May is just around the corner, meaning it’s time for graduation and grad parties. It’s been an odd year but you still want to celebrate your grad! No doubt your grad has probably kept you busy through the year with many different preparations for getting to the big day. All the things that surround and lead up to the ceremony can quickly become overwhelming or stressful, including throwing a graduation party to celebrate the grad with family and friends. Have no fear we are here to help with some grad party prep tips to get your home ready to receive visitors and congratulate your grad on a job well done. [Read more…]
Spring is here and even though we celebrated it a day early this year, it’s here nevertheless. Were starting to open our windows a little bit more during the day and maybe even starting to enjoy evenings out on the patio, the dry evenings anyway. But if you’re looking to add a little bit more freshness to your home this spring here are five simple ways to do so. [Read more…]
Think you’re ready to buy? It’s exciting and a little scary when you think about buying, purchasing and owning a home of your own, especially if you’ve never done it before. But you also want to know you’re ready. If you’re not, owning a home can be stressful. It’s a big responsibility but a worthy one if you’re ready.
Here’s our 10 point checklist to find out if you’re ready to buy a home.
#1. You’re comfortable making a monthly housing payment.
If you’ve already been paying rent or some other housing payment each month then you are prepared for the monthly mortgage payment but you’ll be expected to pay to the bank each month. Depending on where you live, sometimes rent can be just as much or even sometimes more than a mortgage payment. If you’ve gotten into the habit of making an on-time payment each month, you should be ready for monthly mortgage payment.
#2. You have a little bit of money in the bank.
If you’re living paycheck to paycheck barely making ends meet each month, the house may not be the best option. Renting means that you have very little responsibility in repairing or replacing items that break from natural wear and tear. When you own a home, you are the only one that will pay for this repair or replacement. You need a little bit of extra money in order to take care of any emergencies that might arise.
#3. You have some savings.
This is more than simply having money left over each month after your paycheck; this is money saved up for either a down payment and/or closing costs. When you purchase a home you’ll need an earnest money deposit, which is usually 1% to 3% of the purchase price of the home. This could be several thousands of dollars. If you do not have money for a down payment or earnest money deposit, chances are your mortgage will be extremely high and sellers may not accept your offer.
#4. You have good credit.
I didn’t say perfect credit because you don’t need perfect credit to apply for a home loan and get approved but you do need to meet a certain requirement for credit score and credit history in order to qualify. Talk to your lender about what these qualifications are and get a copy of your credit history.
#5. You’re planning on staying a while.
If you like to move every six months to two years, buying a permanent house may not be the best option. Buying a house is a long-term commitment so unless you’re planning on staying at least 3 to 5 years, you might stick to renting for now.
#6. You’re ready for more responsibility.
Whether you purchase a single-family house or condominium your responsibilities will increase. You are now responsible for appliances should they break, mowing the lawn or keeping up with the landscaping and maintaining the structure in general.
#7. You’re ready for tax breaks.
As a homeowner you can receive certain tax credits and deductions on your mortgage interest and property taxes each year.
#8. You understand the market and know that it’s a good time to buy.
If all the other factors come into play but the market is just terrible, it may not be time to buy and this is no fault of yours. Talk to your real estate agent about the best time to buy in your neighborhood and in your market. There are typically more homes on the market during the spring and summer but you might be able to get a better deal in the fall or winter. Talk to your agent about the type of market we’re in and if it’s a good time to buy.
#9. You understand the hidden expenses of owning a home.
There are many additional costs of homeownership that new homebuyers tend to overlook. You will need to pay homeowners insurance, taxes and possibly private mortgage insurance or PMI, which is added onto your monthly mortgage payment in the cases of a low down payment or zero down payment loan. You may also pay homeowners association fees monthly, quarterly or annually if you buy a condominium or a home in an association.
#10. You don’t have a lot of debt.
If you simply have school debt or a car loan, that may be OK but if you have numerous credit card debts, maxed cards, loans and too much debt in general, it will be difficult to get a loan and extremely difficult to add one more payment to your monthly bills. Pay down some debt first before applying for a loan.
I know this is a lot of information and it’s a good checklist but it is extensive. However, verifying all of these items will make homebuying much easier and it will make that monthly payment that much easier to afford and manage each month.
If you feel you’re ready for homebuying please contact me now to get started looking at homes today. Still have some questions on whether or not you qualify? Click here now for free consultation about homebuying, the market and answers to all your real estate questions.
More Great Tips for Home Buyers in 2021:
When looking for a house to buy you’re probably not in the market for something that looks like it’s ready to fall down, but, are you passing up a virtual goldmine? Think of it this way, instead of shopping for a dream home, maybe you should be out looking for a dream discount. [Read more…]
For some, it may be easy to replace such things as a window, fix a leaky faucet, or make layout changes, but for the rest of us, hiring a contractor is a necessity. To ensure you receive the best quality of workmanship and service, it is important to choose the right person(s) to get the job done, as a top priority among homeowners is maintaining not only the look but the “health” of the overall structure. [Read more…]
If you are considering purchasing a home in San Ramon or surrounding communities most likely you will need a home loan. The very first step in looking at properties is to get preapproved for financing. This puts you steps ahead of others that have not done their financial homework, and it shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer with your financing in place. [Read more…]
You’ve toyed with the idea of buying a furnished home or even renting one but you’re either arguing with yourself or maybe a partner or spouse about whether that’s really a good idea or not? Here are three great reasons to consider buying a furnished house, especially in Hawaii.
If 2021 is the year you are going to be a homeowner or perhaps you’re going to sell your house and purchase a new one, start now before you’re even looking at any homes.
Let’s start with first-time homebuyers; if you’ve never purchased a property before but you’re tired of renting in 2021 is your year to be a homeowner, start now, immediately, by saving up some money and getting your credit in good condition. [Read more…]
That is, if you have the cash to purchase a property, is there any reason why you wouldn’t pay cash?
In today’s hot market, especially in the Oakland and Tri-Valley area, cash offers can be king but, there are reasons why you might not want to pay cash. I know that many sellers are more likely to accept an offer of cash, but the seller will get the money regardless of whether it is financed or all-cash. Cash offers can tend to close quicker but you really needs to look at all of the details of a purchase and sale agreement including terms and contingencies.
Today, about 30% of US homebuyers pay cash for their properties. That’s still in the minority. There may be some good reasons not to pay cash.
If you just have enough cash to pay for a house, you may not have any left over for repairs or emergencies. If you have the cash, it might be a good idea to set it aside so that you have at least three months of housing and living expenses should something unforeseen happen was losing a job or having medical issues. If all of your money is tied up into the house, you might end up losing the house to pay for unforeseen items.
A great mortgage.
You might have qualifications for an excellent mortgage. According to a recent study by Money magazine, Generation X and millennial’s are considered to populations with the most potential for growth as borrowers. Taking on a little bit of debt, especially for tax purposes great terms might be a better option for your finances overall.
A better investment.
Buying real estate is an excellent investment that if you have all cash, you might make a better investment than putting it elsewhere. Maybe investing in the stock market, mutual funds or a personal business might be a better option for you in the long run.
Most homeowners will receive some sort of mortgage tax breaks on the interest paid to the lender. Depending on how much you owe and your terms, you could be deducting quite a bit on your taxes.
Home values have no guarantee of increasing even though overall, the trajectory is good. Home prices rise and fall with the economy so unless you’re planning on hanging onto the house for 10 to 30 years, you might be better off investing that cash elsewhere.
I’m not telling you to not get a mortgage or to not pay cash, but there are pros and cons to both. It’s important to talk to your financial advisor and even a lender about the best options for you at this stage in life.
Ready to get started looking at homes? Give me a call anytime.
More Tips for Home Buyers:
There is nothing like a new year to get us motivated to do some extra cleaning projects. The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a great time to get cleaning projects accomplished. Many of us have time off from work and/or are already taking some time to clean up boxes and wrapping and get decorations stored away.
In the midst of running around to get the house back in order after Christmas, here are some other items to clean up and clear out before the New Year arrives to get it started on a motivated foot. [Read more…]