Do You Need a Real Estate Attorney to Help Close Your Home Purchase? Let’s Take a Look

When buying a new home, you may have a close eye focused on your budget and expenses, and your goal may be to keep related expenses to a minimum. However, you may also be well aware that a real estate purchase is a legal transaction, and you may be wondering if you need to pay for legal services from a real estate attorney. With a closer look, you can make a better decision that is right for your home buying plans.


The Legal Forms Used With A Typical Transaction

The majority of real estate contracts will be written using standard legal forms. These are legally binding forms with clauses that protect buyers and sellers alike. While they are standard forms, you do want to read the forms in their entirety and understand your obligations before signing the contract. Keep in mind that you are not required to use these forms, and you can request an attorney to prepare a separate contract for you. However, these are commonly used forms that real estate agents typically will use.

The Services Of A Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is not a legal professional, and your agent likely will not be licensed to practice law in the state. However, the agent can explain your obligations with a standard contract so that you have a better understanding about what you are committed to. Your real estate agent may refer you to a real estate attorney if you require a special contract to be drawn up or if you are not comfortable with different clauses in the standard forms.

When Special Situations Arise

The standard real estate contracts will typically be feasible for use with most transactions, but there are special situations that may arise from time to time. For example, you may only want to purchase a portion of a large estate. While the seller would need to subdivided, your attorney would need to review special documents to ensure the transaction is legal. Perhaps you want to purchase real estate in a corporation or under another entity, or you want to protect your rights when purchasing property with a partner who you are not legally married to.

While real estate agents are not legal professionals, they are able to prepare standard contract forms for you and explain them to you. Because of this, many people will not need to pay for additional legal services, but each situation is unique. When you speak with a real estate agent today about your upcoming purchase, he or she can help you to learn more about services an attorney may provide that the agent is not able to.

Buying a Second Home? Assessing Your Finances to Ensure You Can Afford a Second Mortgage

2nd home decisionThe decision to buy a second home may be made for a number of reasons. For example, you may have a destination where you and your family love to spend free time in, and you may be ready to settle into your own space in this location. You may considering the tax benefits associated with a second home, and you may even have plans to live in the home as your primary residence after you retire. While there may be numerous benefits associated with the purchase of your second home, you may be concerned about how affordable it will be for you to manage the additional expense of a second mortgage payment.


2nd home decision 1 - CopyConsider All Of The New Expenses Related To The Purchase

A second mortgage payment may be a rather major expense to take on, but it is not the only expense related to buying the new property. In order to ensure that the mortgage payment is affordable, you need to ensure that all aspects of secondary home ownership are affordable for you. For example, consider HOA dues, repairs and maintenance expenses, property taxes, insurance and cleaning or lawn care service since you will not be available to handle these chores on a regular basis. If you can comfortably take on all of these expenses, you may make your purchase with confidence.

Increase Your Emergency Savings Account Balance

While your current budget may easily accommodate the new mortgage payment and the related expenses, the unfortunate truth is that your income or expenses may not remain static in the future. You may suffer from unemployment or a serious illness that reduces your income. You may have extra expenses due to a car accident or severe damage to a home. 2nd home decision 2 - CopyThese are just a few of the many things that can happen, and it is important that you have an adequate cash reserve in your emergency savings account that allows you to pay for all of your expenses for at least several months. Because your expenses will increase substantially with your new mortgage payment, you may need to increase your emergency savings account balance.

While it can seem intimidating to take on a new mortgage payment and other related household expenses for a second home, you may be able to more comfortably take on this additional expense when you follow these tips. You may also speak with a mortgage professional to get a quote for your new mortgage payment and interest rate.


Missed a Mortgage Payment? How to Ensure It Doesn’t Affect Your Credit Score

credit scoreIf you pay attention to your credit rating, you may be well aware that a single late payment reflected on your credit report can result in a decline in your scores. In some cases, the decline can be rather significant, and you will have to work hard to make regular payments over a period of time to show that you remain creditworthy and to rebuild your credit score. It is far better to avoid late payments altogether than to deal with the stress and ramifications of a late payment on your credit report. If you have already missed the due date on your mortgage loan, you may be wondering what you can do to prevent this late payment from showing up on your credit report.

Contact Your Mortgage Company Immediately

Initially, contact your mortgage company to make payment arrangements and to discuss the situation. In some cases, a mortgage company may be willing to work with you on structuring a new arrangement for the payment to be made or you may even have a surplus in your escrow account that could be applied toward the payment. You can also determine when they will report your late payment to the credit bureaus and how much time you have before you absolutely need to make the payment to avoid credit ramifications.

Make Your Payment Before The Next One Is Due

Generally, lenders will report late payments when they are more than 30 days late. While you may be assessed a late fee after the initial grace period has expired, you may not have technical late payment in terms of what credit reporting late payment reminderbureaus consider to be late. Generally, if you make your payment before the next mortgage payment is due, your late payment will not show up as a late payment with the bureaus. However, you do want to verify this with your mortgage company and work with them to bring your account current.

A late payment on a mortgage can have a substantial and negative impact on your credit rating, and it can take months or even years to restore your scores to their previous level. Rather than go through the effort to try to improve your score after the fact, it is best to avoid the late payment altogether. While you may have already missed a payment and may be required to pay a late fee, it may not be too late to avoid having this event reflected on your credit report. Contact your lender today to learn more about your options and to make your payment.

Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time? How to Juggle These Two Transactions

There are few things that can be more stressful than buying or selling a home. When you are buying and selling a home at the same time, your stress level may understandably skyrocket through the roof. There may be financial aspects of both transactions that may be cause you stress, and you may be dealing with logistical issues or simply feel stressed by the stacks of documents piling up for both transactions. While this will inevitably be a challenging time in your life, you can more easily navigate through the transactions with success by following a few tips.


Cbuy and selling 1onsider the Timing of Both Transactions

One of the best things you can do when buying and selling a home at the same time is to plan ahead and consider the timing of both transactions. You may get lucky enough to get an offer on your home from a buyer who wants to close just a few days before you close on your new home. However, it is more likely that these two transactions may be finalized weeks or longer apart from each other. You may need to plan on finding an interim home or paying double mortgages for a period of time. You may consider which of these two options is more preferable to you based on your work situation, your family’s needs and your budget.


Prepare a Budget Ahead of Time and Update It Periodically

Financial stress canmount during this period of time. You will need to make a good faith deposit and pay for third party reports and mortgage application fees for your new home purchase. You may also need to pay money to make repairs and to stage your current home before you list it. It is common to rent a storage unit and to pay for boxes and moving supplies as well. In addition, a buyer for your current home may request that you make repairs to your home before closing. It is important that you prepare a budget so that you can pay for all of these expenses as they arise, and you should consider leaving yourself ample funds for unexpected expenses. If you run into a cash crunch, consider completing the sale of your current home entirely before going under contract with your new home purchase.


Use the Same Real Estate Agent for Both Transactions

buy and selling 2
The knowledge and support of a real estate agent can be beneficial to you for both transactions, and you may consider using the services of the same agent for both. Dealing with one person who is familiar with your goals and needs can be truly beneficial to you throughout the entire process, and he or she may offer insight about the best steps to take to make the transition from one home to the other smoother for your family.

While buying and selling real estate can be stressful, you do not have to make the process more difficult than it needs to be. You can set up a time to meet with a real estate agent today to begin discussing your plans and to take the initial step.


 2009 RECAP

Well, another year is behind us here in the San Francisco and San Mateo real estate market and here are the market stats for 2009 in San Francisco.

2009 stat market recap for sf

In 2009, some prices have dropped but there were 4643 sales in San Francisco taking about 2–3 months on the average to close escrow.   Real estate is selling.   Interest rates have been low and with some government intervention as far as tax credits, the government tried to simulate the home sales.thru out 2009.

 As of now interest rates are still down, But the question is how long?

With the home buyer’s tax credit  has been extended until the end in April, 2010.

This gives any buyers another opportunity who did not get involved in 2009 a chance to do so in the beginning of 2010.  Together with the tax credit, low interest rates, and with the increase of inventory of homes on the market as the beginning of the year usually brings, give buyers reasons to buy now.

In the end 2009 was another challenging year for sellers and another amazing opportunity for buyers and as of right now buyers still have an amazing opportunity but no one knows how know it will last.  So my recommendation is to take advantage of it now before it is too late.

San Francisco Weekly Sales Activity

 Real Estate is still active in San Francisco.

As expected sales numbers went back down about 31% in San Francisco real estate market from the previous holiday week which included the end of June.  But the total sales volume over the week increased a little over 24% and the number of listings in contract  increased also.  

The number of listing increased by a little over 10% so there is more homes on the market.

Average days on the market increased by 14 days to 62 days.  Homes are still selling between 2 – 3 months. 

MLS Stats for single family in San Francisco  

Week Ending


Week Ending


Week Ending


Weekly % 

  6/27/2009 7/4/2009 7/11/2009 Change
# of sales 41 61 42 -31.15%
Avg. Sold Price $1,185,141 $1,102,472 $1,178,705 6.91%
Avg. Days On The Market (Sold) 58 48 62 29.17%
# of Contingent 103 137 163 18.98%
# of Pendings 175 208 262 25.96%
  _________ _________ _________  
Total in Contract 278 345 425 23.19%
# of Listings 465 509 562 10.41%
Avg. List Price $1,707,339 $1,766,470 $1,620,786 -8.25%
Sold Price % of Listing Price 69.41% 62.41% 72.72% 16.52%
Total Sales Volume $48,590,800 $39,689,000 $49,505,600 24.73%

  Click here to get a break down in your area

California Tax Credit for New Home Purchase

If you don’t already know, California is offering up to $10,000 in tax credit for qualified buyers on or after March 1, 2009 and before March 1, 2010, can purchase a principal home that has never been occupied.  The buyer must live in the new home a minimum of two years immediately following the purchase date.

Applications will be reviewed and credit allocations will be made on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once $100,000,000 has been allocated, the tax credit will no longer be available. Please check the website below for updates on the allocated and remaining credits available.

Don’t miss out before the program money runs out!

For more info, visit: 


Excellent interest rates for new mortgages that will make payments lower.  With the lower interest rates you will need to make less to qualify.  Rates have not been like this for 40 years and may not be again!

The marketplace is experiencing lower prices, which translates to more selection and opportunity for buyers.

Sellers are more willing to negotiate on their home– not just on price but on other things.   Buyers who are still in the market are probably very serious and definitely worth working with.

People were still buying homes in the early 80’s when interest rates were18% for FHA and 7 points. Buying a home, even at high interest rates was still a better alternative than renting. If a person has a job and mediocre credit, buying a home is a definite recommendation. The mediocre rate is probably 8%, great time for mediocre credit.

People moving up from start homes to average or mid-price homes are also likely to continue to buy even in slow times. The reason is that they have equity in their current home and with the low rates available, can
afford a much larger home at close to the same payment they are currently making. The buyer can also pull equity or buy investment property.

Thats why you should buy your house now!