Home Buying Process:

1. Get Your Finances Together

  • Determine a realistic budget and factor in additional costs like down payment, closing costs, and property taxes
  • Explore first-time homebuyer assistance programs in California, such as the CalHFA MyHome Assistance Program
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage by submitting financial documents to a lender

2. Partner with me (Your Knowledgeable Real Estate Professional)

  • Work with the me to identify properties that meet your needs and budget

3. Start Your Home Search

  • Use my site (https://www.sandyghantarealtor.com/search/advanced_search/)  to browse homes, mark favorites, and request showings.  
  • Attend open houses ( provided by me, based on your criteria) to explore neighborhoods and get a feel for the local market
  • Work with me to schedule in-person showings to thoroughly evaluate potential homes

4. Make an Offer

  • Work with me to craft a compelling offer that includes the purchase price, any contingencies, and a proposed closing date
  • Be prepared to negotiate, as sellers in California's competitive market often make counteroffers
  • Include an earnest money deposit, typically 3% of the purchase price, as an incentive for the seller

5. Inspections and Appraisals

  • Conduct a thorough home inspection to identify any issues or needed repairs
  • Get the home appraised to ensure the purchase price aligns with the property's market value
  • Use the inspection and appraisal results to renegotiate the terms of the contract if necessary

6. Secure Financing and Homeowners Insurance

  • Finalize your mortgage by providing additional documentation to the lender
  • Obtain homeowners insurance to protect your investment

7. Close on the Home

  • Complete a final walkthrough to ensure the property is in the expected condition
  • Sign all required documents and transfer the down payment and closing costs
  • Receive the keys to your new home!


The home buying process in California can be competitive, but following these steps and working closely with a knowledgeable real estate professional like me can help ensure a successful purchase. 

Cash-offer financing in real estate

Cash-offer financing in real estate refers to making an all-cash bid on a property without relying on a mortgage loan or traditional financing.

This type of offer can be attractive to sellers due to the lack of buyer financing fall-through risk and typically faster closing times. Cash offers are common in scenarios involving investors, buyers with sale proceeds from a previous home, iBuyer transactions, competitive markets, or properties in need of repairs. 

Cash-offer programs allow buyers who need mortgages to compete as if they were making cash offers by having a company purchase the home on their behalf before the mortgage is finalized. 

These programs involve steps like mortgage pre-approval, making a cash offer, a cash sale by the financing company, and buying back the home once the mortgage is finalized.  Cash offer financing companies enable buyers to make cash offers on homes and repay them over time, providing an alternative for those competing with cash buyers in hot housing markets 

The process involves mortgage pre-approval, making a purchase offer with an earnest-money deposit, a cash sale by the financing company, and buying back the home once the mortgage is finalized.  

While cash-offer financing can offer advantages like confidence for sellers and quicker access to homes, it also comes with fees and limitations on options and availability. 

In real estate transactions, whether to accept a cash offer or financed offer depends on individual circumstances. Cash offers can provide confidence in the deal going through and may be ideal for sellers looking for a quick sale without contingencies.  However, sellers should carefully evaluate each offer to ensure they align with their goals, whether it's selling fast or maximizing profits.

Cash buyers in the market range from investors and house flippers to regular buyers leveraging cash to win bidding wars in competitive markets.

NOTE: Home Buyers, If you are interested in knowing more about this program, please reach out to me.  I have a few programs which can help to present a strong offer.


Does a cash offer make a difference?

A cash offer can make a significant difference in real estate transactions for both buyers and sellers. 

Cash offers provide sellers with more confidence, faster closing periods, and reduce the paperwork required. Sellers are more likely to accept cash offers due to the lower risk of financing falling through, faster closing times, and fewer contingencies like inspections and appraisals

Buyers making cash offers can stand out in competitive markets, have more negotiating power, save on closing costs and interest, and enjoy a mortgage-free life. However, making a cash offer requires a substantial amount of money and ties up liquidity in one asset, limiting access to mortgage-related tax deductions

Ultimately, the decision to accept or make a cash offer depends on individual circumstances and market conditions.

Buying a home with all cash has its pros and cons: 


  • No Mortgage Interest Payments: Purchasing a home with cash eliminates interest payments, potentially saving you a significant amount over the long term
  • No Closing Costs: Without a mortgage, you can avoid various closing costs associated with loans, reducing your overall expenses
  • Favorable Position with Sellers: Cash buyers are often preferred by sellers due to quicker and more straightforward transactions, giving you an edge in competitive markets



  • Liquid Cash: Tying up your cash in real estate can limit your liquidity, making it challenging to access funds for emergencies or other investments
  • Missed Tax Deductions: By not having a mortgage, you lose out on potential tax deductions like the mortgage interest deduction, impacting your tax benefits
  • Opportunity Cost: Investing all your cash in a home may limit your financial flexibility and diversification, potentially affecting your overall financial security and future investments


Before deciding to buy a home with all cash, consider factors like your financial goals, emergency fund adequacy, tax implications, and alternative investment opportunities to make an informed decision.

Things to avoid after pre-approval and before closing the escrow:

After receiving pre-approval for a mortgage and before closing the escrow, it's crucial to be cautious and avoid certain actions to ensure a smooth home buying process. 

Here are some things to avoid:

Changing Employment Status: Lenders often verify employment before closing. Avoid changing jobs or quitting your current job during this period.

Large Purchases on Credit: Avoid making large purchases on credit, such as buying a car or expensive furniture. This can affect your credit score and debt-to-income ratio, which are important factors for loan approval.

Opening New Credit Accounts: Opening new credit cards or taking on additional loans can impact your credit score and debt profile. This may raise concerns for lenders.

Missing Bill Payments: Continue to make all your payments on time. Missing payments can negatively impact your credit score and raise red flags for lenders.

Moving Money Around: Avoid making significant changes to your financial accounts. Lenders may scrutinize any large or unusual transactions.

Co-Signing for Others: Co-signing for someone else's loan can affect your debt-to-income ratio and overall creditworthiness. It's best to avoid any new financial obligations.

Changing Bank Accounts: Keep your funds in the same accounts you used during the pre-approval process. Changing bank accounts may require additional documentation and verification.

Ignoring Lender Requests: Stay in communication with your lender and respond promptly to any requests for additional information or documentation. Delays in providing necessary information can slow down the process.

Undisclosed Debts or Liabilities: Be transparent with your lender about your financial situation. Failing to disclose debts or liabilities can lead to complications during the underwriting process.

Making Large Cash Deposits: Large cash deposits may raise suspicions. It's advisable to consult with your lender before making any significant cash transactions.

Remember that the period between pre-approval and closing is a critical time. Any changes to your financial situation can impact your loan approval. It's essential to maintain stability and transparency throughout the process. If in doubt, consult with your mortgage advisor or lender before making any significant financial decisions.



To afford a house in the $800,000 range, what income is necessary?

The "1/3 rule" typically suggests that your monthly housing costs should not exceed one-third of your gross monthly income. This includes mortgage payments, property taxes, and homeowners insurance.


Lenders generally follow the 28/36 rule. This means that your housing expenses (mortgage, property taxes, insurance) should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income, and your total debt payments (including housing expenses, car loans, credit card debt) should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income.


If we consider a 6.5% interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage, the monthly mortgage payment would be higher than in scenarios with lower interest rates. Let's calculate the income needed based on this interest rate:


Housing Expenses (28%):

Monthly housing expenses should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income.

With a 6.5% interest rate, the estimated monthly housing expenses for an $800,000 home (20% down payment) would be approximately $3,030.


Total Debt Payments (36%):

Total debt payments, including housing expenses, should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income.

With a 6.5% interest rate, the estimated total debt payments for an $800,000 home would be approximately $3,868 per month.


Now, to find the income needed:

  • If we assume that the housing expenses should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income, then the income needed would be approximately $10,822 per month ($3,030 / 0.28).
  • If we consider the 36% rule for total debt payments, the income needed would be approximately $10,744 per month ($3,868 / 0.36).


Therefore, based on these rough estimates and a 6.5% interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage, you might need an income in the range of $10,744 to $10,822 per month (~ $130,000 per year)  to afford an $800,000 home with a 20% down payment. It's important to consult with a mortgage lender or financial advisor for a more accurate assessment based on your specific financial details and current market conditions.


The Top Benefits of Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Embarking on the journey to homeownership is an exciting venture, and securing a pre-approval for a mortgage can be a game-changer in this process. A mortgage pre-approval involves a comprehensive assessment of your financial health by a lender, resulting in a conditional commitment for a specified loan amount. In this blog post, we will delve into the key benefits of obtaining a pre-approval for a mortgage, offering insights into why it's a crucial step in the home buying process.


  Clear Understanding of Budget:

  A mortgage pre-approval provides you with a clear understanding of your budget. By assessing your financial situation, lenders determine the maximum loan amount you qualify for, allowing you to focus your home search within a realistic and manageable price range.


  Enhanced Negotiation Power:

  Presenting a pre-approval letter to sellers positions you as a serious and qualified buyer. This can significantly enhance your negotiation power, making your offer more appealing compared to competing offers without pre-approval. Sellers are more likely to consider your offer seriously, potentially leading to a smoother negotiation process.


  Streamlined Home Search:

  Armed with a pre-approval, you can streamline your home search to properties within your approved budget. This not only saves time but also helps you avoid falling in love with homes that may be outside of your financial reach. It provides a focused and efficient approach to finding the right property.


  Faster Mortgage Approval:

  The pre-approval process involves a thorough review of your financial documentation, which can expedite the formal mortgage approval process. With much of the groundwork already completed, the time it takes to secure the mortgage after finding your dream home is significantly reduced.


  Interest Rate Lock:

  Mortgage interest rates can fluctuate, impacting the overall cost of your loan. Many lenders offer the option to lock in an interest rate for a specified period during the pre-approval stage. This protects you from potential rate increases and ensures that you secure a favorable rate when you finalize the purchase.


  Confidence in Making Offers:

  With a pre-approval, you can confidently make offers on homes, knowing that your financing is in order. This not only expedites the negotiation process but also gives sellers confidence in your ability to secure the necessary financing for the transaction.


  Smooth Closing Process:

  A pre-approval sets the stage for a smoother closing process. Since much of the necessary documentation has already been reviewed, the final mortgage approval process is likely to be more efficient, reducing the risk of delays or unexpected challenges.


Securing a pre-approval for a mortgage is a strategic move in the home buying process, offering a range of benefits that contribute to a more confident and informed home-buying experience. From a clear understanding of your budget to an enhanced ability to negotiate and streamline the process, the advantages of mortgage pre-approval position you for success as you embark on the exciting journey of purchasing your dream home.



Choosing Between a Single Family Home and a Condo/Townhouse

Deciding on the type of home to buy is a significant milestone in anyone's life. The choice between a single-family home and a condo or townhouse is a crucial decision that involves various factors. Each option comes with its own set of advantages and considerations. In this blog post, we'll explore the key factors to help you make an informed decision that aligns with your lifestyle, preferences, and financial goals.


Space and Privacy:

One of the primary distinctions between single-family homes and condos/townhouses is the level of space and privacy each offers. Single-family homes typically provide more space both indoors and outdoors. If you value having a yard, garden, or dedicated outdoor space, a single-family home might be the better option. Condos and townhouses, on the other hand, often come with shared spaces and limited outdoor areas, making them more suitable for individuals or families who prioritize a lower-maintenance lifestyle.


Maintenance Responsibilities:

Maintenance is another crucial consideration. Single-family homes generally come with more maintenance responsibilities, as homeowners are responsible for the upkeep of the entire property. This includes landscaping, roof repairs, and other exterior maintenance. Condos and townhouses often have homeowners' associations (HOAs) that take care of exterior maintenance, landscaping, and sometimes even certain utilities. However, it's essential to weigh the convenience of a managed property against the potential costs and restrictions imposed by the HOA.


Cost Considerations:

Cost is a significant factor in the decision-making process. While single-family homes may have a higher upfront cost, they often come with more potential for appreciation over time. Condos and townhouses may have lower initial costs, but it's important to factor in monthly HOA fees, which cover shared amenities and maintenance. Additionally, consider the potential resale value and market trends in the area you're interested in to make a well-informed financial decision.


Community and Amenities:

The sense of community and available amenities can vary significantly between single-family homes and condos/townhouses. Single-family homes are often located in residential neighborhoods, offering a more traditional community feel. Condos and townhouses may provide shared amenities like swimming pools, fitness centers, and communal spaces, fostering a more communal living experience. Consider your preferences for social interaction and community engagement when making this decision.


Investment Potential:

Whether you view your home as a long-term residence or an investment, it's crucial to assess the potential for appreciation. Single-family homes often have a higher potential for appreciation, given their larger plots of land and independence from shared spaces. However, condos and townhouses can also appreciate in value, especially in desirable urban or suburban locations. Research the real estate market trends in your desired area to understand the investment potential for both options.


Choosing between a single-family home and a condo/townhouse involves a careful evaluation of your priorities, lifestyle, and financial considerations. Consider factors such as space, maintenance responsibilities, costs, community dynamics, and investment potential to make an informed decision that aligns with your goals and preferences. Ultimately, the right choice is the one that suits your needs and enhances your overall quality of life as a homeowner.


Difference Between a Probate Sale and a Regular Real Estate Sale

The distinction between a probate sale and a regular real estate sale lies in the circumstances under which the property is being sold and the processes involved:


  • Probate Sale:
    • Definition: A probate sale is a court-supervised process of selling a deceased person's property when there is no will or specified beneficiaries.
    • Control: The court oversees the sale, authorizing a real estate agent to list the property and setting the listing price.
    • Property Type: In a probate sale, real estate, such as a house or property, is sold to settle the deceased person's estate after their passing


  • Regular Real Estate Sale:
    • Definition: A regular real estate sale involves selling property in the traditional market without court supervision.
    • Control: The property owner or seller manages the sale process, including listing the property, setting prices, and negotiating with buyers.
    • Property Type: Regular real estate sales encompass all types of properties being sold in the open market under typical real estate procedures


  • Key Differences:
    • Control: In a probate sale, the court controls the process, while in a regular real estate sale, the owner or seller manages the transaction.
    • Property Condition: Probate properties are typically sold as-is, with no repairs or contingencies allowed, whereas regular sales may involve negotiations on property conditions.
    • Timeline: Probate sales can be lengthy due to court involvement and legal procedures, leading to potential delays compared to regular real estate transactions


Understanding these differences is crucial for buyers and sellers to navigate the complexities of each type of sale effectively. Whether dealing with probate sales involving court oversight or traditional real estate transactions managed by property owners, being aware of these distinctions can help individuals make informed decisions when buying or selling properties.


The Advantages of Buying vs. Renting: 

In the age-old debate of buying versus renting a home, many factors come into play. While renting provides flexibility, homeownership offers unique advantages that contribute to long-term financial stability and wealth-building. This blog explores the reasons why buying a home is often considered a smarter financial decision compared to renting.


Equity Building:

  One of the primary advantages of buying a home is the opportunity to build equity. When you make mortgage payments, you're gradually paying off the principal amount of your loan, which contributes to the equity in your home. Over time, as property values increase and your mortgage balance decreases, your equity grows. This equity can be tapped into through home equity loans or lines of credit, providing you with financial flexibility.


Stable Monthly Payments:

  Renters are often subject to annual rent increases, making it challenging to budget for housing costs. When you purchase a home with a fixed-rate mortgage, your monthly payments remain stable over the life of the loan. This predictability allows for better financial planning and stability, making it easier to manage your budget and allocate funds for other purposes.


Tax Benefits:

  Homeownership comes with several tax advantages that renting does not offer. Mortgage interest and property tax payments are typically tax-deductible, reducing your overall tax liability. Additionally, if you sell your primary residence and meet certain criteria, you may be eligible for capital gains tax exclusions, further enhancing the financial benefits of homeownership.


Freedom to Personalize:

  When you own a home, you have the freedom to personalize and make modifications according to your preferences. Renters, on the other hand, often face restrictions on making significant changes to the property. Owning a home allows you to invest in improvements that can increase the property's value and enhance your living experience.


Long-Term Investment:

  Real estate has historically proven to be a sound long-term investment. Property values tend to appreciate over time, allowing homeowners to build wealth through the appreciation of their assets. While the real estate market may experience fluctuations, the long-term trend has shown an overall increase in property values.


While renting provides flexibility and short-term convenience, buying a home offers numerous financial benefits that contribute to long-term stability and wealth-building. From building equity and enjoying stable monthly payments to taking advantage of tax benefits and the freedom to personalize, homeownership is often considered a wise investment in one's financial future. Ultimately, the decision between buying and renting depends on individual circumstances, but understanding the advantages of homeownership is essential for making an informed choice.


BRG Realty

1900 Camden Ave, San Jose, CA 95124

BRG Realty


DRE#: 01966366