First Time Buyers, Why Buy Now in Lake Arrowhead?

Month: January 2016

Attention Lake Arrowhead First Time Home Buyers!

I write a lot about first-time home buyers because they make up about 25% of my sales and because I feel that they need as much information as they can get before making one of the biggest decisions of their life.

First-time buyers look for different things in a property than repeat buyers do. See what Californians list as the single most important reason for buying a home, from the first-time and move-up perspectives.

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There’s a lot of advice out there for home buyers in today’s market. But the housing market is changing all the time, and if you’re on the hunt for a home, you need to stay aware of the latest trends—and how they will hit you where you live.

“Buyers looking to close this year need to keep an open mind and be prepared to move quickly when they find a home that meets their needs, there is “fierce competition among buyers.”

Who are the 2016 home buyers?
Next year’s standout year in total sales will be driven by three distinct segments of home buyers – older millennials (25-34 years old), younger gen X (35-44 years old), and retirees (65-74 years old).

Start your search early

The No. 1 tip that I suggest is to kick off your home search early.

“If you’re intending to purchase, based on the volume of house hunters who are just like you, consider doing it sooner rather than later—you’re likely to get a better price and a better mortgage rate,”  there’s far more inventory available relative to the number of sales in the off-peak months.

More than 85% of buyers who plan to purchase in the next year intend to buy in the spring or summer of 2016. With roughly 50% more listings inventory relative to the number of potential home sales expected in January and February, buyers who start their search early face less competition with nearly the same number of homes.

Comparison shop for mortgages

“Work as hard on the mortgage as you do on finding a home—this will pay dividends over the life of the mortgage that you have. Don’t just assume that the 30-year fixed mortgage is the best for you. Depending on your down payment, there are several types of loans you can consider.

Mortgage rates are expected to reach 4.65% by the end of the year (while prices are predicted to rise 3% year over year), but many consumers aren’t aware of the variety in mortgage products that can affect what they pay.

A lower interest rate can make the difference in qualifying for a loan to buy a certain home—not to mention saving you thousands over the life of the loan. So make sure to shop around!

Consider a new home

If there’s anything that can ease the current housing crunch, it’s new construction. But many people just rule out the option, Smoke says.

“You either know about new homes or you don’t know about new homes.  The vast majority of people don’t, and they make the assumption that they’re not right for them because they’re too expensive.

Just keep an open mind. After all, the number of new homes on the market is expected to grow more rapidly in 2016, resulting in a 16% increase in new-home sales year over year. But the lack of awareness about new homes means you’re likely to encounter less competition.

While new homes are typically more expensive, they also come with warranties on the structure and appliances—so you’re not likely to get stuck with any hefty repair bills for the first few years.

Remember! While looking for a new home, keep an open mind, your dream home is out there and it may take a little patience to find it.

Click here to begin your new home search today.

If you own a home in the Lake Arrowhead area and thinking about doing some home improvements, take a look at the chart below, before you begin and consider one of these popular home improvements, as one of your next projects.



Do you ever find yourself completely overwhelmed by real estate advice from every direction on how to stage, market, negotiate, and ultimately sell your home?  With all the information we see on a daily basis, it’s easy to overlook the most important details.

Avoid these pitfalls to get the highest value for your home and take the stress out of selling your home.

1. Online Marketing

With the overload of information that we receive every day, it’s important that everyone sees your home everywhere.  Advertising your home in print makes you stand out locally.  Local magazines even use QR and text codes that instantly connect home shoppers to your home listing on their mobile phones.  You’ll reach home buyers where they live, shop, work and play.  Ask your agent about advertising opportunities in your area!

2. Poor Pricing

No matter what they’re buying, it is not a surprise that consumers want the most bang for their buck.  Home buyers tend to stay away from overly high prices and are drawn to the homes that are priced competitively.  However, if the price is too low, buyers will wonder if there is something wrong with the property.  Make sure you research your competition and consult with your real estate agent before deciding on a price.

3. Hovering. 

Although you may want to stick around during a showing, it may not be the best idea.  There is definitely an emotional aspect when selling your home, so hovering while a potential buyer is touring your home may make it difficult for them to envision the home as theirs, and may feel uncomfortable or that they’re intruding on your space.  Take a breather and go run some errands while your real estate agent does the work.

4. Clutter Inside & Out. 

First impressions are everything, and the first thing that buyers will see is your home’s exterior.  Have a well-kept yard, clean driveway and overall curb appeal, which will increase the likelihood that buyers will want to see more.  Now for the interior . . . Make sure your home is absolutely free of all clutter – it should be clean and sparkling!  Help buyers imagine their own things in your home by stashing personal items, including photos and mementos.

5. Lack of Appealing Photos.

Before a buyer even thinks about contacting a real estate agent or coming to see a house to buy, they “pre-shop” online.  Be sure to provide photographs that frame your house and its amenities to sell. Capture full rooms that are well lit and don’t even think about including pictures of cluttered messy spaces!  Home buyers want to see what your home has to offer, and be able to visualize themselves living there.

As you go through the home selling process, avoid these traps to get the best offer quickly.  Remember that your real estate agent is more than happy to answer any of your questions and provide the most valuable help possible.  Be sure to always take advantage of all your resources.



Is it really 2016 already?  For those of you who happen to be planning on buying a home in the new year—or even just trying to—there’s a whole lot to celebrate. Why? A variety of financial vectors have dovetailed to make this the perfect storm for home buyers to get out there and make an (winning) offer. Here are six home-buying reasons to be thankful while ringing in the new year:

Reason No. 1: Interest rates are still at record lows

Even though they may creep up at any moment, it’s nonetheless a fact that interest rates on home loans are at historic lows, with a 30-year fixed-rate home loan still hovering around 4%.

“Remember 18.5% in the ’80s?”  “It is likely that we’ll never see interest rates this low again. So while prices are high in some markets, the savings in interest payments could easily amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage.”

Reason No. 2: Rents have skyrocketed

Another reason home buyers are lucky is that rents are going up, up, up! (This, on the other hand, is a reason not to be thankful if you’re a renter.) In fact, rents outpaced home values in 20 of the 35 biggest housing markets in 2015. What’s more, according to the2015 Rental Market Report, 88% of property managers raised their rent in the past 12 months, and an 8% hike is predicted for 2016.

“In most metropolitan cities, monthly rent is comparable to that of a monthly mortgage payment, sometimes more,” mortgage agent for The Mortgage Group. “Doesn’t it make more sense to put those monthly chunks of money into your own appreciating asset rather than handing it over to your landlord and saying goodbye to it forever?”

Reason No. 3: Home prices are stabilizing

For the first time in years, prices that have been climbing steadily upward are stabilizing, restoring a level playing field that helps buyers drive a harder bargain with sellers, even in heated markets.

“Local markets vary, but generally we are experiencing a cooling period,” says Postilio. “At this moment, buyers have the opportunity to capitalize on this.”

Reason No. 4: Down payments don’t need to break the bank

Probably the biggest obstacle that prevents renters from becoming homeowners is pulling together a down payment. But today, that chunk of change can be smaller, thanks to a variety of programs to help home buyers. For instance, the new Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Home Possible Advantage Program allows for a 3% down payment for credit scores as low as 620.

Reason No. 5: Mortgage insurance is a deal, too

If you do decide to put less than 20% down on a home, you are then required to have mortgage insurance (basically in case you default). A workaround to handle this, however, is to take out a loan from the Federal Housing Administration—a government mortgage insurer that backs loans with down payments as low as 3.5% and credit scores as low as 580. The fees are way down from 1.35% to 0.85% of the mortgage balance, meaning your monthly mortgage total will be significantly lower if you fund it this way. In fact, the FHA predicts this 37% annual premium cut will bring 250,000 first-time buyers into the market. Why not be one of them?

Reason No. 6: You’ll reap major tax breaks

Tax laws continue to favor homeowners, so you’re not just buying a place to live—you’re getting a tax break! The biggest one is that unless your home loan is more than $1 million, you can deduct all the monthly interest you are paying on that loan. Homeowners may also deduct certain home-related expenses and home property taxes.