7 Common Closing Costs to Consider When Purchasing a Home

Purchasing a home is an expensive proposition, but for many buyers, the realization that a host of closing costs need to be paid before the sale can go through is often a concern when it comes to ensuring there is enough money set aside to go through with the transaction.

In simple terms, closing costs are the fees associated with the acquisition of one’s new home that have nothing to do with the final sale price. These costs are in addition to the actual purchase price and include everything from legal fees to land transfer taxes to moving expenses.

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To ensure no financial surprises pop up when it’s time to buy your home, here are some of the most common closing costs that need to be considered.

Legal Fees
A real estate lawyer will be needed to assist you in drafting the deed, preparing the mortgage and conducting various searches related to the property. While the cost of a lawyer varies, you can expect to pay at least $1,000 for their services.

Title Insurance
Almost all lenders require that a homebuyer purchase title insurance to protect against losses in the event of a property/ownership dispute. Title insurance is basically an insurance policy that protects the homeowners from problems related to the title to their home, such as title fraud, undischarged liens, zoning issues and survey problems. Homebuyers can expect to pay between $150 – $400 for title insurance at closing.

Interest Adjustments
Unless you are purchasing a home on the first of the month, odds are your mortgage payment won’t be due until the following month. However, you’ll still be required to pay interest on your mortgage up to the first theoretical payment date at closing. It’s important to ask your mortgage lender how your IAD (interest adjustment date) is calculated so you’re prepared for this closing cost.

Prepaid Utilities Adjustments
A buyer must also reimburse the previous owner for any utility payments they may have already paid for the upcoming year. While this means you won’t have to pay for these utilities yourself for a while, it’ll add to the closing cost pile and can run hundreds of dollars.

Property Survey
A land or property survey is a legal written and or mapped description of the location and dimensions of the land that you’re acquiring. This is another requirement of a lender and is necessary for any transfer of ownership. A property survey will reflect all dimensions of the house and include anything that was added since the house was originally built, such as a new addition, deck, fence or pool. It can also point out any encroachments, such as a neighbor’s fence. This will generally run somewhere between $500 and $1,000.

Down Payment
The most important closing cost of all, the down payment can be anything you’ve negotiated with the seller and your mortgage lender, but typically falls around 20% of the purchase price. If you’re selling a home as well, and the deal hasn’t been finalized, you may need to acquire bridge financing. This will cover the cost of the down payment for a short period of time, with only interest paid at closing. Otherwise, prepare to buy your new home with whatever money you’ve been saving.

For more information about closing costs, contact your local office today.

 

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

7 Common Closing Costs to Consider When Purchasing a Home

Defining Your Ideal Home

The property you buy will be much more than a house; it will be your home. So before you go out and view houses, understand what you are looking for. Try answering the following questions to help you clarify the things that are most important to you in your ideal home and neighborhood.

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Defining Your Ideal Home

1. For some people, “home” means a hub of social activity; for others it might be a place to retreat from the pressures of daily life. What does “home” mean to you?

2. Who will be living in your household? Will you often have other family member or friends visiting for more than a few days at a time? If so, you may want to consider an extra bedroom, or office room than can be used as an extra place to sleep.

3. If you will be working outside your home, what would you consider a comfortable commute (in time or distance)? Will you be working at home? Is public transportation a necessity?

4. What are the most important activities for the members of your household? For example: hobbies, recreation, school, entertaining, religious or cultural activities.

5. What are one or more features you liked most about the home(s) you have lived in previously? This might include: style floorplan, yard, view, and neighborhood. Will these features need to be included in  your new home, or are you willing the add them later on?

6. What are one or more features you disliked about the home(s) or neighborhood where you have previously lived?

7. What are the most important “must have” features of your ideal home and neighborhood? Why are they important?

 

Once you have answered these questions, you are one step closer to purchasing your next home! Be sure to contact your local Homesale Realty Agent to continue the homefinding process.

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

 

Defining Your Ideal Home

4 Ways to Erase the Most Common Household Messes

No matter how neat you keep your home, odors and stains are inevitable. These can be especially challenging to remove in areas prone to spills and smells. Check out these tips on how you can freshen even the most stubborn spots in your household.

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1. Wall Stains – Have your kids made artwork on your walls, or has a leaky roof caused a water damaged mess? Tough wall stains like these can be hard to get rid of, but are easily sealed by applying a high-quality stain-blocking primer.

Before covering the problem area with primer, clean the wall thoroughly with a grease-cutting solution and lightly sand the area to be painted.

2. Refrigerator Odors – Refrigerators are subject to a variety of spills and odors. To clean your fridge, begin by emptying its contents and throwing out, recycling or composting any food that is expired or beginning to smell.

Next, pull out any removable drawers or shelving and place them in the sink. Using a damp soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge, wipe down these pieces, the interior of your fridge and the door with a multi-purpose cleaner. Or, mix two tablespoons of baking soda with one quart of hot water for a natural soap alternative. Don’t forget the seams of the shelves and rubber door seal.

If your fridge requires an extra-deep cleaning, unplug it while you work to avoid wasting energy. Before putting all of your food back in the fridge, wipe down the exterior of each jar or container with a damp cloth.

3. Grout Lines – Tile surfaces are prone to dirt and debris, especially in bathrooms or high traffic-areas. To keep tile looking fresh and new, grab an old toothbrush or electric toothbrush for a deeper scrub. Before you start, wash the surface with water then mix two parts baking soda with one part water. Scrub the resulting paste into the cracks and crevices, then douse with water again. If the grout lines are stained, spray a mixture of equal parts vinegar and warm water onto the area and brush. After a final rinse, the grime will be gone.

4. Washing Machine Mold – If you own a front-loading washing machine, you’ve probably noticed the unpleasant smell that can linger after completing a load of laundry. Despite being more energy-efficient, these machines have a tendency to hold odors and harbor mold. To clean and prevent grimy buildup, try this: instead of detergent, cycle two cups of vinegar and a quarter-cup of baking soda on a hot setting. When it’s done, use a clean sponge to scrub down the inside. Finally, rinse with a plain-water cycle, and you’ll see (and smell) the results!

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

4 Ways to Erase the Most Common Household Messes

12 Tips to Protect Your Home and Car From Vacation Burglary

Americans report two million burglaries each year, and about two cars are stolen every minute in the U.S., according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. There are a number of ways burglars find their next target, but your property becomes particularly vulnerable when your family leaves for vacation. Fortunately, some simple changes to your pre-vacation routine may dramatically decrease your chances of falling victim to thieves. Avoid becoming a target by planning ahead and keeping the following tips in mind.

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Keep it out of sight –

Many home burglaries and car break-ins are not committed by professional thieves, but by people who stumble upon a tempting or easy opportunity. Hide your valuables to avoid luring a robber into violating your property.

1. Remove any valuable items from your car. If possible, keep your car parked in a garage while you’re on vacation.
2. Plant shrubbery near ground floor windows to make it harder for potential thieves to see inside.
3. Keep an inventory and photos of the more expensive valuables in your home – like pricey jewelry or electronics.

Be neighborly – 

Among the advantages of building relationships with your neighbors is having someone you trust close by to keep an eye on your house when you’re away.

4. Give your trusted neighbor a spare house key instead of hiding it outside where it can be easily found.
5. Temporarily stop your mail or ask your neighbor to collect it. An over-flowing mailbox is a telltale sign that no one is home.
6. Ask your neighbor to drive or walk by your house once a day to check for any suspicious activity.

Leave the light on – 

Almost 66 percent of all reported burglaries are residential in nature. If it’s obvious that no one is home, burglars have much more incentive to attempt a break-in. Here are some steps you can take to make it look like someone is home.

7. Use a timer to turn lights, or even a radio, on and off in your house periodically to mimic activity.
8. Invest in motion-activated lights around the exterior of your house, especially in the backyard.
9. Keep your curtains in their normal positions. Closing them will make it obvious that no one is home, and police or neighbors may need to see inside. However, make sure that no valuables are within plain sight.

Lock up – 

About 30 percent of all burglaries occur because of an unlocked window or door. The most basic way to keep your car and home safe is to make sure entrances are shut and securely locked. It never hurts to double check!

10. When moving into a new place, change the locks as soon as possible.
11. Make sure a deadbolt is installed on all exterior doors.
12. Invest in a home security system. Homes with a secured alarm system are significantly less likely to be broken into. If a break-in does occur, police will be notified quickly.

If you come home from vacation and suspect that your home has been broken into, do not enter the house. Call the police immediately and wait for them to secure the area.

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

12 Tips to Protect Your Home and Car From Vacation Burglary

Paying Off Your Mortgage

If you are looking to pay off your mortgage earlier than you initially planned, there are multiple ways to get this done. Before you begin, check with your bank to make sure there are no hidden fees or charges for paying early.

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Refinance your Mortgage

A good way to put a dent into paying off a 30-year mortgage is to refinance it into a 20-or-15-year loan. 15-year mortgages are the most popular, as there is considerably less mortgage interest in the long run. Be sure before making the change that you are financially able to do so, as changing to a 15-year loan commits you to higher monthly payments. If you are unsure about your financial ability to change to a 15-year, try staying on your 30-year loan and make payments as though you are on the 15-year one. This decreases the amount of time on your mortgage without adding the risk of a late payment.

 

Add a Little Extra

One of the best ways to pay your mortgage off early is to pay a little bit more where you can afford it. You can either do this by adding a set amount every month, or even just by rounding up every month. Even adding an extra 6 dollars to your monthly payments on a 200,000 dollar 30-year loan will save you 4 payments in the end. Make sure before doing this that you check your contract for any prepayment penalties.

 

Unexpected Money

Adding a little bit extra every month is great, but another option to keep in mind is adding any unexpected or extra cash flow to your payment. This can include anything from tax refunds or work bonuses to inheritances and investment earnings. This way it doesn’t feel like you are paying as much as long as you do not rely on that money.

 

Bi-weekly Payments

In Australia, people make bi-weekly half-payments on their mortgages. Why does this make any difference? Well, there are 12 months in a year, so most people will be paying 12 months worth of their loan. Someone who is paying half of their loan every other week, however, will be paying 13 months of their mortgage since there are 52 weeks in a year. This allows you to pay more of your loan off without feeling like you are paying more than you were before.

 

Other Options

These are great ways to cut down on the amount of time you have a mortgage, but there are many other ways as well. These include doubling up on your monthly payment 4 times a year and a money merge account. Money merge accounts should only be used by people who really understand cash management. If using any of the above options, it’s a good idea to get statements from your bank showing how much is still owed and also to make sure that any extra payments are going towards your principal and not being saved until the following year.

 

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Paying Off Your Mortgage

Firework Safety Tips

The month of July is filled with celebrations and of course, fireworks! If you are planning on using fireworks, check out these safety tips to keep everyone and yourself safe.

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AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Firework Safety Tips

Summer vacation? Is your home ready?

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As you get ready to travel to you favorite summer vacation spot, take a few minutes to run through this checklist and prep your home before you leave; it could make your return just a little bit sweeter!

Light it Up-
The kitchen (usually in the rear of the home) is a favorite break-in spot.  Move a lamp into the kitchen and arm it with a timer that you can set to come on at random times.  Also illuminate the main exterior entrances of your home with outdoor timers as well.

Don’t Socially Announce –
Don’t post pictures on Facebook until you are home and don’t change voicemail greetings to say that you are out of town.

Keep Cool –
Don’t turn off your homes AC, mold and mildew can grow in a few days with warm temps.  Instead set the thermostat to 82 Fahrenheit and your home will stay cool enough to prevent both.

Unplug –
A power surge can damage small appliances or cause fires.  Unplug all items that are not plugged into a surge protector, such as a toaster and coffeemaker; and turn all surge protectors to off.

Don’t Forget to Flush –
Flush the toilets and leave the lid up (just this once) so you won’t come home to icky, stagnant water.

Tidy the Kitchen –
Run the dishwasher to clean all dirty dishes.  Remove them and leave the door open.  This will allow the interior to dry completely and it won’t smell musty when you return.

Trim –
Prune tree branches that extend over your house, especially if they are dying or are dead.  Doing this will help prevent expensive damage if a storm hits while you are away.

Stop your Mail –
Have your mail held while you are gone and suspend your newspaper deliveries. Or you could ask a trust worthy neighbor/friend to bring your mail inside while you are away.

Lock All Entryways –
Most burglars will use force to gain entry, but they often look first for open windows and doors.  Double check that all are locked (even on the 2nd story), replace any broken window panes, and bring in any hidden keys.

Set the Alarm –
Notify your security company that you will be away.  Give a relative or friend the security code, the company name, your itinerary, and your contact numbers just in case.  Also test your smoke alarms before you depart to make sure they work.

Get help –
Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your home every other day if possible and to bring in any unexpected deliveries like a phone book or circulars.  Make sure you give them a key.

Taking time to prepare your home can help give you greater peace of mind while you travel.

Go on, relax and have fun!

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Summer vacation? Is your home ready?