Biggest mistake homebuyers make in trying to get a good deal

The process of buying a house requires an investment of time as well as money. So, if you want to get a good deal, doing your homework is crucial.
The fallacy is that ‘getting a good deal’ is all locked in at the initial transaction, on the purchase price or the initial loan.
In reality, that assumption is not always true. When you become a homeowner, the money you had been putting toward rent not only goes toward a mortgage, but to insurance, repairs, maintenance and upgrades.
You have to think of homeownership not just as a one-time event, but as a process over the life of you owning this asset that you’ll be able to manage it wisely and make smart choices with it.
Say you negotiate the purchase price down 5 percent from what the seller is asking and are able to get the loan you want at a quarter point below market rate. Sounds like a great deal, right? Well, not so much if the reason the seller is willing to decrease the price is because the home needs repairs or renovations.
If you’re saving $10,000 on the purchase price but you have to spend $30,000 gutting the kitchen, the home might not be much of a deal.
Don’t be fooled by the sticker price. It’s only the beginning.
For buyers who have saved up and worked toward buying a home for years, it can be overwhelming to think about all the abstract costs associated with homeownership. Think of it like buying a car: You might be able to afford a $300 a month payment on its own, but how much does it cost once you add the price of gas, insurance, oil changes and other maintenance?
It’s a misconception as a car owner to think that it’s the down payment on the car and the monthly cost, and that’s it. Ditto for homeowners. You should not think, ‘Oh I got an interest rate of 3 percent, I got a good deal!’ or ‘The home is being offered for $950,000 and I got it for $930,000. I got a great deal!’
In the context of owning your home, if you plan to live there for the next seven to 10 years — or for the rest of your life — knowing whether or not you got a good deal depends on how well you managed the overall homeownership process.
Homeowners can expect to pay around 3 percent of the of the closing price per year on hidden costs, such as repairs and utilities, although your expenses will vary depending on your location and the size and quality of your home.
I also recommend researching home warranties, which can provide another layer of financial protection.
If you’re trying to get the best possible deal on a home, you need to think long-term. In addition to the initial price of each home, consider the investments you’d need to make years down the line. Being aware of the big picture now could help you save big now — as well as later.

 

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

8 Design Tricks for Defining Your Open-Plan Dining Space

An open-plan living space gives your home a light and airy feel, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be one sprawlingly large room. Check out these ideas to zone off your dining area and create an intimate space in which to share dinner with friends and family.

11 Design Tricks for Defining Your Open-Plan Dining Space

1. Zone the floor. You can separate your dining space by marking out the area on the floor. Here, an unusual hexagonal pattern stands out beneath the table and instantly closes the space. You also could use floor paint to mark out simple lines or create your own more elaborate design.

2. Add a rug. A simple way to zone the floor is to position a rug under the table. It will create a cozy area and feel wonderfully soft underfoot. To counteract food debris, go for something lightweight, so it can be easily picked up and shaken out.

3. Use natural materials. You can add warmth to a space by introducing natural materials such as wood, plants, woven elements and fabrics. This solid wood table and the lovely textures surrounding it have created a snug spot in the center of the white room. The dining space looks comfortable and welcoming.

4. Frame your viewpoint. The modern white table here sits in the middle of a concrete floor and is surrounded by white walls. It’s prevented from feeling lost or clinical by the clever placing of two bright pictures. These colorful artworks root the table to its spot and allow other elements to fall into place around it. It feels cheerful and cozy.

5. Have everything close at hand. Create a comfortable space by bringing in practicality. The wall-to-wall sideboard in this dining area has plenty of room for glasses and tableware, which makes the area an easy place to be. The owners and their guests can quickly get at everything, so if someone needs an extra glass, it’s right there. The functionality of the space should help to create a relaxed atmosphere.

6. Break up spaces. You can make your open-plan space feel cozier by dividing zones with furniture. This large cabinet helps to separate the living room from the dining area to create a more intimate feel. It also has the added benefit of providing vast amounts of storage.

If your budget doesn’t stretch to a custom cabinet, try placing a large sideboard or shelving unit between the two spaces. Any kind of barrier will help to break up the space and make it feel snug.

7. Build in a bench seat. Cushioned benches are comfortable and flexible. Make the most of an open-plan space by building one next to other elements in the room. Here, the bench rests against the kitchen countertop, creating a snug and sociable spot where guests can gather while the cook prepares food in the kitchen.

8. Soften the lines. Isolate your dining space from any sharp edges in the rest of the room by choosing a curvy table. The dark, industrial kitchen here provides a moody backdrop to the soft, white dining table and chairs. The angled light fixture puts a spotlight on the dining area and highlights it as a oasis in the center of the room.

 

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

Thinking of Making an Offer? 4 Tips for Success

So you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found one! The price is right, and in such a competitive market that you want to make sure you make a good offer so that you can guarantee your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their latest Executive Perspective. Here are the 4 Tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

“While it’s not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.”

This ‘tip’ or ‘step’ really should take place before you start your home search process.

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace).

2. Act Fast

“Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.”

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.6-month supply; This is well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.

Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.

3. Make a Solid Offer

Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:

“Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.”

Consider ways of making your offer stand out! Many buyers write a personal letter to the seller letting them know how much they would love to be the new homeowners. Your agent will be able to help you figure out if there are any other ways your offer could stand out above the rest.

4. Be Prepared to Negotiate

“It’s likely that you’ll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you’ll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford.

Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.”

If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home.” If the inspection uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made, with the seller, or cancel the contract.

Bottom Line 

Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local professional on your side who is an expert in their market is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly. Happy House Hunting!

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

Winter Is Coming… 5 Reasons to Sell Now!

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People across the country are beginning to think about what their life will look like next year. It happens every fall; we ponder whether we should relocate to a different part of the country to find better year-round weather, or perhaps move across the state for better job opportunities. Homeowners in this situation must consider whether they should sell their house now or wait.

If you are one of these potential sellers, here are five important reasons to sell now instead of in the dead of winter.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Realtors’ Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market (which is 4.5-months).

This means, in most areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market soon.

Also, as builders regain confidence in the market, new construction of single-family homes is projected to continue to increase, reaching historic levels in 2017. Last month’s new home sales numbers show that many buyers who have not been able to find their dream homes within the existing inventory have turned to new construction to fulfill their needs.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae announced that they anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007’s pace. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing timelines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler. 

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.2% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

According to Freddie Mac’s latest report, you can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 3.57% right now. Interest rates are projected to increase moderately over the next 12 months. Even a small increase in rate will have a big impact on your housing cost.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.  

That is what is truly important.

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

Best Summer Home Renovation Projects

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Summer brings pool parties, ice cream and popsicles, playing in the yard…and renovations. Many homeowners find that some home upgrades are best completed during the warm summer months. The weather is much nicer, contractors have longer daylight hours in which to work, schedules tend to slow down, and labor costs might actually be lower.

Which renovations work best during the summer? Here are some of the most popular ones, ranked from simplest to toughest (or longest).

Small DIY projects

Remember all those little projects on the back burner? Now is the time to tackle them. Everything from staining the deck to installing a new porch railing is fair game. You can do some work in the house too, renovating closets to create more space or creating a study area for the kids. Speaking of the kids, now that they are home for the summer, you can enlist their help in smaller home upgrades that give them a sense of accomplishment.

Painting the house

Whether you are painting inside or outside, summer is the best time to get the job done. When painting outside, summer means you don’t have to deal with spring or winter storms. When you are doing the work inside, you have the advantage of keeping all the windows wide open for the best ventilation and drying. Small jobs can be a do-it-yourself venture, while large projects call for a contractor.

Paving the driveway

Working with asphalt is much easier during the summer months, which is why you so often see contractors working on driveways in the intense heat of the season. The asphalt hardens more slowly, which means a flatter, smoother surface. A good contractor can get the job done in a day; after a few days of curing time, your driveway is ready to use.

Landscaping

If you want to know what your landscaping will really look like, now is the time to set it up. Plants and shrubs need the warm months to become acclimated to their new home. You have the freedom to move flowers around a bit before giving them a final new residence in the yard. Since the ground is easier to dig into during the hotter months, you might also find it easier to install irrigation systems or garden lighting, as well as garden ponds.

In-ground pool installation

This serious home improvement project requires digging through a large part of your yard. Since the job is easier in the summer, you can find a contractor more willing to tackle it. Since it’s faster work, you get your job done sooner, and perhaps you can even enjoy that new pool by the time the hottest dog days roll around.

Kitchen upgrades

During a kitchen renovation, the contractor will kick you out of the space in order to complete the job. So what will you do about eating meals? During the summer months, that is a problem solved by a small refrigerator in another room of the house, a tiny prep area, a few disposable dishes, and a nice grill. Enjoy the great outdoors and have dinner al fresco every night while the kitchen is out of commission.

Adding a home addition

A major home addition requires serious commitment from you and your family. Most home additions take several weeks to several months to complete. During that time, part of your home will be at least somewhat exposed to the elements. No, you (hopefully) won’t deal with rain or wind, but your home will be affected by the outdoor temperatures. You will understandably want this upgrade over as soon as possible, which is another reason why summer is a great time: The days are much longer, meaning that your contractor has more daylight to work on the project.

And that’s not all…

Remember that these projects are just a sampling of home improvements you can do during the summer. Caulking windows, trimming trees, repairing fences or cleaning out gutters are just a few of the other options you have during the long, lazy days of summer. Start your planning early for those long weekends, and enjoy your new renovations before the autumn leaves fly.

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends – March 2015

Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends - March 2015 —————————————————-

Looking to buy or sell a luxury estate, home, condominium or investment property?

Let me help you find everything you need to know about buying or selling a home. Call or email me today!

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

72 La Vuelta Rd – Montecito – SOLD IN 5 DAYS!

Sold in 5 days

72 La Vuelta Rd – Montecito – SOLD IN 5 DAYS!

Located within the highly desirable Montecito Union School District, this gated, approximately 3,850 +/- square foot home features 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 3 fireplaces, 4 balconies, 3 family rooms, a detached guest house, a 3-car carport and 2 gated entrances which allow for privacy.

http://MontecitoGetaway.com

Looking to buy or sell a luxury estate, home, condominium or investment property?

Let me help you find everything you need to know about buying or selling a home. Call or email me today!

—————————————————-

Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com