2017 Bay Area Real Estate Forecasts

    Posted by Mike Continillo on Jan 26, 2017 4:02:12 PM

    2017 Bay Area Real Estate Forecasts Villa Properties San Ramon Realtor.pngThere has been a lot of prognostications from various real estate entities about the 2017 housing market. There has also been a common tune from all sides expecting home sales and prices to moderate in the coming year. Most experts foresee a comeback for the suburbs and a slight increase in mortgage rates. However, a lot will depend on the new administration. Some of the issues that could affect the market are: immigration policies, tax reforms, infrastructure spending and regulations. Below are some forecasts that may give a hint on the market conditions to come this year.

    Subtle Shift from a Sellers Market to a Buyers Market

    The bidding frenzy that has been synonymous with the Bay area has cooled off. 2015 and 2016 experienced a wave of demand that led to the increase in house prices and buyers paying way above listing price just to get the house they wanted, However, the once red-hot Bay area market has cooled off in the recent months and we are now seeing houses stay a little bit longer in the market. This signals a shift and 2017 could see buyers waiting a little bit longer to enter the market so as to avoid a bidding war.

    Tighter housing supplies

    The housing shortage in San Francisco Bay area has come at a time when the housing demand is high. The high prices have meant that most houses have been out of reach for many buyers. This will push buyers to the inland cities where houses are still affordable, and this will reduce the number of sales slightly. If people keep migrating to peripheral cities where they can get value for their money, the house prices in San Francisco will ultimately reduce.

    Smaller home-price gains

    San Francisco's real estate will slow down in 2017, Zillow has predicted a moderate price increase of 1.7% compared to 4% last year. This is being viewed as a much-needed market correction after a bull trend. This will be good for the Bay Area as the market stabilizes and encourages sustainable growth. The underlying factors that support this theory such as deteriorating housing affordability and economic uncertainty will counter any growth.

    Mortgage rates could increase steadily

    Many experts have predicted a slight increase in mortgage rates towards the end of this year. The Mortgage Bankers Association expects the mortgage rates to stay below 4% through the first quarter of 2017 and then increase upwards of 4.4% towards the end of 2017. The increase may not have a considerable effect on home buyers and will not dent the demand. However, the rate increase will be felt in expensive markets such as San Francisco. There is also very good indication that the federal reserve will continue to raise rates in the coming year.

    If you are interested in purchasing or selling a home, contact Villa Properties today at (925) 519-0794. We will help you determine the worth of your current and potential new home!

    Topics: Real Estate Articles

    2016 Real Estate Market in Review

    Posted by Mike Continillo on Dec 28, 2016 7:00:00 AM

    2016 RE Market Review.jpg

    Financial market and real estate cycles have been looked at for hundreds of years. Future cycles will vary in detail, the causes, trend lines, and effects will more than likely be quite similar. Looking at cycles gives you more contexts to see how markets perform over time and where they may be going.

    2016 Real Estate Market in Review

    The California Association of Realtors has projected you will need to make around $252,000 a year to afford a home in San Francisco. This accounts for about 20 percent of the population according to the United States Census in this area. You also have many options to rent around the San Francisco Bay area versus the standard $6,310 a month mortgage.

    Prices are Leveling

    The Silicon Valley ranks as one of the country's most expensive places to buy a home. According to Forbes, prices in the region are leveling off. Atherton has lost its title for being the priciest zip code in the country. It held the number one title for three years and has now fallen to number three.

    Suburban Dwellings Dominate Market

    As a nation, the United States is dominated by suburban dwellers. The Bay Area is no exception to this trend. Most of the millennials are suburbanites and make up most of the new home purchases in these types of communities. In the San Francisco Bay Area, there are over 70 percent of the residents living in one of five types of suburbs.

    Suburbs Offer More

    These outlying areas have more of an allure to homeowners with the more affordable housing options that are available. They also offer residents more space, easier commutes, and quality schools. There are also more community services available such as; stores reachable by foot, restaurants, and parks.

    Bay Area Real Estate

    The 2017 National Housing Forecast is predicting home prices will increase by 3.9 percent across the United States. This is slower than the past two years. They are also predicting sales volumes to increase by 1.9 percent. Of the projected growth next year, the Bay Area real estate markets will barely meet the first half. San Francisco will come in number 37 and San Jose at 39.

    At Villa Properties you will find a blend of experience with incredible knowledge on the ins and outs of real estate in the Bay Area. You receive personalized attention to find the property that meets both your needs and your budget.  Contact us today for any questions you may have or to start looking for your next home.


    Topics: Real Estate Articles

    2016 End of Year Home Improvements

    Posted by Mike Continillo on Dec 26, 2016 1:01:27 PM

    MVP 2016 EOY Home Improvements.jpg

    Many end-of-year home improvements are planned to be completed before the big holidays; New Year's Eve, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Thanksgiving. When the holidays get close, contractors book up quickly so it is best to tackle your improvements during the off-season. Another important consideration are the federal tax credits available for home improvements.

    End of Year Home Improvements

    There are several tax credits available for purchases you've made during 2016 and some retroactive for purchases made in 2015 to improve residential energy efficiency. Congress revises tax laws regularly and will often create tax breaks for homeowners. They sadly have the habit of canceling tax breaks or allowing them to expire. There are tax breaks you should keep track of if you are a home or property owner.

    Important Tax Provisions

    If you are a property or homeowner planning to make home improvements there are some important tax provisions you should be aware of:

    • Rental or vacation homeowners may be eligible for an elimination of a tax loophole.
    • There may the possibility for the continuation of private mortgage insurance deduction
    • Energy-saving purchases for your home are often tax deductible
    • Defaulting homeowners may be eligible for a tax break
    • There are sometimes tax credits offered for first-time or returning homebuyers

    You will to check current tax laws to know if any of these deductions or credits have expired or been canceled.

    Difference Between Tax Deduction and Tax Credit

    Receiving a tax credit is better than a tax deduction. It means you will receive a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your taxes. In cases where you don't owe any taxes at the end of the year, you would then get a refund for the amount of the credit.

    A tax deduction will reduce your taxable income. Lower taxable income would mean you would have to pay less taxes in April.

    Energy Tax Credits

    Tax credits are often offered to homeowners who install solar, wind, or geothermal systems to create electricity. Systems used to create hot water in this manner can often earn you a tax credit of up to 30% of what you have paid for the system. This is a credit good for purchases made in 2015 but will expire at the end of 2016.

    There are also some tax credits available for the installation of a fuel cell system to create electricity for homeowners of their first or second home. It will expire in 2016 but currently applies to improvements for an existing home or one newly being constructed. For more information please visit https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits.

    Other Beneficial Credits

    Debt forgiven by lenders is often counted as income. The Mortgage Forgiveness Act gives those homeowners a tax break and doesn't count the amount towards their income. There is also a refundable tax credit up to $8,000 for some first-time home buyers.  A first-time homebuyer is someone who has not previously owned a residence.

    The team at Villa Properties is here to help you understand the real estate market. For professional help in selling or purchasing a new home, contact your San Ramon Realtors today at (925) 519-0794.

    Topics: Real Estate Articles

    How to Claim Energy Tax Credits

    Posted by Mike Continillo on Apr 5, 2016 7:19:12 AM

    energy-tax-credits-villa-properties.jpgYou may be eligible to take advantage of the Residential Energy Efficient Tax Credits if you have installed energy saving improvements to your home during the past year. These credits could potentially be worth up to 30% of your total cost for the installation of specific renewable energy sources in your house. This credit is applicable to newly constructed homes also, as long as it is a home you own, not a rental unit.

    Which Home Energy Sources Qualify?

    The different home energy sources that qualify you for the credit include:

    • Solar panels
    • Up to $4000 small wind turbines
    • Up to $500 for 0.5 kilowatt power capacity fuel cells
    • Geothermal heat pumps
    • Solar water heaters

    California incentives to compensate for solar investments can be combined with the 30% Federal Tax Credit. Over time these rebates and incentives diminish so it's best to act quickly.

    Are the Tax Credits Only For Recent Improvements?

    There were a number of tax credits renewed for residential energy efficiency. These renewed energy credits are for purchases in 2016 as well as purchases in 2015. Additionally, the Consolidated Appropriations Act from December 2015 extended the expiration date of tax credits for some that had expired at the end of 2014. These were:

    • Energy efficient improvements made on residential homes
    • New homes built energy efficient provide builder incentives
    • New and retrofitted energy efficient commercial buildings

    The extensions applied as:

    • Tax credit of 10% of cost up to $500 or a specific amount from $50-$300 on existing home and primary residence. No new construction or rental units.
    • Tax credit of 30% of cost with no upper limit for existing homes and new construction. This includes primary residence as well as second home. Rental units do not qualify.
    • Tax credit of 30% of cost with no upper limit for existing homes that are a primary residence and new construction. Rental units do not qualify.

    What Other Type of Improvements Qualify for Tax Credit?

    There are a number of other improvements that qualify for the energy tax credit.  Upgrading one or more of these systems in 2015 could mean you’re eligible for up to $500 on your tax returns:

    • Biomass stove replacement of your older model stove could earn you a $300 energy tax credit. It is limited to 10% of expenditures, up to a $500 lifetime amount.
    • Heating, ventilation or air conditioning systems installed that are energy efficient qualify for 10% of costs up to $500 for all energy improvements combined.
    • Roofs (metal and asphalt) replaced your old roof are eligible for 10% of expenditures, up to lifetime $500, for all energy improvements combined. This is a trickier one to qualify for as not all roof material is covered. Check herefor materials that qualify.
    • Water heaters installed that are energy efficient qualify for 10% of expenditures, up to $300, for a non-solar water heater, including installation.
    • Windows, doors and skylights that have been installed are eligible at 10% of expenditures, up to a lifetime $500, for all energy improvements combined.
    • Insulation added qualifies for 10% of expenditures, up to $500 for the year, for all energy improvements combined. This is a lifetime credit.

    Tax Credits are Available for Solar Systems Purchased in California

    California residents qualify for federal tax incentives for the purchase and installation of both solar photovoltaics and solar hot water systems. There are other incentives available for other renewable energy investments. Click to learn how the new legislation may benefit you.

    If you are interested in purchasing or selling a home, contact Villa Properties today at (925) 519-0794. We will help you determine the worth of your current and potential new home!

    Topics: Real Estate Articles

    What to Know Before Buying a Home

    Posted by Mike Continillo on Sep 1, 2015 7:00:00 AM

    what-to-know-before-buying-homeBuying a home is a fun and exciting time in one’s life! There are many fun details to choose and discover about your new home. Which can include the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, vaulted ceilings, kitchen amenities , location, , schools and closeness to local establishments such as restaurants, grocery stores –However, despite the fun details, the cost of a home may be overwhelming.  The decision to buy a home is an important one that will affect your finances and quality of life for years to come. The following four tips, below, will ensure you find a home you love while not feeling financially overextended.

    Do Your Research

    There is no shortage of home-buying advice and information on the Internet. Sites like Zillow can be helpful, but don’t always have the most accurate data. The information they provide is generated based on algorithms that do not account for particular differences in neighborhoods, school districts, and other local factors that can affect a home’s value.

    Villa Properties offers a Home Value Report with much more accurate information tailored to the local area. A local broker with a deep understanding of the market hand selects the comparable properties.

    The website, Walk Score, provides helpful information about transportation options, local shops, restaurants, etc. all based on distances from a specific address. If you want a home where most errands can be done without getting in your car, Walk Score can help.

    Check Your Credit

    Your credit score plays an important role when purchasing a home. It affects your ability to get a mortgage loan and determines the interest rate for which you can qualify. Obtain a copy of your credit report and take steps to improve your score before you apply for a home loan. You don’t want any surprises to pop up during the loan process.

    Keep in mind that a good credit score comes from paying your bills on time and only applying for as much credit as you truly need.

    The True Costs of Home Ownership


    When you buy a house, there are other costs to consider before deciding just how much house you can buy and what features you want. First and foremost, all homeowners will need homeowners’ insurance and are required to pay property taxes. Be sure to add these items to your monthly mortgage payments to determine your actual cost.

    Also remember that there is no landlord to call when the water heater breaks or the air conditioning unit goes out. You will be the landlord now so any maintenance and repair costs will now be your responsibility. You may jump at the chance to buy a “fixer upper” because the purchase price is lower, but remember to factor in the money you will need to invest to complete any repairs or upgrades.

    Most homes come unfurnished and are likely going to be bigger than the apartment or home you are moving from so you may need to buy new furniture, appliances, and window treatments. If the house has a large yard, you may want to factor in the cost of a riding mower or other gardening supplies you may not have previously needed. Homes with a pool have added value and can provide entertainment for your family, but there are costs for pool maintenance and upkeep.

    Don’t Overbuy

    If your family is accustomed to eating out often or taking frequent vacations, be sure to factor in those costs when deciding just how much home you can afford.

    Online calculators and mortgage lenders can give you an idea of how much of a monthly mortgage payment you can afford. However, do not feel as though you must extend yourself to that degree, especially, if it stretches your budget too thin. Buying a home is important, but other aspects of your life are important, too.

    For help in finding out what you need to know before buying a home, contact our real estate office in San Ramon. We have the experience you need to help you navigate the process and find the right home for you.

    Topics: Real Estate Articles

    The 5 Types of Mortgages

    Posted by Mike Continillo on Aug 1, 2015 2:00:00 AM

    Types_of_MortgagesThere are many types of mortgage loan options available today.  There are Fixed Rate, Adjustable or (ARM), FHA, VA, and Reverse mortgage to name a few. With so many different loan options, how do you know which one is right for you?

    Below we review the pros and cons of the basic types of mortgage loans, so that you can make an educated decision for yourself, based on your unique circumstances.

    Amy Bobel, Mortgage Loan Officer with PNC Mortgage, helped us put this together.


    Fixed Rate Mortgages

    A fixed rate mortgage, as its name indicates, is a mortgage with a fixed interest rate. You lock in the best rate available at the time of loan origination and the interest rate remains constant for the life of your loan. The term of a fixed rate mortgage is usually 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. Your interest rate and payment amounts never change.

    For instance, you may initiate a 30-year-fixed loan at a rate of 5.25%. Even if interest rates drop to 4%, you are still locked in to the original 5.25%. You can certainly refinance the loan at the lower rate, if you qualify. However if you complete a refinance, you start your new loan with a term of 10, 15, 20 or 30 years so the clock resets when you refinance.

    Adjustable Rate Mortgages

    Adjustable rate or variable rate mortgages offer payments that change based on the variable interest rates. The rate is set for a period of time (3, 5, 7, 10 yr) and thereafter, it will adjust based on the current market at that time and loan terms.  As interest rates rise and fall, so does your monthly payment. These types of mortgages allow you to take advantage of falling interest rates by paying smaller payments as interest rates decrease.

    However it’s difficult to accurately predict future interest rates. It’s possible that interest rates could go up and so too would your monthly payment. At the end of the initial loan period and each year thereafter, your interest rate and monthly payment are subject to change based on current percentages. Adjustable rate mortgages are a good option if you don’t plan to own your home long term.

    FHA Mortgage Loans

    The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a federal government department, manages the mortgage insurance program. Through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) program, you down payment can be as low as 3.5% of the purchase price and allow for the seller to cover closing cost.  However, the guidelines of the program require you to purchase mortgage insurance and this will increase the amount of your monthly payments. This program is great for 1st time homebuyers.  

    VA Mortgage Loans

    The VA, or Department of Veterans Affairs, program offers mortgages guaranteed by the federal government. If the borrower does not pay back the loan, the VA will reimburse the lender for any losses incurred. This program is available for:

    • Active military members
    • Retired military members
    • Family members of military service people.

    The big advantage with this type of loan is that you can obtain 100% financing and not have to produce a down payment.

    Interest-Only Mortgage Loans

    Interest-only loans allow you to simply pay back interest each month for a specified amount of time. Once that period ends, you will either need to pay a lump sum, refinance or start paying on the principal. Like adjustable rate mortgages, interest only mortgages are ideal for people who only plan to own their home for a short amount of time. In this case preferable before you have to start repaying the principal. The clear advantage here is that your payments will only consist of the interest each month and will therefore be much lower than a traditional mortgage payment.

    Reverse Mortgage Loans

    Reverse mortgages are becoming more and more common as our population ages. Reverse mortgages allow a homeowner who is over the age of 62 to convert a portion of their primary residence equity into income. This way, homeowners can make use of the equity in their home while they are still living. The loan is secured by the home and then is only due to be paid if they die, sell or move out early.

    Even with the many different type of loans to choose from, you’ll want to review your credit report and take care of any discrepancies before applying. All loans may have different requirements to qualify and will take time to get approved, so please contact agents Mike and Cynthia Continillo with Villa Properties for more detail.  They can help you determine the right mortgage loan for your financial situation.


    Topics: Real Estate Articles

    Legal Real Estate Terms Defined

    Posted by Mike Continillo on Jun 22, 2015 9:48:48 AM

    real estate termsMany professions have their own language and terminology. Real estate agents are no different. For many lay people it is a struggle to wade through all the verbiage and acronyms to get to the information they need. Below is a list of the most popular legal real estate terms defined to make the process of buying or selling a home clearer. The list isn’t comprehensive, but covers the more common terms you’re like to encounter in the process:

    Adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)

    This is a mortgage in which the interest is changed according to corresponding fluctuations in an index.

    Annual percentage rate (APR)

    This is a value created to reflect the true annual cost of borrowing, expressed as a percentage. For example, if you deduct the closing costs from your loan amount calculate what the interest rate would be on that resulting amount, you will come up with a number in close proximity to the APR.


    A written estimate of the value of a property. It is based on comparable sales of similar homes in the area.


    This is increased value of a property brought about by changes in inflation and the general state of the market.

    Bill of sale

    This is a written document that transfers title of property. This is often used when items are sold to produce a home’s down payment. The buyer must document the source of the funds.

    Bridging loans

    Those who have not yet sold their old property, but must close on a purchase of their new property take out bridge or bridging loans.


    Simply defined, a “broker” is someone who acts as an agent and brings two parties together in a transaction while earning a fee for doing so. The term Broker has many meanings in different situations. Many Realtors are agents who work for a broker. Other realtors are also brokers.

    Chain of title

    This is simply a list the transfers of title to a piece of property over the years.

    Closing costs

    Closing costs are divided into what are called "pre paid items and "non-recurring closing costs."


    Delinquency is a failure to make payments when mortgage payments are due. There may not be a late fee charged but the payment is still considered to be late and the loan delinquent.


    This is a sum of money given in advance of a larger amount being due in the future. This is called in real estate as an "earnest money deposit."


    This is money deposited with a third party to be delivered upon the fulfillment of certain conditions.

    Fair market value

    The highest price that a buyer is willing to buy and the lowest a seller, willing to sell, would accept.

    Government loan

    A government loan is a mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

    Hazard Insurance

    This is protection against a loss such as fire, etc. over the period that is secured by the payment of a regular premium.


    This is a reverse mortgage that is used by senior homeowners age 62 and over.


    Home Buyer Education Learning Program

    Home Inspection

    This is an inspection of the structure and mechanical systems to access a home's quality

    Home Warranty

    Gives protection for internal systems like boilers and A/C appliances against unexpected repairs not covered by owner's insurance.


    Inflation results in a decrease in the dollar's value.

    Interest Rate

    This is the amount of interest charged on a loan payment, expressed as a percentage.

    Joint Tenancy (With Rights Of Survivorship)

    This is where two or more owners share equal ownership and rights to the property. If a joint owner dies the property passes to the other owners.

    Late Payment Charges

    This is a penalty the homeowner must pay when a mortgage payment is made after the due date has expired.

    Mandatory Delivery Commitment

    This is an agreement that a lender will deliver loans or securities by a set date.


    This is the conveyance of title to property that is given to secure an obligation.

    Net Income

    The balance of gross income left over after all deductions and exemptions are taken

    Owner's Policy

    An insurance policy that protects the owner from title defects.

    Payment Due Date

    This specifying when payments are due on money borrowed.


    This is a real estate agent or broker.


    This is paying off one loan by obtaining another loan.

    Risk Scoring

    This is a means to analyze a credit report verses a manual review.

    Secured Loan

    A loan backed by collateral.


    This is a right, benefit, or privilege not dependent on any contingency or condition.

    Walk Through

    This is the final inspection of a property being sold by the buyer.


    This is the creation and enforcement of zones under local law.


    If you are unclear about any of the terms above or worried about one not listed here, also if you have a property to buy or sell contact Villa Properties for more information.

    The staff members are friendly, approachable and here to help you with your San Ramon area real estate needs. Villa Properties has years of experience in the real estate market and you can be sure of a professional service at all times.

    Topics: Real Estate Articles

    Renting a House vs Buying A Home

    Posted by Mike Continillo on May 12, 2015 9:53:45 AM

    buy vs. rentPurchasing a home is one of the main financial decisions that most adults are called upon to make. The costs of buying are varied and complex and it’s important to consider the pros and cons of renting and buying before making your decision.

    Should you buy or rent?

    Owning a home is a major commitment. Before you take the plunge, you should research home prices and monthly rents in your area. Both vary based on your geographic area as well as the current real estate market. Owning a home has its advantages and disadvantages, but so too does renting a house. Use online payment calculators to understand your potential mortgage payments. Be sure to factor in costs for property taxes and homeowners’ insurance. Explore local rent prices to ascertain how far your dollar will go in the current rental market.

    Here we will explore some of the pros and cons of home ownership vs. rental so that you can decide for yourself.

    Advantages of buying a home

    The main benefits of owning a home include:

    • Building equity. After making your monthly payments you will have equity built up that will either enable you to purchase a bigger home or provide financial security in your older years once the loan is paid in full.
    • Tax deductions. Both your property taxes and the mortgage interest you’ve paid during the year are tax-deductible. Additionally, if you work from home you can potentially use tax deductions to offset your business costs.
    • Creative license. Once you own a home, it is yours to do with as you wish. It’s up to you make changes to the look and feel of the home, whether that that means putting a few nails in the walls, knocking down a wall to open up your space, or even adding onto your home.
    • Consistent payments. If you have a fixed loan, your payments will remain the same throughout the life of the loan. If you choose an adjustable or variable rate loan, your payments are subject to change but the terms of those changes are clearly spelled out in your loan agreement.

    The disadvantages of buying a house

    • Major financial commitment. You will need to come up with money for the down payment as well as fees for the various agencies that will help with your purchase such as the escrow company, appraisers, and inspectors. Loans are usually granted on a 15-year or 30-year basis, which means you are committing to make that monthly mortgage payment for a long time.
    • Maintenance costs. Once you purchase a home, there is no landlord to call when the washing machine breaks down or your kitchen sink springs a leak. You are the landlord and will be tasked with fixing these problems or hiring someone to do so for you. These costs and their accompanying headache can add up.
    • Value fluctuation. Based on the housing market in your area, the value of your home can increase or decrease over time. If you are ready to sell the home, that may prove difficult if the house is now worth less than you paid for it.

    The advantages of renting

    • Flexibility. Renting a house may require an initial or ongoing lease, but it is a lot easier to get out of a rental vs. getting out of a house you own. Renting can also give you a chance to explore a new area before committing long-term to a new home.
    • Freedom. If you’re not sure how long you might stay in a given area, you are better off renting to allow you the freedom to move more often since you have not committed to one place for a 15-year or 30-year term.
    • No maintenance expenses. If you are renting a home and a major appliance breaks or your find a structural problem with the home, you can pick up the phone and call the landlord to come fix the problem. The landlord will incur all expenses.
    • Credit issues. If your credit score is less than stellar, you can spend time renting a house to build up your credit by making your payments in full and on time.

    The disadvantages of renting

    • Creative limitations. There are very few changes you can make to the house without getting express permission from your landlord. You are limited in your options and pretty much have to keep the place as-is to avoid causing problems.
    • Unstable payments. Rents are subject to increase at the landlord’s discretion. As the market changes and your landlord experiences increases in maintenance costs, homeowners’ insurance and property taxes, he is likely to pass along those costs to you in the way of a rent increase.
    • Empty-handed. When the time comes to leave your rental, the most you can expect to receive is the return of your initial deposit. You have accrued no equity and pretty much finish where you started.
    • No tax breaks. Home renters do not see the same tax advantages as homeowners do.

    The choice of any of these depends on your market, where you decide to live and whether you would like to do some home improvements and renovations in your new home. For professional help regarding this important decision, feel free to contact Villa Properties.

    Topics: Real Estate Articles

    Credit Reports - How Important Are They When Buying a Home?

    Posted by Mike Continillo on Feb 26, 2015 3:41:34 PM

    Villa Properties Credit Reports and Home BuyingWhen the time comes to buy a home, most people do not have the money to buy their house in cash. This means that, sooner or later, if you want to buy a home, you'll need to speak with a lender who will refer to your credit report. Your credit report will help them decide whether or not to lend you the money.

    Why is that? Credit reports are used by lenders to evaluate the risk of lending you money to buy a home. Lenders reviews items such as: ability to make payments on time, your level of debt relative to your income level, types of credit you've been able to secure, and how long you have had credit.

    Looking for Red Flags

    What lenders are really looking for are red flags in your credit history that might indicate that you'll have trouble repaying the loan. Some of the things that send up red flags for lenders include:

    • Consistent or frequent late payments - If your credit report shows a history of late payments, it tells lenders that you're more likely to be late with their payments. And especially if the late payments are recent, it's even more of a red flag.
    • High Debt - Lenders look at your total debt relative to your total income. If your total debt (car payments, credit card payments, student loan payments, alimony, etc.) divided by your total income is high, that raises a red flag. A high debt-to-income ratio indicates restricted free cash flow.
    • Liens or foreclosures - If you have any liens, re-possessions, or foreclosures on your credit report, that's a red flag. What's more, such records typically stay on credit reports for years.

    Cleaning up your Credit Report

    Just as a bad credit report will work against you, clean credit reports will work for you when the time comes to get a home loan. To that end, it's important to make sure that your credit reports are as accurate and clean as possible. To clean up your credit report, you should:

    • Pay on time. Shoot for 12 months of on-time payments, before you go for a home loan.
    • Understand the different kinds of credit. Home loans, car loans and credit cards are all different kinds of credit, with their own unique rules. Before engaging in any credit, make sure you fully understand those rules.
    • Don't borrow too much. Maybe the most fundamental strategy, but it's also the most effective. Understand how much credit you can afford to pay, and don't exceed that limit. Ever.
    • Spend responsibly. Just like you should understand your credit limits, you also need to set a budget, and stick to it.
    • Monitor your credit reports. Bad information on your credit report can delay your credit decision. Make sure you review your credit reports on a regular basis, and check for anything that's incorrect or might negatively affect your credit. If you find something, dispute it to have it removed.
    • Pay off balances. Nothing makes a credit report shine like a history of paying off what you owe. So pay off those outstanding balances, and make your credit report tell a story that makes you look good.

    Laurie Christeson, a mortgage advisor at OPES Advisors, tells all of her borrowers “..to not keep a running balance of over 25% of available credit for any one credit card. Make revolving credit payments every two weeks vs. once a month and always pay a little extra towards balances each month, even $5/extra can boost scores. Shopping around for credit cards etc., when you begin to look at purchasing a home can reduce your scores negatively. Once borrowers sit down with a lender, they should be instructed to not open any new credit as this can sometimes push debt ratios over what lenders allow, therefore they may no longer qualify for a specific loan amount.”

    Laurie also recommends, “ordering a free credit report by logging onto the government’s website: annualcreditreport.com. This is a free report complied by Transunion, Experian and Equifax; the 3 credit reporting that lenders use when pulling credit reports. This report is available free once a year.”

    There's really no magic fix to produce good credit reports, but following the steps above really does help. Credit reports are very important to the home-buying process, and they can be turned into documents that sing your praises, instead of telling tales of woe. So make sure that you take the time to get your credit reports clean and optimized - if you do, it can make all the difference in getting the right loan for the right home.

    Ready to purchase a home? We can help. Give us a call at (925) 519-0794 or send over an email and we would be happy to answer any additional questions you may have.

    Topics: Real Estate Articles

    San Ramon Real Estate - Outlook 2015

    Posted by Mike Continillo on Jan 26, 2015 6:54:31 PM

    It's the beginning of the year, and everyone wants to know "how's the market"? It's an important question that both buyers and sellers will need to explore in order to make an educated decision on whether it's a good time to buy or sell a home.

    It is impossible to know exactly what the real estate market will do in the coming months. Unless of course you have a magic crystal ball, or a time machine. Last time I checked those didn't exist, so the next best thing is to look at past and current values, and explore other economic factors that influence the market. This will help give us an idea of how prices are trending and what the market may look like in the coming months.

    Looking at Values

    When we look at past and current values, we look at average and median price trends. These price trends of past sales help determine if prices are increasing, leveling off, or declining. It is also important to look at average days on the market (DOM). Very short time periods (typically less than 30 days) are good indicators that it is a seller's market and prices will trend up. The chart below shows the average and median sales price, along with average days on the market for detached single family homes in San Ramon.

    Detached Single Family Homes in San Ramon

    San Ramon Market 2015 Outlook Information gathered from Bay East Association of Realtors® or it's (MLS) and is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.










    As you can see from the chart there was a sharp increase in value from the end of 2012 through 2013. In 2014 prices continued to increase but there was more of a leveling off from the previous year. As with last year, the numbers tend to drop off a little as the year comes to a close, and then begin to increase as the year continues. The slight fluctuations seen over the month of December aside, the general pattern remains similar to that seen in 2014.

    The number of homes for sale will also have an effect on prices. San Ramon has been in a low inventory position since 2013. As of January 23rd, 2015 there were 42 active listings on the MLS, in San Ramon. This is less than one month's worth of inventory. Supply continues to be low but the anticipation is that more homes will be listed in the coming months as sellers look to take advantage of increased equity.

    What Does All This Mean For Homebuyers And Sellers?

    Long term trends indicate that it is a good time to buy in San Ramon. Historically low rates, and a positively trending market are major contributors. This means that buyers can expect to find an increasing number of homes come onto the market, as sellers seek to take advantage of the equity created in their home. While buyers will not be getting the bargain-basement deals seen three or four years ago, they will have more options to choose from, and they will be able to reasonably depend on a rise in value in in their newly purchased home over the coming year.

    For sellers, the market continues to favor those that desire to make a profitable sale. Sellers can expect to sell their homes for more now than they could at the beginning of 2013. Buyers will be eager to purchase homes that are only likely to increase in value, so many qualified prospects will be out house hunting in 2015.

    Taking Advantage Of The Market

    While it is easy to look over statistics from the past, accurately measuring the future of the real estate market is not so easy. It takes a significant amount of experience and familiarity with the San Ramon area, and the ongoing changes that happen day-to-day, to buy and sell effectively in this competitive real estate market. This is why the help of an experienced real estate agent can prove so beneficial when you are buying or selling a home.

    If you need assistance with your real estate transaction in San Ramon, please contact Villa Properties today. Our company understands San Ramon real estate, and we are ready to put our experience to work for you. Let us help you get the most out of the market in 2015.

    Topics: Real Estate Articles