Buyers

Unique Property Websites

By Suzy Lins
March 30, 2016

The fun part about working at CENTURY 21 Discovery is that I get to see all the cool marketing tools that our agents have access to through the Century 21® system. One tool that benefits our sellers as well as our agents is the Unique Property Sites. These are websites that are dedicated to selling the home. We all know buyers are searching online and these sites provide them with the property details and photos as well as allows sharing the sites through social media and email. These sites are designed for mobile devices too so buyers can access them from anywhere.

Check out this short video about the sites:

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About the author: Suzy Lins is the Communications Director for CENTURY 21 Discovery. For more information about CENTURY 21 Discovery you may call (714) 626-2000.

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Unique Benefits of a Property Management Company

By Blake Borowski
March 8, 2016

Owning a rental property and being the landlord comes with a unique and challenging opportunity. Some individuals might decide to give the landlord responsibility at least one try, and while it might work for them, there are some benefits that a property management company can provide that a landlord lacks.

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Numerous Rental Payment Options

Although it is possible for landlords to set up numerous payment options, it makes sense for property management companies to do so as they will end up accommodating a large number of tenants. For instance, while most landlords accept money orders and checks, property managers are accustomed to accepting online payments and direct deposits through a bank or credit union.

An Emergency Line

The ability for maintenance requests to be made in an online form is unique, but a special line for emergency maintenance or repairs is highly valuable and a great way to provide tenant solutions.

Established Vendors

As a landlord that manages one or two properties, it is just not possible for a vendor to make it their top priority to provide your properties with maintenance and repairs. However, some property management companies have plenty of work and use the same vendors on just about every occasion.

A Systematic Approach

Landlords that are still learning how to manage their property will likely be taking each day and responsibility one step at a time. However, property managers have a systematic approach to managing a property, which means your property will get managed in an effective manner, no matter what.

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About the Author: Blake Borowski is the Founder of White Glove Property Management in Fullerton, CA. If you would like more information about the unique benefits of using a property management company call him at 714.515.3395 or visit the website www.whiteglovepm.com.

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Interview with C.A.R. Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young

By Joe Lins
February 15, 2016

I had the opportunity to interview California Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young after her presentation at the Pacific West Association of REALTORS® February general membership meeting. I asked her three questions about the real estate industry and specifically Orange County real estate.

Those three questions were:

1) What is the biggest disruption facing the real estate industry?

2) How healthy is the Orange County real estate market?

3) What is the biggest opportunity for the consumer in Orange County?

She’s a smart woman and I value her insight. Watch this short video for her responses.

 

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About the author: Joe Lins is President and Co-owner of CENTURY 21 Discovery. If you are interested in becoming part of the CENTURY 21 Discovery team or would like more information about our services contact Joe at 714.626.2069.

Escrow and How It Works

By Nancy Mattaliano-Castaneda
February 2, 2016

Buying a home is a huge undertaking and requires a good understanding of the process. In California, once a buyer and seller agree to the terms of the sale the next step is to open escrow. First time buyers or people who have not bought or sold a home in awhile may not know what escrow is.

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Here is a brief overview of what escrow is and how it works.

What is Escrow?

Escrow is a process that protects the interest of all parties in a real estate transaction, ensuring that all the conditions of the sale have been met before property and money change hands.

Why Do I Need One?

You need escrow to ensure that all parties have complied with the escrow instructions before any funds are disbursed or title is transferred. The escrow company has an obligation to safeguard the funds and/or documents while they are in the officer’s possession and to disburse funds and/or convey title only when all parties have met the terms of the escrow instructions.

What is the Escrow process?

Once a purchase contract has been negotiated to the satisfaction of both the seller and buyer, a legible fully-signed copy is forwarded to the escrow company. The escrow officer will then prepare supplemental instructions and place the earnest money deposit into a trust account. The buyer and seller can move forward separately, but simultaneously, in obtaining inspections, reports, loan commitments, funds, deeds and many other items using escrow as the central depositing point.

Who to Contact with Questions:

Your REALTOR® will answer questions about your purchase contract agreement. Your loan officer will answer all questions about your loan status, conditions of your loan and the loan process. Your escrow officer will help or direct you with any other questions. A good escrow officer understands you will have questions and should be willing to answer them or direct you to the person who can.

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About the Author: Nancy Mattaliano-Castaneda is an Escrow Officer at Equity Escrow Group, Ltd. in Fullerton, California. For more information about Equity Escrow Group, Ltd. call 714.626.2095 or visit the website www.equityescrow.net.

Homeowners Insurance Purchasing Tips

By Stephanie Goedl
July 21, 2015

I recently had the opportunity to interview Michael Williams of Williams Insurance Brokers as part of our Community Conversations Series. He offered some great insight and tips on what to consider when purchasing Homeowners Insurance. Watch the full interview below. Remember, when purchasing Homeowners Insurance always consult your professional insurance agent when you begin the home buying process.

About the author: Stephanie Goedl is the Chief Operating Officer of CENTURY 21 Discovery. For more information about CENTURY 21 Discovery you may call (714) 626-2000.

Creatively Saving For A Down Payment For Your First Home

By Shantell Lorraine Nicole Russell of New American Funding*
June 8, 2015
Originally Published on June 4, 2015

moneyNAFblogRental rates are quickly rising making it more difficult to continue affording an apartment. While purchasing a home might seem like a less expensive option, saving for a down payment on a house is likely one of the more difficult aspects of becoming a home owner. One of the common standards for a down payment is 20 percent of the total value of the home. This can add up quickly and between mountains of student debt and the entry level job market, setting aside funds can be a challenge. However, with more lenient lending standards and a few tricks, you can start saving and become one step closer to owning a home of your own.

Understand the importance of a down payment
Before you begin planning to save up some extra cash, know how a down payment impacts your ability to become a homeowner. A down payment is the money you put toward a home right away. Zillow noted that the amount you can contribute upfront can impact the type of home mortgage you qualify for and ultimately how much house you can afford. In addition, your credit score and income also contribute to the home loan you ultimately receive.

This can help you determine how much you want to save for your future home. If you would like to purchase a more expensive home, but do not have the credit score or annual income to support higher monthly mortgage payments, providing a larger down payment can help ensure you still can afford a home more congruent to your preferences. Additionally, paying less than 20 percent of the total value of the home may mean that you need to also pay mortgage insurance on a regular basis.

Mortgage insurance is a way to back up a loan in case you are unable to make payments due to your financial circumstances.

Options for low down payments
If you are interested in acquiring a home without spending a great deal of money up front, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, government-backed lenders, both offer loans with 3 percent down payment options.

First-time homebuyers may qualify for these affordable options depending on their ability to provide specific information and meet certain standards to avoid underwriting mortgages. For example, Freddie Mac mandates that applicants can cover the closing costs as well as the full down payment agreement. Additionally, homebuyers must enroll in a borrower education program similar to the one offered by Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae also implemented similar requirements to combat lending money to an unsuitable candidate who is unable to afford a home.

Techniques for saving money 
After deciding how much money you wish to save for a down payment, USA Today recommended setting up automatic contributions to your savings account every pay period. This ensures that you are not tempted to dip into your pot and spend any of your money before putting it into your savings account. In addition, automatically sending money to your savings account is a great idea as long as you have properly budgeted for a specific amount to be contributed regularly.

Developing an adjusted budget to accommodate your new efforts is an important step to the process. Decide how much money you need for your expenses, like rent, bills, food and any debt. Then allot additional money for recreational spending.

The Daily Finance also noted it might be a smart idea to keep your savings safely stored away somewhere that it is more difficult for you to access. Consider starting a high-yield savings account or CD.

Know where to make cuts
There are a number of frivolous expenses that can add up and prevent you from saving for a down payment on a house. Below are some extra expenses you might consider reducing to help increase your savings:

  • Making daily coffee shop runs
  • Eating out regularly
  • Going out to the bars
  • Going to the movies
  • Taking weekend trips
  • Having regular manicures or pedicures
  • Attending concerts, plays and other performances


Add additional income

If you are ready to purchase your first home as soon as possible, you may want to increase your annual income. Consider picking up a weekend job or increasing your overtime hours at your current job. Automatically put all extra incoming money into your savings account to help quicken the growth of your future down payment. Think about doing a little freelance work to increase your total income as well.

Additionally, if you receive any extra cash, such as a tax return or birthday money from a family member, contribute that toward your savings. Money Manifesto recommended pretending that this extra income does not exist and automatically depositing the extra funds to help with your down payment fund.

Becoming a homeowner is a substantial milestone. Start saving for your down payment if you are interested in making the step toward owning your very own property.

*Article reprinted with permission from New American Funding. Licensed by the California Department of Business Oversight under the Residential Mortgage Lending Act – License #4131117 Broker Solutions Inc. dba New American Funding (NMLS #6606) Corporate Office is located at 14511 Myford Road, Suite 100, Tustin, CA 92780. 800.450.2010

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For more information about loan options contact
Chris Smith NMLS# 253394 at Chris.Smith@nafinc.com
Bill FitzMaurice NMLS# 290216 Bill.Fitzmaurice@nafinc.com

4 Reasons Why I Love This Real Estate Market

By Joe Lins

September 23, 2014

I LOVE this real estate market! It’s a great time for all parties involved in the process. It’s markets like this that remind me why I got into real estate…to help people buy and sell homes.

Here are 4 reasons why I love this market:

1) Buyers offers are being accepted

Buyers actually have a chance of buying a home without being out bid by investors. Investors have made a lot of money over the past few years and good for them! As home prices have slowly inched up investors are not as prevalent which allows buyers, especially first time home buyers, to get the home they want.

2) Buyers can afford a home

People who want to buy a home are able to do so because interest rates are still very low. The Federal Reserve recently announced that it would keep interest rates low for now which is good news for borrowers. In addition, in our local Orange County market home prices are appreciating at a reasonable rate.

3) Technology is helping the home buying process

I know there are a lot of people in the industry who are freaking out about the potential Zillow-Trulia merger and the affects of other third party sites on the information available to the public. They think this will take the place of the professional REALTOR®. I don’t believe that mindset. Now, buyers have the ability to make better choices because of the technology available to them. They can research everything from neighborhoods and schools to crime rates and interest rates. Now, sellers can go onto Zillow and get a Zestimate of their property, this provides an opportunity for the REALTOR to educate (or re-educate) the seller on the actual comps for their home.

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4) Homes are being sold for fair market value

It’s a true market where neither the buyer nor seller has a distinct advantage over the other. Sellers can still achieve top dollar without the fear of leaving money on the table if they had waited. Buyers can make quality purchase decisions without the fear of being priced out of the market. Both parties are able to achieve their definition of success, which rarely happens in any market.

The REALTORS who truly understand this are succeeding in helping people buy and sell homes through their micro-market knowledge and keen negotiating skills. After all, isn’t that why we got into this business?

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About the author: Joe Lins is President and Co-owner of CENTURY 21 Discovery. If you are interested in becoming part of the CENTURY 21 Discovery team contact Joe at 714.626.2069.