Buying Real Estate for Millennials

A lot of people my age and younger feel like buying real estate will never be a reality for them or it’s something that you do after you get married. A lot of us don’t even know the first steps into preparing for homeownership. And how can I blame them? Managing your finances isn’t something that’s taught in school (it should be). Plus with increasing prices for homes and most Millennials living paycheck to paycheck it just seems like that dream of owning a home is exactly that – a dream.

The sunset from my front yard

The truth is being a homeowner takes a lot of sacrifice, I mean, saving money for a downpayment is no joke. You need at least 3.5% plus a number of other things like good credit, stable income, etc. But trust, the benefits and rewards far outweigh the sacrifice for that downpayment. So what are the benefits you ask? Why do you want to buy real estate you ask?

  1. You can do what you want with your home. You can paint the walls, change the floors, you can update your kitchen, you can have a pet without an increase in rent…
  2. It’s one of the best investments you can make. Yes, there are a ton of ways to invest your money – stocks, bonds, IRA’s, etc. But real estate is one of the most secure investments you can make. Most of the time, if you buy a home it will increase in value over time. Charlie and I bought our home in 2011 and it has increased in value by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  3. Most landlords increase rent over time. If you are renting, you pay money to a landlord. Typically you negotiate a lease with said landlord for 6 months or 1 year. After that time, the landlord will likely increase your rent if you want to continue. If you buy a home, a fixed rate mortgage locks in your monthly payment over the entire term of the loan – usually 15 to 30 years. That’s a long time with no increased rent, plus once the loan is paid then you have no more monthly payment!
  4. You can build equity. What’s equity? It’s explained in a simple equation. How much money your house is worth in today’s market – the amount of money you owe the bank = equity. Though this number changes as the market changes just remember that real estate is a pretty consistent investment. So usually (not all the time but usually) your equity will build over time.
  5. Tax deductions. This is a huge benefit. You are able to take a pretty significant tax deduction as the interest on your mortgage is deductible. 
  6. Increase your net worth. What is net worth? Another simple equation. Assets – debt = net worth. Assets can be cash, cars you own, real estate, investments, etc. Debts are normally credit cards and other loans against your name. 

So, have I sold you yet? Now that you know the benefits I just want to say it’s possible. This dream is attainable. But don’t get me wrong, it’ll take some time. If you decided today that you want to buy a home there are a few things you should start doing.

  1. Start saving. The median price for a single family home (detached house) in California was about $566,000 in August of this year. Los Angeles was higher. So you’ll need about $20,000 in savings to buy the median price home, but you’ll need more if you want to live in LA county. I know this feels like a lot, but this is where patience comes in. Start saving, economizing your spending, and put as much away as you can. You’d be surprise how much a little bit of restraint will do to your savings.
  2. Take care of your credit. How’s your credit score? If it’s high, keep it up! Now is not the time to abuse your credit. If it’s low, start repairing your credit. You can do this by paying down your debts consistently and on time. The less debt you have the better chances you have of qualifying for a mortgage. Again, patience is key here. Give yourself time to make this happen, it’s important.

Let’s start with that for now. In the mean time, stay tuned! If you have questions don’t hesitate to leave it in the comments below. I’ve got more real estate content coming soon!

xoxo,

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Tips for International Travel

I’m sitting in my office and I can’t believe that we’re already back from our trip. It almost felt a bit surreal because I only had a week between 2 different countries. I haven’t had the opportunity to internationally travel much as an adult but I’ve got a laundry list of countries I want to visit with Charlie.

En route to LAX for our 2 week adventure!

Preparing for international traveling is much different than traveling domestically, at least in my opinion. I’ve never really had to think too much into traveling logistics until we started traveling to different countries. 

Here are my tips to help prepare for international travel:

  1. Visa requirements: Check if you are required to apply for a visa for the particular country you will be visiting and how long it will take to get approval by their government agency.
  2. Roaming charges: Find out if your cell phone carrier charges for roaming. Sometimes it will be more affordable to just get a sim card in the country you will be visiting.
  3. Data speeds in different countries: Trust me, if you’re planning on using a map on your smartphone you’ll see how important this one is. Not just that but, what about your Instagram posts and stores that we’re going to be jealous of?!
  4. Plug/Outlet voltage by countryCheck the voltage of the country you’re visiting. I noticed most countries are 220/230V while the US is only 110V. 
  5. Passport regulations: Check when your passport expires! Some countries will deny you entry if your passport expires within 6 months.
  6. Be smart about medication you bring. I say it that way because I always bring certain medications with me like allergy medicine and pain relief. But say you’re going to the Philippines where it’s humid and Filipino mosquitos love Foreigner Blood. Don’t buy mosquito repellant from the US, buy it from the Philippines. Take it from a girl that had 3-4 mosquito bites on each leg this last time, it doesn’t work. Maybe they’re immune, IDK. But the mosquito repellant in the Philippines worked like a charm on those damn things!
  7. Get a travel credit card. We have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card which has no foreign transaction fees

Not sure where we’re traveling to next. It’s nice to enjoy the company of our pups and our home for the time being. Let me know if there’s a place you recommend I go on my next adventure!

Missed my boy
Who can resist that face?!

xoxo,

Kissa

 

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Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

I can’t believe it, I looked back at my blog archives from my old blogs and realized I’ve been blogging for 7 years. WOW, just wow. And though I’ve been blogging on and off for all these years, I’ve learned so much in all this time. Through trial and error I’ve found my voice, my writing style, a posting schedule, and all while I journey through self-realization and self-worth.

If you’re thinking of starting a blog, here are some tips that I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Be yourself. The whole point of a blog is to have a medium to express yourself, your true and authentic you. You’ll attract a like-minded audience that’ll value what you have to say.
  2. Don’t worry about how many people are reading your blog. They keyword here: patience. Just do your thing. Trust me here, patience is key. Readers will come as long as you’re consistent and posting good content which leads me to my next point…
  3. Good content. This is a very subjective piece of advice. Good content means a lot of things to a lot of different people. But the main thing I want to get across is promoting yourself, your products, or your services isn’t going to cut it. Neither is copying and pasting a press release. What people want to read about is you. What you think about things, how things make you feel, your personal experiences.
  4. Share the lime light. This goes along the lines of good content. Share products and services you enjoy. Reach out to other bloggers and collaborate on a project, product, or contest. Cross promotion and taking interest in other blogs is such a big part of blogging.
  5. Come up with a schedule. Consistency is key. This is the hardest thing for me to do. I make up excuses of why I didn’t have time to post or how I’m too busy to do it. But for me, blogging is my way of venting, expressing myself, and letting loose; it’s almost therapeutic. When I don’t blog I feel like I have so many thoughts running through my head. Blogging allows me to let my fingers do the talking and it helps me to sort through all the mumbo-jumbo. Once I realized that a blog schedule would help me sort through my ideas about posts and when to post it, it helped with the consistency. I realized that I needed this time for myself, to type what I’m going through and what I’m feeling. Putting it on a schedule gives my blog consistent new content, and it has grown this blog exponentially as well as given me some me time every other day.

The truth is, blogging isn’t easy and it’s not for everyone. As a writer, you need to figure out why you do it. But more on that later 🙂

Have a great week everyone!


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