My Blog

Low Interest Rates: ACT NOW

1/17/2020
Interest Rates Near Historic Lows

The title tells the tail.

As the CNN article notes below, 2020 began with a dip in interest rates with the 'experts' expecting interest rates to remain low in 2020.  Reportedly, there isn't much pressure on mortgage rates.   But the key statement in the article is that interest rates "may" not rise.  It is key as none of us, even though we have 15, 20 or 45 years in real estate or mortgages, can predict where interest rates will go. 

Regardless of where interest rates go, now is the time to act if you have a home to sell(these interest rates will excite buyers and we need inventory).  If you need to buy a home, you can lock in a historically low interest rates.   And besides if you don't act now, Mr./Ms. Buyer, you could miss out on the great rates and homes that will cost less today than likely they will tomorrow.  

Home prices are steadily rising.  Thus would you rather see your equity in your new home rise 5% or pay 5%(or such) later to a seller that reaped the extra profit!

You can call me anytime at 951-290-0289 to begin the conversation.  My DRE License # is 02098949.

CNN on Housing-Market

Having a Dream Can be Uplifting

1/15/2020
Dream Homes are Homes for Everybody

A dream home isn't an impossible dream.   Not everyone's dream home is a 16,000 sq.ft. Bel Air Mansion!!!!

A dream home is simply that home that sparks one's imagination and provides them an exciting new place to live.  For a tenant dealing with landlord's barely sufficient home or apartment, it can simply be a place that is there own with the prospect of financial gains through equity growth. A father and mother with three kids may find a 5 bedroom townhome close to work or a 5 bedroom house in the country their particular dream home.

Whatever your dream home, your dreams can become reality!!!!  There are 3 great reasons as to why 2020 is the perfect year to move to your Dream Home.

3 Benefits to Buying Your Dream Home This Year

3 Benefits to Buying Your Dream Home This Year

Outside of a strong economy, low unemployment, and higher wages, there are three more great reasons why you may want to consider buying your dream home this year instead of waiting.

1. Buying a Home is a Great Investment

Several reports indicate that real estate is a good investment, topping other options such as gold, stocks, bonds, and savings. Why? Real estate helps build equity, a form of investing for you and your family. According to CoreLogic’s Equity Report,

“U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 64% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of nearly $457 billion since the third quarter 2018, an increase of 5.1%, year over year.”

This means the average homeowner gained approximately $5,300 in equity over the past year. If you want to start building your equity, put your housing costs to work for you through homeownership this year.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Low

The Primary Mortgage Market Survey from Freddie Mac indicates that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have fallen since November 2018 when they hit 4.94%. In their latest forecast, Freddie Mac expects rates to remain low, leveling out to a yearly average of 3.8% in 2020.

When you purchase a home at a low mortgage rate, it will impact your monthly mortgage payment, giving you the opportunity to buy more house for your money.

3. Investing in Your Family is a Win

There are some renters who haven’t purchased a home yet because they’re uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you’re living rent-free with your parents, you’re paying a mortgage – either yours or that of your landlord.

Today, rental prices continue to increase, and when you’re paying your landlord’s mortgage instead of your own, you’re not the one earning the equity. As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ you can use later in life to reinvest in your family. You can use it for a variety of opportunities, such as saving for your children’s education, moving up to a bigger home, or starting your own business. As a renter, it can be more challenging to achieve those types of dreams without home equity working for you.

Bottom Line

Buying a home sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings and long-term financial growth for you and your family. Reach out to a local real estate professional to determine if homeownership is the right choice for you this year.

May Joy fill Your Days

1/13/2020
Information is brought to you by
Bryan Cerny
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

4 Mantras to Make You Happy

Some days, keeping a smile on your face can be a struggle. Whether you’re dealing with a stressful career, medical issues or just feeling weighed down by your daily routine, repeating positive mantras can help shift your mood—if you’re open to it.

Below are four helpful happy mantras to lift your mood.

You can do it. Whether you’re under a huge deadline for work or trying to finish that last mile on the treadmill, telling yourself that you can do it will make your success more likely. Be your own cheerleader!

Just breathe. Feeling overwhelmed? Remind yourself to breathe. Pair this mantra with big, deep inhalations to feel calmer and happier.

Thank you. Gratitude goes a long way, and can shift your perception of things (and the way people perceive you) if integrated into daily life. Be thankful for getting to work safely, even if you had a longer-than-usual commute. Be thankful you have the funds to buy groceries, even when your list of errands seems endless. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

No judgements. This is easier said than done, especially in a world where other people’s lives are constantly popping into our news feeds. Annoyed at your co-worker’s cheesy engagement photos? Irritated that your college roommate seems to be traveling constantly, when you can’t even afford a staycation? Remind yourself to pay attention to your own life, and don’t judge or envy others for their choices.


 

Don't Wait!!! Spring is Coming

1/10/2020
Spring 2020 is Just Around the Corner

No doubt you are just getting over the Holidays.  Perhaps you even have the fateful New Year's hangover of feeling caused by all the pulsating activity ending.   I have noted the lack of people out as so many seem to simply enjoy the comfort of their homes.

Yet, time spent at home will cause individuals and families to have time to consider what 2020 goals, ambitions or desires should be considered.  Frequently, there isn't a in-depth planning event but rather a casual conversation in the back yard that results in a plan to renovate the landscape or similar in the Master Bath or Kitchen.   About this time every year, I also get the call from the individual or couple that was chatting over coffee with friends or by themselves that realized their present housing isn't meeting current or perhaps future needs/wants.  Add the number of people that will change jobs, by choice or by company decision and I tend to have my phone frequently in the next couple of month.

A bit early for this conversation?  Not really!  As the post from Keeping Current Matters notes, Spring is considered the "right time to sell".  But they are on point noting the buyers are out in January and February(as they have been every year in the past 18 years).

So what are you waiting for???


The New Spring Real Estate Market is Here. Are You Ready?

The New Spring Real Estate Market is Here. Are You Ready?

Which month do you think most people who are considering buying a home actually start their search? If you’re like most of us, you probably think the surge happens in the spring, likely in April. Not anymore. According to new research, January 2019 was only 1% behind February for the most monthly views per listing on realtor.com.

So, what does that mean? The busiest season in real estate has just begun.

The same research indicates,

“Historically, April launched the kickoff of the home shopping season as buyers would come out of their winter hibernation looking for their new home. However, the spring shopping season now starts in January for many of the nation’s largest markets.”

With the reality of fewer homes on the market in the winter, and that supply naturally increases as we head to the spring market, waiting for more competition to list in your neighborhood this year might put you behind the curve. Perhaps now is the time to jump into the market.

George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com says,

“As shoppers modify their strategies for navigating a housing market that has become more competitive due to rising prices and low inventory, the search for a home is beginning earlier and earlier.”

There is a lot of speculation in the market about why the search for a home is shifting to an earlier start. The one thing we do know is if you’re thinking about buying or selling a home this year, the earlier you get started, the better.

Reminder: When should you sell something? When there is less of that item for sale and the greatest number of buyers are in the market. That’s exactly what is happening in real estate right now.

Bottom Line

 The new spring market for real estate is underway. If you’re considering buying or selling, reach out to a local real estate professional, so you have the advantage in this competitive market.


May It Never Happen to you!

1/9/2020
A Modern Terror Hanging over All of Us!

No one ever really wants to talk about the reality of identity theft.  No matter whether you are having your credit data tracked/monitored by a large or small player in this space and have a password protector program on all your devices, identity theft may happen.  It is just the facts
that even these security resources declare in their disclaimers.

So what do you do if it happens?    Read the post below for some great methods to resolve and protect yourself.

Bryan Cerny
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

Steps to Take After Identity Theft

Reacting quickly is essential after you’ve been the victim of identity theft. It can lessen the damage by thieves and lower the stress of having your credit card lost or stolen.

You may notice when you get home that your credit card is missing. Or you may get an email from your credit card company that there is some suspicious activity on your account.

Whatever alerts you to identity theft, here are some steps to take immediately after realizing it:

Get on the phone

Depending on the circumstances, you may want to first call the police to report a crime. If someone just grabbed your purse and ran away, the police are obviously the first agency to contact.

Next, call your credit card company and ask that it cancel your credit card and send you a new one immediately. If any charges were made by the thieves, the credit card company should remove them.

With anyone you contact about this theft, be sure to take notes of the names, dates, times, phone numbers and badge numbers of people you’ve talked to. You may need the information later to track down a police report.

Ask for a fraud alert

Calling one of the three major credit bureaus and reporting an identity theft will allow the credit bureau to put a fraud alert on all three your credit reports within 24 hours. The credit reporting agency must alert the other agencies when a fraud alert is requested, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

A fraud alert requires creditors who check your credit report to verify your identity before opening a new account, issuing an additional card or approving a credit limit increase request.

An initial fraud alert lasts for 90 days. It requires creditors to confirm you are who you say you are, such as by calling you to verify a credit request. An extended fraud alert can be placed on your credit report for seven years, requiring the same alerts to verify who you are.

Consider a credit freeze

You can also request a “freeze” on your credit reports to stop identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name.

A security freeze prevents new creditors from accessing your credit report, which most businesses require to open credit accounts. A freeze won’t stop thieves from taking over existing accounts.

Check credit reports

After you’ve taken the immediate steps needed to deal with identity theft, be sure to periodically check your credit reports, especially in the first year after you discovered the identity theft.

You’re entitled to three free credit reports per year, so take advantage of them and be on the lookout for erroneous information.

Hope you found these tips helpful! Contact me for more insights and info.

A Demand that is real

1/7/2020

Big Demand for Small Homes

Big Demand for Small Homes

Movies, tv shows, and celebrities often have us dreaming of owning large homes, but the reality for most people is quite different.

Since 2015, the square footage of newly built houses has been shrinking, according to Yahoo Finances. This is not projected to change as we continue into the beginning of the year.

“We expect this downsizing trend to continue in 2020, driven by a confluence of economic and demographic trends.”

Why are smaller homes trending now?

As noted in the article, there are a few main reasons for this demand:

  • “Many of today’s younger, millennial home buyers have expressed a preference for denser, more urban homes that are more walkable to shared amenities.”
  • “Today’s older homeowners are expressing a desire for smaller, less maintenance-heavy and more accessible (read: less stairs) homes as they age and move into newer homes.”

With these two demographic groups surging through the market, the demand for this type of home is rising. If you’re a homeowner with a smaller-scale house, now may be a great time to sell, as the demand for this end of the market is surely on the rise.

Bottom Line

The demand for smaller houses will continue to rise throughout 2020. Contact a local real estate professional to discuss what the housing inventory looks like in your neighborhood. It might be time for you to take advantage of this trend!

Getting It Right

1/3/2020
Bryan Cerny
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

How to Choose the Right House for Your Growing Family

Even in the best of circumstances, shopping for a house can be a daunting task. When you are unsure what the future holds, searching for a home is even harder. If you plan to have children, you need to consider many factors that might not seem important to you now, but will be vital in the future.

Size
If you plan to have children in the future, or if you already have kids and might want to expand your family later, you need to find a house that is the right size. It can be difficult to know how many bedrooms you need when you are unsure how many children you might have.

You need a home that is flexible enough to accommodate a growing family. Look for a house with an extra bedroom, just in case. If you do not have a child who occupies that room, you will at least have a guest room. Another option is to consider possible renovations. If you find a house that has a finished basement or porch that could be converted into a bedroom in the future, that will give you flexibility. You might also want to think about the possibility of building an addition. Look at the size of the yard and ask yourself if you could add another room or two.

Room to Play
Make sure your children will have plenty of space to play inside the house. If your kids like to run around and spread out their toys, an open floor plan can make it easier for them to entertain themselves and for you to keep an eye on them. Also make sure the yard is large enough for toys, games that involve running around, and pets.

Practicality
You need to consider practical day-to-day issues. For example, if your family eats meals together every day, look for a home with a large enough kitchen or dining room. Make sure the house has a laundry room or enough space for a washer and dryer. Look for a house with plenty of closet space for clothes, toys and sports equipment.

Safety
Look for any hazards in the house such as stairs, counters with sharp edges and wall outlets that could be dangerous to young children. Find out where the nearest hospital is located in case of an emergency. Visit the neighborhood on a typical day to look at things like traffic. Contact the police to learn about crime rates in the area.

Education
Your children will need to attend school. Research local schools and daycares and find out about programs offered and whether transportation is provided. Also look into extracurricular activities for kids.

Weigh Your Options
Finding the right house requires a lot of careful thought. If you are planning to expand your family in the future, you have to consider many possible scenarios and be flexible. Look for a house that offers things you need now, as well as the ability to adapt to your changing needs.


 

Here comes 2020!

1/1/2020

2020 Will Rock!


The beat continues.  Here is another update from a great resource, KCM.   It is another voice dispelling naysayers that never have a good word to say.

I will always call out unreasonable forecasts as this post speaks about future results.  Yet, interest rates similar to what has been seen and reasonable 5% appreciation nationwide is a very safe forecast.  


Though interest rates could tick a bit higher or lower, it is a great time to buy a home.  Continued strong home values are perfect for all you ready to take on the next phase of your life.

Homes are about the life we life we want than plywood and 2x4s.

DRE#: 02098949

Where is the Housing Market Headed in 2020? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Where is the Housing Market Headed in 2020? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • Interest rates will be lower than they have been since before 1980 at 3.8% and are projected to remain steady throughout 2020!
  • According to CoreLogic, home prices will appreciate at a rate of 5.4% over the course of the year.
  • Experts predict that the number of homes sold next year will be equal to or outpace 2019.

 





Counting Our Blessings

12/31/2019
Counting Our Blessings!

Though our wonderful country is being challenged by partisan politics, we continue to live in beautiful country that affords us all so many blessings.
With all the cheer and gift giving of Christmas, we are all reminded of the goodness of family and friends.   No matter the money one makes, where they live or how they make their living, the love of family will overcome whatever challenges we may face.

What is  cool about owning a home is that we enjoy financial blessings year after year.  Though infrequently home values can suffer for a short time, these values always recover and add financial strength to home owner households.   2019 was no different!!!     And 2020 will be much of the same!

Wishing you and yours a blessed and joy-filled 2020!!!   Do all you can to bring joy to all those you meet!!!


5,300 Reasons to Be Happy You’re a Homeowner

5,300 Reasons to Be Happy You’re a Homeowner

Studies have shown that, in many cases, the largest asset a family owns is the house they live in. Over the last twelve months, that asset has gained substantial value.

CoreLogic just released their 2019 3rd Quarter Homeowner Equity Insights Report. The report revealed that:

“U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 64% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of nearly $457 billion since the third quarter 2018, an increase of 5.1%, year over year.”

The equity in a property is determined by comparing the current value of the property against the outstanding mortgage debt. As prices rise, the equity in a home increases.

The report went on to explain that the average homeowner gain in equity over the last twelve months was $5,300.

Here’s a map showing the average equity gain by state:5,300 Reasons to Be Happy You’re a Homeowner | Keeping Current MattersSince the housing crash in 2008, many homeowners have felt trapped in their current houses, as they didn’t have enough equity to sell. The gains in equity over the past few years may have freed some homeowners who have a desire to move.

Bottom Line

If you’re curious about your home’s equity, contact a local real estate professional for a market analysis of the current value of your house. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Can You Believe

12/27/2019
So Important

Whether single or married, a health saving account is so important to prepare for the inevitable health problem.  I do not know how you feel about your health. Yet, I feel very positive about mine.

Yet, whether you feel as I do or not, an unexpected cancer diagnosis or such life-changing event may alter our view of our life. Having a Health Savings account would have given us each great comfort as it would be great help.

if you are not concerned with a Health Savings Account, please read below. You may rethink your position and take action.

DRE#: 02098949

5 Reasons Why You Should Open a Health Savings Account

Many reports in recent years place medical expenses as the No. 1 cause of bankruptcy in America – even for those who have health insurance. No matter what your insurance status may be, there’s no denying that medical costs are expensive.

One way to ease the burden is by opening a pre-tax Health Savings Account (HSA). While you should check with your employer or financial advisor, here are some reasons why an HSA may be a good idea, according to Optum Bank.

1. HSA contributions are tax deductible. This means you are actually receiving discounts on health care expenses. For example, if you receive a dentist bill for $400, when you pay with your HSA, you are saving between $100 and $140 dollars based on your tax rate.

2. Your HSA money is yours to keep. Any money deposited into your HSA, either by you or your employer, is yours to keep, with no deadline for spending the money. According to Optum, this makes an HSA a great way to save for retirement – any money you keep in your account will earn interest.

3. An HSA gives you a cushion for the unexpected. You never know when a big medical expense will hit, so having a cushion in your HSA account is extremely helpful. You can also reimburse yourself from your HSA account when you pay for medical expenses out of pocket.

4. You can use your HSA for anyone in your family. You can use your HSA to pay for the qualified medical expenses of anyone you claim on your taxes, even if you're only enrolled with single coverage.

5. Your HSA can be used for many drugstore items. You can use your HSA card to pay for many common items that tend to really add up, such as over-the-counter cold medicines, pain relievers, allergy medicines, first-aid items, etc.

A small, pre-tax contribution to your HSA every month can help you meet deductibles and provide some often needed peace of mind in today’s economic climate.

 

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