Real Living Realty Group



Posted by Real Living Realty Group on 6/25/2017

Getting ready to buy a home is one of the most exciting times in life. The purchase of a home is one of the biggest financial decisions that you will ever make in your lifetime. When you make the decision to buy a home. There are a few key things that you need to do to be prepared for the process of a property purchase. It can be simple if you have the right preparation and knowledge.


Find The Right Realtor


A good realtor will steer you in the right direction when it comes to finding the home of your dreams. Your real estate agent also will help you each step of the way on the road to buying that home. There’s a lot of paperwork that must be done in a timely manner throughout the buying process. The right realtor can even help you to get the offer in for the right home in on time. In a competitive market, having a realtor who is on top of things can mean the difference between purchasing the home you want and letting it fall through the cracks.


Know That You’re Signing A Lot Of Legal Paperwork


The purchase of a home does involve a contract. If you need more time for anything such as reviewing your home inspection or waving certain contingencies, you’ll need to state that. Every piece of the transaction is important and needs to be formally processed when it comes to purchasing a home. Your realtor will be there to help you through all of these complicated processes. 


Think Of The Future


When you’re choosing a home, you’re not just buying for your life as it stands right now. Are you hoping to have a big family? Do you need a home office? How much entertaining are you planning on doing? All of these things are important when it comes to the type of home that you’ll buy. If you don’t plan for the future, you’ll outgrow the home that you’re in quite quickly. 


Look For Potential


See what potential the homes that you’re looking at have for you. Some homes may have major cosmetic issues that can easily be fixed. Perhaps The walls just need some fresh coast of paint. Maybe the deck needs to be stained. If you go into the house search with an open mind, it will be a lot easier for you to find the right home. You don’t need a home that is absolutely move-in-ready unless of course, you’re building a brand new home from scratch.


Know Your Finances


One of the most important things about buying a home is knowing your finances. Don’t buy a home that you can‘t afford. From looking at your own budget to getting pre-approved, you’ll be able to have a better understanding of your own financial situation and how much house you can afford.




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Posted by Real Living Realty Group on 6/18/2017

Once you move in with a partner, you know you have reached an important milestone in your relationship. For the first time, you could be talking about money with your partner. Whether you’re moving into an apartment or buying a home together, it’s important to break down how you’ll merge your finances together. 


While it’s one of the least romantic conversations that you’ll probably have as a couple, sharing your financial situation is one of the most vital. Below you’ll find some tips on starting that conversation and making it a smooth one.


Be Honest


In any relationship, honesty and communication are key. This is especially true when it comes to finances. There’s a lot that goes into your own financial picture, and it’s important that you share that with your partner. This is important for everything that will happen in the future including purchasing a home. Some things that your partner should know:


  • How much loan debt you have
  • A rough idea of your credit score and history
  • Your income
  • Your spending habits
  • Your saving habits

It’s important to know how another person’s habits will affect you as a whole when you’re thinking of making an investment together like a piece of property. Everyone handles money differently, and you should know how someone’s spending habits meshes with yours. Do they live paycheck to paycheck? Do they save money regularly? Are they financially strained? All of these questions help you to understand where you are similar and where you are different when it comes to money.



Have A Plan For How You’ll Divide Expenses


It may seem like a 50/50 split on expenses makes the most sense. For many couples it does. In other situations, if one person makes more money, they may need to pay a bit more of the costs. Some couples have one person pay the rent while the other takes the utilities on as an expense. Take amounts and percentages that you feel comfortable with and do what wrks best for the both of you. 


Remember that chores count too when it comes to dividing up the “expenses.” This is just an extra tip that will help you to build a stronger relationship in the long term and help to save arguments.


Use A Joint Account For Expenses


You should still keep your own bank accounts when you move in with a significant other.  All of your money shouldn’t be funneled into one singular account. Create a separate bank account for your expenses like rent or mortgage and utilities. All of your personal expenses should come out of your own respective accounts. 


Make Contracts


No matter how much you feel that you can trust a person, it’s always good to put everything in writing. This way, if there are any disputes in the future, you’ll always have a contract that you can refer back to. It’s also important to have these documents for things like security deposits or down payments. If the relationship ends at any point, it’s important for the person who paid for certain things to get their money back.     


Planning and tracking your finances when you move in with a significant other is important. It will certainly make your life easier if you have these conversations beforehand.





Posted by Real Living Realty Group on 6/11/2017

Going green seems to be on our minds nowadays more than ever. We recognize that there are lots of ways we can shrink our carbon footprint whether it be by recycling paper goods or opting for reusable items in place of disposable ones. One arena we might not think to lower our footprint in is furniture shopping. There are, however, a few steps you can take to make a more conscientious purchase for your home. When foraying into the green/sustainable shopping lifestyle it is always best to keep the term reduce, reuse, recycle in mind. Before running out to buy a new piece of furniture, albeit one with a smaller footprint, ask yourself how vital the piece of furniture you are looking for is. Is it highly functional and does it fit in well with your other pieces? Or is it a purchase you are making on a whim that does not have a purpose or fit in seamlessly with the rest of your decor? It is important to start with the big picture in mind and find a piece that you can keep, and love, for years to come. Start with upcycling - check to see if you have something similar lying around the house that could be altered. Ask friends and family if they have unused furniture that would fit the bill and check second-hand shops in your area for pieces that will do the trick. If you are handy and/or creative think of ways a piece can be altered to better suit the needs of your home. Try DIY - Consider making a piece on your own from scratch. Not only will it be an engaging project for the weekend you can be proud of but you will also have complete control of the final outcome allowing you to create a one-of-a-kind custom piece. When DIY-ing choose paints that are VOC(volatile organic compounds)-free lumber with the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification. Many popular paint brands now offer VOC-free options in their color lines and can easily be found at home improvement stores. Look for labels - when shopping for a new furniture piece look for labels. Certification labels, that is. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has a certification for wood that is responsibly sourced, the Rainforest Alliance has a Rediscovered Wood Certification for items made with reclaimed material and Greenguard is a certification for items with low-toxicity. Sustainability is on our minds more than ever as climate change is becoming more and more evident of an issue and the toxicity of everyday products has become concerning. With some time, patience and research not only can you be well equipped to make your furniture choices well-informed ones but also have fun along the way.




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Posted by Real Living Realty Group on 6/4/2017

With grocery prices on the rise, many of us are cutting corners any way we can at the supermarket. Some people cut coupons, others have switched to wholesale grocery stores where they can buy in bulk to save. However, there are many ways you can be more frugal just by switching to some more cost-effective recipes. Here are some frugal cooking ideas that will help you save each week at the register.

Smart lunches

Preparing lunches can seem like a chore that no one has time for. Many people find themselves grabbing a can of soup while they run out the door. Others go out for fast food on their lunch break spending money on food and gas. There’s a solution to this problem that will save you money on lunches and save you time in the morning—bulk cooking.

Pick one or two lunches that you’d like to eat throughout the week and prepare them all Sunday morning. You could buy ingredients for a couple types of tacos to avoid getting sick of the same ones every day of the week.

Aside from tacos, other good lunch meals to cook in bulk include pizzas, stir fry meals, burritos, and pasta dishes.

Cook with the staple foods

You can save a huge amount of money at the grocery store by planning out meals that involve staples like rice, beans, pasta, and frozen vegetables. When bought in larger portions, you’ll save at the register but won’t sacrifice nutritional content because these food staples are rich in essential vitamins and nutrients.

Omit the meat on occasion

We eat a lot of animal products in America. The beef industry alone leaves a larger carbon footprint on the environment that the auto industry! Is your family the type that has some form of meat with every meal of the week? If so, you’re probably spending a lot more at the grocery store than need be. Vegetarian and vegan meal options are usually cheaper and just as healthy (if not healthier) than meals that have meat. If you’re worried about not feeling full from a vegetarian meal, try making recipes with hearty ingredients and plant-based proteins (beans, nuts, grains, etc.). A good example would be a burrito packed with rice, beans, and grilled vegetables.

Plan before you shop

Many people have a hard time saving money at the grocery sure because they’re just not sure what to cook. They arrive at the store with only a vague idea of what they want to eat and then fill their cart with all the possibilities. Plan out a weekly menu of your meals and snacks for the week and only buy those items you’ll need for your recipes.

Invest in a good frugal cook book

There are thousands of cook books out there. Many expert chefs have realized that the average person is just looking for some good meals to try that won’t break their wallet. Some even boast cookbooks that will feed your family for just a couple dollars per person per meal.

Now that you know some good frugal eating tips it’s time to turn them into habits. Start with just one tip for now and add the others as you become more comfortable. Soon you’ll be saving money and finding new favorite foods at the same time.





Posted by Real Living Realty Group on 5/28/2017

My family went on several camping trips up and down the east coast when I was a young child. At the end of the trip my parents would often ask us kids what our favorite part was. Was it the roller coaster park? Kayaking down the river? Hiking up the mountain? Much to their dismay, our answer was usually something like "roasting marshmallows" or "jumping on the air mattress." The moral of the story: If you have young children you don't need to take time off from work or plan expensive vacations for them to have a great time and build lasting memories.  One of the best ways to mix things up at home and spend time with your children is to camp out in your own backyard. Here are some fun ideas to include in your backyard camping trip. My two pieces of advice before you start:

  1. Get the kids involved in the planning to build their excitement
  2. Leave the electronics in the house; it will take away from the camping experience

Backyard camping ideas

  • Be prepared. Make sure you have everything you need outside before you start your "trip." Bug spray, sunscreen, food, fire fuel, sticks for roasting marshmallows, etc. You don't want to have to keep running inside the house.
  • Make your tent a fortress. With blankets, pillows, and poles (like a broom or rake) you can build a vast fortress inside your tent that the kids will love.
  • Fun and games. Unless you live on a mountain you probably aren't going to be doing much hiking to fill the daylight hours. Plan outdoor games that are age-appropriate for your kids. Examples: bean bag toss, I-Spy, bird-watching with binoculars.
  • Rough it. Don't take any shortcuts when it comes to camping at home. To you it might seem like a pain to have to bring everything outside, but for your kids it's exciting. Set up the tent together, build your fireplace and fire together, cook food outside together, and so on. Not only is it a fun way to teach your kids outdoor skills, but it will also be good preparation for your next real camping trip.
  • Explore. We take the little things for granted. Odds are your backyard has some small parts of nature that you've never even noticed. Have your kids collect leaves, flowers, and whatever else they find and make a collage.
  • Night time fun. The most exciting part of camping for children comes when the sun goes down. It's usually a time they're not allowed to be outside, so they'll probably be full of energy. Take advantage of that by playing games with flashlights. Flashlight tag is fun, but if your child is very young you might want to do a flashlight hunt instead. Hide an object in your yard somewhere while you and your child try to find it with flashlights.
  • Food and fires. Cooking on a fire is very exciting for kids. The classic example is making S'mores, but if that's too messy or you can't have a campfire where you live, you can always cook on a grill. Put some marshmallows and chocolate inside an ice cream cone to make less-messy S'mores cones.







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