Tuesday, June 26, 2012

5 Tips for Buying a Home After You Get Married

Today's guest post comes to us from Matthew Coates with West USA Realty Revelation.

So you're getting married? Congratulations! What an exciting time in your life that will be. Love is in the air and you have made the decision to spend the rest of your life with that special someone. They say people spend more time planning the wedding than the marriage itself. Of course these are both  important. In today's post I want to address the after-wedding/marriage side and another life decision you may be contemplating. Hopefully my "5 Tips for Buying a Home After You Get Married" will help you think through the process a little better.

Buying a home can be just as, if not more, stressful than planning your wedding. Taking on these 2 gigantic events within a 12-24 months of each other is certainly no small feat and requires a specific game plan. In working with many first-time homebuyers, especially newlyweds, I have found 5 tips that help them minimize the aggravation of trying to buy a home shortly after their wedding date.


1. Don't feel obligated to use your parents' Realtor

Parents place alot of pressure on us, don't they? After all, they brought us into this world and have given us a good degree of life wisdom. However, their long-time friend of 30 years who is a real estate agent might not be the best choice for you. 


Just because your parents knows them doesn't make them qualified or make them open to treating you as a separate entity. You have to have a good "vibe" with your agent, whether it's your mom's best friend or someone you met through visiting an open house.



2. Prioritize your must-have features in a home

Many would-be buyers enter the market place with unrealistic expectations of what is available. It isn't likely that your first home purchase will have all the nicest things money can buy. That's why they call them "starter homes" or "entry-level homes". Just like you probably won't be at an entry-level job your entire life (let's hope). If you want a fireplace but the home doesn't have one, yet meets all your other needs, you may want to move forward.

Requiring granite countertops, cultured marble, travertine flooring, and 2-tone paint may not be doable on your budget. It may be better to make those preferences and not requirements, thus helping you avoid major disappointment.  A feature that may be required would be something like a 3-bedroom home. That is the most popular choice for first-time buyers, the concept being one bedroom for you and your sweetie, one to be used as a den/office (computer always seems to get its own room these days), and one for a future child.

3.Don't spend all your money on getting into the home

Make sure you budget exactly what it's going to take to acquire the home, and don't spend all your cash reserves. It's that simple!

Homebuyers often overlook potential repairs that the home will need (especially as revealed during their home inspection). And then remember you have got closing costs, an appraisal, and a home inspection.

What if something comes up after you buy the home? Oh, and remember the home needs appliances. Things like this are what cause people to rack up credit card debt shortly after the purchase is made.

4. Think about how long you're going to live there

The average amount of time people live in a home is about 5 - 7 years. But this of course varies. What are your plans for the future? If you are going to have babies right away, maybe the 2-bedroom home isn't the smartest  idea.

Are you working full-time and in school, hoping to move out-of-state for your first job? You might ditch the idea of a house and opt for a condo or townhome, which typically cost less and without the maintenance (but don't forget those higher HOA fees!).

Although some people end up renting out their home if they move, most don't prefer this. They would just as soon sever their attachment to the home and sell it outright (unless the home has lost tremendous value of course)

5. Listen to your Realtor

Yes, you're the boss, but your agent has wisdom because they are in the trenches every day and can give you incredible advice, covering everything to how much to offer, to a list of viable home inspectors to use. They eat, sleep, and live the market you're in, even if your uncle was a real estate investor 2 years ago, his knowledge, which helpful, is already outdated.

Your Realtor should be able to show you where the market is now, where it's heading, and that what research you have done on your own is still valuable, and that it's not necessarily the only answer.
Thank you for taking the time to read my tips for buying a home after you get married. As a newlywed you'll have many decisions to make together. Make sure you start off this one on the right foot! Contact me here or call 602.332.3321 if you have additional questions about buying a home.

Matthew Coates of West USA Realty Revelation has been helping first-time homebuyers in the Phoenix-metro area for over 5 years and served in excess of 100 happy clients.  Having bought and sold houses, both for personal and investor use, he is able to see guiding clients through many viewpoints. He currently lives in Chandler with his wife of 14 years and 2 sons.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Meeting in the Middle

Pretend You’re A Venn Diagram

Meeting in the middle.
Rebecca Moses
Despite everyone’s best intentions, couples planning their wedding often find themselves in conflict with their parents, others who wish to be involved in the planning process, and even each other.  Picture this: It's the 11th month of wedding planning. You've thought about the guest list, budget, venue, where so and so will sit and what Mr. Vegan will eat (celery, you've decided, just celery) more than you'd like to admit, and then, this happens.

You get a call from your soon-to-be brother-in-law asking for a last minute change to accommodate his new girlfriend. Or maybe, your own mother has a suggestion she's been meaning to tell you that you must do.

Are you ready to scream yet?

Despite everyone's best intentions, couples planning their wedding often find themselves in conflict with their parents, others who wish to be involved in the planning process (your thoughtful Aunt Nancy perhaps?), and even each other.

Others may mean well, but this is your day, and every bride and groom should have the wedding that is right for them.

When it comes to making difficult wedding-related decisions, your job is to stand behind your fiancé and form a united front--unless, of course, you disagree with each other, in which case you should discuss the situation privately and come to an agreement.
How to keep the peace when it comes to conflicts in the family? Read on for some of our suggestions:
  • It's important to set ground rules early on, so you don't get steamrolled into agreeing with wedding elements that don't suit you.
  • It is equally important, however, to maintain an atmosphere of give and take when it comes to family diplomacy. (Just keep saying to yourself, "I'm Switzerland. I'm Switzerland.") Compromise is often the best approach when there's an issue causing major conflict.
  • Whenever you assemble an extended family, tensions often ensue. Your job is to make sure, as much as possible, that people don't lose sight of the fact that this is a joyous occasion uniting two people in love.
  • If family members are using your wedding as an opportunity to egg on family tensions, tactfully put a stop to it. The situation may require you to be explicit; for example, saying, "Mom, I understand you don't want Dad's new wife in the wedding photos, but she is part of our family now and it wouldn't be right to exclude her. I'll make sure you aren't seated anywhere near her and Dad during the reception. And remember to save your first dance for me, OK?"

Remember, you're making a lifetime commitment, for better or worse. You will both need a lot of coddling and support as the days and weeks tick off before the wedding, so be sure you're there for each other.

                                                                                                                        Blog from Colin Cowie

Image from Tammy Vogt Photography
Lorin and Bryan Married 4.22.12
Planning & Candy Buffet by Celebrations by Amy Bacon
At Celebrations By Amy Bacon  we assists our couples with family and bridal party conflicts.  It's good to know you're not alone during the planning process and we're happy to not only assist and/or plan your wedding but handle issues as they arise.

Direct # 602.762.1174

Image from Tammy Vogt Photography

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What is Day-Of Coordination with Celebrations by Amy Bacon?

Leigh and Tug at First Look
Image provided by Ryan & Denise Photography www.ryananddenise.com

Allow us to explain what a day-of coordinator actually does for you!

One of the services that Celebrations by Amy Bacon offers is our Day-of Coordinating Package. It’s a common misconception that couples believe our service will only include the actual day. Day-of Coordinators do a lot more than show up on the day of your wedding and we would like to give you a little more information on what Day-of Coordination involves.

Flowers provided byFlowers By Jodi
Image provided by Ryan & Denise Photography www.ryananddenise.com

Brides who choose a Day-of Package are often women who need little guidance along the way. If you are planning to handle most of your wedding details yourself, then a Day-of Coordinating Package is perfect for you!

Our Day-Of Wedding Package means the bride is responsible for doing the majority of her own planning. Please remember, in order for your planner to do her job – and do it well - she will need to know every detail you have planned. No detail is too small! After all, it’s ALL in the details, right?

So, if you decide to have a cigar or espresso bar at the last minute, your planner needs to know. If you want to include a wine ceremony with your vows or want to surprise your family with a special soloist singing at the ceremony, the planner needs to know that, too! A good planner will be asking MANY questions about your day; perhaps even asking you to fill out some questionnaires, as sometimes those tiny types of details can fall through the cracks. We believe that communication is imperative.

A reputable planner starts coordinating the final details of your wedding at least a month out. We have time-lines to create, vendors to contact,  coordination of deliveries, confirming of final payments and of course, going over every little detail with a fine toothed comb to ensure nothing has been over looked. We can, and have jumped in when hired two weeks out from the wedding! However, the more time you allow us to be involved, the better.

The beautiful Arizona Biltmore
Image provided by Ryan & Denise Photography www.ryananddenise.com

Speaking of time-lines your planner should also be creating a detailed itinerary for you, your wedding party, and all your vendors; and this too takes time. Scheduling all the vendors, letting everyone know where to be and at what time, those important contact names, cell numbers and emergency backup contacts … these things can’t be gathered on the “Day-Of.” It all takes work, organizational skills, experience and a lot of time! 

Trust us, you don’t want a planner who says they’re just going to show up on your wedding day and run everything; making sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing, when they are supposed to be doing it. By then it will be too late and much more difficult to fix any problems.  Your planner is supposed to ensure that everyone is completing your vision. This cannot be accomplished if we don’t know what that vision is! Another point to remember: we spend at least 40+ hours to ‘simply’ “Day-Of” coordinate, so while you may want to lean towards the lowest price planner you can find, a ridiculously low price quote would tell me this planner is not going to do all she should be doing. This applies to all wedding vendors; we believe you get what you pay for. You do not want to take a risk on this special day.

You can ask ANY of our past clients and they will all agree that if you are getting married you NEED a wedding planner; or should we say you need us!

Image provided by Ryan & Denise Photography www.ryananddenise.com

 If you would like more information on our Day-of Coordination
packages, please contact Amy Bacon.
Direct # 602.762.1174
Image provided by Ryan & Denise Photography www.ryananddenise.com

 The team at Celebrations by Amy Bacon look forward to making all your wedding day dreams come true! 

Image provided by Ryan & Denise Photography www.ryananddenise.com
                                   Written by Amy Bacon Owner | Lead Planner | Designer

Leigh and Tug Married 3.24.12
Photos from Ryan & Denise Photography www.ryananddenise.com
Coordination - Celebrations by Amy Bacon www.celebrationsbyamybacon.com
Venue - The Arizona Biltmore  http://www.arizonabiltmore.com/
Photo booth - A2Z Photo booth http://www.a2zphotobooths.com/
Flowers - Flowers by Jodi http://www.flowersbyjodi.com/
Rentals - ProEm  http://www.proem.org/
Officiant - Gwen Waring  http://gwenwaring.com/
Live Music - String Serenade http://www.stringserenade.com/
Make Up - Debbie Verver  http://www.makeupbydebbieverver.com/

Monday, June 18, 2012

What to do if a wedding party member gets sick ...

Congratulations! Your wedding week is finally here…but some of your bridal party members are feeling a little under the weather! Stay calm; they very well could recover in time, but if they don’t, here are some ways to keep their sickness from making your wedding a mess:

-encourage members to limit their alcohol and increase their water intake leading up to the wedding
-make sure everyone knows to eat a filling but healthy breakfast the day of any and all events
-have an emergency kit with medicine items (Tylenol, Ny/Dayquil, mucus relief, cough suppressant, Tums, Imodium, etc.) on hand, including gallon sized Ziploc bags for accidents
-bring a small battery-powered fan to keep feverish members cool
-if the flower girl or ring bearer is feeling ill and their parents are not in the wedding party, invite them to stay with their children to keep an eye over them until they need to walk down the aisle
-if the Flower Girl or Ring Bearer's parents are a part of the wedding party, find a guest or family member who would be willing to look over them, or hire a sitting service to come attend to the sick children

Sweet bride encouraging her flower girl and baby sister who wasn't feeling well.

To help you stay relaxed and to keep unneeded stress off of your shoulders, consider hiring a day-of coordinator like Celebrations by Amy Bacon. We bring emergency kits to every wedding chock-full of medications that someone may need but didn’t bring with them, and electric fans to battle fevers and the Arizona heat. Additionally, we have working relationships with top-notch sitting services who can expertly tend to kids’ and their upset tummies. In addition to that, the week leading up to the wedding we become the primary contact for any of your wedding day needs, including making sure your bridal party knows where to be and when. We’ll check in with everyone and see if they’re ready for the wedding. If they feel a little under the weather, we’ll do everything we can to get them back to health through suggestions and pointers of how to make it through the day, sick or not. Celebrations by Amy Bacon will be there for you and your guests every step of the way, through sneezes, snuffles, smiles, and all. If all else fails, just think to yourself that everyone is catching the Love Bug that you and your fiancĂ© released into their lives! They can’t help but get love sick around the two of you so let them feel better and enjoy your special day.

This sweet flower girl and ring bearer were sick the morning of the wedding. With a little (OK a lot) TLC and a great deal of patience from their mother (MOB) they were better by the ceremony!

Blog written by Patrice Klaum - Celebrations by Amy Bacon team member
Wedding images from a Celebrations by Amy Bacon wedding on 5.12.12 at The Scottsdale Plaza.