Mortgage Borrowers Beware: Separating Fact from Fiction on the New Credit Score Tax – Shared from Chris Carr

Several of you have reached out to Chris regarding the main stream media’s pick up of the story I covered back in January.

Shared From SOURCE

Mortgage Borrowers Beware: Separating Fact from Fiction on the New Credit Score Tax

Shared From YOURLENDERCHRIS APRIL 24, 2023

Chris Carr NMLS# 1466899 | Cell ‭(650) 207-4364‬

Here is an excerpt from the excellent website, Mortgage New Daily:

Before you stop paying your bills in the hope of cashing in, let’s separate fact from fiction.  First and most importantly, you will absolutely NOT get a better deal on a mortgage rate if your credit score is lower, even if your nephew just texted you a screenshot of a news headline saying “620 FICO SCORE GETS A 1.75% FEE DISCOUNT” and “740 FICO SCORE PAYS 1% FEE.”  MATTHEW GRAHAM – MORTGAGE NEWS DAILY

I strongly encourage you to read the rest of his article here: https://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/markets/mortgage-rates-04212023 It is well-written and informative and takes the political bias and opinion out of the explanation. Just the facts. And yes, it has gotten more expensive to get a home loan–for everyone.

But to really understand what’s changed, you need to first understand that mortgage rates have a price. In other words, each rate on a rate sheet is associated with a price or fee and that price/fee goes up and and down with the rate you choose, based on how much money you want to borrower, what your credit score is and how much down payment you’re bringing to the purchase. There are a few other factors that determine rate and that is why it is so difficult to answer your question: “What are rates like today?”

With that out of the way, sometimes an interest rate comes at cost to you (that’s what we all know as “Points”) and sometimes that price/fee is a rebate to you (that’s how some lenders will quote you a “no cost loan”). What’s in the middle is something called “PAR”. This is the fancy Wall Street word for “Neutral”, meaning you don’t pay points and you don’t get a rebate. The price for mortgage rates has been increased at the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Administration because they don’t believe they are making enough money and raising these fees (because inflation). The FHFA believes this will help them maintain the financial health of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–the two Government Sponsored Entities that purchase many of the home loans that are originated in the United States.

Here’s a picture proving that home loans for the purpose of purchasing just got more expensive for us all:

Now, Fannie and Freddie have what is called a “Duty to Serve” and that requires them to be focused on helping first time home buyers get into homes. That is why the chart above shows that a smaller down payment and a lower credit scores appears to be getting a better deal than say someone with higher credit and a larger down payment.

But let’s take the following example, if you have two borrowers, one with a 700 FICO and 20% down, and another with 640 and 5% down, the LLPAs (1.500%) are in fact the same, creating an “equal” playing field. However, if you have both come in with 5% the higher FICO score gets an improvement to LLPA of 0.625%, whereas if the lower FICO borrower comes in with 20%, their LLPA is 1.375% higher. With the latter, a mortgage of $600,000 results in $8,250 of additional costs to the lower credit score borrower. The point here is that the FHFA is working to create more affordable housing for those that have lower credit scores and by assumption a smaller down payment.

After Weeks of Decline, Mortgage Rates Increase

For the first time in over a month, mortgage rates moved up due to shifting market expectations. Home prices have stabilized somewhat, but with supply tight and rates stuck above six percent, affordable housing continues to be a serious issue for potential homebuyers. Unless rates drop into the mid five percent range, demand will only modestly recover.

Primary Mortgage Market Survey® U.S. weekly averages as of 04/20/2023

Current Mortgage Rates Data Since 1971​xlsx

Opinions, estimates, forecasts, and other views contained in this document are those of Freddie Mac’s economists and other researchers, do not necessarily represent the views of Freddie Mac or its management, and should not be construed as indicating Freddie Mac’s business prospects or expected results. Although the authors attempt to provide reliable, useful information, they do not guarantee that the information or other content in this document is accurate, current or suitable for any particular purpose. All content is subject to change without notice. All content is provided on an “as is” basis, with no warranties of any kind whatsoever. Information from this document may be used with proper attribution. Alteration of this document or its content is strictly prohibited. ©2023 by Freddie Mac.

Week of April 17, 2023 in Review

The latest data showed signs of strength in the housing market while the labor sector is getting weaker. Plus, an important recession signal continues to reflect a slowing economy. Don’t miss these stories:

  • What the Media Gets Wrong About Home Prices
  • Home Builders Need to be “Starting” Something
  • NAHB Reports Cautious Optimism Among Home Builders
  • Job Market Getting Weaker
  • Recession Signal Flashing

What the Media Gets Wrong About Home Prices

 existing home sales

Existing Home Sales fell 2.4% from February to March to a 4.44 million unit annualized pace, per the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which was in line with estimates. Sales were 22% lower than they were in March of last year. This report measures closings on existing homes, which represent around 90% of the market, making it a critical gauge for taking the pulse of the housing sector.

What’s the bottom line? While it’s true that buyer activity slowed in March, February was an especially strong month for closings, so a slight pullback last month was understandable.

In addition, multiple data points suggest that demand remains strong. Homes stayed on the market on average for 29 days, down sharply from 34 days in February. Plus, 65% of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month, which is up from 57% and shows homes are selling quickly when they’re priced correctly. Meanwhile, investors accounted for 17% of transactions last month, making up roughly one out of every six deals. Clearly investors are seeing the opportunity in housing right now.

Also of note, there was a 0.9% decline in the median home price to $375,700 from a year earlier. However, this is not the same as a decline in home prices as some media reports implied.

The median home price simply means half the homes sold were above that price and half were below it, and this figure can be skewed by the mix of sales among lower-priced and higher-priced homes. In fact, we could see home prices increase across all price categories, but the median price could still fall if the concentration of sales was on the lower end. Actual appreciation numbers are higher, not lower, on a year-over-year basis according to key reports from Case-Shiller, CoreLogic and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Home Builders Need to be “Starting” Something

 housing starts

Construction of new homes slowed in March, with Housing Starts falling nearly 1% from February. Building Permits, which are indicative of future supply, also fell 8.8% for the month. While Starts and Permits for single-family homes both ticked higher from February to March, they were significantly lower than in March of last year.

What’s the bottom line? The housing sector is undersupplied, and not enough inventory is heading to the market. Starts for single-family homes have been on a downward trend over the last year, with the pace of 1.191 million units in March 2022 falling all the way to 861,000 units this March. Single-family permits have followed the same pattern, declining from a pace of 1.163 million units to 818,000 over the same period.

With single-family homes remaining in high demand among buyers, the imbalance between supply and demand should continue to be supportive of prices. 

NAHB Reports Cautious Optimism Among Home Builders

 HMI

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index, which is a near real-time read on builder confidence, rose one point to 45 in April, marking the fourth straight month this measure has increased. Among the components of the index, current sales conditions rose two points to 51 while sales expectations for the next six months increased three points to 50. Buyer traffic remained unchanged at 31.

What’s the bottom line? Home builder confidence has now risen 14 points since the low of 31 in December. Present sales conditions returned to expansion territory (over 50) for the first time since last September, while the future sales outlook is right at the breakeven between expansion and contraction at its highest level since June. Even though the overall confidence reading remains below 50 in contraction territory, sentiment continues to rebound in the right direction.

Job Market Getting Weaker

 jobless claims B

Initial Jobless Claims continued to move higher this month, with the number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time rising by 5,000 in the latest week to 245,000. This tied the third highest reading so far this year. Continuing Jobless Claims also surged to 1.865 million, up 61,000.

What’s the bottom line? Continuing Claims measure people who continue to receive benefits after their initial claim is filed and this data clearly shows that hiring has slowed. While the number can be volatile from week to week, the overall trend has been higher with an increase of around 576,000 since the low reached last September.

Plus, there’s greater evidence of workforce reductions as the four-week average of Initial Jobless Claims, which smooths out some of the weekly fluctuation among first-time filers, has hovered around 240,000 at a yearly high in recent weeks.

Recession Signal Flashing

The Conference Board released their Leading Economic Index (LEI) for March, which was down 1.2%, falling to “its lowest level since November of 2020, consistent with worsening economic conditions ahead,” said Justyna Zabinska-La Monica, Senior Manager, Business Cycle Indicators. This report is a composite of economic indexes and can signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle.

What’s the bottom line? The Conference Board explained that a warning signal occurs when the LEI 6-month growth rate on an annualized basis breaks beneath 0%. But a break beneath -4.2%, like we saw last month, is a recession signal that has been highly accurate historically. The Conference Board also stated that they believe the U.S. will enter a recession “starting in mid-2023.” 

What to Look for This Week

More housing news is ahead, starting with Tuesday’s release of home price appreciation data for February from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index. March’s New Home Sales will also be reported on Tuesday, while Pending Home Sales follows on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, the latest Jobless Claims data will be released along with the first reading for first quarter 2023 GDP. Friday brings perhaps the biggest news of the week with March’s reading for the Fed’s favored inflation measure, Personal Consumption Expenditures.

Technical Picture

Mortgage Bonds were able to stay above their 50-day Moving Average after testing it earlier in the day last Friday. The 10-year tested support at its 200-day Moving Average but remained above it at the end of last week.

Shared From Lender Chris Carr NMLS# 1466899 – SOURCE

If you are considering a sale or purchase of Real Estate – The Caton Team would love to interview for the job as your Realtor. We love what we do, let us take care of you.

We believe to be successful in the 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 integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts.  

A mother and daughter-in-law team with 40 years of combined, local real estate experience, knowledge, and know-how – wouldn’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time. Call | Text | 650.799.4333 | Email | Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Effective. Efficient. Responsive. Got Questions? The Caton Team is here to help.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 |  EMAIL  |  WEB  |   BLOG

We love what we do and would love to help you navigate your sale or purchase of Residential Real Estate. Please reach out for a personal consultation. Please enjoy our free resources below and get to know our team from our TESTIMONIALS.

| HOW TO SELLGET READY CAPITAL – Loans to Prep for Sale | VIRTUAL STAGING | A GUIDE TO BUYING | BUYING INFO |  MOVING | TESTIMONIALS

Get exclusive inside access when you follow us on Facebook & Instagram

| HOW TO SELLGET READY CAPITAL – Loans to Prep for Sale | VIRTUAL STAGING | A GUIDE TO BUYING | BUYING INFO |  MOVING | TESTIMONIALS

Got Real Estate 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 utmost 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 – wouldn’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654 |EMAIL |  WEB|   BLOG

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

The Caton Team Testimonials | Blog – The Real Estate Beat | TheCatonTeam.com | Facebook | Instagram | HomeSnap | Pinterest | LinkedIn Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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

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

Pre-Approval in 2023: What You Need To Know – Shared article

Source

One of the first steps in your home buying journey is getting pre-approved. To understand why it’s such an important step, you need to understand what pre-approval is and what it does for you. Business Insider explains:

“In a preapproval [sic], the lender tells you which types of loans you may be eligible to take out, how much you may be approved to borrow, and what your rate could be.”

Basically, pre-approval gives you critical information about the home buying process that’ll help you understand your options and what you may be able to borrow.

How does it work? As part of the pre-approval process, a lender will look at your finances to determine what they’d be willing to loan you. From there, your lender will give you a pre-approval letter to help you understand how much money you can borrow. That can make it easier when you set out to search for homes because you’ll know your overall numbers. And with higher mortgage rates impacting affordability for many buyers today, a solid understanding of your numbers is even more important.

Pre-Approval Helps Show You’re a Serious Buyer

Another added benefit is pre-approval can help a seller feel more confident in your offer because it shows you’re serious about buying their house. A recent article from Forbes notes:

“From the seller’s perspective, a preapproval [sic] letter from a reputable local lender often can make the difference between accepting and rejecting an offer.”

This goes to show, even though you may not face the intense bidding wars you saw if you tried to buy during the pandemic, pre-approval is still an important part of making a strong offer. In fact, Christy Bieber, Personal Finance Writer at The Motley Fool explains it may be the most important part of making an offer:

“Pre-approval maximizes the chances you’ll be able to actually close the deal – and sellers want to see that.

The fact that a pre-approval gives you a better chance of getting your offer accepted is undoubtedly the most important reason to complete this step . . .”

Bottom Line

Getting pre-approved is an important first step towards buying a home. It lets you know what you can borrow and shows sellers you’re serious about purchasing their home. Connect with a local real estate professional and a trusted lender so you have the tools you need to purchase a home in today’s market.

The Caton Team knows what it takes to turn our buyers into homeowners. Let us guide you home.

Read more here > A GUIDE TO BUYING | BUYING INFO

Got Questions? The Caton Team is here to help.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 |  EMAIL  |  WEB  |   BLOG

We love what we do and would love to help you navigate your sale or purchase of Residential Real Estate. Please reach out for a personal consultation. Please enjoy our free resources below and get to know our team from our TESTIMONIALS.

| HOW TO SELLGET READY CAPITAL – Loans to Prep for Sale | VIRTUAL STAGING | A GUIDE TO BUYING | BUYING INFO |  MOVING | TESTIMONIALS

Effective. Efficient. Responsive. The Caton Team 🏡  How can The Caton Team help You?

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654 |  EMAIL  |  WEB  |   BLOG

Get exclusive inside access when you follow us on Facebook & Instagram

| HOW TO SELLGET READY CAPITAL – Loans to Prep for Sale | VIRTUAL STAGING | A GUIDE TO BUYING | BUYING INFO |  MOVING | TESTIMONIALS

Got Real Estate 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 utmost 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 – wouldn’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654 |EMAIL |  WEB|   BLOG

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

The Caton Team Testimonials | Blog – The Real Estate Beat | TheCatonTeam.com | Facebook | Instagram | HomeSnap | Pinterest | LinkedIn Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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

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

Making sense of this market… (updated)

Are Interest Rates Stopping You From Buying Real Estate Today? They don’t have to… CLICK HERE

Updated Winter 2023

Quick Read:

We’ve come to accept interest rates are not going to be 3% for a while. The good news is – this week – mid-Jan 2023 – rates are the lowest they’ve been in months. Rates change daily – so it’s best to speak to your lender directly.

What I can say – I’m seeing my buyers reapply for loans and start new budget talks around the kitchen table. There has always been an excess of demand in the Bay Area and a shortage of housing supply. So that’s good news for sellers and owners. I do see sale prices adjust accordingly but I don’t see a crash. I’m thinking we’ll have normal growth – which is better than hyper-appreciation.

The rate hike did what it was supposed to – temper the market. With its ups and downs, the data shows one thing – home values in the San Francisco Bay Area have appreciated since 1849. Buyers – this may be the market we’ve been waiting a decade for.

So, time to accept reality – re-evaluate the budget and cross-examine what homes are currently on the market. The Winter season in Real Estate has always been slow. Homes on the market now need to sell and if you’re the only offer on the table – you could have terms in your contract – a contingency even. Imagine that? Remember buyers – buy low, sell high. Marry the House, Date the Rate – just Get The House. Real Estate is an important long-term investment. You can always refinance your loan when rates go down again.

Today, I’m seeing my sellers who can wait, gear up for Spring, and prepare their homes for the market. Paint, flooring, packing, cleaning. This is the season for that as we enjoy the rain we’ve been hoping for.

For my buyers out there, don’t give up on the dream. Let’s re-evaluate the loan and monthly costs, see what properties fit our needs, and take it from there.

For my sellers, your timing is everything. Where are you going and when do you need to get there? The rest, we’ll figure out together – because that’s what we do.

The Caton Team is here to weather any storm and help our clients achieve their Real Estate Goals. How can we help you? Reach out.

The Caton Team | Call|Text 650.799.4333 or Email | Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Previous articles…

Update – Fall 2022.

Quick Read:

Well, rates went up again. This shakes things up for buyers, how much they can afford and that will impact home values over time.

This – for buyers – is exciting because – if you can buy a home for less – you can always REFINANCE out of that high rate when rates go down! So Marry the House – Date the Rate!

Each market is impacted differently – if you’re thinking about selling and buying – The Caton Team is here to guide you. We’ve worked through several different market dynamics and have the wisdom and knowledge to aid us. Reach out – we’re happy to help.

The Caton Team | Call|Text 650.799.4333 or Email | Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Long Read:

Right now, Realtors and their buyers are reworking the numbers, trying to stay within their budget and readjust their plans to accommodate for higher interest rates. Sometimes the goal changes, and sometimes there is a silver lining. 

For buyers in Silicon Valley – anyone shopping for a home since 2020 – had low rates, lots of competition, and overbidding. When rates went up – buyers lost their purchase power and it was back to the drawing board – determining their new budget and how that translates into homes. The sellers felt it as offers dried up and escrows didn’t close. 

It’s going to take some time to hash out but life doesn’t stop.

With higher rates – buyers can afford less, so eventually, that will impact home sales and prices. But for an agent who’s always working with buyers – as scary as this all seems – this is the market we’ve been waiting for! 

There are going to be homes that need to sell, job transfers, weddings, and babies – life events trigger moving events – no matter the market. So for the well-prepared buyer, even with higher rates – this is a rare opportunity to be – dare I say – the only offer on the table? This is where the real negotiating happens. Finding that middle ground where the buyer can buy and afford their home and the seller gets what they need to move forward with their lives. It’s the sweet spot.

If you’re a homeowner with no need to move – this doesn’t hurt you – it is all part of the normal business cycle. However, if you’re a homeowner who has to sell – well – some of your equity is lost for now. So if selling is a must – let’s sit down and chat about your goals and how we can make them happen. Because homes are still selling.

What we are seeing is a shift to a buyer market, if a seller wants their price and a buyer can’t go that high, the buyer is moving on to the next. There are options out there, homes that need to sell, and price reductions galore. And if that is not enough incentive – I’ll say it – just offer a fair price. Finding that middle ground doesn’t have to be a mystery. 

For buyers – this is a wonderful time to prepare. Get your loan approved, and understand your budget and the impact of the Interest Rate. Are there homes within reach? Then go for it? If not – then save and wait but keep that goal in mind. SAVE SAVE SAVE!

Now here’s the golden rule – Marry the House – Date the Rate. If you can afford any Real Estate in the Bay Area – even if it is not your dream house – buy it. Hold it and when the rates go down – refinance – and when the home values go up-sell and make your move. This is how it is done, the old advice – Buy Low Sell High – applies. 

So how low will it go? Not that low. Let’s stay realistic – we’re not dropping to 1990 prices – but we will see prices reflect the higher rate. 

Truthfully – for buyers – this is exciting because – if you can buy a home for less – you can always REFINANCE out of that high rate when rates go down! So Marry the House – Date the Rate! I said it three times – it’s gotta be ringing in your ears by now.

Each market is impacted differently – if you’re thinking about selling and buying – The Caton Team is here to guide you. We’ve worked through several different market dynamics and have the wisdom and knowledge to aid us and better serve you. Reach out – we’re happy to help.

The Caton Team | Call|Text 650.799.4333 or Email | Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Previous Article…

It’s the middle of 2022. The “Pandemic Real Estate” seems to have simmered down with the rate hike as we watch prices adjust. With so much chatter about “this crazy market”, I thought I’d share my insight.

Interest Rates go up and down. That’s what they do, and rates will continue to do so. We don’t control the rates. As it fluctuates – it is wise to consider saving to buy down your rate and when budgeting – round up to account for a higher rate. I prefer knowing if I lock a lower rate – I’m more than comfortable with my payments.

Back in the 80’s rates for home loans were 13%. Back in the early 2000s, we were around 5%, then we dipped down to 3% and life was good.

Now that rates are dancing around 4.5-5% over the past few weeks – we are experiencing two phenomena. Well-positioned homes are still seeing multiple offers and over-list price sales while some homes are dropping their price to garnish more viewers.

I’ve had some clients jump into getting approved – knowing when the market “slows down” they have a better chance of getting a home. I also see some clients stalling, a wait-and-see approach. Especially when a lot of “down payment funds” are tied up in stocks – those clients are forced to wait.

But if there is one thing I want to make clear – in the Bay Area – this was and is not a crazy market. This IS our market.

The San Francisco Peninsula – Silicon Valley – has had limited inventory for sale at any given time. I’ve been a full-time Realtor for going on 19 years now and we’ve always had limited inventory – thus the overbidding. Coupled with high salaries and when the Stock Market is robust – there is no stopping the Real Estate Market around here. This has fueled our prices, the over-bidding with the already low inventory – it’s classic

Supply & Demand.

What I do know – everyone needs somewhere to live and owning your own place is the best way to keep a roof over your head and create long-term wealth. Real Estate is the only investment you can live in. Real Estate prices may flux month over month, year over year – but decade over decade – Real Estate will appreciate. They have since 1849…

I am no economist and I too am glued to the news about our economy, interest rates, inflation, and gas prices. All this will be represented in Real Estate and why long-term vision is key.

Let’s look at the big picture – a few questions to help you determine your course. 

Do you want to live in the Bay Area?

Is your job in the Bay Area?

Do you want long-term financial security?

Do you want to stop worrying about your rent going up?

Do you have assets to invest in?

If your answer is yes, – you want to own a piece of Silicon Valley – contact The Caton Team. We’re happy to guide you through the steps of homeownership. If you’re not ready to buy today – we’ll let you know what it takes so you can plan.

I became a Realtor because, as a first-generation American, I understood what the American Dream was and it is grounded in Real Estate.

If you are considering a sale or purchase of Real Estate – The Caton Team would love to interview for the job as your Realtor. We love what we do, let us take care of you.

We believe to be successful in the 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 integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts.  

A mother and daughter-in-law team with 40 years of combined, local real estate experience, knowledge, and know-how – wouldn’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time. Call | Text | 650.799.4333 | Email | Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Effective. Efficient. Responsive. Got Questions? The Caton Team is here to help.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 |  EMAIL  |  WEB  |   BLOG

We love what we do and would love to help you navigate your sale or purchase of Residential Real Estate. Please reach out for a personal consultation. Please enjoy our free resources below and get to know our team from our TESTIMONIALS.

| HOW TO SELLGET READY CAPITAL – Loans to Prep for Sale | VIRTUAL STAGING | A GUIDE TO BUYING | BUYING INFO |  MOVING | TESTIMONIALS

Get exclusive inside access when you follow us on Facebook & Instagram

| HOW TO SELLGET READY CAPITAL – Loans to Prep for Sale | VIRTUAL STAGING | A GUIDE TO BUYING | BUYING INFO |  MOVING | TESTIMONIALS

Got Real Estate 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 utmost 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 – wouldn’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654 |EMAIL |  WEB|   BLOG

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

The Caton Team Testimonials | Blog – The Real Estate Beat | TheCatonTeam.com | Facebook | Instagram | HomeSnap | Pinterest | LinkedIn Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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

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

Things To Avoid After Applying for a Home Loan – Shared Article

SOURCE

Things To Avoid After Applying for a Home Loan

Once you’ve applied for a mortgage to buy a home, there are some key things to keep in mind. While it’s exciting to start thinking about moving in and decorating, be careful when it comes to making any big purchases. Here are a few things you may not realize you need to avoid after applying for your home loan.

Don’t Deposit Large Sums of Cash

Lenders need to source your money, and cash isn’t easily traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

Don’t Make Any Large Purchases

It’s not just home-related purchases that could disqualify you from your loan. Any large purchases can be red flags for lenders. People with new debt have higher debt-to-income ratios (how much debt you have compared to your monthly income). Since higher ratios make for riskier loans, borrowers may no longer qualify for their mortgages. Resist the temptation to make any large purchases, even for furniture or appliances.

Don’t Co-Sign Loans for Anyone

When you co-sign for a loan, you’re making yourself accountable for that loan’s success and repayment. With that obligation comes higher debt-to-income ratios as well. Even if you promise you won’t be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.

Don’t Switch Bank Accounts

Lenders need to source and track your assets. That task is much easier when there’s consistency among your accounts. Before you transfer any money, speak with your loan officer.

Don’t Apply for New Credit

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), it will have an impact on your FICO® score. Lower credit scores can determine your mortgage interest rate and possibly even your eligibility for approval.

Don’t Close Any Accounts

Many buyers believe having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. This isn’t true. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those aspects of your score.

In Short, Consult an Expert

To sum it up, be upfront about any changes when talking with your lender. Blips in income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. If your job or employment status has changed recently, share that with your lender as well. Ultimately, it’s best to fully disclose and discuss your intentions with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature.

Bottom Line

You want your home purchase to go as smoothly as possible. Remember, before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make any major life changes, be sure to consult your lender – someone who’s qualified to explain how your financial decisions may impact your home loan.

My Two Cents: Your home loan is the most important part of your homeowner journey. The Loan Approval is literally a snapshot of your current financial picture and you DO NOT want to change that picture. If you need to move money around, gather gift funds, pay off debt, etc – do so BEFORE YOU APPLY and keep a paper trail! However, The Caton Team highly recommends that you speak with a lender before you do anything. This ensures you’re doing the right things that do not impact your credit score negatively. 

Got Questions? The Caton Team is here to help.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 |  EMAIL  |  WEB  |   BLOG

We love what we do and would love to help you navigate your sale or purchase of Residential Real Estate. Please reach out at your convenience for a personal consultation. Please enjoy our free resources below and get to know our team through our clients’ words. Testimonials

HOW TO SELL | HOW TO BUY

 How can The Caton Team help You?

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654 |  EMAIL  |  WEB  |   BLOG

Get exclusive inside access when you follow us on Facebook & Instagram

HOW TO SELL during COVID-19HOW TO SELLHOW TO BUY during COVID-19- HOW TO BUY MOVING MID PANDEMICTRUST AGREEMENTS and HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVESOUR TESTIMONIALS

Got Real Estate 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 utmost 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.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654 |EMAIL |  WEB|   BLOG

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 | TheCatonTeam.com | Facebook | Instagram | HomeSnap | Pintrest | LinkedIN Sabrina | LinkedIN Susan

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

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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

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

Ways to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse – Shared Article

Buying a home can be a daunting experiance. I read this article and thought I’d share it and added my two cents.

SOURCE

Find a Good Agent – like The Caton Team…

A savvy real estate agent who has your best interests at heart can make all the difference in the home-buying process. These days, buying a home within your budget will likely involve trade-offs. A good agent can help you navigate the process and establish and focus on your priorities. – We always tell our clients – we won’t sell you a house – but we will get you the house you want. We strive to educate our clients on the market, how aggressive we need to be in order to be the winning offer, and how the budget translates into homes. We’re here to guide our client’s home.

Make a List, and Check It Twice

Use a checklist to help identify what you need and want as you search for and visit homes. It can help you stay focused as you evaluate each house. Here is a comprehensive home viewing checklist you can use to track important details and what you liked (and didn’t like) about each house you visit. – This can be the hard part. We often have an idea of what our home will look like and in reality, it is different. It’s best to understand why you are buying? What’s important to you – size or commute and your long-term goals. We happily discuss this with our clients to learn what is most important so we can hone into the areas they can compete. 

Remember: Location, Location, Location (and Layout)

To prevent buyer’s remorse, it’s important to focus on the important things that aren’t easy to change: location and layout. You can change many things about a house after it becomes yours, but the location isn’t one. If a quiet neighborhood or short commute are high priorities for you, don’t lose sight of these. Similarly, it’s usually difficult and expensive (or sometimes impossible) to change a home’s layout. – Couldn’t agree more. Don’t lose sight of what you need.

Pay Attention to Your Home InspectionFirst-time home buyer

When buying a home, your inspection report can help you better understand your home’s physical structure and components. It should detail the age and condition of your home’s systems and appliances and point out needed maintenance and possible repairs you should plan for. See how long home systems and appliances last.

In a competitive market, it can be tempting to forgo inspections to make your offer more attractive, but unless you are prepared for the unexpected and have a financial cushion, it can be a risky move. Let your real estate agent guide you.  – Never forgo an inspection – a buyer needs to know the condition of the home they are buying – the question is – do you make the inspection contingent on the offer. That – is a case-by-case situation, and we review the inspections with our clients. Then have them ask questions directly to the inspector to understand the condition of the property they are buying. 

Include a Home Warranty When You Buy a House

A great way to minimize risk, maximize budget protection, and prevent buyer’s remorse is to purchase a home warranty when you buy your new home. You get all these valuable home warranty benefits from First American, plus special pricing and coverage for home buyers:

  • Budget protection from costly repairs and replacements of covered items
  • An easy, time-saving way to schedule service providers when covered items break
  • The security and convenience of unlimited service requests via phone or online 24/7
  • Coverage that lasts for a year or more after closing

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

We love what we do and would love to help you navigate your sale or purchase of Residential Real Estate. Please reach out at your convenience for a personal consultation. Please enjoy our free resources below and get to know our team through our clients’ words. Testinmonials.

HOW TO SELL | HOW TO BUY

 How can The Caton Team help You?

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654 |  EMAIL  |  WEB  |   BLOG

Get exclusive inside access when you follow us on Facebook & Instagram

HOW TO SELL during COVID-19HOW TO SELLHOW TO BUY during COVID-19- HOW TO BUY MOVING MID PANDEMICTRUST AGREEMENTS and HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVESOUR TESTIMONIALS

Got Real Estate 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 utmost 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.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654 |EMAIL |  WEB|   BLOG

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 | TheCatonTeam.com | Facebook | Instagram | HomeSnap | Pintrest | LinkedIN Sabrina | LinkedIN Susan

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

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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

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

Three Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Three Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Buying your first home is a major decision and an exciting milestone. Even though it can feel daunting at times, it has the power to change your life for the better. If you’re looking to purchase your first home, you may be wondering what’s happening in the housing market today, how much you need to save, and where to start.

Here are three things that can help give you the information you need to confidently pursue your dream of homeownership.

1. Consider All Options When the Number of Homes for Sale Is Low

Today, there are far more buyers in the market than there are homes available for sale. When that happens, it’s a good idea to do what you can to increase your pool of options. That could mean expanding your search to include additional housing types. For first-time buyers, considering condominiums (condos) and townhomes can be an excellent way to increase your choices. According to Bankrate:

“Townhomes often cost less than single-family homes of a similar size in the same location.”

In another article, Bankrate also says:

“Buying a condo can be a great way to dive into homeownership without worrying about the upkeep that comes with single-family homes and townhouses.”

Condos and townhomes are both great entryways into homeownership. When you buy either one, you can start building equity which increases your net worth and can fuel a future move.

2. Know Your Down Payment Could Be More Within Reach Than You Think

Saving for a down payment can feel like one of the biggest obstacles for homebuyers, but that doesn’t have to be the case. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

One of the biggest misconceptions among housing consumers is what the typical down payment is and what amount is needed to enter homeownership.”

Data from NAR shows the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. The graph below breaks down the median down payment by age group for recent homebuyers according to the 2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from NAR (see graph below):

Three Tips for First-Time Homebuyers | Keeping Current Matters

Based on the data above, the median down payment for all homebuyers is only 13%. That’s well below the common misconception of 20%, and it’s even lower for younger buyers. This could mean you may not need to save as much for a down payment as you initially thought.

There are also down payment assistance programs available for many buyers. Not to mention, some loan options require as little as 3.5% (or even 0%) down for buyers who qualify. While there are advantages to putting 20% down, especially in today’s competitive market, know that you have options.  To get more information on how much you may need to save and the help that’s available, talk with a professional.

3. Work with a Trusted Real Estate Advisor Throughout the Process

Finally, no matter where you’re at in your homeownership journey, the best way to make sure you’re set up for success is to work with a real estate professional.

If you’re just starting out, they can help you with the initial steps, like educating you on the process and connecting you with a trusted lender to get pre-approved. Once you’re ready to begin your search, a real estate professional can help you understand your local market and search for available homes. And when it’s time to make an offer, they’ll be an expert advisor and negotiator to help your offer stand out above the rest.

Bottom Line

Knowledge is key to succeeding on your homebuying journey. Knowing market trends, what you need for a down payment, and what options you have as a buyer today can give you the confidence you need to buy a home. Connect with a local real estate professional so you have an expert on your side who can help you navigate the homebuying process.

The Caton Team is here to help.

We love what we do and would love to help you navigate your sale or purchase of Residential Real Estate. Please reach out at your convenience for a personal consultation. Please enjoy our free resources below and get to know our team through our clients’ words. Testinmonials.

HOW TO SELL | HOW TO BUY

 How can The Caton Team help You?

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654 |  EMAIL  |  WEB  |   BLOG

Get exclusive inside access when you follow us on Facebook & Instagram

HOW TO SELL during COVID-19HOW TO SELLHOW TO BUY during COVID-19- HOW TO BUY MOVING MID PANDEMICTRUST AGREEMENTS and HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVESOUR TESTIMONIALS

Got Real Estate 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 utmost 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.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654 |EMAIL |  WEB|   BLOG

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 | TheCatonTeam.com | Facebook | Instagram | HomeSnap | Pintrest | LinkedIN Sabrina | LinkedIN Susan

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

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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

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

Top 10 Cities for First-Time Home Buyers

Top 10 Cities for First-Time Home Buyers—and Not Just Because They’re Affordable

 

OK, let’s get it right out there: It’s a seriously tough time to be trying to buy your first home. Yes, in most respects the housing business is doing great. But the dazzling nationwide sales boom cuts both ways: Across the U.S., low inventory has put the squeeze on potential home buyers, driving prices up to nosebleed-inducing levels and sparking scary bidding wars. And first-time mortgages? They’re harder than ever to snag.

The numbers tell the tale: The National Association of Realtors® reported in November that the share of first-time buyers had declined in 2015 for the third consecutive year and remained at its lowest point in nearly three decades. First-time buyers made up 32% of all buyers in 2015, down from 33% the year before.

So where can today’s committed-but-oh-so-frustrated housing newbies turn?

We’ve got you covered! Bypassing today’s unabashed and unbowed metro seller’s markets (See ya, Seattle! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Dallas!), we set out to find  places that are still newbie-friendly. But we weren’t just looking for the cheapest places. Yes, affordability is key, but if you’re doling out your life savings on a new home, you want an area where you’ll actually enjoy living! Right? So we made sure that our top 10 cities bring something extra special to the party, lifestylewise.

We focused on the 25-to-34 age group, which is the vast majority of first-time home buyers. We filtered the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas using the following criteria:

  • Affordability, measured by home price to income ratio for 25- to 34-year-olds (the lower the better)
  • Inventory, with enough houses available that you don’t have to camp out at open houses or sell your firstborn to get your chance—measured by the number of homes for sale per 1,000 households
  • Mortgage availability, measured by the share of home loans purchased by 25- to 34-year-olds
  • Job growth, measured by lower-than-average unemployment rate (because unemployment and new homes are a lousy combo)
  • Livability, measured by the number of restaurants, schools, retailers, health care facilities, and arts and entertainment venues per 1,000 households

 

  1. Portland, ME

Median price: $304,000

Unemployment: 3.3%

What you don’t know about Portland: Yeah, sure, the West Coast’s Portland gets all the press, the hipster cred (and notoriety), and even a decent TV show to call its own. But here’s the deal: The largest city in Maine is no less hip, cool, and fun to live in. And it has way better lobster.

A foodist’s paradise nestled on the Atlantic coast, Portland has a slew of catch-of-the-day seafood restaurants and a thriving microbrew scene—Allagash Brewing Co. produces 45,000 barrels of beer each year. And check out that unemployment rate—one-third lower than the national average of 5.2%.

 

  1. Philadelphia, PA

Median price: $222,000

Unemployment: 4.8%

What you don’t know about Philly: Plenty of New Yorkers are fleeing the City So Nice They Named It Twice for Philly, with almost 27,000 people making the transition per year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many seem to relish escaping the crazy real estate prices of NYC without giving up big-city amenities.

So what’s the appeal?

Well, you’ve got Ukee Washington, Denzel‘s second cousin and quite possibly the coolest news anchor in America. You have perhaps the most loyal sports fans in the country. And you can get a “citywide special”—a can of PBR and a shot of Jim Beam—for just a few bucks across town. The United States’ first capital is rich in history and has recovered from a bad patch—no longer known as “Killadelphia,” its violent crime rate declined 20% from 2009 to 2014, according to the FBI.

 

  1. St. Louis, MO

Median price: $164,000

Unemployment: 5.2%

What you don’t know about St. Louis: Besides the Cardinals and the city’s namesake barbecue, there’s plenty more to celebrate in St. Louis.

Led by Washington University, more than a dozen universities and colleges boost the city’s IQ and keep the vibe young. You dig nature? You can spend weeks hanging in Forest Park, which is nearly 50% bigger than Central Park. And the city has two separate downtowns, each with its own gestalt. Housing prices have been low, partly because of the sluggish economy after the recession that erased thousands of jobs. But the city has finally made a comeback, adding 6,900 jobs in February and posting a declining unemployment rate. Eight Fortune 500 companies now call St. Louis home.

 

  1. Allentown, PA

Median price: $188,000

Unemployment: 5%

What you don’t know about Allentown: While the song “Allentown” by Billy Joel reminds us of the decline of the coal and steel industry (and still makes us sob), Allentown is en route to aggressive economic redevelopment.

Today the city hosts multinational companies such as Pennsylvania Power and Light and Air Products & Chemicals. Allentown also has Pennsylvania’s highest beer production by volume, and the Lehigh Valley area makes up the state’s fastest-growing wine region. And contrary to its grungy/gritty rep, there are more acres of parkland here than in any other city of this size. Take that, Billy!

 

  1. Albany, NY

Median price: $238,000

Unemployment: 4.5%

What you don’t know about Albany: The capital of New York state is having a renaissance. The effort to build a “Tech Valley” since 1998 has paid off with thriving new businesses, residential development, entertainment, and a cultural scene. Every spring, Albany celebrates its Dutch heritage with the Tulip Festival, featuring more than 200,000 tulips, fine art shows, crafts, and gardening exhibits. And you haven’t lived until you’ve tried an Albany fish fry. Or at least you haven’t lived well.

 

  1. Harrisburg, PA

Median price: $168,000

Unemployment: 4.2%

What you don’t know about Harrisburg: Tech may not be something this central Pennsylvania city is known for, but it may be in the future. In the past few years, at least 18 tech companies have sprouted in this midsize city. Benefiting from the tech wave, downtown Harrisburg has become a hugely popular northeastern destination stop for great live entertainment, especially music—from jazz to indie to hip-hop.

 

  1. Baton Rouge, LA

Median price: $217,000

Unemployment: 4.8%

What you don’t know about Baton Rouge: With a median age of 34.7 for its population, Baton Rouge is Louisiana’s youngest major metro area (the credit goes to Louisiana State University, which is based there).

About 80 miles from New Orleans, Baton Rouge knows how to do Mardi Gras right. Each year thousands flock to the city for festive carnivals, costume balls, and six different parades (including one just for pets). Increasingly a nouveau hipster haven, the city has the highest share (52%) of mortgages purchased by 25- to 34-year-olds among all the markets we studied.

 

  1. Dayton, OH

Median price: $115,000

Unemployment: 5.2%

What you don’t know about Dayton: Bike culture may be awesomely hip now, but Daytonians have been biking en masse for a long, long time. They drafted the nation’s first regional bikeway plans, which were adopted in 1973. Since then, the 300 miles of scenic Miami Valley Trail—the nation’s largest paved trail network—have seen generations of cyclists. With a median home price of just $115,000, Dayton is no longer a place to fly over or drive through—it’s a place to stay and live large.

 

  1. Minneapolis, MN

Median price: $294,000

Unemployment: 3.9%

What you don’t know about Minneapolis: America’s second fittest city, Minneapolis boasts more than 200 miles of bike lanes and 5,000 acres of parkland. Twelve Fortune 500 companies, including Target, and numerous small businesses keep unemployment low and income high.

America’s (purportedly) most literate city also hosts Open Book, the country’s biggest book art center, and the Chanhassen, its largest dinner theater. And Mary Richards lived here. Questions?

 

  1. Virginia Beach, VA

Median price: $256,000

Unemployment: 5%

What you don’t know about Virginia Beach: Pharrell Williams was born and raised here, and his song “Happy” could easily serve as the official town anthem . After all, with sun-drenched beaches dotted with swimmers, sunbathers, and volleyball players, how could anyone not be happy? Plus, the city’s majority of low-density neighborhoods are perfect for those who hate crowded city living.

———

We’re in such a celebratory mood, we almost hate turning our eyes to the worst markets for first-time home buyers. Almost.

New York and San Francisco, you say? If the two cities had a penny for each time someone complained about their sky-high housing prices, the money could probably fund many buyers’ down payments. But for many people, the excitement and job opportunities of those cities are worth the price.

By our calculation, the worst markets are where climbing home prices and plunging inventory are not sustained by employment and infrastructure—or any real sense of fun. Because fun rules!

Spoiler alert: The bottom five markets are all in California. As Jonathan Smoke, our chief economist, points out, those markets are affected by the “spillover” effect of being in California—filled with people looking for alternatives to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

  1. Stockton, CA

Median price: $340,000

Unemployment: 8.8%

  1. Fresno, CA

Median price: $262,000

Unemployment: 10.5%

  1. Bakersfield, CA

Median price: $222,000

Unemployment: 10.9%

  1. Sacramento, CA

Median price: $428,000

Unemployment: 5.4%

  1. Riverside, CA

Median price: $344,000

Unemployment: 5.8%

What are your thoughts on the subject?

I read this article at: http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/top-10-cities-for-first-time-home-buyers/?identityID=9851214&MID=2016_0415_WeeklyNL-comafter23&RID=353497822&cid=eml-2016-0415-WeeklyNL-blog_1_topcities-blogs_trends

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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

7 Signs of An Up-and-Coming Neighborhood

I truly enjoyed this article – had to share…

7 Signs of An Up-and-Coming Neighborhood

Live in a town large enough for a time long enough, and you’ll undoubtedly be made privy to a story of the one that got away. The neighborhood that got away, that is – the neighborhood that all the locals saw as down for the count, pshawing away little sprouts of area upturn, until one day the formerly downtrodden district was teeming with new businesses, new residents, new life – and newly high property values, to the advantage of those few brave souls who decided to go all in before the place actually arrived.

Maybe you’re a first-time buyer trying to squeeze every iota of value out of your precious house hunting dollars, or you just love the prospect of being an early settler in your city’s Next Big Neighborhood. In any event, it can be daunting and even scary to try to figure out whether a neighborhood is up-and-coming or down-and-out. Home value increases are an obvious indicator, but by the time values are up it’s often too late to get in on the early advantage of buying in a neighborhood before it’s potential has been realized.

If you’re ready, willing and able to take on the challenge of buying in a diamond-in-the-rough type neighborhood, here are some signs to look for before property values shoot through the roof.

1. On-trend businesses are moving in. In my neck of the woods, when a co-working space, a Whole Foods or a Blue Bottle coffee moves into the neighborhood, it’s a sign that the nature of things might be changing. This is just as true for small, local businesses that attract people with disposable income as it is for businesses that sell the basics with flair. In fact, most larger businesses do a fair amount of economic research and projections on the neighborhood before moving in. Watching big industry and business moves can be a great way to spot emerging areas with strong fundamentals way before you might otherwise be able to see them yourself.

2. Uber-convenient location in a land-impacted metro. If you live in a densely populated metro area – especially one that is coastal – or an urban setting with intense governmental restrictions on building, demand for homes will continue to grow as the population does, but the supply will remain somewhat limited. In many of these situations, neighborhoods that have been downtrodden but have very convenient proximity to employment centers, public transportation, freeways and bridges tend to be prime for whole-neighborhood remodeling in times of population growth or rapid real estate price rises in already-prime areas.

3. Downsides have an expiration date. If there’s one major issue that has caused an area to be less desirable for decades, and that issue is being eliminated or ameliorated, it could set the neighborhood up for a turnaround. For example, striking crime decreases or a major employer moving into the area where none were before can spark a serious real estate renaissance in an area which has some of the other desirable features on this list.

Also, keep in mind that a new generation of home buyers has a new set of values, and might simply not be concerned or deterred by things their parents might have viewed as turn-offs. Living above a commercial unit might have been a deal-killer for my parents, but my son thinks it’s cool – even desirable, depending on the business on the ground floor. Similarly, gritty and urban might not be the descriptors of your dream home, but some twenty-something first-time buyers in major metros are seeking exactly that feel.

4. Architectural themes with a following. Many up-and-coming neighborhoods find themselves pulled by aficionados of the particular type of architecture that characterizes the neighborhood. Often, down-at-the-heels neighborhoods that are riddled with Tudors, Victorians, Spanish-style homes or even Mid-Century Moderns will see a surge of revitalization when a fresh generation of frugal home buyers falls in love with the style and realizes the deals that can be had there vs. other, already prime areas in town.

5. At least one major economic development is brewing. Never underestimate the power of a major economic development to overhaul a neighborhood’s fate. From Google and Microsoft building cloud storage data centers in Des Moines to a new light rail station going live in Denver, one large-scale employer or infrastructure development can be a very early, very strong sign that an area will see it’s real estate fortunes rise. (That said, areas dependent on one near-obsolete employer or industry can see their fates decline rapidly. Look for industry-wide investment in an area, vs. a single company’s investment.)

6. Fixing is in the air. When you see that an area long known for its rundown homes has a number of homes being renovated and rehabbed from the inside out, this can be a sign of fledgling neighborhood turnaround. If you spot these sorts of projects visually, it might be worth taking a trip down to the City Building Permit counter to see whether the staff has seen the same uptick in individual owners’ investment in the area, and if so, what they think the story of the neighborhood might be – or might become. City staffers often have a wealth of information at the ready, everything from pending commercial development applications that could change the whole landscape of an area to projects the city itself has funded or will prioritize due to its own development initiatives.

7. Slow but steady decrease in DOM. Ten years ago, I listed a charming, pristine home on a not-so-charming, less-than pristine street – the location was its fatal flaw, and the place just lagged on the market as a result. Now, Millennials buying their first homes are salivating over that precise location, for its mix of urban feel; new trendy restaurants and yoga studios; and complete convenience to both the subway and the Bay Bridge. In between now and then, though, those who were watching carefully would have noticed how homes that once took 90 days to sell gradually were selling in 45, then in a couple of weeks – and would have noticed that this decline in the number of days an average listing stayed on the market (DOM) occurred way before the home prices themselves increased. A slow, steady decrease in DOM is a smart, early sign that a neighborhood might be poised on the precipice of up-and-coming status. Ask your agent to help clue you in as to where precisely those areas might be, in your town.

BUYERS: Are you looking to move into an up-and-coming neighborhood? If so, what’s your motivation?

SELLERS: Was your neighborhood an up-and-coming one? Share your experience!

I truly enjoy sharing these articles – hope you did too – would love to hear your input!

 

I read this article at: http://tips.truliablog.com/2014/01/7-signs-of-an-up-and-coming-neighborhood/?ecampaign=cnews201401D&eurl=tips.truliablog.com%2F2014%2F01%2F7-signs-of-an-up-and-coming-neighborhood%2F

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

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

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

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

 

Why 2014 is a Good Year to Buy a Home

Why 2014 is a Good year to buy a home…

If you didn’t buy a home in 2013, you may be kicking yourself now. Home prices climbed nationally an average of 13.6 percent in the past 12 months, according to Tuesday’s release of the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index.

Don’t make the same mistake in 2014, suggests Benjamin Weinstock, real estate attorney and partner at the firm Ruskin Moscou Faltischek in Uniondale, N.Y.

Market forecasters predict that 2014 will be another year of gains for the real estate market, even though the rapid pace of sales in 2013 cooled off a bit at the end of the year. On Dec. 30, The National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index, based on contracts signed last month, rose 0.2 percent in November, below the 1 percent rise forecast.

Home prices are expected to rise about 5 percent next year, says Weinstock. Higher mortgage rates will dampen the pace of both sales and price gains, but not bring them to a halt. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is expected to rise from 4.5 percent to 5 percent in the next year.

Even aside from expected price gains, buying a home is almost always a good investment in the long run, says Weinstock. Tax benefits are not to be overlooked.

“When one rents, at the end of the year he or she has a pile of 12 cancelled rent checks,” Weinstock says. “However, the homeowner has a pile of 12 cancelled mortgage checks that are nearly fully tax deductible in most cases.”

I read this article at:  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-2014-is-a-good-year-to-buy-a-home/

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

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-city

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

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

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

 

3 Costly Cases of Hot Market Wishful Thinking – Fabulous Article

I truly enjoyed reading this blog because I’ve been faced with this challenge in my own Real Estate career.  It’s one of the hardest conversations to have.  Please enjoy – and I added my 2 cents in italics.

 

3 Costly Cases of Hot Market Wishful Thinking

 

“Oh, how I wish. . .” started no wise real estate decision ever. There’s a reason they call it real estate, folks. That’s because we’re dealing with the most tangible type of property around – land – and the buildings that, formally speaking, represent improvements to that land.

Attempting to apply fantasy-realm wishes to real-life, real land situations is never a setup for success. But when the market is hot and you have a goal or a timeline, engaging in wishful thinking is not just foolhardy – it can be costly.

As evidence, here are three common, costly cases of wishful thinking that tend to arise in areas where the market is hot, offers are plentiful and prices are rising. Consider these red flags and take heed in the event you find yourself engaging in any of them:

1. Wishing the house you’re seeing was in a different neighborhood. You’ve seen 2 dozens houses, and put in offers on a dozen. No dice. And your agent keeps pushing you to look in a lower price range, assuring you that you can find what you want. And then they show it to you: safe neighborhood, good school district, good commute to work, just the house you wanted, really – but not in the tony hills or hot downtown district you’ve been trying to get into.

Wishing that you could “pick the place up and set it back down” in your desired neighborhood will not make it so, no matter how many times you say it. The reality is that when you have been outbid a double-digit number of times, something about your approach is not working. You either have to downgrade your specs in terms of the property you seek, maybe looking for something smaller, a condo instead of a single-family home or something in less-pristine condition or you need to shift your location criteria – and that can mean a neighborhood change.

Part of the reason this wish is dangerous is that the white-hot markets in many towns are hyper-localized in the Most Desirable Neighborhood in Town. That’s where the competition among buyers and bidding wars are the most intense. If you’re not prepared to house hunt for homes quite a bit lower than your top dollar to set yourself up for success, or if there simply are no homes in that neighborhood listed below your top dollar, you might need to face the reality check that you simply can’t afford to buy there now.

Stop wishing the home you can afford were in a different neighborhood, because if it were, chances are good you wouldn’t be able to afford it, either! Understand that you’ll be able to level-up your neighborhoods as time goes on and you buy your next home – and the one after that – and don’t let your inflexibility paralyze your house hunt so long that prices all over town rise even more.

A friend once told me – if wishes were horses – we’d all be riding.  Don’t be the buyer on the horse.  Buying in the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the hardest markets to get in to and catch up with.  If you cannot buy where you thought you wanted to live – look around – we’re still in the Bay Area and as prices increase – it will increase across the board.  Talk with your Realtor to find the next up and coming area.

2. Hoping that perfect house gets no other offers, even though every other house you’ve bid on has had 54. There’s a fine line between wishing something were true and denying the reality of what actually is true. Facing reality, even when it’s painful or means you can’t have what you want, allows you to make your own action plan for getting the best possible results with the resources you have – or a plan for getting more resources, whichever route you choose to go.

As a buyer in a seller’s market, actually as a buyer in any type of market, it’s ultimately up to you and only you how much you offer on a home. Your mortgage broker can try to get you qualified as high as your income will allow, your agent can get you the comps and give you strategic advice on the average list price-to-sale price ratio, but you are the be-all and end-all decision-maker on offer price, and that’s as it should be.

But if you wield your weighty decision-making power to make lowball or at-asking offers in situations where you are virtually guaranteed to run into high levels of competition, that’s a poor use of your powers. Not only do you set yourself up for failure, you do so at the near-certain likelihood of adding to the demotivating, depressing, discouraging momentum of the times when you get overbid despite giving it your legitimate best efforts. That frustration often leads to analysis and calling a house hunting time-out. And that, in turn, often leads to buying at a time when prices are even higher, and getting ultimately even less home for your money.

I have heard this exact comment and was speechless for a moment.  You cannot wish away the competition.  And asking your Realtor to find a house no one is bidding on – is nuts.  Stop wasting your time and that of the professional you hired and own the fact that you want to buy a home and so does everyone else.  Instead of beating yourself and your Realtor up – think outside the box.  The Caton Team has several offer strategies to set your offer above the rest.  

3. Wishing prices weren’t going up so fast. Here’s the deal: when prices were flat or falling, buyers were (understandably) stressed at the prospect of buying a depreciating asset. Now that they’re ascending, it’s not at all uncommon to hear buyers bemoan that, too. The fact is, the moment escrow closes and your Facebook status changes from house hunter to home owner the fact that prices are rising, and fast, will shift in your mind’s eye from curse to blessing, quick-like.

Rising prices and a recovering market might be what emboldened you to buy, empowered you to sell a formerly underwater home, and certainly have been inextricably intertwined with the increase in jobs. If prices weren’t rising, many of these other things might not be materializing, either, and that wouldn’t be so great.

Wishing prices weren’t going up so fast contributes to a costly form of denial – denial of the reality that they are. This can cause buyers to persist in making lowball offers and wasting their precious time on homes they can’t compete for within in their budget range, all while their smart targets are appreciating rapidly – and that’s how people get priced out of the market, right under their noses.

Don’t let your home buyer dreams fall prey to this costly wish-based pitfall. Work with your agent to stay in the loop about how prices are trending throughout your house hunt, and use that knowledge to power your decision-making about what price range to house hunt in and what price to offer for target properties.

Prices rising means recovery is in full swing.  I totally agree with Tara, it was interesting to watch buyers hang on the fence instead of buying during the bust.  Homes were so cheap – low competition – and there was so much inventory.  But it was scary for some people.  Me, I was born and raised on this blessed peninsula – so I always knew we’d recover.  Jobs, culture, weather – all the factors are here.  So, if you want to buy a home, give your Realtor a call – don’t have one?  Call The Caton Team.  We’ll sit down and review your plans and help you come up with a path to attain your goals.  650-568-5522.  

ALL: What are your real estate wishes, and how do you ground yourself in reality?

Thank you Tara for another great read!

I read this article at: http://www.trulia.com/blog/taranelson/2013/11/3_costly_cases_of_hot_market_wishful_thinking

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

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-city

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

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

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