The Meaning Of Color and Home Design Considerations

Before selecting colors for rooms, some thought should be given to the meaning of color. Every color arouses specific feelings. It might also determine the size of a space. Ultimately, it can affect the resale price of your home. In this article, we will cover the meaning of color and home design considerations.

The Meaning Of Color

There are some ordinary interpretations of colors. Keep in mind that this can differ by culture as well.

  • Purple: Harmonious and Wise
  • Yellow: Joy and Friendliness
  • Blue: Calmness and Relaxation
  • Pink: Feminine and Hopeful
  • Green: Optimistic and Fresh
  • Gray: Unemotional and Mature
  • Black: Formal and Intimidating

Spacial Impact of Colors

The darkness or lightness of a color may influence other aspects of a space. Lighter colors often cause a space to feel brighter and big. This is advantageous for modest rooms. Conversely, dark hues make a room seem less massive. It may be used to make an open room appear less empty. You can also mix dark with light shades to highlight particular aspects of a space.

Color Home Design Considerations

Prior to deciding on colors for a house, consider the space of every space and its purpose. What environment do you wish to create? This could be different for every room in the home. Think about how one space will transition to the next. This is critical not only for your intended purposes, but it can also affect how potential home buyers may feel when they view your home. People should be able to picture their own belongings in that home, so stay away from colors that may produce a negative reaction. Understanding resale value is one of the most important home design considerations. If you find it challenging planning your space based on the meaning of color, furnishings, and other factors, you may find an interior decorator.

Renovation Home Loans From HomePath

Renovation home loans from HomePath allow people to buy listings that need some repair. The expense of repairs can be rolled into the loan principal, making purchasing the property possible. In this article is useful information on renovation home loans from HomePath.

What Listings Qualify

HomePath home loans are solely available on properties owned by Fannie Mae. Mortgage companies must be approved to offer this program. There are normally a wide range of lenders. Homes needing minor to moderate repairs may also meet requirements for special renovation home loans from HomePath. This is typically included right in the listing remarks.

Qualified Home Buyers

Beyond the home qualifying for HomePath home loans, buyers must also qualify. Specific criteria may vary by mortgage company but generally includes income and FICO score requirements. Speak with a loan officer for details.

Details on Renovation Home Loans From HomePath

Renovation home loans from HomePath provide some desirable terms. Buyers may put down as little as 5%. More importantly, the down payment can be personal, a gift, a grant, or even a loan from specific approved entities. Both adjustable and fixed rate mortgages are available. No mortgage insurance is required, which can save buyers significant cost. Lastly, seller contributions are also permitted.

An appraisal is completed to estimate what the final value of the real estate may be once work is completed. The amount of the home loan will be based on the purchase price plus cost of repairs. Renovation costs may be as high as $35,000 or 35% of the appraisal value.

Additional Resources for HomePath Home Loans

If you are looking into purchasing a Fannie Mae home that qualifies for HomePath financing, you should speak with an approved lender beforehand. Your lender can give more specific information on your qualification and what the loan figures would be. This will help you decide if the listing will be financially feasible. For additional information on this and other related programs, contact Matthew Rapoport at Homes Inc. at (213) 334-4141 or [email protected]

Southern California Home Designs for Different Lifestyles

Lifestyle plays a major role in home buyer preferences and home selection. It makes sense. We spend a lot of time in our homes, so it should meet our everyday needs. Those needs are different for everyone, but you’ll find some general trends based on neighborhood and/or region. Understanding those trends can help you make better decisions when it comes to renovating your home or selecting a home with optimal resale potential. After all, everyone’s goal when it comes to primary residences or investment properties is to maximize value. Here are a few common Southern California home designs for different lifestyles.

Active Entertainers

For individuals that love to host parties, an open concept and large kitchen is key. Open floor plans tend to accommodate more guests and extend the space used for entertaining. Plus, with any gathering, kitchen space is essential for food preparation and presentation. Entertainers will also look for exterior entertaining space such as a large patio or deck. Access to the exterior should be convenient from the kitchen and other essential interior rooms.

Young Professionals

Young professionals tend to focus on their careers and have little time for home maintenance. Therefore, they often look for homes that are updated and require little maintenance. Some desirable features include updated kitchens/baths, newer systems (heating, cooling, electric, plumbing), low-maintenance landscaping, maintenance-free siding and roof, etc.

Families with Young Children

Families with young children often focus on layout and storage. Anyone with children will tell you that they have a lot of “stuff.” Large bedroom closets and on-site long-term storage options are important. As for layout, bedrooms typically need to be on the same living level and preferably in close vicinity to the master suite. Parents like to keep a close eye on their children while they perform their routine tasks, so they will often look for a living room or family room to be visible from the kitchen. Nooks for kids toys are also a plus.

Families with Older Children

Unlike families with young children, families with older children prefer master suites to be distant from other bedrooms (or better yet, on a completely different living level). Homes with multiple and separate living spaces are also a plus. For instance, a home with both a living and family room and different ends of the home would be great. This way, parents can quietly enjoy one space while the kids are in another.  Flexible floor plans would also be a bonus as kids leave the nest and parents look to repurpose certain spaces for their use.

More on Southern California Home Designs for Different Lifestyles

Understanding Southern California home designs for different lifestyles is important when it comes to property resale value. Matching the lifestyle of potential home buyers increases the demand (and therefore value) of your home. So, take a look at your geographic area and evaluate the predominant buyer profile. Are you in a high-tech area that attracts lots of young professionals? Does the community contain features desirable to families with children? Are you near amenities that fit buyers with active lifestyles and who like to entertain?

Why Buying a Home in Southern California is Cheaper than Renting

Most potential first time home buyers are faced with the same question,… should I rent or buy a home? Most look at straight monthly expenses when comparing the two options, which is understandable but not entirely accurate. By only comparing monthly expenses, you are ignoring some of the greatest benefits of home ownership. Thus, your comparison would be inaccurate. Below are some other factors that you should consider and why buying a home in Southern California is cheaper than renting.

Tax Benefits

There are several tax benefits to owning a home in Southern California. Current tax law allows you to deduct mortgage interest, property taxes, points, and possibly other mortgages expenses from your taxable income. This essentially reduces the amount of taxes that you owe, putting money back into your pocket.

It’s worthwhile to note that only tax payers who have enough deductions to itemize can benefit from these tax breaks. Additionally, itemizing deductions may allow you to deduct other expenses that you may not otherwise benefit from when selecting the standard deduction. Speak to your accountant for additional information on how much benefit you may derive from home ownership.

Avoiding Rising Rental Rates

Rental rates have historically risen over time. Given the desirability of the Southern California market, rental rates will continue to increase in the future. If you have a one-year lease like most renters, your rates would potentially increase every single year.

Now let’s compare this to homeownership expenses. If you purchase a home and select a fixed rate mortgage, your monthly principal and interest payments the same for the entire loan term (i.e. 30 years). You are essentially locking in your expenses, shielding it from market changes and inflation! This can lead to notable savings over time. This can be a major reason why buying a home in Southern California is cheaper than renting.

A Mandatory Savings Plan

When you rent, the money that you pay each month goes to your landlord. There is no return on that expense. When you own a home, you are making an investment. Every month, part of your mortgage payment goes towards interest and the rest goes towards principal (paying down the loan balance). That money is your equity in the home!

If you purchased a home for $400,000 and had a 4.25% interest rate, your monthly principal and interest payment would be approximately $1968/month. In the first year, over $550 per month goes toward principal, totaling approximately $6,744. Every year, the percentage of your payment attributed to principal increases, contributing even further to your equity growth. If you consider this aspect of paying a mortgage, some of that monthly mortgage payment should be discounted by the fact that you are kind of paying yourself in the form of equity.

More on Why Buying a Home in Southern California is Cheaper than Renting

When you compare buying versus renting, do not simply look at the monthly expenses. There are so many other financial factors that you should consider. Home ownership has long been considered the path to financial success, and for good reason. If you consider the tax benefits, equity-building potential, and locked in rates, it’s difficult to justify renting. Buying a home in Southern California is cheaper than renting when you look at the big picture. In addition to the items noted above, some value should also be given to rising real estate market values. When home prices rise, your equity does too. This can amount to significant dollars when the market is hot. Ultimately, not only is buying cheaper than renting, but it offers great potential for return on investment.

Reasons Why Millennials Choose to Rent vs. Own a Home

Deciding whether to rent vs. buy is a dilemma faced by every generation. Unlike most of the generations before them, millennials seem to favor renting over buying. Here’s a look a few reasons why millennials choose to rent vs. own a home and what investors can do to better target millennial home buyers.

Reasons Why Millennials Choose to Rent

Higher Student Debt

Most millennials graduate college with quite a bit of student debt. For many, this debt makes it much more difficult to gain financial independence. Therefore, many continue to live with their parents or to rent an apartment with a group of friends. Home ownership does not seem feasible to them given their monthly debt obligations and the impact that high debt may have on their  ability to obtain a home loan.

The Flexibility of Renting

One of the main reasons why millennials choose to rent vs. own a home is the flexibility that it affords. When renting, it is much easier to pick up and leave. Whether it’s to move jobs or to adapt to their changing lifestyles, the ability to make those changes is very appealing to millennials.

Less Commitment

Renting is also less of a commitment than buying a home. Millennials are getting married later in life than previous generations. Their focus is less on commitment and more on other experiences. Homeownership doesn’t necessarily fit into their mindset at this stage in the game.

How Can Investors in Southern California Target Millennial Homebuyers

Although the majority of millennials are not focused on buying a home, there are still a percentage that are able and willing to buy. These potential homebuyers understand that home ownership is the pathway to financial freedom and prosperity. So, how can Southern California real estate investors target millennial home buyers?

  • Design for Their Lifestyle
    Millennials are not handy. They prefer to have move-in ready homes that require little maintenance. This makes them the perfect target buyer for fix-and-flip properties.
  • Market Using Social Media
    Millennials are the social media generation, so to reach them, real estate investors must utilize social media in their marketing efforts.
  • Use Visual Marketing
    Millennials want easily accessible information. When marketing a home to millennials, it is important to focus on photos, videos, and virtual tours. Make the home appear amazing without a potential buyer needing to step foot in it.

The number of millennials choosing to rent vs. buy will slowly shift over time as that generation gets older and/or they become more focused on the many benefits of owning a home. Marketing to millennials does not exclude other generations. Therefore, it’s a great way to expand the buyer pool for homes marketed by investors. Millennials are the future. Investors who adapt their renovation and marketing efforts to them now will be well positioned for current and future success.

 

Popularity of the Venice California Real Estate Market

Venice is one of the hottest real estate markets in Southern California. In fact, over the last few years, the popularity of the Venice California real estate market has grown dramatically, making it one of the highest priced communities in the state. Here’s a look at the many reasons why Venice has become so popular and what investors should consider when buying or selling.

The Community of Venice California

Venice is a neighborhood within Los Angeles and is well known for its beach and boardwalk. It has morphed from being strictly a tourist attraction to a popular hipster community complete with boutique shops, fine dining, and various forms of arts and entertainment. There is so much to do in Venice that it’s attraction is no surprise.

A Look at the Venice California Real Estate Market

With so few housing options and almost no new construction alternatives, even the smallest housing units in the Venice California real estate market are demanding top dollar. According to Realtor.com, the median list price of homes for sale is $2.4 Million. Here’s a graph from Realtor.com showing the pricing trends over the last few years.

 

According to Trulia.com, the average price of 1 bedroom units is just under $1.5 million. 4 bedroom units average over $2.1 million. Rental rates are not any more affordable at roughly $6,900 per month.

Is Venice California a Good Investment Market

Hot markets like Venice California aren’t necessarily easy to buy into, especially with high demand and low inventory. For investors, such markets are ideal for flip and fix properties. Since the Venice California real estate market consists of mostly aged homes (rather than new construction), opportunities do exist. Properties needing extensive repair tend to deter typical home buyers. However, keep in mind that the purchase price will still be higher than in other communities where you may fix-and-flip. However, the key is the after-renovation value. If you work the numbers properly, you can still earn a significant return on investment from homes in Venice.

Investors looking to purchase and retain properties as rentals can expect consistent demand for rental units. However, given the high cost of homes in the area, cash flow analysis should be carefully reviewed. Additionally, it may still be a good idea to target homes in need of repair as they offer the most potential for equity returns.

Some investors avoid high end markets, however, all markets provide great opportunities if you know what to look for and make smart decisions. If you’re new to real estate investing in Southern California, consider partnering with Homes, Inc. We have local knowledge and extensive experience to maximize your return on investment.

Hidden Issues with Distressed Properties in Southern California

For real estate investors, purchasing distressed properties is the key to big financial gains. Distressed properties offer the greatest potential profits, but they also come with the greatest risks. Detecting hidden issues with distressed properties in Southern California requires a trained eye… or in some cases, learning from past mistakes. Below are a few common issues with distressed properties that can be well hidden.

Pest Infestations and Damage

If you’ve ever watched the show “Infested,” then you’ve seen many stories of families moving into homes only to find out later that there’s a huge pest problem. You may have wondered how those problems were not detected beforehand, but the reality is, the signs are not always obvious.

Infestations may be hidden behind walls, underneath foundations, or in other difficult to access areas. Pests are also known to “hide” from people, sometimes appearing only at night or when things are quiet. Additionally, some pests only access a home at given times, through unknown pathways. You may later expose problem areas when beginning renovations, or discover an infestation after spending a lot of time at a home and noticing subtle signs.

With experience and a close look at different areas of a home, you can start to recognize some of the common signs of pest infestation. Rotting wood, disguised excrement, and strange smells can be helpful clues.

Plumbing and Water Issues

Plumbing is among the common hidden issues with distressed properties in Southern California. Again, you may think that water damage would be obvious in a home, but they can often be quite the opposite. Minor leaks can continue for years behind walls or between floors before they appear on visible surfaces. The key is to recognize little signs of big problems such as slight discolorations, spongy/bouncy surfaces, mold, or disruptions to water flow,… just to name a few. Signs of old damage or leaks can also hint of ongoing or current problems.

Broken or Clogged Sewer Lines

Sewer lines are another major issue to look for in distressed homes. A quick home inspection will not always include a thorough look at pipes and drainage. In some cases, utilities may not even be connected, preventing these systems from being evaluated at all. Broken, clogged, or damaged lines can exist both inside and outside a home and are costly to repair. As a precaution, look for common sources of problems such as old pipes or the location of trees and other destructive elements on a property.

Issues with Structural Integrity

A home does not need to be visibly falling apart to have serious structural issues. Although structural problems may not be as common as the other hidden issues with distressed properties in California, they can certainly be one of the most expensive. As you pull down walls or pull up flooring, you may uncover damaged structural components or lack of certain support features. Sagging beams, uneven floors, and unusual layout changes can be signs of structural problems.

More on Hidden Issues with Distressed Properties in Southern California

There are so many considerations when evaluating a potential property for a fix-and-flip. As you prepare your budget and financial analysis, it is always important to remember that hidden issues with distressed properties is always possible. Depending on the type and extent of the damage, repairing hidden issues can completely throw off your budget and profit margins. Therefore, it’s critical to keep the above in mind and to look for any signs that they may exist.

If you fear that you may not have the past knowledge and experience to evaluate properties and detect these issues, consider partnering with Homes, Inc. Visit our Southern California Distressed Residential Asset Partnership page for more information.

Expenses for Real Estate Investment Properties in Southern California

In an ideal world, every real estate investment would yield positive cash flow. It would be straight-forward and simple. Unfortunately, that is not the case in the real world. The reality is, every property is unique and must therefore be evaluated individually. There are many common expenses for real estate investment properties in Southern California to consider.

Predictable/Fixed Expenses

Fortunately, some expenses are fixed or at the very least predictable for a certain period of time.

Principal and Interest Payments

If you obtained a mortgage for your investment property and it’s a fixed-rate loan, then your principal and interest payments should remain the same for the life of the loan. If you obtained a variable rate loan, then the analysis becomes a little more complex. Variable rate loans typically have a fixed period (i.e. 5 or 7 years) and then an adjustment period. So, a 5-1-1 loan would have a fixed rate for the first five years. The rate is adjustable every 1 year and may increase up to 1%. A 5-1-2 ARM would be fixed for 5 years, may adjust every 1 year, and may increase by up to 2% each time.

Property Taxes

Property taxes are predictable for the current fiscal year. They are subject to future change, as decided by the local municipality. Some adjust the tax rate from year to year, while others may adjust assessed values of homes. Although taxes could technically increase or decrease on an annual basis, it’s rare that you see decreases these days. Most municipalities increase taxes over time.

Property Insurance

Insurance policies are typically issued annually. Therefore, the amount is predictable for a year at a time. It is certainly subject to future change based on many factors used by insurance companies. Be sure to take advantage of discount opportunities such as bundling policies.

Variable Expenses for Real Estate Investment Properties

Most operating expenses for real estate investment properties are variable in nature. Among them are utilities and maintenance/repairs. Here are a few common expenses to keep in mind.

Utilities

Utilities paid by a property owner versus tenant depends on metering. Tenants can be held responsible for separately metered utilities, whereas landlords are often responsible for combined meters. Additionally, landlords are responsible for common areas such as hallways and stairwells.

Trash Removal

If trash removal service is not provided by the municipality, then separate charges may apply. Landlords may be able to pass on this charge to tenants if calculated fairly to ensure that each tenant is only paying for his/her own trash removal.

Management Fees

You may opt to use a management company to take care of day-to-day operations such as performing exterior maintenance, collecting rent, paying utilities, etc. In this case, management fees will apply. Payment amounts and intervals will depend on your contract with the management company.

Maintenance & Repairs

All properties, whether old or new, will require some level of maintenance and repairs. It is extremely important to budget for these ahead of time. Some  will improve the value of the property whereas others will simply avoid bigger headaches in the future. This is probably the most uncertain of all the categories of expenses for real estate investment properties in Southern California. Here are a few common repairs that you may encounter:

  • Electrical Issues
  • Plumbing Leaks
  • Roof Leaks
  • Painting
  • Broken Appliances
  • HVAC Issues
  • Pest Infestations

Evaluating Operating Costs and Profits

Given that some expenses are fixed whereas others are variable, predicting profits and return on investment will never truly be precise. The key is to your knowledge and experience as a basis for your estimates. From property acquisition to maintenance, relying on the correct figures can make a big difference in the success of your investment.

Southern California Home Buyer Assistance Programs

Home buyer assistance programs are readily available, but most people fail to use them. There is an assumption that only first time buyers may use these programs, but that is certainly not true for all of the programs. If you are considering a home purchase, here is some useful information on Southern California home buyer assistance programs.

Program Qualifications

Southern California home buyer assistance programs are provided on a national and local level. Qualification criteria are program-specific, so you can qualify for multiple programs. Qualifications might include level of income, family size, property type, property location, or building repairs needed. Programs are also offered based on military service, disability status, ethnicity, REOs, or connection to specific organizations.

Types of Assistance

Since all Southern California home buyer assistance programs are different, they also offer different types of assistance for participants. Some programs will award gifts for closing fees and down payments. For some programs, repayment is not necessary if specific criteria is met. Some programs offer lower mortgage rates or less stringent underwriting standards. For properties requiring work, rehab grants are also available.

How Southern California Home Buyer Assistance Programs Have an Effect on Real Estate Purchases

Some people qualify for financing based on credit and income level, but do not have enough savings for the up-front costs. These people then delay a home purchase in order to save enough funds. During this time, mortgage rates and/or real estate values may rise, making it more difficult to purchase. Programs that include down payment assistance enable potential buyers to purchase sooner and take advantage of todays low interest rates.

Finding Southern California Home Buyer Assistance Programs

All Southern California home buyer assistance programs are intended to make home buying possible for more people. The real estate market typically impacts the economy, so such programs may help improve the economy. Surprisingly, it may be difficult to locate such programs. To search for programs, visit DownPaymentResource.com. This website asks you to answer some questions then receive a report of programs for which you might qualify. You may then call your loan consultant for further details on any options that you are interested in. Keep in mind that some require that you use approved lenders.

Negotiating Agreements For Southern California Properties

Many negotiations occur in the home selling process. It can be an emotional undertaking for all parties involved. This article discusses details on negotiating agreements for Southern California properties.

Negotiation Elements

Real Estate Market

Whether it is a buyers market or sellers market may affect your negotiating strength. During a buyer’s market, home buyers maintain more leverage due to the abundance of other properties available. Sellers may want to be more willing to flex to keep buyers. In a seller’s market, buyers should provide their best possible offer to effectively compete for desirable homes.

Factors to Bargaining Power

Several factors can influence bargaining power. For instance, personal scenarios such as a bankruptcy may make other parties think that they can take a more aggressive approach. It is very important to keep this information private. The presentation of multiple offers can also influence who has more leverage. Know your standing before deciding on a negotiation strategy, since you may have little opportunity to alter your position later.

Look Beyond the Entire Offer

Sales price is not the sole element negotiated. Review all the components of a contract including dates, contingencies, deposit amounts, requested repairs, and mortgage terms. Many of these have advantages and disadvantages. Get assistance from a broker on whether what you are presenting is reasonable or may cause a negative reaction from the other party. Staying firm on particular issues can may prevent any progress.

The Advantage of Engaging Real Estate Agents

Real estate brokers hold two very important roles in this process. First, they have valuable knowledge and expertise to help with offer terms and conditions. Second of all, they may function as a cushion between buyer and seller and keep together deals that may otherwise fall apart.

Details On Negotiating Agreements For Southern California Properties

To improve your chances, evaluate the real estate market, know your bargaining power, consider the terms of offers, and obtain advice from a knowledgeable real estate professional. It may not be feasible to receive all the terms you desire. The goal is to achieve a compromise that all parties will both agree to and for everyone to believe they were given fair consideration. Details on negotiating agreements for Southern California properties is strictly an overview. Speak with a professional for proper information.