Condos Townhomes Homes 


30-Year Mortgage Rates Getting Closer To 4 Percent

The past several months have seen mortgage interest rates on all types of mortgages (fixed and adjustable rate) falling to levels unseen since the latter part of 2013.  For potential buyers interested in purchasing real estate in San Clemente, falling mortgage rates are welcome news as loans are getting cheaper with regards to monthly payments and total interest owed over the life of the loan.  What is incredible is that mortgage rates on a 30-year fixed loan are getting close to the magic 4% threshold.


According to the most recent mortgage data from CNN Money, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is 4.08%; this figure is down sharply from last week’s average rate of 4.25%.  For buyers looking for a shorter term mortgage that can afford the higher monthly payments, the 15-year rate is also down – 3.17% versus last week’s 3.23% interest rate.  In fact, it is currently a better idea from an interest rate perspective to get a 15-year fixed loan than it is a 5-year Adjustable Rate Mortgage; the current interest rate for a 5/1 ARM is 3.3%, and you only have this low rate for 5 years versus the 15 on the fixed rate loan.


Buying a San Clemente home or San Clemente condo is always a good investment, but these low interest rates make buying one in today’s market an even better option for buyers looking to finance their real estate purchases.  As the economy continues to improve, we will see mortgage interest rates begin to rise back into the 5% range, perhaps by the end of this year.  If you are still on the fence about purchasing your new San Clemente home, don’t wait too long or you will miss these great mortgage deals.

Sellers Should Make Their San Clemente Homes Smarter

The headline above may be one of the more random and confusing ones we’ve written in some time on San Clemente Coastal Living, but it will make sense to San Clemente home sellers once they understand what a “smart home” truly means.  A smart home is one where the owner hooks up the various automated systems throughout the home (heating/cooling, electrical components, lighting, etc.) into one system that may be controlled via computer, smartphone or other handheld device.  Simply put, the days of toggling light switches and A/C controls are over once you initiate a smart home system – a few touches on your phone, and you walk into a cool, well-lit home.


As technology improves, more and more homes are becoming smart homes, and this is something that is becoming increasingly popular amongst home buyers.  However, not all smart home components are created equal, as seen in a recent article from Builder Magazine (“What Consumers Want in Home Automation“).  The article sites a recent report survey conducted regarding smart homes and what is most important to consumers; out of those surveyed, 67% ranked security as the number one reason for having a smart home system (with every person surveyed stating that security is a “must have” in their smart home system).  People want to know what is going on in their homes at a moment’s notice, particularly if the alarm or smoke detector is activated.  With this sense of security comes other features, like being able to turn on the lights remotely or having the home ready for entry (door unlocked, alarm off, thermostat on).


If you are thinking of selling your San Clemente condo or home and do not have a smart home system in place, the survey results found in the article should force you to look at the system’s potential a little more closely.  In competitive real estate markets like we’ve seen over the past two years, it is always good to make your home stand out from others out there.  A smart home system will not break the bank but could mean more buyers and more money once you put your home on the market.

Previous San Clemente Home Owners Can Get Back In The Game

Selling your San Clemente home or condo at some point in time is practically a given – no one stays in their home forever.  However, the housing downturn from a few years ago saw thousands of San Clemente home owners lose their homes, not because they wanted to but because they had no choice.  The economic crisis destroyed the credit and incomes of millions of Americans, and those who could no longer afford their monthly mortgage payments were forced to sell their homes via short sale or foreclosure.  For many of these people, buying a home shortly after losing their previous one was not an option due to the massive hit their credit scores took with the added short sale or foreclosure.  However, a program introduced by the federal government last year may help previous San Clemente home owners realize their goals of owning a home or condo in this fair city again – and in a much shorter time frame.


This program, run by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), can help previous homeowners qualify for an FHA-insured mortgage on a new home purchase if they meet certain criteria.  The main aspect to qualifying for this program is that potential borrowers must show that they lost at least 20% of their monthly incomes for a minimum of 6 months and that this income loss was the reason they defaulted on their previous home loans.  Another qualifying point is that the borrower must have recovered from their previous income hardship and have maintained a clean credit record for at least one year.  The potential borrower will still have to meet the standard debt-to-income ratio requirements necessary for any home loan, but showing these hardship and recovery factors will provide leniency from the lender with regards to the short sale or foreclosure on their record.


There are currently 43 San Clemente homes for sale that would qualify for an FHA-insured loan based on the maximum loan limit of $625,500.  If you lost your San Clemente or condo due to economic hardship, we strongly recommend speaking with a lender to see if you may qualify for this program.  The last several years have been hard on everyone, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel – maybe this is the one you should follow.

San Clemente Real Estate Sales Peak In May

Once the winter months pass and spring rears its beautiful head, the San Clemente real estate market begins to flourish.  April marks the beginning of the busy home buying season that lasts through the end of summer.  While San Clemente home sales in 2014 have been down when compared to the last 2 years, April saw a sizable uptick from the previous few months, and May only continued this upward trend.


According to sales data from the Multiple Listing Service, there were 86 San Clemente condos and homes sold in May, the highest amount of real estate sales so far this year.  This represents a 6% increase over April’s sales but an 11% decrease from year-ago numbers; this year-over-year decrease should not be surprising as this is the 4th straight month where home sales are down compared to last year.  Out of the 86 properties sold, 65 of them were single family detached homes; basically every 3 out of 4 properties sold were detached homes.  Now that schools are letting out and the busy buying season is upon us, families with kids are starting to buy larger homes rather than moving into a smaller condo or townhome.  It will be interesting to see if San Clemente condo sales increase now that we’re in the summer season; condos are a great target for investors, and many will want to snag one soon to take advantage of summer vacation rentals or long-term renters looking to secure a home before the new school year or end of summer.


If you are thinking of selling your San Clemente home or condo, now is as good as of a time as any; you are guaranteed to get the most foot traffic through your door during the busy summer buying season.  For potential San Clemente home buyers, there are currently 297 homes, condos and townhomes on the market; the question is, is your new home out there waiting for you?

San Clemente Summer Camps Some Of The Best In Orange County

Living in a beach city like San Clemente offers a variety of perks, but the amount of outdoor activities one may enjoy has to be near the top of the list.  Besides the famous San Clemente beaches, the city offers a variety of walking/hiking/biking trails, numerous parks and sports fields, large amounts of open space, and an overall safe environment that kids may enjoy year-round.  With summer vacation fast approaching, many parents are faced with the prospect of having their children home for a couple of months; and as any parent knows, children need consistent ways to entertain themselves or they will drive you up the wall in no time.


Fortunately the City of San Clemente and San Clemente Parks Department have numerous solutions for you – San Clemente summer camps!  San Clemente offers an array of summer programs geared towards children, and the best part is that most of these programs get your children outdoors where they can truly experience the beauty of their city and its amazing summer climate.  The Summer Camp program in San Clemente truly has something for everyone…beach sports like surfing and volleyball; educational programs in math, science and literature; cooking, art and acting classes; and so much more.  There are around 100 different camps offered in multiple sessions throughout the summer, so parents, breathe a huge sigh of relief!


If you are interested in learning more about the wonderful Summer Camps offered throughout the summer in San Clemente, please click on the following link to view the Summer Camp Guide provided by the City of San Clemente.

San Clemente Is A Great Option For Families With Kids

Orange County is known for many things – a sunny climate, beautiful beaches, a diverse array of cities and real estate options; one of the lesser known but very important aspects of Orange County are the quality of the schools and school districts.  Several schools districts rank very highly in both state and national statistics when it comes to test scores and teacher ratings, and San Clemente is one of the leaders in these regards.


To many families looking to buy Orange County real estate, good schools are one of the most important factors in their decision-making process.  A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (“Your kids decide when you buy a home“) highlights a recent survey showing that over 2/3 of parents buying real estate take their children’s well-being and education highly into account – in fact, it is their most important factor when deciding on where to move.  Not only do these buyers want a safe neighborhood for their children, but the quality of schools and external activities (parks, libraries, etc.) are very important.  To these buyers I say, try to find somewhere that fits these needs better than San Clemente.


San Clemente offers some of the widest variety of outdoor activities for kids of all ages; besides the beautiful beaches, there are numerous parks, wide-open outdoor spaces, and sporting fields (highlighted by the amazing Vista Hermosa Sports Park and Aquatics Center).  From an education standpoint, San Clemente is tough to beat.  San Clemente is part of the Capistrano Unified School District, one of the highest-rated school districts in California with regards to test scores and graduation rates.  The city is filled with numerous Blue Ribbon and California Distinguished elementary and middle schools, and San Clemente High School has been ranked within the top 400 high schools in the nation by Newsweek Magazine.


Buying a San Clemente home or condo is a great decision to make on its own.  For parents with children looking for a nice place to settle, San Clemente offers so much more than sunny weather and gorgeous beaches.  San Clemente provides numerous opportunities for your children to grow and thrive, and as a parent, what more can you ask for in your new home?

The Kitchen Sets The Tone For The Rest Of Your San Clemente Home

I don’t have any scientific data to back this up outside of clients and potential buyers, but when thinking of purchasing San Clemente real estate, one aspect of the home seems to reign supreme above all else – the kitchen.  If you do a Google search for “home improvement” or “home remodel,” chances are that a vast majority of articles you read will state that an updated kitchen is one of the best selling features of your home.  The kitchen, more than any other room in your San Clemente condo or home, is a prime social gathering spot and the most important room in your home from a usage perspective.  A kitchen is the home’s focal point that ties everything else together, and if you are thinking of selling your San Clemente home now or in the future, the quickest way to a long listing period is by not making sure that your kitchen looks the part.


Now, we are not recommending that you spend thousands of dollars remodeling your kitchen with stainless appliances and granite countertops (although these are great investments that potential home buyers love).  You don’t need to revamp your kitchen to make it look nice, but you need to pay attention to the little things.  First off, clutter on the countertops is a definite no-no…one of the features people look for in a kitchen is the amount of counter space, and this space can be negatively impacted with too much clutter.  Don’t leave all of your appliances on the counters – if you don’t use them daily, put them away until needed.  Find somewhere else for your keys, wallets and bills, and try to spruce up the kitchen with a couple of plants, flowers or even a mini herb garden.  You want to create a relaxing, open atmosphere with your kitchen – it needs to feel inviting yet should not bear your personal signatures all over.  Remember, potential buyers need to imagine themselves in your home, so removing all of your personal belongings from the kitchen will add to this desired atmosphere.


When thinking of selling your San Clemente home or condo, make your kitchen one of the main selling points.  Take our word for it, the majority of buyers will have the state of the kitchen high on their checklist, so you should too.

Spring Cleaning Items For Your San Clemente Home

Now that springtime is upon us, San Clemente home owners can bask in the relief that, unlike most of the country, winter in Southern California was about as mild as can be.  However, don’t think for a second that your San Clemente home or condo survived the cooler and wetter months unscathed; a colder climate has an effect on your home that needs to be managed to avoid future issues.


First off, conduct an inspection of your home to ensure that there are no visible signs of roof or interior leaks.  Cracks in the roof or attached decks tend to rear their ugly heads during rainstorms; if you see the slightest hint of staining on your ceiling, get someone out to test for moisture right away.  Another important thing concerns your landscaping, which will undoubtedly be blooming and growing by now.  You should do your best to keep vegetation away from your home as this can lead to moisture and termite issues.  Trip your trees and bushes at least 6 inches away from your home to avoid these problems.  Now is also a good time to inspect the exterior of your home for any cracks that need to be filled or areas that could use a touch-up paint job.  Even though the rainy season is behind us, June gloom is on its way; more moisture in the air can lead to problems with your home if there are cracks or holes in the exterior (termites, mold, etc.).


Owning San Clemente real estate is a full-time job, one that should not be taken lightly.  You have spent a lot of money on your beautiful home or condo, so make sure to spend a lot of time keeping it that way – laziness on your part will only cost you more money.

Remodeling Ideas That Will Save Money Now And Make Money Later

When looking to remodel your San Clemente Home, it is not necessary to take on huge projects when smaller ones will look great and cost a lot less if done right.  Whether thinking of putting your home on the San Clemente Real Estate market or simply wanting a nicer home to live in, there are a few things you can do to spruce up your home without emptying your bank account.


1. Landscaping

Many people are so concerned with making the inside of their homes look nice that they neglect the curb appeal.  The exterior of your home is just as important as the interior, particularly to potential buyers whose first impression of the home will be the outside.  Planting some nice palm trees and flower bushes will create a tropical feel to your home; even some smaller plants and healthy grass will add to the appeal.


2. Kitchen counters and appliances

Strangely enough, remodeling your kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances is not as crazy expensive as you would think.  You can find good deals on appliances throughout the year at retailers and online, particularly during holiday events when great sales go on; you can also save money when buying your appliances as a package deal rather than separately.  Nice granite counters may be had for several thousand dollars and look great; take our word for it, the majority of buyers we’ve worked with view granite counters as a huge positive when looking at San Clemente homes for sale.


3. Handyman projects

If you conduct a thorough inspection of your home, you will find a variety of smaller items that need repair.  Everything from new caulking around a shower or tub to adding dimmer light switches are small projects that will look nice and add value to your home.  Spend a little money on changing out all of the regular light bulbs in your home to LED lights; not only will you save on monthly energy costs, but these bulbs tend to last for around 10 years (plus they look great!).


As you can see, it is not necessary to spend a lot of money remodeling your home in San Clemente.  Find smaller projects like the ones above to complete, and we guarantee that others (and yourselves) will be impressed by the quality of your “remodeled” home.

Smart Phones Leading To Smart Homes

The past decade has seen huge advances in communication technologies, particularly in the smart phone and tablet arenas.  The ways that people communicate with each other have changed so much over the past several years, and these tools are beginning to find their way into the real estate industry.  More and more San Clemente homes are utilizing technology to become more energy efficient and easier for owners to control.


There was an interesting article on (“Houses are about to get really, really smart“) highlighting recent and forthcoming advances in home technologies.  When installing a home alarm system, it is no longer necessary to push buttons on the main control pad to activate and deactivate the alarm; now the system may be controlled from your smart phone.  Alarm systems are not alone; things such as your thermostat, utilities, and even door locks can be handled by pressing buttons on your cell phone.  According to the article, these technologies will only continue to grow and improve; as the article points, it is rare to find new construction that is not utilizing at least some type of centralized technology that can be controlled with a mobile device.


It is truly an incredible age we live in when it comes to technology, and it is amazing to see that the advances of the past several years may now be applied to San Clemente real estate.  Not only do these innovations make controlling your home much easier, but they can save on utility bills and make your home more secure.  These technologies will eventually become the norm in homes throughout the nation, and installing them now, even if you are thinking of listing your San Clemente home for sale, will only add a “wow” factor to your dwelling.

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