Be Prepared for Closing Costs

Saving for a down payment in preparation for buying a new home is pretty common knowledge. With the mortgage meltdown, most mortgages that allowed zero down payments disappeared. While FHA and VA loans still offer little to no money down, most potential homebuyers will need to save at least 5-20% of the home value.

Unfortunately, many first-time homebuyers are dismayed to learn that in addition to the large down payment, they also owe thousands of dollars in closing costs that they might not have expected. The national average for closing costs ranges from 2-4% of the purchase price, which adds considerably to the amount of savings needed to buy a home. In addition, while not a closing cost, most lenders also require a savings reserve equal to at least two months of the mortgage payment. Needless to say, it adds up.

Let’s break these costs down.

Closing costs include fees charged by the escrow or closing attorney, as well as costs associated with obtaining a home loan, including:

• Escrow fees

• Title search and filing fees

• Appraisal fees

• Home inspection fees

• Wire transfer fees

• Loan costs – These include what are termed “points”; each point is 1% of the purchase price and is used as both commission for the lending officer and as an upfront fee to reduce the loan interest rate.

These are just a few of the extra costs associate with buying and closing on a new home. It’s important to know these costs ahead of time, so potential homebuyers can save the appropriate amount of money needed to buy a home. Nobody wants to be surprised by unexpected costs and and end up missing out on the perfect property.

10 Questions to Ask the Condo Board


Before you buy, contact the condo board with the following questions. In the process, you’ll learn how responsive — and organized — its members are. You’ll also be alerted to potential problems with the property.

  1. What percentage of units is owner-occupied? What percentage is tenant-occupied? Generally, the higher the percentage of owner-occupied units, the more marketable the units will be at resale.
  2. What covenants, bylaws, and restrictions govern the property? What grandfather clauses are in place? You may find, for instance, that those who buy a property after a certain date can’t rent out their units, but buyers who bought earlier can. Ask for a copy of the bylaws to determine if you can live within them. And have an attorney review property docs, including the master deed, for you.
  3. How much does the association keep in reserve? Plus, find out how that money is being invested.
  4. Are association assessments keeping pace with the annual rate of inflation? Smart boards raise assessments a certain percentage each year to build reserves to fund future repairs. To determine if the assessment is reasonable, compare the rate to others in the area.
  5. What does and doesn’t the assessment cover? Does the assessment include common-area maintenance, recreational facilities, and trash collection?
  6. What special assessments have been mandated in the past five years? How much was each owner responsible for? Some special assessments are unavoidable. But repeated, expensive assessments could be a red flag about the condition of the building or the board’s fiscal policy.
  7. How much turnover occurs in the building? This will tell you if residents are generally happy with the building. According to research by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, owners of condos in two-to-four unit buildings stay for a median of five years, and owners of condos in a building with five or more units stay for a median of four years.
  8. Is the condo building in litigation? This is never a good sign. If the builders or home owners are involved in a lawsuit, reserves can be depleted quickly.
  9. Is the developer reputable? Find out what other projects the developer has built and visit one if you can. Ask residents about their perceptions. Request an engineer’s report for developments that have been reconverted from other uses to determine what shape the building is in. If the roof, windows, and bricks aren’t in good repair, they become your problem once you buy.
  10. Are multiple associations involved in the property? In very large developments, umbrella associations, as well as the smaller association into which you’re buying, may require separate assessments.

Ready to Start Your Condo Search?

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SPRING into Spring Market

We can feel it in the air – springtime! For months we have been looking forward to opening up our homes and planting spring flowers, and it seems as though it has finally arrived. When our flowers begin blooming, so does our spring real estate market. We see buyers ready to spring into action and find the home they’ve been dreaming about.

This spring, there are four reasons to fulfill your dreams of homeownership right now.

Interest rates

  • Take advantage of low interest rates while they last
  • Expected to rise around the middle of 2015
  • Having low interest rates could help you afford more home vs. higher interest rates
  • Low interest rates keeps your home more affordable
  • Saves you, the buyer, money

Homes are rising in value

  • Invest in your home now while prices are low and watch your home increase in value
  • Buy now when houses are more affordable. Sell when they are higher
  • Homes for sale that are in your price range now may not be in you price range once the housing market increases

Economy is picking up

  • Economy is recovering from the great recession
  • People have more disposable money in their pockets
  • Incomes are increasing

Buying a home vs. renting

  • The monthly rent payment is usually around 2x more than a monthly mortgage payment on a house
  • You could get money back when you decide to sell your home vs. nothing back when you rent

Making the decision to buy a home should take careful consideration. Consult with our expert buyer’s agents to see if you’re ready to take the next steps and begin your home search.

Start your home search!

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Vacation Home Sales Skyrocketed Last Year


The National Association of Realtors reported that vacation home purchases made up 21% of all homes sales last year. The highest level since 2003 and a 57% increase from 2013.

Why the dramatic surge? Families, especially the top 10%, are feeling more confident in the local housing market, as well as, strong performances in the stock market.

According to NAR, the typical second-home buyer had a median household income of $94,380, 58% had two income earners and 48% financed less than 70% of the purchase price.

Another telling factor that the real estate market will continue to surge, NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun pointed out that baby boomers are on the tipping point of retirement. In fact, 19% of all vacation homebuyers plan to eventually make their second home their primary residence.

So what does this mean for the Florida real estate market?

46% of the vacation homes purchased were located in the South. On a local level the Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) is reporting that the luxury real estate marketing in Naples remains to be strong.


According to NABOR, closed sales increased 14% in the $1Million to $2 Million+ price segment and increased 13% in the $2Million+ price segment.


With continually decreasing inventory and strong market conditions, the Naples real estate market remains strong. If you are a homeowner that’s kept your eye on the market and believe you have equity in your home, contact us to confirm your growth in your investment. It may be the right time to sell.

Thinking of buying or selling in Naples?

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1st Time Homebuyers Tips & Tricks to Increase Your Credit Score


Buying your first home is an exciting, but sometimes scary endeavor. One of the first hurdles to get over before you can start home shopping is ensuring you can obtain a home loan. The single most important number that follows you throughout your entire adult life is your credit score. Ultimately, your credit score will determine whether you will fulfill your dreams of buying a home.

What does your credit score say about you? Generally speaking, your credit score tells a story to your lender. It shows the likelihood of you being able to pay off your home loan based on your credit history. Your credit history shows whether your bills were paid on time, the amount of debt you have, and the length of credit history you’ve established. All these factors will lead to you being approved or declined for a home loan. If you’re approved, your credit score is also a factor for determining your interest rate. Quite simply, the better your credit score, the better your interest rate.

Now, let’s break down the contributing factors that make up your credit score. Knowing this information will help you be prepared, and quite possibility help you make better decisions regarding your financial health.

Contributing Factors to your credit score

  • Length of credit history
    1. Contributes to 15% of FICO score
    2. Having longer credit history positively affects score
    3. Short credit history can hurt your score
  • Utilization of your credit cards
    1. Contributes to 30% of FICO score
    2. High balances on cards = more debt = hurts score
  • Your Payment history
    1. Contributes to 35% of FICO score
    2. Having long history of paying bills on time is beneficial
  • New Credit Cards
    1. Contributes to 10% of FICO score
    2. Lenders interpret a borrower who has opened multiple credit cards in a short period of time as having financial trouble
  • Credit Mix
    1. Contributes to 10% of FICO score
      1. Have a variety of debt
      2. Tells lenders you can handle different types of payments
        1. Student Loans
        2. Car Loans
        3. Credit Cards

If your credit score is in need of some help, here are some steps to take that will lead to increasing your credit score over time.

  • Make sure you have no collections
  • Keep credit card balances low
    • Pay off high debt multiple times a month – not just once a month
    • Percentage of available credit that has been borrowed.
      • Don’t utilize more the 35% of your credit line
    • Continue to utilize all credit cards – Inactive cards can hurt credit
      • Keep small balances on each card
  • Don’t miss any payments
    • Don’t open too many credit cards at one time
      • Multiple inquiries of your credit being pulled drops your score
  • How to monitor of your score.
    • Know your score from all three National Credit Bureaus before applying for a home mortgage.
      • Three Credit Bureaus
        • Equifax
        • Experian and
        • Transunion
      • Use a Free Credit Check Company
        • Pull scores from 2/3 of the top credit bureaus without creating credit inquiries from:
          • Transunion
          • Equifax

By being aware of tools to increase your credit score and overall financial health, you can help your chances of obtaining a home loan and purchasing your first home. Just remember, before you apply for a home loan, know that your credit score plays a big part in the interest rate. Be aware, prepared, and ready to apply when you know your credit score is high.



Beth Rose Real Estate and Auctions to Team with REIA Toledo for #InvestinToledo Campaign


Beth Rose, a member and sponsor of REIA Toledo for over 20 years is thrilled to announce the #InvestinToledo campaign coming this summer. Beth remarked, “The investment sector of Toledo’s real estate market is vitally important to Toledo’s future. Investment properties are the backbone to many retirement plans of hard-working residents of Toledo. I believe by educating people in our own backyard about investing smart in Toledo, we can continue to recover in some of the hardest hit areas in our community.”

Beth’s father, David Rose, started his career offering investment properties that started many of Toledo’s biggest investors in the 1980s and 1990s. This summer, Beth Rose wants to reestablish the importance of investing smart in real estate, right here in our own backyard.

The campaign will feature a large ballroom style auction of investment properties, coupled with educational sessions to help investors who are just starting out with dreams of owning real estate to plan for their futures.

Beth explains, “When investors get started in the real estate buying process for the first time, we understand there’s a learning curve, and that’s why we want to take the time to break down the process and help new investors feel confident they’re making a wise financial decision for their future. We do that by bringing in speakers to talk about issues most investors face such as property management, lending regulations, and what you need to know when taking on renovation projects.”

All these lessons are learned over time, but if we can help bridge the gap and speed up the learning curve, then more consumers will feel confident that investing in Toledo is great for their financial future, and that’s crucial for the future of Toledo.

Over the next few weeks, Beth Rose Real Estate and Auctions will be meeting with investors who are ready to retire and sell their portfolios. We are currently taking new properties to add to our upcoming investment ballroom auction.

If you’re an investor looking to retire, this is the auction to sell your portfolio!

If you’re a new investor just starting out or thinking about buying your first investment property, this is the time to learn from others that have been in your shoes!

Add Your Property to our Auction or Get the Latest Alerts for the Auction and Education Sessions

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Pros and Cons of Going Condo


When buying real estate in Florida, condominiums, at a first glance, are an appealing option for a second home. You show up, enjoy maintenance-free leaving, and when you’re ready to head back north, you simply lock the door behind you.

We’re breaking down the pros and cons of condominium living, so get ready to immerse yourself in all things condo.


Amenities: Condos are known for their glamorous swimming pools, over-the-top fitness centers, fancy social rooms, and many other amenities to make your condo living experience feel like you’re living at a five-start hotel. Taking advantage of these amenities is a huge plus since you’re sharing in the cost with other owners, as opposed to shelling out the cash yourself in a single family home.

Maintenance: If you’re a busy traveler coming and going to your getaway condo, then maintenance-free living is a priority. Most condos have on-site managers to take care of common areas and keep the grounds looking pristine.

Security: Many condos are gated with on-site security in the gatehouse so you can sleep sounding knowing you’re safe.

Beautiful Views: If you’re looking to buy a second home with a beautiful water view, then a condo purchase is most likely your best bet. You certainly will have more options in getting a gorgeous high-rise view without shelling out the cost of a single-family home on the water.


Storage: Without a 2 car garage, which most single-family residences come with, storage can be a challenge. Many condos come with locker storage, but without the added space, tell your man to say goodbye to his workbench and tools.

Outdoor Space: If you’re a gardener at heart, you might find condo living a challenge. Some people love to piddle in their yards with gardens and flowers. If you don’t have a green thumb, then not having the headache of mowing the lawn and maintaining a yard is a SUPER plus.

Reserve Funds and Associate Fees: All condo associations have maintenance fees to keep the buildings and grounds looking beautiful, but of course, that comes at a price. When buying a condo, be sure to research the condominiums financials and reserve fund so you’re investing in a condo association with a sound financial future.

As we’ve seen, there are several pros and cons to condo living. The secret? Find the style of living that best suits you!

Ready to start your condo search?

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Low Inventory of Grosse Pointe Historical Homes Pushes Real Estate Market Up

Grosse Pointe is known for luxurious, historically relevant estates that tell their own stories dating back to the early 1900s. Today, residents of Grosse Pointe still treasure the history and tradition on which it was founded.

Famous architects like Marcel Breuer, Hugh T. Keyes, and Albert Kahn, known as the architect of Detroit, made a significant impact on the culture of what makes Grosse Pointe one of the best suburbs of the Motor City to this day.

Homes for sale in Grosse Pointe, Michigan have seen inventory drop drastically in the last year due to improving market conditions. As a result, home prices are rising and inventory is moving even faster.

According to the Realcomp Multiple Listing Service statistics, sales prices in Grosse Pointe have jumped 43% in the last six months in the luxury real estate segment (home prices $1,000,000+).

The real estate market of Grosse Pointe Farms is especially hot. Beth Rose Real Estate and Auctions just announced the 2013 Grosse Pointe Historical Show House, 221 Lewiston Road, will hit the auction block May 30th. The home will be sold at absolute auction, selling to the highest bidder, regardless of price. More information about the auction may be found here.

As for the next six months of predictions, all signs seem to be pointing up. When the snow melts and spring market really heats up, so do home prices.

Radon Gas, Are You at Risk?

Radon gas is a topic that buyers and sellers need to be aware of when purchasing and selling a home. High levels of radon gas over a prolonged period of time can be very serious, as the gas can cause lung cancer. According to the United State Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year (source: EPA).

What is radon gas?

Radon gas is a natural, radioactive gas that comes from the ground into buildings. This gas is a by-product of the radioactive decay of uranium. It becomes very dangerous because it cannot be detected by sight, smell, or taste.

How can radon get into your home?

Depending on the amount of uranium content in the earth’s surface, radon gas can drift through foundation cracks, pores of floor slabs, and even floor and wall joints. Other entry points are through openings around sump pumps and floor drains. Radon can also enter your home through the water system, where ground water is the main supply.

What is a safe level of radon gas?

The EPA’s standard for radon suggests a home should test less than 4 pCo/l, otherwise, a home would be flagged as containing high amounts of radon gas. Be sure to properly test your home.

Learn more about radon gas and protecting your home.