The kids have all recently gone back to school and we are already stunned by what they’re learning. The Van Allen belt? Subjunctive clauses? Quadratic equations? Oh, how I wish we could all soak up such new knowledge so efficiently!

Most of us grownups are on a new learning curve, too. Whether we like it or not, or think we need it or not, the upheaval of our economy is giving us a crash course in credit management. And, the more you know, the more comfortable you will be that you are making the right decisions when it comes to your credit and buying a new home.

So, how well do you know your credit? As a Realtor, I can tell you that when it comes to buying a home, good credit is the most valuable asset you can own. Always keep in mind your credit determines how much you’ll pay on your next loan.  Those with excellent credit will, of course, get the best rates possible because they are less risky for lenders. So, how much difference can that make for someone with a lesser credit rating? Well, those with the better credit rating are paying 3 ½ percentage points lower than those with lower credit ratings. Here’s an example: On a $250,000 mortgage, those with top credit will pay $588 less each month than those with low credit. That’s an impressive $7,056 a year savings.

When buying a home, you will always run into the traditional questions such as how much you earn annually, how much you have in savings, and how long you’ve been at your current job. All will have a bearing on your ability to keep up with your payments. But, the biggest factor you will encounter is your credit score. Your score rating reflects how promptly you’ve paid bills, how long a track record you have as a credit user, how much you owe, what type of credit you have, and all new credit activity.

Some great ways to manage and re-establish your credit is to look for foolproof ways to pay off your debts in a timely fashion and be sure to take advantage of your once a year free credit report. Or, you can always use a credit monitoring agency. They are inexpensive and you can get online to see your credit score and anything else going on with your credit anytime.

A home is a valuable asset to anyone, but you can’t get your dream home without credit. So, keep an eye on your credit score as often as you can.

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Historic Johnson Farms is the place to be for spooky storytelling fun in Hendersonville, NC.

Do campfires remind you of marshmallow roasts and spooky stories?  If you visit the Historic Johnson Farm in Hendersonville from 7-9pm on Saturday, September 20th, you are in for a real treat.  Four of the area’s best storytellers will be featured in a night of unearthly fun.  Virginia “Blackfeather” Thompson specializes in Native American folklore and culture and has 30 years of professional storytelling experience.  Now retired, Lisa Whitfield was a music and art teacher for 31 years, during which, she loved telling her elementary students all sorts of stories.  And, last but not least, Johnson Farm coordinator Ingrid McNair and her husband, Jerry McNair, will tantalize your ears with “The Spooky House”, “No One Here But You” and “The Haunted House”.  Admission is only $4 for adults, $3 for K-12 students and preschool children will be admitted free.  Marshmallows will be provided for roasting over the campfire and hot dogs and drinks will be available for sale.  This is a fun way to spend a family evening.  So, come out to Historic Johnson Farms in Hendersonville this Saturday and get spooked in a fun way!

Thanks to a campaign spearheaded by local citizen and businesswoman Barbara Hughes, Mayor Greg Newman officially proclaimed Hendersonville as the “friendliest city in America”.  Barbara Hughes even set up a Friendliest City in America website to show the smiling, happy faces of Hendersonville’s friendly citizens as well as residents’ stories of what makes the city such a great place to live.  Barbara is hoping to get Henderson County’s Chamber of Commerce to link to her site to help get the word out on a national level.  US Senator Elizabeth Dole has even expressed her appreciation for the fine Hendersonville community, where she set up her western office after she was elected to the US Senate.  Senator Dole commended Barbara Hughes as a shining example of what makes Hendersonville such a spectacular city to live in.

Bring the kids to the petting zoo at the Mountain State FairCome to the WNC Agricultural Center, located across from the Asheville Regional Airport, anytime between September 5-14 to enjoy the annual North Carolina Mountain State Fair, the Best of the West.  This 10-day, family-oriented event includes carnival rides, pig races, animal exhibits, camel rides, a petting zoo, vendors, a wildlife show, Rusty’s Western Show and artisans competing for a piece of the $180,000 prize money up for grabs in such categories as arts and crafts, canned and baked goods, flowers/gardening and livestock.  On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the gates open at 9am and rides open at 10am.  During the week (Monday through Thursday), the gates will open at 3pm and the rides will open at 4pm.  Admission to the fair at the gate is $5 for adults, $2 for kids ages 6-12 and children 5 and under are free.  Ride coupons are available in sets of 12 for $12.  Save money by purchasing tickets in advance at any Ingles store.  Free parking is available on the WNC Agricultural Center’s property and handicap parking is available for those with valid placards near the ticket booths at Entrance A.  You can rent a wheelchair, scooter or stroller near Entrances A and E.  All backpacks will be checked.  No alcohol, drugs or firearms are allowed inside the fairgrounds and the only pets allowed at the facilities are trained service dogs for the handicapped.  For more information on the entertainment at the fair, please visit the Mountain State Fair’s entertainment schedule.  I hope to see you there!