Orange County Real Estate

Blockchain and how it’s changing the future of Real Estate

Posted on June 25, 2021. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Informed Investor Alliance, International Properties, Lenders & Loan info, Los Angeles Real Estate, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , , , |

Tuned in to an interesting webinar this week hosted by Dan Smith with Eric Bryant from First American Data & Analytics; they were talking about real estate on the blockchain. Personally I can’t wait for this to happen, I spend half my life ‘grown up babysitting’ to maintain timelines and accountability during the escrow process. I know the blockchain will eliminate quite a bit of that.

Fibree is one of the first adopters, and they are now in 70 regions. They are a real estate technology platform that works with blockchain – keep an eye on them. Rather than talking about too many companies…let’s talk concept first.

What is Blockchain, and how does it affect real estate?

Blockchain defined: Blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. An asset can be tangible (a house, car, cash, land) or intangible (intellectual property, patents, copyrights, branding). Virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded on a blockchain network, reducing risk and cutting costs for all involved.

https://www.ibm.com/topics/what-is-blockchain

Now that you understand what blockchain is, here are a few specific ways it can positively affect the real estate industry as a whole:

  • Decreases time necessary to close property transactions (from 30-45 days down to possibly just minutes or hours)
  • Offers security, trust, and transparency to the transaction
  • Creates an unhackable public record
  • Reduces potential for real estate fraud or data entry errors
  • Streamlines the escrow process
  • Upholds accountability

Question? Will real estate transactions on the blockchain eliminate escrow agents? Transaction coordinators?

Notice we say “how does blockchain”, not “how can blockchain” affect the space. Blockchain is already starting integrations with real estate transactions, and it is likely the future of our industry, similar to the way the Internet disrupted the status quo (in a good way) many moons ago.

Fractional Property ownerships and Tokenization using Blockchain

Tokenization is simply digital fractionalization – it allows you to own a piece of something. Ever wanted to own a piece of a property? Or maybe you already own a traditional timeshare. Bet that was fun to buy, LOL. But what about finding your next investment from the comfort of your own home? RealT based in Detroit is currently selling real estate on the blockchain, and there are many others in the space expected to follow.

Investor groups and investment firms are already successfully selling STO (Secure Token Offering) properties and this opens doors for thousands of new buyers to enter into investing. Want to see? Check out SolidBlock – it looks like any normal property search site…BUT… you can pay with wire, check, or crypto. Soon enough, property search platforms like this will be popping up all over the world.

Another place you can buy land, the entire plot of it, is Fabrica, which allows you to buy or sell your land completely digitally with blockchain technology.

Smart Contracts and Real Estate Transactions

Smart contracts are digital transactions being coordinated on the blockchain, and they will help maintain timelines and accountability. Smart contracts are very similar to paper contracts, working on ‘if –> then’ scenarios, but everything is done virtually instead of with paper. Smart contracts have a higher level of security and they always report and record progress honestly…which does NOT happen all the time with our current escrow process.

One thing I found interesting is our local board of Realtors has over 10,000 members, and there were less than 50 of us watching this webinar. As usual, it seems like the real estate industry tends to cling to their ways. As a techie, I embrace new technology and try to help my clients ride the wave.

Crypto loans – Something to keep an eye on

One thing that could completely change the mortgage space is cryptocurrency loans. Wallets like Celsius and others use actual data to digitally approve loans, much better than the ‘preapprovals’ that lenders offer today. I would personally love to see more of this, because it eliminates loan discrimination and assures the seller a buyer is qualified. Plus, a crypto loan will close much quicker than the traditional big banks. Less headaches will equal more people in the space, and more homeowners, which makes my heart smile to think about.

If you’re sitting on a pile of crypto from the bull run and would like to ‘take profits’, we can help with escrow companies who are familiar with cryptocurrency closings. If you’d like to cash out crypto to buy a home, OR just transfer crypto coins for a home purchase without cashing out first, we can help with the proper referrals or team. Feel free to reach out and text Angie at 949-338-7408 or comment here anytime you’d like to talk tech & real estate!

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Women finding freedom through the sharing economy of AirBnB

Posted on May 31, 2021. Filed under: Accessory Dwelling Units, AirBnB, FHA loans, First Time Buyer help, Homeownership, Informed Investor Alliance, Making Life Easier, OC Property Management, Orange County Real Estate, Property Mangement, Real Estate Stories, Summer fun | Tags: , , , , , |

Let’s be honest, a lot of females are juggling household schedules, making beds on the daily, and working full time jobs in customer service or hospitality type industries. A lot of these same females are also searching for a way to spend more time with loved ones, and to find a better work-life balance. 

This brings the question: How can we live richer, more fuller lives while making a difference in the world? Keep close connections with our families & still sprinkle what we were meant to do into the ethosphere?

For those who have a passion to roam and to create, enter the opportunity of vacation rental management, AirBnB experiences, and niche property rental platforms.  

If you have a unique property or space, big or small, this is an opportunity for you. People love to rent not only stick & brick type properties, but also RV’s, boats, cars, treehouses, yurts, water towers, and land. 

We now live in a world where you can tow a trailer, link up to solar, put out a cell booster, charge devices, and work / connect from almost anywhere. As the clouds from Covid continue to lift, people are ready to explore this new world. Are you ready to connect with them? 

I recently had the opportunity to interview some of these women who have opened their spaces in the home-sharing economy. Each has a unique story to tell, weaved in with their life passions and experiences. 

Take for example entrepreneur Heather Carter, running Eureka Springs Coffee House with 2 AirBnB units above. Guests enjoy the main strip of historical Eureka, Arkansas; and also have discount offerings at the coffee shop below. Travelers include vacationers and business professionals alike. In a recent video interview with Heather, she said “We used to live above the coffee house ourselves, but we soon discovered we had a unique opportunity for rentals here”. Indeed she did!

Heather advised she prefers the niche with commercially zoned properties, so she can avoid any roadblocks with residential vacation rental limitations. If you aren’t sure about STR rules in your community or city, be sure to research accordingly to avoid pitfalls.

Another go-getter making the most of her skills is April Snow-Kass, a Realtor in LA specializing in harmonious homes for musicians. April recently branched out to nearby Joshua Tree as a vacation rental host. Now, not only can April sell property in a new area, she can speak to personal experience on the equity gains and the rental income her ‘Retro Ranch‘ in the JT desert is recently experiencing. 

Let’s not forget supermom and High School Counselor Carolynn Cribley. Her and financé Matthew Herman in Grandville, Michigan, are putting an extra room in their home, coined ‘The Barnhouse,’ to STR use. They stated in a recent interview that it’s brought such great results, they not only bought another property, but looped parents in on the opportunity. They inspired and guided Matthew’s parents to a short term rental purchase as well. Not only has Carolynn & Matthew created additional monthly cash flow (partly used to build a fun new pool!), they’ve hopped the family on the path to generational wealth.

According to the NAWRB’s website and WHER report:

“…research found women seek homeownership for these primary reasons:

As a “Sanctuary”
A sanctuary is defined as a place of refuge, an oasis or a retreat. Women value creating a unique space from which to retreat from the outside world—one in which they control the climate, the decor, the layout. One’s home is a psychology of space…”

https://www.nawrb.com/one-tough-mother-how-single-mothers-are-defining-the-homebuying-process/#more-18821

Vacation rentals are a method to live this ‘sanctuary’ lifestyle, and create income. Win-win.

Another example is Corporate Executive ‘girlboss’ Vanessa Montanez, who explained to Homeownership Day attendees in January easy steps to enter into investing. Vanessa discovered the benefits of renting her Temecula wine country home on AirBnB recently, and as a lender herself, was kind enough to share strategies with other would-be investors at Homeownership Day. 

Admittedly, all of these hosts know STR life is not as ‘passive’ as long term rentals; but it can be more profitable, plus it allows the ability to vacation in your own property, afford *more* units, & / or meet new friends. Yes, you may still be making beds, running multiple schedules, and rocking your 9-5. But it’s a way to squeeze the most out of almost any property. 

Best of all, homeownership is open to many, regardless of education level or background. With low interest rate loans and programs like FHA allowing as little as 3.5% down, many females are opting into a property purchase. Additionally, SBA loans for Women Owned Businesses have opened even more doors to run a viable business from home. There are many options to sell creations of any kind from home, be it via online avenues or to guests traveling through your space.

Speaking of online avenues, the fast-track growth of property rental apps makes the marketing side become much easier. You don’t have to do your own Search Engine Optimization anymore – these apps are paying to get the word out on your behalf. Platforms to easily start your sharing economy hosting on are AirBnB, VRBO, Hipcamps, Harvest Hosts, Furnished Finder, Outdoorsy, Turo, and more. 

For additional information or a guide into the vacation rental lifestyle, reach out to NAWRB Delegate Spokeswoman Angie Weeks, or watch her video interviews at http://www.YouTube.com/HomebuyingRegistry/ 

This article was written for Women in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem; NAWRB. If you would like an article for your publication simply comment below or reach out to Angie at 949-338-7408.

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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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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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Endorsed by NAR for Foreclosures and Short Sales

Posted on June 16, 2020. Filed under: Divorce, Foreclosure Assistance, Home Seller Tips, Homeownership during divorce, Lenders & Loan info, Making Life Easier, Orange County CA Foreclosures, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , , , , |

Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource

Struggling to make your mortgage payment?

Today we sharpened our short sale and foreclosure sword – YES, it’s a battle! Armed with a new designation from the National Association of Realtors (NAR); called Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource (SFR), now we’ve got the most recent tools to fight a foreclosure and win.

There’s plenty of talk about a potential foreclosure wave once all the COVID forbearance terms have come to an end.. so its important to stay fresh on bank policies, foreclosure timelines, and tools to use to save your property from foreclosure, right?!

Yes, we made it through the recession of 2007-2011 closing plenty of bank owned properties and short sales, but that was 10+ years ago. Platforms and policies have changed.

REO stands for ‘Real Estate Owned‘, and is a common term for a property that has been foreclosed. REO’s are property the bank comes to own because the borrower defaulted or could not financially afford to remain in the property. As a foreclosure resource, we can help you STOP your property from becoming a foreclosure, and we can also assist banks in selling off their REO inventory.

Who’s involved in distressed property situations

Servicer – who you make your mortgage payment to, they may or may not own your loan.

Investor – beneficiary entity who owns the promissory note & mortgage or deed of trust on a property.

Borrower – party in distress; typically struggling to make payments or need to sell when equity is negative.

Buyer – potential purchaser of the home

GSE – Government Sponsored Enterprises (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and others in the secondary money market)

Important Foreclosure Terms to Know

Deed in Lieu – Involves swapping your keys in exchange for relief on the mortgage. Sometimes this will lead you to a 1099 for the money returned. Never do a deed in lieu before you understand the tax ramifications.

Loan Modification – Loan Mods are a permanent change in one or more of the terms of your loan. These must be approved by the investor, servicer, and you. It typically reorganizes the mortgage into something more affordable so you are able to stay in your home.

Notice of Default (NOD) – Official notice of default, and begins your foreclosure timeline. All borrowers have at least 90 days to bring a loan current after a NOD is filed.

Notice of Trustee Sale (NOS) – Official notice of when the foreclosure or auction will take place.

Foreclosure Sale – The actual sale of the property where the title is transferred. Homeowners become tenants upon sale, and lose rights to property ownership.

What are my options to avoid foreclosure?

There are many, but you need to act fast and regularly. One place to check is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to help you resolve any shady practices in your loan.

Another option is HHF – Hardest Hit Fund which has been extended through Dec 31st 2020. This program is in 18 states and it helps struggling homeowners with mortgage assistance.

MakingHomeAffordable.gov has many trusted routes you can take, be sure to research so you know your most up to date options. Here are their current tips to avoid foreclosure.

Furthermore, there are local nonprofits in many areas who can connect you with the right resources to save your home. Contact Angie by text at 949.338.7408 ASAP if you would like an Orange County referral.

Reinstatement vs Redemption period

Reinstatement is the 90 days you have to reinstate your loan after you’ve received your official Notice of Default (NOD). Redemption periods do not apply to all states, and they begin after the property is sold in a judicial foreclosure. California is NOT a redemption state with judicial foreclosures…once the property is sold at auction it is gone.

How long does it take to foreclose on a property?

Every state is different, and has different laws. It usually takes anywhere from 90 days to 3 years, depending on the condition of the market.

Short Sale to Avoid Foreclosure

In order to complete a short sale, you must show hardship. Every bank defines this differently; but it can include illness, job loss / unemployment, divorce, 50+ mile job relocation, business failure or natural disasters.

Most banks have a ‘Short sale package‘ available on their website, and this includes a list of the documents you need to submit in order to be considered for a short sale. Some of the common items requested in a packet are:

Listing agreement
Short sale disclosure form
Listing agreement addendum
Authorization to release info form
Federal & State disclosures

Before you fill out the paperwork above it’s important to check for recourse in your state, or you could owe a tax bill on the amount you’ve been forgiven. If you’re unsure about this, check with your CPA.

Furthermore, you must get approval. Approval is a gift.. even though it doesn’t feel like it 😦 Not only do you need approval from your mortgage company, you’ll also need approval from any and all junior lienholders including 2nd mortgage, HELOC, & other liens. If you do not have approval from ALL liens then the short sale will not happen, which is why you need to communicate with your debtors early and often!

Sometimes additional costs will be paid by the investor, but you have to know how to work this into your Estimated Closing Statement (HUD1).


Short sales and foreclosures are TOUGH to navigate. Please reach out to us if you need help. Angie keeps everything confidential and will always help you with creative thinking so you have the most options with your home. Contact her at 949-338-7408!

Furthermore, Angie would love to connect with Asset managers, outsourcers, distressed property managers, and others in the banking industry who are looking for a quality agent who effectively works bank systems to get REO properties sold.

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California Mortgage & Rent Help During COVID-19

Posted on April 6, 2020. Filed under: Homeownership, Informed Investor Alliance, Lenders & Loan info, Making Life Easier, Orange County CA Foreclosures, Orange County Real Estate, Property Mangement | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Hi friends!

Worried about paying your California Mortgage or Rent Payment?

Wanted to share this video with you and let you know about some important financial resource links if you’re struggling to make your mortgage or rent payments due to the recent Coronavirus Pandemic.

Renters, you should know there is a moratorium on evictions until May 31st. Click here for more info on the California rental moratorium: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/03/27/governor-newsom-takes-executive-action-to-establish-a-statewide-moratorium-on-evictions/ . If you are working virtually and in a position to pay your rent, please don’t use Coronavirus as an excuse not to. This will put undue pressure on the people who really do need this relief.

Landlords & small business owners, you’re likely eligible for some financial assistance through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection program. Here’s a PDF from the US Chamber of Commerce with more info to see the criteria to qualify:

Click to access 023595_comm_corona_virus_sma.pdf

 

Additionally, you can click here to apply for the SBA Disaster Relief Fund. This online form takes about 10-20 minutes to complete. Funds can deposit into your bank account in as little as 3 days:  https://covid19relief.sba.gov/

Homeowners, you’ve got help as well. Most banks and loan servicing companies are offering a forbearance option. It’s ok if you don’t know what forbearance is – here’s the Wikipedia definition:

Forbearance, in the context of a mortgage process, is a special agreement between the lender and the borrower to delay a foreclosure. The literal meaning of forbearance is “holding back.”

When mortgage borrowers are unable to meet their repayment terms, lenders may opt to foreclose. To avoid foreclosure, the lender and the borrower can make an agreement called “forbearance.” According to this agreement, the lender delays its right to exercise foreclosure if the borrower can catch up to its payment schedule by a certain time. This period and the payment plan depend on the details of the agreement that is accepted by both parties.

Historically, forbearance has been granted for customers in temporary or short-term financial difficulty. If the borrower has more serious problems, e. g. the return to full mortgage payments in the long term does not appear sustainable, then forbearance is usually not a solution. Each lender is likely to have its own suite of forbearance products.

Now a word of warning. Homeowners, PLEASE read the fine print from your bank, and only use this option if you need to. Many times you’ll get more interest in the end, or a really big payment after a forbearance, so you need to understand what you’re getting into.

We’ll also offer the same advice as the renters here..If you’re able to pay your mortgage, please pay it. This will keep funds flowing to the banks, and allow the banks to keep lending to new buyers that need a place to live. Our real estate market has slowed, but it hasn’t stopped. We definitely don’t want to add fuel to this fire and create a bigger issue.

If you’ve been doing research on various financial assistance programs out there, feel free to share. Please comment any links you’ve found for Coronavirus or financial relief below.

Hope all of you are feeling healthy and excited to go out and do great things once you’re back into the world! Consider reading our post on 5 Important Things to focus on during COVID-19 next, and let’s make some long term progress while we’re here at home. If you’re not sure what to do, you can always setup a website to crowdfund your next down payment with Vow2Save, install CreditKarma to check your score, or call your lender about a low interest refinance 😉

 

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5 Things We’re Focusing on During COVID-19

Posted on March 24, 2020. Filed under: Home Improvement Ideas, Homeownership, Informed Investor Alliance, Orange County Real Estate, Orange County things to do, Organizing | Tags: , , , , , , |

Welp, in a matter of 2 weeks… our world has completely changed with the Coronavirus  COVID-19 pandemic, and we’re scrambling along with the rest of society to find a ‘new normal’. That said, it’s refreshing to have the opportunity to rethink everything we’ve been doing; both professionally and personally, to reprioritize what’s most important.

Our Top 5 Focus Areas During Orange County Quarantine

  1. Relationships – Above all, we love & care about our family, clients, prospects, & fellow humans. We’re moving to Zoom meetings, FaceTimes, and other online communication forums to ensure everyone’s safety and flatten the curve. Checking in on people who might be lonely or struggling with kind texts. I’ve committed to doing more regular videos, and virtual open houses. One action item was a comfy space at home to do virtual meetings – have you created yours yet? It’s fun! Feel free to comment a pic for us 🙂
  2. Immunity – Clearly, we’ve got nothing without our health. We think and act better when our body is functioning at it’s best. During this time, are you eating for health & wellness? Taking vitamins? For sure….dark chocolate is still aplenty in our home, but personally I’m watching my sugar, soy, hormone, and gluten intake, and drinking more alkaline water. We’ve got handsoap filled by each sink – one of our fave brands is Jade Bloom if you like delivery & to support small business 😉 Another thing we did was up our Farm Fresh to You order. They deliver all kinds of healthy fruits, veggies, & even organic eggs to your door. Why go to grocery if you don’t have to? Also made a nightly routine of essential oils, because they are soothing & help immunity. Favorites are lavender, protect, & lucid for sleeping. Please share…what are your secrets for immunity?
  3. Depositphotos_168021158_xl-2015

    We’re seeing a lot of our clients on social media baking & crafting with their kiddos. We love to watch everyone embracing this family time in their homes.

    Mental health – This is a BIG one. People’s lives just got disrupted and they are angry, scared, and upset. Ignoring it, shaming yourself, or attempts to drown it away won’t help. We need to come to terms, choose LOVE, and a new path to move forward. My preferred way to handle this is to ask: “Is my inner child happy today?” If I do something to make my inner child happy, then I usually feel good about life. When I cage my inner child, shame her, or ignore her because I’m unbalanced in some way….THEN my mental health seems to go sideways. Usually ‘little Angie’ wants to make something, hence the artist studios we’ve been building through Flower Den Retreats. Cooking, yoga, meditation, and prayer are also great daily exercises for mental health. What are you intentionally doing to protect your mindset right now? Are you at peace with yourself & love yourself? This is the space where smart & strategic decisions come from…be ready to make them. And it’s OKAY if you’re down in the dumps. Please reach out to someone you love for a life rope. The national suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255 – save this number in your phone – you may never need it, but a friend just might!

  4. Budget – Not gonna lie – things could get tight. Are you handling this on a proactive or a reactive basis? You probably have the time to be proactive, so do that. Check online to see what relief your mortgage company is offering, and stay subscribed to our YouTube & blog here for regular updates on national mortgage relief options. Think….Where can you cut more? What small businesses can you support more? For example, we’re planning to cut our 800# & moving to WhatsApp – seems to be the preferred international & ‘long distance’ platform anyway. What apps are you paying for that you don’t use? Subscriptions? This is a great time to organize your finances, put everything on autopay, or even take the time to improve your credit. We recommend the CreditKarma app to get started on credit, and Mint.com for an overall picture. Let us know what resources you use to plan your budget.
  5. Investments – No time like the present to watch your favorite experts on YouTube! Consider sharpening up your knowledge and exploring some new areas to invest in. Ask hard questions like: Am I diversified? Stocks, mutual funds, crypto, property? How can I spread my risk? Do I have all my eggs in one basket? WHO am I trusting to get my facts from? Since we’re experts on the Orange County real estate market, we’ll help you with quality local resources to trust. A couple favorites are Reports on Housing & California Association of Realtors.

woman and hands with paper house

“Nothing can bring a real sense of security into the home except true love.” – Billy Graham

For most of our clients, their home is their biggest investment, and they’re spending a LOT of time in it right now. Hopefully, you’re happy with your space and embracing this time to improve upon it. If you’re worried about your property value going up, down, or sideways… you’re not alone. We offer monthly home value reports to show you what’s happening in your neighborhood. Just text Angie your address at 949-338-7408, or fill out the form below to receive your property’s value.

We want to wish you and your family health, healing, and happiness during this quarantine. Please reach out if we can help you with anything – we’re here for you & care about our fellow humans!

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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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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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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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5 Benefits You Need To Know About VA Loans

Posted on May 25, 2019. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Homeownership, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate, Spring Buying Season, VA Loan |

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To All of Our Veterans – Thank You. Happy Memorial day! 

The VA loan is a mortgage loan that is designed to help eligible veterans finance their home with no down payment – guaranteed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

5 Benefits You Need To Know About VA Loans

1. No down payment required!

The VA loan is a $0 down payment mortgage – available to Veterans, Service Members and certain military spouses. Conventional loans typically require a down payment that can be as high as 20%. While there is no down payment required, there is a VA Funding Fee. The fee is a governmental fee that is applied to every VA loan. This fee can change based on different circumstances and factors.

2. No Mortgage Insurance! 

Private Mortgage Insurance is a type of mortgage insurance that is required for borrowers who finance more than 80% of their home’s value. This is a monthly cost (or one-time upfront premium) that is added to a traditional mortgage loan. Because the VA Loans are government backed, Private Mortgage Insurance is not required by the banks! This is a huge savings for homeowners.

3. Easier to Qualify! 

These loans are backed by the government so that means banks assume that there is less risk involved. These loans do not have as many qualification standards as traditional home loans. These loans are easier to obtain and allow for more credit and income flexibility.

4. VA Loan Closing Costs Are Lower!

Another cost saving perk – the VA limits the closing costs lenders can charge to VA loan applicants. The average closing cost of the loan is between 1% – 3% of the loan amount. The percentage can raise to 3% – 5% if the home is less expensive. Your real estate agent can request the seller to cover some closing costs for you – reducing more costs for you.

5. The VA Loan Is Reusable! 

These loans are not just a one-time benefit. If you have earned this benefit, you have it for life! There is no limit on the number of times you may use the loan. The VA loan has accessibility to different property types, you could re-use it to buy a house, condo, new-built home, manufactured home, duplex or other types of properties It can even be used to refinance your existing mortgage.

 

Supporting our veterans with a lender who cares –

Derek Beisner

Have more questions about the VA loan process? Derek will be there to walk you through the process. He provides expert advice while walking you through every step of the process. You will be a client for life with Derek Beisner

Derek is available to text on weekends: 1 (949) 637-9939

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Is Seller Financing Right For You?

Posted on May 18, 2019. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Homeownership, Lenders & Loan info, Orange County Real Estate, Spring Buying Season |

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Seller financing is an agreement in which the seller handles the mortgage process instead of a financial institution. Seller financing cuts out the middleman and some of the red tape that comes with real estate transactions. The seller is the lender in this type of transaction, this allows the buyer to make payments without the hassle of a loan.

Seller financing is a better option in a buyers’ market however this benefits both the buyer and the seller of the home. Here is some quick facts about seller financing!

Pros for the Buyer!

  • Faster Closing Process – skip the bank lines. You won’t have to wait on a loan officer, underwriter or legal department to review and approve the loan application
  • Saves Money – no bank fees or appraisal costs
  • Seller financing lets people who might not be able to secure a mortgage buy a home
  • The down payment is based on an agreement between you and the seller

Pros for the Seller!

  • Sell quicker – you have the potential and ability to negotiate to sell the property “as is” without making costly repairs
  • Investment!  Earning money from the lending process
  • Retain the title: if the buyer defaults – the seller keeps the down payment and the house – rather than the bank

Take Aways:

  • Working with a real estate agent in addition to a real estate attorney is necessary. They will write the sales contract and the promissory note
  • Sellers should (and can) run a credit check
  • Buyers should offer a 10% down payment
  • Don’t forget about your credit score – it is still important and considered in the transaction

Learn more about the seller financing process here:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/seller-financing-home-sales-30164.html

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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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Congrats! You Made It To Escrow! Now What?

Posted on April 13, 2019. Filed under: escrow, First Time Buyer help, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , , , |

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Your offer has been accepted – congratulations! You’re ready to settle into your dream home and enjoy a glass of wine. The only thing standing between you and the keys to your new home is escrow, so now what? You’ve probably heard the term escrow (also referred to as closing) thrown around but didn’t quite understand what it meant. Escrow is something most people don’t fully understand until they experience it. In a nutshell, they are your neutral third party assisting to ensure the contract is executed correctly by all sides. 

The Orange County Escrow Process Made Easy

 
Escrow protects all parties involved in the real estate transaction (including you)! Escrow is a third party service that holds a valuable asset (in this case – your “earnest” money) until the transaction between the seller and the buyer is complete. Once your offer is accepted, an escrow company is hired to implement the transaction in accordance with the terms of the sales agreement.

Does A Home Buyer or Seller Choose Escrow?

Not all Escrow companies are created equal and we always prefer to work with companies we know and trust. That said, it’s our advice to negotiate price over services. If you are a buyer, you may get the seller to accept your offer or your price if you let them choose the escrow company. In most Orange County and SoCal cases, the seller selects the escrow and title companies used for closing.

What Happens Next? How Do We Close Escrow?

It’s a series of steps in a specific order of operations. Your escrow, title, and lender will know it all and help guide you through. As your Realtor, it’s our job to make sure they are all doing theirs. Sometimes it feels like a circus and sometimes it feels like a symphony. Rather than writing you a book, here’s a fun graphic thanks to Finance Of America Mortgage to guide you through the main hurdles, contingencies and objections to overcome!

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5 Tips To Make Your Escrow Process Run Smoothly

1. Let Your Lender Lead The Way!

You’ll need to sign loan disclosures before an appraisal can be ordered, so do everything your lender requests and do it promptly. This is the BEST way to have a smooth escrow.

2. Complete Documentation

The purchase agreement must be completed with signatures from all parties. The Escrow officer will send a package of paperwork, make sure to be on the lookout for this paperwork and complete it promptly. Signing documents online will help you stay organized.

3. Sign On Time

The purchasing of a home will require a significant amount of paperwork and legal documents. It is important that all of this paperwork is signed and in a timely manner to ensure that the sale may proceed without any delays. The escrow officer will take possession of these documents to ensure that all necessary paperwork has been completed, signed, and filed on time.

4. Communicate!

Check your email regularly! Your escrow officer will be reaching out to all parties involved frequently! Your escrow officer might need a signature sent over in a timely manner.

5. Halt Credit Utilization – You’re In A Financial Fishbowl

During the closing process, your financial history is being reviewed carefully and frequently. A change in your financial circumstances could implode the escrow process. You have made it this far based on your current financial standing – if changes occur lenders have the right the always make drastic changes.

Learn about what to avoid when closing on a mortgage here:
3 Ways To Mess Up Closing

If you are ready to get your escrow process stated, contact Angie Weeks at 949-338-7408!

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How To Buy Property In Iceland

Posted on March 2, 2019. Filed under: Buying in Iceland, Homeownership, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , , , , , |

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Vacation Homes in Iceland

As more and more Americans become internationally savvy investors, we love bringing you experts and tips on how to safely buy abroad. Iceland is a gorgeous country and it’s growing quite fast – which means opportunity knocks!

Iceland’s capital is Reykjavík, so we scoped out a quality agent who has been selling there for more than 5 years – Pall Palsson. When you are considering a purchase as a newbie to a country, you do not want to work with a newbie agent! It’s a really good idea to ask your main Realtor if they are an International Specialist (CIPS) and if so, they can help pair you with a good fit in the country you plan to purchase.

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RESEARCH is key, and that’s best done with a team. Iceland currently has a stable government, currency, and job market. Iceland is one of the fastest growing real estate markets in the world. Iceland has an even market right now which makes it easier for both buyers and sellers to obtain their goals. It also means their are enough houses on the market if you’re looking for your next big move!

Here’s an interview with Pall that goes more in depth about the current real estate market in Iceland:

Other factors to consider are education, cost of living, and climate.

As far as climate, Iceland tends to have very short summers that are still chilly and usually pretty cloudy. If you’re from California, it would be quite the opposite of the sunny beautiful weather we are used too! Their winters are very long and wet, but if the snow is something you love – it’d be perfect for you! The temperature in Iceland hardly ever drops below 17 degrees which if you’ve ever been to the Midwest where it drops down to a brutal -20 with wind chill often during the winter months then that might not seem so bad. You won’t usually see the temperature rise much higher than 62 degrees in Iceland. The absolute beautiful of this country may sway you to deal with the cold anyways – we’ve truly never seen such beauty.

The cost of living in Iceland is close to comparable to Southern California right now – expensive. You can get a 2 bedroom 1 bath town home around $350,000 – $400,000. If you’re able to afford that and even spend half of your time in a place with such outstanding sights to see you’d be living your best life.

 

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Equity Shares – Buying a Home Despite Student Debt

Posted on February 2, 2019. Filed under: Equity Shares, First Time Buyer help, Homeownership, Orange County Real Estate, Owning Despite Student Debt | Tags: , , , , |

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Student Debt Does Not Have to Prevent You From Owning a Home

There’s a lot of us out here now that are facing the consequences of hefty student loan debt. Investing in our education can sometimes feel like a losing battle but it is still important to invest in your future. Part of investing in your future is thinking of buying a home so that you aren’t piling on money every month for rent when you could be owning something instead. Many graduates don’t think they can ever own a home while paying on their student debt, but that isnt the case. There are a lot of things that Realtors can help you figure out when you are ready. One of the easiest solutions is for your parents to cosign the loan with you.

Equity Shares

If you’re a responsible student or graduate that has a job and wants to buy a home but have a hard time getting approved for a loan due to overwhelming student debt, you can have your parents or someone in your family cosign with you so that you are able to take out the loan. This equity share is just saying they are equally sharing the responsibility with you for your loan. You would make the payments, but their name has to be on the loan insuring lenders that if for some reason you couldn’t pay, your family would have your back in making that payment for you. This helps both of you out because you are building positive debt instead of throwing away money renting something you could own for less. Parents are able to build positive debt for themselves while also helping their children out who are making the payments anyways.

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Setting Our Kids Up For Success

As parents we always want what is best for our children. We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves as parents so that our children grow up into the best versions of themselves. Many of us expect our kids to go off to college after high school and pursue a higher education for their future careers. However, we don’t always think about how much that is going to cost them not only financially, but also in time and future reliabilities. The average student loan debt for a four year degree in 2015 was $30,100 – that’s a lot of money! Knowing that information it makes it easier to understand why younger adults aren’t owning homes because they simply can’t get approved with that kind of debt racked up. This is where parents come in again, wanting what is best for our children and helping out wherever we can. Helping your kid with a down-payment on their first home is an amazing investment! If you aren’t able to help them with their down-payment to get them approved you can cosign a loan with them so that the lender feels more confident and lending them money to purchase their first home. They invested in their education, now it is our chance to invest in them and their future family’s home.

If this is something you think would work for your family and you want to see what else you can do to get approved or help your child get approved for their home text Angie at 949-338-7408! She plans on getting you in with a down payment source and herself to answer any questions or concerns you may have!

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Ringing in 2019 with Real Estate Goals

Posted on January 11, 2019. Filed under: AirBnB, Buying in Spain, Divorce, First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Homeownership, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate, Renting, Selling for top dollar, Selling your home fast, Vow2Save Orange County Real Estate Registry | Tags: , , , , , |

Dream Big, Set Goals, Take Action Chalk Drawing

What will your 2019 look like?

We have some big goals for 2019 – one of them being helping our clients achieve their real estate new years resolutions! Whether it’s buying internationally or crowdfunding a down payment for an engaged couple, we can help you accomplish them all. Every year our whole team writes down their goals for the new year and we try to help each other accomplish them. This year, we want to do the same with all of our clients. Writing them down and being able to cross them off when they are accomplished really makes you feel good and it will make us feel good to be able to help you do that.

AskAngie Team’s Goals

Our team has a few things were really excited for this year! This year we plan to really grow our Vow2Save program. We are looking forward to helping a lot more engaged couples crowdfund a down payment so that they are able to buy a home after their wedding. This has been a goal of ours for a few years, and after a lot of work in 2018 we know it is really going to be taking off this year and we can’t wait to see the things it can do for people! We also plan to travel more this year in order to have the best information in helping our clients buy overseas. Last year we went to Spain and met with Realtors there, but we want to be able to do that in many more countries.

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So much more we can do for you!

If you need help selling or buying a home after a divorce or identifying a good AirBnB investment we can help with that and everything in between. We have various services that we are experienced in. Another goal we know some of our clients have is to stop renting and own their first home and we are so excited to help many people achieve that this year especially with the current rent prices in OC. We can help you figure out what your home is worth and how you can sell it fast and for top dollar! We truly value our time with our clients and being able to help them grow their real estate profile and accomplish their goals. If you have any questions or want to share your goals with us so we are better able to  help you please fill out the form below or contact Angie at 949-338-7408!

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