News, Photos & Up-Comming Events of the CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes Sales & Marketing Team

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Monday, November 17, 2008

10 Steps to Owning Your Own Home Series - Choose A Home

There's no doubt that choosing a home is a big decision and you want to do it right.

As a buyer, here's what actually happens. A home has been placed on the market for which the seller has established an asking price as well as other terms. In effect, this is an offer. At this point, you have three choices: accept the seller's offer and create a contract; reject it and not make an offer; or suggest different terms and make a counter-offer. If you choose this last option, the seller may accept, reject or make a counter-offer.

No aspect of the homebuying process is more complex, personal or variable than bargaining between buyers and sellers. This is the point where the value of an experienced REALTOR® is clearly evident because he or she knows the community, has seen numerous homes for sale, knows local values and has spent years negotiating realty transactions.

Is it THE house?A house is shelter, but a home is far more. It's where you live, relax, entertain friends, raise families, and work. A home is where you spend much of your life, and so choosing a house is an enormous decision.

How do you know if a house is THE one? Probably the best approach is to look at as many homes as possible, something made easy at C21ab.net, where you can quickly and easily view huge numbers of homes, check prices, take video tours and view extensive neighborhood information. Once your choices have been narrowed, you can then contact a local CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes REALTOR® to find specific information and options.

Can you really afford it?Remember Step 2 - the preapproval process? Getting preapproved means you have a very good idea of how much you can borrow, what loan programs will most likely work best in your situation and how much home you can afford.

How reliable is a preapproval? While preapproval is not a loan commitment, it's still necessary for lenders to check such items as appraisals and the latest credit reports. Despite fluctuating interest rates, preapproval nonetheless provides a reasoned, careful analysis of what you can afford. After all, loan officers are routinely paid only when loans are originated. It doesn't make much sense for loan officers to suggest high loan limits that later can't be delivered.

To speak with a CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes REALTOR today and receive assistance in choosing a home, contact us at Monrovia: 626.358.1858 or Glendora: 626.963.7621

Monday, November 10, 2008

10 Steps to Owning Your Own Home Series - Look At Homes

Millions of new and existing homes are sold each year. There's no shortage of housing options, but with so many choices the challenge becomes finding the property which best meets your needs.

The housing market is complicated because the stock of homes for sale is always in flux. If it were possible to have a complete list of every home for sale at this very moment in a given community, such a list would become obsolete within seconds as new homes become available and properties now for sale are put under contract.

In effect, buyers are looking at a moving target in a marketplace that is never static. Because of this, it is important to know as much as possible about the choices in preferred markets, and the way to do that is by working closely with a local REALTOR® who has a good "lay of the land."

What are you looking for?A home is more than just a collection of bedrooms and bathrooms. Several properties -- each with four bedrooms, three baths, and the same price -- may well represent radically different designs, commuting distances, lot sizes, tax costs, interior dimensions, and exterior finishes.

Each of us is different and so it's important to list the features and benefits you want in a home. Consider such things as pricing, location, size, amenities (extras such as a pool or extra-large kitchen) and design (one floor or two, colonial or modern, etc.).

Next, it's important to consider your priorities. If you can't get a home at your price with all the features you want, then what features are most important? For instance, would you trade fewer bedrooms for a larger kitchen? A longer commute for a bigger lot and lower cost?
Lastly, consider your needs in several years. If you'll need a larger home, maybe now is the time to buy a bigger house rather than moving or expanding in the future. If you expect your income to increase, perhaps you should consider a more expensive home financed with a loan program where monthly payments increase in the future.

Where should you look?All neighborhoods and communities have a special nature that gives them identity and value. One community may be well known for historic homes while another offers both suburban living as well as easy access to downtown office areas.
REALTOR.com® offers millions homes online. By any standard, it's the largest source for property information online or off. You can look at homes to contact listing brokers, and you can also search Realtor.com to find brokers who offer buyer representation services.
How do you find a house?Some buyers like to search REALTOR.com® by looking at listings on the basis of location or price; others prefer to have local REALTORS® suggest properties; and many buyers prefer both approaches.

Regardless of your choice, it's important to target your search. By using basic measures such as general location and affordability, you can refine your search and focus on homes that offer the most desirable features.

As a guide, you should maintain a file with information on each of the homes you like. Remember to work with your CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes REALTOR® for more comprehensive information about homes and listings in the area.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

10 Steps to Owning Your Own Home Series - Get Loan Pre-Approval

Few people can buy a home for cash. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), nearly nine out of 10 buyers in 1999 financed their purchase, which means that virtually all buyers -- especially first-time purchasers -- required a loan.

The real issue with real estate financing is not getting a loan (virtually anyone willing to pay lofty interest rates can find a mortgage). Instead, the idea is to get the loan that's right for you -- the mortgage with the lowest cost and best terms.

REALTORS® routinely suggest that consumers start the mortgage process well before bidding on a home. Many lenders (the sources of money) and programs, for example, are available right here in the finance section of Homestore.com as well as through recommendations from local REALTORS®. By meeting with lenders -- either online or face to face -- and looking at loan options, you will find which programs best meet your needs and how much you can afford.
REALTORS® also recommend preapprovals for another reason: Purchase forms often require buyers to apply for financing within a given time period, in many cases, seven to 10 days. By meeting with loan officers in advance and identifying mortgage programs, it won't be necessary to quickly find a lender, check credit, and rush into a financing decision that may not be the best option.

What is it?"Preapproval" means you have met with a loan officer, your credit files have been reviewed and the loan officer believes you can readily qualify for a given loan amount with one or more specific mortgage programs. Based on this information, the lender will provide a preapproval letter, which shows your borrowing power. You can visit as many lenders as you like and get several preapprovals, but keep in mind that each one carries with it a new credit check, which will show up on future credit reports.

Although not a final loan commitment, the preapproval letter can be shown to listing brokers when bidding on a home. It demonstrates your financial strength and shows that you have the ability to go through with a purchase. This information is important to owners since they do not want to accept an offer that is likely to fail because financing cannot be obtained.

How do you get preapproval?Real estate financing is available from numerous sources, including lenders here in the finance section of Homestore.com, mortgage companies that have worked with local REALTORS® and in some cases, individual REALTORS® themselves. Based on his or her experience, the REALTOR® may suggest one or more lenders with a history of offering competitive programs and delivering promised rates and terms.

The loan officer will carefully review your financial situation, including your credit report and other information. The lender will then suggest programs which most-closely meet your needs. For instance, a first-time buyer may qualify for state-backed mortgage programs with little money down and low interest rates, while a repeat purchaser (someone who has bought a home before) with more equity (money invested in the home) might want to get a 15-year loan and the lower overall interest costs it represents. Typically, first-time buyers opt for the traditional 30-year loan, with either a floating interest rate or a fixed rate of interest over the life of the loan.

To speak with a mortgage loan professional today, contact Boulevard Mortgage at www.blvdmort.com

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Monrovia, California, United States