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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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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