Annemarie Torcivia - RE/MAX  Trinity

Posted by Annemarie Torcivia on 10/9/2017

When you drive through a new housing development does it seem like all of the homes are enormous compared to when you were growing up? You're not alone. In fact, over the last 40 years, average home sizes have increased by over 1,000 square feet. In other words, you could fit an entire small house inside of the amount homes have†grown in size.

Why do Americans love huge houses?

It's counter-intuitive that home sizes should keep growing larger. Bigger houses mean higher prices, more maintenance, and more expensive utilities. To understand why, we need look no further than the automobile industry. In spite of the fact that larger vehicles cost more to buy, use more gas, and do more harm to the environment, people still buy bigger and bigger trucks and SUVs. There are a few reasons why. One is that they can afford to (or they can at least afford the payments).†Another reason is cultural. For the most part, bigger meant better in American culture--until recently. Recently, many Americans have begun saying they would prefer smaller sized houses. That desire hasn't entirely caught up to the people building the homes, however. And even as simple living trends and the "tiny house" phenomenon gain traction, building contractors still stand the most to gain from large houses and the people with the money to build houses continue to build big to stay aligned with the other homes in their neighborhood. There are other obstacles in place for people who want a smaller house. Some counties around the U.S. now enforce minimum square footage requirements to uphold the building standards of the area. So, people hoping to move to a particular suburban area but don't want a huge house might be out of luck.

How big of a home do I need?

There are a lot of things to consider if you're buying a home. Size and cost often go hand-in-hand, but even if you can afford a larger home, do you really need the space?†Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine how large of a house you really need:
  • Do I or will I have a family? Kids need space. They need bedrooms and places to play. The size of your family is going to be a huge†factor in choosing the size of your home.
  • Do I need all this stuff? Many people use their homes like storage containers. Think about the last time you moved and what you brought with you. Now determine how often you used the things you brought. Odds are you have a lot of items just sitting around taking up space that you don't really need.
  • Do I†have hobbies that take up a lot of space? Woodworking, working on cars, playing drums... these are all examples of hobbies that call for some leg room.
  • Am I a dog person? Just like kids, pets tend to take up some room. Larger dogs and energetic dogs require more†room, both outside and inside the house.
  • Do I have time to keep up with the maintenance? Bigger houses means more windows to clean, more toilets to scrub, more grass to mow... you get the idea. You might find that you'd rather have a beautiful and well-kept small home than a hard-to-maintain†huge one.

Posted by Annemarie Torcivia on 6/26/2017

Apartment living attracts the Millennial generation and older adults. People are attracted to apartment living, in part, because apartments are generally centrally located. Apartments are near public transportation, shopping centers, grocery stores and restaurants.

Make apartment living do more than put a roof over your head

Better yet, there are generally no maintenance costs associated with living in an apartment. Live on the top floor of an apartment building and experience a roof leak, and all you generally have to do is pick up the telephone and call the management or maintenance office.

Although you won't have to pay to get a problem fixed, when you live in an apartment, you learn about repairs that are typically needed around a home. This makes apartment living more like owning a home than staying with your parents does. If you're thinking about renting an apartment, you could be making a smart move. Checkout these other ways that apartment living can prepare you for buying and maintaining a house:

  • Gets you accustomed to managing a budget so that you can meet your monthly rent
  • Lets you find out firsthand how important it is to meet your financial obligations. If you don't pay your rent on time, you could receive an eviction notice.
  • Shows you how not taking care of household appliances can leave you without dish washer, clothes washer, dryer and other conveniences. For example, if you over load a washing machine, you could cause the machine to break or flood. Over load your clothes dryer or not clean out the filter and  you could cause the appliance to over heat. Although you can put in a maintenance request, you may have to go a day or longer without the appliances before they are fixed.
  • Teaches you about the importance of having residential insurance. Many apartments recommend or request that you have renter's insurance.
  • Is a great way to see what your home will look like if you don't clean up after yourself. Leave food on the counter, the floor dirty and clothes laying on the floor and you could run out of pants and shirts to wear to work. You could also attract pests into your home.
  • Prepares you to deal with neighbors directly and indirectly. You'll learn how to communicate with people with diverse interests.

Buy a house could be easier if you start out in an apartment

Living in an apartment can serve as a step toward home ownership. Apartment living makes you aware of residential repairs needed to maintain a property. While you live in an apartment, you can also learn about non-typical repairs, including unexpected appliance breaks.

Other outcomes of apartment living are the chance to learn whether you're better off living at a property that has uncovered or covered parking. You can also learn how to deal with neighbors, manage pets and accommodate guests. Most of all, apartment living prepares you for the financial responsibility of paying a monthly mortgage.

Posted by Annemarie Torcivia on 6/12/2017

Owning your own home offers you the chance to direct more of the decorative, structural and spacing options at your residence. You wonít have to accept design changes that a landlord makes. You also wonít have to clear it through your landlord before you allow a relative or friend to move in with you. When you own your own house, you also have equity to transfer to your children.

Donít rob yourself of the business of owning a house

Itís this equity that can lower housing costs for your adult children. Depending on their personal situation, your children could also sell the house that you will to them and use the finances to buy a more modern home. They could also use money from the sale of your house to pay for their childrenís college education, to start a business or to grow their savings.

But, owning a house is not magic. Even when lenders are lax, there are certain reviews that they conduct before they enter a mortgage agreement with you. Whether you realize it or not, you could be robbing yourself of the chance to own a home due to the way that you conduct your personal affairs, because of habits that you refuse to let go of.

In fact, incorrect statements and erroneous beliefs could set you up for one mortgage disaster after another. Even if you do get approved for a mortgage, you could end up paying higher interest rates. You could also be forced to move into at risk neighborhoods.

Habits that could put owning a home out of reach

Here are a few examples of thought and behavior habits that could rob you of the chance to own a good house years from now:

  • Asking high school and college friends for money whenever you spend all of your paycheck on clothes, concert tickets, dining or another source of entertainment
  • Giving people excuses as to why you cannot repay them money that they loaned you
  • Thinking that if people love you, they will always bail you out of poor financial decisions that you make
  • Blaming the government for your financial situation, especially when you regularly pay your bills late and started the habit while you were still living at home with your parents
  • Lying to bill collectors when they ask you when you are going to pay your bill
  • Thinking that your employer and other business owners have an endless supply of money, so you donít really have to pay them
  • Buying products and services to feed emotions or perceived lacks in your life
  • Spending money to impress others

As early as middle or high school, you could start to develop thought patterns and behavioral habits that may hurt your house buying success in the future. Practice awareness so that you can spot yourself developing negative habits and unrewarding ways of thinking. Surround yourself with people who pay their bills on time and take full responsibility for their lives.

Stop yourself from believing that itís normal to lie to vendors and that itís marketers who are responsible for your overspending habits and not you. Set yourself up for success. Give yourself a chance to own a home in an progressive neighborhood, the type of home that your children can benefit from living in or selling generations from now.

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Posted by Annemarie Torcivia on 2/6/2017

Feeling stuck is awful. It doesn't matter if you feel stuck because you're working a job that meets only one of your needs, your ongoing financial responsibilities.It doesn't matter if you've settled into patterns that are working hard grooves into your daily experiences. Stuck is stuck. Buying a house could worsen the problem. But, it doesn't have to.

Homes that travelers and eclectic folks can love

A house in a communal environment increases the chances that someone will be home even when you're not. Communal homes may involve two families sharing the same house. Another communal living option may find you sharing a communal garden, an apartment or a house with several single people.

Moving into a communal house can keep you from feeling alone, especially if you are new to a city. Other people living in the house can introduce you to popular, cultural and educational hot spots. It could be why Millennials are moving into communal properties. This living takes the guesswork out of a getting around a city.

But, your personality might not fit communal living. You might want more privacy. Yet, you don't want to feel stuck. Try moving into a house that has plenty of bay windows. landscape views and windows encased in picture frames. You may feel more connected to nature and outdoor experiences happening right outside your home.

Go for a house with lots of space options

Long, wide front and back lawns will give you the space to roam without having to leave home. On mild weather days, spend as much time outdoors as you can. Enjoy reading a good book, de-weeding your garden and finishing a hobby or personal project outdoors.

Houses with large porches fit these needs. If you live alone and don't want to rush into a relationship just so you won't feel lonely, you could turn your basement into an apartment and rent out the space. Money from the rent could cover the cost of airline tickets to visit faraway historic sites.

You could also spend the rent money to buy another property in a town or country that you visit frequently. To open yourself up to more space, opt for a house that's on enough land to let you add on rooms. Use these rooms to pursue your dreams. As an example, if you've always wanted to design video games, you could add a room onto your house and use this space as your design studio. For dreams like operating a greenhouse or pet training facility, choose a house that has several acres of backyard room.

The right house will meet most, if not all, of your personal, work and hobby needs. There will be enough space to accommodate your gig work, growing family, visiting relatives and your pets. You'll feel connected to your neighbors without losing privacy. Find the perfect house and you won't feel afraid to leave home while you venture on domestic and international travels. Friends will love hanging out with you at your new house. You definitely won't feel stuck.

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