Thursday, February 23, 2017

Highly Upgraded Lease Available in Hillcrest Village

Just listed this highly upgraded lease property at 27647 Aquamarine in Hillcrest Village
2 bed / 2 bath, 1206 square feet - Just $2,350 per month!

This beautifully decorated condo is located in the very desirable Hillcrest Village neighborhood. This upper level, open floor plan unit is highly upgraded with granite counter tops in the kitchen and bathrooms, plantation shutters throughout, large private balcony to enjoy the city lights and panorama views. 

Location, location, location! Walking distance to Saddleback College and just a short drive to The Shops at Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo Hospital, the Kaleidoscope entertainment center, the 5 freeway and the 73 toll road. Amazing amenities include HOA Pool, Jacuzzi and BBQ Area.

Lease includes monthly HOA dues, garage parking for one car and additional parking sticker for another, stove/convection oven, washer/dryer, refrigerator and microwave.

27647 Aquamarine #159 Mission Viejo Listed by realtor Chuck Harper
For any questions or information call Chuck Harper

Monday, February 20, 2017

Joint Partnership Sells Cardiff by the Sea Condo with Ocean View in San Diego

I met Sara and Jim B. at an open house in San Clemente last summer.   They asked me to help find an agent who lives and works in San Diego area to join me to sell their Cardiff by the Sea, 2 bed/2 bath, 1600 sf. condo with spectacular Pacific ocean views.  On 1/4/2017 we closed escrow.  Mission accomplished!!


1443 San Elijo Ave. #C
Cardiff by the Sea, CA  92007

Anything is possible when you have the right real estate agent.  If I can assist you or someone you know with their real estate needs please go to chuckharperhomes.com and let  me know how I can assist.

Two Condos Sold in Hillcrest Village, Mission Viejo

Just sold two - 2 bed/2 bath, 1200 sf. condos in Hillcrest Village to a my client and good friend Alex N. One Alex will be moving into and the other she will be leasing.  Hillcrest Village is a highly desirable area for young professionals and retiree's as it is close to I-5, Mission Viejo Mall and Mission Hospital. Great investment opportunities still available.


27697 Aquamarine #143


27647 Aquamarine #159

This 2 bed/2 bath unit pictured above is available for lease February 22, 2017 for $2400/month. Offers great upgrades; granite counter tops, plantation shutters, ceiling fans in ever room.

Hillcrest Village offers low HOA's, low taxes and no Mello-Roos. Contact me via chuckharperhomes.com if you or someone you know is interested in learning more about this great condo. 

Just Sold - 19481 Highridge Way Portola Hills Congrats to First Time Homeowners!

David and Ruth G. are so excited to buy their first home in Portola Hills.  Great buy for a 4 bed/3 bath, 2200 sf. home negotiated below market value.

19481 Highridge Way Sold by Chuck Harper

Portola Hills is a family friendly community in Lake Forest.  #1 rated elementary school Saddleback Valley School District.  Low HOA's, Low taxes and no Mello-Roos.  If you are looking to buy or sell in Portola Hills or in South Orange County please contact me at chuckharperhomes.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Orange County Home Values for Jan 2017... What is your home worth..

The first month of 2017 is in the rearview mirror.  How was it for you?  In the Orange County Real Estate market it was very busy with buyer demand strong and a too little inventory of homes to show.   We heard over and over again from our associates, how packed open houses are, with numbers such as, 35, 65 and more attending.  

But how did the numbers pan out.. Below is a snaphsot for the Orange County Real Estate market from the Orange County Association of Realtors.

Orange County Home Sales Jan 2017

As you will note the above report is split into two categories; Detached and Attached homes, here some key indicators:
  • The Orange County median home price in Jan was $750,000, for a Single Family home. This is up from Jan 2016 just over 7%
  • The median price for an Attached home, i.e. Condo/Townhome was $425,000 and just up over 1% from Jan 2016.
  • New listings for both types of homes was down about 4%, leaving under 3 months of inventory available for current buyers.
This is great news for homeowners thinking of selling this winter.   However, as the weather begins to warm up, we typically see inventory increase which should add some stabilizing to the market.

As always, real estate is local! Though it is important to understand how the whole county is doing, to determine the value of your home, we have to look a closer into your community.


In general homes, priced right, presented well and available are selling within 60 days once placed on the market and sellers are receiving an average of 98% of what they listed their homes for.  This shouldn't scare home buyers, as there still are great deals out in the market. However, it is important to work with a seasoned agent who knows what you are looking for and can act immediately if a home comes on the market that fits your needs.

Search Available Orange County Homes

The good news for buyers is, projected rates should remain somewhat steady until our new President defines his economic stance. Though rates are still at historically low levels, increases are noted for the future.  So today,  is a great time to get into the Orange County market.



If you are wondering if now is the right time to buy or list make sure to check our our Home Buyer and Seller eGuides, they are filled with a ton of helpful information to help you get started... Plus we are just a phone call away.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Wire Fraud in Real Estate.. How to Protect Your Cash

In an increasing technology centric world, online fraud is becoming more common and recently there have been some issues with wire fraud issues on the real estate side, so as a home buyer and home seller please be aware...

Home Buyers: How to Avoid Wire Fraud

We continue to hear about real estate wire scams, so I wanted to share this particular example with all my contacts so as to avoid a serious problem for those buying a home in the future.

The scam is occurring around the time when a buyer’s offer should or would be accepted by the seller which is also the time when the process is least understood by the buyer (especially with inexperienced or first-time home buyers) and when emotions and excitement are running the highest.

How It Works!

It all starts with a compromised email account of a real estate broker/agent. Once criminals get access to the messages (either though phishing or keylogging), they collect identifying details on each deal that is about to close.

Pretending to be the buyer’s agent (called spoofing), they email the buyer with a very realistic looking emails with wire transfer instructions, urging the buyer to quickly transfer funds to close the transaction.

The buyer, thinking the email came from their agent, then transfers the money via the instructions which goes right into the hackers account. From there, it is either immediately withdrawn by the hackers, or transferred overseas, making it very difficult to trace and recover.

How to Avoid Getting Scammed

If a buyer is being scammed, neither the buyer’s agent or escrow officer assigned to the transaction will be aware that the buyer received an email stating an offer was accepted and funds need to be transferred immediately. So here are the red flags to look for and what the buyer needs to do to avoid a potential disaster.

Red Flags

1. If a buyer did not hear from their agent directly that an offer was accepted before receiving wire transfer instructions that is the that is red flag #1.

2. Escrow is not established until an offer is accepted. Escrow these days is done via a secure, encrypted website that is set up with the buyer and the appointed escrow company with an ID and password the buyer creates.

Therefore, when the buyer receives escrow instructions they should already know the person, escrow company, phone # and should have already established an ID and password that the buyer creates. Also, by law once an offer is accepted, the buyer has 3 days to make the initial deposit, so the buyer should not receive any “urgent” emails to wire the funds. Anything different from the above is red flag #2.

Actions the Buyer Needs to Take

1. When a buyer receives wire transfer instructions, they should immediately call their agent and verify that what they received is correct. The buyer should not click on any links until they know what they received is correct via their agent. This is absolutely critical and if done should avoid any potential scam.

2. There are two ways to get the funds to the escrow company safely once the buyer has verified that the instructions and account information is correct.

a. Print out the instructions, go to your bank and have them wire the money from your bank. Do not wire the funds from your computer at home and definitely not from a computer using public WIFI such as Starbucks, etc.

b. If the escrow company is located within driving distance from your bank, go to your bank and get a cashier’s check and hand deliver it to your known escrow company and officer.


In summary, if you follow points there should be absolutely no issues. I hope this information will help to avoid a really bad issue in the future!  For more information on wire fraud or if you have other real estate related questions, please contact our team.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

What are Seller's Closing Cost and who pays?




Whether you are a seller or a buyer in the sale/purchase of a home, there are three types of cost categories you need to be aware of that is associated with closing escrow.



1. Transactional Costs – Those costs to the seller and buyer typically pays that is associated with transferring title from one party to another.

2. Prorated Variable Re-Occurring Costs – These are cost that the home owner pays; mortgage, Interest, HOA dues, insurance, taxes, etc. These costs may fluctuate depending on what day of the month escrow closes.

3. Non-Refundable Costs – Costs associated with obtaining various inspections and reports; termite/pest, home inspection, etc. 

Typical Seller Transactional Costs:

1. Broker/Agent Fees – These are negotiable fees typically paid by the seller to the seller’s agent and buyer/selling agent

Cost Estimate – Negotiated with the listing agent before the home is put on the market for sale. Fee typically run between 5% - 7% of the final sale price.

2.Owners Title (Insurance) - Title insurance protects the buyer from any legal challenges that could arise from a third party challenging the ownership status or title of home if something didn't show up during the title search. Prior to closing escrow, if there is anything wrong with the title (known as a cloud or defect), the seller will need to fix it so the sale can proceed.

Cost Estimate – This is a static cost in CA. Depending on home selling price the owner cost will range from $2.00 - $3.00 per $1000 for a home selling between $500k - $1.5M. Example $750,000 home = $1,944 or $2.59 per $1000.

3. County Transfer Tax – This is the tax associated with the transfer of the title from one owner to another.

Cost Estimate – This is a static cost in California. $1.10 per $1000 for the home selling price. Static cost in CA. Example $750,000 home = $825

4. Escrow Charges - Fees associated by a neutral third party hired to manage the funds and carry out the provisions per the instructions or contract. In Orange County fees are split 50/50 with buyer. Below are the estimated sellers portion. 

Cost Estimate - Estimate $2.00 per $1000 Plus $250 to seller. Example $750,000 home = $1,750.

5. Miscellaneous Fees – Typically associated with the administrative aspect of the transaction; Courier, notary, wire and recording fees.

Cost Estimate - $250, but can fluctuate depending on complexity of the transaction.

Typical Prorated Re-Occurring Seller Costs

1. Monthly loan/mortgage payment, paid interest, home owner insurance, property tax, special assessments/mello roos (if applicable), HOA - home owner association fees & special assessment (if applicable) and property mortgage insurance (if applicable).

Cost Estimate - Varies depending costs of services provided and date of closing based on a 30-day month.

Typical Non-Refundable Seller Costs 

1.Home Warranty Insurance - Home Warranty is paid for by the seller to cover household items for the next year after escrow closes. Cost of service calls to repaired covered items after escrow closes in at new home buyers expense.

Cost Estimate - Varies depending on service provider and coverages. $500 - $600 estimate and added to closing statement.

2.Natural Hazard Disclosure - In California an Natural Hazard Disclosure (NSD) is required by law. This report through Disclosure Save includes the NSD report, tax information and environmental report. Gives the owner and the buyer the confidence that all the information has been gathered and reviewed to minimize issues later.

Cost Estimate - $150 estimate. Cost added to closing statement.

3.Termite & Pest Inspection - Termite inspection is conducted by the buyer to ensure the property is free of termites and pests.

Cost Estimate - $125 estimate for report and added to closing statement. Section 1 items to be corrected are typically at the seller’s expense.

4.Homeowner Association Transfer Fees – If applicable, these are the transfer Fees and preparing the HOA documents.

Cost Estimate - $400 - $600 estimate

5.Smoke Detector, Carbon Monoxide and Water Heater - Carbon monoxide detectors must be present, installed correctly and in good working order. Water heater must be braced correctly.

Cost Estimate - Any costs to bring carbon monoxide detectors and water heater bracing to compliant level typically is at the seller expense

* All information presented in this document are guidelines and should not be relied upon in anyway as every situation is unique. Please consult with your providers to get accurate costs relating to your specific situation.


Variable Re-Occurring Costs – These are cost that the home owner pays; mortgage, Interest, HOA dues, insurance, taxes, etc. These costs may fluctuate depending on what day of the month escrow closes.

3. Prorated Non-Refundable Costs – Costs associated with obtaining various inspections and reports; termite/pest, home inspection, etc. 

Typical Seller Transactional Costs



1. Broker/Agent Fees – These are negotiable fees typically paid by the seller to the seller’s agent and buyer/selling agent

Cost Estimate – Negotiated with the listing agent before the home is put on the market for sale. Fee typically run between 5% - 7% of the final sale price.

2. Owners Title (Insurance) - Title insurance protects the buyer from any legal challenges that could arise from a third party challenging the ownership status or title of home if something didn't show up during the title search. Prior to closing escrow, if there is anything wrong with the title (known as a cloud or defect), the seller will need to fix it so the sale can proceed.

Cost Estimate – This is a static cost in CA. Depending on home selling price the owner cost will range from $2.00 - $3.00 per $1000 for a home selling between $500k - $1.5M. Example $750,000 home = $1,944 or $2.59 per $1000.

3. County Transfer Tax – This is the tax associated with the transfer of the title from one owner to another.

Cost Estimate – This is a static cost in California. $1.10 per $1000 for the home selling price. Static cost in CA. Example $750,000 home = $825

4. Escrow Charges - Fees associated by a neutral third party hired to manage the funds and carry out the provisions per the instructions or contract. In Orange County fees are split 50/50 with buyer. Below are the estimated sellers portion. 

Cost Estimate - Estimate $2.00 per $1000 Plus $250 to seller. Example $750,000 home = $1,750.

5. Miscellanious Fees – Typically associated with the administrative aspect of the transaction; Courier, notary, wire and recording fees.

Cost Estimate - $250, but can fluctuate depending on complexity of the transaction.

Typical Prorated Re-Occurring Seller Costs

1. Monthly loan/mortgage payment, paid interest, home owner insurance, property tax, special assessments/mello roos (if applicable), HOA - home owner association fees & special assessment (if applicable) and property mortgage insurance (if applicable).

Cost Estimate - Varies depending costs of services provided and date of closing based on a 30-day month.

Typical Non-Refundable Seller Costs 

1. Home Warranty Insurance - Home Warranty is paid for by the seller to cover household items for the next year after escrow closes. Cost of service calls to repaired covered items after escrow closes in at new home buyers expense.

Cost Estimate - Varies depending on service provider and coverages. $500 - $600 estimate and added to closing statement.

2. Natural Hazard Disclosure - In California an Natural Hazard Disclosure (NSD) is required by law. This report through Disclosure Save includes the NSD report, tax information and environmental report. Gives the owner and the buyer the confidence that all the information has been gathered and reviewed to minimize issues later.

Cost Estimate - $150 estimate. Cost added to closing statement.

3. Termite & Pest Inspection - Termite inspection is conducted by the buyer to ensure the property is free of termites and pests.

Cost Estimate - $125 estimate for report and added to closing statement. Section 1 items to be corrected are typically at the seller’s expense.

4. Homeowner Association Transfer Fees – If applicable, these are the transfer Fees and preparing the HOA documents.

Cost Estimate - $400 - $600 estimate

5. Smoke Detector, Carbon Monoxide and Water Heater - Carbon monoxide detectors must be present, installed correctly and in good working order. Water heater must be braced correctly.

Cost Estimate - Any costs to bring carbon monoxide detectors and water heater bracing to compliant level typically is at the seller expense


It is very important that both your lender and Realtor work together to review this process, so you the home seller have a complete understanding.   Please do not hesitate to contact us at Chuck Harper Homes to review.


* All information presented in this document are guidelines and should not be relied upon in anyway as every situation is unique. Please consult with your providers to get accurate costs relating to your specific situation.




How does a 1031 Exchange Work


You have heard 1031, but not sure what it is and how it works..  Below we explain the process and benefit to property owners.







As the name implies, a 1031 Exchange contemplates an “exchange” of like-kind property instead of a traditional sale. If the transaction qualifies, any realized gain is deferred until the replacement property is sold later. The Internal Revenue Service Code sets forth the requirements that must be met for a transaction to benefit from 1031 Exchange treatment. In addition to the requirements found in the IRS Code, Qualified Intermediaries must follow additional rules legislated by the State of California for exchanges where the old or relinquished property or the property parked with the Exchange Accommodator Titleholder is located in California. 


1031 Exchange Rules 


In order to be considered for a 1031 Exchange, the properties exchanged must be held for productive use in a trade or business, or for investment. In addition, the requirements call for the seller to locate and designate a “like-kind” replacement property within 45 days of the original sale. The final purchase of the replacement property must be completed within 180 days of the original sale. A reverse 1031 Exchange is also possible that essentially contemplates the same process and timetable in reverse. The entire transaction must be handled by a Qualified Intermediary. The Qualified Intermediary must facilitate the transaction by taking possession of the titles and funds and distributing them to the appropriate party at the appropriate time. 


California 1031 Exchange Rules 


The State of California has legislated additional rules regarding Qualified Intermediaries. The 1031 Exchange Rules in California state in general, that anyone who facilitates an exchange for a fee, maintains an office in the state for the purpose of facilitating exchanges, or advertises services as a facilitator in the state, is required to follow the California specific rules.


  • Maintain a bond in the amount of $1 million, deposit an amount of cash or securities or irrevocable letters of credit in an amount not less than $1 million, or deposit all exchange funds in a qualified escrow account or trust account. Anyone who has sustained damages as a result of a facilitator’s violation of the California rules may make a claim against the bond, account or trust.
  • A Qualified Intermediary operating in California must maintain an errors and omissions policy of not less than $250,000 or must deposit cash, securities, or letters of credit in an account designated for the same purpose. Finally, a Qualified Intermediary in California must act as a custodian for all exchange funds and must invest those funds pursuant to a prudent investor standard.
A Qualified Intermediary, in most cases, is to withhold an amount equal to three and one-third percent of the sales price of any California property as contingency should the exchange not be completed.


Clawback Provision 


California has a “clawback” requirement for California property sold in a 1031 exchange and replaced with an out of state replacement property per California FTB Publication 1100 Irev 2007, section F. Non-residents are required to file a nonresident income tax return in the year the replacement property is sold in a taxable disposition.

Need help finding a 1031 Intermediary in South Orange County, don't hesitate to give our group a call.

Buyer's Closing Cost 101


In the sale of a home, there are three types of cost categories associated with closing escrow. 

1. Transactional Costs – Those costs to the seller and buyer typically pays that is associated with transferring title from one party to another. 

2. Variable Re-Occurring Costs – These are cost that the home owner pays; mortgage, Interest, HOA dues, insurance, taxes, etc. These costs may fluctuate depending on what day of the month escrow closes. 

3. Non-Refundable Cost – Costs associated with obtaining various inspections and reports; termite/pest, home inspection, etc. 

Typical Buyer Transactional Costs

1. Lenders Title Insurance – Title insurance protects the lender from any legal challenges that could arise from a third party challenging the ownership status or title of home if something didn’t show up during the title search. Prior to closing escrow, if there is anything wrong with the title (known as a cloud or defect), the seller will need to fix it so the sale can proceed. 

Cost Estimate – Static cost in CA. Depending on home selling price owner premium range from $0.95 – $1.40 per $1000 for a home between $500k - $1.5M. Example $750,000 home = $963 or $1.28 per $1000. 

2. Escrow Charges - Fees associated by a neutral third party hired to manage the funds and carry out the provisions per the instructions or contract. In Orange County fees are split 50/50 with buyer. Below are the estimated sellers portion. 

Cost Estimate – Estimate $2.00 per $1000 Plus $250 to seller. Example $750,000 home = $1,750. 

3. Lender Charges – These are loan processing and underwriting fees. This excludes discount points and pre-paid interest 

Cost Estimate – $1000 - $2000 estimate 

4. Miscellaneous Fees – Typically associated with the administrative aspect of the transaction; Courier, notary, wire and recording fees. 

Cost Estimate – $250, but can fluctuate depending on complexity of the transaction. 


Typical Seller Prorated Re-Occurring Seller Costs

1. Monthly loan/mortgage payment, paid interest, home owner insurance, property tax, special assessments/Mello Roos (if applicable), HOA – home owner association fees & special assessment (if applicable) and property mortgage insurance (if applicable). 

Cost Estimate - Varies depending costs of services provided and date of closing based on a 30-day month. 


Typical Non-Refundable Seller Costs 

1. Appraisal - When a loan is involved with the sale of a home the lender will require an appraisal to make sure the appraisal is equal to or higher than the agreed upon selling price. Appraisals are not required for cash buyers. 

Cost Estimate – $500 Estimate. Typically paid for by the buyer and paid directly to the vendor of choice. 

2. Home Inspection – Typically paid by the buyer either directly or via escrow. The home inspection protects both parties against issues. Inspection company chosen by buyer 

Cost Estimate – $500 Estimate for inspection and report. Issues uncovered through the inspection process are negotiable with seller to correct. Typically paid for by the buyer and paid directly to vendor or choice 

3. Survey Fees – Only completed if buyer or lender require it and typically not requested. Survey of plot to locate boundaries. Fee typically goes to the survey company directly 

Cost Estimate – $500 Estimate. Typically paid for by the buyer and paid directly to the vendor of choice. 

4. Home Warranty Insurance – Home warranty coverage is typically paid for by the seller for 1 year after close of escrow. Service calls are paid by the buyer or new home owner. Warranty coverage and service calls after the 1st yr. of ownership and beyond is at the new owners expense. 

Cost Estimate – $55-$85 per service call per call after home is purchased and provided that the seller bought home warranty coverage at time of closing escrow 

* All information presented in this document are guidelines and should not be relied upon in anyway as every situation is unique. Please consult with your providers to get accurate costs relating to your specific situation.