20 Ways to Save Money and Stretch Your Household Budget

 

These days, it seems like everyone’s looking for ways to cut costs and stretch their income further. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your household expenses without making radical changes to your standard of living. When combined, these small adjustments can add up to significant savings each month.

Here are 20 things you can start doing today to lower your bills, secure better deals, and begin working toward your financial goals.

  1. Refinance Your Mortgage – For prime borrowers, mortgage rates are at or near historic lows. Depending on your current mortgage rate and the terms you choose, refinancing could save you a sizable amount on your monthly payments. There are fees and closing costs associated with refinancing, so you’ll need to talk to your lender to find out if refinancing is a good option for you.
  2. Evaluate Your Insurance Policies – If it’s been a while since you priced home or auto insurance, it may be worthwhile to do some comparison shopping. Get quotes from at least three insurers or independent agents. Try bundling your policies to see if there’s a discount. And inquire about raising your deductible, which should lower your premium.1
  3. Bundle Cable, Phone, and Internet – You can also save money by bundling your cable, phone, and internet services together. Shop around to see who is willing to give you the best deal. If switching is too much of a hassle, ask your current provider to match or beat their competitor’s offer.
  4. Better Yet, Cut the Cord on Cable – In many cases, you can save even more if you cancel your cable subscription altogether. An antenna should give you access to the major stations, and many of your favorite shows are probably available on-demand through a less expensive streaming service subscription.
  5. Revisit Your Wireless Plan – You can often save by switching from a big brand to an independent, low-cost carrier. If that’s not feasible, ask your current provider for a better deal or consider downgrading to a cheaper plan.
  6. Adjust Your Thermostat – Turning your thermostat up or down a few degrees can have a noticeable impact on your monthly heating and cooling costs. To maximize efficiency, change your filters regularly, and make sure your windows and doors are well insulated.
  7. Use Less Hot Water – After heating and cooling, hot water accounts for the second-largest energy expense in most homes.  2 To cut back, repair any leaks or dripping faucets, install low-flow fixtures, only run your dishwasher when full, and wash clothes in cold water when possible.
  8. Lower Overall Water Consumption – To decrease your water usage, take shorter showers, and turn off the sink while you brush your teeth and wash your hands. If you don’t have a low-flow toilet, retrofit your current one with a toilet tank bank or fill cycle diverter. And irrigate your lawn in the morning or evening to minimize evaporation.3
  9. Conserve Electricity – Save electricity by shutting off your computer at night and installing energy-efficient LED light bulbs. You can minimize standby or “vampire” power drain by utilizing power strips and unplugging idle appliances.4
  10. Purchase a Home Warranty – While there is an upfront cost, a home warranty can provide some protection and peace of mind when it comes to unexpected home repair costs. Most plans provide coverage for major systems (like electrical, plumbing, and HVAC) and appliances (such as your dishwasher, stove, or refrigerator).
  11. Outsource Less – From lawn care to grocery shopping to minor home repairs, we pay people to do a lot of things our parents and grandparents did themselves. To save money, try cutting back on the frequency of these services or taking some of them on yourself.
  12. Prepare Your Own Meals – It costs nearly five times more to have a meal delivered than it does to cook it at home.5 And home cooking doesn’t just save money; it’s healthier, cuts down on calorie consumption, and can offer a fun activity for families to do together.
  13. Plan Your Menu in Advance – Meal planning is deciding before you shop what you and your family will eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It can help you lower your overall food bill, eliminate waste, and minimize impulse purchases. When possible, buy produce that is in season, and utilize nutrient-rich but inexpensive protein sources like eggs, beans, ground turkey, and canned tuna.
  14. Plant a Garden – You can save even more on produce by growing it yourself. If you have space in your yard, start-up costs are relatively minimal. Gardening can be a rewarding and enjoyable (not to mention delicious) hobby for the whole family. And it could save you around $600 per year at the grocery store!6
  15. Review Memberships and Subscriptions – Are you paying for services and subscriptions you no longer need, want, or can utilize? Determine if there are any that you should suspend or cancel.
  16. Give Homemade Gifts – Who wouldn’t appreciate a scratch birthday cake or tin of cookies? And if you enjoy crafting, Pinterest and Instagram are full of inspiring ideas.  Show your recipient how much you care with a homemade gift from the heart.
  17. Minimize Your Debt Payments – The best way to reduce a debt payment is to pay down the balance. But if that’s not an option right now, try to negotiate a better interest rate. If you have a good credit score, you may be able to qualify for a balance transfer to a 0% or low-interest rate credit card. Keep in mind, the rate may expire after a certain period—so be sure to read the fine print.
  18. Get a Cash-back Credit Card – If you regularly pay your credit card balance in full, a cash-back credit card can be a good way to earn a little money back each month. However, they often come with high-interest rates and fees if you carry a balance. Commit to only using it for purchases you can afford.
  19. Ask for Deals and Discounts – It may feel awkward at first, but becoming a master haggler can save you a lot of money. Many companies are willing to negotiate under the right circumstances. Always inquire about special promotions or incentives. See if they are able to price match (or beat) their competitors. And if an item is slightly defective or nearing its expiration date, ask for a discount.
  20. Track Your Household Budget – One of the most effective ways to reduce household expenses is to set a budget—and stick to it. A budget can help you see where your money is going and identify areas where you can cut back. By setting reasonable limits, you’ll be able to reach your financial goals faster.

Want more help getting a handle on your finances? Use the budget worksheet below to track income and expenses—and start working towards your financial goals today! Please reach out to me for a downloadable version.

I AM HERE TO HELP

I would love to help you meet your financial goals. Whether you want to refinance your mortgage, save up for a down payment, or simply find lower-cost alternatives for home repairs, maintenance, or utilities, I am happy to provide my insights and referrals. And if you have plans to buy or sell a home this year, I can discuss the steps you should be taking to financially prepare. Contact me today to schedule a free consultation!

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

Sources:

Insurance Information Institute –
https://www.iii.org/article/twelve-ways-to-lower-your-homeowners-insurance-costs

Department of Energy –
https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/water-heating/reduce-hot-water-use-energy-savings

Money Crashers –
https://www.moneycrashers.com/ways-conserve-water/

Harvard University –
https://green.harvard.edu/tools-resources/poster/top-5-steps-reduce-your-energy-consumption

Forbes –
https://www.forbes.com/sites/priceonomics/2018/07/10/heres-how-much-money-do-you-save-by-cooking-at-home/#2c53b2f35e54

Money –
https://money.com/gardening-grocery-savings/


Posted on May 4, 2020 at 10:45 pm
Andrew Torosian | Posted in Uncategorized |

#StayHome: How to Create Functional Spaces in Your Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

#StayHome: How to Create Functional Spaces in Your Home
During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many of us are spending a lot more time at home. We’re all being called upon to avoid public spaces and practice social distancing to help slow the spread of this infectious disease. While it can be understandably challenging, there are ways you can modify your home and your lifestyle to make the best of this difficult situation.

Here are a few tips for creating comfortable and functional spaces within your home for work, school, and fitness. We also share some of our favorite ways to stay connected as a community, because we’re all in this together … and no one should face these trying times alone.

Begin with the Basics

A basic home emergency preparedness kit is a great addition to any home, even under normal circumstances. It should include items like water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, first aid kit, and other essentials you would need should you temporarily lose access to food, water, or electricity.

Fortunately, authorities don’t anticipate any serious interruptions to utilities or the food supply during this outbreak. However, it may be a good time to start gathering your emergency basics in a designated location, so you’ll be prepared now and in the future—should your family ever need them.

Ready to start building an emergency kit for your home? Contact me for a free copy of our Home Emergency Preparation Checklist!

Working From Home

Many employees are being asked to work remotely. If you’re transitioning to a home office for the first time, it’s important to create a designated space for work … so it doesn’t creep into your home life, and vice versa. If you live in a small condominium or apartment, this may feel impossible. But try to find a quiet corner where you can set up a desk and comfortable chair. The simple act of separating your home and workspaces can help you focus during work hours and “turn off” at the end of the day.

Of course, if you have children who are home with you all day (given many schools and daycares are now closed), separating your home and work life will be more difficult. Unless you have a partner who can serve as the primary caregiver, you will need to help manage the needs of your children while juggling work and virtual meetings.

If both parents are working from home, try alternating shifts, so you each have a designated time to work and to parent. If that’s not an option, experts recommend creating a schedule for your children, so they know when you’re available to play, and when you need to work.1 A red stop sign on the door can help remind them when you shouldn’t be disturbed. And for young children, blocking off a specific time each day for them to nap or have independent screen time can give you a window to schedule conference calls or work uninterrupted.

Homeschooling Your Children

Many parents with school-aged children will be taking on a new challenge: homeschooling. Similar to a home office, designating a space for learning activities can help your child transition between play and school. If you’re working from home, the homeschooling area would ideally be located near your workspace, so you can offer assistance and answer questions, as needed.

If possible, dedicate a desk or table where your child’s work can be spread out—and left out when they break for meals and snacks. Position supplies and materials nearby so they are independently accessible and place a trash can and recycling bin within reach for easy cleanup. A washable, plastic tablecloth can help transition an academic space into an arts and crafts area.

If the weather is nice, try studying outside! A porch swing is a perfect spot for reading, and gardening in the backyard is a great addition to any science curriculum.

In addition to creating an academic learning environment, find age-appropriate opportunities for your children to help with household chores and meal preparation. Homeschooling advocates emphasize the importance of developing life skills alongside academic ones.2 And with more meals and activities taking place at home, there will be ample opportunity for every family member to pitch in and help.

Staying Fit

With gyms closed and team sports canceled, it can be tempting to sit on the sofa and binge Netflix. However, maintaining the physical health and mental wellness of you and your family is crucial right now. Implementing a regular exercise routine at home can help with both.

If you live in a community where you can safely exercise outdoors while maintaining the recommended distance between you and other residents, try to get out as much as possible. If the weather is nice, go for family walks, jogs, or bike rides.

Can’t get outside? Fortunately, you don’t need a home gym or fancy exercise equipment to stay fit. Look for a suitable space in your home, garage, or basement where you can comfortably move—you’ll probably need at least a 6’ x 6’ area for each person. Many cardio and strength training exercises require little (or no) equipment, including jumping jacks, lunges, and pushups.

And if you prefer a guided workout, search for free exercise videos on YouTube—there are even options specifically geared towards kids—or try one of the many fitness apps available.

Socializing From a Distance

Even though we’re all being called upon to practice “social distancing” right now, there are still ways to stay safely connected to our communities and our extended families. Picking up the phone is a great place to start. Make an effort to reach out to neighbors and loved ones who live alone and maybe feeling particularly isolated right now.

And while parties and playdates may be prohibited, modern technology offers countless ways to organize networked gatherings with family and friends. Try using group video conferencing tools like Google Hangouts and Zoom to facilitate a virtual happy hour or book club. Host a Netflix Party to watch (and chat about) movies with friends. Or plan a virtual game night and challenge your pals to a round of Psych or Yahtzee.

There are safe ways to connect offline, too. Rediscover the lost art of letter writing. Drop off groceries on an elderly neighbor’s porch. Or organize a neighborhood “chalk walk,” where children use sidewalk chalk to decorate their driveways and then head out for a stroll to view their friends’ artwork.

Of course, there’s one group of people who you can still socialize with freely—those who reside in your home. Family dinners are back, siblings are reconnecting, and many of us have been given the gift of time, with commutes, activities, and obligations eliminated. In fact, some families are finding that this crisis has brought them closer than ever.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

Even with all of the tools and technology available to keep us connected, many of us are still feeling stressed, scared, and isolated. However, you can rest assured that you are not alone. I am not only here to help you buy and sell real estate. I want to be a resource to my clients and community through good times and bad. If you and your family are in need of assistance, please reach out and let me know how we can help.

 


Posted on April 3, 2020 at 7:15 pm
Andrew Torosian | Posted in Uncategorized |

Top 5 Home Design Trends for a New Decade

Top 5 Home Design Trends for a New Decade

Whether you’re planning a simple refresh or a full-scale renovation, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in home design. Sellers who make tasteful updates can generate increased buyer interest and, in some cases, a premium selling price. And buyers should consider which features of a home will need updating immediately (or in the near future) so they can factor renovation costs into their overall budget.

Even if you have no immediate plans to buy or sell, we advise our clients to be thoughtful about the colors, materials, and finishes they select when planning a remodel or even redecorating. Choosing over-personalized or unpopular options could hurt a home’s value when it does come time to list your property. And selecting out-of-style or overly-trendy elements could cause your home to feel dated quickly.

To help, I have rounded up five of the hottest home design trends for 2020. Keep in mind, not all of these will work well in every house. If you plan to buy, list, or renovate your property, give me a call. I can help you realize your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.

IN: Sustainability / OUT: Fast Furniture

Consumers have become increasingly eco-conscious. Many are shunning the mass-produced, “fast furniture” popularized by retailers like IKEA, opting instead for higher-quality pieces that are built to last. And the availability of non-toxic, environmentally-friendly furniture and decor options is set to grow in 2020 and beyond.

At the same time, there’s been a noticeable shift toward individuality in today’s interior design. Instead of following the latest fad, more homeowners are opting to embrace their personal style and invest in items they believe will “spark joy” (à la Marie Kondo) for years to come.

Want to know more about Marie Kondo’s famous organization method and how it can increase your home’s value? Contact us for a free copy of our recent report, “Top 6 Home Organization Upgrades That ‘Spark Joy’ for Buyers.”

To incorporate this trend, designers recommend layering old and new pieces for a curated look that you can build over time. Instead of purchasing matching furniture set from a big-box retailer, buy one or two sustainably-sourced pieces that complement what you already own. Try searching for estate sales and Craigslist for vintage classics or well-built furniture that can be refinished. And to accessorize your room, mix sentimental items with newer finds to create a truly personalized space.

IN: Cozy / OUT: Cold

Designers are moving away from cool grays, industrial finishes, and stark modernism. In 2020, there’s a big emphasis on creating warm and cozy spaces through color, texture, and shape.

Gray has dominated the color palette for the past decade. This year, expect to see a move toward warmer neutrals, earth tones, and nature-inspired shades of blue and green. Warm metals, like gold and brass, will also continue to trend. And hardwood floors are heating up, as cool gray and whitewashed finishes fade in popularity. Expect to see a rise in classic choices like walnut, mahogany, and oak in richer and darker tones.

Furniture will also get cozier—and curvier—in 2020. From rounded sofas and curved-back chairs to oval dining tables, softened-angles are dominating the furniture scene right now. And designers expect softly-textured fabrics—like velvet, shearling, and mohair—to be big this year, as homeowners strive to add a touch of “hygge” (the Danish concept of calming comfort).

Want to warm up your home decor? Try one of the top paint colors for 2020: Benjamin Moore’s First Light (soft pink), Sherwin Williams’s Naval (rich blue), or Behr’s Back to Nature (light green).

IN: Bold / OUT: Boring

Bold is back! After years of neutral overload, vivid colors and prints will take center stage in 2020. Expect to see geometric designs, color blocking, and floral and botanical patterns on everything from pillows to rugs to wallpaper.

The hottest trend in interior paint right now is bold trim and ceilings. Monochromatic rooms (e.g., walls, ceilings, and millwork painted the same color) will be big this year, as well as high-contrast pairings, like white walls with black trim. Color is coming back to kitchens, too, and two-toned color schemes continue to gain steam. In 2019, 40% of remodelers chose a contrasting color for their kitchen island.1 While white was still the top choice for cabinets, blue and gray are increasingly popular alternatives.

If you’re ready to “go bold,” separated spaces like laundry and powder rooms are great places to start. It’s easier to incorporate busy wallpaper or a bright wall color in an enclosed area because it doesn’t have to flow with the rest of your decor.

Of course, clients always want to know how design choices could impact their home’s value. The reality is, neutral finishes are still the safest bet for resale. If you’re prepping your home to go on the market, stick with non-permanent fixtures—like artwork and accessories—to brighten your space.

IN: Nature / OUT: Industrial

Biophilic design has been big the past few seasons, and it isn’t going anywhere in 2020. It centers around the health and wellness benefits of connecting with nature, even while indoors, and it’s impacted the latest trends in color, prints, and materials.

As we mentioned previously, floral and botanical patterns are hot right now, along with nature-inspired hues, like blues, greens, and earth tones. We’re also seeing a heightened use of organic shapes and sustainable materials in furniture and furnishings, including wood, wicker, rattan, and jute. This infusion of nature coincides with a decline in the popularity of urban-industrial fixtures. Designers predict that concrete floors and Edison light bulbs are on the way out.

Want to bring in elements of biophilic design on a budget? Houseplants are a great place to start. But you can also enhance your home’s natural light and create a visual sightline to the outdoors by removing heavy curtains and blinds. And when the weather is nice, open your windows and enjoy the breeze, sounds, and smells of nature. These simple acts are scientifically proven to help reduce stress, boost cognitive performance, and enhance mood!2

IN: Functional / OUT: Fussy

In 2020, homeowners want design that’s beautiful, but also liveable. With the rise in remote workplaces, online shopping, and virtual exercise classes, many of us are spending more time at home than ever before. Cue the growing appeal of multi-functional spaces, like a combination kitchen/office or gym/playroom. Real-life—and rising housing prices—necessitates the creative use of limited space.

Durable, low-maintenance materials will also surge in popularity this year. Engineered quartz—which is more stain, heat, and chip-resistant than natural stone—is now the #1 choice for kitchen countertops.1 Waterproof, wood-look luxury vinyl is the fastest-growing segment in the flooring industry.3 And improvements to water and stain-resistant performance fabric has made it a mainstream option for both indoor and outdoor upholstery.

Now that functional is hot, what’s not? Designers say that mirrored furniture, open shelving, and all-white kitchens are too impractical for today’s busy families.

So how can you start enjoying the time and energy-saving benefits of this design trend? Begin by structuring each room so that it best suits your needs. And when purchasing furniture or fixtures, choose options that are durable and easy-to-clean. The truth is, design fads come and go. But a comfortable and relaxed home (that you don’t spend every spare minute maintaining!) can help create memories to last a lifetime.

DESIGNED TO SELL

Are you contemplating a remodel? Want to find out how upgrades could impact the value of your home? Buyer preferences vary greatly by neighborhood and price range. I can share my insights and offer tips on how to maximize the return on your investment. And if you’re in the market to sell, I can run a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find out how it compares to others in the area. Contact me to schedule a free consultation!

Sources:

Houzz –
https://www.houzz.com/magazine/2020-us-houzz-kitchen-trends-study-stsetivw-vs~129594531

Terrapin Bright Green – https://www.terrapinbrightgreen.com/reports/14-patterns/

Remodeling Magazine –
https://www.remodeling.hw.net/products/vinyl-ceramic-and-hardwood-oh-my-todays-popular-flooring-trends_o

Elle Decor –
https://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/g29859422/design-trends-2020/?slide=1

Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/sites/amandalauren/2019/12/23/twelve-interior-design-trends-well-see-in-2020/#43f81f044a5f

Wall Street Journal –

 


Posted on March 25, 2020 at 4:18 pm
Andrew Torosian | Posted in Uncategorized |

Choosing Where To Buy A California Home

When you’re ready to buy a home here in California, you probably need to hone in on the location as the first part of your search. You’ll need to look at many different factors like:

Cost

How far away from work you want to be

The school system

How big of a home you need for your family

Of course, there’s more than just the cost of a location. Living 2 hours away from where you work can be detrimental in other ways like gas spending, stress levels, and less time with your family. That’s why so many factors need to be considered when it comes to finding a location to search for a California home.

Living in California has one big issue compared to other parts of the country: traffic. The portion of the state you choose to live on depends on your job. You can also look at the area’s features like easy access to entertainment, grocery stores, parks, and recreation. If you want easy access to these things, you’ll need to live closer to the city. If you hope to be away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you’ll want to live further out of the city. 

It’s usually not too complicated to find a balance between commute time and access to the lifestyle you want, especially in California. You need to hone in on what’s important to you and work on your search from there.

Neighborhoods

When it comes down to it, each neighborhood has something different to offer. You should choose an area that suits not only your needs but your personality as well. You want to feel at home as you pull onto your street each day on your way home.

Schools

If you have kids, one of your most significant concerns in finding a place to live in the schools that are nearby. Before you start your home search, you should do a bit of research to see where the desirable schools are.

The Sense Of Community

Some communities have residents where the residents keep to themselves while other areas have more of a community sense where things like a neighborhood watch are present, and everyone keeps an eye out for one another. Tighter knit communities also tend to have more social activities than other places. 

Once you find the right place to search for a home, the real work begins. Now it’s on the find the home of your dreams!               


Posted on August 6, 2019 at 8:46 pm
Andrew Torosian | Posted in Uncategorized |

Why Is a Home’s Curb Appeal Important?

Believe it or not, curb appeal can make or break the home selling journey. If a house has a pristine front lawn, flawless siding and clutter-free walkways, it may make a positive first impression on potential buyers. And once buyers walk through this home, they may be ready to submit an offer to purchase the residence right away.

As a home seller, it generally is a good idea to do everything possible to boost your house’s curb appeal. Lucky for you, we’re here to help you enhance your residence’s curb appeal so you can increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable property selling experience.

Now, let’s take a look at three tips to help you transform your home’s exterior from drab to fab.

1. Mow the Lawn

If tall grass and weeds cover your front lawn, you may want to give your lawn a makeover. Because if you mow the lawn, trim the hedges and perform other lawn care tasks, you may be able to bolster your lawn’s appearance in just hours.

Of course, if you need expert lawn care assistance, professional landscapers are available. Landscapers can help you improve your lawn’s appearance without delay.

2. Repair Cracked or Chipped Siding

If the home siding is cracked or chipped, you may want to perform siding repairs. In some instances, you may be able to fill in minor cracks, chips or gaps in your home’s siding on your own.

On the other hand, if your home’s siding is old and beyond repair, you may want to hire a contractor to replace it. Get price quotes from several home siding professionals in your area. Then, you can determine which home siding professional can offer the best services at a price that matches your budget.

3. Remove Lawn Clutter

If you’ve decorated your front lawn with plastic flamingoes, lawn gnomes or other knick-knacks, you may want to remove them. By doing so, you can help buyers see the full potential of your house and allow them to envision what life may be like if they purchase your residence.

For those who have lots of lawn decorations, it may be beneficial to sell them at a yard sale or online. Meanwhile, if there are lawn decorations that you intend to keep, you may want to rent a storage unit for these items and other personal belongings.

As you search for ways to achieve the best-possible results during the home selling journey, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. If you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive comprehensive guidance throughout the property selling journey. Plus, a real estate agent will respond to your home selling concerns and questions, ensuring you can make informed decisions as you navigate the property selling cycle.

Allocate time and resources to upgrade your house’s curb appeal today, and you may be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a seamless home selling experience.


Posted on August 6, 2019 at 8:44 pm
Andrew Torosian | Posted in Uncategorized |

Advice for Homebuyers: Purchase a Residence for the Right Price

If you want to buy your dream house in the near future, you likely will need to put together a competitive offer to purchase. That way, you can boost the likelihood of receiving an immediate “Yes” from a property seller after you submit your homebuying proposal.

Ultimately, it helps to know what differentiates a competitive homebuying proposal from a lowball one. If a homebuyer understands what to offer for a residence, he or she should have no trouble purchasing the right residence at the right price.

To better understand how to acquire your dream house at the lowest possible price, let’s take a look at three tips to help you determine what to offer for a residence.

1. Study the Housing Market Closely

The housing market experiences ebbs and flows. Therefore, a real estate sector that favors homebuyers one day may favor home sellers the next. And if you fail to learn about the current state of the real estate market, you may struggle to put together a competitive offer to purchase your ideal residence.

Analyze the prices of available houses in your area, the prices of recently sold houses in your preferred cities and towns and other housing market data. With this information in hand, you can find out whether you’re operating in a buyer’s or seller’s market. Then, you can craft an offer to purchase your dream residence that accounts for the present state of the real estate market.

2. Weigh the Pros and Cons of Your Dream Home

No house is perfect, and even your dream home may have its fair share of flaws. Fortunately, a homebuyer who assesses the pros and cons of a house may be better equipped than ever before to submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence.

If you view a house multiple times, you can learn about all aspects of this home and assess any property damage. After you obtain these home insights, you can create a competitive offer to purchase that accounts for the house’s current condition.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to purchasing a house at a price that matches your expectations, it generally is beneficial to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional will do everything possible to help you buy your dream home at a price that fits your budget.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the real estate sector and can help you map out a successful homebuying strategy. He or she first will offer insights into available homes in your preferred cities and towns. Next, when you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive homebuying proposal. And if your offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will make it easy to navigate the final steps of the homebuying journey.

Ready to streamline your quest for your ideal house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can improve your chances of acquiring your dream home at a price that you can afford.


Posted on August 6, 2019 at 8:42 pm
Andrew Torosian | Posted in Uncategorized |

Do You Need a Home Selling Budget?

A home selling budget may prove to be exceedingly valuable. With this budget in hand, an individual will know approximately how much money he or she will need to complete the home selling journey.

Now, let’s take a look at three expenses to include in a home selling budget.

1. Home Cleaning

If you want to impress buyers, you likely will need to maintain a neat, tidy home interior. As such, you may want to account for cleaning supplies in your house selling budget.

Of course, you may choose to hire a home cleaning company. And in this scenario, you should consider how frequently you want this company to clean your house.

Regardless of whether you choose to purchase cleaning supplies so you can clean your house on your own or hire a home cleaning company, you should shop around. That way, you can evaluate the costs associated with different cleaning supplies and home cleaning companies and make the best possible decision based on your finances.

2. Home Repairs

Repairing a home may be costly, particularly for those who failed to maintain their residences over time. Yet if you consider the home repairs you need to complete, you can incorporate the costs associated with these repairs into your house selling budget.

It may be beneficial to conduct a house inspection prior to listing your home. Once you receive a house inspection report, you can learn about any underlying home problems. You then can assess the costs to perform assorted home repairs.

For those who want to save money on home repairs, you may be able to complete simple property upgrades on your own. If you are unsure about how to perform various home improvements, however, you should hire a professional. Otherwise, if you try to complete these home improvements on your own, you risk making expensive, time-consuming and dangerous mistakes.

3. Packing and Moving

After you sell your house, you may have only a short amount of time to pack up your belongings and relocate to a new address. Meanwhile, if you account for your potential packing and moving costs, you can ensure that you will have the funds available to cover these expenses when you are ready to relocate.

In some instances, home sellers pick up packing supplies early in the property selling journey. This ensures a seller won’t have to worry about rushing to purchase packing supplies as moving day approaches.

You may want to reach out to local moving companies for quotes, too. And when you finally sell your home, you can finalize plans with an affordable, convenient moving company that you have already vetted.

Lastly, selling a house can be challenging, but a real estate agent can help. If you hire a real estate agent, you can receive plenty of assistance as you craft a home selling budget. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you enjoy a fast, profitable house selling experience.


Posted on August 6, 2019 at 8:40 pm
Andrew Torosian | Posted in Uncategorized |

Factors Than Can Make or Break Your Home Sale

The good news about selling your home is that everything does not have to be absolutely perfect to attract buyers!

Although some prospective buyers may be sticklers for things like cleanliness, the condition of appliances, and the amount of available storage space, perfection is rarely a requirement.

Since most house hunters are primarily focused on finding a house that offers them value, practicality, and affordability, a few minor flaws here and there are usually not going to be deal-breakers.

One of your primary objectives as a house seller is to present your home in its best possible light — both literally and figuratively. All things being equal, the home that looks the most inviting, well cared for, and tastefully decorated will have a decided edge in the real estate market. Fortunately, there are a lot of inexpensive, relatively easy things you can do to make your home more appealing to prospective buyers.

Keeping your kitchen and bathrooms immaculately clean almost always gives you an advantage when your house is on the market. The only way cleanliness can potentially work against you is when your home reeks of harsh cleaning chemicals and artificial room deodorizers. One solution is to use cleansers with a mild citrus fragrance that will create a clean, fresh-smelling environment that won’t be offensive to people’s sense of smell.

Since kitchens are a focal point for many house hunters, it pays to devote some extra attention to preparing that part of your home for showings. In addition to making sure all countertops, appliances, and floors are spotless, crystal clear windows and natural light can go a long way toward enhancing the look and feel of your kitchen.

Other key elements of an appealing kitchen could include a simple, but colorful flower arrangement and the placement of a multi-colored bowl of fresh fruit on a table, island, or countertop. While fragrances such as freshly baked bread, muffins, or coffee can also add to the ambiance of your home, it may sometimes come across to buyers as a little too contrived. There’s a thin line between effective home staging and trying too hard to make a favorable impression. Ideally, your efforts at home staging should be subtle, rather than obvious. (When in doubt, ask your real estate agent!)

Creating a checklist of tasks and preparations that need to be done before house showings is an essential aspect of selling your house. Although there are dozens of details your real estate agent will handle, only you can make sure your home is clean, well organized, and ready to be shown.

Enlisting the help of all family members to keep your home tidy and uncluttered will assist you in countless ways, including stress reduction, increased efficiency, and enabling you to sell your home within the shortest possible period of time. When everyone understands that it’s a team effort, the process is sure to move ahead smoothly and successfully!


Posted on August 6, 2019 at 8:34 pm
Andrew Torosian | Posted in Uncategorized |

Know the Values of Homeownership

You’ve never owned your own home and your thinking about buying. Transitioning mentally from renter to owner can be confusing at times. As a renter, you haven’t had to deal with the ins and outs of owning your own home, and as you examine the reality of ownership, it can seem like it involves more cons than pros. You have to take care of all maintenance, repairs, insurance, upgrades and more. With all the added work to maintain only to one day resell your home, it might not seem worth it. So why is buying a good idea? Here’s why!

Consistent monthly payments

As a renter, you constantly are subject to rent increases. Depending on your city or neighborhood, this might be a small percentage annually (if your rental unit is under rent control), or an annual increase determined in your rental agreement. In many cases, your rent is subject to your landlord’s discretion at the end of each term of your lease, and if the property value and quality of living go up in your neighborhood (as you hope it does), it could price you out of your favorite living space. When you choose to purchase a home, you make a longer commitment, but your monthly payments are guaranteed to be the same throughout the repayment of your fixed-rate mortgage. Living with no surprise changes allows you to set budgetary and lifestyle goals further into the future, and the certainty to achieve them.

Equity and future cash flow

Yes, you will likely need to take out a loan to purchase your own home. The upside to ownership is that every mortgage payment you make increases the percentage of equity you have in your home. When you rent, you are only paying toward the term of your lease and the owner of the rental property gains all the equity. Investing in your own property helps your financial stability for the future. The more equity you have, the better your net worth and the more you can invest in other properties or goods. The more stake you have in your home, the more valuable it becomes to you when you want to sell your property in the future—to create cash flow, or to invest in a new home, other property, or your retirement lifestyle.

Apart from the personal value of owning your own home—taking care of it, raising a family there, or starting a new life in your place—the investment can add even more value to your life. If you’re considering your first home purchase and aren’t sure about the commitment or investment value, speak with your local real estate agent for the best advice for you. Review your current means, your interests and abilities, and your life goals and let them help you make the right decision.


Posted on August 6, 2019 at 8:28 pm
Andrew Torosian | Posted in Uncategorized |

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

If you have walked into your kitchen at midnight, put on the lights and watched an army of cockroaches scatter into the dark crevices of your cabinets, then you know you have a bad situation on your hand. Cockroaches are not just terrible insects, but they can contaminate food and spread germs around the home. Follow these simple processes to get rid of cockroaches in your home once and for all.

  • Eliminate food and water sources. Cockroaches need stores of food and water to survive, so the first step in getting rid of them involves cutting them off from food and water. Always clean up spilled or leftover food or use sealed containers to store them. Your kitchen appliances, cabinets and even behind the refrigerator should be cleaned thoroughly every night to remove grease and spilled food. Their water sources include leaky pipes and wet drains, so they should be fixed and dried respectively. Place wet items like sponges and toothbrushes in an airtight bag to dry.
  • Eliminate hiding places. Roaches love hiding in dark and damp places during the day, so you should focus on ridding your home of spaces like these. Clean up any clutter you have around such as cardboard boxes. You should also seal up cracks and holes in your walls with caulk to prevent entry. Make sure your under-cabinets are not damp and inviting for them.
  • Use bait. Applying cockroach bait is also a simple and effective way of getting rid of cockroaches. While pesticides are not always advisable because of their likelihood of contaminating surfaces like countertops and appliances, baits are more straightforward and safer to use. Place bait in the areas of the highest cockroach traffic such as behind cabinets and countertops, around the sink and bathroom fixtures and pipes that come into the home.
  • Use Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs). Insect Growth Regulators are synthetic chemicals that work to disrupt the natural life cycle of insects, functioning as a form of birth control for them, the idea being that if an insect cannot reach adulthood, then it becomes impossible for it to reproduce.

When finished with all these, there is the need for patience in waiting for results to become complete. Always bear in mind that getting rid of cockroaches is a constant process that has to be carried out regularly. Not sure of what kind of bait or IGR to buy, ask for recommendations at your local supermarket.


Posted on August 6, 2019 at 8:23 pm
Andrew Torosian | Posted in Uncategorized |

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