How to Buy a House Before it's Listed

If you want to find and buy your dream home, you'll have to wait until it hits the market and is advertised on popular mediums like the MLS, right?

Should I Sell or Rent Out My Home?

You’re considering selling your home and moving into a new one that better suits your needs and situation. But is selling the only option on the table?

INFOGRAPHIC: NAR’s Existing Home Sales Report For May 2018

The median price for a home across the US reached a new high this past May, though overall sales were down slightly. Here are some other pertinent stats about the housing market in the US as compiled by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

8 Most Common Issues Home Inspectors Find

Home inspections typically accompany real estate deals, giving buyers an opportunity to check out the house in greater detail with a professional in an effort to uncover any problems that may not have been detected during the initial visit.

9 Walkway Tips For Your Outdoor Space

The addition of a walkway in an outdoor space can both add visual interest and create a functional and convenient means of getting around the yard.

9 Landscaping Ideas For Small Outdoor Spaces

Not every homeowner is blessed with oodles of outdoor space outside their home, but even the smallest yards can be just enough to enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer.

7 Signs There's a Problem With Your Home's Crawl Space

Aside from storing a bunch of your belongings, you probably don't give your crawl space much thought. But while you might not actually spend any time down there, your crawl space is still an important part of your home that requires some level of attention.

How Long is the Escrow Process?

You've found a home you love, put in an offer, and the seller accepted it. That's half the battle, but the process isn't yet complete. There are still some hoops to jump through in order for the deal to close.

How to Measure the Square Footage of Your Home

If you're selling your home in the near future, one thing that you will want to find out is its exact size. Your home's square footage is a critical element in establishing the listing price of your home.

8 Reasons Why Sellers Regret Not Selling With a Real Estate Agent

No one said that selling real estate was cheap. In fact, it can be downright expensive. Because of the potentially hefty price tag associated with selling, many sellers may be tempted to go it alone without the help of a seasoned real estate agent in an effort to save some money in commissions.

13 Ways to Boost Curb Appeal For Less Than $100

Your home's curb appeal plays a key role in its perceived value. Whether you just want to improve the look of your home to appease your tastes or are looking to attract more buyers as a seller, it all starts with amazing curb appeal.

INFOGRAPHIC: Your Home Inspection Checklist

Don't miss the opportunity to have the home you plan to purchase inspected before you finalize a real estate contract. Before you close on a deal, make sure the following components are checked out during the home inspection.

8 Signs of a Pest Problem in a Home

As a buyer, you'll want to scope out a home in great detail before you agree to put in an offer. But one more thing you'll want to add to the list of things to check out when house hunting is a potential pest infestation. The following are some telltale signs that a home is likely infested with pests.

Can a Load-Bearing Wall Be Removed When Renovating?

Open concept floor plans have become incredibly popular among homeowners and buyers. As such, many homeowners have been opting to knock out existing walls in their homes in order to swap their traditional segmented layout for something more open and free-flowing. But before taking a sledgehammer to a wall, it's imperative to make sure that it's not a load-bearing one.

INFOGRAPHIC: First-Time Homebuyer Stats

What do today's first-time homebuyers look like? The following stats will help paint that picture, as compiled by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

How to Find a Reputable Contractor For Your Home

Whether you're looking to improve your living space to better suit your lifestyle or want to spruce up your home before putting it up on the market, sometimes a little professional help is needed. Unless you're extremely handy and a licensed contractor yourself, many times it's necessary to call in the pros when it's time to tackle a home improvement job.

How Long Does the Closing Process Take on a Home Sale?

Whether you're on the buying or selling end of a real estate deal, you probably have a specific date in mind for when you'd like the deal to close. But generally speaking, closing shouldn't be too quick nor too long.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For February 2018

The real estate market in California made strides in February with sales improving from January, as well as from the same time last year. Here are some statistics surrounding the housing market in California for February 2018, as compiled by the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

8 Tips to Maximize Your Chances of Profiting When Selling

Every home seller wants to get as much money as they can from their sale. If you've owned your home for a while and the real estate market in your area is healthy, odds are your home is worth a lot more than what you paid for it. But there are other ways for you to increase your profits even more.

8 Renting Myths, Debunked

Whether you're currently on the prowl for a rental unit or are just casually considering renting, there’s a lot to think about. The thing is, there's a lot of information about renting floating around out there, much of which is true, and a lot that isn't.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For January 2018

January's housing market in California was characterized by a lag in home sales thanks to the continued shortage of inventory across the state. Here are some stats surrounding the market in the Golden State in January 2018, as compiled by the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

7 Things Mortgage Brokers Want Borrowers to Know

Just the thought of having to go through the mortgage process after deciding to buy a home can seem daunting for the average buyer. It can seem like a complicated process with all of the numbers and calculations involved.

What is a Kick-Out Clause in a Real Estate Contract?

Many buyers are not able to afford the purchase of a new house until their current home sells first. Once their home sells, they can use the proceeds of their sale to be put towards to the purchase price of a new home. Even those who may be able to afford a new home without first selling their current property might not necessarily want to carry two mortgages until their current home finds a buyer.

INFOGRAPHIC: 14 Real Estate Terms All Buyers Should Know

As a buyer, you'd be well-advised to understand certain terms in the real estate world that directly affect buyers. Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure to familiarize yourself with the following terminology.

7 Risks of Selling a Home Without an Agent

Selling a home is undoubtedly an expensive endeavor, but it can be even more costly if you go it alone. Without the help of a real estate agent, you could find yourself making some expensive mistakes and missing out on lucrative opportunities.

7 Types of Ceiling Styles to Consider

When it comes to remodeling or decorating a room, the ceiling is one of those often-overlooked components. Yet ceilings play a key role in the overall look of a space and should be given its deserved attention.

INFOGRAPHIC: 11 Common Myths About Buying a Condo

Owning a condo is an attractive option for buyers for many reasons: it's more affordable and easier to maintain compared to single-family homes. However, those who are unfamiliar with condos might have some misconceptions about owning one.

6 Reasons to Come Up With a Large Down Payment

Buying a home is undoubtedly a massive purchase that requires a substantial amount of money up front in the form of a down payment. But it can be tough to come up with a lump sum of money. As such, many homebuyers choose to buy homes with minimum down payment amounts, such as 5% down, 3.5% down, and even 0% down in some cases.

Sellers: How to Respond to Lowball Offers

The goal for every seller is to sell for top dollar within a reasonable amount of time. But it can be pretty disheartening to find out that there's an offer on the table only to find out you've been lowballed.

9 Things to Know About Buying Pre-Construction Homes

There are obvious perks to buying a brand new home; namely, new materials, the ability to customize to your liking, and the potential to buy at pre-construction prices. But as convenient as new home construction may be, there are certain things that buyers should be wary of when buying a new home from a builder.

INFOGRAPHIC: 16 Guidelines to Follow For a Well-Organized Home

Unless you've hired a daily cleaning service to come in and tidy up after you, maintaining the cleanliness and organization of your home is your responsibility. But it can be easy to fall behind on keeping up with the clutter that has a tendency to build up in our homes.

7 Ways to Eliminate Pet Odors Before Listing

You might be sharing your home with a furry friend or two, but those cute critters have a tendency of leaving foul odors behind. While you might not notice these smells that much, buyers will. Here are some ways to help you get rid of those awful scents before the first prospective buyer walks through your front door.

6 Reasons Why Sellers Reject Buyer Offers

If you've submitted an offer on a home that you fell in love with after viewing several properties, it can be pretty disheartening to have it rejected by the seller. As it turns out, there are several reasons why sellers reject offers from buyers, including the following.

6 Mistakes Buyers Make at Open Houses

If you're serious about buying, you should use an open house to your advantage to see if a particular property has what it takes to warrant another showing and perhaps a bonafide offer. To make the most of an open house as a buyer, make sure to avoid making any one of the following blunders.

7 Reasons Your Credit Score Dropped

Your credit score is a critical component of your financial health, so you want to make sure it's as high as it can be. If it's in bad shape, you'll find it difficult to get approved for a mortgage, auto loan, and other loans on credit.

INFOGRAPHIC: Housing Outlook For 2018

Experts in the real estate field anticipate a healthy year ahead for the housing market. Demand is expected to be strong, new home builders are more optimistic, and a slight alleviation in the inventory shortage is anticipated. Here are some predictions for the US housing market as we head into 2018.

Self-Employed? Here's How to Boost the Odds of Mortgage Approval

You don't have to toss out your dreams of buying a home and getting a mortgage just because you work for yourself. If you are confident that you can handle a mortgage, there are several things you can do to increase the chances of getting approved for a home loan.

7 Lessons First-Time Buyers Learn When Purchasing a Home

Buying a home for the first time comes with its own set of lessons to be learned and potential mistakes to be made. Here are some of the more common lessons first-time homebuyers have learned from their own experiences that you may want to take into consideration.

How to Buy and Sell at the Same Time

Listing your current home for sale while purchasing a new property can be a real challenge if you don't have all your ducks in a row. Unless the closing dates between the two deals coincide perfectly, there's always the chance of either carrying two mortgages or being stuck without a place to live until the deal on your new home purchase closes. To ensure everything runs seamlessly, a few steps should be taken. Here are some factors to consider when buying and selling a home simultaneously.

INFOGRAPHIC: 14 Real Estate Marketing Statistics

When it comes to the world of real estate marketing, technology plays a key role. More and more people are going online to search for their homes, while real estate agents are taking notice and are increasingly using the internet to market their listings and services. Here are some interesting stats surrounding real estate marketing in 2017.

The Latest Trends in Man Caves

Everybody needs their own space from time to time. For men, the "man cave" has long been a place to retreat to when a little time with the boys is on the agenda. But man caves don't have to be dungeon-like when it comes to their design and ambiance. Today's man cave is much more sophisticated and stylish, not to mention a lot more convenient.

Possible Tax Breaks For California Renters

With housing prices being as high as they are in California - especially in certain centers such as the San Francisco Bay Area - many residents of the state are choosing to rent.

Top-Ranked Workplaces in California

There are plenty of awesome companies out there to work for, and Californians have the great benefit of having many of them headquartered right here in the Golden State. From unlimited time off work to on-site play facilities, the following companies have amazing perks that make them some of the top-ranked workplaces in California.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For October 2017

Home sales in the Golden State lost a little bit of steam this past October, with both pending home sales and median statewide prices dipping. Here are the numbers characterizing California sales activity for October 2017, as gathered by the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

9 Simple Hacks to Creating a Less Wasteful House

You’d be amazed - or even disappointed - at how much waste your home might be responsible for creating. In fact, the average American produces about 4.4. pounds of garbage every single day, which amounts to over 700,000 tons of trash produced daily based on the national population.

Tips For Brightening Up Dark Spaces

Even rooms that are generous in square footage can seem dark. And with the days continuing to shorten and fewer daylight hours available to brighten things up, things can get pretty gloomy indoors.

Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure an Option When You Default on Your Mortgage

Despite the fact that the prevalence of foreclosures has decreased since the housing crash a decade ago, it still happens quite often. Fortunately, there are ways to curb foreclosure proceedings if you find yourself in default of your mortgage, and one alternative is to work out what's known as a 'deed in lieu of foreclosure'.

California Sales Report For September 2017

The sales activity in September across California continues to maintain its strength month-to-month and year-over-year. Here are some stats covering California sales activity for September 2017 as compiled by the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

Best Waterfront Towns in California

California is known to have some of the best beaches in the world, giving both locals and tourists the pick of the litter. With so many awesome beach towns to choose from, it can be tough to decide which one to visit first or even plant roots in. Among all the beach towns in California, these are some of the best.

8 Tips For Selling a Unique Home

Selling a cookie-cutter house can be a challenge because you've got to go the extra mile to make it unique enough to stand out from the rest. But what about when your home is so unique and quirky that buyers find it downright strange?

NAR's Stats on the Home Search Process in 2017

Since the emergence of the internet, the home search process has transformed significantly from years ago. Technology has been the single biggest influence on the change in how buyers search for their next home to buy.

Outdoor Kitchen Trends in Luxury Homes

Luxury homes are loaded with plenty of over-the-top amenities, but one that has become a staple in these expensive properties are lavish outdoor kitchens. More and more homeowners are spending an increasing amount of time in their kitchens preparing meals and entertaining guests, and outdoor kitchens have simply extended that useful space beyond the interior walls.

INFOGRAPHIC: Home Financing Trends in 2017

When it comes to buying a home, financing the purchase is a critical component of the overall transaction. Here are some interesting home financing stats as gathered by the National Association of Realtors' Research Department.

Tips on Making the Most of Your Fall Listing

We're officially smack dab in the middle of the fall season and are inching closer and closer to the holidays. While you're busy making your list of ingredients for your holiday dinner and running around picking up gifts for your loved ones, there are plenty of things that need to be done if you're planning to sell during this season.

INFOGRAPHIC: Home Selling Trends Across the U.S. in 2017

Thanks large in part to the lack of housing inventory in California, home prices have skyrocketed over the years. This puts home sellers in a great position to realize huge profits, especially if they've held onto their properties for a few years and allowed appreciated to boost value.

Using Houzz and Pinterest to For Your Next Home Improvement Project

Everyone's heard of Houzz and Pinterest, but these sites are a lot more than just a vast collection of online images. They also serve as fabulous resources for homeowners who need a little inspiration and help coming up with a solid plan for their next home improvement project.

INFOGRAPHIC: Top 11 Reasons Home Renovations Go Over Budget

Contractors provide homeowners with an estimate of cost for specific home renovation projects, but this number can easily be inflated when all is said and done. Here are the top reasons why renovations tend to go way over budget.

When is it a Good Time For a Cash-Out Refinance?

Many homeowners throughout the country have built up enough equity in their homes that can be pulled out and used for many of life's major expenses. Yet while there are various ways to get that money out, one popular way is through a cash-out refinance.

Why You Should Think About a Home's Resale Value When You're Buying it

When you're buying a new home, the last thing you're probably thinking about is selling it. But not only should you consider how well the home will suit your lifestyle, you should also be thinking about how easy it will be to sell at some point in the future and what its potential value will be.

What Real Estate Investors Need to Know About the 1031 Exchanges

As a real estate investor, you're likely already aware of the tax implications of selling investment properties and the profits made from such transactions. Normally when an investment property is sold for more than what was paid for it, capital gains tax needs to be paid on the profit. This can take a huge chunk off of your bottom line, but there's this little thing called a 1031 exchange that can help keep some of that money back in your pocket.

INFOGRAPHIC: Top 20 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in California

While you would think most people in California drive to all their destinations, there are plenty of communities throughout the Golden State that have extremely high walkability scores, making it easy for residents to access all amenities with just an easy stroll.

Tips For Comparing Mortgage Loans With Different Lenders

When it comes to obtaining a mortgage for a home purchase, you don't necessarily have to use your everyday bank. Instead, you might be better off comparing mortgage packages with various lenders to see where you can get the best deal.

How to Finally Get Rid of PMI Insurance on Your Mortgage

If you took out a conventional mortgage, your monthly payment will consist of more than just principal and interest components. You'll also be stuck paying for PMI, or Private Mortgage Insurance, if you purchased your home with a down payment less than 20%.

6 Kitchen Design Trends Sellers Should Consider

No buyer is going to want to put up a huge sum of money to purchase a home that they don't like, unless they're specifically looking for a fixer-upper. If your goal as a seller is to sell your home as quickly as possible, your best bet is to prep it in such a way that buyers can't help but fall in love with your place. The more attracted buyers are to your home, the more likely they'll be enticed to put in a handsome offer.

INFOGRAPHIC: 14 Things To Do During Your Final Wall-Through

After offer acceptance, anything can happen during escrow, and you don't want to be stuck with issues that you didn't agree to adopt. Here are some critical things you should be doing during that extremely important final walk-through.

7 Quick Tips for Buying Your Second Home

Everyone needs a getaway every once in a while, and a change of scenery can be just what's needed to refresh and unwind. But sometimes having to book a hotel or chalet can be a bit of a challenge, especially during peak seasons when availability is scarce and prices are through the roof. In cases like these, having your own retreat that you can visit at the drop of a hat can be a lot more convenient.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For July 2017

The housing market in California got off to a slow start in home sales over the third quarter of 2017. Median prices also dipped in July from the month before, though they continue to grow year-over-year.

Negotiating Repair Requests From Sellers

Unless the home you're buying is fresh off the builder's hands, it's likely going to have some blemishes, no matter how minor they may be. Ideally, you should have included a home inspection contingency in your purchase agreement, which will give you the opportunity to have the home inspected in greater detail.

7 Myths Vs. Facts About Your Credit Score

If you're planning on applying for a conventional mortgage, you're going to need a decent credit score before applying. Generally speaking, anything over 620 is needed to get approved for a conventional mortgage, though a lower score is fine for other types of government-backed home loans.

INFOGRAPHIC: How is Your Credit Score Broken Down?

Your credit score plays a huge role in your eligibility to qualify for a mortgage. If you're planning to buy a home in the near future, you'd be well-advised to understand exactly how it's broken down.

What is Covered Under Home Warranty Plans?

Many purchases that you make come with the option to buy a warranty in the event that the product is damaged, such as small appliances and electronics. This helps cover the cost of repair should they break down so you're not paying out of pocket.

Tips to Identifying Issues That Sellers May Be Trying to Keep Hidden

When you're visiting several homes in search of the perfect one to put an offer on, you're not just looking at the layout, esthetics, and size of the home and surrounding property. While these components are certainly important, it's essential that you keep your eye out for potential issues with the home that could leave you with big, expensive problems on your hands.

10 Ways to Create an Extravagant-Looking Bathroom (On a Budget)

Flipping through home design magazines and catching a glimpse of some extravagant bathrooms can easily get you drooling over the possibilities for your own bathroom redesign. But with bathroom renovations easily tipping into the thousands, it can be tricky to revamp this important little space while sticking to your budget.

Tips to Counter a Lowball Offer on Your Home

As a seller, getting an offer on your home is exciting, especially if it comes soon after listing your property for sale. But just because there's an offer on the table doesn't necessarily means it's going to be a good one. Unfortunately, lowball offers happen, more often than sellers would prefer.

How Do BPO's Determine the Value of a Home?

Plenty of factors impact the value of a property. From its location, to its size, and everything in between, a home's value is determined by a multitude of components, and bank appraisers will come up with this value according to current market conditions before a sale is made.

INFOGRAPHIC: This is Where All the Energy is Going in Your Home

Out of all the energy consumption in the U.S., about 40% is used by residential and commercial properties. More specifically, residences rank third highest in energy consumption in the country. Given these stats, what is all this energy going towards in the average American home?

10 Unique Materials to Use For Your Kitchen Backsplash

Today's modern kitchen backsplash is no longer limited to the traditional types of materials. These days, the options for backsplashes are seemingly endless and provide a plethora of choices for homeowners to create a truly unique kitchen space.

Should You Buy a Starter Home or Wait to Buy Your "Forever" Home?

Given the prices of homes these days, it's no wonder many homebuyer hopefuls choose to get into the market by purchasing smaller, more modest homes that are on the affordable end of the spectrum. After a few years of building equity and allowing time to appreciate the value of the home, there will be a lot more capital available to put into purchasing a larger, more suitable "forever home."

6 Tips to Ensure a Prompt Closing

The entire homebuying process can take a long time. Imagine all the homes you have to look at before you find "the one." Even after you've negotiated a deal and your offer is accepted, there's still the escrow period to have to go through, which can be a lengthy process itself.

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Vacation Property

Having the flexibility to head over to your very own retreat without having to find availability is fantastic. It's like home away from home, a place that you can set up as you please and outfit with all the things you need when you're away from your primary residence.

Important Deadlines in Real Estate Contracts That Can't Be Missed

A real estate contract can be confusing for both buyers and sellers, especially for first-timers. Not only is there plenty of jargon that many may not be familiar with, there are also many deadlines stipulated that must be met. Failure for these deadlines to be satisfied can result in a dead deal, which is why it's essential that all necessary parties do their due diligence to meet these milestones.

7 Rookie Seller Mistakes That Can Prevent a Successful Sale

Your home is a huge investment, so you obviously want the sale to be as successful as it can be. Unfortunately, many newbie sellers can actually sabotage their own sales without even realizing it. If you want to give yourself the highest odds of selling your home quickly and for the highest sale price possible, make sure you avoid making these rookie home selling mistakes.

How the Mortgage Process Works When Buying a Home

When it comes to buying a home, a mortgage is almost always a part of the process. But as common as they are, mortgages can often be highly confusing. That said, it's in your best interests to become familiar with the mortgage process, regardless of whether you're a first-time buyer or have bought and sold many times in the past.

8 Tips For Selling a Unique Home

Selling a cookie-cutter house can be a challenge because you've got to go the extra mile to make it unique enough to stand out from the rest. But what about when your home is so unique and quirky that buyers find it downright strange?

6 Questions Every Buyer Should Ask the Seller Before Move-in Day

There are obviously plenty of questions that you should ask sellers before you even put in an offer on a home. This will help ensure that you're making a sound buying decision. After all, this is a huge investment that should only be done with due diligence.

How a Pre-Listing Home Inspection Can Speed Up the Real Estate Transaction

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The majority of residential real estate contracts typically come with a contingency that allows the buyer to have the home inspected by a professional before the deal is sealed. Buyers usually pay for this service themselves, while sellers simply allow them to book a few hours to inspect the home from top to bottom. So, if the buyer is arranging - and paying for - a home inspection, why should you as a seller pay to have your own pre-inspection done?

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For April 2017

After a strong first quarter in 2017 for sales in California, the second quarter started off a tad slow. While sales improved in higher-priced housing segments across the state, they slowed in lower-priced markets. Having said that, the median home price in California has been trending upward every year since March 2012 and is currently at its highest level in almost a decade.

What's the Difference Between Market and Assessed Value?

If you're planning to sell your home some time soon, knowing its current market value is extremely important in order to price your home right. Of course, many sellers tend to believe that their homes are worth a lot more than what they really are. But it's not wise to establish a listing price based solely on what you might think your property is worth.

Buying a Home With a Pool? You Should Have it Inspected

A swimming pool is not exactly a foreign feature among homes. In fact, if you're looking to buy a home, the odds of finding one with a pool are pretty high, especially further south. And just like any other component in a home, they're subject to break down over time.

5 Savvy Tips to Packing Delicate Items When You Move

The odds of your most fragile belongings suffering damage during a big move are pretty high if the necessary precautions aren't taken into consideration. It's vital that you take the time to properly package and label your delicate items in order to make sure that they arrive to their final destination in one piece.

6 Signs Your HOA Might Be in Bad Shape

Condominium living might not be for everyone, but there are definite perks to them, including affordability, desirable location, and access to amenities. They're particularly well suited for those who like the idea of having someone else take care of many aspects of their property for them.

Myths Vs. Facts About Home Appraisals

Appraisals are almost always a part of a real estate transaction, but many buyers and sellers often have misconceptions about what they are and how they're carried out. Even those who have some experience buying and selling in the past may still be misinformed about appraisals.

10 Factors That Affect Your Home Appraisal

Before your lender approves your home loan, the property you agreed to purchase will need to be appraised first. Your lender will want to get an objective and professional assessment of the home's actual market value before matching that price with a home loan.

What Are Bridge Loans and How Do They Work?

If you’ve bought a new home that closes before your current home does, you may be stuck with the responsibility of paying for two homes for a brief period of time. As daunting as that might sound, you may be able to arrange for a bridge loan to help alleviate this financial burden.

How to Make Sure Your Home Sells Faster Than Others on the Block

Having the only home on the block that's up for sale means less competition for you. But what happens when one or more of the neighbors decide to follow suit and plant their own For Sale signs on their front lawns? How can you compete to make sure your home stands out from the crowd?

6 Reasons You Were Turned Down For a Mortgage

The prospect of buying a home is an exciting one, but a rejected mortgage application can put a damper on things. Instead of wallowing in despair, look at this situation as a learning experience. Find out why you were denied a mortgage, then take the steps required to make the necessary changes.

6 Questions to Ask Before Converting Your Attic Into a Usable Space

If adding some livable space in your home in on your agenda, then transforming your attic into a usable area may be just the ticket. Rather than going through the trouble of building a completely new addition to your home, converting your attic will likely take a lot less work.

5 Tips For Moving With Kids in Tow

Moving isn't exactly fun or easy, but this is even more true when you've got young children to contend with. It can be tough to have to deal with packing, purging, organizing, and all the other tasks that come with a big move while trying to entertain your kids and keep them out of everything you're trying to haul out.

INFOGRAPHIC: 12 Tips to Holding a Successful Estate Sale

Whether you’re moving out of your current home or are just looking to purge a bunch of stuff you no longer use, an estate sale can be a great way to clear out things you no longer use and even help you make a good chunk of change at the same time.

6 Signs Your Home is Listed Too High

As a seller, the first thing your should understand is that the price point you list your home at will determine how successful your sale will be.

What You Need to Know About Buying a Home on a Golf Course

Most people would automatically assume that a home located directly on a golf course would be worth much more than a similar home on a block that isn’t, and they'd be right most of the time. The idea of having crisp, clear views of pristine, meticulously maintained greenery is often enough to prompt buyers to up the ante in terms of offer prices.

How Smart Home Technology Affects the Real Estate Industry

When homeowners make improvements on their homes, it’s in their best interests to choose upgrades that will bring them the biggest ROI come sale time. Traditionally, a new coat of paint, a kitchen reface, and new hardwood flooring have been the frontrunners in this department.

6 Design Trends That Buyers Don’t Like

When it comes to selling your home, impressions matter. Ideally, you want buyers to be impressed with your home's look and functionality when they see its listing photos or attend a showing or open house. Your home should look its absolute best when it’s on the market in order to boost the odds of a quick sale at a decent sale price.

6 Mistakes Novice House Flippers Are Often Guilty of

When it comes to making some money with a fix and flip, every dollar spent counts. There just isn’t any room to make big mistakes or else your profits will quickly fizzle. But just like anything else in life, experience can teach you a great deal, including when it comes to fixing and flipping. The most successful house flippers in the world made their own mistakes that cost them thousands of dollars when they were just starting out.

Tax Blunders That First-Time Homeowners Make

When Uncle Sam comes knocking on your door, it can be pretty painful to have to part with some of your hard-earned money. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep some of that money in your pocket instead of handing it over to the IRS (the legal way), and your home can provide you with plenty of tax incentives. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t take full advantage of all of the tax incentives that come with owning property.

What Considerations Should Be Made When Adding a Skylight to Your Home?

Nothing beats natural light. A dark and dingy room can easily be light-filled by installing a skylight, if the space permits. Skylights offer a unique way to introduce more natural light into a home and bring the outdoors in. In fact, they can let in over three times as much natural light compared to conventional vertical windows of the same size, and distribute it more evenly.

What is an Exclusive Right to Sell Listing?

There are different types of listing agreements that sellers can choose from when it comes time to sell their homes. But the most popular type of listing by far is the “exclusive right to sell” listing. In fact, it’s not very often that another type of listing contract is used in real estate.

How Prorations Are Handled in Real Estate Transactions

It’s not uncommon for real estate contracts to include prorations for both buyers and sellers. Prorations exist to reasonably divide any expenses related to the property, including property taxes, HOA dues, mortgage interest, utilities, and so forth so that both parties are not stuck paying for more than their fair portion.

INFOGRAPHIC: 8 Habits to Improve Your Credit Rating

Having poor credit can make it tough for you to buy a car, get a small business loan, and be approved for a mortgage. If your credit is lagging, there are habits that you can adopt today to improve it.

Should You Purchase Extra Coverage on Mover’s Insurance?

Relocating can be stressful, especially when you consider the idea that total strangers are handling many of your delicate, valuable belongings. While movers are professionals in their particular trade and are well skilled and experienced in transporting goods during moves, anything can happen.

INFOGRAPHIC: Tips for Filing a Disaster Claim on Your Insurance

You pay for your homeowner’s insurance, but at no time do you ever want to have to file a claim as a result of a major disaster. If you find yourself in this position, make sure you keep the following tips in mind when putting in a claim with you insurance provider.

Solar Panels: Should You Lease or Buy?

Solar panel systems can offer a great way to scale back your utility bills while helping the environment at the same time. But their upfront costs can be pretty pricey: a typical four-kilowatt system for an average-size home in California can cost anywhere between $15,000 to $35,000. However, there are some rebates that you might be eligible for that can offset these costs.

What is Considered a Fixture in Real Estate?

The issue of what constitutes a ‘fixture’ in a home and what doesn’t has been the source of many conflicts in real estate. What the buyer might believe is a fixture and should come with the house might not be considered a fixture by the seller.

INFOGRAPHIC: C.A.R.’s End-of-Year December Sales and Price Stats

The housing market in California may have struggled as a result of a squeeze on inventory and affordability issues, but it ended off 2016 in a healthy position. Sales may not have been their strongest in December, but home prices remained high at the close of the year.

Sell or Rent Out Your Home? How to Decide

Whatever your reason may be for wanting to relocate, selling is typically on the agenda. However, you might not necessarily have to give up title to the property in favor of another home. While selling is certainly a popular and viable option, you may also want to consider the possibility of retaining ownership of the home and renting it out instead.

INFOGRAPHIC: Costs Involved in a Bathroom Remodel

Depending on the scope of your bathroom remodeling job, the costs can vary a great deal. A number of factors can affect the overall price, including the details of the job, the materials used, and even the area you live in.

What’s the Difference Between a Promissory Note and a Mortgage?

You’ve likely heard of a mortgage, but are you familiar with something called a “promissory note?” When you take out a home loan, not only will you need to sign a mortgage, you will also need to sign a document known as a promissory note. The question is, what exactly is this? Isn’t it really the same thing as a mortgage?

Common Restrictive Covenants in an HOA

If you’ve decided to buy a home in a planned community that’s governed by a homeowners' association (HOA), then you're probably already familiar with the fact that there are certain rules that need to be followed in order to live there.

What’s the Difference Between Staging Your Home and Decorating it?

When it comes to interior decorating and home staging, it all comes down to who you're trying to impress: yourself (the current homeowner) or the buyer (the future homeowner). When you’ve got your home on the market for sale, you need to create a space that speaks to the tastes, needs, and wants of prospective buyers that will be looking at it.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Things Sellers Should Know When Evaluating Offers in California

Getting offers on your home is very exciting and promising, and brings you one step closer to a done deal. But before you accept, you’ll need to analyze the offer in great detail in order to ensure you’re agreeing to something that meets your best interests. Here are 10 important things you should pay attention to when evaluating offers for your home.

9 Ways to Make Your Cookie-Cutter Home More Unique

Living in the suburbs offers plenty of benefits to homeowners, including more space, newer home features, and access to family-friendly amenities. But there are also some downsides, including the fact that many of the homes in these communities look almost identical to each other inside and out.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Fast Facts About Home Buying

Buying a home is a big deal, and can be pretty complex and overwhelming if you don’t team yourself up with a real estate professional. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t come out on the other side of a real estate transaction successfully.

7 Decor and Design Predictions For the New Year

2017 is here, and what better way to start the new year than to revamp your home’s interior. Whether subtle in nature or an all-out overhaul, there are plenty of fabulous new interior design trends on the horizon that you might want to consider implementing into your home.

The Process of Going From Putting an Offer to Closing Escrow

Buying a home is a big deal, and is typically an involved process, especially during the time between offer acceptance and the actual closing. “Escrow” is basically when a neutral third party holds on your earnest deposit until all contingencies are met in a real estate transaction.

6 Things to Consider When Designing an Outdoor Kitchen

Californians have the distinct advantage of being able to enjoy the outdoors year-round thanks to the mild climate in the state. Considering this fact, adding an outdoor kitchen can help homeowners maximize the enjoyment of their outdoor space.

7 Tips For Selling Your First Home

Regardless of how long you’ve lived in your first home, selling for the very first time can be a daunting task if it's not done right. While there are certain factors that you can’t do much about - such as the current market conditions and your location - there are plenty of other components to the selling process that you have total control over, which can significantly impact the end result.

How to Curb Condensation in Your Home’s Crawl Space

Even the slightest bit of condensation built up in your home’s crawlspace can wreak havoc on your enter home. Water that’s allowed to sit for extended periods of time can cause a whole slew of problems in your home, including musty smells, efflorescence (crystaline deposits), rotting material, mold, and a cracked foundation.

6 Things You Can’t Hide From Your Landlord

When you're renting your home, your landlord doesn’t need to know what brand your television is, what you stock your fridge with, or who you invite over for dinner; nor does your landlord particularly care.

5 Ways to Revamp Your Bathroom Without a Whole Remodeling Job

Bathrooms might be tucked away from public view, but they are one of the most important spaces in a home, especially when it comes to property value. And just like any other room in the home, they need to be updated and spruced up every so often.

How to Handle a Low-Ball Offer on Your Home

One of the biggest fears that sellers have is receiving an offer that’s well under the listing price. Homeowners typically have a dollar figure in their minds that they want to sell their properties for, and if an initial offer comes in well under that price, it’s obviously frustrating and even insulting.

Get Your Timing Right With Adjustable Mortgages

When it comes mortgages, you’ve got plenty of options, including an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). Their competitive interest rates attract plenty of homebuyers, but choosing an adjustable rate mortgage just because of its advertised rate isn't always a good idea if your specific financial situation doesn't call for it.

9 Savvy Tactics Home Stagers Use to Attract Buyers

It’s a fact: homes that are professionally staged sell faster and for more money than homes that are not. But why is that? What exactly are home stagers doing that can command such a result?

7 Best Small Cities in California to Live in

When people think of the Golden State, their thoughts likely head to popular centers, like Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Diego. While these are certainly amazing places to dwell, there’s something quite special about the smaller cities in California that offer residents a fantastic lifestyle surrounded by natural beauty, be it the mountains or the coastline.

The Dangers of Over-Improving Your Home

Sure, most homeowners want their home to be up-to-date and attractive, and often that means making some changes and improvements to it. But while many projects can have positive effects on the functionality of a home, its visual esthetics, and the overall value of the property, others, on the other hand, are just over-the-top, and can actually have a negative impact on how prospective buyers see your home.

Should You Put Hardwood Flooring in the Kitchen?

One of the fastest growing trends in kitchen designs is hardwood on the floors. Although tile has long been the most popular choice for practicality purposes, more and more homeowners are opting for hardwood instead.

INFOGRAPHIC: California’s Housing Market Forecast For 2017

The housing market in California has dipped somewhat in 2016 so far. However, it’s expected to experience a slight increase in 2017 along with continued housing affordability issues and inventory shortages, according to the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.).

Using Price-Per-Square-Foot Analysis to Price a Home

Listing your home at the right price is critical. Pricing too high or too low can keep your home on the market a lot longer than you’d like, and can even leave thousands of dollars on the table.

INFOGRAPHIC: Housing Affordability Stats in California

A continued increase in housing prices and lagging new home development in California have continued to make it more difficult for buyers to afford a home purchase. Lower mortgage interest rates were unable to balance out the seasonal increases in housing prices, further continuing the extended housing affordability crisis in the Golden State.

Selling? These Are Your Disclosure Obligations

If your home has a specific problem that could affect the enjoyment of the new homeowner or even lower the property’s value, you’ll need to disclose it. If you fail to do this and a major problem arises as a result of that particular issue after the buyer purchases and moves into the home, you could find yourself in legal hot water.

15 Moving Tips That Will Streamline the Whole Process

The thought of moving into a new home can quickly go from exciting to overwhelming when you think about all the stuff that needs to be hauled from one place to another. The moving process isn’t exactly a fun time, but there are some things you can do to make the process a lot easier and less stressful.

What You Need to Know About Your Earnest Deposit on a Home Purchase

Every home purchase transaction should be initiated with an earnest deposit to the seller. In fact, it’s rare for sellers to accept offers without a deposit. This monetary offering essentially tells the sellers that buyers are serious about purchasing the home, and shows their willingness to meet all of the clauses detailed in the contract.

Stats on California’s August Housing Market

The real estate market in California lost a bit of momentum in August as a result of continued issues with housing affordability and a shortage of inventory, according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR). While home sales have managed to stay over the 400,000 pace for five straight months, sales have decreased year-over-year for the sixth month in a row.

8 Essential Items Your Home Renovation Contract Should Include

It would be nice to be able to trust your contractor’s word when you’re having work done on your home, but a written contract really is the only way to go. Having everything in writing can ensure that every party involved fully and clearly understands what is expected of them. It keeps the job running smoothly and ensures that everyone agrees on what should be done and when.

7 Dangers That May Be Lurking in Your Yard

Everyone loves a well-manicured lawn and lush landscaping. It commands pride in ownership, boost the esthetics of a home, and even adds a certain amount of value to a property. But did you know that lurking within your prized yard may be plants that could be potentially hazardous to you, your family, and your pets?

Be Prepared For These Things When Gutting Your Home

The prospect of having a brand new interior is exciting. The things about your home that have been irking you can finally be changed and updated. With a little planning and budgeting, your dream home isn’t too far off.

How to Maintain Your Home’s Exterior Stucco

There are plenty of reasons why stucco is so popular among homeowners: it’s durable, it’s easy to maintain, and it looks good. If it’s applied properly, stucco can last as much as 50 years, as long as it’s well taken care of.

INFOGRAPHIC: Interesting Stats About Millennial Buyers

Millennials are currently the largest group of homebuyers out there, and have been for the third year in a row. Making up 35% of the home buying demographic in the US, Generation Y buyers make up more than younger and older baby boomers combined.

Home Remodeling Projects: How Much Do They Really Cost?

When it comes to homes, styles change and features come more innovative. So it’s pretty unlikely that whatever state your home is in now will be up to snuff in a decade or so. At that point (or probably sooner), you’ll be looking to update the finishes or improve the functionality of your space. The thing is, these kinds of tasks costs money, and budget always rears its ugly head when the need for a big revamp in a home is called for.

6 Reasons Your Home Isn’t Selling

Has your home been on the market for a while and hasn’t attracted a serious buyer? There could be any number of reasons for that. In the meantime, you’re wasting time and money carrying the home while the listing continues to become increasingly stale by the day.

Rent or Buy? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself

When it’s time to move, you may be faced with the decision to either buy or rent. This conundrum isn’t just reserved for young adults moving out of their parents’ homes, but also to empty nesters or professionals who are relocating for a new job opportunity.

No Credit? How to Build it From the Ground Up

Having poor credit isn’t a good thing, but neither is having no credit at all. Getting approved for a mortgage - or any other type of loan, for that matter - is pretty much an impossible feat if the lender has nothing to go on. How will your lender know if you'll be good for the money if you don't have a history of responsible repayment? While you may be avoiding debt like the plague, you’re also failing to build up any sort of credit whatsoever.

Buying a Model Home: Good or Bad Idea?

Home builders know how to wow potential buyers. When developing brand new subdivision, the home they put on show is loaded from top to bottom with all the bells and whistles. The coveted model home not only helps entice buyers into purchasing a home, but also to dish out more money for upgrades.

Top Things Buyers and Sellers Want From Their Real Estate Agents

Buyers and sellers tend to have a long list of demands when it comes to real estate transactions, and so they should. After all, the buying and selling process can be pretty complex, so anything that can streamline the process would be welcomed. The way real estate agents conduct themselves and handle situations can make a huge difference between a smooth transaction and a frustrating one.

How is Big Data Changing the Real Estate Industry?

Every industry - including real estate - can benefit immensely from big data. These massive data sets have long been used in the financial and healthcare industries with great success, providing invaluable information about human behavior and interactions, as well as critical patterns and trends among consumers.

How to Restructure Your Mortgage to Save a Ton of Money

Whether you’re having trouble making your mortgage payments each month, are looking to free up a little more cash to put it towards something else, or want to save money in interest over the life of your loan, there are ways to lower your monthly mortgage payments.

First-Timer Mortgage Mistakes to Avoid

The majority of Americans out there who are buying homes will have to assume a huge debt in the form of a mortgage. Considering the magnitude of this type of loan, you definitely want to make sure you’re making the best decision before you take it on.

California Commercial Property Boom Showing Signs of Cooling Off

The commercial real estate market in California has been a strong one over the recent past thanks to job and income growth, affordable financing rates, and limited building construction. In fact, the values of commercial real estate are more than double what they were back in 2009 following the financial crisis.

Ways to Prevent Going Over-Budget on a Remodel

There’s no one easy equation to use to determine exactly how much a home renovation will cost. You can’t just multiply a specific unit price and multiply it by the square footage of the area you plan to remodel.

10 Natural Remedies to Keep Bugs and Pests Away From Your Home

Summer is typically a time for holidays, backyard BBQ’s, pool time, and just lounging on your deck. But it’s also a time when the bugs like to come out and play, at the expense of your outdoor enjoyment. If all you’re doing is swatting and shooing, it's time to do something about the problem.

How Using a Licensed Real Estate Agent Can Legally Protect You

No matter which side of the real estate coin you happen to be on, it’s worth it to have a licensed real estate agent represent you. Buying and selling come with their own set of challenges, which can leave you vulnerable to liability should you make the wrong move. A realtor will make sure you’re protected at all times.

Clever Tips to Stage & Sell Your Home When You Have Small Kids

Keeping your home in pristine condition while it’s on the market is one of the biggest challenges that most sellers face. It can be tough to continue to live your daily lives while trying to make your home look like nobody’s been living in it.

5 Extra Costs When Buying a New Construction Home

Buying a house is an expensive endeavor, obviously. But when it comes to big a completely new home from a builder, there are plenty more costs that you’ll be responsible for that you wouldn’t necessarily have to cover with a resale.

What Do Your Property Taxes Dollars Go Towards?

If you’re like many other property owners, you likely cringe when you get your property tax assessment in the mail. But as annoying as it may be to have to open your wallet to pay these pesky taxes, they do actually serve an important purpose.

INFOGRAPHIC: 9 Ideas For Low-Maintenance Landscaping

When it comes to your landscaping, you want to be able to spend more time enjoying it and less time slaving over it. But it all comes down to careful planning and designing, and what you choose to include in your garden.

Baby Boomers: Just As Likely to Upsize as Downsize?

Baby boomers who are approaching or have already entered their retirement years have traditionally been known to downsize. Not having as much property to take care of and minimizing the number of stairs that have to be climbed are generally the traits that tend to change once the Golden Years arrive.

5 Reasons to Relocate to California

No other state in the US is more mesmerizing and dream-catching than the coveted state of California. Sunny days, yummy foods, a diverse culture, and a laid-back lifestyle make California the land of opportunity.

Common Building Code Violations: Is Your Home Up to Snuff?

Building codes might seem like a nuisance for homeowners, but they’re there for a reason: safety. Many homeowners might not be aware of the building codes they need to follow, which not only puts them at risk for paying fines, but also makes them vulnerable to injury and even death.

Buyer’s Guide to Jumbo Mortgages

If you’re planning on purchasing a high-priced home and leveraging the majority of the money to pay for it, you’ll likely need a jumbo mortgage. Almost 90% of mortgages are backed by either one of two major government-sponsored enterprises: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Part of the remaining 10% are considered jumbo mortgages, a home loan option for expensive homes that approach the $1 million mark and beyond.

What You Should Know About Having a Co-Signer on Your Mortgage

Bad credit. Insufficient income. Inadequate down payment. These reasons - and many more - can stand in the way of getting approved for a conventional home loan. Many would-be homeowners often turn to others as co-signers in order to get approved for the mortgage they so desire.

6 Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector

It’s a no-brainer: there are very few instances where you wouldn’t insert a home inspection clause in a contract to purchase a home. A property may look flawless on the surface, but you just never know what’s lurking in the attic or in the electrical panel. The best way to protect yourself from a potential money pit is to hire a home inspector to take an in-depth look at the property in question before you seal the deal.

Why Did My Mortgage Payments Increase?

Just because you’ve locked into a fixed-rate mortgage doesn’t mean your mortgage payments won’t change some time in the future. This can come as an unpleasant surprise, especially when you’re trying to manage a budget. If you’ve allocated a specific chunk of your income to your mortgage, your budget can be thrown for a loop when these payments increase.

California Suburbs Expanding, But Supply is Still Tight

Population growth continues to swell in many centers across the state of California, and while the big cities have typically been the focus of major population growth, this trend is now expanding to surrounding suburbs.

Can the Presidential Election Affect the Housing Market?

The current presidential election is definitely an interesting one, capturing the attention of not just Americans, but people across the globe. We’re still quite a ways away from November when the 58th Presidential Election Day takes place on the 8th, which means things are only going to get even more heated.

Silicon Valley Housing Market Finally Cools Off After Extended Price Climbs

Are we finally seeing a slowdown in the Silicon Valley housing market? Data seems to suggest so. After record-breaking price climbs in the luxury housing market over the past few years, it looks like the tech-rich strip in the Golden State is finally entering a cooling off period. Homes over the $5 million mark took an average of 16 days to sell in April, compared to 11 and 10 days during the same months in 2015 and 2014, respectively.

Buyers and Sellers Beware: Signs of Real Estate Scams to Be Aware of

Savvy scammers are always on the lookout for a way to swindle money from unsuspecting victims, and the real estate industry is by no means off limits. Of course, the overwhelming majority of buyers, sellers, agents, landlords, and others involved in real estate transactions are honest, but there are a few bad apples out there who spoil the bushel.

Buyers: 6 Things to Know About the New "Know Before You Owe" Rule

If you’ve ever bought a home in the past, you’ve likely experienced some level of confusion over the cumbersome mortgage documents that came along with the transaction. Going through this paperwork can be like reading a foreign language. Many buyers have complained about confusing terminology, inconsistencies in information, and inadequate time to go through and understand the mortgage documents before signing on the dotted line.

INFOGRAPHIC: Exterior Upgrades That Can Boost Your Property Value

Many sellers tend to focus on the interior of their homes to impress buyers, which is great. But while this is an excellent idea to help boost property value - and thereby help sell your home faster and for more money - it’s important not to gloss over the exterior.

INFOGRAPHIC: 18 Curb Appeal Ideas to Help Attract Prospective Buyers

The first thing that prospective homebuyers see when they visit your home is the exterior. From the lawn, to the bushes, to the walkways, and finally to the front door, all these components make up the ‘curb appeal’ of your home, which you want to be certain is nothing short of impressive. Some buyers can be so turned off by the front lawn of a home that they don’t even bother checking out what’s behind the front door.

6 Trends Fueling the Current Real Estate Market

Spring has notoriously been prime time for the real estate market, and in certain centers, it’s been a particularly heated one for a while now. With an improvement in the labor market over recent months already playing its part in driving the housing market, experts believe many other trends will add fuel to the fire.

8 Tips For Baby Proofing Your Home

One minute your little one is depending on you to flip her on her belly, and the next minute she’s crawling out of her crib. Babies can quickly become mobile in the blink of an eye, so it’s best to be prepared before they let their curiosity compromise their safety.

Understand Your Easement Rights on Your Property

Just because your name is on title of the new home you’ve purchased doesn’t necessarily mean that no one else has any legal right to a portion of your lot. It’s called an easement, and it can give your neighbors and other entities a right to access a certain part of your land in some circumstances.

How to Make Your Garden More Eco Friendly

The truth is, there are plenty of ways that a garden can be both wasteful and even harmful. From the pesticides that can be used to all the water spent keeping plants hydrated, some gardens can use a total revamp when it comes to being more friendly to the environment.

5 Things Your Neighbor’s Home Sale Can Tell You

The truth is, there’s a lot that you can learn from the sale of homes on the block. Regardless of where you live and the market in your area, similar homes that have recently sold in your neighborhood can provide you with a wealth of information that can come in really handy when you list your home for sale.

How Reverse Mortgages Can Help Retirees Short on Cash

Saving up for retirement is something that everyone should start working towards the moment they enter the workforce. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Life can throw curveballs at us, from unexpected medical emergencies to a sudden job loss. And with so many baby boomers reaching retirement age over the recent past and into the foreseeable future, there’s great concern that many of them won’t be able to live comfortably throughout retirement, or even meet basic needs.

9 Mortgage Mistakes to Avoid

The mortgage process is a potentially complicated one. During the underwriting process, a number of obstacles can get in the way of your approval. And considering the huge commitment, it’s crucial that you make sure the mortgage you get into is one you can live comfortably with.

Sunny Southern States Experiencing Rapid Population Growth

Florida, Texas and California made up 27 percent of the population in 2015, yet were responsible for 48 percent of the population growth in the country from 2014 and 2015. Compared to the average population growth in the US since 2010, Texas experienced a 9.2 percent growth in population during that same time period, and Florida and California saw a growth rate of 7.8 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.

INFOGRAPHIC: 8 Signs of a Competitive Housing Market

Sellers revel when buyers are competing for their properties, but buyers themselves can often get disgruntled when they’re snuffed out of offer after offer. Landing the right home isn’t impossible during a competitive real estate market, however, as long as you’re aware of the circumstances you’re dealing with and come to the table prepared.

How Do Sky-High Property Values Impact Homebuyers?

This may come as no surprise in many markets, including California and New York. The median price of homes in the San Francisco Bay area hit $702,150, a 15.2% increase from the same time last year. Southern California saw a hefty boost in property values, with the median home price reaching $453,910, a 7.9% increase from last January.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Tips to Saving Up For a Down Payment

Even with a down payment as low as 3.5%, it can seem nearly impossible to scrape together thousands of dollars to put words a home purchase. It’s usually the down payment that stands in the way of many homebuyer-hopefuls’ dreams of being able to secure a mortgage. And when you factor in rent, credit card payments, student loans, and living expenses, saving up for a down payment can be even more of a challenge.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Things All First-Time Homebuyers Should Know

Buying your very first home is incredibly exciting, but it can also be pretty overwhelming, especially since the entire process is completely new. But despite your limited experience in the world of buying real estate, it’s critical that you make sure you are well-informed before making any decisions that could put you in a compromising position.

How Do You Know When a Building Permit is Necessary?

You know exactly what you want to do to improve your home: a kitchen renovation, a bathroom remodel, a finished basement . . . the list can go on. But having a vision and making it come to fruition isn’t as easy as hiring a contractor and picking out your finishes. There are plenty of steps - and obstacles - along the way, one of which is obtaining building permits.

INFOGRAPHIC: 11 Things to Ask Your Contractor Before the Renovations Start

Home renovations are no small feat, and can put a big dent in your bank account. Considering the huge expense, you want to be sure every dollar is spent wisely throughout the renovations. Knowing exactly what to expect before the project even begins will help prepare you for the project. And to make that happen, you should start off by asking your contractor a number of critical questions before the process starts.

5 Reasons to Beef Up Your Down Payment

Nowadays, there are options for homeowners to put a minimal down payment towards the purchase of a property. Amounts as little as 5%, 3.5%, and even zero percent have been pretty popular, particularly with first-timers who are trying to break into the housing market for the first time and don’t have the funds from a previous property to put towards another purchase. But while small down payments are definitely an option, they’re not the best choice if you want to be free of mortgage payments sooner rather than later.

How Soon After Foreclosure Can You Buy Again?

After the financial crisis hit the nation back in 2008, hundreds of thousands of families lost their homes to foreclosure. In fact, foreclosure filings skyrocketed over 81% that year compared to the year before. Getting approved for a mortgage is tough enough these days for any borrower, but it can be a lot more challenging with a foreclosure on the record.

Are Foreign Investors Upping the Competition With American Buyers?

Not only is there a serious lack of inventory in many parts of the US, there’s also a housing affordability issue at play. And depending on where you live, both of these matters combined spell trouble for the average American who is looking to get into the real estate market but can’t find the right property at the right price. How much do foreign investors have to do with this scenario?

Why Are Millennials Still on the Fence About Getting Into the Housing Market?

Millennials now make up the largest proportion of the population in the US at over 80 million. With so many of these 20- and 30-somethings, one could only assume that they’d simultaneously make up a large part of the real estate market. But that’s not necessarily the case. Millennials are taking their time testing the waters of the housing market, for a variety of reasons.

What’s Driving California Housing Prices Up?

Housing prices in California have long been higher than most other states in the US, and the gap just seems to be getting bigger. Unfortunately, that's driving many blue-collar and middle-class residents out of the state.

What’s the Difference Between a Mortgage Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval?

Real estate agents will often recommend that their clients get pre-approved for a mortgage before embarking on a home search. It gives buyers a better idea of how much they can comfortably afford, and gives sellers the peace of mind knowing that there’s a good chance that the buyers will be capable of obtaining financing for a streamlined deal.

Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off or Keep Refinancing?

Taking out a mortgage typically means making regular payments until the loan is paid off. But while this may have been the traditional way of looking at mortgages, many homeowners these days are choosing to keep their mortgages by refinancing to take advantage of certain benefits, such as getting a lower interest rate, using the equity to invest, consolidating debt, or taking advantage of tax deductions.

How to Sell Your Place While Your Tenants Are Still Living There

Whatever your reason for wanting to list your rental property for sale, having a tenant still living there while selling the place can definitely make the process a little more complex. But it’s not impossible, nor does it have to be a total nightmare if you play your cards right. While it might be a lot easier to wait until the lease expires and your tenants have vacated the premises, you might not necessarily have the luxury of time. Not everyone can necessarily afford to have the place vacant with zero income while the property is up for sale.

6 Things Burglars Don't Want Homeowners to Know

Every 15 seconds, a home is broken into and burglarized in the US. Thieves spend hours scoping out targets, and once they zero in on them, it takes less than 60 seconds to break in.

Infographic: Baby Boomers & The Real Estate Market

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Millennials get all the press these days, but Baby Boomers still have a larger impact on the real estate market than any other demographic. This excellent infographic sheds light on this generation’s ongoing influence over the housing market.