What Bay Area buyers and sellers should know about bidding wars

The Bay Area continues to be characterized by low inventory, increasing prices and a lot of competition. In fact, a recent study shows housing prices leaping by nearly 15 percent from just a year ago. In March, the Bay Area entered a new price stratosphere: a median price of $820,000. Despite rising prices, future homeowners continue to mobilize with hopes of landing their very own home in one of the world’s most beautiful regions. Many homes in the Bay Area, due to the type of market, are selling for over asking price, and in many instances, sellers are reviewing dozens upon dozens of offers, which prompts competition. Here are some things both sellers and buyers should know when it comes to bidding wars.  Things sellers should know: Some real estate agents representing the seller will list the home lower than market value to create bidding wars. Real estate professionals cannot predict what areas will produce offers well over asking price. There are always surprises. Real estate professionals are using a range of pricing strategies. Therefore, as a seller, work with real estate professionals who know Bay Area inventory in and out to maximize your property. Some agents who understand the over-performing market may not price the homes well under market price in an effort to not mislead buyers.  Things buyers should know:   Follow the market patterns, and work with Guarantee Mortgage to secure a loan before doing any shopping. Take advantage of your resources and come ready with cash, if you can. The best-case scenario may be to submit an all-cash offer, especially in an investor-saturated market. If you do finance with partial cash, consider waiving some contingencies that may speed up the deal. […]

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Jumbo loans gaining popularity in Bay Area

According to a new study, housing prices in the Bay Area jumped 14.7 percent from 2017, and hit a new peak of $820,000 in March 2018. The new record in home prices means that if you already own a home, you probably have built up a lot of equity, which is why investing in a home in the Bay Area is such a worthy investment. Financing high-value real estate property is not impossible, but it can be difficult given the tight inventory. Researchers say jumbo loans, which allows more expensive loans in high-cost areas, comprised 62.6 percent of all Bay Area home purchases in March 2018. A jumbo loan is a good option for California’s high-value real estate properties because jumbo loan financing is possible for loans of up to $5 million. A jumbo loan, also known as a non-conforming loan, describes a mortgage loan exceeding the conforming loan limits set by Freddie Mac (FHLMC) and Fannie Mae (FNMA). In most U.S. counties, the conforming loan limit is $417,000, anything over that is a jumbo loan. In the San Francisco Bay area, the limit amount varies by county and can range from $417,000 to $625,000. If your desired loan amount exceeds the non-conforming loan limits in your county, a jumbo loan will cover the full amount. Jumbo loans are available in both fixed and adjustable rate terms. Every situation is different, so we can help you understand the details of a jumbo loan and how it may work for your situation. If you are looking to buy a home in the Bay Area and think that a jumbo loan may be for you, contact us. We would be happy to give you more information to […]

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Homes in the Bay Area are selling fast – get a leg up on the competition

Looking to buy a home in San Francisco? As you may have heard, it is not uncommon for San Francisco homes to go above asking price. What creates bidding wars is low inventory of available homes in the San Francisco market, which means buyers have fewer home options to choose from. San Francisco is 49 square miles of prime real estate and a prime location for many buyers.  A two-bedroom home in San Francisco recently sold for $1.53 million — 33 percent over asking — thanks to multiple offers. Not an uncommon occurrence. Home buyers put a lot of effort into looking for a new home. There is a lot to consider. Home buyers will often spend hours exploring neighborhoods, wandering through open houses, imagining how they would remodel the space. When they find the home they want, it’s hard for them not to get their heart set on it. Having to go out all over again and go through the process of researching more neighborhoods, schools and more open houses can be tiresome and even frustrating, which is why so many are willing to enter bidding wars. Guarantee Mortgage has an answer for that, our pre-approval program called Keys on Time! Bay Area home buyers are in a very competitive market if they’re looking to buy in San Francisco, or surrounding areas. Our Keys on Time program allows for potential buyers to get pre-approved and puts them at the front of the line for the home of their dreams. Keys on Time helps you stand out from other home buyers taking away the guess work for financing approval. Sellers are always looking for the strongest offer. Besides pre-approvals, like our Keys on Time, there […]

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How to make your offer stand out during spring buying season

Spring is here and with spring comes a competitive real estate market. With home buying frenzies getting started earlier and earlier, buyers everywhere are preparing to buy a new home in what is considered the “busy season” – April and May. There are various things that Bay Area home buyers can do to make sure that their offer stands out. Get Pre-Approved The first thing a home buyer should consider is getting pre-approved on a home loan and determining affordability and loan options. There are a variety of loan options available, so find the one that works best for you. In the Bay Area, many home buyers utilize a Jumbo Loan, which is available in both fixed and adjustable rate terms. Gathering the necessary paperwork for the loan approval process may take some time, so it is important to get started as soon as possible. After you’ve gathered all your paperwork, contact a loan professional at Guarantee Mortgage to complete the process. Having a pre-approval letter in your possession goes a long way when negotiating for your dream home. Find a Real Estate Agent Negotiations are a critical part of the buying process, so consider finding a savvy real estate agent who is experienced, trustworthy and knowledgeable about the neighborhoods you are considering. When choosing a real estate agent, discuss calendar dates, time frame and scheduling to make sure you both can schedule appointments that fit into the desired timeframe. Put Together an Offer Once you feel like you’ve found your potential dream home in the right neighborhood, discuss what kind of offer you have in mind with your real estate agent. It might be a good idea to prepare yourself for putting in multiple […]

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What home buyers and homeowners can expect as a result of the new tax bill

For more than 20 years, Guarantee Mortgage has been helping families navigate the financing of real estate in the Bay Area. That navigation got a little more complex when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law in December, but Guarantee Mortgage is here to provide clarity. The bill impacts homeowners and home buyers as it changes the credits and deductions available in 2018. For example, mortgage interest deductions will be reduced from $1 million to $750,000 for purchases made after Dec. 16, 2017. The refinance of a home that was purchased prior to Dec. 16, 2017 may be able to have a grandfathered deduction limit, however. Property, state and local income taxes will have a $10,000 combined deduction limit, but this precludes 2018 state and local income taxes if prepaid in 2017. Another change is that mortgage interest on a second home is part of the combined total limit of $750,000. If the interest paid on the two properties exceeds that amount in 2018, it will not be deductible. (A rented second home is not subject to these changes.) Interest on home-equity loans will only be deductible if the loan was used to substantially improve a residence in a documented manner. This will require a tax professional’s assistance to navigate. And good news for Mortgage Credit Certificate holders – this bill retains the MCC option. If you aren’t familiar, an MCC allows homebuyers to write off 20 percent of their mortgage interest paid annually. This forecasted savings can – in some situations – be applied to available income when applying for a home loan, and allows the buyer to get a larger loan amount. The exclusion of the gain on sale of […]

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