Karen Majalian | Brookline Real Estate, Boston Real Estate, Newton Real Estate

Saving for a down payment on a home is a long process that requires discipline and organization. But we all know that with so many other things going on in our lives it can be hard to spend enough time focusing on your budget.

Fortunately, there are several tools available to soon-to-be homeowners who want to keep track of their spending and make sure they meet their down payment goals. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the best budgeting apps, websites, and other tools to help you keep yourself accountable so you can be living in your new home as soon as possible.

Why budget for a down payment?

If you’ve saved money in the past for a purchase without a budget you might be wondering why you should go through the effort of creating one now.

However, there are many reasons to have a budget, especially if you’re planning on making an investment as large as a home. Here are just a few:

  • Keeping an accurate budget will let you know almost exactly how much you can expect to save for a down payment

  • Budgeting helps you locate and cut out expenses that would be better used in your savings account

  • Budgeting will give you peace of mind along the road to saving for your down payment

Now that we’ve talked about the importance of making a budget, let’s talk about some of the best ways to get it done.


You Need a Budget, often shortened to YNAB, is one of the most useful tools for learning about and creating a budget. I don’t know about you, but I was never formally taught how to budget in school. But, it would have been a useful class to have!

YNAB combines budgeting tools with educational materials to help you save while you learn more about managing money. It can be easy to feel lost when it comes to learning about personal finance--that’s what makes YNAB so great.

Their basic precept is that you “give every dollar a job,” meaning there won’t be any money in any of your accounts or in your paycheck that doesn’t have a purpose. That doesn’t mean you can’t spend money on yourself every once in awhile, just that you’ll have planned ahead for moments so you can manage them.

You Need A Budget is available for Apple, Android, on Alexa and in your browser.

Saving with your spouse

Planning a budget yourself is complicated as it is. But planning together with a spouse can be even more confusing. However, there are ways to effectively make a family budget to save for a down payment.

First, you should both make sure you have individual budgets to make sure you know how much money from each of your incomes can go into savings. Opening a joint savings account and having a certain percentage of your paycheck direct deposited into that account is a good place to start.

From there, monitor your savings for a month to see if you need to alter this number, and try to stick to your monthly savings goal.

Cats are deeply misunderstood animals (says a cat lover). It takes a patient and loving person to care for and create a bond with a cat. They can become your best friend just like a dog can. It’s important to know the best ways to win your cat’s heart over— as a happy cat means a happy home. Take a look at a few of the ways to your cat’s heart below: Catnip: Keep catnip, catnip bubbles and/or catnip toys on hand— there’s even a catnip bush that you can plant outdoors. Catnip will cheer up the grumpiest of cats. It will make the even laziest cat play. However, catnip is not recommended for kittens— they have enough energy. Toy Mice: As everyone knows, cats love to hunt. If you have an indoor cat, getting him/her a few toy mice is a great way to feed this instinct and without the real mice being left at your doorstep. Cat Towers/Shelving: Cats love to sleep and lounge around, but they also love to play and jump around, high above the rest of the world. Cat towers are perfect for both of those actions. If your home or apartment doesn’t have the room for a cat tower then consider adding shelving specifically for your cat. He/she will love to be able to jump from shelf to shelf and sit high above the rest of the animals and people in the home. He/she will feel especially safe and happy with the ability to be high above or down with you. Lots of Love: Cats and kittens love to snuggle and showing them the affection back will enhance that love. However, It’s important to notice the signs of distress, especially if your cat has claws. If you are getting a kitten, be sure to give them the love and attention they need. Although a cat is not a dog, they still require attention and some work. Kittens have a lot of energy just like puppies and it’s important to play with them just as you would with a puppy. Older cats may not have the same amount of energy but they still love to play and snuggle, too. Since animals can’t talk and you can’t read minds, they will always be unpredictable. But, providing your cat with the types of things listed above will enhance the likelihood that your cat will be a very happy cat. And above all pay attention to the signs your cat is giving you such as purring or pinned back ears. Those signs are the only indicators you have in understanding them.

While home remodeling can be about getting your home some major cool points, you really want to be focused on the home remodeling projects that will provide you the greatest amount of return on your investment. There are certain home remodeling projects that just aren’t worth it. Others will help the value of your home truly soar. It’s important to invest your money carefully and thoughtfully. If you know that you’re moving in the near future, you may not even want to undertake remodeling projects for fear that they won’t be worth it. There are certain projects that are absolutely necessary for you to complete if you hope to get the top value for your home. You don’t ant to put in thousands of dollars with no sign of return for your investment. 

Think Simple

You don’t need to get complex when it comes to remodeling your home. Take a look at what needs help on the surface. This will include things like new kitchen countertops, replacing sinks, cabinet refacing, or floor retiling. Don’t bother with huge structural changes to the home. Also, keep in mind that someone else has a different taste than you. Keep things neutral. You might love a bright yellow kitchen, but it’s certain that the next owner will probably have a different preference. 

Work With What You Have

While you may wish that you had a lot more space and hope to put an addition on the home, the next owners could have a different vision. While there will be more square feet of living space, many buyers look at a home’s potential for them. There’s no sense in starting a bunch of huge construction projects that will only become a costly source of stress. 

Make The Necessary Repairs

Buyers will love a home that has a fairly new roof over one that will need a roof replacement within a couple of years. You should fix the things around the home that need to be tended to. This includes window replacements, roofs, electrical outlet work, and major yard issues. 

Don’t Forget The Outdoors

It’s important for your home to look good from the outside as well. Buyers appreciate a home that has been well taken care of. Take the time, money, and effort to keep up your lawn and outdoor landscaping. Planting some greenery around can never hurt. While new owners may have different tastes than you, it’s always a bonus to move into a house and have a little less work to do on the outside!

Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and floods do not occur where you live every day. Yet, these natural disasters do happen, often catching homeowners and their family members by surprise. Storing the right tools and resources at your home that you may need should natural disasters strike could impact your ability to survive these events. Knowing what to do during an emergency can also reduce the amount of exposure that you and your family have to dangerous elements like smoke, rushing water and unstable foundations. Details Are Essential When Dealing With Natural Disasters As a homeowner, one of the first things that you’ll want to do is to take pictures of your home. Walk through each room of your house, taking pictures of the furniture, walls, flooring and other valuable items like jewelry, computers and wide screen televisions. These pictures can help your case when you file an insurance claim. Regarding insurance claims, at least once a year, review your insurance coverage packages. Look over your homeowners insurance and auto, health and life insurance policies. If you recently had a child, have you added your child to applicable insurance policies? Do the limits on your homeowners insurance cover the costs of your entire house and all goods inside your home? Keep critical documents like mortgage papers, insurance policies, retirement packages, wills and birth certificates at home inside safe deposit boxes or fire retardant safes. You could even keep a copy of critical documents in a post office box or a bank safe deposit box. For easy retrieval, consider adding names and telephone numbers of insurance representatives in your cell phone contact lists. Identify emergency exits at your home. Educate your entire family on the emergency exits and when they should be used. For example, you might use your front and back doors as emergency exits in the event of a fire and your attic window as an emergency exit in the event of a flood. Make sure that you have a ladder in the attic, so your relatives can escape. If one emergency exit is blocked during natural disasters, have a second (and potentially a third) emergency exit established. Practice evacuating your home. Try to simulate an actual emergency when you practice evacuating your home with your family. Incorporate Relatives In Your Home Natural Disasters Plan Let two to three relatives who do not live at your house know about your emergency plan. Make sure that these relatives have your current email addresses and telephone numbers, including numbers to land line and cell phone devices. Consider giving your email addresses and telephone numbers to a neighbor that you trust. Stock non-perishable foods like canned goods and bottled water at your house and in your vehicles. Replace these items to ensure that they remain fresh. Other items to stock at home and in your vehicles include prescriptions, vitamins, a first aid kit, a can opener, matches, an extra pair of clothes, two or more flashlights, batteries, a battery operated radio, towels and blankets. Replace batteries so that they stay ready to power up equipment. Keep matches in a concealed container to avoid getting the matches wet. During earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes, stay clear of windows and objects that could easily break or be lifted into the air. At the onset of any emergency, call 911 and provide your street address and details about the event, how many people are at your house and the condition of occupants. Listen to weather reports and start preparing to respond to natural disasters early. To avoid getting trapped should objects move during disasters, clear walkways inside and outside your home. Keep two or more people aware of your whereabouts.

This Single-Family in Newton, MA recently sold for $1,369,000. This Tudor style home was sold by Karen Majalian - RE/MAX Unlimited.

60 Allerton Rd, Newton, MA 02459


Sale Price

Full/Half Baths
Fabulous Newton Center Location. Enjoy the rest of your summer at Crystal Lake! A few short blocks to the T and Newton Center, and around the corner from Weeks Field and playground. This contemporized, bright, English Tudor-style residence offers it all. Gorgeous landscaped private, corner lot with entertaining and play space. First floor opens to a living room with fireplace, built in book shelves and corner windows. Family room and eat in kitchen with modern appliances lead to a separate dining area with access to a three season patio and an expansive deck. Second floor offers three well proportioned bedrooms and 2 full baths including a master with walk in closet and master bath with jacuzzi tub. Third floor has a bedroom, home office and a full bathroom. Great lower level playroom with mudroom area and direct access two car attached garage. Many updates throughout: central air, in ground irrigation, alarm system, replacement windows. This home has it all!

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