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8 Hidden Costs When Buying a Home

by Rebecca Bradshaw

You’ve saved for a down payment and calculated how much mortgage you can afford, but are you prepared for hidden costs that can occur when buying a home?

  1. To determine the property’s true worth, you will be expected to pay for a home appraisal. The appraisal not only assures that you aren’t overpaying, but can also be used as a negotiating tool when making an offer to the seller. An appraisal can cost as much as $500.
  2. A home inspection will determine if there are any problems with your new house. Professional inspectors will look for flaws in the home’s foundation and roof, as well as check for potential costly issues in its electrical, heating, and water systems. An inspection can range from $200 to $500, but is well worth the expense.
  3. You may need to pay for additional inspections, such as a land survey to determine property lines, or for termite, sewer, chimney, or other ancillary inspections. While not overly expensive on their own (a few hundred dollars each), they can be costly when combined.
  4. If an inspection turns up issues that the seller won’t cover, or if you purchase a house that isn’t in perfect condition, you may find yourself spending money on repairs and cosmetic changes before you move in. Figure in the cost of painting, upgrades to appliances, and other expenses when planning your budget.
  5. Purchasing a home warranty is optional, but is an out of pocket expense you might want to undertake right away. Running as high as $500, a good home warranty can offset the cost of pricy repairs, ultimately saving you thousands of dollars. In some cases, you may be able to negotiate with the seller to pay for the warranty at closing.
  6. Closing costs generally run between 2% – 5% of the total purchase price, and although the seller may pay for all or part of them, you may still be responsible for a portion. Be prepared to pay private mortgage insurance if your down payment is less than 20%, as well as for property taxes, and fees for title searches and other filing costs.
  7. Don’t forget moving costs. Professional movers can be expensive, depending on the time and distance of the move. Consider, too, if you’ll need to purchase new furniture or appliances, or, if you’re downsizing, whether you’ll need to rent a storage unit.
  8. You may find that you are required to have additional insurance, or that the water heater that passed the home inspection stops working right after you move in. Unexpected expenses can occur when buying a home, so plan to put aside an emergency fund.

 

Sources: US News/Money, Life Hacker, Real Estate Solutions, Campbell & Keller Team       

 

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How to Renovate Your Home without Exceeding Neighborhood Value

by Courtney Soinski

Before you decide to renovate your home, it’s important to understand that not all renovations will increase the value. It is certainly possible to over-remodel, and you don’t want it to exceed the value of your neighbors’ homes. Here are some ways to get the highest return on investment (ROI) possible when the time comes to sell your home.

Projects always worth your while

shutterstock_138891047There are specific renovation projects that can deliver the greatest effect on your ROI, regardless of the real estate market’s current state or the value of surrounding homes. According to real estate expert Robert Stammers in a recent article in Investopedia, these can be projects such as an addition of a wood deck, kitchen and bathroom upgrades as well as window replacements.

shutterstock_117312145Factor in location

A common mistake that homeowner tend to make is renovating their homes to the point where it exceeds the value of surrounding homes. The fact of the matter is that people look in a specific neighborhood because of its proximity to nearby businesses or recreation and it’s in their price range. If improvements done to your home are much higher than homes around you, it’s unlikely that they’ll want to pay more for those improvements, even if they’re interested.

Make improvements that will add value over time

Some home improvements, like upgrading the technological features of a home, will not have a lasting impact, and may even bring down the home value. These types of renovations are at a higher risk of becoming obsolete and outdated as years pass. Technology and styles change all the time, so focus on improvements that are less likely to be impacted by time and are worth your investment.

Renovations that will pay you back

shutterstock_118031236

Regardless of whether a homeowner is planning to sell or not, the ultimate objective of taking on a renovation is to revel in the enjoyment you get from living in an updated home while gaining considerable profit from that investment. There are many tools out there that show the kind of profit you can expect from specific home remodels. A perfect example of this is Remodeling magazine’s “Cost vs. Value” annual report.

Here are some of the findings from the 2015 Remodeling Cost Vs. Value report:

Projects that deliver the highest percentage of return on investment

  • Entry door replacement (steel): 101.8%
  • Garage door replacement: 88.4%
  • Siding replacement (fiber-cement): 84.3%
  • Siding replacement (vinyl): 80.7%
  • Deck addition (wood): 80.5%

Renovation projects that deliver the lowest percentage of return on investment 

  • Sunroom addition: 48.5%
  • Home office remodel: 48.7%
  • Master suite addition: 53.7%
  • Garage addition: 54.7%
  • Bathroom addition: 57.8%

 

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Want to Generate More Referrals? Plan a Client Party!

By the experts at Buffini & Co.

shutterstock_69309796When you work by referral, your relationships drive your business. In order to build lasting relationships with your clients, it’s important to maintain consistent contact with them. How can you do this? Get face-to-face and voice-to-voice with them! However, communication goes beyond a few phone calls and a Pop-By a month; client parties are a fun way to catch up with several of your favorite clients at once, thank them for their business and ask for referrals.

Show your appreciation

Everyone wants to feel appreciated and your clients are no different. After all, their business and referrals keep you in business! While saying “thank you” is certainly an effective way to express gratitude, it’s important to show them how much they mean to you.

Client parties are an opportunity to express gratitude beyond the spoken word. For Dan and Maria O’Dell, real estate agents from Kansas City, Missouri, client parties have helped them show their appreciation to their existing clients while they grow their database. “We do the events to show our commitment to our clientele,” says Dan.

According to Maria, they started throwing high-end, larger scale client parties a few years ago. “People love them!” says Dan. “We do them well.”

Don’t forget to ask for referrals

While you’re thanking your clients for their business, remember to ask them for referrals. When is the best time to ask? When you’re chatting with them, of course! Take a page from the O’Dells: “We ask for business,” says Dan. “We ask them to connect us with people that they love and care for. The more you receive, the more you can give away, and that’s what we’re about.”

What if you’re an introvert?

Do large groups of people make you break out in hives? You can still host a client party; the key is to keep it small. If you’re more introverted, you may prefer to connect with people one-on-one.  Small parties allow you to focus your attention on your clients, while avoiding the noise and distractions that come with large parties. So, while your extroverted peers are hosting a 500-person bash, invite a few of your top referrers over for an intimate dinner party. You’ll enjoy all of the benefits of a larger party without the stress of entertaining a big group of people.

Now is the time to start planning

Inspired to start planning your next client party? Autumn is the perfect time to host one. Plan a hayride with your favorite clients and their families, an afternoon at a winery with your A+ clients or go all-out with a Halloween-themed party. It doesn’t matter what you do; just make sure it’s fun!

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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