Some Millennials Are Finding Home Buying Overwhelming

Some Millennials Are Finding Home Buying OverwhelmingMany millennials are reaching the age where they are thinking about buying homes for the first time. It turns out that many members of this generation are finding this process challenging. Even though the housing market is great for those looking to buy, surveys indicate that this generation also finds the process overwhelming.

Reports have been published showing that many millennials are planning to buy their first home in the next year, showing that owning property is still a strong part of the American dream. Furthermore, many millennials also know that this is a great time to buy. Why are millennials finding this process so challenging?

Student Loan Debt

One of the biggest reasons why millennials are having issues purchasing a home is student loan debt. When someone is looking for a home, any potential lender is going to take their existing debt into account. It is no secret that student loans are a major issue right now.

With numerous millennials saddled with student loan debt, this makes it hard to qualify for a mortgage. While other forms of debt are easier to pay back, student loan debt is not. Some millennials have student loan debt that looks like a mortgage. 

A Poor Understanding Of Costs

Even though millennials may look at their rent payments as a solid barometer for their mortgage payment, there are other costs that millennials need to consider. These include real estate taxes, HOA fees, homeowners’ insurance, and potential repairs. Therefore, they might need to reset their expectations.

Comparison Is A Dangerous Temptation

Finally, too many millennials are tempted by what they know. Many millennials end up moving back into their parents’ house after they finish school. The job market can be tough and they think this is a great way to save money. On the other hand, this also means they might end up looking for a house that is similar to their parents’. 

Many millennials have set the bar high for their first home. A property like their parents’ simply isn’t within the budget. An unwillingness to accept this makes it harder to find a home. On the other hand, there are affordable homes out there. Millennials simply need assistance to find them.

First-Time Buyers’ Guide: How To Get A Mortgage And Buy A House

When you are in the process of buying a home, there are a lot of moving parts that need to work together. It can be hard for you to keep track of everything that has to happen, particularly if you are going through this process for the first time. With this in mind, there are a few basics that you should remember when you are looking for a home loan.

Work With A Professional 

It is critical for you to work with a real estate agent who can act as a guide during this process. A real estate agent has taken plenty of individuals and families through the process of finding a home loan and purchasing a house. Therefore, he or she will be able to work with you from start to finish as the home loan process unfolds. 

Find A Loan Officer

Once you have found a real estate agent, the next step is to find a loan officer. Your real estate agent might have connections throughout the industry and can recommend a loan officer. Many real estate agents will recommend that you use a mortgage broker. A mortgage broker often works with multiple loan companies. This means that you may have multiple home loan options at your disposal. Ideally, you will be able to leverage these options against each other and find the best deal for you.

Understand The Basics Of A Home Loan

When you are evaluating your home loan options, there are a few factors that you need to consider. The most important part of a home loan is the interest rate. You want to make sure that you get the lowest interest rate possible as this is going to impact the amount of money you pay over the life of the loan. Then, you want to make sure that you can afford the down payment required. If you can’t put enough money down, you might have to purchase mortgage insurance. You want to avoid this cost if possible. 

Work With An Experienced Real Estate Agent.

During this process, it is important for you to follow the advice of your real estate agent. Once you have found the right home loan, you will be able to complete your home purchase.

Low Maintenance Landscaping To Improve Curb Appeal

Low Maintenance Landscaping To Improve Curb AppealAttractive landscaping is one of the first things that potential home buyers notice. They may see the landscaping in the photos of a home for sale or may even do a physical drive-by. The view of the property from the street is called “curb appeal.” It is important to make this be as nice as possible.

In many parts of the country, there are pressures on the water supply that make having a lush-green, living lawn very costly or even prohibited by the local regulations. Innovative technology and the use of natural ground covers, such as stone and rocks are replacing the green lawns that most people think of when considering landscaping a home properly.

Here is a guide to some landscaping that is attractive and worth considering to make a home look spectacular and require little maintenance:

Artificial Turf

Artificial turf has improved dramatically over the past few years. There is no longer the need to use the obvious green plastic covering of cheap fake grass. The newest artificial turf products look so much like real grass that it is nearly impossible to tell that they are not real. They can be installed over drainage rock and washed down with water like real grass.

Decorative Concrete

Molded concrete is now available in so many surface treatments, textures, and colors that it can represent almost any popular covering. For example, a nice European-style, cobbled-stone, street look is a popular choice for driveways and walkways. It is made out of molded, colored concrete, not stone, and installs easily.

Rock And Stone

Replacing areas of grass in the front yard with decorative rock and stone makes a nice look. It is better not to use wide swathes of this ground covering in big blocks. Instead, for a better aesthetic appeal, use natural rock and stone to create unique, eye-catching areas. For example, surrounding a wishing well with a nice circular area of rock pebbles creates a nice look.

Artificial Trees And Bushes

Advancements in the manufacturing of artificial bushes and trees developed very convincing products that are durable enough for exterior installation. Some best looking ones are the evergreen bushes.

They come in perfect heights of various sizes. They never need watering or trimming to make them look attractive. The only maintenance that they need is the occasional spray washing to remove dust and things that might fall on them like leaves from neighbor?s trees.

There are many to choose from. The modest-sized bushes are very inexpensive and usually less than $50 each. At the other end of the spectrum, are the exotic 11-feet tall artificial cheery trees that have built-in LED illumination. These are very dramatic and cost many thousands.

Summary

With these interesting ideas to consider, take a look at landscaping in a new way. Even though artificial landscaping requires an upfront investment, it can last for many years and may reduce overall maintenance costs significantly. If you ever want to sell the home, there will be much less landscaping needed to get it ready for sale.

Why Most People Use A Real Estate Agent Or Broker To Buy A Property

Why Most People Use A Real Estate Agent Or Broker To Buy A PropertyOne might wonder if the continued improvement in the access to online information about properties for sale has removed the need for working with a qualified real estate agent or broker. It has not.

The trends reported by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) are interesting. Buyers are finding a home to purchase by searching online in larger numbers than before. In the NAR survey of homebuyers, the home was found online by the buyer for more than half of the homes purchased, with only 28% of the homes purchased suggested to the buyer by a real estate agent.

Even so, NAR also reports that 87% of buyers made their home purchase with the help of a real estate agent or broker. This trend is increasing. In 2001, only 69% of home buyers bought a home with the involvement of a real estate agent or broker. Why the upward trend of working with a real estate professional when buying a home?

The explanation is surprising. One is the cost of buying a home that is for sale by owner (FSBO) may be very close to the price of the same type of home bought with the help of a real estate agent. An FSBO home sale may put a little more money in the pockets of the seller but little of that savings on the real estate commission goes to the buyer. Moreover, the FSBO process creates a disadvantage when trying to market a home without a real estate professional’s help. These trends are making FSBO properties decrease.

Additionally, using a real estate professional may help the transaction go more smoothly. A real estate agent handles the buying and selling of properties all the time. A homebuyer does this less often and therefore may not have the skills to manage a real estate transaction effectively.

Summary

When buying a home, it is the preference of the vast majority of buyers to work with a real estate professional. The process is likely to be easier with less chance of costly mistakes. The price paid for the home will likely be around the same as trying to close a deal without the benefit of using a real estate agent.

For sellers of a home, working with a professional real estate agent comes along with advice about market pricing, how to stage a home for better resale value, and the benefits of using effective marketing strategies that get the home seen by more prospective buyers.

For buyers and sellers, it becomes clear that working with a real estate agent is vastly preferable. This is why so many are using the services of a licensed professional to buy or sell a home.

How To Save Big Money On Your Next Home Renovation Project

Every year, homeowners spend billions of dollars renovating their homes. It almost seems expected that homeowners are going to end up going over budget on any project. On the other hand, this doesn’t have to be the case. In reality, there are a few tips and tricks that homeowners can follow to help them save big money on that next home renovation project.

Serve As The General Contractor

Many homeowners hire a general contractor to control the staffing of each individual project. While this might reduce stress levels, it also costs more money. Hiring a general contractor adds an additional middle man to the project who might charge a premium for each individual project.

Homeowners that need to renovate the kitchen, replace the roof, and find a new water heater should hire professionals to handle these individual projects; however, they don’t necessarily need to hire a general contractor. Skipping this step can save money.

Seek Out Multiple Bids On Each Project

Some homeowners don’t like making phone calls and filling out paperwork to collect bids for various projects; however, collecting multiple bids can help homeowners save money. On any given home renovation project, try to collect at least three bids. For larger projects, it is better to collect even more. 

Then, once all the bids are collected, they can be leveraged against each other for a lower price. Homeowners are often surprised by the wide range of bids on a project. Some proposals might even be thousands of dollars apart.

Take Advantage Of Sales

Just as food goes on sale at the grocery store, the materials needed to complete a home renovation project might go on sale from time to time as well. Taking advantage of sales at department stores can be a great way to reduce overhead costs. There might even be cheaper options online. 

Reduce Home Renovation Costs

These are a few of the most important tips for reducing the cost of that next big home renovation project. Home renovation projects don’t have to break the bank! Be sure to collect multiple bids and leverage inventory sales. 

4 Things Not To Do When Buying A Home

4 Things Not To Do When Buying A HomeThere is a long list of things that people need to do when they are looking to buy a home; however, it is also important for people to know what to avoid as this process unfolds. There is a lot for people to remember and it is easy for people to get carried away when they start looking at their dream homes. Even though it is great to look at a bunch of houses and imagine living there, it is critical for people to stay grounded and know what to avoid.

Do Not Make Any Large Purchases During The Home Buying Process

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they are looking at buying a home is they open their wallets too big. If people end up taking on other big purchases, they end up accruing more debt. This is going to mess up their debt to income ratio and will make it harder for people to qualify for a home loan. Therefore, try to avoid making any other large purchases during the home buying process.

Do Not Take Out Multiple Credit Inquiries

While this might not sound real, the truth sometimes hurts. The more times people pull their credit report, the worse it looks. Therefore, by making multiple credit inquiries, people could actually hurt their credit score. It is important for people to pull their credit score at least once to fix any inaccuracies that might be present; however, people should not get carried away.

Do Not Skip The Pre-Qualification Process

Many people want to avoid filling out excess paperwork; however, the pre-qualification process is a good idea. When someone pre-qualifies for a mortgage, they get a budget ahead of time and immediately look like a serious buyer. This means that their offer looks more competitive to a potential seller. Finally, the pre-qualification process could also help someone qualify for a lower interest rate.

Do Not Be Anxious

The process of buying a home can be stressful even for those who have been through it before. Just remember to ask questions along the way and individuals will be set up for success. There are trained professionals who are willing to lend a helping hand to those in need.  

The 5 Best Power Tools For Home Improvement On The Market Today

The 5 Best Power Tools For Home Improvement On The Market TodayFor most people, their home is the most valuable investment they are ever going to make. Therefore, it should make sense that people will want to improve its value over time. In this case, people are going to need to invest in power tools. Those who are interested in home improvement projects need to know about the five most important power tools available in today’s market.

A Power Drill

While this might seem obvious, many people do not own a power drill. This is almost always at the top of the list of the best power tools on the market. It is a versatile tool that can handle everything from hanging pictures to putting in a fence. People need to make sure they know about the various options for drills on the market and find the one that is right for their needs.

A Jigsaw

A jigsaw is a unique but versatile saw that can help people with a variety of home improvement projects. This type of saw is great for helping people cut shapes and curves as well as straight lines. Try to find a jigsaw that has a variety of orbital settings. This will provide the user with added accuracy and speed.

A Circular Saw

This is another saw that is important for homeowners to have. This is great for heavier cutting jobs. They have the ability to cut through thick materials easily. There are both cordless and corded options and they pack a punch. Cordless varieties are a bit heavier but they provide the user with access to tight spaces

A Cordless Screwdriver

Traditional screwdrivers can pose a bit of a challenge and get uncomfortable over time. This is where a cordless screwdriver is helpful. This removes a significant amount of effort and makes projects go by more quickly. These screws can be used to both tighten and loosen screws.

A Rotary Tool

Finally, a great power rotary tool is a must. This is used to help people with cutting, grinding, sanding, and more. This is great for performing a variety of tasks around the home and can help people with numerous accessories. Do not overlook the value of a powerful rotary tool.

Routine Maintenance Of Various Systems In Your Home

Routine Maintenance Of Various Systems In Your HomeWhen you are a first-time homeowner, learning about your property can feel overwhelming. There are a number of systems in your home that require routine maintenance. Knowing when to have system serviced will help keep your home running smoothly. From the plumbing in your home, to the heating and cooling, understand that each system may need routine maintenance from time to time. 

Your Heating And Cooling System

To maintain comfortable air temperatures in your home, it’s important to keep your heating and cooling system up-to-date. If you have a whole home system, it should be serviced once before the heating season and once before the cooling season. When you get filters changed, and your system serviced, you are less likely to have to deal with emergency repairs. In addition, your HVAC system will run more efficiently.

When You Have A Septic System

Waste water leaves your home either through the town sewer system or through a septic tank. If you have a septic system on your property, you need to have the system serviced every other year. Check the records of your septic system to see when it was serviced previously.

Address Plumbing Issues

A leaky faucet is a localized problem, while discovering that all of the drains in your home are draining slowly is systemic. You need to repair small leaks to avoid wasting water in your home, while systemic problems must be addressed by a professional. If your drains aren’t working correctly, you may have a block in your main sewer line. Know where the main shut off valve is for the water coming in to your home in case of an emergency.

Electrical Needs In Your Home

Your home has an intricate electrical system that is controlled by an electrical panel usually located in your basement. When a circuit trips, you will need to reset the circuit breaker. If your home consistently has problems with a specific circuit, you’ll want to have the circuit checked by an electrician to see if it is overloaded.

It’s exciting to own a home for the first time. Once you understand the various systems in your home, it becomes easier to take care of your property. With good maintenance, you can help avoid emergency repairs to your home. Your heating and cooling will be more efficient, and you won’t run in to problems with your septic system if you have one. If there is something you don’t understand in your home, call a professional to get the problem looked at.

Home Maintenance Projects That Could Save You Thousands On Repairs

Home Maintenance Projects That Could Save You Thousands On RepairsOwning a house comes with major responsibilities and one of the most important is routine maintenance. While many people like to skip routine maintenance in an effort to save money, the reality is that these routine maintenance is going to save people down the road. The reality is that maintenance is a homeowner’s first line of defense when it comes to protecting their most valuable investment, which is their home.

There are a few projects that may save homeowners thousands of dollars down the road.

Inspect The Plumbing Connections

It is easy to forget about the plumbing system because many people don’t even see their pipes until problems arise. The idea behind expecting the plumbing system is that problems can be spotted before they cause a house to flood. Some of the appliances that people need to think about include refrigerators, faucets, dishwashers, and washing machines. All of these devices have hoses that connect to the water supply.

If these hoses tart to crack, leaks can develop slowly. Eventually, this water is going to get behind the walls, causing mold to grow, and it may also get underneath the floors, causing them to warp. It is important for people to take a look at these pipes from time to time. If leaks are identified, they can be repaired.

Clean The Dryer Ducts And Vents

Many homeowners overlook their ductwork; however, people need to take the time open up their dryers and change their filters between every load. The vents that people use to remove lint from their clothes will clog up quickly. If the dryer is unable to suck air through this vent, it is going to have to work harder to dry the clothes. This is going to cause the dryer to overheat. It might even lead to a housefire. In order to prevent this from happening, homeowners should change their dryer lint filters after every load.

Routine Maintenance Is Critical

These are a few of the most important points that homeowners need to remember when it comes to routine maintenance. Homeowners need to have a regular schedule that they follow to ensure that none of these tasks are overlooked. It can prevent disaster from happening.

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early: 4 Methods That Work

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early 4 Methods That WorkWhile a mortgage is a necessity for many people who have the dream of owning a home, it is also a form of debt. Most people do not like owing money to someone else. Therefore, homeowners might be looking for ways to pay off their mortgage early. The reality is that people are charged interest for having a mortgage. If a mortgage is paid off early, this is less money than the bank will take and more money in the pockets of homeowners.

There are a few methods people can use to pay off their mortgage early.

Make Extra Payments

At the beginning of a mortgage, the vast majority of the money that people send the bank goes toward interest. In the end, most of the payment covers the principle of the loan. If someone is willing to make extra payments, these added payments are going to directly attack the principle. When the principle shrinks, there is less interest that accrues. Making extra payments is the most direct way to attack a home loan and pay it off more quickly.

Refinance The Mortgage

Another option people should consider is refinancing the mortgage. Essentially, a homeowner takes out a second home loan that pays off the first home loan; however, the new home loan has a lower interest rate. This may allow people to pay off the loan more quickly. Furthermore, people can refinance to a shorter-term, allowing them to pay off the loan more quickly.

Recast The Mortgage

Recasting the mortgage is a little bit different than refinancing. In recasting the loan, people throw a lump sum at the principle in exchange for a new amortization schedule based on that lump sum. This means that people will have a new schedule that reflects the principle that is left, often resulting in a shorter payment schedule.

Split The Monthly Payment In Two

Finally, many people are paid biweekly. Therefore, it might be easier for people to pay their mortgage biweekly. If someone pays their mortgage biweekly, they are making 26 half-payments per year or 13 monthly payments per year. The effect is that someone makes one extra monthly payment per year. This payment attacks the principal directly, helping people pay off their mortgage faster.