BofA to Reduce Principals by up to $100K

Photo: 401K Calculator

If you’re a homeowner struggling with an underwater home, Bank of America’s settlement with government regulators may be very welcome news.  As part of the settlement, Bank of America will be giving approximately 200,000 homeowners principal reductions of up to $100,000.  If you’re one of the homeowners affected, this could very well save your home. Continue reading

Amazing Prices on Bank-Owned Properties in Old Town Tustin

Photo: Nick Bastian

We can’t believe the amazing prices we’re seeing on bank owned (REO) and short sale properties. It’s the first time in the last five years that prices are looking good for real estate investment purposes.

Just to give you an idea, currently in the Old Town Tustin area there is a 3 bedroom home for sale for $350,000 and a 4 bedroom historic home for sale on a large lot for $535,000. Even one year ago these prices would have been unheard of.

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Giant Antique Sale Next Weekend – Santa Ana

Just a reminder to all your antique loving folks out there!  The Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society is having a gigantic antique and collectibles sale next Saturday, March 3rd.  There will be antique furniture, salvaged architectural elements, antiques, and more, all priced to sell!  We posted the info on this sale about a month ago, but wanted to remind you that it is coming up.  View the invitation to the Antique Sale here!

Tudor Style Homes in California

Photo: Allan Ferguson

Ever wanted to live in a Medieval castle?  Tudor-style homes, which were popular in the US in the 1920s and 30s, mimicked the timbered frames and romantic interiors of 15th-century English manors.  Steep roofs, timbered or half-timbered exterior walls, arched doorways, and beautiful leaded glass windows are hallmarks of this luxurious style of home. Continue reading

Six Must-Haves for Mortgage Approval

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If you’re thinking of buying a home, getting approved for a loan is one of the first steps.  It’s getting more complicated to get approved for a loan these days, so make sure you have your paperwork in order.  It’s also important to find a loan agent who is competent and effective at navigating possible complications.  That being said, don’t be discouraged.  People ARE getting loans, and they are buying homes.  Contact us, and we can help to answer any questions you may have, and point you in the right direction. Continue reading

Brass Fixtures Send CHEAP Message

An article encouraging sellers to get rid of cheap brass fixtures appeared on Inman News today, and I couldn’t agree more.  In the article, Chicago real estate agent Steve Somogyi emphatically states that he thinks dated, cheap, yellow brass fixtures send the wrong messages to buyers: C-H-E-A-P!

Changing out dated brass fixtures can dramatically improve the overall look and feel of your home, and it is a small investment that may potentially impress buyers. Continue reading

Tricked Out Man Caves: The Perfect Superbowl Venue

Photo: Zillow.com

Just in time for the Superbowl, gentlemen, I give you…THE MAN CAVE!

Apparently, according to an article on Zillow.com, homes with man caves are surging in popularity these days.  You know what I’m talking about when I say “man cave”, right?  I’m talking cushy sofas, big-screen TVs, plenty of beer (or maybe even a wet bar), snacks, and a dart-board.  You might have one in your home.  But when it comes to tricked-out man caves, these properties have got it down. Continue reading

Mello-Roos NOT Tax-Deductible – Enforced 2012

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California tax-payers will have to be extra-careful when filing their 2012 state income taxes in 2013, as the State Franchise Tax Board cracks down on homeowners who have been illegally writing off their Mello-Roos fees or taxes paid via the 1915 Bond Act.

Although Mello-Roos and 1915 Bond Act taxes have not been legal deductions in the past, many California homeowners routinely wrote them off their state income taxes because they were lumped in with their total property taxes.  However, new rules will require that taxpayers break down their property taxes into deductible and non-deductible portions.  A new computer system will track deductible and non-deductible property taxes, making it easier for the Franchise Tax Board to catch homeowners who are in non-compliance.

The FTB initially planned to enforce the new rules for the 2011 state taxes (due April 2012), but due to negative feedback, decided to hold off until next year to allow homeowners and tax preparers to get their paperwork in order.

If you live in a Mello-Roos community, you should check with your CPA before filing your state income taxes next year to ensure that you are not claiming an illegal deduction.

Read more about the new rules at the OC Register.