Geoff Hollands Geoff Hollands

Archive for April 2015

Buying Your First Home

So you’re going to buy your first house. This is exciting and maybe even a little overwhelming. Yes, there’s a lot to think about and a lot to do since buying a home is an important investment, but it can end up being one of life’s most exciting and rewarding transitions.

To make buying your first home simpler, I have broken down the process into three main steps: Doing Your Homework, Doing Your Research and Doing Your Leg Work.

Doing Your Homework

Completing the homework is the first step in simplifying the home buying process. Long before you start looking at the number of bedrooms or the size of the backyard, it is key to evaluate your financial health.

1. Get your credit scores. Before you start measuring if your couch will fit in the living room, obtain your credit reports. There are three national credit reporting agencies: Experian, Transunion and Equifax. These will provide your credit score as well as if there are any unpaid debts. Read through the reports carefully to make sure that there is no incorrect information, particularly if you are being penalized for a settled account. Ultimately, the higher your credit , the lower your monthly mortgage rate will be.

2. Do your math. Before you go house hunting, determine how much house you can afford. It is recommended that housing should not exceed 25% of your gross pay and 35% of your take home pay. Make sure that you include expenses like insurance and utilities.

3. Go shopping. No, not for a house yet, but for a mortgage lender. It is important to research rates and terms and to get an estimate of closing costs. It is helpful to find a financial institution that communicates with you well and in a timely manner.

4. Get preapproved. Especially in the fast-paced real estate market of Silicon Valley. Having a pre-approval letter will be a key factor in both making an offer and speeding up the mortgage process once your bid has been accepted.

5. Research potential neighborhoods. Think about what is important to you about where you are going to live. Schools, taxes, commute times, proximity to stores, parks and cultural locations, local amenities and services can be deciding factors.

6. Make a list of what you want in a home. Divide this into needs and wants. Sometimes this can be a tough task, but it will really help when narrowing down the perfect house for you.

7. Go house hunting. This is where the fun really begins. Bring a notebook with you each time you view a listing so that you can write down your impression of each property.

8. Make an offer. Not too high, not too low. Be prepared for a bit of negotiation.

9. Get an inspection. I can help you find a qualified inspector.

10. Start organizing your move.

Silicon Valley Real Estate

I really look forward to celebrating your new home with you. When you’re ready to take the next steps, do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to welcoming you home to Silicon Valley. Connect with me today to get started!

Guide to Buying a Condo in Silicon Valley

Condominiums are a fantastic option for many first-time buyers, single professionals and young families. They are generally more affordable than a single-family home and offer excellent advantages in the way of amenities. This is a great way to get your foot in the real estate door in Silicon Valley, where homes can be very expensive, especially for people relocating to the region for employment. It is certainly a viable alternative to renting an apartment, which can be equally as expensive but has no return on your investment.

The market for condominiums in this part of the country is very competitive. They are popular with buyers and sell very quickly and there are often multiple offers on each unit.
Condos are a great option if you don’t want to be bothered with outside maintenance and repairs, you enjoy the company of other people nearby and you enjoy amenities like pools, fitness facilities and tennis courts.

Things to Know When Buying a Silicon Valley Condo

A few things to consider in your decision making process to purchasing a condo in Silicon Valley:

1. Location! Check out the cities and neighborhoods to find one that best fits your lifestyle. Are you looking for a short commute to work? Public transportation? Proximity to great restaurants and nightlife? Are you into sporting events or theater? Or will you be spending your weekends hiking the trails? There is definitely a community that will suit you best, but it helps to do a little research first to find the perfect place.

2. Once you start looking at condominiums, inquire about issues and annoyances since you will be living in close proximity to your neighbors.

3. Research the Homeowner’s Association (HOA). Condominium ownership’s obligations include the payment of a monthly condo fee. You want to make sure that they have enough in reserves to cover maintenance items and also that the HOA does not have extremely intrusive regulations.

I can help you navigate the real estate process involved in purchasing a condominium. I know the neighborhoods and all the ins and outs of searching for a great residence and negotiating the deal. Let’s get started today with finding your next home. When you’re ready to connect, I’m just a phone call or website inquiry away and look forward to sharing my knowledge and expertise with you.