Darlene Alferes' Blog
61 Harding Road, Fairhaven, MA 02719
Figure out your financesYou should be an expert at you and your significant other's personal finances if you are thinking about buying a home. The first thing to look at is your income and expenditures. Put the following information in a spreadsheet:
- Total monthly income
- Total monthly expenditures (bills, gas, food, etc.)
- Total monthly savings
- Total savings and assets
- Credit and FICO score (request both of these online)
Lock Down Your FinancingThere are several types of mortgages that you'll need to choose from, and you'll want to learn about fixed and adjustable mortgage rates. This information should be informed by your long-term plans. Are you looking for your first home or your forever home? If you don't plan on fully paying off the home you might look for a low, adjustable rate while you earn money. But if you want to stay in your home until it's paid off, a fixed rate might be better for you.
Finding and buying your homeOnce you've determined your price range, start thinking about things like location and the kind of home you can afford. If you're handy with tools and have the time, it might be in your best interest to buy a home than needs some work at a lower cost. If you'd rather put in more hours at work, go with the home that needs less work and save money that way. Depending on whether or not you're in a buyer's market or a seller's market, the ball can be in your court or the seller's. In a seller's market, which is more likely today in many parts of the country, the seller will have more leverage in negotiations, including closing dates and move-out dates. Due to high competition, you should also be prepared to miss out on some offers. But be patient, and you should find the home you're looking for.
Thankfully, the human brain is usually a pretty efficient mechanism for keeping our lives organized, healthy, and safe.
However, when we're rushed, overwhelmed, or feeling stressed, important tasks, safety measures, and priorities are sometimes forgotten.
Most of the time, this does not pose an imminent health or safety threat, but there are exceptions. Fortunately, there are often simple solutions available and preventative measures we can take.
Finding high-tech (or low-tech) ways to remember important things can provide you and your family with improved home safety, more peace of mind, and other benefits.
Here are a few strategies for overcoming the pitfalls of occasional forgetfulness.
- Practice present moment awareness. You'll tend to be happier, healthier, and safer when you condition your mind to stay in the present moment as much as possible. Although there is a lot of value in planning for the future and dwelling on happy memories, it's counterproductive to worry about problems that might never happen or regret things from the past that can't be changed. People waste a lot of energy and create self-imposed stress when they spend more than a few seconds worrying or regretting. Staying focused on the present moment also has some health and safety implications worth mentioning. For example, how many times have you left the house (or gone to bed) and wondered if you locked the door, turned off the oven, or unplugged the iron? Getting yourself in the habit of bringing your mind back to the task at hand and being more aware of what you're doing will help you avoid some of these potential dangers, concerns, and distracting thoughts.
- Set an alarm as a reminder. If you set an alarm on your mobile device or computer to remind yourself to get ready for an appointment, send an important email, make a phone call, or check on the progress of dinner in the oven, then you never have to worry about getting distracted and losing track of time.
- Good habits can be a lifesaver. Going through a mental inventory before you leave the house or go to bed can help reduce forgetfulness about locking doors, turning off kitchen appliances, and reactivating the smoke alarm. And speaking of smoke alarms, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) recommends that homeowners check the batteries in their smoke detectors once a month and replace them with fresh batteries at least once a year. It also urges people to completely replace their smoke alarms every 10 years. Important safety note: The federal agency strongly discourages people from removing smoke detector batteries to silence the device while cooking. Instead, it recommends opening a window, waving a towel at the alarm to clear the air [a paper plate also works], pressing a "hush" button if the unit has one, or moving the alarm several feet away from the cooking area.
Although your condo has served you well for many years, now may be a great time to look to move out of your condo and into a new home.
Ultimately, there are many reasons why you might want to sell your condo, including:
1. Your condo is too small.
Your condo was large and spacious when you initially moved into it a few years ago. However, as you have accumulated items and your family has grown, your condo now lacks the space you need.
If you find that your condo is too small for your family, there's no need to worry. In many instances, a condo offers a great starter home, and it is common for people to look to upgrade from a condo to a house.
Lucky for you, interest in condos is rampant across the United States. This means you should have no trouble stirring up interest in your condo if you ever decide to sell it.
2. You want to capitalize on a seller's market.
The housing market fluctuates constantly. As such, when a seller's market arrives, it may prove to be the best possible time to maximize the value of your condo.
In a seller's market, there is a shortage of quality properties available and an abundance of homebuyers who are searching for their dream residences. Meanwhile, if you own a top-notch condo, you may be able to add it to the real estate market and receive a hefty sum for your property.
To learn more about how a seller's market works, consult with a real estate agent. This real estate professional will be able to educate you about the ins and outs of a seller's market. And if you decide to list your condo, your real estate agent will be able to help you price it competitively from the get-go.
3. You want greater flexibility to complete home improvement projects.
Let's face it – your homeowners association (HOA) does an excellent job to maintain your home's exterior, but it would be great to have the flexibility to complete a home exterior project without the HOA's approval.
Condo living involves trade-offs. Typically, condo owners will pay HOA fees that guarantee walkways are shoveled in winter, lawns are cut in spring and summer and other day-to-day home maintenance tasks are performed regularly. On the other hand, if you want to repaint your home's exterior, you'll likely need the HOA's approval to do so. And if you decide to add a fresh coat of paint to your home's exterior on your own, you will probably receive HOA fines and penalties.
As a homeowner, you'll never have to worry about asking an HOA's permission to update your house's exterior. Instead, you can paint your home any color you'd like, plant a garden in your front yard, install a swimming pool in your backyard and much more any time you choose.
Ready to add your condo to the real estate market? Employ a real estate agent, and you can boost your chances of optimizing the value of your condo.