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Don – 949-939-2854
(CalBRE #01339479)
Amy – 949-940-6460
(CalBRE #01941972)
Buyer’s Info

A home is probably the biggest financial investment you’ll make in your life. So before you get started looking at homes and imagining yourself in them, do some homework. Use this Buyer’s Guide as a primer to help you as you hunt that home of your dreams.

Determine How Much You Can Afford

Determine How Much You Can Afford

How much house you can afford is largely dependent on how large a mortgage (home loan) you can handle. Our website offers a mortgage calculator that will help you! But better yet! Give us a call and we will pre-qualify you or have someone pre-qualify you ASAP! We highly recommend that you become pre-approved for a mortgage before you even start house hunting. This will tell you exactly how much you can afford and will make the closing process go faster.

Getting pre-approved also makes you much more attractive to potential sellers because they know they won't have wait days or even weeks before you and they will know if you'll get the OK for a home loan.. In addition, purchasing a home involves more than just making sure you have enough money to pay the mortgage and property tax. You'll also have to be sure you have enough money at hand for what are known as closing costs. Closing costs could include:

  • Earnest money, usually one to five percent of the cost of the house, which you pay as a deposit on the house when you submit your offer. It’s your proof that you’re a serious buyer. Depending on the laws in your state, you may be able to get this money back should you decide not to purchase the house, but you must make this decision within about two weeks of paying the earnest money.
  • Your down payment (this is different than earnest money), usually 10 to 20 percent of the cost of the house, which you must pay at closing. Understand that in today's tighter credit market, more mortgage brokers are leery of approving a mortgage for potential homeowners who don't have 10 or 20 percent available for a down payment.
  • Mortgage insurance. If you can't make a down payment of at least 20 percent, mortgage lenders charge you extra insurance. This is also known as private mortgage insurance, or PMI.
  • Closing costs, usually three to four percent of the cost of the house, to pay for processing all the paperwork.

In addition, as you research whether you can afford to purchase a home, don't forget to include the day-to-day expenses you'll incur. This includes.

  • Utilities
  • Homeowner or condo association dues
  • Property taxes (mentioned above)
  • City or county taxes

Shop for a Home

Shop for a Home

House hunting can be both exciting and frustrating. You should plan on seeing at least 10 homes before buying one. To make your search easier and faster, browse properties on the Internet. You can do so on my real estate home page. Clickon the "Search For Homes" link and you will have access to the same data as Realtors from Burbank to Thousand Oaks in Los Angeles County. For Ventura County Property information ,click on the link "Here" on my homepage. This information is up-to-date and accurate. Other real estate websites do not provide up-to-date data and lag behind my site. The Internet is a quick way to see whether the houses that are currently available meet the following critical criteria: are they in the right location, with the right features and at the right price.

If you find after your search on my website that few properties meet your needs, you may want to readjust your criteria – change the location, features, price – to increase your chances of finding a house that works for you. If you have any difficulties in this initial search, feel free to contact me for assistance. Homes can become available instantly and I'm always the most current resource for up-to-the minute information on new home listings. Once you know what you want, where you want it and what you can afford, it’s time to start looking for a real estate agent or Realtor so that you can see different houses for yourself. Before you and an agent/Realtor go to the homes, it's a good idea to put together a checklist of things that you’ve decided ahead of time are important qualities of your future home.

This might include:

  • Is there enough room for your family to grow in the house?
  • Is the house structurally sound?
  • Is the house in move-in condition or will it need work?
  • Is it close enough to everyday needs, such as grocery stores, schools, work?
  • Will you feel safe here?
  • Do any appliances included in the home work?
  • Is the yard right for your needs?
  • Do you like the floor plan?
  • Is there enough storage?
  • Will you be happy in this house in winter, summer, spring, fall?

You may also want to take some exterior and interior photos of each house you visit so that you can keep track of its pros and cons.

Home Inspections
Inspections are designed to help you understand the overall condition of a property, potentially saving you considerable time with the purchase process and hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs. Some of the inspections which may be required or recommended by your real estate professional are:
Standard Home Inspection
The areas which may be covered include lot and grounds, roofs, exterior surfaces, garage/carport, structure, attic, basement, crawl space, electrical, heating and air conditioning systems, plumbing, fireplace/wood burning devices, and appliance condition. Remember that your inspection rights are clearly stated in the Contract For Sale and vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some cases homes can be sold "as-is" even though an inspection may take place.
Radon Inspection
Radon levels are detected and measured. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that between 15,000 - 22,000 deaths per year result from radon exposure, therefore they recommend that all homes be tested for radon. EPA recommends that homes containing 4.0 or more Pico Curies per liter be remedied.
Termite Inspection
A termite inspector will inspect the property for the presence of wood-destroying insects (WDI) or wood destroying organisms (WDO, i.e. fungus) and conducive conditions that exist. Inspection requirements vary by state.
Asbestos Inspection
Lab analysis will determine if asbestos fibers are present and evaluate their condition. If friable or non-friable conditions exist, buyers should seek professional assistance.
Composition Board Siding
The condition of the siding and any areas of high moisture are evaluated during this inspection. Typically, composition board siding is a paper-based product that is manufactured to replicate traditional wood siding at a fraction of the cost. Homeowners recently brought class action lawsuits against some of the larger manufacturers of this type of product. The homeowners claimed that the siding was susceptible to water penetration, which caused premature deterioration and rotting. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, some of the most commonly known manufacturers of composition board siding are Louisiana Pacific (LP), Georgia Pacific (GP), Masonite, and Weyerhaeuser.
Lead Paint Inspection
Painted surfaces of a home can be evaluated to determine the presence of lead paint. Homes that were constructed before 1978 may contain lead-based paint. Lead exposure can be harmful to young children and babies. Children with lead in their bodies can suffer from damage to the brain and nervous system, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, and headaches.
On-Site Waste System (SeptiChekTM) Evaluation
SeptiChekTM is an evaluation performed by an on-site waste management professional. It involves accessing the cover of the septic tank to examine the fluid level inside the septic tank. The tank is then pumped to check the condition of the tank and its baffles. The leaching field is probed to check the level of sub-surface liquid waste (effluent). This test alerts the buyer to a wide range of potentially costly septic system repairs or failures. The SeptiChekTM evaluation provides more reliable information of potential problems than a septic dye test.
Pool/Hot Tub Inspection
Determines the overall condition and operability of a pool and/or hot tub's equipment. Additionally, the condition of the pool deck will be inspected for deterioration and/or other noticeable defects.
Private Well Flow and Potability Inspection
Designed to determine whether or not a private well adequately supplies water to the house. Samples are sent to a lab for potability (drinkability) analysis.
Stucco Siding Inspection
There are two types of stucco siding to be aware of: cement-based "traditional" stucco and synthetic stucco. An inspection of the siding's application according to manufacturer's installation specifications is recommended. Synthetic stucco siding is commonly referred to as Exterior Insulated Finish System (EIFS).

  • In considering a home with stucco exterior, we recommend an inspection be conducted to determine the condition of the siding.
  • Synthetic stucco is predominately found in the Southeast but it is present in homes in other areas of the country as well.
  • Hidden structural damage has been documented in synthetic stucco homes in 34 states.
  • Moisture readings are taken to determine if the system has already experienced water intrusion.
Underground Storage Tank (UST) Inspection
The most common methods for testing a UST, typically used to store oil for heating homes, are either the soil test or vacuum test. The soil test consists of random core samples taken around the location of the tank and submitting them for lab analysis. This will determine if any product has contaminated the soil at that particular area and to what extent. The vacuum test consists of having a technician seal off and place the tank under a vacuum. Readings are periodically taken to determine whether or not the tank is losing its vacuum. With this test immediate results are available for the buyers.
  • Since USTs are predominately made of metal they rust and corrode over time, causing hazardous materials to contaminate soil and potentially aquifers that supply drinking water to surrounding communities.
  • The majority of UST problems occur in the northeastern states due to the older properties located there.
  • Obtaining the proper inspections for a home prior to purchase is one of the best ways to make a smart purchase decision and protect your investment. The above is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all of the types of inspections that may be necessary on a particular home, but it is meant to provide general information on some of the most common types of inspections.
Obtaining the proper inspections for a home prior to purchase is one of the best ways to make a smart purchase decision and protect your investment.

 

Find a Real Estate Professional...That's were I come in...

While you’re not required to use a real estate professional to purchase a home, it is a good idea. A professional has access to a network of contacts and can draw from extensive market knowledge to help pinpoint the right house for you quickly.A professional also can help you structure your deal to save money, negotiate the sales and closing details, explain the advantages and disadvantages of different types of mortgages and guide you through the paperwork.

Research Different Mortgages

Interest Rates
As you start shopping for a home loan, your first question of each lender will probably be "What's your interest rate? How much are you charging?" Interest rates are usually expressed as an annual percentage of the amount borrowed. If you borrowed $120,000 at 10% interest, you'd owe interest of $12,000 for the first year. With most mortgage plans you'd pay it at the rate of $1,000 a month. You would also send in something each month to reduce the principal debt you owe - and the next month you'd owe a bit less interest.
When your grandparents bought their home (putting at least half the purchase price down, by the way), their interest rate was probably around 4 or 5%. Rates stayed the same for years at a time. Then in the years following World War II, things became more turbulent. As economic changes speeded up, rates began to change several times a year. By the l980s, lenders were setting new rates on mortgage loans as often as once a week - and they still do today. When inflation hit a high in the '80s, some mortgage loans carried interest rates as high as 17% - and those who absolutely needed to buy, paid that much.
Rates dropped gradually through the 1990s, and by 2000 had reached their lowest rates in decades. Continuing into the millennium, home buyers appear to have the most favorable conditions for mortgage borrowing since their grandparents' days - and without 50% down payments either.

There are a variety of mortgage types available today, each with advantages and disadvantages depending on how long you plan to live in the home, the financial marketplace and your income potential, among other things. A fixed-rate mortgage is the most common. In a fixed-rate mortgage, your interest rate and payment stay the same for the life of the loan. Most people who decide on a fixed-rate mortgage usually choose one that has a term of either 15 or 30 years.

An adjustable-rate mortgage usually starts out at lower interest rates and lower monthly payments than fixed-rate mortgages, but your rate and monthly payments may rise and fall based on a financial index. There are also several government mortgage programs available, including FHA mortgages, which are designed to help people who might not otherwise qualify for a loan. It’s best to talk to me about your best mortgage option. I may refer you to a mortgage broker who can discuss current market financing packages.

 

Make an Offer

Make an Offer

When you’ve found a house you really want, it’s time to make the offer. How much you offer may depend on a number of factors:

  • Is the asking price fair? Here’s where the legwork you put in while shopping for a home pays off. Decide whether this house is priced right or out of line in the current marketplace. We can look at what are known as "comparables" to help determine if a home in which you're interested is priced "right." Comparables are simply the prices homes near the house you're interested in sold for in recent weeks and months. Comparables can be wonderful tools when it comes to negotiating a sales price: "You're asking $400,000, but the house up the street built the same year with the same square footage sold a month ago for $375,000."
  • Is the house in good condition? Is this house in move-in condition or will it need a lot of work? Take any costs of improvement into consideration when deciding your offer price.
  • Has it been on the market long? Usually the longer a house has been on the market, the more likely it is the owner will accept a lower offer. Or it may be just overpriced for the market.
  • Is it a seller’s or buyer’s market? If the houses you’re interested in are being bought as soon as they’re listed, that means you’ve got a lot of competition from other buyers; offer accordingly. If houses aren’t selling fast, you may have more leverage in negotiating a lower price.

Once you’ve determined how much you’d like to offer, work with your real estate professional to submit the proper information. This includes:

  • A complete, legal description of the house
  • The amount of earnest money you’re paying
  • The down payment and financing details
  • A proposed move-in date
  • The price you’re offering
  • A proposed closing date
  • The length of time your offer is valid
  • Details of the deal

This can be just the beginning of the negotiation process. The seller has three options: accept your offer, counter your offer, or reject your offer. I'll strategize with you on the best way to present your offer for a good outcome.

Begin Contingency Period

When your offer has been accepted, the contingency period begins. This is time that allows you to obtain financing, perform inspections and satisfy any other contingencies of your purchase agreement. Obtaining financing might include loan approval, which will include an appraisal of the property. Also be prepared to make your down payment, which is usually due several days before the close of escrow. Now is the time to schedule a professional inspection of the property; it is one of the best safeguards you can take before buying.

A home inspector should check (and may give you a rough price for repairs on) the electrical system, plumbing and waste disposal, the water heater, insulation and ventilation, water source and quality, pests, foundation, doors, windows, ceilings, walls, floors and roof. Keep in mind that the inspector isn’t there to tell you whether you’re getting a good deal. He or she is there to give you an educated opinion on whether the house is structurally and mechanically sound and fill you in on any repairs that are needed.

Buy Homeowner’s Insurance

A paid homeowner’s insurance policy is required at closing. I will help make sure your insurance company and your title officer are working together to put your policy in effect by the close of escrow. But, if you get your insurance agent involved early in your home-buying process, he or she also may help point out ways to help keep your insurance premiums lower.

Complete Settlement or Closing

When the property you’re buying has been inspected and you’ve had your final walk-through of the property to see that all contingency conditions – such as final repairs made by the seller -- have been met, it’s time to face the paperwork. You will be signing loan documents and closing papers, paying the balance of your down payment and closing costs. This is the day you get the keys to your new home. Congratulations!

Testimonials

I have had the pleasure of doing a number of transactions with Don over the years ranging form very simple to very complex real es...
- Byron Davis

Location

27742 Vista Del Lago #1
Mission Viejo CA 92692
Don – 949-939-2854
(CalBRE #01339479)
Amy – 949-940-6460
(CalBRE #01941972)

Prospect.105118.322@realtyjuggler.com

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