Imad Massabni - ERA Key - Morrison


Plants can enhance the look and feel of your home, and some can even improve your indoor air quality. But if you have pets, you need to be selective about the plants you bring into your home. Choosing the right plants allows you to enjoy a lush indoor herb garden or a striking bowl of succulents without worrying about your pet's health. Choose one of the plants below to ensure you can beautify your space risk and worry-free.

Pet Friendly Indoor Plants

  • Spider Plants: Lush, full and capable of spawning dozens of offspring at a time, spider plants add a delightful splash of green to any location in your home. Long a favorite of veterinarians, spider plants are safe, easy to grow and can even help improve the air quality in your home, according to Architectural Digest.
  • Indoor herb garden: Many of the same culinary herbs humans enjoy are safe for pets. Liven up your kitchen and your meals with an indoor herb garden using some pet safe herbs, including mint, chamomile, thyme and basil. You can also add catnip, but this will attract your cats to your herbs, even in its natural, undried state.
  • Air plants and succulents: Add air plants of any type and choose from a wide variety of succulents, the vast majority and the most common varieties are pet safe. Avoid jade plant and aloe, but other popular succulents, like Christmas cactus, Hens and Chicks and Echeverias are all pet friendly. Place in a terrarium or enclosure to keep pets away; succulents have short roots, and a curious pet could easily dislodge them, killing the plant you've been caring for and enjoying.

Dangerous Plants if you Have Pets

There are plenty of plants that are hazardous to pets and that should be enjoyed in another setting, not your home. Check any plant you are considering bringing home for pet-friendliness -- and avoid the plants below; these are considered dangerous to animals:

  • Aloe
  • Amaryllis
  • Begonia
  • Poinsettia
  • Lily, most varieties
  • Tulips and daffodils (potted, the bulbs are the dangerous parts)
  • Philodendron, most varieties
  • Snake Plant

Choosing the right plants lets you enjoy the benefits of greenery indoors, without risk; choose from the first list above to ensure you add a colorful accent to your home without worrying about your pet's health. If you're not sure about a plant, check the ASPCA list of toxic plants to ensure the pieces you bring into your home are truly safe.


If you’re in the market to buy a home, you’re probably learning many new vocabulary words. Pre-approved and pre-qualified are some buzz words that you’ll need to know. There’s a big difference in the two and how each can help you in the home buying process, so you’ll want to educate yourself. With the proper preparation and knowledge, the home buying process will be much easier for you.  


Pre-Qualification


This is actually the initial step that you should take in the home buying process. Being pre-qualified allows your lender to get some key information from you. Make no mistake that getting pre-qualified is not the same thing as getting pre-approved.


The qualification process allows you to understand how much house you’ll be able to afford. Your lender will look at your income, assets, and general financial picture. There’s not a whole lot of information that your lender actually needs to get you pre-qualified. Many buyers make the mistake of interchanging the words qualified and approval. They think that once they have been pre-qualified, they have been approved for a certain amount as well. Since the pre-qualification process isn’t as in-depth, you could be “qualified” to buy a home that you actually can’t afford once you dig a bit deeper into your financial situation. 


Being Pre-Approved


Getting pre-approved requires a bit more work on your part. You’ll need to provide your lender with a host of information including income statements, bank account statements, assets, and more. Your lender will take a look at your credit history and credit score. All of these numbers will go into a formula and help your lender determine a safe amount of money that you’ll be able to borrow for a house. Things like your credit score and credit history will have an impact on the type of interest rate that you’ll get for the home. The better your credit score, the better the interest rate will be that you’re offered. Being pre-approved will also be a big help to you when you decide to put an offer in on a home since you’ll be seen as a buyer who is serious and dependable.  


Things To Think About


Although getting pre-qualified is fairly simple, it’s a good step to take to understand your finances and the home buying process. Don’t take the pre-qualification numbers as set in stone, just simply use them as a guide. 


Do some investigating on your own before you reach the pre-approval stage. Look at your income, debts, and expenses. See if there is anything that can be paid down before you take the leap to the next step. Check your credit report and be sure that there aren’t any errors on the report that need to be remedied. Finally, look at your credit score and see if there’s anything that you can do better such as make more consistent on-time payments or pay down debt for a more desirable debt-to-income ratio.


When you make the decision to buy your first home, you should be certain that you’re ready to make the leap into homeownership. There’s many different things that you should do as a buyer to get ready before you even set out on the search of a perfect home.


Choose An Agent


You may think that one real estate agent is the same as any real estate agent that you’ll find. This is far from the truth. Some agents have certain specialties. The knowledge that an agent will bring to your house hunt is often invaluable. You are making one of the biggest purchases that you’ll ever make in your lifetime. While many buyers think that they can simply do an online search themselves to find a home, your realtor will have many more resources to assist you in finding exactly what you’re looking for.


Figure Out The Financial Portion Of Buying A Home


While knowing how many bedrooms you need and where you hope to live is important, understanding your finances is even more important. You’ll need to talk to a lender to get the process started. After looking at your own personal budget, you should get pre-qualified. Getting pre-qualified allows you to see a general number of how much house you can afford. That can help you start the process, however, there’s still a few more steps. 


From here, you can do what needs to be done to get your entire financial picture ready to buy a home. This includes saving for a downpayment, improving your credit score, and continuing to keep up bill payments and consistent work history. 


Next, you’ll want to get pre-approved. This allows your lender to dig into your financial picture. Everything from your credit score to your income and employment history will be considered. Your lender will then give you a more definitive number of how much you’ll actually be able to get for a loan when you buy a home. To get pre-approved, be prepared with 1099 forms, pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements. You’ll then have the concrete amount that you’re approved for along with the interest rate that you qualify for. 


Once You Have Applied For A Home Loan


Once you find the realtor to assist you and secure the home of your dreams, you’re not free to head out and buy all the furniture that you need to fill up your house. The home loan must go through the underwriting process and until that is complete, your finances are essentially on lockdown. If you start opening new credit cards, decide to buy a car, or fall behind on payments, you could end up in a lot of trouble. You want to keep your credit score stable throughout the process of buying a home for smooth sailing.


If you know you’d like to buy a home in the future, you’ve probably thought about saving money for all of the upfront costs that buying a home can bring. Saving the sizable amount of money that it takes for a down payment can be seemingly impossible to do. It’s impossible without making yourself seem miserable for a time, at least. You can save money creatively without sacrificing everything. Below, you’ll find some tips for saving money that work for your life. 


Put Your Money Somewhere Safe


While investing in the stock market may seem like a good idea to put your savings on hyperdrive, it’s risky. When it comes to your savings, try high interest savings accounts and CDs. The latter is a particularly good option because you won’t be able to touch the money for the time period that the CD will mature. You’ll also earn a bit of interest on the funds that are in there. 


If you plan to keep adding to your savings (which you should) a traditional savings account is best. You should have a dedicated account that’s solely for the house fund. Do some shopping around for the savings account that will have the best interest rate and be the easiest option for you. Remember that as boring as a savings account seems, it’s a safe bet for your money. 


Apps Can Assist You


There are plenty of budgeting apps and apps that help you to set aside spare change. You should make use of these tools to help you reach your savings goals. Whether you need some help with budgeting or need to find ways to put your spare change to good use, there’s an app for that. You can even find apps that will reward you for good behavior. These apps may “tip” you a few bucks for going to the gym or completing a project on time. You’re saving money and doing good for yourself at the same time! Saving money for your future home can be fun if you find the right tools to help you.



Set Goals


One reason that many people don’t save a lot of money is that they lack specific goals. If you sit down and look at your budget, you’ll see where you can cut expenses. Then, you’ll be able to have clear cut goals of how much you can save on a weekly or monthly basis. With your eyes on the prize of homeownership, you should be motivated to save where you can. Having specific numbers in mind can be a big help in reaching your long-term goals.


Seeing your desire to buy a waterfront property through is a big accomplishment. Before you sign on the dotted lines, there are a few things that you should know about the process of choosing the perfect waterfront property for you. 


Decide What You Need


The first step in finding the right property of any kind is understanding your own needs. How do you want to use the property? Will it be your year-round home, or will you be there only a portion of the year? Really map out what your priorities are when it comes to searching for waterfront properties. From here, you can figure out what areas you’d like to search in and what type of property you want to find to suit you. What types of activities will you be doing at your property? Will a lake property do the job or do you need an ocean escape? Is canoeing or kayaking a part of your dream, or is simply sitting by the water enough enjoyment for your needs? Answering all of these questions can help you to narrow down your needs for a waterfront property. 


Touring Properties


As with any other type of home search, you should take the time to scope out the properties that you’re interested in. This means not only looking at the properties themselves but looking at the communities and neighborhoods as well. What does the area have to offer you? Is it near a town or nestled away in a secluded spot? Remember that with a typical house the size of the home is what contributes to the majority of the value of the home. With a waterfront property, the surroundings are key. The closer to the water you are, the more valuable your piece of real estate is. Consider all of the typical factors when looking at properties along with the additional concerns of being close to the amenities and natural pleasures that you crave. 


Other Important Things To Consider


Other things that you should consider in finding your perfect piece of waterfront heaven are things like:


  • How close is the beach?
  • Does the beach or lake have easy access?
  • Is there an adequate amount of privacy at this property?
  • What kind of view is there?


The more breathtaking the views and the more space between you and your neighbors will give you an advantage not only in your own living situation but in renting out the property and even selling it in the future. 


There are a lot of things that go into making the decision of finding the right waterfront property. Sometimes, hiring an experienced realtor in the area can be just what you need to understand all the aspects of your investment from the area to the type of home you choose. Don’t be afraid to hire an experienced realtor to help you in your search.