What is a CMA and Why Do You Need One? 

CMA is real estate shorthand for “Comparative Market Analysis.” A CMA is a report prepared by a real estate agent providing data comparing your property to similar properties in the marketplace.The first thing an agent will need to do to provide you with a CMA is to inspect your property. Generally, this inspection won’t be overly detailed (s/he isn’t going to crawl under the house to examine the foundation), nor does the house need to be totally cleaned up and ready for an open house. It should be in such …

Risks of Remodeling Without a Permit

Most cities require that homeowners obtain a building permit before making modifications to their residence. Which modifications require a permit vary by city. Also, some cities are more vigilant than others in enforcing permit laws. In order for the homeowner to receive a permit, the homeowner or his/her designee are required to file plans and pay fees to the city. In addition, the improvements are given a value. If they increase the value of the property, this may result in an increase in property taxes. Inspections are often required, and …

Home Inspections

Traversing the Pitfalls of Home Inspections  June and Fred Smith were diligent about getting their home ready for sale. They ordered a pre-sale termite inspection report. The report revealed that their large rear deck was dry-rot infested, so they replaced it before putting their home on the market. The Smiths also called a reputable roofer to examine the roof and issue a report on its condition. The roofer felt that the roof was on its last legs and that it should be replaced. The Smith’s didn’t want buyers to be …

Surviving Escrow

You’ve Opened Escrow, Now What?  Panic? Well, maybe a little. Besides doing that, follow these suggestions (and your realtor’s advice) and you’ll soon be the proud owner of a new home. After you’ve signed on the dotted line, you’ll be asked to provide a check for the “earnest money”, showing that you are a serious buyer. In Southern California, the standard of practice is that a deposit in the amount of 3% of the purchase price is deposited into escrow. This deposit check may also be held by an attorney …

Types of Mortgages

Fortunately for buyers, there are a variety of mortgages to choose from. It is in your best interest to investigate each of them to determine which is the best for your situation. You probably won’t qualify for all of them. In fact, you may only qualify for one. But if you do qualify for more than one, you may save yourself money (and worry) in the long run if you do your homework before signing on the dotted line. Fixed-Rate Mortgages Adjustable-Rate Mortgages The Convertible ARM FHA and VA Loan  …

How to Negotiate with Sellers

Buying a home is one of the most important purchases most people will make. In order to make the right decisions the first time, potential buyers need to be prepared. Consider the following before starting negotiations: Be prepared  Research the housing market in the target area. Once you have information about the general area, focus on the particular property and seller. Look for answers to questions such as: 1. Why is the homeowner selling? (If they’re moving because they find the area undesirable, you might as well.)2. How long has …

Advice for First Time Home Buyers

  Pre-Qualification: Meet with a mortgage broker and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home. Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You’ll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you’re interested in is at or under the …