Posted by Peggy Farber on 11/1/2017

As a first-time homebuyer, it is important to understand what it takes to discover your dream residence as quickly as possible. By doing so, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

What does it take for a first-time homebuyer to seamlessly navigate the housing market? Here are three tips that every first-time homebuyer needs to know.

1. Make a Homebuying Checklist

The definition of the "perfect" house differs from homebuyer to homebuyer. As such, a first-time homebuyer should allocate the necessary time and resources to determine what he or she wants to find in the ideal home. That way, a first-time homebuyer will have no trouble finding a house that matches or surpasses his or her expectations.

With a homebuying checklist, a first-time homebuyer can move one step closer to making his or her property ownership dreams come true. This checklist can help a homebuyer differentiate between home "must-haves" and "wants" so he or she can narrow a home search accordingly.

Furthermore, a first-time homebuyer can update a property buying checklist as he or she begins to check out houses. And if a homebuyer evaluates available residences, this property buyer can update his or her checklist as needed.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A first-time homebuyer likely wants to purchase a house as quickly as possible. Fortunately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help a homebuyer move through the property buying process without delay.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, a first-time homebuyer should try to meet with several banks and credit unions. Each meeting will allow a homebuyer to learn about assorted mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to his or her finances.

Moreover, a first-time homebuyer should be unafraid to ask plenty of questions when he or she meets with potential lenders. This will allow a homebuyer to make an informed decision about a mortgage.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to buying a house for the first time, a homebuyer should seek out expert support. Lucky for you, many real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals can make it simple for you to purchase your ideal house.

A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with buying a house for the first time. He or she will teach a first-time homebuyer about these challenges and ensure this property buyer is prepared to take a diligent approach to purchasing a home.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and negotiate with home sellers on a homebuyer's behalf. This housing market professional will even keep a homebuyer up to date about new houses, ensuring homebuyers can pounce on opportunities to acquire great houses as soon as they become available.

For a first-time homebuyer, there is no need to leave anything to chance. But with the aforementioned tips, a first-time homebuyer can accelerate the homebuying process and improve his or her chances of purchasing a stellar house at an affordable price.




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Posted by Peggy Farber on 10/25/2017

When you have kids, the dynamics of your home change. You often go from refined to durable. If we looked at flooring from a simply practical standpoint, weíd end up with uncomfortable flooring's like ceramic, laminate, or engineered wood. Thatís why carpets come in handy.  


For one, children spend a lot of time playing on the floor. When you put down a carpet and there are children around, you fully expect that there will be spills, blood, and much roughing around done right on the surface. So, youíll need to choose your fibers carefully when picking a carpet out. 


Know that polyester, nylon, and triexta are among the most durable types of fibers. Stay away from wool carpets, as they are really not the best choice for homes with children. Polyester (also known as PET), is a budget friendly, and environmentally friendly type of carpet that provides stain resistance and a long life. Nylon is known for durability and softness. This is another material thatís great if you want a carpet with a long life. Triexta is a unique fiber that provides the highest amount of stain resistance and really will be soil-free. 


Modular Carpeting


There is another option when it comes to carpeting and that is modular carpeting. This type of carpeting can be laid out in the form of tiles. If a piece is soiled, stained, or ripped, youíll be able to just switch out that piece of the carpeting puzzle if it canít be cleaned. This is an option for homes with children, however, itís not a popular choice in residential settings. Generally, modular carpeting is used in commercial settings like office buildings, and indoor public places like shopping malls. This can be a good option for you depending on the size of your home and your needs. If you have a room thatís completely dedicated to children, like a playroom, for example, you could use a modular carpet.


Treating The Carpets


There is an option to have your carpets pre-treated with a Scotchgard like chemical. This is also available for your furniture. It helps to prevent your furniture and carpets from stains and soiling, surrounding each fiber for a total protection. Once a fiber is treated, it will never wash or wear off. Itís a good option to treat your home with this especially when you have children.


Whether you decide to do wall-to-wall carpeting or simply place some area rugs around in order to make the floors of your home more durable and comfortable for children, you have some options to take the curse off of the inevitable mess that children will make.




Tags: kids   carpet care  
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Posted by Peggy Farber on 10/18/2017

Making the decision to buy your first home is a big step. One of the most uncertain parts thatís involved in buying a home is that of securing a first-time mortgage. Youíll need to know what types of programs exist to help you on your journey to homeownership. Even if you have owned a home in the past but are now renting your home, you may be eligible for first-time mortgage benefits. 


The first thing you should do is understand your options for getting a mortgage. The Department of Housing and Urban Development often provides you with agents to help you see whether you will, in fact, qualify for a first time mortgage and all the benefits that go along with it. They may also help you to see exactly what programs will work best for you. You can find agencies in your specific area on the HUD website. 


Each state and local municipality have its own resources for those seeking to buy a home as well. These programs may get more specific, helping low-income earners, first-time home buyers and people with disabilities. Of course, youíll need to meet certain eligibility requirements before qualifying for the programs. Your state and local housing offices are other great places to start when youíre searching for benefits for first-time home buyers.   


Save, Save, Save! 


Even before you think you might be ready to buy a home, you need to start saving. Youíll need a significant down payment, especially if youíre hoping to avoid private mortgage insurance or PMI. If you canít swing a 20% down payment, thereís good news: First-time home buyers are eligible for loans that require a lower down payment- as little as 3%! 


Youíll also need a significant amount of savings to pay upfront for closing costs. These fees can come in somewhere between 3 and 4% of the purchase price of the home. It wonít be very pleasant if your bank account is completely empty by the time you reach the closing table. This is why itís a wise idea to save long before you even think you might want to buy a home.      



Look At Your Finances


In the same light of saving money, youíll want to keep your financial health in check in order to prepare to secure your first mortgage. First, check your credit score and see where you stand. You can take the time to dispute any discrepancies you may find on your report. Then, start paying off any credit card balances that you may have. Remember that the higher your credit score is, the better your chances are of securing a mortgage and being approved for a first-time home buyer program.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 10/11/2017

Great curb appeal isn't limited to houses that are on the market. Head turning curb appeal can make you feel good every time you drive in front of your house, pull into the driveway or step up the front walkway. House walkways that catch your eye as soon as you spot a house in the distance start with the material that house walkways are made of.

Material for great house walkways

Concrete isn't the only material that great house walkways are designed with. If you do go with concrete, check out different colored concrete walkways when you visit a house goods store or an exterior design shop. For example, if your house is burgundy red and white, you could install a burgundy red and white checkered concrete walkway. Other material that great house walkways are made with include:

  • Brick - The Wizard of Oz isn't the only place where brick walkways work wonders. As with concrete walkways, consider installing brick that's one or more colors that complement colors that your house is built with.
  • Rock - Smooth, rustic or lightly colored rocks made good walkways, especially if the smooth rocks are bordered by plants or flowers. You can also border this type of house walkway with one to two feet high rock walls.
  • Large stones that are built into cement or concrete won't pop into your shoes as you make your way in or out of your house. This is another time when fall colors like reds, greens and browns do wonders. Choose between three to five colors when picking large stones for your front walkway. Make sure that the stones are smooth and even, so people don't trip over them.
  • Gravel - Similar to rocks, you can get gravel indifferent colors, sizes and shapes. The downside of a gravel walkway is that the gravel can get inside your shoes.

Winding front walkways offer an elegant look, especially when they are bordered with gorgeous trees, bushes, flowers or plants. To encourage safety, keep bushes trimmed low so would be burglars can't hide behind them. Also, keep trees far enough away from your house to avoid turning trees into hiding places for would be intruders.

Ground lights that turn on at sunset or when someone starts to make their way up your front walk offer design and safety. Check out four or more outdoor walkway light designs to get more creative ideas on how you can get the walkway you want within a few days.

Don't stop at your walkway. Install wood floorboards and rustic furniture on your front porch to add even more curb appeal to your house. Colorful flowers, plants and uniquely designed ceramic or metal art pieces also bring out your front porch's best features.

Another simple move to great house walkways is to keep your walkways clutter free. Remove garbage pails from the sides of walkways. Return the lawn mower and other outdoor equipment to the basement or garage instead of leaving them on the lawn or next to front walkways.




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Posted by Peggy Farber on 10/4/2017

First time homeowners aren't the only people who are making this financial mistake. Millennials also aren't alone when it comes to approaching home ownership with short sight. Even the Great Recession hasn't stopped everyone who wants to own a house from thinking that they'll come out ahead if they wait until after they buy a house to starting putting money toward their mortgage.

Preparing to buy a house smartly could take years

Settling for making monthly mortgage payments, despite what the lender equates those payments to be, is a mistake. Negotiating for lower mortgage payments is only part of it.

The size of your mortgage down payment is significant. Don't wave this off. In fact, as soon as you become serious about buying a house start saving for your mortgage down payment.

Ways to save for your mortgage down payment include investing half (or more) of your quarterly or annual bonus toward your down payment and depositing your tax refund in an interest bearing account.

Money that you earn from a part-time job, including a virtual gig, could also go toward your mortgage down payment. Instead of tossing out clothes that you no longer wear, sell them to a consignment store and deposit the money into an interest bearing account.

Forward movement pays off

Keep saving  until you save at least 20 percent of the total cost of the house that you want to buy. Don't get fooled into thinking that there is only one house that you'll love. After all, you could buy land and have your dream house built on that land.

In addition to having the leverage to put a hefty down payment toward your mortgage, you'll have leverage to negotiate a better mortgage deal from your lender. You might even secure a mortgage with a lender who would never have approved you for a home loan if you didn't have a huge down payment.

Tax write offs may not be enough to subtract pain caused by this single mortgage regret

The government gives people tax deductions for owning a house for good reason. A house is probably the biggest expense that Americans will take on. Buying a house also helps the economy. It makes good sense to reward home buyers with a tax deduction.

But, even tax deductions may not help homeowners recoup the money that they'll lose by overpaying on their mortgage because of poor decisions that they made before they met with their lender. Poor home buying financial decisions could set Americans up for years of hard-to-make mortgage payments.

This single decision damages personal credit, destroys marriages and causes unsuspecting homeowners to lose their houses, sometimes years after struggling to pay their mortgage. Root of the single act that leads to years of mortgage regret is wishful thinking. The price of this wishful thinking is too high to want to take on. It leaves you unprepared.




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