Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite

The National Pest Management Association’s Vice President of Public Affairs, Missy Henriksen, shares the following tips for avoiding these pests while traveling.

Check Your Room. If you don’t want to let the bedbugs bite, thoroughly inspect your room for signs of infestation. Henriksen advises placing your luggage in the bathroom when you first arrive in your hotel room, because there’s no place for bedbugs to hide in most bathrooms. Next, says Henriksen, “Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for pepper-like stains or spots or even the bugs themselves. Adult bedbugs resemble a flat apple seed.” Also look behind the headboard, inside chair and couch cushions, behind picture frames, and around electrical outlets. If you see anything suspicious, notify management and change rooms (or better yet, establishments) immediately.

Request A Different Room. If you do have to change rooms, don’t move to a room adjacent to or directly above or below the site of the bedbug infestation. “Bedbugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts and luggage or even through wall sockets,” notes Henriksen. “If an infestation is spreading, it typically does so in the rooms closest to the origin.”

Cover Your Bags. Even if you don’t see any signs of bedbugs, you should still take precautions. Never place luggage on a hotel bed or floor. Use luggage racks if available, and place your suitcase in a protective cover. Even a plastic trash bag will suffice.

Keep Everything Off the Floor. Despite the name, bedbugs lurk in many spots, not just where you sleep. Always be vigilant when you travel. Avoid putting your personal belongings on the floor of an airplane, bus, train, or taxi. Keep your small bag or purse on your lap at all times, and seal your bigger bags inside plastic or protective covers before checking or storing them in overhead bins.

Treat Your Luggage and Clothes After Travel. “The best way to prevent bedbugs is to remain vigilant both during travel and once you return home,” says Henriksen. The National Pest Management Association offers the following checklist to make sure you leave the bedbugs behind:
• Inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house, and vacuum all luggage before storing it.
• Consider using a handheld garment steamer to steam your luggage; this can kill any bedbugs or eggs that might have hitched a ride home.
• Immediately wash and dry all of your clothes—even those that have not been worn—in hot temperatures to ensure that any stowaway bedbugs are not transported into your drawers or closet.
• Keep clothes that must be dry-cleaned in a plastic bag and take them to the dry cleaner as soon as possible.
• If you suspect a bedbug infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional promptly. Bedbugs are not a DIY pest, and the longer you wait, the larger the infestation will grow. A trained professional has the tools and knowledge to effectively treat your infestation.

I read this article here:  http://travel.yahoo.com/ideas/five-ways-to-stop-bedbugs-before-they-bite.html

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

A Cinderella Story… Lisa and All Those Offers….

The inspiration for this section of our blog – Cinderella Story – was inspired by Lisa and her long journey to home ownership.

Enjoy – Sabrina

Let’s take a look back to 2010 when Russ and Natalie referred their neighbor and dear friend Lisa to us.  Lisa was looking to buy her first home.  We got her pre-approved with Melanie Flynn at First Priority Mortgage and she qualified for the FHA loan.  With her pre-approval letter in hand the hunt began.  And what a hunt it was.

2010 was a tough year…the real estate market had been in a slump…the world knew the real estate market had crashed.  Many buyers were hesitant to buy, fearing the prospect of over paying while the market was still going down.  Locally however, by 2010, we had already hit bottom in many areas of the SF Peninsula the year before and we were now seeing the market slowly starting to recover.  Multiple offers and bidding wars were starting up again.  But unless you were in the trenches as a Realtor or buyer/seller…you wouldn’t know because the media was intent on focusing on the national real estate market which was still struggling.

At the time, the market was heavy on short sale properties, and with the banks so overwhelmed, the process of trying to buy some short sale houses outweighed the joy of owning the house.  Nonetheless,  we wrote offers on choice short sales for Lisa.  I swear, we’re still waiting to hear back on some of them.  There were also some regular sales, but if the home was in nice shape, you could guarantee multiple offers and a bidding war within the week.  The rest of the homes on the market were in pretty bad shape.  Yes the hunt continued.  We looked at many homes in various areas.  My favorite quality of Lisa was her imagination.  She could look at the dumpiest house and see it’s potential.  There were a few times Susan & I steered her away from homes with too many projects.  We truly wanted her to buy a home she could afford, that would need only cosmetic work – not structural headaches.

Lisa had an open mind.  Each home we checked out she seriously considered.  She wrote great offers, including letters to the sellers with a cute photo of her and her furry baby.  She listened to our suggestions and advice.  However, with each offer we would discover the seller accepted an all cash offer….sometimes for less than Lisa’s offer.  We kept checking out homes and writing offers till she could practically explain the purchase contract to us.  In light of constantly being outbid, Lisa wasn’t discouraged.  Well maybe a little, but she would dust herself off and keep on going.  We hunted for more than 6 months…but in retrospect we could have easily looked for a year.

Then one day while Susan & I were touring listings, we drove by a home we hadn’t seen yet.  On my trusty smart phone I looked it up and found out it was a bank owned home that had just fallen out of contract.  It was currently priced higher than we could go, it was an older home, in a beautiful west side location – and well just sitting there.  I quickly did some research.  The home had never had an open house, was never on broker tour and had just fallen out of contract – I called the Listing Agent.  Being that it was already bank owned and had fallen out of contract, I explained our situation to the listing agent and that afternoon we wrote an offer.  Within the week we heard the good news, the bank accepted our price (under list price) and we were on our way to closing an escrow.  After our inspections came up with no surprises, you could tell Lisa was slowly getting excited.  Finally, after writing nearly 20 offers and being outbid and beat up over and over again – 3o days later we popped the bubbly and handed Lisa the keys to her new home.

The moral of this Cinderella Story – sometimes you gotta kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince charming.

Congrats on hitting the 2 year anniversary in your home Lisa.  We truly enjoyed working with you and turning your home ownership dream into a reality.

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-cityå

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

California for-sale inventory at 2005 levels – great article – had to share…

California for-sale inventory at 2005 levels

Homes on the market in May represented just 3.5 months of supply

By Inman News

Inventories of homes for sale in California continued to shrink in May, as the highest pace of sales since February 2009 reduced the supply of available homes to just 3.5 months — down from 4.2 months in April and 5.7 months at the same time a year ago.

Many housing analysts view a six-month supply of homes as a good balance of supply and demand — anything less means there are not enough homes to meet demand.

“Low housing inventory continues to be the critical issue in the California market,” said California Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young in a statement accompanying the release of the latest numbers. “Inventory levels have not been this low since December 2005, when the supply matched the current level.”

Sales of existing, single-family detached homes were up 3.4 percent from April, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 572,260 in May, CAR said. That’s the fastest pace of sales since February 2009, when homes were selling at a seasonally adjusted rate of 598,770 per year.

The San Francisco Bay Area had the greatest shortage of homes for sale, with inventory levels in the two- to three-month range for Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, Appleton-Young said. A seven-month supply is normal, CAR said in releasing data from more than 90 REALTOR® associations and multiple listing services.

The inventory figures could provide ammunition to critics of plans to allow bulk sales of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac real estate owned (REO) properties. The National Association of REALTORS® has urged that such programs be “implemented on a strictly limited, as-needed basis,” citing estimates by analysts at Barclays Capital that private investors are converting 800,000 homes a year into rentals.

Fannie and Freddie’s federal regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA), has said it will approve bulk sales only in markets where there’s a glut of properties on the market.

The first “REO to rental” sale of 2,490 Fannie Mae “real estate owned” (REO) properties will be limited to eight markets: Atlanta (572 properties); Los Angeles-Riverside, Calif. (484 properties); Phoenix (341 properties); Las Vegas (219 properties); Chicago (99 properties); Southeast Florida (418 properties); Central and Northeast Florida (190 properties); and Western Florida (167 properties).

But last month, California REALTORS® got behind a bill introduced by Rep. Gary Miller, R-Brea, that would prohibit bulk sales of Fannie Mae REO homes in the state.

For housing statistics please visit the link below:

I read this article at:  http://lowes.inman.com/newsletter/2012/06/19/news/191356

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-cityå

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Advantages of Preapproval – great article had to share…

The Advantages of Preapproval

By VICKIE ELMER

WITH the housing market warming up in many areas, and multiple offers becoming more commonplace, buyers who want an advantage in the bidding process will need more than a mortgage prequalification. They will need a preapproval.

The difference is significant. Prequalifying for a mortgage is based solely on what you disclose to the loan officer or broker about your earnings, credit score and total assets, including what is available for a down payment.

“It’s verbal — it doesn’t really mean anything,” beyond providing some basic guidance on the range of prices you may be able to afford, said Kevin Chittenden, a vice president and regional sales manager in Paramus, N.J., for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

A preapproval, by contrast, requires borrowers to provide documentation of their income and their assets.

The lender typically pulls your credit report and score, and you should gather together almost everything you will need for the actual mortgage underwriting: W-2 wage statements; 1099s, which show things like dividends and interest income; recent pay stubs; bank statements; and statements from Individual Retirement Accounts and 401(k)s and other assets that could show you have the resources to buy and maintain a home.

At Wells Fargo, one of the country’s largest mortgage lenders, the first quick review provided by an underwriter constitutes an agreement to lend. “It’s a real commitment, a commitment to lend,” Mr. Chittenden said.

Other lenders may treat preapprovals as more of an opinion on the person’s ability to borrow, not a guarantee to lend, said Jack Guttentag, who runs the Mortgage Professor Web site. Generally, borrowers need to have chosen a property and have it appraised before they can expect a firm commitment from a lender, he said.

Still, a preapproval is more important now, with so many more homes receiving multiple bids, and because the housing market in many parts of the New York region has been getting stronger.

“Preapproval carries more weight when you go to negotiate a deal,” said Ray Mignone, a certified financial planner in Little Neck, Queens. “It gives them bargaining power.”

Borrowers should ask the lender to provide a good-faith estimate on closing costs and fees along with the preapproval. Many will provide this only once you have a home under contract, but some will give you an estimate of those costs, said Sofi Cordero, a senior housing counselor with La Casa De Don Pedro, which works on affordable housing and neighborhood development in Newark.

The preapproval letter should include the amount a borrower is qualified to borrow, as well as the loan officer’s contact information. Some letters may have an estimated monthly payment. But details about the loan type and interest rate will not be included; those are filled in when you are ready to receive the loan, experts say.

Timing is important. Buyers should aim for obtaining a preapproval letter from a lender within 30 to 60 days of the expected purchase date, Ms. Cordero said. That is because some letters expire in 90 days or so. (Wells Fargo’s, for instance, last for 120 days.)

Your income and bank statements may also need to be updated if it has been a few months between preapproval and the signed contract for buying, Mr. Chittenden said.

Wells Fargo charges would-be borrowers $18 for the credit report for a preapproval; the other costs of the mortgage start once you have a purchase agreement, he said.

Other lenders may waive the preapproval and application fees because they want to sign you on as a customer, Ms. Cordero noted, adding that if you find another lender with better terms, you are under no obligation to use the lender that provided the preapproval.

I read this article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/10/realestate/mortgages-the-advantages-of-preapproval.html?_r=2&ref=realestate

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-cityå

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Sharing a Terrific Article on 4 Ways a Buyer Can Compete In Today’s Market By Dian Hymer

Hello Blog Readers.  Sabrina here –  had to share this right away.  I’ve been meaning to write my own blog update about our local real estate market when I can came across this article.  Please enjoy – Dian is spot on for the SF Peninsula Real Estate market.

Enjoy, Sabrina

 

4 Ways Buyers Can Compete In Today’s Market

Don’t be intimidated by all-cash offers

By Dian Hymer

Inventories of homes for sale are dropping in areas where they’ve recently been high like in Oakland, Calif., Phoenix and Miami. Interest rates are approximately 0.75 percent lower than they were a year ago. It seems like a good time to get off the fence and into the action if you can find a house that reasonably matches your wish list and you don’t find yourself bucking other buyers who have the same idea.

Months’ supply of inventory is an estimate of how long it would take to sell all of the homes in a given market at the current sales pace. A six-month supply of unsold inventory is thought to represent a balanced market.

In California, there was a 4.2-month supply of inventory in April 2012, down from 5.6 months a year ago. When buyer demand increases, the unsold inventory drops, and multiple offers often enter the picture — sometimes in a big way.

In the hills above Berkeley, Calif., buyers are chasing too few homes for sale. But not all homes are coveted. The best homes that are priced right for the market are drawing attention. The multiple-offer activity can be fierce. Recently, a home that was perhaps underpriced for the market was bid up significantly with 17 offers. Four of the top offers included no contingencies.

The first step to successfully compete in a sizzling market is to know the inventory. Pricing low to generate multiple offers is a strategy commonly used in a low-inventory, high-demand market. You need to be familiar with how much listings in your area are selling for in order to determine if a listing is priced at, above or below market value.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: You might have only one opportunity to grab the sellers’ attention, which means that your first offer may need to be your best. You need to feel confident that the price you’re offering — particularly if it’s significantly over the list price — is reasonable in terms of your long-term housing needs and in light of the fact that the current uptick in many segments of the market may not be a sustained recovery.

Before writing an offer, find out how many offers the agent anticipates. If you can barely afford the asking price and there are seven offers, you might reconsider and wait for an opportunity that will allow you to move up in price, if necessary.

It’s hard to compete with an all-cash offer if you need to qualify for a mortgage. Make sure to get preapproved for the financing you need. Some sellers will accept an offer with a loan contingency from a well-qualified buyer over a cash offer if the price is higher. A large cash down payment makes your offer more attractive.

Make the cleanest offer you can without taking on too much risk. Offers made contingent on the sale of the buyers’ home have little chance of being accepted. In the example above, four buyers were willing to make offers without any contingencies. That’s as clean as it gets.

In this case, the buyers preinspected the property. In 2005 and 2006, buyers waived inspection contingencies to compete. Sometime negative consequences such as drainage or foundation problems were discovered after closing.

But if you’re willing to pay to inspect a home before the sellers have accepted your offer, you can gain the information about the property’s condition before moving forward. Be sure to ask for the sellers’ permission before preinspecting their home.

It’s always a good idea to find out as much as possible about the sellers’ situation. This may allow you to offer a perk that could swing the deal your way. Recently, buyers of a Piedmont, Calif., home offered the seller 30 days to rent back at no cost.

THE CLOSING: This clinched the deal.

Dian Hymer, a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience, is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author of “House Hunting: The Take-Along Workbook for Home Buyers” and “Starting Out, The Complete Home Buyer’s Guide.”

I read this article at:  http://lowes.inman.com/newsletter/2012/06/13/news/190914

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit my Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit me on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp The Caton Team at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-cityå

Or Yelp me at:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:  http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Offer Subject to Inspection – What Does That Mean?

As a Realtor I have a whole dictionary for just real estate jargon.  One of the most confusing terms, and often buyers will get the wrong idea about their agent, is “offer subject to inspection.”  So allow me a moment to explain what on earth this means.

“Offer subject to inspection” is a typical hurdle for buyers to overcome when shopping for homes that are tenant occupied.  The term means – the buyer can physically go in and SEE the home AFTER an offer is accepted.  Sounds a little backwards right?

And no – your agent is NOT trying to strong arm you and force you to buy a home without evening seeing it!

Generally this clause is for homes which are tenant occupied.  In order to preserve the rights of the tenant to have the quite enjoyment of their home – the tenant has the right to refuse prospective buyers to come in and see the home.  That is – until an offer is accepted by the seller, then the buyers has the right to inspect the home.

How does this work you ask?  The buyer must write a REAL offer since the terms are binding once accepted.  When the seller accepts the offer, the buyer will have a certain amount of days which is written into the contract to actually go in and see the home for the first time.  If the home is to their liking and the buyer wants to proceed with the contract – they do.  If the home is NOT to the buyers liking – for just about any reason – during the agreed upon days – the buyer will have the right to cancel the deal and walk away without any harm to both buyer and seller.

So you found a home you like – how do you write an offer?  If there are inspections available before hand – it makes our job of writing the offer a bit easier since we have a good idea of what the condition is.  If there are no inspections, and we haven’t seen the home, we drive by and gather as much info as we can with our eyes from the safety of the car.  We write the offer as best we can with the information provided and once the buyer has seen the home and had inspections we proceed with the new information – either by moving forward or discussing the new information with all parties and find a common and suitable outcome for all parties.

As strange as it seems – it happens more than you know.  For some buyers, they cannot imagine writing an offer for a home without ever seeing the home.  For investment buyers, this very typical and generally have no issues writing up a fair offer to get in.  Of course, what happens after a buyer gets to see the home is a far different story.  I have experienced both follow throughs on the contract and recessions – so truly we cross that bridge together when we get to it.

Which is truly at the root of what us Realtors do.  We are the buyers and sellers guides through Real Estate – what can The Caton Team do for you?

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email us at:

Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp me at: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

10 things to know about mortgage debt forgiveness

Came across this great article I had to share…

 

10 things to know about mortgage debt forgiveness

Over the past several years, millions of homeowners have had billions of dollars in mortgage debt forgiven, either through foreclosure, refinancing or short sales. It’s important for real estate professionals and homeowners to understand that mortgage debt forgiveness has significant tax consequences.

Here are 10 things the Internal Revenue Service says you should know about mortgage debt forgiveness:

1. Normally, when a lender forgives a debt — that is, relieves the borrower from having to pay it back — the amount of the debt is taxable income to the borrower. Thus, a homeowner who had $100,000 in mortgage debt forgiven through a short sale would have to pay income tax on that $100,000, as an example.

Fortunately, under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to exclude from your taxable income up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your principal residence from 2007 through 2012. This means you don’t have to pay income tax on the forgiven debt.

2. The limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.

3. You may exclude from your taxable income debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in a foreclosure.

4. To qualify, the debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence and be secured by that residence.

5. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act applies to home improvement mortgages you take out to substantially improve your principal residence — that is, they also qualify for the exclusion.

6. Second or third mortgages you used for purposes other than home improvement — for example, to pay off credit card debt — do not qualify for the exclusion.

7. If you qualify, claim the special exclusion by filling out Form 982: Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness , and attach it to your federal income tax return for the tax year in which the debt was forgiven.

8. Debt forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or car loans does not qualify for the tax-relief provision. In some cases, however, other tax-relief provisions — such as bankruptcy — may be applicable. IRS Form 982 provides more details about these provisions.

9. If your debt is reduced or eliminated, you normally will receive a year-end statement, Form 1099-C: Cancellation of Debt, from your lender. By law, this form must show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property foreclosed.

10. Examine the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the information shown is incorrect. You should pay particular attention to the amount of debt forgiven in Box 2 as well as the value listed for your home in Box 7.

The IRS has created a highly useful Interactive Tax Assistant on its website that you can use to determine if your canceled debt is taxable. The tax assistant tool takes you through a series of questions and provides you with responses to tax law questions.

For more information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, see IRS Publication 4681: Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments. You can get it from the IRS website atirs.gov.

Real Estate Tax Talk

By Stephen Fishman

 

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email us at Info@TheCatonTeam.com or visit our website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:  http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com/

Steps To Buying a Home

The Caton Team believes that buying a home is a journey.  We are happy to meet with buyers at any leg of their trek, whether it be a few years out, or we’re ready to buy now – Susan & Sabrina are happy to create a home buying plan with you and your family.  We believe communication is essential and understanding your goals as a home-buyer is they key to success.

Steps to Buying a Home

1.     Our Initial Interview

  • Determine needs, wants & desires for your new home
  • Discuss parameters
  • Discuss financial qualifications

2. Get Pre-Approved for your Home Loan

  • Contact your Financial Institution (Bank, Credit Union, etc) for a pre-approval of a Home Loan
  • Obtain a Pre-Approval letter once you have provided them with all necessary documentation (income verification, taxes, debt)
  • Once you know your purchase power we can help you shop your loan if necessary to find the best loan for your price range with the best interest rate & terms
  • Remember to make sure you have funds saved for your closing costs.*
  • REMEMBER – DO NOT OPEN ANY NEW LINES OF CREDIT OR MAKE LARGE PURCHASES – it will affect your credit score and purchase power!

3. Property Tours

  • We will preview many homes in your criteria
  • We will show you available properties that match your needs & wants
  • Listen carefully to fine-tune your ideal home
  • Provide information about the current market and reliable resources regarding cities, schools to help you with your decision

4. Write an Offer on the Home that fits your needs & wants

  • When possible – we get the Sellers Disclosure package beforehand so you can review the disclosures before we write an offer
  • Writing an offer will take between 1 to 3 hours
  • Complete the purchase agreement contract & review all the necessary disclosures with you
  • Buyer provides the earnest money deposit (this can be in the form of a personal check & will be held until an accepted contract is created – generally 1% – 3% of the purchase price)

5. The Caton Team Presents Your Offer

  • Prepare a presentation by highlighting the strengths of the offer & your strengths as the buyer
  • Present the offer to  the Sellers’ Real Estate Professional & when possible the Sellers
  • The Seller with either accept your offer, counter it, or reject it
Of course, our objective, if it is your objective – is to get your offer accepted on the first try.  If your offer is not accepted or rejected right off the bat – you begin the counter offer process.

6. Counter-Offer

  • Discuss the counter-offer with you and how it relates to your goals and prepare a response
  • Negotiate the counter-offer in your best interest while keeping the Seller happy as well

7.          Escrow

  • When the offer has been accepted & signed by all parties, escrow is opened
  • Earnest money (good faith deposit) will be deposited AND CASHED by the escrow company and held in escrow
  • The Escrow Officer will order the Preliminary Title Report & send copies to the Lender & us – your Realtors

8. Contingency Period

  • Buyers approval of Seller’s Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement
  • Buyers approval of the Preliminary Title Report
  • Buyers approval of any disclosures not provided prior to writing the offer
  • Conduct all desired Physical & Pest Inspections
  • Verify that the Property Appraisal & Loan have been approved & secured
  • Once the buyer is fully satisfied with the home, the buyer, in writing, will remove all their contingencies and is not locked into contract

9. Homeowners’ Insurance Coverage

  • Select an insurance company and discuss coverage (it is best to start with your car insurance company – they often offer umbrella discounts)
  • Give insurance agent escrow information.  They will need to order a copy of the policy for the new Lender prior to escrow closing

10. Signing Documents at the Title Company

  • Lender will send the loan documents directly to the title company several days before close of escrow
  • Buyer will receive copies of the title documents and the Lender documents (Take the time to review your loan documents prior to our signing appointment to make sure all the terms & conditions are what you agreed to – changes to the loan documents must be made before you sign so escrow will close on time)
  • Buyer will need current photo identification

11. Down Payment and Closing Cost Funds

  • You may bring a cashier’s check to the Title Company several days prior to closing or have funds wired directly from you bank
  • The Escrow Officer will provide a Buyer’s Estimated Closing Statement, which will itemize costs and credits, estimating the total money due at closing and also provide wiring instructions if you are doing a wire transfer of your down payment

12. Funding

  • Lenders will send funds directly to escrow the day before closing

13. Close of Escrow

  • The deed will be recorded at the County Recorder’s office by the Title Company (Buyer will receive the original back from the County Recorder in approximately 6 weeks)
  • Real Estate Professional will coordinate the transfer of the house keys after the transfer of sale is on record.

14. Move In!

  •  Get those boxes in the car, pop the bubbly – the house is yours!  Congrats
Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to answer them – email us at info@thecatonteam.com or visit our website at http://thecatonteam.com/
Visit my personal journey through homeownership at http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com/

Senate Bill 458 – Help for Short Sale Sellers

A new California law will further protect homeowners pursuing short sales by barring first and secondary lienholders from going after sellers for money owed after the short sales close.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 458, authored by Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro,) into law on Friday.

A short sale is a transaction in which the homeowner owes more on the loan than the property is worth. To sell the home, the lien holder or lien holders must approve the sale because the amount owed to the lien holder will be “short” of what is currently owed by the borrower.

Real estate tracker DataQuick said short sales made up 17.7 percent of Southern California home resales in June.

The new law builds on the protections offered by a previous law, SB 931, which required the first lien holder in a short sale to accept an agreed-upon payment as the full payment for the outstanding loan balance. The previous law did not address junior lien holders.

The new law, which became effective immediately, now prohibits secondary lien holders from pursuing deficiencies after a short sale closes.

“As the economic recession continues to impact Californians, SB 458 will allow homeowners forced to sell at a loss to have closure at the end of the process,” said Corbett, in a statement to the Union-Tribune. “By extending anti-deficiency protection to all loans on a home when a short sale occurs, a homeowner can use a short sale as an alternative to foreclosure or bankruptcy.”

The California Association of Realtors call the bill’s signing a “victory for California homeowners.”

“SB 458 brings closure and certainty to the short sale process and ensures that once a lender has agreed to accept a short sale payment on a property, all lien holders – those in first position and in junior positions – will consider the outstanding balance as paid in full and the homeowner will not be held responsible for any additional payments on the property,” said Beth L. Peerce, president of the Realtors group, in a statement.

For more information please visit: http://www.car.org/newsstand/newsreleases/sb458/

 

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email us at Info@TheCatonTeam.com or visit our website at http://thecatonteam.com/

 

 

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