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7 Hacks for Buying Your First Home

7 Hacks for Buying Your First Home

Adding “homeowner” to your title is a proud moment in life. It’s exciting to think of all the perks of home ownership, from being able to grow your own garden to getting an indoor swimming pool. But before you can live happily ever after in your dream home, the hardships of finding a house and the layers of red tape surrounding it must first be addressed. Here are seven hacks to buying your first home without overpaying for it.

1. Save for Down Payment

Although mortgages are accessible to prospecting homeowners, it doesn’t fully cover every cent of the property. You will still need to save enough cash for down payment. Without enough cash on hand to be allocated as down payment, you cannot, and should not, attempt to start looking for properties through brokers. This will only take up time and effort from both you and your broker, resources you could’ve spent building the funds needed upfront. The standard down payment for a house is 20 percent of the property’s price. Note that there are financing options that allow for as little as 3 percent down or, in some cases, even no money down. As tempting as it is, avoid such deals since it often involves higher interest rates and additional insurance premiums.

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2. Decide on a Location

Location is king when it comes to real estate. It’s the single most important factor that drives supply and demand in this market. Bad locations lead to depreciated property valuations and vice versa. You can decide on a location while you’re saving up for down payment. In fact, the two factors affect each other in that the location you choose will also broadly determine the median housing prices and, consequently, the down payment amount you must save up for.

3. Peruse the Web

Your choices for housing will vary immensely, with dozens of properties falling under your set of criteria, irrespective of the factors you’ve deemed important. Traditionally, you’d be limited to the newspaper ads and in-person visits to property listings. Technology, however, has enabled society to rewrite this particular transaction in a more convenient and efficient manner. One of the best ways technology has improved the home buying and selling process is through sites like Fizber. These sites essentially eliminate realtors, savings an average of more than $10,000 in the process.

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4. Inspect the Property

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a handful, start inspecting the properties. Address important questions, such as whether or not the property is in good shape, what maintenance or repairs do you have to pay for after acquiring the home, is it child- or pet-friendly or do you have to renovate certain rooms for it to become one?

5. Negotiate With Sellers

This can either be the most awaited phase of the home-buying process or the most terrifying phase. It depends on whether or not you’re a natural-born haggler or if you dread the intensifying experience of a negotiation. You don’t have to always just accept the asking price set forth by the seller. However, be careful about setting too low of an offer since sellers can tell you to scram right off the bat.

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6. Put Down a Binder

When or if your offer is accepted, you will be asked to make a binder until the closing deal is signed. A binder is the deposit of one percent of the agreed upon price for the house.

7. Contact Your Legal Representative

Your lawyer will manage the details of the contract sent by the lawyer representing the selling party. Vet the documents carefully to ensure that all clauses were indeed agreed upon beforehand. This is where the lawyer will come in handy since they are already experienced in analyzing legal jargon that comes with a property purchase.

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Buying your first home is meant to be a positive experience, one that excites you every step of the way. With these seven hacks, you’ll be able to find, and get approved for, the perfect house both from the bank and the selling party.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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