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A neighborhood is a neighborhood. And a business district is a business district, right? Unfortunately, it's not so cut and dry. There are actually nine major zoning types in most areas. And these can impact things like home use, home value, and property taxes. Zoning can change over time.

Let's explore the five you're most likely to encounter. 

1. Commercial

Generally, this property is intended exclusively for money-making purposes.

Commercial zoning has several sub-categories that may define how the land can be used. This varies by city but may include:

  • Office space
  • Shopping 
  • Night club
  • Hotel
  • Apartments
  • Certain commercial buildings may have added restrictions such as distance from a school or residential area. As a home-buyer, it's important to consider how commercial property near you is zoned. For example, if an apartment complex may go up in that vacant lot down the street someday, this may impact whether you want to move here now.

    2. Residential

    Residential zoning can include a wide variety of housing types:

  • Single-family
  • Duplexes
  • In-law units
  • Garage apartment rentals
  • Trailer parks
  • Condos
  • Tiny homes
  • Home-based businesses
  • Whether these are allowed depends on local and community codes. For example, many city ordinances may state that mobile homes are not permitted in city limits. This may impact tiny houses as well.

    Residential zoning typically prohibits "farm animals". So building a barn or keeping a cow in the back yard may be against the law. What is permitted may impact the community and home values change over time. So it's vital to consider.

    3. Rural

    Rural zones cover land outside a metropolitan area or in between towns. People of this property often have more control over what they do with their land. They'll typically pay less for land in these areas as well as fewer taxes. That also means that homes may appreciate less in these areas.

    But keep in mind, if rural land is close to city limits, it may become residential at some point. This may increase your home value because you now have access to city services. But you'll also see property taxes rise.

    4. Historic

    When cities want to maintain the charm of an older part of town, they may classify it as historic. If you move here, you will have to comply with rules intended to keep an original style. But as a trade-off, you may be entitled to grants and federal tax credits. If well-maintained, a historic home can be an exciting place to live.

    5. Aesthetic 

    Aesthetic districts are designed to maintain a unified aesthetic throughout the neighborhood. This makes the community more desirable. In theory, this keeps house values on the rise. They are often run by HOAs who may dictate for example:

  • Outside paint colors
  • Types of shrubs
  • Fencing
  • Mailbox style
  • Real Estate Zoning & Buying a Home

    Zoning is a crucial part of the home buying decision. It influences both what you can do with the property and how well the property holds its value. For more home buying tips, follow our blog.


    If budgeting isn’t your thing, you’ll be glad to discover that it’s quite simple. There’s a way to categorize your spending and save money easily. If you learn the rule, it will become so automatic that you won’t even think about it. If you’re saving money for a home, this practice will be essential. Break your budget down into three categories: 


    • Living expenses
    • Financial goals
    • Personal spending


    Half of your budget should go towards living expenses. This number includes all of the essentials like rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, commute costs, and insurances. 


    20 percent of your income should go towards other financial goals like savings, investments, or paying down debt. Credit card bills, student loans, and other bills would fall under this category. This category is also where you’d save for your down payment, closing costs, and other expenses. This percentage can be adjustable depending on how much debt you have or how much you need to save for retirement. 


    The remaining 30 percent of your income can go towards personal spending. This category includes everything that you use your money for but isn’t a necessity. This percentage is also flexible. If your lifestyle doesn’t require you to use all 30 percent each month, you can indeed save more money.


    A Clear Plan 


    These categories simplify your budget. Even if you make some adjustments to the numbers, the outline truly makes budgeting easy even for the most scatterbrained among us. It allows you to see where your money goes clearly. It also works no matter what kind of living situation you have.


    The great thing about this budgeting plan is that you have some future needs built into it. Many times, when we budget, we think of our immediate needs and our shorter term goals. Saving for any occasion can never happen too early. You are able to not only focus on your current goals and the future.   



    Steps


    First, determine your monthly income. This number is how much money you take home after taxes. From here, you’ll be able to split your money into categories by percentages. If your income fluctuates frequently, you’ll need to take an average of your monthly income to determine your numbers. 


    Next, you should take a look at your spending habits. These include everything from your morning latte to your monthly rent payment. From here you can make adjustments. Perhaps you need to look for a less expensive apartment. Maybe you need to cut down your weekly pizza to a bi-monthly purchase. Whatever you see in your finances, a simple percentage rule gives you the tools you need to become a saver and be well on your way to the purchase of your first home.     



    Home improvements are a vital part to keeping your home up-to-date with the times and also to ensure that it doesn’t lose value when it comes time to sell.

    To save money, many homeowners take the do-it-yourself route and use the tools at their disposal to upgrade their homes. Sites like YouTube have made it easier than ever to follow step-by-step tutorials that show you how to make substantial repairs and upgrades to your home without having to pay a professional.

    The down side, however, is that when you choose to DIY, you take on the risk of going over budget by making mistakes. You also risk stretching out your project weeks or months longer than necessary due to a lack of time to work on it.

    In today’s post, we’re going to talk about how you can stay on budget and on track to finish your home improvement project without bringing in the professionals.

    Making a timeline

    Let’s start with the big picture for your home renovations. When deciding which improvements to make, it’s important to know your limits in terms of the work you can do.

    Set a reasonable number of hours you can work on your projects per week. Go easy on yourself. Most of us are already tired when we get home from work and probably won’t be able to start tackling big projects in the evenings. Rather, try to give yourself one weekend day to work on your projects and one weekend day to relax.

    The most important aspect of creating your timeline is to try and keep your schedule open. So, write down the time you want to work on your home in your calendar, planner, or whichever app or tool you use to plan your time.

    This will help you to avoid creating conflicting events and obligations, and help you stay on track to finishing your improvement projects.

    If you’re looking for an evening activity related to your home improvement projects, it’s a good idea to start watching some video tutorials of people doing the same renovations as you. This will help you avoid mistakes and look out for common obstacles that you’ll face along the way.

    Budgeting your improvement

    You’ll want to save up for your project in advance, if possible, to avoid accumulating credit card debt. Your home improvement project should, in effect, gain you money by increasing the value of your home, not make you lose money on credit card interest payments.

    Budgeting in itself is an art that few of us are taught in school. Fortunately, there are several free budgeting apps available. Or, you can simply draw one up yourself.

    The key to creating a home improvement budget is to know how much of your monthly savings you can devote to this project without having to dip into other funds. To do this, you’ll need a clear understanding of where your income goes.  

    Once you have a budget and a timeline for your home improvement project, you’re ready to begin. Just make sure you check in on your timeline and your budget throughout the length of the project to make sure you’re meeting your goals and aren’t overspending.


    When it comes to buying a house, there is no need to deal with a stubborn home seller. However, you may encounter a stubborn home seller, regardless of how well you prepare for your homebuying journey. And if you're not careful, a stubborn home seller may cause you to miss out on an opportunity to purchase your ideal residence.

    Don't let a stubborn home seller get the best of you. Instead, use these tips to ensure you can handle negotiations with a stubborn home seller like a pro.

    1. Don't Panic

    If you are forced to deal with a stubborn home seller, there's no need to get discouraged. Conversely, consider the property seller's perspective, and you may be able to get the best results out of a tough situation.

    Open the lines of communication with a home seller – you'll be glad you did. If you maintain open communication, you may be able to find out the root cause of a home seller's stubbornness and plan accordingly.

    Also, don't panic if a home seller fails to communicate with you, and try to avoid assumptions at all costs. By doing so, you'll be able to remain calm, cool and collected and maintain your patience as you try to figure out the best way to acquire your dream house.

    2. Be Prepared for the Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios

    In the best-case scenario, a stubborn home seller will explain his or her demands. Then, you can negotiate with a home seller, find common ground with him or her and work toward finalizing a home purchase agreement.

    On the other hand, it is important to understand the worst-case scenario as well.

    In the worst-case scenario, you and a home seller may be unable to find common ground. And if this occurs, you should be prepared to walk away from a potential homebuying negotiation and restart your search for the perfect residence.

    3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

    Are you unsure about how to deal with a stubborn home seller? There's no need to worry, especially if you consult with a real estate agent.

    With an expert real estate agent at your side, you should be able to overcome any potential homebuying hurdles.

    An expert real estate agent will act as a liaison between you and a home seller. He or she will learn about the needs of a homebuyer and home seller and ensure both parties can achieve their ideal results.

    Furthermore, an expert real estate agent can respond to any homebuying concerns and questions. This housing market professional can teach you about the ins and outs of purchasing a residence and provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. As a result, a real estate agent can help you simplify the homebuying process and ensure you can secure a first-rate house that matches or exceeds your expectations.

    Ready to streamline the homebuying journey? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can get the support you need to deal with a stubborn home seller.


    Your credit score can play a major role in your ability to get the financing that you need to buy a house. As such, you'll want to do everything possible to improve your credit score before you enter the real estate market.

    Now, let's take a look at three quick, easy ways to boost your credit score.

    1. Pay Off Debt As Quickly As Possible

    Get a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report annually from each credit reporting bureau, and you should take advantage of this perk so that you can learn about your outstanding debt.

    If you have lots of outstanding debt, you'll want to start paying this off as quickly as possible. Because the less debt that you have, the more likely it becomes that you can get a favorable mortgage from a credit union or bank.

    Don't wait to begin paying off outstanding debt. If you pay off even a small portion of your outstanding debt regularly, you can move closer to getting the financing that you need to acquire a terrific house.

    2. Avoid New Credit Cards

    A low credit score can be worrisome, and it may cause you to consider a variety of options to manage outstanding debt. However, if your credit score is low, there is no need to take out additional credit cards.

    New credit cards may seem like viable short-term options to help you cover various expenses while you pay off assorted outstanding debt. But these cards are unlikely to help you resolve the biggest problem – paying off your outstanding debt to bolster your credit score.

    Instead of signing up for new credit cards, it often helps to cut back on non-essential bills. For instance, if you don't need cable, you may be able to eliminate this expense and use the money that you save to pay off outstanding debt. Or, if you have first-rate items that you don't need, you may want to sell these items and use the profits to pay off myriad bills.

    3. Keep Your Credit Card Balances Low

    Once you have paid off your outstanding debt, you'll want to keep your credit card balances low.

    It often helps to have one credit card that you can use in emergencies. If you keep one credit card and get rid of any others, you may be better equipped than ever before to maintain a high credit score.

    Lastly, if you require additional assistance as you prepare to kick off a home search, you may want to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you narrow your home search to residences that fall within a specific price range. That way, you can avoid the risk of spending too much to acquire a house.

    Increase your credit score – use the aforementioned tips, and you can raise your credit score before you launch a home search.




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