It's a new year! That means, it's time for a fresh start. If, for you, a fresh start means moving to a new house, neighborhood, town, city, state or beyond, we have 8 tips you need to ensure your move is flawless.
1. Set a Budget
It's no secret that relocating costs can get out of hand. When considering relocating, it's important to set a budget. This will help you to prioritize what is necessary and what isn't when relocating.
2. Create a Plan
Relocating can be overwhelming and chaotic. For these reasons, it's important to create a plan in advance – when you plan to relocating, how you are having your furniture and boxes moved and any other tasks that you feel are important for a smooth transition.
3. Create a Moving Checklist
To stay organized, create a checklist of all of the tasks that need completed before, during and after you've moved. This list will help you to stay on task and prevent you from forgetting any small, but important detail.
It can potentially be a costly decision to wait to declutter your home until after you move. When you declutter prior to moving, you can possibly sell and make money off of the unwanted or unused items in your home. Decluttering also means you'll have less to move later!
5. Pack Early and Pack Efficiently
One question often asked is, how soon should you start packing before you move? The answer is always the same – as early as possible. The sooner you begin packing, the less stressful the process will be, especially if you're moving a long distance. Start with rarely-used house items and work your way to your common, everyday materials to prevent cutting corners at the end. This will help to reduce the chances for broken goods or misplaced items.
6. Label Every Box with its Destination and Contents
As you pack and seal up each box, write a brief list of its contents and the room they are intended for. This way, when you're moving in, you'll be able to deposit your boxes in the right room and you'll know exactly what is in each box.
7. Change Your Address & Transfer Utilities
Before you move, make sure to change your address and transfer all utilities at least two weeks prior to moving. This timeframe ensures your utilities will be transferred on time for your official move in date and allows for your address change to take effect, so you don't miss any important bills, statements, packages and other mail.
8. Pack a Moving Day Essential Box
Don't move to your new home without a moving day essential box or bag. This box should contain anything and everything you might need on moving day and the following few days. Essentials could include items like toothbrushes, medications, toiletries, trash bags, a tool kits or cleaning supplies.
It's no secret that the majority of the younger generations are renting for longer than their elder counterparts. With an abundance of student loan debt and soaring home prices, it's no wonder why most people are turning to renting. However, as rent prices steadily increase, is it better to bite the bullet and invest in a home? The decades-long debate about renting versus buying is far from over, but here are a few things to consider to help you make the best decision for you.
Owning a home not only takes a financial commitment, but a level of maturity to recognize problems, plan for a variety of situations and maintain the household in good order. Being a homeowner is a commitment and if you travel often, work late most nights or don't have the extra savings to properly repair needed fixes, owning a home may not be the right choice for you. In situations like these, it might be best to continue renting a property where you are not responsible for lawn care, maintenance or a large mortgage.
While many people equate a mortgage payment to the price of rent, there are plenty of extra costs associated with owning a home than renting an apartment. You also need to take homeowners' insurance, property taxes, school taxes, utilities and possibly an HOA fee into consideration. In contrast to these extra costs, the wealth you'll be building up over time through equity development, good credit and property appreciation are important in establishing a sound financial future.
One of the benefits of renting is the lack of long-term commitment. Most leases are one year in length, giving you the option to easily adjust your living location for a new job, preferred area or just to get a change in scenery. When you buy a home, you are making a commitment to choosing a neighborhood, school district and location that you will be comfortable living in for several years while you build equity and recoup the cost of buying the house. Even though it can be hard to predict what your future will hold, having a rough idea of your five-year plan will help you determine whether investing in a home or continuing to rent is the best decision for you.
The bedroom can serve various purposes for one's everyday life. For some, the bedroom also acts as an office, library and laundry room, but in the end, it is still a sanctuary for sleep. While you can't build more hours into your day, you can redesign and style your bedroom to improve your chances of getting a restful night's sleep. Your bedroom should be the most luxurious and personal space in your home – an oasis that conducts relaxation and comfort – so here are some tips on how you can style your bedroom for better sleep.
1. Get a new mattress
A good night's rest may be as simple as getting a new mattress. If your mattress is too lumpy, hard or soft it will keep you up all night trying to get comfortable. There are many types of mattresses in the market, such as pillow, foam, adjustable, airbeds and more. Each type of bed has manufacturers who guarantee comfort and better sleep. Do your research and test out each mattress before deciding which one will suit you best.
2. Repaint in soothing colors
Bright and vibrant colors can be fun, but it's best not to use them in a bedroom. Colors such as blues, green and pastels all provide us with the peaceful, calming atmosphere needed to create your oasis. By using these colors in your bedroom, you can create the environment necessary to feel more relaxed and will, ultimately, provide a better night of rest.
3. Darken your room
Studies have been conducted which prove that our body's natural circadian rhythm follows a dark-light cycle. Therefore, the amount of light in your bedroom will affect your sleep. To reduce the amount of light in your bedroom consider using blackout curtains, putting phones in a drawer, using armoires to hide your bedroom TV and storing away any other light-emitting items you have in your bedroom.
4. Choose proper bedding
You spend a third of your life in your bed, which means it's just as important to pick bedding that best suits you. If you're a hot sleeper, you will want to choose bedding that allows your body to breathe at night. Or, if you find the idea of white bedding relaxing and comforting you might want to choose white bedding to find the relaxation and comfort you crave. Whatever your preferences, take the time to invest in the type of bedding that provides the best night's sleep for you.
One of the first decisions you have to make when buying a home is if you should buy new construction or an existing home with fixer-upper potential. Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer – it all depends on your individual situation and personal preferences. To help you in your decision-making process, we've outlined some key pros and cons to each option.
According to a recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the cost of a new home is roughly 30% more than the cost of a pre-existing home. While that may seem like a lot, you also need to consider the benefits that come with a new home. With an old home, you might pay less upfront, but you could be seeing that money go out the door through repairs and energy costs since old homes are often less energy-efficient.
Buying a new home fitted with a brand-new hot water heater, HVAC and roof offers peace of mind that no major issues should pop up within the next decade. Should you decide to pursue an old home, keep in mind that some of these larger home systems and appliances may need repair or replacement within a few days, months or years of purchase. It is very important to conduct thorough home inspections prior to buying an older home so that you are aware of the potential out-of-pocket costs in the near future. If you don't have the savings in line to fund such repairs, it might be best to consider a new home that wouldn't require any immediate care.
Buying a home is a huge investment and, as with all investments, there is a degree of gambling that goes into your decision making. With an old home, you have history and visual trends to see the ups and downs of the property value. Now, that's not to say it's a perfect predictor of what the future holds, but unlike with new homes, you have a good basis of approximate appreciation and value. New homes don't have this history, so some might consider this a bigger risk and shy away from the unknown changes in market value over the course of your ownership.
When it comes to the design of a home, you're most likely going to see opposite sides of the spectrum in old versus new homes. For those that are looking for intricate details, historic tradition, unique features and the possibility of secret hideaways, you'll probably want to browse through older homes that were built in a time where your desired feature was popular. If you want clean, crisp lines, open floor plans and minimalistic design, then you'll love the majority of new construction homes.
How do you get the best of both worlds? Buy an old home with a sound foundation and good bones and then work on renovating it's interior to get the old charm with a new, updated style. Who says you can't have it all?
Buying a house should never be entered into lightly, and often many potential buyers may not realize just how much work it actually takes or understand the process involved. Doing as much research as possible can help determine exactly what is needed to put you in the best possible position to make a purchase.
Here are ten great ways to help you identify the point at which making a home purchase becomes feasible for you:
1) Little to no credit card debt
When you're trying to get a mortgage, perhaps the most important aspect of doing so is getting your credit card debt reduced as close to zero as possible, according to Money Under 30. That's true for two reasons. First, the size of your credit card balance is relative to your limit and makes up a significant portion of your credit score. Second, lenders look at the debt-to-income ratio. As long as you're carrying relatively small balances from one month to the next (or ideally, not carrying a balance at all), you'll be in good shape.
2) All other loans paid off
One of the biggest hurdles for the millennial generation, when it comes to being financially capable of buying a home, is student loans. It may not be wise to try to buy until your loan balance is under control, but that doesn't mean they have to be paid off in full. However, they certainly need to be somewhat small relative to your income.
3) Tens of thousands of dollars in savings
If you're trying to buy a home in today's market, you'll almost certainly need to make a sizable down payment. While it's possible to get mortgages with down payment requirements as low as three percent, the added long-term expense could end up costing you significantly over the life of the loan. Making as large a down payment as possible is going to keep your borrowing costs down.
4) A rainy day fund
In addition to the money that will go toward your down payment, it's vital to have some additional money saved just in case something goes wrong with the home, according to Mint. As a general rule, having about $1 per square foot – or one percent of the purchase price – in the bank will help cover some basic expenses you're likely to encounter after your home purchase.
5) A long-term plan
Whether you're buying a home for a whole family or as a single person, you need to know what your situation is going to look like two, five, 10 or even 20 years down the road. That will influence a lot of decisions about the kinds of homes you're looking to purchase – i.e. not buying a small one that you'll have to move out of in a few years when you have kids – and how much work you'll have to put in to make sure your finances are in good enough shape to do so.
6) Reliable income
Lenders also want to make sure you're going to be able to keep up with your mortgage payments in the long term, so a steady job is a must, according to Credit Sesame. While no one can predict their employers' future with 100 percent accuracy, it might not be a good idea to go house hunting at a time of turmoil. As long as you're fairly confident in your position, shopping should be no problem.
7) A comfortable cushion
One issue some homeowners encounter after buying a home is they've pushed themselves so far financially trying to get ready for the real estate sales process, that they come out the other side in rough financial shape. Being "house poor" means people own a house but otherwise struggle financially because of the cost of that property. You'll need to make sure you're not buying too much house or else risk running into other financial problems, even if you can technically afford the mortgage and other costs.
8) An understanding of what constitutes affordability
Along similar lines, it's vital to not only factor in the cost of the mortgage, taxes and so on, but also other expenses. This may include higher electric and heating bills that come with living in a bigger space, more costly insurance coverage (especially if your new home is in an area prone to flooding) and so on. Sitting down and doing the math around the true cost of homeownership will help you avoid being house poor or running into expenses you might not have realized will crop up.
9) A list of must-haves and nice-to-haves
When people actually start shopping for homes, it can be easy to fall in love with certain properties, according to Forbes. However, while it would be nice to have a state-of-the-art kitchen with stainless steel appliances, it's probably going to be expensive and not necessary to your happiness in the home. Having a list of things that you will absolutely need out of your new property – big backyard for the kids, a finished basement for a home office, etc. – will sway your choices and help you get a better idea of what you can actually afford.
10) A talented and experienced agent
The key role of real estate professionals in every portion of the process cannot be overstated. They will be able to help first-time buyers as well as those who have previously been through the process get as prepared as possible so they can maximize their understanding of the value they get out of buying a home. Experienced agents have likely seen it all and can help shepherd any client through a sale – as either buyers or sellers – with ease.
Buying a home is usually going to be the biggest purchase you will make in your entire life, so it's important to put in a lot of legwork – over a period of months or more – to ensure things go as smoothly as possible at each step of the shopping process. That, in turn, will help you feel more confident in your ability to make a purchase and know that you've done everything right.