Joseph Boyd'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.
When you’re shopping for a home, it’s easy to be overzealous in your attempt to find the perfect property. One of the biggest regrets of home buyers is that of paying too high a price for their dream home. There should be a balance between cost and the right property for you. No matter what kind of house you’re looking to buy or where you plan to buy it, a little planning goes a long way to help you get the most for your dollar when buying a home. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you avoid the dreaded mistake of overpaying for a home.
Look For Amenities That Increase Value
Does the neighborhood you’re looking to buy in have a lot of cool perks? Perhaps the property is close to the heart of downtown or close to one of the most desirable schools in the area. These features add value to the home based on the demand in the neighborhood.
You should also consider if the neighborhood is known as what’s termed “up and coming.” The potential that a neighborhood is also a factor in the price of a home. Is there a lot of construction going on in the area? Is the home you’re buying in a great area but considered a “fixer upper”? High potential properties in desirable areas can actually give you a bargain. A nice property in an area that is still being established can also be a bargain but beware. You may end up paying a higher price as sellers and developers understand that people are eager to move into the neighborhood. Also, if a neighborhood seems to be built up too much, it’s not a good sign. An overdeveloped area can lead to decreased property values over time.
Inside the home, look for things that have been updated to increase the value of the property. An updated kitchen and bathroom add the most cost to a home as these are the most expensive rooms to renovate. Other perks in a home that greatly increase the value include new flooring, new roof, being situated on a cul-de-sac or dead end street, and easy access to highways and main routes.
Know That Some Features Decrease Value
Things like power lines, poor economic growth in the community, high-traffic areas, foreclosures, and unkept homes can all drag down the value of a property. If you happen to be looking in one of these areas, understand that you shouldn’t be paying top dollar for a home there. Look for bargains. Whether you plan to stay or simply flip a property, you need to know at what point the price will be right without overpaying for the home.
There is no need to struggle as you pursue your dream home. In fact, there are many things you can do to ensure the homebuying journey is quick and easy.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you enjoy a seamless property buying experience.
1. Know Where You Want to Reside
It often helps to narrow a home search to a small group of cities and towns. That way, you can focus exclusively on residences in a set area and speed up your house search.
As you consider where you want to live, it generally is a good idea to review your short- and long-term plans. For example, if you intend to return to school soon, you may want to search for houses near some of the nation's top colleges and universities. On the other hand, if you want to start a family, you may want to focus on homes close to parks and other family-friendly attractions.
2. Establish a Homebuying Budget
Most homebuyers will need to get a mortgage so they can acquire their dream residence. Fortunately, banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about home financing and help you make an informed mortgage selection.
Typically, banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can educate you about all aspects of home financing. These specialists are ready to respond to your home financing concerns and questions and help you find a mortgage that suits you perfectly.
There is no such thing as a "bad" question to ask mortgage specialists, either. If you work with mortgage specialists to assess all of your home financing options, you can select a mortgage that will serve you well for the foreseeable future.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to searching for a home, you don't have to work alone. Thankfully, real estate agents are available throughout the country, and these housing market professionals can make it simple for you to acquire a great home at a budget-friendly price.
A real estate agent goes above and beyond the call of duty to make the property buying journey fast and easy. First, he or she will learn about you and your homebuying goals. This housing market professional next will craft a personalized homebuying strategy for you and put this plan into action. Then, after you discover your ideal residence, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you acquire this home.
In addition, a real estate agent will work with you to finalize a home purchase. As a home closing date approaches, a real estate agent will help you plan accordingly. By doing so, he or she can help you purchase your dream residence without delay.
For those who want to enjoy a quick, easy homebuying journey, it helps to plan ahead. With the aforementioned tips, you can prepare for the homebuying journey and limit the risk of encountering various problems as you search for your ideal house.
Shopping for a house is a high-stakes game. If you’re a first-time buyer, it can be difficult to gauge the value of various components and features of a home. Appraisals are designed for just this reason.
However, an appraisal is a subjective tool to determine a rough estimate. Furthermore, there are a number of things you can’t learn from an appraisal--such as how convenient the home would be for your work commute.
In this article, we’re going to help you, the homebuyer, determine the true value of a home as it would mean to you in your everyday life. Read on for tips on finding out the value of that home you’ve been dreaming of and deciding whether it’s really the best home for your budget.
Appraisals are a baseline
When lenders are in the process of approving your home loan, they’ll want to decide whether the home you’re buying is worth the amount you’re paying. To achieve this, they’ll typically hire a third-party appraiser.
Find out from your lender which appraiser they use and read their online reviews. This will ensure that they’re a trustworthy source of information. Also be sure to check that the appraiser is certified and that they work with a diverse range of clientele (not just your lender!).
Since you’ll likely be paying the appraisal fee as part of your closing costs, make sure you’re happy with the appraisal and appraiser.
Key appraisal factors
After the appraisal, consider getting a second opinion or inspection of any of the key components of your home that may impact the appraisal. Some of these factors include:
The roof, HVAC system, and septic systems
The energy-efficiency of the home
The current market value in the area
The general upkeep of the home--a few cosmetic problems shouldn’t affect the home value much, but serious neglect can cause long-lasting and expensive issues like mold, water damage, pest invasion, and more
What an appraisal can’t tell you
Now that we’ve discussed the nuts and bolts of home value, we have to venture into what value means to you and your family. You’ll need to ask yourself a series of questions, and some of them won’t have a cut-and-dry answer.
First, how well does this home fit into the work life of you and your spouse? Will it mean a shorter commute, and therefore lower transportation costs and more free time? Putting a dollar value on an extra thirty minutes not spent in traffic can be difficult, but it’s a worthwhile exercise to take part in.
Furthermore, does the house have features that will make it a better asset in years to come? Energy-efficiency, proximity to in-demand schools, businesses, etc., can all be selling points for future buyers that are willing to pay more for your home.
Using a combination of a certified appraisal and some introspection, you should be able to come to a confident conclusion as to the value of the home as it means to you and your family.
Rental properties are becoming extremely common in the world we live in today. Many people are realizing the huge profits they can make from rental properties, and the need for these rentals isn’t going away any time soon. If you’ve ever wanted to be a landlord and rake in some cash on the side, you’re not alone. However, buying rental property isn’t always easy and there are some things you should understand before getting the keys to your new home.
Make Sure You’re Ready
The fact of the matter is, owning rental property is harder than it looks. From insurance and laws to home repairs and dealing with tenants, it can all be a very time-consuming and stressful job owning a rental property. And if owning property isn’t your full-time gig, the process can be even more difficult. Make sure that you do your homework and that you’re prepared for anything that can happen regarding your new property. Research everything that needs to be done for a rental owner, then also look up how to manage tenants properly. Also, managing a property takes a lot of time and energy, especially if it’s your first time. It's also important to have the right schedule while managing a property. While you can still have a full-time job, you should have the flexibility to meet with the tenants and take care of repairs or issues when needed.
Keep a Proper Budget
When owning rental property, you’re owning a home that can see damage, which can be very costly. And if you don’t have the money to handle repairs and disasters when they strike, then you could have a home just sitting there with no tenants interested. This is why you should always budget for the unexpected. Some examples of what can go wrong include:
Be Cautious of a Fixer-Upper
While you’ve always had a dream about buying a fixer-upper and creating something incredible, this dream doesn’t pan out for many. That’s because many of these people bite off a little more than they can chew, and they don’t have the time, energy or resources to really build something profitable. Therefore, you should be very cautious before trying this method for yourself. It is possible to make money from a fixer-upper, but it takes tons of work and can be very difficult, especially if you’re buying your very first rental property. Dealing with one of these properties might require spending thousands on materials, hiring professionals, dealing with plumbing issues and possibly dealing with structural damage. While you may be very tempted, try looking for a property that needs a few simple renovations and one that is priced below market value.
Preparation is Key
Before you jump into buying a rental property, consider the three tips outlined above to have confidence throughout the process. This will ensure that you're well-prepared for what's to come. Fixing a home, dealing with tenants and paying for insurance can all be stressful, so it's best to understand these responsibilities before purchasing a rental property.