What are the ‘hidden’ fees of Real Estate?

by | Dec 29, 2014 | Real Estate | 0 comments

Upcoming free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Education Classes:

Saturday, 1/10/15, from 9am-12pm  Happy New Year!
Marshall Community Center, upstairs conference room
1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver Wa (kitty corner from Clark College)

Thursday, 1/15/15, from 5pm-8pm
Marshall Community Center, upstairs conference room
1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver Wa (kitty corner from Clark College)

…if these dates/times don’t work for you, we have others. Check out the website for more class dates, times, and locations. PLEASE always check  the website www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for any changes regarding the classes!

Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner!  🙂
Happy last Monday of 2014~

It is amazing how fast time flies, isn’t it?  I read somewhere that time seems to go by faster as we get older because there are less moments that take our breath away…something to do with the fact that we have a lot going on, and we are always running from one thing to another….we take less time for ourselves, or to just stop and appreciate the moment.  It does kind of make sense…if you think about it.  🙂  So, this year, let’s all slow down enough to just enjoy the moment we are in, and to appreciate those small moments of silence….beauty…joy…awareness that we experience every day.  I, for one, am going to enjoy this moment of absolute quiet as I type this up today.  I have my son in the game room…doing whatever it is 18 year olds do… and the two girls are upstairs having ‘sissy’ time.  ‘Sissy’ time is what my 5 year old calls it when she goes into her big sisters room, and takes over.  LOL  It is nice and peaceful downstairs….oh wait…there it went…  my son just left his cave to come into the kitchen to make food.  😀  He doesn’t like the silence…says it is “weird” and “unnatural”…LOL

Anyhow, I want to wish you joy, beauty, laughter, and those small moments of silence in the coming year!  I plan to smell the flowers a bit more, and appreciate those small moments of silliness a bit more as well.

This is the time of year that I would normally go over the changes we have seen in real estate this year, and what we expect to see this next year.  However, I want to address some fees, and ‘hidden’ fees instead this week since that has recently come up again.  In your real estate adventure….whether you are buying, or selling…there should be NO secrets!  Everything should be out in the open.  I always guess worse case scenario…why? Because while I don’t expect the worse case to happen, it sometimes does, and I believe everyone should be prepared…just in case.  I would rather look like a hero if we can advert the worse case scenario rather than look like a zero if the worse case does happen.  I am all about being prepared!  🙂

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, 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
….earnest money is typically about $1000.   Some banks 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 $350, and is non-refundable. You, as the buyer, will hire the inspector and they work for you.  You have 10 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 appraisal is about 2-3 hours long.  Make sure the fee includes the dry rot and pest report….

…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 last summer, 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.

These are the only fees a buyer should see before closing.  Being told another fee?  Call, text, or email me…

Other fees?

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!

Mailbox key
…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 $75, but for peace of mind…that isn’t much.

…you will probably want to paint some, or all, the rooms of your new home.  Each gallon of paint runs about $25.

Minor repairs
…during the home inspection the inspector will probably point out some minor cosmetic repairs that will need to be done 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.  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.

Lawn supplies
…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.

…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.

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.

These expenses often get forgotten about, but should be on the back of a new home buyers mind.  Any questions?  You know where to find me!!!  Have a great week…  🙂

Information is power, and I hope that I am help you!  Good luck, 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.  
As always….this is just a quick overview…. please remember that 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 homebuying 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 homebuying 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…

Next Week:  Agency…buying or selling, the questions you should ask
                      Down payment & closing costs…what are these & options for them?
      2014 real estate in review & looking to 2015

Last Week:  Real Estate Do’s & Don’ts

Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,

Tracie DeMars / Realtor

ReMax Equity Group
License# 81289
Vancouver, WA

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