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FIrst Time Home Buyers

by Tami Rapaport’s Team

Being eager to buy your first home is understandable, but it’s not something you should rush into. Before you even begin looking at homes for sale, there are several steps to take to make sure you’re prepared for this major purchase. 

Lower Your Debt

Lenders will want to see a low amount of revolving debt, so it’s important to reduce what you owe. If possible, try to completely pay off credit cards. If you can’t, at least pay your bills on time to boost your credit score. Make sure you look over your credit report to see what your score is and check for any errors that could lower it. 

Build Up Savings

After you’ve paid off or significantly lowered your debt, focus on building up savings for a down payment. If you have rough estimate of how much you can afford to spend on a home, aim to save a minimum of 20 percent of that for your down payment. This helps you avoid having to pay even more each month for private mortgage insurance.

Establish a Budget and Stick to It

Come up with a reasonable budget that won’t put you under financial strain. Take into account that buying a home is a long-term investment. During that time, you might switch jobs or even be out of work. Your budget should allow you to cover all of your payments and be able to set aside money for home repairs and maintenance.

Choose the Right Home Loan Length

While many people choose 30-year mortgages, there’s no rule that you have to. If you’re able to make higher mortgage payments, you could choose a 15-year home loan instead. Your home will be paid off sooner, and you won’t pay as much in interest over the years.

Get Your Paperwork Ready

Lenders will ask to see several different documents to determine if you should be approved for a home loan and for how much. Start getting these documents, such as pay stubs and income tax records, ready ahead of time.

Think About Location

Compare different neighborhoods in the town or city you want to live in. Look for ones that have the amenities you want, such as good schools or close access to work. Just make sure you can afford to buy a home in the neighborhoods you’re interested in before you start looking at homes for sale in these areas.

5 Green Updates for Existing Homes

by Tami Rapaport’s Team

A more green, energy efficient home will help lower your bills. Current home owners can benefit by fixing up their homes with green updates. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing. Here are 5 green update for your current home.

Decrease Water Usage

There are a number of ways to do this. Installing things like faucet aerators, newer toilet models, newer model dishwasher, and energy efficient washers can help you use less water per year. You can get a facet aerator install for about $10. The dishwasher and washer will be more expensive, but you can see a return on your investment in about 3-4 years.

Install Energy Efficient Windows and Doors

By replacing your old windows and doors with ones that don’t let cool air leak in, you can lower your heating costs. It is suggest to avoid aluminum-framed windows, wood ones will work better. For the doors, avoid hollow metal ones that let air right through.

Seal Up Your Home

To lower you heating bill, it is best to make sure you plug any leaks that let cold air into your home. These tend to be around doors, windows, basements, and attics. If you can’t afford to install the energy efficient windows and doors, sealing the leaks from your current ones can also help. It is also good to add insulation to your wall, as many homes have been found to be under insulated.

Get a Programmable Thermostat

These device help cool and heat your home when you are there. They can be programmed to turn off at hours you are away or even sleeping. This is a great way to save on your heating/cooling bill. You will see the savings within months of the installation.

Change Your Light Bulbs

In the last few years, there has been a lot of change in the way you can light your home. By changing your light bulbs to compact florescent ones, you can see your electric bill be lowered. These bulbs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and only cost about $2-3 per bulb. They also last ten times longer than the incandescent bulbs.

There are many ways to make your current home greener. It doesn’t have to be an expensive project. Small, inexpensive changes can make a noticeable difference. Over time; you can use these savings to invest in more expensive green updates.

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Photo of Tami Rapaport Real Estate
Tami Rapaport
Tami Rapaport
130 Dean Drive
Tenafly NJ 07670
201-227-2045