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John Demarinis' Blog

By John Demarinis | Agent in Pleasanton, CA
  • Reasons To Attend Your Own Home Inspection

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Home Ownership  |  January 25, 2013 12:38 PM  |  130 views  |  1 comment

    As a home buyer in Pleasanton , you can get a feel for whether a home’s systems and appliances are in working order. However, you can’t know for certain until after the home’s been inspected.

    This is why real estate agents recommend that buyers hire a licensed home inspectors immediately after going into contract. It’s the best way to really know the home which you’re buying.

    By definition, a home inspection is a top-to-bottom check-up of a home’s physical condition and systems, including a review of the structure, and its plumbing and electrical systems. Home inspections are not the same as a home appraisal, which is a valuation of the property.

    When you commission a home inspection, you should be present for it. Here are 3 reasons why :

    Seeing For Yourself 
    There’s a big difference between reading a report and seeing “live” what may be right or wrong with a home. With first-hand knowledge of a potential issue, you’ll be in a better position to determine whether a problem warrants contract cancellation, or whether it’s an additional negotiation point.

    Discovering The Home
    Via a home inspection, you will learn where the systems reside within a home (e.g.; boiler room, garage), and how to operate them. This is a valuable educational opportunity and most inspectors are happy to share what they know. It’s also a chance to ask questions about maintenance and upkeep... Read More

  • Before Moving, Check Your New Cost Of Living Estimates

    Posted Under: Shopping & Local Amenities, Home Buying, Home Ownership  |  June 13, 2012 7:47 AM  |  187 views  |  No comments

    Where we live affects our cost of living , with home values slow to rise and mortgage rates at all-time lows, there’s never been a more affordable time to own a home.However, there is more to the cost of living than just a mortgage payment. There’s the cost of groceries, gasoline and routine medical care, too.

    Big cities are often more expensive in which to live, for example, and local tax laws influence daily costs, too.

    For home buyers moving across state borders, — or even for those moving long distances intra-state — it’s important to know the relative costs in your new hometown as compared to your current one. Your household cash flow depends on it. You can’t know your budget for a home if you don’t know what life in a new town will cost you.

    Enter Bankrate.com’s Cost of Living Comparison Calculator.

    In comparing the costs of 60 mundane, everyday items, the Cost of Living Comparison calculator can show you how common costs in your current home town compare to costs in your soon-to-be new home town.

    The calculator asks for just three inputs — (1) In what city do you live now, (2) To what city are you moving, and (3) What is your current salary — then uses that information to produce a detailed cost comparison.

    Some of the Cost of Living items compared include : Read More

  • Reverse Mortgages : Pros And Cons

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Property Q&A, Home Ownership  |  May 8, 2012 2:37 PM  |  189 views  |  No comments

    Despite several big-name banks pulling the product from their respective home loan offerings, reverse mortgages remain a popular mortgage choice among homeowners aged 62 or over.

    A reverse mortgage is exactly what it sounds like -- a mortgage in reverse. Rather than borrow a fixed amount of money then pay that loan balance down to zero as with a "forward" mortgage, a reverse mortgage starts at a given loan balance and works its way up as scheduled payments are added to the existing loan balance.

    This 4-minute piece from NBC's The Today Show highlights a few pros and cons of reverse mortgages, and the reasons why you may want to consider one, including :

    • No mortgage payments are ever due on your home
    • There is no credit check required for a reverse mortgage
    • There is no income requirement to qualify for a reverse mortgage

    There are some basic qualification standards for the reverse mortgage program including a requirement that all borrowers on title must be 62 years of age or older; and that the subject property be a primary residence. Loan fees can also be higher than with a conventional-type mortgage.

    If you meet the qualification standards, though, with a reverse mortgage, you have flexibility in how your home equity is distributed to you. You can receive a lump-sum payment, elect for monthly installments over time, create a line of credit, or a combination of all three.

    Like all mortgages, reverse mortgages are complex instruments. That's one reason why all reverse mortgage borrowers are required to attend counseling -- the government wants you to be certain that you understand the nuances of the reverse mortgage program... VIEW VIDEO

  • Tax Tips : What To Do With Your Tax Refund

    Posted Under: Quality of Life, Market Conditions, Home Ownership  |  April 12, 2012 2:07 PM  |  182 views  |  1 comment

    The typical U.S. taxpayer will receive roughly $3,000 in federal income tax refunds this year — an average of $250 per month. So, what would you do with an extra $250 monthly? This segment from NBC’s The Today Show offers some advice.

    Whether you’ve already filed your annual taxes for 2011, filed an extension, or will squeak by on the deadline, you could probably be doing more with your taxes. The above video shares some tips. It’s four minutes of solid insight on tax refunds, tax withholdings, and reducing your household’s overall “bad debt”. There’s something for everyone.

    Among the points covered in the tax refund piece :

    • Consider changing your personal payroll exemptions so your 2012 refund is $0
    • Remember that refunds are not “free money” — it’s your money. Spend wisely.
    • Use your tax refund to fund retirement accounts

    Tax Refund to fund a Reserve Account

    Advice is also shared about how to use your tax refund to fund a reserve account, or emergency fund. As a homeowner or home buyer in San Ramon , applying tax refunds to a savings accounts in this manner can go a long way. When you’re a homeowner, maintenance costs can be sudden and unexpected. A furnace can explode, for example; or, a roof could spring a leak. Having money set aside for crisis is essential. Watch Video

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