Cathy Lomasney's Blog
Your thirties are a time of many important financial decisions. Many people are starting families, buying homes, and getting settled into their careers by the time they turn thirty. The following ten years are often marked by salary increases, moving into larger homes, and saving for retirement.
It’s vital to have a solid grasp on personal finance in your thirties, as it is in many ways the foundation of your finances for the decades to come. So, in this article we’re going to give you some advice on buying a home and managing your money in your thirties.
Straighten out your credit
If your twenties were a volatile time of incurring debts from student loans, car loans, and other expenses, then it’s paramount to get your credit in order in your early thirties. Having a high credit score can secure you lower interest rates on a home loan or let you refinance your loans at lower rates.
Start by making sure your bills are on auto-pay, and be sure to settle any older debts from your younger years. You can also use a credit card for recurring expenses, such as gas to get to work or groceries, and then pay them off in full each month. This way, you’ll build credit and avoid accruing interest at the same time.
Reevaluate your lifestyle and long term goals
A lot can change from the time you turn 25 to the time you turn 35. Your goals might shift from finding a home near the ocean to finding a home near a good school district for your children. You might also have the shocking realization that your children will be heading to college sooner than it might seem, and that you’re still working on paying off your own student debt.
Consider things like the size house you’ll need for your family, where you want to live and whether that involves being close to aging parents, and reallocating money depending on your retirement goals.
Rethink your insurance coverage
Gone are the days when all you needed was a car insurance policy to get by. As you age and your responsibilities grow, you’ll need to think about the future for you and your family. That may include a more comprehensive health insurance plan for your family, a life insurance policy for yourself, or increased covered for home and auto insurance.
Automate the headaches away
With all of these growing responsibilities, it can be easy to get frustrated with the time you’re losing to keeping your finance in order. Fortunately, there are many tools at your disposal in the internet age that will make all of those responsibilities an afterthought.
First, get a budget planning app, like Mint or You Need a Budget (YNAB). Next, set up your bills to auto-pay if you haven’t yet. Then, put reminders in your phone to periodically check your credit score and reassess whether you need to pay for certain monthly services (do you still watch Hulu?). Finally, if you haven’t yet, make sure you have your paychecks direct deposited into the accounts you’d like them to enter so you don’t have to worry about them.
A successful home search enables you to discover your dream residence at a budget-friendly price. However, conducting a successful house search may be difficult, particularly for individuals who fail to prepare for the homebuying journey. Lucky for you, there are many things you can do to prevent problems as you search for your ideal home.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you complete a successful home search.
1. Refine Your Homebuying Criteria
Think about where you want to reside. That way, you can focus on available houses in your preferred cities and towns – something that will allow you to speed up your quest to find your dream home.
Also, consider your homebuying must-haves. If you have always wanted to own a house with a spacious backyard, for instance, you can hone your home search accordingly. On the other hand, if you require a home that features multiple bedrooms, you can search for a residence that matches your expectations.
2. Establish a Homebuying Budget
A homebuying budget is crucial because it helps you understand exactly how much you can spend on a house. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can start your house search with a budget in hand.
Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. Then, you can find out how different types of mortgages work and select a mortgage that complements your finances.
In addition, ask questions about home financing. Banks and credit unions are happy to help you make an informed mortgage selection. If you analyze your home financing options closely, you can choose a mortgage that will serve you well both now and in the future.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent takes the guesswork out of a home search. In fact, he or she will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure you can discover your ideal residence without delay.
Oftentimes, a real estate agent makes it easy for a homebuyer to find a terrific house at an affordable price. This housing market professional simplifies a home search and will keep you up to date about residences that match your property buying criteria. Plus, if you want to buy a home, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase your ideal house any time you choose.
With a real estate agent at your side, you can streamline the home closing process as well. A real estate agent will help you finalize a house purchase and ensure you can move into your dream residence as soon as possible. Best of all, if you have any concerns leading up to a home closing, a real estate agent can respond to them right away.
As you get set to search for your dream home, you may want to start planning for the homebuying journey. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can prepare for the homebuying journey and boost the likelihood of quickly finding and acquiring your dream house.
The cost of buying a house extends beyond a seller's initial asking price. In fact, there are many "hidden" costs that buyers need to consider as they decide whether to purchase a house, such as:
1. Closing Costs
There are various closing costs that a buyer may encounter before he or she finalizes a house purchase, including survey, appraisal and wire transfer fees. As such, it generally is a good idea to prepare for these costs prior to launching a house search. Because if you prepare for closing costs, you can ensure that you have the finances available to cover these expenses when you are ready to complete a house purchase.
Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions prior to starting a home search. These financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage and teach you about home closing costs. Best of all, after you get a mortgage, you can start your home search with the financing you need to secure your ideal residence.
2. Property Taxes
Property taxes usually are assessed twice a year, and they vary based on state and county. However, if you learn about property taxes, you can map out your homebuying budget accordingly.
Real estate property tax information is part of the public record. Thus, you can access information about property taxes related to a particular home before you purchase it. And once you have this information at your disposal, you can use it to determine whether to move forward with a house purchase or continue your search for your dream home.
Utility bills vary based on the size of a home, its location and other factors. If you devote time and resources to estimate your utility expenses, you may be better equipped than ever before to make an informed home purchase.
To assess your potential utility costs, you may want to consult with a seller's agent. This professional may be able to provide you with insights into the current homeowner's utility expenses to help you budget appropriately.
It never hurts to hire a real estate agent to help you navigate the homebuying journey, too. A real estate agent can offer expert insights into closing costs, property taxes and other homebuying fees, as well as help you quickly discover your dream residence.
Let's not forget about the comprehensive homebuying guidance that a real estate agent can provide, either. For instance, if you are unsure about whether to submit an offer to purchase a house, a real estate agent can offer recommendations and tips to help you make the best-possible decision. Or, if you have concerns or questions at any point during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.
For those who want to buy a house, it helps to learn about all of the potential costs associated with a home purchase. If you start budgeting for a home purchase today, you could accelerate your quest to find and buy your ideal residence.
Home appraisals are an important part of the buying and selling process. Lenders use appraisals to make sure that the home is worth what the borrower is paying. A home’s appraisal value is based on a number of factors, all of which we’ll discuss in this post.
Whether you’re a buyer, seller, or are just learning about the process of buying a home so you’ll be better equipped in the future, this article is for you.
How is a home appraisal different from an inspection?
While home appraisals and inspections are performed by licensed or certified professionals, they have to different functions. An inspection ensures the safety of a home, as well as whether or not it will need repairs in the immediate or near future.
Appraisals, on the other hand, aim to value a home based on its property value, the size of the property, and the location of the property. The condition of the home is a factor in valuing a home, which is why some people confused appraisals with inspections.
Who pays for appraisals?
Like most closing costs, a home appraisal is a burden that falls on the buyer. Typically, the lender you choose will work with will actually order the appraisal. The cost, which usually amounts to a few hundred dollars, can be added to your closing fees. You can find the cost for an appraisal listed on the Closing Disclosure document provided by your chosen lender.
Which factors determine the home’s value?
To appraise the house itself, appraisers will look at the condition of the home. They’ll also weigh the features of the home in their valuation--things like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, for example.
However, the two key characteristics of a home that contribute to its value are its age and size.
Which external factors contribute to the home’s value?
As you might suspect, the location of your home matters greatly when it comes to appraisals. Homes are appraised based off of average prices for their neighborhood and region.
Other location factors include how accessible the home is, if it’s located on a waterfront, and whether it has desirable views.
When does a home get appraised?
While your experience may vary based on your specific circumstances, most appraisals occur after a buyer has signed a purchase contract. One this is done, the lender will take the steps necessary to order and process the appraisal.
How long is the home appraisal process?
Once the buyer has signed a purchase contract, the appraisal is usually completed and processed within 7 days. The appraisal report will be sent to the lender. This report contains the appraised value of the home. Buyers are entitled to a copy of this report, and should keep one for their own records.
Buying a house should be a worry-free experience. Yet problems may come up that prevent a property buyer from achieving the optimal results. Lucky for you, we're here to help you quickly identify and address various homebuying hurdles.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you minimize stress as you navigate the homebuying journey.
1. Plan for the Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios
An informed homebuyer should have no trouble enjoying a worry-free property buying experience. In fact, this buyer will understand the best- and worst-case scenarios and know exactly what to do – even in a stressful homebuying situation.
In the best-case scenario, a homebuyer will instantly find his or her dream house, submit an offer to purchase this residence and receive an immediate "Yes" from a seller. Then, this buyer can finalize a home purchase and move into his or her new residence.
On the other hand, the worst-case scenario likely will force a homebuyer to miss out on the opportunity to acquire his or her ideal residence. This scenario may involve a failure to agree to terms with a seller due to many potential homebuying problems.
Homebuyers will want to do everything they can to avoid the worst-case scenario. Fortunately, if you learn about the housing market, you can gain the insights you need to plan ahead for the property buying journey. And as a result, you can increase the likelihood of finding and buying your dream house in no time at all.
2. Get a Mortgage
Let's face it – purchasing a home is your dream, but you probably don't have the necessary finances to buy a house on your own. Therefore, you may need to get home financing before you can make your homeownership dream come true.
Applying for a mortgage may seem stressful, but lenders are happy to help you in any way they can. If you consult with multiple banks and credit unions, you can review a variety of home financing options.
Don't hesitate to ask questions as you complete a mortgage application too. If you address your mortgage concerns and questions with a home financing professional, you can alleviate the stress commonly associated with applying for a mortgage.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who can respond to any concerns or questions that you may have. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to minimize stress at each stage of the property buying journey.
Typically, a real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying goals and help you plan accordingly. He or she will keep you up to date about available houses in your preferred cities and towns and set up home showings. And if you find a house that you want to purchase, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive property buying proposal.
Remove stress from the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you can reap the benefits of a worry-free homebuying experience.