5 Signs That You’re about to Buy the Wrong House

Businesswoman With House Model And KeysWhen it comes to buying your first home, all your closest ones advise you to go with your gut. If a house looks perfect, then it probably is, right? Wrong! Experience tells us that not all that glitters is gold and not all areas surrounded by four walls are welcoming indoor spaces suitable for all categories of buyers. So how can you tell whether or not a certain property is “the one”? It’s not always easy to assess the level of compatibility between yourself and a new place. Nonetheless, the five following signs indicate that you are actually targeting a house that is pretty far from being your best pick.

1. You Can’t Cope with the Costs. Quality homes in California don’t come cheap, that’s for sure. If you’re relying on financing, would you be able to cope with your monthly mortgage payments? On top of that, you would also need money to pay your utility bills, buy groceries and spare a little something for clothes and entertainment. This being said, make sure your property of choice is actually in your price range, to avoid getting covered in debt.

2. It “Works” for Now. Does the house that you are targeting leave room for remodeling work? Would you be able to add a garage, a pool, a tennis court, a 4th bedroom and bathroom and several other additions that you may find necessary 5 or 10 years from now on?

3. It’s Too Big/Not Big Enough. Are you planning on living with your elder relatives? Are you expecting your 5th child? In this case, you shouldn’t settle for a 3-bedroom single family home. Instead, you should focus on spacious properties enabling all family members to feel as comfortable as possible and profit from a higher level of privacy. If the house is too big, it will only force you to handle bigger bills and costly upkeep.

4. It’s in a Bad Neighborhood(But That’s All That You Can Afford at This Point).Are you flirting with the idea of buying a home in the elegant, safe and quiet Californian suburbs? This sounds like a great plan, but only if you actually get the keys to a house that is close enough to all your key points of interest (your kids’ schools, your office, the local hospital, mall, groceries stores and so on). Otherwise, longer commuting routes could elevate your stress levels, drain the energy out of you and even raise your car insurance premiums.

5. You Can’t See the Bigger Picture, Because You’ve Been Temporarily Blinded by Luxurious Features. “Look at that amazing pool! I definitely want to get my hands on this house!” This is the kind of impulsive behavior that could make you waste a lot of money. Sure, the pool is fabulous, but is also implies considerable maintenance costs. Furthermore, once you detach yourself from all the luxurious features that the homeowner wants you to see, you can actually spot drawbacks that weren’t so obvious at a first glance. Elements like the wrong square footage and wrong locationare only a few of the most commons cons that could make you reconsider, as soon as the novelty factor wears off.

 

09
Sep 2014
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3 Reasons Why You’re Not Selling Your Californian House (Although You Desperately Want to)

For Sale SignSo far, you’ve invested a small fortune in remodeling work. You’ve spent hours and hours cleaning, polishing and de-cluttering. You’ve taken the prettiest pictures of your home and uploaded them on different websites. You’ve spread the word about your upcoming relocation and organized open houses. And still, 90 days and a few thousands of dollars later, you find yourself in an awkward position: the phone isn’t ringing. Buyers aren’t knocking at your door. What went wrong? Don’t blame it on bad karma. Here are a few reasons why your actions aren’t returning the desirable results.

You’ve Made Costly, Unnecessary Changes. You have decided to bend over backwards to attract buyers. But can those new, insanely expensive custom cabinets be considered a wise investment? Was it a smart decision to replace your flooring material, repaint all your rooms and purchase new artwork just to impress someone whom you don’t really know? Truth be told, very few buyers assess your interior décor when it comes to making a final decision. They will change the style of your home anyway, simply because they want their new house to reflect their own taste and personality. In this context, it becomes obvious that buying expensive extras (furniture, decorations and so on) is never a good idea, especially if you’re relocating on a tight budget.  Pricy new additions seldom pay for themselves. And you can’t just add another 20,000 dollars to your initial asking price simply because you had to have those paintings, rare marble countertops and designer bamboo cabinets.

You Have Overpriced Your Home. Don’t let your emotional attachment dictate the price of your home. Keep your feelings under control and try to evaluate your property in an objective manner. Go online and check out various listings to discover the price tags of similar homes located in your neighborhood. When in doubt, count on the expert opinion of a local real estate agent. An overpriced home instantly deters a large category of clients simply because it leaves very little room for negotiations.

You’ve Neglect Crucial Repairs. Some homeowners go the extra mile to implement unnecessary, pricy additions (gym rooms, pools, indoor spas, walk-in closets) and focus less on repairs and home improvements that are actually mandatory. Before putting a ton of money in your property to boost its curb appeal and attract more prospects, pay attention to potential flaws that could impact its electrical and plumbing systems. Leaks, clogged toilets and damaged wires posing an elevated risk of electrocution will put your buyers on the run and delay your home selling. If you don’t know how to evaluate the current condition of your house, don’t hesitate to call a professional who can conduct a meticulous home inspection. After a thorough inspection, you will manage to identify and address concerns affecting the end value of your property.

 

08
Sep 2014
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Furnished vs. Unfurnished Apartments in California: Which Option Would Suit You Best?

Young couple celebrating moving to new homeStarting a new life in California is always a great decision. After all, here you couldlay the first stone for what may soon turn out to be a successful job hunt, live as close as possible to your favorite celebs, hit the trendiest clubs and profit from outstanding accommodation options.

If you are just getting familiar with the local real estate market and have no intention of assessing the pros and cons of ownership, renting an apartment would be the best call that you could make. Obviously, you won’t be able to crash on your friends’ couch for years in a row, so you might as well start your search early. But at the end of the day, should you be looking for fully-furnished apartments or could you actually settle for unfurnished options? The choice is up to you, but make sure you keep the following suggestions in mind before making a final decision.

Know Your Alternatives. To be able to get the keys to a more than satisfactory property or at least guide your rental hunt in the right direction, you have to know the difference between unfurnished, furnished and fully furnished apartments. “Unfurnished” basically suggests that you could be forced to sleep on your mattress for quite some time, unless you plan to carry your stuff from your old apartment or rent new appliances and furniture from specialized companies. “Furnished” means that you would count on basic furniture pieces that make a home livable (bed, dresser, table, chair). The term “fully-furnished” is usually used to describe a rental that comes with a wide range of amenities and additional features one would expect to find in their homes: TVs, DVDs, nightstands, dressing, bedding, towels, chairs, dining table, countertops, cabinets and even artwork.

Price vs. Level of Comfort

Obviously, unfurnished apartments are cheaper than furnished or fully-furnished counterparts located in the same area, but don’t let the price tag become the sole factor that could influence your end call. Put your comfort and basic needs first and don’t hesitate to spend a bit more on a nice, cozy place meeting your realistic demands and lifestyle choices.

Put Things into Perspective

Some tenants may appreciate the flexibility and freedom of choice that an unfurnished apartment could offer. Others hate large, open, vacant spaces would much rather avoid hassles associated with renting furniture and appliances and just stick to furnished properties.

If you are indecisive and don’t know which way to go, consider the particularities of your own situation. For instance, do you have bad allergies? If so, you may want to avoid prolonged contact with old, deteriorated, potentially contaminated furniture and rent an empty space that you could furnish with your own things, as you see fit. Do you have friends who can assist you during your relocation process? Can you count on a reliable team of movers? Do you know a trustworthy company specializing in furniture rentals? In this case, go for the cheapest unfurnished rental that you can find and consider your problem solves. Otherwise, count on the most accessible furnished apartments in California to experience the level of comfort and stability that you deserve.

 

 

05
Sep 2014
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Renting in California: How to Find the Ideal Roommate in 3 Easy Steps

Young women taking a break on moving dayAre you tired of living with your parents? Are you craving for a higher level of privacy and independence? If so, you could consider renting in California. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a spacious luxurious palace with valet parking to feel satisfied. People who can spare around 1,000 dollars a month can definitely find a decent place to rent in some of the greatest Californian cities. But when you’re living from paycheck to paycheck, this amount represents your very own definition of a small fortune. How would you be able to rent a house in your all-time favorite neighborhoods without having to settle for the darkest, tiniest, creepiest unfurnished cottages? Find a roommate. Even if you’re desperate to move in as soon as possible, don’t skip the screening process to eliminate candidates who are insane, potentially dangerous, unstable or simply incompatible with you and your lifestyle.

Go Online. Hit up your friends and rely on word-of-mouth to discover new people who may be interested in sharing indoor space with you. If this search doesn’t return any favorable results, start to call on online ads and post your very own ad on different websites. Be very specific when it comes to the rental in question (if you already have your heart set on a property), the expenses it involves and your basic requirements.

Ask the Right Questions. Time-effective interviews via Skype, phone calls or emails are a great start and enable you to separate the loonies from the stable people with serious intentions. During this phase you should ask a few essential questions that would allow you to assess the overall level of compatibility between you and your potential roommates. Do they smoke? Do they have pets? Do their have weird working schedules? Do they count on a constant source of income? Are they involved in any illegal or potentially dangerous activities? Do they plan on throwing wild parties at their place 7 days a week? Make a list of questions and another list of pros and cons associated with every single candidate that you manage to interview.

Set up Some Boundaries. Once you’ve finally found the ideal roommate, create and implement clear boundaries to maintain a healthy relationship. If you have to study or work from home, establish quiet hours based on your schedules. Find the best way to divide and assign chores. For instance you could design and install a chore wheel, which would work best for people with multiple roommates. Furthermore, bring upyour strict policies related to parties, overnight guests, pets, smoking and the nature of your relationship. Are you looking for a buddy or are you strictly interested in reducing your housing expenses by finding a reliable roommate? Flexibility is always a plus, but in this case clear guidelines and regulations could help you avoid potential conflicts that could turn your apartment into a war zone.

 

04
Sep 2014
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Home Buying Warning Signs That You Should Never Ignore

Architect Showing New House ProjectHome hunts are never easy. There are literally millions of things that you should consider, assess and re-inspect. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that the whole process has to be tedious. On the contrary, with just a little bit of attention to detail and the expert guidance of your realtor and your professional home inspector you could close a deal in no time and avoid costly mistakes. Speaking of wrong steps that could dig holes in your budget, here are 3 deal-breakers that you should always be able to spot and address during your home buying process.

An Old, Deteriorated Roof. How old is the roof of your home? Is it still in excellent condition or does it require urgent repairs or replacement? Before deciding to buy a certain Californian property, don’t forget to check the roof. Are there any missing shingles? Inspect the existing gutters to find out whether or not the drainage system is fully functional. You could evaluate the overall condition and quality of the roof’s shingles on your own; nonetheless, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hire a roofer and ask him to perform a more thorough inspection. Roof replacement will cost you a lot of money (anywhere from 10,000 dollars to 30,000 an up, depending on the size and style of a house) and can turn areal bargain into a lousy deal.

A Zero-Upgrades Policy. At this point, you are counting on a very tight budget so you basically have to love your potential new home as it sits. But things may change in the future. In the sunny state of California you could strike gold by getting the job of your dreams or finding a new way to supplement your income. This means that you could afford a fourth bedroom or a fantastic outdoor kitchen. This sounds like a solid plan, but are you actually allowed to give the green light to this kind of upgrades? There’s only one way to find out: check with your local municipality. This way you could discover potential restrictions that may go against your planned remodel work. A low or inexistent renovation potential would definitely lower the resale value of your property and force you to cancel your expansion/beautification plans.

A Faulty Plumbing System. Plumbing systems are the guts of your home. Despite the fact that issues associated with plumbing elements are often less visible, they can lead to severe consequences in the long term. Just think about it: potential leaks could cause mold contamination, sagging floors and gross water stains. Ancient septic tanks are another aspect that you should focus on. In some parts of the U.S. sewer lines haven’t been replaced or updated for at least one century. Ask a plumber to assist you during the home inspection. If you identify faulty sinks and toilers don’t hesitate to ask for a considerable price reduction. Major overhauls in this department could also indicate that it’s time to start looking for a different for sale property.

03
Sep 2014
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