Amy Miller - Silvercreek Realty Group | Meridian Real Estate

Once you have found the home that you want to live in, put in the offer, and start the process of closing on a home, you may feel like you’re “home free.” The hard part may technically be over, but there’s one more important thing that you need to think about before you get the keys to your place: Closing costs. 

A few days before you head to sign all of your paperwork to close on the home, your lender will send you a detailed report of different closing costs that you need to pay upon the settlement of the property. 

Closing Costs Defined

Closing costs are what you pay to the lender and third parties. These are due at the time of closing on the property and must be paid up front. You should estimate that your closing costs will be between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price of the home.

Everything Included In Closing Costs

Closing costs cover both one-time and recurring fees that are a part of your home purchase. The one-time fees are things that are generally associated with buying the home. These would include attorneys fees, lender fees, home inspection fees, document prep fees, underwriting fees, credit report fees, and realtor fees. You’ll also need a bank issued check for your down payment at this time.  

At closing, an escrow account will be set up. This is like a forced savings account that will be drawn from to cover things like taxes, insurance, loan interest, and title insurance. These are all very important costs that are a part of buying a home.     

Do Your Homework Ahead Of Time

The best way to deal with closing costs is to be prepared ahead of time. Talk to your lender in order to get an estimate of the closing costs. From there, you’ll need to decide if you need to finance your closing costs or simply pay them up front. There are advantages to both approaches. Sometimes, lenders will look at you as less favorable if you need to finance all of your closing costs. It all depends on the terms of your loan. This is why research is vital.

Compare Rates And Lenders

It’s important not to go with the first lender you talk to. Get some recommendations from your realtor and friends to see who might be a good fit for you. Every lender specializes in something different, so you want to be sure that who you chose is a good fit for you. 

The most important thing that you can do with closing costs and the financing of your home is to get educated!     

Buying a new television can be a daunting task. With technologies changing so rapidly, it can seem like you need to take a new crash course in the latest tech trends every time you buy a new product.

 However, a TV is an investment that you’ll get a lot of use out of if you and your family spend a lot of time in the living room. And, since most new televisions come equipped with apps like Netflix and Hulu, it’s worth taking time to learn which one is suitable for your family and that fits within your budget.

 In this article, we’ll give a brief breakdown of the latest trends to help you choose the right TV for your living room.

Screen size

At one time, the size of your television was the best indicator of price. But these days you’ll find TVs that are the same size but vastly different prices. That’s because TVs now contain a number of features related to audio and video quality, and smart TV capabilities like apps and games.

However, screen size still does matter when it comes to video quality, fitting the layout of your living room and your personal preferences. If you aren’t sure what size you’ll need, try visiting an electronics store and standing as far back from the tv as your couch or sofa. You can also try this at a friend’s house who has a similar setup to you.

Remember that having a huge TV isn’t always the best option if you’re in a small room. For most living room setups, the ideal size is somewhere between 55 and 65 inches.

Video quality

Many of us have a collection of DVDs somewhere in our house that we save for a rainy weekend. It might surprise you to know that the quality of a DVD is lower than most streaming videos on the internet these days.

Video quality is based on a few factors and one of them is resolution. Screen resolution has improved exponentially in the recent years. What resolutions are available?

  • 4K or Ultra HD - The current gold standard of screen resolutions is 4K, which contains a whopping 8 million pixels.

  • 1080p or HD - Still one of the most common resolutions, 1080p can be found in many recent models and can look at sharp as 4K televisions.

  • 720p - Only the smallest and most inexpensive televisions are still using 720p resolution sizes. However, if you only use your television for watching cable channels, it should be noted that many major networks broadcast in 720p.

To effectively “future-proof” your TV, 4K is your best option. It is slowly becoming the standard for video and will last the longest without looking antiquated.

There are other aspects of picture quality than resolution. The way the TV is lit os one consideration. Most TVs on the market today are LED-based. In LED TVs, a backlight produces the light for each pixel. One exception is OLED TVs in which each pixel is producing its own light.

The jury is still out on which is better, but OLED seems to have a leg up on LED.

Other features

The other things you’ll want to consider are a curved screen, Smart TV capabilities, BlueTooth, and the number of HDMI ports. These are all dependent on your preferences, but it should be noted that as TVs evolve, you might not have access to some newer apps.

If you’re getting ready to buy a home, you know it will be one of the most significant purchases of your entire life. However, are you fully prepared for all of the expenses that buying a home will bring? You don’t want to buy a house to find out that you can’t afford it after all.

Many expenses go into buying a home that you can plan for ahead of time. Other costs aren’t as exact that you will need to add in your budget. Read on to learn more about many of the expenses that throw first-time home buyers for a loop. 

Closing Costs

Closing costs encompass a whole bunch of expenses that you’ll incur buying a home. These include:

  • Taxes
  • Application fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Title insurance
  • Reimbursements
  • Recording fees

No matter what the closing costs include, you should plan for these expenses to be about 2-5 percent of the price of your home. Costs can vary widely, but it’s good to have a bit of extra cash on hand.

Maintaining Your Home

While most homebuyers are prepared for the initial costs of buying a home, they don't know how much it costs to maintain a home. Each year, things will come up on your property that needs to be addressed continually. These tasks include:


Yard care


Pressure washing

These routine tasks are independent of other costs like replacing a stove or fixing a furnace. Homeowners need to be prepared for these expenses as well.


Taxes can increase or decrease for any given year. You can lookup taxes in the area where you’re planning to buy a home in order to prepare yourself. You should make sure that your property taxes are comparable with that of other homes in your area.


Utilities are what your home runs on. Depending on the climate you live in the number of utilities you pay can vary. Take into account these things:

  • Heat
  • Air conditioning
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Phone
  • Cable
  • Internet

Most neighborhoods have one or two choices for services, so you can ask people in the neighborhood what providers they [refer and how much their bills are each month.         


You’re required to have homeowner’s insurance when you get a mortgage. Even if you don’t take out a mortgage and pay cash for a home, it’s a wise decision to protect your investment. Estimate how much a yearly policy will cost you ahead of time. 

This insurance will protect your property from things like theft and fire. You can shop around for the best rates based on policies that suit your needs. It’s easy to price out policies online. See where you can save including discounts for security systems or multiple policy discounts. 

If you live in an area where floods or earthquakes are prevalent, you should be aware. You’ll find you need additional policies to cover damage in the event of these disasters. The most important thing about your homeowner’s insurance policy is that you check the details for all of the fine print.       

There’s so much to consider when to comes to buying a new home. The first issue is that of your finances. You need to make sure that you’re preparing financially for the home search, and not just making your list of “wants” for a new home. It’s an exciting time when you’re purchasing your first home, but don’t let the excitement overtake your responsibility. Here’s some tips to keep you on the financial straight and narrow path when preparing to buy a home: Be Mindful Of Your Credit Score There’s many factors that can affect your credit score. Applying for new credit cards is one of those factors. Your credit score will drop a few points every time you have a new credit inquiry or open a new account. If you do get approved for new credit, lenders may have concerns that you’ll spend up maxing out your new approved credit limit on that account and possibly default on your loan. Closing credit accounts is another factor that greatly affects your credit score. You may think that closing unused accounts is a good idea to help get yourself financially ready for becoming a homeowner. This isn’t true. Closing accounts lowers your amount of overall available credit. This means that your debt-to-credit ratio is larger. This lowers your overall credit score. You can certainly make these smart financial changes after you close on your new home. Keep Records When you move your money around, make sure you have records of it. Your lender will want to know about any unusual deposits and withdrawals. You’ll need to prove where your money comes from. All of the cash that you’ll be using for your home purchase should be in one account before you apply for a mortgage. Keep Up With Your Bills Don’t increase your debt. This will have an affect on the very important debt-to-income ratio which is one of the most vital aspects of loan approval. Also, be sure that you don’t skip your payments on bills. Your history of payments is incredibly important as well. Be sure that you continue to make full, on-time payments on all of your bills. Keep Your Job Even though a new job could mean a raise, or a better situation for you and your family, it could delay you in getting a mortgage. You’ll need to have your employment verified along with pay stubs to prove your source of income. Lenders like to see a longer employment history. Keep Saving The biggest up front costs in buying a home is that of closing costs and the down payment. Those must be paid at the time of closing. Lenders may even verify that your savings is on hand. Keep saving steadily and be sure to keep your savings in place.

For home sellers, transforming an ordinary kitchen into one that garners homebuyers' attention is no small feat. However, there are many quick, easy ways to clean your kitchen and ensure it will dazzle homebuyers any time they visit.

Here are three kitchen cleaning tips that every home seller needs to know.

1. Eliminate Wall Splatters.

Wall splatters can be major eyesores in any kitchen. Fortunately, home sellers who spend a few minutes identifying and addressing wall splatters can beautify their kitchens with ease.

If you notice waterborne kitchen wall splatters like ketchup, mustard or wine stains, you can use a wet cloth or paper towel to wipe away these problems immediately. Or, if you find grease stains on your kitchen walls, be sure to utilize a mix of dishwasher soap and water to minimize such issues.

Try to eliminate kitchen wall splatters as soon as you notice them. Wall splatters may become more difficult to minimize over time, and the sooner you identify them, the sooner you can eliminate them altogether.

2. Clean Out the Refrigerator.

Homebuyers will examine every nook and cranny of your house, so don't be surprised if they take a look inside your refrigerator. However, if your refrigerator is messy, overloaded with leftovers or has not been cleaned out in several years, it could negatively affect a homebuyer's impression of your residence.

Even devoting a few minutes to cleaning out your refrigerator daily can make a world of difference for home sellers. Wiping down the refrigerator shelves, cleaning the refrigerator drawers and getting rid of outdated products can give your refrigerator a clean, streamlined appearance.

Don't forget to place an open box of baking soda inside your refrigerator every few months too. This box will help absorb and eliminate odors consistently.

3. Check Out Your Dishwasher and Sink.

If you run your dishwasher daily, you'll want to clean it out and ensure there are no dishes, pots, pans or cooking utensils inside of it when homebuyers visit your residence. Instead, you should try to keep your dishwasher looking pristine, as this will help you show homebuyers exactly what your kitchen has to offer.

Plus, you should keep your sink as clean as possible. Be sure to clean the sink itself after you wash dishes in it. Also, try to avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink, as this may cause odors to form that could move throughout your home.

Maintaining a clean, beautiful kitchen can be tricky, but there is always extra help available if you need it.

For example, your real estate agent may be able to offer kitchen cleaning recommendations and ensure you can find a professional cleaning company to help you beautify your kitchen. That way, you can reap the benefits of an immaculate kitchen, one that homebuyers are sure to appreciate and may enable you to speed up the home selling process.

Conduct an in-depth review of your kitchen today, and you can move closer to transforming a bland kitchen into a fabulous one.