Marie Souza & Team's Blog
If you want to purchase a home, it pays to establish a homebuying budget. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand and narrow your search for your dream house.
Now, let's take a look at three best practices to help you create a homebuying budget.
1. Look at Your Finances
Your finances will play a major role in your ability to purchase a home. Thus, you should evaluate your current financial situation closely so you can map out an effective homebuying journey.
Request a copy of your credit report – you'll be glad you did. You are eligible for a free copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) annually. Take advantage of this complimentary perk, and you can gain deep insights into your outstanding debt.
If you have outstanding debt, try to pay this down as much as possible. That way, you can boost your credit score, which ultimately will help you improve your chances to acquire your ideal residence.
2. Meet with Banks and Credit Unions
When it comes to buying a home, meeting with banks and credit unions usually is a great idea. That way, you can learn about your home loan options and get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Apply for a mortgage from several banks and credit unions. Then, you can receive various mortgage quotes and select one that suits you perfectly.
Also, don't hesitate to ask plenty of questions during a lender consultation. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage professionals – all of whom are happy to help you make an informed mortgage decision. Therefore, if you're unsure about whether to proceed with a 15- or 30-year mortgage or can't decide between an adjustable- or fixed-rate mortgage, you can ask these mortgage professionals for expert advice.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A homebuying budget is tricky to establish on your own, especially if you are entering the real estate market for the first time. Fortunately, a real estate agent can help you plan ahead for all stages of the homebuying cycle.
During a real estate agent consultation, a housing market professional will learn about your homebuying goals. Next, this professional will help you establish realistic homebuying expectations and ensure you can discover a great house at a budget-friendly price.
Of course, let's not forget about the world-class support that a real estate agent provides after you kick off a home search, either.
A real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you informed about open houses and offer homebuying recommendations and suggestions. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to help you get the best price on a house.
Ready to begin your search for your dream home? Use the aforementioned best practices, and you can craft a homebuying budget and start your homebuying journey.
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Home improvements are a vital part to keeping your home up-to-date with the times and also to ensure that it doesn’t lose value when it comes time to sell.
To save money, many homeowners take the do-it-yourself route and use the tools at their disposal to upgrade their homes. Sites like YouTube have made it easier than ever to follow step-by-step tutorials that show you how to make substantial repairs and upgrades to your home without having to pay a professional.
The down side, however, is that when you choose to DIY, you take on the risk of going over budget by making mistakes. You also risk stretching out your project weeks or months longer than necessary due to a lack of time to work on it.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about how you can stay on budget and on track to finish your home improvement project without bringing in the professionals.
Making a timeline
Let’s start with the big picture for your home renovations. When deciding which improvements to make, it’s important to know your limits in terms of the work you can do.
Set a reasonable number of hours you can work on your projects per week. Go easy on yourself. Most of us are already tired when we get home from work and probably won’t be able to start tackling big projects in the evenings. Rather, try to give yourself one weekend day to work on your projects and one weekend day to relax.
The most important aspect of creating your timeline is to try and keep your schedule open. So, write down the time you want to work on your home in your calendar, planner, or whichever app or tool you use to plan your time.
This will help you to avoid creating conflicting events and obligations, and help you stay on track to finishing your improvement projects.
If you’re looking for an evening activity related to your home improvement projects, it’s a good idea to start watching some video tutorials of people doing the same renovations as you. This will help you avoid mistakes and look out for common obstacles that you’ll face along the way.
Budgeting your improvement
You’ll want to save up for your project in advance, if possible, to avoid accumulating credit card debt. Your home improvement project should, in effect, gain you money by increasing the value of your home, not make you lose money on credit card interest payments.
Budgeting in itself is an art that few of us are taught in school. Fortunately, there are several free budgeting apps available. Or, you can simply draw one up yourself.
The key to creating a home improvement budget is to know how much of your monthly savings you can devote to this project without having to dip into other funds. To do this, you’ll need a clear understanding of where your income goes.
Once you have a budget and a timeline for your home improvement project, you’re ready to begin. Just make sure you check in on your timeline and your budget throughout the length of the project to make sure you’re meeting your goals and aren’t overspending.
The number of American employees who work from home, at least part of the time, is increasing year after year. Some 38% of Americans say they’re currently able to work from home at least one day a week, and that number is set to continue increasing.
Working from home can pose a few problems, however. Notably, trying to find a place within your home where you can sit down in peace and get to work.
In today’s article, we’re going to talk about home office design. So, whether you’re working from home full-time, part-time, or just want a quiet place to go over the bills in the evening, so can ensure you have the best possible environment to be productive in.
The balance between focused and comfortable
Ideally, a home office is a place that is well-lit, distraction-free, and minimal in decor. However, each of us has our own process when it comes to being productive.
So, when planning your office, it’s important to choose a style that will help you work but will also make you want to spend time in the room.
Another trait of a home office that is largely dependent on your work-preferences is the lighting quality. This covers anything from the lights you use to the windows, curtains, and even the color of your walls.
If you’re the type of person who could easily fall asleep in a dimly-lit room, it’s probably a good idea to choose a bright paint color and ample lighting. This is especially true for people who find themselves spending long hours in the evening.
Decorating your office
Now that you’ve determined what type of home office you need, let’s think about how you’re going to furnish it.
The key here is to minimize distractions. A television is probably a bad idea. But, quiet music playing on your laptop or headphones could help you focus.
In terms of decorations, a good design principle to go by is that you should decorate with a few large items rather than several small items. This will help you prevent the room from feeling cluttered.
Set yourself up for organizational success
When you envision an office, you probably picture file organizers, paper clip holders, notepads, and countless other office-related tool and accessories.
However, if you tend to do most of your work on your computer, odds are those things will just get in your way.
Instead of filling up your cart at Staples, think about the type of work you’ll be doing in your home office and purchase only what you need. This will help you stay organized and help you from losing documents and losing time trying to find those documents.
With these tips in mind, you’re ready to start creating your home office haven of productivity. Be sure to check out my other posts for more tips and advice.