How To Keep From Going House Poor
The only thing worse than not being able to buy a home when you want to is owning a home and not being able to do anything but sit inside because after your house payment, taxes, and household bills, there's nothing left.
Here are a few smart strategies can help you avoid becoming house poor...
Think hard about that pre-approval amount. Just because the bank tells you that you can buy a $400,000 home doesn't mean you have to spend all $400,000. It might be that you're not comfortable with a payment that high if it means you won't have a cushion and can't continue to contribute to your savings.
Things you'll want to consider:
1.) Can you continue to invest the way you want to?
Will you be able to keep up (or build) your emergency fund - "A savings account stuffed with six months expenses or more is a vital part of financial stability," said Money Under 30.
Are you going to have enough money left over to establish a bank account buffer? "Whether you're 15, 25 or 65, if you're having trouble with your money and want to improve, the very first step you should take is to build a bank account buffer," said Money Under 30. "A bank account buffer is another name for what other people may call a cash cushion, mini emergency fund, rainy day fund or back-up savings. When you have a bank account buffer in place, you don't have to worry that a poorly timed Starbucks break you charged to your debit card will overdraw your account and trigger an overdraft fee."
2.) Budget for additional expenses.
This is not the place for that buffer referenced above, but, rather, a way to make sure you can really handle the home you want without living paycheck to paycheck or, even worse, going into even more debt just so you don't sink. If you don't currently have a yard or are renting, you may not be accustomed to paying or landscaping. If your new home has a pool, don't forget to budget for that pool cleaner. If you're moving to a larger home, you may also have an increase in costs for your house cleaning services/supplies and utilities, and if your commute is longer, you may be paying more in gas and tolls. They are the little things that can creep up and affect your bottom line.
3.) Don't do improvements right away.
You might want to wait a few months to see how your expenses pan out before you empty your savings on a new kitchen. Ditto for buying a houseful of new furniture. The desire to fix up the house to your standards or pack it with all-new everything is strong. But a little patience can go a long way. Spreading out your purchases while you increase your savings and waiting for sales and zero interest credit offers can help keep your budget in check.
4.) Be careful with an equity line.
Having equity in your home is great! It means you made a smart investment. But using it irresponsibly can quickly make your budget spin out of control. Accessing equity can be tempting. Making not-so-smart decisions with the money can create a very stressful situation. If you take out a line with the intent of doing some updates or renovations, you'll want to make sure that you can comfortably afford the new payment and that the renovations you're making will provide a return on investment.
HALIFAX, April 7, 2016 /CNW/ - The aggregate price of a home in Halifax fell modestly in the first quarter of 2016, slipping 1.2 per cent year-over-year to $304,441, according to the Royal LePage House Price Survey released today.
When broken out by housing type, the median price of a bungalow increased 0.7 per cent to $245,672. During the same period, two-storey home prices saw some softness, declining 1.5 per cent year-over-year to $344,592, while the median price of a condominium fell by a larger margin of 6.4 per cent to $257,056.
"We remain in a buyer's market in Halifax," said Matt Honsberger, broker, Royal LePage Atlantic. "Housing inventory levels are high, providing many listing options for buyers and flexibility to negotiate and search for the right property."
"In the first quarter, we saw a higher influx of interest from first-time purchasers looking to benefit from the recent softness in prices. We expect this will balance the market slightly as we head into the spring home-buying season," added Honsberger.
Nova Scotia is expected to be the strongest province within the Atlantic over 2016 because of its strong manufacturing base. Halifax continues to benefit from the activity on Arctic patrol vessels at the Irving shipyard.
For full story, please click HERE.
Don’t Take the Personality Out of Your Home
Does your home have a lot of personality? There’s nothing wrong with that...
In fact, you may have pictures on the fireplace mantle showcasing happy family memories over the years…or trophies and other awards in the kids’ bedrooms that represent achievements that make you proud…or a fridge door covered with notes, a calendar and other items that make it a de facto family bulletin board!
These are all things that help make a house truly a place to call “home”.
But when it comes time to sell, some of that personality can work against you. When buyers view your property, they want to be able to visualize themselves living there.
Have you ever noticed how model homes are often furnished and decorated? All the rooms look beautiful and enticing. They draw you in. Why? Because, although all the rooms in the model home look great, they’re also impersonal. There’s no uncomfortable sense that you’re in a stranger’s home. You can easily see yourself living there.
That’s exactly what you should strive for when preparing your house for sale.
You don’t need to get rid of every personal item. That would be impractical. But there’s a lot you can do to depersonalize your home. For example, you can:
The more easily buyers can see themselves living in your home, the more likely they are to become interested in it and make an offer.
Want more ideas for making your property look even more appealing to potential buyers? Call today.
Home Selling Advice from Hoteliers
When a hotel wants to make a room look inviting, they start with the bathroom. They clean it until it sparkles. They place fresh towels everywhere. They make sure the soap bars and shampoos are new. Some hotels even fold the end of the toilet paper into a nice neat triangle!
Why all the fuss?
Hoteliers know that if a customer is impressed with the bathroom, they will likely feel the same way about the rest of the property.
Something to think about when selling your house....
Making Sure You Get What You Need
When you’re shopping for a new home, it’s a good idea to create a checklist of what you want and what you need. It keeps you on track to ultimately find the property that best fits your requirements — and those of your family.
However, there’s a big difference between want and need that is important to understand when house hunting. A ‘need’ refers to a feature that is an absolute must in a new home. A ‘want’, by contrast, is a ‘nice-to-have’.
Some home buyers make the mistake of choosing a ‘want’ at the expense of a ‘need’.
For example, say you ‘need’ four bedrooms in your new home but ‘want’ a golf course located nearby. It can be tempting to fall in love with a property that has a beautiful golf green just a couple of blocks away, even if it has only three bedrooms. You may find yourself signing the offer while dreaming of Saturday morning tee-offs, only to awake to the realization months later that the lack of an extra bedroom has become a serious inconvenience to you and your family.
Of course it is possible to get most, if not all, of what you need and want in a new home. But if it comes down to a choice, it’s usually a good idea not to sacrifice something you really need in order to get something you want.
So when you’re making your house hunting checklist, be clear about what is a need-to-have and what is a nice-to-have.
Don’t forget that some features you want — like a wrap-around backyard deck, for example — can potentially be added to your new home later. Want more tips for getting what you need and want in a new home? Call today.
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