Friday, September 11, 2015

Buying a New Car Can Sabatoge You Buying a New Home

It seems like buying a shiny new car and purchasing a home go together. Wrong!  Buying a car may feel like a necessity, but if you are planning to buy a home, wait until after.

Buying a big ticket item on credit before buying or refinancing a house can make the difference between qualifying and not.  It will ding your credit score, lowering it 40 to 60 points.  It will increase your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, and may knock you out of the park.

According to Kenneth Harney, Nation's Housing, "auto debt accounted for 81% of the increase in non-mortgage debt a month mortgage holders over the past 4 years".

While buying a new car makes you feel financially successful, in reality owning a home is one of the best financial decision you can make. You have to have somewhere to live and the benefits of owning your home usually include tax deductions that you don't get with a car. 

Before buying a car, know that your DTI ratios are an important part of mortgage underwriting and are stricter and less flexible than they were a decade ago.   Keeping your DTI ratios below 45%, with a maximum 50% for FHA,  is important for obtaining a home loan.

So before buying a car or big ticket items on credit, consider what it will do to your DTI ratio and credit scores.  

Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Monster in the Room: 4 Tips to Rid Your Home of Odors Before Putting it on the Market

Buying a home involves all your senses, including your sense of smell, which is one of strongest. Buyers want to smell clean or simple scents.  However, when a seller puts their home on the market, they have grown accustom to many of the stale odors that inhabit their homes. Telling someone that their home smells can be one of the hardest problems to address.

However, a 2013 Canadian Study showed that Smoking in the home can reduce the home value up to 29%.  Most odors arise from bacteria attaching themselves to walls, carpets, draperies, and ceilings.  Before putting your home on the market, here are 4 Tips to rid your home of odors:

  • GENERALLY. Clean, Clean, Clean.  Identify the source of the odor and eliminate it.  Open windows.  Change air filters regularly.   Lemon peels in the garage disposal.  Simple scents, like fabric softeners between clothes.  Plug-in deodorizers on mild. Overwhelming fragrances can be just as pungent.  Do laundry often to avoid dirty clothes piling up.  You may want to invest in a air purifier or try a do-it-yourself nontoxic fogger like DynoFresh.   
  • SMOKE.   While smoke attaches itself to almost everything, you will need to professionally clean all surfaces, drapes, walls, and paint with a sealing paint such as Kilzs.   Smokers need to smoke outside in an open area away from the house, and don't forget to empty ashtrays.   Some other tips can be found at 6 Tips to Get Rid of the Cigarette Smoke Smell.                                                               
  • PET ODORS.  Bathe pets at least weekly while your home is for sale. Anywhere a pet sits needs to be cleaned.  Professionally shampoo the carpet and fabric furniture using a pet odor treatment. Clean the cat litter box and pick up dog mess daily using an air tight bags in the outside trash.  Throw out those old raggedy pet toys.                                                                       
  • FOOD.  Empty trash every morning.  Avoid cooking strong-smelling foods such as fish, broccoli, garlic, etc.  Clean refrigerator out often.  Open a window and use the stove fan when cooking.     

The most important thing is to remember is that buyers want to smell CLEAN.  Breath new life into your home.  Get rid of the Monster in the room.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Rent Just Keeps Going Up--Rent vs Buying a Home

Rent just keeps going up.  At what point, is it a better financial decision to buy?  Take a look at this Rent versus Buy Calculator found on the Business Section of the NewYork Times. This will give you an idea of the costs of renting compared to what you might be paying to buy a home. 
Before buying a home,  people consider many things.  Most importantly are the finances. Will I be able to afford it?  What if I lose my job?   Both important questions.   
How can I find out what I can afford?   While this Rent versus Buy calculator, gives you an idea of what you might be able to afford in a mortgage, it is important to talk to a lender, who compares your income to debt ratio to know what you can get qualified for in a home loan.   Even if you are not quite there, lenders can help you see where you are at and where you need to be.  
Many buyers worry, What if I lose my job?  However, realistically this will be a concern even if you rent.  You would have to do the same thing if you rent or own.  You use savings, borrow from family, you get unemployment or work hard to find another job. Landlords, like bankers, won't let you go months without paying the rent.  Most lenders look at your past two years of employment.   
With rents continuing to climb, this Rent versus Buy Calculator can help you determine the right time to buy and the cost of waiting or missing out.  

Written by Virginia Hall ● Keller Williams Realty ● (619)258-8585

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mission Martinique Condominium Complex in West Santee

Looking for a condominium that has a garage, patio, safe neighborhood, with great schools? Look no further.  The well maintained Mission Martinique condominium complex is located off Mission Gorge Rd. and  Crossway Ct. or Caribbean Way, in the west end of Santee.  The popular 88 unit complex was built in 1985 and qualifies for both FHA and VA financing.  The complex has 22 buildings with 4 units in each building.    67% of the units are owner occupied.  Only about 4 to 5 homes sell a year on average in the complex.   
The cozy homes have 2 and 3 bedrooms with 1.5 to 2 bathrooms.  The square footage ranges from 908 to 1,086.  The townhomes and single story downstairs units have enclosed patios and the single story upstairs units have a balcony.   

Each unit has a laundry closet inside, as well as a one car garage and along with an additional assigned parking space.  Additional limited visitor parking is available where marked for up to 48hrs.   Additional leased parking spaces are available near the pool area off of Crossway Court, marked in yellow as “reserved”, for an addition $25/month.  

The complex is located not far from the Mission Trails and Big Rock Park, minutes to the 52 and 125 freeways and Town Center shopping.  
The HOA dues presently run $255 and cover exterior maintenance, exterior Building Maintenance, Limited Insurance, and trash pickup.   The fenced community pool is centrally located. 

A five member board directors elected annually governs the 88 unit complex with the help of the property manager Professional HOA Consultants (619) 229-0044.   Board Meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in Suite C of the Professional HOA Consultants office. 

For more information about the complex you visit their website at 

Looking for a unit to buy, see featured listing on my website or the 8765 Crossway Ct #79 Virtual Tour .
Written by Virginia Hall ● Keller Williams Realty ● (619)258-8585

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Search for Homes on Your Phone

Remember the days when you flipped open a cell phone and all you did was talk. Now apps have taken over your phone screen. Exciting advances are taking place! If you are like many, multiple App icons cover your phone screen. Apps that can take your pulse, tell you where to eat, provide you with fun and games, enable you to search encylopedias, and even tells you the weather. Just about anything you can think of seems to have found a place on your phone screen.

One of the newest categories of apps includes those that will help you find homes for sale or rent, showing a map of the properties and all the details. As phone apps pour onto the market, apps for the home buyer and seller have emerged. Many of the big home search engines and bigger brokerages have designed apps to help people find properties for sale.

Keller Williams Realty has come up with a free app that is easy to download and use on any smart phone. It will locate homes for sale of rent nearby. Curious what homes are running on your street? With your QR Reader app, scan the QR code above or click on the KW Realty Mobile website or on your KW Realty website; then follow the simple directions. You simply download the free KW Realty app from your Google Play or App Store on your smart phone and start checking out home prices in your area.

Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The 5 Senses of Selling Successfully

When buyers walk into a home for sale, they are using all five senses to decide if they like the home or not. Here are tips on how to help your home stand out.

  • Sight. Front yards should be green and well trimmed. If no flowers are blooming, add a pot of colorful flowers near the front door. Of course Decluttering is the biggest potential do-it-yourself return on the resale, up to $2000 or more on the sales price. Well lit rooms staged with minimal furniture and neutral wall colors, can be livened up with colorful accessories such as pillows, candles, and artwork. Display fresh flowers throughout the house, Add color pops with bowls of lemons, red apples, pomegranates in the kitchen and dining room.

  • Sound. Play soft easy listening type music, jazz or classical your choice, throughout the house.

  • Taste. A plate of freshly baked cookies or chocolates, along with coffee or tea can entice the buyers to sit down awhile to enjoy the home more.

  • Smell. Natural aromas of freshly baked cookies, flowers, lemons will enhance the experience of the walking through the home. Other ideas include baking applies with brown sugar at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or warming apple cider with cinnamon sticks. Litter boxes must be cleaned daily and before showings.

  • Feel. Soft towels, fine linens, textured accent pillows, smooth clean counter tops, all add a touch of luxury to the experience.

Unknowingly to many buyers, they use all of their senses while viewing homes. So by adding a few of these simple tips, you will present a winning home.

By Virginia Hall, CRS, ABR, CNE, SFR, GRI, ePro
Keller Williams Realty

Monday, November 26, 2012

Home Sellers Don't Get Burned--Choose the Right Buyers

"What do you mean they can't get the loan?"  the seller asked.  "We've been waiting for 17 days and we are just finding out?"

Even though the buyer had worked all his life except for one year, because of a case of discrimination and a lawsuit, the lender turned down the buyer's loan.  Even though it happened two years ago, the underwriter said that this would increase the interest rate on his loan making his monthly payments unaffordable.    Everyone was very disappointed.

There are some situations that sellers and agents just can't anticipate.  However, in most cases there are several ways the seller's agent can protect the seller from entering into escrow with an unqualified buyer, losing valuable marketing time and making other buyers wonder why has the home sat on the market so long and what is wrong it. 

  • Motivation.  Know the buyer's motivation.  One that is relocating for a job, is stronger than a buyer buying a second home.  The family out growing their condominium is stronger than the one who is renting and thinks it is a good time to own.
  • Proof of Funds.  Before an offer is accepted, the buyers should be required to submit a recent bank statement showing that they do indeed have the money for the deposits and closing costs.  
  • Loan Prequalification or Preapproval?  The seller's agent should contact the buyer's loan officer to verify that they have actually reviewed the application, bank records, and paystubs.
  • Appraisal Contingency.  The buyer's loan also depends on the property appraising at the price offered.  If it appraises higher than the accepted offer, there is no problem.  However, in this market, appraisers are still appraising conservatively based on comparable sales in the area.   On occasion, appraisers may come from out of the area and not know every comparable sale.  So it is very important that the agents provide the appraiser with the best solid comparable home sales to support the price. 
  • Higher Offer Trap.  At this time, many sellers are receiving multiple offers.  Some buyers will offer above the fair market value in order to get their offer accepted, knowing they will renegotiate the price if the appraisal comes in lower.  If the seller does not want to renegotiate the price, they still have to share the appraisal with the next buyer.  So make sure that you have strong comparable home sales and the strongest, most motivated buyer with a fair price or money to renegotiate with.        
So the moral of the story is look a little further than the price and terms on the purchase agreement.  Make sure the buyer can indeed fullfill their offer so no one gets burned.  

Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty
DRE #01409760