What You Need to Know before Shopping for a Mortgage

Buying a home doesn’t start with the house – it starts with the home loan.  I cannot tell you how important it is for Buyers to LOAN SHOP BEFORE they house shop!  It is a task only the Buyer can do.  Your Realtor cannot apply for home loans for you.  It is a LOT OF WORK!  Ask anyone who recently brought a home, you will be scanning and rescanning documents till you’re blue in the face.  I find many people shy from the responsibility which will only make their journey into homeownership much more difficult.  In our Silicon Valley Market – Time is of the Essence.  I say this because it is also a term in our legally binding contract – not just a sediment of our breakneck speed.   

So when I read this article, I knew I had to share it.  So here you go…

What You Need to Know before Shopping for a Mortgage

Buying a home is probably the largest purchase you will ever make. The best ways to ensure that you do not make a mistake that could cost you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars over the term of the loan is to shop around for the best possible mortgage for your circumstances. What should you know before hopping for your loan?

How is your credit?

Whether you get a loan or not is dependent on your personal credit situation. You must have a credit score that will assure you of meeting the lender’s requirements for approval. Also, the rates you are offered for the loan will be a direct result of your credit scores. Therefore, before going mortgage shopping, access your credit reports and scores. Just because your credit is not perfect does not mean you would not qualify for a mortgage. If there are negative entries on your credit reports, make sure that they are accurate. Errors are commonly made and they result in depressed scores. There are laws that govern what and how information is reported on your credit reports. These laws were passed toprotect you. If you do not know how to exercise your consumer rights, there are legitimate Credit Restoration companies who could do this for you (like New You Credit Repair). Look for the NACSO logo on their website to assure yourself that these companies are legitimate.

Want to know more about getting a mortgage or bettering your credit profile and scores, give us a call!  650.568.5522 / Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Comparison Shop

Before choosing a mortgage, do a little comparison shopping and get information from several lenders. You should ask for quotes from commercial banks, mortgage companies, and credit unions and compare the rates you receive for the types of mortgages offered. Most people are surprised to find significant differences in the offers they are given.

Clarify Costs

Make sure you know upfront all of the costs associated with a mortgage. You should ask for specific information concerning:

•Rates

•Points

•Fees

•Down Payments

•Mortgage Insurance

•Closing Costs

The goal is to avoid any surprises concerning hidden fees, so never feel as if you are asking too many questions. The more you know the less risk there is you will end up with a mortgage you cannot afford.

Negotiate

It is possible to negotiate a better offer than what you are initially given. If you like things about one mortgage offer and other things about another mortgage offer, let the lenders know what you have been offered and see if they will work with you to get you the exact mortgage you want.

Communication is key in this process.  Speak freely with your lender, your Reatlor and yourself.  Ask questions.  Do the ‘Homework’.  The Caton Team has over 25 years combined Silicon Valley Real Estate Experience.  We know what it takes!  Curious if you can buy – give us a call or email to set up a complimentary evaluation.   650.568.5522 / Info@TheCatonTeam.com

I read this article at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-you-need-know-before-shopping-mortgage-stephen-leifer

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 LinkedInhttps://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

San Mateo County Farmers Markets, Events & Things to Do!

San Mateo County Farmers Markets, Events & Things to Do!

FARMERS MARKETS

Belmont
Year-round: Sun 10:00am-2:00pm
El Camino Real and O’Neill Ave

Brisbane
Year-round: Thur 2:30-6:30pm
11 Old County Road

Daly City
Year-round: Thur & Sat 9:00am-1:00pm
Serramonte Shopping Center 

Foster City
Year-Round: Sat. 9:00am-1:00pm
Sun. 2:30pm-6:30pm
791 Beach Park Blvd. 

Menlo Park
Year-round: Sun. 9:00am-1:00pm
1050 Chestnut St. 

Millbrae
Year-round: Sat. 8:00am-1:00pm
200 Broadway, Millbrae

Redwood City
Multiple Venues and Times – see link

San Mateo
Year-round: Sat. 9:00am-1:00pm
College of San Mateo

San Carlos
Year-round: Sun. 10:00am-2:00pm
700 Block Laurel Street

Events

Community Day in the Park
June 4, 2017
12:00pm-5:00pm
San Bruno City Park

Summer Foodfest
June 24, 2017
12:00pm
Facebook Headquarters

Biggest Little Airshow
June 3, 2017
10:00am
Hiller Aviation Museum
San Carlos

cityFEST
June 2-4, 2017
5:00pm
Leo Ryan Park
Foster City

Summer Concert Series – Beatles Tribute
June 14, 2017
6:30pm-8:00pm
Fremont Park
Menlo Park

Free First Fridays
June 2, 2017
10:00am-4:00pm
San Mateo County History Museum
Redwood City

Movies on the Square – Hidden Figures
June 1, 2017
8:45pm-11:00pm
Courthouse Square
Redwood City

St. Pius Festival
June 3-4, 2017
1:00pm-10:00pm
St. Pius Church
Redwood City

First Fridays
June 2, 2017
10:16am
Barracuda Japanese Restaurant
Burlingame

San Mateo County Fair
June 10-18, 2017
10:00am
San Mateo County Event Center

 

THINGS TO DO

Planet Granite Belmont
Crystal Springs Regional Trail 
San Bruno Mountain State Park
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
Peninsula Museum of Art 
Hiller Aviation Museum 
San Mateo County History Museum
Filoli
Bay Area Ski Bus
Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company
Bel Mateo Bowl 
Half Moon Bay State Beach 
Poplar Creek Golf Course
Half Moon Bay Golf Links
CuriOdyssey
S
anchez Adobe
M
emorial Park  
Club Fox
U
nleashed Art Gallery 
Museum of PEZ Memorabilia
GoKart Racer

 

MOVIES COMING SOON

Friday, June 2, 2017
Wonder Woman
Captain Underpants
Churchill

Friday, June 9, 2017
The Mummy
The Hero

Friday, June 16, 2017
Cars 3
Rough Night
Resident Evil: Vendetta

Friday, June 23, 2017
Transformers: The Last Knight
The Beguiled

Friday, June 30, 2017
Despicable Me 3
The House

 

Courtesy of Chicago Title Company
17 Father’s Day Activities: Source.

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 LinkedInhttps://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

What it takes to purchase a home…tips for planning

What it takes to purchase a home…tips for planning

When thinking about purchasing a new home, it’s always a good idea to factor in the closing costs so you can properly plan and manage your finances. In general, you can expect to pay 2-5% of the purchase price in closing costs in addition to the down payment.

 

Total costs at closing can typically include the following:

Down Payment  3.5% – 20% of the purchase price depending on a buyer’s qualifications and type of loan.

Earnest Money Deposit (generally 3% of the purchase price)  The money put down with a real estate purchase offer  – it usually goes into an escrow account upon acceptance of the offer by the seller and is part of the buyer’s total closing costs and down payment.

Lender Fees  Includes charges for loan processing, underwriting and preparation

Third-party Fees  Includes appraisal fees, inspection charges, home warranty, mandated state disclosure reports (not already paid by seller)

Government Fees  Includes deed recording, possible state and city taxes

Interest Fees  Includes mortgage interest and pro-rated interest

Escrow Fees  Includes owner and lender title insurance, escrow fees, document preparation

Property Taxes  Includes capital tax based on sale price, local taxes

Please do not hesitate to contact us when you are ready to take the next step. We can help you to get approved and guide you on the way to home ownership.  What can we do for you?

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 LinkedInhttps://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

SPECIAL POST – Making an Offer: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Making an Offer: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

I had to post this article the moment I read it. So timely – and allow me to add my Silicon Valley Realtor 2 cents in italics.  

In competitive housing markets across the country, making an offer that sticks has become increasingly difficult. Ensure your client doesn’t make the process even tougher by succumbing to one of these common mistakes.

The Caton Team works with Sellers and Buyers up and down the San Francisco Peninsula.  So we know – as a Seller’s Realtor  – what we want to see in an offer and supporting documents which only aids us when we represent Buyers.  

Delaying

“Time kills deals,” says Andrew Sandholm of BOND New York Properties in New York. “Dragging your feet means you could wind up paying more in a bidding war situation or missing out on the property altogether.” Buyers need to be ready with their paperwork, such as bank statements, a pre-approval letter, and documents supporting proof of funds, from the day they begin house-hunting mode. That way they can pounce quickly with an offer when they do find a home they like.

My goodness, this is the truth.  In fact, in order to ensure my Buyers a smoother experience, I no longer show homes until the Buyer has been pre-approved.  A Buyer MUST KNOW their own budget, how much they can afford, how much their lives cost BEFORE they start house hunting.  Once we find a home, we must focus on THAT HOME and the disclosures package.  When we sit down to write an offer, that is NOT the time to discuss budget.  That’s the time to discuss the home, condition, inspections, disclosures and how much it is worth to you.  To be frank – to be a successful Buyer in the Silicon Valley – a Buyer should have Under Writer Approval.  That is what it takes to be a strong and successful  Buyer in the Silicon Valley Real Estate Market.  Curious what that means – give The Caton Team a call.

Making an offer for their preapproved amount

Smart buyers are getting preapproved to show a seller they’re financially able to purchase a home. However, Chuck Silverston, principal at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty in Brookline, Mass., warns buyers against using that document to come up with an offer amount.

“Many buyers come in with a preapproval for the exact offer price, but when you’re competing against other offers, including cash offers, you want to show financial strength,” Silverston says. “An exact preapproval could make a listing agent nervous because not only does the buyer not have any wiggle room to negotiate, but they might no longer qualify if interest rates rise.”

There was a time in our Real Estate Market that we would customize each lender approval letter with the offer price.  It was a a way of not showing all your cards at once.  For instance, you are approved for $3 million but your letter and offer says $2 million.  Well when the Sellers Realtor lines up the offers and tries to determine financial strength – having no wiggle room in your lender letter will diminish your financial strength.  And sadly, though my lender calls on behalf of my Buyers to each offer we write – many lenders do not call.  I know this as my phone is radio silent on offer day – too bad more lenders don’t step up to the plate and offer wonderful customer service.  But that is a whole other blog!

Submitting a lowball offer

Lowballing a seller often backfires, particularly in a seller’s market. “A lowball offer that isn’t backed up with math or comparable sales data is disrespectful and could turn off the seller and possibly mean you will miss out on the property completely,” Sandholm says.

From time to time, as a Seller’s Realtor – we’ll get these mysterious faxed in offers.  (I joke, they are not faxed anymore) but you get my gist.  They are awful offers, terribly written, and low.  Too low.  Insultingly low.  As a Seller – don’t get offended.  As a professional Realtor – The Caton Team knows how to handle these delicate situations.

Waiving inspection contingencies

“I don’t care whether it’s new construction or even your mom’s house you’re buying from her – get it inspected,” urges Joshua Jarvis of Jarvis Team Realty in Duluth, Ga. Further, if you waive the inspection contingency in your offer, you may lose the earnest money if you later back out of the deal.

Well, if you are a Buyer in the Silicon Valley – and you’ve written more than one offer – you have learned the hard way that contingencies are deal killers in a sellers market.  If a Buyer is in a multiple offer situation – any contingency can and probably will throw you to the bottom of the stack.  HOWEVER, The Caton Team understands what a Seller wants in their offer and we understand what the Buyer needs.  The Caton Team has a great Buyer Strategy when these critical terms are at stake.  Come sit down with us and we’ll discuss our distinctive Buying in Silicon Valley strategy.  

Not presenting yourself well enough

In a seller’s market, buyers need to take steps to make sure they look good in the eyes of the seller. “In today’s highly competitive environment, the listing agent is trying to determine which buyer will be the easiest to deal with,” Silverston says. Buyers may want to avoid pointing out every defect, making nitpicky queries, or questioning the seller’s tastes.

“Basically buyers who act less than enthusiastic will see themselves at a competitive disadvantage when sellers are comparing multiple offers,” he says.

“The easiest to deal with”… Did you catch that phrase?  When the Caton Team works with Sellers and reviews offers – we are looking for the best offer, with the best terms that WILL CLOSE ESCROW!.  Taking a great – high offer – no contingencies blah blah blah – won’t matter a hill of beans if it does not close escrow.  

What sets The Caton Team apart from other Realtors is our level of hustle.  I don’t know another word for what I do when I represent a Buyer.  I hustle.  Ask my clients.  Read my YELP reviews.  I work hard.  Finding a home is no longer my principle job as a Realtor.  I know that sounds funny but with the internet and all the listings available online 24/7 – finding the home has become the Buyers Journey.  But GETTING THE HOME – is what I do best.  The Caton Team has exceptional  negotiating skills.  It starts with the first call to our fellow Realtor when we find the home, through the disclosure review, through the offer writing, through the offer presenting.  Yes, The Caton Team still presents their offers.  When possible we take the time to present the offer to the Sellers Agent, we ask questions before, during and after.  If you have ever worked with us – you will know and see the difference in our level of service.  Any agent can find a home, but The Caton Team will guide you on how to get the home YOU WANT! 

What does that mean?  Well you know – come sit down with The Caton Team and we’ll chat about it.  

How can The Caton Team help you?

Thank you for read,

Sabrina

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2017/05/10/making-offer-5-mistakes-avoid?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BZE0AQB9bqaWV2&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 LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/sabrinawendtcaton

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

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

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

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

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

7 Ways to Get Your Budget Under Control

Since the holiday is upon us….

 

7 Ways to Get Your Budget Under Control

 

Are you watching every penny that comes in and out of your business? Use these tips to get a better grip on your income and expenses.

 

BY GRAHAM WOOD

 

Alex Milshteyn admits that he wasn’t running his real estate business properly. He wasn’t keeping track of the money he earned versus the money he spent, and he wasn’t pocketing as much cash as he thought he should. “I always had the feeling I was making good money, but I was always broke,” says Milshteyn, CRS, GRI, a team leader at Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel in Ann Arbor, Mich., whose team sales volume was $62 million last year. “I had no idea how much money I was making and where the money was going.”

So he started paying closer attention to the numbers, and that’s when he learned some important lessons about budgeting. At the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando, Fla., on Friday, Milshteyn offered attendees some of his secrets to better budgeting and business planning, not the least of which, he says, is to pay yourself first. “The reason why we budget is to make sure we make some money, so start from the bottom up. Ask yourself what you want to make next year, and then figure out how to lower your expenses first.”

Here are some other tips Milshteyn provided for better annual budgeting for your business:

  • Don’t set goals based on an assumption that the market is going to get better. You have to be realistic about how much you want to earn, and if you had a bad year this year, you can’t overshoot how much you want to improve next year. “If you close $3 million one year, and next year you plan on closing $15 million – is that really going to happen?” Milshteyn says. “Set your expectations based on the market.”
  • Assume a 2 percent annual increase for every line item in your budget. Adjust for rising living expenses and inflation. “Open up your credit card statements from this year, figure out what you spent money on, and use that as a gauge for what to budget for next year,” Milshteyn says. He adds that as you review, you should constantly ask yourself: “What was I thinking?” When you see an expense you wish you hadn’t made, cut it out of your budget for next year.
  • Pretend you can’t rely on credit cards in bad months. Factor in the typically slower sales months into your budget so you can figure out your expenses and the income you’ll need during that time. That way, you won’t be so apt to pull out your credit cards for non-emergencies and get yourself deeper in debt. Milshteyn also suggests leaving credit cards at home or in your hotel room if you’re traveling. “When I walked through a trade show, I was a living credit card,” he says. “Don’t take your wallet to expo floors. It’ll give you a chance to think about what you should and shouldn’t purchase before you act.”
  • Hustle with vendors. Milshteyn says his credit cards expire every 12 months, which forces vendors to call for the expiration date of his new cards at the same time every year. When they call, “I always say, ‘I’ve been thinking about canceling. Is there anything you can do for me to make me stay?’ All of a sudden, they get very creative to keep your business.”
  • Only spend money on products that produce income for you. Review all the things you use to market your business, and count how many clients each has brought you. If you’ve been spending on print advertising for 15 years, but you can’t tie a single client to a print ad in the last few years, it’s probably time to stop taking out print ads. Reviewing your marketing tactics will also give you a chance to reevaluate the effectiveness of new technologies that may promise a big return but won’t work for you. “I bought a drone a year ago,” Milshteyn says. “It’s still in the box.”
  • If you have employees, budget for more than the cost of their wages. More comes out of your pocket than what you pay per hour for an assistant. Remember to factor in unemployment insurance, social security and Medicare taxes, bonuses, and other local employment taxes.
  • Always ask for an extension at tax time. Milshteyn says he learned from his CPA that the IRS hires temporary workers to process tax filings for the traditional April 15 deadline, and they may not be trained well-enough to understand items related to your business. “You have a 75 percent greater chance of getting audited if you file on April 15,” Milshteyn says. He advises real estate professionals to always ask for an extension to file on Oct. 15 – even if you’re ready to file in April. You’re more likely to get more qualified people reviewing your tax filings after the April deadline.

 

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2016/11/7-ways-get-your-budget-under-control?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BYIjXLB9UYVfE8&om_ntype=BTNMonthly

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

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

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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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

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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

 

Resale Issues Buyers Don’t Think About

Thought this was a great article to share – always important to think of the entire real estate investment picture.  If you have any questions or comments please let us know!

 

Resale Issues Buyers Don’t Think About

 

Remind your clients that even if these “adverse situations” wouldn’t bother them as home owners, they could be the bane of their existence as sellers.

BY MARY MCINTOSH

 

In 2002, when I first got my real estate license, I took a class at my brokerage about how to show properties. Seems silly, right? How hard is it to unlock the door? But this class was about practical ways to make sure the buyer focuses on the most important factors of a home. I still follow some of the tips from this class today. One of them was to advocate caution to a buyer considering a house with an “adverse situation.”

What’s that? It’s a condition that will affect the resale of the property. I remember the instructor saying, “When my past clients call me up and ask me to sell the house I helped them buy, I don’t want to then explain to them the fact that they back to a major road will affect their value.” That hit me. No, it’s not the agent’s job to choose the home for the buyer, but they do deserve to know that if they purchase a home with an unchangeable adverse situation, it will always sell for less than similar homes and may stay on the market longer.

Selling is stressful no matter what the market is like, but in a flat or down market, it is 100 times worse. So since we can’t predict the future, I prefer to talk to buyers up front about adverse situations — deal killers, I call them — so they know what they’re getting into. And what might those deal killers be? These are the six I run into most often in my business. If you’ve dealt with others, leave a comment at the bottom of the article.

  • Power lines: I hadn’t considered this one a deal killer until one of my first buyers backed out of a sale contract because she feared the power lines behind the home would give her cancer. Then I learned just how popular this myth is, as buyer after buyer has brought up a similar concern ever since. Just like fears about cell phone radiation, people have come to worry that the low-level radiation from high-voltage power lines will make them sick — even though governmental studies have not found such a link. But perception is everything in the pursuit of a sale. Many people also find power lines aesthetically displeasing, so you may want to warn your buyers of the trouble they could face at resale.
  • New subdivisions: Brand-new homes are a big draw for many buyers, but if your clients are looking in a subdivision that will be under construction for years to come, you may want to advise them that resale could be difficult for the foreseeable future. They’ll be competing with brand-new construction for however long developers are building in the area, and that will make their lives difficult for many reasons. Beyond the appeal of new homes, builders also have deep pockets and can offer many incentives to buyers that traditional sellers can’t. Don’t set your clients up to compete with that if they might want to relocate in five years.
  • Neighboring a business: I once had a neighbor whose home backed up to the rear of a grocery store. Guess when grocery stores get their deliveries? All night long. Those delivery people didn’t care who was sleeping at 4 a.m. or whether they were being too loud for the new mom next door with a baby she was trying to put to sleep. Now, not every business is going to be this disruptive all night long, but just let your buyers know that if their neighbors aren’t home owners just like them, they may have issues to deal with.
  • Environmental concerns: In my area in Arizona, the west-facing backyard is an immediate deal killer. During summer sunsets — a time of day when many people are home — the back of the house heats up even hotter than it usually is around this neck of the woods. Not an enjoyable experience when you’re trying to relax after a long day. It also makes barbecuing on the back patio unbearable. Your location may have different adverse situations depending on the environment in your state. In Washington, where my brother sells, he tries to avoid homes in forested areas that might be in danger of burning down.
  • Subtle noises: When buyers tour homes, they’re listening for noise from nearby airports, train tracks, or highways and major roads. They’re probably a little more oblivious to the barking dog next door or the neighbor with parrots and a full aviary in their yard — or a chicken coop. Sometimes these noises are only passing aggravations and aren’t permanent, but you should tell your clients that if they hear it now, they’ll probably hear it in the future. And that can affect the next buyer’s opinion when they’re ready to sell.
  • Peculiar ideas of privacy: Speaking of noise, highways and major roads are an obvious problem at resale, but some buyers prefer backing to a busy road rather than another home for privacy reasons. If your client is one of these people, you should tell them they’re a rare breed. For most people, the privacy benefit won’t outweigh the disturbance of the noise. Make sure your buyers understand the tradeoff they’re buying into.

With all that said, you’ll have buyers who won’t mind any of these adverse situations. My home, for example, is in the flight path of a small nearby airport. It occasionally sounds like these planes are landing on my house. Why would I buy such a home knowing how it will affect my resale? It was an awesome deal — and I mean awesome. I was lucky enough to find it right at the bottom of Arizona’s market in 2011. I knew what I was buying, and I know what I will face when I sell. For me, the value was there. So while you should keep your buyers informed of the challenges homes might pose at resale, at the end of the day, you always follow their lead.

 

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2016/11/resale-issues-buyers-dont-think-about?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BYIjXLB9UYVfE8&om_ntype=BTNMonthly

Remember to follow our Blog 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

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

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

VISIT OUR INSTAGRAM PAGE: http://instagram.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

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

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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