Articles Tagged "Closing Costs"

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April
11

How to Protect Yourself From Phishing Scams

Tips to Avoid Phishing

When you're buying a home, you often have a full to-do list. You have to arrange financing for your new home and get your old property prepared to sell or move out of. It's likely that you have multiple things demanding your attention; this, unfortunately, can make you susceptible to phishing scams.

A phishing scam is a scam that uses a text message, phone call, or email to trick people into revealing their sensitive information. The scammer makes the scam message appear as if it's from a company that you know, like your bank, credit card company, a retailer, or even a government entity.

Once you click the link or contact the scammer with your info, they're able to use it to access your financial accounts or potentially open financial products in your name. The scammers can then run up debt in your name or steal your money. 

Phishing scams can even be real estate related to trick would-be homeowners into revealing their info in hopes of navigating the home buying process. Our real estate agents recommend following these tips to protect yourself from phishing scams. 

  • Never Reply to a Suspicious Text or Email
    If you receive a text or email that claims there's a problem, don't reply to the message. The scammer wants you to worry and immediately reply. Instead, look up the phone number for the company that the message claims to be from (using a reputable source, like the company's official webpage). Then, call the company directly to see if there's an issue with your account. This guideline also applies to phone calls you receive requesting information to correct a "problem." Hang up, and call the company back using the number that you locate on their official website. Don't depend on your caller ID to vet a company; it's possible for scammers to spoof information so that the name and number appear to be authentic. When preparing to buy one of the Sarasota homes for sale, these guidelines also apply. You don't want to provide information that can compromise your identity or result in the theft of your savings when you're trying to buy a home. 
  • Avoid Clicking on Links or Attachments
    Never click on links or attachments that are in a potential phishing message. Links and attachments can download tracking software to your device that will steal your information. 
  • Keep Your Software and Operating Systems Updated
    While exploring Bradenton homes for sale, it's important to keep your devices updated. Check that your mobile devices and computers are scheduled to automatically update your software. Operating software frequently receives patches to fix potential security bugs. You should also confirm that your computer has updated antivirus software. 
  • Know the Warning Signs That Something is Off
    There are often a few warning signs that indicate something is off with a message. Typically, there are spelling and grammar errors in the message. While the message may initially appear to be from a reputable company, there are usually things that reveal it's a scam. The website may slightly vary from the company's official webpage, or the email address the message is sent from isn't the company's authentic address. The business's name may also be misspelled. Reputable companies don't usually ask for sensitive information via text message, email, or phone. 

Following these tips can help you avoid a phishing scam. One of the best ways to protect yourself from real estate phishing scams is to have an experienced agent in your corner, helping you out through the process. Contact us today!

January
28

Don't Be Suprised By Closing Costs

Buying a Home Closing Day Surprises

Transferring the ownership of a home at closing can be confusing. Even though real estate closings take place daily, the paperwork and costs that ensure that your property transfers legally can often be met with surprises if you're not prepared.

Our real estate agents are here with an explanation of what costs to expect at closing so you are not caught by surprise.

Closing Costs: No Surprises

In any real estate transaction, buyers and sellers should understand each closing cost component before coming to the signing. Some items can be negotiated before the closing to determine who pays.

Typical costs that may appear on your real estate closing statement are:

  • Real Estate Commissions: Usually paid by the seller, this is the realtor fee, usually a percentage of the selling price, to sell the property. The total may be divided between the selling agent and a buyer's agent.
  • Origination Fee: Often expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed, a lender or broker will charge a fee to cover expenses of processing a mortgage application, administrative costs, loan underwriting, and funding.
  • Points: A point represents 1% of a mortgage. Borrowers often have an option of paying more "points" to receive a lower interest rate. A point may be worth one-quarter percent reduction in the mortgage rate. Conversely, borrowers might ask for "lender credits" to offset some closing costs while raising the mortgage rate.
  • Underwriting Costs: These represent the cost of researching your credit history and other background information to determine if you qualify for the loan.
  • Credit Report: This information is required to determine whether the mortgage application is approvable and the maximum amount the borrower may borrow.
  • Appraisal: Lenders require a professional assessment of the property that will ensure they will recover the remaining balance of the mortgage in case of default and foreclosure.
  • Survey Costs: Often paid by the buyer, the mortgage lender may require a survey to confirm property lines.
  • Home, Flood, and Pest Inspection: Before closing, a professional inspection for damage and deterioration is standard procedure. Buyers may request that the seller repair deficiencies before the closing.  In some cases, the seller may have listed the home "as is." Alternatively, the seller may counteroffer with a reduction in the selling price.
  • Title Search: Cost to research the property title among public records.
  • Title Insurance, Lenders:  Title insurance protects the lender in case there are undisclosed liens or other encumbrances. Buyers may also purchase title insurance covering the property as long as the buyer or heirs have possession.
  • Settlement Fee: Paid by either buyer or seller, this fee is paid to the closing agent to manage the closing and escrow accounts.
  • Property Taxes: Responsibility of the seller until closing. After that, the buyer pays.
  • Mortgage Insurance Premium: To protect the lender, if required, the buyer may pay the first premiums at closing.
  • Recording Fees: In many areas, these are fees to record the new deed and mortgage with the local government.

Value of an Experienced REALTOR®

When you're ready to begin touring Sarasota homes for sale, there is nothing like the help of a local real estate professional by your side. Our real estate agents know the current market in Southwest Florida and are ready to help.

Contact us at Wagner Realty to get started.

February
27

Selling Your Home? Don't Be Surprised by Closing Costs

Sell Home Closing Costs
Selling your home can be a profitable venture, particularly if you invested a large down payment, have built up equity, updated the home as needed, and have benefited from rising market values here in Florida. But it isn't as simple as getting a check from the buyer, paying off what you owe and pocketing the rest. There are costs associated with selling, and it's important to familiarize yourself with them so that there are no surprises at the closing table. 

Most of a seller's closing costs are based on the sales price of the home, and some costs may vary depending on where you live. Our REALTORS® can help you estimate costs based on an expected sales price. Doing those calculations at the start of your sales process will help you evaluate offers with complete information. Here's a list of typical closing costs for sellers:

  • Your Mortgage
    Typically the biggest expense at closing is paying off your mortgage. Call your mortgage company and ask for a pay-off balance. Your monthly statements likely include the current loan balance, but the amount you actually pay will vary slightly since interest accrues daily. You'll also need to pay off any second mortgages or home equity loans at the time of the sale.

  • Real Estate Commissions
    The agent who listed and tirelessly marketed your home, made beautiful flyers and web listings, set appointments, held open houses, managed negotiations and all of the paperwork to get you to the closing table gets paid by you at closing. The standard commission nationwide is 6 percent, which is shared with the buyer's agent. On a $300,000 home, that's $18,000. The commission is deducted from the seller's proceeds.

  • Transfer Tax
    The seller typically pays the cost of transferring the title to the new owner's name. The cost for this in Florida is $77 per $1,000, so with our $300,000 home example, you would pay roughly $2,300 for this line item.

  • Title Insurance
    Title insurance protects the buyer from any unforeseen problems, like unpaid contractor's liens or problems with prior document filings. In Florida, the cost on our $300,000 example would be $5 per $1,000 or $1,500. Some Florida counties make this the buyer's responsibility, so you'll want to ask your agent to help clarify this based on where the home you are selling is located.

  • Other Costs
    Since property taxes are typically due at the end of the year, you'll need to pay your pro-rated property taxes from January 1 to the closing date. This amount goes to the buyer as a credit at closing, reducing what they pay, however they will be responsible for the entire year's property taxes when they come due. The same goes for any Home Owner's Association fees that are paid in arrears. Note that if you pay into escrow for your property taxes and your mortgage company takes responsibility for them, you will receive a refund for the taxes from your mortgage company about 30 days after you pay off your loan.

  • Agreed Upon Improvements or Credits
    If during the contract negotiations you agreed to purchase a home warranty for the buyer, offered to pay a portion of their closing costs, or agreed to a carpet allowance or other credit, this payment will also occur at closing.

Now that you have a clearer picture of what expenses you can expect to pay to sell your home, it's time to hire a great agent and get started. Contact Wagner Realty, one of the most respected real estate companies in Manatee and Sarasota Counties, to get an expert agent working for you.

Contact Wagner Realty

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