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Getting the Best Financing

By | How We Serve Buyers | No Comments

Finding the right home for you is your primary goal, but enjoying it with a lower payment and better mortgage terms is a very important secondary goal. We’ve researched and worked with many mortgage brokers and lenders in the Mountain View real estate markets, and we’ll help you to contact those that are the best fit for you and your financial picture.

The normal mortgage for working families – Just because there’s nothing special about your income stream, and you’re getting a paycheck every week, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be differences in mortgages and lenders for your needs. Every mortgage broker and most lenders tend to work within their own requirements and procedures, and these may or may not be the friendliest terms for a salaried or hourly wage earner. We know which are going to treat you right and give you the best terms, and we’ll guide you to them.

The self–employed borrower – Since the mortgage and housing crisis that began in 2007, it’s become a grueling process for a business owner or self–employed person to get a mortgage. Documentation of income and expenses is much more detailed, and we’re up–to–date on all of it. We’ll steer you toward multiple sources for great mortgages for the self–employed.

Less than stellar credit – All types of lenders have become tougher in our new financial environment, and it’s easy to get a ding or two on your credit these days. It doesn’t even take a mistake or late payment, as credit scores are reduced for the amount and ratio of debt, as well as types of debt. Millions of people pay their bills on time and still don’t have those high end credit scores. We know the lenders in the Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Santa Clara, Saratoga, and San Jose real estate markets ready to provide good mortgages for less than high end credit scores, and we’ll tell you who they are.

ARMs and When They’re Appropriate –  Though most residential home buyers are buying a home they intend to occupy for a number of years, on average around the country at least eight, this isn’t always the case. Also, investors may be looking at a shorter ownership time frame. ARMs, Adjustable Rate Mortgages, are appropriate if the plan is to own a home seven or fewer years, particularly five or fewer. Because the lender is tying up their money for a shorter defined time period, they loan at lower interest rates. ARMs can result in hundreds of dollars a month in lower payments in some cases. They can also allow a buyer to qualify for a larger home. However, this isn’t generally a great practice, as once the ARMs fixed rate interest period is over, rates can escalate more than expected.

Financial Disclosure and Deal-To-Closing Considerations – Especially after the mortgage and housing problems that began in 2007, lenders and their underwriters are scrutinizing financial, income and expense information much more closely than ever before. Be prepared to dig out a lot of documentation, and it’s best to be forthcoming with any financial information that impacts your ability to pay the mortgage payment. Even if it’s not asked for early in the process, be prepared for questions and requests for documents throughout the process. Also, it’s highly recommended that you not add any credit card or other debt between the purchase contract and the closing. Just before closing, most lenders will do another credit check and a check for any liens or encumbrances.

Watch the Fees and Question Them –  There are a number of fees associated with getting a mortgage, and the total of origination and other fees is usually the highest closing cost aggregate item in the deal. Never hesitate to ask about all fees, why they’re charged and why they’re a certain amount and how they’re calculated. It’s your money, and you’re the customer.

Inspections and Repairs

By | How We Serve Buyers | No Comments

Many buyers forget that the price isn’t the only or the last negotiation point in a real estate purchase. There are a number of contingencies and processes that happen before closing, and one that frequently causes deals to evaporate is the inspection and repair negotiation process.

Inspections in a real estate deal encompass many property aspects:

  • Structure
  • Roof
  • Mechanical equipment
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Pests & insect infestation
  • Mold & other environmental hazards
  • Wells & water quality
  • Septic systems

While your deal may not require them all, and some may be combined and provided by a single inspector, it’s our job to help you to order the proper inspections, schedule them, and make sure that they’re completed on time. Failure to complete inspections and object to their results by deadline dates can result in the buyer’s inability to take any action based on the late results. We make sure that this doesn’t happen.

Once an inspection is completed, there can be issues uncovered that you weren’t expecting and want to have addressed by the seller. This is a second negotiation in the contract process. We go over inspection results with our buyers and prepare documents that are required to request seller action and corrections. Sellers do not normally have an obligation to undertake corrective action, so it becomes a critical negotiation, especially if the problems are significant.

We’re here for our buyers to assist in these negotiations as, next to selling price, inspections and subsequent repairs are the biggest killer of real estate deals. Sometimes creativity needs to be applied to keep your home deal moving when the seller balks at your repair or corrective action requests. We’re experts, as we do this every day. We also maintain an extensive contractor list that can yield just the right contractor to get a job done at a price the seller will agree to.

The key to keeping a deal going with inspection problems is for San Jose agents to be involved every step of the way, as it’s something we do hundreds of times every year. We’ll make sure that every resource is employed to keep your home purchase on track and gain every possible concession from the sellers.

How We Serve Buyers

By | Buyers | No Comments

The services of real estate brokerages are similar when it comes to working with buyers. Take a tour through our buyer services checklist and you’ll see why we’re the best brokerage in the Mountain View real estate markets for buyers. Start anywhere in the links below that interests you and take this looped tour of our buyer services. Working with an experienced real estate team who will assist you through the entire home buying process will make the process of buying a home fun and enjoyable. Our agents our experts in the area, fun, easy to work with and available to show you homes when it is convenient for your schedule.

Locatingthe-Right-Property-for-You.jpg Locating the Right Property for You
Check out how we combine normal MLS® search assistance with automated email alerts to find the perfect home for you..
Getting-the-Best-Financing.jpg Getting the Best Financing
It’s difficult to qualify for the best mortgage financing and jump through lenders’ hoops, so we help you to find the best mortgages for your needs.
Price-Negotiations2.jpg Price Negotiations
You’re not left to fend for yourself when you make that first offer to purchase. Before that we’ve given you data and guidance to make sure that you’re on the right track to a good deal.
Inspections-and-Repairs.jpg Inspections and Repairs
More negotiations usually crop up after you’ve agreed on a price, and they’re normally the result of inspections and necessary repairs. We are experienced and ready to help.
Title-Insurance.jpg Title Insurance
Owning a home is great, but you want to protect that ownership as well. We’ll explain how title insurance works and help you to insure your ownership.
Contract-to-Closing.jpg Contract to Closing
The great number of delivery deadlines, documents and tasks involved in a real estate closing will all be coordinated by your Flat Rate Realty agent and closing staff.

See Whats on The Market

By | Sellers | No Comments

We want our sellers to have every advantage in listing and selling their Mountain View real estate property. This includes early and ongoing access to all properties listed in the Mountain View real estate MLS® through our search page. You’ll be searching listings for all MLS® participating real estate brokerages, and you can watch the market daily if you want to see new listings coming on the market and those posting price reductions. You can do these searches right here on this page.

Better yet, why come back to this site everyday just to search listings? Sure, we love having you here, but part of our job is to help our sellers to efficiently evaluate, market and sell their homes. The first step in this process is our custom search and alert system. Fill in the easy form on this page and we’ll set up a custom search with your property’s characteristics. You will then receive automated email alerts of new matching listings and price reductions. It’s easy, automatic, and you’ll be on top of the market every day without doing a search!

Homes that are currently on the market are changing all of the time. Real estate agents from around the Bay Area are constantly updating and adding new listings and removing listings after a home has sold. The most accurate data is available from your local real estate agent who can check their MLS® database and update you as to the status of any property.

Property List Pricing

By | How We Serve Our Sellers | No Comments
What would an upward or lower price adjustment look like based on the current market CMA?  Well, let’s look at an example.  Let’s say that the CMA of previously and recently sold similar homes shows that the listing price should be around $235,000.  However, those sales were between one month and three months old.  Our current market listing CMA shows that similar homes in the neighborhood are listed at $249,000 or thereabouts.  We and you may decide that the market is improving and justifies raising the listing price of your home to $245,000 so that it’s still competitive but a better deal for you.  Of course, this can work the other way as well.
A proper list price that reflects current and realistic market conditions is critical to getting your Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Santa Clara, Saratoga, and San Jose real estate property sold quickly. We don’t want you to under–price, but it’s worse to over–price in any market. Buyers discount value by DOM, Days On Market. The longer a home stays on the market, the greater they’ll discount their offers. So, a realistic list price is how we make sure your property sells without languishing on the market.
How do we come up with a suggested list price that reflects your home’s competitive position? It’s a combination of services and experience, and we’re going to be very careful and detailed in our analysis and market evaluations to make sure that you don’t leave money on the table or sit around wondering why you aren’t getting offers.
Our evaluation of how your property compares to the current competition is the first step. Then we may suggest some worthwhile corrections you can make to improve that position. Once we know what your home will look like when listed, we’ll go into our thorough CMA, Comparative Market Analysis, process.
CMA of Sold Properties
First we select comparable properties out of those sold recently and in the neighborhood or nearby. These “comparables” or “comps” are selected based on similarity in features, location and characteristics with your home. They must have been sold as recently as possible so the sold prices are of maximum value.We then do a go through a detailed “adjustment” process to adjust their sold prices for any differences with your property. If a home has one more bedroom than yours, we would adjust that property’s sold price downward for the value of one bedroom to make the comparison “apples to apples.” We make adjustments for garages, bathrooms and other major features to bring our comps to closely compare with your home. Then we use those sold prices to arrive at a preliminary listing price for your home.

We say “preliminary” because we have another CMA step.

CMA of Current Listings
Now we get more comps, but instead they’re properties currently listed and your competition. We go through the same adjustment process, and we come up with another, possibly higher or lower, price suggestion for your home. This second CMA gives us more up–to–date information about the market which could cause us to lower or raise our preliminary list price to adjust to the current market. Using the two CMA results and an experienced analysis of your home’s position in the marketplace, we can set a listing price that will get the job done.

Mortgage Calculators For Buyers

By | Buyers | No Comments
When you’re shopping for a Mountain View real estate property, there are plenty of things to think about, and the mortgage you can qualify for is just one. However, during the process you’ll be evaluating a number of properties and mortgage options. The ability to “run the numbers,” checking the property financing details with different mortgage and down payment options, is important.

Use the mortgage calculators on this page to help you run those numbers and try different combinations of interest rate and down payment with each home on your list. There’s no substitute for knowledge and preparation.

Do You Qualify?
Understanding how much of a mortgage you can qualify for…
Compare Interest Only vs. Principal
Calculate the difference between interest only mortgage & principal mortgages
Calculate Amortized Payments
Determine the monthly payment amount based on the amount borrowed & more …
Meet a Payoff Goal
How much additional monthly payment is necessary to pay off your mortgage?
Tax–Savings
Estimate the savings in taxes that can be realized due to interest & property taxes!
Compare Consolidation & Re–Financing  
Compare refinancing a single mortgage vs. consolidating a first & second mortgage …
Refinancing a Mortgage
See the cost and savings of refinancing at a lower interest, net of closing costs…
Compare Monthly vs. Bi–weekly
Save more by making one half of your mortgage payment every two weeks …
Compare Mortgage Rates
See the differences in mortgage payments and interest costs at different rates …
Compare Term of Your Mortgage  
This calculator will compare monthly payments of different mortgage terms …

Property Evaluation

By | How We Serve Our Sellers | No Comments
One service that we believe is extremely important in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Santa Clara, Saratoga, and San Jose real estate markets is helping our listing clients to objectively evaluate their homes for marketability. Some brokerages do a once–over to get the information to put into the various information fields in the MLS®, Multiple Listing Service. However, we go much more into the detail of the features, characteristics and condition of your home.
We will want to postpone some photos until we’ve worked with you to do a thorough inspection of your home with a whole lot of details in mind. Every buyer who sees your home will be comparing it to the competition in your area and price range. How your home compares is critical to how soon you sell it and at what price. We’re going to work with you in several areas of concern:
  • Interior features & characteristics – While the number of bedrooms and baths are not something you’ll be changing to compete better with other homes, you do need to objectively compare them in order to end up with a listing price that will get your property sold. Some things we can consider for improvements, others we just need to know how your home compares to other homes buyers will be seeing. Other features/characteristics:
    • Floor plan
    • Built date and obsolescence
    • Floors & walls condition, paint, etc.
    • Kitchen features
    • Room sizes
    • Lighting, skylights, windows
  • Exterior – That “curb appeal” thing really does mean something. When a prospective buyer first drives up in front of your home, they’re going to get a first impression that is very important. We help you to look at things like landscaping, exterior paint and condition. Here is an area in which small expenditures can yield big results. It’s a fact that some buyers will ask to leave without ever stepping across the threshold if they get a bad first curb appeal impression.
  • Condition – Minor repairs can also make a major difference. Many buyers assume that a need for minor repairs indicates a general lack of fundamental maintenance over time. They’ll discount their offer, if they make one, thinking they’ll have a lot of work to do to bring the home to a good condition. So, we’re honest with you about things that we see and buyers will see and consider in their evaluation. From cracked window panes to scarred walls or doors, we’ll let you know what we believe is important and make suggestions.

We are here to make sure that your home enters the market in the very best competitive position possible. A thorough and objective evaluation is an important step.

Inspections and Repair Negotiations

By | How We Serve Our Sellers | No Comments
While our sellers tend to become less stressed as soon as all of the purchase contract signatures are in place, We are with them and ready for the next negotiation phase. Property inspections can frequently result in buyer requirements for corrections by the seller. Whether you’re prepared for these or they come as a surprise, we’re here to help you to deal with them, as repair disputes are the most frequent reason for contract failures before closing.
Part of our job is to help you to avoid too many “surprises” related to condition and repair negotiations after inspections. We’ll do our best to give you information about what we see that buyers may want corrected, but there are definitely things that neither nobody can anticipate until the inspectors have submitted their reports. So, there’s one other thing we try to do in order to prepare you and leave some negotiation room for you.
We want you to always be thinking ahead to inspections and repair demands from the first offer. Always be thinking of what may be coming in the way of inspections and repair negotiations, especially when the initial purchase contract price negotiations are in play. No matter how urgent your need to sell, if you go too far in price concessions at the beginning, you may have no room left when inspections are done and condition corrections are requested by the buyer.
As the buyer is normally paying for and ordering inspections, our job for our sellers is to make sure that they happen on time and that we receive the inspection reports by deadline due dates. We then meet with our sellers and go over the reports and any buyer objections/requirements to develop a counter strategy. If there are no objections or they’re minor in nature and cost, you may opt to agree to corrections. However, if they’re more extensive and were not anticipated, our job is to help you to reply in a way that saves you money and keeps the buyer in the transaction.

Depending on the desires of the buyer and their selection of inspectors, there could be as few as a single inspector hired to do a thorough inspection of the home and all equipment supporting the home.  However, there may also be other inspectors hired with a more focused goal, possibly a heating and air conditioning contractor, a well inspector, septic inspector, etc.  Each of these inspections will have deadlines for completion and submission of reports and buyer requests for corrections.

We have our own list of inspectors and contractors, and can call in experts to provide cost estimates and help our sellers to make decisions within the deadline times. Unless you have multiple offers, a buyer in the hand is worth something. Our job is to get them to the closing table and your satisfaction with your net proceeds from the sale.

Price Negotiations

By | How We Serve Buyers | No Comments
We love helping Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Santa Clara, Saratoga, and San Jose real estate buyers to find the perfect property. But we love even more the ways in which we can help them to buy it at the very best price with the very best terms. Sometimes negotiations aren’t all price. A great contract can involve other seller concessions that create the right deal for our buyer clients.
Real estate market data –How can you be expected to make price offer decisions in a vacuum? We spend a great amount of time and effort in collecting market data to help our buyers in their price negotiations. This data involves not only sold property prices by neighborhood, but also current listing pricing to determine the competitive nature of the market.
This data is very thorough, and it’s call a Comparative (or Competitive) Market Analysis.  There are two parts, the comparison of the property you’re considering to similar properties recently sold in the nearby area.  This gives us a firm grip on what has happened in the near past, but by nature it is “past” data, thus possibly not accurate for the market as it is when you’re in negotiations.  We then do another CMA process on the currently listed properties most like the one under consideration and in the same neighborhood or nearby.  This gives us a current market snapshot so that we can adjust our valuation model and our offer to reflect the current market situation.
Thorough knowledge of your situation – Only through constant communication we can advise you properly in pricing negotiations. By understanding your motivations and financial capabilities, we can help you craft a price negotiation strategy with the highest probability of success.
Seller motivation research – While it’s not always legally possible to determine why someone is selling, there are things we can glean from their listing and price activity that will allow us to help you to negotiate from a position of strength.It’s not all money – There are a lot of ways to negotiate a real estate deal, and they don’t always involve money. Perhaps the seller doesn’t have a lot of ability to work with you on price, but they can make other concessions that could result in a deal. We help you to take the best approach.

It’s not over till it’s over – Many real estate price negotiations involve multiple counter offers and a lot of back–and–forth. We’re with you with each counter offer to adjust your negotiation strategy accordingly. Because we can’t know the seller’s financial limitations in many deals, some buyers are elated when they cut a major low-priced deal on a home, but then after inspections they hit a brick wall in negotiations with the seller related to repairs.  The negotiation to purchase a home isn’t over with the price on the contract, and it’s best to know that a real deal at the front end could result in less flexibility after inspections in the repairs discussion.

The thing to remember is that we are right there with our Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Santa Clara, Saratoga, and San Jose real estate buyers throughout the negotiation process with the latest information and experienced advice.

Search Cupertino Homes For Sale

By | Buyers | No Comments

There’s no better time and no better place to start your online home search than right here on this MLS®, Multiple Listing Search page. We’re providing access to every listing for every participating broker in the Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Santa Clara, Saratoga, and San Jose real estate markets. You won’t miss a single listing.

Having access to homes as soon as they are listed will give you an advantage over competing buyers who are simply checking local websitez such as Zillow and Trulia for current homes for sale. By working with our real estate team you can be sure they you will be viewing homes the day they are listed for sale, thereby beating competing buyers to the homes and submitting a competitive offer based on a CMA that has been done on the property to determine the market value.