Take the Worry Out of Homebuying

August 26th, 2013

Although housing prices started to rebound last year and are expected to continue rising in 2013, it’s still
a buyer’s market. Prices remain 30 percent below their peak before the housing crash and mortgage
rates hovering at all-time lows. If you are ready to jump in to the real estate market, here are five things
you need to do before you start looking for a home.

1. Run the numbers.

Put together a financial plan to determine how much home you can really
afford to buy. That way you don’t waste time looking at homes beyond your price range and
you start out with reasonable expectations.

2. Clean up your credit.
Since you most likely will need to get a mortgage to buy a house, you must make sure
your credit history is as clean as possible. A few months before you start house hunting,
get copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you
discover.

3. Weigh your options locally
Use this great “rent vs. buy” calculator from the New York Times to see whether buying or
renting might be the better deal in your area.

4.  Before house hunting, get pre-approved.
Getting pre-approved will you save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford and put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Not to be confused with pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, preapproval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history.

5. If you can’t put down the usual 20 percent, you may still qualify for a loan.
There are a variety of public and private lenders who, if you qualify, offer low-interest
mortgages that require a small down payment. Keep your downpayment fund in cash or cash
equivalent accounts, so that market movements don’t thwart your plans.

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Brandywine Homes to Break Ground on Multifamily Development Project in Buena Park, California

August 16th, 2013

BUENA PARK, CA – Brandywine Homes, known for blending single-family infill projects into existing neighborhoods, has closed escrow on its latest multifamily development.

The project of two-bedroom single-level flats and two-story townhomes will be located on 1.1 acres on Knott Avenue just north of Orangethorpe Avenue in Buena Park.

The new 22-unit community will target couples and young families and is expected to help address the shortage of affordable housing in Orange County, where apartment vacancy rates are low and rents in some areas are at historic highs.

“With the economy improving, the demand for rental properties is stronger than it has been in years,” said Dave Barisic, vice president of sales and marketing for the 18-year-old homebuilding company. “People who’ve been living with relatives or friends still may be reluctant to buy. But, increasingly, they’re looking for their own place to rent.” Read More >

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Homebuyer Tip: We’ve Moved – settling into your new home

August 13th, 2013

You’ve just finished moving into your new home. It’s been hectic, stressful and exciting, but now it’s time to kick back and enjoy the new digs.

Alas, the settling-in phase involves more than arranging furniture and unpacking boxes.

Here are some must-dos when you move from A to B, according to the HGTV FrontDoor and ZipRealty websites:

1. Change your address:  You can visit the local post office – it’s handy to know where it’s located
– or go to the U.S. Postal Service website to complete a change of address form. Contact banks
and financial companies to let them know you’ve moved.

2. Transfer utilities and services. Change electricity, gas, water, cable, phone and Internet to your
new address.

3. Secure your home.  Have a locksmith switch out outside door locks; change the garage door
opener codes; and keep valuable papers in a secure location or off site.

4. Check safety features. Make sure devices such as smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors,
fire extinguishers, etc. are working.

5. Locate the main circuit breaker. Make sure it’s clearly labeled so you know which breaker turns
off which area. Also, find water shutoffs.

6. Explore the area. Check out the nearest grocery store, park, gas station, bank, hospital, library
school, etc.

7. Research services. Find out who provides trash or recycling services and the schedule for your
neighborhood.

8. Vehicle information. Locate and contact your local DMV to change your driver’s license and
vehicle information.

9. Be civic. Register to vote.

10. Be neighborly.  Meet the neighbors.

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Bisnow Orange County “Development – Buena Park Townhomes”

August 12th, 2013

The Deal Sheet

Brandywine Homes closed escrow on its latest multifamily development. The 22-unit project will incude two-bedroom single-level flats and two-story townhomes located on 1.1 acres on Knott Ave just north of Orangethorpe Ave in Buena Park. The units, designed by LSA Architecture, will be about 1,000 SF. Construction is slated to begin next summer.

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Multi-Housing News “Brandywine Homes to Break Ground on Calif. Community”

August 5th, 2013

Buena Park, Calif.—Though it usually concentrates on single-family homes, Brandywine Homes recently closed escrow on a multifamily community in Buena Park, Calif.

The 22-unit community will include two-bedroom single-level apartments and two-story townhouses and will be located on 1.1 acres. The units, which will be designed by LSA Architecture, will include granite countertops, as well as washers and dryers. Amenities will include a tot lot and barbecue area.

Read More >

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Green Living Tip | Staying dry: Drought renews interest in water conservation

August 5th, 2013

Everyone has at least a little bit of green in them.  It might be as simple as switching off a light to save electricity or as committed as recycling every scrap of paper, plastic or aluminum foil that comes your way.

But what about water? Are you as careful about using only what you need as you are about, say, turning off the iron when you leave your apartment? (Or going back to make sure you did.)

As author Charles Fishman notes in his book, “The Big Thirst,” water is the most familiar natural resource and the most important substance in our lives.  But we often take it for granted.  It’s cheap, safe and always there when we turn on the faucet.

“The ease with which water enters and leaves our lives allows us an indifference to our water supply,” he writes. “We are utterly ignorant of our own water-mark, of the amount of water required to float us through the day, and we are utterly indifferent to the mark our daily life leaves on the water supply.”

But the images of cracked fields and withered crops resulting from the drought that still grips a good deal of the country has nudged water – or more precisely the lack of it – into the national conversation.  And the word that keeps popping up in that conversation is conservation.

Let’s begin with one way we all use water. The typical American, on average, flushes the toilet five times a day at home, using 18.5 gallons, Fishman says. Every day as a nation 5.7 billion gallons of clean water is flushed down the toilet, according to Fishman.

Now consider what happens if you place a filled plastic water bottle in a conventional toilet water tank, one that uses three to seven gallons per flush. That simple act will displace enough water to save half a gallon to a gallon each use – and that’s no drop in the bucket (sorry).

Here are a few more tips from Water – Use it Wisely that every apartment dweller can employ to save H2O:

  • Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables, and then reuse it to water houseplants.
  • Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
  • Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month. Turn off the water while you shave and save up to 300 gallons a month.
  • Drop your tissue in the trash instead of flushing it.
  • For hanging baskets, planters and pots, place ice cubes under the moss or dirt to give your plants a cool drink of water and help eliminate water overflow.

The freshwater initiative of National Geographic has plenty of information and tips and an eye-opening water footprint calculator.

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Multifamilybiz.com “Brandywine Homes to Break Ground on Multifamily Development Project in Buena Park, California”

August 2nd, 2013

BUENA PARK, CA – Brandywine Homes, known for blending single-family infill projects into existing neighborhoods, has closed escrow on its latest multifamily development.

The project of two-bedroom single-level flats and two-story townhomes will be located on 1.1 acres on Knott Avenue just north of Orangethorpe Avenue in Buena Park.

The new 22-unit community will target couples and young families and is expected to help address the shortage of affordable housing in Orange County, where apartment vacancy rates are low and rents in some areas are at historic highs.

Read More >

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