8 Tips For Selling a Unique Home

Selling a cookie-cutter house can be a challenge because you've got to go the extra mile to make it unique enough to stand out from the rest. But what about when your home is so unique and quirky that buyers find it downright strange?

NAR's Stats on the Home Search Process in 2017

Since the emergence of the internet, the home search process has transformed significantly from years ago. Technology has been the single biggest influence on the change in how buyers search for their next home to buy.

Orange County Housing Report: Not Anytime Soon!

Not a Buyer’s Market: Since 2012, the active inventory for Orange County has been extremely limited. It is time to load the plate with turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, string beans, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Thanksgiving is all about plenty of choices and not enough room on the dinner plate to fit it all. As Americans, we eat more on this day than any other day of the year.

12 Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas For This Coming Holiday Season

The holidays are typically marked with all sorts of festive decorations, but perhaps none is more prominent and attention-grabbing than a Christmas Tree. When it comes to decorating your tree, you don't necessarily have to break out the same old decorations year after year.

Thinking of Selling Over the Holidays? Consider These Suggestions First

The months of November through to January are often thought of to be the worst time of year to sell simply because of the holidays that tend to take over. People are busy entertaining, visiting friends and family, and going away for the holidays, which is why sometimes it can be a bit tougher to sell compared to any other time of the year.

Tips on Making the Most of Your Fall Listing

We're officially smack dab in the middle of the fall season and are inching closer and closer to the holidays. While you're busy making your list of ingredients for your holiday dinner and running around picking up gifts for your loved ones, there are plenty of things that need to be done if you're planning to sell during this season.

Orange County Housing Report: Hot in November?!?

With such limited supply, this is the hottest November housing market in years. Hot November Housing: With an expected market time of just 61 days, the Orange County housing market is still firing on all cylinders.

INFOGRAPHIC: Home Selling Trends Across the U.S. in 2017

Thanks large in part to the lack of housing inventory in California, home prices have skyrocketed over the years. This puts home sellers in a great position to realize huge profits, especially if they've held onto their properties for a few years and allowed appreciated to boost value.

Using Houzz and Pinterest to For Your Next Home Improvement Project

Everyone's heard of Houzz and Pinterest, but these sites are a lot more than just a vast collection of online images. They also serve as fabulous resources for homeowners who need a little inspiration and help coming up with a solid plan for their next home improvement project.

Orange County Housing Report: Running Out of Time

Last Call for 2017: Four more weeks until the slowest season of the year starts for housing. Pass the turkey! It is right around the corner… cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn bread, glazed carrots, green beans, pumpkin pie, honey baked ham, and, of course, plenty of turkey.

INFOGRAPHIC: Top 11 Reasons Home Renovations Go Over Budget

Contractors provide homeowners with an estimate of cost for specific home renovation projects, but this number can easily be inflated when all is said and done. Here are the top reasons why renovations tend to go way over budget.

When is it a Good Time For a Cash-Out Refinance?

Many homeowners throughout the country have built up enough equity in their homes that can be pulled out and used for many of life's major expenses. Yet while there are various ways to get that money out, one popular way is through a cash-out refinance.

Why You Should Think About a Home's Resale Value When You're Buying it

When you're buying a new home, the last thing you're probably thinking about is selling it. But not only should you consider how well the home will suit your lifestyle, you should also be thinking about how easy it will be to sell at some point in the future and what its potential value will be.

Orange County Housing Report: “I’m Going to Wait to Buy”

There have not been enough homes on the market for over five years now. This trend has been reinforced in 2017 with 7% fewer FOR SALE signs compared to last year. Buyers have been tripping over each other in search of their piece of the “American Dream.” The lower the price range, the harder it has been to secure a home.

What Real Estate Investors Need to Know About the 1031 Exchanges

As a real estate investor, you're likely already aware of the tax implications of selling investment properties and the profits made from such transactions. Normally when an investment property is sold for more than what was paid for it, capital gains tax needs to be paid on the profit. This can take a huge chunk off of your bottom line, but there's this little thing called a 1031 exchange that can help keep some of that money back in your pocket.

INFOGRAPHIC: Top 20 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in California

While you would think most people in California drive to all their destinations, there are plenty of communities throughout the Golden State that have extremely high walkability scores, making it easy for residents to access all amenities with just an easy stroll.

Tips For Comparing Mortgage Loans With Different Lenders

When it comes to obtaining a mortgage for a home purchase, you don't necessarily have to use your everyday bank. Instead, you might be better off comparing mortgage packages with various lenders to see where you can get the best deal.

How to Finally Get Rid of PMI Insurance on Your Mortgage

If you took out a conventional mortgage, your monthly payment will consist of more than just principal and interest components. You'll also be stuck paying for PMI, or Private Mortgage Insurance, if you purchased your home with a down payment less than 20%.

6 Kitchen Design Trends Sellers Should Consider

No buyer is going to want to put up a huge sum of money to purchase a home that they don't like, unless they're specifically looking for a fixer-upper. If your goal as a seller is to sell your home as quickly as possible, your best bet is to prep it in such a way that buyers can't help but fall in love with your place. The more attracted buyers are to your home, the more likely they'll be enticed to put in a handsome offer.

INFOGRAPHIC: 14 Things To Do During Your Final Wall-Through

After offer acceptance, anything can happen during escrow, and you don't want to be stuck with issues that you didn't agree to adopt. Here are some critical things you should be doing during that extremely important final walk-through.

7 Quick Tips for Buying Your Second Home

Everyone needs a getaway every once in a while, and a change of scenery can be just what's needed to refresh and unwind. But sometimes having to book a hotel or chalet can be a bit of a challenge, especially during peak seasons when availability is scarce and prices are through the roof. In cases like these, having your own retreat that you can visit at the drop of a hat can be a lot more convenient.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For July 2017

The housing market in California got off to a slow start in home sales over the third quarter of 2017. Median prices also dipped in July from the month before, though they continue to grow year-over-year.

Orange County Housing Report: Home Supply Slicing Into Sales

Supply Cuts Pending Sales: The number of pending sales over the past month dropped by 7% due to a supply of homes that is now dropping as well. Homeowners have been behaving differently ever since the Great Recession began a decade ago. A trend evolved and it has not changed since 2008. That trend is a drought of homeowners opting to sell their homes. In fact, this year it has been even more pronounced.

How to Make Your Home More Pet Friendly

Pets are much more than just animals - they're part of the family and should enjoy your home just as much as you do. The thing is, pets can be messy, smelly, and can even cause damage to your home. Sometimes they may not even be comfortable or safe in your home if certain adjustments aren't made for your furry friend.

Negotiating Repair Requests From Sellers

Unless the home you're buying is fresh off the builder's hands, it's likely going to have some blemishes, no matter how minor they may be. Ideally, you should have included a home inspection contingency in your purchase agreement, which will give you the opportunity to have the home inspected in greater detail.

7 Myths Vs. Facts About Your Credit Score

If you're planning on applying for a conventional mortgage, you're going to need a decent credit score before applying. Generally speaking, anything over 620 is needed to get approved for a conventional mortgage, though a lower score is fine for other types of government-backed home loans.

INFOGRAPHIC: How is Your Credit Score Broken Down?

Your credit score plays a huge role in your eligibility to qualify for a mortgage. If you're planning to buy a home in the near future, you'd be well-advised to understand exactly how it's broken down.

Orange County Housing Report: A Blazing Hot Autumn

With an extremely low inventory and blistering demand, the Autumn Market is poised to be the hottest in years. A Hot Autumn: With 19% fewer FOR SALE signs this year compared to last, the Autumn Market is going to be hot.

What is Covered Under Home Warranty Plans?

Many purchases that you make come with the option to buy a warranty in the event that the product is damaged, such as small appliances and electronics. This helps cover the cost of repair should they break down so you're not paying out of pocket.

Tips to Identifying Issues That Sellers May Be Trying to Keep Hidden

When you're visiting several homes in search of the perfect one to put an offer on, you're not just looking at the layout, esthetics, and size of the home and surrounding property. While these components are certainly important, it's essential that you keep your eye out for potential issues with the home that could leave you with big, expensive problems on your hands.

10 Ways to Create an Extravagant-Looking Bathroom (On a Budget)

Flipping through home design magazines and catching a glimpse of some extravagant bathrooms can easily get you drooling over the possibilities for your own bathroom redesign. But with bathroom renovations easily tipping into the thousands, it can be tricky to revamp this important little space while sticking to your budget.

Tips to Counter a Lowball Offer on Your Home

As a seller, getting an offer on your home is exciting, especially if it comes soon after listing your property for sale. But just because there's an offer on the table doesn't necessarily means it's going to be a good one. Unfortunately, lowball offers happen, more often than sellers would prefer.

Orange County Housing Report: An Early 2017 Peak

The active inventory has been low for years, but this year it has been exceptionally low. The Orange County housing market has been frustrating buyers for years now and 2017 has proved to be especially frustrating. With 7% fewer FOR SALE signs this year compared to last year, there just have not been enough homes to satiate the voracious appetite of buyers.

How Do BPO's Determine the Value of a Home?

Plenty of factors impact the value of a property. From its location, to its size, and everything in between, a home's value is determined by a multitude of components, and bank appraisers will come up with this value according to current market conditions before a sale is made.

INFOGRAPHIC: This is Where All the Energy is Going in Your Home

Out of all the energy consumption in the U.S., about 40% is used by residential and commercial properties. More specifically, residences rank third highest in energy consumption in the country. Given these stats, what is all this energy going towards in the average American home?

10 Unique Materials to Use For Your Kitchen Backsplash

Today's modern kitchen backsplash is no longer limited to the traditional types of materials. These days, the options for backsplashes are seemingly endless and provide a plethora of choices for homeowners to create a truly unique kitchen space.

Orange County Housing Report: Inaccurate Measures

Buyers and sellers often rely on the price per square foot as a way to determine the value of a home, but it is just not accurate. Do not rely on the price per square foot as a reliable method to determine a home’s value.

Should You Buy a Starter Home or Wait to Buy Your "Forever" Home?

Given the prices of homes these days, it's no wonder many homebuyer hopefuls choose to get into the market by purchasing smaller, more modest homes that are on the affordable end of the spectrum. After a few years of building equity and allowing time to appreciate the value of the home, there will be a lot more capital available to put into purchasing a larger, more suitable "forever home."

6 Tips to Ensure a Prompt Closing

The entire homebuying process can take a long time. Imagine all the homes you have to look at before you find "the one." Even after you've negotiated a deal and your offer is accepted, there's still the escrow period to have to go through, which can be a lengthy process itself.

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Vacation Property

Having the flexibility to head over to your very own retreat without having to find availability is fantastic. It's like home away from home, a place that you can set up as you please and outfit with all the things you need when you're away from your primary residence.

Important Deadlines in Real Estate Contracts That Can't Be Missed

A real estate contract can be confusing for both buyers and sellers, especially for first-timers. Not only is there plenty of jargon that many may not be familiar with, there are also many deadlines stipulated that must be met. Failure for these deadlines to be satisfied can result in a dead deal, which is why it's essential that all necessary parties do their due diligence to meet these milestones.

7 Rookie Seller Mistakes That Can Prevent a Successful Sale

Your home is a huge investment, so you obviously want the sale to be as successful as it can be. Unfortunately, many newbie sellers can actually sabotage their own sales without even realizing it. If you want to give yourself the highest odds of selling your home quickly and for the highest sale price possible, make sure you avoid making these rookie home selling mistakes.

How the Mortgage Process Works When Buying a Home

When it comes to buying a home, a mortgage is almost always a part of the process. But as common as they are, mortgages can often be highly confusing. That said, it's in your best interests to become familiar with the mortgage process, regardless of whether you're a first-time buyer or have bought and sold many times in the past.

8 Tips For Selling a Unique Home

Selling a cookie-cutter house can be a challenge because you've got to go the extra mile to make it unique enough to stand out from the rest. But what about when your home is so unique and quirky that buyers find it downright strange?

6 Questions Every Buyer Should Ask the Seller Before Move-in Day

There are obviously plenty of questions that you should ask sellers before you even put in an offer on a home. This will help ensure that you're making a sound buying decision. After all, this is a huge investment that should only be done with due diligence.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For April 2017

After a strong first quarter in 2017 for sales in California, the second quarter started off a tad slow. While sales improved in higher-priced housing segments across the state, they slowed in lower-priced markets. Having said that, the median home price in California has been trending upward every year since March 2012 and is currently at its highest level in almost a decade.

Orange County Housing Report: Applying the Brakes

It is the season for commencement speeches, diplomas, and caps thrown into the air to mark the end of a chapter and the beginning of something new. Similarly, this is the season where the robust, hot Spring Market comes to an end, making way for a different market, a new chapter in local real estate, the Summer Market.

What's the Difference Between Market and Assessed Value?

If you're planning to sell your home some time soon, knowing its current market value is extremely important in order to price your home right. Of course, many sellers tend to believe that their homes are worth a lot more than what they really are. But it's not wise to establish a listing price based solely on what you might think your property is worth.

Buying a Home With a Pool? You Should Have it Inspected

A swimming pool is not exactly a foreign feature among homes. In fact, if you're looking to buy a home, the odds of finding one with a pool are pretty high, especially further south. And just like any other component in a home, they're subject to break down over time.

5 Savvy Tips to Packing Delicate Items When You Move

The odds of your most fragile belongings suffering damage during a big move are pretty high if the necessary precautions aren't taken into consideration. It's vital that you take the time to properly package and label your delicate items in order to make sure that they arrive to their final destination in one piece.

6 Signs Your HOA Might Be in Bad Shape

Condominium living might not be for everyone, but there are definite perks to them, including affordability, desirable location, and access to amenities. They're particularly well suited for those who like the idea of having someone else take care of many aspects of their property for them.

Myths Vs. Facts About Home Appraisals

Appraisals are almost always a part of a real estate transaction, but many buyers and sellers often have misconceptions about what they are and how they're carried out. Even those who have some experience buying and selling in the past may still be misinformed about appraisals.

10 Factors That Affect Your Home Appraisal

Before your lender approves your home loan, the property you agreed to purchase will need to be appraised first. Your lender will want to get an objective and professional assessment of the home's actual market value before matching that price with a home loan.

What Are Bridge Loans and How Do They Work?

If you’ve bought a new home that closes before your current home does, you may be stuck with the responsibility of paying for two homes for a brief period of time. As daunting as that might sound, you may be able to arrange for a bridge loan to help alleviate this financial burden.

How to Make Sure Your Home Sells Faster Than Others on the Block

Having the only home on the block that's up for sale means less competition for you. But what happens when one or more of the neighbors decide to follow suit and plant their own For Sale signs on their front lawns? How can you compete to make sure your home stands out from the crowd?

6 Reasons You Were Turned Down For a Mortgage

The prospect of buying a home is an exciting one, but a rejected mortgage application can put a damper on things. Instead of wallowing in despair, look at this situation as a learning experience. Find out why you were denied a mortgage, then take the steps required to make the necessary changes.

6 Questions to Ask Before Converting Your Attic Into a Usable Space

If adding some livable space in your home in on your agenda, then transforming your attic into a usable area may be just the ticket. Rather than going through the trouble of building a completely new addition to your home, converting your attic will likely take a lot less work.

5 Tips For Moving With Kids in Tow

Moving isn't exactly fun or easy, but this is even more true when you've got young children to contend with. It can be tough to have to deal with packing, purging, organizing, and all the other tasks that come with a big move while trying to entertain your kids and keep them out of everything you're trying to haul out.

INFOGRAPHIC: 12 Tips to Holding a Successful Estate Sale

Whether you’re moving out of your current home or are just looking to purge a bunch of stuff you no longer use, an estate sale can be a great way to clear out things you no longer use and even help you make a good chunk of change at the same time.

6 Signs Your Home is Listed Too High

As a seller, the first thing your should understand is that the price point you list your home at will determine how successful your sale will be.

What You Need to Know About Buying a Home on a Golf Course

Most people would automatically assume that a home located directly on a golf course would be worth much more than a similar home on a block that isn’t, and they'd be right most of the time. The idea of having crisp, clear views of pristine, meticulously maintained greenery is often enough to prompt buyers to up the ante in terms of offer prices.

How Smart Home Technology Affects the Real Estate Industry

When homeowners make improvements on their homes, it’s in their best interests to choose upgrades that will bring them the biggest ROI come sale time. Traditionally, a new coat of paint, a kitchen reface, and new hardwood flooring have been the frontrunners in this department.

6 Design Trends That Buyers Don’t Like

When it comes to selling your home, impressions matter. Ideally, you want buyers to be impressed with your home's look and functionality when they see its listing photos or attend a showing or open house. Your home should look its absolute best when it’s on the market in order to boost the odds of a quick sale at a decent sale price.

6 Mistakes Novice House Flippers Are Often Guilty of

When it comes to making some money with a fix and flip, every dollar spent counts. There just isn’t any room to make big mistakes or else your profits will quickly fizzle. But just like anything else in life, experience can teach you a great deal, including when it comes to fixing and flipping. The most successful house flippers in the world made their own mistakes that cost them thousands of dollars when they were just starting out.

Tax Blunders That First-Time Homeowners Make

When Uncle Sam comes knocking on your door, it can be pretty painful to have to part with some of your hard-earned money. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep some of that money in your pocket instead of handing it over to the IRS (the legal way), and your home can provide you with plenty of tax incentives. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t take full advantage of all of the tax incentives that come with owning property.

What Considerations Should Be Made When Adding a Skylight to Your Home?

Nothing beats natural light. A dark and dingy room can easily be light-filled by installing a skylight, if the space permits. Skylights offer a unique way to introduce more natural light into a home and bring the outdoors in. In fact, they can let in over three times as much natural light compared to conventional vertical windows of the same size, and distribute it more evenly.

What is an Exclusive Right to Sell Listing?

There are different types of listing agreements that sellers can choose from when it comes time to sell their homes. But the most popular type of listing by far is the “exclusive right to sell” listing. In fact, it’s not very often that another type of listing contract is used in real estate.

How Prorations Are Handled in Real Estate Transactions

It’s not uncommon for real estate contracts to include prorations for both buyers and sellers. Prorations exist to reasonably divide any expenses related to the property, including property taxes, HOA dues, mortgage interest, utilities, and so forth so that both parties are not stuck paying for more than their fair portion.

INFOGRAPHIC: 8 Habits to Improve Your Credit Rating

Having poor credit can make it tough for you to buy a car, get a small business loan, and be approved for a mortgage. If your credit is lagging, there are habits that you can adopt today to improve it.

Should You Purchase Extra Coverage on Mover’s Insurance?

Relocating can be stressful, especially when you consider the idea that total strangers are handling many of your delicate, valuable belongings. While movers are professionals in their particular trade and are well skilled and experienced in transporting goods during moves, anything can happen.

INFOGRAPHIC: Tips for Filing a Disaster Claim on Your Insurance

You pay for your homeowner’s insurance, but at no time do you ever want to have to file a claim as a result of a major disaster. If you find yourself in this position, make sure you keep the following tips in mind when putting in a claim with you insurance provider.

Solar Panels: Should You Lease or Buy?

Solar panel systems can offer a great way to scale back your utility bills while helping the environment at the same time. But their upfront costs can be pretty pricey: a typical four-kilowatt system for an average-size home in California can cost anywhere between $15,000 to $35,000. However, there are some rebates that you might be eligible for that can offset these costs.

What is Considered a Fixture in Real Estate?

The issue of what constitutes a ‘fixture’ in a home and what doesn’t has been the source of many conflicts in real estate. What the buyer might believe is a fixture and should come with the house might not be considered a fixture by the seller.

INFOGRAPHIC: C.A.R.’s End-of-Year December Sales and Price Stats

The housing market in California may have struggled as a result of a squeeze on inventory and affordability issues, but it ended off 2016 in a healthy position. Sales may not have been their strongest in December, but home prices remained high at the close of the year.

Sell or Rent Out Your Home? How to Decide

Whatever your reason may be for wanting to relocate, selling is typically on the agenda. However, you might not necessarily have to give up title to the property in favor of another home. While selling is certainly a popular and viable option, you may also want to consider the possibility of retaining ownership of the home and renting it out instead.

Buying New Construction? Why You Need an Agent to Help

It’s customary to call a real estate professional to help you when you’re on the prowl for a resale home, but what about if you’re interested in new construction? Isn’t it enough just to deal with the builder to choose a lot, select your home’s layout, and seal the deal? After all, you don’t have to deal with a seller or need a home inspection.

INFOGRAPHIC: Costs Involved in a Bathroom Remodel

Depending on the scope of your bathroom remodeling job, the costs can vary a great deal. A number of factors can affect the overall price, including the details of the job, the materials used, and even the area you live in.

What’s the Difference Between a Promissory Note and a Mortgage?

You’ve likely heard of a mortgage, but are you familiar with something called a “promissory note?” When you take out a home loan, not only will you need to sign a mortgage, you will also need to sign a document known as a promissory note. The question is, what exactly is this? Isn’t it really the same thing as a mortgage?

Common Restrictive Covenants in an HOA

If you’ve decided to buy a home in a planned community that’s governed by a homeowners' association (HOA), then you're probably already familiar with the fact that there are certain rules that need to be followed in order to live there.

What’s the Difference Between Staging Your Home and Decorating it?

When it comes to interior decorating and home staging, it all comes down to who you're trying to impress: yourself (the current homeowner) or the buyer (the future homeowner). When you’ve got your home on the market for sale, you need to create a space that speaks to the tastes, needs, and wants of prospective buyers that will be looking at it.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Things Sellers Should Know When Evaluating Offers in California

Getting offers on your home is very exciting and promising, and brings you one step closer to a done deal. But before you accept, you’ll need to analyze the offer in great detail in order to ensure you’re agreeing to something that meets your best interests. Here are 10 important things you should pay attention to when evaluating offers for your home.

9 Ways to Make Your Cookie-Cutter Home More Unique

Living in the suburbs offers plenty of benefits to homeowners, including more space, newer home features, and access to family-friendly amenities. But there are also some downsides, including the fact that many of the homes in these communities look almost identical to each other inside and out.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Fast Facts About Home Buying

Buying a home is a big deal, and can be pretty complex and overwhelming if you don’t team yourself up with a real estate professional. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t come out on the other side of a real estate transaction successfully.

7 Decor and Design Predictions For the New Year

2017 is here, and what better way to start the new year than to revamp your home’s interior. Whether subtle in nature or an all-out overhaul, there are plenty of fabulous new interior design trends on the horizon that you might want to consider implementing into your home.

The Process of Going From Putting an Offer to Closing Escrow

Buying a home is a big deal, and is typically an involved process, especially during the time between offer acceptance and the actual closing. “Escrow” is basically when a neutral third party holds on your earnest deposit until all contingencies are met in a real estate transaction.

6 Things to Consider When Designing an Outdoor Kitchen

Californians have the distinct advantage of being able to enjoy the outdoors year-round thanks to the mild climate in the state. Considering this fact, adding an outdoor kitchen can help homeowners maximize the enjoyment of their outdoor space.

7 Tips For Selling Your First Home

Regardless of how long you’ve lived in your first home, selling for the very first time can be a daunting task if it's not done right. While there are certain factors that you can’t do much about - such as the current market conditions and your location - there are plenty of other components to the selling process that you have total control over, which can significantly impact the end result.

How to Curb Condensation in Your Home’s Crawl Space

Even the slightest bit of condensation built up in your home’s crawlspace can wreak havoc on your enter home. Water that’s allowed to sit for extended periods of time can cause a whole slew of problems in your home, including musty smells, efflorescence (crystaline deposits), rotting material, mold, and a cracked foundation.

6 Things You Can’t Hide From Your Landlord

When you're renting your home, your landlord doesn’t need to know what brand your television is, what you stock your fridge with, or who you invite over for dinner; nor does your landlord particularly care.

What is a 'Broker' Open House, and Should You Hold One When Selling?

Everyone knows what an open house is. Sellers essentially give free reign to prospective buyers to meander through the home for a couple of hours to scope out the property and get a feel for whether or not they might be interested in further pursuing a potential offer.

How to Handle a Low-Ball Offer on Your Home

One of the biggest fears that sellers have is receiving an offer that’s well under the listing price. Homeowners typically have a dollar figure in their minds that they want to sell their properties for, and if an initial offer comes in well under that price, it’s obviously frustrating and even insulting.

Get Your Timing Right With Adjustable Mortgages

When it comes mortgages, you’ve got plenty of options, including an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). Their competitive interest rates attract plenty of homebuyers, but choosing an adjustable rate mortgage just because of its advertised rate isn't always a good idea if your specific financial situation doesn't call for it.

9 Savvy Tactics Home Stagers Use to Attract Buyers

It’s a fact: homes that are professionally staged sell faster and for more money than homes that are not. But why is that? What exactly are home stagers doing that can command such a result?

7 Best Small Cities in California to Live in

When people think of the Golden State, their thoughts likely head to popular centers, like Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Diego. While these are certainly amazing places to dwell, there’s something quite special about the smaller cities in California that offer residents a fantastic lifestyle surrounded by natural beauty, be it the mountains or the coastline.

The Dangers of Over-Improving Your Home

Sure, most homeowners want their home to be up-to-date and attractive, and often that means making some changes and improvements to it. But while many projects can have positive effects on the functionality of a home, its visual esthetics, and the overall value of the property, others, on the other hand, are just over-the-top, and can actually have a negative impact on how prospective buyers see your home.

Should You Put Hardwood Flooring in the Kitchen?

One of the fastest growing trends in kitchen designs is hardwood on the floors. Although tile has long been the most popular choice for practicality purposes, more and more homeowners are opting for hardwood instead.

INFOGRAPHIC: California’s Housing Market Forecast For 2017

The housing market in California has dipped somewhat in 2016 so far. However, it’s expected to experience a slight increase in 2017 along with continued housing affordability issues and inventory shortages, according to the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.).

Using Price-Per-Square-Foot Analysis to Price a Home

Listing your home at the right price is critical. Pricing too high or too low can keep your home on the market a lot longer than you’d like, and can even leave thousands of dollars on the table.

INFOGRAPHIC: Housing Affordability Stats in California

A continued increase in housing prices and lagging new home development in California have continued to make it more difficult for buyers to afford a home purchase. Lower mortgage interest rates were unable to balance out the seasonal increases in housing prices, further continuing the extended housing affordability crisis in the Golden State.

Selling? These Are Your Disclosure Obligations

If your home has a specific problem that could affect the enjoyment of the new homeowner or even lower the property’s value, you’ll need to disclose it. If you fail to do this and a major problem arises as a result of that particular issue after the buyer purchases and moves into the home, you could find yourself in legal hot water.

15 Moving Tips That Will Streamline the Whole Process

The thought of moving into a new home can quickly go from exciting to overwhelming when you think about all the stuff that needs to be hauled from one place to another. The moving process isn’t exactly a fun time, but there are some things you can do to make the process a lot easier and less stressful.

8 Interesting Ways to Landscape Your Yard With Bamboo

Bamboo has become one of the most popular “green” and environmentally-friendly materials used in many aspects of home construction and decor. This sustainable material is not only durable, it’s also attractive, and can be taken outdoors and incorporated into a wonderful landscape design.

Your 12-Month Checklist Before Buying a Home

Considering the magnitude of the purchase, buying a home requires a lot more than just scoping out a few listing on the internet, scheduling a couple of showings, and slipping in your offer. You’ll need to take your time on this one, and make sure you tick off a bunch of to-do’s before you dive into a home purchase.

Stats on California’s August Housing Market

The real estate market in California lost a bit of momentum in August as a result of continued issues with housing affordability and a shortage of inventory, according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR). While home sales have managed to stay over the 400,000 pace for five straight months, sales have decreased year-over-year for the sixth month in a row.

8 Essential Items Your Home Renovation Contract Should Include

It would be nice to be able to trust your contractor’s word when you’re having work done on your home, but a written contract really is the only way to go. Having everything in writing can ensure that every party involved fully and clearly understands what is expected of them. It keeps the job running smoothly and ensures that everyone agrees on what should be done and when.

6 Things Sellers Do That Kill Their Sales

How sellers handle the home selling process can heavily influence the journey as well as the end result. There are certain things that sellers can do that will speed up the sales process, and then there are other actions that can derail the entire deal.

Be Prepared For These Things When Gutting Your Home

The prospect of having a brand new interior is exciting. The things about your home that have been irking you can finally be changed and updated. With a little planning and budgeting, your dream home isn’t too far off.

5 Home Repair Requests That Turn Sellers Off

As a buyer, you’re spending big bucks on a home purchase, so you want to make sure you get everything you rightfully deserve. But the line between this and being greedy and unreasonable can sometimes be blurry. Asking for too much can turn sellers off and out you at risk of losing out on the house.

INFOGRAPHIC: Interesting Stats About Millennial Buyers

Millennials are currently the largest group of homebuyers out there, and have been for the third year in a row. Making up 35% of the home buying demographic in the US, Generation Y buyers make up more than younger and older baby boomers combined.

Home Remodeling Projects: How Much Do They Really Cost?

When it comes to homes, styles change and features come more innovative. So it’s pretty unlikely that whatever state your home is in now will be up to snuff in a decade or so. At that point (or probably sooner), you’ll be looking to update the finishes or improve the functionality of your space. The thing is, these kinds of tasks costs money, and budget always rears its ugly head when the need for a big revamp in a home is called for.

6 Reasons Your Home Isn’t Selling

Has your home been on the market for a while and hasn’t attracted a serious buyer? There could be any number of reasons for that. In the meantime, you’re wasting time and money carrying the home while the listing continues to become increasingly stale by the day.

Rent or Buy? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself

When it’s time to move, you may be faced with the decision to either buy or rent. This conundrum isn’t just reserved for young adults moving out of their parents’ homes, but also to empty nesters or professionals who are relocating for a new job opportunity.

No Credit? How to Build it From the Ground Up

Having poor credit isn’t a good thing, but neither is having no credit at all. Getting approved for a mortgage - or any other type of loan, for that matter - is pretty much an impossible feat if the lender has nothing to go on. How will your lender know if you'll be good for the money if you don't have a history of responsible repayment? While you may be avoiding debt like the plague, you’re also failing to build up any sort of credit whatsoever.

Buying a Model Home: Good or Bad Idea?

Home builders know how to wow potential buyers. When developing brand new subdivision, the home they put on show is loaded from top to bottom with all the bells and whistles. The coveted model home not only helps entice buyers into purchasing a home, but also to dish out more money for upgrades.

Top Things Buyers and Sellers Want From Their Real Estate Agents

Buyers and sellers tend to have a long list of demands when it comes to real estate transactions, and so they should. After all, the buying and selling process can be pretty complex, so anything that can streamline the process would be welcomed. The way real estate agents conduct themselves and handle situations can make a huge difference between a smooth transaction and a frustrating one.

How is Big Data Changing the Real Estate Industry?

Every industry - including real estate - can benefit immensely from big data. These massive data sets have long been used in the financial and healthcare industries with great success, providing invaluable information about human behavior and interactions, as well as critical patterns and trends among consumers.

How to Restructure Your Mortgage to Save a Ton of Money

Whether you’re having trouble making your mortgage payments each month, are looking to free up a little more cash to put it towards something else, or want to save money in interest over the life of your loan, there are ways to lower your monthly mortgage payments.

First-Timer Mortgage Mistakes to Avoid

The majority of Americans out there who are buying homes will have to assume a huge debt in the form of a mortgage. Considering the magnitude of this type of loan, you definitely want to make sure you’re making the best decision before you take it on.

California Commercial Property Boom Showing Signs of Cooling Off

The commercial real estate market in California has been a strong one over the recent past thanks to job and income growth, affordable financing rates, and limited building construction. In fact, the values of commercial real estate are more than double what they were back in 2009 following the financial crisis.

Ways to Prevent Going Over-Budget on a Remodel

There’s no one easy equation to use to determine exactly how much a home renovation will cost. You can’t just multiply a specific unit price and multiply it by the square footage of the area you plan to remodel.

10 Natural Remedies to Keep Bugs and Pests Away From Your Home

Summer is typically a time for holidays, backyard BBQ’s, pool time, and just lounging on your deck. But it’s also a time when the bugs like to come out and play, at the expense of your outdoor enjoyment. If all you’re doing is swatting and shooing, it's time to do something about the problem.

How Using a Licensed Real Estate Agent Can Legally Protect You

No matter which side of the real estate coin you happen to be on, it’s worth it to have a licensed real estate agent represent you. Buying and selling come with their own set of challenges, which can leave you vulnerable to liability should you make the wrong move. A realtor will make sure you’re protected at all times.

Clever Tips to Stage & Sell Your Home When You Have Small Kids

Keeping your home in pristine condition while it’s on the market is one of the biggest challenges that most sellers face. It can be tough to continue to live your daily lives while trying to make your home look like nobody’s been living in it.

5 Extra Costs When Buying a New Construction Home

Buying a house is an expensive endeavor, obviously. But when it comes to big a completely new home from a builder, there are plenty more costs that you’ll be responsible for that you wouldn’t necessarily have to cover with a resale.

6 Tips For Finding the Right Interior Designer For Your Home

Your home may have reflected your style a few years back - but today, not so much. Now you suddenly realize that your puffy sofa looks crammed in your living space, or that flower-ridden wallpaper looks a tad on the tacky side.

What Do Your Property Taxes Dollars Go Towards?

If you’re like many other property owners, you likely cringe when you get your property tax assessment in the mail. But as annoying as it may be to have to open your wallet to pay these pesky taxes, they do actually serve an important purpose.

INFOGRAPHIC: 9 Ideas For Low-Maintenance Landscaping

When it comes to your landscaping, you want to be able to spend more time enjoying it and less time slaving over it. But it all comes down to careful planning and designing, and what you choose to include in your garden.

Baby Boomers: Just As Likely to Upsize as Downsize?

Baby boomers who are approaching or have already entered their retirement years have traditionally been known to downsize. Not having as much property to take care of and minimizing the number of stairs that have to be climbed are generally the traits that tend to change once the Golden Years arrive.

5 Reasons to Relocate to California

No other state in the US is more mesmerizing and dream-catching than the coveted state of California. Sunny days, yummy foods, a diverse culture, and a laid-back lifestyle make California the land of opportunity.

6 Ways to Increase Natural Light in Your Home

Who doesn’t love a bright, light-filled space to call home? Not only does natural light open up a space and make it seem larger, it’s also good for the mood. If it feels as though you live in a dungeon, it’s time to let some natural light in.

Common Building Code Violations: Is Your Home Up to Snuff?

Building codes might seem like a nuisance for homeowners, but they’re there for a reason: safety. Many homeowners might not be aware of the building codes they need to follow, which not only puts them at risk for paying fines, but also makes them vulnerable to injury and even death.

Buyer’s Guide to Jumbo Mortgages

If you’re planning on purchasing a high-priced home and leveraging the majority of the money to pay for it, you’ll likely need a jumbo mortgage. Almost 90% of mortgages are backed by either one of two major government-sponsored enterprises: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Part of the remaining 10% are considered jumbo mortgages, a home loan option for expensive homes that approach the $1 million mark and beyond.

What You Should Know About Having a Co-Signer on Your Mortgage

Bad credit. Insufficient income. Inadequate down payment. These reasons - and many more - can stand in the way of getting approved for a conventional home loan. Many would-be homeowners often turn to others as co-signers in order to get approved for the mortgage they so desire.

6 Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector

It’s a no-brainer: there are very few instances where you wouldn’t insert a home inspection clause in a contract to purchase a home. A property may look flawless on the surface, but you just never know what’s lurking in the attic or in the electrical panel. The best way to protect yourself from a potential money pit is to hire a home inspector to take an in-depth look at the property in question before you seal the deal.

Why Did My Mortgage Payments Increase?

Just because you’ve locked into a fixed-rate mortgage doesn’t mean your mortgage payments won’t change some time in the future. This can come as an unpleasant surprise, especially when you’re trying to manage a budget. If you’ve allocated a specific chunk of your income to your mortgage, your budget can be thrown for a loop when these payments increase.

California Suburbs Expanding, But Supply is Still Tight

Population growth continues to swell in many centers across the state of California, and while the big cities have typically been the focus of major population growth, this trend is now expanding to surrounding suburbs.

Can the Presidential Election Affect the Housing Market?

The current presidential election is definitely an interesting one, capturing the attention of not just Americans, but people across the globe. We’re still quite a ways away from November when the 58th Presidential Election Day takes place on the 8th, which means things are only going to get even more heated.

Silicon Valley Housing Market Finally Cools Off After Extended Price Climbs

Are we finally seeing a slowdown in the Silicon Valley housing market? Data seems to suggest so. After record-breaking price climbs in the luxury housing market over the past few years, it looks like the tech-rich strip in the Golden State is finally entering a cooling off period. Homes over the $5 million mark took an average of 16 days to sell in April, compared to 11 and 10 days during the same months in 2015 and 2014, respectively.

7 Tips to Taking Better Photos For Your Listing

The first thing prospective buyers will see before they visit your home is its photos. Most buyers start off their house hunt by browsing online photos of listings. If yours are dark, blurry, or don’t capture your home in its best light, buyers will just move on to the next listing with images that are a lot more pleasing to the eye.

Buyers: 6 Things to Know About the New "Know Before You Owe" Rule

If you’ve ever bought a home in the past, you’ve likely experienced some level of confusion over the cumbersome mortgage documents that came along with the transaction. Going through this paperwork can be like reading a foreign language. Many buyers have complained about confusing terminology, inconsistencies in information, and inadequate time to go through and understand the mortgage documents before signing on the dotted line.

INFOGRAPHIC: Exterior Upgrades That Can Boost Your Property Value

Many sellers tend to focus on the interior of their homes to impress buyers, which is great. But while this is an excellent idea to help boost property value - and thereby help sell your home faster and for more money - it’s important not to gloss over the exterior.

INFOGRAPHIC: 18 Curb Appeal Ideas to Help Attract Prospective Buyers

The first thing that prospective homebuyers see when they visit your home is the exterior. From the lawn, to the bushes, to the walkways, and finally to the front door, all these components make up the ‘curb appeal’ of your home, which you want to be certain is nothing short of impressive. Some buyers can be so turned off by the front lawn of a home that they don’t even bother checking out what’s behind the front door.

6 Trends Fueling the Current Real Estate Market

Spring has notoriously been prime time for the real estate market, and in certain centers, it’s been a particularly heated one for a while now. With an improvement in the labor market over recent months already playing its part in driving the housing market, experts believe many other trends will add fuel to the fire.

8 Tips For Baby Proofing Your Home

One minute your little one is depending on you to flip her on her belly, and the next minute she’s crawling out of her crib. Babies can quickly become mobile in the blink of an eye, so it’s best to be prepared before they let their curiosity compromise their safety.

Understand Your Easement Rights on Your Property

Just because your name is on title of the new home you’ve purchased doesn’t necessarily mean that no one else has any legal right to a portion of your lot. It’s called an easement, and it can give your neighbors and other entities a right to access a certain part of your land in some circumstances.

How to Make Your Garden More Eco Friendly

The truth is, there are plenty of ways that a garden can be both wasteful and even harmful. From the pesticides that can be used to all the water spent keeping plants hydrated, some gardens can use a total revamp when it comes to being more friendly to the environment.

5 Things Your Neighbor’s Home Sale Can Tell You

The truth is, there’s a lot that you can learn from the sale of homes on the block. Regardless of where you live and the market in your area, similar homes that have recently sold in your neighborhood can provide you with a wealth of information that can come in really handy when you list your home for sale.

How Reverse Mortgages Can Help Retirees Short on Cash

Saving up for retirement is something that everyone should start working towards the moment they enter the workforce. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Life can throw curveballs at us, from unexpected medical emergencies to a sudden job loss. And with so many baby boomers reaching retirement age over the recent past and into the foreseeable future, there’s great concern that many of them won’t be able to live comfortably throughout retirement, or even meet basic needs.

Solar is the Way to Go in Sunny California

Solar energy isn’t exactly new. It’s been around for years now, although it’s only starting to pick up steam as more and more homeowners figure out the potential cost savings in utility bills, not to mention their reduced carbon footprint.

Sunny Southern States Experiencing Rapid Population Growth

Florida, Texas and California made up 27 percent of the population in 2015, yet were responsible for 48 percent of the population growth in the country from 2014 and 2015. Compared to the average population growth in the US since 2010, Texas experienced a 9.2 percent growth in population during that same time period, and Florida and California saw a growth rate of 7.8 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.

INFOGRAPHIC: 8 Signs of a Competitive Housing Market

Sellers revel when buyers are competing for their properties, but buyers themselves can often get disgruntled when they’re snuffed out of offer after offer. Landing the right home isn’t impossible during a competitive real estate market, however, as long as you’re aware of the circumstances you’re dealing with and come to the table prepared.

Home Equity Loans 101: An Introductory Guide

Whether you need to pay for your child’s college education, a major home renovation, or an emergency medical expense, scraping the necessary funds together can be tough, but necessary. But if you currently own a home that you’ve been regularly putting money into via mortgage payments, you just might be able to tap into your home’s equity as a source to fund these major expenses.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Tips to Saving Up For a Down Payment

Even with a down payment as low as 3.5%, it can seem nearly impossible to scrape together thousands of dollars to put words a home purchase. It’s usually the down payment that stands in the way of many homebuyer-hopefuls’ dreams of being able to secure a mortgage. And when you factor in rent, credit card payments, student loans, and living expenses, saving up for a down payment can be even more of a challenge.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Things All First-Time Homebuyers Should Know

Buying your very first home is incredibly exciting, but it can also be pretty overwhelming, especially since the entire process is completely new. But despite your limited experience in the world of buying real estate, it’s critical that you make sure you are well-informed before making any decisions that could put you in a compromising position.

How Do You Know When a Building Permit is Necessary?

You know exactly what you want to do to improve your home: a kitchen renovation, a bathroom remodel, a finished basement . . . the list can go on. But having a vision and making it come to fruition isn’t as easy as hiring a contractor and picking out your finishes. There are plenty of steps - and obstacles - along the way, one of which is obtaining building permits.

INFOGRAPHIC: 11 Things to Ask Your Contractor Before the Renovations Start

Home renovations are no small feat, and can put a big dent in your bank account. Considering the huge expense, you want to be sure every dollar is spent wisely throughout the renovations. Knowing exactly what to expect before the project even begins will help prepare you for the project. And to make that happen, you should start off by asking your contractor a number of critical questions before the process starts.

5 Reasons to Beef Up Your Down Payment

Nowadays, there are options for homeowners to put a minimal down payment towards the purchase of a property. Amounts as little as 5%, 3.5%, and even zero percent have been pretty popular, particularly with first-timers who are trying to break into the housing market for the first time and don’t have the funds from a previous property to put towards another purchase. But while small down payments are definitely an option, they’re not the best choice if you want to be free of mortgage payments sooner rather than later.

Are Foreign Investors Upping the Competition With American Buyers?

Not only is there a serious lack of inventory in many parts of the US, there’s also a housing affordability issue at play. And depending on where you live, both of these matters combined spell trouble for the average American who is looking to get into the real estate market but can’t find the right property at the right price. How much do foreign investors have to do with this scenario?

'Micro' Apartments - the Newest Trend in Housing Across the US

Picture yourself living in a 300 square-foot minuscule apartment, and paying the same rent price as you would for a place three times the size. That’s exactly what an increasing number of renters are doing these days just to be able to claim zip code in some of the country’s most expensive places to live.

What’s Driving California Housing Prices Up?

Housing prices in California have long been higher than most other states in the US, and the gap just seems to be getting bigger. Unfortunately, that's driving many blue-collar and middle-class residents out of the state.

What’s the Difference Between a Mortgage Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval?

Real estate agents will often recommend that their clients get pre-approved for a mortgage before embarking on a home search. It gives buyers a better idea of how much they can comfortably afford, and gives sellers the peace of mind knowing that there’s a good chance that the buyers will be capable of obtaining financing for a streamlined deal.

Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off or Keep Refinancing?

Taking out a mortgage typically means making regular payments until the loan is paid off. But while this may have been the traditional way of looking at mortgages, many homeowners these days are choosing to keep their mortgages by refinancing to take advantage of certain benefits, such as getting a lower interest rate, using the equity to invest, consolidating debt, or taking advantage of tax deductions.

INFOGRAPHIC: How Did California’s 2015 Housing Market Stack Up Against 2014?

California’s housing market has been through an extended period of tight inventory, high prices, and mediocre housing affordability. But the numbers are teetering in our favor, no matter how gradual and slow the improvement. All in all, the overall housing market in California improved in 2015 from 2014 with sales increasing, affordability improving, and foreclosures on the decline.

Infographic: Baby Boomers & The Real Estate Market

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Millennials get all the press these days, but Baby Boomers still have a larger impact on the real estate market than any other demographic. This excellent infographic sheds light on this generation’s ongoing influence over the housing market.