7 Home Buying Acronyms You NEED to Know

If buying a home is in your future, there are some terms you are going to need to know. We are breaking down 7 of the most common home buying acronyms on the blog today!

  1. HOA = Homeowners Association. Many neighborhoods are governed by a Homeowners Association. If you choose a home in a HOA-regulated neighborhood, you’ll pay association fees and will be subject to the HOA’s rules. On the plus side, you’ll also benefit from some nice services like trash removal, amenities, lawn care or maintenance!
  2. FRM = Fixed Rate Mortgage. A fixed-rate mortgage has an interest rate that does NOT change during the entire term of your loan.
  3. ARM = Adjustable Rate Mortgage. An adjustable rate mortgage generally has lower monthly payments at the beginning, but will adjust over time depending on the interest rates.
  4. P&I = Private Mortgage Insurance. This is the extra fee you pay when your down payment is less than 20%.
  5. LTV = Loan to Value. This is the ratio that is calculated by dividing the loan amount by the home’s purchase price. This is important because if you put down less than 20%, you could be able to tap into a special program from your lender.
  6. PITI = Principal, interest, taxes and insurance. Also called your “monthly housing expense”, this includes your mortgage payment and a monthly portion of your homeowners insurance and real estate taxes.
  7. CD = Closing Disclosure. A document that provides important information about your loan, like the interest rate, monthly payments and closing costs. You’ll want to make sure that the information in this document matches the Loan Estimate you received when you applied for the loan.

Real estate terms can seem complicated! We are here to help. Contact us today to help you navigate the home buying process.

5 Tips for Hosting a Successful Open House

If your real estate agent is holding an open house to help sell your home, there are some things you can do on your end to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible. We all know that it is necessary to clean your house and clear the clutter, but here are some additional tips for presenting your home in its best light to potential buyers!

  1. Remove your pet (and all signs and smells of your pet). If you can, it is a really good idea to bring your pet with you the day of the open house. Put pet beds, bowls and toys away and do your best to vacuum up pet hair and spray pet odor eliminating air freshener. Pet smells that really turn off potential buyers, so do your best to eliminate them before the big day.
  2. Brighten up your home. Open the curtains or blinds, wash your windows and let the sunshine in! Grab some cheery fresh flowers from the store and place them throughout your home. It’s also a great idea to turn the lights on in each room.
  3. Leave a treat. Display cookies or cupcakes on a pretty stand in your kitchen as a “thank you” to your visitors. Not only is it a nice gesture, but it is a great way to encourage them to stand in the kitchen and chat with the realtor showing your home! Bonus points if you leave bottles of water or some fresh lemonade to drink!
  4. Think about the exterior. Start off with a great first impression by power washing your exterior, cleaning up your landscaping, and purchasing a new, clean welcome mat.
  5. Think about every closet and drawer. People are nosy! They are most likely going to open drawers and closet doors. Make sure they are as organized and clutter-free as possible. If you need to, rent a storage unit to place your extra items until you sell your home.

Want more open house tips? Contact an ARE Real Estate agent today!

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Trying to decide if you should build or buy a home? Ask yourself these 4 questions!

If you’re ready for a new space, but unsure if you should purchase a lot to build your dream home, or purchase an existing home, ask yourself these 4 questions.

  1. What’s your budget? While a new construction home may be more costly initially, an existing older home could require large repairs (like a new HVAC system or new roof) later on that can add up. Be sure to consider your initial costs, monthly costs and potential long-term costs before making a decision.
  2. What’s your timeline? Are you in a rush to get into a new home? If so, buying an existing home might be a better choice. Building from the ground-up takes time! According to Realtor.com, the average home takes 3-6 months to build. If you’re on a strict timeline, building a new home might not work. Check with your builder to get a realistic timeline before you move forward.
  3. How important is customization to you? If you have a very specific vision for your home and love thinking about the details, building a new home might be for you! You’ll need to make big decisions about things like your floorplan, paint colors, hardware, flooring options and appliances! For some, this is overwhelming. But other people love it! Which type of person are you?
  4. How much work are you willing to do? An existing home is most likely going to require more maintenance than a new construction home because of its age. But if you’re willing to put in a little work, you could be getting a great deal on a wonderful home that just needs a little love! Make sure to have a full inspection before you close to make sure there are no surprises once you move in.

When you’re ready to search for a new home or discover the ideal lot to build your dream home, we can help! Contact us here!

Associated Real Estate Agent Spotlight: Meet Haylee Gang!

Each month, we’re highlighting one of the amazing real estate agents here at Associated Real Estate! Meet Haylee Gang!

Haylee Gang

  1. What’s your favorite thing about Tehachapi?

I love just about everything about Tehachapi. My fiancé and I are newer to the area and we already see it as the perfect place to raise our children. Everyone is so warm and welcoming anywhere you go. It is a quaint little town that has so much to offer. Most of all I am obsessed with the sunsets in Tehachapi. The way it sets perfectly behind the mountains is breathtaking and makes our little town glow.

2. What is your number one piece of advice for someone trying to sell their house?

When trying to sell your house it is so important to stage it perfectly. When sellers remove all clutter from counters and tuck away their personal items it allows buyers to envision what living in that house may look like for them. I also highly recommend keeping the front yard in tip top shape when your house is for sale. After all it is the very first thing a buyer will see, and first impressions are everything!

3. What do you think is the most important thing for clients to know about buying a house?

I think the most important thing for clients to remember when buying a house is to not let the stressful parts of home buying steal your joy. Trust your agent to walk with you throughout the process and take care of helping you get pre-approved, all the paperwork, negotiating with sellers, etc.

4. Where is your favorite place in the world?

My absolute favorite place in the world is anywhere that I am with family. I can find the beauty anywhere I go if I am surrounded by good company, good times, and good vibes.

5. What do you love about being a real estate agent?

I love being a real estate agent because it fulfills my desire to make others happy. The excitement and joy I see in my clients when selling/buying their homes is priceless. I look forward to expanding my clientele in the area so I can see more of that. I also love how it always keeps me on my toes. This business has a lot of ups and downs, but it sure is exciting! Finally, I love that I get to work with my mom. We work as a team at Associated Real Estate. She has taught me everything I know!

6. Tell us a little more about yourself and your family!

I was born and raised in California. I have lived just about all over this big state. I was born in the Central Valley where I hold so many fond childhood memories. Shortly after my family moved to Northern California where I did most of my growing up. Now, I am in Southern California. I have lived in many different areas, small towns & big cities. I appreciate that fact because it has given me the opportunity to explore so many different types of living.

My family is the most important thing in my life. I have a strong bond with each one of them and thank God for them all every day. I am so happily engaged to the love of my life who blessed me with our handsome baby boy, Noah. I have the best parents anyone could ask for and five amazing siblings. Life is so good. I am beyond blessed!

Want to work with Haylee? Contact her here!

5 Ways to Fall Back in Love with Your Home

Feeling stuck in a rut with your current home but not sure you are ready to sell? It might just be time for a little switch up! Here are 5 easy ways to fall back in love with your home.

  1. Rearrange the furniture. Configuring your rooms in a new way is an easy way to see your house in a new way. And your new configuration might just work better for you!
  2. Declutter. If you’ve been in your home for a long time, there’s a good chance you’ve accumulated a lot of things. Removing the clutter from your drawers, counters, and shelves will make your home feel fresh again.
  3. Make easy décor changes. Add new throw pillows to your couch, replace your rugs, switch out your hardware or even give your walls a new coat of paint! These easy changes allow your home’s style to evolve with yours!
  4. Switch out your photos. Update the photos in your picture frames and gallery walls with something new! They are sure to bring a smile to your face every time you walk by.
  5. Take a look at your lights. Do your rooms feel light and airy or dim and dingy? Reevaluating your lighting needs in each room can help you improve your home’s functionality and help you to enjoy it more.

If you just can’t seem to find the love in your current home and you are ready to sell, we’d love to help you! Contact us here and let’s get started!

Associated Real Estate Agent Spotlight: Meet Stevi Campbell!

Each month, we’re highlighting one of the amazing real estate agents here at Associated Real Estate! Meet Stevi Campbell!

Stevi Campbell

  1. What’s your favorite thing about Tehachapi?

My favorite thing about Tehachapi is raising my kids in the same town my husband and I grew up in.

2. What is your number one piece of advice for someone trying to sell their house?

My number one piece of advice for someone trying to sell their home would be to have a yard sale before your house goes on the market. You can get rid of all of the clutter and you won’t feel rushed to do a yard sale when your house is in escrow.

3. What do you think is the most important thing for clients to know about buying a house?

I think the most important thing buyers should know is that they should really read all of the disclosures and forms they are signing. I know it’s tempting to skim through and sign but it is really important to know what you are signing. Remember to ask as many questions as you need to.

4. Where is your favorite place in the world?

My favorite place in the world is the home we moved into in 2011 in Bear Valley. Josh Riley was our agent!

5. What do you love about being a real estate agent?

I love being a Real Estate Agent because it keeps me involved in our community and I like being connected to so many families.

Want to work with Stevi? Contact her here!

Associated Real Estate Agent Spotlight: Meet Julie Apathy!

Each month, we’re highlighting one of the amazing real estate agents here at Associated Real Estate! Meet Julie Apathy!

Julie Apathy

  1. Where did you grow up? Tell us about your family!

I grew up in Glendale, CA with three brothers and a sister. We loved camping and going to the beach. My father was an architect, engineer, and contractor. My mom was a preschool teacher and played organ at church. I received my AA degree from Glendale Jr. College and transferred to California State University, Northridge where I received my BS in Foods in Business. While in college I worked as a tour guide at Universal Studios and later worked at Glendale Adventist Hospital in the dietary department. Because much of my family had moved to Tehachapi in the early 1980s, I followed them and helped run Old Town Postal & Blueprint Services. I had been dating Jon, who was also from Glendale, and we got married in 1986. We took over the business and had two daughters.  In 1997, I started my full time teaching career at Golden Hills Elementary as a second grade teacher, and have been there ever since. In 2013 I got my real estate license and have been a part time agent with Associated Real Estate. My teaching career is coming to an end, and I look forward to spending more time as a realtor, helping clients achieve their goals.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about Tehachapi?

I have lived in Tehachapi for 33 years and love it! I’ve seen the growth over the years, but it still has that small town charm. My husband and I have raised two daughters here and now have two grandkids that live down the street from us. It’s the friendly people, beautiful rural landscape, and location that truly make it one of the best places to live in California.

  1. What is your number one piece of advice for someone trying to sell their house?

When getting ready to sell your house, it’s important to get it in ship-shape before listing.  Investing some money and muscle before listing will pay off in the long run and help to increase the home’s value. Neutral paint colors and curb appeal will also bring more showings. Pricing is key, and if it’s priced right, it won’t sit on the market and lose interest. Find a realtor who is knowledgeable and puts your interests first.

  1. What do you think is the most important thing for clients to know about buying a house?

If you are planning on buying a home, it’s important to get pre-qualifed for your loan. I recommend going with one of our local lenders here in Tehachapi. They are experienced, know the market, and make things move as smooth as possible.

  1. Where is your favorite place in the world?

My favorite place in the world is the garden island of Kauai.

  1. What do you love about being a real estate agent?

The best thing about out being a real estate agent is that sense of accomplishment once escrow has closed and my clients are satisfied with their purchase or sale. It’s wonderful getting to know them and helping them through the process.

Want to work with Julie? Contact her here!

10 Hacks to Make Moving Out Easier!

Planning on moving soon? We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite hacks from the internet to help make moving as easy as possible!

  1. Fill your pots and crock pots with spices when you pack them. It saves space and keeps them safe during the move!
  2. Keep your utensils in their organizer, but cover them with plastic wrap so they don’t move!
  3. Remove drawers and put plastic wrap over each. Then you don’t have to empty the contents at all.
  4. Put a fitted sheet on both ends of your mattress before loading into the moving truck to keep it
  5. Before moving complicated electronics, snap a picture of the wiring setup. Then label wires with tape before unplugging so that you can easily rewire your devices when setting up at your new house.
  6. Leave your bathroom necessities in a clear, labeled bin and leave it in an easily accessible space. That way you can grab it quickly when you get to your new place!
  7. Put tape in an X across mirrors to prevent them from breaking or shattering.
  8. Pack books or other heavy items in suitcases with wheels for easy transport.
  9. While your clothes are still hanging in the closet, put them inside a trash bag to make unpacking simpler.
  10. Instead of bubble wrap, protect your dishes and fragile items with clothing and linens. You need to pack them anyway, so might as well make them useful!

For more ideas check out this and this! Do you have any moving tips that we missed! Comment below and let us know!

5 Sounds Your House SHOULDN’T Be Making

All houses make some noise (think: creaky floors, squeaky drawers, and noisy door hinges), but there are some sounds that could mean some big problems. If you hear any of the following 5 sounds in your home, it’s time to call a professional.

  1. Your Lights are Buzzing. If you hear a buzzing sound coming from your outlets or light fixtures, there is probably a loose connection. Call an electrician right away to make sure there is no loose connection which could cause an electrical fire.
  2. Scurrying Coming from the Attic. If it sounds like a rodent, it probably is a rodent. Beyond the “yuck” factor, rodents like squirrels or rats are dangerous to have in your house because they can chew through electrical wires, causing a fire in your house. Get a pest control professional to come and see what’s running around up there ASAP.
  3. Banging from Your AC. If you hear a banging sound or a squealing noise coming from your AC, there’s probably something that needs to be tuned up. Have your unit serviced be a professional to extend its life and ensure that you are operating efficiently.
  4. Running Water. If no one is using anything, but you still hear running water, you could have a big, wet problem on your hands. Call a plumber to do an inspection and see if you have a leak somewhere.
  5. A Hissing Sound. This is probably the worst sound you could hear in your house. If you hear hissing and suspect that you might have a gas leak, leave the house as quickly as possible and DO NOT touch any light switches or anything electric. You’ll need to get as far away from your home as possible (do not turn on your car!), call 911, and warn your neighbors to get far away too.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry! If you hear any of these noises, call a professional to ensure your home is as safe and healthy as possible.

Associated Real Estate Agent Spotlight: Meet Beecher Aller!

Each month, we’re highlighting one of the amazing real estate agents here at Associated Real Estate!

Meet Beecher Aller!

ARE Real Estate Beecher Aller

  1. Where did you grow up? Tell us about your family!

I grew up in a military family with five siblings in the Antelope Valley. My favorite part of living in the Antelope Valley now is its central location and the easy ability to get anywhere.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about Tehachapi?

Henry’s Café is one of my favorite places in Tehachapi!

  1. What is your number one piece of advice for someone trying to sell their house?

Find a highly qualified and successful agent and price your home reasonably.

  1. What do you think is the most important thing for clients to know about buying a house?

Do your best to determine ahead of time if you can really afford the market you are looking at.

  1. Where is your favorite place in the world?

Anywhere my family is!

  1. What do you love about being a real estate agent?

Because I’m now “retired”, I can work the hours that I want!

Want to work with Beecher? Contact him here!

How to Buy in a Tight Market

How To Buy in a Tight Market

Increase your chances of getting your dream house in a competitive housing market.

Get prequalified for a mortgage.

You’ll be able to make a firm commitment to buy and your offer will be more desirable to the seller.

Stay in close contact with your real estate agent.

Your agent will be on the lookout for the newest listings that meet your criteria. Be ready to see a house as soon as it goes on the market — if it’s a great home, it will go fast.

Hire an experienced agent.

When you hire an experienced real estate agents they can give you the tools to help you find the property you are looking for. Tools such as the 2 Click Home Search offered on Associated Real Estates website can help you stay one step ahead of other buyers looking on real estate websites.

Be ready to make a decision.

Spend plenty of time in advance deciding what you can afford and must have in a home so you won’t hesitate when you have the chance to make an offer.

Bid competitively.

Your first inclination may be to start out offering something less than the absolute highest price you can afford, but if you go too low in a tight market, you will likely lose out.

Keep contingencies to a minimum.

Restrictions such as needing to sell your home before you move can make your offer unappealing. Remember that, if the market is tight, you’ll probably be able to sell your house rapidly. You can also talk to your lender about getting a bridge loan to cover both mortgages for a short period.

But don’t get caught in a buying frenzy.

Just because there’s competition for a home doesn’t mean you should buy it. And even though you want to make your offer attractive, don’t neglect inspections that help ensure the house is a sound investment.

Navigate Your Home Loan Like a Pro!

Navigate Your Home Loan Like a Pro!

Financing a home is one of the primary concerns for most home buyers in Tehachapi.  Your agent at Associated Real Estate is here to help you navigate the maze of loan types and mortgage terms.  Here are some of the basic loan terms to help you get started.  And remember, with any home purchase your first step should be to contact a reputable realtor and schedule a FREE consultation.  If you are planning to purchase a home call us now at 661-822-3500.

  • Mortgage  A loan specific to purchasing property, where the bank liens you the title with the agreement you will pay the entirety of the balance owed on your beautiful Tehachapi property!
  • Conventional Mortgage – Any mortgage loan that is not insured or guaranteed by the federal government. This applies to all privately owned property, and is the most common type of mortgage.
  • Term  Refers to the length of the loan. Home loans (mortgages) are often in terms of 15, 20, or 30 years. Generally, as term lengths increase your payment will decrease; however, a shorter term loan means you will pay less interest over the life of the loan.
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)  A yearly interest rate(calculated by the average interest rate over the term of the loan) that includes upfront fees and costs associated with the loan. Use this to accurately compare the costs of different loans as fees will vary depending upon the lender, and every buyers situation is different. Make sure to make your loan work for you!
  • Fixed Rate  A fixed rate mortgage allows you to lock in an interest rate that will last for the entire term of the loan. These are, generally, a good choice if current interest rates are low.
  • Adjustable Rate  Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) usually begin with a lower interest rate than a fixed rate, but will increase as market rates increase. A good choice if fixed interest rates are high, but make sure you are willing to have a payment that will increase over time!
  • Caps – A limit to how much and how frequently an interest rate can change on an adjustable-rate mortgage. These payment caps can be periodic or extend for the life of the loan. Thank goodness for structure!
  • Note – No, not like the ones we used to pass in class! This note is a legally binding written promise to repay the mortgage plus interest, which includes the name of the borrower, issuing lender, and the terms and provisions.
  • Down Payment – An upfront payment made by the home buyer(you!) toward the sale price of the property, typically ranging from 5-20%. The remainder of the sales prices makes up the mortgage loan amount, excluding interest. Typically, the bigger the down payment is the smaller the monthly payment will be, and we all like small payments!
  • Amortization  The paying down of principal(the loan excluding interest)  over time. Generally, the principal is scheduled to be paid off, or fully amortized, over the term of the loan.
  • PITI  This is a fun one. An abbreviation for the major expenses that make up a mortgage payment: Principal (the amount borrowed), Interest, (Property) taxes, and (homeowners’) Insurance.
  • Escrow  The holding of funds or documents by a neutral third party prior to closing your home sale. You can practically taste home ownership at this point! 
  • Closing Costs – An amount of money that must be paid to close your loan, including lender fees and third-party charges, along with taxes and transfer fees. Almost there!
  • Closing – The final step in the loan process when loan documents are signed at an escrow or title company. Congratulations on your new home!!

Search Tehachapi Homes for Sale the easy way.

Check out our

2 CLICK HOME SEARCH

to see real time data from the MLS for FREE!

7 Reasons to Own A Home

7 Reasons to Own A Home

  1. Tax benefits. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home.
  2. Appreciation. Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. In fact, median single-family existing-home sale prices have increased on average 5.2 percent each year from 1972 through 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.  The recent housing crisis has caused some to question the long-term value of real estate, but even in the most recent 10 years, which included quite a few very bad years for housing, values are still up 7.0 percent on a cumulative basis. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 10 to15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.
  3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
  4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
  5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-rate mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will likely increase.
  6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.
  7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community. It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity.

Understand Agency Relationships

It’s important to understand what legal responsibilities your real estate salesperson has to you and to other parties in the transaction. Ask what type of agency relationship your agent has with you:

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Seller’s representative (also known as a listing agent or seller’s agent)

A seller’s agent is hired by and represents the seller. All fiduciary duties are owed to the seller. The agency relationship usually is created by a listing contract.

Buyer’s representative (also known as a buyer’s agent)

A buyer’s agent is hired by prospective buyers to represent them in a real estate transaction. The buyer’s rep works in the buyer’s best interest throughout the transaction and owes fiduciary duties to the buyer. The buyer can pay the licensee directly through a negotiated fee, or the buyer’s rep may be paid by the seller or through a commission split with the seller’s agent.

In Tehachapi, as in most of California, a buyer typically wont pay anything to their agent because the buyers agent will generally be offered a share of the commission paid by the seller. This gives buyers a way to have someone representing their best interests searching for homes for sale and negotiating for a Real Estate purchase.

Subagent

A subagent owes the same fiduciary duties to the agent’s customer as the agent does. Subagency usually arises when a cooperating sales associate from another brokerage, who is not the buyer’s agent, shows property to a buyer. In such a case, the subagent works with the buyer as a customer but owes fiduciary duties to the listing broker and the seller. Although a subagent cannot assist the buyer in any way that would be detrimental to the seller, a buyer-customer can expect to be treated honestly by the subagent. It is important that subagents fully explain their duties to buyers.

Disclosed dual agent

Dual agency is a relationship in which the brokerage firm represents both the buyer and the seller in the same real estate transaction. Dual agency relationships do not carry with them all of the traditional fiduciary duties to clients. Instead, dual agents owe limited fiduciary duties. Because of the potential for conflicts of interest in a dual-agency relationship, it’s vital that all parties give their informed consent. In many states, this consent must be in writing. Disclosed dual agency, in which both the buyer and the seller are told that the agent is representing both of them, is legal in most states.

Designated agent (also called appointed agent)

This is a brokerage practice that allows the managing broker to designate which licensees in the brokerage will act as an agent of the seller and which will act as an agent of the buyer. Designated agency avoids the problem of creating a dual-agency relationship for licensees at the brokerage. The designated agents give their clients full representation, with all of the attendant fiduciary duties. The broker still has the responsibility of supervising both groups of licensees.

Nonagency relationship (called, among other things, a transaction broker or facilitator)

Some states permit a real estate licensee to have a type of nonagency relationship with a consumer. These relationships vary considerably from state to state, both as to the duties owed to the consumer and the name used to describe them. Very generally, the duties owed to the consumer in a nonagency relationship are less than the complete, traditional fiduciary duties of an agency relationship.


Search Tehachapi Homes for Sale the easy way.

Check out our

2 CLICK HOME SEARCH

to see real time data from the MLS for FREE!