Understanding Closing Costs When Buying Your New Home

Closing costs are part of any home buying experience and venture. These are essentially out of pocket costs that are incurred at the time of closing. The fees are charges that predominately result the title and escrow company who completes the sale.  It includes the escrow company fees, as well as certain fees to a title company of the seller’s choice.  Title companies are necessary to provide the buyer “title insurance”.  The example that best describes it to me was, “Ok, so imagine Homeowner A borrowing a large sum of money 10 years ago from Uncle B.  Uncle B was smart and had Homeowner A sign a contract that included the home as partial collateral for the loan.  Homeowner later sells the home to Homebuyer C.  Does Uncle B, if never repaid, have a claim to the home, now owed by Homebuyer C?” Title Insurance prevents that from happening.  They preventing it by providing a buyer with an insurance policy against the title of the home, so that, should any claim against the home be brought, the insurance company can provide coverage from a potential loss.  This is commonly known as Title Insurance, and is almost always paid for by the seller of the home.

So, in addition to those fees, this brings us to the last step in securing timely waterfront home ownership across the board. Usually, closing costs include pre-paid homeowners insurance and appraisal costs. However, they can also include charges by the mortgage company for implementing the mortgage itself. Similarly, pre-paid interest – known as “points” – may also be assessed during closing time. Other fees may include title insurance, along with filing fees, attorney fees, recording fees and miscellaneous expenses.  Fees typically operate on somewhat of a sliding scale, so the fees would be less if buying a condo vs a single family home.

Avoid Issues with Closing Costs

One of the best ways to avoid closing cost issues is by paying close attention to every detail. You simply cannot afford to get caught off guard at closing. This can result in costly delays, and possibly even turn you away from the deal altogether. With this in mind, is it vital to request an advanced copy of the HUD 1 settlement. This should be done at least three days prior to closing on your new homes. The HUD is designed to protect you during the closing process, and not worry about surprise fees on closing day. Here are some essentials you should keep in mind:

•    Review the entire closing agreement – or let your attorney review it in close detail.
•    Check all the closing costs and figures to make sure they are 100% correct.  Point out any discrepancies or issues with credit or closing costs – and handle them ASAP.
•    Stay on top of all buyer-seller- agent communications across the board. Make sure to include your lender and attorney in the loop as well.
•    Make sure to keep hard copies of the HUD agreement on hand before, during and even after closing.
•    Make sure everyone in the loop is on the same page – stay in close communication with your Realtor -and correct any errors or issues that can potentially cause delays.

Schedule Early Walk Throughs

Another way to avoid problems with closing costs is scheduling an early walk-through. This, of course, has to be done before closing day so you can check the home thoroughly. If you find any issues – you must notify the seller, agent or attorney at once. Remember, closing costs are governed by enforceable contracts – but all parties must be in agreement across the board. This contract also includes any legal or governing bodies – especially HUD-related rules and regulations. If you do not want to delay your closing day, all closing costs must be taken care of beforehand as well. Again, make sure every penny is accounted for on the contract – and always take photos of your bills and receipts.


You also need a detailed checklist of what was supposed to remain the property – and what was to be taken. For example: if the fixtures were supposed to remain but a few are missing, early inspections can rectify the situations before they escalate and lead you to walk out on the deal.

For more information about buyer closing costs, contact our office through homes-in-riverside.com or visit us directly.

Fun Things for the Family to Do in Panama City, Florida

Fun Things for the Family to Do in Panama City, Florida

Visit the beaches

This beautiful city has 27 miles of gorgeous beaches. Shell Island in particular is loved by both locals and tourists and is only accessible by boat. You can go there to swim and sunbathe. There is also plenty to see – rolling sand dunes, loggerhead and sea turtles and lots of other nature. If you are looking for undeveloped beachfront you can head to St. Andrews State Park, and Rick Seltzer Beach is also great.

Museum Man of the Sea

This one was founded in 1976 and is run by former Navy Seals and marine scientists. Here you will learn all about the history of man and undersea through interactive exhibits and displays. You get to climb through a submarine, try on a brass diving helmet and learn about different techniques of diving and staying underwater. If you can make the time there is a film that teaches you all about diving.

Man in the Sea Museum

Science and Discovery Center of Northwest Florida

This is a child’s museum that is aimed and introducing children to history, science and technology. They learn in an interactive and fun way, after which they can enjoy an outdoors nature trail through the woods and over a marsh to a pioneers’ village where there is a toddler’s play ground and a nice picnic area. There is an airline cockpit which the children can climb and explore.

Shipwreck Island Water Park, Panama City Beach, Florida

This is an aquatics park with activities that the whole family can enjoy. There is a 5,000 gallon wave pool, a Tree Top Drop, a free fall slide, a Pirate’s Plunge racing slide, 17th century sailing ship Raging Rapids River. For younger children there is a family activity pool with miniature slide. There are kiosks with food and drink and all the staff are professionally trained.

Shipwreck Island Waterpark

Paradise Adventures Catamaran

These are tours on a 52 foot safety approved catamarans. The cruises depart from Pirate’s Cove Marina and each boat can take up to 49 people, so feel free to ask extended family to come along. You can choose a morning or afternoon tour and each tour lasts 3 hours. Evening cruises last for 2 hours and are the perfect way to end a day of exploring in Panama City Florida.

Hombre Golf Club

This is a 27 hole PGA course set between wetlands, marshlands and lakes. It is dotted with palm trees and is home to the Panama City Beach Classic. Some of the world’s best golfers have played here. Do not worry if you are not a professional – there are trainers available for beginners.

Sea Dragon Pirates Cruise

This is an 85 ft ship where kids get to pretend to be pirates. There is face painting, temporary tattoos and lots and lots for kids to do – sword fights, swab the deck, treasure hunts, fire pretend cannon, water gun fights and more. Parents get to relax and enjoy cocktails as their children play. The ship goes all the way to Shell Island and you will see dolphins along the way.

Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise

What Were The Hottest Real Estate Markets of 2017?

What Were The Hottest Real Estate Markets of 2017?

What Were The Top Real Estate Markets for 2017?

Now that we embark on 2018, its a good time to look back and review what happened in real estate for 2017.  As a whole, real estate flourished in 2017, spurred by low mortgage interest rates, high demand and a relatively low supply of homes on the market.  Although 2017 was a good year for just about everyone, what were the hottest real estate markets for 2017?

Back in January of 2017, Trulia released their list of the 10 hottest real estate markets to watch for 2017.  Around the same time, Zillow released their hottest real estate markets for 2017.  Although Zillow owns Trulia, the lists were quite different.  There was one consistency between the two lists — both were full of coastal real estate markets.  Realtor.com consistently puts out their list of the top real estate markets too.  It is easy to come up with different lists for the top real estate markets – it depends on which real estate statistics you choose to look at and how you weight them.  When reviewing real estate market statistics, there are many data points that can be reviewed, including:

  • Number of home sales
  • Increase in the number of home sale year over year
  • Home prices
  • Increase in home prices year over year
  • Dollar per square foot for single family homes
  • Dollar per square foot increase year over year
  • Number of new construction
  • Increase, year over year, of new construction
  • local economic factors
  • population trends
  • Median home prices
  • Year over year increase in median home prices
  • Absorption rate of homes
  • Months of supply of home
  • and much more…

And then, of course, are you looking at every city in the country?  Are you just looking at the top 100 real estate markets by size?  Top 200?  Most entities that are putting together a list of the the top real estate markets then have to choose what weight to give to each data point.  It becomes easy to see how everyone can come up with a different list.

What Were The Real Estate Predictions for 2017?

The Top Real Estate Markets for 2017

Coastal Areas seem to dominate the top real estate markets for 2017 with ***** of the top ten being coastal real estate markets, with California making up the top three spots. The ongoing growth of the California real estate market insures that you will have no problem finding a real estate agent there – with 1 in 7 of California residents having a real estate license.

San Francisco CA

The area of San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward has seen tremendous real estate growth.  That is saying quite a lot considering the real estate prices in San Francisco have not been depressed by any stretch of the imagination.  This is one of those unique areas that already had home prices that were much higher than the rest of the country – but somehow seemed to still see tremendous increases.  Home prices in the San Francisco Bay area jumped 7 percent annually in November of 2017.  That makes the third straight month at such dramatic increases in home values.  The rate of increase was far stronger than the increase in home prices for the first half of 2017. Low supply and high demand are some of the factors attributed to the major gains.

Sacramento CA

Sacramento, much like San Francisco, already had much higher than average home prices.  To see the real estate market grow at such a rate is extremely unusual.  With the commercial real estate market on fire in Sacramento, we have seen the residential market follow.  The Sacramento Association of Realtors recorded 1.6 months of inventory this November, meaning that’s about how long it would take to sell all of the resale homes on the market in Sacramento County and the city of West Sacramento.

Lodi CA 

Although still recovering from the massive downturn, in the last few months of 2017 the Lodi California real estate market has experienced significant decreases in homeowners that are in a negative equity position. Quarter over quarter, the percentage of underwater mortgages is decreasing in the Central Valley, a trend that spreads across the country.

Lodi ca real estate market

Although not as high as its peak, the Lodi real estate market is still strong.

Dr. Frank Nothaft, the chief economist for CoreLogic was quoted as saying “This increase is primarily a reflection of rising home prices in Lodi, which drives up home values, leading to an increase in home equity positions and supporting consumer spending.”

Columbus OH

The Columbus OH real estate market grew more more than fifteen percent to over $150 Billion dollars in 2017.  With the median home value in Columbus rising over seven percent year over year.  The massive growth can be attributed to the affordability of the Columbus area, with the median home price at just over $200,000. The relative affordability of the homes in Columbus, coupled with the tremendous increases in property value has enticed many people to purchase a second home in the area.

Boston MA

The Boston real estate market has seen some bad press because of the massive rise in home prices in the Greater Boston Area.  With the average home price in Boston proper being over $900,000 and the average dollar per square foot exceeding $820.  With real estate prices that high and continuing to rise, to own any home in the city of Boston, regardless of size or amenities, can be considered a luxury home.

Panama City Beach FL

Panama City Beach Florida is another coastal area that has seen tremendous growth in their real estate market in 2017.  With a tremendous influx of insurance money flowing in from hurricanes over the last few years has created a very fresh set of condominium inventory and has many longtime homeowners thinking of selling their home in Panama City Beach.  One real estate broker was quoted as saying “with the numerous hurricanes and beachfront property damage in the last 3 years, almost every home and condo has been rebuilt, we are looking at almost an entire new city of properties to sell…and they are selling fast.”  The combination of the overall economy driving tourism coupled with the fresh inventory, the Panama City Beach real estate market has flourished.

Dallas TX

The Dallas – Fort Worth real estate market has been on this list for many years.  With some Dallas residents waiting for the market to cool off because of the ever-increasing home prices, the D-FW housing market is still seeing homes sell at some of the fastest rates in the country.  Dallas has seen a tremendous shortage of housing inventory over the last few years.

Dallas Tx real estate market

The Dallas real estate market has seen consistent growth.

Currently, the Dallas market has about a 3 month supply of homes – which is approximate half of what is considered a “balanced market”.  In addition, home values have gone up by more than forty percent in the last four years – which is one of the strongest streaks in real estate.

San Diego CA

California makes the list again with San Diego.  Although the San Diego market saw a slight slow down toward the end of 2017, they still pulled $530,000 for the average home there.  That is still not even close to the peak of the Sand Diego real estate market, which was in 2005, with an average home price of $643,000.  Although substantially more than what is found in other parts of the country, many see the current Sand Diego home prices as a “bargain” which is keeping the supply of homes low with the demand high.  Many investors look at the current prices as a steal and scoop up new homes as soon as they hit the market, not even digging too deep to find the perfect property — just anything that is not in a bidding war.

2017 Was a Good Year For Real Estate

Overall, 2017 was a great year for real estate.  Many expect 2018 to also be another stellar year.  One of the major changes in real estate for 2018 over 2017 will be the repercussions of the newly passed tax bill.  With the new tax laws, as they pertain to real estate, we are expecting to see many of the more expensive real estate markets such as Boston and San Diego to slow down.  Many real estate economists feel that the best real estate markets for 2018 will be the more middle of the road markets that won’t be has heavily affected by the new tax laws.  We shall see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding The Right Agent

Finding The Right Agent

How to Find the Right REALTOR to Sell Your Home

Many people end up confused when it comes to finding a REALTOR – how do they know that they are picking the right one when there are so many of them around?  Looking at properties is the fun part of purchasing a home.  There is quite a bit more that goes into a real estate transaction and you want to insure you have someone looking out for your best interest.

SPECIALTIES

One thing to keep in mind is just like in any other industry, many real estate agents have areas of expertise.  Some REALTORS may specialize in listing waterfront homes, some specialize in working with first time buyers, lakehomes some may have a depth of knowledge in condos.

In addition to the the types of real estate transaction, you will find some agents will have more experience in the city where others focus on the outlying areas, subdivisions and suburbs.  There are very different skill sets when working in a metro area than working neighborhoods.  You get even a different specialty when looking for vacant land or in even waterfront homes as opposed to Brownstones in a heavily populated area.

As your agent what their specialty is.  If they say “everything” – for smaller areas that may be true – but in larger real estate markets, agents generally end up working the same types of real estate transactions on the same types of properties.

luxury homes

luxury homes

Finding an Agent

It is true that finding a real estate agent can be hard, but if you know what you are looking for you will be able to find a realtor who will help you sell your home fast and for a good price. Here are top tips on how to find a real estate agent:

  • Make sure that you choose a professional. While many people identify themselves as REALTORS, not all of them are members of the National Association of Realtors. Ask them to show you their membership card. It helps if they are members of other professional associations.
  • You want to find a real estate agent who has the right amount of experience. If you go with a REALTOR who is still learning how to sell homes you may end up having to wait for a long term before you can find the right buyer.
  • When you are looking for a REALTOR you should be looking into those that work in your neighborhood. Not only do they know who is in the market for a new home, they also know the buying trends of the market around you and they will help you sell your home for the right price.
  • A good REALTOR provides a comprehensive package. They will provide you with advice on how best to stage, they will bring in the right professionals to do repairs, they will help with valuation and they will also help you with all the paperwork that comes with selling your home. You may find that there are some who charge less because they don’t offer these services – it is not a good idea to go with such a realtor because it means that all these little additional tasks become your headache.
  • Choose a REALTOR who is within your range, Say, for example, that you want to sell your home for about $500,000 – you will not have an easy time of it if you choose a REALTOR who deals with high end homes that sell for millions.
  • If a REALTOR says that they are able to sell your home for a lot more than its valuation be wary – if your home is listed for a lot of money it will stay on the market a lot longer.
  • Good REALTORS are also good communicators – they will listen to you so as to understand your expectation and they will also talk to you often to let you know what kind of progress they are making finding prospective buyers. On your part let them know how you would prefer that they communicate with you – should they call, text or email?
  • Lastly, make sure that you are not paying your REALTOR more money than you should. Find out what the average rates are so that you can negotiate a good deal for yourself. Make sure that the realtor you choose doesn’t have any hidden costs.
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With the purchase of a home being the largest transaction of most peoples lives – choosing a REALTOR is an important decision.  Real estate is very litigious and there is a ton of paperwork and with so much money at stake, you want to trust the person driving.

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Need To Know About Waterfront River Homes?

Buying a Waterfront River Home

Waterfront river homes offers the kind of serenity that is better experienced than described. From the quietness of the quietness of the environment to the wonderful panorama offered by the sea, living in riverfront home can offer the added motivation needed to keep the body healthy and spirit motivated for more life adventures.

Buying a home on the river, however, is not as easy as some will like you to believe. If you are not properly guided, the chances of making a poor decision is very high. When buying a waterfront home, the following factors should be considered before making the final decision.

Carefully consider why you are buying a home on the river:

You have to carefully reconsider your reason for buying a waterfront home. You should consider the interest of the members of your family. Will the waterfront lifestyle suit them? Are you and your loved ones going to take advantage of the water? Once you are sure your reasons are rational and justifiable, consider buying the kind of riverfront homes that is in line with your reasons and will suit your need.

Research about the water:

All water bodies are not the same. They also do not offer the same values. Before buying a waterfront home, make sure that the property is located in the kind of water that will satisfy your need for a waterfront river homes. If you are interested in swimming, research about the water body to make sure that it’s safe for swimming. The presence of some weed and fish species makes water unsuitable for swimming. If you are interested in boating, you have to find out about the depth of the water and determine if it is suitable for the boat you own or want to acquire.

Find out about association or community fees:

You may not know it, but most lakefront properties are part of communities and may attract some form of additional fees to maintain the environment. Is also very likely that the body of water your prospective home is located at is subject to association fees that will be passed down to property owners or residents. Just make sure you have perfect understanding of any financial obligations that may come as a result of taking ownership of your dream waterfront homes.

Learn about insurance cover for flood and related risk factors associated with waterfront homes:

Homes on the river are obviously susceptible to a couple of risk factors. Ideally, these properties require some kind of special insurance policy. Before buying a home on the river, take care to understand the insurance requirements of such properties and decide if it is what you will like to subscribe to. The premium you’ll pay to cover your waterfront home that has a high risk for potential flooding will be greater than what you will pay for properties with less risk.

Buying a waterfront home is a great idea if you can afford it. The possibility of going for the wrong deal is great due to the unique nature of the environment. Make sure to consider the factors above in order to make a sound decision when buying a waterfront home.