How Can I Optimize My Finances To Save For A House In A Year?


Are you stressed out due to living in a rental house with noisy neighbors or not so decent roommates? Are you fed up of spending most of your hard-earned salary paying rent? Are you maybe wondering how can I optimize my finances to save for a house in a year? Worry no more; as you can save yourself this hassle overall by owning the money to buy a home within a year. Below are simple saving and financial techniques that will enable you to acquire the required capital needed in purchasing your home.


  1. First Make A Budget

This technique will help you to accumulate your savings and understand where you are financially overall. It may sound simple and obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people do not adhere to their budget. You should first identify the things that you can do without (aka the wants and not the needs. You don’t need that coffee shop mocha every single day, etc). This will help you in understanding and avoiding your overall impulse buying. You should prepare a shopping list ahead of time and stick to it. Buy what is only necessary for this particular time. You can also shop at supermarkets that offer greater discounts (I like Whole Foods too….but don’t be surprised when your whole paycheck goes too).


You may also consider (as described above) making your coffee rather than picking it up from a store, or moving into a less expensive rental house so you can save that extra money, or investing in a car that is economical on gas, or attempting to trim your cell phone bill or possibly even skipping your summer vacation for the purposes of accumulating your savings. The mindset you must have right now is one that is focused on your long term goal, and not short term impulses.


  1. Look At Getting A Side Gig

It is important that you look for a second job or possibly even more to supplement your full-time job’s income. You may consider venturing into crafts if you have the skill or possibly even start a small business that you can run part-time. The extra cash you get will help you grow your savings. Depending on what your craft is or what you’re selling, you might use platforms like Pinterest, Shopify, Etsy, Instagram or Facebook to advertise your talent. If you are at all tech oriented (or skilled) there are also plenty of sites to advertise your work like, Upwork and TaskRabbit.


  1. Investments

Saving is important, but it may be more important if you invest your savings to make more profits. This is because investments attract more benefits than savings. In order to grow your income, you may consider investing in stocks, GIGs, or bonds. The profits you get from the investment in a year might enable you to purchase your dream home.


  1. Quarantine Your Savings Account

Whenever people withdraw money from their bank accounts, many unfortunately tend to have problems watching their savings grow;  even if it’s before they reach their targeted savings amount. Financial discipline tends to be rare but is vastly important for you, as you should have a dedicated amount deducted  from your regular account (or paycheck) monthly to put it directly into your savings account. The savings you’ll receive at the end of the year will be vastly helpful when it comes to wanting and actually buying that dream home. If you want to succeed financially, you need to think ahead and be duly prepared.


  1. Ask For Support

As it is with any diet program or change in your fitness regime (or overall personal habits), saving money calls for just as much monitoring. You will need the support of people around you in order to adhere to a strict saving plan. Making them know the change in your financial behavior and the reason as to why you are saving will relieve you of the stress of taking them out for shopping or leisure. The less distracted you are from your goals, the more you will be likely to succeed. Communicating this plan to those close to you will also keep you living under your means, which will be vastly important for this time when you’re saving for big goals.


  1. Set Up Saving Goals

While it is one thing to stay out of your bank account (like we said earlier), it is an essential element for anyone who wants to grow their savings to set due goals. You should develop either weekly, monthly or yearly goals which will enable you to monitor your saving progress. Having goals will also assure that you duly stay on course. If you aren’t monitoring your overall spending, sites like might be able to help you as well. 


  1. Downgrading Your Car

Most families do own more than one car. Nonetheless, this can be costly in terms of buying insurance policies, parking fees, gas and actually servicing the vehicles. Little or no money is left to save. It can be economical for you to have only one car and save the cash that would have been used to maintain your other vehicle(s). This is all the better if you live closer to your work in a walkable area, have public transportation close, or if you might even want to look into ride-sharing services (or bike sharing) for work in the morning.



Since living in a rental house (or apartment) can be stressful and costly, almost everyone wishes to have their own home. The biggest challenge of owning one is attaining the money. With a couple of these tips, you could very well be on the way to saving money for your dream home within only a year.


If You’re Considering Buying, Let’s Talk About What’s Available In Charleston Today.

How Can I Pay Off My Mortgage Early?


Unless you need the mortgage interest deduction  or plan to sell soon, it makes financial sense to pay off your mortgage early. The question many then ask though is, how can I pay off my mortgage early? Even at today’s low interest rates, the interest adds up over the life of a 30-year loan. Everything else being equal, owning a home is a good way to grow your money, but the amount of interest paid to lenders chips away at the net gains.While any realtor can talk to you about a mortgage, a great one should be able to help you understand them better.


If you’re looking at how to pay off your mortgage faster, here are a few basic things to keep in mind:


At 3.5 percent interest, over 30 years a $300,000 mortgage loan will cost close to a significant amount in interest payments. If you plan to stay in your home for any duration, making larger payments will minimize that amount. When you do sell, you’ll also realize a bigger return.


Start with the Obvious

Private mortgage insurance adds from 0.5 to 1 percent of your total mortgage amount to the payment. If your home’s value has increased and it’s at least 80 percent of the loan to value ratio, you can drop the PMI. Since the insurance is for the mortgage company, you’ll have to contact them and follow their procedures.


Options might include refinancing it, although there will be fees for that; or asking the lender to eliminate the PMI after submitting a current appraisal as proof of value. Under most conditions, homes appreciate over time. Making home improvements  is another way to increase it’s value to get out from under PMI payments.


Switch the Loan Term

Refinancing to get rid of PMI early will lower your payments, and if you’re going to go through the time and expense refinancing takes, consider switching to a 15-year loan. Your payments will go up somewhat, but it’s a foolproof way to pay off the mortgage faster.


Even if you don’t need to get rid of PMI, a 15-year term cuts the amount of interest you’ll pay. Since the first years of payments on any mortgage go primarily to interest payments, the shorter loan term means that you’ll be making larger principal payments during the loan’s early years.


Committing to higher payments takes a leap of faith that could produce some anxiety. If you’re unsure, keep the mortgage you have and make higher payments for a few months to see how well you manage. It may work well, but if it doesn’t, you can go back to the existing payment amount.


Make Bigger Payments

Instead of splurging after getting a raise or a promotion, why not use the extra money to make bigger mortgage payments each month? The lender will apply any extra amount toward the amount you owe. This strategy works well as long as you don’t have high interest credit card payments or school loans. Paying off anything with a higher interest rate than your mortgage should be a priority to strengthen your financial position over the long haul.


Use Unexpected Gains

Odds are you won’t exactly win the lottery, but you might get a year-end bonus, an inheritance, a tax return, or a gift. When you apply that toward your mortgage balance, it will help you pay it down faster.


Whether you’ve already bought or simply just looking ahead, there are a number of items you need to be aware of when it comes to buying a home. 


If You’re Considering Buying, Let’s Talk About What’s Available In Charleston Today.

How Can I Sell My Home Faster?


Is it like pulling off a miracle when you sell your house within a month? Now, while not all real estate markets in the United States of America have fully recovered from the effects of the Great Recession, Charleston, SC is an area that appreciates perpetually. You may love your home as of right now, but a time may come when you’ll want to sell it and move on accordingly. Don’t allow yourself to learn how to sell in a painful way if others know how to sell your home faster. A great real estate agent will be able to consult you on the process, the market, and sell your house well.


Statistics indicate that the average family home takes 65 days to sell, but the number can vary depending on a variety of factors. Staging tricks like displaying beautiful fresh flowers, painting rooms with neutral white color, or placing new couch pillows will not always entice buyers (after all, they are likely seeing several beautiful homes). Here is what will help you sell your house faster, but be sure to get yourself prepared as the following tips are not always easy or fun. You have to be committed.


  1. Storage Unit

A potential buyer is not interested in your old collection or favorite magazines. Be sure to pack them up and get them out of the house. Clean and get rid of anything you wouldn’t need for the next two months from the closet, top shelves, and attic. All old furniture should get moved, especially those that convey “hoarding” or any adjectives that even come close to the word “clutter.” Without considering the energy used, a typical two or three bedroom house will cost approximately $125 to fit the excess collection in a 10’*20’ storage unit.


  1. Amend Everything

Sounds impossible? Be sure to repair the obvious items that catch the eye such as:


  • Rotten wood
  • Peeling paint
  • Broken windows
  • Running toilets and damaged faucets
  • Stained floors and carpets
  • Broken lights
  • Damaged electrical switches
  • Damage in the Attic from insects like termites
  • Gutters or any crawl spaces that leak


Now be sure to not forget the curb appeal. It is standard human psychology to always be impressed by what we first see in our interactions with people, let alone a home. Be sure to set the right tone with your buyers by giving a great first impression!


  1. Upgrade The Bathrooms

You may need to save more or stretch your budget to accommodate an extra $1500-$2000 to update your bathroom. Would you love to take over a used old bathroom? The least you can do is the following:


  • Buy brand new toilets
  • Get an up to date shower head such as an aquarium or full-bodied shower panel
  • Re-tile any grungy and old-fashioned shower walls and floors


Match the hardware between the faceplates, plumbing fixtures, and the lighting. All should get rubbed with a bronze or satin nickel finish. With a touch of new and fresh towels, recommended favorite skin care products, and a loving steam orchid; your bathroom will look better than even a private spa.


  1. Right Pricing And Get Over Your Pride

Ever wondered why some houses stick around forever  on the selling list? Never allow your ego to determine your home’s sale price.  It is not about what amount your neighbor sold for or your imported décor from Paris or London. It’s about a particular buyer in the United States of America (aka, its never about what you want or like, it’s the audience you’re playing to. In this case it’s the potential buyers). The bidding era is long gone. Be sure that you are prepared for the corresponding emotional ups and downs that come along with the process.


If you look into the above points and implement them before announcing your home for sale, it’s a clear shot that no sooner than when you present it for sale that it will also sell. Note that maintaining a clean house and having it in an always-ready-for-a-showing state is an uphill task, especially with kids and pets around. If you have an extra home and an accommodating work schedule, you might want to move into that other house temporarily. You can also consider moving in with family members, friends, or rent for a short while to allow your home to look perfect at all times for buyers.


If you’re thinking about selling, let’s talk about how much your home is worth.

What Should I Ask My Listing Agent During Our First Meeting?

Selling a house is quite a hectic process nowadays. With the entry of so many real estate agents, it has become important to often ensure that you clarify all the important information before engaging in any commitments. The reason for this is that you need to be sure that you are giving the right person the responsibility of selling your house. Thus, getting the right listing agent is one of the most significant steps towards successfully selling your home. The next part of this initial phase you might be wondering is what should I ask the listing agent during our first meeting?


Now, the ideal agent is not defined by the biggest promises and ads but the reputation and experience the individual has had in your target market. If this is your first time selling your home, you could be wondering a number of things. Smart preparation and research will help you engage the right agent to sell your home.


Things that you need to prepare:

Making thorough preparation before meeting any listing agent will increase your chances of having your home sold faster. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for meeting a great and knowledgeable real estate agent.


Prepare the areas requiring repairs, upgrades and maintenance

It is important to ensure that you have your home ready for viewing before hiring a listing agent. Chances are high that potential buyers will go for a home that is in best condition. Take note of areas in possible need of upgrades or repairs and maintenance; as such aspects are important in the home valuation. However, it is recommendable to hold on upgrading and repairing your house (if your house is in need of an overhaul) before meeting the agent and getting advice on what items are best to maintain or upgrade (that will give you the most value for your money).


What is your selling time frame?

When are you looking to sell your house? Is it urgent or do you have an adequate amount of time? You need to be specific on your time frame as this will help the listing agent determine how to optimize the sale of your home to your own preferences. The reason for this is that the time affects the listing price.


Questions to ask your listing agent

Now that you are ready in terms of the things to prepare, you need also to be prepared on what questions to ask the listing agent as this will help you determine their suitability for your house.


Here are a few questions that will help you prepare adequately for the first meeting with your listing agent in Charleston, SC: 

First, ask the listing agent about the number of houses that they have sold within your desired neighborhood or area in the past. Your ideal listing agent ought to be the one who has sold more than just a few houses in your neighborhood.


Secondly, determine the agent’s present number of seller accounts. Often, while it is important to hire an agent who has many accounts, it is also advisable to avoid agents who have way too much going on and can’t give you the proper service you need. Consider a listing agent who has the capacity to sell your house at all costs.


Thirdly, the most important question is about the value and price of your house. In addition, ensure that you get their reasoning behind any price they give you as this will also be a way of evaluating their suitability at the real estate business.


If you’re interested in selling, come check out your free home valuation here.

What Are The Top Home Improvements To Increase The Value Of My Home?


Many seek to improve the investment on their house and might be looking for ways to increase it’s overall value for a future time when they decide to sell. Improving your Charleston, SC house is truly all about choices and options. What it will really come down to is how much are you willing to spend on the renovations, and personal preferences. This could leave you with a number of questions including, what are the top home improvements to increase the value of my home? You could also be wondering what kind of renovation features and projects will have a greater appeal to buyers if you’re looking to possibly sell sometime in the future.


You need to keep in mind that home buying and design preferences are very intense personal choices. Therefore, not all people will like the kind of changes that you will make to your house. You may be able to increase your home resale value nonetheless by swapping out some of the elements present, playing up certain aspects of your house, and adding certain keywords to your house listing. A knowledgeable and great realtor will be able to give you further advice on what to upgrade when looking to sell and what may not be so worth improving.


Look into some of these home improvement tips, and you’ll likely find the resale value of your home increasing:


1. Upgrade Your Kitchen

A number of real estate experts believe that a kitchen upgrade will provide the greatest return on your investment. It is one of the home improvement areas that will give you the greatest return on your investment. To make this happen, you can:


  • Do a mini-renovation: Changing the paint may sound simple, but it always works. Additionally, you can opt to paint a faux-wood like finish to your existing cabinets. It looks the same as cherry. 


  • Add a splash of color: A backsplash can accompany this color upgrade. New tile on the floors will also be attractive and will make your house appear clean.


  • Go stainless steel: Buyers will typically always go for the cold feel of steel over any other type of appliances. Therefore, should your appliances be wearing out, transitioning your appliances to stainless steel ones might not be a bad idea. You can also go for a similar look with the light switches. Starting the transition early means you will not be bogged down with renovation expenses when you decide to sell.


2. Beautify the Bathroom

Of all the rooms that are present in your home, the bathroom tends to be the workhorse. It is the one place where there is more wear and tear than anywhere else. You will, therefore, want to ensure that the area is completely functional and to continue making upgrades. The little upgrades here will pay handsomely later on when listing your house.


  • Focus on the faucet: Bathrooms are no longer what they used to be in the past. Many home buyers want to feel relaxed, as though they are hanging out in their favorite spa. Rather than go for the drop-sinks, you might want to looking into getting under-mount sinks.


  • Choose marble or granite for the countertops: In case you have already thought of using granite for the countertops, the bathroom counter in all likelihood will be one of the smaller counters in your house. It will, therefore, be an excellent idea for you to see how incorporating granite in other areas could be like as well.


  • Keep your bathroom clean: Grime and dirt tend to become embedded in surfaces very fast. You must, therefore, freshen your bath with new grout to make it as fresh and pristine as possible.


Final Words

You need to plan your home improvement project duly and intelligently. If your plan is to sell your home in a few years, the fastest way to go about improving it’s value will be by coming up with a remodeling plan. You and your family will fare better when you make the upgrades intentionally, rather than on impulse basis. Make a remodeling plan, categorize the improvements to be made, and stick to your list.


If you’re thinking about selling, come check out how much your home is worth here.

What Do People Forget To Consider When Buying A New Home?

Have you possibly been you considering buying a new home recently? While the process of getting the right match for your lifestyle can be challenging, there are numerous important factors to consider when looking for a new home. Now, when deciding on where to live some may prioritize proximity to nightlife or coffee shops or possibly grocery stores. Another buyer could be heavily focused solely on the neighborhood and their neighbors around them. Others may consider adjacency to schools or even the beach. A great realtor will always be able to find the right location for you, whatever your needs may be.


Make note though, one of the top factors that people tend to forget when its comes to buying a new home (minus those who are retired) is their commute to work. The distance from home to work directly affects your daily routine such as possibly having to leave early to get to work on time. Additionally, it affects your transport expenses such as gas, tickets, or possibly parking costs (and so on and so on). Furthermore, while Charleston isn’t a mega city like a New York, Atlanta or DC (so you won’t be in a commute for hours throughout the day); numerous studies have shown how toxic a long commute can become.


Here are essential tips to help you evaluate the true suitability of your new potential new home.


How Long Would It Take To Get To Work?

Before you settle on that dream house of yours, first determine how long it would take you to get to work. You can do a test to know the commuting distance from your potential future property to your workplace using different means such as your car or possibly a local transportation line (like the CARTA). It will help you to evaluate how much time you will spend along the way, back and forth. Now, envision yourself doing that each day and determine if it’s okay to you or not. If you feel uncomfortable with the distance and the time, it’s better to go ahead and look for another house closer to your workplace.


Are There Alternative Routes to Your Workplace?

When looking for a new house, be sure to research the transport network around the area to find alternative ways as well. If you are moving to a new neighborhood, a great realtor will be able to help you get further knowledge about your area. An advantage of knowing alternative routes is that you can save the time you would spend in traffic using the usual route (knowing an alternative to I-526 when necessary is always a great thing to know. There are also apps like Waze that might be able to help you as well). Although some alternative routes may be physically longer, you can save plenty of time depending on possible traffic conditions or if there are possible major events going on in the city (which Charleston does typically end up having plenty of).


Additionally, you can discover which routes are busier than others at given times throughout the day. For example, if it could possibly take you about an hour or more using the main highway during rush hours. Some routes may be longer, but less busy during such time, helping you cut the time it would take you to get to your office or home. This will  allow you to invest your time into better invested activities rather than just sitting in your car.


Calculate Your Commute Expenses

Well, you may have found your dream home and a cool neighborhood, but how much would you be willing to spend for a commute to work and other facilities? The cost can have a direct impact on your income and savings altogether. Therefore, it is important to note how well you can manage to pay for your commute including gas, bus fares or possibly costs to maintain your bike (depending on your preferred choice of transportation and overall proximity to your work). Also, be sure to keep in mind that while gas prices in 2017 have been low, that definitely may not always be the case in the future.


What’s Your Current Status?

At what stage in life are you? Do you have other priorities? For example, if your child’s school is just a few blocks from the new house you may compromise on the commute factor to suit your overall family’s needs. Furthermore, if you are possibly taking care of your elderly parents and the neighborhood seems right for them, you may trade the better location (for them) for longer commutes for yourself. At that point, it’s all a question about sacrifices and what’s best for your family.


With a large family or a growing household, you may even opt to go for houses away from town centers. Such homes may come with large expansion spaces and are relatively lower in price compared to townhouses. However, your decision about your new home will depend on the accessibility of the rest of your family members to various needed amenities (whether it’s your kids’ schools, or possibly your partner’s work, etc).


At the end of day, it all comes down to how comfortable you will be in your new home. While getting a small house near your workplace may save you a few bucks, you need to consider additional factors. Your family needs will help you decide on a pleasant home to suit every member of your family. More to this, you should consider your income status and lifestyle to manage commuter expenses comfortably (and truly account for them accordingly). With the help of a great real estate agent, you can find alternative routes to work that would save you time on the road. Furthermore, they will be able to help you choose a great home, that is in the right location for you and meets your needs. 


If You’re Interested In Buying, Let’s Talk About The Great Home’s Available In Charleston Today!