Ron Ouellette
RE/MAX Advantage I | 508-847-7111 | rono@remax.net


Posted by Ron Ouellette on 10/12/2017

Personal financial in your twenties comes with a steep learning curve. One minute you’re studying for your finals and the next you’re expected to suddenly know about APR financing, 401(K)s, and fixed-rate mortgages.

If you’re in your twenties and are facing these new challenges, you’re probably equal parts terrified and excited for the future. And, although it can be anxiety-inducing to step into the world of personal finance, you have one tool to your advantage that your parents and grandparents didn’t have: the internet.

So, in this article, we’re going to give you some tips about buying a home and managing your finances in your twenties.

Have an emergency fund

You probably have a lot of things you want to save for. Down payments on mortgages and auto loans, saving money for traveling, beginning your retirement funds, and maybe even starting a family; they’re all important investments that will take time and financial planning to achieve.

However, one thing that many young people neglect when they first start saving is an emergency fund. There are any number of things that can throw a wrench in your plans in your twenties. You might lose a job and have to live off of savings while hunting for a new one. Maybe something goes wrong with your car and it costs hundreds to repair. Or, you could have unforeseen medical expenses that aren’t covered by your insurance. Regardless of the reason, having an emergency fund will help you stay out of unnecessary debt.

It’s recommended to have at least 6 months of living expenses saved in your emergency fund. Once you have this amount saved, it’s a good idea to keep it in a separate account to avoid spending it on things that aren’t exactly an emergency.

Don’t live above your means

We all know that buying a house, going to college, and even buying groceries are all exponentially more expensive than they used to be. However, it’s still important to try to adjust your lifestyle to the things you can afford.

This includes the vehicle you drive, the first home you buy, and even smaller purchases you make.

Avoiding lifestyle creep

Related to our last point about living above your means, lifestyle creep is the phenomenon that occurs when you get a raise or a higher paying job: the more we make, the more we spend. However, it’s possible to avoid this trend by keeping your finances in check.

The next time you get a raise, make sure that money is put to use in either your retirement fund or savings account. This method is based on the goal of “giving every dollar a job.” When every dollar you earn has a purpose, you’re less likely to spend it on new video game consoles every six months.





Posted by Ron Ouellette on 10/5/2017

Debt to income ratios have increased for some lenders. Tax liens and judgments related to personal mortgages are also changing. Both of these moves may make it easier for more people to qualify for a mortgage. More mortgages and rising interest rates could very well spell better business and larger profits for banks and other lenders. For consumers to gain advantages from these changes, consumers must start saving early.

New rules affecting mortgages and other loans could put consumers at risk

Consumers also need to money saving and disciplined, the earlier consumers start practicing these skills, the better. Why? Changes impacting home loans could put consumers at risk of defaulting on mortgages that they may have been better off being turned down for. For example, being allowed to buy a house even if it causes you to take on a 50% debt to income ratio could put you under water. Long range effects of being allowed to take on more debt and still get a mortgage approved include:

  • Poorer money management skills - Because consumers know that they can carry more debt and still qualify for a home loan, consumers might relax their spending habits. This could set consumers up for financial ruin should these same consumers get their work hours reduced, lose a job or experience a medical emergency that forces them to tap into their personal savings.
  • Higher interest rates - The more debt that consumers take on, the more interest they could end up paying. This alone could extend the life of a loan across two more years.
  • Lower home sale value - Should requests to take on more debt be approved by lenders, homeowners might have to stick with a house longer than they want. Should the housing market shift downward, these homeowners could end up living in a house that is valued below what is owed on the property.
  • Less capital to pass onto children - Greater debts could leave homeowners with less to will to their offspring. Avoiding this and other draw backs requires discipline and honesty.

Personal honesty and insightful review are the home buyer's responsibility

Qualifying for a home mortgage may be a sign that your finances are in order. On the other hand, it could also set you up for financial disaster. Rather than relying solely on the word of a lender to know whether your current finances are truly healthy, take an honest assessment of your personal finances.

After all, only borrowers fully know what their future spending plans are. Only borrowers know if they are giving a portion of their income to assist an adult child, a friend or another relative until that person gets out of a financial hole. More importantly, borrowers know how disciplined they are with money.

On paper it might look as if borrowers are solvent and disciplined. In actuality, these same borrowers could be partially relying on financial help from family, friends, and income generated from events like yard sales, flea markets and online ad hoc sales. The more honest borrowers are with themselves and lenders, the better chances they might have of not taking on too much debt, the better chances they might have of being patient and working their way into the home of the dreams absent regret. Starting on this path early can pay off hugely.





Posted by Ron Ouellette on 9/28/2017

The thought of trying to declutter your home could stress you out. If you put off the act of organizing, however, you could end up even more stressed out. Clutter in the home is proven to be a cause of stress. Not being able to find what you need can cause you to feel that you’re living in chaos. There’s a few tips that you can take into consideration to help you declutter, destress, and get organized for good! 


When Planning Storage Solutions, Measure First


If you shop for containers and other storage organization tools first, you’ll never know what will fit properly. Taking the time to measure things out and get the right size containers can help you to avoid creating more clutter for yourself. Measuring spaces helps you to come up with a plan for what your vision is for that space.


Declutter For Less


You don’t need to go into a huge debt to declutter your home. You can shop at the local dollar store to find containers, hooks, and bins to help you stay organized. Organization doesn’t need a lot of fancy tools. 


For Kids, More Is Better


When it comes to finding containers and bins for a child’s room, more is definitely better.  Having many separate compartments really helps the kids to stay organized and find what they’re looking for when they want it. 


A Junk Drawer Is Actually A Good Thing


You can actually keep that junk drawer or bin that you have in the house. A junk drawer is a great place for collecting items. Just learn to keep it organized. If you have a bin, make sure that you clean it out from time to time so that tons of things don’t end up building up there in a pile. If you have a junk drawer, try to compartmentalize it with categories and separators for a “lost and found” or “things that need to be put away.”


Every Door Is An Opportunity


In your home, think of each and every door, cabinet door, or closet door as an opportunity to create more storage. You can hang things on the backs of these doors including spice racks, shoe racks, hooks for coats, and so much more. Don’t miss out on a simple yet very effective space saver.


  

Create Zones


In each room, there’s places where the same activity is done over and over again. Creating zones helps to reduce clutter and increase organization. In the kitchen, for example, you probably have a dedicated prep space along with a clean up station. In bedrooms, there’s a place where you get dressed, throw your dirty clothes, and get ready for the day. Have everything that you’ll need in each “station” or “zone” so that you can stay on top of being tidy.




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Posted by Ron Ouellette on 9/21/2017

If you’ve recently purchased a new home, congratulations! The hardest part and most stressful part of the process is behind you. But moving day can still be difficult, especially if you’re moving with kids, pets, or over a long distance.

Today, we’re going to provide you with a moving day checklist in hope that you’ll personalize it to your own needs, making your moving day as smooth a process as possible.

Not all of the items on the list will apply to everyone, but we can guarantee that if you follow most of our guidelines you’ll be able to sleep more soundly the night before your move and rest assured once you’re in your new home that everything has been taken care of.

Before the big day

The weeks leading up to moving day are an important time to iron out all of the details of your move. It includes making arrangements for pets, setting and confirming appointments with movers, and making sure your all of your belongings are accounted for. Consider this your pre-moving day checklist:

  1. Meet with your family and make your master schedule and to-do list. This could include things like sending change-of-address forms, calling your doctors to update your address, setting up an appointment with cable and internet companies, and so on. Doing all of these things before the move will make moving day much simpler.

  2. Hire your movers early. Don’t wait until a week before the move as some may already be booked for the day. A day or two before the move, call to confirm your appointment and double check to see if the movers require anything else from you before the move. Confirm your current and future addresses with them, as well as routes if it’s a long distance move.

  3. Also for long distance moves, plan an itinerary for things like driving and fuel breaks, hotels, food, etc.

  4. Clean house. Have a yard sale, donate used items to charity, and put unwanted items in your front yard for free. You don’t want to move more than you need and leaving junk at your old home isn’t polite and might be a violation of your contract.

  5. In the weeks leading up to your move, use or discard old pantry items or frozen food. You don’t want to be moving a lot of groceries to the new house, especially perishables.

  6. If you have pets who aren’t used to leaving home, get them used to the new house if possible and have them stay with a friend or pet care facility on moving day to avoid them getting lost or in trouble.

On moving day

Once moving day is here, if you’ve followed the items above, everything should run somewhat smoothly. Here are some checklist items for moving day.

  1. Pack a bag with items you’ll need the first day of your move that can be easily accessible. This includes toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, toilet paper, etc.

  2. Do inventory for your boxes. Odds are you won’t forget any, but having a correct count at your new home will set your mind at ease.

  3. Bring nutritious snacks like granola bars (moving is hard work).

  4. Don’t lift heavy items alone.

  5. Use sliders to move big items to avoid scratching your floors.

  6. Show your helpers they’re appreciated (pizza is always a good “thank you”).




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Posted by Ron Ouellette on 9/14/2017

After you add your house to the real estate market, it may be only a matter of days before you receive the first offer on your residence.

Ultimately, the initial offer on your home may prove to be the best proposal for a number of reasons, including:

1. The offer matches or exceeds your expectations.

An informed home seller understands the condition of his or her house, and as such, sets realistic expectations for the home selling journey.

For a home seller, it is paramount to conduct a home appraisal before you list your residence. With this appraisal, you can learn about your residence's strengths and weaknesses and price your house accordingly.

Furthermore, a home appraisal will help you understand the true value of your home. And if you receive an initial offer that matches or surpasses your expectations, you should have no trouble accepting the proposal and moving forward with a home sale.

2. The offer corresponds to the current state of the real estate market.

Operating in a buyer's market is far different from operating in a seller's market, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

In a buyer's market, there is an abundance of high-quality houses and a shortage of property buyers. This means a buyer's market typically favors property buyers over property sellers.

On the other hand, a seller's market usually favors property sellers. This market includes many property buyers and a shortage of top-notch houses. Thus, the likelihood of receiving a terrific first offer may increase in a seller's market and decrease in a buyer's market.

As a home seller, it is essential to allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about the housing market. If you understand the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's market, you can identify a great initial offer on your house.

3. The offer is a must-accept in the eyes of your real estate agent.

When it comes to selling a house, it often is a wonderful idea to work with a real estate agent. In fact, this housing market professional may prove to be a difference-maker at each stage of the home selling journey.

A real estate agent will help you list your residence, promote it to potential homebuyers and set up home showings and open houses. That way, he or she can make it easy for you to generate substantial interest in your residence as soon as it becomes available.

Perhaps most important, a real estate agent is happy to provide honest, unbiased home selling recommendations. This housing market professional will help you differentiate between a mediocre initial offer and a stellar one and ensure you can make informed home selling decisions.

Lastly, be sure to analyze the initial offer on your home closely before you accept it. By taking a diligent approach to this home proposal, you can evaluate the pros and cons of it and make the best possible decision based on your individual needs.




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