Merlino & Gonzalez - March 2020


A lthough the costs of purchasing a home have changed drastically over the last few decades, owning a home is still a lifelong dream for many Americans. Though markets change year to year, you should consider several consistent factors to ensure you make the most financially wise decision for yourself and your family. Here are the 10 most important questions to answer before you start shopping. 1. Are you absolutely sure you want to buy and care for a home? 2. Do you foresee large expenses coming up in the next couple years, like having children or purchasing a new car? 3. Do you have reliable job security for the next two or three years? 4. Is there any chance that your employer will be relocating within the next few years? 5. Do you have a realistic sense of what your budget is for purchasing a home?

6. Do you have a good credit score and credit record? 7. Have you calculated the money you’ll need for a down payment and closing costs? 8. Are you prequalified for a mortgage, and do you know how much you can borrow? 9. Do you have existing debt that might disqualify you from receiving a mortgage? 10. Will the amount you’re able to borrow be enough for a home you truly enjoy, rather than a home you’re just willing to settle for? If you can answer at least eight of these questions in ways that support purchasing a new home, then you’re on the right track for making some big decisions. But if you haven’t addressed the majority of these questions yet, then now is the time. Buying a home is a thrilling prospect, but it’s also a difficult process. If you don’t consider these difficulties, owning your own home can quickly turn into a nightmare rather than a dream you’re finally fulfilling.


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• 1 cup graham cracker crumbs • 1 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs • 1 stick butter, melted • 1 oz green food coloring (gel works best) • 3 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened • 2/3 cup sugar • 3 eggs • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract • Green sprinkles, optional


1. Heat oven to 350 F, and line a 9x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. 2. In a large bowl, combine crumbs, butter, and food coloring. Press into the baking pan. 3. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar together.

4. Add eggs one at a time and stir in vanilla. 5. Pour mixture over the packed crumbs. 6. Bake for 40 minutes or until the center is set. 7. Let cool completely before adding sprinkles and slicing.

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