Monday, September 21, 2015

Want to buy a home? Build a team! - By Cari Turnbull

Buying a home can be a daunting task, but if you surround yourself with the best team possible you will set yourself up for success. How do you assemble this team? 
With my clients, I always have them start by speaking to one of my trusted mortgage lenders that I work closely with. There are so many different types of financing options; it’s definitely not one size fits all. Depending on credit score, debt to income ratio or type of property you want to purchase, the type of financing you may use or be eligible for may change. 

Second (if you haven’t already hired one) find a local realtor that you trust. It’s a great idea to ask friends and family for references if they have recently purchased a home. You can also check for recommendations on different online sites to make sure the person will be a good fit for you. 

The next person you need on your team is a home inspector; a critical part of the home buying process. A home is likely the largest investment you’ll make in your lifetime, and you want to make sure you know what you’re buying. Usually, the realtor you work with will have a few trusted home inspectors that they will recommend to you. 

The title company will also work to ensure that you can get free and clear title (deed) at closing and issue owners title insurance at closing to cover you if any issues arise after closing. This referral will likely come from either your realtor or lender. 

The final person on your team is an insurance agent. You’ll want to make sure your policy covers you if something should happen to your home, or at your home. Asking your realtor and lender for a referral is a great idea, and I also recommend you call whomever you currently have your car insurance through because bundling the two usually gets you the best price. 

Cari Turnbull is a Windham resident and works at The Maine Real Estate Network. She and her team serve the Greater Portland area. Cari started her career in real estate after buying her first home and wanting the experience to be better. She hosts free monthly classes for home buyers and sellers to better educate them on the process. To contact Cari, email

Monday, September 14, 2015

The costs of doing business - By Rick Yost

When buying a home, the price paid for the house is just one of the costs associated with the purchase. Many buyers are hit with sticker shock when all the costs associated with their purchase start rolling in. These costs can total in the thousands of dollars.

The first check a buyer has to write is the earnest money check. This is the check that accompanies the buyer's offer on the home. It is typically in the $1,000 to $5,000 range (though the amount can be much higher in the luxury market) and acts to show the buyer's good faith in trying to acquire the property. On the plus side, the earnest deposit is applied to the purchase price at closing.

The buyer will pay an origination fee to the lender providing the mortgage on the property. This is to cover the costs of doing the loan including processing and underwriting the loan. This amount varies among lenders, and buyers should shop around, but $800 to $1,000 is common. The lender will also charge the buyer for doing a credit check on the buyer. This is typically around $30.

Every buyer should have a home inspection preformed on the home they want to purchase. A professional inspector will expect to be paid as soon as the inspection is complete. A general inspection that inspects the roof, plumbing, electrical, heating, and general condition of the home typically cost between $300 and $500 with additional charges for additional specialized inspections like water quality, radon, air, pest infestation and septic. This is money well spent to avoid unexpected problems popping up after the home is purchased.

Lenders require a licensed appraiser to do an appraisal on the home to establish the value of the home. The appraisal will have to be paid for in advance. Appraisals are running about $450 to $500 and up to $800 for expedited appraisals.

The title company that handles the closing get paid for their services and $400 to $600 is common. Sometimes there are additional charges if there are issues that require extra work like a full survey, for example.

At closing, the buyer's lender will also require that the home is insured and all taxes are paid.
These pre-paids and escrows will depend on the cost of the home insurance and the annual of taxes on the property, but run into thousands of dollars. 

It is important to have these costs covered along with the down payment in order to buy a new home, but it is sometimes possible to get the home seller to contribute some of these costs. Ask your realtor to help make this part of your negotiation.

Rick is a realtor, real estate author, and long time Windham resident. You can contact Rick with all your real estate questions and needs at