American Eagle Realty's Blog
Planning significant purchases like your first new car or home are big steps in life. While the purchase itself is a thrill ride, lack of planning may end up in buyer's remorse. To avoid such a pitfall, you need to impart a few guidelines around those larger purchases to protect yourself from disappointment or frustration later. Taking stock of your financial goals and your current situation can clear the way to confidence when shopping for your dream car, home, or other major purchases.
Plan, plan, plan
Having a written spending plan you can use to guide your decisions gives you a snapshot of where you are. Laying out a six to 12-month program for your income and expenses will allow you to determine when you shop, or even make an offer on something. Remember that a plan is only as good as the information you have, so make sure you keep all aspects of your financial life up to date. This upkeep includes retirement accounts, debts, interest rates on those debts, any fluctuation in income, and any changes in your cost-of-living expenses (rent, insurance rates or gas prices). Any of these things have the potential to delay or accelerate your purchase. When you are elevating larger purchases, remember the monthly payment is not the only expense associated with the purchase.
The big picture for housing expenses
When purchasing a home, that may be a bit more complicated. You will need to ask for information from those in the real estate and mortgage industry to get the information you need to see the big picture. Again, the monthly payment is not the only thing you will pay each monthly, especially if you are a renter. Knowing what expenses you will be taking on is essential. Besides the money you will need to purchase a home initially, there are other increases to your monthly expenses as a homeowner. Homeowner's insurance is more expensive than renter's insurance, so make sure your spending plan adjusts accordingly. You will want to think about your commute to work if you have one and budget more for gas if your trip to work will be longer from your new address. Sometimes the utility costs will be lower especially if you are buying an energy efficient or more modern home.
Home buying, when you have processed all the information and are confident financially, is an exciting adventure.
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.
Never allow that ever-increasing pile of tax forms and paperwork put you off, you should be aware of the fact that your task return preparation may not be as difficult as you think. Here are the steps required to simplify your task filing and potentially boost your return:
Begin as soon as possible
One of the simple steps to take to file your tax is starting as soon as you can. When you delay your tax filing until the last minutes, you will have to rush through it. Hurrying through your tax filing process increases the chances of making mistakes, and such a mistake could cost you a lot of money. Rather than waiting till the last minutes, you should start your tax filing as soon as all the essential paperwork and forms are available.
When you have all the needed tax form organized, it enables you to get your tax filed quickly and accurately. Common task documents are documents from a mortgage, a statement from any interest-earning bank account, documents showing the interest payment made, and documents from any Student Loan Company.
Know more about deductions and tax credits
Another simple step to take when filing your tax is to learn about deductions and tax credits. You get the most from your tax return when you take advantage of the tax credits and deductions. Deductions are particular amounts of money that come out of your total taxable income amount. They reduce your income tax.
Use your tax refund amount to build your emergency saving
Direct your tax refund money towards your financial goals. Though it is tempting to spend tax refunds on immediate needs, it is better if the money is used to build up an emergency fund. Having enough emergency fund to cover a period of three to six month gives you financial security. It is an excellent way of preparing for unexpected costs like repairs, medical bills, and the likes.
Don’t pay too much for tax help
If you cannot go through the rigors of tax filing, you can seek a professional tax help that will help you at an affordable price. Most workers earning around $54,000 per year are entitled to free tax filing services. Few other rules are guiding the free tax filing services. There are also tax volunteer preparers that can help you get the job done.
Your thirties are a time of many important financial decisions. Many people are starting families, buying homes, and getting settled into their careers by the time they turn thirty. The following ten years are often marked by salary increases, moving into larger homes, and saving for retirement.
It’s vital to have a solid grasp on personal finance in your thirties, as it is in many ways the foundation of your finances for the decades to come. So, in this article we’re going to give you some advice on buying a home and managing your money in your thirties.
Straighten out your credit
If your twenties were a volatile time of incurring debts from student loans, car loans, and other expenses, then it’s paramount to get your credit in order in your early thirties. Having a high credit score can secure you lower interest rates on a home loan or let you refinance your loans at lower rates.
Start by making sure your bills are on auto-pay, and be sure to settle any older debts from your younger years. You can also use a credit card for recurring expenses, such as gas to get to work or groceries, and then pay them off in full each month. This way, you’ll build credit and avoid accruing interest at the same time.
Reevaluate your lifestyle and long term goals
A lot can change from the time you turn 25 to the time you turn 35. Your goals might shift from finding a home near the ocean to finding a home near a good school district for your children. You might also have the shocking realization that your children will be heading to college sooner than it might seem, and that you’re still working on paying off your own student debt.
Consider things like the size house you’ll need for your family, where you want to live and whether that involves being close to aging parents, and reallocating money depending on your retirement goals.
Rethink your insurance coverage
Gone are the days when all you needed was a car insurance policy to get by. As you age and your responsibilities grow, you’ll need to think about the future for you and your family. That may include a more comprehensive health insurance plan for your family, a life insurance policy for yourself, or increased covered for home and auto insurance.
Automate the headaches away
With all of these growing responsibilities, it can be easy to get frustrated with the time you’re losing to keeping your finance in order. Fortunately, there are many tools at your disposal in the internet age that will make all of those responsibilities an afterthought.
First, get a budget planning app, like Mint or You Need a Budget (YNAB). Next, set up your bills to auto-pay if you haven’t yet. Then, put reminders in your phone to periodically check your credit score and reassess whether you need to pay for certain monthly services (do you still watch Hulu?). Finally, if you haven’t yet, make sure you have your paychecks direct deposited into the accounts you’d like them to enter so you don’t have to worry about them.