Cynthia Berry's Blog
Let's face it – the homebuying journey may prove to be an expensive experience. If you're not careful, you risk overspending to acquire your dream house. On the other hand, if you purchase a home without identifying underlying structural problems, you risk costly home repairs down the line.
Ultimately, it helps to establish a budget for the homebuying journey. If you have a budget in place, you can increase the likelihood of having the necessary funds on hand to overcome many potential homebuying hurdles.
You should have no trouble creating a homebuying budget, either. In fact, here are three tips to help you put together a budget for the homebuying journey.
1. Assess Your Financial Situation
If you intend to purchase a house in the foreseeable future, you'll want to take a close look at your finances. By doing so, you may be able to reduce your monthly spending and use your savings to accelerate the homebuying journey.
It often helps to assess your daily, weekly and monthly expenses. Then, you may discover bills that you can cut from your everyday budget.
For example, you may enjoy dining out regularly, but cooking at home may prove to be more cost-effective. And as you reduce your dining expenses, you can save money that you can use toward the down payment on a new house.
2. Obtain Your Credit Score
Believe it or not, your credit score can make a world of difference in your quest to acquire a house. If you check your credit score, you may be able to find ways to improve your credit score prior to kicking off a house search.
You are eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Take advantage of this perk, and you can learn your credit score in no time at all.
Remember, your credit score may have a major impact on your ability to land a favorable mortgage. And if you find that you have a below-average credit score, you then can pay off outstanding debt to improve it before you start your search for a new home.
3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Pre-approval for a mortgage is ideal. With a mortgage in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a budget for buying a house.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can offer insights into a variety of mortgage options and help you make an informed mortgage selection.
Lastly, as you prepare a homebuying budget, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you hone your home search to residences that fall within your price range. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to avoid spending too much to acquire your dream house.
Get ready to buy a house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can establish a successful homebuying budget.
Whether it's for your children or grandchildren starting a kid-friendly garden is a rewarding activity for everyone. It’s a great hobby to enjoy together and a wonderful learning experience for you both.
Start by sectioning off a piece of your yard or garden just for them. If you already have a garden or plan on starting one of your own this will allow your child to have a space of their own and protect your more advanced plants from their inexperience. They will love to have a corner for themselves! Allow them to do as they please here and decorate it as they wish.
When putting their garden together don’t make all the decisions for them. Allow them to pick out which plants to grow and/or where they will be planted. Help them choose from plants they are already familiar with or to create a themed garden such as a pizza, rainbow or alphabetical garden. Herbs and edible flowers make for an exciting sensory experience and make great additions to a child-friendly garden.
After choosing what to plant start with your seedlings indoors. Now is a great time to start educating them about the growing process, what to expect and what their role in helping their new plants grow will be. Visit the library together to check out some books all about gardening. Children’s educational books with lots of bright, colorful pictures and easy to read words will help them feel like this really is their project and responsibility to learn about.
If choosing potted plants take them with you and teach them the signs of a healthy plant. Allowing them to choose which plant to take home will create excitement and ownership over the gardening process.
Assign your child age-appropriate tasks for caring for their garden and assist them where needed. As much as it is their garden they will need your help to keep it alive and thriving. This could be planting the initial seedlings, weekly watering, or regular weeding. And be sure to include them when it comes time to harvest all of your hard work together!
Keep the learning process and excitement alive with activities to track the progress of their garden. Consider helping them start a plant journal where they can track color, growth or draw depictions of their plants. You could also keep a photo record of your child standing next to the plant each week to track its growth in a fun, visual way.
Gardening is an enriching, relaxing and educational pastime for adults and children alike. Spend quality time with your child by helping them start a garden of their very own, even if it's just a small corner of your own prized garden. Reap the rewards!