Don’t Get Blindsided by Closing Costs

Don't Get Blindsided by Closing Costs

Have you ever decided to buy something, only to find out about additional costs at the end? The last thing you want is to be surprised by unexpected fees – especially at your closing.

You’ve made your financial calculations. Extra charges at the eleventh hour could make all your plans go bust.

But you can’t just skip the closing – that’s when the legal ownership is transferred.

Want to avoid being blindsided at your closing? Here’s how to plan ahead for closing fees:

What’s the deal with closing costs?
Closing costs typically run about 2% to 5% of the purchase price and are paid to lenders, attorneys and other third parties. Buyers often have more closing costs than sellers because most fees are related to the new mortgage loan.

Common closing costs for buyers:

  • Loan processing fees
  • Home appraisal and inspection fees
  • Property taxes

Common closing costs for sellers:

  • Mortgage payoff fees
  • Title transfer fees
  • Attorney fees for handling the closing

How can you lower the costs?
After applying for a mortgage, you’ll receive a Loan Estimate from the lender. It summarizes the loan terms, such as the loan amount, interest rate and all closing costs. Comparing Loan Estimates from different lenders is important.

Page 2 of the Loan Estimate also details the services you can shop around for, such as surveys, appraisals and title searches.

Are closing costs ever negotiable?
Yes. A seller or buyer sometimes agrees to pay part or all of the other party’s closing costs. This is something we can negotiate into the purchase agreement.

As for paying the closing costs? Some lenders will allow you to roll the cost into your mortgage. However, you’ll pay interest on it for the life of the loan. Paying cash upfront is a smarter option if you have the funds available.

Want immediate answers to your closing costs questions? Click on the link below:

https://caliberhomeloans.com/loan-consultant/arizona/litchfield/cgivens

Have more questions about closing on a home? Or are you ready to get your home search started? Reach out today.

Don’t need it? Then don’t pay for it.

For more ideas and tips or to speak specifically with Joe Bourland, please call 623-322-8588

Don't over spend.  Do's when purchasing.  Needs vs. Wants
Buying Tips….Do’s You Can Use

You know all those fantastic home features you hear your friends gushing about in their new home? The top-notch school district and Jacuzzi? The spacious third level and even more abundant yard? 

Well, there’s nothing wrong with any of those things. But they’re not right for everyone. 

In fact, for some buyers, they might even be a waste of money. 

Are you on the hunt for a home this year? Give careful consideration to whether you’re paying for features you’ll use. 

Want to know the three that people often overpay for?  

The Biggest House on the Block
Have three dogs and a few active toddlers? Then room to run is a must. Is it just you and your spouse? Springing for a five-bedroom corner lot might not be worth the cash. 

Buying tip: 
Buy for the space you need and are planning for – not the extra level you might use someday. You can always buy a move-up property if your plans change.

A Highly Rated School District
Great schools are important if kids are in your future – or if you have little ones already. But if that’s not in the cards for you, plotting your homebuying plans around them isn’t necessary. 

Buying tip:
You may find more affordable properties, and property taxes, if you search outside those school districts.

Custom Amenities 
Home theaters, quartz countertops and pools are popular amenities that many buyers are willing to pay top dollar for. Are you?

Buying tip:
Focus on the amenities you know you’ll use often and get the most value from. 

It’s not always easy to evaluate your short- and long-term needs. That’s why it’s essential for us to discuss how your future plans will affect your homebuying goals.  

Do you need help finding your perfect-fit home with features you’ll love (and use)? Reach out today to get started. 

Joe Bourland

Joe Bourland | RE/MAX Professionals
Team Leader JoeArizona.com
joe@joearizona.com
10320 W. McDowell Road
Suite B2005
Avondale, AZ 85392
Phone: 623-322-8588

Have you checked out the neighborhood?

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You wouldn’t pick out shoes before choosing an outfit, right? Or buy car accessories without first deciding if you want a truck or a sedan?
Well, house hunting should be treated the same way.
You shouldn’t search for a dream home without vetting neighborhoods or experiencing the new area for yourself. 
If the area doesn’t meet your needs, the property may not provide a dream scenario. So how do you make sure you’ve found the right neighborhood? Keep these details in mind:
Cost of Living
Are the property taxes and HOA fees trending upward? Are there mostly trendy boutiques and high-end businesses in the area, or does it have a good mix of local and national retailers?
Planned commercial development could affect the long-term affordability of the area. However, having more access to retailers and entertainment could enhance your lifestyle.
Commutes and Social Life
How close do you want to be to the friends and family you visit the most? How far are you willing to drive to get to the restaurants, theaters or stores that you frequent?
It’s understandable to prioritize your work commute, but keep in mind the other places you visit on a daily or weekly basis.
Long-Term Goals
How does the community fit into your future goals? Are there good schools, parks or sports leagues for your family?
A thriving community adds to your quality of life. And it’s a good sign for future home values.
Want to try before you buy? Where possible, consider renting a unit in the area for a few days through a short-term rental site. Experiencing the neighborhood like a resident can help you to decide if it fits your current and future needs.
Are you looking for a new home? Get in touch if you’d like to see a neighborhood report.

Do’s and Don’ts of Presale Home Repairs

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You’ve decided it’s time to sell your home. Your neighbor just sold for a pretty penny, but they also spent a lot on remodeling and renovations. Does that mean you need to upgrade your home to sell? 

Is it worth trying to sell as is? Or will your home be passed up and stuck on the market?

Fortunately, full-scale remodels aren’t required to sell your home. Sure, a home reno might fetch more money, but it’s not always worth the time and effort. 

So how do you know what’s worth fixing up? Here are the do’s and don’ts of pre-listing home renovations: 

Do:

  • Fix trip hazards throughout (and around) the home. Uneven flooring and sidewalks, broken stairs and off-kilter ramps aren’t just noticeable to touring buyers; they’re a downright danger. 
  • Fix pet damage and lingering odors. Scratches on doors, torn window screens and holes in the yard will only make buyers wary of further pet damage on the property.
  • Fix water stains. Even if you’ve fixed the pipes or plumbing issues, buyers may still worry about mildew or mold problems.

Don’t:

  • Make partial updates to older kitchens and baths. Mixing old and new elements only highlights the age of the space. You need to commit to a full upgrade or let the buyer do a comprehensive remodel on their own.
  • Decorate the home with trendy or bold colors. Neutral colors photograph better, make the space look larger and help buyers reimagine the house with their belongings. Bold and bright colors do the opposite.
  • Renovate beyond what your neighbors have done. Buyers are going to offer what comparable sales suggest, no matter how much money you’ve poured into remodeling.

A few repairs and upgrades can certainly make your home more marketable. But a full-scale remodel? That’s not necessary in most cases. 

Are you ready to sell? Get in touch today for a comprehensive review and marketing plan for selling your home.

Make Buyers Feel at Home and Sell Faster

Are you doing the things homebuyers love?


There’s never been a better time to sell a home.
Millennials are ready for homeownership and renters are seeing consistent rent increases. This means more buyers than ever are on the market for a home like yours. 
Home equity is also at all-time highs, which makes now the perfect time to sell and get more cash to put toward your next home.
Considering listing your home? Let’s start with the proven ways to maximize your returns: 
1. Clear the clutter. Crammed closets and overfilled garages can give buyers the impression your property is short on space. Declutter aggressively to accentuate the storage possibilities buyers get excited about. 
Pro Tip: Buyers love to open cabinets and drawers. Clear those spaces, too.
2. Maximize the possibilities. A potential home should be a blank slate — a space buyers can imagine making their own. Keep personal items to a minimum and aim for a neutral look. 
Pro Tip: Set the dinner table so buyers can visualize coming home after a long day.
3. Brighten it up. Expose as much natural light as possible. For darker or interior rooms, use high-wattage bulbs in light fixtures.
Pro Tip: A fresh coat of light paint makes a home feel cheerful and shows pride of ownership.
4. Rearrange the furniture. Can people move around without bumping into furniture? Does the layout invite guests to sit down and relax?
Pro Tip: To invite conversation, don’t make a TV the focal point of any room. 
5. Outside views matter. Exteriors make a critical first impression. Ace yours by repainting your entry door and polishing the door handle. Potted plants on patios or balconies also make the outside of your home feel welcoming.
Pro Tip: Colorful flowers on window sills look great indoors and add to the outside appeal.
Do you need help staging your home? Or maybe you have budget concerns about upgrades needed before you list. Reach out today. Let’s make sure we maximize the appeal of your home, simply and cost-effectively.
 
Professional yet personal

5 Ways to Use Your Refund Toward a Home

5 Ways to Use Your Refund Toward a Home

Who doesn’t love getting a tax refund?

It’s exciting to know that your bank balance will get a boost. But remember, a refund isn’t a bonus — it’s your hard-earned money, which is why you should make the most of it.

If you’re thinking of buying a new home this year — whether it’s your first home or the one you plan to retire in — financial planning is critical.

Expecting a refund? Make a bigger impact on your home purchase with these tips:

1. Lower Your Mortgage Rate: Did you know you can pay “points” up front to lower the interest rate of your mortgage? If you plan to stay in your home for a long time, this could result in significant savings over the life of your loan.

2. Pay Closing Costs: Closing costs average about 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price. Many buyers roll it into their mortgage and pay it off over the life of the loan. But you could use your refund to pay it up front and avoid paying interest.

3. Save for a Down Payment: In some cases, your refund could cover your entire down payment. Some loans only require 3 percent down, so this is more realistic than you might think.

4. Boost Your Credit Score: Paying down your debts can have a significant impact on your credit score and the mortgage rate you’ll qualify for.

5. Renovate or Update Appliances: Many buyers are tempted to open a line of credit to pay for these purchases, but that could negatively impact your mortgage loan. Using your refund is the smarter move.

Remember, a tax refund is only one factor to consider in your homebuying budget. Get in touch today for a referral to a financial planner or mortgage lender if you need help preparing your budget. Let’s work together to plan your path to homeownership.

~ Joe Bourland

Professional yet personal

Preparing for the Spring Housing Market

Preparing for the Spring Housing Market

We’re approaching spring, which means the housing market is getting ramped up.

Experts agree that the market is softening for buyers, but will it be a full-on buyer’s market? Definitely not — at least, not by springtime.

This spring, buyers will likely see fewer bidding wars, slower price growth and less competition. But sellers will still have some leverage.

Are you thinking of buying or selling a home this spring? Keep these things in mind:

1. Prices won’t skyrocket.
The last few years have seen massive jumps in home prices, especially during the busy spring buying season. This year price growth is likely to slow downa bit in most markets. We may see higher prices at the height of the buying season, but they’re unlikely to be drastically higher than those seen at the end of 2018.

2. Year-over-year inventory will likely remain stagnant.
Because mortgage rates are rising, many homeowners are staying put. New home construction continues to grow, but it still lags behind buyer demand. This means we are unlikely to see an increase in listings from previous years.

3. Bidding wars will lessen.
The days of sight-unseen offers and heated bidding wars are mostly over. Except for a few hotter markets, most buyers will enjoy a slower-paced market and a little more leverage than in years past.

4. Sellers might have to make some concessions.
As mortgage rates rise, fewer buyers are looking to get in on the market, and that means sellers will need to do more to get their attention. This could mean more concessions and more room for negotiations.

Having a knowledgeable agent on your side is crucial to effectively navigating 2019’s changing housing market. If you’re considering buying or selling this year, get in touch today for personalized advice and guidance.

Smarter Technology for a Smarter Home

How practical is smart tech for you?

Smart tech has come a long way for homeowners. With the right tools, you no longer have to get up to turn on lights or change the thermostat. Have a habit of forgetting to lock the front door or turn on your porch light at night? Smart home tech can help with that, too.

Are you thinking of installing a few smart devices in your home? Here are some of the most popular and practical options to consider:

Security Products
This includes motion-activated doorbell cameras, door locks with timers and garage doors controlled by smartphone apps. These technologies can offer peace of mind for homeowners who live alone and added independence to anyone with limited mobility.

Lighting
Motion detecting exterior lights are the most publicized in this category. However, there are also indoor sensors that control lights as you enter and exit a room or open and close pantry doors. And Wi-Fi-enabled lightbulbs allow you to customize mood lighting throughout the house. These options offer convenience while at home and added security when you’re away.

Appliances
Virtually all appliances come in smart versions today — from kitchen scales with built-in recipes to Bluetooth-enabled slow cookers to washers and dryers that let you schedule your laundry loads. These can make housework more manageable for those on a busy schedule.

Assistants
These smart home tools do more than give you traffic updates. Using IFTTT (If This, Then That) customization, they can create a truly connected home. For example, they can turn on specific lights when your TV comes on or open the garage door when you get within a certain distance of the property. And they allow you to voice-activate many of your smart tech commands.

Smart home devices are also one of the most in-demand features with today’s homebuyers. Installing them could increase your property’s long-term value and marketability.

If you’re considering a new home, or have questions about your home’s value, get in touch today.

Professional yet personal

2019’s Trendiest Colors for Your Home

Colors have the ability to evoke emotions and change our attitudes. They can inspire and motivate us to try something new and bold. They can alter our moods and appetites, or even make a room feel small and cramped.

If you plan to redecorate a few rooms in the new year, the right color choices can make all the difference in the feeling you’re trying to achieve. Better yet, it’s one of the simplest and most affordable decor changes you can make. Not sure which colors to choose? Here are 2019’s best color palettes for home interiors, according to the Pantone Color Institute:

Meanderings
This palette is a mix of leisurely, rich shades like Island Green, Aurora Red and Wild Orchid. Pulled from diverse cultures, they tell the story of world travel and are great for spaces where you’ll be entertaining guests.

Proximity
Proximity shows the connection between technology and nature and speaks to the challenges of modern life. These vivid blue-greens, green-blues and silver-grays are perfect for rooms with abundant natural light.

Cravings
These culinary-inspired hues call to mind delicious tastes and exotic cuisines with colors like Cappuccino, Chili Pepper and Cayenne. This sensory experience is ideal for dining rooms or quiet spaces like reading nooks.

Cherish
These soothing pastels evoke calm and serenity and are the epitome of comfort. The soft, nostalgic floral tones would be great in a powder room or master bedroom.

Are you planning a new look for your home? Think of these palettes as a focused road map for capturing your desired style.

If you’d like some guidance for a more substantial home renovation, or you’re interested in finding a new home this year, please reach out today.

Joe Bourland

Joe Bourland | RE/MAX Professionals
Team Leader JoeArizona.com
joe@joearizona.com
10320 W. McDowell Road
Suite B2005
Avondale, AZ 85392
Phone: 623-322-8588

RE/MAX Professionals

Should you skip the starter house?

Should you skip the starter house?

Gone are the days when a three-bedroom, two-bath starter home was the norm for first-time homebuyers. Today, many buyers are skipping that stage altogether and going straight for their dream homes. They’re buying bigger, more expensive properties with upgraded features, and they plan to live there for the long haul.

Not sure which type of property you should look for? Here are a few things to consider:

Why are you buying?
Are you mainly looking for a way to lower your monthly living expenses, or do you want a place to raise your kids and put down roots? Do you want this to be your only purchase, or are you willing to go through the process again in a few years?

What’s your budget?
Can you buy your dream home with what you can currently afford, or would that stretch your budget too far? It’s crucial to consider how much you’ll need to save for a down payment and how large of a loan you can qualify for. Your credit score and the expected interest rate will also play a factor.

How long do you plan to stay? 
Do you plan to be in the area for a long time or is there a chance you’ll need to move for your career, family or another reason down the line?

Is the market favorable?
What is the current housing inventory, and will you be competing with other buyers? Favorable market conditions mean you’ll get more house for your money, making it an ideal time to purchase a forever home.

Get in touch today if you’re ready to buy a new home. If you’re unsure about a starter home or forever home for your family, we can discuss what options are available to meet your needs and long-term goals.