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Evie & Jack Bryant
California Lifestyle Realty
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Environmental Issues

environmental testing

When purchasing a piece of property, it is important to be aware of any environmental liabilities associated with it. For example, you should find out if there are any registered underground tanks within several miles of the property, known contaminated properties in the neighborhood, or property owners who have been fined by the government for failing to meet environmental safety standards.

Before, it took a costly site investigation to acquire this type of information, but now there are online environmental databases available at a fraction of the cost. Anyone can access reports on otherwise hard to detect environmental issues. With these databases, it is possible to obtain a list of hazards near a property, or spills and violations attributed to businesses nearby.

Some reputable databases include VISTA Information Systems, located in San Diego, California, which allows you to register and search the data bank for free, and E Data Resources, which is located in Southport, Connecticut. These services are all relatively inexpensive, but can provide you with priceless information that is useful before you make a purchase.

Guide To Choosing a Second home.

A GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE BEST SECOND HOME 
 
Choosing a second home can be a tough decision. Where do you want to live? What activities do you want nearby? What is your budget? All of these questions are present in your mind, so sometimes, finding clarity about what you want is difficult. Below you will find a list of items you should consider when choosing which second home is the right one for you. 
Location 
People always say the location of a property is everything. Consider if you want to be in close proximity to a metropolitan area or if you prefer a more secluded and quiet environment. Once you choose a location, don’t just start searching for properties right away. Make sure you take a few visits there to make sure you love the area because you will eventually be living or visiting often. Consider whether you want a golf, gated or small community to call home. 
Budget 
You should know before you start to look at homes what you are willing to spend or if there is a strict budget that you want to stick to. Make sure that in looking to purchase a property, you take into account all of the costs that will be associated with the property to make sure you have an accurate estimate of cost. Second homes often have additional costs that may not come with a primary residence —such as HOA fees, management fees, increased insurance for flood (beach properties), and more. It’s important to factor in these items when considering your budget. 
Know What You are Looking for in a Second Home 
It is important to outline the “wants” that you’d like to have in a home before starting the search. Think about topics like the maintenance required for keeping the property in great shape and also about items like whether or not you want a single-level home versus a multi-level home. Whatever your qualifications are, figure them out ahead of time to ensure a stress-free transition into the home search. Additionally, this will give your agent a good baseline to work off of to provide you with a list of properties to wow you from the beginning of your search. 
Will Rental Income Factor In? 
Are you planning to use this home as your primary residence or will this be a vacation home that is going to be left vacant at times when you are not there? If it is the latter, you should consider how you will handle property management while you’re away. Will you hire a company to tend to the property? What are those costs? Will you rent out the property or put it in a vacation rental pool? 
If you have any additional questions about what to consider when purchasing a second home or about any areas you are considering, contact Evie and Jack Bryant at 760 567-2127 or email us at eviebryant@gmail.com and we would be happy to assist you! 
 

Why La Quinta

FALL IN LOVE WITH THE DESERT. 
Season after season, those who visit fall in love with the desert, doing what they hadn’t expected: staying. There is an indefinable feeling of enchantment in the 35 square mile city of La Quinta. Visitors and residents alike feel it, as do all of us who live and work here. Its year-round sunny climate is surpassed only by its stark beauty of desert vistas and mountain panoramas. Perhaps it’s small wonder that the ancient Cahuilla Native Americans, drawn to the area, considered it sacred land. 
That same charming allure continued in the city that grew up around a hotel’s neighborhood village and club, the La Quinta Hotel built in 1926. The city, incorporated in 1982, flourishes with some of the world’s finest golf courses, tournaments, events, luxury residential properties and communities. 
EMBRACE THE LA QUINTA LIFESTYLE. 
When the last round of golf is finished, La Quinta extends the excitement with a sophisticated mix of restaurants, retail and wine bars, plus plenty of other outdoor pursuits. From hiking, biking, tennis, pickleball, hot air ballooning, polo, desert jeep tours, and live music to an international arts and culture scene and performance driving at The BMW Performance Driving School racetrack, it’s all here. 
What makes La Quinta even more irresistible are the dynamic, welcoming people: with visionary leadership and committed citizens who love their home to service staff and business owners who help make possible a peerless quality of life. La Quinta is a city of grand juxtapositions, combining charm with tech savvy as well as a storied history with both a 21st century vision and on-trend boutiques and eateries. 
BEST PLACE TO LIVE FOR GOLF. 
Offering yet more validation, La Quinta was named by Robb Report the “Best Place to Live for Golf,” including of course the La Quinta Resort & Club’s Mountains and Dunes courses, The Citrus Club’s courses, and the legacy of PGA WEST, host of the CareerBuilder Challenge and a PGA tour favorite. With some 20 renowned golf courses, La Quinta is singular. 
INSPIRED PLACEMAKING: WALKABLE, LOVABLE AND LIVABLE. 
Further, with nearby Old Town La Quinta, a healthy walk from the resort, and La Quinta Resort & Club and beyond, the City continues to implement pedestrian-friendly initiatives. Enhancing safe bicycle riding and walking advances the area’s vitality, encouraging everyone to cultivate a closer connection with their community. 
Factor in growing recreation and parks development, inviting public places, family-friendly multigenerational events, museums, international art festivals, and the quaint charm for which La Quinta is known. 
Come see for yourself why, now as ever, the love affair with La Quinta goes on. 
 

Guide to buying a Second Home

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY YOUR FIRST LUXURY HOME 
 
Sales of luxury homes have increased in the United States over the past few years. As more Americans and foreign buyers alike snap up these sprawling manses, more appear on the market and attract even more attention. If you’ve been feeling the itch to upgrade, now’s the time. But before you do, here are some tips you should know before you buy your first luxury home. 
Get the right real estate agent 
Not all real estate agents operate in the same markets. When looking to purchase a luxury home, you’ll want a Realtor who specializes in luxury homes. As experts, they have a more intimate knowledge of listings and more accurate evaluations of market values. This is especially important because getting an accurate evaluation of luxury homes is more difficult than standard housing. The right agent will also have access to luxury home listings that are sometimes kept private. 
Don’t rely on photos 
Photos matter – but not as much as seeing the home yourself. Listings will have multiple photos to showcase the sections of the home and highlight some of its features, but these are necessarily limited. How do the pictures stack up against the real thing? Also, what about areas of the home that aren’t photographed at all? You should personally tour every home you’ve shortlisted. Yes, even after you’ve seen satellite and street view images of the property via tools like Google Earth. 
Mind your spending 
To make sure you secure the best terms on a home loan, work to get your credit score as robust as possible. Hold off on buying big-ticket items. Pay your bills and your student loans on time. Don’t use your credit card as an instrument for revolving debt – like paying the minimum amount on your bill instead of paying in full. Your financial footprint affects your credit score – and your ability to qualify for a mortgage – so cultivate habits that leave the best impression. Once you feel confident about how you’ve managed your money, get a loan pre- approval from a bank. Sellers will feel more confident about your offer when they know you’ve been vetted by a lender. 
Get the best home inspection possible 
Just like real estate agents, home inspectors working in the luxury housing market are in a league of their own. It’s not just the size of the home that’s different; luxury homes often have specialized features that an ordinary home inspection doesn’t cover. These include spas, high-tech features, multiple electrical panels, and landscape irrigation systems, to name a few. Double check the credentials of a specialized home inspector – especially if the house is owned a celebrity or a prominent personality. You want to make sure the inspector has a spotless record when it comes to confidentiality. You also want your inspector to look over everything to minimize the number of surprises that could pop up once the deal is sealed. 
Know what you want before you start looking 
A home should meet certain needs for you and your family. Falling below those needs leaves you wanting more, but going above and beyond your wish list may cause you to pay more for something you don’t need. You know what’s best for you and your family. Talk over your situation with your real estate agent. They can help you narrow down your choices so you can end up with a home that’s perfect for you and your family. 
The keys to getting good deals on luxury homes are research, investigation, and good financial habits, but it all starts with proper guidance. Find yourself a knowledgeable Realtor to keep you on the right path to buying your first luxury home. 
If you’re looking for luxury homes in the Southern California communities of La Quinta, Palm Desert, and Indian Wells, call Evie and  Jack Bryant California Lifestyle Realty at 760.567-2127 or send an email to eviebryant@gmail.com We are affiliated with prestigious brands such as Hilton and Waldorf Astoria, as well as PGA West (on-site), La Quinta Resort & Club (on-site), and the Citrus communities Our website has all the information you need. www.desertresortcommunities.com

Real Estate Luxury Home Guide

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY YOUR FIRST LUXURY HOME 
 
Sales of luxury homes have increased in the United States over the past few years. As more Americans and foreign buyers alike snap up these sprawling manses, more appear on the market and attract even more attention. If you’ve been feeling the itch to upgrade, now’s the time. But before you do, here are some tips you should know before you buy your first luxury home. 
Get the right real estate agent 
Not all real estate agents operate in the same markets. When looking to purchase a luxury home, you’ll want a Realtor who specializes in luxury homes. As experts, they have a more intimate knowledge of listings and more accurate evaluations of market values. This is especially important because getting an accurate evaluation of luxury homes is more difficult than standard housing. The right agent will also have access to luxury home listings that are sometimes kept private. 
Don’t rely on photos 
Photos matter – but not as much as seeing the home yourself. Listings will have multiple photos to showcase the sections of the home and highlight some of its features, but these are necessarily limited. How do the pictures stack up against the real thing? Also, what about areas of the home that aren’t photographed at all? You should personally tour every home you’ve shortlisted. Yes, even after you’ve seen satellite and street view images of the property via tools like Google Earth. 
Mind your spending 
To make sure you secure the best terms on a home loan, work to get your credit score as robust as possible. Hold off on buying big-ticket items. Pay your bills and your student loans on time. Don’t use your credit card as an instrument for revolving debt – like paying the minimum amount on your bill instead of paying in full. Your financial footprint affects your credit score – and your ability to qualify for a mortgage – so cultivate habits that leave the best impression. Once you feel confident about how you’ve managed your money, get a loan pre- approval from a bank. Sellers will feel more confident about your offer when they know you’ve been vetted by a lender. 
Get the best home inspection possible 
Just like real estate agents, home inspectors working in the luxury housing market are in a league of their own. It’s not just the size of the home that’s different; luxury homes often have specialized features that an ordinary home inspection doesn’t cover. These include spas, high-tech features, multiple electrical panels, and landscape irrigation systems, to name a few. Double check the credentials of a specialized home inspector – especially if the house is owned a celebrity or a prominent personality. You want to make sure the inspector has a spotless record when it comes to confidentiality. You also want your inspector to look over everything to minimize the number of surprises that could pop up once the deal is sealed. 
Know what you want before you start looking 
A home should meet certain needs for you and your family. Falling below those needs leaves you wanting more, but going above and beyond your wish list may cause you to pay more for something you don’t need. You know what’s best for you and your family. Talk over your situation with your real estate agent. They can help you narrow down your choices so you can end up with a home that’s perfect for you and your family. 
The keys to getting good deals on luxury homes are research, investigation, and good financial habits, but it all starts with proper guidance. Find yourself a knowledgeable Realtor to keep you on the right path to buying your first luxury home. 
If you’re looking for luxury homes in the Southern California communities of La Quinta, Palm Desert, and Indian Wells, call Evie and Jack Bryant California Lifestyle Realty at 760.567-2127 or send an email to eviebryant@gmail.com We are affiliated with prestigious brands such as Hilton and Waldorf Astoria, as well as PGA West (on-site), La Quinta Resort & Club (on-site), and the Citrus communities

Statements of Information

What’s in a name?

When a title company seeks to uncover matters affecting title to real property, the answer is, “Quite a bit.”

Statements of Information provide title companies with the information they need to distinguish the buyers and sellers of real property from others with similar names. After identifying the true buyers and sellers, title companies may disregard the judgments, liens or other matters on the public records under similar names.

To help you better understand this sensitive subject, the Land Title Association has answered some of the questions most commonly asked about Statements of Information.

What is a Statement of Information?

A Statement of Information is a form routinely requested from the buyer, seller and borrower in a transaction where title insurance is sought. The completed form provides the title company with information needed to adequately examine documents so as to disregard matters which do not affect the property to be insured, matters which actually apply to some other person.

What does a Statement of Information do?

Every day documents affecting real property--liens, court decrees, bankruptcies--are recorded.

Whenever a title company uncovers a recorded document in which the name is the same or similar to that of the buyer, seller or borrower in a title transaction, the title company must ask, “Does this document affect the parties we are insuring?” Because, if it does, it affects title to the property and would, therefore, be listed as an exception from coverage under the title policy.

A properly completed Statement of Information will allow the title company to differentiate between parties with the same or similar names when searching documents recorded by name. This protects all parties involved and allows the title company to competently carry out its duties without unnecessary delay.

What types of information are requested in a Statement of Information?

The information requested is personal in nature, but not unnecessarily so. The information requested is essential to avoid delays in closing the transaction.

You, and your spouse if you are married, will be asked to provide full name, social security number, year of birth, birthplace, and information or citizenship. If you are married, you will be asked the date and place of your marriage or registered domestic partnership.

Residence and employment information will be requested, as will information regarding previous marriages or registered domestic partnerships.

Will the information I supply be kept confidential?

The information you supply is completely confidential and only for title company use in completing the search of records necessary before a policy of title insurance can be issued.

What happens if a buyer, seller or borrower fails to provide the requested Statement of Information?

At best, failure to provide the requested Statement of Information will hinder the search and examination capabilities of the title company, causing delay in the production of your title policy.

At worst, failure to provide the information requested could prohibit the close of your escrow. Without a Statement of Information, it would be necessary for the title company to list as exceptions from coverage judgments, liens or other matters which may affect the property to be insured. Such exceptions would be unacceptable to most lenders, whose interest must also be insured.

Conclusion

Title companies make every attempt in issuing a policy of title insurance to identify known risks affecting your property and to efficiently and correctly transfer title so as to protect your interests as a homebuyer.

By properly completing a Statement of Information, you allow the title company to provide the service you need with the assurance of confidentiality.

Article by CLTA

Build a Plan of Action and Get Ready

Buying a home will probably rank as one of the biggest personal investments one can make. Being organized and in control will contribute significantly to getting the best home deal possible with the least amount of stress. It’s important to anticipate the steps required to successfully achieve your housing goal and to build a plan of action that gets you there.

Before you can build a plan of action, take the time to lay the groundwork for your decision-making process.

First, ask yourself how much you can afford to pay for a home. If you’re not sure on the price range, find a lender and get pre-approved. Pre-approval will let you know how much you can afford, allowing you to look for homes in your price range. Getting pre-approved also helps you to alleviate some of the anxieties that come with home buying. You know exactly what you qualify for and at what rate, you know how large your monthly mortgage payments will be, and you know how much you will have for a down payment. Once you are pre-approved, you avoid the frustration of finding homes that you think are perfect, but are not in your price range.

Second, ask yourself where you want to live and what the best location for you and/or your family is. Things to consider:

  • convenience for all family members
  • proximity to work, school
  • crime rate of neighborhood
  • local transportation
  • types of homes in neighborhood, for example condos, town homes, co-ops, newly constructed homes etc.

Finding the Right Agent

Not all agents work the same way. The most important attribute of an agent is that he/she is well connected to the real estate industry. He/she should know the market and provide information on past sales, current listings, his or her marketing plan, and at least 4 solid references. In addition, you also want to look for an agent that is honest, assertive, and one that best understands your needs.

Try to go with a local agent. They can better serve your needs because they should be more familiar with the local market conditions, local prices, and what’s hot or not in your community.

Finding the Right Seller

The best seller is one who is highly motivated. A highly motivated seller is more likely to sell at a price that is less than his or her house is actually worth. And it matters that you find out why. Learning the reason why can help you get the price you want and help the seller get what they want: a timely sale.

When given the opportunity to meet with sellers, ask them why they are selling. The reason could be anything, such as a job change to a new location or financial problems. If you can solve their problem, whether it is cash related or time related, do so. For example, if the sellers are highly motivated because they need to move quickly, give them a fast sale - and a lower price. If you can make an offer, even a low one, that gives them cash in a short time, they are more likely to accept.

There are also some sellers that you should avoid. Not every seller is as genuinely motivated as they make themselves to be. Some possible hints:

  • they stall on having the home appraised or inspected
  • they are unable to clear up liens against their property
  • they do not own 100% of their property
  • they push back the move-out date
  • they do not have a replacement property or back up plan
  • etc.

It is impossible to find the perfect seller. But it is possible to find out which sellers are legit and which ones aren’t.

Which ARM is the Best Alternative?

How would you like a mortgage loan where you did not have to make the whole payment if you did not want to? Or would you like a loan with an interest rate about 1% below a thirty-year fixed rate mortgage and pay zero points? Or a loan where you did not have to document your income, savings history, or source of down payment? How would you like a mortgage payment of only 1.95%? You can have all that with the 11th District Cost of Funds (COFI) Adjustable Rate Mortgage.

Sound too good to be true? Sound like a bunch of hype?

Each statement above is true. However, it is also only part of the story and loan officers do not always tell you the whole story when promoting this loan. Other loan officers may try to scare you away from adjustable rate mortgages. However, once you become aware of all the details of the loan, it is an excellent way to buy the house of your dreams, especially when fixed rates begin to go up.

ARMs in General

Adjustable rate mortgages all have certain similar features. They have an adjustment period, an index, a margin, and a rate cap. The adjustment period is simply how often the rate changes. Some change monthly, some change every six months, and some only adjust once a year. Indexes are simply an easily monitored interest rate that moves up and down over time. Adjustable rate mortgages have different indexes. The margin is the difference between your interest rate and the index. The margin does not change during the term of the loan.

So if you have an adjustable rate mortgage and you wanted to calculate your interest rate on your own, all you have to do is look up the index in the paper or on the internet, add the margin, and you have your rate.

Indexes and the 11th District

The “Prime Rate” you hear about in the news is one interest rate index, although it is very rare that mortgages are tied to this index. It is more common to find adjustable rate mortgages tied to different treasury bill indexes, the average interest rate paid on certificates of deposit, the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR), or the 11th District Cost of Funds.

COFI ARM Index

The 11th District Cost of Funds (COFI) is the weighted average of interest rates paid out on savings deposits by banking institutions in the 11th district of the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB), which is located in San Francisco. The 11th District includes the states of California, Nevada, and Arizona.

The COFI index moves slower than the other indexes, making it more stable. It also lags behind actual changes in the interest rate market. For example, when rates begin to go up, the COFI index may continue to decline for a couple of months before it also begins to rise.

The Margin and Interest Rates

The margin on the COFI ARM typically ranges between 2.25-3%.

Monthly Adjustments Sound Scary, but...

Although you can get a COFI ARM with an adjustable period of six months, you can get a lower margin if you go for the monthly adjustment period. Since the margin plus the index equals your interest rate, the lower margin is an advantage and most people choose the monthly adjustment.

Monthly adjustments sound scary to the uninitiated, but keep in mind that this is a slow moving index. Most other ARMS have an annual cap of 2% a year. Since 1981, when the FHLB began tracking the index, the most it has moved during any calendar year is 1.6%. So why get a higher margin just to get a rate cap that you probably will not use anyway?

The“life-of-loan” cap for the COFI ARM is usually 11.95%. The most recent year that this cap could have been reached was 1985. Plus, most experts do not expect a return to the interest rates of the early 1980’s when interest rates were pushed up artificially to combat the inflation of the 1970’s.

Make Only Part of Your Payment?

This is the really interesting feature of the loan. You do not have to make the whole payment. Each month you get a bill that has at least three payment options. One choice is the full payment at the current interest rate. A second choice allows you to pay only the interest that is due on the loan that particular month, but does not pay anything towards the principal. Finally, the third option gives you the choice to pay even less than that and is called the “minimum payment.”

The minimum payment when you start your loan can be calculated as low as 1.95%. Keep in mind that this is not the note rate on your loan, but just a way to calculate your minimum payment.

Deferred Interest and Amortization

Of course, if you only make the minimum payment each month, you are not paying all of the interest that is currently due that month. You are deferring some of the interest that is currently due on the loan so you will have to pay it later. The lender keeps track of this deferred interest by adding it to the loan and the loan balance gets larger. Neither you nor the lender wants this to continue forever, so your minimum payment increases a bit each year.

The payment cap on the loan is 7.5%, which also has nothing to do with the interest rate. All it means is the most your minimum payment can increase from one year to the next is seven and a half percent. For example, if your minimum payment is $1000 this year, next year the most it could be is $1075. This continues each year until your payment is approximately equal to the payment at the full note rate.

Just in case, there are fail-safes built into the loan. If you continue making only the minimum payment and your current balance ever reaches 110% of the beginning balance, the loan is re-amortized to make sure you pay it off in thirty years (or forty years, whichever option you chose). Every five years the loan is re-amortized to make sure it pays off within the term of the loan.

Stated Income and Other Features

Many COFI lenders allow Homebuyers with good credit to apply without documenting their income, assets, or source of down payment. Of course, you have to make a twenty or twenty-five percent down payment on your home purchase. This is helpful for self-employed borrowers or those who have jobs where it is difficult to document their income. Plus, some people just do not like the bother of supplying W2 forms, tax returns and pay-stubs. Anyway, it makes for a quick and easy loan approval.

Sub-Prime COFI ARMs

Some people have less than perfect credit and they are used to being charged outrageous rates for past problems. Some COFI lenders offer this same loan but have a slightly higher starting payment and a higher margin. The end result is that your interest rate would be about one percent higher.

Who Should Get This Loan?

Most people who get the COFI ARM are purchasing a home between $300,000 and $650,000, but it is not limited to that. It is a real favorite of those working in the financial industry and those with higher incomes. One reason these groups like this particular loan is because they consider any deferred interest to be an extended loan at a very attractive rate. By making the minimum payment, they can do other things with the money.

Homebuyers whose income has peaks and valleys, such as self-employed or commissioned salespeople also like the loan, because it provides flexibility in the monthly payment. During a slow month they can make the minimum payment if they choose.

Another reason borrowers like the loan is because it allows for tax planning. The borrower can defer interest payments and at the end of the year, analyze their tax situation. If it serves their tax interests, they can make a lump sum payment toward any interest that has been deferred and deduct it for tax purposes.

Skipping the Starter Home or Move-Up Home

If you’re buying a home with the intention of living in it for only a few years before you move up to a bigger home, the COFI ARM makes sense, too. With this loan and its low start payment you can often qualify for a larger home than you can when applying for a fixed rate loan. This allows you to skip the intermediate purchase and move up immediately to the home you really want, which makes more sense and saves you money.

If you buy a home then sell it to move up to a bigger home, you are going to have to pay a REALTOR’S® commissions and closing costs. On a $300,000 house, this would be around $25,000. If you skip buying that home and buy the home you really want, you save that money. Plus, you save money in another way. Say you live in your intermediate purchase for five years, then move up and buy another home with another thirty-year mortgage. That is thirty-five years of home loans. If you buy your ideal home now, you save five years of mortgage payments. Depending on your loan amount, that can be a lot of cash.

Conclusion

So, when rates start going up this is an attractive alternative to a fixed rate mortgage. It even makes sense for some borrowers when rates are low. Something we also did not mention is that most COFI lenders also give you a fourth option on your monthly mortgage statement, which allows you to pay it off quicker.


Evie & Jack Bryant
DRE #01227363 / #01257514
California Lifestyle Realty
50200 Avenida Vista Bonita 
La Quinta, CA 92253
Evie: 760-567-2127
eviebryant@gmail.com
Jack: 760-832-1701
jackdbryant@gmail.com

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Extremely professional and caring team of Realtors. They went above and beyond to get us a successful sale.   Our sale went very smoothly, and we would HIGHLY recommend them.  Keith and Patti Douglass

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