first time home buyers: Appreciate Your Service Providers - 04/20/16 11:40 AM
Many business professionals worked hand-in-hand with you as a partner.  Why did they do it?  Many vendors in the real estate industry really enjoy helping buyers like you.  They get great delight when they can help a family like yours move into their new home.
Thank the professionals who made your new home possible
Many service providers made the purchase of your new home possible.  Yes, they were paid, but in the real estate industry, often times they perform a lot of work without being paid.  It is nice that they closed escrow successfully and were paid.
However, for your REALTOR®, the icing on … (5 comments)

first time home buyers: Home Maintenance and Repairs - 09/18/15 01:09 PM
Home ownership may mean learning how to do repairs yourself.  It may mean finding reliable contractors.  It may mean calling your brother-in-law, the handyman, to come help you in exchange for a barbecue dinner.  Buildings and yards require maintenance, so you are going to have a little bit different attitude.  When something needs to be repaired, you cannot just call your landlord any more.
Maintenance should be done on a regular basis.  Things that need to be replaced should be put into your schedule: such as, clean the rain gutters; replace leaky water faucets and toilets; check, repair, and replace the roof; … (1 comments)

first time home buyers: Faucet Accessories - 05/08/14 11:55 PM
Here are more ways to add interesting and exotic features to the sink.  Some of our favorites include:
Touch-on – the on/off switch is built into the spout, so you can simply touch it and the faucet turns on LED neon tap - a unique way to bring a colorful burst into the kitchen, a red, blue, or green neon light comes on when water is flowing, making the water glow colorfully Beverage faucet – specific faucet on the side of the sink that is connected to a purified drinking water source Pot filler - authentic Italian kitchens are often equipped … (2 comments)

first time home buyers: Selecting a Mortgage Lender - 04/03/14 02:04 PM
Select a mortgage lender who is a member of a respected professional association.  Just like your real estate agent should belong to his or her local REALTOR® association, verify that your mortgage lender is a member of a professional association for mortgage lenders which upholds high standards.  Below are professional associations:
NAMP National Association of Mortgage Professionals - NAMB National Association of Mortgage Bankers - MBAA Mortgage Bankers Association - These organizations emphasize that their members uphold high ethical and professional standards.  Because they require accountability, the borrowers benefit from higher quality service standards.  By hiring a lender … (2 comments)

first time home buyers: Anticipated appreciation - 02/27/14 01:43 PM
This is why many homeowners invest in a house and think of it as an investment.  Although, I would caution you NOT to buy a house solely for future appreciation, because the house may depreciate in the short term, depending on the market.
However, studies have shown that during the long term, homeowners will often realize an appreciation rate of about 5% per year.  That is why we talk about buying and owning for the long term.  Renters do not build wealth.  Home owners do.
We advise you to think long-term when you purchase your home and plan to stay in the home … (2 comments)

first time home buyers: Thinking about buying a manufactured home? - 02/02/14 03:11 PM
Here are a few things to consider before purchasing a manufactured home:
Senior or family park?
Some mobile home parks are specially designated for residents who are age 55 and better. The primary resident must be 55 years old, and other residents must adhere to the park’s age policy for secondary residents. For example, many parks will allow secondary residents under 55 years old, as long as they are at least 35 (or 45) years old. Exceptions may be made for disabled residents and caretakers (with a doctor’s note). The goal of a senior park is to cater to the needs … (0 comments)

first time home buyers: Mobile Home vs. Manufactured Home - 01/27/14 06:07 PM
Mobile homes and manufactured homes are pre-fabricated houses (often called “coaches”) that are manufactured off-site and hauled in to the site. What’s the difference between a mobile home and a manufactured home? Typically a mobile home refers to a unit that was built before mid-1975, and is also known as a “pre-HUD” home. Manufactured homes, built after 1975, conform to a higher quality standard imposed by HUD.
Manufactured homes offer many benefits. Affordability is often a driving factor, because values are much lower than a single family home. It’s wonderful that most mobile home parks include amenities such as a swimming … (6 comments)

first time home buyers: To purchase your new home, you will need to make sacrifices - 12/29/13 12:36 PM
This is where you may need to cut back your spending and make some sacrifices.  What expenses can you eliminate?
One of the biggest areas of concern that I see is families eating out way too often.  Add up the cost that you spend dining out, whether it is fast food, restaurant take-out, or dining in.  You will probably be shocked at how much you waste eating outside the home.
I know it seems easier to eat out because we are all busy with our on-the-go lifestyles and there is a fast food restaurant on every corner.
I am a busy working mom too, … (3 comments)

first time home buyers: How do you keep focused on your priority? - 12/18/13 09:54 AM
When you focus on your goal of home ownership, it is easy to see what priorities are most important. Does budgeting and saving take a little more work? Yes, but the rewards are worth the sacrifices!
Being a responsible homeowner is about discipline, and you will feel at peace when you have the self-discipline to make little sacrifices to meet your big goals. Ask yourself and your family: Do we want to be renters 5 years from now? 10 years from now? 20 or even 30 years from now?
If home ownership is an important goal, what are you each willing … (2 comments)

first time home buyers: You will need money to purchase your home - 11/29/13 11:45 AM
Start saving now!  You will need to save money for the following types of home buying expenses:
•    Credit report fee
•    Earnest money deposit (EMD)
•    Total down payment
•    Home inspections
•    Appraisal
•    Closing costs
Here are some creative ways you can come up with cash:
Savings account.  Start saving a portion of your paycheck automatically every month with payroll deduction.  Your local credit union can help you set this up. Gift from your parents — a certain amount may be tax deductible.  Again, this is NOT a loan, it would be a gift.  (However, there may be strings attached: your parents may want … (0 comments)

first time home buyers: Save for the biggest downpayment possible - 11/26/13 10:22 PM
When preparing for home ownership, put down as much cash as you possibly can for your downpayment.  The larger your downpayment, the lower your monthly payments.
A large downpayment gives you many benefits:
You may qualify for a better mortgage loan. It puts your offer in a more competitive light for the seller to accept your offer. Your monthly mortgage payment will be lower. It may eliminate the need for PMI. You earn more equity starting from the close of escrow. It improves your credit score due to lower LTV ratio. You are committed to your home because your vested interest … (2 comments)

first time home buyers: Get the entire family involved in writing down your financial goals! - 11/05/13 10:23 PM
If everyone is focused on the same goals, then it is easier to make sacrifices together. I recommend having a family meeting every week to allow communication, commitment, and accountability.  If you are a family of 1 (in other words, you are single), get a friend who will consult with you each week regarding your financial goals.  Have a regular time for your weekly meeting.
To start, why not call a family meeting right away and get everyone’s input and commitment to your goals?  Where can each person make sacrifices?  For example, can we cut out some of the entertainment expenses, rent … (2 comments)

first time home buyers: Home Buying is a Process - 10/19/13 02:45 PM
In order to accomplish your goals, you need to prepare a monthly budget for the entire year.  Your main focus is that YOU want to be in control of your budget.  Do not let your debt and bills control you!
It’s critical to have a good credit score because without it, your mortgage lender would not approve your loan.  Check your credit score and upgrade it so you can qualify for a more favorable loan, with the lowest interest rate and the best terms available.
You might be surprised to learn that half of your mortgage payment may be going towards interest payments … (2 comments)

first time home buyers: Agent and Client Loyalty - 10/17/13 05:14 PM
Once you have hired a buyer’s agent to represent you, you expect that professional to work hard for you and act in your best interests.  In return, you will be loyal to your buyer’s agent.  That means you will cooperate with the paperwork and communication.  Also it means that you will not contact any other agents who may want to represent you.  When you see Open Houses, online home searches, For Sale signs, and new home developments, make a note and then contact YOUR AGENT instead of the listing agent or the developer.
What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, than … (2 comments)

first time home buyers: Prepare for Home Ownership: Create a "Dream Board" - 10/11/13 10:29 PM
To keep alive your dream of home ownership, I suggest you create a “dream board”, which is a poster or large paper with pictures of your vision.  Find magazine photos of houses you like and glue them to your dream board.  What about a photo of your children and your college hopes for them, travel and vacations?  Definitely show what retirement will look like for you.
For example:
•    Buy a house within 1 year
•    Be debt-free within 5 years
•    Save up for children’s college in 10 years
•    Pay off mortgage in 20 years
•    Retire in 30 years
A "dream board" reminds and motivates you … (2 comments)

first time home buyers: Kitchen Shortcuts - 10/11/13 01:20 AM
Busy people are always looking for shortcuts in food preparation so they can reduce the time spent in the kitchen.  Here are some timesaving methods that will help you in food preparation and planning future meals.
Slice mushrooms quickly and evenly by using an egg slicer. Cut cheese and meats more easily by placing them in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to firm them up before slicing. Hard-boiled eggs will keep for about one week refrigerated so do several at one time so they’re ready for a variety of dishes and salads. For easier potato peeling, cut a single … (2 comments)

first time home buyers: Write Down Your Financial Goals - 10/11/13 12:47 AM
Home buying is a process.  First, you need to write down your financial goals for yourselves and your family.
Your financial goals will typically include:
Saving money Owning a home Paying off debts Earning more income Contributing to worthy charities
Write out both short-term and long-term goals.
Obviously, becoming a homeowner is at the top of your list.  That’s why you’re reading our book!
When do you want to be debt-free - 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, or 30 years from now?
When are you going to pay off your student loans?  When will you buy a house?  How much … (0 comments)

first time home buyers: Team Support and Vendors - 10/07/13 12:45 AM
In the real estate business, it is critical to be supported by a team of top professionals, and your REALTOR® already works with many partner vendors.  We are talking about service providers you can count on to do a great job.  People who can be trusted, are experienced, and have a superior record of serving buyers.
A top real estate agent will have a large rolodex that he will generously share with you.  His vendor database will include top mortgage lenders, great escrow officers, and the very best home inspectors.  Whether you need a moving company or a house cleaner, your real … (1 comments)

first time home buyers: Member of local REALTOR® Association and MLS? - 10/03/13 11:48 AM
Verify that the REALTOR® you have chosen to interview is really a REALTOR®.  In other words, is she a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), her state association of REALTORS®, and her local association of REALTORS®?  Some real estate agents are not REALTOR® members and therefore are not obligated to uphold high standards such as the REALTOR® code of ethics.
Has she joined her local MLS?  If not, she will not have access to the current listings for sale in your area.  If a real estate agent is not a member of her local MLS, how will you receive instant … (3 comments)

first time home buyers: Research 5, Interview 3, Select 1 - 09/27/13 06:30 PM
As always, our formula for hiring a great team member is to research 5, interview 3, and hire 1 person to work for you.  You may have received great recommendations from friends and family members, and you might feel comfortable with the first agent that you interview.  If so, hire her on the spot; and that’s fine, too.
As we discussed, a real estate agent may have been faithfully sending you email alerts for the past several months. If so, I would encourage you to interview her first and give her the first opportunity to work for you, since she has already … (2 comments)

Regina P. Brown, M.B.A., Broker, Instructor (MBA Broker Consultants) Rainmaker large

Regina P. Brown

M.B.A., Broker, Instructor

Carlsbad, CA

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Top California Broker and Realtor Regina P. Brown writes articles and blogs about local real estate trends, houses for sale, and tips for home buyers.




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