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(StatePoint) Now and then, every home gets to the point at which a quick tidy-up here and there just isn’t cutting it anymore. You take a look around, notice all of the surfaces that have gone untouched for far too long, then sigh as you pick a day dedicated to cleaning from top to bottom.
     Lifestyle and parenting blogger Ari Adams of Love, Peace and Tiny Feet is sharing some of her top rules to follow to keep both a clean house and your sanity.
Do
• Make a plan. Clear your schedule and know exactly how much time you are going to have. Then, prioritize. What projects need the most attention? What are the tasks that need to be tackled to get that project done? Make a checklist and stick to it. The more organized and detailed you are going into it, the less distracted you will become. Plus, you’ll benefit from the confidence boost you get from putting a big check across an item on your to-do list.
• Get comfortable. Choose an outfit that is comfortable and functional for a day of hard work. Put on your favorite music and get settled. You’re not going anywhere today, so you may as well enjoy it.
• Use the right product for the job. Armed with the proper cleaning tools, chores get done faster. Choose products that do the hard work for you. For example, using Mean Green, a cleaner that’s both all-purpose and heavy duty, means you can use one product on all kinds of messes, whether it’s a sticky spill in the microwave or mold on the patio furniture.
Don’t
• Take unnecessary breaks. Stick to your schedule. Maintaining motivation is key, and it will become more difficult with every minute you stop to relax.
• Distract yourself. Plan scheduled breaks but avoid other temptations. If your phone is the root of most of your unwanted breaks, leave it in another room. While some enjoy the television for background noise, others may find themselves getting pulled in for a binge session. If that’s you, leave the television off.
     Learn more about products that can help you power through your chores by visiting www.meangreen.com.
     Cleaning the house top to bottom can feel daunting. But with a few smart home cleaning tips and some powerful tools, you can add simplicity and structure to the task.



(StatePoint) If you’re a veteran, reservist or active duty service member, it’s important to know that there are special benefits you may be eligible for when buying a home.
    “Veterans and service members have earned the opportunity to become homeowners, and it’s crucial that they are well-informed about the benefits and options available to them,” says Greg Murray, military mortgage program manager at Wells Fargo, who is also a U.S. Navy veteran.
     To help, Murray has identified the top four things to know when buying a home.
• There are special financial education resources designed for military personnel and veterans. Take advantage of these free online resources so you can be a savvier home shopper. For example, Wells Fargo’s Hands on Banking for Military, which offers courses on topics like banking basics and smart spending, also contains a comprehensive guide on home-buying.
• Before assuming you won’t qualify for a loan, talk to a lender. Be sure to tell the lender that you have served or are currently serving in the military. They can inform you about the options available to you, such as a Veteran’s Administration (VA) loan. A VA loan is a home loan guaranteed by the federal government, designed to help those who’ve served in the military obtain homeownership. They can sometimes be obtained with zero down payment. Gifts or grants can be used to help cover down payment and closing costs, subject to program requirements, and no mortgage insurance is required.
• A large portion of qualified buyers aren’t taking advantage of the low-to-no-down-payment mortgage options available through VA loans. Indeed, more than 21 million veterans and service members live in the U.S., however, over the past five years, a mere 6 percent of them bought a home using a VA home loan, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. This may be due to the common myth that active duty service members, National Guard members and reservists are not eligible for VA loans (in fact, they may be eligible).
    Many also are unaware that unmarried, surviving spouses of veterans who died as a result of service or service-related causes are also eligible.
• Individual banks, not the Department of Veterans Affairs, offer VA loans, allowing you to work with a lender who understands your needs and makes you feel comfortable.
  “A specialized team member who understands unique military needs, such as a Wells Fargo Military Lending Specialist, can help you make the most of the home loan benefits you’ve earned,” says Murray.
     Developing a relationship with this lender is also a good idea, as you may later choose to refinance through the VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) program.
     To learn more, visit wellsfargo.com/military.
     If homeownership seems daunting, remember that taking advantage of VA benefits can make it more financially and logistically viable.



Home cleaning do's and don'ts
Four things vets and service members should know when buying a home
Real Estate