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How to Get Out of Debt and Buy a House

by Desi Sowers

As a real estate agent, I love helping people purchase their first home.  However, there are two major challenges that I see time and time again with first time home buyers:

  1. They often carry too much debt.
  2. They don’t have enough cash for a down payment.

These two issues are strongly related in that people need to reduce debts that inhibit them from saving money.

We all know that we shouldn’t spend more than we earn, but falling into the debt trap is easy to do.  You see a pair of boots that you must have and you think, I will use my credit card now and pay for them with my next paycheck.  It sounds reasonable at the time, but next thing you know you’ve done something like that often enough that there is a beastly credit card balance hanging over your head.

So, now you’re in debt.  You have regrets, but no use doing the “should have, would have, could have” dance.  Now it’s time to move forward and take the steps needed to reduce your debt.  Here is a list of things to do to change the way you manage your money.  Follow these steps and before you know it you will be on your way to saving for a down payment on your first home!

 

  1. Stop adding to your debt. The first step to getting out of debt is to stop adding to your outstanding balances. To remove temptation, carry only one credit card with you…and make sure it is the one with the lowest limit so that it is impossible to get into serious trouble with it.  Leave any other credit cards in a safe place at home to keep yourself from going on an impulsive shopping spree. 
  2. Take an inventory of your spending habits. This may not be a fun activity, but it is helpful to see how you are spending.  Create a list of where your money goes each month including rent, utilities, car payments, food, credit cards etc. Once you have done this, split the list into two categories: bills you always have to pay every month and debts you need to pay off.  The second list then can be organized in order of urgency, either based on outstanding balance or highest interest rate.  Now you will have a clear picture of your debt situation. Inventory of Finances 
  3. Eliminate the largest debts first. Make a minimum payment for each of your credit card bills, but then make an extra payment on the bill that is at the top of your list. Do this monthly until that bill is paid in full.  Now take the money you were using for that bill and start applying it to the second item on your list.  Continue this until all of them are paid off. 
  4. Cutting expenses and making the payment.  If you are already in debt, how are you going to find money for an extra payment?  Well, some sacrifices will have to be made.  Cutting back on extras like trips to Starbucks, entertainment and eating out can free up cash that can go toward that extra payment each month.  40 Ways To Save on Monthly Expenses
  5. Prepare for the Unexpected. Sometimes life is a struggle and unexpected challenges such as car repairs or medical expenses will pop up from time to time.  As you cut expenses and start to save money, set up an emergency savings account just for these occasions.  That way you will be prepared and won’t have to use a credit card and add to your debt.
  6. Lower your interest rates. Give your credit card company a call to see if they will lower your interest rate. If they say no, shop around for a card with a lower rate and transfer your debt (be careful of transfer fees to make sure the transfer benefits you). You can also seek out a consolidation loan from your bank. They will pay off your debt and you can pay them back at a lower interest rate. How To Lower Credit Card Interest Rates
  7. Stick to it!  As you see your debt decrease and see your cash increase, don’t fall back into old spending habits. As you have more money available, put it right into your savings and soon you will have the money you need for a down payment on your first home!

 

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Knowing-When-Youre-Ready

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Buying-Remains-36-Cheaper-than-Renting

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Improve-Your-Credit-Score-Before-Applying-for-a-Mortgage-Loan

The Radford University International Education Center and the Radford University Chinese Club present the 2017 Radford University Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, January 28, 2017, 2:00-4:00PM, at Performance Hall inside the Covington Center.

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster with performances and free food.

Performance Line-Up:

• Blacksburg Chinese New School

• Evergreen Fellowship Choir

• Dragon-Tiger-Eagle Wushu Kungfu

• 1550 Dance Group

Admission is free and all are welcome.

Blacksburg VA Home Sales December 2016

by Desi Sowers

Desi Sowers has distinguished herself as a leader in the New River Valley real estate market. Desi assists buyers looking for New River Valley real estate for sale and aggressively markets New River Valley homes for sale.

Desi brings with her a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a New River Valley home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why her clients benefit from her unique brand of real estate service. Rooted in Tradition, Focused on the Future – Desi Sowers will help make the most of your New River Valley real estate experience. Give her a call today, 540-320-1328, and discover the difference she can make during your family's move.

Real Estate Myths – Don’t Let Them Fool You

by Desi Sowers

Whether you are buying or selling a home for the first time or you are a seasoned veteran of buying/selling real estate, chances are you think you have the knowledge needed to navigate the process based on what you have read or heard from friends and family. Unfortunately there are a plethora of myths circulating about buying and selling houses that have become prevalent, but just aren’t true.  The pitfall of believing everything you hear or read is that real estate myths can hurt you where it counts…in the wallet.  Here are eight common ones that can cause home buyers/sellers to make unnecessary mistakes:

 

  • Set your home price higher than what you expect to get.
    Setting your asking price too high, may actually net you a lower price.  That’s because many shoppers and their real estate agents will not look at houses that are priced above market value. While it’s true that you can lower your price if you have not gotten offers in the first few weeks, “Buyers are highly suspicious of houses that have sat on the market for more than three weeks,” says Nela Richardson, chief economist for the brokerage Redfin.

 

  • You can get a better deal as a buyer if you don’t use a real estate agent.

This is a false assumption. When a house is listed with an agent, the total sales commission is already built into the price.  If the buyer doesn’t use and agent, that just means the selling agent will get the entire commission.

 

  • You can save money selling your home yourself.

While it is possible to successfully sell your home on your own, there is a great deal of work that goes into it. You must know how to get the home listed online, market it to prospective buyers, negotiate the contract and deal with any issues that arise during the inspection or loan application phases.  In addition, buyers will expect a significant discount, so what you might save on real estate commission may not be as much as you thought it would be.

 

  • The market will only go up.

Over the years, homebuyers and sellers have experienced a time of increasing home values, then a sharp decline due to the economy and then an upturn where values increase again.  But many people believe the market only goes up.  You need to be aware that prices can fall dramatically.

 

  • You should renovate your kitchen and bathroom before you sell.

If your kitchen and bathroom are in working order, an extensive remodel could be a mistake. Potential buyers might not like what you’ve done with the place, but they don’t want to change something that has just been renovated.  You are better off adjusting your price accordingly.

 

  • You’ll earn back what you spend on renovations.

Repairing things like your heating system, air conditioner or roof may help your home to sell faster, but you probably will not recoup what you spend. Per Remodeling Magazine’s 2017 cost-vs-value report, the only renovation that is likely to net you as much as you spent is adding fiberglass attic insulation. You will likely only get back 65.3% on a full kitchen renovation. And redoing your bathroom might get you 59.1%.

 

  • All the properties listed in the multiple listing service show up online.

Your agent must choose to let the listings show up online. Most do, but it’s a good idea to verify that yours will.

 

  • Open houses sell properties.

Homes rarely sell to buyers who have visited them during open houses.  Agents like to have open houses because it helps them to find additional potential customers.  If you and your agent opt not to have an open house, it probably won’t chances of selling.  On the other hand, having a broker’s open house for other agents might be worthwhile.

 

Additional Reading

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Knowing-When-Youre-Ready

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/The-Best-Chance-For-Selling-Your-New-River-Valley-VA-Home

 

If you are interested in buying or selling a New River Valley home, contact Desi Sowers at 540-320-1328, and discover the difference she can make during your family's move. 

Come out to walk the halls of the St. Albans Sanatorium in Radford, learn about the building, its lands and the stories of some of the souls who’ve been there.  They recommend that you dress in layers as areas of the building are very cold and wear comfortable shoes because there is a lot of walking on and a lot of stairs in the building. Please bring a flashlights to help illuminate the dark areas of the building even during the day.

The tours will be offered this Sunday, January 22, 2014 with registration at 12:30, tours will run 1pm-4pm.  

Radford VA Home Sales December 2016

by Desi Sowers

Desi Sowers has distinguished herself as a leader in the New River Valley real estate market. Desi assists buyers looking for New River Valley real estate for sale and aggressively markets New River Valley homes for sale.

Desi brings with her a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a New River Valley home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why her clients benefit from her unique brand of real estate service. Rooted in Tradition, Focused on the Future – Desi Sowers will help make the most of your New River Valley real estate experience. Give her a call today, 540-320-1328, and discover the difference she can make during your family's move.

How to Beat the Winter Blues

by Desi Sowers

It’s the time of year when everything just seems “blah”.  The holidays are over and winter looms before us…long and cold.  Many of us leave for work during the dark morning and don’t arrive home until the dark of night.  It can be depressing.  Really.  Scientifically.  Depressing.  Per Psychology Today, Seasonal Affective Disorder (also called SAD) is a type of depression that follows the seasons.  The most common type of SAD is winter depression.  Scientists believe that SAD may be related to changes in the amount of daylight we experience.  It is estimated that this disorder affects 10 million Americans, with another 10 to 20 percent suffering from a milder form of SAD.  It’s more common in women than men and symptoms usually begin around age 20.  Some people suffer symptoms so severely that they affect quality of life and 6% of people with SAD require hospitalization.  But don’t panic!  While SAD is a legitimate illness that should be taken seriously and treated, many of us experience a mild form of “winter blues” that we can beat on our own.  Here is a list of scientifically backed ways to “beat the winter blues”:

  • Make your environment brighter. Thirty minutes of light exposure can be as helpful as an antidepressant. Open your blinds, sit near a window and on sunny days, get outside! And if these options aren’t available, try LIGHT THERAPY
  • Make healthy eating choices. Certain foods like chocolate, asparagus, spinach, blueberries and oranges are known to enhance your mood and relieve anxiety. Eat to relieve stress!
  • Simulate dawn. If you’re suffering with SAD, you may be finding it difficult to get up in the morning, especially if it’s still dark outside.  This study  that a Dawn Simulator, a device that makes the lights in your bedroom gradually get brighter over a set period of time, can serve as an antidepressant and make it easier to get out of bed in the morning.
  • Exercise. A Harvard University study showed that walking fast for 35 minutes a day, five days a week or 60 minutes a day, three days a week can significantly reduce symptoms of depression. And for SAD, exercising in brightly lit environments is even better!
  • Listen to music.  Research has shown that listening to upbeat, cheerful music can improve your mood and reduce anxiety.
  • Plan a vacation.  Research shows that although it might be months before you actually go, simply planning a vacation causes a significant increase in overall happiness.
  • Lend a helping hand. Volunteering to help others is great way to improve your mental health and increase satisfaction in life.
  • Spend time outside.  Even when it’s cold, the benefits of spending time outdoors are numerous. Time spent outdoors can improve focus, improve symptoms of SAD and reduce anxiety. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, don’t let the winter blues get you down.  Take steps to lift your spirits and spring will be here before you know it!

 

Desi brings with her a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a New River Valley home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why her clients benefit from her unique brand of real estate service. Give her a call today, 540-320-1328, and discover the difference she can make during your family's move. DesiSowers.com

Adventures in the New River Valley: Free Family Movie Fest!

by Desi Sowers

Head on down to the Lyric tomorrow, Saturday January, 14th at 10 am, to enjoy "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory".  This free family movie is the perfect way to get your weekend started in downtown Blacksburg!  Stay after the movie for story time with Joelle, then grab lunch downtown. 

Christiansburg VA Home Sales December 2016

by Desi Sowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desi Sowers has distinguished herself as a leader in the New River Valley real estate market. Desi assists buyers looking for New River Valley real estate for sale and aggressively markets New River Valley homes for sale.

Desi brings with her a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a New River Valley home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why her clients benefit from her unique brand of real estate service. Rooted in Tradition, Focused on the Future – Desi Sowers will help make the most of your New River Valley real estate experience. Give her a call today, 540-320-1328, and discover the difference she can make during your family's move.

Mortgage Information

by Desi Sowers

Are you thinking of buying your first home?  Elizabeth Banks walks us through some important questions you need to think about when considering purchasing your first home.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 13

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