Lucia Timpone's Blog
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Tired of renting an apartment? Buy a house, and you can reap the benefits of homeownership for years to come.
Ultimately, there are many wonderful reasons to start a search for your dream home today, including:
1. You can enjoy the freedom of owning your own residence.
Let's face it – nothing beats the freedom of owning your own residence, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.
If you launch a search for your own house, you can find a residence that matches your personality and budget. Plus, you can always decorate and customize your house however you choose. And if you complete myriad home upgrades or maintenance, you may be able to boost your house's value – something that may prove to be important if you eventually decide to sell your residence.
2. You can capitalize on various tax benefits.
Believe it or not, buying a house may enable you to reap myriad tax benefits.
The U.S. Tax Code allows homeowners to deduct the interest paid on a mortgage and property taxes. Also, if you study the U.S. Tax Code closely, you may find that you can deduct some of the costs involved in a home purchase.
3. You can pay predictable housing costs for a set period of time.
With a fixed-rate mortgage in hand, you can pay the same amount each month for the duration of your mortgage. This means you won't have to worry about fluctuating housing costs; instead, you'll pay the same total each month – without exception.
Of course, homebuyers who choose an adjustable-rate mortgage can enjoy fixed housing costs for a set amount of time too. On the other hand, those who select an adjustable-rate mortgage likely will need to plan ahead for a potential increase in mortgage costs after three, five, seven or 10 years.
Clearly, there's a lot to like about buying a house. For those who want to enter the housing market today, it certainly helps to work with an experienced real estate agent as well.
A real estate agent allows you to take the guesswork out of pursuing a residence in any housing market, at any time. In fact, this housing market professional will ensure you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
In most instances, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new houses as they become available, teach you about the ins and outs of shopping for a residence and set up home showings. Furthermore, a real estate agent will negotiate with home sellers on your behalf, guaranteeing that you can get the best price on any house.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is available to respond to any homebuying concerns or queries. This means you can get the expert insights that you need to make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying journey.
Take the next step to pursue your dream residence – employ an experienced real estate agent, and you should have no trouble transforming your homeownership dream into a reality.
It’s a difficult time to be a first-time home buyer. Post-recession buyers are wary--and for good reason--of how and when to save money for a down payment on a house. One thing to remember, however, is that it’s always a good time to start saving.
In this article, we’re going to cover the four most useful methods of saving for a down payment on your first home. That way you can feel confident in taking the first and most important step toward homeownership.
Choosing the right savings account
Unlike riskier investments, a savings account is a safe and proven way of building interest and saving for a home. However, not all savings accounts are created equal.
Typically, brick and mortar banks offer interest rates that are low--the current national average is only about 0.06% annually. While these banks offer conveniences such as in-network ATMs and check-cashing, their physical locations make them expensive to run.
Enter the online bank. Since online banks don’t have all of the costs associated with running branches, they can afford to offer better rewards--namely, high-interest returns on your savings accounts.
So, should you take all of your money out of your current savings account and transfer it to an online bank? Maybe. But let’s talk about the benefits of having multiple savings accounts.
Open a dedicated account with automatic deposits
Saving isn’t just difficult due to financial reasons. Managing money also takes time and effort. To simplify this process, it’s preferable to direct deposit or automatically transfer a percentage of your weekly income into your down payment savings account.
While it may seem like pinching pennies at first, even small weekly deposits add up, and within a few years the compounding interest can earn you enough for a higher down payment than you thought possible.
Prioritize high-interest debt now
Have student debt or a car loan that’s keeping you from focusing on saving for a down payment? Oftentimes the best coarse of action is to aggressively pay off high-interest loans. In the long term, this will save you money that can then be used toward a down payment.
For debt that will take several years to pay off, consider refinancing for a lower interest rate, or consolidating your student loans. Speaking with a student loan adviser or financial planner is a good first step to take toward managing your debt.
Make a real budget
Most of us think of a verb when we hear the word “budget.” However, it’s more useful as a noun.
Creating a real budget, whether it’s in Excel, Google Sheets, or with the help of an app, having a budget you can refer to once a week is vital to making good savings decisions. It will help you monitor your spending and stay on top of your savings goals.
Window shutters are a very old form of home improvement. Since there have been windows or openings in the walls of houses, shutters have been around. While they don’t serve much of a practical purpose in the present day, they once were very important to homeowners. Early shutters were meant to protect the interior of a home from things like intruders, weather, and animals.
Present day shutters are often used as the finishing touch for a home. Many homes just wouldn’t look complete without them on the outside of the house. So, how do you find the shutters that are right for your home?
The Size And Placement Of The Shutters
You need room on your house for shutters to work on it. You shouldn’t consider putting shutters on your home if the pieces will come too close to the corner or stick out beyond the trim of your home. Your windows also shouldn’t be too close together. The space between windows and shutters should be about half of the width of one shutter. If you don’t have the appropriate space, you shouldn’t put shutters up. Even though you’re not actually using the shutters for practical purposes, you want them to look authentic, as if they could actually be closed. Keep in mind too that a small window may only need one shutter to make it work.
Even though you won’t actually be using the shutters for your home, they should always be hung with the proper hardware. This allows the shutters to be attached appropriately and give the authentic look that’s needed to make them look true to form. If the shutters are hung any other way, they run the risk of looking cheap and fake. Even though you’re not actually going to use the shutters, the right hardware makes them function as they would if you really needed them.
As far as materials go, real wood shutters are unmatched in their authentic look. The problem with real wood shutters is that they can become weathered quickly. If you go with wood shutters, they will require frequent painting and replacement, which can become a tedious task as a homeowner.
Vinyl shutters will last longer but choose them carefully. You still want a high quality shutter even though this material will be able to withstand the weather longer. The better the quality of your shutter, the more genuine they will look on your home.
Typically, the color scheme on the outside of a home includes 2-3 different colors. Your shutters should be the accent color of the home. This means that they should match some other color that’s present on the outside of the house whether it’s your front door or your window trim, the shutters should always be a different color than the siding of a home.