Common Home Buying Myths Busted!

If you are getting ready to take the plunge from renter to homeowner, you may be receiving a lot of unsolicited advice from your nearest and dearest. It makes sense that you would want to chat with your loved ones who own a home for sale in South Lake Tahoe, CA to find out what to expect. Which means, your head could be spinning with all the new “information” you are getting. While they likely have the best of intentions, unless they are an area expert, you may be getting bad advice. In fact, there are a lot of South Lake Tahoe, CA real estate myths floating around. If you are buying a home in South Lake Tahoe, CA check out these myths.

Myth No. 1: You first need to search for a home

So many buyers turn straight to sites like Zillow or Realtor.com before they even reach out to their local South Lake Tahoe, CA Realtor. You may want to get a feel for your dream home or “be in the know” before you sit down with a local real estate agent. If you find yourself doing this, you are not alone. This is a common real estate mistake. It also happens to be one that can set you up for heart break. The first actual step of buying a home is getting pre-approved. Not pre-qualified. When you get pre-approved you know exactly how much you can spend and what your budget is. If you are going based on what you think you can afford, you could be searching for homes for sale in South Lake Tahoe, CA that are out of your actual price range. By getting pre-approved, you not only save yourself some heart ache, but you also save yourself time AND you look good for the seller.

Myth No. 2: Your down payment must be 20% minimum

This is one of the most common myths when it comes to South Lake Tahoe real estate. Yes, a 20% down payment is ideal in order to avoid Private Mortgage Insurance HOWEVER you can score a loan with as little as 5% down. You can even go lower to 3.5% if you qualify for an FHA loan. There are so many options for down payment assistance when it comes to buying South Lake Tahoe real estate. Do your research, talk with your South Lake Tahoe realtor and shop for loans.

Myth No. 3: A 30-year mortgage is the best option

Speaking of loans, a 30 year mortgage may be the most common, but it might not be the best fit for you. After all, just because you invest in your home longer doesn’t mean your monthly payments will be cheaper. Yes, the monthly payments could be lower than a 15 year loan however you might end up paying more. You see, with a 30 year loan you run the risk of borrowing the same amount of money for double the time and a higher interest rate. A 15 year loan could be a good fit for you. Both are great options depending on your situation so just be open minded and read the fine print.

Myth No. 4: You can’t buy a home with bad credit

After the recession, there are plenty of people that are still cleaning up their financial situation. If your credit is bad, you may not qualify for a conventional loan but you have the option of a FHA loan. FHA loans require 3.5% down and borrowers with scores under 600 can still qualify. If you are buying South Lake Tahoe real estate and think this may be a good fit, know that while it is a good solution, it may not be right for you.

Myth No. 5: The down payment is the only upfront cost

False! Yes, the down payment will get you in the door but there are also taxes, fees, inspection costs, credit reports, insurance and the seller might require the buyer to pay closing costs.

Myth No. 6: The asking price is non-negotiable

When buying South Lake Tahoe real estate you must know that everything is negotiable. You make an offer and so long as your credit is good, you are pre-approved and you have a down payment, the seller might be willing to negotiate. You can also use the home inspection as a negotiation tactic in your favor depending on what the results are.

Myth No. 7: You don’t need a home inspection

Buying a home as is could be a financial disaster. Not all problems are visible, which means there could be some sinister (and costly!) issues lurking below the service. You may feel like you need to waive an inspection to beat out the competition but know that could be a huge disaster. You will want to talk with your South Lake Tahoe Realtor about this one in depth.

Myth No. 8: You don’t need an agent

If you think you don’t need an agent to buy Lake Tahoe, CA real estate because you have internet, think again. When you align yourself with a qualified realtor in South Lake Tahoe, you get everything from search results, inside information and a skilled negotiator on your side that can help you navigate any bumps in the road. For more information on buying or selling Lake Tahoe, CA real estate, give me a call.

Home Buying Hiccups & How To Avoid Them

If you are getting ready to buy a home for sale in South Lake Tahoe, or are currently in the process, congrats! Becoming a home owner, in beautiful Lake Tahoe no less, is such an exciting time. Of course, along with any new adventure, there is always the chance for something to go awry. By aligning yourself with a qualified South Lake Tahoe realtor, you either lessen those chances and/or you are lucky enough to have someone who is informed successfully get you over any hurdles. When it comes to the nuances of South Lake Tahoe real estate, there are some hiccups that can pop up. As a long time local South Lake Tahoe real estate agent, here is my advice on how to be prepared and avoid them.

Hiccup No. 1: If these walls talk, don’t ignore them.

Just because a home has had a huge remodel or costly upgrades to make it look pretty, doesn’t mean that behind the walls, under the floors and above your head was given the same attention. There are some South Lake Tahoe homes for sale that have been around a llloonnngggg time. Some of these homes have gotten a face lift but that doesn’t mean they are as good as new. Lack of insulation, shoddy wiring, rotting wood, mold and bad plumbing are things that can’t be seen but are expensive to fix. Of course, this is where the home inspection comes in. Do not ignore the home inspectors comments on what should be done, and what should not have been done. Press the home inspector for more information. Ask how costly some of the repairs are. Ask for permits from the sellers. Do whatever you can to make sure that the South Lake Tahoe home for sale you are about to buy is up to code, and legally. I know you may really want a home to work, but anything that costs you your sanity (and savings) isn’t worth it in the long haul.

Hiccup No. 2: Sellers refuse to leave.

This is a rare nightmare, but can still happen. One would think that if someone is listing their South Lake Tahoe home for sale, they intend to move out. Whether it is the seller, or the tenant, who is not budging, it can be a huge hassle trying to get into the home for sale in South Lake Tahoe that you just purchased. First, get everything in writing. That is what all those documents and the Purchase and Sale contract is for! Also, when you do the final walk through look for signs that the person occupying the home plans on leaving. Are there boxes? Does it look like they have started moving things out? Do they have furniture out on the curb for pick up? Is it clean? Don’t chalk this up to someone simply being a procrastinator. If it looks like they are sitting pretty, get to the bottom of what is going on before closing day. The eviction process is not fun!

Hiccup No. 3:  Discovering termites or pests too late

This relates to Hiccup No 1. Be more in tune with your inspection! If the inspector notices you have an infestation of any sort, do not breeze over it. Fixing termite damage on South Lake Tahoe real estate for sale is no joke. Not only can it be costly, but it can be time consuming. As far as pest control goes-find out where they are getting in at. I know of one home that had a variety of access points that rodents were using to gain entry into a house. Pest control came out and revealed that there were several different access points through out the home and in order to seal things up properly, it would have been over $3000 to fix. Once again, do not breeze over the inspection because you want a specific home for sale in South Lake Tahoe. Pay attention, ask questions, get a second opinion, get bids and stay informed.

Hiccup No. 4: You Didn’t do your research and got a bad Realtor.

This is huge. In fact, this is the part that can make or break your South Lake Tahoe real estate transaction. 99.9% of the South Lake Tahoe realtors are completely legit. They have taken the courses, they have their license, they are legally able to assist you in purchasing a home for sale in South Lake Tahoe and they love it! However, every once in a while there is someone who doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Buying real estate in Lake Tahoe is a huge financial decision. Get informed. Interview different agents. Look at reviews. Ask for referrals. Ask to see their license. Ask what certifications they have. Ask how long they have been in the business. When you align yourself with someone who is a member of  the National Association of Realtors, you are being represented by someone who has a code of ethics they have to abide by. Don’t skimp on this step. For more information on buying and selling real estate in South Lake Tahoe, give me a call at (530) 308-4762.