‘Tis The Season!

Christmas is coming!!! One of my family’s most favorite holiday traditions is to drive around town checking out Christmas Lights/Displays.  We normally do this around the 23rd- But why wait?! Elk Grove is full of folks who just don’t disappoint!

Check out This Website for a *map* of light displays for you and your family to visit 🙂

Did you know…?

As of July 1st 2011 all homes in the state of California are required to have carbon monoxide detectors in them!  I highly doubt that the government will be sending any inspectors to your homes to confirm that you’ve complied.  I mean, how often to you hear about men in black suits knocking on random doors to verify a property has smoke detectors or that their water heater is properly braced to the wall? BUT, if you are selling your home and you will record after July 1st, you will need make sure that you have these detectors before you record to ensure that your property is up to code.  If you’re not selling your home any time in the near future, you may want to consider picking up a few of these detectors anyways… You never can be too safe, right?  As always, From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.


8 Ways to Cool Your Home Naturally

The warm weather is fast approaching, and with energy costs climbing annually, keeping your house cool in summer can be a wallet-emptying exercise. Finding natural ways to keep cool can save you hundreds of dollars in a single season.woman with fan 400x317

  1. Plant deciduous trees on the south and west sides of your house where you receive the most sunlight. Their leaves will provide cooling shade in the summer, and, when they shed in the winter, allow the sun to help warm your home. According to the USDA Forest Service, trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save 20 to 50 percent of the energy used for heating.
  2. Use trees or shrubs to shade your air conditioning unit, windows or the sides of the house receiving direct sunlight.
  3. Open your windows at night when it’s coolest and shut them during the day to keep the cool air in and the hot air out.
  4. Place a fan at the open basement door to bring cool basement air onto your main living level. Likewise, ceiling fans set to blow down provide exceptional cooling. Oscillating fans will also mimic tropical breezes, and, combined with some Hawaiian music and a cool fruit drink help remind you of why you waited all winter for summer heat.
  5. Install white (reflective) window shades, blinds, or curtains and keep them closed during the days to keep the heat out.
  6. Check out the latest green “air cooler,” such as mini eco-ice coolers and ice air coolers. They use up to 75 percent less energy than air conditioners and can cool up to 150 square feet.
  7. Realize that up to 60 percent of the heat entering your home comes through the ceiling and walls. If your attic insulation isn’t up to snuff, upgrade it. Moving from three inches of insulation to 12 inches can cut cooling costs by 10 percent.
  8. Finally, check into the feasibility of outdoor awnings over windows, and window tinting such as 3M Scotchtint™ which reflects up to 79 percent of the heat that would come through windows. Strategic investments today can pay for themselves in months and make summer much more enjoyable. Also, any upgrades you make to lower cooling costs will be beneficial when listing your home.

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.

Purchasing Checklist

With so much to think about, working from a checklist can help keep you on track.  Below you’ll find a list to help make you comfortable with the home buying process. After all, this is an exciting time in your life, and I want to help you enjoy it. Read through the checklist, then call a mortgage professional for more information. Of course, purchase transactions can vary, but this “typical” list should help jumpstart your thinking.

  1. Be sure you’re ready to buy a home
  2. Determine how much you can afford
  3. Organize your personal information
  4. Get pre-approved
  5. Find a real estate agent
  6. Search for a home
  7. Research areas and neighborhoods of interest
  8. Visit selected homes
  9. Make an offer on the home you want
  10. Arrange financing
  11. Schedule a home inspection
  12. Prepare for closing


Be sure you’re ready to buy a home

  • Consider all costs involved, including taxes, homeowner’s insurance, private mortgage insurance (PMI), and utilities.
  • Consider the responsibilities of home ownership, from mowing the lawn to maintaining the roof.

Determine how much you can afford

  • Consider all costs involved, including upfront costs such as the down payment and closing costs.
  • Estimate the monthly mortgage payment.
  • Include in your estimates of other costs such as taxes and maintenance, as well as insurance and any applicable association fees.
  • Tip: Use a mortgage calculator (you can find one on my website)

Organize your personal information

  • Check your credit report to make sure that there are no errors.
  • Gather documents such as financial statements and tax forms.
  • Make sure to have the following information readily available: the name, address, and Social Security number of all applicants; contact information for your current landlord or mortgage company; recent pay stubs and employer information; the value of your assets; and the source of your down payment and closing costs.
  • Make sure that you have the Social Security numbers of all borrowers involved.

Get pre-approved

  • A pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford, give you the power to negotiate and even make an offer, and show sellers that you’re a qualified buyer.

Find a real estate agent

  • Consider special, personal needs with which a real estate professional may be able to help you. Real estate agents can specialize in a variety of areas, including, employee relocation, military markets, or vacation homes.
  • I would welcome the opportunity to earn your business, or help find you an agent in your local market.  Feel free to call me at 916-208-4347 if you’d like to learn more about how I can assist you.

Search for a home

  • Search for properties online to get an idea of the homes that are available in your price range.
  • Drive through areas that interest you in order to spot “For Sale” signs and to get a feel for different neighborhoods.

Research areas and neighborhoods of interest

  • Try visiting your preferred neighborhoods at different times of the day and at different days of the week to observe patterns of noise and traffic.
  • Use our Look tool to find statistics on neighborhoods, schools, and other demographic information important in your search for a home. Your Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate agent may also have some of the information you need.

Visit selected homes

  • Take your time. Carefully examine both the interior and exterior of each home you consider. You may want to visit more than once if you’re seriously interested.
  • Compare the prices of similar homes in the surrounding area. Your real estate agent will supply you with comparable properties (“comps”).
  • Tip: If the market is competitive, be prepared to act fast. A pre-approval will give you the ability to make an offer on the home you want and shows the seller you’re financially able to buy the home — and that can give you an advantage over other buyers.


Make an offer on the home you want

  • Before deciding on the amount of your offer, consider important factors such as the condition of the home, the competitiveness of the local marketplace, inspections, time restrictions and more.
  • Consult with your real estate agent for professional input on determining the amount of your offer.
  • Include in your offer provisions for a home inspection and an outline of the actions to be taken if problems arise.
  • Tip: Always check with your real estate agent before making an offer — it may be legally binding. Working with a licensed Real Estate agent may be beneficial and make the process smoother.

Arrange financing

  • Call your mortgage consultant with the property address.
  • Your mortgage consultant will explain your options for rates, terms, points and other details about loan programs you may qualify for.
  • Sign the necessary documents for application.

Schedule a home inspection

  • Ask your real estate agent to help you find a reputable, professional home inspector, and to help schedule the inspection.
  • Tip: It’s a good idea to be present during the inspection. It’s an ideal opportunity to ask important questions about the property.

Prepare for closing

  • Make sure your closing date is scheduled prior to any rate lock expirations on your mortgage loan.
  • If you’re also selling a home and need the cash from the sale, make sure that the closing on your current property is scheduled prior to the closing on your new home.
  • Arrange for your real estate agent or an attorney to be present. That will help assure that all closing tasks are completed to your satisfaction.
  • Check with your closing agent to find out the amount of certified funds — a cashier’s check or money order — needed for closing.
  • Make arrangements for all people needed to sign closing documents to be present. This may include your spouse or any other co-signer.
  • Make arrangements at work and with childcare to be absent for 3-4 hours. (Closing normally takes an hour but you should be prepared to spend extra time in case issues arise.)
  • Bring along a photo ID — your driver’s license or passport, for example.
  • If you haven’t done so already, make sure utilities will be turned on once you take possession of your new home.

When closing is completed:

  • Don’t leave without your new keys.
  • Congratulations on your new home!

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.

FREE Credit Repair Workshop TOMORROW at My Office 6pm!

I’d like to extend a special “Thank You” to Darin Marquardt for hosting this great event, and encourage you all to go! It should be very informative 🙂

Tell Your Friends, Everyone Is Encouraged To Attend

We will be helping buyers/sellers understand their credit and what impacts their credit report.

“How To Build Up Your Credit Score”

Hot topics that we will be covering:

  • How to repair your credit and increase your score
  • What your payment and credit history mean
  • Credit score ranges and credit diversity
  • How credit can impact you financing a mortgage
  • Managing after a bankruptcy and/or foreclosure
  • Credit Consulting

Guest Speaker Heather Champlin from Blue Water Credit

Don’t Miss this Opportunity!

Seating Is Limited – Reserve Your Spot Today!

7801 Laguna Blvd. #100, Elk Grove, CA 95758

Thursday, March 31st at 6:00pm

Call to RSVP or for more information on other events and future dates (916) 478-7130


Home Buyers Workshop Coming Soon 4/28

Darin Marquardt
The Home Loan Group
Senior Loan Officer
Office: (916) 478-7130
Cell: (916) 716-5115
Fax: (877) 408-9432

7 Myths About Foreclosure

Greetings Readers! I have to admit, I did not author the below article.  It was produces by a company called RealtyTrac which specializes in connecting buyers with any and all resources they could want during their property search.  Of course, this automatically means the article also doubles as a commercial, BUT, I do feel that it provides some really great information.  Enjoy the information!

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.

Many people don’t fully understand how foreclosures work.  This lack of understanding can foster foreclosure myths that are dangerous both for homeowners who want to avoid foreclosure and buyers interested in purchasing a foreclosure.  Here are seven of the most common myths about foreclosures:

Myth 1: Foreclosures only happen in poor areas. Foreclosures come in all shapes and sizes and occur in all neighborhooods.  From low-income to million-dollar properties, you will see the full spectrum of homes entering into the foreclosure process.  Economic forces such as rising interest rates and decreasing home values affect homeowners from all types of neighborhoods.

Myth2: Financial irresponsibility causes most foreclosures. While there are always those cases of financial neglect, most homeowners have shown some high level of financial responsibility in order to qualify to purchase a property in the first place.  Unforeseen events such as job loss or a catastrophic accident can cause sudden and unpredictable financial havoc for homeowners.  In addition, foreclosures also tend to increase when interest rates are up and property vaulues begin to decrease.  When this occurs, homeowners may find themselves paying higher monthly mortgage payments for a property that is no longer worth the home’s purchase price.

Myth 3: All foreclosures are in disrepair. While some foreclosures can be in less than ideal shape, many are in great condiditon.  The myth that all foreclosures are in disrepair seems to be driven by the other myth that foreclosures are ususally caused by financial irresponsibility.  Many homeowners who find themselves in a default situation encounter circumstancs that are out of their control.  Even so, this usually does not negatively affect the condiditon  of the property.  However, if you are not an expert in buying foreclusre properties, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a professional who is experienced with these types of sales to avoid common pitfalls.

Myth 4: Lenders want to foreclose on homeowners. The foreclosure process is costly and time consuming, and is a last resort for lenders to recover their investment.  When a homeowner defaults on a mortgage agreement, the lender must first file a public default notice after which the homeowner is given a grace peoriod known as the pre-preclosure period.  During this time, the homeowner can pay off the debt or choose to sell the property.  The minimum timeframe for  a pre-foreclosure period varies by state and can range from 27days (Texas) to 290 days (Wisconsin).  Only at the end of the pre-foreclosure period can the lender auciton the property off to a third party buyer or repossess the property and sell it on the regular market.

Myth 5:  Foreclosures are often bought for pennies on the dollar. While it is true that foreclosures are often purchased below market value, one should be leery of anyone claiming that one can consistently find discounts of less than 10 percent of market value.  According to a RealtyTrac analysis of foreclosure sales in the last seven months, the average savings on foreclosuure purchases nationwide is approximately 29% below full market value.

Myth6: Foreclosure buyers usually take advantage of the homeowner. While homeowners in default should be wary of unscrupulous buyers and investors who try to take unfair advantage of their situation, many foreclosure buyers can actually help an owner to walk away with something to show for equity in the property and avoid a bad mark on his or her credit history.  During the pre-foreclosure period, a potential buyer may approach the homeowner in default and arrange to buy the property before the foreclosure actually takes place.  This pre-foreclosure sell also benefits buyers, allowing them to often purchase properties below full market price.

Myth 7: Foreclsure buying is only for professional investors. Perhaps at one time this may have been the case, but with all the tools available to today’s buyers, more people than ever before have the opportunity to purchase foreclosure properties.  using online resources such as RealyTrac’s online foreclosure database, potential buyers can search nationwide for properties in pre-foreclosure, up for auction or bank-oned, as well as find extensive reports on each property listed.  Buyers can also get financing and find real estate agents familiar with ins and outs of the foreclosure market to help create a smoother transaction.

Credit: RealtyTrac

Avoiding the Seven Most Expensive Errors When Selling Your Home

Whatever the reason for your sale, placing your home on the market always involves a modicum of strain and stress.  After all, your home isn’t just a building.  And it’s not simply a financial investment.  No matter how long you’ve lived in the home, for six months or 30 years, your home is a place of memories.  It’s been the place where everyone you love are always welcome.

Almost inevitably though, the day will arrive when you must move on; and the house can’t move on with you.  When the time comes to sell you home, it can feel emotionally overwhelming at first, but it’s important to reflect, and appreciate the past, while preparing to create a bright and happy future.

No matter what your motivations are for selling your home, I can help you accomplish this goal without the dreaded frustrations and disturbances in your life.  After all, in the end, the target is always the same: to sell your home for the most amount of money and in the least amount of time.  This post will hopefully answer some questions you may have about the home selling process.

Don’t make the the errors made by so many other sellsers..  Take advantage of this report, and learn other people’s mistakes and save time, money, and frustration.

As you prepare to sell your property, there are a great many things to consider to be sure that you’re prepared and organized.  Before getting started, take a look at these seven common, expensive errors and make sure that YOU don’t make these same mistakes.

Knowing the potentially costly problems that can ariase while selling your home is the best way to prevent them BEFORE they happen!

Error #1:

Failure to Prepare Your Home’s Appearance for the Buying Eye

When buyers look at a property, they are looking for a home, NOT a house. Impressions and emotions are vital to a buyer’s decision-making process. They are seeking a certain feeling, a place in which they’d be comfortable living. So if you want to sell your home, give the buyer that feeling that they are “home.” Let’s examine the emotional factors influencing the choices made by the buyer. Emotions are one of, if not the most important factor for swaying a buyer’s opinion for or against a property. It is the emotional response that decides whether the logic should start to function. Remember, buyers will be looking at many homes, often professionally decorated homes. So it’s critical to make your home compete, to make the best impression possible.


A Home for Living and a Home for Selling Are Completely Different Environments

To sell your home, it must look very different from the way it looks when you are living there. Think about it; when you watch your favorite sitcom, the family’s house doesn’t look like yours, but you automatically believe that it functions that way. It has been specifically designed to make your eye see it as a regular, everyday, livable home. What makes your job a bit more challenging than the sitcom set designers is that you have three other senses to appeal to. Don’t worry though; it’s easier than you think! Here are a few tried and true tips for showcasing your home for sale:

  • The first impression is the decision maker for a buyer. The first impression is the one that will last, and it cannot be made twice. Make sure you know what a buyer is looking for. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes before the buyer ever takes a step inside. Get into your car go for a quick drive and then return to your home as if you were coming to see it for the first time. Take a good look at the house and the property. How does it look? Is the landscaping neat? Are there stains in the driveway? Does it look cluttered? Remember, the buyer is seeking the appearance of a well-maintained property. Give it to them!
  • Look at the outside of your home. How is the paint, the trim, even the color – is it chipping, fading, out of style for two decades? Does the roof look healthy? What is the first thing you notice as you approach your home?
  • Tour your own home. Concentrate on the impression of your senses: smell, touch, sight, and hearing. Walk through each and every room while focusing on these senses. Be sure to keep an eye and nose ready for flooring and carpet stains and odors.
  • De-Clutter. If it’s not essential, put it away. Pack up any extra furniture, appliances, dishes and knick-knacks. Your home should appear neat, fresh, orderly and be easy for the buyer to imagine moving their belongings into. The buyer will expect the garage to be full of storage, but it will only pass the test if it is also clean and neat.
  • Give your home a thorough and deep cleaning. You may even want to consider hiring a professional cleaning service.  For the difference it makes in rooms, especially the kitchen, the bathrooms and the bedrooms, you’ll be assured a faster sale and a better selling price for your home.
  • Pets can often be the anti-sale. Make sure that they cannot be seen or smelled by the buyer. Take the pet out of the house when the buyer is there, and take extra care to remove the pet’s odor. Remember, you’re accustomed to it, but it is very present to the buyer who is nitpicking for their future home.
  • A bright and well-lit room is a must for buyers. Before the buyer gets there, open all blinds and curtains and turn on all lights. Note: at night, do the same thing, but keep the blinds and curtains closed in front for privacy while keeping them open to the pretty parts of the yard, thus making your living space look larger.
  • Turn off all appliances and noise-makers such as the television, the radio, ice-makers in your fridge (if you have one) and anything that will distract the buyer’s attention from your home.


Error #2:

Selling Your Home for the Wrong Price

Of course, every seller wants to make as much money as possible when they sell their home, and it is natural to lean towards a high price, with the intention of reducing the price in the future if you don’t attain that dream price. However, listing your house for a price that is much too high will usually result in selling your home for far less than if you had attempted to sell at the market price to begin with. The reason for this is simple: Price is usually a paramount factor for buyers when searching for a new home.  If your property is listed out of the price range for buyers who are most likely to purchase your listing, it’s unlikely they will ever step foot in your home, because they couldn’t afford to purchase it at the listed price.  This is commonly referred to as “pricing yourself out of the market.” To make matters worse, Real Estate Agents have a natural tendency to want to show their clients the newest homes on the market in hopes of snatching up a gem before anyone else has the chance to act.  This means that even when you reduce your listing price after 30 days of being on the market with no offers, Agents may automatically look past your property because it has “gone stale” so to speak.  You’ll have to consider a deep discount on price to regenerate buzz around your property.  You’re now selling your home for much less than you could have if you had priced it correctly from the beginning. Keeping your house on the market for that long has also cost you money. You’d pay more interest on your mortgage, more property taxes, insurance, and all the other carrying costs associated with owning a house that is waiting to sell. Not to mention the added stress of having your home on the market. What’s that worth?

Fact: As the Seller, You are Solely Responsible For The Price and the Time it Takes to Sell Your Home

Overpricing will undoubtedly increase the length of time it takes to sell your home. Consequently, overpricing also leads to the increase in your carrying costs of the unsold home. That’s why I’ve created a program for you, to provide a complete, no obligation evaluation of your home. I provide you with a real-world home value analysis. This analysis is based entirely on verifiable facts and figures that will be explained to you at every step. I will also carefully inspect your home to identify any areas where investing a small amount of money will produce a definite advantage in the sales price. No tricks; no false hopes, no puffed up schemes. I will share with you the facts about today’s market so you can determine what your home will sell for. I will show you precisely how to “dress up” or “stage” your home in order to appeal to the vast market. My exclusive marketing plan will assist you with:

  • Asking the right price to maximize profitability.
  • Define and compare market value between homes.
  • Marketing your home to its maximum exposure.
  • Protecting yourself from crime when selling your home.
  • Handling buyers during a showing, to gain the advantage for the highest price.
  • Negotiating the best sale and terms on your behalf.

Understanding these issues will allow you to assign the best price to your home for the fastest and most profitable sale. It will also give you the knowledge you need for buying homes in the future, as you will know the perspective of the buyer, the seller and the market.

Error #3:

Placing a Limit on the Exposure of Your Home

Everyone knows that the most evident of marketing devices in real estate – classified ads and open houses – have their advantages, but they are limited in their rewards. To be successful when marketing your home requires a great deal more. You may be surprised to know that less than 1 percent of homes are sold as a result of an open house. Real Estate Agents use open houses as a tool for attracting buying prospects, not to actually sell the house. Equally as surprising, is that less than 3 percent of people have purchased their home because they saw it in an ad. It is precisely for that reason that the most competent Agents will use a wide range of marketing techniques, which emphasize the unique marketing solutions for your home and your area. I have an unparalleled marketing plan for selling your home. If you like, I’ll share with you the elements of my strategy, at your request and convenience.

Error #4:

Working Under the Impression that Your Appraisal Is Equal to the Market Value of Your Home

What an appraisal provides you with is a statement of value for a reason entirely separate from the actual selling value of your home. The purpose of an appraisal is usually for financial institutions that desire mortgage and loan information. Therefore in an appraisal prepared for a money lender, there may be issues other than simple market value that will come into play. They have different goals in their appraisal. On the other hand, a buyer will look at factors such as foreclosures, distressed sales, bankruptcies, divorces and fluctuations in the area. The perceived value by the buyer will therefore be somewhat different than that of a financial institution. To assist you, I can provide you with all for the information you require to make a reliable, realistic valuation of market value for your home. To do this, I will gather information about your specific area for: recently sold homes (market history), pending homes or homes under contract (market activity), homes for sale (competition) and expired listings (market rejects). I will answer any questions you may pose about your own house and its value, using true market facts.

Error #5:

Being Unaware of Your Rights And Obligations

The laws and regulations of real estate can be complex if you are uninformed or you do not understand your rights and responsibilities. A contract for the sale of your property is just that, a contract. It is therefore legally binding and not to be taken lightly. If you are unaware of what you are signing, or if you do not understand the contents of the contract, you can run into some very serious problems with the sale of your property, and resolution of such problems can be very costly. Before you sign anything, know what repairs and closing costs you will be bound to within the terms of the contract. You must know if your contract allows you to sell the home in its current state, or if there are issues such as deed restrictions or local zoning restrictions that will alter the rules of sale for your property. Also, be sure to have a proficient review of your title, to be sure there are no “Clouds on Title” inhibiting you from a sale. If left up to you to remedy these issues, you may spend up to thousands on unanticipated legal bills, fines, contractors, and other costs. A competent Real Estate Agent can help you identify and avoid these issues before they become “problems.”

Error #6:

The Signing of a Listing Agreement Without a Way Out!

Real estate agents almost universally have good intentions for assisting you in selling your home. But the life circumstances of a real estate agent can greatly affect those intentions. Personal problems, a career change, money issues or a decision to retire are all possible occurrences that could mean that the agent isn’t looking out for your best interests. Maybe you’re not getting the exposure you expected. Or perhaps you haven’t heard from your agent in a while and cannot seem to contact them. What then? You will, of course, want to fire your agent, should this occur. And you should be able to…but the contract you have signed binds you to the broker, not the agent him/herself. Therefore, if you are unhappy with one agent, the broker may assign another one. Someone you have not personally selected, nor someone you desire. But because of your contract, you remain trapped with that agent and that broker until the contract expires. Quite an expensive and frustrating error! Protect yourself! Here’s how:

  • Be extremely choosy and careful when selecting a Real Estate Agent
  • Be prepared for the worst, and make sure that your listing agreement allows you to cancel if it is your wish.

That is precisely why I offer a 100 percent guarantee of my services. My priorities are your priorities. I want your home to sell for as much as possible, as fast as possible. And, if at any time, you should be unhappy with my services, don’t hesitate to let me know. If I cannot remedy the issue to your satisfaction, you are well within your rights to fire me! No questions. No hassles. No headaches. Ever!


Error #7:

Choosing the Wrong Real Estate Agent

All Agents are not created equal, so it’s essential to find the one who can best suit your needs. A Real Estate Agent with vast experience and extraordinary professionalism usually costs the same as one with little or even no experience, or one who has compromising standards. Find out about these issues before getting started; before signing anything. Competence and experience will certainly mean the difference between a higher negotiated sales price and the loss of money, selling in a small amount of time or a long, dragged out process. It is the difference between a pleasurable experience and a nightmare. Don’t let just anyone take responsibility for the sale of your home. It is, after all, the most important financial transactions you will make in your lifetime. That is why I take the sale of your home so seriously. It is why I have created the customized home marketing program strategy to best execute the sale of your home.

Why Am I Your Best Choice?

Please consider the following information about me and why I would be an excellent choice for helping you sell your home as quickly and as profitably as possible.

  • I am an expert in your market area.
  • As a Real Estate Agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate – Mason McDuffie, I am part of an organization with a rock-solid reputation that has been serving our community for more than 125 years.
  • All Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate listings are available online through major national and local real estate portals, exposing your home to hundreds of thousands of potential buyers.
  • I know what people are looking for when they look at houses in your neighborhood. I know how to speak to your buyer’s desires.
  • I have a highly successful marketing plan and will develop a customized strategy designed to procure a favorable sale for your home.
  • I will create a comprehensive evaluation of your home and work with you to develop an effective pricing strategy.
  • Advise you how to prepare you property for real estate professional previews and buyer showings.
  • Communicate with you consistently throughout the transaction. I will serve you with honesty and integrity throughout your real estate transaction. If you need to reach me, I’m there for you.
  • Negotiate through the buyer’s agent, and handle possible counter offers, to reach a final agreement that is favorable to you.
  • Work to protect your interests through the completion of the transaction.
  • Best of all, my work is guaranteed. I will do everything I can to make you happy, and if you’re not pleased, you’re welcome to dismiss me.

All Real Estate Agents Are NOT The Same

I would like to provide you with a complimentary Comparative Market Analysis. It’s absolutely FREE, with no obligation whatsoever:

  • I personally conduct a thorough evaluation of your home, providing you with real-world facts, presented in an easy to understand format.
  • I will tour your home to identify issues that could negatively affect your selling price. I’ll then create for you a checklist of strategies designed for the unique situation of your home, in order to sell it for the most money possible.
  • I share with you my premium exposure marketing plan.
  • My plan supplies you with tricks of the trade to promote your home properly, to best handle buyers, to avoid crime, and much, much more.

Waiting Could result in a Difference of Thousands of Dollars!

Don’t wait! Contact me and I will be happy to answer any of your questions, send you any information, and sell your home quickly and easily!

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.

You Have 7 Options

As a Short Sale “Specialist,” my specialty is helping struggling home owners avoid foreclosure.  If you’re upside down on your home and you need to make a move you essentially have 7 options to choose from.  More often than not people find that a short sale is ultimately their best solution, however, it’s important that you educate yourself on all of your available options before choosing which one is best for you.  If you have questions about how all of this might apply to you, please feel free to give me a call and set up a consultation.  I’m more than happy to discuss your unique situation in person.

Your 7 Options to Choose From Are:

  1. Pay down your mortgage, and sell the property.  This is an option if you have money to spare.  We can sell your home and you pay the difference between what your house sells for and what you owe your lender(s).  The positive to this is you can keep your credit intact.  The negative is that you need disposable dollars to do this with.
  2. Short Sale your property.  A short sale is where we will sell your home for less than what you owe.  We need to negotiate with your lender(s) to accept less than what you owe.  It will make a difference if your loan is a purchase money (non-recourse) or non-purchase money (recourse).  Note: There can be tax ramifications depending on if you have a recourse or non-recourse loan. I can explain the difference if you give me a call.  The positive is that you can pay off your loan(s) without any money out of your pocket.  It’s important to realize that in most cases, the home owner is zero dollars out of pocket when they short sell their home.  Most if not all fees will be covered by some combination of the buyer and the bank.  The negative depends on how many payments you missed.  It can reduce your credit score 50-150 points.*
  3. Walk Away and allow your property to be foreclosed.  This is a situation where you just walk away from your house.  You can still have negative tax consequences and it can affect your credit by approximately 250 points.  In most cases, a short sale is a better option.*
  4. Bankruptcy.  Sometimes you will be advised to file bankruptcy.  In a lot of cases, people will suggest this because they do not know about other options as mentioned above.  This should be a last resort.  It can affect your credit by approximately 400 points and your credit for for the long-term.*
  5. Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure.  This is a situation where you basically hand the keys over to your lender.  In most cases, the last thing your lender wants is the property back, and if they do, it is normally prior to foreclosure.  At this point, your credit is probably already negatively affected by multiple missed payments.  If you were current with your payments, why would your lender take the property back?
  6. Loan Modification with your Lender.  This is a situation where you want to stay in your property, but can’t afford your current payment(s).  The lender might renegotiate interest rates or reduce your payment and add it on to the back end of your loan.
  7. Rent.  You can rent your property out until the market turns upwards.  In most cases, there will be a negative between the rent you’re able to collect and your loan payment(s).  Most of the experts feel this market will take 2-4 years to turn-around, though I feel those figures may be overly optimistic.  You should be prepared to rent out your property long term and create a budget worksheet to see if you can realistically afford to be compensating for the difference in your mortgage in addition to the cost of rent for your own home stead.

*Reductions to credit scores are estimates only.  Individual situations will produce varying results.

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.

Mortgage Market Update from Our Expert

You all know by now that I like to keep you well informed on the goings on of the mortgage market by keeping you posted with what Monica Jones, Certified Mortgage Planner with RPM Mortgage, has to say about it.  Below you’ll find her notes on the market for this week.

From the first time home buyer to the savvy investor – from the seller with equity to the seller underwater and needing options – I am here for you.





Last Week in Review: Our hearts and minds – as well as the markets – were moved by the tsunami in Japan and unrest in Saudi Arabia. Read how both impacted Bonds and home loan rates!

Forecast for the Week: Double dose after double dose hits the news wires this week. Find out what to watch and why!

View: Discover the pros, cons, and interesting tidbits about Daylight Saving Time, which begins this week.

Last Week in Review
“And now… the rest of the story” – Paul Harvey. With his famous line, Paul Harvey pointed out for years that there’s more to every story – and often those hidden details influence what happened. With that in mind, let’s look at the “rest of the story” behind last week’s news items, which had alternating impacts on Bond prices and home loan rates. 

First, let us start by sending our thoughts and prayers to the families affected by last week’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The earthquake was a magnitude of 8.9 – the strongest in 140 years. The earthquake in Japan and its damage created some counterintuitive market reactions.

One would think that US Treasuries and Mortgage Bonds would have traded much higher, as often is the case with devastating natural events that drive money into “safe haven” trades. But that wasn’t the case. Why? The answer is that buying of Treasuries and Mortgage Bonds as a safe haven trade was offset by the Japanese selling some of their own massive holdings of Treasuries and Mortgage Bonds, in order to repatriate money back to their country during the time of emergency. Considering that Japan is the second largest holder of U.S. debt at $877 Billion, selling just a tiny position of their holdings has an impact on Bond prices.

In addition, Bond prices traded in very volatile fashion last week after getting jockeyed around on news out of Saudi Arabia that police had opened fire on protesters with rubber bullets. Let’s look at how this influenced the markets in a different way than one might at first imagine.

Like other recent uprisings in the Middle East, Saudi protesters are looking for more democracy, the right to elect public officials, greater civil rights, freedom of expression, more women’s rights and a higher minimum wage. Interestingly, however, oil fell last week, despite the news. Why? Shouldn’t unrest in Saudi Arabia – the world’s largest oil producer, push prices higher? Yes, but that news was offset by the earthquake in Japan. That’s because Japan is a huge importer of oil… and the market senses that the earthquake and subsequent tsunami may create an economic slowdown and diminish the demand for oil.

Seeing that Mortgage Bonds are lower – even in the face of weak Stocks and enormous uncertain global news – tells us that the gains in Bonds are not coming with a lot of conviction and Traders are selling into this strength. This is because a lot of headwinds remain for Bonds – like inflation abroad, rising government debt and continued QE2 purchases.

This is a good example of why it is important to work with a mortgage professional that understands not only what was reported in the news, but also how the many cross currents may have alternating effects on everything from Bonds, Stocks, Oil to the US Dollar.

Forecast for the Week
“Double dose!” is the phrase of the week, as we’ll see multiple reports this week focusing on the same segments of the economy: 

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

As you can see by the arrows in the chart below, Bond prices experienced some up-and-down volatility last week, but ended the week near where they began – meaning home loan rates are still near historic lows.

So what should you do if you or someone you know is in the market for a new home?

The bottom line is that even if housing were to drop a little further in some areas, the affordability coming from today’s rates serves as a backstop against any moderate price reduction. Remember, housing will likely be in a much better position in the second half of the year and at that time rates could be a bit higher. Now’s the time to take advantage of the combination of low rates and affordable housing. Call or email today to get started.

Japanese Candlestick Chart


Sping Forward Beginning March 13

Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins on Sunday, March 13, 2011. The way we refer to time zones also changes. For example, Eastern Standard Time (EST) becomes Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

But remember, some areas of the United States don’t use DST, such as Arizona, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the US Virgin Islands and American Samoa.

Benefits of Daylight Saving Time

Despite some concerns, Americans overwhelmingly like Daylight Saving Time. There is simply more sunlight in the evenings to enjoy the outdoors and get things done. Plus, additional hours of daylight can help save energy on a national scale – as much as 100,000 barrels of oil per day according to some estimates.

And brighter is safer. Studies have shown that the DST shift reduces traffic accidents. Additionally, a study by the US Law Enforcement Admin also determined that crime is consistently lower during DST, with violent crimes down as much as 10% to 13%. For many crimes, like mugging, darkness is a factor–so more light in the evening hours reduces these types of crimes.

Cons of Daylight Saving Time

Not everyone benefits from DST. For example, many farmers say that DST has a negative impact on their livestock’s natural schedules. The airline industry also reports that it costs millions of dollars to adjust time schedules – and even then, airlines report numerous problems with international flight connections during the transition time since DST isn’t followed uniformly around the world.

Interesting DST Facts

  • A man was actually able to avoid the draft for the Vietnam War using a Daylight Saving Time loophole. When he was born, it was just after midnight, DST. When he was drafted, he successfully argued that in his home state of Delaware, standard time – not DST – was the official time for recording births. So he was technically born on the previous date – which had a much higher draft lottery number – and he was able to avoid being drafted.
  • In September 1999, the West Bank was on Daylight Saving Time, while Israel had switched back to standard time. A group of West Bank terrorists prepared some timed bombs. Unfortunately for them, they misunderstood the time change and the bombs exploded early – killing the terrorists themselves rather than the intended victims, two busloads of innocent citizens.
  • In the 1950s and 60s, each state and locality was permitted to choose start and end DST dates as they desired. During 1965, Minneapolis and St. Paul – which are considered one metropolitan area – didn’t agree on start dates, and for a period of time, these Twin Cities had a one hour time change between them. And on one Ohio to Virginia bus route, passengers technically had to change their watches seven times in 35 miles!
  • To keep to their published timetables, Amtrak trains cannot leave a station before the scheduled time. So when the clocks “fall back” in the fall, all trains that are running on time actually stop at 2 am – the official time of DST change – and wait one hour before resuming their routes. In the spring, the routes instantaneously become one hour behind schedule, but they just keep going and do their best to make up the time.

Finally, since many electronic devices and computer programs are set to adjust to DST based on the old dates, they may not change automatically on March 13. So, you’ll want to double-check all of your devices and confirm that the time is correct.

Economic Calendar for the Week of March 14-18, 2011

Remember, as a general rule, weaker than expected economic data is good for rates, while positive data causes rates to rise.

Economic Calendar for the Week of March 14 – March 18

Economic Report
Tue. March 15
Empire State Index
Tue. March 15
FOMC Meeting
Wed. March 16
Housing Starts
Wed. March 16
Building Permits
Wed. March 16
Producer Price Index (PPI)
Wed. March 16
Core Producer Price Index (PPI)
Thu. March 17
Index of Leading Econ Ind (LEI)
Thu. March 17
Capacity Utilization
Thu. March 17
Industrial Production
Thu. March 17
Core Consumer Price Index (CPI)
Thu. March 17
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
Thu. March 17
Jobless Claims (Initial)
Thu. March 17
Philadelphia Fed Index