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Remax PV realtors- Heidi Mackenbach and Frank Fountain

By Heidi Mackenbach and Frank Fountain, Remax Palos Verdes | Agent in Palos Verdes Estates,...
  • Are you ready to buy a new home?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Palos Verdes Estates  |  May 7, 2012 7:00 AM  |  749 views  |  1 comment

    Are you ready to buy your first home? Here are some important aspects of home buying to consider and help you decide if you're ready to buy.

    -Are you familiar with the market? If you pay attention to listing prices in the neighborhood and have a realistic view of how much a home will cost you, you're off to a good start. You have to be realistic and understand that (depending on your budget) you're most likely not going to get everything on your wish list. 

    -Do you know what your home buying budget is? Your monthly mortgage payment should be less than or equal to a percentage of your income. Your income, debt, and credit score are all taken into account as to how much you can borrow for your down payment.

    -Do you have the money for a down payment and closing costs? The down payment is the percentage of the value of the property. This percentage is determined by the type of mortgage you select. Closing costs include points, taxes, title insurance, financing costs, and prepaid items or settlement costs. 

    -Is your credit report accurate and at a good number? Lenders will view your credit history to determine whether they'll give you a loan. You should get credit reports from at least three credit report companies. Some reputable ones include Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. 

    -Do you know that there are addition expenses to your down payment when it comes to buying a home? Expenses include homeowners insurance, utility bills, maintenance costs (heating and cooling, roofing, and plumbing).

    -Have you made any recent big purchases? If you recently bought a car for example, you may have a harder time finding a lender to give you a loan or it could potentially lower the amount you get approved for.

    So how did you do? If you feel you are ready to buy a home and Palos Verdes is the place you want to live then we cannot wait to help you find that perfect place for you to call home! 


  • The Do's of Home Buying

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Palos Verdes Estates  |  April 12, 2012 7:26 PM  |  777 views  |  1 comment

    The Do's of Home Buying

    Do research the neighborhood. Location is the most important thing. Figure out what you're looking for, do research and find a neighborhood that fits your description. 

    Do look at several houses before you buy. If you buy a home without comparing it to other listings in the area you're likely to overpay or miss out on a home nearby. IF you still love the first one you saw, make an offer.

    Do invest in a professional inspection. Sellers don't always disclose the whole truth to potential buyers. The average home buyer takes 15 minutes or less to choose a home but many potential problems might not be visible to the naked eye. Home inspectors look beyond the fresh coat of paint to find underlying problems. Ask your realtor for recommendations on home inspectors. 

    Do buy based on needs, not wants. Think about your long term needs when buying a home. Make a list of your needs and stick to it to avoid buyer's remorse down the road. 

  • Tips for First Time Home Buyers- Making an Offer

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Palos Verdes Estates  |  April 10, 2012 7:24 AM  |  775 views  |  No comments

    Tips for First Time Home Buyers- Making an Offer

    • When you're house shopping, you can't pull a number out of a hat. Find out what other homes in the area have sold for, how long ago the sale was and what amenities they have.
    • It's the market that determines the value of a house.
    • When figuring out the price of a property, sometimes it makes more sense to look at the price of a house in terms of monthly payments instead of focusing on that big number.
    • When a renovated house is priced low, it is a good indication that the owners are looking for a bidding war -- they want to get as much money as possible out of the sale.
    • Sometimes people think that by starting really low they'll end up with a better price on a house, but actually it usually works the opposite way.
    • The three most important matters when it comes to negotiation are information, preparation and realism.
    • When you buy a property, you should always have a home inspector come through. You never know what they're going to uncover. 
    • If the home inspector should find something, then you can use it to your advantage to renegotiate the deal. Or you might have to walk away.
    • The key to success when buying a home is to trust the experts.
  • House Hunting Tips for First TIme Home Buyers

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Palos Verdes Estates  |  April 5, 2012 8:03 AM  |  874 views  |  3 comments

    House Hunting Tips for First Time Home Buyers

    Before you begin to house shop, you need to have an idea of what kind of neighborhood you want to live in and the style of house you want.

    Real estate never sleeps. If you're trying to buy a hot property, you have to move quickly, or you could possibly lose it.

    When you are looking at a house, you have to have a wish list, but you have to understand that no house is going to be perfect.

    You have to see past the junk and see the potential. When you buy a house, it's not just a place to live in, it's an investment. Keep in mind your dollars down the road.

    Don't judge a book by its cover. Same goes for a house. Go inside and look around before making a decision.

    When it comes to investing, the best place to invest is in an up-and-coming area.

    Feelings often take over the first time you go through a house, but the second visit allows time to do a thorough inspection led by your head, not your heart.

    Properties in good shape are rare, and they don't stay on the market for long.

    It is especially important to have a home inspection if you are looking to buy an aging or older house. They look past the visible surface to the infrastructure, inspecting plumbing and looking for faulty fixtures and waste lines. They check electrical systems to make sure they aren't overloaded or a safety hazard. They also look at possible structural problems like the foundation, walls and floor joists.

  • Things to Know Before Buying Your First Home

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Palos Verdes Estates  |  April 3, 2012 12:22 PM  |  789 views  |  No comments

    Things to Know Before Buying Your First Home in Palos Verdes 

    1. The cost  of owning a home is more than simply the purchase price. There are several monthly fees and expenses in addition to your monthly mortgage payment that you need to be prepared for. This includes insurance, property taxes, utilities, and maintenance. However, the costs associated with owning your first home are bearable. 

    2. Programs are out there for first-time buyers. A significant down payment is never a bad investment- it gives you instant home equity and a lower monthly payment. But, if you can't manage to get a larger down payment, you don't have to give up your dream of home ownership. There are many federal, state, and local programs dedicated to helping first-time homebuyers with down payments, interest rates and loan terms. 

    3. Foreclosures and short sales can be great deals but proceed with caution. Many homebuyers have gotten great deals on these types of homes. However, buying a foreclosure or short sale can come with some red flags. Most of these homes are sold "as-is." Since maintenance isn't always a top priority for homeowners facing foreclosure, these properties may need a significant amount of work. With short sales, transactions are lengthy and more complicated than a typical home purchase.

    4. Getting pre-approved for a loan gives you more buying power. Before you begin your house hunt, be sure you have a pre-approved letter which proves that a lender has offered you a specific mortgage. This is important because it establishes your maximum purchase price, shows sellers you're serious about buying, and if you get pre-approved by several lenders you can compare interest rates and terms to find the best deal.

    5. School districts can affect property value. Even if you don't have kids, buying a home near good school districts can help your home's resale value. The most important aspect of a home's value is the neighborhood it's in. If you cannot afford these neighborhoods, look for fixer-uppers in the area. They may need work but they will have built-in property value.

    6. Do your homework to help make a competitive offer. Before you make an offer on a home, crunch the numbers to figure out the property's market value. Have your agent do a comparative market analysis where he or she will compare the home you want to buy to recently sold homes in the area with the same square footage, construction, age, etc. The analysis will show you what buyers were willing to pay for similar homes in your neighborhood giving you a good starting point.



  • Changing the Color of Your Kitchen

    Posted Under: Design & Decor in Palos Verdes Estates  |  March 31, 2012 2:57 PM  |  828 views  |  No comments

    Check out these kitchen color ideas that give energy and inspiration to your home.

    Lemonade Yellow is energetic and eye catching; its the first thing guests will notice. Compliment yellow walls with island light fixtures with yellow tints that bounce the color off the walls. Mix the color with white cabinets and a soft backsplash to give it an airy feel.

    Spicy Red is the perfect complement to dark cabinetry. Combining red accents such as barstools with white ceilings, white marble countertops, and recessed lighting will reflect light around the room.

    Pumpkin orange is the perfect complement for a modernly designed kitchen. The color emits a warm and inviting feeling, breaking up the contemporary feel and creating a welcoming environment. Its the fastest way to soften a modern kitchen. Play up the color with brown cabinets and white lacquer accents.

    Blueberry Blue adds a subtle amount of vintage charm to a contemporary kitchen.  Paint the kitchen island blue and add a blue/ivory tile backsplash behind the stove to tie the colors together.

    Apple Green is a crisp hue that complements natural woods and stainless steel appliances while maintain the organic and comfortable feeling.

    Vanilla colored cabinets work best with sage-green and contemporary accents to update any kitchen but keep its old-fashioned appeal.

    Pecan finished wood cabinetry paired with light golden walls, olive marble countertops, and stainless steel accents create balance to the natural elements while keeping a cozy feel.

  • Taking the Stress out of Home Buying

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Palos Verdes Estates  |  March 29, 2012 7:56 AM  |  802 views  |  No comments

    Buying a home is stressful, but it can be much easier if you are familiar with the process. Here are some tips to help you get through everything from pre-qualifying for your mortgage to selecting the members of your settlement team:

    ●Obtain your credit reports from all three major credit reporting agencies. Review your credit score before speaking to a lender. Know your FICO score (FICO stands for the Fair Isaac Corp., a company that uses proprietary algorithms to reduce your financial life to a three-digit number between 450 and 850). The higher the number, the better your credit and the better your interest rate and terms. You can purchase your FICO score online at www.myfico.com. But beware of the “free” credit reports, as they always have strings attached. Similarly, the free credit reports that most states now require do not include the all-important FICO score.

    ●Obtain a pre-qualification letter from a reputable lender. Before you go home shopping, know what you can afford. Contact an experienced mortgage loan officer who is known and respected in your community to provide you with that number. In determining how much can afford, your loan officer will rely on your FICO score, income, cash available for down payment, other assets and liabilities, and items in your credit history, such as bankruptcies, late payments or other events, that hurt your credit.

    Your goal is to obtain a “solid” pre-qualification approval letter from that lender. This letter will state that the bank reviewed your credit score and reports, has verified your employment and cash for your down payment, and is willing to loan you up to a certain amount. There is no magic formula for finding the right lender. The best way to find a good lender is to ask real estate professionals such as real estate agents, your attorney or accountant.

    ●Select an experienced Realtor. It is critical that your agent be highly accessible, experienced, Internet savvy and someone you get along with.

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