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Successful Real Estate Solutions

Welcome to Joan Weisman, Broker's Blog

By Joan Weisman | Broker in 91604
  • Top 10 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes To Avoid

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Los Angeles, Financing in Los Angeles  |  October 14, 2014 10:25 PM  |  50 views  |  No comments

    Buying your first home is an exciting time in life.  But too often I see first-time homebuyers make simple mistakes that leave them stuck with a “problem house,” or they don't know how to negotiate with sellers and it ends up costing them thousands.  Here are 10 common mistakes and how to avoid them:

    Mistake #1:  Not Understanding What You NEED And What You WANT.  

    Prioritize your basic needs before you even start looking so you don’t buy the wrong home.

    Also know that you may have to compromise.

    Sell Los Angeles Real Estate with Best Homes InternationalThis is your first home, not the dream home you’ll live in for the rest of your life.  The home you can afford may need a little work (fresh paint, new carpeting).  Over time, you may be able to hire a contractor or do some more substantial upgrades yourself.  With that mind, consider these items:

    1. General price range
    2. Approximate size (in sq. footage)
    3. General location, area or subdivision
    4. Number of bedrooms
    5. Number of bathrooms
    6. Style and layout of home
    7. School requirements or districts 

    imagesMistake #2:  Not Knowing What You Can Afford Before Looking At Homes.

    You’ll waste your time looking at properties that are may be out of your price range.  Examine your budget, get a copy of your credit report and credit score, then sit down with a qualified lender to determine how much of a home loan you can afford.  Don’t assume the first lender you ask is giving you the most competitive rate.  Talk to more than one lender (ask your REALTOR® for recommendations) to comparison shop for a mortgage.

    Mistake #3:  Not Getting Pre-Approved Before You Go House Hunting. 

    A lender can give you a pre-qualification letter after a simple 10-minute phone interview.  But a pre-APPROVAL letter is a firm commitment to lend money based on VERIFICATION of income in the form of: employment, funds on deposit, and your credit history.  All that remains is the property appraisal for you to get a home loan once you’ve been pre-approved.  Why is this so important?  Pre-approval is a powerful weapon when it comes to negotiating the price you want, so it’s worth it even if it takes a few days to a few weeks.  It tells the sellers you are serious and they may accept your offer even it’s less than someone else’s because they know you can get financing.  On the flip side, without pre-approval, you may put an offer on a home but the seller goes with someone else.

    Mistake #4:  Neglecting To Consider The Overall Costs Of Owning A Home. 

    Fotolia_25579867_XS-300x200There’s more to it than the monthly mortgage payment.  You have to plan for homeowners’ insurance, property taxes, utility costs, plus repairs and maintenance.  If you’re buying a condo, you’ll have to pay monthly maintenance costs.

    Mistake #5:  Paying Too Much For A Beautifully Staged Home.

    That’s what the seller wants you to do.  Work with your REALTOR® to understand what you should offer the seller.  Also, imagine the space empty and think how your furniture and belongings will fit in.  You may want new furniture, but buying it just to fill space can be a budget-killer.  Or, you may still have to get new furniture if your current pieces don’t fit.

    Mistake #6:  Not Thinking Of The Future. 

    How long do you think you’ll own the home you are interested in?  If you want to move in five years, that’s fine.  But if you can’t see yourself living there for even a couple years, don’t buy the home because you may not make any profits if there hasn’t been enough time for the home to appreciate in value.  Also, consider what the neighborhood will look like in five years?   What are plans for future development?  And how will they affect your resell value if you don’t want to keep living in this home?

    Mistake #7: Not Having A Home Inspection. 

    downloadHaving a professional home inspection before you close on the sale is one of the most important parts of the process.  Review the inspection report carefully to make sure the home is in good condition.  You don’t want to buy a home that has serious issues, such as: mold, water damage, or pests.

    Mistake #8:  Not Doing A Walk-Through Before Closing.

    Visit the property after all the furnishings have been moved out to make sure there are no surprises.  If you’re buying a new home, you’ll typically do a walk-through with the builder’s representative.  Items that are not completed will be entered onto a “punch list,” which will be discussed at closing.  Get a written confirmation on when those items will be completed by the builder.

    Mistake #9:  Not Understanding The Contract. 

    Make sure everything is in writing.  A professional REALTOR® will help you understand your responsibilities under the contract and walk you through the closing process so you don’t lose money.

    Mistake #10:  Choosing the Wrong Agent.

    Miller_House,_Palm_Springs,_CaliforniaYou want to hire an experienced REALTOR® – not just a relative or friend.  You can ask your friends, neighbors, relatives, and business associates for recommendations.  Then select at least three individuals to interview.  Hire someone who understands your goals andwill help you find the perfect home at the right price.

    Related to this, the BIGGEST Mistake That Can Cost you Thousands is not using a Buyer’s Representative...

    Why Should I Use A BUYER’S REPRESENTATIVE?

    The seller’s agent does not represent your financial interests.  They work for the seller and are trying to get the seller the most money you will pay.  Create a “buyer’s representation” with a REALTOR® so you have someone on your side working to negotiate the best price for YOU.  This is why you never want to walk into an Open House without having a REALTOR®.  By the way, this won’t cost you a nickel because it’s paid out of the seller’s commission.

    An experienced Home Buyer Representative can save you time and money with buying a home by:

    • Helping you find the perfect home at the right price… so you don’t have to worry you bought the wrong home or paid too much.
    • Providing you with direction and contacts to get pre-approved for a home loan… so you’re never lost trying to find the most affordable financing for your situation.
    • Negotiating the best deal with the sellers… so you avoid costly traps and pitfalls.  You don't make money when you sell a home, you make money when you buy it!
    • Coordinating all inspections, appraisals, escrow and title services, with the very best companies… so you feel confident and can focus on other tasks with your move.

    How To Find The Perfect Home and Save Thousands When Buying…

    I offer a Preferred Buyer Program for those considering buying in the next 6 months.  My program includes an Advanced Home-Locator Service where my software will sift through the market each night to find hidden bargains and new listings before anyone else – and send you daily email notifications at no charge.  To enroll in my no obligation program call Joan Weisman (310) 981-8535.

  • Oakwood Neighborhood of Venice Beach, Los Angeles, CA

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Venice, Home Selling in Venice, Investment Properties in Venice  |  September 11, 2014 12:05 PM  |  55 views  |  No comments

    Venice Beach CaliforniaThe Oakwood area of Venice is unique because it is so well located -- close to the beach with easy access to one of the country's biggest metropolitan areas -- and yet it has a checkered and even violent past.

    Venice Beach CaliforniaBetween 2000 and 2004 I lived in the Oakwood area of Venice Beach. A neighbor and longtime homeowner used to tell me stories of the old Oakwood; hiding in his attic watching chaos on the street. A woman selling drugs out of her child's stroller. By the time I lived there much of that old Oakwood was already gone. In the past ten years this neighborhood's transformation has only continued as more custom luxury homes are built.

    Many people know of Venice Beach, the Venice Canals and maybe Muscle Beach, but fewer know the history of the Oakwood area of Venice Beach California.

    Sometimes known as the "Oakwood Pentagon" because of it's shape:

    Map of Oakwood, Venice Beach, CA

    Oakwood's history may be unique among ocean front neighborhoods.

    Venice Beach CaliforniaVenice of America was founded by tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney in 1905 as a beach resort town.

    He and his partner Francis Ryan had bought two miles of oceanfront property south of Santa Monica in 1891. In 1904, Kinney built on the marshy land on the south end of the property, intending to create a seaside resort like its namesake in Italy.
    When Venice of America opened on July 4, 1905, Kinney had 
    built a 1200-foot-long pleasure pier with an auditorium, ship restaurant, and dance hall, constructed a hot salt-water plunge, and built a block-long arcaded business street with Venetian architecture. Tourists then rode Venice's miniature railroad and gondolas to tour the town. But the biggest attraction was Venice's mile-long gently sloping beach. Cottages and housekeeping tents were available for rent.

    The Oakwood neighborhood of Venice got it's start twenty five years later.

    o7During the age of restrictive covenants that enforced racial segregation, Oakwood was set aside as a settlement area for blacks, who came by the hundreds to Venice to work in the oil fields during the 1930s and 1940s. After the construction of the San Diego Freeway passed through predominantly Mexican and immigrant communities, they moved further west and into Oakwood. Later gangs formed and for a few decades Oakwood was dangerous. 

    Since the 1990's gentrification has greatly altered Oakwood.

    Venice Beach CaliforniaAlthough still a primarily Latino and African-American neighborhood, the neighborhood is in flux. According to Los Angeles City Beat, "In Venice, the transformation is....obvious. Homes are fetching sometimes more than $1 million, and homes are being displaced every day."

    To some the neighborhood is unrecognizable. In today's real estate market the competition between buyers to secure a spot in this ocean-close area is fierce.

    oak1Oakwood is an essential part of Venice Beach's eclectic and artistic personality.

    To learn more about real estate in this area contact us or call Joan (800) 928-5484 ext 112 today.

  • 4-Steps To Stage Your Home For a Fast Sale

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Los Angeles, Home Selling in Los Angeles, Investment Properties in Los Angeles  |  August 11, 2014 11:01 PM  |  67 views  |  1 comment

    Sell Your Home with Best Homes InternationalIf you want to sell your home fast and for the most money the market will pay, it needs to be “staged” properly.  Staging a home is more than just moving around some furniture.

    Here’s the step-by-step process for staging the INSIDE and OUTSIDE of your home:

    STEP #1:  Assess Your Current Situation.

    Identify what improvements need to be made for a speedy sale.  To assess the inside of your home, jot down a list of rooms that need to be cleared out and freshened up.  Then create a second list for the outside of your home.  Start by looking at these two areas on the outside:

    • Take a walk across the street from the home.  Examine the curb appeal of the home. Make notes of items that are unsatisfactory from a buyer’s perspective.
    • Get into your car and start driving away from your home.  Look back and make notes about what looks good, and what needs improvement.

    STEP #2:  Eliminate Clutter. 

    Sell Your Home with Best Homes InternationalThe key to making a home attractive to a buyer is getting rid of clutter.  Make counters clear, get rid of pictures on the wall and tables, store excess furniture if necessary, put books in boxes.  You’ll be doing this for your move – you may just need to do some of it a little early.

    Here’s a checklist to get started:

    • Clear away kitchen and bathroom counters.  These are areas where you need to show the most space and neatness. Put appliances and things away.
    • Re-arrange furniture so rooms look larger.  Store old furniture or cluttered items in another location -- at least while the home is for sale.
    • Get rid of as many “personal” things as you can.  Buyers have a hard time visualizing “their” new home with personal belongings everywhere.  Try to make the home look neutral, so someone wouldn't know anyone specific lives there.
    • Get all the clutter out of the yard… Put hoses away, store garbage cans, put away the sprinkler and kids toys.  The neater the area looks, the better the first impression.

     STEP #3:  Spruce the Home Up Before Showing. 

    Make improvements to the home, but only where it will make the biggest difference to the sales price.

    Getting the biggest bang for your buck usually means getting a fresh coat of paint on strategic walls and areas.  New paint is an inexpensive way to show a home in its best condition.  Do this:

    • Check the paint condition of the INTERIOR of a home by removing pictures off walls.  It will probably need painting.  Remember to get inside painting done first, before any cleaning.
    • Check the paint condition of the entire EXTERIOR of the home.  If it's pealing or worn, the buyer will notice it immediately.  Don't devalue your home by trying to sell it in poor paint condition.  Pay particular attention to the front door, mailbox, garage doors, and walkway areas.  These are where the buyers will be walking and noticing problems.

    Also consider the following items to attract buyers with quality offers:

    • Professional Cleaning.  Get a professional firm in to CLEAN the entire home.  Floors, ceilings, windows, fireplace, carpet, drapes -- everything!   Also, check for ODORS.  If you have a pet, your home probably needs to have carpets cleaned or deodorized.  Any odors make a home less attractive.
    • Home Inspection.  Check for termites and functional obsolescence.  Many homeowners actually have their home inspected prior to putting it on the market.  It makes a good impression to the buyers when you have your own inspection completed by an independent company.  It will also save embarrassing situations with buyers who discover problems.
    • Landscaping.  The landscaping should look immaculate.  Make sure the lawn is groomed, flower beds are clean, leaves are removed, and weeds are pulled.  Check the bushes and trees for grooming also.

    Sell Your Home with Best Homes InternationalSTEP #4:  Show the Home In the Best Light.

    Always turn on the LIGHTS when showing.  Make sure you turn on all lights around the home before a buyer gets there, including…

    • These include: the mailbox light, front door, entry (especially if the entry is dark), and dark hallways.  Make your home alive, by being inviting and bright.  Bright homes sell better than dark homes.
    • Leave all front area curtains and drapes open.  Have you ever seen model homes?  The drapes are always open at night, and the lights are on.  Why?  Because it shows the home better.  Also, when you keep drapes open during the day, people touring through the home will experience more natural light.

    There’s one last step to sell for Top Dollar:  Set The RIGHT Price For Your Home From The Start…

    Homes that sell the fastest also sell for the most money!

    If you want to get Top Dollar for your home, beyond staging your home properly, it needs to be priced correctly.

    Most agents will only do a CMA (comparative marketing analysis), but the best agents offer a “Maximum Home Value Audit.”  What’s that?

    It’s a careful, thorough valuation of every square inch of your home to determine the best possible price based on real world facts, and presented in an EASY to understand format.  You won’t get any inflated values just to pressure you into listing with me.

    If we’re already working together, simply let me know you’d like to redeem your “Maximum Home Value Audit” coupon.  Or, if you’re looking for professional representation to sell your home, use this free service as an introduction to the value I can provide you.

    So call me right now I’ll immediately arrange a convenient time to meet, and share with you my Maximum Home Value Audit.  It’s Free.  It’s FAST.  And it could help you net $1,000’s more on your home sale by setting the home price right from the start.

    An experienced Home Marketing Expert can net you more money and save you time with selling your home by:

    • Assisting you in pricing your home… so it sells for the most money possible, and you have more for your next home.
    • Providing you exposure by marketing your property to other real estate agents and the public, through the official MLS… so it sells in less time, and you can move on.  Homes that sell fast sell for the most money!
    • Screening buyer calls, showing buyers your property, and negotiating… so you don’t have to constantly be available, and know things are done correctly to sell your home.
    • Coordinating the closing process including: opening an escrow account, completing requirements for a purchase contract (disclosures, inspections, and other legal documents)… so you don’t have to think about all the details and are protected.

    How To Sell Your Home For TOP DOLLAR and Eliminate Costly Pitfalls…

    I offer a Maximum Home Value Audit for those considering selling in the next 6 months.  My audit is much more than a simple home valuation you’ll get from another agent.  It’s a complete top-to-bottom analysis not just of the value, but every aspect of your home to identify items that may affect your sales price.  To request a no obligation audit of your home’s value or if you have any questions about my Best Homes Marketing Plan designed to sell your home for every penny it’s worth, in YOUR time frame, and with the least pressure and hassles – call Joan at (310) 981-8535 or contact us.

  • Westchester Los Angeles California; A Secluded Neighborhood and Part of Howard Hughes' Legacy

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Los Angeles, Home Selling in Los Angeles, Investment Properties in Los Angeles  |  August 6, 2014 4:02 PM  |  87 views  |  No comments

     Westchester is a secluded suburban community covering 5000 acres in the Westside Region of Los Angeles, California.

    Westchester, CA Sell Buy HomeNorth of Marina Del Rey and adjacent to the beach city of Playa Del Rey, Westchester contained farmlands that grew crops like celery, lima beans, strawberries and cauliflower well into the 1960'sAt one time it was the site of several fruit and vegetable stands. Today it is a quiet family friendly community with many long term residents.

    What transformed Westchester from farmlands and fruit stands to a secluded residential community? Howard Hughes and his expanding Aircraft business.

    Howard Hughes – aviator, filmmaker, and Hughes Tool Company heir – established Hughes Aircraft in Glendale, CA in 1932. The company operated out of a corner of a Lockheed Corporation hanger in Burbank until 1941, when it was relocated to the Ballona Wetlands site. Here, Hughes built a sixty-thousand-square-foot, air-conditioned plant, equipped with state of the art machines and laboratories. The eleven buildings, including one very large airplane hanger, stood at the end of a nine thousand foot runway pointing in the direction of the Pacific; it was the longest privately-owned airstrip in the world.

    Originally, the homes in Westchester, Los Angeles, California were built to provide housing for the many employees of Hughes Aircraft.

    Westchester, CA Sell Buy HomeAs you drive down the tree-lined quiet streets you can see most of the homes in Westchester were built between 1940 and 1960 and feature the unique character of that time.

    In recent years some owners have rebuilt new homes. Pride of ownership is strong in the neighborhoods, and the two, three and four bedroom original homes are mostly well-maintained. Several have been extensively remodeled. Slightly off the beaten path in Los Angeles, Westchester area residents can enjoy some peace and quiet. You can see a map of the area here:

     

    Family is strong in Westchester with kids of every age throughout the neighborhoods. Many current residents raised their families and stayed.

    On some blocks neighbors know each other well. In the morning and evening you can expect to see people walking their dogs and enjoying the gentle ocean breeze coming from Westchester, CA Sell Buy Homethe coast.

    Today, Westchester is a city in its own right within the great metropolitan complex of Los Angeles. The community is proud of its 73 hotels and motels, including many of the most attractive in Los Angeles; its more than 250 retail outlets in a regional shopping center surrounded by acres of free parking; the more than 300 industrial plants, employing 150,000 persons in a one mile radius of the airport; restaurants, its fine public schools, and of Loyola Universityan outstanding institution of higher learning as well as Otis College of Art and Design.

    It was not always this developed. In 1947, Westchester honorary mayor, Mrs. Yvonne Boynton, moved into the family's new home. “We were nearly two miles from the airport,” she said, “but we could see everything that went on. The only thing between us was the bean fields.”

    Westchester, CA Sell Buy HomeTo find out what you can buy in Westchester call 800-928-5484 ext. 112 and speak with  Joan, or contact us.

  • 4 Tips To Guarantee Your Home Sells The Second Time

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Los Angeles, Home Selling in Los Angeles, Investment Properties in Los Angeles  |  July 30, 2014 2:54 AM  |  77 views  |  No comments

    sell your home with best homesIf your listing has expired and you took your home off the market, it’s time to re-group and re-energize.  Here are 4 proven tips to get you back on the path to home-selling success:

    1. Re-Evaluate The Price.

      A price that’s too high may have kept buyers and other real estate agents away because they didn’t want to waste their time. To set the “right” price, you and a more knowledgeable REALTOR® need to review current market conditions, the competition, and the condition of your home.  Ask another REALTOR® for a new market analysis of comparable homes that are on the market or have sold in the past six months.  How long did it take for those homes to be sold?  Compare the listing prices to the sales prices.  You can also look at other homes whose listings have expired to see what issues they may have had.

    1. sell your house with best homesTake Another Look At Your Home’s Condition. 

      Emotions aside, does your home really look good enough to make a buyer go WOW – or is there more you can do?  Review the feedback you received on the house.  Do you see words like “dated” or “cluttered”?  You don’t need to completely remodel…an experienced REALTOR® will know several easy and inexpensive things you can do to make your home more attractive to buyers.  Have you “staged” your home enough by removing your personal items so potential buyers can envision themselves living there?  It’s hard to live in a de-personalized home and show it, but you have to remind yourself that it will be worth it in the end.  Remember, the next prospect who walks into your home may be the right buyer who makes the offer you are looking for!

    1. Re-Invigorate Your Marketing Plan. 

      Your home may literally be amazing, but not enough people know about it.  Flyers and Open Houses aren’t enough.Your REALTOR® needs to pump up the marketing plan with innovativenon-traditional approaches that will get your home noticed by as many potential buyers as possible.  For example,do the pictures you’ve posted on the Internet really show your home to its best advantage?  And does your home get seen by as many potential buyers as possible?  A skilled REALTOR® knows how to show your home’s greatest features and how to get more exposure for your home.  Well connected agents will even know how to  get the attention of other REALTORS® who are already working with out-of-town buyers that can be hard to reach.

    1. sell your home with best homesConsider Hiring a Home Marketing Expert, Not just A REALTOR®

      .  If your real estate agent has not met your expectations and has run out of ideas to help you sell your home, it may be time to hire a new one.  Not all real estate agents are the same!  Interview several REALTORS® and use what you’ve learned from your recent experience to help you ask relevant questions and get the answers you are looking for.  Perhaps you need someone with a more cutting-edge approach to selling your home.

      Home Marketing Expert understands your needs and priorities, is a good communicator, and is a master of the best strategies to sell homes fast and for the most money possible….

    What Exactly Can A Home Marketing Expert Do For Me?

    If your home didn’t sell the first time…it’s not your fault!  Many homeowners selected the wrong person because they didn’t know about a more effective type of real estate agent…

    An experienced Home Marketing Expert can net you more money and save you time with selling your home by:

    • Assisting you in pricing your home… so it sells for the most money possible, and you have more for your next home.
    • Providing you exposure by marketing your property to other real estate agents and the public, through the official MLS… so it sells in less time, and you can move on.  Homes that sell fast sell for the most money!
    • Screening buyer calls, showing buyers your property, and negotiating… so you don’t have to constantly be available, and know things are done correctly to sell your home.
    • Coordinating the closing process including: opening an escrow account, completing requirements for a purchase contract (disclosures, inspections, and other legal documents)… so you don’t have to think about all the details and are protected.

    Sell Your homeHow To Sell Your Home For TOP DOLLAR and Eliminate Costly Pitfalls…

    I offer a Maximum Home Value Audit for those considering selling in the next 6 months.  My audit is much more than a simple home valuation you’ll get from another agent.  It’s a complete top-to-bottom analysis not just of the value, but every aspect of your home to identify items that may affect your sales price.  To request a no obligation audit of your home’s value or if you have any questions about our Best Homes Marketing Plan designed to sell your home for every penny it’s worth, in YOUR time frame, and with the least pressure and hassles – call Joan Weisman at (800) 928-5484 or contact us here.

     

  • 7 Secrets for Saving Thousands When Financing Your Home

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Los Angeles, Home Selling in Los Angeles, Investment Properties in Los Angeles  |  July 25, 2014 8:44 PM  |  91 views  |  1 comment

    It pays to do your homework!

    Your knowledge about home financing can mean the difference between making or losing tens of thousands of dollars.

    Here are seven strategies (I call them “secrets” because so many people disregard them when buying a home) you should consider when financing your home:

    Buy, Sell Real Estate with Best Homes IntlSecret #1:  Clearly Understand How Much Home You Can Afford

    Bankers and mortgage lenders use two guides to determine how much loan you can afford:

    Payment-To-Income Ratio.  This compares your income to the mortgage payment you’re considering.  The “payment” is the mortgage payment (principal + interest) plus property taxes and insurance (PITI).

    Debt-To-Income Ratio.  This refers to all your major monthly financial obligations, including car and credit card payments and outstanding debts. Your lender will compare your total debt to your ability to make current payments with your new home loan added into the equation.

    Here’s the key:  since each mortgage company sets different limits on your debt-to-income ratio, you need to find a lender who is motivated to loan you the money.

    Secret #2:  Be Financially Prepared – Ahead of Time!

    Before you start looking for a home…

    1. Find a MOTIVATED lender.  Ask a REALTOR® to refer one or two reputable lenders to you.  The lender will usually give you better service because they want to keep getting referrals.
    2. Get pre-APPROVED not just pre-qualified.  You’ll have more power to negotiate the price and terms you want because sellers know you can close on the transaction.
    3. Have deposit funds available immediately.  Write a check to your broker or title company for 3 percent of the highest price you’ve been approved for with financing.  A trustworthy REALTOR® can hold it un-cashed, so you can demonstrate that funds are ready and gain a competitive advantage if the seller gets multiple offers.

    Secret #3:  Understand The Basics of Home Financing.  

    Your ability to afford a home will be related to:

    1. The price
    2. Your down payment, and the amount you will finance
    3. The interest rate and points of your loan
    4. The term of your loan: 15-year, 30-year
    5. The type of your loan.  Fixed vs. variable rates are common but there are many loan packages to choose from.

    To shop for the best financing, do your homework.  Study each of these items and the relationship between them so you can understand what your mortgage lender is talking about.  Knowing these specifics will help you choose the loan that will be the best deal for your situation.

    Secret #4:  Know The “Insider Secrets” Mortgage Lenders Use To Take Money Out Of YOUR Pocket!

    Here’s the secret:  Many of the fees and costs are negotiable.  And if they’re not, you can certainly learn how to judge one loan program from another.  Learn the lingo to spot negotiable fees:

    • ORIGINATION FEE: what most mortgage companies charge to “originate” a loan.  Traditionally, it’s 1 percent of your total loan amount; if it’s more, ask why.
    • DISCOUNT POINTS:  pre-paid interest amounts that can be used to buy down, or lower, your interest rate over the life of your loan.
    • LOCK PERIOD:  the period of time a quoted interest rate/discount point combination can be guaranteed.  The shorter the lock, the lower the rates.
    • JUNK FEES:  small items such as document preparation, underwriting fees that lenders can mark up to generate extra profit.

    Buy, sell with Best HomesSecret #5:  Questions You MUST Ask A Mortgage Lender.

    When you meet with a lender, be prepared to ask questions.  You have a right to this information and a lender will answer them without hesitation.  Here are some examples:

    1. Will I be charged an origination fee?  If so, how much?
    2. Will I be charged separate discount points?  If so, how much?
    3. Will I be charged any of these separate fees:  processing, document preparation, underwriting, tax service or flood certification?
    4. Will there be additional fees at closing?
    5. Is there a Lock Period with this loan?  If so, how long?

    Secret #6:  Work Out A Cost Comparison On Several Lenders To Locate The Perfect Loan!

    Take time to evaluate one program against another.  As you are evaluating, think about your long-term goals.  How long do you think you’ll own this home?  Is your income going to change in the near term?  What direction are interest rates going? When you talk to several lenders, you get a good picture of all the costs you’ll have to pay to get the right home loan for you.

    Secret #7: How To Save You Tens Of Thousands On Mortgage Interest

    You can save thousands of dollars in interest by making one extra mortgage payment every year!

    Lenders frequently promote “Bi-Weekly” payment programs (which help minimize the interest you’ll pay by increasing payment frequency) because they make money administering the program.

    You can do THE SAME THING by making your own mortgage acceleration calculation.  Take your monthly principal and interest payment and multiply that number by 13.  Then divide that total by 12 to get your new “accelerated” monthly payment.  This can make a world of difference in savings to you – and your ultimate net worth!

    PLUS:  Here’s A Special Technique To Save More Money…

    An experienced Home Buyer Representative can save you time and money with buying a home by:

    ¨      Helping you find the perfect home at the right price… so you don’t have to worry you bought the wrong home or paid too much.

    ¨      Providing you with direction and contacts to get pre-approved for a home loan… so you’re never lost trying to find the most affordable financing for your situation.

    ¨      Negotiating the best deal with the sellers… so you avoid costly traps and pitfalls.  You don't make money when you sell a home, you make money when you buy it!

    ¨      Coordinating all inspections, appraisals, escrow and title services, with the very best companies… so you feel confident and can focus on other tasks with your move.

    Buy, Sell Real Estate with Best HomesTo speak with a Home Buyer Representative click here or call (800) 928-5484

  • 4 Quick Ways To Buy A Home With Little Down

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Los Angeles, Home Selling in Los Angeles, Investment Properties in Los Angeles  |  July 24, 2014 12:11 PM  |  97 views  |  No comments

    aedited8Are you wasting thousands of dollars on rent and dreaming of becoming a homeowner?

    You can already make a monthly house payment (you’re already paying rent), but the problem is coming up with money for a down payment. It’s not as difficult as you might think. Here are ways to get a down payment with little out of your own pocket.

    1. Look Into Local or Federal Government Programs. You may qualify for special government programs, such as those for first-time homebuyers and members of the military. You also may have access to aid from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (government-sponsored mortgage programs). Additional resources are non-profit and community groups and state agencies. There are too many programs to list here and they expire or change frequently. Your best option is to ask a REALTOR® to point out a few programs that apply to your area and situation.
    2. Have the Seller Finance You. Some sellers may be willing to help you buy their homes. In a “seller take-back,” the seller holds a second mortgage for you and becomes your lender. You would make your monthly mortgage payments to the seller.
    3. Use A Tax Refund. There are options for you to borrow money for certain investments to a specific level and use those investments to generate a significant tax refund. Obviously, the timing has to be right to so you can use it as a down payment on a home.
    4. Ask A Relative or Friend. Tax law allows gifts of up to $14,000 a year to be given without tax consequences to the giver or recipient. This gift-exclusion amount is adjusted annually to reflect inflation (see IRS publication 950 for the current amount). You can even get a gift from each of your parents or two friends without them having to pay a gift-tax, which bring it up to $28,000.

    This is a great way to get a down payment for a home. In fact, one out of four first-time homebuyers use a gift to make the down payment. Even if this isn’t your first home purchase you can still use a gift so you don’t drain your savings. Usually lenders require you to have some money still left in your bank account after closing so they know you’ll make the mortgage payment each month.

    Also, using a gift for a down payment allows you to buy the home you want even if it’s not FHA-approved.

    Some buyers are able to get Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgages that have down payments as low as 3.5% of the purchase price, but others will have to put more down. With a gift, you can put the typical 10% to 20% down that most lenders require. For example, if you had to put down 10% on a $150,000 home, that’s $15,000. Or, 20% would be $30,000. A gift from relatives and friends can get you there but some of the rules differ depending on the lender you choose. Your best bet is to contact a well-connected REALTOR® before you start looking at homes.

    To speak with an agent about how you can buy contact us.

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