We take the buying process as seriously as you do. That's why we want to offer you nothing but the highest quality of service. When you decide to purchase your home, make sure you are armed with as much information as needed to make smart decisions. Buying your home is one of the most important purchases you will make, so make sure you have the right agent who will take you through the following steps to help you find your dream home.


Establish Your Wants and Needs: Throughout the buying process, I will be sure to maintain your confidentiality and keep your best interests in mind.

Help You Get Pre-Qualified: This step will show you how much you can afford. This is accomplished by speaking with your financial institution and establishing what monthly payments you will be comfortable with.

Search For Your Dream Home: We will use every available method to locate a property that matches your search parameters. When we find the home that meets your criteria, I will assist you in writing an offer and act as a liaison between you and the seller.

Benefits of Owning Your Own Home vs. Renting

Home ownership can offer you tax benefits as well as the abilityto make decisions about your home. An advantage of renting is not worrying about maintenance and other financial obligations associated with owning property. There also are a number of economic considerations. Unlike renters, homeowners who secure a fixed-rate loan can lock in their monthly housing costs and make prudent investment plans knowing these expenses will not increase substantially. Home ownership is a highly leveraged investment that can yield substantial profit on a nominal front-end investment. However, such returns depend on home-price appreciation.

Generally, homes appreciate about five percent a year. Some years will be more, some less. The figure will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, and region to region. If you bought a $200,000 house, you probably did not pay cash for the home. Suppose you put as much as twenty percent down - that would be an investment of $40,000. At an appreciation rate of 5% annually, a $200,000 home would increase in value $10,000 during the first year. That means you earned $10,000 with an investment of $40,000. Your annual "return on investment" would be a whopping twenty-five percent.

Here are some frequently cited reasons for buying a house:

* You need a tax break. The mortgage interest deduction can make home ownership very appealing.

* You are not counting on price appreciation in the short term.

* You can afford the monthly payments.

* You plan to stay in the house long enough for the appreciation to cover your transaction costs. The costs of buying and selling a home include real estate commissions, lender fees and closing costs that can amount to more than 10 percent of the sales price.

* You prefer to be an owner rather than a renter.

* You can handle the maintenance expenses and headaches.

* You are not greatly concerned by dips in home values.

How much can I afford?

Finding out what you can afford is one of the first steps, which can be done by pre-qualifying for a home loan. This step will help you narrow your search for both a neighborhood and particular houses. A pre-qualification is a simple calculation that considers several factors, but primarily your income. There are no guarantees with a prequalification, but it will be expected of you when you make an offer on a home.

Knowing what you can afford is the first rule of home buying, and that depends on how much income and how much debt you have. In general, lenders don't want borrowers to spend more than 28 percent of their gross income per month on a mortgage payment or more than 36 percent on debts. It pays to check with several lenders before you start searching for a home. Most will be happy to roughly calculate what you can afford and prequalify you for a loan. The price you can afford to pay for a home will depend on six factors:

1. gross income

2. the amount of cash you have available for the down payment, closing costs and cash reserves required by the lender

3. your outstanding debts

4. your credit history

5. the type of mortgage you select

6. current interest rates

Another number lenders use to evaluate how much you can afford is the housing expense-to-income ratio. It is determined by calculating your projected monthly housing expense, which consists of the principal and interest payment on your new home loan, property taxes and hazard insurance (or PITI as it is known). If you have to pay monthly homeowners association dues and/or private mortgage insurance, this also will be added to your PITI. This ratio should fall between 28 to 33 percent, although some lenders will go higher under certain circumstances. Your total debt-to-income ratio should be in the 34 to 38 percent range.

Making an offer

Most offers include two standard contingencies: a financing contingency, which makes the sale dependent on the buyers' ability to obtain a loan commitment from a lender, and an inspection contingency, which allows buyers to have professionals inspect the property to their satisfaction. A buyer could forfeit his or her deposit under certain circumstances, such as backing out of the deal for a reason not stipulated in the contract. The purchase contract must include the seller's responsibilities, such things as passing clear title, maintaining the property in its present condition until closing and making any agreed-upon repairs to the property.


Jose Luis Saldana

Saldana Real Estate
Broker / Owner
180 Encinas Lane
Sonoma, Ca. 95476
(707) 294-5564

send an email


You are here: For Buyers