Although it might be cold outside, winter can be a great time to find a deal on a home. Most people begin their house hunt in spring or summer for a variety of reasons; school is out, there is more time to look for a new house and the warmer weather better accommodates looking and moving. However, are you aware that winter can bring lower prices, a better chance of negotiating, fewer bidding wars and even a faster home-buying process?

While there are typically fewer homes for sale from late fall through winter, there are good homes to be found and many reasons you might be able to negotiate the right deal.

  • Sellers might be more motivated. There could be a reason a house hits the market in winter. The seller might be moving out of state or have other reasons they need to sell quickly. This means more flexibility on the final selling price or other terms such as negotiating appliances, repairs or closing costs.
  • You might get more attention. With fewer people looking at homes in cold weather, you can expect the undivided attention of your real estate agent.
  • Cutting the clutter and the competition. It’s likely you’ll find fewer homes to look at, but that can work to your advantage by helping you focus your search. With fewer buyers in the winter, you can take a bit more time to think things through, and maybe even avoid a bidding war on the home you finally choose.
  • See things in a different light. One drawback of house-hunting in winter is that you might see the yard at its worst – dead grass, no flowers and bare trees. Look at it this way: If you love it then, just imagine how great it will look come spring! Looking at homes when it’s cold outside gives you a chance to see how well the house heats up and how things like windows and insulation keep the cold out.
  • Closing could be faster. With fewer homes being sold in winter, you might find that the process of making the offer to moving into your new home could go quickly. Approvals could move faster and moving companies probably have more open schedules. Keep in mind that you can help speed any home-buying process by getting pre-approved for a mortgage home loan.

Falling temperatures could be the perfect reason to heat up your hunt for the right home! Contact one of our experienced Home Loan Officers today to learn more at (800) 395-3900.

*This content was provided as a part of MoneyIQ through Beavercreek Marketing.


Every 10 years the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a national count of all households, and it also conducts additional surveys during any given year.

It is mandatory to complete the most important of these surveys – especially the decennial headcount that is coming in the spring of 2020. In our world of rampant identity theft some of the census questions asked might seem very personal but none involve the need to provide financial account details. That’s why officials warn to be on the alert for census scams.

So what should you be aware of to avoid becoming a census scam identity theft victim?

Census officials say that most households will initially receive a census form in their regular mail prior to April 1, 2020, and that they should fill those forms out and complete them as quickly as possible. Options for doing that will include returning them via mail, doing them online, or by telephone. Households that don’t respond by May 1 will be visited by census takers to obtain the information.

While the form will ask for things such as residents’ names, ages and race it won’t ask for other important personal data.

The Census Bureau offers this advice:

  • Filling out the census form is mandatory and people who don’t could be fined.
  • The census form will not ask for your Social Security number or the numbers of any of your financial accounts, credit cards or debit cards.
  • Census takers will not ask for any payments or donations.
  • They will not contact you on behalf of any political party.
  • Beware of unsolicited email claiming to be from the census, especially if it contains attachments, misspellings or poor grammar.
  • Mailings from the Census Bureau will usually have the U.S. Department of Commerce and the city of Jefferson, Indiana, in the return address.
  • If someone claiming to be a census taker comes to your home, be sure to ask for identification. They should have an ID badge that contains their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. If you are unsure if it is valid, you can call (800) 923-8282.

While it’s important to be aware of the upcoming census and the importance of completing the form, it’s also crucial that you watch out for census scams that could target vital personal information or your money.

*This content was provided as a part of MoneyIQ through Beavercreek Marketing.

Scams that target businesses can be costly.

The Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission advise businesses of all sizes to be alert for possible scams and to regularly train employees to help prevent them.

Crooks pretending to be service providers, suppliers, lenders, or even government officials contact businesses in a variety of ways, including phone calls, email or even in person. Their goals include taking money or information about the business or its customers.

Some of the most common business scams include:

  • Tech support hoaxes
  • People pretending to be from government agencies or utility companies
  • Directory listing or advertising rip-offs
  • Bank and card company impostors who try to steal account information
  • Invoice or supplier hoaxes where businesses are presented with fake bills

Most scams involve impostors demanding quick action. These rip-off artists use fear and intimidation, which often include threats to cancel operating licenses or to shut down vital services or supplies unless payments are made immediately. Money is usually demanded in the form of wire transfers or via reloadable cards or gift cards, and once these payments are made, they can be next to impossible to recover.

So how do businesses protect themselves? Experts stress the importance of education and verification.

Education means training staff to be aware of common scams and how to react to and report possible problems. Education should include specific policies to follow and regular reminders about staying aware and who to contact with concerns.

Verification is huge. With so many scams demanding money, it’s important that employees take the time to confirm that any payment or demand for information is valid. If you’re unsure of the source, cut them off and then either call an official phone number and explain why you’re checking on information or visit an official website to make contact. Don’t blindly send money or share important data such as account numbers unless you’re 100% sure a request is valid.

For more information about scams and how to protect your business, visit and The more you know the safer your business will be.

*This content was provided as a part of MoneyIQ through Beavercreek Marketing.

Tax-related identity theft has become a growing threat as hackers and other thieves steal important personal information and use it to file tax returns in your name. That’s why the IRS and other experts recommend you do everything you can to keep your personal information safe – and to file your annual tax returns as early as possible in order to beat anyone else trying to file on your behalf.

This type of identity theft happens when your Social Security number is stolen and someone uses it to file an individual or business tax return in your name and claim a refund. By filing before you, they get the refund money and you’ll be stuck fighting to straighten the mess out.

Besides filing early, the IRS recommends you do everything you can to protect your personal information. That includes:

  • Not carrying your Social Security card in your purse or billfold.
  • Not clicking on links or downloading files from suspicious emails.
  • Not sharing debit and credit card or account numbers.
  • Hanging up on callers posing as IRS agents or financial institution officials who ask for personal information and threatening punishment.
  • Shredding paper documents with your personal information on them when you no longer need them.
  • Safely storing any tax documents.

If you receive a valid notice from the IRS and you suspect your identity has been used fraudulently, respond immediately by calling the number on the notice. The IRS won’t call you with threats of jail or lawsuits and won’t send you an unsolicited email suggesting you have a refund or that you need to update your account. They will not request any sensitive information online via email or social media. These are all scams.

If you believe you’re an identity theft victim, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800.908.4490 right away and also fill out the IRS Form. It’s recommended that you also:

Be sure to do what you can to protect yourself by filing your tax returns early and guarding against ID theft. Visit for more information about identity theft and tax scams.

*This content was provided as apart of MoneyIQ through Beavercreek Marketing.

Putting money into an IRA helps you save for retirement and get tax breaks at the same time. While there are several types of Individual Retirement Accounts, you’ll most commonly hear about ‘Roth’ and ‘traditional’ IRAs.


October is Cybersecurity Month, and we embrace any chance to talk about better practices when it comes to keeping yourself and your information safe online. The fact is, we put more and more of our personal information online every single day. We share our locations and personal info on social media. We increasingly use services like online banking. There is more information about us available online than we likely realize, which is why we need to be increasingly careful to safeguard that information. Here are some quick ways to do that!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s TAX SEASON!!
Here are some of the emotions associated with tax season: stress, confusion, stress, anticipation (of a good refund), stress, disappointment (when your refund isn’t what you hoped it would be), and stress!

There are a few things that can be counted on in life.

Death. Taxes. Superhero movies.

And bills!

Everyone deals with bills. After high school, no matter where you find yourself in life, there’s a very good chance you have bills pay.


June is National Safety Month, and if you visited the blog last month, you know that we were celebrating graduating seniors! Well, many recent grads take the time right after school has ended to experience the wide world before settling down.  It can be so easy to get caught up in the thrill of exotic locales and unfamiliar destinations and neglect some basic safety measures that are so important.  So, here are some tips on how to travel safely this summer!


It’s job hunting season. That means lots of applying, filling out work histories, and hopefully lots of interviews!  This can easily be the most daunting part of the entire job-hunting process.  Don’t worry – we have you covered with some important job interview tips.