Ryan Seward - RE/MAX Select Realty



Posted by Ryan Seward on 2/16/2017

If it always seems like your money disappears as fast as you earn it, you're not alone. All too many people live from paycheck to paycheck -- even when their income is well above average.

Why is this condition so widespread? Well, the reasons are as varied as people's spending habits, lifestyles, and financial obligations, but there is one factor that is often overlooked: self-defeating attitudes toward money. Here are a few examples you may be able to relate to:

  • "I don't have the time or patience to compare prices." The truth of the matter is that it doesn't really take that much time to do a few quick price comparisons when you're in the supermarket, department store, or on the Web. During the course of a typical week, you probably make dozens of spending decisions, many of them almost unconsciously. By simply increasing your awareness of how much you're spending and what the alternatives are (if any), you can often save hundreds of dollars a month.
  • "People who use coupons are penny pinchers." Although the term "penny pincher" is frequently used to describe someone who's stingy or overly careful with their spending habits, some people consider it a badge of pride to be frugal and careful with their money. It's all a matter of perspective. There are numerous blogs, small businesses, and newspapers that have no reluctance about including the words "penny pincher" in their name While few people want to be thought of as cheap or stingy, frugality has different connotations. It's associated with being economical and thrifty.
  • "I don't want people to think I'm cheap." This can be a tough self-defeating thought to overcome because it's often so deep rooted. However, if you're a compulsively high tipper or often feel obligated to pick up the check at restaurants (rather than splitting it with your fellow diners), this could be a contributing cause of your budgetary problems. Generosity is a wonderful thing, as long as it's not based on a desire to be liked, accepted, or approved of by other people. As a side note, concerns about being perceived as "cheap" is one reason some people don't take a closer look at their retail receipts, restaurant bills, and other invoices. Remember this: There's nothing cheap about being unwilling to pay extra for cashier or restaurant staff mistakes -- which are more common that you might think -- and unauthorized or redundant fees on bills.
Another factor which contributes to tight household budgets is not having a budget at all. If you don't take the time to identify your expenses and deduct them from your monthly income, then it's next-to-impossible to gain control of your finances. While there's no panacea for spending beyond your means -- and some people clearly need professional advice and help in dealing with financial management and debt problems -- sometimes a few simple attitude shifts can make the difference between scarcity and surplus in your life.




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Posted by Ryan Seward on 1/12/2017

Buying your dream home should be simple. Unfortunately, challenges may arise during the homebuying journey, particularly for those who fail to budget accordingly.

Establishing a budget before you begin your home search is paramount. With a budget in place, you can explore houses that fall within your price range and move closer to finding a great residence that you can enjoy for years to come.

Ultimately, creating a homebuying budget can be easy – here are three tips to help homebuyers establish budgets.

1. Consider your utility costs.

Although you may be able to get pre-approved for a mortgage and determine exactly how much you'll need to pay for a house, you'll still need to account for utility expenses month after month.

Electricity, heat and other utility costs can add up quickly. However, a diligent homebuyer should have no trouble estimating his or her monthly utility fees.

Examining your current utility expenses can help you understand how much you may wind up paying in utility charges at your new address. Also, don't forget to consult with your real estate agent, as this professional may be able to provide details about the average utility costs associated with a particular residence.

2. Manage your debt.

If you decide to purchase a "fixer-upper," i.e. a home that requires extensive home repairs, you'll likely need to commit substantial time and resources to complete home renovation projects. Thus, you'll want to consider any home repair tasks that you may need to complete at a new address and budget for them before you make an offer on a house.

In addition, knowing your credit score can help you understand your debt. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), and each report will provide information about any outstanding debt. That way, you can learn about your debt and find ways to minimize it prior to purchasing a residence.

3. Account for closing costs and miscellaneous expenses.

Home closing costs will include your loan origination, title insurance and appraisal fees and often range between 3 percent and 7 percent of your total loan amount. You'll want to account for these expenses as you establish a homebuying budget to ensure you can secure your dream house without delay.

Spend some time learning about all of the expenses that may impact your monthly home expenses too. For example, if you purchase a condo, you may face monthly homeowners association fees in addition to your mortgage costs. Or, if you plan to have a baby in the near future, you'll want to consider how the costs of raising a child may impact your ability to cover your mortgage expenses.

If you ever have concerns or questions about establishing a homebuying budget, be sure to consult with your real estate agent. Remember, your real estate agent is available to help you in any way possible and will do what it takes to ensure you can establish the right homebuying budget.




Tags: buying a home   budgeting  
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Posted by Ryan Seward on 7/14/2016

Buying a home is a very important decision. Before you rush into a home you should consider all the factors. Making sure you end up with the right home involves figuring out exactly what features you need, want and don't want in a home. Before starting your search, you should make a "wish list" to decide which features are absolutely essential, which nice “extras” are if you happen to find them, and which are completely undesirable. The more specific you can be about what you're looking for from the outset, the more effective your home search will be. Also keep in mind, that in the end, every home purchase is a compromise. Create your own personalized "wish list" and when you're finished filling it out; share it with your real estate agent. Become an educated buyer •The web is one of the best ways to search for homes today. With this website, you can receive daily emails with new and updated listings from the towns and price range of your choice. •Search the entire MLS for all homes, condos, land, multi family, commercial properties, and past sold properties at your convenience. •View full listing sheets showing amenities, taxes, lot sizes, beds, baths, rooms, siding, fireplaces, garages, room sizes and much more. •Get property addresses and see where the properties are located on MapQuest. •Check schools and community profiles of your preferred towns. •Save preferred listings in your own file to view anytime. •Calculate approximate mortgage payments for specific properties. Home Inspection Once you have made an offer on a home, you will need to schedule a home inspection, conducted by an independent authorized inspector. It is extremely important to hire a reputable inspector so that you know exactly what you are buying. Do not hesitate to ask friends, family, and co-workers for advice. If you are satisfied with the results of the inspection, then you can proceed with the sale. If the inspector finds problems with the property, you may want to negotiate with the seller to lower the price, or to pay for certain repairs. Appraisal Your lender may require you to get an appraisal of the house you want to buy, to make sure it is worth the money that you are borrowing. You may select your own appraiser, or you may ask your real estate broker to help you with this task. Homeowner's Insurance Lenders require that you have homeowners insurance, to protect both your interests and theirs. Like everything else, be sure to shop around for insurance that fits your needs. Settlement or Closing Finally Make Sure Before you Buy Finally, you are ready for the closing. Be sure to read everything before you sign! You should have both your real estate broker and an attorney present at the closing to ensure that all is in order.





Posted by Ryan Seward on 1/28/2016

The temperature is dropping and the heating bills are going up. Some quick and easy tips will have you saving money this winter on home heating bills. 1. Set your thermostat back. For every degree you set your thermostat back over eight hours, you’ll save about 1 percent on your heating bill each year. 2. Use a space heater. If you spend most of your time in one area of your home it is less expensive to use a space heater than turn up the heat in your entire home. 3. Open blinds during the day to let sun in. At dusk, close them to trap heat. 4. Inspect weather stripping around exterior doors. Replace old, cracked, or missing stripping. 5. If heat is escaping at your doors, attach a sweep to the bottom of the doors. Sweeps are flexible plastic strips that are easily screwed to door bottoms, and keep cold air out from below. 6. Fill gaps around windows with interior and exterior caulking. If cold air is coming in around the sashes, install appropriate weather stripping.




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Posted by Ryan Seward on 11/13/2014

Owning your own house or apartment is a gratifying experience, as you not only have a place you can call home, but you also have the freedom to live the way you choose once you enter your domain. However, to find a home that can truly make you happy, there are a few points that you should consider beforehand. The first point to think about is the neighborhood (where your home will be located). This is important, because you need to feel that the area you are living in will be safe from crime, and that it will also be easy to commute to work on a daily basis. In the end, you do not want to spend too much time traveling in the evenings or in the mornings, as this can only make life more difficult. The next point to think about is how much space you want, as well as how many responsibilities you are willing to put up with. In other words, you could either choose to find a home that has a huge garden and a swimming pool, which is perfect if you enjoy gardening and going out for a swim, or, you could decide to do away with these extra bells and whistles if you hate gardening and do not want to spend time cleaning the pool. In other words, you want a home that you can truly feel comfortable living in, as this in turn will ensure that you can keep your life as stress free as possible. Price is always important, and you want to make sure you look for a home that you can afford. There are a lot of other expenses you have to think about, cable TV, insurance, taxes, telephone, heat, electric, maintenance etc. So make sure you factor all of these into your monthly budget. You do not want to be house poor and buying a home that you may fall in love with can in the end be very stressful if you are struggling to pay for it every month. Look for a home at a good value and that may need some cosmetic fix ups and grow into the home with home improvements down the road. This will bring value to your home and in turn be a good invest when you go to sell the home.