Melissa Barth's Blog
Moving is not an easy task. To another continent, across this continent, or just down the block—moving is a significant undertaking. Reasons for moving are as varied as there are people. No matter the reason(s) there are common things to consider and evaluate.
Stretching your dollars
Budget is usually at the top of most people’s list. Moving to a higher or lower cost of living area can make for quite a house hunting adventure. A realtor with knowledge of the city is a great resource and can save you a lot of time when sorting through what housing is available. You may have a certain percentage of your income you are willing to spend on housing, narrowing your search. Housing that provides extras such as community pools or playground areas can cause you to rethink your budget. A top-rated school district may also have you reevaluate you what you are willing to spend.
Take the long way home
Consider the proximity to your employment and ease of commute. There seems to be increased traffic everywhere these days. That can make the time commuting a large chunk of your morning and evening. Looking at housing with a shorter commute that allows you to take advantage of public transportation but has a higher price maybe be just the ticket. If you want more space, larger yard, or greater square footage you may be willing to put in the time on a longer commute to and from work.
Size and activity level of your household is a significant influence on housing options. Pet owners may need to look for specific accommodations; as will those with younger children. High traffic areas may not work for a household that enjoys a high level of outdoor activities. The ability to walk or ride around the neighborhood can be of great importance to those households. Fenced backyards and sidewalks can increase the outdoor enjoyment of the housing you choose.
If you want greater access to urban life, than you may want to consider housing in a high-rise or condo community near a city center. This type of housing option gives you closer access to what the city setting can offer; like restaurants, theaters and art museums. Additionally, this type of housing may include amenities such as underground gated parking, security and possibility concierges’ services to enhance your living experience.
Contact your realtor for more information on the type of properties that will fit your needs.
It’s a difficult time to be a first-time home buyer. Post-recession buyers are wary--and for good reason--of how and when to save money for a down payment on a house. One thing to remember, however, is that it’s always a good time to start saving.
In this article, we’re going to cover the four most useful methods of saving for a down payment on your first home. That way you can feel confident in taking the first and most important step toward homeownership.
Choosing the right savings account
Unlike riskier investments, a savings account is a safe and proven way of building interest and saving for a home. However, not all savings accounts are created equal.
Typically, brick and mortar banks offer interest rates that are low--the current national average is only about 0.06% annually. While these banks offer conveniences such as in-network ATMs and check-cashing, their physical locations make them expensive to run.
Enter the online bank. Since online banks don’t have all of the costs associated with running branches, they can afford to offer better rewards--namely, high-interest returns on your savings accounts.
So, should you take all of your money out of your current savings account and transfer it to an online bank? Maybe. But let’s talk about the benefits of having multiple savings accounts.
Open a dedicated account with automatic deposits
Saving isn’t just difficult due to financial reasons. Managing money also takes time and effort. To simplify this process, it’s preferable to direct deposit or automatically transfer a percentage of your weekly income into your down payment savings account.
While it may seem like pinching pennies at first, even small weekly deposits add up, and within a few years the compounding interest can earn you enough for a higher down payment than you thought possible.
Prioritize high-interest debt now
Have student debt or a car loan that’s keeping you from focusing on saving for a down payment? Oftentimes the best coarse of action is to aggressively pay off high-interest loans. In the long term, this will save you money that can then be used toward a down payment.
For debt that will take several years to pay off, consider refinancing for a lower interest rate, or consolidating your student loans. Speaking with a student loan adviser or financial planner is a good first step to take toward managing your debt.
Make a real budget
Most of us think of a verb when we hear the word “budget.” However, it’s more useful as a noun.
Creating a real budget, whether it’s in Excel, Google Sheets, or with the help of an app, having a budget you can refer to once a week is vital to making good savings decisions. It will help you monitor your spending and stay on top of your savings goals.
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If you want to streamline your home search, there is no need to worry. In fact, there are several things you can do to quickly and effortlessly discover a great house at a budget-friendly price.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline your search for your ideal house.
1. Create Homebuying Criteria
Homebuying criteria may help you save time as you embark on a quest to find your dream home. Because if you enter the housing market with homebuying criteria in hand, you'll know what you want to discover in your ideal residence.
To create homebuying criteria, think about your home must-haves and wants. Then, you can search for houses based on your homebuying criteria and move one step closer to finding a residence that you can enjoy for years to come.
Of course, it is important to remain flexible as you pursue your dream house too. And if necessary, you should be ready to adjust your homebuying criteria as your home search progresses.
2. Hone Your Home Search to Preferred Cities and Towns
You know you want to buy a house, but you still have no idea where you want to settle down. If you make a list of preferred cities and towns, however, you may be able to accelerate your home search.
Consider your short- and long-term aspirations as you prepare a list of preferred cities and towns. For instance, if your long-term goal is to work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you want to own lots of land in a small town, you may want to consider small town residences.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
Searching for a home on your own may prove to be time-consuming. Fortunately, real estate agents are homebuying experts who are happy to help you simplify your house search.
By hiring a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive assistance throughout the property buying journey. A real estate agent will teach you about the housing market and respond to your homebuying concerns and queries. Plus, he or she will offer recommendations and suggestions to help you make an informed home purchase.
In addition, a real estate agent is ready to assist you in a number of ways. He or she will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses that become available in your preferred cities and towns and help you submit a competitive offer to purchase your dream home. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you acquire a terrific residence at an affordable price.
As you get set to embark on a home search, it generally is a good idea to enter the housing market as a prepared property buyer. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can conduct an in-depth home search without delay. And as a result, you can use these tips to discover your dream house in no time at all.