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Why 2018 Will Be the Year to Buy

There are some changes coming to the mortgage world. Here’s what you need to know.

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I’m delighted to be joined once again today by Barry Krevoy from Loan Depot, my preferred lender, to discuss some new changes in the mortgage world. But first, we want to say thanks. This has been a great year for us and we’re so grateful for our businesses, our family, and our friends. We’re looking forward to 2018 and whatever it has to bring. Barry has a bit of insight into what we’re going to see.

The big news is that conventional, FHA, and VA loan limits are being raised. In most areas, the limits are going from $424,100 to $453,100. In high-cost areas, the limits are going from $636,150 to $679,500.

This is going to make homes more affordable for everyone, but it’s going to make them especially affordable for those seeking to purchase a home with a jumbo loan. Instead of having to take out a jumbo loan, which is more expensive and harder to qualify for, they might be able to buy their home with a conventional or FHA loan. This is going to be a tremendous boost for the economy throughout the country. This is probably the most dramatic increase we’ve seen in the market in a long time.

All signs point to 2018 as the year to buy.
When it comes down to it, the signs point to 2018 being a great year to buy. When you take these higher loan limits and combine them with the low interest rates we are continuing to see, there haven’t been many better times to purchase a home. 

If you have any questions in the meantime, you can reach Barry at 949-735-4009 or email As always, please don't hesitate to reach out to me with any real estate questions. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Join Us at the VAREP Appreciation Mixer

You are invited to our VAREP appreciation mixer! Join us on December 19 at the Auld Dubliner.

I’m here with Barry Krevoy from the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals, also known as VAREP.

Our Orange County chapter is proud to present our appreciation mixer on December 19 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Join us at the Auld Dubliner at 2497 Park Avenue in The District.

If you were involved in VAREP this year, we want to see you there. Bring a friend, bring your family members, and bring any veterans who are interested in the organization. Members, nonmembers, and sponsors are all welcome.

Members, nonmembers, sponsors, and, of course, veterans are all welcome.

RSVP to Delores White here. We’ll have a lot of fun and good food, so come and hang out with us.

As always, if you have any questions, just give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!

8 Great Tips for Listing During the Wintertime

I have eight tips to share with you that will help your home show better if you’re listing it now in the wintertime.

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If you’re listing your home in wintertime, there are certain things you need to think about that you wouldn’t have to think about during the other seasons. Some of these things can vary depending on which coast you live on, but they’re important to keep in mind nonetheless.

Here are eight tips to follow to make sure you list your house appropriately for the wintertime and your house sells for top dollar:

1. Take listing photos of the home during springtime or use photos that were taken during the springtime to post online. This way, the trees along the exterior of your home have leaves on them and don’t look barren.

2. Don’t over-decorate for the holidays. This way, the inside of your home won’t look so cluttered. Sellers want to see your home—not the holidays.

3. Maintain good curb appeal. In the winter, your lawn will need a different kind of maintenance, and your home’s exterior might need more artificial lighting to brighten its appearance.

I have eight tips to share with you that will help your home show better if you’re listing it now in the wintertime.

4. Remember your safety manners. On the east coast, you’ll have to deal with ice, snow, and sleet, so it’s a good idea to sprinkle salt along your driveway and entryway to keep people from slipping. On the West Coast, you’ll typically only need to deal with rain, so keep a mat by the door or an area where people can take off their shoes.

5. Declutter the area around the door. On the east coast, you might have a lot of snowshoes, scarves, hats, and heavy coats lying around, so set up a hanger or a coat rack so people have a place to hang their own coats when they walk in.

6. Make sure your house is functional. Make sure you turn on the heater before you list the property. If there are any mechanical issues with your heater, get them fixed. There’s nothing worse than walking into a house that’s freezing instead of warm and cozy.

7. Make sure you have plenty of light. Since the sun sets earlier this time of year, consider setting timers on your outside lights to activate late in the afternoon or evening so buyers have a well-lit home to visit after they get off work.

8. Heed the advice your agent gives you. If you use their expertise and follow their direction, your home will sell for a higher price and you’ll be much better off in general.

If you have any more questions about preparing your house to be listed in winter or you’re curious about our market, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help you.

How Can You Prepare for Your Next Home Purchase?

Before you begin your home search, it’s critical that you take some steps to prepare. Today, I’ve got six things for you to think about.

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Today, I’d like to share a list of six things to think about when preparing to purchase a home. 

1. Check your credit. If you don’t already know your credit score, you definitely want to pull your report. Two options I recommend are and Credit Karma. If you have some time before you buy, focus some energy on improving your score. No matter where your score is now, a better score will almost always help you get a better rate.

2. Don’t open up new accounts. Your credit history is based on how long you’ve had your credit, how often you pay, and whether you pay on time. The last thing you want to do before buying a home is open up a new line of credit.

3. Using gifted money toward your home purchase. Around the holidays, consider asking for financial gifts instead of material items. A little extra cash could go toward your down payment, and help you transition more smoothly into your new home.

Knowing what you can actually afford before you start looking will save you a lot of trouble.

4. Keep an eye on interest rates. Even a slight increase in interest rates will decrease your buying power, so being aware of current rates before you purchase a home will give you an advantage.

5. Get a lender. If you don’t already have a lender, I would be happy to give you some referrals.

6. Get pre-approved. Knowing what you can actually afford before you start looking will save you a lot of trouble. Once you provide some documents to your lender, they will be able to get you pre-approved so that you can start your home search.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Airbnb Properties vs. Long-Term Rental Properties

Should you invest in an Airbnb property or would a long-term rental be better for your real estate goals? I’ll go over a few pros and cons for you to consider today.

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If you haven’t used Airbnb yet, it’s a great experience. I’ve booked a 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom house in Rome for 10 of us to go on a Mediterranean cruise. We got the kitchen and a great location to see the city.

You can rent an Airbnb for $200 to $500 a day, which has many investors purchasing short-term rental properties. However, what are the pros and cons of investing in an Airbnb property? How do these properties compare to long-term rentals?

Investing in an Airbnb property is a great way to bring in a larger cash flow each month, but there are a few things you need to be cautious of.

First of all, pay attention to the location of the property. Is the property in a homeowners association or association complex? Some HOAs have rules in place that do not allow a rental for less than 30 days, so make sure you will be able to have a short-term rental before you purchase a property.

You should also check the zoning. Certain cities do not allow any type of short-term rentals except in certain zoning areas so that the city can establish a tax base and collect taxes for short-term rentals.

When you invest in a long-term rental, you typically buy a single-family home that will bring in $1,500 month. With Airbnb, you can bring in $200 to $500 a day, which could net you $9,000 a month.

With an Airbnb property, you could net as much as $9,000 a month.

You should also pay attention to commission. On a long-term rental, you’ll pay about 10% per month on the income you get from the property to a property management company. The property management company will take care of maintenance, cleaning, and day-to-day issues.

Airbnb commissions are more complex. People can check in on a daily or weekly basis, and the commission rate is closer to 50%. Make sure you get an agreement with a property management company that is fair for both sides.

Finally, what happens after you get tired of running an Airbnb? What is your exit strategy? That home needs to be in a good, rentable area so that you can transition the property into a long-term rental.

Your other option is to sell the property, so make sure you purchase in an area where you will be able to get all of the money you invested in the property back when it comes time to sell again.

If you have any additional questions about short-term or long-term property investments, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Renovations Loans, Explained

With a renovation loan, you can add renovation projects on a home you buy to the actual mortgage. Watch this video to learn more about them.

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Today I’m joined by a special guest: Barry Krevoy, who is our LoanDepot representative.

We had a situation that came up this last weekend. My buyers are looking for that perfect home that’s turnkey and ready to go. When I talked to Barry about this, he found that they’re well-qualified to get the loan, but he was suggesting that maybe we look into a renovation loan.

So today, Barry will be talking about renovation loans—the different types, and how they all work.

A renovation loan is just like any other loan, except for the fact that we’ll be adding renovation projects on the home to your actual mortgage. There are two different types: a full renovation loan, which you can do a conventional FHA loan on, and a VA renovation loan, which is a streamline loan.

There are also FHA and conventional streamlines. Streamlines are non-structural, so you can put in new countertops, new carpet, new appliances, and so on. No permits are required for this, since it’s not for construction projects.

It really opens up a lot of options, and takes a house that needed love and turns it into the house of your dreams.

Then there are full-rental loans, where you can add bedrooms, floors, and other larger projects. We have a lot of people that are getting priced out because everybody wants a single-family residence with 2,000 square feet. There might be properties out there where you can add a bedroom, bathroom, or maybe a second story. It really opens up a lot of options, and takes a house that needed love and turns it into the house of your dreams.

In flipping shows like the ones you see on HGTV, they don’t buy a home and flip it using money they have laying around; they use renovation loans to finance it.

As far as benefits go for regular buyers, the interest rates will be a little bit higher because you’re packing more into the loan. On a full renovation loan, you can put six months' worth of payments into the loans, so you don’t even have to make a payment on the house for six months.

Another great fact is that you can use the renovation loan to flip a house, and you only have to put 15% down. We all know on an investment property, you usually have to put 25% down, so there really are a lot of benefits.

If you’re interested in a renovation loan, I suggest you give me or Kevin a call, text, or email. Let’s see whether or not it works for you.

6 Tips of Why You Don't Want to Sell Your Own Home

There are a lot of challenges to selling your home on your own. Here are just a few of them.

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Every year, tens of thousands of homeowners attempt to sell their own homes. If you’re thinking about it, here are six things that most FSBO (For Sale By Owner) home sellers forget that you’ll need to know in order to have a successful sale:

1. Complete the paperwork. 82% of those surveyed had no idea about all the different contracts involved and how to do the paperwork that is specific to where they live. If you don’t know, it could be a huge liability.

2. Getting the right price. Most people have no idea what the true value of their home is because they don’t know anything about the market and how homes are valued within it. Using Zillow or any other online home value estimator based on data alone isn’t a good way to figure out your home’s market value.

3. Fixing up your home for sale. There are certain things, including staging and curb appeal, that you’re only going to be able to get with the agent. You simply don’t have that expertise on your own unless you’re a real estate professional yourself.

4. Attracting potential buyers. 94% of FSBO sellers surveyed don’t know how to properly attract a buyer. Most FSBO sellers just put a sign in their yard and hope buyers see it. The thousands of agents here in our market know how to get that home listed on the local MLS so that thousands of buyers are exposed to it every day.

5. Selling within the planned time. If you’re looking to sell your home in a short amount of time, selling FSBO isn’t the best route. It will take at least 90 to 120 days. With a real estate agent, you’ll be able to expedite your sale.

It can get overwhelming quickly if you aren’t experienced.

6. Energy and effort. Unless you are in this business full-time, you have no idea how much energy and effort it takes to get a home sold. With all the paperwork, marketing, and communication involved, it can get overwhelming quickly if you aren’t experienced.

If you have any questions for us or want our help to make your home sale a breeze, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Pros and Cons of Living on a Golf Course

If you’re looking to buy property on a golf course, there are many factors you should take into account.

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Recently, one of my clients was interested in purchasing a home on a golf course. While this might sound like a great idea, there are seven different things you should consider before you go through with the purchase:

  1. Find out if it’s a private, semi-private, or a public golf course. If it’s a public course, you might expect to see a lot more people playing there than if it was a private course.
  2. Do they host other events? This may affect certain things, such as area parking and traffic, depending on how close to the course your property is.
  3. Is the property located on the green, the fairway, or the tee box? Properties on or near the green will expect to see golfers meandering around for longer periods of time, whereas properties closer to the tee box will only see those people teeing off, and golfers will spend less time nearby. On the fairway, golfers may not even be in front of your house at all.
  4. Consider the views. Can you see the course itself? What about the lake or other water features? Does it have a view of the mountains? Perhaps the house is on or near a signature hole at the course. These can have a definite impact on pricing the house.
  5. Does the golf course require membership? Find out whether or not you’ll need to pay for membership. It may not be a bad idea to look into what other features they offer, such as tennis courts, restaurants, or pools, and what it might cost to enjoy those amenities.
  6. You have to consider those playing on the golf course if you host your own event on your property. Disturbing players with noise and distractions may get you into trouble later down the road.
  7. You have to consider those playing on the golf course if you host your own event on your property.
  8. How well is the course maintained? Golf courses require a lot of meticulous upkeep, so there will likely be maintenance crews near your property using noisy machines like mowers and blowers throughout the day.

Finding the answers to these seven questions will help you determine whether or not living in a home near a golf course is the right fit for you.

If you have any other questions, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

A National and Local Market Update

What has been going on in our market? Today, I’m going to bring you the latest numbers from both a national and a local perspective.

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What does our current market look like? Today, I wanted to take a look at some of the numbers from both a national and a local perspective.

After 2009, people nationwide are much more apt to believe that real estate is a good investment. In fact, 34% of people believe this is the case, whereas only 26% of people think the same about the stock market.

Following the recession and recovery in our market, there is more consumer confidence in today’s market. Interest rates have reached historic lows, confidence in retirement savings is higher, and unemployment is down.

Here in Southern California, we’ve seen a 6% increase in prices since last year. This means that areas like Riverside, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange County have an anemic amount of homes available for sale.

Not only has this driven up prices, it has also caused a rise in demand. This is especially true for homes that are under $700,000.

Recently, a client I’ve been working with has made four offers on four different homes that were all listed under $550,000, and has lost out on each one because of cash buyers and hot competition.

In San Clemente and Mission Viejo, we have about 200 to 250 homes currently on the market. In Mission Viejo, the average price is $789,000. In San Clemente, however, the average price is about $1.8 million.  

Escrow is taking about 39 days to close for homes under $1 million. For homes over $1 million, the average days it has been taking to close escrow has been around at least 77 days.

Right now is a great time to sell.

Ultimately, now is a great time to sell. If you price your home correctly, you’re more likely to expedite the entire process.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Send Your Questions in for Our Upcoming Webinar

Barry Krevoy and I are hosting an upcoming real estate webinar. Do you have any questions you’d like us to answer?

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In case you haven’t heard already, my friend Barry Krevoy and I are hosting a real estate webinar series in the next few weeks. The reason we are reaching out to you today is that we want to know what questions you have.

Whether it’s a question about buying a home for the first time, investing, or securing the best mortgage rate, we can help.

Feel free to comment with your question below, or reach out to us via phone or email with your questions. Stay tuned for more details about the webinar, which are coming soon.

If you have any other questions, comments, or concerns, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Want to Get Started in Real Estate?

The sooner you get started in real estate, the stronger the likelihood you’ll be able to retire with a nice real estate portfolio.

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Are you thinking about getting started in real estate? Barry Krevoy and I have a story to share that might interest you.

It starts with a man Barry met 30 years ago. Recently, Barry and this man were talking about one of the properties the man owned, and he mentioned that he actually owned seven properties—four of which were paid off. When Barry asked the man what he did for a living, he said he was a foreman at a steel mill. Barry then asked—with all due respect—how a foreman at a steel mill came to own seven properties.

The man said that when he was young, he scraped and saved until he could buy his own place. He then moved out of that place after a couple years and started renting it. He did the same thing with the next place he bought, and the same thing with the property he bought after that. Every time he collected rent from these subsequent properties, instead of putting that money in his pocket, he paid the mortgages of those properties down quicker.

This story illustrates the power of being a landlord, and it’s something you need to understand. Being a landlord means having someone else pay your mortgage for you.

Don’t wait for your dream home to come along to get started in real estate.

You have to get started somewhere, though, so don’t wait for that dream home to come along to do so. Your first home won’t be a 2,000 square foot house with a big backyard. Your first home should be a small place you don’t mind moving out of and then renting out. There are many down payment assistance programs we can help you with if need be.

We can help you get started in real estate. Don’t self-diagnose yourself—contact us so we can formulate a plan to get you into your first home. If you already own a home, let us help you get more of them. If you get started, the likelihood that you’ll be able to retire with a nice real estate portfolio is very good.

If you want to get started in real estate or you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We’d be happy to help you.

2 Myths That Millennial Homebuyers Believe

Today I’m debunking two commonly held myths that millennials have about home buying.

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I had a situation that came up this weekend with a young couple who came along to a showing with their parents. I wanted to take some time to debunk two commonly held myths among millennial homebuyers.

1. You need to pay more than 20% down on your purchase. This couple was looking at a $500,000 condo last weekend. They were only 27 years old and believed they needed to put 20% down on the condo before they could buy it. The thing is, 20% of the purchase price is $100,000. That’s quite a bit of money, especially for this couple.

What I suggested was against the father’s advice, but that they should strive to put 10% down on the condo. Now, of course they’ll have to pay the mortgage insurance because they’re coming in with less money, but the payment would only be an additional $247 per month instead of waiting and coming up with the additional $50,000.

If you can’t make a 20% down payment, talk to a lender about other options.

Ideally, you’d want to come up with the 20% down payment, but if that isn’t immediately feasible, the best option is to talk to a lender and see if you can come to an agreement to pay less of a down payment so that you can get into the home quicker instead of waiting to save that additional money.

2. Many millennials are under the impression that you need to have a credit score of more than 780 to qualify for any home loans. While that is a great credit score, the reality is that 54% of people have a credit score that is less than that.

There are many different types of loan programs that allow you to qualify for financing with a credit score that is lower than 780. Granted, you probably won’t qualify with a 500, but if your credit is higher than 640, most lenders can work with you.

If you have any more questions about this topic or you’re looking to buy or sell a home, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help!

5 Things That Set Us Apart From Other Brokerages

Today I want to share five things I can do for you as a home seller that separate me from other brokerages.

As a Realtor, there are many things I can do that separate me from other brokerages. Here are five examples to give you a glimpse of the full service I provide if you’re looking to list your house and get the highest price possible for it. First, having a larger brokerage means having more experience to draw from. There are old rules, and now there are new rules. Technology has come a long way, and my brokerage has more than 1,700 agents that I can talk to on a daily basis. We also have 32 offices here in Southern California. Second, I can maximize the demand for your home and get the most money from a buyer. 84% of buyers search for their next home online nowadays. With that, I can put you in our own buyer pipeline and reach out to the other agents in my sphere before the home even goes on the market.

My brokerage has more than 1,700 agents I can talk to on a daily basis.

Third, I can market with more than just 10 pictures and use a professional to do so. I have a professional photographer that takes more than 40 pictures for each listing. Those pictures are taken with a tripod. Three pictures are taken of each room and then blended together to give a fantastic view of the home and give the buyer a real sense of what each room looks like. I can also provide night shots, a videographer with a drone, and a voiceover video. Fourth, I can stage your home at a much higher quality. If the aesthetic of your home isn’t up to par with your competition, I can have a professional designer come to your house and give you recommendations on how your home can be staged, decluttered, cleaned up, and made to look like a model home for all of its open houses, broker previews, and any private showings. Lastly, I can utilize market trends to price your home. Getting the most money out of your home sale means knowing how and where your competition is pricing their homes and making sure our market trends for your specific city, neighborhood, and zip code will be priced right where the market is trending. Stay tuned for the next video of this series that will reveal more of what I can do that sets me apart from other brokerages. If you have any questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m here to help.