Finding a new home that will meet your family's current and future needs requires a clear mental picture of what you want and your desired lifestyle.
While you may not be able to get every item on your new-house wish list, knowing your priorities is the first step to realizing your goals.
For many growing families, having a spacious eat-in kitchen is a high-priority. Here are a few reasons a large kitchen can enhance the enjoyment of your new home.
Entertaining guests: If you like to host holiday gatherings, birthday parties, and other celebrations at your home, a spacious kitchen lends itself to everything from food preparation and buffet setup to mingling with your party guests. Kitchens are a focal point of social gatherings, and can play a major role in the success or failure of your parties, dinners, and other events.
Increased efficiency: Without enough counter space and room to comfortably move around, meal preparation can turn into more of a chore than a pleasure. Ideally, there should be unobstructed paths between key work stations, including the stove and kitchen sink (You'll want to have a clear path when you're ready to drain cooked pasta or carry pots of water to the stove.) Generally, the more people you're serving, the more crucial it is to have plenty of space for working, staying organized, and keeping track of cooking times. Since food preparation is both an art and a science, it requires planning, proper execution, and the freedom to express your creativity.
Family harmony: There are at least two ways that ample kitchen space can contribute to harmonious family relationships. First of all, gathering in the kitchen at mealtime, every day, helps foster good communication between members of your family. When you're facing each other and sharing stories, plans, and concerns at the kitchen table, it's easier to know what's going on in the lives of your spouse and children. A roomy kitchen also helps keep the peace in your family. For example, when more than one person is getting a snack, making a meal, or cleaning up, having a little extra space can help keep family members from bumping into each other and feeling cramped. Conflicts sometimes arise, especially among siblings, when there's a shortage of personal space. On busy days when everyone is rushing in opposite directions, often at a hectic pace, having enough counter and floor space in the kitchen can help minimize drama and keep family traffic flowing smoothly.
Whether you're entertaining dinner guests or baking cookies for a school bake sale, the process is sure to go more smoothly when you have sufficient counter space and a work flow area that helps gets things done in the shortest period of time.
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When you decide that you want to buy a home, you probably hope it will all happen overnight for you. There’s some bad news though. It can take between 6 weeks and 6 months to buy a home! It could take even longer if you face a few roadblocks or inventory happens to be low in your area. There’s so many variables when it comes to getting a place to live that everyone has a different experience during their home buying process.
A Long Road
Even if you decide to buy a home today, and find a home you love tomorrow, there’s a bit of a “grace” period before you actually get to own the home. There’s many different steps that you’ll need to complete in order to successfully secure a home.
The first step that you need to complete when you want to buy a home is that of getting pre-approved. The lender will look at your debts, income, and credit history in order to get a complete financial snapshot of you. With this information, the lender will be able to tell you just how much house you can afford. This will be given to you in the form of a maximum loan amount. If your loan amount is $300,000, you can’t be shopping for $400,000 homes. The pre-approval process generally only takes a few days, but everyone’s circumstances are different.
Get An Agent
Before you even start on the house search, you’ll need to find a real estate agent who can help you on your home search and knows how to secure the home transaction. Do a little research on agents in your area. You can also ask around amongst your family and fiends to see if they have recommendations. Who you pick for your agent can have an impact on how smooth your home search process and transaction will be.
Start Searching For A Home
Start your home search online. With today’s technology, online home searches save those shopping for a home a lot of time. By simply looking at details and listing descriptions, you can narrow down the number of homes you‘d like to see in person. The online home search is a way to screen homes and eliminate the ones that you have no interest in.
It never hurts if you are driving around and see a “for sale” sign. You can take down the address and look it up later. If you’re interested, you can always set up an in-person showing with your realtor.
How Much Time Should You Expect To Spend?
When it comes to how long you’ll be searching for a home, you’ll need to be realistic. If you’re only doing casual weekend searches, it could take a bit more time than if you have a bit more flexibility in your schedule. Then, you have the final steps to look forward to which include:
- Mortgage underwriting
All of these final steps can take varying amounts of time from a few weeks to a few months to complete. Patience and diligence are indeed requirements when it comes to buying a home.
You’ve been thinking it for a while: “I really should start putting some money aside for a down payment.” But, you just can’t seem to find any wiggle room in your budget.
You’re not alone. Saving for a down payment isn’t easy. Especially if you’ve got rent, car payments, student loans, and are trying to put money aside for retirement.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about how to make a game plan for your down payment. This way, you can start saving immediately, bringing you closer to your goal of homeownership each day.
Step 1: Give each dollar a job
The first rule of budgeting is that you need to know where each dollar you earn ends up. From there, you can start re-allocating funds to the things you want to save for.
There are many apps and tools available to help you out with this process, including YNAB (You Need A Budget) and Mint. If apps aren’t your thing, you can always use a simple spreadsheet.
First, account for all of your income. This could include your salary, rental income, or other forms of money that you have coming in.
Next, detail each of your weekly and monthly expenses. Everything from groceries to the internet bill and retirement contributions.
Step 2: Reassess your expenses
Now it’s time to make some tough decisions. Are there ways you can cut down on your weekly or monthly expenses? Maybe you aren’t using that Amazon Prime membership as much as you thought you would. Or, maybe you’ve decided you don’t really watch anything on cable but the news. There are a number of ways one might cut back on their monthly bills.
Get creative with family plans, bulk shopping for food, or cooking budget-friendly meals. All of these savings will add up quickly.
Step 3: Pay off small debts with high interest
Let’s face it, if you have thousands of dollars in student loans, you might not be able to aggressively pay them down by the time you want to move out of your apartment.
But, for small debts (under $1,000 credit card debt, for example), you could save more in the long run by paying them off and avoiding interest payments.
Step 4: Be smart about your savings
With the right savings account and credit card, you can earn money through savings interest and through cashback rewards on credit cards.
First, find a savings account with the highest possible interest rate. These can often be found from choosing an online bank who doesn’t have the overhead of running branches.
Next, direct deposit a set amount of your paycheck each week into that savings account. This way, you can be sure that you won’t dip into your down payment savings.
To generate additional income, you can use cash back rewards from credit cards for things like groceries and gas. Choose a credit card that offers the best cash back rewards for things like groceries and gas purchases. The key here is to only use your credit card on necessities and to always pay off the card in full at the end of each month.
If you follow these four steps, you should be able to streamline your down payment savings process and start saving right now.