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 6/10/2018

Although you'd like to sell your residence soon, your home's bathroom remains an eye sore, one that could make it more difficult for you to generate interest in your home in a highly competitive real estate landscape.

Fortunately, we're here to help you simplify the process of generating lots of interest in your residence and accelerating the home selling process.

Here are three tips that you can use to enhance your residence's bathroom, and as a result, boost your chances of a quick home sale.

1. Change Out the Hardware.

Believe it or not, updating bathroom hardware like drawer pulls and faucet handles may make a major difference in the eyes of homebuyers. Plus, changing out the hardware usually requires minimal time and effort, making it a fast, effective way to bolster your bathroom's appearance.

Ultimately, you'll want your bathroom to stand out to homebuyers for all the right reasons. And if you spend some time revamping your bathroom hardware, you can move one step closer to transforming your ordinary bathroom into an exceptional one.

2. Check Out the Lighting.

Does your bathroom feature sufficient lighting? If not, your bathroom may prove to be a liability rather than an asset to homebuyers.

Sconce lighting often represents a wonderful option for bathrooms because it can help brighten up big and small spaces. In fact, sconce lighting may even help you make your bathroom appear larger, as this type of lighting empowers you to illuminate your bathroom like never before.

Furthermore, you may want to consider dim lighting in your bathroom. Dim lighting is ideal for those who want to enjoy a relaxing bath and is yet another feature that may help your house stand out to homebuyers.

3. Install Proper Ventilation.

Without the proper bathroom ventilation, mold and mildew can cause severe damage. However, those who dedicate the necessary time and resources to install new bathroom ventilation or repair their existing ventilation can avoid long-lasting problems.

Measure the square footage of your bathroom before you install a new vent fan. By doing so, you'll be able to find a vent fan that can help you minimize mold and mildew consistently.

Also, when in doubt, be sure to consult with a plumber. This professional will be able to evaluate your bathroom's current vent fan, determine if a new one is needed and act accordingly.

Updating your bathroom may seem like a substantial investment, particularly for home sellers who lack extensive time and resources. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available who can help you establish home selling priorities and ensure you can revamp your residence to make it an attractive option for homebuyers.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market and will help you prepare your home. In addition, this professional will outline a strategy for improving your home's interior and exterior, ensuring your house will dazzle homebuyers any time they visit.

Bathroom improvements may help you differentiate your home from others on the real estate market. And with a real estate agent at your disposal, you'll be better equipped to optimize the value of your residence and accelerate the home selling process as well.




Categories: Uncategorized  


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 5/20/2018

No homeowner wants to borrow more money. However, if you’re experiencing hard financial times or looking for a way to fund a home improvement project, there are ways to borrow money with your home as collateral.

In this article, we’re going to talk about home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOC). We’ll explain how they differ and break down their benefits and risks.

Before the bubble

Before the financial crisis of 2007-2008, many homeowners were borrowing readily based on the equity of their home. Interest rates were low on home equity loans, encouraging homeowners to leverage their portion of homeownership.

During the recession, however, all of that changed. People owed more money on their mortgages than their homes were worth, and banks became reluctant to lend.

In recent, years, however, house prices have been creeping back up, and banks and homeowners alike have gained confidence in the equity of their home.

As a result, a growing number of homeowners are turning back to home equity loans and lines of credit as a source of low-interest financing.

So, what exactly are these loans and credit lines?

The difference between a home equity loan and a line of credit

A home equity loan is a lump sum of money that you borrow which is secured by the value of your home. Typically, home equity loans are borrowed at a fixed rate. Lenders take into consideration the amount of equity you have in your home, your credit history, and your verifiable income.

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a bit different. Like a credit card, you are able to borrow money as you need it via a credit card or checks. HELOCs often have variable interest rates, which means even if you’re approved for an initial low rate it could be increased. As a result, HELOCs are better suited for borrowers who can withstand a higher leverage of risk and variation each month.

Is now a good time to borrow?

If you’re a homeowner, there’s an understandable temptation to use the equity you’ve built over the years to your advantage. In some cases, home equity loans and HELOCs can earn you better interest rates than other forms of borrowing.

However, as with other loan types, it’s important for homeowners to realize that HELOCs and home equity loans are not the same as having cash in your savings account.

Another danger that borrowers face is the potential for foreclosure if things go badly. While most lenders won’t seek foreclosure after a few missed payments, your home has been put up as collateral for repaying the loan. Most lenders will choose to sell a defaulted loan to a collections company rather than seek foreclosure.

Ultimately, the best course of action is to avoid borrowing unless it will help you out financially in the long term. However, for those with high home equity who may, for one reason or another, need to borrow, a home equity loan or line of credit might be the best choice.