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!


Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Ditty_about_summer

 

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!


Courtesy of Cuselleration

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/ESB Professiona

Home Staging Advice

Getting ready to sell your home? Spring is a great time to jump into the market, but before you do, make sure to ask yourself- “is my home ready?” It’s very easy to get used to the weird quirks and damages around your house, but to a potential buyer these little things can be turn-offs. Some people make the mistake of thinking they need to do major renovations to their home before putting it on the market, but that is not necessarily true. Take a look at this list of minor quick fixes to help ensure your home is in tip-top shape! Once it’s looking good, Stacy and Nicole can help put your home on the market!

1. Start With the Bathroom

The bathroom is always a good place to start, because usually that is the area where the most changes need to be made. Our bathrooms are typically private areas that not many people see, so we tend to overlook the grimy parts. But here are a few things to avoid when getting your home ready:

– Clean showers with no mold or dirt

– Wipe down the sinks and toilets with Clorox wipes

– Clean off the mirrors

– Avoid clutter

These quick fixes will get your bathroom looking great and desirable in no time.

2. Onto the Kitchen

The kitchen is the area that most people tend to renovate and remodel before putting their home on the market. Although some kitchens might need the extra work and money, it is not always necessary! Here are a few tips when it comes to updating your kitchen. Start with the big changes that will take more work then move on to the little additions.

– If your cabinets look a little old or worn-down try staining them

– Clean out your fridge and give it a good wipe-down (you never know where potential buyers will look)

– Put new knobs or handles on your cabinets and drawers if they are outdated

– Update your appliances (this could turn your kitchen around because buyers loved updated and fresh appliances)

– Fresh flowers and a fruit bowl are always a nice touch

3. Moving into the Bedrooms

It goes without saying that the bedrooms need to be tidied up when taking pictures of the house or getting ready for an open house, however there a few more changes you can make to take your bedrooms one step further.

– Make sure the bedrooms are not covered in personal items (it’s better if the buyers can envision themselves there, not you)

– Make sure the curtains are clean, up-to-date and open for the light to shine in.

– Dust off any dressers, blinds or fans in the room

– Create as many storage opportunities in the bedroom as possible. Clean out your closet and bookcases to show the potential.

– Don’t let the room sway too male or female. Try to keep things on a neutral track.

– Fix any paint-touch ups or holes in the wall

– Make sure all the lights/fixtures are in tact and shining bright.

4. Curb Appeal is Very Important!

Curb appeal is a big term amongst real estate agents and sellers. Curb appeal is the first impression potential buyers get from your home, and the most lasting usually! In order to get your curb appeal in check, you must make sure that these few items are ticked off your check list!

– Mow your lawn

– Power wash your windows and driveway

– Plant some flowers

– Fix any paint damages

– Clean the gutters

With these affordable and easy fixes your house will sell in no time! If you’re ready to move forward with the process or if you have any questions, contact Stacy & Nicole!


Courtesy of Cuselleration

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

 

Halloween Activities in Orange County

Halloween happens to be one of our favorite days around here in the office and we are sure, like us y’all are looking for some fun Halloween activities in Orange County. We’ve put a list together of some of our favorites… From the thrill seeker to the faint of heart to the little bitty babies…. You’re sure to find something that will make your Halloween special!

Knott’s Scary Farm

Buena Park, CA.
Sept 22nd – Oct. 31 st
7:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Knott’s professional “scare-masters” transform the old Berry Farm into Knott’s Scary Farm for another year of the world’s first, biggest and most famous theme park Halloween event! Every year all 160-acres of Knott’s Berry Farm are transformed into your worst nightmare with themed mazes, live shows, and scare zones featuring hundreds of free-roaming monsters.

Kidz Block Party

Downtown Brea, CA
October 31st

North Orange County’s Largest Free Halloween Alternative Event at Downtown Brea. Presented by The Cause Community Church featuring face painting, pony rides, games, bounce house, petting zoo,rock climbing wall, raffles, prizes, entertainment and free candy.

Motel 6 Feet Under

Business Expo Center
1960 S Anaheim Way
Anaheim, CA 92805

Are you ready for the SCARIEST haunted house in Orange County!? If you are, then step inside Motel 6 Feet Under – and get lost! This haunted maze is sure to frighten even the most seasoned of Halloween veterans, with state-of-the-art props and animatronics around every corner, a dedicated staff of haunting ghouls and just a touch of magic! What’s better than being scared silly? Supporting a good cause while doing so! Motel 6 Feet Under is a non-profit which benefits the local community, and is partnered with BOO! (Building Occupational Opportunities) which benefits local under-served adults by providing theatrical arts and construction training.

Haunted Fullerton Walking Towers

September 21 through November 10, 2016 (special tour on Oct 31)
Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m.

Location: Meet at Fullerton Museum

Reservations & Information: (714) 738-654

Did you know Fullerton is one of the most haunted cities around? Ghosts are lurking at every corner. Take this tour and find out what businesses have pots and pans flying around after hours, what famous deceased Fullertonian makes an “appearance” now and then, enjoy some of Fullerton’s history. These tours are a celebration of local legends while sharing stories of another facet of Fullerton’s history, particularly that of the downtown.

“Ghost hunters” should be prepared to walk approximately 1.5 miles (lasting about 2 1/2 hours), and the tours will include climbing stairs. Participants should wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a sense of humor with them. The tour is not recommended for children under 13. $15 for museum members and $18 for the general public. Halloween is $20 for museum members and $25 for the general public.

Children’s Museum Funny Frankensteins

Children’s Museum at La Habra
301 South Euclid Street
La Habra

Information: Please call (562) 905-9793 for reservations.

Free with paid admission.

Catching all silly ghouls and goblins to make a funny Frankenstein craft on Halloween day!

Treats in the Streets Autumn Festival 

Thursday, October 27, 2016
4-7 p.m.

Location:

Old Towne Orange Plaza Area

Chapman Ave. & Glassell

The streets surrounding the Old Towne Plaza are closed off to traffic and Old Towne merchants decorate their shops and local non-profit groups provide delicious food items and tasty treats for a nominal charge. There is tons of games, trick-or-treating, a costume parade and entertainment for all ages! (Please leave pets at home)

The 17th Door

Location:

The Market Place in Tustin

2856 El Camino Real

Tustin, CA 92782

Open September 23 – October 31. 2013

The 17th Door, Orange County’s most intense and most terrifying haunted house, returns to The Market Place for its second year! Over a dozen new rooms have been created, including a mini escape room, to take things to a whole new level. This year’s haunt will be larger and longer, featuring over 34 minutes filled with more monsters, more scares, more of what you love and more of what you hate! Behind its 17 doors is an interactive experience more innovative and shocking than anything that’s been tried before.

Tickets on sale now! Buy now before they sell out!

**The 17th Door is designed for mature audiences, preferably 16 years of age and older, and is not recommended for children under the age of 13, as there will be intense thematic material throughout the haunt

Boo at the Zoo

October 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, 2016
5:30 – 8 pm

This family-friendly costumed extravaganza will bring FUN, SAFE, trick-or-treating in a “Merry not Scary” Zoo atmosphere, with educational animal presentations, storytelling, and entertainment throughout the evening, with a grand finale costume parade!

For the older kids, there’s also “Teen Scream,” a haunted house filled with thrills and chills. This ghoulish attraction has a separate entrance, but is included with the price of admission.

Location:
Santa Ana Zoo
1801 E. Chestnut Ave

Information: (714) 953-8555

Have a fun and safe Halloween everybody!!!!

*Information provided by Orangecounty.net


Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Romolo Tavani