How to Save For a House

Saving for a down payment may be the most daunting step to buying a home. It takes time, patience, and for most, a lifestyle change. These simple tricks will help you buckle down on your savings and turn your dream of buying a home into a reality.

Timeless Coastal Charm + Nautical Coastal Home Decor  -lots of pics and ideas from Southern Living:

Cut Unnecessary Spending

Thankfully, saving up for a mortgage doesn’t have to be as grueling as your ramen-eating college days! A great way to cut costs and begin saving is to pin point money siphons that you barely notice. For example…

  • Nix your cable and stick to an online streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu!
  • Start cooking meals at home, and cut back on eating or drinking out to 1 time per week. Your bank account and waist line will thank you!
  • Utilize all the beauty that San Diego has to offer by canceling your fitness membership and bringing your exercise outside.
  • Gas usually isn’t cheap in San Diego. Plan errands, work, and leisurely activities accordingly to make the most of each tank of gas.
  • Take advantage of SDG&E Reduce Your Use days! You can earn rewards toward your monthly bill by saving energy! Learn more about the program here.
  • Save your loose change and turn them into cash at the bank or with Coinstar! Coinstar charges a fee for turning your loose change into cash, but if you choose a gift card, you can hang onto all your money! Pick a gift card to Amazon or a grocery store you normally shop at to put your saved money back into something you already need, rather than choosing a gift card to a clothing store or restaurant.

Open a Savings account

When it comes to saving money, opening a savings account can be very beneficial. You will earn interest on your money and can easily track how you are progressing towards your goal. Make sure to set up a recurring transfer from another account (for example, the one where you put your paycheck) to your savings. This is a great way to ensure you’re setting aside a little bit of each paycheck without having to think about it. If the money’s not available, you won’t spend it. Saving a small amount of the money you earn every month can really add up over time if you are consistent with your efforts!

Get the Most Out of Your Credit Card

To qualify for a mortgage, you need to have credit. A credit card allows you to build good credit, but did you also know it can help you save money? Before opening a credit card, make sure you thoroughly research their rewards program-many will give you cash back on everyday purchases like gas and groceries! Apply these cashback rewards to your credit card bill to make the most out of your card! Just be sure you pay your credit card on time, pay more than the monthly minimum, and watch out for annual fees.

Get Help!

If this is will be your first time buying a home, you can take advantage of the FHA loan program to pay a lesser down payment. You may still have to pay PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance), but depending on your situation, putting less than 20% down on a home may be the smart choice.

If you or your spouse have ever served in the military, you will want to check out the VA and CAL-VET loan programs.

You may also be eligible for down payment assistance programs.  The programs usually provide help to people below the area median in the form of a low interest loan or grant. If you have a higher income, do your research! Certain programs also offer assistance for higher-income households. Visit DownPaymentResource.com to see available resources in San Diego.

Finally, your most important resource to help you save for a down payment and determine your mortgage eligibility is to meet with a lender. They will be able to look at your situation, determine where you are, and give you advice to get where you need to be to purchase your San Diego dream home!

We can help you become a San Diego homeowner! Our agents have helped thousands of people become home owners – contact us today to get started!

6 Reasons Why You Still Need A Realtor

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Many industries have been disrupted and even sometimes replaced by the rise of new and innovative technology. Uber has all, but replaced taxis. AirBnB is used just as often as hotels. Expedia and other similar sites made travel agents a thing of the past. And the list goes on.

Some people have predicted that it would only be a matter of time before this paradigm shift would make its way into the world of Real Estate. On the surface, it seems that the internet would have caused Realtors to go the way of the travel agent. But when we dig deeper, we see that the real estate agent is a much more immovable force. Although the role of the Realtor has certainly shifted in the face of many challengers, here are a few reasons why you should still use a Realtor to buy or sell your home.

1. Your Realtor Works For You

Simply put, your real estate agent works for you as a full-time liaison to help you accomplish your goals. If you’re selling a home, they can respond to any call or inquiry regarding your home instantly. People will move on very quickly if they are having difficulty seeing a home, particularly in markets where many similar homes are for sale. Your Realtor’s job is to be ready and available to field these calls. If you’re buying a home, your Realtor is busy reviewing new listings that fit your search criteria and networking with other agents to find properties that haven’t hit the market yet.

2. Your Realtor Negotiates on Your Behalf

If you’re selling your home, although you are paying commission, using a Realtor usually nets you more money in the end. They are trained, expert negotiators and work hard to make sure your interests are well represented in the deal. Their professionalism and code of ethics allows them to present your needs in a way that makes sense to the buyer and the buyer’s agent. Negotiating can be a long process and it pays off to have a professional on your side.

The same holds true if you’re a buyer, but with one, awesome caveat: using a Realtor doesn’t cost you anything!

3. Your Realtor Helps You Navigate the Contracts

Needless to say, contracts can be confusing to those who don’t deal with them on a regular basis. It can be hard to navigate the legalese. Your Realtor not only knows what paperwork needs to be completed, they also know how to read the contracts and ensure that you’re not signing off on something you could regret. Paying for this piece of mind is often worth the cost.

4. Your Realtor Has a Fiduciary Responsibility to You

Realtors have fiduciary responsibility, meaning that they are bound by law to act in their client’s (your) best interest. For most people, your home is your largest financial transaction. Great care should be taken with the process of buying or selling a home and your Realtor is bound by law to serve as your trusted advisor.

5. Your Realtor Saves You Money

Many people’s main motivation for forgoing an agent and trying to do it themselves is to save money by not paying an agent’s commission. If you’re a buyer, your agent’s commission is paid by the seller. If you’re a seller, using a Realtor nets you more money in the end by helping you negotiate with the buyer. On both sides, your Realtor ensures the contract you sign most likely won’t turn into a headache down the road. By doing it yourself, you may end up going to court with the other party later on, an expense and headache that could have been avoided by using a trained professional in the first place.

6. Your Realtor is Your Consultant

With so much information about the real estate market online, your Realtor is extremely valuable to you in other ways. They have the pulse of the neighborhood. They know what’s happening with schools and businesses. They have great recommendations for local restaurants. As Realtors, they also have access to quality contractor referrals right at their fingertips. Need a painter? No problem. Looking for a pool guy to take care of your new saltwater spa? Consider it done. Whatever your need, your Realtor can point you in the right direction. They’re your own personal Yelp!

Overall, although some people COULD sell or buy their own home, your home usually represents your largest financial transaction and is rarely worth the time and effort to handle it yourself.

What You Actually Need to Buy a Home in San Diego

Have San Diego’s perfect weather, delicious Mexican food, beautiful beaches, and amazing sunsets convinced you to stay? Are you dreaming about buying a home in sunny San Diego? These eight steps will help make that dream a reality!

 

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Step 1: Become Familiar With The Real Estate Market

According to an April 2016 article from Time Magazine, San Diego is predicted to be one of the hottest real estate markets over the next five years. Home prices are expected to increase modestly over the next few years. Low inventory has us in a competitive seller’s market, meaning that buyer’s have to compete for the few available homes, especially in the entry-level price ranges.

 

Step 2: Build Strong Credit

Simply put, the better your credit, the better rate you’ll get on your mortgage. A great credit score is evidence that you are a “good investment” for the bank.

If your credit is less than stellar, you will want to work to improve it.

  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Don’t take out more credit cards than you need.
  • Don’t max out your available credit on the cards you do have each month.
  • Pay down credit card debt.
  • Check your credit report for inaccuracies and get them corrected.
  • Raise your credit line when able. This increases your debt-to-credit-limit ratio.

 

Step 3: Save for a Down Payment

Very few people have enough cash to buy their first home without a mortgage. Most need financing to afford today’s home prices. But there are many different mortgage programs out there. As a first-time home buyer you can buy a home with less than the standard 20% down, sometimes as low as 3.5-4% down, but you may have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) to the lender on top of your mortgage. For some people, that will require a budget adjustment or to wait until they can save up for a larger down payment. There are many different affordability calculators online that can help to determine an individual budget more closely. You can take a look at ours here, which will give you a rough idea of what you can afford.

 

Step 4. Choose a Real Estate Agent

Who you work with matters. Not only is it important to select an agent who is knowledgeable in the area(s) you wish to buy in, but you also want to choose someone whom you trust and who makes you feel comfortable. In most cases, your home purchase will be your largest purchase to date. When selecting a real estate agent, you’re also picking someone who will be the custodian of that transaction. You will want to interview a few agents to determine who is your best fit. Ask the agents you’re interviewing if they have reviews from buyers like yourself and/or if they can provide you with a list of their past clients. Nobody knows a real estate agent better than the people who have hired them!

At Coastal Premier Properties, we will hand-pick an agent that will be a great match for you and your real estate needs.

 

Step 5: Research & Get Pre-Approved for a Loan

Your real estate agent can point you in the direction of some great lenders who can look at your finances and determine how much home you can afford. Not every mortgage program is the same, so it’s important to talk to a few different people and look at different programs and loan types before deciding what will be best for you.

Your lender will provide you with a Pre-Approval Letter, which is key to getting a home in a challenging market place. The letter is a note that states how much home you can afford. When sellers are choosing between competing buyers, having that Pre-Approval Letter is an extra assurance that you are a legitimate buyer and if they go into escrow with you, that you have the funds to purchase their home.

 

Step 6: Narrow Down Your Search

Now that you know how much horse your can afford, where do you want to buy? Explore different neighborhoods and find the one that best fits your needs. Explore shops and dining, research commute and traffic information, look up pictures of houses in the area, and see which one feels like your perfect fit! What kind of house do you want? Create a wish list of your wants and needs for your future home. List the amount of bedrooms and bathrooms you want, a preferred house style, ideal yard size, or any specific property features you are looking for.

 

Step 7: Begin Viewing Properties

This is the fun part! Start viewing properties that fit your criteria. See what’s available! Your ideal choice may change during this process, as you explore the different options and see the market up close. Take your time and look at as many options as you want! Buying a house is a big decision, so you want to be well informed on what is available.

 

Step 8: Put Together an Offer and Buy That House!

Once you have decided on your dream home, you will need to put together an offer. Your agent will help you come up with the best offer strategy. Try to look at recently sold houses in the same neighborhood that are comparable to the one you’re looking to purchase for an idea of the price you will need to pay. Once an offer is accepted, the contract will be drawn up, and after the closing date comes, that dream house will be yours!