Joel Mistretta's Blog
When you’re buying a home, there’s a lot to think about. Your finances probably have the biggest impact in the entire home search process. The amount of a down payment you have and the amount of loan you’re approved for help decide what you can buy.
When you hear about closing costs, what do they entail? How much will you need to cover these costs? Many people get to the closing table for their home purchase and feel unprepared. You’ll need a certain amount of cash on hand when you finally close on a home. Learn more about closing costs, so that you understand everything that you need to know about your home purchase.
Closing costs are spelled out pretty plainly in just about every kind of real estate contract. These costs are the fees associated with the title companies, attorney, banks, lenders and everyone else who is involved in the purchase of a home. The closing table is also the time when you provide your sizable down payment. The closing costs that are being referred to are considered a separate expense independent of the closing costs.
Closing Costs Vary
Closing costs can range from anywhere between 2 and 8 percent of the purchase price of the home. You can’t really “choose” what’s included in the closing, so you’ll need to have an idea of how much money you’ll need to write a check for. Lenders can give you an estimate of about how much closing costs will be.
Certain things like the realtor’s commission fees can be negotiated and can be paid for by the buyer or the seller. The good news is that you can roll your closing fees in with your mortgage in some cases. You may also be able to negotiate with your lender to pay the closing costs for you in exchange for a higher interest rate.
What’s Included In Closing Costs?
Depending upon where and what type of home you’re buying, what the closing costs actually cover varies. Here’s just some of the things that closing costs cover:
- Escrow fees
- Credit reports
- Title search
- Title exam fee
- Survey fee
- Courier fee (Most transactions are done electronically, but in some cases this may be necessary)
- Title insurance
- Owner’s title insurance
- Natural hazards disclosure
- Homeowner’s insurance (Your first year of insurance is often paid at closing)
- Buyer’s attorney fee
- Lender’s attorney fee
- Transfer taxes
- Recording fees
- Processing fees
- Underwriting fee
- Pre-paid interest
- Pest inspections
- Homeowner's association transfer fees
- Special assessments
These fees vary widely by state and the type of property that you’re purchasing. Not every fee is required, but the above is just a list of many of the possible fees that could be included in on the closing of the home you choose.
If you want to enjoy a successful homebuying experience, it may be beneficial to hone your house search to residences in a select group of cities and towns. That way, you can speed up the process of finding and buying your dream residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you narrow your house search.
1. Review Your Short and Long-Term Goals
Consider your immediate and long-term goals. By doing so, you can focus on finding a home that falls in line with your aspirations.
For instance, if you want to work in the big city, you may want to search for residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you have children, you may want to explore houses near top schools and parks.
Be flexible as you consider homes in assorted cities and towns, too. If you are open to homebuying opportunities in different areas, you may be able to quickly find a great residence at a budget-friendly price.
2. Obtain a Mortgage
With a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a house. Then, you can narrow your home search to residences that correspond to your budget.
Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, and you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable home financing specialists, and these professionals can help you determine which type of mortgage will suit you perfectly.
Also, you may want to ask questions as you review your mortgage options. Home financing specialists at banks and credit unions are happy to reply to your mortgage questions, and ultimately, help you make an informed mortgage selection.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
Finding a home in a particular city or town may be tough, especially if you try to navigate the real estate market on your own. Conversely, if you hire an real estate agent, you can get the help you need to discover your dream house.
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who will go above and beyond the call of duty to transform your homeownership dream into a reality. He or she first will learn about your homebuying goals and budget. Next, a real estate agent will provide you with details about available homes in myriad cities and towns. A real estate agent then will help you kick off a home search so you can locate your ideal house.
Of course, once you discover your dream home, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence as well. And if your homebuying proposal is accepted, a real estate agent will devote the necessary time and resources to ensure you can immediately finalize your home purchase.
Take the guesswork out of finding your dream residence – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of acquiring a terrific house that you can enjoy both now and in the future.
Before you launch a home search, it helps to prepare for the property buying journey as much as possible. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to get ready to find your dream house.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a home search.
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
If you know you want to buy a home, it generally is a good idea to define your ideal residence as well. That way, you can streamline your house search.
Consider where you want to reside. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you plan to return to school, you may want to search for a home near top colleges and universities.
Think about what features you want in your ideal home, too. If you have always wanted to own a home that boasts a luxurious outdoor swimming pool, for instance, you can map out your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence that features a state-of-the-art kitchen, you can search for a home that offers this amenity.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A mortgage typically is a must-have, regardless of where and when you search for a home. And if you enter the housing market with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know precisely how much you can spend on a residence.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can review your options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.
If you have concerns about home financing, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, diligent mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing queries. As such, you can work with these specialists to gain the home financing insights you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
As you get set to conduct a home search, there is no need to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent, you can collaborate with a homebuying expert who can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a house.
A real estate agent is happy to provide guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can find a terrific home at a price that matches your budget. Plus, a real estate agent will simplify the process of setting up home showings. Perhaps best of all, if you are uncertain about whether to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent is ready to provide insights to help you analyze all of your options.
Dedicate time and resources to prepare for the homebuying journey. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with the insights you need to succeed.
If you've been pre-approved for a mortgage, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand. In fact, this mortgage will enable you to spend up to a certain amount on a house. But in many instances, it pays to buy less house than what you can actually afford.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to consider purchasing a house below your means, such as:
1. You might not have to worry about significant home maintenance.
A small house likely means less home maintenance than would be required in a large house. Therefore, you may be able to spend less time worrying about keeping your residence looking great if you acquire less home that what you can afford.
Of course, let's not forget about the money that you might save by purchasing an affordable residence. If you buy an inexpensive home, you may be able to use the money that you save to hire professional home cleaners, landscapers and others to help you enhance your residence's appearance.
2. You'll be better prepared than ever before for unexpected expenses.
There is no telling when a family emergency, natural disaster or other dangerous situations may arise. Fortunately, if you spend less on a house now, you may be better equipped than ever before to handle the expenses commonly associated with these unforeseen events.
Purchasing a cheap house may prove to be valuable if you encounter costly, time-intensive home repairs down the line too.
For example, your home's roof won't last forever, and you likely will need to fix or replace it at some point. But if you purchase a budget-friendly home, you may be able to save extra money that you can use to cover the costs associated with various home repairs.
3. You'll have more money that you can use to personalize your house.
The money that you save on a house today may be used to upgrade your home both now and in the future.
For instance, if you want to install a deluxe swimming pool or fire pit in your backyard, spending less on a house now may provide you with the financial resources that you need to fund these projects. And if you complete a broad range of home renovations, you may be able to increase your house's value as well.
Deciding how much to spend on a house can be a tough decision for any homebuyer, at any time. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can explore a vast array of residences that fall within your price range.
A real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and tailor your home search accordingly. He or she also will set up home showings, keep you informed about new residences that become available and ensure that you can discover a home that matches or exceeds your expectations.
Consider your budget closely as you prepare to kick off a home search. By doing so, you should have no trouble finding a terrific house at an affordable price.