Carol Snider and Laura Snider Cooperman's Blog
You’ve decided to start the process of buying a home. Congratulations! Now it’s time to figure out how much money you have, and what you can afford. The goal is to avoid purchasing more home than you can afford, but those variables change. In September 2019, the average price of a new home was almost $363,000. As an average, that may sound a bit steep, especially if this is your very first home.
A home may be one of the largest purchases you make. That’s why it’s important to go in with a clear head and everything aligned. Here are a few tips on learning how to budget when you’re preparing to purchase a new home:
- Start with the 25% rule
Your mortgage should not be more than 25% of your gross income each month.
- Consider every source of income you have. That means if you have 2 paychecks each month, each one should be included. If you have side work, that should also be included. That will encompass your total monthly income.
- Write down your monthly expenses and make sure you leave nothing out. That means your donations to charity, student loans, transportation/gas, movie night, coffee and everything else you spend on a monthly basis.
- Once you have these figures, subtract the expenses from the income. That will help you determine the max you will be able to pay for your mortgage. It’s also important to have a place to set aside some money for repairs. As a homeowner, things happen.
Any existing debt you have should be eliminated if you can afford it. The lower your debt to income ratio when you start the process, the better off you will be. Additionally, you should save as much as you can for a potential down payment. Depending on the loan, that will be 10 to 20%.
The figures you come up with will give you a good idea of where you stand and is a good starting point for your initial meeting with a mortgage broker. It’s also a good idea to review the types of loans that you may qualify for and look at the requirements. That will give you a general idea of the amount of money you will need to come up with for a viable down payment.
Although things may seem complicated, once you get started, everything should fall into place. Your real estate agent or mortgage broker will be able to provide more insight once you get started. Take your time and don't rush the process. It will be worth your while in the end.
"Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!" That saying (and old song) has been around for generations, but it's as true today as it was a century ago. Almost everyone would agree that your home should be a refuge from the calamity and dangers of the outside world.
A related saying which has been repeated for even longer is "A man's home is his castle." That age-old concept not only emphasizes that fact that we all deserve to be safe and secure in our own homes, but it's also the basis for certain legal principles. Unfortunately, the mere existence of our rights as homeowners does not prevent burglaries, break-ins, and criminal intrusions from happening, so it's necessary to take steps to help protect your home and family from crime.
The good news is that there are literally dozens of things you can do to make your home a safer, more secure place. While it can be costly (but often worth it) to implement an elaborate, high-tech home security system, there are plenty of inexpensive measures you can take to discourage burglars. Here are a few crime-prevention tactics which can greatly reduce the chances of a break-in or intrusion taking place at your home.
Be security minded: If you live in a low-crime area, it's easy to let your guard down and become complacent. When it comes to keeping your property, family, and possessions secure, though, it's much better to "err on the side of caution." One regrettable mistake many people make is to leave their doors unlocked when they go out to "run a few quick errands." Not only can errands take longer than originally planned, but experienced burglars can be in and out of your home in minutes. By being consistent with locking doors and securing your home before you leave, you'll significantly reduce the chances of becoming a crime statistic. Instilling that awareness and those habits in your children is also an important element of any effective home security strategy.
Simple security solutions: Although glass panels alongside a front door can be an attractive design touch, it can provide potential intruders with a glimpse of the inside of your home -- including its layout, a view of valuables left out in the open, and whether your security system is activated. There are several ways you can obscure the view people have of your home's interior, including frosting the glass using a special spray, temporarily attaching a decorative window film, or installing etched glass. Customized window blinds may also do the trick.
Innovative ideas: Burglars generally tend to target homes that appear vacant or unsecured. Half the battle is creating the impression that someone is home, even if you're not. While you've undoubtedly heard about the technique of hooking up timers to your lights to make them go on and off at designated times, here's an interesting variation on the theme: You can purchase a device for $20 or $30 that simulates the flickering light that a TV gives off when it's being watched. While this is not a standalone or foolproof technique, it can be a low-cost part of an overall home security strategy.
If you recently sold your house, you will need to move quickly to pack up your belongings and relocate to a new address. In addition, you probably will want to clean your house as much as possible prior to a homebuyer's final walk-through.
Fortunately, there are many quick, easy ways to clean a home before you move, including:
1. Straighten Up Your Home While You Pack
Home cleaning can be a long, arduous process, particularly for those who wait until the last minute to perform various home cleaning tasks. If you clean up after yourself while you prepare for your upcoming move, you can avoid the stress of completing extensive home cleaning right before moving day.
Wiping down home countertops, walls and ceilings usually is a great idea. By doing so, you can keep these spots clean while you plan for your move.
Also, don't forget to empty the attic and basement and remove dirt, dust and debris from these areas. This will ensure you can clean these areas once and for all before moving day arrives.
2. Remove All Clutter from Your Home
There is no reason to let clutter slow you down as you prepare for an upcoming move. Instead, clear out clutter immediately, and you can clean your home and reduce the number of items that you'll need to move to your new address.
Today, there are several ways to get rid of clutter. In many instances, you can sell excess items as part of a yard sale or online. Or, you can always donate these items to local charities or give them to friends or family members.
Regardless of what you decide to do with clutter, it is essential to remove clutter from your house as soon as you can. That way, you can cut down on clutter and increase the likelihood of a quick, seamless moving day experience.
3. Hire a Cleaning Company
Cleaning a home from top to bottom can be a lot of work. Plus, if you're already allocating significant amounts of time to packing for an upcoming move, you may lack the necessary time and energy to improve your house's interior and exterior.
Many home cleaning companies are available in cities and towns nationwide. These businesses employ friendly, highly trained professionals who are happy to help you clean your residence prior to moving day.
If you plan to hire a home cleaning company, don't wait to contact this business. Because the longer you wait to book a home cleaning company, the more likely it becomes that this business won't be able to accommodate your cleaning needs before you move.
Lastly, if you need help finding a cleaning company in your area, you can always consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you sell a home, as well as connect you with first-rate cleaning companies in any area, at any time.
Use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble cleaning your house in the days leading up to your move.
Selling a home is a big decision with far-flung ramifications. If you're on the fence about selling your house, there is no need to wait. In fact, there are many reasons why now may be the right time to list your residence, and these include:
1. You can upgrade or downgrade.
Although your current home has served you well for many years, now may be a good time for a change. Fortunately, you can sell your residence and move into a bigger or smaller home that will suit you perfectly.
It often won't take long to transition from one home to another. In many instances, individuals simultaneously sell their current house and search for a new home. This generally enables an individual to seamlessly relocate from his or her current house to a bigger or smaller residence.
2. You can move closer to family members and friends.
If you find your current home is far away from family members and friends, don't stress. For those who sell a home, it may be only a matter of time before you can enjoy convenient access to loved ones.
By selling your current home, you can explore houses in cities and towns where your loved ones reside. Then, if you purchase a house close to family members and friends, you can visit these loved ones without having to worry about a long commute.
3. You can receive plenty of support throughout the home selling journey.
Listing a home may seem virtually impossible, particularly for someone who previously has never embarked on the property selling journey. Lucky for you, help is available to ensure you can quickly and effortlessly sell your home and maximize its value.
Working with a real estate agent typically is a good idea for first-time and experienced home sellers alike. With a real estate agent at your side, you can get the assistance you need to achieve your property selling goals.
A real estate agent understands the assorted pitfalls that a home seller may encounter. As such, he or she works with a home seller to help this individual address potential problems before they escalate. A real estate agent will collaborate with a property seller to craft a house selling strategy. Next, a real estate agent will put this plan into action and do everything possible to promote a house to prospective buyers. And if a seller receives an offer to purchase, a real estate agent will help this individual review his or her options and determine how to proceed.
In addition, a real estate agent provides a housing market resource unlike any other. He or she is available to respond to a seller's concerns and questions. Plus, a real estate agent is happy to provide home selling recommendations.
Take the guesswork out of selling your home – hire a real estate agent, and you can receive extensive support as you navigate the property selling journey.