Melissa Kaspern's Blog
Saving for a down payment on a home is a long process that requires discipline and organization. But we all know that with so many other things going on in our lives it can be hard to spend enough time focusing on your budget.
Fortunately, there are several tools available to soon-to-be homeowners who want to keep track of their spending and make sure they meet their down payment goals. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the best budgeting apps, websites, and other tools to help you keep yourself accountable so you can be living in your new home as soon as possible.
Why budget for a down payment?
If you’ve saved money in the past for a purchase without a budget you might be wondering why you should go through the effort of creating one now.
However, there are many reasons to have a budget, especially if you’re planning on making an investment as large as a home. Here are just a few:
Keeping an accurate budget will let you know almost exactly how much you can expect to save for a down payment
Budgeting helps you locate and cut out expenses that would be better used in your savings account
Budgeting will give you peace of mind along the road to saving for your down payment
Now that we’ve talked about the importance of making a budget, let’s talk about some of the best ways to get it done.
You Need a Budget, often shortened to YNAB, is one of the most useful tools for learning about and creating a budget. I don’t know about you, but I was never formally taught how to budget in school. But, it would have been a useful class to have!
YNAB combines budgeting tools with educational materials to help you save while you learn more about managing money. It can be easy to feel lost when it comes to learning about personal finance--that’s what makes YNAB so great.
Their basic precept is that you “give every dollar a job,” meaning there won’t be any money in any of your accounts or in your paycheck that doesn’t have a purpose. That doesn’t mean you can’t spend money on yourself every once in awhile, just that you’ll have planned ahead for moments so you can manage them.
You Need A Budget is available for Apple, Android, on Alexa and in your browser.
Saving with your spouse
Planning a budget yourself is complicated as it is. But planning together with a spouse can be even more confusing. However, there are ways to effectively make a family budget to save for a down payment.
First, you should both make sure you have individual budgets to make sure you know how much money from each of your incomes can go into savings. Opening a joint savings account and having a certain percentage of your paycheck direct deposited into that account is a good place to start.
From there, monitor your savings for a month to see if you need to alter this number, and try to stick to your monthly savings goal.
As a home seller, it is important to establish a competitive initial asking price for your residence. Yet determining the right price for a house sometimes is difficult.
If the price of your home is too high, for example, your residence may linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time. On the other hand, if the price of your house is too low, you won't be able to maximize your home sale earnings.
Ultimately, there are several things that you can do to determine the optimal listing price for your home, including:
1. Conduct a Home Appraisal
A home appraisal provides valuable insights that you can use to price your house competitively. If you conduct an appraisal prior to listing your residence, you can obtain a property valuation. Then, you can use this valuation to establish the ideal listing price for your home.
As you search for a home appraiser, be diligent, too. Employ a home appraiser who possesses comprehensive industry expertise and can perform a house evaluation at your convenience. By doing so, you may be better equipped than ever before to receive a data-driven house appraisal without delay.
2. Evaluate the Local Housing Sector
Take a look at the local housing sector – you will be happy you did. If you assess the prices of available houses in your city or town that are comparable to your own, you can use this information to see how your residence stacks up against the competition. Plus, this information could help you determine the optimal initial asking price for your residence – something that may lead to a successful house selling experience.
Don't forget to evaluate recent home sales in your city or town as well. This information can help you determine whether a buyer's or seller's market is currently in place.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
If you are unsure about how to price your residence, there is no need to stress. In fact, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can make it easy to determine the optimal listing price for your residence.
A real estate agent typically will meet with you and learn about your house selling goals. Also, he or she can provide tips to help you upgrade your residence before you list it. A real estate agent can even offer a listing price suggestion.
Furthermore, as you navigate the home selling journey, a real estate agent is ready to assist you in any way possible. If you are uncertain about whether to accept a buyer's offer to purchase your residence, for instance, a real estate agent can provide an expert recommendation. Or, if you have questions about the home closing process, a real estate agent can answer them.
Want to optimize your home sale earnings? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can establish a competitive price for your house and increase the likelihood of enjoying a profitable home selling experience.
If you intend to buy or sell a home, it's never too early to start planning ahead for moving day. By doing so, you can find a great moving company that will make it simple for you to take all of your belongings from Point A to Point B.
Ultimately, there are several best practices that individuals should consider before they hire a moving company, and these practices include:
1. Conduct an In-Depth Search
Dozens of moving companies may be available in your city or town, and all of these businesses claim to be the best. As such, differentiating one moving company from another sometimes can be difficult.
To kick off a search for a moving company, it often pays to reach out to family members, friends and neighbors for support. These individuals likely have moved at some point in their lives and may be able to provide moving company recommendations.
When in doubt, don't hesitate to search for moving companies online as well. A simple online search for moving companies likely will reveal a wide range of results. However, as you check out each company's website and client reviews, you should have no trouble narrowing your search.
2. Ask for Client Referrals
It never hurts to ask a moving company for client referrals. That way, you can gain firsthand insights into what it is like to work with a particular moving company.
To obtain client referrals, call a moving company directly. If the company has a proven reputation, it likely can provide client referrals instantly. Conversely, if a moving company has delivered lackluster results to date, it may struggle to provide client referrals.
In addition, ask a moving company's past customers about their experiences with the business. Find out why these customers chose a particular moving company, how the moving company handled various moving day challenges and whether these customers would use the same company in the future. This will enable you to gain the comprehensive insights you need to make an informed decision.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
Local real estate agents are well-connected in their respective cities and towns. Thus, if you contact a real estate agent today, you can simplify your search for the right moving company.
A real estate agent is happy to provide expert recommendations about moving companies in your area. Plus, if you need help finding a moving company on short notice, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is available to support homebuyers and home sellers alike. This housing market professional understands the challenges associated with buying and selling a house and will assist homebuyers and home sellers in any way possible. In fact, a real estate agent will help a property buyer or seller get ready to enter the housing market, prep for moving day and much more.
Take the guesswork out of finding the right moving company – use the aforementioned best practices, and you're sure to find a terrific moving company.
When you have a small bedroom, it’s hard to envision bringing many styles to the space. You have what’s necessary for your room, trying to cram everything in one tiny space. Just remember one key point: Every room needs a focal point. This means that your bed will most likely be that eye-catching spot in the room. Namely, the head of the bed will be what catches your eye. Below, you’ll find some more tips to make the most use of your small bedroom.
While it can be tempting to try and cram things into a small room, making the most use of every inch of space possible, you want to actually do the opposite. This means placing beds against the walls or near a window, buying a smaller sized bed, and finding furniture that’s not overwhelming. Other tricks are to eliminate the headboard and footboard or use more see-through options for the furnishings.
Keep It Bold And Unique
Just because you have a small bedroom doesn’t mean that the space needs to be bland. Don’t be afraid to either make the room bold with color or rich with texture. Choose your color palette wisely. Don’t be afraid to express yourself or whoever the resident of the room is. Is the small bedroom a nursery? Keep it light and fun. Don’t make the room too stuffy. If the bedroom belongs to a sports fan, hang lots of favorite sports memorabilia photos. Often, if a room has a lot of expression, it distracts from the small size of the space. The idea is to make your bedroom special, no matter what size it is.
Everything Is Potential Storage
In a small bedroom, storage can be a problem. There’s many creative solutions to solve this space dilemma. You can put the bed up on blocks for more under bed storage. Use a storage chest as a bedside table. This will help you to have the furnishings you need, yet they will double as storage units.
Combat A Low Ceiling
The brighter a room, the less attraction will be drawn to a low ceiling. Slanted ceilings are often a problem in smaller bedrooms, but bright colors can combat the closed in feeling and leave the bedroom feeling more open.
When shopping for furniture for your small bedroom, try to find pieces with rounded corners. This will help keep your limited walkway space in the room clear, as it takes up less space than traditional angled corners. You can really add character to a room using rounded nightstands, ottomans, and more accents.