This New Year, take inventory of your personal finances and make some New Year's resolutions to help you achieve your Financial and Real Estate goals. We've compiled six resolution ideas to that may help You whether You are already a Homeowner, or working toward Your first Home.
Remember: the secret to a successful New Year's resolution is specificity! Whatever goals you decide to make, be sure you outline them clearly and completely.
1. Set Specific Monthly Financial Goals
Rather than making a general commitment to save "more" this year, be specific and realistic with your goals. You're more likely to commit to your plan if you know exactly how much money you are spending, where you can shrink your living costs and how those savings will be reallocated, stored or invested.
2. Track Your Spending with Apps Like ROCKET Money
Did you know you can automatically track how much money you're spending on dinners out, trips to the store, subscriptions and other expenses? With apps like ROCKET Money, you can easily track and categorize your expenditures, making it easy to see exactly where your money is going every month.
Rocket Money is an app that helps people gain awareness about their spending habits and better manage their money. Rocket Money makes it easier than ever to manage subscriptions, lower your bills, and stay on top of your spending.
Other apps simply give you insight into your spending, and then wish you luck in overcoming any challenges. Rocket Money is different; not only does it provide actionable insight, it also takes concrete steps to save you real money without sacrificing your quality of life.
Rocket Money can cancel unwanted subscriptions for you, and even has experts who will try to negotiate better rates on your bills--all with the tap of a button.
If you don't track your expenses yet, give it a try for a few months. You may be surprised to see what you're spending, and once you're informed you can make better decisions about where to cut back.
3. Stop Renting, Start Looking to Buy
At the time of this publication, the vacancy rate in Bellingham is hovering at about 2%. It's no secret to renters in the Pacific Northwest that quality, affordable apartments and housing rentals are few and far between.
For many renters, their mortgage payment could actually be lower than their monthly rent payment- and then that money would be going towards building their equity rather than in their landlord's pockets. There are so many incredible programs, especially for first time homebuyers, so it makes sense to at least talk to a Realtor and Mortgage Lender to see where you stand.
It is always good to look. While You are getting ready, call Your favorite Realtor to look at homes to educate and help motivate Yourself. Looking, will help to educate You about Your likes and dislikes, areas, styles, size and pricing, so when You are finally ready, You will be ready to go.
Not sure who to contact about financing? Click here to request a list of our preferred local lenders.
4. Own a Home? Request a Comparative Market Analysis
Unless you've requested a Comparative Market Analysis within the last six months, it's unlikely that you really know how your home might be valued in today's changing market. Whether you're planning to sell soon or years in the future, keeping track of your home's real-world value is an important part of managing your financial health.
You can request a free, no obligation Comparative Market Analysis here.
5. Consult with a Realtor Before Planning Home Repairs and Updates
Not all home repairs are considered equal in the eyes of Buyers (or appraisers!) Before you drop big bucks on a kitchen or bathroom remodel or hardwood floor restoration, check with an experienced local Realtor to get the inside scoop on what buyers really want. A good Real Estate Agent can help you prioritize projects based on what is going to boost your resale value the most, and will point out low-cost opportunities to improve your home's appeal.
6. The Time to Invest in Real Estate is NOW
The Time to invest in Real Estate is when You Can. With Interest Rates increasing from historic lows to current rates ranging from 5.5% to 7-ish%, the market has settled down a bit and resembles a balanced market with inspections, offers under asking price and negotiations, rather than bidding wars pushing properties far above the asking price. While rates are higher, the money You save by not having to pay an extra $100k for the home, pays for a lot of tax deductable interest. Current rates are still historically low, just not what we became accustomed to the last several years.
That being said, with an appreciating market and rising rates, saving for an extra year or two may not help your situation and probably will not increase your buying power. There are still 0%,3.5% & 5% down options available, and variable rate loan programs that can save You money in the short term and be refinanced as rates drop in the future. So even if you think you aren't ready, talk to a lender.
Real estate is a fantastic investment, particularly in our rapidly-growing area. If you think that investing in real estate might be the right move for you, or would like to find out more about your opportunities, give me a call to talk through your options- no obligation, no commitment.
Make your financial health a priority this year by taking proactive steps to assess where you're at, acquire equity and budget appropriately. If you need any assistance along the way, remember that our team is always here to support you. We're wishing you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!