Quick Tips to Make Your Spring Cleaning Last Longer

Enjoy this “Closing Thoughts” guest post from OSB’s Mortgage Lender, Kacie Eberenz (NMLS# 1458409). Looking for more mortgage loan advice to help you purchase real estate in Michigan’s Lenawee, Jackson and Washtenaw Counties? Visit our website then Contact Kacie today!

The arrival of the spring season and warmer weather often brings with it a renewed desire to spruce up your home and give it a thorough cleaning. While you getting your home spic and span is your goal, spending more time than necessary mopping, sweeping or doing other cleaning chores is likely not something you want to do. These tips can help you spring clean your home quickly, and make the results of your efforts last longer.

Recruit help. Just like other chores, your spring cleaning will get done faster if you have other people to share the workload. Make a list of tasks for your partner or kids to help you with, then delegate. If you live alone, then consider trading off spring cleaning assistance with friends or neighbors.

Set a schedule—and a timer. Cleaning, like many other household tasks is likely to be more efficient when you set a time limit for it. Consider giving yourself (or your cleaning helpers) a set schedule for each cleaning task and set a timer to help enforce it. For example, a regular size bathroom could be cleaned in 10 minutes. A garage might take an hour. Once the time is up, take note of anything that still needs to be done, then move on!

Clear clutter first. Nothing will slow you down (or distract you!) more than having to clear clutter while you are spring cleaning. Instead, put papers, extra items and other miscellaneous “stuff” to one side or in a large box to sort later. Focus on getting the major cleaning done first, then sort clutter room by room—on a rainy spring afternoon for example.

Start with time-intensive tasks. When you approach each room or area on your cleaning list, consider what tasks take more time and do them first. For example, spray down the shower with cleaner to allow it to soak, then tackle other bathroom surfaces and towel folding, etc. If you need to air out rugs, take them out side when you first enter a room, do your cleaning, then bring them back in when your timer goes off to make your cleaning session complete.

Make tidying tasks a habit. Spring cleaning is somewhat of a seasonal ritual, however, it can be time consuming and tiring, so once it is done, commit to tidying as you go on a daily basis. A few minutes spent putting clutter in its place, wiping out the shower, sweeping the floor and other general cleaning means that next spring, more of your time can be spent enjoying the outdoors!

If you’re ready to tackle your home, use these tips to help you spring clean quickly and efficiently—and to make that “just cleaned” feeling last longer. If you’re cleaning in preparation for a new home search contact OSB’s Mortgage Lender, Kacie Eberenz (NMLS# 1458409) at 517-592-1058 to make your mortgage pre-approval process quick and easy, too.

Tips for More At-Home Storage Space

Enjoy this “Closing Thoughts” guest post from OSB’s Mortgage Lender, Kacie Eberenz (NMLS# 1458409). Looking for mortgage loan advice to help you purchase real estate in Michigan’s  Lenawee, Jackson and Washtenaw Counties? Contact Kacie today!

After the hectic holiday season, the beginning of the year provides the perfect opportunity to take stock of the changes you would like to make in different areas of your life. One place where many people focus is on their home, clearing away clutter so they can benefit from a more streamlined and organized living space. This is often when homeowners have to face the reality that they could use more storage space!

According to Realtor Magazine, not having enough storage space is the source of buyer’s remorse for 80 percent of homebuyers. If you feel the pain of insufficient storage space in your home, use the tips below to help you maximize the space you already have. If you are considering moving this year, keep these tips handy so you can quickly evaluate the homes you are considering in terms of the storage space you need.

1. Turn steps into storage. You may not think about it right away, but the space under your stairs can be opened to create a closet or to accommodate shelves. In a basement where staircases are often open anyway, adding some shelves or storage chests in this alcove can give you additional places to put toys, off-season clothing and sports equipment.

2. Install ready-made shelves. Whether you’re staying in your current home or moving elsewhere, using ready-made shelves in your closets, garage, hallways or basement is an easy way to exponentially expand the space you have to put your possessions.

3. Accessorize your bedroom. Headboard storage units, modular closet shelving, under-the-bed storage boxes and divided trays that you can slide into your dresser drawers all provide additional locations to stash clothes, books, jewelry and other items.

4. Clear up kitchen counter clutter. It’s so easy to let papers, dishes and other items pile up on kitchen counters, but allowing it to happen will ultimately leave less room for the things you really need to have on hand. Once you clear the counters, employ other space-saving strategies such as putting small appliances on shelves above the counter, using inside-the-cupboard hanging knife trays and hanging pots and pans from a ceiling-mounted rack that is within easy reach.

5. Make the garage a go-to storage space. Instead of trying to keep everything inside your house, consider storing seldom used items in your garage. Hanging items on walls, putting boxes on shelves and using overhead storage spaces can make the most of your home’s storage capacity.

When you first think of reorganizing your current home or buying your dream home, it’s likely that the practical matter of storage space is not the first issue that comes to mind. However, with recent statistics showing that the average home contains about 300,000 items, you’ll likely find these tips helpful for making sure you have a spot for all of your belongings. Another tip: If you are considering moving this year, reach out to Kacie Eberenz, OSB’s Mortgage Lender/Lead Personal Banker (#1458409) today!

Strategies to Make Your Home Key to Your Success in 2018

Enjoy this “Closing Thoughts” guest post from OSB’s Mortgage Lender, Kacie Eberenz (NMLS# 1458409). Looking for mortgage loan advice to help you purchase real estate in Michigan’s  Lenawee, Jackson and Washtenaw Counties? Contact Kacie today!

The old saying, “Home is where the heart is,” still holds true for many of us; but did you know that with the following organizational strategies, your home can also be key to your success? Whether you are looking to buy a new home, or maybe refinance or spruce up an existing one, these tips from Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing can help you create an environment to support greater success in the year ahead:

Tackle categories instead of rooms in your home. One of Kondo’s key strategies is to tidy things up by category instead of room by room. For example, start with your clothes, then move on to books, then photographs, etc. Doing so will allow you to have a feeling of accomplishment by getting one area done at a time—a strategy that you can use to tackle work projects and the items on your resolution or goal lists, too.

Respect your possessions. While it may seem a little odd at first, Kondo encourages people to consider how their physical items feel about how they are stored in their homes. For example, do clothes crammed into a messy closet look happy? Likely not—so use this “personalization” of your clothes and any other items to set things right, to weed out what you don’t need and to bring harmony to your environment.

Let go of the past. Just like hesitating to leave an old home for a new one, hesitating to part with sentimental “stuff” will only hold you back from the future.  As Kondo says in her book, nostalgia is not your friend when it comes to creating an environment that supports your success. Be selective in what physical memories you keep and get rid of those that don’t truly stir positive emotions.

Seek joy from your surroundings. According to Kondo, you should focus on keeping only the things that give you joy or are truly necessary. In short, when you organize your possessions you should discard anything that you don’t absolutely need or love. The same theory can be applied to the people, places and work that you do when you focus on creating more success in your life and career.

Applying Kondo’s strategies for organizing your home can help to make it key to your success. It will also help to create mental clarity about what you need to do to achieve your objectives. If buying a new home is one of your goals in 2018, an OSB mortgage can help clear the way to make it a reality. Contact Kacie Eberenz, Mortgage Lender/Lead Personal Banker (#1458409) at 517-592-3205. today to get your mortgage approval process started.

Avoid Holiday Debt by Getting a Handle on Your Financial Emotions

Enjoy this “Closing Thoughts” guest post from OSB’s Mortgage Lender, Kacie Eberenz (NMLS# 1458409). Looking for mortgage loan advice to help you purchase real estate in Michigan’s  Lenawee, Jackson and Washtenaw Counties? Contact Kacie today!

Most of us are well aware that we shouldn’t spend more than we have. Yet many of us spend more than we should—or we can afford—especially around the holiday season. Financial experts estimate that last holiday season, about 25 percent of American consumers went into debt to purchase gifts and other seasonal items—why is this?

Accumulating holiday debt is often a tied to self-defeating emotions related to money that kick into overdrive once the season of indulgence arrives. While this time of year may push some consumers over the edge financially, it doesn’t have to. The key to controlling spending during the holidays (or any other time of the year) is understanding why you are prone to overspending and participating in other negative financial behaviors, such as not saving enough money.

Here are some tips to help you reduce holiday debt and identify the emotional financial triggers that may lead you to overspending:

Make a holiday budget and shopping list. This may seem elementary, but many people do not set a budget for holiday spending or shop from a list. This is the first step in eliminating self-defeating spending behavior. Determine what you can afford, then make a list when you are in a rational, rather than an emotional mood. Put the list in your wallet and use it to check off the items you need, so you can see visually what you should be purchasing, rather than shopping spontaneously.

Become aware of the feelings that accompany emotional holiday spending. Identifying the emotions that lead to spending more than you should is essential to getting to the root of the problem. Do you find yourself spending more when you are stressed, sad, happy or angry? If so, give yourself an alternative to spending when you are feeling these emotions like taking a walk or writing holiday greetings to family and friends. If you’re spending to try to compete with others, acknowledge this as a poor strategy that is only going to get you deeper into dept.

Identify external emotional spending triggers. Your feelings can certainly drive impulsive spending, but there are likely external influences as well. If you find that you spend more at a mall or browsing online, or when you receive promotional emails, avoid those triggers and find alternative places to get the things on your list that you really need.

Ask for accountability—and support. It’s too easy to overspend and mismanage money when you are only accountable to yourself. Enlist the support of family or trusted friends to help you curb your spending habits. They can help you avoid situations when you may be prone to overspending and help to remind you about your financial limits and goals!

The holiday season can be a tough time on anyone’s budget, and if you are prone to letting your emotions get the best of you when it comes to spending, it can be even more challenging—but it’s not impossible. Use the tips above to help you manage your emotions and your money. If you do, you’ll be feeling much happier and in control when January rolls around and you have little or no holiday debt!

Make Time to Enjoy These Local Autumn Activities

As your local mortgage lender, OSB can help you secure the southeastern Michigan mortgage loans in Lenawee,  Jackson and Washtenaw counties. To help you make optimal decisions about your mortgage options, we’re featuring  this “Closing Thoughts” guest post from OSB’s Mortgage Lender, Kacie Eberenz (NMLS# 1458409).

Fall is one of the best times to get outdoors for some quality time with family and friends and there’s an abundance of fun fall activities in our local area to enjoy. From walking through rustling leaves on a nature trail, to finding treasures at craft shows and downtown shops, to cheering on young athletes at school sporting events, the fall season in southeastern Michigan has something for everyone.

Although the weather has been warm recently, the sure signs of fall are appearing! The leaves are changing color—and a new crop of delicious apples is coming into season, which means that apple picking, another favorite fall family activity is ready to enjoy at local orchards in Jackson County, Lenawee County and  Washtenaw County. If you’re ready to celebrate this year’s harvest season, here are a few of the area’s local farms and orchards you may want to visit:

In Jackson County—Meckley’s Flavor Fruit Farm was established more than 60 years ago. It is located at 11025 S. Jackson Road in Cement City, Michigan. This full “farm experience” truly has something for everyone, including an orchard, cider mill, farm tours, a bakery, plus a cidery and wine cellar. There’s even special live music events throughout the season.

In Lenawee County—Carpenter Farms in Adrian, Michigan is a place that’s perfect for making family memories. The working farm offers lots of fun activities during the fall season including a corn maze, hayrides and pumpkins, a petting farm and more. Plus, you can take a great family snapshot in their beautiful fall photo-staging display.

In Washtenaw County—Part farm, part orchard, part county fair—a trip to Wiard’s Orchard in Ypsilanti, Michigan adds up to a ton of family fun! Located at 5565 Merritt Road, you can plan to spend a full afternoon at Wiard’s to enjoy lunch and take in all of the amusements such as games, slides, the corn maize, tractor rides, pony rides, paintball and a trip through the haunted woods. Not to mention, you’ll want to spend time picking apples and pumpkins in the u-pick area and paying a trip to the country store featuring baked goods and more.

These favorite fall destinations are just a sampling of the outings that you and your family can enjoy in our local community. By exploring all of the fall activities and events in Jackson County, Lenawee County and  Washtenaw County you’ll make the most of one of the most beautiful times of year in southeast Michigan.

Simple Steps You Can Take for a Smoother Mortgage Experience

Mortgage season is definitely here, with the real estate market in full swing and interest rates poised to rise, making it the perfect time to refinance an existing loan. To help you make optimal decisions about your mortgage options, we’re featuring  this “Closing Thoughts” guest post from OSB’s Mortgage Lender, Kacie Eberenz (NMLS# 1458409).

If you think that applying for a mortgage loan is right up there with getting a root canal—you’re not alone. Many home buyers, and homeowners looking to refinance, find the mortgage application process frustrating—or even painful. At OSB, we strive to make your mortgage experience as simple as possible (see the infographic below for a complete picture of our mortgage process). In addition, taking the steps below can make your mortgage experience even smoother:

Step 1: Choose the right lender. If you’re not working with the right lender, securing a mortgage loan can be a painful process. It’s important to be comfortable with your lender. For example, if you want to have someone to guide you through the process and be able to answer your questions in a timely manner, an online mortgage option is probably not for you.

At OSB, we work to streamline your mortgage application and make getting a mortgage as easy as possible with personalized service to help you feel as comfortable and confident as possible.

Step 2: Provide your financial information promptly. Buying or refinancing your home requires that you provide significant amounts of financial and personal information to your lender. From bank statements to pay stubs your lender should let you know exactly what they need from you in order to process your mortgage application. To avoid delays, make sure you provide the specific items requested in a timely manner.

Step 3: Tackle your taxes. You will need to provide current tax returns as part of the mortgage application process and you must have your taxes filed for the past two years. If you have any delinquent tax payments or unfiled taxes, you’ll need to ensure that they are taken care of so the processing of your mortgage application can proceed.

Step 4: Manage your account balances and credit. Your bank balances and credit score will be evaluated by your lender as part of the mortgage loan decision so it is wise to make sure they are in good order.

Tip: When it comes to your bank account, it’s best not to make large deposits during your loan application, as it may affect your loan decision. In addition, avoid taking on any new debt during the loan process (e.g. Hold off on buying new furniture and appliances until after your mortgage closes.), since all of your debt will influence your debt-to-loan ratio which is a critical aspect of any mortgage loan application.

Let OSB help you smooth out the mortgage application process. Applying for a mortgage shouldn’t be a burden. OSB is dedicated to making your loan process simple and streamlined—and these tips can help you take the right steps to make your mortgage experience even smoother! Need help with a mortgage loan? Contact me at 517.592.1058 and we’ll get started!

mortgage path to the american dream




The Spirit of Community Banking

The OSB Team is proud to serve our community.

With Thanksgiving literally right around the corner, it’s the perfect opportunity to reflect on the abundance that we have in our lives and how we might make things better for those who are not as fortunate as we are.

Family, friends, having a means to make a living and being part of a caring community…these blessings are easily taken for granted in our fast-paced lives, yet for some people these things are out of reach. As a community bank, we strive to do what we can to help improve the opportunities available to those in the communities we serve during the holidays—and throughout the rest of the year.

This past year, we have proudly supported area schools and students through our back to school drive, the Dr. Fish scholarship awarded to Lenawee and Jackson County high school graduates, and additional financial support. We have also been fortunate to have many opportunities to work with a diverse group of community organizations and to participate in their fundraising efforts to make our community stronger.

Helping our local business community thrive is an integral part of OSB’s mission. Our Small Business Summits and Business After Hours events are key parts of our commitment to helping businesses succeed by providing education and networking opportunities. Our leadership team is also dedicated to making a difference in our community by lending their time and talents to local nonprofit organizations including HOPE Community Center, Hospice of Lenawee, Lenawee County Mission, and Cascades Humane Society.

OSB is thankful for the opportunity to serve the residents and businesses in our local area. We look forward to sharing the spirit of community banking during this holiday season and all year long and we encourage you to consider how you can make a difference, too.