Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 7/15/2018

A real estate agent is a must-have for homebuyers, particularly in a highly competitive housing market. However, it is important to understand what it takes to work with a real estate professional to ensure you can enjoy a fast, seamless homebuying experience.

What does it take to get the best results from the homebuying journey? Here are three rules to follow so that you and your real estate agent can work together to find your dream house.

1. Establish Realistic Homebuying Expectations Before You Begin Your Home Search

Buying a home can be a long, costly process if you're not careful. But with the right real estate agent at your side, you can simplify your house search.

Ultimately, you should work with a real estate agent to establish clear-cut homebuying expectations before you embark on your search for the perfect residence. This will enable you and your real estate agent to work together to achieve a common goal.

With realistic homebuying expectations, you'll be able to help your real estate agent understand what you'd like to find in your dream residence. Meanwhile, your real estate agent can get to work and keep you up to date about available homes that will meet or exceed your expectations.

2. Understand Your Real Estate Agent's Role in the Homebuying Process

A real estate agent should define his or her role in the homebuying process. That way, you'll know exactly what to expect as you go from homebuyer to homeowner.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with home sellers on your behalf and offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. He or she also should be available to respond to your questions throughout the homebuying journey.

Your real estate agent will be happy to assist you in any way possible. By doing so, he or she will make it simple for you acquire to acquire your ideal residence at a price that matches your budget.

3. Ensure That Both You and Your Real Estate Agent Are Comfortable Working with One Another

Communication plays a key role in the success of a homebuyer and his or her real estate agent. If you keep the lines of communication open with your real estate agent, you should have no trouble staying on top of the housing market.

In most instances, a real estate agent will be able to keep in touch with a homebuyer via phone, email and text. At the same time, you should try to remain available to your real estate agent as much as possible.

With ongoing communication with your real estate agent, you'll be able to stay informed as new properties become available that fit your homebuying criteria. Furthermore, your real estate agent can help you alleviate stress by listening to your homebuying concerns at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Many real estate professionals are available in cities and towns nationwide. Start your search for a real estate agent today, and you can move one step closer to discovering your dream home.




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Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 6/17/2018

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’ve probably heard a lot about closing costs. Closing costs can come at a hefty price- up to 5% of your home’s purchase price. When that amount must be paid up front, you need to make sure you have a sizable amount of cash on hand.  


There’s many different kinds of fees included in the closing costs. Your lender will give you an estimate of what your closing costs will be, but you may not know what any of the terms that are included actually mean.  


The Loan Origination Fee


This is the fee charged by your lender that covers the administrative costs that are associated with creating and processing a mortgage. This could also be called an underwriting fee.   


Title Search Fee


This is how much the title insurance company charges to perform research on the title of the home. In some cases, the title may have some issues associated with it, so this research is to protect you. There’s also title fees known as lender’s title insurance and owner’s title insurance. You need to have lender’s title insurance, but owner’s title insurance is completely optional.


Credit Report Fee


This covers the obtaining and review of your credit report. 


Application Fee


There’s also a fee when it comes to reviewing your mortgage loan application. 


Home Appraisal


This fee covers the appraiser who is chosen by your mortgage company in order to assess an accurate value of the home.  


Tax Monitoring Fee


This fee supports tax research on the home to determine if property taxes have been paid. 


Survey


The property survey covers all aspects of the property bounds including gas lines, roads, walls, easements, property improvements, and encroachments. 


Attorney Fees


The attorney fees will cover all of the document reviews, the agreements, and the escrow fees.


Insurance Payments


When you close on a home, your entire first year of home insurance payments must be made at the time of closing. If you have bought your home with an FHA loan, you’ll need to pay mortgage insurance premiums at closing as well. You’ll also need mortgage insurance payments if you put less than a 20% down payment on the home.  


Escrow Property Taxes


The lender requires that you pay your property taxes up front. This money will be held in escrow and the taxes paid from there.  


As you can see, there’s a lot that goes on during the closing of a home. Make sure you have some water handy, it’s going to be a long process! Understanding what will happen at closing when you buy a home can help you to avoid any surprise fees or financial burdens.





Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 6/3/2018

It doesn’t matter if you’re moving down the street or across the country, moving into a new neighborhood can be hard. You want to make your new property, and new area feel like home. Relocation is always a challenge. There are a few things you can do to make the transition smoother for your family. Meeting people and learning about your new community doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal. Read on for tips to make it fun! 


Approach Your Neighbors


It can be kind of scary to approach your new neighbors, but reaching out to them is one of the best ways to meet people. If you see your neighbors out and about give them a wave or shout “hello.” These gestures are a way to extend yourself without intruding on them. Ask questions about the neighborhood like when the trash pickup is or how the traffic on a local route is. You can even find out where the best grocery store to shop at is. Anything simple can open up a great conversation. 


Get Outside


It’s easy to meet up with your neighbors if you give them an opportunity to see you. Sit out on your porch. Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Spend some time outside gardening. Just be approachable. If you’re cheerful and seem a bit inquisitive about the area, people will be more likely to talk to you. 


Spend Time In The Community


If there’s a local diner or coffee shop, spend some time there. You’ll be more likely to meet your neighbors and have something in common with many of the people that live in your new space. Check out local parks with your kids or bring your dog. You can talk to other dog owners or parents and get to know them. 


Finding ways to volunteer and get involved in your community is also a great way to connect and get to know where you live. 


Other Ways To Get Involved


You can get connected with people in the area through connections you have. College alumni networks can connect you with social clubs in a new city or region. Your employer may also have mentoring programs to assist you through the transition         


Moving to a new area can be hard, but with an open mind to opportunities, you can make the transition pleasant for both you and your family.   






Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 5/27/2018

Saving money is never an easy task. And saving money for a down payment on a home is especially difficult. Between trying to pay down debt, whether it is student loan or credit card debt, a car loan, insurance, rent, spending money and trying to save for retirement and your emergency fund, how does that leave any money left to save for a down payment? Let’s take a look at a few smart ways to save for a down payment. First things first: how much you are able to spend? This will determine how much you need to save— 20% of the total home cost. Once you have that figured out you can begin to plan what it will take to save that amount. It should be your goal to save 20% or more, although there are ways around that number. Cut expenses: Cutting expenses is one of the ways to start saving more money. First, take a look at the things that you spend money on each month that you don’t necessarily need. Do you buy groceries and then go out to eat 3 or 4 times week? Cutting down to only going out once a week will save you some big bucks at the end of the year. Can you cut down on any of your utilities such as cable and Internet? What about your rent? Could you get roommates to alleviate the cost of rent or move to a lower cost apartment? Invest: Investing your money, smartly, is the quickest way to increase your money and build your down payment amount. Investing, in general, will not make you crazy amounts of money really quickly (unless you’re one of the lucky few) but it does add up faster than money sitting in your savings account or under your bed. Consider opening up a CD, an IRA account (there are restrictions), or investing in the stock market. It will take a couple of years for this to really build, but the returns will be worth the wait. Be sure to read up on the best option for you and keep an eye on the market if you are planning on investing in an IRA account or stocks. Automate Savings: If you have the funds but just aren’t the best saver then the easiest way to save more money is to automate it, either through your work or bank. Automating your savings will make it seem like that money was never there, therefore making it easier to forget about it and keep it in savings. You’d be surprised how quickly your money can add up. Additional Income: If you really want to speed up reaching your savings goal then you may want to consider adding another source of income. There are so many ways to earn more money such as selling your crafts online, blogging, a second job, etc. Saving all of the money you earn will expedite your savings. There are also other sources of income such as a bonus, or tax return that are not a part of your regular income. These types of income should also be saved towards your down payment to reach your goal sooner. If purchasing a home is of utmost importance to you, but you are lacking the down payment then it is extremely important to make saving a priority. As detailed above, there are many ways in which you can accelerate the process of earning and saving more money.





Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 4/22/2018

Have you heard the term “earnest money” but really aren’t sure what it means? Once you have found the perfect home and are all set to make an offer, there’s one more step that you need to take. That’s to make a deposit on the home you want to buy. This is known as an “earnest money deposit.”  


The Purpose Of The Deposit


The deposit shows the seller that you’re serious about buying the home. It’s a measure that allows the seller to have some faith in you as a buyer that you’re truly moving forward with your decision; you’re ready as a buyer to make the financial commitment. This deposit allows the deal to begin on a solid basis without much question. 


Is The Deposit Required Legally To Buy A Home?


From a seller’s perspective, a deposit keeps a buyer from changing their mind. If there is a significant amount of money involved, the seller sees the deposit as a way to keep the buyer locked in. This makes it easier for sellers to accept an offer. 


How Much Is Expected For An Earnest Money Deposit?


These deposits don’t quite have a standard amount. The general rule is that they range from 1% of the home price up to 5%. The more expensive of a home that’s being purchased, the larger the earnest money deposit should be. In some cases, the seller may even ask for a certain amount of a deposit to ensure that buyers are serious. How much money you pay at once is often negotiable. You may be able to pay part of the money at one time and the other part at a later date.


New Construction Can Require Large Deposits


New construction homes can require large earnest money deposits- up to half of the purchase price of the home. This is because the construction costs need to be paid upfront and the bank wants proof that the units being constructed with loan money are being sold to buyers who can pay for the home. 


New construction homes are often customized as well. It would be detrimental to a developer to make special changes to a home only for a buyer to walk away. 


Getting The Deposit Refunded


As with everything in real estate, you’ll have a contract. If you don’t follow the terms of the contract, you risk losing your earnest money deposit. Two main reasons for buyers to walk away are a flopped home inspection or financing that falls through. Read your contracts carefully. Sellers sometimes state that deposits are nonrefundable after a certain number of days. 


You need to be sure that you are covered as a buyer in the purchase and sales agreement. If you back out of a home purchase without good reason like a contingency included in the agreement) you could be out of luck when it comes to getting your deposit back.    






Tags: Buying a home   finances  
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