The Difference Between http and https

Many people are unaware of the main difference between http:// and https://.

It's all about keeping you secure -
HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transport Protocol. The S (big surprise)stands for "Secure". If you visit a website or webpage, and look at the address in the web browser, it will likely begin with the following: http://. This means that the website is talking to your browser using the regular 'unsecure' language. In other words, it is possible for someone to "eavesdrop" on your computer's conversation with the website. If you fill out a form on the website, someone might see the information you send to that site.

This is why you never enter your credit card number in an
http website! But if the web address begins with https:// that basically means your computer is talking to the website in a secure code that no one can eavesdrop on. You understand why this is so important, right?

If a website ever asks you to enter your credit card information, you should automatically look to see if the web address begins with
https://. ; If it doesn't, there's no way you're going to enter sensitive information like a credit card number.

Price Reduced on this great home in Black Forest, Colorado Springs

The price on this 7 bedroom/4 bath/3 car garage home in Black Forest, Colorado Springs has been reduced to $699,000. If you are looking for a home for sale and want to live among the trees and also be in school district 20 - this could be the house for you. This home is on over 19 acres of treed land and has several barns/out buildings. The house is over 5,000 square feet and it's ready for you to move in! Visit my site for more details or you can visit my Trulia Real Estate Search where I have many interior photos posted of this great home for sale.

Contact me if you have questions or if you are interested in this home or others.

New Regulations You Need to Be Aware of Regarding Lead Based Paint on Homes Built Before 1978

Facts about lead
FACT: Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born.
FACT: Even children who seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies.
FACT: You can get lead in your body by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips containing lead.
FACT: You have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard.
FACT: Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to your family.If you think your home might have lead hazards, read on to learn about lead and some simple steps to protect your family.

Visit this link for more information on where lead is found, how to check your family and home for lead and much more helpful information.

Renovating, repairing or painting a home, child care facility or school containing lead-based paint
Beginning in April 2010, federal law will require that contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
Until that time, EPA recommends that anyone performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes, child care facilities and schools follow lead-safe work practices. The contractor should follow these three simple procedures:
  • Contain the work area
  • Minimize dust
  • Clean up throughly

Information for Property Owners of Rental Housing, Child-Occupied Facilities

Property owners who renovate, repair, or prepare surfaces for painting in pre-1978 rental housing or space rented by child-care facilities must, before beginning work, provide tenants with a copy of EPA's lead hazard information pamphlet.

After April 22, 2010, property owners who perform these projects in pre-1978 rental housing or space rented by child-care facilities must be certified and follow the lead-safe work practices required by EPA's Renovation, Repair and Remodeling rule. To become certified, property owners must submit an application for firm certification and fee payment to EPA. EPA is already processing applications. The Agency has up to 90 days after receiving a complete request for certification to approve or disapprove the application. Read more about EPA's rules and lead-safe work practices in EPA's pamphlet Contractors: Lead Safety During Renovation

Information for Homeowners Doing Your Own Rennovation

If you are a homeowner performing renovation, repair, or painting work in your own home, EPA's RRP rule does not cover your project. However, you have the ultimate responsibility for the safety of your family or children in your care. If you are living in a pre-1978 home and planning to do painting or repairs, please read a copy of EPA's Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools lead hazard information pamphlet. You may also want to call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) and ask for more information on how to work safely in a home with lead-based paint.

What Are Closing Costs? Questions about home loans

Whether you've purchased a home (or homes) in the past or you are new to the home buying process, closing costs can be confusing and even maddening! I found this article to be very helpful at explaining the ins and outs of closing costs and other questions surrounding home loans.

If you are interested in finding out more about what loan program might be the best for you or you want to apply for a home loan, please visit Suzannah Mattson's site with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. She has many different loan programs for all kinds of different situations.

If you are interested in looking at homes for sale in Colorado Springs and surrounding areas or you have a home to sell, please contact me and I would be more than happy to help.

Spring Ahead: Daylight Saving This Weekend

Don't forget to change your clocks this weekend as Daylight Saving Time begins throughout the United States (unless you live in Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands or America Samoa). Turn your clocks one hour FORWARD. Click here to learn more about Daylight Saving Time and why most of us change our clocks.

Try to remember:
in the spring, you spring forward (turn clocks forward one hour)
in the fall, you fall backward (turn clocks back one hour)

Quake in Chile has many economic impacts

After the recent 8.8-magnitude earthquake just off the coast of Chile, that country faces a massive economic impact from the 'quake.

Its wine industry alone, a major player in the national economy - it ranks 10th in the world in overall production - may be heavily hit.

More details can be found here.

Free Credit Report

We've all been told that it is important to check our credit report several times a year to make sure that our identity has not been stolen and used by someone else. You can get your free credit report here.

Check your credit report at least once a year. It's a credit healthy thing to do and there are several reputable companies to get your report from for free. Creditors determine whether to give you credit or a loan—and how much you will pay—based on information in your credit history. The consumer reporting companies collect information from your creditors about how many credit cards and loans you have and how many accounts are late, overdue, or in collection. They sell information in your file to creditors who determine if you'll get a loan and how much interest you'll pay on a credit card. This information can even be used to decide if you get a job, new cell phone service, an apartment lease, or car insurance.

You can get a report from Annual Credit Report by visiting their site or by calling 1-877-322-8228. You can also use Free Credit Report.

Important advice:

Know that there are imposters that use web site names that are extremely similar to the real “free” web site.

  • Don’t open emails or click on pop-ups that offer a free credit report. This could be a scam to steal your personal information.
  • Never give a credit card number for a “free” credit report.
  • You don’t have to purchase anything to get a “free” credit report. Many supposedly free credit reports will cost you money. Information taken from and further information available at AARP

New CHFA Programs for Colorado Homebuyers

Colorado Housing & Finance Authority (CHFA) has been around since 1973 and they help people finance their homes throughout Colorado. They offer some really neat programs and they have just come out with two new programs called CHFA Firststep and CHFA Firststep Plus.

Here's How it Works:

CHFA can help make your first home* purchase a safe, affordable, and understandable process. This program has a fixed interest rate (today, the rate is 5.25%) and even an optional CHFA Second Mortgage Loan to use for down payment and closing cost assistance. The buyer must contribute at least $1,000 of their own funds towards the purchase, yet seller paid closing costs are allowed.

The CHFA FirstStep program is a tax exempt first mortgage loan for first time* homebuyers. It offers affordable interest rates and a 30-year term. There are income and purchase price limits.

The CHFA FirstStep Plus program includes a second mortgage loan for help with down payment and/or closing costs. Just like the CHFA FirstStep, this loan has a 30-year term and market interest rate (the same as the first mortgage).

Here's How You Qualify For Either Program:

  • you must be a first time* homebuyer
  • your income and the purchase price must be within the limits
  • you must attend a First Time Homebuyer Education class
  • you must contribute a minimum of $1,00 of your own funds toward the purchase of the home
  • you must have a minimum credit score of 580
* A first time homebuyer is defined by CHFA as one who has not had an ownership interest in a primary residence for the three years prior tot the mortgage loan closing.

Only approved lenders can offer these programs, so please contact me if you are interested in getting pre-approved for a loan or if you have further questions about if this program is right for you. I'd be happy to put you in touch with one of several lenders I work closely with. If you have any real estate or housing needs or questions, please let me know as I'm happy to help you sell your current home or help you buy your next!