Guess What? I Can Help You Find Great Realtors in Different Areas!

Last week I got the privilege of going to the Women’s Council of Realtors state chapter meeting which was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego. It was three days filled with educational sessions, guest speakers, meetings, committees and of course networking. I have learned so much from being a part of the Women’s Council of Realtors but one of the biggest benefits that I have to share with my clients, friends, and family is knowing a broad network of successful Realtors around the nation. The caliber of these women (and men) is so phenomenal and inspiring that I would feel confident in sending any of my friends and family to some of the amazing people I have met.

Here’s a little glimpse of our trip.

Veterans Loan

Jason Trish

Meet Jason and Trish!  They were able to purchase a home last year using their benefits of Jason being a US Veteran. It was such a privilege to get to work with the two of them and although Jason and I are family, it was a great bonding experience to be able to work together and get to know him and his fiancé better through their buying experience. I love the dynamic between the two of them and am so happy that they will be tying the knot this summer. After months of searching we found a cute home in San Gabriel that they now call home.

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This year I am currently working with another well deserving veteran but he has also qualifies for a conventional loan. The question of which loan he should use has arose and also brought up some good points that other veterans should be aware about.

For starters let’s answer the question of “What is a VA loan?” VA stands for Veteran Affairs and it is a loan that allows not only veterans but also active duty, retired, prior military, and surviving spouses as long as they reach the required days of service.

Benefits of using a VA loan:

-Purchasing with a 0% down payment

-No mortgage insurance

Cons of using a VA loan:

-Funding fee

-Potential 45 day escrow vs 30 day escrow

-Potentially higher interest rate

-Stricter appraisal guidelines

Some people have the preconceived idea that an offer that is presented with a VA loan is not as strong of an offer as one with a conventional loan. However, I have found this to not be the case. Like most situations in real estate, it all depends on a variety of things. If the house is in good condition and if rates do not vary significantly it might be better to go VA. Also, if you qualify for disability you do not have a funding fee. I have found a really great loan officer that can do a 30 day escrow and who’s interest rate is competitive with their conventional loan. It is in my current clients best interest to use this loan officer and go VA.

My best advise would be to shop around and have your loan officer(s) do a clear break down of what the cost of the mortgage would be with each loan they offer.

Questions to ask your loan officer(s):

If you do not have disability, how much will the funding fee be?

What are the different interest rates that you qualify for? ie: interest rate for VA loan vs Conventional

Can they close a VA loan in 30 days or less?

If you were to go conventional how much is the cost per month for mortgage insurance?

Ask for any additional information they have and ask for a side by side comparison of each loan option you qualify for.

In the end you want to get a loan officer that is willing to work with you to get you the best option possible for your personal finances. You also need a real estate agent that knows the competitive market we are in and how to best position your offer. I have my veterans write an offer letter introducing themselves to the seller which gives the offer a personal touch. I also look at homes that have sold in the past three months in the same neighborhood to figure out a good price to offer. And the best thing that I can do for my client is build a personal relationship with the listing agent to position our offer as best as we can. I can’t say enough how vital it is to have both a good realtor as well as a good loan officer in your corner to get you through a successful escrow.

Thanks for reading and as always I’m here to answer any questions you might have.

Tango In Paris

Wahoo! I was finally able to edit the footage from the wine event I helped coordinate last year. The theme of this year’s annual event was “Tango in Paris” which included live music, painters, Parisian decor, silent auction items, tango performances and lessons, and of course lots and lots of wine! Some of the proceeds went to Royal Family Kids, specifically for their program “mentoring foster children”. I am so happy that it was a successful event and that we were able to give back to our community.

Being a member of Women’s Council of Realtors has been a great outlet for me to surround myself with successful people and develop strong relationships. Because of the promise I saw through this organization, I took on a leadership role and am now the VP of membership for 2014! I can’t wait for what this year has in store for us and to be able to share it with you guys. I’m headed down to San Diego this weekend for our state chapter meeting so I will be sure to take lots of pictures and maybe even create another video 🙂

Here are some highlights I captured from the event.

Why I Love Real Estate <3

There are many reasons why I love my job. To name a few: I love being able to meet different people, I love viewing the various layouts and structures of homes along with the decor that make each one unique, I love the changes and challenges that the market presents us with, but most of all I love the moment when I get to hand over the keys to my clients.

This past year I worked with a lot of buyers and although the process and contracts are the same, every house is different, every seller and buyer is different, therefore every escrow is different.  What some people don’t know is that there are many players that contribute to the process of purchasing a home. There is the buyers agent, loan officer, escrow officer, sellers agent, seller, title officer, home inspector, transaction coordinator, and sometimes if the home is a short sale or probate sale there are attorneys and the court. To put things into perspective I like to compare my job to that of a wedding coordinator. It is my duty to not only negotiate on behalf of my client to get the best deals but also to communicate with all parties and make sure that everyone is on the same page and moving in a timely fashion. I am a source of knowledge and referrals. Through my experience I have built relationships with inspectors, contractors, title and escrow officers and most importantly loan officers.  The decisions are ultimately my client’s to make but I am here to help point them in the right direction. Escrow can be stressful and at times an emotional process. It is a committed journey but in the end I can feel the joy and excitement in my client’s eyes that tell me that it was all worth it.

This week we closed two escrows so it was double the excitement!

Below: Ibeth purchased a really cute house in Long Beach! She faced the challenge of submitting multiple offers before getting one accepted but in the end the her offer was accepted not due to price (because there were two higher offers on the table) but because of the relationship that was built with the selling agent. *This is why it is important to get a good agent to represent you.

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Below: Marci purchased her very first condo. Initially she wanted to go with her trusted bank to fund her loan, however after three weeks into escrow and when we were just a few steps away from closing her bank backed out and said they could not approve her loan. Luckily one of my trusted lenders came through and was able to get her loan approved. *I cannot stress enough the importance of having a good loan officer and getting fully pre-qualified. From now on if my clients want to use their own bank/lender I will also have them cross qualify with one of my lenders to make sure that they are getting the best rates, loan, and to also make sure they will not face any unpleasant surprises later down the road.

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“It didn’t feel real until this very moment when the keys were in my hands” – Marci

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I couldn’t be happier for these two amazing women. They are both very well deserving of their new places they can now call home. It was a happy week and a huge reminder as to why I love my job.

Goodbye 2013 – Hello 2014!

Happy New Year! I can’t believe another one has flown by so quickly and what an amazing year it had been. Going into 2013 I decided to take my real estate career to the next level and with hard work and a great team by my side I was able to accomplish so many of my goals.  Looking back, it was such a busy year with challenges and successes that I wish I started this blog sooner to share all the lessons learned.  Plumbing issues, changing neighborhoods, learning about horse property in Palos Verdes, the importance of working with a trusted lender, positioning my clients offers to get accepted in this challenging market, oh the list could go on.  One of my favorite things about the Real estate industry is that it is always changing and there’s always something new to learn. I plan on posting on a weekly basis and I invite everyone to follow me on my journey and partake in sharing stories or questions. I’m really excited to see what 2014 has in store for us. Let’s make it another great year!

Here are some of my favorite highlights of 2013:

Checking out the progress of Carissa’s brand new studio/condo. It was so much fun being able to help her pick out her railings/cabinets/countertops/etc. I love new developments!
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It was a long road but we finally closed escrow! Note to new buyers: new developments take patience but is well worth it. So proud of my best friend and all her amazing accomplishments including buying her very own home.  644534_10100703415851037_984327_n
Paul and Allegra closed escrow on their view first home. Such a cute victorian style home which was being sold by an investor who completely gutted the original place and made it just like brand new. Been seeing so many of these flipped homes on the market this year.  602129_10100659080958517_1497206226_n
Passed my renewal exam. Can you believe I’ve been a realtor for 4 years now? Time sure does fly!942541_10100713772196837_1740995330_n
Volunteered for habitat for humanity and got to help paint the interior of a home going to a well deserved family. 602425_10100546203251347_507256556_n
Attended many work shops and seminars. This one was one of my favorites hosted by PNC mortgage called “wired for success”. They spoke about the influence of social media on the housing market. 557197_10100885372718017_1698690377_n
*I wish I had more pictures of my clients throughout the year. To my surprise I was named a top realtor at my brokerage closing over 20 deals this year. It is without a doubt that my success is due to the support of my amazing brokerage- Hunter Mason Realty. I look forward to another fabulous year and hopefully maintaining my spot as a top realtor. I will be sure to take more pictures of my amazing clients and fun events.