Marie Kondo is one of the leading organizing consultants in the world and has set about to help people declutter their lives in every different culture and from a variety of different lifestyles. Here are 5 tips from Ms. Kondo to help get your financial life in order:
1. Start by discarding
Many people keep paper copies of all of their account statements, utility bills, and expense receipts. If this is you, there’s a better way to keep all of this in order while also decluttering the area where you keep these documents: the cloud! There are a great amount of cloud storage solutions and apps available to transform your piles of papers into digital files that are easy to organize, making it simple to find the exact document you are looking for in seconds instead of spending great lengths of time sorting through all of the loose papers you have.
In addition to moving all of your paper documents online, almost all companies and services offer digital delivery of account statements, prospectuses, trade confirmations, and receipts. Set up all of your different accounts to send you these documents in a paperless format.
2. Organize by category
Spring is when most people try to hunt down and find all of the documents they need to file their taxes, and undoubtedly, we’ve all been in the situation before where we spend an immense amount of time searching for that one last W-2 or tax exemption form that we know is hiding somewhere. Your taxes are a great starting point for organizing by category. Mark a folder for 2020 tax forms and receipts. Throughout the course of the next year, every time you get a tax-related document, you can put it in this folder. When tax time in 2021 comes about, everything will be in one place and easy to find, leaving you in a situation where you aren’t scrambling to find specific forms or documents while brushing up against the tax-filing deadline.
Next, we suggest organizing your spending. Examine past bank statements and credit card statements to then organize expenses into categories. If you are tech-savvy, there are a number of online apps that can track your spending by categories (if your bank or credit union does not already offer budgeting software). This will help you determine whether or not your money is being spent on the things that matter most to you and your family.
3. Empty your bag or briefcase every day
This one sounds silly, but doing so can be quite cathartic. This will allow you to begin every day anew by discarding any unneeded papers, immediately uploading any expense receipts to the cloud, or filing any necessary paperwork into your organized folders or bins (for documents that you cannot obtain digital documents). Emptying your bag or briefcase daily (or weekly at the most!) can remove the burden of things piling up or getting lost or forgotten about. Employ this same practice with your daily mail. Recycle junk mail and shred any credit card offers or mail that you don’t intend to keep that might have personal information in it. Place any bills that need to be paid into a folder where they are easily accessible when you have a moment to handle them all at once. If there are any other types of mail that you get that are specific to your needs, create a new folder for that as well and place mail in it appropriately.
4. Identify what is truly precious
Take some time to identify what is truly important to you and your family (e.g., life goals). Make sure that each financial decision, from spending to saving and investing, is going to support these important long-term goals. Once again, monitor spending habits and reduce unnecessary expenses in favor of putting money away to make your life goals a reality.
5. Designate a place for everything
When decluttering your home or cleaning up on a weekly basis, most people have a designated area for their belongings. Your investments deserve the same type of treatment! Are you taking on the appropriate amount of risk, or are you taking on too much? Does your time horizontally align with your investment allocations? Are the beneficiaries listed on each of your accounts up-to-date? How about your estate plan? Do you have all of the right documents in place (a will, trust, durable power of attorney, medical powers of attorney, etc.)? When was the last time you reviewed these documents with an attorney? Reviewing them regularly will help to make sure your house is in order, and your finances are properly allocated.
These 5 Spring Tip from Marie Kondo are a great starting place, but if you’re ready to continue to conversation for how you can get the financial aspect of your life in order, consider meeting with a financial advisor to develop a more detailed and customized plan for your particular lifestyle and long-term goals.
Mortgage Rates Still Very Good!
Despite the current state of the stock market and slowing economy due to nationwide health concerns, now remains an excellent time to either buy or sell a home.
According to bankrate.com, one year ago, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate on a home was 4.5%, compared to a 3.7% average mortgage rate just a couple of weeks ago, meaning March of 2020 has been a much better time than March of 2019 for buying or selling a home. In terms of a hard number, this essentially equates to $464.25 in payment each month for every $100,000 you borrow on a national scale. Though some of these numbers may vary slightly depending on your specific home and where you are located in Northern Colorado, if you are in the market to either buy or sell a home, the market remains extremely friendly.
Bankrate.com offers a free monthly mortgage rate calculator whose monthly payment estimates are broken down by principal and interest, property taxes, and homeowners insurance. To get as accurate of a calculated monthly mortgage rate as possible, their calculator factors in your credit rating, zip code, and HOA fees. You can also experiment with their mortgage rate calculator, inputting different home prices, down payments, loan terms, and interest rates to see how your monthly payment would change.
To experiment with their user-friendly mortgage rate calculator, visit:
123 A Street, Ault, CO 80610
This 3,000 square foot hidden gem of a house is located in Ault, Colorado, about a 20 to 30-minute drive from the epicenter of the nearby booming city of Fort Collins.
While this may be a slight drawback to some potential homebuyers who are looking to break into the Northern Colorado real estate market, what should stand out is the incredible price point that this particular property will be hitting the market at. According to the Fort Collins Board of Realtors, a property with this type of square footage (8,000 square foot lot; 3,000 square foot house floorplan) in the city of Fort Collins would cost a small fortune, while purchasing it in the smaller town of Ault a short distance outside of Fort Collins brings the asking price well below what is considered average for the Northern Colorado real estate market.
This property is serviced by the Weld RE9 School District, which has received very good marks and is noted as one of the school districts that has experienced the most growth in Colorado over the past 5 years. However, if the homebuyer doesn’t mind the small commute, their children can opt to attend the region’s notable Poudre School District instead.
1921 Mackinac St., Fort Collins, CO 80524
This amazing Dry Creek home is conveniently located in the heart of Fort Collins and was sold at what would be considered a low to average price point compared to other homes in the Fort Collins area. According to the Fort Collins Board of Realtors, the average sale price for a comparable home (3 Bedroom, 3 Bathroom) in Fort Collins for the month of January was hovering right around $465,000. This particular 1,700 square foot house went under contract slightly below that number, saving the buyer some money. In addition to its highly desired location in the city of Fort Collins, this home is serviced by the award-winning Poudre School District and is located not far from the historic Old Town of the city, an attraction that many patrons travel long distances to experience. This property is also surrounded by numerous well-maintained and beautiful parks and nature trails.
630 S. Mountain Ave., Eaton, CO 80615
This stunning Aspen Meadows Ranch home is located in the small town of Eaton, which rests ten to fifteen minutes outside of the booming city of Fort Collins. This affords the buyer the peace and quiet away from bustling city life while not compromising their ease in accessing the amenities of a nearby big city. This large, 2,700 square foot house was sold at what would be considered a low price point when comparing it to other properties sold in the Northern Colorado region, meaning the buyer received an excellent deal. In addition to the house itself, the buyer received professional landscaping and irrigation detail as well as access to both the Eaton School District RE-2 and the more prestigious Poudre School District in Fort Collins. According to the Fort Collins Board of Realtors, the average property in this area is listed for close to 80 days before being purchased. Because of the excellent deal that the buyer was able to receive, this particular property was on the market for a shorter time than that.
Featured Business – House Call Home Inspection
The home buying process can be a daunting and arduous task for anyone, from the new homeowner to experienced real estate veterans looking to add to their portfolio. Finding the ideal property that fits your individual parameters and dealing with all of the potential paperwork involved is stressful enough, so one of the last elements that the home buyer wants to worry about is the underlying and often unseen condition of the property itself. The homebuyer wants to believe they are purchasing a property that the previous owner has maintained and kept structurally sound in good faith, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
The job for House Call Home Inspections is to look for all of the potential hidden problems that a property may have prior to your purchase. Their home inspections are an unbiased, honest, and a professional assessment of the condition of the house. When inspecting a property, their experts try to provide as thorough of a report as humanly possible, looking at all of the following aspects: the framing of the house (structurally), roof, gutter, and attic assessment, the foundation of the property, the walls, a complete diagnostic of the electrical system and wiring, a thorough inspection of the plumbing system to make sure it is functioning properly and there are no leaks, an assessment of the heating and air conditioning systems, a complete check-listed examination of the kitchen and bathrooms, an evaluation of the cosmetics of the property (e.g., sidings, floorboards, and paint condition), as well as conditions of the windows and insulation rating for the home.
In addition to a regular and thorough inspection of a home, if there are any other specific or unique items or systems that you need inspected, they are happy to help.
As a part of our customer-friendly service, we strongly encourage all of our clients to accompany our expert team during the inspection of a property. You should always feel free to ask the inspector(s) any questions that you may have during the process so that a professional can best educate you on what they are seeing and what you should know. During an inspection, the team at House Call will show you both the good points of a home as well as any concerning elements that the property may have. On top of this, you will be provided with on the spot suggestions for what may require routine maintenance to keep the home in top condition. Once the inspection is complete, you will get a detailed and comprehensive report in the form of a written document for your own records. With the information contained in the report, you can be sure to make a decision on the property with confidence.
Regardless of whether you choose the courteous and detail-oriented people at House Call Home Inspections or not, you should always have a professional home inspection performed to know exactly what you are getting (or not getting) in any particular property. If you are at the point in the home buying process of making a formal offer and a professional inspection hasn’t been completed, you will want to make sure the contract you are getting ready to sign has an inspection contingency in it. This will ensure that either the seller or yourself will employ the services of a reputable home inspection service. If you aren’t satisfied with what an inspection finds, the inspection contingency will allow you to go back to the bargaining table and negotiate a lower price point or agree on repairs prior to officially closing on the property.
House Call Home Inspections is proud to service the pre-purchase home inspection needs of Larimer County, Colorado, which includes the Loveland, Fort Collins, Berthoud, Estes Park, Johnstown, Timnath, Wellington, Windsor, and other smaller communities in the surrounding area.
For more information about House Call Inspections or how to employ their expert services, please use the contact information below:
Phone: (970) 290-9900
I'm Brad, owner of Colorado Real Estate Pros. This blog will talk more about my day-to-day as a Fort Collins Realtor, and my life as well. Enjoy!