Red Flags Buyers Should Be on the Lookout For

You're dropping a lot of money on your home purchase, so you want to make sure that your dollar is being well spent. Considering the magnitude of such a purchase, it's vital to take your time looking at homes to make sure the one you want not only suits your tastes and lifestyle, but is also safe to inhabit and won't come with expensive repair costs in the near future.

The Homeowner's Guide to Holiday Etiquette

With Remembrance Day now behind us, it's time to get full-swing into the holiday spirit by hanging decorations, stringing lights, putting up the Christmas tree, and gathering with friends and family near and far. But there's a certain way to conduct yourself over the holidays, particularly as a homeowner.

What is "Right of First Refusal"?

Wouldn't it be nice if you could find the perfect home and put in an offer on it without the pressure of knowing that there are other prospective buyers that may be eyeing the same property?

Tips on Making the Most of Your Fall Listing

We're officially smack dab in the middle of the fall season and are inching closer and closer to the holidays. While you're busy making your list of ingredients for your holiday dinner and running around picking up gifts for your loved ones, there are plenty of things that need to be done if you're planning to sell during this season.

Top Cities in California For Public Transportation

Millions of Americans depend on public transit to get around, especially going to and from work every day. It's a fact that proximity to public transit generally has a positive impact on property values as it adds convenience to the everyday lives of residents in any given neighborhood.

When is it a Good Time For a Cash-Out Refinance?

Many homeowners throughout the country have built up enough equity in their homes that can be pulled out and used for many of life's major expenses. Yet while there are various ways to get that money out, one popular way is through a cash-out refinance.

What Real Estate Investors Need to Know About the 1031 Exchanges

As a real estate investor, you're likely already aware of the tax implications of selling investment properties and the profits made from such transactions. Normally when an investment property is sold for more than what was paid for it, capital gains tax needs to be paid on the profit. This can take a huge chunk off of your bottom line, but there's this little thing called a 1031 exchange that can help keep some of that money back in your pocket.

What Can Sellers Do if the Buyer Backs Out of the Deal?

The selling process can definitely be intense and even overwhelming at times. After all, we're talking about a massive investment. There are plenty of efforts made to find the right buyer who is qualified and interested in buying your home, but even after you think you've found the right buyer that will see the deal through, there's still a chance that they may back out.

What Does "Escrow" in Real Estate Mean?

Once escrow has been opened, the instructions for escrow - including the purchase price, inspections, contingencies, and related documents - are completed and signed by all parties. A title report will be obtained from a title company to make sure there are no outstanding liens against the home which could delay the closing procedures.

6 Kitchen Design Trends Sellers Should Consider

No buyer is going to want to put up a huge sum of money to purchase a home that they don't like, unless they're specifically looking for a fixer-upper. If your goal as a seller is to sell your home as quickly as possible, your best bet is to prep it in such a way that buyers can't help but fall in love with your place. The more attracted buyers are to your home, the more likely they'll be enticed to put in a handsome offer.

7 Quick Tips for Buying Your Second Home

Everyone needs a getaway every once in a while, and a change of scenery can be just what's needed to refresh and unwind. But sometimes having to book a hotel or chalet can be a bit of a challenge, especially during peak seasons when availability is scarce and prices are through the roof. In cases like these, having your own retreat that you can visit at the drop of a hat can be a lot more convenient.

How to Make Your Home More Pet Friendly

Pets are much more than just animals - they're part of the family and should enjoy your home just as much as you do. The thing is, pets can be messy, smelly, and can even cause damage to your home. Sometimes they may not even be comfortable or safe in your home if certain adjustments aren't made for your furry friend.

Negotiating Repair Requests From Sellers

Unless the home you're buying is fresh off the builder's hands, it's likely going to have some blemishes, no matter how minor they may be. Ideally, you should have included a home inspection contingency in your purchase agreement, which will give you the opportunity to have the home inspected in greater detail.

7 Myths Vs. Facts About Your Credit Score

If you're planning on applying for a conventional mortgage, you're going to need a decent credit score before applying. Generally speaking, anything over 620 is needed to get approved for a conventional mortgage, though a lower score is fine for other types of government-backed home loans.

How Does the FHA's Energy Efficient Mortgage Work?

Are you currently in the market to buy a home, and want to make sure there's enough money in the pot to boost its energy efficiency once you take possession? If so, you may be able to get some financial assistance to help pay for these energy-efficient upgrades.

Tips to Identifying Issues That Sellers May Be Trying to Keep Hidden

When you're visiting several homes in search of the perfect one to put an offer on, you're not just looking at the layout, esthetics, and size of the home and surrounding property. While these components are certainly important, it's essential that you keep your eye out for potential issues with the home that could leave you with big, expensive problems on your hands.

10 Ways to Create an Extravagant-Looking Bathroom (On a Budget)

Flipping through home design magazines and catching a glimpse of some extravagant bathrooms can easily get you drooling over the possibilities for your own bathroom redesign. But with bathroom renovations easily tipping into the thousands, it can be tricky to revamp this important little space while sticking to your budget.

Tips to Counter a Lowball Offer on Your Home

As a seller, getting an offer on your home is exciting, especially if it comes soon after listing your property for sale. But just because there's an offer on the table doesn't necessarily means it's going to be a good one. Unfortunately, lowball offers happen, more often than sellers would prefer.

Your Lease is Up: Should You Renew?

Your lease is almost due to expire: should you renew it, or consider entering the world of homeownership? It's not uncommon for Americans to begin life on their own as a renter when moving out of their parents' homes or graduating from college. Student loans can make it tough to start out as a homeowner right from the get-go, and housing prices aren't exactly cheap.

6 Tips to Ensure a Prompt Closing

The entire homebuying process can take a long time. Imagine all the homes you have to look at before you find "the one." Even after you've negotiated a deal and your offer is accepted, there's still the escrow period to have to go through, which can be a lengthy process itself.

Important Deadlines in Real Estate Contracts That Can't Be Missed

A real estate contract can be confusing for both buyers and sellers, especially for first-timers. Not only is there plenty of jargon that many may not be familiar with, there are also many deadlines stipulated that must be met. Failure for these deadlines to be satisfied can result in a dead deal, which is why it's essential that all necessary parties do their due diligence to meet these milestones.

7 Rookie Seller Mistakes That Can Prevent a Successful Sale

Your home is a huge investment, so you obviously want the sale to be as successful as it can be. Unfortunately, many newbie sellers can actually sabotage their own sales without even realizing it. If you want to give yourself the highest odds of selling your home quickly and for the highest sale price possible, make sure you avoid making these rookie home selling mistakes.

How the Mortgage Process Works When Buying a Home

When it comes to buying a home, a mortgage is almost always a part of the process. But as common as they are, mortgages can often be highly confusing. That said, it's in your best interests to become familiar with the mortgage process, regardless of whether you're a first-time buyer or have bought and sold many times in the past.

8 Tips For Selling a Unique Home

Selling a cookie-cutter house can be a challenge because you've got to go the extra mile to make it unique enough to stand out from the rest. But what about when your home is so unique and quirky that buyers find it downright strange?

Social Media Blunders Real Estate Agents Should Avoid

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Social media has become a critical component to every real estate professional's business. In fact, there's probably no greater marketing tool for real estate agents than having a strong social media presence, but how you use these platforms makes a huge difference in how well they work for you.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For April 2017

After a strong first quarter in 2017 for sales in California, the second quarter started off a tad slow. While sales improved in higher-priced housing segments across the state, they slowed in lower-priced markets. Having said that, the median home price in California has been trending upward every year since March 2012 and is currently at its highest level in almost a decade.

Buying a Home With a Pool? You Should Have it Inspected

A swimming pool is not exactly a foreign feature among homes. In fact, if you're looking to buy a home, the odds of finding one with a pool are pretty high, especially further south. And just like any other component in a home, they're subject to break down over time.

Do You Know How Much You're Spending in Hidden Costs to Sell Your Home?

Selling a home obviously takes up a lot of time and money, but exactly how much money are we talking about? There are the obvious costs, such as real estate agent commissions. But there are also a host of other expenses that need to be factored into the equation, which may be small individually, but can really add up when all is said and done.

6 Signs Your HOA Might Be in Bad Shape

Condominium living might not be for everyone, but there are definite perks to them, including affordability, desirable location, and access to amenities. They're particularly well suited for those who like the idea of having someone else take care of many aspects of their property for them.

Myths Vs. Facts About Home Appraisals

Appraisals are almost always a part of a real estate transaction, but many buyers and sellers often have misconceptions about what they are and how they're carried out. Even those who have some experience buying and selling in the past may still be misinformed about appraisals.

10 Factors That Affect Your Home Appraisal

Before your lender approves your home loan, the property you agreed to purchase will need to be appraised first. Your lender will want to get an objective and professional assessment of the home's actual market value before matching that price with a home loan.

What Are Bridge Loans and How Do They Work?

If you’ve bought a new home that closes before your current home does, you may be stuck with the responsibility of paying for two homes for a brief period of time. As daunting as that might sound, you may be able to arrange for a bridge loan to help alleviate this financial burden.

Buyers: How to Maximize Your Time Spent at an Open House

If you're on the prowl for a home, visiting open houses should probably be on your to-do list. After scouring the internet looking at a ton of listings, visiting open houses provides you with the opportunity to not only see homes up close and personal, but also get your foot in the door in terms of a successful offer on a property that catches your eye.

6 Reasons You Were Turned Down For a Mortgage

The prospect of buying a home is an exciting one, but a rejected mortgage application can put a damper on things. Instead of wallowing in despair, look at this situation as a learning experience. Find out why you were denied a mortgage, then take the steps required to make the necessary changes.

5 Tips For Moving With Kids in Tow

Moving isn't exactly fun or easy, but this is even more true when you've got young children to contend with. It can be tough to have to deal with packing, purging, organizing, and all the other tasks that come with a big move while trying to entertain your kids and keep them out of everything you're trying to haul out.

What You Need to Know About Buying a Home on a Golf Course

Most people would automatically assume that a home located directly on a golf course would be worth much more than a similar home on a block that isn’t, and they'd be right most of the time. The idea of having crisp, clear views of pristine, meticulously maintained greenery is often enough to prompt buyers to up the ante in terms of offer prices.

How Smart Home Technology Affects the Real Estate Industry

When homeowners make improvements on their homes, it’s in their best interests to choose upgrades that will bring them the biggest ROI come sale time. Traditionally, a new coat of paint, a kitchen reface, and new hardwood flooring have been the frontrunners in this department.

6 Design Trends That Buyers Don’t Like

When it comes to selling your home, impressions matter. Ideally, you want buyers to be impressed with your home's look and functionality when they see its listing photos or attend a showing or open house. Your home should look its absolute best when it’s on the market in order to boost the odds of a quick sale at a decent sale price.

6 Mistakes Novice House Flippers Are Often Guilty of

When it comes to making some money with a fix and flip, every dollar spent counts. There just isn’t any room to make big mistakes or else your profits will quickly fizzle. But just like anything else in life, experience can teach you a great deal, including when it comes to fixing and flipping. The most successful house flippers in the world made their own mistakes that cost them thousands of dollars when they were just starting out.

Tax Blunders That First-Time Homeowners Make

When Uncle Sam comes knocking on your door, it can be pretty painful to have to part with some of your hard-earned money. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep some of that money in your pocket instead of handing it over to the IRS (the legal way), and your home can provide you with plenty of tax incentives. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t take full advantage of all of the tax incentives that come with owning property.

What is an Exclusive Right to Sell Listing?

There are different types of listing agreements that sellers can choose from when it comes time to sell their homes. But the most popular type of listing by far is the “exclusive right to sell” listing. In fact, it’s not very often that another type of listing contract is used in real estate.

How Prorations Are Handled in Real Estate Transactions

It’s not uncommon for real estate contracts to include prorations for both buyers and sellers. Prorations exist to reasonably divide any expenses related to the property, including property taxes, HOA dues, mortgage interest, utilities, and so forth so that both parties are not stuck paying for more than their fair portion.

Should You Purchase Extra Coverage on Mover’s Insurance?

Relocating can be stressful, especially when you consider the idea that total strangers are handling many of your delicate, valuable belongings. While movers are professionals in their particular trade and are well skilled and experienced in transporting goods during moves, anything can happen.

Solar Panels: Should You Lease or Buy?

Solar panel systems can offer a great way to scale back your utility bills while helping the environment at the same time. But their upfront costs can be pretty pricey: a typical four-kilowatt system for an average-size home in California can cost anywhere between $15,000 to $35,000. However, there are some rebates that you might be eligible for that can offset these costs.

What is Considered a Fixture in Real Estate?

The issue of what constitutes a ‘fixture’ in a home and what doesn’t has been the source of many conflicts in real estate. What the buyer might believe is a fixture and should come with the house might not be considered a fixture by the seller.

5 Home Upgrades You Might Be Tempted to Make, But Probably Shouldn’t

Whether your home doesn’t suit your needs or tastes anymore or you’re thinking of revamping it to get a better dollar when you sell, there are dozens of upgrades that you can make to your home to improve it. The question is, which upgrades are worth the money spent, and which ones are money pits that won’t allow you to recoup your investment?

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Landlord

There’s good money to be made by investing in real estate, and one of the more popular and traditional means of making a profit with real estate is by renting. With the economy continuing to recover and mortgage interest rates still hovering near historic lows, now may be as good a time as ever to invest in a property and collect rental income.

How Real Estate Commissions Work

Out of all the questions that clients have when it comes to real estate transactions, how commissions are paid is one of the most common. Who's responsible for paying the commission? How much is it? When and how is it paid?

What’s the Difference Between a Promissory Note and a Mortgage?

You’ve likely heard of a mortgage, but are you familiar with something called a “promissory note?” When you take out a home loan, not only will you need to sign a mortgage, you will also need to sign a document known as a promissory note. The question is, what exactly is this? Isn’t it really the same thing as a mortgage?

Common Restrictive Covenants in an HOA

If you’ve decided to buy a home in a planned community that’s governed by a homeowners' association (HOA), then you're probably already familiar with the fact that there are certain rules that need to be followed in order to live there.

What’s the Difference Between Staging Your Home and Decorating it?

When it comes to interior decorating and home staging, it all comes down to who you're trying to impress: yourself (the current homeowner) or the buyer (the future homeowner). When you’ve got your home on the market for sale, you need to create a space that speaks to the tastes, needs, and wants of prospective buyers that will be looking at it.

What Makes Real Estate Contracts Legal in California?

The last thing you want is to go through the whole real estate process only to find out at the end that the contract isn’t legally binding. According to the Statute of Frauds in California, these contracts must be in writing. Fortunately, real estate agents in California have access to a standard California Residential Purchase Agreement (RPA) form which makes it easy to ensure all the necessary components are included.

New Year Resolutions Buyers and Sellers Should Make

The start of the new year is the time when many people make resolutions to themselves to improve their lives in some form or fashion. Losing weight, finding a better job, or traveling tend to be among the more popular New Year resolutions, but if buying or selling your home is on the agenda for 2017, there are other specific resolutions that should be on your list, and that you should stick to.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Pricing Your Home

When you decide to sell your home, you need to get the process started off on the right foot, and that begins with determining the right price for your home. Many sellers have a tendency to want to list their home well over what the market deems to be a fair price because they see more value in it than what buyers might see in it.

How to Make the Most Money on the Sale of Your Investment Property

You bought your investment property for the sole purpose of making money. But the profits should still roll in once you decide to part with the property and sell it. When it comes time to list your investment property for sale, getting the most money out of the deal is most likely where your focus is.

The Process of Going From Putting an Offer to Closing Escrow

Buying a home is a big deal, and is typically an involved process, especially during the time between offer acceptance and the actual closing. “Escrow” is basically when a neutral third party holds on your earnest deposit until all contingencies are met in a real estate transaction.

Home Buying Tactic: Pay All-Cash First, Mortgage Later

Coming up with enough cash to make a home purchase isn’t exactly easy to do, and not too many people can scrounge up that kind of money. Yet in a competitive market where homes are being snatched up just as fast as they are listed for sale, all-cash is king.

How to Curb Condensation in Your Home’s Crawl Space

Even the slightest bit of condensation built up in your home’s crawlspace can wreak havoc on your enter home. Water that’s allowed to sit for extended periods of time can cause a whole slew of problems in your home, including musty smells, efflorescence (crystaline deposits), rotting material, mold, and a cracked foundation.

Calculating Depreciation on Your Investment Property

Real estate has long been one of the most concrete and profitable investment vehicles, and can certainly be a solid financial move when done right. The rent collected each month can provide a regular stream of income while building equity and reaping the rewards of appreciation in the property.

How to Handle a Low-Ball Offer on Your Home

One of the biggest fears that sellers have is receiving an offer that’s well under the listing price. Homeowners typically have a dollar figure in their minds that they want to sell their properties for, and if an initial offer comes in well under that price, it’s obviously frustrating and even insulting.

5 Things to Do Right Now to Get Ready to Buy in 2017

Thinking about buying a home in the new year? It’s never too early to start preparing for the big purchase to ensure you’re on solid ground. While finding yourself a seasoned and trustworthy real estate agent is a critical step in the game, there are a number of things you should be doing even before that to make sure you’re adequately prepared to buy.

7 Best Small Cities in California to Live in

When people think of the Golden State, their thoughts likely head to popular centers, like Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Diego. While these are certainly amazing places to dwell, there’s something quite special about the smaller cities in California that offer residents a fantastic lifestyle surrounded by natural beauty, be it the mountains or the coastline.

Selling? These Are Your Disclosure Obligations

If your home has a specific problem that could affect the enjoyment of the new homeowner or even lower the property’s value, you’ll need to disclose it. If you fail to do this and a major problem arises as a result of that particular issue after the buyer purchases and moves into the home, you could find yourself in legal hot water.

Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home at an Auction

They’re the infamous words buyers and sellers will hear at auctions. These platforms have long been used to buy and sell a host of different goods, including real estate. Buyers are hoping to snag a good deal, while sellers are looking to get their properties off their hands in a short amount of time.

6 Ways to Tell That a Buyer Isn’t Serious

Sellers don’t have a crystal ball to tell them who is going to bypass their homes and who is serious enough to put in a solid offer. However, buyers do exhibit certain traits and behaviors that will allow sellers and their agents to be able to distinguish those who just aren’t in the game.

8 Essential Items Your Home Renovation Contract Should Include

It would be nice to be able to trust your contractor’s word when you’re having work done on your home, but a written contract really is the only way to go. Having everything in writing can ensure that every party involved fully and clearly understands what is expected of them. It keeps the job running smoothly and ensures that everyone agrees on what should be done and when.

6 Things Sellers Do That Kill Their Sales

How sellers handle the home selling process can heavily influence the journey as well as the end result. There are certain things that sellers can do that will speed up the sales process, and then there are other actions that can derail the entire deal.

7 Traits of an Excellent Neighborhood

Location, location, location. The phrase may have become somewhat of a cliché in the world of real estate, but it still remains the most important factor in determining the true value of a property. When you’re in the market to buy, you’re not just purchasing the physical home, but you’re also buying into the surrounding neighborhood as well.

Renting? Here’s Why You Should Purchase Renter’s Insurance

If you’re renting, the dwelling you live in isn’t yours. You’ve got no responsibility to insure it; that’s your landlord’s obligation. But what is yours - and what you should consider insuring - are the belongings you’ve got within your home. The dollar value of your TV, stereo system, jewelry, designer shoes, or anything else that has some sort of value should be protected in case of a fire, theft, and so forth.

6 Scenarios Where it Doesn’t Pay to Go the DIY Route

Being handy enough to tackle many issues that tend to creep up when owning a house can certainly save you a lot of money and hassle. But there are plenty of other scenarios when taking the DIY route just doesn’t pay. In fact, it can even wind up costing you money in the long run.

Home Remodeling Projects: How Much Do They Really Cost?

When it comes to homes, styles change and features come more innovative. So it’s pretty unlikely that whatever state your home is in now will be up to snuff in a decade or so. At that point (or probably sooner), you’ll be looking to update the finishes or improve the functionality of your space. The thing is, these kinds of tasks costs money, and budget always rears its ugly head when the need for a big revamp in a home is called for.

6 Reasons Your Home Isn’t Selling

Has your home been on the market for a while and hasn’t attracted a serious buyer? There could be any number of reasons for that. In the meantime, you’re wasting time and money carrying the home while the listing continues to become increasingly stale by the day.

Rent or Buy? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself

When it’s time to move, you may be faced with the decision to either buy or rent. This conundrum isn’t just reserved for young adults moving out of their parents’ homes, but also to empty nesters or professionals who are relocating for a new job opportunity.

No Credit? How to Build it From the Ground Up

Having poor credit isn’t a good thing, but neither is having no credit at all. Getting approved for a mortgage - or any other type of loan, for that matter - is pretty much an impossible feat if the lender has nothing to go on. How will your lender know if you'll be good for the money if you don't have a history of responsible repayment? While you may be avoiding debt like the plague, you’re also failing to build up any sort of credit whatsoever.

Buying a Model Home: Good or Bad Idea?

Home builders know how to wow potential buyers. When developing brand new subdivision, the home they put on show is loaded from top to bottom with all the bells and whistles. The coveted model home not only helps entice buyers into purchasing a home, but also to dish out more money for upgrades.

Top Things Buyers and Sellers Want From Their Real Estate Agents

Buyers and sellers tend to have a long list of demands when it comes to real estate transactions, and so they should. After all, the buying and selling process can be pretty complex, so anything that can streamline the process would be welcomed. The way real estate agents conduct themselves and handle situations can make a huge difference between a smooth transaction and a frustrating one.

How is Big Data Changing the Real Estate Industry?

Every industry - including real estate - can benefit immensely from big data. These massive data sets have long been used in the financial and healthcare industries with great success, providing invaluable information about human behavior and interactions, as well as critical patterns and trends among consumers.

How to Restructure Your Mortgage to Save a Ton of Money

Whether you’re having trouble making your mortgage payments each month, are looking to free up a little more cash to put it towards something else, or want to save money in interest over the life of your loan, there are ways to lower your monthly mortgage payments.

First-Timer Mortgage Mistakes to Avoid

The majority of Americans out there who are buying homes will have to assume a huge debt in the form of a mortgage. Considering the magnitude of this type of loan, you definitely want to make sure you’re making the best decision before you take it on.

California Commercial Property Boom Showing Signs of Cooling Off

The commercial real estate market in California has been a strong one over the recent past thanks to job and income growth, affordable financing rates, and limited building construction. In fact, the values of commercial real estate are more than double what they were back in 2009 following the financial crisis.

10 Natural Remedies to Keep Bugs and Pests Away From Your Home

Summer is typically a time for holidays, backyard BBQ’s, pool time, and just lounging on your deck. But it’s also a time when the bugs like to come out and play, at the expense of your outdoor enjoyment. If all you’re doing is swatting and shooing, it's time to do something about the problem.

How Using a Licensed Real Estate Agent Can Legally Protect You

No matter which side of the real estate coin you happen to be on, it’s worth it to have a licensed real estate agent represent you. Buying and selling come with their own set of challenges, which can leave you vulnerable to liability should you make the wrong move. A realtor will make sure you’re protected at all times.

5 Extra Costs When Buying a New Construction Home

Buying a house is an expensive endeavor, obviously. But when it comes to big a completely new home from a builder, there are plenty more costs that you’ll be responsible for that you wouldn’t necessarily have to cover with a resale.

4 Problems FSBO's Often Face

Taking the 'For Sale By Owner' (FSBO) route isn’t as easy as planting a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn and putting up a few pictures on the internet. There’s a ton of work that goes on behind the scenes that many folks who aren’t directly working in the real estate business usually don’t understand.

What Do Your Property Taxes Dollars Go Towards?

If you’re like many other property owners, you likely cringe when you get your property tax assessment in the mail. But as annoying as it may be to have to open your wallet to pay these pesky taxes, they do actually serve an important purpose.

Baby Boomers: Just As Likely to Upsize as Downsize?

Baby boomers who are approaching or have already entered their retirement years have traditionally been known to downsize. Not having as much property to take care of and minimizing the number of stairs that have to be climbed are generally the traits that tend to change once the Golden Years arrive.

5 Reasons to Relocate to California

No other state in the US is more mesmerizing and dream-catching than the coveted state of California. Sunny days, yummy foods, a diverse culture, and a laid-back lifestyle make California the land of opportunity.

Buying a Fixer-Upper? Follow This Advice

If you’ve watched shows such as “Property Brothers” and the like, you know that there’s real potential in buying and renovating a fixer-upper. Instead of paying more for a home that’s already upgraded, you can potentially save some money and create a home exactly to your liking.

Common Building Code Violations: Is Your Home Up to Snuff?

Building codes might seem like a nuisance for homeowners, but they’re there for a reason: safety. Many homeowners might not be aware of the building codes they need to follow, which not only puts them at risk for paying fines, but also makes them vulnerable to injury and even death.

Buyer’s Guide to Jumbo Mortgages

If you’re planning on purchasing a high-priced home and leveraging the majority of the money to pay for it, you’ll likely need a jumbo mortgage. Almost 90% of mortgages are backed by either one of two major government-sponsored enterprises: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Part of the remaining 10% are considered jumbo mortgages, a home loan option for expensive homes that approach the $1 million mark and beyond.

6 Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector

It’s a no-brainer: there are very few instances where you wouldn’t insert a home inspection clause in a contract to purchase a home. A property may look flawless on the surface, but you just never know what’s lurking in the attic or in the electrical panel. The best way to protect yourself from a potential money pit is to hire a home inspector to take an in-depth look at the property in question before you seal the deal.

Why Did My Mortgage Payments Increase?

Just because you’ve locked into a fixed-rate mortgage doesn’t mean your mortgage payments won’t change some time in the future. This can come as an unpleasant surprise, especially when you’re trying to manage a budget. If you’ve allocated a specific chunk of your income to your mortgage, your budget can be thrown for a loop when these payments increase.

INFOGRAPHIC: Top Fastest Moving Markets in the US

One of the tell-tale factors of a fast-moving market is the amount of time that listings spend on the market. The number of property sales also speaks volumes about the activity in the market. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), over 6 million homes were sold in 2016, the first time this has happened in a decade.

Can the Presidential Election Affect the Housing Market?

The current presidential election is definitely an interesting one, capturing the attention of not just Americans, but people across the globe. We’re still quite a ways away from November when the 58th Presidential Election Day takes place on the 8th, which means things are only going to get even more heated.

Silicon Valley Housing Market Finally Cools Off After Extended Price Climbs

Are we finally seeing a slowdown in the Silicon Valley housing market? Data seems to suggest so. After record-breaking price climbs in the luxury housing market over the past few years, it looks like the tech-rich strip in the Golden State is finally entering a cooling off period. Homes over the $5 million mark took an average of 16 days to sell in April, compared to 11 and 10 days during the same months in 2015 and 2014, respectively.

Millennials Are Moving to These 5 US Centers

With 43.5 million millennials making up the US population, it’s worthwhile to find out exactly where this generation is buying and moving. Whether they’re already existing homeowners who are relocating, renters who are entering the housing market for the first time, or are homebuyer hopefuls who are moving out of their parents’ homes, millennials are on the move.

Chinese Buyers Continue to Pour Into US Real Estate

The housing market continues to sizzle in many cities across the US, but it’s not just domestic buyers that are fueling the fire. Foreign real estate investment continues to be a major player in US real estate, and is expected to pick up the pace throughout the remainder of 2016. Chinese investors, in particular, have their sights set on the US. Many wealthy Chinese investors have been dealing with obstacles stemming from the economic crisis in China, and have been looking outside of their borders to plant their capital.

How Real Estate Can Generate Income For the Retirement Years

A steady, predictable, and adequate income stream throughout retirement is a must for anyone in their Golden Years who wants to live comfortably long after they’ve said goodbye to their careers. But without a decent pension, considerable savings, or sizeable dividends from investment vehicles, having the pool of income needed to keep up a certain lifestyle after retirement can be downright difficult.

INFOGRAPHIC: 18 Curb Appeal Ideas to Help Attract Prospective Buyers

The first thing that prospective homebuyers see when they visit your home is the exterior. From the lawn, to the bushes, to the walkways, and finally to the front door, all these components make up the ‘curb appeal’ of your home, which you want to be certain is nothing short of impressive. Some buyers can be so turned off by the front lawn of a home that they don’t even bother checking out what’s behind the front door.

6 Trends Fueling the Current Real Estate Market

Spring has notoriously been prime time for the real estate market, and in certain centers, it’s been a particularly heated one for a while now. With an improvement in the labor market over recent months already playing its part in driving the housing market, experts believe many other trends will add fuel to the fire.

8 Tips For Baby Proofing Your Home

One minute your little one is depending on you to flip her on her belly, and the next minute she’s crawling out of her crib. Babies can quickly become mobile in the blink of an eye, so it’s best to be prepared before they let their curiosity compromise their safety.

How to Make Your Garden More Eco Friendly

The truth is, there are plenty of ways that a garden can be both wasteful and even harmful. From the pesticides that can be used to all the water spent keeping plants hydrated, some gardens can use a total revamp when it comes to being more friendly to the environment.

Starbucks Boosts Neighborhood and Property Values

Certain neighborhood characteristics obviously have certain effects on property values, whether positive or negative. It’s a no-brainer that having loud railroad tracks in your backyard will drag your home’s value down, while nearby public transit will have the opposite effect.

6 Tips to Building a Sustainable Greenhouse

Instead of heading to the supermarket for your daily dose of veggies and herbs, imagine being able to pluck them right from your own yard? And rather than buying plants and flowers to adorn your landscaping with, why not grow them yourself?

9 Mortgage Mistakes to Avoid

The mortgage process is a potentially complicated one. During the underwriting process, a number of obstacles can get in the way of your approval. And considering the huge commitment, it’s crucial that you make sure the mortgage you get into is one you can live comfortably with.

Sunny Southern States Experiencing Rapid Population Growth

Florida, Texas and California made up 27 percent of the population in 2015, yet were responsible for 48 percent of the population growth in the country from 2014 and 2015. Compared to the average population growth in the US since 2010, Texas experienced a 9.2 percent growth in population during that same time period, and Florida and California saw a growth rate of 7.8 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.

INFOGRAPHIC: 8 Signs of a Competitive Housing Market

Sellers revel when buyers are competing for their properties, but buyers themselves can often get disgruntled when they’re snuffed out of offer after offer. Landing the right home isn’t impossible during a competitive real estate market, however, as long as you’re aware of the circumstances you’re dealing with and come to the table prepared.

How Do Sky-High Property Values Impact Homebuyers?

This may come as no surprise in many markets, including California and New York. The median price of homes in the San Francisco Bay area hit $702,150, a 15.2% increase from the same time last year. Southern California saw a hefty boost in property values, with the median home price reaching $453,910, a 7.9% increase from last January.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Tips to Saving Up For a Down Payment

Even with a down payment as low as 3.5%, it can seem nearly impossible to scrape together thousands of dollars to put words a home purchase. It’s usually the down payment that stands in the way of many homebuyer-hopefuls’ dreams of being able to secure a mortgage. And when you factor in rent, credit card payments, student loans, and living expenses, saving up for a down payment can be even more of a challenge.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Things All First-Time Homebuyers Should Know

Buying your very first home is incredibly exciting, but it can also be pretty overwhelming, especially since the entire process is completely new. But despite your limited experience in the world of buying real estate, it’s critical that you make sure you are well-informed before making any decisions that could put you in a compromising position.

How Do You Know When a Building Permit is Necessary?

You know exactly what you want to do to improve your home: a kitchen renovation, a bathroom remodel, a finished basement . . . the list can go on. But having a vision and making it come to fruition isn’t as easy as hiring a contractor and picking out your finishes. There are plenty of steps - and obstacles - along the way, one of which is obtaining building permits.

INFOGRAPHIC: 11 Things to Ask Your Contractor Before the Renovations Start

Home renovations are no small feat, and can put a big dent in your bank account. Considering the huge expense, you want to be sure every dollar is spent wisely throughout the renovations. Knowing exactly what to expect before the project even begins will help prepare you for the project. And to make that happen, you should start off by asking your contractor a number of critical questions before the process starts.

5 Reasons to Beef Up Your Down Payment

Nowadays, there are options for homeowners to put a minimal down payment towards the purchase of a property. Amounts as little as 5%, 3.5%, and even zero percent have been pretty popular, particularly with first-timers who are trying to break into the housing market for the first time and don’t have the funds from a previous property to put towards another purchase. But while small down payments are definitely an option, they’re not the best choice if you want to be free of mortgage payments sooner rather than later.

Are Foreign Investors Upping the Competition With American Buyers?

Not only is there a serious lack of inventory in many parts of the US, there’s also a housing affordability issue at play. And depending on where you live, both of these matters combined spell trouble for the average American who is looking to get into the real estate market but can’t find the right property at the right price. How much do foreign investors have to do with this scenario?

Why Are Millennials Still on the Fence About Getting Into the Housing Market?

Millennials now make up the largest proportion of the population in the US at over 80 million. With so many of these 20- and 30-somethings, one could only assume that they’d simultaneously make up a large part of the real estate market. But that’s not necessarily the case. Millennials are taking their time testing the waters of the housing market, for a variety of reasons.

How to Sell Your Place While Your Tenants Are Still Living There

Whatever your reason for wanting to list your rental property for sale, having a tenant still living there while selling the place can definitely make the process a little more complex. But it’s not impossible, nor does it have to be a total nightmare if you play your cards right. While it might be a lot easier to wait until the lease expires and your tenants have vacated the premises, you might not necessarily have the luxury of time. Not everyone can necessarily afford to have the place vacant with zero income while the property is up for sale.

Indoor Greenery: What, Why, and How?

The “Why” The “why” for indoor house plants should be fairly obviously, right? They scrub the air in your home, they lend a tranquil vibe to any room, and as a design element they’re super versatile, adding color, texture, and shape for great interest and appeal. Their aliveness makes you feel alive. The “What” Now, how to choose among the many, many, many options?

Six Ideal Ways to Save on Home Heating

It may have been the warmest autumn on record for most parts of the country, but winter is (still) coming. In Southern California alone, the average cost of gas for a small home is at least around $1.50 a day. And that’s for the southern half of the United States where total heating costs and requirements are obviously lower. In the northern half of the U.S., overall home heating costs can be much higher, but taking steps to maximize energy efficiency yields more dramatic savings for homeowners. So, while the price of propane may be dropping as winter approaches, the price of natural gas - the home heating method used by a majority of Americans - is actually going up and up. Every day that homeowners can save money and resources starting today, the better!

What the Heck is a ‘Zero-Sum’ Budget, and Why Should You Consider One?

Budgeting. It’s not exactly the sexiest topic out there, but it’s one that everyone needs to think about, talk about, develop, and set in motion. This essential spending plan basically helps you to determine if you’ve actually got the cash to do the things you want or need without sending you spiraling into debt. While there’s lots of talk about the different ways to budget, what’s less known is the topic on zero-sum budgeting.

Brick: Underused or Overexposed?

Exposed brick has been around long before it was the hottest design trend this side of a Brooklyn loft. But the truth is it’s been around as long as, like, housing in general. So who’s to say where this “trend” starts and stops?

5 Hacks You Can Do Right Now to Jack up Your Credit Score Before Applying for a Mortgage

If you’re thinking of buying a house and applying for a mortgage someday, you might want to work on your credit. Lenders will look at you as nothing but a risky liability if your score is under 600. With a low score, the odds of you getting approved for a conventional mortgage are pretty slim. It can take some time to get your credit score back in the green, but that’s the name of the credit game - good behavior and some patience can get you there. The good news is that there are some things you can do right now to give your credit score a boost.