Category Archives: Home Buying


It’s Not Just About Finding “The House”


 Sometimes finding “the house” is the easy part and there are buyers who sometimes feel they don’t need an agent, or that their agent should refund some of the commission back to them.  If the buyer spent a lot of time researching homes, visiting neighborhoods and going to open houses, why do they need the agent to get the full commission.  House hunting is a small part of what it takes to successfully work with a buyer.

Buyers who work with me and my team will get in-depth information on market trends in the neighborhood to negotiate a fair and competitive price.  They will also get aggressive followup and a partnership with their lender to make sure the loan process goes as smoothly as possible.  In addition our team will work closely with the seller’s agent to make certain disclosures get processed in a timely manner and that timelines during the escrow process are met.

We want to find you the perfect house, we are a great resource for you, we understand you may be doing a lot of research on your own, but the work for us does not stop once you have an accepted offer on a house.  Ask us how we can make buying a house a positive and rewarding experience.

The Feeling of Home Ownership

There is a new commercial that really speaks to the value of a home. I’ve written in the past about the intangibles of buying a home and believe there are several compelling non-financial reason to buy a home.

A home to call your own is a place to build memories. While it’s possible to create memories anyplace you live a home can be the lynchpin for creating memories. We all likely have childhood memories of someone’s home – whether it is the home you grew up in or a relative’s home – it can be the place where families gather for special occasions. A home can also help foster a sense of security when you don’t overextend yourself with your house payment.

Yes, this is a corporate Coldwell Banker commercial – but I do like the message. I think this speaks to the core of why we place a strong emphasis on home ownership. It may answer some questions you might have if buying a home in Davis where home prices are still expensive would be worth while. Should you buy now or rent for another year? Buying a home won’t solve many underlying problems, but can create some stability. What are some other non-financial benefits to owning a home?

Where Does Mortgage Money Come from Anyway?

When you meet with a mortgage lender to discuss your loan options, you might think the money the lender loans to you comes from the bank’s safe. While banks in the old days did have the money simply lying around, this is no longer true with today’s lending institutions. Whether buying Davis CA or Potomac real estate, today’s lending institutions typically get the money for mortgage loans from either Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae. Furthermore, while you may make your payments to the lender, the lender is not the one who actually owns the loan.

What Does the Lender Have to do with My Mortgage Loan?

When it comes down to it, the lender that you deal with is really nothing more than a middle man between you and Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae. When you meet with the lender, that institution is responsible for gathering the necessary documentation, verifying your information and processing your loan. The lender is also responsible for collecting your mortgage payments. Nonetheless, the lender is really nothing more than the “servicer” of your loan.

How Does Ownership of My Loan Transfer?

After the lending institution finalizes your mortgage loan, your loan is packaged with other loans and sold in bulk to one of the aforementioned institutions. The lender that serviced your loan also receives a monthly fee for processing the payments and maintaining your loan. While this fee is usually equivalent to just around 3/8ths of a percent, the fees add up for companies that service billions of dollars worth of home loans. As such, mortgage servicing is actually where lenders make the most money from the transaction.

What Happens After My Loan is Sold?

Since mortgage lenders make the bulk of their money from servicing loans, their main goal is generally to get as many loans into their portfolios as possible. While the goal is to reach a “break even” level, they actually suffer a loss on occasion. Yet, by selling their loans and being paid to service the loans, the lenders still continue to make a profit on the transaction. Furthermore, once your loan has been packaged and sold to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae, the lender is once again able to access additional funds in order to make more loans. The cycle then continues from there with the borrower never even realizing that so much has taken place with the loan behind-the-scenes.

About The Author – Kevin Koitz helps clients interested in Bethesda real estate and other Maryland area homes as a Realtor with the Koitz Group.

Buying a Home with Built-In Resale Value

When it comes to buying a home, there are many things to take into consideration. In addition to finding a home that suits both your lifestyle and budget needs, you should also consider the resale value of the home. Whether looking at Austin real estate or a home in Davis CA, if the time comes for you to move, you want to be sure to get as much of your investment back as possible. By selecting the right home and by taking a variety of factors into consideration, you may even be able to make money when the time comes to sell your home at a later date.

Considering the Community

Everyone is well aware that the number one rule of real estate is “Location, Location, Location.” When considering the location, however, you need to think about more than just the beauty of the setting or how close the property is to your friends and family. If you are looking for a home with built-in resale value, you need to think about what the buyer will look for in a community. These include:
- Proximity to retail establishments, employment opportunities and entertainment venues
- Types of programs and facilities offered to community members
- Economic stability of the community
- Quality of the school system
- Crime rate, unemployment rate and other measures of quality of life

By selecting a property located in a community with a strong economic base that is located near to a variety of amenities, you are more likely to enjoy a strong resale value.

Choosing the Right Home

Once you have selected the right community, you need to choose the home that provides the best resale value. Those homes that offer the best resale value are those that offer opportunities for expansion and are located on larger lots of land. If there are restrictions in terms of adding-on to the home or otherwise renovating the property, you will have far more difficulty getting the home sold at a later date. Similarly, if there is little to know yard or if the home is located along a highway or next door to a commercial establishment, you are not likely to enjoy a high resale value. Ideally, you should purchase a home that is located in an area where the surrounding land has all been zoned as residential. This way, you can be sure it will maintain the same look and charm as it does today.

About The Author – Eric Bramlett works with buyers and sellers in Steiner Ranch and Downtown Austin condos as broker and co-owner of One Source Realty in Austin, Texas.

5 States with the Lowest Crime Rate

Authored by Kevin Hughes

It’s hard to pin down the five “safest” states, and “crime rate” is difficult to define – are you concerned about violent crime, or property crime? Below is a list of the five states that have the lowest crime rates in terms of violent crimes (rape, murder, robbery, and assault), and the five states that have the lowest property crime rates (burglary, larceny, and auto theft) per 100,000 people. These statistics are from the US Census tables for 2012, and are comprehensive of 2008 through 2009 – the most recent data available.

Violent Crime

A violent crime is defined as a forcible rape, assault on a person, murder, or robbery (or any combination of these crimes).

#1 – Maine, 119.4
Maine is a large, northern New England state known for its lobster and fisheries. It is the safest state for violent crime in the United States.

#2 – Vermont, 140.8
Vermont is well-known for its skiing and maple syrup, and comes in second as safest state for violent crime in the US.

#3 – New Hampshire, 166.0
Yet another New England state, New Hampshire is a political hot spot known for its conservative side in the area, taking third safest state status.

#4 – North Dakota, 200.5
Famous for Theodore Roosevelt National Park and all sorts of big outdoor activities, North Dakota snagged fourth on the lowest crime rate list here.

#5 – Utah, 225.6
The home of resorts, skiing, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Utah managed to snag the fifth spot for lowest violent crime rates.

Property Crime

Property crimes are defined as larceny (such as shoplifting), burglaries, and automobile theft.

#1 – South Dakota, 1,880.6
Well-known for the Mount Rushmore president’s monument and the Black Hills, South Dakota has the lowest property crime rates in the country.

#2 – New York, 2,004.8
While some people may express shock at New York making the list, it’s important to remember this is not just the city – Upstate New York is also factored in to these numbers, giving it the number two slot for lowest property crime rates.

#3 – Idaho, 2,089.0
Potatoes, big country, hiking, and outdoor activities make Idaho famous – and now, the fact that they have the third lowest property crime rate overall.

#4 – North Dakota, 2,142.7
Again, North Dakota took rank four on the lowest property crime rate – quite possibly making this the lowest overall crime rate state.

#5 – New Hampshire, 2,217.5
Another repeat “offender” from the violent crime list, New Hampshire may compete with North Dakota for lowest overall crime rates.

Lowest crime rates aside, always remember to play it safe when visiting any location!

About The Author: Kevin Hughes is a Boise Idaho real estate agent servicing buyers and sellers in Idaho. If you’re looking for a great home in Idaho, you can visit Kevin’s website where you can search great cities like Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and Eagle. Photo Source

The Intangibles of Buying a House

When the cost of buying a home is close to the cost of renting one then the decision to buy often is fairly easy. However Davis is one area where owning a home is much more expensive than paying rent. Here are a few intangibles of owning a home.

  • As a property owner you are likely to be more invested in the community – caring more about issues like taxes and schools than if you were just renting.
  • Even though it costs more money to make a mortgage payment, at the end of 30 years (if you do not refinance) you will have been forced to save the original cost of the home and it is likely that the house will be worth more at the end of the 30 years than when you purchased the house.
  • You can decorate, paint, remodel without needing permission from a landlord. Although if you do make modifications, especially in the city of Davis, be sure to check with City Hall because when you go to sell your home, they will do an inspection and then make you pay extra for things that required permits.
  • You won’t get evicted if the landlord decides to sell or for whatever reasons decides to stop renting the property to you – so as long as you make the mortgage and other payments on time you can stay in the house you buy for as long as you like.

Interest rates are really attractive right now and while prices have stayed fairly strong in Davis they are lower than they were at the height of the market. If you are looking to buy for the long term and not just to flip a property you may want to start getting a feel for the market. It is not very likely that there will be a complete meltdown of home prices in Davis – there is limited supply and because of the schools, the university and the community, there is a strong demand to live here. Let me know if you would like help to start your Davis home search.

What Kind Of Mortgage Do You Need?

Some tips on what length of mortgage should you consider. Questions to ask yourself how long do you plan on being in your home? What is the difference between prequalified and preapproved?

I strongly suggest that you get prequalified with a local lender. Buying a house is one of the largest financial decisions most people make and it can be stressfull event. I work with several different lenders who understand every angle of the process and who know the nuances of the local market. Let me know if you would like to speak with a local lender on any issue related to buying a home.

Verona new home community in Mace Ranch

Verona is a small infill community of 59 detached homes and 24 attached homes. The attached homes are between 750-1150 s.f. and detached homes range in size from 1550-1800 s.f.. For the most part this is a two story home community. Here is a promotional video produced by Regis Homes, the builder.

I would be happy to accompany you on a personal tour of the development and to provide you with your own representation if you decide to purchase a home here. Remember, it is always a good idea to hire a real estate agent even when working directly with a builder to make sure there is someone dedicated to looking after your best interests. When you are a buyer it is the seller who pays the buyers agent commission.

Here is another quick video about the subdivision.