Dawn (253) 307-6438
Brandon (253) 732-0778

Category Archives: Support & Ideas

Don’t forget about these costs/tips when buying a home

 

Buying a home can be stressful to say the least.  Here are some tips and some costs that you may not be aware of. There are so many questions that you will ask yourself.  Are you picking the right home?  Are you choosing the right neighborhood? Will you get along with the neighbors? Will you be able to afford your house payment?  Well with the right real estate agent and lender they should be able to put your mind at ease with most all of your questions.

The very first thing you will want to do is talk with a quality lender of your choice.  If you don’t have one, typically your real estate agent has worked with many and can give you some good referrals.  It’s important to talk to your lender first for several reasons, but most importantly is so that you know how much of a home you can qualify for.   One of the most disappointing things that can happen to a buyer is to find that perfect home you love and then find out that you don’t qualify for it, so talking to a lender first will remove this aspect.   The other thing a lender will always tell you is that once you are pre-approved for a loan, DO NOT do anything with your credit like buying a new car or opening or closing any of your credit accounts without first talking with the lender.  Anything like this will affect your approval process.  The other important aspect of meeting with a lender before you go out and start looking for a home is that the lender will give you a pre-approval letter.  In this competitive market that we are in, if you want your offer to be taken seriously you will want this approval letter up front to accompany your offer for the home.

Buyer’s sometimes forget about these additional expenses or sometimes don’t even know that they should be expecting them in the first place so here are a few items that will help you plan for your big purchase and hopefully set your mind at ease before any of these happen on your house hunt.

Earnest Money:

First things first.  Yay!  You found the house of your dreams and your offer gets accepted by the seller!  WOOHOO!!  On the first page of your contract there is a line for Earnest Money Deposit.  What the heck is an earnest money deposit, you might be asking yourself.  An earnest money deposit is basically a good faith deposit that you put down to show the seller that you really are interested in purchasing their home.  The earnest money is either held by the real estate brokerage or by the escrow company.  You will receive a CREDIT for your earnest money deposit on your closing paperwork.  There is no set amount of earnest money but it usually is around $1000-$1500 and up to 1% of the purchase price.  On financed transactions this money has to be traced back to your bank account so always make sure to talk to your lender before submitting your earnest money check.

Home Inspections:

It is your choice to decide if you want to have a home inspection done on your new home.  There is NO requirement that says you HAVE to get a home inspection done.  With that being said the $400-600 that the inspector charges is well worth every penny.  We ALWAYS recommend a home inspection because a home inspector gets into all the nooks and crannies of the home that you can’t see (or probably don’t even want to try to!).  Home inspectors aren’t fortune tellers and they can’t see into the future but they can give you a pretty good idea if something isn’t working properly, if there are leaks (or has leaked at some point) and point out if something might be coming to the end of its recommended life span.  All of these details will help you decide whether to keep pursuing your purchase of the home, cancel your transaction or simply know what to budget for in the near future.  Home inspection reports can look scary and most of the time are around 30 (or more) pages long.  That doesn’t mean the home is in shambles it means that the home inspector is doing his job and letting you know of every squeak, missing screw and yes, even some major items, like roofs needing to be replaced, furnaces at the end of their life spans, etc.  Go over the home inspection with your realtor and you will decide, together, what projects to tackle, or ask the seller to complete if it is something major.

Closing Costs:

Your real estate agent might be able to negotiate into your contract that the seller will pay all or at least some of your closing costs for you.  Just in case the seller chooses not to, it is a good idea to have about 3% – 5% of the home’s purchase price saved up to cover any closing costs that you may need to cover yourself.  Closing costs are costs that are associated with the loan and closing of your home.  Closing costs can include but are not limited to; Title and escrow fees, recording fees, notary fees, home owners insurance premiums, loan fees, doc prep fees and things of that nature.  This money will also have to come from a sourced bank account so make sure to always talk to your lender about where this money is coming from.

Mortgage Reserves:

Some mortgage lenders require you to have mortgage reserves in your bank account prior to closing on your loan.  Some mortgage lenders don’t require mortgage reserves at all, and sometimes it depends on the type of mortgage that you will be obtaining.  Mortgage reserves are basically back up mortgage payments.  If your lender requires mortgage reserves it is usually equal to 2-3 months of what your mortgage payment will be.  Again, this money will need to be from a sourced bank account so make sure to talk to your loan officer about any mortgage reserve requirements that your lender may have.

Moving Expenses:

Now I am not just talking about bribing your family and friends with beer and pizza.  I am talking about paying a moving company to come and move your things for you, hiring a U-Haul, renting a storage unit and paying for packing supplies.  What about new furniture and/or decorations?  You might need blinds or window coverings.  These are all things that are somewhat inexpensive but if you are hit with this all at once, it can take a bit of a toll on your wallet.

Maintenance Costs:

Maintenance costs, preventative or emergency, are something that you will want to start planning for.  Hopefully, you won’t have too many of these that are unexpected at the beginning.  Many finance guru’s say that you should save around 1% a year of your home’s value to prepare for maintenance expenses.  If your home is worth $300,000 then you would want to save $3,000 annually for maintenance and/or upgrades.

If you have any questions about how you should be saving for your new home purchase or ANY questions at all regarding your real estate needs, please contact The Heilbrun Team, 253-307-6438 or dawnh@johnlscott.com

Yours to count on!

The Heilbrun Home Team

Dawn, Brandon, Michelle and Megan

 

Five money-saving green upgrades

Going green is great for the environment, but that’s not the only benefit. When you make green upgrades in your home, it can also lead to some major savings. Solar panels: The upfront cost is big, but the long-term savings are huge. Solar panels will cost several thousand dollars to install, but ongoing maintenance costs… Continue Reading

From decorating your home to staging

Once you’ve decided to put your home on the market, you’re looking to sell quickly for the best possible price. One tactic that can help sell your home faster is staging. At first, staging may seem like a real estate term that doesn’t actually mean anything. Isn’t staging just decorating? Well, not exactly… Appeal to… Continue Reading

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day!!! I would like to give a HUGE shout out to Dawn Heilbrun, our Designated Broker/Owner of John L Scott Orting. John L Scott Orting is a 100% woman owned business. Dawn Heilbrun is one of the most amazing women that I know. She is always here to help out her agents on a business and a personal level. If you know Dawn Heilbrun you know what I mean when I say that she is the most genuine, sweet person. She is a dreamer and a doer! So congratulations Dawn Heilbrun on your successful 100% woman owned business, John L Scott Orting thanks you for all of your hard work!! Continue Reading

Worried about Moving, when inventory is so low?

Worried about Moving, when inventory is so low?

We are seeing the low inventory in most all of the state of Washington. Here are some tips that can help you stay calm and be proactive if you are thinking about making a move in these busy real estate times.

With low inventory in many markets throughout the country, many homeowners are afraid to sell their homes because they’re concerned that they may not be able to find a new one. This can be a real problem, but if you are seeking to sell-whether to upgrade or find a new neighborhood-there are a few ways to combat the low inventory.

Look to buy first In most markets it is a real mistake to put your home up for sale before you start looking for your new property. Identify the geographic area where you are interested in buying. Even if you don’t see anything on Zillow, it doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t find the right home.

Think outside the box Be proactive! Keep in mind that there are probably many people like you who want to make a move but are afraid as well. Have your real estate agent send a letter to the neighborhoods in the geographic areas where you want to live. The letter should be heartfelt and personal while announcing that you are ready to buy a home in that neighborhood. You could find a home to buy that may not even be currently listed or for sale.

Protect yourself legally Each state varies in how the purchase process is conducted. Talk to your real estate professional about adding a clause in the purchase contract for the home you are selling that will enable you to not sell the home if you cannot find a suitable home to buy.

If you would like to know what the market is doing in your area, give The Heilbrun Home Team a call today, 253-307-6438. We can’t wait to talk to you about your real estate needs. Continue Reading

Best BANG for your BUCK

Best BANG for your BUCK

As Real Estate Brokers we get asked all the time, what can I do to improve my home? What will give me the best return on my investment. Well here are a few items that might help you spruce up your home before selling without breaking the bank.

Not all home improvement projects are created equal. Some renovations may cost a lot but not add significant value to your home. This list goes in the opposite direction: Here are some inexpensive home improvement projects that will not only increase your enjoyment of your home, but will also increase the home’s value.

High quality ceiling fans: In a recent National Association of Home Builders survey, ceiling fans ranked No. 1 as the most-wanted decorative item. If your ceiling fans are outdated, replace them with something in the $400 range-it’ll make a big difference when it’s time to sell.

Trees: Mature trees can be worth as much as $10,000 toward the value of your home. Trees also protect your home from the elements and prevent erosion.

Energy efficiency: Buyers are increasingly interested in saving energy, so any efficiency update is worthwhile. Switching from a wood to gas fireplace is a great start.

Outdoor lighting: Exterior lighting is great for highlighting the accents of your home, and you can typically expect a 50 percent return on investment.

Molding: You can finish a room with crown molding or railing for as little as $1.50 per foot if you take a DIY approach, and it’s extremely desirable among prospective buyers.

If you have any more questions regarding home improvement or if you would like to have a FREE market analysis done on your home to find its worth, call The Heilbrun Home Team today, 253-307-6438 Continue Reading

The ins and outs of HOA’s

The ins and outs of HOA’s

With the market ever changing and so many new developments and condo associations popping up, you might be asking yourself. What is a HOA and what do they do? Each Home Owner’s Association (HOA) is different and governed by their own rules but here are some of the basic concepts behind a HOA. Make sure that when you are looking at buying a home/condo that has a HOA that you do your homework and make sure that you are aware of their rules and fees.

When you purchase a home, there’s a good chance you’ll have to pay a homeowners association fee, especially in gated communities, townhouses, condominiums, and other similar planned neighborhoods. The idea is to keep common areas clean and maintained, and there’s usually an HOA board that is responsible for setting the rules and regulations.
Each HOA is different, but most have the same core elements. You’ll typically pay your HOA fees either monthly or annually, and it’s an important factor to consider when you’re weighing your options for a new home. So what is typically included in your HOA fees?
First, the fun stuff Amenities are typically the big perk of living in a community with an HOA. While you lose out on some of the freedom of living without a HOA, you instead get community amenities like a maintained pool, gym, clubhouse, tennis courts, and other amenities. The HOA fees pay for cleaning and maintenance, so-in theory-you’ll always have a clean pool whenever you want to use it.
Protecting the community HOA fees often contribute to insurance for the community amenities, as well as a fund for unexpected repairs to damaged community property-think damage from weather or accidents.
General maintenance Your HOA fees will go toward maintaining the general safety and upkeep of the community. This means things like elevator maintenance for condominiums, snow removal, and trash/recycling services.
Be active in the association There may be a board of directors, but homeowners associations exist for the betterment of the entire community, and every voice matters. HOA meetings-and the amenities they support-provide great opportunities to meet your neighbors and make your community a better place.

If you have any more questions about HOA rules or fees or about purchasing in general feel free to give us a call. The Heilbrun Home Team, 253-307-6438
#HOALife #HeilbrunHomeTeam Continue Reading

Serving Pierce, King and Thurston County

John L. Scott Orting
104 S. Washington Ave.
Orting, WA 98360
Office:(360) 893-3380
Fax:(360) 893-5590

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