Lynn Rand's Blog
Buying a house is never a simple decision. Aside from all of the financial aspects of purchasing a home, there are numerous life-related considerations you’ll need to think about. So, it comes as little surprise that diving head on into the house hunting process can be stressful and taxing to the home buyer.
With all of the different numbers to keep track of--a down payment, closing costs, credit scores, interest rates, and so on--it’s easy to get lost in the finer details of your budget. This can lead to even more stress as you try to navigate your way through getting approved for a mortgage and shopping for the perfect home.
In this article, we’re going to give you some tips on how to maintain your budget and reduce stress throughout the home buying process. That way, when you do finally find the house you’ve been waiting for, you’ll be able to move forward confidently.
Trust the process
Many first-time home buyers enter the real estate market with little knowledge or experience of how things work. Any newcomer to such a huge and complex industry is bound to be flustered with all of the different options available to them.
However, much of the home buying process is relatively standardized. Real estate agents all make roughly the same commission, lenders use similar algorithms to decide how much of a loan you’ll be approved for, and real estate contracts contain legal safeguards and contingencies to ensure that you and the seller’s interests are protected.
When shopping for a mortgage or getting pre-approved, it’s a good idea to ask friends, family, or read reviews online to find someone you know you can trust. From there, rely on the experts to lead you through the process.
Have a long-term plan
Much of the stress and anxiety around buying a home comes from the uncertainty of the future. Sitting down with your family and significant other and deciding your long-term goals for homeownership is a good way to build confidence and know that you’re making the right choice.
Determining things like location, the number of years you want to live in a home, and what priorities are the most important (school districts, neighborhood safety, etc.) will help you make that plan a reality.
Use the tools at your disposal
If you’re reading this article, you already have started to take advantage of one of the most important resources you have, the internet. Look up real estate terminology you’re unfamiliar with, read up on the different types of mortgages, and take advantage of free online calculators to create what-if scenarios to find out what you might end up paying in closing costs and interests.
It’s also a good idea to check your credit score for free online. You can check your official reports once per year, but for simple credit checks you can look it up each month for free.
Knowing that you’re in good hands with a lender and agent, that you have a basic understanding of industry terms, that you have a long-term plan, and that your finances are in order will all help set your mind at ease and give you confidence as you move forward toward homeownership.
Once you buy a home, you realize that every penny of your budget matters. The initial purchase of a house can be financially overwhelming. You’ll be withdrawing thousands of dollars from your account to secure the home. Once you close on the house, it’s time to buckle down on your budget. Continue reading for some tips on how to do just that.
For most people, food spending is one of the biggest things that suck the life out of their budget. Whether you’re getting take out three times a week or spending massive amounts at the grocery store, it’s time to take a serious look at your food spending.
Shop With A Plan
If you head to the grocery store with a plan in mind, your shopping trip will be more successful and less expensive. Many people are unsure of what they have in their cabinets and fridge, let alone what to make for dinner. Make a list of meals to have for the week. Then, see what you need to complete those recipes in your kitchen and pantry. It’s also a good idea to stock your pantry with essentials when sales are going on.
Supermarket ads can also be incredibly useful. You might have to store hop on a weekly basis, but shopping with the sales can save you a lot of money in the long term.
Look At Your Credit Card Statements
Are you being charged for a monthly gym membership that you don’t ever make use of? You can do one of two things: Start going to the gym or cancel out your membership and begin a daily jogging routine. Look at your cable bill and any other monthly subscriptions that you have. See where you can cut back. Are premium movie channels a necessity? It’s easy to forget what we’re being charged for on a monthly basis if we don’t look at our bank and card statements.
Maybe in your life before becoming a homeowner, you went for a weekly massage or had a monthly housecleaning service. You can still have these luxuries, but they may need to be less often or less extensive. For example, a significant portion of time during maid service is spent loading the dishwasher or cleaning pots and pans. You can clean up after yourself and your family each night following dinner and cut back on the amount of time a maid would need to spend in your home. The cleaning person also now will have more time to spend on other things in the house that need attention.
You can keep your massage; it may just have to be bi-weekly or monthly. Get creative to still have the things you want in your budget without going overboard.
Home staging is one of the most tried-and-true methods of selling your home faster. It can also help you increase the purchase price of your home by between one and five percent.
However, working with a professional home stager--while a good investment--is not always in everyone’s budget.
The good news is, there are a lot of simple and inexpensive ways to stage your home that will give visitors a good first impression, make for great photos for your online listing, and hopefully help speed up your home sale.
In today’s post, we’re going to break down six of the most effective and inexpensive home staging tips to help you sell your home faster.
1. Declutter everything
Cleaning out your home is one of the best ways to make it appear more spacious and welcoming. It gives you the chance to start packing items you won’t need until you move into your new home, and it opens up space to use a few choice decorations around the home.
For things like cabinets and closets, remove all of the items you won’t need until you move. A closet that is half-full will look much larger for guests viewing your home.
2. Clean carpets and polish wooden furniture
Carpets, flooring, and furniture make up a large percent of the visible space in your home. Leaving these items dirty or worn when selling your home is missing out on a huge opportunity to make your home look up-to-date and well-maintained.
You can rent a carpet cleaner for as little as $20, and a gallon of wood polish costs around $15, making these two items a solid investment for staging your home.
3. Paint with bright colors
When we paint our homes we usually choose colors that we like, rather than ones that appeal to the largest number of people. And although that’s a great thing while you own a home, it can be detrimental when it comes time to sell. Repainting dark walls in bright, neutral tones will make the room feel larger and well-lit.
4. Paint the front door while you’re at it
A freshly painted, bright colored front door can be the secret weapon when it comes to making your home stand out amongst your neighbors. It is a cheap way to quickly freshen up the exterior of your home and increase curb appeal.
5. Purchase a new welcome mat and mailbox
Welcome mats tend to get a lot of use and wear down. Similarly, mailboxes often get dented and faded over the years.
These two items can be excellent accents to improve the curb appeal of your home. Choose colors that match the overall color scheme of your home to establish a sense of continuity.
6. Rearrange furniture to allow foot traffic
When someone comes to view your home, you’ll want to sure they have ease of access to each part of the house. Rearrange the furniture in your kitchen, dining room, and bedrooms to make it easy to tour the home.