How to Get What You Pay For When Buying a Home

nice house

Trends and research suggest that in 2014 house prices will continue to experience a steady rise.  It is necessary to know exactly what you are spending your money on and ensure that you are getting what you pay for.  Look past the superficial details of a home and dig below the surface, where the serious and often expensive problems lie.

Here are some of the major considerations every home owner should have on their radar:

Look Beyond What Meets the Eye

Home sellers dedicate time and money to staging their homes, prior to placing them on the market.  This process often involves implementing cosmetic updates aimed at making the home look more valuable.  While these are important details and can have a positive effect on the value of the home, you have to take note of the important factors that could end up costing you money if they are overlooked.  Essential things to examine and assess are plumbing systems, the foundation of the home, and the insulation.  If any of these areas are in major need of repair, the costs may be higher than you think.  If you’re unsure of how to inspect these areas properly you can start here, but it is highly recommended that you hire a professional. The expense of this kind of support is absolutely worth it, since it could save literally tens of thousands in potential overlooked damages and future repairs.

Make it Your Own without Remaking the Home

Every homebuyer wants to be able to make their new home space their own.  Having room to make adjustments and renovations to create your dream space leaves the opportunity for exciting home projects.  However, you don’t want to drain your finances on expensive renovations after a home purchase.  There are many ways to renovate and make the home meet your style that are affordable and minimal.  You can choose new wall colors, change hardware, and install new fixtures and lighting.  However, you may want to avoid a home purchase that would require new flooring, updating the kitchen, or removing any walls.  These types of renovations will likely cut well into your budget.

Make Sure the Home Fits your Lifestyle

When you find a house that you love, it is easy to get distracted by the glamorous details and forget to make sure it fits your lifestyle.  You may find a home that has dream kitchen, causing you to ignore the fact that it is much smaller than the size of home that you need.  Consider the major needs and details demanded by your lifestyle, and ensure your house fits the bill.  Important things to consider are size, location, and layout. Preferences will differ based on the buyer.  Keep in mind what specifications are important to you.

Be Certain You Can Afford it

Take the necessary measures to ensure that you aren’t overpaying for a property and buying out of your price range.  Checking these things off your list before beginning your search for the perfect home will reduce the chance of any financial roadblocks occurring down the road.  Work with an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent and acquire a market analysis of the area that you are considering.  This will give you an adequate representation on the average sale prices relative to the type of home for which you are looking.  Be sure to get your funds lined up prior to making an offer on a home, including discovering the type of loan that you prequalify for.  Comfree touches on some of these points in their blog post about the risks of not prequalifying.

Keep these tips in mind as you start searching for a new place to call home.  Arming yourself with this information will prevent you from making a financially-risky purchase.  This guide will help you to focus on the important details that will ensure a home purchase of which you will be proud.

Photo: Dj Crazy Gabe

Fix Your Finances with these 5 Secrets: Preet Banerjee Book Giveaway

Good morning Loves.  We have another awesome giveaway for you today.   If you have been trying to get your money right or improve your over all money situation then you really need to keep reading.

Preet Banerjee’s new book Stop Over-Thinking Your Money! The Five Simple Rules of Financial Success can help anyone fix or improve their finances in only 5 little steps.  Yes that’s all it takes 189 pages to a better financial life.

Before we get started and talk all about the book I have to tell you a few things about Preet Banerjee.


Fun Preet Banerjee fact #1: He is a TV host turned author who started his career as a blogger, so obviously that means he’s awesome.

Fun Preet Banerjee fact #2: He has worked with Oprah Winfrey – OH YEAH he’s cool.

Fun Preet Banerjee fact #3: He is really as handsome in real life as he is on the book cover.  I met him last year in Toronto and his smile can melt your heart away.  Jealous much? Oh I know you are.

Alright now let me tell you about the book Stop Over-Thinking Your Money! The Five Simple Rules of Financial Success.  I am only going to give you a sneak preview of Preet Banerjee’s awesome financial advice.  If you want to learn all five steps of achieving financial bliss you’ll have to buy the book here on Amazon  or enter our giveaway below to win a copy.

Rule # 1 – Read the fine print.  Sometimes we are being taken advantage of and we don’t even know it.  We can protect ourselves from fees, penalties and other possible expenses by reading the fine print before signing anything.

Why you need to do it: Reading the fine print before you sign anything from a credit card application to a prenuptial agreement is a must-do.  Financial advisors and lawyers can explain an overview of the contract but if you really want to know what will happen in the worst case scenario it’s a good idea to read the fine print.


Rule # 2 – Delay consumption.  You may really want something, but if you think about it for a few days you may discover that you don’t really need it.

Why you need to do it: I was the queen of over spending and impulse spending when I was in my 20s.  Now I obsess over ever single purchase before I buy it, but only if it’s over $5.  If I want something and it’s less than $5 I just buy it and try not to feel guilty about it afterwards.  The feeling of guilt that comes with spending money can be overwhelming so think about your purchase before you buy them to avoid the guilty gut feeling.


Rule # 3 – Spend less than you earn.   Preet Banerjee says that “spending less than you earn is the cornerstone of financial stability” and as a financial planner I agree with him 100%.

Why you need to do it:  This is the golden rule of finance.  If you always spend less than you make each month, or better year each pay check, you will always have money in the bank and you will avoid using credit.


Now it’s time to win.  Enter below using the Rafflecopter link and you could win your very own autographed copy of Stop Over-Thinking Your Money! The Five Simple Rules of Financial Success by Preet Banerjee.

***Enter HERE TO WIN***


Photo by Amazon

Five Fashion Trends That Will Simplify Your Style

Five Fashion Trends That Will Simplify Your Style[The following is a guest article]

Everyone wants to stay up on the latest styles, but it can also become cumbersome to always be trying to stay ahead of the trends.

Fortunately, there are a number of fashion styles that can actually simplify your life, not make things more complicated.

After all, fashion should be fun, not stressful.

  • Color Schemes – One of the most frustrating parts about getting dressed in the morning is looking at a closet full of clothes and still feeling like you have nothing to wear. Often, this comes from not being able to visualize how different outfits can be made, so it all just looks like a jumble of unrelated mess. Instead, proactively pick a color scheme for your clothes so that pieces are interchangeable, and can be mixed and matched to make any number of combinations. Simplifying by choosing pieces in blacks, navies and grays will mean everything matches.
  • Booties – Booties are so hot right now, and it is not hard to see why, as this style looks effortlessly chic. A bootie is an ankle boot that acts as sort of a boot lite, and can be a great way to simplify your shoe wardrobe. This type of shoe is great because it works for so many seasons– it will keep your toes warm in the winter and fall, but won’t look out of place in the spring and summer months. It is a great transitional shoe that you can rely on time after time.
  • Sweater Coats – Who doesn’t love a sweater coat? This apparel piece has the look of a structured coat, but the soft coziness of a sweater. It is great for snuggling up at home or for going out on the town. This piece simplifies life because it can transition between seasons, and looks great for a casual lunch or a day at the office. These coats come in a multitude of colors and materials, so there is something to suit all tastes.
  • Leggings – Leggings are one of the most comfortable and versatile pieces any woman can have in her wardrobe. A nice pair of black leggings is upscale enough to wear as slacks with a long tunic, or flowy blouse, and can be dressed up with heels for any occasion. Plus, leggings are comfortable enough to wear for running errands, lounging around the house or going to the gym. But even though you are dressed down, you still look put together. It is the ideal go-to item.
  • Slim Wallets – Finally, a slim, thin womens wallet can work wonders for simplifying your purse. So many of us have overstuffed wallets filled with random receipts, pictures and ticket stubs. With a slim wallet, there is a spot for everything, so you can purge what is un-needed and have one catch all for those truly important items. A slim wallet also takes up little space in your purse, so it doesn’t get bulky, and can be taken out and carried as a small clutch for the evening.

Putting together a stylish look can often feel overwhelming, especially when we struggle to keep up with the latest trends. But that doesn’t have to be the case– you can find simple, chic trends to catch on to. With a bit of prep you can streamline your wardrobe and feel trendy at the same time.

The 5 No Nos of Money

Good morning Loves.  Let’s discuss our money today.  Do you have as much money as you want to have?  Are you spending it as you should?  I used to live in a world where I thought we could never have enough money.  After working in financial sales for over a decade and working 70 hour work weeks for three years straight I realized that sometimes money is just not worth it – the trouble that is.

No No #1: Don’t be greedy

I was in my 20s and making a six figure income, but my finances were a mess and so was my relationship.  Now I work a normal 9 to 5 job with my side hustle as a personal finance blogger and I can honestly say that I have never been happier.   I have less income, but I am enjoying my life more and that’s what really matters.

No No #2: Don’t take money for granted

I used to spend money carelessly because I knew that I always had a big pay check coming in every two weeks.  This was a vicious money mismanagement circle that ended me in over $50k of debt.  When the market crashed I still found myself with over $50k in debt but suddenly without a job.  If someone would have told me that I would wake up one day without money I never would have believed them. Yet there I was with debt and without a steady income.

No No #3: Don’t hide your financial troubles

My bad financial habits landed me in a ton of debt and not talking about it with my family only made the stress of the matter that much worse.  I couldn’t explain to my parents why I couldn’t go on our annual vacation with the rest of the family.  I definitely couldn’t say that I couldn’t afford the trip, so I made up stupid reasons why I couldn’t join my family in Mexico. For three years while accumulating debt and three years while paying it off I lied to my family about my personal financial situation and it was the most awful feeling in the world.

No No #4: Don’t try and do it yourself

After the market crashed there was an amazing amount of tension in my relationship.  To be honestly I wasn’t sure if we would make it through those tough few years, but we did and I lived to tell the story.  Talking about the debt with my boyfriend helped me see the situation through another pair of eyes.  It helped us make a plan together to pay off the debt and our relationship is stronger today because of it.  Whether you are saving for a goal or trying to pay off debt, I definitely suggest talking about it with your spouse so you guys can get through it together.

No No #5:  Don’t only think about money

Sometimes all we can think about is making more money, seeing our credit card balance at 0, growing the balance in our savings account and saving enough money to take our dream trip.  I know firsthand what it’s like to be obsessed with money and let me tell you it’s not healthy.  Don’t let money consume you; don’t let it be the only thing in your life.  If you have a money goal try to have a non financial goal as well.  Enjoying life is more important than money and contrary to popular belief you don’t need one to enjoy the other.

Photo by 401k