Tips for Saving Your Down Payment

Down Payment

TIPS FOR SAVING YOUR DOWN PAYMENT

Sick of renting? Wanting to become a homeowner?  Unless you have stockpiled cash, you are going to need a home loan and a down payment.  Home loans are all very different with different down payment requirements. That will need to be a whole different blog! But, typical down payments are between 10 to 20 percent of the total price.  So, what are some tips on how to save up for that down payment?

Goal and Timeframe

Saving up for a down payment can take quite a bit of time. But the timeframe is ultimately up to you and your finances.  You will need to have a plan.  By having a plan, you will stand a much better chance of achieving your goal sooner than later. Decide how much you want to save and divide that by how many months you have chosen as your timeframe.  24 months, 12 months, or 6 months?  This will all depend on your budget and what you can financially afford to set aside.

Cut Expenses

Is there money you are spending that you could be saving instead? Take a good look at your bank statements and start tracking all of your expenses.  Where is your money going? Are there some areas you can cut back on or just cut out completely? Here are some ideas:

  • Take a break from the gym and workout at home
  • Do you REALLY need that high-priced coffee?
  • Bring your lunch from home and save on the take-out
  • Recurring subscriptions – Do you really need some of them?
  • Stop impulse buying. Think “If nobody were to see this, would I still want it?”

Be creative and think of more ways to cut expenses.  You will be surprised at how quickly the amount of money you can save will add up!

Get a Second Job

Is getting a second job really going to help?  Say you work 16 hours a week making $10 an hour.  That’s approximately $120 per week after taxes! (Figuring 25% for taxes) If you were to do that for an entire year, you’ll save more than $6,200 to put towards your down payment!

Speak to a Mortgage Loan Expert

Contact a mortgage loan expert. They can help you find the right home loan and guide you through the process. They can also advise you on options they might have with government incentives, or programs for first-time home buyers. They will know what will work for you and can possibly help reduce how much you have to pay out of pocket.

My Final Thoughts

By knowing your goal and timeframe, you can put your savings plan in place and be on your way to buying and owning your own home. Don’t forget to contact a mortgage loan expert to seek financial advise. Contact us at NextHome At The Lakes (712-336-9999) and our knowledgeable agents can help you with the necessary steps that will get you to your ultimate goal of homeownership.

Can Moving Improve Your Happiness

Blue Cute Home Welcome Yard Sign (1)Can Moving Improve Your Happiness?

Why do people move?  Moving from one place to another is usually because you are trying to find something.  Maybe it is to find a new job, adventure, a new house, or you just want to find more happiness.

I know moving can be tough.  It is said to be one of the more stressful things in an adult’s life. BUT, did you know that moving can actually make you happier in the long term? Seriously, it can!

Fulfilled because of change

Some people move to be more fulfilled.  What does that mean?  Well, moving can help you discover more about yourself as a person.  You find out how resilient you are and become more aware of how important change is.  Change is so essential to building our character.  People can feel like they are just stuck in a rut.  This could be with their personal lives, jobs, or even their home.  People that move can feel more fulfilled as they see it as taking control of their lives.  They are happier in life all just because they feel they have taken a proactive step in choosing their destiny. 

A New Start

Other people just crave a new start.  Whether this in the city or suburbs, a new start can be beneficial and enriching. A new start in a new neighborhood or town can in fact make people happier with their life.  Just make sure you have done all your homework and have your business and personal items in place to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Last thing is to make sure you give us a call to help out with whatever your real estate needs are.  We will be happy to talk to you about your goals for the move and what options you have in today’s market.  After all, a new start can not only change your life but be good for your mind, body and soul.

NextHome At The Lakes – 712-336-9999 or visit us at www.NextHomeAtTheLakes.com

Thinking about becoming a real estate agent in 2021?

Thinking about becoming a real estate agent in 2021

2020 milestones
Finally, 2020 is just about over, and many people are feeling more than ready to be done with a year that has caused so much anxiety and confusion.  With 2021 literally right around the corner some people may be thinking about a new career, and with how hot the real estate market has been this year, it has become a very appealing option for some people.

Here are a few tips that people looking to start a career in real estate should keep in mind.

Take your time finding the right broker and brokerage

If you are planning to become a part time agent, it is very important to find a broker and team who will be a good resource for you and supportive of you even though you may not be able to hit the ground running every day.

Not every broker will want to spend energy and time on an agent who will only be able to work part time. However, becoming a new agent, you will needs lots of training and support to help you learn the ropes, so make sure you take your time finding the right fit with a broker and brokerage that will help you achieve your goals.

Be prepared to juggle

Real estate agents tirelessly need to work around their clients’ schedules.  A part time agent should be ready to deal with scheduling issues.  Since you will be working limited hours, you may find it challenging to schedule showings around your clients’ availability.  It will be very important for you to stay as organized as possible and as flexible as you can be.

Make allies with other agents and find a mentor

Since you will be balancing multiple clients and other responsibilities, it will be important to make allies with other agents within your brokerage.  Especially for the days when you will need help from them to help you out with a showing or an appointment that does not work with your schedule.

Having another agent’s help will possibly mean you will need to compensate them for their time.  Make sure you agree to the terms in advance so everyone is on the same page.

Find a professional and experienced agent or a broker for your mentor.  They will help you get your feet on the ground and help you build connections with other agents and with clients.  They will also help you by answering any questions you may have and will bring you ideas on how to grow your business.

Don’t give up

Working in real estate is hard.  You will need to stay determined and persevere when your business is slow. It is important to stay positive and stick with it.

While 2020 may have been a terrible year, we all get a fresh start on Jan 1st. Prepare to work hard and keep looking forward to the new opportunities each day will bring.

Give us a call

You probably have many questions by now and would like somebody to reach out to for help.  Give us a call and we will help answer them!

712-336-9999 or visit us at www.NextHomeAtTheLakes.com.

How To Get The Most Out Of A Virtual Home Tour

Untitled design (17)

How To Get The Most Out Of A Virtual Home Tour

COVID-19 has changed the way buyers are able to look at properties for sale.  This has led to a huge rise in agents and clients using virtual home tours.

But while virtual tours can be just as good as an in-person tour, it is important to know what you should be looking out for and how to ensure you get all the information you need to make an educated decision about that particular property.

So what exactly are the things you need to look out for?

recent article from realtor.com outlined some of the things buyers need to know to make the most out of their virtual tours, including:

  • The exterior. When you are viewing a home through the screen, it can be really easy to just look at the main features of the home’s interior.  However, don’t miss out on key exterior details you would see if you were to view the home in person. Make sure you ask the agent to show you the home’s exterior and the surrounding neighborhood while you are doing your virtual tour.
  • Ask lots of questions. When you are thinking about buying a home, it is always important to ask lots of questions. It is especially important when you don’t have the opportunity to see the property in person. Ask lots of questions to get all the information you need to make an educated decision about whether the home is the right fit for you and your family.  Some questions could be “what is the average cost of utilities per month?” or “When was the roof last replaced on the home?”
  • Take notes. When you are touring different homes virtually, it can be really easy to lose track of which home is which, and information from one home tour might be mixed into information from a different home tour. Make sure the notes you take on each property are kept separate to help keep all the details straight.

As always, make sure you are using one of our knowledgeable NextHome real estate agents.  We are willing and capable to accommodate you with in-person or with virtual tours.  NextHome At The Lakes  712-336-9999.

Homes Are Selling For Top Dollar And In Record Time! This Is Making Now The Perfect Time To Sell!

Homes Are Selling For Top Dollar And In Record Time!  This Is Making Now The Perfect Time To Sell!

Untitled design (14)

When you are selling your home, you would really like it to sell for top dollar and quickly, right?  Well, if that is the case, there has never been a better time to sell your home than right now!

According to recent data from the National Association of REALTORS®, the national median existing home price in September 2020 was selling for $311,800, up 14.8%.  The median price in the Midwest was $243,100, also a 14.8% increase from September 2019.

And not only are homes selling at higher prices, they’re also selling quickly. Nationwide an astounding 71% of homes sold in September were on the market for LESS than a month. On average, these homes in September were on the market for ONLY 21 days.  This is record breaking and down from the national average of 32 days back in September 2019.

According to Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, the low interest rates and high demand is the one of the key factors behind driving the current buying frenzy. “Home sales traditionally taper off toward the end of the year, but in September they surged beyond what we normally see during this season,” Yun said in a recent press release outlining NAR’s findings. “I would attribute this jump to record-low interest rates and an abundance of buyers in the marketplace.”

Are you excited about possibly selling your home when homes are selling higher and quicker than just one year ago?  All these numbers are telling are you that if you have been thinking about selling your home, don’t wait any longer and now is the time to do it!  Go ahead and make the move.  Just don’t forget to call us here at NextHome At The Lakes for all your buying and selling needs!  712-336-9999

Get Your Home Ready for Colder Weather

Untitled design

The recent snow has made me wonder… Is my home ready for winter?  Granted the temps will get warmer in the upcoming week, but we all know that it WILL get cold again.  So, if you want your home to make it through the winter, you’ll need to take some proper measures to protect it.

Here are some ways to winterproof your home now so your home is ready for the cold temperatures, snow, and bone chilling wind.

Store patio furniture

We normally don’t barbecues and dine outside during the winter months, so it’s important that you protect your grill and patio furniture — that way, they’ll be ready to go when the weather starts to warm up.

Take your grill and patio furniture and put them into storage. If you don’t have a place to store your them, you should at the very least cover them up to protect it from the elements. This is really important if you have aluminum patio furniture.  These can rust once the snow hits.

Empty and store hoses

You will want to store your garden hoses before the temperature gets too cold. If you leave your hoses outside laying on the ground, the water in them can freeze, which can damange them causing holes and leaks. Make sure you drain each of your garden hoses and store them inside until spring.  If you leave them attached to your home you may be looking a costly fix, because they can cause your water pipes to burst.

Protect your home from the cold winter air

Winter is air is COLD, and if that cold air finds a way into your home, you are likely to find yourself shivering no matter how high you turn that thermostat up. It is very important to seal off your home to keep cold air from getting in. Look for any gaps in the foundation or walls and seal them with caulk or foam.  You can also use caulk to seal any gaps around your windows. If your home is always cold in the winter, you may also want to check the insulation. Both your attic and basement should be insulated. If your insulation is improperly installed or old, it can cause the temperature in your home to drop in the colder months. Adding or redoing insulation can be expensive, so if you are not sure whether your insulation is good, consult an professional and get an estimate.

Get a good thermostat

One of the top ways to protect your home in the winter is by keeping it at the proper temperature.  However, “proper temperature” is relative; obviously, you will want your house warmer when you are home, but it’s fine to turn down the heat while you’re out. But if you turn OFF your heat, you will run the risk of the temperature dropping too low.

A programmable thermostat will let you to control the temperature in your home at all times. You should program your thermostat to automatically lower the temperature of your home when you leave, and raise the temperature before you return home. Many of the new thermostats even connect to your smartphone, letting you control the temperature in your home.

Replace your furnace filter

Old, dirty filters will make your furnace less efficient, making your energy bills go up and making your home more harder to heat. Replace your furnace filter this fall to make sure your furnace is in ready to go when winter hits.

It may warm up a little in the upcoming weeks, but we all know colder temperatures will be back!

Sherwin-Williams 2021 Color of the Year

Sherwin-Williams Announces Its 2021 Color of the Year

PHOTO_ COURTESY OF SHERWIN-WILLIAMS

Since we are all already over 2020 I thought it would be nice to share what Sherwin-Williams announced as its 2021 color of the year.  It’s Urbane Bronze! Sherwin-Williams says Urbane Bronze captures simple sophistication.

Urbane Bronze

SW 7048

Urbane Bronze

Sherwin-Williams director of color marketing, Sue Wadden says “Urbane bronze is a comforting color, drawing from nature for a feeling of relaxation and serenity.”  The gray undertones also give it a modern twist.  You can pair this color with natural materials complementing the shade, including woven textiles, stone accents, wood finishes, and mixed metals. They also suggest pairing it with other warm neutrals like their Modern Gray or Messenger Bag color that has a hint of green.

You can use this color as exterior or interior.  Use it as a primary or accent color in living rooms, bedrooms, home offices, or dens.  Wadden also says that it can be used to accentuate window trim, columns, and accent walls in residential or commercial spaces.

We could all use a feeling of relaxation and serenity with everything going on in the world right now. Why wait for 2021?  Go and grab this color and create it yourself!

9 Illusions created by Reality Property Shows

Rural Property Prices Are On The Rise

Rural Property Prices Are On The Rise

Canva - Sun Raise from the Sky over the Green Fields

Urban areas have long been the most popular realty markets within the country. But the pandemic and stay-at-home orders left many of us looking for extra space, both indoors and out—and now that some restrictions are being lifted in some areas, many buyers are leaving the cities and heading to more rural destinations to search out the space they’re craving to have. Twenty-one percent of buyers recently surveyed said they wanted a place to designate for their work from home and that same percentage of people surveyed also are seeking more outdoor space.

And as interest in this “hot” housing market is rising, so are the prices of these rural properties.

According to the data outlined in a very recent article on REALTOR Magazine, rural homes experienced an 11.3 percent increase in sales price year over year during the four weeks ending August 2—which is a much higher growth than the suburbs (9.2 percent) and still a higher growth than the urban areas (6.7 percent).

So, what does this mean for you? If you live in a rural area and are considering selling your home, now’s a good time to take advantage of increased demand.  We keep saying this is a seller’s market and that is even more true with these rural properties. Don’t wait, call a NextHome agent today for a no-obligation consultation. 712-336-9999

Tips to Help Ease the Stress Of A Home Renovation

Tips To Help Ease The Stress Of A Home Renovation

Renovation

A home renovation can be a giant job—and for several homeowners, it can also be very stressful.

But it doesn’t need to be! A recent article from Point2Homes outlined key tips you’ll be able to use to own a stress-free home renovation experience, including:

  • Get your things out of the way. A renovation can be really messy——and the last thing you want is for any of your furniture or other belongings to become ruined or damaged. If you can, move any furniture or other personal belongings that are typically stored within the renovation zone and get them out of the way (either by storing them in another room or by putting them in a storage unit) before you take on any major renovations.
  • Carve out space for yourself. Large-scale renovations can feel like they’re taking over your entire house. Designate a spot in your home where you’ll be able to get away from the renovation noise and mess and relax, maybe a spare bedroom (or even a closet!).
  • Order takeout. Renovations take up lots of your time, space, and energy—and trying to cook meals, eat, and clean up the mess, on top of managing a renovation project can feel overwhelming. If you can, order takeout to get rid of the stress of cooking, shopping, and preparing meals while you are in the process of a renovation. (Plus, not only will ordering takeout help make your renovation less stressful, but it’s also an excellent way to support your local restaurants that might be struggling due to COVID.)

So what is the bottom line? There’s enough stress in our world—so, if you’re planning on renovating your home, make sure you are taking the steps to make it as stress-free as you probably can.