Savvy Consumer Tip: Rental Scammers Are Taking Advantage of a Tight Housing Market

Posted on April 01, 2016 by Chris Bjorklund

People scrambling to find apartments and rental houses often pay for rental listings. Sadly, some of them find that the lists they buy are worthless. One man paid more than $200 for a list of homes to rent, and when he visited three of the addresses, he discovered they were occupied. Applying for a refund was equally frustrating. The agency said the agreement he signed allowed them to take up to 90 days to issue a refund. Three months later, their phone was disconnected and the company disappeared with his money.

Another common scam is to require people who respond to a phony rental ad to pay for a credit report. The con artists collect a commission or simply keep the fee. Read more

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Welcome Home! Here’s Your New House Checklist.

Posted on November 05, 2015 by Jennifer Chan

You spent countless Sundays at open houses. You signed 50+ legal documents. You wrote a check for a single, heart-stopping, six-digit figure. And now, drumroll please…you’re the lucky owner of your very first house! Congratulations! Now it’s time to get to work. Here’s a checklist of all the things you should do when moving into a new house. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Home Tips, Home Improvement
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Industry Overview: Real Estate

Posted on February 09, 2015 by James Florence

For the uninitiated, real estate can be like learning a new language. In this article, we cover some of the basics, from key industry terms to commonly asked questions.

Distinguishing Designations
With all the different titles in real estate, it can be hard to keep track of who’s who. Here’s a simple breakdown of the main real estate designations:

Realtor: A realtor can be an agent, broker or other real estate professional. What defines a realtor is not their designation, but their adherence to the Code of Ethics set forth by the National Association of Realtors, which you can read here.

Agent: An agent possesses a salesperson license with the California Department of Real Estate (DRE). Read more

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How to Buy a Home in Silicon Valley

Posted on August 04, 2014 by Jennifer Chan

Learn More: visit our Home Buyer’s Resource Page 

Silicon Valley is famous for its flourishing tech companies, prosperous venture capital firms, and the unfortunate byproduct of success: expensive real estate. In the past year, the Silicon Valley real estate market has emerged from the housing crisis stronger then ever. Homes in San Jose, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Mountain View have been selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars over the asking prices. Indeed, Atherton was recently identified as the most expensive real estate market in the country. Read more

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Real Estate Tip: Selling Your Home

Posted on April 15, 2013 by Matt Solis

A common misconception of home sellers is that in order to sell as quickly as possible, they need to invest a lot of money in remodeling. However, spending money on renovations can be a precarious financial gamble, as remodeling is by no means guaranteed to increase a home’s value. To increase the appeal of your home while still being cost-effective, start by doing a thorough cleaning. When potential buyers enter a home, the last thing they want is to smell pet odors or see disheveled rooms.

To that end, it’s also important to de-clutter your home by removing excess furnishings and accentuating the space by condensing and rearranging the remaining furniture. When people are looking to buy a home, Read more

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Savvy Short Cuts for Major Purchases

Posted on April 27, 2010 by Chris Bjorklund

Do you ever approach a large home improvement project or a major purchase with fear and trepidation? Right now, my husband and I are making some changes around the house—buying new appliances, a TV for the bedroom, drapes for the living room. We both dread the prospect of spending precious weekends at the mall or at appliance showrooms, and that’s after you invest time in figuring out what you want.

If you’re a savvy consumer like me, I do my homework, but streamline the process. For starters, I only go to trusted sources for information on products. Consumer Reports magazine is always my first choice when it comes to finding objective and independent ratings for most items. Read more

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