local realtor

What Are the Benefits of a Local Realtor in Temecula?

It’s a familiar story we’ve heard – you’re on a quest to find your perfect home in the charming city of Temecula, only to feel lost amidst the sea of listings and open houses. The stress of making sense of the fluctuating market trends can take away from the excitement of your home-buying journey. As your local realtor in Temecula, Mason Real Estate is here to guide you through these complexities and make your dream home a reality.

According to the Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors (SRCAR), the median sale price of a single-family home in SW Riverside County was $580,191 last month (Jan. 2024), a slight increase from $580,000 in Dec. 2023. However, we were up by 6% from a year ago at $545,000 despite the roller coaster year in 2023. These ever-changing markets underscore the importance of having a local expert by your side who can effectively navigate as we enter this market in 2024.

The Power of Local Expertise

The housing market can be unpredictable, especially in a dynamic area like Temecula. That’s why having a local realtor is beneficial and essential. We’ve been serving the Temecula Valley and surrounding cities for years, giving us an intimate understanding of local market trends and conditions.

Our team conducts comprehensive comparative market analyzes (CMA) by combining multiple databases of similar homes listed and sold in your area. This enables us to provide you with the most accurate information about your home’s value.

To set ourselves apart, we offer site visits and internal inspections to review any upgrades or additional amenities that could affect the value of your home. This meticulous approach allows us to determine the best marketing strategies and improvements to maximize the value of your property.

Personalized Service Tailored to Your Needs

At Mason Real Estate, every client is unique and deserves personalized service. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned investor, we understand your needs and goals. We are here to ensure a smooth and stress-free experience.

Our clients’ testimonials reflect our dedication as we provide professional, caring, and relentless advocacy, bridging the gap between you and the bank to protect your best interests.

local realtorExpert Advice and Valuable Resources at Your Fingertips

As a local realtor, Mike Mason provides a regular column featured in the Valley News Real Estate section. These articles cover a vast array of real estate-related issues, keeping you informed about the ever-changing housing market, economic conditions, and trends.

Our website is a valuable resource for both buyers and sellers. We offer resources like articles for buyers and sellers, city links, chamber links, and weekly real estate articles. These resources provide valuable insights and information to help you make informed decisions.

Take the First Step Towards Your Dream Home

When buying or selling a home in Temecula, having a local realtor like Mike Mason and our team at Mason Real Estate can make all the difference. Our local expertise, personalized service, and valuable resources set us apart. We are here to guide you through the process, ensuring a successful real estate experience.

Ready to make a move?

Call (951) 296-8887 or contact Mike Mason and the team at Mason Real Estate today for a personalized consultation. Let us show you why we are the local realtors in Temecula. You can trust to turn your real estate dreams into reality.

Best Realtor in Temecula

Discover the Mason Real Estate Difference: Your Guide to the Best Realtor in Temecula

Picture this: a lovely day in Temecula, the sun casting a warm glow on the vineyards as you drive through the charming neighborhoods filled with excitement. You’re on a mission to find your dream home, and you have a trusted companion, Mason Real Estate, the best realtor in Temecula, guiding you along the way. Now that you’ve imagined Temecula’s beauty and thrill, let’s delve further into how Mason Real Estate can make your home-buying journey seamless and enjoyable.

Our Pledge to You: Satisfaction Above All Else

Our journey in the real estate industry has taught us one crucial lesson: each client’s experience is unique and deeply personal. Buying or selling a home is more than a transaction; it’s a life-defining moment. We’re not just committed to helping you navigate this journey. We’re dedicated to making it a memorable one. Our track record speaks volumes about our unwavering commitment to client satisfaction, with countless successful transactions in the Temecula real estate market.

Local Expertise: Navigating the Temecula Market

Being the best realtor in Temecula doesn’t just mean knowing the basics. It means understanding the nuances of the local market. With years of experience in the Temecula Valley, we’ve acquired an intimate understanding of the area’s real estate landscape. We stay ahead of market trends and economic shifts, providing insights and advice grounded in reality and backed by data.

Best Realtor in TemeculaCustomized Approach: Tailoring the Journey to Your Needs

At Mason Real Estate, we believe in a personalized approach to real estate. We understand every client has unique needs and aspirations. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, looking to sell, or an experienced investor, we customize our strategies to align with your specific objectives. We listen, understand, and create a roadmap to realize your real estate dreams.

Empowering Clients Through Education

We believe in empowering our clients through education. We provide valuable insights on a broad range of real estate topics, from understanding market trends to offering tips for buyers and sellers. Our commitment to educating our clients extends beyond our services; Mike Mason, our founder, writes a weekly column in the Valley News Real Estate section, providing readers with a fresh perspective on various real estate issues.

Why Choose Mason Real Estate: The Best Realtor in Temecula

Here’s why we stand out in the crowded real estate market:

  • In-depth knowledge of the Temecula market
  • Personalized approach to cater to individual needs
  • Commitment to client education and empowerment
  • Proven track record of client satisfaction

Experience the Mason Real Estate difference today – we’re the best realtor in Temecula, thanks to our unwavering focus on client satisfaction, deep understanding of the local market, and personalized approach.

Trust us to guide you on your real estate journey! Reach out to us at (951) 296-8887, and let’s turn your real estate dreams into reality!

home inspection

Who Needs a Home Inspection? The Buyer or Seller

Everyone should know that when buying a home it is prudent to have an independent third party inspect the major systems of the home so that you’ll know what condition they are in, avoiding most expensive surprises.  As a seller of a Temecula/Murrieta Valley homes, MASON Real Estate recommends having a home inspection done prior to the marketing of your home.  Then upon review, take care of what needs to be done prior to placing it for sale.

By commissioning a pre-inspection and correcting any deficiencies’ you’ll be able to market the home as truly ‘turn-key’ enabling you to ask for the highest and best price the market will bear.

The primary areas of interest focus around these 10 major systems that all homes have in common:

  1. APPLIANCES:  Every appliance should be run for a full cycle and verified that they are all working correctly and not leaking or giving off any unpleasant odors.  The best appliances are the ones that match one another and are Energy Star certified.  Remember, kitchens sell houses and upgraded appliances sell kitchens.

  2. HVAC:  The Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system and the hot water heater should all operate without emitting any loud noises or odors.  All plumbing should be corrosion free, filters should all be clean and new and the system should show signs of regular maintenance.

  3. ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:  All outlets and switches should be grounded and working properly; GFCI outlets should be installed in wet areas; i.e. kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, exterior walls.  Does the panel and breakers appear modern and working properly?  Do they have sufficient amps to run a modern household?

  4. PLUMBING:  Inspect for leaks, rust, corrosion or other damage to the pipes and connections.  Do all of the drains function properly?  Is the water pressure and temperature where it should be?  If there is a septic system, you’ll want a thorough inspection that there are no cracks and that its working properly.

  5. ATTIC & ROOF:  Are there any missing shingles?  Are they deteriorating?  What condition are the gutters in?  Does the chimney appear to be structurally sound without any cracks?  Look inside the attic for the insulation…Is it even throughout the attic?  Is there a radiant barrier? 

  6. EXTERIOR SURFACES:  Here in the Temecula/Murrieta Valley many of our homes for sale have hairline cracks in the exterior stucco – this is normal with the settling that takes place.  Check to make certain that the exterior surfaces are all properly painted and calked and don’t have other damage.  Eaves and soffits should be inspected for water damage and the presence of termites (by a certified termite inspector, of course).  Check to make sure that the ground cover is not making contact with exterior walls.  Sprinklers should all be working properly and not spraying on exterior walls or fences.

  7. STRUCTURE:  Visually check the structure for bows in the ceiling.  Do all of the windows and doors close properly?  Is the home properly bolted to the foundation? 

  8. LAND:  Does the land slope away from the house?  Try rolling a water bottle and see how it goes.  Check out the driveway, walk ways, patio and any other paved surfaces for cracks or upheavals could be a sign of a natural force that may have also caused damage to your foundation.

  9. DETACHED BUILDINGS:  Detached garages, sheds and other out-buildings should be thoroughly inspected to ensure they can withstand the elements.  The roof, foundation and the sealing elements are all critical to these structures as is the termite inspection.

  10. BASEMENTS:  Not many homes in the Temecula – Murrieta Valley have a basement or cellar.  Of course, exceptions can be found and when they are, they should be thoroughly inspected for any moisture or cracking.  Make sure to seek out any potential mildew or mold.

home inspectionThis list is by no means to be considered all-inclusive or as a substitute for hiring the right home inspection.  It certainly will not replace an appraisal or other mandated inspection.   This is to help you identify any potential issues that will undoubtedly be uncovered in the sale process.  As a seller, you’ll want to know what they are in advance so you can either repair them or account for them in your asking price.  As a home buyer, you’ll want to know as much about your possible new home as you can before you remove your contingencies.

When your inspectors show up, plan on being there.  Allow them to focus on their task at hand, making note of any questions you have.  At the end of the home inspection, the Inspector should have no problem reviewing all of their findings with you on the spot as well as issuing a comprehensive report complete with photos of all areas in need of attention.

Call us today, (951) 296-8887 and get the information you need enabling you to make an informed, educated decision.

Questions regarding available inventory and/or other real estate matters please contact, Mike@GoTakeAction.com.  Mike Mason, Realtor® & Broker/Owner of MASON Real Estate.  LIC: 01483044, Temecula Valley resident for 30+ years, Board of Director (2011-2017) Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors® (SRCAR).

homeownership

Homeownership: The True Reason to Buy Real Estate in Temecula

At Mason Real Estate, we believe that owning a home is more than just a financial investment. It’s about fulfilling a dream, creating a secure environment, and providing stability for your family. But what drives this desire to invest in real estate in Temecula? Let’s delve deeper into the motivations behind homeownership.

A Home to Call Their Own

The National Association of Realtors reports that a significant 22% of homebuyers list the desire to own a home as their primary motivation for purchasing a property, and this figure soars to a whopping 62% for first-time buyers. These statistics underscore the deep emotional connection people have with the idea of homeownership, seeing it not just as a financial decision but also as a source of pride and accomplishment.

The Comfort and Security of Homeownership

Owning a home offers comfort and security that cannot be matched by renting. When you own your home, you can shape your living space according to your tastes. You can paint the walls any color you desire, renovate, or make changes that make the house feel like your own. This control over your living environment instills a sense of stability and peace of mind that is priceless.

homeownershipProviding Stability for Your Children

For families, homeownership means more than just having a roof over their heads. It’s about securing a future for their children. Many homebuyers prioritize properties in areas with reputable school districts, ensuring their children have access to quality education. Additionally, a safe neighborhood provides a nurturing environment for children to grow and flourish.

Financial Benefits of Homeownership

While emotional and personal reasons play a significant role, the financial benefits of homeownership are also noteworthy. Over the years, real estate in Temecula has shown consistent appreciation in value, helping homeowners build equity. This equity can be harnessed for future investments or to achieve other financial goals. 

In fact, according to Habitat for Humanity‘s “Outcomes associated with homeownership” brief, U.S. homeowners have an average net wealth of 400% higher than that of renters, with home equity representing the largest proportion (34.5%) of wealth for households. Additionally, homeownership brings tax benefits like deducting mortgage interest and property taxes.

Building a Sense of Community

Homeownership also fosters a sense of community. As a homeowner, you become part of a neighborhood, forming relationships with your neighbors and creating a support network. Participating in community activities and events enriches your lifestyle, making it more vibrant and fulfilling.

At Mason Real Estate, we understand that the decision to buy a home is a significant one, laden with both emotional and financial implications. That’s why our team of professionals is dedicated to guiding you through this process, helping you find the perfect home that meets all your needs and desires.

Ready to Embark on Your Homeownership Journey?

If you’re looking to dive into the world of Real Estate in Temecula, let Mason Real Estate be your trusted partner. Our experienced professionals will guide you every step of the way, helping you find the perfect home that meets all your needs and desires. 

 

Contact us today to make your dream of homeownership a reality!

Submitted an Offer on Your Dream Home.. Now What?

Time for nervous Anticipation. You’ve found the home you want, and you are excited. Yet you want to be calm and objective as possible. Be prepared for counter offers. Don’t let the pressure get to you. Remain patient Let your Realtor® act as your liaison with the seller and their Realtor®. Keep in mind, you may need to be flexible on price, closing date, appliances and repairs. Beware of putting contingencies in your purchase agreement. They weaken your offer. However, if you currently own a home your offer may need to be contingent on it selling first. Or if you’re uncertain about the structural integrity of the home, you may want a have a home inspection contingency. Keep in mind any contingency could take you out of the running if a non-contingent offer is also presented.
Once your offer is accepted, be prepared to open escrow and seal the deal with some earnest money. Earnest money is usually a percentage of the homes’ purchase price that indicates you’re serious about the purchase and indicates your good faith. It’s generally applied to the purchase price when you complete the purchase, but may be forfeited to the seller, if you fail to complete the purchase. Many first-time buyers may be taken by surprise when it comes to earnest money, especially if they have to make a fast offer. Check with your Realtor® for the appropriate amount to have, at the ready in your checking account.
Now that you have a fully executed purchase contract, know that there will be more than 50 tasks and deadline deliveries that will need to be completed within a “normal” residential real estate transaction. It will be your Realtor® responsibility to make sure the processing of all documents are complete and all deadlines are met.
The process of taking a signed purchase contract through to closing involves a great many details, deliveries, and document submissions. Coordination of this process is of critical important and involves several other professionals besides your Realtor® as stated herewith, to make sure that all phases of the escrow closing process moves along smoothly.

1. Title – A title company is needed to make sure that all documents and deliveries are processed in a timely manner. Your Realtor® will examine all of their title and recorded documents to uncover all material defects and items of importance. This is normally more concern to the buyer, but sellers must be prepared to respond to their objections, so it’s important to know what’s in all recorded documents. Example:  while there are normally a few items in a title binder that can be corrected as they’re recorded and pass with the property, sometimes there are requirements or exceptions that weren’t expected but must be addressed.  With the more careful lending environment, perhaps you have a previous divorce and the lender wants better protection against claims and will require additional documentation from a former spouse.

2. Inspections, Survey & Appraisal – A Realtor’s® job is also to coordinate access for inspectors and the appraiser, and to accept deliveries of reports as well as any objections or correction requirements from the buyers.  Every instance of delivery of an inspection and/or buyer objections requires a response in most cases, and there are deadlines. It is very important to stay on top of these deadlines, make sure reports are delivered on time or extensions are put into place, and that all respond within required time lines. Failure to do so could obligate you to repairs or other corrections or kill the deal.

3. Repair Negotiations – If the buyer submits requirements for corrective actions to items on reports, it is critical to all parties to determine the cost of those requirements and the appropriate response necessary to keep the deal going in a way beneficial to both the buyer and seller. Should one agree to make certain repairs, there will be deadlines associated with completion, and possibly requirements for the buyer’s inspector to return and re-inspect for completion and repair quality. A good Realtor® will keep all of this on track for you, and can recommend contractors who do quality work at fair prices.

4. Lender Document Coordination – One of the leading causes of delayed closings can be a problem with funding due to lender last minute requirements or other document demands. Monitoring all document flows to make sure this doesn’t happen is also just as critical.  It’s not the seller, that is getting a mortgage, but a seller will be very concerned with the buyer’s ability to do so and their lender’s process and ability to meet deadlines and fund at closing. Mortgage problems kill a lot of deals. A good Realtor® is going to be involved in the buyer’s process and will make sure all goes as planned to a successful close. It is the goal of every good Realtor® to exceed the expectations of all involved.
Call us today at (951) 296-8887 and get the information you need enabling you to make an informed, educated decision.
Questions regarding available inventory and/or other real estate matters please contact, Mike@GoTakeAction.com. Mike Mason, Realtor® & Broker/Owner of MASON Real Estate. LIC: 01483044, Temecula Valley resident for 30+ years, Board of Director (since 2011) Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors® (SRCAR).

MOVING UP OR DOWN? DO YOU SELL FIRST OR BUY FIRST? BEST STRATEGIES…

Today’s Temecula – Murrieta Move-Up/Move-Down Buyers face many challenges in an ever evolving real estate market.  It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a larger home for your family with more yard for the kids and dogs to play or downsizing to a smaller home with less maintenance…the challenges are all the same, juggling two real estate transactions at once.   Not an easy task for even the most diligent.

Since many of our Temecula – Murrieta neighbors once again have equity in their homes, many are planning on selling one home and buying another, as the local real estate market continues to appreciate.

The local Temecula – Murrieta market conditions can be both a blessing and a curse to the move-up buyer.  While the thought of limited inventory to select a new home from is not something to look forward to, yet when selling your current home you’ll welcome the bidding war that buyers will generate for the right home in the right neighborhood.

The trick, of course, is in managing and even juggling simultaneous transactions – a task that can be both frenzied and daunting to even the most experienced homeowner.  In the worst case scenario not only can the dream home be lost…but the earnest money deposit as well.

While every seller-buyer is different and each have their own personal scenario, unique to them they still must answer the all-important universal question, “Can I afford to pay two mortgages at once if I buy before I sell?  Or do I prepare to move twice, if I sell before I buy?”

SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?

The biggest issue about buying before you sell of course, is financing.  With the newest provision of the Dodd-Frank Act that took effect in 2014, even today lenders interpret differently these new federal laws aimed at protecting consumers while maintaining the integrity of federally insured mortgages.  Now more than ever, it’s critical to speak with your lender and investigate how a ‘Qualified Mortgage’ effects your personal situation.

Some move-up buyers will decide to NOT pay two mortgage payments and just go ahead and move in with friends or family…or perhaps rent an apartment or other temporary housing giving them more time to find and buy their new home.

In a “Seller’s Market” like Temecula-Murrieta real estate is currently experiencing, most sellers will not accept an offer contingent on the buyer selling their current home.  However, a good REALTOR® will have some creative options from their tool box of experience to make for a smoother move-up transaction.

THERE IS MORE CONTROL ON THE SELLING SIDE

As a seller, you have two tools that can be used to make the process run smoother.  First, when you list your home, have your agent report to the MLS that the sale of your home is contingent on you being able to find your new dream home.  This will allow escrow to coordinate a dual simultaneous closings.

The other option, when an offer comes in on the sale of your home, a good REALTOR® can negotiate a seller rent-back agreement.  This allows the buyer to close escrow on your home and take title while allowing you to remain in the home until you can move into your new home.

It is fairly common to allow the seller to remain in possession of the property for up to 3 days after the close of escrow without any financial consideration.  More than 3 days, a rent-back should be negotiated.  While the amount of the rent is always negotiable it’s typical to consider the buyers payment and add in a pro-rated share of property taxes, home-owners insurance and HOA dues, if any.   A rent-back payment is intended to keep the buyer whole and not create a profit center.  The buyer’s lender may allow up to 60 days of rent-back; anything more and the buyer’s lender may consider the loan to be for investment property, not allowing owner-occupied financing.  In today’s competitive Seller’s Market most buyers will be willing to cooperate allowing you to find your new home and close your own escrow if the home is priced right and in great condition.

BUYING TECHNIQUES

As a move-up buyer with a house to sell a smart move is to limit your search to homes that have been on the market or 30 days or more.  While this is not a long time in a ‘normal’ market, the seller will no doubt be feeling anxious and probably more willing to negotiate a contingency allowing the buyer to sell their home.  The object will be to convince the seller to believe they are better off accepting your contingent offer than waiting for another buyer to come along.  It should go without saying that a full price offer should be made with few other contingencies and if you want a long escrow, perhaps sweeten the pot with a little extra purchase price.  By having your financing locked in, removing a loan contingency is another strong move that can work in your favor.

A seller may accept your contingent offer with a ‘kick-out clause’ that will enable them to keep their home on the market and if a better offer comes in, they can ‘kick’ your contract with an appropriate notice, giving you the opportunity to move forward with your contract.

As the buyer, having more flexibility in location may work for you as well.  While certain local neighborhoods turn homes quicker than others, there really are NO bad Temecula – Murrieta neighborhoods.  Allowing for some flexibility in location and even features can prove advantageous – without settling of course.

THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS

The most important thing a move-up buyer can do is be prepared…on every level.  As we discussed above, having your financing in place is critical. 

Make sure that the home you’re selling is in the best possible condition, staged to appeal to the widest audience and priced for a quick sale.

The final consideration every move-up buyer needs to focus on is a back-up plan. Always keep in mind the infamous Murphy’s Law, “If anything can go wrong, it will”.  Sometimes ‘Plan B’ turns out to be the best plan, especially if it works out!

Call us today at (951) 296-8887, and get educated! 

For questions regarding available inventory and/or other real estate matters please contact, Mike@GoTakeAction.com.  Mike Mason, Broker/Owner of MASON Real Estate Cal. BRE: 01483044, Temecula Valley resident for 30+ years, Board of Director (since 2011) Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors® (SRCAR).

IMPROVE THE ODDS OF A GOOD FIRST TIME HOMEBUYING EXPERIENCE

Preparing to purchase a home can be a period of nerve-racking anxiety for any homebuyer.  As a first time homebuyer you have a course in front of you that is sure to include uncertainty, excitement, confusion and frustration – at times all in the same day, maybe even in the same hour.

By arming yourself with preparation and knowledge you’ll have a much better chance of having a positive home buying experience by ultimately reaching your goal of fulfilling ‘The American Dream’ owning your own home.   

Follow these 7 steps and you’ll be well on your way to owning your own home.

1) KNOW YOUR CREDIT:  The first and perhaps the most important step of preparing to buy your first home is to know and understand your credit.  Reach out to the three big credit bureaus (TranUnion, Experian, Equifax) for a free copy of your credit report, which you’re entitled to, for free, once a year.

First, familiarize yourself with your credit history and make certain that everything is reported thoroughly and accurately.  This should be an ongoing responsibility that you start well before you even think you’re ready to buy a home.  By starting early, you’ll be able to take the time to make any corrections and continue to improve your credit score.

2) TEAMWORK:  Buying a home requires a team of dedicated professionals.  Perhaps the two most important are the REALTOR® you’ll choose and the Lender.

REALTOR®:  Choosing the right professionals is critical.  Certainly an inexperienced first time home buyer should not have an inexperienced agent helping them through the process.  Look for an individual that is imbedded in the local community where you want to live.  He should have professional designations that indicate a pursuit for higher professional standards.  Your REALTOR® should be respected within the local real estate community as most transactions require the cooperation of at least two REALTORS®.

Friends and Relatives DO NOT make the best agent.  Sure there is a loyalty factor that needs to be considered as commissions are in the thousands of dollars.   Some of the worst transactions I have ever witnessed have had emotional attachments of an agent that was too close to the transaction.  It’s personal enough for the buyer and seller, your professionals should not be emotionally attached as well.

Remember, ALL real estate is local, and you’re REALTOR® should be too…for sooooo many reasons.

LENDER:  There are a number of good ways to find a good lender.  You’re Bank or Credit Union probably offer a home purchase loan.  There are lots of discount guys that advertise on the radio and TV and then there are those who come recommend by your REALTOR®.

A successful real estate transaction requires a lot of behind-the-scenes communication and coordination between the REALTOR® and Loan Officer so it may be best to consider your REALTORS® advice and check out one of their lenders of choice.  The lender will value the relationship with the REALTOR® and go above and beyond to make certain the REALTOR® is happy with their performance so they continue to receive referrals.  When you find a lender on your own, you are a one shot commission and may not receive the same level of service.

3) PREAPPROVAL:  The actual process of buying your first home DOES NOT start with searching for your dream home…unless you have the cash to buy outright.  Experience tells us though that most first time home buyers will require a home loan to complete the transaction.

It’s important to be ‘Pre-Approved’ by a lender before you start house-hunting.  The worst thing any home buyer can do is look at the ‘perfect’ home that they believe they can afford only to find out that the bank won’t loan them that much, for one reason or another.

The difference between a ‘Pre-Qualification’ and a ‘Pre-Approval is huge.  A ‘Pre-Approval’ is the process of the lender gathering all necessary documentation and verifying all aspects of the credit application.  This will allow the home buyer and REALTOR® to focus on homes they know they can afford.

4)  BUDGET:  Just because you’re approved for one amount does not mean you have to spend every dime you’re approved for.  Perhaps, with your credit score, income, down payment and debt to income ratio has you qualified for one amount that stretches your budget.  Find a payment that makes you comfortable and stick with it.

Remember, the cost of paying for your new home is not just the principal and interest mortgage payment there will be property taxes and insurance and maybe even Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

5)  YOUR LEASE:  Are you currently leasing a house or apartment?  Know when your lease expires and what the penalties are if you broke the lease.  Buying a home is stressful enough and not having to worry about your current living arrangement is priceless.

Have the conversation with your landlord that you are in the process of shopping for and wanting to buy your own home.  Perhaps, your landlord may be willing to sell you the home you are currently renting.

6)  DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE (DPA):  Many perceive these programs to only be available to low income buyers, but many are available for the mid-level income buyers as well through local and state housing authorities.

Some programs offer no-interest loans or grants, with a few conditions attached. When researching the various programs, be sure to ask for a list of lenders who will participate in the programs, as not all lenders will.

7)  INSPECT EVERYTHING:  When you make the commitment to buy a home there is typically an inspection contingency that allows you to inspect every aspect of the home.

You’ll want to know that the roof is good, the plumbing and electric systems are all to code and functioning properly.  Check the foundation for cracks and leaks.  Mold is a big issue, look for any signs of water damage where mold may be growing behind the walls.  Appliances and fixtures all need to be in working order.  So many variables with any home, it’s important that you take the time and invest in good inspectors who will give you an unbiased opinion of the condition of the home you now have in escrow, because of all of your hard work in getting here.

Take the time to plan your purchase and you should be very happy with the outcome.  Rush any of the steps and you’re certain to have regrets.

Call us today at (951) 296-8887, and get educated! 

For questions regarding available inventory and/or other real estate matters please contact, Mike@GoTakeAction.com.  Mike Mason, Broker/Owner of MASON Real Estate Cal. BRE: 01483044, Temecula Valley resident for 30+ years, Board of Director (since 2011) Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors® (SRCAR).

THE TAX BENEFITS OF HOME OWNERSHIP

Everyone knows that there are tax benefits to owning a home, yet very few first time home buyers understand the significance of home ownership…for that matter, many move-p buyers don’t really understand the tax benefits of home ownership.

Taxes, of course, are unique to every tax payer.  There are many tax laws that are constantly changing.  You should not rely on this article as advice or your authority to make any decision regarding real estate and tax planning strategies.   What this column offers, is insight for when you meet with your tax professional, you’ll be better equipped to ask the right questions and plan the right strategy that works for you.

CAPITAL GAINS

As a homeowner, it’s nice to know the most substantial tax benefit will occur upon the sale of your home, assuming it’s for a profit.  When you sell, as a married couple, you’ll be able to pocket tax free up to $500,000 in profit from the sale; $250,000 for a single home owner.

If you consider selling just about any other type of investment, you’ll be taxed on every dollar of profit – typically around 15%.  The theory behind this exclusion is that most people when they sell one home reinvest the profits into another home. 

MORTGAGE INTEREST

When you take out a mortgage, you’ll be spending a considerable amount each month on the interest of that loan.  The way an amortized loan works is that you’ll be spending more in interest and less on principal during the early years of the loan. This means that most of your payment will be going to interest each month.  Most home loan monthly payments are initially more than two-thirds interest – even with a great interest rate the interest on hundreds of thousands of dollars for a home add up very quickly.

Both the Federal and California tax laws allow you to deduct all of the interest you pay on your home loan.  There are some details to check out, that may change from year to year, such as the total amount of interest that may be deducted (currently $1,000,000 for married home owners).  For most of us, we’ll be able to deduct all of the interest we pay on our home, every year from our federal and state taxes.

For example, if you borrow $300,000 for a home with a 4% interest rate you can expect to pay somewhere around $11,000 your first year toward interest.  If you’re in the 25% tax bracket you can then deduct about $2,750 off of your taxes.  Wow, $2,750 – that might represent a month or two in rent you’ve been paying!

HOME EQUITY LOANS

A Home Equity Loan, a Line of Credit, a Home Improvement Loan, a Second (or Third) Home loan all have the same benefits as an initial purchase loan.  The interest paid is tax deductible.

DICOUNT POINTS

Discount Points are a fee you may have payed to get the loan you got.  A point represents 1% of the loan amount.  Many times, a buyer who is planning on staying in the home for a longer time may ‘pay points’ to ‘Buy-Down’ the interest rate on a loan.  In other words, using the $300,000 loan example above, you may have initially qualified for a 5% loan but by paying a point in advance ($3,000) you were able to ‘Buy-Down’ or lower your interest to only 4%.

Buying Down a loan is a great strategy if you are planning on staying in the home for an extended period – typically it balances out in less than 5 years.  However, if the idea is to resell within a couple of years before moving up, then spending the money to buy-down the loan may not be money well spent.  Consult with your REALTOR® and Mortgage Professional to help figure out what is best in your situation.

The good news is that Discount Points are tax deductible just like your mortgage interest.  One point could save you and extra $500 or more off of next year’s tax bill.

PROPERTY TAXES

Property Taxes are the taxes that are paid to your County/State based on the assessed value of your real estate.  While there is much to cover in a discussion about Property Taxes, suffice it to say that regardless of where you live you can expect to pay property taxes.  In California your taxed based on the assessed value.  The rates can vary from city to city and neighborhood to neighborhood, so understand this when you purchase your new home.  Rates can be as low as 1% and in some cases as high as 3%. 

Using the $300,000 home example, this could be a $3,000 annual property tax bill ($250 a month liability) up to a $9,000 annual property tax bill ($750 a month liability).  Property taxes are a tax deduction.  Another $3,000 to $9,000 tax deduction is something everyone can appreciate. 

MORTGAGE INSURANCE

Unless you put 20% or more down on a new home, you can expect to pay Mortgage Insurance on your home loan amount.

The good news is the money you spend every year on mortgage insurance will be deductible; although there are income restrictions for this deduction, so again check with your tax professional before you start depending on this added deduction that will average around another $1,000 annually.

HOME IMPROVEMENTS

Home Improvements add value to your home and also give you the ability to be added to the purchase price of your home for determining capital gains.

Home improvements and repairs are two different things.  Replacing a roof, adding a swimming pool, or resurfacing your driveway can all be considered improvements.  Fixing a broken window, stopping a leaky faucet or any regular maintenance is not considered a home improvement and is not added to the purchase value of your home.

If you are looking to add value to your home, it’s critical that you have access to all of your receipts.  Once again, the advice of your tax professional is important here.

HOME OFFICE DEDUCTION

Depending on your line of work, it may be possible to deduct for a home office off of your taxes.  There are some pretty stringent requirements for this deduction and carries a high audit rate among those who do claim it. If your home is your principal place of your business and you meet all of the IRS guidelines, you just may get yourself yet another great tax deduction – all because you own your own home!

Call us today at (951) 296-8887 and get the information you need to make the right decision.

For questions regarding available inventory and/or other real estate matters please contact, Mike@GoTakeAction.com.  Mike Mason, Broker/Owner of MASON Real Estate Cal. BRE: 01483044, Board of Director of your Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors® (SRCAR).

WHEN BUYING A NEW HOME BE SURE TO CONSIDER THE NEIGHBORHOOD

When considering the purchase of a home, there is so much more than the bedroom and bathroom count to consider.  Items like the kitchen counters, plumbing and lighting fixtures and even the landscape can all be modified to fit your personality…what can never be changed about a prospective home is the neighborhood it’s located in.  This single issue is perhaps the most critical element to selecting that perfect dream home. 

WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN EVALUATING A NEIGHBORHOOD

Local Laws – Throughout Riverside County each city has their own laws on the books that often dictate what can and cannot be done with residential real estate.  In some cities, the laws change from neighborhood to neighborhood.  In the unincorporated areas of Riverside County there are County Ordinances that must be adhered to.

Depending on where you end up calling home the local laws can be dramatically different than what you are currently use to.  You may find that there are restrictions on where you can park and during which hours (no overnight parking is not that uncommon in parts of the county).  There may be limitations as to what type of vehicle (commercial?) can be parked in a residential neighborhood.

Other cities can and do restrict the type of animals allowed which means your pet pot belly pig may not be permitted.  Most cities restrict the raising of any livestock, including chickens and goats from residential neighborhoods.  Other cities will restrict the color you can paint a house (which means you don’t have to worry about having a neighbor with a purple fetish).

These types of laws are known as either ‘protective covenants’ or ‘restrictive covenants’.  It’s important to become familiar with the law of the land before you take possession.  These laws are intended to protect property values (tax base) and are what’s perceived to be what the vast majority of the people do not want in their established neighborhoods.

Homeowner Associations (HOA) – The HOA usually either provides valuable amenities and services or be a drain on your very existence.  Never assume you know how they operate, as they run the entire gamut from being very professional and caring well-oiled machines to corrupt, inefficient and even petty overlords.

It’s so important to know what you’re getting into with your HOA before you agree to live by their rules.  Do you due diligence by speaking to your new neighbors, research them on the Internet and even plan on attending a meeting (typically held once a month).  There are so many homeowners who loved the home they bought only to be overwhelmed by the restrictions imposed by their HOA.

It is so important to get your priorities straight when picking a neighborhood to live in.

Taxes and Insurance – Here in California homeowners are protected under the provisions of Prop 13 so that their property taxes are very predictable year-after-year.  Insurance, on the other hand is anything but predictable.  We have high risk areas for fire and earthquakes…two very real realities of life in Southern California.

It’s important to understand how the local taxes work and what the insurance companies think of the area your proposed neighborhood is located in.  When considering your property taxes, make certain you investigate and fully understand any ‘special assessments’ that are bundled with the property taxes and when they will expire.

Noise and Odors– Sure that railroad track must be a half a mile away, but when that 100 car freight train goes rolling through at 4 in the morning you have got to ask yourself if this is what you bargained for.  Maybe being close to the new hospital is a good thing until you start to hear the ambulances at all hours of the day and night.

Consider the noise level of a nearby school, when the kids are out for recess playing or there are 100 cars crowding the nearby streets waiting to pick up the children.  How about the convenience to the freeway – what level of noise does that bring to your property (remember, it’s not just the inside, think of those summer BBQ’s you want to hold).

Another environmental issue you need to consider is the local odors.  Riverside County has a lot of agriculture land that is covered with either crops or livestock.  One creates a lot of fertilizer and the other consumes a lot of fertilizer – either way there may be an unpleasant odor that finds its way to your home (along with the flies and other insects).

Entertainment – The good news is that Riverside County offers something for everyone.  Being close to the things you like to do means that you get to do them more often.  If you like wine tasting, then the Temecula Wine Country is for you.  If hiking is your thing, there are many trails scattered throughout the county.  Live concerts and other cultural events may have you considering being close to either downtown Riverside or Old Town Temecula.  Regardless of what you enjoy, there is a neighborhood in Riverside County to accommodate you.

Internet and Cell Phone Coverage – In todays connected world, high speed Internet access has become a critical element to consider when home shopping.  Just as critical, if not more, is having a good cell signal at the new home.  Today, so many people are working from home and have given up traditional land lines.  It’s imperative that a neighborhood has the capabilities to stay connected.

Exterior Light – This depends on what you want.  Some people find comfort with bright street lights offering a level of security while others cherish the darkness of the night and don’t want it invade by parking lot lights, street lights, traffic lights or any other light source that might invade your space.

Bike Lanes – There are many ordinances on the books protecting bicyclists and establishing bona fide bike lanes and paths.  Some communities embrace this and go above and beyond making their cities ‘bike friendly’ while others may not be in compliance with all of the rules in force.

In addition to bike lanes, many neighborhoods will also have fitness parks and jogging trails to promote an active and healthy lifestyle for the residents.  Just a couple more things to consider.

PRIORTIZE

There are going to be many factors into finding the perfect place to call home.  It’s more than just what is found within the walls or even the property boundaries.  The local neighborhood is where you will be living, meeting ne friends and raiding your family.  There is much to consider.  This list cannot be all inclusive, but it is a good place to start you thinking outside the box of the walls of the home and at the neighborhood as a whole.

Life is not all about how close you are to work or how close the shopping district is or how you’re going to maintain your new home.  Life is about the moments and those moments include your community and neighborhood.  So figure out what’s important to you and prioritize them accordingly…something only you can do.

Call us today at (951) 296-8887 and get the information you need to make the right decision.

For questions regarding available inventory and/or other real estate matters please contact, Mike@GoTakeAction.com.  Mike Mason, Broker/Owner of MASON Real Estate Cal. BRE: 01483044, Board of Director of your Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors® (SRCAR.

Buyer Alert – Don’t Be Left Behind

The buying season is in full swing – odds are that if you are going to buy a Temecula-Murrieta home this year, you’ll buy by September.  Sure, you’ve been getting your financial affairs in order and you’ve been up at night searching the Interned and browsing again first thing each morning at all of the available homes for sale…but are you really ready to jump in and do what it takes?

Think of finding and purchasing a new home as a marathon.  It’s not going to happen over-night and it’s not going to be easy.  Just like in a 26.2 mile marathon most of the preparation must me achieving a mental attitude that you are in it for the long run.  Don’t give up and don’t look for shortcuts; be persistent and be consistent.

Looking for a Deal or a Home?

Many buyers will wear themselves out searching for ‘the right home’ to fall in love with only to lose their dream by insisting on submitting a low ball offer.  What’s sad is that many buyers will repeat the process several times before they realize this may not be the best tactic if they want to move before school starts in the fall.

Smarter buyers, with a local agent whose in-tune with the market, will know and understand the current market trends and know what homes are selling for in each specific neighborhood you are shopping in.  Current market conditions do not support the notion that low-ball offers will gain any respect from this year’s sellers who are still hoping for a repeat of last year’s buying frenzy that saw multiple offers and a nearly 25% increase in value. 

Do yourself a favor and prepare reasonable fair market offers – use current and reliable data to structure your offers and don’t rely on your need to negotiate the best deal.

If It’s Meant to Be…It’s Meant to Be

There will be homes that you really want.  You’ve analyzed all of the data with your REALTOR®.  You structure the cleanest best offer and then you submit it.  At this point, if you are going to maintain a healthy mental attitude, you have to let go of the outcome.  .

If the home you are fighting for is supposed to be yours and you have this type of positive mental attitude then the success will be that much sweeter and the loss much easier to deal with if you find yourself back on the street looking for that perfect home again!

Are Your Priorities in Alignment with Buying a Home?

It’s a tough question, your instinct is of course!  If that’s the case, when your agent notifies you that a home that meets every want and need on your list and is within budget in the desired neighborhood did you drop what you were doing to go look at it or did you ask to schedule a showing for Saturday afternoon after Juniors little league game? 

Do you keep getting overbid because you are asking for a 60 day escrow?  Maybe you want the Seller to contribute 3% towards your closing costs plus pay for a home warranty. 

The truth is there are many variables to every offer and typically lots of competition.  You need to be working with an agent whom you trust so that you can trust your agents’ advice and harness his expertise.  Consider each setback and learn from the experience – don’t become a victim of repetition.

TV Buyers are in Fantasy Land

If you ever watch any of the multiple television shows on the process of buying real estate you may be gaining some insight but trust me – this is not real.

First off, it is near impossible to look at 3 houses and one of them becomes perfect.  It’s going to take much more than this.

Second, the couple who doesn’t know what they want really need to decide and not rely on their REALTOR® to figure it out for them.  How many couples have you seen on TV where one wants to live in an urban environment and the other out in the country – all for $900 a month?  Well, you need to work this out with your partner (or yourself) long before you ever cross your first threshold.   Determine what you want, what you need, where you want to be and a realistic budget.

Open Escrow – Finish Line in Sight

Sure, you found the perfect home and have an accepted offer for a price you like, but it’s not yours yet and you still have a lot of work to get done if you are going to close on time…or at all (always remember, not every escrow closes).

Escrow can be anti-climactic after all of the energy that went into finding your new abode but you can’t slow down now – stay focused and do what needs to be done.  This includes showing up for all of the inspections, when they are scheduled; work closely with your lender, providing all of the necessary documentation (yes there will be hoops to jump through) they need – when then ask for it; and remain flexible because there will be unforeseen things that will happen that will require your prompt attention and you better be prepared to give it.

No one wants to see all of yours and your agents’ hard work and the thought of losing your dream home slip between the cracks.

If you and everyone around you can stay focused on the end game, jumping through the hoops as they mysteriously appear and give your home hunting experience the highest priority in your life, until it’s over the odds are definitely in your favor of being settled into your new home long before the kids return to school this fall.

Call us today at (951) 296-8887 and get the information you need to make the right decision.

For questions regarding available inventory and/or other real estate matters please contact, Mike@GoTakeAction.com.  Mike Mason, Broker/Owner of MASON Real Estate Cal. BRE: 01483044, Board of Director of your Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors® (SRCAR).