Thursday, February 4, 2021

4 Financial Steps To Take Before Buying A Home

You think you're ready to own your home? Here are financial steps you can take before you start searching for home. 


Your credit score is one of the factors the lender will look at when you are applying for a loan. Each loan has a minimum credit score requirement. The higher your credit score, the better your interest rate will be, the more purchasing power you have. 

Boost your credit score by:

  • Pay bills on time
  • Make frequent payments
  • Dispute credit report errors
  • Get a secured card
  • Request a credit limit increase


Some buyers are able to borrow money from their 401K while others from their friends or relatives to help them with their down payment. Unless you're working with VA loan, you are going to need down payment when purchasing a home. The higher your down payment, the lower your monthly mortgage will be. 

Ways to save:

  • Automate a fixed amount into a special savings account very month
  • Cut some unnecessary expenses 
  • Improve your income with side jobs
  • Save your bonus


In a buyer's market, closing costs can be negotiated with the seller. However, in a hot market where the seller has the upper hand, you need to come up with your own closing cost in order to compete. 

What can you do?

You can borrow money from your 401K

You can borrow money from your friends or relatives

You can save some money. (See #2)


The best person to help you find out how much money you can borrow and determine how much home you can afford is the lender. If you want to know how much you are going to need for down payment and closing cost, the lender is your person. They know the required FICO score and debt-to-income ratio as well as the right program for you. It's no cost to you so why not?

Finding the right lender:

  • Work with a Realtor. They usually have trusted lenders they work with. 
  • Your bank has their own home loan specialist
  • Search the internet for the best reviewed lenders

Note: Angela Carpio is a Realtor serving Menifee, Murrieta, Lake, Elsinore, Temecula, Wichester, Canyon Lake and the surrounding cities. 

Angela Carpio, Realtor


Coldwell Banker ABR

Lic. #01967762


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

6 Things You Need To Know When Purchasing New Construction Home

Whether you're a first time home buyer or has gone through the process of home buying before, here are six things you should know when purchasing a new construction home.

6 Things You Need To Know When Purchasing New Construction Home

Research the neighborhood and the builder

It is your responsibility as a buyer to do your own due diligence and research the area you want to move into. Go over the list of things that are important to you as far as the neighborhood/area is concerned. Does it have a dog park for your fur babies? If you have kids, are there parks around? Is the school rating acceptable? How far or how close are the dining areas and shops around. Is there heavy traffic around the time you leave or return from work?

When it comes to builders, check their reviews. How many homes are they building. Drive around the community and if you see one of neighbors, ask them what they think of the builder. How satisfied are they of the product. Would they recommend the builder to their friends and family and while you're at it, ask them how they like living in the area. 

Know what's standard and options

Model homes are stacked with many upgrades to show the full potential of what you can do with the house. You're going to be impressed when you walk in and that is what it is for. Keep in mind that this is not what the base price offers. Many times, the sales office carries the standard items for the flooring, cabinets, countertops, elevation, etc. You can take a look at those. An experienced Realtor can point those out to you and if not, the best thing to do is have your agent schedule an appointment with the sales agent for the specific model home you're interested in and the sales agent can assists you.  

Everything has to be in writing

In real estate, everything has to be in writing. Most builders offer incentives, financial or otherwise, when you purchase from them. Having said that, make sure that it is written in the contract when you sign it. It is good practice to repeat what they promised via email so you have it documented. That way, you can always referenced back to what they say on the email. Even so, just because it is written on the email by the sales agent, doesn't mean that it is so. It needs to be part of the contract if builders are to honor them for sure. 

What's the tax rate and is there HOA

In the state of California, you pay an ad valorem tax (property tax). Mello-Roos is an additional tax that you pay on top of the property tax that is created to pay for infrastructure and/or services within a certain district. You need to know what your tax rate is because it could impact the estimated monthly payment that your lender quoted you. Supported by the same estimated monthly mortgage, the amount of loan you're preapproved for would be less with Mello-Roos than that of a home without it. 

You need to know if there is HOA fee and how much because again, it affects how the lender calculate your payment. What are you paying for? $300 monthly HOA fee for taking care of the parks with no other amenities may be too much for you. You need to know before signing the contract so you can make an informed decision and not have buyer's remorse. 

There may be financial incentives when working with the builder's preferred lender

As a buyer, you need to know that there may be some financial incentives when working with their in-house lender. It usually is a certain amount of credit towards buyer's closing cost. Instead of using your own money for closing cost, it's extra money you can use towards upgrades for your home. 

Your agent can assists you in purchasing new homes

The sales agents are there to represent the builders. Who is representing you? Who would look after your best interest? You need someone in your corner who can help you navigate the new construction home buying process. It's no cost to you so make sure you work with an agent who has experience on new construction homes. Whether you work with an agent or not, you're going to pay the same amount for the home anyway so might as well have someone who will have your back. 

These are six things you need to know that will help educate you prior to signing that contract. The more you know, the better so you can make as informed of a decision as possible. 

Note: If you or someone you know is looking to own new construction homes, I'd love to help! 

Angela Carpio, Realtor


Coldwell Banker ABR

Lic. #01967762


Monday, November 9, 2020

5 Outdoor Tips Before Selling Your Home

Check out these tips to prepare your outdoor space when selling your home. A little sweat equity that goes a long way.

Clean and clear the walkway.

Create a nice flow to the front door. Clear the path. Give it a good power wash. Place a potted flower or some greenery for some pop of color and cheerfulness. Keep it alive and don't let it wilt. You want it to be inviting.  

Clean your outdoor furniture. 

Buyers do not like seeing anything dirty. Period. It's part of staging your home to sell. Arrange your furniture in a way that invites buyers to sit down and imagine themselves living there and enjoying the backyard. 

Clean the entire exterior of the house.

Clear away cobwebs. Move any inoperable and junk vehicles out of the driveway. Trim your shrubbery. Pull out the weeds. Pick up the trash. Kids and pet play things should be stored away. Put away your lawn equipment back in the shed. I would even suggest you remove some of your outdoor furniture to make the backyard appear bigger. 

Keep your lawn in good shape.

Make sure to mow your lawn. Keep it green and keep it trimmed. Pick up any trash that has been blown into your yard. 

Fix what you can fix.

Replace broken bulbs. Repair leaning fences if you can and fix broken windows and broken screens. The point is to get your house in the best possible condition. The less items that needs to be fix a buyer sees, the more appealing a house becomes, the better your chances of receiving an offer which is the goal. 

Note: If you or someone you know is looking to own, sell or invest in real estate in Canyon Lake - Menifee area and the surrounding cities, I'd love to help! 

Angela Carpio, Realtor


Coldwell Banker ABR

Lic. #01967762


Monday, November 2, 2020

4 Factors That Sells a Home

 Here are 4 factors that sells a home. 


This is arguably the most important factor when selling your home. A well-priced home often generates competing offers and drives up the final sale. Your agent should be able to review comparative market analysis (CMA) with you and advise accordingly as what you should price your home at to get you as close as possible to market value. 


What a property looks like. Appearance is everything when selling a home. Mow the lawn. Clear away the clutter. Pick up the kids' toys. Rearrange furniture to create space if needed. Make your bed. Wash the dishes. Put away the items on the kitchen counter if possible. You'd be surprised what fresh paint can do to your home.  If you can fix serious issues affecting the property, do it. You want to "WOW" the buyers as soon as they walk in. 


Agent's ability to get in to show the property. The easier the access, the more likely we get a showing and secure an offer. Showing sells home and the easier the access, the more likely you get a showing and secure an offer that can result in a successful sale.


The way to attract potential buyers to the home for sale. In one word - MARKETING. This is why you hire a real estate agent. Professional photography, video tours, and beautiful descriptions are some of the tools agents use to create amazing digital presentation which we then use to advertise the property. Agents use the power of the social media and other online sites to provide the maximum exposure to public. A good agent should be able to advertise the beauty of the home as well as its value. 

Note: If you or someone you know is looking to own, sell or invest in real estate in Canyon Lake - Menifee area and the surrounding cities, I'd love to help! 

Angela Carpio, Realtor


Coldwell Banker ABR

Lic. #01967762


Monday, October 26, 2020

How Do You Know If You Can Afford A House?

Image by <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=1049259">InspiredImages</a> from <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=1049259">Pixabay</a>

You're ready to buy a house but not sure if you can afford it and for how much? What is the best way to find out? Simple. GET PRE-APPROVED.

Getting pre-approved involves submitting an initial mortgage application along with other supporting documents. The lender and its team will verify all the info you provided and review your file to evaluate credit worthiness. They go over your income, your debts, your assets and credit history among other things to determine not only the amount of loan you qualify for but also what your monthly mortgage payment will be and what your interest rate is.

It should be no cost to you so if someone ask you for money upfront, run. I will advise that you reach out to your agent (preferably me) who usually work with loan officers that they trust and they know can deliver. Don't worry, kickbacks are illegal so don't think that the agent is getting something in return for referring you to any lender. 

Keep in mind that you may get pre-approved but the loan amount may not be significant enough to get you into a home. There are many factors they take into consideration to evaluate you as borrower. 

You may not even get pre-approved by the lender, The good thing is, if your loan officer is good, he or she will usually help guide you in the right direction to get you ready to own your home in the future. It doesn't mean "no." It just mean "not right now". That's why it is important to work with a solid agent and loan officer. 

Special note: If you or someone you know is looking to own, sell or invest in real estate in Canyon Lake - Menifee area and the surrounding cities, I'd love to help! 

Angela Carpio, Realtor


Coldwell Banker ABR

Lic. #01967762


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

3 Things Buyers Notice Right Away When Touring Your Home

I work with many buyers and these are the three things I observe most buyers notice right away when we are touring a home. 

Buyers notice curve appeal.

The first thing that buyers see when walking into your home is its curb appeal. You ever heard of the saying "you can never have a second chance to make a good first impression"? It is also true when selling your house. 

Story time. I worked with buyers who did not even want to see the inside of the house as soon as we pulled up in the driveway. The lawn wasn't mowed, the weeds were growing and there were litters all over the ground. They later explained that if seller couldn't even do a simple task of picking up trash in front of the house (never mind mowing the lawn or the weeds), they were not confident that the homeowners took care of the inside of the house. That, coupled with the fact that the internet pictures were not very compelling, and the neighbors had a million cars parked in front of it (I'm exaggerating but you get the drift), they decided they did not want to waste their time touring the house any more than they want to waste the seller's time. 

So, when your agent tells you curb appeal matters, listen to him or her. They know this from experience and they want to sell your home sooner just as you do. 

Buyers notice whatever undesirable smell your house gives off.

As soon as buyers enter your home, they will notice right away the smell of it. Keep your pets somewhere else temporarily if possible. Open the windows to let some fresh air in. Hire a professional to deep clean if you can.

When selling your home and you like to smoke inside your house, stop. Just stop. Smoke outside. Just until your house sells and you can do whatever you want again on your next one. 

Most people love pets but some are allergic to it and some don't even like it. We toured this home in Lake Elsinore that has a pet pig that lives inside the house which is fine, to each their own. But as soon as we walk in, the house had an unpleasant smell to it. Although the house looked nice, we couldn't even stay five minutes to tour it because my clients got headaches from the combined pet smell and scented candles. 

Try not cook right before a showing. However, the smell of fresh baked cookies seem to be very welcoming to many buyers. 

Once you take care of all the unappealing smell, only then you should make your house more inviting with scented fragrance like vanilla or lavender. Something that would make someone consider themselves living in your home so hopefully you can get an offer. 

Buyers notice clutters and mess. 

Be honest. When you visit your family and friends, do you not notice if their house is messy? Of course you do because it stands out. You do not judge but you notice. When it comes to buying a house, it's imperative that you clean up a little bit... or a lot... because it distracts the buyers. Instead of focusing on your home and imagine where their furniture will go, they are thinking what else are you not taking care of. They're wondering if there are any ants around, or worse, rats. You do not want them to have that impression because when you're selling your home, buyers, and sometimes agents, will judge you. 

If you or someone you know is looking to own, sell or invest in real estate in Canyon Lake - Menifee area and the surrounding cities, I'd love to help! 

Angela Carpio, Realtor



Monday, September 7, 2020

Buying a New Construction Home? Here Are 5 Things You Need To Know...

When working with clients who are looking to own their new home, I want to make sure that they do not miss out on anything so I talk about new construction homes with them to see if it is something that they would consider. Here are 5 things you need to know when purchasing a new construction home. 

Having your own real estate agent helps you.

Technically, you do not need to work with a real estate agent when purchasing a new construction home. Guess what? Builders pay the agent's commission. Not working with an agent DOES NOT give you discount on the purchase of your home anyway so not having someone on your corner is a disadvantage to you. Especially if you're a first time home buyer, you need someone objective and someone who knows that they're doing to guide you. Here's a warning. Do not just work with any real estate agent. Make sure they have experience so they know how to help you. I attend each and every appointment my clients have and even though ultimately, it is their decision, I remain the objective agent they need me to be and point out things that may or may not help them based on their wants, needs and whys. 

You may be paying higher taxes.

With new housing construction comes new amenities, infrastructure and services. Depending on where your new construction home search takes you, you will likely pay the Mello-Roos tax. A Mello-Roos  is a special tax assessment applied only to residents of the district that benefits from the project. It is an extra tax burden that you may or may not want to take on so be sure to do your research. I advise my clients right away if a community have Mello-Roos and they usually does. This way, no one's time is wasted and they know exactly what they're getting into. 

There are some items you may be able to negotiate.

Builders maybe reluctant to drop the price of the new construction home but there are some other items you may be able to negotiate. Better home upgrades is one of them. Another one is closing cost when you work with their in house lender. That's why it is important to work with an agent who has experience working with new construction homes. You could potentially save thousands of dollars. 

Everything needs to be in writing.

Just like when purchasing a pre-loved home, everything the sales consultant tells you need to be in writing. I don't mean in an email or a text message. Any negotiated upgrades or closing cost need to be part of the contract. This is where having your own real estate agent helps you. I once attended a contract signing for my clients where they forgot to include the $10,000 home gallery upgrades we asked for. Fortunately, I caught it so it was added on the contract. 

Learn about the community.

Ask what features benefit the community. Ask about clubhouse, health and fitness center, community pool if they have one. Ask about the parks. If you have children, ask what school district does the property falls on so you can do your research on those schools. How close or far are you from the stores? What are their plans for the community and for the city? Think about what is important to you. Again, this is where having an agent can help you because your agent should stop and think about your wants and needs and how this property checks all those. I know that's what I do for my clients. 

When you know what to do, what to expect and when you work with the right people, the right team, purchasing a new construction home, can be the right fit for you. 

Find new construction homes in and around Inland Empire at:


If you or someone you know is looking to own, sell or invest in real estate in Canyon Lake - Menifee area and the surrounding cities, I'd love to help! 

Angela Carpio, Realtor



4 Financial Steps To Take Before Buying A Home

You think you're ready to own your home? Here are financial steps you can take before you start searching for home.  BUILD YOUR CREDIT. ...