How can you Know When You’re Ready to Buy?

You’ve been a renter for a long time because you knew you had wanderlust and might pick up and move at the end of your lease. Now you’ve stayed in the same place for a couple of years. You’ve put down roots and built relationships. You have a sense of community. But are you ready to buy?

Buying a home feels like a big commitment, and it is, so it should! You may not be choosing your forever home just yet, but no matter if it’s a starter home or the one you want to raise a family in, buying a home locks you into the community, to a mortgage payment, and to the structure.

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When you rent, you only have your rent and a few utilities to factor into your budget. With a home, you’ll have your principle and interest on your mortgage. You’ll also have property taxes and insurance. And, depending on your underwriting situation, you may have PMI (private mortgage insurance), too!

Practice making payments

Use one of the many online mortgage calculators to determine your potential principal and interest. Then, check out the county taxes for where you want to buy—some online calculators even have a place to enter this as well as PMI. Add in an average insurance premium for your area. Now that you more closely have an idea of what your monthly payments will be. If it is higher than your current rent, start setting aside the difference now. You need to know that you can make the payment before you get into the house.

Factor in maintenance

The area buyers are most surprised about is the cost of maintenance. The A/C goes down, oops $4000. The roof leaks, that’s another $2500. Plumbing backs up and ruins the carpet? Now you have to pay for both plumbing and flooring. Insisting on a home warranty (that the seller provides) and mitigate some of these costs in the early years, but ongoing they are all yours, baby!

Landscaping?

You may be planning to do your own and will have the one-time expense of equipment, but if not, you’ll need to add in extra for regular landscaping. If you have a pool, you have to figure extra for pool care.

Pest control

Since you won’t have a landlord to call, you’ll need to factor in pest control for bugs and rodents.

Ownership is a beautiful thing, but being prepared is more beautiful. Ask your real estate agent about classes or seminars on home ownership that you can participate in to adequately prepare.

Homeownership Tips That Can Save You Money

A house is the largest purchase that you may ever make. The rewards of buying a house are plenty. Lives are joined, futures forged and incredible memories are created inside a house, especially if it’s a house that you love and end up living in for decades. Coming up with the money to buy a house then fund repairs and upgrades can be a challenge. Fortunately, you don’t have to keep struggling. Following are 10 money saving tips that could help lower, if not remove, financial pressures associated with homeownership.

Test outlets before you call an appliance repair professional. Your refrigerator, microwave or television may have stopped working because one or more electrical outlets are out. Hit the reset button on outlets that have them. You’ll generally find these outlets in the kitchen and bathroom. If that doesn’t work, check the breaker. Then, plug a lamp into the outlet. If the lamp works, call a repair professional to come and check out the appliance.

Keep heat in during winter / out during summer. Do this by filling gaps beneath windows and doors during cold months. For example, you could place a rug beneath exterior doors. You could also self-adhesive foam to the bottom of windows and to gaps at the sides of doors and place plastic window frame covers on windows during cold months.

Inspect and clean gutters to keep your roof healthy. Remove leaves and other debris from down sprouts. Flush gutters clean with a water hose. It’s recommended that you clean your gutters twice a year. Stay clear of power lines.

Check for mold at the edges of your windows, beneath sinks and other areas where water can collect. Mold could be a sign that you have a water leakage. Tighten pipes were you see mold developing. Leaks sealed, put on a pair of gloves and scrub mold away from surfaces, using a blend of water and bleach.

Turn off the main water valve if you’re going to be away from home for several days. This single step could save you hundreds in homeownership on money spent on leaks or flooding.

Keep the thermostat at 68 degrees to save on utility bills. During warmer months, consider installing a ceiling fan. It helps to keep air circulating across a wider range of space.

Burglar proof your home by installing edge guards to door locks. Double cylinder dead bolt locks and keyless and smartphone operated locks are good. For extra security, you could install a door jammer. Also, lock windows. Installing an alarm system, particularly an alarm system that lets you see inside your home while you’re away, is another security step that you could take. Trim hedges and bushes to eliminate spots around your home that burglars could hide behind. Turn on house, garage and roof lights at night. Although nothing may work 100% at keeping burglars out, there are steps that you can take to slow burglars down or to make them think more than twice before they try to enter your home.

Combine or bundle homeowners insurance with auto, life and other insurance packages. Check with several companies that offer homeowners insurance and other insurance lines to see the types of discounts each offers before you settle on a multi-policy plan.

Let laundry dry naturally. Hang clothes outside when weather permits. You could also hand wash delicates and let them dry naturally on hangers that you place over a shower rod.

Create and stick to a budget to get the most out of money saving tips. Include entertainment, groceries, homeownership repairs, homeowners insurance and any homeowners association fees in the budget.