Halloweekend in Newport Beach & Corona Del Mar

Halloween is in full effect in Newport Beach & Corona Del Mar this October. Enjoy a variety of events perfect for every crowd. Celebrate with the community by attending “Creatures of the Night” at Sherman Library & Gardens, ‘Spooktacular’ at Mariners Park, or trick or treat with the Newport Beach Public Library!

Creatures of the Night

Sherman Library & Gardens of Corona Del Mar is hosting its “Creatures of the Night” event October 29th and 30th. This family friendly event is lively and engaging, featuring an eerie garden walk and presentations on the habitats of birds of prey and nocturnal animals. The OC Birds of Prey, Santa Ana Zoo, and Adventures in Living Science will be attending. Receive a passport to explore the Gardens interactively and get close to a variety of flora and fauna. Tickets are only sold in advance. Purchase here!

Halloween Spooktacular

Mariners Park & the VJ Community Center in Newport Beach are hosting their fourth annual halloween ‘Spooktacular’ this October 30th. The event runs from 3-6pm, and is free for the public. Bring along friends and family and enjoy a variety of holiday themed activities including costume prizes, the haunted maze, and ‘Trunk or Treat.’ Grab a bite at one of the various food trucks, or enjoy a less scary activity with the bounce houses – perfect for kids. This evening of live music and holiday fear is an event fit for all. Find more info here.

Children’s Halloween Extravaganza

Enjoy the sweetness of all-day Trick or Treating with the Newport Beach Public Library. Saturday, October 30th the library is hosting their Children’s Halloween Extravaganza. Enjoy crafts and don’t forget to wear your costume! The funding of this event is generously provided by the Friends of the Library. Commemorate the evening in our photo booth and be added to the social media Halloween parade. For more information visit the library’s website here!

Wishing you a wonderful spooky holiday season filled with community and entertainment!

If you are buying, selling or making an investment, you know who to call to make it happen! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions. We’re always happy to help you and anyone you send our way.

Buyer Beware: Red Flags to Look Out for When House Hunting

If you are thinking of buying a home, you have probably already begun your search. It’s easy these days, with up-to-date listing information available on a wide variety of websites. And it’s fun!

House hunting is one of the most exciting parts of real estate, and it draws a lot of interest on TV shows and in-person open houses. Viewing and touring potential new homes means thinking of possibilities and dreaming about your future.

As fun as it is, though, it’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of house hunting — the perfectly staged rooms, the must-have features, the pool or kitchen you always wanted. Focusing too much on the aesthetics and amenities can lead you to miss some warning signs about a property, and a poor decision can lead to years of regrets.

We’re here to help you avoid making any costly mistakes in your home search. Read on for a quick guide on the red flags to spot when house hunting. 

No Photos in the Listing

The vast majority of homebuyers start their search online to get a feel for the market and their options. It’s a good way to get a glimpse of the types of homes available, their price, and which neighborhoods might suit you best. However, not all online listings are created equal. 

For example, if a listing has few photos (or zero photos), it’s probably not a good sign. Either the homeowner doesn’t want to show you what’s inside, or they don’t care enough to make an effort. Either way, chances are slim that it’s the right home for you.

Don’t just think about what’s shown in the pictures. Consider what’s not being shown.

Signs of Water Damage

Next, while touring homes, keep an eye out for signs of water damage. This can include cracking and bubbling paint, discolored walls and ceilings, pooling water, and moldy/mildewy smells.

Signs of water damage can be especially concerning because they can indicate damage to drywall, flooring, and structural components of the house, all of which may be very costly to remediate and repair. Worst of all, water damage can also mean the presence of toxic mold hidden throughout the house. 

Signs of Pests

Recent studies have shown that 84% of homes have some sort of pest presence. Typically, this means small, not-very-significant issues like the occasional bug or insect. However, if the home you visit while house hunting has obvious signs of a widespread infestation, you might want to think again.

Pest infestations can be tricky (and costly) to get rid of. Not to mention, most pests cause multiple forms of damage to a house. Termites chew through wood, rodents destroy materials and leave waste everywhere, etc.

As is the case with all these red flags, you might choose to simply move on and look at other homes. But if you really like some features of the home and think you can make it work, you can always negotiate a lower price, or ask the sellers to remedy the problem.

Obvious “DIY” Renovations

As you house hunt, work on your eye for spotting obvious DIY work. While there’s nothing wrong with a homeowner learning new skills and saving money by completing DIY repairs and updates, you can never be sure of the quality of their work. Additionally, the owners may have failed to follow the proper permitting process for a job. 

DIY repairs and renovations that violate the city coding laws could come back to haunt you, even if it was the previous owner who did them. More importantly, they may not be completely safe or sound.

Weird Odors

Weird smells are never a good sign while house hunting. Cleaning is an important part of the listing process, so if a home for sale still has lingering odors, they may be hard to fix or foretell deeper problems.

As noted previously, musty smells could be an indication of mold and mildew. Additionally, questionable smells could point to pests, pet accidents that weren’t properly cleaned up, rotting food lying somewhere and so on.

Similarly, if the home is covered in air fresheners, it might indicate lingering, foul smells. Of course, it could just be the seller and listing agent trying to make the home more inviting. But an excessive amount of scents could mean they’re trying to mask an unpleasant odor. 

Your Real Estate Agent is Also the Listing Agent

When looking for a house to buy, it’s always a good idea to hire a real estate agent. They can help you find the right house based on location, size, features, property size, etc. 

However, if your real estate agent is also the listing agent for the house you’re looking at, make sure that they have your best interests at heart. Agents are only people, after all. Most are good folks and they try to do right by their clients. But buying a home that’s also listed by your agent/agency can open things up to a conflict of interest. 

When you buy that listing, the agent makes double the commission since they represent both parties. If you have a good agent, this is not typically a problem. But an unscrupulous agent might be willing to withhold information or negative details about the home that might otherwise deter you from placing an offer.

The bigger lesson here is to work with an agent you trust!

Negative Drainage

When house hunting, it’s not just the interior of homes you should examine. You should also take a walk around the property to look for anything disconcerting. 

For example, take a look at the landscaping around the foundation of the house. Does the ground slope away from the house, toward the house, or is it flat? Ideally, the foundation should slope down away from the house to ensure positive drainage.

Negative drainage will drain water back toward the foundation, which can cause water leaks in the basement/crawl space, damages to the foundation, etc. All of these problems can be expensive and frustrating to deal with.

Questionable Roofing

The roof of a house is one of the most important components. It’s the primary defense for your home against the elements.

That means your roof is also the part of your home most susceptible to incurring damage. Inevitably over time, the wind, rain, hail, snow, ice and sun can break down a roof. 

If the roof needs to be replaced due to regular wear and tear, it won’t be covered by most insurance companies. This means the seller is less likely to invest in roof repairs or a replacement before selling. The last thing you want to do is buy a house that needs thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars in roof repairs. 

An Insanely Low Price

We all know the importance of comparing house prices while house hunting. Comparable sales are the chief way that home values are determined by appraisers and other real estate pros.

When a sale price seems too good to be true, it probably is. In other words, a super cheap home is likely super cheap for a reason. 

If the home sounds too good to be true, there’s likely something fundamentally wrong. This is more common in homes that have been listed on the market for more than four or five months. 

If you run into this situation, ask your Realtor to find out why the listing price is so low. Alternatively, you could place a contingent offer on the home based on the results of a home inspection. It will cost you some money to get answers, but at least you’ll know what you’re dealing with.  

Ready to Start House Hunting?

It’s exciting to house hunt and think of the possibilities in your new home! Just make sure you keep an eye out for the red flags listed in this article while house hunting. A home is a huge investment, and the last thing you want is for an oversight to come back and haunt you.

Whether you’ve been searching real estate listings for a while, or you’re just getting started or mulling your options, we’re here to help. Connect with us today to start the conversation and discuss your options to buy, or sell and buy, a home! We would love to help you achieve your goals and find a home that’ll make you happy for years to come.

The 6 D’s: Why Orange County Homeowners Sell

Why People Buy and Sell Orange County Real Estate

We all know the reasons that people buy a home — more space, more freedom, swapping rent payments for equity — but the reasons why Orange County homeowners sell their homes can be more complicated… right? Not quite! In fact, the reasons an Orange County homeowner might sell their home boil down to six simple points: the six “D’s.”

 

You undoubtedly know some of the six D’s already, but first let’s test your real estate IQ, if you don’t mind. I bet you do know the three most important things in determining the price of real estate. Sure you do! Let me jog your memory and give you the first one: location. Yes, location is the first and most important thing to ask in real estate. Where is the property located?

 

How about the second and third most important factors involved in pricing a property? Give up? Number two is location, and — drum-roll please — number three is… location! Yes, the three most important factors in establishing the value of a property are location, location, location. Sound familiar? Of course, other factors certainly come into play, but the point of repeating the word “location” three times is to emphasize that the true value of a property — the real property, the land, not the house itself — is based on where it is located more than anything else. Structures are built, they age, they are repaired and replaced, but the land is forever. That’s price in a nutshell.

 

So how about selling? Do you think you know why real estate is put on the market? Can you pinpoint the “six D’s” of real estate? Let’s try to do this together. This time there’s no gimmick (the same word doesn’t repeat six times), but each word does start with the letter D. They are easy.

 

Reasons to Sell: The Six D’s

 

1. The first reason a property is put on the market is Death. When a death occurs, many times the house is sold, or at least the option of selling is considered. Death is unfortunately a very difficult time in life, but it’s one we all must face with our loved ones.

 

2. The second D is Divorce. Again, this is an emotionally stressful time. A divorcing couple will often choose to sell rather than negotiate for one party to stay in the property. 

 

3. The third D is Disability, yet another difficult situation. Homeowners facing disability are often met with the very challenging prospect of selling in order to find more suitable accommodations.

 

4. The fourth D is Decrease in Income. This can be due to many things, including the loss of a job, a cut in pay, one spouse quitting to stay at home with the kids, and so on. The inability to keep up with expenses is another major reason why homeowners might put their home on the market.

 

5. The fifth D is Distance. This can mean that there is too great of a distance between the homeowner and a new job, between the homeowner and a child or grandchild, or between the homeowner and sunshine! When a homeowner decides that there is too great a distance between their home and happiness, it’s time to put the home on the market.

 

6. The sixth and final reason for a property being listed for sale is Default. A default occurs when mortgage payments have become too difficult to handle. This can sometimes be related to any of the first five D’s, including loss of a job, a health crisis, death or divorce. Upon default, a property is typically sold on the market via a short sale, or even lost in foreclosure.

 

That’s all six D’s! How did you do? Did you guess them all? I’m sure you got at least a few.

 

Think about all your friends, family, and colleagues who have sold a home. Chances are, you can fit the motivating factors behind their home sale into one or more of these six categories. Who knew that the real estate business could be reduced to just nine letters! The three L’s (Location, Location, Location), and the six D’s (Death, Divorce, Disability, Decrease in Income, Distance, Default).

 

Choosing Your Orange County Real Estate Agent Matters. A Lot.

 

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Orange County, you may be wondering what difference this all makes. How can one real estate professional or another influence the outcome of your transaction? When it comes to the three L’s, a good or bad agent makes no difference at all — the property is located where it is located. In regards to the six D’s, however, an experienced and thoughtful real estate agent makes all the difference.

 

Whether you are in the midst of a death in the family, a lost job, a divorce, or any of the other six D’s, each of these situations can be incredibly taxing and stressful. It is of the utmost importance to work with a caring, knowledgeable, determined real estate agent to get the job done with the least amount of additional stress. You don’t need more fuel in the fire! The right real estate professional can make all of the difference between having a smooth transaction with minimal stress and a nightmare that drains more of your precious time, energy and money.

 

Managing stress in a real estate transaction comes down to experience, knowledge and care. You can pick a realtor for a variety of reasons, but the realtor can’t change the location of your property. It is more important to pick a realtor that has the wisdom and the character to help you get the results you need. 

 

Your agent needs the experience to know how to navigate the complicated trail of legal paperwork in real estate, how to call people back and to take responsibility as a professional in the business. You need an agent who tells you honestly how the system works and then holds your hand through the entire process. You need an agent who would prefer to see your dreams become reality, rather than make a quick buck. Through the difficult “D” moments in your life, you will absolutely need an agent with the wisdom to guide you and provide the tools to make the right decisions. Your co-workers and neighbors need that as well. Why should anyone settle for less?

 

We Help Orange County Buyers and Sellers

 

At The Stavros Group, that’s what we provide. We’ve sold hundreds of homes in Orange County, and helped as many buyers and sellers through some of the biggest decisions of their lives. After successfully closing so many deals, we know his business, and we’ve seen it all. We know how to delve through a contract with a fine-tooth comb to catch little things that other agents might easily miss. We know how to market your property and expose it locally and globally through multiple marketing platforms. We know how to negotiate contracts to get you the best deal possible. Most importantly, we know how stressful your life can be during these times, and how important this six- or seven- or eight-figure transaction is to you.

 

Right you, you or someone you know may be experiencing one of the six D’s of real estate. It is unfortunate if it is one of the stressful D’s, where the pain and sorrow of the situation necessitates a sale. Let us help you, your loved ones, or your friends through this difficult time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and start a no-pressure conversation. Let’s get to know each other. We’re ready to listen.

Orange County Real Estate Newsletter: September 2020

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
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SEPTEMBER 2020

Hi friends,
 

Maybe more than anything else, your home determines your quality of life.

It’s what makes our job as real estate agents so rewarding: every closed sale marks the start of a bright, new chapter for our clients.

It’s also why, during these months of home-bound living, Google searches for “home improvement” have shot through the roof, and why Home Depot’s stock has risen 30% year-to-date.

With mortgage rates at historic lows, Orange County homebuyers are jumping at the chance to upgrade their living arrangements and improve their quality of life.

Coupled with a low supply of listing inventory, this increase in buyer demand has coaxed Orange County closing prices to new heights. We expect this trend to continue into a busy fall season.

Maybe you’re just looking for an incremental upgrade to your lifestyle. Given the smoky skies, we recommend investing in an air purifier and changing your HVAC filters.

If you feel it’s time for a bigger change, we’re happy to help! It’s a unique time with lots of opportunity for both home sellers and buyers. Let us know your real estate goals, and let’s talk strategy.


Talk soon,
Marilie Bunce
Stavros Group
FROM THE BLOG
Mortgage rates are at a record low — what this means for you 
View Blog
Stavros Group
IN THE NEWS
11 tips to win a bidding war on a house
View Article
Redfin
The future of residential real real: a house in the suburbs
View Article
Forbes
RECENT SUCCESS
989 Cliff Dr
Laguna Beach
5 BD | 5 BA | 4,041 SQ FT
Offered at $13,995,000
4601 Tremont Ln
Corona Del Mar
5 BD | 7 BA | 8,401 SQ FT
Offered at $13,995,000
2430 Monaco Dr
Laguna Beach
4 BD | 5 BA | 4,158 SQ FT
Offered at $8,350,000
5 Entonar Rd
Rancho Mission Viejo
4 BD | 3.5 BA | 3,255 SQ FT
Sold for $1,325,000
FEATURED LISTINGS
2675 Riviera Dr
Laguna Beach
6 BD | 9 BA | 13,000 SQ FT
Offered at $60,000,000
616 Bolsana Dr
Laguna Beach
4 BD | 3 BA | 4,263 SQ FT
Offered at $2,895,000
1639 Eleanor Ln
Laguna Beach
Over 12,000 sq ft lot
Reduced to $3,495,000
32 N La Senda Dr
Laguna Beach
4 BD | 5.5 BA | 5,144 SQ FT
Offered at $17,995,000
2442 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach
16 BD | 14 BA | 8,991 SQ FT
Offered at $8,985,000
YOURS COULD BE NEXT!
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Copyright © 2020 Stavros Group, All rights reserved.
12 Corporate Plaza #250, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Douglas Elliman Real Estate


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Orange County Real Estate Newsletter: August 2020





Hi friends,

Amid a sweltering heat wave, the Orange County housing market is red-hot too. Much like your valiant AC unit, home sellers and their agents are working overtime to meet a blaze of unforseen demand.

Last month, Orange County listings spent an average of 16 days on market. That’s a 36% decrease from July 2019. Sales prices are higher than ever as supply struggles to keep pace, and OC homeowners find themselves in an enviable position.

Today’s fast-paced market can be attributed to a few things. Record-low mortgage rates have empowered buyers, and social distancing has shifted their priorities. Pent-up demand is being released. Plus, real estate remains a relatively safe bet in a time of economic uncertainty.

Buyers want more space to cook, to school, to play and to relax. They want views of nature without leaving the house. Our newest listing certainly fits the bill.

2675 Riviera

Meet 2675 Riviera Drive.

A 13,000 SF estate in the ultra-exclusive Abalone Point (seen above) in Laguna Beach’s guard-gated Irvine Cove enclave, featuring unmatched views spanning nearly 300°.
See below for more info.

Whether you are in the market to sell or to buy, for an ultra-luxury oceanfront estate or a cozy suburban retreat, there is opportunity for everyone. But you have to be fast to make it happen.

If you’re interested in making a change to your living arrangements, or if you have a question about the market, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to help.

Talk soon,
Andy Stavros

FROM THE BLOG
Why real estate negotiations really matter 


View Blog
Stavros Group

IN THE NEWS
Luxury home prices bounce back, rising 1.2% in early summer


View Article
Redfin

Mortgages can protect you against future hyperinflation


View Article
Forbes

FEATURED LISTINGS


2675 Riviera Dr
Laguna Beach


6 BD | 9 BA | 13,000 SQ FT
Offered at $60,000,000







4601 Tremont Ln
Corona Del Mar


5 BD | 7 BA | 8,401 SQ FT
Offered at $13,995,000

Video Tour


989 Cliff Dr
Laguna Beach


5 BD | 5 BA | 4,041 SQ FT
Offered at $13,995,000

Video Tour


616 Bolsana Dr
Laguna Beach


4 BD | 3 BA | 4,263 SQ FT
Offered at $2,895,000



1639 Eleanor Ln
Laguna Beach


Over 12,000 sq ft lot
Reduced to $3,495,000



32 N La Senda Dr
Laguna Beach


4 BD | 5.5 BA | 5,144 SQ FT
Offered at $17,995,000



2442 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach


16 BD | 14 BA | 8,991 SQ FT
Offered at $8,985,000



3312 Marcus Ave
Newport Beach


3 BD | 3.5 BA | 3,000 SQ FT
Offered at $3,495,000

RECENT SUCCESS
2430 Monaco Dr
Laguna Beach


4 BD | 5 BA | 4,158 SQ FT
Offered at $8,350,000

5 Entonar Rd
Rancho Mission Viejo


4 BD | 3.5 BA | 3,255 SQ FT
Sold for $1,325,000

YOURS COULD BE NEXT!

Orange County Real Estate Newsletter: July 2020

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
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JULY 2020
Hi friends,

Real estate has long been considered a relatively safe investment. Amidst our country’s worst economic crisis in decades, that’s more true than ever.

When California instituted stay-at-home orders in March, uncertainty ruled the day. A deluge of sellers pulled their active listings off the market. But unlike the Balboa Peninsula after Friday’s tidal surge, local homeowners have managed to stay afloat.

In fact, real estate has emerged as one of the few resilient sectors of our distressed economy. Despite a steep decline in new listings and pending sales this March, the median sale price actually rose.

Since then, more buyers and sellers have come out of the woodwork to strike a deal. Pending home sales in SoCal steadily rose every week in May and June. Nationally, pending home sales rose over 44% in May alone.

We are still not out of the woods. Sales volume is up, but it has a ways to go before reaching pre-pandemic levels.

With that in mind, and with the benefit of a few months of hindsight, here’s what we expect to come:
  • Record-low mortgage rates will continue to drive demand.

  • Wary sellers and the existing housing shortage will continue to limit supply.

  • Therefore, home sale prices will likely continue to rise.

In short, it’s not a bad time to be in the market to buy or sell a home! We are proud to provide the same five-star service as ever to our clients while managing health and safety concerns. If you feel it’s time for a change, or if you just have questions about the market, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


Talk soon,
Andy Stavros
FROM THE BLOG
10 mistakes homeowners should avoid when selling their house
View Blog
Stavros Group
LOCAL UPDATES
6 reasons why this is actually the best time in years to sell a house
View Article
Realtor.com
How soon will fixed mortgage rates fall below 2%?
View Article
OC Register
FEATURED LISTINGS
4601 Tremont Ln
Corona Del Mar
5 BD | 7 BA | 8,401 SQ FT
Offered at $14,995,000
Video Tour
989 Cliff Dr
Laguna Beach
5 BD | 5 BA | 4,041 SQ FT
Offered at $14,250,000
Video Tour
616 Bolsana Dr
Laguna Beach
4 BD | 3 BA | 4,263 SQ FT
Offered at $2,995,000
1639 Eleanor Ln
Laguna Beach
Over 12,000 sq ft lot
Offered at $3,695,000
32 N La Senda Dr
Laguna Beach
4 BD | 5.5 BA | 5,144 SQ FT
Offered at $17,995,000
2442 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach
16 BD | 14 BA | 8,991 SQ FT
Offered at $8,985,000
3312 Marcus Ave
Newport Beach
3 BD | 3.5 BA | 3,000 SQ FT
Offered at $3,495,000
700 Malabar Dr
Corona Del Mar
Approved Plans | Ready to Build
Offered at $3,495,000
5 Entonar Rd
Rancho Mission Viejo
4 BD | 3.5 BA | 3,255 SQ FT
Offered at $1,299,000
YOURS COULD BE NEXT!
Copyright © 2020 Stavros Group, All rights reserved.
12 Corporate Plaza #250, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Douglas Elliman Real Estate


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10 Major Benefits of Virtual Home Tours in Orange County

About 81% of marketers agree that interactive content is better at grabbing an audience’s attention. Instead of focusing on a hard sell, interactive content combines authenticity and quality content to help you stand out from other homeowners trying to sell.

In fact, offering virtual home tours is one of the best forms of interactive content you can utilize when selling your property.

With COVID-19 quarantines still underway, virtual tours can help you to reach buyers while they remain safe inside.

Meanwhile, virtual house tours can attract more potential buyers and give you an advantage in the marketplace. Still on the fence? Here are 10 benefits you can experience by offering house tours online.

Keep reading to learn more about how offering virtual home tours can get you ahead of the curve.

1. Generate More Interest

Over 50% of home buyers find their new homes through the internet. Many of these online homebuyers look for virtual house tours before voicing their interest. Virtual tours are most important to buyers who fall within the 52 to 71 age range.

By creating virtual home tours, you can reach more potential buyers.

With people staying at home in response to COVID-19, you can’t wait for people to schedule an in-person tour. Instead, you need to attract more people to your property. Adding virtual real estate tours to your listing can help you expand your reach.

As more people stay home, buyers are relying on the internet to research real estate properties. Using virtual tours will help you market your property even while buyers stay at home.

Appeal to Your Target Audience

In fact, providing visuals of the property is a better way to appeal to buyers. Virtual tours offer more details than simple sketches. By providing buyers with online home tours, you can add details that are bound to make an impact.

At the same time, you’re providing home buyers with helpful information that will help them make an informed decision.

Virtual house tours can help you reach your target audience, too. You can integrate customized features based on your audience’s expectations. Using a customized approach will increase your chance of closing a sale.

At the same time, you’re making customers feel special and valued. As a result, they’ll turn toward your property instead of another.

As you attract more visitors to your listing, you’re also increasing your property’s search engine ranking. Once you reach the top of a search page, you can earn more visitors than competing sellers. A higher ranking will also build brand trust, your credibility, and boost awareness!

2. Save Valuable Time

Listing a new property for sale by conventional means can result in hundreds of phone calls from potential buyers. You’ll need to complete in-person tours that may or may not result in a sale. Meeting each of these potential buyers in person can waste your valuable time and energy.

In many cases, some of these buyers are simply curious.

Often enough, curious buyers are only touring different homes. They don’t have the intention of making a reach purchase.

Virtual home tours allow buyers to determine their interest. They can explore a property straight from their phones or laptops. If they’re genuinely interested in the property, they can contact you for more information.

Encouraging prospective buyers to explore your online house tours first will help you determine the true buyers. Then, you can focus your time and attention on closing those sales.

3. Encourage Interactions

In addition to helping you attract more site visitors, virtual home tours can also increase your clickthrough rate. A higher clickthrough rate will increase your listing’s ranking on search engines like Google.

Virtual house tours encourage people to click around and interact with your content.

Visitors will click around to navigate their way through your virtual real estate tours. Meanwhile, they can also leave comments on your posts and ask questions about aspects of each property. For example, a prospective buyer can ask about the flooring and countertop materials.

Then, you or your real estate agent can easily respond in real-time.

These instantaneous interactions will help you discover prospective buyers. At the same time, you’re increasing the listing’s search engine ranking, allowing you to reach even more buyers.

4. Reduce Bounces

A high bounce rate can have a negative impact on your listing’s search engine ranking. The bounce rate indicates how many people leave the listing and how quickly.

Adding virtual tours to your listing can boost engagement and the clickthrough rate, which will decrease the bounce rate.

Search engines like Google will recognize that the listing is keeping visitors engaged and on the page. Google will prioritize your listing over ones with a low clickthrough rate and a high bounce rate.

Most virtual home tours take about a minute. That’s an additional minute you can keep people occupied on your listing. As each visitor’s dwell time increases, your bounce rate will drop.

Remember, the higher you rank on search engines, the more people will visit your listing.

5. Stand Out From Competitors

Many real estate agents aren’t aware of the benefits of virtual tours. Offering these tours before other sellers do will give you an advantage in the marketplace.

As one of the few people offering virtual tours in your target area, you can stand out from the crowd. You’ll attract the attention of prospective buyers before others can.

Your target audience will recognize the convenience you’re offering them. They’ll choose to explore your online home tours instead of touring another property in person. Then, you can get ahead of other sellers in your area by maintaining that advantage.

Failing to offer remote tours, on the other hand, can cause you to fall behind the curve. As your competitors recognize these benefits, they’ll start offering online tours themselves.

Get ahead of the curve and start attracting buyers to your property listing before your competitors can.

6. Increase Shares

Once your real estate agent posts your home online, you’ll want to generate as much traffic to your listing as possible.

Virtual house tours are eye-catching, engaging, and worth sharing. As more people share your online home tours, you’ll receive a backlink to your listing.

At the same time, you’ll improve your listing’s authority, which can further improve your search engine ranking.

The more backlinks you generate, the better for your ranking. Then, you can attract more visitors to your listing and generate more interest!

7. Get Social

You can also generate more interest by sharing your virtual tours on social media. A high-quality virtual tour can even go viral. The more people you impress with your house tour, the more likely they’ll share the tours with their friends.

Search engines like Google also use social media signals when determining search rankings. You can ensure your listing goes viral by creating unique, quality content.

You can also encourage social sharing by using emails. As you share your virtual home tours over email, people will send the email to others. As a result, you’re also extending your reach and marketing your property to other buyers!

8. Offer Ease

Cleaning and staging virtual house tours can take time and energy. You’ll want to make sure the entire house is in pristine condition before scheduling an in-person tour. With virtual home tours, however, you won’t have to waste valuable time.

Instead, you’ll have the convenience of providing buyers with a tour regardless of the property’s actual state.

In fact, virtual tours are one of the best ways to present any property. The listing will look attractive and explorable, even online. You can highlight different spaces, allowing buyers to navigate between one room and the next on their own.

At the same time, you’re creating a permanent open house by providing potential buyers with 24/7 hour access to the property. As a result, people will also see you’re reliable and ready to offer the information they need.

9. Highlight Key Features

The time homebuyers spend looking for the perfect home has decreased by three days year-over-year. That means you have a short window to make a strong first impression.

Decades ago, static newspaper and magazine listings were enough to grab a homebuyer’s attention. Now, agencies need to use photography, videos, and walk-throughs to attract buyers.

Today, you can use virtual real estate tours to provide buyers with all the visual information they could possibly need.

You can also customize these tours to highlight specific features for each listing. For example, if you can show off the latest home improvements you’ve made. Buyers can zoom in, examine details, and explore your properties day or night!

10. Improve Your ROI

Virtual house tours can increase your sales and boost your return on investment (ROI). Instead of wasting time and money with in-person tours, you can use virtual tours to pinpoint prospective buyers. You can focus on increasing the value of your home, too!

These tours can help you reveal key selling points for each property, increasing your chance of a sale!

Take a Tour: 10 Major Benefits of Virtual Home Tours

Want to sell your home as soon as possible? Experience these benefits of virtual home tours for yourself! By creating a virtual tour, you can attract buyers and sell your property in no time.

We’re here to help. Connect with our team today to sell your property using virtual tours!

Hidden Costs of Luxury Real Estate

Luxury Real Estate in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Corona Del Mar

 

Orange County Luxury Real Estate

Luxury real estate in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Corona Del Mar, and greater Orange County is impressive, extravagant, and, of course, expensive. That should come as no surprise; it’s right there in the name! Luxury is defined as “conducive to sumptuous living, usually a delicacy, elegance, or refinement of living rather than a necessity.” But even if you’ve got the cash to buy a sprawling, lavish estate, there is more than the listing price to keep in mind. In this article, we’ll cover some of the hidden costs of owning a luxury home.

 

While you may have the resources to buy a luxury home, it’s important to be aware of externalities. Much like starting a family, it’s only prudent to be prepared before shouldering a new bundle of responsibilities. As your trusted real estate advisers, a crucial part of our job is to ensure that you’re as informed as possible. So let’s explore some examples of the expenses that come with buying a luxury home.

 

More Than You Can Chew: A Case Study in Luxury Homes

Sixteen years ago, rap artist and former beverage mogul Curtis James Jackson III, aka 50 Cent (Fiddy), purchased a grand Connecticut estate. Nestled 80 miles north of the wealthy town of Greenwich near NYC, the residence at 50 Poplar Hill Drive boasts 52 rooms across 50,000 square feet. Some of the property’s opulent features include a nightclub, two private pools, both indoor and outdoor basketball courts, and a recording studio (naturally). The home is larger than others in the area, which didn’t help when it was later listed for sale.

 

Fiddy bought the estate in 2003 from another famous face, one Mike Tyson of boxing fame. The sale price then was $4.1 million. After a few years of owning the property, Fiddy listed the home for sale at $18.5 in 2007. At such a dramatically increased price, the listing did not sell and was taken off the market. By 2015, Fiddy again listed the home for sale. This time, the price was $4.995 million, but again the home did not garner the asking price. Finally, he sold the property in 2019 for $2.9 million to Florida businessman, Casey Askar. That’s an 84% price drop from his 2007 asking price of $18.5 million.

 

Such a drastic decrease begs the question: Why did Fiddy sell? The answer is in the hidden costs. Reportedly upwards of $70,000 each month, the upkeep and maintenance costs of the lavish estate were simply too much for Fiddy to handle. From the 50,000 sq ft of 52 rooms, to the lawns and the pools, the estate at 50 Poplar Hill Drive required constant effort from groundskeepers and staff. Not to mention utility bills to keep the residence warm throughout the winter, or cool in the summer. In just five years, that monthly cost would add up to the total that Fiddy paid for the original sale, and he could no longer justify the expense.

 

A Luxury Home Takes a Village

If you’ve watched the popular period drama Downton Abbey, then you are one step ahead of ol’ 50 Cent in knowing that running a palatial estate is a team affair. There’s the estate manager, the household manager, the butler, the chef, the cooks, the gardener, the gameskeeper, the stewardess, the chauffeur, the parlormaid, the chambermaid, housemaid, laundrymaid—the list goes on. But while the costs are steep, they do come with perks: keep your house in order and you may even be graced by a visit from the Queen!

 

In all seriousness, your home need not be a sprawling estate to be considered “luxury.” In the simplest sense, a luxury home is one that is valued well above the average in a given market. In many US cities and metro areas, a price of $1 million is often considered the starting point for luxury homes. In markets like San Francisco and New York, where prices are substantially higher than the national average, luxury is said to start around $4 million.

 

On the bright side, you do get more for the higher price tag. Luxury homes, whether a charming San Francisco Victorian or a giant midwest mansion, tend to come with more square footage and fancier features than the average home. But of course, there’s a hidden cost there, too. For a large luxury property, simple tasks like cleaning your gutters or mowing the lawn become a considerable expense. Want to upgrade to smart devices and appliances? It’ll cost a pretty penny to do so across your whole home. While you may have the money to cover these additional expenses, it’s important to be aware of them when planning your home purchase.

 

Luxury Mortgage and Tax and Insurance, Oh My!

Let’s take a look at another famously fancy luxury home with hidden costs. When Yuri Millner, a Russian-born tech investor, bought his Silicon Valley home in 2011, the sale price of $100 million broke records in California and Santa Clara County. The Bay Area estate sits on 11 acres with structures of roughly 25,000 square feet, and includes a ballroom, a theater, a spa and a gym.

 

Interestingly, the taxable assessed value of the home has marked around $50 million by the Santa Clara County Assessor, just half as much as Milner paid. Yet that still means Yuri is on the hook to pay over $600,000 each year in property taxes. If Yuri has a mortgage, his payments will be whoppers as well. If he financed the home using a standard 30-year fixed conventional loan with 20% down and $80,000,000 in principal, his monthly payments would total nearly $400,000.

 

Of course, a Russian oligarch or any other billionaire likely is not concerned with middling expenses in the mere hundreds of thousands. But the fact remains that, as a home price grows, so too do its associated costs. Getting insurance for a $100 million home is nigh impossible, but insurance on a $5 or 10 million home is just plain expensive. From the tax man to your loan officer, you’ll be paying the pipers by the truckload.

 

Your Orange County Luxury Experts

Home ownership always comes with additional costs. But despite the increased expenses, buying a luxury property in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, or Corona Del Mar can be incredibly rewarding. The stunning views, the lavish spaces, the fixtures and finishes each provide a magnificent setting for your modern lifestyle. We love matching our clients with the perfect home to fit their tastes and their budget. If you’re looking to buy or sell a luxury property, get in touch to start the no-pressure conversation and explore your options.

Buying Orange County Real Estate: Which Loan is Right for You?

 

Interest rates are low, low, low, and that means it’s a great time to be a home buyer! While median home prices haven’t dropped much nationwide, the costs you save with a low rate over the course of your loan more than make up for any monthly market swings. So, if you’re ready to take the plunge, and if you’ve saved for a down payment (more on that below), it’s time to consider your financing options!

 

These days, the 30-year fixed-rate conventional mortgage remains the predominant form of financing for home purchases around the country. At an average interest rate of just 3.61% in September of this year, standard terms on these loans are currently quite favorable to buyers. However, as consumers grow more sophisticated or seek more help through other alternatives, we are beginning to see a rise in the percentage of purchases financed through non-conventional means.

 

Per the National Association of Home Builders’ analysis of 2018 Census Bureau data, in 2018 nearly 30% of financing secured by home buyers was non-conventional. FHA loans led the pack at 11%, followed by cash purchases at around 10%. While you may or may not have the stack of dough on hand to make an all-cash offer, loans such as an FHA first-time buyer loan may be perfect for you.

 

Let’s take a look at the loan type options, conventional and non-conventional, that you can consider for your Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, or other Orange County home purchase:

 

Fixed-Rate Loan

The big daddy, the standard by which all others are judged. Accounting for over 70% of loans originating in 2018, conventional fixed rate mortgages are far and away the most common form of financing. These loans offer a single interest rate over the course of the loan, from day-one to day-ten thousand, nine hundred and fifty seven (and a half – thanks leap years!). A conventional fixed-rate loan is perfect for buyers who want a predictable payment and who intend to stay in their new home for the long haul. A down payment is required, so be sure to pad your savings account if this loan sounds right for you.

 

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)

As the name implies, adjustable-rate mortgages do not remain constant like a fixed-rate loan. Typically offered at lower starting rates compared to fixed-rate loans, an ARM offers a better deal for a period of time such as five to ten years, and then the rate “adjusts” to the current market. So, if you’re planning to sell the home two or five or even ten years down the line, this financing option may be a great option for you to save money during that period. Considering the incredibly low rates offered these days, it’s unlikely that your ARM rate will remain as low once the initial fixed period runs out, so make sure that the terms of your ARM coincide well with your long-term plans.

 

FHA Loan

Backed by the Federal Housing Administration, an FHA loan offers the opportunity for qualifying buyers to pay as little as 3.5% down on their home purchase instead of the typical recommended 20% on a conventional loan. While 20% is not required by all conventional financing, conventional guidelines tend to be more stringent, so FHA loans are a perfect option for prospective buyers with decent credit but lower savings to make a purchase. FHA loans are fixed-rate over 15- or 30-year terms, with a maximum loan amount that varies by state and county. Note that buyers of FHA loans must use the home or investment property purchased as their primary residence, and they are required to pay for mortgage insurance over the course of their loan.

 

VA Loan

Veterans who have served for 90 consecutive days during wartime, 180 days during peacetime, or spent six years in the reserves are eligible for a VA loan with no down payment and no mortgage insurance requirements. These loans, backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, do have some additional requirements, however: The home must serve as the buyer’s primary residence, and the home must fit within certain standards set by the program. That means no fixer-uppers are allowed!

 

USDA Loan

If the bustle of city living no longer suits you and you’re looking to start a “Green Acres” life of your own, consider a Rural Development loan from the US Department of Agriculture. These loans are backed 100% by the government, meaning you don’t need to pay a down payment, and the program offers discounted mortgage rates for those looking to lay down roots in a rural area. Guidelines include restrictions on buyers’ debt-to-income ratio (not to exceed 41%), and property purchased must be in an eligible rural area as designated by the USDA. Learn more about the various types of USDA loans.

 

Bridge Loan

If you’re looking to buy a new home but your money is tied up in your current home’s equity, then a bridge loan is your answer. Like its namesake, a bridge loan spans the gap between the home you currently own and the home you want to purchase. Lenders will combine your current and your new mortgage payments into one, and when you sell your current home you will use those proceeds to pay back the bridge loan. These loans are great for buyers who currently own a home, have good credit and a low debt-to-income ratio.

 

Bucking Convention(al Loans)

We hope that this brief overview helps to give you an idea of your options for financing the purchase of your next home. As local real estate experts, we have seen it all, and we know how important it is for you to consider all your options. For a good portion of buyers, a conventional fixed-rate loan makes the most sense. But for many others, these alternatives are worth considering! Let us know if you’re in the market to buy a home, and we’ll be happy to hook you up with a trustworthy lender offering competitive rates. It’s our pleasure to assist in anything real estate related, from the first steps of securing financing to the day you move in and for years to come.

The Best Newport Beach Neighborhoods: A Look at West Newport

 

You’ve decided to make the move to Orange County and you’ve even started browsing some houses for sale in Newport Beach. If you’re new to the area, the next step in your house hunting journey you may be thinking, “What is the best neighborhood for me?” We’re here to help! 

 

Welcome to the next edition of our Neighborhood Spotlight Series, where we provide a little insight into some of the best neighborhoods Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar have to offer, so you can feel more comfortable in the purchase of your new home in Orange County.

 

This month we will be featuring West Newport, a neighborhood in Newport Beach that boasts over two miles of coastline and some of the best beaches in Newport.  West Newport is ideally located where the coastline splits into the mainland and Balboa Peninsula, giving it a ‘beach city’ culture. This means West Newport residents enjoy the best of both worlds, with the convenience of quick access to the rest of Newport Beach, as well as the restaurants, shopping, and attractions that the peninsula offers. 

 

We have created an infographic to provide a quick glimpse into some of the housing and residential statistics that a potential homebuyer may be interested in. We hope you find this information helpful!

 

 

newport beach oceanfront homes for sale, newport beach neighborhoods

 

We happen to have a beautiful property currently on the market, that’s located on the edge of West Newport, but in a prime oceanfront location. This spacious multi-unit property at 2212 W. Oceanfront totals approximately 3,200 square feet and includes a 2-bed double-master unit with 3 baths upstairs, as well as a 3-bed, 2-bath unit downstairs. Both the upper and lower units feature a chic updated interior and stellar ocean views. The prime waterfront location provides convenient access to hip shops, restaurants and bars. Wake up with a stroll along the shore and an espresso at Urban Cup, pop in for lunch at local favorite Dory Deli, or enjoy a night out at newly-opened Fable & Spirit nearby. Whether you choose to rent both units or keep one for yourself, one thing is for certain: your residents will love waking up to the beach right outside their door.

 

 

balboa peninsula homes for sale, balboa peninsula real estate

 

 

We know that trying to settle on the right Newport Beach neighborhood as you’re looking at homes for sale in Orange County can be tricky, but here at The Stavros Group we’re here to provide a helping hand and make the process of buying the Newport Beach home of your dreams as easy as possible. Please do not hesitate to give us a call!