Measuring Square

A measuring or rafter square is a great addition to any tool box. You can use it to mark a board for square or angled cuts. It fits securely into a tool belt and can be used to check the trueness of an angle or as a cutting guide for a circular saw. It's also handy when you're working with large-dimensional lumber or when you're laying out rafters.
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Story Poles

When you need to duplicate multiple measurements on a larger project, it can be helpful to use a length of 1x2 or similar stock as a story pole. Cut or select a piece that is longer than the longest cut required. Carefully mark the height, width, depth and length of various parts onto the 1x2. The story pole will speed up marking for cuts, and matching parts will be cut the same.
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Tool Doubles

On jobs where you don't want to be held up, like felling trees away from home, consider having two chainsaws available. Make sure both are in working order before starting. Then if one needs its chain sharpened, you can use the second one to finish the job. By using two saws any maintenance can be done between, rather than during, the project. Also consider doubling up on other small tools, like pliers and screwdrivers, so they can be kept in different areas to cut down on running from house to garage.
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Woodworking Tools

If you're just starting out, three power tools for general woodworking that are worth spending more money on include a good tablesaw, router and drill press. With these three, plus some hand tools, you will be able to build many of the projects in how-to magazines. Which tool you buy first can depend on the projects you are planning, but a good saw usually gets priority.
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Making the Offer

Your real estate agent will assist you in making an offer, which will include the following information: Complete legal description of the property; Amount of earnest money; Down payment and financing details; Proposed move-in date; Price you are offering; Proposed closing date; Length of time the offer is valid; Details of the deal. Remember that a sale commitment depends on negotiating a satisfactory contract with the seller, not just making an offer.
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Fixed Rate Refinancing

If interest rates drop significantly, you may want to investigate refinancing. Most experts agree that if you plan to be in your house for at least 18 months and you can get a rate 2% less than your current one, refinancing is smart. Refinancing may, however, involve paying many of the same fees paid at the original closing, plus origination and application fees.
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Buyer Responsibilities

To ensure you won't fall victim to loan fraud, be sure to follow all of these steps as you apply for a loan: Be sure to read and understand everything before you sign. Refuse to sign any blank documents. Do not buy property for someone else. Do not overstate your income. Do not overstate how long you have been employed. Do not overstate your assets. Accurately report your debts. Do not change your income tax returns for any reason. Tell the whole truth about gifts. Do not list fake co-borrowers on your loan application. Be truthful I about your credit problems, past and present. Be honest about your intention to occupy the house. Do not provide false supporting documents.
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Energy Efficient Mortgage

The Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) allows a homebuyer to save future money on utility bills. This is done by financing the cost of adding energy-efficiency features to a new or existing home as part of an FHA-insured home purchase. The EEM can be used with both 203(b) and 203(k) loans. Basic guidelines for EEMs are as follows: The cost of improvements must be determined by a Home Energy Rating System or by an energy consultant. This cost must be less than the anticipated savings from the improvements. One- and two-unit new or existing homes are eligible; condos are not. The improvements financed may be 5% of property value or $4,000, whichever is greater. The total must fall within the FHA loan limit.
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