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Westlake Realtor

Important Things to Know as a First Time Homebuyer

As your local Westlake Realtor, our team knows how important buying your first home can be. This is such an exciting time but can also feel overwhelming and stressful. As an experienced Westlake Realtor and real estate team we understand how it feels to be going through this process and are here to help! Please ask all the questions along the way so that you can make sure you feel extremely comfortable with the process. See below for a few things to make sure you fully understand as a first-time homebuyer.
Get pre-approved: This should be one of the first things that you do when entering the home buying process. You want to make sure that you already know ahead of time what your specific budget will be. This will prevent you from being disappointed if you start looking outside of your budget. It will also be helpful when submitting offers that you have a preapproval letter in hand.
Maintain your credit: Make sure that you do not go out and make any large purchases during the home buying process as your financials will be under strict scrutiny. Make sure that you continue to make all of your payments on all of your accounts on time so that you can maintain an adequate credit score.
Understand your loan options: This is a huge thing that most first time homebuyers do not understand. There is not just one single loan option available for any buyer! There are a variety of options available and working with a broker can help you be placed in the best possible scenario. A few loan options that exist are VA, conventional, adjustable, and FHA. Make sure you connect with your mortgage broker to fully understand the best option for your financial situation.
Closing costs: Whether you are the buyer or the seller there will always be closing costs involved. Make sure you have factored in closing costs to your savings.

Moorpark homes coming soon

Common Staging Mistakes

If you have been considering selling your own home, you may be browsing current Moorpark homes coming soon. Staging is a common technique used to help make a home look its best. Staging allows future buyers to help themselves picture their own family in the new home. Sometimes it is difficult to envision how a space will look with furniture when the home is completely empty. While staging homes is a wonderful way to help them sell for top dollar there are always many mistakes that come with staging Moorpark homes coming soon. See below for some of the most common staging mistakes.
1. Not thinking about photographs: Remember that showings of your home will be based on the photos taken in the listing. The photographs are extremely important to the success of your home sale. Make sure you stage your home with the photographs specifically in mind.
2. Arranging furniture on an angle: If you have a smaller room or an awkward space many people consider arranging furniture on an angle to make it appear larger. However, it often does the opposite. Arranging furniture on an angle also skews the perspective and makes photos look less than ideal.
3. Skipping area rugs in open concepts: Area rugs can help define the space when there is a lack of natural definition with walls.
4. Out of scale art: Hanging artwork is a great way to add personality and color to a space. You want to make sure that any artwork you hang is the right size for the space or it will look worse than hanging nothing at all.
5. Too much clutter: Staging can often bring in nick knacks to help fill empty spaces. Make sure you don’t add too many pieces, or it can start to look like clutter and feel messy in the space.

Westlake Realtor

My Home Appraised Below Purchase Price, Now What?

As your trusted Westlake realtor, we know the importance of an appraisal. A low appraisal can really end up making or breaking a deal. The reason for an appraisal in the first place is that lenders use the appraised value to calculate a loan-to-value ratio. This LTV ratio must stay within specific guidelines depending on what loan you are moving forward with. It is important to remember that the appraisal affects the loan-to-value ratio not the purchase price.
If an appraisal comes in low this decreases the amount the bank is willing to loan because it lowers the loan-to value. For example, if you are purchasing a home that is $200,000 with an FHA loan the max loan-to-value is 96.5% meaning that the greatest loan possible is $193,000. The rest of the purchase price will be made up with the down payment. However, if the appraisal comes back at $190,000 instead of $200,000 the bank can now only lend up to $183,350 because of the 96.5% loan-to-value. This now leaves the buyer short $9,650.
In the event of a low appraisal there are always four options available. The first option is to renegotiate the purchase price down to the appraised value. The second option is that the buyer has to put more down to make up for the deficit. The third option is that both parties can decide to cancel the contract entirely. The last option is to try and refute the appraisal with concrete evidence as to why the home is in fact worth the purchase price. This may include bringing forth evidence that was not previously shown at the original appraisal. As your trusted Westlake realtor our entire team is extremely familiar with the appraisal process. If you have any questions, we are always here to make sure you are comfortable with the process.

Ventura County Realtor

Qualifying for a Home Loan

As your trusted Ventura County Realtor our team is well versed in what it takes to qualify for a home loan. There are what are referred to as the four C’s of home loans. If this is your first home, we highly encourage you to sit down with a trusted loan professional to discuss your financials and real estate goals. We would be happy to review the process with you in detail as well so that you can prepare yourself for what to expect. See below for a greater explanation of the four C’s of mortgage qualifications.
1. Capacity to pay back the loan: Your mortgage lender will most certainly review your financial ability to pay back your loan. This will include your source of income(s) and the stability of said income. Your mortgage lender will also review all of your debts and how they compare to your level of income with a final debt to income ratio.
2. Capital: Depending on the type of mortgage you are qualifying for your mortgage lender may look at the various types of reserves you have in the form of savings accounts and even retirement accounts. Not all mortgages require reserves.
3. Collateral: Like any major loan your lender will likely look to collateral to secure the loan. In the case of your mortgage, the home you are purchasing will act as collateral. This is why your lender will order an appraisal, to ensure that your home is valued high enough to replace the loan.
4. Credit: Most home loans have a minimum credit requirement because it shows your likelihood of repaying back your loan based on your previous commitment to repaying debts.
As your local Ventura County Realtor and real estate team we hope to help you through the home loan process every step of the way. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions throughout the process.

Thousand Oaks Realtor

Home Inspection Checklist

As your trusted Thousand Oaks Realtor our entire team is experienced in walking our clients through the home inspection process. We understand what a stressful time this can be during the home buying process. You are finally under escrow and so excited to get into your new home but nervous about any potential issues that could come up. You can always rest assured that our team will be there to help explain and walk you through any potential issues that come up and to help you address them accordingly. As you prepare for your home inspection there are several pieces that you will want to keep your eye on. See below for various items to watch out for during your upcoming home inspection.
Exterior: The exterior of the home is of course part of the home inspection. The exterior is always exposed to the elements and depending on the age of the home is likely to have a few potential issues. While your inspector is sure to check these items it is helpful for your own piece of mind that you take a look while you are at the property as well. Make sure you take a visual inspection of the gutters, roof, foundation, windows, and doors. Check to make sure that all of these items appear to be working properly.
Interior: As you enter the home check for any odd smells that could mean there is a greater issue. Of course you will want to check the heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical, and major appliances. You can do these items yourself alongside your inspector by simply turning on and off all light switches and faucets to make sure everything is working as it should.
If you have any additional questions regarding your home inspection, we are here to help! As your trusted Thousand Oaks realtor and real estate team we want to make sure you are comfortable with your new home purchase every step of the way.

Moorpark homes for sale

Is Now a Good Time to Buy a Home?

If you have been browsing Moorpark homes for sale you may be wondering if now is an ideal time to purchase a new home. While there are always blanket statements for these types of questions, the true answer will depend on your unique situation. If you are considering any Moorpark homes for sale and need advice on the right decision, we are always here to help. Generally speaking, now is an excellent time to buy a home. See below for a few of the top reasons why now is a great time to make a purchase despite the rise in interest rates.
Renting: If you are currently renting either a home or an apartment and you are curious as to whether or not you should buy a home in today’s market the answer is always yes. Whatever it takes for you to enter the homeowner market will be worth it. The equity you will build in your home over time will always pay off compared to rising rental rates.
Rates: Rates are actually expected to decline slightly and level off throughout 2023. When comparing rates to the last year they can sound extremely high, but they are actually still historically low to average in comparison to the last 30 years.
Values: Home values are not headed towards any kind of crash. This can be reassuring when looking at homes for sale as to whether or not you are making a wise investment.
Concessions: As the mass of buyers have left the market, sellers are more likely and willing to concede to buyer demands. In fact, in the last month 42% of buyer demands were met by sellers.
Remember your unique situation can always change the game but as a general rule right now is an excellent time to buy a home, particularly your first home!

Ventura County Realtor

Mortgage Rates 2023

As your local Ventura County Realtor and real estate team, we have been on the lookout for mortgage rate trends entering 2023. The trend of mortgage rates on the rise has directly impacted the buying power of most buyers on the market. This has halted the extreme buying frenzy that we witnessed in the last several years as rates hit historical lows. If you are considering buying or selling your home this year you will want to keep your eyes on the fluctuating interest rates.
Economists predict that rates will level off sometime in the year 2023. Entering this new year rates seem to be hovering around the 6% mark. Predictions set by many experts are hopeful that we have seen the peak of mortgage rates already at the end of 2022. In fact, we are finally starting to see a very slow and steady trend downward. Keep in mind that even if rates do dip back down, refinancing is not always the answer. You will want to take into consideration exactly how much longer you will stay in your home, closing costs, and your current monthly payment. If you plan to move in the near future your cost to close on a new loan will likely be greater than the savings, you will get for the duration you are in your home. Also, you will want to calculate the savings long-term by starting over with a new 30-year mortgage if there truly is a savings involved.
As your local Ventura County Realtor and real estate team we are always here to help advise you the best we possibly can. If you have any questions about how the mortgage interest rates are affecting your situation, please feel free to give us a call. We look forward to helping you achieve all of your real estate goals this year.

Thousand Oaks homes for sale

How to Know a House is Right for You

If you have been browsing Thousand Oaks homes for sale you might find yourself wondering, “how will we know which home is the right one?” This is a valid concern most families feel at some point during the home buying process. There are so many factors that come into play when determining if a home is the right fit. No one wants to keep moving and uprooting their family, so you want to make sure you have made a wise choice in selecting your next home instead of an emotional one. See below for some of the things to consider when taking a look at Thousand Oaks homes for sale.
Location: Location is always key when it comes to real estate. Make sure you consider your new homes proximity to school, work, grocery stores, etc. You will also want to take note of the home’s geographic location – is it next to a busy road, a school zone, etc.
Must have items: Make a list of your non-negotiable items in your new home that you cannot live without. Examples include number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and a minimum amount of square footage. Make sure you don’t start trying to convince yourself to budge on your non-negotiable items when you see a home you think you love but doesn’t meet your requirements.
Be realistic: Make a wish list of items that you hope to see in your new home but try to be realistic about your budget as well. Remember your wish list items are drastically different than your must have items.
Stick to your budget: You don’t want to get in over your head. It is important to stick to your budget as you will thank yourself later. Try to avoid looking at homes that stretch your budget too thin so that you are not tempted.

Simi Valley homes for sale

How Much Home Insurance Do I Need?

As you begin to browse Simi Valley homes for sale you may be wondering exactly how much home insurance you may need. The cost of homeowners insurance can vary drastically from home to home. Insurance providers assess the individual risk of each property including flood and fire risk concerns. These details can either raise or lower insurance policy premiums.
Homeowner insurance providers will calculate the rebuilding cost of each home based on details such as the location and the size of the home. Interior finishes and custom features will also affect the rebuilding costs involved and therefore the cost of the policy itself. The rebuilding cost is just one portion of homeowners insurance. Personal property must also be considered within the plan. Personal property is typically automatically set based off of a percentage of the cost to rebuild the home in question. Personal property is typically valued at 50-70% of the cost of rebuilding the home.
There are two major types of policy differences: Actual Cash Value and Replacement Cost Value. Actual cash value policies take depreciation into account. The policy will not pay out what it actually costs to replace any items within the home or the home itself. Instead, this type of a policy will pay what these items were worth in their condition prior to the loss. Replacement cost value is a more robust type of coverage. Replacement cost value will pay out the actual cost to replace these items in current day. This can apply to both the home itself and personal property. When taking a look at Simi Valley homes for sale you certainly want to consider the type of homeowners insurance policy you will want and the general cost involved. If you have any questions regarding homeowners insurance our team is always here to help.

ventura county realtor

Buying During The Holidays

Purchasing a home during the holidays can seem a bit overwhelming. There is no more overwhelming time during the entire year so that thought of adding the purchase of a new home on top of it can feel like too much. As your local Ventura County Realtor and real estate team we are here to show you that should the perfect home pop up it can actually be an ideal time for you to purchase a home. There are many benefits to trying to purchase a home during the holiday season.
1. Less competition: Many buyers who are looking to move just for the sake of moving will hold off until the new year or even into Spring and Summer if they can help it. This alleviates some of the strong competition we have seen in the market over the past year.
2. More time: If you are able to arrange your time so that you get all your holiday shopping done early or online you can use any extra breaks off school and work to hunt down the perfect home.
3. Lower interest rates: Mortgage interest rates are expected to rise again in the new year. Taking advantage of existing rates means that there has never been a better time to buy than right now.
4. Potential for negotiation: Sellers moving during the holidays likely need to move quickly and are therefore more likely to strike a deal. This is a huge benefit to being a buyer during the holiday season.
5. Tax break: Mortgage interest rate is a tax deduction that many buyers hope to take advantage of prior to the end of the year. Buyers are also able to write off many moving expenses. As your local Ventura County Realtor, we highly recommend taking the tax break and purchasing your new home prior to end of the year.

Hare and Associates