How to Navigate the Purchase Process for First Time Home Buyers


You’ve got your dream job.  Your student loans are under control. You’ve actually managed to save some money. Buying that first house or condo is now number one on your bucket list.  It’s so tempting to get started by browsing through all the real estate websites online, falling in love with a neighborhood or style of home.  Downtown, suburbs, house, condo – what’s the perfect fit for your lifestyle?

Before you go overboard surfing the internet for your perfect home, there are some pretty systematic steps to follow.  Your number one priority is to meet with a mortgage banker or mortgage broker.  These professionals will review your employment, savings and credit history.  More important, they will let you know the maximum amount you can borrow based on the information you provide.  Your mortgage professional will then provide you with a ‘pre-approval’ which you’ll need to provide when signing a contract for purchase.

Just because you can afford a high payment doesn’t mean you should buy a home at the top of your price range.  Home ownership & home maintenance is always more expensive than you think! Older homes have hidden costs & chic downtown condos come with pricey monthly homeowners association fees.

Now that you have pre-approval in hand, the next professional on your list should be a quality real estate agent.  Ask for referrals and try to connect with an agent that works with first time home buyers.  The agent will help steer you in the right direction with neighborhoods, amenities and pricing.  A good agent will also help you prioritize your wish list items for your new home.

Before finding the perfect home, decide on the area in town that’s most preferable. Consider your commute, amenities in the area, access to highways, etc.  This will help narrow down your search considerably.  It’s all about location!  With the price range, home type, amenities & location nailed down, your agent will be able to narrow your search to a more manageable number of properties to view.

You’ve found the perfect property. Your real estate agent has negotiated a great deal on the price and your mortgage banker has approved your loan.  Your last step is to have a serious celebration at a special occasion restaurant.  You’ll remember this meal for years to come. The Midtown Grille in Raleigh, NC is just the place for that special celebration! Congratulations homeowner!

How to Make a Good Impression at a Job Interview


When you are preparing yourself for a job interview, most people advising you are probably focusing more on how to handle those tough questions by giving thorough and well-thought-out responses. That is okay because, actually, that’s the core of the interview in the first place. However, there is more: making a stellar first impression. See our tips below on how you can successfully do this:

1) Dress the Part

When you set foot into the interview room, your appearance will definitely play an important part in how the interview panel first perceives you. Showing up neatly dressed in a fine suit and scuff-less shoes presents you as both well put-together and professional. You can put together the outfit you need at an affordable price when you use coupons or take advantage of other special occasions.

2) Show-up Time Matters a Lot

It goes without saying that you must never be late for a job interview. It is even more important to you if this is your dream job! Make it a habit to always arrive early for your interviews and other formal engagements so that you get used to it. In case you find yourself in a situation where run late due to some unavoidable circumstances, be sure to inform your interviewers as soon as you possibly can.

3) Show Some Enthusiasm!

The reason why you were invited for this interview is because your prospective new employers believe that you are the right person for the job. So, show them that they actually made the right decision in calling you in! Prove that you can do the job better than those you are competing with in this interview. And remember not to be negative about your past or current employers or working conditions, because it can actually work against you terribly.

4) Everything should be Neat, Organized and Easily Accessible

When you get to the interview room, you should expect that during the first few minutes somebody is going to ask you for a copy of your resume. Make sure that you have put it (and everything else needed) in a position where they are neatly organized and readily available inside your bag for easy access when you are asked to pull them out.

5) Handling the Question: Why Do You Want this Job?

This is a question you should expect, therefore, plan for its appropriate answer in advance. It is only you who can answer this question the way it should. It has to be a well-thought and compeling answer. Just being in need of a job is not a good enough justification for anyone to hire you. 

6) Remember to be Nice to the Receptionist

Do not disregard the person seated at the front desk just because they are not your hiring manager. Their impression of you actually matters because, in fact, some companies nowadays are specifically asking their front desk attendants how prospective interviewees behave as they come through the door and use that as a factor in their ultimate hiring decision. Remember to always treat everybody with respect.

7) When to Ask Questions

Although you should allow the interview panel to lead the interview, you do not have to wait till the end of your talk to ask questions. In fact, relevant inquiries help to emphasize your interest in the new job position. What is important, you should let those questions flow naturally with the interview – do not just ask so as to appear enthusiastic or engaging.

How to Invest in Gold


People choose to invest in gold for all sorts of reasons. Experienced investors may use it as a tool for diversification, helping to reduce the risk level attached to their portfolio. Risk-averse traders may favour it because of its traditional role as a safe haven asset. Or, in the case of entrepreneurs, it might be selected as a means of providing a stable source of income for the times when business proves tough.

Irrespective of the reasoning, role, or rightness of the decisions that drive these investments, gold is prized for one quality above all: its price stability. Largely immune to deflation, and untouched by the ravages of social, political, or economic strife, it is the asset of choice for those unwilling to risk their livelihoods or their financial futures.

However, it is not as simple as making a choice to invest. First, you must understand the various options that are available to you, and that’s why we’ve created this handy little guide.

Exchange-Traded Funds 

One means of investing in gold is to consider exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These can be confusing for uninitiated or novice investors, and this means that they’re often better left to the professionals. In their most basic form, they are a type of share, yet they act more like funds. They work by tracking an index, such as the price of gold. Bought and sold via stockbrokers and investment agents, they are worth considering if you’re willing to put the time and effort into educating yourself on their function and mechanisms.

Unit Trusts 

For those who would prefer an option that’s less time-consuming and labour intensive, unit trusts offer a natural choice. They tend to be well suited to those who have little time for trading, or no inclination for learning about the art of investing. Run by a professional fund manager, they place your capital in both bullion and gold mining companies in order to achieve the most profitable outcome for you.

Physical Gold

If you’re looking for something a little different again, you might want to consider investing in physical gold. This type of investment awards traders with physical ownership of gold bullion, which is generally stored in a secure vault by your broker. It is a wonderful option for those who have little knowledge of trading and how it works, and is also an ideal choice for those who don’t have huge cash reserves to invest. It can be bought in a variety of unit sizes, meaning that you can find a package that’s perfect for you.

Bullion Coins and Bars

One final alternative to explore is the bullion coins and bars that have been specifically created for investment purposes. With coins and gold bar options purchasable from as little as £20, they can be a useful choice for those working within a limited budget.

If you’re considering investing in gold, which option would be best for you?