Jill Finkelstein - Compass

Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 7/25/2021

If youíre a first-time homebuyer, you might be wondering what all of the expenses you can expect to have when it comes time to close on your home.

Ideally, youíll want to understand all of the closing costs months in advance so that you can plan accordingly. However, even if youíre close to purchasing your first home, itís still useful to get to know closing costs better.

In todayís post, Iím going to cover the closing costs that are typically the buyerís responsibility.

Buyerís closing costs

Thereís good news and bad news when it comes to closing costs for buyers. The bad news is that buyers are typically on the hook for the majority of the closing costs associated with a real estate transaction. The good news, however, is that many of these fees will be grouped together as part of your mortgage, meaning you wonít have to devote much time or thought to them individually.

That being said, to ensure that you know where your money is going, hereís a breakdown of the main closing costs that youíll likely be responsible for as a buyer:

1. Attorney fees

Real estate attorneys research the ownership of the home, ensuring that the seller actually has the right to sell you the property. Though this is usually a formality, it is an important one.

Attorneys can either charge a flat fee or hourly rate.

2. Origination fees

The origination fee is paid upfront to the lender. Itís the fee that they charge for processing your mortgage application and getting you approved as a borrower.

3. Prepaid interest

Many buyers pay their first monthís interest in advance. This is the amount of interest that will accrue from the time you purchase the home until your first mortgage payment is due (a month later).

4. Home inspection

Inspections are one of the closing costs that can save you a ton of money in the long run if they find anything during their visit to the home. Inspectors should be licensed in your state, and you should choose your own inspector based on ratings and reviews (not at the recommendation of someone who is incentivized to sell you the home such).

5. Escrow deposits

Escrow deposits are typically shared between the buyer and seller and it is the fee that escrow agents charge for their services. You can think of an escrow as a neutral third party that keeps your money safe while purchasing a home.

6. Recording fees

All real estate purchases have to be recorded by the local government. Typically, this is performed by the county or town hall. Recording fees are charged whenever a real estate transaction occurs.

7. Underwriting fees

Mortgages are all about determining risk. A lender wants to know whether they will see a return on their investment by lending to you. To do so, they research your credit and income history. The fee the charge for this work is called the underwriting fee.

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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 7/18/2021

Building a fence on your property can be a great way to secure privacy, add curb appeal, or give your kids and dog a great way to play safely. There are a few things that you should know about building a fence before you take the project on. You need to be sure that everything is in place so that the project will go smoothly. 

Know What You Want

If you know the purpose of the fence, youíll need to decide on the type of fence that will best serve what youíre looking to achieve. If you live in an area governed by an HOA for example, you may need to get clearance just to start the project. The Association may have rules and regulations as to what type of fence theyíll allow you to put up. Many variables should be answered before you leap into the project of building a fence. 

Decide On The Materials The Fence Will Be Made From

Once you know the type of fence you need, youíll choose what that fence will be made of. If you get a wood fence, that may require a bit more maintenance than other types of fences. Materials you can choose from include:

Chain link


Wrought iron


There are many advantages and disadvantages to these materials so do your research and discover which one will be best for you. You can even mix and match fencing materials. You may be able to use one type of fencing material in the front of your home and another kind of fencing in the back. You can get as creative as you need to be.       

Use Natural Borders

If fencing isnít your thing, you can create borders around your property using natural barriers like shrubs, bushes, or trees. Using natural barriers is a surefire way to add curb appeal and gain some privacy as well.

Research Fencing Types

As with anything in your home, a little research can go a long way. You want to take the time to see what the best kind of fence is for you to put up. Another thing to do before you put up a fence is to talk with your neighbors. You donít want to start a big project that will be right on their property line and get them upset with you. Depending on the nature of your neighborhood, you may even need a written agreement with your neighbors before you build a fence.     

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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 7/11/2021

 Photo by Stephanie Ho from Pexels

Boosting your homeís curb appeal doesnít need to be a difficult or expensive task. Even the smallest upgrades or adjustments can boost your homeís value and aesthetic appeal, regardless of the architectural style or amount of space you have to work with. Some upgrades are well worth doing, even if you are not looking to sell your home. Refreshing your homeís exterior also provides an excellent opportunity to add a personal touch you can take pride inówithout breaking the bank.

Here are 3 simple and low-cost ways to refresh your home exterior and improve curb appeal:

Replace and beautify house numbers

Think of your house numbers like a name tag for your home. Not only is this feature an essential identifier, but a perfect opportunity to upgrade your homeís appearance with little effort. Remove outdated styles or numbers that are difficult to see from a distance in favor of clean, eye-catching alternatives. Common materials for house numbers include brass, stainless steel and aluminum, but you may even find painted ceramic or treated wood as a more eclectic choice. You can either buy individual numbers or ready-made sets and all the installation materials you will need at your hardware store.

Clean and replace lighting

Ample lighting is crucial to making your homeís exterior and entryway inviting and safe. If you like the style of your current fixtures but want to improve their effectiveness and aesthetic, even a quick removal of dust and cobwebs can make an enormous difference. This way, your lights will seem brighter and brand new with no additional cost or installation. To take a lighting refresh to the next level, consider changing the style of your fixtures entirely. When choosing new lighting, keep in mind the style of your home and any existing hardware. Also, make sure you use the right bulbs! LED bulbs can save you money on your energy bill and are available in multiple wattages and styles in order to create the ideal entryway ambiance.

Paint your front door

Your front door is the gateway into your home and another important feature to consider upgrading. Brightly colored doors have become more and more popular over the years and have proven an excellent way to give your house a boost of character and curb appeal. While replacing a front door can be costly, painting your existing door can change the entire look and feel of your home exterior for a fraction of the price. Whether itís red, blue, green, white or anything in between, choose a color that works best with your homeís existing color palette. That said, donít be afraid to go bold! The beauty of paint is that you can always choose another color if you change your mind.

There are a lot of details that go into giving a house great curb appeal. Luckily, this means that it only takes upgrading a few minor details to make a dramatic improvement. Since you can accomplish most upgrades yourself and on a budget, you will see big returns both on home value and personal satisfaction.

Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 7/4/2021

Photo by Sound On from Pexels

Virtual reality, or VR, has increased in popularity and accessibility over the last few years. With multiple comparable devices and platforms available, what might have seemed like science fiction is now part of some peoplesí regular gaming routines. VR is something you can have in your own home and use anytime, but it might not work for everyone. Here weíll go over the important things to consider when setting up VR in your home.

Floor Space

While each VR device on the market is different, most have basic requirements for physical space. Most companies recommend a minimum of 3 feet by 3 feet space to sit or stand and ideally more. Because a VR headset will completely disguise your surroundings, you wonít know if youíre about to bump into an end table or even a wall. Setting a clear boundary on the floor will help keep you (and your furniture) safe.

Ceiling Height

Itís a common misconception that you need high ceilings for a successful VR setup. In actuality, only one of the VR sets available on the market has sensors you attach to ceilings or walls. Otherwise there are no height requirements beyond what makes sense for your personal height. Some sensors you can attach to the top of a computer monitor, while others you can place using free-standing mounts like camera tripods.

Internet Connection

Not all VR games require the internet, but a solid connection is essential for multiplayer gaming. Connecting directly via wired Ethernet connection is ideal, though Wi-Fi will also work as long as the signal is powerful enough. This is another thing thatís important to factor in to your VR design plans, as having the router nearby can give you an advantage.

Cable Management

Unfortunately, VR comes with a lot of cables that can cause frustration and even safety hazards if not properly managed. The most common issue is the head mounted display cables that connect to your PC or other platform. While these cables are typically extremely long to allow for flexibility and movement, itís easy to trip over them. Some VR enthusiasts use ceiling-mounted cable management systems to keep these cables off of the floor and out of the way.


Technically, there is no type of flooring required for using VR. However, a lot of VR games and apps available encourage physical movement and exercise. Depending on the game, you might be jumping, crawling, jogging in place or crouching on the floor. Most experts recommend setting up your VR system in a room that has carpeting, ideally with thick padding underneath. Other options include large foam mats or interlocking tiles, which come with the added convenience of movement and storage when VR time is over.

If youíre considering bringing VR into your home gaming life, itís important to be mindful of your environment. Staying safe is key, but the better outfitted your room is for VR, the more fun youíll have. Measure carefully and look for retailers that have rental options so you can give this technology a try.

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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 6/27/2021

Looking to sell your home? If so, it often pays to learn about the real estate market.

A knowledgeable home seller understands how to operate in any housing market conditions. As such, this individual can plan a successful home selling journey from day one until the final closing date.

Ultimately, there are many best practices for selling a house, and these include:

1. Clean Your House Both Inside and Out

A homebuyer's first impression of your house likely will impact his or her decision to submit an offer on it. Thus, if your home has a pristine exterior and interior, you can increase the likelihood of generating plenty of interest in your residence.

To boost your house's curb appeal, you should mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and perform myriad home exterior maintenance. Also, if there is chipped or cracked siding or other home exterior issues, you should complete assorted home exterior repairs as soon as possible.

When it comes to your home's interior, you should allocate significant time and resources to clean and declutter. Mop the floors, wipe down countertops and clean each room of your house. In addition, remove excess items from your home to show off the full size of your living space.

2. Conduct a Home Appraisal

What your home is worth today is unlikely to match what you initially paid for your house. Fortunately, a home appraisal can provide you with a good idea of the current value of your house based on its age, condition and other factors.

During a home appraisal, a property appraiser will evaluate your residence. Then, the appraiser will provide a property valuation.

With a property valuation in hand, you'll be able to establish a competitive price for your residence. And as a result, you can boost your chances of a quick home sale.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Selling a home may seem like a long, arduous process. However, if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can take the guesswork out of selling a residence.

A real estate agent will learn about your home selling goals and help you plan accordingly. Therefore, if you need to sell your house quickly, a real estate agent is happy to assist you. Or, if you prefer to take a wait-and-see approach to the housing market, a real estate agent can help you do just that.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is a home selling expert who can provide recommendations and suggestions. If you have questions about how to upgrade your house's exterior, a real estate agent can put you in touch with local landscapers and contractors. Comparatively, if you're unsure about how to price your house, a real estate agent can provide you with housing market data to help you make an informed decision.

When it comes to selling a house, working with a real estate agent is ideal. Reach out to a local real estate agent today, and you can seamlessly navigate the home selling journey.

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Jill Finkelstein