Our South Bay Community Blog

Should You Refinance Your Home? A Closer LookThe term refinancing is often thrown around in casual conversation today, especially in the wake of the housing crisis. Some homeowners make it sound like it might be the smartest move they ever made, while others say that refinancing is not such a good idea. The truth is that it can be both. So it's understandable if not everyone understands its explicit meaning, or whether or not it's right for them. Find out more about what home refinancing entails, what it's used for, and how to decide on a long-term plan.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a mortgage expert or financial advisor before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

What It Means

Refinancing happens when a homeowner gets rid of their own old loan (by

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All About Home Appraisals for Home BuyersThe home buying process includes many steps, some easy and some not. If a home buyer is borrowing money to buy a home, there are more than steps involved in the process than someone who is paying cash. If a buyer is using a lender, soon after a good home purchase offer is accepted and once the home buyer has entered the escrow period, an appraisal is performed by the lender. Understanding appraisals and their purpose can help the home buyer through the escrow process. Here's what you need to know.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed mortgage professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

What Is a Real Estate Appraisal?

A real estate appraisal is a professional assessment of a home's market

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What You Should Know About Reverse MortgagesReverse mortgages are available to homeowners aged 62 or older who have managed to accrue plenty of equity in their home. There is no standard for equity, but experts will recommend at least 50%. Find out more about how it works, and whether or not its consequences are worth the rewards.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a financial advisor or attorney before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

The Reverse Mortgage is a Type of Loan

The reverse mortgage is a loan that provides a homeowner with cash based on how much equity they have in their home. They are different from other types of mortgage loans. Instead of the homeowner paying their lender, the lender pays the homeowner by drawing on the equity the

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Everything You Need to Know About Maintaining Your WindowsGood windows contribute to the lighting and beauty of a home while also helping that home maintain its energy efficiency. Windows can last for decades, but only if they're properly maintained. Knowing when windows need maintenance, what kind of maintenance to perform and when to replace windows is an important part of maintaining a property.

Maintaining Windows

There are many things that homeowners must do to maintain their windows.

  • Cleaning. Washing the windows at least once per quarter helps the inside of the home stay light and bright.
  • Caulking. Occasionally, windows need to be re-sealed with caulk; this happens every few years as the caulk deteriorates.
  • Repairs. A broken window is a hazard and also bad for energy efficiency,
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Renting a Home Can Be a Good Decision, But There Are Risks As WellNo matter what the reason for wanting to rent your property—a slow real estate market, temporary duty assignment, or a desire for some additional income—becoming a landlord is not always a walk in the park. Here are 7 things you need to know so that your experience is a good one rather than an undertaking to regret.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with an attorney, certified tax expert or real estate agent before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Set a Realistic Price

Depending on the specific reasons for wanting to rent a home, it is important to try to cover your annual costs. Ideally, the rent you collect should be enough to pay the mortgage, insurance and taxes on the property, as well as any required charges

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Are You Selling a Home? Red Flags to Watch ForHome sellers take a risk when they accept an offer from a buyer. When they sign the contract, they're hoping that the buyer will come through with the money needed to purchase the home. They're also hoping that the buyer will be reasonable throughout the escrow process, which can be long and complicated. If you're a home seller who is hoping for a good experience, watch out for these red flags when considering offers.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Not Pre-Approved

Lenders have a qualification process that helps them determine which home buyers are financially capable of repaying a mortgage. Buyers who are most likely to repay

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Liens and Home Buying: Factors to ConsiderWhen people incur debts and own a home, it is possible that they could have a lien placed on the property. A mortgage is a type of lien that uses the home as a guarantee that the homeowner will make timely payments. There are other, less-common types of liens people might encounter, as well. Home buyers should understand how liens work before they start looking for homes or applying for a mortgage. This guide explains what a lien is, what it does, common types of liens, and how they affect homeowners.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with an attorney or financial advisor or before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

1. What Is a Lien?

A lien is an outstanding debt that uses an asset, like a home, for collateral.

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Which One? An Adjustable Rate Mortgage or a Fixed Rate Mortgage?At some point most home buyers must decide whether a fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgage is the right mortgage for them. Understanding the differences between these two types of mortgages can help home buyers decide what kind of loan they'd like to get. If you're a home buyer trying to decide on a mortgage, here's what you need to know about fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgages.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed mortgage professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Difference Between an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) and a Fixed Rate Mortgage

A fixed rate mortgage is a mortgage with a rate that will never change over the life of the loan. Fixed rate mortgages typically come in 15

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Red Flags to Watch For When Buying A HomeMost home buyers only see a home once or twice before they make an offer on a property. Home buyers who know what to look for find it's easier to identify which homes are a good deal and which homes should be avoided. The following red flags are an indication that something could be wrong with a house.

1. Rooms You Can't Get Into

Sellers who close off parts of the house could be trying to hide something, or they could be making an innocent mistake. Either way, home buyers should never make an offer on a property without having seen the entire house. If some rooms are unavailable for home buyers when they make their initial inspection, it's important to gain access to those rooms before making an offer.

2. Cracks in the Foundation


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Should You Choose a 15-Year or 30-Year Mortgage?A person's mortgage can have a big impact on their quality of life while they're living in their home. A mortgage that is too expensive can put the homeowner in a precarious situation, leading them to bankruptcy or mortgage default. Meanwhile, home buyers who choose not to pay off their mortgage in a timely fashion may find themselves paying more interest over time. These tips can help buyers decide whether or not a 15-year or 30-year mortgage is right for them.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed mortgage professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

What's the Difference Between a 15-Year and 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage?

The most obvious difference between a 15-year mortgage and a 30-year

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