Buying a Home in Thousand Oaks

When you consider buying a home in Thousand Oaks, there are certain steps you must follow in order to make the home-buying process as simple as possible. Steps, such as finding a lender, finding a real estate agent, and most importantly finding the home that best suits your needs can be a very complicated process without the proper knowledge. These steps must be taken accordingly in order to make the home-buying process run smoothly.

First, and MOST important, find a lender. Most people tend to think that finding a real estate agent or finding their dream home should come first. However, finding the lender first accomplishes many things. Not only are you getting a pre-qualification and a loan, you also know the price of house you are looking for. If you spend a lot of time looking for a house that you really like first, before getting a loan, you are taking the risk of not being able to obtain a loan for that particular property. Getting a loan first will save your from heartache and save your realtor from a lot of unnecessary leg-work. Also, when you have a prequalification in your hand, it helps in negotiating a final purchase price of the home because it looks like you are serious buyer.

Once the loan is complete, it is very wise to find a realtor. Never try to find a home on your own for two reasons. One, writing offers, dealing with contracts and negotiating a final purchase price is a very complicated process. Real estate professionals deal with these tasks on a daily basis. Secondly, if you simply decide to use the agent who listed the home, you have no representation for yourself. The agent who listed the home is obligated to the sellers of that home. You on the other hand, wouldn’t have any leverage as far as negotiating goes. If you think you are saving money by using the listing agent, think again. Commission is paid completely and solely by the sellers. Having your own representation and someone who can negotiate for you is very beneficial.

When you search for a real estate agent, do some research. Take the time to interview with a few of them to get a feel for their professionalism, knowledge, attitude and likeness in character. Most agents will automatically take you as clients because they all work off of commission and most do exactly the same work as any other. Remember this: When interviewing agents, you are auditioning them, not the other way around. It is best to find someone you can relate to and discuss home-buying matters with comfortably. When you have found the agent that best suits you, together, you will be able to find the house that best suits you.

Lastly, find a home that you are comfortable living in, don’t settle. After all, this is one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make. Your agent will be able to locate homes according to your price range and amenities. You should be confident in talking to your agent about your likes and dislikes of any home that you preview. This will also help your agent narrow down the possibilities to exactly what you are looking for.

Following these steps can greatly decrease time, frustration and energy.

California Median Home Prices – December ’07

Calif. median home price – December 07: $475,460(Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. highest median home price by C.A.R. region December 07: Santa Barbara So. Coast $925,000 (Source: C.A.R.)

Calif. lowest median home price by C.A.R. region December 07: High Desert $244,330 (Source: C.A.R.)

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DID YOU KNOW?

In 1969…

“The goal of owning a home seems to be getting beyond the reach of more and more Americans. The typical new house today costs about $28,000.” – Business Week

What about 1977? … 1985? … 1996? … more to come!

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FHLMC Historical Rate Survey

Here is a chart that will show you the average annual mortgage interest rate since 1971. Something to note is where we currently stand Year-To-Date, 2008 – 5.78%!

Click on image to enlarge

Things You Should Know…

• Beginning this week and continuing through September, HUD’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is mailing 850,000 letters to at-risk borrowers who have already faced or are experiencing the first reset of their adjustable rate mortgages, and live within geographic locations that are currently subject to FHA loan limits nationwide. If this has the intended effect of keeping those at risk out of foreclosure, it could help shore up the housing market and the state’s economy.

• It is more important than ever for potential home buyers to have a good credit score. Consumers should obtain a credit report and take care of any outstanding issues that can be fixed or improved prior to applying for a loan. According to a recent Federal Reserve survey, some 53 percent of lenders tightened requirements for prime-quality borrowers, 72 percent for sub-prime borrowers, and 85 percent for non-traditional mortgage borrowers, including PayOption ARMs, loans with interest-only payment structures, and other such products.

• Whether or not they have children, consumers may want to consider a home in a neighborhood with excellent schools. Homes in good school districts typically are a bit more “recession proof” and appreciate faster than homes near weaker schools, according to MSN Money.

• Rates on 30-year mortgages dipped slightly last week, the fifth decline in the past six weeks. Fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.67 percent last week, down from 5.68 percent the week before.

1078 Camino Flores, Thousand Oaks, CA

Just sold this diamond in the rough! This property is a contractor’s dream with just under half an acre of usable land! Approximately 1922 square foot home with a bonus room, five bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a 2-car garage and possible RV access. Close to schools and shopping in a quiet neighborhood, this is the best deal in Lynn Ranch.

PRESIDENT SIGNS $168 BILLION ECONOMIC STIMULUS BILL

Posted from C.A.R. Newsline…

President Bush today signed off on the $168 billion stimulus package approved by Congress last week, which, in addition to tax rebates for millions of working Americans and business owners, includes a vital, but temporary increase in the conforming loan limit. The economic stimulus package will allow the Federal Housing Administration, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to offer mortgages above the current conforming loan limit of $417,000 to as much as $729,750 in high-cost areas for loans originated between July 1, 2007 and Dec. 31, 2008.

“The actions of Congress and our president represent a significant victory for homeowners across the state and nationwide,” said C.A.R. President William E. Brown. “C.A.R. has long fought for increases to the conforming loan limit in order to close the gap for would-be home buyers in high-cost areas, such as California, and, with the spotlight now fully shining on this important issue, will continue those efforts and push for permanent changes beyond Dec. 31.”
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A Home Shopper’s Must-Haves and Wish Lists

Shopping for a home is an exciting adventure and it’s easy to get lost in a sea of dazzling for-sale homes and all of their fabulous amenities – which can cause you to temporarily forget that a large backyard is your top priority. To keep yourself focused, take time to identify and organize exactly what you’re looking for in a home by creating thorough “must-have” and “wish” lists before you begin home shopping. You may also want to make a third list that details your dislikes.

To get started ask yourself these questions: Which items and features must your home have? Which items and features would you like to have, but could live without? What would your dream house include? And, what features or issue must you avoid?

For the must-have list, try to focus on essentials and hard-to-change details, like a home’s layout. If you must have a three-bedroom, two-bath house, put it on the list. Ranking your must-haves in order of importance is also a good idea.

Hard-to-change, must-have features can include the type of house, for example a two-story colonial or sprawling rancher; the number of rooms and square footage; the home’s proximity to shopping; or its overall condition. Your must-have list can’t be too detailed because it aims to itemize the features that are most important to you and your family.

Your wish list is the flexible and fun list. Wish lists are good for cosmetic features that would be great to have, but that can be changed. Hardwood floors can replace old wall-to-wall carpeting. If the yard is large enough and has adequate open space, a pool can be installed later. And landscaping can be a work in progress. Since the wish list is secondary, there are no limits so be sure to also include your dream amenities.

While compiling your lists, don’t hesitate to confer with your real estate professional, who is a great source for information about neighborhoods, homes and other pertinent “must-have” information.

Once you’ve determined your must-haves and optional features, create a checklist to take with you during your home tours. Besides helping you stay focused, it will provide an organized review of each house.

Your lists will most likely change as you tour homes and see what the market really has to offer. It’s also unlikely that one house will include all of your must-have features. But, your efforts will be well worth it once you find the perfect house that includes just enough must-haves and even a few wishes. Your perfect home might not include that must-have basement, but its view may be a dream come true.