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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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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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Success Tips for the Self-Employed

Being self-employed is the ultimate freedom. You get to be your own boss, set your own schedule and enjoy unlimited income potential. But this sort of flexibility also comes with real risk. With so much responsibility to juggle, how can you stay on track, build your business, and fulfill your potential?

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Here are six tips that will help you lay the foundation for a profitable and rewarding business for years to come, while simultaneously enjoying all the benefits of working for yourself:

Take a Risk and Do it Now

Have you been putting off a project or venture until you have all the answers? The truth is, you will never have all the answers. As inspirational author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, ‘You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.’ What really matters is moving forward so be brave, take that one step that’s required, and start now. It doesn’t have to work out perfectly – you can always refine later.

Create and Stick to your To-Do List

Daily habits are critical to financial success, most especially in how we manage our time. It’s all too easy for hours to slip by answering emails and becoming distracted by social media. To keep on track, create and diligently stick to a to-do list. Schedule appointments and build time blocks for high-priority activities in your daily planner. If you make these tasks non-negotiable, you will consistently achieve your priorities.

Track and Measure

If you have no formula to measure your success then you will have nothing by which to track your progress – or lack of. Write down your business goals, determine what you have to accomplish every day to reach them, and then start consistently tracking. If you don’t then you can easily drift off course.

Get Checks Ahead

In the real estate industry, income can ebb and flow. Bearing this in mind, make it a goal to have three months of business expenses in reserve to give your company some breathing room – and give yourself some peace of mind. By consistently saving, you will always have the resources to hand to navigate the inevitable valleys.

Invest in Yourself

shutterstock_129217481Long-life educational self improvement is critical to success – after all, it’s your skills that pay the bills so it’s important to keep them up to date and fresh. To achieve this, always allocate ten percent of your income to growth opportunities such as business conferences, training programs, business books, etc. This isn’t a waste of valuable resources – it’s a long-term investment in the health of your business.

Pay Yourself a Salary

No one should work for free. Determine what your monthly expenses are and then cut yourself a check for that amount every month. Anything that’s left over should go back into your business.

Follow this step by step plan and working for yourself will no longer be a chore – it will be everything that you ever dreamed it could be!

Download and print the Success Tips for the Self-Employed infographic as a reminder to stay on track with your business goals.

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

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