3 Questions to Ask If You Want to Buy Your Dream Home

If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.

Ask yourself the following 3 questions to help determine if now is a good time for you to buy in today’s market.

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place? 

This is truly the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.

For example, a survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.”

This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the top four reasons Americans buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space

What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median price of homes sold in December (the latest data available) was $232,200, up 4.0% from last year. This increase also marks the 58th consecutive month with year-over-year gains.

If we look at the numbers year over year, CoreLogic forecasted a rise by 4.7% from December 2016 to December 2017.

What does that mean to you?

Simply put, with prices increasing each month, it might cost you more if you wait until next year to buy. Your down payment will also need to be higher in order to account for the higher price of the home you wish to buy.

3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long-term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by even a small increase in mortgage rates.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors, and Fannie Mae have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase over the next twelve months, as you can see in the chart below:

Bottom Line

Only you and your family will know for certain if now is the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.

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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

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

How to sell an inherited home

santa barbara real estate santa barbara homes for sale Selling an inherited house isn’t easy.

There’s the emotional aspect of getting a loved one’s home ready for sale — which likely includes clearing out his or her belongings and depersonalizing the rooms. There’s the financial cost of making necessary updates to attract buyers. Sometimes heirs have to deal with costly liens or other hidden problems, and there may be disagreements among siblings about the sale price.

And understandably, sometimes family members drag their feet. Images of growing up in the home with Mom and Dad prevent them from springing into action. They can’t let go.

Everyone takes their time to deal with the passing of a loved one. And you need to take the appropriate steps to learn the market, educate yourself and have a Realtor and tax attorney who are reliable — you need someone who is going to be emphatic and is there to help.

Get some advice

First, learn about the house’s status and verify your ownership, getting the advice of an estate attorney.

Depending on state law, and other factors, a License To Sell Real Estate may be required from the Probate Court. In addition, there will most likely be a ‘creditor claims’ period, which must pass before assets, including real estate, can be distributed to the heirs.

Connect with a tax adviser to understand any tax implications of selling the home. Heirs should also check and see if there are any liens on the property.

In fact, in certain situations — including when there are environmental concerns or the mortgage is underwater (meaning the home is worth less than what is still owed by the borrower) — heirs may even choose not to accept the home at all, allowing it to go into foreclosure.

Those who don’t want the property should speak with an attorney about disclaiming it — and promptly. The process will likely involve filing disclaimer paperwork.

Assess the market

It might be clear that Grandma’s kitchen needs some major upgrading. But before doing any work, contact a real-estate agent to help you understand the local housing market.

You have to figure out what the other houses on the street are selling for, and get an idea of what the house is worth before improvements are made.

A real-estate agent can also provide some advice on what changes would be worthwhile to make. From a financial perspective, it’s often best to do the minimum amount of repairs required to secure a buyer — and allow them to get financing. (Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgages, for example, require certain safety, soundness and security requirements for homes.)

If the home is in very poor shape, it’s sometimes best to market it to an investor. Cash buyers looking for bargains are more likely to purchase a home “as is.”

Prepare for listing

Success in selling the home — and for a desirable price — will often depend on its condition, and cleaning up the yard, painting the home’s interior and other minimal improvements will go a long way. Upgrading flooring can also be helpful, as can minor improvements to the kitchen and baths.

Removing your loved one’s belongings will also make the home more appealing to the masses, both the ones who view photos online as well as those who do a walk through.

Doing the cleanup is essential. It helps people view the home as a blank canvas.

If a home’s major mechanical systems are old, sellers might want to pay for a home warranty instead of replacing them. Buyers typically react positively to that incentive.

Expect an emotional process

The process of selling a relative’s home is likely going to be emotional, from the sorting of the personal belongings to the finalization of the sale at the closing table. Expect that. And surround yourself with professionals who will be empathetic and helpful.

Also, it will help to set expectations on what price you’d be willing to accept at the beginning of the process. That way, you can more rationally evaluate buyer offers, minimizing the chance of getting emotional over lower-priced bids. Clearly established expectations are especially important when multiple heirs are selling the home.

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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

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com