Archive for August, 2019

From Renter to Homeowner – How to Make the Leap

Posted on August 28, 2019. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Homeownership, Los Angeles Real Estate, Orange County Real Estate, Real Estate Stories |

RENTER

Renting has its perks – short-term lease agreements, low upfront costs and the flexibility to move anywhere you want on a short notice.

However, it’s exciting to have a place you can actually call your own! You want the freedom to paint the walls the color you want, tackle a DIY kitchen project, or to be as loud as you want without worrying about neighbors stomping above you. Owning a home has so many great perks, read about some of the perks here. If you think you are ready to make the leap from renter to homeowner, here are a few things to consider first.

Breaking a Lease Early to Buy a Home

More and more renters are looking to break their leases and make the leap into homeownership. As you get closer to finding the home of your dreams, the fear settles in that you are “stuck” in a lease. Landlords are fairly accommodating when it comes to allowing tenants to break their lease and move out early.

Work with your real estate professional to assist you in this communication to your landlord. If you find that you are still stuck paying intimidating fees, your real estate professional can help you negotiate the terms of your lease and help you cover your early move-out expenses to make purchasing a home easier for you.

If you find a home you love a few months before your lease ends, don’t let the fear of breaking your lease scare you out of becoming a homeowner. You might spend more money on the house you want if you wait for a lease to expire.

The housing market is constantly changing. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to purchase the home of your dreams, at the price that fits your budget. It is better to get the best deal than it is to worry about abandoning an apartment, these fees can be minor when accessing the long-term costs of waiting.

I see it, I like it, I want it, I FIX It!

Becoming a homeowner means that every repair that you would typically request via email the Apartment Complex front desk – is now your personal responsibility. All repairs are now up to you to fix, and pay for. With each repairs comes additional expenses due to installation fees, maintenance fees, and other costs renters typically do not pay for. It is important to prepare for these unexpected repairs so that you are ready to take action (or hire the experts) when the basement floods or the furnace stops working mid-winter.

The best way to avoid becoming Mr. & Mrs. Fix It is to consult with your real estate agent DURING the home buying process to ensure all potential repairs are identified (short term and long term). A thorough inspection is necessary to help you identify those hidden repairs that you might not find as you complete a tour of the home. Work with your realtor to ensure you have a thorough home inspection completed, this will help you avoid purchasing a property that is a potential money pit.

Expenses To Budget

Homeownership comes with unexpected expenses and surprises. As you determine what you can afford, it it important to consider additional costs other than the mortgage payments and real estate taxes.

As a renter, your utility bills are typically lower as you occupy a smaller space. Make sure to budget for an increase in bills such as: electricity, trash, heating and cooling. Think long term, often times renter consider the costs of owning a home based on down payments, closing costs, and taxes. While considering short term costs are required, it benefits you to also prepare (and budget) for those long term costs. It’s important to be realistic about what you can afford, the more you prepare for these costs, the more success you will have as a homeowner.

Stay tuned for more blog posts that will assist you throughout the homeowner process.

 

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Women In Real Estate – The Future Is Female

Posted on August 14, 2019. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Homeownership, Los Angeles Real Estate, Orange County Real Estate, Real Estate Stories |

Women In The Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB)

While attending the ‘Women in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem’ annual conference in LA last week, I had the pleasure of learning more about women in real estate and the power of connections. NAWRB is an advocate and leading voice for women as they focus on “advancing gender equality, raising the utilization of women-owned businesses and providing women the tools for economic security, stability and sanctuary.” You can learn more about the how NAWRB provides women with financial freedom here. For more information about the statistics provided from the conference and where women stand in real estate, you can click here.

Did You Know?

Women are DOMINATING the world (and the real estate market). Women control 65 percent of global spending and more than 80 percent of U.S. spending. Women make majority of household decisions when it comes to purchases, especially when it comes to home ownership. According to Forbes, self-made women are increasing at a greater rate than the number of billionaires overall. As more and more women are becoming successful entrepreneurs, the door opens for opportunity: homeownership! Women represent one of the fastest growing groups in the housing market and are interested in buying their own home – regardless of their marital status.

Single Ladies

Single women are the second-largest home-buying group behind married couples (where they are likely making the decision). In 2017, single women made up 17% of homebuyers. Women are delaying marriage (and proud of it!) and pursuing their dreams. Census Bureau data shows that women on average are entering into marriage at an average age of 27. Regardless of their marital status, women are buying homes. Women are earning college degrees at a higher rate when compared to men. This allows them access to achieve higher wages (despite the wage gap).

Tips for Female Homebuyers 

MONEY Money MONEY 

  1. Know what you can afford 
  2. Do your research to know how much you should save for a down-payment before you start house-hunting
    • A $30,000 down payment might seem very intimidating – break it down!! Save $10,000 a year for 3 years. That’s roughly $800 a month. Married? That is $400 a month for each individual. 
  3. APPLY for down payment assistance programs
    • Did you know there are 2400 down payment programs??!!? 
      • Click here to learn what buyer program you qualify for – based on the state you live in
    • Down payment assistance programs delay the process of closing the deal, make sure you have an agent who can smooth that over with the seller and still get your offer accepted in a timely manner. 
  4. Make sure your a house payment fits into your budget!
    • Have an emergency fund set aside to be prepared for unplanned costs.
    • This is especially important for all the independent single ladies relying on one income. As a homeowner you will run into unexpected costs, having an emergency fund ready to go will provide you with reassurance that you are prepared and ready for those unexpected costs. Consult with your financial professionals to determine the right amount to save based on your lifestyle and goals.

Plan Ahead!

  1. Consider your future
    • Depending on what your goals are can vary the way you buy a home.
    • Keep your future in mind when looking for homes. This could be your forever home!
  2. Always save enough money to get you through multiple home payments
    • Having this cushion will provide you with the freedom to make decisions that are not money-driven. At a job you hate? Rest assured that you have a budget to get you through the job hunt. Craving a vacation? You can drink all the mojitos you want while knowing your bank account won’t overdraft when your mortgage payment comes out. 
  3.  Stick to your PLAN!
    • You have it in you, it got you to where you are now! Your real estate professional will help guide you in the direction that YOU want to go and that aligns with your financial goals.
    • If the house you can afford doesn’t have the Chip & Joanna style you love, a few trips to Target will have your new house feeling like home in no time.

Be Patient

  1. Don’t let the process overwhelm you 
    • If you feel overwhelmed with the costs of your dream home, it is okay to buy a house that requires some TLC. After you settle in you can decorate with a budget that works for YOU (or works for Target). 
  2. Take time to weigh your options and compare 
    • Observe the inside of the house: run the faucet, flush the toilets, check the HVAC (the whaaattt?).
    • If you have been living in an apartment – you might assume all of these things automatically work as new. Consult with your real estate agent to see who can provide these inspection services for you and determine what you can negotiate with the seller.

Want To Know More? 

Do you want to learn more about how YOU can become a woman in the housing and real estate ecosystem? Become a member of NAWRB! If you are a girl boss looking to expand your career, get on a corporate board, or become financially independent – NAWRBNAWRB supports ALL women as they march to the beat of their own drum. Photo below: Desiree Patno, CEO of NAWRB. Click here to hear from Desiree and solidify why YOU should join the NAWRB Ecosystem! 

Click here to watch Mortgage Banking Professional Adriana Shannon (an elite NAWRB member) talk about the ways NAWRB has empowered her and given her more of a voice not only in her career but in other aspects of life too.
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A Nightmare Real Estate Story – Groundhog Day Escrow

Posted on August 3, 2019. Filed under: escrow, First Time Buyer help, Orange County Real Estate, Real Estate Stories |

Groundhog escrow timeline (2)Do you love a good nail biting, back and forth drama flick? Or a hilarious Groundhog Day story that just couldn’t get any wackier? Since sometimes I feel like I’m in the middle of both of these flicks without a camera…I thought I would share with you. Getting this out there should feed your appetite for a good story, while I practice some humility and potentially lessen the PTSD. And **action**

Our Timeline – Deals Seem Great Until They Crumble

The story starts as a fairy tale with a full price offer, and a lender who was a trusted referral of the buyer’s agent. Here is how things started – escrow opened on April 11th, the Close of Escrow was scheduled May 10th. The deadline was missed meaning the tail chasing continued until May 17th. This caused the seller to become more and more anxious to close, while at the same time the buyer is refusing to close.

The seller asked to cancel the listing and pursue a different route – they wanted to sell with Zillow Offers. The Zillow Offer is verbal and is $50,000 LESS than all previous offers. The seller denies the offer. The buyer comes back to the table with a new offer – he can close with a new lender by the end of the month. The seller agrees but with a stipulation – the seller requests an immediate $2,000 deposit release and an additional $4,000 release if they do not close by 5 PM on July 1st.

Seller offers solution that covers $3,000 of the $4,500 in question. The buyers agent refuses to put addendum in writing, refuses to remove contingencies. On 5-29 a NEW offer is received & countered (but it was contingent on a sale). On 6-1 the seller tries to cancel my contract and states they would like to go with Zillow offers, I advised that they are under contract. They are resistant to follow the terms of the contract so I reiterate that they are welcome to sell to whomever they chose and are allowed not to sell the home however they are obligated to pay the commission fees. As a realtor, I completed the tasks it took to achieve a closing deal. The seller proceeds to initiate the Zillow offer anyway despite the fact that we are in a legal binding contract.

June 9th rolls around and we are notified that Zillow has proposed an “offer”. There is an inspection fee, a fee for estimated repairs, a Zillow convenience fee, and oh that didn’t cover any commissions. So Zillow really offered him $40,000 less after assessing fees and costs. As stated in our previous blog – Zillow Offer is providing you instant cash by cutting out the hassle – you are paying for this convenience by selling your house lower than market value.Real estate agent commissions are between 5-6%, if you are listing your home for 10-15% less than market value you are spending MORE money. Read more about how Zillow Offers work here. 

So to summarize the Zillow Offer: there is an initial below market value offer – deductions – estimated closing of $2,600 – estimated preparation & repair $3,000. The final offer is $40,000 below market value with a 72 hr deadline. Plus, the seller still owes my commission after that. The buyer comes back to the table on 6-10 saying they can close the loan IF the purchase price is a set price (above Zillow offer and above market value). The seller has a new tune now that he has sat on the market with only contingent offers or the Zillow *under marker value* offer.

We go back and forth on email and text with all, at least 2 email requests to send over a revised addendum. 48 hours go by, still no revised addendum in my inbox. My client keeps negotiating with himself the way Chris Voss tells us all to avoid (read his book here). I try to nicely explain this to him. It continues. If my client closes with this buyer we will be required to do all of the paperwork…again if the buyer closes with this lender.

The buyers agent edits the addendum manually, sends it to the lender, and doesn’t send it to us. We found out we had a fully executed addendum from the lender the next day. We are finally able to connect with the new lender and they seem confused that I don’t have the addendum too. We had already reached a closing disclosure –  a five-page form that provides final details about the mortgage loan you have selected. There are checks and balances through out this process, there are not just last minute surprises and missing documents by the time you reach closing disclosure. We experience some backpedals saying they may not have it fully executed. Best case scenario: we are left spinning our wheels, in a worst case scenario? Straight up fraud. The buyers agent is possibly the worst agent I have ever had to deal with. He abandoned his client, misled him, and left him to find his own lender. It was a shady process no matter the outcome. 

We come to an agreement that I will be the first to know if there are any hiccups with the loan; I tell her I’m just trying to protect my client. I’m still fighting for that same guy who wants to fire me. Because that is my job. All the while helping the buyer’s side get their full 3% commission. On 6-26 the deal finally closes. It is important for all of our clients to know and feel assured that as a real estate agent – we take several measures to protect a home buyer’s interests. It is a lenders objective when purchasing a home to protect their own financial interests. Real Estate Agents have a fiduciary duty to act with their clients (sellers and buyers) best interests in mind, through the highs and even the lows. We are working for you, to protect your financial interests and ensure that you are getting the best deal. Even through this nightmare real estate story, the clients best interest were always kept in mind.

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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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