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When is the Right Time for a Home Equity Loan?

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Looking Ahead and Making Smart Decisions – When is the Right Time for a Home Equity Loan?

Home Equity Loan

Home Equity Loan

If you are like many other American homeowners, the roof over your head represents the single largest asset you own. Whether you are still hanging out in your starter home or enjoying the good life in your dream home, your investment in real estate is substantial, and that is a very good thing indeed.

Over time the value of real estate tends to go up, although not always in a straight line. That means the home you live in today will probably be worth even more tomorrow, and that your wealth can increase in conjunction with the value of the house you love so much.

Unfortunately, the roof over your head is also probably the most illiquid asset you own. Whether your home is worth $100,000 or $1 million, the only way to realize your profits is to sell it. That obviously creates its own set of problems – starting with where you will live.

That is why so many homeowners have been taking advantage of home equity loans and lines of credit to tap the value of their homes without selling the property out from under them. If the majority of your wealth is tied up in your home and you need cash now, taking out a home equity loan can be a smart move indeed.

Of course it is important to know when, and under what circumstances, you should tap your home equity with a loan or line of credit. There are a number of circumstances where such a loan makes sense, but it is important to evaluate your individual circumstances before making a final decision.

One of the most common uses for a home equity loan or line of credit is to finance needed home improvements or repairs. Whether your roof is leaking or you want to add a new deck, a home equity loan or line of credit can give you the money you need to make those repairs and improvements.

If you are financing a home improvement project, a home equity line of credit can be a particularly good vehicle. With a line of credit, you can access the funds as you need them and pay interest only on the amount you borrow. When the project is complete, you can start paying back the loan and rebuilding the equity in your home.

Parents often use home equity loans to pay for the education of their children, and paying college costs is another smart use of these financial vehicles. Whether you use a line of credit to pay for each year of college or a single lump sum loan to finance the entire four years, tapping the equity in your home is an excellent way to reduce the high cost of college loans and get your kids off to the best possible start in life.

No matter what you use the money for, a home equity loan or line of credit can be a smart way to finance your dreams. Whether you use the money to add a new porch, repair a leaky roof or send the kinds to college, tapping the equity in your single most valuable asset is an excellent way to maintain your wealth and secure your financial future. Taking out a loan against the value of your home is not something to be taken lightly, but under the right circumstances it can be a very smart move indeed.

Whether you need to sell your home, refinance or obtain a home equity loan, it is always a good idea to find out how much your home is worth in the today’s market. Contact Mona Koussa for instant market evaluation.

Dublin Ca Real Estate Video Market Update, April, 2016

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Dublin Ca real estate video market update

Dublin Ca real estate video market update, April, 2016. Although new home builders are adding more Dublin homes into the market, the homes for sale in Dublin inventory is still struggling to meet home buyers demands. Although the number of Dublin homes for sale increased 57% year over year, we only have 57 active listings available today. Meanwhile, the number of sold homes last month shrunk 27% from last year with 60 closing. With 87 listing went pending, demands for Dublin homes is sharply on the rise. The of number of days homes spent on the market increased 29% at 22 days is largely due to home sellers wanting to have more than one open house to attract more home buyers.
Contact Mona Koussa for more information about Dublin, Ca real estate

Dublin Homes Value

Castro Valley Market Video Update April 2016

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Castro Valley Market Video Update April 2016

Castro Valley real estate is still experiencing low inventory, in fact Castro Valley has the lowest number of homes for sale in the area. The number of homes for sale was down 42% from a year earlier and down 14% from the previous month, while the number of sold properties was down 19%.
The median listing price of homes was just under $950,000, while the median sold price was just under $800,000.
The average market time of listings on the market was 41 days in March, 2016 and 18 days in March, 2015.

View all available homes for sale in Castro Valley

San Ramon Market Video Update Apr 2016

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

San Ramon Market Video Update Apr 2016

San Ramon Market Video Update: Despite an increase of 12% of active listings year over year and 25% month over month in San Ramon, over all inventory is still well below normal market needs. The median sale price of active listings is just below $1.2 million, while the median sold price is just under $1.05 million. The number of market time days inched up 15% from a year ago. The number of San Ramon homes for sale increased 12% from a year ago, while the number of sold homes dipped 18%. San Ramon real estate market time is up 15%.

San Ramon Market Video Update is a snapshot of current market activities, for more detail report, contact Mona Koussa.

Find our home how much you can sell your home for

30751 Carr Way Union City, CA 94587 Home For Sale

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

30751 Carr Way Union City, CA 94587 Home For Sale


30751 Carr Way Union City, CA 94587

Coming Soon: Built in 1990 this 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 2 car garage 30751 Carr Way Union City, CA 94587 home boosts 1,860 Sq.Ft of living space and sets on 6,732 Sq.Ft. lot. Located in the Alvarado-Niles neighborhood with quick access to freeways and a short walk to Union Landing Shopping Center. With its close proximity to the Silicon Valley, this home is in ideal location for commuters.

For more information about this home contact Mona Koussa at 510-541-4050

Also search Union City Homes For Sale 

Sell Your Home Fast Now-Top Six Reasons

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

Sell your home fast while interest rate still low. With low mortgage rates home buying and selling is a win-win situation for both buyers and sellers. Buyers can get more of a home for their money and home sellers get more money for their home.

Sell Your Home Fast Now

Sell Your Home Fast Now

If you’re selling your home and looking to buy your dream home, the time is now. According to CNN, home sellers are seeing the biggest gains in eight years, and home buyers are enjoying equal opportunity with mortgage rates still at record lows. Often you hear it’s either a seller’s market or a buyer’s market in real estate. However, right now, based on pricing, low mortgage rates, and skyrocketing rental fees, the time is right for both buyers and sellers.

The top six reasons for selling your home and buying new one right now are:
1. Interest rates are still low; for now.
Mortgage interest rates have been bouncing for a while, but continue to be considered at record lows. Currently a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage can be locked in for less than 4-percent from certain lenders, and in some cases that rate may hover even below 3.5-percent. However, it’s expected that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates soon. As soon as these increases are enacted, the buyer’s window for securing a low rate for a home mortgage will slam shut.

2. Sales for existing homes continue to rise.
According to the National Association of Realtors, “Sales of existing homes rose 0.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.47 million.” 2015 was a strong year for home sellers, with real estate sales reaching a nine-year high-point. There is a healthy demand for homes, making it easier to sell your home fast.

3. Home affordability is up.
Maybe you’ve been hesitating to upgrade to a better neighborhood with better schools or you want to make that jump from renting to ownership, but the price has just seemed to high. Now is the time to make that move. The home affordability index looks at a variety of factors including interest rates, housing prices, and average income to determine just how affordable housing actually is at any one point in time.
Currently, the home affordability index is high, which indicates that right now is one of the most affordable times to purchase a home, whether you’re a first time buyer or looking to upgrade (or even downsize.)

4. Rental rates are high.
The United States Census Bureau reports that in the fourth quarter of 2015, the median asking rent for vacant rent units was $850. This number has steadily risen in the last several years and is not expected to decrease. With rental rates high and soaring, it can be financially beneficial to ditch the rental and invest in a mortgage and home ownership.

5. Supply likely to dwindle.
For both buyers and sellers, the home market supply is likely to dwindle. It’s simple — the best homes in the best markets sell first. With interest rates low and rental rates high, the demand for great homes in good neighborhoods with amenities like parks, shopping, and low crime rates grows leading to a dwindling supply.

6. Owning a home improves your wealth.
Ownership of a home may come with a mortgage, but with that home loan you’re building equity. When renting, you’re actually paying for your landlord’s mortgage. As a homeowner, it’s your mortgage, your property, and your legacy of wealth to share and pass on to your family.

If you’re currently employed, have a solid credit history, and are ready to ditch renting or upgrade to a better neighborhood, downsize to a more manageable living space, or enjoy a larger family home, now is the time.

To sell your home fast and for the most money, contact Mona Koussa 925-831-9615

East Bay Real Estate Updates

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Area Real Estate Updates including Alameda and Contra Costa Counties

Happy Heart Health Month

Friday, February 12th, 2016
Healthy heartHeart Health

February is National Heart Health Month and a reminder of the importance of taking care of our tickers. Heart disease can affect both men and women, young and old. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death between both genders. Make a promise to yourself this month to live a longer, healthier life.

Fun Facts About the Heart

  • The first heart cell we develop in the womb starts beating as early as four weeks after conception.
  • On average, the heart beats about 100,000 times each day.
  • A heart can beat even when separated from the body because it has its own independent electric impulses.
  • For the average person, your heart will pump over 1.5 million barrels of blood over your lifespan.
  • Although the common belief that your heart is on the left side of your chest, it is actually centered between the lungs.
  • Your left lung is slightly smaller than the right to make room for your heart.
  • In a single day, your blood travels through the body for a total distance of 12,000 miles.
  • The beating sound we hear is the valves of the heart opening and closing.
  • The right side of the heart is responsible for pumping blood directly to the lungs while the left side of the heart pumps blood back into the rest of your body.
  • Heart cancer is extremely rare because heart cells often stop dividing early in your lifetime.
  • The heart pumps blood to more than 75 trillion cells located within the body.
  • The only place that blood does not circulate is the corneas.
  • A woman’s heart beats naturally faster than a man’s heart. Women average 78 beats per minute while men average 70 beats per minute.

Staying Healthy Tips

Now that we know just how much the heart does for our body, our goal should be to take active strides to keep it healthy. The following steps are natural ways to keep your heartbeat going strong.

Physical activity is a must to prevent heart disease. This doesn’t mean you have to start a boot camp workout or train for a triathlon, but being active will greatly reduce your chance of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate cardiovascular exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous cardiovascular exercise. Exercise sessions can be broken down into easy 30-minute sessions.

Happiness can actually lower your risk of heart disease. According to the Cleveland Clinic, happiness and a solid sense of emotional vitality has a direct effect on heart disease risk. Keep stress at a minimum for optimal heart health.

Know your family history of heart disease. If heart disease runs in your family, let your doctor know in order to take preventative screening measures.

Monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure on a regular basis. High blood pressure and high levels of blood cholesterol put you at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Follow a heart-healthy diet. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains should make up the majority of your daily calorie intake. Limit unhealthy fats and reduce how much sodium you consume.

How to Contest Property Taxes

Friday, February 12th, 2016

How to Contest Property Taxes

property taxes

Property Taxes

Property taxes are an inevitable part of home ownership. However, property taxes can be contested and a reassessment performed that can reduce tax outlay, leaving more money in homeowner pockets. Here are a few items to note before proceeding.

What is Property Tax?

Local governments derive a significant source of revenue from property taxes. An individual property tax bill is based on the valuation of the property, the area property tax rate, and any applicable exemptions. Property taxes pay for public services, such as public schools, libraries, sanitation, police and fire protection. Homeowners must continue to pay these bills or risk additional interest, penalties or the loss of the home.

Who Can Homeowners Turn to for Relief?

Homeowners can reach out to the local tax authority to formally request a reassessment. A local realtor or CMA can help with additional steps necessary in the reassessment process.

What Ways are Available to Homeowners?

Homeowners can do some preliminary homework to demonstrate grounds for a reassessment. It is necessary to demonstrate that the home is valued below its current assessed value. Start with:

1. A call to a trusted real estate agent to check on property values for comparable homes in the area. As homeowners prepare their case, homeowners or the realtor can find 3 to 5 similar homes that have sold recently. Check the assessments in the public database of the local government. If assessments are lower, challenge that the property’s assessment is too high. If assessments are similar but the properties are in better condition or have recent additions, it may be argued on the basis of equity.

2. A real consideration as to whether or not the process is worth the time. Challenge any new assessment letter within 30 days and be ready for a process that can take months. Check on the data listed as part of the home. A difference in lot size or bathrooms can offer an easy way to contest the property.

3. A preparation of materials and a call the local assessor’s office. Many will speak informally over the phone but some homeowners choose to go through with a formal review. In that case, request a formal review, fill out related forms, follow instructions and pay attention to deadlines. In general, these reviews do not require homeowners to appear in person and may take up to three months. Homeowners will receive the decision in writing. An appeal to an independent board is available if the review does not meet expectations.

4. A review to see if a property tax exemption may be applied. Exemptions are offered based on age, military service, disability, and more.

Some states, like California’s Proposition 13, have had recent legislation that places caps on the average property tax. California dropped from 3% of assessed value with unlimited annual increases to 1% of assessed value with an annual tax increase cap of 2%. Homeowners should be realistic as the assessed value is only one part of the equation and the property tax rate cannot be negotiated. A quick review of any recent state legislation, valuations of similar properties, documentation on the house, and applicable exemptions will enable homeowners to decide if contesting is a suitable option.

Contact Mona Koussa to get your home value evaluation (CMA)

2016 Year of the Monkey

Friday, February 12th, 2016
Year of the Monkey

Year of the Monkey

You may have heard that February 8 marked the beginning of the Year of the Monkey, according to the Chinese calendar. But other than enjoying the colorful sight of Chinese New Year celebrations, you’d be forgiven from not knowing your monkeys from your oxen — and what it all means.

Monkeys and Roosters and Pigs, Oh My!

The current Year of the Monkey runs until January 27, 2017. There are twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac, each representing roughly one of our Gregorian calendar years. The monkey symbolizes the ninth year in the twelve-year cycle.

In order, the animals in the 12-year cycle are: Rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

Think that’s all there is to it? Not so fast! Along with the animal symbol, you’ll need to remember that there is a second component to every zodiac year.

Because the Chinese calendar is actually a lunisolar (moon and sun) calendar, the complexity of the system is difficult for Westerners to grasp. The twelve-year “animal” cycles rotate within larger 60-year phases, with different elements associated with certain phases of the 60-year phase.

According to this Chinese system, the element associated with 2016 is fire, or red. Therefore, 2016 is the Year of the Fire Monkey, sometimes referred to as the Year of the Red Fire Monkey. (The last monkey year, 2004, was the Year of the Wood Monkey, while the next, 2028, will be the Year of the Earth Monkey.)

Impish Monkeys

According to Chinese tradition, you not only possess the general personality traits of your birth year animal, but also the distinct traits specific to the element representing where your birth year falls within 60-year phase.

As you might imagine, those born in any of the monkey years are purported to be curious, playful and intelligent, just like their animal symbol. But — again, much like actual monkeys — people sharing this zodiac symbol also supposedly possess the negative aspects of being somewhat selfish and scatterbrained.

People born in Fire Monkey years, specifically, are said to be daring, but somewhat on the grumpy side. (You can test this theory on anyone you know who happens to have been born in 1956, the last Year of the Fire Monkey.)

Red-Letter Days

Annual Chinese New Year festivities, which technically can last around 15 days, have some common elements, no matter what animal and element are associated with one’s particular birth year. The night before the official New Year, people clean their homes to symbolically sweep out the old, then gather for family dinners, similar to American Thanksgiving.

New Year’s decorations are predominantly red, including homemade cutouts hung in the windows, and red envelopes containing money are passed out to children. Festivals featuring fireworks, lanterns and dancing lions or dragons are also common.

Zodiac signs come into play with people wearing the colors associated with their annual year during New Year’s celebrations. For anyone born in monkey years, that means blue, gold and white. But it’s also auspicious when one’s birth year rolls around to wear the color of red close to your body.

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