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.
With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.
When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.
Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan
Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.
Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.
The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.
Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits
The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.
With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.
Tip 3: Start slow and strong
If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.
Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.
Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize
In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.
When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.
Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness
From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.
Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.
Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.
A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.
Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition
In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.
If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health
While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.
For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.
While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.