Closing Costs are More Than Just Downpayment

 

Closing Costs: It’s about More Than Your Down Payment
The first step in buying a home is deciding on a budget. How much house can you afford? Within what price range will you shop?

A down payment is, unfortunately, only one part of that budget. To correctly determine the affordability of a home, it’s essential that prospective buyers consider the costs that arise at the time of closing.

Closing costs vary from state to state. There are different kinds of closing costs, too: lender costs, including origination and document preparation fees, and nonlender costs, including appraisal and survey fees. Some of these costs are required in certain states, while others are not. It’s also important to note how the market can impact closing costs. In New York City, for example, home prices are higher, which can result in higher lender fees.

In today’s market, buyers seeking a conventional loan typically need a 20% down payment to receive optimal rates. As buyers plan their purchase, it’s important to factor in closing costs on top of this 20%.

The final total is dependent on the location of the property. Here’s a look at how approximated closing costs add up in a handful of cities across the country, assuming a loan amount of $200,000. Consult with your real estate agent about closing costs in your area – he or she knows the local market best.

  • Denver, Colorado: $1,980
  • New York, New York: $6,843
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: $2,417
  • Portland, Oregon: $2,122
  • Los Angeles, California: $2,197
  • Birmingham, Alabama: $2,112
  • Anchorage, Alaska: $2,138

Beat Online Scammers at Their Own Game

The Internet of Things (IoT) has made life quicker and easier than ever before. With the touch of a button, we can now bank, shop, and even look for love, all from the comfort of our couch.

The problem: with so much ease and accessibility, we have become vulnerable to online scammers looking to gain access to our personal information.

According to a 2017 report from Herjavec Group, a cybersecurity solutions company, cyber crime is on the rise and could cost “the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015.”

Similarly, a report by Wombat Security states that the number of scam emails sent in 2017 was up 155% over 2016. These “phishing” scams are sent to your email or social media, and mirror legit businesses or financial institutions.

Don’t despair. You don’t have to disconnect and go off the grid. There are ways to outsmart the scammers and keep yourself and your bank account safe.

Do your homework. If you receive notifications requesting that you need to update an account or provide any personal information, utilize the google search formula
“(company name) scam.” Don’t hesitate to call the phone number and google the address for these companies, too.

Be wary of downloading attachments. This is another trick used to infect your hard drive with malware and steal information. Always protect your device with antivirus and malware software.

Trust your gut! If some promise or promotion sounds too good to be true, chances are, it is.


Millennials Make Estate Sales Cool Again

Millennials are often viewed as financially careless, shelling out money for avocado toast instead of saving for homes or retirement.

Many came of age during a worldwide financial crisis, so their hesitancy to consider long-term financial plans is understandable. Now, millennials are aging. They are buying homes, starting families, and opening businesses. Recent studies suggest they’re more financially prudent than their parents and more likely to maintain budgets and avoid big-ticket items. That’s why many shop at estate sales.

It’s easy to see why these sales have millennial appeal. They offer one-stop shopping for kitchen items, household items, and toys – all discounted. Estate sales are also great community events. They can be fun group outings. There’s also a thrill in hunting for a great deal or finding a rare item. Plus, you can meet people with common interests at these sales.

If you’re not a millennial, consider this demographic when you’re planning sales. Be sensitive to millennial characteristics. They are typically busy and on tight budgets, and they want to avoid impulse buys. With these factors in mind, keep your sales organized and simple. Label items clearly, with prices easily displayed. Group similar objects together: kitchenware in one area, tools in another, toys separated in age-appropriate ways.

Don’t restrict this mind-set to just estate sales. Millennials also like garage sales. Like many from generations past, most millennials aren’t above a good bargain!


Wondering How Much Your Home Is Worth?
How has the price of your home changed in today’s market? How much are other homes in your neighborhood selling for?

If you’re wondering what’s happening to prices in your area, or you’re thinking about selling your house, I’ll be able to help.

Click the market report below or select San Antonio Real Estate Market and complete the requested information about your home!


Is Remodeling Worth the Effort for Resale?
At some point during the chaos of every remodel, one question is asked. “Is it worth it?” Is it worth the upheaval? Is it worth the cost? Most important, is it worth the effort when it comes time to sell?

The answer: it depends.

It depends on where you live and what you choose to remodel. For example, the West Coast sees a higher return than does the Mid-Atlantic, according to CNBC.

With regard to specific projects, the 2018 cost-vs.-value report from Remodeling Magazine shows that smaller upgrades vs. larger remodels get you the most bang for your buck.

According to the report, those who remodel on a massive scale should expect a return of 56%. This is less than the steady return of 64% over the past two years.

Why the drop? Craig Webb, editor of Remodeling Magazine, believes it is because some real estate professionals suspect their local market may be reaching its peak. He explains, “Consequently, spending a lot of money does not automatically mean your house will just ride the escalator up and be worth a lot more.”

So, if you are planning a remodel in 2018, the rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Forgo a major kitchen overhaul for a simple upgrade that could recoup you 81.10% vs. 53.50%.

Instead of building that addition to the master suite (ROI 48.3%), consider something with more curb appeal, such as a new garage door (ROI 98.3%), manufactured stone veneer (ROI 97.10%), or a wood deck (ROI 83%).

When asking yourself if all the effort is worth it, keep your real estate agent in mind. This professional knows your market inside and out and can best advise you about whether your potential remodel will help sell your home quickly. Seek his or her input before starting your next project.

SA Realty Watch Group
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Creamy Cauliflower Soup
This soup can be served hot or chilled – perfect for warm or cool spring days.
Serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks (white part only)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 head cauliflower, chopped
6 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Directions
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté leeks with a pinch of salt until softened, then add garlic and cook an additional minute. Add cauliflower and broth, then turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

Remove from heat and cool slightly, then transfer to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Return to saucepan, warm over low heat, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream and chives. Place a dollop of this mixture on each serving. A scoop of cooked quinoa or pearled barley is a nice addition too!


Ask the Agent: This Month’s Question
Should I Be Present When Buyers View My House?

Choosing a new home is an emotional process. You want buyers to feel as comfortable as possible when they view your home. This is why you should not be present when the realtor shows them your property.

When the owner is present, buyers often feel like intruders and feel rushed to leave. They also don’t feel free to ask questions or express concerns. You may be tempted to remain home in an effort to answer questions or provide information, but buyers are typically more comfortable obtaining information indirectly through their realtor. Your presence also inhibits honest feedback, which can be crucial for future showings. If something specific is turning buyers off, you want to know about it.

For best results, vacate the premises during all showings of your house. This gives buyers the freedom to explore and enjoy, so they are more likely to fall in love with your home.

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.
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