Cheryl Phelan's Blog
Once you buy a home, you realize that every penny of your budget matters. The initial purchase of a house can be financially overwhelming. You’ll be withdrawing thousands of dollars from your account to secure the home. Once you close on the house, it’s time to buckle down on your budget. Continue reading for some tips on how to do just that.
For most people, food spending is one of the biggest things that suck the life out of their budget. Whether you’re getting take out three times a week or spending massive amounts at the grocery store, it’s time to take a serious look at your food spending.
Shop With A Plan
If you head to the grocery store with a plan in mind, your shopping trip will be more successful and less expensive. Many people are unsure of what they have in their cabinets and fridge, let alone what to make for dinner. Make a list of meals to have for the week. Then, see what you need to complete those recipes in your kitchen and pantry. It’s also a good idea to stock your pantry with essentials when sales are going on.
Supermarket ads can also be incredibly useful. You might have to store hop on a weekly basis, but shopping with the sales can save you a lot of money in the long term.
Look At Your Credit Card Statements
Are you being charged for a monthly gym membership that you don’t ever make use of? You can do one of two things: Start going to the gym or cancel out your membership and begin a daily jogging routine. Look at your cable bill and any other monthly subscriptions that you have. See where you can cut back. Are premium movie channels a necessity? It’s easy to forget what we’re being charged for on a monthly basis if we don’t look at our bank and card statements.
Maybe in your life before becoming a homeowner, you went for a weekly massage or had a monthly housecleaning service. You can still have these luxuries, but they may need to be less often or less extensive. For example, a significant portion of time during maid service is spent loading the dishwasher or cleaning pots and pans. You can clean up after yourself and your family each night following dinner and cut back on the amount of time a maid would need to spend in your home. The cleaning person also now will have more time to spend on other things in the house that need attention.
You can keep your massage; it may just have to be bi-weekly or monthly. Get creative to still have the things you want in your budget without going overboard.
For a homeowner who wants to make green improvements and renovations to their personal property, the Conditions, Covenants & Restrictions, or CC&Rs, of the local homeowner association can pose problems that cost time, money and freedom of choice. This is especially true for homeowners who wish to make structural or aesthetic changes to existing homes. Here are only a few of the battles you might face when the local HOA discovers your plans for going green in a traditional or historic neighborhood.
Your Planned Solar Panels Aren't Warming Anyone's Hearts
While some HOAs may interfere with your choice of color of solar panels, others may not permit them at all. It's an aesthetic dilemma. Allowing solar panels on one home differentiates it from the others. In a community that's built upon history or tradition, individuality is rarely a good thing. If you're thinking of adding solar panels to a home that's governed by an HOA, you may be forced to buy certain-colored panels, or you may be banned from adding them at all. Consider this before buying a home, if you plan to make green upgrades in an area that features a homeowner association.
Your Energy Efficient Windows Are Getting a Cold Reception
Windows that feature double-paned glass or visible solar tints may get you in hot water with your HOA. Changing out historic windows and doors for more energy-efficient versions should be advantageous, right? Not if doing so sets your home apart from your neighbors or your condo unit apart from the rest of the building. If you want those new, modern windows that lower the cost of your energy bill over time, and you live in a home regulated by an HOA, prepare to fight for your right for window replacement.
Your New Cool Metal Roof Is Being Hotly Debated
Cool metal roofing is all the rage for homeowners who live in dramatic climates. Cooler in summer and warmer in winter, they'd be a big improvement over those old cedar shakes your home is currently rocking. But you'll probably never experience the convenience of cool metal if you live in an historic area where cedar shakes abound. While your HOA can't prevent you from repairing or replacing a failing roof, they can legally limit the materials you use to do it.
While homeowner associations do a lot for the communities they serve, they can cause consternation to those homeowners who place value on energy efficiency above historic appeal. If you're planning to buy or renovate a home that's regulated by the CC&Rs of the local HOA, make sure you completely understand the limitations they impose before you buy. Once in, you're bound by the rules you agreed to follow, even if it means sacrificing energy efficiency in lieu of tradition.
New windows can work wonders for a house. Depending on how old your windows are, replacements can make your home less drafty, and much quieter, but they can also spruce up a room that’s starting to look dated.
When you replace your windows you also might see a drop in your heating bill. However, the cost of replacing windows is steeper than you’re ever likely to save on heat. So, if you’re thinking of replacing your windows just to save cash, in the long run there might be better ways of doing so.
In this article, we’re going to talk about choosing replacement windows for your home. We’ll walk you through the different types of windows so you can find the type that fits your needs. Read on for our replacement windows buyer’s guide.
Choosing the right window style
There are endless types of windows that you could find in a given home. However, four main styles are what we normally think of when talking about replacement windows.
Single vs double-hung windows
First, there are single and double-hung windows. In double-hung windows, both the top and bottom sash are operable, or able to be opened. Being able to utilize both sashes is beneficial for airflow. Opening the top sash will allow the warm air escape, opening the bottom sash will allow cool air to enter.
In single-hung windows, only the lower sash is able to be opened and closed. But otherwise, they are very similar to double-hung windows.
Both of these types of windows come in variants that allow you to pivot the sashes inward to clean the exterior glass. However, if you buy single-hung windows you’ll only be able to wash the lower sash. Keep that in mind if you’re buying windows for a second floor or attic window.
Sliding windows are those which move horizontally on their tracks. They produce good ventilation and are easy to use. However, just like single-hung and double hung windows, they do slightly obstruct your view at the midpoint when closed. The rectangular shape of sliding windows, however, means you won’t likely be able to install an air conditioner.
Casement style windows
The last main type of window we’ll talk about are casement style windows. This type of window operates on a hinge like a door would. When they’re fully opened, they produce good ventilation. When they’re fully closed, they don’t obstruct the view at all.
However, just like with sliding windows, you won’t be able to install an AC unit. Furthermore, this type of window is more prone to malfunction due to the crank and hinge system, and cranking it open and closed all the time could be a minor annoyance for some homeowners.
Window frames come in four main materials--vinyl, wood, clad-wood, and aluminum.
Vinyl is the most common. They look clean and modern, and they also resist heat and condensation making them easy to maintain.
Wood frames are regaining popularity. Since they often come unfinished, you can easily customize them to your home.
Clad-wood frames are wood on the interior and aluminum on the exterior, making them rugged and resistant to weathering and rot.
Aluminum windows are economical, lightweight, and easy to maintain.
Now that you know a bit more about windows, you’ll be better equipped to decide what type of replacements to purchase for your home.
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Buying a home should be a problem-free experience. Yet issues may arise that make it tough to acquire the perfect house at an affordable price.
Common problems that come up during the homebuying journey include:
1. Lack of Home Financing
Before you search for a home, it generally is a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you can kick off a house search with a budget in hand.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you about a variety of mortgage options and help you get approved for home financing in no time at all.
Of course, if you have questions as you pursue a mortgage, don't hesitate to ask a lender for assistance. Lenders employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to respond to your queries without delay.
2. Temptation to Submit a Lowball Offer to Purchase
Once you find your ideal residence, you may be tempted to submit an offer to purchase at or below a house seller's initial asking price. But doing so may be problematic, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to acquire his or her dream residence as quickly as possible.
If you submit a lowball offer to purchase a house, a seller likely will reject the proposal. Worst of all, a rival homebuyer may swoop in with a competitive offer to purchase this residence – something that may cause you to miss out on the opportunity to buy your ideal home.
Ultimately, it is beneficial to submit a competitive homebuying proposal. If you allocate time and resources to learn about a home's condition and how a residence stacks up against comparable houses in the same city or town, you can craft a competitive offer to purchase. And as a result, a competitive offer to purchase may receive an instant "Yes" from a home seller, leading to a fast, successful homebuying experience.
3. Failure to Identify Problems During a Home Inspection
A home inspection is paramount because it gives you the opportunity to walk through a residence with a property expert and learn about any underlying house issues. Then, if you discover major problems with a house, you can ask a seller to complete property repairs, reduce your initial offer to purchase or walk away from a residence altogether.
Hire a home inspector who possesses comprehensive expertise – you'll be glad you did. With the right house inspector at your side, you can get the help you need to identify problems during a property inspection.
Lastly, as you get ready to search for a house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can provide extensive guidance throughout the property buying journey and ensure you can mitigate homebuying problems before they escalate.
Reach out to a real estate agent today, and you can receive plenty of support as you navigate the homebuying journey.