According to Statista, "Approximately 82 percent of Americans aged 22 to 30 who bought a home were first-home buyers, whereas only just under half of the homebuyers between 31 and 40 bought their first home in that year." This means, unsurprisingly, most first-time homebuyers tend to be in the beginning stages of a budding career, taking higher-education courses, and trying to keep up with student loan payments.
Gen Z and Millenials have so much to juggle already, purchasing a house can feel like another stressor — but a little education about what it's really like to buy a house can simplify the process.
Take Advantage of First-Time Homebuyer Benefits
Buying a home as a first-time homebuyer can be nerve-wracking, but your "first-time" status unlocks several perks. First-time homebuyers are eligible for loan programs, tax breaks, and assistance programs that are created to increase homeownership accessibility. You might even still qualify for first-time homebuyer programs, even if you've owned a home before. Don't neglect options created to help you on your journey to homeownership. Know your options.
First-Time Homeowner Loan & Assistance Programs
- FHA Loans - An FHA loan is a government-backed mortgage that is guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, but issued by private lenders. It's hands down the most popular loan option for first-time homebuyers since they have low down payment and credit requirements.
- USDA Loans - USDA loans are mortgage loans backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that make housing affordable in rural areas. Since they're government-backed loans, they can provide lower interest rates. On top of low-interest rates, borrowers don't have to pay a cent towards the down payment.
- Good Neighbor Next Door - The Good Neighbor Next Door Program was created by The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to strengthen communities by offering teachers, law enforcement, firefighters, and EMT's the ability to purchase homes at a reduced rate. Purchase HUD homes for 50 percent off the list price with a low down payment of $100.
There are several first-time buyer programs to choose from. Do your research to track down the option that fits your needs.
Address Your Financial Health
Review Your Credit. Even though the average credit score for homebuyers in America is 731, most people can qualify for conventional loans with a credit score of at least 620. But, a lackluster credit score doesn't kill your homeowner dreams. You can still buy a home with bad credit if you know your available options.
Calculate Your Expenses. Mortgage payments can take up a good portion of your expenses, but living expenses can as well. It's hard to narrow down your list of potential homes when you don't know what you can afford long-term. Before looking for a home, sit down and calculate your living expenses. This can include an estimation of monthly car payments, student debt payments, entertainment expenses, retirement savings, and other regular commitments.
Check Your Current Savings. If you have savings tucked away, that still might not be enough since you have to consider upfront costs, long-term and closing costs. Trust and believe, you don't want money getting in the way of landing the perfect home and keeping that home in the long-term.
- Do you have enough savings to cover your down payment? If you're not financing your home using a program that eliminates a down payment, then it's important to know what you're expected to pay upfront when purchasing a house. Make your life easier and use a down payment calculator to estimate your potential costs, so you have the money prepared when you're ready to buy your brand new home.
- When purchasing a home, you have to consider if you can afford the home in the future as well. It's smart to have an emergency savings account that can cover at least 3 to 6 months of living expenses on top of savings that are specifically for the costs that come with purchasing a home.
Find A Home & Make An Offer
FG Trade/Getty Images
Once you have your finances figured out, it's time to start searching for a fabulous home with all of the features you've envisioned in your head. The entire process of searching for a home can be overwhelming, which is why it will make your life a whole lot easier to hire a local real estate agent. And, homebuyers on the lookout can scour online listings or take a drive through your desired neighborhood to see if any homes are for sale.
When you've finally found a house that you'd like to call home, the only thing left to do is make an offer. If you choose to work with a real estate agent, your agent will help you to decide how much money to offer the seller in exchange for the home and any other conditions you want to put on the table. The real estate agent will present your offer and conditions to the seller's agent who will accept your offer or propose a counteroffer.
As the buyer, you can accept their offer or present your own counteroffer, and this process can continue until an agreement is made. Or, until one of the parties decides to opt out of the negotiation process.
Close On The Home
If you get to this point, congrats! It's time to sign your name on the dotted line on several documents and cross your fingers that the deal doesn't fall through the cracks. This is the time to focus on closing costs which can include purchasing home insurance, getting a home appraisal, and any extra fees.
In 2020, the homeownership rate amounted to a striking 65.85 percent! Who knows, after exploring your first-time homebuyer programs, addressing your financial health, and finding your dream home, you could be a part of that large chunk of American homeowners.
You're armed with the tools to start your search for a home fit for a queen like yourself, so there's nothing between you and your homeownership goals now. Happy house hunting!
Featured image by kate_sept2004/Getty Images
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Aaliyah Sydonie Williams is a lover of pomegranates, intimate concerts, fluffy socks and all things R&B. She's a founder of a college advice blog, Her Little Corner, where she dishes helpful advice for college students to slay their college experience. When Aaliyah isn't eating at Starbucks, she's studying for her courses in finance, discovering new spots in the city, and brushing up on her photography skills. Keep up with her at Aaliyah Williams (@aaliyahsydonie).
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy