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Before starting to look for your dream house, consider below 9 essential things for a first time home buyer. New article post 9 Essential Things for First Time Home Buyers appeared first on We on Fire - Our FIRE Journey.
Buying a home for the first-home owner can be an overwhelming life decision. Buying your first home is a daunting task. For most people, purchasing a house will be the single biggest investment in their lifetime. Therefore, you need to be thoroughly prepared for it and do your due diligence.
As a Realtor, I haven seen too many people who want to buy their first house but are totally unprepared for it. There are numerous steps and things you need to know and prepare before you should even start looking at the house. Before starting to look for your dream house, consider below 9 essential things for first time home buyers.
Checking your credit score is important because a major factor in determining loan approval, loan amount, and the rate of your loan is your credit score. A low credit score (580 to 619) will put you at a disadvantage when shopping for a home loan. An excellent/very good credit score (700 to 850) will get you a better loan.
For a free annual copy of your credit report from all three major credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, you can go to AnnualCreditReport.com or call toll-free 1-877-322-8228.
Figure out what your budget is important. You don’t want to spend your whole paycheck on the mortgage. Things to consider when buying a house:
Monthly Payment: what’s your comfort level for a monthly mortgage? How much can you pay without jeopardizing your ability to pay other bills?
Tax: In Santa Clara County the property tax rate is 0.79%. If you are buying a $1,000,000 house, your property tax will be $7,900 a year.
Cost of Repairs: Unless you are moving into a brand new house, there are bound to be repair costs and termite extermination costs.
Closing cost: On average, buyers pay about 2%-5% of the purchase price for closing costs.
After knowing what you can afford, you need to stay within your budget limit. This will help you be ready for any unforeseen expenses. If you stay below your loan when buying a house, you can request the closing fee to wrap around with your mortgage.
A wrap-around means the fees to process your home purchase can be included in your mortgage. This way you will not have to come up with extra money to cover the cost. However, your loan and the monthly payment will be more with the wrap-around loan compared to a regular loan.
When applying for a loan, the bank will look at your credit score and other several financial factors to determine your ability to pay the mortgage. The higher your credit score, the higher the chance of the bank approving your loan. Click here to read how to increase your credit score.
Debt can be car loan, student loan, or credit card. To find your debt to income ratio, calculate your total debt and divide it by your total income. The lower the number the better. Traditional lenders generally prefer a 36% debt-to-income ratio. If your debt to income ratio is high, try to pay off some of your debt down first before applying for a mortgage.
Example: If your gross monthly income is $5,000 and your debt is $2,000/month, then your debt-to-income ratio is 40 percent. ($2,000 is 40% of $5,000.) This is considered a high ratio.
Make sure you have the down payment for the house in order. Typically in today’s hot housing market, lenders want to see at least 20% down payment. So if your budget is a million dollars, then you will need to come up with a $200,000 down payment.
It’s fine that you’re infatuated with the houses while you are shopping. However, you need to make sure that the house fits your budget and your family needs.
You are putting yourself at a disadvantage during the negotiation phase if you are falling for the house. This might cause you to miss detecting major needed repairs. You will have plenty of time to fall in love after you move in. While shopping for homes, you need to keep reminding yourself that this is only a building for living.
For most of the first homeowners, they believe their first home will be their only home purchase instead of thinking it as a financial stepping stone.
You can always make an improvement to the house. However, you cannot pack up the whole house and relocate it. That’s why real estate is about location, location, and location. You can look for close amenities that will help increase your home value like parks, schools, or shopping malls.
Beware of buying the biggest and most expensive property on the block. When it is time for you to resell your house, it will be more difficult to get your desired price because the buyers will be comparing to the average cost of the neighborhood.
Your home searching will be smoother and quicker if you have a checklist of what your first home must have. A checklist would help you think with your head instead of your heart which will take the emotion out of buying your first home. When you provide a list to your realtor, he or she can help you sort out a list of houses to meet your requirements.
An example of a checklist:
1. number of rooms
2. number of bathrooms
3. Sqft. of the house
3. Lot size
4. Zip Code
5. Pool Yes or No
Look for programs through your local, state, and federal level which often offer low down payment programs or other alternative options that you might qualify for.
For example, in California, you might qualify for CalHFA, a program that offers low downpayment for first-home buyers. Click here to read more about CalHFA.
To make an offer on a house in the Bay Area, you will need proof of funds. If you are not planning to pay all cash, then a pre-approval letter shows the seller that you have the money to back up your offer. A pre-approval letter also lets you see how much the bank will let you borrow so you can stay within your budget. A seller will take you more seriously if you already have a pre-approval letter ready to go.
Now you have done your homework and completed these 9 essential things for first time home buyers, it is time to start looking for your dream house! Going to Open Houses is a great way to start helping you narrow down the type of house and the neighborhood that you would consider. These events are free. You can go to your realtor to get a list or use online websites like Realtor.com, Zillow, or Redfin.
Money might affect your relationship with the people around you. Here are some stories from our financial community. New article post Saturday Night Read – Relationships and Money appeared first on We on Fire - Our FIRE Journey.
Talking about money is hard. Talking about money with your spouse, parents and loved ones is even harder. You don’t want to seem like money trump the relationship you have with them. However, often is the case that money can cause a lot of relationship strains regardless of your goodwill. Many people have different perspectives and paradigms about money and not everyone sees it the same way you do, even your closest loved one. No matter how hard it is though, you will need to discuss money with your loved ones
“What, if anything, do you expect from a partner financially? This will, of course, vary depending on a variety of factors. But it is important that you talk openly about this to ensure you’re both on the same page. It is important to think about your financial future when managing your financial present. Identifying financial goals and sharing them with your partner is important for both of you. It will likely determine where you’re both headed in your life and career, and establish some of your priorities.
“Couples should always work together to build a happy home which includes couple money management.
Say that again, Couple Money Management, NOT just Money Management.
Relationship=Two people. (well maybe more in some cases)
You have to look out for yourself and your kids if you have any in a relationship where things are going as expected.
Losing everything you have because your partner is rubbish with money and unwilling to change is selfish and unfair to the family.”
“Love is complicated because there are so many different types of love. With at least six different types of love, it makes absolute sense to focus at least an equal amount of time on love as we do on our careers and our pursuit of wealth.
Yes, there is also a love for money and status.
But if we focus too much on career and money, we become unbalanced. We start feeling empty because we start wondering what is the damn point of working so much?”
Want to read more about finance and relationship? Click Here.
Setting a goal is easy but completing it is hard. Once you have your goal, then see how to achieve your goals in 2020 New article post How to Achieve Your Goals in 2020 appeared first on We on Fire - Our FIRE Journey.
Setting a goal is easy but completing it is hard. However, the chances of completing the set goal are to write it down and share it with the world. Writing down your goals is the first step in achieving them. First, it gives the goals a physical form. Second, I can review my goals whenever I want to remind myself of what they are.
People who don’t write down their goals will eventually forget about them over the million other things you have going on throughout the year. If you need help with creating your own goal, I suggest reading The One Thing by Keller Gary. Once you have your goal, then see how to achieve your goals in 2020.
That is why I write down my goals every year. Without much ado, I present to you my 2020 goals.
Self Improvement are goals that you want to work on to improve your skill set, your knowledge and to be a better person. I strongly believe in continuous learning and a lifetime learner. You never stop learning so you can always keep improving. Here are my self improvement goals for 2020.
The main goal for investing is to achieve FIRE (financial independence, retire early).
January 2020 came so quickly and also left us so quickly. Here is our financial update for January. New article post Our Financial Reflection – January 2020 appeared first on We on Fire - Our FIRE Journey.
Time is flying by fast! In my mind, I just celebrated the new year but we are already one month into 2020. January was a productive month. Even though we did not meet all of our goals, we had put our best effort into achieving them.
For those people who are affected by the Coronavirus, we send our condolences.
This month I read 2 books! I didn’t complete my goal of reading 4 books a month. Compared to last year, it’s an improvement. This month’s books were The One Thing and Evergreen.
We are going to the gym more consistently now because we want to use our belly fat. It’s hard to build a gym habit but Mr.WoF has been a really good coach and motivator. Trying to be fit is like melting an ice cube. If you input more heat to the ice cube. it will melt. But, if not heat is produced, then the ice cube will remain. Just like my belly fat.
We updated our blog to improve site performance and page load speed. This is a continuation of the site redesign work we did back in November. We moved away from WordPress theme since WordPress is known to load too many unnecessary scripts. The front-end is now completely in React. Hopefully, this will lead to improved average load time leading to more users.
If you have a suggestion on how we should improve our blog, let us know.
Our avocado tree was growing so well…until we made a blunder. Our room is really cold in the winter so we had this ingenious idea of putting the plant next to a heater to warm it up. Little did we know this killed the plant somewhat… It wasn’t until that that leaves started wittering that we noticed near the base of the plant, the stem is all brown.
Luckily, nature always finds away. The base of the plant started growing two stems which appear to be a branch. We are so happy that the plan survived so our 1-year effort is not all in vain. We have since cut the stem to the base so now the plant is super short but at least it is still growing.
Mr.WoF bought a lot of Boeing (BA) stock when it was down last year. However, this month Boeing announced the 737 MAX is going to be grounded until June or later. The stock dropped even more since. Boeing is a big company and probably won’t fail but it might be a while for the stock to climb back up. Until then, Mr.WoF will keep buying more to lower this average cost.
Our Thailand trip is a month away! And we barely planned anything yet. Mr.WoF has been watching Mark Wein youtube channel for food in Bangkok. I think Mr.WoF is now a fan of Mark Wein since he watched all his Thailand videos.
Hopefully, by the time we travel next month, the new Coronavirus is contained by then and does not spread more in Thailand. We are closely monitoring the situation with the new virus and hope it doesn’t get any worse. If not, we might have to cancel our trip.
In February is when our steak house is going to start paying full rent! Hopefully, next month the financial for CRE will be higher than in January.
Not much on expense this month. We haven’t been eating out since New Year at all. Mostly just grocery shopping and buying a chicken drumstick at the store. Since we move to the plant-based diet, we have been wasting less food and spend less time preparing a meal.
First, we really appreciate my landlord for not raising our rent. This really helps us save and invest.
Other investment categories are slowly increasing. We are starting off on a good foot because our overall increased by 1.23% compared to last month. I hope that every month we can increase by 1% or more hehe.
How was your January financial?
|Type of Investment||Saved||Goal||% Changed||% Completed to Goal|
buying your first home can be a daunting task.To buy or not to buy? To become a homeowner or not become a homeowner? That is the question we all ask. New article post Saturday Night Read – First Time Home Owners appeared first on We on Fire - Our FIRE...
Buying your first home can be a daunting task. Purchasing a home is the biggest purchase you will ever make in your life. You can say it is your biggest investment which comes with the biggest risk as well. To buy or not to buy? To become a homeowner or not become a homeowner? That is the question we all ask. You should only buy a home if you can afford it. Here are some advice for first time home owners around the community.
That’s my bolding up there which I think sums it up nicely. We can get so sucked into the *niceties* a home offers that we might end up accidentally chasing the wrong things and completely overlook the more important ones! Like the ones that best *fit* our specific lifestyles!
And while we still haven’t sat down to list out all our “must haves” yet in this potential new home (emphasis on potential – it’s not a given yet! ;)), here’s what our list looks like so far:
“A new home is one of the most significant purchases you will ever make. However, using these first time home buyer tips should make the experience a little more pleasant. Looking back, having more guidance would have made the process less stressful and a lot more enjoyable. Getting started can sometimes be the hardest part of any process. So, if you need a little jump-start, here’s how you can prepare for your new purchase”
“It’s important to ask this question before you get started – why are you even buying a home. Seriously. Just because your mom and dad tell you it’s the next step, it’s not always worth it.
In fact, recent studies have shown that (financially) home ownership is no different than apartment rentals over the long run. While everyone’s situation may vary, you have to keep in mind that homeownership is expensive.“
In the first 2 chapters, Keller explained the ONE thing that you do will help you knock over big huddle like a domino effect. New article post Book Review: The ONE Thing By Keller Gary appeared first on We on Fire - Our FIRE Journey.
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary By Keller Gary. I wanted to read this book because it was recommended on The How of Business. I want to start my own business but lack the knowledge of how to build a business. Therefore, I decided to read books about business. I wanted to know how I can start a successful business. Here are the main ideas and takeaway from the book. Here are some recommended books for FIRE
In the first 2 chapters, Keller explained the ONE thing that you do will help you knock over big huddle like a domino effect. But what’s the main task that we need to do first?
There are 6 lies that cloud our judgment on the ONE thing.
Being busy as a bee would not yield the results that you want. Instead, you need to think about how to be productive.
What’re the differences between to do and success list? To do list contains random unorganized tasks that can lead you to any direction. A success list only leads you to success, period.
First, apply the 80/20 rule, the minority of your effort leads to the majority of your results. After creating your to-do list, narrow down to 20%, then 20% of 20%, until you find the ONE THING.
The term multitasking started to describe computer ability to process tasks so quickly that it seems to be able to complete 2 tasks at one time.
However, it is NOT TRUE. A computer can only process one line of code at a time. We are creating a juggling illusion when we multitask…catch, toss, catch, toss one ball at a time. This is called task switching.
Every time you switch between tasks, there is a delay to get your focus back to the original work. This causes you to spend more time on a project.
Even though there is time you feel like you are multitasking like walking and talking, you are not putting 100% effort on either task. Like walking on a tightrope up 50 feet. You will stop talking and focus on walking.
Don’t do the important things without putting 100% focus on the task at hand.
Living a disciplined life required a lot of effort. Instead, build a habit one at a time. On average, you can create a new habit within 66 days. With each positive habit you create, the path to success, happiness, and fulfillment is closer.
Everyone has limited will-power per day. You can recharge your will-power by resting and eating right. When you make a decision while your willpower is low, you will decide base on your default settings. Therefore, do the ONE thing that is the most important first thing in the day when your willpower is full.
Divide your life into work and personal life. During work, only focus on ONE thing. You need to counterbalance your work life with your personal life.
I believe the most important quote from this section is “life is a game in which you are juggling five balls…one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls – family, health, friends, integrity – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”
Since no one knows about your upper limit of how much you can achieve, you should not be afraid of big ideas. This will set the foundation for where you will be in the future. As you grow, you will see that the big idea that was scary before is now easy to overcome.
When you make your goals double down. Instead of ten, ask yourself “how can I reach 20?”
Act boldly. Don’t fear failure & learn from it.
Asking a great question will lead you to a path to a great answer. When you ask “What’s my one thing?” break down the question into – what’s the one thing I can do / such that by doing it/ everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
From asking the question above, you need to ensure that your goal is not just doable. When a goal is doable, it’s like a task on a checklist. The best goal is something you need to explore/research to see what’s possible.
I found myself writing a lot of tasks but I always choose the easiest thing on the list to complete first. It makes me feel a sense of accomplishment. However, at the end of the day, I felt tired of doing so many things but didn’t move far. I completely agree with creating a success list rather than a to-do list.
When doing an important task, it is important to focus on one item at a time. This hit a home run for me. At work, I would spend 10 minutes reading emails but before I can reply to the email someone is pinging me on chat. When I switched my focus to answer the chat, I completely forgot what my response was to the email. Again, I had to spend more time to read my email. Now, I’m practicing on completing the task at hand first before moving on.
The thinking big section in the book reminds me that to aim for the moon and if you fail you would still be among the stars.
Overall, the book is easy to understand and provides steps that I can implement in my daily life. I recommend anyone who is “too busy” or need direction in their life to working toward that ONE thing to read this book.
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