Our Real Estate Blog
Buying a home will likely be one of the largest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. While this may seem scary at first, it’s worth noting that buying a home can also be a valuable financial investment.
When it comes to preparing to buy a home, many people just wait until they run out of room in their apartment before deciding that they need to upgrade to a home. A better approach, however, would be to start planning for your first home a year or more in advance.
Saving for a down payment is a vital step to making the best long-term financial decision. A larger down payment can help you pay off your home sooner, pay thousands or tens of thousands less in interest, and start using your home equity as an asset.
But, saving for a down payment is easier said than done. So, in this post, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can aggressively save for a down payment so that, when the time comes, you can achieve long-term financial security from your investment.
Setting your savings goals
The first thing you should be thinking about when saving for a down payment is what your goals are in a home. Setting realistic goals in this phase will make saving for your down payment more feasible and less discouraging.
Think about what you really need from a home at this point in your life and compromise where you can.
Remember that on top of your monthly mortgage payments, you’ll likely also be paying for taxes, insurance, utilities, homeowners association fees, and more.
Save on a timeline
When setting your savings goal, make sure you’re aware of the timeframe you’re working with. If you want to buy a home next year, you’ll need to focus on short-term savings options. However, if you’re okay with renting for the next 5 years, investing your money could be a better option.
Lock away your savings
Treat your down payment savings like an emergency fund. Open a separate account, automatically deposit a portion of your pay into the account, and never withdraw from it. To do this, you will, of course, need to already have an emergency fund with a month’s expenses in it.
However, once you’ve established your emergency fund, start immediately depositing into your savings account.
Pay off credit cards
It may seem like saving for a down payment is more pressing than paying off old debt. However, the numbers will show that making interest payments on your credit cards is essentially throwing away money that could have been used toward your down payment savings.
Adjust your spending habits
While it isn’t easy to start spending less once you’ve built a standard of living, there are ways to spend less money and still lead a fulfilling life. Think about where your money goes each month, including bills and services you might pay for.
Now could be the best time to cut the cord and start using a service like Hulu to save $50 or more each month.
Time for a raise?
If it’s been some time since your last pay raise, now could be an ideal time to speak with your employer. To improve your chances of success, don’t discuss reasons outside of work that might be influencing your decision to ask for a raise (such as saving for a down payment). Rather, back up your request with evidence of your accomplishments at work.
Purchasing a home may prove to be a good idea. In fact, there are many reasons to pursue a house, and these include:
1. You can purchase a home that you can call your own.
There is nothing quite like the feeling an individual typically experiences after he or she buys a house. If you conduct a search for your dream residence, you can enjoy this one-of-a-kind feeling in the near future.
Of course, if you decide to purchase a home, you may want to establish property buying criteria. This will allow you to hone your home search and accelerate the property buying journey.
As you put together homebuying criteria, think about where you want to reside and what features you want to find in your ideal residence. Then, you can begin the homebuying journey with a plan to achieve the best-possible results.
2. You could save money over the long haul.
Let's face it – the costs of renting an apartment, condo or house can add up over time. On the other hand, a home is a long-term investment that may help you save money in comparison to renting a property.
If you decide to launch a home search, you may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage too. Banks and credit unions are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about home financing. As a result, if you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can find a mortgage that complements your finances perfectly.
3. You can personalize your residence however you choose.
A house is more than just a place where you eat, sleep and store all of your personal belongings. And if you acquire a residence, you can transform an ordinary house into a personalized home.
As a homeowner, you can paint your home any color you choose, perform assorted house upgrades and much more. Therefore, homeowners enjoy unprecedented flexibility and can customize a house so it matches or exceeds their expectations.
For those who are ready to pursue a house, it often helps to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer plenty of guidance throughout the property buying journey and ensure you can quickly discover your dream house.
A real estate agent will keep you up to date about houses that fall within your price range, set up home showings and help you submit an offer to purchase your ideal residence. Plus, a real estate agent will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to help you pay the lowest price for your dream home. And if you ever have concerns or questions during your home search, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them right away.
Ultimately, buying a home is a good idea for many people. If you hire a real estate agent today, you can instantly start a home search and move one step closer to acquiring your dream residence.
Before you kick off a home search, it is important to differentiate an ordinary house from a dream residence. That way, you can set realistic goals for your home search and accelerate the process of acquiring a house that matches your expectations.
Ultimately, each homebuyer's definition of a dream home varies. But for homebuyers who want to streamline the search for a dream home, there are several home factors to consider, and these include:
1. The Age and Condition of a Home
Dedicate the necessary time and resources to learn about a home's age and condition – you'll be glad you did. With these home insights, you can determine whether a home will require substantial repairs in the immediate future.
To evaluate a house's age and condition, you should hire a home inspector. This professional will examine a residence both inside and out and search for any structural problems with the property. Then, the home inspector will provide a detailed report that outlines any home issues.
A home inspection offers a valuable learning opportunity, one that can help you determine if a house is right for you. And if a home inspection reveals your dream home is actually a dud, you can always rescind a home offer and reenter the housing market.
2. A Home's Price
Many people want to own large, extravagant mansions. Yet the costs of these properties can be prohibitive, which is why most homebuyers search for houses that fall within a specific price range.
As you prepare to search for your dream home, you should get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will enable you to enter the housing market with a budget in hand and avoid the temptation to spend too much on a house.
Also, it is important to realize that no home is perfect. Although you may search far and wide for a dream house that has all the amenities and features that you want, you'll likely need to make trade-offs to find your ideal residence.
Creating a list of must-haves and wants for your dream home usually is a great idea. This list will enable you to narrow your home search, evaluate properties that fall within your price range and discover your dream home faster than ever before.
3. A Home's Location
Consider where you want to live before you launch a home search. By doing so, you can identify available houses in certain cities and towns and map out your home search accordingly.
Think about what's important to you in terms of home location. For example, if you want a home that's close to your office in the city, you may want to search for residences in or near the city itself. Or, if you want to live close to the beach, you can explore properties that are conveniently nestled along the beachfront.
Lastly, if you need help finding your dream home, you should hire a real estate agent. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble making your homeownership dreams come true.
You may have heard the term “escrow” in your experience with real estate. You might know it’s an account, but what exactly does it do for you as a buyer? An escrow account is what your lender uses to make payments on things like property taxes, insurance, and more. The lender collects your monthly mortgage payment, and part of that cash goes into an escrow account.
This type of account is an excellent option for homeowners because your bills relating to being a homeowner will all be paid without you having to do anything. It makes budgeting a breeze because there aren’t any complicated calculations involved. Every month, your lender collects 1/12 of the estimated tax bill and insurance cost for the home. The rest of your mortgage payment covers the principal and interest on the loan of the house.
Are Escrow Accounts Mandatory?
You’ll find that most lenders require you to have an escrow account. The purpose of the account is to keep the home safe as collateral for the loan. The bank has an interest in the proper insurance behind the property. The taxes also need to be paid on time in order to keep the property in good standing. If the taxes aren’t paid, a tax lien will be placed against the house.
Everything In One Place
You’ll receive an annual statement from your lender that will show you how much money was collected and placed in your escrow account. Escrow payments often change because insurance premiums and taxes tend to change quite frequently. The amount being put into escrow may change a few times throughout the year. The lender keeps track of all this for you, saving you some time.
Bills That Need To Be Paid
Whether you have an escrow account or not the bills that are included must be paid one way or another. It’s a good idea to speak with your lender before you buy a home to find out that bank’s procedures around these insurance and tax payments. Property tax and home insurance are items that you’ll need to budget for regardless of how your lender does things. An escrow account can be much more convenient for many buyers.
Escrow is just another one of the many essential terms that you’ll come across as a homebuyer. Knowing the advantages and purpose of the account helps you to be informed as you dive into the home buying process.
Buying a vacation home may prove to be a great investment. It enables you to spend time at a terrific location at your convenience – all without having to worry about hotel or motel costs. Plus, a vacation home can be tailored to your individual needs. You can decorate your vacation house however you would like, and ultimately, find ways to make this residence a fun spot to visit any time you choose.
If you decide to search for a vacation home, it helps to prepare for the house buying process accordingly. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you launch a successful search for a vacation residence.
1. Know Where You Want to Go
Consider where you want to purchase a vacation house, as well as how far away you want this residence to be from your primary home. Then, you can narrow your vacation house search to residences in a select group of cities and towns.
Think about your vacation home must-haves, too. Oftentimes, it helps to make a list of vacation home must-haves that you can use to guide your house search. Once you have this list at your disposal, you can use it to accelerate your quest to find a vacation home that suits you perfectly.
2. Establish a Homebuying Budget
Find out how much you can afford to pay for a vacation residence. Because if you conduct a vacation home search with a budget in hand, you could find a superb house that offers the ideal blend of affordability and quality.
Generally, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a vacation home search. These financial institutions employ home financing specialists who can teach you about various mortgage options. Also, you can work with a home financing specialist to establish a house buying budget that ensures you won't have to spend beyond your means to acquire a first-rate vacation residence.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to searching for a vacation home, there is no need to work alone. If you employ a real estate agent, you can receive expert assistance as you navigate the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a vacation home in any city or town, at any time. First, he or she will meet with you and learn about your vacation homebuying goals. A real estate agent next will help you hone your vacation home search and set up property showings. Finally, if you find a vacation home you want to acquire, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to buy this residence.
Ready to purchase a vacation home? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips – you will be happy you did. By using these tips, you can quickly and effortlessly perform a comprehensive vacation home search. Perhaps best of all, you can speed up the process of finding a top-notch vacation residence that matches your expectations.