What to Focus on When Remodeling Your Kitchen Before Selling

Fixing up your home is a great idea when you've decided to put your home on the market. However, you need to be careful with the types of projects you take on and what you decide to invest your time and money in. While some projects may bring in a high ROI, many others won't let you recoup all that money spent.

The Ins and Outs of Signing a Listing Agreement

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Selling a home is a lot easier and more streamlined when you've got a professional real estate agent blazing a trail for you and ensuring all items on the list are checked off. After you've chosen the right agent to market and sell your home, you'll both sign a listing agreement, and in California, this document is referred to as the Residential Listing Agreement.

Can You Sell Your Home With a Lien On it?

The home selling process is an intricate one that involves a number of steps and contingencies. One of the more common processes involved in a real estate transaction is a title search, which is conducted to ensure that the person who is selling the property actually has the legal right to do so.

Luxury Pool Design Trends For 2017

Thinking of putting in a pool in your backyard? You've got a lot of options to choose from. Modern pool design is constantly evolving as homeowners' tastes become more sophisticated and available technologies help improve building and design techniques.

5 Reasons You Shouldn't Buy a FSBO Home

There's really only one reason why sellers would choose to go the FSBO route - to save money on realtor commissions. Unfortunately, what many of these sellers do not realize is that it's highly possible to actually wind up wasting money due to costly mistakes made throughout the process that could have otherwise been saved had they hired a professional to help in the first place.

5 Tips For Buying a Fixer Upper

Buying a fixer upper is a great way to quickly add equity into your home shortly after purchasing it. Rather than paying for the best house on the block that's already been upgraded as much as it can be, buying a home in need of some serious TLC will provide you with the opportunity to add this extra value to it yourself while benefitting from added equity.

What You Should Know About a Certificate of Occupancy

It's very exciting when your real estate deal closes, but it's imperative not to rush the process until you've dotted all your "i's" and crossed all your "t's". There are a few key documents that need to be reviewed before you move in, including the certificate of occupancy (CO).

Tax Benefits of Owning a Historic Property

If you own a historic property or are considering buying one, there are more advantages than just unique and original architecture and design. There are also several tax incentives at the federal, state, and local levels that are put in place to encourage homeowners to preserve these historic properties and rehabilitate them appropriately rather than tear them down in favor of new construction.

6 Questions to Ask Your Mortgage Lender

Buying a house is most likely the biggest investment you will ever make, so before you dive head-first into the deal, you'll want to have some questions answered about your mortgage. After all, you'll be responsible for making good on your mortgage payments every month for years, so make sure you're well advised about your home loan before you sign on the dotted line.

6 Signs a Seller is Open For Negotiation

As a buyer, the more you can get out of a real estate deal, the better, and that includes a lower purchase price. Having said that, any information you can gather about the seller regarding the motivations that lie beneath why they're selling and how open they are to negotiate would be very helpful.

How to Design a Family Room That Suits the Whole Family

It's not called a "family room" for no reason. This important space in the home is dedicated to serving as a retreat for everyone in the home whenever they feel the need to chill out, play, and just hang with loved ones. Based on this description of what a family room is and should be, it needs to be designed and decorated accordingly.

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.

Loan Estimates 101

Do you know how much your home loan will cost you? It's a critical question that you need to ask if you're going to be able to budget accordingly. Luckily, the answer to this can be found on the Loan Estimate, which recently replaced the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) as well as the Truth-in-Lending (TIL) disclosure statement under TRID guidelines.

What Are HOA Special Assessments and Why Should You Care?

You’ve most likely already heard of a homeowner’s association (HOA), which is basically the governing entity over homes and common areas within an HOA community. It’s the HOA that sets forth a set of rules and regulations that homeowners need to follow and charges a set monthly fee that covers the cost of maintaining the community.

How Do Real Estate Markets Differ From One Another?

Rarely will you find real estate markets that are exactly the same. In fact, your market could be drastically different compared to the one in the next community over. Of course, the differences typically tend to become increasingly noticeable the further away you go. For instance, a market from one state to another might be a lot different from each other compared to markets in different cities.

Turned Down For a Mortgage? Here Are Your Next Steps

It can be devastating to be turned down for a mortgage after getting your heart set on buying a new home. While lenders have loosened their lending criteria somewhat since the financial debacle nearly a decade ago, it can still be challenging to get approved for a mortgage if your credit score is low, your debt-to-income ratio is high, or your income is unstable. Ideally, lenders want borrowers to be able to check off all requirements before extending a mortgage.

Pros and Cons of a Month-to-Month Lease For Tenants

The majority of leases are typically for a 12-month time frame. After that 12-month lease expires, tenants can enter a month-to-month tenancy unless a completely brand new contract is negotiated and signed.

Prep Your Home For the Buyer’s Home Inspection Before You Sell

The majority of real estate purchase agreements will include a contingency to have a home inspection before a buyer takes the keys to a home. It’s not uncommon for buyers to gloss over issues with a home that a licensed home inspector might be able to catch. If there is a major issue uncovered, it will certainly be the subject of renegotiation.

FHA-Backed HECM Reverse Mortgages 101

Imagine being mortgage-free or having access to tax-free money that can be used to cover any one of life’s major expenses? For eligible American homeowners aged 62 years or older, this can be a reality thanks to Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM’s). Backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), these reverse mortgage programs enable seniors to take out some of the equity in their homes and even choose how they withdraw the money.

Problems That Could Arise if Buyers Move in Before Closing

Usually, buyers move into a home they purchased only after escrow closes, but there are times when buyers get possession of the home before closing. While not very common, buyers who ask to move into the home before closing might have a variety of reasons to do so.

INFOGRAPHIC: C.A.R.’s January Sales Report

The real estate market in California started off strong this year with higher sales from December. Sales increases in January were likely the result of an increase in interest rates since the Presidential election, prompting buyers to get into the market before rates climb even higher.

What Buyers Should Know About Saving on Prepaid Interest

It’s often recommended for buyers to close at the end of the month - or at least as close to it - in order to avoid being stuck with having to pay more prepaid interest when the deal closes. This is often a good strategy to save money, but it needs to be fully understood in order to find out how much money truly is saved at the end of the day.

Common Reasons Why Pending Sales Never Make it to Closing

Whether you’re on the buying or selling end of a real estate transaction, making it all the way to offer acceptance is a huge, rewarding step. Unfortunately, the deal isn’t quite done yet: you still have to make it to final closing. While the majority of deals go though with little or no issues, there are still the odd transactions that fizzle out before the closing date.

INFOGRAPHIC: Tips for Filing a Disaster Claim on Your Insurance

You pay for your homeowner’s insurance, but at no time do you ever want to have to file a claim as a result of a major disaster. If you find yourself in this position, make sure you keep the following tips in mind when putting in a claim with you insurance provider.

Minimum Property Standards For FHA Home Loan Approval

For homebuyers who are struggling to come up with a minimum 5% down payment that conventional mortgages require, an FHA-backed home loan can sometimes be the best route to take. The criteria is also not as strict as conventional mortgage programs, which means stellar credit isn’t always mandatory to be accepted.

What You Should Know About Down Payment Gifts

Coming up with a sizeable down payment these days can be pretty tough, especially when you consider the soaring home prices that buyers have been facing lately. Conventional mortgages require at least 5% down, but a minimum of 20% is needed in order to avoid having to pay the extra costs associated with private mortgage insurance (PMI).

INFOGRAPHIC: C.A.R.’s End-of-Year December Sales and Price Stats

The housing market in California may have struggled as a result of a squeeze on inventory and affordability issues, but it ended off 2016 in a healthy position. Sales may not have been their strongest in December, but home prices remained high at the close of the year.

The Ins and Outs of Home Warranties

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When you buy a home, you have the option to include a home warranty in the sale of the property, or purchase it after the deal closes. These warranties cover the repair or replacement of any mechanical systems or major appliances that come with the home and are good for a certain time period.

What Mortgage Specialists Want All Borrowers to Know

There’s a lot that goes into buying a house. Think about the amount of time you’ve put into looking for that perfect abode. And don’t forget about all that effort that your real estate agent has dedicated to helping you find a home, wheel and deal with the seller, and draft up that detailed purchase agreements.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Tips to a Successful Open House

Holding an open house shortly after your home hits the market is a great strategy to attract prospective buyers. Make the most out of your open house by following these tips.

What Can You Do About That Dated Popcorn Ceiling?

Popcorn ceilings were pretty popular from the 1950s through to the 1980s because they were affordable and made finishing a ceiling easy. But these days, popcorn ceilings - which are typically sprayed-on stucco - are nothing more than an outdated eyesore.

California Documentary Transfer Taxes 101

There are a number of closing costs that come with a successful real estate transaction, including appraisal fees, mortgage insurance, and home inspection fees. But you may also be responsible for paying another lesser-known fee: documentary transfer taxes.

Why Are Tax Returns Important For Your Mortgage Application?

All those tax returns that you’ve been filing over the years could one day prove to be very important documents if you ever decide to buy a home in the future. While they might just be gathering dust in your filing cabinets, at some point you might need to submit your tax returns to your lender in order to provide proof of your taxable income.

What Are Your Options For Home Insulation?

When it comes to revamping your home, you’d probably rather focus on projects that will improve the visual esthetics of the space. New kitchen cabinets, refinished hardwood floors, and updated light fixtures are the types of cosmetic jobs that can really make a big difference in the look of your home.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Things Sellers Should Know When Evaluating Offers in California

Getting offers on your home is very exciting and promising, and brings you one step closer to a done deal. But before you accept, you’ll need to analyze the offer in great detail in order to ensure you’re agreeing to something that meets your best interests. Here are 10 important things you should pay attention to when evaluating offers for your home.

Extra Expenses You May Not Have Thought Of When Renting

Renting out your own apartment is exciting and liberating, especially when you’re just moving out on your own for the very first time. There are various expenses that you don’t necessarily have to worry about that come with homeownership, including mortgage insurance, property taxes, maintenance fees, and others.

Should You Lock in or “Float” Your Mortgage Rate?

When it comes time for you to shop for a mortgage, you’ll be faced with plenty of options, one of which is whether to “lock” or “float” your mortgage rate. What do each of these mean, and what are their differences? More importantly, which option is best for you?

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Fast Facts About Home Buying

Buying a home is a big deal, and can be pretty complex and overwhelming if you don’t team yourself up with a real estate professional. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t come out on the other side of a real estate transaction successfully.

5 Reasons You Should Consider Selling in 2017

Is 2017 the year you finally sell your home? If you’ve been contemplating making a move but have been hesitant to do so up until this point, 2017 just might be the right time to bite the bullet. Of course, such a move should only be made after making the appropriate plans and preparing yourself to sell.

What Do Rising Interest Rates Mean For Home Buyers?

Homebuyers have been enjoying incredibly low mortgage rates for many years now. In fact, the average annual rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages has only hit 4% once over the past five years.

Do's and Don'ts of Bathroom Remodeling

It’s a small, unassuming space, but it’s a crucial one nonetheless. Bathrooms are one of the more important rooms that can add a great deal of value to a home if they’re modernized and up-to-date, not to mention bring years of comfort and pleasure to those who use it.

5 Renovations You Probably Shouldn’t Make Before You Sell Your Home

When it comes to selling your home, you want it to be in pristine condition to impress the slew of buyers who will come across it. Many home sellers will often invest in professional home staging services in order to showcase their homes in the best light and attract as many buyers as possible, which in turn will help bring more sizeable offers to the table and get the property sold in a relatively short amount of time.

8 Things Renters Should Do Before Signing on the Dotted Line

It can be a real challenge to find the perfect rental unit in the location your desire, in a complex you love, and at a price point you can afford. When you finally do land one, you might be a little over eager to sign the lease.

Which Mortgage is Right For You?

When it comes to mortgages, there’s no one-size-fits-all scenario. Every home buyer is different and has a unique set of financial circumstances that will dictate what type of home loan makes the right choice.

6 Signs Your Home Has a Drainage Problem

It’s no secret that any water that’s pooled in any part of your home will cause nothing but problems. And if there are drainage issues in your home, you’ll likely experience these problems pretty quickly.

5 Ways to Revamp Your Bathroom Without a Whole Remodeling Job

Bathrooms might be tucked away from public view, but they are one of the most important spaces in a home, especially when it comes to property value. And just like any other room in the home, they need to be updated and spruced up every so often.

7 Fastest Growing Cities in California

Getting into a city that’s growing at a faster pace compared to other areas in the state can be a good thing as far as increasing employment opportunities and a rise in property values are concerned.

What’s Involved in Building a "Green" Roof?

Homeowners are typically open to any efforts that will effectively help to reduce their utility bills as well as their imprint on the environment, and green roofs can help do exactly that.

8 Traits That Homebuyers Will Love

When it comes time to sell your home, take a close look around and see if your place has the goods that buyers are looking for. Considering the magnitude and expense of such a purchase, buyers want to fall in love with the home they plan to buy, and certain characteristics can help make that happen.

Best Spots in California to Invest in a Vacation Home

If ever there was a state in the country that’s riddled with amazing vacation homes, California is certainly it. But when it comes to purchasing a vacation property for investment purposes, you’ve really got to look at the dollars and cents, along with all the amenities that each location has to offer.

What Exactly is Involved in a Short Sale?

The opportunity to get a great deal on a property through a short sale is very real. However, many times there’s no money to be saved in this type of real estate transaction, and the process can be a lot more complicated that your average contract.

5 Reasons Why Multi-Family Housing Makes For a Great Investment

Real estate investing offers plenty of options for those looking to build wealth through this particular avenue. With mortgage rates as low as they are today, now is a great time to get into the real estate investment market, and a multi-family property is something you might want to consider for many reasons, including the following.

5 Things to Consider When Buying a Luxury Home

Luxury homes come with a host of ornate and opulent amenities and features that might tickle your fancy. Whether it’s a massive beach house overlooking the ocean, a sprawling expanse backing onto the 9th hole on a golf course, or a penthouse perched high above the city scapes with its own private elevator, properties valued in the millions will offer features that will leave you mesmerized and even completely overwhelmed.

INFOGRAPHIC: California’s Housing Market Forecast For 2017

The housing market in California has dipped somewhat in 2016 so far. However, it’s expected to experience a slight increase in 2017 along with continued housing affordability issues and inventory shortages, according to the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.).

Minimum Property Requirements For VA Home Loans

There are plenty of advantages of having a VA home loan compared to a conventional mortgage, including a minimal down payment requirement, no Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), and competitive interest rates.

INFOGRAPHIC: Housing Affordability Stats in California

A continued increase in housing prices and lagging new home development in California have continued to make it more difficult for buyers to afford a home purchase. Lower mortgage interest rates were unable to balance out the seasonal increases in housing prices, further continuing the extended housing affordability crisis in the Golden State.

The Home Buying Transaction From Start to Finish

Before you get the keys to your new home, there are a few steps you’ll need to go through first. After you’ve got your credit and finances in order, got pre-approved for a mortgage, found a reputable real estate agent to work with, and found the home of your dreams, the actual real estate transaction can begin.

15 Moving Tips That Will Streamline the Whole Process

The thought of moving into a new home can quickly go from exciting to overwhelming when you think about all the stuff that needs to be hauled from one place to another. The moving process isn’t exactly a fun time, but there are some things you can do to make the process a lot easier and less stressful.

Hottest Rental Markets to Buy Into in California

California has a ton of hot markets from top to bottom. There is plenty to choose from for any real estate investor looking to snatch up valuable properties to rent out for top dollar. Regardless of precisely what you’re looking for, the Golden State certainly offers plenty.

What You Need to Know About Your Earnest Deposit on a Home Purchase

Every home purchase transaction should be initiated with an earnest deposit to the seller. In fact, it’s rare for sellers to accept offers without a deposit. This monetary offering essentially tells the sellers that buyers are serious about purchasing the home, and shows their willingness to meet all of the clauses detailed in the contract.

Stats on California’s August Housing Market

The real estate market in California lost a bit of momentum in August as a result of continued issues with housing affordability and a shortage of inventory, according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR). While home sales have managed to stay over the 400,000 pace for five straight months, sales have decreased year-over-year for the sixth month in a row.

4 Ways Smart Technology is Evolving Home Security

Keeping your home safe is a crucial component to being a homeowner. After all, we’ve all got locks on our doors and windows for a reason. Other homeowners have added other layers of protection, including installing security cameras or alarm systems. While these are very helpful, home security systems have evolved a great deal over the years thanks to the emergence of digital technology.

11 Simple Ways to Save Energy and Money at Home

It takes a lot of money to run a home, but you could be spending more money than you really need to. Cutting back on how much energy your home uses can help you shave a huge chunk of money off your monthly utility bills, and it can be a lot easier than you may think. Small changes here and there can really add up to significant savings.

How to Maintain Your Home’s Exterior Stucco

There are plenty of reasons why stucco is so popular among homeowners: it’s durable, it’s easy to maintain, and it looks good. If it’s applied properly, stucco can last as much as 50 years, as long as it’s well taken care of.

INFOGRAPHIC: Interesting Stats About Millennial Buyers

Millennials are currently the largest group of homebuyers out there, and have been for the third year in a row. Making up 35% of the home buying demographic in the US, Generation Y buyers make up more than younger and older baby boomers combined.

6 Tips For Finding the Right Interior Designer For Your Home

Your home may have reflected your style a few years back - but today, not so much. Now you suddenly realize that your puffy sofa looks crammed in your living space, or that flower-ridden wallpaper looks a tad on the tacky side.

6 Ways to Prevent Water Damage in Your Home

Water can do major damage to your home if it’s not contained. It can weaken your home’s structure and foundation, cause mold and mildew, and invite unwanted ants and termites. If your home experiences a leaky appliance or a burst pipe, it’s best to get the issue under control as soon as possible before all that water wreaks havoc on your home.

California: A Popular Spot For Real Estate Crowdfunding

Real estate investors love snatching up good deals and letting their purchased properties make money for them over both the short- and long-term. There are plenty of ways to invest in real estate, and one of them is crowdfunding.

10 Easy Kitchen Projects to Enhance Your Space

The kitchen is the place where we cook, entertain, do homework, and even surf the web. We want it to be functional, but we also want it to be stylish, too. Luckily there are some easy ways to tweak your kitchen to breathe new life into it. Consider the following simple projects to enhance your kitchen space.

Assumable Mortgage 101: The Basics

Most buyers have to take out a mortgage in order to pay for a home purchase. While taking out a new mortgage with a lender is the more common approach to take, there's another option: taking over the seller’s mortgage.

INFOGRAPHIC: 12 Tips to Keep Your House Cool Without Depending Solely on A/C

With summer in full force, the temperatures are soaring. Homeowners have their air conditioners cranked in an effort to keep the interior of their homes cool and comfortable. While there are few inventions as appreciated as the air conditioner, it can also cost a lot of money to keep these appliances running 24/7.

Sellers: How and When to Use Homebuyer Incentives

To successfully sell a home, sometimes you’ve got to pull a few tricks out of your hat. One way that many sellers are trying to sweeten the deal for buyers and speed the process along is to offer buyer incentives.

How Agents Use Comparable Sales to Price a Home

Selling your home? How much you list it for can make a big difference in the length of time your home sits on the market before getting any offers. Price it inaccurately, and you’ll either scare off buyers, or leave money on the table. Price it right, and you can sell in a short amount of time and get fair market value for it.

Tips to Buying in Busy Urban Centers

The allure of downtown living is obvious: being in close proximity to work, shops, eateries, entertainment, and just about every other handy amenity is the height of convenience. But along with the advantages of downtown living comes the tight living spaces, the sky-high prices, and even bidding wars.

INFOGRAPHIC: 11 Surprising Statistics on Home Staging

There’s a lot involved in the home selling process. That’s likely one of the biggest reasons why sellers might want to forego the extra step of staging their homes before they sell - it's just one less thing they'll have to deal with.

6 Signs That You're Ready to Be a Homeowner

Ready to buy your first home? Join the millions of others out there who are navigating the waters of real estate for the first time. It’s exciting, yet it’s completely intimidating at the same time, and for good reason. Your home is most likely the most expensive purchase you will ever make, so it’s not something you want to jump into without making sure you’re emotionally and financially ready.

10 Must-Have Tools Every Homeowner Needs

From burned-out light bulbs, to popped-out nails, to everything in between, all sorts of scenarios will creep up on a regular basis in your home that will require your handiwork. Even things like hanging a picture on the wall or measuring rooms for furniture require some type of tool to get the job done.

Affordable Upgrades That Boost Home Value

A home that’s in pristine condition will do well at attracting the eyes of buyers and impressing them enough to put in an offer. If your home could use a little sprucing up, make sure you do what you have to do to bring it up to par before it even hits the market.

6 Tips For Finding the Right Interior Designer For Your Home

Your home may have reflected your style a few years back - but today, not so much. Now you suddenly realize that your puffy sofa looks crammed in your living space, or that flower-ridden wallpaper looks a tad on the tacky side.

13 Creative Ways to Make Your Small Space Look Much Bigger

Small spaces certain pose a set of design challenges, but there are plenty of savvy decor tactics that can be employed to make a room seem larger than it actually is, while keeping it stylish at the same time. Here are 13 ways to decorate your home to make it appear bigger if it’s short on square footage.

6 Ways to Protect Your Home From Wildfires

It’s prime time for wildfires in the west, especially with temperatures soaring into the summer. California’s already battling raging wildfires, putting homes and lives in danger.

6 Ways to Increase Natural Light in Your Home

Who doesn’t love a bright, light-filled space to call home? Not only does natural light open up a space and make it seem larger, it’s also good for the mood. If it feels as though you live in a dungeon, it’s time to let some natural light in.

4 Signs a Property is Worth Investing in

A real estate investment is only as good as the property you invest in. Make the wrong purchasing decision, and you’ll have a much tougher time making a decent profit than you would if you had bought into a better property.

Low Down Payment Options to Consider

Owning a home no longer has to remain a dream for any Americans, thanks to the changes that have taken place in the mortgage lending realm over the recent past. Coming up with a decent-sized down payment has long been a thorn in the side of would-be homebuyers. But these days, there are plenty of low down payment options available that can help turn the dream of homeownership into reality.

4 Ways to Keep the Value of Your Investment Condo Up

Buying and renting out real estate is a tried-and-true way to develop wealth over time. Not only can you build equity in the property simply through appreciation over time, the rent collected can cover the carrying costs.

INFOGRAPHIC: Best US Cities For New Grads to Find Work

It’s that time of year - a plethora of college kids are graduating, and are trading in their caps and gowns for jobs and rent. While the thought of having to find a job might sound intimidating, new grads can rest easy knowing that they’re entering an improved job market. In fact, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 11% more grads from the class of 2016 will be hired compared to last year.

5 Signs of a Shady Landlord

Depending on where you live, you might find it tough to land a great rental unit that fits within your budget and meets all your needs. But even when you find a place that’s located in an awesome location and seems like an affordable deal, it can be a total nightmare if you wind up stuck with a terrible landlord. Sure, many landlords are awesome, but some are not. In fact, some are downright shady, and even break the law when it comes to screening renters and dealing with them on a regular basis.

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.

Will Your Student Loan Affect Your Chances of Getting a Mortgage?

Still got massive student loan debt on the books? Join the 43 million other borrowers who do too. And among all the millennials who are still chipping away at their student loan debt, over one-third of them plan on buying a home within the next five years. But with all that debt still to be paid off, is getting a mortgage and purchasing a property a futile endeavor?

8 Things You Should Know About Living in a HOA Community

When you buy a condo, townhouse, or any other type of property in a planned development, you’re bound to the rules of the Homeowners’ Association (HOA). While you might have already known that rules existed when you bought, you likely never gave them a second thought, until there’s a problem.

California’s Housing Affordability is Recovering

Finally, some relief is on the horizon for homebuyers in California. According to the California Association of Realtors (CAR), 22 out of 29 counties in the Golden State experienced an improvement in housing affordability over the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same time last year, thanks to higher wages and a slight decrease in home prices.

Buyers and Sellers Beware: Signs of Real Estate Scams to Be Aware of

Savvy scammers are always on the lookout for a way to swindle money from unsuspecting victims, and the real estate industry is by no means off limits. Of course, the overwhelming majority of buyers, sellers, agents, landlords, and others involved in real estate transactions are honest, but there are a few bad apples out there who spoil the bushel.

Buyers: 6 Things to Know About the New "Know Before You Owe" Rule

If you’ve ever bought a home in the past, you’ve likely experienced some level of confusion over the cumbersome mortgage documents that came along with the transaction. Going through this paperwork can be like reading a foreign language. Many buyers have complained about confusing terminology, inconsistencies in information, and inadequate time to go through and understand the mortgage documents before signing on the dotted line.

INFOGRAPHIC: Exterior Upgrades That Can Boost Your Property Value

Many sellers tend to focus on the interior of their homes to impress buyers, which is great. But while this is an excellent idea to help boost property value - and thereby help sell your home faster and for more money - it’s important not to gloss over the exterior.

Tips to Keeping Your Home Safe While on Vacation

The whole idea of taking a vacation is to get away from the everyday stresses of life and change the scenery, if only for a temporary amount of time. The last thing you need is to worry about the security of your home while you’re gone.

7 Things to Look Out For at Open Houses

You can learn a lot about a home from an Open House. While you’re not going to be climbing through the attic or sticking scopes down the plumbing pipes (leave that to the home inspector), you can still find out plenty about a property just by being vigilant.

7 Features Homebuyers Will Dish Out Extra For

Everyone knows that location is a key factor in dictating how much a property can sell for in a given market. But while close proximity to employment, amenities, and green space are all important to boosting property values, the physical features of the homes themselves obviously also play important roles in how much buyers are willing to pay for them.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Home Sales in February 2016

The real estate market in California continues to sizzle, with existing home sales picking up speed in February, according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR). An improvement in housing inventory and an easing off of prices due to a continued shift to more affordable spots have helped drive the Golden State’s real estate market in February.

Solar is the Way to Go in Sunny California

Solar energy isn’t exactly new. It’s been around for years now, although it’s only starting to pick up steam as more and more homeowners figure out the potential cost savings in utility bills, not to mention their reduced carbon footprint.

6 Important Features Your Small Space Needs

Who says you need tons of square footage to live comfortably? In fact, smaller-scale homes are appealing to many home buyers, particularly millennials who are looking for comfort without having to dedicate all their free time to maintaining a larger property. Whether opting for a smaller space is a matter of affordability or simply a lifestyle choice, living in small quarters doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style and comfort.

Home Equity Loans 101: An Introductory Guide

Whether you need to pay for your child’s college education, a major home renovation, or an emergency medical expense, scraping the necessary funds together can be tough, but necessary. But if you currently own a home that you’ve been regularly putting money into via mortgage payments, you just might be able to tap into your home’s equity as a source to fund these major expenses.

How to Deal With Significant Issues Discovered in a Home Inspection

Finding the perfect place to call home can be a real time-consuming and laborious endeavor, especially if you’re in a market where inventory is a little tight. But even when you find the right property, the deal isn’t done yet until a home inspection has been conducted to make sure you’re not buying into a money pit.

Landscaping Ideas For Corner Lots

Corner lots are often the largest on their streets, offering homeowners wide open spaces that are perfect for the kids to play around or for entertaining. But they also pose certain challenges - namely, privacy. Properties on corner lots are much more exposed to the street than others on the block, making usable outdoor living space tough to define. They also often act as a way for passersby to cut through from one sidewalk to the other, which can make your grass and other greenery vulnerable to damage.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Best Places in California to Retire

From the sunshine, to the warm climate, to the ocean and wine country, California’s got it all. And from a retiree’s perspective, these traits rank right up there for must-haves in a retirement locale. The hard part isn’t about whether or not California is the right state to settle in; it’s deciding which part of the Golden State to spend the Golden Years. To make this decision a little easier, here is a list of the 10 best places in California to retire.

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.

INFOGRAPHIC: Who Makes Up the Housing Market in California

The current California housing market can be described in so many di erent ways. Right now the state is experiencing an inventory crunch, and housing a ordability is a real problem. Housing action is starting to shift inland as supply in coastal areas remains tight. But what about the people who make up the California housing market? Let’s have a closer look at the individuals who are part of the buying and selling process in California real estate for 2016.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Ways to Slash Your Utility Bill

It doesn’t take much to notice your bank account whittling away just to keep your home in operation. Your HVAC system can be a real money-sucker when it comes time to pay off your utility bills - but it doesn’t have to be. According to the US Department of Energy, you can slash as much as 43 percent off your monthly bill, while still living comfortably.

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.

What Exactly Goes Into a Home Appraisal?

If you thought finding the perfect home was the hard part of the home buying process, what until you actually have to go from offer acceptance to closing. A bunch of steps need to be taken in proper succession order to take you through escrow, one of which is a home appraisal.

4 Things You Need to Know About Condo Insurance

The differences between condo ownership as opposed to single detached home ownership are obvious. For one, there are HOA fees that condo owners need to pay that aren’t applicable to most single detached properties. Part-ownership of common elements is another unique feature of owning a condo unit.

Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off or Keep Refinancing?

Taking out a mortgage typically means making regular payments until the loan is paid off. But while this may have been the traditional way of looking at mortgages, many homeowners these days are choosing to keep their mortgages by refinancing to take advantage of certain benefits, such as getting a lower interest rate, using the equity to invest, consolidating debt, or taking advantage of tax deductions.

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.

Infographic: Baby Boomers & The Real Estate Market

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Millennials get all the press these days, but Baby Boomers still have a larger impact on the real estate market than any other demographic. This excellent infographic sheds light on this generation’s ongoing influence over the housing market.