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March 1, 2012

Eastlake Vistas

eastlake vistas homes for sale

Whether you’re a young family buying your first home, or you’re thinking of upgrading to your dream home, or it’s time to “retire” to a more peaceful quiet life, EastLake and all its separate communities seem to be the ideal place to live.  They are Eastlake Hills, Eastlake Shores, Eastlake Greens, Eastlake Trails, Eastlake Woods and Eastlake Vistas.

It all began in 1986 with a vision of building a community just south of San Diego in the City of Chula Vista that had everything a family would need or want.  And after all these years, it’s still growing and still feels like new.  Eastlake is one of the top rated Master Planned Communities in all of San Diego County.

Take EastLake Vistas, for instance.  This was one of the last phases in the Master Planned Community.  This commuinity has it all - parks, walking and hiking trails, schools, shopping, views of the hills, a business center, clubhouse, mutiliple pools for all to enjoy and restaurants.   It even has a cutting-edge, state- of-the-art-Mall called Otay Town Center Mall, conveniently located just off the 125 Expressway.

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Posted in Eastlake Vistas
Feb. 8, 2012

Buying a home in San Diego? DON’T DO THE FOLLOWING

San Diego Home

During the process of purchasing your new home, actions you take might harm your ability to qualify for a loan.

As a buyer, do not take anything for granted.  Prior to doing anything that may effect your credit, check with your experienced lender first.  Your financial decisions or acts may hurt your ability to buy a home.

I would NOT do the following……..

1.     DO NOT TAKE ON ANY NEW DEBT:  Do not make any purchases that will increase your debt (cars, furniture, anything that you may put on credit).

2.    DO NOT DEPOSIT ANY CASH INTO YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS:   All money that is deposited into your bank accounts must be 100% documented - no exceptions.   Your lender may be required by the underwriter to see proof of where these funds came from as “gifts” or “loans”, which may cause your loan on your new house to be denied.

3.    DO NOT CHANGE JOBS:  Talk to your lender if you expect to have a career change.  Your employment will be verified by your lender several times and must be deemed reliable, stable, and at the rate of income you claim.

4.    DO NOT “CLOSE” OR “OPEN” ANY NEW CREDIT CARD ACCOUNTS:  Opening new accounts or closing current accounts can have a negative impact on your rating and FICO scores.

5.    GIFT FUNDS:  If allowable for your down payment or closing costs, the “Donor” will be required to provide a bank statement proving your “Donor” has the ability and did gift the money to you.  Prior to transferring any money, it is very important to speak to your loan officer for specific instructions on “when” and “how” to transfer funds to your account.

6.    DO NOT PACK TOO SOON:  Buying a new home is a “process” and there can be delays.   There may be changes in your purchase contract or underwriting guidelines that could extend the close of escrow date.  Final documents you pack away may be needed during the loan process – plan accordingly.

In our current lending environment, you must make every reasonable effort to eliminate all doubts a lender may have about your credit and ability to purchase a home.

If you communicate with your lender and Realtor throughout the entire escrow period (30-60 days), your home buying experience will be a fun and exciting time, not something that keeps you up at night.

Posted in Buyer Information
Feb. 2, 2012

Rolling Hills Ranch in Chula Vista, CA

rolling hills ranch

Rolling Hills Ranch in Chula Vista, CA

Rolling Hills Ranch in Chula Vista, CA is an upscale Master Planned Community designed for all types of buyers located in Chula Vista, CA.  It sits north of Otay Lakes Road, east of the South Bay Expressway Toll Road, and close neighbors of EastLake Woods (an upscale custom home develpement).  This vibrant community is known for its spectacular scenic views, luxurious homes and top of the line neighborhood amenities.  Located in the hills of eastern Chula Vista, Rolling Hills Ranch is full of hiking trails, bike riding paths, and miles of mountain views.

One of the reasons people own homes in Rolling Hills Ranch is because of the 20,000 square foot Community Center where you will find a plethora of activities for all ages.  Rolling Hills Ranch also has a private swim club, which features an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a park complete with athletic fields and tennis courts.  There’s even a skate park and the 18-hole Salt Creek Golf Course.

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Feb. 2, 2012

Eastlake Greens

eastlake greens

About Eastlake Greens in Chula Vista, CA

Inland from Interstate 5 and the 805 Freeway is the community of EastLake, a Master Planned Community comprised of many sub divisions and or neighborhoods.  One in particular is called EastLake Greens which opened their home sales in 1991, with final sales in January, 2000.  Homes in Eastlake Greens range from the high $300,000’s to $700,000.

Eastlake Greens has been developed around the EastLake Country Club,  which is an 18 hole custom golf course.   This 18-hole championship public golf course enables the residents of EastLake Greens and all the other communities to take advantage of special privileges while living in EastLake as well as discounts to play a round of golf.   It’s open for play seven days a week.

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Posted in Eastlake Greens
Jan. 23, 2012

Real Estate Terms and Definitions

Real Estate Terms and Definitions

1.    REO -- Real Estate Owned.

2.    Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) -- mortgage in which the interest changes according to fluctuations in an index.   All ARMs are tied to indexes.

3.    Amortization Schedule -- A table which shows how much of each payment will be applied toward principal and how much toward interest over the life of the loan.

4.    Annual Percentage Rate (APR) -- This is not the note rate on your loan. It is a value created according to a government formula intended to reflect the true annual cost of borrowing, expressed as a percentage.

5.    Appraised Value -- An opinion of a property's fair market value.

6.    Appreciation -- The increase in the value of a property due to changes in market conditions, inflation, or other causes.

7.    Broker -- A Broker has several meanings in different situations.   Most Realtors are "agents" who work under a "broker."   Some agents are brokers as well, either working form themselves or under another broker.   In the mortgage industry, broker usually refers to a company or individual that does not lend the money for the loans themselves, but broker loans to larger lenders or investors.

8.    Closing Costs -- Closing costs are separated into what are called "non-recurring closing costs" and "pre-paid items."   Non-recurring closing costs are any items which are paid just once as a result of buying the property or obtaining a loan. "Pre-paids" are items which recur over time, such as property taxes and homeowners insurance.   A lender makes an attempt to estimate the amount of non-recurring closing costs and prepaid items on the Good Faith Estimate which they must issue to the borrower within three days of receiving a home loan application.

9.    Condominium -- A type of ownership in real property where all of the owners own the property, common areas and buildings together, with the exception of the interior of the unit to which they have title.

10.   Deed-In-Lieu -- Short for "deed in lieu of foreclosure," this conveys title to the lender when the borrower is in default and wants to avoid foreclosure.

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Dec. 2, 2011

Final Walk Through

What is the purpose of doing a Final Walk-Through when you are a few days away from closing escrow?  (Escrow is the neutral third party that handles the transaction between the buyer and seller.)

A Final Walk-Through is not the same as a home inspection.  It is not a time to begin negotiations with the seller to do repairs, nor is it a contingency.   A final walk-through should be performed at least 3 days prior to closing escrow and it's primary purpose is to make certain that the property is in the condition you agreed to buy it in -- that agreed-upon repairs, if any, were made and nothing has gone wrong with the home since you last looked at it.

You don't need to wait until the last minute to inspect a home for all repairs, especially those that cost a significant amount of money to fix.  For example, if there was a new roof installed or a cracked foundation repaired, you absolutely want to verify several days before you close escrow that all the work that was agreed to be done in writing, was completed to your satisfaction.

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Posted in Buyer Information
Nov. 10, 2011

HARP Program

Own a house that is "under water", "upside-down," in other words, you owe a ton more than it's worth?

There are millions of homeowners who are "under water" on their mortgages and think there is no chance of refinancing - but wait, there may still be hope.

A few weeks ago, the government announced major changes that could help more than 1 million borrowers take advantage of the currently low interest rates, and in turn, lower their monthly payments.

I know, I know---you have heard this before.  However, this may be the light at the end of the tunnel.  Changes to the Federal Home Affordable Refinance Program or HARP allow homeowners to refinance into low mortgage interest rates, even if the property has decreased in value.   9 out of 10 of eligible Homeowners fail to take advantage of this government program.

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Oct. 19, 2011

What makes a good Realtor?

Now that I've been a Realtor for over 8 years in San Diego County, I have a pretty good idea what makes a good Realtor.   Buying or selling a home is not an easy thing to do no matter which side you are on.  The goal for sellers is to sell their property in the shortest amount of time for the most money.  The goal for buyers is to purchase your home at the lowest possible price with the least amount of hassles.

I always tell my clients that 20% of the Realtor's out there are exceptional, the other 80% are marginal.  There is an enormous disparity in skill, knowledge, experience, professionalism and customer service amongst Realtors.  Realtors play many roles on behalf of their clients - I'm a therapist, counselor, tour guide, marketing guru, home services directory, negotiator and facilitator.  An exceptional Realtor will make the process of buying or selling a home fluid and painless process under the best of circumstances and tolerable under the worst of circumstances.  An exceptional Realtor will help you remain objective when you become anxious about making the largest financial transaction in your life.  An exceptional Realtor can help you understand local market conditions and the differences between traditional sales, REO's and short sales.  With thousands or Real Estate agents to pick from in every community (they seem to dropping like flies now), how do you select the right person for you?

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Posted in Buyer Information
Oct. 19, 2011

What are Buyer Contingencies?

When purchasing a home in San Diego, CA what are Buyer Contingencies?  How long do they last?  How many are there?  Most buyers are not even aware they exist, what they even are, or what the contingencies do to protect them while they are in escrow.

Buyer contingencies are a significant portion of the purchase contract between the seller and buyer.   The buyer contingencies consist of clauses relating to conditions, or contingencies, that must be satisfied, each within a certain timeframe, in order for the sale to go through.   These are the legal loopholes that allow you to back out of the contract under certain circumstances.  For example, many buyers write into the contract that being able to close on the sale of their own home is a condition of the offer to purchase the new home. That way, if the sale of their own residence falls through, they will not be obligated to go through with the purchase of the new property.

I inform each of my buyers that they can cancel the agreement any time they would like within the first 17 days.  Some agents in my office look at me like I'm crazy!   But it's the truth, and as their Realtor, it is my obligation and fuduciary responsibility to look out for my buyers' best interest and do the very best job I can for my clients.

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Posted in Buyer Information
Aug. 22, 2011

San Diego Home Buying Tips

If you've never purchased a home before, you need to read this before you do.

My name is Dale Downing and I've been a Realtor in San Diego County for last 8 years helping buyers purchase homes all over San Diego county.  If you follow the steps below, you will find your dream house.

How much House can you afford?  The very first thing you should do even before you go look for homes, drive neighborhoods or search the internet, is to speak with a professional loan officer.  If you don't take this first step, you don't know how much house you can afford or even more importantly, do you qualify to purchase a house.

Once you have been pre-qualified to purchase (now you should know your purchase price), ask around for a great Realtor who can assist you with the entire transaction.  Referrals are usually the best.

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