Hidden Homeowner Costs

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.


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.


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.

The Breakdown of ‘Going Green’

Going green is great for the environment, but that’s not the only benefit. When you make green upgrades in your home, it can also lead to some major savings.

  1. Solar panels: The upfront cost is big, but the long-term savings are huge. Solar panels will cost several thousand dollars to install, but ongoing maintenance costs are very low, and a typical system could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can even sell your surplus electricity.
  2. Wood furnace: Wood-burning furnaces are relatively inexpensive, and though the yearly savings aren’t as dramatic (about 10% on heating bills), it adds up over the long run.
  3. Insulation: There’s a good chance your insulation isn’t very efficient, especially in older homes. Look into installing floor, cavity, wall, and loft insulation to reduce your heating bills.
  4. Rain barrels: Rain barrels are extremely inexpensive, and provide gallons of free water to use when you wash your car or water your garden.
  5. Geothermal system: OK, so the price tag is scary at first. A geothermal system uses the earth’s temperature to heat and cool your home, but can cost $30,000 to install. But tax credits allow you to get a lot of that money back, and the energy savings average about $1,900 per year. If you plan to be in your home for a decade or two, it’s a great investment.

Every Little Bit Counts…and Helps


Here are some of James’ key points:

  • Clients often overlook energy costs when determining how much they can afford to spend on housing each month. They can get hung up over a $5,000 difference in price—which amounts to about $20 a month—without realizing that some simple changes can make up that difference in the monthly utility bills.
  • There are loan programs available for buyers who want to finance energy improvements. However, many energy improvements are simple and relatively inexpensive, such as new insulation or new energy-efficient appliances.
  • The benefits of a green home go beyond dollar savings. A green home offers better air quality and air flow, and thus offers a better quality of life.
  • Currently, there’s no way to gauge the return on investment in making your home more green. However, MLSs are beginning to keep a closer eye on the data, and better information should be available in the next few years.
What Sellers Can Do To Prepare

What Sellers Can Do To Prepare

So, you’ve decided that NOW is the best time to sell your home!  Congrats!  Now, you need to get you home ready for inspection…GASP!!  It hits you then, this is more than you know what to do with.  Years of clutter and unseen blemishes lurk at every corner.  You don’t have time for this!!

Don’t worry…Nothing has to be perfect, but a well-rounded home is more likely to get multiple offers.  So let’s just take a second to breathe, and do an assessment.  First, do a walk-through of your home.  Look at it through the eyes of a buyer.  Next, take notes of all the fixes you need to make.  Lastly, prioritize your list by considering these main things; (not necessarily in this order)

  1. Electrical- Make sure there are no issues, and meets current code and safety standards.
  2. Heating- Inspect, clean, and maintenance your heating system.
  3. Energy Efficiency- Make as many efforts to weatherize your home. Insulation needs, door and window jams, appliances, etc.  (Check with your local power/utility company for any local programs or discounts/grants to help with the cost of weatherization.  Some restrictions apply.)
  4. Plumbing- Make sure all leaks are fixed and no water or mold damage is present.
  5. Safety/Environmental Risks– Fire hazards, broken steps, broken handrails, buried or abandoned oil tanks, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, etc.
  6. Cosmetic Fixes- Typically inexpensive fixes that you can handle yourself. Up your curb appeal by De-cluttering and Cleaning inside and outside of home, fresh paint, new carpet or flooring, fix holes/scratches/wall cracks/baseboards/trim, fix improperly hung doors, replace screens, etc.

It is very important to prepare yourself both mentally and physically to make the fixes your home needs. As a Seller, you need to have a product that is ‘ready to go’.  If you can do some work before you decide to list your home, and work with a trusted REALTOR, you will have a quick and painless transaction with more offers.


Feel free to contact me anytime.  I can help you find the professionals you need to make this project a reality.  It would be my greatest honor to help you.

“Helping You Make the Connections”

The 5 Top Reasons for Selling Your Eugene House Now

The 5 Top Reasons for Selling Your Eugene House Now

When you have a firm timeline that governs when you’ll be selling your Eugene house, it’s one decision that’s made for you. Of course, it’s not always that easy. If a move from one home to another, or from Eugene to another area isn’t dictated by outside events, you have to make the decision anew every week or month.

On the one hand, the adventure and energizing prospect of a new home tugs in the direction of getting the project going…while on the other hand, the mountain of details and effort pulls in the direction of putting it off a bit longer.

Here are five prime reasons why now—at the tail-end of this summer, right before autumn sets in—is an increasingly good time to be selling your Eugene house:

  1. It’s the BEST time to be moving up…at least for the foreseeable future. The most reliable projections say that prices are projected to appreciate 23.4% by 2021.
  2. The season is right. Whenever the spring/summer selling season starts winding down, competition begins to fade. And as soon as you have made your own Eugene sale, the homeowners you will be looking to buy from are more likely to be flexible.
  3. Selling your Eugene house can move faster. The processing (paperwork, approvals, etc.) tends to find quicker action as seasonal activity slows.
  4. Overall, there’s just less competition. Aside from the seasonal aspect, overall, the big picture continues to be one of a housing supply that isn’t keeping pace with demand.
  5. Life. You’ve decided to sell sooner or later—but until you make the decision to take the plunge, many aspects of your life can get stuck. Major changes of all sorts have to be postponed when a big move is in the wind (especially when it gets stuck in that wind)!

The prime reason for knowing you are going to be selling your Eugene house, but not acting on it, is the hassle factor (the many details that have to be attended to). I can be a major help with all those parts—and since I enjoy every part of what I do, it’s a feeling that’s easily spread to my clients!

Making the decision that now is the time is actually simpler than stewing over it any longer. Just give me a call!

First-Time Home Buyer

First-Time Home Buyer

What does Homeownership Mean?

Homeownership is something that is at the foundation of the ‘American Dream’, but it means more than just owning a house.  We are all aware of the costs associated with ownership; commissions, fees, taxes, insurance, warranties, upkeep, repairs, and not to mention, contracts and making sense of it all…!!  Yikes!   It is very easy to get swept away with fear of the sudden loss of all your nickels and dimes!  OUCH!  But please, rest assured, that it is possible, and it is worth it!  Here’s why;

When you buy your first home, you have worked for it!  There is a huge sense of pride to hold the keys to your first home.  You have just made a huge life decision, and put down roots in a town you love.  You chose this place for many personal reasons, and one of those reasons will always come back to the community.  You wanted a home in the right neighborhood/town/state.

Here is a link to Eugene Homes for Sale under $200,000

With the purchase of Real Estate, you are essentially investing in the community that it resides.  Homeownership is the key to developing funding for our schools, social services, safety, local infrastructure, and communities as a whole.  Putting roots into a place, means you’re now part of that community, and you have an interest in How, Why, and When they are represented within Local, State, and National platforms.  With the purchase of Real Estate, you essentially become involved in the political process.

With so many programs aimed to helping First Time Home Buyers, and the knowledge and connections of a local REALTOR, your dreams of owning a home are your reach.

So, Congratulations on your decision to take the next step in life!  By choosing me as your local Real Estate Broker you can feel confident that your questions, concerns, and needs will always be my top priority.  Give me a call!  Let’s Talk!  I know I can help you.