FromHallmark Abstract Service.
For those of us in highly competitive businesses one of the phrases that we may use to differentiate ourselves is that we provide superior customer service to our clients and prospects
We say this assuming two things
Number one we appear to be implying to potential clients and even our existing ones that while we focus on a superior customer service experience our competitors may not which is likely untrue the majority of the time.
The other thing that we assume when we make that statement is that we actually KNOW what it is that will make the experience for each customer as good as it can be. In reality, unless we specifically ask, the answer can be different for each one.
For some it may be a timing issue, for others its getting the same dedicated employee on the phone each and every time while for another it might be the way the product they receive is packaged.
Whatever superior customer service is to clients,one constant across the board is that your employees are trained and prepared to do their job right 100 of the time.
The following article, written by Gail Nikol of Unique Business Solutions, examines ways in which a company can proactively ensure that no matter what occurs either within or outside of a business, there wont be any hiccups in day-to-day operations if for some reason a key employee is not available
Losing Time By the Minute
Have any of the following circumstances ever happened to you? Actually, excuse me, but tell me how many times per day per week? these have HAPPENED to you?
You go into a store and attempt to make a purchase and the minutes tick by as the seemingly untrained sales clerk tries to figure out how to ring up your items at the cash register.
Youre in a restaurant and midway through telling you about the specials of the day the waiter/waitress forgets what they are supposed to be explaining and then its back to the kitchen to get the details.
You call customer service and suffer through some interminable hold-time while the representative tries to find the answer to your question.
Small things, sure, but wouldnt you agree that the day is busy enough without LOSING unnecessary and valuable time.
Why do I say unnecessary? Simple. In each of the situations mentioned above and these have happened to me in the past 48 hours, a little bit of training on the part of the company owner/manager would have gone a long way to reducing, or totally eliminating, the delays caused by a lack of information and yes, training.
So really, is it too much to ask that we take the time to educate and train our employees, to make certain that they know what they are supposed to do and are skilled at executing their tasks?
And taking it one step further, what if we made certain that their job responsibilities and tasks were detailed and recorded so that if and when these employees are on vacation, out on sick leave or there is a change in personnel, the new or interim employee has a detailed roadmap so that they can assume the position and perform the job effectively.
Does that seem like it too much to ask? I thought not.
And who benefits? Well just about everyone. The customer of course, but also the employee because they now have an improved set of skills and perhaps even enhanced job satisfaction, but perhaps the biggest winner of all is the company itself or store, restaurant, etc. for this training will help ensure customer loyalty and repeat business.
And isnt that what we all want? So think about it. Are you doing the required training and documenting the job responsibilities of your employees? I hope the answer is yes
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Right now its a sellers real estate market, which means that there are fewer properties available to interested buyers. And if you happen upon a home that you really want to buy or circumstances dictate that you need to buy a new home when moving for a job, you could be in a positionto make an offer quickly in order to have a chance at landing the home you want before another buyer gets to it. This situation could prove problematic if you dont have your financing ready to go.
Conventional wisdom would suggest that its easier and more financially desirable to sell the home you are living in before you buy a new home, thus saving you from carrying two mortgages. But sometimes the stars dont align in the most desirable manner. And if you encounter a scenario like that described above, you may not be in a position to get your current house on the market and make a sale before you need to seize the opportunity to buy a new property. What to do?
The best move you can make is to contact a loan officer immediately to see what your options are in terms of financing a new home under these circumstances. Your loan officer will be able to make an assessment of your financial picture and guide you through your options.
- One possibility that your loan officer might suggest is to place a contingency offer on the home you wish to buy. Quite simply, this means that the sale will only close contingent upon the condition that you sell your current home first. This can buy you some time to find a buyer for your home and fortunately, in a sellers market, you are more likely to find that buyer quickly than when inventory is high and you are facing a lot of competition from other properties on the market.
- Another option you might consider is to rent out your current home so that you have income to support your existing mortgage payment. There are both pros and cons to renting. While taking on tenants and rental income may solve a short-term problem, if you are still in the process of trying to sell the property, having tenants in the mix could cause complications in terms of honoring a lease, booking showings, and others. Be aware,there are some restrictions on converting a primary home to investment and using the income for qualifying for a new loan. Talk to your loan officer about the details on this type scenario.
- Depending on the amount of equity you have in your current home, your loan officer might suggest a bridge loan, which is a type of transitional financing designed to help you manage your financial obligations until you can sell your first home and offload one of your mortgage payments. Bridge loans carry a higher interest rate than conventional loans, as they are riskier for both the lender and the borrower, neither of whom can foresee how quickly a home might sell.
Bridge loans are sometimes referred to as swing loans or gap financing. When qualifying for this type of financing, the borrower must qualify not only for the bridge loan, but also for the mortgage loans on both the current property and the property on which he or she is making an offer.
There are different types of bridge loans, the nuances of which your loans officer can explain in greater detail. Some bridge loans pay off the first mortgage, with the remaining cash dedicated to a down payment on the new property. Others simply provide a down payment for the second home with the expectation that the borrower pay both mortgages until the first home sells. Your loan officer can help you determine whether you qualify for a bridge loan, and what type might be available to you.
As with any home purchase, if you are thinking about buying a new home before selling your existing home, youre going to need stellar credit and be in good financial standing in order to qualify for financing and to secure a favorable interest rate. Therefore, if you have even a vague intention of buying a new home in the near future, the sooner you talk to an experienced loan officer, the better. He or she can help you weigh your options and align the variables for a smooth home sale and purchase.
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This is the first in a series of posts for first-time home buyers. Since Im not sure how many there will be, Im not putting a number on the series at the start. Obviously these posts might also be valuable to someone who is not a first-time buyer.
Answer - I suppose one could think of a condo as a half-way house between an apartment and a free-standing home. At least you actually own something with a condo and will be building equity; but, what that something is that you own can vary and what you need to understand may be different from condo complex to condo complex.
Condos come in a few different flavors. There are high-rise condos that may actually look like big office towers, but with balconies. There are attached units that may have single story or multi-story layouts sometimes called townhouses; and there are detached condos which have no shared walls with other units. Then there are lots of variations of those themes.
All of these condo types have this in common there is a condominium association which owns the physical structures involved and other shared property called common areas. Common areas might include a pool and pool house, a park or playground, the roads in the complex, detached carports or garages, sidewalks and even the balconies or patios associated with the units. The definition of what those shared or common areas are and who is responsible for maintaining them will be found in the Condo Association Master Deed and By-laws.
When you buy into a condo complex you are required as a covenant of the deed to your unit to become a member of the Condo Association. You will be required to stay a member in good standing the entire time that you own the unit. That means that youll be required to pay the condo association fees, usually a monthly amount. Those fees are used by the association to pay for the maintenance of the common areas, including things like new roofs, road repairs, exterior painting and insurance Property, Casualty and Liability coverage on the common elements.
So what do you own and what are you responsible for? Think of your unit as an empty box. Everything inside the box, including the last coat of paint on the walls is normally yours and your responsibility. Some things that you can see from inside the box, like exterior doors and windows are actually the responsibility of the condo association. Even the deck or patio out back that is attached to you unit really belongs to them. Check your by-laws for what you can and cannot do out there on those decks or patios.
Inside, anything that you want to do is fair game, so long as it does not adversely impact the structure. You can finish the basement, if it was not finished. You can replace he kitchen cabinets and countertops. You can probably switch the natural fireplace to a gas log, but going the other way might involve reworking the flue and chimney system and that is association property, so that would be off limits. You can paint the interior rooms any color that you would like, but the outside color, including the stain on the deck, is the responsibility of the association and you should not touch them. You cannot plant flowers around your deck or patio, but the association may have rules allowing you to place potted plants on the deck or patio check with the association management.
As for insurance, it is critical that you have your insurance agent read through the associations Master Deed and By-Laws , so that he/she can determine what type of coverage you need. Heres a good read on the topic of condo insurance from BankRate.ocm. You should not assume that you only need to insure your personal belonging, as you might have done in an apartment. There are also often clauses in the By-Laws about liability that you may have to the association, should some act of negligence on your part cause damage to units other than yours or to common areas. Make sure that your insurance agent understands everything that is in those documents and recommends a policy for you that has you covered.
Condo owners sometimes get surprised by special assessments that are levied by the association and become your obligation to pay. Usually these are for things that the association did not properly budget for in the first place and did not have enough in their capital reserve fund to pay for. The big cost items are things like road repair or replacement, roof replacement, major window and entry door replacement projects and exterior painting. It is important when considering a condo purchase that you ask to see documentation usually an annual or quarterly report on the capital reserves of the association. It may feel great initially that they have a really low monthly association fee, until one of those big projects comes up and you get hit with a special assessment. Assessments like that are normally spread out over time; however, you may be required to pay off any remaining balance when you try to sell the unit.
You also need to understand that your use of the common areas and behavior while doing so are subject to association rules. You cant just throw a pool party for 10-15 friends around the pool. There are rules and regulations about all of that. There are even rules about how many cars you and your visitors can have in the complex and where they can be parked. Welcome to the annoying world of adult rules
Ive already stated that you need to have your insurance agent review the Master Deed and By-Laws, but it should be clear to you by now that you ned to review them well before you get to that stage. In fact, you need to review them before you make an offer or within some short grace period after an offer is accepted to determine whether they are something that you can live with or not. Its also a good idea to try to talk to someone who lives there to get their take on how it is to live within the rules of the complex. Once you are in place you should also go to the association meetings, so that you know what issues the association is dealing with that might impact you. If you are concerned about the associations budgeting for contingencies or upcoming maintenance issues, that is the place to raise that concern.
An ideal condo situation for many is the detached condo, which is a condo unit that has no common walls with neighbors and thus less concern about noisy neighbors it literally is a stand-alone unit. Detached condos are fairly rare, at least in this area in Michigan. All of the stuff that was mentioned above still applies and even though it looks like you have your own little house, the association is still in charge of everything outside and you still cant plant your own garden or flowers.
For some getting an end unit in a row of condos is the best thing. You only have neighbors on one side and you usually end up with some extra windows on that open side. In high-rise condos there is some premium associated by many with the ground floor a lower jump if you have to escape that way and a great premium with the top floors great views, especially if there are penthouse layouts available.
Site condos -
A variation on the condo theme is the site condo, which is a Michigan invention that became popular in the mid 1980s. Basically developers found in the mid-80s that they could get through the Michigans approval process for condo developments in less than half the time and at less cost than going through a complete subdivision platting process. They decided that they could build homes that were a step beyond detached condos, but which would still fall under the States development rules for condos.
The idea of a site condo is that the owners own and are responsible for the little piece of land upon which their home sits and for the house itself inside and out; but that the plot and house exist within a condo complex which also owns some common areas and requires that the homeowner be a member. Importantly, the common areas include the roads within the complex, plus any other areas like playgrounds or parks spaces or even the entrance to the complex youve all seen the little entrance islands with the sub name on them the association owns that, too. So, collectively, the owners are responsible for all of those things and for insuring those areas.
For the most part a site condo development is so much like a typical plated subdivision that one cant tell the difference; until its time to repair or replace the roads. In plated subs the roads are the responsibility of the local governmental body the Township, Village or City. In a site condo complex, its the homeowners who are on the hook. That is one big reason to make sure that you check to see if the HOA is collecting and saving money for road repairs in your site-condo sub.
The other things that can be dramatically different are the rules that you may have to live under in a site condo sub. Some site condo HOAs have very strict rules about what you can and cannot do to your property, especially on the outside. Some go so far as to have committees that must approve any exterior changes r additions and even what colors you can use on the exterior. If you can live with the restrictions that are impose by the sitecondo HOA, then dont buy there in the first place.
Mortgages for condos have their own set of rules and can be much more complex than mortgages on standalone houses heres an article from the Washington Post which explains that; plus, many of the on-line mortgage companies may not understand the Michigan concept of the site condo. Heres a good read on the hoops that you might have to jump through to get a condo mortgage. Heres an article about the FHA rules for a condo loan.
Finally, if you intend or want to use your VA benefits to get the mortgage for your new home, be aware that not all condos or site condos are VA approved. Gaining VA approval for a development is something that the builder must do during the built phase, there is no process for getting an approval after the project is completed. Its not a hard process nor very onerous for the builders; but, its an extra paperwork step that many failed to take when they are building and now its too late. Without that VA approval you cannot get a VA mortgage for that condo or site condo. Click here to go to a Web site that you can use to check to see if a development that was built under the condo rules is VA approved or not.
I hope that this dissertation helps you better understand condos and site condos if you are in Michigan as you start your hunt for a new home. Good luck.
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Spring cleaning is a great way to spruce up curb appeal and to get your home in tip-top shape for Summer, but some projects come are riskier than others. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2013, more than 35,500 people injured themselves using a stepladder.
Many Spring cleaning projects are labor intensive. They require homeowners to step outside of comfort zones and onto ladders and roofs.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recently >
"We all want a perfectly clean house with the snap of a finger, so we tend to rush through a numerous amount of burdensome tasks in a short period of time, and thats where we put ourselves at risk for injuries," said orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson Lana Kang, MD. "Whether its a fall caused after making a wrong step on a ladder or straining a back muscle, its best to pace yourself, complete one task at a time, and take regular breaks."
Here are 10 steps that all homeowners should take to help avoid injury.
1. In order to avoid back injuries be sure to properly lift and carry heavy objects. How does one do this? The AAOS says to "separate your feet, shoulder-width apart and keep your back upright and bend at the knees while tightening the stomach muscles. Lift with your leg muscles as you stand up." Get help lifting heavy objects
2. If you are dusting hard to reach spots use a step stool. Dont dangle your body off of counters or flimsy furniture
3. When you use a ladder, be sure to place it on a level surface. Do not lean or reach for objects. Take the time to get down and move the ladder to where you need it.
4. Many tasks will involve using an extension cord. You should inspect all cords prior to their use. Look for gnawed or cut wires. To prevent trips and falls keep cords away from doorways and walkways
5. If you are working with chemicals, sharp objects, debris, or branches then consider wearing protective gear. This can include such things as protective eyewear, long sleeves, and sturdy shoes. Leave the flip-flops for the beach
6. The AAOS says, "Read product labels for proper use of chemicals used for cleaning. Store all chemicals in places indicated on the package. This should be out-of-reach of both children and pets.Never place chemicals into unmarked containers or containers labeled for a different substance."
7. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water. It can be hot and sweaty work cleaning gutters, trimming trees, and replacing shingles. Take frequent breaks and keep water handy. Dont wait until youre thirsty to drink. That means youre already dehydrated
8. Have a cell phone on your person or within reach so you can call for help. Better yet, have another family member present while you are working.
9. When using a mower, use one that has certain safety features. You want one that stops mowing when the handle is >
10. Finally, start any intensive project with a good stretching session. Whether you think so or not, these tasks are a workout and your body needs a little time to prep to avoid strains.
Also See: 10 Things You Should Be Doing To Your Home In Spring
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One of the vexing issues a new board has to contend with is lax enforcement of owner additions and modifications by former boards. Lack of enforcement often results in non-compliant decks, fences, sheds and other creature comforts. The violators sometimes claim they got verbal approval from the developer or some long gone board president. Others claim they didnt know approval was necessary. But for whatever reason, there are now a boatload of violations that need to be reconciled. How should the current board deal with them?
The length of time a violation has been in place affects the course of action. If its been no more than a year or two, the boards case is stronger. The new board had to displace the old lax board to correct the problem. If the violation has been in place much longer, the owner can make a stronger case that a series of boards consented by silence. But action is still called for or the current board is accomplice to mismanagement.
Send Violation Notices. To begin the enforcement process, violation notices should be sent to every violator with a demand for removal of the offending modification. Some may comply willingly and narrow the list. However, some wont comply so the board must decide how strongly it feels about the violations. In this regard, choose battles wisely. Legal battles are exhausting financially and emotionally.
Agree to Compromise. The idea of a compromise is to permit the violation to continue while the current owner owns the property. Once the property is sold, the offending modification must be removed at owner expense. Further, the current owner must provide for all maintenance and is responsible for any damage it might do to HOA maintained structures like a deck that leads to dryrot in the siding. It is fairly easy to get an owner to agree to this compromise since it allows the modification to remain, it averts a potential lawsuit and it demonstrates to the other members that the board took reasonable action without going to court.
Written Agreement. Have violators pay to have an attorney formalize the agreement in recordable form which identifies the modification, the legal description of the subject property and the conditions of the compromise. Then date, sign, notarize and have the local title company file it on the public record. This puts all prospective purchasers on notice of the requirement should the owner "forget" to comply with the agreement. Then even if there is a sale, the board can require the new owner to comply with the condition of the recorded document.
Owner Maintenance Responsibility. In the case of owner modifications, all repairs and maintenance should be the owners responsibility. This too should be described in a recorded document for the benefit of future owners. For ease of tracking, the board should compile a list of such modifications by type, date of installation and location. Ancient history in an HOA is two years ago. This list will prove invaluable over time and keep the board from spending money for something that it shouldnt.
Damage to HOA Components. Repairs of damage caused to HOA components by owner installations should be charged back to the owner. For instance, its not uncommon for improperly installed deck and privacy fences to cause dryrot or structural problems to the building.
Establish Reasonable Standards. Even if the board approves owner modifications, it is extremely important that they be professionally and properly installed for aesthetics and compatibility with the existing construction. To this end, the board may set reasonable standards such as requiring the owners to:
The board should approach owner modification violations and requests in a businesslike way still keeping an eye to compromise. Life is not black and white and neither is life in an HOA. Keep an eye for compromise.
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About Belmont Park
Belmont Park is a located north of 2ndStreet in Long Beach, CA zip code 90803. Anything but cookie cutter, Belmont Park real estate is diverse and charming.Long Beach homes for salein Belmont Park preferred by some home buyers because not only do they have character and a great location next to Belmont Shore, they also have larger lots with yards and pools unlike homes located in Naples on the Peninsula.
The community of Belmont Park fosters a happy and healthy life>
Belmont Parkis walking distance from shops in Belmont Shore, Alamitos Bay and Mothers Beach, the perfect day trip for you and the kids. Tranquil tree lined streets, old world charm and family friendly perks like highly rated schools and parks nearby make Belmont Park a great place to live.
Schools serving Belmont Park
- Lowell Elementary School
- Rogers Middle School
- Wilson High School
Parks near Belmont Park
Marine Stadium Park
Marine Stadium Park has a sand beach and is a popular place for water skiing with top notch facilities. Whether youre out on the water enjoying some sports or strolling along the bay and enjoying the view, Marine Stadium Park is a great way to spend the afternoon. The area is designated as a historic landmark and held Rowing competitions for the 1932 and 1968 Olympic Games.
Marina Vista Park
Marina Vista Park overlooks the water as well and is a more traditional park. Amenities at Marina Vista Park include kids playground, picnic area, soccer fields, tennis courts and softball diamond for outdoor sports and of course the area has beautiful scenic views.
Shopping in Belmont Park
Belmont Shore is located just southeast of the community of Belmont Shore. Belmont Shore includes upscale shops, restaurants, health and wellness spas, and tons of local businesses. Late night, Belmont along 2ndStreet is the place to be for bar hopping and late night drinks with friends. There is also fun along the Shore like swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing and boating.
If youre interested in Belmont real estate and would like to learn more about the area and homes for sale, contact the experts and one of our threeFirst Team Real Estate Long Beach Offices.The best way to find the home of your dreams is by going to the people who know the market intimately like the agents at First Team. Call or email us now and well connect you with a top agent in the area.
Email us atclientservices [at] firstteam.com
Call us at 888-870-1142
Long Beach - Belmont Shore
5305 E. 2nd Street suite 104
Long Beach, CA 90803
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Long Beach - Naples
5840 E Naples Plaza
Long Beach, CA 90803
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Long Beach - PCH
4500 E. Pacific Coast Highway 100
Long Beach, CA 90804
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Originally posted at:http://www.firstteam.com/blog/?p=7729
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First Teams Weekly Mortgage Watch March 9th, 2014 this week highlights the following updates:
- National mortgage rate surveys showed rates moving slightly downward, last week, butrates mostly ended the week on an upward bend,following the monthly employment report. Rates had ended the previous week slightly downward due to the crisis in the Ukraine. This week, it appears that some of the geopolitical risk was reduced.
- While the unemployment rate did move slightly upward, 175,000 new jobs were created. This was slightly more than expected, and previous months numbers were also revised slightly upward.
- While this certainly isnt a surge,the economy is continuing to add jobs. Last months ISM Manufacturing Index moved higher, but the Services Index pulled back.
- Rates may start the week pulling back slightly, but after last weeks data,the probability of rates drifting very far downward is low.
- Outside of geopolitical pressures, Retail Sales data is likely to be the most important data point of the week.If Retail Sales remain in negative territory, rather than turning positive, then rates could remain low, perhaps even drifting slightly downward.
- Credit Donkey recently attempted to identify thesmartest cities in the United States. They analyzed census data for college degrees, Mensa chapters, and property crimes, which they deemed "generally unintelligent behavior." According to their analysis, the top ten places to hang your tassel, in descending order are San Jose, CA, Boston, MA, San Diego, CA, Raleigh, NC,Los Angeles, CA, Denver, CO, Chicago, IL, Rochester, NY, Philadelphia, PA, and Richmond, VA.
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Originally posted at:http://www.firstteam.com/blog/?p=7721
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"When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income."
You bought your home many years ago, but when the family expanded, you bought another home and have been renting our the first one for many years. You want to stop being a landlord but your tax accountant has indicated that your gain is over 400,000 and that you will have to pay as high as 80,000 in capital gains tax, plus recapture your depreciation at 25 percent. And depending on your income tax bracket, you may also have to pay the new 3.8 percent Medicare Surtax.
Clearly, this is not what you planned when you first bought the house.
There is some good news; consider doing a Starker section 1031 exchange. If you follow the rules, you can defer any and all tax. The IRS has issued proposed regulations which make it clear that the surtax does not have to be paid if you do an exchange. And although these regulations have not yet been finalized, the IRS has stated that taxpayers may >
Although often called a "tax-free" exchange, a Starker will not >
What is a Starker - also referred to as a "like kind" exchange. The ideal exchange is a direct exchange. I own investment property A and you own property B also investment.. Both are of equal value. On February 1, 2014, you convey B to me and on that same day I convey property A to you. If there is a written agreement between us that this is to be a 1031 exchange, neither of us will have to immediately pay any capital gains tax on any profit we have made.
However, such a transaction is ra>
Many years ago, a man by the name of T.J. Starker sold property in Oregon, pursuant to a "land exchange agreement" but did not receive any money for the sale. Instead, the seller -- a couple of years later -- transferred replacement property to Mr. Starker. The Internal Revenue Service considered this a taxable sale, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that this was a deferred exchange which was permitted under Section 1031 of the Tax Code. In other words, the exchange did not have to take place simultaneously.
There are two kinds of deferred Starker exchanges:
- a forward exchange: you sell the >
- a reverse exchange: you obtain title to the replacement first, and then sell the >
The rules are complex, but here is a general overview of the process. With some important exceptions the rules apply equally whether the exchange is forward or reverse:
Section 1031 permits a delay non-recognition of gain only if the following conditions are met:
First, the property transferred called by the IRS the ">
Second, there must be an exchange; the IRS wants to ensure that a transaction that is called an exchange is not really a sale and a subsequent purchase.
Third, the replacement property must be of "like kind." The courts have given a very broad definition to this concept. As a general rule, all real estate is considered "like kind" with all other real estate. Thus, a condominium unit can be swapped for an office building, a single family home for raw land, or a farm for commercial or industrial property.
Here is a general overview of the requirements:
1. Identification of the replacement property within 45 days. Congress did not like the fact that the Starker opinion had no time limitations on when the exchange could take place. Accordingly, the law now requires that the taxpayer identify the replacement property or properties no later than 45 days after the >
2. Who is the neutral party? Perhaps the most important requirement of a successful 1031 exchange is that the taxpayer can not receive or control even one penny of the net sales proceeds from the >
3. Take title within 180 days: The replacement property must be obtained no later than 180 days after the >
The rules are extremely complex. You must seek both legal and tax accounting advice before you enter into any like-kind exchange transaction -- whether forward or reverse.
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About Belmont Heights
Belmont Heights Long Beach is located in the south-eastern portion of the city bordering the Coast and the commercial community of Belmont Shore. The neighborhood borders on Ocean Boulevard and Livingston Drive, Redondo Avenue, 7thStreet and Nieto Avenue.Long Beach real estatein Belmont Heights is made up of primarily single family homes, some duplexes and a few apartment homes.
Belmont homes for sale are within walking distance of Belmont Shore shopping and dining, Downtown and the beach. The neighborhood community has a walkabiltiy score of 75/100 according toWalkscore.comwhich means most errands can be accomplished on foot. The Belmont Heights Historic District is a close knit community and a highly desirable place to live inLong Beach, CA.
Schools serving Belmont Heights
Long Beach Unified School District:
- John C. Fremont Elementary School
- Lowell Elementary School
- Horace Mann Elementary School
- Jefferson Leadership Academies Middle School
- Will Rogers Middle School
- Woodrow Wilson >
Parksnear Belmont Heights
Recreation Park includes a 9 and 18-hole golf course as well as a community park. Park amenities include a 210.9-acre recreation center, lawn bowling green, art and picnic areas.
Marina Vista Park
Marina Vista Park, as the name suggests, offers beautiful views of the Marina. Both picturesque and practical, the park includes two soccer fields, tennis courts and a softball diamond along with its scenic views.
Colorado Lagoon is located between Marina Vista Park and Recreation Park. The area includes Lagoon wetland, the Marine Education Science Center, kids playground and Model Boat Shop and races during the summer.
Shopping in Belmont Heights
Belmont Heights of course is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Belmont Shore business district. The quaint village setting in Belmont Shore makes it the perfect place to take a stroll on a lazy Sunday afternoon or enjoy running errands. Businesses in Belmont Shore include restaurants, bakeries, cafes, salons, sport shops, professional businesses, specialty stores and more. Belmont Shore also has an active night life with nearly a dozen bars along 2ndStreet, perfect for barhopping.
Downtown Long Beach
Downtown Long Beach is just a couple of blocks walking distance from Belmont Heights and offers an array of shops, businesses, entertainment and fun. Nearby Downtown by the shore is also The Pike and Sho>
If youre interested in the neighborhood of Belmont Heights or any other Long Beach real estate, contact the agents at one of our threeFirst Team Real Estate Long Beach Offices.Our agents are experts in the area and uniquely equipped to help you find the perfect residence for you and your family. Call or email us now and well connect you with a top agent in your area of interest.
Email us atclientservices [at] firstteam.com
Call us at 888-870-1142
Originally posted at:http://www.firstteam.com/blog/?p=7708
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Irvine is one of the fastest growing luxury markets in Orange County but also offers reasonably prices homes for sale. It is a great city to settle in for families thanks to top rated schools in the Irvine Unified School District, master planned communities with luxury amenities and parks and the citys distinction as thesafestlarge city in America for the past 9 years.
What is unique about Irvine is the fact that so many communities in town have a nice mix of affordable and luxury housing. Several of the neighborhood communities on our list have the most affordablecondos for sale in Irvine, CAyet also include homes priced at 1Million dollars and above. These mixed communities afford homeowners the opportunity to get into some of the most coveted neighborhoods in the city and move their way up from condo or townhome to large single family residence.
Orangetree is the most affordable community in Irvine located in zip code 92618.One bedroom condos start at 280,000 and range to detached single family homes in the 500,000s. Orangetree is a great place to start your homeowner journey in Irvine because its affordable yet offers all of the great amenities of the city like top rated schools, clean city life and convenient shopping and amenities.
The neighborhood community of Orangetree is adjacent to Irvine Valley College and is popular place for students to rent. Orangetree is within walking distance of Oak Creek Golf Course and nearby Irvine Village Shopping Center.
Woodbridge is a well established community built over 30 years ago in Irvine located within zip code 92604. It is one of the most popular large Villages of Irvine with homes priced from thehigh 200,000s to over 1Million. Homes for sale in Woodbrigde include condos, townhomes and single family homes. Woodbridge Irvine is located off of the 5 Freeway bordered by Culver Drive, Jeffrey Road, and Irvine Center Drive.
What makes Woodbridge affordable and a desirable place to live is the huge range of homes and affordability. Home owners often buy into the community with a condo or townhome and move up to larger family homes as time goes on. Woodbridge Irvine is well known for its two picturesque manmade lakes, over 30 parks and approximately 20 private pools including adult only areas.
3.University Town Center
University Town Center is located across from the UC Irvine Campus, zip code 92612. Homes for sale in University Town Center range in price from themid 300,000s to the mid 800,000s.This community is more affordable than others because it is made up enti>
University Town Center real estate is popular with students and the older demographic. There are several shopping centers within walking distance in the community including Campus Plaza Shopping Center and University Center. University Center is the main shopping area for the community and includes a movie theater, Trader Joes market, several restaurants, businesses and hosts a Farmers Market every Saturday in the parking lot.
Columbus Grove straddles the city lines of Irvine and Tustin and features homes priced in themid 300,000s up to the high 900,000s. Homes for sale in Columbus Grove are primarily detached single family homes with several attached town homes as well. The community is still expanding with plans to include a total of 465 properties.
Columbus Grove is one of the Villages of Columbus within an area known as Tustin Legacy. The area spans nearly 1,600 acres of land on the former Marine Corps Air Station. The western edge of the community backs up into Jamboree Road and the Tustin District shopping center. Although the area borders on Tustin, the community is served by the highly rated Irvine Unified School District which is a valuable benefit for families with children.
5.El Camino Real
El Camino Real was one of the first communities to be developed in Irvine back in the mid 1960s and is located in zip code 92604. The community is located just off the 5 Freeway to the west and is bordered by Culver Drive, Jeffery Road and Irvine Center Drive. Irvine homes for sale in El Camino Real are primarily single family homes which separates it from many of the other affordable communities in Irvine whose less expensive real estate is limited to condos and townhomes.Home prices range from themid 300,000s to high 900,000s.
There are several shopping centers, big and small, in the area including Heritage Plaza, Culver Plaza Shopping Center, The Arbor Village Center and Orangetree Square Shopping Center. El Camino Real is popular among young families because of the various parks in the area and top rated school in the Irvine Unified School District.
Oak Creek is located south of the 405 Freeway in Irvine, zip code 92618. Irvine homes for sale in Oak Creek range from1 bedroom condos priced in the high 300,000s up to large single family homes priced over 1Milllion. Oak Creek is across Barranca Parkway from Orangetree and also borders on the community of Woodbridge.
Oak Creek has a great location within Irvine because it has quick and easy freeway access, it is just down the road from Irvines Great Park, there are several small shopping centers nearby and its just short drive down the freeway from Irvine Spectrum which is the premier shopping and entertainment center in the city.
Woodbury spans from Irvine Boulevard to Trabuco Road between Jeffrey Road and Sand Canyon Avenue in zip code 92620. Irvine real estate in Woodbury is newly build and includes some brand new construction homes. Prices range from thelow 400,000s to over 1Million.The community offers a wide range of living options including attached homes, townhomes, condos and detached single family homes.
The community includes Woodbury Elementary School located at the center plus the Woodbury Community Park which spans 30 acres. Also at the heart of the community in the Commons is a recreational center, several sport courts, a water garden and open lawn.
Quail Hill is located off of the 405 Freeway at Sand Canyon Avenue, zip code 92603. The Village of Quail Hill includes courtyard condos, townhomes and single family homes ranging in price from themid 400,000s to 1Million.
Quail Hill is a new community neighborhood inspired by Tuscan and Mediterranean architecture. Irvine Homes for sale in Quail Hill are unique in that the community is surrounded by the Laguna Coastal Wilderness Park with a link to Boomer Canyon. There are 13 different neighborhoods and 4 private parks with luxury amenities spaced throughout.
9.Rancho San Joaquin
Rancho San Joaquin is the most affordable community in Irvine to buy a single family home. Home prices range from themid 500,000s to the 600,000sfor townhomes and single family homes. Rancho San Joaquin Irvine is lies within zip code 92612 and is located south of the 405 bordered by Culver Drive, University Drive and Harvard Drive.
Irvine homes for sale in Rancho San Joaquin are broken up into two neighborhoods: Rancho San Joaquin Townhomes and Rancho San Joaquin Villas. This Village of Irvine is located right next to the Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course and most homes feature scenic views of the course. Rancho San Joaquin is also within walking distance of shopping, restaurants and entertainment including Boomers Family Entertainment Center and Irvine Lanes Bowling Alley.
10.The Airport Area
The Airport Area and Irvine Business District of Irvine is one of the most affordable communities to buy in Irvine, however the area is made up almost enti>mid 300,000 to over 1Million.
The Airport Area of Irvine is popular among young professionals and those looking for urban luxury. The community is made up of several high rise condo buildings and surrounded by convenient shopping centers within walking distance like Park Place shopping center. We tacked it onto the bottom of our list because while it is affordable, it is not as varied and diverse in housing options like the other communities on our list.
If youre interested in buying Irvine real estate, contact the experts at ourFirst Team Real Estate Irvine Office. They are your best resource to help you stick to your budget and find the perfect community in town for you and your family. Call or email us now and well connect you with a top agent in the area.
Email us atclientservices [at] firstteam.com
Call us at 888-870-1142
Originally posted at:http://www.firstteam.com/blog/?p=7710
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Its important to disclose all known problems with your home prior to finalizing a deal with a buyer. Not only will this keep your conscience clean, it can keep you from flirting with potential lawsuits down the road. Not disclosing known issues is not only against the law, it can end up costing you more time and money than simply fixing the problem would. Heres a list of all things to keep in mind when it comes time todisclose:
History of repairs
Off-site conditions treatment plants, etc: think Erin Brockovich
Termites and pests
Legal issues clouds on the title, etc.
Issues with Neighbors
Death in the state of California
- Transfer Disclosure Statement in the state of California
Dont be afraid to disclose. Although many sellers may feel that disclosing everything will hurt their chances of selling, it actually helps. Not only will the buyer be grateful for your honesty and transparency, your conscience and record will be clean
For a more in-depth look at the disclosure laws for the items listed above,click here.
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HAVE YOU SEEN ENOUGH OF THE WRONG HOMES?
When I am in my initial consultation with buyers we always talk about the process of viewing homes and how I can most conveniently accommodate their schedules. Sometimes the search is a quick one but more often than not it is a process that will take multiple outings to find just the right home.
It is not at all uncommon to have one member of a family be more available than another and they may have already worked out between them to have this person with the easier schedule do the majority of the looking and then take the other members to look only at prescreened alternatives. This always sets off alarm bells in my mind. I have learned after over 40 years of showing homes that the person who has not been on ALL these outings is really at a serious disadvantage THEY HAVENT SEEN ENOUGH OF THE WRONG HOMES Sounds kind of counter-intuitive, right? Not so fast.
Viewing homes is a big learning experience. ONLY through going out and actually visiting properties can you get any feeling for value. Pictures on line are designed to get you out there and naturally focus on the best elements. Dont get me wrong, they are invaluable to begin the education process they just fall far from completing that education. Only through going through the actual process of going through a number of seemingly potential properties can a buyer get a good feel for value and how a home fits their needs.
The member only seeing the screened properties gets only a partial exposure or partial education of what is out there and whether or not their expectations can be met in the value range they are exploring. When the better educated family member has found something that appears to be a great value the lesser educated member is not fully equipped to appreciate or recognize that value because THEY HAVENT SEEN ENOUGH OF THE WRONG HOMES TO RECOGNIZE THE RIGHT ONE.
Just this morning I had this pounded into my head, again I think we finally found the right home at a great value. The more educated family member recognized it right away and brought out the less experienced looker. They didnt see it at all the same way and hesitated for a week. When they finally decided to give it another look it was gone This was a great enough value that they should have jumped on it right away but because of an understood reticence by the less experienced buyer they missed it.
Normally I enjoy being proven right, this time there was not satisfaction in it.
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United States military veterans are not a protected >
That this is an issue could certainly be surprising to many real estate agents. There are many parts of the country where V.A. financing is the bread and butter of the business. There are market areas where V.A. and FHA financing are the norm. If you work in one of those areas, you might find it almost incomprehensible that many -- probably most -- agents in areas such as this one have never been involved in a transaction in which V.A. financing was used.
The problem, then, becomes this: When an offer is brought that involves V.A. financing, it is liable to be dismissed out of hand. Why? Because the agent -- never having had first-hand experience with V.A. financing -- >
Thus we thank our good friend, Kevin Budde, one of the brighter lights in our part of the lending world, for providing the inspiration and most of the factual content, for todays column.
Kevin says that there are four myths about V.A. financing that inhibit agents in our, and similar, areas from using and/or accepting V.A. financing.
Myth number one is that sellers will have to pay points based upon the loan amount. This belief dates back to days when the maximum interest rate was set periodically by the V.A. In those days, if market rates available to lenders were higher than the rate set by the V.A., the veteran could not make up the difference, so the seller had to. Today, V.A. loan rates float with the market. At the time of this writing they are about 4.125. There is no longer a gap that the seller has to fill.
The second myth is that sellers have to pay additional closing cost fees that the veteran is not allowed to pay. Under todays rules, the veteran pays customary buyers fees in the market area.
A third ancient seller objection to V.A. loans is that V.A. appraisals often require "fix it" work paint window sills, replace cabinet handles, etc. that increases the sellers costs. Kevin points out that now, "the focus is on health and safety issues of the property which are deficiencies that could cause harm to the occupant." These would need to be addressed in any kind of transaction.
Finally, there are those who still believe that V.A. insured loans take much longer to close than do conventional ones. It just isnt -- or neednt be -- so. If everyone does their homework and submits information on time, V.A. loans close within the same time frames that conventional loans do.
V.A. loan guarantee limits vary from area to area. In Orange County, California, the limit -- with no down payment -- is 687,500. In Monterey County, California, it is 500,000. In Arapahoe County, Colorado, it is 425,000. But a vet can buy above the limit by putting down 25 of the amount above the limit. Thus, here in this area, a vet could buy an 800,000 house putting only 28,125 3.5 down. What former E-4 Corporal wouldnt want to do that?
V.A. financing opens up purchasing possibilities to a significant number of qualified buyers. Sellers -- or their agents -- who dont want to accommodate that are making a serious mistake.
Bob Hunt is a director of the California Association of Realtors. He is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way.
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Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable says the term "red tape" is "so called because lawyers and government officials tie their papers together with red tape. Charles Dickens introduced the phrase."
Red tape makes property developers, builders, architects and ultimately homeowners turn red with rage when it creates unnecessary delays in the building approvals process. As long as building and planning regulations have been around, those hoping to build homes or commercial buildings have been complaining about the length of time it takes to get approvals.
Most recently, Edmonton builders complained that it takes months for the city to issue building permits, creating delays that cost between 100 and 500 a day. "The length of time in order for us to build a home in the City of Edmonton is a big concernWhen we have time delays that the consumer pays for, its a huge problem," Dan Brazinha, president of the local branch of the Canadian Home Builders Association, told the Edmonton Journal.
In response, city planning manager Scott Mackie told the Journal, "Its something the industry has valid concerns about, but as a city we need to find a balance between rules and regulations protecting the publics interest and what the business interests are."
Last fall the Ontario Association of Architects OAA issued what it calls "the first report to quantify the cost of delays in the site plan approval process in Ontario." It reviewed 500 site plan applications across the province and determined that the process is often delayed by six to 12 months, with more than 35 per cent of the applications taking longer than nine months. Bill Birdsell, president of the OAA, says, "Unnecessary delays, inefficiencies and lack of a co-ordinated process are creating additional costs."
For example, the report says that for every additional month the site plan approval for a 100-unit building is delayed, it costs residential developers 193,000. That includes additional taxes, financing and inflation on construction costs and materials. Over a six- to 12-month period, the cost of the delay is 1.16 million to 2.3 million, says the OAA.
For individual homeowners, the monthly cost is about 2,375 including costs passed on through higher prices, lost equity by not beginning a mortgage sooner and additional rental costs, the report says.
For a 50,000-square-foot commercial building, delays cost developers 113,000 including additional taxes, financing, inflation on construction costs and materials. Over a six- to 12-month period, the additional cost of the delay can be 680,000 to 1.36 million, says the OAA.
Local municipalities also suffer. Using the 100-unit residential building as an example, the municipality loses 159,900 to 241,600 per month in lost tax revenues, which can be 959,000 to 2.9 million over a six- to 12-month period.
"The research indicated that the fees for site plan applications and resubmissions can be substantial, vary significantly from one municipality to the next, and that there is no consistent method and approach to calculating or charging site plan approval fees," says the report.
It says the top three reasons for the delays are the circulation time of the submission between municipal departments; slow or lack of response from municipal staff and conflicting comments from different departments and agencies. The report says most municipalities are aware of the need to have an efficient site plan approval process and were undergoing or had recently completed a review of their process.
Not all the delays in the process can be blamed on the municipalities, however. The study also surveyed planning directors who listed their top three reasons for the delays: slow or lack of response from applicants with respect to suggested revisions; incomplete applications and slow or lack of response to the circulation time frame from outside agencies.
The OAA report says that while the provincial Planning Act sets out the basic parameters for site plan approval, the process is not implemented consistently by the municipalities. "This results in unpredictability, confusion and frustrations for applicants and consultants as the process differs considerably among and often within municipalities. The research also highlighted particular concert with the length of time, and consequently the cost, associated with the site plan approval process."
The associations report concludes that the problem is not with the Planning Act itself but with the way it is being administered. Its urging the province to show a leadership role and issue a provincial guideline for municipalities.
"The guideline could clarify the purpose and intent of the site plan approval process as well as formalize the process of setting site plan application fees. The guideline could set out best practices based on the experiences of municipalities."
The Canadian Home Builders Association says that the federal government should consult with the provincial governments to "address the deterioration in housing affordability." It says prices are being driven up, in part, "by inexorably rising government-imposed costs and more burdensome regulation."
The builders association adds: "For all new housing, we need to restore fairness to taxation, reduce inequitable land development charges and avoid new charges further damaging housing affordability."
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