Jonathan Williams' Blog
Sharing living expenses with your partner or roommates can be a difficult and confusing issue for many.
Life would be made much easier if there was just one bill to pay on your home that includes everything.
Recently there have been attempts to bring such a suction into fruition. Many homeowners and renters have turned to apps that help them split expenses, or have signed up for mortgage agreements that cover stray expenses like property tax and private mortgage insurance.
In this article, we're going to give you a few tips on splitting the bills in your home to make things easier for you, your spouse, and your roommates.
Who pays what?
Many young couples are often left wondering who should pay which bill, especially when you share so many services.
However, there's a big difference between sharing a Netflix account and sharing a car. One solution is to use the bills that report to credit agencies for whoever needs help building their credit score.
Putting credit cards under the person with the lowest score’s name can help them build credit even if they're simply listed as an “authorized user” which means you can take advantage of good interest rates and build credit at the same time.
Paying the mortgage
It can quickly become tiresome having to write two different checks each month for your mortgage or rent. To solve this problem, you can either alternate payments (you pay a full month’s rent or mortgage one month and your spouse pays the following month), or you can choose to pay bi-weekly, which will help you pay off your mortgage sooner.
The best apps to use
If you live with your spouse, you likely aren’t overly concerned with splitting all of your expenses 50/50. Chances are whoever has the higher income will foot the bill for the larger expenses.
However, if you have roommates there’s a bigger chance you’ll want things to be split evenly between you and the other members of the household. That’s where apps come in handy.
First, sit down with your roommates and go over all expenses. Write down each bill that you share: rent, heat, electricity, cable, internet, gas, insurance, and so on.
Then, decide who is responsible for making the payment on those bills. Even if you decide to split them all evenly, one person will have to be responsible for sending out the check each month.
Once you’ve determined which bills you have and who is going to pay them, it’s time to find out how you’re all going to contribute.
One way is to open up a shared account. Doing so can be messy, however, if you’re using that account for multiple bills. Some banks and services also charge a portion of the transfer, so you’ll each be losing money each month, and the amount depends on how many bills you have.
Some apps and services you can use to split bills and transfer money include Splitwise, Mint, PayPal, and Chase’s QuickPay. The benefit of apps that don’t transfer money is that they are often free and don’t collect transfer fees. So, if you’re comfortable with handling money by hand, you could save in the long run.
Buying a house is never a simple decision. Aside from all of the financial aspects of purchasing a home, there are numerous life-related considerations you’ll need to think about. So, it comes as little surprise that diving head on into the house hunting process can be stressful and taxing to the home buyer.
With all of the different numbers to keep track of--a down payment, closing costs, credit scores, interest rates, and so on--it’s easy to get lost in the finer details of your budget. This can lead to even more stress as you try to navigate your way through getting approved for a mortgage and shopping for the perfect home.
In this article, we’re going to give you some tips on how to maintain your budget and reduce stress throughout the home buying process. That way, when you do finally find the house you’ve been waiting for, you’ll be able to move forward confidently.
Trust the process
Many first-time home buyers enter the real estate market with little knowledge or experience of how things work. Any newcomer to such a huge and complex industry is bound to be flustered with all of the different options available to them.
However, much of the home buying process is relatively standardized. Real estate agents all make roughly the same commission, lenders use similar algorithms to decide how much of a loan you’ll be approved for, and real estate contracts contain legal safeguards and contingencies to ensure that you and the seller’s interests are protected.
When shopping for a mortgage or getting pre-approved, it’s a good idea to ask friends, family, or read reviews online to find someone you know you can trust. From there, rely on the experts to lead you through the process.
Have a long-term plan
Much of the stress and anxiety around buying a home comes from the uncertainty of the future. Sitting down with your family and significant other and deciding your long-term goals for homeownership is a good way to build confidence and know that you’re making the right choice.
Determining things like location, the number of years you want to live in a home, and what priorities are the most important (school districts, neighborhood safety, etc.) will help you make that plan a reality.
Use the tools at your disposal
If you’re reading this article, you already have started to take advantage of one of the most important resources you have, the internet. Look up real estate terminology you’re unfamiliar with, read up on the different types of mortgages, and take advantage of free online calculators to create what-if scenarios to find out what you might end up paying in closing costs and interests.
It’s also a good idea to check your credit score for free online. You can check your official reports once per year, but for simple credit checks you can look it up each month for free.
Knowing that you’re in good hands with a lender and agent, that you have a basic understanding of industry terms, that you have a long-term plan, and that your finances are in order will all help set your mind at ease and give you confidence as you move forward toward homeownership.
If you plan to pursue a house, you likely want to enjoy a seamless homebuying experience. Although you may take extra steps to err on the side of caution as you explore myriad homes, there may be times when it helps to be an aggressive homebuyer.
Ultimately, there are many reasons why you may want to be aggressive and try to accelerate the homebuying journey, such as:
1. You're facing a tight deadline.
If you have only a certain amount of time to buy a house, it may be a good idea to be aggressive. That way, you can accelerate the homebuying journey and acquire your ideal residence before time runs out.
For those who are facing a tight deadline, you may want to stay on top of new houses as soon as they become available. Fortunately, if you work with an expert real estate agent, you can do just that.
An expert real estate agent can keep you up to date about houses that fall within your price range and are located in your preferred cities and towns. As a result, this housing market professional can help you secure your dream house faster than ever before.
2. You discover your dream home and don't want to risk losing it to a rival homebuyer.
If you find a house that fulfills all of your homebuying criteria, there is no need to wait to submit an offer. In fact, if you hesitate, you risk losing your ideal residence to a rival homebuyer.
Of course, when submitting an offer on a house, it pays to be realistic. If you analyze the housing market closely, you can understand a house's current value and submit a competitive proposal right away. As such, you can boost the likelihood of receiving an instant "Yes" from a seller, as well as improve your chances of enjoying a successful homebuying experience.
3. You possess the homebuying confidence and expertise that you need to succeed.
An informed homebuyer should have no trouble assessing the housing market and finding a residence that matches or exceeds his or her expectations. Thus, this homebuyer may be more likely than others to quickly discover a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.
To build your homebuying confidence and expertise, it may be beneficial to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can teach you everything that you need to know about purchasing a house. By doing so, a real estate agent will ensure that you can achieve the best-possible results throughout the homebuying journey.
Let's not forget about the housing market insights that a real estate agent can provide, either. A real estate agent can help you differentiate between a buyer's and seller's market, submit a competitive offer on a home and much more. Therefore, with this housing market professional at your side, you can go from homebuyer to homeowner in no time at all.
Ready to start your search for your dream house? Become an informed homebuyer, and you can speed up the homebuying journey.
Ready to embark on a new adventure? List your house, and you may reap the benefits of your decision for years to come.
Ultimately, there are many reasons why you should consider kicking off the home selling journey today, and these include:
1. You could profit from a home sale.
Diligent home sellers generally have no problem showcasing their properties to dozens of prospective buyers and generating significant profits. If you know how to effectively promote your residence to property buyers, you could enjoy substantial profits from your home sale.
Oftentimes, it helps to bolster a house's curb appeal prior to adding a residence to the real estate market. A home only gets one chance to make a positive first impression on buyers. And if your residence boasts a dazzling front lawn, pristine siding and other stunning exterior features, it may be better equipped than other properties to stir up interest from buyers.
You may want to get your house appraised too. This ensures you can get a property valuation from a home appraiser and establish a competitive initial asking price for your residence.
2. You can upgrade or downsize.
Although your present home may have suited you perfectly when you initially bought it, now may be a good time for a change. Fortunately, you can upgrade or downsize as needed if you sell your home.
Think about your current living situation and future plans. Then, you can simultaneously list your residence and search for a new house that matches your criteria. And once you finalize your home sale, you can seamlessly relocate to a new address.
3. You can live closer to family members and friends.
If you enjoy spending time with family members and friends, you may want to find a house that is close to these loved ones. Meanwhile, if you currently are forced to deal with a long commute to visit loved ones, listing your house may help you take the first step to live near family members and friends.
When it comes to finding a house near loved ones, it may be beneficial to hire a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent can help you list your current residence and search for a new home close to family members and friends. That way, you can get the support you need to accomplish your desired goals.
During the home selling process, a real estate agent will showcase your residence to potential buyers and negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf. He or she also will respond to any concerns or questions that you may have throughout the house selling journey.
Furthermore, if you need to find a new home once you sell your current residence, a real estate agent is happy to assist you. This housing market professional can keep you up to date about available properties in your preferred cities and towns and help you find your dream residence.
Hire a real estate agent today, and you can receive expert guidance any time you want to sell or buy a house.
Buying a retirement home is a big decision. And doing so before you retire is a smart decision. However, you’re also in a completely different place than you will be when you’re retired or as you age. You don’t know what the future holds. It’s easy to take our mobility for granted until we lost it. There are a few things you should look for in a home to plan for the future and whatever it may hold.
Many empty-nesters look to downsize when buying their next home. And this very well might be the perfect option for you. But first, consider how often and how many guests you may want to have over at a time. Will you host holiday dinners or want to have room for grandchildren to stay for the night? If you have a large family or one that is growing many couples find they want the room to host dinners or have a pull-out couch.
You’ll also want to plan ahead for the future when choosing the size and layout of your new home. Even if you downsize it’s wise to put wide hallways and a single floor plan on your wishlist as you house hunt. If either of you has mobility limitations in the future you’ll be glad to have such an accessible home.
The lower your monthly payments on your new mortgage, the better. But more ideally you’ll want to consider homes in a price range that allow you to pay in full. Again, keeping retirement in mind keeping bills to a minimum so that either one of you can cover all costs on one sole income could save you from hardship down the line. Retirement is very different from what it used to be, often many people find themselves needing to take on part-time work to get by. Keeping expenses well below your monthly income can help to ensure you can spend your retirement years enjoying life in the way you want to.
In general, when planning retirement it’s best to live below your means. Not only do you want to account for inflation costs but also for any unexpected large expenses that could crop up such as home repairs, emergency care, or car maintenance. Having an idea of what your future budget will be as well as your current one will help you make the best decisions for the years ahead now.
Buying a retirement home can save you money in the long run on bills like heating and electric. However, house hunting for the perfect home entails a lot more decisions that many couples realize. Remember to plan for your life both now and later when putting together your must have features for your new home.