What Dog Owners Should Know When Buying or Selling a Home

(Guest Blog By Medina James at DogEtiquette)

 

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Image via Pixabay

 

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, if you’re a dog owner, there are some special preparations and precautions you must take. It may be one of the last things on your mind during this busy and stressful time, but real estate dog etiquette is extremely important. Here are some tips for both buyers and sellers who have to deal with canine friends throughout the process.

For sellers – your house smells more like dog than you think

When we live with certain smells for years, we get used to them. We all know that everyone’s house has a particular scent – and if you’re trying to sell your house you don’t want that scent to be eau de pooch. The natural way to get dog odor out of carpets and furniture involves baking soda and vinegar, but there are also plenty of sprays, shampoos, and other products you can purchase to help. Plug-in air fresheners work for the final touch. Also remember to pick up any dog poop in your yard. Here is a good article about removing pet odors from a house.

For sellers – make arrangements to have your dogs out of the house

This goes for scheduled showings and for open houses. You’ll want to make arrangements to have your dogs out of the house – and not just out of the house and in the backyard. You’ll want your dogs to be completely gone. Either board them for a day or ask a friend or neighbor to watch them for a few hours.

For buyers – ask ahead for dog visits

Some pet owners want to take their dog to a potential new home to see how they interact with it. Older dogs with mobility issues may have trouble with certain design elements of a home, and you may want to see if they can handle stairs, decks, porches, etc. before committing to purchase. If you want to do this, you need to ask. It’s rude to bring a dog into someone’s home without first clearing it. People have allergies, fears, and even other pets you must consider.

For both – think about moving day

Moving day is stressful for your pets, so it may be best to board them (here are some tips on that) or have them stay with a friend. If you can’t arrange this, it’s smart to put them in a “safe room” in your house and instruct the movers to move that room last. This is simply safer for the movers and for your dog.

For both – it’s best to leave your dog out of the process (no matter how cute)

You love your dog. Strangers may also love your dog. Most everyone you meet may love your dog. But somewhere there is someone who just doesn’t like dogs. Maybe they’re afraid or maybe they’re allergic. Whatever the case may be, some people just aren’t dog people. So why take the risk that a potential buyer/seller is in this small minority? Even if your dog is incredibly well-behaved and cute, it’s best to leave them out of the process altogether. Ask a friend to watch your dog, or hire a dog walker if the dog just needs to be out of the home briefly for a single showing.

Even dog lovers don’t really want to deal with other people’s animals during the home buying process. It’s not only considerate of others to leave dogs out of the process, but it’s better for your dogs too. Many dogs are stressed out by tons of strangers and new environments, so it’s best to protect them from the chaos that is buying or selling a home.

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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!

How to Know If You’re Ready to Buy Your First Home

Buying your first home is a big endeavor; it’s an exciting and fun time. If buying is something you’re thinking about, think about these next few considerations to determine if you are ready!

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Consider your Finances

A home is an important investment. Annual income should be the first consideration in buying a house. Most lenders will recommend a budget between three to five times your annual income if you plan on putting down a 20% down payment. There are also a few other financial factors to consider. Existing loans or debts, as well as poor credit scores, can make the buying process more difficult. If your financial state is stable and can handle the event of purchasing home, you are ready to buy.

 

Consider the Cost

Many consider the price of the monthly mortgage when considering buying a home, but many forget about the other costs involved. Property taxes, insurance, HOA Fees, and utilities will all add to the cost of owning a home. You will also need to make sure you have money leftover after all of that as an “emergency fund” to pay the repair man in case your roof starts leaking, your pipes burst, or your refrigerator breaks down. If you are able to manage those costs as well as the monthly mortgage, you are ready to buy.

 

Consider your Lifestyle

Most experts agree that buying a home makes financial sense if you know you’re going to stay for a minimum of 5 years. A lot of different factors can influence where you call home. Do you have a secure job? Does your company transfer often? Do you have an expanding family? If your employment situation feels secure and you are content with the size and location of the home you would be purchasing, you are ready to buy.

 

The process of buying your first home is more time-consuming than it may seem, but the end result is worth all of the efforts put in!

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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!