December 2014

There are 24 blog entries for December 2014.

New Years is synonymous with resolutions and pacts to start off the year right. Loose weight, get healthy, spend more time with family, the list goes on and on. Why not make some resolutions to make your home an even better place to live?

Starting with the home is a great way to make everything in your life great for 2015. Not only is it productive, it will pay out in the enjoyment you get each and every day and in the long run when (eventually) it’s time to sell. A happy, well maintained house is a valuable thing!

Finally start that remodel you’ve been wanting

We all have a list of things to do whether it’s a wish list that never got started or a laundry list of chores. Add in a bay window, remodel the upstairs bathroom, take out that hideous

This weekend you were probably stuffing your face with Christmas ham and chocolates and of course playing with your new tablet. Not to worry, we all did. Expect of course our First Team agents who know that real estate never sleeps! While you were enjoying your time off you missed quite a few brand new listings that hit the market.

Take a look at the latest First Team homes listed just this past week. From LA County to the Inland Empire and everything OC in between, the real estate market marches on. It's time to shake off the holiday fog and get a jump on your new home for 2015! Mortgage rates are expected to stay low into next year according to this week's Mortgage Watch so when you find the right home, it's time to do something about it!

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Weekly Mortgage Watch - December 28, 2014

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First Team’s Weekly Mortgage Watch (December 28th, 2014) this week highlights the following updates:

  • Mortgage rates remain fairly steady as we head into the end of 2014, even with mounting signs that the economy is growing stronger and stronger.
  • While we did see a small dip in Orders for Durable Goods, the third quarter’s GDP was revised to 5.0%, which was much higher than anticipated. This follows the second quarter’s strong 4.6% reading.
  • Even if the fourth quarter falls back to near 3.0%, this year ends with the economy on better footing than it has been in quite a few years.
  • This year ends with expectations of Consumer Confidence moving higher and Weekly Jobless Claims remaining below 300K.

Newly constructed homes are very popular with a large segment of buyers. There are good reasons for it too - other than that new home smell of course.

With pros and cons for both new and resale homes, you can't go wrong but here are 4 money saving reasons to give a brand new home a second thought.

1. Peace of mind

Like everybody else that completes the purchase of a home, things are going to be a little bit tight for a while. You don't need any new headaches. Like a new car as opposed to a used car, the likelihood of problems arising is diminished in buying new. Nothing in the home has ever been used before. There's no 20-year-old HVAC system to worry about or faulty electrical wiring. You will have peace of mind knowing that you won't likely

Although distressed sales have been decreasing on the real estate market since the subprime mortgage crisis, there will always be short sales and foreclosures on the market. In fact, last month according to RealtyTrac’s Foreclosure report, there was the first annual increase in foreclosures since July 2012.

So what is the difference between a short sale and foreclosure when you’re the buyer? Here’s a break down of definitions and the benefits of each.

What is a Short Sale?

A short sale happens when the owner of a property puts their home up for sale and does not have the money to close the transaction and needs an approval from the lender. Typically with short sales the homeowner owes more on the home than it’s worth and they are in danger of

Weekly Mortgage Watch - December 21, 2014

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First Team’s Weekly Mortgage Watch (December 21st, 2014) this week highlights the following updates:

  • The Federal Reserve released its Policy Statement last week, and it was immediately noted that the release omitted the term “considerable time.” So is the economy finally growing at a rate that would justify the Fed increasing rates before anticipated?
  • The answer is as complex today as it was before the Fed’s meeting. In the release, the Fed added language that it will be “patient,” and the exact meaning of this remains unclear.
  • However, the fact that energy prices have fallen has pulled some inflationary pressure out of the marketplace. With continuing signs that the economy is powering up, the

Planning the budget for your new home is the first and probably most important step before you begin the real estate process. But the only way you can really plan for the full cost of buying a home is by looking at the complete list of everything you'll need to pay.

Specific amounts depend on the lender you choose and of course the price of your home, but here's the complete list so you can get a feel for the whole picture. The price of a home is a lot more than just a down payment...

Monthly Payment

First let's just take a look at the four costs that make up your monthly home budget - Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance. This is what the price tag of your home translates to each month.

  • Principal – The amount you are borrowing to buy

Every year real estate professionals and analysts make predictions about where the market is headed, what mortgage rates and home prices might look like and so forth. Looking back on some predictions made in 2013 about the 2014 real estate market is a great way to sum up the year and fun way to see if our expectations met reality.

Here’s a recap of predictions and the reality of what the 2014 real estate market brought us.

2013 Prediction: Increasing mortgage rates

2014 Reality?: No

Mortgage rates were predicted to increase this year up to 5 or 5.25% for 30 year fixed rate mortgages.

Since last year however, mortgage rates have actually dropped. Last December rates were at 4.42%, however according to the latest Mortgage Watch rates are now

Now that the real estate market is on the upswing, more people are investing in the real estate market by purchasing investment properties to rent out. If this growing market has you intrigued, then the first thing you need to do is start searching for the ideal rental property.

How to do you spot the perfect property you ask? Here are the top six things you need to know about searching for investment properties before you call yourself a landlord.

1. Keep Location Forefront in Your Mind

There are different areas that are going to be more lucrative rental-wise. Areas heavily populated with college students or military families are always going to need rentals. If your target renters are families, don't buy properties in a bad school district. No

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First Team’s Weekly Mortgage Watch (December 14th, 2014) this week highlights the following updates:

  • Oil prices plummeted last week, sending stock markets tumbling.  Even with Retail Sales data coming in stronger than expected, mortgage rates shrugged off the news and remained fairly steady.
  • The evidence continues to mount that the US economy is strengthening, but because of many factors, inflationary pressure remains completely muted.  While we are hearing some talk about deflationary concerns, the probability that we could slip into a truly deflationary period is very low.
  • The Federal Reserve holds its last meeting of 2014 this week, with expectations of no change to its interest rate, but