3 Things You NEED to Know About Real Estate in Your 20’s

5-Reasons-You-Should-Not-FSBO

Isn’t it interesting that one of the most important things we’ll do in our life is a buy a home yet we were never taught about the process in school? I mean sure, I learned about APR’s, interest rates, and amortization in one of my college math courses (which was lucky) but I still didn’t know how to apply any of that information in real life. Plus I forgot how to use all of those equations that day after the class ended. Realistically, the industry of real estate, whether you are buying, selling, or renting is way more complex than just a few equations. Here are 5 things that I wish I learned in school that can prepare you for figuring out your housing situation once mom & dad cut you off.

1. CREDIT is King

So a lot of people say “cash is king” which is true in most situations. However, you can have cash but if you don’t have credit or if your credit is bad then you are still in an unfavorable situation when it comes to getting a mortgage. When you apply for a mortgage the 2 major components are good credit & a good, consistent job. Yes, you will need money for a down payment but there are so many programs out there nowadays that you could possibly qualify to put as little as 1% down. Just to put in perspective for you; if you are buying a home for $200,000 – you would need $2,000 as a down payment…

Tips for good credit:

  • Take out credit cards but only use them for necessities and pay a majority of the balance each month.
  • Never miss or be late on a payment
  • Keep a small balance on your cards (credit card companies don’t like when you don’t have a balance because then they don’t make money on interest so although it won’t ding your credit, it won’t improve it either)

 

2. Renting could be better than Buying 

If you are fresh out of college and don’t know where you want to live or what you want to do with your life, don’t buy a home. Buying a home will put you into a 30-year commitment that may or may not benefit you if you go to sell before then. You may say “well if I’m paying $1500 a month to pay someone else’s mortgage I might as well buy.” Yeah, you are paying for someone else mortgage but you’re also reaping all the benefits and conveniences of living without homeowner responsibilities such as yard work, snow removal, maintenance repairs, depreciation, liability, and more. Plus you can pick up and leave whenever you want to (if you are not violating your lease). Figure out where and when you want to “settle down” and then worry about buying a house. Or if you’re always on the go, don’t worry about it at all.

 

3. The Real Estate Market will ALWAYS Fluctuate 

This is something a lot of people don’t agree with or just don’t want to believe. The general idea is that if you buy a home, in 30 years the property will appreciate and you will make a return on your original investment. As people realized in 2008, that is not always the case. The key is knowing when to buy. I talked about these cycles in one of my former blog posts called “Future of Real Estate & Economic Markets.” I tagged a video called “How the economic machine works” and in it, they explain how an economy built on credit (which is how we buy pretty much buy everything in this economy) must go up and down. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we just need to know how to ride the waves. Buy low and sell high. If you follow that basic ideology then you will be just fine. How do you know if it’s a high market or a low market? Interest rates. If interest rates are at “historic lows” which they are currently, then that is a key indication that the market is high and property prices are skyrocketing. But as we just discussed, what goes up must come down. As interest rates get higher, spending goes down, which in turn forces housing values to go down as well. If you bought in a high market and then need to sell in a low market, you will not be too happy with your “investment.” BUT if you buy in a low market and then need to sell in another low market chances are the property will still have appreciated at least a small percentage. You can’t really go wrong.

 

These are just some small pointers that some may not know or think about being in your 20’s but one day we will need to figure it out. When that day comes, I’ll be here for you. Keep reading (:

 

 

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Understanding “The American Dream” | Do we truly have a fair shot?

I recently watched a documentary titled “Requiem for the American Dream.” Requiem means an act or token of remembrance. This documentary opened my eyes to a lot of things that I already kind of knew but didn’t want to believe. It’s about this idea of “The American Dream” that so many American’s believe in, especially younger generations, and that sadly just doesn’t really exist anymore.

I shouldn’t say that. By definition, “The American Dream” means the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative. Dreams do exist. Goals do exist. Hard work, dedication, passion, consistency and positivity will always take you to where you want to be. Opportunity is around you everywhere. You ALWAYS have the chance to change your life and bring yourself to where you want to be in your life to be. Unfortunately, some people will have a longer journey to accomplish their dreams but with enough motivation and ambition, anything is possible. Your dream should be what YOU want to do. 

Now let me ask you this, do you truly think that the definition above is true? Do you truly think that EVERY SINGLE US CITIZEN has the equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative? I honestly don’t really think so. When the idea of the “American Dream” was established it was a completely different time than what we are currently experiencing.

The term “American Dream” was apparently invented in 1931 by historian James Truslow Adams; he was referring to “That dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement.”

In 1931-1970’s, the majority of middle-class success was determined by hard work, labor, dedication, and motivation. People with no background had a chance to make something of themselves and be able to take care of their family comfortably. Since manufacturing and industrialization were booming during that time frame, you could literally get off the boat with absolutely nothing, find a job, work long hard hours, and make a good living for yourself. Can we still do that now? Can we make something out of nothing? Like I mentioned before, anything is possible, however, it will cost you more whether cash, time, energy, or passion. It is not as easy to achieve.

Up until the 1970’s financial success was equally correlated with production. The more productive you were, the more money you made. Simple process, right? This kept everything in balance because people who were making money were improving society through production. In 2017, this is not the case.

In 2017, the mass amount of wealth earned in America is on Wall St., in politics, and in Hollywood. This country has turned away from being productive, moving all of our manufacturing and industrialization overseas. This, in turn, takes salaries & jobs away from the middle class and gives that surplus of cash to corporations and Wall St. It’s bizarre to me how we have gotten to this point and think where we are headed into the future.

So what do we do about this? Let’s put our heads together and figure it out.

Watch the video and let me know what you think.

Selling Your Home in ANY Season

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The general idea is that the late spring is the best time to sell your home. Actually, according to the Huffington Post, Zillow just did a recent study and concluded that homes sold from May 1 to May 15 sell on average 18.5 days sooner sold for 1% higher compared to homes not sold during this time frame. We can collectively agree that selling your home in late spring or early summer is ideal.

However, what if you need to sell your home during a different season? Here are some tips I gathered that will help you sell your home at any point in the year.

Sweet winter homeSince we live in New England, we are blessed with experiencing all four seasons, sometimes to an extreme. As I write this blog post it is currently snowing sideways, expecting 18+ inches, temperatures are in the 20’s, and it’s the middle of March. This being said, here are some tips to sell your home in the dead of winter.

  • Keep all snow and ice cleared away from walkways and stairs. Agents and buyers want to see that your home is well maintained and you definitely don’t want a potential buyer to slip and break a leg! I can almost guarantee you will not get the sale.

  • Stage the outside of your home adding to curb appeal. Try to have your decorations appeal to a wide variety of buyers. This means the big blow up Santa’s and reindeer on the of may have to stay in storage this year.

  • Let the light in by opening all shades and curtains. This makes your home look welcoming and pleasant even if there is snow outside.

  • Keep it warm. You want buyers to walk into your home and feel comfortable. You want to make them feel like they could take their coat off and stay a while, considering they are contemplating living there.

home_with_cherry_tree_blooming_in_frontAs we mentioned, spring is the probably the best time possible to sell your home. Here are some simple things you can do to make your home more appealing to buyers.

 

  • Yard work is key. Although it isn’t ideal especially if you are moving because you don’t want to maintain the yard anymore. Cut the grass, make it green, clean up the shrubs. Curb appeal is HUGE to buyers.

  • Do some spring cleaning. Clean up windows and corners you may have neglected the last few months. A sparkling clean home will impress new buyers and you won’t have so much to clean once you sell.

  • Bring spring indoors. Cut fresh flowers like tulips and daisies and add a nice vase on the table or in the kitchen to bring in that fresh spring air.

  • Add color to your space. Bright colors are appealing to people in the spring time. We just spent all winter looking at browns and whites and we are ready to experience some color again! Add some colorful throw pillows and towels to make your home pop with color.

 

Home TourWhen selling in the summer, you want to appeal to what people want/ like to do in the summer. Be outside.

  • Play up the outdoor seating area. Clean up your deck or patio and add some nice outdoor furniture and decorations to get buyers to envision themselves there on warm summer nights.

  • Keep the air flowing. If you don’t have the luxury of central air, use ceiling fans to help circulate the air with windows wide open. You want to avoid hot, stagnant air that may make buyers feel uncomfortable. Try to avoid noisy window fans, standing fans, and window AC units.

  • Mow the lawn twice a week. This may seem excessive but grass grows quickly in the summer and you never know when you will have a potential buyer stopping by for a showing or driving by to check out the curb appeal. Stay on top of your outdoor appearance.

    Energy Certificate conceptIf you’re trying to sell in the fall or if your listing doesn’t sell in the summer and is being carried over to fall, here are some tips to make sure you sell before winter.

  • Update pictures. If your pictures are from the summer but leaves are changing and the overall curb appeal is different, make sure your reflect that in your listing.

  • Clean up the yard. Although fall clean up is a tedious and grueling task, it must be done. As mentioned before, buyers want to know that you are caring for and maintaining your home and if your yard is racked it’s a good indication that the rest of the home is well cared for as well.

  • Check the HVAC. You want to make sure that your home has fresh clean air circulating. When was the last time you changed your furnace filter? If you do need to turn the heat on for a crisp fall day, you want to make sure there aren’t any unpleasant smells coming from the vents.

  • Accent your home with fall colors. Like adding spring colors to your home in the spring, fall colors are comforting. They make buyers feel good in your home and help them visualize their life in your home.

 

Contact me for any tips on when and how to sell your home. Hope this was helpful!

☼ Want to help stop global warming? Here’s how!! ☼

UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. – Dr. Seuss “The Lorax”

 

global-warming

 

So I think at this point in time, we can all collectively agree that global warming is real and happening all around us. The argument is no longer whether i
t is a true fact or not but more-so if and how we can do anything about it. Well, we can ALWAYS do something! energy consumption

One thing I’ve realized as an American is how privileged we truly are. In the chart to the right from worldpopulationbalance.org, you can see exactly how much energy the US consumes compared to the rest of the world.

Although the US does not consume the most energy in the world, we are a very close second to China. The most shocking part of this data is the amount of energy we use compared to the population our country. According to public.wsu.edu , Americans constitute 5% of the worlds population yet consumes 24% of the worlds energy.

SOO.. what can we do to change these statistics? Well we could get rid of the TV’s we have in every room of the house. Buy smaller houses that take less energy to heat or cool. Get rid of unnecessary lighting and electronic devises in our homes. But let’s be realistic, were a society of consumers and getting rid of these everyday conveniences seems like it may be the end of the world.

Option #2 would to make our homes more energy efficient. Here are some ways we can do so.

1 – Make sure your home is well insulated. 

By having poor insulation in your home, it forces your heating or cooling systems to work harder, using more energy, to compensate for the hot or cool air that may be creeping into your home through the walls.

2 – Upgrade or replace windows.

If you have old windows with poor insulation it could also be causing your systems to be working harder and using more energy. By replacing your old windows with energy-efficient models will save you money on your heating/cooling bills as well as reduce your carbon footprint on Earth.

3 – Plant shade trees and shrubs around your house.

If your home is older and replacing windows and adding insulation isn’t an option, changing your landscape may be beneficial. In summer, the foliage blocks infrared radiation from the sun that would warm the house, this would help keep your home cool during warm summer days. While in winter the bare branches let this radiation come through, warming your home during cold winter days.

4 – Replace your furnace with a high-efficiency system.

If your furnace was built before 1992, the system could be wasting up to 35% of the fuel it uses. ACEEE recommends replacement with a new condensing furnace with annual efficiency of at least 90 percent. This type of furnace wastes no more than 10 percent of the natural gas you buy, and may save you as much as 27 percent on your heating bill.

5 – Improve efficiency of your hot water system.

By turning down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F), insulating your hot water lines so they don’t cool off as quickly between uses, and using low-flow fixtures for showers and baths you can cut down on your energy use.

You can find more tips on www.greenhomeguide.com!

Lets save our planet peeps!