Orange County Real Estate

Organizing Your Family’s OC Move & Memories

Posted on May 18, 2018. Filed under: Home Improvement Ideas, Home Seller Tips, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate, Organizing | Tags: , , , , |

Do you have precious memories you want to save digitally?

digital4keepsWith Memorial Day around the corner we wanted to help you with one of your most precious items to move – MEMORIES! We have just the company to help you keep all those memories and pictures safe during a move. Mike Helsper and his team at Digital4Keeps organize and digitize photos and paperwork for easier keeping for you and your family. They offer a mobile scanning service that they can do for you in your home or in your office. This is used to archive all your important documents into safer keeping than just inside the drawers of your desk or filing cabinet in your home. Their passion is to preserve your families memories.

Preserving Memories

Digital4Keeps offers affordable simple flat rate, inclusive pricing, and packages. They have high speed scanning and organize those in a digital format so they are safer. They transfer memories and provide you with a DVD, flash drive or storage on a hard disk for your own computer. They can also touch up photos after scanning to ensure the best photo for safe keeping and offer to introduce clients to the cloud for better keeping. Have greeting cards that need scanning? They do that too.

Safety for Important Documents

They will protect your important documents and files from fires or any other disaster you wouldn’t expect to happen. They do this by scanning and filing your documents so that they are available in the digital world only for you or family members to have a copy of. To see more of what they have to offer check out digital4keeps.com

If you’re about to move and want your things organized before doing so or if you just want to make sure all of your memories and documents are in safe keeping for your future get a hold of Mike Helsper at Digital4Keeps – 714-814-1648.

If you need help finding that next home to make more memories in, we are always honored to assist! Angie’s standing by at 949-338-7408 to help you find the home of your dreams 🙂

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Add Thousands to Your Property Value!

Posted on May 11, 2018. Filed under: Home Improvement Ideas, Home Seller Tips, Homeownership, Informed Investor Alliance, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate, Real Estate Stories, Smart Homes | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Easy Spring Upgrades Can Add Thousands to Your Property Value

spring

Spring is here, and it’s a great time for some quick and easy home upgrades that, for less than $1000, can add thousands to your property value! With clear days, sunshine, and wonderful opportunities to spotlight your property and its curb appeal—along with the chance to add to your property value and help make that sale!

Based on the local average home prices of $717,100 in Mission Viejo, this means as much as $28,684 in potential profits for many local home sellers, while also providing home buyers with the little extras and details that can make such a
difference to comfort and peace of mind.

Easy upgrade list for your home!

To help you maximize that appeal, here’s a checklist of upgrades to your home that are relatively inexpensive (most of those listed here can be accomplished for well under $1,000), but that can add significant property value and return on investment.

1. Replace Your Front Door. A beautiful new front door, preferably one that’s reinforced steel, will not only immediately add curb appeal, it’s also a bonus to home safety (and insurance rates), as well as to air quality. To stretch your budget, you can also simply do a nice repaint of the door instead.

2. Add a New Coat of Paint. A new paint job for the entire interior of the property (after covering and filling imperfections or holes in drywall) is a time-honored, popular and accepted method of adding newness and brightness to a home and instant appeal to homebuyers. However, don’t stop there. An exterior paint job can give new life to a home’s appeal, emphasizing its best features and providing home shoppers with a pleasing first glimpse of your property at its best. Just don’t indulge yourself in crazy shades and keep color choices tasteful and neutral.

3. Upgrade Your Garage Door. Your home’s garage door can take up as much as 35 to 40% of a property’s overall façade. It’s no wonder, then, that a new garage door is one of the best ways to increase a home’s visual impact while also increasing return on investment (as noted in the 2016 “Cost vs. Value” report). A new garage door also adds safety and security, and upgrading to an automatic versus a manual garage door is a big plus with home shoppers, according to many experts.

4. Inspect, clean and paint moldings, built-in bookcases and trim. Moldings can help to frame a room and show off its bones. Clean and neatly paint your moldings to show off a room at its most beautiful.

5. Professionally Clean Your Windows (Inside and Out). It’s amazing the effect clean and sparkling windows can have on the appeal of a property. From outside, they twinkle in the sun and provide a pleasant introduction to the home itself. From inside, and framed only minimally with draperies or blinds (keep them open when buyers visit) they maximize light and air, contributing to an overall impression of warmth and cleanliness.

6. Clean Carpets. Far too many overlook this simple, easy way to show off a home to its best advantage, freshen up for Spring, and give new life to old carpets when the budget doesn’t allow for them to be replaced outright with hardwood floors. This task also contributes to overall air quality and can make a huge difference in homes where smoking or pets were also a factor.

7. Install a New HVAC System. A new HVAC system improve air quality and energy efficiency, and can add tangible value to your home’s asking price. It’s also a great way to add an instant edge if you find your home competing with others in your area.

8. Fix and Repair External Gates and Fences. This is a repair that is both useful cosmetically, as well as being a big plus for home shoppers who are both safety-minded or who may be pet owners. You may also want to consider adding on a fresh coat of paint or varnish.

9. Upgrade or Install External Motion Sensor or Safety Lighting. According to many industry pros, now more than ever, the biggest single concern for most homeowners today is safety, so visible and tasteful, well-installed external lighting will go a long way toward giving home buyers peace of mind. Ring doorbells only cost about $100 and it’s a huge comfort when it comes to security.

10. Upgrade Your Water Heater. By upgrading to a better (and professionally installed) water heater, you’ll not only be adding to your home’s safety features and energy consumption, you’ll also be adding one more highly desirable element for today’s home shoppers. Make sure your water heater is properly strapped, too!

SERVIZ_SpringTipstoImproveHomeValue_2018

If you need help accomplishing these tasks, or want to find a Home Repair Professional to assist with them, the SERVIZ app can be a great resource.

Just a few of these basic home repairs and upgrades can be worth their weight in gold for home sellers and real estate pros, and can increase the value of your home overall by potential thousands.

As the Spring sunshine returns, there’s never been a better time to add value to your investment. So what are you waiting for? Contact Angie at 949-338-7408 if you want help on adding to your homes value and getting the most for your home sale!

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Relocating to Southern California? Writing a strong offer in today’s OC market

Posted on May 4, 2018. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Homeownership, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , , , , , |

 

Surf City Huntington Beach Pier

Sunset over Surf City Huntington Beach Pier

Southern California’s Current Housing Crisis

Are you thinking of buying in relocating to Orange County, CA? Today’s market can be frustrating and intimidating, but there are ways to make the buying process easier. The housing market in Orange County and LA has been on the rise and the inventory has been poorly stocked. This usually means there are multiple buyers interested in houses on the market. Bringing your offer to the table fully ready and easy to work with helps you have a rise above the other buyers interested in the home you want! We have some tips that we have experienced with our clients that has helped them get ahead of the game when it comes to receiving offer acceptance on the home they really want.

Rejected? Preparing an offer that gets accepted for your future Orange County home

Down-payment-gift

Having your offer and all of the extras prepared when deciding on the home you want will make the difference between acceptance and rejection. You’ll want to start with a fully underwritten loan that is ready to go! It makes your offer SUPER strong if you can write off your loan contingency, and just leave your appraisal contingency. Sellers LOVE this. This allows the seller to know your loan homework is done and you are ready to go NOW. It shows that you are almost as strong as a cash buyer for their home.

In addition, sellers in today’s market expect to see your Proof of Funds (POF) on day zero. Be prepared to show your reserves with every offer. As a good buyer’s agent, we hold all this info on file ready to fire off as soon as you are ready to submit an offer. Time is of the essence.

Are You Easy to Work With!?

Another thing that has helped our clients have an edge up on other buyers is having a non-contingent offer on a property sale. This gives you that edge up because you are stuck selling your existing home and praying for a fast buyer. If you’re open to handle repairs on your own dime, (aka signing an ‘as-is’ offer), than sellers are more likely to choose you because it gets them out of the headaches of dealing with contractors during escrow. Sometimes, this allows you to go in with a less than asking offer, knowing you will take care of repairs yourself later on.

Having a proper letter written to the sellers also makes you look professional and organized. We always recommend this to our clients so the sellers really know who you are, and why this house is perfect for you! We even include a photo of you & your family in the letter so they can place a face with the name. Trust us…this makes a HUGE difference when there are 5 or 10 offers on the table!!

If you’ve been struggling to get a bid accepted in this market, or don’t have proper representation, please contact us, we will make sure you’re taken care of! Even if you DO have all your ducks in a row, expect to write at least 3 offers in Orange County before you have one accepted. Statistically speaking there are at least 10 buyers for every home, so simply writing an offer is not enough. Let us help you win your bid! We’re at 949-338-7408 for a consult anytime. Just call or text!

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Global Forum – International Real Estate

Posted on April 17, 2018. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Informed Investor Alliance, International Properties, Lenders & Loan info, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , , , |

 

Ways Immigrants Can Buy California Property

Have you been thinking about buying in the US, but live in a foreign country? We can help! There’s lots of talk in real estate about EB 5 Immigration , it’s a program United States offers to encourage foreign investors to purchase property here in the US. Because Trump administration has been putting the brakes on immigration recently, a Green Card is tough to get! This has caused major issues and investors (particularly from China) are getting turned away. 😦 But don’t be discouraged. According to Immigration attorney Qiang Bjornbak, depending on your country of origin and job, there may be options for your visa:

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If you would like to explore which immigration solution is best for you, we would be happy to put you in touch with Qiang for a consultation. She can help pave your path 🙂 Once you are able to legally own a home in the United States, then the next challenge is to obtain financing.

How Foreigners Can Obtain US Loans

Foreign loans don’t come without challenges. Seasoning, or the amount of time your money has been in the bank, can be a big one. Another issue can be a newer social security number. Furthermore, reported income, foreign bank statements, and low appraisals are all landmines that can explode during the loan application process. Red flags everywhere…what’s an investor to do?!

It was great to hear from a panel of lenders who are open to working with foreign buyers, and have experiences to overcome challenges. If you’re buying for the first time in the US, you NEED an experienced lender to make your loan process smooth. Regardless of which lender you select, always run a DU (Direct Underwriting) to make sure your loan is fully approved. Usually about 30% down is required on foreign investments, and you need 2-12 months of reserves. Certain lenders also offer down payment programs. Sometimes these loans can be closed in 30 days, but usually they take about 40-45 days. It’s best to make sure your funds are already in the US to ensure there are no delays.

According to feedback in the room… Sterling Bank & Trust is very easy to work with and has fabulous programs that are easy to qualify. ChinaTrust Bank has an ‘asset based’ program which is great when income isn’t high. Cathay Bank offers a foreign HELOC, which is very rare! Here are all the panelists, just fill out the form below if you would like an introduction!

  • Sterling Bank & Trust – Steven Chang
  • New American Funding – Frank Fuentes
  • HSBC Bank – Buddie Krugh
  • Cathay Bank – Howard Tung
  • ChinaTrust Bank – Kevin Yang

What States Do International Investors Prefer in the US?

Interesting question! Literally, it’s all over! According to 2017 data, here’s the top 5:

  1. Florida
  2. California
  3. Texas
  4. Arizona
  5. New Jersey

If you think sunny Southern California is the best state for you, let’s talk! Just fill out the form below or text call Angie at 949-338-7408. Happy investing – we can’t wait to help you open the door to your US property!

 

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Orange County Realtors Annual Meeting

Posted on March 19, 2018. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Homeownership, Informed Investor Alliance, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate |

economyEvery year we make a point to attend the annual OCR meeting. This 3 hour event is filled with great information about what’s happening in our association and community, and it helps us stay on the pulse of the everchanging real estate market.

Did you know over 51% of real estate transactions in Orange County are completed by a member of OCR?  We are the largest local association in CA and the 9th largest in the nation. We’re a huge group and have over 10,000 Realtors. Yes, there are THAT many agents in our county & we all work differently 😉 Thankfully OCR puts on this event yearly so we can all be on the same page with the expectations of the market.

Chris Thornberg Presents the OC Economic Outlook

Chris, a famous forecaster with Beacon Economics, warns to be careful of weapons of mass distraction.. like the current president’s tweets… and focus on the true story. There isn’t a weather report for democrats & republicans. There’s just a weather report. That said…here is the real estate report 😉

LIFE IS GOOD. But not without it’s challenges. We are not expecting a correction for at least 2 years.

WE ARE NOT IN A REAL ESTATE BUBBLE. Bubbles happen when we overbuild, and when we overborrow. Neither of those things are happening right now.

THE ECONOMY IS STRONG. Wages are rising, unemployment is low, jobs are available.

RATES WILL RISE. We’ve had 5 recent hikes and are expecting more. No need to freak out though….rates will still be lower than they were in 2006. Keep everything in perspective.

CA RANKS 8TH FOR ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE. We’re adding workers (and need more), and we have a large number of high income households. 18% of CA households make over 150K/yr!

WE NEED MORE HOUSES FOR SALE. The reason our prices continue to go up is our huge lack of supply. Builders need to build more… (they are only building half as much as we currently need yearly) and owners need to sell more (the average time owners hold a home has significantly increased the last 20 years).

All in all things are still looking really good for California Real Estate – comment your thoughts below! Ready to jump in? Text Angie at 949-338-7408 if you’d like to surf the wave!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Avoiding Heartbreak During Orange County Spring Home Buying Season

Posted on March 9, 2018. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Homeownership, Lenders & Loan info, Orange County Real Estate, Spring Buying Season | Tags: , , , , , |

Spring time has begun in Orange County, even though the weather has been chillier than normal! Spring means lots of exciting things like flowers blooming, maybe a little rain to make the grass more green, time spent at the beach, but for us in the real estate business and those of you looking to buy a home it means a busy and sometimes difficult season. We thought we’d share some of our favorite tips with potential buyers before we jump into this time of the year, full force.

Getting everything prepared to buy your home!

We recommend you always have a buyer’s agent to represent you! This makes communication so much easier with the sellers agent. Having a buyer’s agent that you really trust is so important in the home buying process. You need someone who really knows what they’re doing to be your voice when it comes to real estate matters. They will always have your best interest at heart and can properly represent you during the process.

To speed the process up, make sure you have your pre approval, proof of funds, and all of your paperwork in order. This will be most beneficial when there are other buyers interested in the same home as you, you want to make sure you are ready to go and can prove that to the sellers. There could be multiple people writing offers on the property you love and want to be your forever home, so it is important to make sure you have everything ready to be competitive for that home.

Advanced Tips for Homebuying Success

The seller’s agent is more than likely to want you to cross-qualify with the lender they have chosen to trust and use, so make sure you are able to qualify with anyone that runs your information. This will make the process much more smooth and will show the sellers and their agent that you are reliable. Also, make sure your agent has a cover letter for all of your offers. This just makes you look more organized and professional, and goes back to tip number one of having an agent you fully trust to be your voice throughout this nerve-wracking process.

Have an edge and be ready to go all in for the property you want!

Here’s a video of Angie and Loan Specialist Derek Beisner discussing loan contingency to help avoid heartbreak during spring buying season!

Call or text Angie at 949-338-7408 if you’d like to get moving in the right direction on your dream home this season.

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Making Money in OC with AirBnB

Posted on February 9, 2018. Filed under: AirBnB, First Time Buyer help, Homeownership, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate, Real Estate Stories | Tags: |

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Here we are on a wonderful Costa Rica family vacation in Nov 2017 that AirBnB rentals paid for!

Getting help paying your mortgage while traveling the world!

Renting out your home as an AirBnB allows you to travel as much as you want while still making an income to help pay your mortgage. You have complete control over who you allow to stay in your home and you are also in complete control of when you choose to have your home rented out. Why wouldn’t you want to get paid to go on vacation and have someone else paying your mortgage for you? We have had such a great experience using AirBnB and wanted to share what we’ve learned so that you can do it too.

Our AirBnB tips and tricks

Finding a good place to stay while your house is being rented is very important! You’re renting out your house to make money, but you want to be somewhere comfortable too. You want a daily rent potential that is at least 125% of your daily mortgage to insure good profit! When thinking of making your home or a place you buy into an AirBnb, make sure you consider the tourist destination and proximity to arenas and conventions near that property. You’ll also want to make sure that community or city allows short term rentals. We also found it beneficial to make sure we had closets that we could easily lock or a detached garage/storage shed to safely keep items while we were renting out our home.

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Humble houses still make money! Here’s our historical Santa Ana pad before we earned the money from AirBnB rentals to pay for our new walkway.

Systemizing

Having a smart lock such as IglooHome is a great idea. It’s easy for guests, and safe for you. We have “AirBnB Bin” with sheets and towels that are only used for guests, that way the ones we use for ourselves are never used. Shampoo and soap dispensers in the shower are super helpful as well. We make sure our supply closet is always on stock and that we have a house keeper on call, just in case. Syncing with your calendar makes it easier to stay organized with the schedule of your rentals.

Refinancing your Mortgage with AirBnB Income

An initiative is starting this year in order to help you refinance your mortgage using the income you make as an AirBnB host. Previously, banks wouldn’t count your AirBnB income when considering whether or not to refinance your mortgage. Thankfully that is beginning to change. The three financial institutions participating in the initiative include Quicken Loans, Citizens Bank, and Better Mortgage. They have the chance to consider home sharing income earned on Airbnb when hosts in the U.S. apply to refinance their mortgage on their primary residence! This is just another benefit to using AirBnB – someone will be paying your REDUCED mortgage rate which means even more profit in your pocket!

Here’s a video of Angie sharing this information with one of her networking groups!

Finding A Good AirBnB Investment in Orange County, CA

If this sounds like something you want to learn more about, follow our Automatic Millionaire Homeowners group on Facebook! If you want to search out an Orange County property to buy and make your AirBnB contact Angie at 949-338-7408.

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Superior Home Safety Rankings in Orange County, CA

Posted on February 2, 2018. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Improvement Ideas, Homeownership, Orange County Home Improvement, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , , |

Local Orange County Cities are Among the Safest in the Nation

As real estate professionals, we’re always keeping an eye out for stories on home safety, since it’s consistently one of the biggest priorities for people who are shopping for a new home.

That’s why we were delighted to learn that many nearby Orange County cities are actually ranked among the safest across the United States, according to the latest Home Safety Rankings (HSR) released by local home services app SERVIZ.
SERVIZ created its Home Safety Rankings when the company’s founders realized that they were failing as many as 1 in 3 home contractors for criminal background checks (definitely statistics the company felt they needed to explore further). Concerned by these numbers, SERVIZ then researched and assembled its groundbreaking new Home Safety Rankings (HSR) Index for over 100 metropolitan areas across the U.S., which not only offer statistics on home safety and crime, but which also provide a detailed look at the safety habits and concerns of
residents city by city. SERVIZ’s HSR findings include useful safety tips and suggestions, and received the approval of the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) as well.

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High Marks for Safety

Let’s look at how we did on a local level.

Out of 108 metro areas analyzed and ranked for home safety, several cities in the Orange County metro area ranked among the very top of the list, with high-ranking cities including Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel, and Mission Viejo, California!

Aliso Viejo residents can certainly celebrate, as the city was ranked the third safest overall, with a superb safety score of 79 out of 100 (with 100 being safest). Laguna Niguel also made the top 10, coming in at number 5, meanwhile, with a high 65 safety ranking—and both received A+ letter grade scores, too. Mission Viejo was number 9 in the top 10, meanwhile, with a safety
ranking of 61 and an A- rating. To give you an idea of just how good these numbers are, Los Angeles itself scored a C+ rating and a safety ranking of just 19, by comparison.

These statistics show that your chance of becoming a crime victim is just 1 in 126 in Aliso Viejo, 1 in 89 in Laguna Niguel, and 1 in 82 in Mission Viejo. These are impressive numbers when compared with L.A.’s 1 in 33 chance of becoming a crime victim!

The SERVIZ Home Safety Rankings (HSR) Index was achieved as a result of proprietary data collected over the last 5 years serving over 200 thousand customers, and 300 thousand home improvement jobs, and other publicly available sources. To view how California stacks up against other states, visit https://www.serviz.com/national-hsr-index.

Helping Homeowners Nationwide

Ultimately, SERVIZ isn’t just analyzing crime stats or helping homeowners nationwide focus on the big picture when it comes to home safety – the SERVIZ app is actually helping homeowners stay safer when booking home services right from their PCs or phones (booking a safe, highly rated, and fully vetted handyman in just a few mouse clicks). The company offers a safer, faster,
easier, and more transparent way to book and buy home services online. From handyman work to plumbing, carpet cleaning and appliance repair, SERVIZ provides highly rated, background-checked and licensed professionals at the click of a button, all backed by the SERVIZ Consumer Protection Plan.

To learn more about SERVIZ, visit http://www.serviz.com. You can also download the free
SERVIZ App on Google Play or iTunes for immediate use as well.

We also know many trustworthy local contractors if you still prefer a good old fashioned referral. Just text Angie at 949-338-7408.

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2018 Tax Reform & Housing Market Update with YPN

Posted on January 23, 2018. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Homeownership, Informed Investor Alliance, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: |

IMG_7959Hey everyone!

Today I’m at the Orange County Young Professionals Network breakfast; and Tony Capitelli, Government Affairs director at OCR, gave us the update on taxes and our housing market. If you’d like in on the scoop….read on 🙂

Not Fake News – Orange County Needs Housing Inventory

As previously stated in our post with Steven Thomas, we don’t have enough people selling their home in Orange County right now. Our current estimated time on the market is just 24 days – it’s a strong seller’s market. Furthermore, the ‘affordability’ factor in OC is around 20%, and prices continue to rise with the lack of inventory. Student loan debt keeps renters longer and longer.

IMG_7960Tony doesn’t believe we’re in another bubble, so this is our new normal in Orange County. The median sales price is now $800K. The prices continue to creep so high because of inventory, inventory, inventory. People are staying in their homes longer and longer. It also costs more to build here in OC, so that pushes up new home prices.

Consequences of our inventory drought are less housing, longer commutes, more traffic…people are having to move outside of the city or county.

Even though all these updates aren’t great (especially to renters), please keep perspective. Homeownership is the still the best way to generate wealth for ‘the average Joe’. 

What’s Up With 2018 Tax Reform

DISCLAIMER: This is information on what is in the new tax bill. This is not tax or legal advice…contact your CPA for that or ask us for a referral!!

Harmful tax provisions

  • Raising the standard deduction
    • Single filers – 12K / Joint filers 24K
    • eliminates homeownership incentives for most
  • Lowering the mortgage interest deduction
    • Cap lowered from 1M to 750K
    • Can only deduct HELOC remodeling
  • Limit on State and local tax deduction
  • Eliminates entertainment deduction
    • Businesses can no longer deduct expenses for entertainment purposes. Sorry…less spoiling my clients and more giving it to Uncle Sam.
  • Historic tax credit
  • repeals moving expense deduction
    • Except for military

Helpful tax provisions

  • 20% passthrough for a business entity under 157K (single)
  • Exclusion of gain on sale of principal residence
    • We kept the 2 out of 5 year qualification 🙂
  • Like kind exchanges
    • 1031 exchange is still available
  • Low income housing credit
  • Child tax credit increased
  • Medical expenses deduction remains
  • Student loan interest deduction remains
  • Keeps deduction for casualty losses

IMG_7962We’ve basically de-incentified homeownership and charity, which IMO sucks. The good news is that millennials still see the value in Homeownership and they are pretty darn charitable anyway 🙂 45% want to buy homes in the next 5 years. It’d be cool if we could vote for more benefits to support homeownership incentives in the future you guys! Follow NAR’s #HomeownershipMatters tag if you’d like to stay in the know there.

If you’d like to download Tony’s full presentation, just LIKE Orange County Young Professionals Network on Facebook – we’ll be posting it soon – or email Angie@AskAngie.com.

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2018 Housing Market Forecast by Steven Thomas

Posted on January 8, 2018. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Homeownership, Informed Investor Alliance, Making Life Easier, Orange County CA Foreclosures, Orange County Real Estate |

Always love to hear Steven Thomas’ yearly real estate forecast – he’s locally famous here in Orange County for his great quantitative economic forecasts. Today he spoke at Orange County Association of Realtors and gave us the scoop….here goes!

It’s a HOT Seller’s Market in OC. Already.

The average OC resident moves every 21 years. This is creating a seller draught for all homes on the market under 1.5M. On the other hand, if you’re lucky enough to own a property over 1.5M, that’s a buyer’s market right now. Typically the Orange County market is slow from Nov – Jan, heats up after Super Bowl, and stays hot well through May. Last year, our market was hotttttt the.whole.year. And it’s continuing into 2018 here.

I’m Going to Wait to Buy….Famous Last Words.

Buyers….please don’t wait for more inventory or prices to go down. Neither is projected to transpire anytime soon. The next trend that comes will be higher interest rates, and that will only compound your issues. Yes, it’s rough to find a home right now. You’ll have to compete with multiple offers, but the good news is that you’re buying a solid long term investment at historically low interest rates, so keep on it! With the right agent you will secure your dream home.

Good News Graph: Interest Rates Over the Last 50 Years

50yearMortgageRates

These interest rates are an absolute GIFT. Steven’s words: “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. It’s ridiculous not to consider buying while you’re trashing at least 25K/year in rent. That’s like….a significant portion of your down payment. Because you can get in with just 3.5% down now 😉

Buyers, it’s time to suit up in your battle gear and plan to write at least 4-5 offers. It’s not you. It’s not your agent. It’s INVENTORY. We had 6% fewer homes come on the market in 2017 than the year before. We’re below 4,000 homes on the market, and our long term average is 8,000. We’re starting out this year similar to 2013, which was the lowest inventory in 5 years. There are only 91 condos active right now below 250K, so the low end is literally disappearing. And you can’t blame it on the foreigners, either. International buying is an insignificant 3%. Get in while you still can, PLEASE!

Homeowners, you’ve got the upper hand because you’re just not selling. Below is a comparison of 2016 inventory vs 2017 inventory. Almost everything is down. Yet the population and OC relocations continue to grow. Which are causing prices of our skimpy inventory to grow.

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Where Are All of Our Property Sellers?

Why isn’t everyone selling right now? We’re in an up market…right? Well, there’s a slew of reasons, and here are some of them:

  • refinanced into a 3% loan they just don’t want to lose
  • it’s ‘cool’ to stay put right now
  • not enough building to entice the move
  • property taxes are grandfathered in low
  • watching HGTV all day & remodeling instead
  • nothing to buy (such a VICIOUS cycle)

Some people are literally becoming prisoners in their own homes, especially with the new tax laws. 64% of baby boomers literally plan to die in their home, following the hugely popular ‘aging in place’ trend. Until some of these boomers start to sell…or croak.. our market will be stalled.

If you’re considering selling… please do your fellow OC residents a favor & just do it! You’ve literally got buyers in line waiting to see your home. Here’s an inventory & demand year to year comparison:

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Scared to sell? What about Taxes & Tax Reform?

Now that the max deduction is $12,000 for singles, and the max property tax deduction is $10,000, will that affect our market? It will absolutely affect many, because the median home price in Orange County is now over $700,000. Some buyers will not be able to write off everything they used to. Steven admits, It may NOT be a tax benefit to own a home in some in the upper ranges. But…It’s still way better than trashing 3-5K/mo on renting, though. And luxury rent is even higher than that. Steven doesn’t think the tax laws will have an adverse affect on our pricing at all this year; we are still projecting appreciation.

Steven Thomas’ 2018 Housing Market Forecast:

  • Low distressed inventory
  • return of the unrealistic overpriced seller
  • normal housing cycle
  • anemic inventory to start the year
  • increase in number of move up sellers
  • mild appreciation 4-5% (perspective. the ‘average’ home is due to increase 30K or more in value)
  • interest rates to land at 4.25%

Only time will tell if these projections are right – but Steven’s usually on point. Feel free to comment your opinions and we’ll revisit this post in about a year 🙂 If you’d like more updates like this throughout the year, just fill out the form below or text ‘subscribe’ to Angie at 949-338-7408.

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

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

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

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

GOP Tax Bill

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

Pay Early & Still Get Your Deduction

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

What if My Taxes Are Impounded Into My Mortgage?

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

Stay Proactive…Stay Informed

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

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

We hope you have a Happy & prosperous 2018!

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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!
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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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Orange County Electrician to help with your Smart Homes!

Posted on October 13, 2017. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Informed Investor Alliance, Making Life Easier, Orange County Home Improvement, Orange County Real Estate, Property Mangement, Smart Homes | Tags: , , , , |

Have you been wanting to upgrade your home to fit in with this century’s technology frenzy? We have the perfect guy and team to help you do just that!

Mark Gerhard at Gerhard Electric based out of Laguna Hills is an expert on working with smart homes. He can provide you with an instant ring door bell, almost like caller ID for your front door! They can help you install and integrate your Alexa and nest thermostat. They also offer replacing your canned lighting with LED so you can go green and save some money!

Installing a charging station for your electric vehicle in your garage, updating old wiring for safety purposes, and installing hard wired and wireless safety smoke detectors are just a few more things they can help you with. We think a lot of our clients and friends could benefit from a few of these things in there homes!

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Smart Home Installation Help

They will do it all for you from installing the product you buy or providing the product themselves and helping you to install it. One of our favorite packages is the doorbell camera and one motion sensor for $783!

We know Mark Gerhard and the team at Gerhard Electric through Saddleback @ Work and our OC LeTip Group and are pleased to be able to recommend them to you all! Get ahold of Mark and his crew at (949) 951-0490!

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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!

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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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Hot Topic: FHA or Conventional Loan?

Posted on September 22, 2017. Filed under: Conventional Loan, FHA loans, First Time Buyer help, Lenders & Loan info, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , , |

Wondering which home loan will be best for you? Here’s some helpful tips

Lots of buyers have been questioning which loan is best for them and their situation. Honestly, it does depend on just that – your situation. We have put together some information on both of these loan options to make it easier for you to decide what you think is best for yourself! Some of the biggest, but most simple differences between FHA and conventional loans are based on their guidelines and who can apply for them. FHA loans are government backed programs that require a minimum 3.5% down payment. These loans tend to be best for borrowers with lower credit than necessary to apply for a conventional loan.

Conventional loans are open-market and are geared for people with a higher credit score, typically near 700 or higher. Rates tend to be a bit lower, and in most cases no Mortgage Insurance is required.

FHA used to be a much more expensive option, but after FHA MIP reductions in 2015 it is now a real competitor. However, FHA can tend to be more strict in requirements than a conventional loan is.

What does an FHA Loan Require?

FHA loans require homes to have the following in good working order:

  • stove
  • heat
  • functioning roof
  • locking doors and windows
  • non-lead based paint

If you are looking to buy a condo… it can only be in a FHA approved community. So if you are choosing FHA, you may have less home options available to you. FHA loans also require you to purchase mortgage insurance which protects the lenders from a loss. In January of 2015, the FHA reduced the annual mortgage insurance premium on a 30 year fixed rate from 1.35 % to 0.85% of the loan balance. This is leading to huge savings for many who want a condo but just don’t have the larger down payment.

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Okay, so which home loan should you choose?

There isn’t one specific answer that fits everybody. It all depends on you, your needs and wants, and what you can afford to choose. If you plan on owning your home for 6-10 years and you don’t mind refinancing to cancel your mortgage insurance you might choose FHA. If you can put 5% down, you plan on keeping your home for 10-20 years and you don’t like the idea of paying mortgage insurance for thirty years you may choose conventional!

If you are looking into buying a home and need help finding one along with deciding which loan option is best for you – we can help! We work with a lot of amazing lender contacts locally here in Orange County that we would love to set you up with. We like to match-make our clients with lenders that we think will benefit them the most. Depending on your personality, wants/needs, and what kind of loan you are interested in all helps us decide which lender will be best for you! Fill out the form below or contact Angie at 949-338-7408 for more information 🙂

 

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Is it time to hire a property manager?

Posted on August 24, 2017. Filed under: Balboa's Best Property Deals, Home Seller Tips, Making Life Easier, OC Property Management, Orange County Real Estate, Property Mangement | Tags: , , , |

Thinking about hiring a property manager? Here’s some reasons why you might want to!

Are you having to move away but want to keep your current home and just don’t have the time to take care of it or deal with renting it out to someone else? Do you own multiple properties and don’t have the time to take care of one or more? Are you frustrated with trying to find a renter for your home but need to get it done? Any of these situations are when hiring a property manager comes in handy and really benefits you! Did you know AskAngie team is willing to be your property manager and take these tasks off your shoulders? Well we are, and we can’t wait to share how with you!

We can think of lots of people who would benefit from this process but here is a few on our list:

  • Active military or veterans who are moving to a different location
  • Seniors looking for additional income without hassles
  • Busy executives who travel
  • Active duty military who are deploying
  • A landlord who needs some extra help
  • Relocating for a job but know you want to move back to your home in sunny California someday

What will we do for you as your property manager?

Helping you take care of your home while someone else lives in it is something we are experienced and know how to do for you. We know dealing with this can be such a hassle, and we are ready to make it easier and smoother for you!

  • We will do all the advertising for you that you will need in order to find you the perfect renter for your home! We will initiate, sign, and renew any leasing agreements as well as any terminations that may need to be done, so that you don’t have to worry about the paperwork.
  • We always run credit reports and verify previous tenancy when looking at a potential renter. We also have access to run a complete background check if needed!
  • We will handle getting any repairs or maintenance work that needs to be done, done for you! Living far away from your property or being busy with work can make it hard to be on top of repairs and maintenance your renter may want or need, but don’t worry – we’ve got it handled for you!
  • We take care of issuing any notices like past due rent or notices to vacate.
  • Contracts, expense payments, and security deposits is so much to worry about and make sure you get done, but once again we would do it all for you so there would be no worrying necessary!

Honestly, just kick your feet up and relax – we’ve got this!!
We take care of all the heavy lifting as well as being a professional shoulder to lean on while renting our your home. It really does take so much weight off your shoulders!

How much do Orange County Property Management Services cost?

I’m sure you’re wondering what cost all this work comes at, so here it is:

for a single family home, townhouse or condo we charge only $175 a month to take care of all of these things for you.

Multiple units would depend on the number of units that property had, but it usually ends up being about 5% of the total gross rents from that particular property.
What do you have to lose besides for some extra stress? If this feels like something you need to take advantage of, give us a call today at 949-338-7408! We look forward to hearing from you 🙂

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CIPS – Why we think International Real Estate is so important!

Posted on August 18, 2017. Filed under: Balboa's Best Property Deals, Home Seller Tips, Informed Investor Alliance, International Properties, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , , , , |

First of all, what even is a CIPS?

That is what AskAngie team is here to explain! CIPS stands for Certified International Property Specialist, which means that we are designees that have been trained and certified on how to help you with your international real estate needs. We are well informed on how different cultures interpret people and real estate. CIPS designees are prepared to work with international clients, international funds, as well as American clients who choose to buy internationally. We are relied on because of our expertise in international real estate.

Why do we need Certified International Property Specialists?

Global business and international real estate have expanded a lot so these designees are need more now than ever before! Recently, foreign buyers have spent a lot more money in real estate – to the tune of over 1 BILLION per year. Earning the CIPS title makes agents more creditable and resourceful. CIPS have access to a wide network of professionals that can help you with your property needs around the world. Through research we are able to protect you from losing property or buying in a country where you don’t actually ‘own’ your home. We make sure you are buying legitimate properties wherever you may be looking! People are moving from foreign countries to the US every single day and many Americans look into property overseas as well. Because of the work Certified International Property Specialists do, these home owners are able to have a smooth and reliable transition into their new space (or out of their old)!

Watch this video on why we think CIPS is an important designation!

We recommend if you’re thinking about buying out of the country, call us at 877-230-3211 or text Angie at 949-338-7408 to take advantage of the CIPS education and put it to work for your real estate needs! 🙂

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New Orange County Homes Coming Soon!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prefer Los Angeles area energy?

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

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

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INVITATION: Citrus College Home Fair

Posted on April 10, 2017. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Home Seller Tips, Informed Investor Alliance, Lenders & Loan info, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate, Orange County things to do | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Interested in buying a home in Southern California but don’t know how? Would you like safe and solid info on Real Estate Investing or Market reports and trends? We’ve got you covered with free sessions at Citrus College on April 23rd.

The event will be held from 11am – 3pm with an hour lunch break. There are 3 different sessions, each with 4 classes to choose from ranging from flipping to first time buying. We feel honored to be asked to teach 2 classes – Investing and Market Report. Come join us and learn how to buy real estate! The first 100 registrations receive a free lunch on Citrus Real Estate Club – just sign up below.

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Yes, sign me up for Citrus College’s Home Fair on April 23rd!

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How to Buy an Orange County Home with 1% Down

Posted on March 23, 2017. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Lenders & Loan info, Making Life Easier, Orange County Real Estate | Tags: , , , , , , |

We believe everyone, EVERYONE, deserves to own a home!! So what’s your biggest obstacle to get there?

Down payment funds?! Probably!

We don’t live in a society that saves money, so how can you buy a home if you’re savings account isn’t 5 figures or more? There’s a way, and we wanted to let you know you have options!

Orange County Down Payment Assistance Programs

A great resource to reach out to for housing grants and financial help is NeighborWorks Orange County. The NeighborWorks website lists lots of really great programs – here’s a flyer to check out just a few:

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For your convenience, income limits for each program are color coded at the bottom of this sheet. NeighborWorks is located in Orange, and they’re always coming up with a new program or a way to help you improve credit, budget, and your overall financial picture. Here’s a link to their homebuyer classes, given in various languages 🙂

In order to learn about everything this great nonprofit has, it’s best to attend a workshop. They also have an online or in house course you can take to get fully equipped to buy a home. It does cost a nominal fee, but you get your money back when you provide your closing statement within 12 months. How cool is that?!??

If you’re the type of person who wants to work with a charity FIRST, or if you just don’t have a down payment and you need help, reach out by texting 949-338-7408 or filling out the form below, and we’ll put you in touch with NeighborWorks so you can get on the affordable path to homeownership!

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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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