Letting go of excuses:the First Time Home Buyer

Today’s post is for the first time buyers out there. As a certified First Time Buyer Specialist through the California Association of Realtors I have studied the best way to help you get into your first home. As a realtor out in the field helping my clients, I know your greatest hurdle is fear.

As I speak to my clients they tell me about their low credit score, or a lack of a down payment.  I ask if they have spoken to a loan originator. I ask how long they have been keeping track of their budget and how much money they put into their savings each month. If a client hasn’t spoken to a loan originator, I recommend that they do so.  There are many factors involved in a loan company deciding to give you a loan. It’s best to start your home journey by meeting with a loan originator who will look at your financial records. A great loan originator will take the time to lay out a 1 year plan with the end goal being you as a new home owner. You may be surprised to find out that you qualify now! I work with a wonderful loan originator who cares about her clients. We are both willing to invest our time in your home buying success.

The next thing I tell my clients is to establish a budget. I recommend the monthly budget worksheet from Freddie Mac. A home purchase could be the biggest investment you ever make. Protect yourself by making and staying on a budget.

Monthly Budget Planner please click this link to print. .

Once a client has a loan approval we begin the exciting search for their first home. This search is not saddened by looking at homes my client can not afford, because they know how much money they are already approved for. My clients also know their monthly budget, and we do not look at homes that would exceed this budget and risk the loss of their first home. My clients are not afraid, because they know how much they can really afford.

We look at home after home knowing that this is not their last home. This is their first home. This home is a chance to paint walls whatever color my clients want. This home is a home that won’t be sold at their landlords whim. This home allows pets without a deposit. This home can be improved however my client wants. This home flows with the market, making sure that when housing prices continue to go up, my client will still be able to sell their home and move to a home that meets their needs. This home earns equity for my clients, not their landlord.

If you are ready to let go of your excuses and find your first home, I am here for you. Ready to counsel you on budgeting or credit. I am here to tell you about lending programs with low or no down payment. I am ready to connect you with a lender that genuinely cares about her clients. I also have a step by step handout, that outlines the 10 steps to home ownership.

Send me an email to joyce@borellirealestate.com or call me at 831-238-1443 and we will make you dreams of home ownership come true.


Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season. I know I had a great December, but with January past, I’m looking forward to warmer days.

I just moved into a new home, so I am enjoying a new space, and not thinking about a remodel. Before we moved, I watched HGTV every spare chance I got. I also convinced my spouse to “help” with project after project. He came to the realization that moving to a different style of home would be easier, while he was installing new hardwood floors in our last home.

If you are thinking it’s time to freshen things up at your home, I have provided a chart from the National Association of Realtors Research Department. This helpful chart outlines which home improvements recovered the original cost of the project best.

If you decide, like we did, to go ahead and sell. Give me a call!











Holiday Cards

Hello Los Banos! My holiday cards are here. I have been having a fun week knocking on doors and handing out holiday cards. In my holiday greetings i included my popular, but very easy to make, Cranberry sauce recipe! I would love to get some feed back from anyone who tries out the recipe. During my walks through the neighborhoods of Los Banos I have seen beautiful holiday decorations. Decorations in town range from large blow up turkeys to arrangements of fall leaves and pine cones. Some homes are decorated and ready for Christmas, and some still proudly display Halloween fun. I encourage everyone in town to take a break from your frantic schedule, and walk around town! If you see me in your neighborhood passing out holiday cards, feel free to say hi!

Home Buyer Toolkit

Thinking about buying a home?

Check out this informative toolkit from the National Association of Realtors!


Staying fit this fall!


Pictured: Coaches Andrew and Allie Goodman

The holidays are quickly approaching. This will mean cooler weather, and more opportunities to get outside for some fitness. Unfortunatley it is also a busy time of year. Everyone is trying to balance work, school, children’s practices and games, holiday parties, and dinners, and the next thing you know it gets dark at five.  So how are we supposed to stay on track with our fitness goals and avoid the extra pounds added during this time of year?

Lucky for us, I knew who to go to for help! Before images of tight zippers could give me a fright, I asked Allie Goodman, Owner of  CrossFit Chowchilla, a few questions about staying fit this fall.

Tell me a little about your journey from normal human to gym owner and all around fitness superstar?

It’s kind of funny actually. Playing sports all throughout High School as well as in College, I developed a true love for health and fitness. Studying at a few different Colleges, I kept along the study lines of Health & Wellness and Business Management. But, then as time went on, I found myself running into a hidden passion for creating & making cakes, which not very many people knew about. When I was 19 yrs old I traveled to Illinois, and attended the French Pastry School of Chicago. I learned everything from cakes, sugar art, chocolate, and wedding cake design. At that time I was definitely on the path to becoming a pastry chef with my sister Michelle. Living in a big City, opened my eyes to many new things! As my two years passed living in the wonderful city of Chicago, I came home to find a new passion of mine…


I have been doing CrossFit since 2011 and have accumulated many coaching hours along the way. Achieving a CrossFit Level 1 Training Certification as well as USA Weightlifting Coaching Education Certification. I love learning new things, and I am constantly adding to my knowledge and achievements. Training and coaching at CrossFit Valley View in Los Banos, I learned so much from my wonderful coach and trainer Jen Correia. I was able to kick start my own gym and love for the sport in Chowchilla. I took a leap of faith and persued my new passion and opened up what is now “CrossFit Chowchilla”. We have been open for 1 year, and I love every minute of it! The joy you get when you’re changing people lives for the best, is quite an experience.

What is your advice for people who are beginning their fitness journey?

The first and hardest step is actually getting started! Once you start, and see yourself improving each day, that’s what drives you. Whether you’re starting CrossFit or any other program you need to know that there is “no magic pill” and you have to want it. I always say, once you’ve started your working out program, “Never miss a Monday, Don’t ever go 3 or more days without working out, and make it a lifestyle not just another thing!”

The weather here in Los Banos will be cooling down soon, but this is a time of year where people get busy and fall off the fitness wagon.  How do you recommend individuals stay fit during the upcoming busy holiday season?

Make your fitness and health a lifestyle, not just another diet or fad in your life. There is always time! Meaning if you cant make it to the gym, there are plenty workouts to do at home with no equipment needed. Also, your eating habits are important. If you’re not working out as much, then make sure you are at least eating right.- Or vice versa- if you have an overload of carbs one day, make sure to exercise that particular day to somewhat counter act your mess up ;).


Can you recommend any activities to keep the entire family fit?

On family game night play active games not board games. There are plenty of fun ways to get up and moving. Go on a scavenger hunt or play hide and seek. If you like CrossFit, I recommend the “Deck of Cards” workout (its worth a google), easily done with kids as well! 😉

What do you find are obstacles in reaching fitness goals?

Not being consistent with your workout schedule or eating habits. With no consistency there is no routine and you are more susceptible to failing. YOU are your biggest obstacle, meaning it’s only yourself that is stopping you from reaching your goals. We always have excuses like, I’m too tired, I don’t have enough time,or its too hard etc… But in all reality, there is always and answer and a way, you just have to overcome these things mentally.

Does food play a big role in losing weight and staying in shape?

YES! We all wish it didn’t play a big role, but it basically comes down to 70% Diet 30% Exercise. We can’t expect to meet goals, feel or do awesome in our workouts if we are eating badly. Someone told me once, if your craving a cookie, buy 1 cookie not a whole box as you are most likely to eat the whole thing if you have it.

Is there a particular food that you struggle to stay away from during the holidays?

I’d say the hardest thing for me to stay away from is the festive chocolates and desserts, oh yes and the alcohol.

How do you fight temptation during the holiday season?

I try and keep it to a “one day” (holiday), to eat whatever I want. Not letting myself indulge on the festive foods everyday. -It’s a “cheat day” not a “cheat week”! If I do mess up, I don’t stress on it, I just get right back too it.

Does your gym have any specials going right now?

We are offering a free week of training, and coming up in November on Black Friday we will offer 30 dollars for 30 days of training.

I have to thank Allie for her wonderful advice. It sounds like we need to find a fitness routine and stick to it!  Regardless if you try CrossFit or just a daily run, no excuses!  We also shouldn’t let one bad day of eating snowball into an entire season of second helpings and desserts. Put the Pinterest away! No one needs that kind of temptation! If you would like to try CrossFit with Allie she can be reached at CrossFit Chowchilla.  

Facebook: CrossFit Chowchilla / Twitter: @CFChowchilla
CrossFit Chowchilla | 209.675.0264 / 1525 E. Robertson Blvd. Chowchilla, CA 93610
209.675.0264 / 1525 E. Robertson Blvd. Chowchilla, CA 93610

Merced County Statics


The median home price in Merced County at 199,280 is almost 300,000 less than the average median home price in California at 488,260.  Some of the most expensive markets are right over the hill.  Santa Clara County has a a median home price of 965,000.  Making Los Banos one of the few affordable counties to live, in California.

Graph  courtesy of CAR


The O'neill Forebay

                 The O’neill Forebay

Los Banos is a beautiful place.  Coming from the coast, I love the seasonality of the crops in Los Banos.  The tall cotton plants growing along the borders of town are a symbol for many of the fall season to come.  Similarly I look forward to acre after acre of golden and green corn fields.  As fall progresses, we start to see little pops of red on the tomato plants.  When I see those bursts of red I know the tomato festival is coming up.

Although I have not lived here long, I will run into many people I know at the festival.  Coming from “over the hill”, I grew used to a cursory hello from the few people I would run into around the city.  That is not the case in Los Banos.  The people I see at the fair will ask genuine questions about my life, and family.  It is something I had to get used to.  I was used to being in a rush, waiting in this line and that line, waiting on the freeway, hurrying to get home and be away from the crush of the world.

Now that I’m not living at such a frenzied pace, I look forward to seeing my friends and neighbors.  I go to the spring fair, and sit with family friends to watch their daughter sell her pig at auction.  We buy charity tickets to dinners to support the FFA, the cub scouts, a football team,  and run into more friends at that dinner.  Life here is about slowing down, and taking time to help your friends and neighbors.

I’m happy to be a part of this community, and I hope that this website will serve as a place where we can unite.  There will be articles about local people.  There will be a calendar that can be clicked on to view local happenings.  There will be write ups about local events.  There will be articles about the culture of Los Banos, and what makes this such a special place.

There will also be features on the local real estate market, to help people find there dream home here.

So, Welcome Los Banos!

If anyone has content they would like added to Los Banos Realty and Lifestyle, please let me know.  This is a family friendly place for the community, and everything family friendly will be considered! I can be reached at Joyce@borellirealestate.com