How To Ace Downsizing at Any Age

Downsizing Happens at All Ages Now: Here’s How to Ace It
Downsizing is often associated with empty nesters and retirees, but as it turns out, more and more homeowners of all ages – including millennials – are looking for smaller residential footprints.

As New York real estate agent, Tyler Whitman, points out in a recent article in uexpress.com: “Downsizing isn’t just for empty nesters. To meet their goals, many millennials must go through this challenging process too.”

Downsizing dilemmas

Getting rid of belongings that won’t fit in your smaller space is challenging. The upside – of particular interest to millennials – is the opportunity to dump old inherited pieces for trendy modern furniture.

Measure your new home before moving day, and decide what to take before you start packing. If there’s a too-big item that you can’t bear to part with, store it. But not at mom and dad’s, say experts; they may be downsizing soon themselves.

Emotional attachment can make it hard to decide what you should throw out. Ask a straight-talking friend or family member to help with an unbiased second opinion on tough decisions – like whether your bookcase or king-sized bed is way too big for your new digs.

Once you’ve rounded up everything you won’t be taking, have a garage sale. You’ll feel less guilty about parting with so much, and you can make a surprising amount of money to help with moving expenses.

Trying to dispose of all the items you can’t sell can be overwhelming. Hiring a pickup service for junk removal or to take to a charity can be well worth the expense.


How and What You Can Learn from Your Kids

Most parents will tell you that having children teaches you a thing or two. It tests your patience and your ability to go without sleep.

It teaches you how to change diapers, how to read storybooks like a comedian, and how to hold a 20-pound object while making pasta.

But that’s not all – it turns out, kids are pretty wise, too.

Here are three of the most important things you can learn from your children:

There are different ways of doing things

Toddlers want to try things on their own. They don’t want their parents to show them the “right” way; they want to see if their way works. Let’s take a page from our kids. Once we learn one way of doing something, we rarely veer off course.

But experimentation is often key to growth and learning. Let’s think outside our own boxes.

There’s a world of possibilities

Kids wake up each day filled with anticipation. They’re excited because they know innately that they’ve got a whole day to find fun and adventure. When we become adults, we lose that sense of excitement and anticipation.

And we may not want to face our day, because we’re dreading the tasks ahead. But what if we think like a kid and try to see each day not as a list of things to do, but as a period of time we can shape and even enjoy?

We don’t need much to be happy

Kids want things. They want toys, sodas, and TV shows. But they’re also endlessly entertained by Lego or a big cardboard box or a day at the beach. Kids don’t need much to be happy and entertained and, though we often forget it, adults don’t need much either. Do as your kid does, and seek pleasure in everything, especially the small things.

We adults will be more excited, creative, and happier for it.


Your Smartphone Is Calling Your Name

Smartphones offer virtually unlimited access to information, entertainment, and other diversions, but researchers have learned that all this may come at a cognitive cost. A study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research found that smartphones may hijack users’ attention – even when they’re hidden away.

The study revealed that the mere presence of a mobile device can co-opt a person’s cognitive resources and decrease available mental capacity, undercutting intellectual performance and leaving fewer cerebral resources available for other thinking tasks.

Study author and University of Texas psychologist Adrian Ward and his colleagues used memory and attention tests to find that, although powered off, smartphones still reduced volunteers’ working memory and problem-solving ability.

It seems we just can’t stop thinking about our phones, and even a vague awareness of them can sap our brain’s energy. Given that smartphones are everywhere today, these findings have significant implications for learning, creativity, and other intellectual endeavors.

So put them away. Way away.


Wondering How Much Your Home Is Worth?
How has the price of your home changed in today’s market? How much are other homes in your neighborhood selling for?

If you’re wondering what’s happening to prices in your area, or you’re thinking about selling your house, I’ll be able to help.

Click the market report below or select San Antonio Real Estate Market and complete the requested information about your home!


Down Payments Depend on Your Mortgage Type
A question from home buyers, particularly first timers, is: “How much do I have to put down to buy a house?” The answer is: It depends. The most important of those factors will be your credit, followed by income.

Conventional loans

These mortgages are loans obtained through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. If you have really good credit, you may be looking at a minimum down payment of 3%.

This is definitely something that first-time home buyers should be looking into when they start the financing process. With a down payment this low, you will require mortgage insurance, which, when certain conditions are met sometime in the future, can be removed.

Also, ask your mortgage professional about what is called the HomeReady mortgage program, obtained through Fannie Mae. This program caters to low-to-moderate-income borrowers and those purchasing in lower-income areas.

FHA loans

The minimum down payment with FHA programs is 3.5%. This program is ideal for borrowers whose credit scores may be on the low side.

While FHA is good for people who may be unable to qualify for conventional financing through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the challenge here is that these loans are generally more expensive to own. This is due to the fact that you will be required to have two kinds of mortgage insurance, and, unlike in conventional mortgages, the mortgage insurance will be in place for the life of the loan.

Keep in mind that, in addition to the down payment on both of the loan types listed above, you can expect to have other outlays of cash associated with the purchase, including closing costs and some type of escrow account.

You will still be able to get seller credits to help you with these other outlays, but note: seller credits can’t be used to help you with a down payment.

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Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Pomegranate
Serves 6
1 small acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed and sliced into 1/2-inch-wide half moons
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup toasted flaked almonds
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
About 1/2 cup each roughly chopped cilantro, mint, and parsley
Juice of 3 lemons
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup golden raisins
Directions
Preheat oven to 400°. Toss squash slices in oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Roast about 20 minutes until squash is tender. Allow to cool.

Combine quinoa, zest, cinnamon, salt, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. With lid on, steam for 10 minutes. Drain and fluff with a fork. Combine squash, quinoa, and remaining ingredients in a serving dish and serve.


Ask the Agent: This Month’s Question
What do home inspectors do?

Before you sign on the dotted line, you should have an understanding of the current condition of the property you intend to purchase. A buyer can order a home inspection report to identify potential problems and then negotiate any repairs necessary before the sale is final.

Typically, for a flat fee, a home inspector spends one to three hours reviewing the interior, exterior, and major systems of a home. He or she will prepare a written report, and may include photos or videos.

The inspection will point out safety or potential barriers-to-purchase issues, such as sagging floors or an aging roof. However, the inspector can’t break through walls or pull up floors, and also may be unable to access certain areas. For an additional fee, special inspection equipment can look further.

A home inspection identifies items you may not have noticed about your home – and may well save you from making a big mistake.

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.
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