Karen Scopetski's Blog
Buying a home is one of those things in life that requires you to take a certain order of steps to complete the process. First, you’ll need to save up some money for a down payment and all of the other costs that go along with buying a home. Next, you’ll take a look at what you can afford and perhaps get pre-qualified. Then, you’ll hire a realtor and begin searching for properties. Finally, you’ll make an offer, sign for the mortgage and close on the home. After that, you’ll probably buy some furniture and paint the walls to make yourself feel at home.
Would you ever dream of making that big home purchase without actually seeing the property first? One of the most time-consuming parts of the home buying process is that of viewing homes and visiting property after property.
There are actually many reasons that a buyer might buy a property without seeing it first. With the Internet, it’s fairly easy to get an idea of what a house might be like. Too, if you’re an investor, it’s sometimes worth the gamble to scoop up a property at the right price in order to score a great deal.
It’s also usually not detrimental to buyers who are trying to get a home in a high competition market to go after places they really love immediately. The early bird does get the worm, right?
Properties in distress may be in poor condition, but for the right buyer can be a great deal. Banks want to get rid of these places as soon as possible due to the expenses incurred by keeping them.
Not all properties that are bought sight unseen are fixer uppers. Some properties can be bought in the pre-construction phase. These homes haven’t been built but are already on the market available for purchase. Many times, buying properties this way can be cheaper than buying the new construction home after it’s built.
There are obviously many risks to buying a home sight unseen. First, pictures can be deceiving. You never really know what you’re walking into until you see it. Photographs can easily hide major damage. Until a home is physically inspected, you may not know what the costs will be to repair it.
The same risks apply to new construction homes. The layout of the home may not be what you’re looking for, or the home may not include the features that you want.
When you do decide to buy a home sight unseen you need to weigh the risk versus the reward in the transaction. It can be a valuable decision, in the long run, to take a chance on buying a home that you haven’t been able to physically inspect.
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Magazine styled homes are gorgeous but they’re not quite practical. Especially when you’ve got little ones running about. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a stylish home. I’ve got a few tricks for you to today to integrate kid-friendly decor with a grown up touch.
When house shopping keep those with open floor plans at the top of your list. Open floor plans help your family to stay social and connected with each other. It’s also a whole lot easier to keep your eye on your little ones in the living room while you’re making dinner. Additionally, an eat-in kitchen creates a welcoming atmosphere for older kids to hang out around after school while eating snacks or working on homework.
When it comes to furnishing your new home opt for furniture that doubles as storage to tuck away toys. This helps to keep a tidy home while maintaining a welcoming room for children to pull out a few toys and spend time with the family. If you choose to have wall to wall carpeting be sure to choose one designed to withstand heavy traffic. Alternatively, for a statement rug using an outdoor carpet inside adds visual interest and makes for easy cleaning.
Furnishings in heavy duty fabrics like microfiber, acrylics or distressed leather can withstand messes and frequent cleaning. For existing furniture, slip covers are another way to protect sofas while being able to easily wash messes from kiddos and pets. Round shaped tables eliminate sharp corners and the bumps and bruises they create.
It may be tempting to choose dark colors to hide inevitable messes and stains however it’s best to opt for mid-tone colors to keep a bright, welcoming room. Add pops of color with pillow covers in lighter colors. Pillow covers are ideal since not only can they easily be swapped out to give a room a fresh new look but they can also easily be cleaned by throwing them in the wash.
Install shelves that allow books to be propped up with their covers viewable. Children will be more likely to grab them to read and they will also double as an evolving art display in your home. Another great way to add child-friendly art is to frame the paintings and drawings your children bring home. You’ll have a unique one of a kind piece to rival Pollock and Rothko.
A guest bedroom with one or two bunk beds will make your home the sleepover favorite among your child’s friends. You’ll maximize space and provide a much more comfortable sleeping space than a sleeping bag on the floor. Storing snacks in baskets and see through jars out in the open makes it easy for kids to grab and go throughout the day. You’ll have peace of mind visitors aren’t going hungry while creating a welcoming, homey space for all.
When decorating most put their own taste and style first. However, when raising a family the difference between a house and a home is that everyone living under its roof feels at comfortable in its space. Creating a family friendly home doesn’t mean sacrificing style but it does mean a few tweaks that bring everyone closer together.
You’ve been thinking it for a while: “I really should start putting some money aside for a down payment.” But, you just can’t seem to find any wiggle room in your budget.
You’re not alone. Saving for a down payment isn’t easy. Especially if you’ve got rent, car payments, student loans, and are trying to put money aside for retirement.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about how to make a game plan for your down payment. This way, you can start saving immediately, bringing you closer to your goal of homeownership each day.
Step 1: Give each dollar a job
The first rule of budgeting is that you need to know where each dollar you earn ends up. From there, you can start re-allocating funds to the things you want to save for.
There are many apps and tools available to help you out with this process, including YNAB (You Need A Budget) and Mint. If apps aren’t your thing, you can always use a simple spreadsheet.
First, account for all of your income. This could include your salary, rental income, or other forms of money that you have coming in.
Next, detail each of your weekly and monthly expenses. Everything from groceries to the internet bill and retirement contributions.
Step 2: Reassess your expenses
Now it’s time to make some tough decisions. Are there ways you can cut down on your weekly or monthly expenses? Maybe you aren’t using that Amazon Prime membership as much as you thought you would. Or, maybe you’ve decided you don’t really watch anything on cable but the news. There are a number of ways one might cut back on their monthly bills.
Get creative with family plans, bulk shopping for food, or cooking budget-friendly meals. All of these savings will add up quickly.
Step 3: Pay off small debts with high interest
Let’s face it, if you have thousands of dollars in student loans, you might not be able to aggressively pay them down by the time you want to move out of your apartment.
But, for small debts (under $1,000 credit card debt, for example), you could save more in the long run by paying them off and avoiding interest payments.
Step 4: Be smart about your savings
With the right savings account and credit card, you can earn money through savings interest and through cashback rewards on credit cards.
First, find a savings account with the highest possible interest rate. These can often be found from choosing an online bank who doesn’t have the overhead of running branches.
Next, direct deposit a set amount of your paycheck each week into that savings account. This way, you can be sure that you won’t dip into your down payment savings.
To generate additional income, you can use cash back rewards from credit cards for things like groceries and gas. Choose a credit card that offers the best cash back rewards for things like groceries and gas purchases. The key here is to only use your credit card on necessities and to always pay off the card in full at the end of each month.
If you follow these four steps, you should be able to streamline your down payment savings process and start saving right now.