Buying A Home? Financial Mistakes to Avoid

Financial Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home
A home purchase is likely one of the largest financial investments you’ll make in your lifetime. It’s important to get this one right. For the best financial outcomes, avoid the following mistakes.

Taking on too much: You think you’ve found your dream home, but it’s outside your housing budget. So, you try to stretch that budget and simply take out a bigger mortgage. This decision can be disastrous. Taking on more debt than you can afford will leave you struggling to pay utilities and zap any other financial goals. A good rule of thumb is to limit the cost of your house payment (including taxes, insurance and any HOA fees) to 25 percent of your take-home pay.

Skipping the preapproval: Getting preapproved will help you with not taking on too much, as it will provide guidelines for what you can realistically afford. It will also give you a financial advantage when negotiating for a home. Sellers prefer to work with buyers that they know can afford their home, so get preapproved before you shop, so you can submit your pre-approval with any offers.

Skimping on the down payment: The more money you pay up front, the less interest you’ll pay over time. If you save at least 20 percent for a down payment, you can also avoid PMI, which is a fee to cover insurance that protects lenders when a buyer has little equity in the home. And don’t forget to include closing costs and moving expenses as you save up for your purchase.

Going it alone: An experienced agent helps you determine a reasonable price for any home you are considering. We can also negotiate the best price for the home. Plus, the seller pays the agent’s commission, so you get all the expertise at no cost to you. When you’re ready to start your home search, just give me a call!

How to Shop Smart This Season with These 6 “Tiny” Shopping Habits

Whether you enjoy the adrenaline rush of last-minute holiday shopping or you like to get it done long before the season arrives, this year offers buyers more choices than ever. Try these six smart shopping habits to get the most out of your shopping.

1) Let technology keep you on track so you aren’t stressing and overspending: For iOS users, relying on an app like GiftPlanner lets you set and balance your budget for each gift. It also helps you bookmark items that you’re browsing online. Plus, you can even use it to remind you if you’ve wrapped the gift or not, by taking a photo and storing the info in the app.

Android users can turn to an app like Gift List Diary. You can set a budget for each person on your list. It also allows you to mark when you have purchased a gift and when you have wrapped it. Not only that, you have the ability to share your list with your contacts.

2) Take advantage of rewards programs when you shop online and in stores: Rakuten can get you cash-back rewards at many different online stores. Another option is Ibotta. When you provide proof of purchase for certain products, you earn cash-back rewards that you can use for holiday purchases.

3) Use coupon-tracking browser extensions to save online: Honey and RetailMeNot Genie (both free) automatically apply coupons that may be applicable to your purchase as you check out. You don’t even have to search for the coupons!

4) If you’re shopping for someone who doesn’t want or need any more “stuff,” go the charitable route: Pick a charity or cause that you know they would appreciate and make a charitable donation in their name.

5) Figure out your backup plans ahead of time: After making your list of gift recipients, pick three potential gifts for each person on your buying list. This way you won’t go nuts when the gift you’ve decided on is maybe too expensive or can’t be found.

6) Reduce the temptation: If you know you are susceptible to sales and buying more than you probably should, consider leaving your credit cards at home and just take your debit cards or cash when you go shopping for gifts.

Is It Time for a Digital Detox? Travelers Are Going Off-Screen

Today, almost 60 percent of the world’s population is online, up from around 40 percent just five years ago, according to In developed countries such as the US and Canada, the figure rises to almost 95 percent. But some people are choosing to disconnect from technology and social media and go digital-free while on vacation.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of East Anglia, the University of Greenwich, and Auckland University of Technology investigated the effects of digital-free tourism on travelers’ holiday experiences. Participants in the study agreed to forego access to cell phones, tablets, laptops, the internet, social media, and navigation tools while on vacation.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Travel Research, shows that there were initial symptoms of anxiety, frustration, and withdrawal among many of the travelers, but these gradually evolved into feelings of acceptance, enjoyment, and liberation. What’s more, the travelers reported that they engaged more with their travel companions, with other travelers, and with locals during their off-screen travels.

Various factors affected how travelers perceived the digital-free travel experience. The researchers noted that the loss of ability to navigate with Google Maps caused anxiety and frustration more in urban destinations than in rural areas. Also, participants traveling with a companion or in a group tended to be more confident about disconnecting than were solo travelers.

If you want to have deeper connections while you’re traveling and exploring new places and cultures, consider doing your own digital detox the next time you set off on an adventure.

Wondering What’s Happening in Your Neighborhood?
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!

Should It Stay or Should It Go with You?
Moving is an immense undertaking. Among the myriad tasks on your plate are decisions about what to take with you when you move. Should you bring those living room curtains, or let the new owner enjoy them? Should you try to bring Spidey, your favorite houseplant, to your new home?

These can be tough calls. Following are a few things that most homeowners are better off leaving behind when they move.

Household documents: Do you still have the manual for your refrigerator? Did the furnace you installed last year come with a ten-year warranty? If you have any documents that relate to structural components, utilities, or appliances that are staying with the home, leave these for the new owner. You won’t need them anymore, but the new owners might find them very handy.

Curtains: Sure, you may have chosen the perfect bedroom curtains to match your comforter, but taking curtains with you when you move is usually not worth the hassle. The window coverings aren’t likely to fit on your new set of windows anyway, and buyers typically appreciate when they are included in the price of the home. Even if they want to switch them out eventually, the current curtains will provide privacy in the meantime. And it will give you the opportunity for a decorating fresh start at your new place!

Paint: Do you have a stash of old paint cans from previous renovations? Do not put these in the “go” pile. Often, buyers like to have these on hand to complete touch-ups in the home. Place the cans in a location where the new owners can easily access them. If you discover the buyers do not want the paint, check your local regulations about proper disposal and follow these procedures to get rid of the cans before you move.

Houseplants: If you’re moving a long distance, try to find new homes for your houseplants rather than transport them to your new location. The conditions in a moving truck aren’t conducive to plant life, and the plants are likely to get damaged or die during the move. Consider gifting your plants to your green-thumbed friends and neighbors instead.

SA Realty Watch Group
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Thinking of Buying a Home? Get My Free Guide
Buying a home is a complex process with many factors to consider.

Prepare for the decisions you’ll need to make along the way by requesting my free report, “10 Easy Steps to Buying a Home.”

Just call me and I’ll send it right out to you.

Quick Quiz
Each month I’ll give you a new question.

Just reply to this email for the answer.

What game originated in India with pieces called infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry?

Fall Vegetable Medley
Maybe it’s time to bid farewell to that tired green bean casserole and put some pizzazz in the veggies at your Thanksgiving table.

This tasty, colorful vegetable medley can be made with any combination of fresh fall veggies. Cranberries add a tangy sweetness and nuts add extra crunch.

Serves 4
1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/2 lb. cauliflower florets
2 large carrots, cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup walnut or pecan pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Coat the vegetables with oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Then place the veggies on a large baking sheet and bake until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Agitate the veggies (shake the pan) halfway through baking.

Add the nuts and cranberries just before serving.

Ask the Agent: This Month’s Question
How do I know if a property is a good deal?

The key to answering this question is a working relationship with a real estate agent.

I can research the market for you to determine a fair price for a property. I will pull “comps” (comparable properties) from the multiple listing service to see what similar properties have sold for in the area. This comparison will also include the prices of other homes currently on the market.

I will review the size, location, and other features of the home to determine what other properties are comparable, then I can figure out the home’s approximate value in the current market.

We can then compare this value to the current asking price to determine if the property is priced too high, just right, or is a good deal. If you decide to move forward with the property, I can also use this information to help you negotiate the best price possible for the home.

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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