#SWAAYthenarrative

How to Choose Your Next Home

It's the most expensive thing you will ever purchase, so it stands to reason that a bit of due diligence is needed when buying your next home.


This week's link round-up will focus exactly on this topic and direct you to some really good resources we found that can help you make your decision.

Understanding the red flags for your neighborhood

You've found the dream house which ticks all of the boxes. There's just one problem, you're not quite sure about the neighborhood.

This is something that blights a lot of buyers, particularly those who are moving to a new area. Unless you have a lot of friends and family in your destination of choice, it's almost impossible to know if a neighborhood really is up to scratch.

This Investopedia piece should help you out somewhat. It doesn't cover everything, but if you notice a few of these six red flags it could be a sign that your neighborhood isn't quite what you thought it was going to be.

Are you heading towards a seniors village?

Nowadays, more and more sources are putting together studies by taking the Census data from a particular area, and finding out who is the most suitable type of person to move there.

This one put together by ADC Florida was one of our favorites and concentrates on the senior population. It takes a whole host of factors, such as the percentage of over 65s who live there, the average social security received by seniors as well as the median age, and tells you which are the best and worst places in the country to move to if you fall into this age category.

For us, it can be used for both young and old. For the latter, for obvious reasons, but for the young it's something that you can use if you want to make sure you are also ending up in the right (or wrong) place for your lifestyle.

Is your house right for you?

You've done all of the legwork, but there's a few questions sitting on your mind. This is where this piece from The Balance comes into play; it will just give you that little bit of peace of mind that you are following the right path with your chosen home.

It's got some really interesting points in there, such as "wanting to brag" about the house immediately after you've seen it. The Investopedia article we mentioned previously was great for red flags - but this provides a really good overall indication for whether a home is good enough for you and your family.

What if the home of your choice is in a bad school's area?

As we all know, schools have a huge impact on the desirability of homes across the country. You could live in a completely derelict home, but it might be worth far more than a huge detached one if it's based in a great school area. That's the way the real estate market goes.

This piece just provides a bit of reality about the situation though. In other words, even if your next home doesn't seem to be in a "great" school area, it might still be good enough for your family's needs.

It's a really refreshing read, and talks about how you should sometimes venture away from the official school ratings to base your decision.

Do you have the means to pay for your next home?

We've skirted around every topic so far apart from arguably the most important one; paying for it.

Like it or not, it all comes down to this, and for this link we won't present a mortgage calculator. These are great as a starting point, but they ignore a few crucial factors. Let's not forget that we all have 'x' amount of money, but this perhaps isn't ALL designated to be spent on your house. This article just makes you think about this, and shows you some of the signs that you are making the right decision with your money.

How to Learn Much More From the Books You Read

It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.

Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.

Read with a Purpose

Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.

Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.

Pre-Read

When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.

Highlight

Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.

Speed Read

You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.

Quality Reading

Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.

Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.

Summarize

If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.

Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.