ICON Realty Group Real Estate Services South Shore of Massachusetts


Have you heard the term “earnest money” but really aren’t sure what it means? Once you have found the perfect home and are all set to make an offer, there’s one more step that you need to take. That’s to make a deposit on the home you want to buy. This is known as an “earnest money deposit.”  


The Purpose Of The Deposit


The deposit shows the seller that you’re serious about buying the home. It’s a measure that allows the seller to have some faith in you as a buyer that you’re truly moving forward with your decision; you’re ready as a buyer to make the financial commitment. This deposit allows the deal to begin on a solid basis without much question. 


Is The Deposit Required Legally To Buy A Home?


From a seller’s perspective, a deposit keeps a buyer from changing their mind. If there is a significant amount of money involved, the seller sees the deposit as a way to keep the buyer locked in. This makes it easier for sellers to accept an offer. 


How Much Is Expected For An Earnest Money Deposit?


These deposits don’t quite have a standard amount. The general rule is that they range from 1% of the home price up to 5%. The more expensive of a home that’s being purchased, the larger the earnest money deposit should be. In some cases, the seller may even ask for a certain amount of a deposit to ensure that buyers are serious. How much money you pay at once is often negotiable. You may be able to pay part of the money at one time and the other part at a later date.


New Construction Can Require Large Deposits


New construction homes can require large earnest money deposits- up to half of the purchase price of the home. This is because the construction costs need to be paid upfront and the bank wants proof that the units being constructed with loan money are being sold to buyers who can pay for the home. 


New construction homes are often customized as well. It would be detrimental to a developer to make special changes to a home only for a buyer to walk away. 


Getting The Deposit Refunded


As with everything in real estate, you’ll have a contract. If you don’t follow the terms of the contract, you risk losing your earnest money deposit. Two main reasons for buyers to walk away are a flopped home inspection or financing that falls through. Read your contracts carefully. Sellers sometimes state that deposits are nonrefundable after a certain number of days. 


You need to be sure that you are covered as a buyer in the purchase and sales agreement. If you back out of a home purchase without good reason like a contingency included in the agreement) you could be out of luck when it comes to getting your deposit back.    




Searching for the ideal home is an exciting adventure, but it can also be fraught with setbacks, delays, and disappointments. With a little preparation, however, you can avoid many of the potential pitfalls that could happen along the way.

One of the secrets of successful house hunters is to adopt a positive attitude, but temper it with a dose of realism.

Flexibility is also important, but it pays to be steadfast about your absolute requirements, also known as your "must have" list.

To help ensure a successful house hunting experience, here are a few of the key attitudes and qualities that are worth taking inventory of and cultivating.

Persistence: Although it does happen, it's unlikely that the house of your dreams is going to show up at the beginning of your search. As seasoned house hunters know, it's not unusual to have to look at dozens of houses for sale before finding just the right one. But even when you've reached that turning point, there still may be obstacles, hurdles, and challenges to deal with. The perfect example is a bidding war. What if you're all ready to make an offer on the ideal house, but it turns out that one or more other buyers have their sights set on that same house? That can not only be stressful, but it can stretch your housing budget to its outer limits (and beyond)! On one hand, you have to be willing to walk away from a property that would leave you "house poor", but on the other hand, you may want to consider pursuing a real estate deal that's on the high end of your budget, but financially doable. Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent who's a skilled negotiator can help give you an edge when you're confronted with a so-called "bidding war."

Optimism: If you view house hunting as a process which will eventually produce your desired outcome, then you'll be a lot more motivated to go the distance, rather than lower your standards or give up entirely. A positive attitude will help you overcome setbacks, identify workable solutions, and recognize opportunities when they present themselves.

Organization: Whether you prefer the idiom "The devil is in the details" or "God is in the details," the lesson is still the same: Small details can have a big impact. Staying goal-oriented and organized can help propel you forward and avoid frustrations. Knowing your credit score, establishing a realistic housing budget, and scheduling meetings with mortgage lenders will help you stay on course, be prepared, and steer clear of unnecessary delays. It also helps to take notes, create lists, and follow a daily or weekly action plan.

Buying a house is an important priority which can affect the quality of your life in many ways. By staying organized, focused, and positive about your search, your chances of success will be enhanced many times over.


You already know that closing costs on a home can come at a hefty price. There are a few ways that you can actually cut down on the amount of closing costs that you may have on a home. 


Compare The Costs


You have the right to shop around for a lender who offers the lowest closing costs. You can even ask your lender to match the closing costs of another lender that may have them for a lower fee. Certain fees that are included in the closing are negotiable and flexible. You’re allowed to shop around for inspections, title searches, surveys, and the like. There’s nothing that says you have to go with the company recommended by your lender for each. There should be a list of services that is included in the closing costs on your estimate that you receive form the lender.


Question What Each Fee Covers


When you get the loan estimate, don’t just accept it. Take a look at each item and inquire what the fee includes. See why each item costs as much as it does. Be on the lookout for fees with similar names. The lender could be double charging you without your knowledge. It’s always good to be informed especially where large investments are involved.        


 

Negotiate


You have the right to negotiate with your lender on the closing costs. You can ask for obscure and unnecessary costs to be taken off from the closing. Getting the closing disclosure form as soon as you can will also help you to settle any discrepancies before it’s too late. 


Ask The Seller


Some sellers will even be willing to sweeten the deal for you by either lowering the sale price of the home or covering some or all of the closing costs. Depending on the market, you may be able to get the seller to help reduce your burden of the closing costs. 


If You’re Refinancing 


Every time that you refinance your home, you’ll need to pay closing costs. There are a couple of ways that you can save in this situation. One is to waive the appraisal altogether. If the home has recently been appraised, you may be able to waive the appraisal completely. You can also request an automatic appraisal rather than a full appraisal in order to save some money.

The other option that you have when refinancing to save money is to save on the title insurance. You can ask for what’s called a re-issue date, which is a less expensive rate for the title insurance for refinancers.


Closing costs are a part of the process when you buy a home. If you’re careful, you might be able to save some money on these mandatory fees.


When you’re buying a home, there’s a lot of excitement that surrounds the search and purchase of the property. In the process of buying a home, however, there are many things that buyers forget to take into account during their search and budgeting. Below, you’ll find some information to help you be prepared as a buyer to consider your home purchase from all angles without missing a beat.  


The Expense Of Closing Costs


Remember that closing costs will be somewhere in the 3-5 percent range of the purchase price of a home. Amidst all of your savings, you’ll need to consider this a part of your expenses. Closing costs need to be paid upfront in most cases. You can roll your closing costs into the financing, but it depends on the circumstances. There are no guarantees that the lender will agree to it. Your realtor can also sometimes negotiate for the sellers to pay the closing costs, but in a seller’s market this is quite rare. Be prepared with your closing costs and understand how much you’ll need to spend so that you have an appropriate amount for the downpayment and the other expenses that you’ll incur during the process of buying a home.  


The Cost Of Maintaining A House


Many buyers forget about all of the costs that they will need to pay for after they finish buying the house. In addition to a monthly mortgage payment, you’ll need to pay for things like utilities, routine home maintenance, furnishings, and more. If you completely deplete your savings for the purchase of the home, there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room for you to pay for additional needs in the house. 


The Cost Of Furnishing And Decorating A Home


You may move into a home with a few pieces that you have previously owned. You could also need a lot of things from a bed to a sofa. All of these items can add up. You may even have to worry about little things like window shades, curtains, lamps, light bulbs, and more. 


Home Repairs Can Cost A Pretty Penny


If something needs to be done in your home, the repairs can cost you quite a bit. If you’re not paying attention during the home inspection, you’ll be in for some surprises. That’s why you need a good realtor to help you through the process. A new roof can cost thousands of dollars. New appliances are an expense you should plan for. Other major work that needs to be done around the house can also dip into your savings significantly. As a buyer, you need to be prepared for any of these expected or completely unexpected costs.           


Your kitchen is an often used room and can become cluttered very quickly. There are plenty of strategies that you can use to keep the room in order. Below, you’ll find tips that will help you to keep your kitchen decluttered and your supplies organized once and for all! 


Make Space For Storage


This sounds like an obvious need in any room of the house, but the kitchen is a place where you need ample storage. There are a few ways to do this. Outside of your cabinets, you can install freestanding storage units, like shelving or extra cabinets. Even an armoire can help you to have a space to beautifully display your dishes. 


Under your sink, you can keep your most frequently used items like soap, sponges, and detergent in easy to access solutions. Either install a small turntable, or simple get bins that can be labeled and pulled out as needed. This will keep everything you need together neat and tidy. It will be difficult to actually disorganize this space once you have completed this small task. 


Coffee Time


What would a kitchen be without coffee? If you brew a cup of joe every morning, you’ll want easy access to coffee supplies. Dedicate a space next to the coffeemaker where you’ll keep the coffee, mugs, beans, and other supplies. You can even keep your travel mugs near this space within reach when you’re running out the door. If there’s little room on the counter, hang hooks on the wall to keep coffee mugs and travel mugs out of the way.


Tackle The Trash And Recycling


There’s nothing worse than having trash and recycling all over your kitchen. Keep these items concealed in dedicated cabinets. The perfect place for the trash and the recycling is next to the sink since that’s the most convenient location for the trash to be in. 


The recycling will follow the same pattern as it needs to be rinsed out and ready to go outside in the bins.  


Keep The Family Organized


A kitchen is a great place for you to have a center of communication for your family. This is where a bulletin board can be placed with important documents. A calendar listing all of the family’s activities and appointments can be hung for everyone’s reference. This area make use of a small space that would otherwise be wasted in your kitchen. It also serves a dual purpose in keeping the family organized.


Small changes can make a big difference in the kitchen when it comes to clutter, storage, and organization. Once you get started, keeping the clutter at bay can be very easy.




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