Monday, December 5, 2011

How to Make Your New House a Home

One of the most exciting moments of anyone’s life is buying their first home. However, after you wind down from the whirlwind of closing and cross that threshold for the first time, reality often sets in. For many new homeowners, it can be challenging to make a house feel like a home and, in an effort to quickly do so, many spend too much money unnecessarily.

With a little advance planning, you can make your new house a home without breaking the bank. Here are a few important tips to follow:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Remodeling? Make Sure Your Insurance is Up to Par

According to the BuildFax Remodeling Index (BFRI), remodeling reached a record high during the month of July. The company attributes this to the many who are choosing to stay put and invest in home improvements, as opposed to putting their home on the market.

The latest BFRI indicates that residential remodeling activity registered the 21st-straight month of year-over-year gains, demonstrating that many Americans are continuing to remodel their current homes. The data shows July 2011 as the month with the highest level of remodeling activity since the Index was introduced in 2004.

When it comes to remodeling your home, there are important insurance issues to take into consideration. For example, if you are planning on adding onto your home, evaluate the materials used. Wood-framed structures are highly flammable and will cost more to insure, whereas cement- or steel-framed structures will cost less because they are less likely to succumb to fire or adverse weather conditions.

Once your addition or remodel is completed, it’s critical to make sure your insurance is in line with your home improvements. Many homeowners neglect to calculate the increased value of their home caused by a remodel/addition and secure the necessary coverage. If you have a "guaranteed replacement value" policy, which all homeowners should, noting the new value of your home post-remodel is essential.

In all cases, the following steps can help you save money on rates:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Identity Online

While the Internet is increasingly becoming our go-to source for instantly connecting with others, conducting business, shopping and more, there are certain safety precautions we need to consider. Whether we’re at our desktops at the office, on our mobile devices on the road, or accessing the Internet through a computer in a public space, such as a hotel business center, we must be cognizant of cyber crime and know where the risks lie.

According to David Nelson, an FDIC fraud specialist, there are specific steps you can follow to minimize the risk of identity theft and other online attacks. Here are his top five suggestions:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How to Repair Your Credit Post Bankruptcy

From losing a job to losing a home, many Americans have suffered the slings and arrows of the recession over the past few years. This has forced many to make the difficult decision of filing for bankruptcy. While bankruptcy is the least desirable option when in financial distress—leaving a large scar on your credit rating for 7-10 years—it is often the only one left.

Even once they emerge from a bankruptcy, many are still confronted with a long-term impact on their credit rating, making it nearly impossible to find credit at a reasonable cost. According to the credit experts at, many creditors will not lend to you for one to two years. When you finally begin to qualify again, you will typically be categorized as “extra high risk,” which is often accompanied by lower credit limits and very high interest rates.

The good news is that nothing in credit is forever.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Featured Townhome in Poway, CA

This townhome is located in the city of Poway, CA; also known as the City in the Country!  An added bonus for this home is the ability to expand the back fence with HOA approval to create a beautiful yard.  Where else can you get a 4 bedroom townhome, with an inside laundry, a 2 car garage and yard?  This home has it all!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mortgage Rates are Great, IF You Qualify

With interest rates near rock bottom and home prices down, this ought to be a great time to buy a home. But for most people, it's a lousy time to get a mortgage.
Years after the collapse of the real-estate market and resulting financial crisis, it takes nearly pristine credit scores and hefty down payments to get the best rates.
[sjNEWPB0710] Andy Rash
"Since 2009, credit has become a lot tighter," says Greg Reiter, who follows mortgage-backed bonds at RBS Global Banking & Markets.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Top 5 DIY Staging Tips

If you are preparing to put your home on the market this summer, it’s important to realize that every prospective home buyer that comes through your doors will view your home differently. And with today’s highly competitive market, it’s critical to include effective staging as part of the marketing of your home. The objective is to make sure your home stands out and garners the broadest appeal possible. An experienced real estate agent can help you select a home stager to work with, or you can work with your agent to stage the home yourself. Here are five great tips to get you started:

Monday, May 16, 2011

10 Tips to Survive the Housing Downturn

The economy is starting to improve but the housing market has yet to show any significant signs of recovery, which has some homeowners nervous.  Home prices are hovering near their recession lows, hit in April 2009, according to the latest Case-Shiller home-price report.  It's a buyer's market and by many projections, it won't shift to a seller's market for a good year or more.  So how do homeowners, who have most of their equity in depressed real estate, slog through until it becomes a seller's market?  Here are 10 tips from real estate moguls who have survived several housing-market downturns.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Answers to 5 Common Questions About Default

Unfortunately, in today's slowly recovering economy, many homeowners continue to find themselves in financial trouble. There are many options available to distressed homeowners -- unfortunately, most people are not aware of what these options are. To help clarify confusion and shed light on optimal homeowner options, real estate finance expert Marian Anthony, answers five questions distressed homeowners often have:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Easy Energy-Saving Ideas for Spring

Spring is finally upon us, which means things will be heating up in no time...including your electric bill.  In today's economy, it's important to reduce expenses wherever possible, especially those costs related to your home. I have seen how seemingly small steps in home maintenance can yield big results in terms of savings. Whenever working with clients, therefore, I make sure to point out the various ways they can save energy. Not only is it good for the environment, it's good for your household budget as well. Here are some great energy-saving ideas to look at this spring:

Friday, April 1, 2011

How to Qualify for a Mortgage in Today's Credit Crunch

There may have never been a better time to buy a home than right now. Earlier this month, interest rates dropped again -- the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.79% from 4.93%, according to -- and there is still plenty of inventory, keeping home prices relatively low in our area. Those positive factors, however, are often offset by tighter lending standards, causing many to shy away from applying for a mortgage. As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, however, I have learned that it really boils down to four main factors that will impact a lender's decision:
  • Your ability to make a downpayment - usually between 3% and 20% of the purchase price -- of course, the larger the downpayment, the better your odds of securing the mortgage.
  • Two years of steady employment - at the same job or in the same field.
  • Good (but not necessarily perfect) credit score - these days, around 660 may do it.
  • Monthly income between two and three times the estimated monthly mortgage payment.
I have had many clients, however, who have qualified for a mortgage without completely meeting the above criteria ... so don't rule yourself out too soon. There are several other steps you can take to secure a mortgage, such as these ideas from BusinessWeek:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top 5 Tips for Tackling Home Improvement Projects

In the do-it-yourself age we live in, many homeowners are ready and willing to take on home-improvement projects themselves. But while you may be ready and willing, the real question is, are you really "able?"
I have access to many great home-improvement resources thanks to being part of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®. The following advice comes from HGTV's Carter Oosterhouse. Heed these suggestions before you embark on your next project:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tips for Rebuilding Your Credit After Foreclosure

Many people have weathered through some tough times over the past few years. But now, as things begin to look a little brighter, it's time to consider starting over the right way and with a plan.  Here are some great tips and information on taking the steps to get your credit back on track and once again qualify for a mortgage.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Cost of Waiting for Prices to Fall

by The KCM Crew on February 11, 2011

Many purchasers have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for home prices to hit bottom. They want to guarantee that they are purchasing at the best possible price. Like them, we also believe that prices still have some room to fall in most markets. However, we disagree that waiting is a good financial decision. The buyer should not be concerned about housing prices. They should be concerned about cost.

The cost of a house is made up of the price AND THE INTEREST RATE they will be paying. Two different pieces of news released yesterday highlight this point.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How to Make Real Connections with Buyers During an Open House

In today's technology-centric world, the idea of hosting an open house to help find a buyer for your home may seem antiquated. As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, however, I have learned from experience that an open house -- when done correctly -- can go a long way toward getting your home sold quickly for an optimal price. Why? Because while technology is integral to marketing your home, no video or virtual tour will ever compare to viewing a home in person. That's why it's essential to focus on the very tangible assets of your home during an open house -- the things that will connect with a potential buyer's senses.