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Keep Your Kitchen Clean

PrimeLending - Keep Your Kitchen Clean

Regardless of whether or not you enjoy cooking, the inevitable task is much more enjoyable when you have a clean and clutter-free kitchen to work in. Additionally, a clean kitchen provides a safer place to eat and thus a healthier you. In the long-run, keeping your kitchen well-maintained and tidy will actually increase the value of your home if you choose to sell it later on. Below is our three-step guide to a cleaner and organized kitchen.

Step 1: Get organized.

The best cleaning tips for the kitchen start with identifying and organizing the items that belong in the kitchen as well as the items that don’t belong but have managed to make their way in overtime. One way to get all kitchen items organized is to ensure that every item has a home. All flatware should be separated and properly placed in a drawer. Food items such as bread, cereal, etc. should be placed in the cabinet or pantry. Car keys should be hung from a hook on the wall or in a basket on the entry table.

If after organizing your entire kitchen, you discover items that don’t have a home, you can draw the conclusion that they don’t belong in the kitchen at all. To keep the non-kitchen items from piling up, do a quick sweep of your kitchen everyday and remove any items that don’t belong.

Step 2: Live healthy.

Yes, germs are everywhere and it is impossible to kill all germs in your home. However, we can keep them contained in areas that are known for harboring the most germs. For example, avoid using sponges to wipe down countertops and sinks. They are known to carry a ton of germs and spread them quickly. Instead, consider using a paper towel or cleaning wipe that you can throw away once the task is complete.

After cooking, be sure to wipe down all counters with a safe disinfectant, especially when handling raw meats. Keep anti-bacterial hand soap next to your dish soap on your sink and wash your hands both after handling raw foods and cleaning up. Lastly, if you have a pet, keep their dishes off of countertops and food prep areas.

Step 3: Clean regularly.

While cleaning the kitchen every day or once a week may seem extremely time consuming, it will actually require less time than it would to clean your kitchen after a significant amount of time has passed. A good rule of thumb is to clean as you cook. After you add an ingredient, place it back in the cabinet or refrigerator. Once you finish with one pot or bowl, wash it or put it in the dishwasher.

Also, wash or rinse the dishes right after you finish eating. This will prevent food from sticking to the plates and silverware. Try to mop and clean out your refrigerator at least once a week. Finally, take out any trash that contains raw meats or spoiled food.

Tips for Increased Organization and Productivity

Oklahoma Mortgage

The majority of us consider organization to be the single most important factor in creating and maintaining productive work habits. If you are like most individuals, sustaining organization is not the hard part; it’s getting organized that most of us struggle with. In order to assist you, our team of mortgage professionals has shared their best tips on how to get organized as well as a few tricks on maintaining it.

Step 1: Assess your organizational needs.

Before you pick up a single item on your messy desk, take a second to think about what all needs to be organized. Start with the easiest category, paperwork. Identify all the paperwork that flows into your workspace and divide it into categories. For example, most people have a stack of bills, contact information, correspondence, etc. Once you have all of your paper work divided up, come up with a system for keeping it all organized. Maybe you want to have separate folders for each category and store them all in your file cabinet, or maybe you want to divide it all up into a tray table that sits on your desk. It doesn’t matter how you keep it separated; only that each item has a designated spot.
The next thing you want to asses is how quickly you can find things. Do you spend a good amount of time searching for documents, files or stray papers? If you answered yes to the previous question, build a filing system to help keep all of your important documents organized. Having everything in one central location will cut back on the time you spend searching your office and allow you to spend more time being productive.

Lastly, assess your time-management and track your “to-do” items. Some people prefer to use traditional day planners, while others prefer computer-based systems. Being able to track what you accomplish and add new tasks will not only keep your organized but allow your days to flow smoothly.

Step 2: Don’t be intimated by sorting.

Sorting is something we all hate to do, but must accomplish when trying to get organized. The best way to look at it is that you are simply grouping like items and taking away things that don’t belong in the group. For example, if your computer or desk area is covered with sticky notes of “to-do” items, consolidate them. Instead of having 50 sticky notes, type them all into your task tracker. Another way to organize your work area is to have a tray for urgent or immediate documents and one for regular items.

Step 3: Toss what you don’t need.

Hopefully after you have sorted through your workspace, you have found quite a few items that you no longer need. While it may seem easy, this step is one that many of us struggle with. For some reason, we have a hard time deciding what to keep and what to purge. Here are some factors to consider if you can’t decide which route to go:


  1. Keep financial statements and tax information that may be required by the IRS on file for five to seven years. Anything older than that can be discarded.

  3. Toss any information that is available online. If you have printed off copies of articles you found online and know that they will remain on the site you found it, throw away the hard copy. If you are unsure whether or not you will be able to find it online at a later date, copy and paste the text into a Word document and save it to your hard drive.

  5. Transfer contact information to the appropriate place, and then discard the scrap it was originally written on. If you have a sticky not with a clients email address or phone number on it, add them to your address book and toss the scrap of paper.

Step 4: Categorize and maintain.

Once you have sorted through and thrown out anything and everything you no longer need, file it. Come up with your top categories and if needed, subcategories. Take each pile, place it in a folder and add it to your filing cabinet. Before you know it, you will be organized.

Keep in mind the maintaining organization requires you to be diligent about it. If needed, set a weekly reminder in your phone or on your calendar that reminds you to sort, purge and categorize new items.

This article was brought to you by Oklahoma Mortgage Bank. Oklahoma Mortgage Bank offers a wide ar- ray of mortgage programs to eligible borrowers nationwide. Click here to visit our website.

If you or someone you know has questions about home financing in Oklahoma or nationwide, contact our Oklahoma mortgage team: (405) 358-3560 or (800) 308-8503.

10 Steps to Home Ownership Series Step 6: Get Financing

Oklahome Home FinanceingMortgage financing is a very important aspect of buying a home. Once you include interest and closing fees, the cost of real estate funding is often more than the original purchase price. With this said, it is good to gather as much information as possible on different mortgage options and costs available to you.

What type of home loan do I need?

Though there are tons of mortgage options made accessible by different lenders, typically the loan you choose will be determined from a few key factors:

  • How much do you plan to put down? There are some loans available with 5 percent down
    or less – actually, in recent years, major lenders have financed loans with no money down.
  • If you plan on placing a down payment of 20 percent or less, lenders will ask that the mortgage be backed by an outside third party. Some include the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or the Veterans Administration (VA). Another option is private mortgage insurance (PMI). This is necessary to protect the lender from possible mortgage defaults. Every year, millions of FHA, VA, and PMI loans are generated.
  • Do you have a good line of credit? Eligible borrowers with good, solid credit are granted the best terms and rates. If you wish to receive a great loan, make sure you are paying in full and on time all of your installment payments, credit card notices, rent bills, and mortgage bills.
  • Is this your first time buying a home? It can sometimes be perceived that “first-time buyer” refers to a person who has never owned property in the past. This is not always true. Under several state programs, this term refers to a person who has not owned any property for the previous three years.
  • How can I obtain a home loan?

    To begin the mortgage process you must fill out a loan application as well as provide all necessary documentation. Some of the documents needed include current paycheck stubs, copies of recent bank statements, and if you are self-employed, tax returns and rental checks from the past two to three years are required. Your loan officer will explain in detail all of the paperwork you need to provide during the prequalification procedure.

    Where can I go to get a home loan?

    Our team of experienced, Oklahoma loan officers are available to assist you with your future home financing. Customer service and satisfaction is our top priority at Oklahoma Mortgage Bank and our team of professionals understands how challenging the mortgage process can be; therefore, we walk our clients through every step and are absolutely available to answer any questions that may arise. Contact us today about our mortgage programs and let Oklahoma Mortgage Bank turn your home ownership dreams into a reality!

10 Steps to Home Ownership Series Step 5: Choose a Home

oklahoma-home-searchChoosing your first home is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make; therefore, selecting the right one is extremely important. Since you will be the buyer in this situation, our team of Oklahoma Mortgage experts has provided a simple breakdown of what happens during the home buying process and how to decide if the home is right for you.

What are the steps of the home buying process?

The seller makes the first offer by placing his or her home on the market for an established asking price and other terms. At this point, you (the buyer) have three options: reject it and not make an offer, suggest different terms and make a counter-offer or accept the offer and generate a contract. The bargaining between the seller and the buyer is probably the most complex step of the home buying process, but with the help of an experienced real estate agent a negotiation will more than likely be reached.

How can you tell if it’s THE house?

While a house is just a shelter, a home is much more. Your future home is where you live, unwind, entertain friends, visit with family and sometimes even work. It is where you spend much of your life, so choosing the right home is an extremely important decision.

How do you know if a house is the right one for you? Our mortgage team recommends viewing as many houses as possible. This will allow you to be certain when deciding if a home is truly the one.

Do you want to go inside the house?

When you first pull up the house with your realtor, do you immediately feel a rush of excitement and want to bust the front door down to see the rest? Or does the house to the right of it seem more appealing? If you find yourself more attracted to the other houses, it is probably a sign that this particular house is not the right home for you.

Does the house embrace you the moment you enter?

Your initial impression of the home sets the tone for the rest of the viewing. If you are not impressed
within the first three seconds of being in the home, the chances that you will enjoy the rest of the tour are slim.

Do you begin to envision how you will arrange your furniture?

If you walk into the living room and immediately see your TV mounted on a particular wall or you walk into the kitchen and imagine entertaining family and friends, you may be hooked. One of the best signs of finding the right home is when you start to imagine the layout of your furniture. When you see yourself making a life there, a simple house becomes a home.

Are you ready to stop looking at houses?

If the houses on your list no longer appeal to you, you may have found the right home. Also, if you find yourself re-rating homes a two that were once an eight in your book, you are more than likely ready to throw your towel in and purchase your new home.

Is everything in your mind telling you to buy that house?

When you have come across the right home, you will know. Everything in your mind will be telling
you that this is THE house.

Can you afford the home?

This is where our step two of the home ownership process, or the pre-approval step, kicks in. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you have a fairly accurate idea about how much you can borrow from the lending company and how much you can afford each month for the mortgage. A pre-approval also gives you a heads up on what mortgage programs you qualify for and which ones will work best for your current situation.

While a pre-approval is not a loan guarantee or commitment, it does provide lenders with the opportunity to check such items as your latest credit reports and appraisals. Other than fluctuating interest rates, a mortgage pre-approval does provide a logical, careful analysis of what you can afford.