Stephanie Payab's Blog
Buying your dream home should be simple. Unfortunately, challenges may arise during the homebuying journey, particularly for those who fail to budget accordingly.
Establishing a budget before you begin your home search is paramount. With a budget in place, you can explore houses that fall within your price range and move closer to finding a great residence that you can enjoy for years to come.
Ultimately, creating a homebuying budget can be easy – here are three tips to help homebuyers establish budgets.
1. Consider your utility costs.
Although you may be able to get pre-approved for a mortgage and determine exactly how much you'll need to pay for a house, you'll still need to account for utility expenses month after month.
Electricity, heat and other utility costs can add up quickly. However, a diligent homebuyer should have no trouble estimating his or her monthly utility fees.
Examining your current utility expenses can help you understand how much you may wind up paying in utility charges at your new address. Also, don't forget to consult with your real estate agent, as this professional may be able to provide details about the average utility costs associated with a particular residence.
2. Manage your debt.
If you decide to purchase a "fixer-upper," i.e. a home that requires extensive home repairs, you'll likely need to commit substantial time and resources to complete home renovation projects. Thus, you'll want to consider any home repair tasks that you may need to complete at a new address and budget for them before you make an offer on a house.
In addition, knowing your credit score can help you understand your debt. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), and each report will provide information about any outstanding debt. That way, you can learn about your debt and find ways to minimize it prior to purchasing a residence.
3. Account for closing costs and miscellaneous expenses.
Home closing costs will include your loan origination, title insurance and appraisal fees and often range between 3 percent and 7 percent of your total loan amount. You'll want to account for these expenses as you establish a homebuying budget to ensure you can secure your dream house without delay.
Spend some time learning about all of the expenses that may impact your monthly home expenses too. For example, if you purchase a condo, you may face monthly homeowners association fees in addition to your mortgage costs. Or, if you plan to have a baby in the near future, you'll want to consider how the costs of raising a child may impact your ability to cover your mortgage expenses.
If you ever have concerns or questions about establishing a homebuying budget, be sure to consult with your real estate agent. Remember, your real estate agent is available to help you in any way possible and will do what it takes to ensure you can establish the right homebuying budget.
When you’re buying a home, there’s a lot to think about. Your finances probably have the biggest impact in the entire home search process. The amount of a down payment you have and the amount of loan you’re approved for help decide what you can buy.
When you hear about closing costs, what do they entail? How much will you need to cover these costs? Many people get to the closing table for their home purchase and feel unprepared. You’ll need a certain amount of cash on hand when you finally close on a home. Learn more about closing costs, so that you understand everything that you need to know about your home purchase.
Closing costs are spelled out pretty plainly in just about every kind of real estate contract. These costs are the fees associated with the title companies, attorney, banks, lenders and everyone else who is involved in the purchase of a home. The closing table is also the time when you provide your sizable down payment. The closing costs that are being referred to are considered a separate expense independent of the closing costs.
Closing Costs Vary
Closing costs can range from anywhere between 2 and 8 percent of the purchase price of the home. You can’t really “choose” what’s included in the closing, so you’ll need to have an idea of how much money you’ll need to write a check for. Lenders can give you an estimate of about how much closing costs will be.
Certain things like the realtor’s commission fees can be negotiated and can be paid for by the buyer or the seller. The good news is that you can roll your closing fees in with your mortgage in some cases. You may also be able to negotiate with your lender to pay the closing costs for you in exchange for a higher interest rate.
What’s Included In Closing Costs?
Depending upon where and what type of home you’re buying, what the closing costs actually cover varies. Here’s just some of the things that closing costs cover:
- Escrow fees
- Credit reports
- Title search
- Title exam fee
- Survey fee
- Courier fee (Most transactions are done electronically, but in some cases this may be necessary)
- Title insurance
- Owner’s title insurance
- Natural hazards disclosure
- Homeowner’s insurance (Your first year of insurance is often paid at closing)
- Buyer’s attorney fee
- Lender’s attorney fee
- Transfer taxes
- Recording fees
- Processing fees
- Underwriting fee
- Pre-paid interest
- Pest inspections
- Homeowner's association transfer fees
- Special assessments
These fees vary widely by state and the type of property that you’re purchasing. Not every fee is required, but the above is just a list of many of the possible fees that could be included in on the closing of the home you choose.
In your search for a home, there’s one option that you may be overlooking. That is the act of sharing a home with others. It can help you to divide the expenses of homeownership and even put you on a faster path to homeownership. When you do decide to share the cost of homeownership with others, there’s a few things that you should know.
There’s so many different advantages to co-buying a home with a relative, even as a married couple. You do need to make sure that the arrangement is well thought out and planned ahead of time.
When you buy a house, you receive what’s called a title. In the case of co-ownership, it explains how the buyers are sharing the title. The way the title is set up could have consequences down the road, especially when it comes to one person exiting the house, and parting ways with the agreement.
When Sharing A Property With A Non-Spouse
When you’re sharing the property with a non-spouse, you have a few options. These include:
Tenant In Common
With this option, there’s no need for a 50/50 split. Buyers are allowed to own unequal interests in the property. If one of the co-owners were to pass away, their ownership would be transferred to one of their beneficiaries. For this reason, tenant in common is the most popular way that buyers who are not related agree in guying a property together and take on the title.
Joint Tenants With Right Of Survivorship
With this option, co-buyers have no option but to own equal interests in the property at hand as a 50/50 split. If you bought a home with two other people, you’d each have one-third interest in the home, and so on. If one tenant passes away, the remaining owners gain the deceased owner’s percentage of interest in the property. There’s no need for a court proceeding or probate, this happens automatically. Even if the deceased owner has a will designating their portion of the property be given to someone else, the request is null and will generally be refused.
Both of these co-ownership options allow for an undivided interest in a property. All owners are co-owners as a part of the entire piece of property. If one owner wants to sell, for example, they would be selling their tenancy or part interest in the property.
Important Things To Do:
- Create a co-ownership agreement
- Clarify who owns what percentage
- Decide who pays the ongoing expenses
- Give options if any owners want out in the future
You could draft one of these agreements with a qualified attorney. It’s a good idea to sit with everyone before the purchase of the property is made to talk and lay out all of the expectations. Everyone should have one of these agreements in writing, however.
While sharing a property purchase can reduce your debt, it’s important to make smart agreements and understand whether the decision makes sense for you and all parties involved.