The Great Recession’s Legacy

Are you in the market to purchase? Do the current market prices scare you? Have you thought about holding off to purchase a home in hopes that the market will correct itself? You’re not alone. In speaking with hundreds of homebuyers over the past few years, this is a common theme amongst would-be homebuyers. For some, the remnants of the 2007 financial crisis linger in their minds, and the fear of buying at the top of the market still haunts them today.

Those thoughts may have kept some from taking part in the recent 11% of appreciation nationwide that took place year-over-year from 2020-2021. Those who bought homes, were able to see their equity increase, providing financial stability, and the comfort in knowing that they are not going be priced out of the market if inflation takes hold of the economy, which it seems to be doing. Rates are at historical lows, so the cost of money is cheap, with rates still at historical lows, and this offsets some of the burden that comes with higher prices. The fear that comes from not knowing where the market is headed, and the fear of buying at the top of the market before it may correct itself can ultimately develop into a paralysis for some. This keeps them on the sidelines even though they have all the reason to buy a home and get back into the game of homeownership.

For those worried about a correction. Let’s take some time to think through a few questions. What if the market does correct itself and we see a tremendous fall in prices? What would that look like? What could cause the next Great Recession? Will it be a student loan debt crisis, a war with China, extreme inflation and the ensuing market crash that comes from a hyper-inflation economy? Well, if I (or anyone for that matter) had a crystal ball, I would tell you exactly what it would be. But, unfortunately, I do not. What I can say is if you buy a home and are confident that you have budgeted properly for it, are confident in your current job, and the stability of that job during a recession, then you can allow yourself to feel more confident in the pursuit of homeownership. If you answer no, to those questions, you may want to rethink it.

You must ask yourself; Can I truly afford the home I would like to buy? What I’m asking here is do you have enough money to afford the payments each month, or are you stretching past your comfort zone? Think long and hard about that question, and furthermore follow it up with, what other monthly obligations do I have to pay each month to support my lifestyle, family or both? Some buy too much home, and they are strapped for cash afterwards. This works for some, and not for others, so give that some serious thought because if you do buy a home, and you experience cash flow problems that you cannot overcome, you run the risk for foreclosing or short-selling your home, which has a huge negative affect on your credit. Sometimes it may be worth it to wait until you are making more income or have a larger down payment to put down on the purchase of a home to alleviate potential cash flow problems.

The market has been on an upward trajectory and some economists think this run that we’ve experienced for the last few years is going to continue for a few more. Don’t take this as the end-all be-all statement in deciding whether you buy a home. You need to be ready for homeownership first, and then try and navigate the market. It’s not the other way around. Real estate will be there when you are ready. If you are not ready now, then you should wait. Don’t get caught up in the pressure to buy for fear of missing out. This is what a lot of people did during the run up to the financial crisis, and as a result, when the market turned, they were stuck in a lose-lose position and forced to let go of their underwater homes because they couldn’t afford the payments. Every potential homeowner should ask the difficult questions up front, so they don’t run the risk during this real estate cycle.

How to Make Your Investment Property More Inviting to Renters

Rental vacancies and tenant turnovers cost investment property owners a lot of money. To ensure your investment is a success, you need to take steps to appeal to renters and keep them happy. One simple way to maximize the income potential of your rental home is to make some design upgrades. Here are some simple ways to appeal to your renters.

Hire a Property Manager

Before you start making changes to your home, consider hiring a property manager. These professionals can reduce a lot of the stress that comes with being a landlord. A good property manager will know what to do to make your home more attractive to the tenants you want living there. A strong property manager will also screen your tenants, collect rent, and coordinate maintenance to protect your investment.

Protect Your Investment

You already know that diving into the world of investment property is a great way to generate income, but you want to make sure to protect your investment. This starts with securing landlord insurance, which will cover the entire property in the event that something happens. In addition to insurance, it’s wise to formalize yourself as a business with the state and apply for LLC (limited liability company) registration. An LLC offers you personal asset protection in the event of a dispute with a tenant or neighbor, as well as tax advantages

Brighten Up with Paint

Paint is the cheapest way to quickly transform the appearance of a home. Take advantage of certain paint colors and finishes to make your rooms appear brighter. Choose paint with an eggshell or satin finish — these reflect light back into the room instead of absorbing it. Use paint to highlight special features of the home inside and out, such as trim, paneling, or built-in bookcases. When it comes to color, opt for something neutral that will please anyone. Cream, beige, and gray are always safe options. This neutral style should translate to other décor features of your home, like window dressings and countertops.

Invest in Minor Landscaping

The exterior of your property is the first thing that potential renters see when they come for a visit. If the front yard appears neglected, tenants may think that the rest of the home has been neglected as well. Tackle some light landscaping yourself or hire a professional to get your yard in shape. Some important tasks to take care of include mowing and edging the lawn, spreading fresh mulch on flowerbeds, and trimming overgrown shrubs. If your property doesn’t have a yard, you can still update the front entrance with new lighting and a few potted plants.

Replace Carpet with Low-Maintenance Floors

Carpets can hold onto stains and odors forever. Instead, consider installing some low-maintenance floors. Hard floors stand up to wear and tear much better than carpets, so you won’t have to replace them as often. Plus, tenants will appreciate that they’re much easier to clean. Luxury vinyl is another excellent option for rentals because it’s highly resistant to damage from foot traffic and moisture.

Update the Kitchen and Bathrooms

If your rental’s kitchen and bathroom appear outdated or unclean, it’s time for an upgrade. Fortunately, updating these rooms doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. In the kitchen, replacing the faucet, cabinet hardware, and light fixtures may be all you need. Both rooms will also benefit from a fresh coat of paint. If you need to replace your countertops, go with granite or laminate. Granite countertops are both appealing and extremely durable, and they’re much more affordable than they used to be.

Add Extra Amenities

Special amenities like air conditioning, in-suite laundry, and extra on-site storage are always appreciated by tenants. For some tenants, these features are a bonus; for others, like families with young children, they’re a necessity. Make sure you know what kind of tenants you intend to attract to your rental before investing in amenities. If you have a three-bedroom house near a school, you’ll need to invest in some family-friendly home features.

Owning a rental property requires a lot of hard work. Some investors may be lucky enough to put their property on the market and find great tenants right away, but most will have to make a few changes to attract renters. As you’re planning your upgrades, think about the features you would want to see. This can help you design a house that’s inviting to your ideal tenants.

8 House Staging Tips for Busy Parents

The realization that you need to stage your home can be a tough one for parents. It is a challenge keeping a house pristine and clutter-free for a few hours, let alone several weeks. However, staging a house with kids does not have to be a logistical nightmare. All it takes is some patience and organization.

Hire A Pro

This is not in everyone’s budget, but if you are willing to spend the money and you really do not have any idea where to start with staging, you can hire a professional. This does not come cheap – the national average cost is $959 – but it does remove a lot of the pressure and guarantees that your home is picture-perfect for buyers.

Embrace Minimalism

You are going to have to clear out a lot of clutter to stage your home, but do not be tempted to just pack it all up without going through it. This is an opportunity for you to declutter and simplify your life, so embrace this part of the staging process.

Adults may be more onboard with the idea of “purging” stuff than kids, so you might need a strategy to get them to embrace toy minimalism. Zen Habits has a great list of tips for doing this.

Compromise With Your Children

Moving can be hard for kids, so it is important for parents to learn to compromise. Is your child upset that you want to repaint their bedroom walls a neutral white? Agree to let them choose whatever color they want in the next room. You may also want to take some steps to make the move easier on them, like making a memory scrapbook of the house or visiting their favorite neighborhood spots.

Take The Kids Out

An easy way to minimize the amount of mess the children make is to keep them outside of the house. Organize fun family activities on weekends, or if it is summer, just encourage them to play in the yard. Your family outings do not have to be expensive or exhausting.  There are plenty of fun and free activities that can keep the kids out of the house, such as going to a library or finding a new playpark.

Give Out Chores

Include your kids in the maintenance process. Keeping the house clean during the weeks when it is being viewed is going to be a big undertaking, and it should not be up to you alone. Create a chore chart and assign responsibilities to each child, even if it is just keeping their room tidy. If you are not sure about what jobs you can give them, this age-appropriate chore chart by Molly Maid can help.

Become A Stain Expert

Kids make messes. As a parent, you have probably come to accept this. However, buyers may not feel the same way, and you need to be able to tackle that grape juice stain on the carpet or the crayon marks on the sofa. Learn to get rid of any stain, from baby food to permanent marker, using a small selection of basic household cleaners.   

Master The Art Of The Quick Clean

Last-minute viewings do happen, so have a strategy in place for getting the house ready in a moment’s notice. Your last-minute cleaning list should include picking up everything off the floor, sweeping and vacuuming highly visible areas, making the bed, wiping down the kitchen, and taking out the trash.

Don’t Forget Curb Appeal

Don’t underestimate the value of a nice-looking front yard. Good landscaping can add anywhere between 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent to your sale price, so it literally pays not to neglect it. Parents can start by clearing the front yard of any children’s toys, old bikes, and other outdoor clutter. Then, rope in your kids for a gardening session, planting a couple of flower beds for a touch of color.

Remember that the more you commit to home staging, the more likely you are to sell your home quickly. It is a bit of effort, but ultimately you are better off working to keep a staged home for a few weeks than to keep waiting for a buyer for several months. Besides, there are worse things than living in a clean and clutter-free home.

Move like a Pro

Moving to a new home, no matter how close or far, is always a stressful experience, regardless of how many times you’ve been through it. There’s so much planning to do that it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Then there’s the unknown, the fear that something will go wrong, belongings will be lost or broken, or you won’t have enough help to get through it all. In most cases, it’s probably best to go with a professional mover unless you happen to have your own moving truck and lots of sturdy moving equipment. There are just too many advantages to letting the pros handle it. You’ll have more than enough to contend with, given all the cleaning, packing, decluttering, and final logistical arrangements to be made.


Some people prefer to box everything up themselves, either because they feel safer handling their own belongings or because they’re trying to save money. In general, when amateurs pack their own stuff, they wind up overspending and making inefficient use of boxes and packing material. Movers have both the training and experience to pack quickly and make the most efficient use of space. Movers can handle a packing job in a few days, while you could end up taking weeks to get it all packed up and ready to go.

In Good Hands

Professional movers are also well-practiced at safeguarding customers’ precious and fragile items with heavy-duty wrapping material and packing tape. That means not only packaging but loading and unloading them safely come moving day, which means they probably can handle it more safely and effectively than you could. In case you’re still iffy about the idea of your Tiffany lamps and antique mirrors being handled by rough hands and muscular arms, bear in mind that all of your belongings are insured.

 Tools of the Trade

Moving is about more than boxing, packing, and loading/unloading. You need the tools of the trade to make everything go smoothly. That means two-wheel and four-wheel dollies (which you can buy on Amazon for $39.99), as well as sturdy metal ramps and hoisting straps. The better the tools, the better the move will go. If you’d rather not purchase the tools needed to facilitate the move, look for a moving company that offers everything for one inclusive price.


In general, moving companies provide estimates based on mileage or the nature of the moving service being provided (for example, if it includes storage as well as moving). Obviously, a local crosstown move will produce a lower estimate than if you’re heading out of state. Shop around, and always meet with a representative who knows what services will be required and what they’ll cost before signing on the dotted line. In Irvine, you’ll likely pay $69 to $120 per hour for two movers after a two-hour period.

Storage Facilities

A long-distance move usually requires special services and considerations. For example, if you arrive at your destination later than expected and, for some reason, you can’t get into the house or apartment, the moving company will store your belongings in a special storage space for the short or long term. That way, you don’t have to worry about your stuff sitting in the back of a truck or getting broken into. 

Packing up everything you own, loading it, and hauling it to a new and unfamiliar area is enough to give most people butterflies in their stomachs. If you have an entire household to move, lack equipment, and don’t have time to handle it all yourself, a professional moving company is a more convenient option than risking going it alone. Plan ahead so you have time to get enough estimates.

How You Can Adapt to Handle Big Repairs

Being a homeowner is something many people aspire to, yet it comes with its own unique set of responsibilities and hazards. You have to factor in major repairs as well, which can quickly escalate into the thousands of dollars, so you must be prepared should the worst happen.

Rainy Day Funds

When you rent, the property owner is the one responsible for all repairs, both large and small. That means when you own a home, the burden falls upon you to handle these repairs. If you don’t have a rainy day fund, and you need major work done to your roof because of a catastrophe or lack of maintenance, you may be out between $4,900 and $14,100 for a replacement. Depending on the material of your roof, you should expect replacements every seven to 30 years, on average. If you have an aging home, it may be sneaking up on you, especially if you notice any visible damage. You should start saving with each paycheck to ensure you can afford whatever repairs and replacements fall into your lap.

Home Insurance

Most mortgages will require you to purchase homeowners insurance, but you must establish what your policy offers and what you will be liable for. The three main types are dwelling coverage, contents coverage, and personal liability. Dwelling protects the property itself but isn’t totally inclusive, whereas contents will cover what you put inside, such as furniture and electronics. Personal liability will handle any bodily injury suffered due to accidents. Yet, depending on your state, you may not have the coverage to ensure your home is protected. This is another reason why you need an emergency fund.

FAIR Plans

FAIR plans were created by the government but are managed by home insurance companies. These plans provide coverage for people living in areas like California and Florida that might otherwise be impossible to insure. They are pricey, however, but they can be worth it should a natural disaster strike. What’s more, this coverage may be required for your mortgage. However, you cannot get one because you live in a dangerous area; you will have to take the proper steps to mitigate the chances of experiencing a disaster.

Invest in Warranties

One way to save money and protect your assets is to get home warranties when they are offered. If the boiler that comes with the home has one in place, it is wise to extend it once it expires so you do not need to spend thousands for a replacement should something go wrong. This applies to all large appliances and electronics, but doubly so for ones that are essential to your household, such as boilers and water heaters. By adding warranties or extending existing ones, your savings and credit remain safer and intact.

Pick Your Contractor

Part of mitigating the price of repairs is finding a suitable contractor for the job. Do thorough research before you choose someone, and it benefits you to know what, exactly, you want done to avoid additional charges. Whomever you choose should be fully licensed and be willing to work out a payment schedule with you if costs escalate. Always get multiple bids, and do not simply go with the lowest, as they may not give you the quality that will last. Instead, look at reviews and use word of mouth to find reputable workers. Lastly, never go with a contractor who pressures you to get things done immediately or demands a cash deposit. Those are signs that they are not reliable; instead, they are probably looking for a quick buck.

Owning our very own property is a dream come true. However, that dream can cost us a fortune if we don’t plan and prepare for pricey repairs. Save up, get the right policies, and know how to find a good contractor to ease your mind, and let you enjoy this wonderful occasion.

Orange County Gems

Owning property in California?s premier Orange County
neighborhoods is a dream for many homebuyers. Here quality of life abounds with
never ending days filled with sunshine, outdoor activities that promote a
healthy lifestyle, and the magic of the original Disneyland right around the
corner. Whether you are looking for the perfect starter home in Tustin or a
breathtaking Newport Beach coastal villa, Orange County has what you need.

Toast of the Town in Shady

Rows of luxury homes are speckled across carefully
maintained greenery and private golf clubs behind Shady Canyon?s gated
entrance. This Irvine neighborhood, boasting 16,000 acres of wildlife
sanctuary, is as exclusive as they come. If a private elevator, covetable lawn,
and access to all the top notch amenities of a gated community are what you
seek, consider investing your future in Shady Canyon.

Living Large in Westpark

With a nationally recognized award-winning school
system, Westpark is the ideal place in Irvine for a family to settle down and
start fresh. Bill
Barber Community Park
, a 42-acre recreational area, is a local
gathering point that features tennis courts, an amphitheater, and picnic
gardens among many other amenities for a healthy and active lifestyle.

Nearly Coastal in Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde is one of five unique neighborhoods located
in Costa Mesa, California. Just five miles away from Huntington State Beach.  The close proximity to Fairview Park and
Costa Mesa Golf Course makes this a popular area for families. 

Hip in the Westside

Slightly less expensive than its neighbor to the North,
Westside is an up and coming Costa Mesa neighborhood known for its trendy cafes
and warehouse turned art galleries enticing the younger home buyer. Head to the
Lab Anti Mall for a break from the old fashioned shopping centers of the 90s;
here patrons can stroll amongst unique shops and salons,
take a nap in a bean bag, or appreciate local artwork entwined with the outdoor
malls construction.

Budget Friendly in North Tustin

Just a thirty-minute drive from Irvine, the
neighborhood of North Tustin has all the small town charm with big city
conveniences. This District of Orange County is also nestled near freeways,
making transportation a breeze for residents on the go. Join in the active
outdoor lifestyle with theme parks and beaches right around the corner. Whether
you?re looking to purchase an affordable ranch style home, or splurge on a
redwood cabana with breathtaking views of nature at work, it?s a good time to
buy in North Tustin, with desirable homes selling for at or below list

Luxury Calling at Pelican Hill

The quiet gated community of Pelican Hill in Newport
Beach features a number of resorts and the ever so exclusive Pelican Hill Golf
. Owning a home in this area is akin to being on a permanent
vacation, with sweeping views of Newport Harbor and exquisite grounds with
sparkling fountains that radiate exuberance. The Mediterranean style shopping
center at Crystal Cove is outfitted with catered dining experiences and
boutiques stocked with the latest in fashion trends.  

Oceanside in Lido Isle

Originally, a sandbar off Newport?s coastline, Lido
Isle was developed into a man-made island in the early to mid-1900s. Now a
thriving community of 1800 residents with access to Lido Isle Clubhouse, a semi-private
boating and yacht cooperative, this posh Newport neighborhood is optimal for a
lover of the wide open ocean. A short drive over the island?s connecting bridge
will land you in Lido Village, a premier shopping and dining area with coastal
views. With tennis courts, yacht clubs, and sailing classes for children, this
neighborhood promotes a vibrant and active lifestyle.

Buying a Home Before Marriage? 3 Money Talks You Need to Have First

An increasing number of couples are signing mortgage contracts before they ever sign a marriage license. According to MarketWatch, the number of unmarried couples aged 24-35 buying homes rose 4 percent between 2005 and 2017. And while buying a home before marriage can work out, it?s more complicated than buying a house as a wedded couple.

Unmarried couples who don?t make the right financial considerations could find themselves arguing their way through the homebuying process or end up in financial trouble if the relationship ends due to separation or death. To protect their relationship and their finances, unmarried couples should ask these three questions before buying a home.

How is our credit?

Married couples are privy to their spouse?s financial information, but unmarried couples could unearth surprises when applying for a mortgage. Although unmarried couples complete separate mortgage applications, both partners? finances affect the mortgage size and rate they qualify for. If one partner is hiding a shoddy credit score or a pile of debt, it will come out during the mortgage application process when they can?t get a competitive loan or are denied entirely.

Couples should discuss their finances with complete transparency before pursuing a mortgage. When financial challenges are out in the open, couples can work together to resolve them and achieve their goal of homeownership.

What can we afford?

Agreeing on a budget before shopping saves couples a lot of disagreement. However, couples who use mortgage estimates on websites like Zillow and Trulia to set their budget aren?t getting the full picture of what a home costs.

Couples should include these expenses when calculating how much home they can afford:

  • Closing costs, typically three to five percent of the mortgage
  • Property taxes
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Primary mortgage insurance (PMI) if putting less than 20 percent down
  • Repairs and upkeep averaging one to two percent of the home?s value annually
  • Realtor commissions when selling, typically six percent
  • Homeowners association (HOA) fees.

Once couples understand what they?ll be spending each month, they need to decide how they?ll split the costs. Some couples contribute to the down payment and homeownership expenses equally, but many split costs proportionally based on each partner?s income. Again, this is a question to answer before getting financially entangled with a mortgage.

How will the title be held?

Married couples are joint owners in their home by default. Unmarried couples, however, must decide how they?ll hold title to the property.

One option is to have one person be the sole owner. However, the American Bar Association advises against sole ownership if both partners are contributing to the purchase and upkeep, as it leaves the non-owner with little recourse if the relationship ends or the sole owner dies. Many young couples also need both incomes to qualify for a mortgage.

Couples who intend to be co-owners of their home have two options for how they hold title:

  • Tenants in common: The property is owned by both parties according to percentages of ownership. Upon sale of the home, each person receives that percentage as their share of the proceeds. If one person dies, their share is passed to heirs.
  • Joint tenants with rights of survivorship: The property is owned by both parties in equal proportion. If one person dies, their share in the property passes to the other partner.

Joint tenants with rights of survivorship is usually the preferred option for committed couples. However, couples who prefer to leave their estate to a child or other heir may choose to be tenants in common.

There?s a lot to consider when buying a house with a romantic partner, from the size and style of your future home to the neighborhood where you want to live. However, the most important questions couples need to ask are the financial ones. That?s especially true when buying as an unmarried couple, as unwed couples don?t have the same legal protections as spouses. By addressing these questions before buying, unmarried couples can achieve their dream of homeownership together.

Technology?s Ever-Increasing Role in Real Estate

In years past, prospective homebuyers would scour newspapers for listings, drive through their dream neighborhoods looking for sale signs, and spend entire weekends touring homes listed for sale. Their real estate agents would assist their clients by providing listings that would eventually turn into showings via open houses and scheduled appointments.? Today, with the rise of technology everything has changed.? Technology and the rise of big data are putting more power into the hands of prospective buyers, allowing them to obtain more information, and in turn allowing them to gain more control of their home-buying experience.

Technology has given the layman access to information and listings that were exclusively controlled by real estate agencies and their respective MLS.? Because of this, one would expect the use of realtors to be in decline with the advent and progression of technology, but the opposite has occurred. In fact, studies have shown that the percent of buyers using realtors has increased since the introduction of these new technologies.

Unlike many other professional and commercial fields, the application of technology has boosted job necessity in real estate; however, the realtor?s job description has quickly changed in order to keep up with the development of apps, data marketing tools, and more. Keep reading for more information on the role technology has played and is playing in real estate.

1. Mobile Apps

New real estate smartphone applications have given homebuyers more accessibility to real estate listings than ever before. All properties for sale are available at buyers? fingertips, cutting out the need for a realtor to send listing to their clients on a daily or even hourly basis. Instead, mobile app users receive notifications when properties that match their search criteria appear on the market, giving them instant access to new listings. In hot markets where sellers are in the driver?s seat, this has encouraged quicker sales and greater competition between homebuyers vying for their desired properties.

2. Virtual tours

In the early days of internet technology, properties listed for sale included property stats, a handful of images, and information on how and when one could see the listing in person. Today, that has all changed. With new 3-D technology and virtual reality, homebuyers can have the experience of touring a home without ever stepping foot in the property. This is an excellent feature for those looking to buy in other cities or countries, and benefits the seller as it may require fewer showings to get their property sold.

3. Online listings

While this technology is less recent, online listings have made the process of buying property far easier on buyers, sellers, and real estate agents. Because listings share important data like tax and purchase history, school ratings, neighborhood information, and detailed information about the property, the buyers are equipped with enough background information to ensure their interest before they see the property in person, meaning less time spent for all parties involved.

4. E-signing services

With the introduction of technology comes the elimination of paper contracts. As electronic signatures becomes the norm, DocuSign being a great example, completing property sale transactions is easier than ever.? Printing out huge packages of closing documents, which were sent back and forth between the buyers, sellers and closing agency is now expedited by providing their signatures digitally saving them time and money for all parties, and making the process more streamlined to boot.

5. Access to data-driven insight

Despite having an organized and consolidated data system, humans are sometimes unable to notice complex patterns in the real estate market. Before big data and artificial intelligence, sometimes markets would shift out of nowhere: The sales of in-demand neighborhoods would slow or an undesirable neighborhood would skyrocket in sales. With technological advances, these changes are becoming more detectable, keeping realtors at the pulse of the ever-changing real estate market.? In addition, this trend is also putting more information and power into the hands of real estate investors, who are benefiting from the data by allowing them to match properties to their criteria more seamlessly.

6. Lead management

As with every industry, real estate depends on proper lead management. Through marketing campaigns and other programs, realty companies analyze their clientele and generate ideas on how to best attract new customers, and how to manage the process. Artificial intelligence has made lead management even more effective and provides greater insight on how to best define realty companies? target market and reach through marketing and advertising. This has aided realtors in pre-sales, post-sales, advertising, and more.? Here are a few lead management software options that benefit real estate agent with better servicing and managing their client?s needs, as well as automating their internal business operations.

7. Property price calculations

Artificial intelligence is taking the question mark out of list prices. Before big data and artificial intelligence, listing your property was a very difficult proposition.?? Prices were chosen based on general information at hand: How many bedrooms the property has, how large the lot is, how desirable the neighborhood is, the home?s square footage, etc. Today, the price of listings is calculated precisely with the use of artificial intelligence. Using a pool of data provided by recent listings and sales, technology is able to determine a clear-cut listing price based on transportation, infrastructure, environment changes, improvements, neighborhoods, etc.

Buying a New Home in Retirement: A Guide for Seniors

Buying a new home in retirement gives you the opportunity to downsize, invest, and make valuable lifestyle changes. Whatever your reason for moving, make sure you have the knowledge and tools to make your move a success. The following guide explores how to navigate your financial options, address challenges, and find the home that’s right for you. If you want to start your real estate journey off right, keep reading!

Know What Your Home Is Worth

A thorough understanding of your financial options will help you make educated decisions during the selling/buying process. A great place to start is by researching the average listing price of homes in your area. You can do this by exploring local real estate listings and finding homes that are similar to yours in location, size, age, and upkeep. Say you live in Irvine, California, and discover that the average selling price of a home is $837,000. Knowing the average market price of comparable homes in Irvine will help you determine a listing price and provide you with an estimate of how much you could make in a sale. Additionally, knowing the potential sale price of your home will influence your budget for a future home.

Ask a Real Estate Agent

Asking for help and clarification from industry professionals is one of the best investments you can make during the moving process. Real estate agents are incredibly knowledgeable of the intricacies of home sales/purchases and will work with you to set a sale price, find prospective buyers, and negotiate offers. Your realtor will also handle the majority of the complex paperwork pertaining to property taxes, transfer taxes, and invoices. Real estate agents also work with clients to find and purchase a new home (there?s a reason 90 percent of home sellers use a real estate agent).

Talk to a Mortgage Broker

Mortgage brokers assess your finances, gather documentation, and offer advice on types of mortgages. If you have concerns about obtaining a mortgage, a mortgage expert may be able to mitigate your concerns by offering valuable information and advice. During this process, it is important that you are asking the right questions and that your broker is providing you with clear answers. Don?t be afraid to ask how their mortgage application process works and what type of experience their team has. You might consider asking for clarification about how much their services cost, what interest rates they can offer, and what your monthly payments will be.

Find the Right Home

Once you have consulted a real estate agent and a mortgage broker, it?s time to start searching for the perfect home. Most people begin by identifying the location they want to live. Consider asking yourself the following: Which location has the best weather? Who do I want to live near? Do I need to be near any particular services (hospitals, doctors, shopping centers, public transit, etc.)?

After you have identified your dream location, make a list of what your ideal home looks like. Maybe you want a yard, guest bedroom, garage, and large kitchen — write it down and search for homes that align with your list. Your real estate agent can work with you during this process to find homes that fit your individual needs.

Think you have found the perfect home? Connect with a home inspector who can identify any structural damages and recommend repairs and improvements. The report your home inspector gives you can help guide your final purchasing decision.

Buying a new home is a great opportunity to start fresh, change scenery, and enhance quality of life. While the real estate world can seem complicated, there are numerous experts who can answer your questions, address concerns, and explain confusing topics. Don?t let yourself be held back by industry jargon or complex financial information — ask for advice, get answers, and plan for the future. Best of luck on your journey to a new retirement home!

Spring in Orange County

The last bits of snow are melting, the days are getting longer and the birds are singing louder. Spring is right around the corner, and Orange County is a great place to celebrate the season. There are the warm waters at Newport Beach, the parks of Irvine and arts and entertainment in Costa Mesa. The following are ideas for where to take the family in spring:

Newport Beach

From sun-seekers to the seasoned surfer, Newport Beach has options for everyone.

This year marks the 19th annual Newport Beach Film Festival. The 10-day festival takes place in April, and it includes more than 300 short and feature length films. The festival features a Family Film Series, which has programs geared toward toddlers and tweens. The series includes animated films and student films, and there is live entertainment and autograph sessions.

Kids will enjoy cheering on their favorite team at the annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race. The race is commonly referred to as ?N2E,? and it takes place April 27-29. More than 200 sailboats participate in the 125-mile overnight race that launches off Balboa Pier and ends in Ensenada, Baja California.

N2E kicks off with the Balboa Village Fest. The festival takes place in Fun Zone, which has a Ferris wheel and an arcade among other attractions. It includes the Taste of Balboa, where visitors can try signature dishes from area restaurants and live music performances.

Children can learn how to tie knots and play with chalk through activities provided by ExplorOcean. The festival is free to attend, and food tickets are available for $1.

The park at Crystal Cove is an ideal spot for long walks on the beach. It includes three miles of coastline and about 2,400 acres of protected land. Take the kids to the tide pools, which are teeming with starfish, anemones and other sea life. Afterward, check out the shops in the seaside cottages.


This city is one of the newest and safest in Orange County. Its home to a growing business community as well as the University of California, Irvine campus. The suburban layout includes several large parks with fields for outdoor sports.

March marks the beginning of the Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tours. The tour starts with a lesson on their farming methods and a history of the farm. Visitors can taste fruits and vegetables of the season, and learn how they grow. The tour ends with a stop at the strawberry patch, where visitors can pick and eat their own. Leave some space in the fridge, as people can bring home up to one pound of strawberries.

The Orange County Soccer Club starts their regular season March 17. The team plays at UCI Anteater stadium and tickets start at $14 each. The team has signed international players with experience under the belts, such as 2016 USL Cup winner and Trinidad and Tobago youth international Noah Powder, former Danish Superliga champion Thomas Enevoldsen and Greek Super League defender Kontor Owusu-Ansah.

Children can learn more about other cultures at the Irvine Korean Festival. The festival takes place in May, and it is free to attend. It includes traditional Korean cuisine, art and musical performances. Kids can make their own crafts and learn from participating exhibitors.

Costa Mesa

Originally a series of farms and apple orchards, Costa Mesa served as the site of the Santa Ana Army Air Base during the 1940?s. Today the area is known for its several shopping destinations, as well as its performing arts center.

Kids will have a ball at the annual Pet Expo. This event is the largest pet and pet product expo in the world, featuring more than 1,000 animals. Visitors can touch and hold lizards, snakes and tarantulas at the Reptile Show. See how high and how far dogs can jump at Splash Dogs. Or cheer on rescued sea lions as they shoot hoops and balance balls at Sea Lion Splash. Tickets are $15 for general admission, and $10 for children 10 and under.

This April, the Orange County Fair and Event center is hosting Imaginology. Kids and parents can come together at this event and learn more through science, technology, engineering, art and math programs. This year?s competitions include a steampunk hat contest, 3-D printing and wood and metal arts. The event takes place over three days, and it is free to attend.

Fairview Park covers more than 200 acres, and it includes several trails for walking or biking. The park is full of local wildlife, such as the Burrowing Owl and White-Tailed Kite raptor. It also has Vernal Pools, which are wet in the winter and dry in the summer. The pools support several plant and animal species that are rare or endangered. They are especially pretty in the dry times of spring, as wildflowers are in full bloom.

Anaheim Attractions in the Fall

For most of America, the end of summer is paired with visions of pumpkin patches, hayrides and fallen leaves. ?Is it really even fall if you?re not out picking apples in boots and a cozy sweater?

However, when you think of California weather, these images aren?t exactly what comes to mind. ?When someone says California, you?re actually probably thinking about trips to the beach and al fresco dining.

In Anaheim, temperatures usually stay in the mid-seventies. ?It?s not quite sweater weather and if you?re outside in boots, you might be wishing for sandals to magically appear in the trees amongst the apples.

Luckily, fall is a state of mind. ?No matter where you are, regardless of the weather, you can still take part in your favorite traditions. ?So grab a pumpkin spice latte, throw on a scarf and let?s take a look at all the fun fall activities Anaheim has to offer.

Enjoy Seasonal Beers at a Local Brewery

Favorites among local Anaheim Breweries include Bottle Logic Brewing, Noble Ale Works and Bruery Terreux. ?According to several online reviews, all three of these breweries have the following in common: ?a unique and wide selection of beer to choose from, knowledgeable and friendly staff, and a bustling atmosphere. ?Check out their seasonal selections when you stop by in the fall. ?There?s so much more to fall drinks than your average Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Pick a Pumpkin

When it comes to fall, all roads lead to pumpkins. ?Even in the warmer California climate, you can still find the perfect pumpkin to carve among one of their many pumpkin patches.

The Pumpkin Factory, a local favorite, is the spot where all things fall emerge. ?Not only do they have tons of pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors to choose from, but they?ve also completed their experience by providing guests with a petting zoo, games, corn maze, carnival rides, ponies, food and so much more.

Head there in the afternoon and make a day of it. ?There?s so much to see and do, you?ll never want to leave.

Enjoy the Views

Getting up high and seeing a great view is a fun activity year-round, but doing so in the fall makes it that much better. ?Not only will you enjoy the colors and scenery of fall from above, but you?ll also enjoy it in a cooler climate.

At A Grape Escape Balloon Adventure you can purchase early morning tickets for a tour that include breakfast, champagne and wine tastings. ?There?s no better opportunity to check this off your bucket list.


For the most part, people don?t think of Anaheim without thinking of Disneyland. ?Although Disneyland is a notorious spring and summer destination, a visit in the fall will not leave you disappointed.

In fact, Disneyland is noted for being more fall-friendly than one may think. ?Parents will appreciate smaller crowds while kids will love the decorations and fall-themed rides spread throughout the park.

In terms of events, consider stopping by Mickey?s Halloween Party. ?Dress up and visit the park for a new magical experience each year complete with costumes, surprises in your hotel room and more.

As if Thanksgiving wasn?t already magical enough, imagine spending it with your family at America?s favorite theme park. ?A Thanksgiving at Disneyland includes meals prepared by world-class chefs enjoyed alongside your family?s favorite Disney characters.

Partake in the Anaheim Fall Festival

It?s a true Anaheim tradition. ?Locals and travelers alike have been coming together since 1923 to have a ball in the name of fall. ?Recently the festival has become Halloween-focused and includes attractions such as a pumpkin patch, costume contests, carnival games, live music, local vendors and so much more.

Admission is free to Anaheim Fall Festival, making it accessible to all. ?So get the family together and take part in a celebration that has something for everyone.

Watch the Anaheim Halloween Parade

The Anaheim Fall Festival would not be complete without the Anaheim Halloween Parade. ?Ghosts, monsters and witches line the streets of downtown Anaheim to spook and entertain families who travel to the sidewalks each year.

Locals see the parade as an opportunity for businesses and organizations and the creative personalities that come out of them to showcase all that makes Anaheim a truly special place. ?Furthermore, the parade is seen as an opportunity to restore and maintain a true sense of community pride. ??If you want to get to know this little town, the Halloween Parade is the right time and place to do so.

It can be tough to get in the fall spirit without cool temperatures, we understand. ?Luckily for you, Anaheim does every other aspect of fall and they do it well. ?So grab your favorite flannel and head out to see the sites. ?Winter will be here before you know it!

10 Tips For The Big Move

After deciding on the perfect location,?it?s?now?time for the big move. When planning for your upcoming move,?it is important not to overlook even the seemingly small tasks that can make a big difference in facilitating a low-stress move and avoiding major hiccups.?The?checklist?below?will help?you on your way to?a seamless move.?

  1. Create a budget for all your moving expenses before getting started. Consider what resources you have and?assess whether hiring movers will be necessary. Determine?if home repairs will be needed, and?the?general costs?associated with moving materials?and?the appropriate?equipment?needed?before the anticipated move out date.??
  1. Make sure that your moving company is licensed and insured by verifying their?DOT?number. This ensures that your belongings will be properly cared for and?protected?during the move. Be aware that not all?moving companies?are qualified to move?fragile or?larger items.??Those items?may require hiring?specialty movers.??
  1. Address minor home repairs like cleaning the carpets or repainting the walls?and taking care of minor touch ups. This should be of particular interest to renters given the need to?return?the?rented property?to the owner in the same condition they received it, and to homeowners who are handing over their home to the new buyers.? If there are damages caused during the move out of the home the new buyers could require the sellers to correct those damages, so may as well handle them before they become a problem.??
  1. Be sure to service your vehicles ahead of time?if you?re driving long distance or out of state.? Servicing your vehicle?could prevent?unpredicted breakdowns which can?save you?money and prevent?potential stress and anguish?in an already stressful time.??
  1. Before?hitting the road?label your boxes?and use color coded labels to indicate which rooms?each box belongs to.?This will save you time on the back end of your move,?and?help the movers take the right boxes to the right rooms, so that once the move is complete, you are not left moving heavy boxes from one room to the other.???
  1. Measure the space?of your new home?ahead of time to ensure all your furniture and belongings?will be able to comfortably fit in the space.?
  1. To dispose of miscellaneous and unwanted items that you plan on leaving behind, have a garage sale?or make a goodwill donation.?
  1. Make arrangements for a babysitter or pet sitter during the move to keep kids and pets safe and out of the way during the move.??
  1. Be sure to have your?mail forwarded?to your new address and update your?voter registration?accordingly. Update billing information on your bank cards, checks, and remember to shut off utilities and services you will no longer need at your new residence.?
  2. Take a deep breathe and remember this is a process and not an event.? It takes time to move out and get situated in your new place.? Don?t over do it.? Find a comfortable pace that works for you and the family?and stick to it.?

The moving process doesn?t have to be overly stressful if you plan it right.? Be sure to schedule the planning process?well?in advance, and use these 10 steps as a guide to assist you along the way.? Make sure to get the right help and don?t be afraid to ask for an extra hand from friends and family.???Moving into a new home is a time to begin a new?chapter of your life and create new and lasting memories.? Be sure to take it all in and enjoy the journey.????