Susan Baghdasarian's Blog
The kids are gone and your home that once always felt full to the brim might begin to feel like too much for just the two of you. Which also means it’s the perfect time to buy just the kind of home you always dreamed of having. And let’s be honest, this isn’t always the home young couples need to raise their growing family.
Open the next chapter of your life by, quite literally, opening a new door.
One of the most important factors to consider when house hunting is whether to stay within your existing community. Many couples are excited to not be tied to one place and have the ability to move to somewhere much warmer or scenic. However, it’s important to consider a few factors that some couples find they wish they had when they first started house hunting for homes across the country.
One of the biggest factors to consider is your family and friends. Moving across country can mean seeing them a lot less. And even though we now have video call technology there’s no replacement for that one on one interaction you get when they’re just a drive around the corner.
Instead of jumping in feet first, consider vacationing in the location(s) you are considering for a week or two at a time. Get to know the surrounding community while you are there. What types of people are in the area and can you see yourself easily becoming one of the group? Visit the restaurants, coffee shops, library and community center to see where people gather and if they are “your” people. If you have a hobby or are looking to take one on look into what sort of activities are in the area. Look for sewing/knitting circles, cooking classes, speaking events, and/or hobby shops in the area.
You might just find that the area is best for visiting time to time and not a place you’d like to grow roots. However, you do find you love the location look into the different travel options and what pricing will look like throughout the year. Especially around the holidays. You don’t want to find out after the fact that you need to drive to a train station two hours away just to get on a train or pay an arm and a leg for a plane ride.
One last thing to consider is planning for your budget both now and in the future. Retirement has a lot of perks but cash flow can get tricky when it comes to big-ticket items. Look for homes that you can pay as much of the total as possible up front. Having small, or no, mortgage payments will ensure you are well within your means. If this is a home you plan to live in for a very long time you’ll want to make sure that all expenses can be covered by one of you if anything should happen to the other’s income source.
Buying a home should be a quick, simple process. However, the homebuying cycle sometimes proves to be a hassle, particularly for those who are shopping for a house for the first time.
Lucky for you, there are many quick, easy ways to become a smart homebuyer – here are three tips to ensure you can make informed decisions throughout the homebuying journey.
1. Check Out a Broad Array of Houses
Purchasing a home can be a fun, exciting journey, especially if you explore a wide range of residences.
Remember, the more residences you check out, the more likely it becomes that you'll find one that matches or exceeds your expectations.
When you review houses, be sure to analyze each property's interior and exterior closely. That way, you can identify any problem areas and determine whether these issues are potential deal-breakers.
Also, don't hesitate to check out the same house multiple times. It never hurts to take a second look at a house. And if you find that you enjoy a home after a second walk-through, you may be ready to submit an offer on this residence.
2. Set a Homebuying Budget
Before you make an offer on a house, it is important to consider exactly what you can afford. By doing so, you can avoid the temptation to overspend in the hopes of acquiring your dream house.
Many homebuyers get pre-approved for a mortgage – something that may prove to be exceedingly valuable.
With pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will know exactly how much money he or she can spend on a home. This will enable a homebuyer to enter the housing market with a budget in hand and map out his or her home search accordingly.
Furthermore, consider your monthly expenses prior to submitting a home offer. Electricity and assorted utility expenses can add up quickly, so you'll want to account for these costs. And if you want cable and internet services at your new home, you'll want to evaluate these potential expenses as well.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a housing market professional, and as such, will help you simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you to understand your homebuying needs. He or she then will help you develop a homebuying strategy, one that ensures you can purchase your ideal house at a budget-friendly price.
With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble acquiring a wonderful residence. This housing market professional will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new property listings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. As a result, a real estate agent will guarantee you can get the best results possible throughout the home selling journey.
Don't leave anything to chance as you kick off your home search. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can become a smart home shopper in no time at all.
Have you ever wondered how to locate the best place to eat? Whether you are new to an area or just looking for more choices to refresh your repertoire a time of culinary exploration may be the answer to your search.
New to an area
Being new to an area comes with many of its own challenges and changes and food can be an excellent way to experiment and shape your experience into your own. Trying new dishes can create new traditions for you and your family for years into the future or simply help you to find your new favorite place to go out.
Or been here forever
Likewise, if you have lived in an area for most of your life, someone may ask you where the best place for a certain food is and if you find yourself in the uncomfortable position of not knowing this is a great way to expand your horizons- or at least your answers.
What cuisine are you starting with
Pick a culinary type to start. It can be a local favorite like New York pizza or Memphis BBQ, whatever is in your area. Or, it can be a personal favorite. But you might want to see if there are more great options out there for you.
Make a list
Once you have picked a cuisine look for listings of top rated local places. Start online or with apps for finding restaurants, but don't forget to check with people around you who have tried local restaurants—neighbors, local newspapers, groups that you are a part of all can be a rich resource of information. Make a list of the places that you want to try; this may consist of locations that everyone mentions or that has great stars, atmosphere or prices. Don’t forget to include some hole in the wall places on your list as these can have some of the best food around. Start with your top 10 and one by one, maybe once a week, try them out.
Try it all- if you can
When you get to each place, make sure to try several things if you can. A great way to do this is to go with friends, and each person orders something different for the table to taste. Ideas of things to order can be the special of the day/chef's special, your favorite dish, something that a reviewer suggested that got the restaurant on your list in the first place, etc.
Get started, have fun, and don’t stop
Go on a culinary adventure through town and discover your area and yourself like never before while having fun in the process. Start by talking with your local real estate agent for tips on where to start or to get your list going. Don’t stop at just one cuisine, figure out your next one, keep going and have fun!
One of the perks of moving out of an apartment into a home is having your very own outdoor space. Depending on how close to the city you live, you may not get much of a yard with your home. If you’re looking for that perfect outdoor space to dwell in, read on for some tips on buying a house with a yard. If you check the yard out, you could save yourself from facing problems further down the road.
Are The Trees In Good Condition?
While mature trees in a yard are a sure fire way to have privacy and shade, the trees must be safe. You want any trees in your yard to be healthy. Otherwise, during a storm, you may have an issue with falling trees. If you have a lot of trees in your yard, it may be a good idea to hire an arborist who can tell you if the trees are safe. Tree removal can be costly, so you’ll need to plan for this expense if your yard has many trees.
How Safe The Outdoor Living Areas?
You should check out any outdoor living areas the yard has. If the home comes with a patio, or gazebo the soundness of the structures should be checked. Any cement should be free of cracks or crumble.
The Layout Of The Lot
There is more to a yard than the size of a property. You should keep in mind where the home is situated on the lot. Is the front yard more prominent than the backyard? Is the home on a slope? Is there a chance water will pool near the foundation of the house? All of these questions are important for the long-term health of the property.
How Much Yard Are You Willing To Care For?
You need to know how large of a yard you’re actually willing to care for. For many buyers, a small yard is just enough. Other buyers aim to care for a large lawn the many flowerbeds. The larger the yard, the more possibilities you have. If you are willing to take the extra time and incur the additional expense that a large yard will cost, it could be a good feature to look for. Yard size may also narrow down your home search considerably.
Buying a home with a yard can be a great decision, all you need is to understand your own preferences and ability to care for properties of different sizes.
Moving to a new home is all about change, from the change of an environment to the change of the interior design. But one of the lesser-known differences is that the moving process affects your taxes. If you move to your new home, you might be able to deduct the expenses of the move on your federal tax return the following year. However, this may only come in play if you move to begin a new job or continue your previous career in a new location. If you want to deduct your moving cost, it must meet three requirements:
First of all, your move should be similarly related to the start of work. Mostly, you can consider moving cost within a year of the date you begin work at your new location. Please note that there may be additional rules for this requirement.
Secondly, your move must pass the distance test. Your new job location must be a minimum of 50 miles farther away from your old home than your previous job location. For example, imagine your last job was three miles away from your old home. If you want to pass the test, your new position should be nothing less than 53 miles from your old home.
Lastly, you must pass the time test. You must be working full-time at your new job location or a minimum of 39 weeks for one year after the move. For those who are self-employed, you must pass the test too. Furthermore, you must work full-time for a minimum of 8 weeks during the first 2-years at your new job location. In a situation your tax return is outstanding before you undergo the time test, you will still be able to claim the deduction only if you expect to meet.
Tips for those who are eligible for this deduction
Travel: You can reduce some transportation and lodging costs while moving. This deduction does not only apply to expenses for yourself while moving but other household members too.
Household good and utilities: You can deduct the cost of packing and shipping your belongings. It may include the expenses to store or insure your items while moving. You can also deduct the cost to connect or cut off utilities in your old or new home.
Expenses that are not deductible: You might not be able to deduct the following:
- The cost of selling your house
- The cost of breaking a lease
- Some of the purchase cost of your new home
Reimbursed Expenses: If after some time your employer pays for the expenses of a move that you had reduced on your tax return you might need to add the payment as income.
Update your address: Whenever you move, ensure that you update your current address with the IRS and the U.S. Post office.
Reach out to your personal tax advisor for complete information to make sure you are doing the right thing with your taxes after your move.