Sumathi Narayanan Realty's Blog
Sharing living expenses with your partner or roommates can be a difficult and confusing issue for many.
Life would be made much easier if there was just one bill to pay on your home that includes everything.
Recently there have been attempts to bring such a suction into fruition. Many homeowners and renters have turned to apps that help them split expenses, or have signed up for mortgage agreements that cover stray expenses like property tax and private mortgage insurance.
In this article, we're going to give you a few tips on splitting the bills in your home to make things easier for you, your spouse, and your roommates.
Who pays what?
Many young couples are often left wondering who should pay which bill, especially when you share so many services.>
However, there's a big difference between sharing a Netflix account and sharing a car. One solution is to use the bills that report to credit agencies for whoever needs help building their credit score.
Putting credit cards under the person with the lowest score’s name can help them build credit even if they're simply listed as an “authorized user” which means you can take advantage of good interest rates and build credit at the same time.
Paying the mortgage
It can quickly become tiresome having to write two different checks each month for your mortgage or rent. To solve this problem, you can either alternate payments (you pay a full month’s rent or mortgage one month and your spouse pays the following month), or you can choose to pay bi-weekly, which will help you pay off your mortgage sooner.
The best apps to use
If you live with your spouse, you likely aren’t overly concerned with splitting all of your expenses 50/50. Chances are whoever has the higher income will foot the bill for the larger expenses.
However, if you have roommates there’s a bigger chance you’ll want things to be split evenly between you and the other members of the household. That’s where apps come in handy.
First, sit down with your roommates and go over all expenses. Write down each bill that you share: rent, heat, electricity, cable, internet, gas, insurance, and so on.
Then, decide who is responsible for making the payment on those bills. Even if you decide to split them all evenly, one person will have to be responsible for sending out the check each month.
Once you’ve determined which bills you have and who is going to pay them, it’s time to find out how you’re all going to contribute.
One way is to open up a shared account. Doing so can be messy, however, if you’re using that account for multiple bills. Some banks and services also charge a portion of the transfer, so you’ll each be losing money each month, and the amount depends on how many bills you have.
Some apps and services you can use to split bills and transfer money include Splitwise, Mint, PayPal, and Chase’s QuickPay. The benefit of apps that don’t transfer money is that they are often free and don’t collect transfer fees. So, if you’re comfortable with handling money by hand, you could save in the long run.
We all know that buying a home is expensive. For first-time buyers who don’t have the luxury of equity for a down payment, it can be difficult to find a way to finance your home without taking on a huge interest rate and mortgage insurance.
Fortunately, loan programs like those offered by the U.S. Veterans Affairs can be a godsend. However, there is a great deal of confusion around who is eligible for VA loans and how to acquire them.
So, in today’s post, we’re going to cover some of the frequently asked questions of VA loans. That way, you can feel confident in knowing whether or not it’s a good financing option for you and your family.
VA Loans FAQ
Who is eligible for a VA Loan?
VA loans aren’t just for veterans. Most members of the military, including Reserve and National Guard members can apply. Additionally, spouses of service members who died from a service-related disability and those who died on active duty can apply as well.
How long do you have to service to be eligible?
The VA defines eligibility as having served no less than 90 days of service during wartime and 181 days of continuous service during peacetime.
Who are VA Loans offered by?
Like any other loan, VA loans are offered by private lenders. The difference is that VA loans are guaranteed by the government. That means that the federal government takes on some of the risk of lending to you, therefore making it possible to secure a loan with little or no down payment.
Should I make a down payment on a VA loan?
If you have the means, making a down payment will almost certainly save you money in the long run. If you can put down 10% of your total mortgage amount, you can also significantly reduce the VA Funding Fee.
Will I have to pay private mortgage insurance?
Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is something that borrowers pay on top of their mortgage payments and interest. This additional insurance helps borrowers buy a home with a small down payment. VA loans allow you to secure a mortgage without PMI.
Are VA loans different for active duty, National Guard, and Army Reserve members?
Each type of service member is eligible for a VA loan. However, there are some minor differences regarding the VA Funding Fee. With no down payment, an active duty member would pay 2.15% of the loan amount in fees. National Guard and Army Reserve members pay around 2.40% with no down payment.
What does my credit score need to be to get a VA loan?
The VA doesn’t have a set minimum credit score. However, the private lenders that offer the loan do. On average, the lowest credit score that you can secure a VA loan with is around 620. That being said, a higher score will secure you a lower interest rate, saving you money over the lifetime of your loan.
Establishing a competitive initial asking price for your house often can be difficult. Fortunately, we're here to help you determine the ideal asking price for your home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you set the right initial asking price for your home.
1. Study the Housing Market
How does your residence stack up against the competition? Evaluate the prices of comparable houses in your city or town, and you can narrow your home price range.
Furthermore, it helps to examine the prices of recently sold residences in your area. With this housing market data, you can find out whether you're preparing to enter a buyer's or seller's market. Then, you can map out your home pricing strategy accordingly.
2. Conduct a Home Appraisal
A home appraisal offers a valuable learning tool for a home seller. It allows a seller to receive expert insights into the value of his or her residence. As a result, a seller can get a property valuation from a home appraiser and use this figure to establish a competitive home asking price.
In addition, it may be beneficial to conduct a home inspection prior to listing your house. An inspection enables you to learn about any problems that may affect your house's value. And if you choose, you can use a home inspection report to prioritize assorted home repairs that may help you boost the value of your house.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
If you're unsure about how to price your residence, there is no need to stress. In fact, you can hire a real estate agent to receive comprehensive support at each stage of the home selling journey.
A real estate agent is happy to help you assess your house and determine the right price for it. He or she is unafraid to be honest, and as such, will offer unbiased home pricing recommendations. That way, you can establish a competitive price from day one of the home selling journey and increase the likelihood of a quick home sale.
Also, a real estate agent goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist a home seller. This housing market professional will set up home showings and open house events to showcase your residence to prospective buyers. Plus, he or she will keep you up to date about offers on your residence. A real estate agent will even negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf to ensure you can maximize your home sale earnings.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will respond to your queries throughout the home selling journey. If you ever have home selling concerns or questions, you can simply talk to your real estate agent and receive expert support.
Take the guesswork out of pricing your residence – use the aforementioned tips, and you can set a competitive price for your home in any housing market, at any time.
If a stranger were to knock on your door and ask to come in, you’d likely say no. Yet when you’re showing your house, this is exactly what you’re doing. You’ll let stranger after stranger come in to tour the home and see if it’s a good fit for their needs. So how can you ensure your home is safe? These home security steps will ensure you can safely show your home with minimal risk.
1. Always Use an Agent
Always use an agent to help sell the home. This will ensure someone is in the home when it is being shown. While some buyers try to sell on their own, this opens you up to showing the home without anyone else around, which is potentially dangerous. Using an agent ensures someone is always with the buyer when they tour the home.
2. Keep It About Business
If you are in the home when potential buyers come through, don’t fear small talk, but be careful. Keep the talk simple and related to the home and its features. Do not divulge too much personal information about yourself or your family. Remember, this person is a stranger.
3. Confirm the Identity of Buyer’s Agents
If someone calls you or your agent claiming to be a real estate agent who wants to see the house, do some research. Your agent would be able to verify that the person is, in fact, an agent. If you cannot find a record of them, do not open your home to them.
4. Hide Your Valuables
Hide your valuables before any showings or open houses. You don’t want potential buyers to grab your favorite pearl earrings as they go through your bedroom to tour the home. As you’re hiding valuables, consider hiding your prescription medications. Unfortunately, some prescriptions are high theft items, and you need your medications for your own health. Consider investing in a small safe to stash these items before you start showing your house.
5. Stash Your Remotes
Do you have a garage door remote? Don’t leave it out! A potential buyer could pocket it and return later to rob your home or your garage. Keep all keys, remotes, and fobs with you when you leave for the showing, or store them out of sight if you are staying in the home for the showing.
Opening your door to strangers is part of the process when you’re showing your home, but you do have to be smart about it. Take these ideas into consideration, and do what you can to protect your home and your family while you’re in the selling process.
What is natural ventilation? It's utilizing wind with the "chimney effect" to draw warm air out of the home and replacing it with cooler air from outside. As the wind blows against your home, it forces air into open windows on one side of the house while a vacuum effect draws the air out of the windows on the other side. The vacuum effect relies on convection. As cool fresh air is pulled into the home it absorbs heat from the room, the warm air rises and exits through rooftop vents or skylights on the upper floors. As the warm air moves out of the space, cooler fresh air is pulled in behind it. When mechanized to operate by a thermostat, natural ventilation systems modulate the temperature in your home efficiently. Countless benefits come with natural ventilation. Here are a few:
Low utility bills
One of the primary advantages of using a natural ventilation system is the decrease in your energy bills. Natural ventilation and hybrid ventilation consume much less energy (or no energy at all) compare to these mechanical systems. To save more on energy consumption, perhaps going for a natural hybrid ventilation system that cuts down on your energy use would be best.
Natural ventilation systems have a low energy consumption level. This makes them the best choice when looking to increase efficiency in a building or home. You can save up to 70 percent of your emissions, much more than the traditional mechanical ventilation.
The overall cost of maintaining HVAC ventilation is high, compared to natural ventilation systems. Natural systems generally come with fewer, more affordable parts.
A natural ventilation system takes very little space, especially as compared to an automated system. If you don’t want bulky components, a natural system is the better option.
Natural ventilation systems work best in areas where the days are warm and the nights are cool. If you live in an area that is very humid or where day and night temperatures are similar, natural ventilation systems are less effective.