How to Save When Owning a Home

Money is the root of many people’s stress and anxiety and it’s also the cause of many fights. But it doesn’t have to be for you. You may own a home now, but it doesn’t mean you should stop saving or that saving has to be a difficult undertaking.

Ideally you already have a robust emergency fund—this type of account is suggested by financial experts to have even before paying down ‘good’ debt such as student loans. This account is extremely important as you never know when or if that “rainy day” will come. The suggested amount to have in an emergency fund is six to nine months’ worth of income—and to be on the higher end if you own a home and have children. For instance, if you take home $3,000 a month, you should have $18,000 to $27,000 in your emergency fund. You should also consider whether it’s best to keep these funds in a regular savings account or a money market account.

Now that we’ve covered the importance of an emergency fund,let’s discuss how to keep saving—whether you are saving just to save or saving for a vacation, new car, or that fancy grill you’ve been eyeing.

Automatic deposit from primary income: If you aren’t doing this already then you should be. Automatic deposit is the easiest way to save money. Many places of employment offer this option, and if not your financial institution will. Automatically depositing money into a savings account (separate of the rest of your income) will force you to save. And if your place of employment offers this option then that money will never enter your checking account—out of sight, out of mind. If you must use your financial institution then have the automatic transfer occur on the day you are paid so the money is almost like it was never there for spending. Of course, this will be an adjustment if you are used to living off that money, especially if you just purchased a home. However, you can start small and work your way to a larger amount such as when you receive a raise or have other forms of incoming income.

Automatic transfer from checking to savings: Many financial institutions offer the ability to automatically transfer funds between your checking account and savings account each time you use your debit card. If your bank does not offer this opportunity there are apps for your phone that can easily connect to your online bank accounts and do the work for you. It’s a great way to save a small amount of money each time you swipe your card. And depending on how often you use your debit card, those savings could add up quickly. For example, you spend $25.33 at the grocery store and use your debit card to pay. Your bank (or app) will round that number up to $26.00 and transfer .67 into your account of choice. It’s too easy not to participate!

There are many other ways to be a better saver, but it’s best to start simple and small. Overwhelming yourself with how much you need/want to save and with many ways of saving, might cause the opposite to happen. Remember, you have a house to pay for and all the other expenses that come with it. Be conscious of your financial situation and be diligent with your savings strategy and you’ll be on the road to being a savings master.

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Tips for Buying Your First Luxury Home

Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay

Before you commit your hard-earned money to a luxury home, make sure you know what you’re purchasing. Just because a house has a high price doesn’t mean it’s truly luxury. A luxury home is built better and has more space and amenities in it than other homes. Even a home with the same number of bedrooms as other houses could be a luxury home, but the bedrooms are going to be larger, plus they will have more closet space – usually walk-in closets – and each bedroom might have its own bathroom. Other signs that a home is really a luxury home include better appliances, the best fixtures and additional amenities as space allows, such as a pool, an external game room and a larger garage.

Check the Neighborhood

If other homes in the neighborhood are in the same price range, you are likely buying a luxury home. However, be careful as some neighborhoods are just more expensive than others, but that doesn’t mean the homes are luxury homes. It’s easier to tell a luxury home that is in the suburbs because those homes usually have more space for pools and additional out-buildings.

Check the Interior

In addition to the items mentioned above, check the quality of the materials. Flooring, including carpet, should be top quality. Cabinets should be wood cabinets. If the house has crown molding, it should be good quality – and more than just a strip tacked where the wall meets the roof. Countertops should be of high quality if not marble. Look at window frames and door jambs to see how well they are put together. And the windows should be at least double pane windows, if not triple pane.

Financing

Be prepared to jump through some hoops to get financing. If the price of the home is above a certain amount, you’ll need to qualify for a jumbo loan. That amount changes depending on your location. It may also change every few years. Your real estate agent and mortgage lender will be able to tell you what the conforming loan limit is for your area.

Get it Inspected

Just because you are buying a luxury home, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have problems. Always hire a well-respected inspector to inspect the home before you close. The inspector will check for plumbing, electrical and structural issues, will make sure everything works properly, will let you know if he or she sees signs of wood-destroying organisms and other problems. In addition to a home inspector, always have the home inspected by a pest control company for termites and other critters that could damage the home.

Negotiate

Home prices are always negotiable, especially if the inspectors find problems. Ask your real estate agent for a list of comparables so you know if the property you’re considering is priced appropriately.

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