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There’s a lot of things to think about before buying a home--some financial, others personal. Most people tend to focus on one or the other. However, both are instrumental in choosing the right house and buying at the right time.

In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can determine if you’re ready for homeownership. We’ll discuss things like credit scores and down payments, but also important life factors like your career and future plans.

Getting your finances in order

There are a few simple things you can do right now that will help you understand if you’re financially secure enough to start looking at houses. First, you’ll want to look up your credit score.

Lenders strongly consider your credit when determining how much risk is involved in lending to you. A higher credit score can not only get you approved for a mortgage, it can lower your interest rate and make you eligible to borrow without having to pay private mortgage insurance.

The amount of money this saves seems trivial in the short term, but over the lifespan of your loan it can save you tens of thousands of dollars. So, read a free credit report and if your credit is lower than 700 start finding ways to improve your credit.

In the meantime, you’ll want to save for a down payment. While it’s possible to buy a home with a small or no down payment, it can come back to haunt you in the form of interest as you pay off your loan. Furthermore, many lenders won’t pre-approve you unless you make a down payment of a minimum amount (often 20% of the loan).

If you have a high credit score and you’ve saved for a down payment, another thing to check off your list would be proving your stable income. This can be difficult for the self-employed, contract workers, or people who have recently changed jobs.

Lenders want to see that you have a stable income history to ensure that you’ll be able to pay your mortgage each month. If you recently changed jobs or are in between jobs, it could be to your benefit to wait 3-6 months before getting pre-approved. In that time, you can continue to raise your credit and save for a down payment, further increasing your chances of getting a low-interest loan.

Preparing for homeownership

While the financial aspects of homeownership are important, so are the personal aspects. You’ll want to consider several life factors before buying a home.

First, think about your longterm goals. Do you want to live in the same area for the next 10 to 30 years? Will your career bring you to different regions or will you attend school somewhere else? These questions will help you decide if it’s a good time to buy or a better investment to save money while renting.

If you have a family (or plan on having one soon), you’ll also have to find a way to balance all of your living needs.

Finally, ask yourself if you have time for homeownership. Many people who are used to renting aren’t aware of the amount of time and money it takes to maintain a home. You’ll have more bills, you’ll have to mow your own lawn, and you’ll be responsible for maintenance of your home.


Choosing a neighborhood is one of the most important aspects of the home search. Neighborhoods encompass the schools children will attend and the people you will interact with on a daily basis. You’ll truly never feel at home in a house if you don’t love your neighborhood. To choose the right home, you’ll need to do a little bit of ground work. You should figure out exactly what you’re looking for in a home and a neighborhood, and then research to find an area that suits your needs. There are certain things that you should keep in mind to research for the neighborhood with the perfect fit. Below are some things that you should consider when looking for the best neighborhood for you. Make A List Think about what you really want in a neighborhood. Then, categorize your desires. Put a column for what’s high priority, then use other columns for less pertinent things that you’re looking for in a neighborhood. If you’re unsure of what exactly to put on this list here’s some ideas: Cool For School Do you have children or are you planning to have children? Every parent knows that one of the most important things to look for in a neighborhood is the quality of the school system. Parks and community centers are also key things to live close to if you have children. Keep in mind that property values in areas with sought after school systems are higher. Home Style What type of home are you looking for? The type of neighborhood that you move to will depend upon the home style that you’re seeking. Single family homes, condos and apartments tend to stay in clusters. Keep this in mind when searching for a home. What’s Your Commute Time? How far are you willing to commute to work? This can be a deal breaker in finding the perfect neighborhood. If you take mass transit to work or if you don’t own a car, this can also be a huge area of concern for you in choosing the right neighborhood to purchase your home. What Do You Value? If you love coffee shops, then you may not want to live far from a city center. If you love the beach, don’t pick a neighborhood that has you landlocked. Having access to the things you love and value has a lot to do with your own happiness in a neighborhood. When home searching, you should consider what your current neighborhood is lacking and see if you can find a place to fill that void. Visit the Neighborhood and Use Your Senses As you start on your research, check out the neighborhoods and get a feel for them. Get out of your car and walk around. Although it sounds strange, see how the neighborhood smells. Listen to the noise of the traffic nearby. Maybe you’ll even sense the quiet! Take a look at how the homes in the neighborhood are designed and if you could actually see yourself living there. Do Some Digging There’s plenty of ways that you can research neighborhoods from the comfort of your couch. You can always find crime statistics for certain cities online and even see school rankings throughout cities. Real estate agents in the area can also help provide you with the statistics that you’re looking for. Trust your gut when it comes to choosing a neighborhood. With a little intuition and some research, you’ll be able to choose a place to live that’s perfect for you!

If you live in one state, but are trying to buy a home in another state, you’ll face some obvious challenges. There’s certain steps that you can take to help you get through the home buying process in another state. Whether you’re buying a vacation home, or are in a complete transition, you’ll need to follow a few steps to make life easier for you. 


Know How Much Time You Have


First, you’ll need to ask yourself when you’re planning to move. If you have flexibility and are planning a trip to the new state before you need to move, that paints a much different picture than a more rushed move. Consider:


  • The time it will take to sell your current home
  • When the closing will be on the new home


Keep that timeline in mind.


You’ll definitely want to hire a realtor to handle everything for you on both ends when you’re in this situation. A Realtor’s knowledge and experience is definitely worth it to help you.


Get Your Finances In Order


You’ll need to apply for a loan on the home you’re buying in the new state. You should start by getting pre-approved for a mortgage in that state. You don’t want all of your important paperwork to be buried in the midst of packing and moving. Also, you’ll need to have that loan secured before you even head to the new state to close on the home. Everything should be in order. This situation may be more challenging for you than a typical home purchase. Since big purchases affect your credit score, you’ll need to hold off on buying a car, furniture, or any major appliances that you may need. 


Get As Much Information As You Can


As a buyer who is from out of state, you’ll need to do your homework. Maybe you have visited the state many times before. Perhaps you know nothing about it. The more you know ahead of time, the easier that your transition will be. You’ll need to find recommendations about which neighborhood to search in. You’ll also want to learn a bit more about the lifestyle the area provides for activities like dining, entertainment, and recreation. You can learn a lot in the internet, but talking to locals- even a local realtor- can help you to find the right spot to live in. 


Find The Right Realtors


You’ll need to find the right realtors in both your home state and the state that you’re moving to. The seller’s agent will assist you in getting your old home sold. From marketing the listing to home showings to sending you all of the paperwork that you’ll need to sign, a seller’s agent is very valuable to someone who needs to move out of one state and into another. 


The buyer’s agent can help you in your new state, communicating with you on new listings and advising you on the neighborhoods that you’ll be the most happy in. Hiring these two realtors may be one of the most important steps in your feat of moving across two different states.


With the resources that are available online, moving from state-to-state isn't as hard as it may seem. Do your research for a smooth transition. Happy moving!


When you buy a new sofa or chair, it’s a big investment. You want to know that whatever kind of fabric that you choose will be a good color and texture for a long time to come. When you’re shopping for upholstery, the most important thing is practicality. You may not want to buy a leather sofa with a toddler running around, for example. Any kind of fabric that could get dirty easily, or rip and stain, may not be the best choice when you have kids around the house. There are plenty of durable fabrics available.  


You also need to worry about any pets that you have in the home. Cats and dogs tend to scratch things, rip them, or relieve themselves where they aren’t supposed to. This can cause beautiful, expensive furniture to be ruined in minutes. You’ll want to choose something that is easy to clean the pet hair off of and even easier to clean. 


Choose A Durable Fabric


Even if you don’t have kids, since the majority of people don’t live in a bubble, you’ll want to choose a fabric that is both comfortable and versatile. Adults spill things too! Don’t forget that slipcovers are always an option as well.  This allows you to change your fabric anytime that you wish easily and inexpensively.


If You’re Free Flaunt It


If pets and kids aren’t aren’t a worry for you, you should flaunt your freedom! You can go a bit more elaborate in your choice of fabric and materials. You won’t need the same types of fabrics and colors that a household with kids would need if you’re on your own. Go for that white sofa and own it! 


Consider How The Material Will Age


When shopping for furniture, ask a lot of questions about the lifetime outlook for certain fabrics. You’ll also want to understand how difficult maintaining certain types of fabrics will be. Leather, for example, is a bit more high maintenance than other types of fabric. If the sofa will be near windows, the sun can easily wear through the color of a material. You should have all of these things in mind while you’re shopping for the perfect sofa or chair. 


Take A Look At Everything In Person


While online shopping can be great for many things, you probably don’t want to choose your fabrics for furniture solely based on an internet search. You should be able to see and feel the material to help you decide how it will fit into your home. It’s also important to know how sitting on a certain material feels to you. A material may look nice in a picture, but may not work at all for your needs when you see it in person. Ask for advice from the associates at the furniture store as well. They can help you to find the right material to suit your needs and wants.


Once you have booked a trip to go away for awhile, you’re probably filled with excitement. Depending upon how long you’ll be away, there are a few things that you’ll want to do to get your home ready for your absence. The tips below can help you with everything from security and safety to saving some money on your utility bills.


Turn Off The Water


You don’t want to risk having a leak flood your home while you’re gone away on vacation. This is especially important if you’re going to be gone longer than a week. Homeowners insurance does cover water damage that occurs due to these types of leaks, but who want to deal with that after a relaxing vacation? Take precautions ahead of time before you go. 



Stop Your Mail


The post office will hold your mail for free. Don’t risk letting people know that you haven’t been home for a few days by letting mail pile up in the box. Worse, if any packages come, it could be an invitation for them to get stolen. It only takes a few minutes to put the precaution of mail holding into place.  


Put Your Lights On A Timer


A dark house is an invitation for thieves to come on in. You can deter burglars by putting your lights on a timer, allowing some activity to be seen from outside the home. A timer can even be set for different times during both the day and night. 


Unplug Everything You Can


Aside from the time and a few lights, you can save on your energy bill by unplugging your electronics while your away. This includes toasters, computers, televisions, and microwaves. This is also a good safety precaution as well just in case an electrical fire were to happen while you’re gone.   


Turn Down (Or Up) The Thermostat


Depending on the time of year that you go away, you’ll want to adjust your thermostats accordingly. Since no one will be in the house, there’s no need for freezing cold air conditioning or high heat. If you’re heading out on vacation in the winter, you’ll want to keep the heat on at a minimum temperature to help avoid pipes freezing and undue damage to your home.


Seal Up Your Food


When you head out on vacation, you might not be too concerned about the food you already have opened in your home. Pests will love to feast on it while you’re away! Be sure that you close up any food that’s open and get rid of anything that can spoil. This means discarding old produce, throwing away opened bread and pastries that can spoil and seal up cereal and cracker boxes tightly. This will ensure that you don’t have any unwanted house guests once you return home from your trip.         





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