Archive for March, 2008

Fantastic Framed Art for Less!!

Posted on March 26, 2008. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Improvement Ideas, Making Life Easier, Orange County things to do |

If you’ve recently purchased your first home you probably have a long list of things you would like to do to decorate.  After all, it’s now your home and you want it to reflect your style, personality and what’s important to you. Unfortunately, you may not have the budget right now and we’ve got a GREAT way to pesonalize your home with a professional look without the professional price.

Hanging artwork and photos in your new home really shows visitors insight into your life.  Custom framed artwork and photos is so expensive. We recently tried to frame a 20″ x 24″ portrait at a local frame store and the price we were quoted was $400. Buying posters and puting them in inexpensive frames can really save money. Ikea, TJ Max and Ross are some of our favorite places to buy posters, frames and framed art. Great looks and even better values.

Our HOT TIP of the day for framing family photos and getting the “custom framed” look is this. Measure your photo you want to frame. Go to TJ Max and shop for an already framed piece of art with similar measurements. Example: your photo is 16″ x 20″. Plan on matting the photo with about 2″-4″ on each side. So, a 16″ x 20″ photo with need a frame aproximately 18″ x 22″ or 20″ x 24″ opening. Take your photo and your new fram to JoAnn’s or Michaels and get new matts cut to match your photo. Ask them to put the matts, photo and frame together for you so it’s all done right. You will get the custom look for a fraction of the price!

It looks WONDERFUL and everyone will think you paid the BIG bucks. Our 20″ x 24″ portrait cost us $85 in our new frame and matts. Shhhhh! Don’t tell our guests.

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FHA Limits Raised for Orange County Real Estate Market

Posted on March 23, 2008. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Orange County Real Estate |

As part of the new economic stimulus package that was recently passed, the Orange County real estate market will be seeing far more then rebate checks.  The new package doubles the limits on FHA mortgages and can really be a huge benefit for first-time buyers and low and medium-income buyers.  Here’s how.


Basically, prior to the new stimulus package the max amount an FHA loan could be was just over $360,000.  Well, if you live in the Orange County area, you know how difficult it can be to find a home under that price.  But the new bill has more then doubled the limit for FHA loans and is now capping out at $729,750.  This is an awesome increase that will last throughout 2008 and can really be a huge incentive for people to get out and buy an Orange County home.


Since FHA loans provide lower- to medium-income buyers and first-time buyers with more affordable mortgage options, this new higher limit could really be exactly what spurs people to invest in Orange County real estate.  You will be able to get great FHA loans on a home you really want.  And with interest rates and home values at all time lows, now really is a great time to get in the market.


If you have any questions about the new FHA loan limits, shoot me an email at


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Building Wealth in the Orange County Real Estate Market

Posted on March 20, 2008. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Orange County Real Estate |

Buying a home is a huge investment and most people find the process, especially when doing it for the first time, to be stressful.  While it’s true that home ownership is a huge responsibility, the fact of the matter is that owning real estate is one of the best moves you can make in terms of building wealth and security – just ask any financial expert. 


The world’s wealthiest people own real estate – Donald Trump has built an empire from real estate, even after a bankruptcy.  And while not everyone is in the position to be able to buy a home in the Orange County real estate market, most people are and you could be one of them. 


Think about it.  How much are you paying in rent each month?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend that money on a home instead of putting it into your landlord’s pocket?  And there has honestly been no better time to buy a home in the Orange County real estate market.  With low interest rates and rock-bottom home prices, now is the best time to buy – especially if your housing budget is tight. 


Check out the New York Times Rent vs. Buy calculator to see if now is a good time for you to invest in an Orange County home.  If you have any questions or need help understanding how much home you can afford, shoot me an email at

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Orange County REO Homes – Great Deals for Buyers

Posted on March 10, 2008. Filed under: Orange County Real Estate |

We all know that Orange County real estate isn’t what it was a few years ago.  Not that long ago, sellers that hired a great realtor could ask basically whatever they wanted for their home and could watch it sell with next to no effort in just a matter of days.  That’s just not the case anymore – home values are down and with the slowing economy and credit crunch out there, buyers aren’t nearly as plentiful as they used to be. Of course the bad news isn’t all bad.  I mean, sure if you’re a seller, it’s a tough a market right now, but if you’re a buyer – especially one with great credit – now really is one of the greatest times for you to invest in a new home.


There are also more Orange County REO homes (which are bank-owned homes or foreclosures) available right now then you can imagine.  Lots of people have been unfortunately unable to pay their mortgage, which is leaving the banks with no option but to sell those homes at a heavily reduced rate in order to recoup some of their lost money.  And this, my friends, is really great for buyers!  REO homes are usually priced far below market value and with so many up for sale right now, the banks are taking pretty much any reasonable offer.  Of course there are definitely some things you should be careful of when buying an Orange County REO home, so I advise you to get the help of an Orange County realtor before you start your search.


If you want a list of current REO homes in the Orange County real estate market, shoot me an email at or give me a buzz at 877-230-3211.

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Fighting Foreclosures in the Orange County Real Estate Market

Posted on March 6, 2008. Filed under: Orange County Real Estate |

We all know that the Orange County real estate market is suffering right now.  Home prices have dropped (which is great news for buyers) and home sales in general are sluggish.  All of this slow activity along with adjustable mortgages that are now renewing are leaving lots of Orange County homeowners facing foreclosure.


If you are one of the thousands of people facing a foreclosure, don’t just give up.  Fight that foreclosure – there are plenty of things you can do right now to avoid losing your home to the bank.  You might be suprised to find out that you can negotiate with your bank.  Most banks will be more then happy to work with you in order to avoid foreclosure.  And if you really just can’t afford the mortgage at all anymore, you can always sell the home and at least recoup some of your investment instead of handing over your property to the bank.


Check out this video of Donald Trump.  He has some great advice on how you can fight to keep your house.  As he points out, the bank really doesn’t want your home – it’s a hassle for them to sell it and recoup their money.  So do yourself a favor, and really try to find some middle ground so that you don’t have to loose the place you call home.

There were 2400 foreclosures last month in the Orange County real estate market.  None of us want to see this number rise any further.  So if you are facing foreclosure, get help now!  If you’re not sure what to do or where to start, shoot me an email at

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Orange County CA Home Sellers, are you overpriced?

Posted on March 2, 2008. Filed under: Home Seller Tips, Informed Investor Alliance, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: |

The Orange County Real Estate market is moving.  What direction?  Many.  What are we seeing?  Good deals, strapped homeowners.  What are we hearing?  Happy stories, Sad stories.  There’s a positive and a negative in every environment, and we always encourage you to look at the glass as half full.

 BUT….if your house is on the market right now….are you chasing the market down?  What if your Realtor is doing it for you?  Are you AND your agent strong enough to take the truth?  I read this sad story on a popular Realtors “hub” online, its from a Realtor working out of Florida.   

OC Sellers and potential sellers, you often choose to work with the agent who says your home is worth the most money.  I want to encourage you to question the pricing method, not just get “sold” on potential dollar signs.  Question the marketing strategies, your agent better have the money to do traditional marketing or they better be able to kick butt online.  ASK how many contacts they have in their database, how many listings they have had expire, how many buyers they have searching on their website.  If the agent at your listing appointment has a dog and pony show, and you buy into that without question, it could be a nightmare for everyone in the end.

Also, expect to be QUESTIONED yourself.  A good agent is mostly questions, tayloring their strategies to your specific needs and situation.    A good agent will listen to and really hear what you have to say, but they will also be strong and smart enough to TELL you things you may not want to hear. 

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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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