Karyl Sawyer's Blog
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.
Buying a home as a single individual comes with its own set of unique experiences and challenges. Some are to be expected, like financing with a single income. While others not so much, like a more competitive market.
You know that financing will be based on your sole income. However, the vast majority of homeowners are couples who have dual incomes. Your eligibility is going to be very different than that of a couple and for some home buyers when they receive a lower number this comes as a shock. Expect to see numbers that are on the lower side of those who apply as couples.
Since you are on a sole income you may want to look into various loan types such as those that offer low-interest rates and lower down payments. Two to look at are first-time buyers programs and FHA loans.
When comparing options watch the lenders fee in comparison to the interest rate. Where you may have low-interest rate it might come with a higher lender fee. Do the math on these ratios to get a true value of each.
Before applying for mortgage approval, clean up your budget and handle any existing debts, especially expensive ones. Pay off card balances, refinance student loans, and swap out expensive monthly car payments for one that is more reasonable.
Draw up a budget and get really clear on just how much house you can afford month to month. Include the cost of house ownership and maintenance in your budget in addition to the cost of future monthly mortgage payments.
As a sole earner having savings is incredibly important as you don’t have a second income to rely on. In addition to setting aside your down payment (as close to the recommended 20% as you can), build up a nest egg of three to six months worth income should anything misfortune arise.
Start the buying process well prepared with the right mindset. Smaller houses make up a lower percentage of the housing market and cheaper homes are competitive when it comes to the buying process. Be ready for a search that might go a little longer and a buying process that needs you to move a little faster than traditional ones.
Bring a trusted friend or family member with you to home viewings to have a sounding board for your decision process. It’s easier to get swept away emotionally when you don’t have a partner to hash out the gritty details with. Find someone who can come to each viewing with you so that you can compare the different homes pro’s and con’s together.
Buying a home as an individual is a unique process but it doesn’t have to be a difficult or lonely one. Ask for feedback from your realtor, bring a trusted friend and know what to expect from the buying process as a sole income earner.
The process of closing on a home can seem lengthy and complex if it’s your first time buying or selling a house. There are several costs and fees required to close on a home, and while it’s up to the individuals to decide who covers what costs, there are some conventions to follow.
In this article, we’re going to talk about closing costs for selling a house and signing on a mortgage. We’ll discuss who pays what, and whether there is room for negotiation within the various fees and expenses.
But first, let’s talk a little bit about what closing costs are and what to expect when you start the process of buying or selling a home.
Closing costs, simplified
If you’re just now entering the real estate market, the good news is you can often estimate your closing costs based on the value of the property in question. You can ask your real estate agent relatively early on in the process for a ballpark figure of your costs.
Closing costs will vary depending on the circumstances of your sale and the area you live in. In some cases, closing costs can be bundled into your mortgage, such as in “No Closing Cost Mortgages.” However, avoiding having to deal with closing costs often comes at the expense of a slightly higher interest rate.
If you are planning to buy a house and have recently applied for a mortgage, laws require that your lender sends you an estimate of your closing costs within a few days of your application.
Now that we know how closing costs work, let’s take a look at who plays what.
Buyer closing costs
In terms of the sheer number of closing costs, buyers tend to have the most to deal with. Fortunately, your real estate agent will help you navigate these costs and simplify the process.
They can range from two to five percent of the cost of the sale price of the home. However, be sure to check with your lender for the closest estimate of your closing costs. It’s a good idea to shop around for mortgage lenders based on interest rates as well as closing costs charged by the lender.
Here are some of the costs you might be asked to pay as a home buyer:
Prepaid interest or discount points
Home inspection fee
Insurance and Escrow deposits
Seller Closing Costs
While the seller pays a larger amount of closing costs, sellers still have obligations at closing that can be just as expensive. The biggest expense for sellers is to pay the real estate commission. Commission usually falls in the vicinity of 6% of the sale price of the home. This covers the commission of both the seller’s and the buyer’s real estate agents.
The main takeaway? Buyers and sellers both share the burden of closing costs. While the buyer has more expenses to take care of, the seller pays for the largest costs.
If you recently bought or sold a house and need to move in the near future, there is no reason to put off packing. However, procrastination sometimes can get the best of people and lead individuals to wait until the final possible moment to pack.
Packing items at the last minute can be stressful. As such, it is important to do everything possible to avoid the risk of packing procrastination.
Lucky for you, we're here to help you prep for your upcoming move and ensure all of your belongings are packed and ready to go for moving day.
Now, let's take a look at three tips that you can use to overcome packing procrastination.
1. Plan Ahead As Much As Possible
Although it may be several weeks or months before you need to leave your current address, it never hurts to start planning for moving day early. That way, you can identify any potential moving day hurdles and eliminate these obstacles as quickly as possible.
To plan ahead for moving day, take a close look at your belongings and determine which items you intend to keep. If you have excess belongings, you should sell, donate or dispose of these items as soon as you can.
In addition, you may want to reach out to local moving companies. If you hire a moving company today, you'll be able to receive expert support when you finally transport your belongings to your new address.
2. Eliminate Distractions
Let's face it – life is busy, particularly for those who are moving to a new city or town in the foreseeable future. Therefore, it pays to eliminate distractions that may hinder your packing efforts.
For example, if you spend several hours each day browsing the web, you may want to use some of this time for packing. You can even reward yourself with a few minutes of exploring the web for every hour that you pack.
Remember, you need to pack your belongings to ensure you can vacate your current address by a specific date. If you remove distractions along the way, you can increase the likelihood of packing all of your belongings in time for moving day.
3. Reach Out to Family Members and Friends for Assistance
Contact family members and friends for assistance as you prep for moving day – you'll be glad you did. These loved ones may be able to lend a helping hand with packing. Plus, family members and friends likely will hold you accountable for your actions and ensure you can stay on track with your packing goals.
Lastly, if you require additional help with your upcoming move, you may want to reach out to a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with the best moving companies in your area to help you streamline the moving process.
Remove the risk of packing procrastination – use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble preparing for moving day.
If you’re in the market to buy a home, one of your worst fears may be that of getting into a bidding war. What if you knew it was possible to actually score a home without spending a penny more than your budget? Below, you’ll find some tips that you should heed before you even put an offer in on a home.
Know Your Budget
The first step is to know your budget. If you can spend a bit more than the asking price on a home in a seller’s market, you may want to do just that. Buying a home is an emotional roller coaster and it’s easy to get sucked in. You need to think of all things practical before you even put a number on paper for an offer on a home. Work with your lender so that you know what you can spend. You can even consult your lender before you put an offer in if you know the circumstances of the home that you’re working with. The earlier you submit your offer the better.
Make The Offer Personal
An offer should have some personality and drive attached to it. First, your agent needs to speak with the listing agent. It’s surprising just how many offers are placed where the agents never even speak. As a bonus, you can write a letter to the seller. Let them know how much you love the property, the neighborhood, or their wonderful herb garden that you plan on maintaining. Add some personal flair to your offer to give yourself a leg up as a buyer.
Try To Close Sooner
There’s nothing more attractive to a motivated seller than a shorter time frame for closing. If the seller knows that you can close a deal in a shorter period of time, you may be able to win the deal with your sweet incentive. You can close on a deal faster by doing the inspection quickly. If you’re pre-approved for a mortgage that also helps speed the process along. You could even go a step further and get a conditional approval from the lender.
Give The Sellers What They Want
If the sellers happen to need more time in their home, give them space (unless of course you’re in a hurry to move.) By cooperating with the sellers and not being a high maintenance buyer you can certainly give yourself an advantage in the home buying process. If you really want to impress a seller, submit an “as is” offer. A seller won’t turn down something that’s easier for them.