Taking Advantage Of Today’s Skyrocketing House Prices For Retirement!

Recently, I placed my mother-in-law’s home on the market for sale.  It’s an incredibly cute beachfront condo located within a highly coveted private gated community in Huntington Beach.  Ocean views, stunning sunsets, and just steps from the beach – Location, Location, Location!  To top it off, these homes rarely go up for sale!  Mom is retiring in less than a year and wondering, “should I sell my house when I retire?” Like many of us, she has been witnessing the escalating prices in the market and the accelerating value of her home.  After looking at her impressive equity, nearly tripling her investment in less than a decade, she felt that she was in a great position to sell her place when she retires!  Great News, right? Well, not so fast.


Something Didn’t Feel Right

As anticipated, multiple offers were received within days of the listing.  However, something wasn’t right for Mom, the offers were making her feel sick instead of happy.  She insisted, “I’m retiring, it’s the right time to sell my house, I can make so much money,” it didn’t feel like the great news she had initially expected. Instead, the offers signaled the fast-approaching imminent sale of her home and it didn’t feel good. She began asking herself again, “why should I sell my house when I retire?”

We talked and it became obvious that making money was not actually her motivation for selling; it was not her “Why,” so I didn’t feel right either.  My goal as an agent is not to maximize profits for my customers. It’s great when that happens, but it’s not my purpose. My purpose is to take care of all the real estate needs of my clients. I value positive energy and a feeling of connection with my clients.  For me, it is of paramount importance to more deeply understand my client’s needs and to identify their unique “why.”

The Importance of Identifying Our Client’s “Why”

What does the “Why” mean?  The “why” refers to why a client is doing what they are deciding to do.  While it seems simple enough, this experience led me to refine my process of how I work with clients to identify their “why.”  The word itself, why, can often make us feel defensive and can trigger pressure to provide a “good reason” for choosing whatever it is we’re choosing.  Answers like, “I want to make money”, can be void of any real meaning and unfortunately lead to an unfullfilling outcome. 

Exploring Mom’s Why – why should I sell my house when I retire?

Back to my Mother-in-Law, we realized that she was feeling the pressure of retiring and the markets skyrocketing prices.  Mom realized that she was unsure of the next chapter in her life.  So she asked her self again, why should I sell my house when I retire? She loves the beach and wants to be close to her family, and she wants to ensure her financial future.  However, the “Why” did not live inside any of these reasons!  After a few sleepless nights, I realized that taking her home off the market was the right thing to suggest.  I knew it was the right thing to do when I witnessed her relief.  I called the other agents who had offers in and respectfully declined their offers at or above the asking price.  

Changing The Plan – Deciding Not To Sell The House

There is no tripling of the investment for mom, there is no commission for me as the agent . . . and there is no better place to be! You see, the best transaction I can make as a real estate agent is the one that satisfies the real “Why.”  If a client is not feeling confident and joyful about their “why,” then the “why” is definitely in question.  In the end, we established that mom’s “why” didn’t feel good to her.  Essentially, when the “why” doesn’t feel right, it means we didn’t actually have a “why” to begin with.  I am proud of Mom’s decision to keep her beautiful beach home, and I am pleased to say I kept my promise to always “take care of my client’s real estate needs.”  

Defining The Why – The Verso Homes Process

I’m grateful and thankful that Mom realized her “why” – that selling her home wasn’t the right thing to do.  Together we learned how important it is to ask, how does my “why” feel?  This experience allowed me to hone in on my process of identifying my clients “why”.  In addition to gathering answers to questions like “what is the square footage of your home,” I also apply a systematic approach to developing and honoring my client’s “why.”  If we can’t confidently and happily establish the “why,” I’m no longer in alignment with my core values.  When the “Why” is clearly defined, I know how to take care of my clients, their transactions, and I can assure a positive outcome 🙂

With thanks and appreciation!

Natalie Boyle

If you’ve ever been in a bidding war with other buyers interested in the same house, you know how important a cover letter is. It can easily be the deciding factor in who the seller chooses to sell their house to. Since they are so important, I wanted to give you the best buyer cover letter tips on how you can make yours appealing and stand out against the rest!

Make the letter personal and build a connection

It is important to let the seller know why this home, in particular, is perfect for you. It is always a good idea to write about how you will enjoy their home. If you have a family with kids you could write about being able to picture your children playing in the grass in the backyard.

Give them some information about yourself

Sellers want to know about the people that will be living in their home. They also want to feel a connection with the people buying it. Writing about the job you have and your family is a great way for them to get to know you!

Point out your favorite features in the home

It’s always nice to compliment the seller by talking about your favorite things about their home. For example, you could mention how much you love their spacious and bright kitchen if you and your family love to cook. If there is a pool in the backyard you could talk about how you and your family love to spend summers outside together cooling off in the water.

Give thanks

Thanking the seller for giving you an opportunity to make an offer is very important! The end of the cover letter is a great place for you to show that you appreciate the chance to make an offer on their home. You can also add that you can’t wait to hear back from them!

A well-written cover letter can persuade a seller to allow you to buy their home. Hopefully, these tips can help you write a thoughtful cover letter to secure your dream house!

Here are two examples of cover letters:

Buyer-Letter-1-
Offer cover letter sample template 2
Courtesy of:
https://journal.firsttuesday.us/the-importance-of-the-homebuyers-offer-cover-letter/49994/
https://www.trulia.com/guides/offer-letter-templates/

Here are a few more tips I’ve put together for home buyers:

How to Evaluate a Neighborhood

Home Buying Checklist

Can you all believe we are well on our way into 2020?! Bethany with The Posh Home and I will be sharing a monthly blog series on tips and tricks to organize your home more efficiently and effectively.

Organization saves you time, money, and makes your spaces look more put together. We are both sharing our perspectives, from a real estate perspective I know the importance of an organized space. Most people when looking to buy a home look in cabinets! The more organized you are the more appealing your home will be to a buyer. From a design perspective, Bethany knows organization is key from a functional perspective as well as an aesthetic perspective. It is so important. We are so excited to share this month’s organization challenge on modern pantry organization hacks!

MODERN PANTRY ORGANIZATION HACKS

The Before:

Modern Pantry Organization Hacks Before

The key step in getting organized is assessing your needs and evaluating how to make your space more functional based on your specific needs.

HERE ARE THE STEPS TO GET YOU WELL ON YOUR WAY TO AN ORGANIZED PANTRY:

1). MEASURE FIRST THEN TAKE EVERYTHING OUT

First, measure your spaces to ensure you order the correct size bins and containers. We took everything out of the pantry, to first see what items were multiples, what items were expired or no longer needed.

Modern Pantry Organization Hacks - In progress

2). CLEAN OUT THE SHELVES!

We made sure to clean out the shelves, and then grouped items together. This helps make the planning and placement aspect that much easier.

Modern Pantry Organization Hacks - Cleaned out pantry

3). GROUP ITEMS IN CONTAINERS AND BINS

Modern Pantry Organization Hacks - After Organized

Make sure everything has a place that makes sense and that the placement of the items is functional. We put baking items in sealed glass containers to keep items fresh longer and to save space within the panty. We loved the glass containers with the wood lids to give that clean modern look and lucite bins so it’s easier to see your items grouped together.

Click the image to shop:

Modern Bin Options:

4). LABEL EVERYTHING

Modern Pantry Organization Hacks - Cleaned out shelves

Labeling helps set you up for success and helps ensure everything is put in the correct spot now and in the future! We loved these labels we found on Amazon.

Click on the image to view labels:

4). THINK THROUGH YOUR LAYOUT AND PLACEMENT OF ITEMS THAT ARE NEEDED MORE FREQUENTLY

We wanted to make sure that snacks were reachable for the kids and the more day to day items were easily accessible. This not only makes grocery shopping that much easier being able to see what is needed it also helps save money by not buying multiples of items you need. A great way to store spices and canned foods is by using tiered storage. This helps you find things so much quicker and ensures you stay on track with organization!

Modern Pantry Organization Hacks After

We hope you enjoyed our modern pantry organization hacks! We would love to see what you decide to do with your pantry so be sure to share and tag us so we can follow along! Stay tuned for next month’s organization challenge and project!

Here are some more tips on moving and home organization:

Kitchen Remodel and Transformation

Great Tips for Relocation

If you are looking for a professional realtor, I would love to take you to Zinc Cafe to discuss how I can help you!

Natalie Boyle 949.929.5727

Aliso Summit Trail Natalie Boyle Laguna Niguel Top Real Estate Agent

One of the things I really appreciate about Laguna Niguel, is that it has so many hiking trails and parks to enjoy. Here are a few that are my favorite Laguna Niguel hikes and parks that I go to often with my family!

Laguna Niguel Regional Park

Laguna Niguel Park is a popular spot to go fishing, bike riding, and have a shaded picnic! This park is also a favorite for people that like to play volleyball and tennis since it has several courts. It also has one of my kids’ favorite playgrounds and lots of open space to play soccer. I love that they allow dogs and that there is a Whole Foods nearby to grab a smoothie after a long walk. However, the best part about the park is that it hosts the most beautiful fireworks shows on the fourth of July. My family and I always set up our picnic blankets and bring popsicles earlier in the day so we get a great spot watch!

Regional Park Laguna Niguel hikes and parks Natalie Boyle

Aliso Summit Hiking Trail

Another great place to enjoy nature is the Also Summit Hiking Trail. This hike has gorgeous scenic views of Laguna Niguel and Laguna Beach. It’s perfect to bring kids on and is dog friendly too! Whenever I go on this hike I pack a few snacks and drinks to enjoy at the end where you can see a panoramic view of the ocean.

Niguel Botanical Preserve

Laguna Niguel also has a hidden gem above the Crown Valley Community Park. The Niguel Botanical Preserve that features 2000 plant species from five areas in the world and is 18.2 acres. I love taking peaceful walks in the preserve since it has four miles of trails lined with beautiful flowers. My favorite thing about the preserve is that attracts so many colorful butterflies and birds. 

Niguel Botanical Preserve Laguna Niguel hikes and parks Natalie Boyle

Crown Valley Community Park

The Crown Valley Community Park is also another great spot to spend time outdoors in Laguna Niguel. The park is almost done being renovated and now has a brand new outdoor amphitheater that is used often for different events during the year. There are also two new playgrounds and a variety of sports fields. A new sprayground has also been added to the park across from the playground. I can’t wait to take my kids there to cool off during summer!

Aliso Summit Trail Laguna Niguel hikes and parks Natalie Boyle

Salt Creek Trail

Salt Creek Trail is the longest trail in Laguna Niguel with multiple locations to start and has both paved and dirt trails. My family and I love to start this trail at Chapparosa park for a family bike ride on the paved path. We do a turnaround ride right after the tunnel that goes under Niguel Road and we end back at the park where we usually hit the basketball court or playground after. It’s a leisurely easy ride or walk for our family and it’s also dog-friendly too so we can bring our pup Teddy.

Salt Creek Trail Chapparosa Park Laguna Niguel Natalie Boyle

I hope you can get outdoors and enjoy these Laguna Niguel hikes and parks!

To learn more about my other favorites hikes in OC check out the links below:

Corona Del Mar Hikes

Laguna Beach Hikes

OC Hikes

Laguna Niguel Trails

If you are thinking of buying or selling your home in Orange County, I would love to take you to Plumeria Cafe to see how I can help!

Natalie Boyle 949.929.5727

Here are some tips on how to evaluate a neighborhood well!

1. Drive Around

2. Quality of Schools

3. Education/ Income Profile

4. Cultural Amenities

5. Property Values

6. Future Growth

I hope these steps for how to evaluate a neighborhood were useful!

Here are some more helpful moving tips!

Dealing With Financing

Look Who’s Buying

Always seek the assistance of a real estate professional for your neighborhood evaluation! 

Thinking about making a move?  Contact Natalie today, 949.929.5727.

Happy Tuesday, I am so excited for today’s post! I have teamed up with my good friend who also happens to be an Interior Stylist in Orange County, Bethany Campbell with The Posh Home today to showcase an amazing before and after kitchen transformation.

We will be sharing some tips and tricks to save on remodels as well as the overall budget of this kitchen remodel and what to look for when buying a home. Hope you enjoy this kitchen remodel transformation on a budget in Orange County today.

Kitchen Remodel Transformation On A Budget in Orange County:

Q & A with Bethany:

What advice would you give your clients before starting to look at houses?

It’s important to prioritize your wants and wishes in a home. As well as look at the overall picture of the home, try to look past paint colors, decor, and things that are an easy fix. There are some things like location and neighborhood you can never change. It’s important to work with Professionals to help you evaluate, one the overall home and neighborhood and two any updates that can easily be made to a home.

What are some ways that you can add equity into your home?

Working with a Real Estate Professional that can provide an in-depth evaluation on what remodeled homes in a particular neighborhood are going for versus homes that are outdated. Kitchens and Master Bathrooms provide the highest ROI. There are some great ways to update without breaking the bank. Some examples of that are painting kitchen or bathroom cabinets, updating hardware, lighting. One option if you don’t have it in the budget right away to make some changes to the home would be to wait a year or so and pull out a home equity line of credit for your remodel project. If your Real Estate Professional helps you purchase the home under market value you will have higher comparable homes to help with the approval process with your home equity line.

What are some cost-saving tips for buyers to keep in mind while shopping for a home?

Finding the right layout and good bones is key to cost savings. Paint colors, floors, cabinets, and countertops can always easily be changed at any time. The layout and structure of a home are more costly and difficult to change.

What can buyers look for in a home to help them save money on their kitchen remodel?

If we can find a home that has great appliances it can save the buyer $10,000-$15,000. Especially if we can find a kitchen with a great built-in refrigerator as the prices on built-in refrigerators usually start at $8,000+. Just like we did for this buyer.

When should you bring an Interior Stylist in?

I would recommend bringing in a Professional once escrow is open. The benefits to this are that you can get a head start on planning your design, they can walk you through adding functionality to the space, and addressing any changes or updates you would like to plan. You can also determine a budget for your overall furniture selection and updates. This will help you budget how much to put down versus setting aside for your Interior Design plan.

Bringing in an Interior Designer in the escrow process is beneficial to get a jump start on your overall remodel. It will save you time and money in the process by putting a solid plan in place as early as possible. Furniture and material selection can take time so the sooner you make the selection and order materials. It will help with planning the time needed between the close of escrow and moving date. The sooner you get started on this process the sooner you can enjoy your new home.

The Before:

Kitchen:

This family wanted to brighten their home and kitchen, as well as make some tweaks to the overall layout. They wanted to update their brown kitchen and ceramic tile. A light and bright kitchen was at the top of their wish list. They purchased the home under value within their neighborhood and added instant equity through this kitchen remodel. They had a small island with no seating. This client dreamt of a space where people could sit and enjoy meals together in the kitchen. The solution to that was improving the overall layout by moving the double oven and small island and creating a larger breakfast bar kitchen peninsula. They also wanted to improve their storage by adding additional cabinets. Their ceilings are 9 feet so that allowed for upper cabinets for additional storage.

Breakfast Nook:

Originally the space felt very heavy and closed in with floor to ceiling brown cabinets. They decided to maximize countertop space and allow for more of a built-in buffet. The finished project was bright and cheery and improved their functionality in the space.

The After:

Overall, the space feels more open and inviting. It improved their entertaining space by increasing the counter space and seating in the kitchen. The kitchen now is so bright and cheery and overall transformed their house while adding instant equity.

Budget Breakdown:

The overall cost of this remodel including materials and installation brought this remodel to approximately $25,000. In this marketplace, a bright and cheery white updated kitchen to this caliber could bring upwards of $50,000 in home equity.

Demo & Dump: $1,500

Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets: $12,500

Wood Flooring: $2,600

Quartz Countertops: $6,200

Tile Backsplash: $1,900

Hardware: $300

Sources:

Countertop: Harmony Quartz in Venatino

Subway Tile: Mulia Tile in Warm Gray

They were able to source the same wood flooring from their living space to their kitchen area so it improved the overall flow of the space and in uniting the spaces together.

I hope you enjoyed this kitchen remodel transformation and budget breakdown in Orange County.

If you are looking for a professional to assist you with remodeling, I’d love to help

Natalie Boyle 949.929.5727

5 Tips for Buying a Home

Looking to buy a home? Here are 5 tips for buying a home that will make the process as smooth as possible.

Get your finances in order.

Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.

Find a house you can afford.

As with engagement rings, there’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc.

Hire a professional.

While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone. If possible, recruit an exclusive buyer agent, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.

Do your homework.

Before making a bid, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller.

Think long term.

Obviously, you shouldn’t buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for at least a few years. Moreover, you should buy in a neighborhood with good schools. Whether you have children or not, this will have an impact on your new home’s resale value down the line. When it comes to the house itself, you should hire your own home inspector, who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future.

I have been telling all of my clients about these 5 tips for buying a home and think that they’re great to keep in mind!

Here are several blogs that are also helpful when buying or selling a home:

How to Evaluate a Neighborhood

Dealing With Financing

10 Best-Kept Secrets for Buying a Home

Always seek the assistance of a real estate professional for buying a home!

Thinking about making a move?  Contact Natalie today, 949.929.5727.

As the events of the last few years in the real estate industry show, people forget about the tremendous financial responsibility of purchasing a home at their peril. Here are a few tips for dealing with financing so that you can take down that “for sale” sign on your new home.

Get pre-approved.

Sub-primes may be history, but you’ll probably still be shown homes you can’t actually afford. By getting pre-approved as a buyer, you can save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford. You can also put yourself in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Unlike pre-qualification, based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history. By doing a thorough analysis of your actual spending power, you’ll be less likely to get in over your head.

Choose your mortgage carefully.

Used to be the emphasis when it came to mortgages was on paying them off as soon as possible. Today, the debt the average person will accumulate due to credit cards, student loans, etc. This means it’s better to opt for the 30-year mortgage instead of the 15-year. Now, you have a lower monthly payment, with the option of paying an additional principal when money is good.

Paying additional points

Additionally, when picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points (a portion of the interest that you pay at closing) in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you plan to stay in the house for a long time—and given the current real estate market, you should. By taking the points, you will save money.

Do your homework before bidding.

Before you make an offer on a home, do some research on the sales trends of similar homes in the neighborhood with sites like Zillow. Consider especially sales of similar homes in the last three months. For instance, if homes have recently sold for 5 percent less than the asking price, your opening bid should probably be about 8 to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.

Thanks for taking a look at some tips for dealing with financing!

Here are a few more home buying blogs to take a look at:

5 Tips for buying a Home

Great Tips for Relocation

Preparing to Sell Your Home

10 Best-Kept Secrets for Buying a Home

Always seek the assistance of a real estate professional when buying a new home!

Thinking about making a move?  Contact Natalie today, 949.929.5727.

Preparing to Sell Your Home

Selling your home doesn′t just mean hiring a realtor to stick a sign out front. There are a lot of preparations you should make to ensure you get the best offer possible in the shortest time. Here are some considerations to make when preparing to sell your home.

Repair

Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the rattles in the radiators doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may never get to see the inside.

Neutralize

You want buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green shag, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs, this will be much harder for them to do. Try replacing any bold color choices in your floors and walls with something more neutral—beiges, tans, and whites. Repainting and reflooring will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities.

Stage

Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to play dress up. Home stagers can add small details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels, patio furniture. Home staging can be particularly useful if your home is especially old or if the exterior looks dated. Think of it as a little mascara and rouge—if it’s done right, you notice the beauty, not the makeup.

Here are some more tips I have for buying and selling homes!

Dealing With Financing

5 Tips for Buying a Home

Home Buying Packet

Always seek the assistance of a real estate professional when you are preparing to sell your home!

Thinking about making a move?  Contact Natalie today, 949.929.5727.

Moving from a small town or suburb to a large city can be an intimidating proposition. Here ares some great tips for relocation to make your move as painless as possible.

Research before you move.

It’s important to understand the culture you’re joining. Do research online and find out about school systems, neighborhoods, parking, weather, public transportation, and laws that are native to that area. If you can, visit a city before moving and connect with someone who’s lived there before.

Have a plan.

There are a lot of steps to go through before you start packing the moving truck. Find housing before you leave, or at least know where you’ll stay while you look for a home.

Don’t Move Without Preparation

Never sign a lease on an apartment that you haven’t seen. If you can’t get there, find a friend or an employer to check for you. Have a job waiting for you, or if that’s not possible, know what you’ll do for money in the first few weeks of living there. Try to line up things like driver’s licenses, car insurance, renter’s insurance, and parking passes ahead of time as well.

Get involved.

Meeting people in a big city can be daunting. Don’t expect the neighbors to knock your door down with a casserole when you arrive: city life is often too noisy and hectic. Take the initiative. If there are things you liked to do in your town, find ways to do those things in the city. Try new things. Volunteer. Big cities offer so many opportunities to engage other people, so find what you like.

Mind your wallet.

City life is expensive. Everything costs more: food, insurance, clothes, rent. There are also a lot more ways to get ripped off, whether legally or criminally. Be careful how you spend, and know where your money is going.

I hope these great tips for relocation were helpful!

Here are some extra tips for moving!

5 Tips for Buying a Home

Dealing With Financing

Always seek the assistance of a real estate professional when you are considering relocation!

Thinking about making a move?  Contact Natalie today, 949.929.5727.

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