Los Angeles property

Creative, Affordable, Durable, Sustainable, & Adorable ADUs in California

Posted on February 21, 2022. Filed under: Accessory Dwelling Units, ADUs, AirBnB, Building, Construction, First Time Buyer help, Homeownership, Informed Investor Alliance, Los Angeles property, Los Angeles Real Estate, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate, Owning Despite Student Debt, Real Estate Stories, Renting, Summer fun | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Cal Earth inspirational workshops and hands-on classes offer a new way to build real estate

Today we took a field trip to the Cal Earth build & test site in Hesperia. This educational builder camp sits in Hesperia, CA because it has extreme heat, freezing cold temps, and is on a fault line. Additionally, Hesperia experiences flash flooding & washes, so it makes for a perfect test ground.

Superadobe buildings are Seismic & earthquake proof, fireproof, flood, & wind proof. They can handle snow loads and pressure. They don’t need rebar or concrete to build. They look super creative & flowy, but they are actually extremely structurally sound.

Many of the test structures at the Hesperia Cal Earth site are not maintained on purpose to see how they stand the test of time. This school has truly been built out by its students, and the first structure built in 1990’s is still standing today. It was such a fascinating experience!

Meet the Superadobe

If needed for refuge or quick builds, these structures can pop up camp in just a couple days. ‘Water village’, pictured here with Cal Earth volunteers Giovanni & Marco, is an on-site example of a cluster of single room homes, built to serve as a replica of what an actual refugee community might look like. Although designed to be temporary housing, this little village has been standing for the last 20 years.

Since superadobes are so durable, they can also stand the test of time for single family builds. Don’t feel like buying a ‘cookie cutter’ tract home? Cal Earth Institute offers preapproved plans – if you sign up for one of their workshops you’ll get a copy 😉 Of course, this is a part of the reason why we went. What’s a workshop without implementation?

We’d love to hear in the comments if you know anyone who has built a superadobe, or if you plan to build one yourself.

What Makes an Adobe Home a Superadobe?

Nader Khalili is the inventor & architect from Iran, who used to build skyscrapers for a living in Los Angeles, but he wasn’t fulfilled. He discovered Rumi, & changed his direction into sustainable building. 

Not long after, Nader invented the ‘superabdobe’; which is a permanent Adobe structure. Rather than a traditional Adobe that cannot withstand a natural disaster, Superadobes are much more durable. Nader has since moved on from this realm, but his vision lives on through Cal Earth Institute.

Khalili loved biomimicry, mimicking designs and structures from nature. His designs include the ‘Seashell dome’; ‘Reptile walls’; and the ‘Koala pouch’. Not everything was biomimicry, however. The dome-obsessed architect also incorporated roofless domes for high heat; apses, and pottery domes.  

Supply List to Build a Superadobe ADU

I loved how easy the supply list was. These were things that even I could carry, and didn’t need a huge truck to transport.

  • 4 pt double pronged galvanized barbed wire; 12-14 gague thickness.
  • 14 inch diameter bags to make 12 inch walls, just FYI you lose some width when you fill the bag with earth.
  • Need coffee cans, or gallon buckets, depending on width of bags.
  • Shovels,
  • Tamper,
  • Wheelbarrow,
  • Scissors or knife
  • A cement mixer or electric mixer makes things go way quicker.
  • Level
  • Wire cutters
  • Water source

Want the FULL supply list? That’s still super short? Just TEXT “Cal Earth Supply List” to Angie at 949-338-7408.

Another thing that’s really neat is you don’t have to build a shelter at all with the earthbags from Cal Earth. You can build benches, stairs, planters, pools, fountains, fences…an Amphitheater for your Hipcamp…or whatever flowy and functional structure your mind conjures up 🙂

Pictured right is Daniel & our new Cal Earth workshop friends practicing with with the tamper. I can just see his wheels turning about what the next Flower Den Superadobe Retreat will look like – stay tuned, LOL!

Tips For Building a Superadobe Structure

A fun fact about superadobes is the heat transfer from outside is only at about one inch per hour. It won’t get too hot or too cold over the 12 hour daylight or nighttime hours. Not only do adobe’s prevent heat, they absorbs it, so that warmth slowly transfers inside to keep you comfortable at night. 

Our first tips are about measuring and prepping properly for your fill:

  1. When laying barbed wire, measure from the center of your bag, and add 2 extra feet.
  2. When measuring for bag, walk the perimeter of the circle, and add 3 feet before cutting.
  3. Fold long bags in half & mark the middle. ‘Cuff’ the ends so plastic doesn’t fly all over.
  4. Partially flip bags inside out from each side, this makes them easier to fill. Be mindful to ONLY fill one side at a time.
Superadobe’s can be open air or include windows. Here’s a sample of a Superadobe kitchen, built in 2007. This model uses standard windows, but you can also get creative with upcycled glass bottle or ceramic windows.

More Pointers for a Proper Adobe Build

Since your main ingredient is earth from the land you’re standing on, you’ll want to ensure you’ve got the right mix. As you’ll be investing a lot of sweat equity, make sure to do a soil test before building to know how far you’ll need to go down in the earth to get past the living matter. It was stressed multiple times, make sure no living matter or roots are in your mix. Rocks bigger than your palm need to go too. If you can close your hand around it, then it’s fine, but larger than that should be tossed from the mix. Don’t worry though, it’s very forgiving to make the mix – there are adobe and superadobe structures across the world, & in all different types of terrain.

The tips kept flying fast at our one day workshop; I caught as many as possible. Figure they are best served here as bullet points:

  • Keep everything dry & well ventilated if you are building in a wet area.
  • Thickness of the wall depends on diameter of the build.
  • Stabilize to resist erosion in flood zones, plan French drains & diversion. Your french drains can even be designed to water the landscape 😉
  • Plan where the furniture will go before you start to build because a lot of it is built in; remember most furniture is square.. and there will be limited to zero squared angles in an adobe build.
  • In case you’re only reading the bullets here, reminder to never use the top 1 ft of soil. Dig deeper to get to the inert materials like the sand, gravel, clay & silt.
  • Orient windows south. Create & plan ‘Wind scoops’ facing the main direction of breeze in summer.
  • PVC pipes, ceramic tubes, or even recycled bottles can be used for windows. Check out the custom ceramic windows pictured here. 
  • If doing radiant heat in floors, insulate under first!
  • Utilize rocket stoves for simple heat sources.
  • By the time you build up, its already compacted.
  • Plaster right away, but don’t lay it in too thick, or else it may crack.
  • Mesh or chicken wire is recommended to prevent cracking.
  • Waterproof paint in wet areas.
  • Note that limewash interior is anti fungal.
  • If the bag needs to move, lift & pull. Don’t push.

Super Adobe Construction Made Simple

In essence, 4 main ingredients can build a pretty badass house. Sandbags, barbed wire, earth, & stabilizer. So easy. Sandbags can be made from polypropylene, hemp, or jute fiber. You can use long bags designed for adobes, or, just normal sandbags might work best if you’re doing the build with only a couple people. Stabilizer is added in the bag, like lime or plaster. From there, you’ll just cover the bags from UV rays and the elements while you build with a tarp, and you’ll be good. Note that jute might mold or rot, so it’s not recommended to build with it in winter. Supposedly jute is better for short term structures. The barbed wire acts as a velcro or glue between layers of bag and prevents the building from laterally sliding.

It seemed like the toughest part of the day was ‘completing the circle’ – which was the act of finishing each circular level on the stem wall. (That’s the straight vertical wall) It wasn’t difficult so to speak, just a process of folding both ends away from you, after propping the bag up with your feet (known laughingly as ‘bag wrangling’). Once the ends are properly sealed, you meet them up while keeping a tamp as a buttress at the seam. Then tamp the edge a bit so water goes out not in, with a slight angle to the outside. You can literally hear when the earthbags are tamped to correct compaction, the sound is louder and almost echos.

Additional important building techniques include a spring line for keeping the dome structure and trajectory of the dome even, and a compass to guide with proper perimeter and height. All these things were hand created with various tools and scraps we had on site!

Some Challenges Surrounding Superadobe Plans & Builds

No good thing comes without hurdles. In our current days of ‘buying a template ADU off Amazon’, the custom adobe build can face opposition.

Because the design elements with Superadobes are endless, it causes city officials to scratch their heads a bit. Designing these structures to easily follow the contour in the land and mold to the topography makes each one super cool, and super unique.

Let’s be honest….building officials are used to templates and squared angles. They don’t always understand domes, arches, and curves; and they aren’t extensively educated about them in the field. Confusion and inspectors don’t mix, so this means they can tend to deny the plans for your dream adobe without the proper education.

There was a point in time when Cal Earth had pre-permitted build plans, but alas, codes are everchanging… and they need to update permits. Feel free to donate time or funds to help Cal Earth get to the point of offering preapproved plans again.

Our Action Items to Support Superadobes

Locally here in CA, I’m going to see if we can get the City of Santa Ana to approve something. As Orange County’s epicenter, Santa Ana already has a ton of ADUs. Plus, many of the lots are flat with ample space for an additional small structure. And… my partner in life, Daniel, plans to talk to the building department in Sedona, AZ. We know Taos, NM is friendly to superadobes and green buildings; and would love it if you comment other adobe friendly build areas for the fellow nomads reading this blog 😉

In the meantime, one potential workaround with your city or HOA, depending on which one you’re in, is the umbrella of California’s statewide ADU law passed in 2020, SB 13.

How to Spread the Word about Superadobes and Get Involved 

Of course, social media awareness always helps! You can follow & support Cal-Earth’s initiatives on Insta or Facebook. It also helps if you sign up for one of their affordable and educational hands on adobe building workshops.

If you’re inspired or thinking of building an ADU in Orange County, reach out, I’d love to come do a video tour whether you’re in progress, or have the finished adobe complete. Thought we could wrap this post up with one of Cal Earth’s favorite quotes from, you guessed, it, Rumi:

“The Earth turns to gold, in the hands of the wise.” – Rumi
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Where is YOUR happy place? Homeownership Day 2021 is going virtual, nationwide, & global.

Posted on December 23, 2020. Filed under: FHA loans, First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Homeownership, Homeownership Day, Informed Investor Alliance, International Properties, Los Angeles property, OC Home Fair, OC Property Management, Orange County Real Estate, Property Mangement, Real Estate Stories, Selling for top dollar, VA Loan | Tags: , , |

Hi friends!

Although 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us, it has not been without some unexpected benefits. One of them is the new age of virtual employment, which has opened doors for so many to have an opportunity at homeownership. Individuals previously forced to rent in expensive urban areas are now free to move to a larger place, for less money, and have more options. We’re all about that – and Orange County Young Professionals Network is here to support your adventure!

Simple Solutions to Buying, Selling, & Investing in Real Estate

To that end, in 2021 YPN will do our annual Homeownership Day event virtually, and it won’t just be about investing in Southern California real estate. Instead, we’ll be offering local expert agent guidance in many popular cities across the United States, and actually the entire world.

If you haven’t looked at your home as an investment, or considered property as a path toward early retirement, we encourage you to attend the event on January 23, 2021 and look at your real estate in a new light. YES, it’s a place to thrive, to make memories, to customize your taste, to raise your family. But it can be so much more.

You can turn one property into a legacy, and that’s the session I teach & am passionate about. This year’s title is “Concepts to Become An Automatic Millionaire in Southern California & Beyond”; you can register for this 30 minute session by filling out the form below. I’ll educate you on a safe, secure, and timeless strategy for building up your real estate portfolio. These concepts don’t encourage you to stretch yourself too thin, take on a second job, or become a handyman; they are simple and easy to follow. And you can learn them in 30 minutes. I’ll tell you what – if you’ll just commit the time – I’m here to cheerlead you to the finish line.

Owning Property Can Change Your Future

As many of you know, I have been personally working on this strategy for over 15 years now! Because Real Estate is my full time job, we’ve taken it to the next level with vacation rentals, and the creation of Flower Den Retreats. I have found that owning property allows me to truly express myself, whether I’m creating art within, or dreaming up the next concept for a therapeutic space with the ones I love.

I want you to be able to flourish in your space too – are you? If you are, please comment what you love about your home below. Its fun to share our unique ideas 🙂 If you aren’t, fill out the form here and let’s get you on your way in 2021.

If you’re curious to hear what other previous attendees have to say, success stories, or info on the sessions we’ve held in the past, just subscribe to our YouTube Channel. We’ll be uploading new content on the regular. Here’s a video from a couple previous attendees who were able to buy a townhome with barely any money down, and now they are happily raising a family there.

Let Homeownership Day Lead You to Your Happy Place

Sometimes, change is good 🙂 To have a supportive tribe around you as you grow is so helpful, and that’s exactly what you’ll get out of Homeownership Day. Like minded people who want to learn and level up too. All the speakers are no-pressure, happy to answer questions, and excited to connect with you. The vibe of this event will be fresh, fun, educational, and there won’t be a single pitch. Promise. We’ll see you online Jan 23rd!

PS. If you know someone who should be presenting at this event, just connect us by emailing ochomefair@gmail.com & the committee will reach out to them – we love new angles of education and to connect with other professionals across the globe.

Homeownership Day 2021 Sign Up

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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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What the hoo is an ADU?? Maximizing your Southern California Real Estate

Posted on April 16, 2019. Filed under: Accessory Dwelling Units, ADUs, AirBnB, FHA loans, First Time Buyer help, Home Improvement Ideas, Homeownership, Informed Investor Alliance, Lenders & Loan info, Los Angeles property, Los Angeles Real Estate, Orange County Home Improvement, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , , , , |

Have you heard of an ADU?

Accessory Dwelling Units are additional legal units on your property, and they can help you earn BIG bucks. If you’d like to run a duplex or generate additional income without buying an entire new property, then adding an ADU to your lot is a GREAT option. ADU’s can cost anywhere from 20K-200K, which is waaaay cheaper than a ‘unit’ in today’s Southern California real estate market. That said, not everyone has an additional 20-200K laying around to seize this opportunity, so let’s learn how you can use other people’s money to make some of your own!

Renovation loans are NOT construction loans, so if you have never heard of one… read on. There are multiple options for reno loans, so it’s about finding your best fit. Today we were at Eric C Miller’s Finance of America’s presentation and got some details & highlights for you. Finance of America highlighted how this process benefits you!

Screen Shot 2019-04-21 at 10.33.00 PM

Orange County Renovation loan process in a nutshell:

Pre-qualification –> Offer Accepted –> Disclose –> Underwriting conditional commitment –> Assign Project manager –> Collect credit conditions –> Project Scope & bids –> Appraisal –> Clear to Close –> Sign Docs –> Close –> Begin Renovations

Fannie Mae Homestyle Renovation Loan

  • Utilizes a construction project inspector sourced by lender
  • No minimum in repairs
  • Inspection prior to draw disbursements, up to 5 draws
  • All repairs and improvements must be attached to property, and supported by appraisal
  • Borrowers have 6 months to complete improvements
  • Repairs must begin within 30 days. (it’s ok if permits are the delay…you can pull permits on a property you don’t yet own)

They can be FHA or conventional, and they are a fully amortized single close transaction. 98% of the time they appraise on resales, so don’t worry if you’re buying resale.

FHA 203K – limited

  • nothing structural,
  • limit of 35K,
  • repairs must be completed in 4 months
  • limit of only two payments to each contractor

Screen Shot 2019-04-21 at 10.27.40 PM

FHA 203K – standard

  • can tear down the entire property but MUST use the entire foundation
  • utilizes a HUD consultant.
  • 6 months to complete improvements
  • can loan up to FHA limit for the county, high balance eligible
  • owner occupants only
  • Contract lingo: “The borrower has applied for Section 203k financing, and that the contract is contingent upon mortgage approval and the borrowers acceptance of additional required improvements”…this must be in there, but is not necessary in the purchase agreement.

Things to know & next steps:

  • Choosing the right contractor and renovation team is critical! Always get multiple quotes. If you’re looking for a forward thinking Orange County ADU company, check out RC Smith Design & Build.
  • 30 day escrows won’t fly, renovation loans take 45-60 days.
  • Reno loans are TOUGH. You’ve got to coordinate bids, contractors, and make deadlines. If you’re looking for an ‘easy button’ into homeownership, this may not be it 😉 BUT then again…you could try buying one of these Amazon ADU’s and avoid MOST of the contractor back and forth 🙂
  • ADU regulations are different and ever-changing. Here’s an OC ADU resource to get started. Always check with the city to find out your guidelines before beginning work or submitting offers!

Did you know most people spend 15K on their home the first year they buy it, and they statistically put it on credit cards? Ouch. Don’t be that guy, there’s a better way! Call or text Angie to start exploring your best ADU options at 949-338-7408 or email Angie@AskAngie.com

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Orange County Area #2 in Global Relocations

Posted on December 4, 2018. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Homeownership, Informed Investor Alliance, International Properties, Lenders & Loan info, Los Angeles property, Los Angeles Real Estate, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I’ve got to hand it to OCR’s Global Committee, they ALWAYS put on such relevant and informational events. We continually try to support them and keep our CIPS education up to date 🙂 Today was the Global Forum, packed with info on how we can better serve and attract foreign buyers to beautiful Southern California. International buyers are a huge market in SoCal – read on to learn more about taking advantage of this!

Did you know the Orange County & Los Angeles area is the #2 area of interest for international buyers and global relocations? 

IMG_6967So how can we help international buyers make the most of their money, so they can close easy and afford to pay more for our properties?! One way is MoneyCorp – a unique banking tool international buyers are using to get better exchange rates and guarantee funds. Contact Andrew Graziani to learn about their no-fee / no hassle transactions. They have very small minimums to exchange, and no caps. Furthermore, they have a deep understanding of how to work with every country’s currency, which is not easy. For example, consider Brazil, one currency that bounces around up to 30% in one month, and has a ton of regulations. If you want to protect your foreign transaction, make sure to work with experts like this! There are a ton of landmines when completing a foreign transaction, as noted from our previous Global Forum.

National Economic Forecast by Lawrence Yun

Lawrence Yun is one of the most respected in our industry – as National Association of Realtors’ Chief Economist for the last 10 years… when he speaks.. we listen 🙂 Let’s start with the local picture:

Is Orange County in a Real Estate Bubble? 

Of course, the first thing everyone wonders is ‘are we in a bubble?’ One recent thing to note is the housing market has not been increasing as the job market increases, which is a bit of a bummer. Regardless, Mr Yun doesn’t see any kind of extreme correction on the horizon. Home prices are 3.5x higher since 1995. Lawrence, like the other experts at the recent WCR Economic Throwdown, doesn’t believe there is a bubble. SO STOP WORRYING :))

Seriously, don’t worry, but do always be on the lookout for risks or warning signs of a market shift

  • International trade wars
  • Rising rates and inverted yield curve
  • Shift to snowballing pessimism (perception is reality!)

We have nothing to fear but fear itself – Franklin Roosevelt

What about Interest Rates?

We are on a permanent track to increase rates, so our advice to International buyers is buyer sooner than later, the rates will only rise.

The Global Real Estate Market

Exchange rate, political environment, and comparative price appreciation are all factors that affect our foreign buyers. At this point in time, the US currency conversion is high, so we saw less foreign buyers in 2018 than in 2017. That said, we still have PLENTY of international buyers, and that is not expected to change soon, only increase. Foreigners still love to buy in the United States, overall it’s considered it very safe and secure here.

IMG_6962

Global Committee chair Spencer Hoo introduces 2018 Global Forum speakers

As financing, exchange rates, inventory, and immigration laws all improve, we can expect more and more foreign transactions. Currently, here’s the top 5 countries buying US homes:

  1. China
  2. Canada
  3. Mexico
  4. India
  5. United Kingdom

19% go to Florida, and 14% come here to California!

More expectations for the US market:

  • Short term uncertainty but long term solid pent-up demand
  • Next 3 years of home sales…..booooorrrrrrring. No real increases or decreases
  • Flat & even real estate market

If you’d like a consultation to make sure your home is attractive to the foreign buyer pool as our market softens a bit, just give Angie a call, text 949-338-7408, or WeChat.

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Consider Paying Property Taxes Early – Big Tax Changes are Coming to Town

Posted on December 23, 2017. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Informed Investor Alliance, Lenders & Loan info, Los Angeles property, Making Life Easier, OC Property Management, Orange County Real Estate |

As you’re hearing on the news and seeing on social media…the way we are taxed and the things we can write off will be changing a lot within this next year! As a Realtor I can’t legally give tax advice…. so I’ll preface this post by saying it’s best to consult your CPA before the end of every year and be a proactive advocate for the lowest possible taxes! If you need a CPA referral, just ask 😉

That said, we wanted to make sure our CA friends and clients were aware of this before the end of 2017 – which is fast approaching!

GOP Tax Bill

The LA Times wrote about changes the GOP tax bill will have for California residents. The wealthier areas along the coast are going to suffer more than others due to this. Currently, state and local tax deduction is unlimited. However, in the final GOP plan, people will only be able to deduct up to $10,000. At the beginning the house only wanted the deduction to be on property taxes, but the final bill is for any state and local taxes to be deducted. Property, income, or sales taxes will qualify. An article from The Washington Post says, “The move is widely viewed as a hit to blue states such as New York, Connecticut and California, and there are concerns it could cause property values to fall in high-tax cities and leave less money for public schools and road repairs.” Since the average California homeowner pays 10K or more per year in property taxes, this affects YOU.

Pay Early & Still Get Your Deduction

How can you stay safe from the deduction cap? One way is to pay your second installment of your property taxes (which are usually due in April) before the end of the 2017 year so that you can avoid the amount restriction for 2018 deductions. You can pay online, by e-check, or credit card.

What if My Taxes Are Impounded Into My Mortgage?

If you call and check, most lenders won’t be able to guarantee the payment will get sent before the end of the year, but don’t worry…you’re still ok. You can simply pay your property tax online and then just send the proof of payment over to your lender for an escrow account refund. That way you can still write off your full property tax and state income tax before you get stuck only being able to write off $10k combined next year.

Stay Proactive…Stay Informed

We want you to know that we reply to all Real Estate tax alerts on our client’s behalf. We care about you and want you to get maximum benefits from being a homeowner. Here’s a recent reply from Luis Correa to one of our requests:

lou-correa

Ultimately we all need to watch elections big and small to fight taxes together! Please subscribe to our blog or email us to join the list for regular updates on how to protect your real estate investments.

We hope you have a Happy & prosperous 2018!

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New Orange County Homes Coming Soon!

Posted on July 3, 2017. Filed under: Balboa's Best Property Deals, First Time Buyer help, Informed Investor Alliance, Los Angeles property, OC Property Profiles, Orange County Real Estate |

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0230.JPGHot new listings that haven’t hit the MLS

Summer is in full swing & we’re excited to bring Orange County some more home inventory – listings have been tight this year and we’re hearing it from buyers in every price range – entry level to luxury homes! If you’re thinking of selling your place, now is a great time to consider.  If you’d like the hot ticket on some homes not yet on the MLS, keep reading..

23412 Pacific Park, Aliso Viejo CA 92656. Fresh carpet and paint in this 2 bed 2 bath Canyon Villas condo. New plumbing, direct access garage, courtyard view, & cozy fireplace all for just $399,999.

1032 Saint Vincent, North Tustin CA 92705. Huge opportunity to gain sweat equity in this 2621 sq ft single level on a 14,700 sq ft lot. Located on a quiet cul de sac with a workroom space off of garage. Schools are all 9 or 10 rated, & you’re centrally located in the heart of OC. This hidden gem is just waiting for a little love. Pre-MLS price: 875K.

Rancho Mission Viejo, CA. Sendero community immaculate design & just 2 over years young. Only had one owner, you could be next! 3 beds, 3 baths, 2 car garage – 2391 sq ft on a 4516 sq ft lot. Walk to pool, parks, and trails for just 950K.

3904 River Ave, Newport Beach CA 92663 for sale for the first time in over 40 years! Countdown to your perfect beach life: 4 beds, 3 baths, 2 car garage, and 1 boat dock 🙂 Stroll to Newport Beach, shopping, restaurants, and pier. Pre MLS invite only open house on July 20th, 2017. Fill out the interest list form on the link for an invite! Priced at just $2,499,000 this is the cheapest priced boat dock listing in Newport. You’ll have to paddle quick to catch this wave!

Prefer Los Angeles area energy?

3710 McKenzie Los Angeles CA 90032 We’ve got a duplex there, too, and it needs a handyman! It’s an ideal time to get into El Sereno during it’s regentrification phase – the area is up & coming located right between downtown LA & downtown Pasadena.

If you’d like an earlybird preview on any of these listings just call or text Angie at 949-338-7408 and we’d be happy the help you get a new pad this summer!

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​ Duplex in Los Angeles just 449K

Posted on May 3, 2017. Filed under: Informed Investor Alliance, Los Angeles property | Tags: , , , , , |

Opportunity knocks, and it’s twice as nice for this LA duplex! Located close to parks, freeways, & fun, this classic fixer has so much potential.

Not yet on MLS: 3710 McKenzie Avenue, Los Angeles

 

Centrally located in El Sereno on a quiet tree lined street between downtown LA & downtown Pasadena, with nearby access to 110, 5, and 10 freeways. You can stroll to Rose Hill Park & recreation center from this property, plus it’s very close to Ernest Debs Regional Park. This duplex has excellent potential and rarely comes to market – act quick!

The front unit, built in 1956, is a generous 1178 sq ft. There are 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, plus a bonus room (about 300 s.f.). Also included is a 1 car detached garage & driveway parking spaces.

The back unit, built in 1922, is approximately 636 sq ft. The quaint, completely separate home offers 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, plus driveway and street parking, it adds additional charm and income to the property.

Both units do have heating, but they are admittedly in need of TLC.

Priced at just $449,000 with a lot size of 7537, this duplex zoned LARD 3 leaves room for so much more! Just check out the zoning regulations and you’ll see lots of options to maximize this great property investment in LA.

Currently this property is owner occupied, and in a rent control area. The owners are looking for a short escrow and are offering tours by appointment. To discover if this is your next investment, simply call or text Angie at 949-338-7408 or fill out your info below:

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