Real Estate Blog

The Santa Clarita Rental Market is NUTS!

Exaggerated rental rates and skimpy inventory: Why WOULDN’T you buy a home instead?

Have you taken a look at Santa Clarita rentals lately? Rent has gone up 2 percent over the past year, which may not seem like a lot, except for the fact that, as a renter, you have no control over these increases.

What else don’t you have control over when you rent? Well, there’s no guarantee that your landlord will renew your lease. You also have very limited (or no) choice when it comes to personalizing the rental property you’re occupying, and the worst is that the money you’re spending on rent will never come back to you.

Buying a home is a wise choice for so many reasons.

When talking about taking control over a major part of your daily life, owning a home makes a whole lot of sense. First of all, your monthly payment stays the same (Provided you obtain a fixed-rate mortgage). Equally as important is that your investment will grow in equity over time due to rising prices and fair market value. Statistics show the median price of a single family home on average has risen just over 6 percent per year since 1998, and that INCLUDES the period of time during the recession of 2008.

Even with an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), you have options that give you flexibility with payments until you can refinance to a fixed rate mortgage down the road. Questions about ARM’s? Contact me.

Plus, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re living in a home for as long as you want, with the flexibility to personalize to suit your tastes and comfort level. All the while increasing your personal wealth through the rise of equity.

Stop renting! Call me for a free, no obligation consultation.

It’s time to find out if you can qualify for a home loan and get into the home of your dreams. Contact me to find out how!

 

So You Wanna Buy a Condo?

Condominiums are great for first time buyers and investors, but what should you know before making your offer?

A condo is part of a planned unit development (PUD) that consists usually of attached residences. These can take several forms, from high rise residential complexes, to low impact, attached single or two story homes. They also consist of common areas that may include greenscapes, swimming pool(s), play areas/tot lots, sports facilities (Such as tennis or basketball courts) and even laundry facilities.

While condo owners may give up the perceived “personal space” of a single family residence surrounded by a front and back yard, they are still building equity and value in their property.

So why would you buy a condo, and what should you look for?

Price

Usually condominiums are priced lower than their single family counterparts. For the most part, it’s due to the fact that there’s less (or no) land that has to be included in the price.

That being said, they usually come with a Homeowner’s Association Fee (HOA) that’s added to your monthly mortgage payment.

Lower Maintenance Than Single Family Home

Condominium exteriors and landscape maintenance are handled through your HOA fees. Your responsibilities for maintenance, decor, upkeep and upgrades are usually limited to the interiors. For those “on the go” or upwardly mobile professionals, a condo can better help you manage your time.

FHA Buyers Beware!

If you are obtaining a loan through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), make sure your agent checks with the condo’s HOA to insure they will allow FHA loans. There are certain rules that guide just how many FHA owners are allowed within a condominium complex. Contact me with your questions about FHA loans and condos. 

I am here to help!

I am a licensed real estate professional with experience helping home buyers and sellers in the Santa Clarita Valley achieve their real estate goals. Contact me for a no obligation consultation.

 

FHA Borrowers May See a Reduction in Their Mortgage Payment

Federal Housing Administration to lower mortgage insurance rates.

FHA borrowers are in for some good news. The Federal agency plans to drop mortgage insurance rates for borrowers and homeowners who obtained a home mortgage loan through the Federal Housing Administration.

The loan program helps those with lower income or who may not otherwise qualify for a conventional home mortgage. Many borrowers are allowed the opportunity to get into home ownership with little or no money down.

Of course, because so little of the homeowner’s own money is at stake, FHA mortgagees are required to obtain Primary Mortgage Insurance (PMI) as a safety net in the case of a default. This amount is added to their monthly mortgage payment along with taxes and homeowner insurance.

Once the value of the property exceeds a certain percentage of the mortgage, the borrower may apply to have the PMI removed from their monthly payment.

The rate reduction is scheduled to begin January 27th, and could save the average FHA homeowner up to $500 per year.

UPDATE JANUARY 20, 2017: On this date, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reversed its decision to lower FHA mortgage insurance rates, suspending the rate drop indefinitely. 

Are you ready to purchase a home in 2017?

As a licensed real estate professional, I can find you the home of your dreams and help you realize all of your real estate goals. Contact me for a no obligation consultation.

Where Are Mortgage Interest Rates Headed?

2017 will bring a lot of changes, but will it impact the real estate market?

Yes, it’s finally happened. The Federal Reserve officially raised rates once again earlier this month. While not a surprise, the rise in rates was due in Home prices on the rise in Santa Claritapart, according to Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen, economic growth which has picked up since the middle of the year.

This means that the interest rate at which banks borrow money from the Federal Bank have raised, which doesn’t always translate to an immediate rise in consumer mortgage rates. That being said, mortgage rates have been rising slightly on their own since the national elections in November, a month before the announced rise by the Fed.

Don’t panic! Rates are still low!

While rates have gone up in the past month and a half from the upper 3% range, they are still holding at below 4 and a half percent, which still gives home buyers plenty of purchasing power when choosing a home.  Continue reading

My Home Is Listed For Sale. Should I Decorate For The Holidays?

It’s almost that time of the year again, when the streets of Santa Clarita are lit up and decorated for the holidays. However, if your home is listed for

Wakefield Court

sale, should you still decorate?

When it comes to showing your home for sale, there’s the notion that a home must be a nearly “sterile” environment devoid of decor, photos, wall art or anything else. In reality, it’s okay to use moderation and taste when deciding to keep or add touches to your home, especially around the holidays.

Outside

The main thing to consider when decorating the outside of your home is to make sure there aren’t SO many decorations that it impedes the view (and imagination) of your potential buyer. Large inflatables and other decorative lighting and items that obscure the exterior may be difficult for a buyer to get past in order to help him/her make up their mind as to whether your home is the right home for them.

Inside

Same goes for the inside of your home, especially if space is already an issue. Consider a slightly smaller tree and be a bit more choosy as to which decorations to put out so that the buyer can still see the amenities and space of the interior.

Photographs

It would be best to wait to decorate the exterior and interior of your home until AFTER it has been photographed to be included in the Multiple Listing Service. This way, just in case an offer hasn’t come in, or if by chance your home goes back on the market for whatever reason after the holidays, your photos won’t look dated.

Want more home selling tips? Contact me for a no obligation consultation.

Wanna Get Your House Sold? Don’t Take It Personal!

Constructive Feedback From Your Agent and Potential Buyers May Be Necessary To Close The Deal

That collection of Faberge eggs adorning the added shelves in your livingroom.

Your wall full of autographed 8X10’s of famous actors you collected during your years working at a motion picture studio.

The overstuffed furniture in your family room that gives you that “cozy feeling.”

All of these are wonderful things you cherish about the life you built in your own home. However, your own personal tastes may not jibe with the current real estate market.

As a licensed real estate professional, it’s my job to provide you with the best advice and guidance that will help you sell your home at the best price possible. With that, occasionally I’ll need to provide you with feedback that will help make your home the most appealing to buyers. This means you may need to declutter, rearrange, clean, and maybe store some items and personal belongings. Continue reading

When To Use, And When NOT To Use, The Equity In Your Home

Your home is more than just a place to live, but how you use its value can make the difference in your long term financial goals.

Owning a home is more than just having a place where your rent doesn’t rise. It is more than just a place for you to live and raise your family. It’s an investment, and one that can help you reach your ultimate financial goals, IF you play your cards right.

Of course it goes without saying that owning property is one of the best, and safest, investments one can make. As your home grows in value and your loan amount decreases, the difference between the two amounts is known as “equity.” This equity is something you can use to your financial advantage, but you need to be smart. Continue reading

Top 5 Ways To Improve Your Credit Score

Better Credit Equals Bigger Opportunities When It Comes To Buying a House

It’s a no brainer to know that your credit score, or lack thereof, can impact your ability to purchase a home. Worse yet, it may prevent you from beinggraph2 able to qualify for a loan.

While there are some cases where your low credit score is a result of situations in your life that you can’t control, such as job loss, divorce, or other negative financial impact, there are many of us who simply don’t have a whole lot of discipline when it comes to making sure our credit score is as high as it possibly could be.

Before we get into the things you can do to improve your credit score, we should talk about how your credit score is sinking. Unless it’s due to one of the uncontrollable issues that we mentioned above, it could be that you’re not paying attention to your spending habits. In some cases, we feel so overwhelmed by what we feel is our “fate” of bad credit, it only takes a bit of planning, discipline, and patience to begin to turn things around.  Continue reading

Sure You Make Enough Money, But Can You Afford a Home Loan?

Some buyers are finding out the hard way that, when it comes to real estate, it’s not always just what you make.

Recent reports show that the median combined family income in the Santa Clarita Valley hovers around $84, 000 per year. With interest rates loan-application-1240982-639x852hanging in the low 3 percent range, even with the median price of houses being what they are, it’s not out of the question that any individual or couple in this income range should be able to afford a home in the SCV.

Now, while mortgage lenders may take into consideration your gross monthly/annual income when deciding what your loan qualification amount may be, there are still other factors that help to influence their decision.

Your credit score may be good, but…

Of course, the first item a mortgage lender may look at while determining your loan qualifications is your FICO score. If you’ve ever obtained credit, there’s a good chance you already know what a FICO score is. If not, click here to refresh your memory. Of course, the higher the credit score, the lower your risk appears to a lender. But let’s say you pay all of your bills on time, yet your FICO score isn’t as high as you think it should be. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why this might be: Continue reading

Single Family Homes In Santa Clarita Inching Toward $600K

Median price of Santa Clarita Valley homes highest in over 9 years.

Good news for Santa Clarita Valley homeowners! The median price of a single family residence in the SCV rose to $575,000 in June, according to Rents are rising in Santa Claritainformation recently released by the Southland Regional Association of Realtors (SRAR).

This is a $25,000 jump in equity over the previous month. The last time we saw single family homes hover in the $570K range was in July of 2007.

What’s keeping prices so low?

Mortgage rates have continued to remain steady, remaining in the low 3% range for a fixed rate 30 year mortgage. The Federal Reserve made the decision to hold off on any more base increases, which is being reflected in the low cost of home mortgages.  Continue reading

Copyright © 2015 Patrick Fitzgibbons CA BRE #01865774. All Rights Reserved.