Your guide to the escrow process
For seniors looking to downsize and buy a new, smaller home, navigating the real estate process can be tricky. From finding the perfect new place to navigating finances, you may need some advice to help you out along the way. Before you start looking for your new home, commit these useful tips to memory.
Planning for Your New Adventure
You’re no stranger to the benefits of planning ahead. From raising a family to retirement, staying organized is the key to ensuring success. The same holds true for buying a new home. You need to put together a roadmap to help guide you through your new real estate venture. Start with the reason for your move, and then begin listing all the steps you need to take along the way. Start packing early, even if it’s bit by bit, so you have a chance to go through all of your belongings and decide what to keep and what to let go of. All that planning will pay off when it comes time to start making big decisions about your new house and your move.
Finding a Home That Fits
You’ll be spending your golden years in your new home. So, it’s important to find one that is just right for you. Think about the size you need and the amenities that will make your life easier. Maybe you need some extra space for the grandkids, or perhaps you’d like a quiet space to do some gardening. Keep your lifestyle in mind when you are looking at neighborhoods and homes. If you or anyone in your family needs accommodations for accessibility, look for homes that have those features or where adding them won’t be too much of a hassle.
Handling Financial Decisions
One of the least fun parts of picking out a new home is getting through all the financial aspects and choices and figuring out how much you can spend. You’ll need to consider details like the down payment and inspection costs right off the bat. It’s also wise to take a look at your credit to make sure everything is in good shape. Comb through your report to spot mistakes and signs of identity theft. Knowing your credit score will make it easier for you to negotiate your best interest rates on home loans. To make the home-buying process simpler, try to get preapproval for your home loan before you start looking at properties.
Enlisting Professionals to Help
Working with an agent, realtor or broker could make your home buying experience less stressful. These professionals will know the market in your area and be able to point you to properties that fit your needs. You also may want to consult a financial advisor or mortgage expert to help you with any financing or monetary concerns. Finally, take care when looking for contractors to make repairs or upgrades on your new home. Look for a licensed contractor, and always have an agreement drawn up before work starts.
Avoiding Regrets and Mistakes
When it comes to finding and buying a new home, it pays to be patient. You want to end up in a home you love, but try not to let your emotions interfere with your decisions. If you fall in love with a home that doesn’t meet your needs or price range, you need to be able to move on and find something that does. Don’t rush into any decisions or agreements, and don’t let homeowners or professionals pressure you into buying something that doesn’t fit your lifestyle. Stay focused on the plans you made earlier, and be prepared to take time to get into a home that’s just right.
Sure, looking at nice houses can be fun, but actually buying one can be stressful. From putting in an offer to finalizing paperwork, you may find yourself a bit frazzled. You don’t want stress to cause any serious issues, so make time for some self-care. Planning and patience will help relieve some stress, but find other ways to help yourself relax. Reserve a few nights for some dates with your spouse or go for a round of golf to relieve tension.
Getting through the process of buying a new home can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little planning and some research, you can find your perfect home faster and start enjoying the best years of your life there.
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How is the market? You ask. Well Ill tell you. To get a really good perspective of where we are today and where we have been take a look below.
Hopefully by now you’re aware of the historic effort C.A.R. is spearheading to qualify a ballot initiative for the November 2018 ballot. Known as the Property Tax Fairness Initiative, this measure would allow homeowners 55 years of age or older to transfer their Prop. 13 tax base to a home of any price, anywhere in the state, any number of times, These protections also would be extended to people who are disabled and those who have lost their homes to a natural disaster. It’s a carefully written initiative that includes appropriate safeguards while eliminating California’s property tax “moving penalty.”
In order to qualify the initiative for the ballot, C.A.R. must collect approximately one million signatures from California registered voters. Petitions were mailed to each C.A.R. member in early January, urging them to sign the petition and to obtain four additional signatures of registered voters within the same county, and mail it back to C.A.R.
People are responding enthusiastically to the measure, but C.A.R. also has received a fair number of questions regarding this initiative and how it works, especially in relation to Props. 13, 60, and 90.
We hope this short Q&A will help answer those questions.
Why is the Property Tax Fairness Initiative Needed?
It’s no secret that California is in the midst of a housing crisis. Not only is affordability near an all-time low, but housing inventory remains stubbornly low – wreaking havoc on the market and reducing homeownership opportunities for many would-be buyers in California.
On top of these challenges, nearly three-quarters of homeowners 55 years of age or older have not moved since 2000, furthering constricting inventory. Research has indicated that one of the primary reasons these homeowners are effectively “locked” into their homes is the prospect of paying higher property taxes.
C.A.R.’s Property Tax Fairness Initiative will help these homeowners sell their current homes and move without being subjected to what is effectively a massive “moving penalty.” These homes will then be available for families and other would-be buyers to purchase.
How Do Property Tax Assessments Currently Work?
The amount a homeowner pays in property taxes is based on the assessed value of the home at the time of purchase. Generally, Prop. 13 limits property taxes to 1 percent of the assessed value at the time of purchase, even if the value of the property subsequently increases.
What is Prop. 13?
Prop. 13 is a California proposition that limits the property tax rate to 1 percent for all California property and annual tax increases to no more than 2 percent. This protects homeowners from losing their homes due to unforeseen property tax increases.
There also are two other propositions that affect property taxes – Prop. 60 and Prop. 90.
What is Prop. 60?
Prop. 60 allows senior homeowners, 55 years of age or older, to transfer their property tax base – one time -- to another home in the same county, as long as the purchase price of the replacement home is equal to, or less than, the sale price of the original residence.
What is Prop. 90?
Prop. 90 is an extension of the original Prop. 60 program. Prop. 90 allows senior homeowners to transfer their property tax base, one time, to a home in a different county, as long as the county accepts such transfers.
Prop. 60Prop. 90C.A.R. Property Tax
Transfer Tax BaseOne timeOne timeUnlimited
Counties AllowedSame countyDifferent county
(if new county
accepts transfer)Anywhere in the state
PriceReplacement home equal to,or less than, the price of the property soldReplacement home equal to,or less than, the price of the property soldAny price
For more information about C.A.R.’s Property Tax Fairness Initiative, visit on.car.org/portability2018 or send us an email at email@example.com.
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