Shelter is one of life’s basic necessities. The biggest problem for millions of people around the world is that housing is often not affordable. What percentage of the average monthly income is required to afford the average mortgage payment? How much is rent in a local city compared to average New York City prices? This infographic examines the affordability of mortgages and rent in 102 countries around the world in a spectacular data visualization.
It almost goes without saying that taking care of a family on one person’s income can be burdensome. For this reason, single mothers may feel tempted to just focus on paying the bills each month.
Single mothers don’t need to reduce their dreams to merely consisting of short-term goals. This is particularly true when it comes to owning a family home.
Various special interest home incentives for single mothers will help make the dream of an affordable home a reality.
Federal Housing Association (FHA) Loans and Rural Loans
FHA loans are a great resource for moms looking for a good interest rate on a home purchase. With only a 3.5% down payment, moms receive a 96.5% mortgage loan. FHA loan terms offer several advantages, including:
Lowered Closing Costs
Easy Approval for Credit
Smaller Down Payments
Single mothers who live in rural areas should also consider Rural Housing Direct loans. These loans are 100% financing loans funded by the government. All homes will be in rural areas, and loan terms will typically be 33 years. As such, these loans are ideally suited for moms who don’t plan on moving from their family home.
Applicants will need to have a low income (typically 50 to 80 percent of the median income in the area) and must be unable to obtain credit elsewhere. While this program is not an outright grant, it is an extremely generous loan that makes the dream of homeownership a reality for low-income moms living in rural areas.
Buying a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Home
HUD homes are another indispensable ally for single mothers looking to buy a home. From housing choice vouchers to homeownership vouchers, HUD makes homeownership easier for single mothers. Additionally, public housing options are available through HUD as well.
HUD homes are available in every state, so it helps to visit their website frequently to see what is available.
Making Homeownership a Reality with an Individual Development Account
These accounts help single income families save money towards a home or a child’s education. An IDA can even be used to finance a business as well.
The matching amount of these savings accounts will depend on the public or private organization doing the matching. Some matched funds will equal what the participant saves. Others may double the amount saved. Either way, shop around to find the best matching IDA program in your area.
Typical requirements for IDA approval include:
Meeting a Minimum Income Requirement
Contributing to the Account with Your Income
Having a Minimal Amount of Debt or No Debt
Lacking Assets in Excess of $5,000
If approved for inclusion into an IDA program, you will have to complete a series of financial education courses on budgeting and saving. Prior to the purchase of your new home, you will also have to complete education courses on the purchasing process.
IDA programs also typically require economic training as well, which may be beneficial. Understanding how the purchasing process works will benefit your family now and in the years to come.
Which of these homeownership choices is right for you will depend on your own circumstances and housing needs. Still, the wide range of housing options available to single moms shows that homeownership can become a reality, not just a dream.
Movoto is a real estate agency dedicated to helping you find the perfect home. Part of that process is helping you discover information that simplifies the home buying experience. Movoto’s team of expert agents understand home buying from A to Z, so they can help get you into your dream home quicker and easier than you thought possible.
If you have to spray your yard with pesticides or weed deterrents, allow the pesticides to completely dry before letting your pet back into the treated area. Keep your fertilizer use to a minimum, and verify that your preferred type won’t harm your pet. Use organic yard treatments whenever possible. For example, an all-natural mixture of water and cayenne pepper sprayed on vegetables in a garden can keep pests at bay while protecting the yields of home owners with green thumbs. Store yard equipment like clippers and lawn mowers, especially of the electric variety, away from pets to reduce the potential for injury.
You can encourage yard safety by limiting the destruction that your pet engages in by providing distractions. Stimulating toys and obstacle courses can keep your dog from digging up your yard or gnawing at physical structures. For especially rambunctious pets, a good way to maintain control is to use a leash when they’re taken outdoors. Keeping your pet indoors while you’re out and about can significantly decrease the incidence of potentially dangerous misbehavior as well.
Pools provide a serious threat to pet safety, especially if your animals are not agile swimmers. If your pet is not accustomed to swimming, use physical barriers to block access to your pool area. Since pools can be attractive to animals who want to take a dip because of the heat, consider taking some time to teach your pet how to swim. Verify that your pet is a breed that can swim with little problem, and take special precautions if your pet is elderly or brachycephalic. Maintain your pool’s chlorine balance to deter algae growth and complications that can arise if your pet eats algae or ingests an excess of pool-related chemicals.
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Increase your vigilance about pet safety as certain seasons and holidays approach. Allow your pet the comfort and safety of enjoying an indoor environment if you know that a fireworks display is scheduled for your neighborhood. Through the Halloween week, ensure that your pets are kept away from decorations, candy, and other foods that can be toxic to them. Consider installing shade structures and placing a water bowl with an automatic replenishment system in your backyard to keep your pets cool and hydrated. Remember that pets are especially vulnerable to heat-related issues during the early spring and summer, as they haven’t fully grown accustomed to the change of seasons.
Put up fences that can deter local wild animals that pose potential threats to your pets. For example, a fence with barbed wire can help guard your pets against roaming coyotes that may consider your pet to be prey. Similarly, you can reduce the instance of unwelcome visits from neighboring and curious domestic animals by being smart about what you keep in your backyard. Restrict access to pet food and water sources when your animal isn’t outdoors so that your yard is less inviting to neighborhood pets that are on the prowl.
Bonsai is a Japanese word that means “planted in a container.” Bonsai gardening is a horticultural art form that involves growing small plants into tiny trees. The gardener’s objective is to coax a plant into the shape and appearance of a tree with branches and leaves. Gardeners use a variety of growing techniques to direct this beautiful and innovative growth. Bonsai gardening is popular among people of all ages, and it is easily performed in the comfort of one’s home during any season of the year.
“Bonsai” may be a Japanese word, but this art form began in China. Hundreds of years ago, Chinese people pursued a special type of gardening that involved growing tiny trees in containers. In the beginning, only the top echelon of Chinese society pursued this form of gardening. Later, as Japanese people borrowed heavily from Chinese culture, bonsai became a popular hobby in Japan. Bonsai eventually moved west into Europe and then into the United States. A bonsai tree was featured in the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, which illustrates the rise of bonsai in the West.
Bonsai may be miniature trees, or they can also be larger dwarf-sized trees that grow in wooden boxes that are deep enough to accommodate the root systems. One of the first decisions a bonsai gardener will need to make is in choosing the plant to grow. A tropical bonsai will need protection from cold temperatures. A temperate bonsai will enter a dormant period during the winter, much like outdoor deciduous trees do. Most bonsai gardeners strive to keep their plants outdoors as much as possible. Even tropical bonsai can likely spend some time outdoors during the winter on sunny, mild days. Growing bonsai requires daily efforts to style and train the branches.
A suitable bonsai style for a beginner might be the shakan style, which features several branches at the top of the plant with a slanted trunk. Some bonsai might feature more than one plant in a container, resembling a forest or a grouping of trees. Other containers might have just a single plant. Watering the bonsai is a crucial part of care to ensure that the plant remains hydrated and vibrant. Slow and thorough watering is recommended to ensure adequate moisture in the soil. To train the plant to grow in the directions desired, the gardener will need to prune regularly. Pruning eliminates growth from the plant, and it also encourages the plant to grow in the desired direction.
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Bonsai gardening is often an outward expression of the individual style and personality of the gardener. Bonsai gardeners often enjoy the process of designing a tree to adopt a specific shape and style. Re-creating a majestic tree in a tiny plant growing in a container is rewarding for many gardeners. Experience will help the bonsai gardener develop more growing skills to encourage the plant to adopt the desired shape.
Although bonsai gardening requires ongoing maintenance, the process is not difficult. Keeping the soil evenly moist will be one of the most important tasks of the gardener. The plant will also need the correct amount of sunlight for optimal growth, and the ambient temperature will need to match the plant’s needs. For optimal growth, the gardener will need to fertilize the plant to provide it with important nutrients. Wiring branches helps the gardener direct the growth of the plant to make it resemble a tree. This practice is known as “styling” the bonsai.
Joining a bonsai club or organization is an excellent way to learn more about this hobby. Bonsai clubs hold meetings of members to share knowledge and tips. Clubs often organize shows, which may involve competitive judging. A bonsai show enables the gardener to show growing techniques and results. Beginning gardeners can explore the displays of more experienced growers to learn tips and techniques. Entrants often have their plants critiqued by a panel of judges for prize awards. Bonsai clubs may hold workshops or classes with experienced gardeners teaching growing principles to students. By joining a club, a beginning gardener can meet other people who share similar interests in bonsai gardening.
More and more homeowners are tackling home improvement projects to renovate and remodel their existing homes. Many people simply enjoy the challenge of working on their own homes to make them more beautiful and comfortable. Homeowners often cast a keen eye on the value of their real estate as well, realizing that making certain improvements can boost the price tag of a house when it’s time to sell. The specific market value of a property is an important factor when determining how much value a project will add to a residence. Many home improvement projects are simple in nature, and they don’t involve significant expenditures. These renovations can often have a positive impact on the value of a home.
Explore data that includes the job cost, resale value, and return on investment for common home improvement projects such as siding replacement, window replacement, kitchen remodeling, basement remodeling, bathroom additions, updates to landscaping, and garage additions.
An environmentally conscious remodeling project can lower utility expenses, reduce maintenance, and enhance the sustainability of a home. Lowering the impact a structure has on the environment can be an effective way to enhance home value.
Performing minor repairs to the kitchen with improvements like replacing fixtures, painting walls, and replacing appliances will cost between $8,000 and $9,000. Consumers can expect to recoup about 88 percent of this expenditure.
Predicting future home values is speculative. Therefore, homeowners seeking to increase the value of their house with home improvement projects must gather data and plan carefully to ensure the desired results.
Improvements to enhance a home’s energy efficiency often have a direct correlation with the overall value of the house. Installing new windows and increasing insulation are two examples of this type of home improvement project.
Replacing siding with fiber-cement material can result in a return on investment of more than 85 percent. Replacing windows often enables homeowners to recoup almost 80 percent of their initial expenditure.
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