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Understanding Closing Costs

When purchasing or refinancing a home, the final step in the process is the closing. It’s important to keep in mind that there will be additional costs associated with closing on your home. If you are a first time homebuyer, you’re probably aware that you need to save money for a down payment, but you may not realize the full costs associated with closing, and they typically run anywhere between 3 – 6 percent* of your approved loan amount.

So What Are Closing Costs?

The term “closing costs” is a bit vague but essentially straight forward.  These are the costs incurred at the closing of your mortgage. They may include:

  • Loan origination fees
  • Appraisal fees
  • Title searches
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • Credit report charges
  • Any other fees and expenses incurred

Why Are Closing Costs Necessary?

While no one looks forward to additional costs, the fees actually benefit you. Title searches and other fees help protect you so that you know you have legal possession of your home.

Who pays for the Closing Costs?

For the most part, you as the buyer will pay for the closing costs. However, depending on the loan product, some of the costs may be absorbed by other parties. For instance, with VA loans there are limits to what buyers pay in closing costs.

 

CHECK OUT OUR MORTGAGE CALCULATORS

 

*percentages listed are an estimate and may not reflect the percentage rate you will pay.

Get Your Home Fall Ready Before Temperatures Begin to Dip!

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us. The leaves will change and the weather will get chillier. That can only mean one thing; fall is coming!

In order to get in the spirit of the season and prepare for cooler weather, we’ve compiled a list of fall prep must dos. Check off each of our home ready tips, and you’ll be sipping a pumpkin spice latte snuggled by your fire place in no time!

  1. Get Cozy

Blankets make life more comfy. Pull out your down comforters and fluffy blankets and get your bed ready to go for the cold nights ahead.

  1. Clean Things Up

Who says deep cleaning your home is an activity just for spring. Fall cleaning can help get your house prepped and decluttered for cooler weather. Make sure there’s no clutter stored near heaters, furnaces or other heating appliances.

  1. Let There be Fire

You may want to hire a chimney sweep to get your fireplace in tip top shape for the cold weather season.  Unfortunately, fires are more likely during the fall and winter. Keep your home and family safe by taking necessary safety precautions with your chimney and fireplace.

  1. Fill in the Gaps

Make sure all gaps around windows and doors are sealed up. Weather-stripping and caulk can help, so that your home stays insulated and warm during the cold months ahead; don’t make your furnace work harder than it has to.

  1. Perform an Appliance Checkup

As temperatures drop, it’s important to be able to keep your home warm and comfortable. Check your boiler or furnace and replace filters. Also, test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices. Safety is key!

Finding A Starter Home In A Competitive Market

So you’re ready to purchase your first home. Congratulations! However, after beginning your search you may find yourself wondering, where in the world are all the starter homes?

It’s a valid question to ask considering there is somewhat of a starter home shortage in many popular housing markets. Housing inventory is pretty low and that is making home prices soar. Not a great combination for first time homebuyers.

Not all hope is lost, however! Even though the market is extremely competitive, there are still a few things you can do that will put you ahead of the pack. Check out our tips below:

  1. Get Pre-Approved

Buying in today’s market is competitive so having a pre-approval letter will help you stand out as a serious buyer to sellers.

  1. Keep an Open Mind

Your first home may not necessarily be your dream home, and that’s OK! Many first time home buyers don’t plan on staying in their first homes forever; rather, they use the home as a financial launch pad for a bigger home in the future.

  1. Use a Real Estate Agent

There’s a lot to be said about using a professional. First time homebuyers really need help from someone who knows the area when dealing with competitive markets. A great agent will know how to negotiate and they can help you with realistic expectations.

  1. Understand Your Needs

Location is a big g factor for many buyers, and sometimes affordability has to be compromised when purchasing in a hot part of town. Alternatively, an affordable home in a less desirable location could leave you compromising on commutes to work or social life. Only you can decide what’s most important to you.

  1. Make a Good Offer

You’ve found an amazing home in a desirable location at a great price, now what? Well, if you found the perfect home, other potential buyers probably have their eye on it. With your pre-approval in hand, make a strong offer!

Summer Sun = The Perfect Time to Spruce Up Your Home’s Exterior!

When updating and putting work into their house, homeowners spend a great deal of time and money on the inside. However, while a home with a beautiful interior is important, don’t forget about its exterior. Just like when meeting new people, first impressions matter. Spending time improving your home’s curb appeal can increase your home’s value just like a kitchen update would. In fact, the National Association of Realtors report that a $330 lawn investment could increase the value of your home by $1000.

Check out our tips on boosting your curb appeal and put even more value into your home!

Tip #1 Pressure wash

Over time, your home collects dirt that can make it look old and uninviting. A good deck and sidewalk pressure wash can get it back to looking as good as new.

Tip #2 Update and accessorize

There are many front porch accessories that can make your home look inviting and new. Standard home address numbers, light fixtures and mailboxes could make your home look outdated, and now may be the time for an overhaul.

Tip #3 The front door

Want to give your home a pop of color? How about painting the front door as an inexpensive fix, or if you  have room in your budget, replace the old door with something a little more modern. Don’t forget to clean and polish the door knob. Beauty is in the details!

Tip# 4 Plant flowers

Nothing makes a home feel more homey than a beautiful garden. Plant flowers, plants and trees and increase your home’s beauty as well as its energy efficiency!

 Tip #5 Get rid of the garbage

Trashcans are important, but they are an eyesore. Hide them around the back of the home instead of parking them out front or install a fence to camouflage them.