4 reasons Google+ beats out Facebook for real estate

March 25th, 2013

Are homebuyers drifting away from Facebook? You read about it more and more, people making plans to cut back their time, if not take a full on vacation from one of social media’s biggest platforms. Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and truly analyze what’s happening not only with productivity but the relationships you are building for your business. This blog post from Inman Next makes the case that Google Plus might be a better way to reach your customers.

http://next.inman.com/2013/02/4-reasons-google-beats-out-facebook-for-real-estate/#sthash.SVQyuAWM.dpuf

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5 Important Tax Benefits of Homeownership

March 18th, 2013

by: Scott Schang, FindMyWayHome.com

With tax season upon us, it’s a good time to talk about the tax benefits of home ownership.

2012 brought a lot of talk of tax credits being taken away from homeowners, but as of this writing there are 5 tax breaks and exemptions that should be considered by anyone that has recently purchased, or is thinking of purchasing a new home.

Mortgage Interest is the elephant in the room and one of the biggest tax benefits of homeownership.  Under current IRS rules, you are allowed to write off the interest you pay on your primary or second home loan.

Points and Discount Points paid out to secure a lower interest rate can also be tax deductible.  These fees are not always fully deductible in the year that you took out the loan.  Consult your CPA or accountant, or the IRS link below for guidelines and exceptions.

Property Taxes are another major deduction available to homeowners.  One important thing to take note of is that money collected in an escrow account is not tax deductible, only taxes actually paid by the lender (or yourself) during the current tax year for which you are filing.

Mortgage Insurance is once again tax deductible for borrowers with an adjusted gross income of $100,000 or less.  This deduction expired in 2011, and was reinstated on December 31st, 2012.  The tax deductibility of mortgage insurance was extended to December 31st, 2013, and made retroactive for tax filing year 2012.

Capital Gains Exemptions may not always be included in the conversation about the benefits of homeownership because you do not realize the tax break until you sell the home.  If you’ve lived in your primary residence for 2 of the last 5 prior to selling it, a married couple is eligible to a tax exemption on the first $500,000 of capital gains.  Single, or married couples filing separately can claim $250,000.

Add into the mix home prices in California that have dropped significantly in the past 5 years, and record low interest rates, and you’ve got a perfect storm for homeownership.

Disclaimer: I am an informed and empowered consumer, like you.  This is not tax advice, and I am not a licensed tax accountant.  Please consult a tax consultant to discuss your individual eligibility.

To do more research on your own, here is a link to the IRS website
Publication 936 (2012), Home Mortgage Interest Deduction
http://www.irs.gov/publications/p936/ar02.html#en_US_2012_publink1000229944

 

 

 

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OC Register “Brandywine Homes buys site in Fullerton”

March 17th, 2013

Brandywine Homes, a residential developer headquartered in Irvine, has acquired a defunct Dodge dealership in Fullerton with plans to build new townhomes.

The company paid $3.25 million for the 2.7 acre site at 1110 W. Orangethorpe Ave., the former home of Fullerton Dodge. Corepointe Capital previously owned the property.

Brandywine Homes acquired a former Dodge dealership at 1110 W. Orangethorpe Ave. in Fullerton for $3.25 million.

“It’s just been sitting idle,” said Brett Whitehead, Brandywine’s president. “It’s blighted because of it, and the city wanted to see it cleaned up.

“The whole site will be demolished. It’s reallygoing to clean up that area and transform that area.”

The firm, founded in 1994, plans to build 52 three-story townhomes on the site.

Whitehead said he expects models to be built within six months and homes to be ready for sale by the end of the year.

Brandywine is currently seeking approval for an unrelated development of 51 townhomes near the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda.

 

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OC Register “52-home project proposed for Orangethorpe Ave.”

March 13th, 2013

A plan to fill an abandoned lot with 52 townhouse-style condominium units on Orangethorpe Avenue got the nod from the Fullerton City Planning Commission and next goes to City Council for approval.

Developer Brandywine Homes is proposing to build on the 2.7-acre site that has been vacant since 2009. The land was previously a car dealership and is surrounded by commercial and residential property. The specific location for the proposed development is 1030 and 1110 W. Orangethorpe Ave.

“Fullerton is a great central location where people want to live,” said David Barisic, Brandywine Homes vice president. “There are fantastic schools and it has great access to jobs with close proximity to LA County, Orange County and even easy access to the Inland Empire.”

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World Construction Network “Brandywine Homes to develop new residential project in California”

March 12th, 2013

US-based Brandywine Homes has announced plans to develop a new residential community in the South Euclid-West Orangethorpe neighbourhood in Fullerton, California.

The project will be developed on a 2.76-acre site in South Euclid-West Orangethorpe Area, which the company has acquired to deliver the project. The project involves development of 52 townhomes and apartments.

The project will comprise three- and four-bedroom townhomes, which would range from 1,720 square feet to 1,950 square feet. The company is also offering one casita with its own entrance, kitchenette, bedroom and living area in one of the floor plans.

The third-floor flats would be accessible by elevator. All the homes will have granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and energy-efficient tankless water heaters. The project has been designed by KTGY.

Subject to the approval of the City of Fullerton, the company plans to break ground on the project in May 2013 and open first model home in November 2013.

 

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At what point should we involve the custom homebuilder?

March 11th, 2013

Trends in Customer Homebuilding in Orange County

If we are planning to build a custom home, at what point should we involve the custom homebuilder in the process?

This is a very personal decision.  Many homeowners purchase their parcel of land or house to be torn down and go through the whole architectural planning process before hiring a custom homebuilder.  Others may have hired a custom homebuilder at the very beginning of the process – most likely a homebuilder who they already feel comfortable with or have a previous relationship with.

Our goal is to get involved in the process as early as possible.  We certainly don’t pretend to be architects or land planners, but we do have decades or real world experience that can give valuable insight into the planning process.

 

MARK WHITEHEAD, VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS FOR BRANDYWINE CUSTOM HOMES

The attention to quality construction and detail that Whitehead brings to his role with our company is one of the reasons many of our customers have purchased second and third Brandywine homes.

As vice president of operations, Whitehead’s duties include overseeing construction, purchasing and customer service. Since joining our company in 1995, he has established long-term relationships with material suppliers and subcontractors which have allowed Brandywine Homes to benefit from master contracts. This helps to minimize construction costs while maintaining a quality that shows in every completed home, which is a testament to the quality control and attention to customer service that Brandywine demands.

Whitehead learned the business from the ground up by working as a field superintendent overseeing daily operations and construction of various communities in Southern California.

His ability to work closely with municipal officials during the entitlement process sets the stage for Brandywine and cities to work together to create cohesive communities.

 

 

 

 

 

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Brandywine Homes Proposes Development Near Nixon Library, OC Register

March 7th, 2013

Housing development proposed near Nixon Library

By DANIEL LANGHORNE / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER March 6, 2013

A developer is seeking approval from the city to build 51 townhomes across the street from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum, but it could be months before it is allowed to break ground.

Brett Whitehead, president and chief financial officer of Brandywine Homes, said project’s site plan for the 5.1acre project at Yorba Linda Boulevard and Eureka Avenue is being reviewed by the city’s planning department. The Planning Commission last heard a presentation on the development back in December and Whitehead said he hopes to bring the proposal back to the commissioners for a final vote within 60 days.

“I thought it was a good looking project,” said Dennis Equitz, chairman of the Planning Commission. “I thought it fit in well there.”
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BRANDYWINE HOMES ACQUIRES 2.76 ACRES IN FULLERTON’S

March 6th, 2013

Infill Developer Seeking City Approval for 52 Townhomes and Flats in Popular Established Urban Neighborhood

FULLERTON, Calif. – March 6, 2013 – Brandywine Homes has acquired 2.76 acres in the popular South Euclid-West Orangethorpe neighborhood and has asked for city approval to build 52 for-sale townhomes and flats.

The development is in a well-established, older urban area where the vast majority of homes were built in the post-World War II era from the 1940s through 1969. Solidly middle-class, the Euclid-Orangethorpe area is stable, ethnically diverse and centrally located.

If approved by the City Council, which is expected to consider building approvals at its next meeting on March 19, it would be Brandywine’s first new home community in Fullerton.
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Brandywine Ranked No. 9 in OCBJ Annual Builder List

March 6th, 2013

Homebuilders Up 3%, Still Well Shy of Peak Years

Century Village: 53-unit townhome project by Brandywine Homes in Garden Grove is sold out as construction wraps up

Mark Mueller Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Irvine Ranch continued to be the primary source of sales in Orange County’s slowly improving new-home market last year.

The county’s 26 largest homebuilders sold 1,822 new single-family homes and condos in 2012, a nearly 3% increase from a year earlier, according to this week’s Business Journal list.

Single-family homes sales—which made up about 68% of all the new home sales here in 2012—saw their second straight year of increases. Stand-alone home sales, which totaled 1,240, were up more than 4% from a year ago.

Lower-priced condo and townhouse sales, which had made up a majority of the region’s new sales every year between 2006 and 2010, saw their second-straight year of declines.

There were 582 attached home sales here in 2012, a less-than-1% decline from year-ago levels.

Data for this year’s list was provided by the Costa Mesa offices of Washington, D.C.-based real estate research firm Hanley Wood LLC, and was augmented by data from individual builders and the Business Journal.

The 3% uptick in sales still left the local industry with its fifth-consecutive year with sales of less than 2,000 new homes. That’s less than half the new home sales that OC saw a decade ago amid the last big home construction surge.

New home sales here regularly topped the 10,000 mark in the mid-1990s. As many as 15,000 deals a year was the norm in the late 1980s.

Those totals aren’t likely to be topped any time soon, but besting the 2,000-home sale mark appears more than attainable in 2013.

Several new masterplanned projects plan to kick off sales this year, including major developments being overseen by Rancho Mission Viejo LLC and FivePoint Communities Management Inc.

Read More >

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Green Living: Dishwasher Debate: Scrape, or Rinse?

March 4th, 2013

Ask a group of people if it’s best to rinse – or simply scrape — the dishes before loading them into the dishwasher, and you’re likely to get a discussion worthy of the U.N. Council on Foreign Affairs.

For the final word, we consulted the American Council for an Energy Efficient America.  That group’s advice – whether you’re buying a new dishwasher or using an existing one —  is as follows:

  • Avoid Hand-Washing

Studies are showing more and more that, when used to maximize energy-saving features, modern dishwashers can outperform all but the most frugal hand washers.

  • Scrape, Don’t Rinse

Studies show that most people pre-rinse dishes before loading them into the dishwasher, even though dishwashers purchased within the last 5–10 years do a superb job of cleaning even heavily soiled dishes. If you find you must rinse dishes first, get in the habit of using cold water.

  • Follow Manufacturer Instructions

Completely fill the racks to optimize water and energy use, but allow proper water circulation for adequate cleaning.

  • Wash Only Full Loads

The dishwasher uses the same amount of water whether it’s half-full or completely full, so nothing will save more energy than waiting to run your dishwasher. If you find that it takes a day or two to get a full load, use the rinse and hold feature common on newer models. This will prevent build up of dried-on food while saving time and water compared to pre-rinsing each item. The rinse feature typically uses only 1 to 2 gallons of water.

  • Use Energy-Saving Cycle Options

Pay attention to the cycle options on your dishwasher and select the cycle that requires the least amount of energy for the job. Use the no-heat air-dry feature on your dishwasher if it has one.

  • Turn Down the Water Heater Temperature

Since the early 1990s, most dishwashers in the U.S. have been sold with built-in heaters to boost water temperature to 140–145 degrees, the temperature recommended by manufacturers for optimum dishwashing performance. The advantage to the booster heater is that you can turn down your water heater thermostat to 120 dergees (typically half-way between the “medium” and “low” settings).

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