It wasn’t so long ago that everyone thought millennials would never buy homes. With overwhelming student debt, an inadequate savings account, and average credit scores, millennials were often looked over as a prominent home buying generation. But, in 2020, millennials have passed up baby boomers and Gen Xers for the fifth year in a row! If you aspire to be one of the many millennial homebuyers in 2020, here are four things to make that dream come true.

Tips For Millennial Homebuyers

Pay off Major Debts

One of the largest hurdles for millennial homebuyers is student loans. Over 44 million Americans are paying off student loan debt. Since buying a home is likely the most expensive investment you’ll ever make, it’s best to be as close to debt free as you can. If paying off your loans is not possible in the next decade, then it’s best to get on a budget and manage your monthly payments, seeing how much room you’ll have for an incoming mortgage payment as well as a down payment. A mortgage lender can tell you how to get on track with your payments before buying a home.

Down Payments

Most of us don’t pay cash for our first home, so buying a home requires a down payment. Having a strong down payment can help lower your interest rate as well as pay off your entire mortgage faster. While 10-20% down is ideal, some loan types – such as FHA – require as little as 3.5% down. The catch with a lower down payment is the additional requirement of mortgage insurance added to your monthly mortgage payment. If you feel overwhelmed saving for a down payment, you’re not alone. Some millennials need more than seven years to save for a down payment, so don’t feel bad if it takes time.

Affordable House in a Seller’s Market

A big challenge millennial homebuyers face is the rising value of homes. It’s best to be patient and to not give in to the temptation to stretch your dollars and buy a home that’s out of your price range. No home is worth sacrificing your retirement or your kid’s college fund! That’s why it’s best to find an affordable house in a seller’s market. It may require some renovation, but at least you won’t be struggling to make your mortgage payment each month.

Know the Buying Process

One of the best things you can do as a millennial homebuyer is to get familiar with the buying process. Working with experts who know what they’re doing (agent, lender) will likely result in a seamless process that’s enjoyable and exciting for you and for them! Remember, a good agent and lender is more concerned about your bank account, not theirs. Being confident and knowledgeable about the home buying process will help you move faster on the road to closing on a home.

You may also like: 4 Simple Ways to Save for a Down Payment

In this series, I highlight the businesses I like to refer to my friends, family, home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area. This month I’m talking about Bertoglio’s Pizza in Yelm, WA.

Community Recommendation: Bertoglio’s Pizza in Yelm, WA

Really great pizza places are hard to come by, but if you’re in the Yelm area, you’re lucky to have a gem right in your neighborhood! Bertoglio’s Pizza is a deliciously wonderful restaurant! The combination of high quality ingredients and top notch customer service makes this pizzeria a family favorite. Bergoglio’s Pizza has an extensive gluten free menu which includes cauliflower crust options. They also offer take and bake pizzas which is unique since you don’t really get that option with most pizza places. This is a great place for a date night, a casual weekend lunch joint, or a Sunday family dinner – especially in the summer months!

See what others have to say about Bertoglio’s Pizza:

“This is the BEST pizza I have probably ever had in my life. I have never had a pizza where everything about it is up to par and on the same level of excellence!! The pizza sauce is one of a kind, as well as their crust. Our favorite is the Canadian Bacon Pineapple Pizza – the pineapples are HUGE!! Definitely a summer favorite and our first choice when we want pizza!! So happy they are here!” – Longview

“The owner was very friendly and we could tell he took pride in his pizza, using quality ingredients. We ordered 2 pizzas: BBQ vegan chicken with pineapple and vegan cheese, and the second was vegan beef crumbles with black olives, mushrooms, and vegan cheese. Our family of 5 loved them! The BBQ was my favorite. If this place didn’t serve vegan pizza, I don’t know what we would have ended up eating. So thankful for this place!” – Christine

You may also like – Community Recommendation: Crockett’s Public House

There are many benefits of owning a home – personalization, community, and ability to make it your own. One of the often-overlooked benefits of owning a home is the equity you build over time. Here are 3 benefits of growing equity in your home.

3 Benefits of Growing Equity in Your Home

What is home equity?

First off, let’s take a look at what home equity is, and how it affects you as a home owner. Home equity is the portion of your home that you truly own – the difference between the home’s fair market value and the outstanding balance of all liens on the property. Home equity is also known as real property value. The average home increases between 3% and 5% in equity per year.

Move up opportunity

One of the biggest benefits of growing equity in your home is the move up opportunity. With the rise in prices, homeowners naturally experience an increase in home equity. This increase allows them to put this money down toward a larger house to fit their family’s needs in the future. For example, if a family puts down $55,000 into the house, and the house has increased in value by $10,000, then the family’s home equity is really $65,000. When you buy your first home, the down payment is often times one of the largest hurdles to overcome. When you buy your second and third homes, you’re able to use your home equity toward the down payment of the new home, granted the market is healthy.

Gain in seller’s profit

In today’s market, when a home buyer looks at the amount paid when they bought their home and then the amount they received after selling, it’s clear that some homeowners were able to walk away with a large gain. A seller’s profit is jumping fast compared to over the last few years.

Out of a negative equity situation

Negative equity occurs when there is a decline in home value, an increase in mortgage debt, or both. Often times home owners see this situation when the housing market crashes and their area’s home values decrease. Many families experienced these challenges over the last decade. The good news is many families have moved beyond a negative equity situation since the market has recovered and they are able to use the growing equity in their home to get out of their negative situation.

You may also like: 4 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Home

While yes we all have the dream to decorate every inch of our home for the holidays, time and money don’t always allow that to happen. You’ve still go shopping and wrapping to do, not to mention your everyday life to live. Here are 4 ways to simply decorate for the holidays with a big impact.

How to Simply Decorate For The Holidays

Target The Tree

Your Christmas tree will be the center of attention in your home, so it makes sense to spend time and energy into nicely decorating it. For an easy, simple look, go with a monochromatic color scheme. This could mean a white flocked tree with crème and blush ornaments, or a green tree with silver ornaments and garland. Using a monochromatic scheme also coordinates with any room décor which eliminates the worry of balancing a color palette.

Mantle Magic

Simply decorating your mantle can complement the tree and bring holiday cheer. Choose a statement making garland to drape across the mantle. A good tip is to coordinate with the type of tree you’ve chosen, so if you have a flocked tree then go with a flocked garland. Then add some candles on the mantle to light at night, giving your fireplace a warm white color. Keeping the mantle simple will add elegance without having to spend a bunch of extra money on knick knacks.

Table Top

Focusing on the table top is key in simply decorating for the holidays. The holidays are a prime time for entertaining, so you want to make the gathering dining area festive. Adding another garland to your table as a table runner can do wondering for adding the seasonal flair to your table. Then you can add candles or ornaments along the garland to bring in the extra pop of color.

Front Porch

The front porch is visible by your guests as well as any car driving by. Consider adding a simple wreath to your door and some lights to your home. Adding décor that is visible in the day and night will serve as dual purpose. Additionally, if you’ve chosen to go with a monochromatic color scheme inside your home, consider going with a monochromatic color scheme outside as well. So, if you have a flocked tree inside, add some white lights to the outside of your home to tie your décor all together. This will also maintain the simple yet elegant décor feel to your home.

You may also like: 5 Simple Ways to Decorate Your PNW Backyard

The Seattle-Tacoma housing market continues to be attractive for home buyers. However, you need to consider if now is the right time for you to jump into home ownership. Just because your friends and family all own homes, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a financially smart decision for you to. Here are 4 signs you’re ready to buy a home.

4 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Home

No more debt

One of the top signs you’re ready to buy a home is that you no longer have debt. You have eliminated credit card debt as well as your car payment and you’re now banking more each month. The extra cash flow that is no longer going toward your monthly debt can cover home owner expenses such as property tax, homeowner’s insurance, repairs, and furnishings. Considering the down payment is the top hurdle for most home buyers, the extra cash can cover that expense as well.

Credit score

If you’ve been watching your credit report and taking actions to improve your score, now could be the time to buy a home. Since your credit score is one of the most important factors in qualifying for a home loan, a higher score could land you a higher loan amount. With a higher credit score comes a lower interest rate, which ultimately means a lower monthly mortgage payment and less money over time.

Thought about all the monthly expenses

With owning a home comes many monthly expenses outside of your mortgage. Utilities, property taxes, HOA fees, and insurance bills are all costs you have to budget for. If you have done the research to include a ballpark estimate of all of these expenses and you’re comfortable with the outflow, it’s one of the best signs you are ready to buy a home.

Ready to settle down

Unless you’re in the house flipping business, your home is a long term investment. It’s best to plan to stay in a home for at least five years. If you’re just starting a family and need a certain number of bedrooms and outdoor space, it may be a wise decision to look into buying a home since renting an apartment of that size could cost as much or more. Additionally, if you have dreams of making your house a home, with personalized renovations and décor, owning a home may be right for you.

You may also like: Financial Benefits of Owning a Home

In this series, I highlight the restaurants and food services I like to refer to my home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area. This month I’m talking about HG Bistro.

Restaurant Recommendation Series: HG Bistro

HG Bistro is one of my favorite restaurants in the Puyallup area. Located right on Main street, you’ve likely seen this joint busy on evenings and weekends. In addition to their delicious food and superb customer service, I appreciate that they change up their menu often. Chef Arnel and his team create a featured fresh sheet every two weeks and offer by reservation only intimate wine dinners prepared by Executive Chef Arnel Gaitan. For the past 12 years HG Bistro has been known for their Happy Hour and have been voted in the top 5 of King 5’s “Best Happy Hour” for Western Washington since 2009. Recently they were honored with the #1 spot in 2015.

HG Bistro also puts a strong focus on service fresh and local dishes. They prepare their dishes from scratch by using quality fresh ingredients. They strive to use local farmers as they come available. From their kitchen to the table they are passionate about giving an exceptional culinary experience with warm and professional service for a friendly dining experience.

Here’s what others have to say about HG Bistro:

“Atmosphere was intimate enough to hold a conversation. We got a table last minute on a Friday night and the staff was very inviting and warm. The food was also very good!” – Morgan F.

“A very nice small out of the way bistro between Sumner and Puyallup. The staff is very friendly and attentive. The menu wasn’t very busy. The atmosphere was between casual and fine dining. The food was delicious. They plate the food nice and fancy, felt more fine dining. They have 2 “sides” to the restaurant, one had the decor of casual the other more upscale. I would absolutely go there again.” – Calvin W.

“My Birthday dinner pick! I was so happy with everything. Dinner amazing and the birthday dessert was incredible. Service was outstanding, very attentive staff. I tried the Pom Pom from the drink menu and loved it!” – Kristal H.

For more information on HG Bistro, visit https://www.hgbistro.com.

You may also like: Restaurant Recommendation Series: Tibbitts at Fern Hill

2019 has officially begun, and with the new year comes New Year’s Resolutions. Being more active, saving more money, and organizing your life are common resolutions, but what about goals for your home? Here are 4 essential New Year’s resolutions for home owners.

4 New Year’s Resolutions for Home Owners

Start an emergency fund

One of the most essential New Year’s resolutions for home owners is to start an emergency fund. The idea of setting aside $100 cash every month to put in an emergency fund sounds doable, but often falls on people’s “will do later” list. But what happens if you’re faced with a life changing event where you need access to cash? This year, look at your finances and pick a monthly amount to set aside for your emergency fund. You could save over $1,000 in just one year by staying consistent in putting money aside. You’ll be so happy you did if/when the time comes.

Create a disaster kit

Your home is your castle, but it’s not indestructible. If you haven’t already, create a disaster kit to store in your garage so you’re ready to grab it and go should an emergency happen. A disaster kit that includes financial documents, copies of passports, and a home inventory will speed up recovery if disaster hits. Additionally, it’s a good idea to place at least 3 days of canned food in your disaster kit, along with emergency medical supplies so you’re set for a few days.

Budget for home improvements

Most homeowners have goals of what they want to improve in their home, even those who buy brand new homes. This year budget for one or two large projects so you’re able to make progress on this goal list. These large projects may be replacing roofing, kitchen appliances, or adding a living space onto the back of your home. By achieving one or two of these this year, you’ll stay motivated to keep finishing projects throughout the next few years, and with the right budget to do so.

De-clutter

If you feel like you’re running out of storage in your home, it is time to go through each room and de-clutter. Spend a day in each room and create 3 piles: keep, donate, and sell. Once you’ve made your way through your home, combine all the donate items and drive them to a Goodwill or Salvation Army. Once you have all your sell items in a pile, host a garage sale, or sell online via Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. You’ll find your life less stressful when you get rid of all the unwanted clutter!

You may also like: Benefits of a Smaller Home

7 Home Quotes to Help Make Your House a Home

“Home is not a place it’s a feeling”

home quotes

This is one of my favorite home quotes because it’s true for everyone. No matter how many times you move houses, the feeling of home remains since you are creating memories with your family and friends. For those who travel frequently, relocate for work, or like to switch up the city of choice for the year, you still make every place you stay in your home.

“Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave and grow old wanting to get back to”

home quotes

When you’re young, there’s nothing you want more than to grow up and move out of your childhood home. But as you get older, the comfort and warmth of being home is so satisfying and calming.

“Home wasn’t built in a day”

home quotes

As a new home owner it’s easy to get caught up in the thoughts of wanting to decorate and fill your new home up with new Knick knacks right away. But remember, your home isn’t built in a single day. It’s years and years of memories spent with family and friends, souvenirs brought back from traveling, and small things that remind you of stories that happened in the home that make a house feel like a home.

“There’s nothing more exciting than moving into a new home”

home quotes

Moving homes can be refreshing for so many reasons. Maybe you simply wanted a change of location, maybe you wanted to wash away all the pain from yesterday, maybe you want to meet new people in the neighborhood. Whatever your reason is, moving into a new home is one of the most exciting feelings in the world.

“Disconnect to connect”

home quotes

These days, it’s really easy to lose yourself in social media and staring at a screen. When you’re at home, disconnecting from the stressors of screens can really help you recharge your battery. Disconnecting from electronics while friends and family are over is also a great way to make new memories with those you love the most. This is one of the most important home quotes to live by in today’s day and age.

“There is something permanent, and something extremely profound in owning a home”

home quotes

When you are the owner of a home, you take great pride in maintaining it. There is so much comfort in knowing that you own a large building and that you can decorate it however you want. If you want to build out the deck in the back, go for it! If you decide your paint scheme is totally off and want to go with an entirely new scheme, nothings stopping you!

“If you buy stuff you love, regardless of era or price, your home will be a true reflection of you”

home quotes

It’s really easy to feel pressure in decorating you home a certain way based on TV shows and internet photos. But remember, as long as you love what you’re setting out on display, it will be a true reflection of you and your memories. And that’s something the people you know and love will appreciate.

You may also like: 5 Simple Ways to Decorate Your PNW Backyard

In this series, I highlight the businesses I like to refer to my home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area. This month I’m talking all things insurance with John Hayes, Farmers Insurance.

Vendor Recommendation Series: John Hayes, Farmers Insurance

I can’t say enough wonderful things about John Hayes, Farmers Insurance. First off, his packages are hard to beat. He’s very thorough in explaining every aspect of my home, auto, and business insurance plans. John is also extremely proactive, in that he makes sure he gives me a call if a plan is up for renewal. He also creates comparison charts to show me the value I’m receiving from Farmer’s verses competitors. So naturally, I recommend him all of my home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area.

My clients also rave about him as an insurance agent. He is timely in his responses, and makes sure my clients have all their questions answered. I sell quite a few homes in Orting, WA where there are pockets of homes that require flood insurance. The ability to text John on the fly asking if a certain address requires flood insurance helps me set clear expectations to my clients from that start. This way my clients don’t get their heart set on a home that they then realize it out of their price range with the flood insurance included.

His goal is to help you find the best insurance plan that is tailored to your specific needs for your business or family. He prides himself on the relationships we build with our clients. He invites you to stop by for a cup of coffee to meet him and his team. He offer insurance products such as: Home Owners, Commercial, Auto, Life, and more!

Give him a call at (253) 961-6626 or visit his website, and he’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

You may also like: Vendor Recommendation Series: Immaculate Home Inspection.