Scam or No Scam?

Unfortunately, scam artists often target homeowners like you who are struggling to meet their mortgage payments or sell their home, and do not have your best interest in mind. However, not all offers for help are scams. Learn more here!


Late Mortgage Payments

Watch this video to learn what happens when you are late on your mortgage payments and how you can get your mortgage payments on track if you are having difficulty with your financial situation.

ABC Family Home in Cerritos

Price: $495,000
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 1.75
Size: 1,400 square feet
Lot size: 5,233 square feet
Description: Get your hands on this bank-owned, single level home featuring 3 bedroom 2 bath, high ceiling in living room with fireplace in the beautiful city of Cerritos. Home is also located on a cul-de-sac street. This home is located in the highly desirable ABC school district.

Provided by: Kevin Khuu | (562) 965 – 1544

More information here:

The Perfect Family Home in San Clemente

Price: $724,999
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3
Size: 2,900 square feet
Lot size: 6,098 square feet
Description: Standard Sale. Fast Escrow Possible. Fantastic location in Forester Ranch w/downstairs bdrm & bath. Traditional floor plan that welcomes entertaining, 3-car gar, formal dining & living rooms. Family room/ kitchen/ great room that frames gorgeous views of San Juan Hills and beyond. Designer kitchen with premium stainless steel appliances and granite counters, walk-in pantry, built-in wine frig, center granite work island, stone and colored glass backsplash that matches hearth & fireplace in family room all recently upgraded. New carpet, custom draperies, exterior/interior paint, oversized master bedroom, walk-in closet plus 2 more closets in Master Suite, loads of storage, remodeled walk-in shower with seat and deep soaking tub all tastefully done in travertine. Great area features award winning schools, restaurants, shopping, transportation, and close to the beach. Low HOA dues, and NO Mello Roos. Move-in ready. Show and Sell!

Provided by: Sherry Sims / (714) 608-4995

More information here:

Why Isn’t Your Real Estate Website Getting Leads Anymore?

Check out this great article from:


Getting traffic is great, but worthless if you don’t get leads. So I offer you 4 reasons why you are not getting the leads you are used to getting.
Economic-The economy has made viewers picky and less apt to commit to a registration.

Distraction-The social media. Facebook, Twitter, et al. More and more people are spending their free time finding conversations and links at sites like Facebook.

Commodity-The dilution of control of listings inventory. Sites like Trulia, Zillow, and other classified websites have taken over the web. The listings inventory has gone from a Realtor controlled event, to an easily accessed commodity on the web.The only way to decommoditize your business is to let the world know YOU. Not hiding behind a banner. But you.

What are you about and how does that help your prospective client? Most of the way hyperlocality is taught is wrong. Hyperlocality is about your marketplace and how it relates to the local resident’s concerns and desires for their home life and the area surrounding it. Bring your world to your website. Be an advocate for your market.
 You need to explore and demonstrate your Unique Selling Proposition. Not just saying it. But demonstrating it through your publishing of blog posts, articles, social interaction and posts, etc.
What is your most wanted action on your publishing? What do you want them to do?

Other Focuses-What other content can you feed into your web site? APIs, Feeds, Widgets can bring in targeted content that your MLS/IDX does not provide. Your brokerage needs to collaberate and publish as a team. Look at Trulia. It has a clasified listings site that has evolved to include market data as well as market FAQ’s, and blogs. All provided by the Realtor community. As they and other similar Vortals dominate your city searches in the engines. And you haven’t even received a thank you note.
Explore the conversation going on in your prospects mind and enter it. Go after General but also Specific keywords to attract buyers and sellers.Today, the market in most geographies in the country is distressed. The distressed homeseller is looking up phrases like, “how to avoid foreclosure”,  “Il foreclosure laws”, “Loan modification in Peoria, Il”, etc.

View the original article here:

Lower Property Taxes

Do you ever feel like you’re paying more than your fair share of property taxes? You’re not the only one. Many people believe that their homes are over-assessed, and guess what? According to the National Taxpayers Union, a good amount of homes are over-assessed between 30 percent to 60 percent. This applies to commercial property as well.

The sad news is that only about 2-3 percent of homeowners make an appeal for it. This statistic is quite surprising because the process of appeal is quite simple and has a 20-40 percent success rate.

Below are some steps that any homeowner may take to appeal his/her property tax assessment – provided by AOL Real Estate


  • Get your property card. First, get the information in the assessor’s file about your home from the property card, which will include the method and data used to determine its value, its lot size, square footage, any known upgrades, and of course the number of bedrooms and baths. Do not take no for an answer. Some assessors may try to tell you that you can’t see this information, but it is a public record and you have a legal right to see it.
  • Check the accuracy of information. If you turned a closet into another bathroom, or converted an attic into a fourth bedroom, or knocked down a wall to change two small bedrooms into one large master suite, these improvements should be reflected on the property card. If the card is inaccurate, a new property assessment could bring it’s value up rather than down. The same is true if the assessor thought you had an aluminum siding and brick exterior like your neighbors, when in reality you have vinyl and stucco, and that bathroom addition was done by the previous owners 10 years ago.
  • Understand the math. Property tax assessors’ offices vary in how they determine a home’s value. Some base it on recent sales data from similar homes, others may estimate the cost to rebuild or use a combination of methods. Some incorporate tax breaks for homesteaders or farmers. The assessor may use the full determined value, or a percentage, such as 90 percent of the actual assessed value. (This is why sometimes assessed values of your home can be less than what they sell for — if this happened in your case, don’t worry, you can still qualify for a reduction.)
  • Get comps. You can get sales data from and ListingBook, or a Realtor. Just be careful not to use estimates based on current listings. Instead use actual “sold prices” for the time period you’re evaluating. The assessor’s office also might have this data available. You will need a minimum of 3 to 5 homes, but there should be no need for more than 10 homes in your comparison.
  • Use the correct assessment date. Make sure your property tax assessment is for the same date the assessor used. If the county assessment was for, say, January but you used data from April, your estimate may be considered inaccurate and your case could be dismissed.
  • Consider using a professional report. Now, granted, the cost of any savings you make would be offset by what you pay to a professional, but depending upon how much you’re looking to save, this could be worth it. Appraisers can charge anywhere from $200 to $500, and property tax consultants typically work on a contingency for 25 percent of the savings. If you recently refinanced your mortgage or had a home equity loan, you might already have access to a professional appraisal.
  • Prepare your document. After reviewing the data you gathered, determine if you can prove that your property was assessed at a higher level than the legal standard or at a higher value than the level of nearby comparables. If so, prepare your argument on paper. When you can do so honestly, agree with much of what the assessor did and stress that you do not question the assessor’s sincerity. Just point out the differences in valuations you found. Avoid calling for the assessor’s head on a stake, or pointing out that your taxes pay the assessor’s salary, or just calling the assessor incompetent.
  • File the appeal on time. Make sure you appeal during the right time-frame. Typically you will have 60 days from the time your annual tax assessment was mailed to you, which is usually during the first three or four months of the year. Hand deliver the packet so you can get a stamped receipt, or use certified mail. Both will give you an office date of delivery. You don’t want to lose your case because you didn’t file on time.
  • Wait for a response. Property tax appeals can take place through hearings in which the homeowner personally makes a case before a local board of officials. Your officials will notify you by mail of a hearing date. However, some governments handle the entire appeal by mail, and you simply receive a decision on your appeal in the mail a few weeks later.
  • Attend hearings. If your area handles such appeals with public hearings, attend a handful of hearings from other property owners before your date arrives. This gives you a chance to see if the board members raise any issues that you may not otherwise have been prepared to answer. Should your first appeal fail, or should another appeal become necessary, most states allow three levels of appeal in property tax cases. Typically, a state agency is the second level, with the courts reserved for the third level of appeal. Very few homeowners find it necessary to go to court for relief.

If you need more information, the NTU has a consumer brochure, “How to Fight Property Taxes,” which is available for download from its site for a small fee. It covers everything, including what to say at a hearing.

To view the original article, click here:

How Much Down Payment Do You Need?

We’ve all heard that down payments can range from 5 percent to 20 percent. The more we put on say, a $250,000 loan, the lower our payments will be. However, if cash flow is low, we can do a small 3.5% down payment.

The amount of down payment necessary when buying a home depends on the kind of loan you apply for, such as a government loan like an FHA or VA loan, or a conforming loan from a private institution. With non-conforming loans (aka “jumbo loans”) the down payment required can be up to 20%.

Below is an article extracted from AOL Real Estate that talks about what you’ll need to do before you can make an offer on your dream home!

According to expert Todd Dal Porto, Home Loans Enterprise Sales Executive at Bank of America, FHA loans are a popular option.

FHA loans are a great way to get your foot in the door with a low down payment, says Dal Porto, as the minimum down payment requirement is only 3.5 percent of the mortgage amount you’re seeking. It amounts to a 96.50 percent loan-to-value amount — but he points out that there’s a cap on the value of the home, and that is set county by county. The cap exists mainly because affordability varies in a given area. Los Angeles County, for example, is currently capped at $729,750, whereas most counties around Nashville are capped at $432,500. (See where your county stands.)

Another good thing about FHA loans is that they’re open to anyone, regardless of income. Because even those with a higher income might not necessarily have the savings for a sizable down payment. However, FHA does watch your credit score, as would any lender. It may even soon implement a minimum FICO score of 580.

Which down payment strategy best suits your budget?
Start low — 3.5% on an FHA loan with higher mortgage insurance charges. 2182 (32.0%)
Mid range — 5-10% on a conforming loan means lower PMI payments. 1684 (24.7%)
All in — 20% down payment to eliminate the cost of PMI. 2950 (43.3%)

Dal Porto also points to VA loans, which are available for eligible military veterans, and have a zero-down-payment option for 100 percent of the loan-to-value, provided that the loan is no more than $417,000. For higher loan values, a down payment would be required and would vary based on the appraised value or purchase price.

Conforming loans, which can have a fixed or variable interest rate — although most borrowers choose a fixed rate — are given out by private lenders, such as Bank of America. Lenders set their own minimum guidelines for this product, but currently Bank of America requires a minimum of a 5 percent down payment for loans up to $417,000 and 10 percent for loan amounts up to $729,750.

There are some exceptions to the minimum down payment, however. A down payment of 3 percent may be allowed if the borrower’s income is below the HUD median income for the area where the home is located. And, borrowers can also use a down payment assistance program to have a third-party cover all or part of the down payment.

Given the varying options for a down payment requirement, that doesn’t mean that you should go out and plunk down all of your savings on the down payment. Dangani and Melinda moved from Missouri and asked the experts how much cash they should keep in reserve.

The simple answer, says personal finance expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, is to not overextend yourself. Homeownership comes with a lot of hidden costs, from the property taxes to homeowners insurance and repairs. And don’t forget that you’re going to want to decorate. All these costs can add up to thousands of dollars more than you planned.

It’s not fun to be house poor — whether you’re young, or retired and living in Florida. Make sure you consider the list price of the house, your down payment and your remaining savings carefully, so that you don’t end up letting your house own you instead of you owning it. That would truly be uncomfortable.

View the original article here: