How To Go On A Vacation While Saving For A Down Payment

Summer is a popular time to take vacation, but what do you do if you’re trying to save for a down payment? To give you some ideas and help you save up for your first home, here are 6 ideas for saving up for your home.

canstockphoto13028436Stay-cation. This year, instead of taking an expensive vacation, or spending a lot of money on airfare and a hotel, why not do something closer to home? There are a lot of beautiful National Parks around us that aren’t a ton of money, hiking trails, and other local attractions to explore. In addition, Groupon is an excellent site where you can get deals on fun events and activities going on in your area.

Rent negotiations. If you’re a good tenant, you may be able to negotiate on your rent with your landlord to lower your rent while you save for a home. If this approach isn’t working, consider downsizing to a cheaper apartment which allows you to put more money into savings.

Reduce monthly expenses. When was the last time to checked your car insurance, renter’s insurance, and other major monthly expenses? By looking at these expenses, along with your cable, cell phone, and health insurance bills, you may be able to lower your expenses by changing plans or negotiating on terms to help save you hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Cut down on luxury or non-essential items. If you find yourself spending money on luxury items such as manicures, spa visits, and other non-essential items, make it a point to cut them out of your life (or enjoy these a little less often). To help you stay motivated and remind yourself why you’re doing this, hang a picture of your dream home on your fridge. This way, you can stay true to your goal of homeownership.

Spend less on entertainment. Instead of splurging on going out to movies or out to eat, find ways to limit this expense. Eat in and rent a movie from Redbox or stream something from Netflix. Another idea, hold a date night with your spouse by cooking a meal you haven’t tried before or making it a game night. You can do this even when you’re on vacation. Instead of going out to eat all the time, why not pack a lunch for the day or avoid wasting money on checking out tourist traps (or pick just one to do) and instead talk to locals on what fun, free things they’d recommend. This could be fun to also explore the area and get to know the locals better.

Pay off your credit cards. If you’re carrying credit card debit, make it a point to pay this off. Not only does this look good when applying for a home loan, but by paying off your credit cards you’ll save money on not paying the high interest fees and can apply more of that money towards your savings. To pay off your debt, try using the snowball method which focuses on paying the smaller debt off first and then moving on to the bigger ones. By doing this, according to the snowball method, will help build momentum and get your debt paid off faster.

What are some things you’ve done when saving up for your first home? Share them with us below in the comments.

Utah Baseball

Ogden Raptorscanstockphoto0056121

The Raptors kicked off their 2016 season on June 17 in Idaho Falls. They had their first home game on June 20 against the Grand Junction Rockies where they unfortunately lost 5-2.
The Lindquist Field offers nightly promotions. Monday is Giveaway Night that offers freebies to the first 500 fans. Taco Tuesday provides $1 tacos all night long. Wiener Wednesday offers patrons $1 hot dogs. Looking for half-priced drinks or $2 12-ounce beers? Look no further Thirsty Thursday has got you covered. Every Friday lights up after the game with a spectacular fireworks show. Saturday is date night. Buy your ticket and get your date’s ticket for free! Kid’s 12 and under are free on Sundays and don’t forget to wear your Hawaiian shirts.
The Raptors offer various ticket options including season tickets, group tickets for parties of 20 or more and a pre-game picnic package. Tickets go fast and the Lindquist Field is often sold out. So reserve your seat today with the picnic package that comes with a reserved box seat and an all-you-can-buffet consisting of jumbo hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken, potato salad, baked beans, chips, cookies and bottomless drinks. The package is $22 for adults and $15 for children ages three to 12. Season tickets range from $100 or $2.63 per ticket to $250 or $6.58 per ticket.
Get in on the family-friendly summer fun and attend one of these upcoming home games:



July 13
MISSOULA
7 p.m.
July 14
MISSOULA
7 p.m.
July 15
MISSOULA
7 p.m.
July 16
HELENA
7 p.m.
July 17
HELENA
4 p.m.
July 18
HELENA
7 p.m.
July 19
HELENA
7 p.m.
July 28
OREM
7 p.m.
July 29
OREM
7 p.m.

July 30
OREM
5 p.m.
Aug 2 ALL-STAR GAME
OGDEN
TBD
Aug 12
BILLINGS
7 p.m.
Aug 13
BILLINGS
7 p.m.
Aug 14
BILLINGS
4 p.m.
Aug 15
GREAT FALLS
7 p.m.
Aug 16
GREAT FALLS
7 p.m.
Aug 17
GREAT FALLS
7 p.m.
Aug 18
GREAT FALLS
7 p.m.

Aug 24
GRAND JUNCTION
6:30 p.m.
Aug 25
GRAND JUNCTION
6:30 p.m.
Aug 26
GRAND JUNCTION
7 p.m.
Aug 27
GRAND JUNCTION
7 p.m.
Sept 1
IDAHO FALLS
6:30 p.m.
Sept 2
IDAHO FALLS
7 p.m.
Sept 3
IDAHO FALLS
7 p.m.
Sept 4
IDAHO FALLS
4 p.m.


Salt Lake Bees

The Bees kicked off their 2016 season in April. They won their first home game on April 7 versus Sacramento 5 to 2.
Smith’s Ballpark is home to The Bees and opened in 1994. The ballpark seats more than 15,000 fans. This season offers a variety of exciting promotional nights including themes, fireworks, giveaways and throwbacks. For a full schedule of their promotions this season click here.
The Bees provide abundant ticket options including season tickets, group tickets for parties of 20 or more and a range of options from diamond seats that are $27 on the day of to general admission tickets that are $11 on the day of. There aren’t any online ticket ordering fees and seats sellout fast. You can reserve your seats here.
There are still lots of home games to catch this season:



July 22
TACOMA
6:30 p.m.
July 23
TACOMA
6:30 p.m.
July 24
TACOMA
7 p.m.
July 25
TACOMA
7 p.m.
August 3
RENO
7 p.m.
August 4
RENO
5 p.m.
August 5
RENO
7 p.m.
August 6
RENO
7 p.m.

August 12
ROUND ROCK
7 p.m.
August 13
ROUND ROCK
6:30 p.m.
August 14
ROUND ROCK
7 p.m.
August 15
ROUND ROCK
7 p.m.
August 16
NEW ORLEANS
7 p.m.
August 17
NEW ORLEANS
7 p.m.
August 18
NEW ORLEANS
7 p.m.
August 19
NEW ORLEANS
7 p.m.

August 29
ALBUQUERQUE
7 p.m.
August 30
ALBUQUERQUE
7 p.m.
August 31
ALBUQUERQUE
7 p.m.
September 1
ALBUQUERQUE
7 p.m.
September 2
LAS VEGAS
6:30 p.m.
September 3
LAS VEGAS
7 p.m.
September 4
LAS VEGAS
7 p.m.
September 5
LAS VEGAS
1 p.m.


Scenic Highways to Drive Through in Utah

Utah is a beautiful state. Ask any Utahn what they love most about this state, and they’ll most always say, the mountains. These majestic peaks pull many people to them—hiking, camping, biking, and any other outdoor sport that calls to them. However, our mountains aren’t the only highlight about Utah. There are so many scenic drives to explore, showcasing the mountains (did I mention Utahns love their mountains?), that you, whether you’re a local or not, should definitely check out.

Highway 12. This infcanstockphoto18706984amous highway is 124 miles long and runs through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Park. As you plan your trip, be sure to schedule in time to stop and check out the stunning scenery of red, yellow, and pink sandstone. The most ideal time to plan your trip is in the spring before the hot weather descends.

Logan Canyon. A personal favorite, Logan Canyon spans between Logan and Bear Lake. This scenic drive travels along the Logan River and looks over the sparklcanstockphoto2627805ing blue water of Bear Lake. This canyon is beautiful all year long, but is most spectacular in the spring and autumn months when the canyon is most vibrant with colors.

Cedar Breaks. Located between U-14 and U-143, the Cedar Breaks Scenic Byway travels the scenic Dixie National Forest near Cedar City. Cedar Breaks highlights a stunning, large multi-colored amphitheater with breathtaking carved spirals and rock formations.

Ogden Canyon. With easy access to three major ski resorts (Powder Mountain, Wolf Mountain, and Snowbasin), Ogden Canyon is a beautiful drive along with Pineview Reservoir and through the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Not only is this a great drive, but has access to various outdoor activities such as water-skiing, fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing, and so much more.

Want to knowcanstockphoto10302485 about more scenic highways around the state of Utah? There are a lot of wonderful scenic roads and byways to explore across state, so start planning your adventure today.
Have a favorite scenic road or area you love? Tell us about it in the comments area.

June Gardening To-Do List

The shining sun and warm weather means that summer has arrived. It’s that time of year to start getting the jump on your gardening. Most of Utah falls under zone 5 of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones. This map helps gardeners and growers identify which plants will thrive in certain locations and best of all, when to plant and harvest them. So put on your hat, find your gloves and get going on this gardening to-do list for June.

Flowers & Plants:

  • Divide and transplant spring-flowering perennials that have finished bloomingcanstockphoto10086456
  • Sow (i.e. plant) seeds of perennials directly into the ground
  • Fertilize roses now

✔Trick: To supply potassium, blend banana peels in a blender, then add the mixture beneath the mulch around your roses.

  • Pinch newest shoots on geranium plants to encourage fuller plants
  • Feed roses as the first flower buds appear and apply fungicide to prevent powdery mildew or blackspot disease from appearing

✔Tip: Organic fungicides that work on blackspot disease include copper, lime sulfur, neem oil, potassium or ammonium bicarbonate and sulfur.

  • Mulch flower gardens to conserve water and keep costs down during heat waves

Fruits & Vegetables:

  • Weed strawberry and asparagus beds
  • Feed young corn plants with high-nitrogen fish emulsion fertilizer
  • Dust potato plants to prevent infestations of potato beetle

✔Did you know: The potato beetle is one of the most difficult garden pests to get rid of due to its developed resistance to many insecticides.

  • Mulch vegetable gardens to conserve water during heat waves
  • Spray tomato plants with compost tea to prevent diseases.

✔Trick: Make your own compost teat by steeping an old pillowcase filled with compost in a bucket of water.

  • Harvest salad crops and replant every 2 weeks for a constant supply of tasty leaves.
  • Great time to start planting sweet potatoes and regular (russet) potatoes
  • You can also start planting carrots, peppers, cucumbers, winter and summer squash
  • Toward the end of the month start planting corn and beans
  • Don’t forget to harvest spinach, broccoli, beets and peas this month

Lawn & Trees:

  • Train your lawn to grow deep roots by mowing often, at a high setting.

✔Did you know: Deep roots are the key to a healthy lawn and improving drought tolerance.

  • Make sure your lawn gets one inch of water per week. If you irrigate, water deeply to encourage deeper roots.
  • Control existing weeds with a post-emergent herbicide, or by pulling or digging.

✔Tip: Removing weeds before they bloom and disperse their seeds helps reduce next year’s crop.

  • Plant balled-and-burlapped and container shrubs and trees
  • Thin out small green fruits on apple, peach and plum trees to one every 6-inches on the branch

 

4 Things You’ll Learn After Buying a Home

When you move into home ownership, there are some things you might not expect. Here are 4 things you’ll learn after you buy a home.

 

  1. Recycling & Trash. Not all cities or counties provide trash and recycling which means you’ll have to pay the government or hire a private service to pick up your trash. This service is usually not too expensive, but it may lawnmower-384589_640
  2. be an expense you hadn’t anticipated.
  1. Air filters. If you’ve lived in an apartment before buying your first home, your landlord probably changed out your air filters in both your heating and cooling systems. Filters need to be changed every 4 to 6 weeks.
  1. Yard maintenance. Many first time home buyers dream of having a big back yard, but many forget to consider the maintenance that goes into the upkeep. You have to mow the lawn, weed, trim bushes, rake leaves, and everything else that goes into yard maintenance.
  1. Furniture overload. One mistake many new homeowners make when they first move into their new home is overextend themselves on buying tons of furniture and going into credit card debt. Before you give into the urge to buy, buy, buy, take some time to live in the space. Once things have settled down you can better determine what furniture you want and what pieces you can wait on.

Homeowners, tell us below about some of unexpected things you learned after buying your first home.

4 Important Payment Programs to Know

document-428338_640To buy a home, there is a lot that goes into the process. Before you start hunting for your dream home, it is important to speak with your loan officer to find out what you can afford. However, there is more that goes into applying for a home loan.

As you move towards buying your first home, here are 4 low-down payment programs you should know about.

  • GSE-backed loans. Government-sponsored enterprises, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are backed by loan-to-value loans and help to drive the mortgage market.
  • FHA. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) provides 3.5% down payment mortgages for those who qualify. Due to this, these types of loans are easier for those who qualify to have lower mortgage rates.
  • VA. These types of loans are available by the Veterans Administration (VA) to help veterans and those on active duty (along with their families) buy a home with no down payment or mortgage insurance.
  • USDA. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (ISDA) offers lower rates and 100% financing to those living in rural and suburban areas.

You can learn more about these types of loans by talking with your loan officer to see if you qualify for any of these low down payment loans. They can best direct you on which financial options are best for you.

Ready to buy a home? Give us a call today and let us help you make the move from renting to owning.

4 Rookie Mistakes To Watch Out For When Buying A Home

houses-336436_1280Getting ready to buy your first home? This can be an exciting time, but it can also leave you feeling overwhelmed. While you’re searching for your dream home, here are 4 rookie mistakes to avoid which could end up costing you a lot of money.

  1. Getting too emotionally attached. Buying a home is a huge investment. Because of that, take some time to look at several homes that you love so if one falls through there are other choices.
  1. Assuming you have no rules to follow as a homeowner. Some homes have deed restrictions that come with conditions. Take some time read and understand the restrictions before signing any paperwork.
  1. Not saving enough money. Saving up enough money for a down payment is a big deal, but you should also save a few months worth of mortgage payments in reserve. Putting money aside is also a great idea for any household essentials you may want to get once you’ve moved into your new home.
  1. Not getting preapproved for a loan. You’ve probably crunched the numbers and know how much you can afford, but if you want your offer to be taken seriously by the seller, get a proof of income and assets from your lender. This can be a simple pre-approval letter to show the lender your trustworthy.

If you need to apply for a home loan, getting pre-approved before approaching a real estate agent (or searching for your dream home) is a smart move.

Want to learn what other rookie mistakes to avoid? Check out this article by Home Value Plus.

4 Easy Tips To Help Your Home Sell Faster

When it comes to selling your home, the key is to create something visually appealing that potential home buyers are going to fall in love. The moment they walk in the door, you want them to be able to visualize themselves living there. garden-gardening-1290908_640

One thing that can turn potential home buyers away faster than anything is walking into a home that hasn’t been kept up. Take some time now to do these 4 easy things around your home and keep buyers interested in making an offer

  1. Repair scratched linoleum. Scratched linoleum can turn potential homebuyers away. Take a moment to repair your linoleum—skipping the repairman—by warming up the scratched area with your hairdryer then filling the scratch up with superglue or epoxy putty.
  1. Replace your old front door knob. Because curb appeal is so important, replacing old, ratty door knobs can help boost your home’s appeal and make potential home buyers more interested in making an offer. When choosing a new door knob, pick something that is sturdy and has a lock and handle combo.
  1. Clean your stained tub. Your stained bathtub is not doing you any favors. Before you start showing potential homebuyers you’re home, take some time to clean the ring around your bathtub by creating a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice.
  1. Spruce up your front yard. As mentioned above, curb appeal is a huge deal when it comes to attracting potential home buyers. Rake up leaves, remove dead plants and shrubs, mow your lawn, and clean any debris off your pathways.

Want to some more tips for giving your home a facelift without spending a ton of money? Check out these extra ideas from Move.org.

If you’re ready to sell your home, a real estate agent can help you better decide what else you can do to make your home more appealing to potential buyers.

Make 2016 Your Year To Buy A Home

If you’ve been considering buying a home, now is the time to do it. According to Builder.com, Utah’s strong economy and affordable housing market has even appealed to millennials, those between 25 and 35, who are moving closer to home ownership. In the same report by Builder.com, millennials have already purchased an estimated 39.8% of new homes. real-estate-516768_640

Entering into home ownership, especially for first time home buyers, can be an intimidating experience. As you move forward in the process of becoming a homeowner, take a moment to ask yourself some important questions to ensure you’re ready to make this move. If you’re not properly prepared, home ownership can stretch you a little too thin financially.

Once you’ve decided you still want to make the move towards owning a home, talk with your bank, credit union, or mortgage officer about getting pre-approved. This is something you’ll want to do before you start looking for your dream home so you’ll know how much you can afford. This will prevent you from getting discouraged if you’re looking at homes outside of your price range. During this time, keep in mind of any additional costs and taxes which may come up.

After you have a clear idea of how much you can afford, now is the time to hire a real estate agent to assist you in finding your perfect home. Before you hire an agent, make sure you’re hiring the best, most qualified, agent for you. Ask your friends, family, and co-workers who’ve they’ve used in the past and if they’d use them again. Don’t be afraid to ask the real estate agent questions and ask for references. Home ownership is a huge investment so you want to make sure you do your due diligence.

If you’re ready to buy a home, we are here to answer your questions. Give us a call today and let us show you want we can do for you. 

3 Important Factors To Consider When Deciding To Buy A Home

Are you ready to buy a home, but are unsure how much of a home loan you can handle? When it comes to buying a home, there is a lot that goes into the home owning process. Between applying for a loan, finding the perfect home, and navigating through the twists and turns of the entire process. 04-04-21-891_640

Before applying for a home loan, review your FICO score. Depending where your FICO score falls, will determine if you qualify for a loan, how much you’ll get, and what your interest rate will be. To find out what you qualify for, speak with your loan officer at your bank or credit union or a mortgage lender to find out where your score falls.

Another important term to know when deciding if you qualify for a home loan is your debt-to-income ratio. A general rule of thumb, when it comes to mortgage loans, is to avoid dedicating more than 28% of your monthly take-home income.

While you’re calculating your debt to income ratio and finding out how much of a home you can afford, take a moment to consider future expenses. Don’t stress yourself more than stretching yourself too thin where you’re struggling to pay your bills or save for retirement.

After you’ve weighed all the factors and decided you’re ready to move forward towards home ownership, a real estate agent can help you find the perfect home.

Give us a call today and let us help you find a place to call home.