Homeside Financial - May 2020

NMLS #111660

May 2020

1051 13th St. SE, Hickory, NC 28602 • 828.229.7877 •

A Window to Other Worlds


S ometimes fact is crazier than fiction. The world is a crazy place right now, and let’s be honest, we could all use a little escape. For most of my life, one of my go-to ways to unwind has been reading. At the time that I’m writing this, most of the country is still on lockdown as a result of COVID-19. That means many of us are probably holed up in our homes, trying to find things to do, TV shows to binge, or new books to devour. What better time to talk about reading than now? From the time I was really little, my parents had a few books lying around the house for me to read. I don’t remember exactly what they were, but I remember trying to read them before I started school. When it finally came time for me to start first grade, I got my first look at a school library. In

always check out far more books than necessary, but I would still read them all.

Some of my favorite books I remember from my childhood were “ Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott and “Heidi” by Johanna Spyri. Almost all the books I read at that age were about kids who got to go on adventures. My family didn’t have a lot of opportunities to travel, and when we did, we didn’t travel too far from home. Even though the characters in my books were fictional, I felt like I got to see how other people lived, and I lived vicariously through their adventures. Of course, at that age I also really liked it when the stories had animals in them.

Today, reading is still a part of my routine. My day starts at 5:30 a.m. every morning, and one of the


“That being said though, I think reading is one of the best ways to learn, grow and open yourself up to other people’s perspectives.”

If I find a good enough book, I can read the entire thing, cover to cover, in one sitting. The last book I did that with was “Almost Alchemy” by Dan Kennedy. I know reading isn’t for everyone. My husband and my brother both hate reading. That being said, I think reading is one of the best ways to learn, grow, and open yourself up to other people’s perspectives. So why wouldn’t you get lost in a book for a little while?

a word, I was fascinated by it. I would get lost in the rows and rows of books. I remember using the Dewey Decimal System to find whatever book I wanted. Flipping through all the codes to find the books I wanted felt like a treasure hunt. I would

first things I do is try and read something, whether it’s just a chapter of a book or a newsletter. I know a lot of people are fans of the Kindle, or they have an Audible account for listening to books, but to me nothing will ever be as good as reading an actual hard copy of a book. I love the feel of a book, the smell of the paper, and the look of the actual print. As a visual learner, I also think I retain more information from a print book than I ever could from an audio book.

-Jamie Harrington



Mortgage Made Easy!

Health Benefits of Family Gardening Give Your Kid the Gift of a Green Thumb

Yes, there will always be football season, basketball season, and soccer season, but right now, it’s gardening season. That means it’s time to roll up your sleeves and play in the dirt. If you’ve been searching for a way to get the kids away from technology and engaged with the real world, gardening is the perfect activity for the whole family to enjoy. Not only is it fun, but it’s also beneficial for your kids’ development. For example, gardening can improve your children’s analytical abilities. As Dr. Wendy Matthews says, “Gardening exercises important reasoning, initiation, planning, and organization skills.” Furthermore, several studies, including one at Texas A&M University, suggest that gardening improves a child’s attitude toward

fruits and vegetables and may make themmore likely to choose them as snacks. Gardening helps kids identify with where their food is coming from, and nothing tastes better than a freshly picked strawberry or pea pod they grew themselves. Jack Gilbert, a scientist at the University of Chicago and a parent himself, and his co-author, Rob Knight, emphasize the health benefits of garden time in their book, “Dirt Is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System.”The two found that exposure to different microbes, like those found in a garden, strengthens a child’s immune system and makes them less likely to develop allergies.

If this is your first time gardening, you don’t need much to get started. Grab a few shovels, a pair of gloves for each family member, and fresh potting soil, and you’ll be set. Then, you can decide together which plants you’d like to grow! Carrots are fun because of the surprise factor — just imagine your child discovering that the part they eat grows below the ground! Peas are tasty and fairly easy to grow, as are strawberries. The options really are endless. Depending on the growing season in your area, you can choose to buy seeds or opt for rooted plants. Last but certainly not least, the best part of gardening as a family is the healthy, fresh produce you’ll get to enjoy all summer long!

3 Myths That First-Time Homebuyers Believe Do You Believe Any of These Myths?

You need a perfect credit score to qualify for a mortgage loan.

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions most people will make in their life. That’s why when it comes time for you to start shopping for a new home, it pays to do your research. Several pervasive myths surround the homebuying process, and the three explained below, along with several others, can create unnecessary roadblocks for first time homebuyers.

taxes, and repairs. You should also consider any significant lifestyle costs, such as kids, annual vacations, and personal luxuries. If you’re in the market for a new home and you want to make sure the things you’ve heard aren’t just more myths, talk to the experts at Homeside Financial. My team and I will steer you straight every step of the way. Give me a call at (828) 229-7877.

This is another myth that used to be true but is no longer a part of every path to homeownership. Make no mistake, your credit score is still an important aspect of the homebuying process, but not as many available loans require it to be above 700 as you might think. Most require a median score of around 620, and several loans still have lower requirements than that.

You need 20% of the cost for a down payment.

You should buy a home for the maximum you qualify for.

Once upon a time, homebuyers needed to have 20% of the cost of a new home ready up front before they could buy a house. Luckily, this is an outdated concept. If the home you want costs $250,000, you don’t need $50,000 ready to go. There are several different loan types for all types of homebuyers, such as FHA loans, which only require a 3.5% down payment —much more affordable than the “standard” 20%.

If you have a large down payment saved up, a solid debt-to-income ratio, and a good credit score, you might qualify for a sizable loan. However, just because you qualify for a $500,000 loan doesn’t mean you should buy a $500,000 house. Remember to factor into your calculations other costs associated with homeownership, such as insurance,


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Perched high in the trees in the rainforest, epiphytes reach for the drops of water that splash down from above. The plants take what they need and let the rest drip down to the forest floor. While these organisms originated in the wild, epiphytes like orchids, air plants, and staghorn ferns have become popular houseplants because of the unique, delicate greenery they bring to your space. Epiphytes are part of the Bromeliaceae family, a group that also includes terrestrial species like pineapples. The leaves of the plants in this family are arranged in a rosette, or circular shape, and they have tiny scales that help the plant absorb moisture and protect itself from harsh sunlight. Unlike many plants, epiphytes don’t take in all the water they need from their roots. They also absorb water and nutrients through their leaves. Their roots don’t grow in the dirt, either. Instead, they help these plants cling to the trees or other plants they naturally grow on. If you’ve ever seen a tree with another plant growing off of it at a botanical garden in a warmer, humid environment like Florida, that tag-along plant is an epiphyte. Because they are unique, your epiphyte houseplant needs specific care to thrive. Submerge the leaves of smaller air plants in a shallow bowl of water once a week for an hour (times may vary depending on your area’s humidity). Then, remove the plant from the water and let it dry upside down to remove excess moisture. If you choose to house your orchid or staghorn fern in a pot, use a soil specifically made for them and add some sphagnum moss to keep the roots aerated. Mist your plant every couple days and provide the leaves with a more thorough watering once a week to achieve the level of moisture they would receive in the rainforest while allowing the roots to breathe. You can also mount your epiphyte on a wood panel, as some orchid collectors do. True enthusiasts are very careful to match the wood with the type of tree the plant would grow on in the natural world, but driftwood, cork, and large pieces of bark work well, too.

Caring for your epiphyte properly will help your plant thrive and allow you to enjoy the tropical beauty of these unique organisms.



Mortgage Made Easy!

1051 13th St . SE Hickory, NC 28602



Celebrating Reading for National Library Week


What Is Gardening Good For?

3 Myths That First-Time Homebuyers Believe


Coming Soon!

How to Help Your Epiphytes Thrive


Bird-Watching for Beginners

Bird-Watching for Beginners


Gear Up

Bird-watching is like a lifelong scavenger hunt that you can play anywhere on Earth. The activity provides a mixture of science, travel, and beauty, and it’s a chance to get outside for feathered adventures and quiet reflection. The month of May is a great time of year to go birding because rising temperatures prompt spring migration. So if you’re eager to begin bird-watching, there’s no better time than now. Here are some tips to get started.

you’ve got your field guide and comfortable walking shoes, the only other thing you’ll need is a pair of binoculars. And they don’t have to be fancy. As long as they can zoom in on faraway trees and perches, they’ll work for now. You can always upgrade later.

One of the best things about birding is that you don’t need a lot of equipment to do it. As long as

Go Exploring

Your very first birding excursion is important because you don’t want to be overwhelmed or underwhelmed. So use your field guide to home in on a single bird and go find it. It may be local, or you can plan a trip to a specific bird’s natural habitat. Stay focused and don’t get distracted by other species. The thrill that comes with spotting your first bird will keep you coming back to find the rest. Bird-watching is a wonderful hobby because it’s easy to get started and can last a lifetime. As long as you can walk, drive, or look out a window, you can be a birder. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and find some birds!

Educate Yourself

Thousands of species of birds span all corners of the globe. That’s why finding them is an exciting prospect — there’s no end to the hunt! Start by researching birds that are native to your location. Purchase a field guide with pictures of each bird and maps of their range and use it to figure out where different birds live. From there, it’s easy to pick your first spotting goal. You can even get yourself extra excited by watching a few bird documentaries.


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