Irvine Real Estate News

 

Feb. 16, 2017

Ready to Make an Offer on an Irvine Home? Some Tips.

 

So you've been searching for that perfect Irvine house to call a 'home', and you finally found one!

The price is right, and in such a competitive market you want to make sure you make a good offer so that you can guarantee your dream of making this house yours comes true!
Freddie Mac covered "4 Tips for Making an Offer" in their latest Executive Perspective.

Here are the 4 Tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:
1. Understand How Much You Can Afford
"While it's not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer."
This 'tip' or 'step' really should take place before you start your home search process.
Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace).
2. Act Fast
"Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country."
According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 4.7-month supply. This is well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a 'normal' market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream home.
Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.
3. Make a Solid Offer
Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:
"Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford."
Consider ways of making your offer stand out! Many buyers write a personal letter to the seller letting them know how much they would love to be the new homeowners. Your agent will be able to help you figure out if there are any other ways your offer could stand above the rest.
4. Be Prepared to Negotiate
"It's likely that you'll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you'll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford.
Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met."
If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to "always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home. If the inspection uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can typically re-negotiate the terms or cancel the contract."

Buyers often tell me that they "don't want to get involved in a bidding war". Well, in today's market, it is extremely unlikely that only one offer will be received on a property, and you know what happens when there are multiple offers, right? Yes, a bidding war generally starts!

So whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local Irvine real estate professional who is an expert in her market on your side is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly. Let's get together and see if we can make your dreams of home ownership a reality!

Posted in News
Feb. 9, 2017

Appraisers and Homeowners Don't See Eye-To-Eye on Values

In today's housing market, where supply is very, very low and demand is very high, home values are increasing rapidly.

Many experts are projecting that home values could appreciate by another 5%+ over the next twelve months. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal.

If prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the selling price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

Every month, Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what homeowner believe their houses are worth as compared to an appraiser's evaluation in their Home Price Perception Index (HPPI). Here is a chart showing that difference for each of the 12 months ended September 30 last year:

Every Irvine house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank's appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. If you are planning on entering the housing market this year, let's get together to discuss this, and any other obstacles that may arise.

You can see how much your home is worth, and get an instant property value now, by clicking here.

Posted in News
Feb. 2, 2017

Sell NOW Before Competition Hits the Market

Sell Irvine home

Is now a good time to sell your home?

In their current edition of the Home Price Expectation Survey released last year, Pulsenomics asked this question of the 100+ economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists they surveyed:
“In your opinion, what is the primary driver of recent home value growth in the U.S.?”

Here are the top four reasons given by those surveyed:


The current lack of inventory in most housing markets has caused home appreciation to increase at greater percentages than historical averages. This means that this is a great time to sell your home as supply is low and demand is high. Right now there are less than 400 Irvine homes for sale, with list prices as ow as $319,900 all the way up to $13,995,000.
However, things may be about to change…


The fortuitous situation sellers see themselves in may soon change for three reasons:

  1. As more homeowners realize their equity situation has dramatically improved over the last four years, they will be more likely to put their homes on the market.
  2. With the residential real estate sector outperforming a sluggish economy, more home builders will be looking to add new construction inventory to a depleted supply of housing stock. New home developments are definitely cropping up in Irvine.
  3. Many banks are just now foreclosing on loans that have been delinquent since the housing bust. These houses will also be coming to market.

According to Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of RealtyTrac:
“Lenders have been taking advantage of the strong seller’s market to dispose of lingering foreclosure inventory.”

My advice is don’t wait for this additional competition to hit the market. If you are considering selling your house, now may be the time.

Posted in News
Jan. 26, 2017

Why We All Need A 'Phil Dunphy' On Our Side

Whether or not you've ever seen an episode of Modern Family, or know who Phil Dunphy's character is, the concept of knowing that you have someone in your corner who is looking out for your best interests is something we all want.
Whether you are a rookie home buyer or have gone through the process many times, having a local real estate expert who is well versed in the neighborhood you are looking to move into, and the trends of the area, should be your goal.

For those who aren't familiar, the character Phil Dunphy is a Realtor with a huge heart who always strives to do the best for his family and his clients.

In one episode, Phil even shared the oath that he created and holds himself to:
"On my honor, I promise to aid in man's quest for shelter, to recognize I'm not just in the business of houses -- I'm in the business of dreams in the shape of houses. To disclose all illegal additions, shoddy construction, murders, and ghosts. And to put my clients' needs before my own."


While this might seem silly, and it was definitely written with humor in mind, the themes of helping someone achieve the American Dream and putting a clients' needs above your own are not to be taken lightly. The best part of my job is being a part of making someone's dream into reality.


So when you make the decision to enter the housing market, as either a buyer or a seller, make sure you look for an agent who exemplifies these values and will help you through every step of the process. Take a look at any one of my over 135 reviews on Zillow. I would love to chat with you about your real estate needs.

Posted in News
Jan. 23, 2017

What makes living in Woodbridge, Irvine special? The people.

Having lived in Woodbridge, Irvine with my family for so many years, people often ask me what I love about it. Well, it can be boiled down to one word: community.



Over the years, I have gotten to know so many incredible people who live and work in Woodbridge. In this video, I show you some of my favorite spots to run my errands. They are my favorite because of the people who work there. From Abe, the pharmacist, to Matt, who works at the groomers, community is what matters.

 


Here are my favorite places to get things done in Alton Square in Irvine.
Where are your regular spots?

Since Woodbridge is a planned community, there are convenient shopping centers easily accessed no matter where you reside. Alton Square is my local center near my home.

 

Here is a handy directory of all the stores in Alton Square Shopping Center:

  • California Pizza Kitchen
  • Chevron
  • Chronic Tacos
  • Crazy Rock’N Sushi
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Donut Star
  • Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt
  • HairMasters
  • Happy Nails & Spa
  • Juice it Up!
  • Kriser’s
  • McDonald’s
  • MOOYAH Burgers - Fries - Shakes
  • Olives Branch Express
  • Pick Up Stix
  • Pizza 90
  • Ralphs
  • Relax Lounge
  • Roosters Men’s Grooming Center
  • Schools First Federal Union
  • The Shoe Clinic
  • Starbucks Coffee
  • Sunny Fresh Cleaners
  • Togo’s Great Sandwiches
  • Union Bank
  • United Studios of Self Defense
  • UPS
  • Verizon Wireless

 

Posted in News
Jan. 19, 2017

Unparalleled Trust Necessary Before Listing Your House

You and your family have decided to sell your house.

It is now time to choose a real estate professional to help with the process. One of the major attributes this agent must possess is trustworthiness.

To what degree do you need to trust them?


You must have enough trust in them that you feel comfortable they will accomplish all four things below:
1. Sell possibly the largest asset your family owns
In many cases, a home is the largest asset a family has. Studies have shown that the equity many families have in their home is the largest percentage of that family’s overall wealth.
2. Set the correct market value on that asset
Pricing is crucial even in the best of markets. You want to get the best price for your home without putting your house at a value that buyers will have little interest in.
3. Set the time schedule for the liquidation of that asset
Your family probably has a certain timetable for the sale of your house and the move into your next home. Coordinating the home selling process to meet certain schedules can be tricky.
4. Set a fair fee for the services required to liquidate that asset
You will need to pay a commission to an agent for selling the home and coordinating all elements of the selling transaction, including possible future negotiations (ex. with a home inspector or appraiser).


That’s a lot of trust. Take a minute to read my 135+ great reviews on Zillow. Then let’s get together to discuss the difference hiring a true professional can make in the sale of your home.

Posted in News
Jan. 12, 2017

Hedge fund tycoon: Buy a Home... And if You Can, Buy a Second Home!

Three years ago, John Paulson gave a keynote address at the CNBC/Institutional Investor Conference. In his speech, he told those in attendance that he believes housing will continue its strong recovery for the next 4 to 7 years, saying that:

"The housing market has bottomed. It's not too late to get involved. I still think buying a home is the best investment any individual can make. Affordability is still at an all-time high."

To make things even easier for buyers, this week the FHA cut insurance premiums on mortgages, which will save the average buyer using an FHA loan, hundreds of dollars, (in reduced mortgage insurance premiums).

The annual premium that people will pay is dropping 25 basis points — from 0.85% of the amount of the mortgage to 0.60%. 

A lot of Irvine condo projects are not "FHA approved", but some are. let's discuss your options.

Back to Paulson, when asked how the average person could take advantage of the current real estate market at the time, he said: Buy a home and, if you can, buy a second home.”

Two years ago, Paulson reiterated his statement, saying:
"I still think, from an individual perspective, the best deal investment you can make is to buy a primary residence that you're the owner-occupier of."


Who is John Paulson and why should you listen to him?
Paulson is the person who, back in 2005 & 2006, made a fortune betting that the subprime mortgage mess would cause the real estate market to collapse. He understands how the housing market works and knows when to buy and when to sell.


What do others think of Paulson?
According to Forbes, John Paulson is:
“A multibillionaire hedge fund operator and the investment genius.”


According to the Wall Street Journal, Paulson is:
“A hedge fund tycoon who made his name, and a fortune, betting against subprime mortgages when no one else even knew what they were.”


So… Is what he said still true?
The core reasons behind Paulson’s statements still ring true today, but why does he believe home ownership is such a great investment?


Paulson broke down the math of home ownership as an investment:
1. "Today financing costs are extraordinarily low.”
The latest numbers from Freddie Mac show us that you can still get a 30-year mortgage at historically low rates of under 4.5%.

2. “And if you put down, let's say, 10 percent and the house is up 5 percent,” as many experts predict, “then you would be up 50 percent on your investment."
How many are seeing a 50% return on a cash investment right now?

3. Paulson goes on to compare the long term financial benefits of owning versus renting:

“And you’ve locked in the cost over the next 30 years. And today the cost of owning is somewhat less than the cost of renting. And if you rent, the rent goes up every year. But if you buy a 30-year mortgage, the cost is fixed.”

Whenever a billionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This billionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.



Posted in News
Jan. 5, 2017

Did you know that there are 22 incredible Woodbridge pools for residents of this Irvine village to enjoy?

Did you know that there are 22 incredible pools in Woodbridge that residents of any Woodbridge, Irvine neighborhood can enjoy?

Yes! They are awesome, and these are in addition to the two lake lagoons. With a simple swipe of your Woodbridge Village Association key card, you can be enjoying the sunshine and splashing around with your friends and family.


In this video, I show you around Blue Lake Swim Club. This pool has a high-dive board which my kids both adore. It also has free WiFi available so you can have the ultimate lounging work day and never miss out on those emails. Blue Lake also has a wonderful program for teens called Splash Night, an event series that features a DJ and tons of fun in the summer months.

Below, I have put together a quick cheat sheet about all of the pools in Woodbridge. Did you know some of the pools are salt water, have WiFi, are wheelchair accessible, or are adult-only? Now you do!

Wintermist Pool


Salt water pools, spas and/or waders:

  • Stonecreek Swim Club
  • Blue Lake Swim Club
  • Woodflower Pool
  • Springvale Pool
  • Woodspring Pool
  • Wintermist Pool
  • Briarglen Pool
  • Smokestone Pool


Adult Pools:
North Lake

  • Springvale Pool
  • Brookside Pool
  • Woodspring Pool

South Lake

  • Smokestone Pool
  • Timber Run Pool
  • Briarglen Pool


Wheelchair Accessible:

  • Fallbrook Pool
  • Wintermist Pool

Wintermist Pool


Wifi:

  • Blue Lake Swim Club
  • Briarglen Pool
  • Stonecreek Swim Club

 The other pools in Woodbridge:

  • Ashwood Pool
  • Clearbrook Pool
  • Creekside Pool
  • Fallingstar Pool
  • Firwood Pool
  • Lemongrass Pool
  • Meadow Pool
  • Shorebird Pool
  • Wildwood Pool
  • Windjammer Pool
  • Woodpine Pool

Here is a map of all the Woodbridge pools, lakes and lagoons:

I love having access to the pools in Woodbridge, and all the other facilities too. Let me know if you have questions about living in Woodbridge. I'd love to chat with you!

 

 

Posted in News
Dec. 29, 2016

Why Is There So Much Paperwork to Sign to Get a Mortgage?

I am often asked why there is so much paperwork mandated by the bank for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today. It seems that the bank needs to know everything about us. Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.


There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today's buyer than perhaps any time in history.


1. The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank prove beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of affording the mortgage.
During the run-up in the housing market, many people 'qualified' for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their homes. The government wants to make sure this can't happen again.


2. The banks don't want to be in the real estate business.
Over the last seven years, banks were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures and also negotiating another million plus short sales. Just like the government, they don't want more foreclosures. For that reason, they need to double (maybe even triple) check everything on the application.

However, there is some good news in the situation.
The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allows you to get a mortgage interest rate as low as 3.43%, the latest reported rate from Freddie Mac.

The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process but also paid a higher interest rate (the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage was 8.12% in the 1990's and 6.29% in the 2000's). If you went to the bank and offered to pay 7% instead of less than 4%, they would probably bend over backwards to make the process much easier.


Bottom Line
Even though the additional paperwork required can be a drag, let's be thankful that we are able to buy a home at close to historically low rates. Having an expert on your side makes the entire process SO much easier. Let's get together to chat about your real estate needs.

Posted in News
Dec. 21, 2016

Orange Coast Magazine's Five Star Real Estate Agent - 5 years in a row!

I am so excited to tell you that I won the Five Star Real Estate Agent award for the 5th year in a row as announced by Orange Coast Magazine.

This year has been amazing and I am so grateful to have been recognized as: a consistent “Hall of Fame” recipient, a top First Team Agent, a Realtor .com “Excellence for Online Marketing” award recipient, a Zillow Premier Agent, a 5 Star Real Estate Professional Award recipient, and more.

Thanks so much to all my awesome clients. I am looking forward to continue to make your Irvine real estate dreams a reality.

Thank you for the recognition. Now, onwards… Back to work!

Posted in News