28 Sep

Sacramento Housing Market Cool Down

The decision to buy or rent in the Sacramento region has been turned upside down with fast-rising apartment rents and record-low mortgage rates in recent months. Brandon Haefele, CEO of Catalyst Mortgage, joined FOX40 News to share data and insights about where we could go from here as signs are finally starting to show a cooldown.

To get more information on your options in the Sacramento housing market, call Catalyst Mortgage at 916.287.7777.

09 Jun

How to Compete in the Sacramento Housing Bidding War

You’ve heard the horror stories – bidding wars with dozens of other home-shoppers – and seen the headlines where a buyer pays $100,000 or more over the asking price for a home. Yeah, it’s a crazy, super-competitive housing market.

A couple of quick home buying facts and figures in the Sacramento region just to increase your anxiety:

  • Almost three of every four homes sold face bidding wars.
  • Two of every three homes sold for more than the asking price.
  • Homes are selling at a record-setting pacesix days in Sacramento County; five days in Placer County.
  • Home prices are up 23% from a year ago to a record $625,000 in Placer County and $490,000 in Sacramento County.

But even amid all of the craziness and record prices, buying a home now and taking advantage of the near-record-low mortgage rates likely makes more financial sense than purchasing down the road when rates are higher, says Brandon Haefele, CEO and President of Catalyst Mortgage in Roseville. Plus, there are some tax advantages of owning a home compared to renting.

So, how can you compete and increase the chances of being the winner in a bidding war without going crazy?


  • Be honest with yourself and know how much house you can afford, based on your down payment – and know the total monthly cost of owning a home, including the mortgage, property taxes and homeowners’ insurance.
  • Get pre-qualified (your creditworthiness) and pre-approved for a mortgage. Then you know your budget and how much house you can comfortably afford – or any potential trouble.
  • Establish a list of must-haves – like four bedrooms – and the nice-to-haves but can live without or add later, such as wood floors or a fully landscaped backyard.


  • Cash is often king, but only 15%-20% of homes are all-cash deals.
  • So, for the rest of us, a bigger down payment – for example increasing from 20% to 40% — will attract more attention.
  • Write a letter to the homeowners, listing the things you love about their house (everyone likes compliments and a connection).
  • If possible, reduce the time frame on the inspection, appraisal and loans. Be flexible on the closing date (the homeowners may be buying another home as well).
  • When you make an offer, don’t haggle over relatively minor repairs like a cracked window or chipped tile. However, DO NOT ignore major repairs, like a broken air conditioner or roof damage.
  • Perhaps the most important advice from real estate experts – don’t become too emotional about a house and overpay. If you spend too much, even with near-record-low mortgage rates, the house of your dreams will eventually become a financial nightmare.

Congratulations. You had the winning bid and can move into the home. A few things to keep in mind about owning a home but are often forgotten, and to take into consideration when budgeting.


  • If you buy a home in a neighborhood with a homeowners’ association (HOA), consider the monthly cost.
  • Ask any homeowner, and they will say things happen – and never at a good time. A broken garbage disposal, a leaky water heater or a garage door that comes off the track and bends like a soda can. A good rule of thumb is to set aside about $1 to $2 per square foot – or about $170 per month for a 2,000 square-foot home. Of course, costs depend on the age and condition of the house.
  • If you have ambitious plans to buy and then do some home-improvement projects, remember the cost will likely be much more than you planned – and likely take more time than you want. For example, replacing an entry door can cost $2,000, while replacing windows can top $22,000, according to Remodeling magazine’s West Coast report.
19 May

Sacramento Housing Market Bubble

The Sacramento housing market “bubble” is big news. People can choose to live and work anywhere now. They are choosing the Sacramento region and home prices keep going up. Brandon Haefele, CEO of Catalyst Mortgage, appeared on FOX40 to break down this market change and how it impacts potential home buyers.

Call us at 916.287.7777 to learn how we can help.

05 May

Mortgage 101

Are you getting ready to buy a home or refinance your current mortgage? Our CEO, Brandon Haefele appeared on Fox40 news recently to talk about some of the lesser known terms you might want to know. Take a look at the terms below and watch the video for more in depth information…

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): This number reflects the total annual cost of taking out your mortgage loan. It’s different from your mortgage interest rate and includes some extra fees.

Underwriting: When a loan professional evaluates your application and verifies all your financial details, that’s underwriting. It’s important to ensure that you have the means to manage your new monthly payment.

Escrow: An escrow account is used to hold funds prior to closing, including your earnest money deposit. You might also pay into an escrow account to cover property taxes, homeowners insurance and private mortgage insurance (if you have it).

Closing Disclosure: This is a document that you’ll be given at least three days before your closing date. It should detail all the final costs of your loan, as well as what you’ll be expected to pay on closing day.

Mortgage Note: You’ll sign this document at closing. It outlines the terms of your home loan and includes how much you’re borrowing, whether it’s a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage and more.

Prepaid Costs: These are estimated expenses for closing that and will be put into your escrow account. They usually cover mortgage interest, property taxes and homeowners insurance expenses that occur between your closing date and the date your first mortgage payment is due.

For more information on starting your mortgage process, call us today at 916.287.7777

19 Apr

Advantages to Singles Buying Homes in Sacramento

The Sacramento housing market is booming, but for one group in particular, now is the perfect time to purchase your dream home.

On KTXL FOX40 News, Brandon Haefele, CEO, Catalyst Mortgage speaks on these opportunities for home buying and how singles are the one category of home buyers surging in the Sacramento region.

02 Mar

Guide to Buying a Home in a Hot Market

Buying a home now could be in the cards for many people seeking to purchase their first homes. Brandon Haefele, CEO of Catalyst Mortgage, spoke on FOX40 News about homes in Sacramento County with affordable monthly payments due to interest rates dropping. Get pre-approval, down payment, and interest rate insights from Catalyst Mortgage and contact us today to get started on the home buying process.

26 Feb

St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway!

Catalyst Mortgage was proud to partner with ABC10 in support of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway. As an incentive for ticket sales Catalyst provided an Original Peloton Bike and one year All-Access Membership to a lucky winner from Tracy, CA. Nearly $800,000 was raised in ticket sales to help ensure families never receive a bill  from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all they should worry about is helping their child live.We won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. To learn more about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital visit https://www.stjude.org/

12 Jan

Tips for Buying a Home

The housing market in the Sacramento Region is the hottest market in the country right now. Brandon Haefele, CEO/President of Catalyst Mortgage, gave insight on FOX40 News on what steps you can make to take advantage of the historically low mortgage rates.

13 Nov

Catalyst Mortgage Feeding Local Families

Brandon Haefele, CEO/President of Catalyst Mortgage, appeared on KCRA 3 at the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services for the Annual Turkey Drive with a $10,000 donation! We are so proud and honored to be a part of this AMAZING cause for the 11th year! With your help, we were able to serve 100,000 holiday meals to families in need. Every dollar mattered and we reached our goal in such unprecedented times. Thank you all so much for your donations!