First Time Buyer help

2021 Real Estate Market Predictions for Orange County, CA

Posted on October 28, 2020. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Informed Investor Alliance, Orange County Real Estate, Selling your home fast |

Today one of our favorite forecasters, Steven Thomas, gave his thoughts on closing out the crazy 2020 Covid real estate market and what we expect to see here in 2021. If you love stats, be sure to subscribe to our email list, as we send out Reports on Housing statistics monthly. These reports will keep you on top of exactly what is happening right now with property prices, average days on market, and demand.

More space or a home office are very common reasons to move in 2020, which will also likely roll over into our 2021 season.

We’ve had a really interesting year in real estate, almost flipped from our normal Orange County trends. We were slower in the spring, obviously due to quarantine and virus setbacks (coined ‘The Pandession’). Then we heated up in summer and are still going strong here in fall, when things usually cool.

The pandemic really made people think about what they wanted in a home. And now, they are going out to get it. Sometimes it’s a larger yard, other times a pool, being closer to loved ones, or relocating to a rural environment. Change is brewing in all levels of our housing market.

2020 has seen a SURGE in Luxury demand and sales, and we are seeing it in our team deals as well. Here’s a visual for a better picture:

Demand far outweighs supply, so almost every listing is selling with multiple offers at this point in time. Will it continue? Read on…

One of the factors that will affect our market significantly is Coronavirus numbers and which way they are swinging. If we end up in quarantine again, it WILL affect all markets, including housing, so keep that wild card in mind as we enter into 2021.

Foreclosure Predictions for 2021

Should you be worried about foreclosures? Waiting for that screaming deal on one??? Not really. Less than 6% of homeowners are on forbearance or late on their mortgage. That’s not enough to create a ‘foreclosure wave’…even if ALL of them get foreclosed on. This chart helps to tell part of the story. In 2006, owners didn’t have much equity. In 2020, owners have a LOT of equity.

Due to this equity, the forbearance options, and the rates driving buyers, Steven does NOT expect any wave of foreclosures in 2021.

What about the Rental Moratorium?

Approximately 20% of renters are late on their rent. At first that number seems like WOW…but…rewind to Oct 2019… and the tardy-on-rent number was ALSO…20%. So landlords aren’t hurt that bad, even though renters are on a break until Jan 31st 2021 with the rental moratorium here in the state of California.

Will Housing Demand Stay High in 2021?

Demand is strongest it’s been since Sept 2012 – eight years. If you think we’ve been busy hustling homes, this year is even busier. Demand is expected to slightly drop during the holiday season for November and December, but it will still be higher than the last 8 years. If you have a home to sell before Dec 31st – get in touch – it’s totally a possibility!

Inventory is the lowest it’s been since 2013 – pushing the average days on the market in OC to under 40. A hot seller’s market is under 60 average DOM….so we are in a hot HOT seller’s market, which not even the election division is extinguishing.

Should I buy a home in OC before 2021?

Short answer: Yes. Interest rates are LOW. Demand is high. Prices continue to go up. Lucky for our buyers, even with these prices.. the payment is more affordable than it would have been a few years ago. Check out this comparison:

Interest rates drive affordability. Right now your payment is SO affordable. If you can qualify to buy, it is a fabulous time to make a purchase. In Steven’s words…’You’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t’ LOL. We know, you don’t have the down payment saved. But let’s have a conversation with a parent or grandparent who has equity, or get you crowdfunding your down payment with Vow2Save.

2021 Forecast according to Reports on Housing

Uncertainty with Covid, vaccines, Washington DC, travel, and employment can all make things sticky. If we continue to experience the same demand, things can get sticky.

  • Prediction: Real estate will enter 2021 strong and remain that way for at least half the year.
  • Prediction: Appreciation 4-7%. Prices are NOT expected to go down at all in 2021
  • Prediction: Upper ranges will continue to rise
  • Prediction: Closed sales should double what they were in 2020. (from 4 to 8%)

Want to stay up to date on the Orange County real estate market? Simply fill out the form below and we’ll start sending you Steven’s Reports on Housing via email!

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4 Ways to Decorate with Upcycled and Repurposed Items

Posted on October 17, 2020. Filed under: First Time Buyer help | Tags: , , |

Due to COVID-19, we have all been spending more time at home than ever before. Making your home feel cozy and inviting has never been so important.

We all have those random “it might come in handy some day” or “I might find a place for that…” items that we have been staring at for the last few months.. We just aren’t ready to let go of it yet. There’s no better way to revamp your home and your dated items than repurposing and upcycling!

To help you get started, we’ve picked four of our favorite (and…realistic) ideas for repurposing, resuing and upcycling your items.

  1. Bookcase to Coffee Bar

Transform your space and coffee game by upcycling an old book case or storage cabinet. Staying in more means bringing the coffee shop to you!

2. Repurpose Your Caddy for Craft Organization

Caddy’s have a unique look but don’t serve a clear purpose. Upgrade your craft room with this repurposed caddy for storing all of your utensils!

3. Repurpose Your Ladder for Blanket Storage

Ladders add height and texture to your room. To make the ladder functional, add your extra blankets for a cozy inviting look!

4. Repurpose Woven Baskets

Have baskets laying around that really don’t serve a purpose anymore? Spice up your wall decor by adding those baskets to the wall. The baskets add a unique look to your space and make a statement. Just simply place a nail in the center of the basket and create your own gallery design!

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History and Current Rules of Fair Housing

Posted on October 15, 2020. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Homeownership, Informed Investor Alliance, Making Life Easier | Tags: , , , , , |

It’s important to remember and understand where we have been, to have the best future possible. Today I had the pleasure of attending Young Professionals’ Network webinar on The History of Fair Housing. 

Equality is an important topic of discussion in our country right now. One of the best ways we can honor our Constitution stating ‘all men are created equal’ is through housing. 

Not every race and color has had equal opportunities with real estate in America. It’s something to think about, since real estate is a cornerstone for wealth in our country.

For the purpose of learning and growing, let’s start with a summary of

Where we went wrong with discrimination in housing:

  • ‘Men’ in the quote above meant white men who owned property; not women, nor men of color
  • Real Estate boards prohibited women or blacks in the early 1900’s
  • Redline (racially segregated) areas where residents could not get a mortgage were established
  • Racially restrictive CC&R’s
  • Federal Fair Housing Act was not passed until 1968
  • Realtor Code did not prohibit discrimination until 1974 (that’s under 50 years ago…)
  • Protected class of marital status only recognized since 2005 in California
  • Gender identity was not protected until 2012 in CA
  • AFFA Rule is rescinded in 2020 by POTUS. This took the teeth out of Fair Housing enforcement.

Yes, we went horribly wrong, but there are many ongoing efforts to bring about equal housing in the last few decades and today. This includes lobbying efforts from the National Association of Realtors, and California Association of Realtors to bring back the important elements in AFFA. 

Did you know that nationwide there are 7 Fair Housing protected classes? In CA, there are 24 Fair Employment & Housing protected classes. When it comes to Fair Housing, the greater of regulations apply, not the lesser. So… if you are a landlord in California, you have 24 classes to remember to truly make unbiased decisions with your tenants. To help you, there is a new Fair Housing disclosure that is now included in each California purchase or lease agreement. 

Sometimes discrimination can be subtle, or without malice. Here are just a few examples of Discrimination in Housing…some may come as a surprise to you.

What Discrimination in Housing Looks Like:

  • Treating anyone unequally
  • Failing to show a home or lease 
  • Offering unequal terms 
  • Advertising specific terms or preference
  • Inquiring about a protected status
  • Refusing to accomodate a disability (aka emotional support animals)
  • Denying a family with children’s offer because you don’t think your pool or busy street is safe for them
  • Refusing to rent an upper unit to an elderly tenant because you feel stairs are too dangerous
  • Showing preference for one protected group above another (i.e. preferring a family with children over a gay couple)
  • Not renting the home to a family with multiple kids because ‘the children will destroy the home’.
  • Not treating everyone with the same professional courtesy (greetings, returning calls, tonality, response time)
  • Buyer or agent ‘love letters’; especially those with photos

Up until this year, I was an agent sending & receiving love letters. I had no idea they were an indirect method of discrimination; and our stories previously helped my clients get the deal. 2020 brings about many changes, and I am happy to adjust course to assist in offering a better opportunity for all. Please, encourage other professionals in the industry and owners to practice making selling and leasing decisions based on criteria that does not exclude. I will recommend future sellers do not read letters during the decision making process. We can all improve from here and be better at this. 

Here’s an interesting infographic with the most common Fair Housing complaints from 2018:

If you know someone who has been party to discrimination in housing, it’s important to educate, and to speak up. Here’s a link to submit a violation:

hud.gov/fairhousing/ 

The only way we change the cycle and truly offer equal housing to all humans is through a system of ethics, awareness of implicit bias, and accountability measures. Feel free to comment your thoughts or experiences below – let’s bring about some positive acknowledgment to build better, stronger, more diverse communities together. 

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New Property Trends: Modular Net Zero Homes

Posted on May 12, 2020. Filed under: Accessory Dwelling Units, ADUs, AirBnB, Building, Construction, First Time Buyer help, Homeownership, Informed Investor Alliance, International Properties, Smart Homes, Vow2Save Orange County Real Estate Registry | Tags: , , , , , , |

Hi friends! Have you been looking for a cheaper, better, faster way to build a home? Read on for some new trends in modular housing that might suit exactly what you’re looking for!

What is a modular home?

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S2A Modular Model #GreenLuxHome 22

Modular is NOT manufactured. They are not your rectangle box mobile homes that might come to mind. They are created 90% in the factory, and about 10% on site, and they look and feel like any normal home. Modular homes aren’t different than a traditional stick built home, other than they are built indoors in a controlled factory environment, instead of outdoors.

Brian Kuzdas, CEO of S2A Modular, presented an interesting webinar today and told us about ways that modular homes are more sustainable for the Earth, take less time to create, have a 35% potential ROI for investors.

A couple of the main benefits of modular homes are they save you from shady contractors, and there is no compromise when it comes to design.

Other advantages of modular homes:

  • Time (traditional home build time: 1 year; modular home build time: 3 months)
  • Price (15-20% cheaper to build in factory)
  • Strength (modular homes have to survive a literal transport, traditional homes don’t)
  • Neighbors (much less stress on the neighborhood)
  • Contractors (get to work inside instead of out in the elements)
  • State inspections (less time waiting for inspectors)

One of the downsides to modular is financing. There aren’t a ton of lenders familiar with modular housing loans, but US Bank is one of them. Just reach out if you’d like a contact!

Want to build a modular home of your own?

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S2A Modular Model #GreenLuxHome 13

Modular homes can be built ‘tiny’ as ADU’s, and size all the way up to 10,000+ sq ft mansions. There are 7 steps if you’re interested in building a custom modular home from start to finish:

  1. Feasibility study (cost $3500, and helps you determine how big you can build)
  2. Design (a modular architect is recommended, it will be less expensive in most cases)
  3. Construction agreement (firming up your choices)
  4. Engineering
  5. Permitting
  6. Site construction / setting modules
  7. Onsite completion (this is the last 10% of building that assembles the pieces & happens on site. These last materials also dictate the style and make your home exactly as you want it)

Check out https://www.s2amodular.com/ for various design styles & ideas to build a modular home of your own. Endless customization – so neat!!

Sustainability & Modular Homes

The modular homes that S2A builds are ‘Net Zero’ & ‘Net Positive’ when it comes to net metering. They also use high performing, affordable, solar panels and solar roof tiles with Graphene technology. You won’t have any utility bills.

Smart windows, doors, heating, cooling, insulation, & lighting are all used in these custom modular homes. Furthermore, organic building materials are used, and they are all resistant to termite, dry-rot, and mildew free….which saves money down the road. Li-Fi technology is used instead of Wi-Fi, and there is a singular app that controls these homes, which makes the systems un-hackable.

If you’re interested in planning your modular home build, just reach to Angie via text at 949-338-7408, or fill out the form below. We’ll help you plan for your perfect pad, & get you all connected to the right contacts to create your custom home 🙂

 

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Need to Improve Your FICO Score? Women’s Credit Connection Can Help!

Posted on May 3, 2020. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

No Better Time to Buy

Mortgage rates fell to an all-time low last month and borrowers are rushing to buy. As the housing market enters the spring selling season, falling interest rates are encouraging people to purchase homes. There has never been a better time to buy!

As you start the home buying process, it’s important to have good credit score health before submitting a mortgage application.  Your credit score will play a significant role in the rates you qualify for. As mortgage lenders review your credit score, they use borrowers’ FICO scores along with credit reports to determine the risk and likeliness that you might default on your mortgage loan. The better your FICO score is, the less risk from a mortgage lenders perspective.

Generally, a FICO Score of 670 or above is considered a good credit score, while a score of 800 or above is considered great. If you need help improving your FICO score before submitting your mortgage application, Women’s Credit Connection can help.

Women Educating Women

Women Educating Women offers multiple core services through platforms such as automative assistance, credit assistance, mechanical assistance and real estate referral services. Their credit service, Women’s Credit Connection, works to maximize your credit score as much as possible so that you can achieve your financial goals.

By working directly with credit bureaus and creditors to challenge negative items on your credit report, Women’s Credit Connection will maximize your scores as much as possible. With over 25 years of experience in evaluating credit, Women’s Credit Connection offers:

  • 100% Money Back Guarantee
  • Experienced Tools for Consumer Credit
  • Intimately Involved in Your Credit Repair Experience
  • Active Support Throughout the Entire Process
  • Affordable Prices and No Long-Term Contracts
  • Easy access to your account 24/7
  • Live status updates regarding improvements on your credit report and score

Here is how it works:

To request a free consultation and credit analysis, click here. For more information on Women Educating Women, visit their website or contact them by phone at: 949-475-6883. 

 

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Global Real Estate – Hot Spots & Tips to Buy in them

Posted on April 23, 2020. Filed under: AirBnB, Costa Rica Real Estate, First Time Buyer help, Homeownership, Informed Investor Alliance, International Properties | Tags: , , , , , , |

Global & International Real Estate is GROWING

IMG_6359Did you know 1 in 10 US residents are considering owning international real estate? But how can you protect yourself from making a lemon investment? Thanks to OCR’s Global committee, we have some pointers for you! Michael Cobb CEO of ECI development started off our International Real Estate Forum today reminding Realtors that we bring value to international transactions by helping our clients know to ask the right questions. In foreign countries, hot water, running water, and other conveniences (like plumbing) we take for granted in America are not alway included in the price tag. It’s critical to be careful and make sure you align with multiple professionals to ask ALL the right questions when you buy internationally. One way to do this is to work with a CIPS Realtor to help you find the most reliable real estate contacts in your preferred country. CIPS agents are Certified International Property Specialists, and have special training to help you avoid international buying nightmares.

Nicaragua – an International investment gem

Depositphotos_236823284_xl-2015Nicaragua has been a growing spot to get deep discounts in real estate, and Michael personally lived there for 14 years, while raising 2 young daughters. It usually takes about 6-9 months after you visit Nicaragua and sign documents to receive your title, and buying is friendly to foreigners. The country has beautiful scenery, and also offers the following benefits:

  • Safe
  • Inexpensive real estate
  • Low cost of living
  • Low cost medical care
  • Fishing, diving, snorkeling, surfing
  • Social projects & involvement
  • You CAN own the land and get freehold title
  • Property tax is only 1%
  • Easy residency programs

Foreign Property Investments in Belize

DSC01964Belize is a tiny country that wasn’t on the radar at all until recently, and now it’s exploding. The title process is 3-6 months, but you can complete a property transaction in just an hour if you’re there in person. English is the official language, so it’s easy to read contracts. Prices are reasonable right now, and the hotspot to check out is Ambergris Caye. Belize was also voted the “most wished for place to visit” on AirBnB, so an excellent consideration for your vacation rental. If you’re thinking of AirBnB, you will have to pay hotel tax, so be sure to factor that in. Speaking of air…air travel has doubled over the last 3 years to Belize, and there is still plenty of room for growth. Baymen Gardens by Best Western currently offer options under 100K for a residence if you’re looking for an affordable vacation rental. Some benefits of owning property in Belize include:

  • Political stability
  • Short easy flights
  • 17% tourism growth the last 3 years
  • Property is still affordable

US Citizens are now buying property in Costa Rica easily

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Beautiful Ocho Bungalows in Costa Rica – Sean the owner used to live in US, and now calls Tamarindo his home. He built these gorgeous bungalows there.

Costa Rica is an absolutely stunning country, with 27% park-protected land. Costa Rica has a “Pura Vida” (Pure life) mindset, so this is the place to go if you like a healthy lifestyle. Hunting is banned, no zoos, and animals cannot be pets. No tornados or hurricanes there, however, they do have earthquakes. Ocean temp is about 80 degrees all year long, so it’s perfect for a vacation home or rental. Weather is typically nice, but they do have rainy season. You can stay for 90 days with a US passport, so plenty of time to research areas, builders, and pick your perfect property! Costa Rica is also a solid consideration for a second home because:

  • Democracy for 196 years, stable society, tradition of peace
  • Mostly Bilingual
  • Foreign property rights
  • Blue zone for longevity, excellent health care
  • Quality national public health system, as well as private healthcare
  • Wildlife tours, river rafting, hikes to waterfalls, hot springs, zip lines
  • US Babies born there get dual citizenship
  • Property tax only .25%-.40% (niiiice)
  • Food has no hormones or weed killers

An update to our previous video about buying real estate in Costa Rica —> there’s now NEW foreign mortgage opportunities for US citizens in Costa Rica!!  Previously you had to buy with all cash, so this is really cool! It’s for residential only, no business or land. Interest rates in Costa Rica for locals run high, around 12%. This program comes from a lender in TX, and currently has a 7.5% rate for loans over 100K. No coastline foreign investments closer than 200 meters, though. 720 credit is required, and 30% down is required. If you’d like more info just contact us at 949-338-7408 and we’ll help you on your way to a Pura Vida lifestyle 🙂

Mexico beaches drive global condo buyers

IMG_4057Real Estate expert Alvaro Quirante presented about Riviera Maya and the consistent growth of traffic into the Cancun airport, which creates opportunity. Travel is consistent all year long, so there is no on or off season. Currently they are creating a huge marina, and a theme park, which will create 5000 new jobs in the area. Tulum has been one of the cities that gets the best capital gains each year. A few reasons:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Mayan ruins, top TripAdvisor destination
  • Tulum famous beaches
  • Stable economy with multiple sources of income
  • Properties start around 75K
  • Availability to have major companies back your investment guaranteeing 8-13% yearly ROI, with Lux properties for example.
  • You can buy property with a self-directed IRA

What does the buying process in Mexico look like? We tried to explain it in this video about buying real estate in Cabo…but here’s an easy slide from today’s presentation that guides you through the process:

Mexico buying process

As you can see, each country is really different when it comes to process, ability to get a mortgage / title, and the various property options you have. We LOVE international real estate and would love to help you explore your next global property investment. Simply fill out the form below or text 949-338-7408 and we’ll send you some international property buying tips!

 

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Down Payments Holding You Back? Home Buying Hack: Silent Investors!

Posted on February 15, 2020. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Homeownership, Owning Despite Student Debt |

Ready to Own a Home?

Owning a home is the American Dream yet this dream has become more and more challenging to achieve. With the increasing burden of student loan debt, high interest rates, rising rent costs, and a competitive housing market – it seems impossible to purchase your first home on your own.Screen Shot 2020-02-15 at 8.51.14 PM

The costs of owning a home go beyond what you can afford in a monthly payment. Monthly mortgage payments and interest rates depend on how much you can afford for the down payment. But how can you afford a down payment when the cost of living continues to rise? The upfront costs associated with purchasing a home often intimidate people from owning a home. The ease of transferring rental deposits from rental company to rental company seem easier when comparing upfront costs. So, how do you secure your dream home that could be a great investment for your future, without cashing out all of your assets or taking out MORE loans?

Insert Unison!

Unison is a San Francisco-based company that helps homebuyers get the home they want by providing them with the money they need to AFFORD the down payment.  Screen Shot 2020-02-15 at 8.52.03 PMUnison shares the down payment cost with you, lowering your upfront costs, reducing your overall mortgage loan, while also lowering your monthly payments. The money is given to homebuyers in the form of an investment, its NOT a loan! That’s right – that means you have no monthly obligations to Unison – interest free! Imagine walking into your dream home and having confidence that you can afford it. 

How It Works: Unison Invests in Your Home

  • Unison helps you purchase a home by giving you money to put towards your down payment (contributions ranging from 5-20% of the homes value).
  • You don’t owe Unison any money until you decide to sell your home. Yup, no monthly obligations, no interest, no extra loans!
  • Once you decide to sell your home, you send Unison a single payment equal to the initial investment offer. If your house has increased in value (appreciated) or decreased value (depreciated), Unison will add or subtract the difference.
    • If your home appreciates, you’ll make a payment to Unison equal to the original amountUnison provided for the down payment + (or -) the appreciation value.

View Unison’s approved lenders here.

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Looking to Buy or Sell a Home? See You January 18th!

Posted on January 10, 2020. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Improvement Ideas, Home Seller Tips, Homeownership, Homeownership during divorce, Making Life Easier, OC Home Fair, Organizing, Renting |

8th Annual OC Home Fair 

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Looking to buy or sell a home? Investment property? Just curious about becoming a homeowner? Renting and want to own? WE have an event for you! 

The Southern California Home Fair is a *FREE* community event designed to provide home owners, home buyers, renters, and seasoned investors with free, personalized and comprehensive information from some leading experts in real estate! Attendees can choose from a variety of relevant topics including: hassle-free home buying, investing to be an automatic millionaire, buying a home under your business umbrella, and much more. Below are 5 OC Home Fair highlights. 
The Southern California Home Fair is next Saturday! Join us next week, January 18th at the 8th Annual OC Home Fair and experience Homeownership Day.

5 OC Home Fair Class Highlights

#1 Easy Tips to Improve Credit 

#2 Finding up to 90K to Buy Your Home – Down Payment Programs

#3 Real People – Real Estate Success Stories

#4 How Student Loan Debt Can Fit Into your Home Buying Picture

#5 Home Buying 101 – Pre-Purchase Counseling

View the full class schedule list here.
homeownership-day-2016

Click here to register, just enter your information and select the class you want to attend!

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Helping Orange County’s Underprivileged: WISEPlace

Posted on December 22, 2019. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

Meet WISEPlace

WISEPlace, a nonprofit organization, is a “community of housing and hope for women in crisis.” With 90-years of history of caring for the community, WISEPlace provides safe, affordable transitional housing, healthy meals, and employment assistance to help women move from “homelessness and hopelessness” to independence and hopefulness. There case managers provide counseling to help women overcome the issues that led to unemployment and or homelessness. To learn more about WISEPlace, watch this video. 

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We got to meet Brateil Aghasi, Executive Director at WISEPlace and learn all about WISEPlace while attending the NAWRB conference. WISEPlace offers regular open houses to support the community to assist in a better understanding of homelessness and the ways we can all come together to work towards ending it. Interested in attending an upcoming event with WISEPlace? View the upcoming Learning Session & Tour dates here. 

Homeownership Day & OC Home Fair 

We can’t wait for our annual Homeownership Day & OC Home Fair at Chapman University for the 8th year in a row on Saturday, January 18, 2020. We are only a few weeks away! We are even more excited to invite the Women of WISEPlace to Homeownership Day.

Learn more about WISEPlace here. We are looking forward to supporting the WISEPlace mission by continuing to encourage and empower women through organizations like this. 

 

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Going Global with California Real Estate

Posted on November 23, 2019. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

Going Global! 

The world just keeps getting smaller! We attended a great forum this week by Orange County Association of Realtors Global Committee – they went over 4 of the most common countries that Californians move to and from. Have you ever considered an international investment property? Such fascinating info, read on!

United Kingdom buyers 

  • Usually they hire an independent buyers agent that they pay 1-2% out of pocket to.
  • There is no MLS system. Right move & Zoopla are the platforms most listings are on. 
  • Agent helps search for properties, viewings and makes offer.
  • Sellers agents only works for the seller. 
  • Buyers can ‘outbid’ and existing buyers offers and its allowed in a sellers market, so it can be tough.
  • When it comes to loans & financing, buyers typically put 5-20% down, the rest can be financed
  • There is no such thing as escrow, lawyers executing the contracts once a price is agreed upon
  • Buyers receive title deeds 2-5 months after completion / closing. 

The UK welcomes US buyers. HSBC is best bank for a smooth mortgage – its in both countries. A warning about age….a 36 year old got 2.5% rate and a 50 year old client got 4%, so they literally practice age discrimination over there. Buy young!?! The exchange rate as of the date of this post is low, and college towns are great to invest in, as there are many international students. Birmingham, London, and others are all good. 

UK buyers are very self reliant to buy in US, and they frequently buy in Florida, California, Texas & New Jersey. Most tend for suburban areas, but 20% are still opting for in urban areas and cities. UK buyers need to be able to trust the agents and feel educated by them. We also need to remind them that they receive our services for FREE.

Tips On Buying Investment Property In India

Raj Rajpal, CIPS in India offered us some international business tips . India is the 8th most secure country, and India is the fastest growing economy in the world, at a GDP of around 8% for 5 years in a row. India is building over 10M properties per year, which gives plenty of inventory!  

Price points in India are very similar to CA, 300K – over 1M. You can search India properties on Realtor.com. They don’t have an MLS either, but seem to be working on one. Many of the homes range 1000-2000 sq ft range, are concrete, and take about 6 months to build. 

India uses both buyers and sellers agents. Commissions there do not have to be disclosed. It’s common practice to buy homes cash, but they do offer financing options. 

When it comes to Indian buyers in the US, the numbers consistently increase every single year. They don’t tend to sell their homes as much as other buyers. 

Planning on buying in or from Canada, Eh?!

Tricia Lehane is a CIPS Realtor well versed on Canada and US real estate, and helped us with some great stats today. Canada’s average price is around 500K. Canada’s population is smaller than the state of CA, and they have Provence instead of states. Putine for heart attacks haha. 

There IS an MLS in Canada, and they have a Canada Real Estate Association (CREA), which is nice to see the structure and organization ahead of some of the other countries discussed here. Realtor Quest in Toronto is a great conference to go to. 

Canadians hate winter and they love California… Don’t we all?!

As a Michiganer who used to go to Canada regularly, I can feel your winter pain and I now only visit the cold. If you’d like to accomplish this migration as well, simply call me! 

Canada financing can happen in 10 days – 2 weeks, so its important to make sure Canadian buyers understand the difference in a California timeline. Canada doesn’t do Home Warranty, and they usually require 20% down. RBC bank and bank of Montreal are good banks to use for financing. 

US is the main country that moves to Canada, and China is also has high stats. 

For foreign sellers in Orange County, Escrow leaders has a great program that doesn’t tie up your profits with the IRS for a year like many other escrow companies do. 

Our Final Presenter: Luis Mendoza About Buying In Mexico.

Luis’ advice is to work with the system in the country you are buying or selling in – don’t try to change it to the system you know. Mortgages are available but tough to obtain. No FICO scores. 

Mexico has a new president and a lot of people want to bring their money here to the US, and get a green card. Did you know Mexico City has more billionaires than any other city? And Tijuana has 72 cranes right now??? 

You can own land(ish) through a bank trust called a Fedicomico. Mexico uses escrows and a Notario Publico who has been appointed by the government. See this video interview for more info. Cabo is one of the most popular cities right now.  San Felipe, Rosarito, and Los Alamos are all up and coming affordable cities. One thing to note is closing costs are 9%, so PLAN ACCORDINGLY. Property taxes are basically non-existent – they make their money off of sales tax. Proxio is a great international platform. 

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Buying Your First Home in California: How to Dig up Down Payment Funds

Posted on October 22, 2019. Filed under: Conventional Loan, FHA loans, First Time Buyer help, Foreclosure Assistance, Homeownership, Lenders & Loan info, Loan Advisor, Long Beach Homes, Los Angeles property, Los Angeles Real Estate, OC Home Fair, Orange County Real Estate, Real Estate Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Angie & Hyepin Im, FACE FounderToday we’re spending a Saturday in Pomona at FACE LA’s Homebuying Fair – we met them through NAWRB and LOVE what these organizations stand for. FACE has compiled quite a few programs to help you with down payment funds, and have relationships with LOTS of generous banks who can help with lower interest rates, buy downs, silent seconds, and more. Sharing is caring…so read below to find some free down payment funds to get your family into a home!

Tip 1: Find a lender familiar with the Community Reinvestment Act, and align yourself with a housing non-profit like FACE.

 

There are literally programs EVERYWHERE. And they change on the regular. Don’t spend your precious time researching outdated internet options when you can meet someone face to face who will help you with free homeownership coaching and what’s available right now.

 

As of Oct 2019, when we’re writing this post, we wanted to include some snippets on current programs that could help you close the gap to your down payment goal.

 

Tip 2: Explore Down Payment Programs & properly prepare to buy a home with education

 

In LA for example there are LIPA & MIPA . The LIPA or low income purchase assistance program offers 90K in down payment funds. The MIPA or moderate income purchase assistance program offers 60K, which goes a long way even in Los Angeles.

 

Businesspeople Giving High Five In OfficeThese purchase programs (and many others) have some caveats. The home must be your primary residence, and you must pass a homebuyer education class (approx 8 hours). Did you know taking homebuyer education classes before you buy make you 30% less likely to go into foreclosure? This is why many city, bank, and state programs will require you take one before receiving funds. Everyone wants you to succeed in your homeownership venture, so there are milestones like this in place to set you up to win.

 

If you don’t like the CITY of Los Angeles traffic, maybe the County of LA’s 75K down payment program would be a better fit for you.  This program offers a second Trust Deed loan provided at 0% interest with all payments deferred until sale, transfer, refinancing, no longer owner-occupied, or full repayment of the first mortgage. HOP (Home Ownership Program) loans are available to first-time homebuyers in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and cities participating in the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Urban County Program.

 

Maybe Los Angeles isn’t your thing at all….no worries!! CALHFA works all across the state of California for low and moderate income first time homebuyers. They finance almost everything when it comes to costs…down payment AND closing costs. You can literally close with $300 out of pocket. Yup. Read again. We’ve seen it. In OC!!!! Their requirements include 660 credit, owner occupied, and a homebuyer education class. The price cap is currently 765K.

 

The homebuyer fair today was in City of Pomona, and Pomona offers a fabulous down payment program (MAP) up to 100K! This city has some adorable craftsman homes that could use your TLC. Pomona basically does a silent second for 100K, there is no interest or payments owed by you. It does need to be paid back upon the following circumstances: sale of the home, refinance, occupancy change, or 15 years.

 

The City of Pomona loan will take a little share of your equity; if you borrowed 10% for this loan, then you need to pay back 10% of your equity upon sale to the city. This is totally fair since they gave you the same percentage to help start you out! Details include no ownership in the last 3 years, homebuying education class (by HUD), income cap requirements, and working with a lender who participates in the program.

 

 

Tip 3: Use OPM (Other People’s Money) to Help with your Down Payment

 

Here’s a video with Cain Rivera’s down payment success story testimony.  He was the youngest ever to receive a down payment from the city of LA program. Cain went from paying $1500/mo rent to UNDER $1000/mo mortgage owning his own condo in Balboa Park, and he didn’t have to leave LA to do it:

 

Tip 4: Layer your SoCal Down Payment Program benefits with bank programs too:

It was great to see so many banks offering programs to first time buyers. Here’s just a few of the programs our banking panelists talked about. If you’d like to get more info, sometime’s it’s easiest to just call FACE or check out an upcoming Home Fair – like OC Home Fair every January.

  • Bank of America currently offers a 10K grant offering in low to moderate income communities, PLUS a 7500 closing cost credit that applies to the entire country, check into it! In many states 7500 would cover the majority of your closing costs! 🙂
  • Wells Fargo has a lift program that gives 25K.
  • Boston Private has a 1% down conventional first time buyer program without mortgage insurance (when layered w other programs) that considers the entire scenario. If you’re self employed.. this is a great bank to call.
  • IMG_7409Union Bank has a 3K down payment assistance grant for closing costs or down payment assistance, which can be layered with other programs. Sorry couldn’t find the link for this exact program, but here are the low down offerings!
  • HSBC offers 7K toward closing costs for first time home buyers, and also 1/2 off your interest rate! Their credit requirement is only 620 so they are good if your credit is bad.
  • US Bank has 95-97% loan to value offerings & non-traditional credit consideration. They have a Mortgage Insurance program where they pick it up on your behalf. If you want just a lot, ask about their land program! You may also qualify for the American Dream program.
  • Bank of Hope has an in house underwriting Dept with a quick turnaround. They also waive mortgage application fees if you have an account with them.
  • Loan Depot – prides themselves on being very familiar with DAP – down payment assistance programs. They like to layer, and they can take credit as low as a 520 score.

 

These are just a few offerings and programs that are available in communities here in Southern California. Programs work if you are 20-70 years old – it’s never too late or early to consider homeownership!

 

One negative is these programs sometimes take major negotiating to get a seller to accept your offer, because they take 2x as long as a traditional escrow. You NEED a Realtor to represent you and keep the seller calm and informed.

 

Also, by the time you come across this post some of these programs may be expired, and new ones available. If you’d like us to hold your hand through the journey we’d be honored, just call or text Angie at 949-338-7408. As a 19 year old first time buyer who put only 3K down, I understand EXACTLY where you are at, and have a heart and the resources to help 🙂
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Homeownership Day 2020 – Register Today!

Posted on October 21, 2019. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Improvement Ideas, Home Seller Tips, Homeownership, OC Home Fair, Orange County Real Estate |

Looking to buy or sell a home or investment property? Homeownership Day has a class for you!

Our annual Homeownership Day & OC Home Fair is coming soon! We are hosting at Chapman University for the 8th year in a row on Saturday, January 18, 2020.

The Southern California Home Fair is an event open to the community designed to provide home owners, home buyers, renters, and seasoned investors with free, personalized and comprehensive information from some of the leading experts in real estate.

OC Home Fair is for Everybody!

Attendees have a variety of choices from many classes offered throughout 3 sessions Image result for money homescovering a variety of topics! Some of the topics include:hassle-free home buying, investing to be an automatic millionaire, buying a home under your business umbrella, and much more.

Twelve classes are available this year, spread out over three sessions – pick from four during each time slot! When you register online at OC Home Fair you are able to choose which class you want to be in during each time slot. Some of the highlighted classes this year include:

  • Investing to be an Automatic Millionaire
  • What to Expect With New Home Builds
  • Buying with Cryptocurrency – What You Need to Know
  • How Veterans Buy with Zero Down

Click here to register to attend this year’s OC Home Fair, held Saturday, January 18, 2020!

Check back here for updates as the event approaches!
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Sustainable & Strong Housing – Meet Sol-Nest

Posted on October 12, 2019. Filed under: Accessory Dwelling Units, ADUs, AirBnB, Building, Construction, First Time Buyer help, Homeownership, Informed Investor Alliance, International Properties, Making Life Easier | Tags: , , , |

Sol-Nest: Building for Humanity

Sol-Nest is “building for the right reasons” and changing the building industry while they do it! Sol-Nest strives to ensure families have a sustainable and affordable roof over their head. Sol-Nest provides people with shelter regardless of where they’re located. It is their mission to reverse the housing attrition trend by “creating resilience and lowering the threshold of affordability.”

Sol-Nest recognizes that fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes destroy thousands of homes every year. Your home is an investment, to some it is your greatest asset – the last thing you want to worry about is a natural disaster destroying your home. But how can you minimize the risk of natural disasters destroying your home without packing up and moving?

The Disaster Proof Housing Solution? Sol-Nest

Sol-Nest understands the economic effects that these events cause, thats why Sol-Nest developed a patent pending proprietary building technology that is less expensive than your typical building methods. The new building technology can be used in distressed areas to provide affordable housing, built to last longer than traditional homes. Sol-Nest, LLC homes are built to survive earthquakes, fire, floods and 250 MPH winds.

Hybrid I- Post and Panel System

The patent pending process under Sol-Nest, LLC is called HIPPS™. HIPPS stands for Hybrid I- Post and Panel System.

What Makes Sol-Nest, LLC/HIPPs homes sustainable and strong:

  • The use of indigenous materials 
  • The use of Basalt Filament Rebar
  • Stands up to an ever changing climate
  • The method of laying concrete 
  • Quick assembly: little as eight weeks
  • Designed to be implemented in large-scale housing projects
  • Lower cost of building
  • Ability to utilize solar power to build homes “off the grid”

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If you’re thinking of building anywhere in the world, make sure you build strong. For more information, visit: https://sol-nest.com/

Interested in investing in this sustainable building technology? There’s opportunities in Puerto Rico and other gorgeous areas across the world.

Contact Garry Spain.

Phone Number: 310-625-6622

Email: intercorpresources@yahoo.com

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Considering Bankruptcy? Learn How Declaring Bankruptcy Affects Your Home

Posted on September 22, 2019. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

The Basics

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by debt and feel you can’t keep up with your mortgage payments, you aren’t alone. According to Debt.Org, the total U.S. consumer debt is reaching $13.51 trillion (this includes mortgages). Many homeowners feel the pressure to sell their home to help eliminate their debt. For many homeowners, bankruptcy is the last option however filing bankruptcy can help alleviate some of your debt and potentially allow you to start over financially.

Filing bankruptcy can help you gain a fresh start by liquidating assets to pay debt or by creating a repayment plan. While bankruptcy is not an easy-fix to eliminate debt, nor is it a decision to be taken lightly, bankruptcy might be the best way for you to get back on your feet while keeping your house. Declaring bankruptcy can affect your mortgage in various ways. It is important to consider the risks and benefits before you file bankruptcy. 

Bankruptcy Prevents Foreclosure

As debt accumulates, you might not be able to keep up with your mortgage payments as other debts are taking priority. Lenders may threaten foreclosure proceedings against you, putting your home at risk. Foreclosure allows a lender to take your home to settle the remaining balance of your mortgage. Filing bankruptcy can stop a foreclosure proceeding.

Once you declare bankruptcy, the court imposes as an automatic stay to all of your creditors. The automatic stay imposes a “freeze” preventing your creditors from taking legal action against you to collect debt during your bankruptcy term. As your home approaches the final stages of foreclosure, filing bankruptcy will prevent this process from continuing.

Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13

When filing bankruptcy for personal debt, you have the option to file Chapter 13 or Chapter 7. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you keep your assets while working on a repayment plan (typically 3 to 5 years). Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows individuals with a regular income to develop a plan to repay their debts. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the appointed bankruptcy trustee cancels many of your debts by selling (liquidating) some of your property to repay your credits.  If you have assets not protected by an exemption, the appointed trustee may sell the assets to repay the creditors. Click here to learn more about which bankruptcy chapter could be right for you. 

Reaffirming Mortgage Debt

If you feel you could pay your mortgage payments on time if your other debts were no longer piling up, the court may grant you the option to reaffirm your mortgage through bankruptcy. While in bankruptcy, the court may consider granting you the option to reaffirm your mortgage through the bankruptcy process. During the affirmation process, you can reach an agreement with the mortgage lender to continue making making mortgage payments on your home and the court then agrees not to include your mortgage in the bankruptcy proceedings. 

Here To Help

It is important to consider the benefits of Bankruptcy when bills start to get too far behind or when traumatic financial events occur. Filing bankruptcy gives you an opportunity to save your home while gaining a fresh start. The Law Offices of Kaufman and Kaufman help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code. Contact Leah Kaufman today with your Bankruptcy questions.

Leah Kaufman
Law Offices of Kaufman and Kaufman
Phone: 714-550-9205
info@kaufman-kaufman.com
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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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Zillow Offers: Not The American Dream

Posted on July 6, 2019. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Homeownership, Selling for top dollar, Selling your home fast |

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Zillow Offers provides sellers the opportunity to “skip the hassle and sell your home directly to Zillow.” Zillow Offers targets sellers who want to sell their property as fast as possible. The houses are sold quick and without the “hassle” of a traditional sell (no open houses, repairs are ‘taken care of’, you chose your move and closing date).

You might have seen Zillow advertised on billboards, commercials, or even on personalized yard signs. Zillow promises sellers an instant cash sale for their homes. It sounds great for sellers on a tight timeline, but what’s the catch?

Zillow Offers Are Below Market Value

While Zillow does provide a fast sale and near-instant cash to the seller, this comes at a cost. While your 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.

Zillow offers you a below market value Zestimate because they are taking on the responsibility of selling, fixing, and putting your home on the market. By selling your home for a lower market value, you are able to sell faster. However, Zillow is able to re-sell your home at the actual market value (after making repairs that were technically paid by you by selling the home for less).

What Your Zestimate Actually Costs You:

Zillow provides you with a Zestimate: the estimated market value. It is not an appraisal. After they provide the Zestimate they factor in information they receive from the seller (recent renovations, the current condition of the home, etc.), the opinion of a local real estate agent and fees. Zillow weighs whether renovations will be needed and the cost of holding and reselling the home. This is important to understand – while you do not have to make the necessary repairs and updates to your home, you are still paying to have those repairs completed (the cost is subtracted from your Zillow Offer).

While Zillow says they’ll take care of repairs these will often be priced above market value. This means you will be paying more for repairs than if you hired a contractor yourself. Additionally, you will not be benefiting from the equity that these repairs will bring to the cost of your home. Which means you are PAYING for the repairs by selling your home for less AND not earning anything from it.

Keep In Mind:

According to Zillow’s Offers page – once the Zillow Offer is confirmed, it may be adjusted when an in-person inspection is performed on the home. Just because you received the offer and it sounds appealing, this amount can still be adjusted.

Once Zillow purchases the home, they will make “necessary repairs and updates” and then put the home back on the market. By taking the burden of preparing your home to be listed off the seller – Zillow will earn the equity on your home (that you paid for).

It is important to note – you will still need an agent to determine an offer when using Zillow Offer. If a seller is represented by an agent and they accept a Zillow Offer, the agent still needs to be paid a commission by the seller based on the agreement between the seller and agent.

Sell Your Home Fast Without Losing Equity

Part of being a homeowner means you have invested in a property that will provide you with a return on your investment when you decide to sell. A fast sale should not compromise your investment and result in a below market value offer. We understand you want to sell your home fast – working with a real estate agent doesn’t mean that is an impossible ask.

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. Real estate agents have resources to find you a buyer quickly.

If you are determined to move quickly, work with your real estate agent on setting a price that works for you and a buyer. Working with your real estate agent helps you receive better offers because your Agent is negotiating a deal on your behalf, one that will put money into your pocket! Real estate agents can sell your home quick without compromising your equity in the process.

 

If you have received your Zestimate and would like to compare the offer to market value, reach out to Angie today at: 949-338-7408. Comment below if you have a Zillow Offer Experience!

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Attention Graduates! Learn How To Start Saving For A Home Today!

Posted on June 29, 2019. Filed under: FHA loans, First Time Buyer help, Homeownership, Orange County Real Estate |

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Congratulations grads! You did it! Graduating is an exciting time in your life! The inevitable question always lingers: “what’s next?” If you are considering home ownership, you are already a step ahead!

Rent or Own?

One of the misconceptions people have about owning a home is that it costs more than renting. The rent prices have been increasing over the last few years making the cost of renting the same as a mortgage payment (sometimes MORE). Home ownership is associated with more up-front costs than renting however you could potentially earn that money back. The value of your future home may increase over time providing you with a return on your investment. California has an extremely profitable housing market.

Here is an example: In 1998 you purchased a home in California for $200,000. Despite the up-front costs and the down payment, you made the leap into home ownership. Fast forward to 2019, your needs have changed and you want to sell your home. You sell your home for over $600,000 dollars! That is money in your pocket and money that goes right into your next down payment! You can read more about the perks of being a first time home buyer HERE and start planning for your future today!

How Will I Afford A Down Payment?

Many first time home buyers still believe a 20% down payment is required before you can get approved for a mortgage. That is how conventional mortgages were designed however there are more options for buyers today. FHA loans, VA loans, and USDA loans provide different rates and charge insurance differently. It is important to choose the loan that fits your downpayment needs. Read more about your mortgage lending options here.

Let’s talk savings. Your best change to get the property you desire in the time frame that works for you is to have a down payment saved so you are ready when you find your perfect home. After considering your options, you have decided what your target down payment is. You just graduated, you might feel like that amount of money is unattainable for you to earn within a reasonable timeframe but what if you didn’t have to wait that long? Crowdfunding could provide you with the down payment you need, in the time you need it.

Crowdfunding is exactly what is sounds like – it is the use of small amounts of money from a large amount of people to help you finance your first home. Your graduation party is approaching, and you’ve probably heard that your graduation gift is… MONEY! Some graduates might want to spend that money ASAP. What if you INSTEAD contributed that money towards a savings account for your first home? Check out this graph:

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If you invite 100 people to your graduation party and they gift you $100 dollars each, that is $10,000 going towards your down payment! Not ready to make the jump into home ownership yet? Throw that money into a savings account and earn money from interest! When you are ready, the money is yours for the taking.

How Can I Start?

When you are ready, you can reach out to Angie or the Vow2Save Team and they will help you make every step to purchasing your new home easy and exciting! Then you will be able to customize your very own website however you would like. Let your friends and family know that you have a goal of becoming a first time homeowner and direct them to donate on your website! As donations roll in, the meter on the website will grow. This encourages your friends and family to help you reach your goal.

Ready to start saving for your home? Check out Vow2Save and start planning your future today. By the time your wedding rolls around you can create a wedding registry that will fill your home with things you love!

Contact the Vow2Save team today 1 (949)-338-7408

 

 

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Assuming A Property After The Death Of A Relative

Posted on June 22, 2019. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Homeownership |

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Losing a relative can be a very difficult time. We are very sorry for your loss. As you are figuring out your next steps, you may have questions about handling existing mortgage affairs. It is important to remember that you have options and we are here to help you consider the best options for your situation. An assumable mortgage is a home loan that can be transferred from the original borrower to the subsequent homeowner.

Determine if you are permitted to assume the loan

Not all mortgages are assumable – you can check the language in your note and mortgage. Certain types of government-backed loans are easier to assume than conventional loans. Typically you must meet the qualifications of the government agency in order to assume the loan. If you are not sure if you qualify – check with the lender of the loan as well as a real estate professional and a lawyer to ensure you will assume the loan properly.

Lean on professionals to help you determine if you should assume the loan

There are many benefits when assuming a mortgage. When you assume the mortgage, you keep the interest rate that the original owner had on the loan. This could increase the marketability of the property especially in a market where interest rates might be rising. Assumptions typically take less time. If you were listed on the note or in the trust agreement, the process could take only 30 days.

A properly recorded deed is public record. This means once an individual inherits the property – it becomes public record if a trust agreement was not in place. It is important to stand by your trusted professionals during this time to ensure you make the best decisions for you and your family. Offers will come your way that might encourage you to sell the home, it is important to make this decision based on what is best for you. Making sure you have the right people beside you during this difficult time is crucial to ensuring you make the best financial decisions.

Decide if selling the property would benefit you

It is important to remember that you have options. Selling the home might seem appealing and marketable however owning the home could provide an income for your family. Assuming the mortgage allows you to inherit a property at a lower cost, with potentially lower interest rates. If you assume the loan, you will have to pay taxes and assumption fees. While selling the home provides you with an advantage as a seller (lower rates, quicker closing) you could lose a valuable asset. Assuming the mortgage provides you with an opportunity to use the property as an investment. If you do not wish to reside in the home, you could consider using the property as an investment to provide a monthly income to you and your family.  Real estate is an imperishable asset with an increasing value. You can learn more about how to turn a property into a source of income here. 

If you have additional questions and are seeking help from a trusted professional, contact Angie at 949-338-7408. You can also fill out a contact form if you would like to discuss how you can begin the process of assuming a mortgage!

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