Our Real Estate Blog
Let's face it – the homebuying journey may prove to be an expensive experience. If you're not careful, you risk overspending to acquire your dream house. On the other hand, if you purchase a home without identifying underlying structural problems, you risk costly home repairs down the line.
Ultimately, it helps to establish a budget for the homebuying journey. If you have a budget in place, you can increase the likelihood of having the necessary funds on hand to overcome many potential homebuying hurdles.
You should have no trouble creating a homebuying budget, either. In fact, here are three tips to help you put together a budget for the homebuying journey.
1. Assess Your Financial Situation
If you intend to purchase a house in the foreseeable future, you'll want to take a close look at your finances. By doing so, you may be able to reduce your monthly spending and use your savings to accelerate the homebuying journey.
It often helps to assess your daily, weekly and monthly expenses. Then, you may discover bills that you can cut from your everyday budget.
For example, you may enjoy dining out regularly, but cooking at home may prove to be more cost-effective. And as you reduce your dining expenses, you can save money that you can use toward the down payment on a new house.
2. Obtain Your Credit Score
Believe it or not, your credit score can make a world of difference in your quest to acquire a house. If you check your credit score, you may be able to find ways to improve your credit score prior to kicking off a house search.
You are eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Take advantage of this perk, and you can learn your credit score in no time at all.
Remember, your credit score may have a major impact on your ability to land a favorable mortgage. And if you find that you have a below-average credit score, you then can pay off outstanding debt to improve it before you start your search for a new home.
3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Pre-approval for a mortgage is ideal. With a mortgage in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a budget for buying a house.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can offer insights into a variety of mortgage options and help you make an informed mortgage selection.
Lastly, as you prepare a homebuying budget, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you hone your home search to residences that fall within your price range. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to avoid spending too much to acquire your dream house.
Get ready to buy a house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can establish a successful homebuying budget.
There’s a lot more to interior design than simply picking out the latest trends in home decor. Design principles are also used to make the atmosphere of your home spacious and welcoming, and to make your home livable in a practical way.
In spite of the fact that most people will own a home someday, no one is ever really taught interior design. So, it comes as little surprise that so many people are missing out on simple techniques that can drastically improve their home.
In today’s article, we’re going to share with you some of the best interior design and decorating secrets to help you spruce up your home and make it more practical at the same time.
Low ceiling? No problem
Having a low ceiling can make it difficult to decorate and make your home seem spacious. One great workaround is to avoid tall furniture and seek out chairs with low backs, and bookcases that are wide rather than tall.
Omit hanging lights and ceiling fans and used recessed lighting instead to maximize your space and avoid having taller guests having to dodge objects hanging from the ceiling.
Finally, paint the ceiling white and remove crown molding to give the impression of openness.
Making small rooms feel larger
If you have a small home it can feel difficult to keep things uncluttered while still making sure you have everything you need. There are a few ways to make rooms feel more spacious that don’t involve throwing out your belongings.
First, add mirrors to give the illusion (literally) of space. A single or group of mirrors can be a nice decorative touch that makes a room seem much larger than it is.
Next, paint and decorate with mainly light colors or white. Dark colors will make a room feel smaller.
Lastly, take advantage of hidden storage space, such as tables with drawers underneath, and avoid putting decorations on too many surfaces. Filling the room up with objects will make it appear smaller.
The size of decorations matter
There’s a rule in interior decorating called the “cantaloupe rule.” It states that you should avoid using decorations that are smaller than a cantaloupe.
However, that doesn’t mean this rule can’t be artfully broken. A better description would be that you should omit several small decorations in favor of just a few large ones.
Create a color palette
When choosing the color of your furniture, walls, and decoration it can be easy to just choose whichever color you like for that object rather than what works well in your home. Try making a color palette to adhere to when shopping for these items.
Create a house-wide palette and a palette for each room. Stick to three or four colors that complement each other well for each room, and make sure they aren’t too starkly contrasted from other rooms in your home.
If you aren’t sure about how to design a color palette there are several free online tools you can use to help.
With the coronavirus causing us to spend weeks and potentially months at home, many people are turning their thoughts to practical ways to use their time. If you've been wanting to extend your education, but struggled to find the time to do so, this might be an excellent opportunity. You will want to find a quality program to invest your time and money wisely. Here are some of the top opportunities to consider.
1. University of Texas of the Permian Basin
University of Texas of the Permian Basin earns a spot on this list because it offers a strong master's degree program, including an MBA, at an affordable cost. The classes move quickly, with most courses finishing within seven weeks, allowing you to earn your degree faster than other programs. In 2019 the University of Texas of the Permian Basin had 10 fully online graduate degree programs including education, public administration, and English, among others.
2. American Public University System
American Public University System, which is based out of Charles Town, West Virginia, offers online master's degrees in a range of fields. Some popular options include criminal justice, business administration, and accounting, but they also have education and IT programs. Several of this university's programs have earned recognition through well-known entities, like US News and World Report, which means the quality of education received is quite high.
3. Oklahoma State University
If you're looking to get some training in agriculture or something outside of the normal MBA or leadership fields, Oklahoma State University offers options. They also offer online options for the more popular master's degree programs as well, and it's online MBA program receives high marks. Tuition fees are also affordable for this particular program.
4. Jacksonville State University
With popular programs in marketing and criminal justice, Jacksonville State University offers online graduate degree programs that require no visits to campus. This program falls within the top 150 in the South, and its online criminal justice programs rank among the top 100 in the country. With tuition under $10,000, it remains an affordable option for adults looking to go back to school.
5. Wayne State University
Though it's one of the more costly on this list, Wayne State University offers online degree programs in education, criminal justice and communications, among their programs. Its online criminal justice program is particularly popular, ranking among the top 50 in the nation. The coursework in the online master's degree programs have the same instructors as the courses taught on-campus, so online students receive a high-quality education.
Extra time at home gives you the opportunity to pursue additional training. If one of these online programs jumps out at you, consider applying. You just might be able to add some additional skills to your portfolio as you use quarantine as a chance to focus on self-growth.
With rent prices shooting soaring across the country, many young Americans who were previously happy renting while they saved for a home are now turning to other options.
One common solution is a starter home. If you want to keep your monthly mortgage prices low while being able to build equity and slowly save for your “forever home.” a starter home can be a great option for first-time buyers.
When does it make sense to buy a starter home?
Buying a home means mortgage payments, home maintenance and repairs, and closing costs. However, they can also be a great introduction to the responsibilities of homeownership.
Better yet, starter homes allow you to build equity that can be used toward the down payment of your next home, something that first-time buyers often struggle with. This could help you secure a lower interest rate and avoid costly private mortgage insurance (PMI).
Sounds great, right? But when shouldn’t you buy a starter home?
It might not make sense to buy a starter home if you don’t plan on living in it at least 3-4 years. You might find that the cost of renting is less than that of your mortgage payments and closing costs if you don’t live in the home long enough to reap the rewards.
It also might not be a good idea if your family is going to outgrow a small home in the next few years for the same reasons mentioned above. That makes it all the more important to discuss your long term plans with your spouse before considering a home.
Things to look for in a starter home
1. Resale value
One of the most important aspects of your starter home should be the ability to resell it in the future. Now, there is an endless number of factors that go into the marketability of a home. Key factors include the condition of the home and keeping it well-maintained, as well as the location of the home. Buying a starter home in an area that will attract young professionals down the road is typically a good investment.
2. Small size = low price
It probably goes without saying, but finding a home with a low price, at the expense of square-footage, is most often a smart choice when it comes to starter homes.
Small homes are cheaper to buy, cheaper to heat, and cheaper to maintain. However, since housing prices are trending upward, you’ll likely still see a positive return on your investment in ~5 years time when you’re hoping to buy again.
3. Reasonable home improvements
If you can spare the time, buying a starter home that needs some work can be an excellent investment. It can be more difficult later on when you have a large family to care for and less time to focus on making improvements.
When choosing a house or condo to live in for the next several years, comfort, convenience, and affordability are among the most important factors to keep in mind. A fourth item that many real estate agents would add to that list is "location."
The location of your next home is crucial for many reasons -- not the least of which is future resale value. Ideally, you want the value of your home to appreciate over time, which will help improve your financial situation. Whether you decide to upgrade or downsize in your next real estate purchase, the equity you've built up can benefit both your lifestyle goals and real estate objectives.
In addition to the investment features of picking a good location for your next home, there are also several other worthwhile advantages.
- A reasonable commute time, preferable under a half an hour, will help reduce your stress level, enable you to spend more time with your family, and reduce the amount of wear and tear on your vehicle. A short commute can also help you save money on gas, highway tolls, depreciation, and insurance. One way to reduce your driving time is to look into telecommuting possibilities at your job. Even if you have a relatively long commute to work, that can be offset by having the freedom to work from home a couple days a week. Fortunately, more and more businesses are realizing the mutual benefits of allowing or even encouraging telecommuting. While it may be necessary to prove to your employer that your productivity won't suffer when you're working from home, doing so can save you money, lower your stress, and improve your overall quality of life. Let's face it: There are a lot more fulfilling things you can do with your time than getting stuck in traffic jams and feeling frazzled when you return home every night!
- A convenient location can also mean proximity to shopping, entertainment, recreation, family, friends, and places of worship. Being close to medical, dental, and veterinary services can also make your life a lot easier -- especially when you need to get there quickly.
- From a health and fitness standpoint, it also pays to live within a short distance to public parks, tennis courts, golf courses, bike paths, gyms, and bodies of water for swimming, kayaking, and other aquatic sports.
- For younger families, being close to childcare resources -- whether it be a daycare center or nearby (and available) relative -- can also be a major factor in getting to work on time, making sure your children are properly cared for, and minimizing chaos in your life!