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2007 (1)
Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday Real Estate Opportunities


As December approaches its Christmas and Kwanzaa celebrations, you’re probably scrambling to buy the remaining gifts for the last remaining people on your list or going to supermarkets looking for the ingredients to use in preparing your holiday feasts.  There’s also a possibility that one of your resolutions for next year is selling the home you’re currently living in.  December can actually be an opportune time for selling real estate.


Behind all the festivities and rapturous celebration lies some great perks you can use to your advantage in getting your home sold quicker.  Among them is making the extra effort to decorate your home to look its best and using this time that is quickly coming to a close to ensure it dazzles when the lights come on.  Particularly during such a time, an elegantly luminous home can sway a buyer who would otherwise not be interested in your home’s visual appeal.


So you’re all revved up and ready to astound real estate buyers with a carefully thought out blueprint of how you want to go about decorating your home for the holidays but alas, the price tags on those lights that do twenty different synchronized movements and the giant automated snow globe are simply out of the question.  If the window for selling is short, you may have to scale back your efforts to something closer to your budget.  Otherwise, the answer may be waiting the day after Christmas.


Head to any store selling holiday decorum and you’ll notice pretty much anything that has to do with the holidays has had its price chopped almost in half.  Something that carried a price of seventy dollars now costs an inexpensive $28.  You can either save these items for use next year or use them to complement the end of 2007 festivities.  Things are also shaping up to be favorable for the real estate market next year which should also justify these purchases.


As long as you’re not putting yourself into any kind of irrecoverable debt or setting back your saving efforts, don’t feel guilty about splurging a little more than you intended in getting your home sold.  December is when people can be convinced to overindulge more on items they’d normally scoff at so the odds of catching the eye of a young man looking to buy a home for him and his fiancĂ©e to live in is much greater.

Posted at 10:50:27 AM

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Updated: Saturday, December 5, 2020

Trend Alert: How To Incorporate Graphic Patterns Into Your Home

When chevron patterns became all the rage a few years back, it looked like the trend that showed up on everything from textiles to tile backsplashes to flooring designs might be a standalone. But graphic patterns are hotter than ever, with an ever-evolving array of shapes showing up to jazz up your home.

"If you are looking for ways to enliven your home, adding graphic designs can help," said Livinator. "Geometric patterns and abstract designs bring an energetic vibe to a space. You can achieve a mixed pattern design by including several different patterns in varying scales and colors or by using the same pattern throughout in the same variety. The key to getting graphic with your interiors is to experiment with what you love."

Heres where - and how - to incorporate this trend into your home.


The backsplash is a great place to use graphic tiles to provide contrast, interest, or give a kitchen a lift. This departure from the seen-everywhere subway tile makes a kitchen feel unique and custom. If you really want to be on trend, go 3D.

"Though decorative backsplashes have been popular for quite some time, the new trend popping up will be geometric three dimensional patterns," said interior designer Shai DeLuca-Tamasi on Amara. "These will most likely be seen with cement and wood. The kitchen is a perfect room for geometric tiles. My design tip would be to let the movement in the tile be the star of the show. Consider using a neutral palette when using 3D tiles so as not to pull the eye away from the true feature."


Wall treatments are one of the most impactful ways to add "a graphic touch" to your home. Patterned walls can create the kind of design layers that make a room feel complete.

"Wallpaper, murals, and even wood panels layered in interesting patterns can give walls dimension and interest. A modern graphic color block wallpaper can spruce up a drab interior," said Livinator. "Bold shapes work great in small spaces such as a powder room. Repeat patterns throughout a room to create balance. Wood panels placed on the diagonal inject interesting dimension."


Graphic patterns are showing up on rugs - an obvious choice to ground a space and give it a bit of oomph without making the effort to hang wallpaper or buy an expensive piece of furniture.

But rugs arent your only options for graphic floors.

"Thanks to the allure of indoor/outdoor living, colorful concrete tilescontinue to move from commercial to home spaces," said Los Angeles designer David John Dick on the Wall Street Journal. "Its a perfect combination of graphic design and interior design."


A graphic-patterned upholstered piece can become a focal point in a room, like in the case of this custom banquette.


Swap out your boring drapes and replace them with a graphic pattern. Theyll add interest to the space, especially if you bring in a fresh pop of color. These drapes help complete a mid-century look in a stylized living room.


If you dont want to make a big investment - in time or money - a few accessories can punch up your space and freshen up the look.nbsp;

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Alternative Mortgage Lenders are Changing the Marketplace

Alternative mortgage lenders include online lenders and non-bank lenders. Theyre shifting the real estate marketplace and making it much simpler and easier for consumers to get a mortgage. So what should you know?

There are three main categories that alternative mortgage lenders tend to fall into.

There are online mortgage lenders, which work to add transparency and efficiency to the home loan process. They simplify and shorten the timeline.

There are marketplaces that help borrowers as theyre comparing rates and shopping around for mortgages.

Then, there are non-bank lenders that tend to market their services to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit.

Alternative Online Lenders

Mortgage originators that serve as alternative lenders work online. Quicken Loans is one of the largest and most well-known, and theyve also become the most popular mortgage lender in the country as far as the number of clients.

They introduced their Rocket Mortgage service with full mortgage and refinance approvals in as few as eight minutes.

Its almost real-time mortgage approval, which is removing traditional delays that make the process to get a mortgage time-consuming and frustrating.

Some of the ways alternative online lenders can offer approvals so quickly include automated algorithms fueling lending decisions and electronic document collection.


A lot of tech startups break into mortgages by being a middleman. There are marketplaces that are ideal for shopping around and finding the most competitive terms. Zillow and LendingTree are two examples.

These marketplaces use your information to generate originators in line with your needs.

Some of these marketplace platforms also have advisors to walk you through the process.

Non-Bank Alternative Lenders

Non-bank alternative lenders have become a response to many of the big banks retreating away from mortgages. Big-name banks are tending to work only with the highest-qualified borrowers.

Non-bank lenders tend to offer options for people with credit that isnt perfect, and they may face less stringent federal regulations. You can also include credit unions in this category.

When you go with a non-bank alternative lender, youll see the benefits of less regulation. These organizations have more flexibility to lend to consumers who might have been otherwise turned down. Theyre also more likely to issue government-backed loans like FHA mortgages and VA loans for high-risk borrowers.

Most non-bank lenders go through the loan process almost enti>

While there are certainly advantages to working with a non-bank lender, its not without potential downsides. You will see that if youre a less-qualified borrower, a mortgage still comes at a price, much like at a traditional bank. Your interest rate may be higher than the average so that the lender can minimize their risk exposure.

Examples of popular non-bank mortgage lenders include Quicken, New American Funding, LoanDepot, and HomeBridge.

The prevalence of alternative mortgage lenders is growing. They make up nearly half of all home loans, and they are changing what the process to get a mortgage looks like. Theyre also delivering more competition into the marketplace.

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Bringing Home the HOA Bacon

Why is it taking so long to collect delinquencies? Can we close the pool to the deadbeat? Why cant we collect on that judgment? These are questions that too many board members and managers ask ... mainly because there is no collection policy.

A clearly worded, communicated and enforced collection policy is the solution to collections. A collection policy simplifies one of the Boards most disagreeable tasks: collecting money from neighbors. Since the course of action is predetermined, the Board doesnt need to wring its hands over each case. Here are some of the essential components:

Payment Date: ___ of the month

Payment Late: ___ of the month

Late Fee: ___

Finance Charge: ___ per month

Payments applied to oldest balance first

Type of notices 10 Day Notice to Pay, Notice of Intent to Lien, etc.

Who provides the notice association, attorney

When account is referred to an attorney

Collection costs paid by the debtor

HOA has right to obtain a personal judgment garnish wages, attach personal property, etc.

Amenities pool, tennis court, clubhouse are suspended for delinquencies of a certain dollar amount

Copy Assessment Payment Checks

For the record, photocopy a check from each owner when received, whether delinquent or not. The information will be valuable if collection is necessary and may save a 100 - 200 "skip trace" cost later.

Auto Debit Payments

There is no law that says HOA fees must be paid by check. Even the banks are pushing to eliminate this archaic form of payment. The Board can enact an policy to require that HOA fee payments be made automatically by autodebit. Payments are made directly to the HOAs bank account so that the inevitable delay of manual deposits is eliminated. No more "checks in the mail" excuses. There are so many advantages to this collection mechanism, it should be an absolute must for every HOA whether professionally or self-managed.

Get Work Phone Numbers

Getting a judgment or lien doesnt guarantee payment. In most jurisdictions, a collection can receive up to 25 percent of a debtors "disposable" wages after withholding. Ask all owners for work phone numbers for "emergencies" with a pool or car registration form.

Notice All Legal Owners

There may be more than one owner on each unit title. Make sure all applicable names are on the notices. A title company can assist with this information. All owners are equally responsible for the entire debt.

Record Liens

Liens alert lenders, purchasers and title companies of a "cloud on title" that needs to be cleared up. For this reason, long standing delinquencies often get cleared up at refinancing or sale closings. A recorded lien improves the odds of collecting even if an owner files bankruptcy or a lender forecloses. If the lender forecloses, the association can collect if there are surplus proceeds. If there is no lien and the property is sold, the association has no claim.

Let the Attorney Handle It

After several rounds of written notices and 60 days have passed, turn the matter over to the HOAs attorney. Cease communications with the debtor. Referring all calls to the attorney will expedite the process. One attorney letter often does the trick.

Take Away Privileges

Many association governing documents allow the association to withhold access to amenities like pool, parking, even voting. If allowable, do it.

Shut Off HOA Provided Utilities Sometimes, drastic action is called for. Your collection policy can call for shutting off utilities like water this may require a plumber.

Theres no magic money tree for HOAs. If one member doesnt pay, the rest must. To ensure that the HOA bacon is brought quickly home, invoke these collections correction today

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