Last weekend I went to a first time home buyer’s class at the Jefferson Community Center on Beacon Hill. Now, I’m not necessarily in the market to buy my first home, but I figured that I would check it out and see what I could learn about the process. Thach Nguyen at John L. Scott Real Estate and Michael Brogan at Bank of America, who co-presented the class, very clearly communicated that if you have the capacity and are ready, now is a great time given low interest rates and a tax credit for first time buyers. They were also very careful to say that if you don’t have the capacity to buy right now, none of those other incentives are worth a darn. As they said that day, just being at that class was the first step in determining if I'm ready. I am starting to get my ducks in a row and in short, get organized. To be successful in this whole house-buying enterprise it helps to go about it in an organized fashion and as it turns out, living our every day lives works that way as well.
It’s tax season, right? Ugh. Just think how much less painful this process would be if everything you needed was neatly filed away and you could easily lay your hands on pay stubs, investment statements, and mortgage records. Or how much faster you could get out of the house in the morning if you could quickly find the right pair of pants instead of hunting through the jumble of clothes hanging in your closet. Or networking to find a new job? That’s a hot topic right now. Good networkers know how to build a foundation of strong relationships by regular, methodical communication with those in their circle, and by being able to connect people with common interests. All of these things are about creating order and structure in our lives so that we can reap the benefits in the future.
So, you ask, if I’m not naturally a ducks-in-a-row kind of person, how can I magically transform my life into one of organization and ease?
Some of us are born with a knack for organization (me) and some of us are born with a knack for other things, like car repair (not me). If you're in the second category my advice to you is to start small. Begin by designating a home for your keys and start putting them in that basket on the counter or on that entry way table every single time you step in the door. Eventually you won't even think about it because it will have become part of your routine. Move on to a filing project next. Haul out that stack of paper you stashed in your closet and separate it into broad categories: bank, car, medical, house, and voila, this is the start of your filing system.
Start small and eventually you'll get in the habit of being an organized, or at least more organized, member of society. I think that you will find yourself better prepared to take advantage of big opportunities that come your way – like buying a house at an incredibly low interest rate or being offered a fabulous new job – because of all of the work you did on the front end. And then you can give yourself a big ol’ pat on the back.