3 Ways to Build Home Equity Faster

Buying a home is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. A good home is an investment and a great place to raise a family. It’s also a relaxing and safe place to spend time in at the end of the day. As a result, it’s vitally important to do everything you can to increase the value of your property.

The best way to utilize your time in your home is to increase home equity. Home equity is essentially the current value of your house with any amount owed on it subtracted. Obviously, you want this to be as big as possible.

There’s a number of ways and strategies to build home equity faster. These usually revolve around increasing the value of a house and paying off a mortgage quicker.

One of the easiest ways to build home equity faster is to just pay off your mortgage sooner. Each month you’re paying the mortgage, you’re just paying more interest to the lender. Getting off mortgage payments means money is now going towards your net worth.

Some ways to pay off a mortgage faster include rounding up. Pay a little extra each month so this money will go straight to principal and boost your equity. Send any gifts and work bonuses into your mortgage and budget for extra payments to pay things off quicker. Otherwise, opt for a shorter mortgage length to pay things off quicker and boost home equity.

Another way to build home equity is to just buy a cheaper house. It’s going to take longer to build equity on a pricey home. Cheaper houses will come with smaller mortgages that can be paid off quicker, and you might even be able to place a bigger down payment on a cheaper house as well. When buying a home, consider these factors during the buying process to help you build equity faster.

Click here to learn how long you should wait to buy a second home!

A third way to build home equity faster to simply make a larger down payment. Putting down more money will help you immensely down the road and get you more home equity. Most people put down about 20% of a home’s value, but you can look at your finances and see if it’s possible to do more. Remember, every dollar counts when it comes to building equity.

Keep these three strategies in mind if you’re trying to build equity in your house. It might seem hard to put down more money now, but it will pay off in a big way down the road, especially when it comes to your financial health. Home equity can also be built through a variety of improvement projects that are targeted towards improving value, while also keeping everything in good condition.

Even if you feel like it might be too late to start building equity, rest assured that it’s not. In fact, starting later is always better than not starting at all. Sit down to figure out what’s financially feasible and keep the above three tips in mind while doing so.

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

Courtesy of Cuselleration

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!

Courtesy of Cuselleration

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!

 


 

Courtesy of Cuselleration

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Andrey_Popov

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

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Breadmaker

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

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Olaf Speier

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!

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!

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!

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!

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!