Donna Geihe - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY | 617-549-2670 | donna@dgmoves.com


Posted by Donna Geihe on 1/23/2018

Personal financial in your twenties comes with a steep learning curve. One minute youíre studying for your finals and the next youíre expected to suddenly know about APR financing, 401(K)s, and fixed-rate mortgages.

If youíre in your twenties and are facing these new challenges, youíre probably equal parts terrified and excited for the future. And, although it can be anxiety-inducing to step into the world of personal finance, you have one tool to your advantage that your parents and grandparents didnít have: the internet.

So, in this article, weíre going to give you some tips about buying a home and managing your finances in your twenties.

Have an emergency fund

You probably have a lot of things you want to save for. Down payments on mortgages and auto loans, saving money for traveling, beginning your retirement funds, and maybe even starting a family; theyíre all important investments that will take time and financial planning to achieve.

However, one thing that many young people neglect when they first start saving is an emergency fund. There are any number of things that can throw a wrench in your plans in your twenties. You might lose a job and have to live off of savings while hunting for a new one. Maybe something goes wrong with your car and it costs hundreds to repair. Or, you could have unforeseen medical expenses that arenít covered by your insurance. Regardless of the reason, having an emergency fund will help you stay out of unnecessary debt.

Itís recommended to have at least 6 months of living expenses saved in your emergency fund. Once you have this amount saved, itís a good idea to keep it in a separate account to avoid spending it on things that arenít exactly an emergency.

Donít live above your means

We all know that buying a house, going to college, and even buying groceries are all exponentially more expensive than they used to be. However, itís still important to try to adjust your lifestyle to the things you can afford.

This includes the vehicle you drive, the first home you buy, and even smaller purchases you make.

Avoiding lifestyle creep

Related to our last point about living above your means, lifestyle creep is the phenomenon that occurs when you get a raise or a higher paying job: the more we make, the more we spend. However, itís possible to avoid this trend by keeping your finances in check.

The next time you get a raise, make sure that money is put to use in either your retirement fund or savings account. This method is based on the goal of ďgiving every dollar a job.Ē When every dollar you earn has a purpose, youíre less likely to spend it on new video game consoles every six months.





Posted by Donna Geihe on 10/24/2017

The process of closing on a home can seem lengthy and complex if itís your first time buying or selling a house. There are several costs and fees required to close on a home, and while itís up to the individuals to decide who covers what costs, there are some conventions to follow.

In this article, weíre going to talk about closing costs for selling a house and signing on a mortgage. Weíll discuss who pays what, and whether there is room for negotiation within the various fees and expenses.

But first, letís talk a little bit about what closing costs are and what to expect when you start the process of buying or selling a home.

Closing costs, simplified

If youíre just now entering the real estate market, the good news is you can often estimate your closing costs based on the value of the property in question. You can ask your real estate agent relatively early on in the process for a ballpark figure of your costs.

Closing costs will vary depending on the circumstances of your sale and the area you live in. In some cases, closing costs can be bundled into your mortgage, such as in ďNo Closing Cost Mortgages.Ē However, avoiding having to deal with closing costs often comes at the expense of a slightly higher interest rate.

If you are planning to buy a house and have recently applied for a mortgage, laws require that your lender sends you an estimate of your closing costs within a few days of your application.

Now that we know how closing costs work, letís take a look at who plays what.

Buyer closing costs

In terms of the sheer number of closing costs, buyers tend to have the most to deal with. Fortunately, your real estate agent will help you navigate these costs and simplify the process.

They can range from two to five percent of the cost of the sale price of the home. However, be sure to check with your lender for the closest estimate of your closing costs. Itís a good idea to shop around for mortgage lenders based on interest rates as well as closing costs charged by the lender.

Here are some of the costs you might be asked to pay as a home buyer:

  • Appraisal fees

  • Attorney fees

  • Origination fees

  • Prepaid interest or discount points

  • Home inspection fee

  • Insurance and Escrow deposits

  • Recording fees

  • Underwriting fees

Seller Closing Costs

While the seller pays a larger amount of closing costs, sellers still have obligations at closing that can be just as expensive. The biggest expense for sellers is to pay the real estate commission. Commission usually falls in the vicinity of 6% of the sale price of the home. This covers the commission of both the sellerís and the buyerís real estate agents. 


The main takeaway? Buyers and sellers both share the burden of closing costs. While the buyer has more expenses to take care of, the seller pays for the largest costs.





Posted by Donna Geihe on 10/17/2017

Obtaining a home loan is a must for most homebuyers. However, there is a lot to think about to ensure a homebuyer can secure a loan that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.

Some of the key questions to consider about a home loan include:

1. What is a home loan's interest rate?

It is paramount to understand a home loan's interest rate, along with any associated loan fees. That way, a homebuyer will know exactly how much he or she will be paying over the life of a home loan.

If a homebuyer chooses a fixed-rate mortgage, he or she can lock in an interest rate for the duration of a home loan. This means a homebuyer will pay the same amount each month. And in many instances, a fixed-rate mortgage can be paid off early without penalty.

On the other hand, a homebuyer may prefer an adjustable-rate mortgage. With this type of mortgage, a homebuyer may receive a lower interest rate initially that rises after a set period of time.

Compare and contrast the different home loan options and their associated interest rates. By doing so, a homebuyer can make an informed home loan decision, one that serves him or her well both now and in the future.

2. Does a home loan require a minimum down payment?

Ask a lender about whether there is a minimum down payment required as part of a home loan agreement. Typically, a homebuyer will need to pay at least a small portion of a home's price to secure a home loan, and it certainly helps to have this information available before you start evaluating available residences.

In addition, it may be worthwhile to save as much money as possible prior to starting a home search. With money at your disposal, you may be better equipped than ever before to make a large down payment, thereby reducing the amount that you'll need for a home loan. Plus, you may even be able to boost your chances of getting a favorable home loan interest rate.

3. Will I need to provide legal documents to obtain a home loan?

Lenders will require you to provide proof of your income and assets, W-2 statements and other legal documents to finalize a home loan agreement. If you stay organized and have these documents readily available, you should have no trouble providing them to a lender as needed.

Overall, the home loan application process may vary from several weeks to many months. The time it takes to secure a home loan can be stressful, and if you need extra help along the way, it never hurts to reach out to a real estate agent.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can streamline the process of buying your dream home. This housing market professional can offer expert tips throughout the homebuying journey and ensure you can discover a great house at an affordable price.

Take the guesswork out of securing a home loan Ė consider the aforementioned questions, and you can move one step closer to getting the financing you need to obtain your ideal residence.




Tags: Buying a home   loans  
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Posted by Donna Geihe on 9/26/2017

Setting up and completing a home inspection may seem like a long, arduous process. However, an inspection is a must-have for any homebuyer, at any time.

With a comprehensive home inspection, you can identify any potential problems with a house. And if you don't like what you find in an inspection report, you can always ask a home seller to complete improvements or reduce his or her asking price. Or, if you prefer, you can walk away from a home sale altogether.

Ultimately, there are several steps that you'll want to follow to conduct a home inspection, and these are:

1. Find an Expert Home Inspector

When it comes to a home purchase, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Fortunately, if you hire an expert home inspector, you can avoid the risk of missing possible issues during a home inspection.

Not all home inspectors are created equal, so you'll want to evaluate all of the options at your disposal.

To kick off your search for a home inspector, browse the web. This will enable you to find dozens of home inspectors in your area and assess online client reviews.

Also, don't hesitate to ask a home inspector for client referrals. If you obtain client referrals, you can better understand whether a home inspector can match or exceed your expectations.

2. Attend Your Home Inspection

Although homebuyers are not required to attend a home inspection, it generally is a good idea to walk with a home inspector as he or she examines your residence. By doing so, you may be able to gain home insights that might not be included in a home inspection report.

A home inspector may notice home problems that range from minor to severe. The inspector's job is to identify a problem and include it in a home inspection report.

If you attend a home inspection, an inspector may be able to provide you information about potential home problems, along with an estimate about how much assorted home repairs may cost. That way, you are better equipped than ever before to determine whether potential home problems could deter you from buying a house.

3. Evaluate the Home Inspection Report

A home inspection report can play a key role in the homebuying process. If you evaluate this report closely, you can learn about a home's strengths and weaknesses and decide whether to proceed with a home purchase.

If you have questions regarding a home inspection report, you can always follow-up with the inspector that provided the assessment. This will allow you to obtain the insights that you need to make an informed homebuying decision.

Lastly, it certainly helps to collaborate with a real estate agent before, during and after a home inspection. A real estate agent will guide you along the homebuying process and ensure that you can get the best possible results.

Follow the aforementioned steps, and you should have no trouble conducting a home inspection.





Posted by Donna Geihe on 9/19/2017

Let's face it Ė homebuyers often face intense pressure. In many instances, dozens of homebuyers may compete for the same residence. And if you don't act quickly, you risk missing out on your dream house to a rival homebuyer.

Believe it or not, it sometimes can be beneficial to take a wait and see approach to buying a house. Some of the key reasons for homebuyers to consider deploying a wait and see approach include:

1. You can determine exactly what you want in your dream house.

Differentiating between must-haves and wants can be tough, particularly for homebuyers who are shopping for residences for the first time. Fortunately, if you take a slow, gradual approach to homebuying, you can view a variety of residences and narrow your search accordingly.

Oftentimes, homebuyers can benefit from attending open houses and getting a firsthand look at myriad residences. Each open house provides an opportunity to analyze a home, review its pros and cons and determine whether a residence is right for you. As such, homebuyers can attend many open houses to better understand what they want from a dream residence.

2. You can get your finances in order.

Although you know you want to buy a house, getting your finances in order may prove to be hassle. Luckily, homebuyers who implement a wait and see approach can find a mortgage that matches their finances perfectly.

Ideally, a homebuyer should meet with several banks and credit unions and explore all of the mortgage options at his or her disposal. During each meeting with a mortgage lender, a homebuyer can receive expert insights into many mortgage options.

A homebuyer may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage as well. If a homebuyer embarks on a search for the right mortgage today, this individual can move closer to entering the housing market with a budget in hand and simplifying his or her home search.

3. You can find the perfect real estate agent.

Ultimately, the real estate agent that you select may dictate the success of your quest to find your dream residence. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to hire a hardworking and experienced real estate agent, you should have no trouble streamlining your home search. On the other hand, if you rush to hire the first real estate agent that you meet, you risk making the wrong choice.

When it comes to finding the perfect real estate agent, it pays to be patient. By spending some time learning about various real estate agents in your area, you can select a top-notch housing market professional to guide you along the homebuying journey.

Lastly, don't forget to select a real estate agent who is available to respond to any homebuying concerns and questions, at any time. With this housing market professional at your side, you can boost your chances of discovering your ideal residence.

There is no need to rush to find your dream home. Instead, take a wait and see approach to buying a house, and you may reap the benefits of your decision for years to come.




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