By Robin Landsman, Wake County, N.C. Extension AgentThis post is the first in a 3-part series on homeownership by Robin Landsman. This series will cover the consideration of renting versus buying a home, the costs associated with homeownership, and tips for making a smart purchase.Interest rates are at historic lows and the housing market is a veritable buyers’ smorgasbord. So everyone who can purchase is running out to purchase, right? Not necessarily. Homeownership is not for everyone. Financial Educators, there are several things to consider when working with clients who are trying to decide if buying a home is the right choice. First, consider advantages that homeownership offers:Stability of monthly payments: When locking into a fixed rate mortgage for 15, 20 or 30 years, you are guaranteed that your principal and interest payments will never go up. However, taxes and insurance, when added into your mortgage through an escrow account, may cause your house payment to fluctuate over time. By comparison, a rental costs over this same 15, 20 or 30-year period will almost certainly increase.Tax benefits: The interest you pay on your mortgage, along with the property taxes you pay each year, are deductible from your taxable income. As always, it’s best to talk with a tax consultant to get your full benefits.Home equity: Equity represents the portion of the home that you own and increases as you make monthly payments that reduce the outstanding loan balance. Over time, the home’s appreciation can increase the home’s market value your and help to increase your equity in the home. This equity can be used to secure a loan for other purposes, or can be converted to cash if you decide to sell. Now let’s consider the downside to homeownership: Maintenance: The monthly cost of maintenance and utilities are normally more costly to the homeowner than to renter. You are now the responsible party for maintenance and repairs. As a renter, if you awake to find that there is no hot water for your morning shower you could call the landlord. As a homeowner, it is now your responsibility to repair or replace the hot water heater. There are costs in both time and money to maintaining the inside and outside of the home as well as the yard.Relocating: You may find it more difficult to relocate with the responsibility of a home. Renters have the luxury of giving proper notice at the end of a lease, and they’re off. When you own a home, it takes time to sell, or even rent, your home in today’s market. Additionally, you may find it difficult to find a lender in your new area willing to extend a loan for your next home without first selling or renting your current home.Value: And finally, there are no guarantees when it comes to the increase in value of your home. Unstable market conditions, wear and tear on the property and other factors could contribute to a decrease in value. Remember, you are primarily making a decision to buy a home in which to live rather than making a financial investment.Homeownership is personal choice, and it is not for everyone. To weigh the advantages and disadvantages these questions will help you determine your next move:Do you know what you want in a home you wish to purchase? Have you thought about what you need?Have you decided where you want to live? Will you still want to live there in three or five years?Are you ready for the financial responsibility? Is your income secure? Will your income change in the near future? Consider whether your employment situation or occupation stable such that you expect steady income.Is your financial house in order? Do you have the down payment and closing costs saved? Do you have an emergency savings account as well? Have you done your homework in learning mortgage basics? Do you understand the differences between fixed and variable mortgage rates and the implications of those differences? Can you afford it? Even if you have been preapproved for a mortgage, you may not be comfortable with the monthly mortgage costs for the approved loan amount. The rule of thumb is that your total housing costs (mortgage, insurance, taxes) should not consume more than one third of your income. It is perfectly fine to accept a mortgage loan in an amount that is less than for what you were approved.Are you ready to take care of repairs and ongoing maintenance?Homeownership is not a decision to make easily, even in a buyer’s market. Being prepared by knowing what you want will help you make the decision that is right for you.Resources:www.Realtor.org/ National Association of Realtors, “Field Guide to buying vs. renting.”Is Homeownership Right for Me? by Robin Landsman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.Based on a work at /.
You’re reading this blog right now because you want to become better at sales. Whether you’re a seasoned sales professional, someone at the dawn of their career in sales, or a business person looking to learn how to become better at the vital —- of sales, you are already ahead of your competition for one reason; you are curious. You want to learn.I write every single day about sales and the mindset necessary to be successful, as I have for over 2,500 days straight – there is a lot of information in this blog. But this specific post is a short list of eight things that you need to develop to be better at sales…Other-Orientation. If you want to become a better salesperson today, become more other oriented. Spend less time talking about you, your company, and your solution. Spend more time listening, and more time deepening your understanding of your clients needs.Patience. To succeed in sales you must be professionally persistent. This means that you are patient. Patience doesn’t mean that you take no action and wait. Waiting is never a great client acquisition strategy. Instead it means you play the longest of long games and professionally persist regardless of how long it takes to win your dream client.Discipline. No matter how smart you are or how talented you may be, a lack of discipline will cause you to produce poor results. A lot of what we do in sales is routine discipline practiced continually over a long period of time;things like prospecting, nurturing, and following up our all necessary disciplines.Optimism. You will never succeed at the level that you are capable of if you are pessimistic. I’m fond of the Winston Churchill quote, “Success is going from failure to failure or with no loss of enthusiasm.” Your attitude, your underlying belief system, and your mindset must be positive in order to succeed in sales.Business acumen. If you don’t understand your business and your company strategy you will never sell as well as your potential. If you don’t understand your prospective client’s business and their industry, you will never sell as well at as if you are at your maximum capability. If you don’t have a common understanding of business principles, and the vocabulary, selling will be very difficult for you.Confidence. In sales you are not subservient. You are not afraid or intimidated. You are confident in yourself, and comfortable in your own skin. A lack of confidence in yourself and in your company causes your prospective client to have a lack of confidence in you and your company.Candor (willingness to “go there.”) There’s this country song about no one wanting to die but everyone wanting to go to heaven. Everyone wants to be a trusted advisor; very few want to have difficult, candid conversations about what must happen to make change real. If you are not willing to “Go there,” you are not the partner many of your prospective clients need now.Writing skills. I prefer face-to-face communication over every other medium. After face-to-face, I prefer the telephone. But it does not matter what my preferences are, we are doing more and more of our communication via email and other written mediums. This means you need better writing skills.Sales is a profession, but it is also a craft, and like all crafts it takes years of study and practice to become an expert. These 8 things you can work on will help you hone your sales skills as part of your continued evolution into a better and better salesperson. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now