In our newsletters, we have provided an array of useful online tools for you, the buyer, to help you to make more informed, precise and profitable decisions than ever before without leaving the comfort of your home. In this post, we have created a narrative, accompanied by these online tools, to support you in the path to homeownership. We will help you:
  1. Secure a mortgage.

  2. Find down-payment assistance programs if necessary.

  3. Make wise choices about the cost of renting versus the cost of buying both long and short term.

  4. Find and buy a home you love, creating peace of mind.

We will support you through each step all the way to homeownership, and we do it with a calm, gentle, wise approach.

 

Step 1) Your Mortgage Rate.

If you are planning to pay all cash, or have visited a lender and know what mortgages are available to you, skip ahead to Step 2.

If you are still here, visit this site.

Give as much information as possible. Here are notes to help:

  • The median home price for an SFR in Santa Cruz is $805,000. This may be a good starting point for the purchase price, but if you have found a home that is selling for a different price and suits your needs, fill in that purchase price instead.

  • Your down payment should equal the money you have in savings or investments, or expect to receive as a gift. In California, over 400 downpayment assistance programs are available. Use this site to find out if you qualify for one.

  • You can use free online resources like Credit Karma to check your credit score if you do not know it. Despite popular misbelief, this “soft inquiry” will not hurt your score.

 

Step 2) Rent Vs Buy?

To gain a better understanding of the Cost, Gain, and Bottom line of buying vs renting, use Zillow’s online rent vs buy calculator found here (make sure and read the explanation below the graph).

Check out these notes to help you with the form:

  • Use the same purchase price as above.

  • If you want to increase your accuracy, click “More” and check out these tips:

  • If you’ve visited a lender, and know the mortgage rates are available to you today, put this value (or average of values) in “Mortgage rate”. Or, use the rate found in Step 1.

  • If you plan to use it as a residence rather than rent it, make your First-year rent forecast 0%.

  • If it is not a condo and has no HOA fee, insert 0 for “HOA fee”.

Many other fields default to standard costs, percentages and amounts, so be sure and change them whenever you know the exact values. Precision will give you more exact results.

 

Step 3) Finding your Dream Home

At this point you have a rough idea of available mortgage rates and the cost vs benefits of buying. If you’ve concluded that buying is the right decisions for you and your family, then meet with a qualified mortgage broker to get pre-approved. If you are a first time home buyer, we suggest you go through the Mortgage Basics Tutorial provided by Investopedia. This simple yet informative tutorial will help you understand the differences between fixed vs variable rate mortgages, mortgage costs (including points), amortization schedules, your loan eligibility, and much more.

After getting a pre-approval letter, you are now ready to look for a home!

We recommend that our clients start the path to homeownership by calling us to start an automated property search. We can set the search to fit any criteria you may have, including bed/bath configurations, a specific location, home type, and more. There are some questions that first time homebuyers should be askig but do not. We bring these points up if needed to ensure that our search is efficient. You will get updates whenever a new home comes on the market that fits your needs, and when you find a home that you like, we can show it to you!

When it comes time make an offer on your dream home, you’ll know how similar houses are priced and how long these properties stay on the market. This information makes you a more effective negotiator.

In summary, we believe in giving you information, support, knowledge and insight into the home buying process. From finding loan options and downpayment assistance programs to negotiating a fair purchase price, using the tools presented above, we know that you will make wise, informed and profitable(!) real estate decisions.

 

Thank You

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