For Sale in Huntington Beach: 19471 Woodlands

This absolutely stunning coastal estate is quietly nestled in the prestigious guard gated community of SeaCliff on the Greens. This Huntington Beach home has 4 bedrooms,including 1 on the ground level, with views of the spectacular greenbelt and cascading fountain. A professional interior designer’s touch remodeled, updated and transformed the 3600 square feet into a light, bright and modern living space. The dramatic entry of this Huntington Beach home leads to spacious formal living and dining rooms with Travertine flooring, fireplace, wrought iron spiral staircase, and cathedral ceilings.
You’ll love cooking with the stainless steel appliances in the in the gourmet kitchen A breakfast bar, built in desk, custom countertops with tile black splash, and beautiful beamed ceilings make the kitchen one of this home’s best features. From the kitchen, step down into spacious family room. A flat screen TV, Travertine fireplace with glass crystals and floor to ceiling gorgeous wood built ins make this a perfect place for casual family gatherings.
At the end of the day, you’ll love relaxing in the impressive master suite. Curl up next to the fireplace or enjoy a glass of wine on the outdoor deck with panoramic views.  The suite has His and Her walk in closets and French doors that lead to the deck. The master bath features oversized Travertine shower and separate soaking tub.
Sparkling pool and spa, built in BBQ with lush landscaping that overlooks greenbelt. All interior furnishings are included in this price! Short walk to the beach and award winning Seacliff Elementary School!

Belmont Estate for Sale: 2740 N Springfield St, Orange CA

Beautifully upgraded Belmont Estates home at 2740 N Springfield Street in Orange, Ca!

orange county real estate

This lovely home features 4 bedrooms and 3 baths with one bedroom and full bath downstairs.

orange county real estatebelmont estates real estate

The foyer opens to a large formal living room and dining room with vaulted ceilings, marble fireplace, stunning spiral staircase, and limestone flooring.

Sue Lapeter Designer kitchen includes Granite counters, dual ovens, built in refrigerator, and upgraded cabinetry. homes for sale orange california Off the kitchen, the Family Room offers a Wet Bar with Granite top, hardwood flooring, brick and custom wood fireplace, and surround sound.

Spacious Master Suite and stunning Master Bath with designer cabinets, marble counters, Travertine flooring, and separate marble shower.

master bedroomsoaking tub master bathroom

Extra large bonus/ billiard room upstairs!

north orange county homes for sale

One of the largest lots in Belmont Estates with basketball court and rock waterfall! All this plus much more!!!! Villa Park Schools, Close to Belmont Park, and no Mello Roos.

Buying An Orange County Home: What Kind of Mortgage Should You Get?

adjustable rate mortgage orange countyThe Wrights’ Story

Having owned a house before, the Wrights were familiar with the basics of mortgages. They decided right away to get a fixed rate mortgage. With an adjustable rate mortgage, their mortgage payments would increase after 5 years. They had no plans to move in that time, and they knew their income wouldn’t significantly increase in that time either. They did not want to run the risk of interest rates sky rocketing, leaving them unable to make their mortgage payments. With a fixed rate mortgage, they would have the same house payments for the entire life of the loan and could budget accordingly.

Their next decision was whether to get a 15 year or 30 year loan. The 15- year loan had higher monthly payments, but the Wrights would pay less interest and would have the loan paid off sooner. Since they could afford the monthly payments, they decided to go with the 15-year loan. They hope to have the house paid off by the time they retire.

The Wright’s knew that the high demand and low inventory had made the market competitive. In order to stand out from other offers, they got pre-approved for a 15-year loan of $200,000. Once they got the approval, they put in an offer on a little townhouse in Orange.

The Thompsons’ Story

Just like the Wrights, the Thompsons also had to choose between a fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgage. When they began their home search, they were convinced that fixed rate was the way to go. However, as they began to search they realized they their dream home was a little out of their price range. Instead of looking for a house they could live in for the next couple decades, they started looking for smaller houses that they could stay in for the next 5-7 years.

Because they are planning to resell their house their house in the next 5-7 years, the Thompsons decided to go with an adjustable rate mortgage. The interest rate for an ARM was a full percentage point lower than for a 30 year mortgage. This will save them thousands of dollars over the next few years. They plan on selling the house before the interest rate adjusts, making a significant profit and then buying a larger house that they can stay in for 30+ years.

The Thompsons know the risks associated with ARMs and thought about the decision carefully. Even if they can’t sell the house before the rate adjusts, its very likely Lucas will be making a lot more money and that income can cover the additional costs. Plus, they plan on having one of their student loans paid off by then, so the money that was being used to pay those off can be redirected to pay off the increased mortgage payment. And of course, if they keep a good credit history there is the possibility of refinancing. The Thompsons felt that the benefits out weighed the risks and go pre-approved for a 7-year Adjustable Rate Mortgage.

Your Story

Finding the right mortgage is just as important as finding the right house, and often more confusing. Do your research and consider carefully if you want a fixed or adjustable rate mortgage and how long you want the loan to last. Your Orange County real estate agent is an excellent source of information when it comes to mortgages. There are also several online resources that will help you understand mortgages. Visit www.bankrate.com,  www.thetruthaboutmortgage.com or www.primelending.com for more information about mortgages. You can also email Orange County Realtor Sue LaPeter at sue@lapeterteam.com.

Orange Real Estate Market Update

Below is a market update for Belmont Ridge and Belmont Estates, two beautiful and highly sought after communities in Orange, CA. If your a homeowner in Belmont Ridge or Belmont Estates, this information will give you an idea of what your home is worth and help you in your decision to sell. If you’re looking to buy a home, this information will help you determine if you can purchase a home in Belmont Ridge or Belmont Estates.

If you’d like to look at more homes in Orange, CA, browse my Orange County Real Estate website.

Belmont Ridge

IN ESCROW Bed/Bath Sq. Ft. Price
N Preston St 4/3 2,240 $675,000
E Hastings Ave 4/3 2,650 $799,000

Belmont Estates

ACTIVE Bed/Bath Sq. Ft. Price
N Whitehall St 4/3 3,450 $ 849,498
N Meridian St 5/4 3,600 $ 895,900
IN ESCROW
E Townsend Ave 4/3 3,212 $ 649,000
N Whitehall St 4/3 3,400 $ 799,997
E Wickham Ave 4/3 3,141 $ 798,000
SOLD
4137 E Regency Ave 4/3 4,244 $ 985,000

Celebrate Fall with Easy Decorating Ideas

Although the weather in Orange County is screaming summer, autumn is in fact just around the corner. And while we can’t quite celebrate with scarves, boots and crock pot soups, we can celebrate the change of the seasons by decorating the house. I scoured Pinterest this morning and found some simple and inexpensive ideas for fall decorating.

1) Fill a large glass vase with real or fake small pumpkins. Tie a black ribbon around the top and you have a Halloween decoration. Change the ribbon to something harvest themed, and your ready to go for Thanksgiving. You can also fill the vase with gourds, apples, nuts, cranberries or candy corn.

2) The warm, vibrant colors of Sunflowers are perfect for fall. Buy a few bouquets (Trader Joe’s usually has good prices and so do local farmer’s markets) and place them throughout the house.

3) Decorate your banister with strings of wooden beads or garlands of fall leaves and flowers. You can usually find these things at a craft store like Michael’s or Joann’s or you can create your own. I love the look of this scrap material garland.

4) Make a pumpkin flower vase. Pick a large pumpkin, carve it out and let it dry. Then place a pot of flowers inside (fall colored chrysanthemums look particularly awesome). You can decorate the pumpkin with ribbon, rafia, paint or whatever else strikes your fancy.

5) Let the kids contribute to the fall decorations with leaf art. Get out the finger paints and let them dab whatever colors they want on a piece of paper. Then take leaf cutouts, trace them on the paper, and cut them out. Glue the colorful paper leaves on a solid color paper, frame it and voila! Keep the frame all year round and swap out other kid art projects.

It’s your turn Orange County homeowners. Got any other fall decorating ideas? Share them in the comments below!

6 Reasons You Should Short Sell Your OC Home in 2012

The Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act expires at the end of the year. Typically, debt that is forgiven is seen by the government as income and is taxed. But in 2007, the government passed the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act, which states that if a primary residence is put into foreclosure or is sold in a short sale, the debt forgiven cannot be taxed. This Act expires on December 31,2012 and your short sale must be complete by then in order to escape the taxes. If your Orange County home is sold afterwards, you will most likely be taxed on the amount of debt forgiven.

Buyers want your house. You may think that three months is not enough time to short sale your house and take advantage of the Debt Forgiveness Act. However, consider the fact that right now in Orange County, inventory is low and demand is high. Many houses are receiving multiple offers and being sold in a matter of days. Your home could be sold before the end of the year. And if you list it now, before the holidays, you’re even more likely to get a buyer.

You may be eligible now, even if you weren’t before. In August the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that new guidelines for short sales will allow homeowners with a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage to do a short sale even if they are current on their mortgage as long as they have an eligible hardship. Therefore, more underwater Orange County homeowners will be eligible for a short sale.  You can read all about the new short sale guidelines at TheShortSaleGuide.com.

Banks want to short sale homes NOW. Short sales are much more beneficial to banks than foreclosures. Many banks are working tirelessly to approve short sales quickly before they turn into foreclosures. The National Mortgage Settlement gives banks incentives for helping California homeowners short sale or refinance in the next year, so many banks are trying to resolve distressed homeowner issues as quickly as possible. Of course, they will continue to do short sales once the year is up, but why not benefit form their motivation now?

The process is easier now than ever. Because banks are nowmore motivated to help homeowners, the process of conducting an Orange County short sale, in most banks, has been streamlined and simplified. Banks must now give short sale applicants a single point of contact, must respond to the application within 30 days of submittal and must give a final approval or disapproval 60 days after submittal. In some cases, people don’t even have to apply. Banks are approaching homeowners and offering money to those who go through with a short sale.

You’ve got an experienced agent ready to help you! I’ve been successfully conducting short sales for the past five years. I have a great relationship with various lenders, loss mitigation companies and attorneys who will all work to make your transition as quick, painless and dignified as possible. I know how to price, stage and market your home so that it sells quickly and allows you to move on with your life. If you have any questions about short selling your Orange County home, call me for a confidential consultation at 714-728-9018.

Buying An Orange County Home: Tools To Help Your Search

The Wrights Story

The last time the Wrights looked for a home, it was customary to look through the newspaper and drive around neighborhoods looking for For Sale signs. This time around, they were excited about using online tools to start their search as they knew it would be much for efficient and less exhausting. Their Orange County real estate agent suggested sites like Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, and Homes.com. On these sites, the Wrights could save searches and sign up to be alerted when specific types of houses came on the market.

Of course, their real estate agent helped as well. As a Realtor, she had access to the MLS and could easily search for homes that met the Wright’s requirements. As a Prudential agent, she was connected to an extensive network of real estate agents. She contacted other Orange County real estate agents to see if they were listing homes that the Wrights would be interested in. She consistently emailed the Wrights different homes she found. Based on their feedback, she refined her searches.

When the Wright’s found a home they really liked, they contacted their real estate agent. She would either set up a private appointment or let them know when the next open house was. Every time the Wright’s looked at a home, they took a lot of pictures and extensive notes. A few days later, they went through the list, took out the ones they didn’t like and asked to revisit the ones they did. After a few weeks of searching, they finally found the perfect house.

real estate smartphone appsThe Thompsons Story

Although they were looking for a different type of house, The Thompsons’ used many of the same home search methods that the Wrights did. But rather than looking online on a traditional computer, the Thompsons spent a lot of time searching for houses on their smart phones. Their real estate agent had her own mobile site that allowed them to search for homes and save their searches. When she saw the types of houses the Thompsons were saving, she was able to go to the MLS and pull up similar properties, as well as talk to her fellow real estate agents about properties they had listed for sale that might be of interest to the Thompsons. In addition to their Realtor’s site, the Thomspons also used apps from Realtor.com and Trulia.This way, they were able to easily fit home searching into their busy schedules.

When they went to open houses and private appointments, they used Home Tracker to organize photos, notes and information about each house. A few days later they would look back over the houses, delete the ones they weren’t interested in and revisit the ones they were. They also used an app called Around Me to find out what amenities were near each house they looked at. The GreatSchools Finder helped them research local schools.

Your Story

If you’re ready to start looking for a home, start here! My website, www.villaparkblog.com, allows you to search for homes in all Orange County cities including Orange, Villa Park, Anaheim Hills and Yorba Linda. If you’re looking for an Orange County buyers agent to represent you, give me, Sue LaPeter, a call at 714-728-9018.

Mark Your Calendars for These O.C. Community Events

orange county events

Summer is winding down, but there are still plenty of hot summer days to enjoy before school gets back in session. Below is a list of major events happening throughout Northern Orange County in the month of August. If you know of other events, share them in the comments below!

Free Concerts in the Park
Every Wednesday in August, 7:00-8:30pm
Hart Park Band Shell in Orange

There are four concerts left in the Concerts in the Park Series. Tonight enjoy the sounds of The Silverados, a contemporary country band. On the 15th Ston Soul will be playing soul, Motown and R&B classics. After that, catch Cold Duck perform oldies, Top 40 and dance favorites. The concert series ends August 29th with The Fenians playing traditional and contemporary Irish music. Bring a picnic basket, relax and enjoy fantastic free entertainment for all ages.

OC Zoo Movie Night
Friday August 10, 5-10:00pm.
OC Zoo inside Irvine Regional Park

Enjoy “Zookeeper,” a family movie under the stars beginning at sunset (approximately 8 pm). Please bring a blanket or a small beach chair. To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of OC Parks Ranger Reserve Program, the Ranger Reserves and OC Zoo will feature free admission (parking is $3) to the zoo after 5:00 pm. The Ranger Reserve will be located at various exhibits throughout zoo. There will also be children’s craft throughout the event.

Orange County Fair
Ends August 12th
OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa

This is your last weekend to enjoy every sort of fried food imaginable! In between feedings, you can admire stunning photography done by local artists, buy all sorts of interesting things in the Parade of Products, learn about farm animals and plants, and get your thrills on daring carnival rides.

Classical Music Concerts
Every Sunday, 2:00pm
Nixon Library

Every Sunday throughout the year, the Nixon Library hosts free classical concerts. In August, Coloratura Soprano Antoinette Brosious and Soprano Lisa Yamamoto will be performing as well as classical guitarist Lee Zimmer and Pianist Howard Cowles. Visit the Nixon Library website for more details.

Harvest Crusade
Saturday August 25-Sunday August 26
Angel Stadium in Anaheim

Hear local Pastor Greg Laurie speak and listen to bands Third Day, MercyMe, David Crowder, Jeremy Camp and Gungor perform. Crusade starts at 6 pm on Saturday and 4 pm on Sunday. Event is free but parking is $15.

Orange International Street Fair
August 31-September 2
Plaza Square Park

Enjoy delicious food from a variety of countries, rock out to local bands and purchase arts and crafts at the annual Orange International Street Fair. This massive event takes place in Old Town Orange. In additional to hundreds of vendor booths, local businesses will also be open. This is a special year as it is the fair’s 40th anniversary. Don’t miss out!

Photo taken from www.freedigitalphotos.net

Buying an Orange County Home: What do you want in a house?

Buying an Orange County Home: What do you want in a house?

The Thompsons’ Story

When the Thompsons started their home search they were overwhelmed by all the style options! Lucas is an accountant and Kate is a high school biology teacher. They work in worlds of logic and reason, and neither one of them has ever thought much about architecture, interior design, or what their home should look like. They weren’t sure they would ever be able to choose a house they’d enjoy for the next decade.

Their Orange County Real Estate agent started by asking them to make a list of the things they new they wanted. It looked like this:

  • 3-4 bedrooms plus an office. One bedroom near the master bedroom (that will be the nursery).
  • 2-3 baths
  • A moderate sized backyard. They don’t have time to do constant landscaping, but they’d like a place for the kids to play.
  • Good size closets in each bedroom, plus 1 or 2 hall/linen closets.
  • Pantry in the kitchen
  • Dark cabinets and counter tops in the kitchen. Must be in good condition.
  • Laundry hook ups in the house or the garage
  • The house should be mostly move in ready. Willing to repaint, and replace flooring but that’s about it.

This was their list of non-negotiable items; if a home didn’t meet those requirements they didn’t want to see it. They also made a list of negotiable items that were things they wanted but if the house didn’t have them it wasn’t necessarily a deal breaker.

Next, their Orange County Realtor took them to the social media site Pinterest and started showing them pictures of houses with different layouts and design elements. The pictures on this site really helped the Thompsons get a good idea of what was visually appealing to them, and what wasn’t. Their real estate agent helped taught them design and housing terms they weren’t familiar with, like crown molding coffered ceilings, and Travertine flooring. Once they knew what they liked, they were able to start looking at houses online and their agent found some homes for them as well.

The Wrights’ Story

move to orange county

The Wrights had a slightly different approach to house hunting. They had bought a house before so they had a good idea of what they wanted in terms of functionality, layout and design. What they weren’t sure about was what type of community they wanted to live in. Since they were still fairly new to California, they weren’t familiar with the various characteristics of each community. Before making suggestions, their real estate agent asked them the following questions:

  • How close do you want to be to your jobs?
  • Do you want to live in a neighborhood with lots of young families, couples your age, or a mix?
  • Do you want to live in one of the beach cities or inland?
  • Do you care about having recreational spaces, like parks, lakes and walking trails near your house?
  • Would you prefer to live someplace where shops, restaurants and entertainment where in walking distance?
  • Are you okay with living in a college town?

The Wright’s decided that they wanted to live someplace quiet, with families or couples their own age but not a lot of college kids. They wanted to live next to small shopping centers, but no big attractions like Disneyland or the Irvine Spectrum. They didn’t want to pay the high prices in a beach city and preferred to stay inland. They’re jobs were both located in Mission Viejo, but since they drive together and could carpool they didn’t mind a 20-30 minute commute. Based on these requirements, their Orange County real estate agent suggested they look at neighborhoods in Brea, Yorba Linda and Placentia.

Your Story

Before you start looking for a house, its important to really think about what you want in a house and in a community. Ask yourself the same questions the Wrights and the Thompsons did. Of course, what you want might may change as you look at homes and get new ideas, but creating such a list will give you a good place to start. Your Orange County real estate agent can give you specific guidance on what features to look for. If you don’t have a real estate agent, feel free to call me, Sue LaPeter, at 714-728-9018. I’d be happy to meet with you, give you guidance on how to buy a home and represent you in your real estate transaction.

Buying an Orange County Home: Get Your Finances in Order

The Thompsons’ Story

The Thompsons have excellent credit, have had stable income for the past two years and are first time home buyers, so they decided to try to apply for an FHA mortgage. The minimum percentage for an FHA mortgage is 3.5%, but the Thompsons decided to put down 5% to help lower monthly payments. Using a mortgage calculator, they determined that if they received a 30 year fixed rate mortgage with 4% interest, they could afford a $400,000 home. They would have to put $20,000 down and would then make monthly payments of $1,814.18.

In addition to making sure they had enough for the down payment, the Thompsons knew they had to have good credit and a low income to debt ratio in order to qualify for a mortgage. They each got a copy of their credit report from each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Transunion). They each had a credit score over 700, which is great.

The income to debt ratio tells lenders how much of your income you spend on paying off debts. The lower the ratio, the more likely you are to get a mortgage. The Thompsons knew this so they paid off their credit cards and their car. They knew that, ideally, the amount of money going towards all debts, including their future mortgage, should not exceed 36% of their gross income. Even though they still had student loans, paying off their cars and credit cards, and buying a home within their budget, allowed them to stay in the appropriate debt to income ratio.

The Wrights Story

When getting their finances in order, the Wrights took the same basic steps as the Thompsons but with slightly different results. They also determined that they could save $20,000 for a down payment. However, they were not eligible for an FHA loan. When exploring other lending options, they determined they would need to put down 10% as a down payment which means they could afford a $200,000 house.

The Wrights ran into some problems when it came to their credit score. When Tom was out of work, their credit card balances increased dramatically and they had some trouble paying their bills. Each of them had a credit score between 550 and 600. While that’s not a great score, its not terrible and can definitely be improved.

The Wrights took several steps to improve their credit scores. They set up automatic bill pay so that every bill was paid on time. They had three credit cards and completely paid off two. They didn’t close those accounts, as that usually harms credit scores, but they kept those cards out of their wallets and used them sparingly. The third card was the one they used often for gas and groceries, and they made sure the balance on that stayed below 10% of their total available credit.

In looking over their credit reports, both Tom and Nancy noticed two negative marks that were not their fault. They disputed those marks and the credit bureaus removed them, which helped raise their score. They also went to their cell phone provider and asked that their two late payments be removed from their credit report. Because the Wrights were long time customers, and because they had been paying their bills on time, the cell phone provider was willing to erase those two late payments. This was reported to the credit bureau and their score was raised.

Your Story

If you want to buy an Orange County house within the next 1-3 years, now is the time to get your finances in order. Determine how much you can afford and start saving for the appropriate down payment. Pay off as many debts as possible, starting with your credit cards. Get a copy of your credit report from all three major bureaus, carefully go over it, and dispute any unfair negative claims. If your score is above 700, or better yet above 750, then you’re in good shape. If its lower, start taking action to raise it so that when it comes time to buy a house, you’ll get a better deal on mortgages.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me, Sue LaPeter, at 714-728-9018 or email me at sue@lapeterteam.com. If I can’t answer your questions, I can refer you to some wonderful people in the world of finance who can.

Photos taken by www.freedigitalphotos.net

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