VIP BUYER PROGRAM:
In my experience, the home of your dreams isn't a home because of its room dimensions. It's about how you feel when you walk through the front door, and the way you can instantly envision your life unfolding there. As your Realtor, It is my sincere goal to help you achieve those dreams by providing 100% client satisfaction from the initial consultation until the close of escrow.
Listed below are a few ways I aim to make your dreams of home-ownership a reality on the west side of L.A.
I will help you focus on your wants and needs. We will discuss lifestyle choices, home size, location, amenities and your unique preferences. We discuss pricing and the best options for your housing dollar.
I will refer you to a mortgage consultant so that you can discuss your purchasing power, get pre-approved and let me know our price range.
SELECTING AN AREA:
I will provide you area sales data and statistics so that you can begin to educate yourself on your choice of area. You will learn what your dollar buys at the top, middle or bottom of the area, home size, commute, schools & community data. You may spend some time driving by homes, going to open houses, attending community functions, etc.
Once we have defined the area(s), I will preview homes for you as well. I will set up automated search profiles with our MLS and then coordinate our property tours and showings. I will also provide with the latest California Association Of Realtors Advisory and Disclosure documents related to a home purchase.
MAKING AN OFFER:
Once you are pre-approved, chosen an area, and know the current inventory, we need to respond quickly to an acceptable home when it hits the market. You may need to allocate more time to viewing the inside, consider your family and lifestyle and then be ready to write the offer. I will prepare all the documents necessary and review them with you carefully.
NEGOTIATING THE CONTRACT:
Negotiating is the fine art of "letting the other party get your way" :)
I will use all the tools of my trade to help creatively satisfy the needs of all parties while getting you the best possible deal. It takes skill to know the best strategies to employ in a variety of situations. Being a Certified Negotiations Expert (CNE®), you're in good hands.
HANDLING THE ESCROW PERIOD:
I will coordinate all the inspections, monitor the time frames and review all the proper documents and disclosures with you during your contingency period. I will negotiate any request for repairs, review the Title Report and work with your Mortgage Consultant during this period to be sure all the important elements of the transaction are handled professionally.
CLOSING WITH CONFIDENCE:
At the end of the day, the biggest compliment I hope to achieve from a job well done is your referral. I will assure that you close with the confidence that your rights have been protected and your interests are well served. My services do not end at the close of escrow. Be a client for life!
Congratulations Homeowner!! :)
Planning: Before you even start thinking about buying a place you should get out Excel and lay out your expenses in a detailed fashion. Know exactly how much you spend per month and which of those expenses are persistent expenses you'll have monthly no matter what. Do the same for how much income you bring in. From that you should have a clear understanding of what your free cash-flow is after all income and expenses.
Cost of living:My personal stance is that your total costs of living should not exceed half of your net take home income. So if you bring home $10,000 a month, you should not spend more than $5,000 a month on all costs (mortgage + insurance + car payment + cell phone + utilities + school loans + etc).
This will help ensure a few things:
1) Helps prevent your emotions from dominating your decisions and you end up buying a place that is far too expensive
2) Helps provide enough buffer so that you can continue to save a healthy amount of income each month.
3) Reduces the risk of not being able to pay your mortgage if conditions in your professional life change and instead of making $10,000 a month you now make $7,000 a month. Despite a 30% loss in wages you still have 20% gross margin at the end of the month. (not including costs for food and miscellaneous bills)
Savings: Make sure that you have plenty of room in a "rainy day fund" after paying for the down payment and furnishing the place. Ideally you'll have 6-12 months of living expenses in a savings account just in case you lose your source of income.
Furnishing: Also keep in mind the cost of furnishing the place. Usually a good estimate for furnishing is $5,000 - $10,000 per 1,000 square feet of home depending on if you want to go Ikea style or buy stuff that you don't have to build yourself.
Down payment: I would also aim to pay at least 20% on the down payment. Most lenders will give you the A+ offers if you have at least a 20% down payment. The larger the down payment the lower the risk that the lender is taking, hence the better the financing options you'll be given.
Avoid ARM's: Personally I would also suggest avoiding any ARMs on your loan. If you need an arm to get your monthly payment low enough so that you're not broke each month after paying the mortgage, then that means you can't afford the place to begin with.
30 year fixed: As a first time buyer I would also recommend a 30 year fixed mortgage. It gives you the lowest monthly payment and the interest rate will never change. That gives you a consistent cost you can plan for and won't be thrown for any loops (such as with ARMs) due to sudden changes in the market. You can always restructure the loan later to make it 15-year or 20-year if you want to pay it off faster and not pay as much long-term by cutting down the principle faster.
No prepayment penalties: Most lenders should offer this but double check. If you happen across $100,000 someday and want to pay your mortgage down quickly you should be able to without any prepayment penalties.
Location:Also pick a place that you imagine remaining in good shape (ie low crime, local amenities, etc) for at least the next 10 years. Try to get your hands on local development and zoning plans if their are empty lots near the place to anticipate what sort of development will happen in you area.
Data and research:Research loads of historical data in terms of purchase & sale prices of homes in your area, local amenities, etc. You can use that data to understand your local market more and to have a more informed decision of how home values are trending.
Think long term:Some people are very successful speculators and flip properties for a living. But most of us are not. I subscribe to the Warren Buffett approach to real estate: "never over-leverage, buy in all cash if possible, and plan on owning it for the next 30 years whether you plan on living in it or using as a rental property". Of course, most people can't buy in all cash, but you can save for a 20% down payment, covering the cost of furnishing in cash (don't use credit!), and still having 6-12 months rainy day fund.
Employment:Is your job changing anytime soon? Is your company about to go under? Are you currently being paid a market rate that you anticipate being able to hold for several years or if the market rate should go up? Are you working in a high-growth industry that should have high job demand for years? Understand the state of your employment as well. You'll want to try and time your purchase with the timing of your job prosperity or security.
By keeping these steps in mind, it will help prepare and enlighten you throughout the entire process.