Berkshire Broadcast

Tips to Make Your Home both Beautiful and Kid-Friendly

Have you ever been to a home where it’s clear that the kids have taken over the space? It’s obvious that the home has become more of a playground, filled with toys and bright-colored plastic everywhere. Homes like this often sacrifice style for durability or stain-resistance. Maybe this is your home? The good news is that it’s possible to create a home that incorporates the beauty of a stylish home with the practicality of living with children. Here are a few design tips to help.

Be Realistic – You may love the look of crisp white sofas and delicate glass vases, but if you live with kids, opt for more durable choices. Natural fiber furniture in neutrals hide stains while looking stylish;

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January is Time for Homestead Exemptions, Big Jobs, & HVACs [[+]] Austin Area Closes Year With Record $17B Market: Chuck Farr’s January 2021 “Talking Real Estate” ENewsletter


Happy new year, homeowners, tenants, prospective buyers, and real-estate investors! If you bought a home last year and started living there on January 1, 2021, make a note to file your homestead exemption in the next month or three (also check on disability and over 65 exemptions if applicable) at your local county tax office to save money on property taxes.

Also in the news: the Austin Board of Realtors says the  “Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) closed 2020 by breaking records as housing demand across the region reached unprecedented levels.” (check

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10 Home Inspection Issues Red Flags

Most homebuyers realize that they can’t expect a perfect home inspection report when buying a resale home. Cosmetic flaws and minor repairs are easily managed and shouldn’t be dealbreakers. That said, there are some issues that are more serious and should give the buyer pause if not addressed adequately. 

10 Home Inspection Red Flags

1. Leaky and Rundown Roofing – watch for signs of current or past water damage.

2. Poor Drainage – drainage issues can cause serious damage to the home foundation, siding, and basements.

3. Foundation Issues – signs of foundation problems can include cracks around doors and windows or uneven floors. Foundation problems can cost thousands of dollars to correct.


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The savings rate in America is pretty abysmal. Fifty-seven percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts, according to a 2017 GOBanking Rates survey.

Without savings, people can be forced to take on debt when they lose their job, get sick or have major car repairs. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to trick yourself into saving money, whether for retirement, college, a new car, vacation or a rainy day. Here are five:

Automatic Transfers
Having money automatically moved from your paycheck to a retirement account, or from your checking account to savings, can be a painless way to save money without realizing you’re doing it. It’s called “Pay yourself first” and it is meant to pay into your retirement or other savings

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When preparing to batten down the hatches during a storm, don’t forget to pay attention to your furry family members. Loud, unpredictable noises and an uptick of electrical currents in the air can make your pet seriously scared when the weather goes wild. Here are three ways to soothe your dog or cat during an electrical storm.

Create a comfortable space. Many animals like small, tight spaces when the weather becomes unpredictable. (Some even jump in the bathtub!) Find a cozy spot for your pet (preferably in the same room you’re in) and bring in their favorite blanket, bed or toy.

Turn on calming music. Animals have long been known to react to soothing music the same way people do. Play some classical tunes or lullabies to help put pets at

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Tips for the First-Time Home Seller

There is a lot of attention paid to first-time homebuyers. Most real estate agents and lenders have some kind of guide to help first-time homebuyers navigate their first home purchase, but what about the first-time seller?

Selling your home for the first time can be just as confusing as a home purchase, so here are a few things to remember as you navigate your home sale.

Before that first showing, it’s important to prepare. This involves not only cleaning, decluttering, and staging the home, but also learning about your local real estate market and finding the best agent for your needs.

Interview more than one agent and ask lots of questions. Learn about the services they offer: do they include professional

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Teaching your child about money by giving them a piggy bank or having them earn an allowance by doing household chores is a great start to learning about how to earn and save money.

Spending wisely, however, is another lesson. And it will probably come away from home and without adult supervision.

A debit card—usually linked to a parent’s checking account—or a prepaid debit card can help children learn how to manage money jointly with their parents. Their spending can be monitored, such as through a phone app from their bank in a joint account that the parent puts money into only for this purpose.

Before giving their child a debit card, here are some things parents should know and discuss with their children:

Age limits: Most banks don’t

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If you’re a first-time homeowner, the odds are good you will soon be ready for the fun and responsibility of owning your first dog.

If you’re looking for a pet that suits you and your lifestyle, the pooch experts at suggest breeds that are low maintenance, shed minimally, are easily trainable, and get along well with kids and other dogs:

  • Labrador retriever. There’s a reason these dogs are among the most popular breeds in the country. Known to be loyal, intelligent, obedient, and easy to train, they are deservedly a top choice, especially if you have, or plan to have children.
  • German short-haired pointer. These favorites are also low maintenance dogs that are easy to train. However, they’re also very active and require a lot
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5 Refinancing Mistakes to Avoid

Mortgage interest rates are the lowest they’ve been in years and perhaps you’re wondering if it’s time to refinance your loan. Lenders advertising their refinancing services make it sound as easy as filling out a form and paying less each month. While refinancing does not need to be complicated, here are 5 common mistakes that could cost you thousands of dollars over the course of the loan. Refinancing can be a great experience if you can avoid making these mistakes.

1. Not Shopping Around – Not all loans are structured the same. It’s important to compare your options. Even loans with the same interest rate can have different costs, fees, and terms.

2. Shopping for Too Long – Interest rates change quickly and,

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Having bad credit can be worse than having no credit at all. A lousy credit score can lead to a steeper credit hole to climb out of, and can take years to fix.

All is not lost. Borrowers with bad credit scores can still get approved for a new credit card, though they’ll have to jump through a few more financial hoops than other people.

If you’re trying to qualify for an unsecured card because you have bad credit, here are some things you’ll need to provide:

Proof of Income
The Credit Card Act of 2009 requires that borrowers be checked that they have an “ability to pay” to have credit extended to them. That can include proof of your annual income, as well as your partner’s.

The credit card issuer may have minimum income requirements of

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