Featured Properties

This area of the site is reserved for properties that we have listed in Orange County. If you are interested in a specific area, please contact us and we can send you listing of other homes in the area. And if you need more information about a particular neighborhood, don’t hesitate to ask.

Gorgeous FHA Approved Condo in Aliso Viejo

Photo of 51 Carlsbad Ln

51 Carlsbad Ln, Aliso Viejo.

Beautifully decorated FHA-approved condo in Coronado complex. Features include new carpet, high ceilings, custom decorator colors and designer touches throughout. Abundant windows provide tons of natural light. The spacious kitchen opens to the dining and living rooms for a seamless integration of the living spaces. Open floor-plan perfect for entertaining with a large deck off the living room. The large master bedroom with en-suite bathroom features high ceilings and a large closet while the second bedroom is perfect as a guest room or office. Located close to schools, shopping, and the Laguna Coast Wilderness…

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Vintage Home with Guesthouse

Photo of Home

165 N. B Street, Tustin CA

Own a CA Bungalow with detached guesthouse in Old Town Tustin. The1928 main house has 2 bedrooms/1 bath, beautiful hardwood floors, and coved ceilings in the dining and living rooms. The remodeled kitchen has recessed lighting, maple cabinets, and granite counters. The 2 story guesthouse is fully permitted and upgraded featuring 2 bedrooms/2 baths and a spacious backyard with low water landscaping. The guesthouse kitchenette is remodeled with maple cabinets and granite counters, the distressed wood floors and high ceilings make it feel bright and open. The guesthouse upstairs master suite has a large sitting area, bedroom, and en-suite bathroom…

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Beautiful Historic Victorian Home Built in 1888

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817 N. Lacy Street, Santa Ana, CA

If these walls could talk! Located in Historic French Park area of Santa Ana. Come see all the painstakingly original detail in this East Lake Queen Anne Victorian home built in 1888. It is truly amazing! Hardwood floors and original detail throughout, updated electrical and plumbing, oversized bedrooms, bathrooms with clawfoot tubs, pocket doors, updated kitchen, double door entry. Master bedroom alcove with bay windows. Stairway to attic. 4 car garage with carriage unit. Redwood tree, lemon tree, peach tree, Relax on your vintage front porch. Only four owners since 1888. This is the Harmon-McNeil house on the Santa Ana Historic Register. Potential for live/work opportunity. Directions Civic Center Drive to Lacy…

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How a Short Sale Can Save You From Foreclosure

For distressed homeowners struggling to make payments on their mortgages, going the short sale route may have many significant advantages over going to a bank foreclosure.

Who Can Benefit from a Short Sale?

A short sale is a good option if you currently owe more on your home than it is worth, can no longer afford the debt, and cannot afford a new payment for a loan modification.  With a short sale, the lender (often the bank) agrees to accept a lower repayment of the mortgage than you actually owe, because the amount you owe is more than the home is worth.

Advantages of Short Sales over Foreclosures

A short sale can benefit you because while your credit score will take a hit, a short sale will not ruin your credit like a foreclosure or bankruptcy would.  Instead of facing eviction, you get to stay in your home longer and you can choose your move-out date.  If you owe money on liens, judgments, or deficiency amounts, these debts can be negotiated during the short sale.

Short sales also benefit the community because homes sold in short sales are generally sold for higher prices than homes sold in foreclosure.  Short sales prevent some of the problems that come with extended vacancy.  In fact, some banks are recognizing the advantages of short sales and are even offering incentives to some homeowners to sell their home in a short sale rather than letting it foreclose.

Finding the Right Realtor

Short sales are complicated and sometimes difficult transactions, so it is extremely important that you choose a qualified Realtor who is experienced at dealing with short sales.  Look for an agent who is SFR-certified (Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource Certification), who is detail-oriented, and who has excellent negotiation skills.  Even a small mistake can end up costing you your home, so find a Realtor that you can trust.

If you are considering a short sale or are being faced with foreclosure, we can help explain your options to you.  We are SFR-certified experts at short sales and will sell your home with no fees and at no cost to you.  We can help you qualify for a short sale, and we will negotiate with lenders and buyers on your behalf.  Contact us for a free consultation.

Thanks for reading!  We’d love to hear your comments and questions below!

Rent vs Buy in Orange County

With mortgage rates at an all-time low, buying a home is looking increasingly attractive for residents of Orange County.  Home prices have continued to fall, while rents have stayed high, making the financial edge of renting over buying ever leaner.

The OC Register ran the numbers in a recent article, and found that on average, typical house payments are $2,177 in Orange County, while average monthly rent ran $1,440.  The monthly savings of renting are just 34%, the lowest they have been in a decade.

Of course, buying vs renting carries a whole set of advantages and disadvantages, other than the theoretical savings on paper.  When you buy a home, you can take advantage of the Mortage Interest Deduction and Property Tax Deduction, and you also gain the satisfaction of investing in your own equity.  However, you do commit yourself to a home, which you will have to upkeep, and which may make it difficult to move on short notice if required.  For credit-strapped OC residents, it may not be possible right now to get a home loan.

When renting, you are subject to the availability of rental units, which is shrinking in 2011-2012 as more OC residents search for rental homes.  You may not find a unit entirely to your liking because of the increased demand for rentals.  Rental prices are also on the rise, gaining 3% this year, while housing prices have dropped 5%.

Bottom line is: there are a host of factors for any individual to consider when debating buying vs renting in Orange County.  However, homes in Orange County have not been this affordable in 10 years, and if you are in a position to buy, 2011-2012 may be the opportunity you’ve been looking for.  If you’re looking for investment property that will earn you 6% to 10% return on your investment, this is the time.

If you have questions about whether buying vs renting in Orange County is right for you, contact us for a free buyer consultation.  We have expert knowledge of the market and will sit down with you to determine your personal needs.

Markus and Heidi Brown, Realtors

Owning Cheaper Than Renting in Many Cities

With low interest rates and falling home prices, monthy payments for owning your own home may be cheaper than renting in a growing number of cities.

A recent Wall Street Journal article noted that owning a home has become more affordable than at any point in the last 15 years, and that in a growing number of cities, is more affordable on a monthly basis than renting.

Mortgage rates, at around 4%, are the lowest they have been in decades, and home values have declined in most areas.  On the other hand, across the country, rent has increased.

As a result, monthly mortgage payments, including insurance and taxes, are lower than the average rent in 12 metropolitan areas, according to a Wall Street Journal survey.  For example, in Atlanta, the monthly payment on an average home was $539 (witha  20% down payment), while the average rent was $840.  Even in areas where renting is still cheaper, owning a home is increasingly affordable, such as in Orange County.  The building blocks for a recovery in the real estate market is in place.

However, potential home buyers may be deterred by additional fees (homeowners’ association fees, maintenance fees), inability to qualify for a loan, or trepidation about the future.

Given the current affordability of homes, are you considering buying a home instead of renting?  We offer free consultations to help you evaluate your options and answer your questions about how to make the most of this opportunity.  Contact us at MarkusandHeidi.com.