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Posted by Danielle Lozzi on 7/12/2020

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you might be wondering what all of the expenses you can expect to have when it comes time to close on your home.

Ideally, you’ll want to understand all of the closing costs months in advance so that you can plan accordingly. However, even if you’re close to purchasing your first home, it’s still useful to get to know closing costs better.

In today’s post, I’m going to cover the closing costs that are typically the buyer’s responsibility.

Buyer’s closing costs

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to closing costs for buyers. The bad news is that buyers are typically on the hook for the majority of the closing costs associated with a real estate transaction. The good news, however, is that many of these fees will be grouped together as part of your mortgage, meaning you won’t have to devote much time or thought to them individually.

That being said, to ensure that you know where your money is going, here’s a breakdown of the main closing costs that you’ll likely be responsible for as a buyer:

1. Attorney fees

Real estate attorneys research the ownership of the home, ensuring that the seller actually has the right to sell you the property. Though this is usually a formality, it is an important one.

Attorneys can either charge a flat fee or hourly rate.

2. Origination fees

The origination fee is paid upfront to the lender. It’s the fee that they charge for processing your mortgage application and getting you approved as a borrower.

3. Prepaid interest

Many buyers pay their first month’s interest in advance. This is the amount of interest that will accrue from the time you purchase the home until your first mortgage payment is due (a month later).

4. Home inspection

Inspections are one of the closing costs that can save you a ton of money in the long run if they find anything during their visit to the home. Inspectors should be licensed in your state, and you should choose your own inspector based on ratings and reviews (not at the recommendation of someone who is incentivized to sell you the home such).

5. Escrow deposits

Escrow deposits are typically shared between the buyer and seller and it is the fee that escrow agents charge for their services. You can think of an escrow as a neutral third party that keeps your money safe while purchasing a home.

6. Recording fees

All real estate purchases have to be recorded by the local government. Typically, this is performed by the county or town hall. Recording fees are charged whenever a real estate transaction occurs.

7. Underwriting fees

Mortgages are all about determining risk. A lender wants to know whether they will see a return on their investment by lending to you. To do so, they research your credit and income history. The fee the charge for this work is called the underwriting fee.




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Posted by Danielle Lozzi on 7/5/2020

Selling a home sometimes can be a hassle, particularly if a homebuyer wants to negotiate. Fortunately, expert real estate agents are happy to help you take the guesswork out of a home selling negotiation.

Ultimately, there are several reasons why you should consider hiring a real estate agent to handle a home selling negotiation, including:

1. A real estate agent boasts comprehensive experience with home selling negotiations.

Let's face it – a home selling negotiation can be stressful. But with a real estate agent at your disposal, you can receive plenty of guidance as you make the final push to sell your residence.

A real estate agent is a master of the art of negotiation. As such, he or she will help you seamlessly navigate a home selling negotiation.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can help you up to date as a home selling negotiation approaches its conclusion. This housing market professional will even provide honest, unbiased recommendations, ensuring you can make informed decisions at each stage of a negotiation.

2. A real estate agent will ensure both you and a homebuyer get the best results possible.

As a home seller, your goal is to get the best price for your residence. Meanwhile, a homebuyer likely wants to purchase your residence at a price that suits his or her budget perfectly.

Finding common ground with a homebuyer may prove to be difficult. Lucky for you, a real estate agent will work with both a home seller and a homebuyer to guarantee both parties are satisfied with the end results of a negotiation.

A real estate agent will allocate the necessary time and resources to understand your home selling goals and help you plan accordingly.

Furthermore, this housing market professional will serve as a liaison between you and a homebuyer. He or she will work directly with you and a homebuyer to finalize a home sale agreement that meets the needs of both property seller and buyer.

3. A real estate agent will help you overcome any challenges during a home selling negotiation.

There is no need to let challenges arise during a home selling negotiation. Conversely, a real estate agent will help you identify any potential problems and mitigate such issues before they escalate.

For example, a homebuyer may make a variety of home improvement demands after a property inspection. And if a home seller refuses to complete these property improvements, a homebuyer may walk away from a home sale.

A real estate agent will help a home seller prep his or her house for a property inspection. Plus, he or she can provide details about a homebuyer's demands after a property inspection and help a home seller determine the best way to proceed.

Ready to finalize a home sale? Collaborate with a real estate agent – you'll be glad you did. A real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you during a home selling negotiation and ensure you can optimize the value of your house.




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Posted by Danielle Lozzi on 6/28/2020

If you find lots of great homes are available and cannot decide which residence to buy, there is no need to stress. Rather than submit multiple offers to purchase various houses, you should hone your home search. By doing so, you can discover the right residence, at the right price.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you narrow your home search.

1. Define Your Dream Home

Think about the features you want in your dream home. Then, you can make a list of "must-have" home features and search for residences that offer these features.

Furthermore, consider where you want to reside. If you prefer big city living, for example, you may want to focus exclusively on city houses. On the other hand, if you want to reside in a small town, you can search for residences in myriad small towns.

2. Conduct a Preliminary Housing Market Review

Let's face it – searching for a home can be overwhelming, regardless of whether you are a first-time or experienced homebuyer. But if you perform a preliminary housing market review, you can get a good idea about the volume and quality of available residences. Next, you can use this real estate market information to map out your homebuying journey.

Of course, it may be beneficial to attend open house events as well. These events enable you to get an up-close look at assorted residences. They also can help you understand the features you want in your dream house so you can further refine your home search.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to navigating the housing market, it helps to have a real estate expert at your side. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market experts are happy to help you acquire a superb residence at an affordable price.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to help you find a quality home that won't force you to break your budget. First, he or she will learn about your homebuying goals and teach you about the real estate market. A real estate agent next will help you analyze the real estate market and explore a broad range of houses. And once you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence.

Let's not forget about the guidance a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. Purchasing a house is no small feat, and a real estate agent will take the guesswork out of the homebuying cycle. Best of all, a real estate agent can respond to your homebuying concerns and questions at any time.

If you want to discover a home that matches your expectations, it helps to plan ahead for the property buying journey. By taking advantage of the aforementioned tips, you can streamline your house search and find your ideal home faster than ever before.





Posted by Danielle Lozzi on 6/21/2020

Photo by Paul Brennan via Pixabay

If you’ve been renting and preparing to buy a new home, you’ve probably saved up your down payment and are in the process of getting pre-approved for your mortgage loan. If, on the other hand, you’ve been living in a home you own and paying on your mortgage, you may be ready to buy, but only if you can use the equity in your existing property. Logically, that would mean you have to sell your home first, which pays off your existing mortgage, then live somewhere temporarily while you shop for your new home. However, you have more options, and none of them require you to live in a third location.

Option 1: Contingent Purchase

Ask your real estate agent for in-depth information on contingent purchases in your area, since different cities and states can have conflicting rules. This means making an offer on a new home that is “contingent” on your accepting an offer on your current home. Basically, you will do the buying and selling parts of your real estate plan at the same time. While your agent is looking for new homes, they are also showing your home to buyers. You can use the same agent for both parts of the process, which is often cheaper, or you can use a buyers’ agent for the purchase and a sellers’ agent for the sale, which may help you get better deals. Not all sellers are willing to entertain contingent offers since that can put a crimp in their own moving plans, so make sure your agent is aware of your circumstances from the beginning.

Option 2: HELOC Loan

Home equity line of credit or HELOC is a particular type of home loan. These loans are usually second mortgages of some sort but allow you to withdraw the entire amount within a given time period. This means you can keep your current home, and use the HELOC loan to buy your new home. Then, when your current home sells, pay off the mortgage on that home, and get a new mortgage on your new home to pay of the HELOC loan as well. This can be risky, however, since HELOC loans are based on the equity value of your current home, which may not be as high as the market value. In addition, they can have variable interest rates, which, if your old home ends up not selling for an extended period of time, can really start to drain your savings. If you plan to go with this option, make sure your real estate agent knows the timelines you’re working with, and try to find an agent with a “sellers’ guarantee.”

Option 3: Contingent or Rent-Back Sale

A contingent sale is similar to a contingent purchase, but instead of closing relying on you finding a buyer, it relies on you finding a new home and that offer being accepted. These tend to be shorter-term agreements, such as 1 to 2 weeks, but can be longer, even up to several months, depending on your buyer. Be careful and try to have contingencies on only one side of your purchase, since if you end up with too many chained together (you are on contingency, as are your buyers, and their buyers and so on) if one person’s plan doesn’t work, the whole chain could fall through. Alternatively, if your buyer has a longer moving timeline, they might be interested in setting up a “rent-back” agreement. This allows you to sell your home and then rent it back from the new buyers for either a specific time period or for as long as it takes for you to find a new home. This is especially a good idea if your buyers are currently renters on a month-to-month agreement since both of you can move whenever is needed.

If you’re ready to buy a new home, but are worried about selling your current one first in order to afford it, you are not alone. Make sure you explain your situation to your real estate agent during your very first meeting. Once they know what kind of agreements will work for you, they can do a much better job of finding your dream home and helping you complete the purchase.




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Posted by Danielle Lozzi on 6/14/2020

If you plan to sell a house, it can be easy to try to rush through the home selling cycle. However, doing so may do more harm than good, particularly for home sellers who want to maximize their profits.

Ultimately, a wait and see approach can be beneficial for a home seller. Some of the key reasons to consider taking a wait and see approach to selling a house include:

1. You can clean your house from top to bottom.

A messy home is unlikely to generate interest from large groups of homebuyers. Comparatively, a neat, tidy and pristine home is sure to stir up plenty of interest once it reaches the real estate market.

If you spend some time enhancing your house's interior and exterior, the benefits can be substantial. In addition to making your residence more attractive to homebuyers, you may be able to raise your chances of receiving offers at or above your initial asking price.

To clean your house's interior, you should spend some time mopping the floors, wiping down walls and ceilings and doing whatever you can to make each room look great. Meanwhile, to improve your house's exterior, you may want to mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and do everything possible to ensure your house has plenty of curb appeal.

2. You can conduct a comprehensive home appraisal.

A home seller who immediately adds a residence to the real estate market might not understand what his or her house is worth based on the current housing market's conditions. As such, this home seller risks pricing his or her house too high or too low.

Conversely, if you perform a home appraisal, you can set a competitive price for your residence from day one. This appraisal also will enable you to identify your home's strengths and weaknesses and find ways to transform assorted weaknesses into strengths.

Employ an experienced home appraiser to evaluate your house – you'll be glad you did. With a top-notch home appraiser at your side, you can receive the expert insights that you need to price your house appropriately.

3. You can discover the right real estate agent.

When it comes to selling a house, why should you be forced to work with an inferior real estate agent? Unfortunately, if you rush to add your residence to the real estate market, you may select the first real estate agent that you meet. And in this scenario, you risk making a poor choice.

On the other hand, a home seller who takes a wait and see approach can spend some time evaluating many real estate agents. Then, this home seller can make an informed selection and increase his or her chances of enjoying a successful home selling experience.

There is no reason to hurry through the home selling journey. Instead, deploy a wait and see approach, and you should have no trouble remaining patient and capitalizing on the right opportunities to maximize the value of your house.




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