Our South Bay Community Blog

How to Handle Earnest Money in CaliforniaWhen buying a home, there are many things to consider. One of those things is called ernest money or intial depsits. Initial deposits are often called 'earnest money' in the real estate world because they're designed to show just how serious a potential buyer is in the property. So instead of just making an offer and waiting for it to be accepted, the buyer follows up the offer with actual cash. For those planning to purchase property in California, there are a few things to know about how earnest money works in different markets.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

It's Not Required

Earnest money is not required according to the rules

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All About Creating a Home OfficeMany people who work in offices dream of working from home. Before this can be done, homeowners must first renovate their home to create a home office. A good home office will be comfortable and properly constructed. It can also be a great asset if you are thinking of selling your home. If you're a homeowner who is thinking about installing your own home office, here's what you need to know.

Get Permits and Hire Professionals When Required

Any time structural changes are being made to a home, it's critical for the homeowner to ensure that those changes are made properly. Hiring a sub-par contractor could have devastating results. To hire a good contractor, homeowners must:

  • Check references and licensure
  • Browse through the
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What You Need to Know About Virtual Reality Real Estate MarketingVirtual reality technology transforms the Internet into an immersive digital experience, and it is changing everything that everyone knows about real estate marketing. VR goes beyond simple drone technology. VR technology allows home buyers to make better decisions in a shorter amount of time by allowing them the opportunity to experience a property before ever setting foot inside the door. Here's how virtual reality is impacting the real estate industry:

Virtual Home Tours are Becoming Increasingly Popular

Across the country, the hottest real estate markets are experiencing record-setting activity. In some cases, the inventory is low and the demand for properties is high, which causes homes to sell as soon as they are listed. For buyers,

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Neighborhood Research When Purchasing a HomeBuying a home is one of the biggest investments that many people will ever make. Making the right decision can be difficult, especially for a first time home buyer. The neighborhood where a home is located is just as important as the home itself. Knowing what to look for and how to identify a good neighborhood makes the home buying process easier. Here's what you know.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Walk Around the Neighborhood

Before making an offer on a home, it's important for home buyers to spend time walking the sidewalks or driving around in the neighborhood where the home is located. Paying attention to sidewalks, flow of

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Should You Refinance Your Home? A Closer LookThe term refinancing is often thrown around in casual conversation today, especially in the wake of the housing crisis. Some homeowners make it sound like it might be the smartest move they ever made, while others say that refinancing is not such a good idea. The truth is that it can be both. So it's understandable if not everyone understands its explicit meaning, or whether or not it's right for them. Find out more about what home refinancing entails, what it's used for, and how to decide on a long-term plan.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a mortgage expert or financial advisor before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

What It Means

Refinancing happens when a homeowner gets rid of their own old loan (by

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All About Home Appraisals for Home BuyersThe home buying process includes many steps, some easy and some not. If a home buyer is borrowing money to buy a home, there are more than steps involved in the process than someone who is paying cash. If a buyer is using a lender, soon after a good home purchase offer is accepted and once the home buyer has entered the escrow period, an appraisal is performed by the lender. Understanding appraisals and their purpose can help the home buyer through the escrow process. Here's what you need to know.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed mortgage professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

What Is a Real Estate Appraisal?

A real estate appraisal is a professional assessment of a home's market

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What You Should Know About Reverse MortgagesReverse mortgages are available to homeowners aged 62 or older who have managed to accrue plenty of equity in their home. There is no standard for equity, but experts will recommend at least 50%. Find out more about how it works, and whether or not its consequences are worth the rewards.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a financial advisor or attorney before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

The Reverse Mortgage is a Type of Loan

The reverse mortgage is a loan that provides a homeowner with cash based on how much equity they have in their home. They are different from other types of mortgage loans. Instead of the homeowner paying their lender, the lender pays the homeowner by drawing on the equity the

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Everything You Need to Know About Maintaining Your WindowsGood windows contribute to the lighting and beauty of a home while also helping that home maintain its energy efficiency. Windows can last for decades, but only if they're properly maintained. Knowing when windows need maintenance, what kind of maintenance to perform and when to replace windows is an important part of maintaining a property.

Maintaining Windows

There are many things that homeowners must do to maintain their windows.

  • Cleaning. Washing the windows at least once per quarter helps the inside of the home stay light and bright.
  • Caulking. Occasionally, windows need to be re-sealed with caulk; this happens every few years as the caulk deteriorates.
  • Repairs. A broken window is a hazard and also bad for energy efficiency,
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Renting a Home Can Be a Good Decision, But There Are Risks As WellNo matter what the reason for wanting to rent your property—a slow real estate market, temporary duty assignment, or a desire for some additional income—becoming a landlord is not always a walk in the park. Here are 7 things you need to know so that your experience is a good one rather than an undertaking to regret.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with an attorney, certified tax expert or real estate agent before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Set a Realistic Price

Depending on the specific reasons for wanting to rent out your home, it is important to try to cover your annual costs. Ideally, the rent you collect should be enough to pay the mortgage, insurance and taxes on the property, as well as any required

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Are You Selling a Home? Red Flags to Watch ForHome sellers take a risk when they accept an offer from a buyer. When they sign the contract, they're hoping that the buyer will come through with the money needed to purchase the home. They're also hoping that the buyer will be reasonable throughout the escrow process, which can be long and complicated. If you're a home seller who is hoping for a good experience, watch out for these red flags when considering offers.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Not Pre-Approved

Lenders have a qualification process that helps them determine which home buyers are financially capable of repaying a mortgage. Buyers who are most likely to repay

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