Karen Cimera
Author Archives: Karen Cimera

How Do I Make an Offer When I Buy a House?

It’s exciting when you make an offer on a house. You’ve spoken with your lender, understand how much you’re qualified to purchase and have now decided on a home you love.

You’re ready to take the next step, but don’t take this part of the process lightly – it’s very important. And if your offer is accepted, you will be legally bound to the contract.document-428338_1280

Here’s how ensure your offer makes good sense.

  1. Low offers don’t always win

In a market where inventory is low, there usually are multiple offers and making a low offer will not get you the home.The first thing you need to know is that you don’t HAVE to make an offer below asking price on any house. Rely on your real estate agent to guide you into the proper price and know if the home will have multiple offers. If you love the house, and it’s priced right already, you could be taking a risk by making a low offer.

The best deals on the market still sell quickly, with much demand, and houses that are bargain priced don’t last long. It’s just that the “bargain prices” are much lower now than they used to be. So, if you find a house that you absolutely love, and it’s already priced right—think carefully before you make a low offer. Someone else may snatch it up first.

  1. Determine the Value

The first step in making an offer on a house is to determine the value of the home. Your real estate agent can do a lot of the legwork for this part. Gather a list of “comp’s” (or comparables) in the neighborhood. These are similar properties that have sold recently. Focus on the sold houses, and the current listings that are available in your area. The fewer homes on the market, the higher the demand.

Make adjustments in price for differences in the homes, such as:

  • Living area square footage
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Lot size & location
  • Extras, such as a pool or fireplace
  • Condition

Rely on your agent to know the price you should offer as they talk to other agents, know what price other similar properties sold for,  how many other offers will be on that property, and can tell you whether they feel your offer price will actually be competitive enough to potentially get the home into contract.

  1. Contract Contingencies

After you’ve decided on an offer price, have your real estate agent write it up. There will usually be appropriate contingencies to the offer, for appraisal, financing, etc. A contingency is a condition that must be met before the contract becomes fully valid. Some people, in order to have a more competitive offer, write without a contingency. If you are financing the new home, you will need a contingency “unless” you have a full approval from your lender before you offer. Many lenders offer full credit approvals, where you can go into an offer w/o the financing contingency, and just need to ensure the property appraises and has no other issues. No financing contingency helps out tremendously when you are competing with “all cash offers”.

Another contingency is for home inspections. You’ll usually want a general home inspection to ensure that the house is actually in the condition you expect. Often sellers already have the inspections for you to review before making an offer so check with your agent as this will save time and money.

It’s an exciting experience to buy a house in the Bay Area. But before you do, make sure that you make a smart offer on the home. You want your offer to allow you to get the right price on the home, plus you want to make sure that you’re protected in the process.

In buying a home, work closely with your real estate agent, and your loan agent, and you will save yourself a world of trouble down the road. The path to homeownership is exciting, when you work on it correctly. To learn more about purchasing a home in the Bay Area, contact me today. I would love to help you through each step of the loan approval process.

Contact me today at 408-506-0542, or email to kcimera@goloanstar.com.


Loan Star Lending NMLS# 181709 – CA# 603K799

6 Types of Mortgage Loans for Homebuyers

If you are in the market for a new home, it’s important that you know what types of loans are available to you.

Whether you have perfect credit, a few financial blemishes or are just starting out in life and want to own a home, understanding your options will prove to be invaluable during your house-hunting excursion.medium_11705392445

Fixed Rate Mortgage

A fixed rate mortgage is one of the most popular home loans and is commonly available as a 15 or 30-year term.

Because it offers the borrower an assurance that both the principal and interest will remain the same throughout the term of the loan, a fixed rate mortgage is ideal for many.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)

An adjustable rate mortgage, also referred to as an ARM loan, is one in which the interest rates adjust according to the current market.

This means that interest rates can either increase or decrease at regular intervals, based on established market indexes.

Short-Term Fixed/ARM Options

These are 30-year mortgages that are fixed for the initial period of 3, 5, 7 or 10 years.

They give you lower starting rates, and payments, and are meant for buyers who may not live in their home longer that that initial fixed period; or for people who might look to refinance in a few years, as rates can be as much as 1% lower than a straight fixed option.


An FHA and/or VA loan are mortgages that are guaranteed by the government.

An FHA loan is easier to qualify for than a conventional mortgage, requires a lower down payment, lower credit scores, and will allow higher “debt to income ratios in qualifying”…..these loans are guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority. A VA loan, which is for veterans only, is guaranteed by the Veteran’s Administration.

Construction Loan

Construction loans are available for borrowers who are purchasing or building a newly constructed home. These loans, which are offered at adjustable rates only, require more paperwork, down payment, and inspections than a conventional mortgage.

They are short term financing vehicles, that are only in place while you build your home. When the home is completed you will have to get a new loan, called a “take out mortgage” which will be a standard fixed, or adjustable rate loan to pay off the construction financing.

Owner Financing

Many homebuyers, especially those with limited or poor credit history, may prefer to seek owner financing when purchasing a new home. Because the approval requirements are typically less, , buyers may not be judged for past credit problems. Finding a home where the seller is able to carry the financing for you is often a challenge as they usually need your new financing to pay off their debt. You would need to look for a seller who has a large equity position to handle this.

To learn more about what you should do before you buy your first home in the Bay Area, contact me today. I would love to help you through each step of the loan approval process.

Contact me today at408-506-0542, or email to kcimera@goloanstar.com.


Loan Star Lending NMLS# 181709 – CA# 603K799



4 Tips to Prep Your Bay Area Home For Sale

When selling a home, it’s important to take care of the small details that seem unimportant.

A potential buyer could dismiss your home due to a few noticeable flaws.

It’s important to ensure the home is at its best before putting it up for sale.

Below are some preparations that you can do to increase a potential buyer’s interest in your house.

4 Tips to Prep Your Home for Sale

1. Get a Home Inspection

Before putting a house up for sale, it’s important to enlist the services of a home inspector to look for problems that could discourage potential buyers from buying the house.

Getting a professional to inspect the house and give ideas that will help improve the house will increase its chances of being bought.

Some states require that a home be inspected and the results presented when selling the house.

2. Declutter and Clean Your House

A clean house will give a good impression to potential buyers. It will show that the house has been well taken care of.

Hire professional cleaners to ensure that a thorough job is done.

Clearing the clutter and organizing the house will make it more attractive to potential buyers

3. Make Repairs

Make repairs that might seem insignificant.

If the inspector finds any problems in your home, they should not be downplayed as they might affect the buyer’s view of your home.

Minor problems such as a sticky door or a dripping faucet could make a potential buyer balk.

4. Take Down Personal Effects

if you have decided to sell your house, take down personal effects such as photographs, paintings and pictures.

De-personalizing the house will tell the potential buyer that you are serious about selling the house and the buyer can start imagining where they want to put their stuff.

Buyers don’t want to see personal stuff laying around as it might seem careless and unprofessional.

To learn more about purchasing a home in the Bay Area, contact me today. I would love to help you through each step of the loan approval process.

Contact me at408-506-0542, or email to kcimera@goloanstar.com.

Want To Buy A Fixer-Upper? Be Sure To Read This First

A lot of people prefer to purchase a house that needs a bit of work in order to save a few bucks on the purchase price. However, what many of them fail to understand is that the price is likely to be lowered for a reason, and the investment that you might have to put in to get it fixed is sometimes going to be significantly more than the difference in the price. 4664757985_8e20a72f89

Of course, purchasing a fixer-upper can also be the sweetest deal that you’ve made, but there are things that have to be considered.

Will the House Stand Up?

In order to buy a fixer-upper that’s worth your time and money, you have to make sure that the structure is intact.

If there are structural problems with the house, you are better off without it. They are incredibly expensive to fix, and in a lot of situations, you’d need to tear it apart and bring it back up, which is likely to turn out to be quite costly.

Consider the “Membrane” of the House

The membrane of the house is the cladding and its roof. These are also among the things that you might want to check before buying a “fixer” home.

If you buy a fixer-upper with a leaking roof, and need to replace it, that is one of the costliest repair items in a home, and would need to be budgeted for.

A good home inspection, prior to making the decision to buy, will show you anything that will potentially be “an issue”.  Home inspectors will go through the entire home, from top to bottom and tell you everything you may potentially have issue with.

Buying a fixer-upper can be a great way to save a considerable amount of money, and turn the home into just what “you want”, but you need to ensure that the house is in overall good condition.

The best case scenario would be for you to only need to “freshen up” the place with cosmetic reconstructions. These include items such as new carpet and paint, which will provide an updated look and feel, without the large price-tag. Bathrooms and kitchens can be quite expensive to redo.

Pay attention to the details when looking to buy, and know your options. Call me today to review financing options.

Karen Cimera  

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