Judy Rivard's Blog
Once you have found the home that you want to live in, put in the offer, and start the process of closing on a home, you may feel like you’re “home free.” The hard part may technically be over, but there’s one more important thing that you need to think about before you get the keys to your place: Closing costs.
A few days before you head to sign all of your paperwork to close on the home, your lender will send you a detailed report of different closing costs that you need to pay upon the settlement of the property.
Closing Costs Defined
Closing costs are what you pay to the lender and third parties. These are due at the time of closing on the property and must be paid up front. You should estimate that your closing costs will be between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price of the home.
Everything Included In Closing Costs
Closing costs cover both one-time and recurring fees that are a part of your home purchase. The one-time fees are things that are generally associated with buying the home. These would include attorneys fees, lender fees, home inspection fees, document prep fees, underwriting fees, credit report fees, and realtor fees. You’ll also need a bank issued check for your down payment at this time.
At closing, an escrow account will be set up. This is like a forced savings account that will be drawn from to cover things like taxes, insurance, loan interest, and title insurance. These are all very important costs that are a part of buying a home.
Do Your Homework Ahead Of Time
The best way to deal with closing costs is to be prepared ahead of time. Talk to your lender in order to get an estimate of the closing costs. From there, you’ll need to decide if you need to finance your closing costs or simply pay them up front. There are advantages to both approaches. Sometimes, lenders will look at you as less favorable if you need to finance all of your closing costs. It all depends on the terms of your loan. This is why research is vital.
Compare Rates And Lenders
It’s important not to go with the first lender you talk to. Get some recommendations from your realtor and friends to see who might be a good fit for you. Every lender specializes in something different, so you want to be sure that who you chose is a good fit for you.
The most important thing that you can do with closing costs and the financing of your home is to get educated!
For those who intend to list a house, it helps to establish realistic expectations. That way, you'll have a good idea about what to expect during the home selling journey.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you manage your expectations as you attempt to sell your house.
1. Understand the Housing Market
You may own a great home, but even a top-notch residence may be difficult to sell based on the current housing market's conditions. If you allocate time and resources to study the real estate market, however, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market. Then, you can map out your home selling journey accordingly.
In a buyer's market, there may be an abundance of houses and a shortage of buyers. Therefore, sellers may need to price their houses competitively to stir up interest from buyers.
Comparatively, in a seller's market, there likely is an abundance of buyers and a shortage of first-rate houses. This means a seller probably won't have to wait long to receive offers to purchase after he or she lists a high-quality residence.
To distinguish a buyer's market from a seller's one, you should look at the prices of recently sold houses in your area and find out how long these properties were listed before they sold. This information enables you to review the level of interest in properties in your city or town and can help you determine whether you're preparing to enter a buyer's or seller's market.
2. Know Your Home's Strengths and Weaknesses
You may believe your home is flawless, but buyers may quickly identify problems with your house. Fortunately, a seller who conducts a house inspection can address any potential issues before listing his or her residence. Home inspection results may help a seller establish realistic pricing expectations for his or her house too.
During a house inspection, a property expert will examine a residence both inside and out. This property expert next will provide a homeowner with an inspection report that details his or her findings. With an inspection report in hand, a homeowner can correct underlying house issues before he or she adds a residence to the real estate market.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands the opportunities and challenges of the home selling journey. As such, he or she will help you set expectations for this journey, as well as help you make the most of available home selling opportunities and resolve property selling challenges.
Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and find out what you want to accomplish by selling your home. He or she next will craft a personalized home selling strategy for you, promote your residence to potential buyers and do everything possible to help you maximize your home sale earnings.
Manage your expectations as you proceed along the home selling journey. By doing so, you can limit the risk of encountering home selling problems and boost the likelihood of a successful property selling experience.
Planning to take your TV to your new home? For those who recently bought or sold a residence, you may have only a short period of time to pack your TV and other belongings and bring them to your new address. Fortunately, we're here to help you simplify the process of packing your TV for moving day.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to properly pack your TV.
1. Use the Right-Sized Box
If you saved the original box for your TV, you should use the box for moving day. That way, you can store your TV in a strong, durable box that offers maximum protection.
On the other hand, if you threw away the box for your TV, there's no need to worry. You should have no trouble finding a heavy-duty box that is big enough to hold your TV and will ensure your TV will be protected throughout your move.
In most instances, a double-wall corrugated box is ideal for a TV. Double-wall corrugated boxes are available in multiple sizes and are unlikely to get damaged or punctured while in transit.
2. Cover Your TV
Wrapping your TV in a soft blanket usually is a good idea. With this blanket in place, you can protect your TV's screen against scratches.
Also, don't forget to secure the blanket to your TV with rope or moving-grade shrink wrap. This will ensure the blanket will stay in place for the duration of your move.
If you can't find a suitable blanket to cover your TV, you can always substitute a blanket with bubble wrap. Cover your TV in bubble wrap and seal the ends with tape, and you're good to go.
3. Label and Secure the TV Box
Slide your TV into your moving box and keep it in an upright position. By doing so, you can avoid putting pressure on the TV screen – something that otherwise may cause permanent damage to your TV.
Before you seal the box that contains your TV, you'll want to add plenty of packing material. This will ensure your TV is firmly padded and won't tip or shift while you're on the go.
Finally, seal the box with packing tape and label it accordingly. Since your TV is sensitive, you'll want to label the box as "Fragile" as well.
If you need help packing your TV or other belongings, it often pays to hire a moving company. With a team of professional movers at your side, you can quickly and safely get all of your belongings from Point A to Point B.
Lastly, if you require extra assistance getting ready for moving day, don't hesitate to contact a real estate agent. In addition to helping you buy or sell a house, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the best moving companies in your area and guarantee that you can enjoy a fast, seamless transition to a new home.
A successful home selling experience likely concludes with a profitable transaction. However, plenty of work lies ahead before a home seller can achieve the best-possible results.
Ultimately, there are several things that a home seller can do to ensure that he or she receives top dollar for a residence, and these are:
1. Conduct a Home Inspection and Appraisal
If you want to maximize your profits, you should complete a home inspection and appraisal prior to listing your house. That way, you can identify any underlying structural problems with your home and receive an accurate property valuation based on your residence's age and condition.
During a home inspection, a property expert will examine your residence both inside and out. Then, you can use an inspection report to prioritize assorted home improvements.
Meanwhile, a home appraisal enables you to receive a valuation of your residence. With this valuation in hand, you can establish a competitive initial asking price for your home.
2. Perform Home Improvements
Your home's condition may have deteriorated over the years. Fortunately, there is no time like the present to perform myriad house improvements.
If necessary, it may be beneficial to hire a professional landscaping company to mow the lawn, trim the hedges and improve your house's exterior. A professional landscaping company will make it easy for you to boost your house's curb appeal.
To enhance your residence's interior, it generally helps to declutter as much as possible. If you host a yard sale or sell excess items online, you may even be able to simultaneously remove clutter from your house and earn extra money.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
If you're uncertain about how to earn top dollar for your house, there is no need to worry. In fact, you can hire a real estate agent who can help you optimize the value of your residence.
A real estate agent understands all aspects of the housing market. Therefore, he or she will develop a custom home selling strategy, one that ensures you can maximize your earnings.
Typically, a real estate agent first will meet with you to learn about your home. This housing market professional then will offer recommendations to help you get your residence show-ready. And once you list your house, a real estate agent will host home showings and open house events to showcase your residence to prospective buyers.
Let's not forget about the guidance that a real estate agent will provide throughout the home selling journey, either. A real estate agent will offer recommendations about whether to accept, reject or counter a homebuying proposal. Perhaps best of all, this housing market professional is happy to respond to any of your real estate questions at any point during the home selling journey.
When it comes to selling a house, it helps to plan ahead. Take advantage of the aforementioned home selling tips, and you can boost the likelihood of earning top dollar for your residence.
So, you’re looking for a real estate agent and you find one with a “Seller Guarantee”—If your home doesn’t sell in 6 months, I’ll buy it! Sounds a little too good to be true, right? When provided by legitimate agents, these aren’t scams, but rather a genuine option if you need to sell your home quickly.
With enough time on the market, a good seller’s agent, proper staging and a marketing plan, most homes will sell in a seller’s market. That “time on the market” requirement can be a hang-up for some sellers though. If you are moving on a strict timeline due to a new job, divorce, inheritance sale, or any other reason, a guaranteed timeline can be a win-win. On the other hand, the purchase will likely be lower than market price so if you can afford the time, selling to your agent could be a terrible deal.
Common types of Guarantees
- “Percentage of Value Guarantee”— The agent promises you a portion of the market value if the home doesn’t sell. Keep in mind that the promised percentage will be based on fair market value, fewer fees, and commissions, so it will come out to be a lower take-home percentage.
- “Timeline Guarantee”—The Agent promises to buy your property if it doesn’t sell in a certain length of time. Usually, timeline requirements go together with price requirements, meaning that you likely must agree to a specific markdown plan, so your agent has the price they want by the end of the timeline. Given this markdown schedule, you likely will receive less than fair market value for your property, but you can be sure that it will sell within the specified timeline.
- “I’ll Buy It Guarantee”—Usually, this type of offer comes from agents who work with a group of investors. Investors either want to re-sell your property or rent it out for profit, so you can expect to lose a percentage of the equity.
The Real Win-Win
You will always get the best results from choosing a real estate professional that knows your market and can help you sell your home at true market value or higher through good advertising, proper staging and curb appeal. However, if the timing is more important one of these seller guarantee options could be the better choice for you.
Thinking of Selling? Talk to your agent about all your options including any seller guarantees available to you.