Author - Michelle

Tips for Visiting Open Houses: Rules Everyone Should Follow

Whether you are a window shopper or a serious potential buyer, open houses present the perfect opportunity to browse the inside of a home that may one day be yours. Moreover, it is the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse at the neighborhood and neighbors who may someday make up the community around you. Finally, they are the perfect chance to gain valuable information on the very practical aspects of purchasing a particular home. So, how do you get the most out of this opportunity? Here is some information about open houses and the etiquette involved in attending one.
What is an Open House?
An open house is an event where potential buyers can tour a home that is on the market. The benefits of these occasions are several: First, potential home buyers don’t have to make a schedule to attend an open house. Second, it gives home shoppers an opportunity to “scout out” the competition. Finally, it gives potential home owners valuable data on a home that appeals to them.
How to Find Open Houses
As already stated earlier, open homes do not have to be scheduled. This makes them very convenient but sometimes tricky to find. However, there are four ways to know when a house is available for viewing:
• Ask your agent
• Use listing websites
• Use social media
• Simply drive around a neighborhood until you find one that appeals to you.

How to Attend an Open House
Once you’ve found a house that appeals to you, here’s what you should do once you decide to look further into what may be your new home one day.
• Kindly wipe your feet before walking in: Remember that you are entering into someone else’s home.
• Register your name when you walk in: This is necessary for the realtor so that he/she can have your contact information and for security purposes.
• Ask questions: Now is the time to speak up so that there are no misunderstandings should you decide to make an offer. Ask probing questions such as – When does the seller want to move? Are there any issues? Have there been any renovations or recent repairs made to the home? What are the HOA restrictions? What are the average utility costs?
• Get in and out efficiently: Be mindful of others who may be there. Open houses are not an invitation to loiter or wander about aimlessly. Also, watch your children if you have them with you.
• Take notes and record a video if you are permitted to do so: You may need to do this if you attend several open houses in a short span of time. This can also be ideal if you are traveling from out of town to help jog your memory later.
My final piece of advice is to try to have fun. Researching houses does not have to be as stressful as some people make it out to be. This is particularly true if you engage the right agent to help you. You can view many Moorpark homes for sale by my team, Tina Hare and Associates, one of the best Moorpark realtors and the number one Century 21 Agent Nationwide for Small Teams!


The Pros and Cons of Buying a brand New Home

The Pros and Cons of Buying a brand New Home
If you are in the market to purchase a home you have probably realized there are many decisions to make. One of the most important of which is whether to buy a new home or one that has been pre-owned. While the answer may seem obvious at first – especially if you have the means to buy a new home – the decision can be a rather difficult one to make. Here are a few of the pros and cons of buying a new home.
Advantages of Buying a New Home
• Everything is new: This means that you will probably spend very little time having things repaired or replaced throughout the house. This is particularly important when it comes to flooring and roofing as both can be quite expensive to have repaired or replaced.
• Your home is protected by a warranty: For new homes the warranties usually begin from the closing date of the home. This means items like appliances will have at least a 1 year builder’s warranty on them. This is can be one aspect of purchasing a new home that appeals to homebuyers the most.
• New homes often come with more safety features: It is relatively rare for older homes to come with built in safety features such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. One the other hand, this is quite common in newer homes. Of course, this means that you will have greater peace of mind that your family is well protected.
• New homes are usually more energy efficient than older homes: On average, new homes can provide up to 20% more insulation than older homes. Newer homes generally have better insulation and air sealing, heating and cooling, and energy efficient appliances. These can all add up to great savings on your utility bills.
Of course, buying a new home is not a panacea. They come with some drawbacks especially for those who assume that such houses will always be “perfect.” The drawbacks to purchasing a newer home are:
• New homes are costly: On average new homes can be up to 20% more expensive than older homes.
• You may have to deal with ongoing construction around your property: Often, newly built homes are situated in developing communities. This means that there may be construction occurring around your property for some time.
• Problematic location: Newly constructed homes are often located on open land meaning that they may be far from city centers. This means that you may have to travel some distance to reach restaurants, bars, clubs, etc. However, this is not always the case.
In the end, the best way to figure out whether or not a new home is the right choice for you is to gather all the facts, do your research, and think clearly about what you want in a home. My Ventura County real estate team can help you decide what is best for you in the near and long term. We have Ventura County homes for sale that suit a variety of needs and would be more than happy to help you in the New Year to accomplish your real estate dreams.


The Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying an Older Home

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the typical owner-occupied home was built in 1976—43 years ago. This means that many of the homes available to home buyers today will be at least that old if not older. As you might expect, buying a home this old requires a great deal of thought and careful research. While older homes can sometimes be more affordable than newer homes and usually posses a certain charm, they can also be a challenge to own. How do you decide if an older home is worth it? Consider our list of pros and cons:

Advantages of Buying an Older Home
• Lower cost: This is the feature that many people find to be the most attractive about older homes. Additionally, buying an older, less expensive home means that people tend to be able to pay off their mortgage sooner and have more money for the other costs associated with home ownership.
• Location: Just as newly constructed homes tend to be built away from city centers, older homes tend to be located closer to the center of towns. That means that shops, schools and other businesses and institutions can be far easier to reach either by car or on foot.
• Strong investment potential: Older homes, as it so happens, make strong investments. This is especially the case if you find buyers who are into homes with rare architecture or vintage design. Thus, you will usually have a good chance of making a profit on your purchase.

Disadvantages of Buying an Older Home
• Less energy efficient: Older homes tend to have windows and doors that are not as efficient at keeping in heat as newer homes. Moreover, older homes tend to have old or little insulation. These kinds of defects can result in a huge loss of heat in the winter and higher heating bills.
• Subject to contain building code violations: Older homes tend to have heating systems or inefficient plumbing that can put them in danger of being in noncompliance with modern building codes. Thus, it can be quite costly to have the heating, wiring, plumbing, etc., in them updated.
• Older homes can come with “imperfections”: For example, an older home that is located near trees can have roots that threaten its foundation, its plumbing system, etc. Such foundation repair can be and usually is quite expensive. Additionally, older homes tend to come with other flaws that require handymen and other professionals to correct.

In short, an older house can offer benefits—and character—that a modern home doesn’t have. However, to truly avoid the potential pitfalls of owning one you must fully vet and inspect any older property you are considering. You also need to confer with a realtor who can help place you into the right home. As a Westlake realtor, I would be happy to show you any Westlake Village homes for sale that are in excellent condition and that are located in thriving neighborhoods.


Moorpark Highlands: An Overview of Affordable Elegance

As most people know, buying a newer home also means buying into a lifestyle. If buying into a lifestyle of affordable elegance is part of your criteria for buying a home then the Moorpark Highlands is the right place for you. What makes these newer homes in Ventura County, CA so appealing? Let’s take a look at some reasons why choosing to live here could be one of the best decisions you can ever make.

Firstly, The Moorpark Highland communities include:
• Cherry Hill
• Shenandoah
• Pinnacle
• Smart Homes
• Waverly Place

Each of these properties is a component of a complex that is labeled, as the “Highlands.” Each community is conveniently located near businesses, stores and shops. Moorpark Country Club is also nearby with its highly acclaimed 27-hole golf course. Homes in the Moorpark Highlands communities range in size from 1,500 – to over 4,000 square feet.

Since most of the homes in these communities are newly constructed, they include a plethora of amenities for people who desire the finer things in life. Some of these amenities include:
• Large lot sizes (in certain communities)
• Amazing views of the surrounding county and communities especially from two story homes.
• Though subject to change, many of the communities have HOA fees that are reasonable
• Laundry rooms are typically included in these newly constructed homes.
• Mammoth Highlands Park! Such a fun, new park for local kids of all ages to come and play; complete with a basketball court, many swings, and different size slides!
• Many of the homes within the Moorpark Highlands have their own community pools.
• The Amtrak/Metrolink station makes access to shops, restaurants, boutiques within reach so that you easily see and be a part of all the area has to offer.
• Excellent schools, friendly neighborhoods with parks and recreational opportunities so that one never feels isolated even within its various gated communities.
• Community activities such as Movies in the Park at the Mammoth Highlands Park! This is a fun way to bring all local families together for a fun night in the park.

As a Moorpark realtor I know how living in the right community plays a vital role in the decision to purchase a home. Moorpark Highlands includes a number of communities that are up and coming and that surrounds its residents with affordable elegance that inhabitants of other communities would envy. Contact me today to visit a home in one of these vibrant communities.


Condos as Investment Properties: Why Buying a Condo Just Became a Lot Easier

1. Buyer only needs to put down 25%

2. A single buyer can own up to 4 units in a single complex

3. Owner occupied ratio/budget requirements for a 3-4 unit eliminated

Investment opportunities come in a variety of shapes and sizes. One of the soundest ways to create an additional income stream is to purchase a condo. However, up until recently certain restrictions have prevented some people from purchasing a condo who might otherwise have done so. Well, much of that has changed as the Federal National Mortgage Association – otherwise known as Fannie Mae – has revised its rules regarding how condos purchased as investment properties can be bought using conventional financing. Let’s take a look at these changes, how it makes purchasing a condo easier and why purchasing a condo can be a fruitful addition to your investment portfolio.

Fannie Mae’s Changes

Fannie Mae has made three changes to make it easier for buyers to purchase a condo as an investment property. First, all that is required of a buyer now is that he/she put down 25% in order toMoorpark Real Estate purchase a condo as an investment property. The 50% owner occupied ratio rule is no longer in effect. This makes purchasing a condo much easier to potential investors in that they can now purchase complexes in local markets that do not have 50% owner occupied ratios. A second way Fannie Mae has made it easier for people to purchase a condo as an investment is to allow a single buyer to own up to 4 units in a complex. The Single-Entity Ownership has increased 10% to 20% for projects with 21 and more. Finally, Fannie Mae has waived the project review requirements for 2-4 unit projects. This means that owner occupied ratio or budget requirements for a 3-4 unit has been eliminated.

Tips to Buy a Condo in a Complex with Less than 50% Owner Occupied Ratios

So how does one take advantage of these changes to Fannie Mae’s rules regarding the purchase of condos
as investment properties? Here are a ways:

-Buyers should put down a minimum of 25% on condos that have less than a 50% ownership ratio. By putting less than 25% down Fannie Mae’s Full Review will be triggered and the old rule of 50% Owner Occupied Ratios will be re-instated.
-Make sure that your loan application is run through Fannie Mae’s conventional underwriting system.
-If you are granted a “Limited Review Approval” then you will be exempt from the 50% ownership ratio rule.
-Work only with lenders who follow and are familiar with these new rules.
-As a realtor, make sure to let potential investors know about this rule change.

Why Buying an Investment Property is a Great Investment

As we said, at the start of this post, investments come in all varieties. Some are not sound at all and others
vary in the degree in which potentially create a healthy revenue stream for investors. Investing in a
property is one of the sounder investment methods a buyer can make. Why? Here are several reasons:

-Investors can take advantage of the annual rent increases which are trending upwards on average 3% – 4% in many local markets in California.
-They are more affordable. Buying a condo is on average cheaper than purchasing other kinds of real estate. Just be sure to factor in the cost of living in the desired area with HOA fees when making the decision to buy a condo.
-Maintenance is not your responsibility: As a real estate investor you are not directly responsible for maintaining the building or the grounds of your property. These are covered in your monthly condo fees. Other people will be doing the actual work of up keeping the property.
-Finally, there are many tax benefits of investing in a condo. For example, the interest on the mortgage is tax deductible, and the property taxes and any repairs are tax deductible.

As a Moorpark realtor, I know that one of the best ways to take advantage of the opportunities that this change in Fannie Mae policy presents to potential investors is to keep track of all developments in the real estate market. That means knowing about changes in lending, interest rates, etc. Contact me if you want to take advantage of any Moorpark homes for sale.


Halloween Safety Tips

Ventura County RealtorAs a Ventura County Realtor for the last 30 years I have learned many tips
and tricks not only regarding Ventura County Real Estate but also for staying safe
during this time of year. Halloween is such a fun time of year of all ages but
particularly fun for those of trick-or-treating age! We hope you all have a fun time
this year but we also hope that you stay safe! We’ve compiled a short list of tips to
help our local families stay safe this Halloween.

Visibility. It is just as important to make sure that you can be seen, as it is to
make sure that you have clear visibility as well. Make sure young children do not
have any vision obstructions from facemasks or other parts of their costumes. This
can cause young children to wander off sidewalks or trip and fall unintentionally
when their vision is obstructed. Bringing flashlights along for increased visibility
both for you and for others is very helpful!

Clothing. If possible try to incorporate parts of your child’s costume to
include reflective material. Since most trick-or-treating events take place after dark
this can help improve visibility for any vehicles that may be out on the road during
this time. Any flashlights will also reflect costumes with reflective wear you may
have brought and can be very beneficial in neighborhoods where there are limited

Candy. Reviewing your child’s bag of candy before letting them eat it can
help reduce the risk of any dangers that may be present. It is important to check for
any previously opened pieces of candy and/or sharp objects. While it’s unfortunate
that this step must be taken it is an important final step after trick-or-treating.

Stay safe this Halloween and we hope everyone enjoys the start of the
Holiday season!


Why Hire A Realtor

5 Benefits of Using a Realtor to Buy (or Sell) a Home

Can you buy or sell a home on your own? Of course you can. Should you? That is quite a different question. Many people feel that “DIY” is the solution for everything now since the Internet has such a wealth of information on just about any topic or process you can imagine. However, when it comes to buying a new home there are many problems that can develop if you use this approach. Even in this day and age it is still a good idea to use a realtor when searching for Moorpark homes for sale. Here are five significant reasons why you might want to consider hiring a professional realtor as opposed to going it alone.

  • Realtors have greater market knowledge: Many people fail to put a value on knowledge since it is something that is intangible. However, realtors bring a great deal of knowledge to the table that can save home buyers money and place them in exactly the neighborhood of their choice, etc. Someone who does not watch the housing market constantly and does not understand trends will be at a real disadvantage when it comes to purchasing a home. Tina Hare & Associates are well versed on Moorpark Real Estate, as they are engrossed in it daily.
  • Realtors can find hidden home buying opportunities: Though most home sales are widely advertised, some homeowners choose to be more discreet when they are selling a home. Moorpark Homes For SaleThus, these opportunities may fly under the radar of most people. On the other hand, realtors will often know of homes like this that are for sale.
  • They offer professional networking: Realtors have an established network of other professionals who can help you when it is time to buy or sell a home. Because of this, we can give you a list of references of people who we have worked with in the past and can provide you with their background information.
  • Realtors are better negotiators: Top realtors are trained to present their client’s case in the best light and to fight for the best possible outcome. This is part of what we are trained to do.
  • Realtors can help with all the paperwork involved: There are countless forms to be filled out when buying a home. Additionally, some of this paperwork is filled with real estate terminology making the process even more difficult. Realtors can help you with these forms so that your home purchase goes off without a hitch.

We hope that when you decide the time is right for selecting a Moorpark realtor it is an easy choice. If we can ever offer advice or help you through the process we are always happy to do so. For more information on buying a home, fill out the form on our site.



Fall Is Here

Fall is often a significant transition time for families. With back to school, time change, temperature shift and the holiday’s upon us, yes Fall is often a transitional time of significance. It’s during this time that we like to sit back and reflect on just how grateful we are for the community support we receive here at Tina Hare & Associates. This has been a pivotal year for our team as we continue to grow internally and the support we have received in return has been unprecedented. As a local Moorpark resident and Moorpark Realtor for the last 30 years I am constantly humbled by the love and support the Moorpark community has to offer. This support always inspires me to give back to the community through the Moorpark Unified School District and Recreational Center.

There are few things in this life we have control over and making sure that we are forever grateful of the blessings that have been bestowed upon us is of the utmost importance to our team. Since day one our clients have been treated as our top priority and as time has passed this has only become more and more prevalent. Our clients are what bring us joy and happiness in all that we do and they are what motivate us to grow as individuals to always provide the best service possible.

The ancient Chinese sage Confucius once said “If you love what you do you will never work a day in your life.” While we do work hard to make sure we are well educated on the market and how to best serve our clients it never truly feels like work. We love what we do and we love “working” hard for each one of our clients who usually start to feel like family.