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I recommend getting an estimate of closing costs from 2 or 3 lenders so you know costs prior to making an offer.





  • Loan Origination fee – A fee charged by lenders to procure your mortgage loan. The industry standard is 1% of the loan amount; however, because this fee is set by the lender, it can vary.
  • Discount Points – A fee charged to buy down the interest rate.
  • Appraisal fee – An independent written opinion that identifies the property’s market value. This document is The fee can vary widely depending on the type and location of the property. For homes located in urban areas, this fee usually runs $250.00 – $350.00.
  • Credit Report – A document summarizing the applicant’s history of repaying debts. Credit reports usually cost $11.00 to $60.00, depending on the source.
  • Mortgage Broker fees – Fees paid to individuals who produce mortgage loans for lenders.


  • Tax related service fee – A fee required by lenders to cover the cost of annually researching tax records to insure that the borrower is current on their property tax payments.
  • Application Fee – A one-time fee to process your mortgage loan application.
  • Underwriting fee – A fee charged by many lenders to review and approve the mortgage application.



  • Pre-paid interest – Daily interest paid from the day your loan closes and you take possession of the home until the end of the month.
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – If your loan is more than 80% of the value of the property, lenders require this insurance premium.This premium is paid monthly into your escrow account.



  • Escrow fee, document preparation fee – These are fees collected by the Title Company or attorney handling the closing. The funds are collected and paid as part of the transaction.
  • Notary fees – A fee charged for having the signatures on all legal documents of the sale notarized.
  • Attorney fees or Closing fees – Fees paid to an attorney or title insurance company to prepare the closing documents.


  • Title insurance – Provides insurance to owners of real estate to insure that they have clear title to the property they are buying, subject to any exceptions contained in the policy. Most lenders would never originate a mortgage without title insurance. The charge for title insurance is generally determined by each state’s Department of Insurance.



  • Recording fees – Fee charged by the county to record the Mortgage/Deed of Trust or any other legal documents in the real estate loan transaction.


  • Pest inspection – Required for an FHA loan by the government or possibly by the underwriter/investor as a condition of the loan.
  • Survey – Document outlining the exact dimensions of the property. Usually required for a purchase or anytime improvements (e.g. deck, fence, pool, etc.) have been done since the last survey.

Shared from Realty Times.

How to Budget for Relocation

The costs of exiting one property and settling into a new home can accumulate quickly. Review these tips before making a move.

Moving is expensive, no matter how carefully you plan for it. Whether relocating for a new job, escaping rising rent prices or downsizing, the costs of exiting one property and settling into a new home can accumulate quickly.

We asked some finance bloggers to share their budgeting advice on relocating, and here are their suggestions.

How do you prepare your finances for an upcoming move?

I recommend that you begin saving and planning for a move as soon as you know it’s coming. Calculate all of your anticipated costs and begin setting aside money each month. Remember that there may be a lag time on getting back your current security deposits, so don’t count on those being immediately available to spend. — Laura Adams of Quick and Dirty Tips

The best way I have found to budget is by little bits. Think of it like filling up a cookie jar, although I do it electronically with a separate savings account. When I was saving for a house I used to put $300 a month into the account automatically, just like a bill right along with the other normal budgeted expenses. Next, any extra income I could generate — I would always have some ideas brewing to create side income or side jobs — I would throw in on top. If I had a slower month where I couldn’t contribute extra, I still felt like I was progressing toward the goal. — Ryan of Spilling Buckets

What are the most surprisingly expensive costs of moving?

I am always surprised at the extra costs you wouldn’t normally consider like deposits on utilities and having to buy things like rugs or curtains. You can really bust up a budget buying all new rugs and bath mats for your new place! — Kim Parr of Eyes on the Dollar

Signing up for new services. There always seems to be a fee to connect or move services. — Ryan of Impersonal Finance

The costs that typically shocked me are the ones related to things at the place I’m moving out of — cleaning fees, other expenses that I didn’t think I was going to get charged for, bills that were unpaid during the landlord’s downtime. — Jeff of Sustainable Life Blog

There’s always something! An extra night in a hotel, new furniture or home supplies, cleaning products … packing material. Whatever cost you estimate for your move, just add 10 percent so you’re not completely shocked at the end. — Spencer of Military Money Manual

How far in advance should you begin saving for a move?

This depends entirely on budget and income, but I would say budget your costs in advance, and aim to save 20 percent above those costs. However long it will take you to comfortably save that amount, do it. — Ryan of Impersonal Finance

How do you offset the costs of moving when you haven’t had much time to save?

One way to save money on your next move is to find your boxes for free. Check with some apartment communities in your area to see if you can collect boxes after someone moves in. This is a win-win for you and someone who needs to get rid of their boxes. — Laura Adams of Quick and Dirty Tips

It is best to identify things you don’t need or won’t need in the future. Moving should be the trigger point to get rid of things you don’t need so that you not only simplify your life but save a good deal of money on the move and storage expenses. — Shilpan Patel of Street Smart Finance

I love selling or giving away as much of my stuff as possible before I move: old furniture, clothes and sports equipment. Basically, if I haven’t touched it in the three years I’ve lived somewhere, I probably don’t need to lug it across the country! If you force yourself to give away or sell many of your things before you move, you’ll avoid the trap of having a storage unit or so many possessions that they begin to possess you! It’s liberating to have less things to worry about, care about and maintain. — Spencer of Military Money Manual

How do you prevent overspending on moving services?

To budget for a relocation it’s important to get multiple mover quotes and make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. For instance, get quotes that offer the same amount of damage insurance and provide the same amount of service and packing material. I found out the hard way how expensive boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap and tape can be. Even if you plan to move yourself, it’s still a good idea get a full service moving quote as a baseline. — Laura Adams of Quick and Dirty Tips

I’ve had my fair share of challenges during moves in the past several years. One of the challenges is to find the right mover at an affordable price. The lesson I learned from some of my mistakes is to do proper planning before hiring a mover and have all the terms and conditions properly documented so if disputes arise, then you have legal protection. Also, you should check references online and with the better business bureau before hiring a moving company. — Shilpan Patel of Street Smart Finance

Should you recruit friends to help?

We’ve always had help from friends and it’s worked great. Our last move was only a few miles, so we didn’t even rent a truck. Our friends all showed up in vans or their own trucks and we had a caravan. If you buy them all pizza afterward and return the favor when it’s their turn, it’s a win-win for everyone. — Kim Parr of Eyes on the Dollar

I have had friends help move in the past, and it has worked out great. To make it easy on your friends, please make sure that ALL of your things are packed before you start moving. — Jeff of Sustainable Life Blog

Do you have any tips for people considering moving?

Moving is hard and expensive. I am all in favor of moving for a better opportunity, but I would really consider the true costs and all the extras before pulling up stakes. — Kim Parr of Eyes on the Dollar

Remember, relocating is more expensive than the fees for boxes, movers and utility cancellations and reactivations. You’ll have new bills and want funds to furnish your new home. The standard guideline is that monthly debts should not surpass 36 percent of your monthly income, including rent, car payments and other bills. Calculate home affordability before committing to the expensive process of moving, to ensure it’s the best long-term fit.

Shared from Zillow.

New York City’s most expensive rental costs $500,000 a month

Sky-high residential buildings and billionaire bidding wars. When it comes to New York’s real estate market, it seems like everything is over-the-top.

Now, even rents are reaching new heights — to the tune of $500,000 a month.

Or at least that’s what one tenant is paying for a six-bedroom suite that occupies the entire 39th floor of Manhattan’s posh Pierre Hotel.

The renter is not only renting the suite for the entire month of December, but also the separate one-bedroom Getty Suite for $150,000 a month, according to Therese Bateman and Andres Perea-Gurzon, the Town Residential agents who represented the listing.

The agents wouldn’t disclose the tenant’s name, but one thing is clear: The half-million-dollar a month rent is not only a record for Manhattan. “It blows everything else out of the water,” said Jonathan Miller, head of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. “It’s the highest rent I’ve ever seen. Nothing comes close.”

pierre rental bedroom
The bedrooms are large and luxurious.

The 4,786 square-foot main dwelling of the rental includes the hotel’s lavish presidential suite.

Many international visitors traveling with large families or entourages rent the Pierre Residences. But some locals are also in the mix, including some Upper East Siders doing extensive renovations on their own luxury homes.

pierre rental living room
The living room offers plush seating, soft carpets and beautiful views.

Elizabeth Taylor, Yves Saint-Laurent, Dashiell Hammett, Mohamed Al-Fayed and Francis Ford Coppola are just some of the famous residents who have lived at the Pierre.

Opened in 1930,the Pierre went through a $100 million renovation a few years ago in which public spaces, such as the lobby and grand ballroom, were redecorated and the guest rooms updated with new technology.

pierre rental bathroom
The master bath is bigger than some NYC apartments.

Its views are panoramic, with Central Park, the Upper East Side and Midtown Manhattan within easy sight. The George Washington Bridge, five miles north, is even visible on a clear day.

pierre rental terrace
The guest suite comes with a deep terrace with park views.

The location is a big part of the property’s attraction, said Bateman, who, with Perea-Gurzon, also represents nine other luxury suites at The Pierre that start at $75,000 a month.

“Living at the Pierre rental suites gives residents great flexibility,” she said.

Tiffany, Cartier and Harry Winston Jewelers, FAO Schwartz, and Madison Avenue boutiques are all nearby, as are the Theater District, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.

pierre rental lobby
The elegant Pierre Hotel lobby and its attentive staff.

Beyond the apartment’s comfort, location and views, what really makes the Pierre special is the numerous services and benefits that are included. There’s a private elevator, butler and maid service, 24/7 concierge, and a chauffeur driven Jaguar.

Shared from CNN Money.

4 Tips For Paring Down Your Stuff Prior to Moving

If you’re planning a move, you may have an overwhelming urge to throw all your possessions into cardboard boxes, tape them shut and think, “I’ll deal with this after moving!”

We get it. But before you start dumping drawers into boxes willy-nilly, we implore you: Declutter first.

There’s no better time to get rid of unnecessary stuff than right before a move. You’re in the right mindset—you’re open to change.

Plus, you have to go though everything already, and if you follow through, you’ll start life at your new home with less junk and a stronger connection to the items you decided to hold onto before moving.

Sounds great, but how do you do it? We recently gave a best-selling book—“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo—a read.

The book isn’t necessarily about moving; it’s more about how to live a less cluttered, happier life. But many of the suggestions Kondo offers are invaluable to those brave souls about to pack up their possessions and begin anew.

Here are four tips from Kondo’s book we found for downsizing before a move.

1. Category by Category

Think about your past attempts to tidy up or simplify your physical space. Odds are you went about it room by room. Rookie mistake!

Kondo subscribes to the theory you should instead go category by category. For example, if you keep some dinner plates in the kitchen and others in the dining room, put them all together in one place before going through them and deciding what to keep. Same for clothes, books, athletic equipment and so on throughout the house.

Don’t focus on what you’re discarding. Rather, focus on the things you are choosing to keep: This makes the process feel more positive.

2. Handle Everything

Kondo suggests touching everything you own in order to determine if you truly want and need it.

Take clothes, for example. Kondo believes it best to remove all your clothes from your closet and dresser, physically hold them and decide one-by-one if you want to keep each item.

You might be tempted to just flip through your shirts as they hang in your closet. According to Kondo, that’s a no-no. You have to get everything out of its place to determine if you want it—and if it truly brings you joy.

3. Find the Joy

This is a little touchy feely, but bear with us: Kondo believes that a possession either “sparks joy,” or it doesn’t.

It’s all about keeping the items that do offer that spark and getting rid of everything that doesn’t. Kondo uses books as an example: Does being surrounded by books you’ve never read bring you joy? Maybe not.

Of course, the standard doesn’t work for each and every item in a household. A plunger isn’t likely to “spark joy”—but having one around is still a good idea.

4. Make Moving an Event

Most people believe tidying is something you need to work at, something that requires upkeep. However, Kondo writes that if you’re constantly tidying up, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Instead of doing a little tidying up here and a little there whenever you have time, make your clean-up an event—something you spend a weekend doing with friends and family.

Painful? Maybe. But you’re more likely to experience a significant and long-lasting change. Of course, you’ll still need to put stuff away (unless you have a butler), but the effort will be minimal.

In short, think of Kondo’s method as a marathon that ends rather than daily sprints that go on and on and on.


Again, Kondo’s techniques aren’t specifically written for people undergoing moves. But there are few better times to assess whether you really need that old two-prong extension cord than when you’re holding it in your hand and have the option of packing it or chucking it.

You can check out Kondo’s book here or here.

Shared from


For all the talk about people abandoning suburbia for urban cores, American moving trends still gravitate towards less dense spaces. According to a recent review of Census data by Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko, most movers in the US trend towards “lower density, lower unemployment, and cheaper housing.” This is illustrated by continued shifting from major high-density urban centers to smaller 18 hour cities and suburbs. Nearly half of these between-county moves are less than 100 miles, and 38% are less than 50 miles. “With the exception of the three moves that are the reverse flow of a higher-ranked move,” Kolko writes, “all of the 10 top between-county moves are from a higher-density county to a lower-density county — in other words, to a less urban, more suburban county.” This suggests that American suburbanization continues unabated by the re-popularization of urban cores.

Perhaps central to this trend is a movement towards inner suburbs, along with the “incrementally urbanizing” and redevelopment of outlying suburbs to bolster their appeal to city dwellers. Different types of suburbs exist, but many people consider the suburbs to be one single trope: cul-de-sacs and matching homes, manicured lawns and white picket fences. From the standpoint of an investor or potential homeowner, understanding how urban trends translate to the suburbs can make all the difference with finding a region that will thrive in the changing housing economy and avoiding property in one of the oft-mentioned “dying suburbs.”

Key to teasing out the differences between sustainable and unsustainable suburban growth is developing an understanding of what makes suburbs appeal to consumers (and what does not). The suburban model is largely based around single family homes that offer more space than their urban counterparts at a lesser-or-equivalent price point. Suburbs traditionally center on families, and schools and safety are paramount to a successful suburban community. People who criticize suburban living often find problems with its sense of isolation from wider culture and community. Other criticisms include long commutes, car-centric culture, and tendency towards “beige-ness.”

Taking these considerations into mind, finding suburbs that draw from the positive and avoid the negative is key to a successful buy. What trends should a homebuyer or investor look for when hunting for a perfect burb?

Good deal indicators. Often referred to as inner or first-ring suburbs or railway burbs, communities right beyond the city limits of major cities are growing in popularity, especially when fitted with public transit access to the city. Closer suburban cities tend to mirror many of the characteristics of the cities next to them, often including revival downtown spaces of their own to direct commerce to the city center. Suburbs that model themselves after the 18 hour city culture are also poised to attract creative industry business, young professionals, and Boomer retirees, making them a safe investment.

Less than ideal. Further flung suburbs can be more difficult to assess for their investment value. Take particular note of whether the city seems to have a centralized commerce space or is reliant primarily on strip malls and big box stores. Mixed residential/commerce centers are a sign that the town is shifting away from sprawl-model suburbia. Be wary of cities whose commerce is centered on very “vanilla” office parks or a monocultural economy.

Make sure to avoid. Anything defined by sprawl and endless parking lots. Anything that presumes the growth of tract housing for local economic health. Any exurb that is reliant on the closest city for its economic base and sense of identity. McMansions are unpopular with younger demographics who are looking to live smaller and cheaper, as well as their Boomer counterparts who are looking for simplicity. While cultural trends do shift, investment professionals suggest trending with what Millennials and Boomers are interested in . . and avoiding things they aren’t.

Shared from Realty Times.

Home Safety Tips


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Here at Team George Weeks family is very important to us, both ours and yours. We have compiled a few tips, downloads & links to help keep your family and home safe.

  • Emergency Contact List  –  This is a downloadable list that you can fill out and  print as many copies as you need.
  • Home Safety Checklist    –  Download this checklist from the U.S Fire Administration for invaluable fire safety information.
  • Pet Safety at Home          –  Home safety information for your pets and more.
Sources:, ADT Security

Rethinking Spaces – Under the Stairs

I’m sure that all of you have thought at least once “What a waste of space!” when looking at that blank wall under your stairs. Here are a few ideas so you can turn that wasted space into something that makes you smile.

Drawers for Shoes (or other items)


Playroom for the Kids (big or small)


Bookcase or Shelves


Closet or Mudroom




Dog Kennel

dog kennel

Reading Nook


And if you’re stairs happen to be enclosed like this one:


And you’re able to access the wall behind you can have a great storage area like this



We would love to hear any ideas you have on how to reclaim that lost space under the stairs.


All images, unless otherwise noted, were taken from the Internet and are assumed to be in the public domain. In the event that there is still a problem or error with copyrighted material, the break of the copyright is unintentional and noncommercial and the material will be removed immediately upon presented proof. Send notification to this email.

How to Pick a Dog


You’ve purchased that perfect new home and have gotten all settled in. Everything has been unpacked. All the pictures have been hung on the walls. The kids are settled in their new school. But something is still missing. Maybe it’s time for a dog?

Getting a new pet is a large step. Be sure to plan ahead. Ask a lot of questions from your local veterinarian and do plenty of research. Most importantly be certain that everyone in the family is on board with the idea of having a new furry family member.

Here is a questionnaire from PEDIGREE® Brand to help you find the right breed for you.

Find Your Perfect Breed

Be sure to check out your local shelters & rescues for your new best friend.  And stay tuned for some exciting news from the Team George Weeks family about a new Team member coming soon!