Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
…we also have home seller classes available. Link on left on website page
Saturday, January 26th, from 11am-2pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave).
Saturday, February 2nd, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
Saturday, February 16th, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave
If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know. We understand that you have lives, and families, and work. We will work something out that works better with your schedule. Just let us know….
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner! 😀
Now that we are 2 weeks into the new year we can start to get a ‘feel’ for what this year is going to bring us..right? ….or not… It’s definitely been a mild winter, so I guess we know that, right? Let’s be honest though….there’s lots more winter to come, so it could change, and there’s still plenty of this year to go as well.
Last fall was pretty slow in the real estate world, and we saw plenty of price reductions. This winter was also pretty slow as well…. have we reached the plateau? Have we reached that ‘magic’ place where the crazy sellers market balances out? This spring will tell the tale… Spring is typically the ‘busy time’ of the year as people get their income tax refunds back. Tax refunds are used a lot for down payment & closing costs by buyers, so that is when the market gets crazy. People who are selling their home, now that they have a buyer, go out and look for a new home for themselves. Spring is crazy… this year though? Well, first we have to see if people will get refunds, and then… well, the good news is that we are seeing a lot of new homes on the market. I have 3 that recently came on the market, and 2 more hitting by the end of the month. I have spoken with a lot of my agent friends and they’re also getting a bunch of calls of people wanting to sell this spring. So, now we wait to see what will happen with the tax refunds and, of course, interest rates. Interest rates follow the market…market goes down, and so does interest rates. Market goes up, and so does interest rates. I certainly hoping that the market has reached that seller/buyer balance. We saw that nice balance in 2014 & 2015. Real estate typically runs on a 10 year cycle of highs and lows….with a couple of years balance in the middle. Don’t forget though that the only things in life that are consistent are death and taxes, so my crystal ball is not to be trusted.
While showing homes, we go over lots of ‘little’ things that otherwise people don’t think about. Some of these items are the ‘hidden’ costs of buying a home….those things that you weren’t planning on, but probably should be. Not too long ago, I was on one of the facebook swap/free/sale sites, and I was reading how some people were upset with the home buying process and the ‘hidden’ fees they weren’t told about. It is true that there are a LOT of fees and other expenses involved with buying a home. The point of these blogs, and of course, the home buyer classes is to give folks this information. There shouldn’t be anything ‘hidden’ about the home buying process. As you know, I am a big fan of not sugarcoating anything….I believe that an ugly truth is better than a pretty lie every day of the week. You might not always like what I have to say (and that is ok), but I am not going to hold anything back from you on the off chance you might not ask me to help you buy, or sell, your home. Personally I don’t just want to hear about the ‘good’ things about a loan, or process….I want to hear it all…the good, the bad, and the ugly, so that I can make the best decision for me and my family based on the pros and the cons….not just the good. So….yes, I am not going to just agree with what you read on the internet, or saw on HGTV, or heard from your direct and personal circle….I am going to give you the pros and cons because this is YOUR home buying (or selling) adventure, and YOU need to make the decisions. My job is to help you find, and have, all the information I can get you so that you can make those choices based on a full picture….not just half of one.
That all being said, let’s talk about the fees you can expect and some ones you might not. I am not including down payment, or closing costs as part of this. That will be an email in the upcoming week(s). These are mainly fees associated with buying a home. If you are thinking about selling a home, or know someone who is, there are some fees you need to be aware of as well. I will post that on my facebook page at: Tracie DeMars Real Estate, or you can contact me. I am, as always, happy to help!
So what fees can you expect? There are three fees that will be needed upfront.
….earnest money is typically about $1000- $3000, but the more expensive the home means the more earnest money you will need. Some banks (& builders) can request 1%-3% of the purchase price for earnest money. With a bank owned property the bank will want a cashiers check. With a regular sale, a personal check is fine. The earnest money is deliverable upon acceptance of the offer, and not when the offer is written. The earnest money is always made out to the title company and is refundable based upon the 4 legal reasons to back out.
…the inspection is ordered after the offer is accepted. Remember that the inspection cost is approximately $400- $500, and is non-refundable. You, as the buyer, will hire the inspector and they work for you. You have 10 calendar days to have the inspection done, and respond to the seller. Don’t wait until the last minute! Both you, as the buyer, and your buyers agent should be at the home inspection. A typical inspection is about 2-3 hours long. Make sure the fee includes the dry rot and pest report…. We talked about home inspections a couple of weeks/months ago, but let me know if you need it again….or… hit up the Facebook page: Tracie DeMars Real Estate. It should be there.
…the appraisal is ordered by the lender, and the lender will put in the order for the appraisal. An appraiser comes out to the home to verify the homes value for the bank. The bank will only lend the dollar amount that the appraiser says the home is worth. An average appraisal costs about $600 -/+ dollars, and is paid for by the buyer. This is another non-refundable fee. Neither you, nor your agent, will be present at the appraisal. With the new laws that took effect a couple years ago, neither agent, nor anyone involved in the sale are supposed to have contact with the appraiser for fear we might ‘taint’ the appraisal, or affect the numbers.
If you are buying a home with a well then there may an additional fee for the well testing. You don’t have to do that, but as a real estate agent, I would definitely advise you to do it. Some other inspections that a buyer can have done (at their cost) are a sewer scope & a radon test. A sewer scope is where they send a camera down the toilet to make sure the sewer lines are open, and a radon test is a company checks for radon levels in the home. This is always a good idea if you are considering a home with a basement, daylight basement, or a split level home. The radon test can take 3-5 days. Again, these inspections are at a buyers expense.
These are the only fees a buyer should see before closing. Being told another fee? Call, text, or email me…
Changing out locks
…I always advise my clients to change out the locks of their new homes. Why? Well, even if the sellers give you all the keys they have…there is not guarantee that there isn’t more keys running around somewhere. I used to change out my house locks every couple of years because my kids were always losing keys. Finally….last year… I went and purchased the the house locks that have the key pad. It is awesome!! I don’t worry about lost keys anymore. Every family member has a code, and what is the best is that I can add and delete codes as needed. So…go away for a couple of days, and have a house sitter? Give them a code,and when you get back you simply delete the code. I tell you….worth it!
…yes, legally you are not supposed to copy the mailbox key, but a lot of people do. Mail is not something you want to mess with. Take your HUD form down to the post office, and have them re-key the box, and get a new key. Cost is about $100, but for peace of mind…that isn’t much. When you are changing out locks, talk with the locksmith… she/he may be able to help with this as well.
…you will probably want to paint some, or all, the rooms of your new home. Each gallon of paint runs about $25. Paint is the easiest thing you can do to make the home ‘yours’, and it’s fun! Paint can change the entire feel of a room, or home. Personally, I am a fan of semi-gloss. I like the shine to it, and most importantly, it cleans up easy….with kids and big dogs, this is my go-to.
…during the home inspection the inspector will probably point out repairs that the home may need. Some of these repairs may be cosmetic repairs that will be part of your ‘honey-do list’ with your new home. Remember that, at the home inspection, we are looking for any repairs that will affect the safety of the home, or occupants…or anything that may need a contractor to repair. The ‘big’ areas that we usually see repairs for are roofs, attic spaces, crawlspaces, and siding. These are the places that usually get called out during the repair process for a licensed contractor to come in Remember that home inspectors are licensed for home inspections. It is during this period that we will request a second opinion by a licensed contractor…who can give a better, more thorough inspection/repair for the item that the inspector called out. All homes have some repairs that will need to be done by the (new) homeowner….it is part of being a homeowner. Don’t forget that the worst thing a homeowner can do is to defer maintenance. If you need help with that, give me a call or email… I always have a ‘guy’ that you can call for help. Anytime you need work done around the home that you can’t do, give me a holler…I know people. I tease, but it is true. I know excellent contractors that will usually give you a better deal because I refer them out. I refer them out because they do a good job…and give better deals. Just like in Real Estate… referrals are the name of the game. 🙂
…did you come from an apartment? Well, most likely now you have a yard. You will need a lawnmower to start with. There will be other lawn equipment that will follow…weed eaters, trimmers, wheel barrels, shovels, and a myriad other things that come with having a yard.
…don’t forget that washer, dryer, and fridges don’t come with the home. If you don’t already have these appliances then you may also be purchasing a washer, dryer, and/or a fridge. Just please, please, please wait until AFTER you get keys for the home before you go purchase these things.
…if your new home doesn’t already have some then this may be on your ‘to buy’ list. Sometimes even if your home does have some, you may want new ones. Honestly, I have had very good luck with curtains at places like Target, or Fred Meyer, or even Wal-Mart. I think I’ve gotten all my curtains from Target. They have blinds as well.
House Cleaner/Carpet Cleaner
…when a home is vacant you know exactly what you’re going to be walking into when your buyers agent (hopefully me LOL) gives you keys, but… when the home is owner occupied, you don’t. Yes, you can and will do a walk thru of the home before closing, but it will still be occupied. In many cases, when the home is owner occupied the (soon to be) previous owner doesn’t vacate the property until day of closing, or sometimes even a couple of days after closing. With cases like this, you really don’t know what condition the home will be upon closing. We have to have faith that the (soon to be) previous owner will leave the home in a clean condition, but sometimes…well, sometimes, they don’t. Also, one persons idea of clean is not another persons idea of ‘clean’. 🙂 Many times, whether the home is vacant or owner occupied, a buyer will book a professional carpet cleaning, or house cleaning after closing….simply for peace of mind.
…wait..you already have insurance, don’t you? Well…yes, you have mortgage insurance, title insurance, and homeowners insurance, but what about earthquake insurance? You don’t…
When I purchased my home my homeowners insurance included earthquake insurance. About 10 years ago though we received a letter that no longer would homeowners insurance include earthquake insurance….why? Because we live in the #1 high danger area for earthquakes. Because of that earthquake insurance must now be purchased separately. So, AFTER you buy your home, call your insurance company and add on earthquake insurance. Cost isn’t too much, but it is important….just in case.
Yeah, I know you probably didn’t think of that, but really….if it were me, I would change out the toilet seats when you buy your new home. Why? Well, since now you are thinking about it….I’m sure you can see why. LOL Toilet seats are not expensive, and really…having new seats just makes you feel better! 😀
As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one. Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships. Your agent, and your lender work for YOU. You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals. Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure. The goal is to be informative and non-promotional. 🙂 We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.
If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard…or if you would like me to help you with your home adventure, please call, email, text, or facebook me anytime. I am, as always, happy to help!
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!! …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.
. ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…
Information is power, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there…. If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.
If you have any questions, or comments please get a hold of me anytime. You can call, text, email, or even facebook me. Please remember that while I mean these emails/blogs to be helpful, and educational, I am still hoping that you will call, or email me as I would be honored to help you with your home buying, or home selling adventure.
Delayed Possession… What is this & what does it mean to you
Interest Rates (information from Chris Berg,Cardinal Financial)
What do I need to buy a home,
Hiring a Realtor…questions to ask,
What if I don’t have a Down Payment? ….. &….
What does an Agent do for me?
Debt to Income Ratios….What is this?
Last Week: Winter Time & Buying (or not) Buying a Home
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,