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Mortgage Musts

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

What home buyers need to know when mortgage rates rise- even just a fraction

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

By: Clare Trapasso

By now, we've all grown accustomed to the screaming, panic-inducing headlines: "Mortgage Rates Are on the Rise!" But what does this actually mean to home buyers? With mortgage interest rates notching up just small fractions of a point, is it really as big a deal as experts are making it out to be?

Well, yes. And they're about to go up again.

As it turns out, those teeny, tiny increases can cost home buyers hundreds of dollars a year, and thousands of dollars over the life of their loans. And they're likely to keep rising as the Federal Reserve continues increasing its key interest rate. (Mortgage rates are different, but often follow the same trajectory as the federal ones.) The latest Fed hike is expected this month, with more on the horizon.

"When you're talking about a 30-year mortgage, a small increase in mortgage rates adds up to a lot of money," says Senior Economist Joseph Kirchner of realtor.com®. "If you've got a house in mind and you're ready to pull the trigger, don't dillydally. Interest rates will definitely go up ... so you're going to be paying more money for the same house."

And they're not just a buyer's dilemma. Rising mortgage rates limit just how much buyers spend on homes—and therefore serve as a bit of a check on just how high sellers can price their abodes. It can prevent some folks from becoming buyers, meaning there are less offers to go around.

How much can higher rates add to a mortgage bill?

So what does this all mean? Well, current mortgage rates are 4.65% on 30-year, fixed-rate loans. If they increase by just one full percentage point, it costs typical home buyers an additional $147 a month—or almost $53,000—over a 30-year period. (This assumes that a home is about $300,000 with a 20% down payment.)

Even much smaller increases really add up. If mortgage rates tick up by just 0.05%, it can cost typical buyers $2,600 or more over the life of their 30-year loans.

Rates are expected to rise to between 5.5% and 6% over the next two years if the economy keeps humming along, according to Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac.

Those escalations can make it harder for buyers to qualify for loans on the abodes of their dreams, forcing some to purchase smaller residences, fixer-uppers, or properties in less desirable or farther-out neighborhoods as a result. Some may even be priced out of the market altogether.

But don't panic just yet.

It's important to realize that rates are still low. Yes, they're more than 0.8% higher than they were a year ago, according to Freddie Mac data. But they're nowhere near the peak of 18.63%, in October 1981. So, you know, breathe.

"We've experienced low rates for a very long time," says Kiefer. He pointed out the last time that rates rose above 5% was way back in 2011. "[So] the increases that we've seen are likely to stick."

Mortgage broker Chris Brown has seen fewer buyers seeking loans over the past few months as a result of the increases.

"Buyers are starting to come to the realization that real estate prices have moved up significantly over the last six or seven years and, combined with higher rates, the homes they were once targeting are no longer in their price range," says Brown of CB Investments in Huntington Beach, CA. "It has forced them to either settle for a lesser home than they expected or temporarily put off the home search. [And] a lot more buyers are opting for the latter."

What should buyers do to get the lowest-cost mortgages?

Hope is not lost for those striving to protect their pocketbooks from rising rates. Consumers should start by looking for the cheapest loans with the lowest mortgage rates.

"Shopping for a mortgage is like shopping for anything else," says Eric Tyson, co-author of “Mortgages for Dummies.” Some lenders offer specials to lure in customers while others have consistently lower prices. "You can certainly check with the bigger banks and credit unions in your area, or online."

They may also want to consider getting a rate lock with their mortgage providers. This means that they're guaranteed a certain rate once they turn in their offer. So if rates go up, buyers don't have to worry about it. The downside, however, is that not all rate locks are free. And if rates fall, buyers can't take advantage of them.

Should buyers consider adjustable-rate mortgages?

Another option is an adjustable-rate mortgage, known as an ARM. This loan typically starts with a lower interest rate that then goes up after a set period of time. The proliferation of ARMs was partly responsible for the housing crash about a decade ago as rates—and therefore monthly payments—suddenly ballooned and homeowners couldn't afford the new, higher bills.

But newer regulations have since been put in place to make them safer for consumers. In addition, most of these loans come with a cap that limits just how high interest rates can go.

Miami-based mortgage loan originator Sylvia M. Gutiérrez has been advising her clients to consider ARMs, which typically fix interest rates for three-, five-, seven-, or 10-year periods.

"The lower initial rate allows you to qualify with a lower mortgage payment," says Gutiérrez, also the author of "Mortgage Matters: Demystifying the Loan Approval Maze." "[And] today's ARMs are much stabler than pre-recession ARMs."

But folks need to pay close attention to when those rates are likely to adjust and just how high they could possibly go before signing on the dotted line. And they shouldn't bank on being able to refinance at a lower interest rate down the line, because rates are just going to keep going up, says realtor.com's Kirchner.By: Clare Trapasso

By now, we've all grown accustomed to the screaming, panic-inducing headlines: "Mortgage Rates Are on the Rise!" But what does this actually mean to home buyers? With mortgage interest rates notching up just small fractions of a point, is it really as big a deal as experts are making it out to be?

Well, yes. And they're about to go up again.

As it turns out, those teeny, tiny increases can cost home buyers hundreds of dollars a year, and thousands of dollars over the life of their loans. And they're likely to keep rising as the Federal Reserve continues increasing its key interest rate. (Mortgage rates are different, but often follow the same trajectory as the federal ones.) The latest Fed hike is expected this month, with more on the horizon.

"When you're talking about a 30-year mortgage, a small increase in mortgage rates adds up to a lot of money," says Senior Economist Joseph Kirchner of realtor.com®. "If you've got a house in mind and you're ready to pull the trigger, don't dillydally. Interest rates will definitely go up ... so you're going to be paying more money for the same house."

And they're not just a buyer's dilemma. Rising mortgage rates limit just how much buyers spend on homes—and therefore serve as a bit of a check on just how high sellers can price their abodes. It can prevent some folks from becoming buyers, meaning there are less offers to go around.

How much can higher rates add to a mortgage bill?

So what does this all mean? Well, current mortgage rates are 4.65% on 30-year, fixed-rate loans. If they increase by just one full percentage point, it costs typical home buyers an additional $147 a month—or almost $53,000—over a 30-year period. (This assumes that a home is about $300,000 with a 20% down payment.)

Even much smaller increases really add up. If mortgage rates tick up by just 0.05%, it can cost typical buyers $2,600 or more over the life of their 30-year loans.

Rates are expected to rise to between 5.5% and 6% over the next two years if the economy keeps humming along, according to Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac.

Those escalations can make it harder for buyers to qualify for loans on the abodes of their dreams, forcing some to purchase smaller residences, fixer-uppers, or properties in less desirable or farther-out neighborhoods as a result. Some may even be priced out of the market altogether.

But don't panic just yet.

It's important to realize that rates are still low. Yes, they're more than 0.8% higher than they were a year ago, according to Freddie Mac data. But they're nowhere near the peak of 18.63%, in October 1981. So, you know, breathe.

"We've experienced low rates for a very long time," says Kiefer. He pointed out the last time that rates rose above 5% was way back in 2011. "[So] the increases that we've seen are likely to stick."

Mortgage broker Chris Brown has seen fewer buyers seeking loans over the past few months as a result of the increases.

"Buyers are starting to come to the realization that real estate prices have moved up significantly over the last six or seven years and, combined with higher rates, the homes they were once targeting are no longer in their price range," says Brown of CB Investments in Huntington Beach, CA. "It has forced them to either settle for a lesser home than they expected or temporarily put off the home search. [And] a lot more buyers are opting for the latter."

What should buyers do to get the lowest-cost mortgages?

Hope is not lost for those striving to protect their pocketbooks from rising rates. Consumers should start by looking for the cheapest loans with the lowest mortgage rates.

"Shopping for a mortgage is like shopping for anything else," says Eric Tyson, co-author of “Mortgages for Dummies.” Some lenders offer specials to lure in customers while others have consistently lower prices. "You can certainly check with the bigger banks and credit unions in your area, or online."

They may also want to consider getting a rate lock with their mortgage providers. This means that they're guaranteed a certain rate once they turn in their offer. So if rates go up, buyers don't have to worry about it. The downside, however, is that not all rate locks are free. And if rates fall, buyers can't take advantage of them.

Should buyers consider adjustable-rate mortgages?

Another option is an adjustable-rate mortgage, known as an ARM. This loan typically starts with a lower interest rate that then goes up after a set period of time. The proliferation of ARMs was partly responsible for the housing crash about a decade ago as rates—and therefore monthly payments—suddenly ballooned and homeowners couldn't afford the new, higher bills.

But newer regulations have since been put in place to make them safer for consumers. In addition, most of these loans come with a cap that limits just how high interest rates can go.

Miami-based mortgage loan originator Sylvia M. Gutiérrez has been advising her clients to consider ARMs, which typically fix interest rates for three-, five-, seven-, or 10-year periods.

"The lower initial rate allows you to qualify with a lower mortgage payment," says Gutiérrez, also the author of "Mortgage Matters: Demystifying the Loan Approval Maze." "[And] today's ARMs are much stabler than pre-recession ARMs."

But folks need to pay close attention to when those rates are likely to adjust and just how high they could possibly go before signing on the dotted line. And they shouldn't bank on being able to refinance at a lower interest rate down the line, because rates are just going to keep going up, says realtor.com's Kirchner.

Photo by rawpixel on Pexels.com

When It's Time To Get An Accountant To Do Your Taxes

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

By: Alaina Tweddale

The federal tax law signed by President Donald Trump Dec. 22, 2017, may affect home ownership tax benefits described in this article. The new law goes into effect for the 2018 tax year and generally doesn’t affect tax filings for the 2017 tax year.

You are soooo dreading doing your taxes this year. Gone are the days when you used to sit down with a glass of wine and fill out your 1040 EZ. Remember that time you finished and hit the “submit” button just as you swallowed the last sip?

Not this year. Unless you want to pay a ton in taxes, you’re going to have to itemize. You did it last year, and it wasn’t too bad. But this year, you did some freelancing. And you moved. And it’s going to take a whole lot more time than one glass of wine.

Maybe it’s time to hire a pro. But do you really need a certified public accountant? And can you justify the expense?

The Differences Between CPS and Other Tax Experts

First you need to know there are different types of tax experts. And not all accountants are CPAs. So if you’re thinking that an independent CPA and someone at H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt (or your buddy who studied accounting in college) are pretty much the same, don’t count on it. Basically,

  • An accountant is someone who studied accounting.
  • CPAs are accountants who pass rigorous testing from their state board on a regular basis. The designation usually requires a degree. Not every CPA specializes in taxes.
  • An “enrolled agent,” or EA, is an accountant who has received certification from the IRS. Being an EA doesn’t require a degree like CPA. But it does verify they know tax law.
  • A tax preparer at pop-ups like H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt is trained on tax software to help taxpayers file their returns. They aren’t required to be CPAs or EAs.
  • Only CPAs and EAs can legally represent you if the IRS challenges your return.

There’s nothing wrong with visiting a pop-up preparer like H&R Block if your return isn’t all that complicated, says Cathy Derus, CPA and founder of Brightwater Accounting in Illinois.

“It’s when you start generating other income — perhaps you launch a business or own rental property — [or experience a big financial change] when it makes sense to ask for a little extra help,” she said.

When It's a Good Idea to Hire a Tax Pro

When you buy your first house.Many of the expenses related to buying a home and having a mortgage are deductible. But only if you itemize. And that’s what the experts are best at.

When you move to a new state.There’s a good chance you’ll have to file two state returns for the year you move. And each state is a little bit different in terms of state tax owed — zero in some states, a flat amount in others, and graded by income bracket in most.

When you become a landlord.“When you own investment property, you become a small business owner,” says Tai Stewart, accountant and owner of Saidia Financial Solutions in Houston. That means new records to keep and a new tax form, Schedule E, to complete.

When you buy a vacation property.Especially if you rent it out. And especially if it’s in a different state.

When you work from home.There’s a lot of potential money-saving deductions that can vary widely depending on the type of business and how much space it takes up in your home. “If you have a home office, ou can deduct for the square footage you use for work as well as a portion of your utilities, mortgage interest, and property taxes,” says Stewart.

When you make home improvements.Energy-efficient upgrades like installing a new heating and cooling system, water heater, or insulation may qualify for tax credits. But that can change depending on the year. Same goes for medically necessary home improvements that aren’t paid by your employer or insurance.

When your home's value is reassessed.The tax man doesn’t always get it right, and sometimes your home may be valued at more than it should be. An expert will be able to pull the data together to appeal it.

So, How Much Do Accountants Cost

H&R Block will do your taxes for about $150, while a CPA or EA may add $100 or more to that fee ($260 on average last year).

You can definitely DIY all these tax scenarios and save the fees, but with CPAs and EAs, the extra cost may be worth it. Especially if you run your own business. Or you own more than one home. “An accountant can help you analyze your spending choices and even act as a consultant,” says Stewart. Best of all, they’ll be by your side if the tax man ever comes after you. That alone could be priceless if the time comes.

Oh, and one last tip: If you decide you want to hire a CPA or EA, best not to wait until the last minute. You may not find one.

7 CREDIT SCORE MYTHS EVEN SHREWD HOME BUYERS FALL FOR

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Forty percent of us think our credit score will climb if we carry a small balance (nope), and 52% don’t realize bad credit can increase the amount needed for deposits on utilities (it does!), according to a NerdWallet survey.

“There are quite a few myths and misinformation about credit scores,” says Ryan Greeley, author of the “Better Credit Blog.” “This stuff isn’t taught anywhere, so it’s something you have to dig into yourself.” The worst time to find out you’ve got a going-nowhere credit score is when you’re trying to buy a home.

Unless you have us to dig for you, that is. Here are seven top credit score myths, and the reality behind them.

Myth #1: Always carry a small balance on your credit card.

Reality: The credit score gods want to know two main things: that you pay your bills on time, and that you don’t constantly max out the credit you have.

And yes, one of the items they like to see you pay is your credit card bill — all of it. The only thing a running balance increases is the interest you owe. That’s why Erin Lowry, who writes the “Broke Millennial” blog, believes banks and credit card companies probably perpetuated this myth to boost their profits.

Myth #2: It's OK to pay credit cards a day late if you pay them off in full.

Reality: ”Missing a payment is the biggest way to hit your credit score,” Lowry says. “If you pay a student loan a day late, your score can go down as much as 100 points.” So much for that degree making you smarter.

To maximize your score, always pay your installment loans (like car loans and mortgages) on time and in full. You know, like you’re supposed to. But also note that actual humans work for financial companies; if you need to pay late for a legit reason, call your lender — before the due date — and have a frank conversation. They’ll often help out.

Myth #3: Closing old cards will erase any negative history.

Reality: If it was that easy, we’d all be driving Teslas. Credit-reporting companies keep information on your file for seven years, no matter what.

And actually, the longer you’ve responsibly used a particular credit card, the better effect it has on your credit score. Remember, you’re judged by how much of your credit you’re using. Closing a credit card makes that percentage change for the worse.

Myth #4: If you've never had credit, you have a perfect credit score.

Reality: There’s no reason to save your credit virginity for that special something. If you’ve never used credit, it’s anyone’s guess how well you’ll handle it once you do. Credit reporting agencies call it a “thin file,” meaning there’s not enough information on you to create a credit score. So, if you’re a newbie, get an itty-bitty card or loan, and start fattening up that file.

Myth #5: Checking your credit score frequently will hurt your score.

Reality: How else are you supposed to keep track of the darn thing? It’s true that several “hard” checks by companies can ding your score a few points. Hard checks generally happen when you are actually seeking a loan or line of credit, such as a mortgage or credit card.

If you check your own, it’s called a “soft” check, and it doesn’t hurt your score. So, for Pete’s sake, check your score and credit report at least annually. It’s super easy these days, especially with websites like creditkarma.com, or use a banking app that lets you easily monitor your score. A sudden, unexplained dip could be a sign that identity theft or mistakes are hurting your credit (and keep hard checks to one or two a year).

Myth #6: Paying off a student loan or car loan early will hurt your credit.

Reality: Ah, no. Credit report companies definitely do not punish you for paying off loans early. They might even throw you a parade. (Not really. Put away your princess wave.) While responsibly paying installment loans may be good, paying off those loans is way better.

Myth #7: Your age, sex, and other non-money issues affect your credit score.

Reality: What century is it again? Federal law protects you from credit discrimination based on non-credit issues, like race, color, national origin, or sex. Sure, credit card companies or lenders can ask, but they can’t deny you credit based on your answers. Income, expenses, debts, and credit history are what matters.

Myth #8: My credit score can hurt/help my chances of landing a job.

Reality: Actually, this one is partially true, depending on how fancy your job is. If it requires a security clearance or using a company credit card, an employer will want to know how you use credit, or if you’re in a financial mess that may make you bribe-able, Lowry says. But don’t worry, the employer will ask your permission before pulling your credit report, which is considered a soft pull and won’t hurt your score.

 

The Guide To Downsizing Your Coastside Home

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

It may sneak up on you out of the blue one day - you feel like your home is just too big to fit your current needs.  Maybe your kids have left the nest and their rooms are empty or maybe the idea of tackling a large yard is something your body just isn’t up to doing anymore.  If you find yourself thinking these things then it is time to downsize your coastside home.

Choosing to downsize your home is a big decision and you should carefully consider the pros and cons. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine if now is the right time for you to downsize your coastside home.

  1. Will it save me money?  Choosing to sell your long time family home to move into a smaller one does not always mean you will be saving money.  If the new home you buy is in an area that is more expensive and with higher taxes your monthly bills could go up. Prior to choosing to downsize, determine if your goal is to save more money each month and figure your potential savings by using this downsizing tool.

  2. Is now the right time?  Your home may feel too big today, but is it really the right time to move?  If you find yourself coming up with more reasons you should stay then move it may not be the right time for you.  However, downsizing in a comparable housing market will save you money and the sooner you choose to do it the sooner you will see the financial benefits.  Make the move while your body is in better physical shape and you are able to withstand both the physical and emotional stresses that come with moving.

  3. What type of home am I looking for?  If you are nearing retirement and that is the main focus of your move, keep in mind how far the new home is from family and friends and how friendly the floor plan will be as you age.  A home in a community with a homeowners association that maintains the outdoors for you may be to your benefit.

  4. Do I have too much stuff?  If you have lived in your current home for some time then you more than likely have accumulated quite a bit of stuff. When it comes to downsizing all of the things you have accumulated over the years may not fit in your new home.  Now would be the perfect time to start going through your things and selling or donating items that are no longer wanted or needed. When moving day comes you will be ready.

Choosing to leave the place you have called home for a new smaller home is not a decision to be taken lightly. If you feel it may be time to make the move and are curious as to what your current home is worth, contact us. We would be honored to meet with you and provide you with a comparative market analysis of your current home and answer any questions you may have about downsizing and the current real estate market.

The Rain Team offers unparalleled service to ALL clients in the San Mateo County, including areas such as Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Moss Beach, Montara, and Pacifica. Your complete satisfaction with our service and representation is our number one priority.

 

Coastside Buyers: Don’t Break These Real Estate Laws

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

If you are in the market to buy a home along the coast and you are not a lawyer, then you may have no idea that there are hundreds of real estate laws on the books. Here are a few commonly broken real estate laws that buyers make.  You may have accidentally broken one of these yourself and not even realized it.

Asking your Realtor the wrong questions

An experienced Realtor is there to work for you and you should feel comfortable asking them the ins and outs of the real estate process. While a good agent is one who is experienced in the area in which you are looking to move, there are a few questions they cannot answer. Real estate laws on the books prevent your agent from discussing things such as the economic makeup of a neighborhood, where the nearest religious facility is, or specific information about the school district.  This law came about as a way to prevent homebuyer discrimination.

Violating the First Amendment

The first amendment provides us with the right to privacy. It can be tempting when visiting an open house to bring out your cell phone to take pictures to capture the space or to remember which home is which after seeing so many. However, when going through those photos you notice the seller happened to be in the home and is in the picture. While it is highly unlikely that the seller will know you took their picture or be concerned about it enough to pursue legal action, it is a good idea to delete it as photographing an individual in their home without their permission is against the law.

Unsupervised Showings

You have found your dream home along the coast and you have placed a contract on it. Things are moving along as planned. You become aware that the soon to be previous homeowners have already moved out and the home is sitting empty ready for you to move in after closing.  However, that does not mean you can just stop by and start planning where you will put the furniture when moving day comes. Doing so would mean you are trespassing.  Until all the paperwork is officially signed and the keys are in your hands, do not access the home without your Realtor or without permission.

Committing Forgery

If you have purchased property before you know that it comes with an enormous amount of paperwork. With your busy schedule it may be hard for both you and your significant other to find time to both sit down together and sign all the documents. No matter how tempting it may be to speed things along by signing their signature for them, resist the urge. You may have thought it was okay since you had their verbal permission to sign for them, but it’s not okay. Unless you are the power of attorney for whom you are purchasing the property with, it is illegal to sign for them. Not only is it committing fraud to do so, it is also a felony.

If you are looking to buy or sell your coastal home, we’d love to hear how we can help you with your real estate goals. If you are contemplating selling your home find out how much it is worth with our online guide available here. Contact us today via email or give us a call at (650) 888-6903.

The Rain Team offers unparalleled service to ALL clients in the San Mateo County, including areas such as Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Moss Beach,Montara, and Pacifica. Your complete satisfaction with our service and representation is our number one priority.

 

New Closing Disclosure Rules Change The Process For Buying A Coastside Home

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Buying a home is an exciting time, but it can also be a stressful time. The process of buying a coastside home changed dramatically last month when the government run Consumer Financial Protection Bureau put into place the “Know Before You Owe” rules.

Under the new rules buyers who are obtaining a mortgage loan will have a better understanding of their financial obligations when obtaining a mortgage loan. Buyers will be able to clearly see all the details of the prospective loan. Gone is the “Truth In Lending” document and the  “Good Faith Disclosure” that were previously required, now borrowers will be receiving “Loan Estimate” and “Closing Disclosure” documents.

As a borrower, you will receive a Loan Estimate within three business days after applying for a loan. This form will clearly lay out the interest rate, the term of the loan, and many other important details.  You will be provided at least seven business days to review this form before you close.

Gone are the days of coming to the closing table only to be hit by a surprise last-minute change. Lenders are now required to provide to borrowers the Closing Disclosure at minimum three days prior to closing. This form will include details such as your closing costs and monthly payments.  As a homebuyer, under the new rules you cannot make any changes to the loan within the three-day period before the loan closes, or the process must be restarted.

These new lending rules truly work in the favor of homebuyers. If you are looking to buy a new home or sell your existing home, we’d love to hear how we can help you with your real estate goals. Contact us today via email or give us a call at (650) 888-6903.

The Rain Team offers unparalleled service to ALL clients in the San Mateo County, including areas such as Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Moss Beach, Montara, and Pacifica. Your complete satisfaction with our service and representation is our number one priority.

Should You Buy or Rent a Coastal Home? Here is What You Need to Know.

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

There have been many reports recently indicating that it is becoming increasingly popular for Millennials to rent versus buying a home.  Strict lending standards and increased student debt is some of the many reasons impacting their decision.  However, a recent NAR® study indicated that 8 out of 10 respondents still believe that buying a home in today’s economy is a good financial decision.

If you are contemplating what is in your best interest when it comes to buying or renting a coastside home here are a few things to keep in mind:

Do you have steady income? If you have a history of steady income and a good credit score, then buying a coastside home may be in your favor. Mortgage lenders are looking to see that you have the ability to repay your loan.

Other expenses? Owning your own home means there is no landlord to cover those unforeseen expenses that occur with homeownership, such as a broken faucet or a leaking roof. Determine if you have enough money left in your budget each month after paying your monthly mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, etc. for your home. If you do then home ownership may be right for you.

How long do you plan to own a home? Typically a home’s value appreciates over time and it’s common for owners to build equity from their home as time increases. With time, more of your monthly payment is going towards the principal of the loan versus interest. The longer you plan to stay in the home the better value you will find.

Is your rent increasing?  A recent study by Trulia showed that rents on average are increasing faster than home prices. The study showed that homeownership remains 38% cheaper than renting nationally.

When it comes to making a large financial decision such as buying a home there is a lot to consider. If you are weighing the pros and cons of buying a home and you have questions, feel free to give us a call.

If you are looking to sell your coastal home, we’d love to hear how we can help you with your real estate goals. We can also offer you a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) of your home to advise you what it is worth. Contact us today via email or give at (650) 888-6903.

The Rain Team offers unparalleled service to ALL us a call clients in the San Mateo County, including areas such as Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Moss Beach, Montara, and Pacifica. Your complete satisfaction with our service and representation is our number one priority.

Job Growth Increases Along the Coastside-Higher Interest Rates May be Near- What This Means For You

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

The recent employment numbers show that in the month of February employers added 295,000 jobs across the nation, with growth seen among all sectors and regions.   The unemployment rate dropped to %5.5, the last time we saw a percentage this low was May 2008.  As job growth increases along the coastside and the rest of the country, the Federal Reserve will at some point begin increasing interest rates.

For 12 straight months there have been at least 200,000 jobs added across the United States. The last time we saw such a sustained pace of hiring was from the years 1994-1995.  With the U.S. economy slowly recovering there are many economists predicting that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates sometime in 2015.

Rising rates in 2015 can impact you in many ways:

Residential Housing:

It will become more costly to borrow money to purchase a coastal home if rates increase.  In the past we have seen as interest rates go up housing prices slowly decrease.

Durable Goods

Your purchases of goods bought on credit, such as boats, cars, RV’s, etc., will also increase as interest rates rise. The cost of financing these types of items will cost more.

Exchange Rates

When interest rates go up as a result of tightening monetary policy the value of the America dollar in comparison to other countries tends to rise.  As a result, American exporters are impacted negatively and those importing profit.

With the threat of higher interest rates expected this year, now is the time to buy. Why not take advantage of the best rates possible by looking for your new perfect coastal home nowContact us today via email or give us a call at (650) 888-6903.

The Rain Team offers unparalleled service to ALL clients in the San Mateo County, including areas such as Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Moss Beach, Montara, and Pacifica. Your complete satisfaction with our service and representation is our number one priority.

Buy a Coastside Home in 2015 by Increasing Your Credit Score This Way

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

If buying a new coastside home is your goal for 2015 then you may need to boost your credit score. Your credit score can impact many areas of your life from getting a mortgage, to obtaining a new job.  When setting your goals for the New Year it may be smart to add increasing your credit score to the list.  

Credit Reports

Before you can start the process of boosting your credit score, you first need to know what your score is.  Start by checking what your credit score is from all three credit reporting agencies. By federal law you’re allowed to get a free report once a year.  Your credit score comes from the info that is in these reports that is why it is necessary to make sure there are no errors on them.  If something is not accurate contact the credit agency to dispute it.

Payments

One of the easiest ways to boost your credit score is to make timely payments of your monthly bills.  If you tend to forget to pay your bills on time try setting up a reminder for yourself. Also check to see if your bank has bill pay.

Decrease Debt

If your debt-to-credit ratio is high (higher than 20% to 25%), then you need to make some changes. One of the biggest factors in your credit score is this number. The smaller the percentage of your debt-to-credit ratio is the better. Take a look at your monthly budget and try to find a place where you can cut spending and allocate that money towards paying down your debt.

Credit Cards

Do you have a long list of credit cards? You may think it wise to cancel all of them in hopes of boosting your credit score, but don’t. Do not cancel a card that you have had for a long period of time as it could negatively impact your credit score.

Credit Limits

The three credit reporting agencies will look at what your credit card spending limit is.  Contact your credit card company and request that they increase your limit. Having a higher limit can decrease your debt usage ratio. If you get a higher credit limit do not take that as a sign to start spending more as this will not increase your credit score.

Additional More In-depth Tips from Credit.com

Tips for Improving Your Credit: Your Amount of Debt

How Can You Ensure Earning the Maximum Points Available out of the Amount of Debt Category?

· Keep your revolving balances as low as possible. The lower your balances the lower your utilization percentage will be.

· Don’t let your creditors close your unused credit cards for you. If you have credit cards that you do not use the credit card companies will eventually close them. They are losing money on you each month that you don’t use your card and eventually they’ll have had enough. Use your card once or twice every few months for dinner or some other low dollar item and pay it off once the bill comes.

· Don’t worry about paying all your credit cards down to zero. You don’t need to have 0% utilization in order to maximize your credit scores. Most people don’t have the means to simply write a check and pay off all of their credit card balances. For this category it’s not necessary to do so. Endeavor to pay them down so your utilization percentage is as low as possible and you’ll be fine.

You can read the full original article here.

If you are planning to buy or sell a home in 2015 we would love to help. The Rain Team offers unparalleled service to ALL clients in the San Mateo County, including areas such as Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Moss Beach, Montara, and Pacifica. Your complete satisfaction with our service and representation is our number one priority.

If you are looking to buy a new home or sell your existing home, we’d love to hear how we can help you with your real estate goals. We can also offer you a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) of your home to advise you what it is worth. Contact us today via email or give us a call at (650) 888-6903.

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The Rain Team
CA# 01169588 | CA# 01125976 | CA# 01908304
248 Main Street, Suite 200
Half Moon Bay CA 94019
Michael: 650-888-6361
Kathy: 650-888-6903
Fax: 866-396-0207

Kathy and Michael Rain of Coldwell Banker provides real estate services in the San Mateo County, California area including the surrounding communities: El Granda, Half Moon Bay, Montara, Moss Beach, Pacifica and San Mateo. Search for homes in San Mateo County. We list and sell residential real estate, investment properties, vacant land, lots for sale in the San Mateo County, California area.

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Kathy Rain - CA BRE# 01169588 | Michael Rain - CA BRE# 01125976 | Coldwell Banker - CA BRE# 01908304  

Email: therainteam@coastal-realestate.com
Cell Phone: (650) 888-6903 * Direct Phone: (650) 712-0411
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