5 Things to Know Before Investing in Real Estate

Real estate has become a popular investment vehicle because it usually does well, no matter how bad the economy is. At the very least, it often does better than stocks in the time of an economic downturn.

Investing is a popular way for entrepreneurs to start saving and building security for their future, since housing is always in demand. Real estate can also be a good way to offset the effects of inflation and taxes.

Real estate also usually keeps appreciating upward even if there are occasional economic slowdowns. Many think it’s the best way to create wealth since people who have become successful in the industry do not necessarily have to be exceedingly rich.

Here are a few things to know about investing in real estate before you get started.

1. Set financial goals and plans

Try and figure out what you want from your real estate investments and how that comes in line with any financial goals. Smart real estate investors make savvy purchases that get them closer to their monetary goals with every purchase. You can also spend time with a financial adviser if you need some guidance.

2. Spend time learning the basics of the industry and how to invest

Don’t spend all your time reading and actually ignore taking action. To prevent against this, write out certain questions you want to be answered and take deliberate approaches to books you read so you can keep moving forward while still getting educated.

3. Look at a lot of properties before actually investing in one

A lot of real estate investors will buy the first property that they come across and not take any time to really survey the market to find good deals. You need to view investing through the lens of economic motivations since you are not going to be personally living in an investment property yourself. Start with a wide scope and narrow down.

4. At the same time, don’t hesitate to make a deal if one comes across

Too many people try and find the perfect property before making their first investment purchase. You will never buy anything if you hold dear to this strategy. The perfect deal is not going to come across, so make a purchase if you see a good property deal to get buying experience under your belt.

Click here to learn 6 ways to sell your home fast during the holidays!

5. Run the numbers on the property before making the purchase

It would best to first see if you can get a better deal somewhere else, and be especially wary if your numbers are not adding up with what a seller might be telling you. A lot of sellers might try to overestimate a property’s value or embellish in other ways. Looking over tax returns and bills will give you a good idea about the month-to-month costs of a property.

Overall, keep in mind that real estate investing is about supporting your other ventures. Some choose to make real estate investing a full-time deal, but those who are not careful can see their financial prospects suffer if a few deals start to go bad. If you’re looking to invest, be sure to have a healthy perspective on transactions so you make smart decisions that will set you up well for the future.

Do you have a question about investing in real estate and finding the best investment property? Click here to contact Stacy and Nicole today!


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What to Know About Escrow

The escrow process plays a big role in a real estate transaction. However, people have a hard time understanding the process. Many current home buyers have paid into escrow without even knowing the why or what is behind it.

Read below for a simple guide to understanding the process of real estate escrow.

What is escrow?

Escrow is when a neutral third party holds on to funds during a real estate transaction. It is a way to protect both the home buyer and seller during the home buying process. After a home is purchased, the new homeowner will continue to put money into escrow as a means of paying the mortgage and insurance payments.

The purpose of escrow is to guarantee the seller that the buyer has the funds needed for the purchase and that these funds will be handed over when the title is transferred. This guarantees that the buyer that they won’t be scammed by a fraudulent seller who actually holds no claim to a title. At the end of the day, escrow helps ensure trust in a high-stakes transaction where neither party may be familiar with each other and where both have a lot to lose.

Escrow agents

The escrow process is arranged by an escrow agent. This is a neutral person who is entrusted with holding payments until specific conditions have been met – usually a title transfer. Because escrow agents play an important role in closing real estate transactions, they are sometimes called title agents.

You will usually not be responsible for securing your own escrow agent.Your real estate agent will facilitate the process. You will just need to supply the funds.

What if you would like to choose your own escrow agent?

You have the right to pick your own escrow agent. You might want to do this if you have a strong recommendation for a particular escrow agent, or if you would like to be as knowledgeable as you can on the several parties involved in your property sale or purchase. Typically, it is the seller who has the final say when making power on which title company is used for escrow.

Click here to learn how to prepare your new home before moving in!

What you need to do in the escrow process

You play an important role in the escrow process as the home buyer or seller in a real estate transaction. In addition to the home buyer being responsible for depositing funds into escrow in a timely manner, there are various other things that both parties could do to make the process run smoother.

Read over all escrow documents and making sure you fully understand them. If you have a question or are unclear about a few things, you should ask your real estate agent to help you. Remain available to quickly answer any questions or necessary next steps as the escrow process moves forward. Read the closing documents thoroughly so that there are no surprises or last-minute questions when the deal is ready to be finalized and closed.

Do you have a question about the escrow process? Click here to contact the Stacy and Nicole today!

 


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How Long Should You Wait to Buy Another Home?

Homes are always a good thing to have, no matter if you have a family of your own or are single. But it can be very tempting to go out and purchase another one for a number of reasons.

Maybe you are looking to move to a new area, or would just like some more space for a growing family. Overall, there is no set timeline about how long you should stay in one spot before moving to another. It will all depend on your individual circumstances.

Still, it is important to mull over a number of aspects before making the switch to a new home.

What Should I Be Thinking About Before Moving?

The biggest aspect on your mind should be finances. It is important to consider how much you could sell your current house for, and how much money you could set aside to purchase another one, or at least be able to pay a mortgage.

It can be tempting to ‘live above your means’ and buy a home that stretches your finances, but bigger houses will come with additional expenses relating to heating, cooling, and general upkeep than smaller ones will.

Some people will have the financial resources to quickly buy another house, while others will be on a much longer timeline if they are trying to work out finances.

The amount of time before buying another home will also be heavily influenced by the market in your area. If you are looking to buy in a seller’s market, you might want to wait a little bit until things change so you could get a better deal. You will have to think about how important these types of factors are and if they are going to influence when you will buy another home.

Click here to learn tips for preparing your home before moving in!

This is where a good real estate agent comes in, since they will have access to a wealth of experience and market data to give counsel about the optimal times to sell and buy.

Another important aspect when trying to decide when to buy another house is based upon the actual moving process. It can be very expensive to move a family far away, especially since you will have to find new jobs and schools for the kids. There is no set timeline on these types of decisions, as they all hinge on the individual circumstances related to you (or your family).

What Are Some Things to Watch Out For?

Even if you are looking to sell quickly and move somewhere else, there are a number of situations where you should probably wait to sell. For example, if you just moved to your current house, having to move again will probably stretch your budget. It would then be best to wait a little bit to save up some money for a move.

Additionally, do not be prompted to sell due to unfamiliarity with the area, especially if you just moved in. These types of feelings are usually temporary, and will go away once you get used to the surrounding area.

A situation where you are taking a loss or ‘breaking even’ on the sale of your current home is another factor that should encourage you to buy at a later date. These types of scenarios often make it harder to get financing on your next home, which can drastically affect your next buying experience.

Are you thinking of buying or selling a home in the Orange County area? Click here to contact the Stacy and Nicole team today!


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Tips For Preparing Your New Home Before Moving In

Did your dream home in Orange County look perfect and spotless during the open house? No matter how perfect or clean the home might have looked, prepare to see some dirty surprises and imperfections when you move-in. So take the initiative to avoid stressing on move-in day by by dealing with these surprises and imperfections prior to moving in. Here are some tips for preparing your new home before moving in.

Clean and Sterilize EVERYTHING.

By this, we really mean EVERYTHING. It’s easy for germs and filth to build up on any surface regardless of how clean a surface may look, so disinfecting and wiping down everything will really ensure your new home goes through a deep clean to be as close to being spotless as possible. Here are some areas to pay attention to:

  • Countertops in both the kitchen and bathroom
  • Both the inside and outside of kitchen appliances, such as the refrigerator, microwave, stove, etc.
  • Kitchen and bathroom sinks (this includes kitchen garbage disposals and drains)
  • Both the inside and outside of any cabinets and drawers in the home as well as the knobs and handles to those cabinets and drawers
  • The floors of every room, which includes both hardwood and carpet to undergo sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, or steaming

Identify Needed Repairs/Replacements.

Aside from making sure your home is spotless, look into what may need replacements or repairs in the home. Look through every area of your new home and ask yourself these questions:

  • Are the fire detectors working?
  • How old are the light bulbs?
  • Do the walls or floors need any touch ups?
  • When were the air filters last changed?
  • Are all the light fixtures/fans working properly?
  • Do the water-heater closets need to be cleaned out?

After assessing your home, deal with the necessary repairs and replacements in the home as soon as you can.

Preparing your new home before moving in may seem difficult, but it is not impossible. Keep in mind that the more you get done before you move in and unpack, the easier the process can be. If you have any questions or if you need any help, contact Stacy and Nicole today!


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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:

1. What type of home am I looking for?

2. Do I have a good enough credit score to buy a home?

3. Do I have any debt that can potentially affect my home-buying process?

4. Do I qualify for a mortgage?

5. 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, contact us today!

 


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

It’s finally time for you to purchase a home in Orange County 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 us today!


Courtesy of Cuselleration

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