Author: Staff

Purchasing real estate in California requires a careful review of the property’s title history to avoid a variety of potential problems. Mortgage lenders usually require title insurance to finance a purchase. Title insurance companies will conduct their own review of the title history, but they do so to protect their own interests, rather than the buyer’s. The title insurer will notify the lender and purchaser of known or potential title defects that they will not cover, meaning that the purchaser could still be liable for some problems. It is in the best interest of every California real estate investor to research and investigate the property’s history. The following is a list of a few issues that might appear in a property’s title history.

Errors and Omissions

Clerical and filing errors can have serious repercussions for real property. A deed that incorrectly identifies the boundaries of a property, such as by leaving some portion of the property out of the legal description, can result in the loss of ownership of that part of the property. Other common errors include misspelled names of grantors or grantees, omission of legally required language in a deed, and misfiling of records.

Unknown or Missing Heirs

The general rule in the U.S., based on English common law, is that a grant of land is intended to be in perpetuity unless a deed specifies otherwise. The language used often states that the property is granted to the grantee “and their heirs.” If a previous owner of real property died, and the executor of their estate failed to locate or notify all of the owner’s heirs, those heirs could have a valid claim to some or all of the property, even years later.
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Author: Staff

Purchasing real property is a major investment, not only of money but also of risk. Even if a California real estate investor has enough cash on hand to pay the full price without a mortgage loan, they are still bound by property taxes, land use restrictions, and market forces. Most purchasers of real estate already know about these risks, though. A lesser-known risk involves defects, omissions, or fraud in the property’s title. This can lead to problems that are difficult to foresee, such as claims to the property by a former owner’s previously unknown heir, or difficulty in establishing ownership because of a defective deed. Title insurance covers many of these potential issues. Lenders often require borrowers to obtain title insurance policies in order to protect their investments. California’s laws and practices regarding title insurance can be rather difficult to understand at first.

What Is Title Insurance?

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Author: Seth Murphy

Seth Murphy first got into doing DIY projects to save money, but over time he has developed a real passion for this hands-on, intensive work. He created papadiy.com to share his ongoing projects and to motivate himself to do more.

As a new home buyer, purchasing a fixer-upper may seem like a lot of work, but it definitely has its advantages. For starters, a house that needs some love generally has a much lower price tag. Imagine how much you can save by buying a place that’s not turnkey! Secondly, fixer-uppers are an opportunity to create your dream home. (Yes, it may take a little bit of elbow grease, but rest assured, it can be worth it in the end.).

Author: Staff

House flipping,” which is the process of purchasing a residential property, making improvements to it, and selling it, has been particularly popular in recent years among real estate investors in California and around the country. It often involves purchasing distressed properties, such as those that are already in, or at imminent risk of, foreclosure. Investors can therefore purchase a property well below its market value, and with a bit of work—new coats of paint, new appliances, and such—sell it for a considerably greater amount. House flipping can be subject to legal restrictions, however, including local land use ordinances and lending regulations. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), among other functions, insures many home mortgage loans. It also sets restrictions on residential properties when its mortgages are involved. These restrictions can affect house flippers who intend to sell to a buyer who needs an FHA-insured loan.

What Is the FHA?

Author: Staff

House flipping, which involves purchasing a residential property and refurbishing it for resale, has been a popular activity in the U.S. for some time. Numerous television programs depict various aspects of the house flipping process, often focusing on repairs and improvements to distressed properties. Real estate investors in San Diego and other parts of California may find house flipping to be a lucrative investment activity, but it requires careful research and planning. On top of that, successful house flipping requires commitment to the process—it is very often much more of an “active” investment than a “passive” one. Prospective house flippers in California need to be aware of the legal risks and pitfalls they could face.

Business Issues

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Author: Seth Murphy

Seth Murphy first got into doing DIY projects to save money, but over time he has developed a real passion for this hands-on, intensive work. He created papadiy.com to share his ongoing projects and to motivate himself to do more.

Do open houses still work? You’d be forgiven for thinking they were a thing of the past—an outdated, analog player in today’s digital game. But the trick is to combine the old with the new by holding an open house immediately after the home is listed for sale online.  According to CNBC, sellers that used this strategy got higher prices and quicker sales than those who didn’t. However, this means you need to get your house in order before listing day. Here’s what you need to do.

Step 1: Review, Analyze, and Plan

If any parts of your house—interior or exterior—are damaged, worn, or outdated, you can expect offers below your asking price. Walk around your house and make a list of everything that could be improved. If anything is broken (e.g., a leaking roof, garage door that won’t open, cracked tiles, blocked gutters), put these on top of the list. According to HGTV, remodels of the bathroom and kitchen are the best investments in terms of increasing your home value and getting you a quicker sale. Once you’ve made your list, choose which improvements you want to make based on the time you have and the money you’re willing to invest.

Step 2: Repair, Replace, and Remodel

Remodelling can bring your home up to date and make it more valuable to buyers, but make sure you leave enough time for any extensive remodels. The biggest job will probably be the kitchen. A remodel here takes four to six weeks or more depending on the size of the room and the extent of the changes. The bathroom comes in a close second at around four and a half weeks. If you have more than one big remodel planned, you may want to complete them one at a time. This will minimize the disruption to your life while the work is being done, but of course, it will take longer to finish the projects.

Step 3: Stage, Update, and Redecorate

Once the major remodeling work is done, you can move on to staging. Go through each room one by one and replace tired or outdated furniture, blinds, curtains, and carpets. A good trick to make your home more in-line with current interior design trends is to replace your lighting fixtures because these are some of the first things in the house to start looking dated. If necessary, give each room a fresh coat of paint or put new wallpaper up. Make sure to go for neutral pastel colors that have a more universal appeal. If you haven’t had a professional landscaper in, cut the lawn, weed, and trim any overgrown hedges, particularly at the front of the house to increase your curb appeal.

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Author: Staff

Investing in San Diego real estate offers many great opportunities for returns, but it also poses many potential risks for losses and liabilities. Planning an investment requires researching and investigating risks associated with a particular property. This includes the property’s zoning designation and associated land use restrictions. The Land Development Code (LDC), located in Chapters 11 through 14 of the San Diego Municipal Code, sets forth the zoning regulations and procedures for properties located within the city. Zoning regulations allow certain types of construction and prohibit other types, but it is sometimes possible to get approval from the city to make an exception to the regulations, known as a variance. As a general rule, a variance cannot grant approval to a land use that has already been found to be in violation of the city code. This is why careful research on existing permits affecting a property is so important.

Zones and Regulations in San Diego

Author: Staff

Zoning is an important part of land use planning in nearly every major city in the United States. Local governments usually have jurisdiction over land use issues. Both the City of San Diego and San Diego County have zoning ordinances and procedures for permitting construction and development in different zones. California real estate investors need to be familiar with local zoning ordinances, as well as the restrictions of land use that go along with them, before committing to an investment. While investors should always keep in mind the adage that “you can’t fight City Hall,” it is possible to challenge or change a zoning designation. In San Diego, this can happen in several ways involving the Planning Commission or the City Council. Litigation may also be a means of modifying zoning designations, although it is rarely a first resort.

The Zoning and Rezoning Processes

Author: Staff

Investing in California real estate is, ultimately, a gamble. Even the most experienced and savvy investor cannot know what will happen to the property years, months, weeks, or even moments from now. Risk management is therefore one of the most important parts of California real estate investment. This may include measures intended to protect the property, such as security and fire suppression systems. It should also involve insurance coverage for various potential risks or losses.

Risk Management and Insurance

Author: Staff

San Diego real estate investors need to be aware of land use restrictions, such as restrictive covenants included in a deed, or zoning and other restrictions under city or county laws. Both the City of San Diego and San Diego County have zoning laws that restrict the use of land within their jurisdiction. We will focus on zoning within the City of San Diego.

What Is Zoning?