Charming Curb Appeal and Entry Gardens

In Orange County, we can grow a variety of plants in our gardens. I never tire of viewing what people have done to enhance their entry or curb appeal. From charming cottage to Tuscan-inspired all the way to water-wise dry gardens, they are all beautiful.

I have taken many photos to inspire me whether for my own garden or as inspiration for my listings and my sellers. Trends come and go, so it is best to match your garden plant palette to your home’s architecture and style and the local area for long-lasting best results.

Here are several photos of Orange County entry gardens. I took the photos myself.

Are You Really Ready to Buy a Home?

Home BuyerAre you really ready to buy a home? You are probably ready to look at homes on line or pick out carpet or paint color, but are you ready to make an actual offer on a home?

If you have not spoken with a lender and have had them qualify or approve you for a loan, then you are not really ready. In this changing real estate market where desirable homes are receiving multiple offers and are selling in a week or less, you need to be able to move quickly! It would be heartbreaking to see your dream home come available and then see it go off the market in 3 days because you did not have a pre-approval letter in hand.

A lender can tell you how much home you can qualify for and give you options to achieve your goals. A lender can put that pre-approval letter in you hand that gets you that much closer to the home you desire. Without that letter, you might as well not make an offer. A seller will not even consider your offer without it.

A seller and their agent will also want to see your proof of funds that shows you actually have the money in hand to buy the home. They will also want to see your FICO scores. A lender will run your credit and provide you with your FICO score.A lender can educate you about your financing options and help you make a good decision.

Speaking with a good lender is a painless experience and is hugely beneficial as you begin the home shopping process. It gives you peace of mind and confidence knowing you can afford the home you are looking at. Call me for some referrals or go to my links page.

Rock Bottom Interest Rates Means Money in Your Pocket

Happy Home BuyerFalling mortgage rates make owning a home more affordable. Mortgage rates are directly tied to monthly mortgage payment so as mortgage rates drop, so does the cost of home-ownership. It’s a money-saving time to buy a home in Orange County — or to refinance one. Mortgage rates have never been this low in history.

According to Freddie Mac, last week, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 3.87% nationwide for borrowers willing to pay an accompanying 0.8 discount points plus closing costs. 0.8 discount points is a one-time closing cost equal to 0.8 percent of your loan size, or $800 per $100,000 borrowed. This represents an incredible value as compared to February of last year.

It was exactly one year ago that mortgage rates begin their long slide lower. On February 11, 2011, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage reached its peak for the year, reading 5.05% in Freddie Mac’s nationwide survey. If you are among the many U.S. households that bought or refinanced a home around that time, you could choose to replace your current home loan with a new one and save close to 13% on your monthly mortgage payment.

13% saved on your mortgage is a noteworthy statistic.

Look at this 30-year fixed rate mortgage payment comparison over the last 12 months :

  • February 2011 : $539.88 principal + interest per $100,000 borrowed
  • February 2012 : $469.95 principal + interest per $100,000 borrowed

Because of falling mortgage rates, a homeowner with a $250,000 30-year fixed rate mortgage would save at least $175 per month just by refinancing into a new loan at today’s mortgage rates. That’s $2,100 in savings per year. Even after accounting for discount points and closing costs, the “break-even point” on a mortgage like that can come relatively quickly.

Ready to purchase a home? Call me! 949.525.5905

Take Advantage of Some Awesome Buyer Incentives

Happy Home BuyerMost people know that mortgage interest rates are incredibly low right now. The Federal Reserve’s current policy seems to be to keep them low for several more months. This could be why many buyers are purchasing homes right now, driving up the pending home sales here in Orange County.

Wells Fargo is becoming aggressive in their bid  to be the lender of choice for home purchases. To that end, they are offering some incredible buyer incentives in several forms to assist with your home purchase. Whether you are obtaining a conventional mortgage or going to go FHA, they have several buyer options/incentives you should consider to either 1)bring down your interest rate and lower your monthly payment or 2)reduce the amout of cash you need to close the deal.

For instance…if you wanted to purchase a home, and your loan amount was going to be $417,000, and you were going to go FHA, you could choose to have an interest rate of 4% and utilize a Wells Fargo credit of 1.75% of the loan ($7,298) to use toward your closing costs. In this scenario, your first loan monthly payment would be $1,991. If you needed more cash toward closing for the same type of mortgage on the same home, you could opt for a 4.5% interest rate and have a credit of 4.625% of the $417,000 loan ($19,286). In this scenario, your first loan monthly payment would be $2,113. Both scenarios are based on current interest rates and are subject to change.

As you can see, these are some terrific incentives for buyers! These incentives are not going to last forever, so please call me at 949.525.5905 for more info or call Matt Frey with Bankers Funding (a Wells Fargo affiliate) at 949.588.1010.