Paso Robles Area Real Estate

8 Tips for Finding Your New Home

By: G. M. Filisko

A solid game plan can help you narrow your home buying search to find the best home for you.

House hunting is just like any other shopping expedition. If you identify exactly what you want and do some research, you’ll zoom in on the home you want at the best price. These eight tips will guide you through a smart home buying process.

1.  Know thyself.

Understand the type of home that suits your personality. Do you prefer a new or existing home? A ranch or a multistory home? If you’re leaning toward a fixer-upper, are you truly handy, or will you need to budget for contractors?

2.  Research before you look.

List the features you most want in a home and identify which are necessities and which are extras. Identify three to four neighborhoods you’d like to live in based on commute time, schools, recreation, crime, and price. Then hop onto to get a feel for the homes available in your price range in your favorite neighborhoods. Use the results to prioritize your wants and needs so you can add in and weed out properties from the inventory you’d like to view.

3.  Get your finances in order.

Generally, lenders say you can afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. Create a budget so you know how much you’re comfortable spending each month on housing. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to investigate financing.

Gather your financial records and meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter spelling out how much you’re eligible to borrow. The lender won’t necessarily consider the extra fees you’ll pay when you purchase or your plans to begin a family or purchase a new car, so shop in a price range you’re comfortable with. Also, presenting an offer contingent on financing will make your bid less attractive to sellers.

4.  Set a moving timeline.

Do you have blemishes on your credit that will take time to clear up? If you already own, have you sold your current home? If not, you’ll need to factor in the time needed to sell. If you rent, when is your lease up? Do you expect interest rates to jump anytime soon? All these factors will affect your buying, closing, and moving timelines.

5.  Think long term.

Your future plans may dictate the type of home you’ll buy. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in the home for five to 10 years? With a starter, you may need to adjust your expectations. If you plan to nest, be sure your priority list helps you identify a home you’ll still love years from now.

6.  Work with a REALTOR®.

Ask people you trust for referrals to a real estate professional they trust. Interview agents to determine which have expertise in the neighborhoods and type of homes you’re interested in. Because homebuying triggers many emotions, consider whether an agent’s style meshes with your personality.

Also ask if the agent specializes in buyer representation. Unlike listing agents, whose first duty is to the seller, buyers’ reps work only for you even though they’re typically paid by the seller. Finally, check whether agents are REALTORS®, which means they’re members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. NAR has been a champion of homeownership rights for more than a century.

7.  Be realistic.

It’s OK to be picky about the home and neighborhood you want, but don’t be close-minded, unrealistic, or blinded by minor imperfections. If you insist on living in a cul-de-sac, you may miss out on great homes on streets that are just as quiet and secluded.

On the flip side, don’t be so swayed by a “wow” feature that you forget about other issues — like noise levels — that can have a big impact on your quality of life. Use your priority list to evaluate each property, remembering there’s no such thing as the perfect home.

8.  Limit the opinions you solicit.

It’s natural to seek reassurance when making a big financial decision. But you know that saying about too many cooks in the kitchen. If you need a second opinion, select one or two people. But remain true to your list of wants and needs so the final decision is based on criteria you’ve identified as important.

7 Steps to Take Before You Buy a Home

By: G. M. Filisko

Published: February 10, 2010

By doing your homework before you buy, you’ll feel more content about your new home.

Most potential home buyers are a smidge daunted by the fact that they’re about to agree to a hefty mortgage that they’ll be paying for the next few decades. The best way to relieve that anxiety is to be confident you’re purchasing the best home at a price you can afford with the most favorable financing. These seven steps will help you make smart decisions about your biggest purchase.

1. Decide How Much Home You Can Afford

Generally, you can afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. Remember to consider costs every homeowner must cover: property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and community association fees, if applicable, as well as costs specific to your family, such as day care if you plan to have children.

2. Develop Your Home Wish List

Be honest about which features you must have and which you’d like to have. Handicap accessibility for an aging parent or special needs child is a must. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are in the bonus category. Come up with your top five must-haves and top five wants to help you focus your search and make a logical, rather than emotional, choice when home shopping.

3. Select Where You Want to Live

Make a list of your top five community priorities, such as commute time, schools, and recreational facilities. Ask a REALTOR® to help you identify three to four target neighborhoods based on your priorities.

4. Start Saving

Have you saved enough money to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20% of the purchase price set aside for a down payment, but some lenders allow as little as 5% down. A small down payment preserves your savings for emergencies.

However, the lower your down payment, the higher the loan amount you’ll need to qualify for, and if you still qualify, the higher your monthly payment. Your down payment size can also influence your interest rate and the type of loan you can get.

Finally, if your down payment is less than 20%, you’ll be required to purchase private mortgage insurance. Depending on the size of your loan, PMI can add hundreds to your monthly payment. Check with your state and local government for mortgage and down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers.

5. Ask About All the Costs Before You Sign

A down payment is just one home buying cost. A REALTOR® can tell you what other costs buyers commonly pay in your area — including home inspections, attorneys’ fees, and transfer fees of 2% to 7% of the home price. Tally up the extras you’ll also want to buy after you move-in, such as window coverings and patio furniture for your new yard.

6. Get Your Credit in Order

A credit report details your borrowing history, including any late payments and bad debts, and typically includes a credit score. Lenders lean heavily on your credit report and credit score in determining whether, how much, and at what interest rate to lend for a home. The minimum credit score you can have to qualify for a loan depends on many factors, including the size of your down payment. Talk to a REALTOR® or lender about your particular circumstance.

You’re entitled to free copies of your credit reports annually from the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Order and then pore over them to ensure the information is accurate, and try to correct any errors before you buy. If your credit score isn’t up to snuff, the easiest ways to improve it are to pay every bill on time and pay down high credit card debt.

7. Get Prequalified

Meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter that says how much house you’re qualified to buy. Start gathering the paperwork your lender says it needs. Most want to see W-2 forms verifying your employment and income, copies of pay stubs, and two to four months of banking statements.

If you’re self-employed, you’ll need your current profit and loss statement, a current balance sheet, and personal and business income tax returns for the previous two years.

Consider your financing options. The longer the loan, the smaller your monthly payment. Fixed-rate mortgages offer payment certainty; an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) offers a lower monthly payment. However, an adjustable-rate mortgage may adjust dramatically. Be sure to calculate your affordability at both the lowest and highest possible ARM rate.

SOLD! 7410 Drake Road, Paso Robles

This home on 17+/- acres with a vineyard sold in just a few days!  Congratulations to the buyer and the seller!  We are so happy for everyone.

How to clean your home in 10 minutes a day

I am a working mother of two.  I will admit, my house is not perfect.  I struggle with time management in addition to getting enough sleep and exercise.  However, my goal this year is to be better, be more efficient at work, be better at home, spend more time with the kids, keep the house a little cleaner, and get some of those home improvement projects done (you know, the ones that have been on my to do list for a few years!).   But HOW!?!?

I started listening to audio books to get inspired and maybe pick up a few tips.

The first book I listened to was “The lift changing magic of tidying up”, by Marie Kondo.  I learned that it is okay to get rid of things you don’t have a connection to (if you don’t need it and it doesn’t have sentimental value, get rid of it).  Pretty simple, Marie’s method seems a little extreme but it makes sense and was a big help in de-cluttering some spaces.  I still have more to go, but it was a great start.

The second books is the one making a bigger impact and helping me get my house into shape.  “Simply Clean, the proven method for keeping your home organized, clean and beautiful in just 10 minutes a day”, by Becky Rapinchuk.  Oh. My. Gosh!  She goes step by step into every detail, gives schedules and check lists and even gives you recipes to make your own cleaners.

I am on week 2 of the 28 day challenge.  I can honestly say, my home is much cleaner.    During the week I am still struggling with the 10 minutes every day.  One of the major changes I chose to implement immediately was doing laundry everyday (well, more like every other day) so it does not build up to one day.  Who wants to do laundry all day on their day off?  Wash, fold and put away one load a day (or every other day if that works for you) and save your day off for things you like to do!

Becky’s weeks are 6 days leaving one day for “catch up”.  Her check lists even allow for de-cluttering of drawers, cabinets and closets.  How great is that?! Once the 28 day challenge is done your house is deep cleaned and easy to maintain from there. The best part to the hole package is, if you aren’t done when your timer goes off you can chose to leave the task until another day, or finish based on your schedule.  The book is written to be flexible and give you the power to manipulate it into your own life.  The key is to do a little every day so it’s not overwhelming.

If you are thinking about buying your first home, or selling your home in the near future, she has a whole chapter about getting your house and garage organized and de-cluttered. The book even addresses maintaining the clean home for showings.

Any of you who follow my blog or social media know that I generally keep things real estate related but I felt that this topic was something that everyone can benefit from if you choose to take it a step further that reading this blog post.

Please feel free to share, like or comment below.  Please excuse any grammatical errors since I am not a writer or a perfectionist and I certainly did not get enough sleep last night.

Sneak Peek- Paso Robles Horse Property

This property will hit the market next week, but here is a sneak peek of the virtual tour.  12+/- acres, 1800+/- square foot 3 bedroom 2 bathroom log cabin, older second home (currently occupied by the caretaker), apartment above the barn, fenced and cross fenced for pastures, all located just minutes to Paso Robles and within riding distance to the Huero Huero River for trail riding.  It does not get any better than this for $1,100,000.  Call or text Wade Taylor 805-550-1078 or Alicia DiGrazia 805-838-3373 for a tour!!

1350 Penman Springs Virtual Tour

Sold 326 Wild Mustard Paso Robles

We closed a week ahead of schedule on this adorable home with a view! Thank you to everyone who made it happen! Buyers get to move in over the weekend and the sellers are snug in their new home (also purchased through us a few months ago). Thank you to Kings Mortgage and Placer Title for everything you did to make it happen!

North SLO County Real Estate

This is a look back on North County Real Estate in 2017 and some thoughts on the coming year. It’s a privilege to live and work in such a dynamic community.

Unit Sales for in town homes topped 900 properties for the second year in a row. The average sale price of residential single family homes in North County was $457,000 which reflects a 6% increase over 2016. This aforementioned market is by far the strongest market in our Community. We still have low historical inventory and new home construction is only starting to stir.  Consistent demand coupled with lower supply is where we are heading in 2018.

Homes on acreage really jumped in price to an average sale price of $742,000 which reflects a strong 12% year over year increase. These properties had been lagging a bit but pricing is catching up. Atascadero and Templeton homes on acreage led the way. Million dollar homes also got some traction in 2017. The number of million dollar sales jumped up to 54 units over 38 in 2016. There is still a year and a half of inventory in this category but we went forward. Million dollar homes are still selling for well below replacement value.

Our rental market is still strong with little vacancy. However, there are close to 200 apartment units coming on in 2018. Also, we are beginning to see more infill residential construction throughout North County. If lending conditions remain favorable, we should see a significant increase in new construction in 2019.

The Wine Industry continues to drive a hospitality and entertainment industry that is actively accelerating. We have new hotels under construction and new restaurants. Paso Robles is the focal point of all this economic activity. Wine grape prices are solid and producing vineyard prices are firm. Even though millennials are a quarter of the population these youngsters consume 42% of the U.S. wine! So we have that going for us which is nice!

Commercial Real Estate has been consistent. Retail is a little spotty with internet sales being strong. Financial industries, like banks, are growing. Office space is stable. Industrial is still driven by user demand but the Wine Industry is providing demand for storage, crush, etc. Multi-family sells quickly if it’s priced right.

Talk of the bubble has been replaced by the Tax Reform situation. Lord Zillow was quoted as saying in California homes could back up 4% in pricing later this year and go back double digit in 2019. Here is what we think in regards to North County. If the Tax Reform spurs GDP then Real Estate is good. If the Tax Reform kills growth, then Real Estate suffers.

We have lived for eight years with little growth and Real Estate driven by cheap interest rates. Now the Government is trying to replace a transfer of wealth economy into a growth economy. So let’s see what happens. Whatever happens we will compete. We do not live in fear, no one can predict the outcome.

North County is thriving for many reasons. We have a wealth of natural beauty and ideal weather. Our local government helps our Community compete and grow. We have wonderful Community Leadership and citizen participation. Individuals have invested large sums of money into our Ag and Hospitality industries. We have a wonderful new Regional Airport and strong economic activity in our Medical Community. The Napa Wine Industry started in 1966 with Robert Mondavi. I believe our modern day Paso Wine Industry began in 1979 with Eberle, Stan Hoffman, Sauret , Tom Martin, Hopes, Dusi, and Herman among others. We have a long way to go.


If you are a veteran, military, medical professional (nurse, doctor or medical staff), educator (teacher, administrator), law enforcement, fire fighter, or EMT please inquire about additional savings.  By using a Homes for Heroes Realtor you can qualify for a rebate up to $2,800 when you purchase a $400,000 home and an additional $500 by using a Homes for Heroes Lender.  Click Here for details