Alison Brown, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage President’s Elite, CRS, CBR


If you plan to buy a house, you may want to host a yard sale sooner rather than later. That way, you can sell items you no longer need and won't have to worry about moving these items once you find a new residence.

Ultimately, there are many reasons why it may be beneficial to host a yard sale before you kick off the property buying journey. These reasons include:

1. You can earn extra cash.

Let's face it – purchasing a home can be expensive, regardless of where you decide to live. Fortunately, if you host a yard sale, you can earn extra cash that you may be able to use to cover assorted homebuying and moving expenses.

Whether it's the costs associated with moving supplies or the closing fees on a new home, expenses can add up quickly during the homebuying cycle. Thankfully, by hosting a yard sale, you can simultaneously cut down on unwanted items and earn cash from these items.

2. You can start packing.

As you separate items you want to keep from those you want to sell, you can start packing for your eventual move. Thus, hosting a yard sale may help you kick off the process of moving from one location to another.

Of course, as you start packing, you also may want to reach out to local moving companies. This will allow you to learn about local moving companies, find out their rates and determine whether a moving company is a viable option for your eventual move.

3. You can move one step closer to finding your dream home.

Hosting a yard sale provides a great opportunity to connect with community members and tell them about your plans to search for a new house. In some instances, community members may be able to help you accelerate your search for your dream residence too.

A yard sale may prove to be exceedingly valuable for an individual who wants to start a house search soon. And if you are ready to explore the local housing market following your yard sale, you may want to consult with a real estate agent.

Typically, a real estate agent streamlines all stages of the homebuying journey. He or she will help you pursue houses in your preferred cities and towns so you can find your dream home. Then, a real estate agent will ensure you can submit a competitive offer to purchase your ideal residence. If your homebuying proposal is accepted, a real estate agent next will help you finalize your home purchase.

A real estate agent is an expert resource throughout the homebuying journey. If a homebuyer has questions as he or she searches for the right house, a real estate agent can quickly respond to them.

Host a yard sale before you purchase a house – you'll be glad you did. Because if you host a successful yard sale, you can take the next step to find and buy your ideal home.


Home appraisals are an important part of the buying and selling process. Lenders use appraisals to make sure that the home is worth what the borrower is paying. A home’s appraisal value is based on a number of factors, all of which we’ll discuss in this post.

Whether you’re a buyer, seller, or are just learning about the process of buying a home so you’ll be better equipped in the future, this article is for you.

How is a home appraisal different from an inspection?

While home appraisals and inspections are performed by licensed or certified professionals, they have to different functions. An inspection ensures the safety of a home, as well as whether or not it will need repairs in the immediate or near future.

Appraisals, on the other hand, aim to value a home based on its property value, the size of the property, and the location of the property. The condition of the home is a factor in valuing a home, which is why some people confused appraisals with inspections.

Who pays for appraisals?

Like most closing costs, a home appraisal is a burden that falls on the buyer. Typically, the lender you choose will work with will actually order the appraisal. The cost, which usually amounts to a few hundred dollars, can be added to your closing fees. You can find the cost for an appraisal listed on the Closing Disclosure document provided by your chosen lender.

Which factors determine the home’s value?

To appraise the house itself, appraisers will look at the condition of the home. They’ll also weigh the features of the home in their valuation--things like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, for example.

However, the two key characteristics of a home that contribute to its value are its age and size.

Which external factors contribute to the home’s value?

As you might suspect, the location of your home matters greatly when it comes to appraisals. Homes are appraised based off of average prices for their neighborhood and region.

Other location factors include how accessible the home is, if it’s located on a waterfront, and whether it has desirable views.

When does a home get appraised?

While your experience may vary based on your specific circumstances, most appraisals occur after a buyer has signed a purchase contract. One this is done, the lender will take the steps necessary to order and process the appraisal.

How long is the home appraisal process?

Once the buyer has signed a purchase contract, the appraisal is usually completed and processed within 7 days. The appraisal report will be sent to the lender. This report contains the appraised value of the home. Buyers are entitled to a copy of this report, and should keep one for their own records.


The process of closing on a home can seem lengthy and complex if it’s your first time buying or selling a house. There are several costs and fees required to close on a home, and while it’s up to the individuals to decide who covers what costs, there are some conventions to follow.

In this article, we’re going to talk about closing costs for selling a house and signing on a mortgage. We’ll discuss who pays what, and whether there is room for negotiation within the various fees and expenses.

But first, let’s talk a little bit about what closing costs are and what to expect when you start the process of buying or selling a home.

Closing costs, simplified

If you’re just now entering the real estate market, the good news is you can often estimate your closing costs based on the value of the property in question. You can ask your real estate agent relatively early on in the process for a ballpark figure of your costs.

Closing costs will vary depending on the circumstances of your sale and the area you live in. In some cases, closing costs can be bundled into your mortgage, such as in “No Closing Cost Mortgages.” However, avoiding having to deal with closing costs often comes at the expense of a slightly higher interest rate.

If you are planning to buy a house and have recently applied for a mortgage, laws require that your lender sends you an estimate of your closing costs within a few days of your application.

Now that we know how closing costs work, let’s take a look at who plays what.

Buyer closing costs

In terms of the sheer number of closing costs, buyers tend to have the most to deal with. Fortunately, your real estate agent will help you navigate these costs and simplify the process.

They can range from two to five percent of the cost of the sale price of the home. However, be sure to check with your lender for the closest estimate of your closing costs. It’s a good idea to shop around for mortgage lenders based on interest rates as well as closing costs charged by the lender.

Here are some of the costs you might be asked to pay as a home buyer:

  • Appraisal fees

  • Attorney fees

  • Origination fees

  • Prepaid interest or discount points

  • Home inspection fee

  • Insurance and Escrow deposits

  • Recording fees

  • Underwriting fees

Seller Closing Costs

While the seller pays a larger amount of closing costs, sellers still have obligations at closing that can be just as expensive. The biggest expense for sellers is to pay the real estate commission. Commission usually falls in the vicinity of 6% of the sale price of the home. This covers the commission of both the seller’s and the buyer’s real estate agents. 


The main takeaway? Buyers and sellers both share the burden of closing costs. While the buyer has more expenses to take care of, the seller pays for the largest costs.


Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

According to the National Association of Realtors, year-to-year increases in home sales have remained steady in spite of apparent dips in March 2020 due to COVID-19. This one fact goes to show that the proverbial show must go on when it comes to people buying a home. If you were on a home search before the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, or even if you started searching after, there is no reason to stop your search efforts. Yes, social distancing still remains an important aspect of preventing the spread of the virus. However, as a homebuyer, shopping and staying socially distant are perfectly doable. Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind. 

Keep communication on-point & personal with video conference calls to agents & sellers.

Your real estate agent or realtor is your go-to person throughout the buying process. The average buyer will have multiple meetings with this professional as they get together to lay out details of wants and look at potential properties. Even though socially distancing yourself from your realtor may mean a lack of in-person meetings, it doesn't mean you should ever lose touch. Whether it is keeping in touch via phone or video conferencing, these interactions are vital to you having the most opportunities as a buyer. 

Take advantage of on-demand house shows with live chat functions.

House shows don't have to mean taking a chance and going to a place where there are other people in close proximity. Thanks to modern technology, a home showing is something that can be accomplished entirely remotely. Many real estate companies and sellers are now holding on-demand house showings that include live chat functions. This means you can reach out about a property you are interested in seeing, get a live virtual tour and ask any questions you have in the process. Of course, if you decide at that point that the home is a serious prospect, it is best to arrange for an in-person showing while keeping the general social distancing rules in mind.

Go to lenders using the latest technology & encouraging social distancing.

While shopping for a home, you will likely also be shopping for a mortgage, which would normally mean paying a visit to multiple lenders in your area to see what offers you get. Thankfully, the majority of modern lenders take advantage of online platforms on which the bulk of the application process can be handled online. If you have a lender in mind that doesn't offer an online platform for applying for a mortgage, reach out to them to see if they can do something over the phone or via email. 

You Can Find a Home in Spite of COVID-19 

Yes, COVID-19 has changed the way we interact but you can still search for and find a home you'll love—the steps may just look a bit different than usual. Talk to your real estate agent for more local guidance and tips as you navigate through your homebuying journey.


If you've conducted an in-depth search for your dream house but still have yet to find your ideal residence, there is no need to worry. In fact, you can revisit your homebuying strategy and revise it as needed. This will allow you to restart your house search and increase the likelihood that you'll discover your dream home sooner rather than later.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to revisit your homebuying strategy, and these include:

1. You can consider why you're searching for a house.

There are many reasons why an individual may choose to buy a home. By revisiting your homebuying strategy, you can think about why you want to purchase a house and proceed accordingly.

For example, if your initial goal was to buy a home near the top schools in a particular city or town, you may want to refocus your house search to achieve the optimal results. Or, if you now find that you'd prefer to own a house in a big city instead of a small town, you can update your house search.

2. You can evaluate your home must-haves and wants.

After attending open house events and home showings, your homebuying criteria may have changed. As such, now may be a good time to revisit your homebuying strategy so you can update these criteria.

Think about things you've liked and disliked as you've viewed various available houses. You can use your open house and home showing experiences to revamp your home must-haves and wants, and as a result, reenter the housing market with a fresh perspective.

3. You can review where you want to live.

As you've searched for homes, you may have found that houses in certain cities and towns are more appealing than other residences. Thus, you can revise your homebuying strategy to focus on residences in your preferred cities and towns. This will help you accelerate your house search and ensure you can find a home in a city or town where you want to live.

Of course, conducting a home search on your own often can be difficult. But if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to find a great residence in any city or town. He or she can help you revamp your homebuying strategy and streamline your house search.

In addition, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses that become available and help you navigate the homebuying cycle. Once you find your dream house, a real estate agent will make it easy to submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence. And if you ever have concerns or questions about purchasing a home, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

Revisit your homebuying strategy today, and you could move one step closer to finding and purchasing your ideal residence.




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