Types of Inspections a Property May Need Besides the Typical Home Inspection

A home inspection is one of the most common contingencies to be included in a real estate contract. Even if a home is only a couple of years old, anything can happen, which is why it’s important to take the opportunity to have the home inspected before your purchase agreement goes firm.

Affordable Ways To Enhance Your Bathroom On A Budget

Accessories can never be underestimated, no matter what room you're using them in. You can easily create a luxe look by sprinkling your bathroom with opulent accessories such as candles, perfume bottles, soap dispensers, and others to make your bathroom look fit for royalty.

4 Ways to Give Your Home A Fresh New Look

Perhaps the easiest and most cost-effective way to give your home a fresh new look is to simply give the walls a fresh coat of paint. Newly painted walls can give a home a new and updated look, which can go a long way.

What You Need To Know About Home Warranty Plans

Many purchases that you make come with the option to buy a warranty in the event that the product is damaged, such as small appliances and electronics. This helps cover the cost of repair should they break down so you're not paying out of pocket.

Top Tips For House Hunting Online

Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye.

Finding The Right Mattress

You’ve got more options than ever when mattress shopping these days with no shortage of brick-and-mortar and online-only retailers to choose from.

Dispelling Refinancing Myths

"Refinancing" is a scary word for many people, but that shouldn’t be the case for you. For many homeowners, refinancing can not only lower your monthly payments and help with your monthly budget, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

5 Negotiating Tactics That Can Hurt A Sale

Negotiation is a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly.

8 Must-Have Tools For Every Homeowner

From replacing cabinet doors, to burned-out light bulbs, to everything in between, all sorts of scenarios will sneak 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.

8 Must-Have Tools For Every Homeowner

From replacing cabinet doors, to burned-out light bulbs, to everything in between, all sorts of scenarios will sneak 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.

Short Sale And Foreclosure: What Sets Them Apart?

As unfortunate as it can be when homeowners fall behind on mortgage payments and must face the possibility of losing their homes, short sales and foreclosures provide them options for moving on financially.

4 Ways To Eat Organic Food On A Budget

Organic food usually tastes better, and is better for you, but it can also be very expensive compared to non-organic products. Organic food can cost nearly 50 percent more, thanks to the extra labor required to produce it and consumers’ demand exceeding supply.

Priority Tasks For Your Move In

Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and you’re probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture. But before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should cover first.

5 Criteria For Pricing A Home

When you put your home up for sale, one of the best ways to determine the asking price is to look at comparable sales. There’s rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, so a pricing decision often relies on comparisons to several recent sales in the area.

Consider This: When To Refinance

Refinancing your mortgage is something most homeowners consider at least once throughout the lifespan of their home loan. It allows you to pay off your previous loan by applying for a new one that has better financial advantages. While there are many good reasons to refinance, here are five common ones.

These 6 Things Can Cause Water Damage in Your Home

Water might be a necessity in life, but it can also wreak havoc in your home when it's not properly contained. Water can cause mold, mildew, and major damage to surfaces in your home. It can even compromise the integrity of your home's structure.

What's the Purpose of a Building Permit When Renovating Your Home?

Improving your home is a great way to not only improve its aesthetics and functionality, but it's also an effective way to add value. Certain projects can bring in a high ROI, adding more value to your property compared to what you spend on the actual project itself.

What Are the Different Liens That Can Be Found on Title?

There are plenty of terms to agree to when you sign a real estate contract to purchase a home. But one thing you likely would never agree to take over are liens on title. Unfortunately, liens can derail real estate deals and cause headaches for both buyers and sellers.

Turning An Ordinary Bedroom Into A Luxurious Bedroom

For most of us, our bedroom is little more than a place to sleep and relax. However, just because it’s always been that way doesn’t mean that we have to settle for drab and dreary.

Which Down Payment Strategy Is Right For You?

You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.

How To Become A Morning Person

Ever wish you could become one of those rare morning people? The ones that wake with a start, feeling refreshed and energized. The ones that get in that morning workout or wrap up some work before many of us even hit the snooze button for the first time. Here are five tips to help you achieve that early bird status!

What To Negotiate When Buying A Home

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran, the negotiation part of the transaction can be a little daunting and stressful. However, it is necessary to ensure you are getting the best possible deal for your money. So, what should you negotiate when buying a home?

4 Repairs To Make Before You List Your Home

When you’re getting ready to list your home, it’s of the upmost importance to ensure you are showing it in the best light. Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells. Here are our top five recommended repairs to make before selling your home.

IS IT TIME TO UPSIZE YOUR HOME?

Unfortunately, our homes don’t always grow with us. What may have initially worked fine for a single person, a young couple’s starter home, or a family with a newborn can quickly become too small as families expand and multiple generations live under one roof.

Create An Evacuation Plan For Your Pets

An evacuation plan is a necessity for every home, especially if you live in an area where fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and other disasters are a possibility.

EASY LANDSCAPING DIY PROJECTS

Ever get the itch to do a DIY project? Whenever we do, our favorites involve getting outdoors and mixing up our landscaping features. Whether it's as simple as installing some lighting or a little more time-consuming like re-plotting plants, a fresh look for the lawn always gives your home a fresh look as well. Here are our top five easy landscaping projects!

Should You Test For Radon in Your Home?

Imagine something dangerous lurking in your home that you can't see, smell, touch, or taste. That's what radon gas is, and it can be hazardous to your health and that of your family. But it's virtually impossible to detect without the proper tools.

Should You Test For Radon in Your Home?

Imagine something dangerous lurking in your home that you can't see, smell, touch, or taste. That's what radon gas is, and it can be hazardous to your health and that of your family. But it's virtually impossible to detect without the proper tools.

Should Sellers Bother Staging a Vacant Home?

There's a lot to do when it comes to getting a home ready for sale, and staging it is one of them. Obviously, a home that's properly furnished with pieces that are appropriate for the size of all rooms and decorated with tasteful accessories and neutral colors will show a lot better than a home that looks disheveled.

Are You Subject to Paying Capital Gains Taxes When You Sell Your Home?

There are so many perks to homeownership, including certain tax breaks. For instance, if you own a home, you may be eligible to deduct interest expenses on up to $750,000 of mortgage debt, which can save you some cash come tax time.

How to Ensure a Vacation Home Purchase is a Good Investment

If you've been thinking about investing in real estate and buying a property to rent out over the long haul, you might want to consider a somewhat unique investment opportunity: vacation rentals. In fact, renting out vacation properties has become all the rage lately thanks to sites like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway.

Should You Buy the Best House in the Neighborhood?

A gorgeous house in a great neighborhood is definitely something that will catch buyers' attention. And the best house on the block will certainly stand out from the rest. But is purchasing the best house in the neighborhood a sound investment? It's safe to say that many buyers want a home that's move-in ready.

These Home Improvements Could Hurt Your Home's Value When You Sell

Every seller wants to snag the highest possible price for their home when they sell, which is why certain measures should be taken to prep a home and craft a solid listing for buyers to see. And one of the recommended things that sellers should consider is making improvements that will help garner more attention from buyers.

Should You Refinance Your Home?

If you own a home and have some equity built up in it, you may have the opportunity to refinance your current mortgage. And there may be some good reasons why may want to consider refinancing, depending on your situation.

Short-Term or Long-Term Amortization Periods: Which One is Best For a Mortgage?

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a particular mortgage product. While the interest rate and fees associated with a home loan are certainly important factors to consider, so is the amortization period.

8 Best Paint Colors For Your Front Door

Curb appeal speaks volumes. It not only creates a welcoming vibe to your home, but it also plays a key role in its value, too. Given this, it's important to keep up with your home's curb appeal and spruce it up if need be.

8 Best Paint Colors For Your Front Door

Curb appeal speaks volumes. It not only creates a welcoming vibe to your home, but it also plays a key role in its value, too. Given this, it's important to keep up with your home's curb appeal and spruce it up if need be.

6 Ways to Boost Security in Your Condo, Even Without a Concierge

All homeowners want to take measures to make sure their homes are secure and that all occupants within their homes are kept safe at all times. When it comes to condos, there is usually an added level of security in the form of a locked main entrance, security cameras, or 24-hour concierge.

How Do Appraisers Determine the Value of a Home?

Sellers are obviously interested in knowing the value of their homes so they can figure out roughly how much they can potentially sell for. But buyers also want to know the value of homes they're interested in and may put an offer on, as it will help them determine an appropriate and competitive offer.

What Landlords Need to Know About Rent Control Law

If you've invested in the right property and your rent is easily covering all your expenses - and then some - you can make a decent profit and build sustainable wealth over time, especially as the property appreciates in value.

How to Stage Your Home For Airbnb

Listing your property on vacation rental sites like Airbnb can be a great way to supplement your income.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For January 2019

Home sales in the Golden State dropped to a level not seen in over a decade, according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

What Homeowners Should Know Before Putting Up a Fence

Everyone needs their own space, and fences can provide homeowners with just enough privacy to enjoy their homes without feeling like they're constantly on display.

What Does it Mean When a Deal is "in Escrow"?

You've found the house of your dreams, put in an offer that was accepted, and are ready to make the big move.

Thinking of Selling Without an Agent? 6 Reasons Why You Shouldn't

You wouldn't try to rewire your home, give yourself a root canal, or replace the engine in your car on your own without the help of a professional, would you?

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Most Affordable Places to Rent in the US

Rent doesn't come cheap in many centers across the US, particularly in places like LA, San Francisco, and New York City where rent is well over the $2,000 mark.

Investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs): 101

Investing in real estate is a great way to build wealth over time and even make a very handsome income as a career.

How Do Short Sales and Foreclosures Compare?

No buyer wants to pay more for a home than they have to.

What Buyers Should Know About Buying a House at an Auction

The more common way to buy a home is to peruse listings on the MLS and make an offer with the help of a real estate agent.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For December 2018

The California housing market closed out 2018 on a low note, as sales slumped and prices dipped.

Are You Ready to Move? 11 Signs That the Answer is 'Yes'

Moving is a big deal. Think of all the things that you've likely accumulated over the years and have stored all over your home, not to mention the process of selling your home and looking for a new one that will suit your lifestyle - and your budget.

How to Snag a Low-Interest Rate on Your Mortgage

Out of all debt payments that you may have on the books, a mortgage payment will likely be one of your biggest.

10 Things All Homeowners Should Know About Home Security

Your home is your haven.

Should You Accept the First Offer on Your Home?

When it comes to real estate transactions, sellers may often hold out for a better offer and might not necessarily take the first offer too seriously.

Tips to Creating an Efficient Home Office

There are definitely perks to working from the comfort of your own home.

INFOGRAPHIC: Expected Trends For Buyers and Sellers in 2019

In 2019, many buyers may be priced out of the market with rising prices and mortgage rates, though there will be more inventory and less competition.

How to Create a More Sustainable Home

The average household wastes 51 MMBtu's every year, and a typical home wastes about 30% more energy than an energy-efficient home does.

What Are Fintech Lenders and Should You Consider One?

If you're thinking of applying for a mortgage any time soon, you really don't have to go any further than your computer, tablet, or even your smartphone to get one.

Myths and Facts About Selling Your First Home

Everyone will give you their own piece of advice when it comes to successfully selling a home.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For November 2018

The housing market across California slowed down in November, with prices and the number of sales dipping from October.

Things Buyers Should Never Do When Negotiating on a Home

Negotiating a real estate deal requires a lot of skill, know-how, and a check on your emotions.

8 Reasons to Speak With a Lender Long Before Buying a Home

You might not be entirely ready to start shopping for a home just yet, but that doesn't mean it's too early to speak with a mortgage lender.

8 Affordable Ways to Improve Your Kitchen

Your kitchen is the hub of your home.

INFOGRAPHIC: 15 Easiest House Plants to Care For

Houseplants are one of those things that breathe life into a home and add a natural element of decor.

Why Do Mortgage Lenders Require a Home Appraisal?

There are so many factors that go into finalizing a mortgage for a home purchase.

Should You Get a Mortgage Online?

Unless you've got a lump sum of cash to put down, getting a mortgage is part and parcel of buying a home.

9 Home Cooling Mistakes That Are Costing You

Air conditioners are a homeowner's best friend, and these systems work hard to keep your indoor air cool and comfy.

What's the Difference Between Foreclosures and Short Sales?

Short sales and foreclosures were rampant a decade ago when the housing market crashed and millions of homeowners found themselves underwater on their mortgages.

What Repairs Provide Sellers With the Highest ROI?

Updating and upgrading your home is a great idea if you plan to sell any time soon.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Most Expensive Places to Rent in the US in 2018

Buying a home might be an expensive endeavor, but renting can also be incredibly pricey, especially in specific parts of the country.

7 Tips For Buying a Retirement Home

It's quite common for people who are nearing retirement age to consider moving from their family home and into one that better meets their newfound needs.

What Happens to Your Deposit if a Condo Developer Goes Bankrupt?

Lots of buyers consider purchasing pre-construction condos for a variety of reasons, but perhaps the biggest one is to lock in at the current price per square foot before prices start to rise.

What Exactly is a "Second Mortgage"?

When you buy a home, you normally take out a mortgage to finance such a huge purchase. That's considered your first mortgage.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For September 2018

The housing market in California appears to have cooled somewhat over recent months, with the number of home sales continuing to dip in September.

Is a Rent-to-Own Program Right For You?

What if there was a way to pay rent and not have to come up with a massive down payment for a home, but end up owning your home at the end of the day?

Things to Consider Before Deciding on a Resale or Pre-Construction Condo

Condos are great options for buyers who may be looking for something more affordable than traditional single-family homes.

How to Decide Between a Conventional or FHA Home Loan

When it comes time to apply for a mortgage, which avenue should you take?

INFOGRAPHIC: Habits of a Successful Seller

Some homes are sold in a matter of hours, while others tend to take forever to find a willing buyer. If you want to avoid the latter situation, consider adopting the following habits.

How is the Housing Market Influenced By the Economy?

A healthy economy is certainly a good thing when it comes to demand for housing, but how much can the economy actually impact the real estate market?

These Are Things That Millennial Buyers Look at When Searching For a Home

Millennials are a unique demographic. They're well-informed and are very sophisticated when it comes to what they want, particularly when it comes to the home they plan to buy.

Should You Hire Movers or Move Yourself?

Planning on moving sometime soon?

Why Did the Home Appraisal Fall Through? These 5 Things Could Be the Reason

Appraisals are an important part of the real estate transaction, especially when a mortgage is involved.

What to Ask a Potential Home Stager Before Hiring One

If selling your home quickly and for as much money as possible is what you're after, then hiring a professional home stager can be the secret sauce that you're looking for.

INFOGRAPHIC: NAR’s Existing Home Sales Report For August 2018

After a steady decline in existing home sales throughout the summer, sales across the US have leveled off in August.

Strategies For Pricing a Home in a Hot Seller's Market

If there's ever an ideal time to list a home for sale, it's during a seller's market.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For August 2018

Here is the data surrounding the housing market in California for August 2018, as compiled by the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

Should You Buy an Old House Versus New?

Thinking of buying a new home?

What Should You Do if Your Home Isn't Selling?

It can be pretty frustrating to sit around waiting for a buyer to put in a solid offer after you've listed your home for sale.

How to Make the Most of a Small Space

Your home may be tight on square footage, but that doesn't have to mean that it's totally unusable.

INFOGRAPHIC: Most Challenging Tasks For FSBO Sellers

Here are some of the most common issues that FSBOs have when attempting to sell on their own, prompting them to end up seeking the help of a real estate agent to finish the job.

Home Equity Loan Vs. Home Equity Line of Credit: What's the Difference?

Did you know that you can borrow money against the equity you've got built up in your home?

Why Sellers Should Never Let Buyers Take Early Possession

It's not very common, but it can and does happen from time to time: buyers will sometimes ask sellers if they can move into the home early before the actual closing date arrives.

Why a Lower Interest Rate Might Not Make Your Mortgage Cheaper

The amount of money you borrow to finance a home purchase is obviously the key factor in how much your mortgage payments will be.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For July 2018

Here are some stats surrounding the real estate market in California, as compiled by the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

How Quickly Can Your Credit Score Increase?

If your credit score is on the low side, you could find it pretty tough to get approved for a mortgage.

When is the Right Time to Lower My Listing Price?

No seller starts off the selling process with the thought of having to reduce their listing price in mind.

All About the 1031 Exchange For Avoiding Capital Gains in Real Estate Sales

Home sellers usually don't have to pay any capital gains taxes on profits made upon the proceeds of a sale because they are typically using those proceeds to be put towards another home to move into.

INFOGRAPHIC: NAR’s Existing Home Sales Report For June 2018

June sales across the country dipped from the same time last year, but prices are on a steady climb.

7 Tricks Home Stagers Use to Attract Buyers

As a seller, you want to pull out all the stops to get buyers to notice your listing.

What's it Like to Have Your Home Improved on a Reality TV Show?

You've probably watched your fair share of Trading Spaces, Fixer Upper, or Love It Or List It. And you've probably learned a thing or two or have at least been thoroughly entertained by them.

Should You Fix Up Your Home Before Selling it?

You might be eager to sell your home, but is it really ready for the market?

INFOGRAPHIC: 12 Listing Keywords That Can Help Get More Attention From Buyers

Your listing's description plays a key role in attracting buyers and piquing their interests.

These 7 Home Buying Mistakes Can Cost You

Thinking of buying a home in the near future? Keep in mind that there are several things that you should do, and a number of others that you shouldn't.

INFOGRAPHIC: 8 Real Estate Buying Hacks All First-Timers Should Know

Buying your first home can be overwhelming, but going into the process prepared and armed with information and the right people can help ensure a smooth, streamlined process.

Thinking of Buying on a Golf Course? Here Are 6 Things to Consider First

What's not to love about the vast greenery, meticulously maintained grounds and rolling hills of a golf course?

INFOGRAPHIC: Annual Salary Needed to Buy a Home in These California Cities

Median home prices in California remain some of the highest in the country, and the respective salaries required to support a mortgage in these cities are also relatively high.

Should You Build an Addition to Your Home?

Are you beginning to outgrow your home? Is your house not providing enough space for you and your family?

Common Reasons Why Homeowners Insurance Claims Are Rejected

You pay good money to have your home covered with a homeowners' insurance policy, so when damage is done to it, you expect your claim to go through and a check to mailed to you soon after.

Should You Buy Mortgage Insurance?

As a homebuyer, you're already paying expenses left and right.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For April 2018

Housing inventory in California may have shrunk slightly in May, but the statewide home price has reached new heights in over a decade.

Should You Take Your Home off the Market?

Every seller hopes for the best when they first put their home on the market. Getting a great offer shortly after listing and selling for top dollar are obvious goals for sellers.

7 Things That Sellers Should Leave Behind When They Sell

You've successfully sold your home and are ready to pack up all your belongings to haul over to your new abode.

Should You Renew Your Lease?

You've lived in your rental unit for a while now, but your lease is coming due. Now's the time to start thinking about whether or not to continue on with your current landlord and remain in the premises, or move onto something else.

Should You Leave Your Home Vacant When Selling?

A clean, clutter-free home obviously shows better than a home that's messy and not appropriately decorated or furnished. But does that necessarily mean that a home is better off being completely vacant when it's on the market?

Sellers: How to Effectively Handle an Offer

When an offer comes in from a buyer, the first component that sellers will typically look at is the offer price.

INFOGRAPHIC: Top 12 Questions Home Buyers Ask Their Real Estate Agents

Buying a home - especially for the first time - can be an overwhelming experience. It's not surprising that buyers tend to have a plethora of questions to ask their agents before they take the plunge.

Can Your Mortgage Application Be Rejected After You've Already Been Pre-Approved?

If you plan to make a home purchase sometime in the near future, one of your first steps should be to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Myths and Facts About Home Staging

As a seller, you've got a lot of things to consider in order to ensure a successful transaction, and one of them is prepping your home for prospective buyers.

11 Tips For First-Time Homebuyers Breaking Into the Housing Market

Are you finally ready to get into the housing market? If you so, your first time can be pretty exciting yet daunting.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For April 2018

Here are some pertinent stats surrounding housing market activity in California in April, as compiled by the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

What's the Difference Between 'Exurbs' and 'Suburbs'?

City living is ideal for many people, especially those who work in the downtown core or who simply like to be in the center of the action. But living in urban centers is typically expensive, especially when compared to homes located in the outskirts.

What Documents Are Needed to Get a Mortgage?

Getting a mortgage is a crucial part of the home buying process unless you've got the funds to make an all-cash deal.

What is a "Proof of Funds" Letter in a Real Estate Purchase?

If you were selling your home, would you want to be absolutely certain that the buyers are able to secure a mortgage to make the real estate deal go through? Of course, you would, and that's exactly what the purpose of a "proof of funds" letter is.

INFOGRAPHIC: Sellers: Your Complete Open House Checklist

Selling soon? Then an Open House might be on your agenda in the near future. To help ensure that it's a success, this checklist will help you tick off all the boxes so you leave no stone unturned.

Title Insurance 101: Everything You Need to Know

Buying a new home can certainly be an overwhelming and sometimes frightening thing, especially if you're completely new to this game.

Should Buyers Consider a Probate Sale?

Just about every home buyer is looking for a good deal on a home purchase. After all, why pay more for a home than necessary?

What is the MLS and How Does it Work?

Whether you're a newbie buyer or seller or have bought and sold homes a few times over the years, you've most likely heard of the MLS, or Multiple Listing Service.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For March 2018

The spring season is off to a strong start for the housing market in California, with home sales inching higher and median home prices hitting 8-month highs in March. Here are some stats regarding California's real estate market as compiled by the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

Sellers: Before You Finalize Your Taxes, Here are 5 Write-Offs

Paying taxes is never fun, but you may be able to find ways to keep a little extra money in your pocket when filing. If you've recently sold your property, there are several different tax deductions you'll want to be aware of, including the following.

9 Considerations to Make Before Buying in a Rural Area

The idea of having a ton of space outdoors is really nice, as is the tranquility and greenery that typically comes with acreage. But as pleasant as living on a large piece of land may be, there are certain factors that could make this type of living arrangement a bit of a hassle.

What Exactly is a Mortgage Transfer?

With the typical sale of a property, the new owners usually apply for a mortgage to finance the purchase. When the sale is finalized, the new owners begin paying their new mortgage with the set of terms and interest rate that were agreed upon with their lender. But in some circumstances, a mortgage may be transferred from the sellers to the new owners.

INFOGRAPHIC: What do Today's Home Sellers Look Like?

What do today's home sellers look like? According to statistics gathered by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), they're living in their homes longer before selling and are more likely to use a real estate agent to sell. Here are some interesting facts about home sellers of today.

Why Should Buyers Sign a Buyer's Representation Agreement?

Buying a home is a big deal, and buyers are highly advised to have representation when they search for a home and negotiate a deal. Having a real estate agent represent you when making this massive purchase is certainly beneficial for many reasons, but the details of this professional relationship should ideally be outlined in a contract, known as a Buyer's Representation Agreement.

Bridge Loans: What Buyers Should Know

If you are already a homeowner and are looking to buy a new home, you have the distinct benefit of being able to use the proceeds of the sale of your property to be used to make a new home purchase.

Pros and Cons of Buying in a Gated Community

A gated community is basically a neighborhood of homes that can only be accessed by residents and their invited guests. Before you decide whether or not a gated community is right for you, consider the following pros and cons first.

INFOGRAPHIC: NAR’s Existing Home Sales Report For February 2018

Here are some stats surrounding existing home sales in February, as compiled by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Is it Possible to Buy a Home With Bad Credit?

Getting approved for a mortgage can be pretty challenging these days. Lenders are rather stringent with their lending requirements and aren't in the business of loaning out money to just anyone. Nowadays, you've got to meet strict criteria in order to get approved for a conventional mortgage, and that includes having good credit.

What Can Happen if Your Remodel Without a Permit?

If you're thinking of renovating your kitchen, expanding the living room, or adding a completely new addition to your home, you'll need to apply for a permit before any work begins.

What is an 'Alienation Clause' in Real Estate?

If you're buying or selling a home that still has a mortgage on it, you'll likely be dealing with what's known the lending world as an 'alienation clause'.

INFOGRAPHIC: 8 Stats on Today's Millennial Homebuyer

Millennials are not only the largest demographic in the US at over 75 million, they also make up the biggest share of buyers in the country. Here are some stats on the demographic that's heavily influencing the real estate market.

How to Get Rid of That Unsightly Popcorn Ceiling

Does your home still have popcorn ceilings that were popular decades ago? If so, it's probably time for a change. Odds are, you've probably already been thinking about getting rid of your popcorn ceilings but just haven't gotten around to it.

How Much Does Selling a House Cost?

Many sellers make a profit when they sell their home after factoring in appreciation and any improvements made that add value. But selling is not an expense-free endeavor. It costs money to sell property, and sellers should be aware of the expenses in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises when the deal closes.

8 Crucial Things Your Real Estate Landing Page Should Have

A real estate landing page can be a powerful tool to help you generate more leads for your business, but how it's designed makes all the difference. Landing pages are basically any web page that visitors arrive at from another source, such as an advertisement.

INFOGRAPHIC: N.A.R.’s Existing Home Sales Report For January 2017

While the median sale price of existing homes rose in January from the same time in 2017, the number of sales has dipped. Here are some statistics that have characterized the existing home sales market in January 2018, as compiled by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

What's the Difference Between "Assessed Value" and "Fair Market Value"?

Property values play a key role in the world of real estate. Buyers are always looking to get a deal on a home, while sellers are always seeking the highest price.

What's the Difference Between a Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure?

As a consumer, you want to be able to make informed purchasing decisions, especially when it comes to big-ticket items like a house. That's exactly why Loan Estimates and Closing Disclosures exist, which essentially help provide buyers with details about their mortgages before they formally commit to them.

8 Neighborhood Features Homebuyers Should Steer Clear of

When you buy a home, you're also buying the neighborhood. The area you purchase into has a direct impact on the value of your home, both today and into the future.

INFOGRAPHIC: Realtor Perspective on How Home Staging Affects Homebuyers

What exactly do real estate professionals think about home staging and how much it influences a real estate deal?

How Much Notice Should Sellers Request Before Showings?

How much notice is appropriate before you allow buyers to show up? Not enough time will leave you with a very tight window to clean up and get out, while too much time can frustrate buyers and even result in a lost lead.

9 Ways to Sell Your Home Faster Than the Neighbors

In a way, it's a competition: you and your neighbors are essentially competing for the same buyers. It's anyone's game, but there are things you can do to gain an edge over the other listings in your neighborhood.

7 Red Flags of a Moving Scam

The moving process is stressful enough; the last thing you need is to wind up dealing with a shady moving company.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For December 2017

Here are the stats for the California housing market in December 2017 as gathered by the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

Can You Sell Your Home With a Lien on it?

If you're planning to sell, you'll want to find out if there are currently any liens on your home. The question is, can you still sell your home if there are any outstanding liens on title?

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. To help you make a more informed purchasing decision, here are some red flags you should be wary of when you're on the hunt for your next home.

8 Factors That Play Key Roles in Determining Your Mortgage Rate

If you're planning to buy a home in the near future, you'll want to get the lowest interest rate possible on your mortgage. That's why it's important for you to understand all the factors that impact the rate you're offered.

INFOGRAPHIC: Interesting Stats on the Relationship Between Real Estate and Social Media

Social media is undoubtedly a staple for both businesses and consumers alike. And when it comes to the world of real estate, both real estate professionals and buyers/sellers are increasingly depending on social media channels to ensure a successful deal. Here are some interesting facts about how social media is being used by both realtors and the clients they serve.

What Your Home's Decor Says About Your Personality

Have you ever thought about why you decorated and furnished your home in a certain way? While you may not realize it, your home's decor says a lot about you.

INFOGRAPHIC: Top 12 Questions Home Buyers Ask Their Real Estate Agents

Buying a home - especially for the first time - can be an overwhelming experience. It's not surprising that buyers tend to have a plethora of questions to ask their agents before they take the plunge. Here are some of the most common queries you'll ever hear a buyer ask their agent.

What's the Difference Between a Construction Loan and Traditional Mortgage?

If you're buying a home, odds are you'll need to take out a mortgage to finance such a large purchase. But if you're planning to build your own home from scratch, the type of financing you get to cover the cost of construction will differ.

When Should Buyers Offer Full Asking Price on a Listing?

It's common practice for homebuyers to offer a price on a home that's under the listing price in hopes of negotiating a number that both parties can agree on. By leaving a gap between the listing and offer prices, you've got some wiggle room to allow for a little back-and-forth bantering. But when is it customary to offer the full listing price on a home?

Homebuyers: How to Tell if You're Getting a Good Deal

How can you identify whether or not you're really getting a good deal on a home, especially if you're in the middle of a volatile market and prices are changing from one week to the next? Here are some ways to tell.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For November 2017

California saw its highest year-over-year increase in home prices since January 2016, while inventory continues to be short across the state. Here are some key statistics on California home sales for November 2017, as gathered from the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

Pros and Cons of Buying a Timeshare

Timeshares have been popular vacation options for many Americans over the years, allowing them to essentially "own" their vacation properties without outright buying real estate. But as beneficial as timeshares may be, they also come with a set of drawbacks that need to be carefully contemplated. Here are some pros and cons of owning a timeshare that should be taken into consideration before you buy.

What is the Minimum Credit Score Needed For Home Loan Approval?

If you’re ready to take the plunge into homeownership and are on the prowl for a new home, a mortgage is likely required to finance your purchase. While there are plenty of factors that determine whether or not you'll be able to get approved for a home loan and get a decent interest rate and terms, your credit score is among the most important.

Tips to Creating Some Privacy in a Small Space

When it comes to small spaces, there's only so much you can do to define separate areas and create a little privacy. Having all sorts of different rooms and living areas can be really challenging if your home's size doesn't allow for it.

INFOGRAPHIC: National Existing Home Sales Report For October 2017

October saw a decent increase in sales across the country, the strongest since June. But the squeeze on inventory continues to put a damper on sales year-over-year. Here are the national sales for the month of October as compiled by the National Association of Realtors.

What is an Option ARM Mortgage?

In the months leading up to the housing crisis a decade ago, option ARM mortgages were pretty popular. That’s because they allowed homeowners to take advantage of flexible payment terms, allowing them to better manage their budgets and cash flow. Back then, mortgages were easier to get approved for, even if borrowers weren’t financially capable of handling them.

How Will the Republican Party's Tax Bills Impact the California Real Estate Market?

One of the great things about owning a home is the tax breaks that typically come with it. The tax code allows homeowners to deduct a number of items come tax time, putting more money back in their pocket after dishing out to keep their properties operational.

Housing Prices in Southern California Tie 2007 Peak

Home prices in Southern California have managed to reach the peak of the housing bubble back in 2007, causing further concern over the rampant housing affordability crisis that continues to plague the state.

How Does Inflation Affect the Housing Market?

When inflation rises, consumers notice. With a rise in inflation comes a rise in the price of goods and services. Every industry is impacted by an increase in inflation, including the real estate market.

9 Savvy Home Improvement Apps

It seems like there’s an app for just about everything. Luckily for homeowners, there are also a bunch of awesome apps that make a home improvement project a lot more streamlined and simplified. They give ideas, provide tips, and even offer detailed information on how to measure and pick the right design and color schemes.

Short Sales: Your Last Resort to Avoid Foreclosure

It's not uncommon for homeowners to miss a mortgage payment or two, especially if they've fallen upon rough financial times and are struggling to keep up with all of their bills. Unfortunately, defaulting on a mortgage is likely if the home loan amount taken out is a lot more than what the borrower can comfortably afford.

Why Talking to a Mortgage Specialist is Important Even if You're Not Ready to Buy Just Yet

Many homebuyers are typically very excited to begin their house hunting journey. But they often wind up booking showings and visiting open houses before they've even had the chance to determine what their financial situation is like and how much they'd realistically be able to afford in a new home.

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?

Get Into the Holiday Spirit With These Decorating Tips

Whether you're planning to host a number of holiday get-togethers at your place or simply want to immerse yourself in festive surroundings, decorating your space with holiday decor will bring an immediate boost to the look and feel of your home.

A Guide to Proper Etiquette For Sellers

Your home has been cleaned, de-cluttered, staged, and is picture-perfect and ready for the market. But what about you? Are you ready to handle the sales process appropriately?

INFOGRAPHIC: Home Selling Trends Across the U.S. in 2017

Thanks large in part to the lack of housing inventory in California, home prices have skyrocketed over the years. This puts home sellers in a great position to realize huge profits, especially if they've held onto their properties for a few years and allowed appreciated to boost value.

What Exactly Happens After Your Home is Listed For Sale?

Once you've made the decision to sell your home, it's time to find a real estate professional to list it on the market. Listing your home requires a few key tasks: signing a listing agreement contract with your chosen realtor, coming up with an appropriate listing price according to the current market, and prepping your home for showings.

The Lowdown on FHA Condo Approval Requirements

Whether you're selling a condo or are considering buying one, it's important to know if a certain complex is FHA-approved.

INFOGRAPHIC: Top 11 Reasons Home Renovations Go Over Budget

Contractors provide homeowners with an estimate of cost for specific home renovation projects, but this number can easily be inflated when all is said and done. Here are the top reasons why renovations tend to go way over budget.

California Governor Signs New Affordable Housing Legislation

The lack of affordable housing in California is an issue that continues to plague residents of the Golden State. The statewide median home price currently sits at $565,330 and is expected to rise well into 2018. That's more than twice the national average of $253,500.

5 Things That Might Not Be Included When Buying a Home

You've fallen in love with a home and are ready to put in an offer. But before you do, are you entirely certain that all the items that you believe come with the home purchase will be left behind when you get the keys to the home?

What's the Difference Between an APR and Mortgage Interest Rate?

When you take out a mortgage, you'll be paying an interest portion on each monthly payment in addition to contributing to the principal. The mortgage rate that you're quoted makes a big difference in the overall cost of your mortgage.

What Can Go Wrong if the Buyer Takes Early Possession?

Before buyers move into their new homes, escrow needs to close. That means all conditions and contingencies in the contract need to be met within a certain time frame, and all necessary documents must be signed by the closing date specified in the purchase agreement. At that point, buyers will get the keys to their new abode and are free to move in.

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 Are Reasonable Requests to Make After a Home Inspection?

The odds of problems being uncovered during a home inspection are pretty high, no matter how minor. Just about every house has some issues, even new ones. It's pretty common for buyers to make repair requests with the seller, especially if certain problems are more significant than others. But while some requests may be reasonable, others are not.

The Seller Accepted Your Offer: Can You Still Back Out?

You've found a home that you've fallen in love with, submitted an offer, and it was accepted by the seller! It should be time to celebrate, but shortly after you celebrate your accepted offer, something causes you to have second thoughts. Is it too late to back out?

Top 7 Things Home Inspectors Are Looking For

One of the most common - and important - contingencies that buyers insert in their real estate contracts is the home inspection. Without it, buyers will never have a chance to identify any major underlying issues with a home before they buy it.

INFOGRAPHIC: 14 Things To Do During Your Final Wall-Through

After offer acceptance, anything can happen during escrow, and you don't want to be stuck with issues that you didn't agree to adopt. Here are some critical things you should be doing during that extremely important final walk-through.

How to Get Your Home Ready For the Fall Selling Season

With the housing market being as hot as it is across the Golden State, there's really no bad time to sell. If you think you 'missed' your window of opportunity to sell in the spring or summer, autumn is just a good season as any other to put your home on the market.

How is a New Home in an Old Neighborhood Valued?

When it comes to valuing homes, the key is to compare them to other properties that are very similar in a number of ways. Real estate professionals typically look at other homes that are similar in location, style, size, design, and age compared to the subject property in order to get an accurate idea of the home's value. In addition, only homes that have been recently sold should be looked at, as market conditions can fluctuate very quickly.

What's the Difference Between a Mortgage Broker and Direct Lender?

When it's time for you to apply for a mortgage, where do you turn to in order to get one? Should you work with a mortgage broker, or a direct lender? Or are they even the same thing?

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Things Real Estate Agents Do For Buyers

Your agent has a lengthy list of things that they do from the start of a real estate transaction to closing of escrow. Here are just a handful of things that your buyer real estate agent will do for you.

What Buyers Should Consider When Purchasing a Home With a Shared Driveway

When shopping for a home, there's a possibility that you may come across a property that's sharing a driveway with the home next door. That means that one driveway needs to be shared between the two adjoining neighbors.

Rights of California Tenants When the Landlord Decides to Sell

Many real estate investors rent out their properties in order to reap the benefits of passive monthly income while increasing their equity and building wealth over time. Not only are they benefiting themselves financially, but they're also serving a need for those who may not be financially or emotionally ready to buy a home.

One-Story Vs. Two-Story Homes: Which One Should You Buy?

Buying a home is a big deal, and comes with plenty of important decisions that need to be made. If it's a single-detached property that you're looking for, you might be struggling to choose between one-story or two-story homes.

11 Tips to Buying a Newly Constructed Home From a Builder

Buying new home construction is much different than buying resale. As such, you might want to prep yourself for the process before taking the plunge on a new build. Here are some key things to know about buying a new construction home from a builder.

7 Tips to Snag the Best Deal on a Home Purchase

Homebuyers are always in search of the lowest price on a home purchase. The more house you can get with the smallest amount of money, the better. But snagging a great deal on a home requires a few savvy tactics aside from blatantly throwing the seller a lowball offer. If you go about things the right way, you just might be able to walk away with the home of your dreams at a price you can comfortably handle.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For June 2017

Existing home sales and median home prices in California ramped up in June while the lowest housing inventory levels were recorded so far in 2017. Here are some key statistics surrounding sales in the Golden State last month.

6 Things Sellers Should Know About Capital Gains Taxes

Home values have skyrocketed over recent years in many markets across the country. Homeowners who decide to sell anytime can potentially make a big profit if they have a lot more equity in the home compared to what is still owed on their mortgage.

Top 7 Things California Landlords Should Know to Avoid Legal Issues

Owning real estate is one of the most tried and true methods of building wealth over time, and by renting property, you can have someone else pay off your mortgage for you as you build up equity. But as potentially profitable as being a landlord can be, it can also be complex and filled with hassles, especially if the proper protocol isn't followed. Before becoming a landlord, make sure you're aware of the following things first to avoid landing yourself in a legal debacle.

Real Estate Transaction Fee to Fund Affordable Housing Approved By California State Senate

The housing affordability issue has been a dire one throughout the state of California for some time now, but perhaps there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Recently, the California State Senate approved a real estate transaction fee that could make as much as $300 million available in funding to build more affordable housing across the state.

INFOGRAPHIC: 11 Things Home Buyers Are Looking For

Regardless of whether or not it's a seller's market, it's always helpful if your home has the features that buyers are looking for. Here are the top 11 characteristics that today's buyers want when shopping for a new home.

6 Tips to Selling Your Flip Even Quicker

One of the keys to making a profit on a fix and flip is to sell as quickly as possible right after rehabbing is complete. The longer it takes to sell the place, the less money will be left in your pocket. When you factor in the carrying costs and the potential for market conditions to fluctuate, you stand a much better chance of reaping a higher profit if you sell quickly.

6 Costly Home Inspection Blunders Buyers Should Avoid

A big part of making a prudent buying decision is ensuring that you know what you're getting. When it comes to buying a house, you want to takes steps to find out if there are any issues with it. If there are, you'll want to identify how serious the problems are and whether or not they will influence your decision to go through with the deal.

4 Ways to Pull the Equity Out of Your Home

If you've got a big expense to pay for, you may not necessarily have to take out a personal loan if you don't have the liquid cash to cover it. Instead, you may be able to pay for the expense with the equity you've built up in your home, if you have any.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For May 2017

The housing market in California picked up some steam in May as existing home sales and median home prices inched up from both the month and year before. Here are some pertinent stats on California's housing market for May 2017, gathered by the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

Are You Ready to Go From Renting to Owning?

For many Americans, homeownership is a major goal in life. While many may be content renting into the foreseeable future, many others hope to one day have their name on title of a property they can call their own.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Newbie Homebuyer Mistakes That Should Be Avoided

It goes without saying that a home purchase is a big deal and is probably the biggest investment you'll ever make. If you're a first-time buyer, make sure you avoid these potentially costly mistakes.

How to Identify Serious Structural Issues in a Home

Considering buying an older home? There are plenty of benefits of taking this route versus buying new construction. Older homes have a lot of character, are usually located in more established neighborhoods that are closer to urban centers, and are typically surrounded by mature greenery. That said, older homes may also require some improvements considering the aging of the construction materials.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Creative Ways to Slash Your Energy Bill This Summer

As the temperature continues to rise as we head deeper into summer, the energy - and money - needed to keep our homes cool can skyrocket.

What You Should Know About Buying a Short Sale Home

For sellers, a short sale is not an ideal way to sell a home. But for buyers, it may be a great way to snag a great deal on a home. That said, a short sale is not exactly like a conventional sale, and there could realistically be a few hurdles for buyers to have to jump over before this type of real estate transaction comes to a close.

8 Things You Need to Do After Closing a Real Estate Deal

After searching for a new home, negotiating an offer, and going through escrow, buyers are aware of the steps that need to be taken to ensure a successful transaction. But the work isn't over just yet. As soon as you get the keys to your new abode, there are a few things that need to be tackled before you kick your feet up.

Three Things That Can Happen After Putting an Offer on a Home

After searching for the perfect place to call home, you finally find one that perfectly suits your family and lifestyle. You decide to put in an offer and cross your fingers that all goes well at the negotiating table.

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.

INFOGRAPHIC: 12 Fast Tips To Staging Your Home Yourself

Planning on selling? Here are some quick tips to staging your home that will attract the masses of buyers.

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).

Can Your Homeowner's Insurance Provider Drop You Because of Too Many Claims Submitted?

If you want to ensure that you receive financial compensation should anything happen to your home or its belongings, then you absolutely need homeowners insurance. In fact, you probably won't even be able to hold a mortgage if you don't have a policy.

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.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For March 2017

The spring season is off to a sizzling start in California with both existing home sales and median prices jumping in March from the month and the year before.

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.

INFOGRAPHIC: 8 Blunders Buyers Are Often Guilty of in a Seller’s Market

Buying a house is not the time to be making mistakes. It's likely the biggest financial investment you'll ever make, so you want to be sure to get it right. If you're in the middle of a hot seller's market, steer clear of making any one of the following buyer blunders.

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.

INFOGRAPHIC: Top 9 Things to Consider Before Putting an Offer on a Home

Out of all the purchases you ever make in your life, a home is likely the biggest. Take the time to consider the following in order to ensure you’re making a sound buying decision.

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.

INFOGRAPHIC: Top 9 Reasons Why Closings Are Delayed in Real Estate

In the majority of cases, real estate closings happen on time as per the scheduled date. However, there are times when such closings may be delayed for any number of reasons.

HUD Homes Can Be Great Bargains, But With Some Risk

Who doesn’t want to score a great deal on a home? Getting a fabulous property for the lowest price possible is one of the primary goals of buyers and their agents.

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.

Is it Time For a Price Reduction on Your Listing?

Your home has been on the market for a few weeks now with no offers coming in, despite all the showings that have been booked. What could be the problem?

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.

4 Ways Selling a Condo is Different From Selling a House

There are obvious differences between condos and single family homes. But in addition to the type of lifestyles each of them provide, the differences become even more apparent when it comes time to sell.

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.

Why You Need to Check Your Home For Radon, the Silent Killer

Just about every homeowner knows the danger of carbon monoxide and how it can build up in the home without offering any signs of its presence. It’s colorless and odorless, and can be deadly.

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.

6 Things All Buyers Should Know About Before Closing Day Arrives

Finding the perfect home and negotiating a deal that both parties can agree to is a huge accomplishment. But as stressful as that process is, waiting for closing day to arrive can be just as nerve-racking.

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.