Friday, September 20, 2019

Most of the Time, I'm All For An HOA!

What Buyers Need to Know About HOAs

What Buyers Need to Know About HOAs | MyKCM

When searching for a home, you may end up selecting a property in a community with a Homeowners Association (HOA). Before you buy, it’s important to know how an HOA works and what they mean for you.
According to a recent article on realtor.com,
“In a nutshell, an HOA helps ensure that your community looks its best and functions smoothly…The number of Americans living in homes with HOAs is on the rise, growing from a mere 1% in 1970 to 25% today, according to the Foundation for Community Association Research.”
An HOA is governed by a board nominated by those living in the neighborhood. It is designed to make sure the residents have a support structure to maintain the value of the community while abiding by a set of guidelines called Common Restrictive Covenants (CC&R),
“Simply put, CC&Rs are just the rules you'll have to follow if you live in that community. Unlike zoning regulations, which are government-imposed requirements on how land can be used, restrictive covenants are established by HOAs to maintain the attractiveness and value of the property.”
It's important for homeowners to understand that each HOA is a little different, and they usually have monthly or quarterly fees required for homeowners. These fees can vary based on property size, number of residents, amenities, and more. There may be additional fees charged to homeowners if the reserve fund for the HOA cannot cover a major or unexpected cost, like severe storm damage.
The fees, however, also help maintain common areas such as swimming pools, tennis courts, elevators (for high-rise buildings), and regular wear and tear. Although they are an added cost to the homeowner, an HOA can be a major benefit when it comes to maintaining the value of your neighborhood and your property.
The same article continues to say,
“After your offer to buy a home is accepted, you are legally entitled to receive and review the community's CC&Rs over a certain number of days (typically between three and 10)…If you spot anything in the restrictive covenants you absolutely can't live with, you can bring it up with the HOA board or just back out of your contract completely (and keep your deposit).”
Most lenders will factor your HOA fees into your loan package, ensuring the amount of the loan is appropriate for what you can truly afford.
There are some great benefits to having an HOA oversee your neighborhood, and it’s important to understand what fees, structures, and regulations will come into play if there is an HOA where you’d like to live.

Bottom Line

When you’re looking at a potential property to buy, let’s get together so you have a professional who can help you understand the neighborhood’s HOA structure and fees. This way, you’ll feel confident and fully informed when buying a home.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Super Important Things to Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage

Things to Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage

Things to Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage | MyKCM

Congratulations! You’ve found a home to buy and have applied for a mortgage! You're undoubtedly excited about the opportunity to decorate your new home, but before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make any big-time life changes, consult your loan officer – someone who will be able to tell you how your decisions will impact your home loan.
Below is a list of Things You Shouldn’t Do After Applying for a Mortgage. Some may seem obvious, but some may not.
1. Don’t Change Jobs or the Way You Are Paid at Your Job. Your loan officer must be able to track the source and amount of your annual income. If possible, you’ll want to avoid changing from salary to commission or becoming self-employed during this time as well.
2. Don’t Deposit Cash into Your Bank Accounts. Lenders need to source your money, and cash is not really traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.
3. Don’t Make Any Large Purchases Like a New Car or Furniture for Your New Home. New debt comes with it, including new monthly obligations. New obligations create new qualifications. People with new debt have higher debt to income ratios…higher ratios make for riskier loans…and sometimes qualified borrowers no longer qualify.
4. Don’t Co-Sign Other Loans for Anyone. When you co-sign, you are obligated. As we mentioned, with that obligation comes higher ratios as well. Even if you swear you will not be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.
5. Don’t Change Bank Accounts. Remember, lenders need to source and track assets. That task is significantly easier when there is consistency among your accounts. Before you even transfer any money, talk to your loan officer.
6. Don’t Apply for New Credit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), your FICO® score will be affected. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and maybe even your eligibility for approval.
7. Don’t Close Any Credit Accounts. Many clients erroneously believe that having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. Wrong. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those determinants in your score.

Bottom Line

Any blip in income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. The best advice is to fully disclose and discuss your plans with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature. They are there to guide you through the process.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Courtesy Definitely Counts

When you're interviewing a Realtor to list your home or working with an agent to help you buy a home.....see if courtesy counts for them.

Let me tell you why.....

I just put a new listing on the market. It's a nice 4 bedroom home in Frazier Park. Great value, lovely small town. But, that's only part of this story.

The MLS showing instructions say to text agent and wait for confirmation. Text Agent & Wait For Confirmation.

I get a phone call from an unknown number so I don't answer it. Sooooo many scam phone calls these days. Then I get a few text messages from same number to show the home in FP. I immediately respond that is should be fine, let me reconfirm with Sellers....stay tuned.

Within 15 minutes I tell her Good to Go. No thank you, no acknowledgement. Just blank.

Regardless, according to our electronic lockbox I see she was there but it shows only for 4 minutes. Thinking it's a glitch or some other reason, I shoot her a message asking how it went. ZERO reply, no smiley face, no unhappy face, no high-five, zilch.

Thursday she calls me says she wants to show it this evening. I immediately call her back, get her voicemail, to let her know that would be double booked with another agent that confirmed the day before, can their schedule be adjusted so as not to be there at the same time?

Guess what? Zero response. Yup.....nothing! So late last night I message her about it. And, IMHO, quite snottily she responds in a manner that her world is more important than everyone elses' and she can only come at that time.

With a sweet smiley face I say okay then & remind her that they will likely overlap.

Common courtesy? Of course I immediately let the polite agent know about the situation. Super nice guy, he understood the 'difficult' other agent.

Now, why does courtesy count so much?


(This is inside a bus!)

Because, if this is the way the agent behaves just during the showing part of the home buying process? Imagine what she'll be like in the escrow part of the process! Everyone needs to be courteous, on the same page of kindness. It helps the process go better for our Buyers & Sellers, the people we represent. Nothing worse than a poopy agent working for you that is annoying the other parties.....particularly if both sets of buyers like the home and want to write an offer. If the offers are identical, qualifications are the same....who do you think the Seller of mine will prefer going through escrow with?

So, long story short? Don't work with a Realtor that doesn't follow common courtesy. Make sure he/she returns calls to you in a timely manner, doesn't make excuses, and certainly makes you the most important person in the transaction....not themselves.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Easiest Way To Budget For A Home Purchase

So, I get a drip email from a financial guru and she sent a good one about how much money we spend going out with friends vs. staying in with friends.

It prompted me to write a blog post about that very same thing if you're working towards buying a home or you're in that 2 year tight period after you just bought a home.

Stay Home! Yes, Stay Home!

(There Are Plenty of Other Books Like This One Too!)

But, we all know eating at home, watching movies on pay-per-view, playing games instead of going to a bar, & making your own moscow mule or mojito with your pals, will save you a boat-load of moolah!

*Lunch at CPK for two people, with gratuity, recently was $50.00 smackers. We could have eaten a salad at home for 15 max.

*Movie out? Eeeeeck. Well, just the movie is about 29 dollars. At home? 6 bucks.

*Playing Scrabble, Scattagories, etc. at home? FREE. Going to play, let's say miniature golf, what's that about 20 bucks for 2 minimum?

*Weekend Getaways? Um, I'm not even going to guesstimate a cost for that one. How about staying home, unplugging the cell phone/computer/TV, and going for free concerts, walks at the beach, hike up a mountain. FREE.

*Hanging out with your friends at Happy Hour? Grab a few cocktails from home, some healthy snacks....head to a park after work. The fresh air will do you and your friends better. And, yes, will cost a ton less.

Home is where the heart is. Yep, everyone has said that for years. Stop spending money to go out, stay in, save some money. Buy a condo, buy your first home, wait those 2 years I tell you it's going to be tight....then, enjoy your home ....staying at home....or, head out with some friends that don't want to break the bank going out. Trust me, there are those kinds of friends out there. I bet they are homeowners too....or saving to be one.

Questions about Southern California Real Estate? Just holler. 



Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Home Loan Rates Drop Again!

Holy Cow....LOOK AT THESE RATES:


Below are rates based on a 740 Credit score 
and rates are subject to change without notice:
  • 30-year fixed conventional 1st Mortgage with 25% down - 3.500% (3.547 APR). Loan amounts up to $484,350.00 = $2174.95
  • 15-year fixed conventional 1st Mortgage with 25% - 3.000% (3.084 APR). Loan amounts up to $484,350.00 = $3344.83
  • 5/1 ARM 1st Mortgage -  25% down - Fixed for 5 years and then becomes variable - 3.500% - (3.594 APR) Loan amounts up to $3,000,000.00 = $13,471.34
  • 7/1 ARM 1st Mortgage - 25% Fixed for 7 years and then becomes variable - 3.625% - (3.714 APR) Loan amounts up to $3,000,000.00 = $13,681.54
  • 10/1 ARM 1st Mortgage - 25% Fixed for 10 years and then becomes variable - 3.750% - (3.844 APR) Loan amounts up to $3,000.,000.00 = $13,893.47
  • 30-year fixed 1st Mortgage FHA loan 3.50% down - 3.250% (4.663 APR). Loan amounts up to $484,350.00 = $2144.81 + $349.08 PMI = $2493.89
  • 30-year fixed 1st Mortgage VA loan 0% - 3.250% (3.296 APR). Loan amounts up to $484,350.00 = $2107.92
  • 30 Year Fixed rate 1st Mortgage Jumbo Loan 25% down - 4.250% (4.344 APR).  loan amounts up to $3,000,000.00 =14,758.20
So, if you haven't bought a home yet, let's do that. 
If you want to talk about a refi on your current home, do it. 
I can help you do both!

Friday, August 30, 2019

Looming Recession & Housing

A Recession Does Not Equal a Housing Crisis 

A Recession Does Not Equal a Housing Crisis [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • There is plenty of talk in the media about a pending economic slowdown.
  • The good news is, home values actually increased in 3 of the last 5 U.S. recessions, and decreased by less than 2% in the 4th.
  • Many experts predict a potential recession is on the horizon. However, housing will not be the trigger, and home values will still continue to appreciate. It will not be a repeat of the crash in the 2008 housing market.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Those Phenomenal Interest Rates Doing This?

Inventory in Santa Clarita has dropped 10% in less than a month. You'd think those incredible interest rates had something to do with it?

We have 516 in escrow, and 374 closed in the last 30 days.....since those numbers are virtually the same as when I reported at the beginning of the month...I'd say not due to interest rates. 656 Active homes for sale including Acton, Agua Dulce, Canyon Country, Saugus, Valencia, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic, Newhall, & Val Verde.
                                     
The hottest selling season is over for now. Less Sellers interested in trying to make a move now that school is back in session.

I've got a buyer that I've been working with for a few months. We're looking for 'the one'. The one that makes them want to sell their million dollar home to buy a single story.  We saw one that was close this week, but we discussed the luxury market in SCV and are still thinking about the replacement property but knowing that this may not be a great time to list theirs for sale.

I'm just keeping you informed. Inventory in the infamous 'normal market' we say should be around 1000 active listings. I've seen very few 'normal' markets in the last 17 years!

So, with these little tid-bits of information, I'm just keeping you in the loop as I see it. Inventory is down a bit, hasn't been normal in almost two decades IMHO, and yet.....if you want to buy or sell there's always a way to make it happen...just when you need/want to.

Questions about Real Estate in Southern California? Just holler ~ Lauren@KeepYourWitz.com