Dean Sarris' Blog
You've assessed your budget, changed your habits, and made spending cuts but you still need to reach your down payment faster. Consider these significant steps to help you get there.
- Take on a second part-time job. If your work schedule allows you to add a second job find a part-time option that will enable you to earn one or two thousand dollars more each month. If you are part of a couple, each partner can get a light part-time job without feeling overloaded. Bonus—occupying your time more does help lead to less spending and more saving! Tutor students, pet sit, or take a steady part-time gig!
- Move back home, move in with extended family, or get a roommate. If your family is on board with the changes you need to make to meet your financial goals, consider moving in with someone in your family to pay lower rent and save tens of thousands over one year. If family help isn't an option, consider getting a roommate or moving into a two-bedroom apartment and adding a roommate to lower your monthly rent.
- Review your belongings for big-ticket items you can sell. Do you live in an area with excellent public transportation? Consider selling your expensive, gas-guzzling car or getting out of your costly lease. Do either you or your spouse work at home, but you both own a car? See if you can help fund your savings by downsizing to one vehicle for the next year to save more.
- Sell unworn jewelry and have broken pieces melted down for cash.
- Skip vacations for a year, or even two! And during your vacation time, take on an extra job so when you head back to work you’ve earned a bit chunk to add to your savings kitty.
- If your owning a home in the near future is a top priority, take a break from your retirement fund at work and redirect those funds into your savings account. (Only take this step if you are completely committed to reaching your down payment goal within a year or two at most since you lose the value of compounding those funds toward your retirement for the life of the account.
- Direct all your tax refund and any annual bonuses into your savings!
Remember, this isn’t a forever deal. You’re not signing on for an austere life ongoing. It’s just temporary to reach a goal. Your real estate professional can help you get started by determining how much you need to set aside for your down payment.
If you've lived in your home for very long, you know that lots of places collect dust, lint, grime, hair, fuzz and, well, gunk. Often, we become so busy in our daily lives that we neglect to remove the gunk until it causes a significant problem such as a clogged drain or even a fire in the dryer vent.
So, what to do? Get out the gunk, of course.
Put your gunk patrol on a schedule. Once every month, or more often if needed, check these areas and remove any debris built up there that can cause expensive calls to a plumber, electrician, or the fire department.
- Vanity drains: In the bathrooms, the vanity drain collects hair, fuzz, slivers of soap and other junk that causes clogs. To clear the plug area, push the plunger in as far as it goes, reach into the drain area with tweezers and pull out any hair and slimy gunk hiding in there. New quick-release plugs with removable baskets make this job a snap. If the drain already has a clog, turn off the water access under the sink. Then gently remove the trap—the curved piece of pipe—to see if you can locate the clog there. If the trap is stuck, you’ll want to call in a plumbing professional.
- Shower and tub drains: Similar to vanities, these drains clog with hair and other debris that washes down. Pull what you can from the upper side. If your shower grate has removable screws, you can loosen them and lift it off to access any clog. Tubs are more difficult because you cannot access the drain or the trap, so you may need to call a plumber for a plugged tub. To protect against this problem, place a hair screen (available at hardware stores) over the drain and clean it out daily.
- Dryer lint hose: In the same way that lint builds up in the dryer lint trap, it also collects in the hose leading to the outside vent. Often, dryer hoses become kinked when pushing the dryer into place, so carefully pull out the unit and carefully unhook the hose from both the dryer side and the wall. Carry the hose outside and shake it out over a trash bin. Look through the hose to make sure you've removed all the collected lint. If necessary, use a bent wire coat hanger or broom handle to remove any lint you can't reach. Carefully replace the hose, making sure the clips are in place, and the hose remains un-kinked when you push back the dryer. Remember, built up lint causes more than just an inefficient dryer, it can also cause house fires.
Just a few moments each month can save a homeowner from tons of costly repairs. If you'd prefer to hire someone to take care of servicing these items for you, reach out to your real estate professional for a referral.
Listing a home is a key step during the property selling journey. And if you fail to plan accordingly, you risk creating a home listing that misses the mark with prospective buyers.
Ultimately, there are several things you need to consider before you craft a home listing, and these include:
1. Your Home's Features
As a home seller, your goal is to stir up significant interest in your residence. Fortunately, an effective home listing can help you do just that, particularly if you use your house listing to highlight your residence's features to buyers.
Think about what makes your home unique. Then, you can incorporate information about your home's distinct features into your house listing.
Furthermore, you may want to include high-resolution images of your home in your listing. That way, you can show buyers exactly what your home has to offer and help them make an informed decision about whether to pursue your residence.
2. Your Initial Home Asking Price
How you price your home can have far-flung effects on your house selling experience. In fact, if you set an initial asking price that exceeds a buyer's budget, you may struggle to generate interest in your residence.
As you put together a home listing, evaluate your house's age and condition. You may want to conduct a home appraisal as well. Because if you conduct a home appraisal, you can receive a property valuation that you can use to set a competitive initial asking price for your house.
Also, spend some time reviewing the prices of available houses that are similar to your own in your city or town. This housing market data can help you see how your residence stacks up against the competition so you can price your house appropriately.
3. Your Home Selling Timeline
Your home only gets one chance to make a positive first impression on buyers, and a listing enables you to make the most of this opportunity. If you need to sell your house as quickly as possible, you should do everything you can to ensure your listing garners buyers' attention.
Generally, you should avoid jargon in your home listing. Use clear, concise terms and ensure the listing is easy to read.
Before you finalize your home listing, you may want to consult with a real estate agent, too. A real estate agent is happy to review your home listing and offer recommendations to help you improve it. Plus, a real estate agent can promote your residence to potential buyers and ensure you can enjoy a quick, profitable house selling experience.
For those who want to achieve the best-possible results during the home selling journey, it usually is a good idea to create an effective house listing. If you consider the aforementioned factors, you can boost the likelihood of crafting a home listing that captures buyers' interest. And as a result, you could accomplish your desired home selling results in no time at all.
Everyone wants to own a home of their own at some point in their lives. There is only one first home, and you don't get a second chance. Well, you get a second or third if you want, but that first experience can have a significant effect on how you feel about homeownership. So, here a just a few common sense tips. Unfortunately, common sense isn't always common.
First, slow down. There is no rush to buy that home. When you hurry, you put pressure on yourself to get it done, and you overlook things that can cost you time and money down the line. Sometimes family puts pressure on you to buy your first home so that you can start having babies and they don't want their babies living in a little apartment. Again remember, you are the one who has to live there and the one that has to pay for it. So all those people putting pressure to buy really should not have that kind of influence unless they commit to the full responsibility of the homeownership.
Second, be realistic about the cost. You commonly hear that it is cheaper to own than to rent, and depending on the point of view that can be true. Most people are saying that based on just principle and interest. But have you ever driven through a nice neighborhood and some houses are really kept looking nice, and then there are those houses that the yard is a mess? The grass is not green, flowers and maybe even trees are dying — the actual physical house kind of looks a little run down. You think "this is your home, why are you not taking care of it?" Well, there is a thing that as renters you never have to deal with, and it is called upkeep. Also, utilities like water can get expensive.In a lot of cases, the homeowners bought as much as they could afford in payments without having anything extra. So now they do not have the money for the excess water to water the grass or buy new plants or clean the shutters or fix a window. Take time to understand what your budget is currently. Could you right now—outside of your rent—put an extra twenty to thirty percent of your income into a savings account and have it not affect your food budget? If you can START. RIGHT. NOW. Remember you do have to have a down payment too, so if you don't have it in hand, you have to start saving for it.
Third, look at homes. Do not engage a realtor yet! They have one job, and it is to sell you a house. Right now you are not to that point, so do not put that pressure on yourself. Start driving around neighborhoods and start observing different things about them. Start getting into the habit of seeing the little details of each home. Go online Friday night and find the OPEN HOUSES that are going to take place on Saturday and Sunday. Determine which ones you would like to see. Look at ones that are way out of your price range, ones in your price range, and then do not miss the ones that are way below your price range. Remember it is better to be way below your budget than at the very top end. As you go through each of these homes, do not just wander through. Take your time to look at the details. Not only the cool aspects but the little things that show that might be wrong, a link in a sink, marks in the walls and doors. These opens houses not only help you figure out what you do or do not want, but they also help you not to miss things when you are ready to buy and find the house that you would like to purchase. There is nothing worse than buying a home and after you moved in you start seeing things that are an issue that you do not remember being there before you purchased.
It is all about the details and since you have never purchased a home before you need practice paying attention to the details so you will be the best buyer you can be when you have your downpayment ready.
One last note, when you visit these open houses, the realtor usually wants a contact number for follow-up. If you are not ready for that pressure, let them know you're just in the preliminary stages of looking. A home could be the biggest purchase of your life, so go into it relaxed and prepared.
Stress is something that many people today have adopted as a normal part of life. A stressful lifestyle can promote many diseases and other harmful things to your health. It may be normal for most, but it doesn't have to be a part of your everyday life.
Here are five ways you can manage stress in your life:
- Meditate. It's easy to become so caught up in the things we are doing or need to do, that we forget to be present where we are. Start by sitting or lying down in a quiet area. Close your eyes and breathe naturally without the urge to control your breath. Begin to focus on the rise and fall of your breath and release any negative thoughts you may have. Meditating for 15 minutes each day can help you to calm your mind and start each day mentally rested.
- Exercise. You don't have to join the local CrossFit gym to fit in a workout. Exercising could be simply going for a walk each afternoon to wind down from the day's activities or practicing yoga each morning before you get ready for work. Choose an activity that is enjoyable and gets your heart rate up.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Food has a lot to do with the way your body reacts to stress. During a busy day, the last thing your body needs is another cup of coffee. Caffeine can cause you to become more stressed by giving you a temporary lift only to leave you down and agitated later. Replace your afternoon cup of caffeine with a cup of herbal tea. Also, fill your meals with fruits and vegetables rather than processed foods.
- Take a break. If there is something or someone who is continually triggering stress into your life, permit yourself to walk away for a while. For example: If you're overwhelmed with the pile of bills that needing payment, walk away and come back to the task when you're relaxed. Nothing works to our benefit when we're stressed out doing it.
- Share with someone. A lot of freedom can happen when we share how we're feeling with someone we trust. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed over a situation, pick up the phone and call a close friend. If you find yourself chronically stressed, consider seeing a professional counselor who can guide you through other methods of managing.
Stress takes so much out of us mentally, emotionally, and even physically. Take back your life by reducing your stress and focusing on your health.