Cheryl Fleming, GRI, ABR's Blog
The weeks and days leading up to a home closing can be stressful, particularly for a homebuyer who is already trying to do everything possible to secure his or her dream residence. Fortunately, we're here to help you simplify the process of getting to your closing date.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can enjoy a fast, easy home closing.
1. Get Your Paperwork Ready
It often helps to get all of your homebuying paperwork ready before you pursue a residence. That way, you can minimize the last-minute stress associated with searching far and wide for pay stubs, tax returns and other documents that you'll ultimately need to get financing for a residence.
Furthermore, you should meet with local banks and credit unions as soon as you can. If you can get approved for a mortgage prior to starting a home search, you may be able to speed up the process of acquiring your ideal residence.
2. Be Prepared to Cover Your Closing Costs
Although you might have financing to cover your monthly mortgage payments, it is important to remember that you may need to pay closing costs to finalize your home purchase. As such, if you begin saving for your closing costs today, you can guarantee that you'll have the necessary funds available to purchase your dream residence on your scheduled closing date.
Also, you should be prepared to present a cashier's check or wire funds when you close on a house. If you plan ahead, you should have no paying off your closing costs when your complete your home purchase.
3. Schedule Your Final Walk-Through Before Your Closing Date
When it comes to a final walk-through on your dream house, why should you leave anything to chance? Instead, set up the final walk-through at least a few days before you're scheduled to close on a house.
If you find problems with a house during a final walk-through, you'll want to give the seller plenty of time to address these issues. Thus, if you schedule a final walk-through several days before your closing date, you can ensure that any home problems can be corrected without putting your closing date in danger.
For homebuyers who are worried about a home closing, there is no need to stress. In fact, if you work with an expert real estate agent, you can receive plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey.
Typically, a real estate agent can explain what you should expect in the time leading up to your closing date. If you have any concerns or questions before a home closing, a real estate agent is happy to address them. Plus, when your closing date arrives, a real estate agent will help you remain calm, cool and collected as you purchase a home.
Ready to streamline the process of closing on a house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can reap the benefits of a quick, seamless home closing.
Establishing a competitive initial asking price for your house often can be difficult. Fortunately, we're here to help you determine the ideal asking price for your home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you set the right initial asking price for your home.
1. Study the Housing Market
How does your residence stack up against the competition? Evaluate the prices of comparable houses in your city or town, and you can narrow your home price range.
Furthermore, it helps to examine the prices of recently sold residences in your area. With this housing market data, you can find out whether you're preparing to enter a buyer's or seller's market. Then, you can map out your home pricing strategy accordingly.
2. Conduct a Home Appraisal
A home appraisal offers a valuable learning tool for a home seller. It allows a seller to receive expert insights into the value of his or her residence. As a result, a seller can get a property valuation from a home appraiser and use this figure to establish a competitive home asking price.
In addition, it may be beneficial to conduct a home inspection prior to listing your house. An inspection enables you to learn about any problems that may affect your house's value. And if you choose, you can use a home inspection report to prioritize assorted home repairs that may help you boost the value of your house.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
If you're unsure about how to price your residence, there is no need to stress. In fact, you can hire a real estate agent to receive comprehensive support at each stage of the home selling journey.
A real estate agent is happy to help you assess your house and determine the right price for it. He or she is unafraid to be honest, and as such, will offer unbiased home pricing recommendations. That way, you can establish a competitive price from day one of the home selling journey and increase the likelihood of a quick home sale.
Also, a real estate agent goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist a home seller. This housing market professional will set up home showings and open house events to showcase your residence to prospective buyers. Plus, he or she will keep you up to date about offers on your residence. A real estate agent will even negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf to ensure you can maximize your home sale earnings.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will respond to your queries throughout the home selling journey. If you ever have home selling concerns or questions, you can simply talk to your real estate agent and receive expert support.
Take the guesswork out of pricing your residence – use the aforementioned tips, and you can set a competitive price for your home in any housing market, at any time.
There’s no denying that purchasing a home requires a huge investment from buyers. Not only will you need to have a down payment in place, but you’ll need to consider closing costs, home maintenance, property taxes and more over the years. While these are all expenses that most buyers are aware of, there are other “hidden” costs that come along with owning a home as well. In fact, many people say that the true cost of buying a home can be up to 4 times the sale price. So, what hidden cost should you be aware of and why do we think they’re all 100 percent worth it in the long run?
3 Hidden Costs of Owning a Home
1. Mortgage Interest
When you look at the amount of money you’ve borrowed to purchase your home, you may be tempted to plan to repay that sum over the next few decades. But you should also be accounting for the interest payments attached to your mortgage loan. Additionally, mortgage interest works slightly differently than the interest on a traditional loan. For example, if your interest rate is 4 percent, you won’t likely be paying that much annually. Towards the beginning of your mortgage, about half of your payment will be going toward interest alone.
2. HOA Dues
If you’ve purchased a home that’s part of a “community” of properties or a homeowner’s association (HOA), you’ll be required to pay association dues. While these additional fees are usually disclosed during the sales process and come with a variety of benefits, they can be subject to occasional one-time assessments or special projects that will increase your dues. On average, HOA dues cost American homeowners anywhere from $200 to $400 each month.
3. Updated Security
When you purchase a home, it’s in your best interest to change all the locks on the external doors. Unfortunately, there’s really no way to know how many copies of the original keys may be out there, so this is the best way to protect yourself. Additionally, if your new home has a security system in place, you’ll need to figure out how to program it to only be accessed by your computer and smartphone. Previous owners or tenants shouldn’t be able to access the property via their phone!
Are These Costs Worth It?
Yes! While these hidden homeownership costs can be a pain at first, when it comes down to it owning a home is the right choice for many people across the country. As long as you are prepared for the unexpected, homeownership can be a positive experience and a sound investment.
Your 401K is a great resource of investing for retirement. Many people use their 401k’s as a part of their overall investment strategies, pulling money out of it when it’s needed. When you’re ready to buy a house, you may think that pulling money out of your 401k for a down payment is a good idea. But think again.
Although you should always speak with a financial professional about your money matters, the bottom line is that is probably not the best idea to use your 401k to supply money for a downpayment on a home.
First, your 401k funds are pre-tax dollars. That means that you haven’t paid any taxes on these funds. Your employer will often match the amount of money that you put into your 401k, as an incentive to help you save money for your future. You need to keep your 401k for a certain amount of time before any funds in the 401k become available to you without having to pay any kind of penalty. If you decide to take on the penalty, you can often face a cut to your employer’s match programs as well. This is why you must make this decision wisely.
Anyone under the age of 59.5 pays a penalty of 10 percent to take the money out of the fund. In addition, you’ll now need to pay taxes on this money, because it becomes a part of your adjusted gross income.
If you are looking to invest in a property, there may be other options for you rather than pulling money out of your 401k. While some plans allow you to borrow money from it. However, if your only option to get money to invest in a property is to pull money from your retirement account, it may not be the best time to invest in property for you.
Keep It Separate
If you’re younger (say in your 30’s or 40’s) your best option is to have a completely separate account that is used to save for a downpayment and other expenses that you’ll incur when you buy a home. In this sense you aren’t spreading yourself too thin as far as investments go. You should compartmentalize your money. Buying a home is a large investment in itself. Home equity can also be a good source of a nest egg in later years when you need it. However, even if a property will be an income property, it’s never smart to take from one investment account to provide for another unless you’re shifting your focus. You don’t want to reach retirement, only to see that your funds have been depleted and you can’t retire as expected.
Getting a cat, dog or other pets ready for an upcoming move sometimes can be tricky. Fortunately, we're here to help you and your pet enjoy a quick, seamless transition to a new address.
Now, let's take a look at three moving tips that every pet owner needs to know.
1. Prepare Your Pet's Records
If you're moving far away from your current address, you likely will need to find a new veterinarian in the near future. As such, it pays to prepare your pet's records today to avoid potential problems down the line.
Ask your current veterinarian for a copy of your pet's records. By doing so, you'll have these records readily available for your new veterinarian once you reach your new address.
2. Help Your Pet Manage Stress
Moving is stressful, even for a pet. However, there are many simple ways to help your pet alleviate stress throughout the moving process.
For example, keeping your pet away from movers may prove to be exceedingly valuable. If a pet sees familiar furniture and other items leaving your home, he or she may start to feel worried. On the other hand, spending extra time with your pet while movers pick up your belongings may help you pet minimize stress on moving day.
3. Protect Your Pet While Traveling
Keep your pet in a crate while you're driving to your new home – you'll be glad you did. It is unsafe for your pet to roam free in your car, especially if you're going to be on the road for several hours. Conversely, if you keep your pet in a crate, you'll help him or her remain safe for the duration of your journey.
If you are traveling by airplane, ensure your pet has met all necessary airline requirements. In addition, pick up a pet crate and consult with a veterinarian before your flight.
For those who need extra assistance with navigating the moving process, it often helps to work with a real estate agent. In fact, this housing market professional can help you and your pet overcome myriad moving day pitfalls.
A real estate agent can offer expert insights into what it takes to move with a pet. He or she also can provide comprehensive support as you prepare for a move and respond to any moving day concerns or questions that you may have.
Of course, a real estate agent can help you buy or sell a house as well. For homebuyers, a real estate agent can provide details about homes located near dog parks and other pet-friendly venues. Meanwhile, for home sellers, a real estate agent will make it easy to generate plenty of interest in your house so that you can get the best price for it.
Are you and your pet ready to move? Use the aforementioned moving tips, and you and your pet should have no trouble completing a successful relocation.