Rachel Hillman Foy - Hillman Homes



Posted by Rachel Hillman Foy on 1/31/2018

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

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

But first, let’s 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 you’re 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 “No Closing Cost Mortgages.” 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, let’s 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. It’s 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 seller’s and the buyer’s 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 Rachel Hillman Foy on 1/24/2018

Imagine what it will be like when you discover your dream house. In all likelihood, this residence will meet all of your needs, along with your budget. However, it is important to note that the final price of your home is unlikely to be what you'll wind up paying for your new residence. There are many hidden home costs that you should consider before you finalize your home purchase, including: 1. Property Taxes Property taxes are a necessary evil. And even though every homebuyer would like to avoid them, these taxes must be paid consistently. Typically, property taxes are billed annually as a percentage of your assessed home's value. They may total thousands of dollars that you'll be responsible for paying every year, and as such, should be considered when you budget for your home purchase. Although you cannot avoid property taxes, you can plan for them. Homebuyers who budget accordingly, meanwhile, will be able to ensure that they can pay these taxes on time for the length of their mortgage. 2. Utilities You've decided to buy a home, but how do you plan to pay for electricity for your new residence? Or how do you intend to pay to heat and cool your home? Utilities are paramount, and the costs associated with utilities need to be evaluated during the homebuying process. Fortunately, working with an experienced real estate agent ensures you'll be better equipped to understand the utilities costs you may encounter when you buy a new residence. A real estate professional may be able to provide insights into how much utilities will cost based on the size of your home and your individual needs. That way, you'll be able to get a better idea about how much you'll need to save each month for electricity, heat and other utilities. 3. Home Repairs and Maintenance Even a brand new house will require repairs and maintenance over time. And even though every room in a home looks like it is in great shape now, the same may not hold true even a week, month or year from now. Putting aside money each month enables you to prepare for any minor or major home repair or maintenance projects that could arise. Furthermore, those who are in dire need of extensive home repairs may be able to apply for a home improvement loan to ensure they can get any home improvement projects done as soon as possible. Remember, planning ahead usually is a good idea, particularly for homebuyers. Budgeting for the unforeseen costs associated with buying and owning a home is important, and doing so will ensure you're prepared for any challenges that may come your way. Creating a budget and sticking to it can help you find a great home that won't force you to stretch beyond your means. Plus, those who develop a budget that includes potential hidden homebuying and homeownership costs can avoid the risk of falling into debt. Prepare for the hidden costs of buying a new residence, and you'll be able to maximize the value of your purchase.





Posted by Rachel Hillman Foy on 1/17/2018

Ready to acquire your dream house? Before you embark on a home search, it often helps to establish a homebuying wish list. That way, you can narrow your house search and discover your dream home without delay.

Now, let's take a look at three factors to consider as you craft your homebuying wish list.

1. Home Size

Home sizes vary. As such, you'll want to consider your living situation closely to ensure you can find a house in a size that suits you perfectly.

Remember, a three-bedroom house may be too big for a single person. Much in the same vein, a one-bedroom home is unlikely to meet the needs of a family of five. But if you consider your living situation ahead of time, you can determine what size home to buy.

2. Home Location

Do you want to own a house that is located just minutes from your office in the city? Or, would you prefer a home in a small town? Think about where you want to live, and you can tailor your home search accordingly.

Keep in mind that home prices will vary based on location. Oftentimes, houses in or near major cities are more expensive than similar homes in small towns. At the same time, homes close to top schools or attractions may prove to be more expensive than others.

3. Home Exterior and Interior Features

Consider the home exterior and interior features that you want – you'll be glad you did. If you evaluate home exterior and interior must-haves, you can create priorities as you search for your dream house.

For instance, buying a house that features a central air unit may be a top priority if you plan to relocate to a warm-weather region. On the other hand, you might want to purchase a house that features an in-ground swimming pool, but you can live without this outdoor amenity if necessary.

A homebuying wish list is essential, regardless of where you choose to pursue houses. In addition, if you require extra help as you get ready to enter the housing market, you may want to employ a real estate agent.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can boost your chances of acquiring a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price. A real estate agent will allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about your homebuying goals. Then, this housing market professional can help you streamline your home search.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will provide expert assistance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she will set up home showings, help you submit offers on homes and handle homebuying negotiations. And if you ever have homebuying questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them at any time.

Make your dream of purchasing a home come true – consider the aforementioned factors, and you can create a wish list to help you accomplish your homebuying goals.




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Posted by Rachel Hillman Foy on 1/10/2018

Believe it or not, your home's bathroom may make or break your open house.

If you allocate the necessary time and resources to enhance your bathroom's appearance before your open house, you may be able to boost your home's chances of making a positive first impression on property buyers.

On the other hand, a dirty, messy bathroom is unlikely to do you any favors, particularly in a competitive real estate market.

Transforming an ordinary bathroom into an attractive space may seem difficult. Lucky for you, we're here to help you simplify the process of cleaning your bathroom from top to bottom.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that you can use to improve your bathroom's appearance before your open house.

1. Remove Shower Scum

Soap scum may accumulate in your shower over an extended period of time. However, it is quick and easy to eliminate this problem.

To remove shower scum, use a mixture of dish soap and vinegar. Then, scrub the scum with a dish wand, and you can make your shower sparkle.

2. Clean the Toilet

When was the last time you cleaned your bathroom toilet? If you don't know the answer, it probably means your toilet is overdue for a comprehensive cleaning.

A bathroom scrub brush can help you eliminate grime inside your toilet. You also may want to use white vinegar, as this all-natural cleaning solution has been shown to eliminate bacteria, germs and mold.

In addition, don't forget to wipe down your toilet's exterior. Dust and debris on the toilet surface are simple to eliminate in just seconds.

3. Take a Look at the Mirror

A bathroom mirror may appear streaky and blotchy. But for those who want their bathrooms to impress homebuyers, it is essential to clean a bathroom mirror extensively.

Cotton pads and rubbing alcohol may prove to be exceedingly valuable. Together, these products will enable you to clean your bathroom mirror and avoid streaks altogether.

Or, if you're searching for an alternative to rubbing alcohol or traditional glass cleaner, you may want to use vinegar and water. The combination of vinegar, water and a microfiber cloth offers proven results, especially for those who need a quick, easy solution to clean a bathroom mirror before an open house.

If you need extra help cleaning your bathroom, don't hesitate to reach out to cleaning professionals for expert support. These professionals can streamline the process of getting your bathroom ready for your open house.

Moreover, if you're uncertain about how to prepare for your open house, your real estate agent will be happy to assist you. This housing market expert will describe how the open house will work and what to expect from it. Plus, after the open house ends, your real estate agent can provide homebuyer feedback and insights.

Don't wait until the last minute to clean your bathroom. Instead, use the aforementioned bathroom cleaning tips, and you should have no trouble prepping your bathroom for your open house.





Posted by Rachel Hillman Foy on 1/3/2018

Being friendly with neighbors and others in your community can often open up doors -- both literally and figuratively -- and attract resources to you that were previously unavailable or unknown. Although networking is a term often associated with professional advancement, business marketing, or salesmanship, there are countless ways it can apply to your everyday life. While some people are ambivalent about the idea of using "small talk" as a conversation starter, you'd be surprised at how beneficial it can be in cultivating neighbor relationships, melting away social barriers, and discovering solutions to problems. Here are three ways that networking can benefit you and your family:

  1. Finding Contractors and Service Providers: If you own a home or are considering buying one, you're probably going to eventually need a variety of essential services, ranging from electrical repairs and plumbing to pest control and house cleaning. Having a network of people you can turn to for referrals, ideas, and suggestions can make a world of difference in your ability to find the best person or company for the job or project. When you can tap into the collective experiences of people you know and trust, you're expanding your resources immensely and gaining access to a wealth of valuable information.
  2. Parenting Solutions: If you're a parent (or planning to become one), you'll frequently be looking for resources and ideas for keeping your children entertained, busy, healthy, and challenged. By staying in touch and connected with other parents in your neighborhood, it can be much easier to discover family-oriented activities, educational programs, pediatricians, and child care services. Whether you're looking for a responsible baby sitter or a neighborhood playgroup, developing and maintaining an active social network can make your life easier and less frustrating.
  3. What's going on in the neighborhood? By making it a habit to engage your neighbors in "small talk", occasionally, you can pick up a lot of tips, ideas, and updates that can save you money, keep your family safe, or even help a neighbor in need. Keeping the lines of communication open can also help thwart residential crime and maintain the overall quality of life in your area. Being connected with people on your street creates a greater sense of community, which makes your neighborhood feel friendlier, safer, and more closely knit. There are also economic benefits to knowing your neighbors, such as learning about upcoming neighborhood yard sales you could participate in. You may also hear about beneficial things like group discounts, such as roofing services, driveway sealing, lawn mowing, or house painting.
Outside of your immediate neighborhood, it can also pay to join local parent groups, non-profit organizations, fitness clubs, and continuing education classes. While the concept of being a "lone wolf" may seem intriguing, mysterious, or romantic to some, people are meant to be social animals; they function best when bonding, working together, and sharing ideas. That's not to say that we don't all occasionally need our "alone time," but establishing a healthy balance between the two can help us enjoy the best of both worlds.




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Rachel Hillman Foy