Happy New Year!

Winter Sierras

Happy New Year from the Sierra Foothills!!!

I hope that 2014 finds you all in good health and hopeful demeanor!  Things are looking decent still on the real estate front; perhaps it’s not quite the picture of health, but it’s definitely of hopeful demeanor.  Mortgage interest rates are still creeping up, as are property values, and to hopefully curtail the increase in monthly payments that will develop as a result, the Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) are slowly increasing in popularity again, albeit with more limitations and regulations than their predecessors (which tended to allow payments of less than interest-only in some cases for a period of time before exploding into payments most folks couldn’t afford).  The coming year is going to see looser lending standards than those caused by the housing bubble in the past several years, so this type of loan is going to keep increasing in popularity as folks suffer from sticker shock when they realize their monthly payments could be hundreds of dollars more than they’d have been if they had bought this house a few months ago.

As far as the Sierra Foothills are concerned, there are currently about 360 homes for sale in Calaveras County and about the same number of parcels of vacant land available for purchase, ranging in price from $7,000 to almost $3 million, so there is bound to be something available for every buyer who is interested in owning a piece of the Motherlode.  And the market suggests that more and more properties will be coming on the market this year, so that pool is likely to widen as the year progresses.

I know we’d all like to see a little more rain (and snow!) on the horizon, too.  It seems like the streams and creeks should be flowing at full speed and the lakes and ponds should be nearing capacity by now… But they’re not.  There should be snow on the mountain for the skiers, snow boarders, snowshoe-ers, and snowmobile-ers to enjoy.  Instead, Bear Valley Ski Resort is reporting a whole 10″ of snow so far this year.  It’s so thin in spots that you can see the dirt!  And Lake Melones is the lowest I’ve ever seen it.  That’s not going to help the fishing and boating industries up here come Spring if we don’t get some of the wet stuff soon.  Let’s just all remain hopeful!

Financing Your New Home

GOAL

Are you diligently searching the breadth and width of the internet on a daily basis for your dream home? Are you looking for just the right investment property to use as your 2nd home or vacation cabin? Want to find the perfect place to use as an income rental? Unless you’re independently wealthy, recently won a huge lottery prize, or received a substantial inheritance, chances are you are going to need (and for tax purposes, you may actually WANT) to have your new property financed.

There are many different types of financing available; depending on your needs, the type of property you are purchasing, and how much you have saved up already to apply to your down payment and closing costs. And I’ll be the first to admit that I am absolutely NOT an expert about how you should finance your purchase, but there are several local lenders who I can call that are. (Give me a call if you are looking for one, I’d be happy to provide you with a list of lender’s numbers!)

The important thing to note is that when you do find the property of your dreams, for whatever purpose you intend it to be used, you are going to want to have ALREADY spoken to several lenders about what they will qualify you to buy and what sort of rates they can offer you! The one you decide to use will likely fill out an application over the phone, or have you do so online for the purpose of providing you with a prequalification letter, which gives you an idea of what price range in which you’ll be able to shop for that dream property.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Then, when the time comes to submit your offer, you’ll be able to have the lender update your “prequal” letter to be specific to that property, and submit it to the seller with your offer. Offers that arrive with financing documentation attached have a much stronger chance of being accepted!