Costs Associated with Buying and Selling a Home

Costs Associated with Buying and Selling a Home

Buying or selling a property is exciting. But it is also expensive. Most purchasers or sellers are unaware of the costs that are associated with the process. Whether you are buying a new home or selling a home it is important to know exactly what to expect at closing. Unfortunately, many buyers and sellers are unaware of the extra costs associated with purchasing and selling a home. Fees can add up quite fast, and no one likes being surprised with an increased budget. Being prepared can go help make the transaction much smoother for both parties. 

When Selling Your Home

One of the most stressful parts of selling a property is pricing the property correctly. A price that is too high will keep buyers away and keep your home on the market for far too long. In contrast, a price that is too low will decrease your profit potential. As you price your home or property, keep in mind the additional costs that could pop up and add those into your original price point. 

First, most sellers will hire a real estate agent. An agent helps list and sell your home, which is invaluable. However, that service comes at a price. Typically, an agent receives a commission between 3%-6% of the selling price. 

There are additional expenses that go into ensuring a quick sale including lawn maintenance, painting, carpet cleaning, and other repair costs to get your home looking its best. The most expensive of these extra costs can be staging. This service can certainly pay off, making your home look amazing and appealing to buyers, but the cost to you can be more than $1,000. 

Once your home is sold, closing costs come into play. Typically, sellers pay far less than the buyer, but costs can be 2%-5% of the selling price. A seller needs to be prepared to pay pro-rated property taxes and HOA fees in addition to closing costs as well. Knowing that all these fees and expenses are necessary can help a seller be better prepared when the day comes.

When Buying Your Home 

The buyer can often have more costs to be aware of than the seller. Many of these fees come from the mortgage lender, who can charge loan origination fees and underwriter fees. Lenders will also request home inspections and title searches which can add to the extra fees associated with the home purchase. 

In addition to these fees, it is important to remember the costs of real estate agents and lawyer fees. When it is time to close, most lenders will require you to have a certain amount of money in an escrow account along with the down payment and closing costs, which can be 3%-4% of the home price. There are ways to help reduce some of these costs by rolling them into your mortgage, closing at the end of the month or applying for an FHA loan.

With so many factors going into buying and selling a property, it can begin to be quite overwhelming. Having an experienced real estate lawyer by your side is valuable. Your real estate attorney will advocate for your best interests and keep you in the communication loop. 

If you are looking to make your buying or selling experience as easy as possible, the professionals at  Bell Law are ready to become your partners during this exciting time. Call us today to get started.

How to Find a Neighborhood You Love

How to Find a Neighborhood You Love

When you are ready to purchase your next home, you want to make the best investment possible. The homes you tour must wow you with your preferred finishes, neutral paint colors, and a great kitchen. You may be willing, or even prefer, to purchase a home that needs some TLC so that you can put your own style on display sooner than later.

Once you’re ready to begin your property search, you’ll have a lot to keep in mind. Aside from your dream home qualifications, you must choose a home in a neighborhood you’ll love now and in the future. Here are a few ways to assure you are looking at homes in a neighborhood you’ll be proud of for years to come.

Easy to Get Around

There’s nothing worse than realizing you moved into a subdivision or neighborhood that is nearly impossible to get around during morning and afternoon rush hour. While some traffic is to be expected – we are in Chicagoland after all – you shouldn’t have to wait 15 minutes to turn left out of your street or cul de sac.

Check out the ease of transportation around the homes you are looking at by returning around morning and evening rush hour times, as well as on the weekend.

Close to Your Favorite Things

If you can find a neighborhood that is close to some of your favorite spots, you won’t have to spend 30 minutes driving to your yoga class or 40 minutes to your place of worship. When you are checking out a new home, take plenty of time to drive around the neighborhood to see if there are restaurants, gyms, libraries, and grocery stores nearby. Remember, you’ll have to determine how far is “too far” to drive or commute to.

Easy Access to Transportation

If you are a city-dweller, it is important to find a neighborhood that offers easy access to your transportation of choice. Take the El to work? Be sure there is a station within a reasonable distance. Prefer to ride the bus to the airport weekly for work? Be sure there’s a stop nearby. 

This consideration also includes public and private school transportation for school-aged kids. Be sure there are stops for your kids that are well-lit, safe, and not too far away from home, which comes in handy on cold winter mornings.

Great Neighbors

A neighborhood is nothing without friendly neighbors. As you look at potential homes, make sure you are evaluating the neighbors too. Are people friendly as you walk the sidewalks? Do you see people waving at one another? Your home comes with a built-in set of neighbors, and you’d rather them be friendly than grumpy.

When you are touring homes and neighborhoods, let the experienced team at Bell Law focus on protecting your investment. Our real estate lawyers are here to advocate for your best interests from now until you close.

Warning Signs When Buying a Home

Warning Signs When Buying a Home

No matter if you are purchasing your first home or your seventh, the process can feel daunting. When you invest in a new house or property, it can be difficult making a confident decision that comes with a very high price tag. While you can’t know every sign that could point to a poor purchasing decision, you can keep your eyes peeled for these somewhat common warning signs that could make you pump the breaks on your next house or property purchase.

The Neighborhood

If you are looking at a home that is situated in a neighborhood that doesn’t have everything you need, it could be a warning sign of a bad decision. Be sure the home you are looking at has the schools you want, as well as plenty of green space. If trails are important to you, be sure to find a neighborhood that is well connected to the Chicago or suburban trail system. If you don’t drive to work, assure the neighborhood has plenty of public transportation nearby.

Too Many Projects

If you are looking at a home that touts itself as a “fixer-upper”, be sure you know just how many projects you will be undertaking upon closing. It can seem fun to make a home just the way you want it, but if you haven’t completed a home improvement project in the past few months (if at all), taking on a home with too many weekend projects could start to become a money trap.

Inspection Problems

If the house or property you are interested in gets a poor report from the inspector, slow the process down. Work with your real estate attorney as you develop a plan for correction with the current owner. If you try to do this without an experienced attorney, you run a real and significant risk of purchasing a home that is dangerous or full of potential structural problems.

Before you begin your home purchasing process, partner with the team at Bell Law. Our attorneys are ready to assist you and advocate for your best interests as you search for your next property.

Tips for Living in Your Staged Home

Tips for Living in Your Staged Home

Your home is on the market and you have taken the time, or hired the professionals, to expertly stage your home. The counters are cleared off, the extra personal photos are taken off the walls, the house is impeccably clean.


However, what happens if your home doesn’t sell in the first few days of being on the market? You are still living in your home, sometimes with kids or pets or partners that don’t know how to make a perfectly staged home remain spotless and buyer-friendly. Here are a few tips for learning how to live in a staged home and reduce the number of times you need to feel frazzled while cleaning up and setting up for a tour after your realtor calls.


Put Some Things in Storage

One way to keep your counters clear and halls free of excess knick-knacks that could make your home look smaller to buyers is to take them out of the house entirely. Consider renting a storage space for the short-term while you are selling your home and tuck away items you won’t need in the near future. Kitchen gadgets that you won’t use in the next few months, seasonal clothing and even children’s toys can go away during this time. Who knows – it may even inspire you to declutter once you move into your new home!


Clean Up Daily

Start a routine of cleaning up daily so that you aren’t scrambling to prepare for a tour when your realtor calls. Wipe down the kitchen counters and run the dishwasher each evening, and be sure the house looks good before you head out in the morning for work. Consider hiring a cleaning service to come in for a deep clean once per week, or once every other week, to take care of that additional attention.


Store Supplies

Buyers don’t necessarily want to see your personal items lying around the house, but it is unrealistic to get rid of those supplies while you are living there. Use clear storage bins or pouches to manage it more easily. For example, keep toothbrushes and toothpaste in a clear bin under the sink instead of in a cup on top of the counter. Keep makeup in a pouch in an organized drawer instead of on the counter. These adjustments can make a big difference, and you can get in the new habit of reaching for a bin sooner than you may think.


Plan for Sale

Be sure that you are always ready for an offer. One way to do this is to secure a relationship with a real estate attorney now. The team at Bell Law are experienced working with buyers and sellers throughout the Chicagoland area. We are ready to get to know you and your goals, as well as to advocate for your best interests from offer to closing. Call us today to get started.

Purchasing a Home Around the Holiday

Purchasing a Home Around the Holiday

If you are ready to purchase a home this time of year, it can feel especially festive. The holidays are a busy time, but the thought of beginning a new year in a new home drives many buyers to search for the perfect house this time of year. If you are in the market to purchase your next, or first, house, during the holiday season, be sure to remember these considerations.


Don’t Blow Your Budget

With all the holiday shopping and impulse buying, it is easy to forget your house budget while you are touring with your realtor. Make a commitment to stick within your budget so that you aren’t paying for your impulse purchase for years to come.


Don’t Fall for the Glitter

Homes can look especially beautiful during the holiday season, and it is easy to perhaps overlook certain details because the house you are touring has a beautiful tree or lovely twinkling lights. Stay focused when you are out and about. Admire the beautiful decorations, but continue with opening cabinets and looking at the water heater closet. These may be less beautiful spaces in the home, but after the lights are gone, you will want a water heater that works.


Drive-By During the Day

The days are much shorter and many home tours happen to take place once the sun has already set. Be sure you are taking time to drive by houses you are interested in during various times of day, including the morning and mid-day. You can see what type of light the house gets naturally as well as the general busyness of the area throughout the day.


Work with a Professional

When you are purchasing a home, it is wise to protect yourself by working with professionals who can guide you through the process. Choose your realtor wisely and connect with an experienced real estate law firm early on in the purchasing process. At Bell Law, we guide our clients and advise them throughout their home buying journey, including the inspection process and closing. Call us today to learn more about our services and how we can work with you.

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