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5 First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid

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Avoid These 5 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes

According to the dictionary, a mistake is an error resulting from deficient knowledge or carelessness. While we can’t do anything about carelessness, when it comes to counseling first-time homebuyers, the real estate agent is a tremendous resource to help overcome knowledge deficiency.

That homebuyers lack knowledge about the process only makes sense when you understand that shopping for a home may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some. Certainly, it’s not something most Americans do frequently. The process is foreign and the pitfalls are hidden. This is why it’s so important to find the right real estate agent to assist you along the way.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common first-time homebuyer mistakes.

Mistake 1: Not Being Clear About Money

Going into a home purchase with your eyes closed to your finances is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make during the process. Nobody likes unpleasant surprises, yet that’s what you open yourself up to when you are ignorant about where you stand financially.

If you are unsure about your credit-worthiness, order your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. By law, Americans are entitled to one free report from each bureau every 12 months. You can order your free reports at AnnualCreditReport.com, the only authorized website, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Look for errors on the reports and dispute any erroneous information. Pay off what you can to help lower your debt-to-income ratio.

Then, see a lender to determine exactly how much you can borrow for a home.

Finally, when you have that figure, don’t be tempted to shop for homes priced at the limit. Give your post-purchase budget some monthly wiggle room by purchasing at the middle of the price range, or a bit more.

Mistake 2: Not Being Clear About Your Wants and Needs

While you may not get everything on a wish list, it’s a good idea to compile one – especially if more than one person will be living in the home.

Understand that your wish list isn’t set in stone and you can plan on it changing once you start viewing homes. During the home-shopping process, you will get a better idea of which items are feasible with your budget and which will have to be struck from the list. Knowing what you want and need in a home is vital to your long-term satisfaction, so it’s worth the time it takes to sit down and make a list.

Don’t neglect the neighborhood wish list either. Do you need to be close to public transportation? If you’d like a family neighborhood with lots of kids for yours to play with, put that on the list.

The bonus to getting clear on your wants and needs is that when you share the list with your real estate agent, your time won’t be wasted by viewing homes that don’t fit your criteria.

Mistake 3: Not Reading the HOA Documents

If the home you decide to make an offer on is managed by a homeowners association, you’ll be presented with a stack of paperwork to read over and approve. These are the HOA documents and, although terribly boring, they hold a wealth of valuable information that you must be privy to before making the final decision to purchase the property.

These documents govern how you can use your home, and they give you an idea of how much and how often your fees might rise. You’ll learn about common and ongoing problems the association deals with and how financially solvent the association is.

Don’t be like the couple that purchased a condo without reading the HOA documents and found out, three days after closing, that they – along with all the other homeowners – were being assessed $7,500 to remedy construction defects.

If you don’t feel that you can read and understand the information in these documents, it’s important to hire an attorney to help you wade through them.

Mistake 4: Making Big Changes

The best part of the home-purchase process is that point during the transaction when inspections are complete, all the contingencies have been removed, and it feels like smooth sailing to the close.

Unfortunately, this is a danger zone for rookie homebuyers. This is typically when they start picturing themselves actually living in the home and the urge may be overwhelming to shop for furniture, appliances and other big-ticket items.

Just before closing, many lenders perform what is known as a “soft pull” of your credit reports. It’s called “soft” because it doesn’t impact your score in any way. It’s the lender’s way of making sure all the circumstances under which it approved the loan haven’t changed.

Any big changes you make, such as large purchases or getting a new job, may derail or delay the purchase. If the new debt you’ve taken on is substantial enough, it may change your debt-to-income ratio and you may be forced to reapply for the mortgage.

Keep your pocketbook closed and remain on your current job until you walk away from the closing table.

Mistake 5: Waiving the Home Inspection

Although foregoing a home inspection was unthinkable a few years ago, in a seller’s market where multiple offers are common, it’s tempting to agree to waive the home inspection as an incentive for the seller to pick your offer. It’s also not very wise.

A professional inspection, even of a newly constructed home, may be the only way you’ll know whether you’re buying a lemon or a plum – a money pit or a smart investment.

When you forego a professional home inspection, you’re essentially buying the home “as is.” Without the inspection contingency, the buyer waives his right to ask for repairs or money to make the repairs.

Waiving the home inspection is never worth the risk.

Knowing how much home you can afford is paramount to a successful home purchase. Making the decision to remain within a certain budget, doing all you can to clean up your credit to get the lowest interest rate possible, and becoming clear on your desires and expectations all help to make the home-buying process as error-free as possible.

Your Local Real estate Expert,

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Stephen Nissou,
Realtor ®

Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
680 Fletcher Pkwy # 100
El Cajon, CA 92020
Direct 619-250-4541
Office 619-873-2772
E-mail: Stephen@StephenNissou.com
http://www.StephenNissou.com

 

 

 

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Selling Your Home: 3 Must-Knows Before You List

Sometimes the hardest part of selling a home is making the decision to sell it. Our homes give us roots, provide sanctuary, house memories and, hopefully, give us some financial security. It’s a huge decision to sell a home.
Once made, however, additional decisions will come fast and furious, so take some time now, before the frenzy, to understand three salient points about the successful sale of a home in today’s real estate marketplace.

What is Market Value?

One of the most challenging aspects of selling a home is determining the list price. Many homeowners will go online to find homes nearby that are for sale and base their price assumption on those that are most similar.
The list price of a home, however, is a fantasy. It represents an amount of money the seller thinks, or hopes the home will bring. Until the home sells, he may be right or he may be wrong.
Buyers set market value for homes. What a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured buyer pays for a home is the home’s true market value. Therefore, when pricing a home for the market, one must always look at the sold prices of similar homes nearby.
This is the method both real estate agents and appraisers use when determining a home’s market value.

First Impressions Matter

Think back to when you were house hunting. Were there houses that you arrived at that you just couldn’t bear to get out of the car to look at? Chipped or peeling paint, sagging window and door screens, and overgrown or dead landscaping do not make a good first impression.
Before you do anything else, clean your house, inside and out. Make cosmetic repairs, especially outdoors where the house makes its first impression. Even if it’s merely a new coat of paint on the front door, shiny new house numbers and some fresh mulch in the planting beds, it may help folks want to see more.
Don’t neglect the interior either. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at some websites with ideas on how to declutter and stage the home.

Don’t Attempt This on Your Own

I know what you’re thinking: Of course a real estate agent is going to tell me not to take the for-sale-by-owner route. So, I won’t ask you to take just my word for it. Let’s look at the cold, hard numbers.
First, only 9 percent of homeowners attempt to sell their homes without the aid of an agent, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Of those, almost half said they took this route because they were selling their home to someone they knew.
The next most commonly stated reason that a homeowner gave for not using an agent was that he or she didn’t want to pay the real estate commission. That’s understandable when one isn’t sure exactly what an agent does to get a home sold. Once you get a look at that list, you’ll understand that you definitely get what you pay for.
You should also take into consideration the fact that a home that is for sale by the owner is considered a bargain to most homebuyers. Many will walk in expecting you to kick back some of that money you’re saving by not using an agent. This is why, according to NAR, homes sold by agents sell for 16 percent more than those sold by owner.
Selling a home is a big deal and, thankfully, something we don’t often do. When it’s time to sell yours, start with the basics, as outlined above, and you’ll be ready to list your home before you know it.
Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,
Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
680 Fletcher Parkway, #100
El Cajon, CA 92020
Office 619-873-2772   |   Cell 619-250-4541
http://www.StephenNissou.com   |   http://www.NissouRealtyGroup.com
Stephen@StephenNissou.com

CalBRE # 01443193

Beautiful La Cresta Home For Sale!

2794 La Cresta, El Cajon, CA 92021
MLS # 140030856
$529,000   |   3 BED, 3 BATH, 2178 Sq.Ft
Looking for privacy, serenity, and beautiful ocean views? Look no further than this beautiful El Cajon home right off La Cresta!
Located on a private drive, this custom single-leveled home features large, spacious rooms with an open floorplan, gorgeous wood flooring throughout, an upgraded kitchen with custom tile counters, backsplash, oak cabinets, and recessed lighting. Enjoy the sunroom with a fireplace, or make it an optional 4th bedroom! This home features natural lighting with skylights and sliding doors to view beautiful panoramic views of the mountains and cities all the way to the ocean! Enjoy the large outdoor deck and sitting area under the pagoda, as well as an over sized attached garage and storage shed.
Offering 3 bedrooms (optional 4th), 3 baths, and 2178 sq ft at a low $529,000! 
Call STEPHEN NISSOU today for more information and to schedule a viewing of this property! 
 OFFICE 619-873-2772
CELL 619-250-4541.
EMAIL Stephen@StephenNissou.com

What is an HOA?

HOA

Recently, I had a client who was looking to purchase a townhome in the Santee area. With each townhome we went to view, there was an “HOA” attached to it that was a monthly expense. My client, being a first-time home buyer, had a few questions about what an HOA is and what it covers.

HOA means Home Owners Association. It can exist in planned housing developments, townhomes, and condos. It is billed typically on a monthly basis, however sometimes can be billed quarterly. Most developments in areas of San Diego, such as Rancho San Diego and El Cajon, have HOA fees that an owner must abide by paying.

HOA fees are dues to pay for upkeep of common areas within the development, such as parks, tennis courts, swimming pools, and elevators. Sometimes, HOA fees also pay for things like trash pick-up and in certain complexes, water. They also serve as special assessments on homeowners when the association lacks sufficient reserves to pay for unexpected repairs.

Home Owners Associations are typically run by the home owners themselves within a neighborhood, and the up-keep is done through a property management company. Some homeowners are extremely picky about what their members can do with their properties, so picking a home with the right HOA is important. Sometimes, homeowner associations dictate whether Christmas lights can be hung, or what kind of window coverings can be used, while others are more relaxed and just want to keep property values up by doing things like mowing the grass in common areas or preventing homeowners from painting their homes unusual colors.

Home Owner Associations can have a huge impact on your decision to buy a property. When you are ready to purchase a property, you will be shown the HOA documents, which include the HOA budget and HOA contracts.

If you have questions or a concern regarding what an HOA is and what they cover, leave us a comment!

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

Stephen Nissou

Staircase Crazy

This week has a been a busy one. I recently checked out a home for one of my clients that had one of the most beautiful staircases I’ve seen in a home. Since then, my team and I have been a little “Stair Case Crazy!”

Since we’re heading into the weekend, here’s a little bit of stair case heaven I wanted to share with you! Check them out and tell us what you think by leaving a comment below!

 

 

 

 

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Home Inspector

home-inspection

As home buying season has kicked off in full gear for the spring and summer months, open houses are attracting prospective buyers. With that, hiring a home inspector can provide negotiation leverage for your buyer, or warn them of any potential problems.
Not all states have licensing requirements for home inspection companies. Ask your realtor if they have any suggestions for contacts.

Here are a few things to ask before hiring a home inspector:

1. Do you preform repairs, or just home inspections?

Some homebuyers will request advice from a general contractor rather than a home inspector. Home inspectors are typically checking the roof or appliances if they are included in the home. A general contractor is coming in to look at problems from a repair standpoint and can quote any repairs that need to be done.

After the home inspection, it might be in your best interest to hire a specialist or general conractor to find out how much the kitchen renovation or plumbing upgrade might cost you. Get the un-biased opinion first, then bring in a contractor to quote you for any repairs that need to be done.

2. Are you bonded and insured?

It is best to be sure that you are insured, so that if something happens to the inspector (i.e falls through the attic, or slips while inspecting your roof) you are covered. If the company doesn’t have proper insurance, they might sue you or the current homeowner. They can also try to a put a lien on the property. Be sure that the company is insured before the inspector comes onto the property.

3. Can you provide me wih references?

Check the inspection companies references by asking previous clients about the inspection, such as; if they arrived on time, if they inspected all aspects of the home (including the roof/attic), etc. Does the inspector offer you a full comprehensive report that spells out all the findings and lists all areas of the home?

4. Can I tag along on the inspection?

Sometimes, homeowners will leave the inspectors alone to examine the home, while others are more hands-on and will follow the inspector around. Ask the inspector to walk around with them and see if you can ask all the questions you need to.
5. What does the home inspection include?

You need to ask what the inspection includes in order to fully be aware that the inspector is not missing any parts of the home, or any important issues that may arise. The inspection really should be as thorough as possible. Open every door and every window and test every outlet. Many inspections don’t test the appliances, but they will turn on dishwashers and laundry machines to see if there is any damage on the gaskets, etc.
6. Will you send me a sample inspection report?

The inspector should send you a detailed report after completing the inspection. Ask to see a sample to make sure the information is presented in a clear and thorough format that is easy to read and understand. Also, see if the reports have any color photographs because those images can clearly demonstrate problem areas and help during the negotiation process with the seller and the seller’s agent.

7. Do you have any special expertise?

If you’re buying a special type of property (new construction, historic home, etc.) be sure that the inspector understand that there are special considerations for these types of properties. Older homes will have issues that newer homes won’t have, while recently constructed properties may have new materials and different types of framing that require a more critical eye.

8. How much do you charge?

Shopping on price alone will lead to cutting corners. You might save a few hundred dollars to hire the cheapest inspector but you could be paying in a bigger way because the inspector wasn’t thorough enough or the report was difficult to understand and follow.

Do you have questions about home inspectors? Give me a call today to see how I can help you! 619-250-4541

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

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Ways to Enhance Your Entryway

Are you looking to add some fizz to your foyer? First impressions matter so when you’re ready to re-design your entryway, look at it from the viewpoint of someone who has never seen your home before.

Define the space with a bold color to exude a warm welcome. Be sure that the color ties in with the rest of the adjoining rooms. Try to keep the space clear of any type of furniture so that the space has a feeling of openness and feels larger.

Accessories are important. Be sure that lighting is prominent in the area by adding a fun chandelier or table lamps on an entry way table. Add a mirror on one of the walls to open up the space and make it feel larger. If you have a few mirrors you love put them together in a fun cluster to make the space more inviting.

Buffet and console tables are in right now for entryways. Add a small three-drawer chest or console table against a wall to add depth to the space. Or if you have a large entryway, add a round table in the middle of the room. You can then put a floral piece in the center.

There are so many different ways to enhance your entryway. Take a look at more inspirational photo’s we just love and see more on our Pinterest Page – www.Pinterest.com/NissouRealtyGroup.

 

Your Local Real Estate Expert,

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