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 Funds are withdrawn as premiums and payments are due.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.
If you plan to buy a home in the immediate future, there are several concerns that you should address before you embark on your house search. In fact, some of the most common homebuying concerns include:
1. Lack of Home Financing
You know you want to purchase a house, but obtaining financing sometimes is difficult. Fortunately, if you meet with various banks and credit unions, you can review all of the home financing options at your disposal and map out your home search accordingly.
Remember, there is no such thing as a "bad" question to ask a bank or credit union relative to home financing. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable home financing specialists who are happy to assist you in any way possible. These specialists can respond to your home financing concerns, and as a result, help you make an informed mortgage selection.
2. Tight Homebuying Timeline
If you are tasked with relocating to a new home as quickly as possible, you may have to conduct a fast house search. But if you explore ways to maximize your time and resources, you could boost the likelihood of conducting a successful home search, regardless of your homebuying timeline.
Oftentimes, it helps to make a list of homebuying tasks that you need to complete. You then can establish goals designed to help you stay on track with your homebuying timeline.
You also should keep a close eye on the housing sector in your preferred cities and towns. That way, if a great home at a budget-friendly price becomes available, you can instantly pounce at this homebuying opportunity.
3. Establishing Realistic Homebuying Expectations
The homebuying journey offers no guarantees. If you enter the housing market with realistic expectations, however, you can avoid potential disappointments during your home search.
To establish realistic homebuying expectations, it generally is a good idea to make a list of home must-haves and wants. This list will allow you to hone your house search to residences that meet your criteria. It also can help focus on available residences that fall within your price range.
In addition, it often helps to hire a real estate agent before you conduct a house search. A real estate agent can teach you everything you need to know about finding and purchasing a house. Plus, he or she can provide expert insights at each stage of the homebuying journey.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides when you are ready to submit an offer to purchase a home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive homebuying proposal and submit it to a seller. If a seller accepts your offer, a real estate agent then will help you finalize your house purchase.
Ready to embark on the homebuying journey? Address your homebuying concerns, and you can minimize risk as you begin your search for your ideal residence.
Historic homes are coveted by many for their charm. Some want a home with history while others one with “good bones” of bygone construction methods. Whatever your motivations one thing is clear: owning a historic home is a rewarding experience.
This is usually due to the effort, time and investment put into maintaining the home’s old world charm. Those who take on a historic home should be ready for a project in some capacity either right after buying or down the line.
Maintaining, and sticking to, the classic style and shapes while working under stylistic limitations takes time and effort. Be sure that when purchasing a historic home it’s one of an era whose style you really like. This is because many historic homes have what is called an easement in place. What an easement does is dictate what owners of that particular estate can and can not do to the home to maintain its historical integrity. This can limit everything from additions to siding color.
Historic homeowners should also be ready to get creative during the renovation process. Old houses have their quirks, it’s best to embrace this when making changes and to work with them - not against them. Knocking out walls and shaving down flooring to be perfectly symmetrical compromises the entire structure’s historic roots. If you absolutely must have perfect walls and flooring a historic home is probably not for you.
With that said when viewing homes ensure that any crookedness is from settling over time and not from damage to the sill plate. The sill plate is the topmost part of the foundation and especially vulnerable due to this placement along ground level. If there is damage to the sill plate know that the entire structure of the home is also compromised and in need of serious, and expensive, attention. If this is the case, it’s best to walk for most homeowners.
A warped or compromised sill plate can also mean water damage. Another sign to look for water troubles is a sump pump in the basement. You want to keep an eye out for water damage, as this is a very serious threat to the structure and can also attract all kinds of bugs.
If you have your heart set on a historic home but find all of this overwhelming a historic home expert, either a contractor who specializes in historic homes and/or a local historian that restores homes, can help you significantly through the process. In fact, overwhelmed or not it’s best to bring an expert on board during your buying process. This person should be in addition to your home inspector - not in place of. You also want to be sure to find someone who understands that you want to preserve and restore a historical home and not just gut the building.
Plan your budget well. While restoring a home is usually a passion project for many you still don’t want to overinvest and end up taking a huge loss if you eventually resell. Know what restoration projects in your area typically go for and use these as a guideline for your own budget.
Don’t be afraid to start small if you are on a tight budget or this is your first restoration project. These projects can take years so when planning start here first: roof, windows, and masonry. Create a watertight home first to prevent any further potential damage.
The good news about historic homes is that there are plenty of grants and tax programs for homeowners planning on restoration. Not every loan option will be available to you if the home requires major work but there are loans available specifically for major repairs such as the 203k. Know your options before you start looking as this will a major determination factor of your budget and the degree of work you’ll be able to put into a home.
The homebuying process sometimes can be tough to navigate. Fortunately, we're here to help you achieve the optimal results throughout the homebuying cycle.
Now, let's take a look at three questions that every homebuyer needs to consider as he or she pursues a home:
1. What is my "dream home" definition?
If you know what you want to find in your "dream home," you may be better equipped than ever before to streamline your home search. Thus, it generally helps to establish a list of home must-haves and wants to guide you along the homebuying journey.
As you check out a broad range of houses, don't forget to update your list of home must-haves and wants too. By doing so, you may be able to further accelerate your home search.
2. What can I afford to pay for a home?
The prices of homes vary based on location, size and other factors. As such, you may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage to ensure you know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your ideal residence.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be fast and simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions, you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal.
Of course, you should ask plenty of questions any time you meet with mortgage specialists. This will enable you to evaluate myriad mortgage options and choose a mortgage that complements your finances perfectly.
3. How can I quickly and effortlessly achieve my homebuying goals?
The homebuying journey differs from buyer to buyer. However, homebuyers who work with real estate agents typically can boost the likelihood of achieving the best-possible results during the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent knows the ins and outs of the housing market. He or she can teach you about the real estate sector and help you narrow your home search. Also, a real estate agent is unafraid to be honest with you and will offer unbiased recommendations to ensure that you can make an informed homebuying decision.
Let's not forget about the comprehensive assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the homebuying cycle, either. A real estate agent will keep you up to date about available houses that match your homebuying criteria. In addition, he or she will set up home showings that enable you to check out residences in-person. And once you discover your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to acquire this house.
Furthermore, a real estate agent is ready to respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions. As a result, a real estate agent will allow you to quickly and effortlessly navigate the homebuying journey.
When it comes to buying a house, there is no need to worry. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can get the support you need to make your homeownership dream come true.