How Much is too Much?


You need to consider two numbers when shopping for a home.

The first one is the monthly payment you’re most comfortable with, given your financial situation. The second is the maximum monthly payment you could afford if your dream home was available. Anything over that second number is off the board.

Your lender can help you determine these numbers, based on your income and other expenses. And once you have them in hand, you’ll know what price range will work for you.

As we begin your home search together, we’ll have a great idea of what to look at. We’ll know what the sweet spot is, and how far you’d be able to reach if we come across your dream home.

Ready to start? As your local RE/MAX agent, I’m here to help you every step of the way. Please feel free to call, email or text your questions, comments and concerns.

Can You Rent Back a Short Sale?

Money and HouseYou may think you can fool the bank, but the law says different!

Short Sales are still prevalent in the Real Estate market today. Many sellers who find themselves owing more on their loan than the property is worth may find themselves in a Short Sale scenario. Working with an experienced Short Sale Agent and or Attorney is the first thing that will need to be considered.

After the negotiations have been completed and the parties to the transaction move to the closing of the sale, a very important document will be presented for buyers and sellers to sign. The name of that document is called;

Affidavit of “Arms Length Transaction”

All parties to this contract hereby affirm that this is an “Arms length transaction.”

No party to this contract is a family member, business associate, or shares a business interest  with the mortgagee (you, seller, homeowner, anyone whose name is on the loan). Further, there are no hidden terms or special understandings between the buyer or seller or their agents or Mortgagee.(Like money, kickbacks, gifts and/or arrangements to move back in or stay in the property in any capacity including putting your kids names on the lease.)

The buyers and sellers nor their Agents have any agreements written or implied (spoken or hinted, a wink or a promise) that will allow the Seller to remain in the property as renters (you must move, your whole family must move, you must move everything and not move back, EVER) or regain ownership of said property (you cannot buy it back later from whomever purchases it, go on title and/or live there ever), at any time after execution of this short sale transaction.  None of the parties shall receive any proceeds from this transaction except the sales commission. (Buyers cannot receive credits, kickbacks or any funds from any party to the transaction unless written in as part of the contract, and approved by the short sale lender in their condition letter. Sellers cannot receive credits, kickbacks or any funds, gifts, gift cards, or any funds from any party to the transaction unless approved by the lender in writing as part of the contract and short sale lender condition letter, no matter what).

You will then be asked to sign and affirm this “Arms Length Transaction” Affidavit.  Putting your name on it says that you understand and agree that you are acting in good faith and do not intend to do any of the things that it states you will not do.  So, don’t.

Anything outside of this agreement is considered lender fraud.  It is not worth it.  If you have a legitimate short sale and your lender has approved a kinder, gentler solution to minimize impact to your family and your credit, it’s time to move on.  There is life after a short sale (or foreclosure) and a clean break and moving forward is in order for your well being, your family and for those of us whose tax dollars are going to bail out the lending institutions and make up some of these losses…”

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. I am more than happy to privately review your personal situation and discuss all of your options.

Make Your First Impression Your Best Impression

Couple painting wall

You wouldn’t head to a job interview without making sure you looked great, so why would you put your home on the market looking anything but its absolute best?

One of the biggest mistakes home sellers make is failing to make sure their property makes a great first impression.

Three ways to spruce up for a sale:

• Invest in fresh paint. It can turn your place from “that house with the orange bathroom” to a closed sale.

• Clear the clutter. Let’s make sure your listing photos make your home look beautiful.

• Fix it up. Little things count: replace broken screens, repair gutters, install new toilet seats.

Want to know how to sell your home quickly? Send me an email or give me a call. Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX.

Common Defects Found During a Home Inspection

InspectionAvoid regrets – Get a home inspection before you sign!

The home buying process is a lengthy one, and many buyers rush through or even forgo the home inspection. It’s important that you don’t make the same mistake! Professional home inspections can save you time and money, or even prevent you from making a disastrous deal. In case you’re not convinced, I’ve compiled a quick list of some serious home defects that can be found during a home inspection:

  • Defect #1: Bad Foundation
    Unless you can negotiate a price reduction to cover cost, walk away.
  • Defect #2: Worn Roof
    Most likely it will need to be replaced. If the seller will not do so, negotiate a lower price.
  • Defect #3: Termite Infestation
    The house is probably in need of expensive structural repairs. Unless the seller is willing to help pay, it’s probably not a good investment.
  • Defect #4: Outdated Wiring
    This can be expensive to correct, and is a dangerous problem. Negotiate with the seller after getting an estimate from an electrician.
  • Defect #5: Damaged Shower Pan
    Get an estimate from a contractor if you find water under the shower, and negotiate with the seller to cover costs.

Protecting your investment, especially one as special as a new home, is crucial. An expert home inspection is often the most important step in securing that protection. My personal experiences with clients and Home Inspections are extensive. I highly recommend At Home Inspections. Visit At Home Inspections web site. Their thorough inspection services exceed the standards. If you’d like to talk more about home inspections or any of your real estate questions, please call. I’d love to hear from you.

5 Questions to Ask a Real Estate Attorney

Law officeWhen questions arise on a real estate transaction, most people call their agent or broker.

When the deal is complicated or risky, it’s smart to consult with a real estate attorney too.

1. How long have you been practicing?
Before you hire an attorney, it is helpful to determine how much real-life legal experience he or she has.
 2. How many cases like mine have you handled?
Not all real estate matters are created equal. Ask if the attorney has dealt with transactions similar to yours. If he has, he will be better able to foresee potential problems and head them off.
3. How would you handle my case?
It’s not out of line to ask an attorney for a brief overview of what he plans to do on your behalf. In fact, it can help you determine which attorneys are knowledgeable about real estate law. Seasoned real estate attorneys will give you a rough outline of the actions that need to be taken, such as the filing of certain documents
4. How will you bill me?
Knowing the fee schedule for your attorney can help to avoid unpleasant surprises later. Most attorneys work on an hourly basis, meaning they will charge you a certain amount for every hour they spend working on your case. Standard hourly fees range from $150 to $200/hour. For simple matters, you may be able to negotiate a price. If you’re just asking for something to be drafted, that’s a great time to ask for a flat fee. However, a case requiring negotiations with another party or spending time in court is generally billed hourly.
5. Who else will be working on my case?
Some law firms hand off the initial work on cases to a junior attorney, a paralegal or someone knowledgeable about the law, but not necessarily to a licensed attorney. During your initial consultation, ask who will do the most work on your legal matter and make sure you’re comfortable with that person before proceeding.

After asking specific questions about a real estate attorney’s background, be sure to choose the lawyer who makes you feel at ease. It can be as much about the personal side of things as anything else. Feel free to contact me with questions or concerns or for a list of referrals.

Can you really use an IRA to buy a rental home?

retirementYou’re driving to work one day and see a run-down house. Chipped paint, weeds in the walkway, overgrown shrubs climbing toward the windows.

You’re certain, though, that the home could turn a terrific profit – if only you had the cash to buy it.

Did you know you could use the funds from an Individual Retirement Account to buy a rental home? This under-used method can be great way to take advantage of today’s home prices as long you don’t use the property as your residence.

As a RE/MAX agent, I know other strategies to help you explore an investment property purchase. Just give me a call or send me an email, and let’s see what’s possible.

New Loan Program Helps Buyers with Bad Credit


Did your credit take a tail spin???

This new program is one more feature that provides our clients with the widest range of financing options.  There are specific rules that apply but, if you have experienced a Short Sale, Foreclosure or Bankruptcy, options exist. Mike & I want to put this program to work and allow our clients to buy their first home or to own their own Home…Again!

Notable Program highlights include;

·        1 year seasoning for major derogatory credit events (short sales, foreclosures, and bankruptcies)

·        85% LTV to $500,000, 660 credit score, 24 months satisfactory housing

·        80% LTV to $750,000, 620 credit score, 12 months satisfactory housing

·        75% LTV to $1,250,000, 640 credit score, 24 months satisfactory housing

·        First Time Home Buyer allowed with restrictions

Other credit restrictions apply and the guidelines should be reviewed carefully.  Home Again has minimum credit standards and title to the home may not be impacted by credit items still pending. We would love the opportunity to discuss your options. Give me a call or Click here for more information

How to help Mom and Dad buy closer to the kids – today

SeniorA lot of older homeowners are property rich and cash poor.

As a RE/MAX agent, I’ve worked with many families who prefer to live closer to each other.

Often, the parents need to sell their current home before they can move.

To solve this problem, the federal government backs a program to help older homeowners purchase a home. The product is called a “Reverse Mortgage.” These safe, FHA-insured loans allow Mom and Dad to buy a home closer to the kids now and with no monthly mortgage payments. Click here for more information about Reverse Mortgages

Reverse mortgages are not for everyone, but they could be worth a look. Just call or send me an email and let’s see what’s possible.

Are You Getting Results?

Couple with house key

Some real estate agents will try to win your business by showing you a lot of flash: big ads in the local newspaper, giant decals on their car, or a slew of social media icons on their website.

But are they delivering results?

As your local RE/MAX agent, I encourage you to measure success with one thing: results.

The bottom line is closing the deal. I do that smoothly, quickly, and effectively.

Ready to get started? Be our next success story. Tap into the power of RE/MAX today and give me a call.

How can you buy a rental property with a Tax-Deferred Exchange?

RentalYou probably know several people who have at least one rental property. Often it’s a parents’ home that the adult children have inherited.

What they may not know is they can sell that property – tax-free – for a place they could vacation a few weeks a year. Another option: They could sell the home and purchase a share of an apartment building.

Would this interest you?

As a RE/MAX agent, I can explain how to use a 1031 Tax-Deferred Exchange, sometimes known as a Starker Exchange, to “trade” one investment property for another if you follow some simple guidelines.

Think about it… it’s a golf-course condo a few weeks a year for you, then a rental to others the rest of the year. Let’s take some time to discuss and see what’s possible. Let an Agent who knows guide you!

Have You Considered Buying a Rental Property?

fist of cashMillions of Americans who have held onto their cash are now looking to invest. Where can you put your hard-earned money to receive the biggest bang for your investment buck?

If you believe local housing values will go up over time, have you considered buying a rental property?

As your local RE/MAX agent, I know which neighborhoods historically have retained the largest pool of responsible renters. One example is that regional hospitals and established community clinics attract interning doctors, new nurses and numerous staff who seek nearby housing.

Let’s talk about what it takes to rent a home and where you might want to look. My list of resources from funding to acquisition, contracts to tenants, are to name a few of the ways I am able to guide and assist you with this process. Click here for more information about funding! Just send me an email or give me a call. I’m here to help. Let an Agent who knows guide you!

Thinking about a bigger or better home?

bigger homeWhether you love your current home or have had your eye on upgrading for years, making the decision to move to a bigger or better house isn’t easy. You have a lot to consider, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Before you embark on the journey toward a housing upgrade, take a step back. First, think about creating a specific list of what you want to accomplish by moving.

Then start talking about what’s really required to move up. That’s where I come in. I can help you sort through everything.

As your local RE/MAX agent, I’m here to help. Please send me an email or give me a call.

The Number One Reason Home Buyers Need an Agent

NegotiatingNegotiating: it’s arguably the hardest part of the buying process. It’s also the the number one reason a home buyer needs a professional real estate agent.

The forms are daunting. The liabilities are huge. But there’s a big difference between making an offer and making the right offer.

As your local RE/MAX agent, I can handle your negotiations for you. I have an “in-depth” understanding of the current market trends and property values. Let me show you how I can use my “cool tools” to help. Please send me an email or give me a call.

Why Use a Real Estate Agent?

Red Carpet Enterprises BlogIf you are currently in the market for your first home, you may be curious as to how a Real Estate Agent can help you. You are about to be making an important decision for your future, a great investment of both money and time. I have a wealth of experience helping first time buyers like you make sound, informed decisions.

Here are some ways that you can benefit from the help of a real estate professional:

  • Agents can help establish a plan for a home that fits your needs. Style, size, amenities, and other preferences will help determine what kind of home is best suited for you.
  • They will help you to determine realistic spending limits. They can often explain alternative financing options or introduce you to a mortgage counselor. Agents can arrange to have you “pre-approved”, which can help improve your positioning in negotiations.
  • Their access to all home listings within the multi-listing system enables them to evaluate based on your affordability and the qualities you desire.
  • They have access to information on taxes, real estate values, utility costs, and municipal services, all of which can aid you in your decision to buy.
  • They provide direct service by working for you as a buyer’s agent, helping to negotiate the best terms and price for you.
  • They can make you comfortable with the closing process and they will obtain closing figures in advance for your review.
  • They can recommend home inspectors, pest inspectors, and surveyors, and can help arrange inspections.

These are just a few ways that a quality real estate agent can help you in your journey towards buying your very first home. More information for first time buyers can be found on my website or by calling me directly. I’m confident that I can provide the kind of exceptional service that will make this process an exciting one. Please feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions you may have.

Thinking about a bigger or better home?

new homeWhether you love your current home or have had your eye on upgrading for years, making the decision to move to a bigger or better house isn’t easy. You have a lot to consider, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Before you embark on the journey toward a housing upgrade, take a step back. First, think about creating a specific list of what you want to accomplish by moving.

Then start talking about what’s really required to move up. That’s where I come in. I can help you sort through everything.

As your local RE/MAX agent, I’m here to help. Let an Agent who knows, guide you! Please feel free to send me an email or give me a call.

Tips for First Time Home Buyers

thIf you are currently in the market for your first home, you probably have lots of questions. You are about to be making an important decision for your future, a great investment of both money and time. I have a wealth of experience helping first time buyers, like you, make sound, informed decisions. Here are some tips that can help make your home buying process successful:

  • Tip #1: Do Your Homework
    The perfect home won’t find you by itself. The key step in buying a home is doing the proper research. Educate yourself on local schools, neighborhoods, and the kinds of homes available. By reading available materials and talking with experts, you can start to put together your idea of the perfect home.
  • Tip #2: Start Planning
    Most decisions benefit greatly from proper planning, and home buying is certainly no exception. Start a filing system with sections such as home buying, home financing, and service providers. By forming a home buying plan you can more easily focus on the most important factors and help give structure to the entire process. My website is a great resource for property information.
  • Tip #3: Get PreQualified
    Getting prequalified for a loan normally only requires a short phone conversation with a lender, and can greatly help your home search. Prequalification does not guarantee you a loan, but it does provide you with an estimated monthly payment and a price range to use as a guide when shopping for homes. Being prequalified can also often indicate to sellers that you are a serious, prepared buyer.
  • Tip #4: Look for Value
    When shopping for homes, it’s important to consider potential value. Even if you’re not planning to sell the home some time down the line, it’s a good idea to consider the future value of the home. Protect yourself against things like falling prices and gradual shifts in the nature of the neighborhood. You may not think of a new home as a means to make money, but it’s an important investment that requires caution.
  • Tip #5: Decide What You’re Looking For
    Settle on the home features that are important to you (covered parking, hardwood floors, architectural style, etc.) and make an ordered list. Having well established guidelines will help narrow down your search and will prevent you from being shown properties that lack your key amenities. It can help you make the decision not to buy an attractive property that doesn’t really fit your needs. My website has a search feature that allows you to filter thousands of listings based on attributes that you select. If you know you want a brick house with gas heat and a garage, you can get the results you’re looking for.
  • Tip #6: Relax
    You don’t have to make an offer on the first home you see. Make sure to look at other listings in the area to get a feel for the marketplace. When you decide to make an offer on a house, consult with your real estate professional so that all of your questions are answered.
  • Tip #7: Shop Around for Your Mortgage
    Deciding on the financing for your home can be as important as choosing a home itself. The first step is deciding what kind of loan best fits you: a fixed rate mortgage, or an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM). There are benefits to each form of loan, and your real estate professional can provide you with more information. Next you’ll want to begin to shop around for different lenders.
  • Tip #8: Protect Yourself
    Be careful when signing a contract on a home that allows you to find financing, have the home inspected, and work through any problem areas that may arise. Paying for a quality home inspection is absolutely crucial! You can save yourself thousands in repair costs by being sure of what you’re getting into.

More information for first time buyers can be found on my website, or by giving me a call. I’m confident that I can provide the kind of exceptional service that will make this process an exciting one. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have, I would love to be of assistance to you.

Using the Internet to Sell Your Home

InternetIn today’s real estate market, a good selling plan can truly excel when properly combined with current Internet technology. Modern home buyers expect on-demand home shopping, and meeting that expectation is a crucial element of marketing a home. My website allows home buyers to search and sort through thousands of listings to find the home that is right for them. As your seller’s agent, I can ensure that your home is listed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Every day countless home buyers use the resources of the Internet to help narrow their home search. Listing your home with me allows interested buyers to find your property based on the features that are most important to them. My website serves as a great filter, showing buyers the homes that best fit their needs and bringing you those buyers that are most interested in what your home has to offer.

If you still need convincing, take a look at my website to see the kinds of resources I’ve made available. Try a property search of your own to see what potential home buyers experience. I think you’ll be impressed with the efficiency and detail I’ve committed to my site. I’d love the chance to speak with you in person or on the phone about how I can use the web to sell your home. I’m here to help with any of your real estate needs. Follow me on FaceBook

Experienced Buyers

20151009_175136Buying a home? Things have changed.

Much has changed in the world of real estate in recent years. The influence of Internet technologies has given buyers and sellers new ways to come together. If you’ve been through the home buying process before, it’s more important than ever to pick the right real estate professional.

In the present real estate market, you want an agent who will use the Internet to your advantage. As an action-oriented real estate agent, I fully understand how today’s technology can help you find the right home. My “state-of-the-art” search tools allow you to search thousands of listings to locate the properties that best fit your needs. You can download the search tool to your phone, tablet or desktop computer. It’s a great tool for home buying, and free to use. To find the App, go to your App Store, enter Home Scouting Report. Download the App and register. Use VIP Code: CindyS  Start searching right away.

Call me today and we can discuss what you’re looking for in a home, and where to begin. I look forward to helping you.