5 Real Estate Marketing Options

Selling a house usually comes, as a result of a combination of curb appeal, location, pricing, marketing, negotiations, and a few other factors. This article will concentrate briefly, on some of the options, in terns of how houses might be marketed, why one might be better than another (in certain circumstances), cost factors, effectiveness, and usage. There is no such thing as only one way to market and sell a house. Years ago, real estate agents were heavily dependent upon newspaper advertising, and that’s where most prospective buyers looked for information. In today’s information – driven, digital society, much more data is readily available, and while there is still a place for newspaper advertising, it is not the premier way, most of the time. Let’s review 5 marketing options.

1. Direct verbal: This includes face – to – face, telephone calls, contacting a Realtor’s personal contacts, etc. The advantages include cost, and the ability to effectively communicate, articulate the home’s strengths and possibilities, and motivate individuals, to take a look. The disadvantage is, it’s time – consuming, and somewhat limiting!

2. Direct marketing: Some of these include using postcards, flyers, door hangers, for – sale signs, Open House signs, etc. Mailings have become somewhat costly, especially when you consider the relatively low transaction rate, but is often a good supplement, and a positive way to get the message out.

3. Print media: Print media includes newspapers, magazines, weekly circulars, and direct – to – home marketing pieces. These approaches may be somewhat expensive, and surveys indicate most of today’s buyers pay less and less attention to these, than in the past!

4. Digital (websites): When we ask attendees at Open Houses, how they heard about it, the predominant response is from some website. Many use MLS, Trulia, Zillow, realtor.com, or a larger agency’s own site. When listings are placed on Multiple Listing Service, many other Websites pick up the information, and include it on their sites, as well. There is a cost to this approach, but is probably the most bang – for – the – buck, in terms of marketing real estate, today!

5. Social Media: Social Media includes things like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. The advantage is low or no cost, but there is still quite a bit of uncertainty, as to their effectiveness as a marketing tool, to sell a particular house.

The bottom line is, a real estate agent must know, understand, and use the best marketing tools available, to sell a particular house. Dependent on type, price, niche, location, etc, the options often vary.

5 Best Real Estate Keywords Search Tools in 2017

Each tool has their own advantage and disadvantages, choose the one that fits your need at the

Finding the right keywords for your real estate business is the real challenge. In fact, it is very crucial to start with. You need to search the right keywords that will attract the right audience for your business. At the same time, you need to think about the competition. The keywords that you should use should pass through your competitors or you need to search for words that have less competition that will likely help you to rank at search engine sites. This doesn’t mean that you need to look for the terms that nobody is searching and chasing for you are losing your main objective. Instead, you need to find something that attracts enough people for your real estate website but less competition. Tough, huh? This is why you need to use keywords search tools so you can carefully study your keywords and decide which ones to use.

However, if every realtor is using the same famous real estate keyword research tools then they will all come up with the same results. The key is to use one or two keyword search tools and match the results.

Here are some of the best keyword search tools that you can use for your real estate website this 2017.

Google Keyword Planner

This is one of the most famous keyword search tool but you might still want to consider this for reference and to match the other results you find in other search tools. This tool is free and integrated directly with Google AdWords. You need to have Google AdWords account to use this tool. You can sign up for free. The advantage is that it provides you deep information. It also gives you a monthly estimate of impressions based on the keyword phrase and offers you numerous ways to filter keyword searches. However, this tool will not show you how your real estate website is doing in search engines with the given keyword.

SEOBook’s Keyword Suggestion Tool

This is a great website by Aaron Wall that draws search data from different reliable sources. You can use this as a cross-referencing tool.

adCenter Add-in (for Excel)

You might also want to test your keywords with Microsoft keyword tool. It might be limited to MSN data but it will give you interesting insights that will guide you with your keyword strategy. It is not only Google that you wanted to please, but you might also want to rank with other search engines sites like MSN.

WordTracker

Small real estate businesses are using WordTracker to not only research for keywords but also to build new links which you can’t found in other search tools. It also helps you to develop a SEO strategic platform. The only limit of this tool is that some of the times the results it gives are fewer than its competitors.

SEMRush

This is a great tool to keep an eye with your competitors. This tools offers a lot more than the others. You can add your URL to see what keywords are ranking with your website or you can add your competitors URL to see which words rank with it.

Each tool has their own advantage and disadvantages, choose the one that fits your need at the moment.

Some Great Social Media Tools for Your Real Estate Business

Real Estate Social Media Marketing is still a big puzzle for majority of the realtors. Why do we need to spend time to promote my business here?

Let us put it in a simple concept – so, instead of having BBQ parties, inviting 30 of your clients, friends and families to network and tell them “don’t forget to refer business to me… and I got this great new listing… ” Kind of annoying, but you got to be whatever it takes to get some leads, right? So, with social networking for real estate, you would simply network through a social media platform to efficiently announce your real estate business, post your new listings, reduced price listings, post informative real estate information, and establish your real estate expert authority. So then, your posts will be viewable by your colleagues, your friends, family members and their connections. We are talking about hundreds and potentially thousands of people in the network. And making connections are just as simple “what is your Facebook account?” Now, we can understand what this real estate social networking buzz is about!

Anyways, I encourage you to take advantage of the power of social networking for your real estate business. Following are some great social media tools to enhance your real estate business. Check it out now!

Klout: Klout is the ultimate social media scorecard and the online community has been already abuzz about it. It ranks your influence online through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, and gives you a detailed breakdown of your presence there. Once you enter your information Klout will give you a score. It will tell you who you are influenced by, and who you influence online, by showing you how many people comment on your posts, follow you, retweet your content, etc. It is a great tool to see just how effective you are with your social media efforts. It even tells you what categories your information falls into.

SocialBios: This site allows you to upload your photo and bio information, including all your social media information. It then presents all this in a beautiful page which you can upload to your website for your “About” page. All your social media links are posted right there, and there is a live feed from Twitter or Facebook on your page. Visitors can click to connect with you instantaneously via your social media sites. Even better, when people visit your SocialBio page they can see which friends of theirs are connected to you.

The Real Estate Referral Group on Facebook: Broker Jonathan Rivera, also known as the Real-Tech Guy, created the Real Estate Referral Group for agents across the country to share referrals. The great thing is that it actually works. If you “Like” the page on Facebook you can read all about it and post your information so if a referral becomes available in your area you can try to work it. It’s a great tool.

The MLS App for Facebook: A savvy young designer named Jimmy Mackin has created an MLS app for Facebook that allows you to add an MLS search to your business Facebook page. How great is that?! Some MLSs are already using this app,but it is not available everywhere as of yet. Hopefully soon your MLS will grant approval so that you can add this to your Facebook page. You need to let your MLS know that you are interested in having The MLS App technology available. I notified my MLS, and I can’t wait to get this tool on my business Facebook page.

Google Street View: If you don’t already use this tool you are really missing out. Google Street View allows you to enter in an address, and then pan through street level views of any neighborhood. If you have a listing you can plug-in the address and use the embed code to place a video of the street view for that address in your blogs, client emails and online advertising. If you have out-of-town buyers you can send them videos of the street in addition to just email them the listing. Best of all, it’s free!

5 Tips for Finding the Right Mortgage Company

Deciding to buy a home is a big step, and you need the right lender to work with you. Choosing the right mortgage company takes time, and it is important that you shop around. The following tips can help make sure the lender you choose is the right one for you.

What Type of Lender

A mortgage company can be big or small. If you want to deal with someone who is more personal and knows who you are the minute you walk in, then a smaller lender is the best choice for you. However, smaller outfits may not be able to get you the best interest rate. Larger operations are able to negotiate rates differently, and they may be able to get the interest rate a little lower. You should research the different companies in your area to see how they compare.

Mortgage Company Reputation

When checking out companies in your area, you should also take the time to check their reputation online. Many sites are dedicated to giving consumers a voice in how they are treated. Not only should you look at current and past customer reviews; you need to check with the Better Business Bureau. When speaking to associates at these businesses, don’t be afraid to ask questions about what you read. It gives them a chance to explain any contradictions you may have encountered.

Ask Family and Friends

If you have family or friends who already own a home, ask them about who they use. You can find out how the lender treated them during the application process and since they have completed the sale on their property. By getting these first-hand referrals, you know you are considering someone you can truly trust.

Real Estate Agents Can Help

Real estate agents don’t just know where the best houses are. They also know who the best mortgage company is. If you do not already have a preapproval in the works before speaking to an agent, get his or her advice on which groups are the best. Yes, they may recommend their in-house lender first thing. However, a great agent will also tell you which officers take the best care of their customers. If you go with one of these agents, make sure he or she knows that your real estate agent referred you. It could earn you a discount at closing and help to ensure the two work well together through the closing process.

A Broker May Still Be the Answer

Not everyone has the time to do all of the research themselves. If that is the case, then you may want to hire a specialist who can save you time when you are looking for a mortgage company. However, you need to be aware that brokers earn commission by arranging deals between the borrower and loan agent. Most brokers work to find the right lender for their client. Some, however, look for what will make them the biggest profit. Do your homework on any broker you are considering before hiring one.

5 Advantages Of Carrying A Mortgage

While most people must finance, in order to be able to purchase a home, there are some who have the funds, to make a cash deal . It might be that the property is relatively inexpensive, they are down – sizing, have recently sold another house, or have lots of other liquid assets. While some may counsel to reduce debt, and in most forms of debt, I would agree, there are many reasons this advice does not apply to a home loan, or mortgage. Let’s review 5 advantages of carrying a mortgage, while realizing the major reason not to, is reducing one’s monthly carrying charges/ fixed expenses.

1. Opportunity cost of money: Many have heard this expression, but fail to fully realize what it means, or don’t believe it applies to them. Ask yourself, might it make more sense, to maintain one’s funds, and invest them separately, and take out a mortgage. Especially today, when mortgage interest rates still remain close to historic lows, borrowing permits one to purchase more house than he might otherwise be able to. In addition, might it not make sense, to diversify one’s portfolio, and position himself for a brighter financial future? Many factors might impact this decision, including: one’s comfort zone; future plans; age; personal situation; expectations; and anticipated future needs. However, it is important to keep in mind this essential, opportunity cost of money!

2. Cash flow: If you are paying 4.5% as your mortgage rate, and effectively paying quite a bit less because of tax considerations, and you believe you can, over time, generate more from your investments, doesn’t a mortgage make sense. If you aren’t sure, you can always make a larger downpayment, or add additional principal paybacks to your monthly payment, and still enjoy some of the benefits.

3. Tax deductible/ tax advantages: Mortgage interest is tax deductible, and thus costs you considerably less than any other form of loan. Reduce your other debts with higher, non – deductible interest, while carrying a mortgage. If you are in the 30% tax bracket, for example, your effective interest rate on a 4.5% mortgage is only 3.15%, etc.

4. Escrow: When you have a mortgage, most lending institutions will also charge and keep an escrow account, in order to pay the real estate taxes, insurance, etc. You won’t have to worry about remembering to make a real estate tax payment, and getting a late charge/ penalty, because the loaner will pay this out of your account. And. your escrow account will even receive dividends on the balance.

5. You can pre – pay: Many ask if they should carry a 30 – year or, for example, a 15 – year mortgage period. My suggestion for most, is to take out the longer – term, so you have the ability to pay the lower amount monthly, but make additional principal payments (e.g. add $100 per payment), to reduce the payback period. There is no pre – payment penalty for the vast majority of mortgages!

Understand mortgages, and your mortgage options, from the onset. Do what makes the most sense for you!

Which Mortgage Term Is Best For You? 15, 25 Or 30 Years?

Whether you are a buyer purchasing a new home (for you), or an existing homeowner, refinancing a mortgage (generally, to get a lower rate, better terms, etc), you will generally need to make a decision as to the length/ term of your mortgage. While there are many lengths, amongst the most popular are 15 years, 25 years, and 30 years. There is no rule – of – thumb, stating one length is better than enough, and it is often a personal decision, life circumstance, etc, which leads one to his decision. However, it is important to realize that each term – length, has some positives, as well as specific negatives.

1. 15 Years: Some lean towards this length, because they seek to pay off their mortgage sooner, and avoid the longer – term, continuous monthly burdens, of making that periodic installment payment. It generally carries the lowest interest rates, but one must also remember, mortgage interest is tax – deductible. While, in fact, the shorter the term, the lower the overall, total amount of payments, it also means higher monthly installments, which one must come up with. This offers many people far less flexibility. In addition, when the monthly payment is higher, it changes the formula, lenders use, to determine, how much one qualifies for.

2. 25 (or 20) Years: This is generally viewed as somewhat of a compromise length for one’s mortgage, longer than the shorter 15- year alternative, but shorter than a 30 – year one. The total charges are lower than a longer term, but higher than a shorter one. The interest rate paid is higher than a shorter term, but lower than a longer one.

3. 30 (or longer) Years: The 30 – year mortgage is the most popular one, because it is somewhat more affordable, on a monthly basis, usually permits someone to qualify for a larger size loan, etc. The drawbacks are the fears and trepidations, many have, about that long a commitment, as well as paying a slightly higher interest rate, and a larger total amount of payments, during its life. However, it offers flexibility, because it permits one to pay a smaller monthly amount, and therefore avoid the possible stresses on leaner months, while still offering the possibility of pre – payment, reducing the overall term. Pre – paying a mortgage is done, by paying an additional amount of principal to the regular mortgage payment, which will reduce the overall length of the loan.

Those contemplating a mortgage, should discuss their options thoroughly with both a real estate professional, as well as a mortgage professional. Evaluate and understand your options, consider the tax ramifications, and your personal circumstances, as well as your comfort zone!

Top Tips For Getting A Mortgage

Without any doubt, taking out a mortgage is a big financial commitment. So, you may want to get the best deal. The good news is that you can do a lot of things to improve your chances of getting a mortgage. Below are 10 tips that can help you with this.

1. Credit score matters

First of all, before you apply for a mortgage, you should get a copy of your original credit report. You can get it from Equifax or Experian. Moreover, if you have a not-so-good credit rating, you can do a few things to improve your score. For instance, you can close all the credit cards that you don’t use.

2. Calculate your budget

The next thing is to calculate your budget. You should make sure that you are going to borrow enough in order to buy the property and that you have enough money on you to meet related costs and fees.

3. Stick to Your Job

Usually, lenders give preference to employees who have been with their employers for a long time. So, if you want to leave your existing job you may want to hold on until you get your mortgage. Ideally, you should wait for at least 6 months before you apply for a mortgage.

4. Reduce Your debt

Before applying for a mortgage, make sure you don’t have a lot of outstanding loan or cash on your credit cards. So, you should pay back your debt or reduce it before applying for loan. This will also help you borrow more.

5. Proof of income

Your lender will also ask you for your proof of income. For this, you will need to get a P60 form from your employer. This from contains a summary of how much you got paid by your employer in a year and how much has been deducted in tax.

6. Bigger Deposit

If you want several mortgage choices, you may want to have a bigger deposit. Usually, lenders offer best rates to those who are willing to deposit a large sum. Aside from this, you will also be able to make lower payments each month.

7. Get a Partner

If you can’t deposit a decent sum, you may buy with someone else. As a matter of fact, this is a great way of getting a good mortgage, especially if your partner has a very good credit record. But make sure you think about it before making the final decision.

8. Consult a Mortgage broker

Mortgage brokers are there to help people like you. If you don’t want to take all the hassle, consulting a mortgage broker will be a stroke of genius. They will guide you throughout the process and you will get your mortgage. How much can I borrow? This is a common question. You can ask this question to your broker, and they will make calculations to answer your question.

So, if you follow these tips, you will have a great chance of getting a good mortgage. Hope this will help you.

Basic Guide To Selling Your Home Yourself

Sale of a house directly by the owner is becoming a popular trend these days. The internet has enabled owners to effectively market their property and reach out to customers breaking geographical barriers.

You can easily sell your house yourself by following these steps.

Step1: Check the condition of your house:

When you want to sell your house, one of the first steps is to see that it is in a perfect condition. All electrical and plumbing fittings should be in working condition. There should be no leakages or any other kind of damage. If any exist, it is better to take care of them at the initial stage. You could even consider getting it pre-inspected. You can get it painted if required. Finally, the house should have a neat and clean appearance both externally and internally.

Step 2: Photograph your house:

Once you have ensured that your house is in a condition ready for sale, you can take pictures from vantage points. This will help in marketing the house.

Step 3: Set a realistic price of your house:

While selling your house on your own, this is one of the toughest stages. You can research the price by finding prices of similar properties in the locality. You can also use the internet to find prices of similar houses. You can also take the help of professionals for this.

Step 4: List your house on a website:

Listing the house enables you to reach out to a large number of buyers. You can also think of multiple listing which will further widen your scope.

Step 5: Advertise:

You can put the board of ‘For Sale’ in your yard. You can prepare brochures with pictures and spread them. The most effective method will be to advertise on the internet. You can describe the property highlighting any special features. You can upload pictures on the site.

Step 6: Connect with buyers:

Once your house appears on property listing websites, buyers will directly contact you.

Step 7: Inspection of property by the buyers:

The buyer will like to have a look and feel of the property before buying it. Some may even bring an inspector to scrutinize it.

Step 8: Negotiation:

Negotiate the price and finalize the deal.

Step 9: Sign the legal papers:

Once the deal is finalized, you can bring your attorney to draw out the legal contract. Then you can sign the papers along with the buyer and close the deal.

Hence, we see that selling a house on your own is not a very difficult task. By following these basic steps you can do it easily. The only drawback is that it requires your dedicated time and effort. But think of the enormous amount you will save, which you would have paid as commission to the agent.

Tips for Good Photography of a House for Sale

As they say, “First impression is the last impression”. When selling your home, yourself the prospective buyers create an impression about the property through the photographs that are uploaded. The importance of good quality photographs cannot be stressed enough. It has been observed that property seekers will not even look at properties that are listed without pictures.

You could consider hiring a professional photographer or you could do it yourself. In order to capture attractive pictures of your home, here are a few suggestions:

1. Clean your home

A clean home enables capturing photos that are bright and clear. Therefore, they have a better appeal.

2. Home Staging

A staged home yields more appealing photographs.

3. Take photos in natural light

It is a good idea to open curtains, etc, to allow natural light into the house while taking photographs. This is because relying on camera’s inbuilt flash creates shadows. Pictures taken on rainy days or at night are gloomy and lack-lustre. Pictures of the exterior should be taken preferably on overcast days so that the sun does not cast shadows.

4. Take photographs such that the home looks spacious

• Pictures shot below shoulder level create distance between floor and ceiling giving an illusion of space.

• Photos captured by standing close to the walls also give an impression of a spacious room.

5. Photographs should not mislead the buyers

Pictures taken with wide-angle lenses make a room look larger than it actually is. Buyers will be put off when they visit the premises and find that it is not so.

6. Photographs must be taken from best angles and compositions

• Pictures should be taken from a corner or doorway as this makes the room look spacious.

• It is better to take pictures of the exterior of the home from an angle as this gives depth to the home.

• You should avoid capturing poles, wires, etc.

7. Use a good quality camera

Images should be sharp. You should ensure that the pictures are not blurred. Tripods are generally best for this purpose.

8. Take a number of photographs

If you have a number of photographs, you have the option to select the best ones and upload them.

9. Edit the photographs

Once you have selected the photographs, you will find some areas are dark or there may be obscure items in them. You can edit them so as to improve their quality.

10. Select a website that is easy to find in search engines

Photos should be uploaded on a site that is user-friendly and easy to navigate. It should preferably have a high-ranking on search engines. Photographs should be coupled with catchy descriptions.

In order to attract prospects towards your property, good quality photographs go a long way. Photos can make or break a deal. Therefore, before listing your home, dedicate some time in capturing it attractively on the camera.

Top 6 Real Estate Secrets When Selling Your Home

Top 6 Real Estate Secrets

#1: Open Houses Don’t Work.

Open houses are a thing of the past. Years ago, when you wanted to sell your home, the only way that buyers could see the inside of your home was to be invited to view your home via an open house or making an appointment with the agent listing your home. Now, if a buyer wants to see your home, they can just go online, to any of a dozen sites, and see the inside of your home without ever having to leave their living room.

The truth is open houses don’t work! Real Estate agents host open houses not to sell your home, but to obtain additional clients who are looking to sell their homes (including your neighbors). The fact is, you are more likely to win the lottery than sell your home with an open house in most areas.

#2: Marketing is Job Number 1.

If you are selling your home, the real reason you hire a Realtor is marketing. A Realtor’s job is to get as many qualified buyers to your home as possible so that you can sell your home for the highest price. Marketing is the cornerstone of the Real Estate business and a Realtor that does not know marketing, is not worth the commission. Many Realtors avoid the topic of marketing and try to confuse homeowners with internet terms and the size of their firm, all of which means nothing to the actual sale of your home. Here are the things you should be aware of:

* When you hire someone to sell your home, first make sure they are a Realtor and ask to see their Realtor card. There is a big difference between Realtors and Real Estate agents. Real Estate agents cannot list your home in the MLS, a database of homes for sale by participating Real Estate firms.

* Make sure you select a Realtor that truly understands marketing – proactive marketing. All agents use the internet, so that is no big deal. All listings will likely be on Realtor.com and Zillow. Have your agent do a S.W.O.T analysis for you, find out if they work full-time as a Realtor, and ask them what they do that DOES NOT involve the internet to sell your home. Find out how long they have been Realtors, and ask to see any 3 homes sold in each of the last four years. In a very short time, you will be able to sort through the wheat and chaff.

* Don’t be fooled by the most common secret. An agent will mention they work for a big firm, and therefore, your home will get more views on the internet. This is not true, in almost all cases, any home being listed by a Realtor will be listed on the website of all the Real Estate firms in the area and most national websites as well. So even if you list your home with “Mom and Pop Realty,” your home will show up on even the big companies’ Real estate websites.

#3: Discount Brokers/Limited Service Brokers Can Be a Good Choice.

Regardless of what the industry tells you (including real estate agents) these firms have a place at the dinner table and serve a vital function in the industry. Let’s be honest – all people are a little frugal, and if you could find a cheaper alternative to paying a Realtor, you would. On occasion, discount brokers/limited service brokers can save you money.

Here are two specific cases where we refer our clients to limited services/discount Realtors:

Scenario 1: You have a home under $120,000 (don’t be jealous, Californians and New Yorkers).

Real Estate is a business, and agents are people who rely on that business to pay their own bills. So, if your agent works at a firm that takes a cut of the commission (in many cases 30-50%), the agent must determine if selling your home is a good business decision. Lets look at the numbers:

* Home Price = $120,000

* 3% commission (Listing Side only) = $3600

* Minus Firm Split (35%) = – $1260

* Minus Taxes (25%) = – $900

* Minus marketing = – $800

* Leaves a net commission of $640, to the agent

If the agent only nets $640 on the deal, how much time can you reasonably expect them to spend on your behalf selling your home? In this case, using a limited service broker could save you $2000+ dollars on the listing side after the cost of the limited broker fees and expenses are deducted.

Scenario 2: You are in a super hot market.

If you are in a market that is so hot that all you have to do is put a sign in your front yard, then limited service is a good option. They put your home in the local MLS system and buyers just show up. AWESOME! The key to making this work is to have your home appraised before you call the limited service brokers to make sure you are selling your home for the right price. Once you get a contract from a buyer’s agent, hire another agent or lawyer to help you with the details on an hourly or fixed-rate basis. The key is making sure you only accept contracts from buyer’s agents. If you are not sure what that means, get clarification in your state. (I can’t give you all the secrets!)

#4: All Agents Are NOT Created Equal.

Just like any industry, there is a range of competence within the Real Estate world; However, many people believe that all agents are the same. I suggest that when you are interviewing agents, request that they send you the contracts ahead of time, and prepare a set of questions for them to answer. If you are in North Carolina, here are just a few questions I suggest:

* What is dual agency? And do you practice dual agency?

* What is the difference between due diligence and earnest money? And what happens if a buyer cancels the contract?

* Am I required to do repairs on my house, or is my home sold as-is?

* Show me the marketing plan for my home, not a generic presentation.

#5: Some Agents Will Try to “Buy the Listing.”

This is when an agent convinces a homeowner they can sell their home for a price significantly higher than market value. This tactic is successful when an owner uses money to select the agent. The agent’s intention is to have the owner sign the listing agreement under the auspices of an inflated sales price, and then the agent will steadily lower the price of your home until it actually sells.

#6: For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Homes Don’t Save Money and Time.

The company line for agents is that they will help you buy any home; however, most agents do not like to deal with FSBO properties. First and foremost, Real Estate is a FOR-PROFIT job. Owners selling their own home have made a decision not to pay a Realtor, but your agent does not work for free. Therefore, as a buyer, if you choose to consider FSBOs, you need to have a discussion about who is responsible for paying commissions. In many cases, you as the buyer could be responsible for paying the commissions on the deal in addition to closing costs and down payments