Why Open Houses Are Useful When You’re Not Ready To Buy

When everything is online, it’s hard to discern when getting up, leaving the house, and checking out a home can be helpful. There’s so much information regarding real estate online; you probably want to pick and choose when and where you go to see a home. Even if you’re nowhere near being able to buy a home, you may want to check out open houses to help you in the future.

Looking at real estate is fun. You can dream of living in a neighborhood on the street you may never be able to afford. There are many advantages to checking out open houses. 

You’ll Understand How Far Your Dollar Will Stretch

The type of home that you can afford, and the type of home you want may not be in the same ballpark. If you take a look at different open houses, you may be able to see where your budget takes you. Even if the market changes, you’ll be able to match your expectations with your wallet. As you know what’s out there, you’ll be able to hone in on what you want in a home. 

From here, it will be easier to work with a real estate agent because you’ll be able to give them a better idea of what you want when the time does come to buy a home. 

It Will Be Easier To Hire An Agent

As you go to open houses, you’ll meet more real estate agents. These agents can become potential hires once you do get more serious about buying.

You’ll See The Market Firsthand

Besides understanding how much house you can get for your dollar, you’ll be able to get an idea of how many buyers are actually out there. If you’re seeing many other potential buyers at open houses, you may be facing quite a bit of competition when you head out to buy a home of your own. When the competition is high, you’re looking at offering above asking price for houses. You could even get into bidding wars. A lot of other buyers doesn’t mean you should back out of buying a home altogether, but just enter the market with caution. 

You Can Discover New Areas

By exploring open houses, you may find a neighborhood that you love that wasn’t on your list before. How can you get to know an area if you have never spent time there before? 

You’ll Learn Where You Need To Compromise

By looking at different houses, you can see the potential (or lack thereof) in many homes. If you can see where you’d be willing to compromise long before the home search is on, your search will be that much smoother   

Is the Market Ready for Me to Invest?

Photo by Edar via Pixabay

You’ve been considering an investment in real estate but are you really ready? Putting your money into something you haven’t done your homework on could be detrimental. You may even have all the tools, but are still straddling the fence. How will you know it’s time? Here are a few signs that indicate you have some ways to go:

Long-term Investment Strategy

If you don’t have one of these, you aren’t ready. Although flipping homes and other elements of getting into the real estate game may seem attractive, all the income coming in is tied to you doing “work.” When you stop doing it, the money stops to. An actual investment strategy means once you’ve found the home, did the work and found the tenants, the income continues rolling in. That means your assets continue to grow year after year.

Finances Need Work

Are your finances in order? That means you’re living below your means and are saving a good amount of your income. How’s your rainy day fund? If you don’t have at least three, six to a year’s worth of expenses that you can quickly get to, investing in something that may not give you a return on your investment doesn’t really make sense.

Insurance

Do you have insurance? It’s important to have at least a term life insurance policy that’s 10 to 12 times your income.

Credit

Unless you have the cash to pay for your investments outright, you need to have a high enough credit rating that allows you to get the financing you’ll need. While your credit doesn’t have to be perfect, it should be good enough and showing indications of improving over time.

Capital

Capital is the name of the game. You should have access to enough capital that will allow you to secure long-term financing to get those properties when you want. Take a look at your risk profile. Purchasing high quality, low-risk property instead of maxing out the capital you have can make a difference. If you don’t have the capital, you’re not ready.

While you’re giving these areas some thought, it’s also a good thing to look at the market. While there are always ongoing talks about a recession, consider the stock market. Which one is riskier? Market stats are usually based on the entire country, but real estate stats are only based on specific cities, properties and neighborhoods. That means even if a recession hits, each property is impacted in its own way.

It’s time to study how to beat a recession if one hits and know the fundamentals. If you have a property that provides significant cash flow now, chances are it will during a recession as well. If you have quality properties in high-demand areas, you can withstand a market downturn. The goal is to make a recession an opportunity if you can. It’s time to get things in order. If you purchase the right property in the right area, you’ll be just fine. 

3 Easy DIY Wall Decor Pieces

Photo by Jasmin Schreiber on Unsplash

If you have a little extra time and a few craft supplies, creating something impressive for your home is not as hard as it sounds. Check out three simple DIY wall decor pieces that no one would ever guess are homemade. 

Popsicle Stick Shelf 

You can pick up popsicle sticks in bulk at any craft store or craft department, but you can also get the kids involved and just collect a bunch of your own. The popsicle stick shelf project involves taking those sticks, staining them with your choice of wood stain, and then allowing them to dry before you get started. Make a hexagon-shape using six sticks and gluing them one by one at the corners. You will repeat this process about a dozen times until you have about 12 individual hexagons. Then, stack the hexagons on top of each other and glue them together. Allow the piece to dry and you have yourself an attractive wall shelf to hold a small succulent in a pot or some other small decorative object. 

Vintage Plate Picture Frames 

With some fancy vintage plates from a thrift store, laser copies of family photos, and some Mod Podge, you can create a unique arrangement that can either be displayed on a shelf or displayed on a wall that looks like it came straight from a home decor magazine. Here’s what the process looks like: 

  • Trim photocopies with scissors to fit in the flat, circular center well of each plate or saucer you have
  • Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge on the back of the picture and place it into the circle
  • Add a top layer of Mod Podge on top of the picture with a fan brush 
  • For an added touch of flair, use something like a metallic glue pen or some tiny bead embellishments to create a frame of sorts around the picture. These vintage plate picture frames are an excellent way to add a touch of familial personality to a dining room. 

    Cutout Hearts Wall Art Hangers 

    Even if you don’t consider yourself a crafty person, cutout hearts wall art hangers are super simple to do. You’ll need: 

  • An old measuring or yardstick or piece of thin wooden trim about two inches wide by 24 to 36 inches long 
  • Fishing line or heavy cotton thread cut into 6 to 8 pieces of varied length
  • Heavyweight construction or craft paper in different colors 
  • Glue 
  • Tie each string to the piece of wood in even intervals apart. Using scissors or a paper punch, cut out a series of hearts from your paper. Use the strings on the wooden piece to determine how many hearts you will need for each string. Each heart can be glued onto the strings until they are full. This is best to do on a good flat surface so you can leave the hearts lying flat against the strings until they dry. When dry, you can attach the wooden stick on the wall using nails or two screws. The hearts will flow gracefully downward and sway with the slightest movement in the room. 

    How Much Mortgage Can You Afford?

    There are so many factors that go into finding and securing the financing to buy a home.   While lenders require quite a bit of information for you to get a loan, you still need to be aware of your own financial picture. Even if you’re pre-approved for a certain amount of money to buy a home, you still need to dig into your finances a bit deeper than a lender would. The bottom line is that you can’t rely solely on a lender to tell you how much you can afford for a monthly payment on a home. Even if you’re approved to borrow the maximum amount of money for your finances to buy a home, it doesn’t mean that you actually should use that amount. There are so many other real world things that you need to consider outside of the basic numbers that are plugged into a mortgage formula.   

    Run Your Own Numbers


    It’s important to sit down and do your own budget when you’re getting ready to buy a home. You have plenty of monthly expenses including student loan debt, car payments, utility bills, and more. Don’t forget that you need to eat too! Think about what your lifestyle is like. How much do you spend on food? Do you go out to the movies often or spend a regular amount of cash on clothing? Even if you plan to make adjustments to these habits when buying a home, you’ll want to think honestly about all of your needs and spending habits before signing on to buy a home. 

    Now, you’ll know what your true monthly costs are. Be sure to include things like home insurance, property taxes, monthly utilities, and any other personal monthly expenses in this budget. If you plan to put down a lower amount on the home, you’ll also need to include additional insurance costs like private mortgage insurance (PMI).

    The magic number that you should remember when it comes to housing costs is 30%. This is the percentage of your monthly income that you should plan to spend on housing. Realistically, this could make your budget tight so this is often thought of as a maximum percentage. By law, a lender can’t approve a mortgage that would take up more than 35% of your monthly income. Some lenders have even stricter requirements such as not allowing a borrower to have a mortgage that would be more than 28% of monthly income. This is where the debt-to-income ratio comes into play.

    As you can see, it’s important to take an earnest look at your finances to avoid larger money issues when you buy a home.