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Home Inspections Part I - What to Ask Your Home Inspector

by Samia S. Morgan

Home inspections are a necessary part of both the home selling and buying process. It is important to be sure that when hiring a home inspector that you are sure to hire a qualified individual or company. Below is a list of things to keep in mind to ask your potential inspector.

 

  1. What are your qualifications? 
     
  2. How many home inspections do you perform in a year that is similar to my home? 
     
  3. Can you provide a list of references that we can contact? 
     
  4. What is your turnaround time to receive the report? 
     
  5. What will be included in the report? 
     
  6. How much will the report cost?  

For an easy, quick search of certified Home Inspectors in your area you can visit The American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

 

Top Six Documents Your Mortgage Lender Will Ask For

by Samia S. Morgan

Be prepared for your meeting with your mortgage lender. Have the following documention with you and review it for accuracy.

Applying for a mortgage can be a daunting task, but if you are prepared it will be less stressful and help your lender move things along smoothly.

  • Employment information.
    Include current contact information for all your employers in the last 2 years
     
  • W-2s.
    These forms should have been given to you from your employer.
    Include W-2s the last two years filed
    You may also want to make a list of any additional sources of income such as self-employment income, pension’s, rental income, child support or alimony or social security.
     
  • Pay stubs.
    Include pay stubs received in the last 30 days.
     
  • Federal income tax returns.
    Include tax returns filed in the last 2 years
     
  • Bank statements.
    Bank statements for any/all your accounts for the last 2 months
    Providing these statements will verify that amount of cash available for your down payment
    In the event that a portion of your down payment is a gift, grant or assistance program, you may need to provide documentation to verify this as well
     
  • Current debts.
    Make a list of any/all debts you have with company names, account numbers, balances and minimum monthly payments

Your lender may have already given you a list of items required and if not use this as a guideline. Most institutions will require similar documentation, but check with your lender first as they made need additional information from you.

How to Prepare Your Home For a Showing

by Samia S. Morgan

You only have one chance to make a first impression with potential buyers so it is important that your home is in tip top shape and ready for showing.

Here are a few things that you can do to help your agent.

1.       Tidy Your Home

 

2.       Unclutter cupboards and closets

 

3.       Make any minor repairs

4.       Cut lawn in the summer and shovel walks in the winter

5.       Put away all valuables

6.       Lock up pets or take them with you

7.       Open all drapes and blinds

8.       Make beds

9.       Turn on all the lights

10.    Leave the house

 

Helping your agent with these few things will help in creating a great first impression for each prospective buyer.

Tips For Moving With Children

by Samia S. Morgan

Moving can be extremely stressful especially if you have children. It is important to be aware of the things that may be a concern to your children when making a move.

A few areas of concern for children when making a move may include:

  • Preschool children tend to worry about being left behind or separated from their parents.
  • Kids aged 6 to 12 can be concerned with how their daily routines will be affected.
  • Teenagers are concerned primarily with fitting in and having their social life disrupted.

A way to ease these concerns may include:

  • Communicating with your child about what the new house will be like.

  • Take them on a visit of the new home and neighborhood (if possible)

  • If you can, visit the school with your child and meet some of the teachers.
Involving your children in the move can help make the transition easier. Your kids can be a great help to you and the move if you involve them such things as:

  • Packing some of their own special belongings, and decorate the box with stickers and markers.
  • Make plans together on how to decorate their new room.

There is a lot to consider during a move and by involving your children you just may relieve the stress your children are feeling, reduce your own stress and be able to focus more on other aspects of your move!

Back to School in San Francisco

by Samia S. Morgan

It's back to school time and kids and parents are busy trying to get organized to start the school year prepared. Kids are typically concerned with buying the right outfit while parents concentrate on making sure their kids have the proper supplies for their classes.

Check your local school website for a school supplies checklist. If your school doesn't offer this list online, below is a basic list, as provided by GreatSchools.com, to help you get started.

Elementary School

  • Glue sticks  
  • Scissors
  • Ballpoint pens
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencil sharpener   
  • Large pink eraser  
  • Box of crayons   
  • Drawing paper
  • Construction paper
  • A ruler with English and metric measurements
  • School box   
  • Kleenex
  • Small bottle of hand sanitizer
  • A backpack (Check out GreatSchools.com article, Tips for Buying a Backpack and Carrying Safely, about choosing the right backpack)

Middle-School and High-School

In addition to the basic school supply items, children in middle and high school may be required to purchase the following:

  • A calendar for time-management and for scheduling assignments
  • 2 combination locks   
  • Binder dividers  
  • Several 3-ring binders
  • Folders to fit into binders
  • A small notebook to record assignments
  • Pencil case to fit into binder
  • Pens
  • Index cards, ruled and unruled
  • Calculator (Check with your teacher first for type and model)

Don’t forget to visit GreatSchools.com for a more complete list. Happy shopping and have a great school year.

Water Conservation - Alternative Landscaping

by Samia S. Morgan
We are currently living in a time where the environment is a growing concern. As homeowners we should all try to do our part and one of the things we can do is understand the importance of water conservation.

Home Owners Associations are trying to do their part for water conservation by creating beautiful, maintenance free landscapes called "xeriscape". This is a natural type of landscaping that reduces the amount of water consumption by following a few natural landscaping techniques.

Read more about how Home Owner Associations are exploring Xeriscaping in the article HOA Enviroscaping

Moving? Have You Been Prequalified?

by Samia S. Morgan


How much home can you really afford? The first step in buying a home is to have a budget and figure out how much you can actually afford. Your agent or lender can help you with this in a couple of ways:

 

  •  Pre-qualifying process This process will give you a general "estimate" of what you will be able to afford.

  • Pre-approval process This process will allow your lender to review your finances in more detail in order to determine the amount of money they agree to loan you for your home purchase.

Your lender will review your finances and focus on a few main areas such as:

  • Gross monthly income
  • Credit history
  • Amount of outstanding debts
  • Source and amount of money available for down payment and closing costs
  • Interest rates, etc.

All these things put together will help your lender determine two important qualifying ratios.

  1. Debt-to-Income Ratio Generally the amount of debt you pay each month should not exceed 36 percent of your gross monthly income
  2. Housing Expense Ratio Most lenders will not approve your loan if the mortgage payment exceeds 28 to 33 percent of your gross monthly income

These are the first steps in determining how much you can afford when purchasing a new home. For more mortgage and finance information feel free to contact me at any time or visit my Finance Information page.

Mold in Your Home - What to Look For

by Samia S. Morgan
As homeowners we should be aware of the existence and dangers of mold in our homes and how to address the issue before it gets out of control. A lot of times we are unaware that mold may be growing in the corners behind appliances after a water leak, or in the walls of our bathrooms without proper ventilation which is a “growing” concern if you are looking to sell your home.

Realty Times Columnist, Phoebe Chongchua has written an informative article that explains the seriousness of mold in our homes and what to look for in a home that you may want to purchase. Read the following article to familiarize yourself with some of the more common signs.

Local Student Becomes The Teacher - Homeownership for Teachers 101

by Samia S. Morgan

Are you a teacher, discouraged and wondering if you will ever be able to purchase your home? Well help is here. A local senior student from Oakland's MetWest High School has prepared and presented his senior thesis project that gave one teacher the education and confidence to pursue her dream of owning her own home.

Huber Trenado chose to combine education and homeownership as his senior thesis project and began his journey of learning about the real estate market and the loan process to prepare himself for a symposium he organized on the topic.

After a nine month internship with a local real estate company and the help of a panel of experts, that Huber recruited himself, he was able to bring the basics of homeownership, and hope, to teachers who felt they could never afford to buy their own homes.

I want to give back to teachers because those are the people who have helped me grow said Huber.

Read more about Huber Trenado's journey and the teacher he helped become a homeowner in the San Francisco Chronicle article, Student has all the answers for teacher to buy a home published on SFGate.com.

Happy Father's Day!

by Samia S. Morgan

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.

-- Sigmund Freud

 Wishing you and your families a Happy Father's Day. If you want to mix it up a little and treat your dad to a Father's Day dinner out, the ZagatBuzz, San Francisco Edition has offered a few restaurant suggestions for all types of dad's.

  • The Fun-and-Games Dad
  • The Don't-Make-a-Fuss Dad
  • The Wheeling-and-Dealing Dad
  • The Only-the-Finest Dad 

Check out the article Celebrating Father's Day for the restaurant that suits your dad.

Displaying blog entries 1531-1540 of 1546

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Photo of Samia S. Morgan, Inc. Real Estate
Samia S. Morgan, Inc.
dba Samia Realty Group
BRE# 00967165
San Mateo CA 94403
650-678-3633