Use These 8 Tips to Pay Your Closing Costs!
January 25, 2016
Trish Cloonan, Realtor® “Catering to all of YOUR Real Estate Needs”
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Your dream wedding is quickly approaching and you are taking care of all of the final details. You are going to be gorgeous, the venue is going to be fantastic, and your guests are going to enjoy a night they’ll never forget! This dream to reality is going to have a big price tag. In the Pittsburgh area, weddings average between $4,000 and $8,000 AN HOUR. What???
When you finally walk down the aisle, all of the appointments, the cake and hors d’oeuvre tastings, the rearranging of guest seating, the dress fittings, the color swatches, and the cookie baking will fade away and the only thing that will matter is the fact that you are about to share the rest of your life with the person at your side. Your future together in your first home will last many years, so it is a good idea to include it in your wedding day plans.
As a former wedding coordinator and caterer for 20 years, I advised my clients that there are certain wedding details that should always be given budget priority. These include the food, the drinks (if having a bar), and the D.J. or band. However, many of the extras that are listed in your wedding guide can be excluded, or modified, allowing you to free up some of your budget to put toward your new home. No one is going to leave receptions saying “I can’t believe they didn’t give us a menu card!”
Looking at the Pittsburgh housing market, you can find a great 3 bedroom home in a preferred neighborhood for around $175,000. With a 20% down payment (that you have been saving of course!) closing costs totaling about $11,000 would be reasonable.
Let’s see how we can come up with your closing costs, based on a wedding with 175 guests: * NOTE: Costs listed are estimates. Actual costs will vary, talk with your Realtor® .
1) The Cake
Unless it is included in the venue package price, be very selective
- Opt to NOT SAVE the top. You will be paying for 10 extra slices
- Decorate in a simple elegant style, using buttercream instead of fondant
- You will only need a pretty display of 2-3 layers. Have the bakery prepare a sheet cake the same flavor, kept in the kitchen for serving guests.
COST SAVINGS: Appx. $7/person = $1,225 COST OF TITLE INSURANCE: $1,500
2) The Reception Stationary
Less is more. If you are working with a stationer, be sure that your designs & calligraphy are easy to read. Not worth the money if no one can read it!
- Many venues have table numbers that you can borrow. Or ask to use their stands and print off numbers at home.
- If the dinner is a buffet, or everyone is getting the same entrée, there is no need for individual escort cards. A fun poster, chalkboard, etc. on an easel can direct guests to their assigned tables.
- Menu Cards will only be glanced at and then thrown away. Have a framed menu on each table if you’d like the guests to know what they can look forward to.
Programs will also only be read once and thrown away. You only need one per couple. COST SAVINGS: Appx. $5/person = $875 COST OF HOME INSURANCE ESCROW: $900
3) The Invitations
Please don’t omit the response card! Emailed RSVP’s are unreliable and you will find yourself on the phone calling all of your guests two weeks before the wedding!
- Before you put in your order, take your “fully loaded” samples of your favorite choices to the post office to determine the mailing cost. Square envelopes, invitations with gems or bows, and extra thick invites will cost more to mail.
- Embossed invites will cost considerably more than printed.
- Keep most of the information on the invite. Everyone has GPS, they don’t need a direction card. Ask the hotel that is holding your room block to provide a card that can be included.
- This is the time when you make it clear to your guests if children are included. Plan on paying at least $30/child in most hotels for chicken nuggets if you want to include them!
COST SAVINGS: Appx. $6/couple = $525 COST OF APPRAISAL and CREDIT CHECK: $450
4) The Favors
This is Pittsburgh… the Cookie Table is the favor!
- The majority of favors left by couples are left behind by the guests.
- The only favors that staff is not left packing up at the end of the night are candy bars and unscratched lottery tickets.
- Most venues cannot legally allow the consumption of alcohol not provided by a staff member, so wine bottles, etc. cannot be opened at the wedding.
COST SAVINGS: Appx. $5/person = $875 COST OF LENDER FEES: $850
5) The Linens
Creatively combining linens with centerpieces can create a big impact!
- Use overlays, glitzy throws, etc. only on the accessory tables. (Cake, Gift, etc.)
- If you are using chair covers in the same color as cloths, you may not need floor-length linens. Floor-length are recommended if using chivairi or other “open backed” chairs.
- Skip silky, sequined, shiny napkins. They are useless when trying to wipe off some butter from your face.
- Keep the fold simple and elegant. Some venues may charge labor cost if an intricate design is required, or they may just get really agitated with you before you even arrive!
COST SAVINGS: Appx. $25/table = $550 COST OF HOME, PEST, RADON INSPECTION: $575
6) The Dresses
Let’s be real, very few people will wear them again. Keep your bridesmaids happy by selecting a gorgeous dress “off the rack”.
- If ordering dresses, the only person who will likely lose the weight they want to is the bride. Bridesmaids should order for the size they are today. Letting a dress out is much harder (more expensive) than taking a dress in!
- For the Moms- find a designer dress from https://www.renttherunway.com/. High end designer gowns that retail up to $3,000 can be rented for $80-$125.
COST SAVINGS: Appx. $500/per mom = $1000 COST OF RECORDING + BROKER FEES + MISCELLANEOUS: $900
7) The Bar
If your venue allows you to provide the alcohol, Great! Trying to save money by using “well” spirits is not advised. Your guests WILL notice.
Be sure to ask for a Certificate of Insurance from the venue and caterer (if they are supplying the bartenders). Consider getting a day permit from your own homeowner’s policy. Hopefully you won’t need the insurance, but if you do you will be glad you paid the $75.
- The least expensive bar is a Beer/Wine option. Adding a signature drink is a fun way to personalize.
- Close the bar during dinner. One hour is recommended, but 30 minutes is needed. This allows the bartenders time to restock and focuses the guest’s attention on the reason why they are here: YOU!
- Skip the Champagne toast for all but the bridal party and family tables. It is usually poured long before the toast which makes it flat, and most of it goes down the drain in the dish room.
COST SAVINGS: No Champagne- Appx. $5/per guest = $875 Beer/Wine Only- Appx $15/per guest= $2,625 COST OF ONE YEAR TAX ESCROW: $3,500
8) The Guest List
This one is the toughest. Mom wants to invite her coworkers, you want to invite everyone in the fraternity plus a guest, the list can go on indefinitely, and each guest costs $100-$150! Invite the people you really love and will have a great time, and then you may even have enough money left over to invite them all to your housewarming too!
- Children change the atmosphere of a wedding reception. In fact, many parents of young children are thrilled to receive an “adult only” invitation. Finally a night out to enjoy!
- If you both have a lot of single friends, eliminate the “& Guest”. A room full of single people will have no problem meeting each other and having a great time. You may even be responsible for the next wedding.
- Just because some neighbors or parents’ friends came to your sister’s wedding does not require that they have to be invited to yours.
COST SAVINGS: Eliminating 20 people from guest list = $2,540 (at $100 + tax/gratuity) COST OF TRANSFER TAX: $2,187
Having a Realtor® on your side is the best way to make these decisions, “you have an expert who is looking out for your best financial interests, an expert who’s contractually bound to do everything in their power to protect you”.
As your Realtor®, I am committed to working with you to make your dreams possible. I look forward to the opportunity to advise you on ways to keep your wedding day perfect while not losing sight of the reason you are walking down the aisle.
Please call me anytime for advice, market information, or a free planning guide. Trish Cloonan, Realtor
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