Tuesday, March 8, 2016

5 Ways to Destroy a Home Loan Approval

When buying a home, you don't want to do the wrong things.  There are 5 key things that buyers should NEVER do until after the close of escrow:

1. Buy any Large Items (such as cars, appliances, computers, TV's, etc)  that require a credit check or a withdrawal from your bank account.   Credit checks can actually lower your credit score and a
drop in your verified funds can result in a loan denial.

2. Change Your Marital Status.   This could impact how you hold the title.

3.  Change Jobs.  Your loan may be denied due to a job change.   Lender may re-verify your credit and employment at the last minute.

4.  Switch Banks or Move Your Money to Another Institiution.  This can affect your loan approval.

5.  Paying off Existing Accounts unless your lender requests it.  If timely payments are made and kept below 50%, certain long standing revolving credit accounts can have a positive affect on your credit.  However, if your lender tells you to pay it off, follow their direction.

For more buyer tips, see Selecting the Best Home Buyer Representative and Search for Homes on Your Phone.

Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Kitchen Design: Three Trends That You Need to Be Aware of Before You Renovate

Renovating your kitchen is an excellent way to improve its look, increase the value of your home and
appeal to a more diverse range of home buyers if you decide to sell.  However, a kitchen remodel can
easily cost $10,000 to $20,000 or more, which is why you want to make choices that you can live with.  Learning more about some of hottest trends can help you decide what you want and don't want in your kitchen.

Traditional Is Back
Trends come and go, but the classics remain constant. One of the hottest renovation trends is a more
traditional look. Homeowners today are no longer attached to trendy colors and modern designs; they
want homes that have a more traditional look and will retain that traditional look for years to come.
Experts predict a return to darker wood colors for cabinets, tables, counters and even floors. There are
also some reports that homeowners will use oil rubbed bronze and darker pulls and handles on cabinets and drawers as opposed to flashy and contemporary chrome accents. Other trends include rustic farmhouse tables, double porcelain sinks and natural stone counters.

Going Green
It's hard to go anywhere today without seeing or hearing about green decorating trends, and those
trends carry over into kitchens. Homeowners want products made from recycled materials and the
chance to "go green" at home. Adding a recycling center is just one of the hottest trends for the kitchen.  Designers also found that homeowners want counters and floors made from recycled or sustainable  materials. Bamboo is a sustainable construction material that works well in flooring applications.  Homeowners can also find counters made from old tires, soda bottles and other recycled goods.

Homeowners Want More Space
Ask anyone what they need in their homes, and the odds are good that many will say they need more
space. Recessed lighting is one trendy accent that adds more space and reduces the number of fixtures
and cords hanging down from the ceiling. Other ways to add more space include adding an island with storage to the center of the room and cutting down on the number of cabinets lining the walls.
There are a number of trendy ways that you can renovate and change your kitchen. Going green, adding more space and bringing in traditional elements are just a few of those ways. Talk with a real estate agent about other changes you can make that will add value to your kitchen.

Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty

Monday, January 18, 2016

Cost vs Value! 10 Top San Diego Area Home Improvements

Thinking about updating your home before selling?  You will want to consider the Cost of the improvement versus the actual increase in the sale value for San Diego area homes.     Here are the 2015 top 10 home improvement projects that pay back the highest value.    For every dollar you pay, how much will you get back on average.  See the online Remodeling full report

              Midrange Improvements              Cost vs. Value
1.     Siding Replacement (Vinyl)                     102.9%
 2.    Deck Addition (Wood)                                102.8%
 3.    Entry Door Replacement (Steel)                96.4%
 4.    Garage Door Replacement                          90.1%
  5.     Stone Veneer Accent                                    93.2%
   6.    Attic Bedroom Remodel                               82.0%
    7.     Entry Door Replacement (Fiberglass)      80.4%
    8.    Roofing Replacement                                    78.8%
     9.    Window Replacement (Vinyl or Wood)     78.4%
    10.   Minor Kitchen Remodel                                 77.8%

Before starting your home improvement projects, to prepare for selling a home, consult an experienced Realtor who can help guide you to avoid costly upgrades that might not add value to your home.   For more suggestions see 4 Tips Guaranteed to Sell Your Home.

Virginia Hall, CRS, ABR, CNE
Keller Williams Realty

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Santee/San Diego Castlerock Housing Development to Start Soon

Once the City of San Diego approves the grading, Pardee homes plans to begin construction during the first quarter of this year on the Castlerock housing development.  The master plan development (Map compliments of Castlerock Website) of approximately 430 single family homes will be located on the border of San Diego and Santee, across from West Hills High School at the base of the hillside north of Mast, just east of SR 52, between Medina Dr. and West Hills Parkway.    

The motto of the master planned community is “A Natural Environment to Live and Thrive”.   The homes will be located on an 18 acre parcel of the total 204 acres.   Each single home will be between 1,700 to 3,800 estimated square feet, and include energy efficient technology.   The architectural design elements will complement the Mission Trails design, capturing natural light and inland breezes.  There will be a tree lined entryway along Mast Boulevard with a public trail spanning the eastern edge connecting with Mission Trails Regional Park and Goodan Ranch to the north.   The development will include scenic multiuse trails, colorful drought tolerant landscaping, along with neighborhood parks.  Over 50% of the 204 acres is designated open space.  

For more information, visit the Castlerock website and watch their video tour.   Once the development is complete it will be annexed into the City of Santee, who will provide all of its public services.   

Virginia Hall  

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