Posts Tagged ‘home inspections’

Hidden Fees When Buying a Home

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

I often get asked how much it really costs when buying a home. What expenses do I need to plan for?

Well obviously there is the purchase price of the home, generally put into a 30 year loan. Your lender will explain the interest rate, tax and insurance escrows, appraisal fee, PMI, and closing costs. These fees are expected.
What isn’t always expected are the extra fees involved in home ownership.

When you write an offer on a home, you need to give an earnest deposit with your offer. A typical earnest deposit is about 1% or more of the price of the home you are writing an offer on. It’s your money and will be applied to your closing costs at closing unless you decide to walk away from the offer for no reason. In that case, the Seller gets to keep that money.

A home inspection is another cost that is well worth the money. As the Buyer, you will pay for your own home inspection. They can range from $250 to $500 depending on the size of the house. Once you receive the report from the inspector you may ask the seller to make repairs to the property, but they may or may not make those repairs. At that point it is all negotiable between you and the seller. In some instances repair costs are split between the seller and the buyer.

Another cost might be a Radon inspection. This costs about $125 and is done at the time of the home inspection. If Radon levels are found to be high, then you can ask the seller to install a radon mitigation system. Sometimes the cost of the system (about $800) is split between the seller and the buyer.
Home Owner Associations (HOA) charge another annual fee. A lot of subdivisions have these associations in place to make sure that their neighborhoods are well maintained. HOA fees can range from $30/year to several hundred a year, depending on the neighborhood. So this is something you definitely want to ask your Realtor about once you decide on a home. If you are considering a condo, townhome or villa, then there are monthly association fees that pay for lawn care and snow removal as well.

Of course once you get into your home you have your monthly utilities. You will be paying for electricity, gas, water, sewer, trash removal and most likely cable and telephone services. All of which can add up to several hundred dollars per month.

Of course there may be many other little things that come up in the course of buying a home, but being flexible with negotiations helps things move along smoothly. I also strongly recommend working with a buyer’s agent who knows your market and can help guide you through the entire process.

So is it worth it? Absolutely! There is nothing like owning your own home.

Home Inspections give Sense of Security

Monday, June 14th, 2010

When buying a home, an inspection is a critical step when deciding if a home is right for you. A home inspection will give you a sense of security by knowing exactly what you are getting in a home, both good and bad. This is not to say that, as the buyer, you should complain about the pink fuzzy wall paper in the master bathroom or the orange shag carpet. The issues looked for in an inspection include those that are health and safety concerns, or major repairs.

Home inspections require a professional – not your best friend who once re-did their kitchen. I would recommend an ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) certified inspector to do the job. They’ve gone through training and have to adhere to specific guidelines when performing home inspections.

Here is a short list of things that are of high importance when inspecting a home –

Roof and attic – construction, structure and gutters

Furnace and Air Conditioner units – age, condition, lifespan expectancy

Structural – construction of walls, ceiling and foundation

Plumbing – drainage, waste and vent pipes and water heater

Electrical – main panel, circuit breaker and types of wiring

Appliances – dishwasher, smoke detectors and garbage disposal

Again, this is a brief list and a home inspector would know all the specifics and details of what needs to be looked over. The best idea for a buyer is to hire their own home inspector and have the inspection done within a few days of an accepted offer on a house. If safety issues arise, or major repairs are needed, the buyer can ask the seller to make the repairs, or the buyer and seller can negotiate the cost of repairs together.

It’s important to remember that no home is perfect and each buyer and seller should expect to have to repair something when purchasing a home. Buyers can also ask sellers for a home warranty to ensure that any major issues will be taken care of, at least for a short period of time.

So even for you do-it-yourselfers, a professional home inspection is highly encouraged when purchasing a home. A home shouldn’t be an impulse buy and should be handled by taking each necessary step to ensure a quality and comfortable purchase.