Tag: living in Orange County

20
Dec

How to Sell Your Home During the Holiday Season

Are you wondering how to sell your house during the holidays? While putting your home on the market between holiday celebrations, looming family visits, and school vacations might seem like miserable timing, home sellers can actually benefit by using this period strategically to show and possibly even sell their place.

Most home sellers take a holiday hiatus until the New Year. This can mean that your home may suddenly become a hot commodity. Also if buyers are truly squeezing in house showings between shopping trips and holiday school programs, you know these potential buyers must be serious.

So if you are ready to put up a “For Sale” sign under the pretty glow of your holiday lights, now is the time! Here is some advice on how to sell your house during the holidays.

A little mistletoe will most likely help rather than hurt.

You should be festive and decorate your home. It is when your home looks the best and you take the most pride in it. This will show better and most likely net more.

Avoid going overboard

Go easy on the Christmas decorations. Christmas lights and a tree in the living room are okay, but staging a nativity scene in the front yard and going crazy on decorations can scare off potential buyers.

Throw a holiday party

You should consider squeezing in the time to host a holiday party. This can be a great way to showcase your home to family, friends and neighbors. Chances are that at least one person at the holiday party is looking for a new house or knows someone who is.

Preheat the oven

December is a wonderful time for potential buyers to walk into a home that smells of fresh-baked cookies, treats and holiday cakes. Sweeten up potential buyers a tad more by leaving a plate of treats out for them to enjoy.

Don’t encourage thieves to make a visit

Even though most people are wishing peace and goodwill, not everyone will take this message to heart. For this reason, you should play it safe and don’t leave gifts under a holiday tree during a home showing. You should consider leaving empty decorative boxes instead.

Let your home shine

Winter days have never been darker or shorter, so to ensure your home gives off a warm vibe, you should replace some of your lights with brighter bulbs to add more light for evening showings.

Be giving

Give a little more time than you might if you were selling at a less frantic time of year. Prepare to let people into your house even when it is not convenient for you. Everyone doesn’t celebrate the same holidays, so you might be asked to show on days you normally would not want to.

Use the cold weather in your favor

If it is raining, you should have umbrellas handy for people to look at outside areas. Boot covers by the front door are a nice touch as well. This is the time to accentuate your attached garage and update heating systems and fireplaces.

Are you thinking of selling your North Orange County home this winter? Click here to contact Stacy and Nicole today!

28
Nov

How to Buy a Vacation Home in Anaheim with Friends

Find out if teaming up to buy a second home is right for you and your friends.

Given the current strength of the fast-moving real estate market in Anaheim, you might be thinking about buying a second home close to Disneyland or miles from the beach. But what can your vacation home budget realistically get you?

If your vacation-home budget can only afford a fixer-upper instead of a dream home, going in on a purchase with friends or family can be a great way to get much more home for your money. If you are considering going this route, here is how to get started.

1. Decide if this is right for you

The number-one reason to consider purchasing a house with friends is that it lowers your investment amount. Unlike fractional ownership or timeshare opportunities, when people go in together and purchase a property at market price, they will enjoy the equity gains of the traditional real estate market.

The best candidates for shared property are those who want to use the house for a few weeks in the year, then rent out the home when they are not here.

Owners also need to be comfortable sharing ongoing expenses, like property management insurance, fees, utilities and repairs.

2. Lay down the legal groundwork

To protect all owners when unexpected events happens and to avoid hurt feelings, we recommend hiring an attorney to set up an LLC, then purchasing the home through the company.

Owning a home with friends or family is fun and exciting on the front end, but what happens three years later when an owner wants out?

Your lawyer could write an operating agreement that will clear up expectations on everything from how utilities are shared to how a buyout will work if one owner wanted to sell and the others did not.

3. Start searching for a home

Keep in mind that the vacation-home market moves rapidly. With multiple stakeholders needing to agree that a home is the one, it would be best to decide on your shared criteria before you start searching.

This is very important if you are searching from afar or if one person will be doing most of the home touring on behalf of the group. This way, when you find the right property, you could put an offer together quickly.

Treat the whole transaction like a business. Make a spreadsheet with a list of potential properties and a list of pros and cons.

You should also enlist a local real estate professional with expertise in the area where you would like to buy. This person is best qualified to help you identify houses that are a good value, that will do well in the local vacation rental market, and that are in areas likely to appreciate.

There is plenty of legwork in this process, but if you find the right people to partner with and act fast when you find the perfect home, you will be sitting back and enjoying your dream home before you know it.

Thinking of buying in Anaheim or the northern Orange County area? Contact Stacy and Nicole here!

21
Nov

5 Steps to Break Free of Mortgage Trouble for Good in Northern Orange County

The short sale process could seem intimidating, but getting a handle on the steps can make it a lot less scary. A short sale is where homeowners sell their home for less than they owe on their mortgage. This is often the last resort for people who cannot pay their mortgage and are facing foreclosure.

How does a short sale work? Read the steps involved below:

1. First consider a loan modification
Before you assume that you need to have a short sale, speak to your lender or housing counselor about your current situation. You might be able to get a loan modification and avoid having to sell your property.

The federal Home Affordable Modification Program is a project run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and might be a good option. If you are eligible for HAMP, your mortgage company will most likely put you on a trial plan for three months. This will give you time to show that you can make timely payments at a new monthly payment level. If you make it through the three-month trial, you might have a new mortgage payment and avoid moving ahead with a short sale.

If you can’t make it through the trial, the next step would be to move forward with a short sale.

2. Speak to your lender about a short sale
Since a short sale means you are trying to sell your home for less than you owe on your mortgage, your mortgage lender will need to sign off on it. But initially, the lender is going to need proof that the short sale is necessary.

The sellers need to submit a short sale packet. This includes hardship papers that show the bank the seller is currently undergoing financial hardship.

That paperwork might include account information and bank statements, copies of bills, pay stubs, asset disclosures and more.

3. Call a real estate agent
You will need a real estate agent to sell your home. Since short sales are complicated, you will want an agent with experience in the short sale process to handle the deal.

The agent will then assess your financial situation as well as the property’s estimated value to estimate a listing price. Click here to get in touch with Stacy and Nicole to schedule an in-home consultation!

4. Listing your home
This is one step in the short sale process that is like any other home sale. The property in question is listed by your real estate agent, who will search for a buyer and get your home under contract.

When you get an offer from a buyer, it must be submitted to your lender for review. Further negotiations might be required between the buyer’s agent, your agent and the lender until a settlement is reached.

If your lender has approved your short sale under the United States Treasury’s Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, it will be done in about four months. If you did not qualify for HAFA, the process could take longer.

5. Closing the deal
If your mortgage lender approves your buyer, you will move out and the buyer will move in. The money used to purchase the home will go to your lender and your mortgage debt will be forgiven.You will also walk away with three thousand dollars in moving expenses if you qualified for HAFA. If you did not qualify, you simply walk away without the mortgage debt on your shoulders.

Do you need a real estate professional to sell your home? Contact us here!

06
Oct

5 Secrets About Living in Orange County You Have to Hear

From the magic of Disneyland to the chill vibes of Huntington Beach, Orange County is home to a lot of popular tourist destinations. But what people who are new to the area wouldn’t know is that Orange County is also full of a lot of other hidden gems. Check out these five secrets about living in Orange County that only locals would know!

 

1. It’s not always how it looks on tv

Orange County is known as the infamous backdrop to popular shows like Laguna Beach, The Hills, and The O.C. These shows often depict beautiful stars having the time of their lives as they cruise along the traffic-free coast in their Mercedes or frolic down the empty beaches in Newport. While these portrayals may have some truth behind them, others are pure exaggerations for the sake of entertainment. In reality, some of these shows weren’t even filmed in Orange County. So no, locals don’t actually call Orange County “The O.C.” and not everyone drives a Mercedes, but there are so many reasons why the reality of Orange County is even better than how it appears on television. Good food? Check. Awesome people? You bet. Fun adventures? Of course. Orange County really does have it all and television shows just don’t do this extraordinary place justice.

 

2. Traffic is no joke

…but there are ways to get around it! If you’ve ever been to Orange County, you’ve probably heard people referring to the 5, the 22, the 55, and the 405. These seemingly random numbers are actually names of freeways and talking about the best way to navigate the roads is like another language to Orange County residents. Orange County natives have mastered the art of the sometimes hectic freeways and you can too by following these tips. First, avoid rush hour. Although it varies depending on the freeway and your direction of travel, the weekday morning commute is generally from 7:30am to 9am, while the after-work commute typically lasts from 4pm to 6:30pm. Fridays, however, are a whole different story with the after-work commute starting as early as 1pm. If you’re traveling on the weekend, it’s best to start early or after dinner to avoid the potential traffic from people heading off to their next adventure. Another helpful tip is to download Google Maps or Waze. Unlike some other GPS systems, these apps offer alternative routes and route changes to help you get to your destination as quickly as possible. Since Orange County has so many exciting things to do and something for everyone in each city, the freeways can get a bit crazy, but the priceless memories you’ll make from your day trip to the beach or the many laughs you’ll have during your amusement park adventure will make the commute more than worth it!

 

3. The best day to go to the beach is Wednesday

…or any weekday really. It’s no secret that Orange County is home to some of the best beaches along the West Coast. There’s the infamous Newport Beach, tourist favorite Laguna Beach, and the holy grail of surfing, Huntington Beach, just to name a few! But with the wildly popular beaches comes the huge crowds and parking nightmare. So when’s the best time to go to your favorite beach without all the hassle? Well, from our experience living in Orange County, we found that the middle of the week is the best time to escape the crowds that tend to populate every Saturday and Sunday. If you are going on a weekend, however, try to beat the rush and head to the beach in the early morning. Nothing sounds better than a peaceful morning relaxing on the beach followed by a delicious brunch along the water. Another beach tip is to avoid the peak of summer if possible. Autumn is an ideal time to visit the beach and it’s Southern California so the weather is always perfect regardless of the time of year!

 

4. Orange County is home to a lot of foodies

From the octopus ceviche at Javier’s in Newport Beach to the soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung in Costa Mesa, Orange County hosts a wide variety of cuisine. Every city has their specialties, so almost every type of food is accessible as long as you know where to go. Want to find the best food without taking all the time and effort to do the research? Check out some of our past blogs to find the best dessert spots , top brunch destinations, and more!

 

5. Orange County really is the best place to live!

Orange County has more than just gorgeous beaches and yummy grub. The fantastic sights, relaxing vibes, and plethora of things to do are giving locals so much to love about their hometowns. Comprised of 34 cities with over three million residents, Orange County is much more diverse than television may lead people to believe. Looking for a quiet place where you can walk around the farmer’s’ market or browse antique stores? Old towne Orange is the perfect place for you. Maybe you want something with a bit more nightlife? Check out Fullerton and everything the city has to offer. In Orange County, there truly is something for everyone!

 

Interested in moving to Orange County? Let us know and we’d be more than happy to help!