8 Creative Ways With Closets

Closets are no longer limited to storing clothes, linens or random odds and ends. You can actually discover more living space and streamline storage for your lifestyle in these underutilized and overlooked places. Here are some inspiring examples of closet transformations including a home bar, gym and office.

Don’t think you have space for a home bar? Look again. Even the shallowest hall closet can be converted to a drink station. A happy hour hideaway is a very Prohibition era-esque concept, which is all the more reason to stock it with handsome decanters, glasses, intriguing bar tools and a few of your favorite bottles.

Meet your get fit goals by transforming your closet into a mini home gym. This long and narrow closet has a full workout wardrobe on the right and a lean exercise machine on the left. If your closet can’t accommodate a machine, you can still lay down a yoga mat and install a mirror for keeping your form in-check as you use the floor space for sit-ups, push-ups and the like.

If your productivity is lacking, a quiet home office might be what you need. This before-and-after proves that you don’t need a gigantic walk-in closet to make this idea work.

Simply remove the doors off of an unused closet, install a wide shelf if you can’t shimmy a desk in properly and voila! Chalkboard paint, a sconce and a few desk organizers are also featured in this compact home office.

A craft station is another creative alternative. In this closet, craft materials are organized in the carts with labeled drawers. An over-the-door organizer holds oodles of wrapping paper and stationery among other things. And the sturdy shelf is great for gift wrapping or writing letters. Make it your own by hanging inspirational wall art or photos.

Nooks are very popular on Houzz, especially those reinvented for reading. This alcove under the stairs was finished with warm wood paneling, a reading light and lots of cushions. If you don’t have enough space to actually sit down and read in your closet, use it as a little library for book storage instead.

Dress it up for a fab dressing room. New York Fashion Week just ended, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a runway of your own. This is an ultra glamorous example, but all you really need is a chair, mirror and vanity. You can also try this in a playroom for littles who like playing dress-up.

Rehabilitate the linen closet as a hospitality room. Use this space to hang bathrobes, store towels and display your favorite perfumes and lotions. This is especially useful for those who travel often or have a second home used for a weekend getaway. In addition to freshly laundered linens, you’ll find neatly pressed formal attire here with a weekender bag at the ready.

Prioritize zen by carving out a closet for reflection. Whether you’re religious or just need some peace and quiet, a small closet is a secure place to hole up in for 20 minutes and just be. Keep a floor pillow, pouf or soft area rug here for prayer, yoga or meditation. If you’re not working with a walk-in closet, you can still use a shallow closet as a shrine of spiritual objects or mementos that bring you joy.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on February 26, 2018 at 8:35 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: decorating, mazimizing space | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The Good and the Bad of DIY Lawn Care

 

When you have your own home and are responsible for your lawn care, should you do it yourself? There are two sides to DIY, good and bad. On the bad side first, if you don’t know what you’re doing, there can be consequences. But you could consider it as a learning experience too, and it will save you money.

What pros and cons would a homeowner face in this consideration?

The Pros

  1. You’ll save money with DIY lawn care, sometimes the extra cost of a professional can be expensive. If you’re on a tight budget, it might not be possible to hire one anyway. In fact, the average price for a single lawn mowing service is $43 per service, according to LawnStarter Lawn Care.
  2. Mowing grass is excellent exercise, and you’ll work up a sweat in no time; especially if you’re using a walk behind mower. Yes, the mower does do a lot of the work, but you still have to hold on to it and guide it. Plus, you have the troublesome spots on the unlevel areas. But it gives you a great workout!
  3. Many homeowners take pride in caring for their lawn themselves. They know where each patch of crabgrass is and where the last dandelion is hiding. They take pride in the beauty of their green yards and interesting gardens that add so much beauty.
  4. It encourages interaction with your neighbors as you discuss the best fertilizer and lawn care products. Plus, saying can you help with my brown spot and do you have moles too?
  5. You will notice more easily things that need your attention. You will find that hole behind a bush that the dog dug trying to escape. Or, whether it’s time to dethatch the lawn or can it wait another week.
  6. If your lawn is thick, it will need dethatching to permit the grass to breathe. Instead of racking your back though you can rent or buy a power dethatcher. This you can do yourself with very little help except for the raking up of the debris.
  7. You have more control over how high you want your to be grass mowed. When the temperature starts to rise, the height of your lawn should too. When you mow too low, then you’re opening up the possibility of weeds because weeds need light to sprout. If you have a kid from down the street mow your lawn, you can’t always control the grass height if it’s their lawn mower.

The Cons

  1. There can be some drawbacks with DIY lawn care such as finding the correct lawn products. Since homeowners don’t usually have the skilled expertise that lawn care companies do or access to commercial grade products, they have to keep on buying different products until they figure out what works the best.
  2. The results of all your hard work may be mediocre as you struggle with crabgrass and dandelions. Or worse, you could have grubs, and without professional help, you may not be able to control them.
  3. There are hidden costs of taking care of the lawn yourself which you may not have factored into it. Without professional input, there are some things you could be missing or doing incorrectly. You could be using incorrect ratios when spreading or spraying your lawn. Or, perhaps misusing a pest control product which could harm the environment, your landscape, hardscape; or even your lawn.
  4. When you do your lawn care, you could have problems storing the containers of product you need for your lawn. You will have to secure weed, lawn, and disease treatments in a place which will be moisture proof and cold weather proof. Plus, if you have children, storing products safely and out of reach can be a big concern.
  5. You might not have the experience to know if the big brown spot if from Fred, your dog, or because you have some type of fungus growing which is slowing killing your grass. You may not be able to treat this without some kind of professional opinion given.
  6. If you really gouge your lawn, the professional that you hire to repair it is going to cost real money.

Whether you do your own lawn care or hire a professional, a great lawn is something everyone wants to have.

Jackie Greene is a blogger, gardener, and nutrition enthusiast. She enjoys creating organic meals for family and friends using the fresh ingredients she produces from her backyard homestead.

 

Which DIY projects have the biggest return on investment? Find out here.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on January 15, 2018 at 10:14 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, DIY, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The 2018 Home Upgrades for New Homeowners

The best way to personalize your space and give it a fresh, polished vibe is to make upgrades—big or small—that let your personality shine. Whether you’re ready to undertake a major remodeling project or only have the budget for a few modern touches, these DIY renovation ideas are a great place to start.

Welcome 2018 with an updated home that’s perfect for new beginnings and a lifetime of memories.

Make Your Kitchen Colorful

Gone is the popularity of a white, monochromatic kitchen. More homeowners are embracing bold accent colors on their countertops, backsplashes and cabinets, from vivid yellow and burnt orange to chic turquoise and dignified navy.

Another popular trend is juxtaposing the stainless steel appliances with warm, vibrant hues that make a space more inviting, while keeping that sleek look.

  • Small budget: When repainting, choose a two-toned base. For example, “dark colors offset with lighter or brighter colors…offer visually entertaining and appealing levels of contrast,” advise the contemporary design experts at Interior Zine.
  • Big budget: Replace all appliances with stainless steel; then do the painting.

Upgrade Your Storage Space

Finding enough room to store seasonal decorations, filing papers, hardware tools, keepsake items, cleaning products and office supplies is a common struggle of homeownership. Luckily, there are a number of creative and resourceful hacks for increasing the amount of storage without reconfiguring your entire space.

  • Small budget: You don’t have to find room in your home for more storage—head to the garage first. Take advantage of the walls by hanging DIY peg boards and adjustable wall panels: “With the help of hooks, you have the freedom of hanging your things anywhere and any way you want: in the center, horizontally, vertically, at the bottom, or top,” suggest garage experts. As you tackle inside storage, refer to 8 Space Savers for a Small Bedroom for inspiration.
  • Big budget: Invest in new furniture pieces that double as decorative and functional, like an old chest that you can keep in the living room or a coffee table with a storage space below.

Give Your Walls More Texture

Textured walls is a fun way to infuse character into any room, whether you’re into exposed brick, wooden shiplap, geometric molding or smooth tile. Walls are a blank canvas for experimentation, so harness your inner designer and play around with different materials or wallpapers that mimic the feel of those materials.

Note that you can combine more than one texture in the same room to create a particularly unique and artistic ambiance. For instance, a “grungy” or “rustic” wall could be adjacent to a “wavy design on the accent wall,” says Kareen Liez, civil engineer and architecture enthusiast.

  • Small budget: If you have unfinished drywall, use this to your advantage, with these ideas from Vintage Revivals or this idea from The Creativity in the Chaos.
  • Big budget: Go in all the way with high quality wall paper that creates texture with patterns or invest in the laundry list of materials needed to create your own exposed brick wall, for example. If your budget is flexible, there are many ways to tackle this project.

Re-Do the Garage Flooring

The garage has become an extension of a home’s living space that should be both aesthetic and functional. To take your garage to the next level, and turn it into a space you actually enjoy being in, start with the boring concrete floor—replace it with an epoxy coating.

This material is “noted for its durability and longevity,” according to flooring professionals at Kwekel Epoxy Floors. They explain: “With epoxy, you’ll enjoy protection against [mold] growth, as it offers a protective layer against moisture damage.” Not to mention, epoxy is also stain resistant and the surface repels chemicals, so if something spills, it won’t seep into your concrete.

  • Small budget: Take the DIY route and lay the epoxy flooring yourself. Use this tutorial from Family Handy Man to navigate through the process.
  • Big budget: Hire an epoxy company to handle the work, which can be done in one weekend.

Make the Space Your Own

A house is an expression of the people who live inside, so give your new home a splash of personality in the New Year. You’ll fee great about the space and excited to show it off to your friends and family.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on January 2, 2018 at 11:06 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: construction, Fixer Uppers, interior decorating, real estate, upgrades | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Key Questions to Ask When Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Whether you’re buying or selling, working with a real estate agent is an essential part of the process. But before choosing an agent to work with, there are a few key questions to ask to determine if their expertise & marketing tactics are right for you — and your home.

So, how do you know if when you’ve found “the one?” Consider asking these questions that cover everything from an agent’s experience to marketing plans, track records of success and staging tips. Armed with these answers, you can be confident that you’re choosing a real estate professional that fits your needs.

In this episode of NBC Open House, Tim Murray of Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber & Wendy Walker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage share their must-asks.

To find the right agent for you, visit coldwellbanker.com.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on December 20, 2017 at 9:24 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: first time buyers, real estate, Real Estate Agent, research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our Future is Now: The Coldwell Banker Brand Anthem

The power of the Coldwell Banker brand – in one customizable video (and downloadable eCards). View the brand anthem video and get your very own now.

From the CB Zap platform, award-winning CBx Listing Experience App, smart home initiative and record breaking ad campaigns, Coldwell Banker Real Estate has the resources that can help you lead your market and exceed your goals.

Watch above as we show exactly why Coldwell Banker is the real estate brand with real advantages.  And the best part is you can customize this video and download an eCard for promotional use in your local market!

The Coldwell Banker network is filled with trailblazers, trendsetters and doers.  By affiliating with the brand, your business demonstrates a power, reach and recognition of a global brand where we make a difference in the lives of others.

 

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blig

Posted on August 14, 2017 at 8:58 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: community, equity, family, Homeowners, neighborhood, real estate, Smart Homes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Alexa: Open Gen Blue News”

Thanks to Amazon, “Alexa” has become a household name. Now, Coldwell Banker is turning up the volume with a Skill for agents and brokers to get real estate news on-the-fly. We’re calling it Coldwell Banker Gen Blue News. Want to learn more? Let us break it down for you.

What’s a Skill? An Amazon Alexa Skill is an app for the voice-controlled Amazon Echo speakers.

How does it work? Once you enable the skill, just prompt Alexa with, “Alexa, open Gen Blue News.” In less than 90 seconds, Gen Blue News delivers best practices, industry insights and quick challenges to help you grow your business.

Why develop the Skill? Coldwell Banker surveyed its brokers and agents and found that 79 percent of respondents would be interested in a smart home speaker, like an Amazon Echo or Dot, that was equipped with real estate news and industry insights. Your wish is our command!

What can I expect from the Gen Blue News Skill? Episodes will feature quick tips and useful info to stay ahead in the market, challenges to act on immediately to drive business and agent success stories that offer an important dose of inspiration.

Who can I expect to hear from in the Gen Blue News Skill? You’ll hear the voices of brand leadership, industry insiders and the brokers and agents who make up the Coldwell Banker network. The first episode of the Skill features Brad Inman, founder and owner of Inman News, the leading source for real estate industry news. This episode is all about how agents can suit up for change with the innovative technology available in the real estate business.

How can I try this out for myself? You can search for the Coldwell Banker Gen Blue News Skill in the Amazon Alexa smartphone app, or using your Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, you can ask Alexa, “Enable Coldwell Banker Gen Blue News.”

Don’t have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot? Don’t worry, the Echo Dot is available as part of the Smart Home Staging Kit alongside products from Nest, August and Lutron. Or you can buy on the Amazon Marketplace. If you’re with Coldwell Banker please log-in to Coldwell Banker Exchange to get your exclusive discount code.

Learn more about the Coldwell Banker “Home of the Week Skill” here!

*Article from Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on August 3, 2017 at 2:46 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Alexa, appliances, Apps, Buyers, buying, community, Entertainment, financing, gadgets, real estate, Smart Homes, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CBKG’s Guide to Best Ever 4th of July Family Fun Events!!!

 

Come check out CBKG’s guide to the BEST 4th of July Celebrations in our area.

Lots of fun to had here people!  Let’s Get out there and Celebrate!

 

 

Suisun City Independence Day Spectacular
Where: Suisun City, Harbor Plaza in the Waterfront District
When: July 4, 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.; Fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
>> Details

 

Picnic in the Park and Fireworks
Where: Benicia, Benicia City Park
When: July 4, noon – 7 p.m., Fireworks at 9 p.m.
>> Details
 

Six Flags Discovery Harbor July 4th Fest
Where: Vallejo, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
When: July 2, 3 & 4, 10:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Fireworks all 3 nights at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details

 

Vacaville 4th of July Fireworks & Creekside Concert
Where: Vacaville, Andrews Park
When: July 4, 6:30 p.m., Fireworks at dusk
>> Details
 

Fairfield Independence Day Parade
Where: Fairfield, Texas Street, downtown Fairfield
When: July 4, 10:00 a.m.
>> Details

 

Napa County Fair & Fireworks
Where: Calistoga, Napa County Fairgrounds
When: July 4, 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Parade at 11:00 a.m. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details
 

Watch A’s Fireworks From the Field
Where: O.co Coliseum
When: July 2, after the A’s play the Pirates there will be a special “Salute to Armed Forces Fireworks.”
>> Details

 

Celebrate Concord 4th of July
Where: Downtown Concord, Todos Santos Plaza
When: July 4, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.; 5K/Kids run at 8 a.m., parade at 10 a.m., festival at 4 p.m. and fireworks at 9 p.m.
>> Details
 

Alameda County Fair 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular
Where: Alameda County Fair, Pleasanton
When: July 4, Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. featuring the Oakland Symphony
>> Details

 

Vallejo 4th of July Parade
Where: Vallejo, Downtown Vallejo
When: July 4, 12:00 a.m.
>> Details
 

American Canyon 4th of July Festivities
Where: American Canyon, Community Park II
When: July 4, 10:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Parade at 10:30 a.m. Fireworks at 9 p.m.
>> Details

 

Dixon’s Family 4th of July in Hall Park
Where: Dixon, Hall Park
When: July 4, 8:00 p.m., Fireworks at dusk
>> Details
 

Antioch’s An Old Fashioned Hometown 4th of July
Where: Antioch, Downtown Antioch & Contra Costa County Fairgrounds
When: July 4, 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., Parade at 11:00 a.m., Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details

West Sacramento Fourth on the Field
Where: West Sacramento, Rayley Field
When: July 4, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m..
>> Details
 

Pleasant Hill Fourth of July Celebration
Where: Pleasant Hill, Downtown Pleasant Hill & PH Aquatic Park & College Park High School
When: July 4, 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., Firecracker 5k fun Run at 8:00 a.m. Parade at 9:30 a.m., Fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
>> Details

 

Napa 4th of July Festival & Fireworks
Where: Napa, Downtown Napa & Oxbow Commons & Veterans Park
When: July 4, 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Parade at 10:00 a.m., Festival at 1:00 p.m., Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details
 

Folsom Pro Rodeo
Where: Folsom, Dan Russell Rodeo Arena
When: July 1-3, 6:00 p.m. – midnight. Gates open at 6:00 p.m., Live music at 9:45 p.m.
>> Details

 

Sacramento Independence Day Celebration
Where: Sacramento, Cal Expo
When: July 4, 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Gates open at 5:00 p.m., Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details
   
Posted on June 28, 2017 at 1:19 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: 4th of July, BBQ, Celebrate, community, Dixon, Fairfield, Family Fun, Festivals, Fireworks, grill, Parades, real estate, Rodeo, Suisun City, Uncategorized, Vacaville | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Be a Detective: Google the Address When House Hunting

Here are some GREAT tips to get the skinny on houses that have made it to your hot list. Fire up your Google!

Search-engine sleuthing is worth the effort to unearth the niceties — and perhaps negatives — when searching for your new home.

There’s probably not a day that goes by that you don’t Google something — the weather, a foreign phrase, directions, or news, just to name a few. With all the information Google can provide through its bird’s eye view, not Googling your address is practically a crime — especially when you’re searching for a new home (whether you’re house-hunting for a waterfront home in Benicia, or looking for a ranch house in Vacaville). Here’s what you could find.

  1.  Get a sense of the neighborhood using Google’s Street View

    We can’t transport ourselves Star Trek–style to other places … yet, so the next best experience may be Google’s Street View, sort of a pre-virtual-reality experience. Simply type in an address, and if there’s an image of the property in the results, click on it. Other factors to note while on your Google stroll?  Scope out yard size, proximity to neighbors, how many trees are on the property and the privacy provided by them, a view of the front of the home, a view of the neighbors’ homes (such as any nearby eyesores or hoarders), and the size of nearby roads. Don’t forget to use the aerial view while you’re at it, because it might let you know the condition of the roof (but keep in mind the image could be old.)

    A caveat: Google Street View can be outdated, so it’s possible you could be looking at old news. The house you’re interested in might have been newly renovated, but you wouldn’t know that if the remodel happened after Google was there.

    2. Map the proximity of the house to potential health hazards

    The last thing anyone wants is to find out their dream home is located near a former meth lab or directly under a busy flight path. These aren’t just concerns for comfort; in unfortunate (and rare) cases, homes can be health hazards. When house hunting, be sure to search for whether or not that Los Angeles home for sale is in a safe area. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration maintains a database of homes that have been identified as drug labs, and some of these properties require intensive, expensive cleanup before they can be healthfully inhabited. Radon and industrial and airport zones are also pretty easily discoverable with a Google search and, in most states, via disclosures that most sellers will provide. (Some people find living near an airport or other noisy zone impacts their sleep, even if there is no chemical concern.)

    3. Imagine your life in this home and its neighborhood

    One of the deciding factors for saying “yes” to a house is if you can imagine yourself living there. Seeing listing photos and stats can let you know whether the house meets your specifications, but sometimes — especially with a long-distance home search — but to really imagine yourself living in that neighborhood could be difficult. Googling can help).

    Kids can scope out their potential new school and spot signs of other kids living nearby, you might map your drive to the office, learn whether there’s a local farmer’s market nearby, or look to see whether the house is in a danger zone.

    4. Get valuable details about the HOA

    When you buy a home that is part of a homeowners’ association (HOA), you should receive the bylaws in advance of your purchase. But if you dig a little deeper by Googling the association’s name, you could find out that your new HOA is one of a surprisingly large number of HOAs that have been reviewed online. Grab your popcorn, because you’ll most likely find a variety of rants (and raves) about the subdivision, complex managers, neighbors, and amenities.

    5. Scope out the neighborhood’s potential growth

    Will you jump for joy to learn that Whole Foods is coming to town? Or is that just the sort of growth you’re trying to escape? Google your potential new neighborhood’s nearest major street or intersection for permit applications that have been filed recently. You might get lucky. If not, try searching the city or county planning departments. This can help you discover community plans for expansion in that area. Reading the online applications — and any notes from city council meetings discussing the permits — might help you understand the landscape of community-development issues at hand.

What surprising information has Google revealed during your house hunt?

Source: Trulia Blog

 

Posted on May 16, 2017 at 4:03 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: buying, first time buyers, Google, HOA, neighborhood, Privacy, real estate, research, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Celebrating 60 Years of Brilliance! Vacaville’s Fiesta Days Coming Up Soon!

When?

History

Vacaville residents seem to get in the mood for pageants and festivals once spring rolls around. For the past 101 years, they have turned out for many different spring and summer celebrations. Vacaville Pageant Day on April 30, 1916 was a grand production, “a poetic idea successfully carried out by the united efforts of the community,” noted The Reporter in its edition of May 5, 1916.

Main Street was draped with flags and 1,500 lined the street to watch the parade of 300 pageant participants pass from High School Hill down to Main. The pageant depicted the history of California and Vacaville.

Chief Solano led the parade followed by American Indians native to the Vacaville area. Next followed the Spanish with descendants of the city’s founding families, the Vaca’s and the Pena’s. A chorus sang “La Paloma.” Next came the Fansciscan fathers, the gold rush miners, cowboys, farmers, the Japanese and Chinese, Gypsies and singing schoolchildren. Bringing up the rear were decorated automobiles – still a new sight in 1916.

Wells Fargo Co. lent an old ’49er stagecoach, just as it does now in the Fiesta Days Parade.

Next Year…

But when spring rolled around the next year, there was no Vacaville Pageant Day II. Not a word about it in the local paper. Although the newspaper would print about Dixon and their May Fair and the Solano County Fair. Vacaville wanted it’s own fair.

So what did we do?

We created Fiesta Days in July 1957. We called it Western Fiesta, the week was more akin to a cowboy roundup and rodeo. There was plenty of square dancing and the rodeo ran for two days. Everybody seemed to be involved. Most of our events were started that year: Parade, Queen Contest and the Jail and Beard-growing Contest. The parade was on Saturday. It’s route began at West and Merchant streets, heading up to Main street and turning west to Buck Avenue. The parade was run by the Fire Department.

A big barbecue was held in Andrew’s Park. It was on Sunday that the first Whiskerino Contest was held. It seems that all the men in town were challenged to grow a beard. A jail was set up to incarcerate any man who hadn’t grown a beard. Even the town’s distinguished Judge S.M. Dobbins was made a “jailbird.”

The City Council members dressed up in long black coats with top hats and Lincoln-style beards for their meeting during Fiesta week. All five men took part in the parade in costume and riding donkeys. Western Fiesta became Fiesta Days and the community’s Spanish and Mexican heritage has been given more attention over the years. Events changed and committee members disagreed, battled, quit and rejoined, but somehow, Fiesta Days has endured for 60 years.

The Parade is the Highlight of the Fiesta!

Click HERE for the Parade Line Up

Marching Bands!

Celebrating Mexican Heritage!

Drumlines!

Horses! (and MORE Horses!  Who Doesn’t LOVE Horses!)

The Fiesta Has So Much More to Offer!

Click HERE for the Fiesta Schedule

Dancing!

Concerts!

Carnival Rides!

Food!

Don’t Even THINK about missing this HUGE Celebration of Vacaville History!

 

Posted on May 10, 2017 at 3:46 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Family Fun, Festivals, Fiesta Days, real estate, Vacaville | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

5 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

You’ve decided to go for it. You know mortgage rates are enticingly low. Buying a home can be thrilling and nerve-wracking at the same time, especially for first-time homebuyers. It’s difficult to know exactly what to expect.

Take these five steps to make the process go more smoothly.

Check Your Credit
Your credit score is among the most important factors when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage.

“In addition, the standards are higher in terms of what score you need and how it affects the cost of the loan,” says Mike Winesburg, formerly a mortgage planner in Wheeling, W. Va.

Scour your credit reports for mistakes, unpaid accounts or collection accounts.
Just because you pay everything on time every month doesn’t mean your credit is stellar. The amount of credit you’re using relative to your available credit limit, or your credit utilization ratio, can sink a credit score.

The lower the utilization rate, the higher your score will be. Ideally, first-time homebuyers would have a lot of credit available, with less than a third of it used.

Repairing damaged credit takes time. If you think your credit may need work, begin the repair process at least six months before shopping for a home.

Evaluate Assets and Liabilities
A first-time homebuyer should have a good idea of money they owe and money they have coming in.

“If I were a first-time homebuyer and I wanted to do everything right, I would probably try to track my spending for a couple of months to see where my money was going,” Winesburg says.

Additionally, buyers should have an idea of how lenders will view their income, and that requires becoming familiar with the basics of mortgage lending.

For instance, some professionals, such as the self-employed or straight-commission salesperson, may have a more difficult time getting a loan than others.

The self-employed or independent contractor will need a solid two years’ earnings history to show, according to Winesburg.

Organize Documents
When applying for mortgages, you must document income and taxes.

Typically, mortgage lenders will request two recent pay stubs, the previous two years’ W-2s, tax returns and the past two months of bank statements—every page, even the blank ones.

“Why it has to be every single last page, I don’t know. But that is what they want to see. I think they look for nonsufficient funds or odd money in or out,” says Floyd Walters, owner of a mortgage company in La Canada Flintridge, Calif.

Qualify Yourself
Ideally, you already know how much you can afford to spend before the mortgage lender tells you how much you qualify for.

By calculating debt-to-income ratio and factoring in a down payment, you will have a good idea of what you can afford, both upfront and monthly.

Though there’s not a fixed debt-to-income ratio that lenders require, the standard dictates that no more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income be devoted to housing costs. This percentage is called the front-end ratio.

The back-end ratio shows what portion of income covers all monthly debt obligations. Lenders prefer the back-end ratio to be 36 percent or less, but some borrowers get approved with back-end ratios of 45 percent or higher.

Figure Out Your Down Payment
It takes effort to scrape together the down payment.

There are programs that can assist buyers with qualifying incomes and situations.

“I’ve helped arrange assistance loans for $10,000, which are interest- and payment-free, and forgivable after five years. Although considered a loan, they’re more like grants. Other programs can provide up to $40,000 interest-free,” Winesburg says.

Finally, speak with mortgage lenders when you’re starting the process. Check with friends, co-workers and neighbors to find out which lenders they enjoyed working with and ask them questions about the process and what other steps first-time homebuyers should take.

Posted on March 6, 2017 at 7:09 pm
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