can you afford that home?If you’re been quietly renting an apartment, squirreling away money for the day you’ll be buying a home, you know what it feels like to long for the day you’re a homeowner. Before you pack up your boxes or even start looking at homes, you need to know how much you can afford to spend on your home. Here are a few tips if you’re still saving up for buying a home:

Get qualified. You’ll want to chat with a lender about becoming prequalified for a home loan. Although it’s nice to be “preapproved,” that really doesn’t mean a lot to sellers. Prequalification shows you exactly how much you can take out in loans, and can help you figure out about how much you can expect to pay each month.
Decide what you want to spend. Of course, just because you can take out a certain amount doesn’t mean you should. Think about whether you want to take out the full amount you can borrow, or if you’d be content with a house that costs slightly less.
Practice makes perfect. Before you start buying a home, start setting aside the difference between your current rent and your expected mortgage payment. Not only will you get used to the higher payments, you’ll also have a nest egg built up for home repairs or closing costs.
Write it down. Before you go house shopping, sit down and make a list of the features your ideal home absolutely has to have, and those you would prefer but don’t need. Take this with you when you’re home shopping – you may be able to save some money by passing up features that don’t matter as much to you. Why get walk-in closets if your wardrobe can fit in a suitcase?
Use a calculator. There are tons of online mortgage calculators that help you decide how much home you can afford. You should look at several and remember not to take them too seriously – after all, buying a home is a complex process.

When you’re trying to purchase your first home, it’s important to decide how much you can afford. Many new homeowners get in over their heads and don’t look at the big picture. Save yourself a lot of hassle and heartache by figuring out what you can afford – in advance.

3 things to know about selling a home

Selling a home in the current economy can be challenging, although the market is certainly improving.  Nevertheless, there are some easy guidelines that can help you get your house sold quickly, so that you don’t have to live through open house after open house:

●     Get your house in order (literally). Even before you contact a real estate agent, a simple cleanup can make sure you are showing your home off to its best advantage. This can also help you get the best price.  Think about what you would want to see at an open house – if there are minor repairs or paint touch-ups to be done, do them.  Remove clutter and consider sending your pets elsewhere during your open house.  Your real estate agent (and bank balance) will thank you.

●     Choose (or don’t choose) a real estate agent. You may be tempted to go it alone when it comes to selling a home – and if you have the time and connections to give your house the marketing exposure it really needs, that may work for you.  However, if your goal is a speedy sale (especially in a tough economy), finding a reputable real estate agent can be well worth their commission. It may even save you a few mortgage payments in the long run! A good local real estate agent will also know what prices have been like in your neighborhood – they will have the most realistic view of what your home is worth and how to price it.

●     Be patient. Selling a home takes time, even if it’s a relatively fast sale.  It can seem that from the time you put your house on the market until closing and moving day, you must keep everything in perfect condition – for someone else – just in case a potential buyer stops by or in case a pending sale falls through.  In the end, it’s worth the effort. The better your home looks, the more effectively you and your real estate agent can get it sold.
Selling a home may not have the fun shopping aspects that come with buying a home, but sticking to the simple guidelines above can help make the process more bearable – and more lucrative.

unnamed1Which should you do first, buy a new home or sell the old one? Your personal finances and the current market conditions will help to make your decision.

Consider selling your house first but make the deal contingent on you being able to find a suitable replacement home. In a strong seller’s market where there are many more buyers than homes available for sale then you may get away with it – the current reality of most markets, however, is that they are buyer’s market. So, be sure to get the contingency clause into the sales contract before you sign your acceptance.

If you are in the situation where you need to buy before you sell your current home, you face a very real possibility of having to pay mortgages on both homes for a while… so make sure that you have room in your monthly budget that can pull it off.

If you would like more information or have any questions feel free to contact us.

sacramento home loansIt is a great way to get to know your dwelling in an up-close-and-personal manner, that is on-site with the home inspector when he scours your new home. If you are there while the inspection is going on then the professional home inspector can explain in person and answer any questions you may have instead of having to call him up later and get explanations via phone.

Ed Frank, president of Inspect America Engineering, P.C. in White Plains, New York is a nationally know licensed professional engineer (PE) who has thirty years of experience conducting engineering inspections for home buyers. He’s been through a lot of inspections and has worked with a lot of buyers, some of whom went on to become happy home owners and others who used his inspections when asking for repair concessions from sellers or walking away from deals completely. Frank advises home buyers to take these steps before and during the home inspecting process.

  • Select a home-inspection company with top credentials. You have a goal, you want to be well informed, and you want to make a wise investment. Choose a home-inspection company that understands your needs and will work with you to help you meet your goals Choosing a home-inspection company that is licensed to practice engineering is a wise choice. If you want your home inspection conducted by a licensed PE, be sure that your home inspection report will be stamped with the home inspector’s silenced PE seal. The practice of engineering is state regulated and licensed; the PE seal on the home inspection report is the key to your protection. The practice of engineering is regulated in all states, whereas the business of home inspection is unregulated in about half of the states.
  • Don’t pay twice for a home inspection. Consumers who retain the services of a home inspector who is not a PE may be faced with paying a second home inspection fee of the home inspector uncovers the problem, such as a structural defect, that requires the opinion of a licensed professional engineer.
  • Obtain a written home inspection report. Be sure that your home inspection report will be a detailed written report, not a handwritten checklist that is given to you at the conclusion of the home inspection. A checklist may be void of details and may not provide all of the information and engineering advice you need.
  • Inquire about important professional affiliations. Make sure that the home inspection company you retain has professional affiliations, such as NABIE (National Association of Building Inspection Engineers) and NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers). Unlike home inspection trade societies, NABIE and NSPE accept only licensed PE’s as members. Members of NABIE need to meet tough entrance requirements, are highly qualified in the home inspection professions, and adhere to the strict code of ethics.
  • Don’t be confused by home inspector “certifications,” These certifications are offered by, or sold by, trade societies or companies, or obtained via home inspection home-study courses. Such certifications are available to anybody-a high school diploma is not a requirement and certifications can be readily purchased.
  • Attend the home inspection. Expect to spend about two hours with the inspector. One picture is worth a thousand words, and you’ll gain a unique perspective on the home and its systems.
  • Make sure the home inspector is well-equipped. The home inspection engineer should be fully equipped with necessary engineering tools including electrical testers, a fuel gas, a carbon monoxide detector, a moisture meter, a ladder, an inspection mirror, a flashlight, a level, and other home inspection tools.
  • Follow the inspector around and ask questions: No questions are foolish. Learn as much as you can from the home inspector during the home inspection.
  • Consider optional tests. Where applicable, they can include testing underground storage tanks, testing paint for lead, testing drinking water for lead, testing well-supplied drinking water for bacteria, testing for radon gas in the air, and testing for urea formaldehyde foam insulation.
  • Obtain a full oral report from the home inspector at the time of the home inspection. The home inspection engineering report should be available the next working day after the home inspection but a full oral report should be obtained at the conclusion of the home inspection.

sacramento homes for saleLet’s just say that if the fun hasn’t begun already, it will start now. For the next thirty to sixty days, or whatever time frame you put between contract signing and closing, the gears will be in motion, getting everything ready for the big day when you take possession of your new home. There will be appraisals and surveys to order, title searches and inspections to conduct and lenders to meet with. At the same time, you’ll be making arrangements for your own move, informing your landlord about your expected departure, or putting your current home at the market to sell.

This will be a time of excitement as well as stress, so just take it in stride and try not to get overwhelmed. In just a few months you’ll have your feet up on the coffee table in your new abode, and you’ll be happy that you decided to embark on this journey.

The most important task that you’ll need to tackle right now is finalizing your mortgage, and while the financial aspect of your purchased transaction is very important, so are the various additional steps that must be taken to ensure a smooth closing. If you and/or the home seller are working with a real estate agent, it will make a big difference in the amount of work you’ll be doing over the next one to two months. I’ve done it both ways, and both strategies have their pluses and minuses. The good news for buyers is that you probably won’t be affected by the downside (namely, the commission that must be paid to the agent at the closing table) anyway. However, in today’s changing real estate industry, there are a number of different business models that brokers are using, some of which do demand funds from the buyer’s side of the transaction. (Inquire about any such fees before getting into a relationship with the agent.)

Since it’s the agent’s best interest to be sure a deal makes it to the closing table, she will predictably handle-or orchestrate-much of what goes on behind the scenes between contract signing and closing. During this time, you may be asked to produce documents, review home inspection reports, or take other important steps, but for the most part your agent will handle the myriad tasks that must be checked off prior to closing. You’ll be in close contact with your agent (or attorney) during this time as all parties anticipate the scheduled closing date. During the interim, several key tasks will be completed. Here are the major steps, but remember that every sale is different and yours may require a different approach.

  • You will apply for financing.
  • The lender will order an appraisal and termite inspection.
  • The lender will also order a property survey to be completed.
  • You or your agent will arrange for a home inspection, and, based on the report, will decide if you are indeed going to purchase the home (if you included a home inspection contingency in the contract).
  • By this time, you will find out if you have been approved for financing, thus fulfilling the “mortgage contingency” clause in the contract and locking your interest rate.
  • You will learn whether the home you purchasing has a “clear title” or if any liens or debts need to be cleared up prior to closing.
  • you and/or your lender will conduct any further tests required, such as radon gas and lead paint testing.