Karen Urata Realtor

Archive for the ‘Ramona’ Category

Viewing Christmas Lights, a Family Tradition in San Diego County

In El Cajon, Escondido, La Mesa, North San Diego County, Oceanside, Poway, Ramona, San Diego, San Diego County, San Marcos, Santee, Things to do in El Cajon, Things to do in Escondido, Things to do in La Mesa on December 8, 2015 at 12:26 am

Image by Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Viewing Christmas Lights, a Family Tradition in San Diego County

One of our family’s favorite festivities during the holiday season is to bundle up, hop in the car and take a drive to enjoy the Christmas lights in the neighborhood.  Of course, it usually is not snowing , and it does not require much bundling up to keep warm.  These days it pays to have a plan rather than just driving around so here is a great list of Christmas Light put together each year by San Diego Family Magazine.  The list is organized by each area of the county, ex: North County, East County etc. and then broken down by city, ex: San Marcos, El Cajon etc.  To plan your Christmas Light outing click here to view the list.

See you in the neighborhood,

Karen Urata

Century 21 Award

karenurata@gmail.com

(619) 454–7959

DRE License # 01720025

Winner 5-Star Award San Diego Magazine  -2010, 2011, 2012, 2015

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I want to buy a home, Where do I start?

In El Cajon, Escondido, Home Buying, La Mesa, Mission Valley, North San Diego County, Oceanside, Poway, Ramona, Real Estate, San Diego, San Diego County, San Marcos, Santee, Transaction Tuesday, Vista on June 26, 2015 at 11:14 pm
  1. Transaction Tuesday

    Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    I want to buy a home, Where do I start?

    Many people start their home -buying process on the Internet these days.  As a matter fact, it has been reported that 90% of home-buyers start here.  The reasons for this are many, including the fact that you can shop from the comfort of your own home, at any hour of the day or night, so this makes sense.  However, the most important first step in your home-buying process actually should be to get a pre-approval from a good lender.  Here is a little story that illustrates this point.

    Mr and Mrs Smith had been thinking of purchasing a home in a more central location to accommodate the separate commutes they now were making for work.  They had looked off and on over the last year or so but had taken a wait and see approach trying to time the market to catch the “bottom” so they would get the lowest price possible.   During that time, prices did go down, and following that, inventory or the number of homes available on the market went down also.  As a result of this, home prices started to rise slightly, then interest rates also started to inch up as well which eat into their purchasing power.  In other words, the monthly payment that they would qualify for, let’s say $2,000 now bought them a home priced at $400,000 rather than $430,000.  So now they will be able to buy but the home they can purchase for the same $2,000 a month payment will probably be smaller or have fewer of the features that they desired.

    In spite of the low inventory and the decrease in their buying power, the Smiths were online one day and found a perfect home with everything they desired in their price range.  This was really exciting because it had been a long time since they had see anything that fit their needs so well. So they got on the phone to contact an agent so they could tour the property and have the agent help them to construct an offer for submission.

    Imagine their surprise when the agent informed them that the sellers of this home require that to submit an offer you must show that you are already approved for financing through a lender with what is called desktop underwriting approval with credit report and proof of funds.  In addition, if your offer is accepted you will have to be approved through their preferred lender as well.   Of course, the home had an accepted offer long before the Smiths were able to gather the necessary documentation and approvals required in order to submit an offer.  So while this may have been the perfect home for the Smiths to purchase and the Smiths may have been the perfect buyers for these sellers to acquire the “highest and best offer” for this property, the transaction was stopped before it even started because the Smiths, like many buyer, had skipped an important step in the home-buying process, getting their financing in place.

    The moral of this story is that the most important first step in a transaction is to secure your financing with a good lender.  If you need guidance on how to select a good lender just give me a call.  I am always happy to help.

    See you in the neighborhood,

     

    Karen Urata

    DRE License # 01720025

    Cemtury 21 Award

    619-454-7959

     

    5-Star Award Winner  San Diego Magazine 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015

    Serving Buyers and Sellers in San Diego County

Why is Escrow Asking Me for Personal Information and What Should I Do About It?

In El Cajon, Escondido, La Mesa, Mission Valley, Norh San Diego County, North San Diego County, Oceanside, Poway, Ramona, Real Estate, San Diego County, San Marcos, Santee, Transaction Tuesday, Vista on June 26, 2015 at 10:52 pm

Transaction Tuesday

Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why is escrow asking me for personal information and what should I do about it?

These days we all know that we should never give out any of our personal information unless we know exactly who is getting it and exactly why they need it so this is a question that often comes up during the escrow process.  The reason for this is a little piece of paper that seller’s are given to fill out by the escrow officer called the Statement of  Information.

This form is actually used by your title company to distinguish the buyers and sellers of real property from other people with similar names when searching public records for judgments, liens, court decrees, bankruptcies or other matters.

If you fail to provide the Statement of information, your title company will have to add exclusions to the policy that list as exceptions from coverage judgments, liens or other matters which may affect the property to be insured.  These exclusions or exceptions are not allowed by lenders.  Lenders will require that the title is insured, so without this Statement of Information being submitted in a timely manner you might  find that your closing could be delayed.

Just another tip to help your transaction go smoothly to closing.  Remember, feel free to call me if you have a question about real estate.

 

See you in the neighborhood,

Karen Urata

Century 21 Award

uratakaren@yahoo.com

(619) 454–7959

DRE License # 01720025

Winner 5-Star Award San Diego Magazine  -2010, 2011, 2012, 2015

What Happens in Escrow?

In El Cajon, Escondido, La Mesa, Mission Valley, North San Diego County, Oceanside, Poway, Ramona, Real Estate, San Diego County, San Marcos, Santee, Vista on January 15, 2013 at 9:00 pm
Transaction Tuesday

Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Grab your coffee.  It is that time again, Transaction Tuesday where we answer all those questions you forget to ask about the real estate transaction process.  We answered the question not long ago about what escrow is so now we will touch on what happens during the escrow process.   My husband, Greg Urata, wrote a book called, First-time Home Buying in a Nutshell, and I am borrowing this description of the escrow process from it to share with you to help you know what to expect when you enter the escrow process.

The Escrow Process 

        1)  Getting the Purchase Agreement

After all parties to the contract have signed, the agent will open escrow and submit the contract to escrow.  Some states use lawyers in lieu of escrow to process the transaction.  This author is not familiar with how the transaction is handled in those states.

         2)      Escrow Instructions

Escrow will create escrow instructions outlining the specifics of the transaction.

3)  Preliminary Title

Escrow will order a preliminary title report.  A preliminary title report is a document that outlines information that is pertinent to the property such as easements, liens, encumbrances, etc that might compromise free and clear title to the property.  It is important for buyers to review this document to make sure they are not going to unknowingly encumber themselves through buying the property

 4)  Estimated HUD 1

This is a document that lists the preliminary financial accounting of the costs and financing amounts of the transaction.  There is a final HUD 1/Settlement Statement issued at the end of the escrow process to show the final costs and financing amounts of the transaction.

5)  Payoff Demand

This is a request made by escrow to the current mortgage holder of the existing loan(s) on the property for the total amount due to pay off the loan.

6)  Drawing Docs

The process in which the buyer’s lender prepares the documents (loan contract) to be sent to escrow to be signed by the buyer.  Escrow usually reviews the documents to ensure they are accurate.

7)  Signing Docs

When the loan documents are signed by the buyer in escrow (or by the lender) witnessed by a notary.

8)      Funding

The signed documents are returned to the lender and the lender then funds the loan by sending funds to the title company which, in turn, sends the proceeds to escrow for disbursement.

9)  Record and Closing

After funding, the title company records the title at the County Recorder’s Office.

While this does not cover everything that goes on during the process it does outline the basic items that your escrow officer is working hard to complete on your behalf during the escrow period.  Your agent is also handling many details that must be addressed prior to the close of escrow that are not touched on here.

I hope this helps make you feel more comfortable while you go through the transaction process.  If you have any questions please just give me a call.

See you in the neighborhood,

Karen Urata

DRE License # 01720025

B W Real Estate Group

(760) 609-0952

5-Star Award Winner  San Diego Magazine 2010, 2011, 2012

Serving Buyers and Sellers in San Diego County

Is It a Buyer’s Market or a Seller’s Market?

In CA, El Cajon, Escondido, Mission Valley, North San Diego County, Oceanside, Poway, Ramona, Real Estate, San Diego County, San Marcos, Santee, Uncategorized, Vista on January 11, 2013 at 5:08 am
Interest Rates

Interest Rates (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

Is it a buyer’s market or a seller’s market? is probably the question that I hear most often and of course, the answer to that question changes over time.

Sometimes, when there are lots of homes on the market, and not too many ready willing and able buyers, we see a buyer’s market.  This means that, generally speaking, buyers are in a position to ask for concessions, such as a laundry list of repairs, extensive credits, and often make offers under the list price.  Buyers often try to time their purchase for a buyer’s market because they feel that they can get more house for their money that way.  Other times, when there are lots of buyers and not too many homes on the market, we see a seller’s market.  This means that, generally speaking, sellers are in a position to ask for concessions, such as no contingencies, no repairs and purchase prices exceeding the list price.  Sellers often try to time to time their sale for a seller’s market because they feel that they can get the best return on their home  that way.

But sometimes, like now, we see a market that is both a buyer’s market and a seller’s market at the same time.  That can happen when there is low inventory, or few homes available on the market creating a larger return for sellers and low-interest rates, that result in buyers actually getting more home for their money.

What the heck, how does that work?  Well, the largest factor in the actual cost of a home is the interest rate, not the purchase price.  Did you know that a change (reduction) of half a percent on a home with the loan amount of $300,000  from3.5% interest to 3% interest represents a reduction of  $82.32 an month  in your monthly payment. Your principle payment would drop from $1347.13 to $1264.81.   In this example, the half a percent interest rate change represents approximately $20,000 more in purchasing power.  In other words, you would have approximately the same principle payment on a loan amount of $300,000 at 3.5% interest as you would on a loan amount of $320,000 at $3.0% interest, not to mention that now you can qualify for  a home that has $20,000 worth of additional features that you would not have qualified for at the higher interest rate.  This could actually change the neighborhood that you live in or the size of the house your family grows up in.

Having the right knowledge can really make a difference in maximizing the benefit for everyone in a transaction.  If you are thinking of buying or selling now is a great time.

Just call me and we can talk about how you can maximize your benefit when buying or selling in this buyer’s and seller’s market in San Diego County.

See you in the neighborhood,

Karen Urata

DRE License # 01720025

B W Real Estate Group

(760) 609-0952

5-Star Award Winner  San Diego Magazine 2010, 2011, 2012

Serving Buyers and Sellers in San Diego County

What is Title Insurance Anyway?

In CA, El Cajon, Escondido, La Mesa, Mission Valley, Norh San Diego County, Oceanside, Poway, Ramona, Real Estate, San Diego County, San Marcos, Santee, Uncategorized, Vista on January 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm
Transaction Tuesday

Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Well it’s Tuesday again and that means it is time for another installment in our series, Transaction Tuesday.  Grab your coffee and an a snack and come with me.

If you have purchased a home chances are you have purchased title insurance but you may not know exactly what title insurance is or why you need it.

Unlike most forms of insurance, title insurance premiums are paid just once at the time of purchase but cover your interest as long as you, or your heirs, own the property.

Generally speaking, title insurance is meant to protect an owner’s or a lender’s financial interest in real property against loss due to title defects, liens or other matters.  There are two types of policies, one that protects the lender’s interest in a property and one that protects a homeowner’s interest in a property. If you have a mortgage on a property, the lender will require a policy to protect their interest for the amount of the loan.  You can also purchase a policy, at a small additional cost, during escrow to protect your interest as a homeowner.

Escrow will order the preliminary title report which should be reviewed and approved by the buyer.  This report should specify what is covered by the title policy and what is excluded.

For more details check out these links:

http://www.stewart.com/title-insurance/what-is-tile-insurance

http://www.firstam.com/title/resources/reference-information/title-insurance-reference-articles/q-a-about-title-insurance.html

If you have questions about title insurance or anything else in the transaction process, please feel free to contact me.

See you in the neighborhood,

Karen Urata

DRE License # 01720025

B W Real Estate Group

(760) 609-0952

5-Star Award Winner  San Diego Magazine 2010, 2011, 2012

Serving Buyers and Sellers in San Diego County

Welcome to Transaction Tuesday

In El Cajon, Escondido, La Mesa, Mission Valley, North San Diego County, Oceanside, Poway, Ramona, Real Estate, San Diego County, San Marcos, Santee, Vista on January 2, 2013 at 5:44 am
Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Welcome, grab a cup of coffee, sit down, relax and I will happily answer those “silly” questions you might have about special terms and other things that come up during a real estate transaction that you may have heard of but don’t really know for sure what they mean and never get around to asking about.

Let’s say you have been working with your agent to negotiate the purchase or the sale of your home.  The offer has been made and counter offers have been negotiated and an agreement has been reached.  Your agent calls you and says, “Congratulations, you are in escrow!”  She sounds happy and excited for you so you know that must be a good thing, but what exactly does being in escrow mean?

In a real estate transaction, escrow is a third-party that is selected in the negotiation process and is named in the contract.  This is the party who holds the deed to the property and the funds from the buyer and lender, (if you require a loan), and releases them to the proper parties when the property sale is recorded and the transaction is complete.

In the state of California real estate transactions go through the escrow process, however, some states use attorneys for this part of the real estate transaction.

The escrow process generally takes a while to complete as many details must be handled during this process.  One important element of escrow is ordering the preliminary title report.  This report shows ownership of the property and whether the seller has the authority to transfer the property.  It also helps to show encumbrances such as liens and easements that may be filed against the property that.  We can touch on some of those in a later post focusing on title insurance.

In most cases, sellers and buyers have the assistance of a real estate agent to help guide them through the many details that should to be completed during the escrow process.

Check back next Tuesday and we will talk a little more about the items that you might hear about during the escrow process. Until then, make it a great week.

If you have a real estate question you would like to submit for consideration as the subject of a future Transaction Tuesday blog post please email your question to uratakaren@yahoo.com.

See you in the neighborhood,

Karen Urata

DRE License # 01720025

B W Real Estate Group

(760) 609-0952

5-Star Award Winner  San Diego Magazine 2010, 2011, 2012

Serving Buyers and Sellers in San Diego County

Merry Christmas to All!

In El Cajon, Escondido, La Mesa, Norh San Diego County, North San Diego County, Oceanside, Poway, Ramona, Real Estate, San Diego County, San Marcos, Santee, Vista on December 20, 2012 at 9:41 pm
Photo form FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Stuart Miles

Photo from FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Stuart Miles

At this time of year we all begin to focus on the joy that we share with family and friends.  The most important place that this typically happens is in our homes.  Food, drink and memories shared, presents exchanged and opened, kisses under the mistletoe and warm hugs and smiles everywhere.

Although we tend not to think so much about our work at this time of year, today I have the pleasure of knowing that my work has helped two more families  get into their new homes just in time to enjoy a very Merry Christmas.

I want to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you much peace and joy in your home this Christmas too.  I hope all your dreams come true. If you feel that I can help you make your dreams come true this year do not hesitate to give me a call.

See you in the neighborhood,

Karen Urata

DRE License # 01720025

B W Real Estate Group

(760) 609-0952

5-Star Award Winner  San Diego Magazine 2010, 2011, 2012

Serving Buyers and Sellers in San Diego County

This Is What Being a Realtor Is All About

In El Cajon, Escondido, La Mesa, Mission Valley, Norh San Diego County, Oceanside, Poway, Ramona, Real Estate, San Diego County, San Marcos, Uncategorized, Vista on October 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Dream Egg – Photo by Karen Urata

What is being a Realtor all about?  I was thinking about that today after having the pleasure of handing my buyer the keys to his new home.

So many plans for the future, and they all fit neatly into this beautiful home.  A warm, almost glowing kitchen where many dinners will be prepared and shared with friends and family.  A fireplace where comfort with a great book can be found on a chilly winter evening.   An office, so you can catch up on work without a commute to the office.  A studio, where you can explore the artist in you, whether it be the painter, the musician or the writer.

Outside, a park-like yard, perhaps the scene of  a future picnic table full of covered dishes and burgers from the BBQ and a crowd to enjoy them.  Maybe a tree swing, the kind that children always remember and smile.

The garage, where projects start and sometimes finish, precious relics of life are stored in cardboard boxes, and sometimes even where a car or two reside.

How many people can say their job is to help people make their dreams come true?  This is what being a Realtor is all about for me.

See you in the neighborhood,

Karen Urata

DRE License # 01720025

B W Real Estate Group

(760) 609-0952

5-Star Award Winner  San Diego Magazine 2010, 2011, 2012

Serving Buyers and Sellers in San Diego County

If You Are Thinking Of Doing a Short Sale You Need to Know About This Deadline

In Avoid Foreclosure, CA, El Cajon, Escondido, La Mesa, Mission Valley, Norh San Diego County, Oceanside, Poway, Ramona, Real Estate, San Diego County, San Marcos, Santee, Uncategorized, Vista on June 26, 2012 at 11:15 pm
Tax

Tax (Photo credit: 401K 2012)

If you are in a position where you feel you might need to do a short sale you need to know about this upcoming deadline.  The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 is set to expire at the end of 2012.

What does this mean to you?  It means that the temporary provision to waive the taxes that are due on the amount of “income” that is created (on paper) when a debt is forgiven is to expire at th end of this year.  Yes,  you heard that correctly, the government considers the dollar amount of the difference between what you owe on your home and the amount that you are able to now sell your home, (the amount that the bank is forgiving on your loan as the result of a short sale), as income to you that you must pay taxes on.  When you consider that the average amount of time, (your experience may vary), to complete a short sale has been about 6 months that makes this valuable information that must be considered.

Based on this, now is a good time to start the process by getting your home on the market.  Here is a link to the IRS information regarding this deadline http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=179414,00.html.

Please let me know if I can help with this in any way or if you just have questions about the process.  I am here to help.

See you in the neighborhood,

Karen Urata

DRE License # 01720025

B W Real Estate Group

(760) 609-0952

5-Star Award Winner  San Diego Magazine 2010, 2011, 2012

Serving Buyers and Sellers in San Diego County