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Posted by Heidi Mahoney on 1/15/2018

Many new homeowners are eager to begin renovations on their home to make it fit the beautiful picture they have in their mind. Unfortunately the aesthetic improvements, while important, are often prioritized over important structural and functional repairs that should be made first. The key to making smart financial decisions for renovating your home is to have a good budget and to stick to it. Home improvements are one of the few expenses that people often forget to budget for, alongside car repairs and emergency medical expenses. If done properly, however, a budget will help you prioritize your repairs so you'll spend your time and money wisely. In this article, we'll explain how to budget for home repairs in a way that works for you and your family.

Understanding your money

To budget for home improvements, you first need to budget for other things in your life. Use an app or website like Mint or You Need a Budget to get a better understanding of how you spend your money. For some, budgeting for home improvements may mean cutting back on other spending areas. Fortunately, these apps break down all of your purchases by categories and help you spend less each month.

Ranking your renovations

If you're dying to update the bathroom but the roof needs to be redone, you should call the roofers first. Some home improvements are a ticking time bomb: deteriorating roofs, poor insulation, HVAC issues, water damage, and safety concerns like fire hazards are all problems that need to be addressed first on your budget. Some will save you money, others could save your life, but all of them are more important than adding closet space in your bathroom.

Estimating costs

Do your research when it comes to the the cost of repairs and home improvements. Once you have a ballpark figure, add it into your budgeting app as a new item on your budget. There is a general rule, when budgeting for home repairs, that you should set aside 1% of the cost of your home for maintenance and repairs each year. However, there are many other factors involved in how much it will cost to upkeep your home like the age of the house, the weather in your area, and how well-maintained the home was before you bought it.

Sticking to your budget

Everyone starts with good intentions, but keeping a budget isn't easy. Thankfully, it has been made much more manageable with the help of apps and websites that link right to your bank accounts. To stick to your home repair budget, make sure you sign up for reminders on your spending and progress. If you're keeping a budget the old fashioned way (pen and paper), put reminders on your calendar each month to check if you're spending too much on home repairs. Another key to successful budgeting it to make sure everyone in the house is on the same page. If your significant other plays a role in home repairs, go over your budget together. This will help you keep one another accountable and set priorities that work for everyone.





Posted by Heidi Mahoney on 5/2/2016

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 Heidi Mahoney on 2/15/2016

What's for dinner? That is always a tough question when its 5:30, you have just walked in the door and all you can find is a box of cereal. Avoid ordering out or a dinner malfunction by keeping your pantry stocked with a list of staples that will help you make a variety of meals in a jiffy. 1. Canned chicken: At first it may not sound so appetizing but with a storage life of up to a year, canned or pouch chicken can be a lifesaver. Mix it in with casseroles, stir-fries, creamy salads, or even shredded as a topping to a baked potato. You won't know the difference. 2. Pasta: It doesn't matter what kind; spaghetti, linguini, rotini, penne, macaroni,–the list goes on. Pasta is best served to add bulk to a meal. Pasta can be an alternative to rice which can take longer to cook. Add pasta to soups, sauces, with cheese or vegetables and you will have a home-style meal in minutes. 3. Jarred Tomato Sauce: You have the pasta in the pantry so having a quick jar of sauce is a no-brainer. It's not your mother's homemade sauce but it will do in a pinch. Tomato sauce is actually very versatile and can also be used in soups, stews, and chili recipes. 4. Rice and Grains: Grains can be used as a quick side to any meal or bulk up any dinner. Stock up on quick-cooking rice, bulgur, and barley. Serve grains with a simple stir-fry or mixed with veggies and an egg for an easy fried rice dish. Mix flavored rice boxes with ground beef for an easy, one-meal dish. 5. Canned Beans: Beans are high in protein; they have a long shelf life and can be a part of lots of different dishes. Heat and mash them for a filling soup or drain and mix them with canned veggies for a light and flavorful dip or vegetable salad. Any kind of beans will do; Black, Pinto, Cannellini, Great Northern, or Garbanzo, just choose your favorite. 6. Canned Vegetables: It is so difficult to use fresh-bought produce before it wilts. Canned vegetables to the rescue, they last much longer. Combine an assortment with broth and seasonings for an easy vegetable soup or add them to pastas, dry soup mixes, casseroles, or rice. 7. Canned Salmon and Tuna: Protein is good for you and helps fill you up. Canned salmon and tuna can be used for easy meal ideas. Serve in salads, pitas, pasta dishes, burgers, loaded potatoes, croquettes, and even as light appetizers or snacks. 8. Canned Tomato Products: Canned tomato products can be turned into so many things. Stock up on paste, stewed, diced and whole tomatoes. Diced tomatoes make a great queso dip when added to melted cheese. Add to ground beef and taco seasoning for a zesty burrito supper, or to a skillet with seasoning for a homemade pasta sauce. Use stewed tomatoes in soups and stews. 9. Peanut Butter: Everyone loves a PB&J sandwich, but peanut butter can be used on the dinner table for Asian-inspired flavor in dips, sauces, and stir-fry. Try it for a snack spread on celery stalks or apple slices, or as a spread with multigrain crackers. 10. Canned Fruit: Fruit for dinner? Why not? Jarred cherries, canned fruit, including pineapple, mandarin oranges, and even fruit cocktail can be used as a healthy and lean side dish. Try serving grilled pineapple with chicken, add mandarin oranges to salads, and fruit always makes a great dessert.




Tags: pantry   dinner help   budgeting  
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