Engagement Strategies for Distance Learning

By Katy Turpen, EdD, Associate Professor ELED, George Fox UniversityHayden Homes Back to Home School Giveaway Collage

Dr. Katy Turpen is an Associate Professor in the Education Department at George Fox University.  She has been with George Fox for 12 years and currently sits as the director of the Elementary Education Degree Completion Program. Katy is passionate about education and preparing teachers and parents – especially in our current educational climate. Katy has two fabulous kids she is homeschooling this year and is excited to be sharing tips and tricks for families navigating a new education paradigm, be that Comprehensive Distance Learning, hybrid learning, or homeschool.

Kids Learn in Different Ways

Kids Learn in Different Ways

There are multiple styles in which we learn and process information. Visual learners do well by seeing and reading, auditory learners excel through listening and speaking, and kinesthetic learners do best through hands-on activities. Figuring out the learning strengths of your child can help with things like homework and school. Conversations and learning become more productive when you can identify the way your child receives information and knowing your child’s learning style can help you present information in a way that makes it easier for them to learn. If you’re interested in discovering your child’s learning style, here is a great resource  for getting started.

Lets Go to School

Let’s Go to School!

It is important that you create a physical space where your child is excited to “go to school”. This doesn’t have to be a traditional desk set-up, but it should be a fun and comfortable space that is special to your child. Here are some tips and tricks for setting up the ideal learning environment:

  • Make it comfortable
  • Let kids decorate
  • Use a lap desk and comfortable chairs if a traditional desk is not for you

Creating an organized space is also important do reduce stress and chaos.

  • Identify a place where supplies are kept and organized
  • Utilize caddies, cubbies and baskets to put things away

Buying fun school supplies is a great way to increase engagement and make your child feel like they are “at school”. Ideas for special school supplies you can incorporate in to your “classroom”:

  • Dry Erase Board
  • Erasable Pens
  • Scented Markers

Establish a school routine to ensure you are productive with your time, and everyone knows what to expect throughout the day.

  • Start at the same time each day
  • Get dressed and out of pajamas in the morning
  • Eat a healthy breakfast

Age = Attention Span

Age = Attention Span

Kids of all ages struggle to sit and listen attentively for long periods of time. When you are thinking about breaking up your day, consider your child’s age as a guide for how many minutes they can remain on task. If you have a 10-year-old, you can expect approximately 10 minutes of attention. Here are some important things to remember about breaking up your day:

  • Quality vs. Quantity – a few minutes of focused work is better than a long period of time that lacks focus. You should only spend 20-30 minutes max on any one project, split in to blocks of time appropriate for their age
  • Set timers to keep everyone on task
  • Breaks are good
  • Split video assignments in to 2-5-minute segments
  • Fidget toys are effective
  • Movement is important
  • Create a checklist of items that need to be finished at the end of the day

Build on the Positive

Build on the Positive

Kids respond well to recognition, and acknowledgement of their hard work. Building on small victories encourages continued motivation and success. Brainstorm with your kiddo and let them decide what is motivating to them, so that you have tools to get through some of the harder tasks. Visual representation of rewards is helpful, and below are a few ideas for reward systems to keep kids engaged.

School Looks like a lot of things

School Looks Like a lot of Things

Learning can happen in several ways. Don’t be afraid to put down the pen and paper and utilize other tools for education and mind breaks.

  • Play
  • Walk
  • Talk
  • Cooking
  • Take Breaks
  • Provide a choice bucket with activity options to choose from
  • Rearrange the order of your day to keep things interesting
  • Use fun apps and programs, such as: Audible, Amazon Unlimited, Prodigy, Epic, Storyline Online

If you enjoyed this information, join Dr. Katy Turpin online where she is always sharing tips, tricks and resources for distance learning.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/720646598483414

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drturpen/

Back to Home School Giveaway

Be sure to check out the Hayden Homes Back to HOME School Giveaway and enter to win a Back to HOME School Package, including:

  • A new iPad (or home computer)

  • Home school desk and chair

  • Books, activities and school supplies

Hayden Homes will work with the winner to make sure the package is exactly what they need to get this school year off to a great start!

For every package given away, Hayden Homes will donate one to a local nonprofit who is ensuring all kids in our community have access to the supplies they need for successful distance learning. ENTER TO WIN!

Pacific Northwest Wildfire Resources

Our hearts are heavy seeing communities, homes, businesses, and lives lost from the devastating wildfires across Oregon, Washington and California.  Thank you to all the frontline hero’s – our firefighters, medical personnel, first responders and volunteers – for your bravery and service. We, like many of you, want to help however and wherever we can. We’ve compiled a list of local resources here to help if you or someone you know is looking for ways you can help or are in need of a place to stay, food, or other items.



  • The Super 8 Motel in Redmond is housing several fire victims.  The Red Cross also has staff members there on site to help victims and get them resources they need. Due to COVID-19, they cannot take clothing our household items, but here is a few ways you can help:
    • Drop off gift cards to local restaurants and grocery stores to help victims obtain groceries, dining, pay for prescriptions, etc. Preferably in smaller amounts of $10-$25 so they can distribute as needed to the guests. Please be sure to put them in an envelope labeled “For Fire Victims” and give them to the front desk staff at the hotel.
    • Single load laundry detergent (i.e. pods) to provide to guests
    • If you wish to make a cash donation to the Red Cross, you can do so online, by selecting “Oregon Wildfires”.
  • St. Vincent de Paul in Redmond is accepting donations for household items and clothing. These can be taken directly to their location at 651 SW Veterans Way, Redmond. Please make sure items are clean and well-kept. Current needs include:
    • Clothing
    • Bedding and Sleeping bags
    • Tents
    • New socks and underwear
    • New toiletries – toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc.


  • The Giving Plate is here to help with food. They are open Thursday and Friday 10-4 and Saturday 10-2.
  • Oregon Wildfire Relief Fund. All proceeds will be donated to those most affected by the devastating wildfires. Fund is managed by the Bend Fire Community Assistance Program
  • The Bite in Tumalo is a drop location for donations of sleeping bags, camping chairs, clothes, water bottles, packaged snacks and first aid supplies.  They will be making several trips to deliver donations in the coming days with their first delivery today.



  • Springfield High is accepting donations at their location at: 875 7th St., Springfield, OR 97477
  • United Way – is accepting donations, which can be made on their website here: https://bit.ly/3mcF0Wa



  • Spokane Area – Our friends at No-Li Brewhouse are matching donations to the Whitman County Fire Community Relief Fund dollar for dollar up to $25,000. 100% of the funds raised will be donated to the families of Malden and Pine City. $25,000 x 2 = $50,000. Learn more here. 
  • Help with American Red Cross Disaster relief for the central and eastern Washington fires here.
  • GoFundMe has launched a centralized hub identifying all verified fundraisers created to help residents who have lost their homes and have been displaced by the fires. Donate to Washington wildfire relief, to help those in need here: GoFundMe Page.
  • Very sadly but of the hundreds of homes and a dozen or so commercial buildings lost in the Malden, Pine City and Colfax fires this week it is estimated that less than half of those people had no insurance to cover their dwellings or belongings. United Way of Whitman County is working closely with the Red Cross, EMS and disaster relief organizations to work on a long term strategy for helping these individuals. Here is a link to the public donor fund for more information: https://donorbox.org/whitman-county-fire-relief-fund?fbclid=IwAR0EUjO3XMrkh6oiSw7B7kPXQqCFYlieojzVlvHJCHY6-7lw2aPrpMxDveM
  • What and how you can give from the Inlander – a Spokane Washington based publication, which recently posted an article that includes a list of volunteer opportunities, virtual volunteers needed in the region, events & benefits, donations needed and wish list items needed. Click to view the Inlander Give Guide Initiative. 


We will continue to update as more information becomes available. We hope you’ll join us in supporting our communities and those in need. Continued thoughts for everyone’s health and safety.

Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks while Distance Learning

Mom and son making Breakfast in their new Hayden HomesarningIt is important, even in a distance learning setting, to maintain a nutritious and well-balanced diet for your kiddo. We know it’s a challenge to prep and serve meals and snacks that keep kids energized and focused, without keeping you in the kitchen all day. Below are some tips and information to help get your family off to a healthy start this year.

  • Start the day off strong, with a protein based-healthy breakfast before the day’s lessons. A healthy breakfast will give your kids the energy and brain power they need to stay active, keep up with the days routine and make it until lunch without hunger getting in the way. Check out these 28 Ideas for a High Protein Breakfast to help you stay creative in the kitchen.
  • Lunch time can be challenging when you want your kids to eat healthy and they have their own idea about what makes a great lunch. If you’re looking for fun ideas that children will enjoy, try these 50 Lunch Ideas for Kids at Home. These recipes are balanced, quick to whip up and suitable for kids of all ages.
  • It is recommended that kids have two nutritious snacks throughout the day to provide important nutrients they need between meals and help boost their brain power throughout the day. During the week, this means children should have a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack to meet the demands of their growing bodies and brains. Learn more about the benefits of healthy snacks and how to prepare something your child will enjoy here.

Dieticians and Nutritionists suggest a focus on whole, unprocessed foods as it can help your kids maintain stronger immune systems, have better moods and increase fitness levels.

If you can, cook ahead and meal prep to make things easier on school days. You can even get your kids involved in the process and plan fun picnic-style meals that they can mix and match. And lastly, as important as food and nutrition is, don’t forget to focus on hydration with frequent water breaks.

We’d love to hear your kiddos favorite recipes in the comments!

How Much Money Do You Need to Buy a Home?

Couple sitting in their home on their laptop looking up How Much Money Do You Need to Buy a HomeWhen you think about buying your first home, you’re probably already calculating how much of a down payment you’ll need to save based on the price of your desired home. However, those aren’t the only costs you need to consider when it comes to buying a house.

The listing price and down payment are just the start. There are additional costs you’ll need to cover before getting the keys to your new home and chances are, it’s more than you think. Many new first time homebuyers are surprised by how much it actually takes to buy a house. The final costs will vary based on the purchase price but here’s a good run down of the additional costs you should account for when creating your homebuying budget.

Down Payment

This is the most obvious cost following the listing price. The down payment is a percentage of a house’s purchase price that is paid upfront. For example, with a 20% down payment, you’ll pay at least $50,000 for a $250,000 home.

While a 20% down payment is the gold standard, you may be able to buy a house with as little as 3.5% down depending on the loan type (VA and USDA loans don’t require a down payment but additional conditions may apply so check with your lender).

Be aware that if your down payment is less than 20%, your lender may require additional private mortgage insurance (PMI). Saving for a down payment can feel daunting but it’s possible. We’ve rounded up some ideas to saving feel more achievable.

Closing Costs

Closing costs cover the fees for the services and expenses needed to finalize your mortgage. This can include property-related fees like appraisal and home inspection, loan-related fees like the application and origination fees, attorney’s fees (if required), mortgage-related fees like PMI, property taxes, annual fees, and insurance, and title fees (this may vary depending on your location).

Buyers can expect to pay between two to five percent of the purchase price. For the same $250,000 home, closing costs may run between $5,000 to $12,500. You may be able to negotiate closing costs be paid by the seller or take advantage of builder incentives that cover closing costs, if available.

Cash Reserves

This cost usually catches homebuyers by surprise. Most lenders require buyers to have additional cash available after all closing costs are paid. Lenders typically like buyers to have at least two months of mortgage payments available in reserves. This makes sure the buyer can make their payments during the first few months of ownership. If your mortgage payment is around $1400, should plan to have at least $2800 in reserves.

The cash reserves don’t need to be deposited into an account with the lender. The lender will need to verify you have the funds available in an existing savings or checking account, or money-market fund.

Other Costs to Consider

Once the home is officially yours, you can start planning for moving costs and any additional furniture you may need to fill out your home, especially if you’re upgrading from an apartment, or a smaller home to a larger more spacious home.

If you’re preparing to buy a home soon, understanding these additional costs will be helpful. We are not a mortgage lender, so we highly recommend that you check with your individual mortgage lender to determine how much you should prepare to have on hand to buy your new home.

When you’re ready to make the jump into homeowner, we’re ready to help! Hayden Homes builds new single-family homes in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington for every stage of life. Visit us on our website to learn more about our homes and new home communities.

Tips and Tricks for Adapting to Distance Learning

By Ronda M., 3rd Grade TeacherHayden Homes Back to Home School Giveaway Collage

We know back to school planning looks different this year and that parents are in the middle of adjusting and preparing for a school year in which distance learning will very likely be part of the curriculum. We also know the uncertainty this brings.

Given that, we have teamed up with one of our own Hayden Homes homeowners who is a teacher to provide some tips & tricks to help you and your kiddos.

Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset

It is important that families, parents in particular, keep a growth mindset. There are bound to be frustrating times as there usually are when we learn something new. This is a great opportunity for parents to model how to navigate distance learning when it may be difficult. I encourage families to use phrases such as; “we can do this”, “it may take some time and effort”, “we aren’t there yet”, “let’s ask what other families are doing to be successful”, “education is important and we can learn this new approach”. Students will take cues from their families as to the kind of attitude they’ll have about distance learning and online instruction.

Create a Routine with Your Kiddos

Create a Routine

Routine is essential.  This is what helps classrooms run smoothly with the most efficient use of educational time. Most children learn to rely on routine, and it helps calm their brain so that learning can take place. Following the teacher’s academic timeframe and lessons is a good place to start.

Here are some routine suggestions and considerations:

  • Students focus best in the early mornings.
  • The attention span for most students is between 20 and 30 minutes. Therefore, it can be helpful to schedule 2-5 minute “brain breaks” into your day. You can ask your child what some of their favorites are from their classroom, or click here for a list of 50 Brain Break Ideas to help your student focus.
  • Establish a half hour lunch time each day.
  • Schedule a 15-minute morning and afternoon “recess” each day. Students should be ready to learn at the end of the 15 minutes. It is not recommended that the break is much longer than this, as it could break the rhythm of their school day.
  • Create an ending time for each day that you and your child can expect. At school, this time is generally around 3:30PM. This could look very different for families adjusting to new schedules. If daytime schoolwork is not completed due to inefficiencies, behavior or lack of effort, the days assignments can become homework. This could take place an hour after school gets out and an afternoon snack has been given.
  • Remain consistent and try to stick with the schedule you create.

Have Balanced Meals and Snacks

Balanced Meals & Snacks

It is important, even in a distance learning setting, to start the day with a protein based-healthy breakfast before beginning the day’s lessons. A healthy breakfast will give your kids the energy and brain power they need to stay active, keep up with the days routine and make it until lunch without hunger getting in the way. In addition, it is important to consider keeping breakfast, snacks and lunchtime away from their learning area. Check out these 28 Ideas for a High Protein Breakfast to help you stay creative in the kitchen.

Generate Excitement

Generate Excitement

Excitement for a new school year normally happens for students very naturally. They get to see their friends, meet a new teacher (in person), be a part of a new classroom, and they get to open their fresh new school supplies. Some families will even purchase back to school clothes or a first day of school outfit and schedule a new haircut to generate further excitement for that first day back. Why treat this year any different? Following back to school traditions, activities and hyping up the school year with conversation will continue to help prepare children for a positive experience.

Setup and Learning Station

Set up a Learning Station

Find a spot in your home where your child knows it’s theirs to learn, whether it be at the kitchen table, on the living room coffee table, a desk in their room or another room, a spot in the garage (provided it is a safe environment), at a kitchen bar, etc.  Wherever your child will be learning be sure it is tidy, consistent, and theirs.

Back to Home School Giveaway

Back to HOME School Giveaway

Be sure to check out the Hayden Homes Back to HOME School Giveaway and enter to win a Back to HOME School Package, including:

  • A new iPad (or home computer)
  • Home school desk and chair
  • Books, activities and school supplies

Hayden Homes will work with the winner to make sure the package is exactly what they need to get this school year off to a great start!

For every package given away, Hayden Homes will donate one to a local nonprofit who is ensuring all kids in our community have access to the supplies they need for successful distance learning. ENTER TO WIN!

The Credit Score You Need to Buy a House

The Credit Score you Need to buy a houseAn essential part of preparing to buy a new home is understanding your credit score. The credit score is one of the most important numbers when it comes to your financial life. Lenders use your credit information to determine your creditworthiness and ability to repay loans. While everyone understands the importance of having a “good” credit score to secure a mortgage but may not know what score is “good” and what credit score you need to buy a house.

What is a credit score?

Your credit score is a three-digit number between 300 and 850 that represents your credit risk. Credit scores are based on your credit history, including payment history, amount of debt, and the length of your credit history. Each credit bureau uses their own calculation model to determine your credit score, so you may have a slightly different score for each bureau. In general, the higher your credit score, the more likely you’re able to repay a loan. Credit scores have a big influence on the interest rate you receive on loans, so you can potentially save thousands of dollars with a higher credit score.

What’s a ‘good’ credit score?

Traditionally, a credit score of 670 or above is considered ‘good.’ Here’s a general breakdown:

  • 579 and below: Very Poor
  • 580 to 669: Fair
  • 670 to 739 Good
  • 740 to 799: Very Good
  • 800 and above: Excellent

Here’s a quick guide to understanding credit scores.

What’s the minimum credit score needed to get a mortgage?

Each loan type and lender have their own minimum credit score requirement so check with your individual lender for specifics, however, here are some benchmarks you can use to start planning:

  • Conventional loans: these are the loans you’re probably thinking about when you think about mortgages. Unlike FHA or VA loans, these follow standards set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and are not insured by the government. Most lenders require a minimum 620-credit score to qualify for a loan.
  • FHA loans: FHA loans are common for first-time homebuyers. These loans are administered through the Federal Housing Administration and backed by the government, though you can apply for this loan type through a traditional lender. Depending on the amount of your down payment, you may be able to secure a FHA loan with a 500 minimum credit score requirement with a 10% down payment or a 580 credit score with a 3.5% down payment.
  • VA loans: VA loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs but are issued by private lenders, like banks and mortgage companies. Traditionally, there is no minimum credit score requirement, however most lenders require at least a 620-credit score.

Your credit score requirement will depend on your financing so we highly recommend checking with your lender to determine the minimum credit score you need to qualify for a loan. It’s possible to buy a home with “bad credit” but since you can get a lower interest rate with a higher credit score, it’s worth taking the time to improve your credit before applying for a mortgage. Don’t let your credit score keep you from your dream home! Read our blog post on some simple ways to improve your credit score.

We’re excited to work with you to find your dream home. Whether you’re looking in Oregon, Washington, or Idaho, our team can help you move into a home that’s just right for you at any stage in life. Contact us today.

Summertime Watering Guidelines for Optimal Lawn Health

Home Maintenance TipsAs the temperatures begin to heat up, watering your yard is essential to make sure your grass and plants look their best. We’ve put together some guidelines and information to help you understand the importance of scheduling your watering system, maintaining your yard with regular mowing and weeding, and other factors that help prevent over/under watering and give your lawn and plants the best chance at staying green and healthy all summer long.

First, it’s important to understand that certain types of soil have a mixture of clay and may take longer for these types of soil to dry out especially after heavy rains. In some of our regions, like in the Boise area, this can become an issue if you’re not adjusting your watering schedule seasonally or during heavy rain storms.

Second, to maintain a healthy looking lawn, we recommend that you fertilize regularly. For most lawns, applying fertilizer once or twice a year is enough to keep your grass green and healthy. Precisely when you apply fertilizer depends partly on your climate, but mostly on the type of grass you have. The key is to fertilize during the season when your grass is doing the most growing

Here are some guidelines to help ensure you’re preventing pooling and properly watering your yard.





1.  Schedule your sprinkler system – So you don’t have to remember to turn your sprinklers on and this will help ensure that you’re not over or under watering. Schedule your water to come on during the coolest time of the day. This allows for the shortest irrigation run time with the most optimal and minimized amount of evaporation due to heat.






2. Regular mowing and weed eating around sprinkler heads will also ensure that the right amount of water is being dispersed over the grass instead of being blocked by grass and concentrating in one area causing pooling or flooding issues.






3. Aerating the grass area on a seasonal basis can also aid in percolation as well as the health of the grass.






4. Seasonal Maintenance is important. Remember to have your irrigation lines blown out prior to freezing weather in the fall.

The following is our recommended schedule to follow for different types of sprinkler systems:

  1. For Pop-up spray sprinkler systems: Run them for a maximum of 5-10 minutes, 2 times a day
  2. For fan or motion spray sprinkler systems: Rum them for a maximum of 10 minutes, 2 times a day

Allow for your sprinkler system to have a break! We recommend that you allow for one day off per week minimum.

Pro Tip – be sure to read through the manual that Hayden Homes provides on how to operate the clock and understand the difference between start times and run times.

If pooling occurs in your yard, without weather related precipitation, the water may need to be turned down.

We are here for you, if you have additional questions or need assistance you can email us at info@hayden-homes.com. For other great home maintenance tips, check out our home maintenance page on our website.

15 Fun Things to Do At Home This Summer

Summer is in full swing and most of us will be staying much closer to home this year than ever before. If you’re looking for fun things to do at home this summer, while enjoying those special moments where you can slow down, play and laugh with your family, read on for a list of our Top 15! These activities are sure to provide summertime fun and even some exercise for the whole family.

First, we’ll start with our list of the top outdoor activities, to do at home this summer:

  1. Play Outdoor Games: Create an outdoor gaming tournament with some fun games like corn hole or bocce ball. The winner gets to have their favorite meal for dinner.
  2. Set Up an At Home Water Park: Let’s face it, summer can be hot! So why not set up the sprinklers or a slip-and-slide and let the kids cool off and have fun doing it. (Parents are encouraged to participate as well.).
  3. Star stargazing: Looking at the same yard all the time can be tiring, so why not, change it up? Look up and dream of the great big universe out there. Purchase a book that teaches you about the constellations and see which ones you can discover, from your own backyard!
  4. Outdoor Movie Night: This is one of our favorite ideas! Set up a movie night in the backyard with a projector and a big white space. Bonus: The snacks probably cost less, and homemade treats are usually better!
  5. Backyard Campout: Who doesn’t love a good campout? This is easy and fun. Simply set up your tent, grab your sleeping bags and sleeping pads and stay outside tonight. Make it more fun by telling funny or scary stories.
  6. Hold a backyard tea party: We love this idea. Have a fancy tea party, with blankets, a tea set and even dress it up and wear fun hats.

Next, our list of fun indoor activities to do at home this summer:

  1. Make art! This could be as simple as finger painting, or you could get creative and make some fun things like a bird feeder or garden ornaments.
  2. Make homemade ice cream. Everyone loves ice cream in the summer. This is the perfect time to make it! Here’s a recipe for one ingredient banana ice cream. If you don’t want to spend the time to make ice cream, bake some cookies, buy some ice cream and make homemade ice cream sandwiches or banana splits. The kids will love them!
  3. Get a book of riddles.See if you can stump each other; then write your own riddles.
  4. Put on a magic show. Magic is fun and entertaining for the whole family. Learn some easy magic tricks and put on a magic show.
  5. Host an indoor picnic for your family. Grab the picnic basket, blankets, and your favorite picnic snacks and host an indoor picnic in your living room. While you’re eating, be creative and tell stories describing your favorite hiking destination and imagine you’re in the great outdoors.
  6. Have an indoor/outdoor scavenger hunt. This is not only fun and takes some time to put together, but the kids will love finding the clues and discovering the different items you have around the house.
  7. Do a puzzle: Puzzle-making is a calming way to spend time together at home. Hours can be spent finding just the right pieces to add to the puzzle. The best part is when you see the finished product. This isn’t a one-night activity, so set aside a place that the puzzle can be undisturbed.

Fun, nearby your home. Let’s not forget there is still fun to be had in and around your home, in your local neighborhood and community. Here are a couple of fun bonus ideas to do this summer while keeping your family and community safe

  1. Go for a hike. Purchase a guidebook from a local shop or online that provides details on your local hikes. Find one that you’ve never done before and have fun! Make sure you bring plenty of water and snacks in case it’s hot out there.
  2. Go for a drive. Take the family on a drive to a nearby destination that allows you to stay social distanced, but that you’ve never been before. A few ideas could be a local lookout point, during sunset or to a nearby lake to go for a swim.

These are just a few of our favorite ideas to help keep you and kids entertained, at home this summer.  If you have other ideas, feel free to send them to info@hayden-homes.com and we’ll be sure to post them.

If you’re looking for a home that offers spaces for everyone and more space to enjoy summer and these summer-time activities, Hayden Homes is here to help when you’re ready to buy a new home. We build new single-family homes in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington for every stage of life. We’re looking forward to welcoming you into your new home.

Tips for Saving for a Down Payment to Buy a New Home

Tips for Saving for a Down Payment 2Saving money is not always easy. And when you’re trying to save money for a down payment, the task may feel more difficult. But it doesn’t have to be! While buying a home requires a healthy amount of savings, it’s possible with some planning and focus.

Before you begin

Saving for a down payment can feel overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to know how much you need before you start saving, By knowing what your goal amount is, you’ll be able to create a savings plan that works for you. While most lenders look for a 20% down payment, you may be eligible for a lower down payment depending on your loan. Check with your lender for more details.

Now that you’ve determined your target down payment amount, let’s talk about some ways you can start saving for a down payment.

Set up automatic transfers

Use automation to your advantage! Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to a dedicated savings account for your down payment. This is the most popular and convenient way to save. Your bank will automatically transfer the funds at the frequency you set without additional work from you. There are several savings apps you can use to create automatic savings as well, like Digit or Acorns.

Wondering why should you set up a separate savings account from your current one? Easy: out of sight, out of mind. Using a separate savings account dedicated to your down payment will keep you from spending your earmarked cash. Another benefit: you can earn a bit of interest as you’re saving so find a bank offering a high interest rate on savings accounts.

Pay off other debt

Paying off other debt (credit card, personal, car or student loans, etc.) will mean you have more money available each month to save towards your down payment. Do whatever you can do to reduce your current debt so you can dedicate more resources to your down payment.

Lower your expenses

Take a look at your expenses and figure out what you can reduce or get rid of. Maybe instead of paying for cable, you can switch to a streaming service. Be careful here; choose one or two streaming services to use, otherwise you run the risk of having a bill that matches your cable bill.

Make lunch or coffee at home

The daily coffee or lunch habit can be costing you a lot.  You don’t have to skip these treats entirely! Maybe instead of eating out every day, consider bringing a lunch three or four days out of the week and eating out once or twice. Likewise, if you have a multiple cup a day coffee habit, try making your morning cup at home and treating yourself to a coffee out in the afternoon. Deposit the money you would have spent into your down payment savings account.

Shop smarter

Use some smart shopping strategies to help cut your grocery expenses. Avoid shopping on an empty stomach to keep impulse purchases to a minimum. Create and stick to your shopping list. Buy non-perishable items in bulk (just items you already use and love!). Choose the store brand instead of the national brands, and look for sales and coupons for items you use regularly.

Unsubscribe to mailing lists

Remove the temptation to shop by unsubscribing to marketing emails. These emails are designed to encourage you spend money with sales and special offers.

Sell stuff you don’t need or use

Chances are you have plenty of things in your home that aren’t being used. Instead of letting them take up space, put them to good use by selling them. You can use online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, Ebay or even Craigslist. Or you can host a yard sale. Bonus points: you’ll end up with less to pack up when it’s time to move!

Get a side hustle

Pick up a side job and dedicate every penny you earn towards your down payment fund. Depending on your skills, you can start doing freelance work or join the gig economy by driving for a car service, walking dogs, pet sitting, babysitting, or even tutoring.

Don’t look at saving for a down payment for your dream home as an impossible hurdle. By breaking it down into smaller, more manageable goals, you’ll feel like saving is achievable. You’ll be able to see the progress you’ve made and stay motivated to continue. If you’re serious about buying a new home, it’ll be worth temporarily passing up on expenses to fund this important goal.

Hayden Homes is here to help when you’re ready to buy a new home. We build new single-family homes in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington for every stage of life. Visit us on our website to learn more about our homes and new home communities. We’re looking forward to welcoming you into your new home.

How to Naturally Freshen Your Home

How to Naturally Freshen Your HomeAfter being in your home for an extended period of time, it may need a bit of a “pick-me-up.” Instead of lighting another scented candle or spraying an air freshener, try some of these all-natural alternatives to keep your home smelling clean and fresh.

Open the windows

Opening the windows and doors allows fresh air to circulate through your home, whisking away stale air and lingering smells. Have you ever gone for a hike or into the countryside and felt like you could breathe easier? That’s the power of fresh air! Clearing out offending odors is always the best course of action instead of covering them with an air freshener. Leaving your windows open for at least ten minutes a day is a good start.

Use baking soda

Baking soda is a great, non-toxic air freshener without leaving a scent. You may already have an open box in your refrigerator and freezer. Consider placing boxes in cabinets, closets, and even at the bottom of the litter box. You can also sprinkle baking soda in the trash can or on any carpeted area or rug as a deodorant. Simply let the baking soda sit on the carpet for at least 20 minutes before vacuuming.

Deodorize with vinegar

Just like baking soda, vinegar is another natural deodorizer. Placing a bowl of vinegar in a room can clear up even the most stubborn of odors. You can also vinegar to neutralize odors in the air or on fabric by mixing three parts white vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle. Don’t worry about the pungent smell. It will naturally dissipate as it dries but if you don’t want to wait, you can create a citrus-infused vinegar cleaner that smells nicer.

Fill your home with plants

Not only will houseplants liven up your home, they can help clean the air. Don’t worry: you don’t need to turn your home into a jungle; a modest collection of plants can still bring health-boosting benefits. Try plants like palms, Boston ferns, snake plants, or spider plants. If you have pets, be sure to choose plants that are non-toxic to them.

Simmer herbs or fruit on the stove

Simmer some water with citrus slices, spices like star of anise or cinnamon, or herbs like lavender or mint to easily fill your home with a homemade potpourri.

Nothing beats a fresh smelling home. These simple, all-natural air fresheners will make your home smell great. If your house could use some freshening up, try one of these ideas!

Hayden Homes has beautiful new homes for sale in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. We’re here to help you find your dream home, whether you’re buying your first or upgrading your current home. Reach out to us today!