The Things I Wish I Knew When We Bought Our First Home

For most young people, buying a house is synonymous with freedom. Finally, you can do whatever you want in your home without worrying about what the landlord might say or about getting your deposit back. It is yours, and to put things clearly; you can put as many holes in the walls as you want to. Except, naturally, that buying a house brings a lot more than just a new sense of freedom. There are responsibilities — on the financial and on the practical sides for instance —, compromises and the discovery of new skills too. Buying a house together is truly the beginning of a new adventure. Unfortunately, for a lot of couples, it can also bring serious disagreements and difficulties to their relationship. In the end, the best way for yourself to prepare for this exciting journey into an unknown universe — the land of home ownership — is probably to hear about it first hand from those who made the journey and survived it!

Moving into your first home

#1. First things first: How much can you afford?

Does it need saying? Buying a home is naturally an important investment, and it’s likely to be the first of its kind for you. Most couples choose a combined mortgage option when they buy their first home, as it is one of the easiest options. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t look for other mortgage offers. To keep things basic, the more you borrow, the more you will have to repay. So it’s always a good idea to work with a housing loan calculator to determine first how much you can afford to pay back over a period of time. Sometimes, you might find that it’s easier to save or borrow from your friends or relatives to pay a large deposit on the house and be able to take a loan on a smaller amount.

Home, Money, Euro, Coin, Coins, Bank Note, Calculator

[Photo courtesy of AlexanderStein/pixabay.com]

 How much can you afford?

#2.It’s all about money and planning

Don’t fall into the common trap of thinking that the cost of your home is the cost of your loan. It is far from it, especially if you hadn’t taken any renovation project into account when you agreed on a price. Affording home improvements can be especially stressful if you’re not used to it. But do you know that you don’t need to rely on an FHA loan to finance your home improvements? Indeed, first-time buyers can also focus on eco-friendly transformations that can be funded by governmental bodies, for example. For extensive renovation works, you can apply for a construction loan or borrow from your 401(k).

#3. Budget as a couple

In fact, the decision to buy a home together marks for couples the first struggle to keep a budget that cares for their individual and common financial needs. You may be used to keeping your own budget, but a couple budget is a whole new kettle of fish. For a start, you need to define your household needs in terms of mortgage repayment, bills, groceries, etc. These, while they are common, will be different to the kind of budget you had BEFORE you bought a house. Additionally, it’s essential that you and your partner agree on the long-term saving goals. There’s no point working towards separate goals.

#4. Combining furniture or buying new?

For some couples, buying a house is the first time they will be properly moving in together — it’s not uncommon for couples to spend time together but keep their separate apartments until they are ready to move in together properly. You might think that the hardest part about this is to share private details through the cohabitation. But believe it or not, most couples report that the hardest part of moving in together is combining their styles and furniture. Indeed, you need to be prepared to get rid of as much of your stuff as you expect your partner to. It’s only fair to keep the best of your common belongings, and it’ll avoid arguments in future. Besides you can also focus on buying new pieces of furniture together.

#5. You’re emotionally ready for the life together

Buying a house together might sound like a good idea. But you need to ask yourself first if you’re ready for this kind of commitment. Cohabitation becomes real when it’s in your own home. In a tenancy agreement, you can leave whenever you want. If it’s your home, you can’t leave. That’s why you need to be sure that you’re ready to move in together for real. Living with the person you love requires accepting levels of intimacy that you may not be prepared to deal with just now. For instance, as silly as it might sound, being able to talk openly about your choices, aspirations and desires for your relationship is a crystal-clear giveaway that you are ready for the move. The best test, though, is to observe how you interact with each other when you’re dealing with stress or financial issues, as these tend to be relationship killers.  

#6. You need to establish some basic rules

Buying your first home also means being ready to accept and share the responsibilities that come with it. You’ve guessed it right: Household chores are a big area of disagreement for couples. Indeed, as both partners often work in modern relationships, household chores need to be shared fairly between both of you. If you prefer doing the laundry while your partner enjoys washing up, then you can simply stick with your eras of expertise or preferences. Admittedly, nobody really enjoys doing chores, but you can work on the basis of things you don’t hate doing instead, as it’s a healthy way of sharing tasks.

#7. Create your decor together

Ah decorating. Who doesn’t love decorating? However, when you buy your first home together, you need to establish a fair approach to your interior decor. It’s not only a personal matter; it’s a matter of shared personal tastes. If you’ve got two different styles, it can be fun to blend both approaches to create an in-between style that will keep your decor eclectic and exciting. You will find the decorating exercise can get a lot easier if you can agree on a common palette of colors that can bring everything together. As a rule of the thumb, though, a good palette consists of five color schemes — by color scheme, we mean blues and grays, for instance, that offer many variations without one theme.

#8. Discover the joys of DIY

You can’t move happily in a house without knowing anything about the most basic home repairs. In fact, you will soon find yourself checking online tutorials to find out how to unblock the toilet or how to clean your grout. While nobody expects you to become a plumbing expert or a qualified electrician, your home maintenance requires some basic DIY skills. Tiling, painting, repairing wood or metal surfaces with filler compounds, or fixing the tap on the sink are essential requirements that every handy(wo)man needs to learn. And don’t leave it to the man in the house simply because he is a man! There’s no room for sexism in home maintenance!

Office Worker, Garage, Worker, Work, Man, Repair

[Photo courtesy of Free-Photos/pixabay.com]

Get your DIY tools with your first home

#9. Give your home a  housewarming party

You might be considering throwing a big housewarming party for your friends and neighbors. If you can; don’t skip on the party as it’s a great way to introduce yourself to a new neighborhood. But remember that once the party is over, you’re the one left to clean. So keep it civilized, friendly and alcohol-light!

In the end, there is a lot to consider when you decide to buy a home together. Your finances; of course; are a priority. But your relationship, your personal preferences and your ability to work together will transform your house into a home. Don’t be fooled: It won’t be perfect every day. But that’s okay because with time and goodwill great things happen.

[ Tagged In ] , , , , ,

Will These Luxuries Add Value To Your Property?

In every neighborhood, there is one property that stands out. It looks good, and you know it’s worth substantially more than the other properties on that street. It is the property that hits that ceiling price or value for the block. Beyond that, it is often the house we aspire to own, or at least make our property look just as good!

It takes a lot of care and maintenance to achieve a great looking property that the neighbors can be jealous of. Of course, you need to have a quality finish to begin with. And chances are, a few luxuries would be desirable if you were hoping to achieve the ceiling price for your property.

There is a problem with investing heavily in your home, though. That ceiling price may limit what you should do. Spend too much, and you may never get the money back. So how can you be sure the luxuries you fancy will one day ensure a quick sale at the top figure price you desire?

Pool

Owning a pool is good for your health as well as for your financial security in the future. Many homeowners find a swimming pool to be a desirable and beneficial addition. Aside from the upfront cost of installing it, there will be ongoing maintenance costs to ensure it is hygienic. You may need to upgrade the railing, gates or water pumps at some point too. Safety is everything when it comes to a pool.

bathing suit, bikini, daylight

[Photo courtesy of Pixabay/pexels.com]

Check the railing is secure and at the appropriate height. Make sure the gate locks well, and that the pumps are working efficiently. If they’re not, water pump repairs should be undertaken by professionals, but it might be possible for you to find the spare parts you need. Keep the water clean, and enjoy this much-valued addition to your home.

Hot Tub

Hot tubs are highly desirable at the moment. They offer a place for private entertaining, as well as somewhere to sit and relax after a long day. These days, you can find cost-effective inflatable hot tubs at your local DIY store. However, if you invest a little in a gazebo or private structure and planting, you could ensure a greater return. Look for quality spas and hot tubs that are easy to use, and look good in their place.

Does a hot tub add value to the property? If you’re able to allocate a dedicated area of your garden to this, then yes, it could be quite desirable. However, it may not be enough to increase the value of your home substantially. Check your local property listings or ask a property agent for their opinion about your neighborhood prices.

Summerhouse

If you have a good-sized garden, it can be very tempting to fill the space with extra living areas and structures. Always be wary of doing this. It’s best to consider the type of accommodation you live in. If it is a typical family home, then level lawns and clean paths are essential for children and pets to play. An executive home may need the same or additional patio space for entertaining.

Black Wooden Round Analog Wall Clock on Brown Wooden Wall

[Photo courtesy of Unsplash/pexels.com]

With that in mind, plan your summerhouse addition carefully. You will want it to be sizeable enough to be practical, but not overwhelm the rest of your garden or yard. Wooden structures that are well cared for are very attractive and highly desirable. This might push the asking price up for you.

Landscaping With Decking And Patio

If you design your garden with care, you can enjoy it for multiple purposes. Think about safe play areas for the kids and a doggy patch that’s out of the way. Perhaps you’re keen to grow your own healthy produce? Landscaping to create these areas means that you can ensure you have the right space and aspect for a great patio and deck. Create a desirable view with the planting of shrubs and flowers. A small flowering tree or fruit tree might also increase the value of your home when it matures.

chair, coconut, exotic

[Photo courtesy of Pixabay/pexels.com]

If you are showing your home to potential buyers, be sure to set out the patio furniture. This should include a high-quality dining set. Adding place settings to the table can help viewers gauge the size of the space and how many people they could cater for. Give the area a good sweep and power wash to be sure debris and grime are removed.

Garage With Auto Doors

Convenience is everything when people are house hunting. They want easy ways to live the lifestyle they aspire to have. Something as simple as upgrading your garage doors might push the value and desirability of your home all the way up. Remote controlled auto doors offer additional security too. Imagine being able to just drive in and out without having to get wet in the rain. Make sure there are adequate security lights providing illumination along the drive too.

Designer Fitted Kitchen

A high-end kitchen will always be desirable. If it looks contemporary and like new, any potential buyer will be relieved they don’t have to put all the work in. Installing a kitchen takes a long time and a lot of upheavals so most buyers would prefer to have it all done before they move in. Best of all, they’re often willing to pay a premium for it all to be in place and looking grand.

apartment, architecture, ceiling

[Photo courtesy of Pixabay/pexels.com]

Look for minimalist fitted kitchens with all the appliances built in. If it’s all hidden away neatly, this can be far more attractive. Make sure there is space for a dining set here, even if it is only a breakfast table or bar. Choose your colors wisely to make sure they are neutral enough for most tastes but offer a good level of vibrancy and energy to be stylish.

Flooring and countertops are very important to potential buyers. Look for better quality materials like granite with a high gloss finish. The details can make all the difference. Soft-close cupboards and drawers, and a big, roomy fridge-freezer will appeal to most potential buyers and might make for a quick sale.

Jacuzzi Bath

Some people love the idea of jumping into a jacuzzi bathtub in their own homes. They imagine the bubbles caressing and soothing their muscles, while the skin enjoys a gentle cleansing. Those that own jacuzzi baths might be less inclined to have another one. They can be noisy, and difficult to clean. This one is a tricky one to gauge when it comes to being a valued investment for your home. If you have no personal use for one, it might be worth avoiding.

Sauna

Saunas are a very healthy way to take care of your body, mind, and skin. They can offer a great deal of relaxation as well as a handy, natural way to detox the skin. Saunas at home don’t need to be very big. You might have one in the corner of your home gym, or it might form part of your family bathroom. They are reasonably easy to maintain and can be used every day.

If you install a sauna in your home, this may attract buyers that are particularly health conscious. The installation cost can vary quite a lot. If you keep the sauna area clean and well-maintained, then it might offer a valued add-on for any potential buyer.

Luxury Bedroom Decor

Buying a new home is often more about buying the lifestyle you desire. Luxury finishes will always be desirable and can indeed demand a higher price for the property. If other homes in your neighborhood are finished to this kind of standard, then it makes sense for you to invest in the right style of decor to compete with them.

architecture, bed, bedroom

[Photo courtesy of Pixabay/pexels.com]

Luxury decor should look like a luxury hotel suite. Imagine a well-dressed bed in a room with plush rugs or carpets, enormous headboards, and designer bedside cabinets. Your master bedroom should be the most attractive room in the house. This is the room where you spend most of your hours when you’re at home, especially if you work full time. It needs to be opulent, luxurious, and comfortable.

New Driveway

Don’t forget – the front view or curb appeal of your home is the very first thing anyone will see. It has to impress, and it has to welcome visitors toward your front door. A big part of this is the driveway. If it’s a little dated now, consider having it re-blocked, bricked, or paved. Some surfaces can look as fresh as new if they’re power washed.

Consider bordering the driveway with green planting. Lawn, shrubs, or even a hedge can look beautiful here. Keep all planting trimmed and tidy. Of course, you might prefer to use artificial plants to keep them low maintenance. Avoid gravel and loose surfaces as they can quickly become untidy and invite neighborhood cats and other animals.

Some luxury touches to your property might make it appear more attractive and become more desirable. This could, in turn, hasten a sale. To really add value, consider the add-ons that are most likely to appeal to the type of people that would want to live in your home. These are the ones that could help you reach that ceiling price.

[ Tagged In ] , , , , , , ,

Get The Best Returns On Your Home Improvements!

After a number of years in a home, many people decide that they’re going to try to stay there for the rest of their lives, and will renovate just to make their home more comfortable and attractive. For many though, home improvements are all about bumping up the value of the property for a sale. If you’re in the latter group, you may be wondering which kinds of renovation are the most worthwhile. Here are a few that tend to generate the best returns…

Roofing

The roof of your home is one of the most important aspects of it as a property. If you install a completely new roof or make some extensive repairs, you’ll see an immediate rise in value. An existing roof you can refinish is perfect, as it obviously costs less to restore than to replace, and will be more likely to garner a return on your investment than a completely new roof. If you know the roof on your house has seen better days, it’s time to start looking for some good roofing companies.

Fixtures

File:Ceiling Neon-light fixtures in Germany.JPG

[Photo courtesy of High Contrast/wikimedia.org]

Over time, various rooms in a home can begin to look dated and worn-out. It may surprise you, but a large part of this is down to old, raggedy fixtures. By replacing the fixtures in your home, along with some other small tweaks like the cabinets and faucets of the kitchen, you’ll immediately be able to bump up the asking price on your home when you come to sell.

The Bathroom

The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but the bathrooms are a close second in terms of what’s important for valuation. If it’s practical for you to add a three-piece bathroom to a home that only has one other full bathroom, the market value will rise dramatically. While it’s a big mistake to sacrifice a lot of bedroom space for a bathroom, it’s usually a smart move to sneak another bathroom into any dead space in your home. Some families have even been able to install a three-piece bathroom in the space under their stairs, usually only measuring around 44 inches corner to corner. As a final tip, try getting a glass shower to make the room seem more spacious.

Income Suites

[Photo courtesy of Holland And Green Architectural Design/flickr.com]

These aren’t exactly common in most suburban homes, but income suites are one of the best ways to pile on value to your home. Build one of these somewhere in the property, and you’ll be amazed at how much the estimated value of your home can rise. Whether this is through a loft conversion, an outside room, a renovated garage, or any other area, income suites are very hot at the moment. This is because buyers will be able to use it to cover a portion of their mortgage payments, ensuring the home they buy will be cash flow positive. Real wealth that can supplement your income is a pretty attractive feature, don’t you think?

If you were unsure of what to priorities in your home renovations, hopefully these tips have pointed you towards a highly profitable improvement project.

[ Tagged In ] , , , , , , ,

Throwing Shade: Go Low-Tech But Stay Cool

If you know all too well how unbearable it can be once summer hits you’ll already be looking at ways to keep your bills down and your air supply up! Depending on where you live, temperatures can quickly reach 90 Degrees Fahrenheit and it’s much harder to concentrate, sleep and eat when the sun’s at its zenith. One of the best ways to keep cool during the summer months is to stay hydrated. You should also always make sure you carry sunglasses, as even on cloudy days the sun can be powerful, and our eyes are incredibly sensitive.

It may also be worth keeping your curtains open at night, that way the cold air will alleviate the stuffiness in your house once the sun’s gone down. Try to get as much fresh air blowing through your home as possible by opening windows, doors, using fans to circulate and blasting the AC for a few hours so the filters to trap any dirt and debris that may be floating around. You may also have noticed a greater abundance of insects appearing, summer is often where you see the most wasps, bees, flies and beetles. Take precautions by putting up fly screens even if you don’t live in a rural area and check food is never allowed to sit out in the heat, not only will this spoil the flavor and texture but it could make you quite ill. While bees and wasps may look pretty buzzing around your flowerbeds, they have a nasty sting so always know where your tweezers, antiseptic insect bite cream and plasters are!

Brown Woven Umbrella

[Photo courtesy of nastya/pexels.com]

Take Cover

Parasols are great but if you want to make a real difference to the temperature in your home why not buy yourself an awning? The Department of Energy has stated awnings, or shaded covers can reduce heat by 30% simply because the sun rises and the linen cover takes the brunt of the heat while rays bounce off. While awnings aren’t as fashionable as they used to be; they do add a certain charm to your property as well as allowing you to sit outside comfortably. Before buying an awning always check to see if your property is suitable, maintain both the mechanism and fabric to stop cracks or holes appearing and never let children pull or raise awnings themselves as they could get their fingers trapped. Avoid any accidents by using an awning pole, a device similar to a loft pole which attaches to the hook on the underside and lets you pull down the striped sail from a safe distance.

Vacant Swing Near Grey and Green Tree

[Photo courtesy of Unsplash/pexels.com]

Get Planting!

If you’re very lucky, you’ll live somewhere with lots of trees which isn’t just good for your health because trees take in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, but they also act as a natural barrier and so quite often the temperature in the shade is at least ten degrees cooler than out in the open! However, lots of us believe that as long as there are trees somewhere nearby, we’ll automatically stay much cooler! Sadly, that’s not always the case as depending on where those trees are placed, that’ll decide how much shade you get. If you have no trees close to the house, it may be worth thinking about planting some young saplings now. Choose trees that grow quite quickly like poplars, maples, birches, and willows as well as those that are famed for their leafy, green appearance, so they’ll give you plenty of shade.

To save a significant amount of energy, or at least figure that’ll be noticeable on your next bill plant trees on the south and west-facing sides of your property. Everyone knows that south facing gardens tend to get the most sun, so by creating a tree line there you’ll reduce the heat dramatically. Remember, trees are a natural way to cool down your entire home as well as encouraging wildlife into the neighborhood. When planting always check the property boundaries before you start digging and as long as you don’t cross over onto your neighbor’s land you’re fine.

However, we do suggest being courteous as not only do you not want to start a turf war but it means if you block their beautiful view now they could do the same thing to you later on.

bed, bedroom, chair

[Photo courtesy of Pixabay/pexels.com]

Have A Ceiling Fan

It may seem a bit old-fashioned, almost colonial, but high ceiling fans do a fantastic job of keeping the air moving while cooling down rooms you spend the most time in. In fact, the more people you put somewhere small the hotter the overall room temperature gets. This is because we each have our own perfect temperature! Some people feel much colder than others but in a big group heat becomes the dominant force and as it rises things then get fairly uncomfortable quite quickly as people begin to sweat.

Ceiling fans aren’t as ugly as they used to be and now come in a variety of shapes and sizes they’re also quieter than you’d expect. Remember, these fans are designed to keep you from melting so if you’re going out turn the fan off! If you really need your AC on, and let’s face it in mid-summer plenty of us see it as a lifesaver try to look for one that’s as silent as possible. There are also some great quiet ac units out there that won’t make you feel like you’re standing in the middle of an airfield instead of your living room every time you turn on the remote control!

art, brush, color

[Photo courtesy of Tookapic/pexels.com]

White Out!

Do you recall your eighth-grade science lessons and how your teacher told you how snow reflects the heat instead of absorbing it due to it’s lighter color? The same principal applies to our roofs so if you want to lower the temperature below you should mix it up above! It’s often why you’ll find buildings and roofs painted white or yellow in hotter countries so that the encroaching heat doesn’t seep inside. Believe it or not, a report by Climate Change Research suggested that if all buildings and roads in the US were painted white the energy saved could run into millIons of dollars.

[ Tagged In ] , , , , , , , , , , ,

error: Content is protected !!