With over 25 years of experience we hope to become your #1 source for real estate news.  Check out the blog menu above for different categories of articles such as San Diego Real Estate, San Diego Rentals, San Diego Property Management and more.

You can also click Real Estate Search to begin your search for a home or investment property today.

Advantage Team Real Estate & Property Management services is the one-stop shop for you!  We can handle all of your real estate needs. Whether it is a foreclosure, short sale, regular sale, rental, multi-family, investment, or purchase we have the team that can help you realize your goals.  Not only do we have seasoned agents with over 25 years experience in just about every market imaginable.  We also have a maintenance crew that can handle the smallest repairs to the largest remodels.  Our goal is to make sure we become your real estate partner for life.  Through dedication and a desire to offer the best customer service possible we are able to give our clients the best experience possible during what can be considered a very stressful time.

Don’t get lost in the shuffle with larger corporate companies. We can offer the same and better service to our clients with a personal touch.

So call us today and see what everyone else is talking about!  The advantage team experience.

Sincerely,

Reed Colwick, Broker
Advantage Team Real Estate & Property Management

888-692-3886

Advantage Team Property Management

5 Factors that can effect your credit score?

by Reed Colwick on August 13, 2012

If you are thinking of buying a house one of the factors you need to consider is your credit score. Whether you are a 1st time home buyer or you are buying your 2nd home your credit score is important. Why? The reason is your credit score not only effects whether or not you will qualify for a loan it will also effect the interest rate you will be able to get. The better your credit score the better interest rate you will have on your loan.

Here are 5 factors that can effect your credit score….

1) Payment History  35% of the total credit score is based on a borrower’s payment history, making the repayment of past debt the most important factor in calculating your score.

2) Amounts Owed 30% is based on a borrower’s total outstanding amount owed.

3) Length of Credit History 15% of the total credit score is based on the length of the time each account has been open and the length of time since the account’s most recent action.

4) Inquiries and New credit 10% of the credit score is inquiries and new credit, both of these lower your credit score.

5) Type of Debt 10% of your score is based on the type of credit; installment vs. revolving debt. Installment debt is looked upon more favorable than revolving debt.

If you are thinking of jumping into the housing market don’t do it without having a clear picture of where you stand financially. This includes knowing what your credit score it. Speaking with a Mortgage Broker / Lender is one the first steps in determining what you will qualify for and if the dream of home ownership is right for you.

Need help? No problem, Advantage Team Real Estate is here to help. We can help you find a lender that will help you get started. Give us a call today! With interest rates still at all time lows you might be surprised what you are qualified for. Don’t wait. These rates won’t last forever.

Advantage Team Real Estate

New Federal Policy Aims To Speed Up Short-Sale Process

by Reed Colwick on April 30, 2012

Have you seen the article in the Los Angeles Times by Kenneth R. Harney?  If not, make sure you check it out here.  If you are thinking of, or are in need of short selling your home there may be some good news on the horizon.  The federal government is creating new policies to help speed up the short sale process.

If you are not familiar with short-selling, it is the selling of a home for less than what you currently owe on your mortgage.  It is an alternative to foreclosure and can sometimes help to partially save your credit as opposed to a foreclosure or bankruptcy that can destroy your credit.

The new process will require the banks to give you an answer within 30 days and then a final decision no longer than 60 days.  Of course this only applies if your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  When is this supposed to begin?  It may start as soon as this June.

Kenneth wrote “The mandatory timelines, which real estate and mortgage industry experts say should help speed up what traditionally has been a glacial process, are being imposed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulatory overseer of Fannie and Freddie in conservatorship. Short sales, in which the lender or loan servicer agrees to accept less than the full amount owed by the borrower, represent an important alternative to foreclosure.”

He continued… “Although short sales can be complex and messy, and can take anywhere from several months to more than a year to complete, they are turning into a mainstay of the real estate market. According to a report from the foreclosure data firm RealtyTrac, short sales jumped 33% in January compared with the same month the year before. In 12 states — including California, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New York and New Jersey — there were more short sales recorded during January than sales of foreclosed properties.

This trend is welcome, regulators say, but the time required to complete short sales is still far too long. The 30-day and 60-day mandates address just one of the key points of delay in the process, but regulators promise a series of additional steps during the coming months designed to speed transactions. They include clearer guidelines on borrower eligibility, property valuations, compensation for lenders holding second liens and mortgage insurance issues. All of these are points of friction that can delay short sales for weeks or months.”

If you are considering short selling your home please contact an Advantage Team member today.  We can help you navigate the many options available to home owners today.

 

After you’ve had your home included in the MLS listings in San Diego, CA with the intention to sell, prepare in advance to make sure you will get the best offer at the highest price.  No one wants to enter a home closing without getting the desired asking price, so stage your property wisely.

Birdrock, which is located just north of Pacific Beach and South of La Jolla is a great place to raise a family, so consider promoting that aspect of the community in your listing and showing. Whether potential buyers are interested in the beach culture of the area or the history of the residents, cover all of your bases when staging your property. You want to help homebuyers relate to the property, so make sure the interior is clean, your children’s rooms reflect their interests and that the bathrooms look their best.

Break down the process step by step when preparing your home.  This means going room by room, removing clutter from the shelves and closets. A room that’s too overwhelming may turn buyers away. Remember on coffee tables and mantles the max number of items you want is 3.  In addition, your rooms should cater to each person in a traditional family. For example, make sure prospective buyers can envision their children occupying certain spaces, and themselves in others. If your property looks too generic, it may be difficult to sell in such a competitive housing market.

Check out more tips on home staging on AOL’s real estate blog  “Tips for Home Staging” included is a video on staging a living room.

If yours is one of the homes for sale in San Diego, CA and you do not plan to relocate all of your furniture and clothing when you’ve gone, consider donating the materials rather than throwing them out. Recycling possessions may be able to help people in need, and help your bottom line at the end of the year.  There are several local organizations that will gladly take your unwanted goods.

When packing up your clothes, look to see if any of the items no longer fit. The shirts, pants, jackets and shoes you may not be interested in can be donated to Goodwill. There is a Goodwill Store located on 3663 Rosecrans Street, San Diego, CA and it takes your old belongings including apparel, kitchenware, electronics or small pieces of furniture. Instead of leaving these items in the trash, you may want to consider helping those in need by donating the belongings to a good cause.  This location also does secure paper shredding.  And its cheap!  Do you have old files of paper you need to get rid of?  Then kill two birds with one stone and drop off your unwanted goods and your files to shredded at this goodwill location.

If you have larger pieces of furniture, you may want to donate the items to the Father Joe’s or other organizations that provide for the homeless and those in need. This establishment has several locations in San Diego one location is at 3350 E Street. If you have the means to drop off pieces of furniture, the organization will gladly accept. However, Father Joe will also come to you for furniture donations if you are unable to move the items yourself.

If you have an old car you can donate this to Father Joe or to National Public Radio (NPR).  This can be a tax right off.

With a little planning you can streamline your move.  Making sure you move only the stuff you want and help others with the stuff you don’t want.

Ups and Downs of Home Buying

by Reed Colwick on April 3, 2012

For most people, the home buying process is a stressful one—with ups and downs, unexpected twists and turns—and it often takes many prospective homes, visits, or offers to find the one meant for you. But then there are others that buy the very first place they visit.

Not surprisingly, actually stepping in the door to take a look at the place totally swayed their opinion of the home.

They said that home buying is a bit like dating: you don’t marry the first one you meet (or possibly even the first one you fall in love with). Chris and Susan took a look at a few other places (about 4 or 5), but it didn’t take much time for them to know which property was the right one. “It was in the best condition for the price, and best location for our needs” he said, “and was more updated than the others.” Together with their agent, Reed Colwick, put together an offer and succeeded in getting the place.

The Limitations of Online Shopping

Chris and Susan started their home search 6 months ago while visiting San Diego, after looking at a few homes they put in an offer right away.  Unfortunately timing wasn’t right and their offer wasn’t accepted.  Seller was holding out for a higher price.  So one returning to Boston, MA they began to search online, and while their internet research helped them get a better idea of what they were looking for, they needed to visit the home to understand what the space felt like, and whether the pictures really did it justice.

Their agent Reed Colwick even went so far as to take videos using his iPad and sending them via youtube for them to view each of the properties they were interested in.  This gave them a better sense of the layout of each property and room sizes without having to be there physically.

“With the internet,” they said, “you can really educate yourself about the home buying process and do a lot of research on homes for sale, but actually buying a house is different. You’re only looking at pictures and reading the specs, not getting the full report.” Like online dating, you can get a sense of the qualities you’re looking for in a home, which neighborhoods are in your price range, and rule out homes that you’re not attracted to at all.

“With photos, you can’t really get a feel for the flow of a place,” said their agent, Reed, “How does it feel when you’re in it? Is it dark or well-lit? You have to visit a home to know these things.” It’s a tricky balance. You don’t want to just rule out a well-priced house because it lacks curb appeal or the backyard is overgrown – these things are easier to change!

Visiting a Home with an Agent is Key!

Not everything is shown in the pictures you see online. “There was this great room off the Kitchen for an office,” Reed continued, “We didn’t understand where it was located by the pictures until we visited it and realized it was the converted garage.”

Susan agreed, “You can definitely narrow things down by screen appeal, room sizes, sqft, but you need to view it in person to really get an understanding of the feel and layout of the home. You can’t remove the agent or the personal portion of the home buying process.

Susan says that Reed’s knowledge was essential for the negotiations and in the inspections. “It’s really important to have an agent that will walk you through any potential issues with the property,” said Susan, “and to help everyone—the buyer and seller—get to a happy place.”  Plus Reed’s contacts with contractors, electricians, & roofers has been invaluable since we just moved here from Boston and didn’t know who to call.

Although the first house they put an offer in was not accepted it worked out for the better.  The second house they put an offer in they liked but the diligence of searching and not giving up lead to the perfect house in the perfect location in a great neighborhood.  While pictures are worth a thousand words, a home visit is worth a million. So if you’ve been waiting to step inside a home, call to visit one today.

And who knows? You might just find the home you’ve been looking for!

First Time Home Buyers Beware!

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by Reed Colwick on March 26, 2012

Are you looking to buy your first home in San Diego?  Perhaps you have been renting a while and your tax accountant told you that you could have saved X number of dollars if you had bought a house last year on your taxes.  Whatever the motivating factor is for you there are a couple of new lender regulations that you need to be aware of just in case your real estate agent doesn’t know.

You are putting your trust in your Realtor to know the in’s and out’s of the real estate market and the trends that are happening with both the housing market and the lending market.  Aligning yourself with a good direct lender is smart move.  For instance Primary Residential Mortgage is a nationwide provider of loans.  So before you begin your search for that perfect home your first step would be to talk to a lender / mortgage broker to see how much you are qualified for.  This will help you in knowing whether or not buying is right for you.  Don’t worry if the news you receive isn’t what you were expecting.  Knowledge is key and knowing where you stand now financially can help you to plan for the future which can include home ownership.

Now a couple of new regulations you need to be aware of:  

1.  If you are thinking of using your Credit Union for your home mortgage be aware that although credit unions may have better rates they also have stricter guidelines.  

For example, if you are thinking of buying a home that possibly has an un-permitted bedroom or bathroom, most likely a credit union will not give you a loan for the purchase of that property.  So make sure you do your homework and have a property inspection.  Also make sure to check out the tax records and see if what it shows on the tax records is what you see in the house.  If the tax records show the house is a 3 bedroom 2 bath  home and when you view the house it has 3 bathrooms then most likely the third bathroom is not permitted.  One way to check this is to go to your local Planning and Development Agency.  Here in San Diego this is located downtown.  You do not need an appointment.  Just walk in.  They can pull all the permits for the property and you will be able to tell if the third bathroom was permitted or not.   If the home was built after 1990 San Diego Planning and Development can tell you over the phone if permits were issued.  Otherwise you have to go downtown in person.

2.  Check to see if the property is “Flipped” or not.  

A “flipped” property is a property that someone purchased at a discount and usually only a few weeks or months later, after remodeling the property, puts the property back on the market to sell at a price usually much higher than what it was purchased for just a few months earlier.   For example let’s say an investor purchases a property in poor condition for 190k.  He does the remodel of the property and 3 months later puts it back on the market at 259k.  That is a 37% increase in value.  The reason you need to know this is because there is a new lender requirement that states “any property with appreciation of over 20% in less than a years time will need to have a field review”.  In the normal course of buying a house you as the buyer are responsible to pay for an appraisal ($350-450).  The lender will order the appraisal to make sure the house is actually worth what you are paying.  It is a protection for the lender since they are lending you a lot of money.  But it also serves as a protection for you the buyer.   The “field review” is like a second appraisal to make sure the first one was correct.  The kicker here is you as a buyer have to pay for this unless your real estate agent puts it in the contract that the seller has to pay for any field reviews.  That could cost you an additional $350 dollars.

The moral of the story is to make sure you do your homework.  Know as much as you can about the property before you make an offer.  This way you can make an informed decision as to whether or not that house is the right one for you and so you can save yourself time, money and headaches.

Thrift Shopping in San Diego for the Super Saver!

by Reed Colwick on March 20, 2012

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Have you recently purchased one of the many houses for sale in San Diego and your budget is kinda tight?  Then take a look at the thrift stores as an alternate place to shop here in San Diego.  There are many to choose from like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Buffalo Exchange.  Whether you are looking for a vintage look or something a bit more modern you can find a thrift store to meet your needs in Downtown San Diego, Hillcrest, Pacific Beach or La Jolla. Since inventory changes all the time it is a good idea to check back often.

If you are looking for that perfect out fit on a budget then thrift stores are the way to go. Especially if you like layering.  There are so many unique styles you can find.  You may think thrift stores only carry clothing from 80′s but that is just not true anymore.  Many stores in San Diego like the chain Buffalo Exchange carry some of the top brands like Ambercrombie and Fitch, 7 Jeans, CK, Jones NY more.   There are Buffalo Exchanges in several locations in San Diego. For example there is one on Garnet Ave in Pacific Beach and one on 5th Ave in Hillcrest.

With a little patience and a keen eye you can find some great deals in San Diego.  If you are more into Outlet Malls there are also more organized outlet malls in both Carlsbad and San Ysidro.  Happy shopping!

Looking for your San Diego Dream Home in a Down Market

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by Reed Colwick on February 6, 2012

If you could find your dream San Diego home in a down real estate market what would you do?

Imagine you are driving around one Saturday afternoon just after leaving your favorite place to eat lunch in your San Diego neighborhood when you stop in at an Open House you saw on my San Diego real estate website. You are in awe as you tour the home because it meets every item on your ‘dream home checklist’ that you have dreamt of, but never thought you could afford.

Next, you do what any reasonable person would do and ask what the price is. You ask the agent to repeat herself because you remember homes selling for much more in this neighborhood than the price she just quoted you. As you drive away, you do some simple math and realize you can afford this home. You are about to share your excitement with your spouse when they quickly say, “Too bad the market keeps going down.” What do you do?

Stop and think about the following list of San Diego real estate market pros and cons.

The main pros would be:
1. This is your dream home and your quality of life will immediately improve.
2. You know how difficult and lengthy it can be to find your dream home – just check the tons of inventory at my Carlsbad real estate website and that hurdle is no longer there.
3. You can afford this home and are not taking on a financial risk.
4. Interest rates are still low and you can get a great rate.

The main cons would be:
1. The market is still possibly going down and your new home might depreciate in the short term
2. San Diego interest rates might go even lower.
3. If you currently own a property, you might have difficulty selling it.

Let’s dissolve the interest rate con quickly. If rates head further south then you can simply refinance. There is no interest rate hurdle here. Regarding having to sell your current property if you own one, of course your home might be worth less than it was at the market peak in late 2005.  If you price it on day one attractively, instead of with unrealistic hopes, it should sell in a reasonable period. And you have already done the math and concluded you can afford the payments on the new home anyhow.

Your other option is to rent out your current home and keep it!  Advantage Team Property Management services make this a great option.

So the biggest hurdle left is that the new home might depreciate. It turns out this is not a hurdle either as long as you plan on living in your dream home for many years. This will allow you to ride out the current market cycle and begin appreciating again.
So, what if you find your dream home in a down market? I suggest you make your dream come true.

Call Advantage Team Real Estate Today!  Start living the dream.

Are you feeling a bit like this guy?  Are you trying to figure out if hiring a property management firm is right for you?

While every investors situation is different, there are certain scenarios and factors that determine if you need a property management firm or not. The following questions are designed to help you determine if you should consider hiring a property manager.

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New FHA Loan Guidelines

June 15, 2011
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Important Notice – FHA Financing for Condos As you may know there has been a lot of changes regarding FHA guidelines. One such issue is the recertification of condominiums for FHA financing.

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