10 Tips for Working from Home

1. Develop Morning and Evening Routines

Working from home can be a major adjustment when you’re used to going into an office every day. To help embrace your new normal, develop a morning routine that sets you up for success, and an end of the workday routine to help send a signal to your brain that the day is done. This adds structure to your week and replaces some of your familiar office habits that you may miss. Popular recommendations for a morning routine are to enjoy a healthy breakfast, get some exercise, and get yourself ready. Some experts suggest it boosts productivity to get dressed as though you’re actually going into the office. When your workday is done, a brief relaxing activity like a game or some leisure reading can transition you out of work mode.

2. Create a Dedicated Workspace

It’s important to have a workspace that works for you, both practically and mentally. A designated space that’s relatively peaceful and quiet is the best way to go. Be sure to set up everything you’ll need to do your job, and since you’ll be spending lots of time there, make it as comfortable and convenient as you can!

3. Establish Dedicated Hours

Some jobs have more set hours, particularly positions where we need to be available to clients and partners during regular office hours. Others can be more flexible. In either case, a set work schedule is considered good practice for working from home. It provides you with a structure similar to what you’re used to, makes it easy to keep track of your time, and helps to keep the boundaries between your work and home life in place.

4. Don’t Forget Lunch and Breaks

Just as you would in the office – be sure to take your lunch and some occasional breaks! Setting alarms to remind yourself can be helpful.

5. Squeeze in Stretching and Exercise

Getting up to walk around and stretch periodically is always important at a desk job, but it can be even more important when working from home. This is because your home desk setup may not be as ergonomic as your office desk and chair. Experts particularly recommend spinal twists and neck stretches to protect your back and posture.

6. Find Some Outside Time

Get some fresh air during lunch and breaks, and as part of your morning routine when possible. It’s important to get out of the house so you don’t feel too cooped up!

7. Focus on Communication

Working from home means you aren’t getting face to face time with your colleagues. This makes communication more important than ever. Stay in touch about projects you’re working on, and call or video into meetings when it makes sense. Multiple sources suggest it’s important to be extra positive in remote communication, since quick texts and emails can be interpreted different ways by the reader. Break out the emojis and exclamation points!

8. Set Work Life Boundaries

A whole new set of “coworkers” can come along with working from home. Setting boundaries for your little ones and furry friends can keep you from feeling frazzled while you’re getting things done. On the flip side, just because you always have access to your work doesn’t mean you should work all the time! Try to maintain the work-life balance you’re used to.

9. Manage Sound to Avoid Distractions

Too much noise can be distracting, and so can too little! If you have to work in a noisy area, sound canceling headphones are a worthwhile investment. If silence is getting to you when you’re used to the hum of a busy office, try playing quiet music or turning the TV on at a low volume.

10. Do What Works for You!

Most importantly, tailor your work from home experience to what works best for you! While working from home can be challenging, there are plenty of benefits to balance that out. Find a space and schedule that makes you happy and productive, and live your best work from home life!

We’re all practicing social distancing at First Home Mortgage, but with today’s range of communication technology our loan officers can still offer you personalized service while keeping everyone safe. If you have questions about purchasing or refinancing a home, contact one of our experienced loan officers today!

7 Tips for Disinfecting Your Home

Keeping our homes clean and disinfected is an important step in safeguarding our health and the health of our loved ones, particularly now. Hand washing, social distancing, and other CDC-recommended guidelines remain vital, as no cleaning is ever perfect. However, we can all reduce our risks by following these 7 home disinfecting tips!

1. Protect Your Hands While You Clean

From harsh cleaners and germs! It’s best practice to wear disposable gloves while cleaning and wash your hands well after removing them.

2. Use Disinfectant Wipes for Frequently Touched Hard Surfaces

These include door and cabinet knobs or handles, light switches, and banisters. Try to wipe them down at least once or twice a day, and allow the surfaces to air dry for the most effective results.

3. Use Disinfectant Spray on Large or Porous Surfaces

Fabric surfaces like sofas, mattresses, and even carpets can be sprayed with Lysol or a similar product to kill germs on the surface. The disinfectant spray also works well for large areas such as tables and countertops, and bathroom surfaces. Clean these surfaces with soap and water prior to disinfecting. Again, the disinfectant spray to air dry for maximum impact.

4. Mop Up Floor Germs

1 cup of bleach per 5 gallons of water is a solution recommended by the CDC to mop your floors and kill viruses and germs. Please note that this ONLY works for non-porous floors. Bleach and hardwood flooring are not friends!

½ cup white vinegar per 1 gallon of water works well for disinfecting hardwoods and other porous floor surfaces.

Mop your floors thoroughly and allow them to air dry to fend off germs tracked in on your feet! Removing your shoes when you come in the front door is another good practice to reduce floor germs.

5. Clean your toothbrush

Soaking your toothbrush bristles in hydrogen peroxide for 10-15 minutes is a safe way to sanitize it. Just be sure to rinse it thoroughly when you’re finished! Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to clean hard surfaces, but it needs to sit for 10 or 15 minutes before being wiped away in order to be fully effective in killing germs.

6. Disinfect All Frequently Used Electronics

This includes smart speakers, TV remotes and buttons, keyboards, phones, tablets, and even debit and credit cards. Use your best judgment depending on the item to decide between using disinfectant spray vs. disinfectant wipes!

7. Cleaning your Clothes

The CDC suggests washing your clothing at the highest appropriate temperature and fully drying them. Laundry bins should be regularly cleaned and disinfected, and disposal laundry bags can further prevent the spread of germs from laundry. Avoid shaking dirty laundry, and always wear gloves or wash your hands well after handling it. Changing into clean clothes when you come home can also help prevent the spread of germs inside. Laundry detergents specifically designed to help fend off viruses can be found on the CDA’s full list of approved products, linked below.

Some popular EPA approved disinfectants for killing viruses include:

Clorox Multi-Surface Cleaner + Bleach

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes

Clorox Commercial Solutions® Clorox® Disinfecting Spray

Lysol brand Heavy-Duty Cleaner Disinfectant Concentrate

Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist

Lysol brand Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner

Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Wipes

Sani-Prime Germicidal Spray

(Source: CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/05/health/epa-disinfectants-coronavirus-trnd/index.html)

Find the full list of EPA approved disinfectants here:


First Home Mortgage is practicing social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines, but our Loan Officers are still always available to help with your mortgage needs! With today’s wealth of communication technology, we’re able to offer our clients personalized service while making health and safety a priority. If you have any questions about purchasing or refinancing a home, please contact one of our Loan Officers today!

Down Payment Tips for Gen Z

Are you a Gen Zer unsure about your financial responsibility when it comes to buying a home? Are you worried about if you have enough saved for your down payment? Buying a home doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process or a financial drain. How should you prepare?

1. Down Payments

Down payments seem to be the biggest obstacle first-time homebuyers think they will face when buying a home. According to Freddie Mac, 60 percent of adults ages 18 to early 20s don’t know and overestimate how much they will need to put down on a home. However, according to NAR (National Association of Realtors), the actual down payment median for first-time homebuyers was 7% in 2019.

2. 20 Percent Down Myth

Because millennials still hold on to the “20 percent down” myth, it’s no surprise Gen Z are following suit. 60% of Gen Zers want to hold off on buying until they have enough down payment and can manage a mortgage payment, but first-time home buying comes with perks, including low down payment options.

3. Homebuying can be within reach despite challenges

With financial education at home, a strong economy, and a job market, home buying is an attainable goal for Gen Zers. Being optimistic about their financial futures, many prefer to own verse rent and want to purchase a home by the age of 30.

A 2019 Freddie Mac study showed low down payment options shrink the time it takes “mortgage ready” young millennials to achieve homeownership. With this information, we can assume it applies to Gen Z adults. Bottom line, low down payment options can give a much more motivating time frame of 3 to 5 years instead of 15 to 20 years to get into your first home.

Are you ready to take that next step into homeownership? Let one of our loan officers walk you through the process, contact us today!

Source: https://sf.freddiemac.com/articles/insights/four-reasons-lenders-should-begin-educating-gen-z-about-down-payments-now?utm_source=eloqua&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2020-02-13_LN_NEWSLTTR_

Spruce Up for Spring

As we prepare to Spring Forward this Sunday, it’s a great time to clean up your home’s curb appeal and bring in a bright, fresh look. The best part is, that you can do it all yourself without breaking your budget! Follow our 7 DIY tips for fantastic results that will have your home spruced up for spring.

1. Brighten Your Garden Beds

Garden beds are the life of the front yard. Lay down fresh mulch, add some flowers for pops of color and make sure to have a tidy border. Find 17 easy and affordable garden border ideas here: https://homesthetics.net/17-simple-cheap-garden-edging-ideas-garden/

2. Refresh Your Front Door

With a fresh coat of paint or stain, your door will look like new. This works great for shutters as well! If you’re considering trying out a new hue, you may want to check out these 13 fun front door colors from HGTV: https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/landscaping-and-hardscaping/favorite-front-door-colors-pictures

3. Disguise Eyesores

No one loves the look of utility boxes and AC units, but there are lots of attractive ways to screen them from view. It’s easy to work wonders with a number of different materials – from lattice to pallets! Find 13 ideas to tuck away those eyesores here: https://www.remodelaholic.com/13-ways-hide-outdoor-eyesores/

4. Dress Your Windows for Success

…With planter boxes! Window boxes offer an upscale look and are quite simple to make yourself. Find a helpful tutorial here: https://www.thehandmadehome.net/how-to-build-a-simple-window-box/

5. Light Up Your Landscape

Landscape lighting comes in all varieties and adds true ambiance to your entryway. Whether you choose spotlights, simple stake lights to line your walkway, easy LED lanterns, or string lights to grace your trees, your guests will be in for a warm welcome even after sunset! Find a variety of DIY outdoor lights here: https://www.homelovr.com/diy-outdoor-lighting-ideas/

6. Decorate Your Entryway with Seasonal Accessories

A fun and functional doormat, spring wreath, and potted plants are all it takes to bring your front door to life. Let your entryway determine the scale of your decorations. For example, a single accent plant can be perfect for small spaces, while a wraparound porch calls for multiple pieces.  Find easy and affordable DIY spring wreaths here: https://www.countryliving.com/diy-crafts/g3096/diy-spring-wreaths/

7. Add Flair with DIY Door Numbers

Help guests spot your home easily even on their very first visit with visible house numbers – and show off your style at the same time! Find 35 creative ideas for DIY house numbers to suit any style here: https://diyjoy.com/diy-house-numbers/

Are you looking for your next home? If you have any questions about purchasing or refinancing a home, our loan officers are happy to help!

Contact us today!

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