Archives: September 2016

6 Ways to Save Money for Your First Home

savings jar filled with coinsFor many first-time home buyers, the idea of a 20% down payment is terrifying. It’s one of the biggest obstacles to homeownership. Maybe you want to own a home someday, but the thought of saving up thousands of dollars for a home purchase has deterred you from seriously considering it.

Believe it or not, it is possible to save enough money for a down payment and make your dreams of homeownership a reality. Here are just a few of the ways that you can start saving.

1. Track How Much You Spend Now

When saving for your first home, you’ll need to stick to a budget. Awareness of how much you spend can help you figure out where you can cut your costs. Consumer.gov outlines a few tips for creating a budget here.

2. Determine What You Can Afford

home buyer tracking financesEven if you don’t plan to buy a home for a few years, figuring out how much you can afford for your home will make your savings goal more concrete. Don’t forget to include taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance in your monthly payment calculations.

3. Start Small

Start saving for your down payment and other homeownership costs as soon as you can. The earlier you start, the less you will have to cut your spending and the more time you’ll have to reach your goal.

4. Shop Around for Other Loans

If you find that a 20% down payment is unrealistic, you can opt for a mortgage that offers lower down payment options. FHA loans, for instance, offer 3.5% down, and VA loans offer no money down.

Make sure to do your research. If you put less than 20% down on a home, you will have to purchase private mortgage insurance. We can talk more in depth about home financing options available to you.

home buyer looking at bank account5. Make Your Savings Automatic

Many people find it’s easier to save money if it’s automatically transferred into a savings account every month. Check to see if your bank offers automatic funds transfer services, or ask if your employer can direct a portion of your paycheck into your savings account.

6. Create a Separate Savings Account

Establishing a savings account specifically for your down payment and homeownership costs is another great way to set aside money for a home. If you decide to automatically transfer money to savings, creating a separate account may make it even easier.

We Can Make Your First Home Buying Experience Easier

first-time home buyers moving inWhen you’ve saved up enough money and are ready to buy a home, we have all the resources you need to make your homeownership dreams a reality. Have a question about owning a home? Call us.

Downsizing Tips – Ways to Make the Transition Easier

People choose to downsize or “right-size” their home for a number of reasons – simplify lifestyle, reduce housing costs, relocate to a new climate, the list goes on. Whatever your reason for wanting to make the transition to “smaller living,” considering the following tips to help make the lifestyle shift more manageable and less overwhelming.

downsizing-your-home2-1

Reimagine Where (and How) You Want to Live – If you have not finalized your next step yet, take some time to really think about what you want that next chapter to look like. Having a clear vision of where you are going will remove much of the uncertainty and allow you to focus on what needs to happen next.

Downsize Your “Stuff” – If you are moving to a smaller home, then you will not need as many things to fill it. And a clutter-free home definitely appeals more to buyers and sells faster. Before putting your home on the market, take some time to go through your personal and household items (even furniture) and be very selective about what you take with you. You may even decide that you want to have a whole new style in your new home!

Make Necessary Home Repairs and Improvements – Buyers do not like to work hard to envision themselves in your home. A home that is move-in ready and upgraded properly will always sell faster and for more money than one that requires a lot of work.

Don’t Go It Alone – Hire the Experts – The process of downsizing can feel a bit overwhelming. Take advantage of the amazing local resources available to help walk you through each step:

  • Realtor
  • Professional Organizer
  • Home Stager
  • Estate Sale Professional
  • Financial Consultant
  • Lender/Banker
  • Attorney
  • Mover

Want to learn more about the ins and outs of downsizing? We will cover these topics and more in detail at our free Downsize New Albany seminar on Oct. 19, 2016, at the Heit Center in New Albany. You’ll hear from a panel of local experts and have the opportunity to ask questions and pick up information about housing options and other services available in the area. Reservations are required. RSVP to info@newalbanyohio.com.

Can’t make it to the seminar, but still want to learn more? We would be happy to help! Contact us at 614-939-8944 or tonyt@newalbanyrealty.com, or visit us online at www.NewAlbanyOhio.com.

5 Things Only Home Sellers Understand

Whether this will be your first time selling a home or your tenth, the home selling process can be a challenge. You want to sell quickly and for the most money, so you will be doing absolutely everything you can to spruce up your home and make it as inviting as possible. But not every experience during the home sale is a struggle. Here are the moments home sellers know too well.

packing-for-a-move1. The Nostalgia You Feel While Packing

While you’re going through closets and pulling your personal photos off the walls, you may experience some nostalgia. You can vividly remember the day you bought the house. You remember all the guests that have visited. You even remember the stains that you’ve spent time scrubbing out of the carpet.

You have made memories in this home. But don’t forget about all of the new memories you will make in your new home. Whether you’re relocating, upsizing, or downsizing, you will have the opportunity to start fresh.

2. Having to Rush Out the Door for Showings

One of the hardest parts about selling your home is being prepared to leave at any time for showings: during dinner, early in the morning, on weekends… Sometimes, you have just 5 minutes to drop what you’re doing and dart out the door. But when you hear that the buyer has made an offer, you know that all of your scrambling was worth it.

a child with her head in her hands3. The Home Buyer Who Nitpicks Everything

It takes time to clean and declutter the home that you’ve lived in for a while. You remember the dust and dirt you found when you first moved furniture and packed up your closets. You even remember the hours it took to paint your rooms a neutral color. Your home looks brand new and ready for showings, so you can’t help but roll your eyes over the buyer who complains about that one thumbtack hole or the Windex streaks on the window.

4. The Awkwardness of Living in a Partially Empty Home

Everything echoes. It’s impeccably clean. Even the dust bunnies have moved on. With the pictures off the walls, the furniture put in storage, and the walls painted a neutral color, your home looks less like your own and more like a model.

people in front of a house5. Feeling Bittersweet About Leaving Your Home

After all the home sale preparation, last-minute showings, and negotiations, it’s time to say goodbye to your old home and hello to the new one. Yes, there may be things that you will miss about your old home. But there will be also things you can’t wait to have in your new home.

Your Home Sale Doesn’t Have to Be Stressful

We can help make your home sale a pleasant (and profitable) experience. As real estate experts, we offer a variety of helpful home selling resources, from a free home evaluation to low-cost home improvement ideas. When you’re ready to sell your home, call us.

7 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Home

Whether you are preparing to sell, simplifying your life or just doing an annual fall clean-out, decluttering is often one of the most challenging tasks of home ownership. While it may seem tempting to sort through the entire home at once, trying to tackle such a large project in such a short time will leave any homeowner frustrated. Following these essential decluttering tips will make your job much easier.

  1. declutterAllow plenty of time – start decluttering a few months in advance of a potential move, if possible.
  2. Make a list of items you cannot live without.
  3. Choose storage containers that are attractive and make the most use of space.
  4. Donate any furniture that you don’t need or want anymore.
  5. Donate or discard anything you haven’t used in the past year.
  6. Ask a friend or family member for objective advice.
  7. Keep furniture that serves more than one purpose.

Need Additional Tips about Downsizing?

If you are planning to downsize and move within the New Albany and Greater Columbus area, we are more than happy to assist you. We can provide you with additional downsizing secrets, home selling tips, and anything else you need. Call us at 614.939.1234.

These Small Home Improvements Can Pay Off Big When Selling

First impressions matter when selling a home. But the first thing buyers see isn’t always your staged living room or upgraded kitchen. The price is the first impression buyers have of your home. The price also determines whether buyers skip over your home or go inside for a better look.

using a laptop at homeHome buyers are attuned to the market. When they are searching online for properties and browsing through listing photos, they can easily spot a home that is not worth the price tag attached to it.

The Simplest Ways to Add Value to Your Home

There are many ways to add value to your home, but don’t waste your time and money with major home improvements that won’t pay off. Instead, focus on these small, often overlooked tasks. Even the smallest fixes can significantly increase your home’s market value.

Replace Doorknobs and Other Hardware

Is the front doorknob worn or tarnished? Are your light fixtures outdated? Replacing the hardware in your home, even though it’s just a cosmetic fix, can make a world of difference when you sell your home.

a homeowner painting the wallsPaint the Walls a Neutral Color

A fresh coat of paint can leave your home looking like new. Choosing neutral colors, such as beige or grey, for your walls allows buyers to easily picture their belongings in your home. Lighter tones also create the illusion of more space.

Declutter Your Home

Buyers want to see a home that is organized and well-kept, both in person at showings and online in listing photos. Donate, discard, or store any furniture or household items that are not absolutely necessary in each room. Decluttering your home is the best way to add value, maximize space, and make a great first impression.

Price Your Home Right from the Start

When you’re ready to put your home on the market, create the best first impression with the right price. If you want to sell your home quickly and for the most money possible, we can help you determine the market value of your home. Call us today for a free home evaluation.