5 Steps on How to Buy Your Dream Home

Two key focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Home/Living/Property Discussions. While it sounds simple on paper, buying a home whether it’s finding or building a dwelling that suits your needs and preferences, or the financing transaction, it can all be very complicated and draining. If you a few basic things, the process can go much more smoothly. The following contributed post is entitled, 5 Steps on How to Buy Your Dream Home.

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Buying a home is an exciting experience and an involving one, especially if you are a first-time owner. There are basic steps you need to take for a great home buying experience, and a few are highlighted in this guide.

Image via Shutterstock by TijanaM

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

While you may be psyched about owning a new home, don’t begin hunting for a home before getting pre-approved for a mortgage. You can still use mortgagecalculator.org to check how much you will pay back based on your lender’s time and interest rate. When you get pre-approved for a loan, it becomes easier for you to narrow down your search to a home that best fits your budget. Your pre-approval letter will indicate the maximum loan you can get.

With this information, you will instantly know your maximum price point.

List Your Essentials

Once you get pre-approved, the next step is to list the essentials you need to have in your new home. Put this in a list and make sure that you follow through. It’s also important not to have too many essentials so that you find it challenging to get a house in your area. By sticking to your list, you still avoid “list creep.” These are instances where you see particular objects in a home, and suddenly you want it included in your home.

Are You Moving In or Relocating

Based on your budget, you already know whether you want a move-in ready house or a fixer-upper, which will need some renovations. If you want to settle for a fixer-upper, you should consider those below your price range. This way, you will save enough for your preferred upgrades. It’s still advisable that you speak to your financier to learn more about the renovation loan process.

Document Your Walkthroughs and Settle On the Best

As you view different houses, the features can sometimes blend, and it can get confusing, which feature was in what house. To ease the confusion, be sure to take photos of the areas you love. If you are searching for a dream home, one of the things you should avoid is getting caught up in the listing. If you have narrowed down your search to ten houses, your choice should be based on your top three choices.

Quit Searching

Even after finding an ideal home, some buyers still want to keep browsing to check on more trends. Once you have made your choice, there is no need to keep checking for new listings. This can confuse you even more and delay the home buying process. Therefore, learn to be confident with the decision you make.

Wrapping Up

When purchasing a dream home, the initial step involves getting pre-approved for a home loan. Given that the loan will act as a guiding principle for purchase, your choices are to settle for a new or older home. Understand that issues with purchasing older homes range from simple renovations to remodeling. This means that you’ll have to spend less part of your loan so that you have enough for renovations.

5 Problems With Buying an Old House

Two key focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Home and Living Discussions. Our primary residences are the biggest purchases many people will ever make. The age of the property is a significant consideration and there can be issues with purchasing older houses. The following contributed post is entitled, 5 Problems With Buying an Old House.

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https://unsplash.com/photos/QmU_1X9ZHXo

Old homes come with a particular elegance and grace. Unlike new builds, they are filled with history and, depending on where you live, you may be the latest in a long line of inhabitants to make this house into a home. However, while many people will romanticize old homes, they come with their fair share of issues, so if you’re planning on investing in an older property, you must understand what problems you might encounter.

It Is Not Energy Efficient

New homes are made to conserve and retain energy. Some homes are so good at this that you may not even know it’s winter, as the insulation is so effective that it efficiently traps the heat inside. This is not the same as old houses, especially considering they do not come with double glazing and other amenities essential for conserving energy.

While this might not be much of an issue in the summer, you want to enjoy the heat; it will become a problem in winter. You might think you can counteract the chill with a wood fire or ramp the heating up, but this will make your energy bills skyrocket, which is never something you want.

It Can Be Difficult To Upgrade

If you’re someone who wants to combine the traditional with the modern, it’s perhaps best to wait and make sure this is possible. Old homes do not come with the convenience of newer builds, or even houses that are 10 to 20 years old.

This will make it difficult and expensive to upgrade them. For example, if you want to bring smart home technology into your house, you might be in for a surprise. Often, there is not the space to do so, and the foundations may not be as stable as you’d like them to be, which will make any upgrades challenging at best and dangerous at worst.

The Pipes May Be Rusted

Likewise, there’s also the risk that the pipes have not been updated in years, which means there could be rust and decay within the walls. If you’ve ever owned a property before, you don’t need reminding how hazardous this can be, so it’s worth checking on the pipes before moving in.

There are several ways to do this. You can request an inspection to ensure the house is safe for you to live in and fit for purchase. Alternatively, you might want to look at dye tablets for leak detection, which can identify any issues later on. This approach is useful for any house, but it may be most useful for an older house with the original pipes.

The Roof Could Be Damaged

A damaged roof is another issue that you may encounter when purchasing an old house, especially if the house is close to woodland or near overhanging tree branches. Over time, these environments can cause debris to damage the roof, causing the tiles to crack or fall, and this opens up the chance for gaps in the roof.

This will impact energy efficiency, making it impossible to keep warm, and it could also cause severe issues with the house’s frame. As houses are made of wood, weather damage can cause damp, and therefore rot, which will affect the house’s structural integrity, which is not something you want to encounter. It could be both costly and dangerous if you do not spot the issue quickly enough.

Pests And More

If you’re used to modern homes, you are going to be shocked at how easily bugs, critters, and pests can get into an old house. There are many reasons this would happen, and it usually relates to holes in the brickwork, but a damaged roof can also be inviting for them, especially during winter.

Pests and more are not something you want in your house, even if you’re an animal lover. If you are scared of bugs and spiders, it can put you off purchasing an old house altogether, but you can take action to keep these pests out, so they do not make things worse. Call an exterminator to deal with termites that could affect the structure, and seal up any gaps that you find.

This Old Place

While elegant and steeped in history, an old home can come with an array of issues. With this in mind, you must ensure that you know what you’re getting yourself into and whether all the repairs and upgrades will be worth it. If you decide they are, then you can enjoy a house that will soon become a home once again, as it has for many centuries before you.

3 Personal Signs That You Should Move To A New House

Two key focuses of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money and Health/Wellness. Major parts of one’s health and wellness are environment and living space. Sometimes after living in a given house for a period of time, the time comes to move to a new house for reasons like more space, or a different location. The following guest post is entitled, 3 Personal Signs That You Should Move To A New House.

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Home is where the heart is, and it should stay this way. Sometimes, people lose the feeling of home is the places they live in. When this happens, it’s usually a sign that they should move to a new house.

Because there are economic factors to think about when making this decision, people tend to overlook personal reasons. This shouldn’t be the case because a person’s home is where they can happily let their guard down at the end of the day. It should feel like their only place of solace-their sanctuary. The following are personal factors that can cause people to move into a new house:

A fresh start sounds like a huge sigh of relief

Sometimes, the memories attached to a place becomes a cloud of gray looming above the head. Perhaps, the walls echo certain screams, or the stain on the carpet reminds you of someone who left.

Moving to a new place will give you a clean slate-a new place to paint and create new memories. Maybe the picture frames on the walls need to be updated. Maybe your feet would love hardwood floors this time. Who knows? You’ll never know until you try to start anew.

Changes in lifestyle

In a constant battle of self-discovery, you might have uncovered a part of you who doesn’t like the city, wants the beach life, or simply needs a few other rooms in their house for leisure. When your current home cannot accommodate changes in your lifestyle, it may feel more of like a cage than a comfortable place to rest.

By moving to a different place, you can select a house that can check all the boxes for what you want in life. Do you want a beach house? Do you want a mini-bar? Do you want an entire gaming room? Make sure to lay it all out before making a decision.

Your life-long dream is in a different city

It’s hard to get things done if places are far from each other. It’s more cost-efficient and convenient to move to a place where it’s nearer your dream job or your true calling. Transportation could take hours, and this is time wasted when you’re trying to achieve your goals. If your house is nearby, you can go home to eat or sneak in some sleep. You’ll also save money by traveling less and eating meals at home.

You can have doubts

It’s a drastic change that requires a lot of energy, decision-making, and resources, but it’s a necessary change. If you don’t want to let go of your current place yet, you can purchase a pre-selling house and lot in Cavite. This way, the new site is not yet built, so you can still stay in your current home.

Pre-selling houses have lower prices, too, because the actual structure doesn’t exist yet. To purchase something that’s only a plan requires an enormous amount of trust, so this trust is paid back by an objectively smaller price tag.

You don’t have to rush yourself into making this decision. Think about what it entails to transfer to another place-peace of mind, better quality of living, and dreams becoming more tangible.

Make the Outside of your House Reflect Your Mind

A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. Owning a home comes with lots of responsibilities and considerations. Home ownership not just about owning the asset, but also taking care of it and its appearance. The following contributed post is entitled, Make the Outside of your House Reflect Your Mind.

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Your mind can be clogged due to many different factors in life. From study stress, to stress related to parenting and job stress. Everything links together and one of the main things that leads to clogging of the mind, it comes down to the home. If the house is not clear, especially the outside space, then this can have a negative impact on the mind. These are a few tips on how sprucing the outside of your home may help your mental wellbeing.

Image Source, Pexels

Do not Forget to give the Outside some Love

The outside of your house is a huge part of the house that you need to remember to focus on. It is the first part of the house you see when you first pull up or walk up to the door. If you see a dark or miserable looking front of the house, then your mood will automatically fit to the mood of the house. Pull up to a colourful and updated happy front, then hey presto just like that you are in a great mood! Also, try some tech, from lights and more. Things like water screens, which are not the best for a normal garden, but similar mechanisms can be very cool to have in a garden, setting it apart from the rest.

All of these things can provide comfort and also exercise for your mind, seeing the end result in your head and then working towards creating that dream into a reality. This is especially amazing in the Summer months when the sun is shining.

Can this be done by Myself?

This is a personal choice. If you have an idea of what you want to do, and it seems like something you could do yourself, then of course! Gardening can be something fun for all the family to do, and it gets your hands dirty and messy and is just a fun activity. However, sometimes some plans or structures require professional assistance, so if this sounds like you then you would need to hire someone to do it for you. It is easy to find people, with the internet you should be able to find someone for an affordable price to come and help you!

What is the Best Solution if I Have Children?

This a big question. With children, you do not want delicate flowers and plants, well not all over the garden. It is best to stick to the lawn, as this is easy to maintain and it is very child-friendly. Another alternative could be fake grass, or terf. This is even easier to maintain, as it is fake means no risk of killing it or damaging it with outdoor play equipment like a play structure, slide and more.

There you have it! Mental wellbeing is a fragile but important thing for anyone, so keeping it in check and working ok should be one of your top priorities, as life can always throw lemons but they can always make lemonade!

So, if you go ahead and try some of these tips, good luck!

Giving Your House Its Groove Back

Two key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. The greatest investment many people will make is their house/primary residence. In addition to enjoying your home in the here and now, it’s important to also think about reselling it one day which may require some updates and renovations. The following contributed post is entitled, Giving Your House Its Groove Back.

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From time to time, we all get bored; after all, we are only human. Boredom can strike at work, with a partner, and most prominently, it can strike at home. We are all guilty of taking a look around the home and wishing things were different.

For most people, they want to give their home a new lease of life, but available finances can often get in the way. In this post, we are going to be examining what exactly gives a house a new feel, and then we will take a look at a few things you can do around the house to really give it a brand new spark of life.

Image Credit – Pexels – CC0 Licence

Things To Consider When Updating Your Property

When it comes to updating your home, there are a few reasons you may want to give it a boost, and depending on these reasons, there are certain things on today’s list you may wish to consider.

The first reason most people give their home a little update is just that they want a fresh feel to their home; secondly, people also choose to freshen up their home in more extreme ways, and these ways will often be to add value to the home.

Whichever of these groups you fit into, there are a few things to consider, for those looking to add value, you will need to spend a little in order to see some return on your investment. For those who want to achieve a little freshness in the home, it’s probably not a great idea to spend huge amounts on things that won’t do a lot to the value of your property.
What Gives A House Its Groove?

When we look at the things that really give a house its spark, on the outside, we think of how appealing it is to onlookers, and on the inside, we have to consider not only how the house looks, but also how the house feels.

Now, when we talk about how the house feels, we don’t mean a system based on where your furniture is, we mean how your house feels based on psychological facts. If you aren’t quite sure what we are on about, worry not, we will be explaining a little further into the post.

Give Your Garden A Revamp

Something that often gets left until last when it comes to updating the home is the garden. If you are blessed with having space in the garden, there is no better time than now to really put some love into it.

While the inside of the house is incredibly important, having somewhere to escape to that’s peaceful and that allows you just to appreciate the world can be equally, if not more important. When it comes to giving your garden a revamp, you may consider lawn treatments and flowers as a standard, but there are some additions that will really give your garden a little extra life.

A great and cheap addition to every garden could be an awning close to the house. These awnings can provide protection from the weather, both bad and good, and can also be a great separator in the garden.

If you just want to simply clean up your garden, then you should consider Industrial Pressure Washing on any paving or decking. While some will opt for standard pressure washers, the performance levels are generally quite low, and you won’t get the same crisp, clean finish.

Create Some More Space

The next item on the list is great for both people wanting to stay in their forever home and for those hoping to increase the value of their homes, and that is some form of extension.

One of the most popular forms of extension nowadays is to create a ton of room by having the basement renovated. Unbelievable, there are over 132 million homes in the US with a basement, and most of them go completely unused.

By converting your basement, you can extend the space in your home exponentially, and if you ever come to sell the home, the renovation will usually pay for itself and then add some profit on top of that too.

Alternatively, should you not have space on the lower levels of your home, you could always aim higher. Another addition to the home that adds space and value is an attic conversion.
Just like basement conversions, a loft conversion can have many uses. Unfortunately, there are some things that cannot be used for, and this is usually why basement projects are more popular.

Update Your Flooring

If you haven’t updated the flooring in your house for some years, your house may have a certain aged feel that no amount of decorating will shake.

If you have an old carpet, this can really drain the personality from your house, and the only solution to getting it back is an extreme one. One of the best ways to really give a house that modern and sophisticated look is to update the flooring throughout.

In today’s world, the most popular option for flooring seems to be hardwood or laminate. Flooring like this is so popular generally due to its simplicity to manage. While carpets may be wonderful, warm and homely, they take on dirt very easily and can stain and be destroyed in no time at all.

When it comes to laminate or hardwood, you can set your Roomba to clean all day, and you can tackle any dirt with a simple wipe over with a mop or cloth.

Hardwood floors can also add a little extra value to the home, but it’s recommended to go with laminate should you be considering selling up.

Get Spring Cleaning

The final thing to make the post today is the one that costs nothing. While this tip is completely free, you may find yourself amazed at what a real clean and declutter can do for your home.

As we mention briefly, early when your house has its groove back, it will have psychological and visual benefits, and this is the main one that will really make your house feel amazing. When you really start to deep clean a house, you often find yourself getting rid of years of accumulated junk. The moment you start to get rid of junk, this is when you start to realize just how much space you really have in your home.

A lot of people store so much stuff that’s collected over the years, and this post isn’t saying throw everything away; it’s simply saying be mindful of keeping things around when you don’t use them.

If you have items that you could store, you should do so, as a simple spring clean can completely give your house a brand new lease of life.

Conclusion

As you can probably imagine, there is so much that you can do with your house to give it a brand new feel. Whether it’s spending to create space or even just doing a spring clean, the options are almost endless.

While we have only mentioned a few things in this post, you shouldn’t restrict yourself to just these. Maybe this post can just serve as an inspiration to you when you are trying to give your house it’s long lost groove.

Mother’s Day 2019: Thankful for my upbringing

The original version of this piece looked much different then this published version. After much consideration, I cut it down. I realized that as a storyteller/writer sometimes less is more and more is less.

With a million and one things on my plate right now, I wondered if I’d have time to craft something for Mother’s Day 2019. After creating pieces in 2017 and 2018, I’ve decided to continue the ritual. If you’re a man and thinking about marrying someone and paying for it yourself, you should read my 2017 piece. It may save your life and sanity. The 2018 piece is a tribute to my maternal and paternal grandmothers. In this 2019 piece, I’m going to reflect on the home my mother created for me and my brother early in our lives.

In the process of discussing my upbringing and some of the tools I had to develop after leaving my home ecosystem, I may have sounded unappreciative of my parents which was an unintended effect. Regardless of how ungrateful I may have sounded of my upbringing as a child, I’m actually VERY thankful for it. As I got older, went away to college and started dating, I slowly realized that everyone’s home wasn’t like mine. I can discuss numerous examples, but I’m just highlight a few.

I’d say that Mom masterfully walked the line between “grace and legality” as Dave Ramsey said in one of his Financial Peace University modules. She established discipline and a behavioral standard that lasted all the way through adulthood for both my brother and me. I picked up on this early in the company of my best friend, who either didn’t have as tight a ‘leash’ on him at home, or he just rebelled against it. I hope reflecting on this doesn’t get me in trouble with him. In a way I admired his rebelling at the time, but it had consequences.

Mom always made sure we were well fed and that we ate together. The first time I realized that all homes weren’t like ours was when we spent the night over one of her close friends’ home who also had boys around our age. After a night of playing around and doing what boys do, I woke up the next morning expecting our typical ‘royal’ Saturday morning breakfast. At our house, breakfasts usually consisted of homemade pancakes or waffles, a meat, and scrambled eggs. Instead we had only had cereal that morning. It was better than nothing, but it was different than our home.

Yes, the pancakes were homemade and they were good. Sometimes we had French Toast instead. On Sundays before church we had donuts from “Tops Friendly Markets” instead of the pancakes. Mom also made those breakfasts for us on Wednesdays before we went to school and before she went to work. We had cereal the other four days, hot cereal during the long Buffalo winters.

“You all had privileges growing up that I didn’t have.” A cousin told me this at a family gathering within the last year. I’m going to keep returning to this revelation because in my community, there’s a fixation on ’white privilege’, but there are in fact ‘privileges’ that black families have over other black families, many of which are driven by the personal choices of the parents.

The cousin who told me this is black, and I agree with her assessment. Yes, my mother was college educated and hers wasn’t, but let’s strip it down even further. As kids, this particular cousin annoyed the hell out of me in terms of her behavior, and she always wanted to come over to our house and stay a while. It wasn’t until I got older that I understood the depth of her situation, and that her coming over was good for her.

I’ll just say that our house was safe and there was a lot of love there from my mother and grandmother. There was no cursing (except when my Uncle Poo-Dee came to town), violence, no abuse of any kind, and there were no illegal drugs being used or sold. In general, there was a certain level of peace normalcy there. Without going into detail, my cousin’s house was the exact opposite of ours which is why she always wanted to come spend time with us.

The point I’m trying to make is that my mother made conscious choices to create a safe and love-filled home environment for us. Had I been born to a different mother, my nurturing at home could’ve easily been very, very different. Check out my YouTube video on the concepts ‘Nature vs. Nurture’ if you don’t understand the interplay between these two concepts and how they impact who we become later in life.

I could expound further on some of these things, but I’m going to shift the discussion to the concepts of love and positive affirmation. How important is it for parents to tell their children that they love them? How important is it for parents to tell their children that they’re proud of them? They’re very important. Some kids never hear these two essential words from their parents.

They’re critical as hearing them impacts our socialization and also the adults we go on to become. As I transitioned into adulthood, I discovered that not every one of my peers received positive affirmation at home, and in most instances, it impacted their abilities to give it to others. In my home, we heard these words all the time.

Why would the parents not give their kids positive affirmation? Well maybe those parents didn’t get it themselves. Maybe those parents received it, didn’t appreciate it and didn’t pass it on. In some instances, maybe they endured some life circumstance that beat it out of them so they couldn’t pass it on. As we get older, we do start to see that our parents are people themselves with their own experiences, flaws, shortcomings and vulnerabilities. They have their own scars and have made their own mistakes.

In terms of our upbringing and home, yes, I think both my brother and me did win the ‘lottery’ of sorts in terms of growing where we grew up and growing how we grew up. My Aunt Adele told me several times when I got old enough to understand things that my brother and myself were ‘sheltered’. When she came to town to visit us, she was frequently amused by how my mother seemed to ‘baby’ us in the mornings as we headed off to school.

As a pre-teen and a teen, yes, I did intuitively see that the other kids knew about more mature things than we did early on. Many of them were more ‘street smart’ and there were pieces socially that needed filling when I left our house to go to college. The lack of some of this ‘Consequential Knowledge’ definitely manifested in the dating arena, and that’s all I’ll say. According the great Dr. Thomas Sowell, Consequential Knowledge is knowledge for which there are consequences if you don’t have it.

As a man being raised mostly by a single mother, many of these gaps have taken years to fill, and for some it’s an ongoing process. A part of my personal message now is that single mothers can’t do everything. Many have their hands full just paying the bills and keeping food on the table. They might not be able to come to every basketball game for example. They might support you playing and may make sure you’re nourished enough to go to school and to participate in your sport of interest, but to succeed at the craft, you’ll likely have to find the expertise you need elsewhere, and you might not find it at all. I’m working on a book project on that right now.

“Of my eight children, your mother is my most loving child Anwar.” My grandmother told me this frequently when we talked, and it might be the thing I remember her saying the most. Not taking anything away from my two aunts and five uncles, but I think myself and my brother did win the lottery in this case because we grew up with a lot – not necessarily all the material items that my best friend and other peers had, but a lot of things you can’t buy with money. And those are the most valuable things in life.

I’m more careful these days about discussing the tools I did and didn’t get in my home ecosystem. If I do venture into those waters, I’m sure to do it with an understanding mind as it’s never to demonize anyone. For ourselves and for our community at large, some discussions with my contemporaries and peers need to be had, and interestingly many of us black ‘Generation X-ers’ have common experiences.

We’ve realized that there was some consequential knowledge that we somehow arrived at adulthood without knowing. Wealth-building and relationships are examples, and we’ve still had to line up with everyone else and run life’s ‘marathon’. Our parents, like all parents, could only teach us what they knew, and it’s up to us to make up as much ground as we can in the race using the tools we have.

I’m going to close by saying that I’m thankful and grateful for everything my mother did for us. Everyone’s home is not the same. At the end of day, it’s about being grateful and content about what you do have. What are you grateful for that your mother did for you? Happy Mother’s Day 2019.

Thank you for taking the time out to read this blog post. If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

Father’s Day 2018: Dad’s doctor and his lawyer and discussion on careers
Two well-behaved boys left to figure things out on their own: reflections on growing up ‘Blue Pill’
Father’s Day 2017: reflections on some of Dad’s money and life lessons
Mother’s Day 2018: Memories of my grandmothers
Mother’s Day 2017: one of my mother’s greatest gifts, getting engaged, and avoiding my own personal fiscal cliff

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