Thursday, June 30, 2011

When Is It The Right Time To Buy?

Owning a home is a great dream to fulfill. There is something about knowing that the walls that surround you are yours and if your lucky, so is the yard. But when is a good time to buy for me? I have money saved up, but is it enough? I know prices are low but I heard they may get lower; the news calls it a "double dip". Everyone who is thinking about purchasing a home right now has these question and probably a lot more they are asking.
First things first...find a good loan broker who you trust to get you pre-qualified. When you lay all your cards on the table for that loan broker, try to listed carefully to what they say about your finances. Here are some things to keep an eye out for when looking to get a loan: If your loan broker has nothing but "yes" or "no problem" or "you shouldn't worry about that" to every single thing you say when tell them about your skepticism or situations you think may be a red flag for your finances, then you may want to find someone else. You really want someone who has your best interest in mind and if they are a "yes man", you may find yourself in a difficult position down the road. If you want to be the safest person out there, rule of thumb says you should have a 20% down payment, plus about 2% of home price for closing costs, and a nice savings account for a safety net. There are financial advisers out there that say homeowners should have 6 months worth of your mortgage and all bills in your savings. I know you are thinking "WOW, that's a lot". I know it is, but this is the safest way to go. Most people don't do all that but I do believe that however you divide your finances up, that having a savings account for the unknown situations that come with home ownership is very wise.
Next thing is finding your realtor. Same thing applies here as did with the loan broker...don't go with the "yes man". Looking for a house can be overwhelming and sometimes emotions get involved. If you are looking for a 3 bedroom home, on a street with little traffic, in your chosen school district because you and your spouse are hoping to start a family, then remember what you started out looking for. Of course your agent will show you things that don't have everything you want, because unless you have an unlimited budget, that can be hard to find. But you also don't want to walk into a 2 bedroom condo right next to all the night life, fall in love with all the upgrades and have your realtor telling you it's perfect for you needs and you can sell it in a couple years when the kids start coming. Fact is, you may get the condo because that is what your money can get you at that moment, but your realtor should be honest about what is best for you and not sell you on a hope that you can resell if it doesn't work out. Way out all the pros and cons on a piece of paper if that helps and ask your realtor's opinion about the matter.
And finally, "The Big Dipper"..oh wait, I mean "The Double Dip". I don't know about you but just hearing makes me hungry. Okay, all joking aside, I know this is on your mind. Fact of the matter is that no one can predict the future and there are just as many opinions as there are anchormen and news channels. This is what I know: ratings sell. I can't say for sure where the economy is going and anyone who says they know, knows nothing, all we can do is take an educated guess...and how educated are the guesses they sometimes put on the news stories...don't forget, ratings sell. What I do know is that home prices are extraordinarily low. Most homes are selling from 10% to 30% cheaper than they were four years ago, especially if you look at short sales. And the rates for a loan are also extremely low. In 2000 they were at 8.5% and today you can hope for 4.75% (everyone is different). The difference on a $300,000 purchase, with those two rates, is $267,048...almost another home. Point being, don't look a gift horse in the mouth. If you are financially ready to buy and at the right place in your life, then do it! This market is like a sale on top of a sale. Just don't forget to find a good loan broker and a good realtor to help you along the way!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why You Need An Agent When Buying Your Home

Have you ever been out looking for your new home and thought to yourself "I don't need an agent. I'm going to do this on my own and save some money." Well...I am here with some enlightening news for you. You don't save any more money when buying a home if you use a realtor to help you, than if you did it on your own. In fact, you are more likely to save more money with a Realtor when buying a home. I'll give you an example of why this is. You know how you can buy plane tickets and hotel rooms online straight from the their website? Well, there are also websites out there that give you discounted plane tickets and hotel rooms. These discounted websites are there to bargain a deal for you and also to do wide spread advertising of the hotels and airlines. So because these discounted sites advertise and get more business for the companies than they were getting on their own, the hotels and airlines then pay these discount sites for their services. Now you can always just call straight to the hotel and airlines and get the price they quoted you, which leaves little to no room for negotiations. Well, that is kind of what your buying agent does for you. We will show you more properties than you can see on your own. We can get you into homes on days there is no open house and give you useful information about the home and the area. We will also give you comparables to that property and help you to weigh the pros and cons of one property v.s. another. And when you find the home you are looking for, our big job is to negotiate a lower price for you. The agent who sells the home has the job of getting the highest price for their client and that client is the one who pays the commission to have their Realtor advertise, market, and promote the sale of their home to other Realtors. So, do you want to walk into a situation of trying to buy a home with no help, no professional guidance, and nobody to stand in your corner and negotiate for you, all at the low low price of...nothing-more-out-of-your-pocket? I think it's time you started looking someone to work for you...you deserve it!

Friday, June 17, 2011

How would you like to live in Sherman Oaks, California?



It is a known fact that California has some of the highest priced real estate there is. San Fransisco is up there and of course Santa Barbara is a highly sought after town as well. You can't argue that California, as a whole, has some of the most beautiful ocean views, mountain tops, national forests, desert ranges and, you guessed it, homes. We are known for having a very wide variety of styles of homes and you can only imagine that with all the creative people in Hollywood, that Los Angeles has a vast number of them right here. Sherman Oaks is one of the most sought after places to live in Los Angeles with the magnificent hill side homes to the flat lots with California bungalows. We have grand large homes where the rich and famous live as well as a great selection of condos right in the heart of Sherman Oaks. Up until the fall of the market, the average buyer could easily spend $700,000 for a home here but things today are a bit different. This is the time for buyers out there to purchase real estate in places like Sherman Oaks. I have a feeling these home prices wouldn't last too long and I know that the mortgage rates are bound to rise as well. There are some pictures attached here of condos I am holding open houses for this weekend. One of them is a short sale listed at $289,000 with 2bd,2bth and multiply community amenities and the other is listed at $335,000 with 2bd,2bth as well and is a standard sale. There are not too many places in America where you average 72 degree weather all year, you are 25 minutes to the beach, an hour from snow top mountains where you can ski, 30 minutes from the beautiful countryside, one and a half hours from wine country, and living where actors, directors, architects, singers, painters, and creative people from around the world call home. These are the times to not miss out on great buying opportunities, so if you have the resources and the desire to own a home...this is your time. Don't let it slip through your fingers.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What you need to know about finding your Real Estate Agent

Sometimes looking for a real estate agent feels a bit like looking for a good doctor or dentist. Some people already have someone in mind and others have no clue where to begin. Well, don't worry, you are not alone. You may try to ask someone you know if they have a recommendation for you. But not all people work well for everyone. Sometimes you just need someone who feels right to you, and not just to your friend who recommended them. Wouldn't it be nice if once a week we could go out and shop for our doctors? We would have them all in one area and get to know a little, sort of like speed dating. We get to introduce ourselves, ask their opinion on a couple of things, and see what they think. Well, real estate agents have that and it's a great opportunity for you to meet your future realtor. It's called dadadada drum roll please...open houses. Yes, that's right, open houses. I know what you are thinking..."aren't the people in open houses there to find people to buy that house in particular?" The answer is yes. But it's also a great place to do some realtor shopping for you. When Sunday rolls around, try going by some open houses and just get to talking to the real estate agents that are there. If you know that it's not someone you want to work with, then go to some more open houses. Just get a good feel for how they are and whether they seem like someone you would want helping you to find or sell your home. You don't have to tell them you are shopping for an agent but grab their card on the way out and if you want to get to know them better, think of some things you'd like to ask them and give them a call. It's that easy. So if you are in the market for a real estate agent, one way to find one is by getting out on Sunday and stopping by some open houses...not only will you begin to see what else is on the market, but you'll get to meet some of your local realtors and hopefully find one that works for you!