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If you are buying a home for the first time, you might not be aware that you need to put down a deposit when you make your offer as a sign of your seriousness. While this good-faith gesture portrays your intention to purchase the home, it also comes with the risk that you can lose this money if you decide not to follow through with your offer to buy. If you do decide to purchase the home, your escrow funds become part of your down payment.

Once your money is in escrow, you cannot get it back unless the seller agrees to let you do so. This means that in many cases, the money won’t be returned to you if you decide not to make the purchase, unless you’ve arranged one of the following three contingencies ahead of time.

1. Do Your Research before You Place the Offer

Typically, the seller must disclose existing problems with the property. Some of these disclosures might be directly connected to the house, while others might arise from the property’s location. For example, structural changes that do not meet state or local codes will require modification until they do. These changes might end up costing you thousands of additional dollars. Likewise, the presence of noisy or argumentative neighbors, particularly those individuals who dispute property lines, could be reason enough to look at a different home.

Read through the list of disclosures before you disclose your intention to buy the property if you live in a state that requires their submission prior to a formal offer. Get the answers to any questions you might have before you make the offer and include a contingency that you get the escrow deposit refunded if the sellers were not completely honest in their disclosures.

2. Link Your Escrow to Mortgage Approval

While it makes perfect sense that you should receive your escrow deposit back if you do not obtain the approval to borrow money, you should make sure that this contingency is listed along with your offer. If the unexpected happens and the bank, credit union, or mortgage lender denies your request for a loan, you should be entitled to get your escrow deposit back. Make sure this option is listed in any documentation that you sign.

3. Link Your Escrow to a Home Inspection

Ask your real estate agent to include a contingency that you receive your escrow deposit back if any expensive problems are discovered during the home inspection. Areas to focus on include the roof, heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical system, and foundation of the home. Minor problems shouldn’t be a concern, but anything major should deter you from the buying the home unless you can afford the added expense to remedy problems.

The size of your escrow deposit depends on your state’s regulations regarding this aspect of a home sale. However, even if the amount you must put down with your offer is only three percent of the purchase price, you will want the money back if you decide not to go forward with the purchase. Take a few moments to ensure this option is possible so that you don’t lose your hard-earned money.

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6 Ways to Keep Your Hair in Top Condition – Totally Naturally

Your hair is one of the first things anyone notices about you, but if it’s in poor condition, it’s extremely difficult to style it successfully to achieve the look you want. Many products are available which claim to give your hair’s condition a healthy boost, but even if these are actually effective, they’re usually expensive and prevention is always better. Here are six totally natural ways to keep your hair looking healthy, undamaged, and full of shine and body.

Avoid Heat

It might be tempting to straighten your hair for a more stylish look, but excessive heat damages hair and makes it brittle. If possible, avoid using a hair dryer by allowing extra time when getting ready so your hair dries naturally. However, if you must use a dryer, use the low-heat setting for the lowest risk of damage.

Wash in Warm Water

Hot showers may feel great on your body, but keep the hot water away from your hair. Washing and conditioning your hair should be done in cold to lukewarm water to prevent unwanted damage to the ends, and also to avoid washing out your hair’s essential, shine-giving oils.

Don’t Comb Wet Hair

If you’re in a rush, you may be tempted to comb or brush your hair while it’s still wet, but this is best avoided. Hair is more brittle and prone to damage when it’s wet, so hold off on styling for a while until it’s had the chance to dry a little.

Vitamins

Vitamins are essential for your hair to grow and stay healthy, and one of the most important varieties is vitamin A. Green, leafy vegetables are an excellent source of this vital nutrient, along with carrots, dairy products, and dark meats. If your diet is lacking in these foods, taking a multivitamin or a supplement designed specifically for hair growth is better than nothing, but paying attention to healthy eating should always be the first choice.

Stay Away from Chemicals

Avoid the temptation to dye or bleach your hair. The chemicals needed to do this are harsh and damaging, and frequent use can even cause long-term or irreversible harm to your follicles and scalp. If you do use chemical treatments, always opt for mild shampoos and conditioners afterward, or ones specifically designed for color-treated hair.

Regular Deep Condition

Lastly, a regular deep conditioning will keep your hair looking and feeling great whatever the ravages of your daily life. There’s no need to use expensive products for this – any mild oil such as castor, coconut, olive, or even baby oil will be perfect. Simply warm it a little then massage it into your hair roots and scalp. Leave for half an hour, then wash gently using warm water to give shine, elasticity, and super-soft locks.

Your hair is an important beauty asset, but it’s very sensitive to rough treatment. Taking care of your hair naturally will keep it in the best possible condition, removing the need for expensive treatments to restore shine and body, and making it easy to style into the look you want.


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