Holy Spirit, then leave a comment below with your thoughts!


Improve Your Grammar, Impress Your Friends

English grammar can be tricky, and, a lot of times, the words that sound right are actually wrong. While I certainly am not a master of the English Language, I find myself cringing often at the way certain words are misused, specifically in emails and written documents. To me, it is a distraction that causes the person to whom I am conversing to appear in a negative light. Often, it's the words that we think we’re using correctly that can cause the biggest stumbles . Today I've picked out three pairs of words that cause many people trouble in their usage to look at with you. So, before you send your next email, or attach your resume to a document, please take a moment to consider these common issues many of us have with wording, and make some changes as needed: Thank you to Google for giving critical feedback on the correct usage in some cases, as I wanted to be clear on them myself! Acceptvs. Except These two words sound similar but have very different meanings.Accept, by definitio…

Save on Family Night Out

Have a family time out and SAVE MONEY with FREE  or discounted kids meals:
My family loves to go out. But with 3 kids who are all old enough to eat their own meal now, it can be a a big hit to the budget. Thankfully many restaurants also realize this, and know that you paying for adult meals is more money in their pockets than you paying for NO meals. That’s why some of them have some pretty sweet deals for kids, like free or very cheap at certain times or with adult purchases. Here are some of the ones my family has taken advantage of to save some cash and enjoy some time out together:
Fazoli’s. Who can resist those buttery bread sticks? Tuesday's are family day and kids meals are .99 all day long when you get an adult entree. Also, Thursdays they offer $4 off their family meals!Frisch’s Big Boy- my oldest son LOVES their breakfast buffet. And since its free when I get one, too, it is a favorite spot for our monthly father/son outings. And when he eats more than I do, I’m very than…

6 Ways to Cut your Expenses and Improve Your Budget

My wife is a saver. I am a spender.

In 10 years of marriage we started off in a place where my inclination to spend was a big problem because we moved for my job as the housing market crashed, leaving a Condo we couldn't sell, and she had trouble finding work in our new city due to being 'overqualified'.

So, very early on we got on a budget. We used a modified version of Financial Peace from Dave Ramsey and started using the envelope system for anything outside of bills. At the start, my envelope didn't have much in it! $5 a week was my 'spending money'! We'd get to the end of a month and I would have nothing, and my wife would have $20. Our date nights for almost a year were $5 'hot-n-ready's' and a Redbox movie!

Thankfully, with her budget skills, good planning, and God's favor we got on track and, for the vast majority of our marriage, have been much better financially. In fact, for a good 2 years we kept our budget in terms of bills and…

A Do NOT Do List?

We’ve all most likely heard about the need to make lists and prioritize the things we need to do. And it’s true. For almost everyone, having a to-do list helps keep us focused and makes us more productive. A mentor and coach of mine recently talked about the need to have a DO NOT DO LIST. This really got me thinking, and as he talked about it more, and shared his own list for the current year of things he wanted to stop doing, it really got me thinking...
Don’t we all have things that we do we wish we didn’t? 
Aren’t there things that take up our time, capacity, and focus that we know we should cut out?
Well, as with anything, instead of hoping and wishing, what if we made a DO NOT DO list for ourselves, and started focusing with the same energy and tenacity on the things we want to quit doing as we do with the things that we know we have to do?
Just a thought.
For me, I came up with three things immediately that I want to stop doing that:
1) I WILL NOT want to waste my money on insi…

Determining Your Net Worth

People who are preparing to make a large purchase often think about their credit score, and for good reason. It is a measure with which lenders decide your credit-worthiness and risk. However, for some people, the whole process of credit (while important) and managing it can be overwhelming.

That is why I suggest taking a slightly different approach, not just as you think about buying, but with your entire life: Focus on your net worth.

There is a great FREE downloadable mini book from Seed Time you can get called "The Christian PF Guide to Getting Out of Debt". I suggest you download the 40-page booklet here: Seed Time

In that mini book, they talk about many great factors regarding how to look at debt, how to get it under control, and how to eliminate it. But one chapter talks specifically about net worth, and I want to share a portion of that with you for consideration to help you understand why its so important:

How to calculate your Net Worth This shouldn't take mor…