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.

 

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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! 

Just Listed! Remodeled Craftsman Style Home Near Japantown in San Jose

Remodeled Craftsman-style Home Near Japantown!
674 E. Empire
Street, San Jose

 

Nicole Emanuel (Culbertson)

Direct: (408) 355-1512

Mobile: (408) 410-2060

CA DRE# 01899594

Nicole.Emanuel@cbnorcal.com

674 E. Empire Street, San Jose
2 bedroom + bonus room & 1 bath
Approximately 1,000 (permits unknown)
$495,000

Welcome Home! Recently remodeled craftsman-style home incorporates original charm with modern day finishes! Features bamboo flooring, french doors, gourmet kitchen with granite, remodeled bath, renovated back yard and 2-year old roof! Third room can be used as an office, baby’s room or a sitting room. Home is approximately 1,000 square feet – permits unknown (assessors office 884). Located across the street from a park and a short walk to Japantown and Watson Dog Park!

©2013 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Office Is Owned by a Subsidiary of NRT LLC. All rights reserved. This information was supplied by Seller and/or other sources. Broker believes this information to be correct but has not verified this information and assumes no legal responsibility for its accuracy. Buyers should investigate these issues to their own satisfaction. If your property is currently listed for sale, this is not intended as a solicitation. If your property is listed with a real estate broker, please disregard. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other real estate brokers. We are happy to work with them and cooperate fully. DRE License #01908304

How to Pick a Good Home Improvement Contractor: 10 Tips for Consumers

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1)    Check each contractor’s license. Licensing may be at the state, county, or municipal lever. The quickest surest way to find out who is responsible for licensing contractors in your area is to call your local building department, mayor city manager, or county executive office.

2)    Check with the local Better Business Bureau for any complaints filed against the contractor.

3)    Solicit proposals from a few contractors before selecting one.

4)    Beware of the lowers bidder. If a bud is more than 20% below the others, ask why. Make sure it’s not because the contractor is desperate for your business and deposit in order to finish another job.

5)    Ask the contractor for references and call them. Ask former customers what type of work was done, whether it was completed in a timely manner and on budget; if they would use that contractor again. Find out if the contractor maintained a clean and safe work area and whether the workman showed up when scheduled.

6)    Confirm that a contractor has at least a minimum insurance – including worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability insurance – required by the state. If they don’t have any insurance, you the customer could be liable for injuries on the job.

7)    Make sure the contractor you choose is well established in your area. Find out how long they have been in the business; who are some of their major suppliers. Beware of those who only have a post office box as a place of business of no ongoing supplier relationships.

8)    Get everything in writing and avoid signing anything – even a bid – until all the terms area agreed upon. Contracts should include everything that has been agreed to. Before you pay, make sure that everything you are paying for was listed in the contract.

9)    Make sure contract proposals specify the type, and wherever possible, brand name, of the materials to be used.  This will help protect you from substitution of inferior quality materials.

10)  Keep a file on the home improvement job, including contracts, change orders, plans and specifications, bills and invoices, cancelled checks, and any other correspondence between you and the contractor or subcontractors.

It is very difficult – if not impossible – to recover money from dishonest contractors. The best way to avoid any problems with contractors is by doing your homework before signing a contract for the job. The extra work and organization upfront should give you greater comfort in the end.  (Article compiled by the Title One Home Improvement Lenders Association (TOHILA) )

If you are looking for a reputable contractor to assist you with a home improvement job, 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.