6 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR HOME SAFE WHILE AWAY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

CHECK THE LOCKS

A few weeks before you leave, inspect the locks on all of your windows and doors. Make sure deadbolts slide into place, window locks aren’t easy to pry open, and sliding glass doors have security bar in place. If anything doesn’t work or is missing, repair it.

STOP YOUR MAIL

As soon as you know when you’ll be traveling, fill out the United States Postal Service’s online form to stop your mail. It is a surefire sign you’re away from home.

DON’T STAND OUT

While closing your curtains may seem like the obvious choice, it can backfire. Instead, leave a curtain or two open like you normally would, and move your stuff out of view. And if your’re traveling during the holidays, don’t leave presents under the tree in plain slight. Ask a neighbor to pick up any packages left at your door.

MAKE IT LOOK LIKE YOU’RE AT HOME

Affordable automatic timers can make it seem like someone is home while you’re away. Add timers to lamps in different rooms and stagger the on/off times. Hooking timers up to a TV or Radio can also make it seem like someone’s home.

BEEF UP SECURITY

There are some inexpensive, temporary solutions you can use while you’re on vacation. Wireless alarms and sensors an be attached to doors and windows. If you want an even cheaper option, buy a set of window decals and yard signs from an alarm company. Even if you don’t actually have an alarm, thieves might not bother to test it.

 

CALL US TODAY! 714-400-8931

2 TRICKS FOR FLIPPERS TO SELL QUICKLY

Create an Open Floor Plan
One idea that works well when flipping is to create an open floor plan. Older homes that likely need more renovations may have a closed-off floor plan. This can make the home look smaller than it is, and can create a claustrophobic ambiance that may turn off some buyers. Depending on the home that you invest in, creating an open floor plan may be as simple as tearing down the wall dividing the kitchen and dining room.

For added emphasis, you can also tear down any dividing walls between living spaces and the dining room. While you’re not adding square footage through this process, an open floor plan feels bigger to a buyer and may be more appealing. In many cases, this is a cost-effective way to generate incredible results.

Add Natural Light
To transform the space of your investment home, analyze the natural light. Some older homes were built with minimal or small windows, which result in a dark and gloomy interior that is not welcoming or appealing to buyers. Consider enlarging existing windows to bring in more natural light.

You can also add a few windows or a skylight in the bathroom, kitchen or other rooms that are commonly dark. When you incorporate natural sunlight into a room, you transform the space by making it feel more inviting.

 

CALL US TODAY! 714-400-8931

4 WAYS TO PAY OFF YOUR MORTGAGE EARLY

1. Refinance with a shorter-term mortgage.
You can pay off the mortgage in another 15 years by refinancing into a 15-year mortgage.

Let’s say you got a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for $200,000 at 4.5 percent. Then, five years later, you can refinance into a 15-year loan at 4 percent. Doing so pays off the mortgage 10 years earlier and saves more than $60,000 (if you exclude closing costs on the refi).

Those shorter-term mortgages often carry interest rates a quarter of a percentage point to three-quarters of a percentage point lower than their 30-year counterparts.

Refinancing isn’t quick or free. It requires filling out the application, providing documentation and having an appraiser visit. There are closing costs.

And even with a lower interest rate, that quicker payoff means higher monthly payments. And this method is a lot less flexible. If you decide that you don’t have the extra money one month to put toward the mortgage, you’re locked in anyway.

Unless the new interest rate is lower than the old rate, there’s no point in refinancing. Without a lower rate, you’ll get all the same benefits (and none of the extra costs) by just increasing your payment a sufficient amount.

2. Pay a little more each month.
Divide your monthly principal and interest by 12 and add that amount to your monthly payment for a year. Result: You make the equivalent of 13 payments in 12 months. Let’s say you got a $200,000 mortgage at 4.5 percent. After five years of making the minimum payments, you add an extra 1/12 of a month’s principal and interest to each monthly payment. Doing so pays off the mortgage three years and three months earlier and saves more than $18,000 interest.

Before you make anything beyond the regular payment, call your mortgage servicer and find out exactly what you need to do so that your extra payments will be correctly applied to your loan.

Let them know you want to pay “more aggressively” and ask the best ways to do that. Some servicers may require a note with the extra money or directions on the notation line of the check.

In any event, if you’re putting extra money toward your loan, always check the next statement to make sure it’s been properly applied.

3. Make an extra mortgage payment every year.
Instead of paying a little more each month, make one extra monthly payment each year. One way to do this is to save 1/12 of a payment every month, and then make an extra payment after every 12 months. This gives you the flexibility to use the extra savings for something else if a more pressing expense arises.

Let’s say you do this starting the first month after getting a 30-year mortgage for $200,000 at 4.5 percent. That would save more than $27,000 interest, and you would pay off the mortgage four years and three months earlier.

4. Throw ‘found’ money at the mortgage.
Get a bonus? A tax refund? An unexpected windfall? However it ends up in your hands, you can funnel some or all of your newfound money toward your mortgage.

Let’s say you got a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for $200,000 at 4.5 percent. Then, five years later, you can make an extra $10,000 lump-sum payment. Doing so pays off the mortgage two years and four months earlier, and saves more than $19,000 in interest.

The upside: You’re paying extra only when you’re flush. And those additional payments toward the principal will cut the total interest on your loan.

The downside: It’s irregular, so it’s hard to predict the mortgage payoff date. If you throw too much at the mortgage, you won’t have money for other needs.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. 

CALL US TODAY! 714-400-8931

5 TIPS TO MAKE MOVING LESS STRESSFUL

Get Prepared

Make a Plan. Select the items that you will be taking with you and leave items that you haven’t used in the last year. Be selective and make sure you’re not packing unnecessary items. You can donate the rest of your belongings to the needy or give out to friends.

Pack Items in Order

Organize the items in different clean boxes and label them with a marker. This way, you will have an easy time unpacking, and the movers will know which room to place the boxes. Make an emergency box where you can keep all the essential items, such as clothing and kids supplies, that you’ll need for the first 24 hours after you move.

Ask for Assistance

Asking for help can be challenging; however, many people know the experience of moving and how hard it can be. Talk to family and friends and agree on a day to come over and help you pack. It could be an opportunity to spend time with them, especially if you are moving far away. Afterwards, you can all go out for a meal. If no one is available, you can call packers to help you with moving heavy boxes.

Check the Moving Details

The last thing you want to do is end up relocating before the moving date. When you buy a property, get in touch with your real estate agent to make sure of the exact time you’re supposed to move. Also, when renting a property, don’t just assume the date given in the lease is when you are supposed to get into your new home. Make a call to the landlord or agent and double-check the day. It can save you a lot of time and hassle.

Call a Moving Company

Avoid breakages that will result in extra costs. If there are expensive items, ask for assistance; there is a lot of information about moving insurance for valuable items. After being sure that you have packed all the necessary things, it is time to call a moving company.  Make sure that the company is licensed and insured for the safe delivery of your items to your new location. In case of any breakages, you are sure to have the piece replaced.

When you follow the above tips, moving will be an enjoyable task. Eat well to boost your energy levels. Carry enough snacks on a moving day, especially if you are going far. Also, make sure you have enough water to stay hydrated. When you get to your new home, do not unpack everything at once. You should first rest and start unpacking carefully to avoid damage.

CALL US TODAY! 714-400-8931

GOODBYE INCOME TAX DEDUCTIONS

  • It caps the mortgage interest deduction to the interest on a mortgage principle of $500,000.
  • Homeowners would no longer be able to deduct the interest they pay on home equity loans.
  • The deductibility would be eliminated for second homes and limited to loans on a family’s primary residence.
  • Taxpayers won’t be able to deduct their student loan interest.
  • Medical expenses won’t be deductible.
  • Many small businesses won’t benefit. A Lot of small businesses that are classified as professional service providers won’t be able to get the lower corporate tax rate.

CALL US TODAY! 714-400-8931