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!
Buying a house should be a worry-free experience. Yet problems may come up that prevent a property buyer from achieving the optimal results. Lucky for you, we're here to help you quickly identify and address various homebuying hurdles.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you minimize stress as you navigate the homebuying journey.
1. Plan for the Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios
An informed homebuyer should have no trouble enjoying a worry-free property buying experience. In fact, this buyer will understand the best- and worst-case scenarios and know exactly what to do – even in a stressful homebuying situation.
In the best-case scenario, a homebuyer will instantly find his or her dream house, submit an offer to purchase this residence and receive an immediate "Yes" from a seller. Then, this buyer can finalize a home purchase and move into his or her new residence.
On the other hand, the worst-case scenario likely will force a homebuyer to miss out on the opportunity to acquire his or her ideal residence. This scenario may involve a failure to agree to terms with a seller due to many potential homebuying problems.
Homebuyers will want to do everything they can to avoid the worst-case scenario. Fortunately, if you learn about the housing market, you can gain the insights you need to plan ahead for the property buying journey. And as a result, you can increase the likelihood of finding and buying your dream house in no time at all.
2. Get a Mortgage
Let's face it – purchasing a home is your dream, but you probably don't have the necessary finances to buy a house on your own. Therefore, you may need to get home financing before you can make your homeownership dream come true.
Applying for a mortgage may seem stressful, but lenders are happy to help you in any way they can. If you consult with multiple banks and credit unions, you can review a variety of home financing options.
Don't hesitate to ask questions as you complete a mortgage application too. If you address your mortgage concerns and questions with a home financing professional, you can alleviate the stress commonly associated with applying for a mortgage.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who can respond to any concerns or questions that you may have. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to minimize stress at each stage of the property buying journey.
Typically, a real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying goals and help you plan accordingly. He or she will keep you up to date about available houses in your preferred cities and towns and set up home showings. And if you find a house that you want to purchase, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive property buying proposal.
Remove stress from the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you can reap the benefits of a worry-free homebuying experience.
Closing costs are usually an unavoidable part of buying a home. While there are ways to reduce some closing costs and fees, they are an expense you will likely have to consider when it comes time to save for a home.
On average, buyers can expect to pay between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price in closing costs and fees.
In this article, we’re going to break down those costs and talk about some ways to plan for, or limit, the fees associated with closing on a home.
A breakdown of closing costs
Most closing costs in a real estate transaction are paid for by the buyer. When getting approved for a mortgage, your lender is required to provide you with an estimate of the closing costs. This is called a “Closing Disclosure statement” which overviews the details of your loan.
Different lenders will charge varying amounts in fees. Some are even willing to waive certain fees. But, we’ll discuss that later.
For now, let’s focus on the closing costs buyers typically have to pay:
Attorney fees - a flat-fee or hourly rate depending on the attorney
Origination fees - an upfront fee charged by the lender for processing your mortgage application
Prepaid interest or discount points - a payment for the interest that will accrue on your mortgage from the time you close until your first mortgage payment is due
Home inspection fee - the fee that a professional home inspector charges to inspect a home
Escrow deposits - Usually split with the seller, this is the fee charged by an escrow agent
Recording fees - fees for legally recording the new deed and mortgage
Underwriting fees - fees paid to the lender for researching your mortgage case and determining whether or not to approve your application
These are just some of the many fees that can be due upon closing on a home. Depending on where you live, which lender you choose, and the type of mortgage you secure, your closing costs will vary, so it’s a good idea to shop around for a lender and mortgage type with reasonable closing costs.
Reducing closing costs
Some lenders offer no-cost, or low-cost mortgages. However, these savings often come with a higher interest rate which, over the lifespan of your loan, can cost you more in the long run.
You should also be aware of the different loan types that you may be eligible for. FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans are all designed for buyers hoping to make lower down payments on their home.
Each loan type provides different amounts due at closing. Fortunately, your mortgage lender will be able to give you an estimate of costs for each loan type.
Want to get an estimate of the closing costs you’ll have to pay when you buy a home? You can use this online calculator to see an average.
If you’re hunting for a new home, it can be tempting to make an appointment to view as many as possible. However, it can be a better use of your time to narrow down the search beforehand and eliminate houses from your list based on some at-home research. That way you can use those extra hours for fine-tuning your home search and make sure you visit only the houses that will suit your every need.
In this article, we’ll teach you some ways to research a home, neighborhood and town before you take the time to visit.
Things to Research about Your Potential New Neighborhood
So you’ve found a listing that looks nice. Your next step should be to find out as much as possible about the area the home is in to make sure it suits your needs.
A good first step is to head over to Google Maps to find out which amenities are in the area. Schools, banks, grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, parks… the list goes on. This is also a good time to map out how long it will take you on average to drive to work from this house and to see if it will lead you through any high-traffic areas that might affect your daily schedule.
You can also research other homes in the area to see if the house is selling higher or lower than average. This will give you a question to ask the real estate agent if you choose to reach out for further information.
Another step to take on Google for this home is to look up statistics for things like neighborhood crime, ratings for the school district, and the state of local businesses.
Is the area up-and-coming with healthy businesses and low crime? If so, it could be worth pursuing further.
If you’re planning on having children or already do, the quality of the education could be of importance to you.
Finally, get an idea of the local tax rates so you know how much you’ll owe the government for your property and excise taxes.
Researching the house itself
If you’re comfortable with the town and neighborhood, there’s still some research you can do online before you schedule a showing.
See if you can find out if the house belongs to a homeowner’s association. Look up their rules and fees to see if they’re agreeable to you and your family’s lifestyle and plans for the future.
Look up the sale history for the home. If there are several recent sales, this could be a sign of problems with the home or neighborhood. Similarly, if the price has increased or decreased dramatically more than nearby houses, consider asking the real estate agent why this is.
Finally, see if you can view the number of days the home has been on on the market, commonly abbreviated as “DOM.” This will give you some insight as to how desirable the home and neighborhood are.
Once you have all of the information at your disposal, you’ll be in a position to decide whether or not to schedule an appointment to view the home.
After a seller accepts your offer to purchase his or her house, it likely will be only a few weeks before you can wrap up your home purchase. And if you understand exactly what to expect during the homebuying process, you should have no trouble eliminating potential hurdles along the way.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.
1. Conduct a Home Inspection
A home inspection is paramount for a buyer. Because if you encounter home problems during an inspection, you still have an opportunity to back out of a house purchase.
Hire an expert home inspector – you'll be glad you did. This inspector will assess a house both inside and out and offer comprehensive insights into a residence's condition.
Of course, you should always review a home inspection report closely too. This will enable you to analyze a house and determine whether to move forward with a home purchase or reconsider your options.
2. Perform an In-Depth Home Appraisal
Oftentimes, a lender will require an appraisal before you can close on a house. Lucky for you, there are many home appraisers available in cities and towns nationwide, and these property experts can perform an appraisal at your convenience.
Spend some time looking for the top appraisers in your area. By doing so, you can find a home appraiser who will go above and beyond the call of duty to provide an accurate appraisal.
3. Prepare for Closing Day
As closing day approaches, your stress levels may rise accordingly. However, a homebuyer who plans for closing day can stay calm, cool and collected as the homebuying journey reaches its conclusion.
Generally, it is a good idea to prepare any documentation that you'll need for a home closing. If you have all of the necessary documents ready in advance, you can avoid the risk of potential delays when you close on a house.
If you need additional assistance in the weeks or days leading up to a house closing, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as well. In fact, a real estate agent can offer extensive support as you navigate the homebuying journey.
Initially, a real estate agent will help you narrow your house search and ensure you can find your ideal residence. He or she then will help you prepare a competitive offer for this home. And once your offer is accepted by a seller, a real estate agent will provide plenty of guidance as you get ready to finalize a house purchase.
A real estate agent also will respond to any concerns or questions that you may have throughout the homebuying journey. That way, you can make informed decisions as you pursue your ideal residence.
Get the help you need to wrap up a home purchase – collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can streamline the homebuying journey.