How to Avoid Damaging your New Home While Moving

There is a lot of activity happening on moving day. With so many people coming and going throughout your home carrying large and heavy items, some damage can happen to your home. Here are some of our best tips so you can avoid damaging your furniture and your new Hayden home on moving day.

Prepare in advance

Most damage happens when we’re rushing. Planning and preparing for your move in advance are the best ways to avoid rushing on moving day. Pack as much as possible and declutter before moving day. Here are some more ways you can prepare for your upcoming move.

While your furniture obviously fits your current home, that may not be the case for your new home. Measure the doorways, hallways, stairways, and your furniture to make sure you have enough space to move your belongings through. This will also enable you to come up with a contingency plan in case something won’t fit.

Cover walls

Walls and corners are especially vulnerable on moving day. Thankfully there are a lot of different ways you can protect these fragile surfaces. Avoid wearing rings and loose chains so you don’t risk rubbing them against the wall. You can cover your walls with drop clothes, cardboard, or even bubble wrap to prevent scratches, holes, and other bumps and bruises. Wrapping bulky items and taking your time moving heavy or large furniture items provide additional protection from dings and nicks.

Protect floors and staircase

There’s a lot of activity happening on moving day. Protect your carpet and floors by covering high-traffic areas with some self-adhesive plastic coverings. This will keep your carpet clean from dirty shoes, tears, and spills. Cardboard or felt are great options to protect hardwood floors. If you have stairs, be sure to add a nonslip runner and cover the banister with moving blankets.

Your moving company may provide removable runners and floor coverings but you can also purchase floor coverings from a home improvement store.

Don’t forget the door frames!

Trying to maneuver a large piece of furniture through a tight door frame is always tricky. Even the most careful mover can accidentally bump the door frame. Avoid dings and dents by covering the door frame with moving blankets or door jamb protectors.

Carry large items

Resist the urge to slide heavy items, like furniture, across the floor. Instead, carry them or use a dolly or hand truck to move heavier items through the house. Make sure there are enough people to move especially heavy or awkward items. If possible, dissemble larger objects and carry it out piece by piece. If you must slide something, use moving blankets or pads to minimize damage.

Use a spotter

It’s difficult seeing where you’re going through a narrow doorway or tight staircase when you’re carrying something large. Have a spotter to help you navigate through these tricky areas.

Use a professional for specialty items

Do you need to move a piano, hot tub, or other oversized item? Then you should call in the pros. If you’re hiring movers, discuss these items with them ahead of time so they can have the right equipment to safely move your items.

Have a cleaning plan

Protecting your home during a move goes beyond preventing scuffs and scratches. Don’t pack your doormat; keep that out so people can clean off their shoes before entering. While you most likely protected the high traffic areas with plastic coverings, but chances are the individual rooms are not. This will protect the carpet in those areas and reduce the amount of dirt that gets brought in.

You should also keep a cleaning kit on hand to tackle smaller cleaning tasks: paper towels to wipe away spills, a wood pen to cover any scratches in wood, and a Magic Eraser to remove scuffs on the walls. Some damage gets worse the longer it sits so it’s good to take care of these things as soon as possible.

Following these simple steps will help you avoid costly repairs and keep the home you’re moving out of and your new Hayden home from being damaged.

Now is the perfect time to make the move to a new Hayden home. We offer affordable new homes that fit your needs at any stage in life, backed by our commitment to quality. Visit us at Hayden-Homes.com to learn more about our new home communities in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

How to Figure Out What You Want in a New Home

How to Figure Out What You Want in a New HomeFinding the right home that fits your qualifications and desires can be overwhelming, especially as a first-time homebuyer! With so many options,  how do you figure out which new home is right for you?

Here are some tips to help as you’re figuring out what you need and want your new home.

What does your heart desire?

Get the ball rolling by thinking about what would be in your dream home. Is it on a large lot in a quiet neighborhood? Is it a townhome closer to the city? How many bedrooms and bathrooms are there? Where is the master bedroom located? Put together a list of all the things that makes this house special to you?

Evaluate your current home

Walk through your home and take notes on what you like and what you wish your home had. Maybe you love how the kitchen is open to the living room but you didn’t have enough storage space. If you don’t like the layout, make sure your new home has a different one.

Here are some other factors to consider when coming up with your master list:

Location: While you can add a room or renovate the kitchen to your liking, you can’t change where your home is located. Take time to settle on the area you want to live in. This should be one you’re comfortable in and is close enough to what’s important to you: work, schools, shopping, recreation or entertainment options.

Size and type of home: Determine the size and type of home you need. How much space do you actually need? Your current (and future) family size impacts how much room you need. Do you need outdoor yard space for young children or pets? Do you want a single-family home or do you prefer a townhome? Do you want a two-story home on a large lot?  Your new home should be able to accommodate you today and into the foreseeable future.

Special features: You should also consider any special features you’ll need in your home. If you work remotely, a dedicated home office or space for an office will be a must have. Do you need a home that’s wheelchair accessible? An enclosed backyard?

Prioritize into needs and wants

Have your list ready? Now comes the most important part: prioritizing your master wish list into needs and wants. This will help you remain focused on finding the home that satisfies your needs; anything on your wants list is simply icing on the cake.

As you’re assigning your priorities, this is a good time to consider which features you’re willing to pay more for, like a shorter commute, and which you could live without, like a three-car garage. Its important to know what you’re willing to compromise on to find the right home that’s within your budget.

You want to make sure you find the best house for your family. Knowing what your new home needs to have before beginning your home search will save you time and help you find the right home sooner.

Now that you’ve figured out what you need and want in your next home, it’s time to go shopping! At Hayden Homes, we pride ourselves on building quality new homes. Whether you’re looking in Idaho, Oregon, or Washington, our team can help you move into a home that’s just right for you at any stage in life. We’re excited to work with you to find your dream home!

How Interest Rates Affect Mortgage Payments

How Interest Rates Affect Mortgage PaymentsOver the past year, many new homebuyers jumped into the market to lock in a historically low interest rate before they rise. Even though interest rates are low, even one percent can make a big difference! If you’ve been debating whether to buy now or wait, here are some things to consider.

Mortgage Basics

A mortgage is a secured loan used to purchase a home or other real estate property offered by banks, credit unions, or other financial institutions. Your mortgage payment consists of four main parts: principal (the total amount borrowed minus your down payment), interest rate (the amount the bank charges), taxes, and home insurance. You may need to pay private mortgage insurance is you put down less than 20% down.

If you want more information about mortgages, we deep dived on what exactly a home mortgage is in this post

There are two main types of mortgages: fixed and adjustable-rate. The type of loan you receive determines how your interest rate is calculated. Here’s how changes in interest rates can affect your mortgage payment.

Why Interest Rates Matter

Interest rates are the amount of money a bank charges you to borrow money and they directly affect the size of your mortgage payment. Higher interest rates mean higher mortgage payments and vice versa.

It’s important to remember that interest rates are compounded so you pay interest on the interest that’s accrued each month in addition to the principal balance! That’s why it pays to find the lowest possible mortgage rate.

How Much Can a Percentage Point Make on Your Mortgage?

One point may not sound like a lot but it is.

Let’s say you get a mortgage for $300,000 with a 30-year, fixed rate of 3.75%, this same loan will cost $500,270 with $200,270 in interest payments and a $1,390 mortgage payment.

If you get the same loan with a 4.75% interest rate, you’ll pay $563,789 in total over the life of your loan, with $263,789 going towards interest. Your monthly mortgage payment will be $1,566. This means you’re spending $63,519 more over the life of your loan!

Please note: this example is for illustrative purposes only. It does not include a down payment, taxes, insurance, or PMI. If you want numbers specific to your situation, please contact your lender.

When it comes to your mortgage, it pays to shop around. In short, mortgage rates matter – a lot! While a single percentage point may seem insignificant, it could end up being the difference of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. This is why it’s worth shopping around to find a favorable mortgage loan, especially if you’re taking out a larger loan.

Finding the Perfect New Home

We offer affordable new homes that fit your needs at any stage in life. Our new home communities in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington are backed by our commitment to quality. Visit us online at Hayden-Homes.com to learn what makes a Hayden home the right new home for you.

6 Ways to Create a Dog-Friendly Backyard

Create a Dog-friendly backyardTaking care of your backyard so it looks its best takes time and effort. However, we all know that pets are hard on lawns. Between the pacing, digging, and bathroom relief, keeping your lawn in its best shape can be difficult. However, you don’t have to let your yard go to the dogs! With some tweaks and training, you can create a backyard space both you and your pets can equally enjoy.

Here’s how you can have a beautiful backyard that not only looks great, but is also a dog-friendly design that keeps your pup safe.

1. Fence it in

Good fences make great neighbors. They also keep your pets safe. Fences create a safe area for your dog to freely roam. You won’t have to worry about your dog trying to leave the yard to chase after another animal or if your dog is startled by loud noises. It’ll also keep unwanted animals at bay as well.

2. Keep it shady

Dogs can easily become overheated during the warm summer months. Help your pet keep their cool by creating shady areas they can lay day and relax out of the sun. Tall trees, bushes, or grasses are natural shade providers and you can supplement them with a structure like a doghouse. Place a water bowl in this area to promote hydration and consider adding an elevated dog bed that allows air circulation underneath your pup.

3. Designate a rest stop

Urine spots in the lawn are the bane of pet owners everywhere. Designate an area away from the house where your dog can do its business. You can cover the area with dog friendly surfaces like synthetic turf or smooth stones. Training your dog to use this area to relief itself will keep your lawn clean.

4. Set up a dog path

Your dog will naturally patrol your yard, even if it’s just to chase squirrels. It’s difficult to train this behavior out of your pup, so instead, create decorative pathways through your yard your dog can run along. This will allow your pup to

5. Choose pet-friendly plants and flowers

When planning your backyard landscaping, pay careful attention to the types of plants and flowers you choose. Some plants are toxic to dogs if ingested, like cocoa bean mulch, begonia, hydrangea, and iris to name a few. Visit the ASPCA for a full list of toxic plants to animals.

6. Plan for fun

An active dog is a happy dog. Provide areas for your dog to play and explore. If your space is large enough, have an open space where you can toss balls or other toys for them to catch or play with water. You can also include agility equipment like tunnels or jumps to provide entertainment and exercise. If your dog loves to dig, set up a digging area or sandbox in the corner where they can dig instead of in your garden or flower beds.

Creating a dog-friendly (and safe) backyard allows your entire family to enjoy spending time together outdoors. At Hayden Homes, we can’t wait to help you into your new home. We build attractive, friendly communities in IdahoOregon, and Washington. Contact us today to learn more!

Things to Consider When You’re Ready to Upsize Your Home

Things to Consider When You’re Ready to Upsize Your HomeOur homes don’t grow with us. The house that worked when you were a single person, a young couple, or a young family with small children may no longer fit now that your family has grown or your living circumstances change.

Making the decision to move into a larger home is a big decision. Here are three factors you should consider before you make the move into a larger home.

1. Do you really need to upsize?

It’s always wise to stop and think about why you wish to upsize your home. Do you need more space or do you just want more space? Either option is fine! You just need to understand your motivation for moving.

Take a close look at your home and determine if you’re using your living space efficiently. Sometimes renovating, reorganizing, or decluttering your home can create the additional space you need. But if there isn’t a way to create more space despite your best efforts, buying a new home is the best solution.

2. Can you afford a larger home?

If you need a larger home, its important to do your financial homework to make sure you can comfortably afford your new home. Review your monthly income and expenses and determine how much you’ll have available for housing costs. Use our mortgage affordability calculator to help give you a sense of the price range that is affordable to you.

Remember that a larger home also means higher property taxes and utility bills. While you may not be able to change your property taxes, you can find ways to mitigate the increase in utility bills by looking for energy-efficient homes.

Another factor that’s often overlooked is the cost of additional furniture you may need for your new space. You don’t need to buy everything at one go (in fact, we recommend you don’t!) but it’s a potential new expense that should be on your radar.

3. What do you need that your current home lacks?

If you’re considering moving into a larger home, you probably already have an idea of what features your next home needs to have. Have a conversation with your family to discuss additional features you will need in your new home.

Its also important to look at the long-term picture. Consider how your life may change in the next few years. How long do you anticipate staying in your new home? Will your family size change? As you’re looking at homes, consider how each home will be able to accommodate potential changes.

Factoring in these possibilities will enable you to find a home that not only meets your current requirements, but may also accommodate future changes.

Is it time to upsize your home?

If your once cozy home is now starting to feel cramped, it’s probably time to upgrade to a larger home with more space.

At Hayden Homes, we help buyers find the right-sized dream homes in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. We invite you to view our collection of beautiful, smartly designed new homes and contact us to learn how we can help. We look forward to welcoming you home.

5 Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Home Office

5 EASY WAYS TO UPGRADE YOUR HOME OFFICEThe past year has shown that work can still be done away from the office. Even as offices are reopening, many people are choosing to work remotely at least part time.

If that’s the case for you, your home office may need an upgrade to accommodate your new work situation. Thankfully you don’t need a large budget to take your office to the next level. Here are some top tips for upgrading your home office so you can remain productive.

1. Declutter your space

Decluttering remains the top advice for every interior design project. Why? It helps clear the space so you can really focus on what you need so you can work. Spend some time going through your workspace and removing objects you no longer need.

2. Upgrade your chair

The chair you sit in is worth splurging on! You spend a lot of time sitting at your desk so an uncomfortable chair can decrease productivity and possibly cause back pain. Invest in a chair that provides adequate support through the day and encourages good posture. If a new chair isn’t in the budget just yet, you can make your current chair more comfortable by adding a back pillow for additional lumbar support.

3. Improve lighting

Lighting is important, especially if your office wasn’t originally designed to be a workspace. Your home office should have a mix of natural, ambient, and task lighting. Proper lighting will reduce eye strain and fatigue. Place your desk in front of a window to get as much natural light as possible. If your workspace gets little to no natural light, use LED or full-spectrum lights. Here are some additional tips for getting the right light in your home office.

4. Divide the room

If your workspace is in a shared space, use room dividers to separate your work area from the rest of the room. Room dividers serve multiple purposes: they create a private area where you can focus on your work, provide additional storage, and a suitable background for virtual meetings.

5. Add personal touches

This is a definite benefit of working from home. You have the freedom to decorate your office as you see fit! Hang eye-catching art, display your favorite decorative pieces, accessories, or houseplants near or around your computer. Not only do these pieces help you feel more motivated, they also give your eyes a place to focus on. This will help you reduce eye staring and fatigue from staring at the computer screen. These thoughtfully chosen pieces can help you feel more motivated,

You deserve an interesting and functional workspace even if you’re working from home. You’ll thrive and feel more creative and productive when you’re working in a space you love. These simple upgrades will make it easier for you to remain focus and motivated every work day.

Contact us today if you’re on the hunt for your dream home. We have beautiful homes for sale in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington that fit every lifestyle. We are ready to help you, whether you’re buying your first home or purchasing your second or third. We look forward to welcoming you home.

Tips for Safe Summer Barbecues

Tips for Safe Summer BarbecuesOnce the warmer weather hits, the first thing we think about is firing up the grill. From family cookouts to a casual grilled dinner, grilling is a great way to enjoy the summer days and nights. If you’re planning on hosting family and friends in your backyard this summer, here’s some barbeque safety tips that will keep you safe all season long.

Place grill in a safe location

When looking for a location to place your grill, find one that is level and at least ten feet away from your home, garage, or any structure on your property. Avoid placing your grill under an overhang or low-hanging branches or anything else that can be damaged by fire or smoke.

Remember, grilling is an outdoor activity. Do not grill in the garage or other enclosed space. Not only is that a fire hazard, you’ll also fill your home with carbon monoxide. If you want to grill year-round regardless of the weather, invest in an indoor grill that’s specifically designed for this purpose.

Check for gas leaks

It’s important to check your grill before you begin using it, especially ff you store your grill for months at a time. Leaks in the gas lines can cause propane or natural gas to build up inside a closed lid. So before lighting, open the lid and check the gas lines for leaks. To check for leaks, rub some soapy water on the hoses and connections and turn on the gas. Large bubbles will signify areas where the connections are not tight enough or hoses with holes in them.

Clean your grill regularly

Cleaning the grill is a unglamorous but necessary task. Grease and fat can build up on the grill plates and drip tray, causing dangerous flare ups. Regularly cleaning your grill results in better tasting food that won’t stick to the grates. Get into the habit of cleaning your grill after every use.

Keep a spray bottle handy

Even with a clean grill, some flare ups may happen as fat and grease drips from food as it cooks. Keep a spray bottle filled with water on hand to extinguish smaller flames before they grow larger and keep smoke at bay.

Always have the grill supervised

Never leave a grill unattended while you’re cooking. The high heat and open flames can potentially be a safety and fire hazard if left unsupervised. Plan ahead and gather everything you need before you start cooking. If you need to leave for any reason, have another adult keep watch.

Be ready to put out fire

Fire moves quickly so be prepared to handle the situation should it arise. Have baking soda on hand to take care of grease fires and a fire extinguisher for other flames.

Create a safety zone

Keep your kids and pets safe by creating a kid/pet-free zone of at least three-feet around the grill. Children under five accounts for about 39% of contact-type burns each year. Teach kids to stay away from the grilling area and tie up pets or keep them indoors while you’re grilling. Remember, the grill will remain hot for a while even after you’re finished cooking.

Wear appropriate clothing

Avoid wearing loose or hanging clothing that can catch fire around the grill. Wear clothing that won’t come in contact with the grill and make sure apron strings are tied around your back.

Shut down correctly

When you’re finished grilling, its important to shut the grill down correctly. Always wait until your grill is completely cool before moving it. For gas grills, turn off the burners and fuel supply. If you use a charcoal grill, soak the coals with water or wait until they’re completely cool before tossing them in metal container.

With more people heading to their backyards to grill this summer, it’s important to keep these safety tips in mind so you and your family can enjoy a safe barbecue season.

Do you need more backyard space? We can help. Hayden Homes builds new homes Idaho, Oregon, and Washington with plenty of space to create your dream backyard. If you’re a homebuyer who’s buying your very first home or a seasoned homeowner looking for their next home, we invite you to learn about our available new home throughout the Northwest. We’re looking forward to welcoming you home!

Homebuying 101: What’s a Mortgage?

Just as your home is your largest asset, mortgages are the largest, longest-term loan you’ll apply for. Most people don’t have the funds to buy a home in cash so rely on mortgages to fund their home purchase. We have plenty of blog posts discussing how to save for and finance your home but what exactly is a mortgage and how do they work? In this post, we’ll cover the basics of what exactly is a home mortgage.

What’s a mortgage?

A mortgage is a secured loan used to purchase a home or other piece of real property. Mortgages are offered by banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. The home serves as collateral; if the borrower doesn’t make their monthly payments and defaults on the loan, the lender can reclaim the home and sell it to recoup their costs. Once you repay your mortgage in full, you’ll be the outright owner of your home.

What’s included in a mortgage payment?

Your monthly mortgage payment is split into four main categories: principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. Here’s how each one works:

Principal: the total amount you borrowed from the lender (minus the down payment you provided). Principal can also refer to the amount left remaining on your loan balance. A portion of each monthly payment is applied to the principal, reducing the amount owed over time.

Interest: the amount the lender charges you to borrow the principal. Most of your monthly payment is applied towards interest at the beginning of your loan term, and then switching to reducing principal in the final years.

Taxes: your lender may collect your property taxes, saving each monthly payment in an escrow account and paying it on your behalf when it’s due. If your lender does not offer this service, you will be responsible for paying property taxes.

Insurance: most lenders require home insurance as a condition of getting your mortgage. Also called homeowner’s or property insurance, this covers your home in case it’s damaged or lost in a fire or natural disaster. If you had a down payment of less than 20% (unless you have a VA loan), you may also need to buy private mortgage insurance as well.

How long are mortgages?

The length of time you have to repay a mortgage is called a ‘term.’ There are two common loan terms: 15-year and 30-year. The most common term is 30 years. In fact, about 90% of homebuyers choose a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage (more on that in a moment). 30-year terms allow you to have lower monthly mortgage payments. In contrast, 15-year terms allow you to pay off your mortgage faster but will higher monthly payments. We dive into the differences between 15-year and 30-year mortgages here.

What’s a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage?

There are two main types of mortgages: fixed-rate and adjustable-rate. These terms define how your interest rate is calculated.

Fixed-rate mortgages are just as they sound; the interest rate remains constant over the life of your loan. You will pay the same amount of interest each month until you pay off your loan.

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) have variable interest rates. Typically, they begin with lower interest rates that slowly increase at set intervals of time over the life of your loan. This variability means you’ll be paying different mortgage payments over time.

What types of mortgages are available?

There are several types of loan programs you can choose from. Each program has their own eligibility and down payment options and allow you to choose your loan terms. Here are the most common programs (please check with each loan provider to learn more about eligibility requirements):

Conventional mortgages are the most common loan product. They’re managed the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) though commonly associated with Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac. These loans require a credit score of 620 or higher and a down payment of at least 3%.

FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA loans are popular with first-time homebuyers and allow borrowers with credit scores of at least 580 to put 3.5% down (borrowers with credit scores between 500 and 579 must put down at least 10%).

VA loans are administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and are exclusive to eligible active-duty and retired military service members and surviving spouses. One of the main benefits of VA loans is there’s no down payment requirement and mortgage insurance is not required.

USDA loans are insured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and are available for homebuyers in designated rural and suburban areas. There’s no down payment requirement and borrowers must meet income requirements.

The more you understand about mortgages, the better you’ll feel about finding the right option for your financial situation. At Hayden Homes, we want to make sure that you secure the financing option that’s right for you and your situation. This post should give you the foundation you need to confidently speak with a lender to find the right loan program for you.

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

7 Tips for Reducing Your Home’s Energy Consumption This Summer

With these 7 simple changes to your daily habits, you could reduce the amount of energy you and your home consume, while keeping your home comfortable. Here are 7 easy ways you can save energy this summer.Summer means warm weather, barbeques, water sports, and high energy bills. Electricity use and costs rise every year between June and September. When this time of the year comes around we are often asking ourselves, or being asked, “How do I reduce my home’s energy consumption, especially in the summer?” With these 7 simple changes to your daily habits, you could reduce the amount of energy you and your home consume, while keeping your home comfortable. Here are 7 easy ways you can save energy this summer.

1. Be smart with your thermostat

There’s no denying how good that burst of cool air feels when you step inside an air-conditioned building after being outside. However, that good feeling disappears when you receive that bill at the end of the month. Set the thermostat to at least 75F (the U.S. Department of Energy recommends 78F) when you’re at home and higher overnight or when you’re away.

Those temperatures may sound warm but if you couple that with a few of these other energy saving tips, you won’t break a sweat. Every degree above 78F can save you up to 8% on your utility bill. Programmable or smart thermostats make this a breeze by allowing you to create custom schedules and, if you have a smart thermostat, control the temperature from your phone.

2. Keep it breezy

Double up on the cooling power of the air conditioner by running ceiling or portable fans. Fans do a great job at circulating air so turning on the ceiling fan or placing a fan by an A/C will quickly cool your space. Using fans in your home will allow you to keep the thermostat set at that target 75-78F without feeling overheated. If you have a ceiling fan, set it to rotate counterclockwise to create a cool downdraft.

Once the sun begins to set, turn off the air conditioner and open the windows to invite the cooler evening air into your home.

3. Block the light

Sun shining into your windows can increase energy costs and warm your home. Keep curtains and blinds drawn during the hottest parts of the day, typically between noon and 4pm. This blocks the sun and keeps your room cooler, especially if you have southern or western facing windows.

4. Consider LED lighting

Did you know regular incandescent lights can make a room warmer? It’s true! 90% of the energy an incandescent bulb uses is released into the air as heat. Instead of using inefficient incandescent bulbs, consider switching to more efficient LED or CFL light bulbs. Not only do these bulbs use less energy to light a space, they don’t release as much heat, keeping your room cooler.

5. Rethink appliance usage

Heat-generating appliances like the oven and stove, dishwasher, and washer and dryer are common culprits in rising energy costs. In fact, the oven and stove can raise your kitchen’s temperature by 10 degrees! Instead of firing up the stove, cook with energy-efficient cooking appliances like the microwave, ary fryer, slow cooker, or Instant Pot. You can even cook outside or take full advantage of warmer weather by ordering in or going out to eat.

Dishwashers tend to be more efficient than handwashing but you can still save a bit more energy. Wait until you have a full load before running the dishwasher and let your dishes air dry instead of using the heated drying option.

You may not be able to outsource the laundry but the same idea applies. Wash full loads of laundry in cold or warm water, air dry when possible or dry right-sized loads for your machine (overstuffed loads take longer to dry). Another drying tip: separate towels and heavier cottons from lighter-weight clothes when drying. Since towels and heavier cottons take longer to dry, your lighter-weight items will be over dried by the end of the cycle.

6. Stay low

Heat rises so if you have a two-story home, consider staying downstairs for most of the day.

7. Keep track of your electronics

Any device or appliance that uses electricity generates heat, albeit some less than others, which can derail your cooling strategy. Keep heat-generating electronics like lamps and televisions away from thermostats. The heat they generate can trick the thermostat’s sensors into thinking the room is warmer than it actually is, causing it to spend more time and energy cooling the room.

While you’re being mindful of where you place these electronics, make sure you turn off any items when not in use.

Knowing how to save energy during the summer months means you can stay cool at home while lowering your monthly utility bills.

If you’re still on the hunt for your dream home, we have homes for sale in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. We are ready to meet with you! We work with those at every stage in the home-buying process, whether you’re buying your first home or purchasing your second or third. Contact us today to learn more!

How to Save for a House and a Wedding at the Same Time

How to Save for a House and a Wedding at the Same TimeGetting married and buying a house are two huge financial milestones that often occur around the same time. These milestones often compete with each other but it doesn’t have to come down to ‘down payment or dream wedding.’ With a good financial plan, you can turn your dreams of a wedding and a new home into a reality. Here’s how.

Set your priorities

Your first task is figuring where you stand together. Have an honest conversation with your partner to discuss what your greatest priorities are and how they relate to the way you allocate your money. It’s okay if your priorities don’t match; what’s important is discussing what compromises you’re willing to make to achieve both goals. It can be difficult to save for a big wedding and a home at the same time so you may need to adjust your expectations.

Create a budget

Settled on your priorities? Great! Now it’s time to create a realistic budget for both the house and wedding. Review your combined incomes and expenses to determine how much extra income you have (if you haven’t already, having a regular monthly budget is helpful). Take a hard look at your discretionary spending and see where you can cut back.

Once you know how much you can save each month, you need to figure out how much you need to save for each event.

Saving for a house: determine how much home you can afford. Check out home prices in your areas and consider getting prequalified from a lender. Prequalification is a basic review of your creditworthiness to give you an estimated amount of how much you can be qualified to borrow. It’s not binding but it’s a good starting point. In addition to getting prequalified, it’s smart to review your actual budget to determine how much you’re comfortable borrowing.

We have some additional resources on how to budget for a new home and saving for a down payment.

Saving for a wedding: determine who will be contributing to the wedding. Most couples pay for the wedding themselves but sometimes their families may cover some of the costs. The next step is discussing the type of wedding you want. Do you want a big, elaborate party, an intimate elopement, or something in between? How many guests do you plan on having? The number of guests will have a big impact on your total wedding budget.

You can get a little creative to save some additional money on your wedding:

  • reduce the guest list
  • choose a more affordable venue
  • choose an off-season date or get married on a Sunday
  • use in-season flowers and find ways to repurpose flowers (i.e. use wedding ceremony flowers to decorate the reception site)

Keep savings separate

Create separate savings accounts for the wedding and your down payment. This will reduce the temptation to dip into the account and use funds earmarked for house for the wedding and vice versa. Having separate accounts also makes it easier to keep track of your progress and of your spending.

Avoid taking on new debt

Having a strong credit score is key to getting the best possible mortgage package. In order to land a favorable interest rate, you’ll want to avoid taking on new debt, especially if you’re paying for a wedding at the same time. If you need to put some wedding costs on a credit card, be sure to pay them off each month to keep your credit utilization rate and debt-to-income ratio low.

Adjust your timeline

Your budget for your wedding and down payment will determine your timeline. Break down the total amounts into monthly savings goals to figure out a workable timeline. If you’re feeling pinched saving for both events, consider pushing your timeline back to give yourself additional time to save and more breathing room.

This is an exciting moment in your life! Setting your priorities and creating a plan will help you start off your new life on the right foot.

Find your happily ever after in a new Hayden home. We’re excited to help you find the home that’s just right for you. Visit us online to learn more about our homes and new home communities in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.