Posted by Sandra Tessier on 10/17/2017

One of the biggest hurdles in becoming a homeowner is that of saving for a down payment. In today’s world, it’s hard for anyone to save sizable amounts of money due to the extreme cost of living in most areas. With less income and higher expenses, many people have less of an opportunity to save money.


Saving Isn’t Impossible


Many homebuyers are first-time homebuyers. While many simply dream of owning a home, others work to make it happen. Saving money is a goal. Once you save the money, you have made a real accomplishment. You’ll have a huge reward waiting for you once you reach your goal. How can you save effectively? There’s a few simple steps that will allow you to start saving for a down payment on a home. Remember that no matter how slow you go, every step is one step closer to hitting your goals. 


Get A Savings Account


Preferably, the savings account that you open should be dedicated to your house expenses. Most of the time, your bank will allow you to set up automatic transfers from your checking account. See how much you can afford to save and set up these transfers. Each time you get a paycheck from work, have a certain amount put right into the savings account. You’ll be saving without even thinking about it.


Be Budget Friendly


Budgeting sounds complicated, but really, it’s quite simple. First, put your monthly gross income on a spreadsheet. Then subtract things like taxes and fees that come out of your paycheck. Next, subtract all of your necessary monthly costs. These can include student loan debt, car loans, rent, and how much money you spend on food and entertainment. There's so many little things that we spend our money on everyday, you may be surprised to see how much you’re spending and what you’re spending it on. Some categories are important and others are not.       


See Where You Can Cut Costs


After you have made a concrete budget, see where you can cut some costs. If you need to cut out going to dinner and the movies, then do that. There’s bound to be something that you can cut out of your budget that’s not a necessity that can help you to save some cash. The sacrifice will be worth it in the end!       


Indulge For Your House


Every time that you get a small bonus, a gift, or a tax refund, put it away. It can be tempting to want to go buy a brand new TV or spend your money on entertainment, but saving that money for your house fund will be a lot more rewarding. 

The bottom line is that it won’t be a huge task saving your money for a down payment once you put your mind to it. Happy saving!





Posted by Sandra Tessier on 10/10/2017

Between 30 and 70 percent of the water used by homeowners is used outdoors. Water usage in the summer time skyrockets as the heat rises and the grass starts growing. People are watering their gardens, their lawns, and themselves as a means to fight back against the heat of the season. Water usage, however, is becoming an increasingly serious issue as global temperature rises. In recent years, droughts have affected much of the continental United States, from California to the Carolinas. Most of us have become familiar with the concept of local water bans; limits on water usage for things like watering the lawn, washing cars, etc. However one good practice to get into is conserving water usage even when your area isn't in a time of drought. Follow these tips to start conserving water. They'll help you save money and help you do your small part for the environment as well.

Tips for conserving water outdoors

Since water usage peaks during the summer when we spend more time outdoors, we'll begin with tips for saving water in the backyard.
  • Sprinkler systems. Homes with sprinkler systems use significantly more water than those without. Sprinkler systems often water the grass when it doesn't need it or it overwaters. Properly setting up your sprinkler system will keep your water bill down.
  • Watering the grass. Before you water the grass, determine if it needs water. Will it rain soon? Step on the grass and see if it springs back. If it does, you might want to hold off.
  • Keep the grass long. The roots grow deeper when the grass grows longer. Deeper roots mean the grass taps into groundwater deeper into the earth, so you won't need to water as much.

Indoor water conservation

  • Replace old faucets and shower heads. Upgrading to more efficient faucets and shower heads will significantly cut down on water usage. If you're concerned about water pressure in the shower, go with a shower head designed for such a purpose.
  • Use a shower bucket. When you're heating up water for your shower, catch it in a bucket and use it to water your indoor and outdoor plants. Or, take the opportunity to wash your tub with this water.
  • Only run the dishwasher when it's full. Many people don't want to wait to wash the dishes, but doing so will conserve a lot of water in the long run.
  • Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth and washing hands. These are habits that might take some time to break, but they're well worth the effort. Keeping the water running while washing your hands and brushing your teeth uses exponentially more water than is needed.
  • Go to the car wash. Instead of washing your car at home where the water you use runs off into the ground, head to a car wash that utilizes recycled water to wash cars.
  • Wash dishes by hand efficiently. If you don't own a dishwasher or only have a few dishes that need to be washed, do so efficiently. Don't keep the water running while you're scrubbing the dishes, or fill the sink with a couple inches of water and use this for washing all the dishes you have.





Posted by Sandra Tessier on 10/3/2017

Whether you’ve just bought a home or you’re hoping to spruce up your current house, redecorating can be a great way to make a home feel new and exciting. However, when it comes to the actual decorating and design, many homeowners are at a loss.

Sure, you could hire an interior decorator to help you out, but oftentimes that expense doesn’t fit into the average homeowner’s budget, especially if you just spend thousands closing on a new home.

Fortunately, there are many free sources of inspiration available that will help you identify the right style for your home at the right price for your budget.

In today’s article, we’re going to give you some tips on where to find interior decor inspiration so you can get started on restyling your home.

Grab an app or two

Searching for redecorating tips doesn’t have to be a full-time job. You can browse ideas when you’re on the train to work, relaxing in bed at night, or waiting for an appointment at the doctor’s office just by downloading a few select apps on your phone.

Two of the most common apps for home decorating are Pinterest and Instagram. However, you’ll need to give those apps some information to make sure you’re getting the right images in your feed.

On Pinterest, add “home decor” “interior design” and “home decor ideas” to your interests so that you’ll see those images and articles first in your feed.

For Instagram, you’ll have to follow accounts that post what you’re looking for, then Instagram will recommend similar accounts.

Here are a few common interior design accounts to get started with:

Take an online course

There’s more to interior decorating than just finding some furniture you like, making sure it will fit in your living room, and buying it. Design principles of color, texture, and form all work together to create the full experience of a home’s interior.

While people study for years to develop techniques of design, you can learn the basics relatively quickly. If you’re interested in learning something new and updating the design of your home, you could take an online course in interior design.

Howcast has a great series of free videos called Interior Design Basics that will provide you with a good overview. Then, if you want to continue learning, check out one of SkillShare’s many interior design courses.

Take a trip to the library

When it comes to seeing the best examples of interior decoration or finding detailed information on design techniques, nothing can beat your local library. Most libraries also have subscriptions to common magazines like Better Homes and Gardens, Elle Decor, and HGTV Magazine.

If your library doesn’t have many options, you can often request items for free through their interlibrary loans system. They’ll send you books and magazines from surrounding towns and give you a notification when they’ve arrived.





Posted by Sandra Tessier on 9/26/2017

Even if you’ve only lived at your address for several months, it’s likely that you’ve developed an emotional connection to your home. Despite a few hiccups like a pipe leaking, sink clogging or a kitchen cabinet drawer sticking, you might not be ready to sell your house and move into a new home. Renovating your house might prove a better choice. Consider the following factors before you make a final decision on whether to sell or renovate. Neighborhood – Is the neighborhood where you live starting to decline? Is crime increasing, causing property values to drop? It may be time to start house hunting and move into a better neighborhood. Renovating won’t change your entire neighborhood, so this decision is fairly straightforward. Family Needs – If your family is growing, you may need to move in order to give your children sleeping and entertaining room, especially if your children are getting older and want their own private space. You could also renovate and add one to two bedrooms onto your existing home. Age of House – An aging house often means that wiring, pipes and flooring are experiencing wear and tear. If your home has ever flooded or endured hard weather conditions, renovating may call for a roof replacement, new sidewalks, new floor tiles and painting. As part of your renovations, you may also need to replace utility equipment like your water heater or furnace. Job Situation – Think about why you’re considering moving. The chance to work a job that you’re passionate about or the chance to continue working with your current employer who may be relocating to a different town may make it easy to decide to move. If jobs are drying up where you live, you could open up to new job opportunities if you move. However, the chance to get promoted or take on a higher paying role may only come if you stay where you are. Should this be the case, renovating may be the way to go. Disposable Income – Renovating a house can get pricey, especially if your home requires a lot of structural work. Ask a home inspector to tell you how much and what types of work would improve your house. Count up the cost to have these repairs completed. Factor in any cosmetic work that you’d like done on your home. Be honest in determining whether you have enough disposable income to renovate. Compare the cost to renovate your home against the cost of taking on a new mortgage. Remember when relatives and friends visited after you bought your home, helping you to celebrate this new independent step? It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that you felt proud of your decision, a home choice that you made after weeks, perhaps months, of house hunting. Add in years of memories, children growing up in the house and huge family celebrations and moving might be the last thing that you want to do. On the other hand, moving could prove to be the best choice. Before you make a decision, consider the above factors. Doing so could help you to avoid entering the realm of regret.





Posted by Sandra Tessier on 9/19/2017

Remember how excited, happy and nervous you felt days before you moved into your current home? It was the perfect house, meeting you and your family’s needs. Hard to believe several years have passed since then. It may also be hard to believe that you’re actually considering moving into another house. But, moving just might be the right option. Makeup of a new city - Face it. You felt more curious, connected and happy when you visited a relative or friend at their home in another city. Culture, vibe, entertainment options and natural landscapes in the new area appeal to you. Moving to a new city might be just what you need to feel revitalized. Before you move to a new city, stay in the city for at least a week, this time without visiting family. It's a good way to learn more about the city and find out if you really want to move. Neighborhood changes – If crime in your neighborhood has increased, adding another lock on your house doors and windows may not be the best option. Instead, it may be time to move to a better, less crime ridden, city. Argumentative neighbors, an increase in untrained neighborhood pets and congested traffic are other reasons why moving may be a good option. Family Size – Adult children leaving home to embark on their own could cause your house to feel too big. After your adult children leave, you may also desire to relocate and move closer to your siblings or parents. Similar to empty nesting, plans to have children could inspire a move. Infants and toddlers becoming teenagers may require added privacy or the need for growing children to have their own bedroom instead of sharing a room with one to two siblings. Marital status – Get married, separated or divorced and you may not have much of a choice as to whether or not you’ll move to a new home. The move could help you to accept other transitions that your marital status change brings into your life. Moving into a new house may also help you to feel empowered, certain that you can thrive on your own or with your new spouse. Career – Opportunity to work a better job in another city or neighborhood may inspire a move. These career opportunities could come through a company led relocation, market shifts or a job search. Moving to a new area could also introduce you to employers, new clients you could support as an independent contractor, franchise or government agency work opportunities that you were previously unaware of. Your current house itself may also be a reason to move. The number of home repairs required to keep your house in good condition may have increased, possibly even doubling, since you bought the house. Construction or local zoning laws may have had a negative impact on sewage and water sources where you live. These are times when moving may be a good option.




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