Fees & costs of buying a home… and some you might not think of…

flying money

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
Saturday, March 3rd, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College) 
Thursday, March 8th, from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughline Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

Saturday, March 17th, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR 503 & 112th Ave/Gher Road)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….                                                                                  
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website                  
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner
Happy Sunday evening….or Monday Morning…depending on when you see this.  🙂

Just a reminder that I am looking for your pictures for a 2019 calendar.  At the Client Appreciation event this December, we are going to offer a calendar for this next
year, but we don’t want to just put together the boring, standard calendar with the pictures that everyone has…. we want our calendar to be yours… with your pictures.  So, email me your pictures… going hiking?  Send the picture.  This past week of snow?  Where’s the picture?  Going to a fun local event?… send us a picture.  See a beautiful sunrise?  a stunning sunset?  something that just takes your breath away?  Email me those photos to traciedemars@aol.com.  I will put them on the ‘Tracie DeMars Real Estate’ facebook page, and those pictures with the most ‘likes’ will get put into the calendar, and the sender of the winning photo gets a gift card out of my ‘gift card stash’.
Talking about that Snow this past week… how weird was that?  It’s like Mother Nature was ‘late’ this winter and was like, “oh, we’re good now… here’s winter”.  I, for one, am glad to see rain now….weird, sideways waving rain like I have had today at my house…maybe not so much.  😀  So, what to talk about this week?  I know that I am ‘supposed’ to talk about what happens after the offer, but … I am not really that good at doing what I am ‘supposed’ to do…  😉
Well, the best laid plans of mice and men are always waylaid…right?   I seem to be running behind but I am determined to get this out to you!  As I’m sure you have read….the real estate market is a bit crazy right now, and most of that is because of rising interest rates, and the low inventory of homes.  I, as well as other agents, do see some change coming…  many agents I talk to have homes that will be coming on the market soon, as do I.  With homes selling so quickly, many people wanted to wait until closer to the end of the school year to put their homes on the market. So, hang in there! 
  While showing homes, we go over lots of ‘little’ things that otherwise people don’t think about.  Some of these items are the ‘hidden’ costs of buying a home….those things that you weren’t planning on, but probably should be.    Not too long ago, 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- $2000, but the more expensive the home means the more earnest money you will need.   Some banks (& builders) 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 calendar 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 a couple years ago, 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.  Some other inspections that a buyer can have done (at their cost) are a sewer scope & a radon test.  A sewer scope is where they send a camera down the toilet to make sure the sewer lines are open, and a radon test is a company checks for radon levels in the home.  This is always a good idea if you are considering a home with a basement.  The radon test can take 3-5 days.  Again, these inspections are at a buyers expense.
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.  
Toilet Seats
  Yeah, I know you probably didn’t think of that, but really….if it were me, I would change out the toilet seats when you buy your new home.  Why? Well, since now you are thinking about it….I’m sure you can see why.  LOL  Toilet seats are not expensive, and really…having new seats just makes you feel better!  😀 

Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you.  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  AND 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…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  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 home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  All home buying adventures should START with the Home Buyer Education Classes. Don’t talk to lenders/agents until after the classes so you know the questions to ask, what all the paperwork means, and fully understand the process.  As always…the classes are Free and Non-Promotional.  We are not there to promote ourselves, or any ‘special’ agenda like some classes, and while we certainly hope you will call Chris or I, or both of us, to help with your home buying adventure, that certainly isn’t the main focus of the classes.  If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard… or if you would like me to assist you with your home adventure… please call, email, or text.  We are here 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… 
Upcoming Topics: What happens after an offer is made?
Last Week:  When is a pre-approval a pre-approval, and when isn’t it?
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker 
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes?  Go to www.freehomebuyerclasses.com for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).

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