Buying is a Big Decision


Thinking of Buying as an existing renter?

Nothing feels as good as to own your own home. You have a unique sense of security and base for a future. You will be making memories for years to come. Making the shift takes effort and conviction and is a process which is worth the savings and worth the loan procedure and gets you a tax benefit and the chance to personalize your space knowing it is yours (and the banks!). How do you save for the down payment? Can you "partner" with relatives to have them Co-sign on a mortgage with you? Do you have established credit? Sometimes you can ask a seller to carry a trust deed that stays with the house and you make payments to both the bank and to the seller. There are multiple steps that can be taken to get creative with the financing element of your home purchase. Just ask me. You can also lower your future tax bills by offering to pay me, your Realtor, commission due versus the traditional way which is the seller paying the fee. The answer to this question lies in how long you plan to live here and asking me to run a quick scenario of savings. Most realtors will not even offer this option as the custom in the United States is the seller mostly pays the commission for the work performed. It all depends on available funds and cash flow. Let's discuss it in person.

Did you know you can make a 30-year mortgage pay off in 22 years? Read on.
Just by making one extra payment that says "apply to principal" in the memo of your check and watch your declining remaining balance of your loan will shrink by 8 years! Can you imagine how good it feels to fully own your home? You, then are left still paying taxes, insurance and upkeep expenses. But, it is YOURS.

Is it a good idea to pay off your home if you have the cash?
Well, as great as it feels to have no debt against your real estate and home if you ever need to "borrow" against your property your avenues are limited. One would think it is easy to get a loan against a home that has no debt and the truth is, there is no department at the banks that let this comfortably fit into a box for handling. Banks easily place loans for purchase acquisitions and for refinancing but try to get a new loan placed against your paid off home and get ready for the challenge. Many people get home equity loans and they exist but the interest rates are different (higher) and the limits are lower than the equity position you would get a purchase loan or refinance.

Touring property

This is not a fashion show! Wear comfortable shoes. You may find yourself intrigued with the exploration and want to walk around the home's exterior and grounds or barn/outbuilding and heels and silk are not the ideal garbs for house hunting. Be nourished. Schedule a mutually agreeable block of time to not feel rushed as this is a huge decision that includes a comparison. Formula purchases are one thing: buying a condo without a view and specific amount of bedrooms and square feet. Buying a home has the unique quality of feeling it by being there versus seeing it on a screen or device. LISTEN to the surroundings. Is there a train or major road nearby? Do you hear kids playing? Is there a school nearby. Parks? SMELL: Is there any perceptible mold present. Do you smell cats or pet odors that may require flooring to be changed? Is there a scent of cigarettes? All this plays into making decisions on value. Both value in the home or money needed to be spent to bring the home to your standard.

FEEL: touch the door knobs, turn on a faucet and then off again. Lightly engage with the home as you are trying it out to see if you want to make it yours. I even have buyers sit down on a couch or chair to feel the volume of space from that perspective. Buying a home is a sensory experience. Look in the closets. Make sure the items you need to store can fit in the space allotted or is there an extra adjacent room that can be captured to create a larger closet or bathroom space.

Should I buy and existing home or should I build?

Well, a building is usually more expensive than buying existing but you do have the potential to design and get what you actually want providing we can find the right location for you and are we starting with a teardown or raw land. Both have points of view that deserve consideration. Let's talk and discuss what works best for you.

To Home Owner Association or Not?

Being part of a Home Owner's Association (HOA) comes with a Home Owner's Fee (HOF) and being part of a community has agreed upon order, architectural limitations and often "common area" for enjoyment such as a pool/spa or parks. Are there and pending special assessments? Is the community run well and professionally? Are the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&R's) acceptable to you? There are a certain predictability and confidence that what you see is what you get and no one will do an unattractive room addition or paint their home purple right next to you.

To Mello-Roos or Not?

So, in 1985 a pair of lawmakers were approached by developers that asked the question if the Schools, parks, fire departments, streets, and infrastructure remained in the area, why not create a bond that ran with the property for 30 or 40 years to cover the costs for it all and pass on the expense to the future homeowners in a bi-annual fee and allow the home prices at the point the developers were selling to be lower and the lawmakers liked what they heard. Can you negotiate Mello-Roos? Sometimes, but not so common.


Read about client's experience working with Michael Citrin