Finding the perfect home is only half the battle when you’re house hunting. The other half is getting a mortgage to pay for the perfect house you found. This side of the coin has less to do with personal preferences and more to do with having a plan and being prepared. To get qualified for a mortgage it helps to start the process long before you start looking at houses. This isn’t always straightforward and there are a lot of myths out there that can lead you down the wrong trail.
My Income is High Enough to Get Approved
While income is one of the factors lenders will look at, it’s not the only one. Just because you make a good living doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be approved. Other factors you need to consider are your credit score, down payment, and debt to income ratio. It’s important to remember that no one single factor will make or break your loan, so don’t get too focused on one or the other.
20% Down is Required
While almost every financial planner will recommend that you put 20% down, it isn’t required to get a loan. If you don’t have the time or the means to gather up that kind of liquid capital, most lending institutions will let you put down a lesser amount. However, putting less than 20% down will likely increase your interest rate, and you might be required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI) on top of your loan. Again, it’s always a good idea to put 20% down, but putting less down is okay if you can afford the higher monthly costs.
Closing Costs are Just the Down Payment
Saving up for the 20% or less for the down payment isn’t the only up-front cost you’ll need to account for. The term closing costs refers to several items rolled together that you may have to pay for up-front, and these costs can add up fast. Closing costs can range from 3%-6% of the value of the home and consist of inspections, fees, taxes, and few other costs. The bright side is that these costs are up for negotiation. When you put an offer on the house, you can haggle with the seller and see if they’re willing to pay closing costs.
One of the most difficult hurdles to overcome when buying a new house can often be selling your current house. Getting caught in the house shuffle and trying to get the timing right is a common problem we see all the time. After building custom homes in Tulsa for more than 20 years, we know a thing or two about selling homes and thought we would share a few tricks we’ve picked up.
Take Yourself Out of the Picture
The first item on your to-do list should be to take down all the personal touches in your home. The goal is for potential home buyers to picture themselves living in this house, not think about the family that’s lived here for the past 10 years.
Do the Least You Can
When staging a home, try to be as neutral and minimal as possible. Buyer’s taste in furniture and décor can vary greatly and the last thing you want them to remember is how much they hated your decorating. Keep it basic so they can easily imagine their own style and taste going into the home.
You can bet dollars to donuts that buyers will be looking through your closets and cabinets to investigate how much storage the home has. This is a great time to show off how organized you are. Doing so will let them know that you’ve taken great care of this home.
Fix It Up
Being a homeowner allows you to overlook minor repairs that need to be made, but these can be red flags for a home buyer. Before buyers step foot in your home, do a walk-through of your home and pretend you’re the one looking for a new home and make note of anything that needs to be fixed. Then call the repairman or fix it yourself. Either way, just make sure your home is in tip-top shape.
Fall has fallen and the holiday season is right around the corner. Along with pumpkin spiced everything, scarfs, and earth tones, people will be buying candles like water bottles before a hurricane. This time honored Fall tradition happens every year, but there’s a right and a wrong way to participate in the changing of the scents. To help you avoid this smelly faux pas, here are a few tips for using scents in your home this Fall.
One at a Time
There are so many scents to choose from this time of year. Apple cider, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin, pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice, and other varieties of pumpkin related scents are all right at your fingertips and it’s hard to resist the temptation to flood your house with all these magical smells. While this might sound like an opportunity to turn your living room into a Fall-themed wonderland, it can be very disorienting. It’s best to pick one scent per room, or, even better, one scent per home. Doing so will allow you to fully enjoy each scent without a nasal bombardment.
What Healthy Smells Like
More and more studies are finding that some of the commonly used home fragrance methods are actually hazardous to our health. Some aerosol cans and plugins can harm our lungs and immune systems. Opting for high-quality candles, oil diffusers, and even the potpourri you thought was only for your grandmother all tend to be safer options. Whatever method you choose to use, it’s important to check the manufacturer’s ingredients.
Mixing and Pairing
Scents are often used to prep a home for a party or special dinner gathering. If this is the case, and food will be prepared prior or during the event, make sure your scents will pair well with whatever your cooking. Lighting some cranberry candles will pair very well when cooking a turkey, but burning a pine candle while baking cookies might not be as pleasant.
As our society continues to shift toward a more sedentary lifestyle, we need to find ways to stay active and fit. Getting a gym membership is the default answer to this problem, but this option comes with a few problems. You have to pack a gym bag, drive to the gym, work out in front of strangers, and wait for the equipment you need to be available. Instead of dealing with these stresses, lots of people opt for a home gym. However, home gyms can get pricey if you’re not careful. Thankfully, there are a few ideas to keep the cost of a home gym reasonable.
One big mistake people make when getting into fitness is making too big of an investment too fast. To test the waters and make sure you’re committed, start with some smaller investments like a stability ball and resistance bands. You can get both for about $30 and there are so many workouts you can do with these two items. Once you’ve mastered the basics with these two, you can graduate to bigger equipment
Versatility is Key
When putting together a home gym, space can be just as limited as cash. To stretch both as far as possible, look for pieces that have multiple uses. An adjustable workbench can be used for a wide variety of exercises, and adjustable dumbbells are a great money and cost saver.
Their Failure is Your Savings
Lots of people hop on the fitness wagon only to fall off shortly after. While this is an unfortunate cliché, it can be your opportunity to save some serious coin. When people get really excited about a new fitness plan, they’ll go out and buy lots of fancy new equipment, and when they give up, they sell that new fancy equipment at a fraction of the cost. This lets you snatch up perfectly good equipment without having to break the bank. Craigslist, garage sales, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay are all great places to scour for used fitness equipment.
Starting a home gym doesn’t have to require a second mortgage. With a few creative ideas, you can get in shape without your wallet loosing too much weight.