So you’re finally ready to buy your own home, congrats! It’s a big decision that can really impact your life and your finances. Here are our top five things to do before you take the leap to make sure you’re completely prepared!
Strengthen your credit score
Don’t know your credit score? If you’re thinking about buying a home in the near future—it’s time to find out! Try CreditKarma or any of the free credit reports to see what you may need to work on or if you’re in good shape! The better your credit score, the less you’ll need to pay for your home loan. The quickest way to improve your score is to pay down any credit card balances! You’ll also want to avoid applying for credit, for example, opening a new credit card or getting a car loan, until after you’ve closed on your new home!
Figure out what you can afford
Now’s the time to face the facts and be realistic. What’s your actual budget for purchasing a home? Conventional wisdom says that home expenses should only take up around 30-33% of your income each year. What will your monthly mortgage payment be, including interest, mortgage insurance and any HOA fees? An easy way to figure out what you can afford is by using Zillow’s Mortgage Calculator—easily adjust your purchase price vs down payment and see how it can affect your monthly payment. You’ll also want to set aside an emergency fund for unexpected repairs—especially during your first year! Once you’ve figured out what price range you can comfortably afford, stick to only looking at homes in that range.
Research different neighborhoods
You know your desired price range and what kind of home you’re looking for—now ’s the time to do your homework! Different areas and neighborhoods have their own character, benefits and drawbacks—consult your Realtor, websites like Niche, Crimemapping and Yelp, and if possible, drive through any neighborhoods you’re seriously considering at various times of day to really get a feel for them.
Keep in mind that the down payment is only one part of the costs you’ll need to pay upfront. Once you cough up that 10% down payment, you’ll still need to pay for any closing costs, necessary inspections, repairs or maintenance costs, the first few months of mortgage and insurance payments, and any moving costs. Closing costs can run anywhere from 2-5% of the asking price while typical home inspections are around $350-500. That’s on top of your down payment! With all that in mind, is your dream home still within your housing budget of 30-33% of your yearly income?
Connect with a lender
An experienced loan officer can be a huge help during your preparation period! They’ll help you figure out what loan product will be best for you and what you can do to improve your credit. Your CBE agent can recommend plenty of awesome loan officers and once you’ve got your pre-approval letter, you’re ready to tour homes and make an offer!
Buying a home (whether it’s your first or not!) is an exciting experience and can be immensely rewarding! All of us at CBE wish you the best of luck finding your dream home–don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help along the way!
Scrolling through your Facebook timeline in your twenties and thirties can feel like a never-ending slideshow of #adulting milestones. Why is everyone engaged all of a sudden? When did so-and-so have a baby? Chances are, you’ve seen quite a few “We just bought a home!” posts, too. If you’re one of the 80% of millennials would like to purchase real estate, watching all your friends buy a home can trigger massive FOMO.
We’re here to help you figure out whether you’re ready to join the homeowner ranks! As fun as it looks on social media, buying a home before you’re ready or for the wrong reasons can be a huge mistake. Let’s go through the top 3 reasons you might not be ready to buy a home right now:
1. Not enough money saved
So you’ve saved enough to make a 10% down payment on your dream home, congrats! Unfortunately, the down payment is only one part of the costs you’ll need to pay upfront. Once you cough up that 10% down payment, you’ll still need to pay for any closing costs, necessary inspections, repairs or maintenance costs, the first few months of mortgage and insurance payments, and any moving costs. Closing costs can run anywhere from 2-5% of the asking price while typical home inspections are around $350-500. That’s on top of your down payment!
Keeping all that in mind, is your dream home still within your housing budget of 30-33% of your yearly income?
2. You’re on the move
Due to the high up-front costs of buying a home, real estate is not generally a good short-term investment. The days of flipping distressed properties for a profit are over so if you’re planning on making money on the sale of your home, you’ll need to stay put for at least five years. If your career or relationship status isn’t particularly stable or you’re considering exploring new areas in the next few years—buying may not be the smart choice right now.
3. You’re still working on your credit
A low credit score won’t make it impossible to buy a home, but it will make it more expensive. Check your credit score on free sites like Credit Karma—the higher your score, the better your interest rate on your mortgage will be! This can make a big difference in your monthly payments so if your credit score isn’t particularly healthy right now, you may want to wait to purchase a home. If you’re not sure where to start, a loan officer will be able to help you navigate the process of repairing your credit and getting ready to buy.
It’s the spookiest time of year in the Burg! Grab your favorite ghouls and gals and plan your Halloween with our comprehensive list of Halloween parties, festivals and events! We’ve sorted them out into: “Super Scary” which are best for adults and teens, “Not-So-Scary” for kids and families and “Running Scared” which are 5Ks and running events!
Meet the Ghosts- Oct 27-29 and 30-31
From its Colonial past to the horrors of four major Civil War battles, Fredericksburg is one of the MOST haunted cities in America! Let the costumed guide navigate you through the paranormal combining the past with stories and folklore of the still lurking dead! Call 540-226-8378 to schedule a tour.
Fredericksburg Visitor Center Parking Lot, 706 Caroline St.
Fredericksburg, “America’s Most Historic City,” is also considered to be one of the most haunted cities in the country. Join us to see if you can find any undead on one of our 60 minute carriage Ghost Tours through historic downtown Fredericksburg. This tour is appropriate for all ages, so bring the entire family to search for those who still walk the streets after death!
Halloween Haunt at KD- through Oct 29, starting at 7pm
Features ghastly creatures emerging from the darkness, highly-intense and bone-chilling attractions and some of the most hair-raising rides on the planet like the Intimidator 305 and Dominator roller coasters! NEW attractions this year! This event is not recommended for kids.
Fright Night in the Burg- Oct 26 5-7pm
Celebrate Halloween w/ a fun filled carnival and costume contests at the Dorothy Hart Community Ctr. Ages 3 – 5 will compete for most original and cutest while ages 6 – 8 and 9 – 11 will compete for most original and funniest! A family costume contest will take place and only one will be crowned “Best in the ‘Burg!” Judging will start at 6:15 pm, so be on time! Pre-registration recommended. Cost: $6. One adult is free w/ each paying child. $2 for each additional adult. www.fredericksburgva.gov/parksandrec
Belvedere Plantation Fall Harvest Festival–Oct 28-29
Get lost in the Maize Maze or just take pictures at the Pumpkin Patch! There’s plenty of fun and barnyard games to keep everyone in the family occupied! There’s also wagon rides and roaring campfires to wind the day down! Open Weekends Sep-Nov 4 and Tues-Fri during the week!
Great Pumpkin Fest at Kings Dominion- through Oct 29
Kings Dominion is not all scary in the fall. It’s all fun and no fear. Our daytime Halloween-themed events on select Saturdays and Sundays are geared towards children and families. Your favorite rides are also open during the day in Planet Snoopy. Kids Costumes are encouraged!
Creepy Crawly Carnival at Massad YMCA
Halloween festivities will once again be at the Massad Y! Games, haunted house, wicked fairy tales haunted trail ride, obstacle course, hay maze, pumpkin carving & more! Carnival area with crafts, games, treats and dancing.
Participate in a special scavenger hunt, take a wagon ride on the 12-acre field, and create a boo-tiful Halloween craft in this unforgettable evening. A children’s costume parade around the Mansion will begin at 5 p.m. and prizes will be awarded for most fang-tastic “George” and “Martha” costumes! Cost: $12/Adult & $6/Child. Buy tickets at www.mountvernon.org
Scare Away Dravet 5K -Oct 28 9a-noon
Let’s find a cure for this catastrophic form of Epilpesy and put Dravet Syndrome to rest. Dress up for trick or treating as there will be a costume contest and many other family friendly Halloween activities to be announced soon.
Grab your running gear, and prepare to run for your life. Chose to either be a survivor or a zombie as you navigate 5 kilometers of forest trails and roads, while negotiating obstacles. Zombies and survivors run on separate clocks, as the survivors get a 30 second head start and try to out run the living dead. Each runner will have a life belt, and the zombies will try to take flags from it. Each flag taken adds 5 seconds to the survivors time, and takes 5 seconds from the zombies time. Registration is $25 for both survivors and zombies. All proceeds benefiting Special Olympics. For more information contact Caledon State Park, or Justyn Cox the race director at 540-205-5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Caledon State Park, 11617 Caledon Rd, King George
Halloween 5K & Monster Mile- Oct 28. 7:30 – 10 am. Get EXCITED because the most spooktacular race in the Stafford area is back with a new course this year! Prizes for the top finishers and best costumes! Put on your favorite costume, lace up your running shoes, and join us for our 2nd Annual Halloween 5K and Monster Mile!
Moving, while stressful, is actually one of the best times to evaluate your wardrobe and all your possessions—if you’re dreading moving it to your new home, it’s probably time to let it go. ThredUp and Letgo are both awesome for paring down your closet and letting your old unwanted items have a new life. Not only will you have less stuff to move, you’ll be able to make some cash!
Schedule and organize your movers all online with Unpakt! If ever a moving website could be fun to use, this one would be! They help you figure out how many boxes you’ll need based on what kind of items you have and the size of your home and then let you compare moving companies’ prices! You can book them online for your move and the price is guaranteed—not an estimate—which is great for budgeting ahead of time!
Sortly is an awesome way to keep track of everything you own! Snap a picture of each of your belongings (or maybe just the ones most important to you!) and categorize them by room, box or any way you want. You can create searchable notes and tags to help you find things quickly and even mark boxes with QR labels to see what’s inside without digging through it! After your move, Sortly can be helpful when you’re figuring out how much you need to insure your home for—if you add the value of each of your items, it’ll total them up for you!
Let’s face it, once all your contingencies are satisfied, there’s not a whole lot for you to do besides pack until closing day. Use that hurrry-up-and-wait time to sketch out where your furniture will go, what decor should go where and what will make your new house flow as best as possible. Bonus: now you know exactly where certain boxes (and the super heavy furniture!) should go and you can label them for the movers so you’re not having to rearrange on the day of!
One of our favorite sites EVER! Updater makes transferring your mail, utilities and subscriptions to your new address a snap! Your CBE agent will put in your old and new addresses and voila! You’ll get a link to easily transfer over all of your mail and make sure your utilities are in order before the big day! A couple clicks and you’re done! Why isn’t everything this easy?
Moving soon and need an awesome checklist to make sure you’ve remembered everything? Check out our Ultimate Moving Checklist and download the room-by-room guide!
For over a decade, Coldwell Banker Elite has been a proud supporter of the Greater Fredericksburg Habitat for Humanity. Every year, Coldwell Banker Elite hosts a number of events to raise money for the Greater Fredericksburg Habitat for Humanity. Below you will find a list of events that Coldwell Banker Elite will be hosting for our Habitat for Humanity efforts. Join us at these fun events to raise funds for this wonderful program! To find out more details on each event, click the event graphic.
Coldwell Banker Elite will be holding a wine tasting event for the Greater Fredericksburg Habitat for Humanity featuring General’s Ridge Vineyard wines and live music performed by the “Hard to Tell Band.”
When: September 21, 2017
Time: 6-8 PM
Where: Dockside Restaurant and Tiki Bar. 1787 Castlewood Dr. Colonial Beach, VA 22443