Five Real Estate Tips from Warren Buffett

November 26th, 2012

Home ownership seems like its escaping more and more people every day; however, the economy isn’t exactly an indication of whether or not you should buy — the time could be just right for you despite economic circumstances. People are buying homes every day, and when it comes to investing and home ownership, Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and the third richest man on Earth, might know a thing or two.  In this article on DailyFinance, Buffett gives tips and tricks on the home buying process and explains ways to buy smart so that your dream home doesn’t become your worst nightmare: [READ MORE…]



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How to Buy a Home After Bankruptcy, Short Sale or Foreclosure

November 23rd, 2012

As Dean of Homeownership University Online, Scott Schang is passionate about educating and empowering home buyers to make more informed decisions. You can find more of his articles at his website,


How to Buy a Home After Bankruptcy, Short Sale or Foreclosure

There’s no question the economy has not been kind for many California families. Bad things happen to good people and many folks fell victim to bankruptcy and lost a home either through short sale or foreclosure.

Buying a home after this type of financial hurdle may be much easier than you think. With the recent increase in bankruptcy and foreclosure filings, lenders are changing their guidelines to allow potential homeowners to get back in the real estate market faster. The following explains how these situations affect purchasing a home based on the new FHA guidelines.

After Bankruptcy, buy again using:

• FHA – 2 years from the discharge of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy
• FHA – 1 year from the discharge of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy

• VA – 2 years from the discharge of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy
• VA – Chapter 13 – conclusion of payments sufficient, or after 12 months of on-time payments with permission of trustee or bankruptcy judge

• Conventional – 4 years from the discharge of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy
• Conventional – 2 years from the discharge of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

NOTE: If you include a mortgage in your bankruptcy there is also a separate waiting period if you end up losing the home to short sale, deed in lieu, or foreclosure.

These waiting periods run concurrently if you filed bankruptcy as well, so the longer of the two waiting periods will determine eligibility.

After Short Sale or Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure, buy again using:

• FHA – 3 years from date deed of trust transfer completed

• VA – 2 years from date deed of trust transfer completed

• Conventional – 2 years from date deed of trust transfer completed if:

o 20% down payment | Minimum 680 credit score

• Conventional – 3 years from date deed of trust transfer completed if:

o 10% down payment | Minimum 680 credit score

After Foreclosure, buy again using:

• FHA – 3 years from date deed of trust transfer completed

• VA – 2 years from date deed of trust transfer completed

• Conventional – 7 years from date deed of trust transfer completed.

Understanding what the waiting periods are to buy a home after foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy can save you aggravation and money, as well as help you plan for the future.

Check out this great infographic from Credit Karma!

When Can I Get a Home Loan? – Infographic – An infographic by the team at Credit Karma


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Ask Our President: What’s Your Near Term Forecast for the Housing Industry?

November 19th, 2012

By Brett Whitehead
President – Brandywine Homes

It’s a challenging market, no doubt about it. But builders can find a way to sell homes as long as they pay close attention to their potential buyers. We’ve never subscribed to the idea that the same floor plan and the same marketing campaign will be effective in every situation. It just doesn’t work that way. Builders need to understand exactly what price point, what square footage, what location and what product type will speak to the buyers in a given community. When you understand all those elements, your homes will sell.

In fact, last year we closed a new community in Garden Grove with single family homes called Pomelo that very specifically targeted local buyers. In this instance, the homes responded to the importance buyers place on extended family. We designed downstairs bedrooms for in-laws, large great rooms for family gatherings, and unusually spacious backyards.

We are continually making adjustments large and small. For example, in 2008 we opened a community in Westminster and assumed our buyers would be couples with young families. But that wasn’t the case. We were attracting younger buyers without children, or couples with infants. So we quickly adjusted the floor plan in the model, converting one of the bedrooms into a home office. It worked. The prospective buyers suddenly had an easier time seeing themselves in the homes. We also altered our marketing efforts to reach a younger buyer. This meant different ads and different advertising vehicles.

Beyond designing homes that respond in a very smart way to buyer preferences – keeping in mind that those preferences differ from one group of buyers to the next – the real secret is job creation. The economy must continue to add jobs. Buyers want to know that they will have a good job a year from now. That certainty gives them the confidence to make the commitment to a new home.

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10 Feng Shui Tips for Your Home and Office

November 19th, 2012

Clear your clutter with feng shui, bring any additional sunlight you can get indoors and re-position your furniture to create a harmonious home. You can feel happier, healthier and attract more love and success by following some practical feng shui tips in your new home. Whether you’re a feng shui believer or not, today’s infographic has a few golden nuggets needed on the pursuit of happiness.

Give it a read and tell us what you think!

Feng Shui at Work
Designed by Feng Shui at Work

Pick at least one of these tips and try it out this month.

Thanks to Feng Shui at Work for This Post!

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Trends in Custom Home Building in Orange County: Why Now for Brandywine?

November 14th, 2012

When and why did Brandywine establish a custom home division, and how is that different from what you were doing before?

Brandywine Custom Homes was established in the spring of 2009.  Creating a custom homes division was an idea we’ve discussed for several years so when the decline of homebuilding hit coupled with several custom home opportunities, the process of launching this division was accelerated.  With land prices and labor costs at an all-time low, the price of a custom home in today’s market is a relative bargain.

Since our inception in 1994, Brandywine Homes has been strictly a production infill home builder and developer, producing between 25 and 100 homes per year.  Building a customized home for the homeowners’ exact standards and ideas is an art form.  Therefore, we set up Brandywine Custom Homes with a completely separate staff handpicked specifically for their experience in the world of custom homebuilding.

Is this a trend? Do we see other homebuilders expanding into custom homes, and if so, why? Presumably because new homebuilding and sales are close to record low levels, correct?

We don’t think custom home building will necessarily become a trend.  Most production homebuilders tend to avoid subdivisions smaller than 20 homes much less one-off custom homes.  There is a level of care and detail that many builders just aren’t staffed for.  We have always prided ourselves on our attention to detail and craftsmanship, even in our larger developments.  Although it took the addition of dedicated staff, the jump into the custom homes arena wasn’t as big as one might think.


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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How to improve your credit score

November 5th, 2012

Your credit score is an important factor when qualifying for a home loan. Lenders not only look at the scores reported by credit bureaus, but they also look at years of history outlined in your credit report: if payments were made on time, if you ever exceeded your credit limit, if loans have defaulted, and if collection agencies ever had to contact you. Are you aware of what your credit score says about you? Trulia shares 10 ways to improve your credit score: [READ MORE … ]

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