5 Regrets Many Homeowners Face

5 Regrets Many Homeowners Eventually Face

Buying your own home is a huge financial decision and an important milestone in life. If you hope to own a home someday, it will require a lot of time and planning to get there. However, it will also become a crucial asset and key component in your retirement planning. Making a large investment like this will always come with doubts. While this is normal, you want to do everything you can to ensure you make the right decision. Since your home will likely be the most expensive purchase you ever make, you don’t want to look back and have regrets. Unfortunately, these are 5 regrets that many homeowners face, and often wish they could go back in time to correct.

5 Regrets Many Homeowners Eventually Face

According to a recent survey, 70% of people who bought a home have at least one regret about their home-buying experience. The harsh reality is that current market conditions have led to some fierce competition for real estate. Many people have been caught up in bidding frenzies, unseen buyers, and large cash offers. While cost-based regrets dominated the feedback, here are 5 regrets that many homeowners face.

1. Paying way more than they had planned.

If you have been paying attention over the last few years, then you already know that it has been a seller’s market. People who hadn’t even thought about selling their homes put them up for sale because of the massive equity gains. And, most people are flooded with offers within the first few days, driving offers way above the asking price.

Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for first-time buyers on a limited budget and nearly impossible without good credit. Those who are set on buying a home are sometimes forced to spend more than they had planned. Others decided to postpone their search altogether. In the survey, 22% of people felt they overpaid while another 18% said they underestimated the costs of home repairs. These are the types of expenses that could set your financial planning back several years.

2. Compromising on important features of the home or contingencies of the sale.

With the higher price of homes, you can’t get as much for your money nowadays. But if you can’t compromise on price, then you have to sacrifice important features or contingencies to stay under budget.

If the price is the most important factor, then you will likely have to make compromises on the age, condition, location, size, layout, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, outdoor space, proximity to necessities, school districts, or other important features. Sadly, this often means settling for less than you had hoped for from your home.

Others have adjusted their timelines to accommodate the sellers, even going as far as agreeing to rent back options. Many people also reported that they offered larger down payments, didn’t ask sellers to handle repairs, skipped inspections, or sent personal letters and gifts to win them over. When homes are scarce, people are willing to take extreme measures to get what they want.

3. Not refinancing when interest rates were low.

For those who own their home, their mortgage is probably the biggest expense in the budget. Your home will be a top financial priority. But, it will require a large portion of your income for decades of your life.

Therefore, you should seize opportunities to reduce your monthly payments by refinancing your mortgage rate. You can monitor market conditions to determine when interest rates drop. And if you have a good credit score, you may qualify for a lower interest rate. This will allow you to pay off your mortgage faster and keep more of your income. But before you refinance, make sure to compare rates and terms between lenders to get the best deal.

4. Delaying home improvement projects.

Home repairs and maintenance come with the responsibilities of owning a home. However, many people put them off because of the expense and inconvenience of living in a construction zone. If you have this view, you may want to reconsider your perspective.

Although it can be expensive, it is better to address issues before they become bigger problems that will cost even more. Plus, it will add value to your home.

Unfortunately, my parents learned first-hand the cost of delaying necessary repairs. They had several projects around the house that had been neglected for years. After the pandemic began, materials costs skyrocketed. It also became more difficult to find contractors and required longer wait times to get the work done. Eventually, waiting was no longer an option as some things had become a safety hazard. So, they were forced to eat the cost.

Rather than procrastinating on necessary repairs, a home improvement loan can provide the capital you need. And, you can ensure you don’t miss out on a good opportunity when the time is right.

5. Not having a home warranty.

Every lender will require you to have homeowner’s insurance to cover losses and repairs resulting from damage. A basic policy will protect you against fire and smoke damage, weather damage, theft, and vandalism to your home, outbuildings and outdoor spaces on the property, heating and cooling systems, large appliances, furniture, and clothing. It will also provide living expenses if you need alternate lodging during repairs.

However, you should carefully read the details of your policy to ensure you have the coverage you need. And if you need extra coverage, a home warranty can insulate your finances against surprise home expenses. While homeowner’s insurance will cover many things, you may be stuck footing the bill for plumbing and electrical issues, water damage, mold, foundation repairs, roof replacement, etc.

If you purchase a supplemental home warranty, they have hotlines that offer 24/7 assistance. They will help you handle problems quickly without depleting your financial resources.

Buying Too Quickly

Based on the survey responses, it seems that one of the greatest regrets homeowners face is rushing into a decision. Nearly 20% of respondents felt they decided too quickly. Had they spent more time searching, they may have been able to find the perfect home within their budget. Although there are no guarantees, especially in today’s market, you don’t want to have these regrets. If you are facing too many obstacles, it may be wiser to wait for conditions to improve.

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7 Frugal Reasons Why You Should Vacuum Seal Your Fruits and Vegetables

7 Reasons Why You Should Vacuum Seal Your Fruits and Vegetables

Those who enjoy cooking and grilling are probably already familiar with vacuum sealing. But, have you ever given it a try for yourself? Although I was initially intimidated by learning how to use a new appliance, it’s a lot simpler than you might think. And in addition to the health benefits, it comes with some significant financial ones as well. If you are thinking about investing in one, here are 7 frugal reasons why you should vacuum seal your fruits and vegetables.

7 Frugal Reasons Why You Should Vacuum Seal Your Fruits and Vegetables

1. It keeps your food fresher, longer.

The most obvious financial advantage of vacuum sealers is that they will make your food last longer. Since your produce is less likely to go bad, there is less risk of you wasting money by throwing it away. Fresh items that would normally start to turn within a week can last up to 2-3 weeks with vacuum sealing. And freezing them can extend their shelf life to 2 years or more.

When you look at the time frame of normal freezing vs vacuum sealed freezing, the savings become even more apparent.

  • Normal Freezing / Vacuum Sealed Freezing
    • Ground Meat (4 months / 1 year)
    • Meat (6 months / 2 years)
    • Fish (6 months / 2 years)
    • Fruits and Vegetables (8 months / 2 years+)

The reason for this is that vacuum sealing removes the oxygen from the packaging. Oxygen is a necessary component of bacterial growth. So, less oxygen means slower fungal and bacterial growth. Ziploc bags and containers can prolong the life of your fruits and veggies as well. But, they still allow a fair amount of air to seep into the packaging. Vacuum sealing will better preserve the flavor, texture, and quality of your food.

2. Vacuum sealing can prevent freezer burn and chemical reactions.

In addition to preserving them longer, vacuum sealing can also prevent freezer burn and chemical reactions that ruin the texture and freshness of your frozen food items. Freezer burn occurs when the cold, low-humidity climate of your freezer removes the moisture from your food and oxidizes it, covering the item in ice crystals. Fruits and vegetables are even more susceptible to it since they consist of 90% water, sometimes more.

However, tightly wrapping your food with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and removing the oxygen from the packaging can prevent this. Not only will it keep the moisture in your food, but it also keeps bacteria out that can cause food to spoil faster. While other containers can protect your food, vacuum sealing it will preserve your food 3-5 times longer and ensure it doesn’t taste strange or develop a mushy texture.

3. It allows you to save your leftovers longer.

Coming from a big family, I have gotten used to making large portions. But now that it’s just my husband and me, we always have leftovers. And though I enjoy them, I can’t eat the same meal for days on end. This usually leaves us with a lot of uneaten food which pains me to waste.

So, another benefit of vacuum sealing is that you can store your favorite dishes in the freezer and enjoy them again later on, without all the prep work. This has been a great solution and a huge money saver when we don’t want to cook or spend money on delivery services.

4. You can buy in bulk.

Another frugal reason to vacuum seal fruits and vegetables is that it will allow you to buy in bulk. Most budgeters already know and practice this tip. But, it’s a bit more complicated with fresh produce. If you don’t use them right away, they will probably end up in the garbage.

I think about this every time I go to Costco. And, I hesitate to buy fresh produce for this very reason. But thanks to a vacuum sealer, you can divide them into smaller portions and save them for later.

5. It makes organization easier.

My mom has frozen her leftovers for years. But, I cannot fully describe how much I hate digging through the freezer and having to try and guess what is stored in each container. Not only is it time-consuming, but the oddly shaped packages take up more space than necessary.

Vacuum sealing will make organization much faster and allow you to fit more in your freezer. Since the bags for the vacuum sealer are approximately the same size, it’s much easier to stack and store each package.

6. The vacuum-sealed bags are more durable.

In addition to preserving your food longer, the vacuum-sealed bags themselves are more durable than your standard freezer bags. Therefore, there is less chance that they will tear. This also eliminates the need to pre-wrap your items and double-bag them before freezing. And of course, it’s more cost-effective to store your food this way since it reduces the chances of losing items to freezer burn.

7. The initial investment will pay for itself.

Many people choose to stick with other methods because the initial investment is substantial. If you look online, you will find dozens of models that cost hundreds of dollars. However, it is an investment that will pay for itself in time. When you do the math, you can see that it will easily save you more in the long run by preserving your food and preventing waste. What you save in unused produce will cover the cost of the appliance.

If you decide to purchase a vacuum sealer, you want to make sure that you invest in a quality product. Buying the most economic option may save you a few bucks up front, but it could cost you more in repairs and replacements later on. So, it’s wise to do your research and read consumer reviews before you buy anything. Not only will this help you find something that is built to last, but it may also help you find a better deal on specific brands and models.

Have you used vacuum sealers to preserve your food? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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Why Should You Book a Hotel Over an Airbnb?

Why You Should Book a Hotel Over an Airbnb

When Airbnb first entered the market, I was ecstatic to have a new accommodation option when I traveled. It provided a new, affordable alternative to budget hotels and youth hostels. And for many years, it became my go-to booking site. However, things have changed in recent years as more people have joined and taken advantage of the platform. Nowadays, it is no longer the cheapest or most convenient choice. Here are a few reasons why you should book a hotel over an Airbnb.

5 Reasons to Book a Hotel Over an Airbnb

Let me start by saying that I still use the site to book certain types of accommodations. Renting a private residence comes with many benefits, especially if you are traveling in a large group. But in most cases, I still prefer the convenience and amenities of staying at a hotel. If you are deciding where to stay during your next vacation, here are 5 reasons people choose to book a hotel over an Airbnb.

1. No Chores

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but the last thing I want to do on vacation is housework. While I strive to be a clean guest and always pick up after myself, I’m less than thrilled when I get a long list of chores that have to be done before checkout. And what’s worse, is that there is usually a cleaning fee on top of the to-do list. I am often left wondering what I’m paying for since I am usually the one doing the dishes, stripping the beds, throwing in a load of laundry, and taking out the trash.

However, you won’t get this when you stay at a hotel since all of these services are included in the nightly rate. It goes without saying that the property will provide clean towels and linens, spotless facilities, and cleaning services during your stay. Making a reservation at a hotel lifts the burden of chores and allows you to enjoy a break from daily responsibilities.

2. All the Amenities

Speaking of amenities, you will have access to many more of them at a hotel than in an Airbnb rental. Although I have stayed at many wonderful Airbnb properties that had toiletries, a kitchen, a fitness area, and a pool on-site, they hardly compare with what you find at a hotel. Of course, the amenities will vary between properties. But, you will be hard-pressed to find many rentals that also offer a concierge desk, spa treatments, room service, or restaurants on the premises.

You can certainly find accommodations with all these amenities through Airbnb Luxe. But, they usually come with a much higher price tag as well.

3. Easier Check-in Process

Even before you book a hotel, you know exactly where you will be staying and when you can check in. Unfortunately, Airbnb hosts usually don’t disclose these details until a few days before your arrival. There have been times people have straight-up lied about the location to get bookings. Furthermore, I have had several Airbnb stays where the hosts had very limited windows of time to meet and turn over the keys. This added unnecessary stress and a sense of urgency, especially when there were travel delays.

While some people have made it simpler with keyless entry codes, hotels usually offer a much easier check-in experience. Communication is more direct since you can find someone available at the front desk at any time of the day. And you can get a room on short notice, even if it’s the middle of the night.

Although hotels have standard check-in and check-out times, they can usually offer greater flexibility since they have more rooms in their inventory. Even if they are at capacity, they can at least hold your bags until your room is ready. This saves you the time and trouble of having to lug them around with you if you have to wait for someone to let you into your accommodations.

4. Less Chance of Mistakes or Cancellations

Airbnb has given regular people the opportunity to earn income from their private properties while also allowing travelers to experience their vacation destinations as one of the locals. However, mistakes can happen and plans can change. There have been several times when a property was double-booked or personal emergencies forced the host to cancel our reservations.

While we always got a full refund, it put us in the unfortunate situation of having to find new accommodations at the last minute. When this happens during a holiday, it leaves you with very few options, most of which are more expensive than what you had originally booked. In some instances, there were no other options available.

This is less likely to happen when you are staying at a well-known and established hotel. And even if it does happen during busy travel periods, the hotel will usually offer some type of compensation for your trouble.

5. Comparable Prices

When Airbnb first came onto the scene, travelers like myself were excited to have a more affordable option for accommodations. Many experts even thought it would disrupt the hospitality industry and cause hotels to adjust their rates. However, this has not been the case.

When you compare the final cost including taxes, guest services, and cleaning fees, the totals are about the same. And in some cities, Airbnb rentals are even more expensive than staying at a hotel.

If you are a frequent traveler, it is probably more cost-effective for you to stay at a hotel and join their loyalty program. They usually offer better discounts. And, you can earn points during your stay which can be used for free nights and upgrades to help you save even more.

To Airbnb or Not Airbnb…

With current conditions and inflation rates, it is more important than ever to save money where you can. While Airbnb does offer many benefits and more unique options for travelers, it isn’t always the most economic choice. Although there was a time when it was this budgeter’s best-kept secret, the industry has changed. More often than not, I have several good reasons to book a hotel over an Airbnb. So if your bottom line is the most important factor when booking your next vacation, do your research and explore all your money-saving options.

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