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Mid-Tenn Homes

--October 16, 2019-November 5, 2019

3A

T

he entryway to a home is the

first thing guests experience

when coming inside. It also can

be the first place residents drop

their belongings after long days

at school or work. As a result, en-

tryways can quickly be consumed

by clutter. Taming such messes

takes a mixture of ingenuity and

planning.

Homeowners hoping to clear

their entryways of clutter must

first decide what they want to get

out of the space. Will it simply be

a decorative spot with photos and

other home decor on display? Or

is functionality the primary goal?

Once that decision has been

made, take inventory of which

items, such as shoes, keys, um-

brellas or coats, need to be in the

area, which don’t (i.e., old mail).

To make things more organized,

rearrange the former while re-

moving the latter.

Next it is time to assess storage

needs and what’s already avail-

able. User-friendly storage items

may need to be purchased to

make the room as functional as

possible. The following ideas also

can help bring order to the space.

Create

a command center. Cre-

ate a central location where items

are neat, orderly and within

reach. Use a bulletin board, dry-

erase calendar or something that

can house schedules and impor-

tant notices. Hooks can hold keys,

chargers and more.

Keep

it covered. Covered bins

can serve as a seating area and

also a place to store shoes, hats

and scarves.

Create

cabinet space. Store items

in cabinets so they are organized

but out of sight. This way belong-

ings are not just left on an entry-

way table.

Create

another drop zone. If the

entryway is too small to serve

its purpose, outfit another room

or area that also can do the job.

This can be a laundry room or

mudroom area. Install shelves, a

bench, cabinets and hooks. Just

be sure this space is close enough

to the entryway to make it useful.

Go

vertical. An easy way to keep

things neater is to remove items

from the floor and embrace ver-

tical storage. Shoe racks, hooks

for purses and a cabinet for coats

may do the trick.

Clutter can accumulate in entry-

ways. But some simple adjust-

ments can quickly revamp the

space to make it neater and much

more functional.

Corral entryway clutter

A

home is the most costly thing many

people will ever buy. The process

of buying a home can be both exciting

and nerve-wracking. One way to make

the process of buying a home go more

smoothly is to save enough money to put

down a substantial down payment.

Saving for a down payment on a home is

similar to saving for other items, only on

a far grander scale. Many nancial plan-

ners andÿrealÿestateprofessionals rec-

ommend prospective home buyers put

down no less than 20 percent of the total

cost of the home they’re buying. Down

payments short of 20 percent will require

private mortgage insurance, or PMI. The

cost of PMI depends on a host of vari-

ables, but is generally between 0.3 and

1.5 percent of the original loan amount.

While plenty of homeowners pay PMI,

buyers who can afford to put down 20

percent can save themselves a consider-

able amount of money by doing so.

Down payments on a home tend to be

substantial, but the following are a few

strategies prospective home buyers can

employ to grow their savings with an eye

toward making a down payment on their

next home.

Decide

when you want to buy. The rst

step to buying a home begins when buy-

ers save their rst dollar for a down pay-

ment. Deciding when to buy can help

buyers develop a saving strategy. If buy-

ers decide they want to buy in ve years

away, they will have more time to build

their savings. If buyers want to buy with-

in a year, they will need to save more each

month, and those whose existing savings

fall far short of the 20 percent threshold

may have to accept paying PMI.

Prequalify

for a mortgage. Before buy-

ers even look for their new homes, they

should rst sit down with a mortgage

lender to determine how much a mort-

gage they will qualify for. Prequalify-

ing for a mortgage can make the home

buying process a lot easier, and it also

can give rst-time buyers an idea of

how much they can spend. Once lend-

ers prequalify prospective buyers, the

buyers can then do the simple math to

determine how much they will need to

put down. For example, preapproval

for a $300,000 loan means buyers will

have to put down $60,000 to meet the

20 percent down payment threshold. In

that example, buyers can put down less

than $60,000, but they will then have

to pay PMI. It’s important for buyers to

understand that a down payment is not

the only costs they will have to come up

with when buying a home. Closing costs

and other fees will also need to be paid

by the buyers.

Examine

monthly expenses. Once buy-

ers learn how much mortgage they will

qualify for, they will then see how close

they are to buying a home. But prospec-

tive buyers of all means can save more

each month by examining their monthly

expenses and looking for ways to save.

Buyers can begin by looking over their

recent spending habits and then see-

ing where they can spend less. Cutting

back on luxuries and other unnecessary

spending can help buyers get closer to

buying their next home.

Avoid

risky investments. Some times

it’s great to take risks when investing,

but risk should be avoided when saving

for a down payment on a home. Tradi-

tional vehicles like certicates of deposit,

or CDs, and savings accounts can ensure

the money buyers are saving for their

homes is protected and not subject to

market uctuations.

Saving enough to make a down payment

on a home can be accomplished if buy-

ers stay disciplined with regard to saving

and make sound nancial decisions.

How to save enough for a

down payment on a house

C

onventional wisdom suggests buying

a home makes more nancial sense

than renting. In many cases, this is true.

However, renting is sometimes a smarter

approach than buying.

As with any nancial decision, all of the

options and circumstances need to be

weighed before jumping in. Making a ma-

jor purchase requires doing your home-

work. The following are some reasons

why renting can be more benecial than

buying.

You

are young. The National Associa-

tion of Realtors says the typical rst-time

home buyer is 31-years-old. People who

are younger than that and uncertain

about their futures should not feel pres-

sured into buying simply because it is

presumed to be the “adult” thing to do.

Renting and feeling your nancial way,

which can include seeing how a job pans

out or where your budget lies after pay-

ing off debts, might make more nancial

sense than buying.

The

price-to-rent ratio is too high. Buy-

ing may seem like a wise idea, but it could

be causing you to spend more than neces-

sary, particularly if you check the price-

to-rent ratio and nd homes in your area

are not fairly priced. Figuring a P/R ra-

tio includes nding two similar houses

(or condos or apartments) where one is

for sale and the other is for rent. Divide

the sale price of the rst place by the an-

nual rent for the second. The end result

is the P/R ratio. So if a home sells for

$300,000, and there is a house around

the corner renting for $1,200 a month,

divide $300,000 by $14,400 (the annual

cost of renting). The ratio would be 20.8.

A rent ratio above 20 means the cost of

home ownership will exceed the cost of

renting. The higher the P/R ratio, the

more sense it makes to rent instead of

buy.

Home

prices continue to rise. Some

people nd themselves being priced out

of certain neighborhoods or cities. Re-

altyTrac recently analyzed median wage

and home-price growth between 2012

and 2014, ultimately nding that, while

the typical worker’s earnings increased a

meager 0.3 percent during the study pe-

riod, median house prices were up by 17

percent. Wages have not recovered from

the Great Recession as quickly as home

prices have, and some people may need

to rent out of necessity.

A

market shortage makes it harder to

nd an affordable home. The number of

homes available for sale in many areas

of the country has fallen below the num-

ber that realtors say is required for the

market to be in balance. Therefore, even

when a home becomes available, demand

drives the price up to where it may not be

affordable or scally smart to purchase.

In such instances, renting may be the

best option.

You

don’t meet the buying criteria.

Don’t buy a home based on market con-

ditions or pressure from others. Instead,

buy when you’re nancially ready. This

means being out of debt; having between

three and six months of expenses in an

emergency fund; enough cash for a 10

to 20 percent down payment on a xed

mortgage; and when your mortgage pay-

ment will be no more than 25 percent of

your monthly take-home pay, according

to nancial expert Dave Ramsay.

Renting can be a smart move in many

instances. Only when individuals are -

nancially and emotionally ready to buy

should they begin searching for their rst

homes.

When renting can be a smart decision