Two Tools to Help You Foster Good Financial Habits for Home Ownership
I often field questions from people who are thinking about buying their first home. Many are very early in the process, some in college, some working their first jobs. Many want to know what they need to do now to one day be able to have a place of their own.
Part of being ready for home ownership means having the discipline to make personal and financial decisions which put you in a good position when the time comes. A lot of this means sound habits, such as saving cash for a down payment, reducing debt, and maintaining good credit. Many people have yet to form these habits.
There are strategies to help you stick to your habits, such as telling people about your goals, writing down your goals and posting them in prominent places around your house and car, and breaking your goals into small, reasonable "mini goals," but sometimes what you really need is a little external accountability.
HabitForge.com and Stickk.com are two web-based tools which help you stick to changing your habits. HabitForge operates on the premise that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. To use it, you simply provide a goal or desire, and the service sends you email each day to check in and see if you've kept up. A simple "yes" or "no" click tracks your commitment.
Stickk.com is a little more involved and perhaps a more powerful option. Stickk was developed by Yale University economists who tested the effectiveness of Commitment Contracts through extensive field research. Years of economic and behavioral research show that people who put stakes - either their money or their reputation - on the table are far more likely to actually achieve a goal they set for themselves. Stikk.com allows you to select a goal, get the "stakes," get a referee to judge your compliance, and add friends for social support.
If you’re trying to clean up your financial house before you make that first big investment in your future, you might consider exploring these tools to help you create the solid habits you’ll need to get the loan, make your down payment, and ultimately take care of your home. I hope you find them helpful.
If you’d like to talk about a detailed path to home ownership, I’d be glad to chat with you. Get in touch today:
Brenda K (Kielbratowski) - Keller Williams Select Realty