5 Quick Tips to Transform Your Outlook on Spending Money

If your anything like me, it can feel like your life revolves around spending and saving money. From hundreds of quick saving hacks, to do this not that, and so many other tips that seem to overwhelm me more than help me. In the past year, I have learned to cut back spending on one of the things society idolizes the most – food.

I have found that by cutting back my spending on food and other habits, I am able to enjoy life and live more. Below are five tips that have changed my mind set.

1. Stop Eating Out

I have realized the amount of money I spend on food for personal and social reasons is absurd. Eating at a restaurant should be saved for special occasions to enjoy, not for you to spend $12 on a salad after work with friends. Even picking up your daily coffee before work will put a bigger dent in your wallet than you think. If you change your mentality about restaurants, your mindset will shift, and your wallet will be fuller!

2. Meal Preparation

Have you been gearing about “Meal Prep”? If not, read up! Meal prepping is going to be a big trend in 2019. It has more advantages than disadvantages over all. Not only does it help your wallet, it also can be an easy, affordable way to keep you and your family healthy! For recipes check out Pinterest!

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Cooking saves money and is an easy way to add health and color to your diet.

3. Purchase Your Gasoline Where You Grocery Shop 

Staying loyal to a grocery store has its perks. Check to see if stores in your area loyalty discounts. By saying true, you are able to receive major discounts on gas and your groceries. Who doesn’t love a win- win situation?

4. Stick to your list

Making a grocery list is only useful if you stick to it! When you purchase items not on the list, you are spending more than allotted. Additionally, when you follow step 2, grocery shopping is made easy with simple, affordable meals. Don’t buy it if it’s not on the list!

5. Shop Alone

I have found shopping alone helps me stick to my list. When you invite others to join your trip, they can encourage you or convince you to buy something you didn’t intend to.

Hopefully, you find these five tips easy to follow and applicable to your lifestyle. By saving money on simple things like food, you are able to save up and splurge on something special.

Try Cultivating These Good Spending Habits!

Delicious Veggies and Herbs You Can Plant in Your Garden this Spring

Spring is quickly approaching. Though flowers are usually planted in fall, and you might think spring is a time of blooming only, there are some items you can plant starting in March! You can plant a good deal of your summer veggies and herbs in spring. Roll up your sleeves and we’ll explore what you can plant. Don’t have tons of space for a garden? These ideas lend themselves perfectly to container gardens as well.

The best place to start is to find out when the last frost in your area occurs, or the average temps in your area. The USDA and The Old Farmer’s Almanac usually have maps that portray this info and will help you find the best time to plant based on where you live. Some plants can handle certain temps, and others can’t.

A consumer-help magazine recommends planting veggies that don’t have to be repotted – so the hardy varieties. Get started with:

  • Beans
  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Asparagus (come back)
  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Kale
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Herbs are beautiful, fragrant, and easy to care for!

These are the major players and the most low-maintenance veggies you can add to your garden in spring. Let’s see what herbs the best are:

  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Basil (late spring)
  • Chives
  • Sage

We hope your kitchen is filled with fresh ingredients now, due to spring planting. Now go on and check out some recipes to use up those herbs and veggies! Make some marinades, dressing, and sauces to share with your friends.

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A Pain Free Guide to Understanding Escrow

Escrow is the final piece to understanding what makes up a mortgage.

What is Escrow?

Additional funds collected by your lender with your mortgage payment that is set aside to pay your property taxes, home insurance, and flood insurance if you have it.

Is it required?

Many lenders do require escrow for taxes and home insurance. Ask your lender what your options are on your loan.

Why is it usually required?

It keeps you from having to save separately for large bills. It allows you to not have to worry about due dates, and rest assured that the payments will be made.

How is it calculated?

Usually, your monthly escrow payment is divided by the estimated annual costs for property taxes and insurance by 12. Then, a cushion amount is added to help make sure there will be enough if the bills go up

What are those calculations based on?

  • Closing documents
  • Insurance company
  • Local property tax rates

What is an account analysis?

Sometimes called an escrow review, this is when your lender or mortgage servicer reviews your escrow account yearly. They compare the collected amount to your current bills for taxes and insurance to be sure the monthly payment is correct.

Can it change the cost of my mortgage?

Escrow does not change the amount of your mortgage, but it may change your monthly payment if your property tax or insurance bills go up or down.

What happens to the money?

The money is used to pay the property tax and insurance bills when they are due. If there is too much or not enough money when your mortgage company does the escrow analysis, they will contact you to review your options.

Learn More About Mortgages

How to Get the Most Out of the New Vmfhomes.com

Our site got a serious face-lift and we are excited about it! Mostly, we’re excited for you because finding a great mobile home just got even easier! You’ll be welcomed to our site with a larger redesigned search bar. This is where you’ll probably spend most of your time – sifting through the possibilities. Next, you’ll see some suggestions of local listings you may like. As you travel down the page you’ll find a video explaining who we are and tons of the blog posts that you can read to stay updated.

You can search for homes within 25, 50, 100, or more miles of your desired location. Your search results will take you to a listing page where you’ll find all the details you need about each home. You’ll have an option to be contacted by our helpful sales team about a particular home or you can call us.  As you scroll through searches looking for your dream home – you’ll discover there may be more options than you thought. Creating an account can help you keep track of your searches and the homes you are interested in.

Creating an account is easy and free and it allows you more control over tracking homes you’re interested in. You can provide as little or as much information about yourself as you prefer and you can change your preferences once you’ve signed in.

Create your account:

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This pop-up will appear when you click “My Account” or “Log In”. Next, click the “Create An Account” button.
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This will pop-up then you can fill out this form and register for your account!

The best things about an account…

  1. You can keep track of offers you’ve made. Properties that you have made an offer on will be displayed as well as the status of the offer.
  2. You can keep all your favorites in one place. As you navigate through our listings you can “favorite” homes by clicking the heart on the upper right hand corner.  When you “favorite” a home, it will be added to the list of  all to your favorites for you to come back to and filter through.
  3. You can save your home searches. Looking for a home within a certain area? Trying to stay in a particular school district? Or wanting less of a commute? Name and keep your home  searches on file.

Doesn’t that sound nice? We think so, too! Go ahead start a search now!

Oakbur Quill Co.

8 Ways to Settle Into Your Mobile Home: A Simple Guide in What to Do After You Purchase

Buying a new home is both exciting and overwhelming. After going through the process of closing and unpacking, there are a couple of things that you’ll want to consider adding to your final list:

1. Change your locks – Changing your exterior locks is an important step to secure your new home if you have purchased a used home. You never know who may have a key. While old homeowners are supposed to turn in all old keys, it is still wise to make sure you change your locks.

2. Create a “Honey-do” list – Every home needs some maintenance even if it is new to you. It is a good idea to look at your inspection if you had one and see what areas need fixing that you may not have been a deal breaker for you to purchase the home. This could be installing GFI outlets or securing a loose railing. This will help you continue with the general upkeep of the property ensuring a long life for your new abode.

3. Get Organized – Since you have moved there may be objects that don’t necessarily belong in a certain room. Think about any objects that you may have out of place and decide where they would function best in your house. Another major room to organize is your kitchen. Having a good flow in your kitchen will help you to keep it clean and make cooking in your new space a lot easier.

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Setting up your kitchen is important, plan out how you want it.

4. Declutter – If you didn’t before you move, get rid of old things that you don’t truly intend to keep or have space for any more. This will help you declutter. Living in an organized space helps the mind relax. We all have stress in our lives; coming home to cluttered home can make you feel overwhelmed and feel as though you can’t kick back because there is still work to be done.

5. Make it your own – Since it is now your space, make it YOUR space! Pick a fun theme for a bathroom or guest room to have some fun sprucing up your new home to make it feel like your own. Putting a fresh coat of paint on the wall will make you feel good about your space and help you connect with your home.

6. Hang Pictures – This kind of goes with number 5, but hanging pictures and artwork that you love in your home will make you love it even more. Having pictures of loved ones and art you love will make you feel good which in turn will make you love spending time in your new space.

Best Practices For Hanging Decor

7. Splurge! – A new house means new things! You can buy new towels, bedding, or curtains. Make your new home a place of retreat. You just made a huge purchase, make it a place that you’ll be excited to go home to.

8. Throw a Party – It isn’t everyday people buy a new home. Have a party with your friends to show off your new space, especially after working hard to make it your own!

Why You Need to Consider Thermal/ Wind Zones When Purchasing a Used Manufactured Home

When purchasing a used manufactured home it can be easy to forget to check that the home is built to the specifications required for the location where you’re moving the home to. Manufactured homes are built to satisfy certain construction requirements based on the geographic location of where the home will be sited. This means, while one can enjoy the convenience of a mobile home, you must also consider to what standard it was built.

Make sure the home you’re purchasing was built to meet the wind zone requirements for the location where the home will be installed. There are 3 zones as you can see below. You can move a mobile home of a higher zone to your location, but you cannot legally have a home of a lesser zone placed in a higher zone location. For example, If I live in Tallahassee, FL, I am in a location within wind zone 2. Say I’m trying to purchase a mobile home from Northern Alabama that was built for that Alabama location in zone 1. I wouldn’t be able to move the Alabama wind zone 1 home to my location in Tallahassee because my location requires a home that can withstand 100 mph winds and a zone 1 can only withstand 70 mph winds.

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Understanding wind zones is vital to the placement of your mobile home.

Next, you want to be sure your thermal zone equates to the area where your home will be located.  Thermal zones are broken down into 3 zones, the most Southern coastal areas being a lower number 1 and cooler Northern areas being a zone 3. Thermal zones are based off of u-values, which gauge how much heat passes through different building materials. However much those materials “leak” measures how well the materials insulate the home. U – values are based off thermal zones and the interior temperature being a constant 70 degrees Fahrenheit. All of this complicated definition to say thermal zones are like wind zones in that they need to match or be a higher u-value to be placed in lower numbered zone. For example, a home in Michigan is a thermal zone 3 and can be moved to Texas, a thermal zone 1, but the opposite cannot happen.  Homes designed and constructed to a higher thermal zone can be installed in a lower thermal zone, but a thermal zone 1 home cannot be installed in either a thermal zone 2 or 3 area.

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Thermal Map from MHI.org

We hope this was helpful in defining what wind and thermal zones are as well as helping you consider them  before you purchase a home and have it moved. Be sure you know what your location allows and needs in terms of a manufactured home being moved to a piece of land.

Get More Homebuyer Tips!

 

Oakbur Quill Co.

Entertaining Small: How to Make Your Single-wide the Life of the Party

Sometimes a small space can make you feel like celebrations and parties aren’t for you. But that’s just not true, sure it might be a little cozier, but we think that’s even more fun! Find a way to organize what you’ve got well, plan ahead, and stylize your place just the way you want it.

Let’s find the best ways for your mobile home to be the life of the party!

Have a place for coats and bags. Borrow a coat rack, use over the door hooks, make your bed so people can put coats and purses there, or you can even set a laundry basket by the door. This gives people a flow when they enter your home and it cuts back on clutter.

Open up the floor. Move items out of the center of the room so there is space to mingle. It’s even wise to move tables to the edge so they take up less room.

Move food to the edges. Use the length of your single-wide to your advantage. Limit your spills, take advantage of outlets, and create a better flow by keeping food on outside tables, built-ins, mantles, etc. If there’s a free space by the window or in a nook – use it! Again, this leave space for people to travel freely through the middle of your home without a traffic jam.

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Make your space flow well!

Bring the lawn chairs. There’s no shame in it, I’ve done it! No one has enough chairs for that, so ask friends to bring lawn chairs and set up some of your own if you have them. In the warmer months this can split your crowd to so some people are on the porch or outside in the lawn.

Call it a potluck. Cooking food for a lot of people can get expensive fast, ask guests to bring sides to help fill up the table and split the cost. Plus, it will take a lot less time to prep and your friends can show off their cooking skills, too!

Set out the power strip. Keep your electrical outlets from shorting out and have more options for food and decor with more outlets.

Now you’re ready to start hosting parties! You don’t need a big space, you just need some thoughtful and hospitable forethought. We hope you take these ideas and share your wonderful mobile home and maybe make some new or stronger friendships blossom!

Prep Your Home With a Deep Clean!

6 Unique Ways to Come Up with Your Down Payment

Sure, 20 percent down payments rock, but what average person has that much money they can let go of at one time? I don’t know many, and I certainly wasn’t one when I purchased my first home. You don’t need to feel discouraged if you can’t fork over that much money for a down payment. There are plenty of borrowing options that include paying less up front.

Need help thinking of creative ways to come up with funds for a down payment? Buying a home is stressful and takes more money than most people realize. Let’s get creative and break convention for a moment as we discover some unique ways to purchase that little slice of freedom!

  1. Assistance programs. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, chances are there’s a program that may help you in either coming up with funds or only requiring a certain down payment. Local programs are the best to look into, but there are a couple federal ones you may qualify for as well.
  2. Yard sale. You’re moving from somewhere, right? Purge the old and make some cash in the process! Sell furniture that won’t fit your space, or items you just don’t like or use. Then you’ll have more money and less to move!
  3. Ditch your car note. I’ve never had a car payment, and I don’t plan on it. Swap out that newer car with a hefty monthly payment for something less glamorous or try to buy a cheaper one out right. This is really important because even if you cash in your car, you may still have room to buy a cheaper car and aid your down payment. That extra cash can go toward your mortgage!
  4. Try a side job. Make the most of a hobby or something easy to do on the weekend to make extra money for your home purchase.
  5. Tax refunds. Other than paying off debts, using a tax refund towards a home purchase is a GREAT idea!
  6. Register for it (sorta). If you’re getting married, having a baby, or moving in with someone, or celebrating any life event where family and friends want to contribute, ask them to contribute to your down payment in lieu of buying presents.

That dream home can be a dream come true home! Think ahead, stick to your plan, and consider the long term affects. Play smart and work hard. Owning a home isn’t easy and paying for it takes responsibility, discipline, and prioritizing, but you can do it!

Still planning to buy that home?

Keep Planning!

 

Oakbur Quill Co.

 

What First-time Buyers of Pre-owned Mobile Homes Need to Know

Purchasing anything used can be a frugal and prudent choice. I commend you. In a society that loves the latest and greatest, you’ve stepped off the beaten path and decided to make an investment in an affordable home. But even knowing all that, you’re still nervous, right?

I was you, just months ago – scouring the internet, asking anyone who would listen, and quizzing my lender about terms that made little sense to me. If this is your first homebuying rodeo, you don’t have to take the ride blind. We’re unpacking the things you need to know because, you need to know.

  1. The amount you’re pre-approved for (don’t shop without it). I know what you’re thinking. Shopping is a click away – it can’t hurt to start browsing, right? Wrong, it does hurt to shop without a price guideline. Then you begin your entire homebuying process ruled by emotion and want instead of practicality, efficiency, and affordability. Your pre-approval will give you the max amount you can borrow from a lender you choose to finance your home purchase. Seeking pre-approval may impact credit – it could negatively impact your credit so you do need to plan to avoid multiple pre-approvals which can be seen as risky credit behavior.
  2. You need to save more than you think. Your down payment will take some saving for (if you haven’t already). Think about $3,000 – $10,000 depending on the cost of your mobile home and the loan amount you want. It’s good to keep your credit card payments up to date while you’re home shopping, you can still use it, but making large purchases on credit should be avoided.
  3. The facts about the home’s history. Ask current or previous owners for details about the home or home and land that you are purchasing. If you want to own the place, you want to know what you’re getting. Before you sign a purchase agreement, do things like:
    • Check out the data plate for the pre-owned, manufactured home (located under kitchen sink or master bedroom closet).
    • Ask if the title is clear and check with the county recorder’s office to find out if there are any liens on the property.
    •  Find out if the home site shares a driveway
    • Ask for a copy of the survey
    • Check for any softness in vinyl and carpet flooring/ water damage to ceilings
    • Know the thermal zone, roof load, and wind zone the home was built to as this will determine whether or not it can be moved to your area. Homes are built to specific building requirements to be able to withstand certain climate conditions.
    • Visit the home site at night and during rush hours to understand traffic patterns and after it rains to check for any standing water on the property
    • Ask about foundation and flooding in yard
  4. What kind of home insurance you want. Mobile home insurance is a big deal and there are many forms of coverage. Knowing the area around you is important as well. Is your potential home site in a flood zone or prone to flooding even if not in a flood zone, an earthquake area, or near a place that gets sink holes? Protection against these risks are often not included in common home insurance, so be sure plan to add them to your policy if needed.
  5. The details of your mortgage. Don’t be afraid to ask your lender hard questions. It is their job to articulate your loan details to you. Don’t be intimidated. Finance companies can often charge fees that could be negotiated, or are for services that aren’t needed, but if you don’t know about them you can’t help yourself.
  6. What you’re willing to put into home maintenance. Homes don’t do well when they just sit neglected. Are you willing to improve a fixer upper, are you willing to take care of your yard, or are you willing to do other monthly tasks? Be sure the nature, location and condition of your home fits the amount of work you’re willing to do.
  7. Paperwork and documentation is your new part time job. The entire process of homebuying and borrowing calls for lots of paperwork. You’ll have to send in a lot of documents (tax returns, bank statements, pay stubs, etc.) to your lender and real estate agent (if you have one) as well as sign many items. Be prepared and don’t get discouraged. The information you must provide will not always make sense. Ask for further explanation about what you are being asked to provide or sign.

Check into these items and you’re on your way to home ownership. The point is to find a home that will give you the financial freedom to enjoy your new lifestyle not be burdened or surprised by it. Use the tools in your tool belt and always be willing to look into other resources. You can do it!

Get More Homebuying Tips!

Oakbur Quill Co.