Carol Rock's Blog
Buying a home is the mark of an important milestone in your life. While you’re very excited, you need to be prepared for all of the costs that are associated with buying a home. There are a few different costs that go into buying a home that are often overlooked. Before you dive into the home buying process, you’ll want to be prepared.
The Closing Costs
Many homebuyers have gone smoothly through the process of buying a home until they get to the closing table. They suddenly realize that they need a bit more cash than they anticipated. You probably were more than prepared with your down payment, but there’s other costs that are associated with buying a home. Some costs that you should be prepared for include:
- The home appraisal
- Attorney’s fees
- lender’s fees
- Underwriting fee
- Processing fees
- Inspection fees
You’ll receive a disclosure up front to help you understand all of the charges and cash that you must present when your signing the final documents for the purchase of the house. Keep in mind that many of these fees can be negotiable.
Decorating Your New Home
Once you move into a new home, you’re going to want to decorate the space. You may need a some new furniture. Perhaps you own no furniture and need to furnish the entire house. You’ll want to budget for this. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to fill up your home with items that won’t break the bank yet look good in the home. Places that you can shop include online sources like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. You can even check out local second hand stores for some great deals on furniture and decor that is in good condition. The important thing is that you understand how much you’ll need to buy as you move into the home.
The escrow account typically holds the insurance and taxes for the home. Funds are withdrawn as premiums and payments are due. Not every lender has these set up, but you should be prepared to have the money up front for the home insurance and even the taxes at the closing table.
Improvements Around The Home
There will be plenty of things that you’ll want to do around your new home to spruce up the place and make it your own. From planting bushes in the front to flower gardens outside to fresh coats of paint, you’ll quickly discover how expensive it is to be a homeowner.
If you’re preparing to buy a home, now you understand why saving is so important! Investigate all the costs that you’ll need to pay up front while you’re in the midst of buying a home to avoid any surprises.
One of the worst mistakes you can make when looking for a new home is to allow yourself to become discouraged. Once that happens, your energy level drops, your optimism wavers, and your standards slide.
Searching for just the right house for you and your family may take longer than you expect, but success is often right around the corner! In the mean time, persistence and mental focus will help you get past the rough spots and detours. If you decide to work with a real estate buyers' agent, they will help keep you motivated, encouraged, and updated on new listings.
Although a certain amount of flexibility is necessary when you're in the market for a new home, there are advantages to having a clear picture in your mind of what you're looking for. There are a lot of factors that can play a role in your degree of happiness and comfort in a new home, and it's vital to recognize exactly what those key features and characteristics would be.
Here are a few things to mull over as you visit homes for sale and compare the pluses and minuses of each.
- Location: In addition to seeking out a neighborhood that's convenient for shopping, commuting, and meeting your family's needs, it also pays to keep investment value in mind. While nobody can look into a crystal ball and say with absolute certainty that property values will increase in the foreseeable future, there are educated guesses and projections that can be made based on trends and available data. An experienced real estate agent can be one of your best resources in determining whether a neighborhood is growing or declining. Very often there are telltale signs that are worth paying close attention to when evaluating different homes for sale.
- Architectural style: While many house hunters are only interested in features like square footage, lot size, and the quality of the school district, you may have preferences for specific architectural styles. Finding a house that conforms to your architectural preferences can make a big difference in your level of satisfaction. Although there are more than thirty different styles from which to choose, many people lean toward Colonial houses, Craftsman style homes, Contemporaries, Ranch houses, Tudors, Victorians (Queen Anne, for example), Cape Cods, Art Deco houses, Split Levels, and Bungalows. Other style possibilities include Dutch Colonials, Georgian-style houses, and Spanish-influenced architectures , such as the Monterey, Spanish Eclectic, and Pueblo. While some styles tend to be mostly confined to certain areas of the country, most communities have a wide array of architectural styles available to home buyers.
- Condition of the Home: Some of a house's flaws are easy to spot, while others may require the expertise of a certified house inspector. The extent to which you're willing to make repairs, updates, and renovations to a new home will be one key factor that will determine which house is best for your needs, goals, and budget.
We all want our homes to be secure, but do we really take the steps that are necessary to make security a priority in our homes? Between home security and neighborhood security, you’ll want to do whatever you can to keep both your home and your neighborhood safe. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you select and maintain a safe home an neighborhood. From the moment you move into a new home, you should have your eyes peeled for ways to make your home and neighborhood a safer place to live. Some often overlooked parts of home security are:
- Door locks
- alarm systems
- Smoke detectors
- Neighborhood visibility
- Window locks
- Home entrances and exits
Make Safety A Part Of Your Search Criteria
If you do research before you even buy a home, you can avoid living in an area where you will regret moving to. There are plenty of online resources to help you see where crime is prevalent as opposed to where safer neighborhoods are. Doing this research can be extremely valuable to your home search. Some search engines even provide a certain amount of data that’s available by street as to when and where incidents have happened. Although you may not want to get that detailed, you can use the data you find to help you in your home search. A neighborhood with a large number of incidents may not be where you want to start your home search.
Find The Holes In Your Home’s Security
Once you close on a home, one of the first things that you should do is asses the security inside the home. This means changing the locks, checking the windows, looking for entrances such as a basement door, and more. Check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well. This can really help to ensure that your new space is safe in a few simple steps. To get more heavily into security, install a security system. You can get a system that’s professionally monitored or a simple home alarm to ward off thieves.
Get To Know The Neighbors
If you take the time to get to know your neighbors, your neighborhood is more likely to be secure. If you are acquainted with the people next door, they’re apt to keep an eye out on your property and vice versa. You may even want to get involved or begin a neighborhood watch program to help keep the neighborhood safe.
The key to home and neighborhood security is vigilance. The more observant you are, the better chances you have of preventing crime from striking your area.
Moving is exhausting - physically, emotionally, and mentally - and everyone who has gone through a move has experienced the three phases of moving out and cleaning.
Three Phases of Moving
First, you feel as if the mountain of moving and packing is unconquerable, but you move past it anyway and begin. Here, you want to give up and hire all of the help that you can. You may do it, you may not, but you will go through with it.
Second, you feel nostalgia come through you with everything you pack. People say that it is even easier to pack big items than small trinkets that you call memorabilia.
Finally, you have to make use of your time with efficiency. You may feel as if you are losing time, but you end up doing it anyway.
Whatever phase you are in right now, the truth of the matter is that you have the declutter things and feelings at the same time.
Practical Ways To Declutter
- With that, the following are more practical ways to declutter before a big move.
- Give it time. You may spend an hour a day decluttering your house. You may take a whole weekend with it. What matters is the time that you give yourself to prepare for the move.
- Start using all of those extra items that you keep. People like to save money by purchasing in bulk, but moving bulk products from your old house to the new one can be a pain. If you already have plans on moving away, you should start using all of those extra items.
- Bring items that matter to you. Whether it is a big item or those sheets that you like so much, you must bring issues that matter to you and make sure that you do not regret it later.
- Always check the expiration dates on your items. You may no longer be able to consume items near expiration dates because of the move, so it’s a good idea to get rid of them.
- When all else fails, donate your excess items as someone else may need it more than you.
Now that you know how to declutter, the next steps should be more manageable. Remember that the goal is to let go of things that no longer serve you. Decluttering is personal but moving is not. Contact a professional real estate expert today to help you find the right movers for that big move.
So, you want to buy a property and offset it with rental income, but a multi-family or apartment complex is a bit too rich for your bank account? No problem! Most of the steady increase in new renters comes from young millennials, and you can cash in on this increase as well by buying just a slightly larger property. Renting out rooms to students, or the other half of a duplex is a great way to supplement your income or offset that larger house purchase you don't completely fill yet.
Some layouts are better for segregating (for privacy) and renting out than others. Look for homes with secondary entrances, guest houses, separate parking, and multiple bathrooms or a finished basement with its own bathroom to ask for the highest rents. Your agent can help you find these properties; they are experts in the needs of potential landlords.
Owning and Renting a Duplex
Duplexes have some significant income advantages, especially for new investors. If you're planning to live in one of the units for at least a year, you'll qualify for FHA loans that can cover over 90 percent of the property value. Additionally, you can rent out the other side to offset your payments. That lets you be both a homeowner and a landlord at the same time, whereas if you were to purchase a single-family home with an FHA loan, you would still have to live in it for a year before renting it out, cutting down on your potential income. The downside of living in and renting out your duplex is proximity. You typically share a wall with your tenants, which means very little is hidden from them, and you're always on call if they need something.
You can also rent out your duplex to your elderly parents or grown children, which allows you to be together while having separation and privacy.
Being a Landlord
No matter what size your rental property, from a single room to an apartment complex, you are responsible for the property. That means all maintenance, landscaping, upgrades, appliances, emergencies, and anything else that crops up is yours to take care of in a timely manner. Be sure to check your state and local laws for the specific landlord requirements and tenants’ rights in your area.
Next time you make that open house list, be sure to ask about properties good for sharing with a tenant. Your realtor can help!