8 Things First-Time Homeowners Never Realize

8 Things First-Time Homeowners Never Realize

 

You did it! You bought your first house and it’s yours and you can do whatever you want with it! Well…not so fast. Here, eight things that first-time homeowners often don’t realize before it’s too late.

THAT YOU MIGHT NEED TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS STAT

If you just plunked down a ton of money to buy the house (closing costs, whaaaa), it can seem ridiculous to shell out again right away. But even if you’ve passed inspection and are moving into a well-built abode, there’s a good chance you’ll have to do something big (a new boiler… a roof fix) within your first year. Keep a cushion of cash on hand, even if it means waiting to buy that farmhouse table you’ve been coveting.

AND THAT THOSE IMPROVEMENTS COULD REQUIRE PERMITS

It depends on where you live and the extensiveness of your plans, but plenty of renovations–say, a kitchen remodel or a window installation–might require a permit from the city government. Do your research, talk to your contractor, ask your Realtor and don’t risk starting anything that’s not good and legal.

BUT THAT OTHER IMPROVEMENTS COULD SAVE YOU MONEY

Did you know that you could earn a 30 percent tax credit by installing a geothermal heat pump? Or that you could save on monthly energy bills by getting a solar panel and selling electricity back to the grid? Hooray for going green!

THAT YOUR NEIGHBORS MIGHT NOT BE AS JAZZED ABOUT YOUR 4TH-FLOOR ADDITION AS YOU ARE

You’ve been excited to install that gargoyled turret since the day you moved in. Frank next door is terrified you’ll obstruct his views and park a dumpster in front of his house. Have him over for sangria to discuss any big-ticket renovations that could disrupt his life–and proceed with serious caution when it comes to projects that are likely to piss off more than one neighbor.

THAT YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW TRASH LAWS

Recycling goes out on Tuesdays. Big electronics on the first Friday of every month. Anything glass must be in a clear bag. Learn your city’s trash laws, and follow them to a T. (Unless you love getting hit with fines.)

THAT LAWNS REQUIRE ATTENTION DURING EVERY SEASON

Once the temps rise, you are all about that lawn-mower life. But news flash: You also have to take care of your yard from September to May. Keep your lawn raked and tidy in the fall (or risk turning your property into a slip-and-slide) and your grass short and debris-free come winter.

THAT YOU MIGHT BE LIABLE FOR STUFF THAT DOESN’T SEEM LIKE YOUR PROBLEM

Got a tree that overhangs Frank-the-neighbor’s driveway? Got a sewer line that runs beneath your yard? Got an icy sidewalk that you just don’t feel like salting? All of those things are your responsibility to maintain and keep safe for others.

THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING AT ONCE

You have a new house! You want to make it beautiful and homey and full of cheery wallpaper right away. But slow down there, hotshot: If you pace yourself and tackle one thing at a time, you’ll make your money and energy go a lot further. Plus, it’s fun to always have a next project on the horizon. Isn’t that why you bought a house in the first place?

 

I read this article at: http://www.purewow.com/home/things-home-owners-dont-realize?utm_medium=email&utm_source=national&utm_campaign=Homeowner_Things_2016_05_24_a&utm_content=Food_editorial

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

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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

 

Top 10 Cities for First-Time Home Buyers

Top 10 Cities for First-Time Home Buyers—and Not Just Because They’re Affordable

 

OK, let’s get it right out there: It’s a seriously tough time to be trying to buy your first home. Yes, in most respects the housing business is doing great. But the dazzling nationwide sales boom cuts both ways: Across the U.S., low inventory has put the squeeze on potential home buyers, driving prices up to nosebleed-inducing levels and sparking scary bidding wars. And first-time mortgages? They’re harder than ever to snag.

The numbers tell the tale: The National Association of Realtors® reported in November that the share of first-time buyers had declined in 2015 for the third consecutive year and remained at its lowest point in nearly three decades. First-time buyers made up 32% of all buyers in 2015, down from 33% the year before.

So where can today’s committed-but-oh-so-frustrated housing newbies turn?

We’ve got you covered! Bypassing today’s unabashed and unbowed metro seller’s markets (See ya, Seattle! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Dallas!), we set out to find  places that are still newbie-friendly. But we weren’t just looking for the cheapest places. Yes, affordability is key, but if you’re doling out your life savings on a new home, you want an area where you’ll actually enjoy living! Right? So we made sure that our top 10 cities bring something extra special to the party, lifestylewise.

We focused on the 25-to-34 age group, which is the vast majority of first-time home buyers. We filtered the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas using the following criteria:

  • Affordability, measured by home price to income ratio for 25- to 34-year-olds (the lower the better)
  • Inventory, with enough houses available that you don’t have to camp out at open houses or sell your firstborn to get your chance—measured by the number of homes for sale per 1,000 households
  • Mortgage availability, measured by the share of home loans purchased by 25- to 34-year-olds
  • Job growth, measured by lower-than-average unemployment rate (because unemployment and new homes are a lousy combo)
  • Livability, measured by the number of restaurants, schools, retailers, health care facilities, and arts and entertainment venues per 1,000 households

 

  1. Portland, ME

Median price: $304,000

Unemployment: 3.3%

What you don’t know about Portland: Yeah, sure, the West Coast’s Portland gets all the press, the hipster cred (and notoriety), and even a decent TV show to call its own. But here’s the deal: The largest city in Maine is no less hip, cool, and fun to live in. And it has way better lobster.

A foodist’s paradise nestled on the Atlantic coast, Portland has a slew of catch-of-the-day seafood restaurants and a thriving microbrew scene—Allagash Brewing Co. produces 45,000 barrels of beer each year. And check out that unemployment rate—one-third lower than the national average of 5.2%.

 

  1. Philadelphia, PA

Median price: $222,000

Unemployment: 4.8%

What you don’t know about Philly: Plenty of New Yorkers are fleeing the City So Nice They Named It Twice for Philly, with almost 27,000 people making the transition per year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many seem to relish escaping the crazy real estate prices of NYC without giving up big-city amenities.

So what’s the appeal?

Well, you’ve got Ukee Washington, Denzel‘s second cousin and quite possibly the coolest news anchor in America. You have perhaps the most loyal sports fans in the country. And you can get a “citywide special”—a can of PBR and a shot of Jim Beam—for just a few bucks across town. The United States’ first capital is rich in history and has recovered from a bad patch—no longer known as “Killadelphia,” its violent crime rate declined 20% from 2009 to 2014, according to the FBI.

 

  1. St. Louis, MO

Median price: $164,000

Unemployment: 5.2%

What you don’t know about St. Louis: Besides the Cardinals and the city’s namesake barbecue, there’s plenty more to celebrate in St. Louis.

Led by Washington University, more than a dozen universities and colleges boost the city’s IQ and keep the vibe young. You dig nature? You can spend weeks hanging in Forest Park, which is nearly 50% bigger than Central Park. And the city has two separate downtowns, each with its own gestalt. Housing prices have been low, partly because of the sluggish economy after the recession that erased thousands of jobs. But the city has finally made a comeback, adding 6,900 jobs in February and posting a declining unemployment rate. Eight Fortune 500 companies now call St. Louis home.

 

  1. Allentown, PA

Median price: $188,000

Unemployment: 5%

What you don’t know about Allentown: While the song “Allentown” by Billy Joel reminds us of the decline of the coal and steel industry (and still makes us sob), Allentown is en route to aggressive economic redevelopment.

Today the city hosts multinational companies such as Pennsylvania Power and Light and Air Products & Chemicals. Allentown also has Pennsylvania’s highest beer production by volume, and the Lehigh Valley area makes up the state’s fastest-growing wine region. And contrary to its grungy/gritty rep, there are more acres of parkland here than in any other city of this size. Take that, Billy!

 

  1. Albany, NY

Median price: $238,000

Unemployment: 4.5%

What you don’t know about Albany: The capital of New York state is having a renaissance. The effort to build a “Tech Valley” since 1998 has paid off with thriving new businesses, residential development, entertainment, and a cultural scene. Every spring, Albany celebrates its Dutch heritage with the Tulip Festival, featuring more than 200,000 tulips, fine art shows, crafts, and gardening exhibits. And you haven’t lived until you’ve tried an Albany fish fry. Or at least you haven’t lived well.

 

  1. Harrisburg, PA

Median price: $168,000

Unemployment: 4.2%

What you don’t know about Harrisburg: Tech may not be something this central Pennsylvania city is known for, but it may be in the future. In the past few years, at least 18 tech companies have sprouted in this midsize city. Benefiting from the tech wave, downtown Harrisburg has become a hugely popular northeastern destination stop for great live entertainment, especially music—from jazz to indie to hip-hop.

 

  1. Baton Rouge, LA

Median price: $217,000

Unemployment: 4.8%

What you don’t know about Baton Rouge: With a median age of 34.7 for its population, Baton Rouge is Louisiana’s youngest major metro area (the credit goes to Louisiana State University, which is based there).

About 80 miles from New Orleans, Baton Rouge knows how to do Mardi Gras right. Each year thousands flock to the city for festive carnivals, costume balls, and six different parades (including one just for pets). Increasingly a nouveau hipster haven, the city has the highest share (52%) of mortgages purchased by 25- to 34-year-olds among all the markets we studied.

 

  1. Dayton, OH

Median price: $115,000

Unemployment: 5.2%

What you don’t know about Dayton: Bike culture may be awesomely hip now, but Daytonians have been biking en masse for a long, long time. They drafted the nation’s first regional bikeway plans, which were adopted in 1973. Since then, the 300 miles of scenic Miami Valley Trail—the nation’s largest paved trail network—have seen generations of cyclists. With a median home price of just $115,000, Dayton is no longer a place to fly over or drive through—it’s a place to stay and live large.

 

  1. Minneapolis, MN

Median price: $294,000

Unemployment: 3.9%

What you don’t know about Minneapolis: America’s second fittest city, Minneapolis boasts more than 200 miles of bike lanes and 5,000 acres of parkland. Twelve Fortune 500 companies, including Target, and numerous small businesses keep unemployment low and income high.

America’s (purportedly) most literate city also hosts Open Book, the country’s biggest book art center, and the Chanhassen, its largest dinner theater. And Mary Richards lived here. Questions?

 

  1. Virginia Beach, VA

Median price: $256,000

Unemployment: 5%

What you don’t know about Virginia Beach: Pharrell Williams was born and raised here, and his song “Happy” could easily serve as the official town anthem . After all, with sun-drenched beaches dotted with swimmers, sunbathers, and volleyball players, how could anyone not be happy? Plus, the city’s majority of low-density neighborhoods are perfect for those who hate crowded city living.

———

We’re in such a celebratory mood, we almost hate turning our eyes to the worst markets for first-time home buyers. Almost.

New York and San Francisco, you say? If the two cities had a penny for each time someone complained about their sky-high housing prices, the money could probably fund many buyers’ down payments. But for many people, the excitement and job opportunities of those cities are worth the price.

By our calculation, the worst markets are where climbing home prices and plunging inventory are not sustained by employment and infrastructure—or any real sense of fun. Because fun rules!

Spoiler alert: The bottom five markets are all in California. As Jonathan Smoke, our chief economist, points out, those markets are affected by the “spillover” effect of being in California—filled with people looking for alternatives to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

  1. Stockton, CA

Median price: $340,000

Unemployment: 8.8%

  1. Fresno, CA

Median price: $262,000

Unemployment: 10.5%

  1. Bakersfield, CA

Median price: $222,000

Unemployment: 10.9%

  1. Sacramento, CA

Median price: $428,000

Unemployment: 5.4%

  1. Riverside, CA

Median price: $344,000

Unemployment: 5.8%

What are your thoughts on the subject?

I read this article at: http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/top-10-cities-for-first-time-home-buyers/?identityID=9851214&MID=2016_0415_WeeklyNL-comafter23&RID=353497822&cid=eml-2016-0415-WeeklyNL-blog_1_topcities-blogs_trends

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: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

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

A Cinderella Story – Anna – From Renter to Owner

A Cinderella Story – Anna – From Renter to Owner

First time homebuyers bring us joy!  Not only are they the corner stone of the real estate market – they are the fuel.  Without the first time homebuyer, it would be hard for owners/sellers to move on to their next home.

But with great responsibility comes work.  And in the San Francisco Bay Area – it’s hard work.  2013 has been an interesting year in local real estate.  We know prices hit bottom in 2009 and many buyers, sitting on the fence for the past several years, were unsure where the market was going.  Early in 2013 these buyers got off the fence and changed the dynamic of our local real estate market.

After the New Years Eve confetti was brushed away, many buyers started looking.  Earlier this year, we had very limited inventory.  In fact, we’ve had low inventory since our prices dropped.  Amazing low interest rates, coupled with low prices – generated some excitement.

Over the holidays, a friend and fellow Notre Dame alumni reached out to me with a question.  Could she buy a condo?  Before the local real estate bust, condos and home prices steadily rose.   Back then a one-bedroom condo ran close to a half-a-million bucks.  Not an easy price for a first time homebuyer.  So when prices fell – opportunity was knocking.

With her pre-approval in hand we took Anna out for her first tour.  At first, she expected her house hunt to take one month.  Quickly we explained that with the current low inventory and high buyer demand, we were looking at closer to 6 months than 1 month to find and acquire a home.  A frown – but she held tight.

Our first problem – there wasn’t much to look at.  Once we looked at older inventory – it became a race to see the new ones.  As soon as a new condo came on – I was on the phone with her setting an appointment to show it.  I have got to say – Anna understood the importance of the early worm.  She didn’t push the most expensive and important purchase of her life to the end of her day, or only on the weekend.  Anna understood that the market waits for NO ONE!  So during her lunch break or between her appointments, we’d take a look.

Earlier this year, with demand high, most units had offer dates set after the first open house.  Making it a mad dash to the finish line to get her offer in.  Being that we looked during the week, Anna had the opportunity to show the unit to her family and friends over the weekend and write her offer with confidence.

We must have written 5 offers in a few months.  It felt like we wrote offers once a week.  And slowly, as units were closing escrow – we saw it – she saw it – the market price was inching upwards and eventually she’d be priced out of the market.

Now Anna is a very savvy young woman.  She saw the writing on the wall – I didn’t have to tell her it was a matter of time before we had nothing to shop for.  So Anna did what all smart buyers have to do – she took a look at her ‘wants vs. needs’ list and made some reality adjustments.  In the end, location was her most important attribute.  She didn’t want to live in the fringes of the Bay Area just to say she had more space.  Anna wanted to be close to work and near a downtown to enjoy her life.

Then a junior one bedroom came on the market in Santa Clara.  Right in the heart of it – it was a great location.  And you know what how important location is in Real Estate!  We were quick to write an offer.  Up against three others – she was out bid.  Thankfully The Caton Team, with 25+ years in the business has earned a nice reputation among local agents.  With a clean offer and backed up by our expertise, Anna was given a counter offer and my next call to her would prove to be most joyous.

Congratulations Anna!  You were a joy to work with and The Caton Team is honored to have been the Realtors to turn you from renter into owner!

 

How can The Caton Team help you?  We’re a call or click away!

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

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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

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

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com/

Thanks for reading – Sabrina