Robin V. Wish - Real Living Realty Group



Posted by Robin V. Wish on 1/21/2019

The concept of a starter home is an American tradition that has existed for decades. Buying a starter home makes it possible to achieve homeownership, financial independence, and to build equity and credit while you transition to a larger home.

However, your first home doesn’t need to be a tiny, one-bedroom house with none of the amenities that you want.

In today’s post, we’re going to look at some of the things that are desirable in a first home or starter home, so that you can make the best financial decision now that will help you save more in the long run.

Top things to look for in your first home

1. Resale value

Perhaps the most important thing to think about when buying your first home is the day that you eventually decide to sell it and upgrade. There’s a lot that goes into the purchase value of a home. But, if you maintain the home or even make some upgrades, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to sell it for more than you paid.

Other factors that affect resale value are the location and real estate market trends. While you may not be able to change the economy, you can choose to buy a home that is in a location others will find desirable in the coming years.

2. Size

The cost of your first home will be determined by its location, as mentioned before, but another huge factor will be the size or square-footage of the home and yard.

If you don’t plan on having children in the next few years and don’t currently have kids at home, having several bedrooms and a large backyard probably aren’t huge priorities. This means you’ll be able to save by buying a small home on a small property.

Similarly, if it’s just you and a significant other living in the home, you may be comfortable with just one bathroom for the next few years. These omissions can save you a ton of money on your first starter home.

3. Transportation and proximity

Typically, when people buy their first home they are just getting settled into their career and may still change jobs a few times. Most workers in today’s economy change jobs between 10 and 15 times throughout their career and do so more often toward the beginning.

This means it will make sense for you to buy your first home within commuting distances to companies in your industry.

4. DIY and fixer-uppers

Homes that are in need of repairs or renovations can be a great way to save money and see a return on your investment when you decide to sell. Of course, there are limits to how many repairs are reasonable while still getting your money’s worth from a home.

You’ll know from your home inspection or by doing a walk-through with professional contractors how much work is required to bring the home up to standards. Use those resources to ensure that you’re making a sound financial decision for your first home.




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Posted by Robin V. Wish on 11/19/2018

Buying your first home is a big endeavor, both financially and personally. Homeownership means taking on new responsibilities and bills, but it also means true financial independence.

If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, you might be wondering what you should be doing now to put yourself in the best position when it comes time to buy a home. Well, you’re in luck. Today’s post is a simplified list of all of the things you can be doing today to start making your way toward your ultimate goal of homeownership.

1. Pay off small debts

The first thing you’ll want to do to start saving for a down payment is to make sure you’re not pouring money down the drain to credit card companies for interest rates. If you owe small amounts of money (or less than $1,000), now is the time to aggressively pay down those debts.

The goal here is to get your credit cards to a place where you pay off your balance in full each month, avoiding interest while still earning rewards and building credit.

2. Speaking of credit…

One of the most important aspects of buying a home is your credit score. Take the time to learn about the 5 main things that contribute to your credit score and then work on ways to improve your score in those areas.

3. Don’t open any new accounts if you can help it

Once you start getting closer to applying for a mortgage, you won’t want any new inquiries on your account that are temporarily lowering your score. If you need to open a new account to lift your score, then do so well in advance of applying for a mortgage.

4. Get serious about saving for a down payment

There are a few ways to proactively save for your down payment; none of them include setting money aside when you feel like it. Start by opening a dedicated account and direct-depositing a portion of your pay into that account each week.

If you have an emergency fund in place, you might be in a position to use a CD or certificate of deposit. These give the highest earnings from interest out of any form of savings. The catch? You can’t withdraw from the account until you reach your savings goal without a penalty. If you know you won’t need to dip into these funds before they’ve matured, a CD is an excellent way to save.

5. Find out how much house you can afford

Homes are expensive. but, if it’s your first home, you might need to borrow the maximum amount form the bank to find a house that you’ll love. To find out what is a reasonable amount to spend on a home, you’ll need to consider your monthly mortgage, bills, taxes, insurance, and any other expenses. Leave yourself room for savings, emergencies, and to live a little. You won’t be able to enjoy your home much if you have to spend your days struggling to afford it.

6. Career planning is vital

A good career is a balance between stability and upward mobility. Don’t be afraid to be on the lookout for new positions with higher pay and better opportunities, even if you’re happy with your current job.

If you’ve been in your position for a while, consider asking for a raise. Research salaries for other people in your position and go to your boss equipped with data to show that show you deserve a raise.




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Posted by Robin V. Wish on 8/6/2018

As a first time home buyer, you may feel like a fish out of water when it comes to the process of getting a home. If you’re ready to buy your first home, there’s some key mistakes that you should avoid. 


You Think That You Don’t Need Help From A Professional


So many homebuyers think that they can save themselves a few dollars by avoiding working with a realtor. This is a big mistake. Realtors are a valuable resource for buyers and will help you throughout the process of purchasing a home. Realtors can help guide buyers step-by-step while providing assistance with things like negotiations and making sure all of the paperwork gets from point A to point B. You’ll also need other professionals involved in this process of home buying including lawyers and loan officers. Having these people on your team protects you and gives you a backing of knowledge that you wouldn’t otherwise have. 


Don’t Skip Pre-Approval


Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is key before you even start to search for a house. The pre-approval letter is a great resource in helping you land the home of your dreams. If you’re going up against other bids on a home, your bid will be seen as more serious if you have been pre-approved. Getting a pre-approval lets sellers know that you’re serious about the whole process of buying a home and are ready to make the financial commitment. 


Know The Costs Associated With Buying A Home


Just because you have the monthly income to pay a mortgage doesn't mean you’re financially ready to buy a home. There’s a few things that need to be in place before you can even commit to buying a home. First, you’ll need to make sure your credit score is up to par. Next, you’ll need to have enough saved up for a down payment. Without a down payment of at east 20% of the purchase price of a home, you’ll need to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). There’s plenty of other costs that you’ll need cash on hand for when it comes to buying a home. This includes home insurance, home inspections, closing costs, property taxes, HOA fees, and maintenance. In other words, there needs to be some wiggle room in your budget for all of the extra costs that go into closing on a home and maintaining a home. 



Don’t Completely Deplete Your Savings


Just because you have been saving up for years to buy a home, doesn’t mean you need to completely deplete your savings in one pass. If you lack an emergency fund, you’re not buying a home with a responsible financial cushion. While you’ll probably take out a good chunk of savings in order to purchase the home, you need a bit more. Experts say that you need about 3-6 months of expenses saved up in case of the event of illness, job loss, or other emergency. Hence the name “emergency fund.”





Posted by Robin V. Wish on 4/16/2018

There’s a lot that goes into the process of buying a new home. Buyers often think that once the closing process in complete they can move their stuff in and things will go back to normal. But they are often caught off guard throughout that first initial year by maintenance tasks. Tasks that they could have been prepared for at the beginning if only they had known. So today I want to talk about how to stay one step ahead when you first move in to avoid surprises months later or worse years down the line. For the most part, these should each take you all of ten minutes a few times a month.

Be sure to write in reminders on your calendar for monthly maintenance and annual inspections to stay on top of any issues that may arise. Maintenance is key to good homeownership. You’ll save money in the long run as you find and repair issues when they are still minor. You’ll be so glad you didn’t find out the hard way - by a burst pipe or major crack in your foundation.

Speaking of maintenance and saving money, wait to invest in top to bottom renovations, especially those that are purely cosmetic. Buying a new home is a large investment and most families need time to bounce back financially from the buying and moving process. Funnel what finances you do have towards initial repairs that will need to be made. And since you no longer have a landlord to depend on when repairs need to be made it is wise to start building an emergency fund for future home repairs.

For initial repairs that will need to be made be sure to hire professionals to take care of any and all that are technical. Don’t try to fix repairs yourself that you aren’t qualified to do. And no a Google search isn't enough to qualify you to do electrical or plumbing work. You’ve just made a major investment. So ensure to protect that investment for years to come by having things done the right way the first time. This also saves you money in the long run from having a professional come to undo your mistakes and set it up the right way. Or worse, from medical bills.

Keep a binder to track and save receipts for all home improvements. Doing so will help you to maximize your tax-free earnings if and when you decide to sell your home. And while the line between home improvements and repairs can get vague in some areas it’s best to track everything. Invest in an accountant, especially for your first year of homeownership, to help you sift through these receipts and maximize your returns. This binder will also come in handy for years to come. You’ll be able to refer back to when you purchased a new water heater or last had a home inspection done, for example.

Invest in sufficient home insurance. Not all basic plans include fire and flood protection. You will also need life insurance policies if you have dependents. This will ensure that if anything were to happen to you, your dependents would gain ownership of the house. And since you now own a large asset it is wise to ramp up your car insurance policy.

Don’t get caught off guard. Take 10 minutes a few times each week after you’ve closed on your house to set up these appointments and systems. For such a small amount of time, they have major pay off. And come tax season or time to make a repair you’ll be so glad you did.





Posted by Robin V. Wish on 5/15/2017

Buying your first home should be an exciting experience. Unfortunately, however, some first time homeowners would confess the term 'stressful' would be a more appropriate description for such an exploit. Despite the rumors, there is no need to be intimidated as a first time buyer if you take the initiative to prepare yourself for the process beforehand. Be proactive. Contact three separate mortgage brokers. The point of contacting multiple mortgage companies being to discover all of your available financing opportunities. Shop around for different rates and different options. Some banks offer VA financing, while others do not. Some banks offer mortgages specifically for first time buyers. You wouldn't purchase smaller items, such as a laptop, without doing your research. Your future home should be no different. Don't settle for the first option you're offered. Educate yourself. The information you need to prepare yourself for the buying process is out there! Some mortgage brokers or real estate attorneys offer educational seminars for first time buyers. Search for a seminar in your community! Don't settle. Realize what some home-seekers have overlooked or misunderstood in the past, there's no cost for you, as a buyer, to have a buyer's agent. Using a buyer's agent will keep your best interests in mind and will benefit you in the long run. Interview a few different real estate agents in order to find someone you are comfortable with. Most real estate agents, including myself, would be happy to sit down and simply have a conversation with you! Let's work together to make this process a great one.







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