Are you thinking that it may be time to buy a home in Tehachapi or in Kern County? You may be right. We have historically low interest rates and affordable home prices that make home ownership more attractive than ever for Tehachapi residents. Interestingly, these great opportunities may make some potential first time buyers over confident. Whether it’s your first home or your retirement home you want to avoid making mistakes.
Mistake #1: Don’t use a REALTOR®. Some buyers think that a great way to save money is by foregoing the assistance of a REALTOR®. The Tehachapi Association of REALTORs® has a couple of good articles to check out on Why Use a REALTOR® and why Having a Buyers’ Agent Helps.
There is a mountain of paperwork and a slew of negotiations associated with purchasing a home. This is not the time to try to save money on your own. An excellent REALTOR® can assist you with the entire process and save you money as compared to taking the DIY approach. Since you probably already have a full-time job, do you really want to take on the task of coordinating offers, counter offers, financing, inspections, investigations, repairs, and a myriad other items associated with your purchase? Can you imaging how much money you could lose if you get the timing wrong? Did you know that each contract will include deadlines by which each inspection, investigation, various stages of financing, etc. must be completed?
Mistake #2: Rely on Online Mortgage Calculators for Financing Pre-Approval. Online mortgage calculators can be a great way to get a ball-park idea of what you will be paying, but they are no substitute for a qualified local lender. An excellent local lender will provide a no-cost no-obligation financing pre-approval for you. In many cases, an excellent local lender can offer a much better financing option for you than may be available from an online or out of area vendor.
Mistake #3: Lowball offers. Even though there is lots of inventory for you to choose from don’t assume that means any offer will be accepted. Conversely, don’t pay more than is necessary for the house of your dreams. Where’s the happy medium? Structure your offer to purchase based on recent sales of comparable houses, foreclosure activity in the neighborhood and overall market activity.
Mistake #4: A newer house is better. Not always true. With the building boom in the 2005 plus period, lots of houses were built quickly. It’s not uncommon that the construction was perhaps less carefully supervised than it might have been.
Which would you rather have: a 2006 tract house with flaking stucco and 2 x 4 construction or a 1994 custom built 2 x 6 framed house? The answer may be more difficult to determine than you think. Yet another reason that having a team of professionals (REALTOR®, lender, home inspector, etc.) is so important. Your team can help you evaluate and sort out your best choices.
Mistake #5: Buying a money pit. You negotiated a contract with the seller that seems fair. During the buyer investigation phase you discover that the septic system needs replaced and a number of unexpected issues turned up on the home inspection.
The whole point of doing an investigation of property condition is to make sure that you are satisfied with what you are buying. Sometimes the investigations will reveal more issues than you are willing to deal with. It’s okay to walk away from the deal and look for a different home with fewer issues.
Because you were still within the specified time-frame for buyer investigations, you can cancel the contract, retrieve your deposit and move on with your life. That could be a better choice.
Buying a home can be a confusing and potentially overwhelming undertaking. Take your time, get educated, and put together a top notch team to help you.
Share your experiences below. Go ahead, you know you want to.
If you are a Kern County homeowner facing the possibility of foreclosure, you could be among those California homeowners that may be hit with more than just losing their homes. Due to a loophole in state law, they also can be sued by their lender. To prevent this, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) is sponsoring Senate Bill 1178 by State Senator Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro), which will extend anti-deficiency protection for consumers who have refinanced their original mortgage loans and now are facing foreclosure.
Currently, if a Kern County homeowner defaults on a mortgage used to purchase his or her home (known as a “purchase money mortgage”) the homeowner’s liability on the mortgage is limited to the property itself. Unfortunately, the original law did not extend the purchase money protection to loans that refinance the original purchase debt, even if the refinance only was to obtain a lower interest rate.
Californians who refinance a property currently do not have protection if they default on a mortgage greater than the property’s value. Called a “deficiency” liability, under current California law, the lender can sue the former homeowner for the amount of the deficiency even after taking back the property.
Recent years of low interest rates and aggressive marketing campaigns by lenders have induced tens of thousands to refinance mortgages. Few homeowners realized that by refinancing their mortgage, they were forfeiting their protections and now are personally liable.
I thought that video interviews would be one fun way to promote Stallion Springs. They provide an opportunity for people to see what’s so great about living here. This can be good for people that are thinking about moving here since it gives them a flavor for what life is like here. It can also serve as a reminder to those of us who have lived here for some time that it’s still a great place to be.
With that in mind, I’ve started posting videos to my YouTube channel. Yesterday marked the first entry with a short interview at the Stallion Springs General Store.
Today, I spoke with Lucy Gaglione. She has done an outstanding job of coordinating our Stallion Springs Library. Did you know that we are the only local community to have a library? Check back soon for more info in our upcoming video interview.
What kinds of things would you like to see highlighted? Suggest a business, place with a view, event, etc. Don’t forget to visit the Stallion Springs Community Facebook page and add photos, events, or comments there as well.