Category Archives: Home Buyer

7 Tips for Decorating on a Budget

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Decorating a room isn’t always easy. You don’t know what’s truly going to look good until it’s in place. You don’t want to break the bank, but you don’t want a room to look half done. Well, spending less money will help put your mind at ease! Whether you’re moving into a new place or just looking to spruce up a room you’re tired of, follow these tips to save some cash.

Get Crafty with Frames:

Putting framed art above a fireplace or a couch is a great way to take up wall space. Instead of buying art, make it yourself! You’ll be surprised at how good your own art can look in a frame. If you’re not feeling artistic, put up pictures, or even actual products. Anything flat, such as clothing, can look good in a frame if done correctly. For even more jazz – try designed frames instead of your typical black or white.

Paint the Place:

A can of paint goes a long way, and if you’re tired of your room, you’re could just be tired of the color. Try a fresh new color all around, or experiment with an accent wall. It could open your eyes to different design ideas that you may not have thought about.

Lights & Lampshades:

Lighting is the key component in the feeling of your room. Instead of replacing the lamps you have, try giving them a colorful new shade. You can also pop in some colored light bulbs.

Plant Pizzazz:

Plants can be a great way to add natural freshness to a room. Display them in a typical pot, or get some colored pots for a vibrant look. Or, try old jars you might have lying around!

New Pillows:

If you don’t have the money for a new couch, new pillows are the second best option. They can bring out the colors in the rest of the room, and even help to make your couch look newer.

Flea Market Furniture:

Try looking at flea markets and garage sales for pieces with old charm. A lot of times, you’ll find coffee tables, nightstands, and other quality furniture sold by people just looking for a change of pace. You’ll often find that no painting is necessary.


You can use rugs to tie everything in the room together, and it’s a whole lot cheaper than getting a carpet installed. Different colors are easy to find, making it simple to make your room vibrant, or toned down. Use rugs in different sizes to help split the room visually.

Felicia Walkins is a freelance writer for Jackson Twenty-one. Connect with her on .

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4 Tips For First-Time Homebuyers

House keys on MoneyAre you in the market for your first home? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Actually, many people spend years working and saving before making their first home purchase. Buying a home is a huge decision that comes with many financial commitments. Therefore, when it comes time to purchase your first home, you want to be absolutely sure it’s right for you! Here are four important tips for first-time homebuyers.

Set a budget

It may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many buyers don’t start by figuring out how much money they actually have to spend on their first home. First things first, figure out how much money you are able to spend on your house. Most banks will suggest spending up to 28 percent of your gross monthly income (GMI) on your mortgage, taxes and homeowners’ insurance. If you ake out a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, then you can spend up to 42 percent of your GMI. Also, pay attention to your savings and calculate how long it will take you to come up with a substantial down payment.

Save for down payment

The most critical step for first-time homebuyers is saving for a down payment. Depending on your income and monthly expenses, this could take some time. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest you begin saving now. Most mortgage brokers require that you have at minimum, 20 percent down to even qualify for a mortgage. However, if you qualify for the FHA loan (first-time homebuyers only) you will still need at least 3.5 percent down payment. To give you an idea, for a $250,000 mortgage you will need at least $8,500 (3.5 percent) for a down payment. Just as a heads up, that doesn’t include all the other costs associated with buying a home.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

In today’s market, many deals fall through the cracks because first-time buyers can’t find a bank to give them a loan. Be proactive and get pre-approved for your mortgage. The first thing you need to do is shop around for the right lender. This includes talking to at least three different types of lenders, including national banks, local banks and mortgage brokers. Some lenders will charge you for pre-approval, so ask about these costs upfront. Once you’ve compared a few lenders, it’s time to pick the one that’s right for you. Typically, the bank will issue a letter that tells you and the sellers how much it’s willing to lend you.

Start looking

Now that you have a realistic budget and pre-approval on a mortgage, it’s time to start looking for your dream home. You can do this by browsing the real estate section of your local paper to find open houses within your area. Thanks to the Internet, there are more options than ever before to search for a home. Popular real estate websites include Zillow, Trulia and Or, you could consider hiring a realtor. Because finding the right house can be quite time consuming, hiring a realtor might not be a terrible idea. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of prospective homes, it’s time to begin hunting!

Felicia Walkins is a freelance writer for Jackson Twenty-one. Connect with her on .

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