October 2014

There are 17 blog entries for October 2014.

Now’s the time to get moving on your house hunting, check out open houses this weekend November 1st and 2nd. With over 100 First Team Real Estate open houses going on this weekend, you’re sure to find something that catches your fancy!

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe... Where will you start your home search?

If you fall in love with a home this weekend you're going to need a local, experienced agent to get your home purchase up and running. Good thing First Team has area specialists all across Southern California to help you secure your dream home. Search for an agent online or reach out and we'll do

As the economy begins to show signs of recovery from the recent recession, the development of new communities is beginning to rise. With new choices now available, buyers can be more discriminating as they shop for a community to call home.

More and more new home developments and communities in Orange County have been popping up in high-demand areas like Irvine, Huntington Beach and Ladera Ranch. That’s why we asked Gary Allen, an expert developer of luxury, custom-home communities, for the facts homebuyers need to know and what to ask when purchasing in these new community developments.

William Gary Allen has more than 40 years of experience as a real estate developer of luxury, custom-home communities. He is also a noted philanthropist, supporting

When your home is on the real estate market and you're holding open houses and walkthroughs, there are several tips and tricks to entice homebuyers.  Offering wine and cheese, decorating for the holidays, staging your home, etc. are all ways of making buyers feel comfortable and at home in your house. Another way to attract buyers and appeal to their most basic emotions is by creating a fresh feng shui in your home.

Feng shui in the home reduces stress, creates harmony and makes people feel more balanced. The art of feng shui has a long history that dates back thousands of years. Early techniques used instruments such as magnetic compasses and astronomy to detect the flow of qi and orient buildings. Most modern feng shui has been greatly simplified to

We all love our pets like family but when it comes time to sell your home, there are some important things pet owners need to consider. It's sad but true, your furry friend can easily derail your home sale if you don't take  these preventive measures. Don’t let your pet be the reason that your home doesn’t sell.

1. Super Clean Your Home

Every home seller should invest time or money in cleaning before putting a house on the market, however this is even more imperative for pet owners. Not only do you need to worry about dust bunnies and soap scum, you also need to remove all pet hair and assess any damages your pet may have caused. This can be anything from covering holes in the backyard to replacing ruined flooring. Once you’ve finished your deep

Earlier this week federal regulators announced they are dropping the 20% down payment requirement for high-quality mortgages, also known as qualified residential mortgages. Mel Watt, director or the Federal Housing Finance Agency confirmed that government mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will start backing loans with as little as 3% down.

This is an attempt to easy the too strict post-crisis lending rules we’ve been experiencing for the past few years. In lieu of a hefty down payment, banks are now only required to document the ability of the borrower to reasonably repay the loan. Keep in mind access to low down payment mortgage loans are for borrows with good credit but limited funds available for a down payment. For more on the

As a home seller, your role during the escrow or closing process is comparatively small to that of the homebuyer. Here's a quick overview: First of all the buyer will deposit a down payment into Escrow, and you will deposit your home deed. Assuming the homebuyer is taking out a mortgage, you wait for the Lender to deposit the funds required into the Escrow before you close.

For a more in-depth definition of escrow and exactly what goes down, take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Understanding the Escrow Process.

While most responsibilities lie with the buyer to provide various forms of paperwork like their home loan, home and title insurance, and a deposit, there are some things you need to know as a seller during this time.

So what do you need to

The most important paperwork to get in order during the escrow process for homebuyers is your home loan documentation.

It is best to choose a lender and get pre-approved for a home loan before you even but an offer on a home. Getting pre-approved not only makes you a more desirable buyer, it also makes the escrow process run smoother.

However, whether you've been pre-approved or not, you will need to go through these steps and with your Lender during escrow so they have all the specifics of your actual home purchase. Although you can get your mortgage rate and some details locked in with a pre-approval, there is still more to get squared away.

How does the loan process work?

Your real estate agent can provide you with current financing

Weekly Mortgage Watch - October 19, 2014

PDF Version - Download the PDF version.

First Team’s Weekly Mortgage Watch (October 19th, 2014) this week highlights the following updates:

  • Last week sent financial markets on a roller coaster ride, unlike anything that we have seen in quite some time. Retail Sales fell short of expectations, with chatter about US consumers growing more concerned about the future.
  • The Ebola outbreak even created some additional fear in the market. On the positive side, Industry Production more than doubled expectations.
  • Mortgage rate surveys did show that rates moved downward. However, much of the decrease that took place on Wednesday was reversed by Friday afternoon. After so many months of mortgage rates moving at the rate that grass grows, this was a

Opening an escrow refers to when a buyer (that’s you!) and seller of a property establish terms and conditions for the transfer of ownership for that property. To ensure everything goes according to plan, your escrow company - AKA the Escrow Holder - oversees these terms and conditions. If you’re still hazy on the specifics of the escrow process and the role of your escrow company, check out our Ultimate Guide To Understanding the Escrow Process.

Once you enter escrow, there’s a lot of paperwork you’ll have to get lined up and signed for your escrow company so they can get the ball rolling. Now let’s dive into each piece of paperwork you need and when you will be signing those documents for escrow.

What escrow paperwork will I have to provide?

If you're selling your home this holiday season, then there are some things you need to know about decorating. You will have potential buyers requesting walkthroughs and you should have an open house or two which means you need to consider more than just your personal style and taste when bringing out festive decorations. Houses show better when they’re decorated over the holidays but the question is, what kind of decorations?

Don’t Over Do It

When decorating your home during the holidays or any time of the year for an open house, decorate with discretion. Decorations can easily become clutter so stick to just a few simple festive touches.

You want buyers to fall in love with your home, not the decorations. If you are going to put out pumpkins