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 2/13/2018

Buying a home is probably the largest purchase you will make in your lifetime. In spite of down payments and monthly mortgage dues, youíll also have to plan for the fees that come with purchasing a home. These expenses are collectively known as closing costs.

Just how much can you expect to spend on closing costs when buying a house? Experts say that closing costs amount to anywhere between 3 and 5% of the cost of the home. So, if you buy a $250,000 home, you could pay as much as $12,000 in closing costs and associated fees.

Coupled with a down payment that is due at the time of signing, closing on a home can get very expensive very quickly. But weíre here to help you understand the cost of closing and how you can potentially cut some of those costs that are due at the time of signing. Read on to learn how.

What are closing costs?

There are dozens of possible expenses that may come up at the time of closing. Depending on your unique situation, you might pay for several or just a few of them. Some common closing costs include:

  • Mortgage application fee. This fee describes the cost of processing your mortgage application. Be sure to go over everything that this fee covers with your lender.

  • Attorney fee. While this fee may not always be required, it is a good idea to have an attorney review your mortgage and related documents and contracts.

  • Property tax. It isnít out of the ordinary to be asked to pay the first or first two months of your property tax at the time of closing.

  • Insurance premiums. Flood, fire, and mortgage insurance premiums may all be required to be paid at the time of closing as well.

  • Home inspection. Itís not a legal obligation to inspect a home before you buy it, but it can save you thousands of dollars in repairs if an issue is discovered after you already sign on a new home.

  • Origination fee. Not all lenders charge an origination fee, but can expect to pay up to 1% of the value of the home to cover the lenderís administrative expenses.

  • Transfer tax. This is the tax for when a property changes ownership. Each state and county charge different amounts, with some states charging no transfer tax at all.

  • Underwriting costs. This is another fee charged by your lender for the work they do to ensure you are safe to lend to.

Where you can save

We know what youíre thinking: thatís a lot of fees. The good news, however, is that you likely wonít end up paying every closing cost there is, and sometimes closing costs are negotiable.

Hereís our advice on how to reduce closing costs.

  1. Shop around. Find a lender that offers a closing cost that youíre comfortable with. Ask the lender for Good Faith Estimate (GFE). The lender is obligated by law to provide a GFE within three business days of applying for a loan.

  2. Negotiate with the lender. Since you havenít signed on the loan yet, you still have the power to negotiate. For best results, try to negotiate the smaller and more obscure fees; those that arenít as common with other lenders are more likely to be reduced or removed.

  3. Negotiate with the seller. Some costs may be negotiated with the seller depending on quickly they would like to sell the home. Negotiate things like inspection fees or transfer taxes with the seller. Or, bring up the closing costs with the seller and see if they will reduce the price of the home to accommodate for some of the closing costs. 

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.