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Open House Safety Tips

An open house can be a great sales tool, but it also exposes you to numerous unfamiliar people for the first time.

Stay safe by practicing these guidelines.

Call the local police department and ask them to have a squad care drive by during your open-house hours.
Check your cell phone s strength and signal prior to the open house. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial. Carry an extra, fully charged cell phone battery.
Determine several  escape routes that you can use in case of an emergency. Make sure all deadbolt locks are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape.
Turn on the lights and open the curtains. These are not only sound safety procedures, but also great marketing tactics.
Make sure that if you were to escape by the back door, you could escape from the backyard. Frequently, high fences surround yards that contain swimming pools or hot tubs.
When prospective buyers begin to arrive, jot down their car descriptions, license numbers and physical descriptions.
When showing the house, always walk behind the prospect. Direct them; don t lead them. Say, for example,  The kitchen is on your left, and gesture for them to go ahead of you.
Notify a friend or a relative that you will be calling in every hour on the hour. And if you don t call, they are to notify the police immediately.
Inform a neighbor that you will be showing the house and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary.

Source: National Association of REALTORS Safety Week kit

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine ( with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Ten Powerful Ways To A Stop Foreclosure

The thought of foreclosure on a home that you have spent most of your life in can be devastating to the average home owner, but there is hope if you have knowledge and the right guidance. To be in a better position to stop foreclosure, you must act quickly. Once you are 30 days late, fees and interest start to accumulate. Waiting too long to respond to a foreclosure notice could cause you to lose your home that you raised your kids in. The techniques listed below will assist you with stopping your home from being foreclosed.

What are some steps I can take to prevent a foreclosure?

1.Talk with the HUD counseling agency for more options.

2.Ask the bank to suspend your payments for a couple of months until you get back on your feet.

3.Argue that you did not understand loan agreement when you first bought the house.

4.Try a loan modification. With this option, the lender modifies several terms of your loan, like the payment, interest and sometimes the principal.

5.See if the bank will go for a Short Sale. This is when you are selling the property at the current market value, and the price is lower than your original loan.

6.Ask the bank if they will take a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Here, you voluntarily turn over the title to the lender to avoid foreclosure and damage to your credit report.

7.Try refinancing before letting your home foreclose. With this option, the lender will construct a new loan for you with a better interest rate and payment plan. This method is impossible if you are underwater.

8.Research the procedures on how foreclosure notices should be sent out, and if any of the steps were violated contact an attorney for a possible lawsuit. By doing this, it will slow down the foreclosure proceedings.

9.File Chapter 7 bankruptcy as a last resort because it stops all foreclosure activity. You should be aware that the lender might ask the judge for a lift of stay, which would allow the foreclosure to proceed.

10.File a Chapter 13 to stop the foreclosure. By doing this you are telling the bank that you need time to work out your financial situation. From there, you will be put on a payment plan to start paying back all of your creditors including the lender.

Keep looking into other options.

Ask for a repayment plan. Payments are increased to make up for the past due payments. You can make up these payments over a short or a long period of time. For example, if you are three months behind with a monthly payment of 400 a month, you can stretch out the $1200 over 12 months where you would pay a extra 100 a month on top of your regular payment.

Look into the Obama Plan-Harp-Home Affordable Modification Program. This plan is geared toward homeowners who are underwater in their loan. Harp allows you to rewrite your mortgage for a better interest rate and to convert from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate. For more information, go to

Look into the Obama Plan and Loan modification. In this plan, you are on a three-month trial period. During this time, you must make all your payments on time. Concluding the trial period, if there were no changes in your financial situation. The loan will continue to be modified at a reduced payment. Moreover, during the trial period, any foreclosure will be suspended. Be advised that if you have good credit when entering the trial period, it could hurt your credit. The reason it could damage your credit is the lender is reporting a modification of the loan and not the original loan.

What is mediation?
It is a process where the homeowner and the lender meet in person to exchange information and discuss ways to avoid foreclosure. A mediator facilitates this meeting.

Can mediation stop foreclosure?
Mediation can slow the foreclosure down, but it won’t stop it, unless you and the bank come to an agreement during mediation.

Do all states offer the mediation program?
No, some states offer the mediation program while others do not. Check with your lender or consult with a real estate attorney on this matter.

How does the process work?
After you default on your loan, 90 days to 120 later the bank will send you a Default and Election to Sell Notice along with a mediation form. You must note that every state is different with this procedure. If you choose mediation, you have 30 days to return the mediation form. After you return the document, a mediation will be scheduled for you and the bank. During the mediation, you try to work out various options with the bank on how to avoid foreclosure such as the options listed above and in the bullet point section. If no agreement is made, the bank will continue with foreclosing on your home.

Article Source:

About the Author:
Mark Clayborne is a Certified Credit Consultant with ten years of experience assisting consumer with credit issues. If you liked this article, then I invite you to sign up to read the first chapter of my book Hidden Credit Repair Secrets and get a Free Restore your credit E-class by clicking here

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Your Property Wish List

What does your future home look like Where is it located As you hunt down your dream home, consult this list to evaluate properties and keep your priorities top of mind.


What neighborhoods do you prefer


What school systems do you want to be near


How close must the home be to these amenities:
Public transportation
Neighborhood shopping

Home Style

What architectural style(s) of homes do you prefer
Do you want to buy a home, condominium, or townhome
Would you like a one-story or two-story home
How many bedrooms must your new home have
How many bathrooms must your new home have

Home Condition

Do you prefer a new home or an existing home
If you re looking for an existing home, how old of a home would you consider
How much repair or renovation would you be willing to do
Do you have special needs that your home must meet

Home Features

Front yard
Back yard
Garage ( __ cars)
Family room
Formal living room
Formal dining room
Eat-in kitchen
Laundry room
Finished basement
Spa in bath
Air conditioning
Wall-to-wall carpet
Wood floors
Great view

Other notes:

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine ( with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

5 Property Tax Questions You Need to Ask

1. What is the assessed value of the property Note that assessed value is generally less than market value. Ask to see a recent copy of the seller s tax bill to help you determine this information.
2. How often are properties reassessed, and when was the last reassessment done In general, taxes jump most significantly when a property is reassessed.
3. Will the sale of the property trigger a tax increase The assessed value of the property may increase based on the amount you pay for the property. And in some areas, such as California, taxes may be frozen until resale.
4. Is the amount of taxes paid comparable to other properties in the area If not, it might be possible to appeal the tax assessment and lower the rate.
5. Does the current tax bill reflect any special exemptions that I might not qualify for For example, many tax districts offer reductions to those 65 or over.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine ( with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Art Of Real Estate Flipping Houses And Foreclosure

Real estate business is cyclical with ups and downs. It is hard to predict the happenings in real estate unless you have a fine prior knowledge of how it works.

Real estate means buying and selling of properties with varying amount of profits. To make a real good profit in this business one should know the pros and cons. For obtaining knowledge of real estate business, there is real estate education in USA and abroad giving various models of education. These programs are necessary for finding success in the field as you will know to update the current happenings and the market and logic accordingly. The models here include from MBA (Masters of Business Administration) to MSc (Master of Science) in real estate/development.

If you are already in the field or an agent or want to be in the real estate field, then real estate videos are of big help. Real estate videos provide video home tour for commercial and residential listings of real estate. They have the video spotlights, resort and hotel video providing for real estate agents whether commercial or residential. These videos act as knowledge base allowing viewers to watch full motion video tour of your business or property. Videos also help in knowing what and how of the industry and you can assess your position quiet better in the competition. Therefore to grow as a professional businessman real estate education and real estate videos can put you in right track.

Flipping house and foreclosure are very common terms in real estate once you understand the business which play major role that put you in profit or loss. Flipping house is the art of buying foreclosed homes or the property at cheaper rates and selling when there is good market for making profits. When an individual is in financial distress and has no other option left, will mortgage his property which can be his/her house. After mortgaging again he may not have the capacity to pay back the loan then the poor person will have to sell it to the mortgager. This requires lot of calculation of maintaining the financial situations and the value of the money put in buying by the agent.

Foreclosure is taking possession of a property mortgaged when mortgagor has failed to keep up mortgaged payments. Here the possession of the property will be legal through litigation process. Real estate agents make huge profits in such incidents of failed payments. Real estate business require lot of contacts and hardworking with good lot calculation of every pie. Real estate business is a hot favorite nowadays with ups and downs of one nations economy that has influence internationally in the globalized world.

It is hard to keep up in this business having real estate education, real estate videos, having fine knowledge of flipping house and foreclosure unless you have the real tactics of the game where logic plays. When the there was economic slowdown with many of the US banks going bankrupt real estate business saw its worst days. Wait and watch approach is not advisable all the time though it has its role to play.

Article Source:

About the Author:Lolita Sheriow is a Real Estate Investor and CEO of Harrtstone Management Inc. in Ft. Worth, TX. For a FREE 7 Secrets report on buying and selling Flipping houses using creative options in any market. For more details please visit

Read more:–Flipping-Houses-And-Foreclosure/1574013#ixzz10UAXf5XJ
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5 Things to Know About Homeowner s Insurance

1. Know about exclusions to coverage. For example, most insurance policies do not cover flood or earthquake damage as a standard item. These types of coverage must be bought separately.

2. Know about dollar limitations on claims. Even if you are covered for a risk, there may be a limit on how much the insurer will pay. For example, many policies limit the amount paid for stolen jewelry unless items are insured separately.

3. Know the replacement cost. If your home is destroyed you ll receive money to replace it only to the maximum of your coverage, so be sure your insurance is sufficient. This means that if your home is insured for $150,000 and it costs $180,000 to replace it, you ll only receive $150,000.

4. Know the actual cash value. If you chose not to replace your home when it s destroyed, you ll receive replacement cost, less depreciation. This is called actual cash value.

5. Know the liability. Generally your homeowner s insurance covers you for accidents that happen to other people on your property, including medical care, court costs, and awards by the court. However, there is usually an upper limit to the amount of coverage provided. Be sure that it s sufficient if you have significant assets.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine ( with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Make Your House FHA-Loan Friendly

By: Terry Sheridan

Know the basics of FHA loan rules and you stand a better chance of selling your house or condo.

Make your house FHA-friendly, and it will appeal to more homebuyers. Why Because the Federal Housing Administration is insuring the mortgage loans used by about 30% of today’s homebuyers.

If your house passes the FHA rules, it will appeal to buyers who plan to use an FHA-insured mortgage. If your house doesn’t qualify for an FHA loan, you’re cutting out 30% of potential buyers.

FHA is especially important to first-time homebuyers and those with small downpayments because it allows borrowers with good credit to make a downpayment as low as 3.5% of the purchase price.

Here’s how to make your home appealing to FHA borrowers:

Know the FHA loan limits in your area
Start by checking to see if your home’s listed price falls within FHA lending limits for your area ( FHA mortgage limits vary a lot. In San Francisco, FHA will insure a mortgage of up to $729,750 on a single-family home. In the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the loan limit is $271,050.

Home inspections
Most buyers will ask for a home inspection, whether or not they’re using an FHA loan to buy the home. You must give FHA buyers a form ( explaining what home inspections can reveal, and how inspections differ from appraisals.

How much do you have to repair
If the home inspection reveals problems, FHA will not give the okay to buy the home until you repair serious defects ( like roof leaks, mold, structural damage, and pre-1978 interior or exterior paint that could contain lead.

Dealing with FHA appraisers
Help the lender’s appraiser by providing easy access to attics and crawl spaces, which usually must be photographed, says appraiser Frank Gregoire in St. Petersburg, Fla. Your buyer can hire his own appraiser to evaluate your home. But FHA only relies on reports by its approved appraisers. If the two appraisals conflict, the FHA appraisal preempts the buyer’s appraisal.

Help with FHA closing costs
Most FHA buyers need help with closing costs, says mortgage banker Susan Herman of First Equity Mortgage Bankers in Miami. So a prime way to make your house FHA-friendly is to help with those costs. FHA currently allows sellers to pay up to 6% of the sales price to help cover closing costs, but is considering lowering that limit to 3% in the fall of 2010.

If you’re selling a condo
FHA also has to approve your condo before a buyer uses an FHA loan to purchase your unit. Be sure your condo is FHA-approved for mortgages ( The list has been updated, so if your association was approved a year ago, check again to make sure it’s still on the approved list.

FHA generally won’t insure loans in condo associations if more than 15% percent of the unit owners are late on association fees. Ask your property manager or board of directors for your association’s delinquency rate.

Other rules cover insurances, cash reserves and how many units are owner-occupied ( and the types of condos that can be purchased with an FHA mortgage


FHA sometimes issues waivers for healthy condominiums that don’t meet the regular rules. If your condo isn’t FHA-approved, it doesn’t necessarily have to meet every single rule to gain approval. Ask your REALTOR® to consult with local lenders about getting an FHA waiver for your condo if it doesn’t meet all the requirements.
FHA also limits its mortgage exposure in homeowners associations. With some limited exceptions, no more than 50% of the units in an association can be FHA-insured (

FHA loans for planned-unit developments
FHA no longer requires lenders to review budgets and legal documents for planned-unit developments.

More from HouseLogic
Show Your Support for FHA (

Other web resources
Why Ask for an FHA Loan (
Find a State Program to Help Homebuyers Afford Your Home (

Terry Sheridan is an award-winning freelance writer who has covered real estate for 20 years, and has owned and sold three homes.

Visit for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

What is the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP)?

Congress created the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help cities, counties and states deal with community problems that are the result of the mortgage foreclosure crisis in the nation. HUD provides money to local governments (cities and counties), nonprofits, and all 50 states. HUD has allocated $6.82 billion to 307 NSP1 grantees, 56 NSP2 grantees, and 270 NSP3 grantees.
Generally, the money must be used to buy, fix up, and resell foreclosed and abandoned homes. As long as the funds are used for this redevelopment, the grantees that receive HUD funds decide how to use the funds and what specific redevelopment activities to undertake.If you are interested in participating in this program, you need to contact your city, county, and/or state to find out how the program operates in your area. This is true both for prospective home buyers and for potential contractors, non-profits, and other partners.To find out who administers the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in your area, click here.To view all NSP laws and Federal Register Notices, click here.

How can I get help with NSP?

There are two separate types of requests for help you can submit to the NSP Resource Exchange website. Please consider the definitions below before deciding which form to fill out.

Ask a Question:

NSP grantees and their partners can submit technical questions related to NSP by selecting the Ask a Questionoption on the navigation bar above. Individuals requesting answers to questions will need to provide their contact information, relationship to an NSP grantee, and the question that they would like answered. Once the request is submitted, a confirmation email with a tracking number will be sent. The NSP Resource Exchange staff will respond to the question as quickly as possible.

Make a TA Request

Individuals can also submit a request for an NSP grantee or their nonprofits or developers to receive technical assistance specific to NSP by selecting the Get Assistance option on the navigation bar above. NSP grantees requesting technical assistance for themselves or their partners must provide contact information and a description of the need for technical assistance. Once the request is submitted, a confirmation email with a request number will be sent. The NSP Resource Exchange staff will provide an initial response to the request as quickly as possible.

What types of resources are available on the NSP Resource Exchange?

The dropdown boxes beneath Find a Resource on the NSP Resource Exchange main page and the options on theAdvanced Search page allow users to browse through resources by topic area, audience, and type.

  • Resources by Topic: Find resources categorized by NSP areas — Program Requirements and Rules, Program Design, Program Administration, Grant Management, Project Financing, Financial Management, Other Federal Requirements, and Construction.
  • Resources by Audience: Find resources specific to your role — NSP1 Grantee, NSP2 Grantee, NSP3 Grantee, Nonprofit, Developer, and Other.
  • Resources by Type: Browse resources by type — Training Materials, Sample Procedures, Templates and Checklists, HUD Notices, HUD Guidance, HUD Federal Register, Frequently Asked Questions, Reports, NSP Toolkits, Webinars, NSP Policy Alerts, and Other.

How do I search for resources on the NSP Resource Exchange?

The NSP Resource Exchange allows you to perform searches for resources through four methods: Quick Search, Advanced Search, Find a Resource, and NSP Toolkits.
Quick Search allows you to type your search terms into the field located at the top right-hand corner of the website.
Advanced Search allows you to refine your search by defining one or more parameters: keyword, topic, audience, type, and date published. This option allows you to search for both FAQs and resources, just resources, or just FAQs.
Find a Resource allows you to search resources by keyword, or browse resources by topic or resource type. This option searches only the resources and does not search the NSP FAQs. This page will also automatically display a list of the most recently posted resources. This option is available on the main NSP page or by rolling over the Find a Resource option on the navigation bar above and clicking on Resource Library.
Frequently Asked Questions allows you to search through the FAQ database by keyword, view the most popular FAQs, view the most recently posted FAQs, or browse all FAQs by topic. This option is available on the NSP main page or by rolling over the Ask a Question option on the navigation bar above and clicking on Find an Answer.
The NSP Toolkits page allows you to browse through the 90+ resources that make up the NSP Toolkits, a set of peer-approved resources organized by program type and program step. To browse, first select a program type using the options on the left-hand panel of the page, and then browse through the resources listed on the body of the page or select a program step to jump to a specific part in the process. Toolkit resources can also be located using Find a Resource or Advanced Search and selecting NSP Toolkits as the Resource Type.

How Important Is Down Payment in Determining Default?

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently released a working paper on the impact of down payment amounts on loan performance at the GSEs and Federal Housing Administration (FHA). In light of new regulations and increased focus on underwriting standards, the agency issued the findings, and overall found a nonlinear relationship between loan-to-value (LTV) ratio and foreclosure rates.

Making sense of the story

  • For loans with FICO scores of 620 and debt-to-income (DTI) ratios of 31 percent, the foreclosure rate for GSE loans with 100 percent LTV is a little more than twice that of loans with 80 percent LTV.
  • When it comes to FHA loans with the same credit characteristics, the foreclosure rate is almost three times as much among loans with LTVs of 100 percent compared to loans with LTVs of 80 percent.
  • LTV ratios hold a stronger relationship with foreclosure rates among FHA loans than GSE loans.
  • The FHFA found that the LTV-foreclosure rate relationship is sensitive to FICO. This finding was evident when observing various LTV ratios among different classes of FICO scores.
  • According to the FHFA, once LTV rises above 95 percent, the foreclosure rate tends to correlate less with LTV ratio.
  • The relationship between LTV and foreclosure is most dramatic between LTVs of 90 and 95 percent when it comes to FHA loans.

Read the full story

Talking Points …

  • According to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.), an increase in home prices, coupled with higher interest rates, put downward pressure on housing affordability and led to the fourth straight month of sales declines in November.
  • The available supply of existing, single-family detached homes for sale edged up in November to 3.6 months, up from October’s Unsold Inventory Index of 3.4 months. The index was 3 months in November 2012.  The index indicates the number of months needed to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.
  • The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home also increased to 36.7 days in November, up from 33.1 days in October, but was down from 37.5 days in November 2012.

Los Angeles Rent Control That Will Affect You!

I got an email from AOA (Apartment Owners Association)

Your support is needed tomorrow, Wednesday, September 29th, at 7:30 Room 350 at Los Angeles City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Housing Committee will be considering major changes in the rent control law. You can imagine what that means.  I’ve never seen a vote during the past 30 years regarding “tenant welfare” that made the law favorable for the apartment industry! Please be there to represent our industry.  I assure you the tenants will be out in force with their hands in the pockets of owners who provide housing in Los Angeles.

Remember, what happens in L.A. does not stay in L.A. It spreads into all the other cities in the state. It’s like a cancer and it’s almost as deadly, economically, to the housing industry. I suggest you be there early to get a seat.

I dug up the Report on Amendments, not good at all

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