Rent vs. Buy Calculators

When discussing renting versus buying, it’s helpful to have tools to calculate the differences. Luckily, our friends at JVM Lending have hooked us up. Here is our edited version of their information:

Imagine having a borrower who is paying $1,800 in rent who is very nervous about his or her potential payment increase after purchasing a home. These calculators can show how their “effective payment” will go down when tax savings and appreciation are accounted for.

Now, Trulia and Freddie Mac both offer great “rent vs. buy” calculators that will help with this. Even with modest appreciation (like 3%) and tax rate (28-34%) assumptions, these calculators can clearly show how much better off people are when they buy.

For example, according to our imaginary borrower, the Trulia calculator tells us her net housing costs will actually be 3% lower after she buys a $500,000 home with 20% down. These tools can help potential  buyers get off the fence by showing why it’s a better investment to buy a home and  accurately differentiate between buying and renting.  I like to look at as you are paying yourself, not a landlord.

 

Congrats to two happy clients!

I want to offer my sincerest congratulations to Amanda and Siubhan on their recent closings!

Amanda, a past client of mine, decided she wanted to pursue her dream of having land, horses, chickens and a big garden. When a piece of land became available in Vacaville, she decided to make an offer and it was accepted! We then rushed to get her Concord home ready over the Thanksgiving holiday and were in contract by December 9th. Whew!

Siubhan is another past client who had bought a condo in Antioch four years ago, but had not been living in it for the last year or so and could not rent it out due to rental restrictions. She felt now was the right time to sell. Twelve offers and $26,000 over asking price later, Siubhan is excited to take a trip back to Scotland to visit family.

I would love to know your story and help you accomplish your dreams, reach out to me or visit my website: www.kristinlanham.com.

Sauced Opens in the old Pyramid Location

Pyramid Alehouse was a long-standing favorite in downtown Walnut Creek, but has recently given way to a new barbecue joint called Sauced.

The owners are cousins (one raised in Pleasanton, one in the South) and imported everything from the South – from the wood used in the restaurant to the menu and drinks. Their goal is to bring authentic BBQ to Northern California, but they did not bring southern pricing to the table.


Where the old Pyramid brewery tanks were is now a huge, open bar and that seating area looks massive with the new layout. They do trivia on Tuesday and Bingo on Wednesday each week, and the dining area also has plenty of space for big groups.

I had the brisket which was served with apple coleslaw (very good) and a slice of corn bread with whole kernel corn (authentic and tasty) plus two drinks. It was rich and I had a food coma for a few hours, but maybe the drinks attributed to the feeling.

The food and ambiance is good; my son ordered a Cubana, which includes a fried pickle in it and two sides, the cost $20. The BBQ I have had outside of Austin, TX would cost much less and is just as good, but we can’t all go to Austin for some down-home BBQ and I am sure our rents are much higher, thus Sauced is local and may be the next best thing if you are hunkering for BBQ.

They do have a great bar area, tons of mico-brews to choose from and a daily happy hour. It is a great place to gather with friends and enjoy a game. Pyramid left some pretty big shoes to fill, considering its popularity, so time will tell if Sauced can keep the seats filled. I do hope they continue the live music on the patio in the summer and would love to hear what you think and if you know of any other great BBQ spots!

Market tidbits, inspired by The Big Short

The other day, I wasn’t feeling well and ended up on the couch for most of the day watching The Big Short. It was much more insightful the second time around – I highly recommend watching if you haven’t already!

After seeing the movie and getting a spam voicemail market update from a lender (that was a first; the phone never even rang), I was prompted to blog about these tidbits:

  • Did you know that for every 8 applicants for home loans, 1 does not get approved? That proves the importance of getting pre-approved prior to house hunting.
  • Mortgage Rates saw a small decrease the week of Feb. 6th-11th and the stock market is showing signs of stalling. In speaking with my Degalis Advisor about my SEP, I asked if I should get out of Bonds. His advice was that we are due for a correction, so keep the Bonds for now.
  • The MCA index (which stands for “mortgage credit availability”) increased for the 5th month, which means we have looser mortgage standards. This has been needed because of strict regulations after the crash (we went from one extreme to another), but it still makes me nervous after re-watching The Big Short.
  • The 2017 year in real estate has been coined as “Modernization” and we should see a continued strong pace of growth and above average appreciation.
  • The West will lead the way in appreciation at 5.5 percent, compared to 4.5 percent nationwide.

So on that note, Have a Happy Valentines Day

Art Town: Sea Queen

This week for Art Town, we have another cool utility box in downtown Walnut Creek. This one is by Casey Rasmussen White and located at the corner of Locust and Cypress right along side Sunol Ridge.

As you can see, this is a multimedia work with an interesting perspective on the “sea queen” herself. I really liked the quote on the side: “She was made of magic that only I could see.”

I was also lucky enough to get a snapshot of a mother and her kid admiring it. Looked like the mother was trying to explain the art to her child – it was adorable!

Year of the Rooster

Recently, I went to an International Group Meet-Up for the Chinese New Year at Dragon’s Pond in Walnut Creek. It is the Year of the Rooster this year!

IMG_0115If you are born in a Rooster year, you are apparently an active, amusing, popular person around other people. You are hardworking, resourceful, courageous, talented and confident. They are honest and enjoy being in the spotlight, but can also be vain and boastful! Does that sound like you if you’re a Rooster?

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If you were born in 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993 or 2005, you are also a Rooster. And if that’s the case, you share a sign with Bob Marley, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears!

IMG_0108At Dragon’s Pond, there was a Dragon Dance performed by a local club in Concord, and all the members of the meet-up had a lively conversation with a lot of interesting perspectives. And, as usual, the food was very good!

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Lemonade is a healthy, delicious lunch option

Lemonade opened up a location next to Corner’s Tavern and across from Stanford’s at the outskirts of Broadway Plaza – if you haven’t tried it yet, you should!

Lemonade is best known for its healthy options and a buffet-style bar of grab-and-go meals. You can get anything from sandwiches, salads and soups to four samplers in one box of premade options much like the Whole Foods hot bar.

It’s quick and easy and all the food I’ve tried there has been really great. Most recently, I had a poke salad with avocado mash. Oh, and as the name implies, they also have a great selection of fresh lemonades to choose from!

I really like this as a healthy lunch and quick lunch option as you can be in and out in 10 minutes, but I still miss La Boulange and wish Starbucks would have kept them around. Let me know what you think!

Warning, don’t leave valuables in your car!

Walnut Creek has always been a pleasant, mostly crime-free little town. As the population (and popularity) of it grows though, we’ve seen more and more brazen crimes.

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For whatever reason, car burglary seems to be the crime that is really rising fast in Walnut Creek. Unfortunately, I was recently a victim of such an attack. That’s my car in the picture above, shown in the first space next to the elevator on Locust in the garage at the movie theater downtown.

I believe whoever broke the window saw my small purple duffel bag that is a tool kit I received as a Christmas gift this year.   Another car three stalls down also had their window broke and a back pack stolen out of the car.  My son and I went to dinner and then the 10:15 showing of LaLaLand which got out at 12:30.  There were very few cars and people at that time of night and the police department said their are no cameras in the garage.  I think we were watched, cars scoped out and they waited for a quite time to break the window and steal a specific item.

Based on this experience and the cost to fix everything as it doesn’t exceed my deductible is to not leave anything that looks like a purse or a bag in the car and maybe leave it unlocked or if it can be mistaken for a purse, make sure it isn’t in site.