Archive for February, 2008

Gotta love the OC

Posted on February 29, 2008. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

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Mortgage Payment Relief – will the New Stimulus Package help?

Posted on February 28, 2008. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Informed Investor Alliance, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , , |

Hi All!
Manny Piceno, one of our OC preferred lenders, wrote an informational email about the new Stimulus bill that Congress has been working on.  Call him at 949-285-0216 if you would like more info….
So where is the relief? As you know, President Bush signed the Economic Stimulus Bill into law Wednesday February 13th.
HUD has 30 days to publish the median area home prices, Metropolitan Statistical Areas and mortgage principal obligation limits after this bill became law. 
The New Proposed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans (what we know so far):
·         125% of the area median home price not to exceed $729,750.
·         Changes are set to expire on December 31, 2008
·         The new limits will apply to 30 year and 15 year fixed rate, fully amortizing (sorry no interest only) and OWNER OCCUPIED homes!
·         Adjustable rate mortgage are being considered but don’t count on it.
This is a huge undertaking, and isn’t likely to happen fast. Today’s lending environment is difficult but for those prepared, great opportunities exist. Stay informed. I will keep you posted on any changes that may impact your investments. If you have questions, call or write.
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What’s Your Orange County Real Estate Experience?

Posted on February 25, 2008. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Orange County Real Estate |

Buying or selling a home in the Orange County real estate market is a different experience for each and every person that undertakes it.  Some people have a great experience.  They find the home of their dreams at the price they want to pay and never experience any set backs or issues.  Other people aren’t so lucky.  They may not have such an easy time selling their home as their neighbors or may even have a deal fall through last minute.

So what’s your real estate story?  Are you one of those lucky people that had a stress free buying or selling process?  Or did your Orange County home buying or selling experience leave you thinking you would never buy or sell again?  I would love to know and want you to add your Orange Countyreal estate story to our blog so that other buyers and sellers in the market can learn from your experience – good or bad!

And remember, if you’ve had a great experience, there are still some rules you should follow when you buy or sell the next time around.  And if you’re still getting over your bad OC real estate experience, try to remember that it can be better – just follow these simple rules!

1)      Choose an Orange County realtor that is honest and experienced.  Some realtors will simply tell you what you want to hear – and believe me, that will not make your experience a good one.  Your realtor should give you honest feedback, even if it’s tough to hear.

2)      Make sure your buyer is pre-approved for a mortgage before you accept their bid.  Unfortunately there are times when buyers have not done their due diligence and make an offer on your home without first making sure they can afford it.  This will only frustrate all parties involved, so its better to insist that all buyers be pre-approved before you sign on the dotted line.

3)      Have realistic expectations.  Sure, maybe a few years ago you could sell your Orange County home for a ridiculous amount of money and within days of listing it on the market, but that’s just not the case these days.  Ask your realtor for an honest forecast.  This way you won’t be disappointed if it takes a time to sell your home.

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Dodging the Orange County Tax Collector, legally

Posted on February 22, 2008. Filed under: Blogroll, First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Informed Investor Alliance, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , |

For those of you upset your home prices have declined, we have a little good news for you.  If you purchased a home prior to 2006 during the “hot” OC market, here is your chance to save some extra money. 

It’s tax time, and your property tax bill is one of many.  Because the market went down, your taxes can go down, too.  To see if you are eligible, do a few simple things: 

1.  Contact the Orange County tax assessors office at 714.834.5400. 

2.  Let them know you purchased before 2006, and you are requesting to have your bill reviewed, for this year. REMEMBER, if you want THIS year’s bill reduced you MUST CALL BEFORE APRIL 1st.

3.  The assessor will initiate a re-assesment of your property, and hopefully lower your taxes – saving you potentially thousands of dollars!  

There are some circumstances in which this can not be done, however if you think your taxes on your property are too high, then you are probably right.  Its worth giving it a try – you can comment on how it works out! 

By going to the following link and filling out the form, you can start working on reducing next year’s bill right now.

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Orange County Real Estate Tax Benefits

Posted on February 21, 2008. Filed under: Orange County Real Estate |

Its tax season and that means that if you’re like most people, your getting ready to figure out exactly how much you owe the government or, better yet, how much of a refund you will be getting.  Of course, the more deductions you have, the less taxes you pay.  And the one of the biggest deductions is owning real estate.  Check out this Washington Post article if you don’t believe me.


You always need to check with your tax professional before taking any deductions, but in general, homeowners enjoy the benefit of being able to deduct many home-related costs on their taxes.  For instance, if you own an Orange County home, did you know that all the mortgage interest you pay is deductible?  And for most people who own a home in the Orange County real estate market that equals tens of thousands of dollars each year.  You can also deduct mortgage insurance costs (you know PMI), and property taxes – which in the Orange County real estate market can be thousands of dollars.


All of these deductions together can really cut the amount you pay in taxes each year.  Unfortunately, renters don’t get these privileges and often times don’t benefit form nearly as many tax breaks as homeowners.  So if you don’t own a home, now is a great time to start searching for one.  Check out the Orange County MLS and see what homes are available or shoot me an email at

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Orange County Real Estate Owned (REO) Homes

Posted on February 14, 2008. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

We all know that the Orange County real estate has seen some troubled days in this past year.  But while the prices of homes have dropped and there are a record number of foreclosures, there actually is a silver lining under all these clouds.  While most Orange County real estate experts talk about the negative affects of this market, few are really highlighting the good points.  In all reality, now is a great time to buy a home – especially if you don’t have one to sell.


And while it’s unfortunate that the number of REO homes or Real Estate Owned properties (foreclosures) is up, those Orange County REO homes are really a great investment.  No matter if you’re a first-time buyer or a real estate investor, foreclosures offer a great chance for you to get the home of your dreams at an unbeatable price.  REO homes are always a good deal because they are owned by the bank, and it’s the bank’s main priority to get rid of this burden.  This means a good or great deal for buyers. 


And especially right now, when banks are having their own financial problems, most are willing to accept any reasonable offer.  So if you’re thinking about buying, you’ll definitely want to look into foreclosures.  You really can get more for your money! If you want to learn more about buying an Orange County REO home, give me call at 949-235-7810 or email me at

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Orange County Real Estate Market update by Gary Watts

Posted on February 6, 2008. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Informed Investor Alliance, Orange County Real Estate |

Hello Friends!! For all of you who are looking for information regarding the Orange County housing market (like who isn’t?)…here is the Economic Forecast from Gary Watts. Gary is one of the most respected Real Estate forecasters in the nation. His conferences fill up where ever he speaks and his insightful information is beneficial for all types of investors.

Please enjoy the report.

Gary Watts 2008 Report

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Lower Interest Rates Help Orange County Home Buyers and Sellers

Posted on February 6, 2008. Filed under: Home Seller Tips, Orange County Real Estate |

Anyone buying or selling a home in the Orange County real estate market is probably already aware that the Federal Reserve has cut interest rates – not once, but twice!  This is huge news and is really a great thing for the Southern California real estate market. 


So what does this really mean for you?  Well thankfully it’s news for you.  If you’re a buyer, these new interest rate cuts can help you afford the Orange County home you’ve been dreaming of.  Since lower interest rates translate to lower monthly mortgage payments, you can actually afford more home then you could have just a few weeks ago.


If you’re a seller, the Federal Reserve’s cutting of the interest rate has come at a great time for you.  The spring is normally a busy season for Orange County real estate (even though the market is slow right now, the spring is still busier then other times of the year).  These interest rate cuts will help draw even more buyers into the market – meaning your home will hopefully sell quicker and for more money.


If you’re still on the fence about whether or not now is the best time to buy or sell, talk to your Orange County Realtor and get their expert opinion.  Or shoot me an email at

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Attention SoCal Fire Victims!!

Posted on February 5, 2008. Filed under: Home Improvement Ideas, Informed Investor Alliance, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: |

Hey everyone! Just wanted to let everyone know about this just incase you know of anyone who lost their real estate in the recent Lake Forest Fires or Orange County area. One Time Construction, Inc. is offering a special discount of $10,000 to the rebuilding of your home if you use their services.

Orange County Fire Relief FlyerOrange County Fire Relief Flyer

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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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