Guide to Buying a Home

The Early Bird’s Guide to Buying a Home

By Daniel Bortz

Edited by Sabrina

 

Planning to buy a home this year?  Then – is the time to get rolling.

“Spring is peak home-buying season, which means you’re going to have a ton of competition from other buyers,” says Peggy Yee, supervising broker at Frankly Realtors in Vienna, VA. Hence, winter is the ideal time to get ahead of the curve.  But life happens when you make other plans.  Regardless of when you want to buy – follow these steps and you’ll be way ahead of the pack.

Step No. 1: Find a buyer’s agent

Teaming up with a Realtor is your first step.  For starters, an agent can take the time to help you identify what type of home you want and educate you on the local market so that you’ll have realistic expectations of what you’ll be able to find in a few months.

Also, “your agent may hear of properties that are going to come on the market or sold off market, which could enable you to get a sneak peek at homes before other buyers.”

To find a real estate agent, you can ask friends or family for referrals, or use a reputable real estate database.

“If you’re laser-focused on a specific neighborhood, you’ll want to work with a neighborhood specialist—someone who knows the community like the back of their hand,” Yee advises.

Step No. 2: Get your financing squared away

Before you even lay eyes on a house, you should be looking at lenders. Why? Because lenders will help you get real about how much house you can afford. They will determine how much money they’re willing to lend you by checking out your financial details, from your income to your credit score and more. Plus, if your finances are less than perfect, you’ll be able to find out in plenty of time to make amends.

“Depending on what shape your credit is in, it may take a couple of months to raise your score,” says Richard Redmond, mortgage broker at All California Mortgage in Larkspur and author of “Mortgages: The Insider’s Guide.”

There’s no magic spell to banish poor credit; the strategy will depend on your financial situation.

“For some people, it might make sense to pay off their credit card balances over the next couple of months, but that might not be the right move if you’re going to need the money for closing costs,” Redmond explains. Thus, it’s beneficial to get credit advice from a mortgage professional at least two to three months before you plan to buy.

If your credit score is strong (760 and above will qualify you for the best interest rates), getting pre-approved for a home loan now makes sense.

“Pre-approval is usually only good for 90 days,” says Redmond, “but it’s easy to renew it if the borrower’s financial picture doesn’t change. And when interest rates are trending upward, which they currently are, it’s better to lock in your rate sooner rather than later.”  And remember – you don’t lock a rate until you have an accepted offer.  Now that’s a whole other blog.

Step No. 3: Start previewing homes

You’ll probably do an initial consultation with your agent to identify what type of home you want to buy. However, you won’t really know what type of home you’re looking for until you actually step inside some homes, says Lisa Cahill, co-owner of Evolve Real Estate in St. Petersburg, FL.

“Your criteria can change when you start to look at properties,” says Cahill. For example, you might think you need a home with 2,500 square feet of living space, but that number could change when you start seeing homes in person. Your real estate agent can alert you to open houses to attend so you get a feel of homes on your own.  As you would in your own life.

Step No. 4: Scrutinize prospective neighborhoods

Have your sights set on a particular neighborhood? Check it out – to see if the community is going to be a good fit.

“You can tell whether an area has good schools on paper, but there are a lot of things you can’t judge unless you go there in person,” says Cahill.

For instance, online research won’t show you what the noise level is during rush hour or what the neighbors are like (e.g., is it more for young families or older residents?). Those are things that you need to assess with your own eyes. Concerned about traffic? “Go and test-drive your commute,” says Yee.

Step No. 5: Don’t rule out buying early or later

Even if you had originally planned to buy later in the spring, what if you find a home you absolutely love earlier or later? If you’re willing and able to move earlier or later, then keep an open mind with respect to buying a home.

If you’re thinking of buying this year – let’s sit down and chat.  I’m sure you have questions and we probably have the answer – and if we don’t we know who does.  Contact the Caton Team for a free Real Estate consultation.

 

I read this article at: http://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/early-birds-guide-buying-home/?identityID=9851214&MID=2017_0217_WeeklyNL&RID=353497822&cid=eml-2017-0217-WeeklyNL-blog_2_earlybirdbuying-blogs_buy

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/

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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

 

Bidding Wars to Heat Up This Spring

Bidding Wars to Heat Up This Spring

 

Likely to be a hallmark of this year’s spring homeselling season: Bidding wars. As home listings are scarcer and buyer demand remains high, home shoppers are finding a lot more competition this spring, particularly in hot markets like the San Francisco Bay area, Denver, and Boston.

“Home buyers are going to find this spring that, in a lot of markets, the inventory of homes priced and sized at price levels they were hoping for will be very limited,” Thomas Lawler, a former Fannie Mae economist who’s now a housing consultant in Leesburg, Va., told Bloomberg. Even “unlikely places are getting significantly tighter.”

An improving job market, growing consumer confidence, and the threat of rising mortgage rates have Americans flocking to housing. But many markets remain tight for listings. Housing starts remain well below levels prior to the recession and are geared more toward the higher end of the market. Homeowners also are reluctant to sell their existing home because they’re unsure of where they’d move to with the dearth of listings.

Homes are selling at a rapid clip in places like Denver; Seattle; Oakland, Calif.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Boise, Idaho; Madison, Wis.; and Omaha, Neb., according to the real estate brokerage Redfin.

Grand Rapids has seen a 27 percent decrease in the number of homes for sale over the past year. One listing alone reportedly attracted 40 bids.

“People need to get their houses on the market, but they’re gun-shy,” Tanya Craig, an associate broker with the Katie K team at Keller Williams, told Bloomberg. “Unless they know where they want to go, everyone is hesitant.”

Home buyers certainly aren’t being hesitant, if they can find a home they want. They’re in a rush for financing too. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has risen by more than half a percentage point since November 2016. The Federal Reserve last week voted to increase its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point and strongly hinted it would do so two more times this year.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is expected to increase to 4.7 percent by the end of 2017 and could reach 5.5 percent next year, according to Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®.

“In today’s market, many buyers think the trough in rates is over,” says Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic. “If you don’t get in now, it’s just going to be worse later. Rates will be higher, prices will be higher, and maybe inventory selection will be lower.”

Don’t worry – this information is old hat to the Silicon Valley Real Estate Market.  If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home this season – contact the Caton Team.  We’ll guide you each step of the way!

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2017/03/20/bidding-wars-heat-up-spring?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BY0Co2B9Zsr5UW&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

 

How to Protect Your Clients From Hackers

How to Protect Your Clients From Hackers

It’s important to have conversations with your clients now about how to safeguard against scams, as hackers are increasingly targeting real estate transactions. Instances are becoming more common in which criminals hack into real estate professionals’ emails and send messages to their clients asking for down payment funds to be wired to a fraudulent account. These accounts are usually offshore, and once the money has been transferred, it’s nearly impossible to recover.

“One mistake could cost you your life savings,” warns Al Sargent, senior director of product marketing at online security company OneLogin. “And there is little to no recourse to be taken. Hackers are attracted to it because it’s a lot of money protected by very little security. This is like banks shipping money around in a convertible instead of an armored vehicle.”

The recent Yahoo! security breach compromising more than 1 billion email accounts should put real estate pros on alert. So what can you do to combat scams and protect your clients? Some agents are including language in their email signatures warning clients to be vigilant against suspicious messages during a transaction, particularly near closing time.

But you can also make it more difficult for scammers to access your email and online information. Jessica Edgerton, associate counsel with the National Association of REALTORS®, urges practitioners to adopt a two-step authentication process, which confirms your identity with both a password and a secondary code sent by text or phone call. Edgerton also urges agents to never conduct business over public Wi-Fi and to take extra caution about what links they click on.

To better protect your clients, always use secure technology such as DocuSign and ZipLogix for sharing and signing documents, Edgerton notes. “People are just so used to email as a form of communication and document sharing, and really it’s not an ideal or secure form,” Edgerton says. “Until the technology is able to be perfected and secured, everyone needs to stay aware of the problem and educate each other. We are dealing with international crime syndicates who are highly organized and highly professional. If we aren’t careful, they are going to keep the upper hand.”

You can imagine how frightening this is for my industry and others.  We have taken steps, along with out Title & Escrow affiliates to ensure security steps.  Alway follow up with a phone call to your Realtor or Escrow team if you get any email regarding monies and bank accounts.  

Source: “The $72,000 Question You Should Be Asking Your Real Estate Agent,” MarketWatch (Dec. 28, 2016)

 I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2016/12/30/how-protect-your-clients-from-hackers?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BYZs0sB9W3kUB$&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

 

Tax Benefits of Owning a Home: Do You Know Them All?

Tax Benefits of Owning a Home: Do You Know Them All?

 By Margaret Heidenry

The joys of homeownership are many: Your own house is a place to make sweet memories, build a financial nest egg, and whittle down your tax bill. Wait, what? Yep, it’s true: Your home can save you a bundle on April 15.

We’ve rounded up every last way to take advantage of the tax benefits of owning a home. Read on for the full rundown just to make sure you aren’t missing any, then pat yourself on the back for all the moolah you’ll save!

Tax write-off No. 1: Your mortgage interest

This is the biggie tax benefit of owning a home: the ability to deduct the mortgage interest you pay over the course of a year. And the more recent your mortgage, the greater your tax savings.

“The way mortgage payments are amortized, the first payments are almost all interest—so that’s why the mortgage interest deduction is worth the most in the first few years of the loan,” says Wendy Connick, owner of Connick Financial Solutions. (See how your loan amortizes and how much you’re paying in interest with this mortgage calculator.)

Here’s how this deduction looks for a married couple in the 28% tax bracket (that means a joint annual income between $151,201 and $230,450) who bought a home with a $300,000, 30-year mortgage at a 4% interest rate. They will pay $11,904 in mortgage interest their first year. Once you add in the other itemized federal deductions below, these homeowners can expect to save at least $3,333 in taxes during their initial year of ownership.

Tax write-off No. 2: Your property taxes

Generally, your property taxes are deductible on your tax return, says Brian Ashcraft, director of compliance at Liberty Tax Service. And that could be a hefty savings. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average household property tax is $2,127. If you have a mortgage, your taxes are built into your monthly payment.

You can also pay property taxes early and write off the entire expense if you’re staring down a large tax bill for any given year. Just note that you must claim the deduction in the year you wrote the check. For example, if you paid your 2017 property tax in 2016, claim that tax benefit on your 2016 return. Here’s more info on how to calculate property taxes.

Tax write-off No. 3: Private mortgage insurance

If you put less than 20% down on your home, odds are you’re paying private mortgage insurance, or PMI, which costs from 0.3% to 1.15% of your home loan. But Uncle Sam’s willing to give you a tax break here by allowing you to deduct this amount from your income, too.

How much you’ll save: If you make $100,000 and put down 5% on a $200,000 house, you’ll pay about $1,500 in annual PMI premiums and thus cut taxable income by $1,500.

Note: The deduction is due to expire this year, says Connick. “Unless Congress renews it, the deduction will not be available for the 2017 tax year.”

Tax write-off No. 4: Energy-efficiency upgrades

Don’t miss out on tax credits for any “green” updates you’ve done to your home in the past year, says Michael Banks, founder of FortunateInvestor.com. The Renewable Energy Efficiency Property Credit allows you to claim a credit for up to 30% of the cost of equipment you purchased that uses renewable energy sources (e.g., solar panels and wind turbines).

Other home upgrades like new HVAC systems, energy-efficient windows, and storm doors can also earn a tax credit of up to $500. For example, if you installed central air conditioning, you can claim a $300 credit. This credit for residential energy-efficiency improvements expired at the end of 2016, so hopefully you made these improvements last year. If not, there’s still time for solar panels, since this credit runs through 2019.

Tax write-off No. 5: A home office

If you work from home, your office space and expenses can be deducted from your income, too. According to Vincenzo Villamena, managing partner of Online Taxman, you can take a $5-per-square-foot deduction for up to 300 square feet of office space, which amounts to a maximum deduction of $1,500. Understand, however, that there are strict rules on what constitutes a dedicated, fully deductible home office space. Your accountant can lead you through it.

Tax write-off No. 6: Home improvements to age in place

Many older homeowners plan to stay put and age in place—and if that entails renovations such as wheelchair ramps or grab bars in slippery bathrooms, the cost of these improvements for you, a spouse, or dependent results in a nice tax break, says Jayson Mullin, owner of Top Tax Defenders.

“You can deduct the amount by which the cost of the improvements exceeds the increase in your home’s value,” says Mullin. To break that down, let’s say the cost of installing a ramp totals $10,000 and increases your home’s value by $7,000. Then the allowable deduction would equal $3,000.

Just remember, these “aging in place” deductions must cost more than 10% of your adjusted gross income. So if your AGI is $60,000, there’s no deduction for the first $6,000 of medical home improvement expenses. But if you’re 65 and older, the expense must exceed only 7.5% of your AGI.

Tax write-off No. 7: Interest on a home equity line of credit

If you’ve tapped into your home equity by taking out a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, the interest you pay on the loan is also deductible provided you use this money to pay for home improvements or repairs.

How much you’ll save depends on the amount borrowed, but let’s crunch some sample numbers: If you take out a four-year $20,000 HELOC at 4%, you’ll have an $800 deductible that will save you about $205 in the first year of your loan. Use this calculator to see how much you’ll save.

 

 

I read this article at: http://www.realtor.com/advice/finance/tax-benefits-of-owning-a-home/?identityID=9851214&MID=2017_0224_WeeklyNL&RID=353497822&cid=eml-2017-0224-WeeklyNL-blog_7_owninghometaxbenefits-blogs_trends

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

 

The Problem Aging Owners Are Up Against

The Problem Aging Owners Are Up Against

Rural areas are expected to see more growth in the 65-and-older population than urban areas over the next few decades, according to a report by the Urban Institute. But for those expecting to grow old in their home, it could prove problematic. Many of the aging homes in rural areas are not suitable for elderly homeowners, the report says.

Sixty-one percent of homeowners age 55 and older say they plan to remain in their home as they age, according to the 2016 Aging-in-Place Report. The report says more education is needed on not just explaining what it means to age in place but also what it means to “thrive in place,” the report notes.

Further, the ULI report is urging the real estate industry for greater rehabilitation of aging homes in rural areas and for increased training and capital for rehabilitation projects. Also, seniors may desire more options of smaller, newer homes to move into. Expanding home equity programs to allow older homeowners who are still mobile to tap into home equity and update properties may help alleviate current inventory shortages too, the report notes.

“The number of aging homes that are good candidates for rehabilitation is expanding much faster than new households throughout rural America, making this rehabilitation need urgent,” the report notes. “Many households can make the investments themselves, and installing energy-efficient systems can offer savings. And as demand grows for home retrofits, so will the experience of local contractors and the building industry more broadly, increasing innovation and decreasing cost.”

 

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2017/01/09/problem-aging-owners-are-up-against?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

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

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