How to find and buy your first home is one subject that high schools decline to teach. An online canvass of theories why this is so yields two main lines of thought.

The first is that it is one result of a conspiracy to keep young people from making smart financial decisions. Not clear is who the masterminds behind this might be, nor how they would stand to benefit.

The second theory is more commonly cited by high school teachers. They say that instruction on the ins and outs of buying a house is ineffective “due to age-appropriate interests.” Buying a house is “too far off” to engage high schoolers. One teacher’s dismissal is typical: “Not useful for my students as teens”—an argument that’s hard to dispute.

A few weeks ago, the…

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It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue: this new real estate “first” reported on by the Wall Street Journal last Tuesday. It was the kind of ‘break-through’ that sounded like it belonged in a footnote to an investment banker’s annual report. Nonetheless, for one segment of Journal readers who also happen to be Costa Mesa real estate investors, the topic and the phenomenon it described confirmed the wisdom of their investment.

The “first-ever” topic was “the first vacation-rental mortgage securitization.” This is a debt-raising innovation just launched by a short-term rental operator (AvantStay Inc.). What could be of interest to Costa Mesa investors is that it serves as convincing proof that the short-term rental industry is becoming “a thing”—at…

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Last week, the national real estate news was not likely to provide much guidance for local buyers or sellers. The “story” was simply too convoluted. On Friday, the “LATEST NEWS” from the National Association of Realtors® looked like this:

  • Median existing home sales prices were up 15.4% over the previous January’s.
  • The sales volume in the same year-over-year comparison dropped 2.3%.
  • Yet the same volume of sales total was up a substantial 6.7% from December’s.
  • Inventories, which had already been notably low, fell even more, to 1.6 months from 1.9 months a year earlier.
  • Even so, for the second month in a row, December’s pending home sales fell 3.8% from November.

Those pending home sales are usually indicators of activity “a month…

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"Budget better, shop smarter!" might be unassailable advice for shoppers of all stripes, but at the outset of 2022, Costa Mesa house-hunting readers of USA Today's Real Estate pages could have used a few more precise tips on how to follow the exhortation. "After a year of bidding wars and record-high prices, here's what's changing for homebuyers…" was a promising headline—but what followed consisted mainly of reasons why intelligent shopping is a good idea.

The reasons included cautions about rising home loan interest rates, which would make better budgeting important, and the continuing national "supply-demand imbalance," which would make more nimble (if not specifically "smarter") shopping advisable.

Experts added reasons why this year's…

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It didn’t take long for home decor industry pundits to sift through recent house sales data to announce evidence of the latest trend shifts. Relying on the insights from a nationwide cross-section of real estate agents, technology company Homelight supplied the NAR® with “7 Hot Trends” said to have resonated with recent buyers. In addition to the trends, a one-word style summary was also advanced.

For those planning on selling their own Costa Mesa house in today’s market, a neutral observer might point out that seizing on the latest trend is largely unnecessary. If the Costa Mesa home you plan to put on sale is in presentable condition, does not have a leaky roof or crumbling foundation, and whose ownership is not being claimed by title bandits,…

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As real estate’s peak selling season nears, one element that characterizes the strength of the U.S. housing market is the one that CNN Business highlighted last Thursday. For a growing number of homeowners in California and Costa Mesa whose properties align with the national data, it came as a pleasant piece of news.

The subject was homeowner equity—a key element in the financial standing of those who own their residences. Real estate analysts at Attom Data Solutions took a look at homeowner balances owed in relation to their property’s market value. By definition, homeowners qualify as “equity rich” when they have at least 50% equity—that is, when their equity percentage matches or exceeds the lender’s share.

Attom’s findings were impressive:…

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