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Orange County Home Buyers Checklist

Orange County Real Estate Specialists – Call Now at 949-355-9558

 For most of us, buying a home is the “American dream” and a very exciting time in our lives. Buying a home in Orange County can also be very overwhelming, especially if you are a first time home buyer and don’t know the ropes. The following is a convenient guide that you can take along with you whenever you go house shopping.

1). How Much You Want to Spend on Your Orange County Home

If you have decided that home ownership is right for you, the next step is deciding how much home you can afford. Typically, most lenders suggest that you spend no more than 28% of your monthly income on a mortgage. Keep in mind, in addition to the mortgage costs, you will have to pay the closing costs and legal fees, which are usually 2% to 3% of the house price.  Also, don’t forget moving fees and labor, and any fixes that you might have to make to the house upon moving in, plus monthly maintenance fees if you’re moving into a condo or planned community.When you have figured out your price range, take a look at the market and the issues that matter to you. Research school districts, crime statistics, impending construction or anything that could decrease or increase the value of a home. Look at the surrounding area to see if it’s a place in which you see yourself and family.

2).  Make Sure you Check on Your Credit Score

Your credit score is one of the main factors your mortgage lender will use to determine whether you qualify for financing. That being said, every lender uses different methods to determine your credit worthiness. So, in some cases, a minimum score is difficult to determine for conventional loans. In other cases, especially when loans are underwritten or insured by government organizations, there are minimum credit scores to qualify. The score your lender will accept for a conventional loan can be determined by many factors, including your payment history, your salary history, your current wage, your available credit, the scores other lenders are accepting and the current economic climate.

 3). Shop for a Mortgage Lender that’s a Fit to Your Needs

Zillow says that to observe the way the lender responds to you when you first contact him or her. Are they prompt to respond to your initial contact? Are they friendly and courteous? Do they honor their quote that you saw online or in an offline ad? Are they willing to explain things to you or educate you about different choices? Do they proactively discuss the timeline of the loan (estimated closing date, when to lock the rate)? Do they discuss when/how rates will change? When you have figured out your price range, take a look at the market and the issues that matter to you. Research school districts, crime statistics, impending construction or anything that could decrease or increase the value of a home. Look at the surrounding area to see if it’s a place in which you see yourself and family.

4). Hire a Reputable Full Time Orange County Real Estate Agent

Look  for a professional Orange Realtor® that can help you negotiate what is needed to sell your Orange County home?  That is wher we come in and can help you the complexities of a successful transaction, which are many. “When you deal with someone who is going to help you buy or sell a piece of property, you’d better find someone that knows what they’re doing,” says Donald Brenner, professor emeritus at American University.” We are experienced, professional and dedicated with strong communication skills who will ensure that you receive the best possible real estate transaction.

5). Get a Loan Pre-approval

“Loan Pre-approval” means that you have already met with a loan officer, your credit files have been reviewed and the loan officer believes you can readily qualify for a given loan amount with one or more specific mortgage programs. Based on the information you give, the lender will then provide a “pre approval letter,” which shows your borrowing power. Feel free to visit as many lenders as you like and be sure to get several pre-approvals. Keep in mind that each inquiry carries with it a new credit check, which will show up on future credit reports.

6). Preview Orange County Homes

When a buyer is ready to look at homes, Orange County Realtors® are eager to show them. Most often, the buyer will select one or two homes to look at and the agent will pull up a supplemental list of similarly priced homes to show. But price isn’t everything. The problem is the buyer might not like any of the homes on the agent’s list. If the answer to both of those questions is no, you might be wasting your time. Serious home buyers do not have endless amounts of time to spend looking at unsuitable homes.

7).  Are there CDD Fees Involved in a Real Estate Transaction?

A CDD fee is a Community Development District fee imposed by the developer of a neighborhood or subdivision to finance the cost of amenities in a neighborhood. These amenities and community improvements would not be provided without funding from CDD fees.  These fees vary by development and are based on the amount of the loan taken from the county divided by the number of homes responsible for paying back the loan. These fees are most often found in communities built after 2003. Payments for CDD fees ARE tax deductible, like your property taxes.

8). Make an Offer

According to Zillow , in most areas, you will not be presenting your offer directly to the seller in person. Your goal when your agent presents your offer is to give the sellers few reasons to say no and many to say yes. One effective technique, called “loading,” is to include with your offer a separate statement that does two things. First, it concisely recaps information gleaned from your CMA. This lets the sellers know that you know their home is not the onlygreat one out there. . Secondly, it gives sellers more reasons they should promptly say yes to your offer as written. Accepting a lower offer is unpleasant  and your letter should ease them through that process.

9). Orange County Home Inspection

You will need a home inspection which is a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home conducted by a home inspector trained and certified to perform such inspections. The home inspector will describe the condition of the home at the time of inspection. Keep in mind that a professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of a house and is not an inspection to verify compliance with appropriate codes. Home inspections usually take place up to a week before closing and allow buyers the first opportunity to inspect their new home. The inspection is to ensure that all terms of the contract have been met, and that major items are in working order.

10).  Get Home Owners Insurance

Homeowners’ insurance is not an option and something every property should have. If you have a mortgage, your lender will require coverage. Not all insurance coverage is alike. Policies and protections differ, and so do costs. In essence, you want the most protection for the least number of dollars. Homeowners’ insurance comes in standardized packages. The most basic form, HO-1, offers protections against such things as fire, theft, and certain types of liability. HO-2 is more comprehensive and includes protection against damage from broken pipes, the weight of ice and snow, and broken hot water heaters. HO-3 gives even more  and includes just about everything and excludes only earth-shaking events such as earthquakes, floods, nuclear accidents, and wars.

 11). Scheduling the Turn-on-dates for Utilities

After you get the keys to your new home is not the time to try and figure out how to get the water and lights turned on. Rather than spend your first week freezing in your new home with no heat or hot water, understand the steps you need take to make for a smooth transition of utilities in your new home. Have an action plan for setting up and transferring the utilities accounts before you reach the settlement table. A list of utilities to set up for your new Orange County home include:
  1. Electricity
  2. Water
  3. Natural gas
  4. Telephone
  5. Cable and Internet
  6. Trash collection
  7. Security alarm system

Follow the above steps for a smooth transaction.

Orange County Real Estate Specialists – Call Now at 949-355-9558

If you are thinking about selling your Orange County property, we have years of experience and extensive training in cutting-edge, online marketing technologies for today’s competitive market. If you are behind on your mortgage and don’t know what to do, we are experts in Orange County CA short sales.

The first step in the selling process is to provide you with an in-depth comparative market analysis (CMA) on your home. We will then create a comprehensive online game plan to get your Orange County real estate in front of as many people as possible and get it sold as quickly as possible!

As an investor, we have several services available in the preparation for the sale of REO’S and Short Sale properties. This includes a variety of professional sub-contractors who can do whatever is needed to prepare the property for sale. Once the property is ready, we can also help you with your specific marketing needs.

We provide Orange County CA real estate services within the following cities and communities, but not limited to:

  • Laguna Beach  – Emerald Bay , Irvine Cove , Crystal Cove,The Village, Crescent Bay and 3 Arch Bay
  • Newport Coast –   Pelican Hill
  • Corona Del Mar – The Village , Spyglass and Cameo Shores
  • Newport Beach – Newport Heights, Lido Island,  Balboa Island, East Bluff, One Ford Road, Port Streets and Big Canyon
  • Costa Mesa  – Eastside Costa Mesa
  • Huntington Beach
  • Irvine – Turtle Ridge, Shady Canyon, Turtle Rock and Woodbridge

Give us a call today at 949.355.9558 or fill out our online contact form and let us know how we can best serve your Orange County real estate needs.

We look forward to speaking with you!

Edward Jacuinde
Real Estate Consultant
BRE License # 01771487
Mobile: 949.355.9568
Fax: 866.325.9110
2010 Main St Suite 1250
Irvine CA 92614

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