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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 December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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