Carla Ness' Blog
If you’re getting ready to buy a home, you know it will be one of the most significant purchases of your entire life. However, are you fully prepared for all of the expenses that buying a home will bring? You don’t want to buy a house to find out that you can’t afford it after all.
Many expenses go into buying a home that you can plan for ahead of time. Other costs aren’t as exact that you will need to add in your budget. Read on to learn more about many of the expenses that throw first-time home buyers for a loop.
Closing costs encompass a whole bunch of expenses that you’ll incur buying a home. These include:
- Application fees
- Attorney fees
- Title insurance
- Recording fees
No matter what the closing costs include, you should plan for these expenses to be about 2-5 percent of the price of your home. Costs can vary widely, but it’s good to have a bit of extra cash on hand.
Maintaining Your Home
While most homebuyers are prepared for the initial costs of buying a home, they don't know how much it costs to maintain a home. Each year, things will come up on your property that needs to be addressed continually. These tasks include:
These routine tasks are independent of other costs like replacing a stove or fixing a furnace. Homeowners need to be prepared for these expenses as well.
Taxes can increase or decrease for any given year. You can lookup taxes in the area where you’re planning to buy a home in order to prepare yourself. You should make sure that your property taxes are comparable with that of other homes in your area.
Utilities are what your home runs on. Depending on the climate you live in the number of utilities you pay can vary. Take into account these things:
- Air conditioning
Most neighborhoods have one or two choices for services, so you can ask people in the neighborhood what providers they [refer and how much their bills are each month.
You’re required to have homeowner’s insurance when you get a mortgage. Even if you don’t take out a mortgage and pay cash for a home, it’s a wise decision to protect your investment. Estimate how much a yearly policy will cost you ahead of time.
This insurance will protect your property from things like theft and fire. You can shop around for the best rates based on policies that suit your needs. It’s easy to price out policies online. See where you can save including discounts for security systems or multiple policy discounts.
If you live in an area where floods or earthquakes are prevalent, you should be aware. You’ll find you need additional policies to cover damage in the event of these disasters. The most important thing about your homeowner’s insurance policy is that you check the details for all of the fine print.
As a homebuyer, entering the real estate market with insights into what it takes to find the perfect house is essential.
Becoming an expert homebuyer, however, may seem impossible at times. Lucky for you, we're here to help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to make your homeownership dreams come true.
What does it take to become an expert homebuyer? Here are three tips to help you do just that.
1. Look at Real Estate Market Trends
The housing market ebbs and flows. Therefore, a seller's market today may transform into a buyer's market tomorrow.
Ultimately, the real estate market fluctuates constantly, and you'll want to learn as much as possible about the housing sector to ensure you can map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
In a buyer's market, there are usually more home sellers than buyers. This means homebuyers may be better equipped than ever before to secure a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price.
On the other hand, a seller's market features an abundance of homebuyers and a shortage of sellers. For homebuyers who operate in a seller's market, they may be forced to submit competitive offers on homes quickly, or risk missing out on a dream residence to a rival.
When you study the housing market, don't forget to check out the prices of residences that recently sold. By doing so, you can gain a better understanding of how much you'll likely need to pay to acquire a first-rate house based on the current state of the housing market.
2. Learn How a Mortgage Works
What differentiates a fixed-rate mortgage from an adjustable-rate option? An expert homebuyer will know the ins and outs of assorted mortgage options and select one that corresponds to his or her finances.
To learn about mortgages and how they work, you'll want to meet with credit unions and banks. These lenders can describe the different types of mortgages and the pros and cons associated with them.
Also, an expert homebuyer will get pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, this homebuyer will be able to stick to a price range as he or she searches for the ideal home.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Let's face it – no homebuyer can afford to make mistakes. Fortunately, you can work with a real estate agent to receive expert guidance as you navigate the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent boasts the skills and know-how needed to streamline the homebuying process. He or she may have many years of housing market experience and is happy to teach you about the opportunities and challenges associated with buying a house.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will help you accelerate the homebuying cycle. He or she can set up home showings, negotiate with home sellers on your behalf and much more. That way, you can focus on what's important – finding a terrific house at an affordable price.
Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can become an expert homebuyer.
Why do Americans love huge houses?It's counter-intuitive that home sizes should keep growing larger. Bigger houses mean higher prices, more maintenance, and more expensive utilities. To understand why, we need look no further than the automobile industry. In spite of the fact that larger vehicles cost more to buy, use more gas, and do more harm to the environment, people still buy bigger and bigger trucks and SUVs. There are a few reasons why. One is that they can afford to (or they can at least afford the payments). Another reason is cultural. For the most part, bigger meant better in American culture--until recently. Recently, many Americans have begun saying they would prefer smaller sized houses. That desire hasn't entirely caught up to the people building the homes, however. And even as simple living trends and the "tiny house" phenomenon gain traction, building contractors still stand the most to gain from large houses and the people with the money to build houses continue to build big to stay aligned with the other homes in their neighborhood. There are other obstacles in place for people who want a smaller house. Some counties around the U.S. now enforce minimum square footage requirements to uphold the building standards of the area. So, people hoping to move to a particular suburban area but don't want a huge house might be out of luck.
How big of a home do I need?There are a lot of things to consider if you're buying a home. Size and cost often go hand-in-hand, but even if you can afford a larger home, do you really need the space? Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine how large of a house you really need:
- Do I or will I have a family? Kids need space. They need bedrooms and places to play. The size of your family is going to be a huge factor in choosing the size of your home.
- Do I need all this stuff? Many people use their homes like storage containers. Think about the last time you moved and what you brought with you. Now determine how often you used the things you brought. Odds are you have a lot of items just sitting around taking up space that you don't really need.
- Do I have hobbies that take up a lot of space? Woodworking, working on cars, playing drums... these are all examples of hobbies that call for some leg room.
- Am I a dog person? Just like kids, pets tend to take up some room. Larger dogs and energetic dogs require more room, both outside and inside the house.
- Do I have time to keep up with the maintenance? Bigger houses means more windows to clean, more toilets to scrub, more grass to mow... you get the idea. You might find that you'd rather have a beautiful and well-kept small home than a hard-to-maintain huge one.
Looking to put together an offer on a house? Ultimately, you'll want to submit a competitive first offer. By doing so, you can speed up the process of acquiring your dream residence.
When it comes to submitting a competitive home offer, however, it is important to understand what differentiates a "fair" proposal from a subpar one.
To better understand how to submit a competitive proposal, let's take a look at three best practices that every homebuyer needs to consider before making an offer on a house.
1. Evaluate the Housing Market
If you plan to buy a house, you'll want to examine the real estate market closely. That way, you can identify housing market patterns and trends and plan accordingly.
For example, if you find there is an abundance of high-quality houses available, you may be entering a buyer's market. In this market, there likely is a shortage of homebuyers, which means a competitive offer at or near a home seller's asking price is sure to grab this individual's attention.
On the other hand, if you notice that homes are selling quickly in a city or town, you may need to prepare for a seller's market. If you pursue houses in a seller's market, you may need to act quickly due to the sheer volume of buyers competing for the same residences.
Clearly, a comprehensive housing market analysis can make a world of difference for homebuyers. With in-depth housing market insights at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than other buyers to submit a competitive first offer on any residence, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions.
2. Get Your Finances in Order
What good is a competitive home offer if you cannot afford to buy a residence? If you secure a home loan, you can narrow your home search to properties that you can afford. Then, you'll be able to submit a competitive offer that ensures you won't have to break your budget to purchase your dream residence.
Also, if you're unsure about how your financial situation will impact your ability to buy a house, you should consult with banks and credit unions in your area. These financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a home loan, establish a homebuying budget and much more.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to submitting a competitive home offer, it pays to receive expert homebuying support. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent who is happy to help you put together a competitive home offer.
A real estate agent can provide housing market data that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Plus, this housing market professional can offer unbiased home offer recommendations to ensure you can get an instant "Yes" from a home seller.
Collaborating with a real estate agent is a great option for homebuyers in all cities and towns. Reach out to local real estate agents today, and you can get the help you need to submit a competitive offer on any residence.
If you’re buying a home, most likely, you’ll want to have a real estate attorney. The attorney will serve a couple of different purposes, namely, to protect you in the purchase of a home.
Real estate attorneys provide legal advice related to the purchase of a home. An attorney’s duties include:
- Reviewing and revising the purchase and sale agreement (referred to as the P&S)
- Negotiating the P&S with the seller’s attorney
- Adding riders to protect your interests
- Ensuring you meet contingency dates
- Helping the buyer to understand zoning laws
- Helping the buyer to understand ownership interests
If there’s a dispute during the sales process, you’ll be quite happy to have an attorney on your side. The attorney can provide advice based on your legal rights and legal obligations under any contracts that you have signed.
The bottom line is that your attorney will have your best interests in mind. In everything from ownership issues to disputes and how they will impact your ownership in the property, your attorney will be there to give you the most pertinent advice. There are numerous situations that can come up when it comes to buying a home. It’s impossible to anticipate them all. You don’t want to end up owning problems that you didn’t create, or were unaware of.
Coordinating With Other Attorneys
As a buyer, your attorney will coordinate with other attorneys involved in the sales process. This includes the seller’s attorney and the attorney that will be responsible for the closing on the sale of the home. Your attorney will make sure that all other parties have followed through to resolve any issues that may arise in a timely manner. Your attorney can actually become the closing attorney under certain circumstances, but they will at least be present at the closing.
The Closing Attorney
The closing attorney is the one who is responsible for many different tasks before and during the closing on the sale of the home. These tasks include:
- Searching the title
- Resolving title issues
- Issuing the title insurance
- Obtaining the payoff amounts for any outstanding mortgages or leins
- Ensuring taxes and any other city or town related bills have been paid
- Preparing closing fees on the settlement statement
- Explaining documents that will be signed at closing by both the buyer and the seller
Buyers in different states have different rights as to who they can choose as their closing attorney. In a technical sense, the closing attorney represents the lender. It’s a good idea to have your own buyer’s representation at closing.
Attorneys have a duty to keep their clients‘ information confidential and also to keep their best interests in mind. If an attorney is representing both the buyer and the lender, you will most likely receive a form of written consent, notifying you of this matter.
There’s a lot going on legally during the purchases of a home, so be sure you get recommendations and find the right attorney who will represent you as a buyer.