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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 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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