Whether you are a brand-new home owner or have lived in your house for several years, having an emergency fund for unexpected repairs can help you cover costs without sacrificing your financial security. Depending on a few factors, like where you live, how old the house is, and other considerations, setting aside an emergency repair fund is key.
A recommended amount to have saved for these repairs is 1% of the cost of the home. Examples of such general repairs are:
Replacing the boiler
Fixing the air conditioning
Replacing a hot water heater
Minor plumbing issues
Minor electrical issues
How to Calculate your Emergency Fund
For larger repairs or longer-term emergencies, it is advised to save the equivalent of at least 3 months of your major living expenses. When calculating this amount, don’t forget to include:
Housing Expenses - including mortgage, property taxes, and utilities
Food - groceries and dining out
Various Insurance - medical or auto
Transportation - gas or public transit fare
General personal expenses
Communications - cell phone, internet, and cable TV
Should you not have an emergency repair fund, or you are unable to save the recommended amounts, be sure to discuss all options with a professional to see what solution is best for you.
At Norcom Mortgage, we pride ourselves on offering a diverse portfolio of mortgage products. Beyond the traditional offerings of FHA, USDA, Reverse, and VA loans, we also create our own, such as the NorFlex Home Loan and the Norcom Dream Home Loan. We do this because we recognize that the needs of each family and individual are different. We are now pleased to also offer the JumpStart Pre Approval Program with Rate Assurance, and share with you this product overview:
What It Is:
The JumpStart Pre-Approval Program with Rate Assurance allows a buyer to lock in their rate for up to 90 days while they search for the perfect home. If market rates increase during the 90 days, the buyer is guaranteed the lower rate. However, if market rates decrease, the buyer assumes the lower rate.
Why Is It Important:
A pre-approval positions a buyer to submit a strong offer when they have found a home they want to purchase. By submitting credit information and income documentation, Norcom can provide you and your real estate agent a pre-approval letter, which shows how much you can borrow. Should it come down to your offer vs. that of another potential buyer, the seller is likely to have more confidence in you, as you have already been pre-approved.
When Can it Be Used?
The JumpStart Pre-Approval Program with Rate Assurance is available for 30-year fixed-rate conventional, FHA, or VA loans. A Norcom Loan Officer is dedicated to helping you find the best option and is ready to help today!
From DIY projects to hiring professionals, there are many improvements that can increase a home's value prior to selling. However, there are some changes you should avoid, no matter how popular they are.
Open concept living spaces are very popular and attract buyers, but be careful when eliminating certain spaces. For example, any family looking to purchase a new home will most likely want the option of multiple bedrooms, so knocking down walls to combine two smaller rooms could cost you. Instead, opt for light paint colors and furniture with simple lines to make the rooms feel larger.
Trading in Your Closet Space
Closets are typically first to go when a homeowner embarks on a bathroom or bedroom renovation. They may seem easy to sacrifice, but closets are important storage space for most potential buyers. If your renovation needs to go through an existing closet, be sure to add in a new option elsewhere in the room.
The Family Pool
If you are considering adding a pool to your home, it’s important to first consider how long you plan to live there. A swimming pool can be detrimental to the sale of a home as most buyers don’t want to inherit the cost of maintenance or the safety issues that are associated with it.
It may seem like a good idea to install wall-to-wall carpeting in certain rooms for the comfort and safety of kids, but most buyers are willing to pay more for hard wood floors. In addition, the style options of carpet are unlimited, and what you choose may not appeal to others.
When making improvements to your home, be sure to consider whether or not a potential buyer would need to invest more money to reverse the changes. Be sure your choices benefit the appeal of your home and therefore increase the value should you one day choose to sell.
Whether you are considering buying a home or not, having your finances organized is important. The ability to manage money well can help you afford a life that is a little more comfortable and a little less stressful. These tips will give you a jump start on being more in control of your money without the need of a finance degree.
Know What You Have:
The best place to start is to evaluate all of your accounts and know exactly how much money you have in each. This would include knowing the balance of your checking account, savings account, retirement fund, credit cards, loans, and any other investment. Writing down the actual balances will give you a clear starting point, even if the totals aren’t exactly what you want them to be.
Create Goals for Your Future:
This is where you can dream big, and also dream small. Once you’ve evaluated your accounts, think about what you want to accomplish financially. Do you want to save for a down payment on a home? Do you want to be free of your student loans in ten years? Do you want to save twenty extra dollars a month? Do you want to own a vacation home one day or travel the world? Big or small, your dreams are valid and writing them down is the first step in making them a reality.
Assess Your Payments:
Take a look at your income and expenses over the past 30 days. How much money do you bring in and how much money are you sending each month to pay expenses? Most people underestimate their monthly spending and don’t want to look closely at the small spending habits they have created. By assessing your cash flow, you will identify areas that need work, like if you are going out to eat more in a month than you should, for example.
Set Your Budget:
Take what you learn from analyzing your monthly spending habits and create a new budget for yourself. Create a list of rough estimates for things like groceries, gas, utilities, etc. This way you will know if you are spending more than you should month to month moving forward. There are budget templates you can find online, or you can create your own. Once you have an established budget, you’ll be much more aware of any excess spending.
Once you have your finances organized, it’s important to keep your eye on the goals you have set. You can use money management apps, hire a financial advisor, use mobile banking to see each transaction in real time. Checking in on how close you are to your goals, both big and small, every month will help you stay focused and eliminate some of the stress that comes with money.
There are several ways to care for your home’s lawn in the fall to ensure great regrowth the following spring. In fact, now is a great time to prepare your lawn while the grass is storing nutrients for a dormant winter. Follow these steps and you’ll be sure to have a healthy lawn and improve your home’s curb appeal for next spring:
Getting fallen leaves off the ground as soon as possible will prevent your grass from suffocating. You can also use a lawnmower with a collection bag to do the job. Leaving the leaves to stack on top of each other will create a wet barrier that can breed fungal diseases.
Get Rid of Weeds:
Just like your grass, weeds are also absorbing sunlight and energy in preparation for winter, so now is the time to apply weed killers. Most products recommend treatment in the early to mid-fall while temperature are still consistently above 60 degrees.
Keep mowing your lawn all throughout the fall even as the growth slows down. At the end of the season, drop your mower blade all the way down for the last two cuttings. This way, more sun can reach the crown of the grass.
The best time to fertilize your lawn is in the fall because the grass leaves are growing slowly, but the roots are still growing quickly. Fertilizer will deliver essential nutrients to the grass and create deep roots for next spring. Once mid to late fall arrives, apply a dry lawn fertilizer to your lawn using a drop spreader to guarantee an even distribution.
In addition to these methods, be sure to fill in any bald spots and look into aerating the soil as well. Taking these measures in the next couple of months will save you time and energy when spring comes back around.