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Buying and Selling A Home Before School Starts

Buying and Selling A Home Before School Starts

If you want to sell your home, you might be wondering if you should do it before or after the school year. If you do it before school returns for a new year, there are plenty of benefits as families will want to get settled before the back-to-school rush hits. However, as a seller, you also need to consider whether you can also buy a new home for your family at the same time. 

Hot Market 

Most people looking to sell their house want to do so in the summer for a couple of reasons. Selling your current home and looking for a new home at the same time can be stressful. Sellers often want to close on their existing home around about the same time as buying their new home, so they are not carrying two mortgages. Additionally, sellers often decide to put their house on the market over the summer not to interrupt their children’s school year. 

As a homebuyer, this is terrific news because that means there are often more property options over the summer. Currently, there is a shortage of family-size homes for sale in many cities. It’s important to research the availability of homes in the city or neighborhood you are targeting to buy to know how this will affect you. Whether you are buying and selling a home or buying your first home, you’ll need to leave yourself enough time to find the right home for you and your family if getting settled before the new school year is important to you. 

Reduced Price 

Some homes get listed in early spring, and by the time mid-summer hits, the home may still be up for sale. Going into the school year with their home still on the market is what sellers try to avoid. Fortunately for homebuyers, this makes sellers motivated to sell. Therefore, they might reduce the price of their home or be more willing to negotiate the price. When looking for homes in the late summer, you may see that many listings have reduced prices to sell quickly. However, if you are buying a home in a competitive market and find one that meets your needs, you shouldn’t wait for the price to reduce to make an offer. 

Ample Time and Better Weather 

Something that you have more of in the summer than any other season is time. The summer means no daily trips to drop off and pick up the kids from school. Without having to make those trips, it leaves you more time after you get off work to gather the family and start the hunt for the perfect home. Depending on where you live, it gets dark around 8:30-9:30 p.m., there’s time after school and work for the family to visit a few open houses. 

The weather outside always determines what people are going to do that day. Rainy days and winter snow flurries make it almost impossible to get out and do what needs to be done. The best season for home buying is the summer because it is much easier to travel from one place to the next with clear blue skies rather than pouring rain conditions. Depending on where you live, the summer can provide you with the perfect sunny days, making it convenient for you to get from one destination to the next in your home buying experience. 

Sellers also benefit from having an ample amount of time and having the weather work in their favor. With the responsibility of selling a house comes the need to schedule your time efficiently. You need to effectively schedule open houses to give potential buyers the opportunity to see your home. It must be your priority to manage your time well, and that includes clearing the entire family, including any pets, while the real estate agent shows the home to a potential buyer. Fortunately, everybody likes to be out during the summer to enjoy the nice weather so sellers can take their family to the park during the time. In contrast to the winter, where nobody likes to hang around outside for an extended period of time, the summer is the perfect season to attract people to your open houses. A home always looks its best with the natural sunlight shining through and keeping some windows or doors open for the potential buyers provides a more welcoming gesture. 

Finding The Best School District and Neighborhood  

Finding a new school district and neighborhood for your children to live in can be a very daunting task. You may have many questions lingering about how to know if a particular school district and neighborhood will fit with your wants and needs. Fortunately for you, buying a home over the summer is especially beneficial if you move to another neighborhood that will require your children to start at a new school district. There are plenty of online resources that provide detailed information about different school districts and their partnering neighborhoods.  

FinLocker users can start their home search directly from their app. The widget will allow you to explore prospective homes and neighborhoods that cater to your needs and budget. You can search for a specific property type and number of bedrooms in your preferred zip codes.  

Whether you are staying in your current city or moving to another state, it’s important to work with a local real estate agent. They’ll know the neighborhoods and match your housing needs to areas with suitable schools and other important factors, such as proximity to transportation and grocery stores. 

GreatSchools.com is just one of many sites designed to provide information on different school districts in any specific area. On the off chance that you do not have the time to visit schools and meet with teachers, this website provides you with ratings of school districts, reviews, and information regarding your children’s educational needs. 

Staging Your Home 

If you are still selling while trying to buy another home, the summer will benefit you in more ways than not. Staging your home in summer is something that can prove to be quicker and easier than if you staged your home in any other season. When selling your home, one important thing to always do is keep the home clean and uncluttered. No potential buyer wants to walk into a home and see shoes, backpacks, homework, and afternoon snacks lying around. You want them to feel comfortable like they are right at home as soon as they walk through the front door. The summer is a break from the mess caused in the home from when school is in session. The summer gives you the perfect opportunity to clear away the clutter and make it presentable for potential buyers of your home. Staging your home not only provides an increased chance of a faster sale, but it also can help you to get a better price for your home. 

Tips To Find Your First home

7 Tips To Find Your First Home

If you’re looking to find your first home in a city or neighborhood with a low inventory of affordable starter homes, how do you decide what you want and what you need, and buy that home for a price you can afford? Check out these tips to find a home you’ll love – for now.


1 – Organize Your Wants Vs. Needs

Before you start looking at homes, make a list of needs and wants. If you are single or a couple, you might want a larger home to grow into, but a smaller home might meet your needs for the next few years.

When you’ve created your lists, use the filters on one of the online real estate websites to see if what you want is affordable in your preferred neighborhood. If a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home in a hip downtown neighborhood is what you want but can’t afford, decide if a 2/1 in the same neighborhood will meet your needs for the next few years.


2 – Don’t Bust Your Budget

Buy a home you can afford. Having a less expensive mortgage will enable you to pay off student loans, car loans, take a vacation each year, and save for your next financial goals.

Get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a home loan before you start house hunting. Your mortgage lender will review your finances and let you know if you need a higher credit score or down payment. They’ll also provide a realistic budget, so you can confidently place an offer when you find a home.


3 – Consider Old Vs. New

Do you see yourself in a beautiful older home or a more modern, chic abode? An older home may require more maintenance, but new homes are often built in neighborhoods further out of town. The asking price for a newer home in the same neighborhood will likely be higher than for older homes of the same size.


4 – Rushing In Vs. Dragging Your Feet

It may be necessary to make an offer fast when you find a home you like. Ideally, you can take a few days to revisit the home at night and at different times of day to see if the neighborhood is safe, has more traffic on the weekday vs. weekend, etc.

House hunting can be time-consuming and losing out because someone made an offer can be heartbreaking. Buying a home is a high-cost investment, but you must have the confidence that you will be prepared to place an offer when you find a home that meets your needs.


5 – Real Estate Agent Vs. Buying On Your Own

The prevalence of real estate websites can make it seem easy to find a home. A real estate agent has “fiduciary” responsibility to their clients, so they are legally obligated to put their clients’ best interests first. They will only get paid – by the seller’s commission – when you buy a home. When it comes time to make an offer, understanding purchase agreements and all of the other associated documents, they’re usually worth their weight in gold.

If you decide to buy on your own, consider hiring a broker for a smaller one-time fee to simply review your contracts before signing.


6 – Offering Too Much Vs. Low Ball Bid

If there are several offers on the home you love, it’s easy to get sucked into a bidding war and end up paying more than the house will appraise at and your mortgage lender will finance.

If the house has been on the market for a while, is outdated, or requires repairs, there is often an opportunity to make an offer below the asking price. Be prepared for the seller to reject your offer or make a counteroffer; use this opportunity to negotiate.

A real estate agent can look at comparable sales to ensure your offer is reasonable for both the house and the location.


7 – Have An Exit Strategy

Starter homes aren’t meant to be your forever home. You’ll probably make a few compromises on size or location to purchase a home that meets your current needs. Before you make an offer on any home, you need to think about its resale value or rental potential. A home in a good neighborhood, school district, or near transportation has good resale value. Keeping the home maintained while you live there will help you to get top dollar when it’s time for your next purchase.

As a first-time homebuyer, the home you end up purchasing probably won’t be your dream, forever home. And that’s OK! If you lose a home in a bidding war, or it takes longer than expected to find a home within your budget, don’t lose faith. Discuss your wish list and needs list with your real estate agent. He/she can help you decide if your expectations are realistic or suggest other neighborhoods to help you buy a home that meets your current needs.

10 Ways To Save For A Down Payment On A Home

Saving for a down payment is one of the major hurdles most first-time homebuyers face on their journey towards homeownership. However, with a clear savings goal, a solid savings plan, and adopting a few savings strategies, you’ll be well on your way to saving for your first home.

1 – Start with a clear savings goal

Start by calculating how much you will need for your down payment and closings costs. FinLocker users can use the Home Affordability calculator, which will estimate a total home budget based on your income, and display the minimum down payment for a Conventional (3%), FHA (3.5%) and VA (0%) home loan, and the estimated closing costs for each loan type.
The example scenarios below are based on a 30-year mortgage term at a 4.25% interest rate.

On a $75,000 annual income you could afford a $265,000 home with a Conventional loan

  • Monthly Payment: $1750.67
  • 3% Down Payment: $7,940.00
  • Est. Closing Costs: $10,587.00
  • Total to Save: $18,527.00

On a $75,000 annual income you could afford a $286,808 home with an FHA loan

  • Monthly Payment: $1937.03
  • 3.5% Down Payment: $10,038.00
  • Est. Closing Costs: $11,472.00
  • Total to Save: $21,510.00

On a $75,000 annual income you could afford a $411,506 home with a VA loan

  • Monthly Payment: $2530.59
  • 0% Down Payment: $00.00
  • Est. Closing Costs: $16,460.00
  • Total to Save: $16,460.00

2 – Create a household budget

1. Write down your bills and regular expenses.

• Bills that are the same each month, like rent
• Bills that might change slightly each month, like utilities
• Bills you pay once or twice a year, like car insurance
• Minimum credit card or loan payments. Anything beyond the minimum goes into the savings and debt repayment category.

Regular Expenses
• Food
• Transportation or Gas
• Entertainment, Cable
• Clothes
• Unplanned expenses, like car repairs or medical bills
• Child care or other expenses you need so you can work.

2. Write down how much money you make after tax.
3. Subtract your bills and expenses from how much money you make
4. Review your budget to see what you do not need or how you could spend less.
5. At the start of each month, plan how you will spend the money you earn that month.
6. At the end of the month, see if you spent what you had planned.

3 – Avoid your spending triggers

While you were reviewing your bank account transactions, you may have noticed a few spending habits that you can adjust to find additional savings.
We all have those places or people that make us want to spend a little too much. Maybe it’s a discount department store or auto shop, or the need to upgrade your phone with each new release. Until you’re feeling confident with your budget, limit your contact with those triggers, so you can focus on what you’ve planned to spend in that category. Challenge yourself: Can you resist the temptation to upgrade your phone while you’re saving and working on improving your credit?

4 – Go on a 30-day spending diet

For one month, only make essential purchases: no new clothes, no take-out, no new gadgets or toys. Deposit the money you saved each week into your savings account. At the end of the month, see what areas you can maintain to keep your savings growing.

5 – Think before you shop

Buying something impulsively, can throw your budget out of whack. Instead, give yourself 24 hours before purchasing. You’ll typically wake up the next day a little less excited about that deal, which can help you feel confident about making future buying decisions rationally.

6 – Look for savings before you shop

If you regularly shop at certain stores, you probably know when they offer their best deals, so wait to shop then. Check out your supermarket’s weekly sales so you can plan your shopping list, and stock up on the sale items you regularly use. Save even more at the supermarket with coupons online or in the supermarket’s app.

7 – Adjust your insurance

If you only use your car for local trips, ask your auto insurance company if you can adjust your insurance coverage to save money on your monthly premiums. An independent insurance broker can also find other ways to save, such as increasing your deductible amounts or combining multiple policies with the same provider.

8 – Open a separate savings account

Reduce the temptation to spend the money you’ve been saving by stashing the money in a separate savings account. If you’ve noticed that you can regularly save $100 from each paycheck, ask your employer to set up an automatic deposit for a set amount from each paycheck into this account. Look for a financial institution that pays interest on the savings account.

Additional ways to reach your down payment goal

9 – Tips To Save Some Green While Making Make Your Home Greener
10 – Giving and Receiving Gift Money For A Down Payment

Lifestyle Benefits Of Owning Your Home

A home is more than just a roof and walls. The financial benefits of being a homeowner are easy to calculate. However, homeownership also has lifestyle, health, and social benefits for the homeowner, their extended family, and the community.

Gain a Community

Homeowners often feel more attached to their community. The more homeowners who reside in a neighborhood, the more stable and secure the neighborhood will be for all residents. Many neighborhoods have associations that will plan social events and volunteering opportunities so you can get to know the people who live around you.

Provide Stability

Psychologically, owning a home provides a sense of stability to homeowners. If you have children or want to start a family, owning your home can provide your family with the stability to plan for the future. You can stay put until you decide that the time is right for you to move, and when you do, you take the equity you’ve earned to help purchase your next home.

Improved Health

Studies show that overall well-being for a person improves when they move from renting to owning a home. Homes lived in by their owners are generally in better condition than those of renters. A steady home provides the family with higher self-esteem, lower levels of distress, and more positive mental health, which helps lower blood pressure.

Educational Achievements

According to a study in the Journal of Urban Economics, children of homeowners are significantly more likely to stay in school until age 17 than children of renters, especially in low-income households.

Children who lived in a homeowning family outperform children in renting families in both math and reading achievement tests. These children often have higher self-esteem, fewer behavioral problems, higher educational attainment, and greater future earnings, according to a study by an Ohio State University economist.

Show Your Style

Most landlords will not allow you to personalize the rental property by hanging pictures, painting walls, or retiling the backsplash. Buying a home gives you the flexibility to make cosmetic and functional modifications so your home can reflect your style and living requirements.

Renters do not gain any monetary value when they improve the property where they live. As a homeowner, any improvements are investments that will contribute to the home’s value.

Get A Pet

It is often difficult to find a rental property that will allow you to have a pet. And when they do, landlords usually require a pet deposit. When buying your own home, particularly one with a back yard, you gain the freedom to own dogs, cats, birds, lizards, chickens, or any other type of pet. Homeowner associations can restrict the number of pets, size, and breed of dogs, so check the HOA regulations before buying into an HOA community.

Financial Benefits Of Owning Your Home

The decision to buy or rent your home can be challenging. Homeownership has traditionally been an important way to build wealth. A view held by the majority of Americans: 84% believe that buying a home is a good financial decision.1

Owning a median-priced, three-bedroom home is more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property in most U.S. counties.2 Even in cities where housing prices are high, with interest rates at historic lows, owning a home can still be the more affordable option long-term.

Here are four reasons why purchasing a home can be a smart financial decision.

Build Personal Wealth

The most recent Survey of Consumer Finances showed that the average homeowner has a household wealth of $254,900, while the average renter has a household wealth of $6,270. This means that the net worth of a homeowner is over 40 times greater than that of a renter!

Homeownership rates peak at or near retirement ages, suggesting that buying a home provides long-term financial stability and the foundation for a comfortable retirement.

Build Equity

When you rent a home, your monthly payments can help you build credit. However, your rent money is going to your landlord. When you own a home, your monthly mortgage payments enable you to build equity over time, which increases your net worth.

Home prices are currently rising faster than rents in 63% of the U.S. housing markets.3 In the third quarter of 2020, U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63% of all homeowners) collectively saw their equity increase by 10.8% year over year.4 This amount averages to an increase of $17,000 per homeowner! What’s more, home prices are forecast to increase by 2.5% from November 2020 to November 20214, which means with each monthly mortgage payment, you’ll be earning additional equity in your home.

Stable Housing Payments

For the past few years, rent payments for a single-family home have increased 3-4% each year.5 Currently, mortgage rates are at historic lows. Buying a home with a fixed-rate mortgage will enable you to lock in the interest rate, so your monthly mortgage payment will remain the same for the duration of your mortgage term.

Tax Benefits

In the tax world, there are deductions, and there are credits. Credits represent money taken off of your tax bill. A tax deduction reduces your adjusted gross income, which in turn reduces your tax liability.

Most of the favorable tax treatments that come from owning a home are in the form of deductions. Mortgage interest, real estate or property taxes, Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), and other origination fees may be deductible on your income taxes. A professional tax accountant can advise you on how to deduct these payments.

Some states and counties offer a reduction in annual property tax through the Homestead Exemption program if the house is your primary residence. Learn how to file for a Homestead Exemption.


1 National Association of Realtors Housing Pulse Survey
2 ATTOM Data Solutions 2021 Rental Affordability Report
3 CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI®) Report
4 CoreLogic Home Equity Report
5 CoreLogic Single-Family Rent Index

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