» 4 steps to getting your financial house in order before you buy
» Budget projects that transform the look of your home
» Energy upgrades for the home that can pay off
CENTURY 21 Real Estate Newsletter
4 steps to getting your financial house in order before you buy
Get financially ready to buy a house
Buying a house takes more than a down payment: You need financial readiness. Stick to the plan, and you’ll start making real progress toward your goal.
1. Know how much home you can afford.
Ideally, your housing payment is no more than 30% of your take-home pay. Look for an online “How much house can you afford” calculator, enter your ideal payment and work from there. Then play around with it. What happens if you add $50, $100 or $200 to the monthly payment?
2. Create a homeowner budget
To help you plan and adapt, work out a monthly budget that factors in your expected mortgage payment. Don’t forget to include property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, utilities and a cash fund for various household supplies and expenses.
3. Know the score
Use the free credit score feature on your online bank account to see where you need improvement, then keep track of monthly progress. Focus on good credit hygiene like on-time payments, paying down debt and refraining from opening (or closing) credit accounts. A higher credit score indicates to lenders you’re a good credit risk, which increases your eligibility for a competitive interest rate. For a mortgage, even a quarter of a percentage can translate into tens of thousands of dollars.
4. Save for a down payment
Start squirreling away extra cash each month to build your down payment. If you find yourself short of funds, examining your spending habits, shopping for deals and looking for opportunities to boost your income will accelerate your progress.
Budget projects that transform the look of your home
Low-cost weekend projects with high impact
Whether you’re preparing to move into a new home, or looking to zhuzh things up before you sell, try one of these high-impact projects that are easy on the wallet.
A new color story is transformative. Each hue in the color wheel catches the light differently, altering the look and feel of a room. Once you’re done, you’ll feel extra motivated to tackle other improvements. Plus, the right paint can add value to the home.
Add crown molding
Crown molding adds a touch of sophistication and polish to the room. Because it draws the eye to the ceiling, it has an enlarging effect. Tip: Add a chair rail and you can create a two-toned room!
Build a laundry center
Adding a counter and shelving units brings order and much-needed storage to cluttered up washer-dryer spaces.
The gleam of on-trend metals catches the light and instantly modernizes the bath or kitchen. It’s one of those super simple fixes with high returns. Take it a step further and add new cabinet handles and drawer pulls.
Shelves, pullouts and racks for closets, mud rooms and cabinets add functional elements while lending a sense of order to a space.
Bottom line: These small projects offer a big payoff without breaking the bank!
Energy upgrades for the home that can pay off
These home projects can help you save big on energy bills.