Archive for August, 2007

Smooth Sailing – Easy Closings – Simple Real Estate

Posted on August 30, 2007. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Informed Investor Alliance, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate |

I had to take a moment to blog about our best deal ever.  I’m talking best buyers, best sellers, best team, best all around EXPERIENCE.   Working in the Orange County Real Estate field for over 4 years now, Mike & I have some big time horror stories.  Real Estate is NOT easy, there are lots of personalities, paperwork, and pitfalls to deal with.  This deal was cake though – yay!!!

 It started out with great, level-headed buyers who knew exactly what they wanted.  They were educated on comps, the current market, and had an excellent understanding of important buying strategies. 

Then, it snowballed with a perfect property, and great sellers.  The sellers openly disclosed and discussed any problems with the property.  They were awesome with letting our inspectors in, honoring reasonable repair requests, and just open communication in general.

I want to give credit to all the people who ROCKED THE HOUSE with this smooth deal 🙂  I met one of the nicest Orange County real estate agents I have ever worked with, Susan McDonnell.  A fellow midwesterner, Susan totally was out for her clients’ best interests, and represented them flawlessly.  She worked hard, and was always available by phone and email.  She expedited her responsibilities promptly, even ahead of time.  She was trained on her technology AND knew the paperwork well, which is honestly a rarity around here (I am not sure why)!  I only wish I worked in a world of Susan McDonnells.  It was a pleasure doing a deal with her 🙂

ALSO, I have to give props to Barbara Johnson with Legacy Home Loans.  Lenders are dropping like flies right now, and this was one I had never met (buyers knew her previously).  Barbara exceeded all expectations – she PROACTIVELY handled situations – like scheduling the appraiser to walk in while I was on the inspection (thanks for saving me the extra trip, and the sellers the extra privacy invasion).  She called ME to let me know docs are already in escrow a week EARLY.  (wow, I am usually babysitting lenders about this!)  Barbara called me back same day, always, and offered me her cell for weekends.  I didn’t need to use it, though, because the woman is on the ball 🙂

Then we had Janice A, our lovely transaction coordinator.  We never have to worry about paperwork, Janice handles all of it.  She had the entire completed file in to our corporate Newport Beach office a day early, and we so THANKFUL for her looking over all the paperwork.  We would really rather make eye contact and engage in full conversation with our clients, and when we’re doing that sometimes an initial or checkbox gets missed.  Janice always gets the sigs where we need them, when we need them.  If any of you Realtors out there need an awesome Transaction Coordinator, Janice A is your girl.  She gets a perfect file, every time. 

There’s still more – we want to thank Mike Cantor of 20-20 Home Inspections for doing a very thorough inspection.  Mike ALWAYS takes time to tell our buyers details about the home they are buying, and make them aware of any potential safety or upkeep issues with the property.  He’s so thorough, that he guarantees his inspection for a whole year.  Mike takes twice as long as other inspectors, because he leaves no stone unturned.  This Foothill Ranch property actually returned his BEST  inspection report yet…this is a SOLID property for our buyers…woohooo!

Finally I would just like to say thank you to Kandy over at Hartford Escrow, Danny Atkins for fixing the roof tiles, and anyone else I forgot to mention.  Brad Coleman (Metro’s VP)gets the last shout out for his forever solid real estate advise.  Brad helped me with a great new way to counter for services.  After going back and forth about the buyers and sellers choice of escrow and title services, Brad suggested that we counter back “Escrow & Title to be buyer’s OR seller’s choice, whichever company offers the best price.”  Well, how can ya argue over that?  Nobody did, and the deal came together easily.  Brad’s always coming up with creative ways to help me best serve our buyers and sellers – gotta love it!!   

Thanks again to everyone involved – there are so many complaints about businesses and people on the internet…especially blogs… I just wanted to remind everyone to be thankful for your positive experiences and blog about those too 🙂

Have a SAFE and FUN Labor Day everyone!!!!

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Passport Help @ Mission Viejo Library

Posted on August 18, 2007. Filed under: Making Life Easier, Orange County things to do |

Leaving the country soon???  I thought you might like to know you can apply for a passport, change your name on your passport, or get your passport photos taken at the Mission Viejo public library off of La Paz and Marguerite.  I had to go today in order to get my name changed to “Weeks” on my passport, Mike is taking me on a cruise soon! 🙂

Mission Viejo LibraryThe library has walk ins on Wednesday and Thursday, and appointments on Saturday.  There are nice people there helping you with the right form, fees, reviewing your forms, etc.  It’s nice to have a second set of eyes to help you review your application.  Since there is a backup, it would be annoying to get denied for filling out the app wrong!

You’re probably laughing since I have been married for 3 years, and have not fully changed my name.  I KNOW, go ahead!  I did find a neat little kit to solve that for future brides, though.  The Name Change Kit for Brides makes a perfect, inexpensive, creative, engagement gift and it provides all the forms and information you need to change your name. 

I think the passport was the last thing with my maiden name on it left.  I had most of my name changed the first year, except for health records and my email.  I’m almost there haha. 

Here’s a cute courtyard pic of the Mission Viejo Library, there’s lots to do there besides read books 🙂  We actually used their community center last year for a homebuyer seminar – anyone is welcome to rent it.  They have tutoring, computer classes, lots of stuff going on!

Mission Viejo Library courtyard

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Laguna Village & Laguna Terrace websites

Posted on August 16, 2007. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Making Life Easier |

Hi Everyone,

 Just wanted to remind our favorite Laguna Hills neighborhoods about the websites we sponsor for them:

Laguna Village –

Laguna Village

Laguna Terrace –

Laguna Terrace

The websites above are for community members to post activities, information, and even plug your businesses for FREE!  You can find active listings in your community and what they are priced at, AND you can easily see what the neighbors sold for. 

Mike and I bought our very first condo in Laguna Village, in Laguna Hills.  We still love those properties and highly recommend them.  Why?  A few reasons:

1. Some of the largest square footage for your dollar
2. We love the extra storage “caves” especially the upgraded caves turned to wine areas, offices, etc.  (Yes you have to go see one to understand what we’re talking about but its cool, promise)
3. Surrounding scenery, parks, amenities
4. Views – city lights or hills – but prices are for first time buyers 🙂

Laguna Terrace is right next to Laguna Village, and we used to walk Smokey in that neighborhood.  We used to dream one day of having our own yard so the dog didn’t always have to be on a leash.  One day before we were Realtors, another agent came to our door and told us we had made money on our condo, did we want to upgrade?  I thought of Laguna Terrace and the detached house with the yard…so we moved right around the corner 🙂  We lived in Laguna Terrace for 4 years and we MADE more money on that house than we PAID for it.  So I have to say I think its a good neighborhood to have your own home or investment in.  Why?  A few reasons:

1.  Great elementary San Joaquin in walking distance to most of the homes in Laguna Village
2.  CUTE Detached houses for some of the lowest prices in Orange County. 
3.  Plus there are no HOA’s or Mello Roos. 
4.  Laguna Village is tucked back into its own little corner (no busy streets) with great parks and views too.

Both neighborhoods are centrally located in South OC, and are just 5 minutes from the Irvine Spectrum, 5 freeway, and 405 freeway.  If you are interested in either of these neighborhoods call us at 877-230-3211 or visit one of the sites above – we’re experts to say the least 🙂

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Nouveau Riche – Invest In Real Estate without the School of Hard Knocks

Posted on August 14, 2007. Filed under: Informed Investor Alliance, Orange County Real Estate |

Looking for an opportunity to change your financial future?  Nouveau Riche may be the answer.  Nouveau Riche is actually a College University designed specifically for real estate investing.  Through education, NRU trains investors how to be savvy.

Since most investors (including us) went to the unofficial School of Hard Knocks, this is a new method of learning the RIGHT way to invest.

What do successful, financially independant people have in common? There is a common demoninator, and its actually owning real estate.  74% of the wealthiest people own property.  That’s 3 out of 4.  Why real estate?  Real Estate Investing offers the following opportunities, while other investments don’t:


One of the main reasons why owning real estate is successful is because you can leverage your money.  For example, if you put 10K down on a 200K property, and the property appreciates, your appreciation rate is on the full amount of your property, not the amount you put into it.  Stocks, bonds, savings, and other traditional methods of investing don’t offer you the capibility to earn money like that.

Another fact you can’t argue with; the population is gonna grow exponentially.  Its not getting smaller.  Check out this article from Money Mag about Megapolitians.  Owning real estate can be a great stream of income.  That’s another stat on the wealthy; they have multiple streams of income.  Unfortunately if your job is your only stream of income, its not likely you are going to get wealthy. (sorry!)

Nouveau Riche offers a new income stream, and aims to create real estate investors. 

When you’re 65 will you be ready to retire?

According to recent studies, 54% of 65 year olds are currently dependant on church, state or family.  This is a sad statistic  😦 

Why don’t people buy real estate?  Here are some of the main reasons:

Don’t know How
No Time
No Money or Credit

Nouveau Riche combats these problems through the following solutions:

Education – now you know how. You’ll even become an expert.  Nouveau Riche is a REAL college, their credits will even transfer to other colleges which are ACE approved.  Here are some of the classes offered:  Buy & Hold, Fix & Flip, Short Sales, multi-family properties, foreclosures, and there are tons more.  Classes range from 100 to 400 level courses, and you can pick and choose which courses you want to take.  You can go take college in Scottsdale AZ or you can even classes online.  Each course is supplemented with a comprehensive study, so its easier to review and retain the information. 

Investor’s Concierge – – go ahead and check it out – you can login as a guest.  You can literally click a mouse and buy a house.  This is great for people with NO TIME!  Nouveau Riche has scouts who go out and find cash flowing properties across the country.  They help fix them, find tenants, everything.  This frees up more of your time so you aren’t tied down with tenant matters or wondering whether you are buying a good long term investment.  You can buy property with Nouveau Riche mortgage, OR your preferred mortgage lender, which is nice. 

Scholarships – if you refer other investors you can get scholarships for the NRU college.  Its not multi level marketing so don’t worry.  Its a solid opportunity for those who are interested in investing in real estate, and you are paid for your referrals. 

I enjoyed learning that Nouveau Riche is part of a bigger community.  They can help you with your incorporation,, which protects your properties.  They also partner with, and Habitat 4 Humanity.  

If you would like to come to a no-obligation meeting just give me a call at 877-230-3211.  Meetings are on Wednesdays at Noon at Dave and Busters in Irvine, or Thursdays at 7pm – location is 4340 Von Karmon in Newport Beach.  I’m really excited to be a part of this organization! 

One thing you should remember when it comes to investing.  If you only live by one rule, it needs to be this:  “Don’t wait to buy real estate – buy real estate and wait.”  🙂

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Escape to Catalina!

Posted on August 9, 2007. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

Looking for a great day trip or weekend getaway? Catalina Island is the place for you! Just about an hour from Newport Beach it feels like another world.

Getting to Catalina is easy. Just hop on the Catalina Flyer from the Balboa Fun Zone. The Catalina Flyer, the largest passenger-carrying catamaran on the West Coast, features a richly appointed interior, sweeping sun decks, full-service cocktail lounges, stately viewing windows and Ride Control. So if you want comfort, service, a friendly crew, or just want to work on your tan, the Catalina Flyer is your choice. The Catalina Flyer is not only the FASTEST boat, but the BEST way to the island.

Once you arrive there is plenty to do for all ages. From snorkeling to golf, horseback riding, dining, or taking a tour, you will never run out of activities. There are also bike and golf cart rentals so you can explore on your own.

If you’re having so much fun you want to stay we recommend the Pavilion Lodge located on the main beach. Of course there are many other romantic options. Just log onto to check out them all.

Catalina is one of the many destinations that are easily accessible from Orange County. Hope you enjoy!

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La Paz Tract in Mission Viejo

Posted on August 6, 2007. Filed under: Orange County Real Estate |

Hi everyone,

El Cortijo I stopped by a cute open house in the La Paz Central tract this weekend and thought I would share.  Currently La Paz has 21 properites active ranging in price from 629-918K.  I checked out 24861 El Cortijo, which was in the middle of the range at 750K.  It had a large lot and was well kept.  I liked their upgraded cupboards and light and bright kitchen and dining area.  The huge picture window by the dining room that looked out to the courtyard was my favorite.  Here’s a picture, you can see the rest of the active properties by clicking the link above. 

 La Paz is in “old” Mission Viejo, its about 2 miles from Lake Mission Viejo.  Its a nice community with no mello roos or HOA’s, and the properties have large lots.   Let us know if you would like to go and see any of the homes available!  As for comps, there have been 9 homes sold in the last 3 months in the La Paz tract, ranging from 625-910K.   Knowing that Mission Viejo is only second to Newport Beach in salary averages, that’s pretty good pricing 🙂

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    Orange County, CA Real Estate for hip first-time buyers and investors. Plus, fun things to know and do in OC.


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