Daryl Lippman's Blog
Owning a home is a big part of the American Dream. In fact, it’s such a part of American life that entire television networks devote hours of airtime to buying, selling, and renovating homes to riveted audiences across the country. So surely, owning a home is a good thing. Right? It all depends.
Is owning a home right for you? Again, it all depends.
As with many things in life, timing can be everything. It may be right for you to own a home, but it may not be the right time for you to buy one. Before you rush out and engage a real estate agent, take a moment or two to determine these things:
- What is your debt load? While you can carry debt and still buy a home, the kinds of debt and the amount you carry may impact the interest rate you get and the amount of loan for which you qualify.
- Do you know your credit score? If your score is low, your getting approved for a good loan is harder. Sometimes things affect your score that you have no control over, like medical bills and even fraud or identity theft. Being aware of your score and any issues with it gives you a starting point toward improving it. If you don’t know your credit score, get your free credit report (you're entitled to one free credit report each year from all of the three major credit reporting agencies) to check for errors and problems.
- What does your savings account look like? The down payment on a house is a huge chunk of change, and even if you qualify for an FHA or VA loan, the closing costs, insurance, taxes, and potential repairs run in the thousands.
- Can you afford the house payment? Often, renters hear the statement “you’re just pouring money down a rabbit hole” and think that if they buy, they’ll pay the same but start building equity too. That is “sort of” true, but ownership comes with a lot of other costs in addition to principal and interest on your mortgage: homeowner’s insurance, homeowners’ association (HOA) dues, all utilities including water, sewer and trash, property taxes, and special municipal assessments. Can you afford all of these?
- Are you handy? As a homeowner, you can’t just call the landlord when things go wrong. You are the landlord. So, if you can’t fix the toilet yourself, you have to hire a plumber. If the oven quits working or the dishwasher breaks, you have to repair or replace it yourself.
- Does it make sense? Buying a forever home means you plan to live in it for a very long time, but if you're just in the early stages of your career, or have just started a family, buying a home may not make sense. Even if you're able to sell it quickly if you end up moving, you may not recoup the entire down payment, fees, closing costs, and money on repairs that you spent to purchase it.
If you need help assessing if you’re ready to buy, talk to a real estate professional or seek the advice of a mortgage specialist.
24 Pleasant Street, Sherborn, MA 01770
24 Pleasant Street, Sherborn, MA 01770
Family bonding moments are precious and something you should take for granted. They are essential to developing lasting memories with your children before they move into those stubborn teenage years. Getting kids to take part in activities can sometimes overwhelm, but it's much easier when it suits their interests. Here are a few fun projects to do with kids and enjoy the best family moments.
- Decorate a cake Baking is one of the fun things to do with kids and other members of the family. Don't worry about your baking expertise, buy a book with the right instructions and get started. The fun increases when it's time to decorate the cake. Allow the kids to get creative no matter how disorganized the decoration looks. The aim of this activity is not to make a picture-perfect cake but to bond and share laughter.
- Crafts Crafts are a popular choice among parents because kids seem to get so interested in creating something. The materials you would need are always simple and depend on the crafts you want to create. Look for ideas at your local craft store or even take a course together. You can stimulate young DIY-ers by participating in a weekend class at your local hardware store.
- Board games Playing board games is something everyone in the family can enjoy. A game of Scrabble or Monopoly not only provides bonding moments and memories, but it also teaches children teamwork, problem-solving, and decision making. The children's attention span for board games may be short, so keep them interested with the promise of a reward.
- Look at the stars at night Simple, yet enchanting and beautiful, stargazing is a great bonding time. Set out a few minutes after dinner to sit in the yard or lay on the grass and see the stars. It is an excellent time to tell stories, share experiences, and take in some fresh air. Make it a part of the family schedule periodically.
- Movie night Watching movies together never gets old so long as you watch something that everybody loves. You can try classic films or recent ones that the entire family will excitedly anticipate. Take turns giving each family member the opportunity to choose the video of the week.
- Plan a treasure hunt A treasure hunt shouldn't be a cliché or a predictable game. With older kids, you can step up your game to suit them. Make treasure hunts an exciting family affair with a worthwhile treasure. Create a challenge and don’t make it too easy.
Waste no more time in creating bonding moments with your family. To make great memories in your neighborhood, invite your neighbors to join you, especially if you're new to the community.