Home Finance

A Quick Guide for Mortgage Pre-Qualification

by Shea Homes on October 10, 2016

Mortgage 101 for Pre-qualification

When you’re researching home financing options, it’s easy to get a lot of the terminology mixed up. From understanding the different types of loans to remembering the difference between a mortgage pre-qualification and a mortgage loan approval, there’s a lot of new vocabulary to understand. We get it. Buying a home can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. To help you start off on the right foot, we’ve created a handy checklist for the start of your journey — the pre-qualification process!
But first, let’s review what a mortgage pre-qualification is, and what it isn’t.

Pre-Qualification vs. Loan Approval

A pre-qualification is an estimated maximum loan amount from a lender. It is determined based upon your debt to income ratio, meaning how much money your household makes in a month and how much debt your household carries per month.

A pre-qualification is not a guaranteed loan amount. You are not committed to do business with the lender providing the pre-qualification and the lender is not obligated to provide a loan of any amount.

Benefits of Pre-Qualifying for a Home Loan

Once you receive a pre-qualified loan amount from your lender, you’ll have the peace of mind that you can move forward with the home-buying process. You’ll also be able to start thinking more realistically about the amount you can afford for a new home. When your lender sends your pre-qualifying loan amount to you, the information should include an estimated loan amount for your max budget, plus your estimated monthly house payment. But keep in mind, the estimated monthly house payment may change once you move into the loan approval stage — depending on the amount of taxes, interest, fees and insurance you’ll need to pay on your loan. You’ll know what your final monthly house payment is once you’ve finalized your home selection and have provided your down payment amount and your credit information.

Tips for Mortgage Pre-Qualification Prep

You should have all of your finances organized and ready to go when the time comes to provide a lender with your information. Set yourself up for success by sorting through your statements now, so it’s less stress when you’re getting it all together.

Debt to Income Ratio Infographic

Pre-Qualification Checklist

Receiving a pre-qualifying home loan estimate is easy and fast. Download and print or pin our checklist below to

be ready for your first meeting with a mortgage lender.

For more information on what you’ll need to be approved for a home loan, check out the Shea Home Buying Guide.


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Home Pricing Announced for Sage in Livermore!

by Shea Homes Northern California on January 21, 2016


Located in the Livermore Valley, the new Sage community will feature a variety of new homes and much, much more. Recreation options abound at Sage. From the public multi-use  trail system, to the private clubhouse and rec center, residents  will never be short on activities and peaceful open spaces. Your first opportunity to purchase a new home at Sage will be Saturday, January 30th. Model homes are expected to open late spring 2016.

Three new communities by Shea Homes at Sage are well on their way, and Balance, Synergy and Tranquility home base pricing by plan is now available! Base pricing does not include lot premiums, elevation premiums or optional home upgrades. SAGE BASE PRICING (PDF)

First Homes to be Released for Sale: Saturday, January 30th
Pre-qualification Deadline: Wednesday, January 27th, 5PM
*Pre-qualification with Shea Mortgage is required to be eligible to participate in upcoming sales releases. Parties interested in participating in the first sales release on Saturday, January 30th are highly-encouraged to pre-qualify early. Read more about the Shea Mortgage Pre-qualification Process.

Not sure which community you are most interested in? Check out this quick breakdown of the three communities currently under construction at Sage:

Synergy homes will be 3-story attached homes with a rear court for garages. The 6 varying floor plans will range in size from 1,254 to 1,789 square feet, 2 to 3 bedrooms, 2 to 3.5 baths, and 1 to 2 car garages.​
Currently Starting from the Low $500,000’s

Balance home plans range in size from 1,398 to 1,667 square feet, and feature 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and 2 car garages. These 3-story attached homes will have a rear court for garages.
Currently Starting from the High $500,000’s

Tranquility model homes will be the first to be built and these 2-story townhomes will feature 3 bedrooms, 2.5 to 3 baths, and 2 car garages, and will consist of 1,646 to 2,006 square feet of livable space.
Currently Starting from the Mid $600,000’s

Be sure to register for updates and LIKE us on Facebook to stay in-the-know about the latest happenings at Sage in Livermore.

To learn more about the relaxing lifestyle at Sage, visit SageLivermore.com or call (866) 696-7432.


Thinking of buying a new home? You’ll want to read this first!

by Shea Homes Arizona on November 13, 2015

Buying a New Home
A home purchase is often the largest, single financial investment people make in their lifetime. Buying a home, the place you live, raise a family, entertain your friends and make memories should be exciting. There shouldn’t be any mysteries or unexpected surprises in the home buying or mortgage process to cloud the bright future in your new home.

Shea Homes has a history of caring about our customers, which begins with simplifying the home buying process, including the mortgage. It’s not uncommon to have more questions than answers, that’s why we created the Home Buying Guide  for some great, interactive tips to clarify the journey of buying a new home.  Understanding the “inside baseball” terms, the various steps in home buying, and what to expect at each one goes a long way in making the new-home buying experience a great one. Here’s what one Shea Homeowner has to say about the process:

“This was our first time building a brand new home. We have owned several homes prior so knew exactly what we wanted and decided to have Shea build our “dream”. Rather than telling us what we couldn’t have they did all they could to give us what we wanted! The staff, from the very first person we met at the model to the last person we did the final walk through with, became family and treated us with so much respect. They answered any question and fixed any problem “the right way” no matter the cost to them or the difficulty. I was always asked if there was anything else I needed or wanted. If ever I have to move out of my perfect home I will only buy with Shea Homes!”

Plan Ahead…

If you aren’t sure if home ownership is right for you now, but purchasing a home is in your future there are a few of things to consider. First, is your credit score. When it comes to buying a house, your credit score is important. Missing or late payments on rent, a mortgage, credit cards, automobile payments, or just about anything can influence your credit score. The best practice is to pay on time, every time.

Second, is paying off debt. Lenders look at your income and the total of all your debts, this is called your “debt-to-income ratio” and will determine how much home you will qualify to purchase. Finally, save a little something.  Having the necessary funds for a down payment is important in qualifying for a loan to purchase your new home.

Interest rates are at historic lows, making this a great time to buy a home. If “rent vs. own” is where you are, try this for some answers. If you have more questions, the Home Mortgage Guide can help. 

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Top 9 Tax Write OffsWhether you own your own home, or are considering purchasing one in the future, knowing what kind of tax breaks home ownership allows for is key when filing your taxes. In a previous blog post, we explored some common tax write-offs to help you uncover deduction opportunities. This post will add to that list by including five home-related tax breaks that apply to homeowners and buyers.

5. First-Time Homebuyer

A few years ago, the first time homebuyer tax credit was a federal program where new homeowners could receive when filing their taxes. Now, however, no such nationwide program exists anymore. But, if you purchased your very first home, or purchased a home after three years of non-ownership in the last year, you are considered a “first-time homebuyer” and may qualify for various assistance programs within your state. A list for 2014 credits can be found at HomeOwnership.org.

6. Mortgage Interest

You know that pesky interest you pay on your mortgage each month? It’s deductible! Not only is the mortgage interest on your living space deductible, any mortgage interest paid on a second home is, as well.

7. Real Estate (Property) Taxes

Taxes that are paid directly to a tax authority or through an escrow account set up by your mortgage company may be deductible. As long as you own the property and only claim the amount you paid within a given tax year, you can take advantage of this federal tax deduction.

8. Energy-Efficient Home Improvements

Did you make energy-efficient updates to your home in 2014? Items such as doors, skylights, insulation, doors and other renovations may qualify for tax credits if they fall within certain federally approved categories and products.

Since this tax credit has been extended a few times already and it’s unsure of how much longer it may be around, if you are considering buying a new home in the future, consider looking into a home that was built with energy efficiency in mind, so any future updates won’t affect your pocketbook.

Going green can save you some green with certain tax write-offs!
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9. Home Office Deduction

Is your home office decked out to the nines and your central place of business? You may qualify for the home office deduction! While we recommend asking your tax professional or reading the full explanation of home office tax deductions before claiming this write off, there are a few basic requirements you’ll need to meet:

  1. You must regularly use your home for conducting your business
  2. You must be able to show that your home is regularly used to conduct your business

If you have a dedicated space for your business, you may be able to use the entire room as a deduction; however, if you don’t have a dedicated space, you’ll have to determine a percentage of your home that is used for your business.

Employees who work out of their home, may also qualify for this deduction if they meet the above criteria, the use of the home office is in benefit to the employer, and no part of the home is rented to the employer to perform services.

Do you have a home office? Just because you work from home occasionally, doesn’t mean you can write off all of your expenses.
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Are you ready to file your taxes this year? Pin the image below and print out this helpful notes section to remind you of which write offs you should ask your tax professional about – feel free to use the extra spaces as reminders for additional write offs you’ve seen that you may be eligible for!

Tax Preparation Note Card

Click here to PRINT the notes version.

*The information contained in this article is for general guidance only and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Contact a professional tax advisor concerning your specific tax circumstances and available deductions.


Grand Opening at The Dunes on Monterey Bay!

March 5, 2015

Join us on Saturday, March 28th from 10am to 2pm at the Grand Opening Celebration of two new Shea communities at The Dunes on Monterey Bay! Be among the first to experience six new Sea House and Surf House model homes, professionally designed to fit the modern lifestyle of recreation, comfort and convenience in Marina. Three Sea House […]

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Is Buyer Interest on the Rise?

March 18, 2014

  Newlyweds Nick and Teresa Hopper just bought their first home. The couple got married last August and decided against having a big wedding in favor of making a larger down payment on a home. And although small weddings may not be the norm, we are definitely seeing more and more interest and excitement from […]

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New Year, New Home?

January 6, 2014

  If your 2014 resolution is to invest in your future, a new home may be the way to go. Whether you are looking for more space for your family or you are ready to downsize, purchasing this year could make the most sense. Evaluate your situation Decide if looking for a new home is […]

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How Will Rising Interest Rates Impact Homebuyers?

July 16, 2013

  Mortgage interest rates are on the rise. We keep hearing this news but without having any real numbers, it can be difficult to determine what a rise in mortgage interest rates really means to you. A recent article by Wayne Faulkner on Star News Online, gives some details on the impact increasing mortgage rates […]

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How do I prepare for my home buying process?

June 21, 2013

Preparation is key to anything, whether it’s a work meeting, an interview or your child’s first day of school; it always easier to see the big picture when everything is laid out in front of you. We encourage the same preparation when you begin your home buying process. It will also impress your mortgage consultant! […]

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Don’t Fear the 401(k) Loan…

May 16, 2013

Having trouble scrounging up money for the down payment on your new home, but you don’t want to build up interest on a bank loan? A frequently asked question that our Shea Mortgage team gets is, “Can I pull money from my 401(k) plan? And is there a penalty?” Fear not! The best option for […]

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