California’s housing market continues improvement in June

California’s housing market continues improvement in June
California’s housing market continued to show signs of improvement in June, as home sales experienced solid gains annually and home prices reached their highest level since August 2010, C.A.R. reported this week…

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Rents keep rising, while home prices inch higher

Rents keep rising, while home prices inch higher
U.S. rents rose an average of 5.4 percent over the 12 months ended June 30, according to real estate website Trulia. Demand from former homeowners displaced by foreclosure and potential home buyers who failed to qualify for mortgages have helped to send rents skyward…

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The Home Buying Process Simplified

The Home Buying Process Simplified

For First-time buyers, or those who haven’t purchased a home in a long time, the process of buying or selling a home can be a little daunting. Having a general understanding of what to expect can help.

This is an outline of the typical home buying process. Emphasis on process — because it’s not an event , it’s a process that can take weeks to months, depending on a lot of variables. We also can emphasize typical, because the process can be different, depending on what type of purchase you have, like whether it’s a short sale or foreclosure, and it can differ depending on your type of loan or your contingencies.

The process is broken down into 8 general steps:

1. Pre-approving. Whether you’ve begun searching online for a home, like 90% of today’s buyers do, or whether you’ve contacted a REALTOR® or not, you’re real first step should be to get in touch with a lender and get pre-approved. This way you’ll know how much you can afford and you won’t waste time looking in the wrong price range. You’ll also have that all important pre-approval letter when you do find a home that you want to make an offer on. Otherwise, a seller won’t take you seriously.

When looking for a lender, it’s really important to get a recommendation. Either from family or friends, or from your REALTOR®. As a REALTOR®, we are interested in the buyer’s satisfaction as much as we can control that. If they are happy with the home buying experience and with our service to them, they are more likely to refer us to their friends and family.

2. Home Search. This is where an experienced buyer’s agent comes in handy. Someone who knows the neighborhoods and the values, and someone who knows how to listen and help the buyers hone in on what they really want.

3. Making an Offer. There are several things to consider when you make an offer, not just price, although that is the most important consideration. There is time frame — it helps to know the seller’s motivation. Maybe they need time to find another home themselves, or maybe they’ve already moved out and would like to settle as soon as possible.

Another issue is closing cost help. Does the buyer need it? Does the seller have enough room to pay it?

And if there are competing offers the buyers have to find ways to make their offer more desirable.

4. Negotiations. Many times the negotiation might go back and forth a time or two before the buyers and sellers come to “a meeting of the minds”. That’s why your agent should have good negotiating skills. [Not the “beat-you-to-a-bloody-pulp” kind of negotiating, but the “win-win” kind of negotiating.] Both parties have to be a little flexible; the best kind of negotiation is when both the buyers and the sellers come away feeling like they’ve gotten what is most important to them. There can be several times during the process that require more negotiating.

5. Loan Application. The contract will stipulate a certain number of days to make application, and then a certain number of days for loan approval. Somewhere along the process the lender will order an appraisal to determine the value of the house. A wise buyer will include an appraisal contingency in their offer, so that if there is a problem with the appraisal, ie. too low, the terms can be re-negotiated, or in a worse case scenario, the buyer can back out.

6. Home Inspection. The buyer has a right to a home inspection, as well as other inspections, like radon, and there may be other inspections that the lender will want. After the inspections there are more negotiations that take place as to how to address repairs if any are needed. A home inspection is a good idea, in case any material defects are uncovered; the seller will have to deal with them before settlement.

7. Underwriting. Once the repairs, if any, are done, and all contingencies are met and signed off… then the file goes to underwriting. Once the underwriter gives the OK, then we all go to settlement.

8. Closing. Closing usually takes an hour and lots of papers are signed. Keys are handed over. That’s that. The typical process can take between 30 to 45 days from contract to close. If there are difficulties, like with an appraisal, or longer than anticipated repairs, the buyers and sellers can sign an extension.

So, if buyers have a move-in date in mind, its best to start the process 3 or 4 months before that.

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Bidding wars could signal home sale recovery

Bidding wars could signal home sale recovery
Foreclosure rates are falling, and inventory – the number of homes for sale – has dwindled to pre-recession levels, propelling hordes of smart buyers back into the market and creating bidding wars for the most desirable and aggressively priced homes…

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5 Fast Paced Market Tips for Buyers

5 Fast Paced Market Tips for Buyers

When prices and interest rates fall, new buyers are itching to take advantage of them and get into a new home. But what happens when buyers find there is little available to them? That’s right: bidding wars and multiple offers.

When real estate is moving fast, it can pay off big to understand how to move quickly, and take advantage of opportunities that others miss out on. In real estate, the early bird doesn’t get the worm, the early bird gets the home.

Making a big decision in a fast paced market doesn’t have to be high pressure. If you go into your purchase prepared, you’ll be in great shape to make that offer when the right home comes available. Here are the best techniques to make sure you’re able to beat out everyone else.

1) Get a Savvy Realtor
In a quick market where you need to move fast, you also need an agent that can move quickly and give you all the tools and advice necessary to make an informed decision. Technology is huge when it comes to moving quickly. Gone are the days of running around town getting signatures; digital docusign technology is the way to go. A savvy agent will understand that you’re looking to move fast and will treat you with a sense of urgency. They will typically be young, energetic and have strong tech background. With most multiple listing systems, your agent (if they know how) should be able to create saved searches that notify them of new listings as soon as they hit the market.

2) Know the Contract
When you’ve got to get a contract in, you can’t waste a few hours having your agent explain the terms and conditions. Before you search, before you put an offer in, have your agent explain the entire contract from beginning to end, so you know exactly what it contains. After a thorough explanation, ask questions! Most real estate contracts are very standard, and only a few sections need to be changed per home. Trust your Realtor to expertly write the contract to your benefit and be ready. Those few hours could make the difference!

3) Pre-Approval and Proof of Funds
To back up a strong contract, make sure your lender has provided you with a pre-qualification letter, or even better, a pre-approval letter. This letter will let the seller know that you are financially stable enough to afford their home, which increases the likelihood of the deal closing. Proof of funds can come in the form of an earnest money check, showing the seller that you “earnestly” want to purchase their home. These two items are becoming more and more commonplace as standard attachments to any contract.

4) Be Time Flexible
A lot of real estate transactions get done over weekends, which is typically when people are able to be out home-shopping. But, what if a perfect listing comes available on a Tuesday? Are you going to wait three or four days to go see it? I like to tell my clients to be time flexible as much as possible. Heck, it could either save you a lot of money, or get you into the right home in at the right price. Set up showings for the late afternoon after work (4-6pm) and get into those houses if you can. Better yet, if you’re comfortable doing so, tell your employer that you’re in the middle of an epic house hunt and that you may need to dip out for an hour or so to see a home. In the grand scheme of things, how important is an hour of work when you’re making probably the biggest investment of your life? Put it into perspective.

5) Put Your Best Foot Forward
You could move as fast as possible, but if you throw in a low-ball offer, you’ll get laughed out of a contract. If the comparable properties in the neighborhood support the list price, come in at or near a full price offer. Sometimes, the time required to negotiate back and forth can open opportunities for other buyers to come in and submit a higher offer. A reasonable offer will get a reasonable response from the seller and will prevent animosity during the next phase. Make the decision whether you want to get a “killer deal” or whether you want to find the best house.

With these tools in mind, you’ll be the one hearing “we accept”. Good luck!



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Big homes are back in business

Big homes are back in business
KB Home says the average square footage of houses currently under contract is 2,079, an increase of 13 percent from last year. That is a change from the past few years, when builders were downsizing houses to accommodate an era of frugality and austerity…

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