Cathy Toomey
Stone Ridge Properties | 978-609-3970 |

Posted by Cathy Toomey on 3/13/2018

You already know that closing costs on a home can come at a hefty price. There are a few ways that you can actually cut down on the amount of closing costs that you may have on a home. 

Compare The Costs

You have the right to shop around for a lender who offers the lowest closing costs. You can even ask your lender to match the closing costs of another lender that may have them for a lower fee. Certain fees that are included in the closing are negotiable and flexible. Youíre allowed to shop around for inspections, title searches, surveys, and the like. Thereís nothing that says you have to go with the company recommended by your lender for each. There should be a list of services that is included in the closing costs on your estimate that you receive form the lender.

Question What Each Fee Covers

When you get the loan estimate, donít just accept it. Take a look at each item and inquire what the fee includes. See why each item costs as much as it does. Be on the lookout for fees with similar names. The lender could be double charging you without your knowledge. Itís always good to be informed especially where large investments are involved.        



You have the right to negotiate with your lender on the closing costs. You can ask for obscure and unnecessary costs to be taken off from the closing. Getting the closing disclosure form as soon as you can will also help you to settle any discrepancies before itís too late. 

Ask The Seller

Some sellers will even be willing to sweeten the deal for you by either lowering the sale price of the home or covering some or all of the closing costs. Depending on the market, you may be able to get the seller to help reduce your burden of the closing costs. 

If Youíre Refinancing 

Every time that you refinance your home, youíll need to pay closing costs. There are a couple of ways that you can save in this situation. One is to waive the appraisal altogether. If the home has recently been appraised, you may be able to waive the appraisal completely. You can also request an automatic appraisal rather than a full appraisal in order to save some money.

The other option that you have when refinancing to save money is to save on the title insurance. You can ask for whatís called a re-issue date, which is a less expensive rate for the title insurance for refinancers.

Closing costs are a part of the process when you buy a home. If youíre careful, you might be able to save some money on these mandatory fees.

Posted by Cathy Toomey on 1/30/2018

Once you have gone through the pre-approval process and have narrowed down your home search, thereís a good chance youíll soon find a place that you want to make an offer on. This can seem like a huge step for any first time homebuyer. Even seasoned home buyers feel butterflies when the time comes to make an offer on a home they love. Before you even start your home search, you should become educated on how to make a good offer in order to land the property that you really want. Thereís so many factors that effect your offer including the surrounding properties and the current state of the market. Here are a few very important pieces of advice that you should heed in order to have a successful time securing a home and closing the deal. 

Craft A Persuasive Offer

In many areas thereís a low inventory of homes and a high number of those seeking to buy. This means that youíre not guaranteed to get a property that you have made an offer on. Lowball offers might not be at all competitive and even insulting to sellers in certain markets. Often, you may need to make an offer of more than the asking price if youíre in love with a home. By working with your real estate agent and doing the right research, you can craft an offer on a home that will be compelling for sellers.    

Decide On Your Contingencies 

Once an offer has been accepted, itís time to get to work on those contingencies. Be especially mindful of financing contingencies. If something falls through in the process, youíll want to be sure you can get the deposit you made back. Also keep in mind that sellers love reliable buyers who have already been preapproved.  

Home inspection contingencies are another area of importance. After you sign the purchase agreement and the inspection is complete, youíre allowed to ask the seller to make repairs or provide you with a counter offer. While this can be one of the more nerve-wracking aspects of home buying, it has many positives. Home inspections protect buyers from purchasing a home that they canít live with in cases of extreme mold, termites and other environmental and structural issues. 

The appraisal contingency is also important. In order for you to qualify for a loan, the property must be appraised. The property must be valued at or above the purchase price. A loan will only be approved by a lender up to the appraised value. If your home loan is $400,000 but your home of choice is appraised at $390,000, youíll have a problem.       

Your Finances Matter Until You Get To The Closing Table

Donít go crazy with all kinds of purchases before you reach the closing table. Opening a new credit account at your favorite furniture store, for example, could lead to a disastrous surprise on closing day. Hold off on big purchases until after you secure your home. Also avoid making large transfers or deposits from your bank account. donít do anything to negatively affect your credit score


Know What To Bring To The Closing

Donít show up to the closing for your home purchase unprepared. Youíll need to have the following items: 

  • Photo ID
  • Checkbook
  • Cosigners 

Think Ahead

Be sure that you think of the future when youíre purchasing your home. Youíll need to have enough cash flow to pay for things like property taxes, home insurance, utility bills and even new furniture for your home. Plan your future mortgage payments accordingly. Some companies have payments that are monthly or bimonthly. 

While buying a home is a huge undertaking, with the right plans in place, the process will be as seamless as possible. With the right plans, the moving truck will be pulling into the driveway before you know it.      

Posted by Cathy Toomey on 1/9/2018

Want to find your dream house quickly and effortlessly? You're not alone. In fact, many homebuyers across the United States browse the real estate market regularly in the hopes of finding their perfect residence.

Fortunately, there are numerous ways for homebuyers to accelerate the process of purchasing a house, and here are three tips to help homebuyers discover their dream houses without delay.

1. Set Realistic Expectations for Your Home.

When it comes to finding a residence, it is important to note that every house has its strengths and weaknesses. Thus, you'll want to set realistic expectations before you begin your search for the perfect home and differentiate the must-haves from the must-wants.

For example, you will need electricity, hot water and other utilities at your new home. On the other hand, you may want a house that features an indoor swimming pool, a fenced-in backyard and other deluxe amenities, but you need to keep in mind that you can live without these features as well.

Make a checklist of what you need and what you want from a future house. By doing so, you can simplify your home search and move one step closer to checking out houses that fulfill your needs perfectly.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage.

What good is finding your dream home if you are unable to afford it? Instead, get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start your home search Ė you'll be glad you did. This will allow you to establish a budget for your home search and browse properties accordingly.

Don't forget to consult with multiple lenders as you explore your mortgage options. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can find out about all of the financing options that are available.

Furthermore, be sure to check your credit score and get a copy of your credit report from each of the three major reporting bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian). You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the major reporting bureaus annually. And if you obtain a copy of your credit report, you can find out your credit score, work to improve it and boost your chances of securing a mortgage.

3. Employ a Real Estate Agent.

Hiring a real estate agent is essential for those who want to accelerate the homebuying process, and for good reason. With a friendly, professionally trained real estate agent at your side, you can learn about new homes that are available, submit offers on residences and more.

Your real estate agent will act as a liaison between you and a home seller. As such, he or she will work on your behalf to ensure you can purchase your dream home as quickly as possible.

Find a real estate agent to help you move along the homebuying process. This housing market expert will be happy to respond to your homebuying concerns and queries, and ultimately, make it easy to navigate each step of the homebuying journey.

Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  

Posted by Cathy Toomey on 12/19/2017

Ready to launch a search for your dream home? Ultimately, you'll want to do everything possible to streamline your home search to boost your chances of getting the best possible results.

There are many best practices for conducting a successful home search, and these include:

1. Define Your Homebuying Criteria

The definition of the "perfect" home varies from property buyer to property buyer. This means that your definition of the perfect home is unlikely to match that of a friend or family member.

Think about what separates an ordinary home from a can't-miss residence. Then, you'll be able to narrow your home search and map out a successful homebuying journey.

As you consider the perfect home, make a list of homebuying "must-haves." For example, if you want a garage where you and your wife can park your cars, a two-car garage is a homebuying must-have. Or, if you want a home that's close to high-quality schools that your kids can attend, buying a house in a great school district is a must.

2. Get Home Financing

Although your ultimate goal is to acquire a top-notch residence, you'll likely need financing to help you transform your homebuying dream into a reality. Fortunately, many banks and credit unions are available to teach you about a wide range of mortgage options.

Meet with several banks and credit unions Ė you'll be glad you did. These lenders can educate you about the different types of home loans and help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.

After you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you're good to kick off your home search. In fact, with a mortgage in hand, you can tailor your search to homes that fall within a specific price range.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

Regardless of your homebuying goals, it pays to work with a real estate agent. That way, you can receive expert assistance as you search for houses in various cities and towns.

A real estate agent is happy to teach you the ins and outs of purchasing a house. By doing so, this housing market professional can help you become a real estate expert in no time at all.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses that become available and help you submit home offers. This housing market professional is committed to your homebuying success and will do whatever it takes to assist you along the homebuying journey.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is available to respond to any homebuying questions that you may have. No homebuying question is ever too big or too small for a real estate agent, and as a result, this housing market professional will make it simple for you to make an informed homebuying decision.

Launch a successful home search today Ė use the aforementioned best practices, and you can increase the likelihood of discovering your dream home.

Posted by Cathy Toomey on 12/5/2017

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.

Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips