6 Expenses to Include in Your Homebuying Budget

First-time homebuyers are sometimes caught off guard by overlooked expenses, which can create an uncomfortable financial pinch. Be sure you consider these one-time and ongoing expenses.
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1. Home Inspection
For a few hundred dollars, an inspection can uncover potential trouble such as structural problems or asbestos.

2. Home Maintenance
Experts recommend setting aside 1 to 3%* of the home’s purchase price for annual maintenance. For example, you may need to buy lawn care equipment or replace the roof, furnace, or water heater.

3. Taxes And Insurance
Property taxes and homeowners insurance aren’t always included in mortgage payment calculators.

4. Extra Cash At Closing
Your lender should give you a detailed estimate of closing costs. But beyond those, you may have to pay additional expenses, such as a prorated portion of property taxes or homeowners association fees that the seller has already paid.

5. The Move
Whether you hire professional movers for a few thousand dollars or rent a truck, buy boxes and recruit friends to help, moving costs money.

6. Settling In
You may have to pay utility connection fees when you move in, plus utility costs may be higher than you were used to as a renter. Other costs include lock replacements and decorating expenses.

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5 NEGOTIATING TACTICS THAT KILL A SALE

Negotiation is a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate professionals) should avoid:

  1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer.
  2. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.
  3. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.
  4. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.
  5. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.

Home Buying & The Down Payment

Massachusetts Home Buying – Is the Purchase and Sale Deposit the Same as the Down Payment?
Being a Massachusetts home buyer is a bit different than buying in some other parts of the country. Here in Massachusetts we have a two part contract system. It consists of the “Offer to Purchase” and the “Purchase and Sale Agreement.”

Initially, at the offer stage it is customary to put a deposit of $500 to $1,000 along with the offerdownpaymentonhouse in order to bind the agreement.

Ten days to two weeks after the offer comes the Purchase and Sale Agreement. This is the actual complete document that will have all the terms and conditions of the sale. At Purchase and Sale signing, the buyer will put down a more substantial deposit in order for the seller to feel secure about taking the property off of the market.

The question then arises – is the Purchase and Sales deposit the same as the “down payment?”

The customary amount for the P&S deposit is equal to 5% of the purchase price you will be paying for the property. And, I would not advise putting down any more than this. There is really no reason to do so.

Unless you are in the situation with an FHA or VA loan in which you will be able to put a low down payment, 5% will not be a significant enough amount to qualify as your complete down payment. This is still merely a deposit that holds the property off of the market.

When the P&S is signed and executed, the deposit check is cashed and the funds are put into an escrow account. There they will stay there until your closing at which time this money is brought forward and applied to your purchase.

At the time of your closing you will be bringing “good funds,” usually a bank check, for the remaining amount of your down payment as well as any closing costs.

As a Massachusetts home buyer you should know – there is a definite distinction between the Purchase and Sale deposit and your down payment.