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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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5 Home Office Upgrades to Complete Your Space

If you run a business out of your living space, or simply need a nook to work on your finances or groom your Pinterest board, the following tips can help you upgrade that home office.

Splurge on something inspirational.

Whether it’s an original piece from a favorite artist or a high-tech piece of equipment that makes working more exciting, splurge on something for your work space that makes you excited to be there.

Light it right.

The right lighting can make all the difference. While low lighting can set a romantic mood, it can also make you sleepy or unmotivated—not the right vibe for a workspace. At the same time, fluorescent lighting can lead to headaches. Set up your work station by a window for natural light in the daytime, and set up a few good lamps around the room to ensure you can light the space adequately.

Upgrade your storage.

Sick of those piles of paper that end of stacking up on your desk? Make sure you have a proper storage or filing system in place so everything can be stowed away in a place that is out of sight, but also easy to access when needed.

Create a “Do Not Disturb” signal.

Whether you have a curious spouse or a gaggle of kids, creating a signal that says you’re in the zone is key. It doesn’t need to be a literal “do not disturb” sign on a door. A ribbon tied to a doorknob or a certain type of music you listen to when you’re working can do the trick.

Support your body.

If you spend a lot of time at your desk, it’s extra important you shell out for the things that ease the strain of sitting for long hours. A kneeling desk chair can support your back, while raising your monitor to eye level can ease neck pain. You can also have a small yoga space tucked into your office where you can take a short break to stretch out before you get back to it.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

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Suburbia Is Here to Stay, According to New Urban Land Institute Report

By Zoe Eisenberg

Great news for suburban real estate agents: Although America’s urban landscapes continue to grow and millennials prefer walkable neighborhoods, suburbia is predicted to maintain its popularity. According to a new publication from the Urban Land Institute (ULI), suburban marketplaces are still expanding and will continue to do so.

The report, Housing in the Evolving American Suburb, examines suburbs in the 50 largest metros in the U.S., compiling key development trends in order to predict what the future of America’s suburbia will be.

“What’s happening in America’s urban places is very exciting and important, but this report pulls back the lens and presents a much broader view and a better framework for understanding where people actually live in this country,” said Adam Ducker, managing director at RCLCO, the company that developed the analytic framework of the report.

“The suburbs have evolved far beyond the monolithic bedroom community of our imagination, and this report is the first to deal with them fully, and on their own terms, in a long time.”

Below are some of the report’s most interesting findings:

It’s more diverse than you think

.

While many believe the suburbs to be mostly white-washed, the ULI report shows that overall, suburbs in the U.S. are quite diverse; 76 percent of the minority population lives in the suburbs.

Suburbia rules overall.

Although cities jam-pack thousands into a smaller amount of square footage, in America’s 50 largest metros, suburbs account for 79 percent of the population and 78 percent of the households.

The young love the ‘burbs.

While it’s a widespread belief that millennials want to stomp around in cities, 75 percent of young adults between 25 and 35 are actually settling in the suburbs.

Suburbia is growing.

Over the past 15 years, from 2000 to 2015, suburbia accounted for 91 percent of the population growth and 84 percent of the household growth in the top 50 metros.

The jobs are better.

This was perhaps the biggest shocker, as you might think a city environment would offer more room for employment growth. The ULI report shows that as of 2014, 67.5 percent of the employment in the 50 largest metros was in suburbs. Additionally, between 2010 and 2014, jobs increased by 9 percent in suburbs versus 6 percent in urban areas. And it’s not just more jobs, but higher paying ones, too. The median household income in the suburbs is $71,000. In urban areas, the median is $49,200.

Click here to view the full report.

Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com.

This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Visit the blog daily for housing and real estate tips and trends. Like Housecall on Facebook and follow @HousecallBlog on Twitter.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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