What to do now if you’re planning to buy a home in South Lake Tahoe


If you’re one of the millions who have an eye on a property in South Lake Tahoe, you should read this. You may be interested in using the property as a vacation home, an investment property or you might even be looking to live here full time. No matter what your plans are, you should be aware of these tips to make your purchase process smoother. Here are four things you can do now to put yourself on the right path.

 – Check your credit.
 There is no bad surprise worse than bad credit information you receive while you’re in the midst of trying to buy a home!

Recent studies have revealed that a record high number of real estate transactions are falling out of escrow, and that credit “issues” are a leading cause of these dead deals. Your best chance at catching and correcting score-lowering errors and other derogatory items before they destroy your personal American Dream is to start checking and correcting while you still have time on your side.

Buying a home is one of the most important things you will do in your life.
Buying a home is one of the most important things you will do in your life.

– Do your research.  The more rapidly the real estate market changes, the more it behooves smart buyers to study up before they jump in. The market in our area is a very unique one. You should get as much information you need and now’s the time – you can start doing online and in-person research into topics ranging from:

·    Neighborhoods. Whether you’re relocating or simply trying to be in a better neighborhood, start your online research into decision-driving factors like neighborhood character and even prices in various areas.

Once you narrow things down you can call your real estate agent. Ask him/her to brief you on the local market dynamics, including how long homes typically stay on the market and whether they generally go for more or less than the asking price, so you can be smart about how you search.

·    Short sales and REOs. Distressed property sales are not for the unwary. If you want to target upside down or foreclosed homes, or are planning to house hunt in an area where many of the listings are described as short sales or foreclosures, get educated about what you can expect from a distressed property purchase transaction before you get your heart set on a short sale. There are many distressed property sales in South Lake Tahoe but they might not be the best fit for you depending on your needs.

·    What you get for the money. Online house hunting is a powerful tool – especially when it’s cold and wet! But there comes a point in your house hunt where you’ve got to just get out into the actual physical homes you’re seeing online in order to get a strong, accurate sense of what home features, aesthetics and location characteristics correlate with what price points.

·    Mortgage musts. You can read a bunch of articles about mortgages and get yourself pretty far down the path toward qualifying for a home loan, but you can only get a personalized action plan for a smooth road ‘home’ by talking with a local mortgage broker and having them assess your basic financials.  They might say you need to move funds around, pay a bill down or off or produce some sort of documentation from your employer. And the time to start is now.

– Fluff up your cash cushion. So, you’ve saved up your 3.5 percent down payment. Perhaps you saved a little extra for closing costs.  Or maybe you’re even one of those uber-aggressive 20-percent-down-ers.  No matter how

Emerald Bay
Emerald Bay

much you’ve saved, you’ll find that you could use more once you activate your home buying action plan. After closing, you’ll crave extra cash to do some repairs, upgrade a couple of things, buy appliances or even just to hold onto in order to minimize your anxiety about depleting your savings!

– Sit very, very still.  Sometimes, the best way to further our goals is to stop tripping ourselves up.  In that vein,
commit right now to refrain from making any major financial moves until you buy your home.  Don’t quit your job to start that personal chef business (yet), don’t pull a bunch of cash out of your savings account (without getting clearance from your mortgage pro first), and don’t start buying cars and boats on credit – even if you do love the idea of living the Tahoe lifestyle to the fullest. Wait to buy your “toys” after the escrow is closed.

If you follow these tips you will make a smart investment on the perfect Tahoe house and will be able to reap all the benefits of owning a home and playing in the amazing place that is Lake Tahoe.


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