Leslie's Column in This Week's Orange County Register

 

OC Register 02/06/2016

Mission Viejo Home Buyers Beware of Barriers

OC Register 02/06/2016

Buyers looking to take advantage of current low interest rates, looking for an escape from escalating rents, and in search of a personal income tax writer off - beware of the barriers you may face when choosing a Mission Viejo home to purchase.  These barriers to buying come in a number of forms and carry a range of monetary consequences.  Let’s take a closer look at the most common barriers buyers may encounter when pursuing a home purchase today.

FHA Approval

If you are one of the countless number of people attracted to the low down payment (3.5 %) option available to qualified buyers through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) home loan program, beware of falling in love with a condominium you cannot buy.  Yes, using an FHA loan to purchase a condominium requires that the condominium you are buying is in a tract approved by the FHA.  The FHA approval status is kept up to date on the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development FHA Approved Condominium website: https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/condlook.cfm.  You need to know the name of the condominium development and the city or zip code to retrieve the status from the web site.  This is not always immediately available from the home listing information.  Your best bet is to work with your Realtor to figure this out for you.  And just a side note, you may run into situations like what’s going on in Ladera Ranch, where none of the condominiums are FHA approved, due to the mandatory Lifestyle Enhancement Fee, required to be paid every time any Ladera Ranch property is sold, does not meet FHA guidelines, and therefore disqualifies every Ladera Ranch condo community.  And yes, the Ladera Ranch people know this is a problem.  And no, the FHA condo approval web site is not available on weekends.

Life Style Enhancement Fee

What is this Lifestyle Enhancement Fee, you are no doubt wondering.  In the case of Ladera Ranch, it amounts to one quarter of one percent of the purchase price of the property paid to the master HOA every time a property is sold.  The buyer is usually the one asked to pay this fee, so add on .0025% of the purchase price you’re paying to you closing costs.  For a $650,000 home that would cost you $1,625.  Is this fee tax deductible?  Ask your tax professional.

Auction Premium

If you’ve got your sights set on buying a home offered for sale through an auction, read the fine print.  You may be asked to make as much as a 3% initial deposit, which on a $650,000 purchase would be $19,500.  This, for an FHA buyer, is essentially your entire down payment demanded up front. And, you may be asked to pay 5% Auction Fee for the privilege of participating and purchasing your home through the auction.  That would be an additional $32,500 on a $650,000 purchase.  How does that make you feel?  Buyers beware.

 

I'm Leslie Eskildsen, Realtor.

Call me. Text me.  949-678-3373

Email me. Leslie@LeslieEskildsen.com

Helping you make the right move in Mission Viejo, Coto de Caza, Rancho Santa Margarita, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Dana Point, Corona Del Mar, and other Orange County communities.

 

Attention Mission Viejo home sellers – Don’t get ahead of the market!

OC Register 01/31/2016

Don’t get ahead of the market – it’s a slippery slope.

This year is staring off with a bang for some Mission Viejo home sellers.  We are back to multiple offers within hours of being submitted to the California Regional Multiple Listing Service.  When you get 50 groups of people through the weekend open houses, with buyers coming back multiple times with each of their family members and maybe their Realtor and lender, you know it’s a hot market. Buyers, their agents, and lenders are burning the midnight oil to get their offer submitted before anyone else has a chance to scoop up their dream house. But this phenomenon doesn’t apply to all Mission Viejo home sellers.  Here are the top strategies that are making Mission Viejo home sellers winners in today’s market.

Condition

Homes that are either newer or have been recently upgraded are very attractive to today’s buyers.  The main areas of focus for upgrades that get massive traction with the emotions of today’s buyers are the kitchen, bathrooms, windows, and flooring.  Especially in homes that were built in the 60’s through the 80’s.  Only the homes with new, relevant, and attractive improvements are garnering the attention of today’s savvy buyers.  If you are selling your house today, and you have either newer construction or recent, fashionable upgrades you stand a good chance for selling quickly and for top dollar.  Congrats!

Emotional Appeal

The more emotionally appealing you can make your house, the more buyers you will attract.  What exactly is emotional appeal?  It is a magical transition that occurs when you stop looking at your home as the place where you live and turn it into the house you are marketing to sell.  Did you get that little subtle switch from your home to your house?  That’s the moment the magic happens.  When you are able to take down all your family photos, store away all of your cooking tools, hide the dog beds, and chuck the miss-matched (but oh-so-soft and absorbent) bath towels, and market your house for every single amenity, upgrade, and feature your house has to offer to a home buyer.

I'm Leslie Eskildsen, Realtor.

Call me. Text me.  949-678-3373

Email me. Leslie@LeslieEskildsen.com

Helping you make the right move in Mission Viejo, Coto de Caza, Rancho Santa Margarita, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Dana Point, Corona Del Mar, and other Orange County communities.

A Rainy Day is Perfect for your Mission Viejo Home Inspection

OC Register 01/24/2016

If you find your self in escrow to buy a home this winter, take full advantage of rainy days!  While your first instinct is probably to cuddle up by the fireplace with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa during the next torrential downpour, get out to see the house you’re buying instead.  The best thing you can do is schedule your Mission Viejo Home Inspection when it is pouring down rain. If you can’t perfectly coordinate your Home Inspection with the next rainy day, at least make the effort to go over to see what’s going on at the house you’re buying.  Ask your Realtor to take you back so you can look inside and outside as the rain keeps pouring down.  Here are the most important things to look for when you get the chance to see how your future house holds up in the rain.

Clogged drains – Is there standing water anywhere in the back yard, front yard, or side yards?  If there is, you’re most likely looking at a clogged drain.  Tree roots are the most likely culprit.  If you still have time to make a Request for Repairs (RFR) of the sellers, you might want to add “clear the exterior drain lines” to your list.  Or at least get an estimate from a local plumber so you have an idea as to how much it will cost for you to take care of clearing the lines after escrow closes.

Clogged rain gutters – Is water spilling out of the gutters in places other than the down spout to the ground?  Most likely the gutters are full of leaves, dirt, and other debris.  Whip out that RFR and add “clear the rain gutters of debris so that water flows away from the house.”  Some Window Washers and Christmas Light Hanging companies also clean rain gutters – it gives them another way to use their tall ladders and provides another source of business when window washing and hanging holiday lights are in low demand.

Loose seals – Is there water pooling next to the furnace or water heater?  This may be a sign of a loose seal on a vent pipe on the roof.  If you’ve already had your Home Inspection, you may want to have a Roof Inspection as well.  If the Roof Inspection does indicate there are loose seals, you may want to add those to your RFR.  Or get a quote from the roofing company for re-sealing the vents and other penetration points they may discover are compromised.

Leaking windows – Is water reaching inside the windows and dripping down the walls? It is never a good thing to have water dripping down any of the walls inside your home.  Drywall, flooring, and baseboards do not do well in wet conditions.  Have your Realtor call the sellers to have someone address this immediately!  And of course, add this to your RFR.  You’ll want to ask for the window to be repaired and the water intrusion to be remediated, which might include dealing with mold.  Buckle your seat belt if that’s the case.

 

I'm Leslie Eskildsen, Realtor.

Call me. Text me.  949-678-3373

Email me. Leslie@LeslieEskildsen.com

Helping you make the right move in Mission Viejo, Coto de Caza, Rancho Santa Margarita, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Dana Point, Corona Del Mar, and other Orange County communities.

Buying a House in Mission Viejo Brings News Along the Way

OC Register 1/17/2016

Buying a house in Mission Viejo can be very stressful.  In fact, there are at least four crucial points in the process of buying a house in Mission Viejo where you might get some news.  Then you get to decide if you’re going to look at this news as good news or bad news.  And what do with the news.  Let’s take these one by one and look at your options upon hearing this news when you’re buying a house in Mission Viejo and how you can go either way on the good news bad news scale.

There are multiple offers on the house

After all the agony of narrowing down the field of possibilities, and you choose which house you and your family will call home, you learn that you’re not alone.  There are four other well-qualified buyers who all submitted offers the same house you picked.  You could look at this as good news.  An affirmation of your exquisite taste in homes.  And doesn’t this mean good news when and if you sell the house?  Won’t it be just as desirable then? Or you can look at this news as bad news.  You’re not at all interested in participating in a bidding war! You don’t want to pay a penny more than your original offer.

There are termites in the house

Since most deals call for the seller to pay to rid the home of termites and repairs what’s been damaged, you can look at this as good news.  Once you have the keys, your house will be free and clear of the pesky insects.  At least for that one moment in time.  You realize dry wood termites are practically the state mascot of California, based solely on their frequency of appearance in California homes.  You’re happy to keep an eye on things going forward, with regular checkups and periodic treatment to keep the bugs away.

There health and safety concerns on the Inspection Report

There are 18 items noted as health and safety concerns on your Home Inspection report. You can look at this a bad news. You and your family are buying into a death trap! The house will surely flood during the next blow from El Nino; a fire will break out the minute you turn on the hand mixer and wash dishes at the same time; and you can never entertain guests – why would you subject your friends and family to certain demise?  Or you can look at this good news.  You’ve always wanted to meet a handyman, electrician, and a plumber.  And you enjoy a good round of negotiations, so you engage the seller in a discussion regarding sharing the joy of working out a solution to each of the 18 items.  You reach an amicable agreement wherein the seller takes care of nine items during escrow, and you take care of the remaining nine once you’re the owner of the home.

The appraisal came in below the contract price

This is a stretch.  How could this ever be considered good news?  Look at it this way.  Here’s your chance to re-negotiate a lower price with the seller.  Is there a chance he’ll stick to his guns?    But there’s also the chance that he’s already in escrow to buy his next house, and needs you to buy his to make that happen, so he’s willing to help you make up the short fall.  Or you can use this as a reason to cancel the contract, since a better house just hit the market and you’re dying to get out of your existing contract.  Good news or bad news if you get any of this news when you’re buying a house in Mission Viejo?  It’s all a matter of perspective, motive, timing, and money.

 

I'm Leslie Eskildsen, Realtor.

Call me. Text me.  949-678-3373

Email me. Leslie@LeslieEskildsen.com

Helping you make the right move in Mission Viejo, Coto de Caza, Rancho Santa Margarita, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Dana Point, Corona Del Mar, and other Orange County communities.

 

Originally posted at www.whatagentsfeartellingyou.com