RE/MAX Town & Country



Posted by Debra & John Blanchet on 5/23/2018

Whether you call it a "rainy day fund" or a "financial cushion", having some money set aside for emergencies or unexpected expenses can help keep life on an even keel.

Although health insurance and a homeowners' policy can provide a measure of protection, insurance deductibles can take a large bite out of your bank account.

In addition to all the predictable expenses that accompany home ownership, mechanical systems like furnaces, hot water heaters, and air conditioning units have a way of breaking down at the most inopportune times. Another crisis that many people aren't prepared for is the potential loss of a job. When families don't have money set aside to weather the storm of an unplanned income loss, then there's no "safety net" to cushion the fall.

Strategies For Saving Money

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to build up financial reserves, but it often requires self discipline, a new set of habits, and the intention to make it happen. One of the first steps to putting some money aside for a rainy day is to open up a separate bank account. If you put extra money in your regular account -- or (even worse) keep it around the house -- chances are it will get spent pretty quickly. However, if it's deposited into a separate account that's designated for emergencies, unexpected household expenses, or even a college fund, then it'll stand a greater chance of being left alone until it's needed. Putting money aside does take some doing, but it can contribute to your family's financial security and ability to do things that are important to you.

If you have a tight budget, you're probably wondering where this extra money is going to come from! Sometimes, the very act of developing a written budget can provide you with clues and ideas for reducing your expenses. You'd also be amazed at how much the savings can add up when you comparison shop, buy in bulk, use coupons, negotiate lower interest charges on your credit cards, quit smoking, car pool to work, cut back on restaurant food, and make up your mind to live just a little more frugally.

Depending on how committed you are to creating a financial cushion, you could also make the fund grow faster by depositing a percentage of Christmas bonuses, tax refunds, manufacturer rebates, salary increases (raises), and other sources of extra income. Additional ways to beef up your financial safety net could include getting a part-time job, doing freelance work, holding a garage sale, or selling unwanted items through ads or flyers. When you pay off credit cards, car loans, or other debts, you could also redirect some or all of those monthly payments into your "future needs fund."

Whatever you decide to call it, it's nice to know that there's some extra money on hand for unexpected expenses, emergencies, potential job losses, college tuition, weddings, family vacations, home renovations, nursing home costs, or even retirement.






Posted by Debra & John Blanchet on 4/18/2018

One decorating principle that’s a huge help for any homeowner is that of layered lighting. This is the different aspects of lighting that you’ll use in different rooms of your home to complete your lighting needs. The layers of light create a basis for the design of the room. These three main aspects of lighting also have a practical purpose which is nice as well. Below, you’ll learn more about the three main components of lighting for any room of the house and how to best use them. 


Ambient Lighting


Ambient lighting is often the base of where people start with their lighting design in a room. This type of lighting allows you to get the overall feel for a space. The brightness level should be good enough for anyone to walk through the room without walking into things. The illumination may not be bright enough for activities that require a lot of focus like reading or chopping vegetables.


Accent Lighting 


If you think of a retail store and how the shiniest things have the brightest lights focused on them, you’ll discover that you can use this type of lighting right in your home. Think of a chandelier hanging over a massive dining table. Accent lighting is usually for decorative purposes. The lumens that are given off are typically not enough for any other purpose than to attract attention to the item the light is shining on. This type of lighting is best used for things like display cabinets, statues, and china closets. The bottom line is that the accent light will add some drama without actually adding much practical use. 


Task Lighting


This type of lighting is important because it’s what ensures that you won’t chop your hand off while you’re chopping up vegetables in the kitchen. Task lighting varies widely from room to room and can be anything from a desk lamp to a reading lamp to lights on the vanity for shaving and putting on makeup. Task lighting is all about being functional. When you’re trying to decide where to put your task lights think of everything from safety to convenience. The last thing you should worry about with task lighting is the look. While these lights are great under cabinets, for example, so the more creative you get with where to place your task lighting the better the look will be.  


Using this simple yet useful design principle can help you to light your entire home correctly. The right lighting can truly transform a space and give it the depth that it needs.            





Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Debra & John Blanchet on 4/11/2018

If you want to buy a house, it pays to enter the real estate market with a checklist in hand. That way, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Now, let's take a look at three things to include in your homebuying checklist.

1. Your Budget

Your budget will dictate whether you're able to afford a condo, luxury home or something in-between. As such, you'll want to assess your finances closely as you determine exactly what type of house that you can afford.

Oftentimes, it helps to get a copy of your credit report. You are eligible to receive one free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). If you know your credit score, you can determine whether now is a good time to enter the real estate market, or whether you should improve your credit score first.

You may want to consult with several banks and credit unions too. These financial institutions can teach you about various mortgage options and help get pre-approved for a mortgage. Then, once you have a mortgage, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a house and tailor your home search accordingly.

2. Where You Want to Live

Living in the suburbs is very different from residing in the city. Therefore, you'll want to consider where you want to live so that you can search for a home in specific areas.

For example, if you prefer the peace and quiet of a small town, you may want to consider houses in small towns in the state of your choice. These towns may feature dozens of available homes. Plus, in many instances, small town houses are priced lower than big city residences.

Or, if you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the big city, you can search for residences in any city, at any time. These houses likely will ensure that you'll have quick, easy access to a variety of big city attractions and landmarks.

3. Real Estate Agent

There is no telling whether you're about to enter a seller's or buyer's market, as the housing sector often fluctuates. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can increase the likelihood of a quick, successful homebuying experience, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.

A real estate agent is committed to your homebuying success and will do what it takes to help you find the right home, at the right price. He or she will learn about your homebuying goals and offer expert insights into the real estate market. Also, if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is available to address them.

For those who want to streamline the homebuying process, it helps to hire a real estate agent. And if you hire a real estate agent today, you can get the assistance that you need to make your homeownership dream come true.

Get started on your homebuying checklist, and you can simplify the process of acquiring your ideal residence.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Debra & John Blanchet on 11/1/2017

There’s many theories about when the best time of year to buy a home is. It’s spring, right? Not necessarily. Spring is one of the busiest times of the year for real estate but it’s not always the best time of year to buy a home. The emphasis on home buying in spring tends to be rooted in the fact that spring is associated with all things “new.” However, these misperceptions about the housing market can be detrimental to homebuyers. 


Spring And Summer Are Top Times To Sell


Many people get the urge to sell their properties in the spring and summer simply because they get new perspective after being cooped up in the house all winter long. People are ready for a change after the long winter. Moving close to the summertime works well with traditional school calendars. For some people, selling in the warmer months of the year is the best time, but it doesn’t hold true for everyone. 


Seasons Change


Others suggest that the best time to sell a home is in fall or winter. People who are looking to buy in the end of the year are often buying for a purpose. Their need to move is much greater. It could be due to family issues, home repair needs or other crucial factors, but these buyers are motivated. On the flip side, there’s less homes to look at since inventory tends to be lower at this time of the year.


In the spring, while many people are looking, their need to buy is much less urgent, so the demand is less. There’s a potential for more competition in the spring if you are a serious buyer just because of the high volume of shoppers. 


Remember one key fact: spring starts in January when we talk about real estate! The number of listings will continue to ramp up until about mid-May. Buyers will be looking throughout the summer months. Then, the number of buyers starts to drop off in September. 


The Bottom Line


There is really no “right” time to buy or sell real estate. The right time has to do with what works best for you. If you’re starting your search, it’s best to begin in the spring, but you may very well land the best deal in the fall when there’s less competition. When you start a serious home search, you get a better idea of what you want. You also don’t want to let the perfect house pass you by because you were waiting for “just the right time.” 


Some Additional Tips:


  • Avoid Closing Around Christmastime 
  • Know Your Moving Timetable
  • Consider How Long It May Take You To Find A Home
  • Remember That Closings Take At Least 30 Days


Whenever you buy a home, choosing a knowledgeable real estate agent can help you to close a great deal on your home whether you’re buying or selling. By planning ahead, the process will go much smoother.  




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Debra & John Blanchet on 9/27/2017

A lot changes when you move into a new home. For the first few weeks you’ll most likely be focused on getting everything arranged and put away in their proper locations. You’ll be adjusting to your new work commute, meeting the neighbors, finding out where to shop, and so on.

It’s easy to forget about updating your budget during the first couple of months in your new home. However, if you want to be mindful of your spending and gauge the true cost of living in your new home, it’s essential to start tracking expenses and creating your budget as soon as possible.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to make a new budget for your new home so that you can start accurately planning your long term finances. That way, you and your family can rest assured that you aren’t living above your means in your new home and can stop stressing about spending.

Cost of living changes

When most of us move we think about the change of our mortgage payments, property taxes, and home insurance. However, there are several smaller changes that will occur in your day-to-day spending habits that you might not think to update in your budget.

First off, make a note of how much you’re spending on transportation (whether it’s train fare or gas for your car) in your new home and adjust this on your budget. This is hard to predict before you move since you can’t be sure of the traffic patterns until your first trip to the office.

Next, make a list of your monthly services, including utilities. We’re talking about internet, cable, trash and recycling, heating and electricity, and so on. At the end of the first month, add each of those to your budget and decide if you want to spend less on any of them.

One surprise expense that many people have when they move is the cost of internet. Your old plan at your former residence might not cut it if you move to an area with different coverage.

Furnishing your new home

Even if you’re moving with most of your furniture and appliances, there will likely still be expenses that you’ll need to plan for in your new home.

It might be tempting to make all of these purchases at once so that you can feel like your move is “complete.” However, the best course of action is to include these items into your monthly budget so that you are prepared for emergency expenses.

Decide which items you need the most in your new home, and prioritize purchasing those on the first month. You’ll likely realize after just the first couple of nights in your new house which items you need now and which can wait.

Budgeting apps and tools

Everyone has their own preferred method of record-keeping. Some people keep their budget in a notebook or planner, whereas others like to use an app that they can access on their phone or laptop.

There are dedicated budgeting apps and web applications that link to your bank account and tell you how much left you can spend that month and if there is an issue with your budget. Several such apps are available for free in both Android and Apple app stores.

For a simpler budget, you can simply use the spreadsheet application of your choice (Excel, Numbers, and Google Sheets are all sufficient).

Regardless of what tool you use, make sure you check in on your budget frequently to ensure you’re sticking to it and making adjustments as needed.




Tags: budgeting   moving   budget  
Categories: Uncategorized  




Tags