Thursday, July 22, 2010

First-Time Home Buyers: What You Need to Know Before Starting Your Home Search

With historically low interest rates persevering and prices starting to creep back up, more and more renters are grappling with the question of whether to buy now or keep renting.  I can confidently tell you, yes! Now is a very opportune time to purchase your first home.

First-time home buyers across the country have taken advantage of today’s market conditions to go from renter to homeowner. That said, the ability to move into homeownership is very dependent upon the overall health of your finances. Buying a home not only takes having the necessary cash on hand for the deposit and closing costs, but also the financial wherewithal to convince a bank to lend you 80% or more of the purchase price in the form of a long-term mortgage.

Here are some other important points to be aware of before embarking on a home purchase:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Expand Outdoors, Increase Your Home's Value

With many Americans experiencing a financial pinch these days, there is a growing trend among homeowners, especially in San Diego, to look to the outdoor areas of their own property for not only relaxation and entertainment value, but to also expand their living space and thereby, increase their home’s value.  I have learned that homeowners across the country are spending more time at home and showing an increased interest in outdoor living areas. By sprucing up your patios, porches and decks, you are making your home more livable now and more attractive to future buyers.

Stylish patios and outdoor rooms with comfortable furnishings and convenient cooking and eating areas provide new opportunities for recreation and relaxing family times. Some homeowners are foregoing expensive vacations in favor of putting in a swimming pool. But the reality is that you do not need to make a major investment to improve your outdoor living areas. Here are five quick additions that will make an immediate difference:

1. Outdoor lighting units
2. Gas grills with cooking and food preparation surfaces
3. Outdoor fire pits or fireplaces
4. Patio heaters
5. Mosquito/bug eliminators

In any market, financial planners all agree, real estate is the best investment one can make. Increasing the value of that investment with features that extend and enhance the outdoor experience is always a wise decision. For more information and ideas, feel free to e-mail me…and be sure to pass this on to family and friends who are ready to explore the “great outdoors.”

Friday, July 9, 2010

Why You Should Buy a Home Now...Even After the Tax Credit

While much press coverage has been given to the recent first-time and move-up buyer tax credit, there are many time-sensitive factors that make the current climate an exceptional time to buy a home even without the tax credit.

Over the years, I have seen many real estate markets come and go, and I know for a fact that the many outstanding opportunities that exist for home buyers today will not be around forever.

Besides mortgage interest rates that have been hovering at near-record lows, homes in many markets have become more affordable. Prices have moderated from the highs of the housing boom that occurred in most of the country, especially in major markets where they had increased significantly.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Do You Know What Impacts Your Credit Score? Take This Quiz and Find Out

According to credit experts, 42% of U.S. consumers have credit scores between 550 and 699. As a result, these consumers typically don’t qualify for preferred interest rates and, depending on their overall credit profile, they may not even qualify for certain loans and credit cards.

I have worked with clients who have seen first-hand how credit scores can wreak havoc on securing a favorable mortgage. Most people don’t have a clear picture of what impacts their credit profile and, more importantly, don’t know what steps they can take to help improve it. I find this short quiz, from credit consultants, to be immensely helpful when it comes to understanding how your credit profile works. Take a few minutes to see if your credit knowledge is up to par.