How to figure out the best time to buy a home, according to a mortgage analyst

Timing your home purchase correctly — like during the winter or before you get married — can save you money.

  • Buying a home is likely to be one of the biggest investments of your life.
  • For many, life events such as marriage or the birth of a child are often the catalyst to buying a home.
  • It’s important to buy a home when you’re able to afford one, though waiting until the winter to put down an offer could save you a bit.
  • Here’s how to know when it’s the best time to buy a home.

Buying your first home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime.

With housing prices on the rise in many US markets, it can be difficult to find a home that fits your family’s needs without mortgage payments that will break your budget.

According to Holden Lewis, a mortgage analyst at Nerdwallet, timing your home purchase correctly — like during the winter or before you get married— can save you money.

Lewis has followed the mortgage market since 2001 — through the first housing boom, the 2008 crash and its aftermath, and the recovery. Here are his practical tips to help you figure out the right time to buy a home.

Buy when you’re ready

You’re ready to buy a home when you can afford one.

The right time to buy a house is when you have enough money saved up for a down payment and an income that allows you to comfortably afford the mortgage payment. According to Consumer Reports, many financial planners recommend limiting the amount you spend on housing to 25% of your monthly budget.

If you’re not sure whether you can afford a home in your area, Lewis suggests using an online calculator, such as this one from Nerdwallet.

Major life events can also be an impetus for making the leap into home ownership. “I think there’s a lot of personal triggers for homebuying,” Lewis said. “The most common one is adding children to your family.”

Lewis transitioned from being a renter to a homeowner shortly after his son was born. “It was really nice that his first steps were taken in a home of our own,” he said.

Don’t wait until you get married

You don’t have to hold off until marriage to buy a home.

According to Lewis, many people think they need to wait until they get married before buying a home. “I think being single is not a reason to hold off,” he said. “When you buy a home sooner, you’re building equity sooner.”

The Washington Post reported in that 18% of the home purchases made in 2017 were made by single women. That figure includes older women who are widowed or divorced, as well as younger women ready to invest in real estate and put down roots.

Buy in the winter

You may find cheaper listings in the winter.

In 2012-2017, the number of starter homes on the market reached its peak between October and December in 70 of the 100 largest US metros, according to a 2017 report by Trulia. This means that there are more options for those looking to buy their first homes in the fall.

But it may be worth waiting until winter to make an offer, as Trulia also reported a decline in the prices of starter homes between January and March 2017. Additionally, Lewis said that prices tend to be highest in June and July and take a tumble by January or February.

While the number of houses for sale goes down in the winter, the number of buyers declines even more, so you’ll face less competition for the homes that are on the market, Lewis said. And sellers with homes on the market in the winter may be more likely to negotiate, according to a US News report.

Lewis said that this trend holds true even in the places that snowbirds flock to in the winter months. “There’s even a difference in prices in places like Orlando and Phoenix,” he said. “That really surprised me.”

“Each city and even different neighborhoods might be different,” Lewis added. “The best thing to do is ask an experienced local real estate agent.”

Avoid waiting for mortgage rates to go up or down

Don’t let mortgage rates impact your timing of buying a home.

Lewis said mortgage rates have remained low for the past 15 years, despite predicting that they would rise.

“I’ve been following mortgage rates now for 17 years and I can’t tell you how many Januarys I’ve predicted, ‘This is the year when mortgage rates are going to rise substantially,’ and every year it hasn’t happened,” Lewis said.

Lewis recommends resisting the pressure to either rush or delay buying a home based on mortgage rate predictions. “You have at least a 50% chance of being wrong,” he said, so don’t let this affect your timing of when you want to buy a home.

Look for creative financing

There are home-buying programs that you may find helpful

You might have more options for home financing than you realize. Some states, such as Pennsylvania and California, offer homebuyers help with financing, including down payment assistance. Even if your state doesn’t offer any special programs, you might be eligible for an FHA loan, which may only require a down payment of 3.5%.

The VA offers home-buying programs to active-duty military, veterans, and some surviving spouses of servicemembers. “If you are a veteran or in the military, really look into VA loans,” Lewis said. “They are a great deal.”

There is also first-time homebuyers’ assistance at the local level. San Francisco has a special program to help local teachers, and New York City’s HomeFirst program provides up to $40,000 in down payment or closing cost assistance to homebuyers.

In expensive markets like these, assistance programs can make a big difference, Lewis said. Invest a bit of your time to research what support is available where you live.

SEE ALSO: The 10 smartest things I did before I bought my first house

I read this: Business Insider

Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the upmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook *Yelp Us * My Yelp * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

Homeowners Say They’re Finally Ready to Sell

Seventy-seven percent of consumers say they believe now is a good time to sell a house—a record high. That’s according to new findings from the National Association of REALTORS®’ second quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey.

Fifty-three percent of survey respondents say they believe home prices will continue to increase in their communities over the next six months. Survey respondents in the West were the most upbeat about the prospects of selling. 

“Though the vast majority of consumers believe home prices will continue to increase or hold steady, they understand the days of easy, fast gains could be coming to an end,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Therefore, more are indicating that it is a good time to sell, which is a healthy shift in the market.”

Consumers are also upbeat about the direction of the economy, which may be making them feel wealthier and more willing to sell. But optimism seems in higher supply for Americans who are already relatively well-off. Households with incomes of more than $100,000 are more likely to view the economy as improving (67 percent) than those with an income of $50,000 to $100,000 (64 percent) and under $50,000 (49 percent), the survey showed.

4 bog

After several consecutive years of home price growth, some homeowners may finally be ready to cash out. A separate report from CoreLogic released last week showed that the average homeowner has gained $16,200 in home equity between the second quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018.

I read this article here:  Realtor Magazine

 

Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the upmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook *Yelp Us * My Yelp * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

Don’t Let Mortgage Rates Throw You Off Course

Higher borrowing costs may prompt buyers and sellers to rethink their real estate plans, but you can help them find a workaround to achieve their goals.

by John N. Frank

For three months, Koki Adasi worked hard to help his buyer find the perfect one-bedroom condo on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Finally, in the spring, the right listing emerged for $450,000, slightly above the buyer’s budget. Adasi, CRS, SRS, was able to negotiate a $20,000 discount on the price, and his client was prepared to move forward on her first home purchase—until she got a jolt from her lender.
Although the buyer, who works as a corporate senior manager, had been preapproved for a mortgage, interest rates had gone up one-eighth of a percentage point since she began her home search in early January. The new rates would have added $25 to her monthly mortgage payments—an extra $300 a year—which made her think twice about the purchase. Pushed to the edge of her financial comfort zone, Adasi’s client eventually walked away from the deal. “Many buyers have a certain lifestyle they want to preserve and a comfort zone set in their minds,” says Adasi, a team leader who recently moved to Compass Real Estate. “The issue [for this buyer] really wasn’t about money. She could afford a significantly higher price range, but she had a modest comfort zone that she wanted to stay in.”
As mortgage rates hover just below the 5 percent mark, ending an era of the lowest averages in modern U.S. history, some buyers, especially first-timers, are feeling the strain in their pocketbooks. The hikes also may convince would-be sellers to stay put and hold onto their current rates rather than move up to a higher-priced home with a costlier rate. In turn, that could further exacerbate tight inventory.
All of this means real estate professionals need to develop strategies for helping clients adjust their expectations so they can remain in the real estate game as the costs of buying rise. Qualified buyers might look into FHA loans and other mortgage products with lower rates and down payment requirements, says Tracy Anderson, a broker with Prime Real Estate in Hobart, Ind. But whatever advice you give, it’s important to communicate the need to make decisions quickly once a rate locks in. “The longer you wait, the more expensive it’s going to be,” says Brant Tullidge, a sales associate with RE/MAX Commonwealth in Richmond, Va.
Of course, speeding up the buying process to lock in rates may cause inconveniences for many of your clients. If your buyers are renters making the switch to homeownership, for example, see whether they can arrange a month-to-month or short-term lease while searching for homes, says Jeff Miller, co-founder of AE Home Group in Baltimore. It gives them more time while also encouraging faster decision-making.
It’s also smart to prep buyers early about negotiating their must-have list, says Jessica Murphy, a sales associate with Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty in Irvington, N.Y. You don’t want to spend precious time grappling with unrealistic expectations when daily movement in mortgage rates could price your client out of the market. Murphy talks with her buyers about location most of all, encouraging them to focus on areas farther outside New York to find cheaper homes that meet their criteria. The point is that the lower the sales price, the more clients can withstand upward pressure on mortgage rates. “And a longer commute translates into lower prices,” Murphy says.
Your buyers may well become sellers down the road, and no one can predict where mortgage rates will be at that point. Even if rates aren’t the biggest issue on their minds now, have your clients consider how future mortgage rates could impact their sale. With further hikes expected this year and beyond, buyers may want to choose a property they can envision staying put in for several years.
Though sellers may ask for a flexible closing timeline as they search for another home, closing quickly can help any buyer (or relocating seller) secure a lower mortgage rate, Tullidge says. He’s seen some lenders offer a lower rate for a 30-day versus a 60-day closing. Ultimately, you must move at a pace your clients are comfortable with, but don’t be afraid to give them a nudge when it’s in their best interest. “When it’s the right house, you’ve got to move,” Murphy says.

The old adage applies. Don’t Wait to Buy Real Estate – Buy Real Estate and Wait.

I read this article here: Realtor Magazine

Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the upmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook *Yelp Us * My Yelp * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

Time is of The Essence – what that means for Buyers & Sellers in the Bay Area this Fall

Hello readers!

If you follow my Instagram Account – then you may have caught my Market Update in Stories – I save them under Market Update Highlights  and repost to Facebook if you want to catch up on them.

Today’s topic was – Time if of The Essence.  I wanted to discuss this – especially in the Fall Market.

Literally, the term – Time is of the Essence – is IN THE PURCHASE CONTRACT.  For the California Association of Realtors California Purchase Contract it is line 29 and for the PRDS Purcahse Contract it is line 27 L, and in the San Francisco Purchase Agreement it is Line 32.  

Now, contractually – Time is of the Essence – it means we most honor the dates set forth in the contract – they are of material significance.  For instance, the date to close escrow – pretty important date.  As it is the day ownership is transferred by county record, monies are exchanged and keys handed over.

However, how does Time is of the Essence work outside of a written contract?  Well, it is that concept that I want to touch on today.

Time.  We all have the same amount of time in the day.  Though it may feel like some have all the time in the world while others are in a constant rush. 

So how does Time relate to Real Estate?  Critically I assure you.  For a Seller, time is measured from Day 1 on the market.  A Seller and prospective Buyers are all looking at Days on the Market (DOM) to gauge how popular or desirable a property is.  (Which isn’t the best way to gauge a home – by the way.) 

During the Fall Market, you’ll see homes on the market after the ticker hits day 15 – and NO – it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the home.  Sometimes it is the homeowner or Relator, who want to make sure they have fully exposed the home to the open market before reviewing offers.  It make sense.  Sometimes, as it does each Fall, the Days on the Market are a direct influence of Buyers who’ve been outbid all Spring and Summer and taking a break before jumping into Real Estate one more time before the Holidays. 

But truly, where Time if of the Essence comes in at the upmost importance is for the Buyer.

Take a moment and step back in time with me.  Before the mad rush of demand over supply took over our Real Estate market, back in the day – when a Buyer saw a home, if they liked it, their Realtor would call the Seller’s Realtor and put a deal together.  During that time, a Realtor didn’t look to see what the offer date was – it was pure and simple.  One Realtor has an interested Buyer, one Realtor has an eager Seller, let’s find that middle ground where everybody’s wishes, hopes, dreams and desires come true.  Easy, plain and simple – right?

Guess what?  That market is now.  Yes – you heard me right.  The Fall Market is when the early bird gets the worm, when the proactive clients and Realtors make magic happen.

What I find funny about this opportunity is many people don’t understand how this works to their advantage.  (Trust me – I even see the surprised look in Realtors eyes when they hear – offers as they come – or offers reviewed at any time.)  What kills me – some people don’t understand what that means. 

IT MEANS OPPORTUNITY! 

If you like a home and no offer date is posted – tell your Relator (and if you don’t have a Realtor – tell me!)  It is the Buyer’s Reatlor’s job to contact the Seller’s Realtor.  How will a Seller’s Realtor even know there is an interested party if no one calls, texts, emails, or just plane shows up?  It only takes ONE Buyer to sell a home.  As awesome as multiple offers are for a Seller – the Seller can only sell the home to ONE Buyer.  Therefore, technically speaking – the Seller and their Realtor only need one, fair offer.  

How does this translate to a Buyer today?  DON’T WAIT!  Don’t ask for permission to write an offer.  Call your Realtor – Call The Caton Team – if no offer date is posted or planning to be posted – GO FOR IT.  Write the offer, write a good, clean, fair and solid offer.  Make sure your Realtor – like The Caton Team always does – prepares a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to strengthen the offer.  There is a reason Buyer’s and Seller’s Realtor’s are needed.  I’m talking about full-time, professional Realtors who live and breath the market.  Call us!!!!  We know what to do far better than any app!

In the past few weeks, when the media is reporting old news and generating fear in the consumer – The Caton Team was able to negotiate some wonderful opportunities for our clients because we were the only offer, because we didn’t go out and party on Saturday night, because we stayed up late to ensure every disclosure document was signed, that our offer was clear, concise and fair and if that meant presenting the offer at 10pm – so be it.  Because it takes a dedicated Realtor, who knows an opportunity when they see it, and an equally dedicated client to make dreams come true.

The Fall Market is RIPE with opportunity.  If you want to be a Bay Area Home Owner – If you have a budget – If you’ve been outbid all year – DO NOT GIVE UP!  Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and Call The Caton Team.

Yes We Can Make Your Real Estate Dreams Come True

 

Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the upmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Real Estate Beat BLOG

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook *Yelp Us * My Yelp * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

 

 

City Wide Garage Sale – San Carlos – Sept 29th

Hello Fellow San Carlos Residents!

It’s time to empty those closets, clear out the garages and walk around the block to buy other people’s stuff.

Saturday September 29th is the City of San Carlos – Citywide Garage Sale – !

In order to be part of the master map – you need to sign up at: Sign Up for San Carlos Garage Sale

See you around town – shopping for the goodies!

– Sabrina & Susan

 

Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the upmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook *Yelp Us * My Yelp * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

Why Right Now is a Great Time to Buy a Home in San Carlos – Shoot – It’s a good time to buy in the Bay Area!

Hello Readers – Your Realtor Sabrina Caton of The Caton Team here with a great article written by my fellow Realtor Chuck Gillooley on – The White Oaks Blog –

I had to share it – because it is exactly what I’ve been sharing with my clients. Sometimes hearing it from another, well respected source helps us all understand this Fall Market Opportunity.  Please check out my Instagram Page for regular Market Update Highlights: Instagram or Facebook

Ideal Buying Conditions

If you’ve been battling all year to buy a home in San Carlos, your persistence and resilience is about to pay off.  Right now, conditions for buyers are the best that they have been in at least a year.
There are three factors in play that are favoring San Carlos buyers right now:

Inventory:  As of this morning, there are 35 single-family homes for sale in San Carlos, ranging from $1.3M – $3.6M.  This is nearly triple the inventory of just a month ago, and represents an unprecedented level of choice for buyers who have been accustomed to inventory level in the teens. More inventory means less buying competition, and less competition keeps prices from spiraling out of control in a frenzied multiple offer.

Short Timeline:  Unlike the Spring real estate market that lasts for at least 4 months, the Fall market is much more compressed.  Sellers are very motivated to get their homes in contract before the end of October, because the market always takes a break in November and December.  This means that market window in the Fall is less than half as long than in the Spring, and sellers don’t have the luxury of holding out for an extended period of time to get their price.

Cheap Money: Although mortgage interest rates have risen significantly since last year, rates are still at historically low levels and have been stable for the past few weeks.  And this is in an environment where the Federal Reserve has publicly stated that there will be additional increases in the prime rate throughout the year. And while much of the focus has been on interest rates, it’s important to note that the stock markets have been increasing a much faster rate, giving home hunters additional buying power.

I read this article at: Why Right Now is a Great Time to Buy a Home in San Carlos.

Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the upmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook *Yelp Us * My Yelp * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

Market Snapshot – Fall 2018

Each month our newsletter subscribers get a Market Snapshot for San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.  It is amazing to see the growth our area has experienced.  Curious where the market is going?  We are entering the Fall Market – as my guy friends say – Sunday Football Season.  It’s no joke, the market tempers each fall and winter.  Don’t fret when you see price adjustments.  It’s not the collapse – it is partially the seasonal shift of focus.  As the leafs turn and the air chills – our real estate market tempers a bit.  For Buyers it means opportunity with less competition.  For Sellers – this market is very much in your favor as there is ample demand for each home.  Please feel free to contact The Caton Team for a custom market evaluation.  Each price point and area is different.  The Caton Team – are natives to the Bay Area and know the Silicon Valley Real Estate market like our backyard – because it is our backyard.  What can the Caton Team do for you?

Thank you for reading, Sabrina

Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to help.

The Caton Team strives to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook *Yelp Us * My Yelp * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

How Important Is The Lender in a Real Estate Purchase?

How Important Is The Lender in a Real Estate Purchase?

More important than you think….

Hi!  Sabrina Caton here, Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Redwood City.  I wanted to write my own article today – to shed some light about the importance of the Lender you are working with when purchasing Real Estate in the Bay Area.

If you are a Buyer in the Silicon Valley – then you already know how competitive this market is.  If a Buyer wants to be the winning bidder on a home – they pretty much have to write their best offer – Non Contingent.  Meaning they’re locked into that contract no matter what.  Interest rates rise and they can’t afford their loan?  Doesn’t matter if their offer is Non-Contingent.  House doesn’t appraise for their offer price?  The Buyer better pony up the money or risk possibly losing their good faith deposit – because the offer was Non-Contingent.

As scary as Non-Contingent sounds – it is doable – as long as a Buyer has their ducks in a row – and what I mean by ducks is the Buyer is working with a terrific Realtor and a fantastic Lender, who has already run their credit, taken their application and had the Underwriter  review it all before drafting the Pre-Approval Letter.

Often times, at this stage in the process – a Buyer is looking for the best “deal”.  Meaning – they will follow the path that gets them the “most money” – or so it is perceived.  People may shop a Lender based on their closing costs, the interest rate quoted or because they know them.  All fine and well – but we need more!  The worst is when a buyer uses any Online Lending Score – that is a horror story for another blog post.  (Just take my advice and use a local Lender when buying in the Bay Area.)

When a Buyer is writing a Non-Contingent offer – they are heavily relying on what their Lender has told them.  What some Buyers overlook is the followthrough.  Did the Lender have the Underwriter  (The Bank God as I call them) review the application to ensure they fit into the box?  Did the Lender verify employment?  Does the Lender know one income earner is on leave?  Will their income still be used to qualify for the loan?  What happens if their income is not used?  What happens in a Buyer takes on new debt?  What is a Buyer pays down debt?  So many issues can up at any time, it is best to start off with their best foot forward.

The last thing a Buyer needs once they get an offer accepted is surprises in their loan.  Like – they don’t have a loan!  Large purchases that change their debt to income ratio can turn a Buyer from Pre-Approved to Not Approved.  To make things worse – what if a Buyer found this out AFTER their Non-Contingent offer is ACCEPTED?!  Well – the Buyer could risk losing their Good Faith Deposit and around here that’s 3% of the purchase price and our purchase prices are at least $1 – $1.5 million dollars.  So we’re taking $50,000 here!  

Unless a Buyer is buying a home in cash – the home loan is the most critical part of the transaction.  Any Sellers Realtor worth their salt will call each Lender on each offer they receive – to ensure the strength and validity of the loan.  Because without the loan – there is no sale and NO SELLER is going to risk the most important sale of their lives on “what if’s.”

I could go on and on about the horrors of bad lending.  So instead let me leave you with this.  When you are starting the journey towards homeownership – the true first step is to apply for a home loan and determine your budget.  That entails sitting down and making your own personal home budget.  Itemizing what you spend your money on and how much you have left towards the mortgage.  Once you’ve applied for a home loan, find a Reatlor your can talk to and trust and sit down and do just that – talk.  Each client is a unique situation and therefore requires a different plan.  The Caton Team is comprised of myself Sabrina and my partner/mother in law – Susan.  Together we have 35 years combined, local real estate experience.  Chances are we’ve worked through similar situations as you are in now.  Our time is free, our advice is free – put us to work for you.

If you’ve got Real Estate questions – we’ve got answers.  Contact the Caton Team when you are considering a purchase or sale of Real Estate.

I wrote this…

Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to help.

The Caton Team strives to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook *Yelp Us * My Yelp * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

How to Sell and Buy Real Estate in Today’s Market

Are you a Move Up Buyer in Silicon Valley?   Then you know how hard it is to take that goal and realize it.  It is much harder to sell and buy today than ever before!

If you’re a Buyer in the Silicon Valley – then you are well aware of how competitive it is to get a house in this market.  A Buyer may have started off with big dreams, the want list, the wish list and then quickly condensed the list to one thing – I want a house – any house in the Bay Area.

It’s that nuts.

Why?

The Bay Area has limited space to build.  Land is the gold of Real Estate, without land you cannot build more homes.  So if you want to own a home around here – get ready for the bidding wars.

But if you’re a Buyer with a home to Sell first – then you’re really up for a challenge.  

Seller EXPECTATIONS

If you’re a Seller these days – you have some expectations.  With multiple Buyers for each home – a Buyer pretty much has to do the following to be a candidate:

  • OFFER OVER LIST PRICE – sometimes even more than the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) warrants.  This can be frightening and can setup a Buyer for some surprises*.  The Caton Team always prepares a CMA and gauges market activity to help a Buyer determine their right price.
  • WAIVE ALL CONTINGENCIES – These days a Buyer cannot ask for repairs, or request time to sell their current home .  If a Buyer wants to be a contender – they must come in Non-Contingent and ready to close.  Let me re-phrase that.  A Buyer must write THIER best offer and if that includes a contingency – the Buyer must do what is best for them.  Just know – if there is a contingency – generally that offer goes to the bottom of the stack because in this market, the Seller has plenty of offers to choose from and does NOT have to accept a Contingent Offer – no matter how cute the letter is.  (Note, in cooler markets Buyers have more leverage and will have the opportunity for Sellers to accept contingencies.  It’s just not that market today.)
  • PROOF OF FUNDS – A Buyer MUST HAVE ALL their down payment, closing costs and reserve monies ready from DAY 1!  Not only for their bank loan approval – Buyers need proof of funds just to write a contending offer!  To be frank, sometimes a great offer is beat out by an offer with “better” proof of funds – IE – money in the bank.
    • Each Seller and their Realtor will REQUIRE Proof of Funds to be submitted WITH the Offer.  Meaning your Realtor needs recent copies of all your bank statements to be provided in your Offer Package to show money for the downpayment, closing costs and reserves.  You would too if you were in the Seller seat.  Our job as Realtors is to protect OUR Clients best interests.  Meaning, while reviewing offers, not only does The Caton Team call each lender to verify loan strength – we also want to see Proof of Funds totaling at minimum the monies for said deal AND reserve funds which are healthy and liquid to ensure –  if things go awry – there are funds to close on time.  In other words, the strongest reserves has an impact on what is considered the “Best” offer.  It is not always price that equates as “Best”.  (Curious why?  – Ask us anytime – it is another blog post.)
      • An example of a Buyer surprise* is when the appraised value is lower than the offer price.  The Buyer may need to pay the difference between the appraised value and offer price because there are NO Contingencies – a Buyer must perform or quit.  Quitting on a Non-Contingent Offer means the Buyer could forge all or a portion of their good faith deposit – which is 3% of the total purchase price.  Note – each case is different and this is just an example.  Bottom line – selling Real Estate is serious business and being prepared is the first step.

There are several more items that make the perfect Offer Package – so if you’re curious – contact The Caton Team.

Ok, so now you have an idea of what it takes to buy a home around here.  Now what do you do if you have a home to sell first?  Bear with me on this – it is the hottest topic in Real Estate today.

HOW TO SELL THEN BUY

If you’re lucky enough to already be a Silicon Valley homeowner – congratulations!  You’re ahead of the game.  Right?  Unless you need more space and want to move up.  The Caton Team has met many clients who opted to add onto their existing homes.  Great!  Unless that is not an option.  Then we are back to square one – How does a Buyer sell then buy in this market?  

As I stated above in Seller Expectations, the “requirements” for contention can feel like a tall order.  If your down payment funds are tied up in the equity of your home – you have several options but only a few are viable in this market.  

DREAM OPTION

Rich Aunt Sally gifts you the money you need for the purchase of the home.  Thank you Aunt Sally.  But what if we don’t have rich relatives?

SELL FIRST OPTION

This is the cut and dry option.  Sell the home.  Close Escrow.  Move out and into a short term rental or with relatives.  Bank the  proceeds of the sale – aka: the downpayment and enjoy the Home Buying Experience at your own pace knowing you can A) Prove your Funds and B) Go in Non Contingent. 

Oh – Did I mention this option is also terrifying?  A Seller feels as if they are loosing their only piece of California – the “what if we don’t get the next one” can be frightening.  That’s why this option that is often chosen last.  Next up…

SELL FIRST WITH RENT-BACK OPTION

Similar to the first scenario – except instead of moving out at Close of Escrow – the Seller is granted Rent Back to live in the home for an agreed timeframe and cost, then move out – whether or not the Seller has acquired their next purchase.  The advantage to this is the Closing – the Seller has the proceeds in the bank and can write a non-contingent offer on their next home.  The down side – it is a short term solution – if the Seller doesn’t find their next home within the time frame – they will have to move out when the tenancy is over no matter what.  

OBTAIN AN OFFER TO PURCHASE

This option is often the first step – the proverbial toe in the water.  We, as your Realtors will try to find a Buyer willing to do the following:

  • Offer to Purchase the home with an Extended Close of Escrow, giving the Seller time to acquire their next property then quickly close on one then the other – a Domino closing effect.  The downside, their proceeds are not in the bank; therefore the Proof of Funds will be short AND even if the Seller writes a Non-Contingent Offer – we as Realtors know – it isn’t over until it’s over.  In other words, when comparing offers – the one with less strings attached wins.  Even Non-Contingent Offers in this scenario are not as strong as Buyers ready, willing and able to close on time.  IE:  Don’t have to close one house before they can close on the other.  Confusing right?  

That’s why inevitably, if a Client truly needs more space and cannot add on – they often are forced to sell first, rent then buy because this market is too competitive to request contingencies from the seller.  – Please don’t shoot the messenger – 

THE LONG ROAD

Now here’s my idea – but it takes a few years and you truly need to ask your CPA.  The idea is – the Seller moves out into.  (Where?  That is not part of my scenario.)  The Seller then converts their personal residence into a rental – renting it out for a minimum of 2 years.  (I cannot give tax advice, so please verify with your CPA).  After those two years, the Seller sells their home as a 1031 exchange, then buys their next home – as another investment.  The caveat – the Seller cannot move into their new home until it’s been rented for at least 2 years. Again run this by your CPA as tax laws change and I am not a CPA.  Anyway, this is the long term approach.  The good news, especially if you’re buying in the same community, even if prices rise – hopefully so will the value of your current investment.  Anyway, can you tell I have several clients in the same boat?  This blog post was really just me organizing my thoughts then I figured – why don’t I just share this – if I can help someone make a better decision for their future – then I did my job today.  

THINGS TO CONSIDER

Right now – the forecast is Interest Rates will rise.  This can diminish a Buyer’s buying power.  As the interest rates rise the amount of the loan reduces.  To remedy this – a Buyer will need to bring in more monies towards the downpayment.  Easy, if we have Aunt Sally on speed dial.

The Caton Team cannot forecast the future but we have endured all sorts of markets.  We always worry about our Buyers waiting themselves out of the market and in this still inclining market – that can happen faster than you think.  Ask us anytime – we’re in the trenches, we know what homes are selling for before the internet gets wind.  It’s wild out there but we’ve got you covered.  Susan and I have over 35 years combined, local real estate experience.  We represent our clients with integrity.  Our offer packages stand out and often times just the edge a Buyer needs in this market.  Our Seller Package is successful, our negotiating is skilled, kind and focused.  We pride ourselves in being effective, efficient and responsive.

Real Estate is multi faceted and this blog is just the tip of the iceberg.  Each family has a unique set of needs.  We value the sit down time to get to know what you need whether buying or selling a home in the Bay Area. 

What Can The Caton Team Do For You?

Thank you for reading and forgiving my typos,

Sabrina

 

I wrote this…

Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to help.

The Caton Team strives to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook *Yelp Us * My Yelp * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

 

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

 

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.