Even though technically I am not a “Baby Boomer” more like an advanced Gen-X empty nester.. I find myself in this fascinating middle world full of fear, joy, excitement, and even anxiety at times. My 21 year old daughter has informed me that she is actually going to really move out this spring so my brain has been going back to all of the clients I have worked with over the years that have gone through this exact stage in life, and have thrived!
Here I am going to share my top 3 reasons I think Baby Boomers and us advanced Gen X’ers should consider downsizing as our children decide to devolope a world outside of us.
- Reduced Monthly Expenses
Need I say more!!! Hello!! Now you are free to walk around your home without flipping light switches off all day!! So with that being said, a smaller house would equal a smaller mortgage too! Meaning you may have less taxes and insurance may be reduced! In general upkeep and maintenance should be more affordable and that means less money bleeding from your pockets. Condo or townhouse anyone?
- Lifestyle Upgrade
I find that I have a whole lot of time to myself now that my favorite girl is practically self-sufficient. In the process of downsizing, you have the opportunity to move closer or relocate altogether to all of the new and different lifestyle amenities you will want to enjoy.
Is it theater, pottery, hiking, swing and salsa dancing? Cultural activities within walking distance? Kayaking? For Pete’s sake the options are really limitless at this point and this is when it starts getting a little more exciting. And remember, once you have those reduced monthly expenses you will have cash left over to enjoy whatever it is you decided to do in your free time.
- More Life. Less Stuff.
As you simplify your home, you will begin to simplify your life. Edit your possessions!!! Create a lifestyle that functions better and is easier to maintain. There is something intangible / liberating about downsizing and getting rid of “stuff”. I can say that I strongly dislike “stuff” now days.
This is something I have already started putting into place and have become so good at it that my daughter freaks out thinking that there will be nothing for her to take when she does leave! She is so cute. As I replace old and useless items I look for additional one or two things to also donate at the same time. I should probably plan to write a blog about being a minimalist, great idea thanks!
At the end of the day this list could actually go on and on, but what I think is most important is to begin to allow yourself to visualize this next phase. What will your next level of happiness feel like? Know that it will be contagious and your kids will love every moment of it.
Differences between a prequalification and a pre-approval can be the difference between you owning a new home, and you still trolling the internet and dreaming about it. Find out what you need to know about 3 types of lending approvals below and check out my video for additional information and details.
The Pre-Qualification process is an optional step with the lender at the start of the buying process to see how much house you can afford.
What You Need: A Realtor and mortgage professional..
The Pre-Approval (to present with an offer ) is pretty high on the importance meter. Your lender analyzes your credit, finances, employment history, other sources of income, etc. to determine loan ability.
What You Need: Employment history, at least 2 years. Tax records, also 2 years’ worth, and social security numbers to conduct a credit check. If you have investment and savings accounts be prepared to provide financial statements at some point in the process.
Fully Underwritten Loan Approval the final step in your loan approval process! This is pretty much the most important step in obtaining a loan! The pre-approval likely had qualifiers or “conditions”, the lender will follow up with these items with you and then you will be at optimal positioning to make an offer and also compete within a multipl offer situation.
What You Need: Patience and cooperation!!!
Every year the dreaded tax season comes… You get through the holidays and then, bam, time to start gathering those tax documents and find any and every possible tax deduction out there that you qualify for. Owning a home has a lot of benefits, including tax benefits that you can take advantage of. If you purchased or sold a home from me in the last year you will be receiveing a copy of your final settlement statement from your closing. Make sure to include that with your paperwork!
For your entertainment pleasure I am including this wonderful tax time music playlist! Below that you will find additional information on what some of the tax benifits you may have as a homeowner.
For most homeowners, the biggest tax benefit comes from deducting the interest paid on their mortgage. In general, homeowners are allowed to take an itemized deduction for mortgage interest they incur on their homes.
Another big tax break for homeowners comes in the form of deducting property taxes. This is also an itemized deduction. Every year your lender will send you a statement letting you know the exact tax-deductible amount for that year.
Private Mortgage Insurance.
Private Mortgage Insurance(PMI) is usually applied when you buy a house with less than 20 percent down. Homeowners who are paying PMI can deduct the premiums as interest on their tax return.The ability to deduct PMI for mortgages only applies to primary residences taken out in 2007 or later.
***Contact your tax professional for more information. This blog does not, and is not intended to, provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and readers should consult their tax advisors concerning the application of tax laws to their particular situations.***
Like-new and move-in ready, this dynamic 3-bedroom, 2.25-bath home offers eye-catching curb appeal in its smart exterior and meticulous landscaping! Located at 2032 65th St SE, Auburn, WA 98092, this residence is located the Villas at Lakeland Hills and features easy access to shopping, outdoor activities, freeways, and highly rated schools. Boasting both comfort and convenience (plus a high efficiency furnace and tank-less hot water system!), this 1,562-square-foot home is listed for $280,000.
An inviting open floorplan welcomes you inside to discover a living room, casual dining area, and kitchen that boasts ease and efficiency. The kitchen offers stainless steel appliances, tile countertops, plenty of cabinet space, and even a dine-in countertop area! Whether it’s a casual dinner and game night or you’re hosting friends for the big game, you can easily move things to the living room, a space that’s perfect for hosting large groups! Sliding glass doors in the living room reveal a spacious fenced backyard while dousing the room in natural light and providing a scenic view of the lovingly maintained and beautifully landscaped backyard.
Outside, a fenced backyard offers privacy, and an elegantly detailed patio provides a tranquil space to enjoy a relaxing evening, or a special occasion with family and friends. Lush green grass sets the scene, and creates a space that is more than ready for entertaining! Transform this space with flower beds, comfy patio furniture, a barbecue, and this outdoor retreat will be the go-to location for every cookout in the neighborhood. Plus, a nearby playground provides endless hours of entertainment and fun for little ones!
When it’s time to turn in for the night, the spacious master bedroom awaits upstairs, offering an ideal place to wind down in. Comfort and convenience are added with wall-to-wall carpet, a walk-in closet, and ensuite bath make daily life easy and enjoyable. Decorative tile and a textured backsplash add hints of luxury to the master bath. In addition to the 2 other bedrooms upstairs, another room provides extra space for an office, exercise room, and more!
Living in Auburn
Located just east of Tacoma and south of Seattle, the city of Auburn is tucked away in the Green River Valley. At 2032 65th St SE, Auburn, WA 98092, you're just a quick 6-minute drive to Highway 167, making it easy to connect to Interstate-5 and beyond. Those who love the outdoors are also in luck—many outdoor activities including the beautiful Lake Tapps are just minutes away. Heading out to Snoqualmie Pass to play is another popular pasttime for those living in Auburn—hiking and snow sports like skiing, snowboarding, and tubing are all within reach!
Interested in learning more about this listing? Contact REALTOR® Jasmyn Jefferson online here or give her a call/text at (253) 297-2637!
How much does it REALLY cost to buy a home???
I am asked this question all of the time and usually my answer is followed by; ”Well I was talking to such and such and they said it would only cost me $500 to get into the best home eve” My next response is usually, “I think you should sign up for one of my first time homebuyer classes.”
Sure there are loan programs out there and down payment programs to supplement them but no matter how hard one tries it is going to cost some out of pocket expense to attain this goal. Let me share some of the costs beyond the screaming $500 deal.
Down Payment- Unless you are paying cash or are using your VA benefits to purchase your home most loan programs require a down payment. This amount varies and occasionally you may come across a bank offering a conventional zero down loan, the important information to get here is how much will that cost you in points? (There are down payment programs and you can check out my post on First Time Home Buyer classes for more information.)
Closing Costs- Obtaining a home loan costs money! There are lender fees, title, escrow, prorated taxes and a whole slew of not-free things that you will need to be prepared for. (Working with a REALTOR to negotiate closing costs is an option but sometimes your dream home is owned by someone not interested in paying them for you). Closing costs depending on your loan can range anywhere from 2%-6% of the contract purchase price. I recommend asking your mortgage professional during the pre-approval process what you can expect. Everyone’s financial situation is different..
Earnest Money- The earnest money deposit is an important part of the home buying process. It tells the seller you’re a committed buyer, and it helps fund your down payment and or closing costs. Without earnest money, you could make offers on many homes, essentially taking them off the market until you decided which one you liked best. Sellers rarely accept offers without deposits. In many circumstances, you can get most of your deposit back if you discover something that you don’t like about the home. The amount varies from situation to situation and also the temperature of the market. A good rule of thumb is 1% of the offer amount but discuss what is customary in your market with your real estate professional.
Inspections- The last time I went car shopping I purchased a car that was a few years old and I insisted on getting an independent vehicle inspection and I am so glad I did it! Unless you are a home builder or contractor (even then you should get an inspection) you should plan on investing in getting a whole house inspection that includes a pest inspection. Now days some lenders are requesting to take a look at home inspections so being prepared for that as well is a good idea. These inspections can run from $350-$550 depending on the size of the home and some inspectors offer add on’s such as side sewer camera inspections. I don’t know about you but I would rather spend $600-$700 upfront to know what I am getting into rather then find out after the fact that I have $5,000 (or more) worth of repairs that I did not plan for! Your REALTOR should be able to refer you to 3 or more home inspectors upon request.
Home Warranty- A home warranty is different than home insurance. The warranty covers the main operating systems in the home during a set amount of time, usually a year and can be extended optionally. If one of the covered systems fails, for a service fee someone will come out and repair or replace the failed item(s). I always recommend them to clients and they run in range in price from $350-$500. Consider it an investment in your peace of mind while you get settled in.
Appraisal- Most of the time the cost of your appraisal is roled into your closing costs, however some lenders require that you pay for it up front to get it ordered. Find out what your lender will require and if you will be credited this amount back at closing. These typically run $500-$575.
REALTOR- Who pays Jasmyn? Typically in 99.999% of the time the seller pays both the buyer’s broker and their listing broker’s commission at closing out of the proceeds of the sale of the home. The seller signs a listing contract with a pre-determined amount for the selling broker and this amount is disclosed in the listing information online through the multiple-listing service that we use. Some brokers require a buyer’s agency agreement that spells out what they require to get paid so make sure if you sign one you understand what your obligation is up front.
Well now you have it, as you can see it is most likely not going to only cost you $500 to buy a home. So be prepared and equipped to make educated decisions and enjoy your home!
From its beautiful interior details to its many outdoor opportunities, this 2,518-square-foot home is a vacation-worthy retreat and a dream come true for those who need some extra space to spread out in! This generously sized 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath home rests on 5 acres of sprawling, beautiful land. Located at 22908 Storybook Lane NE, Poulsbo, WA 98370, this residence features some unique amenities in addition to the main house and guest suite, including a huge detached 3-car garage (which includes shop and hobby rooms), and a “monster shop” with office space, private parking, and a loft apartment! Built in 1998, this 2-story home is listed for $535,000.
Nestled amidst mature trees, lush foliage, and the peaceful joys of nature, this home boasts plenty of room for pursuing projects, hobbies, and more! The incredible 6,700-square-foot shop offers opportunity for working on cars, woodworking, and beyond—no matter your pursuits, there’s room for it all! An office space, loft apartment, and private parking makes this the perfect place to work on projects in peace and quiet.
When it’s time to head inside and relax, the elegant main house welcomes you inside for easy living. The open concept living area boasts sophisticated vaulted ceilings, sleek floors, and wide windows that let in lots of bright natural light. The remodeled kitchen shows off space to spread out in, from the ample-sized countertops to plenty of cabinet and pantry storage. A connected dining area and living room offer a relaxing atmosphere for kicking back in after a long day spent enjoying the outdoors! Also featured on the main level is the master suite, a lovely private space for rejuvenation. Enjoy views of the tranquil outdoors right from bed! Have guests? A 1-bedroom, attached guest home with a full kitchen and full bath are available for your convenience!
Living in Poulsbo
Located in Kitsap County along the shimmering Puget Sound, Poulsbo is just between the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges. A small city that’s sometimes known as “Little Norway,” this Pacific Northwest gem is packed with history, sites, and attractions. Especially of note is Front Street, a lovely “main street” of vintage murals, acclaimed bakeries, craft shops and much more. At 22908 Storybook Lane NE, Poulsbo, WA 98370, you’re just a 15-minute drive to the Kingston Ferry that heads over to Edmonds, and it’s just a short 10-minute drive to Highway 3!
Interested in learning more about this listing? Contact REALTOR® Jasmyn Jefferson online here or give her a call/text at (253) 297-2637!
Located at 4301 N 19th St, Tacoma, WA 98406, this delightful Craftsman is nestled on a corner lot in Tacoma’s much-loved Proctor District. Built in 1919, this well-maintained vintage home features modern amenities and upgrades, like a new roof and a recently replaced side sewer line. This 846 sq. ft. home includes 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and is offered at $199,000.
Through the front door, a spacious, bright living room with beautiful fir floors and large picturesque windows awaits! A fireplace and original wood trim set the relaxing scene. The kitchen opens up to reveal a cheerful vibe, and plenty of storage space and a lovely dining area offer convenience. The main floor also features 2 bedrooms. This home also provides lots of extra storage space; the full attic and basement offer amply sized areas for organizing.
Through the back door, the garage, RV parking, and a huge backyard retreat all offer plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the outdoors. A patio offers a sweet spot to show off potted plants, and a sprawling garden provides privacy and room to spread out in!
Living in the Proctor District
North Tacoma’s treasured Proctor District is a tight-knit community with friendly, small town vibes. The historic neighborhood is filled with locally owned restaurants, boutiques, coffee shops, and grocery stores. Many also appreciate the area due to its convenience; it’s a quick 10-minute dive to Downtown Tacoma, Interstate 5, or Gig Harbor.
Interested in learning more about this listing? Contact REALTOR® Jasmyn Jefferson online here or give her a call/text at (253) 297-2637
Boasting a spacious layout and custom built, this 2,360-sq. ft. home in Bremerton is tucked on a private road, just minutes to downtown Bremerton’s conveniences and ferries. Located at 4124 NW Essex Rd, Bremerton, WA 98310, this 4-bedroom, 2.25-bath home is listed at $355,000.
Spacious and offering plenty of room to spread out, the main floor includes a large living room, complete with a fireplace and generous windows that look out onto a forest of lush foliage. The kitchen—large and elegant—is well-laid out and features tons of storage, including two pantries! Built with enduring quality, the kitchen offers space to whip up elaborate meals, and also provides a place where memories are bound to be made: a counter dining area as well as an adjacent dining room allow for and encourage togetherness.
Upstairs, a large bonus room and an amazing private master suite await. The master suite includes its own deluxe bathroom, complete with luxurious details that transform it into a relaxing retreat. Downstairs, three additional bedrooms, a bathroom and a living room provide ample space. The living room even includes a fireplace and a wet bar, perfect for cozying up with friends and having a good time!
Outside, a detached 4-car garage makes any mechanic's or car aficionado's dreams come true! A custom automotive hydraulic floor lift is built into this ideal garage that’s sure to be filled with hours and hours of fun and enjoyment. Take a moment to explore more of this custom residence here.
Living in Bremerton
Located in Kitsap County on the Puget Sound, Bremerton enjoys the amenities and scenery of a seaside city. At 4124 NW Essex Rd, Bremerton, WA 98310, you’re just minutes from the Rolling Hills Golf Course, the Illahee Preserve, and the waterfront. The Bremerton-Seattle ferry is just a short drive away, and connecting to Highway 3 and Highway 16 is quick and easy.
Located in the lovely Eldorado Hills neighborhood in Bremerton at 5229 NW El Camino Blvd, Bremerton, WA 98312, this home-sweet-home has plenty of space to really spread out in and let your vision of “home” take form! At 3,136-sq. ft., this 4-bedroom, 2.75-bath oasis is listed at $370,000.
A timeless fireplace and dark, rich hardwood floors welcome you into the living room, a warm space of retreat and relaxation. Alongside the living room rests the kitchen, beautifully remodeled and featuring elegant details throughout. The dining room is adjacent to the kitchen as well, and is surrounded by large windows and a series of sliding glass doors. And just outside… an expansive deck with breathtaking views await!
With two levels of decks, this home is truly built for enjoying the scenic outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. Patio furniture, a barbecue, and a couple of lounge chairs will transform the patio into a little getaway destination, in and of itself. Enjoy birds chirping in the morning over fresh cup of coffee, and host guests in the evening for cocktail hours and dinner parties while you take in the vibrant sunset.
In the lower level, a huge bonus living room is an impressive site and provides the perfect space to really unwind in. Ping pong or pool, anyone? Whether you choose to set up an entertainment station or a workout area—or both—this bonus room allows for lots of flexibility and convenience!
Other luxuries include an elegant en suite master bath, a cedar-lined cellar for wine enthusiasts, and handy RV parking.
Living in Chico near Bremerton
Located in Kitsap County, Chico is right on Highway 3, which easily connects to the convenient Highway 16. Chico is also just a ferry ride away from Seattle: you can hop on the ferry at the Bremerton Ferry Terminal and enjoy a 1-hour ferry ride right into downtown Seattle.
Residents of Chico love to take advantage of the outdoor activities that are available in the area; not only is Chico right on the water, but it’s also just minutes away from Newberry Hill Heritage Park, Kitsap Golf & Country Club, Wildcat Lake, Kitsap Lake, and more!
So you have decided that the whole renting thing is getting old and for the birds! You are ready to put down some roots and become a homeowner!! Now what?!? If you are like most people this thought can feel a little (a lot) intimidating so doing your homework and formulating a plan can really ease some of this pressure.
I work with a substantial amount of first time home buyers and they come from all walks of life and financial positions, but my message is ALWAYS the same… Get pre-approved by a lender before you start looking at homes! There are so many loan options out there that to truly get a clear picture of what to expect.. You must speak to a lender or loan officer as soon as possible. And truely who wants to get there hearts set on a dream home only to find out its $20,000 more then you can afford OR you are missing out on your dream home thinking small.
Some standard items that a mortgage professional will need;
1. Pay stubs for the previous 2 months
2. FULL bank statements for the previous 2 months
3. W2’s for the previous 2 years
4. Pension, Trust, or Social Security documents or award letters.
5. A copy of your driver’s license
6. Copy of divorce decrees
7. Copy of bankruptcy paperwork
This is a very basic list of items, the more that you have during your initial visit the better! And don’t worry about making copies, bring your originals and copies can be made for you at the time of your visit.
Knowing what your mortgage payment is going to be is so important and often times missed so try not to get so caught up in just focusing on how much you qualify for, also note how much you will be paying monthly! Sometimes your maximum purchase amount does not match what you want to spend on housing so make sure you know what this number is and that it fits your budget!
Speaking of mortgage payments.. Sometimes the online versions of mortgage calculators do not include home insurance, mortgage insurance, and or taxes. You will find that a good portion of these sites are only useful for someone on the other end to capture your information. Ask around for a referral and don’t be concerned with talking to a few people before deciding who to dump your financial information on..
Now the fun begins! Once you have that preapproval in hand it is time to go shop for that dream home.. With your favorite REALTOR of course!
Check out my other blog posts on homeownership for additional ideas and tips to prepare for this big life step!