You’re ready to leave your rental behind but don’t have enough down payment yet. Here’s how to start saving today to get you closer to moving into a home of your own.
Begin Saving Early
The sooner you’re able to start saving the better, especially if you’re able to invest some of your savings. The more you have saved, the more options you’ll have when looking for a home.
Follow a Budget
If you’re disciplined and able to stick to a budget, you should be able to set aside a specific amount of your paycheck to savings every month. You may have to cut expenses or seek additional income, but you will save in the long run by having lower monthly mortgage payments.
Save Windfalls of Cash
Start saving any extra money you come across. Tax returns, gifts and bonuses are perfect sources for your down payment. If you’re able to grow this money through investments, it will get you that much closer to your long-term goals.
Use Interest to Grow Your Savings
If you’re able to utilize high interest savings accounts or certificates of deposits (CD’s) you’ll automatically be putting your money to work for you. Seek out the best resources for earning more for your money.
This summer will be a competitive season in the housing market where demand will be higher than supply. If you’re planning on buying a home, here are some tips to help you prepare.
Get Your Finances in Order Ahead of Time
Before you begin looking for houses, make sure you’re financially prepared to be a homeowner. This includes doing a credit check, gathering your employment and salary history, getting a current bank statement that shows savings and checking balances, making a list of your debts and anything else that could contribute to your net worth.
Be Prepared for High Prices
If you see a house you love, chances are someone else loves it too. Many sellers are receiving multiple offers and will often receive offers close to their asking price. Be prepared for firm prices and difficult negotiations. Determine your needs vs. wants when it comes to selecting a home and be willing to compromise so you can act and make an offer quickly.
Work with a Professional Real Estate Agent
Having a real estate agent on your team can make a big difference. An experienced agent can recognize what might make or break a deal. Your agent will offer the sellers your whole package and not just an offer number, making your offer more appealing to the seller. Your agent’s ability to negotiate on your behalf gives you peace of mind that you’re getting the most out of the deal.
It can seem daunting when searching for a new home, especially as a first time buyer. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for finding your new home.
Determine a Budget
Creating a budget before looking should be your top priority. Focus on both the down payment you have saved and earmarked to buy your home and the monthly mortgage and insurance payment first. It’s best to estimate on the higher end and then try to keep expenses as low as possible.
Determine Needs and Wants
When buying a starter home, carefully choose the features you need and not just those you’d like to have. Do you want more space or to be closer to work? Create a list and try to check off as many as you can when viewing a home. But don’t confuse wants with needs.
Consider All Properties
View as many homes as possible. You’ll learn what you like, what you don’t like and may even come away with a few interesting ideas for your final choice. Be sure to keep a journal or list so you’re able to reference the data later. It can get very overwhelming to keep home attributes straight after a few weeks of searching.
Work with a Professional
Avoid the hassle of tracking new listings and scheduling showings and consider working with a Mel Foster Co. agent instead. There is no cost for the buyer, and you’ll have someone in your corner with industry knowledge and experience. Contact an agent today.
Mel Foster Co. held its annual awards reception last night at the Rhythm City Casino Resort in Davenport, Iowa. Rob Fick, president and CEO, Lynsey Engels, president real estate brokerage and Marc Engels, president of Mel Foster Insurance, honored and recognized 130 award winners within the organization for their 2017 achievements.
Fick congratulated sales associates and staff on a strong year and shared with them, “Our agents and staff are some of the best in the industry and the reason for our success. We’ve just finished a very successful year and indications show 2018 will follow many of the same market trends. The economy is still robust, low interest rates continue to make home buying very affordable by historical standards, and more people are employed and in a financial position to buy a home or business.”
The commercial division, led by Thad DenHartog, continued to dominate the market. Their sales volume continued to reach record-breaking levels with a five percent increase in 2017. Mel Foster Commercial Real Estate Services was ranked number one in the Quad Cities Commercial MLS with over 42 percent of the market share volume in 2017, up 16 percent from 2016. The next competitor had 28 percent of the commercial sales volume. Three of the company’s commercial brokers ranked in the top 5 in the Quad Cities Commercial MLS. “We are thrilled to see our commercial division continue to hold such a strong position in the Quad City market,” said Engels.
Mel Foster Insurance continued to grow its footprint in the region and acquired Frazier & Associates of LeClaire, Iowa in 2017. The insurance division increased both total premiums written and policy count over five percent from 2016 and client base increased by 14%. Marc Engels, president of Mel Foster Insurance, said, “We are uniquely positioned in the market as a local full-service, independent agency with specialized professionals focused on serving our clients with business risk management, employee benefits, individual/group retirement planning, and personal insurance solutions. We are proud that we added 1,283 policies in 2017 exclusive of our acquisition of Frazier & Associates. We have a 95.4% client retention rate agency-wide, which is a testament to the exceptional service we provide to our personal and business clients. We expect our growth and retention to reach new heights in 2018 in part due to the strengthening economy.”
The residential real estate sales team gave another remarkable performance in 2017 with a nine percent increase company-wide in sales volume and number of transaction sides (either listings or selling) over the previous year. All nine office locations reported an increase in sales volume with the Galesburg office leading the way with a 34 percent increase from last year. Company-wide, residential agents averaged 17 transactions in 2017, an increase of at least one per agent. The average time to get homes sold was successfully lowered from 61 days to 55 days in 2017. In the metro Quad Cities, sale prices rose five percent in 2017 for an average sales price of $191,349 per the Quad Cities Area Realtor Association. Eleven residential agents were in the top 10 of their respective MLS compared to nine last year.
Construction of new homes surged in 2017 as Mel Foster Co., who is the largest land developer in the Quad Cities continued to develop neighborhoods on both sides of the river. The company developed more than 165 residential lots in six different subdivisions in both Iowa and Illinois in 2017 with plans to develop over 500 lots in future additions. Lynsey Engels, president, real estate brokerage said, “The increased demand for new construction lots is a great indicator for a strong market in 2018. We are pleased to be positioned to meet this higher demand with a wide range of neighborhoods offering lots in multiple price ranges.”
The high numbers across all the division are the result of the tireless efforts of a dedicated team of professionals and a focused strategy to provide the best real estate and insurance experience. “This is an exciting time for everybody within Mel Foster Co. We posted the best year since the housing bubble peaked in 2008. Our success would not be possible without the hard work of every single person within each of our divisions,” Fick concluded.
In addition to another impressive year of sales growth, Mel Foster Co. welcomed 26 new agents and staff into the company in 2017. Mel Foster Co. has residential offices in Bettendorf, Clinton and Davenport, Iowa and Galesburg, Geneseo, Kewanee, Moline and Savanna, Illinois.