6 Hidden Costs to Consider When Purchasing a New Home

So, the time has finally come. You’ve worked your butt off, have stuck to your budget, and now you’re ready to buy a home. Congratulations! You’re one step closer to calling your dream home yours. 

However, when buyers consider the cost of buying a new home, they’re typically only taking into consideration their mortgage payment. But, there are a lot of additional costs that you need to consider, too. While some of these may be one-time costs, others may be recurring. Below, we will break down 6 hidden costs to consider when purchasing a new home.

Closing Costs

When it comes to purchasing a new home, the biggest and most obvious thing to consider are the closing costs. Keep in mind, your closing costs can vary greatly depending on which type of house you are looking at. As a rule of thumb, consider your closing costs to be anywhere from 2-5% of your purchase price. 

Within your closing costs, you will have to consider the following:

  • Inspection Fees
  • Appraisal Fee
  • Title Insurance
  • Escrow Fees
  • Loan Application Fees

According to Nerdwallet.com, “the most cost-effective way to cover your closing costs is to pay them out-of-pocket as a one-time expense.” While you may be able to fold them into your loan, you’ll end up paying interest and therefore, spending more.

Property Taxes

While property taxes may cost you a chunk of money, it’s also important to assess how this may work in your favor in the long run. With the market being such a hot commodity right now, it’s important to consider the rising value of the property. This means that, if you purchase a home, there’s no way of knowing whether or not your home’s value will change over time. If it increases, you will end up receiving supplemental tax bills to make up for the taxes you weren’t paying beforehand. 

But remember, your home’s value rising is a good thing! If your home’s value ends up being more than it was originally assessed at, you will be at a better point financially should you ever decide to sell your home.

Utilities

Remember, utilities are a recurring cost, so it’s important to determine the average you are spending each month to make sure you have enough set aside while still living comfortably. Typical utility costs for homeowners will include things such as gas, electric, water, cable/internet, and HOA fees, if applicable.

Luckily, most people already have this part down to a tee. Chances are, you've already grown accustomed to paying utilities if you were renting. However, when you purchase a new home, there may be additional utilities are are paying for that you might not have been before. It's always a smart idea to see the bigger picture of the overall cost to maintain it with more ease.

Private Mortgage Insurance

For those of you who are planning on purchasing a home with a conventional loan, meaning you will be putting down less than 20%, your mortgage lender will require that you pay private mortgage insurance. “Like other kinds of mortgage insurance, PMI protects the lender-not you- if you stop making payments on your loan.” 

Luckily, there are several different ways to pay for your private mortgage insurance, so you can pick and choose what will work best with your finances. While the most common way to pay PMI is through a monthly premium, you also have the option to choose a one-time up-front premium or a combination of the two.

Just remember what we mentioned above, private mortgage insurance protects the lender. This means that, if you fall behind on your payments, PMI will not protect you. So plan accordingly!

Maintenance and Repairs

Ah yes, maintenance and repairs. The end-game typically replicates something you see on HGTV, but the road to getting there may be costly. Typically, home maintenance and repair costs vary depending on the age of the home you are buying. 

For newer homes, you may only need to worry about general upkeep. However, if there are larger, structural issues in the home you are purchasing, this can cost a pretty penny to fix. If you are someone who loves DIY and projects, this might be a challenge you are willing to take on. Nevertheless, it is important to assess what improvements or changes you will be making to your new home and work these updates into your home at a pace that doesn’t break the bank. Our advice? Start with what needs the most attention first, and save the aesthetic updates for later on. 

Moving Costs

Although this is a one-time cost, there can be a pretty big price tag attached depending on the distance you are moving. While moving down the street means you can trade the help of your friends and family for a free meal, it isn’t always that easy. Oftentimes, you will need to rent a vehicle to move all of your belongings or may consider hiring professional movers to ensure all of your things arrive in one piece.

Whatever it may be, we recommend putting on your thinking cap and thinking of ways you can save during your move. This means tossing what you don’t need, selling items that could be re-homed elsewhere, and more!

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Decluttering 101

Whether you are planning to downsize, looking to simplify your life, or just want to get rid of all that extra stuff, decluttering is the perfect way to start fresh as the New Year quickly approaches. However, decluttering can often seem like a daunting task. You may ask yourself, “where do I start?”. No worries, we’ve broken it down for you below.

One Room at a Time

Like all good things, decluttering your space takes time. We often find that the easiest way to start is by completing one room before moving onto the next. Whether you start with your smallest or biggest room first, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment completing a room fully before moving onto the next. 

Our tip? Start with the rooms that the majority of activities take place. Rooms such as the kitchen, bathroom, or living room are great starting points!

Trash & Recycling

To start out, begin sifting through the items that you no longer have any use for. And take this part seriously! Do you really need that jean jacket from 10 years ago, or those coffee mugs that have collected nothing but dust over the years?

Anything that is paper, plastic or glass, can be recycled. But all of that other stuff? Toss it! It might seem difficult at first but once it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. In the end, you’ll be shocked by how much tidier your space looks when all of those miscellaneous items are put to rest. 

Storage Bins

Sometimes, no matter how organized you may feel you are, there are always a few extra items that make you think where does this even belong? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. That’s where storage bins, containers, and boxes come in handy. 

Depending on how extra you’re feeling, you can put as much or as little into these storage containers as you need. Start with the obvious. In each room, collect the small items (we’re talking pens and pencils, work items, cleaning supplies, toiletries, etc.) to free up some surface space. Then, you can move onto the larger items. Pack up your clothes that aren’t currently in season, have a designated spot for your shoes, and more! The limit is endless. 

Tackling Your Closet

We gave your closet a section of its own. For some, it’s the most dreaded part of the decluttering process. Start by separating your closet into clothing type. One by one, collect all of your shoes, dresses, denim, etc., to view at once. Then, decide what you do and don’t want to keep.

It will be much easier to decide what you want to keep versus what you want to toss when you’re looking at your entire shoe or jean collection at once. Whatever you decide to toss, put to the side for now. There are plenty of places you can donate these items. Always remember the bigger cause!

Next, refold and put everything back in the correct place. Maybe you had your jeans on various shelves before - now, you’ll have the room to put them all in the same spot. Slowly but surely, you’ll have the kind of closet they only show on HGTV.

Now that we’ve provided you with the basics, it’s your time to shine.  Remember, all that clutter didn’t get there overnight, so take your time! By taking it room by room, you can slowly but surely tidy up your house and free yourself from any unwanted clutter before the New Year begins. Once your home is in tip-top shape, try and be mindful. Catch yourself before putting something in the wrong spot, throw away items you don’t plan on keeping, and train yourself to keep your space the way you’ve always envisioned. You’ve got this!

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6 Things to Consider When Moving to a New State

6 Things to Consider When Moving to a New State

Before moving to a new state, there are questions you should be asking yourself to ensure you are making the right decision. With the advancements in technology and changes in work cultures, many have been able to leave the restraints of their desk jobs and have earned the freedom to work anywhere in the world.

However, with freedom comes responsibility. Deciding to move is oftentimes just the tip of the iceberg, and there are a lot of additional factors to consider. Luckily, we are here to break down some of the biggest things to consider and provide you with the perspective and insight to help make the decision best suited for your lifestyle.

1. The "Why"

No matter where you choose to move, there’s going to be some sort of cultural shock and change that you will experience. Before packing up your life and moving to a brand new area, it’s important to ask yourself, “why”? Are you moving for a new job? To be closer to a significant other? For a change in scenery? Whatever your “why” is, be sure to weigh your pros and cons and consider the impact it will have on both your short and long-term goals.

Remember - there is always an adjustment period to consider when changing locations. When you first move, you may experience feelings of homesickness. Stick it out! You've been given the opportunity to write a new chapter in your book. Make new friends, find new hobbies, give your career a face-life - and take control! The beginning might not always be the easiest, but as long as you remember your "why", the outcome will always be worth it.

2. Housing Market/Cost of Living

As the COVID-19 pandemic changed lives worldwide, it’s given people the freedom to pack up their lives and start over somewhere new. Whether you keep your current job or choose a different occupation altogether, it’s important to consider how far your salary will go in another city.

The housing market and cost of living will always vary from state to state. Be sure to do your research to get a grasp on prices in the area you will be moving to. This includes housing, groceries, gas, utilities, healthcare, and miscellaneous expenses. And while many websites offer online calculators to help provide a big picture, finer details are often overlooked. Not only do these calculators leave out the considerations of state, local, property and income taxes - everyone's day-to-day spending habits greatly differ. Having everything outlined before your move will ease your stress and ensure you are financially ready to tackle your new city.

3. Schools

Whether you’re considering starting a family, have a new baby in tow, or a household full of teenagers, remember to take an in-depth look at school systems. Many towns and cities offer both private and public schooling, and only you know which is best for your family. Take a look at the different sports and extracurriculars the schools are offering, check to see if there is a daycare or after-school program that works with your schedule, and make sure to include a copy of your children's current courses so they are properly placed in their new curriculum.

You want to feel confident with where you’re sending your children, so do your research and make sure the school systems are living up to and exceeding your expectations. Knowing how the city’s school system works may adjust your scope and decision on the neighborhoods you consider moving to.

For people moving states with kids already in school, many recommend making the move over the summer. This gives your children time to settle into their new home and make friends before stepping foot into a brand new school. While they are adjusting, make sure to keep communication open. Check in with them frequently, stay involved, and keep a positive attitude. With time, they will feel right at home - literally!

4. Traffic/Commute

Are you living in a small town and moving to a big city? Or maybe, you’re leaving city life and heading to the countryside? Changing your commuting habits can be difficult, and often, people don’t realize how strenuous it is until incorporating it into their everyday lives.

Before moving, map out your major destination points. This includes your job, restaurants you’ll be a frequent visitor to, major attractions, and more. Doing so will help determine whether you should move closer, farther, or compromise somewhere in the middle. Remember, means of transportation have only continued improving with time. Depending on where you move, you can get around by bus, train, car, or bike!

5. Matching Your Lifestyle

While immersing yourself in a new city is a great way to pick up new hobbies and meet friendly faces, the transition is oftentimes easiest when you can stick to your roots.

Explore neighborhoods that fit both your budget and your personality. Whether you’re interested in museums, shopping, bars, or the great outdoors - determine which activities you can’t live without and go from there. While a cultural shock is bound to happen, ensuring you have access to the activities that bring color to your life will make your living situation a positive one.

6. The Move

Now that you’ve finally decided to make the move, your next (and most labor-worthy) step is getting there. Moving is not an easy task, so try and do it in a way that will save you time and money without increasing stress.

Make a list of the items you can and can’t go without. While your furniture and personal belongings may seem like a no-brainer, ask yourself if you need to pack up the clothes you haven’t worn in 5 years, or the closet full of stuff that you pretend isn’t actually there. Once you decide what’s coming with you, donate or sell the rest.

From there, how you move the rest of your belongings is entirely up to you. If you want a hassle-free option, moving companies are a great route to take, but there often is a hefty price tag attached. Another option is investing in a moving truck, just be sure to remember the time it will take to drive to your new location and whether or not you can swing it.

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5 Tips to Calm Your Dog During a Move

It’s the dreaded four letter word: move. The sight of luggage can incite fear even for the happiest of dogs. Even though you want to be there for your pet, you’re probably stressing about the inspection and negotiation process. So, what can you do to make the process a little bit easier? Below, we’ve compiled five easy ways for you to help settle your canine companion.

1. Be prepared.

In the middle of your other logistics, make sure you think about your pet, too. Ensure that they are up to date on all vaccinations, print identification tags with your new address, and try to get their records sent over to your new veterinarian.

If you’re going to be downsizing, consider checking for local dog parks, daycares, nature trails, and other ways to keep your furry friend active. If you’re transitioning from a fenced-in yard to an open space, consider training your pet on the property line before letting them off leash. Even well-behaved dogs might feel confusion and the instinct to bolt in unfamiliar surroundings. Simply walking the perimeter a few times a day should help teach them the boundaries.

Finally, think about arranging a friend or family member to care for your pet on both the move out and move-in days. Having your pet absent from all the chaos will help prevent unnecessary stress. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about where your pet is and you can focus on maneuvering furniture and cleaning.

Photo courtesy: @sarandywestfall_photo

2. Mimic the old space.

Refrain from washing blankets and bedding that your dog uses. Having familiar scents in their new environment helps them settle in quicker. Even though it’s tempting to purchase new bowls and toys, keeping the same items also helps them seek comfort. If you can, try to set up the new space similar to your old house so that they maintain consistency in the new home.

3. Routine is everything.

Along the same lines, try to recreate the same routine; this helps stabilize your pet’s world. Dogs are all about schedules. If you always walked your dog at five o’clock, try to continue this throughout the move. By relying on the same exercise and feeding schedule, it’s much easier for them to fall into a familiar rhythm.

Animals are prone to act out if they are bored or under stimulated, so try to keep this in mind during your move. If you’re too busy to exercise them, be sure to leave out a stuffed Kong or a safe Nylabone to help keep them engaged.

4. Calming aids.

If your pet has trouble traveling in the car, you can feed them in the crate or carrier for a few weeks prior to help make it a positive experience.

However, if you’re worried about your pet having severe anxiety during your move, consult your veterinarian and ask about an anti-anxiety medication or a homeopathic remedy. You should never self-treat your pet, but your vet could have a good recommendation that can help ease the strain of the move for your pet.

Photo courtesy: @pope_moisa

5. Good old TLC.

Don’t underestimate the power of spending time with your dog. Take a few minutes to decompress from the strain of moving and organizing to play an extra round of fetch or take a quick local hike. Even a few minutes sitting on the couch or floor petting your dog could make all the difference in the world. Remember, you’re both embarking on a new adventure!

Although moving is a stressful time, we can help. Contact New Space Real Estate today to discuss your buying and selling needs!