New Year’s Real Estate Resolutions (For Buyers)

luxury buyer 3Part 2 of a 2-Part Series

Are you planning to buy or sell a home in 2015? Whether you are looking to purchase or sell a vacation home or a luxurious place you and your family can live year-round in the Lake Arrowhead area, our gift to you this year is help you keep your 2015 New Year’s Real Estate Resolutions.

In our last post, we examined resolutions for sellers. This week, we will conclude our two-part series by focusing on resolutions for buyers, who may find it tough to find just the right place unless their agent helps map out a strategy. Whether you plan on securing a mortgage or if you plan to pay cash for your luxury locale in Lake Arrowhead, our 2015 Real Estate Resolutions will help you make your move.

Paying Cash

cashIf you can afford to avoid interest rates, work with your accountant to determine a working budget. According to Realtor.com, in the U.S., some 43 percent of homes in the U.S. were paid for by cash. In 2011, that figure was 30 percent. In 2008, that percentage was just 15. So there is definitely an upward trend for paying with cash. If you’re considering making a cash purchase on your next home, consider the perks:

  • The most obvious benefit to paying cash for a home is that it eliminates the need to pay interest on the loan and also cuts many closing costs.
  • As noted in Forbes, one of the best benefits of paying upfront is that you may qualify for a “liquidity” discount.
  • Writing an offer for cash will give you an edge in a competitive market. If a house gets multiple offers, yours will stand out. As Investopedia notes, “a cash buyer’s home is not leveraged, which allows a homeowner to sell the house more easily – even at a loss – regardless of market conditions.”

Despite all of the above, a home without a mortgage is a house without a major tax write-off. So this may be your number one reason to finance. But if you still can’t decide whether to pay cash, evaluate your personal circumstances. And make sure you have enough cash reserves to cover these possibilities, including having funds set aside for retirement, at least six months of emergency funds in a savings account and sufficient health, life and disability insurance

luxury buyer 4Financing

It just may make more sense to use your cash to pay off non-deductible credit obligations than to put cash into a home.

If you’ve decided against paying cash, your first order of business will be to figure out financing. It will be well worth your time to get pre-approved. Speak to a licensed mortgage professional before you start looking at homes. An experienced real estate agent will be able to connect you to a reputable loan officer, who will check your credit and pre-qualify you for a mortgage. It’s vital to take this step before your house-hunt because it’s possible your credit report has errors. These should be addressed before you apply for credit, to ensue you get a favorable interest rate. Also, consider these benefits to financing a home:

  • Tax deductions. When it comes to buying a vacation home, one of the most obvious benefits to securing a mortgage is the tax write-off. This does not just refer to interest and taxes but also points and closing costs.
  • Although losing the mortgage interest deduction can make a cash purchase unappealing, according to BankingMyWay, until you realize this deduction may not be as valuable as it seems. So check with your accountant.
  • The key investment issue may be whether you could earn more by investing the cash in another way. The “return” on cash put into the home equals the mortgage rate you’d pay if you borrowed instead, since it relieves you of that interest cost. Paying cash today, for example, would save you the 4.167% you’d pay on the average mortgage.
  • More options. You may be able to improve the location and/or condition of your second home by securing financing for it instead of solely relying on cash reserves.

luxury buyer 2The best advice when considering which option makes the most sense is to opt for whichever choice gives you more bang for the buck. Also, ask yourself which will provide the greater return on your investment. Whether you are buying a first or second home or investing, real estate can be tricky—whether you are buying your first home, purchasing a vacation home, or upgrading from a starter. If you are interested in buying or selling property in Lake Arrowhead, California or the surrounding area, don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. So don’t miss a prime opportunity to take advantage of today’s market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

10 Tips to Help Winterize Your Lake Arrowhead Home  

Winterizing-Your-HomeAccording to forecasts, the Lake Arrowhead area should see snowfall later this week. Just in time for the holidays, the first snowstorm may be picturesque. But if you haven’t taken steps to prep for winter, the impending storm could put your home at risk. To help, we have come up with some tips to help you winterize your Lake Arrowhead house.

  1. Inspect the furnace. You may want to call in an HVAC professional to check your system. In advance of his inspection, check your filters and make sure you change them on a regular basis. Make sure all flammable material is located far from heat sources.
  2. Check windows and doors for leaks. If you hear wind coming through windows or doors, make sure you seal all entry points. Use weather-stripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.
    Frozen Man
  3. Call a Chimney Sweep, to prepare your fireplace for winter use. In the meantime, cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds. Inspect the damper and check the mortar between bricks.
  4. Schedule Roof Inspection. Consider adding extra insulation to the attic, which will prevent warm air from creeping to your roof. Also, make sure your roofer checks flashing to ensure water cannot enter the home and that he replaces worn roof shingles or tiles.
  1. Check the Foundation. Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from the foundation. And, unless you don’t mind critters living under your house, seal entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
  2. Service Weather-Specific Equipment. Since you won’t need to use most gardening equipment until next summer, drain gas from lawnmowers. Service or tune-up snow blowers. Replace shovels. Stock up on ice-melt and sand. And while you’re at it, you may want to call a snow plow company to arrange for service starting with the first snowfall. Winterize
  3. Prepare Landscaping and Outdoor Surfaces. If branches are hanging low, have trees trimmed so they won’t interfere with electrical wires. If you’re uncertain, ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned, to prevent potential winter injury. Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.
  4. Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and/ or water heater. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every six months to make sure they are in good working condition.
  5. Prepare an Emergency Kit. Buy indoor candles and matches for use during power outages, which can happen in the San Bernardino Mountains during storms. Locate emergency phone numbers and tape them near your phone or inside the phone book. Store bottled water (3 gallons per person for three days) and non-perishable food supplies (including pet food, if necessary), blankets and a first-aid kit in a cool, dry place. Store in an easy-to-access location. Prepare a family evacuation plan.
  6. Keep pipes from freezing. This is particularly important if you plan to leave your home vacant for any length of time. Locate the water main so you will know where to go to shut it off in an emergency. Drain garden hoses. Insulate exposed plumbing pipes. Before you leave for vacation, set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees.

If you are in the market to buy or sell your luxury home in or around the Lake Arrowhead area, consider working with the Prime Team. #RealEstate investing can be tricky—especially if you are in the market for #LuxuryProperty.

Don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. Recently named the exclusive Lake Arrowhead member of Leverage Global Partners, we are perfectly positioned to help you take advantage of today’s luxury market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

How to Buy Luxury Gifts this Holiday Season

woman counting money at holiday gifts backgroundAccording to Forbes Magazine, “Luxury these days is not about price or brand name or status. It’s about heritage, exclusivity, access and experience. It’s also about items that are deliberate, thoughtful and beautifully functional. Simplicity is genius, after all.” We agree. Because the Prime Team caters to clients in the #luxury market, we wanted to provide our readers, subscribers and friends with some helpful hints for finding and purchasing the perfect holiday gift for anyone on your holiday gift list who seems to have everything.

moneyHere are some Holiday Gift Suggestions for Hard-to-Buy-for Friends and Family

money bagFor more ideas, you could order Luxury World: The Past, Present and Future of Luxury Brands, which would set you back a mere $20 on Amazon.com. And if you are in the market to buy or sell your luxury home in or around the Lake Arrowhead area, consider working with the Prime Team. #RealEstate investing can be tricky—especially if you are in the market for #LuxuryProperty.

Don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. Recently named the exclusive Lake Arrowhead member of Leverage Global Partners, we are perfectly positioned to help you take advantage of today’s luxury market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

5 Steps to Help you Sell your Luxury Home

Sell Your House Home Means Marketing Property

Part two of a two-part series

Although it’s difficult to quantify the definition of a luxury property, most buyers know one when they see it. The scale is grand. The location, ideal. The house, much more than a home. If you are looking to buy or sell a luxury home, you are in good company, as estate sales are hitting records across the country. For example, the number of California homes selling for $2 million or more reached an all-time high in 2013.

In our last blog post, we covered 10 Tips for Buying Luxury Property. This week, we will conclude our two-part series by focusing on how to sell a luxury home. Admittedly, the last several years have been volatile in terms of the housing market. However, one niche segment has remained fairly strong—the ultraluxury segment.

According to Business Insider writer, Abby Rogers, “While talking to realtors and industry insiders…we heard some great home-selling tales and got valuable tips about how to sell an astronomically-priced home.”

House and the keys with an empty thumb5 Luxury Home Selling Tips

  1. Show the Value – more important for a luxury property than for any other house, valuable assets should be showcased in a way that appeals to luxury buyers.
  2. Understand Buyers – while their market may have been the slowest to change, luxury buyers today understand how important it is to invest in the perfect property, not just for vacation or even full-time use, but for potential future investment.
  3. Reach Your Target Market – when you’re selling a modest home, it might suffice to list with a novice realtor whose ad campaign will focus strickly on the local market. But if you don’t want to waste time, and if you want to make sure you get the best available offer, work with an agency that offers global exposure. The Prime Team, for example, is a member of Leverage Global Partners. In addition to offering exceptional service and connectivity, Leverage differentiates itself from existing international luxury real estate associations by increasing the online and social media presence of their members, and providing marketing tools designed to help each member expand their individual business. Leverage promotes the presidents of member firms and extends media access for their members’ properties through a robust public relations outreach and digital platform.
  4. Stage It – studies prove that people respond with higher offers when they see properties that are perfectly staged. Most of us just don’t have a good enough imagination to picture how to beautifully furnish a luxury home. So, unless your real estate agent advises leaving your home as it is, consider hiring a company which will do all of the work for you. The right luxury agent will be able to recommend staging companies and may even offer to work with the stager on your behalf.
  5. Network – Referrals are vitally important when it comes to selling your home. So don’t list with someone who is new to the area or hasn’t worked hard to develop valuable connections. Word of mouth remains the best sales tool ever invented. So your broker’s associates multiply your pool of perspective buyers, which will result in a quick sale and a high price.

#RealEstate investing can be tricky—especially if you are in the market for #LuxuryProperty. If you are interested in buying or selling property in Lake Arrowhead, California or the surrounding area, don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. Recently named the exclusive Lake Arrowhead member of Leverage Global Partners, we are perfectly positioned to help you take advantage of today’s luxury market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

10 Tips for Buying Luxury Property

ServiceAlthough it’s difficult to quantify the definition of a luxury property, most buyers know one when they see it. The scale is grand. The location, ideal. The house, much more than a home. If you are looking to buy or sell a luxury home, you are in good company, as estate sales are hitting records across the country. For example, the number of California homes selling for $2 million or more reached an all-time high in 2013.

According to data prepared by Nationwide Real Estate Schools:“ the 11.6% price growth in California over the last year means that a house worth $925,000 last summer may be worth $1,032,300 today. (What’s more), the influx of international buyers is pushing up prices at the high end.”

When it comes to looking for a starter home or even a modest upgrade, the expertise and experience of your real estate agent is far less important than if you want to purchase a luxury home. The reasons for this are many:

Closeup, Time and Money. Gold Tone.

  • Time is money. Investing in luxury property is done mostly by people whose success is owed to hard work and wise use of time. While junior employees can afford the time to scour websites and pound the pavement in search of great bargains, successful entrepreneurs and C-suite executives understand that time is money. So they appreciate working with an expert who does the legwork for them—showing only the best possible options.
  • Connections are key. Luxury property is unlike that on a more modest level, in that networking is critical. The most luxurious properties come on the market only to be snatched up by the first discerning consumer. So anyone who is interested in buying or selling a luxury home will benefit from the experience of brokers and agents who are in the know.
  • Money talks. The real estate professional you choose for a relatively small real estate transaction is less critical than if you are dealing with a six-figure sale. Don’t leave your property search to someone who doesn’t intricately understand the market.

To help you on your quest, we have prepared 10 steps to help you buy luxury property. In next week’s blog, we will focus on 10 steps to help you prepare to sell your luxury home.

湖畔の秋5 Steps to Help You Buy Luxury Property

  1. Find the right agent. Although this is always the case, in luxury transactions, working with the perfect real estate professional will make the difference between a successful transaction and a frustrating process. The Prime Team is a Leverage Global Partner, uniquely aligned with the most prestigious independent real estate brokerage firms around the world. Leverage Global Partners offers its members the opportunity to better serve their clients’ relocation and real estate portfolio needs by establishing each member firm as a key player in the international real estate arena. Prime Properties is the only Leverage member in Lake Arrowhead.
  2. Don’t overlook the basics.The foundation of energy efficiency begins with the basics — sealing and insulation, an orientation for optimal efficiency, adequate ventilation, an HVAC system correctly sized for the house and Energy Star-rated appliances (or better)! The green issue looming on the horizon is water usage. Consider any feature that conserves water or collects water to be a plus.
  3. If necessary, procure financing in advance, if possible. Most brokers who specialize in luxury real estate will be able to assist you with this. As long as the terms you offer are attractive and you come in with a large down payment, you are in equal position with a cash buyer who is offering less than market value for the home, according to Iyna Bort Caruso of The Wall Street Journal.
  4. Do your due diligence. In many cases, since luxury homes are large, they feature amenities that may require specialized home inspectors. (If you work with an experienced real estate professional, he or she will be able to help you find experts of this kind.)
  5. Don’t rush the process. Although the market has improved, it may take awhile to find the perfect property. Trust the agent you are working with to find you the right home and to negotiate on your behalf to make sure you secure it.

#RealEstate investing can be tricky—especially if you are in the market for #LuxuryProperty. If you are interested in buying or selling property in Lake Arrowhead, California or the surrounding area, don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. Recently named the exclusive Lake Arrowhead member of Leverage Global Partners, we are perfectly positioned to help you take advantage of today’s luxury market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

Lake Arrowhead — Nature Calling

Nature CallingOften referred to as “The Jewel of Southern California,” Lake Arrowhead is the perfect vacation-destination for anyone who likes to hike or bike, swim or sail. In fact, Lake Arrowhead isn’t just for vacationeers who enjoy recreational activities. It’s a lovely place to call home. Whether you plan to visit for the day or live your entire life in the San Bernardino Mountains full time, there are plenty of healthy lifestyle-activities in and around the Lake Arrowhead Communities year-round. Here are a few:

The Lake Arrowhead communities extend from Arrowbear, Green Valley Lake, Sky Forest and Running Springs all the way to Crestline, Cedar Pines Park and Lake Gregory, with Lake Arrowhead, Cedar Glen, Twin Peaks and Rimforest in between. In each community, there are countless ways to enjoy the fresh air, pristine forests and natural wonders.

sailing

  1. Lake Arrowhead is a private lake; so visitors have very limited use of the lake. Nevertheless, you can tour the lake even if you’re just hanging out for the day by taking a ride on the Arrowhead Queen or booking a day trip to see the sites or enjoy water sports through the McKenzie Ski School.
    • Love lake life? Consider investing in vacation or full-time property in Lake Arrowhead Woods.
    • Cabins are more affordable than you probably think.
  1. Hiking Trails – There are several walking trails in the Lake Arrowhead area. For a map, click here for the Chamber of Commerce website Hiking Trails Map.
    • Forest visitors are required to display a National Forest Adventure Pass on the dashboard of their vehicle when it is parked any area of the San Bernardino National Forest for recreation purposes.
    • However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, passes are not required at sites where a fee is already charged, at ranger stations or visitor centers, when forest-goers are traveling through the forest without stopping, or when they are parked at a residence or other private organization. Discounts are available for senior citizens or people with disabilities who have a Golden Age Passport.
    • Passes are available at the Lake Arrowhead Ranger Station (909) 337-2444, at the Lake Arrowhead Visitors Center in Rim Forest and in many local businesses.biking
  2. Mountain Biking – No matter your skill or fitness level, you will be able to find a bicycling trail in Lake Arrowhead. Trails are offered at several different elevations and lengths.
  3. Equestrian Trails – Lake Arrowhead is a beautiful place to see on horseback. Click here for info about equine adventures.

  4. Snow Skiing at Snow Valley in Running Springs – Whether you choose to buy a one-day pass or commit to spending a season on the slopes, you will appreciate the runs at Snow Valley. And even if you or your kids aren’t experienced snowboarders or skiers, you could head to Snow Drift to take advantage of inexpensive inner tubing. This is a great option for anyone who might be tempted to pull to the side of the highway and let their kids play in the snow. Instead, check out Snow Drift for safety and fun!
  5. Wildhaven Ranch – If you and your family like animals, you won’t want to miss Wildhaven Ranch. A local wildlife sanctuary and educational center, Wildhaven is open at 1 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays by reservation only. A non-profit corporation, the ranch operates out of the San Bernardino Mountains Wildlife Society.

If you’re considering purchasing a second home anywhere, make sure you tour homes in Lake Arrowhead before making a final destination-decision. Wherever you want to buy property, real estate investing can be tricky—whether you are buying your first home, purchasing a vacation home, or upgrading from a starter. If you are interested in buying or selling property in Lake Arrowhead, California or the surrounding area, don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. So don’t miss a prime opportunity to take advantage of today’s market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.

Porsche Timeline in Lake Arrowhead Village

Porsche TimelineLooking for something fun to do this weekend in Southern California? Here is a fun, low-cost idea. Head up the hill to #LakeArrowheadVillage for the annual Porsche Timeline.

Since the event is free, all you’ll have to come up with is gas and spending money to tour the village, where 70 vintage, tricked-out Porsches representing several exciting models and styles from the early 50’s to 2015 will be on display. The public is invited, with or without a Porsche. And if you drive a Porsche but don’t want to register it, you will still be able to enjoy free, priority-Porsche-only parking in the Village parking lot. And this year’s event is especially noteworthy because it ushers in the first weekend of Oktoberfest, where food and fun reign supreme.

The 2014 Lake Arrowhead Village Porsche Timeline is sponsored by Porsche Riverside Region Club of America.

The 2014 Lake Arrowhead Village Porsche Timeline is sponsored by Porsche Riverside Region Club of America.

Sponsored by the Riverside Our Region, which was founded in March 1968, the timeline event incorporates enthusiasts from the Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial counties of Southern California, extending into the high desert north towards Las Vegas and south throughout the southern deserts, including Palm Springs. The Riverside Porsche region is the largest group within the PCA Zone 8 of Southern California, representing approximately 600 members. What that means for tourists in #LakeArrowheadVillage is that more Porsches will be parked this weekend than at virtually any other So Cal event. So the nice thing about the #LakeArrowhead event is that it gives permission to peek at Porsches…something most people do every time they see one in a lot or on the street.

Porsche owners will be able to take advantage of expert-information about vehicle services and discounts offered by regional Porsche dealers and independent service and parts vendors. Even Porsche members who are not yet a member of PCA, and Porsche lookie loos are invited to come on by and “kick some tires” and join the fun! Also, as usual in Lake Arrowhead, there are tons of outlet and specialty stores, restaurants and activities on Center Stage.

Once you’ve checked out the Porsche Timeline, you might decide to invest in a vacation or full-time home. But real estate investing can be tricky—whether you are buying your first home, purchasing a vacation home, or upgrading from a starter. If you are interested in buying or selling property in Lake Arrowhead, California or the surrounding area, don’t get caught in a Catch 22 — owning two homes or none at all. The Prime Team is the only group of real estate agents in the Lake Arrowhead area who stand by our services by offering a number of guaranteed sales and purchasing programs. So don’t miss a prime opportunity to take advantage of today’s market. We’ll answer all of your questions today, and you’re never under any obligation. Call 1-909-337-7653 and ask for a member of the Prime Team.