By Nelson Buss, firstname.lastname@example.org
The real estate market in the Conejo Valley as we head into the summer of 2016 is showing signs of a shift from the previous two years. Home prices continue to rise on the lower end of the market, as inventory levels below $750,000 have fallen more than 40% from 2015. The inventory levels of homes between $750,000 and $1.5 million are over 25% lower than last year. If you are considering selling, and your property falls in these categories, your competition in the market is greatly reduced relative to recent years. Prices are up. Competition down. And you are ready to sell. So where do you start?
Well, the first choice is between selling it yourself, or listing with a realtor to sell the property on your behalf. With a hot market and high prices, it is entirely possible to get your home sold and not need to pay a commission. However, without a realtor working for you, it is also likely that any buyer you work with will be expecting you to sell at a discounted price for exactly the same reason. Securing documentation from title companies, HOAs, and government agencies, as well as scheduling inspections and negotiating repair requests with the buyer is a fulltime job. Not to mention the legal liability that comes with such undertaking such a large financial transaction without representation. The right realtor can handle all this for you, as well as ensure that your home is marketed to maximize your exposure and ensure that the property sells for the highest possible price. We at the Buss-McKinley Group are the realtors who can do that for you.
The Buss-McKinley group is comprised of professionals who are all long-time residents of the area, having attended local schools as children up through and including attending California Lutheran and Pepperdine Universities. We know the geography, and the history of the community and the neighborhoods we service. That knowledge, combined with our diligent market research, allows us to price your home accurately. We also estimate your proceeds accurately from your sale by this method. By knowing this information ahead of time, you can be confident in planning how to proceed after the sale is completed.
The internet has changed how consumers shop for everything including, of course, real estate. We at the Buss-McKinley Group have embraced the modern market place. Professional staging and photography, as well as using a combination of traditional and social media online, allow us to market your home in a way to maximize exposure. We are RE/Max agents, and the RE/Max site is the most visited website among all national competitors. By ensuring your property looks its best and ensuring that it is seen by the greatest number of qualified buyers possible, we are able bring you the most competitive offers. With our direct and efficient process, your property gets into escrow faster and at the highest possible price.
For a free market analysis, or to find out what we can do for you, contact us today!
Written by Nelson Buss
Fixed versus Adjustable Rate
A conventional 30 year fixed-rate loan is the most common type of loan issued. The interest rate, and thus the payment, stays constant through the entire loan term. This loan is the most common loan used by buyers. It is ideal for people who are buying a home and are intending to stay in the home for a long period of time and wish to keep the mortgage payment a constant.
By contrast, an adjustable rate mortgage will have the ability to reset according pre-established conditions and intervals written into the mortgage contract. Usually these loans will be fixed at a lower rate for a set interval early in the loan, typically 3 to 10 years, and then change annually thereafter. Typically, there is a cap to the annual change in rate as well as a lifetime cap to the maximum interest rate of the loan so that the borrower knows in advance what their highest payment could be. These loans can be a boon to a buyer who is likely to sell again in a relatively short period of time or if the adjusted rate falls below what the initial purchase rate.
Conforming versus Jumbo Loans
Conforming loans are described as such because they meet the underwriting guidelines of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. These two entities are corporations that purchase and sell mortgage backed securities to investors on Wall Street under government established requirements. The loan limit for high balance conforming loans in Ventura County is currently $603,750.
Jumbo loans exceed these requirements and represent a greater risk for investors. The loans are for larger amounts and as such require borrowers to have excellent credit and require larger minimum down payments when compared to conforming loans, ranging from 15% to 20% of purchase cost. These loans typically have higher interest rates as well.
Conventional and Government Backed Financing
Conventional loans are direct transactions between borrower and lender. The lenders have a strict set of credit, income, down payment, and debt to income requirements that a buyer must qualify under. A typical down payment is at least 20%, or as little as 3% if the buyer pays mortgage insurance. Gift Funds from family members are allowed. Freddie Mac also allows family members to be non-occupying borrowers to help qualify for the home.
For buyers who need greater flexibility than is afforded by direct lender transactions, FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration. This gives the lenders a guarantee that the loan will be satisfied, as well as provides a different and less restrictive set of qualification requirements. The greatest advantage of an FHA loan is the reduced down payment requirement, which can be as low as 3.5%. FHA loans do require mortgage insurance as well. Gift Funds from Family are allowed. FHA also allows family members to be non-occupying borrowers to help qualify for the home.
There is another loan program available to veterans, active duty military, and their surviving spouses. The VA loan is insured by the Federal Government and can be up to 100% of Purchase Price within County Loan Limits. VA limits specific costs associated with obtaining a mortgage for the Veteran. If you are a veteran, a mortgage professional can guide you through the process, beginning with obtaining your certificate of eligibility.
This is but a brief summary of the options that a buyer will find themselves presented with when looking at their mortgage options. For a more detailed explanation, or to help find the right mortgage for you, please contact us through e-mail at email@example.com or directly at 805-328-3799.
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Written by Nelson Buss
Check out our video outlining 4 ways to use closing cost credits to save you thousands!!
There is no place like home. For Americans, buying a home is an exceeding popular way to lock in your housing costs while simultaneously creating wealth in the long-term. More people own a home than are invested in retirement plans or stocks and bonds combined. So now that you’ve decided to join the ranks of the homeowner, there are some important tips to help you get to your goal.
Credit and Qualifying for a Mortgage
Most buyers require a mortgage for their home purchase. Even if you can afford to pay cash for the home you want, it doesn’t always make sense to do so. Mortgage rates have been hanging around at historic lows for a number of years now and will do so for a while longer. The government allows for deductions on mortgage interest, as well as some costs associated with a purchase so a mortgage is a sensible way to purchase. The key to getting a great mortgage is to make sure your credit is as strong as possible. A good mortgage professional can give you tips to help you achieve your mortgage goals tailored to your personal circumstances. Choosing the right mortgage person is key. They should be able to explain their process and what you can expect in a way you understand. If you don’t understand, ask questions. If they don’t want to answer your questions, find a different mortgage professional.
Budget and Down Payment
Now that you have made sure you can get the best possible terms on the mortgage, it is time to find out exactly how much home you can afford. First, you should know what size down payment you can afford to put toward the purchase and what the anticipated additional costs of the purchase will be for inspections (escrow fees, etc). Next, there is a ratio known as DTI, this is your debt-to-income ratio. Most banks prefer that your debts, which are all of your loans and credit cards as well as the anticipated mortgage, be below 43% of your gross income. This will ultimately let you settle on the anticipated price range of the home you will search for. Once again, a capable and attentive mortgage professional can guide you through this process.
If you are already familiar with the area you are planning on buying in, this can be a fairly simple process. But if you are moving out of area or want to be sure to get the most for your dollar in a neighborhood, there are a few important criteria to consider.
Parks and shopping within a close proximity tend to be a boon for value. Also, regardless of whether you have school age children, the quality of the schools that service a neighborhood can drive up values as well. Then consider your lifestyle. Do you need freeway access close by? Do you need to be walking distance to a Starbucks? Are there neighborhood groups or organizations you are interested in, or want close by? By prioritizing your wants and needs, you can come up with neighborhoods that best suit you. Once you have the neighborhood, then it is time to find a home.
The Right Home for You
This part often seems obvious, but after you look at a house or two, or ten, or hundred, often you can feel overwhelmed and lose track of what you really want. So before you get out there, have an idea of what you really want. The number of bedrooms and baths are important. A yard for a dog maybe. If you cook, the size of your kitchen and stove, as well as their arrangement could be important. A fireplace can be nice, three of them could be better. Make a list of what is important to you and take it with you when you go to look at places. Check the boxes on the items each home has, sometimes it is tough to remember all the details of a home after you leave. By doing this you can find the home that will work the best for you in the long run rather than the one you liked the best that day.
The Right Agent for you
While going through this process, it is important to have a professional to assist you that are looking out for your best interests. A great realtor can help supply you with the information you need to make the best choices and will keep you informed about all your options, so that you can know what will work the best for you. At the Buss McKinley Group, we are dedicated to providing the highest level of service possible to our clients. If you have more questions about what a great realtor can do for you, please contact our team.
Written by Nelson Buss
So you want to sell your house. It seems simple enough. A sign goes up in the front yard, and at some later point you get a SOLD sign on top of it. Then there is a moving truck and on to the next adventure. There might be some steps in between, but that is the important part, right? Of course, but let us break down the steps in between because they are often critical to achieving the goal of getting the most money for your home. For most U.S. households, the equity in their property is their largest single asset, constituting two thirds of their net worth. As a seller, you want to get all that money out and these tips can help do that.
The Internet - The First Impression
Typically, the first time a prospective buyer will encounter your home will be the same way you found this blog, through the internet. 90% of home buyers conduct their home searches online. In fact, going online will be their first step. As a seller, you want to make sure your home has the broadest possible reach online. This means putting it on every site possible.
Before you give your house its own twitter account, first you need to know what information is most critical to attracting buyers. Visually appealing, professional photos are a must. Your smart phone has come a long way in the last few years and Instagram filters can make you feel like a pro, but resist the temptation. Bad pictures are the fastest way to lose a buyer. Next, it is important to list all the features and updates that you have done on the home. After that, tell the world about the community, the schools, the parks, and all the things that make your home a wonderful place to live.
Curb Appeal - Meeting In Person
If a buyer likes what they see online, they will come out to see it in person. This is where attention to detail kicks into high gear. From the mailbox, across the driveway, to the front entry, your home must be neat and orderly. No cobwebs on the porch light or in the eaves. Make sure the trim and front door look clean and bright, and make sure all the windows are clean inside and out. The front yard must be at its best.
Interior - A Blank Canvas
The inside of the home is where the greatest amount of preparation is required. Everything inside that makes you feel at home, from the pictures of family, to the dog bowls in the kitchen, to that stack of required reading books on your night stand. All of that must go before a buyer ever sets foot in your home. Your toothpaste tube and that hairbrush? Gone! All evidence that you live there must be hidden at all times. It must look like a housecleaning crew just left, so that when a buyer arrives they can see themselves in your home. Be sure to install white towels and those designer soaps in every bathroom. Clear those kitchen counters, don’t hide everything in the closets, those all need to look roughly half empty. It gives the impression they are larger to the human eye. The most critical ingredient is light. Light everywhere. Open all curtains and shades, use bright bulbs in all lamps and make sure to have adequate lighting in every room. This makes a room appear large and inviting.
Pricing to get the highest sale
Pricing is one of the most misunderstood elements of listing a home for sale. Initially, many sellers want to list high thinking that they are leaving room for negotiation or worst case they can drop the price later if they get no response. The reality is that a home purchase is the largest financial transaction the vast majority of us ever complete in our lives. Buyers spend a lot of time and effort to establish their price range and serious buyers don’t bother looking at homes that are overpriced. On the other hand, if a home is priced competitively, this can draw the highest number of motivated buyers. Having a number of motivated buyers interested gives the seller a stronger negotiating position.
Agents - How to Pick a Professional
The vast majority of real estate transactions are conducted by realtors. In fact only 2% of homes that start as for sale by owners are actually sold by those owners. So you’ll need a realtor. But how can you tell the difference between a great realtor and an average one? A realtor is ultimately responsible for one result, selling your home at the price you both agree on. To do that, a great realtor will be involved in every element of the preparation described in the previous paragraphs.
From the moment an offer is presented, through all the negotiations, to the delivery of the proceeds to the seller, a great realtor is there to create solutions to the challenges that arise in every deal before it is completed.
If you have more questions about what a great realtor can do for you, please contact our team.
Written by Nelson Buss