I would definitely not consider myself a real estate expert (I do want to learn and invest more) but we have bought two homes so I have become more familiar with the process. Right now, especially in our area, homes are in huge demand because of low interest rates + pandemic fears. If you are looking to buy a home, I wanted to share a few money saving tips we have used in the past when purchasing. Maybe there are a couple that can help you out!
Real Estate Rewards Programs
We used a real estate rewards program through our bank, and it looks like other banks and some real estate companies have similar options as well. Essentially how it works is you are recommended one or two real estate agents when purchasing a home. When you go with one of these recommended real estate agents, after closing you get a nice check in the mail (we got $1500!) How it works is, there is a lot of competition for real estate agents. Real estate agents give up part of their commission through this program in order to be referred and get your business, and you + the bank get to cash in on that.
*Please listen to the advice of professionals, I am just sharing our experiences below*
On our first home purchase, we were sooo disappointed with our home inspection. He literally only flipped light switches and faucets. We literally could have done all this ourselves very easily! He did not go under the house or into the crawl spaces, which were our main concerns and something we couldn't do on our own. This costed a couple hundred bucks! On our second home we opted to not do a traditional home inspection (since we were remodeling everything anyway) and chose to do a roof and foundation inspection. If you do go with a traditional home inspection, I recommend talking with the inspector before hand to ensure they will be able to inspect all areas you are concerned about, as well as shopping around for cheaper prices.
For our second home, we had in our contract that the seller would purchase us a 1 year home warranty. This covers items that are not visible through an inspection and some appliances. Within a couple months the water heater died, and we called up the home warranty company. Turns out there is fine print about "codes" so we would have to pay out of pocket $800 for a new water heater WITH the warranty. We ended up buying a bigger, more efficient water heater for the same price and just installed it ourselves. For most services through the home warranty we had to pay out of pocket for something. Moral of this story, in the future I would ask for more credits at closing instead of a home warranty.
I think when most people consider a mortgage, they often look at 30 year loans. According to a lot of sources, most homebuyers do a 30 year mortgage. Especially for new home buyers, these can be more accessible. Your monthly payments are lower and you generally do not have to bring the traditional 20% down payment. For our first home, we did a 30 year loan but we told ourselves we would pay extra every month to save on interest. How many times did we actually pay extra money on our mortgage? ONCE. For our second home we did the math and discovered we would save $130,000 in interest by paying more monthly with a 15 year loan vs paying over an extra 15 years during a 30 year loan. Thats a G Wagon! We pay about $500 more every month, but in the long run save so much money in interest. Not only that, but 15 year loans have lower interest rates, and you also don't have to pay a PMI (an additional mortgage insurance cost you have to pay if you don't put down 20%) Considering how long you plan to live in the home and what you can pay every month, you may want to review different loan types.
Closing Costs + Credits
There is so much negotiating that goes into each escrow. If there is an issue that needs to be fixed with the house or the inspection turns up something unexpected, you can ask for the seller to either fix these issues or offer closing credits. Essentially they are giving up part of their cut of the house sale back to you to help with closing costs. When we sold our house, there were a few small fixes that showed up (like cracks in the pool) and the buyer requested a credit, which we were able to negotiate with them about. This way we are "crediting" some money from the sale back to them so they have to bring less closing costs. Closing costs cover a lot of things from the escrow company to title transfer and home insurance. Its generally a percentage of the home sale price. These credits help you pay less of this. Depending on the market and how long the house has sat, you can also request the seller pay all closing cost ( which are generally paid mostly by the buyer). Right now the market is a sellers market and homes are selling very quickly so closings costs and credits may be harder to come by.
If you are looking to purchase a home I hope a few of these tips were helpful for you! If you have your own tips for saving money buying a home, let me know down below.
Tips for saving money *selling a home* coming soon!
I was so excited to find this Chanel top at the thrift store last month. My first time thrifting Chanel! I've refrained from listing it yet because making sure you sell authenticate items is super important as a reseller. Being accused of selling fake items is not something I take likely, plus can kill your reputation and maybe even get your account suspended. I've shared some of the most helpful tips I've come across to help you authenticate your own Chanel clothing below:
Country of Origin
As far as I have seen and read, Chanel only makes their products in France, Italy, and Spain. It will be easy to spot a fake if an item has a country origin that is not one of these, and especially if it's China. In my experience, Chanel clothing is made in France or Italy while some of their shoes are made in Spain. This top was made in France.
Most Chanel brand tags have either a white tag with black lettering, or a black tag with white lettering. Depending on the age of the garment the tag could look different. There will be a hang tag from the brand tag that will tell you the season of the item. Unfortunately on this item it has been washed out, but on other Chanel item you will find the season, size, and style of the item. This is quite a large tag and could be uncomfortable to wear, so don't be concerned right away if it is not attached. Another giveaway of a counterfeit item is the writing on tags being crooked or words being misspelled. All writing should be consistently straight and placed within the edges of the item.
Another thing to note is that while a lot of designers have something like an interior hologram to show authenticity, Chanel items do not.
Chanel clothing is made of very high quality, natural materials, like silk, linen, and cotton. If an item feels flimsy and cheaply made it's not Chanel. This top is 100% cotton.
Uneven and inconsistent stitching will not pass Chanel quality control. I like to especially look at stitching ends and edges to check to make sure the stitching does not go back over it self, which is a clear sign of sloppy stitching.
Glue Or Sticky Residue
Counterfeit designer clothing items often have sticky residue or glue on the hems. The fabric was glued together before being sewn to be easier and save time.
Chanel clothing starts in the hundreds of dollars. If the item feels cheap and you can't imagine someone paying that price for the quality, it's probably fake. Have any other tips for authenticating Chanel clothing? Let me know down below!
Did you know millionaires on average have SEVEN streams of income? Obviously it's impossible to put in 40 hr/wk into 7 hustles, so the more you can include that are passive (ie put in the work at the beginning and then make money from zero work) the better.
I actually came across the concept of drop shipping and Etsy on TikTok. You start an Etsy shop and create your products through a third party that is completely in charge of creating, storing, and shipping the product. You create designs and start up your shop, and then after that you put in very minimal work while the third party company does the work for you. These companies have a number of products you can add designs to, but so far I've been focusing on mugs because personally I love mugs, and I think a lot of other people do too! I've broken down the process and tools I've used to start building my Etsy business below.
Think of your niche
First off, think about your passion or niche that you can relate to and create cute content about. Are you a mom? Plant lover? Own a guinea pig? I recommend for starting out to stick with a topic you are comfortable, like creating a consistent brand, and then branching out later (I'll cover that below).
Create a canva account
LOVE Canva. You can create and design anything. I use it for social media content, blog photos, and now my Etsy designs. I pay $12/month for the pro plan so that I can access all the templates and have higher quality photos. Luckily they have a whole free month of the pro plan, so utilize that trial! You can use my Canva code HERE and we both get free premium upgrades!
Create a bunch of cute designs
Once you have the free trial for a month create as many cute designs as possible. I looked through Target to see what kind of styles and designs people are being sold right now. I promise you don't have to be super creative. People make a bunch of money from just creating designs with black lettering. Make sure to increase the quality when you download your design to make sure if shows up clear on the mug, and download it as a png file.
Create etsy store
If you don't have an established Etsy account yet that is totally fine. I recommend using a pic of your face for your profile and make sure to add in the bio what your niche is to attract similar people.
Create Printify account
Next is to find the third party drop shipping company you want to use. I have been using Printify, and I am super happy with them. They have a wide variety of products, very decent product and shipping prices, and they produce and ship within just a couple days.
LInk Accounts and start listing
Printify makes it super easy to link your account to your Etsy store. The only issue I faced was I did not know that you need to have listed one item in your Etsy store before you can start listing from Printify. I created a little bogus listing and then deleted it once I had started listing from Printify.
Update etsy listings
Printify will transfer over a lot of your item's information into your Etsy listing, but I like to go in a make a couple of changes to make my items more searchable. I add hashtags as well as some recommend item specifics (like material and color).
Once orders start rolling in, I like to manually go into Printify and tell them to start producing the mug. You don't have to do this as they will start producing the item within 1-2 days, but because of the production time I like to get it started right away so it can get to the buyer quickly.
And that pretty much sums up how to get your Etsy passive income stream off the ground! If you have any questions. or any other pieces of advice to add, let me know in the comments below!
Happy New Year! You are probably here to get a better look at the vintage Gucci clutch I am giving away on Instagram! If you haven't entered yet, you can check out the rules and enter HERE (super easy - just have to like the image and share the best deal you got in 2020! Deadline is Friday 1/8/21 at 11:59pm PST)
Some markings around outside and peeling on inside, easy fixes and still has so much life left!
I have two pairs of these Stuart Weitzman over the knee (OTK) boots, and I love them. I've had them for a couple years and they are really comfortable + really dress up leggings. I got both of mine secondhand so I've linked below a number of secondhand similar boots as well as some that are new and on super sale!
Happy New Year fam, and good luck!
Every time I am crammed into an economy seat on a 10 hr flight to Europe I always regret not doing more to figure out a way to be in a big comfy seat in the front of the plane. I follow a lot of travel hack accounts that show themselves in fancy airplane suites, but the points system always seemed confusing and I wasn't really sure how it worked.
Fast forward to summer 2020 when we had all the time in the world and we were trying to plan a trip to Europe for 2021 *fingers crossed* My business bank account is only a debit card, and I really wanted to find a way to take advantage of all the money I was spending for my business. I started doing more googling and found a lot of websites and blogs about taking advantage of credit card points for travel, and the most straight forward credit card with a lot of travel perks I kept coming across was the American Express platinum card.
The first thing I saw was the big $550 annual fee. 0__0 Honestly, I've never had a credit card before with an annual fee. It definitely sounds like a lot of money, and it is if you don't take advantage of all the perks and offers they have. Keep scrolling to see all the perks and why it makes $$$ sense to get it!
Uber Credits+Uber Eats Pass - $319
Once you add your amex card to your Uber account, you will automatically receive a $15 credit on the first of every month which you can use either on rides or eats. In the month of December you actually get $35 because of an end of the year $20 bonus. On top of all that you get the Uber Eats pass for free, which is regularly $9.99/month. With the UE pass you get free delivery and an extra discount on your food.
Phone Bill Credits - $240
When you use your amex card to pay your phone bill through a carrier, you get a $20 statement credit to your account. What I've done is just make a $20 payment with the amex card, and then the $20 credit pops up automatically.
Saks Credits - $100
Twice a year (once Jan-Jun and Jul-Dec) you will receive a $50 statement credit to your account when you make a purchase at Saks Fifth Ave. There is no minimum purchase requirement so you can literally get free items (like makeup or skincare!) I used my credit to purchase my favorite perfume, Coco Mademoiselle. This stuff is so popular and is never on sale, but I got it half off thanks to this credit.
Streaming Credits - $240
Similar to the phone bill credits, if you use your amex card to pay for your streaming membership (Netflix, Hulu, Peacock, Disney+, etc) you get up to $20 a month back in statement credits. Doesn't everyone have at least 3?
Free Tsa Precheck- $100
You get up to $100 credit for either TSA Pre Check ($80) or Global Entry ($100) when you use your amex, which is good for 5 years. Global Entry is for international travel, but also includes TSA Pre Check so I will be registering for that one.
Airline Credit - $200
Every year you get $200 credit towards money spent with airlines, which can include upgrades, luggage fees, and even service on the plane (cheers!) The one catch is you can only select one airline to receive this credit with.
At this point you already have over $1000 in credits and free stuff!
Points Bonus for Signing Up
When I signed up, the promotion was that if you spend $5000 in the first 3 months, you receive 75,000 bonus points. With all the work we have being done on our house now, we already had a plan for this and that wasn't too much for us as we were planning to spend it anyway.
Intl Lounge Access
This is a perk I am very excited about! Bjorn has travelled first class for business so he has spent some time in airport lounges, but unfortunately I have not. With the Amex card you get into over a thousand airport lounges all over the world for free, along with two free guests. Free drinks, free food, and some have showers and rooms for sleeping! Generally one ticket into an airport lounge is anywhere from $60-$100 depending on the types of amenities.
Hotel Membership Status
You are automatically placed into Marriott and Hilton gold status, which comes with a lot of perks, which includes free upgrades, free breakfast, free parking, and a lot of other great perks!
Other Helpful Services:
Live for luxury? No trust fund, no problem!
Join the fancy free journey as we seek the
finer things in life, sans millions.
- Marie Claire, September 2016