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The Family Home Budget

by The Jana Caudill Team

Are you saving for a down payment on a new Crown Point, Chesterton, or Valparaiso house?  A car, motorcycle, or Winnebago?  What about saving for college for your child?  Saving for college for your children?

Whether you want to move cross country, travel cross country, or ship your kid cross country to school you have to know how to save, and the first step in learning how to save is learning how you spend.  CNN Money has a great series on creating your own home budget, as well as other articles covering the subjects of making, saving, and investing your money.  Once you learn to track your spending and make some necessary spending cuts based on your saving goals, you will be well armed to start socking away for a rainy day…or a trip…or a home…or college…

Quick note: nowadays banks are requiring larger down payments when qualifying people for mortgages.  With today’s real estate market you can get more home for your money, you will just be required to have more of your own money to get the loan for your dream home.

Why a Good School District is Still a Priority for Empty Nesters

by The Jana Caudill Team

Invariably one of the top priorities of Northwest Indiana families with children looking to purchase a new home is landing somewhere within the boundaries of a good local school district.  Parents want the best for their kids, and that goes double for a quality education.  We all dream that one day our sons and daughters will get their college education, and the first step in attaining those goals is laying a strong foundation with quality private or public elementary, middle, and high schools.

But what if you are an empty nester or have never had children?  Why should school districts be a concern if you have no school-age, or soon to be school-age children in your household?  The answer is simple.  You may not have kids, but the people who will buy your home five, ten, fifteen years down the road very well may.

Translation: property values.  Homes in good school districts better maintain and increase in property value historically than homes that are not.  Foreclosures are even lower in quality school districts.  Certainly, many factors go into establishing property values.  But with all else being equal you can count on one thing.  A family with children – when it comes time to look for a new home – will make a good school system a top priority when beginning their search.  Neighborhoods with top notch schools will always be in demand, and will help attract more buyers to your Valparaiso, Crown Point, or St. John home when it’s time to sell.

Financial Planning and Your Home Purchase

by The Jana Caudill Team

Planning on buying a home over the next two, three, five years?  Take the time now to put a sound financial plan in place that will set you up for success when you’re ready to make your home purchase.

SAVE for your down payment.  The days of no money down home purchases are gone, at least for the foreseeable future.  And coming up with enough money to satisfy the bank who is considering issuing you a mortgage doesn’t happen overnight.  What would it be like if you took an extra twenty, forty, even a hundred dollars out of your monthly salary and socked it away toward your down payment?  Saving money is a long term endeavor so you need to start now.  A smart person (I fail now to remember who it was) once said, “You’ll know you’re doing a good job saving money when it starts to hurt a little.”

CUT expenses.  In order to increase your capacity to save money you either have to make more money or cut back on the money you spend.  The best way to go from no savings to a nice sized down payment on a home is to look at your budget and make little cuts here and there.  Ask yourself, where am I spending my income right now?  How much money can I save by making my own coffee and skipping that daily stop at Starbucks?  What about fast food?  Try cooking at home one or two more times a week.  Cook enough so you have plenty of leftovers to take to work the next day for lunch instead of opting to super-size the number 5 at the drive-thru.  Cutting expenses and saving go hand in hand.

MONITOR your credit scores.  You’ve cut back on your spending.  You have even found a way to stick another fifty dollars under the mattress every month for the down payment.  None of this does you any good if your credit scores are in the tank.  Keep a close eye on your scores!  Make your payments on time.  That 30-, 60-, 90-day late payment can stick around to haunt you for some time!  No bank will give you a mortgage if they see you are unable to handle the bills you already have.  Get your free annual credit report here.  This report will show you your scores from the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.  Then when you’re ready to speak to a reputable Realtor your family finances will not hinder you when they help you find your dream home.

Displaying blog entries 11-13 of 13