Looking for a new place to call home is no easy feat – in fact it’s probably one of the biggest financial and emotional decisions you will ever make. Even if you are well-versed in buying and selling real estate, you know that finding that next property that you will call home is always somewhat of an adventure, and a lot of work. Apart from looking at things like cosmetic finishes and the neighborhood, there’s so much more that goes into picking a new home, and once you’ve chosen the one that’s when the real work of negotiating and going through escrow begins. There are many reasons why you should always work with a licensed and experienced real estate professional whenever you choose to buy or sell real estate, but the guidance and support is truly unparalleled when you have someone on your side who is only looking out for your best interest.
College Station, TX is a fantastic place to call home, whether you are single or looking for a place to raise a family. There are so many exciting things to do, places to visit and incredible eateries to experience, but above all there are some top-notch neighborhoods and communities with stunning homes to choose from when shopping for real estate. Our team is well versed in all of the local communities that are in high demand, and would be happy to explore them all with you until you find the perfect property in the perfect neighborhood.
The prestigious Emerald Forest subdivision in College Station, TX is a family friendly community that is located on the corner of Highway 6 and Harvey Mitchell Parkway South. This is a highly sought-after neighborhood right in the heart of College Station and offers incredible single-family properties that are sure to meet the needs and wants of a wide range of homebuyers. The first homes to be built in the community are dated to 1982, but there are also new properties being built even today. The homes can be anywhere between 1,580 square feet to more than 6,400 square feet and lot sizes vary from 8,000 square feet all the way to 15,000 square feet. Pricing for homes in the Emerald Forest neighborhood ranges between $165,000 and $535,000. While the homes in this stunning family friendly neighborhood are unique and highly desirable, the community has much more to offer when it comes to amenities. Residents can take advantage of the community clubhouse, neighborhood pool, two tennis courts, basketball court, playground, jogging and walking trails, picnic tables and more. The Homeowners Association (HOA) of Emerald Forest diligently works year-round to maintain the community and plan exciting annual community events to bring the residents together.
If you have found the perfect house to call home, and you’re ready to make an offer, do you know what the next steps to follow are? Are you familiar with the entire process of buying real estate from start to finish? Do you know what additional fees to expect apart from the down payment? Once you submit an offer on a property, if the seller accepts it then you will open escrow and follow through some additional steps for financing, due diligence and meeting a few deadlines before you close on the property and receive the keys to your new home.
What is Escrow
Surely, you’ve heard the term “escrow” before. In real estate, an escrow account is a secure holding area where important documents, earnest money and contracts are kept safe by an escrow company until the deal closes and house is transferred to the new owners. A third party, usually an escrow officer from an escrow company, will maintain the money and documents from start to finish. This person is there to make sure that everything during the entire transaction proceeds smoothly, and your escrow officer will also work hand in hand with your real estate agent and loan officer. Ultimately, an escrow officer is responsible to ensure that all conditions and terms of an agreement are met and satisfied before your money is transferred to the seller.
The first step of escrow is submitting an earnest money deposit, or an escrow deposit. This a specific dollar amount from the buyer once the seller accepts their offer that is seen as a “good faith” deposit when opening escrow. The escrow company will hold on to this money in an escrow account for the duration of the transaction. If the buyer breaches contract or fails to close, this money is given to the seller as compensation.
Throughout the escrow process, there are certain steps and documentation that needs to be submitted at various deadlines to move the transaction along – these are often referred to as contingencies. Some common contingencies to meet include a home inspection, repairs, preparing and signing loan documents and others. Every time one of these steps is completed by the buyer or the seller, a contingency release form is signed, and the transaction is free to move on to the next step closer to closing. Once all of these conditions are met and the transaction is finalized, then the money due to the sellers is transferred from your lender to them. In the meantime, your escrow officer with clear the title and transfer it to you, which means that you as the buyer officially own the home.
Escrow helps to protect both buyers and sellers during the buying process by keeping everyone safe as they move forward. For example, if a seller promised to fix a leaking roof during the home inspection contingency, but didn’t follow through on that promise, then the seller won’t receive any money from the buyer until the damage is repaired as promised. On the other hand, should a buyer back down last minute with no good reason, the seller gets to keep a good portion of the earnest money deposit, which often comes out to two percent of the purchase price. If something goes wrong on either side, escrow is around to soften the blow and try to keep everyone calm and happy.
Your escrow fees are part of the additional closing costs you have to pay in addition to the down payment on the home. Escrow fees vary and who pays for them depends on what was negotiated and agreed upon in the purchase agreement for the property. Typically, escrow fees average around one to two percent of the total cost of the home.
What are Closing Costs
First time home buyers are often surprised by the additional costs incurred when buying a home. Many buyers think that the only out of pocket cash they have to account for is the down payment on the house and don’t budget for the inevitable closing costs that come at the end of the transaction. Closing costs are additional fees associated with the home purchase that are paid at the close of the transaction, and these costs are split between the buyer and the seller. These are some of the most common fees you can expect to see:
- Application fee – covers the cost for your lender to process your application. Not all lenders charge this fee and it is negotiable.
- Appraisal fee – paid to the appraisal company for establishing the fair market value of the home.
- Escrow fee – paid to the escrow company managing the money and the closing of the transaction.
- Courier fee – covers the cost of transporting documents between parties.
- Escrow deposit for property taxes and mortgage insurance – you are responsible for two months of property tax and mortgage insurance payments at closing.
- Homeowners Insurance – you will often pay for an entire year of insurance at the time of closing.
- Recording fees – charged by the local city or county recording office for recording of public land records.
- Title company – paid to title company for completing thorough research of records associated with the property.
- Underwriting fee – paid to the lender and covers the cost of researching whether or not to approve a borrower for a loan.
- Origination fee – covers administrative costs of the lender, but this is negotiable.
- Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – if you are making a down payment that is less than 20%, you are required to pay PMI.
There are additional fees and costs that may come up depending on the type of loan you qualify for and where you are located. Typically, buyers can expect closing fees to be anywhere between two and five percent of the purchase price of the home. When you receive a loan estimate from your lender, an estimate of your closing costs should be included so that there are no surprises later on. You can ask your real estate agent to negotiate on who pays these fees – sometimes sellers will agree the buyers closing fees.
Whether you are looking for your first home, or your tenth home, we are available to help you explore the various College Station, TX neighborhoods and help you find the perfect property! Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
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