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Yes, Millenials!!! It will feel really good!!!

11/11/2019

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Millennials: Here’s Why the Process is Well Worth It.

Millennials: Here’s Why the Process is Well Worth It.

Millennials have waited longer than any other generation to become homeowners, but the wait for this cohort is just about over. According to National Mortgage News,

 “Millennials, those young adults now aged 23 to 38, are now entering their peak household formation and homebuying years.

If you’re a Millennial, you’re already well aware that you’re among a generation of those who favor fast-paced, real-time answers – and results. When you’re ready to make a decision, it’s go-time, and you probably want the latest technology at your fingertips to make it happen.

National Mortgage News agrees, stating,

“Millennials are different than previous generations—not only in their delayed homebuying but also in how they approach interactions with financial institutions, including mortgage lenders. Taking a picture of a check on their phone and depositing it without visiting a branch is not novel, it’s the way Millennials learned to do banking. They expect real-time access to account and transaction data and are frustrated when it’s not available.”

Here’s the catch – the overall speed of the homebuying process can take some time, and it might feel like it is slowing you down. When you’re ready to buy, you can make an offer and go under contract quickly, but the rest of the process might take a little longer. The same article explains why:

“When Millennials apply for a loan, the mortgage lender must qualify the borrower and determine who owns the property, how much the property is worth, and the property’s risk profile. Traditionally, this has been one of the most time-consuming and fragmented parts of the mortgage process…There are many moving pieces, each data point being sourced from a different provider, which can ultimately lead to a lengthy or delayed process.

 What has historically been accepted as the process norm does not align with the expectations of the most prominent generation in the home buying market today. Millennials have come to expect rapid, digital workflows in their daily purchase decisions, and in their mind, the home buying process shouldn’t be any different.”

So, where do you go from here?

 If you’re pre-approved for a mortgage, that will help speed things up. But the steps it takes and the time to finalize a loan with most traditional lenders may feel like an eternity to you and your generational peers. Don’t worry, though – it’s well worth the wait when you finally get the keys to your new castle!

The financial benefits of homeownership, like increasing your net worth by building equity, and the non-financial benefits, like being able to customize and improve your space, will ultimately set you on the course to happiness, success, overall satisfaction, and much, much more.

Bottom Line

If you’re feeling like it’s go-time, reach out to a local real estate professional and get the process moving to determine if homeownership is your next best step.

Are Solar Panels covered by Homeowner's Policy

11/8/2019
Bryan Cerny
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

You definitely want to check this out!!!  

Though it is true that most home owner policies handle adding solar panel to your policy, this is
a great read to understand the important questions!


Does Your Homeowners Policy Cover Solar Panels?

With all the information available about the benefits and mechanics of solar panels, you may have spent precious little time making sure they're properly protected...on your homeowners policy, that is.

So, we took note of a recent advisory dispatched by underwriter Paul Improta, who shared the four most important questions every homeowner with solar panels should ask:

1. Does my homeowners policy cover solar panels? Most likely, yes. Most insurance plans consider solar panels a permanent part of your home once they’re installed. However, there may be additional insurance costs to consider depending on the particulars of your policy and where the panels are located.  

2. Do I need any additional coverage? Covering new solar panels under your standard homeowners policy usually negates the need for an add-on or rider, unless the solar energy system is installed at the ground level or other area detached from your home. Regardless, it’s a good idea to check in about potentially increasing your coverage limit.

3. Will my premium go up if I add them? The short answer is, it depends. But since your replacement costs are changing with the addition of solar panels, you could likely see your premium increase.

4. Are there any drawbacks? As with any home update, some risks may not be covered by insurance, including damage during the installation process. Solar panels also present challenges in the event your home ever catches fire, as they could make it difficult for firefighters to access and extinguish the blaze.

Over at homeinsurance.org, Thomas Zuo points out that many of today’s homes already have solar panels, particularly if you live in “solar cities” like Minneapolis, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, Tucson and San Jose.

But Zuo says that if you're fortunate enough to own a home that's already outfitted with solar panels, you still need to understand how your home insurance policy treats the panels. First and foremost, determine if you're the legal owner of the solar panels. In some instances, they could be installed in a lease arrangement instead of outright ownership.

In the end, every individual homeowners policy is different, so if you have questions, it's best to check with your specific carrier or agent for clarification.

 

Keeping the Peace

11/6/2019
Bryan Cerny
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

How to Keep the Peace With Noisy Neighbors

While you may have taken all the steps necessary to choose the perfect home, unfortunately, you can’t choose who lives next door. Whether they’re too loud, too messy or too nosy, there are tactful ways to handle less-than-ideal neighbors. Try the suggestions for coexisting peacefully and enjoying your new home:

Start with courtesy. Be sure to start out on the right foot by being courteous and kind. Even if the neighbors don’t seem to be “your cup of tea,” do your best to get to know them and open up lines of communication. Doing so will allow you to be candid about serious matters if and when the need arises. If you haven’t established a friendly relationship from the outset, if a problem arises, things could get contentious fast.

Politely establish ground rules. If your neighbors are the type who like to pop in unexpectedly--and often--don’t be shy about politely setting some ground rules...and explain why. Let them know you need downtime after work to catch up with your spouse, that you like to nap on the weekends, that you promised your kids one-on-one time in the evening, that you do yoga in the mornings. Whatever the case may be, just give them a specific reason that lets them know it’s about you, not them. Assure them you’d love to catch up, just to please call or text first.

Create some boundaries. If you really need to create some physical space between you and the neighbor, consider a row of fast-growing arborvitae or cypress trees, or a stylish fence.

Understand the situation. Before you get irate over the neighbor’s overgrown yard, take the time to find out why. Perhaps there was a recent tragedy or illness that’s preventing your neighbor from getting around to mowing the lawn and trimming brush. If that’s the case, perhaps an offer to help is in order.

Before you take action, learn the law. If you do have a neighbor who seems to be violating neighborhood laws, check with your local city hall to learn about the regulations for noise, junk, vehicles, yard upkeep, etc. Always try talking to your neighbor first before contacting authorities in order to avoid an increasingly unpleasant situation.

 

Why Use A Realtor???

11/5/2019

Today, I am re-sharing a KCM post.

Though there is a growing number of websites and even real estate offering to purchase your home quickly, 
a seller's need for a Realtorwill always exist. I can never blame or tell a home owner that he/she has no right to sell their own home.
He or she has every right to try.

Yet, why would any one that would call a doctor, attorney or a speech or hearing specialist for their specific skills try to go it alone.  Professionals are
needed to ensure our clients always get the best results, counsel and direction to meet their specific needs.  


Thinking of Selling Your Home? Here’s Why You Need A Pro in Your Corner

Are you a Bridge Builder? If so, log in to share a personalized version of this post.

Thinking of Selling Your Home? Here’s Why You Need A Pro in Your Corner | Bridge Builders

With home prices on the rise and buyer demand still strong, some sellers may be tempted to try and sell their homes on their own without using the services of a real estate professional.

Real estate agents are trained and experienced in negotiation and, in most cases, the seller is not. Sellers must realize that their ability to negotiate will determine whether or not they get the best deal for themselves and their families.

Here is a list of just some of the people with whom the seller must be prepared to negotiate with if they decide to For Sale by Owner (FSBO):

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interests of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The termite company if there are challenges
  • The buyer’s lender if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value
  • The title company if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or other permits
  • The town or municipality if you need to get the CO permits mentioned above
  • The buyer’s buyer in case there are challenges with the house your buyer is selling

Bottom Line

The percentage of sellers who have hired real estate agents to sell their homes has increased steadily over the last 20 years. Let’s get together to discuss all that we can do to make the process easier for you.

Scary Scary Scary Halloween???

10/30/2019
We all can be scared of something!!!   Halloween brings back some frightful memories back.
You may have a few of your own.  Personally, I watched way too many horror movies in my youth....don't
really need another fright.  

Why would you need to be frighten about something that simply isn't frightening??  Facts can make the difference. 
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Buying a home can be SCARY…Until you know the FACTS [INFOGRAPHIC]

Buying a home can be SCARY…Until you know the FACTS [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

Many potential homebuyers believe they need a 20% down payment and a 780 FICO® score to qualify to buy a home. This stops many people from even trying to jump into homeownership! Here are some facts to help take the fear out of the process:

  • 71% of buyers who purchased homes have put down less than 20%.
  • 78.1% of loan applications were approved last month.
  • In September, the average credit score for approved loans was 737.

Homes are really moving again

10/30/2019
Who says homes aren't moving???

Whether in California or most of the U.S., the time homes are on the market averages 30 days.
Such a quick turnaround from listing to sold demonstrates the strength of the present
real estate market., , , 

Homes Are Selling Quickly [INFOGRAPHIC]

Homes Are Selling Quickly [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • The National Association of REALTORS® surveyed their members for the release of their Confidence Index.
  • The REALTORS® Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to over 50,000 real estate practitioners. Practitioners are asked about their expectations for home sales, prices, and market conditions.
  • Homes across the country are selling quickly, in an average of just 31 days.
  • 49% of homes sold in less than a month.

What Does Credit Have to do With IT????data:text/mce-internal,%3Cimg%20src%3D%22http%3A//www.rismedia.com/wp-content/themes/Divi/images/eho_icon.jpg%22%20border%3D%220%22%20/%3E

10/29/2019
Bryan Cerny
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

Raising a 'Fair' Credit Score to 'Very Good' Could Save Over $45,000

A good credit score benefits consumers in many ways. In fact, it can even save you hard-earned cash. According to a recent study from LendingTree®, raising a 'fair' credit score to 'very good' could in fact save consumers more than $45,000.

To arrive at this figure, LendingTree researchers analyzed anonymized loan request and average loan balance data from LendingTree users to see how a lower credit score can increase borrowing costs for the average American with a fair versus excellent credit score. The analysts compared the range of credit scores generally considered "fair" (580 to 669) to the range generally considered "very good" (740 to 799) to measure the difference in costs of the life of loans using the average balances for five different kinds of loans (mortgage, student loan, auto loan, personal loan and credit card).

The results revealed the following:

- Raising a credit score from "fair" (580-669) to "very good" (740-799) saves $45,283 on a common array of debts.

- Mortgage costs account for 63 percent of the savings ($29,106 in savings with very good credit score versus fair).

- Paying the minimum balance on an average credit card debt represents the second largest difference, with about $5,600 in savings for a very good versus a fair score. That amounts to someone with fair credit paying 248 percent more in interest than someone with good credit.

- Personal loan borrowers can expect to pay 271 percent more interest on the same loan if they have a fair credit score instead of a very good one, and auto loan borrowers can expect to pay 311 percent more in interest.

The Most Common Debts
Everyone's debt profile is different, but it's typical for an American consumer to buy a condo or house (average mortgage size: $234,437), purchase a reliable car (average loan size: $21,778), take out a personal loan to consolidate old debt (average loan size: $11,258), rack up charges on a credit card (average debt size: $5,265) and pay off some student loans (average debt size: $37,525). That adds up to $310,263 for a lifetime of common American debts. A few things about that figure:

- While the average American may not have $310,263 of debt all at once, it's still common for borrowers to overlap some or all of these debts at the same time or in close sequence.

- It's likely a low estimate of lifetime American debt, because consumers often have more than one loan of each type throughout their lives.

Still, $310,263 is a lot of money, especially when considering how much all of that debt costs in interest and fees. Assuming a borrower pays every one of these bills on time, this range of debt will cost someone with a very good credit score (between 740 and 799) $212,498 in interest. With a fair credit score (between 580 and 669), a borrower is still likely to qualify for similar loan amounts, but can expect to pay around $257,781 in interest and fees, a difference of $45,283.

To put that in perspective, the median earnings for Americans in 2016 was $31,334, before taxes. It would take most Americans well over a year to collect $45,283 of interest via take-home pay—money they would never have to pay if they had good credit.

Even with only one of these loans, the borrower would still see significant savings with a very good credit score. Take a mortgage for example. Assuming every other factor is equal, someone with a very good credit score would have a monthly mortgage payment that’s $81 less than someone with a fair credit score. The person with very good credit could invest that money, use it to pay down debts faster or to increase the down payments on future loans, which would exponentially increase the value of those savings over that same 30-year period.

The solution? Credit monitoring, says LendingTree. By keeping a consistent eye on your credit score, consumers can see changes to their score, catch errors and take immediate steps to improve their score.

 

Save Save Save that Money

10/28/2019

Now is the time to save!!

Saving on your energy bill can be very satisfying and very good for the family budget.
The four tips to save on the energy bill below are excellent and should be addressed.
Yet, another good idea is to have a free energy audit by SCE or SoCal Gas to get a broad
review of your home's energy efficiency.  Those areas of your home shown to "waste"
energy are opportunities to save!!

Happy Saving this Fall!!

DRE:02098949

4 Tips to Improve Your Home and Save on Your Energy Bill

As a homeowner, it’s important to keep your home running efficiently, not only to save money, but also to help the environment thrive. October 2nd is Energy Efficiency Day, a perfect time to think about making some key upgrades that will improve the efficiency of your home. If you’re looking to sell your house and increase the pool of potential buyers in your market, the upgrades below are truly a must.

According with Wallet Hub,

“In the U.S., energy costs eat between 5 and 22 percent of families’ total after-tax income.”

What should you spend on utilities?

Money Management says,

“If you’re working with a budget, and trust me, you should be, your utility costs should be no more than 8-10 percent of your monthly income.”

How can you make your home more efficient?

EnergyEfficiencyDay.Org provides some handy tips that can help you improve the energy efficiency of your home. Here are a few simple ones to consider, and how to make them happen:

1. Make the Switch to LED

LEDs are a great example of how innovation and technology can make your life easier. They last at least 25 times longer and consume up to 90 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs.

Tip: By switching five of your home’s most frequently used bulbs with ENERGY STAR® certified LEDs, it’s possible to save $75 on energy costs annually.

2. Seal Those Leaks

On average, heating and cooling account for almost half of a home’s energy consumption. In fact, all the little leaks can be equivalent to leaving open a 3-foot-by-3-foot window.

Tip: Take simple steps like caulking windows, sealing leaks around chimneys and recessed lighting, and sliding draft guards under your doors to save up to 20% on heating costs.

3. Heat and Cool Efficiently

Don’t waste money heating or cooling an empty home. Install a programmable thermostat and in colder weather schedule your home’s heat to lower when you are away or asleep and increase when you are returning home or waking-up. In warm weather, schedule the thermostat to raise the temperature when you are away or asleep, and lower it at other times.

Tip: Follow the U.S. Department of Energy recommended temperatures and be energy-efficient all year. 

4. Maintain Your HVAC System

Make sure to clean or change your furnace filters regularly. A dirty furnace filter will slow down air flow, making the system work harder to keep you warm (or cool) and costing you more money.

Tip: Consider getting a winter tune-up. Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a semi-annual or yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can be vital to improve efficiency, saving you money and making your home more comfortable. 

Bottom Line

By making a few key upgrades to your home, you’ll save on your utility bills and improve the energy efficiency of your home. When you’re ready to sell your house, these key features will make it even more attractive to potential buyers. Contact a local real estate professional to learn what buyers are looking for when it comes to energy efficiency options in your area.

Life doesn’t goes as planned

10/23/2019

Even Move-Up Buyers Face Fraught House Hunts

October 16, 2019

Low mortgage rates are drawing out more home buyers who want to take advantage of the decrease in borrowing costs, but they’re increasingly growing frustrated as the selection of properties narrows. An unseasonable surge in buyer demand has coincided with housing inventories moving even lower in recent months. Inventories dropped 2.5% annually in September, realtor.com®’s data shows.

The lower tier of the market—homes priced under $200,000—is seeing the greatest shortages, down 10% compared with a year ago. The supply of homes between $200,000 to $750,000, which comprise 60% of the housing market, saw essentially no growth in inventory in September. Economists are now forecasting a decline in the months ahead in that price range.

“If, or better yet, when inventory in this segment begins to take a downturn, the vast majority of home buyers are going to feel its effects as their options rapidly dwindle,” George Raitu, realtor.com®’s senior economist, told CNBC. “September inventory trends, especially in the mid-market, may be the canary in the coal mine that we could be headed for even lower levels of inventory in early 2020.”

As demand grows for homes and shortages remain, buyers should expect to see higher home prices.

Still, lower mortgage rates are getting more buyers looking. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged around 3.5% in September, well below its average of over 5% last November, Freddie Mac reports. New- and existing-home sales have increased as mortgage rates have fallen, signaling the activity of buyers.

But new-home construction won’t likely be able to pick up enough speed to offer home buyers greater choices at the price points they need. Only 10% of sales of newly built homes come in below $200,000, says Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders. Ten years ago, that percentage was 40% of new home sales. Dietz told CNBC that the overall new-housing market is undersupplied by about 1 million housing units.

“We’ve faced what has been called a perfect storm of supply-side challenges,” Dietz says. “There has been an ongoing labor shortage, we lack the necessary land and lots to build homes, we’ve had building material cost concerns, and then probably the most important factor has been higher regulatory costs since the Great Recession.”

So Where do You Look??

10/23/2019

For the past 10 years or so, at a minimum, nothing has really changed in the realm of where
buyers begin their home search.  Actually, the big change is in buyer's awareness that finding a 

home is more than seeing the house online.

The savvy buyer of today is frequently well educated on the homes available.  I know my buyers 
will know all the available homes as I always keep them updated.  It doesn't take long for the buyer 
to understand that online sites like Zillow, Realtor.com and many more provide an incomplete picture
of the available homes.  Thus, they love my service.

And yes, the reasons noted below are seriously why a buyer(or a seller) is ever so wise to use a
client focused, experienced Realtor like me.   Buyers and sellers make 'Always the Smart Move" when
working with me.

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3 Reasons to Use a Real Estate Pro in a Complex Digital World

3 Reasons to Use a Real Estate Pro in a Complex Digital World

If you’re searching for a home online, you’re not alone; lots of people are doing it. The question is, are you using all of your available resources, and are you using them wisely? Here’s why the Internet is a great place to start the home-buying process, and the truth on why it should never be your only go-to resource when it comes to making such an important decision.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the three most popular information sources home buyers use in the home search are:

  • Online website (93%)
  • Real estate agent (86%)
  • Mobile/tablet website or app (73%)

Clearly, you’re not alone if you’re starting your search online; 93% of home buyers are right there with you. The even better news: 86% of buyers are also getting their information from a real estate agent at the same time.

Here are 3 top reasons why using a real estate professional in addition to a digital search is key:

1. There’s More to Real Estate Than Finding a Home Online. It’s a lonely and complicated trek around the web if you don’t have a real estate professional to also help you through the 230 possible steps you’ll face as you navigate through a real estate transaction. That’s a pretty staggering number! Determining your price, submitting an offer, and successful negotiation are just a few of these key steps in the sequence. You’ll definitely want someone who has been there before to help you through it.

2. You Need a Skilled Negotiator. In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of dollars. From the original offer to the appraisal and the inspection, many of the intricate steps can get complicated and confusing. You need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

3. It Is Crucial to Make a Competitive and Compelling Offer. There is so much information out there in the news and on the Internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates. How do you know what’s specifically going on in your area? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring a real estate professional who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying experience an informed and educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to start your search online, don’t skip over the support of an educated and informed real estate professional. You’ll want someone at your side who can answer your questions and guide you through a process that can be complex and confusing if you go at it with the Internet alone.

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