Governor Brown Signs Bill To Deter Squatters

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Pilot program makes it easier for homeowners to remove trespassers.

 

A bill that deters illegal squatting in residential properties was signed into law Saturday by Governor Jerry Brown, Assemblyman Steve Fox announced. The legislation by Fox, which sets up a pilot program in Palmdale, Lancaster, and Ukiah was spawned in part by homeowner horror stories that played out across Southern California, including Corona, Hemet, and Moreno Valley.

Homes have been trashed, lost to foreclosure and kept off the market because of illegal squatting in the Inland region. “Homeowners should have the right to move a trespasser before that person damages their property,” said Fox, D-Palmdale. “this is a common sense solution.”

The legislation, which takes effect January 1st, sets up a framework for homeowners to file a Declaration of Ownership with law enforcement agencies to identify a property as vacant. The homeowner then posts a notice on the home; and inspects it to make sure it is vacant. If someone is found inside, authorities can take quick action to remove the trespassers.

Currently there is no state law that provides local government officials with specific tools to combat the illegal occupancy of residences. Police have been stymied by trespassers who produce fake lease or claim they were duped in a rental scam. It can take two months to evict a squatter, Fox said.

“Homeowners who have had a squatter in their house have had to bear the cost of not  being able to lease or sell their home and they have no immediate legal remedy,” he said. “This pilot program  will give homeowners an affordable, local solution.”

AB 1513 was set up initially as a statewide measure. When it met resistance, Fox trimmed the measure to create the pilot programs. “If this is successful, and we believe it will be, then it’s likely other cities that want to be included in a similar program can be added later,” said Sandra Kramer, a spokeswoman in Fox’s office. The pilot program will sunset on January 1st.

 

Written by: Debra Gruszecki, Press Enterprise Newspaper, September 30, 2014

 

 

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7 Easy Ways To Bring The Spring Indoors

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Tulips in vase

It’s been a harsh winter and most of us are more than ready for spring and all the great things that get us outdoors. But wouldn’t it be nice to bring the spring season inside, too?

Here’s a checklist of small jobs that will make an instant difference in how your home looks and feels this spring.

  • Wash your windows – or call to have them professionally done. You’ll want a clear view of all the beautiful things happening outside.
  • Dust lamps, light fixtures and light bulbs, and wash the winter dust off your blinds. Your home will feel much more fresh and bright.
  • Deep clean your carpets, upholstery and curtains. Also change out your bedding with lighter fabrics that are more suitable for the warmer temperatures.
  • Reset your fans to move counter-clockwise to create a light, cooling breeze. (In the winter, your fans should run clockwise to distribute the rising warm air throughout the room.)
  • Start storing away your winter clothes and putting away your winter tools and toys. You probably won’t need those skis, snow shovels or ice scrapers for a while.
  • Sweep or power wash outside the front and back doors. Replace weathered doormats for a nice welcome into your home.

After you have these basics out of the way, relax and enjoy the blossoms, warmer breezes and all the best of spring.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, these jobs are a good start in preparing your home for sale. A good next step is to contact a member of our team​ who can guide you through the entire selling process.

Do Your Finances Meet The 28/36 Rule?

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Do Your Finances Meet the 28/36 Rule?

 

If you’re considering buying a home, especially as a first-time buyer, it’s important to take a close look at your finances before you start shopping.


Start with the 28/36 rule. Many lenders use it to determine credit eligibility.

The “28” refers to the percentage of your gross monthly household income that should be allocated for housing costs each month, including principal, interest, taxes and insurance. The “36” represents the total debt that you carry. It shouldn’t exceed 36 percent of your total income.

As long as your monthly debt – like car, student loan and credit card payments – doesn’t exceed the 36 percent, you’re probably in good shape to qualify for the loan amount that meets your “28” calculation.

There’s a sample 28/36 calculation in the RE/MAX Home Buying Guide. Check it out. The guide is a great reference.

Looking for more personal attention? Let us guide you through the entire home-buying process.

A Good Market For First Time Home Buyers

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What Makes a Market Good for First-time Homebuyers?

Maybe you can’t relocate to the markets in the new “Top 10 Markets for First-time Homebuyers” list from Realtor.com (although you might already be in one of them!), but the metrics used by Realtor.com to compile the list gives great hints of what to think about if you’re considering buying a home in your current area.

The report – which listed Pittsburgh, Tampa, Philadelphia and Fort Worth among the top markets – considered these five factors:

    1. Popularity of the location
    2. Affordability
    3. Available inventory of homes for sale
    4. The typical time it takes for homes to sell there
    5. What the employment climate is like

All of these factors (among others) help real estate professionals determine whether markets favor buyers or sellers, and whether the real estate climate is considered favorable or challenging. They’re also factors you can look into, too, as you start researching your options for buying a home.

But every market is unique. And when you’re ready to start the homebuying process, the best way to fully understand the market conditions in your area is to talk to a real estate agent who knows, that’s US! =) Contact us today and we would be more than happy to assist you as a first time home buyer!

On a Roller Coaster: Buying in a Hot Market

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RollerCoaster

 

Checkout this great article about a couple’s experience with selling their current home to downsize on a smaller home. More than likely, you’ve been here or heard from your friends that the Real Estate market is great for sellers, but extremely competitive for buyers. Here’s some insight!

 

“We thought we had it all planned out.

Ready to downsize, my husband and I put our lovely, old, equity-rich home on the market. The idea was to sell high (isn’t it always?) and buy low (ditto). It would be an adventure, we thought.

We certainly were right on that account.

What we underestimated was the market. It’s competitive. It’s fast. It’s great for sellers but a challenge for buyers.

Our first shock was the speed with which our house sold: It only took about an hour and a half! One of the first couples to see it on its first day on the market made an offer we simply could not refuse. Inspection and paperwork moved at warp speed. Before we knew it, we’d signed on to move out within a month.

That’s when our adventure turned into a wild ride.

In our property search, we stopped by homes already under contract but still beckoning backup offers. Price wars were downright expected. We saw a ramshackle two-bedroom with watermarks indicating leakage issues, and a closet floor crudely cut out for a makeshift laundry chute. It sold within a day for a half-million dollars. (Note: This isn’t Manhattan or Malibu!) We watched two different real estate agents furiously writing offers on their iPads just moments after their respective, and competing, clients toured the house.

The first offer we made on a house – a backup, because there were concerns whether the original offer would stand – set the tone for others we’d make. Our agent suggested I write a letter telling the sellers why we, and not the other prospective buyers, should get the house. I waxed poetic about the wonderful garden and other desirable features. It didn’t work.

The second offer we made got us no closer to a purchase. Within 36 hours on the market, the home we targeted had eight offers and sold for a reported $50,000 over the asking price.

We hesitated for a couple of hours before we bid on a third house, and, of course, were a couple of hours too late.

Today, we’re waiting to close on house number four, which, by the way, I still haven’t visited yet. My husband saw it during its one day on the market and, with my blessing over the phone from work, made the offer right away. I can tell you that it looks great from the street and in pictures. Oh, and it’s at the very top of our budget. So much for buying low.

Yet, after all this, I have no regrets. When I actually see the inside of the house, I’m sure I’ll think it’s my dream home. And if all goes as planned, I will be moving in just in time to plant tomatoes and put in new flower beds. It will be a great spring – and beyond.

Take it from me, if you’re thinking of buying a house:

  • ​​Be sure you’re really ready to sell if you’re a current homeowner. With low inventories reported in many parts of the country, your home may be snapped up quickly. There may be little or no time for second thoughts.
  • Even in this market, to get a great offer, your home still has to look good. Our house sold fast, in part, because it was move-in ready. Follow your agent’s advice to de-clutter, paint and make whatever fixes are necessary.
  • Find an experienced agent you trust. You will need your agent’s knowledge to help you through this process as well as his or her commitment to keep you from making a costly mistake. The house with the self-made laundry chute would not have been a good fit for us, however tempting it might have been to settle for any place to call home.
  • A sense of humor and patience will make this a lot more enjoyable! I still chuckle at the look on friends’ faces when they hear I bought a house without stepping foot inside. At the very least, it makes a fun story. ​”

Listing Photos: What To Look For When Shopping

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These days, very little is left to the imagination when it comes to browsing homes for sale online. With virtual tours, professional photos and mapped locations, it’s easy to see what you might be getting – before you ever set foot in a potential purchase. Technology certainly has its advantages, doesn’t it?

These listing features help you, the homebuyer, narrow down your home search and direct your real estate agent to specific properties. And although you shouldn’t risk ruling out an otherwise perfect property based solely on its online reputation – hey, even houses have bad days – photos and videos can help save time and energy when it comes to building your short list of homes to tour.

So what should you really be looking for based on these photos, videos and mapping tools? Start with:

  • Layout. Does it meet your space needs? Is it OK that your must-have second bathroom is in the basement?
  • Potential Repairs. Have the original hardwood floors seen better days? Are you up for the challenge of rehabbing?
  • Yard maintenance. Does the home feature a half-acre yard – on a hill – with 30 bushes that need regular pruning? Will you have time to maintain it all – and is the yard worth the effort?
  • Lot location. Are you concerned about being on a corner lot at one of the neighborhood’s main intersections?

Remember, photos and videos can’t always capture everything, so consider your top three priorities in a home. When you think you’ve found them in a property online, it might be worth taking a look in person – even if that shade of green in the kitchen isn’t your first choice.

The best thing you can do is see what’s really there. Contact our team today so we can help you find your picture-perfect place.

Vacation Property: Dream Responsibly

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VacationProperty

 

It happens a lot. The dream vacation on the beach, at the lake or on the ski slopes suddenly morphs into a dream of buying a piece of paradise.
A number of people are considering buying a house with vacation in mind, according to the National Association of Realtors. In 2013, 80 percent of investment buyers were motivated to purchase a new property primarily as a family retreat.
If you’re motivated to do the same in your dream getaway area, here are some preparatory steps you can take as you embark on your property search:

  • Decide whether you want the place to be primarily for your use or also serve as a rental property. If you will try to recoup some of the purchase and maintenance costs through renting, the property you purchase should have a broad appeal, include popular amenities and maybe even be professionally managed.
  • ​​Speak to your accountant about potential tax advantages or obligations involved with your vacation property. Second homes and rental properties are subject to specific tax rules, so be sure you know what’s expected and what you can deduct.
  • ​​Think about location, location, location. Yes, it’s a cliché, but no less true for vacation properties than for other real estate. Homes near beaches or mountains tend to attract the greatest number of interested buyers or renters. Check out all four seasons in your targeted area because the atmosphere can change dramatically based on busy or slower seasons. Finally, if you plan to use the place often, consider something within a few-hours drive or flight. Anything much farther tends to discourage frequent visits.
  • Consider renting first, then buying. This will give you time to get to know the development, the area and the turnover rate among your future neighbors. All these factors are crucial to your enjoyment of the place – and its resale potential.
  • Find an agent who knows the area and the second-home market. Working with an expert who lives and works in or near your targeted community is your best bet. In addition to advising you on each location’s pluses and minuses, your RE/MAX agent can also discuss the property’s rental and resale potential and year-round character – key factors to consider in your property search.

Checkout Our Newest Listing!

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via santiago

 

 

Checkout our newest listing in Corona! This condo has just went through a full rehab including new paint, new carpet, new granite counter tops, new stainless steel appliances and washer/dryer included in unit! This is located right off the 91 freeway and great for commuters to the OC area! The association covers green belts, pools, spas, and access to Corona Lakes! With a private garage and a deisgnated parking space, and pleanty of street parking there is room for everyone! Contact our team if you are interested in this listing! Listed at $185,000.

How To Improve Your Credit Score

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Looking to buy a home soon? If so, you’ll want to start saving for a down payment – and thinking about getting pre-approved for a home loan. But before you do, it’s worth checking your credit score to see whether you need to bring it up to increase your chances of qualifying.

Your first step is to visit www.annualcreditreport.com to get your free credit report. Some of the things lenders will look for include your debt-to-income ratio, the number of late payments, recent credit inquiries and how many credit accounts you have open.

For an additional fee, you can visit www.MyFico.com to learn your FICO score, which is a key factor in your ability to qualify for a loan and a reasonable interest rate. The higher your score is, the better your chances are of getting a reasonable interest rate.

If you find out that your score isn’t yet at an ideal place to qualify for an affordable home loan, consider taking a few months to get it within a range that improves your chances of qualifying.

Here are a few key tips from Bankrate.com, a leading online aggregator of financial rate information:

  • Pay your bills on time every month. Late payments lower your credit score.
  • Try to pay off your existing balances each month, or keep them within a reasonable range. Your debt-to-income ratio is a big factor in determining your credit worthiness and ability to repay a home loan​.
  • Don’t close any accounts for six months, especially your older credit accounts. They help establish your long-term credit history.
  • Need a score boost quickly? Speed the process up with rapid rescoring through a lender who is subscribed to this special service. If you have legitimate errors on your credit report, rapid rescoring can address and correct them in as little as 72 hours. The service can run about $50 per account but could save you thousands on your loan.

Your agent is a great resource for advice. Contact Candi or Ashley today to learn how you can improve your credit score and better your chances of getting pre-approved for a home loan.

For more information about home loans, visit the Mortgages Guide in the Get Advice section of remax.com.

Schools Matter! Even If You’re Not A Parent!

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SchoolsMatter

 

There’s a lot to consider when buying a house: location, price, bedroom count, taxes, and a slew of other items everyone and your uncle will remind you about, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer.

Here’s yet another item you shouldn’t forget: Educating yourself about local schools. Whether you have a full house, you’re an empty nester looking to downsize, or you’re years from starting a family, the quality of schools should factor into your home search.

According to the National Association of Realtors, schools will affect:

The sale price: Homes in the best school districts sell for more, on average, than similar houses in areas with lower-rated schools.

The number of people looking at the same homes you are: In a 2012 National Association of Realtors report, 25 percent of buyers listed school quality as a deciding factor in their purchase.

The resale value of your home: Home values in sought-after school districts often fare better, even in a down market, than similar homes in areas with less reputable schools.

So how do you find out about schools if you’re new to the area? Search online for school district websites. Many of them post test scores of individual schools and comparisons to other schools statewide.

You can also explore greatschools.org, which features data, school “report cards” and comments from parents and students. Or check out U.S. News & World Report rankings that track the nation’s top high schools.

If you’re a parent, keep in mind that school boundaries change. Call the local district to verify that the home you’re looking at is still within the bounds of the schools you like.

Of course, nothing beats firsthand information, so ask residents in your targeted areas about local schools and other educational options.

Find a local RE/MAX agent who can tell you more, too. RE/MAX agents know their communities and are great bets for having up-to-date neighborhood information.