Lisa Bradley - Re/Max Vision



Posted by Lisa Bradley on 8/15/2017

The process of closing on a home can seem lengthy and complex if it’s your first time buying or selling a house. There are several costs and fees required to close on a home, and while it’s up to the individuals to decide who covers what costs, there are some conventions to follow.

In this article, we’re going to talk about closing costs for selling a house and signing on a mortgage. We’ll discuss who pays what, and whether there is room for negotiation within the various fees and expenses.

But first, let’s talk a little bit about what closing costs are and what to expect when you start the process of buying or selling a home.

Closing costs, simplified

If you’re just now entering the real estate market, the good news is you can often estimate your closing costs based on the value of the property in question. You can ask your real estate agent relatively early on in the process for a ballpark figure of your costs.

Closing costs will vary depending on the circumstances of your sale and the area you live in. In some cases, closing costs can be bundled into your mortgage, such as in “No Closing Cost Mortgages.” However, avoiding having to deal with closing costs often comes at the expense of a slightly higher interest rate.

If you are planning to buy a house and have recently applied for a mortgage, laws require that your lender sends you an estimate of your closing costs within a few days of your application.

Now that we know how closing costs work, let’s take a look at who plays what.

Buyer closing costs

In terms of the sheer number of closing costs, buyers tend to have the most to deal with. Fortunately, your real estate agent will help you navigate these costs and simplify the process.

They can range from two to five percent of the cost of the sale price of the home. However, be sure to check with your lender for the closest estimate of your closing costs. It’s a good idea to shop around for mortgage lenders based on interest rates as well as closing costs charged by the lender.

Here are some of the costs you might be asked to pay as a home buyer:

  • Appraisal fees

  • Attorney fees

  • Origination fees

  • Prepaid interest or discount points

  • Home inspection fee

  • Insurance and Escrow deposits

  • Recording fees

  • Underwriting fees

Seller Closing Costs

While the seller pays a larger amount of closing costs, sellers still have obligations at closing that can be just as expensive. The biggest expense for sellers is to pay the real estate commission. Commission usually falls in the vicinity of 6% of the sale price of the home. This covers the commission of both the seller’s and the buyer’s real estate agents. 


The main takeaway? Buyers and sellers both share the burden of closing costs. While the buyer has more expenses to take care of, the seller pays for the largest costs.





Posted by Lisa Bradley on 7/18/2017

When you find a home you love, you most likely will want to take the steps you can to buy it. When a home is already under contract, there’s actually a little-known strategy that can be used to help you have a chance at getting the property. 


When you make a backup offer, you’re doing all of the same things you’d do under normal circumstances. The only difference between a normal offer and a backup offer is that you’re not guaranteed to get the home. The first deal needs to fall through in order for you to have a shot.


Advantages To Backup Offers


The backup offer is a bit of a stretch, but it still does give you a little bit of a chance to get a home. When a backup offer is in place, the home won’t just go back on the market if something falls through. This is especially smart when it comes to lower inventory markets. When a home is re-listed, you’ll need to compete against other buyers. If a bidding war is initiated, the home’s price will keep going up. The backup offer being in place helps the seller to feel secure in the sale of their home one way or another. If for any reason the first buyer falls through, you’ll be able to swoop in and get the home yourself.


Timing Is Everything


Keep in mind that there’s a certain period of time before a deal needs to be closed on for a home. The original buyer will need to close the deal on the home in an average of 50 days. Knowing the time frame that you’ll need to wait around for a decision is helpful for you in your own search for a home.


You can also have your agent check in with the listing agent for the property on a frequent basis. This lets the agent ad seller know that you have a keen interest in the property in case there are any difficulties coming from the other side of the deal. 


If The First Deal Doesn’t Go Through


If the first deal on a home does fall through, you’re not the new owner of the home just yet. There’s always a possibility that the first buyers found some very difficult problems with the home during the inspection. These could be big issues like an issue with the roof or the foundation of the home. Be sure to include a home inspection contingency with your contract so that you can have your own inspection conducted. This way, you’ll know if there are any problems with the home and that you will be able to deal with them.


A backup offer can be a great tool to use in tight markets to help you get a home that you love. It’s always a good idea to proceed with caution in any home deal to make a sound financial decision.




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Posted by Lisa Bradley on 5/30/2017

When you’re searching for a house, the location is often key. Maybe you have found homes in your desired city or town. Yet, all homes are not created equal. Locations aren’t created equal either. There’s advantages and disadvantages to the type of street that a home is on. If you’re on a main road, you may have more accessibility to what you need, but traffic noise could be a negative aspect of this living situation. Living on a cul-de-sac gives you the best of both worlds. You can be in your desired location, but also enjoy some peace and quiet. Your kids will even have a fairly safe space to play on without worry on your part about traffic conditions. Here’s some of the best reasons to find a property on a cul-de-sac:


There’s No Through Traffic


No one will be using your street as a shortcut for anything, since it’s a dead end! This provides a safety net for you as you’ll know the types of vehicles that should be on the street at any given time. Neighbors can be mindful if they happen to see strange people or vehicles lingering in the neighborhood. This allows streets with dead ends to have lower crime rates. Everyone is more alert, because there’s generally so little happening on the street that any activity is noticeable. Criminals also tend to shy away from these types of neighborhoods due to the fact that people are much more aware.  


It’s Better For Children


You always need to watch your children and teach them basic safety rules. Living on a cul-de-sac may actually help relieve a bit of the burden in allowing your children to play more freely. Cars that are traveling down the street won’t be doing so as fast. Your children will be visible right form your home as well.  


Also, since everyone lives so close together and basically in a visible range of one another it’s easier to develop neighborhood friendships. Children will be able to play with other kids their own age and have a common meeting spot- at the end of the street! Even as a parent, you’ll have a better opportunity to get to know other parents and meet up with those in the neighborhood. There’s just something about living on a dead-end street that allows for a more tight-knit community.


Home Values Rise


All of the positive things that we have emphasized here about living on a cul-de-sac are part of the reason these properties keep their high values. With better curb appeal, more safety, and a strong sense of a community, it’s hard to pass up a chance to live on a cul-de-sac.




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Posted by Lisa Bradley on 5/16/2017

Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life, both financially and otherwise. Just like retirement funds, buying a home and paying off your mortgage can be a significant long term investment.

It will take time to prepare for buying a home. You’ll need to build credit, save for a downpayment, and find a degree of financial stability to ensure you can pay your mortgage each month.

This article is catered towards homebuyers who have already met those prerequisites and are ready to jump in and start hunting for houses. For those of you curious about exactly how long it will take from the time you view your first house until you close the deal on your new home, read on.

Home buying by the numbers

On average, buyers can spend 30-60 days looking at homes and anywhere between 15 and 60 days longer to close on a home. Of course, these numbers depend on a lot of things such as how eager you are to buy, how  effectively you’re able to work with agents and sellers, and on just sheer luck.

How can I speed up the process?

Preparation is the number one thing to focus on when it comes to buying a home. First, double check your finances. This means taking time to run a credit report and challenging any errors that may be lowering your credit.

Next, take time to sit down and discuss with your family (if applicable) your moving goals. Are you trying to move closer to someone’s place of business or to a particular school district? Having these discussions will make it easier to eliminate houses and to narrow your search, saving you time in the long run.

Before you start looking at homes, it’s a good idea to being the process of getting preapproved for a loan. This can take weeks, so you want to get this step done early to know where you stand when it comes time to start house hunting.

Next you’ll want to meet with a real estate agent who has extensive knowledge of your area. They’ll send you listings that meet your criteria, stylistically and financially.

The offer and closing

Now that you’ve found the right home, you’ll have to enter the next part of the process: making an offer and closing. This step isn’t entirely within your control. Some sellers will delay in accepting, others will reject, and others will give a counter offer. The best way to save time on this step is to give a reasonable offer from the start, showing the seller that you are serious and worth negotiating with.

Once your offer has been accepted, your work is still far from over. There will be a lot of paperwork to fill out, but you’ll also have to schedule a home inspection to ensure there are no problems with the home that you haven’t already been made aware of.

Once all of these steps are complete, you will have purchased a new home.





Posted by Lisa Bradley on 4/11/2017

The process of buying a house can be long and difficult. Whether you’re coming from an apartment or another home, you’ll want to time your purchase and move-in so you’re not paying for two homes at once.

What’s more, there are several steps required in the homebuying process, all of which you’ll have to give yourself enough time to complete.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the timeline leading up to buying a home. We’ll discuss how to figure out the amount of time you’ll need, and give you some advice on how to be ready sooner.

Prerequisites to buying a home

Before you consider purchasing a home, you’ll need to make sure your personal and financial life are ready for this commitment. Depending on what type of loan you are hoping to get, this could include saving as much as 20% of the cost of the home for a down payment.

Buying a home also usually requires good credit. If you have some issues with your credit history, you’ll want to take time to improve your score so that you can get a better interest rate on your mortgage.

Once you’ve settled on moving and have a general location, it’s a good idea to get pre approved for a loan.

Preapproval

Getting pre-approved for a loan is beneficial for a few reasons. First, it will let sellers know you’re a serious contender for buying their home.

Second, it gives you one fewer thing to worry about when it comes time to make an offer on a home that you’re interested in.

And, finally, pre-approval gives you a ballpark figure of the type of homes you can look at, saving you time when you’re shopping around for a home by avoiding properties that are over-budget.

The pre-approval process ranges from lender to lender. It can take as little as three days if you provide all the necessary information immediately. However, in some instances it can take weeks, especially if there are problems with the documents you provided to the lender.

Time before closing

If you’ve spent a few weeks viewing homes and considering your mortgage options, you’re likely getting ready to make an offer on a home. On average, this can take anywhere from 30-60 days.

The “contract to close” period can vary based on the type of loan you’re receiving and the underwriting process involved in that loan. USDA-guaranteed loans, for example, require added underwriting and processing time.

How to close sooner

So your lease ends in a few months and you want to make sure you’ll be in your new home before you have to move out. There are a few ways you can save time when buying a home.

First, make sure you provide your lender with everything they need to pre-approve you for a loan. Getting pre-approved quickly will save you a lot of time that is otherwise wasted while sitting around waiting for pre-approval.

Next, work with a real estate agent to find homes within your budget that are ready for move-in. Finally, be reasonable with your offer. Sellers, too, are typically on a timeline and will want to work with someone who is going to do their part to make the process as efficient as possible. 




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