Choosing to enter the home buying process is likely the largest financial decision you will make in your lifetime, so it is not one that should be taken lightly. Ensuring that your other current and upcoming financial responsibilities are under control is crucial to having a smooth transaction and being able to enjoy your investment fully. These tips will help you prepare your budget for purchasing your dream home.
Calculate your monthly income. How much money is coming in every month? This is the amount that is left after taxes, health insurance, and retirement savings are taken out of your monthly salary.
Understand your current expenses. Make a list of all your current recurring expenses month to month. Don’t forget to factor in things like loan payments, gym memberships, car maintenance, groceries, self-care appointments, etc.
Determine where you can find savings. Are there any ongoing memberships or subscriptions you don’t use that can be canceled? Can you cut out your daily coffee or eating out lunch? Make these adjustments right away to start saving more.
Boost your financial standing. Before buying a home, it is recommended that you dedicate extra effort to paying off other debts and boosting your credit score. Taking these steps will help you during the loan approval process.
Don’t move finances around. Your lender will review your bank statements during the pre-approval process and then again during underwriting. Any large withdrawals or deposits may throw a red flag so try to avoid these when possible. If you can’t, make sure you have proper documentation to explain the movement of money.
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Iveth Caruso, your REALTOR in the North Atlanta Area
Closing costs are fees associated with a home purchase that are paid at the closing of a real estate transaction. In other words at the moment when the title of the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer. Closing costs are incurred by either the buyer or seller. These costs vary widely based on where you live, the property you buy, and the type of loan you choose. Here is a list of fees that may be included in closing. This is a general list and this may change depending on the type of loan or type of property.
Application Fee: It covers the cost for the lender to process your application. It can often include things like a credit check for your credit score or appraisal as well. Before submitting an application, you should ask your lender what does this fee covers. Not all lenders charge an application fee and it can often be negotiated.
Appraisal: This is paid to the appraisal company to confirm the fair market value of the home.
Attorney Fee: This fee pays for an attorney to review the closing documents on behalf of the buyer or the lender.
Closing Fee or Escrow Fee: This fee is paid to the title company, escrow company or attorney for conducting the closing. The title company or escrow oversees the closing as an independent party in your home purchase. Some states require a real estate attorney be present at every closing.
Courier Fees: This covers the cost of transporting documents to complete the loan transaction as quickly as possible.
Credit Report: A credit report is pulled to get your credit history and FICO score.
Escrow Deposit for Property Taxes & Mortgage Insurance: Usually two months of property tax and mortgage insurance payments at closing.
FHA Up-Front Mortgage Insurance Premium (UPMIP): If you have an FHA loan, you’ll be required to pay the UPMIP of 1.75% of the base loan amount. You are also able to roll this into the cost of the loan if you prefer.
Flood Determination: This is paid to a third party to determine if the property is located in a flood zone. If the property is found to be located within a flood zone, you will need to buy flood insurance. The insurance, of course, is paid separately.
Home Inspection: You will likely get your own home inspection to verify the condition of a property and to check for home repairs that may be needed before closing.
Home Owners Association and Transfer Fees: The Seller will pay for this transfer which will show that the dues are paid current, what the dues are, a copy of the association financial statements, minutes and notices. The buyer should review these documents to determine if the Association has enough reserves in place to avert future special assessments, check to see if there are special assessments, legal action, or any other items that might be of concern. Also included will be Association by-laws, rules and regulations and CC & Rs.
Home warranty: Typically paid at closing, this fee is covered by the buyer, but may be included in the contract as the seller’s or Realtor’s responsibility.
Homeowners’ Insurance: This covers possible damages to your home. Your first year’s insurance is often paid at closing.
Lender’s Policy Title Insurance: This is insurance to assure the lender that you own the home and the lender’s mortgage is a valid lien, and it protects the lender if there is a problem with the title. Similar to the title search, but always a separate line item.
Lead-Based Paint Inspection:Covers the cost of evaluating lead-based paint risk.
Owner’s Policy Title Insurance: This is an insurance policy that protects you in the event someone challenges your ownership of the home. It is usually optional.
Origination Fee: This covers the lender’s administrative costs. It’s usually about 1 percent of the total loan but you can sometimes find mortgages with no origination fee.
Pest Inspection: This fee covers the cost to inspect for termites or dry rot, which is required in some states and required for government loans. Repairs can get expensive if evidence of termites, dry rot or other wood damage is found.Points: This amount is charged to reduce the interest rate through the life of the loan. One point is equal to one percent of the loan amount
Prepaid Interest:Most lenders will ask you to prepay any interest that will accrue between closing and the date of your first mortgage payment.
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): If you’re making a down payment that’s less than 20% of the home’s purchase price, chances are you’ll be required to pay PMI. If so, you may need to pay the first month’s PMI payment at closing.
Property Tax: Typically, lenders will want any taxes due within 60 days of purchase by the loan servicer to be paid at closing.
Recording Fees: A fee charged by your local recording office, usually city or county, for the recording of public land records.
Survey Fee: This fee goes to a survey company to verify all property lines and things like shared fences on the property. This is not required in all states.
Title Company Title Search or Exam Fee: This fee is paid to the title company for doing a thorough search of the property’s records. The title company researches the deed to your new home, ensuring that no one else has a claim to the property.
Transfer Taxes: This is the tax paid when the title passes from seller to buyer.
Underwriting Fee: This also goes to your lender, covering the cost of researching whether or not to approve you for the loan.
VA Funding Fee: If you have a VA loan, you may be required to pay a VA funding fee at closing (or you can roll this fee into the cost of the loan if you prefer). This is a percentage of the loan amount that the VA assesses to fund the VA home loan program, however some borrowers are exempt from this fee. The percentage depends on your type of service and the amount of your down payment. Here is a breakdown of the cost of the VA funding fee and a complete list of allowed fees for VA loans
Note : Standard practice is that the seller pays the real estate commission of both the listing agent and the buyer's agent. but if a buyer is in a tough seller's market or bidding war, offering to pay some or all of the real estate agent's fees can be a way to stand out from other offers. They can be up for negotiation, too!
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Have a Great week!
The information on this site is intended to be a free resource to provide general information to the public. The information is intended to supplement instruction from your legal, financial or real estate adviser. The information contained on this site should never be taken as a substitute for legal or financial advice from a licensed professional.