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  • The Difference Between Banks and Mortgage Brokers

    The difference between a mortgage broker and a bank loan officer can be confusing if you've never worked with either one before. Though they both aim to get you into a house with a mortgage, they are not the same.

    Let me walk you through the difference:

    Mortgage Brokers Mortgage brokers are professionals who are paid a fee to bring together lenders and borrowers. They usually have access to dozens of different lenders. It helps to think of mortgage brokers as agents. They will evaluate your credit situation to determine which lender is the best fit for your needs. The broker submits your application to one or more lenders in order to sell it, and she works with the chosen lender until the loan closes. Brokers specialize in customizing the mortgage to your unique needs. They can often find a lender who will make loans to people that a bank refuses, such as those with problem credit.

    They make their money by getting 1 to 1.5 percent of the mortgage, and their fee is paid by the

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  • The Six Roadblocks to Buying a Foreclosure or Short Sale

    The bottom line: when a property is in trouble or in distress, it's critical to be far more cautious than when purchasing a traditional sale property.

    In addition to the challenges related to determining what a distressed property is really worth, there are many unknowns and six major roadblocks:

    1. More complicated-Buying distressed properties is not as easy as one-two-three. And is certainly not for the inexperienced homebuyer, without the guidance of an agent with expertise in these types of properties. Foreclosures can entail complicated transactions, during which you have to stay on top of not only your legal obligations but also those of the homeowner-who may have more rights than you realize. And in certain states, even homeowners in dire straits have the legal ability to reclaim the property if they are able to prepay their debts.
    2. Cash only-What makes foreclosures in particular such a challenge for first-time buyers is that such sales are often for cash
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  • 4 Things You Must Do to Buy or Sell a Home This Summer Season

    Summer is traditionally the hottest season for buying and selling a home. In fact, 60% of America's moves take place in the summer. Between the warm weather, the fast approaching new school year and recently received tax returns, buyers are on the hunt. The advantage for sellers is the opportunity to showcase their homes at their very best, tempting buyers with the summer curb appeal of beautiful flowers and green grass as well as inviting backyards and outdoor spaces.
    If you're trying, but haven't sold or bought your property yet, I wanted to share my four essential tips for sellers and buyers to help seal the deal before the summer selling season is over.

    If You Are Hoping to SELL This Summer:

    1. GET THE PRICE RIGHT! - It's time to reexamine the comps in the neighborhood. Things are changing rapidly and locally, so it's time to look at what's selling and what is just sitting on the market.
      • Use comps from the last 60 days
      • Include foreclosures - the bank
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  • The Pros and Cons of Buying a Multiunit Property

    A multiunit property can be a fantastic option for someone who wants to be a little bit hands-on, who doesn't mind sharing a property or being the occasional landlord. Oh, and who doesn't want a home that pays part, if not all, of its own mortgage! Having that additional income can really help offset your monthly carrying costs.

    My first home purchase in Los Angeles was a duplex. It was a wonderful 1920s up-and-down duplex with terrific details and charm to it. I lived in the downstairs apartment and rented out the upstairs unit. The most amazing thing about this property was that I was able to live there almost mortgage free because the rent from the upper unit covered the expenses.

    Thinking about purchasing a multiunit property? Let me break down the pros and cons:

    The Pros

    1. You may be able to live for free. With rent coming in from the other unit or units, you can have a big chunk of your mortgage and carrying costs covered.
    2. It's such a fantastic benefit to know
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  • The Pros and Cons of New Homes and Condos

    Hundreds of thousands of new homes and condos have been built in the past decade nationwide. At this point there is a surplus of them, so in today's new market there are some good deals to be had . . . and some land mines to avoid.

    Here's my take on the Pros and Cons of buying a brand new build:

    The Pros

    • You are moving into a house that should be completed and perfect and have that "new house smell."
    • With new construction or preconstruction purchases, the work is done for you. You don't have to do a darn thing. You don't have to lift a finger, or a hammer.
    • Okay, yes, maybe make a few decisions about what color to paint the breakfast room or if you want the white or the stainless steel appliances―that is, the fun stuff. A big financial benefit to a new home is that you won't have much maintenance to do for quite a while. With brand-new appliances, plumbing, heating, and air, you should be repair free for a few years.
    • They come with some of the amenities that today's
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  • Seven Land Mines in New and Preconstruction House Shopping

    There is much to consider when looking at brand new housing developments. There are so many upsides - gorgeous, brand new homes with all the bells and whistles. And then there are the downsides that you might not be aware of. Take a peek at my "Seven Landmines" before you buy into that new development.

    1. Empty Lots = Empty Promises

    Yes, there are great deals out there right now, but today's market has brought forward a whole new list of caveat emptors, or "buyer-bewares." Brand-new homes in huge developments outside of downtown Las Vegas have sold at fire-sale prices.

    There are lots of buildings and developments out there that have sat half empty. Many tract developments of homes remain half completed. Be warned, even though you may be getting a great deal you may be buying into a development or community that may never be fully completed-or that may take too long to come back to life. You'll be stuck with an unsellable house in the middle of an unfinished

    Yes, the developers will

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  • Selling This Summer? 4 Reasons Why Repairing Before You Sell Saves You Money

    Repairs, renovations and upgrades are a must-do before you put your house on the market. All existing systems, including windows, doors, plumbing, and electrical must be in perfect working order. You may not have to replace or upgrade every item. But you need to know that buyers in this marketplace expect that the home they purchase is in perfect working order. The benefit for you is that this buyer pays you top dollar for a home that is "toothbrush ready." That's a real estate expression that agents often use to signify a house that is move in condition without any further preparation. "Just bring your toothbrush."

    4 Reasons Why Repairing Before You Sell Saves You Money

    1. Your potential buyers won't be distracted by problems and repair items; they will focus on your home's positive, not negative, features.
    2. Your actual cost to fix items will always be less than a buyer's estimate.
    3. Your purchase negotiations won't drag on and on over minor repair issues.
    4. You won't
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  • 5 Essential Tips for Single Homebuyers

    Home buying trends have changed over the last decade, and in today's new market, more single homebuyers are entering the real estate market than ever before. Single women have now outpaced single men as a percentage of homebuyers. A whopping 21 percent of all new home purchases are credited to single women. But as far as must-haves, what do singles tend to look for? A single man or woman or newly married couple wants to be closer to where the action is-great restaurants, nightlife, theaters, movies, sporting events, shopping, etc.

    If you're looking at jumping into homeownership solo, here are my 5 top things to consider:

    1. Stay within your budget-Buying a home on your own is a fantastic move and great step toward your financial future. But make sure it's a home you can afford if there is a momentary-or longer-blip in your financial profile. If you lose a job, you have a health issue, or anything else happens that could affect your ability to cover your monthly mortgage and other
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  • Matching Your Dream Home to Your Budget - the Starter Home

    If you can't make the reality of what you can afford match the houses you are seeing, then you need to remember this doesn't have to be the house you will live in for the rest of your life. The way to match your dream home to your budget is to know that this first house is going to be your starter home.

    "Entry-level homes" exist for a reason. You have to accept that the first house or condo you purchase is not going to be the place you'll live in for the rest of your life. But that's okay. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as the "perfect" house. But there is such a thing as a starter home. The good news is that if you buy smart now, you're able to begin the process of gaining equity and appreciation. Coupled with salary increases and smart savings plans, the opportunity to move up exists. When you're ready to move up, this first home can provide you with the funds to purchase your next home or you can even choose to keep it as an investment.

    Staying Open-Minded
    Yes, you'll

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  • Ten Questions Home Sellers Don’t Want You to Ask

    Home buying and selling season has officially begun, so I wanted to share the ten questions home sellers don't want you to ask. You probably won't get to ask them yourself, so your agent will have to do the sleuthing. In fact, if the seller's real estate agent is any good, she'll make sure that you never come face-to-face with the seller. Agents almost always have their sellers leave the property during showings so that they won't hover over prospective buyers, but also so they don't reveal information that would help the buyer negotiate a better price. While you may never meet a home seller face-to-face, these are important to keep in mind throughout the whole house hunting process.

    There is a lot of information that is not on the listing. Yes, Trulia has all the important facts and your agent can pull up all kinds of information about the house, the owner, the taxes, the current mortgage, etc. But there are some things that you just need to ask. Every property has some little

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