Archive for March, 2011

Mission Viejo Real Estate: A Look At Madrid

Posted on March 31, 2011. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

Within the great city of Mission Viejo there are a number of sub communities that all boast different architectural styles and amenities that homeowners can take advantage of. One of the mood more popular sub communities of Mission Viejo real estate is Madrid. The sub community of Madrid is one of the first areas homeowners look at when they seek a home within Mission Viejo.

This is because Madrid is considered by many to be the crown jewel of sub communities within Mission Viejo and is often thought of as a community full of ancient beauty combined with modern style. Moreover the sub community consists of 945 homes with three very different floor plans with the smallest being a generous 1772 square feet. What this essentially means is that all the homes within Madrid not only look good and are spacious enough to house large families but the neighborhood is also one of the safest and most revered among those with children. Speaking of which, Madrid is home to a number of great schools, both public and private, ranging from the elementary level to the collegiate level. This is truly one of the best areas in which to raise a family.

Of course it goes without saying that anyone who purchases a home in Madrid will enjoy not just the amenities of that community but all the benefits that come with owning Mission Viejo real estate in general. Be it restaurants, shopping malls, country clubs, golf courses, residents of Madrid will be able to enjoy all.

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Flex Your Solar Power – Orange County Solar Options

Posted on March 25, 2011. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Improvement Ideas, Making Life Easier, Orange County Home Improvement | Tags: |

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,  @AngieWeeks or @WeeksTeam.

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Orange County Home Staging – What to expect

Posted on March 18, 2011. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

Hi Everyone,

I thought it would be great to start off with the basics of Home Staging. This should give you a good idea of what you can expect when trying to give the best impression while selling your house and why.

A good Realtor should be working with a Home Stager regularly, or at least have one that they trust on hand. I have been told that many home owners are not interested in spending the money on Home Staging because  they do not see the value of it. They see it as an added expense and nothing more. I believe this impression is true, but only because most people are not educated about the value they get for their money in this area. The truth is that of all the things you will spend money on while selling your home, few have the rate of return shown by Home Staging.

Why Stage an Orange County home?

The idea behind staging your house is that you make it appealing to as many people as possible. The average home buyer does not have the imagination needed to visualize living in your home while you are still there. By staging you give them not only the emotional space to attach to your house, but also create a lifestyle that they want to have. This is basic marketing. Most home-buyers will decide within 30 seconds of walking in your front door whether they will buy or not. If they feel comfortable when they walk in they will start to relax and visualize themselves there. If they are turned off immediately, you have lost them. The pool in the back yard, the upgraded kitchen and every other luxury you have does not matter. This is why hiring a specialist is so important.

What should you expect from a Home Stager? I believe that you should expect at least a couple of appointments depending on your home’s condition. My first appointment is always a short consult where we sit down and discuss the situation. We go over concerns, expectations and the plan. I then give the home-owners homework. Don’t get scared, any good Stager should do this for you. I tell them what needs to be done before I come in for the actual staging day. This usually involves cleaning, removing clutter and all the extra furniture that is overcrowding the house. “But there is nothing wrong with my furniture. And my taste in art is exquisite.” You may say.  That may be true, but the idea is to appeal to the largest number of people. A good Stager has been trained to market your house for a quick sale.

The staging day itself lasts for a few hours. In my appointments, I come in and start moving things around. We work together to get all the furniture positioned properly so there is good flow throughout the house. We add accessories where needed and remove when not. We then walk the house and discuss the changes that were made. I make sure that you understand what I did, and why it is important. I give you a list of things that must be kept up, and a few suggestions for additions should you choose to make them.

For more information about available services, and some tips and tricks, check out my web-site.

Have a great weekend!

Keren Shamay, Shamay Staging & Redesign Inc.

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Protect Your Orange County Investment and Your Family

Posted on March 14, 2011. Filed under: Home Improvement Ideas, Orange County Home Improvement, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: |

Hey, folks. March is Green & Sustainability Month, and I thought I’d pitch in by sharing a few thoughts about an issue affecting us right where we all live – our home.  The issue is an insidious substance known as radon, the silent threat.  Radon was the primary topic on a recent episode of Dr. Oz, which stressed the importance of scheduling radon inspections for homes, businesses, and schools.

Here are a few things all Orange County homeowners or business owners should know about this silent threat:

  • Radon results from the decay of uranium in soil, water, and rocks, all of which can be found beneath a home’s foundation. From this starting point, the gas can seep into homes and eventually lead to very serious health problems.
  • Thousands of radon hot spots exist in the U.S. These locations demonstrate much higher than average levels of the gas. Specialized tests reveal evidence of a clear link between breathing high concentrations of radon and lung cancer. Clearly, radon testing is critical to ensure the safety of any home, business, or school.
  • While radon sampler kits are available, thorough testing by a professional environmental inspector is recommended. Such testing may utilize charcoal canisters, charcoal liquid scintillation devices, alpha-track detectors, and electric ion chamber detectors.

For more insights regarding this silent threat, check out this very informative video courtesy of the Dr. Oz show.

If you’d like maximum peace of mind, consider getting your home tested for radon levels. In my book, the best person for the job is Mike Cantor with 20/20 Home Inspections.  He’s friendly, fast, reliable, and state-certified. So give him a call. You’ll be glad you did.

Naturally, if I can be of assistance with this or any other issue pertaining to your Orange County home, please feel free to reach out to me. You can connect with me at 949.338.7408 or,  @AngieWeeks or @WeeksTeam.

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10 Ways to Avoid Short Sale Delays

Posted on March 14, 2011. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Orange County Real Estate, Orange County Short Sales | Tags: |

If you’re involved with a short sale for an Orange County home, the last thing you need is a mountain of delays. Fortunately, there are 10 steps you can take to help minimize logjams and power through the sale at a reasonable pace. 

  1. Make sure buyers, sellers, and agents are all on the same page as far as expectations go. Everyone needs to understand that the process is complex, and things don’t exactly happen overnight.
  2. Homeowners should complete all necessary financial hardship documentation. It is important to update these docs on a consistent basis.
  3. Get the sale property up on MLS and market the heck out of it.
  4. Come to an agreement regarding any external third party fees before submitting HUD (agreement should be valid for 60 days). Possible external fees include short sale negotiation, reconveyence, document preparation, and notary.
  5. Before submitting short sale documents and/or images, go over them with a fine tooth comb for accuracy.
  6. Lagers can cause some serious delays. So make sure customers and agents complete all necessary tasks in a timely manner.
  7. Do your best to get a purchase offer that reflects the best possible fair market value and highest return for investors.
  8. Submit fully executed purchase offers, making sure all addenda have been signed by buyer and homeowner. Provide any supporting documentation with offers.
  9. Get busy and obtain a release on outside liens as early in the process as possible.
  10. Be on the lookout for any of the following situations, as they invite delays:

a) A change in buyer, agent, or terms
b) Customer files for bankruptcy or divorce
c) Changes after approval letter is issued (please note expiration date)

If you’d like to learn more about short sale opportunities in the Orange County Real Estate market, I’ll be delighted to help.  You can connect with me at 949.338.7408 or,  @AngieWeeks or @WeeksTeam.

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OC Staging: A Lesson in the Foreclosure Process

Posted on March 11, 2011. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

Hello again from Real Estate Investor School. Another day another topic. What did we learn about today? Trustee sales, or auctions. This is where the houses that were foreclosed go to be sold. Feel a little lost? Don’t worry, many people don’t really understand how it works. For the purposes of this article I will use CA, a Deed of Trust State. This will be high level because the details could fill about 365 blogs. Let’s start from the beginning.

How does the foreclosure process work?

When you have financial problems you may miss some house payments. When your loan becomes delinquent the bank files a Notice of Default. This is the time when your house can be put on the market for Short Sale. This time period is called the “Pre-foreclosure” period. It can last anywhere between 90 days and 2 years these days. At the end of this period your house will go to auction. Here the bank will try to sell it to the highest bidder in hopes of recovering their money. Up until about 5 days before the auction you may be able to delay the auction and try to pull off a short sale.

What happens at an Orange County home auction?

Now the house is at Auction. It is still held by the bank, but technically owned by the homeowner who defaulted. All the investors and interested parties clamber into the auction house or courthouse and bid on all the properties out that day. This in itself is a very interesting process and is where you can find great deals on properties. The catch is that you have to come in with some money up front, and be able to pay the rest within 24 – 48 hours. If the house does not sell at auction, we move to the REO arena.

What is an REO?

What exactly is an REO, and why don’t the letters relate to “Bank owned” at all you ask? Great question. REO stands for Real Estate Owned. You see, the bank is not allowed to own Real Estate by law. After the auction, if the house does not sell, its ownership reverts to itself. That’s right, the house owns itself. It is only managed by the bank. Now the house sits on the market until someone is willing to buy it at the listed price, or make an offer the bank will accept.

You may be asking at this point why a Home Stager is writing about Real Estate Investing and attending Investing School. On top of being a Home Stager, I am also an Investor and help homeowners who are in trouble. I find win-win-win (Homeowner – Bank – Me) solutions. My goal is to get the homeowners out before they get to the foreclosure point and possibly keep their credit completely clean. This week I am brushing up on some skills so that I have as many tools as possible to serve my clients.

If you have interest in home staging or my investing adventures, contact me, Keren Shamay, on LinkedIn!

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Orange County Home Staging: Horrible Odors

Posted on March 10, 2011. Filed under: Home Improvement Ideas, Home Seller Tips, Making Life Easier | Tags: , , |

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.

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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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