3 Miscellaneous Expenses for Homebuyers to Consider

You’ve found the home of your dreams, can afford the regular mortgage payments and even accounted for your closing costs, too. Clearly, you’re in a great position to cover the costs associated with your home consistently, right?

Even the most diligent homebuyer may encounter unforeseen costs along the way. Fortunately, we’re here to help you prepare for these miscellaneous expenses.

Here’s a closer look at three miscellaneous homebuyer costs that you’ll need to consider before you purchase a residence:

1. Homeowners Association Fees

Planning to move into a condo? You’ll want to find out what the homeowners association (HOA) fees are before you close on your residence, as these costs can add up quickly.

HOA expenses usually cover the costs associated with keeping your lawn clean and looking great, clearing snow from roads and driveways in winter and other condo community costs. As such, these fees may wind up costing you several hundred dollars each month – a hefty sum that every condo owner needs to know about.

To find out if HOA fees will affect your monthly budget, be sure to consult with your real estate agent. This professional should be able to get in touch with a HOA and determine exactly how much you’ll need to add to your budget each month to account for these costs.

2. Unexpected Income Changes

Your income may change over the life of your mortgage, and as such, you should try to plan accordingly.

For example, consider what may happen if your full-time work schedule is reduced to part-time hours. This may prove to be exceedingly difficult, particularly if you don’t have a Plan B in place to pay your mortgage.

When it comes to potential income changes, it always is better to err on the side of caution. And a homeowner who has an emergency fund in place may be able to cover regular mortgage costs even if his or her everyday wages are reduced.

3. Emergency Medical Bills

Unfortunately, medical emergencies can arise without notice and wreak havoc on a homeowner’s budget. But even though these emergencies can put a financial strain on a homeowner, this homeowner still will be responsible for making regular mortgage payments.

Emergency medical bills, like unexpected income changes, should be accounted for as part of an emergency fund. Furthermore, homeowners who contribute to this fund monthly can accumulate finances that will be readily available in even the worst-case scenarios.

Buying a home requires a significant financial investment, but homebuyers who prepare accordingly will be able to ensure that they can manage any financial hardships that could come their way.

No homebuyer wants to consider financial hardships, but working with a resourceful and intelligent real estate agent may help you prepare for the worst. This real estate professional may be able to offer guidance and tips to help you budget for your new residence and ensure that you’ll be prepared for any emergencies as well.

Plan for your new home purchase as much as you can, and ultimately, you’ll be better equipped to make regular mortgage payments and manage any financial hardships along the way.

How to Plan a Weekly Family Night

American households are busier than ever before. Parents are working overtime to keep up with the cost of living. Meanwhile, kids and teenagers have more homework than previous generations. Teens and parents alike are burdened with saving for college. And, everyone in today’s world has to take the time out of their day to stay updated on social media.

That doesn’t leave much time in the day to hang around and relax with your family. If you–like many American families–wish you could spend more time together, it could be as simple as having a plan and making time on your schedule. This article will cover the steps to planning a weekly family night and how to stick to the plan once you start.

Step One: Scheduling

The hardest part of planning a family night is finding a time to have it. Each member of the family likely has sports, extracurricular activities, or other obligations that keep them tied up. Find one night of the week that works for everyone.

To make sure nobody forgets, add it to your calendar and send invites to the whole family. You can do this via Facebook, Google Calendar, or just a note on the refrigerator–whatever works for your family’s needs. A good practice to make sure everyone remembers is to send out a group text message reminder to the whole family so that no one is left out.

Step Two: Make it fun for everyone

If your family nights aren’t “fun for the whole family” you can be assured that they won’t last long. This can be hard in a family where kids are at different ages and have different interests. Games that your two-year-old loves will seem boring to your teenager, and vice versa.

One way to make sure everyone enjoys family night is to alternate who gets to pick the activities. Start off with your youngest child and work your way around to yourself, this way everyone gets a chance to have a night that they can especially look forward to.

Step Three: Choosing activities

There are endless fun family night activities. Depending on the ages of the members of your family, you might have to stick to things that are more kid-friendly. You’re also going to need to pick activities that are season and weather-appropriate. Here are some examples for family night activities that work for various ages and seasons:

  • Paint night – gather the colors, brushes, and paper you need, then watch a painting tutorial together
  • Game night – the most time-tested family night activity is board games. Roll the dice to decide which games to play.
  • Video game night – multiplayer games that include everyone are the best option. But you could also take turns or have tournaments to play against each other.
  • Ice cream – in the summer, take the family out for ice cream and a walk.
  • Bake night – make enough types of cupcakes, cookies, and brownies to last the whole week.
  • Backyard camping – set up your tent, build a fire, make S’mores, identify stars and planets, tell ghost stories, and whatever other fun camping ideas you can think of.

How To Get Ready For A Home Showing

If you’re in the process of selling your home, your agent will most likely be making calls to you relating that she will be showing your home to potential buyers. While you’re probably excited to sell your home, there’s no doubt that home showings can happen at the worst possible times! Here’s some tips to help you prepare for any home showing in a hurry: 

Mop Up

Sweep up your kitchen and bathrooms Spot clean in any necessary areas to remove stains.   

Get Out Your Duster

Quickly wipe down any of your furniture, televisions, screens and other objects that really show dust in your home. You don’t need to go crazy, just make sure that everything is clean.  

Clear Counters

Don’t leave tons of stuff hanging around on your counters. Your counters should be wiped down and clear of clutter for your home showing. 

Make Your Bed

Heed your mother’s advice and make your bed. There’s nothing more unattractive at a home showing than beds that haven’t been made or items strewn across the bedroom. If you have some time, take a look at your bedding and see if it looks presentable, as in free from rips and stains. If not, consider replacing the existing bedding for an even better impression. 

Vacuum 

Give your carpets a once over with the vacuum cleaner. This will pick up any surface dirt and make the carpets look, smell and feel fresher.

Empty The Trash

Empty all of your trash cans. Spray them down with a disinfectant spray so that there’s no lingering odors.   

Brighten It Up

When your home is being shown, the lights should be on. A bright home is an attractive home! 

Clean Your Dishes

Put all of your dirty dishes in the dishwasher. There shouldn’t be any dirty dishes left out and around during a home showing. Also, you don’t want any of your appliances running while potential buyers are visiting.  

Put Clothes Away

Your clothes should be loaded into the washer and dryer as well. No dirty (or clean) clothes should be lingering around the house. Potential buyers don’t need to see the latest styles that you’re wearing!

Put Your Stuff Away 

Every room should be given a once over. Everything should be off of the floors, counters and furniture. This will make your home look very presentable and attractive to buyers. 

Although a home showing may seem overwhelming, buyers like to picture what your home will look like once they’re the new occupants. The short amount of time that you spend on making your home look tidy can make a big difference in finding the right buyer for your property.

How to Prioritize Home Upgrades

You love the new house that you just purchased. Yet, you’re already thinking of upgrades that you want to make to your new place. That or you’ve started looking at the walls, decor and furniture in your current home and came away feeling bland. If you’re not careful, you could create a long list of home upgrades.

Make major home upgrades without breaking the bank

To get what you want, prioritize home upgrades. This doesn’t mean that you scratch anything off your upgrade list. It means that you consider important factors before you start making home improvements. To begin, ask yourself:

Determine which upgrades are absolutely necessary – Assess the conditions or parts of your house that are out of compliance with local housing codes. These upgrades are a must. Price electricians, plumbers and contractors who specialize in the fields that these improvements are needed in. Move these home upgrades to the top of your wish list.

Spot declining areas – As you walk through your house, you may spot areas that,although still meeting housing codes, are starting to decline. Curling roof shingles, a light coating of water on the basement floor following a hard rain and uneven hardwood floor panels are signs of decay. After you get your entire house up to code, repair and upgrade these areas.

Time is valuable – Consider how much time you have to not only start, but to also finish, home upgrades. This one gets the best handy person. It’s easy to tell yourself that you can add a new bedroom to your home, install a new tub and faucets in your master bathroom and upgrade the cabinetry in your kitchen, all within six months. Then, your job gets demanding, family visits and you volunteer for a project at church. Before you know it, you’ve got a hole in your bathroom floor and have started taking showers in the guest bathroom.Think about how much time you have to take on home upgrades before you start them.

Review your budget – Get honest about the amount of money you have to spend on home upgrades. Money doesn’t magically fall out of the sky. Look at your current expenses, vacation plans and other personal items that you’d like to purchase.If you’re budget doesn’t allow for immediate major home upgrades, make small upgrades. For example, you could paint your house walls and hang new mirrors in  the bathroom and hallways. You could also place decorative throw rugs on the floor and add new floral centerpieces to coffee and end tables.

Home upgrades don’t have to be expensive. They certainly don’t have to put you in debt. To stay debt free while making home improvements, pace yourself. Think about it. If you expect to live in your home for three or more years, you could implement one to two major upgrades a year. Implement smaller upgrades over a weekend. At the end of three years, you may be delighted with upgrades you’ve made to your home.