How Can You Afford a House?

If you feel like you’re ready to buy a house, the first question you’re likely to ask yourself is “how much can I afford?” Answering that question means taking a look at a number of factors. 

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Understand Your Debt-to-Income Ratio First.

The first and most obvious decision point involves money. If you have sufficient means to purchase a house for cash, then you certainly can afford to buy one now. Even if you can’t pay in cash, most experts would agree that you can afford the purchase if you can qualify for a mortgage on a new home.

The 43% debt-to-income (DTI) ratio standard is generally used by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) as a guideline for approving mortgages. This ratio is used to determine if the borrower can make their payments each month. Some lenders may be more lenient or more rigid, depending on the real estate market and general economic conditions.

A 43% DTI means all your regular debt payments, plus your housing-related expenses—mortgage, mortgage insurance, homeowners association fees, property tax, homeowners insurance, etc.—shouldn’t equal more than 43% of your monthly gross income.2

For example, if your monthly gross income is $4,000, you multiply this number by 0.43 to get $1,720, which is the total you should spend on debt payments. Now, let’s say you already have these monthly obligations: Minimum credit card payments of $120, a car loan payment of $240, and student loan payments of $120—a total of $480. That means theoretically you can afford up to $1,240 per month in additional debt for a mortgage, and still be within the maximum DTI. Of course, less debt is always better.

Most mortgages are long-term commitments. Keep in mind that you may be making those payments every month for the next 30 years. Accordingly, you should evaluate the reliability of your primary source of income. You should also consider your prospects for the future and the likelihood that your expenses will rise over time.

Can You Afford the Down Payment?

It’s best to put down 20% of your home price to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Usually added into your mortgage payments, PMI can add $30 to $70 to your monthly mortgage payment for every $100,000 borrowed. There may be some reasons that you might not want to put down 20% toward your purchase. Perhaps you aren’t planning on living in the home very long or have long-term plans to convert the home into an investment property.

Being able to afford a new house today is not nearly as important as your ability to afford it over the long haul. Needless to say, being able to afford a house and having a down payment doesn’t answer the question of whether now is a good time for you to act on that option.

Consider all your real life factors, how’s the market?, compare house prices, square footage, location and what the homes include, standard features vs adding more options, are there any seller incentives?, these are just a few things to consider when purchasing a home.

Our Viamar Home model will include, higher end luxury lighting & plumbing fixtures, granite countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms, cabinets, enclosed lanai, and higher end hardware, all stainless steel appliances including washer and dryer, just to name a few exclusive incentives … Call Us 786-663-0514 We are Available to Answer All Your Questions.

Source Investopedia.

How does your septic system work?

Septic tanks are concrete, polyethylene, or fiberglass boxes that are buried underground.

Septic systems are underground wastewater treatment structures, commonly used in rural areas without centralized sewer systems.

They use a combination of nature and proven technology to treat wastewater from household plumbing produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry.

A typical septic system consists of a septic tank and a drainfield, or soil absorption field.

The septic tank digests organic matter and separates floatable matter (e.g., oils and grease) and solids from the wastewater. Soil-based systems discharge the liquid (known as effluent) from the septic tank into a series of perforated pipes buried in a leach field, chambers, or other special units designed to slowly release the effluent into the soil.

The relatively clear water in the middle flows out to the drainfield. This area, which must be kept free of trees and shrubs so their roots don’t damage it, consists of perforated pipes or drain tiles buried in trenches or set on a gravel bed one to three feet below the surface.

As water trickles out of the pipes, the soil and its microbes act as natural filters to clean the water. 

Installing a standard system costs $8,000 to $10,000, depending on where you live.

How to Care for Your Septic System

Septic system maintenance is not complicated, and it does not need to be expensive. Upkeep comes down to four key elements:

The average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional. Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years. Alternative systems with electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components should be inspected more often, generally once a year. A service contract is important since alternative systems have mechanized parts.

Four major factors influence the frequency of septic pumping:

  • Household size
  • Total wastewater generated
  • Volume of solids in wastewater
  • Septic tank size

Keep maintenance records on work performed on your septic system.

Your septic tank includes a T-shaped outlet which prevents sludge and scum from leaving the tank and traveling to the drainfield area. If the bottom of the scum layer is within six inches of the bottom of the outlet, or if the top of the sludge layer is within 12 inches of the outlet, your tank needs to be pumped.

To keep track of when to pump out your tank, write down the sludge and scum levels found by the septic professional.

The service provider should note repairs completed and the tank condition in your system’s service report. If other repairs are recommended, hire a repair person soon.

Use Water Efficiently

The average indoor water use in a typical single-family home is nearly 70 gallons per individual, per day. Just a single leaky or running toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water per day.

All of the water a household sends down its pipes winds up in its septic system. The more water a household conserves, the less water enters the septic system. Efficient water use improves the operation of a septic system and reduces the risk of failure.

EPA’s WaterSense program has many simple ways to save water and water-efficient products.

Properly Dispose of Waste

Whether you flush it down the toilet, grind it in the garbage disposal, or pour it down the sink, shower, or bath, everything that goes down your drains ends up in your septic system. What goes down the drain affects how well your septic system works.

Toilets aren’t trash cans!

Your septic system is not a trash can. An easy rule of thumb: Do not flush anything besides human waste and toilet paper. Never flush:

  • Cooking grease or oil
  • Non-flushable wipes, such as baby wipes or other wet wipes
  • Photographic solutions
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Condoms
  • Dental floss
  • Diapers
  • Cigarette butts
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cat litter
  • Paper towels
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Household chemicals like gasoline, oil, pesticides, antifreeze, and paint or paint thinners

Think at the sink!

Your septic system contains a collection of living organisms that digest and treat household waste. Pouring toxins down your drain can kill these organisms and harm your septic system. Whether you are at the kitchen sink, bathtub, or utility sink:

  • Avoid chemical drain openers for a clogged drain. Instead, use boiling water or a drain snake.
  • Never pour cooking oil or grease down the drain.
  • Never pour oil-based paints, solvents, or large volumes of toxic cleaners down the drain. Even latex paint waste should be minimized.
  • Eliminate or limit the use of a garbage disposal. This will significantly reduce the amount of fats, grease, and solids that enter your septic tank and ultimately clog its drainfield.

Maintain Your Drainfield

Your drainfield—a component of your septic system that removes contaminants from the liquid that emerges from your septic tank—is an important part of your septic system. Here are a few things you should do to maintain it:

  • Parking: Never park or drive on your drainfield.
  • Planting: Plant trees the appropriate distance from your drainfield to keep roots from growing into your septic system. A septic service professional can advise you of the proper distance, depending on your septic tank and landscape.
  • Placing: Keep roof drains, sump pumps, and other rainwater drainage systems away from your drainfield area. Excess water slows down or stops the wastewater treatment process.

Source EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency)

How to Have a Smart Home?

You can make your home a little more livable—and a lot more automated—by adding appliances and devices you can control from anywhere.

Why going “smart” is a smart idea

We’ve all heard the term “smart home,” but what does it actually mean? According to Mark Spates, Senior Product Manager and Smart Speaker Product Lead at Google Nest, what gives a home smart status is technology—specifically its connectivity and automation that stems from ambient computing.

Ambient computing means all of our devices work together to provide us with the help we need without much effort on our parts.

The Smart Home. It’s a place that anticipates your needs and empowers you to fine-tune your environment. 

“We think of a smart home as one where technology saves you time, gives you peace of mind, and helps simplify routine tasks,” adds Nathan Smith, director, smart home at Amazon.

You can pick smart home devices that best fit your home and lifestyle—whether that’s a smart doorbell that lets you know the kids are home safe from school or a smart vacuum that lets you clean without leaving the couch.

Before you start shopping for devices, decide which ecosystem works best for you. There are three main ones: Google Nest, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit. If your home is filled with iPhones, iPads, and Macs, the latter is the obvious choice, but if you have an Android phone, you may prefer Google’s Nest platform. Third-party devices usually offer support for multiple standards, but things will run more smoothly if you pick one main ecosystem. 

From there you can add devices, such as smart lights, plugs, thermostats, sprinklers. “The sky really is the limit in creating a helpful home,” he says. 

Voice match technology helps smart speakers recognize household members, then personalize answers accordingly. Other features show you your spoken commands (so you know Google heard you correctly) or deftly walk you through a recipe from popular cooking websites.

This hub also works seamlessly with Google-supported smart home cameras and video doorbells to display their camera feeds onscreen. 

Are you ready to start?

According to They’ve listed smart home components roughly in the order they think most people will go about installing them, but there is no hard and fast rule.

If you think installing a smart smoke detector is a higher priority than smart lighting, go for it!

If you think you might want to invest in a smart home hub that will pull all these components together under a single user interface, just make sure all the bits and pieces you buy will work with one of the most common hubs: Hubitat Elevation supports the most third-party general-purpose smart home products.

Other powerful systems, such as Ring Alarm, are more focused on the security aspect of the smart home and have more limited third-party support.

When in doubt, check the hub manufacturers’ websites to verify which devices each one works with. Including such compatibility in your buying criteria today will maximize the value of your initial smart home investments down the road.

Depending on the platform you’re using, you can group rooms, create subsets of devices within rooms, or group devices across multiple rooms by creating custom groups, zones, or rooms. It’s worth taking some time to think about this, as it gives you much greater control and flexibility for voice commands and for setting up automation or routines.

Multigenerational Homes.

Multigenerational households are on the rise, thanks to
financial and emotional benefits.

Choosing to merge generations under one roof reflects a number of changes, some cultural and some financial. According to advocacy group Generations United, which says the 51.4 million Americans who now live in multigenerational households represents a 10% increase since 2007.

Some families need physical distance between them to get along. Others manage to coexist peacefully under the same roof, even across multiple generations.

What is multigenerational living?

The U.S Census Bureau defines the multigenerational home as a living arrangement with more than two adult generations living under the same roof.

the housing market saw an uptick in multigenerational families living under the same roof in 2009, with 17% of the U.S. population falling into that category. And by 2016, an estimated 64 million households, or 20% of Americans, were multigenerational.

For example, if you and your spouse decide to live in the same home as your parents, that’s multigenerational living. Some multigenerational living arrangements involve extended family as well.

Benefits of multigenerational living

Multigenerational living has its advantages. First, a family that chooses to live as a single household under the same roof can divide up the expenses associated with owning or renting a single home rather than have each generation bear that expense independently.

Eighty-four million Americans, 20% of the nation, now live in multigenerational households that include two or more adult generations or grandparents and grandchildren younger than 25.

Multigenerational households are an excellent way for families or individuals to save money.

Some Hispanic and Asian societies have traditionally featured homes with two or three generations. Among families with Asian heritage, 29% lived in multigenerational family households in 2016, according to census data.

Among Hispanics and African Americans, the shares in 2016 were 27% and 26%, respectively. Among whites, 16% lived with multiple generations of family members.

Households with two or more adult generations are economical in many ways. When shared by more adults, mortgage payments or rent are lower per person than if they live apart.

Other household expenses can also be shared, including utilities, food, maintenance costs, decorating costs, property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, and homeowners’ association fees.

Sharing expenses gives young adults the opportunity to build savings or pay down debt.  Living with their families temporarily gives young adults time to reduce debt, improve their credit and save for a down payment.

Stronger family bonds. When three generations live together, family bonds are strengthened. When grandparents are involved in their lives, children have fewer behavioral and emotional problems. Grandparents can be critically important in the lives of children with divorced parentsLiving with their children and grandchildren relieves grandparent’s loneliness and enriches their daily lives.

In today’s markets, families that can afford a larger home will find more properties for sale in higher price tiers, yet each adult will spend less on housing than if they live apart. 

Our Viamar Home floor plan has 4 bedroom, 2 bathrooms and it’s approximately 2,800 sq ft, making it a practical floor plan to accommodate the entire family.

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Why Is Important to Have Financial Wellness.

Today we are inspired to talk about a topic that many people completely ignore, Financial Wellness.

Why is this important to our lives?

I would like to start by saying that my wife and I have worked in our financial wellness consistently and have become very successful at it… and I must say more than successful we have become satisfied and very happy with the strategies that help us keep it in place.  Simply put,  financial wellness is the ability to have a healthy financial life. It relates to your relationship with money.

It means your bills are paid and you have ample emergency and retirement funds available. In other words, you’re well prepared to handle any financial crisis that might come your way. Overall, it truly means you feel good about your financial future.

As a business owner financial health is important because it allows you and me to be more productive, because we are not worried about money. All the anxiety and stress associated with not having money goes away when your financial health is taken care off.

How do you achieve Financial Wellness?

  • Make sure your income covers your expenses and allows you  to stay on top of your debt repayments.
  • Make sure you have savings for unexpected financial emergencies.
  • Make sure you are working toward long-term financial goals.
  • Make sure you have the freedom to make choices that allow you to enjoy your life stress free.

In order to achieve the above plan you must take into consideration the amount of money you earn, this plays a significant role in your ability to create your financial wellness.  The only factor you need to take into account is, how well do you manage your money.

If you are having trouble with financial wellness, look for tools and education to help you develop a healthier relationship with your finances.

Financial wellness can help you in the long run. If you’re focused on financial wellness, you’re also working on your long-term goals and as a result, you are likely to enjoy both your present and your future more.