Budgeting 101: How to Plan Your Budget Around Your Monthly Mortgage Payments
If you’ve decided to invest in a home, you might be wondering how to make all the expenses work from the groceries to your mode of transportation to all those little things that quickly add up. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to ensure you have the money each month by calculating your expenses and ensuring there’s a little wiggle room in the leaner times. Here are the details on how to begin with your mortgage budgeting plan.
Calculate Your Monthly Payment
Whether you’ve just purchased a home or are trying to determine if your dream home is right for you, it’s very important to establish approximately what your monthly payment will be. It’s important to have a mortgage cost that is sustainable, so add up your payment, home insurance, property taxes and your interest rate. While this should give you an estimate, you’ll want to ensure you add extra room if you are taking advantage of an adjustable rate mortgage.
Determine Your Necessary Expenses
It’s easy to be idealistic and assume that you’ll be able to come up with the money for your ideal home, but it’s very important to keep your feet on the ground and be realistic about your budget. Once you’ve determined your payment, calculate the average amount for your utilities, transportation costs and any debt you have. You’ll also want to add in groceries, toiletries, and extras like gym passes, meals or entertainment. By adding up your monthly payment and your expenses, you should be able to determine if a house is realistic for you.
Leave A Little Extra
If your expenses and your home costs add up to balance out, that’s great, but it’s also important to leave some wiggle room in your budget for the other things you’ll need. While you’ll want to ensure you’re saving money for the future, if you have any short-term life goals like a travel destination or going back to school, you’ll need to leave a bit for the month-to-month. The unexpected can occur at any time so you’ll want to have some leverage for the times when the car breaks down or there’s a medical issue.
When investing in a home, it’s very important to know that you can make the monthly mortgage payment and still have enough left over to pay your expenses and save for down the road. If you’re currently preparing to buy, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.
Buyer Beware: Three Major Red Flags to Watch for When Visiting Open Houses
Open houses around Hendersonville are a good opportunity to get out to see what kind of home you’re looking for and if it will work for you. Fortunately, they can also be a good opportunity to find out some things about the house you’re looking at that might not be listed on the website and may be less than flattering. If you’re wondering what red flags to watch out for, pay attention to the following things the next time you’re at a showing.
Many home sellers try to engage the senses to entice buyers, whether it’s by baking cookies or spraying air freshener. However, a lot of air freshener or scent can also be a means of hiding less than pleasant smells that are a giveaway for big problems. If you notice a lot of scent when visiting an open house or if there’s an odor, you may want to look for mildew or mold as this can mean a huge house-owning hurdle to deal with down the road.
An Abundance Of Fix-Up
A small maintenance issue here and there may not be important, whether it’s a doorknob that doesn’t catch or peeling paint on the wall. Unfortunately, an abundance of small issues can signal a certain attitude towards general maintenance that should be approached with caution. While it may just be a few details that were forgotten about, it’s important to pay attention as there may be a lot of more important maintenance issues that are not being taken care of if the minor ones are visible.
Issues With the Foundation
There are many issues that will hopefully come to the forefront at the home inspection, but it’s not worth it to get invested in a home only to back out due to a failing foundation. Instead of leaving it up to the due diligence of the home inspector, check for large gaps in the home’s foundation to unveil any issues on this front. The foundation can be a huge issue if it requires a fix-up, and it’s one you probably won’t want to deal with in your new home.
Open houses in and around Hendersonville can provide a great sense of what it’s like to live in a home, but they can also be a good opportunity to take note of any major issues with a future home. If you’re currently preparing to buy a home, you may want to contact a real estate professional like myself for more information.
Know someone getting married soon? This is a great list you may want to share — “10 things every newlywed couple needs in their home” via Redfin
by Sage Singleton
When you get married, “my home” becomes “our home.” Marriage equals commitment, which means you need to start thinking long-term when it comes to your household purchases. Ask yourself, “Will I still be using this five years from now?
Changing the way you think about your home purchases might mean spending more money up front, but some things are worth the investment in order to build a practical, functional, and beautiful home for both you and your partner.
1. Deluxe Towels
Cheap towels fray and tear easily—plus, they’re less absorbent. High-quality towels actually get the job done, last longer, and look and feel more luxurious, making them a better value despite the higher price tag.
2. A Household Organizer
Organization is key once you get married, and a household organizer goes a long way toward making sure everything has its own place. You can find a number of stylish organizers online, or you can try a DIY approach for a more personal touch.
3. Indoor Plants
Simple household plants can do wonders for your home. Air plants are especially good for homes, as they thrive best in filtered light. Plus, they help scrub toxins from the air! Or, you and your spouse can have fun learning about the meanings of different plants and choose one that you feel suits your personality as a couple.
4. A Grown-Up Dish Set
When you inevitably have guests over, the last thing you want is a mismatched collection of different plates, silverware, and glasses. Invest in a sturdy set of dishes that can withstand normal wear and are practical for any occasion. In general, white dishes are a solid choice, because they can be easily customized for any occasion with napkins, placemats, and other accessories.
5. An Advanced DVR
An advanced DVR can save you some headaches. Rather than juggling storage space and arguing over who deleted whose shows, upgrade to a DVR that can handle your recording needs. You’ll avoid some arguments, and you’ll be surprised that you can find deals to fit a newlywed budget.
6. A High-Quality Mattress
A good mattress is an absolute must. Take the time to research your options and figure out what will work best for you and your spouse. Get something that gives you the right amount of support and will hold up over time. And while good mattresses are expensive, remember that it’s something that you’ll be using for six or more hours every night for years to come.
7. Practical Knives
Good knives don’t only make food preparation easier— they’re also safer. You may also want to consider getting a blade sharpener. That way, you can keep your blades from getting dull without having to pay someone to sharpen them for you.
You may love that poster you’ve hung in your bedroom since you were 14 or that portrait of Genghis Khan you picked up while traveling, but your partner may not. When building a home as a couple, you may want to consider ditching some of the art from your single days in favor of décor items that express your artistic taste as a couple.
9. A Tool Kit
Whether you’re renting or you own your home, having a decent tool kit is essential when it comes to maintaining your living space. Plus, it makes things a lot easier when you assemble furniture or hang artwork.
10. A Home Security System
Now that you’re investing more in your household, it makes sense to protect it. Modern home security systems can include video surveillance, monitoring, and even home automation features like light dimmers and door locks that can be controlled remotely. There are also home security systems just for renters that can be easily moved when it’s time to transition to a different home.
The Rorschach (or inkblot) test is the one where a psychologist shows you a series of pictures that seem to be random black-and-white splatters. The shrink asks you what you think they look like. What you “see” in the inkblots tells something about who you are—how you look at things.
If someone were to create a pack of inkblots to test for who would be best suited for the tasks facing Hendersonville homebuyers, they’d be designed to pinpoint character traits that come in handy during a typical homebuyer’s quest. I don’t know how Dr. Rorschach came up with the shapes he chose (what was he thinking?)—but at least four characteristics to look for would be:
1. Low financial anxiety. One trait that’s common among those who are well prepared to go after their first Hendersonville home is command of their financial affairs. If that’s not present—if finances are amorphous or if creditworthiness is shaky—potential first-timers are almost certainly jumping the gun.
2. Patience. The probability of winding up with exactly the right Hendersonville home increases in tandem with the ability to resist hasty impulses. The first or second property visited might ultimately turn out to be the best one—but there is wisdom in verifying that through comparison with a range of other possibilities. Patience in house hunting makes for an informed homebuyer.
3. Flexibility. Having a firm list of requirements is helpful to get a house hunt off to a productive start, but if those requirements are set in concrete, some of what might turn out to be the best candidate properties can be missed entirely. I can’t tell you how many great finds have resulted when we took a little extra time to check out what had seemed to be an iffy prospect.
4. Openness. Homebuyers increase the likelihood of winding up with the most suitable Hendersonville home in their budget range when they aren’t shy about sharing their ideas and reactions with their agent. Being talkative is perfectly okay for engaged homebuyers—just as being closed-mouthed is something of a drawback. The more feedback that’s freely exchanged between the boss (you) and your Realtor® (me), the better!
For Hendersonville homebuyers of all stripes, another kind of “inkblot test” occurs when you walk through the front door of what ultimately becomes “the one.” That’s an experience it doesn’t take a shrink to interpret: it’s the feeling that you’ve found your home!
When the time is right to start looking, I hope you’ll give me a call at 828-747-8113
Time Magazine ended last week with a commentary that could foreshadow how this year’s Hendersonville housing market might differ from years past. Author Bill Saporito identified a mismatch in the housing market that could bode well for empty nesters. Whether or not the implications will be a perfect fit for our Hendersonville housing outlook, the “Big Picture” assessment does seem to gel with a lot of what we’re hearing and reading.
Time’s housing market “mismatch” begins with the national assessment that the U.S. is experiencing an annual shortage of as many as 700,000 new homes. Even though the latest economic outlook is refreshingly encouraging, new home builders are only now beginning to build the capacity to expand operations. As a result, “they haven’t banked as much land” or filed enough permits to keep pace. It’s also possible that the new administration’s crackdown on illegal immigrants may materially tighten labor availability.
What that probably means for our local Hendersonville housing prospects is what you expect when demand outpaces supply. When those greater conditions combine with the more immediate local factors, the overall takeaway should be good news for empty nesters (and downsizers in general). In addition to the extra energy that arrives with real estate’s traditional spring selling season, this year, in addition to the shortage of supply, the specter of rising Hendersonville mortgage costs acts as an extra prod. Time quotes the chief economist of one global group on that score: “…buyers are beginning to realize you might as well get in now.”
The good news for baby boomers, empty nesters, and downsizers of all stripes is that the new housing starts are now disproportionately being designed with them in mind: high service, luxury condos leading the pack. What that means is even fewer new single-family homes are in the pipeline—further raising demand for their existing properties, if and when they decide to list.
If you have been considering any of the opportunities unfolding in today’s Hendersonville housing market, I’ll be delighted to discuss ways I can help you take advantage of them. Call me for a consultation—of course it will be obligation-free.
Except for the few chip remnants that will dwell down there wedged between sofa cushions until spring cleaning time, the principal residue from most Hendersonville Super Bowl parties is little more than a jumble of disconnected memories. There was the seemingly endless progression of pregame interviews, clips from past Roman numeralled contests, silly football-themed features, prognostications (somehow seeming to favor Atlanta, even though the serious odds-makers never wavered from their confidence in a Patriots win)—then, finally, the game itself. Well, the beginning of the game, anyway. The actual contest was suspended at length while Gaga was suspended from the rafters. But at long last, once the game resumed, that segment of Hendersonville’s citizenry that wasn’t already Super Bowled-out was witness to New England’s march into the record books.
At least crestfallen Falcons fans had the consolation of a thrilling season and their quarterback’s rise to become the league’s Most Valuable Player. They’d also been witness to a memorable event in sports history. One thing is for certain: New England sewed up its place at the top of the pro pigskin record charts—and it’s likely to be a long time before they’re dislodged.
Meantime, the non-Super Bowl-fixated portion of the world hummed along as it does on any Sunday. In our Hendersonville real estate world, not a lot of home-showing activity was going on—but it was against a background of some mortgage rate news that was the exact opposite of what was going on inside NRG Stadium. The expected wasn’t happening as predicted. The mortgage rate favorite was a no-show. The week’s mortgage rate outcome was a surprise. Those mortgage rates that are supposed to gradually rise this year? They didn’t.
As CNN Money headlined, “Mortgage rates kick off new year with a drop.” It was the first downturn in 30-year fixed rates since the presidential election. Freddie Mac said that the average rate fell from 4.32% to 4.2%. “Here’s some good news to start the new year,” they said; “mortgages are a little cheaper.”
As everyone knows, when Hendersonville mortgage rates fall, it’s good news for Hendersonville buyers and sellers. For homeowners looking to join the Hendersonville listings, it means encouragement for their prospective buyers, because it offsets increases in asking prices. And in fact, Hendersonville’s real estate scene continues to be most favorable. Monthly mortgage payment numbers are still suspended at near-historical lows (unlike Lady Gaga, whose suspension was way up there).
The Super Bowl parties may be over for a while, but at least until March Madness fires up, Hendersonville house-hunters can now make the most of it. Whether you’ll be looking to list or to do some serious house-hunting, give me a call—the Hendersonville real estate playing field is clear of distractions!