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October 13th, 2014 at 10:00 am

California-Home

If you’re thinking about buying a home but feeling overwhelmed by the process, this list is for you! At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, we know the home-buying process can look daunting. But we’re here to help. Start by reading our outline below to help you find your perfect home.

  1. Determine feasibility and affordability. Before jumping into a mortgage or loan, check your credit. You can obtain a free credit report annually by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Check your report for errors. If you find any, dispute them before beginning the home-buying process. If your credit score is on the low side, see what you can do to remedy it before getting a loan. The higher your credit score, the better the loan you can apply for will be. Once you’ve squared away your credit, calculate how much you can afford. Factor in the money you’ll need for a down payment, closing costs and other fees. Work with a home-loan specialist to help you understand the costs involved with buying a home.
  2. Look for a lender and a real estate agent. When it comes to your lender and your agent, the best thing to do is shop around. Start with recommendations from friends, family and coworkers. Research companies through online reviews and the Better Business Bureau. After you’ve found the right lender, start the preapproval process. This is where your credit history comes into play in helping you get the best rates. Once the preapproval process is complete, begin your search for a real estate agent. Work with someone who understands your needs or specializes in the areas where you want to buy.
  3. Finding the home. While many homes are on the market, not all of them will meet your needs. Create a list of features your future residence must have. Consider a separate list of items you would like but aren’t a necessity. Share the list with your agent to help him/her find the best home for you. To find your perfect home, search online and look through open-house guides.
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September 24th, 2014 at 10:00 am

Sunset

While there are many opinions about the state of the housing industry, one thing we know is that prices are on the rise in Southern California. According to DataQuick, spring 2014 saw housing in California jump to its highest level since 2008. Just a year ago, buyers looking to purchase in Southern California could get a good deal. Those levels are starting to even out, but if the trend continues and housing costs rise, buyers thinking about moving toCalifornia should look to make their move soon.
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September 18th, 2014 at 11:00 am

Sitting-Area

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, your relationship with your real estate agent is more than just a business relationship. Its foundation should be built on trust and confidence. Sometimes the relationship might not be working as you expected, and you and your agent just aren’t a good match. It’s OK to terminate the relationship if you believe you could be better served elsewhere.

As a buyer, you should only be working with one real estate agent. Although you may not have signed a contract, real estate agents put in long hours, often based on good faith. If you are working with more than one agent, you should break off ties and only work with one. The newer a relationship is, the easier it will be to end. If you’ve been with an agent for a long time but don’t think things are going well, start by being honest with that person. Give your agent feedback about what is and isn’t working for you. If the agent can work to remedy the situation, let him or her know. However, if you are ready to move on, make that clear to the agent.
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August 25th, 2014 at 11:00 am

Pen/Signature

As is evident over the last few years, the real estate market ebbs and flows. Sometimes it’s a buyer’s market (many homes for sale, few buyers) and sometimes it’s a seller’s market (many buyers, few homes for sale). The market climate can make a big difference in relation to how much a buyer has to “do” in order to secure their dream home. In Southern California we’ve seen ups and downs, but premiere properties are typically highly sought after, as is the coveted paradise living environment, which makes the real estate climate here more of a seller’s market.

When looking for homes you’ll be competing with others out there who have fallen in love with your dream home. A home-offer letter is written by the buyer in an effort to convince the seller why they should sell their home to the buyer. These letters can be highly effective if executed correctly. However make no mistake, a home-offer letter does not replace a lender’s letter, which is required by many sellers.

A home-offer letter is supplemental information that you can provide to the seller. In your letter you want to demonstrate why you stand out. Answer the question “why should I sell to you?” Don’t be shy when it comes to your emotions. You want to include these in your letter in order to develop a bond with the seller. Avoid turning your letter into a negative or sad story, try to keep any unfortunate situations, events or struggles somewhat upbeat. In order for your letter to have maximum impact you’ll also want to keep it brief. After all, the seller is much more likely to read a one-page letter instead of a five-page letter. (more…)

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August 7th, 2014 at 10:00 am

Zillow-Trulia

The real estate industry has been buzzing about the Zillow – Trulia merger. Separately, these are the two largest online real estate listing companies in the United States. The plan to merge swirled throughout the industry last week and have since been confirmed; causing a substantial gain in Zillow’s stock price. However, the merger will do more than boost the bank accounts of those invested in these companies, it will also affect the real estate industry as a whole.

What Likely Will Not Change

If you’ve ever used either of these sites before you’ve probably also noticed that there isn’t as much information available for a property when compared to a local real estate agency. This fact is not likely to change as neither site is an MLS. Plans to take over MLSs have not currently been discussed in terms of this merger. Consumers should not expect to get access to more listings or depend on better information, but the ease and functionality of these sites should continue to improve. Most buyers begin the process online and these two sites are the most popular places to start. Consumers expect to receive hyper-local content from local real estate companies. Although they may begin their search online, those in the market to buy a home will be looking for local information from an agent.

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