Central Coast Realty Group

Serving the Central Coast


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Everything You Need to Know About Home Inspections

Everything You Need to Know About Home InspectionsThink you’re ready to settle into a new home? Great, it’s a wonderful step in life, albeit a big one. Whether you’ve found your dream home or are just kicking off your search, one thing is for sure – if you’re purchasing a home, you’re going to need a home inspection before the deed is signed. So, before you put your hard-earned money and time into a new house, make sure you’ve got the answers to all things home inspection!

Why Should I Get a Home Inspection?

Your home may look picture perfect, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. It’s the job of a home inspector to find what, if any, issues your home may have before you’re locked into it. Buying a home is a big undertaking and you’ll want to know ahead of time if that undertaking could get any larger due to hidden structural issues or health problems. If that’s not reason enough for a home inspection, we’re not sure what is.

How Do I Find a Reliable Home Inspector to Do the Job?

Conducting a home inspection doesn’t do much good if you’ve hired an unqualified inspector. So, just how do you find a good one? Look for a Certified Home Inspector to do the job. Websites like CREIA.org can help you find an inspector in your local area, but it’s always smart to do your research before hiring any PE you’re considering so hit the web for some fact finding before agreeing to any business.

What Will The Home Inspector Check?

Both the interior and exterior of the home will be visually examined during the inspection, which will generally span the course of about two to three hours.

Interior Aspects:

  • Attic
  • Insulation
  • Heating and A/C system
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical system
  • Walls
  • Ceiling
  • Floors
  • Basement
  • Windows
  • Foundation

Exterior Aspects:

  • Driveways
  • Sidewalks
  • Fencing
  • Grading of the property

What Will The Results Tell Me?

Once the home inspection has concluded, the inspector will compile a report and provide you with a copy of the results. The report will detail what issues were found, if any, what repairs are needed, the severity of the problems and an estimated cost to have them fixed.

Did the house pass with flying colors, or was there a major hidden hiccup? Armed with the knowledge a home inspection provides, you can now move forward with the next steps in either buying, renegotiating, or continuing your search for the perfect home!

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Tips and Tricks to Secure the Right Loan

Tips and Tricks to Secure the Right LoanBefore you even start your search for the perfect home, it’s important that you take care of this one vital piece of the home-buying process first – getting pre-qualified for the right mortgage loan. These tips and tricks will help you prepare for securing the right loan to purchase your dream home!

Budgeting Will Be Your Best Friend

Nobody likes to hear the dreaded 6 letter word – budget – especially if money is already tight, but doing some budgeting now can go a long way toward helping you qualify for a loan later. Resist the temptation to splurge on a weekend getaway or a shopping spree and instead put that money toward paying off any debt. Even if you’re one of the lucky few that’s debt-free, you’re still not off the hook. There’s that small issue of a down payment that you’ll need, remember? And the larger a down payment you can afford, the smaller your loan.

Dot Your i’s and Cross the t’s

Obtaining a mortgage is much easier when contacting a qualified broker, however, there is a lot to do or we wouldn’t be dedicating a blog post to it. Cue the paperwork – lots and lots of paperwork. Having all of your files organized ahead of time will make the process smoother when it comes time. Here’s what you’ll need before talking to a broker:

      • Full tax returns from the past two years
      • Your two most recent pay stubs
      • Financial statements from the past two months
      • A photo ID
      • A written letter from your employer verifying your position and salary
      • Canceled rent or utility checks
      • A gift letter from the donor (*only if money for a down payment or closing costs was gifted to you by somebody else)
      • 1099 forms, if self-employed

The necessary documents can, and will, vary depending on the lender and circumstances, but this is the general standard for any homebuyers who’ve yet to make an accepted offer.

Know the Differences Between Loans

There are many types of loans, but the two most common mortgage loans are fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. However, it’s important to know that there is a big difference between the two and you need to understand them both before making your choice.

Fixed-Rate: This is the more popular option due to a guaranteed mortgage rate for the entire term of the loan. Knowing that their rate is locked in can be a great comfort for homeowners. However, the downside is if mortgage rates drop, you’re interest rate will still remain the same unless you choose to refinance.

Adjustable-Rate: These are generally more common with a short-term owner. If you plan to sell and move in a shorter time period, the lower interest rates and flexible payments may be more suitable for you.

Preparing to buy a new home can be daunting, but always keep in mind that the best way to prevent hiccups and ensure smooth sailing is to arm yourself with knowledge. Happy house hunting!


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Ways to Enjoy the Central Coast on a Rainy Day

Way to Enjoy a Rainy Day on the Central CoastRain in California? Impossible! Or so the rumors would have you believe. If you’re new to the West Coast you may have fallen prey to this common misconception. The truth is it does in fact rain, approximately 19 inches of it annually to be precise. What’s more important to know is that even in the rain there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the Central Coast! Despite our recent drought, we’ve been told that the rainy season is still coming and we’re anxiously awaiting it! When it does arrive, here are some thoughts to brighten a rainy day!

Play Inside

  • Test your bowling skills at the Paso Bowl, Mustang Lanes or Pismo Beach Bowl.
  • Get your heart pumping at SLO Op, a 4,500 sq. ft. warehouse of climbing wall space.
  • Bust out the board and dice games during TOT Night at Mother’s Tavern. Bonus, it’s exactly what it sounds like – a night chock full of $2.00 tater tots!

Catch a Show

Play in the Rain

  • Strap on your rain boots and head out to Morro Bay for some kayaking.
  • Cruise damp Cambria beaches in search of Moonstones.
  • Explore your wild side on a hike through Harmony Headlands.

Get Artsy

  • Find your inner Picasso at Art Bar in San Luis Obispo. Cocktails, paint brushes, and friends. What could be better on an otherwise bleak and rainy day?

Taste Some Grapes

  • Every day is a great day for wine tasting! Leave the driving to someone else and safely enjoy a day of sipping with Break-Away Tours!

 

Have another rainy day favorite? Share it with us in the comments!


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How to Improve Curb Appeal

Front Porch

Ever wonder why some houses fly off of the market while others straggle along? The answer could lay in the power of curb appeal. If you’re not familiar with the term, curb appeal is how alluring your house or property looks from the outside. The idea may seem a little frivolous. After all, prospects are interested in what your house has to offer, not the walkway in front of it, right? Well, not exactly. Your house will speak for itself, but how can prospects see how great it is if they never step a foot inside? The truth is, a potential buyer has already decided whether or not they’re going to buy your house before they ever see the inside. Decisions are made from the curb, so up your chances of selling your home with a few simple improvements to your property’s curb appeal. Here’s how:

Focus on the Front Door

Think of your front door like you’d think of meeting somebody new for the first time – it’s all about first impressions. Make a memorable impression on prospects by sprucing up the front door. Consider drawing attention to your door with a bright pop of paint or replacing it with something unique (stained glass, custom wood, etc.)

Updating old hardware is also a great method of adding curb appeal. Swap out dingy house numbers with a fresh, new set of numerics. Replace the door handle and lockset or add a light fixture alongside or above the doorway. If you can’t swing the replacements, at least do yourself the favor or cleaning off any dirt and grim in the front door area and polishing your hardware.

Driveways Drive Traffic

The driveway is an often over-looked area of a property, but it’s crucial to overall curb appeal. A driveway treated with care can lend a clean, stylish look to your home. Give that important plot of asphalt a face-lift by adding edging. Borders made of stone, brick, or pavers are great options to bring a little life to an otherwise boring area of your home.

Give it Life

Who can resist a property lush, green and full of life? It’s hard to pass up a great yard or garden, so spend a little time on yours if you want to increase property showings.

It’s simple really. Start by hiding any bald or brown patches of grass with natural elements – rocks, potted plants, etc. – or fill them in with mulch or sod. Then, add some color. Pick your favorite vibrant flowers and create a garden or flower bed on an easy-to-see area of your property. Finish up by tidying any unruly landscaping. Take a good hard look. Do the trees need trimming? Gardens need tending? Make sure existing landscaping isn’t being neglected in the revamps.

If you don’t have the time or space for planting a garden, don’t worry! You can create the same wow-factor with a potted garden on your porch or alongside your front door.

 

Have a great tip to improve curb appeal that we missed? Share it with us in the comments!


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Ideas on How to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

House-mortgageAre making those mortgage payments every month getting you down? Well, sadly there’s no magic button to make them go away, but there are some great ways to get those payments off of your plate faster. Here are some great ideas that can get you on the right track to paying off your mortgage faster:

Tactic #1: Add a Little Something Extra

Did you know that adding just $6 to, say, a monthly payment of $644 (making it an even $650) on a 30-year loan can shave roughly four payments off of your mortgage at the end of its term? Every extra dollar counts, so why not take your current payment amount and round it up? Just be sure the extra amount is applied to the principal balance and not just set aside for the next payment.

Tactic #2: Double-Down Your Payments

Really want to make a big impact on your mortgage term? Double your payment four times per year. It will literally shave years off of your loan. Reward your hard work every so often by asking your bank for a new statement on showing how much you still owe. Trust us, you’ll be filled with joy when you see the difference it’s made. If doubling-down quarterly is too much for your budget, consider making one additional payment at some point in the year – tax returns and holiday bonuses are popular times to tack on the extra amount.

Tactic #3: Make Bi-Weekly Payments

Instead of paying one lump sum every month, try paying half your due amount every two weeks. It’s a great way to trick your mind into paying more toward your mortgage over the course of a year. You see, by making payments every other week for the entirety of a year, you’ll actually be making 26 half payments, or 13 months’ worth of total funds toward your loan. Voila! You’re one step closer to getting that mortgage monkey off your back.

Now you’re in the know and on your way to dwindling down those payments! Just be sure that before you begin any plan to lower your mortgage, that you talk with your broker first to make sure it’s the right choice for you.

What’s your best tip for paying down a mortgage faster? Share it with us in our comments section!