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Tustin Litigation & Appeals Law Blog

The process of buying a house

For most people in California and throughout the country, the process of buying a home starts months before the house search does. Ideally, a prospective buyer will get his or her finances in order and ready to be scrutinized by mortgage lenders. In addition to the mortgage payment, a buyer will need money for a down payment and other up-front costs due at closing. Individuals who are looking to buy a home may also need to improve their credit score.

Lenders will generally require a minimum credit score of 620, but FHA loans may only require a minimum score of 580. Furthermore, someone looking for a mortgage will need to have a debt-to-income ratio of less than 50 percent and a steady source of income. Once a person feels confident in his or her ability to meet lender requirements, it is time to determine what he or she can afford.

Rising mortgage interest rates to slow home sales in 2019

Homebuyers in California have struggled with affordability for years, and real estate insiders do not expect 2019 to bring any relief. Mortgage interests rates, which had already increased throughout 2018, will continue their upward climb this year. Economists are saying that people shopping for homes will face higher borrowing costs.

Based on figures from Freddie Mac, the New Year opened with the average rate for 30-year home loans at 4.55 percent. A forecast from Realtor.com and Redfin predicts that the 30-year fixed rate will climb to 5.5 percent by the end of the year. Half of a percentage point raises monthly payments and increases the overall cost of financing by tens of thousands of dollars.

Health care facilities and accessibility for disabled patients

As you know, running a medical facility, such as a hospital or doctor's office, whether in California or elsewhere, has similarities to running other businesses. As such, it is subject to various state and federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While meeting the ADA's criteria requires an initial outlay of funds, it helps medical facilities provide accessibility to care for every member of the public and helps avoid legal issues in the future.

The ADA requires that all public and private medical facilities open to the public provide certain accommodations for people who have physical limitations, such as mobility issues or blindness, in order to ensure they are not excluded from obtaining access. These requirements not only extend to the physical structures, but also to websites and other means of communication with the medical facility.

How to craft the ideal home listing

The price that a buyer will pay for a home in California is partially dependent on local market conditions. However, there are some steps that a seller can take to get the most for a property. One important step is to create a reasonable list price based on what similar homes have been listed at or sold for. A real estate agent can do market research to determine what that price is for a given home.

Try to avoid using buzzwords that buyers are familiar with. For example, most buyers know that cozy is really just another way to say that a home doesn't have a lot of space. Research suggests that using the wrong words in a listing could result in a home that sells for less. Ideally, a seller will take the time to stage a home prior to putting it on the market.

Buying a home when paying down student loans

There are many ways in which having student loan debt can impact a person's ability to buy a home. For instance, each time a student loan payment is made, the money going to a lender can't be used for a down payment. Furthermore, the debt itself will likely count toward a person's debt-to-income ratio. That ratio is one metric lenders look at when making a home loan decision.

If an individual misses a student loan payment, it could have negative consequences for that person's credit score. However, those with average credit may be able to increase their score by making timely payments. Those who are looking to buy a home may believe that they need a down payment of 20 percent. The good news for prospective home buyers is that this isn't always the case. Individuals who receive an FHA or VA loan could put down less than that to qualify.

Preparing for commercial real estate premises liability

When someone gets injured on a property, the owner of that piece of real estate is generally considered liable. Thousands of such premises liability cases are filed in court every year in California and throughout the rest of the country. In order for property owners to protect themselves, it's important that they prepare for as many potential liabilities as possible. While records show that personal injury cases on commercial properties have started to go down, they still cost owners a lot of money every year.

Commercial property owners have multiple resources at their disposal to protect against liability. For example, they may hire attorneys, get third-party security or obtain unambiguous insurance coverage. While these protections can be very useful, they aren't foolproof. Even when a third party may be responsible for someone's injury, many victims decide to sue the property owner because they are easier to locate and are likely to have insurance.

Strategies for selling homes in buyer's markets

In recent years, buyers in California markets have had to contend with bidding wars and other issues that arise during a seller's market. However, in some parts of the country, market conditions are beginning to change. For example, only 21 percent of homes listed for sale in November 2018 in Seattle saw multiple bidders. Real estate agents who are trying to attract clients and sell homes in a buyer's market will need to be creative to do so.

One way to attract clients is to be positive at all times. While agents can't control the market or their clients, they can control their own mindset, and remaining upbeat can be helpful for any professional. Once an agent has a client, it is important to stay in touch with that person. Ideally, an agent will talk to a client once or twice a month to stay informed about that person's needs.

What does your small business have to do to comply with the ADA?

California small business owners have a lot to think about. From paying bills to managing employees, you may know first-hand how complex it can be to run a successful company. In addition to all of your other responsibilities and things you have to think about, you also have to be certain your business adheres to certain laws and regulations. 

One thing all businesses should consider is compliance with the ADA, which is the Americans with Disabilities Act. The laws under the ADA ensure that people with limited physical capabilities and mobility issues can shop, live and work like everyone else. It is your responsibility to comply with measures to ensure your customers and employees are safe and accommodated.

How to make a home look great in the winter

Those who are looking to sell a home in California or elsewhere may find that it is beneficial to stage it first. Doing so may help a prospective buyer picture him or herself living in the property. It can also help a home come off as clean and neat. As the winter months tend to be slow in the real estate market, proper staging is vital during this time of year.

When staging a home, be sure to get rid of family pictures or other reminders that someone currently lives there. The goal is to present a blank slate that a buyer can place his or her own image on. During the winter, homeowners should create a warm environment both literally and figuratively. They should make sure that the home is at a comfortable temperature and that it is decorated to embrace the season.

Negotiating real estate transactions

First-time home buyers in California should do a lot of research about what to expect during the process since they will be investing in an asset that they are likely to keep and live in for many years to come. There are several things home buyers should expect to negotiate when buying a home.

Closing costs vary, but they are generally around 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price of the home. Sometimes sellers will cover closing costs if this is negotiated in the buying process.

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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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