Susan Baghdasarian's Blog
We live in a time when there are countless services from which to choose. From streaming video services, to grocery home delivery, there is no shortage of choices when it comes to finding entertainment and services.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can save money each month. Whether you’re saving up for a big purchase, or you just want to spend less on your monthly expenses, this article is for you.
If you’re a fan of movies, books, music, or video games, then you likely know how quickly these expenses can add up. New books and movies can cost up to $30. And video games much higher, at around $60 per game.
Monthly services have made these expenses easier to access and seemingly less expensive. However, if you’re paying for Netflix (TV and movies), Spotify (music), Audible (audiobooks), and Xbox Live (games), then you could be spending over $50 per month on entertainment alone. That adds up to around $600 per year.
To cut down on those entertainment expenses you have a few options.
Check to see if you qualify for discounts. Many times, customers offer introductory rates, student and senior discounts to encourage people to sign up. If you don’t meet those requirements, check for any coupons that might be available online. If you studied at college at some point in your life and still have access to your .edu email address, you might be able to take advantage of college discounts for a number of services.
Get a library card. There’s a lot more than books at your local library. Audiobooks, the latest video games, recently released movies, and even music can all be found amongst the stacks of your local library. Better yet, most libraries are connected regionally. So, if there’s a particular title you’re looking for but your library doesn’t have it, they will ship it *for free* to your library.
While you’re at the library… weekend entertainment for the family can be pricey as well. The library has you covered here as well. Libraries often offer free or discounted passes to local museums and attractions.
Slash your utility bills
Utilities can be a daunting bill to receive in the mail each month. You might not know what to expect each month due to fluctuations in usage and weather. That uncertainty is cause for stress for many homeowners.
There are, however, a few ways you can save on your monthly utility bills.
Go solar. Solar panels are more efficient and easier to access than ever. Better yet, leasing programs allow you to install rooftop solar without putting any money down. If panels on your roof aren’t your thing, you can look into off-site solar to power your home. It works just like rooftop solar without the eyesore.
Still paying for cable? It might be time to cut the cord. You can find most TV shows on Netflix or Hulu these days. And if you pay for cable for the news channels you might be surprised to find that many major stations stream their newscasts live on their websites.
Make your home energy efficient. For under $100, you can upgrade your light bulbs, insulate your windows (for the winter months), and purchase power strips that will allow you to turn off several devices at once that might otherwise be using electricity on standby.
A home inspection is a key part of the property buying process. If you fail to allocate the necessary time and resources to conduct an in-depth inspection, you may struggle to identify various home problems before you finalize your property purchase. And if you cannot identify such issues, you risk buying a home that may require costly, time-intensive upgrades in the foreseeable future.
Ultimately, there are many things that you can do to ensure that a home inspection provides you with the insights you need to determine whether to proceed with a home purchase. These include:
1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector
A home likely is one of the biggest purchases you'll make in your lifetime. As such, there is no need to leave anything to chance, especially when it comes to conducting a house inspection. But if you hire an expert home inspector, you can get the support you need to conduct a comprehensive property inspection.
Look for a home inspector who possesses extensive experience. Also, you may want to ask a home inspector for client referrals before you make your final hiring decision. If you get in touch with a home inspector's past clients, you can find out what it's like to work with this professional and proceed accordingly.
2. Attend Your Home Inspection
You are under no obligation to attend your home inspection. But in most instances, it is beneficial to attend an inspection.
A home inspection usually requires just a few hours to complete, but the benefits of attending an inspection may last a lifetime.
For example, during an inspection, a home inspector may be able to provide you with property repair insights that otherwise won't be included in your inspection report. Meanwhile, attending a home inspection allows you to ask questions and gain the insights you need to make an informed decision about a home purchase.
3. Analyze Your Home Inspection Results
Spend some time reviewing a home inspection report – you'll be happy you did. If you assess a home inspection report closely, you can use all of the information at your disposal to decide whether to continue with a house purchase.
Furthermore, if you have questions about a home inspection report, don't hesitate to reach out to the inspector who conducted the evaluation. This inspector can respond to any report questions that you may have and provide you with information that could prove to be exceedingly valuable as you make your final decision about a house.
As you get ready to buy a home, it certainly helps to have a best-in-class real estate agent at your side too. This housing market professional can offer recommendations and suggestions about what to do following a home inspection. Plus, he or she can provide plenty of guidance at each stage of the property buying journey.
Take the guesswork out of a home inspection – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of completing a successful property inspection before you finalize a home purchase.
Being in the market for a new home can be both an exciting experience and a scary one! It not only represents a huge financial commitment, but it also forces you to step out of your "comfort zone."
That's especially true if you're a first-time home buyer. When you make the switch from being a renter to a home owner, you no longer have the "luxury" of depending on your landlord for repairs, yard maintenance, or help with plumbing emergencies. Now, when the AC quits or the furnace conks out, the responsibility (and cost) of getting it fixed rests squarely on your shoulders!
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the possibility of incurring major expenses during the first couple years of owning a home. While there are (usually) no guarantees that household mechanical systems won't fail or that other crises won't befall you as a new homeowner, there are choices you can make that will reduce the chances of being saddled with unexpected expenses.
Buying a home with a newer roof, energy-efficient appliances, updated HVAC system, and a dry basement are four ways you can sidestep many predictable problems down the road. Wear and tear will eventually take its toll on everything from hot water heaters to microwave ovens, but if you can postpone having to replace appliances, roofs, and climate-control systems for several years or more, it will be a lot easier on you and your budget!
So all things being equal, home ownership will be more pleasurable and affordable if you choose a home with recent upgrades, replacements, and improvements -- preferably, those done within the past five or ten years. Besides comparing the maintenance history of houses you're considering, there's also the essential step of hiring an experienced structural inspector. When you've narrowed down your house-buying possibilities to one preferred home, a property inspector can help you identify "red flags" and potential problems before you close on that house.
As your real estate agent will probably tell you, if any major problems are identified in the home inspection process, you may be in a position to renegotiate the agreement or withdraw your offer, entirely. Since legalities are often complex and every real estate transaction is different, however, it's always essential to consult with an experienced real estate attorney whenever questions, problems, or complications arise in a real estate purchase or sale.
While it's a good idea to "expect the unexpected" when purchasing and moving into a new home, it pays to work with a team of trusted advisors. Working with a seasoned real estate agent, a knowledgeable real estate attorney, and a reputable property inspector will help make sure that your experience is both satisfying and relatively problem free! Knowing what you want and being adamant about what matters most to you should also serve you well in the house buying process.
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A home repair checklist can make a world of difference for any home seller, at any time. With this checklist in hand, a home seller can prioritize assorted home repairs. Plus, a home repair checklist helps ensure that a seller can enhance his or her house before adding it to the real estate market.
Ultimately, there are several items to include in a home repair checklist, such as:
1. Inspecting and Repairing the Roof
If you notice damaged, loose or missing roof shingles, you'll want to repair or replace these shingles immediately. That way, you can improve your home's roof – something that may make your house more attractive than others to dozens of potential buyers.
Remember, many homebuyers don't want to deal with the hassle of roof repairs. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to repair your roof today, you can include details about your upgraded roof in your home listing. Thus, roof repairs may help you increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.
When it comes to roof repairs, it often pays to hire professionals. Reach out to local roof repair companies, and you should have no trouble upgrading your house's roof.
2. Sealing Cracks and Gaps in Windows and Doors
Cracks and gaps in windows and doors can cause warm or cold air to leak outside a house. As a result, these problems can drive up a homeowner's monthly heating and cooling bills.
Fortunately, sealing cracks and gaps in windows and doors can be quick and easy. In most instances, caulk or weather stripping can help minimize these issues. Or, you can always reach out to local contractors for professional assistance as well.
3. Power-Washing Windows and Siding
Your home's curb appeal can have a significant impact on how quickly your residence sells. If you power-wash your residence's windows and siding, you can instantly boost your home's curb appeal and help your residence stand out to potential buyers.
Oftentimes, you can rent a power-washer from a home improvement store. You also may choose to buy a power-washer; by doing so, you can use your power-washer both now and in the future.
A home repair checklist is a must-have for home sellers, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. If you need extra help determining which home repairs to complete prior to listing your residence, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent too.
By hiring a real estate agent, you can receive expert guidance throughout the home selling journey. A real estate agent can put you in touch with the best local contractors to help you finish myriad home repairs. In addition, a real estate agent will help you promote your residence to the right groups of buyers and ensure that you can generate substantial interest in your house.
Ready to sell your house? Include the aforementioned items in your home repair checklist, and you can upgrade your residence in no time at all.