couple_in_fordIf you’re like most California renters, you’ve been dreaming of moving into a home of your own. One of the best benefits of home ownership is knowing that your monthly payment is going towards a long-term investment. In addition, there are so many bonuses to having your own home, including tax deductions and the ability to make whatever changes you want to your home.

With interest rates still at all-time-lows, the possibility of home ownership for Central Coast renters is within reach.

What Lenders Want to Know

In order to become a homeowner, you must first answer the question, “Can I afford a home?” and learn what it takes financially to buy one. Before you start deciding which Central Coast city best suits you and which neighborhoods appeal to you, you’ll need to take a good look at your finances. Here are some things you’ll be asked to gather paperwork on:

  • Any financial assets
  • All debts
  • Current financial investments
  • Employment history and current income
  • Credit history and score

Lenders want to feel secure that as a first-time home buyer, you are a stable, financially responsible person who will pay back a mortgage loan on a home in the Central Coast of California. Examining your financial and credit history and employment background gives them the information they need to make decisions on how much to lend you and under what conditions.
You want to find a reputable lender who will help you to pre-qualify for a home loan. After assessing your total income, credit history and how much of a down payment you can make, they’ll be able to give you some real numbers. A good lender will give you some options and help you find the best mortgage rates for your situation. Once you know how much you can qualify for as a first time home buyer, you’ll be able to take that information to your real estate agent.

Finding a Real Estate Agent

If you haven’t found a real estate agent already, consider how to choose a realtor on the Central Coast. A good real estate agent will really listen to what you want in a home and match properties to your specifications, including the amount you are pre-qualified for. They should be able to provide you with plenty of information about the real estate market in San Luis Obispo County or Santa Barbara County, including how to search real estate property listings and how to find a neighborhood that is the right fit for you.

Mortgage Calculator Tools

If you’re hoping to get a general idea of what your costs will be before you meet with a lender, take a look at our mortgage calculator tools. Although these tools can’t replace the thorough assessment of a good lender, they will give a general idea about whether you can afford a home in San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara County.

  • How much your monthly payment will be
  • What you should be earning in order to meet your house payment and other expenses
  • How much difference will a loan be if you pay discount points
  • Plus more!

Central Coast of California Real Estate Market

Perhaps you are interested in living closer to the coast in Morro Bay, Pismo Beach or Los Osos or hoping to find where you can get the most house for your money on the Central Coast. Maybe you want a location closer to work or in a neighborhood that has a kid-friendly park nearby. Weather, wind and fog may be considerations for you as well. Both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo county offer a diverse range of areas to live and plenty of homes to choose from for first-time home buyers. Ask your real estate agent to compare local real estate values and trends between the different communities so you can make an informed decision on the type of home to buy. Check out our Compare Central Coast Cities page to learn more about your options here.
Whether you are considering a home in a new development, a fixer-upper, a renovated classic or hoping to find a deal among foreclosure listings, your real estate agent can help you as a first-time home buyer in your search for the perfect California Central Coast property. Sign up to receive just listed alerts via email when a property comes on the market that meets your exact specifications. Hopefully, the answer to your questions, “Can I afford a home?” is YES! and in no time, you’ll be making your new California house into the home of your dreams

woman_on_ipadBuying a home is one of the most significant financial events in your lifetime. Just as you would never go into court without a good attorney or get an operation without an excellent surgeon, don’t face this complex process without the aide of a qualified expert. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Experience over Technology.

The real estate agents with the best technology skills are not always the most experienced professionals. An agent who responds in a timely manner is important, but don’t choose one just because he/she is the first to return your call or email. Being represented by someone skilled at negotiating a real estate deal on your behalf is more valuable to you than an agent who is quick with an iPhone.

Take the time to get to know the person you choose to represent you on this very important purchase. Make sure he/she knows the property values within the neighborhood where you want to buy, knows how to negotiate a sale and has the experience to walk you through the details . Compile a list of characteristics that are important to you in an agent and interview until you find someone who offers what you want.

Free Service for Buyers.

Many buyers do not realize that it doesn’t cost them anything to have a real estate agent
working for them. The seller of the property pays the commission to the agent they hire to market their home. When
you buy a home, the agent who represents you will recieve part of the commission that has been already agreed
upon by the seller and the seller’s agent. Some buyers think that they can only work with the agent who lists the property, but this isn’t the case at all.

Loyalty to One Agent Benefits You.

Most real estate agents are going to work harder for you once they know you
are a loyal client. If you aren’t ready to commit to one agent, be upfront about that when you ask for their
assistance, whether it be to give you information or to view a home . A mature, confident agent understands that
he/she needs to earn your business. But keep in mind that the most successful buyer/agent relationships are
usually ones based upon mutual respect and trust. Once you have found an agent you trust, let him/her know that
you will be loyal. Tell other agents you encounter at Open Houses, etc. that you are already working with someone.
Most agents appreciate and honor that honesty.

If you would like some assistance in finding an agent that is the right match for your needs, our Concierge Service specializes in agent/buyer “match-making.” We have over 200 agents from which to choose. Learn more »

Getting ready to sell? Consider these important tips on “How to Determine Your Home’s Value.”

cash_in_on_foreclosuresAs a soon-to-be home buyer, you want to do everything you can to find the best mortgage rates before you apply for a home loan. So shopping around is an obvious first step.

What types of loans are available?

Many people are surprised to hear that there are a variety of loan options available for home buyers. In addition to conventional mortgage loans, you’ll find:

  • Loans for first time home buyers (including some that offer 100% financing)
  • Loans for people with less than perfect credit
  • Loans that require minimum down payment
  • Special loans for state employees and teachers with CalPERS and CalSTRS
  • Loans for veterans
  • Plus more!

What are points?

Points (or discount points) are pre-paid interest that you pay to a lender to reduce the interest rate attached to your loan. In other words, you may decide you want a lower monthly payment, so you pay a lump sum up front to get that lower payment. Often a lender will give you several options when you are trying to find the best mortgage rates. For example, you might have the option to choose between a 6% interest rate with no points or a 5.75% interest rate with one point. One point is equal to one percentage point of the loan. So, one point on a $300,000 loan will be equal to $3,000. When you pay points, you usually pay them along with your closing costs when you purchase is finalized at the close of escrow. so you’ll need to have cash available to you if you are considering this option.

Get Pre-qualified – it is so important!

It really is in your best interest to meet with a lender and get pre-qualified before you began your property search. Getting pre-qualified means that you provide information about your financial information (income, debts, checking and savings accounts) to the lender. The lender will review that, do a credit check on you and let you know how much money the bank will loan you for the purchase of a home. They will provide you with a “pre-qualification letter” which you can include when you make an offer on a property. There are several reasons why this is important.

  1. You will know exactly what the bank will lend you and what price range you should consider when looking at properties.
  2. You’ll have an good idea of how much of a down payment you will need to buy a home.
  3. You will know what your monthly payment will be before you fall in love with a house. You can decide objectively if you want to make this commitment.
  4. You will be in a better position to have your offer on a home accepted, especially if you are vying against other buyers for the same home.
  5. A pre-qualification letter is required by most banks before they will look at any offer that you make on one of their bank-owned foreclosure properties.

So when you ask, “Where can I find the best mortgage rates?” keep in mind that you should not only consider interest rates, points and terms. You also want to make sure you are selecting a lender who will be looking after your best interests.

I am happy to provide you with a list of lenders who have done an excellent job of assisting my clients.

Located in the popular San Luis Bay Estates and only minutes to the Pacific Ocean, golf course & walking trails!
This two bedroom, 2 1/2 half bath condo is light and bright with unobstructed views of oak-studded hills from the kitchen, dining room and living room.  You’l experience the serenity and privacy the minute you walk into the home.  There is an Italian country, custom designed kitchen and a beautiful, custom designed master bath.   You’ll find cathedral ceilings, decks on both the upper and lower levels, a downstairs family room, lots of storage and built-ins throughout the home plus a bonus room that can be used as an office, playroom or exercise room.  To learn more, visit

Offered at $680,000.

The state of California is on notice regarding availability of water and will face significant and complex water challenges over the next several years; therefore, purchasing a home in the state warrants doing your homework. In San Luis Obispo (SLO) County the water source varies by town and area, with some more challenged than others. Due to an extended drought period, our water issues are becoming quite tangible.

The water source in each town and the systems in place to provide water to the community will continue to be key to getting through this drought period. Because many of the towns in SLO County rely on ground water (wells), the lack of rain has caused the area’s aquifers to be strained and depleted over the last several years. Even the reservoirs that provide water to many of the communities are below average and some, like Lake San Antonio, are reaching extremely low levels.

What if the drought continues? Could we actually run out of water? Scary thought, but without measures to monitor and manage water in the near future, yes, I believe we could run out of water in certain areas. How devastating would it be to purchase your dream property only to run out of your water supply and not be able to use or resell your property? Each and every property is different: some may have zero problems, yet others may be headed precariously to real problems.

I feel this subject worthy of disclosure to each and every one of my buyers. I hope we see record rainfall this winter and this becomes a moot point.

Relevant News
North County:

Deep Trouble in North County
Stakes are High for Paso’s Beechwood Project
Drought hits some area Lakes Hard
Supervisors put off a Paso groundwater ordinance extension


Prior planning, alternate sources dampen impact of Cambria water restriction on other agencies
Cambria’s outdoor-watering ban could be loosed if supplies improve


FAQs on Nipomo Water
Nipomo Mesa Water Levels Plunge



Eddie Stanfield is a Broker Associate, General Partner of Century 21 Hometown Realty and member of the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing.  He specializes in representing buyers in the purchase of luxury real estate in San Luis Obispo County. Stanfield maintains a thorough knowledge of the inventory of fine homes and assists discriminating buyers in finding homes that complement their lifestyles.

This week, I ventured out to view the list of luxury homes for sale in Templeton, California. EddiesList includes 5 homes in Templeton, located on Bunkhouse Ct, Cobble Creek Way, South El Pomar, Gates Field Road and Spanish Oaks Lane.

I often have my favorites on EddiesList, and this week’s favorite in Templeton is 3015 Gates Field Road. This custom built home, inspired by Wallace Neff, has it all, plus 39 acres with producing grapes, which includes just under 7 acres in Pinot Noir. Located off Highway 46 a few miles outside of downtown Templeton in a gated community called Hidden Valley Ranch, this area is known by vintners for an incredible climate that is typically 10 degrees cooler, called the Templeton Gap.

The European style home sits on a higher elevation above the vineyards, surrounded by the beautiful majestic oaks. The spacious floor plan, measuring over 5900 square feet, features Spanish accents throughout, outdoor entertainment oasis with hot tub, bar-b-q and fireplace. For the car lover/collector, or artist, it’s fully insulated for your comfort of working all year long indoors. It will easily fit 4 or 5 cars.

If location is up there on your list when purchasing, Hidden Valley Ranch is spectacular, gated, wooded and remote. All of Templeton has so much to offer, including the other 4 homes for sale, all great choices, depending on your taste. This particular one goes on top my list, if you’re interested in viewing it, call me and let’s go see it.


Eddie Stanfield is a Broker Associate, General Partner of Century 21 Hometown Realty and member of the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing.  He specializes in representing buyers in the purchase of luxury real estate in San Luis Obispo County. Stanfield maintains a thorough knowledge of the inventory of fine homes and assists discriminating buyers in finding homes that complement their lifestyles.  EddiesList features premier homes for sales starting at $1,500,00.00.

If you are serious about obtaining the American dream of owning your own home and willing to take a little time. your chances of being approved for a home loan after experiencing a short sale will increase tremendously.

The following steps will help guide you and bring some understanding to this, at times, order to improve your chances of approval here are some preliminary steps you can do to reach goal of owning your own home.

Traditional guidelines require that two to three years must pass after as short sale.  For a conventional loan it is three years with no exceptions.  With an FHA loan, though it is more expensive, allows more flexibility with its guidelines in regards to short sale and credit grading.  The first is guidelines state two years should pass in order to qualify.  There is an exception to this time-frame if we can prove extenuating circumstances (a onetime event).

After we have proved your onetime event was not financial mismanagement and not to be duplicated, you will need to provide a history of established good credit since the time of your short sale.  If traditional credit such as credit cart installment loans are not available or not reflecting on the credit report we can use nontraditional credit items to satisfy this conditions.  These nontraditional items can include nontraditional credit references like cell phone bills, high rent payments, monthly contributions to a 401 k, cable or monthly subscriptions which are not documented.

Another hurdle we must contend with are any late payments prior to you short sale.  The only way to get through this condition, without having to wait the allotted time frame, is to prove under no circumstances were you able to pay until the sale was final. Please review this information with your selected loan officer.

How much can you afford is another important factor.  This is also known as your ability to repay.  Being that your ability to repay has been compromised in the past you must be able to present a strong case showing you ability to repay now.  What this means to you the buyer is that solid work history is needed to satisfy continuance of pay. Also, in order to maximize your buying power you need take a good look at your liabilities before any application as no exceptions to your debt to income ratios will be made.

Want to know what homes are currently for sale on the Central Coast of California?  You can see up-to-date listings of properties for sale here.


For more information about current interest rates and mortgage loan options, call Sarah Bradley from Wells Fargo Mortgage in Pismo, Beach, CA

We offer these tools to give you some general ideas about your mortgage payment questions.? However, we strongly recommend that you talk with one of our recommended lenders?to get the most accurate information and to find the best mortgage rates


Additional payment calculator

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Should I pay discount points?

Not sure if you should pay discount points on your mortgage loan


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How much will my tax deduction be?

Want to know how much your home mortgage will save you in taxes?


Bi-weekly mortgage calculator

Want to know how much time and money you’ll save paying off your loan on a bi-weekly payment plan?


APR calculator

To find out the annual percentage rate of your loan, enter the loan amount, interest rate, points, other costs and year-length term.


Interest only monthly payment calculator

To find out the monthly savings you could gain from an interest-only payment plan.

In addition to an increasing inventory of exquisite homes, the luxury home market has become even more attractive to home buyers.  Jumbo loans, which have traditionally cost more that other loans, are now available at interest rates close to or lower than conventional loans.  This article explains why and gives some good advice to those who are shopping for multimillion dollar properties.

Jumbo loans make a comback as rates fall


JoJo Stanfield is a luxury home sales specialist on the California Central Coast.

If you’re in the market to purchase a home but have been sitting on the fence waiting for the “perfect” one, you may want to hop off soon.  Interest rates have been creeping up lately (as have the prices of homes for sale on the Central Coast) and all that is going to affect your pocketbook.

For example, if you were to buy a $500,000 single-family owner-occupied home, a 30-year fixed loan at today’s interest rate of 4.25% will mean a monthly mortgage payment of $1967.76.  Two months ago, when the interest rate was 3.5%, the monthly payment for the same price purchase was $1,796.18.

We all know the anxiety and stress this “rate gambling”  can cause and I intend to give you some insight and knowledge that will ease stress and create a comfortable decision process. It is important to understand how your mortgage rate itself is determined and what will affect its fluctuation in the market. With this information it’s easier to make a secure and educated decision on when is the right time to act.

What influences rising interest rates?

The best way to answer that question is to start with some other questions:

  • Where does your money goes after you make your payment?
  • Who gets the money from my interest payment?
  • Who is profiting from this transaction every month?

Is it your servicer, the bank, maybe even the lending officer?  No….
The answer is your loan investor.

All mortgage loan are sold on the secondary market in the form of mortgage backed securities. These securities are low risk investment vehicles that typically yield a slightly higher rate than US Treasury Bonds, as to appeal to investors looking for a conservative option on the market. This creates a direct link between US Treasury bonds rates and Mortgage rates. Hence, when US bond rates go up then mortgage securities follow suit seeing as how they have a higher risk and yield a higher return. The same goes to be said if US Treasury Bond rates go down.

With this being addressed our next question is “How do we make the US Treasury rates go down?”  As with most things in the economy the price is determined by the “supply and demand” concept.

For example: When there is a shortage of milk in the market, the price of milk goes up and the dairyman yields more profit or return. When there is a larger supply of milk introduced to the market, the price of milk drops and the dairyman makes less.

This is the concept that was used and has been keeping mortgage rates down recently. The plan is referred to as Quantitative easing and allowed the government to buy large quantities of US Treasury bonds, in essence controlling the supply and keeping the rate down. These dealings with the US treasury bond advertently lowered rates for mortgage consumers and pushed investors to seek low risk investing opportunities other then the US treasury bonds.

Recent Changes in the Market

Now that we know who is receiving the benefits our interest payments and what can dictate the fluctuation, let’s look at what has recently occurred in the market. According to USA Today on June 02, 2013, it seems that the government will be tapering back on the purchase of US bonds earlier than the original stated year of 2014. This created a higher rate of return on US Treasury Bonds and in essence mortgage backed securities. This increase of rate is then passed onto us, the consumer.  Based on this information we can assume that unless the US Treasury bond rate of return drops drastically we cannot anticipate any new the dip in the rate. If anything prepare ourselves for the continuous increase to come.

Knowing that this gradual increase is coming to mortgage rates and comparing them to the overall rates of the past, now more than ever it is important to lock in the rate and find the home at an affordable rate. Rates are still low and home values are increasing, if you are debating and don’t know where to start as always I suggest with questions! Thank you for your time and until next time…
Happy Hunting!


For more information about current interest rates and mortgage loan options, call Sarah Bradley from Wells Fargo Mortgage in Pismo, Beach, CA