The Less Obvious Costs of Buying A Home

If you’re a first time homebuyer, or it’s been a while since you bought your home, you’re probably wondering what added costs are involved in purchasing a home, aside from your down payment.  Once you are under contract to purchase a home, your lender will provide you with a loan estimate, which will include an estimate of all closing costs.  However, you may want an idea of what these costs look like long before reaching that point in the homebuying process.  And rightly so:  it’s important to be informed ahead of time to avoid surprises – just a little preparation can make all the difference.  A general rule of thumb is to budget for 1% of the purchase price towards closing costs.  Below is a rough estimate* of some of the costs that might be involved with your home purchase.  (Please note these numbers are based on the San Francisco Bay Area real estate market and may vary.) Continue reading “The Less Obvious Costs of Buying A Home”

The Cost of Waiting To Buy

Many homebuyers I encounter are on the fence of buying now vs. waiting until later this year or next year to buy a home.  “Will inventory get better?”  “What if the market softens?” “Is another crash coming?”  “I’m waiting for prices to come down.”  

If we haven’t spoken over the phone or in person about these concerns yet, we definitely should.  But below is some general information for you to consider when determining whether now might be the right time for you to buy a home.   Continue reading “The Cost of Waiting To Buy”

Do I Need To Remodel Before I Sell?

A homeowner recently asked me whether she should make certain upgrades to her home before she put it on the market.  While I believe some upgrades help the home show better, and increase the home’s appeal to a greater number of buyers — such as removing popcorn ceilings, applying a fresh coat of paint — many upgrades aren’t necessary to sell a home for top dollar.  Below are some repairs that can get you a greater return on investment. Continue reading “Do I Need To Remodel Before I Sell?”

5 Tips to Take Your Credit From Good to Great

Even if your credit is already solid, it pays to keep improving. A higher score (especially above 760) can give you more options — and better rates — when applying for a mortgage. Here are some tips to help you improve:

  1. Keep track of where you stand. Review your credit report regularly to make sure it’s accurate, and to look for areas where you can improve. Order yours free at annualcreditreport.com.
  2. Always pay bills on time. It may seem obvious, but a history of consistent on-time payments is one of the biggest factors in building a good score.
  3. Keep balances low. How much credit you have available is another important scoring factor, so keep balances as far below your credit limit as possible. Keeping your balances below 30% of your total available credit may improve your credit score.
  4. Keep unused accounts open. Open accounts with no balances mean you have more available credit, so it can help your score to keep them open even if you don’t plan to use them.
  5. Be careful about opening new accounts. If you need a new credit account and can comfortably manage the additional payments, great. But avoid anything that might strain your budget.

Source: Wells Fargo

The Benefits Of Homeownership Go Beyond The Financial

Homeownership is a major part of the American Dream. As evidence of that, 91% of Americans believe that owning a home is either essential (43%) or important (48%) to achieving that “dream.” In a market where some people may be unsure about the benefits and possibilities of buying a home, it is important that we remember this.

Homeownership is NOT just about the money. In fact, some of the major benefits are non-financial. Here are a few of those benefits as per the National Association of Realtors: Continue reading “The Benefits Of Homeownership Go Beyond The Financial”

Interest Rate vs. APR: What’s the Difference?

When shopping for a new home loan, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the terminology that lenders and realtors use to describe various aspects of lending:  PITI, conforming/non-conforming, jumbo, conventional/nonconventional, ARM…  I often tell clients, when in doubt, ask your lender to explain anything and everything to you.  There are no dumb questions in real estate (and in life).

However, a frequent question I come across is what is the difference between an interest rate and an APR (annual percentage rate)? The answer is rather straightforward. Continue reading “Interest Rate vs. APR: What’s the Difference?”

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