Los Angeles Real Estate

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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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!

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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

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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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Join us at OC Home Fair – Homeownership Day Event!

Posted on December 15, 2017. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Homeownership, Los Angeles Real Estate, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , , , , , |

You’re invited to our 6th annual homeownership day! If you have been thinking about making some real estate decisions but have been holding back because you weren’t sure exactly what you wanted to do or how you wanted to do it, join us and learn about real estate from professionals! Our event will be held January 27th from 10 AM – Noon at Chapman University  (1 University Drive in Orange) and we really hope to see you there!

Our Homeownership Event is FREE and offers 8 classes to choose from during 2 different 50 minute sessions. We are offering some great classes this year that you are not going to want to miss out on! We have something for everyone, regardless of if you own or not. If you’re a veteran thinking about buying a home – we’ve got class for that! If you’re a female and wanting to learn how to grow your real estate profile to be super successful – we’ve got a class for that! Along with safely buying international real estate, finding funds to buy your home…. and…. the one we will be teaching with our YPN friend Eric Wu – Investing to be an Automatic Millionaire. We’d love it if you signed up for our class during your first session and learn about investing in properties to help build your future wealth! If you want to sign up or just check out what all will be offered head over to OC Home Fair website!

Here’s some pictures of our event classes last year, we are hoping to put on an even bigger and better event this year!
homeown

homeown1
We were lucky enough to work with some amazing event partners this year! Chapman University Argyos School of Business is always so generous to offer their classrooms, which allow you to learn in a pitch-free and no pressure environment. Some of our sponsors and nonprofits that are attending with you are NeighborWorks Orange County, Affordable Housing Clearinghouse, VAREP, Orange County Young Professionals Network, and NAWRB!

Don’t forget to fill out the form below to reserve your seat in our #OCHomeFair class:

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Real Estate Realities – Should you buy that Long Beach fixer upper?

Posted on October 6, 2017. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Long Beach Homes, Los Angeles Real Estate, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate, Real Estate Stories | Tags: , , |

What buying a fixer upper can turn into for you!

Most of us are obsessed with the show Fixer Upper on HGTV where we watch Chip & Joanna Gaines turn older houses into beautiful, updated remodels. Most of us don’t realize this is possible for us to do ourselves, so when we go to look at houses we expect one that already looks like Joanna has put her touch on it. However, we want a fixer price on a newly updated house. It’s ok to admit…we see this every. single. day.

Most times buying a house with a lot of potential and a smaller price tag is beneficial to you and your future…ESPECIALLY on your first place.

Check out what one of our clients, Jason from Long Beach, did to this cosmetic fixer-upper he purchased! Jason looked for quite some time and had specific ideas of what he wanted for his interior. Unfortunately, nothing’s ever perfect. So he decided to buy the ugly duck in the perfect area, and turn it into a swan 🙂

We referred Jason to one of our absolute favorite buildings in Long Beach, located at 555 Maine. We love this location because it’s super affordable, has low HOA, includes parking, is FHA approved, they are big dog-friendly, and um….top it off with a rooftop deck that has city views. So cool.

Here are some interior photos of when he first bought the property. Of course, we helped him nab this condo towards the very low end of comps in the downtown Long Beach area:

It was livable, but nothing really special. Which is always a bummer when you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. We know, you want to brag about your new home! So….. check out what he did! What an amazing transformation! We are obsessed! Clean lines, consistent colors, upgraded appliances, quartz counters….niiiiiiice 🙂

The time to complete the project was about two months, and with his permission we’re able to post that he invested in the ballpark of $40k.

In true fixer upper style, we’d say after this remodel Jason would easily be selling close to the top of the comps in the area, which gives him about 10K in equity already! Best part is he’s only 6 months into this adventure and living in a great space where he got to choose his decor. Congratulations on a job well done, Jason! We are so proud and amazed with the work you got done on this place while working your hectic hours!

jason

If you’d like to take on a cosmetic fixer challenge just get in touch with us by filling out the form below or texting Angie at 949-338-7408.

 

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    Orange County, CA Real Estate for hip first-time buyers and investors. Plus, fun things to know and do in OC.

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