Jeffrey Harrington's Blog
When you’re buying a home, there’s a lot to think about. Your finances probably have the biggest impact in the entire home search process. The amount of a down payment you have and the amount of loan you’re approved for help decide what you can buy.
When you hear about closing costs, what do they entail? How much will you need to cover these costs? Many people get to the closing table for their home purchase and feel unprepared. You’ll need a certain amount of cash on hand when you finally close on a home. Learn more about closing costs, so that you understand everything that you need to know about your home purchase.
Closing costs are spelled out pretty plainly in just about every kind of real estate contract. These costs are the fees associated with the title companies, attorney, banks, lenders and everyone else who is involved in the purchase of a home. The closing table is also the time when you provide your sizable down payment. The closing costs that are being referred to are considered a separate expense independent of the closing costs.
Closing Costs Vary
Closing costs can range from anywhere between 2 and 8 percent of the purchase price of the home. You can’t really “choose” what’s included in the closing, so you’ll need to have an idea of how much money you’ll need to write a check for. Lenders can give you an estimate of about how much closing costs will be.
Certain things like the realtor’s commission fees can be negotiated and can be paid for by the buyer or the seller. The good news is that you can roll your closing fees in with your mortgage in some cases. You may also be able to negotiate with your lender to pay the closing costs for you in exchange for a higher interest rate.
What’s Included In Closing Costs?
Depending upon where and what type of home you’re buying, what the closing costs actually cover varies. Here’s just some of the things that closing costs cover:
- Escrow fees
- Credit reports
- Title search
- Title exam fee
- Survey fee
- Courier fee (Most transactions are done electronically, but in some cases this may be necessary)
- Title insurance
- Owner’s title insurance
- Natural hazards disclosure
- Homeowner’s insurance (Your first year of insurance is often paid at closing)
- Buyer’s attorney fee
- Lender’s attorney fee
- Transfer taxes
- Recording fees
- Processing fees
- Underwriting fee
- Pre-paid interest
- Pest inspections
- Homeowner's association transfer fees
- Special assessments
These fees vary widely by state and the type of property that you’re purchasing. Not every fee is required, but the above is just a list of many of the possible fees that could be included in on the closing of the home you choose.
The next house that you move into is going to meet all of your family's needs. There's a large fenced back yard for your children to run and play in. Gone are the days when you worried that your kids would play too close to the street because your old home had such a small yard. Your new home even has an extra bedroom, the very space that you've always wanted to accommodate family and friends when they visit.
Moving into a house shouldn't be a nightmare
Yet, you're dreading moving. This isn't your first go round. You know how much work there is to move from one house to another. With forethought and planning, you can start to remove the dread out of the move.
How can you pull this off? Start taking these steps:
- Create a house move checklist. You could download a checklist off the Internet and revise it.
- Contact utility companies and have your utilities turned off at your current residence and turned on at your new house.
- Complete and submit a change of address form to the post office. You can complete and submit a change of address form online.
- Use sturdy plastic containers or boxes to pack your belongings in.
- Move in several short trips if you're moving across town. For example, you could pack and move enough belongings to fill two to three rooms in one day and another several rooms in another day.
- Price moving supplies and a moving truck more than a month before your move. Give yourself time to save enough money to cover the entire cost of the move.
- Return rented electronics like cable boxes to the appropriate company. Schedule to have electronic services turned on within a few hours after you move into your new house.
- Contact trustworthy relatives or friends and make arrangements to have your young children and pets watched while you move.
- Clean your new house at least one day before you move. Give yourself enough time to clean without feeling stressed or like you'll fail and not get the house cleaned before you have to vacate your current house.
- Remind yourself that you can always return to your old neighborhood and visit should you start to feel nostalgic or as if you're losing something by moving out of your current house into a new home.
Confidence plays a huge role in your next house move
Because moving to a new home brings change into your life, you may likely experience some discomfort as you pack and move to your new house. Advance planning can build your confidence. Advance planning can assure you that you have the knowledge and the skills to create a rewarding move situation.
That same level of confidence could also save you money. As you do what it takes to believe in your ability to pull off and adjust to the move, you may put your hand to more do-it-yourself work, saving yourself the expense of hiring and paying for contractors. Most of all, you could shorten the time it takes to move and get unpacked at your newer residence.
Most potential buyers for your home will have their first impression on the internet in the form of a photo gallery of your home. Therefore it’s essential to have quality photos that show off the size and features of both the interior and exterior of your house.
As smartphones are equipped with ever-improving built in cameras, taking decent photos of your home has never been easier. However, there are still a few basic photography techniques that you should keep in mind to get the best results.
In this article, we’ll give you some tips on shooting professional-looking photos of your home that will leave a good impression on potential buyers.
Lighting matters most
It may seem like most cameras these days adjust the exposure for poor lighting pretty well. However, if you’re taking photos in a dimly lit house, you can’t depend on your camera to fix the problem. When your camera or smartphone automatically adjusts the brightness of a photo you’re really losing photo quality.
You might have noticed pictures that appear grainy or pixelized. That is often because the photographer didn’t have enough light and allowed the camera to adjust. For best results, take photos in your home when the sun is high, open up the blinds and curtains, and turn on some ambient light in the room. A well-lit home looks much more inviting in photos than a dark one.
There’s only one other lighting tip you’ll need for taking quality photos of your home, and that’s to never use flash. Phone camera flashes can be good in a pinch if you’re not concerned with how a photo is going to look. But, it if you’re trying to take nice photos of your home a smart phone flash will likely ruin your photos. It will create a glare on any number if surfaces in your home and it will create an unnatural white-colored light that is typically unflattering.
Where you stand is important
You want to show off all of the features of your home, but you don’t want to have hundreds of photos in your gallery. To achieve this, it’s best to stand in a corner or against a wall to fit as much as possible into the frame.
Avoid holding the camera up over your head or kneeling down. Typically, when we see a home we see it from eye-level. Photos that are taken from a perspective that is unnaturally high up or low to the ground will appear strange and foreign to someone who is unfamiliar with your home.
Take a ton of photos
One of the most common pieces of advice amateur photographers receive is to shoot as many photos as they can. This helps you for two reasons. First, the more photos you take the more likely it is that there will be a few great shots. Second, shooting a lot of photos and then reviewing your work is the best way to learn what looks good and what doesn’t.
In a time where digital memory is cheap, there’s no reason to be economical with the number of photos you take.
If you're considering putting your house on the market, the job of helping you find a qualified buyer is an important one. The real estate agent you choose to market your home, schedule appointments, and provide you with day-to-day guidance will play a crucial role in the outcome of your sale.
In addition to picking an agent who has a successful track record of selling houses similar to yours, their overall attitude, communication style, and energy level can provide you with valuable insights into whether they're up to the challenge.
Here are three of the top reasons that a positive attitude is an indispensable quality in a real estate agent.
- When prospective buyers and agents tour your home, they will be influenced by several factors. While their main focus will be on the look and feel of your home, their opinions will also be swayed by your agent's presentation style. Your real estate professional should have a knack for helping prospects focus on the desirable aspects of a home, while downplaying its negative features. Although issues and potential problems with a property usually need to be acknowledged, a resourceful real estate agent will make sure the problem is kept in its proper perspective, rather than blown out of proportion. They'll also do their best to suggest cost-effective solutions. To the extent that it's possible and practical, a good agent will help prospective buyers imagine how much they'd enjoy moving into the house, customizing it to their personal preferences, and making the space their own. People will quickly pick up on the enthusiasm and attitude of your real estate agent, and will be consciously and unconsciously influenced by their verbal and nonverbal messages. Most, if not all, buyers will be quick to detect everything from authenticity and sincerity to indifference and lethargy in an agent. These traits should also be obvious to you when you're interviewing agents during the selection process.
- An optimistic, results-oriented real estate agent will tend to be more resourceful, proactive, and solution-oriented that one who focuses more on problems than solutions.
- Both enthusiasm and negativity are contagious, so your agent's attitude will have a direct impact on your own outlook. Since your responsibility as the seller is to keep your home and property looking its best at all times, discouragement and a loss of optimism can easily spill over into noticeable details like home cleanliness and staging.
Choosing a great real estate agent can potentially translate into a higher sale price and a shorter period of time that your home will be on the market. Since thousands of dollars are at stake, it makes good financial sense to pick an agent who possesses the necessary people skills, the relevant knowledge, and the professional expertise to bring you the best possible return on the sale of your property.