February 18, 2015

What it Costs to Move

When buying a home, it's easy to get caught up on a home's listing price and overlook some of the smaller expenses, such as closing costs and moving fees. Unfortunately, these charges can add up.

Moving Expenses. Moving is time consuming, exhausting work, which is reflected in the cost of packing, moving and storage services. The average move of household goods in 2012 cost $12,459, according to Worldwide ERC. Naturally, costs vary based on a number of factors. The primary factor that movers consider is distance. Other variables affecting price include the size of the home and the weight of the contents of the home. Make sure that the movers inspect your home prior to moving day and provide you with a weight estimate of your belongings. Calculate an estimate of your moving fees, here.

How to minimize moving expenses: The best way to keep moving costs low is to do as much of the packing and moving yourself. If you don't have access to a truck, consider renting a moving truck. U-Haul has trucks of all difference sizes that you can rent from one location and return at another. For a small extra fee, you can also rent protective mats to put furniture on. It's best to schedule ahead of time to ensure that the truck you need is available. If you are moving for work, you can request that your company cover relocation expenses, ideally before you accept the position or plans are finalized.

February 11, 2015

What it Costs to Close

Closing costs typically amount to 2-5 percent of the purchase price of the home, to be paid at the time the buyer closes on his or her mortgage. A recent survey reports that the average closing fee amounts to $3,700. While lenders are required by law to provide borrowers with good faith estimates of closing costs within three days of when they apply for a loan, many of the fees factored into this "estimate" can change by up to 10% and thus must not be interpreted as a firm calculation. Closing costs consider expenses such as attorney fees, a fee for running a buyer's credit report, an appraisal fee, a survey fee, title insurance and search fees, and an underwriting fee, among others. Estimate your closing costs and see how closing costs vary by state.

How to reduce closing costs: Although the buyer typically pays the closing fee, some homeowners negotiate this with the seller, who may agree to assume part or all of closing costs on behalf of the buyer. Borrows can also seek a no-closing cost mortgage. With this, a buyer pays no closing costs upfront but will likely be charged a higher interest rate, meaning the buyer is not saving that much money in the end.

At the end of the day, these fees may only be a fraction of the price you are paying for a home, but they still amount to thousands of dollars. Make sure that you plan for such expenses so that your home buying process goes as smoothly as possible!

February 4, 2015

What Millennials Want / The Millennial Mindset

As the housing market prepares to accommodate the next wave of homebuyers, real estate agents should be attuned to the Millennial mindset. Bank of America Merrill Lynch conducted a survey of 1000 adults aged 20-34 across various U.S. cities to determine what Millennials (those born after 1980 through the mid/late 1990s) want.

  • Home ownership is highly valued. 73% of survey respondents report that owning a home is either very important (56%) or important (17%) to them, signifying that Millennials possess a strong desire to own their own home, even if they do not own one yet.

  • When purchasing a home, Millennials most value 1) price, 2) commute time to work, and 3) home size. The importance placed on other factors vary across demographics. For example, married Millennials value school district over restaurants and entertainment whereas the opposite is true for single Millennials. 

  • Millennials prefer the suburbs over the city. 48% of respondents report that they currently live in a suburb and want to live there in the future or live in a city and want to move to a suburb in the future. Contrarily, only 31% of respondents said that they currently live in a city and wish to live in a city in the future or currently live in a suburb but want to move to city. 

  • Millennials are minimally concerned about flexibility. While some may argue that a strong rental market means that people highly value the flexibility to move among cities, the majority (69%)  of survey respondents claimed that it was either not very important or only somewhat important to them. This flexibility is more important to single Millennials than married ones, with 35% and 25% citing flexibility as important or very important, respectively.