Five Ways to Come Up with a Down Payment

Coming up with a hefty down payment can be intimidating, but with a little work and ingenuity you can do it. Here are a few ideas for coming up with the needed cash:

1. Down-Payment Assistance Programs
Many states offer down-payment assistance programs. You must go through an application process and qualify based on income and credit, but if you do qualify, these programs are amazing. Typically you will receive a grant for the amount of your down payment; it’s basically free money from the government to encourage responsible citizens to buy their first home.

2. Try to Qualify for an FHA Loan
If you qualify, an FHA loan can make first-time home ownership much easier. FHA-backed loans typically offer more manageable down payments (as little as 3.5 percent compared to the 10-30 percent required for conventional home loans). These loans are subject to credit requirements but sometimes less stringent ones than other loans.

3. Help from Family
If your parents or other relatives are in a financial position to help you purchase your first home, they may be happy to do so. Approach the conversation with a gracious and humble mind frame and don’t expect a specific outcome. Emphasize that you are ready to become a homeowner and begin solidifying your financial future, but that you don’t have enough cash on hand for a down payment.

Perhaps you are planning to get married in the near future. Instead of asking your parents to help you pay for the wedding, ask for help with a down payment—a smaller, more modest wedding may be well worth becoming a homeowner. As long as the gift is less than $13,000 (or $26,000 for a couple), you shouldn’t have to pay income taxes on it, either.

4. Boost Your Income
Instead of looking at your current income and thinking that saving a chunk of money is impossible, ask yourself how you can earn more money. Options include freelancing on the side or getting a job on the weekends working retail or at a restaurant. No matter how you choose to boost your income, the main goal is to continue living on your old income while putting away any extra money.

5. Borrow from Your IRA
While taking out a loan from your retirement account is generally frowned upon and penalized with taxes and early-withdrawal fees, one exception is borrowing from your IRA specifically for a down payment on a house. If you qualify, you can borrow up to $10,000 penalty-free toward a real estate purchase.

Are you thinking about purchasing a home and looking for advice on where to start? Give me a call at (626) 252-0839,  we will sit down and draft out a plan for your specific situation, whether it be buying something this month or 6-12 months down the line, its important to have knowledge and tools available to you. Let me help! 

Are you wondering what your home would sell for in today’s market? Click HERE for a free estimate! 

For a more in depth consultation please contact us directly at (626) 252-0839

4 WAYS EMOTIONS CAN INTERFERE WITH HOUSE HUNTING

Buying a home is an exciting, emotional, and stressful project. Whether you have purchased a home before or are preparing to buy your first one, you don’t want to let your emotions make the decision for you. The following are pitfalls that can be costly, and you’ll want to avoid them.

1. Love at First Sight
Don’t fall in love with the first house you see and determine to buy it no matter what. You could end up overpaying for the property. Or, after the sale, you may discover costly repairs that will negate any profit from a future resale. Many real estate agents insist their clients look at a few houses before entering into a contract because they have witnessed buyer remorse when clients insist on buying the first or second home they see.

2. Always Looking for a Better Deal
These buyers are just the opposite of the love-at-first-sight crowd. They think there is always a better deal than the one they just saw, or they hope the price will drop on some of the homes they have liked. While it is possible, it is highly unlikely. If you pass up a good deal just because you think the owner is going to drop the price later on, you are giving another buyer the chance to snatch it up. If a home has all you want, is in the right neighborhood, and is priced well, you better buy it before it’s gone.

3. Paying Too Much for the “Perfect” Home
It is highly unlikely there is any such thing as a perfect home, but sometimes buyers believe they have found one. When this happens the buyer acts on their emotions because they will do anything to get that house. When you buy a home, you always need to know you can resell it without losing any money. Unfortunately, when people find what they believe is the perfect home, they will often bid high to ensure their offer is accepted and in the process may overextend themselves financially.

4. Unrealistic Offers
The opposite of the overpayer is the low bidder. There is a big difference between negotiating a price with a seller and offering an unrealistically low price. Discuss this with your agent before you wind up alienating the seller and possibly the chance to buy the property. Making a realistic bid that is good for you and the seller is the answer to getting the property you want.

Shopping with your emotions rarely yields a good deal. Listen to your real estate agent’s suggestions, look at several homes, and then make your decision. Once you have your home, don’t look back. Enjoy this home and make improvements. You will be one step closer to your dream home.

Are you thinking about purchasing a home and looking for advise on where to start? Give me a call at (626) 252-0839,  we will sit down and draft out a plan for your specific situation, whether it be buying something this month or 6-12 months down the line, its important to have the tools available to you. Let me help! 

Are you wondering what your home would sell for in today’s market? Click HERE for a free estimate! 

For a more in depth consultation please contact us directly at (626) 252-0839

How’s the Market??? Snapshot for May 2016- Real Estate Market Trends

Here is this month’s How’s the Market??? Snapshot. If you saw last month’s Snapshot you will notice that our local real estate trends show median prices are still creeping up, its just taking a little longer for homes to sell! If Hows the market imageyou would like more detailed information about how much your home is now worth after the Real Estate Crash, send me an email, text, or call me. I’ll be more than happy to provide you with a Free, no obligation report of what its worth and things you can do to improve the value of your home.


I hope you will find the following snapshot of local Real Estate inventory interesting. The table represents aggregated values based on MLS data for the specified date.

Housing Inventory Snapshot May 28, 2016
Average List Price 30 Days Trend Median List Price 30 Days Trend Average DOM: active 30 Days Trend Number of Listings
Los Angeles County, CA
Single Family under $1M $594,878 1.92% $580,000 1.93% 61 -2 7301
Single Family over $1M $3,540,466 -1.93% $1,999,000 -3.89% 81 -2 5624
Condo/Townhome under $600K $395,119 0.15% $399,000 0.00% 57 -2 1934
Condo/Townhome over $600K $1,206,112 -2.46% $899,000 0.45% 57 -1 1470
Riverside County, CA
Single Family under $500K $341,816 0.81% $348,900 1.16% 79 -3 5584
Single Family over $500K $1,591,035 -0.58% $948,000 0.11% 101 0 6197
Condo/Townhome under $300K $207,583 1.19% $215,000 2.38% 117 1 1119
Condo/Townhome over $300K $599,431 5.38% $495,000 4.21% 91 -1 1455
San Bernardino County, CA
Single Family under $500K $295,148 0.42% $299,000 2.05% 88 -3 4428
Single Family over $500K $1,726,264 -2.59% $988,888 -0.96% 89 -1 4130
Condo/Townhome under $300K $199,206 1.79% $215,000 0.00% 79 -3 239
Condo/Townhome over $300K $731,085 6.36% $625,000 4.34% 44 1 726
Orange County, CA
Single Family under $1M $779,477 1.26% $775,900 1.44% 57 -3 4745
Single Family over $1M $3,536,817 0.38% $2,295,000 0.00% 93 1 3030
Condo/Townhome under $600K $415,469 1.55% $425,000 1.92% 53 -2 1342
Condo/Townhome over $600K $1,022,517 -0.96% $814,900 -0.83% 58 1 973
If you know someone who is considering buying or selling a home, please give me a call. I will provide professional & courteous service along with knowledgeable guidance through the process.
Sincerely,
Yesenia E. Ruvalcaba-Garcia, Broker
Realtor®/HUD REO & Listing Specialist
Direct (626) 252-0839
Office (626) 917-6200 ext. 14
Cell Phone (626) 252-0839
Fax (626) 209-8318
CalBRE License Number: 01293970
yeseniaruvalcaba@aol.com
newcenturybroker.com
New Century Realtors

Housing Outlook Stays Bright as Economic Forecast Darkens

forecastWhile the outlook for overall economic growth is darkening, the housing market is expected to keep up its momentum in 2016, according to Freddie Mac’s April 2016 Economic Outlook released on Friday.

Freddie Mac downwardly revised its forecast for Q1 GDP growth from 1.8 percent down to 1.1 percent. The “advance” estimate for GDP growth in the first quarter will be released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on Thursday, April 28. The GDP grew at an annual rate of just 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2015 but then shot up to 3.9 percent for Q2; for the third and fourth quarter, the real GDP grew at rates of 2.0 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

The first quarter for the last few years has been punctuated by slow economic growth. While some of this can be attributed to seasonality, Ten-X (then Auction.com) Chief Economist Peter Muoio said that last year’s dismal GDP showing in the first quarter could be attributed to the brutal winter which slowed economic activity, labor disagreements at a bunch of the West Coast ports that really slowed the flow of cargo in Q1, and low oil prices (though this was partially offset by lower gas prices which put more money in consumers’ pockets).

“We’ve revised down our forecast for economic growth to reflect the recent data for the first quarter, but our outlook for the balance of the year remains modestly optimistic for the economy,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti said. “However, we maintain our positive view on housing. In fact, the declines in long-term interest rates that accompanied much of the recent news should increase mortgage market activity, particularly refinance.”

On the positive side, Freddie Mac expects the unemployment rate will fall back below 5 percent for 2016 and 2017 (last month it ticked back up to 5.0 percent after hovering at 4.9 percent for a couple of months). Reduced slack in the labor market will push wage gains above inflation, although the gains are expected to be only modest, according to Freddie Mac.

While the economic forecast for Q1 has grown darker, the forecast looks bright for housing in 2016, however.

“We expect housing to be an engine of growth,” Freddie Mac stated in the report. “Construction activity will pick up as we enter the spring and summer months, and rising home values will bolster consumers and help support renewed confidence in the remaining months of this year.”

Freddie Mac

Low mortgage rates have boosted refinance activity in the housing market during Q1. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.7 percent for the first quarter, which drove an increase for the 1-4 single-family originations estimate for 2016 up by $50 billion up to $1.7 billion. Rates are expected to bump up, however, and average 4 percent over the full year of 2016, according to Freddie Mac. House prices are expected to appreciate by 4.8 percent over 2016 and 3.5 percent for 2017; homeowner equity is expected to rise as a result of the home price appreciation, which could mean more refinance opportunities.

The low mortgage rates combined with solid job growth are expected to make 2016 the strongest year for home sales since the pre-crisis year of 2006 despite the persistently tight inventory of for-sale homes, according to Freddie Mac.

“Sales were slow in the first quarter, but trends in mortgage purchase applications remain robust and we expect home sales to accelerate throughout the second quarter of 2016 as we approach peak homebuying season,” Freddie Mac said.

1-626-252-0839 Sell While the Market is HOTT!

What’s Your Home Worth? Find out Now!

If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, chances are that you’re excited about the possibility of moving and starting a new chapter of your life. Simply deciding to sell your home isn’t enough, though. The process of putting your home on the market can be overwhelming and time-consuming, so before you try to sell your property, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Being honest with yourself and with the people around you will help you have a more positive selling experience when you’re ready to move.

Click here to view the entire Freddie Mac Economic Outlook for April 2016.

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea
Brian Honea’s writing and editing career spans 14 years across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master’s degree from Amberton University in Garland.

Understanding Your Closing Mortgage Paperwork

If you’ve decided to take the leap and become a homeowner, then odds are that you’ll need to apply for a mortgage to make this dream come true. Applying for a mortgage often seems more complicated than it should be—by the end of it all, it may seem like you are drowning in a sea of paperwork. Besides all of the forms that you’ll have to fill out and the documents you’ll need to sign to submit an official application, you’ll also have to sign three mortgage documents on the day of the closing. The following is a closer look at those documents.

Settlement Statement
The settlement statement, which is also referred to as the Closing Disclosure, is a final laundry list of everything you are paying for regarding your home purchase (i.e., fees). This shouldn’t be the first time you see these fees, though. Mortgage lenders are required by law to provide you with a Loan Estimate early on in the loan process. Although a Loan Estimate doesn’t break down your fees into a line-item list the way a Closing Disclosure does, it does let you compare your final closing costs and terms with your initial estimate. Once you receive your Closing Disclosure there is a required waiting period of three days to review the terms before closing. The following are some of the fees that a settlement statement will detail:

  • Real Estate Agent Fees – These are the commissions paid by the seller.

  • Mortgage Lender Fees – These fees typically include the appraisal fee, the credit report fee, and any origination fees for the mortgage rate you chose, as well as other potential loan processing fees.

  • Title Fees – The title fees include the title insurance that you must buy to protect both yourself and your mortgage lender in the event that any third party makes unwarranted claims on your new property. These are charged by the title company that is serving as your settlement agent.

  • Prorated Items – These items can include prepaid mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance (most mortgage lenders require a year’s worth), and more.

  • HOA Fees – The community’s homeowner association may charge you a move-in fee.

Promissory Note
The promissory note, which is often simply referred to as the note, is the document that outlines the terms of your mortgage loan including whether you’ve taken out a 15-year adjustable-rate mortgage or a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, your mortgage interest rate, your payment intervals, and whether or not you’ll be required to pay a penalty if you pay your loan off early. The promissory note also states that the property you are buying will be used as security by the mortgage lender in case you default on the loan.

Deed of Trust
This document, which is referred to by several different names, including the security instrument and the mortgage, is an agreement that states that you pledge your property as security for the promissory note. The deed of trust consists of three occupancy provisions. You must comply with one of them based on the loan you’ve chosen. These three occupancy provisions are as follows:

  • Owner occupied provision – If the property is your main residency, then you need to move into the home within 60 days of the closing date. You’ll also be required to live there for a minimum of one year before you can use it as a secondary home or as a rental property.

  • Second home provision – If you’ve purchased the property as a second home, such as a vacation home, then you are not allowed to rent the property out.

  • Non-owner occupied provision – Mortgages for non-owner occupied homes tend to require you to pay a higher mortgage interest rate, which means that you can convert the property to an owner-occupied home or a second home if and whenever you want to.

These are the mortgage documents that you’ll need to sign on the date of your closing. It’s a good idea to be prepared for the closing by knowing what it is that you’ll be signing. This way you’ll save time and reduce the amount of confusion you might experience regarding the terms you are agreeing to.

When you decide to sell your house, it is important to be well informed about the local market and current buyer expectations. Take the emotion out of the process. Be realistic about price and know what you need to do to get the best return on your home investment.

1-626-252-0839 Sell While the Market is HOTT!

What’s Your Home Worth? Find out Now!

If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, chances are that you’re excited about the possibility of moving and starting a new chapter of your life. Simply deciding to sell your home isn’t enough, though. The process of putting your home on the market can be overwhelming and time-consuming, so before you try to sell your property, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Being honest with yourself and with the people around you will help you have a more positive selling experience when you’re ready to move.

The 2016 Housing Market Is Off to a Good Start

Consumer confidence is almost as high as it was pre-recession. Economists predict GDP growth will see a slight year-over-year increase. And private sector job growth has been steady for the past two years, averaging 240,000 jobs per month. All of these factors led the National Association of Home Builders’ chief economist David Crowe to declare 2016 “a good year for housing and the economy.”

Mortgage Rates to Rise from Cheap to Low
This year mortgage rates are expected to climb one-quarter to one-half of a percentage point to an average of 4.5 percent. Though the days of “cheap” 4 percent mortgage rates may be over, rates in 2016 should still be “low,” according to Frank Nothaft, chief economist of CoreLogic. Buyers might be faced with slightly higher mortgage rates, but they may find it easier to qualify for their mortgages. Economists expect tight mortgage credit standards to slowly loosen in 2016—but not quite to levels seen 15 to 20 years ago.

National Sales Climb
According to the National Association of Realtors®, national existing-home sales saw a significant climb in December, due in part to the Know Before You Owe initiative. These new mortgage rules, which came into effect October 3rd, delayed some transactions from November to December as lenders adjusted to the new consumer mortgage form. But while the delays accounted for some of December’s activity, they were not the only influencing factor; warm weather and the prospect of higher mortgage rates also contributed to the sales jump. Existing-home sales climbed 14.7 percent in December, which is 7.7 percent higher than a year ago. Sales haven’t been this high since 2006; however, sales will have to climb much higher to beat 2006’s record of 6.48 million.

Regional Home Sales

  • Northeast – Existing-home sales’ annual rate: 750,000, a rise of 8.7 percent. Sales are 11.9 percent above a year ago. Median price: $255,700, which is 5.3 percent higher than December 2014.

  • Midwest – Existing-home sales’ annual rate: 1.22 million, a 10.9 percent increase. Sales have risen 9.9 percent above December 2014. Median price: $171,000, a 7.5 percent climb from a year ago.

  • South – Existing-home sales’ annual rate: 2.27 million, up 14.6 percent. December sales are 4.6 percent higher than a year ago. Median price: $196,100, which is 6.8 percent above December 2014.

  • West – Existing-home sales’ annual rate: 1.22 million, a climb of 23.2 percent. Sales are up 8.9 percent from a year ago. Median price: $321,100, an 8.2 percent increase from December 2014.

When you decide to sell your house, it is important to be well informed about the local market and current buyer expectations. Take the emotion out of the process. Be realistic about price and know what you need to do to get the best return on your home investment.

1-626-252-0839 Sell While the Market is HOTT!

What’s Your Home Worth? Find out Now!

If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, chances are that you’re excited about the possibility of moving and starting a new chapter of your life. Simply deciding to sell your home isn’t enough, though. The process of putting your home on the market can be overwhelming and time-consuming, so before you try to sell your property, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Being honest with yourself and with the people around you will help you have a more positive selling experience when you’re ready to move.

Common Tax-Filing Myths

Courtesy of NewsUSA
Photo: © Alfexe – Shutterstock

If you’re like most Americans, you don’t have all of the answers when it comes to tax filing. That’s why it’s important to do as much research as possible to get up to speed on the latest adjustments and myths surrounding the tax code.

To help, here are six tax myths that the National Association of Enrolled Agents—a group of federally licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxes—encounters frequently.

Myth: I’m filing an extension, so I don’t need to pay anything before the deadline.

Fact: Tax extensions only extend the time you have left to file, not the time you have to pay any taxes owed. If you owe money and file an extension, you have until April 15 to pay, regardless of the extended deadline date. Otherwise, interest and penalties begin to stack up.

Myth: I had a really big loss in the stock market this year, so I won’t owe any income taxes.

Fact: Deduction of capital losses against ordinary income is limited to $3,000 per year. Also, whether you reinvest or receive dividends, they are technically, still income and are taxed as such.

Myth: They paid me in cash, so I don’t have to report it.

Fact: If it’s income, you must report it. You always report income, regardless of whether it’s cash, tips, bonuses or dividends.

Myth: I’m too young to have to pay taxes.

Fact: Even dependents working part-time while in high school must file a tax return if they earn more than $6,200 in 2015, if they want to receive their refund or if their unearned income is more than $1,000.

Myth: Income earned in a foreign country is not taxable.

Fact: The operative word is “income,” which means it’s taxable. The IRS requires taxpayers to report all earned income, even if it’s earned abroad.

Myth: Tax preparers only fill out forms that you can do yourself.

Fact: Licensed preparers know the intricate (and constantly changing) tax laws, regulations and codes, and how they can be applied for your benefit and save you money. Enrolled agents, America’s tax experts, receive annual continuing education so they are knowledgeable of tax laws and how they can apply to you. Enrolled agents not only specialize in tax preparation and tax planning, they can also represent you before the IRS.

Find an enrolled agent in your area on the “Find an EA” directory at http://www.naea.org.

When you decide to sell your house, it is important to be well informed about the local market and current buyer expectations. Take the emotion out of the process. Be realistic about price and know what you need to do to get the best return on your home investment.

1-626-252-0839 Sell While the Market is HOTT!

What’s Your Home Worth? Find out Now!

If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, chances are that you’re excited about the possibility of moving and starting a new chapter of your life. Simply deciding to sell your home isn’t enough, though. The process of putting your home on the market can be overwhelming and time-consuming, so before you try to sell your property, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Being honest with yourself and with the people around you will help you have a more positive selling experience when you’re ready to move.