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

4 Reasons to Buy Your Dream Home This Winter

As the temperature in many areas of the country starts to cool down, you might think that the housing market will do the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Here are 4 reasons you should consider buying your dream home this winter instead of waiting for spring!

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.3% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.2% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates are Projected to Increase

Your monthly housing cost is as much related to the price you pay for your home as it is to the mortgage interest rate you secure.

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage are currently at 4.08%. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way You’re Paying a Mortgage

There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

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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

Ready to Make an Offer? 4 Tips for Success

making-offer

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 you want to make sure you make a good offer so that you can guarantee your dream of making this house yours comes true!

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 4.7-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 home.

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 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 typically re-negotiate the terms or cancel the contract.”

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local real estate professional who is an expert in their market on your side 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

COMING SOON! Newly Remodeled California Cottage Completed in 2004

128romaine Newly Remodeled California Cottage Completed in 2004.  Elegant & Airy, this 3 Bedroom 2 Bath Home is located in a great neighborhood.

Come enjoy the quality finishes in the Gourmet Kitchen complete with Stainless Steel Appliances, Maple Cabinetry, Granite Counters & Oak Hardwood Floors. There are 2 Stone Fireplaces (both Gas), one in the Master bedroom and one in the Living room.

Special decorator inspirations make this home a special retreat. A Turnkey Treasure located in the Heart of Santa Barbara’s Samarkand neighborhood.

 

OFFERED AT $1,025,000

www.SantaBarbaraEnvy.com

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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

Osito - Just Sold

3717 Osito Ct, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

JUST SOLD!

Stunning 4BD 2BA Elegantly Remodeled Home in Vieja Valley School District. Spacious Formal Courtyard Entry. Large Lot with Exotic Landscaping throughout and a 6 Foot Retaining Wall Surround the Property for Privacy. Complete with Boutique Travertine Tile, Custom Finishes, Fireplace, 2 Great Rooms, and a Gourmet Kitchen. French Doors Open to an Entertainment Patio and Professionally Landscaped Yard.

http://OwnInSantaBarbara.com

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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!

—————————————————-

Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

 

20 Clues You’re Buying a Home in the Right Neighborhood

santa barbara real estate

A great neighborhood sells a home, real estate agents say. It also helps your home hold value and makes it easy to sell when you decide to move on.

With all the pressure and excitement of home shopping, how can you know if a neighborhood is truly great?

1. It meets your specs

Make a list of what you want and don’t want in a neighborhood and shop for those qualities.

Look for the invincible spirit of neighborliness that’s apparent even to a casual visitor.

But what’s ideal varies. Your ideal could be a close-knit community with trees, playgrounds and great schools. Or it could be a downtown block of clubs, shops and condos.

2. You like what you hear

Become an expert on the neighborhood that interests you. Get a feel for it by attending open houses, walking its blocks, spending time in restaurants and coffee shops, and looking for community gardens.

Have a home in mind? Knock on doors and chat with neighbors on that street. Ask everyone who’ll talk with you about the crime, noise, traffic, neighborhood issues, pros and cons.

3. You can get a latte

Upscale chain and independent retailers are signs a neighborhood is well-established or on the way up. These businesses signal a degree of affluence. Also, they’ve typically done market research to assure themselves the neighborhood is stable and worth the investment.

4. You see home improvements

Especially in the warm months, look for activity that shows owners are keeping up or investing in their properties. Improvements like new gutters, painting, re-roofing, gardening and landscaping, replacement windows, new fences and decks tell you they have pride in their homes.

5. Neighbors are organized

Block watches and neighborhood meetings are signs of a tight community. If you find a neighborhood group, attend a meeting or two to meet people and ask questions. Subscribe to any neighborhood newsletters.

6. People are out on the streets

People on sidewalks and children walking to school and playing in parks tells you they feel safe. This article at Veterans United asks:

Are there people sitting on their porches? Walking dogs? Taking their kids on a walk? If residents are willing to get out and walk around the neighborhood, that’s a good sign of its vitality and safety.

7. It passes muster after dark

Don’t think you know a place if you’ve only seen it in the middle of a weekday. Return repeatedly, at night and on weekends, to get a realistic picture.

8. Crime numbers are low

Don’t buy into a neighborhood without checking its crime statistics. City police department websites often publish them. In Chicago, for example, weekly crime statistics are reported by police district.

9. School scores are strong

Where school test scores are strong, home prices are high. Search GreatSchools.org for the schools’ scores in the neighborhood you’re considering. Ratings are based on performance on state standardized tests.

10. It’s walkable

Do cars dominate? Or do sidewalks and streets encourage pedestrians and bicyclists? Sidewalks wide enough for outdoor cafes, benches and strolling give a place a neighborly feel.

Put an address or ZIP code into Walkscore.com to obtain a “walkability rating” for neighborhoods or cities. Scores, ranging from 0 (“car dependent”) to 100 (“walker’s paradise”), reflect the ease of life without a car.

11. Bus stops abound

Homes with easy access to public transit fetch higher prices than similar homes without it, says a 2013 study commissioned by the American Public Transportation Association and the National Association of Realtors. Homes within a half mile of “high-frequency” public transit were worth 41 percent more, on average.

But don’t get too close. Locations adjacent to rail lines and bus stops lose value.

12. It’ll work for you for five to seven years

So, a hip, edgy, gentrifying downtown district is your dream location right now? But will it work later, if you want children? Or if you change jobs? Don’t count on being able to sell and move quickly.

 Make sure the neighborhood suits your needs for at least five years.

13. Ownership is high

Neighborhoods with high homeownership rates are more stable. Exceptions: You can expect renters to outnumber buyers in expensive cities.

Typically, renters are more mobile than homeowners. Longtime residents watch out for each other, making for a safer community.

Statistics on homeownership in neighborhoods can be hard to find, although some Realtors may have them. You can get a sense, though, by asking Realtors and locals about the renter-owner balance. Also, watch for apartment complexes that dominate a neighborhood or large numbers of “for rent” signs.

14. Homes sell quickly

Fast turnaround of homes for sale indicates a neighborhood in hot demand. A real estate agent can run “comps” (comparative home analyses) to tell you how quickly homes are selling.

Other clues to a neighborhood in demand: Employers are moving in with new jobs, the population is growing, and the supply of homes for sale is limited.

15. Homes hold value

In the housing crash, home values held up better in some neighborhoods than others. You can find historical sale prices in your county’s property tax records. Many counties put these online. Or ask your Realtor for neighborhood sales trends.

If you’re considering a bargain home in a neighborhood of foreclosures, consider whether home buyers will want this neighborhood when you are ready to sell. Even if you don’t care about school quality or how many playgrounds are nearby, the next buyers of your home probably will.

16. The commute is not bad

Homes located close to major employers and in city centers are in high demand.

“The Driving Boom— a six-decade-long period of steady increases in per-capita driving in the United States — is over,” says a 2013 transportation report by the nonprofit advocacy group U.S. PIRG.

“Younger people are less likely to drive — or even to have driver’s licenses — than past generations for whom driving was a birthright and the open road a symbol of freedom,” adds this New York Times article.

17. City services are good

The trash is picked up. Streets are paved and well-maintained. Beware of broken streetlights, cracked sidewalks, and lots of vacant homes with cracked windows and an overgrowth of weeds.

18. You see plenty of churches

You don’t have to be religious to appreciate that churches, mosques and synagogues are signs of community strength and evidence that residents are connected and invested.

19. It’s got police and fire stations

Find the nearest fire and police stations and fire hydrants. Nearby public safety services add to a sense of neighborhood security. Also, a firehouse nearby might mean lower homeowners insurance premiums.

20. (Good) change is coming

Major economic development can change neighborhoods dramatically.

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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.

__________________________

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

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

The Lowest Priced 1 Bedroom Condo in Santa Barbara

property photo

$379,000

1407 San Pascual #B

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

MLS#: 13-0000

Condo

Bedrooms: 1

Bathrooms: 1

Square Feet: 920

Year Built: 1983

View More Details

Agent:

Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

805 689 0532

Jon Mahoney

Automated Messaging Service:

Call 1-877-533-0212 extension 2161 to receive an SMS Text Property Flyer IMMEDIATELY! It’s absolutely free. You can also hear recorded messages about the property and other available options.

 

Text “EXT 2161” to 32075 for instant Text Property Flyer! It is also includes a link to all photos and property details!

 

equal housingEqual Housing Opportunity

New Listing! Lowest Priced 1 Bedroom in Santa Barbara!

santa barbara real estate santa barbara homes for sale Property Description:

Welcome to the lowest priced 1 bedroom 1 bath condo in Santa Barbara. This unit is located close to downtown and has recently been remodeled. The spacious 920 square feet come complete with a remodeled kitchen, new stainless steel appliances, large bedroom plus a small bonus office, remodeled fireplace, new flooring, Granite counter tops and a nice back patio. There is also a washer and dryer within the unit and it comes with one covered parking space. With association dues at only $100 per month and a price tag of just $379,000, this unit will not last very long.

Owner is not currently working with other agents. Please, call direct.

Property Highlights:

– Lowest Priced 1 Bedroom in Santa Barbara
– Treetop Views
– Great Room Living Areas
– Washer and Dryer in Unit
– Remodeled Kitchen
– New Stainless Steel Appliances
– 1 Covered Parking Space
– Walking Distance to Downtown
– Spacious and Remodeled 1 Bedroom 1 Bathroom Condo
– Large Bedroom plus a bonus small Office
– Remodeled Fireplace
– New Flooring
– Granite Counter Tops
– Nice Back Patio
– Association Dues Are Only $100/mo.

Property Website: 

http://sbhideaway.com/

Open House:

Sunday (10/13/2013) 1:00PM – 3:00PM

1407 San Pascual St #B, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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PROPERTY PRESENTED BY:

Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Keller Williams Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

Info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

BRE# 01269717