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7 Smart Steps Every New Homeowner Should Take

Antelope Valley Real Estate Experts

RE/MAX All-Pro Presents Real Estate Tips from Investopedia

800.336.3629 Bringing families Home Serving the Entire Antelope Valley Since 1990 

7 Smart Steps Every New Homeowner Should Take

Turning the key in a lock that no landlord has access to, reading in a hammock in your own backyard and painting your dining room bright red – what could be more exciting than making the leap from renter to first-time homeowner? Getting swept up in all the excitement is a wonderful feeling, but some first-time homeowners lose their heads and make mistakes that can jeopardize everything they’ve worked so hard to earn.

TUTORIAL: How To Buy Your First Home

Don’t be one of those people; take a few moments to ponder these seven practical concerns that will help ensure that your first home becomes the place of luxury and financial freedomyou’ve anticipated.

1. Don’t Overspend on Furniture and Remodeling 
You’ve just handed over a large portion of your life savings for a down paymentclosing costs and moving expenses. Money is tight for most first-time homeowners – not only are their savings depleted, their monthly expenses are often higher as well, thanks to the new expenses that come with home ownership, such as water and trash bills, and extra insurance.


Everyone wants to personalize a new home and upgrade what may have been temporary apartment furniture for something nicer, but don’t go on a massive spending spree to improve everything all at once. Just as important as getting your first home is staying in it, and as nice as solid maple kitchen cabinets might be, they aren’t worth jeopardizing your new status as a homeowner. Give yourself time to adjust to the expenses of home ownership and rebuild your savings – the cabinets will still be waiting for you when you can more comfortably afford them. (For further reading, see To Rent Or Buy? The Financial Issues.)


2. Don’t Ignore Important Maintenance Items
One of the new expenses that accompanies home ownership is making repairs. There is no landlord to call if your roof is leaking or your toilet is clogged (on the plus side, there is also no rent increase notice taped to your door on a random Friday afternoon when you were looking forward to a nice weekend). While you should exercise restraint in purchasing the nonessentials, you shouldn’t neglect any problem that puts you in danger or could get worse over time, turning a relatively small problem into a much larger and costlier one. (For tips on how to spot problems with a potential home before you buy it, see Do You Need A Home Inspector?)


3. Hire Qualified Contractors
Don’t try to save money by making improvements and repairs yourself that you aren’t qualified to make. This may seem to contradict the first point slightly, but it really doesn’t. Your home is both the place where you live and an investment, and it deserves the same level of care and attention you would give to anything else you value highly. There’s nothing wrong with painting the walls yourself, but if there’s no wiring for an electric opener in your garage, don’t cut a hole in the wall and start playing with copper. Hiring professionals to do work you don’t know how to do is the best way to keep your home in top condition and avoid injuring – or even killing – yourself. (For tips on finding qualified workers, read The Better Business Bureau’s Tool Belt For Saving Cash. For home improvement projects most homeowners can tackle themselves, read Do-It-Yourself Projects To Boost Home Value.)


4. Get Help with Your Tax Return 
Even if you hate the thought of spending money on an accountant when you normally do your returns yourself, and even if you’re already feeling broke from buying that house, hiring an accountant to make sure you complete your return correctly and maximize your refund is a good idea. Home ownership significantly changes most people’s tax situations and the deductions they are eligible to claim. Just getting your taxes professionally done for one year can give you a template to use in future years if you want to continue doing your taxes yourself. (For more insight, see Crunch Numbers To Find The Ideal Accountant and Give Your Taxes Some Credit.)


5. Keep Receipts for Home Improvements
When you sell your home, you can use these costs to increase your home’s basis, which can help you to maximize your tax-free earnings on the sale of your home. In 2008, you could have earned up to $250,000 tax free from the sale of your home if it was your primary residence and you had lived there for at least two of five years before you sold it. This assumes that you owned the home alone – if you owned it jointly with a spouse, you could each have gotten the $250,000 exemption. (To learn more about how having a spouse can affect your tax return, read The Tax Benefits Of Having A Spouse and Happily Married? File Separately!)


Let’s say you purchased your home for $150,000 and were able to sell it for $450,000. You’ve also made $20,000 in home improvements over the years you’ve lived in the home. If you haven’t saved your receipts, your basis in the home, or the amount you originally paid for your investment, is $150,000. You take your $250,000 exemption on the proceeds and are left with $50,000 of taxable income on the sale of your home. However, if you saved all $20,000 of your receipts, your basis would be $170,000 and you would only pay taxes on $30,000. That’s a huge savings: in this case, it would be $5,000 if your marginal tax rate is 25%. (For more insight, see Is it true that you can sell your home and not pay capital gains tax?)


6. Don’t Confuse a Repair with an Improvement
Unfortunately, not all home expenses are treated equally for the purpose of determining your home’s basis. The IRS considers repairs to be part and parcel of home ownership -something that preserves the home’s original value, but does not enhance its value. This may not always seem true. For example, if you bought a foreclosure and had to fix a lot of broken stuff, the home is obviously worth more after you fix those items, but the IRS doesn’t care – you did get a discount on the purchase price because of those unmade repairs, after all. It’s only improvements, like replacing the roof or adding central air conditioning, which will help decrease your future tax bill when you sell your home.


For gray areas (like remodeling your bathroom because you had to bust open the wall to repair some old, failed plumbing), consult IRS Publication 530 and/or your accountant. And on a non-tax-related note, don’t trick yourself into thinking it’s OK to spend money on something because it’s a necessary “repair” when in truth it’s really a fun improvement. That isn’t good for your finances. (To find out which improvements can add the most value to your home, read Add Value To Real Estate Investments.)


7. Get Properly Insured
Your mortgage lender requires you not only to purchase homeowners insurance, but also to purchase enough to fully replace the property in the event of a total loss. But that’s not the only insurance coverage you need as a homeowner. If you share your home with anyone who relies on your income to help pay the mortgage, whether it’s a girlfriend or a child, you’ll need life insurance with that person named as a beneficiary so he or she won’t lose the house if you die unexpectedly. Similarly, you’ll want to have disability-income insurance to replace your income if you become so disabled that you can’t work. (For ideas on how to save money on your home insurance, readInsurance Tips For Homeowners.)


Also, once you own a home, you have more to lose in the event of a lawsuit, so you’ll want to make sure you have excellent car insurance coverage. If you are self-employed as a sole proprietor, you may want to consider forming a corporation for greater legal protection of your assets. You may also want to purchase an umbrella policy that picks up where your other policies leave off. If you are found at fault in a car accident with a judgment of $1 million against you and your car insurance only covers the first $250,000, an umbrella policy can pick up the rest of the slack. These policies are usually issued in the millions. (For more on car insurance, see Shopping For Car Insurance.)

Bottom Line
With the great freedom of owning your own home comes great responsibilities. You must manage your finances well enough to keep the home and maintain the home’s condition well enough to protect your investment and keep your family safe. Don’t let the excitement of being a new homeowner lead you to bad decisions or oversights that jeopardize your financial or physical security. 


For further reading, see To Rent Or Buy? There’s More To It Than Money.


Amy Fontinelle is a financial journalist and editor for a variety of websites, public policy organizations, and book publishers. She has written hundreds of published articles and blog posts on topics including budgeting, credit management, real estate and investing. Her articles have been featured on the homepage of Yahoo! and on Yahoo! Finance, Forbes.com, SFGate.com and numerous local news websites.



Read more: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/09/new-homeowner-tips.asp#ixzz1T9Kf8Wwr

Antelope Valley Real Estate Experts800.336.3629 Bringing families Home Serving the Entire Antelope Valley Since 1990 

Home Buyers LOOK Here!

Home Buyers LOOK Here!

To finalize the sale of the home a neutral, third party (escrow agent) is engaged to assure the transaction will close properly and on time. The escrow holder insures that all terms and conditions of the seller’s and buyer’s agreement are met prior to the sale being finalized, including receiving funds and documents, completing required forms, and obtaining the release documents for any loans or liens that have been paid off with the transaction, assuring you clear title to your property before the purchase price is fully paid.

An escrow is:

  • an arrangement made under contractual provisions between transacting parties, whereby an independent trusted third party receives and disburses money and/or documents for the transacting parties, with the timing of such disbursement by the third party dependent on the fulfillment of contractually-agreed conditions by the transacting parties, or
  • an account established by a broker, under the provisions of license law, for the purpose of holding funds on behalf of the broker’s principal or some other person until the consummation or termination of a transaction; or,
  • a trust account held in the borrower’s name to pay obligations such as property taxes and insurance premiums.

The word derives from the Old French word escroue, meaning a scrap of paper or a roll of parchment; this indicated the deed that a third party held until a transaction was completed.

Escrow Process

The documentation the escrow holder may be collecting includes:

• Loan documents

• Tax statements

• Fire and other insurance policies

• Title insurance policies

• Terms of sale and any seller-assisted financing

• Requests for payment for various services to be paid out of escrow funds

Upon completion of all instructions of the escrow, closing can take place. All outstanding payments and fees are collected and paid at this time (covering expenses such as title insurance, inspections, real estate commissions). Title to the property is then transferred to the buyer and appropriate title insurance is issued as outlined in the escrow instructions. At the close of escrow, payment of funds shall be made in an acceptable form to the escrow. As your real estate agent, I’ll inform you of the acceptable form.

The Escrow holder will:

• Prepare escrow instructions

• Request title search

• Comply with lender’s requirements as specified in the escrow agreement

• Receive funds from the buyer

• Prorate interest, tax, insurance, and other payments according to the instructions

• Record deeds and other documents as instructed

• Request title insurance policy

• Close escrow when all instructions of seller and buyer have been met

• Disburse funds and finalize instructions

Our Escrow Partner

You can feel more secure with an independent escrow company. Unlike banks, title companies and brokerages, an independent firm must comply with stricter operational and CPA auditing, bonding requirements, financial liquidity requirements and trust fund insurance guidelines.

For more information contact our partner:

EscrowOne, Inc. A Department of Corporations Escrow Company

www.escrowoneonline.com 661-945-6991      

Antelope Valley’s Annual Home & Garden Show

Antelope Valley’s Annual Home & Garden Show

Mar 16, 2012 – Mar 18, 2012 
24th Annual Home & Garden Show 

Antelope Valley Fairgrounds
Entrance Gate:

Gate 1

Time & Event Details:


RALLY, Cadillac, Buick and GMC presents the 24th Annual A.V. Fairgrounds


Admission: FREE
Parking: $5

Friday, March 16, Noon – 6pm
Saturday, March 17, 9am – 6pm
Sunday March 18, 9am – 5pm

VENDORS: Make $, Save $!

• Save 10% on Booth space fees for Home Show 2012 until Feb. 29

• Take advantage of the $200 Referral REBATE offer. For each business you refer

(that didn’t exhibit at Home Show 2011) and becomes a paid exhibitor at Home Show 2012!

• Be included in a drawing for a FREE 10’x 10’ inline booth space for Home Show 2013 when

you donate a prize ($250 value) for the 2012 Ultimate Garden Giveaway!

Call Connie at             (661) 948-6060      , ext. 123 or

DOWNLOAD Home Show 2012 Booth Space application HERE



So much to see and do!

–  FREE Tomato Plant Giveaway (One per person, while supplies last) 


– Landscaping & How-to Seminars 

– Go Kart rides 

– Llama Show      

– Pet Adoptions 

– Drawing for FREE Fair 2012 tickets & other merchandise



Contact Infomation

Connie – 661-948-6060 ext 123

The Antelope Valley; Labor, Lifestyle, & Los Angeles All Within Reach

The Antelope Valley; Labor, Lifestyle, & Los Angeles All Within Reach

The communities and local economy of the Antelope Valley are growing strong for a number of reasons, mainly affordability of housing. Antelope Valley residents enjoy a pleasing quality of life in

these family-oriented communities; there are just so many choices for recreation, shopping and dining right around the corner. It’s been said that within these communities, one may realize the American dream. Public safety, health care, transportation, education, and recreation are all important priorities within the following communities. The Antelope Valley offers a wide variety of family activities. From taking a stroll through Apollo Park, to hanging out in Downtown Lancaster.Movie theaters,shopping, weekly Farmer’s Market and Lancaster Performing Art Center are just the beginning in Downtown LancasterWhether you’re a current resident looking to relocate, or you’re looking to make the Antelope Valley your new home, you’ll find the information you need right here. Visit All Pro Agents online for more information about the communities within the Antelope Valley


The Antelope Valley in CaliforniaUnited States, is located in northern Los Angeles Countyand the southeastern portion of Kern County, California, and constitutes the western tip of theMojave Desert. It is situated between the Tehachapi and the San Gabriel Mountains

The valley was named for the pronghorn antelopes that are said to have roamed there until being eliminated by hunters and bad weather in the 1880s.The principal cities in the Antelope Valley are Palmdale and Lancaster.

-Antelope Valley Real Estate-It Still Makes Sense to Buy VS Rent

Buying a home can be scary, overwhelming, thrilling, exasperating, and inspiring all at once, but the feeling of

home-ownership trumps them all.

Which is why;

It Still Makes Sense To BUY VS RENT!

Why?You ask.

To show you the benefits of owning your very own home, i will be doing a 2 part blog series. The first blog post will be about renting statistics and where YOUR money goes, and the second part will be the essential Information on the benefits and perks of home-ownershipAn owner-occupier (also known as an owner-occupant or home owner) is a person who lives in and owns the same home. It is a type of housing tenure. The home of the owner-occupier may be, for example, a houseapartmentcondominium, or a housing cooperative. The immovable property of the owner, which includes the home and the land upon which it sits, is known as the real estate.

FIRST lets talk about a couple fun rental facts!


Nearly 1/3 of all households rent

Baby boomer children-Echo boomers

With that being said, let’s take a closer look at home prices

  • Despite National Headlines,

Home Prices Tend to be Localized

  • Housing Prices Are Tied to Job Market
  • If Local Job Market is Weak –

Local Area Prices May Be Lower As Well

Now for the fun facts about RENTING!

Renting is an agreement where a payment is made for the temporary use of a good, service or property owned by another. A gross lease is when the tenant pays a flat rental amount and the landlordpays for all property charges regularly incurred by the ownership from landowners. This system is used in case of washing machines to handbags and jewelry.

Renting Costs a Lot – A Whole Lot!

Now remember, these are ONLY assumptions: 

  • $1,500 Monthly Rent Payments
  • Landlord Increases Rent 5% Yearly
  • Five-Year Costs = Nearly $100,000!
  • Costs to Improve…GONE!
  • Oh yeah, your landlord thanks you
  • Overall Costs…Too Painful to Look At


Renters! FIGHT BACK! Show Your Landlord The Money 

 Assuming a 5% increase per year:

  •   Year       Monthly Rent     Annual Rent
  •     1            $1,500                $18,000
  •     2            $1,575                $18,900
  •     3            $1,654                $19,848
  •     4            $1,737                $20,844
  •     5            $1,824                $21,888
  •     Total                                 $99,480

Average monthly rent over five years $1,658

Whew! Tough information to read right? The good thing is, the bad is out of the way! Start the steps to your future of home-ownership and join me next week to get the essential Information on the benefits and perks of home-ownership.

If you or someone you know is ready to take the step towards buying a home, give RE/MAX All-Pro a call at 661.945.9461.