Math for Grownups
you’ll have to lay down some cash before the deal is done.
    Here are some of the costs you might be expected to cover at closing:

Processing fees
cover the administrative costs of processing your loan. These include expenses incurred in checking your credit report, the lender’s attorney’s fees, document preparation costs, and so on.
• You already know what
are: a one-time charge that you may pay in order to lower your interest rate over the life of the mortgage.
• An
appraisal fee
is charged when your lender needs to establish the actual value of the home.
• The
title fee
covers the cost of ensuring that the home belongs to the seller, a process called a title search. This fee may also include title insurance, which protects the lender against an error in the title search.
    How can you figure out what all of these costs will add up to? Fortunately, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) requires that all lenders give the borrower a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of all the fees associated with the loan. This way, you will have a general idea of how much you’ll need to pay in closing costs.
    But as the name suggests, a Good Faith Estimate is just that—an estimate. The actual fee may be slightly lower or higher.

At Home: Will Your New Fridge Fit?
    Ah! Home sweet home! Even if you’re not inclined to watch marathons of
This Old House
on PBS, sprucing up your digs can be a rewarding experience.
    Except when it isn’t.
    Simple projects like painting a room or hanging curtains can become complicated—and expensive—math problems. How much paint do you need? Where should you hang the curtain rods so that the drapes “puddle” just as they do on the cover of
Home Interiors
    Math probably can’t help you pick out the perfect shade of green for a south-facing room, but it does factor in the economics and geometry of home improvement.
    So grab your confidence and a tape measure and get started!

Color Your World
    Narcissa is so ready to redecorate her bedroom. Against their better judgment, her parents are letting her use her favorite shade of eyeliner—midnight blue—for the walls, but only on three conditions: She buys the paint, she does the work (and cleans up), and she repaints the room in a more, well,
shade before she leaves the nest.
    Narcissa carefully hides her girlish excitement and responds by shrugging her shoulders and rolling her darkly rimmed eyes. Then she picks off a little of the black polish on the nail of her right index finger.
    Her boyfriend Bruno and BFF Absinthe can help transform her ordinary room this Saturday, so Narcissa gets to work figuring out how much paint she needs to buy.
    A quick web search reveals that a gallon of paint will cover about 350 square feet. But Narcissa figures she’ll need to apply at least two coats, because the paint color is so dark. (Two years of art classes haven’t gone to waste.) So, she’ll need twice as much paint—just to be on the safe side.
    Narcissa cranks up The Cure on her iPod and starts measuring. She’s quick with fractions, and she finds the dimensions of her room and sketches a diagram before the last chord of “Boys Don’t Cry.”
    And it’s no wonder: Her room is basically a box—no nooks and crannies, although she’d love to live in the turret of a grand Victorian house.
    The ceilings are 8 feet tall. Two walls are 14 feet wide, and the other two walls are 20 feet wide. From listening to dorky Mr. Sneft, her math teacher, she knows that to find the area of each wall, she’ll just multiply the length (or, for our purposes, the height) and the width:
    14 • 8 = 112 square feet
    20 • 8 = 160 square feet
    The mathematical abbreviation for “square feet” is ft 2 . Narcissa knows that two walls are 112 ft 2 and two walls are 160 ft 2 . That means the total square footage of the walls is
    112 + 112 + 160 + 160 = 544 ft 2
    (Narcissa hasn’t forgotten about the ceiling. Instead

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