Need-to-knows For Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home can be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of your life, but it can also be a scary and stressful process. To ensure you have a smooth transaction from start to finish, familiarize yourself with the home buying process, note the tools and resources available to you, and get all your ducks in order. To get you started, we’ve made a list of our top three ways to set yourself up for success.

Outline Your Musts and Wants

Before starting your search, make a list of must-have and nice-to-have features for your home and neighborhood. This will help you narrow down your search early on and prevent the hunt from becoming overwhelming.

Solidify Your Financing

When starting the home buying process, ensure your finances are in order by reviewing your credit score and taking steps to boost it, saving for a down payment, and avoiding any major purchases. Then select a lender that is right for you, talk to him or her about your loan options, and get preapproved for a mortgage. Once you know your budget, you can more effectively find the right home for you.

Find a Real Estate Agent

Working with a great real estate agent can make a world of difference when it comes to navigating the ins and outs of the home buying process. With their vast background and experience and local knowledge of neighborhoods and cities, they will be your go-to resource every step of the way. By implementing these tips and remembering to enjoy the process, you can set yourself up for a great first home buying experience!

Outstanding in the Field Giveaway

ENTRY DATES: JANUARY 14-31

Enter for a chance to win a gift certificate valued at $600 for an unforgettable dining experience in the great outdoors. We are awarding 16 of these fabulous prizes. Winners will attend an Outstanding in the Field event of your choosing, along with a guest.

Outstanding in the Field is a self-described “roving restaurant without walls.” It hosts meals on long tables set up in orchards, on mountaintops and along the seashore – right where the meal’s ingredients were harvested – with the goal of connecting diners to the land as the source of their joyful, celebratory feast. For a taste of the event, visit outstandinginthefield.com.

Winners will be drawn on or around February 3. Enter today for your chance to attend one of these one-of-a-kind events!

ENTER NOW

Sale Pending In 5 Days Over Asking Price During The Holiday Break!!!

225 Zebrina Ct, San Ramon, CA 94582

$979,000 | 3 Beds | 2.5 Baths | 1,606 SqFt

Create your own stay-cation paradise on this rare 1/3 acre flat/premium lot, over 14,000 square feet! This Shappell home in the Veranda neighborhood has been freshly painted inside, has new carpets installed and is move-in ready! A very functional floor-plan and all 3 levels of highly rated schools are nearby! Zoned for Quail Run Elementary School, Gale Ranch Middle School, and Dougherty Valley High School. Community pool available.

VIEW FULL LISTING

How Your Daily Drive Time Can Factor Into Your Mortgage

It’s easy to overlook some of the things that can affect your budget and purchasing power when you’re considering a home, and one of the biggest factors that buyers overlook is the cost of their daily commute.

We’ve all heard that real estate is all about “location, location, location,” and properties in more desirable locations typically come with a higher price tag than similar properties that aren’t in a hot neighborhood.

Yet the overall cost of living for choosing one location over another might be negligible when you factor in the commuting costs that are required—gas, vehicle maintenance, insurance—if you purchase a home that is significantly further from your workplace. If your mortgage is $200 less per month, but you’re spending an extra $200 in commuting costs, are you really saving money?

Commuting costs aren’t just about the disposable income left in your bank account, either. It can even affect how much money you can borrow. If you’re a long-distance commuter, a loan officer may factor your travel costs into your debt-to-income ratio.

Aside from how commuting affects your purchasing power or disposable income, there’s also the question of how it affects your quality of life—no one wants to spend hours a week just getting to and from work.

The real estate market varies greatly from location to location, so the best way to get a complete picture of your purchasing power—and all the factors that go into your home budget—is to speak to a trusted real estate professional.

Wallpaper: Don’t Call It A Comeback!

Guess who’s back, back again? Wallpaper has risen to the top of homeowners’ favorite ways to spice up a room again and its easy to see why.

Options

With a variety of colors, patterns, and styles on the market, it’s nearly impossible for you to not find one that matches exactly what you’re looking for. The texture and finish options are endless as well, ranging from silk to leather to suede to mother of pearl. Some of the wallpaper trends we are loving right now include watercolor-inspired designs that transform any room into an artistic haven and nature-forward designs that help bring the outdoors in.

Ease of Use

One of the biggest benefits of wallpaper is it is a fantastic DIY project for you and your spouse, family, or friend. Not only does it go on easily, but it is simple to remove and replace when you are ready to revamp the look of the room. Additionally, this is a great option if you’re a renting a home or apartment. Generally, landlords prefer you do not paint during your rental period, so this easy-to-remove option is a great alternative.

Value

Most wallpaper costs on average $3 to $8 per square foot, depending on the brand and the material. Although the upfront cost of wallpapering a room can be a little more than the cost to paint, the value it offers is substantial. Wallpaper can last anywhere from 15 to 25 years, making it an incredibly cost-effective décor solution in the long run, while a painted wall requires more upkeep and touch ups and generally you will need to repaint every 5 to 10 years or so.

Tips For Speeding Up Your Home Sale

Selling your home is a huge undertaking to begin with, but if the process drags on for months and interest trickles in much slower than expected, it can be frustrating and stressful. To avoid this, there are a few steps you can take to prep your home and sell quickly.

Declutter

Survey your home and store any items that are not essential to the décor of the room. This can include personal photos and mementos, excessive throw blankets or pillows, children’s artwork, vases, lamps, knick-knacks, and more. The cleaner you keep counters, shelves, and mantles, the easier it is for potential buyers to picture themselves in your house.

Paint

A fresh coat of paint on the exterior or interior of your home can go a long way and is one update you can likely do yourself for fairly cheap. Repaint your home with a neutral color, like taupe, cream, or gray, that will allow potential buyers to easily envision adding their own touches to each room.

Availability

Buyers are drawn to sellers who are flexible with showings and can accommodate their schedule on short notice. The more open you are to showing times, the more buyers will see your home and the less likely they are to choose another home before seeing yours.

Photos

First impressions are key, and the first one your home makes is generally through photos online or on flyers and brochures. Investing in a professional real estate photographer can boost interest in your home. They have an eye for design and know how to highlight your home’s strengths and move the spotlight off any flaws.

Mortgage Rate Math

Shopping around for the best possible mortgage terms is an important part of the home buying process. A few percentage points can make a difference of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage. Mortgage rates can be a bit of a mystery—especially for first-time homebuyers—so here’s an overview of the most important factors.

YOUR FICO SCORE

This is the part of the mortgage equation that should come as no surprise. From a lender’s perspective, your financial history is the best indicator of whether you’ll be a stable, responsible borrower. It’s the primary factor in determining your mortgage rate, so if you’re planning on purchasing a home in the near future, concentrate first and foremost on improving your FICO score.

LOCATION AND SIZE MATTERS

“Location, location, location” is an old cliché in real estate, but it also applies to mortgage rates. The city, county, and state that you live will factor into your mortgage rate. Mortgage rates can also vary among local lenders and the size of the loan will come into play. The more money you borrow, the higher your interest rate is likely to be, unless you’re also increasing your down payment.

LOAN LENGTH AND TYPE

Lenders incentivize shorter mortgage terms with lower mortgage rates, so you’ll get a more favorable rate for a 15- or 20-year mortgage versus a 30-year mortgage. If you can afford the higher monthly payment, you’ll pay much less in interest over the course of the loan term.

New Home? Here’s How To Save

Here are a few things new homeowners can do to save on energy and maintenance.

When you’ve just purchased a new home, there’s a ton on your mind. There’s moving, decorating, getting to know your new neighborhood, and more. Here are a few things that should be at the top of your to-do list, because they’ll save you a lot of money.

CHECK ON YOUR WATER HEATER

Set your water heater for 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is plenty hot enough for bathing, washing dishes, and any other household use of hot water, so heating water above 120 degrees is a waste of energy and money. And if your water heater is an older model, it’s worthwhile to invest in a water heater blanket to keep it insulated.

REPLACE AIR FILTERS

Sellers often put in a lot of cosmetic work to get the home move-in ready, but they often skip or forget about air filters in the HVAC system. Filters can be found at your local hardware store (just make sure to get the right size) and are easy to replace. Doing so will improve air flow and quality, and save on energy costs.

GET A SMART THERMOSTAT

A smart thermostat, such as Nest, will cost you some money up front but is well worth the long-term savings. It’s programmable so that your AC and furnace run at lower levels when you’re not home, so you’re not wasting money to cool or heat an empty house.

SET UP A SPACE TO AIR-DRY CLOTHES

Whether it’s a rack in your laundry room or a clothesline in the back yard, air-drying clothes is a big money saver over even the most energy-efficient dryers. Air-drying your garments will also help them last much longer.

CHECK FOR LEAKS

A leaky faucet or a constantly-running toilet will use up water unnecessarily, and that’ll show up on your utility bill. And in the worst case, they’ll cause expensive water damage and mold.

Create The Gallery Wall Of Your Dreams

Creating a gallery wall in your home is an easy, do-it-yourself way to bring your personal style into any room. There is no right or wrong way to create one and no limit to the possibilities. Before you get started, check out the following tips for creating an eye-catching gallery wall that you will love.

Find Your Wall

Creating a great gallery wall doesn’t require a huge area to work with. Select a nook or corner in your living room, a small stretch of hallway, or your entry area.

Choose A Focal Piece

Find a favorite piece of art and use that as the center piece for your gallery wall. This could be a large canvas painting, family portrait, metal feature piece, or stylish mirror. Then choose pieces that complement and highlight it.

Determine Your Theme

Is this gallery wall going to contain artwork and images of all the same texture, color, and materials? Or are you going to mix and match different prints, photographs, décor pieces, frames, and drawings?

Decide On The Arrangement

Gallery walls usually lean one of two ways — linear and orderly or abstract and dimensional. Select the one that matches the look you’re going for and start hanging!

Tie The Room Together

Your gallery wall doesn’t have to end where the wall hits the flooring. Considering tying in other aspects of the room by coordinating colors and materials on pieces such as rugs, furniture, lamps, plants, bedding, decorative pillows, and more. Or, if you’ve already styled the rest of the room, use those colors to inspire the pieces in your gallery wall.

Inverness Park Homeowners [ VIDEO ]

Inverness Park friends. First off, happy holidays to you! Second, looking for a little help. We have a family who’s wanting to buy a home in Inverness Park. They prefer the ‘Clarendon’ model but may be open to another floorplan too (would like 4 bedrooms and about 3,000 square feet of home). If you or any of your neighbors are thinking of selling we’d love a call and a sneak peak. That would be amazing. Thank you all in advance.