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5 Tips Every First-time Homebuyer Needs to Know

5 Tips Every First-time Homebuyer Needs to Know

There are few things as nerve wracking as buying your first home. Deep down, you know that you will be living there for quite a few years, and that knowledge makes anyone nervous. Here is the ultimate guide of things to consider as you purchase the first home.

1. A Safe Neighborhood

A lot of people think this won’t be a big deal. It will be. There are neighborhoods all over America where homes are robbed every day and people don’t feel safe in their own home. Oftentimes just a few blocks from these neighborhoods are nice, safe, friendly communities that cost just a little more to live in. When you look at homes be sure to walk around the block and get a feel for the neighborhood. Are there kids playing in the streets? Is there a feeling of ease or distress in the air? You will be able to sense pretty quickly if people feel safe in the neighborhood.

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2. The Wear and Tear

When looking at each home take a close look at the water heater, furnace, A/C, and shingles. These things tend to wear out on every home at some point, and there is nothing worse than purchasing a home and being forced to replace an expensive appliances in the same year. If you do not have a lot saved up, it may be a good idea to get a home warranty for your first year to cover major repairs, at least until you can rebuild your savings.

3. Utilities

Many people that go from renting to owning do not realize what a significant increase in utilities can come from the change. Some couples are astounded to find out that utilities that were once $200 are suddenly $700 or $800 a month, well above the range they can afford. Cities charge differently for utilities. Some newer cities have recently built their entire infrastructure and are paying off the debt, making utility prices much higher in these places. Other cities charge a lot more for utilities because of expensive taxes, etc. Be sure to get a good idea of what the average utility costs are for your size of home, before locking yourself into a potentially awful situation. There are dozens of online calculators that can help you get an idea of what your utilities will cost.

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4. Lawn Maintenance

You may go and look at a home and admire how beautiful the yard and lawn look. Do not forget that good yards come with a price, and that is both hard work and money. You will need to buy a lawnmower and a weed eater at a minimum. If there are flower beds, you will probably have to invest a lot of time weeding. If your neighbors have weeds, you will also come to realize that it is going to be a long battle fighting those weeds off from your own yard.

Another big thing to look for here is for a sprinkling system. Keeping a lawn green in most areas requires watering at least every other day. If the home does not have a sprinkling system, you may quickly discover that you do not have the time to deal with sprinklers in the middle of all the chaos of settling in the new house, and your lawn will quickly dry up.

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5. Don’t Rush

Many new buyers feel the need to rush into buying their first home. This is not necessary. Spend time getting to know the different markets that you are interested in. As you look you will begin to develop a much better idea of what you really are interested in. If nothing comes up in a few months, you can know that you are probably looking for features that are out of your price range, but until then, take your time and find a home you can really be proud of.

Featured photo credit: Cathy Yeulet via 123rf.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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