One of the biggest hurdles in becoming a homeowner is that of saving for a down payment. In today’s world, it’s hard for anyone to save sizable amounts of money due to the extreme cost of living in most areas. With less income and higher expenses, many people have less of an opportunity to save money.

Saving Isn’t Impossible


Many homebuyers are first-time homebuyers. While many simply dream of owning a home, others work to make it happen. Saving money is a goal. Once you save the money, you have made a real accomplishment. You’ll have a huge reward waiting for you once you reach your goal. How can you save effectively? There’s a few simple steps that will allow you to start saving for a down payment on a home. Remember that no matter how slow you go, every step is one step closer to hitting your goals. 

Get A Savings Account

Preferably, the savings account that you open should be dedicated to your house expenses. Most of the time, your bank will allow you to set up automatic transfers from your checking account. See how much you can afford to save and set up these transfers. Each time you get a paycheck from work, have a certain amount put right into the savings account. You’ll be saving without even thinking about it.

Be Budget Friendly

Budgeting sounds complicated, but really, it’s quite simple. First, put your monthly gross income on a spreadsheet. Then subtract things like taxes and fees that come out of your paycheck. Next, subtract all of your necessary monthly costs. These can include student loan debt, car loans, rent, and how much money you spend on food and entertainment. There’s so many little things that we spend our money on everyday, you may be surprised to see how much you’re spending and what you’re spending it on. Some categories are important and others are not.       

See Where You Can Cut Costs

After you have made a concrete budget, see where you can cut some costs. If you need to cut out going to dinner and the movies, then do that. There’s bound to be something that you can cut out of your budget that’s not a necessity that can help you to save some cash. The sacrifice will be worth it in the end!       

Indulge For Your House

Every time that you get a small bonus, a gift, or a tax refund, put it away. It can be tempting to want to go buy a brand new TV or spend your money on entertainment, but saving that money for your house fund will be a lot more rewarding. 

The bottom line is that it won’t be a huge task saving your money for a down payment once you put your mind to it. Happy saving!

Let’s face it: you probably have picture frames or decorations hiding some small holes in your drywall. Most people hold off on filling small holes until it’s time to repaint the wall. Even then, some people assume you can just paint right over the holes to cover them up. There’s a much better way to ensure you have smooth and uniform walls, however. Read on to learn how.

Repairing small holes

If the areas you are attempting to repair are mainly small holes from picture frames made by hooks and nails, there’s a relatively easy way to make your wall look like new again.

  1. First, you’re going to want to pull out any debris from the whole, including loose or chipped pieces of drywall. This is an important step that many people omit. If you put your spackle or paste in a hole that has loose drywall in it, it could just fall out when it drys.
  2. Next, fill up the whole with spackle and smooth it with a putty knife or any flat surface available to you. Read the directions on the paste to determine how long it will take to dry.
  3. Once dry, sand down the area using a fine-grit sandpaper (at least 120 grit). Rub your hand over the area to see if there are any bumps. Be careful not to sand too hard if your wall is textured at all. Once the spackle is smooth and flush with the wall, you can move onto the next step: repainting.

Repainting your wall

It’s good practice to save leftover paint and color samples for the walls of your house. If you’ve done this, your work here will be a lot easier. When you repaint the area you’ve sealed and sanded you’ll want to paint over the edges slightly to blend it with the paint already on your wall. This will, hopefully, make it so the repaired area doesn’t stand out. Remember not to panic when the paint appears darker and more vibrant where the repair is. Once it dries it will more closely resemble the paint on the wall.

It may be necessary to put a second coat onto the area, so don’t put your paint away just yet. In the meantime, this is a great opportunity to check the walls in the room for any other areas that need to be touched up.

It doesn’t look quite the same

If you find yourself staring at the one-inch area of your wall that looks slightly different than the rest, you have two options.

  1. Back away, go do something else for a while and then come back later. Was it obvious to you where the spot was after taking a break? Sometimes artists get too close to their work and focused on details that are only apparent to them. Remember that no one is likely to notice but you.
  2. If it’s driving you nuts, you could always use this opportunity to repaint the entire wall. Many rooms now have an “accent” wall, meaning one wall painted differently than the other three. This is a great way to add a hint of color to a room. Find a color that will nicely accent the walls and head to the paint store.

 

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Did you know that you could drastically improve your credit score in just a year? Or that there are things that you can actively be doing to keep up your good credit score and make it to excellent? Improving your credit score involves improving many pieces of what makes up a credit score.

The tips here are twofold. If your score is low and you are looking to greatly improve it, then you must first figure out why. Review the tips below to see if any listed can help you deal with your credit pitfall(s). If you have an average to good score and just want to improve it as much as possible then each of the steps below can give you insight into how to do so.

Balances: The amount of revolving credit you have compared to the credit that you are using is a large factor in your credit score. It’s best to keep your balances from all of your credit cards under 30% of your revolving credit. Even if you pay off your credit cards every month, the amount of credit you are utilizing is recorded. In short, keep balances low, but also keep paying them off each month so you do not end up with a balance than can’t be immediately paid off.

Credit Inquiries: Hard credit inquiries show up on your report for 2 years, but only affecting your score for around a year. Hard inquiries show that you are looking to use additional credit and too many hard inquiries in a short amount of time can negatively affect your credit score. One or two within a year’s time will not significantly affect your score but as that number gets higher it will. One way around this is to make those couple of inquiries within a 30-day period. FICO will count those inquiries as one since oftentimes multiple inquiries in a short period of time results in one loan— meaning you are not in search of multiple lines of credit/loans. But it’s best to be cognizant of this and strategic in how you view your credit report or apply for loans and credit cards.

Payment History/On-Time Payments: If you have struggled with paying your bills on time and have seen a suffering credit score then this then would be a main reason behind your low score. And it’s time to take action and change that. This is one of the main factors in your credit score and therefore significantly impacting your score, either negatively or positively. It’s important to do everything in your power to pay all bills on time. Even being just a couple days late on payments will have affect.

Length of Credit History: Length of credit is not necessary something that you can completely control. But it does have an affect on your credit score. As the length of your credit increases, and given that you are responsible with your credit, your score will improve. The most important piece to remember here is to be responsible with your credit.

So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t already, sign up for a free credit score site or find out if one of your credit card companies offers it. Frequently checking and seeing your score rise will provide you with the gratification you need to keep on track.

One question that crosses many homebuyers’ minds is “Will it be cheaper to buy or build a home?” There’s many pros and cons of both new and older construction homes. The price you pay is a big part of how the entire decision breaks down.

Initial Costs

Prices for existing homes vary widely based on where you live. The same principle goes for buying land and constructing a home. You can check on the specifics of the price per square foot in your area for more details. These costs could have the biggest impact on how you go about the path to homeownership and what area you decide to settle down in. 

Keep in mind that new homes are often more spacious. This drives the cost per square foot down, yet there’s more square footage in the home. 

Cost Of Upkeep

Any kind of home has its regular maintenance tasks and costs that are included with the job of homeownership. Landscaping, the servicing of appliances, the upkeep of filters, and heating and cooling system maintenance are all a part of owning a home. If you buy an older home, however, you’re guaranteed to have a few more costs to worry about. If appliances are on their last leg or the roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, you’re going to need to foot the bill for the replacement cost. 

A new construction home can have issues as well, but it’s less likely to happen. The problems that happen in a new construction home are more likely to be due to building issues. Newer homes can, however, have a protection of up to 10 years with a new construction warranty. 

The Great Outdoors


When you buy an existing home, one of the major perks of it is that the landscaping is mature. There’s no need to plant grass, bushes, and flowers because there’s usually something in place. It’s less of an expense to have something to work with when it comes to landscaping. Trees that have been strategically placed can often add a lot of value to a property. 

On the other hand, building a new home can add years to the process of a finished landscape for a home. You’ll need to deal with tedious upkeep and spend thousands of dollars to get the property’s outdoor spaces looking green and beautiful. 

Energy Efficiency And Technology

If you buy a new home, you have the advantage of keeping up with the latest technology and energy efficiency standards. New construction homes are usually much more efficient than older homes. In a new home, you also have the advantage of being able to install smart technologies like thermostats and security systems to streamline with construction. These tools make your home more secure and easier for you to manage. 

There are a few different advantages to both buying an existing home and buying a new construction home. Your needs and your budget will determine the decision that’s right for you.

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