Maryl Delzell's Blog
If you’re finding that your finances are a bit tighter these days, you might need to adjust your budget a bit. Have you ever thought about alternatives in helping you to pay your mortgage? There’s a few things that you might be able to do in your home to save a few bucks and be more comfortable with your budget and finances.
Share The Space
This might sound crazy, but it works for many people. If you’re willing to share your living space with others, it could help you to make a dent in your mortgage. This works especially well if you have a home with a separate entrance like an in-law apartment or something similar.
Make Adjustments To Your Expenses
There are many different costs that come along with owning a home. If you reduce some of these expenses, you’ll be able to cut your overall spending. You don’t need to completely adjust your entire way of living to do this. Some ideas:
- Cut the cord on cable and install streaming devices
- Go on a family cell phone plan
- Skip the gym membership
- Use public transportation
- Cook at home instead of eating out
- Use coupons
Put Tax Refunds To Good Use
If you normally get a tax refund, you can apply that money to your mortgage instead of using it to buy something else. You could also adjust your withholdings. This would allow you to get a bit more money in your paycheck each week. You’ll get less of a refund during tax time, but the extra money may help you to pay down bills throughout the year.
Pay More Towards The Principal
To make the most of your hard-earned savings, use your money wisely and pay down the mortgage faster. Just be sure that there’s no penalty for a prepayment of the loan. You can either make an extra loan payment each month or you can pay a bit over what you owe on the mortgage each month. If you pay the mortgage faster, you’ll save potentially thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan. You’ll need to check with your mortgage company to see what their process is for paying more towards the principal of the loan. Keep in mind that the first few years‘ worth of your mortgage payments will be going towards interest unless you specify extra payments to go elsewhere.
Whether you’d like a little more of a financial cushion or are just looking to get rid of all those pesky monthly bills, it’s never a bad idea to focus on paying your mortgage down as quickly as possible.
Selling a house may prove to be problematic, particularly for individuals who fail to allocate time and resources to learn about the real estate market. Lucky for you, we're here to help you navigate the housing sector and ensure you can avoid home selling crises.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you list your residence and maximize its value.
1. Create an Informative House Listing
Think about your house's pros and cons. Then, you can put together an informative home listing that makes it easy for buyers to fall in love with your residence.
Of course, when you craft a home listing, it pays to be honest. If you include pertinent, accurate house information in your listing, you can help buyers determine whether your residence is the right choice.
Don't forget to incorporate high-resolution photos into your house listing too. If you include home listing photos that showcase the size and beauty of your house, many buyers soon could set up showings to view your residence.
2. Conduct a House Appraisal
When it comes to selling your house, it helps to establish an aggressive initial asking price. That way, you can list your house at a price that matches or exceeds buyers' expectations.
Establishing an aggressive initial asking price for your home, however, may prove to be difficult. But if you conduct a house appraisal, you can get a home valuation from a property expert to help you set a fair price for your residence.
In many instances, a homeowner can receive a house appraisal report within a few days. Once you have this report at your disposal, you can review your property valuation and set an aggressive initial asking price for your home.
3. Employ a Real Estate Agent
There is no need to embark on the home selling journey alone. Thankfully, you can hire a real estate agent who is unafraid to be honest with you at each stage of the home selling cycle.
A real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to sell a house, regardless of the present housing market's conditions. As such, he or she will work with you to determine the best way to streamline the home selling journey.
Oftentimes, a real estate agent will learn about you and your home selling goals. He or she then will craft a custom home selling strategy designed to help you achieve the optimal results. Next, a real estate agent will promote your residence to dozens of potential buyers and set up home showings and open house events. And if you receive an offer to purchase your home, a real estate agent will help you examine the pros and cons of this proposal and make an informed decision.
Don't let problems get the best of you during the home selling journey. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can reduce the risk of problems that otherwise can prevent you from enjoying a fast, profitable house selling experience.
Ready to launch a search for your dream home? Ultimately, you'll want to do everything possible to streamline your home search to boost your chances of getting the best possible results.
There are many best practices for conducting a successful home search, and these include:
1. Define Your Homebuying Criteria
The definition of the "perfect" home varies from property buyer to property buyer. This means that your definition of the perfect home is unlikely to match that of a friend or family member.
Think about what separates an ordinary home from a can't-miss residence. Then, you'll be able to narrow your home search and map out a successful homebuying journey.
As you consider the perfect home, make a list of homebuying "must-haves." For example, if you want a garage where you and your wife can park your cars, a two-car garage is a homebuying must-have. Or, if you want a home that's close to high-quality schools that your kids can attend, buying a house in a great school district is a must.
2. Get Home Financing
Although your ultimate goal is to acquire a top-notch residence, you'll likely need financing to help you transform your homebuying dream into a reality. Fortunately, many banks and credit unions are available to teach you about a wide range of mortgage options.
Meet with several banks and credit unions – you'll be glad you did. These lenders can educate you about the different types of home loans and help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.
After you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you're good to kick off your home search. In fact, with a mortgage in hand, you can tailor your search to homes that fall within a specific price range.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
Regardless of your homebuying goals, it pays to work with a real estate agent. That way, you can receive expert assistance as you search for houses in various cities and towns.
A real estate agent is happy to teach you the ins and outs of purchasing a house. By doing so, this housing market professional can help you become a real estate expert in no time at all.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses that become available and help you submit home offers. This housing market professional is committed to your homebuying success and will do whatever it takes to assist you along the homebuying journey.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is available to respond to any homebuying questions that you may have. No homebuying question is ever too big or too small for a real estate agent, and as a result, this housing market professional will make it simple for you to make an informed homebuying decision.
Launch a successful home search today – use the aforementioned best practices, and you can increase the likelihood of discovering your dream home.
Keeping a vegetable or flower garden is one of the most rewarding things you can do during the warm months. It’s an excuse to get outside, grow delicious food, save money on groceries, and learn about the art of gardening.
One of the keys to a healthy garden is to maintain your soil quality. There are a number of ways you can achieve this, from buying fertilizer, to mixing in lime, manure and other additives. One way to improve your garden soil quality while also reducing household waste is to start composting.
In this article, we present a guide to garden composting that will help you grow healthier plants and find a new purpose for the waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
What is composting?
Composting is a lot like recycling. It’s nature’s way of reusing minerals and nutrients from organic matter by putting them back into the soil.
Most of us are averse to rotting fruit and vegetables, but they’re packed with the nutrients that your garden needs to flourish.
Benefits of composting
Aside from increasing the nutrients in your soil, composting can help in a number of other ways. It will help the soil retain moisture, meaning you’ll have to water less, it can help you save money on fertilizer, and it will yield healthier plants and fruit that have a higher nutritional value.
Better yet, aside from the cost of buying or building a composting bin, it’s a free resource.
Most homeowners who compost their organic waste do so by buying or building a composting bin. These range from simple wooden boxes to barrels built on a spit for rotating.
Generally, compost bins are either wooden (unstained) or plastic. Metal will generally rust, and you don’t want to mix rust into your garden.
The key to good composting is being able to move the composting matter around so that it can receive oxygen. However, you’ll also want to be able to keep it moist to encourage decomposition.
If you decide to start off with just a simple wooden box for your compost, make sure you have easy access to a shovel to mix the compost around.
In terms of location, you probably don’t want your bin to be too close to your home. Decomposition doesn’t smell great, and you won’t want the odors floating through your windows on a hot summer day.
What to compost
The number of things you can toss into your compost bin is surprisingly large. However, here’s a short list of some common compostable items:
Fruits and vegetables, coffee grinds, leaves and grass clippings, breads, and cereals.
There are more advanced composting methods that can break down things like newspaper, paper bags, and egg cartons, but it’s best to start with organic materials.
Maintaining your compost bin
There are a few key steps to maintaining a healthy compost bin. First, make sure you have a variety of materials in it. Putting only one type of organic matter in your compost bin will make it hard to break down. A mixture of leaves, clippings, and fruits and vegetables will yield better results than just grass clippings.
Next, make sure you keep it moist by watering the compost heap once a week, or whenever it seems like it’s drying out.
Finally, rotate or mix the composting material around with a shovel. This will help matter break down faster and more evenly.
Unmarried couples often find themselves surprised at the additional steps it takes to buy a home compared to their wedded friends.
This guide will help you prepare for buying a home together as an unmarried couple:
Banks will assess you differently than they would a married couple.
Whereas they look at a married couple as a single financial unit, you and your partner will be assessed individually. This certainly has its pro’s and con’s. Know that if one partner has a significantly lower credit score it can affect your eligibility for a loan as a couple.
Legal ownership of the title will be different.
Unmarried couples have three options when it comes to title ownership: sole ownership, joint tenants and tenants in common.
Tenants in common is the most popular. The difference between tenants in common and joint tenants is this:
In a joint tenancy ownership is 50/50. If one partner were to become deceased, ownership of their half of the property would carry over to the other partner.
Tenants in common ownership can be disproportionate to reflect each partners level of investment. If one partner were to become deceased, their living trust would inherit ownership of their portion of the property if another option is not otherwise specified in their will.
Sole ownership is just that. One partner owns full legal ownership of the property. This option can have tax benefits and increase your financing eligibility if one partner has a higher income or better credit score than the other.
It’s highly recommended for unmarried couples to sign a property, partnership or cohabitation agreement when buying a home together. This is a legal precaution to safeguard both partners in the future should anything happen.
If your finances are separate it is ideal to at the very least create a joint checking account from which to draw the down payment and mortgage installments. This is especially true if both partners are contributing to these payments. It create a clean, clearcut payment process each month.
Know each other's finances.
Discuss your credit scores, debt burden, savings, investments and financial goals. Get clear on where you each stand and how these factors will influence your buying process. Create a budget together as a couple to ensure you can take on not just the responsibility of a mortgage payment but also closing costs, homeowners insurance, property taxes and maintenance costs. Plan for savings like retirement, nest egg, family planning, future vacations, and emergency funds.
Buying a home together as an unmarried couple is a different process than that of married couples. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be harder. With an understanding of what to expect ahead of time and a plan in place, the process can be a smooth one.