Do You Need a Real Estate Attorney to Help Close Your Home Purchase? Let’s Take a Look

When buying a new home, you may have a close eye focused on your budget and expenses, and your goal may be to keep related expenses to a minimum. However, you may also be well aware that a real estate purchase is a legal transaction, and you may be wondering if you need to pay for legal services from a real estate attorney. With a closer look, you can make a better decision that is right for your home buying plans.


The Legal Forms Used With A Typical Transaction

The majority of real estate contracts will be written using standard legal forms. These are legally binding forms with clauses that protect buyers and sellers alike. While they are standard forms, you do want to read the forms in their entirety and understand your obligations before signing the contract. Keep in mind that you are not required to use these forms, and you can request an attorney to prepare a separate contract for you. However, these are commonly used forms that real estate agents typically will use.

The Services Of A Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is not a legal professional, and your agent likely will not be licensed to practice law in the state. However, the agent can explain your obligations with a standard contract so that you have a better understanding about what you are committed to. Your real estate agent may refer you to a real estate attorney if you require a special contract to be drawn up or if you are not comfortable with different clauses in the standard forms.

When Special Situations Arise

The standard real estate contracts will typically be feasible for use with most transactions, but there are special situations that may arise from time to time. For example, you may only want to purchase a portion of a large estate. While the seller would need to subdivided, your attorney would need to review special documents to ensure the transaction is legal. Perhaps you want to purchase real estate in a corporation or under another entity, or you want to protect your rights when purchasing property with a partner who you are not legally married to.

While real estate agents are not legal professionals, they are able to prepare standard contract forms for you and explain them to you. Because of this, many people will not need to pay for additional legal services, but each situation is unique. When you speak with a real estate agent today about your upcoming purchase, he or she can help you to learn more about services an attorney may provide that the agent is not able to.

How Safe is Your Home from a Fire? Learn How to Run a Quick Fire Safety Assessment

fire factsA fire can rage through your home at a moment’s notice, and it can cause a significant amount of damage in a very short period of timfire risk assesse. Damage from the flames, intense heat, smoke and soot can cause tens of thousands of dollars or more in some cases, and a severe fire event can result in a total loss for the homeowner. More than that, a fire can create a serious health and safety risk for you and your loved ones inside the home. If you are concerned about how safe your home is from a fire, consider a few important points.


Do You Have Fire Extinguishers On All Floors?

When a small fire breaks out, you may only have a few seconds to respond. You simply do not have time to rush around the house in search of a fire extinguisher. Instead, you should know immediatfire extinguisherely where it is at and how to use it. More than that, you should have one available on all floors of your home. While you may want to reach for a fire extinguisher to put out a small flame, you should still yell for others in the home to vacate while you use the fire extinguisher.
Do You Have Smoke Alarms in Ideal Locations?

Fires can break out during all hours of the day and night. When you are awake, you may easily be able to smell smoke from a nearby room. However, when you are asleep or when the smoke is in a removed area of the home, it can be more difficult to observe the signs of a fire until it is too late. Placing a loud smoke alarm in all bedrooms in your home is a wise idea. You will also need one in living areas of the home. If your home is larger in size, you may consider investing in additional smoke alarms.
When Was the Last Time You Replaced the Batteries in Your Smoke Detectors?

It is not enough to simply have the smoke detectors mounted to your walls or ceiling. Instead, you need to make sure that they are loud and that they work well. If you have a hearing impaired person in the home, you should invest in detectors with a visible strobe light to alert them to a danger. Batteries generally should be replaced every few months, and you may consider replacing the batteries each time you replace the filters for your HVAC system. Keep in mind that it is better to replace the batteries before they lose power than to be without the function of an alarm in your home when you need it.

Even a small fire can be a dangerous and costly event. By focusing on these factors in your home, you can most easily prepare for a fire, and you will be able to take immediate action in the event a fire develops in your home.


Buying a New Home This Spring? How to Avoid Overpaying as the Market Starts to Heat Up

spring buyingWhile the real estate market in most areas may slow down considerably during the winter months, activity quickly picks up in the spring time. More listings are available for buyers to choose from, but there are typically many more buyers competing for those properties. With the fast-paced and often pressure-filled market activity during the spring, it is easy for buyers to react accordingly and to overpay for the home they fall in love with. By following a few important tips, you can take steps to ensure you get a great deal on your real estate purchase.

Avoid Making Impulsive Or Emotional Decisions

There are many reasons why buyers may overpay during the spring months, and these range from the feeling that they must act quickly to make an offer on a property they love to the belief that they need to offer the asking price even if they feel the price is too high. Some may even be involved in a bidding war with another buyer, and they may structure an offer based on emotion rather than on sound real estate fundamentals. While you may need to move quickly during the spring months, you also should avoid making impulsive, emotional decisions. Spending a little time researching the property and structuring an intelligenthome prices offer will generally not kill a deal.

Create A Firm Budget

All home buyers regardless of the season should create a firm budget. This should include a personal monthly budget so that they can determine what home ownership costs are affordable for them, and it should also include a buying budget that accounts for a down payment and closing costs. Keep a trained eye on this budget, and do not deviate from it.

Be Willing To Walk Away

When you fall in love with a property and envision your family living in the space for years, it is easy to develop an emotional attawalk awaychment to it. While you may be excited about a property, you also should be willing to walk away if the transaction becomes too costly for you through negotiations and counter offers. Remember that there are many other properties on the market to choose from that may be more affordable for you.

Seeking representation from a skilled real estate agent is an important step to take when buying a home. A real estate agent can help you to define your goals and to remain true to them, reminding you of your needs and specifications as well as your budget for your purchase. If you are ready to start looking for a property to purchase, seek assistance from an experienced real estate professional today.

The Three Essential Habits That Successful Home Buyers Must Embrace

Whether you are home buying processpreparing to purchase your first home or it has been many years since you last walked through the home buying process, you may be starting to feel overwhelmed at the thought of all of the work that lies in front of you. From concerns about finding the right home to the physical act of relocating all of your belongings after the closing, there is certainly a lot to think about. While each home buying transaction is unique, the most successful home buyers have typically adopteoverhelmedd a few behaviors. You may keep these in mind to help you navigate through the process with success.


Keep An Eye On Your Budget

Financial stress when buying a home is common. You may have saved for years to afford your down payment, but there are various expenses that some may have not calculated or planned for. It is important to leave extra funds available for unexpected expenses, such as paying for the appraisal up-front on the home you have fallen in love with. Likewise, keep a close eye on your budget so that you are aware of your financial situation at all times.


Be Available And Flexible

It is imperative that you remain available and flexible as much as possible. Your real estate agent may call you at the last minute with a great new listing that has come on the market, and you may need to be flexible with your schedule to see this property before other buyers do. In addition, you may need to be flexible and accommodating with regards to contract negotiations, working with title company requests and more.


Seek Advice And Knowledge

Buying a home does not have to be stressful, but it also is not something that you do every day. There is a lot for even an experienced home buyer to learn, and you should be prepared to seek advice and to educate yourself along the way. Ask questions as necessary, and use the Internet for additional research.

Home buying is a process, and you may consider taking one day at a time as you proceed through the journey to reach your ultimate goal. A skilled real estate agent can guide you through the process and can help you to more successfully reach your goal. Reach out to a real estate agent today to begin looking for your new home.

First-time Real Estate Investor? Here Are 3 Helpful Tips That Will Get You Started

investing in real estateReal estate investing comes with many benefits that you may be eager to start taking advantage of. For example, the right rental property can provide you with monthly cash flow coupled with equity appreciation, tax deductions and more, and these can have incredible effects on your overall financial situation. As a first time real estate investor, you may be excited to start searching for a property to invest in, but you may consider following a few helpful tips to make your search more successful.

Determine Your Budget


There are investment properties that range in price considerably, and you will need to know up-front what your budget is before you can begin your search. The right real estate investment will generate revenue to pay your monthly mortgage payment and expenses, but there may be months when your property is vacant. Therefore, in addition to thinking about the amount of down payment that you can afford, also think about how affordable it will be to manage property expenses when the space is vacant.

Consider Different Communities

You may consider being flexible regarding the communities that you invest in. Each community may have a different economic base and primary demographic. For example, some towns or even suburban communities may be largely comprised of college students or military professionals. Think about the benefits between the ease of finding new tenants versus the benefit of having long-term tenants.determine budget


Analyze Cash Flow

After you have found a few properties to consider, it is important to analyze cash flow. Each property will be unique with regards to the required mortgage payment, income generated, property taxes and even repair and maintenance needs. While you can estimate these expenses initially, you should request historical operating statements from the sellers early in the process. You will find that some properties can be considerably more profitable than others, so it is important to complete a thorough analysis.

Some real estate agents have considerable experience helping their clients from excellent real estate investments to consider, and they may even complete a basic review of operating statement numbers on your behalf before showing you a property. When you are new to real estate investing, the experience and guidance of a savvy and knowledgeable real estate agent can be invaluable. When you are preparing to make your investment, consider following these tips, and seek the advice of a helpful real estate agent.

home buying mistakeHome Buying Horror Stories: How Buying a Home Can Go Wrong – and How to Avoid These Mistakes


When you buy a home, you may have dreams of settling into a beautiful new space that meets your needs and that your family can feel comfortable in. While many will enjoy this vision of domestic tranquility after taking ownership of their dream home, others have had their dream turn into a veritable nightmare due to some simple mistakes or oversights on their part. By understanding these mistakes, you can avoid making them yourself.

Paying Too Much For The Property


One the surface, the main cost of buying a home relates to the sales price, and it is true that your monthly housing payment may be the primary related expense. However, other expenses such as homeowners insurance, property taxes, repair and maintenance costs, utilities and more will all need to be factored into the cost of home ownership. Some buyers believe that because an online calculator or a lending professional tells them that they can afford a high priced home that it is the case. You can review your budget and estimate all related home expenses to determine how affordable a specific property is for you.

Finding Out That The Location Is Undesirable

undesireble location with train

There are many things that can make a location undesirable, and you should take time to become comfortable with the location before making an offer. Consider, for example, if the neighbors like to throw loud parties on the weekend or if there is a teen driver that likes to speed down the street. If you are buying a property with open land or vacant buildings around it, consider researching zoning, and think about future uses for these properties that could influence value and desire.

property inspector
Discovering That Your Property Is In Bad Condition

Some home buyers discover after purchasing a property that it is not in the best condition, and some even learn that their home needs tens of thousands of dollars of repair work or more. Even properties that appear to be in great condition on the surface may have hidden issues with the foundation, structure, roof, pipes or electrical work, to name a few. You can order a property inspection to learn more about the true condition of a property.

These are among the most common issues that can turn a dream home into a nightmare. When you work with a local real estate agent when buying a home, your agent can help you to avoid unpleasant and costly mistakes such as these.

Mortgage Rates Firming: Blame the Fed

May 1, 2015 — The Federal Reserve closed a meeting with no change to interest rate policy this week and provided little forward guidance about when they will start lifting rates in the future. Financial markets took it to mean that tfederal reservehe Fed has punted a move to late summer at the very earliest, and possibly not even until much later in the year.

While there isn’t quite a lockstep arrangement between mortgage rates and yields on Treasuries, there is still considerable influence from one to the other. With the mortgage-influencing 10-year Treasury yield rising by about 15 basis points during the week, mortgage rates are now in a bit of a firming trend.’s broad-market mortgage tracker — our weekly Fixed-Rate Mortgage Indicator (FRMI) — found that the overall average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by six basis points (.06%) this week to an average 3.84 percent, a six-week high but squarely in the middle of the range for 2015 so far. The FRMI’s 15-year companion had half that increase, rising by three basis points to an average rate of 3.15 percent. Popular with first-time homebuyers, rates on fully-insured FHA-backed 30-year FRMs remain considerably below their conforming counterparts but bumped up by three basis points to end at 3.62 percent for the week. Meanwhile, the overall 5/1 Hybrid ARM also added three basis points to last week’s average, edging higher to land at 3.93 percent. HSH’s FRMI includes both conforming and jumbo rates, providing borrowers with a broader view of mortgage conditions.

After a four-week flat spot (at or near 2015 lows) mortgage rates have started to tick upward again, so volatility is back, at least some degree. That said, there are no indications that we’ll be breaking any new ground for rates anytime soon, but we do expect to see more volatility next week as a wide range of new economic data is due. If there is a upturn in strength in the ISM service-business report and/or if Friday’s employment report rebounds more strongly than expected, we could have some additional space to move to the upside. With those yet unknown, we’ll look for another six basis point lift (or perhaps a touch more) in our FRMI by the time the week is through.

San Francisco Prices Reach All-Time Highs

The median prices for single-family, re-sale homes rose by double-digits for the second month in a row, setting a new all-time high.  The average price for condos/lofts set a new high last month.

Sales of homes were also up, year-over-year, for the second month in a row.

Condo/loft sales, on the other hand, were down year-over-year.

Sales prices to list price ratio has been over 100% since March 2012. The last three months it has been over 110%.

Lack of inventory and the massive amounts of cash pouring into the market from Silicon Valley and foreign buyers will continue to power the San Francisco market for the foreseeable future.

Trends at a Glance
San Francisco (Single-family Homes)
  Apr 15 Mar 15 Apr 14
Home Sales: 209 179 207
Median Price:  $1,350,000  $1,250,000  $1,100,000
Average Price:  $1,798,537  $1,788,128  $1,500,863
Sale/List Price Ratio: 113.5% 110.0% 111.8%
Days on Market: 23 24 35
San Francisco (Lofts/Townhomes/TIC)
  Apr 15 Mar 15 Apr 14
Condo Sales: 268 251 305
Median Price:  $1,100,500  $1,105,000  $   905,000
Average Price:  $1,339,529  $1,312,366  $1,122,513
Sale/List Price Ratio: 107.2% 108.3% 107.3%
Days on Market: 32 28 31


              San Francisco       April 2015 Sales Statistics

(Single-family Homes)

Average Sales DOM
San Francisco  $1,798,537 209 23
District 1: Northwest  $2,197,917 24 16
District 2: Central West  $1,222,743 35 23
District t 3: Southwest  $   973,941 17 21
District 4:Twin Peaks  $1,539,306 27 20
District  5: Central  $2,516,387 31 18
District  6: Central North  $3,325,000 3 22
District  7: North  $6,343,031 10 23
District 8: Northeast  $1,802,500 2 10
District 9: Central East  $1,533,160 25 17
District 10: Southeast  $   819,627 33 42
               San Francisco      April 2015 Sales Statistics


Average Sales DOM
San Francisco  $1,339,529 268 32
District 1: Northwest  $1,219,250 8 32
District 2: Central West  $1,077,167 6 41
District 3: Southwest  $   622,500 4 15
District 4: Twin Peaks  $   974,200 5 27
District 5: Central  $1,241,649 43 19
District 6: Central North  $1,123,550 20 30
District 7: North  $1,970,488 27 24
District 8: Northeast  $1,473,850 47 44
District 9: Central East  $1,333,755 97 33
District 10: Southeast  $   683,786 7 59

Click here for the San Francisco Local Market Report for May-June 2015

An on-line report is at:

For the complete report with statistics and graphs for each neighborhood in San Francisco, go to market stats tab at


Buying a Second Home? Assessing Your Finances to Ensure You Can Afford a Second Mortgage

2nd home decisionThe decision to buy a second home may be made for a number of reasons. For example, you may have a destination where you and your family love to spend free time in, and you may be ready to settle into your own space in this location. You may considering the tax benefits associated with a second home, and you may even have plans to live in the home as your primary residence after you retire. While there may be numerous benefits associated with the purchase of your second home, you may be concerned about how affordable it will be for you to manage the additional expense of a second mortgage payment.


2nd home decision 1 - CopyConsider All Of The New Expenses Related To The Purchase

A second mortgage payment may be a rather major expense to take on, but it is not the only expense related to buying the new property. In order to ensure that the mortgage payment is affordable, you need to ensure that all aspects of secondary home ownership are affordable for you. For example, consider HOA dues, repairs and maintenance expenses, property taxes, insurance and cleaning or lawn care service since you will not be available to handle these chores on a regular basis. If you can comfortably take on all of these expenses, you may make your purchase with confidence.

Increase Your Emergency Savings Account Balance

While your current budget may easily accommodate the new mortgage payment and the related expenses, the unfortunate truth is that your income or expenses may not remain static in the future. You may suffer from unemployment or a serious illness that reduces your income. You may have extra expenses due to a car accident or severe damage to a home. 2nd home decision 2 - CopyThese are just a few of the many things that can happen, and it is important that you have an adequate cash reserve in your emergency savings account that allows you to pay for all of your expenses for at least several months. Because your expenses will increase substantially with your new mortgage payment, you may need to increase your emergency savings account balance.

While it can seem intimidating to take on a new mortgage payment and other related household expenses for a second home, you may be able to more comfortably take on this additional expense when you follow these tips. You may also speak with a mortgage professional to get a quote for your new mortgage payment and interest rate.


Pre-sale Painting: Color Combinations to Use – and Avoid – when Painting Your Home

repainting roomOne of the more common steps that homeowners will take when preparing to list their home for sale involves repainting the walls. Walls can easily give the home a worn, drab look when they have visible signs of dirty, repainting room 3smudgy fingerprints and other unsightly blemishes. While repainting the walls can have a whitewashing effect that instantly makes the home look cleaner, brighter and more appealing, the color combinations that you choose for your home should be considered with care. You have a rainbow of possibilities for your space when preparing your home for sale, but you want to choose colors that will have broad or universal appeal to buyers and that will showcase your home in the best possible light.


repainting room 1Neutral or Muted Hues are Ideal

Many homeowners love to paint their walls stylish or trendy colors, and they may dislike the banal look of beige walls throughout their home. While this may or may not be what you prefer for your home, keep in mind that you are trying to transform your home so that it has broad appeal to the buyers. The colors you choose should not reflect personal taste or preference. Instead, they should be selected based on colors that may be more likely to appeal to most and that may go well with the color of furnishings most already own. Neutral or muted hues are ideal. These lighter colors can also make smaller rooms seem larger, and they can make your entire home seem cleaner.

Avoid Bold, Dramatic Color Combinations


You may have some colors on your walls that you absolutely love, and you may be sad to see them go. However, when you have a bold, dramatic color combination in a room, a buyer may instantly be taken aback by repainting room 2such an intense color scheme. The buyer’s attention may then be focused on your interior design efforts rather than on the home itself, and this is not beneficial to your goal of selling your home. In addition, some may love your bold choices, but many may not. They may think about how those colors would not go well with their furnishings, and they may instantly start thinking about how they would need to work hard to repaint the walls after moving in. The last thing you want is for a buyer to think about your home as needing work.

If you are preparing your home to list for sale, repainting one room or several may be at the top of your to-do list. When you are selecting your paint colors, lean toward neutral hues that may have better appeal toward a larger group of home buyers.


The Mortgage Pre-approval Letter: Why It’s Important and How to Get One

preapproval signIf you are thinking about buying a new home in the near future, you may already be searching online to get a feel for the different types of homes available in the local area. You may have reviewed your budget, and you may have a fair idea about a sales price that is comfortable for you to afford. While you may feel as though you have taken the preliminary steps necessary to prepare yourself to buy a home, it is important that you also get a mortgage pre-approval letter for your financing before you starting hunting for your home.

The Importance of a Pre-Approval Letter

A mortgage pre-approval letter is issued to a loan applicant after he or she has passed through a preliminary credit review process. Most of these letters state that the individual is pre-qualified for a property with a maximum sales price, and it is contingent on the loan applicant providing supporting documentation, such as tax returns and bank statements. This letter gives you a better idea about what it will take for you to get final loan approval and what loan amount you may preapprovalqualify for. The letter is also provided to a seller, and it gives the seller the confidence that comes with knowing that you are a qualified buyer. When a seller has an offer from a buyer with a letter and another offer from one without a letter, there is a good chance that the seller will opt for a buyer who is already pre-qualified for financing.

How to Get Your Pre-Approval Letter

As you can see, there are several reasons why it is important to get pre-qualified for your mortgage financing. Getting a pre-approval is generally a straightforward process, but it can seem intimidating. You will need to complete a loan preapproval 1application, and this may be done in person or online with a lender or mortgage company. You will also need to sign an authorization for the lender to pull your credit report. After taking these steps, you typically will be able to receive a pre-approval letter within a day or two.

When you have plans to purchase a new home, you likely will need to apply for financing in order to complete your plans. Getting a pre-approval letter up-front can help you in a number of ways, and you can easily take the steps necessary to get pre-approved for your mortgage. Simply contact a mortgage company or lender today to get started with the process.

Spring Surge in San Mateo County

spring surgeSales of single-family, re-sale homes rose for the third month in a row in April, month-over-month. Home sales in San Mateo county still lag from the year before.


  • Active listings continue to be anemic, down by double-digits for the tenth month in a row.
  • Pending sales were down double-digits for the eighth month straight.
  • Median and average prices for homes hit all-time high last month, as did our three-month moving averages.
  • Sales price to list price ratio reached its highest level since we’ve been keeping track: January 2003.
  • Days on Market was at 22 last month.

All these statistics point to incredible demand.

The economy in Silicon Valley continues to power the market, along with demand from China.


To read the full report:  San Mateo Monthly Report May 2015


For the complete annual report, which includes charts and graphs for each city in the county,  San Mateo Annual Report


Trends at a Glance
(Single-family Homes in San Mateo County)
  Apr 15 Mar 15 Apr 14
Median Price: $1,297,500  $1,290,000  $1,001,000
Average Price: $1,619,040  $1,603,060  $1,424,330
Home Sales: 394 328 443
Pending Sales: 346 341 402
Active Listings: 377 351 618
Sale/List Price Ratio: 109.8% 109.4% 107.8%
Days on Market: 22 22 21
Days of Inventory: 28 32 40


All About Radon: How to Test Your Home for Radon Gas and What to Do if You Find It

radon testIf yradon 1ou are concerned about the presence of radon in your home, you are not alone. The fact is that radon is an invisible, odorless gas that may be found in buildings around the world.  It is a radioactive gas that is emitted from the ground soil as trace amounts of naturally occurring uranium break down. The gas can enter a building and remain trapped, and this is known to cause as many as 21,000 deaths related to lung cancer each year, according to the EPA.


radon chartRadon is an invisible, odorless  cancer-causing, radioactive gas that may be found in buildings around the world.  You can’t see radon. And you can’t smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home.  Randon is estimated to cause many thousand of deaths each year.  That’s because when you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer.  In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today.  Only smoking cause more lung cancer deaths.  If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.  Also radon can be found all over the U.S.  (See the map below)

radon souce

radon mapradon gas

Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon can be found all over the U.S. It can get into any type of building — homes, offices, and schools — and result in a high indoor radon level. But you and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure at home, where you spend most of your time.

Testing your home from time to time is a necessity and easy to do.  You can easily accomplish this in two different ways.


radon test kit

A Home Radon Test Kit

Regardless of the age or location of your home, you should test your home periodically for the presence of radon. You may be able to purchase a radon test kit at a local home improvement store or even online. These kits are designed to be easy to use and to read, and they can provide you with the information you seek in a short period of time.

A Professional Indoor Air Quality Test

Another option is to hire a professional to complete a full indoor air quality test. This may provide you with more information about the presence of radon, asbestos, mold spores and many other pollutants and particulates that may be making you and your family sick. A professional test may be more comprehensive and sensitive. Furthermore, the results can be more reliable.


If You Have Radon In Your Home – You can fix a radon problem

If you have the unfortunate experience of learning that your home has radon gas inside of it, you may immediately feel stressed and concerned. This is understandable considering this is a known carcinogen. However, while it is important that you take immediate action to cleanse and purify your home’s air, there is not a need to panic.    There are numerous filtration and purifier systems that you can invest in that have amazing results. In fact,   Radon reduction systems work and they are not too costly. Some radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels in your home by up to 99%. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.

Even if your home tests clean for radon today, keep in mind that this gas can naturally seep into your home over time. You may consider testing your home periodically for radon at regular intervals for the entire time you live in the space. This will help you to identify a problem in your home and to take action soon to minimize the health risks for you and your loved ones.


New homes can be built with radon-resistant features

Radon-resistant construction techniques can be effective in preventing radon entry. When installed properly and completely, these simple and inexpensive techniques can help reduce indoor radon levels in homes. In addition, installing them at the time of construction makes it easier and less expensive to reduce radon levels further if these passive techniques don’t reduce radon levels to below 4 pCi/L. Every new home should be tested after occupancy, even if it was built radon-resistant. If radon levels are still in excess of 4 pCi/L, the passive system should be activated by having a qualified mitigator install a vent fan. For more explanation of radon resistant construction techniques, refer to EPA publication, Building Radon Out: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Build Radon-Resistant Homes

Missed a Mortgage Payment? How to Ensure It Doesn’t Affect Your Credit Score

credit scoreIf you pay attention to your credit rating, you may be well aware that a single late payment reflected on your credit report can result in a decline in your scores. In some cases, the decline can be rather significant, and you will have to work hard to make regular payments over a period of time to show that you remain creditworthy and to rebuild your credit score. It is far better to avoid late payments altogether than to deal with the stress and ramifications of a late payment on your credit report. If you have already missed the due date on your mortgage loan, you may be wondering what you can do to prevent this late payment from showing up on your credit report.

Contact Your Mortgage Company Immediately

Initially, contact your mortgage company to make payment arrangements and to discuss the situation. In some cases, a mortgage company may be willing to work with you on structuring a new arrangement for the payment to be made or you may even have a surplus in your escrow account that could be applied toward the payment. You can also determine when they will report your late payment to the credit bureaus and how much time you have before you absolutely need to make the payment to avoid credit ramifications.

Make Your Payment Before The Next One Is Due

Generally, lenders will report late payments when they are more than 30 days late. While you may be assessed a late fee after the initial grace period has expired, you may not have technical late payment in terms of what credit reporting late payment reminderbureaus consider to be late. Generally, if you make your payment before the next mortgage payment is due, your late payment will not show up as a late payment with the bureaus. However, you do want to verify this with your mortgage company and work with them to bring your account current.

A late payment on a mortgage can have a substantial and negative impact on your credit rating, and it can take months or even years to restore your scores to their previous level. Rather than go through the effort to try to improve your score after the fact, it is best to avoid the late payment altogether. While you may have already missed a payment and may be required to pay a late fee, it may not be too late to avoid having this event reflected on your credit report. Contact your lender today to learn more about your options and to make your payment.

Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time? How to Juggle These Two Transactions

There are few things that can be more stressful than buying or selling a home. When you are buying and selling a home at the same time, your stress level may understandably skyrocket through the roof. There may be financial aspects of both transactions that may be cause you stress, and you may be dealing with logistical issues or simply feel stressed by the stacks of documents piling up for both transactions. While this will inevitably be a challenging time in your life, you can more easily navigate through the transactions with success by following a few tips.


Cbuy and selling 1onsider the Timing of Both Transactions

One of the best things you can do when buying and selling a home at the same time is to plan ahead and consider the timing of both transactions. You may get lucky enough to get an offer on your home from a buyer who wants to close just a few days before you close on your new home. However, it is more likely that these two transactions may be finalized weeks or longer apart from each other. You may need to plan on finding an interim home or paying double mortgages for a period of time. You may consider which of these two options is more preferable to you based on your work situation, your family’s needs and your budget.


Prepare a Budget Ahead of Time and Update It Periodically

Financial stress canmount during this period of time. You will need to make a good faith deposit and pay for third party reports and mortgage application fees for your new home purchase. You may also need to pay money to make repairs and to stage your current home before you list it. It is common to rent a storage unit and to pay for boxes and moving supplies as well. In addition, a buyer for your current home may request that you make repairs to your home before closing. It is important that you prepare a budget so that you can pay for all of these expenses as they arise, and you should consider leaving yourself ample funds for unexpected expenses. If you run into a cash crunch, consider completing the sale of your current home entirely before going under contract with your new home purchase.


Use the Same Real Estate Agent for Both Transactions

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The knowledge and support of a real estate agent can be beneficial to you for both transactions, and you may consider using the services of the same agent for both. Dealing with one person who is familiar with your goals and needs can be truly beneficial to you throughout the entire process, and he or she may offer insight about the best steps to take to make the transition from one home to the other smoother for your family.

While buying and selling real estate can be stressful, you do not have to make the process more difficult than it needs to be. You can set up a time to meet with a real estate agent today to begin discussing your plans and to take the initial step.