Todd Finn - RE/MAX Partners



Posted by Todd Finn on 11/26/2017

Saving for a down payment on a home is a long process that requires discipline and organization. But we all know that with so many other things going on in our lives it can be hard to spend enough time focusing on your budget.

Fortunately, there are several tools available to soon-to-be homeowners who want to keep track of their spending and make sure they meet their down payment goals. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the best budgeting apps, websites, and other tools to help you keep yourself accountable so you can be living in your new home as soon as possible.

Why budget for a down payment?

If you’ve saved money in the past for a purchase without a budget you might be wondering why you should go through the effort of creating one now.

However, there are many reasons to have a budget, especially if you’re planning on making an investment as large as a home. Here are just a few:

  • Keeping an accurate budget will let you know almost exactly how much you can expect to save for a down payment

  • Budgeting helps you locate and cut out expenses that would be better used in your savings account

  • Budgeting will give you peace of mind along the road to saving for your down payment

Now that we’ve talked about the importance of making a budget, let’s talk about some of the best ways to get it done.

YNAB

You Need a Budget, often shortened to YNAB, is one of the most useful tools for learning about and creating a budget. I don’t know about you, but I was never formally taught how to budget in school. But, it would have been a useful class to have!

YNAB combines budgeting tools with educational materials to help you save while you learn more about managing money. It can be easy to feel lost when it comes to learning about personal finance--that’s what makes YNAB so great.

Their basic precept is that you “give every dollar a job,” meaning there won’t be any money in any of your accounts or in your paycheck that doesn’t have a purpose. That doesn’t mean you can’t spend money on yourself every once in awhile, just that you’ll have planned ahead for moments so you can manage them.

You Need A Budget is available for Apple, Android, on Alexa and in your browser.

Saving with your spouse

Planning a budget yourself is complicated as it is. But planning together with a spouse can be even more confusing. However, there are ways to effectively make a family budget to save for a down payment.

First, you should both make sure you have individual budgets to make sure you know how much money from each of your incomes can go into savings. Opening a joint savings account and having a certain percentage of your paycheck direct deposited into that account is a good place to start.


From there, monitor your savings for a month to see if you need to alter this number, and try to stick to your monthly savings goal.




Tags: down payment   budgeting  
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Posted by Todd Finn on 11/19/2017

If you plan to sell a house, you should allocate time and resources to remove clutter from the attic. By doing so, you can show off the true size of your house and increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

Ultimately, there are several best practices to help home sellers declutter an attic, and these practices include:

1. Separate Clutter from Items That You Want to Keep

Your attic may be filled with a wide range of items. As a home seller, you'll want to differentiate attic items that you want to keep from those that need to be removed from your home.

With items that you intend to keep, you should package these items safely. Then, you can store these items neatly in your attic. Or, you can move these items into a storage unit.

For home sellers who encounter a massive collection of attic clutter, there is no need to worry. You may be able to sell or donate excess items that work properly and are in great condition. Furthermore, be sure to dispose of any damaged or broken items immediately.

2. Get Plenty of Help

The temptation to tackle attic cleaning on your own may be overwhelming, but it is important to remember that Rome was not built in a day. Thus, if you try to remove attic clutter on your own, you risk myriad problems along the way.

Attic clutter can range from small and lightweight to big and heavy. If you're operating on a strict timeline, you might struggle to quickly get clutter out of your attic if you work alone. And if you're forced to remove large items on your own, there is a risk of injury as well.

When it comes to decluttering an attic, caution is key. As such, you should enlist the help of family members and friends to ensure you can remove attic clutter quickly and safely.

In addition, if you want to avoid the hassle of decluttering your attic, you may want to hire professional help. With friendly, knowledgeable cleaning professionals at your side, you should have no trouble eliminating clutter from your attic.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Clutter is a major problem in many attics, and few h





Posted by Todd Finn on 11/12/2017

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of your home. Each room in a house requires its own tone and brightness.

In the bathroom, you’ll want bright vanity lights to see what you’re doing in the mirror. In the kitchen, you’ll want plenty of natural light to work by in the morning, and lights bright enough to see at night. The home office is a matter of personal preference--some people like bright lighting to keep them awake and alert, whereas others like to work in a calming environment that is more dimly lit.

In addition to adding character to your home, lightning is also a matter of conserving energy. Homes that are using energy efficient lighting can save $75 a year on their utility bill by replacing old incandescent bulbs. Furthermore, energy efficient bulbs have a longer life span, so you’ll have to change fewer of them over the years.

In today’s article, we’re going to talk about energy efficient lighting for your home and which options will best suit your needs.

Traditional incandescent bulbs

Many people have gotten used to the tone and warmth of traditional incandescent bulbs. However, with these bulbs 90% of their energy is given off as heat. In terms of lighting your home, that is 90% wasted energy.

Furthermore, due to upgrades in technology, incandescent bulbs are no longer manufactured and difficult to find.

Energy-efficient options

There are three main choices available for energy efficient bulbs. Halogen incandescent bulbs can be purchased in a range of shapes, colors, and sizes for your home. Although they meet energy ratings, the other two options are much more cost-efficient.

CFL or “compact fluorescent lamps,” are about 70% more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and they also come in a range of sizes and colors. However, if you’ve ever noticed some lights that take time to brighten or “warm up” you were probably looking at a CFL bulb. For this reason, they aren’t the best choice for extremely dark areas, such as a basement, where you need a lot of light immediately to find your way around.

The third option is LED lights or “light emitting diodes.” The most energy efficient of the three, LEDs are brighter and longer lasting than the other options.

While they were once the most expensive bulbs on the market, reserved for small electronics displays, LEDs have become much cheaper in recent years. They are available in various sizes, colors, and are able to be dimmed. They’ll also use the least amount of electricity over a twenty-year timespan in your home, up to ten dollars less than CFLs.

Choosing the right bulb

Now that you know about the three types of energy efficient bulbs, you’ll be able to consider their benefits and drawbacks for each room in your home. LEDs will last longer, they reach their maximum brightness immediately, and they’re able to be dimmed, making them an excellent option for most rooms in your home. However, they are more expensive on average than CFL or halogen bulbs.




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Posted by Todd Finn on 11/5/2017

Home insurance is something that every homeowner needs, but not necessarily something that everyone understands. It’s a great idea to have homeowner’s insurance because it protects your home and all of your possessions. Yet, this insurance is in fact a requirement. Mortgage companies require borrowers to have this protection when they buy a home. You’ll need protection for the amount of what is deemed the “fair value” of your home. This fair value is usually based on the price of purchase. Some renters are even required to have insurance for their property. As stated above, this type of protection is a smart idea. 


What A Home Insurance Policy Covers


The terms of home insurance can be very confusing. Most policies will cover damage to the outside of your home. This will include vandalism, fire, lightning, hurricanes, or down trees that may hit the home. The insurance company will estimate the amount of damage and provide you with funds so that the damage can be repaired. In extreme cases, your home may need to be completely rebuilt. Home insurance does not typically cover floods, earthquakes and home maintenance issues. You may need separate policies or extended policies to get these items covered based on where you live. The interior of your home is covered by home insurance as well. This includes clothing, appliances, furniture and electronics if they are destroyed by something that affects your home. 


Off-Premises Coverage


Some home insurance policies have coverage that includes items that belong to you, no matter where you are when something happens. If you lose jewelry on a trip to Europe, for example, you can get a homeowner’s policy that will cover that. This type of coverage does have strict limits, however, so don’t expect your insurance company to give you 100% of the value of your gold necklace that you lost in Paris! This type of coverage is great for items like engagement rings. 


Liability


Your homeowner’s insurance also includes a liability clause. This includes injuries that occur on your property that have been caused by you or your family. This will even include any problems caused by pets in the home. Beware that insurance companies can limit this type of coverage based on the type of dog breed that you own. Insurance companies may even decline to cover you based on the type of dog you own. If a dog bite does occur on your property and you have a breed that works within the insurance company’s limits, you’ll be covered. If anyone is hurt on your property and files a lawsuit, you’re protected.     

 

Rates


Your insurance rates will be determined by many factors including the neighborhood, crime rates and the climate of the area. Before you choose a place to live, you may want to investigate the insurance costs before you settle on a place to buy.





Posted by Todd Finn on 10/29/2017

If you want to promote your house to potential buyers, there is no shortage of options at your disposal. In fact, some of the proven ways to showcase a residence to potential buyers include:

1. Home Listing

A home listing can make a world of difference for any home seller, at any time. However, it is important to note that not all home listings are created equal. But if a seller allocates the necessary time and resources to create an effective home listing, he or she should have no trouble stirring up interest in a residence.

Oftentimes, an effective home listing includes accurate information about a home's age and condition. The listing also should be both informative and engaging.

The ideal home listing should be shared with a seller's family members and friends too. That way, a seller's loved ones can offer details to lots of potential buyers about a residence, thereby increasing the likelihood of a fast home sale.

2. Social Media

Facebook, Twitter and other social networks are exceedingly valuable to home sellers. These networks enable sellers to share details about their residences, as well as respond to potential buyers' concerns and questions.

If you decide to share details about your home via social media, it often helps to include high-resolution photographs of your residence. With these photographs, a seller can showcase various areas of a home and help a buyer determine whether to set up a date and time to check out a residence in-person.

Furthermore, don't forget to post to social media regularly. Because the more frequently that a seller shares details about his or her home across social networks, the more likely it becomes that a potential buyer will learn about the residence and schedule a home showing.

3. Real Estate Agent

If you are unsure about how to promote your residence to potential buyers, there is no need to worry. Dozens of real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can guide you along the home selling process.

A real estate agent will learn about your home selling goals, as well as your residence. Then, this housing market professional will offer home selling suggestions and help you map out a successful home selling strategy.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings and open house events, keep you up to date about offers on your residence and negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf. He or she also is unafraid to speak from the heart, and as such, will provide honest, unbiased home selling recommendations.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can respond to your home selling queries. This housing market professional will even educate you about the real estate market and ensure that you can make informed home selling decisions.

Ready to promote your residence to large groups of potential buyers? Use the aforementioned options, and you can improve your chances of stirring up substantial interest in your house.




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