Our Real Estate Blog
Buying a home will likely be one of the largest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. While this may seem scary at first, it’s worth noting that buying a home can also be a valuable financial investment.
When it comes to preparing to buy a home, many people just wait until they run out of room in their apartment before deciding that they need to upgrade to a home. A better approach, however, would be to start planning for your first home a year or more in advance.
Saving for a down payment is a vital step to making the best long-term financial decision. A larger down payment can help you pay off your home sooner, pay thousands or tens of thousands less in interest, and start using your home equity as an asset.
But, saving for a down payment is easier said than done. So, in this post, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can aggressively save for a down payment so that, when the time comes, you can achieve long-term financial security from your investment.
Setting your savings goals
The first thing you should be thinking about when saving for a down payment is what your goals are in a home. Setting realistic goals in this phase will make saving for your down payment more feasible and less discouraging.
Think about what you really need from a home at this point in your life and compromise where you can.
Remember that on top of your monthly mortgage payments, you’ll likely also be paying for taxes, insurance, utilities, homeowners association fees, and more.
Save on a timeline
When setting your savings goal, make sure you’re aware of the timeframe you’re working with. If you want to buy a home next year, you’ll need to focus on short-term savings options. However, if you’re okay with renting for the next 5 years, investing your money could be a better option.
Lock away your savings
Treat your down payment savings like an emergency fund. Open a separate account, automatically deposit a portion of your pay into the account, and never withdraw from it. To do this, you will, of course, need to already have an emergency fund with a month’s expenses in it.
However, once you’ve established your emergency fund, start immediately depositing into your savings account.
Pay off credit cards
It may seem like saving for a down payment is more pressing than paying off old debt. However, the numbers will show that making interest payments on your credit cards is essentially throwing away money that could have been used toward your down payment savings.
Adjust your spending habits
While it isn’t easy to start spending less once you’ve built a standard of living, there are ways to spend less money and still lead a fulfilling life. Think about where your money goes each month, including bills and services you might pay for.
Now could be the best time to cut the cord and start using a service like Hulu to save $50 or more each month.
Time for a raise?
If it’s been some time since your last pay raise, now could be an ideal time to speak with your employer. To improve your chances of success, don’t discuss reasons outside of work that might be influencing your decision to ask for a raise (such as saving for a down payment). Rather, back up your request with evidence of your accomplishments at work.
Buying a home should be a problem-free experience. Yet issues may arise that make it tough to acquire the perfect house at an affordable price.
Common problems that come up during the homebuying journey include:
1. Lack of Home Financing
Before you search for a home, it generally is a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you can kick off a house search with a budget in hand.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you about a variety of mortgage options and help you get approved for home financing in no time at all.
Of course, if you have questions as you pursue a mortgage, don't hesitate to ask a lender for assistance. Lenders employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to respond to your queries without delay.
2. Temptation to Submit a Lowball Offer to Purchase
Once you find your ideal residence, you may be tempted to submit an offer to purchase at or below a house seller's initial asking price. But doing so may be problematic, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to acquire his or her dream residence as quickly as possible.
If you submit a lowball offer to purchase a house, a seller likely will reject the proposal. Worst of all, a rival homebuyer may swoop in with a competitive offer to purchase this residence – something that may cause you to miss out on the opportunity to buy your ideal home.
Ultimately, it is beneficial to submit a competitive homebuying proposal. If you allocate time and resources to learn about a home's condition and how a residence stacks up against comparable houses in the same city or town, you can craft a competitive offer to purchase. And as a result, a competitive offer to purchase may receive an instant "Yes" from a home seller, leading to a fast, successful homebuying experience.
3. Failure to Identify Problems During a Home Inspection
A home inspection is paramount because it gives you the opportunity to walk through a residence with a property expert and learn about any underlying house issues. Then, if you discover major problems with a house, you can ask a seller to complete property repairs, reduce your initial offer to purchase or walk away from a residence altogether.
Hire a home inspector who possesses comprehensive expertise – you'll be glad you did. With the right house inspector at your side, you can get the help you need to identify problems during a property inspection.
Lastly, as you get ready to search for a house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can provide extensive guidance throughout the property buying journey and ensure you can mitigate homebuying problems before they escalate.
Reach out to a real estate agent today, and you can receive plenty of support as you navigate the homebuying journey.
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Searching for a new house that will meet your needs without breaking your budget can sometimes feel overwhelming! There are dozens of factors to consider and countless details to handle at any point in time.
Fortunately, there are strategies for getting it all done, maintaining your sanity, and being satisfied with the final outcome.
If you feel like you're getting off track (or can't even find the train station), here are a few tips for getting organized:
Create a priority list. If you haven't clarified and discussed with your spouse what you want and what's important to both of you, then there's a good chance you won't get it. You do not have to go it alone, though! A top-notch real estate agent can help you create a working list of priorities and preferences that you can use as a measuring stick when evaluating homes for sale. Better still, once you develop this list with your agent, he or she will have the information they need to efficiently locate properties that conform to your wish list and requirements. Your priority list will be based on a lot of criteria, including your desired lifestyle, the size of your family, and proximity to good schools, recreation, and shopping centers. If may also be important to you to live within a short drive to work, childcare facilities, or houses of worship. One of the best ways to organize your wants and needs is to get a copy of a homebuyers' "wish list" from your Realtor or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Key factors to consider when developing your list may include items like architectural style, the amount of remodeling you're prepared to do, and the size of the yard. Privacy, space between neighboring houses, and distance from busy highways are also important factors to weigh.
Choose the right real estate agent: The ideal way to find a real estate agent you'll be pleased with is to get recommendations from family, friends, and trusted business associates. If someone you know well has had a favorable experience with a specific real estate agent, chances are good that your experience would be similar. Since most real estate agents value referrals, a smart agent will strive to make a positive impression on both you and the person who referred you. It's often advisable to talk with more than one real estate agent before making your final decision, though. That way you'll be in a position to compare qualities like experience, knowledge, personality, rapport, and energy level. It's vitally important that you feel comfortable with the agent you decide to work with, and that they're responsive to your questions, concerns, and requirements.
While a "wish list" and a "must have" list are essential components of a successful real estate search, the process unfolds much more smoothly when you remain open minded, flexible, and realistic.
Have you ever visited a butterfly garden and marveled at how beautiful it was to see so many butterflies happily fluttering along flower to flower? Did you wish that you could have that same experience more often?
How about every day?
By turning your flower garden into a strategically designed one that attracts butterflies this could be your reality every day! Here’s how to get started:
First, you should know that butterflies eat from different plants than caterpillars. And while you might be tempted to leave out the plants that sustain caterpillars if you want a consistent butterfly presence caterpillars are a critical piece to that puzzle.
No caterpillars mean no butterflies.
But choosing which plants to add to your garden for caterpillars is going to depend on your region. This list tells you what to plant based on butterfly species https://www.nwf.org/en/Garden-for-Wildlife/Wildlife/Attracting-Butterflies
Some plants that provide caterpillar are dill, fennel, milkweed, white clover, and parsley.
Nectar plants, from which butterflies eat from, include the butterfly bush, cosmos, purple coneflower, and zinnia. Alyssum. These are also fairly easy flowers to grow, which is great news if you don’t naturally have a green thumb.
Some butterflies also like fruit! Attract them by placing overripe fruit such as oranges, pears, and melons in a dish in your butterfly garden.
You’ll want to create variety in plants that you add to your garden. Aim for a layout much like the one you would find in a more “natural” setting. Look to add shrubs and trees in addition to perennials. Varying the heights of plants also helps to create a natural atmosphere.
Attract the eye of butterflies by clumping flower types together. It’s easier for them to see a larger expanse of bright colorful flowers than a couple ones spotted here and there. When they see a large swath of similar buds they know it’s a good place to snack!!
Shrubs and trees are critical to your butterfly garden. They provide safety for caterpillars, shield your garden from wind which in turn encourages butterflies the ability to explore and also provides butterflies shelter to rest safely at night
Plan your garden to have plenty of time in the sunlight. Butterflies are cold-blooded and need to spend their mornings warming up in the sun before setting off for the day! Having a rock or two in these sunny areas will encourage butterflies to stay awhile and warm their wings. Ideally, these sunny spots will get around 6 hours of sun.
Another lesser known feature to include in your butterfly garden are what is known as puddling stations. A puddling station is essentially a shallow container filled with sand and water for butterflies to stop and perch on to drink. Have a few of these stations throughout your butterfly garden!