Bay Area Events Calendar – October

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The holidays are fast approaching and that means a load of fun Bay Area events are upon us! I’ve attached a schedule of great events for the month of October.  CLICK HERE – October Events Calendar

As always, if I can assist you or your friends or family with any real estate related needs over the holidays, let me know!

 

Nicole

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Steps to the Home Buying Process

Reaching For A Home

Buying a home is one of life’s most exciting and important decisions. In addition to being a historically strong investment, owning a house provides comfort and security for you and your loved ones. If you are thinking of purchasing a home this year, there may not be a better time in which to buy. Attractive interest rates and lower prices are helping more first-time home buyers enter the real estate market today than ever before. So if you are thinking of making a move this year, here’s how to get started:

  • Select a professional Realtor®. Choosing a Realtor is one of the most important factors in buying a home. It’s important to select a Realtor who has experience, a strong pulse on the local real estate market and the neighborhoods you are looking in, and who you feel will do the best job in communicating with you. You are going to be working with this person a lot so your comfort with and confidence in the professional are key.
  • Get pre-approved. Getting pre-approved with a proven lender will allow you to understand how much home you can afford before you begin your home search. Coldwell Banker has an in-house mortgage banker, who has a reputable track record and can help you determine your purchasing power before you start looking. A qualified loan officer from the company will show you a variety of different types of financing and will determine how much you qualify for with each type, as well as what your monthly payment will be so you can make an educated decision that’s comfortable for you.
  • Determine what you are looking for in a home. Is location most important to you? Do you have to have a swimming pool in your yard? Will you only look at homes that have a formal living room? Understanding your preferences and what you are willing to compromise on will help your Realtor in their search for properties that most closely match your criteria. Remember, unless you are building your dream home from the ground up, there are often compromises involved when deciding whether or not you will be satisfied with a given property.
  • Be proactive. While your Realtor will keep you apprised of any properties that hit the market matching your criteria, it’s important for you to be proactive in your search too. By keeping tabs in the neighborhoods or cities in which you are looking, you will have a better understanding and knowledge of the local market and home prices so that when you are getting ready to make an offer, you can be educated and confident in your decision. Websites such as CaliforniaMoves.com and Realtor.com are both updated frequently and are among my favorites for home buyers.
  • Have an open mind. Remember that the first house you purchase is probably not going to be perfect. If you have been looking for a home for weeks or even months, maybe it’s time to reconsider homes that you’ve already viewed or make a few concessions. Chances are that if there are homes that have been sitting on the market for weeks, the seller may be willing to negotiate more on price and you may be able to purchase your first home for a lower price than originally thought – giving you extra money in the end for home improvement projects.

I hope you found this information useful.  If you are thinking of taking your first steps towards purchasing a home, I’d be pleased to meet with you to give you an update on the local real estate marketplace and your buying opportunities. For more information, contact me today.

 

Bay Area home sales, prices drop in September

Bay Area home sales, prices drop in September

Check out this recent Mercury News article with updates on today’s real estate market in the Bay Area. Higher inventory has led to a drop in sales prices making this a great time for buyers to jump back into the market. The real estate market seems to have shifted in the past few months – I had 25 offers on one of my listings back in March of this year and now buyers are often only competing with a few others for homes. If you were considering making a move in the real estate market, now is definitely the time! Give me a call today at (408) 410-2060 to discuss your options! 

What Your Lender Needs to Know (and what not to do during the home buying process)

buy-home1When you are buying a home the first thing you need to do is get pre-approved. This is different from pre-qualifying as it is a full loan approval instead of simply an opinion letter of your creditworthiness. Its is best that you take this step before looking at homes as finding out what you qualify for will help you look in the right price range and avoid disappointment. On the flip side, you might be able to look at more expensive homes than you originally thought possible.

Here are some things your lender will need (and need you to do or not to do) during the application and escrow process):

1) All funds used for the downpayment and closing costs need to be carefully scrutinized by your lender.

  • You must provide detailed and accurate information to show which accounts the funds are in and where the funds are coming from.
  • You must document the source of any funds that have been in your accounts for less than 2 months.
  • Any changes that occur to your financial condition will need to be explained to the lender.
  • Changes to your assets, employment, income or credit scores during the escrow process could jeopardize your ability to obtain a loan.
  • Provide complete documents – all pages!
  • Provide documents with names, addresses and account numbers.

2) Things not to do during the escrow process:

  • Do not transfer funds from one bank account to another.
  • Do not make unusual large deposits into your bank account or you will need to provide documentation for the source of any deposits.
  • Do not buy a car just prior to buying a house of during the escrow process.
  • Do not spend large sums of money buying furniture or appliances.
  • Do not change jobs.
  • Do not apply for new credit cards.
  • Do not close existing credit cards.

3) The lender is going to require a letter of explanation and/or support documentation for:

  • Recent inquiries on your credit report.
  • Derogatory items on your credit report.
  • Recent deposits into your bank account.
  • Recent transfers of money from one account to another.
  • Evidence earnest money deposit has cleared your account.

4) If you are receiving gift funds the lender will require:

  • A gift letter signed by you and the gift donor.
  • Evidence of the donors ability to gift the funds – a bank statement.
  • Evidence of the receipt of the gift funds – a copy of the check or wire.
  • Evidence of the funds being received into your account.

If you have questions or are looking for a wonderful lender, give me a call today at (408) 410-2060!

7 Things You Should NOT do when Applying for a Home Loan

1) Don’t buy or lease an auto – Lenders look carefully at your debt-to-income ratio. A large payment such as a car lease or purchase can greatly impact those ratios and prevent you from qualifying for a home loan.

2) Don’t move assets from one bank account to another –  These transfers show up as new deposits and complicate the application process as you must then disclose and document the source of funds for each new account. The lender can verify each account as it currently exists. You can consolidate your accounts later if necessary.

3) Don’t change jobs – A new job may involve a probation period, which must be satisfied before income from the new job can be considered for qualifying purposes.

4) Don’t buy new furniture or major appliances with a credit card – If the new purchases increase the amount of debt you are responsible for on a monthly basis, there is a possibility this may disqualify you from getting the loan or even cut down the amount of available funds for closing costs.

5) Be aware of who runs your credit report – This will show as an inquiry on your lender’s credit report. Inquiries must be explained in writing.

6) Don’t attempt to consolidate bills before speaking with your lender – The loan officer can advise you if this needs to be done.

7) Don’t pack of ship information needed for the loan application – Important paperwork such as W-2 forms, divorce decrees and tax returns should not be sent with your household goods. Duplicate copies take weeks to obtain, and could stall the closing date on your transaction.

If you need help finding a reliable & reputable lender, give me a call! I have some fantastic lenders I can refer you to to qualify you for buying a new home.

Get Your Home in Shape for the New Year!

Ring in the new year right by getting your home in shape. Your home is your most valued possession so why not spruce it up for the year ahead!

Paint touch-up. Scuffs, dirt and even crayons can plague beautiful walls of a home. Simply mark those areas with blue painter’s tape and then walk around your home with a touch-up paintbrush.

Carpet cleaning. Carpets should be professionally cleaned at least twice per year. Now that you’ve enjoyed those festive holiday celebrations, have those muddy footprints, or worse yet, cranberry sauce stains, professionally treated.

Window washing. While the rainy season is still upon us, spring will be here soon. There is nothing worse on a beautiful home than dirty windows. So take the time to either hire a window washing service or if you’re a do it yourselfer, establish a weekend where you can dedicate yourself to the task at hand.

Fertilize your yard. Spring will be here before we know it. Many of our perennials require winter fertilizer to ensure they enjoy a robust bloom.

Donate old clothing. I once read that truly organized people throw away (or donate) one item for every one item that they bring into their home. Now is the perfect time to go through your closets and donate clothes and shoes that may no longer fit or are outdated. You can call the
Salvation Army at 1.800.95TRUCK to have them picked up at your doorstep.

Pantry and refrigerator cleaning. Do your salad dressings’ expiration dates say 2007? That’s a sign that it’s time to clean out your refrigerator and pantry. Be sure to check expiration dates on everything. You’ll be surprised to know that even pancake mix has a relatively short shelf life.

I work with an impressive list of professional home contractors, landscapers, painters and more. If you’d like a recommendation for any of the above services, please don’t hesitate to call me.