Chris Bohr's Blog
The age-old problem of trying to stretch your household budget is a challenge nearly everyone grapples with at one time or another. If you're confounded by the fact that your paycheck(s) seem to disappear within days of depositing them, it may be time to examine your spending habits.
Creating a written budget is often an eye-opening experience, especially if you haven't taken the time to do that recently -- or ever! Itemizing all your monthly and periodic expenses can not only help you realize where the money's going, but it can also give you a greater feeling of control over your life. As an added bonus, reviewing your household budget a couple times a year will also increase your awareness of your debts, your income, and your spending habits. Once you know how tight your budget is and whether you need to reduce expenses or increase income, you'll be in a stronger position to effectively manage your family's finances.
- Creating a budget: Whether you prefer to use spreadsheets, software, or just a simple income-versus-expenses chart, setting up a budget will help put you in the driver's seat of your cash flow situation. While there are many distinctions between running a business and managing a household, there are probably more similarities than differences!
- Identifying "money leaks": If your family's budget seems tighter than you'd like it to be, one possible reason is that you're spending more than you need to on some expenses. The perfect examples are homeowners' and automobile insurance. You've probably seen and heard countless ads for well-known insurance companies that say they can save you hundreds of dollars a year on your insurance policies. If you've been dismissing those claims as mere hype, consider the possibility that you may actually be paying more on your insurance premiums than necessary. It may be worth your while to have your insurance agent review your policy with you to make sure you're getting all the coverage you need and the discounts to which your entitled. The best way to remove any doubt is to get two or three quotes from other reputable insurance companies. You can often do this through email or online, so you shouldn't have to go to time-consuming office appointments just to get a few insurance quotes. To compare "apples to apples," make sure to use identical coverage amounts and deductibles for each estimate your seeking; hopefully the agents you deal with will remind you of that. It's also possible to save hundreds more dollars a year by contacting your cable TV company, Internet service provider, and cell phone service (It might be one company) to discuss ways your bill can be lowered. The first step would be to examine your latest invoice and determine whether you're paying for services you don't use or need. If you see charges that are excessive or confusing, don't hesitant to get on the phone and have those issues clarified. If inconsistent utility bills are a problem, then switching over to a monthly budget plan will make your expenses more predictable and manageable.
If you're in the process of preparing your home for the real estate market, get ready to roll up your sleeves and make your home as irresistible as possible!
While this may sound like an enormous undertaking that you don't have the time or energy to tackle, remember one thing: When you put your home up for sale, there's a lot at stake!
Generally, the longer your house stays on the market, the less marketable it becomes. If potential buyers learn that your house has been on the market for longer than, say, a few months, one of the first questions they'll ask or think will be "What's wrong with it?" Once questions like that start arising, the overall appeal of your home begins to decline. As you can imagine, your ability to get the highest possible price for your house also weakens over time. That's why it's important to do everything possible to enhance the look and feel of your home.
Home Staging Counts
Although effective home staging can be a crucial aspect of selling your house quickly, there is a point at which diminishing returns may come into play. Few home sellers have unlimited time and money to invest in staging their home, and it's easy to go above and beyond what's actually necessary to secure a buyer.
There are dozens of variables that affect a house selling strategy, including the real estate market and the condition of your home. If it's a "buyers' market" and there are a lot of comparable houses for sale in your neighborhood, then you might have to work a little harder to make your home stand out and attract offers. If you're fortunate enough to be in a desirable area and not facing a lot of competition from other home sellers, then the law of supply and demand should work in your favor! However, it's still important to make the most of your property's curb appeal and the overall appearance of your home's interior.
The cost of home staging can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, but your real estate agent can provide invaluable guidance on how to cost-effectlively maximize the "eye appeal" of your house and property. While perfection is generally an unattainable standard in home staging (or anything else), optimal results only come from putting your best foot forward.
Several words to remember and be guided by when preparing a house for sale are "immaculate", "spotless", "manicured" (lawn), "fresh" (looking and smelling), "updated", "well-maintained", and "charming". If prospective buyers are using those words and phrases to describe your home, then you know you're on the right track! Your agent can provide you with helpful insights and suggestions for making a great impression on potential buyers -- without having to spend more on home staging than necessary!
More Info on this Property | Sign up for Updates
In today’s world, everything is online. You probably have started your home search online as well. It’s plain fun to look at real estate. You can dream of living in a place you can’t afford. You might never see any of those listings that you’re browsing in person. Should you?
No matter when your home search may become a reality, there are a few benefits to seeing houses in person.
You’ll See What Your Money Can Get You
What you want and what you can afford may be far apart. You won’t understand the reality of the housing market unless you see it firsthand. By looking at what’s available on the market at a given time, you will be able to see how much house your dollars will buy you. Knowing what you can afford will help you to keep your expectations in check when you do head out to search for a home. Looking at what homes are on the market can actually help you to help your real estate agent find you something that will suit your needs. There’s nothing worse than telling your agent that you want a home that’s impossible to find.
You’ll Meet Real Estate Agents
By going to open houses, you’ll be able to meet different real estate agents. Through this process, you could very well meet the agent who will help you to find your dream home. If you like the way an agent is helping to sell a home, you’ll very likely get along with them as a buyer.
You Will Know How Much Competition You Have
If you’re attending open houses and find that there are many other people there the same time as you, it could be a sign that the market has tight competition. A lot of open house attendees means that prices are higher because the competition is fierce. You may have to offer above asking price in order to secure a deal on a home.
You’ll Learn Different Areas
Open houses can bring you to places you may have never thought of living before. You’ll get a sense of what different neighborhoods are like if you spend some time exploring through attending open houses.
You’ll Learn What You Can Live With
It’s easy to have a concrete picture in your mind of what you want in a home and what you can deal with. When you see houses firsthand, you may be able to open your mind a bit as to the type of home you’re seeking.