Rod Klassen

Buy with Confidence - Sell with Success!


First-time Home Buyers

As a first-time home buyer in Lethbridge, Alberta, you may feel overwhelmed with the real estate market. However, with the right knowledge and guidance, the process can be quite enjoyable. Here are some things to keep in mind as you begin the journey to becoming a Lethbridge homeowner.

1. Determine Your Budget

Before you start browsing homes, you need to determine what you can afford. Consider all the costs associated with owning a home, such as the down payment, closing costs, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and maintenance costs. You can use online mortgage calculators to estimate your monthly payments and determine your budget.

2. Research the Neighborhoods

Lethbridge offers a range of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and amenities. Research each area before you start house hunting so you can find a neighborhood that aligns with your lifestyle and needs.

3. Work with a Professional Realtor

Working with a professional Realtor is highly recommended when looking to purchase a home for the first time. A Realtor can offer valuable advice and guide you through the process. They can also help you with paperwork, negotiations, and any questions you may have.

4. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is an important step in the home buying process. This helps you determine your budget and shows sellers that you are a serious buyer. Lenders will consider your credit score, income, and debt-to-income ratio when determining the amount you can borrow.

5. Don't Rush Your Decision

Purchasing a home is a significant investment, and you do not want to rush your decision. Take your time and view multiple properties. Ask questions, and do not hesitate to negotiate terms that are not favorable.

6. Be Prepared to Close

Once you have found your dream home, be prepared to close. This includes providing all necessary documents, such as proof of income and identification, and ensuring that you have the funds to close the transaction. Your Realtor can guide you through the closing process and ensure all documents are properly signed and filed.

In conclusion, becoming a first-time home buyer in Lethbridge, Alberta, can be an exciting and rewarding experience. By following these tips, you can find the perfect home that fits your needs and budget.



When you own your home, things are going to break and, unless you want to spend your money on visits from a neighborhood handyman, you’re going to need to fix them yourself. Luckily, you don’t need an arsenal of tools to handle most home maintenance fixes. These five tools will cover most of your basic projects.

  1. Cordless drill. A cordless drill is a must-have for installing cabinets, drawer pulls, hinges, picture frames, shelves and hooks, and more. Whether it’s for do-it-yourself projects or repairs, you’ll use your cordless drill just about every month.
  2. Drain cleaners. Shower and bathroom sink drains are susceptible to clogs because of the daily buildup of hair and whisker clippings. You can use chemical clog removers like Drano, but they’re expensive and the lingering chemical scent is unpleasant. Instead, buy some plastic drain cleaners that can reach into the drain to pull out the clog of hair and gunk. You can purchase them on Amazon or at a local hardware store for a low price.
  3. Shop-vac. No matter how careful you are, spills and accidents will happen and there are some tasks that just can’t be handled with paper towels or a standard vacuum, like pet messes or broken glass.
  4. Loppers. Even the minimum amount of care for your landscaping will require some loppers to remove damaged branches, vines, thick weeds, and any other unruly plants in your yard.
  5. Flashlight. You’re going to want something a little more powerful than your iPhone flashlight when you’re in the crawlspace!

Finding the home you want in a seller's market

Solid homes located in mature areas with large trees lining the streets are a sought after commodity. For instance, this three bedroom, Illegally suited home located at 1014 18 St S recently hit the Lethbridge MLS and the interest in this home has been high. Another home at 2509 14 Avenue South that recently came up for sale, sold the day it was listed on the Lethbridge MLS. 

What does this mean for you, the buyer? To find houses for sale in Lethbridge and area it is important to contact a Professional Real Estate Agent. Whether you choose Century 21 Lethbridge or me at Lethbridge Real Estate, an agent will be equipped to help you find the home you want and in some cases before they come onto the market. In a seller's market , quality homes typically dont last long and receive offers in the first days of being listed. I keep track of what my clients are looking for and do my best to get them into view homes as soon as possible, so be ready to go! 

When THE home comes onto the Lethbridge Real Estate market, be ready. This means having your finances ready and knowing what you want. The stronger your offer is with the least conditions the better chance there is of the seller wanting to work with you. 


Suited Properties

If you have been looking on the MLS listings you know that legally suited properties do not come on the market very often. Legally suited homes are those that have been inspected by the City of Lethbridge and meet or exceed the requirements, which include safety requirements.

Suited homes present different options to buyers such as:

        • Living up and renting the basement suite;

With the increasing value of Lethbridge Real Estate, this is a good option for buyers looking to subsidise their home purchase having someone else pay for part of the mortgage. It is possible to use this income to increase the amount the mortgage you qualify for. Definitely something to talk about with your lender. 

  • Investment;

Rent the entire home and have renters pay for your investment. Historically homes have also increased in value over the long term which adds to your investment portfolio. Homes near the University of Lethbridge such as 479 Mt. Sundance Landing can be popular amongst renters.

A home like 479 Mt Sundance offers completely separate entrances and utilities making it easier to manage for the owner. This home was built in 2014 and was specifically designed as a suited home. No costly renovations needed.

If you have any questions about permitted and non-permitted homes in lethbridge and area please do not hesitate to call me at 403-635-9284.

For a full list of suited homes in Lethbridge click HERE.


Home Ownership vs Renting

Are you sending one or more of the kids to school in the fall or are you looking for a reasonably priced home in Lethbridge but are stuck in a rental cycle? Along with everything else, the cost of rent is going up. Add to this, low rental inventory and increasing home prices and its getting harder to find an affordable home in Lethbridge. 

Have you considered apartment style living? For example #35 3410 23 Av. S is conveniently located on the south side of Lethbridge; close to the Lethbridge College and several big box stores and priced at $125,000. Current interest rates are at or below 2%. That will be some of the cheapest money you will ever borrow making it a great time to buy real estate in Lethbridge. 

For more information on this or any other real estate topics, call Rod at 403-635-9284


Your Very Own Theatre

In these times of being cooped up in our own homes wouldnt it be great to have your own theatre to wind down with the family, keep the kids occupied or just spend time on your own? Your MLS Lethbridge listing search can end here with this local home for sale at 39 Heritiage Green West Lethbridge. The theatre room in this large three bedroom home includes a 100 inch screen with a high definiton projector and all the components.

This home has something for everyone, come home and relax in your secluded hot tub located just outside the walkout looking onto a quiet park. For those of you who have lived in Southern Alberta, you know the value of an east facing back yard making it possible to enjoy all year round.

For more information, give Rod a call at 403-635-9284



Ever get the itch to do a DIY project? Whenever we do, our favorites involve getting outdoors and mixing up our landscaping features. 

Whether it's as simple as installing some lighting or a little more time-consuming like re-plotting plants, a fresh look for the lawn always gives your home a fresh look as well. Here are our top five easy landscaping projects!

Create a pathway.

To guide you and visitors throughout your yard and link different areas together, install a pathway. You can use materials from a variety of materials, including reclaimed pallet wood, flagstones, gravel, and more to add texture and color.

Add a wall or border.

Installing a flagstone, rock, or brick wall around flower beds or trees adds a sleek, clean look to your landscaping and helps separate different sections of your yard.

Install a water feature.

Nothing says zen quite like the sound of trickling water as you relax in your backyard. You can start simple with by purchasing and installing a small feature powered by a solar panel or create a larger focal point in your yard by installing a waterfall wall or small pond.

Light your way.

An easy way to transform your yard is to strategically use lighting. Place cool-colored lights high in trees to recreate a moonlight feel, use pathway lights to naturally guide the eye, or highlight objects or plants.

Plant upwards.

Expand your yard space by drawing the eye to the sky with a trellis fence or screen made of wood or metal. Once you install your trellis, select your climbing plants and vines and get to planting!



Ever wish you could become one of those rare morning people? The ones that wake with a start, feeling refreshed and energized. The ones that get in that morning workout or wrap up some work before many of us even hit the snooze button for the first time. Here are five tips to help you achieve that early bird status!

  1. Create a morning schedule. Physically write down the things you’d like to complete in the morning and set a time for each. Then stick with it. Once you force yourself out of bed early one or two weeks consistently, you’ll find it gets easier and easier to do.
  2. Let the light in. Whether natural or artificial, light tells your brain its time to get up and get going. If your room lacks large windows where you can open the blinds up, consider investing in a timed lamp or alarm clock with a light.
  3. Prep and eat breakfast. Although there are many of us who chose the skip breakfast, it is key to perking up your energy in the morning. Try prepping protein-focused meals the night before or grab a yogurt or fruit and try to consume it right after you wake.
  4. Get your body moving. Whether it’s a short walk around your neighborhood or a rigorous 5:30 am spin class, getting your blood pumping will help wake up your body and has a ton of other benefits, like stress and anxiety reduction.
  5. Feed your mind. Stimulate your brain and do something you enjoy first thing in the morning. Try reading a favorite book, catching up on the news, doing daily meditation, or setting intentions.


“Refinancing” is a scary word for many people, but that shouldn’t be the case for you. For many homeowners, refinancing can not only lower your monthly payments and help with your monthly budget, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.


For years now, we’ve been hearing that interest rates will be on the rise, and although there have been some small increases, you’re still in a great position to drastically lower your interest rate. The general rule is if your mortgage interest rate is more than one percent above the current market rate, you should consider refinancing.


Don’t brush off refinancing just because it seems like a long and daunting process. An informational call with a lender to see how rates compare will only take a few minutes. There are also some programs for streamlining the application process. And besides, isn’t the amount of money you could save worth the time and effort?


Seeing your Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) increase after the introductory period can be incredibly stressful and place a squeeze on your budget. Many people assume they’re stuck, but ARMs can be refinanced, just like fixed-rate mortgages. You can even switch to a shorter term fixed-rate mortgage, such as 15 or 23 years. The longer you’re planning to stay in the home, the more sense it makes to look into refinancing.



Hanging out with your family or hosting friends on your old, dingy deck is not very appealing. Lucky for you, refreshing it doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Try your hand at the makeover ideas below!

Restore your decking. Depending on the shape it’s in, sometimes all your deck needs is a little love. If it’s still fairly new, your deck might just need a deep cleaning and a new coat of sealant. There is a multitude of deck finishing and cleaning solutions on the market to choose from to achieve this. However, if it's more worn down, the rejuvenation process may be a bit longer, including searching for larger repairs, tightening any hardware, giving it a good cleaning, applying a stain, sealant, and paint, and more.

Add lighting. Ambient lighting can completely transform your outside space into a relaxing, cozy oasis. Consider adding solar lights that don’t require a plugin or battery replacement. The lights turn on automatically when the sun sets, making your deck come alive. You can also consider paper lanterns, rope lights, mason jar lamps, or small twinkle lights, depending on the style and mood you’d like to set. 

Build a privacy screen. Privacy screens come in all styles, shapes, and sizes. Consider purchasing and installing bamboo fencing or lattice panels for a quick and easy solution. Or, if you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can build a wooden frame and grow climbing plants or vines or stretch outdoor fabric in between. Whichever route you end up choosing, make sure you get the most out of your efforts by evaluating all lines sight before building.

Home Equity. Getting a home equity line of credit allows you to borrow money against the value of your home. You receive usually up to 80 percent of your home’s value, minus the amount of your loan. 

Retirement Funds. Homeowners can consider pulling money from a 401K or IRA account, even though they aren’t specifically meant to cover a home renovation. This option might incur additional penalties or tax payments, but maybe worth it when making improvements that will benefit them financially in the long run.



When you’re getting ready to list your home, it’s of the upmost importance to ensure you are showing it in the best light. Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells. Here are our top four recommended repairs to make before selling your home.

Repaint walls.

Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce it up, and generally, it can be a do-it-yourself project. Make sure cover any walls with scratches and chips and consider updating any accent walls with a more neutral coat.

Repair floors.

Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home, so you want to ensure they look their best by fixing scratches or dull areas. If your carpet is worn or stained, consider replacing them. And don’t forget the tile in your kitchen or bathrooms. Re-grouting can go a long way in making dingy tile work look brand new!

Refresh the landscaping.

Show buyers your home is the full package by dressing up the outside as well as the in. Clean walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim hedges and trees, install outdoor décor pieces and fill in mulch and gravel.

Fix your fixtures.

Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose drawer handle? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detailed-orientated minds. Improve your kitchen. An outdated kitchen can be a real eyesore in a home. Updating cabinetry, repairing or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment.



Refinancing your mortgage is something most homeowners consider at least once throughout the lifespan of their home loan. It allows you to pay off your previous loan by applying for a new one that has better financial advantages. While there are many good reasons to refinance, here are five common ones.

  • Scoring a lower interest rate. The number one reason homeowners decide to refinance is to secure a lower interest rate on their mortgage. Not only does this save you money in the long run and decrease your monthly payment, but you can start building equity in your home sooner.
  • Using an improved credit score. Even if interest rates have not dropped in the market, if you’ve improved your credit score over the last few years, you may be able to reduce your mortgage rate.
  • Shortening the loan’s term. If interest rates are decreasing, there is a chance you may be able to get a shorter loan term with little to no change in your monthly payment, allowing you to pay off your loan sooner.
  • Switching from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate. If you chose an adjustable-rate mortgage with great introductory rates when you initially financed your home, that rate may increase significantly over the years. By switching to a fixed rate while interest rates are low, you can protect yourself from future increases.
  • Cashing out home equity. If there is a big purchase or payment on the horizon, such as funding a wedding or going back to school, your best option may be to use the equity you’ve built in your home to borrow money at a lower cost.


When purchasing a new home, it’s important to do in-depth research on all facets of the homebuying process. One thing you’ll need to understand is how to best protect yourself and your investment if anything were to go wrong. Check out the information on home insurance versus home warranty below to educate yourself on your options.

Home Insurance

Homeowners insurance pays for any accidental damages and loss that are caused by fire, lightning strikes, windstorms, and hail, however, damage from earthquakes and floods is typically not covered. It also covers the replacement of personal property in case of theft or damage and liability if a person were to get injured in your home or on your property. According to American Home Shield, the average annual cost of a homeowner's insurance policy ranges between $300 and $1,000, and the bank usually asks you to obtain a policy before the mortgage is issued. Make sure to keep in mind that each type of coverage in the policy is subject to a limit and, in most cases, you will have to pay a deductible. 

Home Warranty

A home warranty is designed to cover the cost of repairs and replacements of larger appliances and crucial systems in your home that may fail or break due to age and wear and tear. This includes but isn’t limited to HVAC, electrical, or plumbing components, kitchen appliances, and your washer and dryer. With a home warranty, you are required to pay premiums year-round, even if you do not use it, and it won’t cover damages if appliances were not maintained properly or if the damage is from a fire or other disaster.



Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and you’re probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture. But before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should cover first.

Change the locks

Even if you’re promised that new locks have been installed in your home, you can never be too careful. It’s worth the money to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. Changing the locks can be a DIY project, or you can call in a locksmith for a little extra money.

Steam clean the carpets

It’s good to get a fresh start with your floors before you start decorating. The previous owners may have had pets, young children, or just some plain old clumsiness. Take the time to steam clean the carpets so that your floors are free of stains and allergens. It’s pretty easy and affordable to rent a steam cleaner—your local grocery store may have them available.

Call an exterminator

Prior to move-in, you probably haven’t spent enough time in the house to get a view of any pests that may be lurking. Call an exterminator to take care of any mice, insects, and other critters that may be hiding in your home.

Clean out the kitchen

If the previous occupants wanted to skip on some of their cleaning duties when they moved out, the kitchen is where they probably cut corners. Wipe down the inside of cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, clean the oven, and clean in the nooks and crannies underneath the appliances.



Outdated kitchen. Overrun backyard. Unusable basement space. If you have a home renovation project on the mind, the first thing you have to consider is how you are going to finance it. Here are the most common options to make your dreams become a reality.

Cash. Paying in cash is the most straightforward financing option, just save until you have enough money to cover the expenses. This will help eliminate spending outside your budget; however, it can also extend your timeline.

Mortgage Refinance. If you’ve been making payments on your home for a few years and your interest rate is higher than current market rates, you may be eligible for a mortgage refinance, reducing your payments and freeing up some money.

Cash-Out Refinance. You can tap into your home equity and borrow up to 80 percent of your home’s value to pay off your current mortgage plus take out more cash to cover the renovations. This option is encouraged only when you’re making improvements that will increase the value of your home, as it can add a lot of interest and fees.

Home Equity. Getting a home equity line of credit allows you to borrow money against the value of your home. You receive usually up to 80 percent of your home’s value, minus the amount of your loan.

Retirement Funds. Homeowners can consider pulling money from a 401K or IRA account, even though they aren’t specifically meant to cover a home renovation. This option might incur additional penalties or tax payments, but may be worth it when making improvements that will benefit them financially in the long run.



You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.

But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as three percent—rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available.


The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20-percent down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.


The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20 percent or three percent, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.


Genworth (and Canada Guaranty) vs CMHC: Good for the mortgage industry

by Clayton Jarvis

Canadians of all stripes were blindsided on June 4, when the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation suddenly revised certain key underwriting guidelines. The story got a little more interesting on Monday, when CMHC’s competitors in the mortgage insurance space, Genworth Canada and Canada Guaranty, both announced they would not be following suit.

"Genworth Canada believes that its risk management framework, its dynamic underwriting policies and processes and its ongoing monitoring of conditions and market developments allow it to prudently adjudicate and manage its mortgage insurance exposure, including its exposure to this segment of borrowers with lower credit scores or higher debt service ratios," said Stuart Levings, Genworth Canada’s president and CEO.

In an online statement, Canada Guaranty said “[O]ur underwriting policies are consistently updated to reflect evolving economic environments and emerging mortgage default patterns. This philosophy has resulted in the lowest loss ratio in the industry.” The statement went on to question the logic of CMHC’s lowering of debt servicing ratios, arguing they are not a “significant predictor of mortgage defaults.”

There tends to be a lot of static whenever CMHC makes an announcement; this time will be no different, especially among Canadians who may not be familiar with the intricacies of the mortgage insurance space. That would be almost all of them.

“First-time homebuyers don’t really know who Genworth is, or who Canada Guaranty is,” says Centum FairTrust’s Jimmy Hansra. “The majority of them only know CMHC.”

Many of these buyers, once the only mortgage insurance company they’ve ever heard of tells them they’re ineligible, are going to think they’ve been shut out of the market completely. They’ve never been taught that most lenders work with all three companies, or that credit unions and even behemoths like Scotiabank regularly work with Genworth or Canada Guaranty.

Hansra says CMHC’s tighter lending guidelines may simply drive more business toward its competitors, particularly if they are able to reach first-time buyers with the message that their homebuying window of opportunity hasn’t been nailed shut. 

While there may be some short-term confusion among headline-gobblers following the divergence of policies at CMHC, Genworth and Canada Guaranty, one thing is clear: The added competition should benefit everyone.

“It’s great for borrowers. It’s great for brokers, too. CMHC has programs that Genworth doesn’t have, and Genworth has specific mortgage programs that CMHC doesn’t have. Canada Guarantee is a nice little niche mix in there, too,” Hansra says.

“When you have good people like that out in the market, it definitely helps the consumer, and it helps the broker because there’s more choice. You always want your clients and your lenders to have more choice.”

Some still baffled by CMHC’s underwriting changes

CMHC’s underwriting changes haven’t drawn much support, a less than shocking development considering they are expected to decrease spending power by 11 or 12 percent. CMHC’s decision to slow homebuying seems in direct opposition to federal, provincial and central bank policies meant to increase liquidity as a means of nurturing Canada’s economic rebound from COVID-19.

“How else does [CMHC CEO Evan Siddall] expect the economy to get humming along again?” wonders Hansra. “You’re going to handcuff the real estate market, which tends to account for a large percentage of your GDP.”

Leor Margulies of Robins Appleby Barristers and Solicitors, who deals with a range of Schedule 1 banks, private and alternative lenders, was slightly more incensed.

“Why now?” Margulies asks. “People are suffering now, so let’s make it even more difficult? Are people buying houses like crazy right now?”

For Margulies, blame for the potential damage CMHC’s recent moves will inflict on first-time buyers belongs to Siddall himself, who Margulies sees as being overly paranoid of a Canadian housing crash.

“It’s this view that real estate is bad,” he says. “‘If we don’t put a lid on it – and squeeze the lid down – there’s going to be an explosion. People will take on too much debt and it’s going to be 2007 in the U.S.’ It’s ridiculous. It’s never happened before. It didn’t happen in 2008 here. It didn’t happen here 1990 to 1995.”

“[Siddall’s] said some terrible things,” Margulies goes on. “And he continues to say terrible things. He wants to ratchet this industry down. He sees it as a real threat to the economy.”

In Hansra’s eyes, Siddall may have tipped his hand on May 19, when he first told Canadians that CMHC is expecting a decline in average home prices of up to 18 percent, an estimate few have echoed.

 “CMHC needed to justify why they came out of the blue, without any actual facts or hard figures, and said home prices are going to drop by nine to eighteen percent,” he says. “In my opinion, they needed some validation. ‘Let’s go out in the market and say this is going to happen, and then this gives us an excuse to change our mortgage underwriting guidelines.’ That’s my take on it.”

The controversial new guidelines – and their arrival in the midst of a global pandemic – were enough to break a long-standing habit of Genworth and Canada Guaranty following CMHC’s underwriting path. The break is largely one of philosophy: Do you try to administer a tailored underwriting process that attempts to take into consideration each borrower’s unique circumstances, or do you make those borrowers, as diverse as they and their circumstances are, follow a single standard that will inevitably cause many of them to suffer through no fault of their own?

“It’s really taking away the common sense of lending,” Hansra says of CMHC’s sledgehammer approach. “And it’s going out the door because CMHC has a fear that the real estate market is going to go down by nine to eighteen percent.”




If you are a big wine connoisseur or just saving a few bottles to crack open on special occasions, it’s important to understand how best to store them safely until you’re ready to partake. Follow the guidelines below!


To ensure each wine bottle maintains the proper flavor and aroma, storing it at the correct temperature is essential. Regardless if it is red, white, or sparkling, storing your bottles at 53°F to 57°F is most ideal. Keeping your bottles in a room where the temperature is much warmer than that may cause the flavor to become flat. Keep your wine in the dark and away from direct UV rays as much as you can to protect the wine’s flavor. 


Controlling the humidity in the room is important if you plan to store bottles for more than a couple of years. The ideal humidity for storage is between 50 to 75 percent and anything below that could cause the corks to dry out, letting air seep into the bottle.


Generally, it is advised to store wine bottles on their sides. This allows the wine to stay up against the cork which should aid in keeping it from drying out. However, if you don’t plan to store the wine for long or if the bottle has a screw top or plastic cork, this is not required for safe storage.


Not all wine is designed to have a long shelf life or be aged. Make sure you know what the winemaker’s intention was for that particular bottle. It is always better to open it a little early and enjoy it!



Purchasing a home is arguably one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. As you start your hunt, don't forget there will be other costs associated with your purchase then the price of the home. Here are 5 fees to keep in mind as you begin to budget.

  1. Home inspection. This is a crucial step in the home buying process. The findings that come from the inspection can help you negotiate price and repairs. Generally, you can expect to pay between $300 to $500 depending on the home and the location.
  2. Title services. Title services encompass the transfer of the title from the seller and a thorough search of the property’s records to ensure to no one will pop up with a claim to the property. Additionally, you may need to buy title insurance which will protect the lender or your investment in the home.
  3. Appraisal fee. Before getting a loan, you will likely be required to get an appraisal of the home to determine its estimated value. This will be conducted by a third-party company and the cost can land anywhere between $300 and $1,000, depending on the size of the home.
  4. HOA fees. Many communities have a homeowners’ association that enforces monthly fees. This money is used for general maintenance and updates to areas like pools, parks, and more. Typical HOA fees are around $200 per month.
  5. Taxes. The taxes each buyer pays at the closing table differ, but it is not uncommon for it to be up to two months’ worth of county and city property taxes. Additionally, there may be taxes for the transfer of the home title.



For most people, retirement feels like a long way off. But, if you don’t start preparing as early as possible, you may find yourself in a place of financial insecurity when the time does come. To avoid this, consider implementing the following tips. 

  1. Calculate your target savings. In general, it’s recommended that you save between 10 to 15 percent of your income for retirement. However, you can always use an online savings calculator to determine the amount you need to save for your specific needs and goals.
  2. Contribute to your employer’s retirement savings plan. Does your job offer a 401(k), traditional IRA, or Roth IRA? Sign up and start saving as soon as they allow you to. It’s recommended to set up automatic paycheck deductions and, once the money is in your retirement fund, don’t touch it. 
  3. Take advantage of employee benefits. Many employers offer matching which generally requires you contribute a certain percentage of each paycheck and your company will then contribute a matching amount with funds of their own. They might also offer health savings or flexible savings account. By contributing to these accounts, you reduce your amount of taxable income, allowing you to save more money.
  4. Pay off your debts. Start by paying off any high-interest credit card debt first. Then look at other debts, such as student loans and car payments, and make a plan for paying those off incrementally.
  5. Reduce daily spending. Although this feels like a no-brainer, spending your money thoughtfully now can make a big impact later. Seek out areas of your life where you can
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