Real Estate Blog

Buying your first home is one of the most exciting times in your life. It is also one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make, which is why it is important to know what you are getting into. Make sure to ask yourself these 3 first-time homebuyer questions when looking for a home.

  1. What can you afford? It is important to keep in mind that the cost of a home is much more than just the mortgage payment. Make sure to factor in utility bills and maintenance costs.
  2. What is your debt to income ratio? Your lender will want to know what your debt to income ratio is when you are applying for a loan. Make sure that your overall debt is never more than 40 percent, and your housing debt is never more than 32 percent.
  3. What do you need and want?
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One of the most important steps in buying a home is to know how much you can afford. Luckily, our mortgage calculator is an easy tool that can be used to figure out exactly how much you can spend on your next home.

The mortgage calculator can be used to figure out what the monthly mortgage payment will be for a home based on the sale price of the home, your down payment percentage, loan term desired, and the interest rate of the loan. Our calculator also goes a step further by factoring in the Private Mortgage Insurance, or PMI, for loans that have less than a 20 percent down payment. It also takes into the consideration the property taxes in the area, as it will affect the monthly mortgage payment.

 Contact The Alan Shafran Group for more

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California had one of the worst droughts in history. While there is plenty of ways to conserve water in your home, it is also important to make sure you do your part outside. Keep these drought tolerant landscaping tips in mind to help save water.

  • Plant native, drought tolerant plants in your yard. Plants that are native to the area can better adapt to the dry ground and do not require as much watering.
  • Create a path with a stone. Not only will a stone walkway make your home more welcoming, but will also cut down on the amount of vegetation that you have to water.
  • Add a fountain. Although a fountain may seem like a bad choice during a drought, you can create a fountain that captures and recycles water for your garden.

For more tips on

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We love to hear from you! Customer reviews are a great way to let us know what we are doing right, and what we need to work on. Many of our clients have taken the time to review our work, see what they have said on Yelp!

Rich C. from Carlsbad worked with us to buy his “dream home” in 2014. Even though he was deployed with the military, our agent Mike was able ensure that the “entire process was seamless from start to finish.”

Victoria C. of Los Alamitos worked with Alan to sell her home, she said that he was “the best realtor she had ever worked with,” and explained that he is “a top-notch negotiator on your behalf.”

Bevin B. of Oceanside said  “Alan and his team are top notch.  They helped my mother with the sale of her home in Carlsbad and made

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Closing costs are one of the last aspects of the home buying process. While they can be expensive, there are steps that you can take in order to keep the price of your closing costs low. Keep these tips in mind to save money when you are closing on your new home.

  • Know the market. Sellers are more likely to negotiate the closing costs when it is a buyer’s market since they may have a harder time selling their home.
  • Know what is negotiable. Not all closing cost fees are negotiable. Most of the negotiable fees are in the 800s section of the good-faith estimate from your lender, and can include application fee, title insurance, and mail and courier fees.
  • Ask. If you have any questions, make sure to ask your lender or real estate agent. They will
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If you have moved into a new home and your old home is still on the market, it may be vacant. Vacant homes can be an easy target for vandals and thieves who keep track of the status of neighborhoods. Homeowners insurance policies only cover homes that are occupied, so they will not cover your home while it is vacant and waiting to be sold. Consider these simple tips to help protect your home while it is empty.

  • Let a friend stay over. Allow a close friend or family member to stay in the vacant home to deter burglars.
  • Furnish the home. Keeping some old furniture in the vacant house will make it look like there are people living in the home. If you do not have any old furniture, there are many home staging companies that will bring in furniture.
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The front yard of your house is the first thing that potential buyers see, which is why it is so important to make sure that your landscaping looks its best. Keep these tips in mind to ensure that your landscaping attracts buyers to your home.

  • Remove any dead plants from your yard. Not only will this brighten up your yard, but it will give you the extra space needed to add extra foliage to your garden.
  • Rake up fallen leaves every day. When your home is on the market, you never know when potential buyers might come to look at your home, so you want to make sure that your yard is always looking its best.
  • Add a splash of color. Something as simple as changing the color of your front door can create a focal point, and can distract buyers if the
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Moving into your home can be expensive. To help keep the costs low and save some money, keep these simple tips in mind.

  • Do not take everything. If you do not want old appliances or furniture, do not waste your time moving them. You may even be able to include it in the sale of your home to make a little extra money.
  • Barter. If your new home needs a little bit of work, you may be able to trade some of your furniture for the work, which will not only save you money, but can save you the hassle of moving extra items.
  • Move smart. Hiring a moving company or renting a moving van can be expensive. While it may be extra work to do yourself, you will save hundreds of dollars. You could also do a “hybrid move” by loading and unloading the moving truck
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When you are buying a home, you may need a large sum of money as fast as possible to pay for big ticket items. If you are planning on getting a loan to help you cover the cost, it is important to keep in mind that you may not qualify, and if you do, it will be very expensive to pay back. Make sure to ask yourself these questions to ensure that you do not get locked into a loan that you do not actually need.

  • How much money do you need? Make sure to seriously think about what you want to buy, and make sure that you actually need it.
  • Do you really need cash? If you are buying something that could be paid for with a credit card, reconsider the loan. Credit card companies typically have lower interest rates and no time limit to pay off the purchase.
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When you are selling your home, it usually means that you have to buy a new home, which can be a delicate balance. To make sure that the buying and selling process is as smooth as possible, keep these tips in mind:

  • Plan early. Planning the entire experience as early as possible can help ensure that you do not miss any important steps. Choose a real estate agency that has experience in your local area, as well as being experienced in both buying and selling homes.
  • If you buy first, you will have to prove to your lender that you have enough money saved up to cover the down payment as well as the closing cost of your new home. You may also have to prove that your finances are stable enough to afford mortgage payments for both your new and old home.
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