Making Life Easier
As an Orange County Realtor, I can’t technically offer advice on taxes, but I always try to network and meet great tax professionals who can help our clients! Today I sat in on a great session by Irene Mack, CPA, and I wanted to share some notes and insight with you. Irene’s website is http://www.oc-cpa.com if you have any particular questions – she is always happy to talk taxes with you
Homeowner Tax Benefits
- Mortgage debt relief on up to 2 million loss ($1M if married / filing separate)
Will California extend our debt relief? The answer is still up in the air, but there is a bill on the table. This concerns many homeowners who are thinking about a short sale, so be sure to contact your legislators and let them know you want an extension!
Energy Tax Credits for Homeowners
- many have a $500 max lifetime credit
- some include on site installation costs, some don’t, so be sure to check
- must be on principal residence
- includes central air
- allows tankless water heaters
- energy star
California Short Sale Tax Benefits
Sb931 focuses on 1st Trust Deed, and ensures lien holders can’t come back to homeowners for deficiency judgement after the short sale.
Sb458 focuses on 2nd trust deeds, and this law came a little after sb931 to help homeowners steer clear of judgements from 2nd mortgages and HELOCs.
Equity Sale Tax Benefits
- No taxes on $500k profit for married couples
- No tax on $250k profit for single filers
Capital Gains Taxes
Will you be taxed if you sell for a profit? Yes, unless your profit is below the $500k/$250k mentioned above.
- Long term (1 year and one day+) is determined on your tax bracket
- It’s best to keep your home ‘long term’ when it comes to taxation
First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit
- 2008 credit – when your home is no longer your personal residence, the balance of repayment becomes due immediately instead of over 15 years, so be careful!
-2009-2010 credit – 36 months of primary residence is required, most of you are almost ready to move up with no penalties
Wow!! Taxes are confusing!!! Make sure to consider your tax benefits and / or penalties when you go to sell your home in Orange County. Irene’s number is 714-957-6936 if you’d like more info.
Remember The Weeks Team is here to help you navigate through tough real estate waters. Be sure to call 877-230-3211 or comment here if we can help you in any way!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
We recently read an interesting article by Tara Steele in AGbeat.com about the affects of homeownership on children. Have you ever thought about how owning a home has influenced your kids? Has it at all? According to the article, children had lower dropout rates and lower teen birth rates if they lived in a home their parents owned.This research is consistent with Habitat for Humanity’s as well. Habitat has been studying the effects of homeownership on kids for years. Here are some great benefits they have discovered:
Compared to children of renters (of the same age, income, race, etc.), children of homeowners:
- Are 25% more likely to graduate from high school
- Are 116% more likely to graduate from college
- Are 20% less likely to become teenage mothers
- Have 9% higher math scores
- Have 7% higher reading scores
- Have 3% fewer behavior problems
- Are 59% more likely to own a home within 10 years of moving from parent’s household
- Save taxpayers an estimated $34,000 in public expenditures (i.e. the cost of juvenile delinquency, teenage pregnancy, etc.) that would have been spent had they remained in rented housing.
Why Bother with an Orange County House?
Well, do it for your kids! And for yourself. One of the things today’s article mentioned was the duration doesn’t matter: “The impact of homeownership is particularly important for households with short lengths of tenure.” This is new insight as previous studies did not really consider short term effects of homeownership. Many of our clients choose to rent because they are not sure how long a particular job will last, or if they will stay in California for years to come. With our current market, it really doesn’t matter because rent vs own prices are very similiar. As most already know, owning will have much greater financial benefits in the long run. Now it looks like it also has greater benefits to the family as a whole!
What is owning a home teaching your children? Consistenty? Commitment? Finances? There are so many ways to set a good example to your children through homeownership. Not that they couldn’t learn these things from a family who is renting, but as the article says, you have more “skin in the game” when you own a home. No, owning an Orange County house won’t guarantee your child wins the spelling bee or gets a scholarship, but it does teach them some very valuable long term lessons.
If you would like to explore more about what homeownership could mean to you and your family, please register to search for Orange County houses on our http://properties.askangie.com website today, or call us toll free at 877-230-3211.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
I’m astounded at how many Orange County homeowners qualify for a loan modification. And I’m even more astounded that they never seize the opportunity, generally because there’s so much misinformation floating around. As a result, hundreds of distressed homeowners never get the help they need. Mike Hatcher, seasoned modification advisor with the Ascent Network, is here again to offer a wealth of valuable insights –
The best thing I can do is clear away all the debris of misinformation. So, in no particular order, here’s a list of GREAT loan modification candidates:
- Those yearning to save an average of $1,000 a month — our average improvement.
- Those with W2 income between $40k-$130k. Or the self employed, who usually don’t qualify for a refinance. We are 99% successful securing modifications for this group.
- Those who never “rob Peter to pay Paul” in order to cover the bills.
- Those who have perfect payment records but wonder how long they can afford to make their payments.
- Those in default and are 14 days from a foreclosure sale on their property.
- People worried sleepless because they fear losing their home and fear seeking help. This reluctance typically is the result of mass misinformation.
- Those who want to shoot their spouse (or realtor) for deciding to purchase the house back in the mid-2000s.
- Individuals seeking a long-term mortgage solution with a fixed rate.
- Those who realize that renting ultimately costs more, don’t want to pay for or expend the energy for a move, and don’t want to live in someone else’s rental property.
- Those who fail to qualify with their lender, or are given a token $30-$100 monthly savings modification as a consolation prize.
Quite a list, with more than a few surprises, eh? So, are you ready to learn how a loan modification can put $1,000 extra in your pocket every month? Just call Mike at 877.871.2400 x15. You’ll be amazed at how simple it is to cast your financial worries to the wind.
And, of course, if you’d like to learn more about the variety of opportunities the Orange County real estate market offers, I’ll be delighted to help. Just call, tweet, or email me at 949.338.7408, @AngieWeeks, @WeeksTeam, or firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m ready to assist you in any way I can.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
“As Orange County realtors with specialization in Laguna properties, the Weeks team has been successful at helping folks just like yourself actualize your dreams and own a piece of Laguna Hills real estate. It is always recommended that you consult a financial advisor when it comes to a large purchase, but don’t be surprised if you find out that you may qualify as a candidate to own Laguna Hills real estate!” – “Laguna Hills Real Estate – Creative and Savvy Ways to Own”, OC METRO.
Though many people don’t see themselves as potential homeowners, most people with somewhat decent credit just need to think outside the box a little to get into a home. Whether its sharing payments with roommates, using another property as leverge, or having a family member co-sign, it may take creativity to get that Laguna Hills real estate you’ve always wanted. Find out what some creaive homeowners did to afford their Laguna Hills real estate!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Whether you’re moving into or out of an Orange County home, you probably have a ton of stuff to lug along on your journey. And that, of course, means you’ll be needing an assortment of boxes and other packing materials for the thousand and one household belongings you’ve accumulated over the years. Now what if you could get your hands on the required packing materials and be a friend to the environment all at the same time? You can with Green Packaging. This outstanding service will provide you with everything from boxes made of recycled materials to biodegradable poly bags. Once you have the needed boxes, make sure you reuse the heck out of them. And when the hard-working boxes have served their purpose, give them to somebody else to use over and over and over again. Both the recipients and our planet will appreciate the gesture.
But packing is just a starting point. Here are a few other eco-friendly solutions for folks on the move –
- Don’t trash unwanted items. De-clutter by connecting with CraigsList or freecycle.com. And be aware that the Habitat for Humanity Restore will gladly accept virtually any of your donated belongings. After all, one person’s trash is another man’s treasure.
- Request a green termite clearance.
- If re-doing landscaping, consider using native plants to reduce water use and runoff.
Does anyone else have some eco-friendly suggestions for people on the move? We’d love to hear about them. Just fire off your ideas below. Or tweet @weeksteam with #green.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Many of you have heard of Home Staging and thought “OK, maybe, but does it really work? Is it really worth the money?”
Last night I got a call from a home-owner I worked with at the end of March to pick up some props. When I staged their house I left some items behind and told them to give me a call when the house sells so that I can pick them up. In today’s market houses usually sit for a few months before an offer is made so you can imagine my surprise when I got the call. What happened? Why did they ask me to come pick up the props? Surely the house could not have sold so fast.
Orange County home sells 4 Days after staging – accepted offer was above asking price!!!
Let’s look at how much this staging saved them. For each month that a house is on the market a seller has to pay mortgage, utilities, insurance, taxes and any other owner related bills. Assuming the average mortgage is around $2,000 that is a lot of money spent each month the house is on the market. Knowing that, how much would you be willing to pay for a service that can help sell your house faster? Would it be worth $1000 to save months of those expenses? My services for this house cost these owners well under $1,000 and we used only what was already there. The owners were still living in the house and had everything we needed on hand.
If you are considering selling your house make the investment in Staging. It will save you so much money in the long run, and get your house sold much faster.
For more information check out our website dedicated to Orange County Staging!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
As we roar into the home stretch of March, I thought I’d squeeze in one more reminder that this is Green & Sustainability Month. Being the environmentally-conscious citizen that I am, I’d like to pitch in by covering one more topic related to the health and well-being of our planet – solar power.
Those of us in mostly sunny California will have no problem tapping into the unlimited supply of energy from our favorite and most important star. There are two great reasons to do so. Not only will this ever-present form of renewable energy save you major bucks on your electric bill, it will go a long way to saving Earth’s rapidly-disappearing natural resources.
But the benefits of this renewable resource don’t stop there. Other characteristics of solar power that make it a superb energy source are:
- Non-polluting, unlike petroleum-based fuels.
- Low-maintenance — Solar cells have no moving parts. So virtually no servicing is required.
- Longevity — Solar cells can last indefinitely.
- Versatility – Can power everything from cars to satellites.
- Adaptability — Solar power may be more practical than electrical wiring in a remote location.
- Quiet — Solar cells silently collect all that energy from the sun.
I recently chatted with Rob Huie of Renew Solar Energy about this very timely topic.
For more great info about putting solar energy to work for you, please visit Orange County Solar Company, Renew Solar Energy. And, of course, if I can be assistance in any way, don’t hesitate to please feel free to reach out to me. You can connect with me at 949.338.7408 or email@example.com, @AngieWeeks or @WeeksTeam.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Keren Shamay of Shamay Staging & Redesign Inc. here. I am currently in AZ at Real Estate Investment school. Today’s topic? Fix and Flip. How to do it the right way. What are the hazards? What problems come up? During one of the discussions we ran across a house that had terrible pet odors. The kind that happen after years of more than 5 dogs living in a house, some of which never went outside. Imagine walking into that kind of house as a buyer.
Most home owners do no have that scale of problem on their hands. Many however do have a less offensive version of it. Most buyers may not say anything, but will definitely cross your house off the list of potentials to buy. So as a seller with a pet odor problem, how do you remedy it? The answer that will help the majority of homeowners is paint. Get enough paint to repaint the inside of your house. Go to a store that sells essential oils and get one vial of Cedar-wood and One vial of Orange. Mix 5 drops each of the oils per gallon of paint and paint your walls.
This should solve many of your problems. If it does not fix the problem, call a Stager who is experienced with this process for the next steps. You are at a point where you may need much more than basic staging advice. They will be able to help you resolve the toughest of issues. As a home Stager I am very familiar with this remedy, and the next steps should they be needed. No matter who you use, a Stager along with your Realtor are your best allies in getting your house sold.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
If you’re moving or planning to move, the Weeks Team has a great way to eliminate headaches, as well as save time and money. We’re teaming up a with an amazing group of local professionals who’ve dedicated themselves to making your move as simple and hassle-free as possible.
Bigs & Smalls Moving & Storage Services is Orange County’s premier moving service. And when we say service, we mean FULL service. They’ll do the packing, the moving, or both. They’ll even help with storage. So you can focus on the million and one other things screaming for your attention at moving time.
And right now you can get 10% off of their services. All you have to do is mention me, Angie Weeks. Trust me. My name carries a lot of weight.
So save money, time, and hassles when you’re ready to make your big move. Contact Bigs & Smalls Moving & Storage Services today. And be sure to mention the very influential Angie Weeks for your 10% discount.
Happy Moving!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
It just doesn’t balance out. Only one person will sneak into your beautiful Orange County home this holiday season and leave nice things for you. But there are hundreds who’ll be more than happy to slip into your comfy crib and permanently remove things – often very valuable things. Known as burglars, these predators luv this time of year – empty houses, lots of expensive gifts inside. Remember ‘Home Alone’?
Fortunately, a little knowledge goes a long way in minimizing the chances of burglary. The key to protection is being aware of burglar behavior patterns.
A burglar always:
- Looks for newspapers piled up on the driveway. Talk about giveaways. An especially enterprising crook might even leave a flyer on your front door to see how much time elapses before the literature is removed.
- Knocks first. And not out of politeness. If someone answers, a burglar will have a ready-made excuse – “Can you please tell me how to get to Albuquerque?”
- Checks dresser drawers, bedside tables, and even medicine cabinets.
- Avoids kids’ rooms (usually).
- Leaves a locked safe locked but will gladly carry it away if not bolted down.
- Is more deterred by a loud TV or radio than even the most sophisticated alarms.
- Goes all out to never resemble a crook.
- Hates loud dogs and nosy neighbors.
- Loves people who forget to set alarms, shut windows, and lock doors.
Don’t give a burglar the gift of an easy break-in. Be guided by the above behavior patterns, and stay several steps ahead of the crooks.
If you’d like to learn more about protecting your Orange County home this holiday season, I’ll be delighted to help. You can connect with me at 949.338.7408, firstname.lastname@example.org, @AngieWeeks or @WeeksTeam.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The present foreclosure stats tell a grim story. Hard-working folks are losing their homes in alarming numbers. Fortunately, people facing foreclosure in Orange County are not as defenseless as they think. That’s why I’ve started this informative new blog series — Fighting Foreclosure. It’s all about helping people discover the options and resources they have when facing the prospect of losing their home.
The series kicks off with some valuable information from Shaun Smith, a specialist in foreclosure delay in Orange County. According to Shaun, the first thing you should understand is that banks don’t actually carry out the foreclosure action. They appoint a trustee to do the dirty work, including getting your home sold at auction. Now here’s the really crazy part. Unlike other states, California has no judicial-monitoring system in place to oversee trustee actions. So guess what? In order to expedite the process and maximize both bank and personal benefits, trustees invariably commit violations. Sometimes a lot of them. And who loses? Of course — the beleaguered homeowner.
Shaun’s service, Mortgage Crisis Remedies, combats these abuses and basically buys the homeowner time so they can remedy their non-performing loan. That could mean everything from continuing with a loan modification, short sale, or walking away with the cleanest possible credit record.
How does Shaun’s service accomplish all of this? By conducting in-depth investigations to discover trustee violations, then offering the trustee the choice of either delaying the home sale or facing sanctions that would result in loss of license. And guess what? That’s right. In a supreme act of self-preservation, the trustee invariably postpones the sale — usually by 1-4 months. This gives the homeowner leverage to bring the bank back to the negotiating table. In a nutshell, Shaun ensures that all legal requirements are met before the house is sold. A judge sure isn’t going to do it.
If you’d like to learn more about foreclosure delay in Orange County, Shaun or any team member on our TEN Dimensions team will be happy to help. Reach out to him at 949.241.0218 or email@example.com. And breath a lot easier.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Alright, you’ve decided to make the big move. You want to own a place of your own. Congratulations! You’ve definitely taken a major step toward a more rewarding lifestyle and a more secure financial future. And right now you’ll discover a fantastic selection of excellent Orange County homes for sale. Of course, buying an Orange County property is very much like buying a home anywhere else. You have to be prepared. Otherwise stock up on aspirin, because you could be in for some major headaches. Here’s a handy checklist of four steps you can take to be home purchase-ready.
- Have at least 3.5% of the purchase price saved for your down payment.
- Make sure you qualify with a lender.
- Conduct online research of the market and of your preferred neighborhoods.
- Work with a seasoned professional to avoid ‘newbie’ mistakes when buying your first home.
If you’d like to learn more about buying the Orange County property that’s perfect for you, we’re ready to help. Our team specializes in assisting first time home buyers in Orange County. Not only will we help you find your dream home, we’ll save you hours of valuable time and headaches.
Don’t wait to be in a fantastic house at a fantastic price! Contact me today at 949.338.7408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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