South Orange County Blog from Bob Phillips

Looking for Luxury? How to Upsize Your Next Home Without Upsizing Your Costs

Looking for Luxury? How to Upsize Your Next Home Without Upsizing Your Costs Size matters when you are buying your next home. Whether you plan to expand your family, need more room for your stuff, or are concerned with resale value, you want to get the most space for your money. Also, if you want to add a feel of luxury to your home, one of the best ways to do it is to create open spaces rather than cramming all your furniture in rooms so tiny you can barely walk around without knocking something over.

Traditionally speaking, the larger a home is, the more it costs. If there are two newly built houses side by side in a subdivision, the bigger one is likely to cost more. However, there are some tricks to finding spacious houses that are affordable.

Choose Emerging Neighborhoods

Houses in this year’s trending neighborhood are at their peak prices. Clever buyers look for neighborhoods that are in the process of being gentrified, buying at the bottom rather than the top of the market, to get more house for their money.

Fix It Up

Houses in perfect condition, that show well, sell for a premium. If you want to get more house for your money, choose something that needs a bit of TLC. A house that has pink walls and orange shag carpet might appear just too ugly to consider when you first view it, but it might just need a few coats of paint and some new carpet to become a spacious dream home.

Do Some Finishing

Unfinished areas such as attics and basements can be finished to create additional living spaces. The basement could become a family room and the attic an extra bedroom or study. An unfinished space can become the extra bathroom you need to make morning more manageable.

Consider an Addition

Contractors can add rooms to a house. If you have a large lot, you can build an extra wing. With a one story ranch house, it may be possible to raise the roof and add a second story.

The more stuff you have, the smaller your home appears. Reduce clutter and invest in smaller condo size furniture to give even the smallest home the appearance of spaciousness.

Ready to Go Bigger? ( Or Maybe Even Smaller?)

Give me a call – (949) 887-5305 or shoot me an email BobPhillipsRE@gmail.com  and let’s talk about your options.

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4 Minutes Of Guidance For Soon-To-Be Real Estate Investors

Posted in Real estate by southorangecounty on March 13, 2009

“Most of the biggest real estate fortunes were not made in good times, but in bad times like this” Barbara Corcoran reminds us in this talk with NBC

It’s important perspective for Americans wondering how to invest in foreclosed properties without losing their cash or their credit rating.

In the 4-minute interview, Corcoran quips on the basics and the essentials of foreclosure investing,

  • “Everyone who loses their shirt loses it somewhere else.”
  • “Every big shark started small.”
  • “The house on the corner sets the tone for the block.”

She also lends some personal perspective to rent rolls, the cost of losing a tenant, and finding a good business partner.

Banks are anxious to sell their foreclosed homes and that makes this an ideal time for shrewd real estate investors.  If you’re new to the game, watch the video and take good notes.

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Fannie Mae Officially Eliminates Its 4-Financed Property Limit

Posted in Uncategorized by southorangecounty on February 10, 2009

Fannie Mae now allows up to 10 financed propertiesFriday, Fannie Mae rolled-back one of its least popular mortgage guidelines updates of the last 12 months.


Effective March 1, 2009, real estate investors can once again own and finance up to 10 individual properties.  The restriction reversal does come with new minimum requirements, however. 


Homeowners buying a 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th or 10th home must meet the following standards, as set forth by Fannie Mae:



  1. 720 credit score
  2. 25% downpayment for a 1-unit (30% for a 2-4 unit)
  3. No mortgage delinquencies in the last 12 months
  4. 6 months of reserves for each investment property

In other words, Fannie Mae is re-opening the lending spigot for real estate investors with good credit, a sizeable downpayment and ample reserves. 


According to Fannie Mae, the change rationale is that experienced investors can “play a key role in the housing recovery”.  Until now, foreclosure auctions have gone at less than full speed because investors unable to pay cash have been halted by the existing 4-property Fannie Mae limit. 


Going forward, expect a more expedient foreclosure liquidation nationwide which should, in turn, provide further support for the housing market.


And lastly, not to be forgotten, homeowners with more than 4 properties can finally participate in the ongoing conforming mortgage Refi Boom. Until now, they’ve been stymied by the 4-property restriction, too.

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