residential cottage house with courtyard

First Time Home Buyer

First Time Home Buyers: 10 Steps to Buying A House

Posted By Nia

Buying a house is a major decision and takes a lot of time and commitment. Check out these 10 steps to buying a house and gather a better understanding of the process. 

This post was inspired by my FREE HOME BUYER GUIDE. In 2021 I began a mission to educate individuals on the home buying process including how to prepare their finances for home ownership as well as the actual steps to buying a house that you will follow. My goal is to help 500 women obtain homeownership. If you are planning on purchasing a home and looking for an accountability team join my Goal Diggin Community.

Far too often we only focus on Credit when prepare to purchase a home. That is simply not enough. 

Step 1: Research, Research, Research

As soon as possible locate credible websites, Youtube videos. Make profiles on real estate sites like Realtor and TruliaThe purpose in doing this is you want to learn more about the process and gather information about different loan products so that you can be an educated buyer. Use the real estate sites to set searches up so that you can begin a list of your wants and needs in your new home. Homes that meet your needs mark as favorites. Now, pay attention to taxes, asking prices, how long home stays on the market. This will give you a sense of the housing trends in specific areas.

Step 2: Get Prequalified and Preapproved 

Don’t start looking for a home just yet.  The best thing to do that is to get prequalified for a mortgage. Speak to a professional mortgage banker/broker to get prequalified, you by providing your current income, savings, and investments. They usually review this information and tell you how much we can lend you. Lenders generally recommend that people look for homes that cost no more than three to five times their annual  income.  Preapproval involves providing your financial documents (W-2 statements, paycheck stubs, bank account statements, etc.) so your lender can verify your financial status and credit. If you have my Home Buyer Success Kit then you are already locked and loaded for preapproval. 

If you are not preapproved the lender will usually give you a game plan to map what your next steps. That’s where I come in. I have several tools via online classes available to help you achieve home ownership. Any purchases grants access to a private community to receive direct access to me.  

Step 3:Determine How Much House You Can Afford

Once your lender has issued a pre approval it’s usually based on your current financials.  Don’t set what the lender approves you for as a goal, sit down and create a budget and determine how much you can comfortably afford.  Consider your current monthly financial obligations and how comfortable you are with them. Discuss with your lender how much how that is based on the interest rate.  

To help you save for your down payment, your get started with my video “7 Expensive Money Habits“, which makes it easy to put aside money each month.

Step 4: Find A Real Estate Agent

Now let’s talk about your A team. It’s great that you have people you know in the industry but you want to make sure that your A team has your best interest at heart. Your real estate is like your partner in progress during this transaction. At times they will play the role of your agent, negotiator, spokesperson, and guidance counselor.   Their knowledge of the home buying process, negotiating skills, and familiarity with the area you want to purchase in are extremely valuable. It’s also good to know that your agent’s commission is paid by the seller. 

Step 5: Let’s Go Shopping!

Once you start touring homes, I usually suggest that you make a list of home wants and needs. At this point you have been looking at a lot of homes online and you are getting a great idea if the home you want is in your price range.  Take notes all the homes you visited. What you like, what you don’t. Things like that.  Trust me on this as you will see a lot of houses! Also be patient sometimes it might take a while but remember what is meant for you belongs to you so no need to rush or feel defeated. 

Just a few home shopping tips:

  • Test the plumbing by running the shower and tub at the same time to see how strong the water pressure is and how long it takes to get hot water
  • Try the electrical system by turning switches on and off
  • Open and close the windows and doors to see if they work properly

Don’t forget to consider the neighborhood also:

  • Is the neighborhood maintained well?
  • Is there a lot of traffic on the street?
  • How is the parking situation?
  • How would you get to work from this location? family and friends?

Once you found your home then work with the real estate agent to determine an offer. Remember that it is a possibility that the seller might counter or decline. Also remember the price is an asking price so it is not set in stone.  Once the seller accepts your offer and the purchase agreement is signed You will now go into escrow

Step 6: Get Home Inspection

When you place an offer on the property and subsequently the seller agrees to it. Typically, purchase offers have contingencies like allowing a certain amount of days to complete an inspection of the property. The purpose of the inspection is to check for signs of structural damage or things that may need fixing. 

The contingency is a layer of protection as if the home fails inspection you have the right to back out of the deal. The inspection also give you power to renegotiate your offer and add a repair amendment to the agreement requesting certain damages be repaired . There will be a final walkthrough before closing in which you can verify the homes final condition for sitting down at the closing table. This gives an opportunity to confirm that any agreed-upon repairs have been made.


Step 7: Work with Your Mortgage Banker to Choose Your Loan

This is where the research will continue to pay off. Banks have a plethora of loan programs and competitively priced loans.  It’s important to understand what terms you need. For would you prefer a fixed rate or an adjustable rate mortgage

Maybe your priority is keeping your monthly payments as low as possible. It’s best to be knowledge about your loan terms because they may be in affect for 30 years. Consider when you plan to be moving again. Whatever option you choose be sure to create a debt repayment plan to set a time period to have it paid off. 

Step 8: The Bank Will Have the Home Appraised

Typical the lenders will have the appraisal conducted. An appraisal is an estimate of the value of the house. The appraiser is a third party and does not work for the bank.  If the appraisal comes back under the value you are paying the bank will not fund that loan. Your option will be to either walk away, ask the seller to lower the price, or bridge the gap with your funds.  

Step 9: Underwriting

Now by this part of the process you are a combination of frustrated and anxious at the same time. Please report back to this post and let me know if I’m wrong. There is sooo much paperwork involved in the final steps to buying a house, especially during the underwriting process. Please be sure to update statements and paycheck stubs every 30 days.  A title company will be selected usually by the seller and they will handle a lot of the paperwork to prepare for closing. Title company usually will verify the title is free and clear and the seller is the proper owner. 

During this phase you will write explanations and provide additional documents. Please respond as quickly as possible. A delay in response will delay your transaction.  

Step 10: Close the Sale

Get ready to sign your life away. You usually will be notified at least 3 days before closing. At this point you will agree to the loan terms and find out how much money you need to bring with you to the closing. The title company will let you know if you should be submitting the funds electronically or via check. You will receive copies listing all the paperwork and identifying everything you agreed with the seller and the lender. 

You are now ready to move into your new home!!! 

Still feeling overwhelmed…??? Get your Free Home Buyer Guide HERE

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Savvy Budget Planner

Finances Saving

Savings Are Your Seed Money To Wealth

Posted By Nia

Savings are your seed money to wealth. We’ve all been there before. An unexpected car repair, a doctor’s visit, or a home repair. These are just a few of the many things that can come up and leave us asking ourselves, “Why didn’t I save?” Many of us don’t see the importance of saving until something happens that we didn’t plan for. Savings are so much more than just money to cover emergencies. It also means that we are less likely to have to rely on credit cards or loans to cover unexpected expenses. Savings give us choices and help us to avoid financial stress. 

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t have a lot of money saved up. In fact, according to a recent poll, 56% of Americans have less than $1,000 saved. While that may not seem like a lot, it’s actually more than what most people have. Understanding why savings are important—and how to get started if you don’t have much money to put away—isn’t always so simple. Read on to learn more about the importance of savings and some tips for getting started

Why are Savings Important??

There are a number of reasons why savings are important. First and foremost, savings provide  a cushion in case of an emergency. According to the same poll mentioned above, nearly half of all Americans say they couldn’t cover a $400 emergency expense without borrowing money or selling something. And while it’s easy to say that you’ll just put it on a credit card and pay it off later. The reality is that many people don’t (or can’t) do that. This is where savings comes in. Having even a small amount of money saved up can help you cover unexpected expenses without going into debt.  

Nobody likes to think about bad things happening, but the truth is that life is unpredictable. Having some money set aside in savings means that you’ll be prepared if something comes up. Savings are important because they provide us with security and peace of mind.

Savings are your seed money to wealth.

Use savings for non-emergency purposes, such as starting a business or investing. Many people don’t have the start-up capital necessary to start their own business. If you’ve been diligently saving your money, you may have enough to get started. Also, you may want to use savings as start-up capital if you’re thinking about starting your own business.

Similarly, if you’re interested in investing but don’t have a lot of money to put down, savings can help get you started. Or, you may want to use savings to invest in something with the potential for growth. Investing is one of the smartest things you can do for your future, and it’s something that everyone should consider if they’re able. It also allows us to take more risks, knowing that we have a safety net to fall back on if things don’t go as planned. Regardless of how you ultimately use your savings, the important thing is that you have money set aside that can be used when needed.

One of the most overlooked benefits of saving money is the positive impact it has on our money habits. When you start saving regularly, you’ll begin to develop better financial habits overall. You’ll be more mindful of your spending, and you’ll be less likely to make impulse purchases. When we make savings a priority, we develop better money management skills overall. We become more mindful of our spending, and we learn how to live within our means. These habits can lead to increased financial security and even wealth in the long run. So even if your initial goal is simply to have a rainy-day fund, remember that the process of saving can have many longer-term benefits as well.

Savings Play a Vital Role

Savings play a vital role in our financial wellbeing, yet many of us don’t give them the attention they deserve. We often think of savings as something that is only for emergencies, but they are so much more than that. Savings give us choices, help us avoid financial stress, and can even be used as start-up capital for businesses or investments. Perhaps most importantly, though, savings help us to develop better money habits overall. So next time you’re wondering whether you should focus on paying down debt or saving money, remember that you don’t have to choose one or the other. Work on both goals simultaneously, and you’ll set yourself up for a bright financial future.

This is important for a number of reasons. It provides you with a cushion in case of an emergency, it can be used for non-emergency purposes such as starting a business or investing, and it leads to better financial habits overall. If you’re not currently saving regularly, now is the time to start. Begin by setting aside a small amount each month, and gradually increase that amount as your financial situation allows. Your future self will thank you!

Still struggling with money ??

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Budgeting Finances

Life is Short, Get the Uber Eats

Posted By Nia

Life is short, that’s one thing I’m sure we all can agree on. Too often, we try to improve our financial situation by going on a “financial diet.”  A financial diet usually involves going cold turkey on some of your favorite expenses. We hold ourselves to strict budget plans, thinking this is the best way to save money. But this rarely works. Not only is it difficult to stick to a strict budget, but living on such a tight leash can actually make us more likely to splurge when we feel deprived.

Do you ever find yourself getting fed up budgeting? Feeling like you’re doing everything right but still not seeing the results you want? It can be so discouraging.

Consumer studies show that spending and consumer debt are at all times highs. This tells me that the average adult is spending money. Regardless of what new found information about personal finance you discover, it will take time to change and eliminate bad money habits. A realistic approach to making lifestyle changes is highly recommended. Which will require some self-evaluation and big goals. My philosophy is that small consistent steps always lead to big actions.  

That’s why I developed the Nia Approach to personal finances. Unlike traditional budgeting methods, the Nia Approach recognizes that it’s not realistic to try and erase bad money habits overnight. Instead, it’s a process that happens in phases. There are three phases to be exact. Self-awareness, Goal Setting, and, Taking Action, then repeat.  By becoming self-aware of your financial habits, goals, and priorities, you can start to make small changes that will have a big impact on your overall financial health.

The Nia Approach to Personal Finances

The three phases work together to help improve your money habits. First become self-aware of your financial habits, the biggest point is to be completely honest with yourself. Secondly, decide where you currently are financially and where you want to go, Lastly, create an action plan to bridge the gap, then repeat. While on your financial journey, I don’t recommend individuals refrain from something they truly enjoy just cold turkey. Indulge in your vice to maintain stable progress. For example, if you enjoy ordering uber eats and enjoying it front of your favorite show. It’s ok to still do that in moderation. Even though you might slow down the amount of spending, it’s important to still enjoy some of your hard-earned money, life is short after all.

I want to let you in on a little secret: the no spend, no fun, no me approaches to budgeting and “saving money” don’t work. In fact, they often do more harm than good. Here’s why…

The Problem with Deprivation Diets

Have you ever been on a diet? If so, you know that they rarely work in the long-term. Sure, you might see some results in the short-term, but eventually, you get sick of feeling deprived and end up bingeing on the very foods you were trying to avoid. The same is true with money. Too often we fail to meet our financial goals because we try to hold ourselves to strict spending plans. This results in splurging from feeling deprived. This is not very helpful and living on such a strict budget creates the negative feeling about budgets. Secondly, it’s not realistic to erase bad money habits overnight, it’s truly a process.

Budgeting is a very necessary process. Doesn’t matter what way you decide to do it. Find a way to change the way you feel about budgets and any negative thoughts you have about it. That’s one of the purposes of this approach. This small change in perspectives can feel like a financial transformation on its own. Getting comfortable with what money is coming in and going out every month is one of the main steps in achieving financial stability.


Take time for self-reflection. What are your strengths when it comes to money? Weaknesses? What are your biggest money struggles? What financial self-sabotaging behavior do you practice subconsciously? Start paying closer attention to yourself and your usual behavior with your money. This will be very helpful on this journey as well as in life in general. Knowing yourself and knowing your numbers each month.

Set Realistic Goals:

Get clear about what’s most important to YOU when it comes your finances i.e., debt freedom, saving for retirement etc. Determine what success looks and feels like for YOU. Where do YOU want to be in 3-6 months? 1 year? 5 years? Now that you know where you are and what your financial personality looks like you can start to see a really clear idea of the work ahead of you.

Mapping Out Your Financial Journey

What are 3 key things YOU can go today that will help close the gap between where YOU are vs where YOU want to be? Remember it’s better to take small steps consistently over time vs large sporadic steps as this relates to both diets + money!  Life is short, celebrate progress: As YOU take action and begin making strides towards YOUR desired financial goal make sure to pat yourself on the back + celebrate each win no matter how small it may seem! Many times, when we first become aware of what’s necessary to make our goals a reality it can become intimidating. Breaking it down into micro goals and rewarding yourself will help increase YOUR momentum + motivation which is key! 

If you’re ready to improve your relationship with money and finally start seeing results. If you’re tired of feeling like you’re always falling short of your financial goals, give the Nia Approach a try. By focusing on self-awareness and taking small steps instead of deprivation, you can start making real progress towards a better relationship with money – one that doesn’t leave you feeling deprived or stressed out. Life is short, besides managing your money is definitely a form of selfcare

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calculator placed over stack of usa dollars

Money Management

Track Your Money, Like A Package

Posted By Nia

Money makes the world go around. We love money for its ability to be  traded for things. Most of us are familiar with the tracking systems used to keep tabs on our packages as they make their way to us. We know where the package is at all times, and we have a good idea of when it will arrive. We also know how much money we spent on the purchase, and we often track the package to make sure it arrives safely. We read all the reviews, comments and questions before making a purchase to make sure that we purchase the right item. Afterwards, we sit at home waiting impatiently and full of anticipation for our new package. Watching the delivery driver hit every stop enroute to our house. 

Why not treat your finances the same way? Too often, we spend money without knowing where it’s going or how much they have available. It’s like magic switch that turns on payday and we are ready to start buying. We splurge on restaurant food to enjoy our hard-earned money. The only problem is not checking our bank account and bills due before doing this. Actions like this potentially lead to debt and financial instability. But if you track your money like a package, and stay on top of your finances and this makes sure your money is working for you.  Steps like this help us feel better about spending on payday fully aware of our limits. 

Here are some tips to get you started:

Keep tabs on your account balances

Just like you track the location of your package, you should also track your money. This will help you avoid overspending and getting into debt. You can do this by logging into your accounts regularly or setting up alerts so that you’re notified when your balance changes. Alerts come in emails or text messages. Keep tabs on your money and where it’s going. Exercises like this help catch unauthorizes on accounts. 

Know where your money is going

Know where your money is coming from. This means understanding your income, as well as any additional sources of money (side hustles).

Track your spending so that you know where your money is going each month. This will help identify areas of overspending then adjust accordingly. There are plenty of apps and software programs that can help you with this, so find one that fits your needs and use it regularly. This includes all of your regular expenses, as well as any debts you may be paying off.

Have a plan for your money.

Before you spend any money, ask yourself what your goal is for that purchase? Ask how does this purchase help you reach your financial goals?  Do you need it? Can it wait? Is there a cheaper option? By thinking about your purchases in advance, you can save yourself a lot of money in the long run.

Resist Impulse Purchases

In moments of impulse shopping instead of taking it with you to the register admire it from the shelf. Retailers place items at eye level near the register to purposely entice spending. Impulse buys are one of the biggest budget killers. Work on leaving it right there in the store. Honestly, this is a process, might not be completed over night. Give yourself grace. 

Keep a running balance.

Keep a running balance of both what’s coming and what’s going out.  This helps stay on top of your finances and make informed decisions about spending. Make a budget and stick to it. This will help ensure that you are living within your means and not overspending. 

Get disciplined with your spending

Just like you would with a package, resist the urge to spend money just because it’s there – wait until you really need (or want) something before making a purchase. Get comfortable meeting savings and debt repayment goals. Review progress regularly and make adjustments as needed. Life happens, and things change – so don’t be afraid to adjust your budget accordingly! Stay mindful there are several ways to budget, choose the option that fits your personality. 

Invest in yourself

One of the best things you can do for your finances is to invest in yourself. This includes things like taking courses, learning new skills, and improving your credit score. These investments will pay off in the long run by helping you earn keep money and get better interest rates on loans and credit cards.

The bottom line is that if you want to stay on top of your finances, you need to start tracking your money like a package. Keep tabs on your account balances, know where your money is going, have a plan for every purchase, and invest in yourself regularly. By following these steps, you can take control of your finances and ensure that your money is working for you, not the other way around.


It’s you are still struggling with this thing called money. 

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