How To Be Confident When You Buy Your New Home

Buying a home can be a scary process. There’s a lot to know, and there’s a lot of money at stake. Buying a home is likely the most significant purchase you’ll ever make, so it’s normal to be nervous and intimidated about what lies ahead. 

How to be confident when you buy a new home.

Ilyce Glink has written a book that will leave you feeling prepared and confident as you begin your home buying adventure. 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask “is for anyone who feels even a little unsure about the process of buying a home.” In its fourth edition, it’s been updated to deal with the most current market issues.

There are three ways to read this book—read cover to cover, read only the Fast Pass section (9 must answer questions), or pick it up and use it as a reference tool when you encounter a specific problem.

The Fast Pass section is the first part of the book, and it’s nine questions that Glink says you really must answer before you jump into the buying process. These questions include: Should I rent or should I buy? How much should I spend vs. what the bank says I can afford?

You’ll benefit from these questions only if you are honest with yourself. Don’t try to convince yourself that you’ll be happy with a quiet house in the country if you love the weekend nightlife near your current home. Glink says, “Honesty…is crucial to help you find the right house, at the right price, and on the right terms.”

After the Fast Pass section, Chapter 2 starts with “How Do I Know What I Want to Buy?” This whole section deals with the beginning of the home-buying process. To help you discover what you want in a house, Glink has created two worksheets. Working through these worksheets and having them on hand will keep you focused so you’d don’t get distracted by shiny object syndrome. You don’t want to end up with a three-bedroom house that has a spectacular pool but only one bathroom if there are two adults and three teens in your family.

There are numerous topics covered in this book. But here is a small sampling of the questions included.

What’s the difference between an agent and a broker? Followed by:
    17 Questions to Ask Before You Hire an Agent or Broker
How do I know what I can afford to spend?
    There’s a worksheet to help you with that.
How much will it cost to own and maintain a home?
How do I apply for a loan?
What are lender’s fees?
What are junk fees?
What is earnest money?
What if the seller won’t give back the earnest money?
When we make an offer, what contingencies should we include?
What do we do in a bidding war?
How do I find a real estate attorney?
How do I find a reputable professional home inspector? Followed by:
    Home Buyer’s Watch List—12 Things To Watch Out For When Visiting Homes
What Is title insurance? Followed by:
    Top 20 Things Title Insurance Protects You From
What happens during the closing process?
What if we discover a problem after closing?

After 400 pages of all the questions you can think of, and many questions you didn’t know you had, there are three appendices.
    Top 10 Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Make
    6 Simple Things You Can Do to Make the Home-Buying Process Easier
    5 Mistakes People Make When Buying New Construction

There is also a glossary of Real Estate Terms Every Home Buyer Should Know.

It’s rare that I use the word “impressive” to describe a book. But 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask is an impressive book. Even if you are on your second or third home, there are 400+ pages of information to help you with almost every possible situation.

Armed with this comprehensive tool, you will be able to handle the home buying process with confidence and optimism. And at $12.85 for the most recent paperback edition, it’s a small price to pay for confidence when you are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Do you have a favorite book or resource for buying a home? Please share it in the comments. 
 

Book Review: Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House

Your home is your retreat from the world. It is your refuge and should be a place where you can relax and unwind.

The Art & Science of Keeping House.

But if your home is not running smoothly, you may feel agitated instead of calm and peaceful. It’s difficult for a home to be restorative when the floors are covered in dog hair, and surfaces are piled high with books, papers, and other paraphernalia of life. Eating well and within budget is difficult if the refrigerator is always empty and the dishes are always dirty. You may feel panic when your neighbor stops by and wants to see the pergola you built. He’s thinking of doing something similar in his yard. But rather than leading him through the house to the backyard, you back him away from the door where he’s standing and guide him around the outside of the house, through the side yard, because you do not want him to see the mess that is your kitchen.

Home Comforts is not an ordinary book on housekeeping. Cheryl Mendelson is a Ph.D., and a lawyer who  identifies as “excessively domestic.” In her world, domesticity would not be taken seriously. She says in her opening chapter, “Without thinking much about it, I knew I would not want this information about me to get around. After all, I belong to the first generation of women who worked more than they stayed home. We knew that no judge would credit the legal briefs of a housewife, no university would give tenure to one, no corporation would promote one, and no one who mattered would talk to one at a party.” 

Mendelson wrote Home Comforts because she saw a need in the market for a modern housekeeping manual. A book that is practical and teaches you how to “make a comfortable home.”  She wants you to see that, “Housekeeping creates cleanliness, order, regularity, beauty, the conditions for health and safety, and a good place to do and feel all the things you wish and need to do and feel in your home…[Home is] the place where you can be more yourself than you can be anywhere else.”

Home Comforts is not about crafts or decorating. It’s about taking care of your home and everything inside it. For example you can learn: How to create routines so that things get done on a regular basis, how to sanitize laundry after a nasty bout of the flu, how to make simple clothing repairs, how to use a dust mop, how to clean every single kind of stain known to man, how to shop for furniture, what to look for when buying new bedding. 

Home Comforts in the most comprehensive book on the market. You’ll learn how to clean every possible kind of fabric or textile you might have in your home.  How to efficiently ventilate your home. How to care for the various woods and metals found in your house. And then it also covers administrative things like how long to keep paperwork, purchasing insurance, record keeping, and contracts. She also includes things like fire safety, electrical safety, and water safety.

And if you’re too busy to do much of the housework yourself, there’s even a chapter on hiring household help, the legalities and taxes involved, and even a section explaining how to write references when your help moves on.

Home Comforts can be read straight-through, beginning to end, or you can treat it as a reference book, using the index to find answers to questions as you need them answered. It was written for those who are entirely new to the idea of keeping house and those who already have systems in place and only want to learn more.

In addition to being an excellent reference book for your home library, it would make an excellent housewarming or shower gift.

Purchase your copy of Home Comforts on Amazon.

12 Checklists That Will Make Life Easier

I recently read The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande.  The book is an argument for the value of checklists. We have so much knowledge today about how things work, and procedures are often so complex, that it’s impossible to hold that much information in our heads. 

One of the examples Gawande uses is surgery. Multiple steps need to be taken by different people before an operation begins. If even one of the steps is forgotten, it can be fatal for the patient. In the experiment Gawande conducted in eight hospitals across the world, post-op complications and deaths were reduced by one-third! All because of a simple checklist. 

You don’t have to be a surgeon or an airline pilot or an engineer to benefit from using a checklist. Using checklists at home can make your life easier because you’re not trying to keep everything in your head. It can you save you time and money and reduce stress because everything is written down. 

12 Checklists That Will Make Your Life Easier

Here are 12 checklists you can implement at home that might make your life run more smoothly.

  1. A Workday Setup—This idea comes from Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner. The idea is that the Workday Setup gets you into work mode. I recently read of someone who signals the start of her workday by lighting a candle at her desk. Your setup might involve queuing up a particular playlist. Perhaps you shut down the internet to avoid distractions or use a specific notebook or pen. Over time, these actions signal the brain that it is time to start working.

  2. A Workday Shutdown—Similarly, the Workday Shutdown helps your brain make the switch out of work mode while tying up loose ends. Maybe you write out tasks for the next day. Maybe you review the current day’s activities and make a note of what went well. Maybe you make a final check of email.

  3. Common grocery items— I do a bi-weekly shopping trip to Costco and there are certain items I only buy from Costco. If I remember, via my checklist, to check and see if we need more dog treats, for example, it prevents me from standing in the aisles at Costco thinking, “Are we running low? Do I need to buy another box?” Murphy’s Law dictates that if I don’t buy it, we definitely need it and if I do buy it, we already have 46,735 boxes at home. This has happened with toilet paper. Multiple times.

  4. Morning Routine—I first learned of morning and evening routines years ago from FlyLady. What are the steps you would like to go through each morning to make it most enjoyable or run more smoothly? Would you like to begin dinner preparations? Do yoga? Bible study? Some continuing education for yourself? Make a list so that you can follow it.

  5. Evening Routine—Similarly, creating and writing down your evening routine can help you get out of the house on time the next morning. Do you know what you want to wear the next day? Is it clean? Does it need ironing? Do you have the book/report/file you need for the next day? Is it in your bag/by the door/ready to go? Do you need to stop for gas on the way to work? Thinking through these things the night before will help you have a more peaceful morning start. Additionally, it’s good to include anything that will help you wind down and get a good night’s sleep. Hot bath? Stretching routine? Yoga? Reading? Reminder to have lights out at a specific time?

  6. Bills Due—No more trying to remember if you paid the electric bill. Pay it and then check it off on the list.

  7. Want to buy—Have you ever used your fun money to purchase something and then thought later, “I shouldn’t have spent the money on XYZ because I want ABC more.” Keeping a list of things you want will allow you to prioritize your purchases.

  8. Books to Read/Books You’ve Read/Movies or TV Shows to Watch/Video Games to Try—Keep track of your entertainment. This checklist will assure you that you always have something to read/watch/listen to. And it will also serve as a reminder of things you might want to share with family and friends.

  9. School Interview Checklist—Are you looking for preschools for your children? Brainstorm a list of things you want in the school your child attends. Turn it into a list of questions that you will ask during the interview process. Encourage your child to do the same when it comes time for college visits. What are the things that are important to them in a school? Having a checklist of questions to ask will help with the decision-making process.

  10. Communication Checklist—Do you have family members or friends with whom you want to keep in touch on a regular basis? Whether you do so by phone calls, email, snail mail, or text, having a checklist of those people will ensure that you stay in contact and too much doesn’t go by without saying hello.

  11. Cleaning checklist—Creating a cleaning checklist for each room in your house will help you remember when things get cleaned. When is the last time you washed the windows? How long has it been since you cleaned behind the refrigerator? Is it time to wash your comforter? Should you make an appointment to get your carpets cleaned?

  12. Household maintenance—Speaking of cleaning, when is the last time you changed the heating/ac filter? Do the windows need new caulk? Have you checked for cracks in your home’s foundation recently? How long has it been since the roof was replaced? Tracking these things will help you budget for household repairs.

You can create a checklist for any process or any area of your life. What are some of the checklists you use? Please share your ideas in the comments. 

Book Review: How ADHD Affects Home Organization

Title: How ADHD Affects Home Organization: Understanding the Role of the 8 Key Executive Functions of the Mind

By: Lisa Woodruff

Problem: Home organization is an area where you struggle due to ADHD.

Solution: Lisa's book, How ADHD Affects Home Organization

Book Review: How ADHD Affects Home Organization || One Book Blog

Let me say up front that I don't have ADHD so I don't know what it is like to struggle with ADHD. But I have been following Lisa Woodruff for over a year and a half now and trust that *she* understands the struggles. Lisa is a professional organizer, podcaster, and offers numerous products designed to help us get organized.

How ADHD Affects Home Organization has 3 parts. The first section is called "ADHD and the 8 Executive Functions." Here Lisa talks about what ADHD is and what the 8 executive functions are.

Part 2 is "How Each Executive Function Affects Home Organization." Here she defines the executive function and what effect that function has on home organization. She includes specific action steps you can take that relate to home organization.

Part 3 talks about different resources that can make organization with ADHD a little easier.

Throughout the book Lisa includes a list of podcast episodes that relate to the subject she is writing about. If you have never listened to her podcast, I encourage you to go do so now. She creates an atmosphere that is friendly, upbeat, entertaining, and informative. Her Organize 365 podcast is one of my favorites each week. 

As I mentioned, I don't have ADHD but I still took away several insights from the book.

1. Lisa says we need to "create structure and use it. Whether the structure is imposed by somebody else or self-imposed, you need structure to get through your day." Lack of structure is something I do struggle with so this was a nice reminder that I need to create the structure for myself. No one else can do it for me and we all need structure "to get through" our days.

2. She also says to "Find someone you like. Start their program and finish it." Chasing the new, shiny things is another struggle of mine. I'm always convinced that the new thing will work better than the prior thing. No. Nothing works is you don't stick with it.

You can find How ADHD Affects Home Organization at Amazon. And you can find out more about Lisa at www.organize365.com.

Two Books To Help Organize Your Home

And One Book That Is Just Fun

Book Review: Books To Help Organize Your Home || One Book Blog

I've spent the last two weeks alternating between planning our 2017-2018 school year and deep-cleaning and reorganizing our house. There are two books I've been using for inspiration as I do so.

Book Review: The Complete Book of Home Organization || One Book Blog

The first book is The Complete Book of Home Organization by Toni Hammersley. I am a visual person and this book is full of beautiful photographs that are inspiring. You definitely want a printed copy of this book. 

Isn't this the cutest office space?

Isn't this the cutest office space?

The book is divided into three sections, Kitchen & Dining, Living & Storage (which covers living rooms, bedrooms, etc), and Working & Outdoors, which covers home offices and garages, etc. Each section offers various tips for organizing and decorating that area of your home. At the end of the section, there is a challenge that leads you through the process of organizing your room. 

The second book is called Organize Now by Jennifer Ford Berry. I am a sucker for a checklist so this book drew me in right away. Each week she gives you a small area of your life or home to organize and a list with checkboxes so you can mark them off as you do them. 

Book Review: Organize Now || One Book Blog

The book is divided into 56 weeks worth of areas you could organize. Yes, if you only do one a week, it would take you more than a year to work through the book but some of the weeks are so simple, they could be doubled up. Other weeks simply may simply not apply, such as the week about Organizing Your Pregnancy.

Love checklists!

Love checklists!

The last book is a fun book called Mind Your Manors: Tried-and-True British Household Cleaning Tips by Lucy Lethbridge. This is a short book, about 100 pages, about house-cleaning in British households "from the Victorian through the Edwardian years and beyond."

Book Review: Mind Your Manors || One Book Blog

There are some things that could be put in use today but also some tips that are likely unknown such as how bread was used for cleaning books, picture frames, and other areas that couldn't be reached with dusters or fingers. Use the ideas with caution—as the book states on the copyright page, "Not every cleaning method is appropriate in all circumstances."

All of these books are available at Amazon. Happy Organizing!