Are you a minimalist? If you’ve heard this question recently, you may be wondering just what it means and how does it affect you. It is NOT a set of rules.It is NOT about how much you own.
It is NOT about how much money you earn.
It is NOT about buying specific items or giving up certain things.
It is NOT about being frugal.
It is NOT throwing out all your belongings and sleeping in a yurt (unless that makes you happy).
It is NOT about living in a tiny house (although it can be for you).
It IS about quality over quantity; peace over disorder; satisfaction over extravagance.
Minimalism is a mindset about what we require to be happy and what only clutters up our homes and our lives. It is about getting rid of the unnecessary things that take up space, consume time, and contribute to frustration and exhaustion. You can be a true minimalist in a mansion, a townhome, an apartment, or a houseboat as long as what fills your space contributes to contentment and order rather than stress and chaos.
When it comes to buying a home, minimalists look for spaces that reflect their personality rather than the latest trend. A minimalist is a different type of homebuyer. Becoming minimalist might be right up your alley if you hate the over-stuffed closet or messy junk drawer, find yourself irritated by clutter and uncomfortable with a hodgepodge of decorative items you subconsciously think of as “dust collectors.”
While a form of minimalism is an architectural style commonly seen in Japanese design with an aesthetic toward simplicity and clean lines, most homes do not fit into this category. Does that mean you can’t have a minimalist lifestyle? Of course not. Just adopt minimalist concepts to fit into any living space.
One way to accomplish this is to reduce the amount of furniture you have in each room. Opt for the pieces that everyone uses and give away ones that only fill up space. Reduce window coverings to a minimum rather than the multi-layered blind-sheer-drape-valance style. Organize the items that you keep so that each has a home. Reduce clutter by highlighting one or two items of a collection and rotating special pieces instead of displaying them all at once.
Simplify in other ways by installing native grasses and plants, thereby reducing the need for lawn care and gardening. Add interest to your yard with hardscaping: rock gardens or paver stones in decorative patterns.
When seeking a new home visualize what makes you most happy as you walk through model homes and open houses letting your imagination discard what doesn’t fit. Help your real estate professional know about your aesthetic to have the best chance of finding your minimalist home.
House flipping is a lucrative real estate investment venture that requires a lot of skills, planning, and sometimes luck to pull off. Any wrong decision when flipping a house can lead to disaster. When done right, it could also bring in a lot of money. If you can make smart decisions to buy the home at a great price, and keep renovation costs down to the minimum while maximizing the reach, then you can sell the house at a much higher rate than you paid for it.
If you are looking to flip a house, you are looking to make a profit, so you need to make sure you are aware of the steps to take when investing in house flipping:
1. Invest in the house flip with cash
House flipping is a risky venture, and you do not want to add more debt to increase your financial risk. Flippers that borrow money with interest to finance a house flip often end up having to pay several months of interest which adds to the effective selling price of the house, making the project tighter than it already is. Using cash only to fund a house flip also means that you can wait out a slow market until you find the right buyer for the house at the best price for it.
2. Know the neighborhood market
It is normal to get excited during a house flip, but you must be sure that you never lose sight of the figures behind the investment. Know the neighborhood well so that you can buy houses that are around 80% of the average market value or less. Have the vision to know how the finished house will compete with homes already on the market and how best to price the house for a quick sale.
3. Have a strict budget for your house flip
Speak with your contractor to work out a good idea of how much the renovations will cost. It is good to have an estimate even before buying the house so that you do not overspend and become desperate with the house. Identify all structural, electrical and other issues the house may have before starting the project so that you can know if you can afford the house flip, even if unknown expenses crop up.
4. Plan for smart renovations
Aim for renovations that are low on cost and high on value. Instead of shiny floors and custom cabinets, you can refinish the existing cabinets, add granite countertops and replace all appliances to new stainless-steel ones. Things like painting and thorough cleaning can help increase the house value.
Your real estate agent will guide you on how to finish and renovate your house to meet local expectations and have a quick sale.
Getting a new mortgage can be stressful, whether you are getting it for the first time or not. You have to carry out thorough research to avoid going into a mortgage that drains your pocket through high-interest rates. You can get yourself prepared for the lowest interest rate that is suitable for you by taking good care of your credit history. Do you realize that a difference of 1 percent in the interest rate can save a tremendous amount of money on a mortgage running for 30 years?Consider the following when searching for competitive rates:
You should consider loans with discounted initial rates. Be on the lookout for fees and be ready to switch in case the rate goes higher than your budget or plan.
When looking for a low-interest mortgage rate, you should check if a smaller non-banker lender is providing a low-interest mortgage. When you find options, check properly to be sure that there are no additional charges. You must know the final amount before committing.
Variable versus fixed rates:
The difference between a variable and fixed rate is that variable loans usually advertise more flexibility and lower interest rates when compared with the fixed rate. However, the truth is that you can get a fixed-rate mortgage without any possibility of rising rates. Variable rates may tell you the percentage is likely to go down, but it can go up also!
Negotiating a discount:
After you have selected a mortgage company, inquire about their unadvertised discounts that can save you money.
Here are some tips to help you qualify for low-interest mortgage rates:
- Get a loan with low fees. You should know that most mortgages have a separate charge that is different from the repayments and rates. Such fees sometimes are not included in most online loan comparison websites. Contact the company to be sure you have full information about one-time fees like application or origination fee as these may be expensive. Compare with other ongoing fees to be sure it does not cost you more in the long run.
- Should you avoid fees at all costs? You do not always need to avoid fees. To know the amount that a loan will cost you, you should do the calculations and consider the benefits as well as the charges involved. If you discover that a mortgage loan has features that benefit you, it is justifiable to pay a small ongoing fee.
- Save up a healthy down payment. It is worth noting that you are likely to borrow less to cover your home's purchase price if you have a substantial down payment. It is better to save enough funds towards your down payment.
Speak to your financial advisor or planner to know how to be pre-approved for the best mortgage rates before you start your house search.
Trying to understand what that home description is all about? Whether you're new to the housing market or newly returned, you'll find terms used to describe homes that you might not recognize. Or, you may not understand what they truly mean in context. The word walkable, for instance, shouldn't apply to a home at all, should it? After all, houses can't just get up and walk away.
Defining the real [estate] meaning
In real estate and urban parlance, a walkable neighborhood might refer to a community where services such as grocery and other shops, restaurants, bars, parks, and other recreation areas are reachable on foot within a 10-to-15 minute timeframe.
In another area, walkable might mean that public transportation to urban areas is within walking distance. In this case, the neighborhood itself may not hold the services but does support its being in reach via bus or train access.
Still, other definitions of walkable mean that the community has lighted footpaths, sidewalks, urban (or suburban) trails and other means by which residents may walk for exercise or recreation. Or, that the community provides opportunities and programs for residents to walk.
Breaking down “walkable” themes
With all the various definitions in use, a Harvard study published these themes as most important to walkability.
Environmental dimensions adding to walkability:
- Traversable: environments with the physical conditions—sidewalks, trails, footpaths—to allow traverse from one place to another without difficulty.
- Compact: where the distance between places is relatively short.
- Safe: lower crime rates, lighted pathways, marked and controlled crosswalks, and additional safety features add to the safe walkability of a neighborhood.
- Physically enticing: settings with full accessibility to pedestrians that include landscaping, signage, benches, shade trees, pathways, street lights, and views.
Outcome dimensions of walkability
- Social: a location with lively shopping and dining areas, typically mixed-use live/work situations and the friendly people that live, work, or visit there.
- Transportation: is the perception that both social equality (age, income, disability) and environmental preservation are sustainable via public transit.
- Exercise-inducing: forced exercise due to proximity to work, transportation, or services, or the lack of suitable parking that goes with living in a more urban area.
Designing for walkability
- Measurable: the neighborhood design or redevelopment includes walkability as a quantifiable outcome based on specific indicators.
- Holistic: in this case, walkability references communities of improved urban living with slower pace built in, scaled for human health and happiness, devised to promote interaction.
None of these is definitive, but if you’re looking for a neighborhood that defines “walkable” for you, check the walk score website, which measures over 100 aspects of walkability, and talk to your local real estate professional about what works for you.
You might think that only retirees should consider downsizing their homes to accommodate a change in lifestyle. Wrong! Today downsizing might be the right decision for many reasons. There are many pros to simplifying your lifestyle and moving to a smaller home. Take a look at your situation, house, and financial goals to see if downsizing is right for you.
With the trend toward conscious living, and particularly residual from the tiny-house movement, home design is transforming to accommodate a big lifestyle in smaller spaces. In today’s market, downsizing your home doesn’t feel as if you’re just moving into a smaller more cramped space. If you’d like to simplify the amount of square footage you have to manage on a daily basis, but not negatively impact the life you’ve developed in your home, consider the some of the modern home designs and innovations that allow you to go small while still going big.
Know your true needs
If you love hosting big parties in your home—which currently has two living rooms and a large kitchen—but want to downsize or need to downsize to move to a more urban environment, consider purchasing a loft with minimal walls. You’ll have fewer square feet to manage, and the open floorplan still allows you to be the fantastic host you've always been.
Would you like to buy property but can't afford to build the big house on the new land? If acreage and the big outdoors is your priority, consider placing a modern modular home on your lot instead of building from scratch. Innovations in modular design and home storage solutions allow you to have a beautiful current home at a lower cost, with more manageable square footage. With less time spent maintaining your home and the savings enjoyed from investing in a modular home, you'll be able to spend time going on those hikes, taking out the boat, or going for a ride around your land.
Consider your lifestyle
If you find that you don't spend much time at home and aren't using the ample space you have, downsizing might be the choice for you. Do you enjoy traveling? Is eating out your preference? Downsizing to a smaller, well-appointed home can allow you to free up additional funds and time to use toward entertainment and adventures. You may even find you have enough extra liquidity to invest in another property that creates additional cash flow. If you aren’t using the big home you have, think about what you do use, and what activities you prefer. Then, find a new space that benefits your lifestyle.
Reduce your footprint
Whether or not you’re a big believer in reducing your carbon footprint, downsizing your living space can help you achieve your environmentally conscious goals, or it can merely be a bonus. Smaller homes automatically come with less energy usage and maintenance requirements reducing your monthly costs. They also allow you the financial opportunity to invest in new equipment such as more efficient heating and water systems, or solar paneling and xeriscaping to reduce your energy use even more—and you’ll get to keep reaping the financial benefits long-term.
Chat with your local real estate professional about the downsizing move that’s best for your desired lifestyle and start searching for your new home.