Before you decide what grass to purchase for your lawn take a moment to assess your life and yard to select the best warm or cool-season grass variety for you. Here are some crucial items to think about that will affect your choice of grass. 

How will your lawn be used?

Think about where and why you’re planting sod. If your installing new grass for your front lawn the use may be more for aesthetics than active use. If planting for your backyard the grass might see more traffic, and if you have children who will play outside frequently or pets that live in the yard, you’ll want to select a more rough and tough variety of grass for your climate zone. If the lawn is just for show, a beautiful but sensitive grass might do well for you.

What are the conditions in your yard?

Does your yard already allow for drainage? Your yard might already have an irrigation system, or you may need to install one. Make sure your yard is or can be well-prepared for the grass you select. If implementing an irrigation system will be difficult, or simply isn’t cost effective so it won’t fit in your budget consider a grass that won’t need so much drainage. Look at the terrain of your yard. Will the area you’re planting be easy or challenging to mow? If on a hill perhaps you want to plant a grass that only needs mowing once or twice a month or a grass that looks good if left to grow long. 

Assessing sun and shade

Even if you know what climate zone you live in you’ll still need to assess the sun and shade situation for your yard in particular. Observe your yard throughout the day, over the course of a few days. Track where the sun hits throughout the day and what areas have shade, and at what times. Tracking will help you narrow down your grass selections before you start looking at costs. 

Cost. 

How does lawn maintenance fit into your budget? If you want a grass that needs lots of irrigation or regular fertilizer, you’ll need to account for the ongoing cost. Make sure you can afford to continue taking care of your lawn over the long term so that you can protect your investment. 

With this information you can review the grass varieties available to you, that suit your climate zone and make the best selection. If a lush front lawn or hearty backyard that can handle kids playing is essential to you, discuss your needs with your real estate agent so that they can include information about each lawn in the houses they present you and help you find the right yard for your lifestyle.

Tagged with:
 

It’s easy to get stuck without a mortgage approval or with a smaller home loan than you want, just because you don’t understand how your credit score works. Most of the things you’ve done to prepare: budgeting your income, balancing your bank accounts and saving up for a down payment, aren’t reflected in your FICO credit score. It doesn’t even show how much you can afford.

So what’s the point of your credit score?

It tells your lender what you’ve done with your previous credit. Whether anyone has been willing to lend you money, how long you’ve kept it and whether you pay it back on time. They keep the actual algorithm at FICO secret, but there are two main factors that you can affect.

Late Payments

These are easy to understand and fix. Ready? Pay them on time. That’s it. Each time you are late on a debt payment, whether it’s a credit card, school loan, mortgage, or car loan it dings your credit score. That’s the easy part. Now for some finance math.

Debt to Credit Ratio

Surprisingly, you are in complete control of this part of your score too. While it sounds like this is a ratio of how much you owe to how much you make, it’s not. The debt-to-credit ratio shows how much you owe based on how much credit you currently have available. That means if you have a $5000 credit card, and your friend has a $2000 credit card, and you both OWE $2000, you will have a higher score than your friend because your ratio ($2000/$5000) is lower than hers ($2000/$2000). The higher this ratio gets, the less likely lenders are to give you more credit. Most professionals suggest you try to keep your usage below 30%. That means your balance on that $5000 credit card should stay below $1500. This practice works better for you as well, keeping some cushion in your accounts for emergencies.

Managing your Debt-to-Credit Ratio

There are a few tricks beyond merely using less of your credit to help keep this number under control. First off, pay off as much of your debt as possible. You want to keep that used debt down as low as possible when trying to apply for new debt. Second, don’t close your paid-off accounts. While it may seem like the optimal thing to do, remember that total credit number? You want to keep that number high so that your used credit appears lower. So, you’ve paid off that credit card? Great! Now chop it up or put it in a hidden drawer and keep that available credit without using it. Lastly, be careful about opening new accounts. While it lowers your debt-to-credit ratio as long as you don’t actually spend from them, your score also reflects the age of your accounts. The longer ago you applied for and got credit, the more likely it is you will qualify for new credit. Don’t waste that new credit qualification on anything else besides your home loan.

Want to know the best lenders to apply with once you’ve got the best score? Ask your real estate agent for their top recommendations for your situation and use their expertise to ease the qualification process.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.