Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION | HOW TO CONTACT US

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If you need to request more information, not found in the FAQ’s, click here to contact us.

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REAL ESTATE | FAQ

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Buying and selling real estate is probably one of the most important investment decisions you will have to make. Having the right resources at your fingertips will help you make an informed decision. It is very important that you always have access to reliable, clear and up-to-date information from a very reliable and dependable source.

At the moment, the real estate market is changing so fast. Homes are in pending status so quick that if you just rely on the computer, it will be almost impossible to find your dream home. Using a Realtor will ensure that you get fast and accurate information so that when the perfect home comes up, you will be ready to act.

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As a full time Realtor, I take my job seriously and am held to the highest standard under the National Association of Realtor’s Code of Ethics. I am an agent who is an expert in the Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding areas.

When it comes to buying and selling homes, I am committed to delivering you exceptional customer service. I have a highly skilled and friendly team of professionals to help guide you through every step of your real estate transaction. We bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise about buying and selling real estate in the Santa Clarita Valley.

I have been at Keller Williams for over 9 years and have been professionally trained. I am very knowledgeable and dedicated to bringing you the highest quality of service. I love my job and I love helping others. I don’t just sell homes, I help you find your dream.

For more info, please go to: www.kimthomsonteam.com

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A short sale is the first step to avoid foreclosure. A short sale will occur when a lender agrees to take less than what is owed on the property. In most cases, the owner is already in default or has stopped making payments of their loan. Purchasing a short sale does not in any way mean you will have a “short sale.”In fact, short sales can take from one month to a year to get authorization from the bank and close escrow. They require a lot of patience, but can end up being a very good deal.

Generally speaking, a short sale will not affect your credit as negatively as a foreclosure.

An REO is a Real Estate Owned property. This is a property that was a foreclosure not purchased at an auction or a Trustee sale.

A foreclosure is when the owner has stopped making payments for a period of time and the bank takes possession of the home. This has a very negative effect on your credit and can affect your credit score for many years to come.

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In California, a Homeowner’s association is a group that manages a number of different aspects of a residential neighborhood or building. It allows the opportunity to enforce regulations so that property values don’t decline.

Many HOAs include management of recreational amenities such as a pool, clubhouse, gym, tennis court or walking trail. Many HOAs cover maintenance and landscaping of common areas. Some even cover trash and water in certain condominium complexes.

Each member pays dues to cover these expenses. HOA fees range from $20 to $850 or more each month and are usually paid separately from your mortgage payment.

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Mello-Roos is a special tax assessment to homeowners in a neighborhood to repay bonds in their community. Mostly a Mello-Roos will be used to help pay for new schools, parks, and recreation centers.

Mello-Roos has been given a negative connotation because it brings your monthly payment up, however many people are aware that statistics show that areas with a Mello-Roos have low crime rates and have highly desirable new schools. Mello-Roos is normally found in newer housing tracts built from 1994-present.

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Santa Clarita has many great schools including many that have been awarded the California Distinguished school award. Click on the following link for more info: www.greatschools.com

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Please click on the following link for more information on crime and other statistics in Santa Clarita Valley:www.scvchamber.com

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Santa Clarita has many great churches. Please click on the following link for more info: www.scvchamber.com/Religious-Organizations

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There are many jobs and career opportunities in the Santa Clarita Valley. The largest employers include: Princess Cruises, Advanced Bionics, Specialty Laboratories, H.R. Textron, and Fanfare Media Works.

Other major employers include Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, Six Flags Magic Mountain, U.S. Post Office, several school districts, three colleges, and the City of Santa Clarita.

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Santa Clarita is within an hour’s drive of the beach and the mountains, but you will find that this city has many great things to do right here in our own backyard.

Please click on the following link for more info: www.visitsantaclarita.com

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LENDER | FAQ

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As your lender, we will need information on your finances, employment history, and credit. This will allow us to ensure you are pre-approved for home financing and to discover your loan options. In general, if applicable, you will need to provide the following documentation:

  1. The previous month’s pay stubs.
  2. W-2 forms and federal tax returns for the last two years.
  3. Social security award letter.
  4. 1099 for disability income.
  5. Information on rental properties, commissions, and any other sources of income besides salary.
  6. Bank, stock, and securities statements for the last two months.
  7. For gift funds: a gift letter, evidence of transfer, and sometimes evidence of withdrawal.
  8. Divorce decree.
  9. Explanation of discrepancies in credit.

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Pre-qualification is a verbal analysis of one’s income, assets, and credit without reviewing documentation for support. On the other hand, pre-approval entails a full review of credit, income, and assets to ensure accuracy on one’s qualifying amount and loan options. Most sellers require a pre-approval letter along with your offer to ensure that if the price and terms are met, the buyer has the ability to complete the transaction. Please view our loan process video for more information at The Renno Team.

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Often grants and other forms of assistance are available to reduce a buyer’s out-of-pocket expenses. Please contact us for updated information. The minimum down payment required without the use of down payment programs can be as low as 3% for conventional financing and 3.5% with FHA financing depending on the loan amount and area. Veterans, active duty members, or those buying in a rural area may be eligible for VA or USDA financing, which does not require a down payment.

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HOMEOWNER INSURANCE | FAQ

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Homeowner insurance covers damage to your home and belongings for the following: Fire, smoke, theft, wind damage, vandalism, some water damage, and many other things that can happen. In addition to coverage for damage to your home and belongings, a homeowner insurance policy also provides coverage for additional expenses you may incur if you have to move out after a covered loss. The other main coverage included in a homeowner insurance policy is liability. This coverage pays if you are found liable for an event that leads to an injury to others or damage to their property. The policy also comes with additional coverage which can be explained by a professional Agent.

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The simple answer is NO. The purpose of insurance is to be able to rebuild your home after a loss. Presumably, if a similar home is built on the same lot, you will be made “whole” again. Therefore, the amount of insurance on the policy should reflect the actual cost to build a similar home on the same lot. The purchase price is driven primarily by market value and considers where the home is located. For example, a home in Santa Clarita will have a very different market value that the same home in Beverly Hills. Similarly, the loan amounts can vary greatly by the market value and your down payment. However, the cost of materials and labor to rebuild the same home is either location would be relatively similar.

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As mentioned above, the primary factor determining the insurance cost is the replacement cost of the home. Most insurance companies use 3rd party software and based on the features of your home, determine the replacement cost. As a result, you should know the square footage of the home along with features like flooring and any upgrades. A good agent will also ask about your need for higher liability limits and special coverage for higher valued belongings.

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The cost of homeowner insurance is determined by several factors. The primary factor is the replacement cost of the home (e.g. how much would it cost to rebuild). The replacement cost is driven by the size and the specific features of the home. Other key factors that impact the cost include the age of the home, the location of the home, the deductible selected, and if you have other policies insured with the same insurance carrier. Premiums for typical homes in Santa Clarita can range from $600 to $2,500 or more per year depending on the factors above.

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MOVING & STORAGE | FAQ

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A number of circumstances will dictate whether or not you should request an in-home estimate. Does either your new or old home have a difficult approach, such as a long, narrow driveway? Is there a particular piece of furniture you are especially concerned about? Is this your first time using a professional moving company?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider having a moving representative come by your home. S/he can assess the approach to your home or take notes on that unique piece of furniture. If it is your first time using a professional moving company, the representative will provide explanations of the various services the company provides, such as packing smaller items into boxes (e.g., dishes and books), taking bed frames apart, and disconnecting/reconnecting appliances (e.g., the refrigerator and washer/dryer) along with an estimated cost of each service. Then you can choose which services you would like done for you and which you will do yourself.

On the other hand, if you have used a professional moving company before, you are probably already aware of what services the company provides, and you could obtain an idea of cost from your preferred moving company over the phone

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Absolutely! The more work you do to prepare for your move, the less work there will be for the moving crew and the sooner they will be done, which will mean fewer hours billed. However, keep in mind that you are not just paying for time but for expertise.  Of the many items in a home that should be packed into boxes in preparation for a move, some require expertise and some do not. The former include glass or ceramic lamps, figurines, stemware, and dishes, while the latter include books, magazines, linens, and clothing. To save money, pack the items that you feel you can handle, wrap, and secure in a way that will allow them to arrive safely at your new home. There are plenty of online resources that will provide tips on how to do so. Leave all the items that you do not feel comfortable handling for the experts to pack.

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There are a couple of options for moving or hauling cars. Moving companies that provide long-distance services, such as Camelot Moving and Storage, will transport an automobile inside one of their moving vans. They will quote you a price based on the size of the automobile and the distance that the car is to be transported.

The other option is to hire an auto transport company, a specific type of hauling company that only transports automobiles. These companies are often used by car dealerships to transport and deliver multiple automobiles at a time. They carry six to eight cars on an uncovered, skeleton frame. The cars transported are not in a van but rather are carried outside. While an auto transport company will generally provide a safe enough ride for your vehicle, your vehicle will be more secure inside a sealed van. Additionally, if your car is transported on an uncovered frame, it will be exposed to the elements and may, therefore, need a wash and possibly even a few scratches buffed out upon arrival. On occasion, a long-distance moving company will sublet the car-hauling service to an auto transport company, so be sure to ask about the method if it is a concern to you. Camelot does not use sub-haulers. We always transport our clients’ automobiles, pickup trucks, motorcycles, and the like inside our own sealed vans—loaded, driven, and unloaded by Camelot employees.

One final note: Be sure to inform the company—whom ever you choose to do the transportation for you—whether or not the vehicle runs. It can make a difference as vehicles are normally driven up ramps onto/into the transport trailer.

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I have noticed over the years that children and teenagers are more supportive of a move when you recruit them to be part of the team. Convey that you need their help to sort and separate items the family will bring versus those the family will be disposing. Plan a garage sale and offer to share the earnings with them or have them help in delivering the items to an organization that aids the needy.

Throughout the process of preparing to move, converse on future plans. Keep your children thinking and looking forward. Moving to a new city can have a serious emotional impact on children and teenagers. Watch for signs of anxiety. Camelot has information with professional insights on this subject that we have posted to our website. Check out the information on the following webpage:

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It is ideal to have a reservation in place 3-4 weeks before your move. Popular moving times fill up fast, such as Fridays, weekends, and, of course, summertime when school is out and families are relocating. Certainly, there is always a chance of getting a spot on your mover’s calendar within a week’s notice, but don’t count on that. It is best to plan ahead. Call them early, get your questions answered about the moving process, get on their calendar, and check that off your to-do list!

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