How Should Interest Rates Influence When You Buy?

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Interest rates rise in correlation to inflation and other economic activity. When that happens, it can increase housing costs. But the question is, should it prompt you to buy sooner than you’re ready?

The Right Time Is Now

In real estate, the right time is always now for someone. Is it the right time for you? There’s more to determine than interest rates. 

Here’s how to break it down:

  • Rising interest rates: as interest rises, even a quarter of a point increase can add more than $10,000 to a two hundred-thousand-dollar mortgage. If you can lock in the lower rate, you’ll save nearly thirty dollars each month over the life of the loan.
  • Rising housing prices: In addition to the increase in interest rates, as housing prices trend upward, the combination can push you out of contention for certain homes. If you’re on the fence about buying but know where you want to live and what you want to pay, what you know now is more useful than speculating on what might be later.
  • Changes in the tax laws: Recent changes mean that writing off interest is limited, but your standard deduction probably offsets it. Work with your tax advisor to see if a mortgage improves your tax situation, remains neutral, or increases your outgo.
  • Down payment savings: As prices go up, the amount you need for a down payment goes up too. If you currently have the cash you need to lock in the home you want, you might not want to wait.
  • Know your expenses: Buying a house locks you in for the life of the loan or until you sell it. So, if you’re in need of a new car, or have another large expense coming down the pike, calculate it into your monthly budget what you’ll need to handle those expenses as well as your mortgage payment. Avoid stretching yourself so thin that your house payment becomes a burden.
  • Review your employment stability. Is there a chance you’ll move away? Change jobs? Retire? Many of the benefits of homeownership come after the first five or six years when you’ve mostly recovered the closing costs with the rising equity. If your intention is to move sooner than that, consider buying now with the intention to turn the property into a rental, or wait until you’re more settled in your location.

The bottom line is that it’s your bottom line that matters. Just because interest rates rise doesn’t mean you should jump into ownership before you’re ready. But don’t let it stop you either. Discuss your plans with your real estate professional. They have a finger on the pulse of the market to help you time when a purchase is right for you.

List Items Online Before You Sell a Home

If you plan to add your residence to the housing market soon, now may be a good time to list any unwanted items online. In fact, there are many reasons to sell furniture, decorations or other unwanted items online prior to listing your residence, and these reasons include:

1. You can eliminate clutter from your home.

Excess items may take up lots of space in your residence. As a result, these items may make your home appear small and cluttered.

By listing excess items online, you can give these items a new home. Then, you should have no trouble showing off the true size and beauty of your residence to prospective buyers once you list your house.

2. You can improve your home’s overall appearance.

In addition to taking up space in your home, unwanted items may collect dust over time. These items therefore may make your residence look messy and dirty.

On the other hand, selling your unwanted items online gives you an opportunity to transform your home from drab to fab. You can clean items to improve their appearance and showcase them to dozens of prospective buyers online. At the same time, you can clean your residence from top to bottom and ensure your residence is show-ready as soon as you list it.

3. You can earn extra cash.

Selling a home may prove to be costly, particularly for those who need to invest in property repairs or upgrades. Thankfully, listing excess items online allows you to earn extra cash that you can allocate toward the home selling process.

Clearly, there are many reasons to sell items online before you list your house. If you start listing items online today, you may be able to move one step closer to kicking off the property selling journey.

As you get ready to sell your house, you may want to consult with a real estate agent too. If you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive extensive support from the moment you list your home to the moment you finalize your house sale.

A real estate agent is a home selling expert who will craft a personalized property selling strategy for you. Then, you and your real estate agent can work together to put your plan into action.

Typically, a real estate agent will showcase your residence to potential buyers and keep you up to date with any buyer feedback. If you receive an offer to purchase your home, a real estate agent can provide a recommendation about whether to accept, reject or counter this proposal. And if you approve an offer to purchase, a real estate agent will help you navigate the final stages of the home selling cycle.

When it comes to selling a home and achieving the best possible results, it is crucial to employ a real estate agent. Because if you have a top-notch real estate agent at your disposal, you can boost the likelihood of enjoying a seamless property selling experience.

Condo Buying Tips: How to Avoid Paying Too Much for a Property

As a condo buyer, it is important to find a property that matches or surpasses your expectations. At the same time, you’ll want to do everything possible to avoid paying too much for a condo.

What does it take to shop for a condo and avoid the risk of spending too much to acquire your dream residence? Here are three tips to ensure you can pay the right price for any condo, at any time.

1. Browse the Real Estate Market Closely

An informed condo buyer will be able to differentiate a mediocre property from a great one. Plus, this condo buyer will know what it takes to avoid paying too much for a property that is unlikely to deliver long-lasting value.

Take a close look at the current housing market to understand the prices of condos in various cities and towns. By doing so, you can determine the price range for condos that fit your needs.

Don’t forget to check out the prices of recently sold condos in your area too. That way, you can understand how long condos typically are available before they sell and map out your condo buying journey accordingly.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Pre-approval for a mortgage will allow you to define how much you can spend on a condo. It also will enable you to reduce the risk of stretching beyond your financial means to acquire your dream condo.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll want to meet with several banks and credit unions before you kick off your condo search. This will allow you to learn about both fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and the pros and cons associated with these mortgages.

Furthermore, don’t be afraid to ask lenders how different types of mortgages work, as this will enable you to select a mortgage that corresponds with your budget both now and in the future.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Employ a real estate agent to assist you along the condo buying process – you’ll be happy you did. This real estate professional will do what it takes to help you land an exceptional condo at a budget-friendly price.

A real estate agent understands the differences between a buyer’s market and a seller’s one. As such, he or she can offer tips at each stage of the condo buying process, ensuring you can buy a top-notch condo without spending too much.

In addition, a real estate agent will take the guesswork out of going from condo buyer to condo owner. This housing market professional will set up condo showings, negotiate with condo sellers on your behalf and much more. That way, you can accelerate the process of acquiring a great condo.

Buying a condo at an affordable price may seem impossible at times, but a real estate agent will make it simple for you to do just that. Consult with a real estate agent today, and you can improve your chances of securing a condo without the risk of overspending.

Home Office Ergonomics to Help You Work Better at Home

If you work from home part or all of the time, chances are you have a specific place in your house where you go to work to be free from distraction.

Many people spend a lot of time thinking about the decor of their home office. They decide how much light they want to let in, what they need on their desk, and which distractions to keep out of the room entirely.

Surprisingly few people, however, consider the ergonomics of their home office.

What is ergonomics?

Simply stated, ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in the workplace. When it comes to office work or working at home, that means studying things like posture, desk height, eye strain, and much more.

In this article, we’ll talk about some ways you can improve the ergonomics of your home office to prevent injury and to make your office a more productive and less stressful place to work.

Choosing a desk chair

Let’s begin with one of the most common complaints in offices and home offices around the world: chairs.

You could spend several hundred dollars on an ergonomic office chair. But in reality it only needs to meet a few criteria that you can often find in inexpensive computer chairs. When buying a chair, look for the following:

  • Lower back support what will help you keep a straight spine

  • Adjustable heights for the chair, the backrest, and the arm rests

  • A firm, but comfortable cushion that you won’t slide down on

Picking the right desk

The most important ergonomic factor of a desk is that you can easily fit your legs under it and don’t have to crane over it to write.

Regardless of where you keep your keyboard, it will help if your arms can fall on it naturally and at a close to ninety-degree angle.

Screen height and distance

The vast majority of work performed at home is done with the use of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet.

Ideally, the height of your screen should be adjusted so that you can view it straight on, and not have to look down or up at it. This will help protect your neck from strain.

For eye strain, it’s a good idea to keep the monitor a couple feet from your eyes and to adjust the brightness so that it’s easy to read but not too bright.

The best thing you can do to avoid headaches and eye strain is to set reminders for yourself to look away from the screen every twenty minutes or so or get up and go for a walk.

Take more breaks

Speaking of taking breaks; sitting in one position for too long can contribute to muscle and joint pain. If you’re working at home, it should be easy to get up and stretch or move around every half hour or so.

You don’t have to take a long break; even a minute or two is sufficient enough to help take the strain off of your tired eyes and stiff back and neck.