• The Recovering Pessimist | How Escrow Works #HomeWithJoy | www.therecoveringpessimist.me | #amwriting #recoveringpessimist #optimisticpessimist #HomeWithJoy #HomeDepot #Lowes #Target #Homeowner #Homeownership #AtJoysHouse #HomeWithJoyFaves #WelcomeHome #homedecor #HomeMaintenance #Pinterest
    Home With Joy

    How Escrow Works #HomeWithJoy

    What is escrow?

    Think of escrow as a piggy bank. A portion of your monthly mortgage payment goes into your escrow account to cover payments for your real estate taxes and insurance. When your real estate taxes and insurance are due, your mortgage provider will disburse those payments from the escrow account.

    Keep in mind that real estate taxes are based on the assessed value of your home and may change based on that assessment. Your mortgage provider will perform an escrow review at least once a year to make sure there’s enough money in the escrow account to cover your taxes and insurance.

    Did you know that state and federal laws & mortgage providers require that escrow accounts hold a minimum balance?

    The required balance, tax assessment, and recent disbursements are all considered during the escrow review. If the assessment reflects a surplus (more money in the escrow account than you need), your mortgage provider will notify you if a refund is due.

    If the assessment reflects a shortage, there are 2 options for paying the shortage:

    1. Pay the shortage in full.
    2. Spread the shortage over 12 months, which would increase the monthly mortgage payment.

    Sidenote: You can pad your escrow account throughout the year by making monthly escrow-only payments. I take the amount of my last escrow shortage and divide it by 12. That’s the minimum amount I put into my escrow account each month.

    I hope this provides some clarity regarding escrow. If you have any questions, let me know. I’ll try my best to answer them.

    Until next time,

    Joy

     

  • Home With Joy

    My Home Emergency Must-Haves #HomeWithJoy

    The Recovering Pessimist | My Home Emergency Must-Haves | www.therecoveringpessimist.me | #amwriting #recoveringpessimist #optimisticpessimist #HomeWithJoy #HomeDepot #Lowes #Target #Homeowner #Homeownership #AtJoysHouse #HomeWithJoyFaves #WelcomeHome #homedecor #HomeMaintenance #Pinterest

    When it comes to owning a home, my favorite quote comes to mind:

    If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.

    You hope that you won’t experience an emergency, but that’s damn near impossible. Emergencies WILL happen. The best thing you can do is to prepare as much as possible. If want to get an idea of what your emergency must-haves should include, check out my must-haves below:

    Supplies
    • Batteries
    • Flashlight(s)/LED lantern(s)
    • Non-perishable items
      • I keep canned/dry beans, canned fruit, rice, and canned tomatoes in my pantry.
    • Blanket(s)
    • Water
    • Tool kit
      • An easy way to get your basic tools (e.g., hammer, tape measure, level, wrench, pliers, screwdriver, etc.).
    Know where they are (and how to use them)
    • Water shut off valve
    • Circuit breaker box
    MISC
    • Home contact list
      • My list has the names and phone numbers of my neighbor, HVAC servicer, contractor, plumber, and home insurance provider.

    I hope you find this list helpful.

    Until next time,

    Joy

     

     

     

  • Home With Joy

    Things I considered while looking at homes #HomeWithJoy

    The Recovering Pessimist | I did these 2 things before buying my home | www.therecoveringpessimist.me | #amwriting #recoveringpessimist #optimisticpessimist #HomeWithJoy #HomeDepot #Lowes #Target #Homeowner #Homeownership #AtJoysHouse #HomeWithJoyFaves #WelcomeHome #homedecor #HomeMaintenance #Pinterest

    After I spoke with the mortgage officer, I started looking at houses. Bad idea. Why? Because I had no parameters in place. I saw houses I couldn’t afford, houses that were too big, etc. To prevent further overwhelm, I got realistic and wrote down a list of all the things I needed to consider when looking at homes.

    Monthly mortgage payment

    One of my non-negotiables was that I wanted to pay less than $1,000/month for my mortgage. The whole point of buying a home was to not continue dealing with the yearly rise in rent.

    Square footage

    I knew that I wanted to live in a smaller size house, no more than 1,000 square feet. Heating/Cooling a larger home would be expensive and I didn’t want to spend the money on that. Plus I was used to living comfortably in smaller apartments.

    Neighborhood

    There were some places in #RVA that I wasn’t going to be able to live in because the housing prices were beyond my budget.

    I also wanted to live close enough to my favorite shopping locations, restaurants, and bars.

    Exterior design

    I was interested in brick homes. I love the classic look, plus there’s practically no upkeep. I also knew that I didn’t want vinyl siding or stucco because of the maintenance.

    Heating/Cooking Source

    I wanted my home to only use electricity for heating and cooking. Gas (cooking/heating) and oil (heating) are both expensive and I didn’t want to make room in my budget for either of them.

    Condition of the windows

    When I was looking at houses in person, I paid close attention to the windows. If the seller was unwilling to pay for new windows or lower the sales price, I might have to pay for them myself (or wall away).

    Will my current furniture fit?

    When I was looking at houses, I considered the size of my current furniture. As a result, several houses didn’t make the cut.

  • Home With Joy

    I did these 2 things before buying my home #HomeWithJoy

    The Recovering Pessimist | I did these 2 things before buying my home | www.therecoveringpessimist.me | #amwriting #recoveringpessimist #optimisticpessimist #HomeWithJoy #HomeDepot #Lowes #Target #Homeowner #Homeownership #AtJoysHouse #HomeWithJoyFaves #WelcomeHome #homedecor #HomeMaintenance #Pinterest

    The process of buying a home was super stressful for me. When I was exploring the idea of buying a home, I made sure that I had a realistic idea of what was involved. To see if becoming a homeowner was possible, I did two things: 

    One: I attended a first-time homeowner seminar. 

    My credit union hosted the seminar. Realtors and mortgage loan officers from the credit union were in attendance. Some of the topics covered during the seminar were:

    • How much house can I afford?
    • Homebuying costs
    • Understanding Credit Scores
    • Down Payment Assistance (DPA) Grants & Gifts
    • What’s included in a house payment
     Two: I spoke with a mortgage loan officer 

    A few days after the seminar, I spoke with a mortgage loan officer from my credit union. I wanted to know if I had a realistic shot at becoming a homeowner, so I asked the following questions: 

    • Was I in good standing to buy a home?
      • If I wasn’t in good standing what steps do I need to take to get in good standing?
    • How much house can I comfortably afford?
      • I say comfortably because if you qualify for a higher amount than what you’re comfortable with, you don’t have to buy a home at that higher amount.
    • If I brought a home at an amount I’m comfortable with, roughly how much will closing costs be?
    • Are there any programs that help first-time homeowners with closing costs?
    • What are the costs involved with the homeownership process (e.g., application fee, earnest money, etc.).

    I didn’t have to provide any financial documents for this conversation. Instead, I provided the mortgage loan officer with financial figures that were accurate as of the day of the conversation. This helped me get a more realistic idea of what I was working with.

    You don’t have to speak with someone from your credit union. However, I would strongly suggest that you speak with a well-qualified individual that takes your needs/wants into consideration. Purchasing your home is one accomplishment. Keeping your home is another.

    Until next time,

    Joy

  • Home With Joy

    Preparing My Home for Fall/Winter #HomeWithJoy

    The Recovering Pessimist | Preparing My Home for Fall/Winter | www.therecoveringpessimist.me | #HomeWithJoy #HomeDepot #Lowes #Target #Homeowner #Homeownership #AtJoysHouse #HomeWithJoyFaves #WelcomeHome #homedecor #HomeMaintenance #Pinterest

    This summer has been one for the books. With the evenings getting cooler, I’m starting to prepare myself and my home for the cold months ahead. I wasn’t too prepared last year and felt bleh.

    Lesson learned.

    I started thinking about what I want my home to look and feel like during the cooler months in July. I knew I wanted it to feel cozy all around. To get that coziness, I realized that I needed to enhance the senses.

    How do I enhance the senses?

    I’m a big fan of the “small change yields big results” mentality. Here are a few things I’ve done + plan to do:

    • I purchased these Philips color-changing Wi-fi light bulbs.
      • I brought these bulbs to add some color to my home. The Wiz app that operates these bulbs has a Schedules feature where I can put the bulbs on an alarm to wake me up with the bulb color of my choice. Much more gentle than waking up in darkness.
    • Add more texture.
      • I want to buy some faux sheepskin rugs like this one from IKEA.
      • I want to get some slipcovers for my sofa and loveseat in a velvet or velvet-like texture.
    • Bring nature inside.
      • I’ve been purchasing houseplants throughout the spring and summer. My favorite places to buy houseplants are Lowe’s, Home Depot, local greenhouses, and nurseries.
    • Smell goods
      • I’ve accumulated quite the stockpile of smell goods. As of this post I have fabric sprays, room sprays, oil plugins, and candles. I can’t wait to amp up the cozy factor.

    Do you prepare your home for the colder months? If yes, what do you do to get ready? I’d love to know.

    Until next time,

    Joy

  • Home With Joy

    Welcome#HomeWithJoy

    The Recovering Pessimist | Welcome #HomeWithJoy | www.therecoveringpessimist.me | #amwriting #recoveringpessimist #optimisticpessimist #HomeWithJoy

    After 3 years of living in my home, I’ve finally created a space on the blog where I share my life as a homeowner.

    I want to share my experience purchasing my home. 

    I want to share how I maintain my home (there’s always something to do). 

    I want to share what makes me happy as a homeowner (winks at Home Depot and Lowe’s). 

    Welcome #HomeWithJoy. Shoes are optional…I have hardwood floors 😉.

     

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