Real Estate Matchmaking - On Both Sides of the Rainbow Tunnel

10 Step Home Buying Guide-Step1: ESTABLISH A BUDGET

10 Step Home Buying Guide-Step1: ESTABLISH A BUDGET

10 Step Home Buying Guide –  1. ESTABLISH A BUDGET Buying property is a HUGE deal! It’s likely the single biggest purchase you will make in your lifetime. The first step is to establish a budget and to do that you have to step back and look at your big picture. What does owning a home mean to you? How do you see yourself and your family living in the home? Is this your 5-year home or your forever home? What other activities and hobbies do you want to also continue or cultivate after you buy your home? These are all really important questions to ask yourself and the answers will help you decide how much or your monthly income you are willing to contribute to a mortgage and household expenses regardless of what a lender eventually approves you for. Expect your PITI (principle, interest, taxes and insurance or total house payment) to be at least 30% of your monthly income or more. Find more details about the actual cost of owning a home from this great SF Gate article. Renting vs. Buying Replacing rent with a mortgage has tax benefits and in the end will save you money and allow you to put that money towards paying your mortgage and building equity instead of someone else’s. Your PITI is a set monthly amount while your rent is subject to annual increases and if your not protected by rent control could spike suddenly and dramatically. Make sure that your PITI (principle, interest, tax & insurance) fits in with the rest of your lifestyle. Once you are comfortable with an...

10 Steps in Buying a Home – Step 3: Obtain Lender Pre-Approval

10 Steps in Buying a Home – STEP 3: Obtain a lender Pre-approval You have met with and committed to your Realtor and you are ready and anxious to move forward and find your perfect home. Before you get in your Realtors car to look at homes you need to talk with a lender and obtain a pre-approval. Why is this so crucial? Knowing your buying power is well, powerful. The online calculators will give you a rough idea of your monthly PITI (principle, interest, taxes, insurance =monthly payment) but your whole financial picture is unique to you. You want to know how much house you can afford and the amount of monthly payments you are comfortable with before falling in love with a house that you wont’ be able to submit an offer. The lender may have an initial phone conversation with you or just give you a checklist of items they need from you. Your experience with the lender will depend on your individual financials and how quickly you return information they request. The key to success with your mortgage broker is to give them whatever they ask for, in the exact form they ask for it, it as soon as you can produce it. Ex: if they ask for a bank statement. Don’t just send them two pages because the 3rd page it blank or just a disclaimer. Send THE ENTIRE STATEMENT! How Do I Find a Good Mortgage Broker? Some buyers have lenders/bankers or brokers they have past experiences with but most first time home buyers do not. Your Realtor will have one or more...

Relocate to Marin County from Across the Bay or Across the Ocean

Relocate to Marin County from Across the Bay or Across the Ocean What makes Marin County so great? Why is it one of the most expensive housing markets in the world? Why should you move to Marin County? You can’t grow up in Marin County and not feel a little spoiled, special and unique. It truly is one of the most stunningly beautiful places to live and work. The residents of Marin develop a bit of snobbery but can you blame us? Once you live in Marin, it’s difficult to move anywhere. Weather – Warm summers that transform into gentle autumn and a mild winter and then a sunny and warm Spring. Open Space – abundant and well maintained. Parks, national and local. Hiking, biking and beaches City Life – 10-30 minutes from most Marin neighborhoods. World class restaurants, culture, opera, symphony and museums. Communities – walkable neighborhoods to remote mountain retreats and everything in between Logistics – Drive 45 minutes to the Napa Valley, 2-1/2 hours and your skiing in Lake Tahoe or gambling on the South shore of Nevada, 30 minutes or less to West Marin beaches, fresh oysters, kayaking, hiking. Continue up Highway One through Tomales, Marshall and on to Jenner and Sea Ranch. Real Estate in Marin County is historically low compared to the home prices we saw in 2005-2007. Interest rates, while in 1983 were up to 18%  today they are still hovering around 4.5-4.75% (changes daily). There was a time, not too long ago, that you could not buy a property in Marin for under $500k. Even condos were jumping up in that...

This isn’t your Parents Loan – Borrowing Money Has a Whole New Look

This isn’t your Parents Loan – Borrowing Money Has a Whole New Look Finance is a part of my job but not one I am completely comfortable with or always fully understand but thats why I work with very knowledgable mortgage brokers like Charlie Christensen with EM Mortgage and our in-house broker, Marney Solle with Terra Mortgage. Both incredibly passionate about their work and crazy informed, up to date and experienced in the world of lending and all the new twists and turns the banking industry and government have imposed. Anyone who owns a home or is in the market for one must face the new challenges of lending and re-finance. Article in the NY Times makes many great points and the most glaring is that the lending environment for borrowers has changed. Be prepared to sign volumes of documents. Your credit will be scrutinized. The reality is, Lending in 2011 has changed. One change that protects the borrower yet makes it even more challenging for the lender is the requirement of a Good Faith Estimate. It attempts to makes closing fees more transparent. “One key update: In the past, some closing-cost estimates were fairy tales. The new form specifies fees that can’t change between estimate and closing, fees with changes capped at 10 percent, and others that can grow more.” The current lending environment continues to tighten the lending strings and make it difficult for buyers to get funding yet protects them at the same time. Hoping that the banks and the government find a more fair and equitable balance that protects the buyer but creates a more...