by Barbara • Barbara's Blog on March 22, 2017
Come join Seven Gables Real Estate in the Make A Wish Foundation’s annual Walk for Wishes! 100% of the proceeds from this wonderful event go directly to the Make A Wish Orange County and Inland Empire Foundation to benefit children with life threatening medical conditions. Entry fee prior to April 1st is just $25 per person and includes hat, t-shirt and food. Bring the entire family! The walk is from 7:30 to 12:00 at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine. Hope to see you there!
by Barbara • Barbara's Blog on March 11, 2017
The start of the year ushered in a wave of good news about a hot stock market, higher wages and an active home sales environment. At the same time, housing prices have continued to rise, and the low inventory situation and affordability crunch has been particularly hard on first-time buyers struggling to get into the market. Nevertheless, buyer activity is easily outpacing seller activity in much of the country, culminating in relatively quick sales and low supply. Demand definitely remained strong this month.
New Listings were down 15.8 percent for Single Family homes and 19.9 percent for Townhouse-Condo properties. Pending Sales decreased 46.3 percent for Single Family homes and 42.9 percent for Townhouse-Condo properties.
The Median Sales Price was up 5.9 percent to $630,000 for Single Family homes and 3.4 percent to $410,500 for Townhouse-Condo properties. Months Supply of Inventory decreased 7.4 percent for Single Family units and 13.0 percent for Townhouse-Condo units.
Unemployment has reached pre-recession levels, and Americans remain optimistic about finding quality employment. This matters because job growth and higher paychecks fuel home purchases. Unfortunately, that won’t matter for potential buyers if price appreciation outpaces income growth and if mortgage rates continue their upward trend. Sellers are getting a generous number of offers in this market. The worry for sellers then becomes that there will not be a generous number of homes to choose from when they become buyers.
From 550 companies with over 4,400 offices in 65 countries throughout the world, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World has just Seven Gables Real Estate the prestigious honor of Most Innovative Brokerage.
I am so very proud to be a part of a company that has an ongoing commitment to always being innovative and on the cutting edge for the benefit of both its agents and our clients. Whether it be the latest in technology or marketing, Seven Gables Real Estate is leading the way!
For more information on how Seven Gables and I can help you market and sell your home, please feel free to email me at BarbaraGrandolfo@aol.com or call 714-801-0827. Our passion is your success!
by Barbara • Barbara's Blog on February 23, 2017
Are you thinking about buying a home or refinancing your mortgage this year? If so, you’ll want to review these noteworthy nuggets before you make that call.
- You can buy a home without a down payment. If you don’t have enough cash to make a 20% down payment for a conventional mortgage, there are loan programs that allow buyers to put down a small amount or skip the down payment altogether.1
- VA loans aren’t just for veterans. The Veterans Administration (VA) also offers mortgages to qualifying active duty military and family members.2 Low interest rates and zero money down make this financing very attractive.
- You don’t need perfect credit to qualify for a mortgage. Borrowers with a credit score of 580 or above – and a down payment of at least 3.5% of the home’s purchase price – may be eligible for a mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). If your credit score is 500-579 and you have a 10% down payment, you may also qualify for an FHA loan.3
- You may be able to forgo closing costs or roll them into your mortgage. Another up-front expense is your closing costs, which may include title insurance, inspection, origination fees, appraisal and escrow fees. Some loan options allow you to roll your closing costs into the total amount of money you borrow. In exchange for this benefit, the lender typically charges a slightly higher interest rate.
- Don’t buy more house than you can afford. Depending on who you talk to, most experts agree that you should only spend 25-30% of your income on a mortgage. If you’re in the process of starting a family – and anticipate having one parent stay home with the children – then your housing percentage should be based on one income.
- Stash some cash. Buying or renovating a home is exciting, so it’s easy to spend more money than you intend. This can be avoided by creating a realistic housing budget that includes money set aside for unexpected costs or a change in household income. Also, in some cases, reserves are required for mortgage approval.
- Be honest with your mortgage professional. Choose a mortgage loan originator (MLO) who will work with you to candidly assess your goals and purchase power. This will ensure that you choose the right mortgage type and term for your individual needs.
- You may be able to save money by refinancing to a lower-term loan. Even if a 30-year mortgage was the right decision when you purchased your home, now might be a good time to evaluate refinancing to a 15-year mortgage. Of course, there are many variables – including interest rate, closing costs, how long you plan to remain in your home, etc. – but you may be able to pay less interest overall when you refinance.
- You can tap into your home’s equity with a cash-out finance. Equity is the amount already repaid on a mortgage, adjusted for any rise or fall in the home’s value (with any existing loans subtracted). Although some refinance programs have specific parameters about how you can use the money, a cash-out refinance can be used for nearly anything.
Buying or refinancing a home involves a wide range of details, so it’s easy to overlook some of these features and options. For more information, contact: