Tag: tips

24
Jul

How to Buy a Home Faster and Smarter

Are you looking to buy your home in Orange County? The home-buying process can take up to six months, a year, or even longer. Wouldn’t it be nice to finally own your home as soon as possible?  Here are some tips to how you can buy your dream home faster and smarter.

But first, ask yourself these questions:

  • What type of home am I looking for?
  • Do I have a good enough credit score to buy a home?
  • Do I have any debt that can potentially affect my home-buying process?
  • Do I qualify for a mortgage?
  • What type of mortgage would best suit me?

Answering these questions will allow you to assess whether you are ready to begin and go through the home-buying process as well as understand what bumps might come into the road. Once you have the answers for these questions, you are ready to begin the home-buying process.

Be on Top of Tracking New Listings

Once you know what you are looking for in your home search, being tracking down new listings that meet the needs and wants you have for your dream home. You can even sign up for automated emails with your local agent to stay on top of all the listings that pop up and fit your needs. Being on top of new listings is a good strategy for having an edge over other buyers because it shows sellers that you are able to potentially make an offer before another buyer sees the listing.

Look For Down Payment Assistance

Did you know that homebuyers could qualify for over 2,200 different down payment assistance programs that are offered nationwide? These assistance programs were created to help homebuyers by providing low-interest loans, grants, and tax credits. Homebuyers who sought out down payment assistance in the past have saved an average of $17,766 between upfront savings and lower mortgage payments throughout the life of their loan. Homebuyers can become eligible for down payment assistance by meeting requirements such as income, occupation, or credit.

Make Sure Your Finances Are in Order

Closing times for the home-buying process nowadays are getting longer and longer. A recent report by Ellie Mae, a software company that processes almost a quarter of U.S. mortgage applications, revealed that it now takes 50 days on average for a buyer to reach closing while it took 40 days in 2015.

In order to close faster in the home-buying process, make sure your finances are in order by getting pre-approved for a home loan before submitting an offer on a property. This is why it is important to assess your finances and financial capabilities before starting the home-buying process. A mortgage pre-approval involves a lender running a credit check and verifying a buyer’s income and assets.

The home-buying process may seem difficult, but it is possible to get through it quickly and smoothly. If you have any questions or if you need any help, let’s talk today!


Courtesy of Cuselleration

17
Jul

7 Staging Tips For Selling a Small Home

Are you trying to sell a small home in Orange County? One of the biggest components that contribute to a successful sale is how you stage your home, so having a small home does not mean a trickier sale. Follow these steps to see if you are being the most successful in preparing a small home for sale.

1. Say Goodbye to Clutter

The most important thing you can do to prepare a small home for sale is to get rid of any clutter. Clutter makes a home look unorganized and usually is a result of having too much furniture. This may make a small space feel even smaller! Take a hard look at the pieces of furniture you currently own and consider what you can live without. An organized layout comes a long way when you have a reasonable amount of furniture and more open space to work with.

2. Rearrange Your Furniture

Rearrange your furniture to organize the layout of your home. In the living room, symmetrical arrangements work well. A home can look more organized with furniture that is in pairs as well as pulling furniture away from the walls. Place pieces so that the traffic flow in a room is obvious. This will create a more open and walking space to make your home feel spacious yet inviting.

3. Strategize the Use of Mirrors

Mirrors can do more than allow you to see your reflection. Mirrors can brighten a dark room and make a small space look much bigger by reflecting natural light. Placing a mirror either next to or directly across from a window can also help by adding more depth to your home.

4. Let Light In

Having good lighting in your home is one of the biggest aspects that can help make a small space seem larger. Good lighting can come from how much natural sunlight can be let in as well as the type of lighting you use in your home. Here are three types of lighting to consider implementing into your home:

  • Ambient (general or overhead),
  • Task (pendant, under-cabinet or reading)
  • Accent (table and wall)

An added bonus is that this will also help make your home feel warm and welcoming!

5. Utilize Rugs

The larger an area rug, the more spacious the room will seem. Having small rugs can actually make a home seem smaller because it makes the space seem choppy. Situating rugs under groupings of furniture can help add contrast to your home to help organize the different sections of your home. This will overall allow you to have a more organized layout in your home because not using any rugs in your home can make the space look like a big maze of furniture.

6. Take Down Decorations and Artwork on the Walls

Walls with a blank space gives a room a chance to breathe. Taking down the decorations and artwork on the walls also contributes to decluttering your home to make it more organized. Having open walls can also make a small space feel bigger.

7. Take Your Doors Off Their Hinges

Removing all your interior doors besides the ones that lead to bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets can help your home feel more open. This allows a small space to feel larger as if there is more room to walk around.

Successful staging a small home may seem difficult, but it is not impossible. If you have any questions or if you need any help, contact us today!


Courtesy of Cuselleration

21
Jun

How To: Declutter Your Kitchen in 5 Steps

The kitchen may be one of the rooms in your home that is the easiest to get cluttered. Keeping your kitchen clean does not only involve washing the dirty dishes in the sink and wiping down the stove or dirty counters. A crucial step in maintaining a clean kitchen is making sure that everything in the kitchen is organized, whether they are items that are out in the open or whether they are items stored in the cabinets and drawers. This may include your plates, bowls, silverware, spices, ingredients, and more.

On top of these steps, it will be helpful to make a weekly checklist or kitchen maintenance sheet to make decluttering a habit. Keeping your kitchen clean is not a one-time-thing, but is an ongoing effort.

1. Clear off your counter tops.

Counter tops are the first things that catches the eye when you walk into a kitchen. The biggest tip to having a cleaner kitchen is making sure you have the least amount of items stored on your counter tops. To be able to do so, utilize all your storage space to keep all the items in your kitchen out of sight. If there are loose items that do need to be kept out, place them into pretty baskets or bowls.

Making it a habit to clear and organize your counter-tops often even allows you to have the open counter space every time you need it, so you don’t have to make the extra effort to push things aside or place items in random places when you do need the extra room on the counter.

2. Keep what you actually use/need.

One of the biggest components of a cluttered kitchen is having more dishes, utensils, and cups than you actually need. You should only need to keep just enough for regular use and for gatherings. To better identify what needs to be thrown out on top of this, look out for the dishes that have chips or cracks in them.

If there are any spices or ingredients you have only used once for that one recipe you made in the past, throw those out too. Those items will not only take up space in your kitchen, but may not even be used any time in the near future, so there would be no purpose in keeping them.

3. Utilize simple and affordable storage racks and lazy susans.

Storage racks and lazy susans are a good investment because they may go a long way in helping you with both organizing your kitchen and making your life easier the next time you’re looking for condiments or spices.

Using storage racks may allow you to stack your bowls on top of your plates without the hassle of difficult access to either. Using the height of your cabinet in this case allows you to place more things in the cabinet that you might have kept on your counter tops. Utilizing the height of your cabinets and shelves over the width of your cabinets and shelves allow you to have more space available for storage.

Using a lazy susan by grouping condiments and grouping spices will allow you to find what you need with a quick spin rather than digging through your cabinets.

4. Utilize storage containers and labels.

All the different sizes of the boxes and containers that your foods and ingredients came in may make your cabinets look cluttered. The best way to approach this is to repackage all those foods and ingredients into storage-friendly containers that allow organization,easy-access and decor to your kitchen. After repackaging, organize the containers into your shelves and cabinets according to their purposes. Then, use labels on the containers, shelves, and cabinets to create a user-friendly organizing system for you and the others in the household so everyone will know where to find things as well as where to put things away.

5. Group the items that have similar purposes.

Start by grouping the items in the kitchen that have a similar use and create zones for them in different parts of the kitchen. For example, all the mixing bowls and baking necessities can be organized in a specific shelf or drawer of itself so that the next time you bake, you will have all you need in one area. This helps you refrain from rummaging around all the shelves and drawers in your kitchen to find that one utensil you need, avoiding a future mess.

The kitchen is the perfect place to start because it is probably one of the areas of your home that you are in on a daily basis, making it easier to get cluttered. In order to take preventative measures, it is crucial that you tidy up the kitchen consistently. Keeping your kitchen organized is just one part of cleaning your home.

A clean home is a happy home. Happy tidying!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

07
Jun

Old House vs. New House: Which is the better option?

It’s finally time for you to purchase a home and you’ve probably already found the ideal price and location, but there’s something else you’re forgetting to look into.

Are you looking to buy a new home or are you looking to buy an old home?

Considering the age of the home is something that’s usually overlooked, but it is actually something important to think about because it has many factors with pros and cons that may affect you as a future homeowner.

Old Homes: Pros

Unique Designs of old homes have been more thought out with architectural details, meaning no two homes would look the same. With this, older homes also have a story to tell that may date back to decades ago, providing more value to your home and a story to share to your friends.

Communities – Older homes are usually located in an area that has a stronger and closer-knit community. This is especially a pro if you have children because your child can play with the kid next door or the kids down the block. Something to also consider in the community is who your potential neighbors would be. Imagine living next to a home with a teenager who blasts music all night vs. living next to a home with grandparents who are quiet and like to sleep early.  

Old Homes: Cons

Expensive Utility Bill – Old homes probably don’t contain insulation, new windows and doors, and energy efficient heating and cooling systems. This may result in costly utilities that may not outweigh the benefits that do come with living in an older home.

Maintenance – Older homes mean older appliances, old pipes, and more systems that are old and not guaranteed to last for a long period of time before maintenance is needed. Costs may add up for repairs, replacements, and upgrades shortly after buying the home itself.

New Homes: Pros

Design/Space  – Newer homes are more modern with sleek designs and abstract structures as well as enlarged rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. Who doesn’t like the extra closet space or just the extra space in general? Newer homes built from the ground up include blueprints and structural designs with larger rooms and larger spaces compared to older homes. These new homes are built on areas with more square feet, giving them more flexibility with how to distribute the space around the home. So now, you may even be able to have that dream pool table right in your living room.

Stronger/Safer Structure – The structure of the home itself is also better engineered because the walls and ceilings of the home are no longer made with lathe and plaster, but now with shear walls. These shear walls provide stiffness and strength to the home, which reduces potential damage to the home in the case of large horizontal earthquake forces.

New Homes: Cons

Costly – Newer and bigger homes are more expensive than older homes. The new innovations and engineering behind the construction of your new home will allow it to last longer and defy potential natural disasters, but this also makes the construction of your home as a whole more costly. Older homes may not have as much protection and stability as the blueprints for newer homes, but they have enough to stay intact in the case of an incident.

While looking at the pros and cons that contribute to the comparison of old homes and new homes, this decision is not a one-for-all. There may be even more factors out of your scope that are involved in weighing the pros and cons of old homes and new homes. If you have any questions or are unsure about anything, contact your real estate agent and they can guide you through the decision-making process smoothly.

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.