Sears Real Estate



Posted by Sears Real Estate on 9/18/2017

Buying a home is probably the largest purchase you will make in your lifetime. In spite of down payments and monthly mortgage dues, youíll also have to plan for the fees that come with purchasing a home. These expenses are collectively known as closing costs.

Just how much can you expect to spend on closing costs when buying a house? Experts say that closing costs amount to anywhere between 3 and 5% of the cost of the home. So, if you buy a $250,000 home, you could pay as much as $12,000 in closing costs and associated fees.

Coupled with a down payment that is due at the time of signing, closing on a home can get very expensive very quickly. But weíre here to help you understand the cost of closing and how you can potentially cut some of those costs that are due at the time of signing. Read on to learn how.

What are closing costs?

There are dozens of possible expenses that may come up at the time of closing. Depending on your unique situation, you might pay for several or just a few of them. Some common closing costs include:

  • Mortgage application fee. This fee describes the cost of processing your mortgage application. Be sure to go over everything that this fee covers with your lender.

  • Attorney fee. While this fee may not always be required, it is a good idea to have an attorney review your mortgage and related documents and contracts.

  • Property tax. It isnít out of the ordinary to be asked to pay the first or first two months of your property tax at the time of closing.

  • Insurance premiums. Flood, fire, and mortgage insurance premiums may all be required to be paid at the time of closing as well.

  • Home inspection. Itís not a legal obligation to inspect a home before you buy it, but it can save you thousands of dollars in repairs if an issue is discovered after you already sign on a new home.

  • Origination fee. Not all lenders charge an origination fee, but can expect to pay up to 1% of the value of the home to cover the lenderís administrative expenses.

  • Transfer tax. This is the tax for when a property changes ownership. Each state and county charge different amounts, with some states charging no transfer tax at all.

  • Underwriting costs. This is another fee charged by your lender for the work they do to ensure you are safe to lend to.

Where you can save

We know what youíre thinking: thatís a lot of fees. The good news, however, is that you likely wonít end up paying every closing cost there is, and sometimes closing costs are negotiable.

Hereís our advice on how to reduce closing costs.

  1. Shop around. Find a lender that offers a closing cost that youíre comfortable with. Ask the lender for Good Faith Estimate (GFE). The lender is obligated by law to provide a GFE within three business days of applying for a loan.

  2. Negotiate with the lender. Since you havenít signed on the loan yet, you still have the power to negotiate. For best results, try to negotiate the smaller and more obscure fees; those that arenít as common with other lenders are more likely to be reduced or removed.

  3. Negotiate with the seller. Some costs may be negotiated with the seller depending on quickly they would like to sell the home. Negotiate things like inspection fees or transfer taxes with the seller. Or, bring up the closing costs with the seller and see if they will reduce the price of the home to accommodate for some of the closing costs. 





Posted by Sears Real Estate on 9/11/2017

Millennials are often a topic of discussion in everything from jobs to cars to real estate. They are the generation who is changing the way we think about so many things. So, when it comes to selling your home to younger buyers, thereís certain things you may want to consider to raise the appeal of your home. Hereís what Millennials are looking for and what you can do to entice them in the home buying process: Young People Want Something Move-In Ready Millennials are young professionals who donít want to make the time for home improvement projects. These buyers are typically looking for something thatís known as ďturnkeyĒ or move-in ready. Other groups of Millennials are more creative and see a vision in the home they buy, investing in the right property over time. What Sellers Can Do: The biggest thing you as a seller can do is be sure that the home displays all of its potential in each area. Even if your home isnít move-in ready be sure that potential buyers understand what needs improving. Updated Kitchens And Baths Are A Must... Maybe Most home buyers desire a home with brand new kitchen and bath fixtures. Younger buyers have limited budgets and updates to both the kitchen and the bathroom are among the most expensive renovations to complete. On the sellerís side of things, however, these updates may not be within the budget either. It may not add enough value to the home in order to make updates worth it. Also, even with updates, the style of a kitchen or bathroom may not gel with the desired style of the buyer. What Sellers Can Do: Update the big things in the kitchen and bathroom where needed. The purple tile in the bathroom may appear ugly to you, but a buyer could find some great potential in it. Just be sure the kitchen and bath appear clean and have the basics such as storage areas in them. Big Open Kitchen The younger crowd likes bigger kitchens for entertaining and cooking elaborate meals. Millennials also like a lot of storage to keep things organized, simple and neat. They are the generation known to be ďminimalists,Ē and their preferred style holds true to this. What Sellers Can Do: Sellers should at the minimum be sure that there is adequate storage available in the kitchen. When staging the home, take any unnecessary furniture pieces out, so that they donít deter from the size the kitchen appears. Staging Your Home Overall, one of the most important things that sellers can do to appeal to young buyers is to stage the home well. While itís often up to the buyer to create their own vision, having the home staged helps to ignite the creativity in the mind of the buyer. By using some of the above tips, you can help to make your home appeal to a younger demographic who are looking for very specific things in a home. Even if you donít think your home can meet these expectations, youíll be surprised what a little creativity can do!





Posted by Sears Real Estate on 9/4/2017

If you decide that moving on your own isnít for you, you need to find and hire good movers to get you from place to place. You can start with a simple internet search, but you need to find the right movers to be able to get dependable service. Below, youíll find some tips to help making the process of finding a moving company that much easier. 



Get Quotes From A Few Companies


Get quotes on prices from a few different moving companies. Donít just go with the first company that you find. Do a bit of research and even see if you can get some type of a background check on each company that you get a quote from. This way, youíll avoid any nightmare stories from your move.


Have A Mover Do An Assessment


Your movers should come and visit your home before you move. Will they be packing for you? Do They need a larger size truck? If the moving company comes to make an assessment of the home, they will know what needs to be done when moving day arrives. Make an inventory list of everything in your home so that youíll know what you have to take with you. Youíll also know what you have in your new home once you get there. This can really help streamline the process.   


Price Isnít Everything


The most expensive mover may not provide much more services over the least expensive moving company. Sometimes, itís better to pay a bit more if you get additional services like boxes or packing. If a quote is much lower than you think it should be, then you probably should be a bit cautious of hiring the company.


Look For Reputation


You need to be aware of the reputation that a moving company carries with them. If youíre moving locally, you can usually go with a local company that has some good reviews. If youíre moving across states, try and find a larger company that has a lot of experience and a reputation built up for those types of long-distance moves. 


Ask Questions


Youíre paying a lot of money to hire a moving company and have a right to know exactly what youíre paying for. Make a list of questions to ask each company. Find out their protocols and understand how your things will be treated. You want to know that your items will be in good hands. Some things youíll want to know about each moving company:


  • What kind of insurance do you have?
  • What types of fees do you have?
  • Whatís the timeline for my move? 
  • Have all your movers undergone background checks?


If the company tends to avoid certain questions, you should beware. With a little research, moving both near and far will be a breeze.





Posted by Sears Real Estate on 8/28/2017

Four candidatesInterview different agents before hiring the†real estate professional who will act as your representative in the purchase or sale of your property. Find an agent who will†work for you. Don't be afraid to interview different prospects. The person you hire will be the individual†you are relying on to uphold your desires, preferences, and best interests in all real estate matters. Find out whether the real estate agent works full time or part time and how available to you the agent will make him or herself. If you are a first time home buyer make sure your agent is knowledgeable and experienced, as you may not†want your representative to be going through the same learning process that you are. If you are selling, or if you're looking to buy in a certain town, find an agent who does a lot of business in the area and may have an office nearby. Find an agent who will work with you.††Real estate transactions are relatively detailed and sometimes can become lengthy processes. You want to hire someone you feel comfortable with and someone you will get along well with on a professional level.†Make sure the real estate agent you hire is someone you aren't afraid to express your opinions to. You don't want to be afraid to ask questions of your agent because whether you're a seasoned real estate veteran or a first time buyer, questions may arise. Interviewing different agents to suit your needs is necessary. Certain agents may feel more comfortable with certain clients. Some agents may love working with first time buyers, are familiar with the first time buying experience, and have the ability to point these clients in the right directs, while some agents may prefer to deal strictly with sellers. In this case it would be important to be on the same page as an agent before signing any binding contracts with him/her. Determine your criteria and start interviewing!





Posted by Sears Real Estate on 8/21/2017

Social media, cell phones and hundreds of television channels may have brought the world closer, a whole lot closer. In fact, because of these devices, it only takes the click of a button to keep up with whatís going on in the world. It seems impossible to perceive of yourself as ever being alone with the constant connections. Yet, there are downsides to relying on technology to connect with another person, especially when it comes to community relationships.

Good neighbor relationships donít happen on their own

Itís not just that rewarding neighborhood relationships help to strengthen trust inhumanity. Itís also not just that good neighborhood relationships give you a support network, people to contact should you need someone to look after your children.

There are health benefits to developing good relationships with your neighbors. Deeper human connections have been reported to ward off feelings of isolation and loneliness. By becoming friends with your neighbors, you also gift yourself with a positive feeling each time you see your neighbor.

You can also have someone to talk with should you deal with a personal or work related challenge. This can help to reduce stress as well as lower your chances of developing a stress related illness or disease. Also, if you have rewarding relationships with your neighbors, you can create incredibly loving, exciting and lasting memories that extend beyond your immediate family.

Steps to great neighbors

But, good neighbor relationships donít just happen. Similar to rewarding relationships between colleagues, a spouse or beau, it takes effort to make a neighbor a friend. Because you live within close physical proximity of your neighbors, it wonít take mileage and transportation expenses to keep in touch.

What it will take is commitment, patience and understanding. A simple first step is to speak with your neighbors when you see them, even if it takes a few times before your neighbors take the initiative and speak to you first.

If your neighbors have children, encourage your kids to make friends with the youngsters. You could also form a neighborhood block party to kick in spring and bid farewell to summer.

When neighbors share information with you in confidence, keep the information to yourself. This means not telling anyone what was shared with you unless the information would put someone in danger. In that event, you may have no choice except to share the information with a professional.

This next tip goes beyond living with neighbors. Get in the habit of practicing active listening skills. For example, donít interrupt your neighbors when they are speaking. Also, avoid framing your response to a question or comment that a neighbor shares with you while your neighbor is speaking. Active listening is a great way to build trust.

As you get to know your neighbors better, consider inviting them over to your house to enjoy a chat on the front porch. If your neighbors reciprocate, they should start to invite you over to their place as well. Right now, it may sound far fetched, but your neighbors could become among your very best friends if you put in the effort to get to know them better.

Even more good news is that itís never too late to start to make the effort to become friends with your neighbors. It may be as simple as saying ďhelloĒ each time that you see your neighbor. Finding out what your neighborís name is also helps. So too does practicing active listening skills and valuing your neighborís ideas, opinions and thoughts.




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