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It can be a stressful endeavor to purchase a home. As one of the most significant investments in life, it is important to understand the steps and fees you may encounter beyond the sale price. When you are searching for a property, keep the expense of closing in mind.

What Are Closing Costs? 

Closing costs are the various expenses and fees that are separate from the purchase price of your house. They apply to the end of the process. Charges include taxes, inspection, title insurance, and title search, as well as some upfront expenses such as homeowner’s insurance.

Closing costs generally range from two to five percent of the purchase price. The final fee is dependent on your location. Most of the expenses are for state and local government, lenders, and legal processing. You can save on some of these by working with a mortgage broker who is experienced and knowledgable about local laws.

What Should You Expect? 

  • Appraisal: This fee goes towards making sure that the price of the home matches the actual worth of the property.

  • Escrow payment: When it comes to timely preparation of the documents, you can trust a good escrow company to take care of the paperwork on your behalf. Prompt preparation of your papers can make a significant difference as it can enable you to close on time.

  • Title/attorney fee: The title and attorney fees are put in place to ensure the transfer of the home's deed occurs without issue. To ensure that it all goes smoothly, work with a highly reputable title company. 

  • Lender fees: The lender fees may include a wide range of items like transfer fees or administrative fees. A broker commission may be part of the cost.

Other fees could include loan interest and loan insurance. Your realtor can help you to save money during your closing and prepare you for the process, work closely with them to determine the fees that may be negotiable.


Aside from your realtor, your lender will be one of the people that you work the most closely with when you’re buying a home. Before you even sign on with a lender, there’s a few questions that you should ask. Don’t feel pressure from a certain lender before you understand what their areas of expertise are. You don’t want to end up with homebuyer’s remorse because you didn’t do the right research before you signed the deal on a home.   


Can You Tell Me About Programs For First Time Homebuyers? 


There are so many great programs for first-time homebuyers. If the lender you choose can’t help you with these programs, maybe this isn’t the right lender for you. If your lender lacks knowledge in the areas that you need, you probably want to shop around.


How Can You Help Me Qualify For The Loan I Need?


Many times, loans have very specific qualifications that you need to meet. Even if you think you might not meet those requirements due to things like a low amount of down payment or a job change, your lender can often help you to find the details in your situation to help you qualify for a loan. For example, you may have recently changed jobs, but if you have stayed in the same field, your lender can help you to explain these circumstances so that you can still qualify for the loan. 


Are There Downpayment Assistance Programs Available?


There are also many programs and loan types available to help buyers get a home with less than a 20% downpayment. Some loans offer good interest rates with less than a 20% downpayment. There are also many grants and downpayment assistance plans available. It’s important to ask questions to know the right information for your loan circumstances.


What Fees Do You Charge?


Some lenders do charge an array of fees. You don’t want to sign on with a lender and then close on the loan, only to find out that you’re knee-deep in fees in addition to all of the closing costs that you have to pay along with the home purchase. 


How Will You Communicate With Me


Just like your Realtor, it’s important that your lender communicates with you in a timely manner. Buying a home requires that documents and offers are in on time to secure your home. Don’t let anything fall through the cracks by hiring people on your home search that may lapse in their communication with important information.


If you intend to buy a house, you probably will check out a lot of home listings over the next few days and weeks. However, it is important to note that not all home listings are created equal, and how you analyze home listings may dictate your homebuying success.

Ultimately, there are several factors that homebuyers need to consider as they assess home listings, and these factors include:

1. Price

The price of a home is one of the key factors – if not the most important factor – that a homebuyer needs to consider in a home listing. Because if you ignore a home's price, you risk wasting precious time and resources as you pursue a home that falls outside your price range.

When it comes to buying a home, it pays to develop a budget ahead of time. That way, you'll know how much you can spend on a residence and can tailor your home search to fit your budget.

You may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to looking at home listings as well. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand and explore available residences that won't force you to spend beyond your means.

2. Condition

Are you looking for a fixer-upper or a brand-new residence? Take a look at a home's condition, and you can determine whether a particular residence is right for you.

Oftentimes, a decades-old residence may require myriad upgrades. This means you may need to allocate significant time and resources to enhance the condition of an old house after you finalize your home purchase.

On the other hand, it is essential to remember that a new house may prove to be more expensive than an old residence. And if you're on the lookout for a bargain, you may want to shy away from listings for brand-new houses.

3. Features

Creating a list of must-have home features is ideal, as this will enable you to narrow your search for your dream residence.

For instance, if you want a home that has a big swimming pool, you can browse home listings accordingly. Or, if you would like to buy a house that is located near some of the nation's best schools, you can focus on home listings in cities and towns that feature top-rated schools.

If you want to streamline your home search, it usually helps to look beyond home listings. Fortunately, real estate agents are available to help you accelerate your search for the perfect residence.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market. He or she will learn about your homebuying goals and provide you with the latest home listings. Then, a real estate agent will work with you to simplify your home search and ensure that you can discover a terrific residence at an unbeatable price.

Take the guesswork out of reviewing home listings – use the aforementioned tips, and you can quickly evaluate a wide range of home listings and find your dream house.


Vertical gardening is an excellent way to conserve space while still enjoying the benefits of lush, living greenery. The best thing about it is that you can create vertical gardens indoors and outdoors. There are many different plans for vertical gardens, also sometimes called green walls or living walls, as well as companies that specialize in their installation. Here we’ll go over the basics of how to DIY your very own vertical garden wall either inside or out.

Materials

Wooden battens
Level
Waterproof membrane
Electric screwdriver
Plastic planters
Your choice of plants

How to Choose Your Plants

You can be creative with your choice of plants for a garden wall. However it’s a good idea to choose plants that have similar care needs so you don’t find yourself over or under-watering portions of your wall. Many plants prefer indirect light to direct sunlight as well so research your options beforehand. Here are some suggestions for easy-care plant choices:

Maidenhair or Boston fern
Pothos
Heart leaf philodendron
Tradescantia
Spider plant

How to Build Your Garden Wall

  1. You can begin by building on practically any sturdy vertical surface. Some options include an interior or exterior wall of your home, a garden fence or a removable wall panel. Once you’ve chosen your spot, spread out and attach the waterproof membrane to the surface to protect it against moisture damage.

  2. Use an electric screwdriver to attach the battens. You can add them in symmetrical rows or stagger them, but make sure you leave enough room for the planters.

  3. Once the battens are attached, screw in the plastic planters.

  4. To create a reservoir, water the wall either with the hose or a watering can, starting from the top. The water will spill down and collect in the planters so keep it moist for up to two weeks.

  5. Add your chosen plants. You can add the plants directly by taking them out of their nursery pots and adding some extra soil. You can also simply place the entire pot into the wall container for easy removal. If you do it this way, make sure the pots have adequate drainage.

Unless you choose to add a built-in hydroponics system, you’ll need to water your living wall at least once per week. Plants that like higher humidity, like ferns, may require more frequent watering while others like pothos and spider plants can be left alone for longer. No matter what, these steps will give you the basis for creating a beautiful vertical garden you can be proud of while enjoying the many benefits of plants in your home.


Before you launch a home search, it helps to prepare for the property buying journey as much as possible. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to get ready to find your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a home search.

1. Establish Homebuying Criteria

If you know you want to buy a home, it generally is a good idea to define your ideal residence as well. That way, you can streamline your house search.

Consider where you want to reside. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you plan to return to school, you may want to search for a home near top colleges and universities.

Think about what features you want in your ideal home, too. If you have always wanted to own a home that boasts a luxurious outdoor swimming pool, for instance, you can map out your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence that features a state-of-the-art kitchen, you can search for a home that offers this amenity.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A mortgage typically is a must-have, regardless of where and when you search for a home. And if you enter the housing market with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know precisely how much you can spend on a residence.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can review your options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.

If you have concerns about home financing, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, diligent mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing queries. As such, you can work with these specialists to gain the home financing insights you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

As you get set to conduct a home search, there is no need to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent, you can collaborate with a homebuying expert who can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a house.

A real estate agent is happy to provide guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can find a terrific home at a price that matches your budget. Plus, a real estate agent will simplify the process of setting up home showings. Perhaps best of all, if you are uncertain about whether to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent is ready to provide insights to help you analyze all of your options.

Dedicate time and resources to prepare for the homebuying journey. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with the insights you need to succeed.




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