You might be ready to buy a home, but are you prepared? Regardless of whether you are a first-time home buyer or an experienced owner, it’s good practice to conduct a pre-purchase reality check before buying a house. Before you jump into the financial commitment of the purchase, give careful consideration to your financial situation and whether you are truly prepared to buy.
Here is a six-item checklist of items to check off before buying a home:
- Strengthen your credit score. In general, the higher your credit score, the lower your down payment and monthly payments, which impact your buying power.
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you’re truly serious, do your research on rates and have your financing in place before you walk through the first house to know how much you can afford, and to make a stronger offer.
- Have your financial house in order. Beyond what your credit looks like, don’t change jobs, change banks, buy a vehicle or any big-ticket items. Avoid inquiries into your credit, don’t be late on payments and don’t charge excessively.
- Save for a down payment and closing costs. The national average for down payments nationwide is 16 percent, [according to LendingTree https://www.lendingtree.com/blog/blog/2013/06/12/lendingtree-report-average-down-payment-drops-9-4-percent/]. Also know the average closing costs in your area.
- Build a healthy emergency fund. Have several months worth of mortgage payments set aside, so lenders can see you’re not check-to-check, making you a better loan candidate. Plus, repair issues and home emergencies always come up.
- Control your debt and know how much you can afford. Gain control of the debt you already have, starting with high-interest debt. Know how much payments you can afford, with a safe formula that expenses should not exceed 28-31 percent of your gross monthly income.
Looking out over the Pacific Ocean, amid a lush garden and surrounded by trees, [Wayfarers Chapel http://www.wayfarerschapel.org/] resides in Rancho Palos Verdes. Made almost entirely of glass, the chapel allows visitors to look through its walls and take in all the nature surrounding it, including the ocean view. Whether religious or not, the beauty of Wayfarers Chapel is for everyone to experience.
Completed in 1951, Wayfarers Chapel is the work of Lloyd Wright, son of pioneering architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Its attributes were inspired by the theology of the Swedenborgian Church (which it is sponsored by) that focuses on connecting God's natural world and the inner world of mind and spirit.
Wright saw the trees of the redwood forest and wanted to create a tree chapel. While it is known as the glass church, the trees surrounding the chapel are a very prominent feature and are seen through the glass, forming living walls and a roof.
It is called Wayfarers as an attribute to the travelers who could come and rest here. Originally, when there weren't freeways and easy road access, the travel to this church could take an entire day. It is still applicable today even though it is more easily accessed, since we are all travelers to get to the church. As Reverend Harvey Tafel says, we are also all travelers on the journey of life.
The chapel performs weddings, baptisms, and other services along with worship services. In addition, they have a garden and visitors center for anyone that would like to stop by and see the chapel, taking in all the beauty that resides in and around it.
Point Vicente Interpretive Center and Lighthouse
To the everyday wanderer, the Point Vicente Lighthouse provides an idyllic reference point along the Palos Verdes Peninsula. With beautiful walkways around the cliffs of Palos Verdes, the lighthouse is the perfect place to bring friends, family and even dogs (as long as they are on a leash).
The Point Vicente Lighthouse is also an important landmark for ships and pleasure craft. This station has been guiding vessels to and from the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbors since March 1926. Today it is owned and operated by the United States Coast Guard. The Point Vicente Lighthouse is open for tours on the second Saturday of each month from 10am to 3pm PST.
The Interpretive Center stands adjacent to the lighthouse along the peninsula. The original building was opened in 1984 to present the history of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The now almost 10,000 square foot center re-opened in July 2006 features exhibits on the early inhabitants of Palos Verdes and the local sea life, with emphasis on the Pacific gray whale. With its prime location, the Interpretive Center is a premier whale watching site during the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale, from December through April. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm, and park grounds are open until dusk.
Take this opportunity to see the picturesque view of a lighthouse on a cliff surrounded by palm trees with Catalina Island as a backdrop, and bring your camera!
Check their website [http://vicentelight.org/] for more information.
The Palos Verdes Farmer’s Market is small and quaint as far as farmer’s markets go, but it certainly doesn’t lack for variety.
Located at the Peninsula Shopping Center at Hawthorne Boulevard and Silver Spur Road, the market is open every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. And while it isn’t the biggest farmer’s market around, you will still find a variety of fruit and vegetable vendors, a handful of prepared food stands, and often others selling a variety of items like flowers or jewelry. There is definitely a lot of variety packed in one small parking lot.
Beyond the fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs and raw foods you would find at any farmer’s market, what stands out about this market are the hot food stands. This is where you will find a bonanza of eats, like crepes, hot dogs, bacon-wrapped sausages, kettle corn, Thai food, Indian food, tamales, fresh baked goods (muffins, bread, cookies) and roasted peanuts.
The favorite for many is the homemade salsa stand that is made while you’re ordering.
If you live in the area, this farmer’s market is a must-go. Where else could you buy homemade tamales, fresh swordfish, flowers and some fresh veggies, all while munching on Brazilian BBQ, in one trip to the same place?
It’s pretty likely you will find what you need at the Palos Verdes Farmer’s Market, and because it’s small, if you become a regular the vendors will know you by name.
Palos Verdes-Rolling Hills Estates Farmers' Market Peninsula Shopping Center Hawthorne Blvd and Silver Spur Rd Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274
Phone: 310-324-3994 [Yelp Page http://www.yelp.com/biz/palos-verdes-rolling-hills-estates-farmers-market-rolling-hills-estates]