Tag Archive: closing costs


In Part II, we ended with me promising to discuss inspection results, pools, and closing costs. Yay!

If there is a problem with the house, now is the time to address it. Your realtor can write an addendum to the offer contract and things can be done a few ways. If you have a VA loan, the addendum will require that the sellers fix the issue(s) before the funding can be given the green light. Depending on your loan type, you might be able to borrow more than the agreed price in order to fund the repairs after closing, or you can buy the house “as is.” If you want to buy a house with foundation and/or roof problems, you’ll likely just need to cough up the entire purchase price in cash. If you are in this position, more power to you!!

At this point, the seller can tell you to take a long walk off a short pier, or they can fix the problem(s). We had an offer on a house that needed about $2,000 of really serious repairs to even be ready to sell. That didn’t include all the cosmetic issues and other problems in the house. Once moved in, IF the seller fixed the major issues, we would have had to replace a sink, re-caulk the master shower, buy new faucets for the master bath, fix or replace some interior doors, etc., etc., etc. We didn’t ask the guy to fix any of that. Just the real necessities, and he balked. Ah, well. I mean, if you are going to put your house on the market, make sure the roof doesn’t leak, the A/C has been serviced (ever), and the drains actually drain. Just throwing that out there…

If the seller decides to cancel the contract because of the request for repairs, you’re out that house. Yup, it can end that quickly. It’s like dancing a really tense tango where you’re not sure if, when your partner dips you, they’ll pull you back up. “Oops! Didn’t mean to drop you, there…” But, I’m assured that most sellers are not interested in losing a sale…except for that one guy.

Anyhoo, let’s presume there is a problem (there will be), that y’all come to an agreement on how to fix it, and things move forward. Now is the time for paperwork! They do things online, for the most part, now, and that’s way cool. My dad, the last house he bought, printed out all the documents to read. He’s old school like that. The point is, the papers, by the end, were literally 3 inches tall when stacked. It’s like reading a bill proposed by Congress, only in this contract, you might get something worthwhile for your money and this agreement is voluntary. Okay! Let’s discuss pools.

If there is a pool on the property, the kids will go nuts. I mean, jumping up and down with glee. And, this is because they don’t have to shell out the hundreds of dollars each month to run the thing (write a check). Nor do they have to pay for the separate pool inspection before closing (write a check). Nor do they have to pay for the repairs on said pool (write a check). After looking for houses, I decided that maybe, just maybe, I’d cross “pool” of the “must have” list and transfer it directly to “reject house upon knowledge of the existence of a pool on the property.” But, then again, none of the houses we looked at seriously had pools, so I was not faced with battling against the long faces of the children upon learning we might not get a house due to the presence of a pool. I may have buckled. But, we’ll never know, so let’s move onto closing costs.

Alright, people, we are getting close to the end of the process. You’ve signed 4,000,000,000 pieces of paperwork, written about 85 checks. and it’s time to make things official, make sure your bank has funded their part of the venture, and you are just about ready to take possession of the house. EXCITING!! What is the one thing you want to do when you are getting ready to get a house? YES!!! Write more checks!

Get that checkbook out and get that comfy pen handy because you’ll be looking at papers that show you thousands of dollars worth of closing costs (fee, charges, surcharges, taxes, escrow account deposits, etc.). Oh, man. You’ll have SO MUCH FUN!!

Okay, maybe not fun, but it’s what you gotta do to get the house. If you have this money, great. If you have a loving parent(s) who is interested in giving you the mother of all housewarming gifts by paying the down payment and/or closing costs, that’s awesome, too. I pray I am able to do that for each of my three kids. Aim high, I always say!

Now, you’ve done the final walk through, written all the checks, and your loan is funded. You get the keys, and look lovingly at your new house. Imagine where you’re going to put everything and which rooms each of the kids get. Then, call the HVAC people because I think your A/C just went out.

 

 

***The craziest thing about the check writing is, while it seems old-fashioned to do so, most items along the way are not able to be paid by credit card, or even debit card. You pay with check or cash. Go figure, in this time of electronic everything else, house buying gets left in the dark ages.***

Last time, we found out that you will either get a home that is totally run down, but in your price range except for the massive overhaul you’ll have to do to make that house a home, or you’ll end up buying a house that is more expensive than you are comfortable with.

You can rejoice, though, because you can QUIT LOOKING FOR HOUSES!! That frees up about 10 hours a day for you to start writing checks! Yay! As it turns out, even if the house you are going to buy is too expensive, revel in the fact that you won’t have to sanitize the entire thing just to move in. It’s a give and take.

Now comes the real craziness that no one prepares a first-time home buyer for. I thought that I had read up on what needed to be done, what would be expected, and such, but there wasn’t really a solid, to-the-point kind of guide, save a Dave Barry book that I thought couldn’t be true because he’s a humorist. He jokes about writing so many checks that they litter the side-walks. That’s crazy. There are only enough to cover the dining room table.

Okay, okay, maybe not that many, but there are checks to be written, and right away.

The first and more important thing that you have to realize about real estate is that you have to enter into a binding contract when you start haggling about the cost of the home. Either side can negate the contract within the first 10-days, presuming you don’t have a dolt for a realtor, but it will cost you money to break the contract within this period of time, even if you back out because the house is lemon and you didn’t find it out until you got an inspection.

The contract thing was a little dizzying, at first. I swear, the legalese sound like this, “THIS IS A LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACT. IF YOU SO MUCH A STEP OUT OF LINE, YOUR SOUL WILL BE BANISHED TO EVERLASTING DARKNESS!” when it, in reality, is basically saying, “Don’t be a dirt-bag. If you say you’ll buy the house, y’all agree on a price, and you make a deal, then, follow through. Don’t say you’ll buy the house and then back out at the last second because you have cold feet or find another house you like better. These people have taken their house off the market for you, and if you get flighty, they might have missed out on a real buyer.” Makes sense, but it’s still a little intimidating.

My beloved realtor, Willita Thompson, was quite patient with us about being so ill-informed, but she deals with this all the time, and so she just stated, as a mater-of-fact, that we needed this money…today. Well, it’s not just her! Everyone else (including former real estate agents) among our friends never once thought to sit us down and say, “Now, you know, you’re going to have to have thousands of dollars to spend to be able to get a loan, right?” If you’ve never bought a house, you’re thinking, “Wait…thousands?” If you’ve bought a house, you’re nodding your head, knowingly.

I’m presuming that people think we know this because they’d like to think that we’d be well-informed, and on the ball. Well, they’d be WRONG. But, that’s another blog, altogether. I mean, NOW we are. But, before we started this whole thing? Not so much.

If you are in that same boat that we were in, after reading this series of blogs, you’ll be all set! So, if you’ve never bought a house before, you’re wondering what option money is. Well, you are asking the seller to take their house off the market while you haggle. This costs you, the buyer, money…usually around $100. Write a check.

Then, you have to prove that you are not some joker that is just being a pest and really has no intention of buying the house. This is called “earnest money,” a befitting name and is around $1,000. Write a check.

Presuming the seller doesn’t laugh your offer into the trash, you have a deal! But, wait, there’s more! You really ought to get the house inspected. Just do it. It’ll cost you about $500, depending on where you are located. Write a check.

Next time: Inspection findings, pools, and closing costs!

 

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