By Garry Loss
Principal, The OC Coastal Group Realty
Most real estate transactions occur in the spring and summer months. Why?
The holidays are over
Homeowners have time to ready their homes for sale
Kids are off for the summer
The weather is better
So why buy a home in the winter? Because home sellers often need to sell sooner rather than later. Think about it… back to school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years all take time and energy away from the business of home selling. So it stands to reason that if a home is listed for sale in the late fall / winter, the homeowner probably has motivation to do so. Some of the reasons may be:
A move out of the area for a new job / job transfer
The homeowner has passed away
The homeowners are going through a divorce and selling their joint assets
A change in the homeowner’s financial stability
As a result, there are fewer homes on the market and they are priced more aggressively for a quick sale or there is more wiggle room on the price.
How does that impact South Orange County Real Estate? Laguna Beach, Monarch Beach, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente and other coastal areas are vacation destinations. There are 3 grand resorts in the area namely, The Ritz Carlton, The St. Regis in Monarch Beach and the Montage in Laguna Beach. Additionally, there are a plethora of boutique hotels as well as home rentals.
Think about spending upwards of $800 / night at a 4 or 5 star resort with multiple rooms for your family and friends. The about doing that several times a year. Think about long weekends. That can add up. And there is absolutely no financial benefit!
Buying a home in Coastal South Orange County in the late fall / winter months affords you the benefit of a better purchase price, tax breaks and even the opportunity to rent it out when you’re not using it to help pay for the mortgage. And you don’t need to lug your stuff with you every time you vacation.
If you’d like to explore purchasing a home in South Orange County, give me a call at 949-288-6777 and lets look at your options together.
Buying a house is a little like asking someone to marry you. In both cases, you make your offer believing there’s a good chance you’ll get a yes, but you know you could get a no. If the answer is yes in either situation, your fates will be linked for many years to come — possibly until death do you part. But if you don’t get an immediate answer, the wait can be excruciating. We may not be able to help you with your love life, but if you want your house offer to be greeted with a yes — and a quick one — here are four rules to follow.
Be likable. Money talks, but so do you. And you don’t want to say anything that could turn off a seller.
“You’re most likely buying someone’s home that they have memories and a lot of emotional ties to,” says Marc Takacs, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty in Atlanta. So if the seller is present when you see the house, keep quiet about your grand plans for landscaping or repainting the living room.
“Don’t tell someone how bad, ugly, stupid, etcetera, that someone’s house is, and then try to buy it. That doesn’t work,” Takacs says.
Well, it might, if the homeowner is desperate and primed to sell, but if there are other buyers circling, you’ve given the seller an excuse to reject your offer and accept someone else’s.
Another no-no, according to Takacs, is being high-maintenance. “Don’t overstay your welcome,” he advises. “I don’t think anything irritates a seller more than when a buyer visits a house too much or stays for too long.”
He also suggests that when you submit your offer, avoid making unreasonable demands such as a lightning-fast closing date. “Try to be considerate of the fact people are trying to carry on with their lives, move and all the other stuff that goes along with that. Being pushed out of your house can be very unsettling,” Takacs says.
Don’t be stingy with your offer, but don’t overreach. If you offer exactly what the seller is asking, you will get his or her attention and probably their respect and appreciation. In many cases, your offer
“If you buy it for more than you can afford, you’ll end up hating the house and yourself in the long run.”
will be accepted. Offer a tad bit more, and you may chase other buyers away whose offers are at or below the list price.
At the other end of the spectrum, a lowball offer may insult the homeowner. In some instances, it may be shrewd to offer significantly less than the list price, but first consult your real estate agent, who will probably have the best read on what your seller is likely to accept.
If you’re looking to make the strongest offer possible, make sure it’s not so high that you can’t afford it, warns Kelly Long, a Chicago-based money coach and member of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “Don’t offer more than you can practically afford, even if you’re approved for more,” she says, adding that this can easily happen if you’re looking at a house that’s out of your price range.
“If you buy it for more than you can afford, you’ll end up hating the house and yourself in the long run,” she says.
That’s because the more expensive your house is, the higher your monthly payments will likely be. Long cites the rule of thumb that a monthly payment shouldn’t exceed more than 28 percent of your gross income. That includes taxes and insurance, she adds.
Be ready for a yes. If the seller says no, the next steps are clear enough: You make a better offer, or continue house-hunting. But even if the seller accepts the offer, you don’t have those front door keys yet.
“You may be pre-approved based on your credit report and supplying your W-2, but the [mortgage] application process is much more involved and requires extensive documentation in a short window of time,” Long says. “Make sure you have some time set aside to gather all the necessary information in the week following the offer’s acceptance. You’ll also need to schedule, attend and pay for an inspection in that first week, so make sure you have the money on hand to pay for that.”
You may also be asked to offer earnest money, a deposit you give a homeowner to show you’re serious about your offer. Generally, earnest money is anywhere from 1 percent to 3 percent of the house’s total purchase price. You can get the money back if the sale doesn’t go through, but you can also lose it if you flake out and decide not to buy the house for no reason, or you don’t follow what you’ve agreed to in the purchase contract.
Don’t sabotage yourself to seal the deal. Speaking of that contract, be careful about what you put in it.
Yes, you want the house. You want the sellers to like you. But in an effort to get those keys from the sellers, don’t be their doormat.
According to Kent Sisk, an account executive at NexTitle, a title and escrow agency based in Bellevue, Washington, “the market is so hot right now [that] many buyers are waiving the inspection period, sometimes waiving the inspection altogether, in order to get their offer approved.”
After all, you don’t want to learn after you buy the house that the roof leaks or there’s mold hidden away in the ventilation. Or you may end up berating yourself if you waive the appraisal contingency, which lets you back out of the deal if the lender concludes the appraised value is less the sale price, and later learn that you vastly overpaid for your home.
Ideally, your offer will be one that makes everyone, the seller and you, happy and reassured that everything between now and the closing will go smoothly. If you feel like you need to win this house at all costs and things go badly after your offer is accepted, not only will you lose — it will definitely cost you.
If you work from home, having an inspiring home office to call your own is something you may wish for – but have you ever considered that it may help your career, too? Whether or not you have client meetings at home, a workspace that is not only functional but beautiful might just inspire and motivate you to go the extra mile. (After all, who wants to show up to work in sweatpants when your office looks like a million bucks?) Ready, set, let’s get to work!
Modern Moroccan. Glossy black walls, trim and floors create an opulent backdrop for a plush Moroccan-style rug and a hammered pendant light in this stunning home office.
If your room gets good natural light, the high sheen of the black walls will actually help the room feel brighter than you might think — but be aware that rooms without much natural light may feel too dark with black walls.
In a mostly black and white scheme, it often helps to include a small touch of color, like the pink Mongolian lamb pillow in this space; a colorful vase or tray would also work.
When we take a step back, we can see that this workspace has sliding glass doors. These are a great choice for a home office, because they provide privacy when you need it while still allowing natural light in from the next room.
Elegant textures. Mixing textures is a great way to create an elegant look. Here a hemp grass cloth brings richness and depth to the walls, while a high-gloss lacquered table brings the shine. The elegant chandelier, table lamp with black shade and soothing color palette are refined and graceful.
Tip: Have a cute vintage desk with a poor finish? Revive it by having it professionally lacquered in a hue you love.
Bright and modern. This fun, sun-drenched workspace is built around simple basics: white walls, light floors, a Parsons desk and a sheepskin rug. Pairing a modern chair with a vintage Louis armchair is a great way to build creative tension. A single large, colorful piece of artwork, a bright cushion and a coral lamp add personality.
Tip: Want to float your desk in the center of the room but need to plug in? If you’re not planning to hire an electrician to add outlets anytime soon, simply place your desk perpendicular to the wall instead. You’ll get the feeling of a centered desk, but your cord will be able to reach the wall.
Laid-back chic. A simple desk, black pendant light, classic fretwork desk chair and kilim rug create a cozy, homey feeling in this office — but then things take a less expected turn with a red zebra-print armchair and big botanical wall chart thrown into the mix.
Neon pop. A simple space can be made current with just a few additions: a black and white striped rug, stools with neon painted bases and a bold canvas on the wall. If you use your office more for projects than computer work, consider going with a comfy settee instead of a traditional desk chair.
Tip: Wish you had a great big piece of art for the wall? If you’re artistic or adventurous, try making your own. Blank, prestretched canvases are available at art stores, and a simple design can be accomplished even by DIY newbies. Go freehand, or for a crisp look, mark out the pattern using painter’s tape before applying color, and let each shade dry before adding the next to avoid smudging.
Fresh air. An oversize pendant light from Ikea sets the tone in this delightfully charming space. A big, cushy ottoman in the center of the room can do double duty as an extra seat and a coffee table, and the love seat is perfect for welcoming visitors. A light, spring-inspired color palette and stylized floral motifs make for a fresh, feminine space.
Posh eclectic. Blue lacquered walls, a zebra-print rug and antique armchairs mingle in this swanky home office. An oversize botanical art print and a bright orange table lamp have a youthful energy that helps the space feel fun and comfortable, even with all of the high-style glamour.
Professional polish. Just because you’re not in a big office building doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat your workspace with the same respect you would if you were surrounded by colleagues. Try setting out your business cards on a glamorous tray; put matching pens or pencils in a gleaming metal holder; and use real stationery to pen thank-yous from time to time instead of emailing.
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