Top 7 Schools in South Orange County

Students raising their hand at a top school
For prospective home buyers, just when you thought you were finished with school for good, turns out that nearby schools will still have an impact on your life. Even if you don’t have children, neighborhood school ratings are important to know; they have a significant impact on home values.    Fetching Top Dollar A 2017 Public School Review article states that home values can swing from $50,000 to $300,000 solely based on the neighborhood’s school rating. Parents are highly motivated by ensuring the best possible education for their children, and if they have the means, they are willing to pay a premium to move to the right school district. As a matter of fact, according to a 2013 survey, the majority of homeowners (3 out of 5) said school boundaries would impact their home purchasing decision. Of those, 30% would be willing to pay anywhere from 6% to 20% above their budget for higher school ratings (consider this: if an average home price is $500,000 in the are

3 Unforgettable Days in San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano
They say that in the 1800s, San Juan Capistrano was called ‘the only romantic place in California’ by Richard Henry Dana (classic author of Two Years Before the Mast). While it may not be the only romantic place, its architecture certainly speaks of days past, inspiring one author to create the legend of ‘El Zorro’ (the Capistrano-based masked hero that has since appeared in countless novels and movies). The city is home to California’s oldest neighborhood and oldest building still in use (the San Juan Capistrano Mission chapel, founded in 1776). Thanks to its rich history, the city of San Juan Capistrano retains its romantic appeal, mingling the new with the old. Below are 3 day’s worth of activities that will give you a glimpse into the combination of Native American and Spanish colonial history that has inspired novelists, artists, and the rest of us, for hundreds of years. Day 1- A Slice of History Montanez Adobe: You can begin your trip back in time by first

Tap the Equity in Your Home with These 5 Reverse Mortgage Tips

If you’re in your sixties and own your home, chances are you have heard about reverse mortgages. Reverse mortgages allow you to tap the equity in your property. But they have risks and could be costly. Here are five tips you should consider: 1. Weighing your options Whether you need money to pay bills or could use some extra cash, a reverse mortgage should be your last resort. Other options include selling your home and downsizing or renting. You can also take out a home equity loan or line of credit. If credit cards are the issue, you can consider consolidating that debt. If paying real estate taxes or house maintenance costs are the problem, look into local government assistance programs that could help. You have a lot of options. So ask your state agency on aging about lower-cost, less risky ways to fulfill your needs. 2. Understanding the costs, fees and risks Even though you will not be making any interest payments as long as you live in your home, your interest rate

How to Eat Well in Laguna Niguel

Group of friends eating at a restaurant
Did you know that over one-third of the beautiful city of Laguna Niguel has been designated as open space? Well, if you’re going to go outside and enjoy all that open space, you’ll probably work up a powerful appetite! Laguna Niguel may not be well known for its variety of fine dining options, but you can certainly get a tasty bite of food if you are willing to find a hidden gem in any number of plazas sprinkled around town. Breakfast/Brunch Let’s start our culinary tour at Rosetta Coffee Brewing Company for a delicious, handcrafted cup of coffee. The baristas take pains to delight both the eyes and the palate with each individually prepared cup of coffee. If you’d like a sweet bite to go with your coffee, the homemade beignets are fried fresh to order, or check out their other lite fare (don’t hesitate to peruse the secret menu!). Have a seat and enjoy the ambiance while your order is being prepared; the decor is quirky yet satisfying. You may not want to bring a crow

3 Secrets to Investing in Real Estate

Real estate is most likely missing from your investment portfolio. From many investment advisors not wanting to tell you advice for investments they do not earn a commission on, to the horror stories of becoming a landlord and dealing with stopped up toilets and irritated tenants, investing in real estate oftentimes gets pushed to the side. Even though at the same time, all of us know real estate’s cash generating potential and we instinctively want a piece of it. You must be ardent in your desire to add real estate to your portfolio because no one else will tell you it is a good idea. To capture the unique tax advantages afforded in real estate, you should learn how to evaluate a real estate transaction yourself and must decide which type of real estate investment matches your personality and how you would invest. When you conclude real estate meets your need for reliable cash flow with the opportunity for appreciation, you should invest in it. 1. Defeat your allies In many

Deed vs. Title in Orange County

When a couple purchases a house, whose name gets written on the title and whose name goes on the mortgage deed? For most homebuyers, the simple answer will be that both names go on both documents. But there are always exceptions with good reason. Here are a few things to know about this complex topic before you buy a home. What’s the Difference Between Title and Mortgage It is worth clarifying for the uninitiated that a property title and mortgage deed are not the same thing. The term “title” particularly refers to the rights of ownership. A title grants an individual or individuals exclusive possession, use and transfer of ownership rights for a given real estate property. A mortgage, called a “deed of trust” in some states, pledges real property to secure the loan. Just over half of home buyers will use a home loan to purchase their home. This means that they will have both a title and a mortgage. For these people, a decision will need to be made about whose name g

Why Joining a Real Estate Agency is a Smart Step Forward

Shutterstock / Petar Djordjevic
You know the feeling. The new year is upon you, and you aren’t where you want to be, health-wise, relationship-wise, and career-wise. You decide to make some New Year’s Resolutions that you hope you will follow. We understand. We like this New Year’s Resolution Worksheet. So what if your main goal is to jump-start your career in real estate? At The Reed Team, we know the value of collaboration and the synergy among our agents that can help you achieve your career goals in 2018! Why Join an Agency? The real estate business is a tough business. In Southern California it can be very lucrative and very competitive to tackle it on your own. Joining a successful team can shorten the time of your learning curve. A good team will be open and forthcoming with helpful advice, and give you the inside scoop on the business. Also, very few buyers or sellers want to trust someone who is just getting started, and feel more comfortable if that person is connected with a well-known real estate

What to Look Out For When Buying a Home in South Orange County

buying a home in South Orange County
It’s been said that you should go into marriage with your eyes wide open (and once you get married, you should close one eye). If that is true, then buying a home should be similar. As one of the most important financial decisions you can make, you should go into it with both eyes open, too. Here are a few things to watch out for when in the market for a new home:   Size up the Competition According to The Orange County Register, this spring roughly 30% of homes in Orange County sold over their asking price. At least one of the causes is lack of inventory; historically over 9,000 homes are placed on the market in May each year. This year fewer than 6,000 homes were listed. As a result, housing prices have gone up, and in some cases, bidding wars have pushed the sale price way over the listing price. Finding a home that fits your criteria is becoming more difficult. [Sidebar: note that interest rates are still historically low, and housing prices are likely to conti

How to Prepare to Buy an Orange County Home in 2018

The home-buying process is extensive and could be overwhelming. This is especially true for new homeowners who don’t do their homework. If you are in the market to buy a home next year, now is the time to start preparing. We are here to help! Getting Pre-Approved The moment you choose to buy a house, work with a mortgage lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. Knowing how much you qualify for will narrow down your options and direct your research. But do not overextend yourself. Just because you qualify for a two hundred fifty thousand dollar loan, this does not mean your house should cost two hundred fifty thousand dollars. You need to consider other expenses such as taxes, interest payments and homeowners insurance. Prioritize Your Top Priorities After you have an idea of how much you would like to spend, make a decision on the lifestyle that suits you and your family. You should consider factors like proximity to shopping and entertainment, great schools and

Top Farmers Markets in South Orange County

Farmer's Markets in South Orange County
“Would you like a sample?” A brightly colored, and lovingly prepared bite of fresh fruit is wafting sweet fragrances your way. You have no idea what it is, but take a bite, and a burst of flavor explodes in your mouth! You buy a bag of the organic fruit. The morning sun, gentle breezes, and smells of freshly baked breads and hand-crafted salsas greet you as you move from vendor to vendor.   With many California farms within a few hour’s drive of South Orange County, fresh sun-ripened produce is available at your fingertips. Buying locally grown fruits and veggies is a way to get the most flavor and nutrition out of your food. One way to ensure you are getting local ingredients is to buy your produce at a nearby farmer’s market. There are several certified markets in South Orange County. When the farmer’s market is “certified”, this means that inspectors visit the site where the produce is actually grown to ensure that it has been grown in California, and that it i