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Text only newsletter stories Issue 2 Vl. 5


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Headline: Hidden Homeowner Costs

Factor these hidden costs into your budget when you’re planning to buy a home.

Budgeting for buying a home can be difficult enough when you’re just weighing mortgage options and a purchase price. But there are many other factors that go into the cost of home ownership. Some of them are one-time expenses that you’ll pay during the home buying process, while others will be recurring costs for as long as you own the home.

Closing costs
There are several smaller fees that add up to a rather large sum when you’re going through the closing process—loan fees, attorney fees, underwriting fees, and more. They typically add up to 2–5% of the purchase price. For a $300,000 home—roughly the national median—that’s in the neighborhood of $10,000, so be sure to budget for it.

Appraisal
Your lender will require an appraisal, and the appraisal fee (a few hundred dollars) comes out of your pocket.

Inspection
The few hundred dollars you’ll pay for a home inspection is money well spent, but it’s something you have to keep in mind during the purchase process. You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing the house is free from any major issues, and you’re making a smart, solid investment.

Insurance
Although homeowners insurance isn’t legally required, it’ll almost certainly be required by your lender. Further insurance, such as flood insurance, may also be required (depending on your location).

Home Owners Association
If you’re living in a property or community with shared spaces, you’ll almost certainly have an HOA fee. This pays for things like trash removal, maintenance of common areas, and for recreational facilities like gyms and swimming pools.


Headline: Five ways you can get earnest money back

Earnest money is a deposit you pay when you make an offer on a home—it’s a way to show the seller that you mean business. Usually you can’t get it back, but there are several circumstances that allow you to recover your earnest money.

 1. Appraisal contingency: With an appraisal contingency, you can recover your earnest money if the home is appraised for less than your offer. This gives you a better negotiating position—if the seller doesn’t agree to a lower price, you can get your earnest money back and walk away from the deal.

 2. Major problems with the home: It may be your dream home at the surface level, but an inspection could reveal major, major problems—such as issues with the foundation, or flood damage. In that case, you can get your money back if the seller doesn’t agree to a lower price.

 3. The seller backs out: Obviously, if the seller changes their mind about the transaction—maybe they decide not to sell, or accept a higher offer—you get your earnest money back.

 4. Your house hasn’t sold: Many buyers can’t afford a new home if they’re still financially responsible for their old one. In this case, you can work a sale contingency into the contract, and get your earnest money back if the home doesn’t sell soon enough.

 5. Financing issues: Though there are some limits on financing contingencies, you can get your money back if you’re unable to get a loan.


Headline: Housekeeping tips: Keep dark clothes from fading

It’s disappointing when your darker garments look faded after a few washes. Here are some suggestions for keeping your favorite clothes looking brand new.

Wash only when necessary: We tend to wash many clothes too often, especially coarser fabrics like denim. Washing is harsh on dark dyes, leading to a quicker fade. Wash denim items less, and if possible, spot clean them rather than washing the whole garment.

Measure detergent: It’s easy to just pour detergent by eye when you’re doing the laundry, but take the time to properly measure, especially when it comes to darker clothing. Using too much will cause your clothes to fade faster. Be careful with drying: Dry your clothes on the lowest setting possible, and turn them inside out to shield them from extra friction with other garments. For the gentlest possible drying, hang dry your clothes on a rack or allow them to dry on a flat surface.

Wash in cold water: Drying on high heat can damage and fade your clothes quickly, and the same is true for washing in hot water. Wash your darker garments in cold water (in the shortest cycle possible), and use a detergent that’s designed for washing in cold water.


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