Costs of Buying & Owning Your Home

Costs of Buying a Home

Buying a home entails numerous upfront costs. Some are paid out-of-pocket after the seller accepts your purchase offer, while others are paid at closing.

Earnest Money

To show the seller you’re serious about buying the property, it’s customary to accompany your purchase offer with an “earnest money” check. Earnest money generally ranges from 1% to 3% of the home’s purchase price, depending on local market conditions and the seller’s preference. After accepting the offer, the seller deposits the earnest money funds into an escrow account, and the amount is credited against your closing costs.

Down Payment

Your down payment is the percentage of the home’s purchase price that you pay upfront, typically at closing. You need to specify a down payment amount in your purchase offer, though you can change it prior to closing if the seller agrees. Your down payment amount varies widely based on your credit profile, local market conditions, and the type of mortgage loan you’re approved for, but typically ranges from 3.5% (chiefly for FHA loans) to more than 20% of the purchase price.

Home Appraisal

To ensure that the offer price matches the actual value of the home, lenders require a home appraisal prior to approving the loan. Appraisal costs, typically $300 to $500, are paid during or before the appraisal.
Home Inspection. Licensed home inspectors are trained to find potential problems and defects that might not be apparent to an inexperienced buyer doing a casual walk-through. For this reason, buyers are strongly encouraged to get one, even though private lenders rarely make loan approval conditional on a completed home inspection. The cost is similar to the appraisal and is usually paid at the inspection.

Property Taxes

Since property owners pay property taxes upfront, usually in six-month increments, you need to compensate the seller for taxes paid on the period between the closing date and the end of the current tax period. This expense varies widely based on your local tax rate and the closing date. You could be responsible for nearly six months of property taxes, or practically none at all.

First Year’s Homeowners Insurance

Lenders require proof of homeowners insurance prior to closing. You almost always need to pay the first year’s premium upfront, either on the date you purchase the policy or at closing. Homeowners insurance costs vary based on the value, style, location, and contents of the home, as well as your credit score, policy deductible, and coverage limits.

Other Closing Costs

Appraisal, inspection, taxes, and insurance are just a few of the many line items bundled into your closing. Other closing costs include loan origination charges, credit report fee, flood certification fee, lender’s and owner’s title insurance, recording taxes, state and local transfer taxes, first month’s mortgage interest, and closing fee. As a rule of thumb, you can expect your total closing costs to range from 2% to 4% of the purchase price, with the ratio falling as the purchase price increases.

Depending on local real estate market conditions, general economic climate, and negotiations, the seller may agree to pay some or all of your closing costs.  Before making an offer, ask your agent whether it’s realistic to expect the seller to share or cover closing costs in your current market.

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What It Means to Get Pre-Approved for a Home Loan

Mortgage Preapproval

Experts suggest that you get preapproved for a loan before making a purchase. But what does that mean, and why is it important?

What it Means to Get Preapproved

When you get preapproved, you submit a preliminary application to a lender. They review your credit, along with other items, and let you know what type of loan they’re willing to make. Getting preapproved helps you find out how much a lender will give you, at what rate, and what the terms look like.

It’s a way to find out — before the last minute — whether or not you’ll get the loan you need.

No Obligation

You do not necessarily have to borrow money when you get preapproved. You’re just getting information and bargaining power. If you get a better offer from another lender, you can take it. Likewise, the lender may not actually make a loan you’re preapproved for. If you and the lender have been thorough in the preapproval process, there shouldn’t be any problem. However, in some cases the loan only happens if certain criteria are met, such as:

The loan to value ratio is acceptable to the lender, and the lender agrees that the property is worth as much as you think it’s worth
Details about your income and assets can be verified (if they weren’t already)
With an auto loan, that you purchase from a dealer that can work with the lender

Why Get Preapproved?

When you work with a lender, you find out exactly how much they’d be willing to lend.

They can run some numbers for you and help you figure out exactly how much you can borrow. You can also run numbers yourself using online calculators, but it never hurts to get preapproved and have a lender go over everything — they may see something that you didn’t. They know their policies, and other lenders are likely to have similar policies.

When you know how much you can borrow, you narrow down the universe of possibilities so that you only shop for what you can actually afford. You’ll avoid falling in love with something that may be out of reach financially (and that may tempt you to stretch more than you should).

Getting preapproved also allows you to shop like a cash buyer. You don’t need to line upfinancing at an auto dealer or tell a home seller that you haven’t yet talked to a lender. You and the seller can be reasonably confident that the money will be there if you decide to buy.

You can also understand the costs when you get preapproved. Lenders (whether it’s a credit union, auto dealer, traditional bank, or online lender) often quote attractive rates in advertisements. However, you may or may not qualify for those rates. When you get preapproved, lenders review your credit, income, and assets. They may also ask about the property you’re going to buy (a new or used car, a single-family home or a condo, etc). With that information, they can provide a quote that’s more customized to you and your situation.

If You Come Up Short

What if you get preapproved and you cannot borrow as much as you’d like? You should start with the unpleasant task of considering whether or not to lower your expectations. If you find that you really need to borrow more, you have several options:

  • Increase the income lenders consider by applying for the loan jointly (with a spouse, for example)
  • Make a larger down payment (which reduces the amount of your loan)
  • Offer more collateral to the lender (if they’ll allow this)
  • Use a co-signer
  • Use a longer term loan (but beware of getting upside-down)
  • Work on building your credit to be more attractive as a borrower

We here at HomeJab can help guide you through the entire process, ask us how.

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HomeJabWhat It Means to Get Pre-Approved for a Home Loan

Your Home on TV

Selling your home?

Are you looking to sell your home fast & easy with no hassles?  By using the most advanced online video marketing techniques, we are able to get you the maximum amount of offers in record time.

With our videos, there is no need for open houses!  #endofopenhouses @homejab

Are you a fan of HGTV or Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing?  We also host a weekly TV show broadcasted to 2.6 million households in the Philadelphia area.  Contact us today for a free home video and get your home on TV!

Check out this home video in Amber, PA

Email us or call (610) 945-2004 for more details.

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Portland Real Estate Videos & Photography

We are proud to announce our recent launch in state of Oregon!  At HomeJab, we are committed to producing the highest quality Portland real estate videos and photography services.

For all locations within 40 miles of downtown Portland, we can schedule your shoot in 48 hours or less.  Our local production team includes some of the most talented filmmakers and photographers in Oregon specializing in walk-through video tours, photography and aerial footage.

9588 S Gribble Rd. Canby, OR

18225 River Edge Ct. Lake Oswego, OR

4311 SW Greenleaf DR Portland, OR

16210 Apperson Blvd. Oregon City, OR

1442 NE 71st Ave. Portland, OR

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Top 5 Reasons Why Mortgages are Denied

why mortgages are declined

1.  Not Enough Income

One of the most common reasons why mortgages are denied is that prospective borrowers carry too much debt compared to their incomes.  For Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac conforming loans, the maximum debt-to-income ratio is usually 45 percent.  This means that your gross monthly income divided by your total monthly debts cannot be more than 45 percent.  



  • Minimum credit card payments
  • Car payments
  • Student loans
  • Alimony/child support payments
  • Mortgage payment including real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance, PMI & HOA or condo fees.

Do NOT include:

  • Credit card balances that you pay off in full each month
  • Utility bills (i.e. electric, gas, cable, internet, phone)

 Note:  If you are applying with a co-borrower, include both you and your co-borrower’s monthly debts. 

2.  Unstable Income

For self-employed borrowers or people who receive bonuses, commissions  or tips as part of their income, there is typically a two year history needed.  Income from rental properties, 1099s or investment income like capital gains would also be included in this category.  For this type of income, an average of the last 2 years, as reported on the tax returns, will be used.     

For borrowers who are re-entering the workforce after a long period of time, a 6 month period of employment will need to be established before the income can be considered “stable”.

3.  Bad Credit History

Bad credit is by far the most common reason why mortgage applications are denied.  Late payments, judgments, collections or bankruptcies always have the potential of causing issues with your application.  It is therefore critical to review your credit report with a mortgage professional well before you plan to submit offers and apply for a loan.  

Free credit reports are available online, but these usually contain only one score from one credit bureau.  Mortgage companies will pull from all three credit bureaus and use the middle score.  Most issues with credit reports can be repaired in a relatively short amount of time if you are aware of the problems.

4.  Low Appraisal

Before applying for a mortgage, it is important to review recent sales in your neighborhood.  An appraiser will compare your home with 4-6 other homes that are most similar to yours and have sold within the past 3-4 months.  To start, you can go to sites like Zillow & Trulia, but it is always better to receive information directly from a local real estate agent since their data will be most accurate and up to date.  

5.  Undocumented Funds

Many people do not realize that all funds used at closing must be sourced with documentation. Therefore, any transfers or large deposits (not including income from your job) will need to be explained and tracked by providing a copy of the check deposited and/or a monthly bank statement from the account the money was transferred from.  Every penny must be accounted for so the underwriter can verify where it came from.  Do not deposit cash into your account unless it is at least three months before closing. 

Co-mingling funds with a business is also not a good idea because the lender will require proof that using those funds will not affect the health of the business.  It is always best to have your money put aside in a savings account months before you are planning to buy a house.  

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HomeJabTop 5 Reasons Why Mortgages are Denied

2nd Week of Filming Starts for Local Real Estate TV Show is now in the 2nd week of filming for the new TV show, “HomeJab Live”.  The show will feature local properties for sale broadcasted to the entire Philadelphia & South Jersey markets on WMCN.


Do you want your home to be on TV?

Schedule today and pay only $189 per property.  Included with TV distribution is a copy of the online video and 30-40 professional photos of the property.

Filming this week 9/29 – 9/4
We can have our crew out to your house any day this week and film everything in about 45 minutes.  We will then edit the video so that you have it back in 2-3 days.  For photos, the turn around time is only 24 hours!


Our video marketing experts will show you exactly where to post your video online and how to get thousands of views for your video on social networks and blogs so your property sells fast!


And, we will feature your home on our weekly real estate TV show with a distribution to 2.6 million households in the PA-NJ area.


To schedule your shoot, please click here or call (215) 687-4342.

Sneak Peek of new TV show

Example of online video tour

Contact us today to schedule your professional video & photo shoot or call (215) 687-4342.

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HomeJab2nd Week of Filming Starts for Local Real Estate TV Show

Lender of the Week

Caliber Home Loans, based in Texas, is our pick for lender of the week.  Caliber’s 30 year fixed rate loan is the lowest available in the country with no fees.

We have also found them to be extremely quick with underwriting times (usually 24-48 hours).  It is not uncommon to have a loan approved with a commitment in 1 week or less.

Here is the minimum documentation needed:

  • 2 Year of Federal Tax Returns w/ W-2s
  • 2 Months of Bank Statements
  • 2 Most Recent Pay Stubs
  • Purchase Agreement or Current Mortgage Statement (for refinances).

Caliber does not charge any fees to apply or lock in a rate.

Click here to being a secure online application

Click here for a fast online quote

Click here for today’s mortgage rates

Caliber Home Loans

HomeJabLender of the Week

The Ultimate Mortgage

A new way for homeowners to save money.

The ultimate mortgage is a new way of searching for the best daily mortgage deals.  Search local, regional and national lenders to find the lowest priced loans and receive an instant online quote.  

There are no hidden fees and no costs to apply.  

We take the stress out of the mortgage process.  It is the “Ultimate Mortgage”.

Click here to search mortgage rates.

Get a Mortgage Quote

Instant Online Mortgage Quote

A Modern Mortgage Experience

Applying for a loan is more than just rates & fees.  The HomeJab Mortgage Marketplace is an online community connecting consumers with trusted mortgage professionals. Our site provides an easy to use search engine where consumers can tap into a proven network of loan consultants to seek expert advice in choosing the right loan product.  

Once your loan consultant has been assigned, you have direct access to a real human being so you can discuss your loan status at any time by email, phone or text.  We can also schedule a short meeting at your home, if you prefer, with one of our local loan consultants.  Just contact us with a time that works for you.     

The HomeJab Mortgage Marketplace allows home buyers instant access to finding the right lender with the lowest rates for any situation.  Click here to request an instant online quote.

You can also call us at (610) 945-2004.

HomeJabThe Ultimate Mortgage

Pennsylvania Real Estate Videos & Photography

We are proud to announce our recent launch in state of Pennsylvania!  At HomeJab, we are committed to producing the highest quality Pennsylvania real estate videos and photography services.

For all locations within 40 miles of downtown Philadelphia, we can schedule your shoot in 48 hours or less.  Our local production team includes some of the most talented filmmakers and photographers in the Philly area specializing in walk-through video tours, photography and aerial footage.

1304 Gabriel Ln. Warwick, PA

909 Castlehill Ln. Devon, PA

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HomeJabPennsylvania Real Estate Videos & Photography