Help Clients Avoid House-Hunting Drama

Help Clients Avoid House-Hunting Drama

The Caton Team’s two cents is added in italics.

“Moving is one of the most stressful situations that a person can go through,” says Frank Schofield, an associate broker with Summit REALTORS® in Northern Virginia. “It’s one of the most rewarding, but also one of the most stressful.”

To make the house-hunt a little less stressful, real estate pros offer the following tips:

  1. Determine what you want upfront, and stick to that criteria.

What are your non-negotiables? What location do you desire? What educational opportunities are important? What do you want your daily commute to be? And what price are you willing to pay? “The first step to avoid house hunting drama is to really sit back and think about what is most important to you,” advises Jason Mitchell, founder and president of Jason Mitchell Real Estate. “This will narrow down your scope so you are not looking at hundreds of homes, just the ones that fit in your criteria. … Looking in an area that’s not going to provide the home type that you want is going to cause frustration.”

Being focused is most important. It is also easier said than done, especially if this is your first purchase. The Caton Team suggests you start with a broad scope when you first start off. We like to cover as many options for the start and work our way down quickly to a manageable list.

  1. Get preapproved for a mortgage.

Avoid delays once you do find a home by getting your loan preapproved. “If there is any issue, it is identified early on in the process and not the moment that you’re trying to submit a contract on the property,” says Schofield. Also, you’ll know your numbers and how much to expect on a monthly payment to make sure you’re house-shopping within your price range.

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP. So important – The Caton Team suggests you get pre-approved even before we meet. Knowing how much mortgage you qualify for, knowing any defects on the credit report before the hunt even starts ensures a smooth experience. And it helps us bring into focus what is most important, where that is and what it looks like in a home. 

  1. Communicate.

Share with your real estate agent the biggest stressors and fears you have in the home-buying process. “The more open the client is with the agent, the less drama is going to present itself in the transaction,” says Schofield. “You have to trust your agent and relate to them as a confidant, as an ally.”

We couldn’t agree more. Being comfortable with your Realtors takes some of the stress off the situation. It helps us too! If we feel we have open communication and trust – truly we (The Caton Team and you) can move mountains.

  1. Don’t linger too long.

“Believe me, procrastination causes drama,” Schofield says. For home buyers on a deadline, Schofield recommends beginning four to six months ahead of time to start learning more about the market. Plus, with mortgage rates forecasted to move higher this year, buyers who wait too long may find what they can afford lessen. “Have the right expectations, or else you’re setting yourself up for frustration,” Schofield says.

I always tell my clients – we are shopping now – with today’s rates, prices and market AND IT WILL CHANGE. Therefore together we plan accordingly.

 The Caton Team knows how much patience and work it takes for our clients to buy a home. We are happy to sit down, answer you questions and prepare a plan to turn your dreams into reality. How can The Caton Team help you?

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2017/01/03/help-clients-avoid-house-hunting-drama?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BYa-g2B9W3LGkZ&om_ntype=RMODaily

Remember to follow our Blog for the local real estate beat, a pulse on the San Francisco Peninsula at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

HomeSnaphttp://www.homesnap.com/Sabrina-Caton

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit our INSTAGRAM page: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

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Or YELP me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheCatonTeam

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabrinawendtcaton

https://www.linkedin.com/in/susancatonrealtor

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Effective. Efficient. Responsive.  What Can The Caton Team Do For You?

 

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

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HUD Lowers FHA MIP by a Quarter Point

HUD Lowers FHA MIP by a Quarter Point

 

This article was published on 1.9.17 – things may have changed by the time this blog posts.

 

Mortgage insurance premiums on FHA-backed loans will be lower by 25 basis points on loans endorsed starting January 27, the federal government announced today.

“After four straight years of growth and with sufficient reserves on hand to meet future claims, it’s time for FHA to pass along some modest savings to working families,” Julian Castro, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced today.

NAR President Bill Brown praised the move. “Dropping mortgage insurance premiums will mean a lot more responsible borrowers are eligible to purchase a home through FHA,” he said. “That puts more money in the fund to protect taxpayers, and it puts more families in homes so they can live out the American dream.”

The new premium schedule, which takes effect for residential mortgage loans that have an insurance endorsement date on or after January 27,  is expected to save the average home buyer $500 a year in insurance costs.

In its announcement, HUD said the reduced premiums reflect the healthy state of HUD’s mutual mortgage insurance fund, which is the agency’s principle fund for insuring FHA mortgages. “We’ve carefully weighed the risks associated with lower premiums with our historic mission to provide safe and sustainable mortgage financing to responsible homebuyers,” said Edward Golding, HUD principal deputy assistant secretary for housing. “This conservative reduction in our premium rates is an appropriate measure to support [home buyers] on their path to the American dream.”

Under the new schedule, a home purchase with a base loan amount of up to $625,000, with an 85-percent loan-to-value ratio and a 30-year loan term, will require an annual mortgage insurance premium of 55 basis points, down from 80 basis points.  A 15-year loan of that same amount and with a 90-percent LTV ratio will require an MIP of 25 basis points, down from 45. Access the full schedule.

NAR is calling on FHA to take even more steps to help home buyers, including eliminating FHA’s “life of loan” mortgage insurance requirement, which forces borrowers to maintain mortgage insurance regardless of their equity position. Borrowers with traditional mortgage insurance can typically extinguish their mortgage insurance once they reach 20 percent equity in the property. “Our work continues, but we’re encouraged by today’s announcement,” Brown said.

 

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2017/01/09/hud-lowers-fha-mip-quarter-point?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BYdA7tB9XEhzLd&om_ntype=RMODaily

Remember to follow our Blog for the local real estate beat, a pulse on the San Francisco Peninsula at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

HomeSnaphttp://www.homesnap.com/Sabrina-Caton

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit our INSTAGRAM page: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

PINTREST: https://www.pinterest.com/thecatonteam/

Visit us on FACEBOOK:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

YELP us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or YELP me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheCatonTeam

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabrinawendtcaton

https://www.linkedin.com/in/susancatonrealtor

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Effective. Efficient. Responsive.  What Can The Caton Team Do For You?

 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

 

Yes, It’s Still More Affordable to Buy Than Rent

Yes, It’s Still More Affordable to Buy Than Rent

Best news I’ve heard all day…

In about two-thirds of the country – or 66 percent of the largest U.S. counties – it’s more affordable to buy a home than to rent one, according to a report by ATTOM Data Solutions.

They compared the monthly rents of three-bedroom apartments to monthly payments on median-priced homes (including the mortgages, property taxes, and insurance) across 540 counties.

“It feels like buying a home is getting tougher and tougher from an affordability standpoint,” says Daren Blomquist, ATTOM’s senior vice president. “But the low interest rates have really helped.”

Mortgage rates, however, are expected to rise in the near future. That could dampen the affordability prospects in the future.

“Even a fairly slight increase in mortgage rates could flip the equation and make it more affordable to rent than to buy,” Blomquist says.

According to the report, rents have been surging faster than home prices in about 27 percent of the markets measured.

In the country’s most populated counties, the following places topped the list as most affordable to buy than rent: Cook County (Chicago), Ill.; Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona, Miami-Dade County, Fla.; San Bernardino County, Cal. in inland Southern California; Clark County (Las Vegas), Nev.; Tarrant County, Texas in the Dallas metro area; Wayne County (Detroit), Mich.; Broward County, Fla. in the Miami metro area; Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas; and Philadelphia County, Pa.

 

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2017/01/10/yes-it-s-still-more-affordable-buy-rent?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BYdS80B9XLEoEI&om_ntype=RMODaily

Remember to follow our Blog for the local real estate beat, a pulse on the San Francisco Peninsula at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

HomeSnaphttp://www.homesnap.com/Sabrina-Caton

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit our INSTAGRAM page: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

PINTREST: https://www.pinterest.com/thecatonteam/

Visit us on FACEBOOK:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

YELP us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or YELP me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheCatonTeam

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabrinawendtcaton

https://www.linkedin.com/in/susancatonrealtor

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Effective. Efficient. Responsive.  What Can The Caton Team Do For You?

 

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

 

28 Design Ideas Coming to Homes Near You in 2017

 

Looking for some great ideas for your home? How about a voice-activated assistant that will give you a weather update while you pour coffee into a preheated mug from a warming drawer? Not your style? No worries — there’s something for everyone in this preview of 2017 design trends. We plowed into Houzz data, sifted through popular photos and articles, and talked to industry leaders for this look at 28 things we think you’ll be seeing more of in the home in 2017.

  1. Satin brass.Brass finishes have been making a comeback in recent years, cherished for their ability to bring shiny golden tones to a space without the high price tag. But more recently, designers like Elizabeth Lawson have been turning away from the reflective finish of polished brass and embracing satin or brushed brass, which is more muted and warm.

    “I especially like a satinbrass finish because it’s transitional and can complement a number of styles,” says Lawson, who used the finish in the kitchen shown here. “It also looks amazing against almost any color of the rainbow. I think we’ll continue to see rooms with satin brass for quite some time and also possibly mixed with other finishes for a more eclectic look.”

  1. Voice-activated assistants. There’s been a lot of talk about voice assistants in the home. It’s something Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, which puts on the Consumer Electronics Show every year in Las Vegas (Jan. 5 to 8, 2017), says will be big in 2017.

Amazon’s Alexa, which is enabled in the Echo Dot shown on this side table, acts as a voice-activated interface for many smart home devices. Google Home’s voice assistant launched about a month ago.

These devices work through activation phrases like “Alexa” or “OK Google.” The devices, placed throughout your home, are always listening in somewhat of a dormant state. Say the activation phrase, and the device fires up and awaits your command. Ask it to give you the weather or play a song from Spotify or dim your lights or power up the hot tub.

Early last year, Amazon opened its platform to third parties and has since added thousands of integrated features from smart home companies like Lutron, Crestron, Philips Hue, Wemo, Honeywell, Nest, Samsung Smart Home to other services from Uber, Domino’s, NPR and more.

Google Home just launched its voice-activated assistant about a month ago, and DuBravac says he expects the company to open the platform to third-party companies soon.

“What you’re seeing is continued maturing of the smart home ecosystem,” he says. “It’s still a very nascent technology. Maturing isn’t something that happens instantaneously, but over time.”

  1. Vanity conversions. If you’re having trouble finding the right premanufactured vanity for your home, try thinking outside the cabinet box. Many savvy homeowners are finding chests of drawers, old file cabinets, vintage consoles and more, and converting them into one-of-a-kind vanity
  1. Hardworking kitchen storage walls. In search of more open space, many homeowners and designers are doing away with expanses of upper cabinets and pushing all that storage onto a single hardworking wall. This one-stop hub frees up the rest of the space to create a breezy look.
  1. White with off-white. There’s just something refreshing about a room bathed in white. But when done in one stark white tone, things can start to feel clinical. Balancing a white palette with creamy off-whites and natural linen hues creates a breathtaking look that can be rich with character.
  1. Greenery. Pantone’s verdant color of the year for 2017, Greenery, seems to be an instant hit for those looking for a revitalizing, back-to-nature hue that brings zest while still managing to work with warm wood tones.
  1. Splurging on laundry rooms. Everyone knows that kitchens and bathrooms get the big remodeling dollars, but many homeowners are seeing value in making every space look great. And laundry rooms in particular are seeing more love. Design tricks to bring in more light, smarter storage and better function resonate with homeowners who realize that since they spend a lot of time doing laundry, why not do it in a space that makes them feel good?

According to the 2016 Houzz & Home Report, people remodeling their laundry rooms of 150 square feet or more will spend an average of $2,700. Take away appliances, and that’s a sizable budget to splurge on tile and other details.

  1. Splurging on entryways. The entry, like a powder room, is a compact place where you can have fun with design without blowing a budget. Homeowners will spend on average $2,500 to make over their entryway or mudroom that’s 150 square feet or more ($1,400 for a space that’s less than 150 square feet), according to the 2016 Houzz & Home Report.

Sometimes all it takes is a small area to feature a fun piece of wallpaper, a statement mirror or a narrow table with a tray for shoes underneath. After all, first impressions matter.

  1. Outdoor-feeling indoor showers. An outdoor shower is highly desirable but not practical year-round in most areas of the country. To get around the weather dilemma, designers and homeowners are looking to intimate courtyards and strategic site placement to create bathrooms that connect deeply to the outdoors while still maintaining privacy.
  1. Counter-depth fridges. For small to modest-size kitchens, remodeling is often a game of inches. Counter-depth refrigerators sit flush with adjacent cabinetry and countertops, freeing up just a bit more space while creating a streamlined look.
  1. Between-studs storage niches. Here, designer Robin Schwadron carved out space for hidden toiletry storage behind a wall panel.
  1. High-tech toilets. Of the homeowners who are upgrading their toilet during a remodel, 20 percent will choose a model with at least one high-tech feature, according to a 2016 Houzz study of U.S. bathroom trends. Some of those features include self-cleaning, overflow and anti-clog protection, motion-activated seat and cover, built-in nightlight (as shown here), heated seating, self-deodorizer, and hands-free flushing.
  1. Black steel-and-glass doors. These glass-paneled and steel-frame doors are great for dark entryways that could use some natural light, and they make a statement for shower doors when frameless glass just doesn’t cut it.
  1. Contrasting islands. When it comes to cabinets and backsplashes, the color white dominates in kitchens. That’s according to a recent Houzz kitchen study. In larger spaces with islands, a white-on-white scheme can come off as too sterile-looking. Painting islands in darker colors helps bring contrast and balance.
  1. Wainscoting in bathrooms. Twenty percent of bathroom remodelers will choose painted wood panels in their bathrooms, according to the Houzz bathroom survey. Whether it’s traditional wood wainscoting or tile with a chair rail to break up the room, this design feature is a terrific way to add interest.
  1. Graphic floor tile in kitchens. Sometimes wall space is nonexistent in a kitchen, which diminishes the opportunity for a standout backsplash. To keep the airy feeling of your kitchen but still deliver visual impact, look to graphic floor tile, like the black-and-chalky white cement tile with a Moroccan-style pattern shown here.
  1. Playful bedside pendant lights. Forget boring old table lamps. Pendant lights free up bedside space for nightstand essentials and are especially helpful in small rooms.
  1. Kitchen entertaining hubs. If you’re lucky enough to have a spare wall in your kitchen, you may have debated about what to put there. Multipurpose is the name of the game, with designers looking to high-efficiency design that produces maximum function and style. Custom cabinets can transform a small wall into a storage and function workhorse, turning these previously cast-off areas into coffee and beverage centers, extra prep space, command and message kiosks, and much more.

Meanwhile, not skimping on design bears merit too. Backsplashes, glass-fronted cabinets, thoughtful lighting and elegant materials make these walls worth looking at.

  1. Amped-up coffee stations. If you thought people couldn’t get more pumped (make that double-pumped?) for coffee, you might be surprised. With 10 percent of homeowners adding built-in coffee stations, according to the Houzz & Home survey, the upgrades being offered are getting hotter all the time. How about a dedicated warming drawer for your mugs, as seen here? Or storage carved out specifically for those Nespresso or Keurig pods?
  1. Romantic bedroom colors. Most homeowners strive for a calm and cozy bedroom by sticking with walls painted in soothing blues, grays or yellows. But according to a recent Houzz survey, intimate or romantic is the third-most desired atmosphere for a master bedroom after calm and cozy. To achieve this mood, look to colors like raspberry pink, deep ruby red, caramel and even black.
  1. White-and-wood kitchens. To keep the all-white kitchen look from becoming too cold, designers and homeowners are introducing wood accents to help break up the look visually and provide much-needed warmth.
  1. Warm wood cabinets. Taking that concept a step further, warm wood cabinets in modern styles are gaining in popularity. These aren’t the honey-colored, off-the-shelf cabinets from the 1990s, but rather clean-lined, beautifully stained versions that celebrate various wood grains and species.
  1. Perked-up side yards. Side yards get a bad rap. Often shaded, noisy from the air-conditioning unit and relegated to a holding area for junk you plan to throw away someday, these spaces see their fair share of neglect. But homeowners use these areas frequently as footpaths around the home, and some are seeing the potential for beautifying their side yards and creating more usable outdoor space.
  1. Hexagonal tile backsplashes. If you’re looking for a break from the rectangular subway tiles or small square mosaics that seem to show up in almost every kitchen, then it’s time to think geometrical.
  1. Walls of tile in bathrooms and kitchens. Many homeowners are eschewing the typical above-the-countertop, below-the-cabinets backsplash format and going a bit more dramatic with full floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall tile coverage.

In bathrooms, tile is going everywhere. Many designers and homeowners find that it’s a minor splurge to buy enough tile to cover the walls of a relatively small or medium-size bathroom or kitchen.

  1. Dutch doors. Dutch doors let in breezes and light while keeping pets and small kids safe. We’re seeing these doors pop up in everything from kitchens to entryways.
  1. Statement-making bathroom sinks. Eighty-eight percent of people remodeling a bathroom will change out the sink, according to a recent Houzz bathroom study.
  1. Hanging chairs. Although these have been around for a while, they’re popping up more lately, and not just in living rooms. They’re a great way to add an extra seat with a fun statement to a room.

Your turn: What’s big on your design list for 2017?

I read this article at: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/76592040?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u4347&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery1&newsletterId=4347

Remember to follow our Blog for the local real estate beat, a pulse on the San Francisco Peninsula at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

HomeSnaphttp://www.homesnap.com/Sabrina-Caton

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit our INSTAGRAM page: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

PINTREST: https://www.pinterest.com/thecatonteam/

Visit us on FACEBOOK:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

YELP us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or YELP me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheCatonTeam

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabrinawendtcaton

https://www.linkedin.com/in/susancatonrealtor

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Effective. Efficient. Responsive.  What Can The Caton Team Do For You?

 

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008