Aaron Wluka - Twisted Spoke Realty, LLC


As a first-time homebuyer, it is important to understand what it takes to discover your dream residence as quickly as possible. By doing so, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

What does it take for a first-time homebuyer to seamlessly navigate the housing market? Here are three tips that every first-time homebuyer needs to know.

1. Make a Homebuying Checklist

The definition of the "perfect" house differs from homebuyer to homebuyer. As such, a first-time homebuyer should allocate the necessary time and resources to determine what he or she wants to find in the ideal home. That way, a first-time homebuyer will have no trouble finding a house that matches or surpasses his or her expectations.

With a homebuying checklist, a first-time homebuyer can move one step closer to making his or her property ownership dreams come true. This checklist can help a homebuyer differentiate between home "must-haves" and "wants" so he or she can narrow a home search accordingly.

Furthermore, a first-time homebuyer can update a property buying checklist as he or she begins to check out houses. And if a homebuyer evaluates available residences, this property buyer can update his or her checklist as needed.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A first-time homebuyer likely wants to purchase a house as quickly as possible. Fortunately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help a homebuyer move through the property buying process without delay.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, a first-time homebuyer should try to meet with several banks and credit unions. Each meeting will allow a homebuyer to learn about assorted mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to his or her finances.

Moreover, a first-time homebuyer should be unafraid to ask plenty of questions when he or she meets with potential lenders. This will allow a homebuyer to make an informed decision about a mortgage.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to buying a house for the first time, a homebuyer should seek out expert support. Lucky for you, many real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals can make it simple for you to purchase your ideal house.

A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with buying a house for the first time. He or she will teach a first-time homebuyer about these challenges and ensure this property buyer is prepared to take a diligent approach to purchasing a home.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and negotiate with home sellers on a homebuyer's behalf. This housing market professional will even keep a homebuyer up to date about new houses, ensuring homebuyers can pounce on opportunities to acquire great houses as soon as they become available.

For a first-time homebuyer, there is no need to leave anything to chance. But with the aforementioned tips, a first-time homebuyer can accelerate the homebuying process and improve his or her chances of purchasing a stellar house at an affordable price.


Your thirties are a time of many important financial decisions. Many people are starting families, buying homes, and getting settled into their careers by the time they turn thirty. The following ten years are often marked by salary increases, moving into larger homes, and saving for retirement.

It’s vital to have a solid grasp on personal finance in your thirties, as it is in many ways the foundation of your finances for the decades to come. So, in this article we’re going to give you some advice on buying a home and managing your money in your thirties.

Straighten out your credit

If your twenties were a volatile time of incurring debts from student loans, car loans, and other expenses, then it’s paramount to get your credit in order in your early thirties. Having a high credit score can secure you lower interest rates on a home loan or let you refinance your loans at lower rates.

Start by making sure your bills are on auto-pay, and be sure to settle any older debts from your younger years. You can also use a credit card for recurring expenses, such as gas to get to work or groceries, and then pay them off in full each month. This way, you’ll build credit and avoid accruing  interest at the same time.

Reevaluate your lifestyle and long term goals

A lot can change from the time you turn 25 to the time you turn 35. Your goals might shift from finding a home near the ocean to finding a home near a good school district for your children. You might also have the shocking realization that your children will be heading to college sooner than it might seem, and that you’re still working on paying off your own student debt.

Consider things like the size house you’ll need for your family, where you want to live and whether that involves being close to aging parents, and reallocating money depending on your retirement goals.

Rethink your insurance coverage

Gone are the days when all you needed was a car insurance policy to get by. As you age and your responsibilities grow, you’ll need to think about the future for you and your family. That may include a more comprehensive health insurance plan for your family, a life insurance policy for yourself, or increased covered for home and auto insurance.

Automate the headaches away

With all of these growing responsibilities, it can be easy to get frustrated with the time you’re losing to keeping your finance in order. Fortunately, there are many tools at your disposal in the internet age that will make all of those responsibilities an afterthought.

First, get a budget planning app, like Mint or You Need a Budget (YNAB). Next, set up your bills to auto-pay if you haven’t yet. Then, put reminders in your phone to periodically check your credit score and reassess whether you need to pay for certain monthly services (do you still watch Hulu?). Finally, if you haven’t yet, make sure you have your paychecks direct deposited into the accounts you’d like them to enter so you don’t have to worry about them.


An engaging home listing can play a key role in your ability to sell your house. If your listing hits the mark with potential buyers, the likelihood increases that buyers will set up showings to view your residence. And as a result, it may be only a matter of time before you receive multiple offers to purchase your house.

Ultimately, creating an engaging home listing can be simple – here are three tips to help you craft an effective listing for your residence.

1. Provide Accurate Information About Your Home

A home listing often introduces a buyer to a house. If a listing includes accurate information about a residence, a buyer may be inclined to check out a particular house sooner rather than later.

Remember, it is your duty as a home seller to help a buyer make an informed decision about whether to pursue your residence. If you include accurate information about your house's age and condition in your listing, you can make it easy for a homebuyer to determine whether your residence is the right choice based on his or her individual needs.

2. Include High-Resolution Photos of Your Home

An engaging home listing includes lots of relevant information about a home. At the same time, this listing should feature plenty of high-resolution photos that showcase the true size and beauty of each room of your residence.

If possible, take photographs that can help buyers envision what it is like to walk through your house. You may want to clean your home from top to bottom and remove clutter before you take these photos as well.

For those who want extra help with real estate photography, you can always hire a professional photographer. Because if you have a real estate photographer at your side, you can reap the benefits of top-notch photographs that can be incorporated into your home listing.

3. Keep Your Home Listing Simple

There is no need to use big words or complex phrases to try to differentiate your home listing from others. Instead, keep things simple, and homebuyers can decide for themselves whether to move forward with a home showing.

Lastly, if you need help crafting an engaging home listing, you can always reach out to a real estate agent for assistance. This housing market professional can provide expert guidance throughout the home selling journey and ensure you can achieve the optimal results.

A real estate agent will learn about your home and help you put together an informative home listing. He or she also will set up home showings and open house events to promote your residence to prospective buyers. And if you receive an offer to purchase your house, a real estate agent can help you review this proposal and determine the best course of action.

Ready to add your house to the real estate market? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can create an engaging listing to help your house stand out to dozens of potential buyers.


When you think of making improvements to your home, you probably often turn to the inside of your home to bring the value of your home up. The outside of your house provides the same type of opportunities and adds value at the same time. People not only like to live in the indoors of their homes, but the outdoors as well. Maximizing the outdoor space allows for entertainment opportunities and increased living space without maximum costs.


Spruce Up Your Garden And Landscapes


The landscape of your home is a revolving battle. You’ll need to continually maintain these areas of the home. Choose your plants based on the climate you live in. Keep the grass looking green, or plant a drought-tolerant yard. Adding trees for shade, shrubbery for beauty, and other types of plants not only helps increase the curb appeal of your home, but plants and trees can lower energy bills and keep your home cool at the same time.      



Build An Outdoor Space


Building something like a deck or a patio to your home can really be effective at adding living space and value to your home. Whether you decide to go all out and attach a deck to your home for you to step out on, or do things a little more simply and pave a patio, you’ll find a return on your investment. Most homeowners look for a nice outdoor space to hang out on, so this improvement can make a big difference. 


Curb Appeal Matters


The curb appeal of your home is what it looks like when people pull up tot he front of the house. Having a better looking home from the outside can increase the value of your home and the future appeal it has to buyers. Your home will be more inviting by doing improvements like repaving the driveway or adding a stone wall. Whatever you think the front of your home needs to make it more inviting should be done not only if you’re planning on selling your home, but for your own enjoyment as well. 


Add Other Touches


There are certain luxuries in a yard that can make a big difference. Add a small waterfall or a fountain to add a lot to a yard. Along with your deck or patio area, you should also consider adding a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace. These items attract people for their immense enjoyment. The design doesn’t even need to be elaborate. These can be some of the biggest, yet most inexpensive improvements that you can make to your yard. 


Remember that no matter how you want to spruce up your yard, it’s all about enjoyment and the ability to make use your yard. Add the personal touches that you know will make your yard special and purposeful.


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Image by Jens Neumann from Pixabay

If you’re considering making an investment in real estate, you already know some risks you may encounter. While most people talk about how to invest and where you may want to invest, have you thought about what makes a good investment? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Cash-on-Cash Returns
  • Investing in real estate is not cheap. You’re essentially taking money you have (liquid assets) and putting them into an asset that you can’t liquidate within a day or two. If those liquid assets were earning interest, your goal should be to earn a fair cash-on-cash rate of return on the investment. Look for properties that are cash flow positive to get a modest return.

  • Low on Risk
  • Any time you get into real estate investing it’s high risk, but there are things you can do to reduce the risk such as being diligent in analyzing, testing, and reviewing information on the property to ensure it has low risk. Another alternative would be having fee simple title ownership, which makes things very easy.

  • Low on Management
  • The perfect scenario would be having a real estate investment property that doesn’t take up too much time in managing it. College rentals, vacation rentals and other properties in this scope that allow you to rent as long as you can to one tenant with decent credit is ideal. When you have a property like this, have a good rapport with your tenants and quickly address issues, you’re in a great space.

    These are just three examples of great real estate investments that can give you a return on your investment and pose the least risk. To be successful at finding great real estate investments, you must have knowledge of the industry, the ability to recognize an under-valued property, patience, a working knowledge of how to estimate rehab costs, a vision of how you want the property to look, the ability to build relationships with others, money and opportunity.

    It’s easy to think you can get things accomplished fairly quickly, but it’s very important to have a good grasp of what to expect, anticipate problems, and be able to pivot when you need to. A good realtor will be able to advise you on upcoming properties and provide insight where you have questions. The bright side? The more rehabs you do, the more knowledge you will gain and you’ll become familiar with other investors who know the ropes. Real estate investing is nothing new - it’s all about being able to spot the jewel in the sand. With a little time and effort, you'll be well on your way to investing like a pro!