One of the first things we recommend when you’re considering a real estate purchase is to get in touch with a lender. Doing so will be a critical first step in ensuring your success throughout the rest of the process.
To illustrate why, I recently brought on Steve Hankla from Doorway Home Loans—a mortgage expert with 34 years of experience—to discuss some tips for people about to embark on a home buying journey.
Steve’s first tip to all homebuyers was to get pre-approved early on. This will set you up with a clear understanding of your financial circumstances and allow you to proceed with confidence in your home search.
During the pre-approval process, lenders like Steve look at three key areas of your finances: credit, income, and assets. When Steve receives these components from clients, he is able to give them a fully-underwritten pre-approval letter. Being pre-approved allows you to assert offers that are extremely solid, which, in turn, allows you to compete with cash buyers.
Beyond that, top lenders like Steve can also work with you to improve certain aspects of your financial situation in order to boost your chances as a buyer. Polishing up your credit, for example, can significantly impact your success.
Trying to make such improvements without professional guidance, meanwhile, could actually damage your chances as a buyer. For instance, did you know that paying off collection accounts may actually lower your score? This and other factors can take the average buyer by surprise, so it’s no wonder why an early pre-approval is so crucial to your overall success.
Lenders like Steve can identify and resolve certain details of your financial health that may otherwise go unnoticed. Earning the best deal during your home purchase requires a lot of intricate strategizing, and this is exactly why working with a professional lender is a must.
To reach Steve directly and find out more about today’s topic, you can give him a call at (714) 470-5626 or by emailing him at email@example.com.
And, as always, if you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call at (800) 309-1528. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Do you have documents / statements / papers that need to be shredded? Come on by on July 14th between 9am - 1pm and we will have shredding trucks at 3030 Old Ranch Pkwy, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This is a free community event! Come early! Once the trucks are filled, the event will be over.
Contrary to conventional belief, selling your home in the fall can actually be a great idea. A lot of folks think that summer is the best time to list, but today I’d like to give you three reasons why this fall may be an even better time to sell.
1.) Housing inventory is low. Across the nation, the inventory is about half of what it was 10 years ago. This is also true here in Southern California. As a result, sellers have very little competition.
2.) Interest rates will increase. The Fed is expected to raise the interest rate once more this year, and three times more in 2018. This year, prices have risen as well. Throughout Southern California, we’ve seen them increase by about 9%. The rise in price coupled with a higher interest rate is going to make homes a lot less affordable for buyers in the future.
3.) Fall is a good time to sell. The buyers on the market right now are very serious. These buyers have probably been looking for homes throughout spring and summer. After all that time on the market, they’re still looking now because they either couldn’t find the right home previously or because they’ve been unable to get their offers accepted. Because of this, these buyers have realized they need to be much more competitive. December is actually as strong a month for volume, as are June and July. As a seller, you can know that fall buyers are very serious and very competitive.
If you have any other questions, would like more information, or want to talk to my team and I about selling your home, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
So, how can you make your offer stand out in the crowd?
1. Submit a large earnest money deposit. By going that route, it really shows the seller that you’re serious about purchasing their home. It also shows that you’re serious about closing on that purchase.
2. Show the sellers that you’re qualified. In this climate, in most cases, there are multiple offers on a property. In our area, the average days on market has dropped to just 13 days, which is really amazing. Be sure that you have a pre-approval letter from your lender. Nowadays, if you can get your pre-approval reviewed by an underwriter, it really can strengthen your offer as well.
3. Give the sellers more time to move. Sellers may need a little time between the closing of escrows, so let them know up front that you’re willing to give them two or three days to comfortably move into their new home.
4. Shorten or waive some of your contingencies. The standard contract gives you 17 days after your offer has been accepted to do the inspections and appraisals and give the property your due diligence. If you’re willing to shorten that period and/or shorten the 21-day period of your loan contingency, that can also make your offer stand out.
5. Write your best offer. The market is very competitive right now, so don’t look forward to doing a lot of negotiating back and forth. As far as your offer goes, lean toward making your best offer up front. This lets the seller know that you’re genuinely interested in their property, and certainly will put you in a stronger position.
Chances are, if it’s your dream home, it’s also someone else’s dream home, which is a recipe for a multiple-offer situation. Be sure to keep these tips in mind in order to strengthen the position you hold in a competitive real estate market.
If you are looking to buy or sell a home in this hot market, go ahead and give us a call at 1-800-309-1528 or reach out to us on our website (www.imaginerealty.com). Let’s find your dream home.
When settling the estate of a recently deceased loved one, there are three key steps you need to take.
In the unfortunate event of the loss of a loved one, what steps do you need to take to handle their estate?
According to Reba Birmingham of Long Beach Law, since it’s possible you might not be thinking clearly at the time of said loved one’s death, the first step is to capture documents that might be important later and throw them into a folder. This includes bank and stock statements and any deeds that might be lying around the house.
After that, you have to wait. You have to grieve—there will be family members to notify and a memorial to put on. These things take time. It also takes time to get the death certificate, which is the key to opening up some of those bank accounts and insurance claims.
Next, see a professional. See an attorney that regularly practices in estate planning and trust administration or probate.
If you have any questions for Reba, you can call her at 562-621-6300 or visit her firm’s website at LongBeachLaw.com. If you have any questions for me, feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.
Our market conditions are ripe for those looking to move into a new home. You can sell quickly and profitably, and buy while interest rates are low.
If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, three recent developments make this an ideal time to do so.
1. Mortgage rates have stabilized. They were at 3.4% last July, then shot up to 4.3% right after the election in November. Since then, the rates have stabilized and are still very low (historically speaking).
2. Job numbers are up. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 225,000 new jobs were created in February. Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen 2.3 million jobs created. Business is doing well, consumer confidence is high, and it all bodes well for the future of the housing market.
IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BUY AND TO SELL.
3. Housing inventory is extremely low. February saw an almost 18% drop in the number of homes for sale. Since October 2008, we have consistently seen a steady decline in inventory. In fact, we’ve had 100 consecutive months of decreased inventory.
What does all this mean for you? Well if you’re thinking about selling, right now is the perfect time. You can sell very quickly in this market. Last year, homes were taking an average of 43 days to sell. While that’s still a great number, homes are selling in an average of just 30 days right now. With such low inventory, you can expect to get a great price for your home sale.
It’s also a good time to buy with interest rates staying low and steady. This market is a win-win situation if you’re looking to make a move. If you or somebody you know is interested in buying or selling soon and taking advantage of this market, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.
Selling a home while trying to buy a new one can be a major obstacle. Luckily, there are two options that will keep you from having to pay two mortgages or move twice.
If you are looking to sell your current home and purchase a new one, there are a couple of options that will ensure you don't have to pay two mortgages at the same time or have to move twice. The first option is to sell your home contingent upon you purchasing your new home.This lets the buyer know that they will not be able to close on your property until you close on your new home. By doing this, you won’t have to pay two mortgages or move twice, but the buyer of your home won’t have the certainty of a closing date, preventing them from being able to lock in an interest rate. Also, if it takes you awhile to find that new home, the buyer could potentially get cold feet and walk away. The second option is to sell your home and negotiate a rent-back. You would close on the sale of your home in the normal 30-45 day time frame, but then negotiate renting back your home from the buyers for anywhere from 30 to 90 days or longer if need be. That gives you time to make sure you find and are happy with the new home that you’re purchasing. It also gives the buyer the certainty of a closing date so they can lock in their interest rate.
A RENT-BACK WOULD GIVE YOU THE TIME YOU NEED TO FIND YOUR NEW DREAM HOME.
Like the first option, this option keeps you from paying two mortgages or moving twice, but it also eliminates uncertainty for the buyers. It makes you a stronger buyer, as you know your property will close. If you’d like to see which option would work best for you or you are looking to buy or sell a home, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I’m always happy to help.
Andrew Scammon from Alpine Mortgage joins me today to help explain how you can use a reverse mortgage to purchase a home.
Today I’m joined by Andrew Scammon from Alpine Mortgage to talk about how you can use a reverse mortgage to purchase a home. We work with more and more folks nowadays who are either retired or about to retire and would like to buy a new home but are unsure they can qualify for a conventional loan. This is typically because they either live on a fixed income or are about to live on a fixed income. If you’re planning to downsize as part of your retirement plan, a reverse mortgage could be a useful tool for you because when you compare a reverse mortgage to a cash purchase, it effectively doubles your money. This comes in handy for anyone wanting to sell off their existing home and downsize but knows they won’t realize enough benefit from that sale to make a cash purchase for their next home. If you net $200,000 from your home sale, that’s not going to buy much house. A reverse mortgage can double that sum and allow you to purchase a $400,000 house. Of course, there are some cautions you need to take. You need to work with a seasoned Realtor who knows their way around the market. If you’re looking for a condominium, it would have to be an FHA-approved condominium. For many people, though, it’s become relatively commonplace to identify properties they love without having to worry about making a mortgage payment or qualifying for one because of reverse mortgages.
REVERSE MORTGAGES ALLEVIATE THE WORRY OF HAVING TO QUALIFY FOR A MORTGAGE LOAN.
With reverse mortgages, payments are allowed but not required. You can purchase a $400,000 house by putting down $200,000 and getting a $200,000 reverse mortgage. When the house goes to your estate or heirs, they have time to prepare the property, market it effectively, and realize the best gains on it that they can. The reverse mortgage balance is then paid off and the heirs divide up the remaining equity. The only age requirement for using a reverse mortgage is at least one of the borrowers must be 62 years old. I want to thank Andrew for joining me today. If you know anyone who is looking to use a reverse mortgage to purchase a home, you can call him at (562) 743-0111 or visit his website at effectiveretirement.com. If you or anyone you know are looking to buy, sell, or downsize, feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help.
Today we're taking a look back at how the market performed in 2016 and what we should expect in LA moving ahead in 2017.
Today I wanted to take a moment to take a look back at how the Los Angeles housing market did in 2016 and provide a forecast for what we can expect from the market moving forward in 2017. Last year in Los Angeles County, we saw the median price for single-family homes go from $535,000 to $580,000 in 12 months, which is an 8.4% increase. Moving to Orange County, we saw the median price rise from $695,000 to $735,000 in that same 12-month span from January 2016 to January 2017, good for a 5.8% increase. We had a really strong year in terms of price appreciation. We also continue to experience very low levels of housing supply in our market. In LA County, for example, we have just 2.4 months worth of homes for sale. That means that if no new homes came onto the market, it would only take 2.4 months to sell all the homes currently on the market at the going rate, and that's a very low number. In Orange County, we have just 2.6 months of supply. These are some of the lowest levels of inventory we've seen in a long time, and they are certainly the lowest numbers I've seen in my 13 years in real estate. There are a few reasons for this low inventory, starting with the fact that there are a lot of people looking to buy a home thanks to low interest rates. Additionally, there are a lot of people who simply don't want to sell their house. Many of these people are baby boomers who have lived in their house for decades and just don't have a reason to sell it.
THE CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS FORECASTS THAT WE WILL HAVE ANOTHER GOOD YEAR.
This year, the California Association of Realtors forecasts that we will have another good year with prices rising about 4.6% throughout the state of California. If you've been thinking about selling your house, it's a great time to figure out what your home is worth, and we've got great online value calculator that can give you an idea. This calculator can't consider everything in your home like your view and the updates you've made to the home, which is where I come in. If you'd like me to tell you exactly what your home is worth or you're thinking about buying a home in the LA area, give me a call or send me an email. I'd be glad to help!
Today I am here with Reba Birmingham from Long Beach Law to talk about the pros and cons of having your home in a trust.
The main pro to having your home or property in a trust is avoiding probate. Probate is very expensive, and it typically takes 10 months to a year. It cost 4% of the first $100,000 and 3% of the next $100,000. It then costs 2% of the next $800,000. Something important to know is that real estate is valued at its fair market value. So, if you have a $1 million house with a $900,000 mortgage, you don’t have a $100,000 probate, you have a $1 million probate. So, if you want your loved ones to inherit the house instead of having to sell it, it’s best to do a trust. The con to having your home or property in a trust is that is does cost a little bit. Always avoid Internet bargains because you could get scammed. If you do want to put your property in a trust, have a professional help you. If you have any other questions, you can get a hold of Reba by phone at (562-621-6300) or go to www.longbeachlaw.com.