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Don't Fall Victim To Wire Fraud

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Courtesy of California Association of Realtors

Are You Ready To Graduate From Renting To Owning A Home?

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

 By Julie Ryan Evans

With graduation season in full swing, many may be pondering a change in their living quarters. Some may be moving out of Mom and Dad's house into dorms, or maybe out of dorms into their own apartments.

But what if you're ready to take an even bigger step—moving out of a rental into a home you can call your own?

Buying a house, after all, is a great way to put down roots and build wealth (since homes tend to appreciate so you can sell later for a profit). But purchasing property isn't a simple process, so you should make sure you're prepared.

So, how do you know if you’re ready to move from an apartment to a house? Ask yourself these questions below to get a sense of where you're at—or what you have to do to transition easily into home-buying mode once the time is right.

Can you afford to buy a home?
For starters, let's talk money. Buying a home is a hefty purchase, probably the largest you'll ever make. So, you'll need a down payment (typically recommended to be 20% of the home’s purchase price) and steady income (i.e., a job) to pay your mortgage.

There are other costs also associated with homeownership:

  • Closing costs (typically 2% to 5% of the home’s purchase price)
  • Home insurance (cost varies by state)
  • Maintenance
  • Utilities
  • Budget for unseen repairs and emergencies

While renting might seem more economical than owning at first glance, that’s not always the case. You might be surprised by the results!

Another good first step to figuring out whether you can afford a house is to enter your salary and town of residence into a home affordability calculator, which will show you how much you'd pay for a mortgage on a typical house in that area. Or talk with a loan officer about whether you would qualify for a mortgage, and how much you can spend comfortably. Such consultations are free, and will give you a concrete dollars-and-cents sense of where you stand.

Are you settled in your job?
Your job situation is not only important in terms of income to buy a home, but also whether you're happy where you work and plan to stay put. Because once you own a home, your career prospects do narrow somewhat, purely because a home anchors you to one area.

Do you know where you want to live?
Since moving once you own a home is not as easy as just packing your bags (which, let's face it, is a hassle in itself), you really need to make sure you’re picking a home in an area where you’ll be happy.

When in doubt, try renting for a few months to make sure you like the area before you start shopping for a home to own for good.

How much home maintenance are you willing to tackle?
If you love the challenge of fixing a leaky faucet and figuring out which shrubs will flourish in your yard, homeownership may be right up your alley. But if the idea of mowing a lawn or messing with the HVAC makes you depressed, then you may want to stick with renting, which gives you a roof over your head without the work.

Living in a house you own is a different story. There’s no landlord to call if anything goes wrong; it’s all up to you. So you have to be either adept as a handyman, or willing to find and pay someone else to do such tasks. Or else consider buying a condo or co-op, where the lawns and public areas around your home are maintained by hired help.

Bottom line: Owning a home is a big commitment. So before you jump into it, you should have confidence that it works for your circumstances.

Market Snapshot: San Mateo County Real Estate Report

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Here is an updated Market Report summarizing recent real estate activity along the coastside. Please keep in mind that the values represented are based on current, detailed information from the Regional Multiple Listing Service. If you need clarification on any of the figures or if you wish to take additional steps toward property ownership, please let us know. We are happy to help you. See the full report.

7 Pool Safety Tips To Ensure You Have A Splashing Good Time This Summer

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

By: Teresa Traverse

Pools are fun. But pools are also .dangerous, and maintaining yours is a big responsibility. From handling potentially hazardous chemicals to safeguarding access and stocking all the right safety equipment, pool upkeep is no joke. However, the more preparation and attention you put into your backyard pool area, the safer your home will be.

The following pool safety tips will help make your summer season in the backyard the best one yet.

1. Put up barriers
A pool barrier will delay the time it takes a child to get into your pool, and may help prevent drowning. Each city or state has its own pool fence laws that spell out standards, such as minimum fence height, spacing, gate specifications, and more. In some communities, you may not be able to get an insurance policy without a gate. The general standard is that fences must be a minimum of 4 feet high (5 feet is ideal), but check with your local zoning or building authority for the specific laws in your area.

Pool covers can also prevent accidents, and should be used year round. Maria Bella, an aquatics and drowning expert at Robson Forensic in Lancaster, PA, recommends purchasing a pool cover that meets the ASTM International standards. ASTM International is an organization that develops and publishes technical standards for many varieties of products.

2. Consider a pool alarm
A pool alarm will notify you when anything that moves enters the vicinity. Some pool alarms are placed inside the pool and detect wave activity—up to 15 pounds of water displacement—and will emit a loud sound motion is detected.

Bella also recommends the Safety Turtle wireless alarm system for kids. When they're playing outdoors, they wear wristbands outfitted with a sensor; if the sensor gets wet, an alarm will sound.

3. Make sure your pool is up to code
A pool inspector who is credentialed by the National Swimming Pool Foundation or the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals should be able to tell you if the pool itself or the surrounding deck material is cracked, damaged, or dangerous. You also can try finding a code official by contacting your local building or health department.

Safety requirements vary based on where you live, but the following general requirements should be fulfilled:

  • Gates need to be self-closing and should latch to lock.
  • Fences need to be at least 4 feet high and enclose the entire pool.
  • The main drain or bottom suction outlet typically located in the center of the pool can be a drowning hazard if the cover is not properly secured.
  • With any water features like slides or diving boards, you’ll want to follow the manufacturers safety guidelines.
  • If part of your enclosed barrier includes one wall of your home, the windows on that side of the house may not open more than 4 inches.

4. Safely store chemicals
All pool chemicals need to be stored out of reach in a secure, well-ventilated area, and away from AC or heating units. Paint, gasoline, and other chemicals also need to be stored separately.

5. Use chemicals with caution
When you’re putting chemicals in the water, be sure to wear gloves and safety goggles. Label each bottle with the date you purchased it, and toss out chemicals older than a year old.

6. Store pool toys
When the pool is not being used, any toys should be out of the water and stored away out of sight, so children won’t be tempted to dive in.

7. Have safety equipment at hand
It's a good idea to give life jackets to the kids playing in or around the pool. Other safety equipment to keep near your pool are a crook rescue hook and the traditional ring buoy.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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Photo of The Rain Team Real Estate
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.

Licensed in the State of California

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
San Mateo County Real Estate and Homes for Sale

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