SEARCHING FOR THE PERFECT HOME

It’s like searching for Nirvana………You can always get close but it takes a master to ultimately reach perfection. Builders have experimented over the years with floor plans that suit the majority of home buyers during that era, only to find that as times change, needs and desires change. The perfect home in the 1950’s had 3 bedrooms and 1 bath, in the 1960’s 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, in the 1970’s a formal living room, dining room AND family room, in the 1980’s an office was added to the mix, the 1990’s began to see the “great room” with an open floor plan and this continued on into the 2000’s. Now we are seeing the Next Gen home for the multi-generational family. What will be next? The buyers will dictate that of course but only time will tell.

As you begin your home search keep some of these trends in mind. It may help you decide what you need for your family. Of course always remember that the outdated floor plan will be less money. Look at the possibility of taking something old and making it new if you are a handy person. Conversely if you want something that is modern, up to date and move in ready, be prepared to pay a premium price.

Now back to that “perfection”. As I mentioned builders have been trying to perfect their floor plans for years, while they always get pretty close to what the public wants or needs, it is never perfect. The owner builder, who designs their home from the ground up, always finishes and says “Why didn’t I do that?” My point here is you need to decide what is most important to you and then work through your list with each home that you like, narrowing it down to the one that has the closest to everything you want.

For some helpful tips on how to do this take a look at some important questions to ask yourself.  This will help you and your agent in determining which homes to show and ultimately which home to buy.

Happy House Hunting!

Important Questions

CHOOSE A NEIGHBORHOOD

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Where do you want to be? A phrase coined by RE/MAX International, and used by so many REALTORS®. When searching for a home in a small community it is not such a difficult decision, but when searching for a home in a large city or an area that is spread out into a number of smaller communities, then you must think about the “where” before you can even begin your home search.

Many factors play into the decision about “where” to live. Here are a few for you to ponder.

1. How close is it to my work?

2. If living in a bedroom community like Tehachapi, how much time will it add to my commute?

3. Where is it in relationship to the kids schools?

4. What school district is the home located in?

5. Can the kids walk to school or will it require busing?

6. How much time does the bus ride add to the day?

7. Are there other children in the neighborhood?

8. Are the kids involved in after school sports or programs that will require extra driving time?

9. Is it a gated community and do you want to pay the additional fees?

10. If you are located in a large city, will your commute be with the traffic or against the traffic?

11. Are there CC & R’s or other restrictions that may not be what you desire?

12. If you are a senior would you prefer a development with no children?

13. Are the lot sizes compatible with your time and desire to care for a yard?

14. Does the neighborhood appeal to you?

If you are searching for your home and have the time to research areas online you can find very helpful demographics such as the average age of the homes, average income of the homeowners, crime rates in the area, school district ratings and and so much more. It is wise to make the time to do this as you wouldn’t want any surprises after you have an accepted offer.

Once you have narrowed down the search it is advisable to drive the neighborhood. Not just during the day but at night, in the evenings, in the early morning hours and any other time you can just cruise through. Those drives will tell you a lot about the neighborhood and the habits of it’s occupants.

Need more insight on where to find demographics? Feel free to call “The Team” at RE/MAX Tehachapi. (661) 822-8888. Ask for Diana or Laura Lynne.

Happy House Hunting!

FOLLOWING A BUDGET

So you have been pre qualified through a reputable lender for $250,000. That’s easy enough. Now it is time to go out and find a house for $250,000 and place an offer on the house.

Maybe Not! It is wise to review your budget before making any decisions on how much to spend on a house. Sometimes just because the lender says you can afford a payment, it doesn’t mean you really feel comfortable with that payment. Lender’s qualifications are based on specific amounts that will allow you to pay for utilities, groceries, auto insurance, gasoline and other essential items. They also take into consideration that a family will spend a certain amount of money for extras, such as eating dinner out, taking vacations, paying for your children’s gymnastics, karate or other things. Unfortunately, they use an amount that is straight across the board.

Here are some things you may want to consider when deciding whether or not to spend the full amount you qualify for:

1. Do you commute to work and therefore use more gasoline than other families?

2. Do you have jobs that are odd hours which makes life easier if you eat out more than once a week?

3. Do your children do more than normal extra curricular activities?

4. Do you own an RV or a boat and like to spend weekends playing at the lake?

5. Do you give charitable gifts that are over and above the national standard?

6. Do you have a child or children in college that is not funded through other means?

7. Do you eat healthy and organic foods only that may cost more than the normal amount a family spends on groceries? (By the way, good for you if you do!)

8. Do you have commitments to care for elderly parents in your monthly expenses?

9. Are you looking in a gated community that has Homeowners Fees?

All of these items and more can affect your ability to repay a mortgage. They are things you should consider before making a final decision on your purchase price.

Then the next thing is to set your price and stick to it. It is so easy to say “If I just raised my price by $25,000 I could get so much more.” It is a trap that many fall prey to during their search. The problem is that could raise your payment by as much as $200 a month depending on your interest rate. If you decide to do that you MUST look at your budget and determine which of your “extras” you can give up. Don’t let someone else talk you into spending what you are not comfortable with spending. Not a lender, not a family member and definitely not your REALTOR®.

The last thing I want to say about this process is a quote I have heard many times.

“You don’t want your house to OWN you; You want to own your house”.

Happy House Hunting!

REALTOR® vs. REAL ESTATE AGENT

“They’re all alike”, “Used Car Salesmen”, “Only in it for the Money”, “Taking Advantage of People”. All of these are things you may have heard said about Real Estate Agents. Unfortunately, sometimes these statements are dead on. There are real estate agents that fit these descriptions. They are plentiful and may just live in a place near you. Is there any way to assure yourself you are not working with one of these people? Well of course you will want to do your interviews of agents in order to determine you have found a good fit, BUT there is another way you can do yourself a Big favor.

CHOOSE A REALTOR. Did you know that REALTOR is a registered trademark? Did you know that in order to use that trademark you must be a REALTOR?  Did you know that a REALTOR is different than a real estate agent? Did you know that in order to become a REALTOR you must subscribe to a Code of Ethics? That’s right way back in 1913 a group of licensed agents got together and decided to upgrade their profession. They established a group of agents that wrote the REALTOR Code of Ethics*. To this day any agent joining an Association of REALTORS must take the oath to follow this Code of Ethics. They are required to read it, agree to it and abide by it. And what if they don’t abide by it? Well did you know you have the right to file a grievance against the REALTOR? That’s right they may be stripped of their title as a REALTOR and not allowed to use the registered trademark

So what is the first question you should ask when interviewing an agent that will help you with the largest purchase or sale you may ever make in your life? Of course you should always ask, are you a REALTOR? And which Association of REALTOR do you belong to? Make sure it is a local Association so you have the ability to seek help in your area if and when you may need it.

*Click Here to read the REALTOR Code of Ethics.

Always know that when you work with The Team each and every licensed member is a REALTOR with the local Tehachapi Area Association of REALTORS. Helping you to find just the right fit for all your Tehachapi Area Real Estate Needs.

CalBRE Lic. --- Jack Williams #00419592 --- Diana Williams #00986318 --- Laura Lynne Wyatt #01443357