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Important guidelines for buying a home

Rising home prices and rising interest rates may have some Californians convinced that they should buy sooner rather than later. However, the cost of a home itself isn't the only factor one should consider when deciding whether to buy or rent. As a general rule, buying is right for those who have a stable job and are confident that they will have a reliable income for several years to come.

They should also be confident that they have enough money to handle costs such as paying a Realtor or other closing fees. As these expenses can be relatively high, those who want to buy a home should commit to living there for at least five years. Generally speaking, it's wise to keep expenses such as student loan debt or auto loan payments to less than 30 percent of one's income.

Making your rest rooms ADA compliant

Unless you spend your days in a wheelchair, it may not occur to you that there are many things you take for granted. Just trying to get into a room can be a challenge, and many who use wheelchairs must make special accommodations to their homes to allow them to move about freely and complete their daily tasks.

If you are a business owner in California, you must be particularly aware of how you can provide accessibility for all your patrons. Not only is this an ethical decision, but the law requires it under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Whether you are constructing a new building for your business or are remodeling an older structure to comply with ADA rules, your bathrooms may need special consideration.

Buying a home without US citizenship

Those who are not citizens of the United States may be eligible to buy a home or other real property in California. However, the process of doing so depends on a person's status within the country. As a general rule, a permanent resident goes through the same process of getting a home loan as a citizen. The permanent resident is also likely to qualify for FHA or other government loans.

To qualify for a home loan, a permanent resident would need to show proof of income and payment of United States taxes. Generally, he or she would need at least two years of tax returns as well a credit history of at least two years. Those who live in another country qualify for foreign national loans as opposed to conventional or government-backed mortgages. Furthermore, these loans are only available for investment purposes and require down payments of 25 percent.

Explaining closing costs for buyers and sellers in California

The total cost of a home in California goes beyond the listed price for the property. Closing costs will also need to be factored into the equation to determine the affordability of a home purchase. The term "closing costs" simply refers to all expenses related to the final step involved with completing a real estate transaction. Such costs are typically shared by both the buyer and seller.

The way closing costs related to the purchase of a residential property will be divided among the buyer and the seller will depend, in part, on results of the negotiation process. The mortgage lender usually provides an estimate for the buyer. Financial terms for the loan will be spelled out in the loan contract. The buyer will also receive a closing disclosure statement from the lender shortly before the settlement date.

Competition is intense in today's home market

Buyers in California cities and other hot markets throughout America are becoming bolder in their efforts to buy a home. One Oakland real estate agent said that homes are coming on and off the market within hours. On average, homes in the United States lasted 81 days after being listed in 2017. However, in San Francisco, homes were only available for an average of 43 days.

During the months of April and May, homes in San Francisco were on the market for only 41 days on average. While larger markets have seen competition increase, homes in smaller cities have also become increasingly sought-after. For instance, 80 percent of homes in Akron, Ohio, sold for more than the list price as bidding wars broke out. Those who have studied home sale trends say that a lack of supply is what is driving the prices of homes higher and getting them off the market faster.

List on Wednesday to get the most from a home

According to Redfin, a California home seller should list their property on a Wednesday. The real estate brokerage looked at 100,000 home sales to find that properties listed on this day of the week sold for $2,023 more than properties listed on a Sunday. While Wednesday is ideal for those who are looking to make the most from their sale, Thursday is best for those who want to sell their homes fast.

Redfin data indicated that homes listed on Thursday sold about five days faster on average than a Sunday listing. In general, homes listed on Thursday were also more likely to be sold within 90 days. As an added bonus, homeowners could still expect to get an average of $1,609 more by listing on this day compared to Sunday. Conversely, Sunday and Monday were the least ideal days to list for those looking for a lucrative or timely sale.

Understanding ADA laws on service and emotional support animals

As a business owner, you may encounter a customer or client who enters your establishment with a dog on a harness. This may be upsetting to you or to other employees or customers, particularly if you are running a food establishment, displaying breakable items or have small children on the premises. You may be tempted to ask the person to remove the dog from your building, but before you do this, it would be wise to consult with a legal professional about the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Animals, especially dogs, often receive training to provide services to people with certain disabilities. Most well-known, perhaps, are those dogs that assist people with visual impairments. The Department of Justice requires all business owners to welcome service dogs into their establishments. However, for some, the definition of a service dog is blurry.

What sellers should ignore when putting homes on the market

A lot of people in California and throughout the country may be eager to get as much advice about selling their home as possible. However, it is important to understand that not all advice or insight is relevant to an individual's situation. In fact, a lot of advice is considered to be outdated or only specific to certain regions of the country. For example, people may hear that they need to list their homes in the spring.

The truth is that listing in January can be ideal for those who are selling in warmer climates. Listing in the spring months could also mean facing more competition from other sellers. Those who are selling their homes could also benefit from ignoring the idea that a buyer will be found at an open house. Instead, serious buyers will likely want to see the home during a private showing.

Global demand and California wealth driving up luxury home prices

Los Angeles has emerged as the leading market in the state for luxury residential real estate. In 2017, home prices set records. The top 10 home sales that year exceeded $5.4 million. Both domestic and international buyers have been choosing the Los Angeles area as their ideal location for primary or secondary residences. In 2016, the California Association of Realtors estimated that only 13 percent of luxury homebuyers sought property purely as an investment.

Southern California entices foreign and domestic luxury homebuyers. The year-round pleasant weather, beautiful beaches, fine dining and professional sports attract people for the regional lifestyle. Diverse luxury properties from beachfront estates to horse ranches also present something for every type of buyer. The strong economy of the region offers convenience to tech moguls and the international business elite. Millionaires created by the domestic technology industry and Southeast Asian business people can live close to the West Coast's largest port and the entertainment industry.

How mortgage rate increases can impact home buyers

In Los Angeles and other parts of California, it is not uncommon for home sellers to receive several offers from buyers. This is partially because there are fewer homes available on the market. Higher mortgage rates could make it even harder to find an affordable home in markets throughout the country. The interest rate on a 30-year fixed loan has climbed to 4.42 percent from 3.95 percent at the start of 2018.

Those who are looking for their first homes could find that it's even more difficult to find something that they can afford. This is because starter homes are increasing in price while also becoming more difficult to find. The increase in interest rates can also mean that a mortgage costs tens of thousands of dollars more in finance charges. Therefore, many buyers in markets like Los Angeles won't be able to afford a home in today's market even if they make the median wage for the city.

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L. Scott Karlin

L. Scott Karlin

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David E. Karlin

David E. Karlin

David E. Karlin is a California attorney with a primary focus on business and real estate, including law and legal issues...

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Michael J. Karlin

Michael J. Karlin

Michael J. Karlin is a Southern California based attorney whose practice primarily focuses on Entertainment Law. Michael began...

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