Stacy and Nicole's Blog

24
May

5 Things to Do Before Moving Out of Your Home

Moving out is not as simple as just finding a new home, packing your things, and driving away. If you have decided to move out of your current home, there are some logistics and tasks that need to be done and taken care of before doing so. If you are unsure about anything in the process, you’ll want to talk to a real estate agent to get advice on how to ease or speed up the process and what mistakes you should avoid. Look at the following items as some of the things to keep in mind or to be on top of so that you can make the moving process a lot smoother and a lot less stressful for yourself.

1. Clean your home.

Keep in mind the mentality that you would have when looking into potential future homes if you were the next buyer of this home. This is easy to overlook when you are focusing only on how to pack your belongings and move it all out. Think about all the dust and dirt that has accumulated in the corners and cracks of your home that you don’t access often or even during the packing process of moving all your belongings around. Just keep a mop and broom around to do some simple tidying and cleaning up. Keep in mind that as you are leaving your current home, another homebuyer will shortly be moving in. Leave the home as it was when your first moved in or as you would like to see it if you were the next homeowner.

2. Change your address early and also leave your new address behind.

When you are certain about moving out and have already signed for a new home to seal the deal, make sure to start changing your current address to your new address for all your bank accounts, subscriptions, and more to avoid the trouble of not receiving your mail at your new address. And to be safe, also leave your new address behind for the future owner of your current home so that they know where to redirect the mail that was sent to your old address. This is especially important if you have any bills to pay off that come in through the mail.

3. Cancel Utilities and Insurance Coverage of Current Home

Moving out of a home and into a new home means that you will need to cancel or change many things in regards to insurance, utilities, and subscriptions. When beginning insurance coverage on your new home, remember to either cancel the insurance coverage of your old home or check if the insurance company has already done that for you. Keep in mind that some insurance companies may not automatically do that for you. When moving out of your old home, make sure to let your utility company know the date to discontinue their services at the old address and also the address for where to forward your last utility bill.

4. Pack Smartly and Visualize How to Unpack and Decorate Your New Home Beforehand

Organize your moving boxes. The process of unpacking may take longer than you expect itto, so make sure to separate the items you will need within the first few days of moving in. This may include bedding, toiletries, and a few clothing items so that you can avoid the need to dig through all the boxes that you have yet to unpack and organize. Also, organize all the items in each box so you know which room the items are designated for in the new home. This will allow the unpacking process to be smoother and more organized. Knowing which items you would like in which room of your new home will help you organize and label the boxes.

5. Hire a Professional Moving Company or Rent a U-HAUL

The fastest and smoothest way to move your belongings in the moving process is with less trips back and forth to the old and new home and also more helping hands. Imagine how much more time and effort it takes to move box after box from your old home to your new home with your own car. Compare that to all the boxes you can fit in a U-HAUL truck you can rent or even with a professional moving company that you can hire to move all your belongings with one trip and many helping hands.

Hopefully these tips have allowed you to feel less stressed and nervous about the moving process. We know the process can seem difficult at first, so we want to help you! Feel free to contact us today so we can start helping you through this next step in your homebuying journey.

10
May

5 Things to Do Before Selling Your Home

You have just decided to sell your home. You are probably unsure of where to start, so here are some tips to consider and ponder over to help you succeed in selling your first home.

The first step to selling your home is to make sure you are prepared! Do your research, find a good agent, and make sure you’re on track for a smooth and successful home sale.

Keep in mind that the process of selling a home does not happen overnight nor just in one week. There are many different successful approaches, but they all require commitment, communication, and patience from you throughout the whole process. These are steps to take into consideration to guide you into the right direction in the process of selling your home.

1. CLEAN your home.

Imagine yourself in the place of the future buyers of your home. What would they be looking for that would attract them to consider your home? Selling a home is all about the first impression you give to your future buyers, so make sure to clean your home before anything else. A dirty or messy home may lead potential buyers to think that the systems and functions in the home might not be working properly, so a clean home will show that you have been maintaining and taking care of the home.

2. INSPECT your home.

This next step involves hiring a home inspector to take a look at your home’s structure, systems, and appliances to determine whether they are working properly or whether repair or replacement is needed. Home inspectors allow you to have a heads up on aspects of your home that could potentially raise red flags for buyers. Knowing the condition of your home, this will help you know how to price your home accordingly.

3. REPAIR or TOUCH UP your home.

Take action after going through the home inspection process, even if you don’t have any major problems. There should always be something that will help you make your home look nicer and end up attracting more buyers. Repairs and touch-ups may include finally fixing the leaky pipe, repainting the walls, or patching up wall defects.

4. Get an APPRAISAL for your home.

When you’re ready to price your home for your potential buyers in the next step of the home selling process, it is helpful to get an appraisal for your home. This is one of the most important parts of selling your home because this is where you decide what to price your home to attract potential buyers that are willing to buy. Experts will know how to price your home according to its value in the market using an objective and professional opinion.

5. STAGE your home.

This step in the home selling process allows your potential buyers to imagine themselves living in your home and gives them ideas on how to decorate and furnish the place. Your goal is to move around your furniture or reconstruct the design of your home to highlight the parts of your home that make it unique.

6. PRICE your home.

This is a crucial step for the process of selling your home. Agents will help you by using a comparative analysis process, where your home is compared to other homes on the market. The analysis compiles information on the details of other homes in your area that are also in the market. This information may include how many days the homes have been on the market and what their price is in the market. Agents will be able to use this information to come up with a price that will differentiate your home with the other homes already in the market.

7. MARKET your home.

An agent may be able to provide a photographer to takes photos of your home and create advertisements on the internet, social media, around the neighborhood, or through word-of-mouth. They may use the price of your home or the unique qualities of your home to help your home stand out to potential buyers. Once you start marketing your home, keep the buyers who might visit your home so you can accommodate them in your schedule and also be able to prepare the home prior to their visit.

Hopefully these steps have helped you gauge where to start the process after deciding to sell your home. We know the process can seem daunting at first, so we want to help you! Feel free to contact us today so we can start helping you through this exciting journey.

30
Apr

How to Make Money Flipping Homes

There is a lot of money waiting to be made in flipping homes. You can go from 0 to 100 in a matter of days. All you need to have is the power of persuasion. But it comes with a lot of other different factors that you need to consider and capitalize on in a very short time. So, your main goal is to first look for a distressed seller, then to find a desperate cash buyer who will ensure that the deal comes to a quick close and you make your profit out of it all. You only need to be persuasive and convincing enough to catch the buyer’s attention and interest in the seller’s home. So, all this starts with finding the right buyer.

1. Identify the right markets

You need to ensure that you know the right markets. Finding the hottest markets in the real estate business at all times will be your first step towards finding out where the relevant buyers are putting their cash. But at the end of the day, knowing the right market for the buyers could be what separates you from heading home with a big check to the bank or empty-handed.

2. Identify the right location

You also need to identify the right location. A home at the right place means where you are not only going to buy the home at the best possible price, but where the relevant buyer is going to be willing to buy the house from you at your stipulated price.

3. Identify the right property

Scour the internet, the MLS and everything you can, through the real estate channels and find the right property. Look for the vacant and distressed homes that are about to fall into repossession or on short sales and make your move. All you need to do is start from somewhere and keep searching until you get the right property. Ask around from your neighbors, and even the real estate agents and keep an eye out for anything that may interest you. You may catch a lucky break.

4. Identify the right buyers

This is the point where you need to line up your buyers and here is where you can even categorize them from the relevant buyers to regular buyers. The relevant buyers are the buyers who have a higher chance of making any purchase. Do your magic and see which one of your buyers pan out. Here is where you start making some crazy money.

5. Identify the right sellers

This point might be a bit tricky since finding a vacant house may sometimes not be as simple as you might think. You may end up doing a lot of searching, digging through the web, and asking a lot of questions here and there and still end up short of finding any vacant home. But even if you do, you still need to come to some sweet deal with the home seller and agree on an amount that beneficial to both parties; especially you.

Do you have a question about flipping homes? Click here to talk to the experts at Stacy and Nicole today!

13
Apr

Pros and Cons of All-Cash Offers

It is without a doubt that you will have no trouble finding the perfect home if you have an all-cash offer up your sleeves. Even home sellers will be planning sweet deals to offer you if you pass by their homes as this usually means that you have the cash to seal the deal and purchase their homes.

Typically, all-cash home buyers have close to all the advantages over the home buyers with mortgages simply because the there is usually no guarantee that the home buyers with mortgages will get you the balance. A lot of obstacles can end up getting in the way and even interfere with regular monthly mortgage payments. The best thing about an all-cash home buyer is that all these doubts and inconveniences are squashed; it is similar to a no-strings-attached deal.

All-cash deals are usually quite common; it’s not only seen among the super-rich within the community nowadays. When you dig a little deeper, you will notice that a good portion of this 29% is not among the wealthy.

But you need to keep in mind that an all-cash move is not always the best move for every occasion. This article will help you determine whether you should go for an all-cash deal or opt for a mortgage route instead.

Should you go for an all-cash sale?

Here is one simple fact to everyone reading this. Just because you have the cash and know you can afford to purchase the property doesn’t mean that it is always the best way to go. Making an all-cash deal comes with its merits as well as demerits that you need to peek into before you stash a significant amount of your cash into that brand new expensive home.

The pros of going for an all-cash offer

  • Tough sales markets – You may want to make an all-cash offer when you realize that a bidding war is going on for that new home or condo that you want to buy. An all-cash offer will help you cut through the competition like a knife through butter.
  • Strong negotiation stance – An all-cash offer will also give you an added advantage over the negotiation stance for the home that you plan to purchase. You will be able to force the home sellers to drop from their initial asking price to an amount that can suit you.

Faster processes

All-cash offers will also make the whole process of purchasing and acquiring a new home faster compared to applying for a mortgage. This deal comes with less paperwork and almost no delays at all.

The cons of going for an all-cash offer

  • You will put a lot of money into one asset when you can diversify and use it in other things.
  • Your liquidity can also be drastically limited if you go for an all-cash deal.
  • You will also miss out on significant tax deductions like a tax break, which homeowners with mortgages get.
  • You may even stand a chance of investing your money better elsewhere, maybe a business.

Do you have a question about all-cash offers? Click here to contact the experts at Stacy and Nicole today!

 

22
Mar

Should You and Your Spouse Buy a Home Before Getting Married?

One of the many things that spouses find difficult is deciding to buy a house before or after they get married. You need to give this a significant amount of thought before you make a decision. Be cautious when dealing with matters like these. Take appropriate measures to protect yourself and your spouse during and after you purchase of your new home.

Below are some key pointers you and your spouse need to take into consideration before you decide to buy that new dream home.

1. Current finances

You should sit down with your partner and discuss your financial situation. Make sure your spouse can keep up with the future house payments. You and your spouse need to discuss matters concerning debt, income, current credit score, as well as other financial obligations. After all, you will need all of this information while attempting to get that mortgage.

2. Credit scores

The credit scores of both you and your partner are vital if you and your spouse intend to get a mortgage. If you wish to get that great mortgage rate, then you need to start working on raising your credit scores. You must know both of your credit scores before you even attempt to buy a new home. With improved credit scores, you and your spouse will be able to save thousands of dollars for the span that you have taken the loan.

3. Future finances

As a spouse, you will soon come to realize that money problems are the leading problem in relationships, whether you are married or unmarried. It would be best if both you and your spouse lay down a contract that will explain who will pay for what and how much. Some of the things you can consider when planning to buy that new home are down payment, mortgage payments, fees, maintenance, and upgrades.

4 .The kind of home you intend to buy

It is vital that you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to buying a new home. Discuss with each other what you want and agree on the best home that both of you love and want to live in.

5. Opening a joint bank account

You may consider opening a joint bank account with your spouse if you are planning to buy a new home together. This way, you can always use this account to pay your bills that involve the new house.

6. Title options

There are a couple of title arrangements that you can choose from. These include joint tenancy with the rights of survivorship and sole ownership.

7. What if it doesn’t work out?

You will not want to plan for failure with your spouse. For this reason, you need to consider all the factors that will make your plan to buy a new home a success.

8. Get a legally binding agreement

The title agreement might be legally binding, but any other decision that you make together that concern finances are not, so take caution.

Do you have a question about home buying with your spouse? Click here to contact Stacy and Nicole today!

15
Mar

Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Pro to Help You Buy a Home

Everyone knows that it is no joyride when trying to own a home. Before you manage to become a homeowner, you will have gone through some unexpected bumps and detours along the way. It is for this reason that you may find it relieving to hire a real estate pro who will guide you through the whole process.

An experienced agent will help you with so much more information in comparison to mobile applications and real estate websites. Here are some pointers on how a real estate pro can be of assistance to you in your quest to own a home.

1. Guidance

Your real estate pro will always take the time to learn about what you prefer, your budget and motivation, and your wants and needs. The agent will use this information to narrow down your home searches.

2. Education

Your real estate agent will also provide you with the relevant information about the local home market near you and also help you compare their sales. The agent should be able to explain all the areas that you do not fully understand.

3. Networking

An agent who knows how to do his or her job will always be one step ahead of the market and stay updated about any homes that may be available for sale around your target neighborhoods.

4. Advocate

You should know that it is always the best option to look for an agent who will be looking out for your own best interest when it comes to looking for a new home. Find an agent who will strive to make sure you are protected and that any transactions you do will be within all the legal boundaries.

It is not always a good idea to assume that you can always go straight to the listing agent and end up getting a lower price for your new home. Work with an agent who will dedicate his or her time to you and your cause.

5. Negotiation

Don’t worry about negotiating when you have an agent. All you need to do is some follow up on how the negotiation goes. Your agent will handle everything when it comes to dealing with negotiations of your new home.

6. Manage minutia

You will most likely end up being overly exhausted while trying to follow up on all the paperwork that comes with real estate transactions. Here is where your agent comes in. You may fail to check a box or even forget to have a clause initialized. These can cause the need to have your documents re-submitted. A real estate pro makes all of this easier by following up on all these steps.

7. Look out

There are dozens of situations that can end up cutting a deal short, even as it edges towards being sealed. Anything can happen; maybe the house’s title isn’t that clear, or even the lender is failing to meet the financial deadline or any other factor. Your real estate pro will realize any problems that may arise with the home or with the contract and warn you before it is too late.

Do you have a question about buying a home? Click here to contact Stacy and Nicole today!

28
Feb

Best Elementary Schools in Orange County

When it comes to education, every parent wants the best learning institution for their children. Picking an elementary school can be very challenging, especially to parents who are taking their child to school for the first time. The best elementary schools in Orange County help students grow by taking the obstacles and turning them into opportunities. Students are also given opportunities to flex and innovate their creativity.

Orange County’s top elementary schools view obstacles as opportunities, as reasons to innovate and flex their creativity. This was after a detailed assessment of 371 elementary schools. The schools were graded and assessed on many determinants important in the education sector: diversity, academics and fitness. Six elementary schools got gold medals, six got silver and 10 elementary schools received bronze in the yearly report.

This year the Irvine’s Stonegate Elementary School took 1st place. An impressive improvement from being 14th place last year. This comes one year after the school received a federal recognition and got the Blue Ribbon Award. According to the staff, the school is always exploring new teaching methods, which include adapting to new technologies and holding yoga sessions. The campus leaders were also to the challenge this year, more readily, something that is widespread among the top 10 elementary schools.

The best Orange County elementary schools embrace the idea that top schools should not be afraid of innovation when it comes to improving their teaching methods. The schools also carry most of their projects by encouraging parents’ involvements.

In the hall of fame, the following elementary schools made their first entry:

Stonegate Elementary took 1st place. The school embraces and implements the latest tech and old school discipline. IPads and yoga coexisting in the school system in harmony are used to inspire students and enhance their focus.

Rossmoor Elementary was placed 6th. The school cultivates the parent-teacher partnerships in a very unique way. Efforts are leveraged so that students can be provided with weekly inspirational gatherings while teachers have more time to enhance a deeper collaboration with their students.

Below are the returning winners in the hall of fame:

Ethan B. Allen Elementary School was placed 2nd. The school was 1st place in 2012. The system used by the school encourages students to show their reasoning behind the presented work assigned. Additional science and cultural education are also provided. Parents are allowed to navigate in the school education system.

Jack L. Weaver Elementary School took 3rd place. The school had been an empty campus that was slated for sale. It was purchased by Weaver and reopened into a magnet style elementary school. Since then its performance has rocketed the education charts. The school is a six time winner on the list.

Stone Creek Elementary School came in at 4th place. The school leaders played an important role in the excellent performance of the school by reexamining the academic performance of the English learners. This was done through a targeting education program to be more effective, hence an improved performance.

Do you have a question about home buying? Click here to contact Stacy and Nicole today!

 

15
Feb

3 Ways to Get Acquainted with Your Neighborhood

Relocating to a new town or community can have its challenges. New people, new environment, new cultures and definitely a new community. Some of us will take years to finally fit into the community, bearing in mind some of us find meeting new people a little intimidating.

Below are a few pointers that you can use to enhance the adaptation process to your new neighborhood.

1. Making the first move

It’s a widespread culture for neighbors to make the first move in approaching someone who has just moved into the neighborhood. What if you change the rules and make the first move? Approach your next door neighbor, then introducing yourself. It’s that simple. It might be that your neighbor was also hesitant to come and approach you in fear of disturbing you and your family. When making the first move, pick a time when your neighbor is not busy or rushing somewhere. A simple hello or wave can be the starting line of a conversation. Since you are new, you have many inquiries about the neighborhood community services (like garbage collection, local stores, and local repair services). All these are good topics to talk about with your neighbor.

2. Making yourself approachable

Being in a new environment, many might find it comforting to sit in the house rather than take a stroll. Well, that is a seclusion tactic that won’t help a lot if you want to get used to your neighborhood. Create time to make yourself available and approachable to the other members of your community. Occasionally sit on your front porch or take a stroll down the block. When coming home from work, don’t wear your usual grumpy face. If you are dining at a local restaurant pick a seat at the bar, rather than the corner seat at dinner. Communal seating encourages conversation. If you have kids, when dropping them at school, chat with some of the other parents before driving off. Also, use the weekends to take your kids to the local playground parks. Social interaction with your neighbors will require you to keep your face away from the phone: smile, maintain eye contact and greet people with plenty of enthusiasm.

3. Checking out the local spots

As mentioned in #2, local joints are the best place to help you fit into your neighborhood. You will find people whom you share the same social interests with and ones whose kids go to the same school as your own. If you have a dog, then you will meet other dog owners. Within no time you will have a favorite hanging joint and a great hanging out crew. Be accommodating and kind to anyone who approaches you in these local places. Be friendly and play a role in how people will interact with you. While checking out these places, you will also meet social groups and organizations that are community-based like the parent’s committee where your children go to school.

Do you have a question about home buying? Click here to contact Stacy and Nicole today!

 

31
Jan

6 Repair Requests Home Buyers Should Never Make in Orange County

Purchasing a home is not as easy as it may seem, especially when emotions and money get involved. The situation can get dicey. This is why during the house inspection or even its walk through, it is important to request repairs in each place of the house that may have issues.

Keep a close eye on the safety concerns of the house or the areas that can cost you money to maintain or fix when you finally own the home. It is more strategic to choose the repairs you need in the house when you are bidding for a property in the competitive market that has many offers. In the long run, if someone requests for a lot of repairs, it can potentially increase the likelihood of the home selling, especially if the home has less high-maintenance offers.

When you have expectations while requesting for additional house repairs, present the repair requests in an ideal manner and be ready to negotiate the prioritized requests to keep the buyer on a right side. This guide will provide you with some of the requests you should not make at any point.

1. What you know you’ll renovate anyway

Property repair always lengthens the buying process, and the seller is looking forward to a quick and easy sale. Negotiate some of the house renovations that you can do by yourself and ask the seller to give you credit for the damages and repairs.

2. Purely cosmetic issues

From adding a fresh coat of paint on the fence to repairing a cracked tile, it is very tempting to ask the seller to make cosmetic repairs. But wait, you should only do this at your own risk. Real estate experts’ advise that the buyer should overlook the cosmetic repairs of the house and even weigh the amount the seller will require for the replacement.

Choosing to repair the home by yourself after buying will also give you the platform to do it in accordance with your preference and the pick of your desired contractor.

3. The $10 repair list

Giving the seller a big list of minor repairs in the house may lead the seller and agent to give in to a better offer that might be needed down the road with the less demanding timeframe and lesser repair requests.

4. Minor electrical issues

Coming across a dysfunctional electric switch during your home inspection may lead you to keep that in the fix list request. But if these are just minor issues that cannot lead to bigger problems, you can skip that and repair that on your own after you close the deal with the seller.

5. Water damage

Water damage is a severe issue to deal with during a home purchasing process especially if there are signs like water spots on the ceiling. Instead of letting the seller repair it and having to pay extra for the repair, you can choose to rely on the expertise of a home inspector.
Do you have a question about repair requests? Click here to contact Stacy and Nicole today!

31
Jan

Pros and Cons of Open Floor Plan Homes in Orange County

Many home developers have embraced the open floor plan design when building homes. The design has gained popularity among homeowners and reports from the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) say that close to 84% of single family homes being built have utilized this design.

Check out the pros and cons of an open floor plan home to determine whether or not it’s the best design you would like for your current or future home.

Pros of Open Floor Plans

Below are the reasons why open floor plans have become very popular.

Maximizes square footage: It makes the house feel and look bigger since the square footage of the house is not cut into smaller cramped quarters.  Hence, there is no unused space in the house.

Improved natural light: More lights flows into the house when there are no walls. Light coming into the house through the windows illuminates throughout the entire house. This eliminates any dark interiors present in the room and there will be no need for artificial lights during the day.

Enhances Social Cohesiveness: With an open floor plan, there is more social interaction in the house. One can easily interact with someone who is in another part of the house. This is a very efficient way of entertaining guests.

Plenty of Flexibility: Depending on the home owner’s needs, open floor plans give the flexibility to be extra creative in decorating the home and coming up with different furniture arrangements. Space can be redefined into different styles without undergoing major interior architectural changes.

Cons of open floor plans

It’s good to look at the other side of the coin when it comes to open floor plans. Below are the challenges of dealing with an open floor design in your home.

Dealing with the heat and the smell when cooking: You will need to have a heavy duty ventilation system or else your guests will be dealing with a lot of heat, smoke and smell while you are cooking.

Less formal living: If you are that type of chef who likes cooking with no interruption or your hosting style is a little more formal if you usually hire professional cooking services for parties, you might have to forgo an open floor plan. Open floor plan comes with unrestricted social interaction.

Minimal or no privacy: Just like teenagers, some of us will want to have private moments. This cannot be achieved with an open floor plan. This makes it hard if you have a family with kids who are teenagers. You can’t read a book privately without interruption unless you are living alone.

It’s noisier: You can’t escape dealing with noise being made by kids, the TV, the dishwasher, or music. Since there are no walls to absorb the sounds, you better be ready to buy some ear plugs.

Inability to hide the mess: In case a guest drops by, there is no way you can hide a messy living room. Unlike the traditional design where there are walls and doors, the open floor plan will allow the visitors to view everything – even your clutter.

Do you have a question about open floor plans? Click here to contact Stacy and Nicole today!