Buying a home is probably the largest purchase you will make in your lifetime. In spite of down payments and monthly mortgage dues, you’ll also have to plan for the fees that come with purchasing a home. These expenses are collectively known as closing costs.

Just how much can you expect to spend on closing costs when buying a house? Experts say that closing costs amount to anywhere between 3 and 5% of the cost of the home. So, if you buy a $250,000 home, you could pay as much as $12,000 in closing costs and associated fees.

Coupled with a down payment that is due at the time of signing, closing on a home can get very expensive very quickly. But we’re here to help you understand the cost of closing and how you can potentially cut some of those costs that are due at the time of signing. Read on to learn how.

What are closing costs?

There are dozens of possible expenses that may come up at the time of closing. Depending on your unique situation, you might pay for several or just a few of them. Some common closing costs include:

  • Mortgage application fee. This fee describes the cost of processing your mortgage application. Be sure to go over everything that this fee covers with your lender.

  • Attorney fee. While this fee may not always be required, it is a good idea to have an attorney review your mortgage and related documents and contracts.

  • Property tax. It isn’t out of the ordinary to be asked to pay the first or first two months of your property tax at the time of closing.

  • Insurance premiums. Flood, fire, and mortgage insurance premiums may all be required to be paid at the time of closing as well.

  • Home inspection. It’s not a legal obligation to inspect a home before you buy it, but it can save you thousands of dollars in repairs if an issue is discovered after you already sign on a new home.

  • Origination fee. Not all lenders charge an origination fee, but can expect to pay up to 1% of the value of the home to cover the lender’s administrative expenses.

  • Transfer tax. This is the tax for when a property changes ownership. Each state and county charge different amounts, with some states charging no transfer tax at all.

  • Underwriting costs. This is another fee charged by your lender for the work they do to ensure you are safe to lend to.

Where you can save

We know what you’re thinking: that’s a lot of fees. The good news, however, is that you likely won’t end up paying every closing cost there is, and sometimes closing costs are negotiable.

Here’s our advice on how to reduce closing costs.

  1. Shop around. Find a lender that offers a closing cost that you’re comfortable with. Ask the lender for Good Faith Estimate (GFE). The lender is obligated by law to provide a GFE within three business days of applying for a loan.

  2. Negotiate with the lender. Since you haven’t signed on the loan yet, you still have the power to negotiate. For best results, try to negotiate the smaller and more obscure fees; those that aren’t as common with other lenders are more likely to be reduced or removed.

  3. Negotiate with the seller. Some costs may be negotiated with the seller depending on quickly they would like to sell the home. Negotiate things like inspection fees or transfer taxes with the seller. Or, bring up the closing costs with the seller and see if they will reduce the price of the home to accommodate for some of the closing costs. 

Taters, spuds, potatoes, no matter what you call them, they are delicious baked, steamed, fried, or boiled. This versatile root vegetable is a mainstay of the diet of many cultures and so easy to grow at home.

No matter if you have a spacious garden plot, or a few pots on the patio, terrace, or balcony: you can grow potatoes. However, before you head out to the home and garden store for supplies, there are a few things about cultivating potatoes you may want to keep in mind.

Best Time To Plant Potatoes
Potatoes can be planted at any time in mild climates. For homeowners living in areas subject to frost and freezing, potatoes should be planted as early in the spring as possible once the soil warms up. Potatoes planted too early in the cold and wet ground will rot before they can sprout. Although new growth on potato plants will tolerate a light frost, the potato will not send forth growth until the soil warms.

Selecting Seed Potatoes
Don’t bother looking for potatoes seeds in a catalog or at your local home and garden supply store. You won’t find them. Instead, potatoes are grown from what is commonly called “seed potatoes”. A seed potato is simply any variety of potato with at least one “eye”.

When more people used to grow their own potatoes and store them for the winter, the wizened few that remained in the storage bin become the “seeds” for the next season’s crop. If you don’t have any old potatoes lying around, select a few intriguing varieties at the local farmer’s market. There are dozens of different varieties to choose from. Cook up a few and determine your favorites. Select a few of the healthiest, blemish-free potatoes of your choice for seed.

When planting seed potatoes, you can plant the whole potato or cut it up into multiple pieces. Just make sure that each piece of potato has at least one “eye” to encourage sprouting and vigorous growth. If you plant the whole potato with multiple eyes, you should have an abundant crop, but the potatoes will be small. Planting seed potatoes with only a few “eyes” will result in a smaller crop. However the potatoes will be larger than those grown from a seed that has multiple “eyes”.

Potatoes grow best in a sunny location in nutrient rich soil enhanced by organic compost. Enrich the soil with a generous supplement of well-aged herbivore manure (cow, horse, sheep, goat). Make sure to choose a full-sun location with good drainage. Potatoes require sunshine and a lot of moisture, but hate “wet feet” and will not do well in heavy clay soils or in a location with standing water.

Plant seed potatoes three to four inches need in mounded rows spaced 12 to 18 inches apart. Dependent on the warmth of the soil and the amount of moisture and sunshine, the new plants will emerge in two to three weeks. When the plants have grown about a foot high, “hill” or mound 10 to 12 inches of soil around the base of each plant. This ensures that the new potatoes are well covered with soil, protected from sunlight which will cause them to turn green. If any potatoes turn green, discard them at harvest as they will be bitter.

Provide potato plants with plenty of moisture to prevent the hills from drying out. The potatoes will be ready for harvest in the fall. Freshly dug potatoes from the garden have a flavor and texture that is better than any potato you can buy at the supermarket, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have a bountiful supply of spuds for the winter: flavorful and free of pesticides and harmful chemicals.


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