Christies Sereno White

Dave Bauer

Realtor®
CaDRE# 01166202

The Benefits Of Home Ownership

The decision to purchase a home is exciting and a major investment for your future. Because there is only so much of it to go around, real estate is the top choice for many investors and the desire for most families. This article is designed to highlight some of the many benefits of home ownership and how buying a home can often turn the American Dream into a reality. One of the most profitable markets in real estate is rentals, which means that many families are paying to live in a home that isn’t their own. In some cases, renting a home is necessary. For all others, the money that would be spent on rent could instead be used to pay a mortgage. In fact, monthly rent payments often exceed that of a typical mortgage payment. One of the greatest benefits of home ownership is putting money into something that you can call your own and knowing that the monthly payments are going toward your home’s equity. Speaking of equity, many properties experience a growth in value as more development moves into the area or the economy strengthens through an increase in job opportunities. If this happens, home values soar and owners can bask in the glory of their newfound profit. When you purchase a new car, it depreciates the moment that you drive off of the lot. When you buy a home, however, it has the potential to appreciate year after year. There are few things in life that can offer you a return above and beyond your original purchase price, but a home can. When you own a home, you will enjoy the freedom of decorating and making any changes that you choose without needing the permission of a landlord or property owner. In addition, you may even be able to use your home’s equity to finance some needed improvements and/or repairs. In some cases, these changes may even increase the value of your home. An upgraded kitchen or bathroom, hardwood flooring or an additional room are examples of changes that could result in added value. Another advantage of home ownership is the tax benefits that are available. The interest paid on a home mortgage as well as most property taxes paid are tax deductible. For additional information on deducting mortgage interest and property tax, consult the IRS or a tax professional. In addition to providing yourself and your family with a feeling of stability and permanence, home ownership can also help strengthen your credit profile through timely mortgage payments and a steady financial history.

Buying A Home With Bad Credit

When it comes to buying a home, having bad credit is not the end of the world. Your future doesn’t have to be defined by your past. Whether you have suffered from a bankruptcy, foreclosure or some type of financial hardship that resulted in late or missed payments, there are lenders who specialize in financing for those with less-than-perfect credit. You will likely have to produce a larger down payment and/or pay higher interest rates than someone who has good credit, but the important thing to know is that buying a home is an option for you. Bankruptcy & Foreclosure If either a bankruptcy or foreclosure is on your credit report, it could take some time before you can qualify for a good interest rate on a mortgage. FHA loans, which are especially desirable for those with past credit problems and first-time home buyers, are backed by the government and offer a low down payment and interest rate option for those who qualify. Although the notation remains for up to 10 years, individuals with a bankruptcy or foreclosure on their credit report may qualify for an FHA loan after two years. Some mortgage lenders may approve a loan sooner, but the interest rates will be higher and the required down payment may be as much as 35 percent of the purchase price of the home. Cleaning Up Your Credit Even if you have bad credit, it’s important to check your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – before applying for a loan. If anything is inaccurate, file a dispute with the reporting agency and request a correction. You can request a free copy of your credit report every 12 months. In addition to correcting any inaccuracies on your credit report, it’s important that you know what can help or hurt your chances of obtaining a loan. You can start improving your credit by avoiding the temptation to apply for new credit right before submitting a mortgage application. Multiple inquiries will cause your FICO score to drop, and lenders will rely on this information when deciding whether or not to issue your loan and how to calculate your interest rates. With past credit problems, most lenders will want to see that you have rebuilt your credit history with 1-3 major credit cards and timely payments over a two-year period. Money Matters When it comes to obtaining a home loan, a healthy bottom line will help the lender to see you as being creditworthy. It’s important that you have sufficient income, along with the ability to prove steady employment for at least one year (longer is better) preceding your loan application. Most lenders will request a copy of your tax returns for the two most recent years, along with current pay stubs. If you have money for a down payment, this will also work in your favor. Creative Financing In some cases, a conventional mortgage loan may not be available no matter how hard you try. Owner financing is one way that individuals, who may not otherwise qualify for a traditional mortgage loan, can purchase a home. This type of financing is offered by the owner and may include interest rates comparable to other loans, flexible down payment options and no credit check. Your REALTOR® can assist you in finding homes that offer alternative financing options.

Buying Verses Renting A Home

When it comes to a home, you have two options: buy or rent. What is right for one person may not be right for another, which is why it’s important to know which is the best option for your individual situation. Why People Rent There are a number of reasons why someone may either choose or be forced to rent, including sporadic or unpredictable income, a high debt-to-income ratio, a bankruptcy or foreclosure within the last six months, unpaid collection accounts or judgments, frequent relocating for employment or the inability to save enough money for a required down payment on the purchase of a home. Maintenance Matters As a homeowner, you will be responsible for any maintenance or repair issues that arise. This is a big consideration when choosing whether to rent or buy. When you rent, the property owner is responsible for repairs and it may not always be obvious that these issues can be very costly. How To Know When It’s Time To Buy If you have steady income with a good employment history, can provide a down payment of at least 5-10 percent of the purchase price and are current with all debts, it may be time to consider buying a home instead of renting. In some cases, the cost of rent may even exceed that of a typical mortgage payment. When deciding to buy, job stability is a big factor. If your job does not require frequent relocation and you plan to live in the home for at least 5-10 years, you may want to consider making the purchase. If you need to relocate after that, you may have enough equity from the sale to use as a down payment on another home. Home Buyer’s Checklist If you can answer yes to the following questions, you may be ready for home ownership. Your REALTOR® can help you to find the perfect home based on your individual needs. Have you been steadily employed for at least one year, but preferably two years? Do you plan to live in the home long enough to build equity? Can you provide a down payment and still have enough money left to pay for closing costs, utilities and home furnishings? Are you current on all debts, including auto loans, credit cards, etc.? In addition to any current debts that you may have, can you afford a monthly mortgage payment which will likely include property taxes and insurance? Do you have the time to devote to shopping for a home and comparing interest rates from various lenders? Have you checked your credit reports for inaccuracies and disputed anything that needs correction with each of the three major credit reporting agencies? The decision to buy or rent is a very personal one that can only be determined after a careful evaluation of your situation. A REALTOR® can show you the perfect home and a lender can tell you whether or not you can afford it, but it’s up to you to make the choice as to whether or not you are ready to make the move.

What Is An Earnest Money Deposit?

An earnest money deposit, also known as a good faith deposit, is a specific dollar amount that a potential buyer pays to the seller in an effort to display their serious interest in a property. It’s important to note that an earnest money deposit is not the same as a down payment. The Purpose Of An Earnest Money Deposit An earnest money deposit is used to secure a purchase contract, which means the buyer doesn’t have to worry about the property being sold out from underneath them. Without an agreement, the seller would be free to sell the home at anytime. An earnest money deposit, however, secures the availability of the home as the potential buyer obtains an inspection, appraisal and financing for the purchase. How Much Good Faith Is Enough So, just how much of an earnest money deposit is required? Truthfully, it depends on a number of factors, including the home’s purchase price, your location and the standard as set by other sellers. In most cases, the earnest money deposit is negotiable and the seller will be happy in knowing that the potential buyer is serious enough to offer their money in good faith. How An Earnest Money Deposit Is Used If the transaction is successful and the buyer follows through with the purchase, an earnest money deposit is most commonly refunded to the buyer or applied to closing costs. If the buyer defaults or is unable to obtain financing, the seller often has the discretion to retain the earnest money deposit as damages or as otherwise described in the purchase agreement. Using Your Dollars And Sense When it comes to an earnest money deposit, it’s essential that buyers know who should receive the money and how to handle the payment. In most cases, the deposit should be made payable and presented to a licensed real estate broker, an attorney or escrow company. Your REALTOR® can assist in getting your earnest money deposit into the right hands. It’s important to obtain a receipt, which should clearly outline the purpose of the deposit. The funds will be handled in accordance with the purchase agreement and/or as agreed upon by both the buyer and seller. Before handing over a good faith deposit, make sure that you have faith in the person accepting your money. Potential buyers should not give an earnest money deposit directly to the seller, nor should they give it to anyone who claims to be with a brokerage firm unless their credentials are verified.

Finding Your Perfect Home

As the old saying goes, real estate is all about location, location, location. But, there is a lot more to it than just plain geography when it comes to finding your perfect home. There are a lot of things to consider during the search because, for most, a home is the most significant purchase they will ever make. Choose A Good Area When searching for your perfect home, the obvious place to start is with the selection of a location. If you have children, you may want to choose a home that is close to good schools and is also located in a family-oriented neighborhood. Many people also look for a home that offers a short commute to and from work. If you are shopping within a specific price range, you can also narrow the choices by finding an area that offers the best value for your dollar. Select A Style The perfect home for you is one that has all of the elements that you want. Whether it’s a garage, basement, extra bedroom or bath, a large kitchen, fireplace or open floor plan, choosing the style of home that you want is an important first step in finding the perfect place to hang your hat. You may also want to consider whether you prefer a single-level or two-story home. Many home buyers also factor in floor plans when searching for a house, including those that offer an open and flowing design. Get Pre-Qualified Now that you know what you want and where you want it, it’s important to find out how much of a home you can afford. Pre-qualification is not the same as pre-approval. With pre-qualification, your lender will request specific information relating to your income and expenditures and will offer a possible price range for you to keep in mind while shopping. Pre-qualification does not guarantee that you will receive an approval, but it does give you a good indication of how much you can afford based on your current situation. Talk To A REALTOR® Nobody knows the real estate business like a REALTOR®, so let them help you in your search for the perfect home. They can answer questions relating to the neighborhood, recent inspections on a particular home and any needed repairs. Because a REALTOR® has access to a number of area homes, they have the ability to show you various choices within your preferred area and price range. Ask About Amenities One of the most significant concerns of any home buyer is what a home has to offer. Utilities, such as water, sewer, cable, phone and electricity are just a few of the things to consider. If the home is in a subdivision that requires the payment of association dues, how will these funds be used? What amenities does the home owner’s association offer? These are all questions to ask your REALTOR® when shopping for the perfect home. In conclusion, you should know that the search for your perfect home is a journey. It may be either long or short and with or without some bumps along the way, but the greatest satisfaction will be at the journey’s end and your future’s beginning.

Home Buying Negotiating Tips

When it comes to buying a home, the ability and willingness to negotiate is a must for both the buyer and seller. In general, sellers ask for more than they are actually willing to accept and buyers offer less than they are willing to pay. The trick is to find the perfect balance so that you, as a buyer, feel good about the purchase price without leaving the seller feeling insulted. Know Your Market Real estate is a business that either favors the buyer or seller, hence the terms buyer’s market and seller’s market. When negotiating a purchase price, it’s important to know which of the two you are in. As the buyer, you will have the best chance at a successful negotiation if you research the price of other comparable homes in the area before making an offer. Make It Personal When you make an offer, the seller will see nothing more than a piece of paper with some numbers on it that represent the price you are willing to pay. If you really want the seller to take your offer to heart, let them know why you want to buy the home. You can do this by preparing a handwritten letter expressing your interest and the reasons you fell in love with their house. If you have a family, tell them about everyone who will be living in the home. Let them get to know you and allow them to picture the happiness that you can bring to their house. Believe it or not, some sellers actually look at the process like finding a good home for a lost puppy. They want quality people to buy their home, so do your best to show them that you are sincere. Nobody Likes Rejection Not every offer is accepted, so don’t be disheartened if your first offer isn’t a winner. In some cases, the seller will make a counteroffer for your consideration. Have you ever heard the old saying, “never take the first offer?” The same is true in real estate, and almost every seller knows it. Your first offer is likely to be less than you are actually willing to pay, which leaves you some bargaining room. Why Your Offer May Not Be Accepted There are a number of reasons why a seller may choose to reject an offer, including a feeling that the offer was just too low, the house is newly listed on the market or another offer may be higher than the one you created. In some cases, sellers may also reject an offer that includes owner financing or other requests that are impossible to meet. One example may be an offer that requires the house be available within a certain amount of time. Most contracts require that the seller move out within 30 days, but anything less would require negotiation. Read The Fine Print Before you sign anything relating to a real estate transaction, make sure that you read over every detail of the agreement. If you have any questions, ask your REALTOR®. After all, real estate is their business and they are there to help you through every step.

What Is A Home Warranty Plan?

A home warranty plan, also known as a home protection plan, is a service contract that offers homeowners a way to safeguard themselves against possible breakage or a malfunction within the home. It’s impossible to predict the future, which is why so many buyers look for that little extra peace of mind to comfort them when life unexpectedly throws them an unforeseen problem. Who Needs A Home Warranty Plan Basically, anyone who purchases a home and is concerned with the cost of repairs should consider a home warranty plan. This is especially true of first-time home buyers who may not be familiar with home maintenance. Factoring In The Cost When factoring in the potential cost of repairing a major appliance or other home component, a home warranty plan may not be a bad investment. The actual cost of warranty coverage will depend on the plan chosen and the items protected. As is the case with everything in life, it’s best to shop around and compare prices. Who Pays For A Home Warranty Plan As a buyer, you can order a home warranty plan in conjunction with the purchase of your home. However, some sellers or builders may include this type of offering as an incentive to attract potential buyers. In this case, the plan is yours at no additional cost. Some REALTORS® may also offer a home warranty plan as a gift to customers who buy a home through their agency. What’s Covered & What’s Not Just like a car warranty, no two policies are the same. Coverage varies by location and issuer, and your REALTOR® can help you to choose a warranty plan that best suits your needs. Most basic plans cover a home’s heating and cooling system, electrical system, plumbing, water heater and major appliances, including a dishwasher, range/oven/cooktop, garbage disposal, etc. Coverage does not apply to items that are misused or damaged, either intentionally or through negligence. Instead, most home warranty plans are designed to protect the homeowner from defects that result during the course of normal wear and tear. When considering the purchase of a home warranty plan, review the complete contract and familiarize yourself with exactly what’s covered under your policy. If you want an upgraded policy, don’t hesitate to ask your REALTOR® if one is available. Most companies do not require a home inspection and will notify homeowners when their coverage is about to expire. The good news is that most policies are renewable. What To Do If A Problem Arises If you are unable to satisfactorily resolve an issue with your home warranty plan, either due to denial of a claim or undesirable service, talk to the REALTOR® who sold you the home. If he/she refers a lot of business to this particular company, it may be possible for him/her to speak with them about reaching an amicable resolution. The purchase of a home is a big step and it’s likely to be the largest purchase you will ever make, so be sure to consider all of the options available to help protect yourself from costly repairs. Ask your REALTOR® for more information relating to available home warranty plans.

Things Needed After Purchasing A Home

Now that you’ve signed all the paperwork and your loan is approved, it’s time to move in. But wait! Before you put your feet up, there are a few things that you will need in order to make your new house a home. Locks Regardless of whether you purchase a newly constructed home or one that was formerly owned by someone else, it’s important that you have the locks changed. Everyone from REALTORS® and contractors to friends and family of the former owner may have a key, which is why getting new locks should be at the top of your list. Furnishings You can’t hang your hat without a hatrack, so don’t forget to add some necessary furnishings. Some homes may include appliances and possibly even some furniture, but most homeowners prefer to decorate their house themselves. After all, someone else’s taste in decor may not necessarily be the same as your own. If you purchase from a furniture store, they will handle the delivery for you. Otherwise, you can hire a moving company. Appliances & Cookware Even if your new home is equipped with appliances, you may still need to add a few items into the mix. For instance, a coffee maker, toaster, microwave or blender may be items you want for your kitchen. You will also need flatware, tableware and a quality dish drainer to hold your dishes that require the handwash method. Tools When you move into a new home, there will likely be some things to do that require the use of tools. Whether you need to assemble furniture, a desk for your office or just need to tighten some bolts here and there, a good set of tools is a necessity. Personal Touches No home is complete without personal touches that represent the new owner’s taste, so don’t forget to include them on your shopping list. Pictures, paintings, special window dressings, accent pillows, plants, decorative throws, accent rugs and bedding sets will create a custom interior that’s all about you. Other things to consider include portable air cleaners, water filters, an answering machine, wastebaskets and a bathroom plunger. Outdoor Décor If you like to entertain, equipping your backyard accordingly is a must. Patio furniture, an outdoor grill, landscaping tools and garden supplies are essential to creating an outdoor atmosphere that your family and friends are sure to love. Speaking of the outdoors, don’t forget to purchase a lawnmower and trimmer unless you live in a subdivision where lawncare is included in the maintenance fees. If you live in an area that’s prone to snowfall, keep this in mind when shopping for maintenance supplies. The best way to tackle a large list of necessities is to keep a pad of paper nearby and write down each item as you think of it. Think about each area of your new home and do a mental inventory of what is needed. There will always be new items to add to the list, but you will cover the basics with your handy checklist of necessary items for your new home.

A Single Woman’s Guide To Home Ownership

The traditional view of home ownership usually includes a married couple, but times have changed, and more and more single women are entering the housing market. In fact, almost twice as many single women are purchasing homes than single men, and almost one in five homes purchased today are purchased by single women. So why are single women making up such a large part of the housing market, and what are the special considerations single women should make when purchasing a home? What Women Want! The demographics of single women buying homes are quite diverse. From young professional women in their 20s to divorced mothers in their 40s, there are really no typical single women making home purchases, and their needs are just as diverse. Overall, however, there do appear to be a few trends in the market, and here is a list of what the average single woman is looking for in a new home. Most spend less than $200,000 Prefer two bedrooms or more Less likely to choose new construction Will compromise size and cost to get other amenities, but not location Smaller spaces are acceptable, and many prefer condos Desire security and safe neighborhoods with a strong community feel Look for close proximity to stores, shopping, and fitness centers Things To Consider If you are a single woman looking to enter the housing market, or know someone who is, then what should be considered before making the leap into home ownership? Essentially the considerations are much the same as those of any homeowner. Taking a realistic look at your financial situation is always important. Seeking out the advice of a qualified financial advisor and a REALTOR® can make the process less difficult. It is also important to be sure you are not entering into any unwise loan agreements that may not be wise down the road, such as no-money-down deals. It is also important to have a clear picture of what your needs as a homeowner are, and that you don’t settle for something that will not work with your particular lifestyle.

Buying A Fixer-Upper: Are You Ready For The Work

Always dreamed of renovating a home exactly to your specifications, or have you found an older house that is structurally sound but needs a lot of work inside? Perhaps the price is right and you can’t resist all that house you can get for your money. Whatever the reason, buying a fixer-upper can be both an exciting and rewarding purchase or a financial and time consuming disaster, depending on whether you are prepared for what you have gotten yourself into. So what should you know before buying a home that requires a little or a lot of tender loving care? The Benefits The benefits of purchasing a fixer-upper are obvious. The price is usually right, and if the seller wants a quick sale because of decreased interest in the home, you may be able to negotiate a really great price. Also, if you intend to flip the home after the renovations, the profit for the money and time you have invested can be quite considerable. The trick to getting these benefits, however, is knowing what type of property to look for, as well as having an accurate idea of the associated costs, and realistic expectations of the time and labor it will take. What Makes A Great Fixer-Upper? There are several features that may make for a great fixer-upper. Location-Buying a home in a desirable neighborhood is always a smart idea, particularly with homes that require a lot of work. Purchasing a house in a sought after area can mean a greater profit margin for resale value. Layout And Configuration-This is especially important if you plan to sell the home after the renovations are finished. Selecting a home that will appeal to the greatest number of buyers will get you the best price. Also, choosing a home with a layout that flows may save you a considerable amount on the actual renovation costs because you are less likely to need custom installations and work. Condition-Ultimately the most important consideration is the actual condition of the home. Choosing a fixer-upper with only cosmetic problems such as damaged flooring or old fixtures and appliances, and in need of only a new paint job, can often have the greatest profit margin and require much less money and time. Overall, when purchasing a home that needs work, getting a qualified home inspector’s advice and getting estimates of the cost of work to be done before making your offer can make all the difference.

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Contact

Dave Bauer, Realtor® CaDRE# 01166202
380 Diablo Rd, Ste 100 Danville, CA 94526
Phone: (925) 855-4040
Email: dave@davebauer.com

Dave Bauer, Realtor® fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Bay East ©2024. CCAR ©2024. bridgeMLS ©2024. Information Deemed Reliable But Not Guaranteed. This information is being provided by the Bay East MLS, or CCAR MLS, or bridgeMLS. The listings presented here may or may not be listed by the Broker/Agent operating this website. This information is intended for the personal use of consumers and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing.