first time homebuyer: Protect Your Asset: Get a Life Insurance - 11/09/16 07:26 PM
Life insurance is valuable because it will help to replace your income and your earning power, should you become permanently disabled or pass away unexpectedly.  It will allow your family to continue paying the mortgage and stay on track toward good financial stewardship.  In the event that you are no longer alive, or if you are not able to work due to a massive injury, the life insurance policy will pay a cash settlement to your heirs.
The most important thing you need to know is that there are 2 basic types of life insurance:  whole and term.  A great insurance agent … (2 comments)

first time homebuyer: Home Buying Tips: Additional Inspections, Reports, and Requests - 11/06/16 09:49 PM
Be aware that a rural property will not have standard public utilities, but instead it may have a septic tank, a water well, solar panels, wind turbines, a satellite dish, and a propane tank for fuel.  Be prepared to ask for (and pay for) an inspection of each item.
If it’s a brand new house, or a newer building, ask the seller for blueprints, floor plans, building specifications, architectural, structural, and mechanical plans.  Older houses probably won’t have that available, but when there have been add-ons, you should ask for remodeling plans and copies of permits.
Get appliances warranties and manuals from the … (0 comments)

first time homebuyer: Writing Your Offer: What Price Do You Think Is Fair? - 09/05/16 02:10 PM
Discuss with your REALTOR®, what price you think is fair.  You want to make sure that you are going to get a good deal on the price, so you do not want to offer more than you have to.  On the other hand, there may be competing offers from other buyers, so you want your price to be high enough to beat out the other buyers. 
You want facts AND an honest opinion.  This is where your REALTOR® can shine as your trusted advisor and consultant.  Ask him  for an opinion.  How much would your real estate advisor offer for this house, … (6 comments)

first time homebuyer: Are you already receiving house listings from a REALTOR®? - 08/03/16 01:07 PM
If so, then she has already been providing you with a great service at no charge!  If you are lucky enough to already have a REALTOR® who has kept you updated with the current listings, then you should strongly consider working with this real estate agent.  After all, she has taken the time to help you get started in the hopes that you would become his client.  Give this agent the first opportunity to be your real estate agent of choice by working exclusively with him.
Please give that REALTOR® the first opportunity to serve you.
Interview the REALTOR® and consider him as … (2 comments)

first time homebuyer: Learn the Lingo: Plumbing Fixtures (Part 2 of 2) - 07/30/16 02:45 PM
Photos at
Delving Deeper into Pipes, with Inspections and Solutions
As a buyer’s agent, you will read and understand the home inspection report.  Knowledge of plumbing terms will help you decipher the report.  The inspector, of course, will have disclaimers regarding plumbing pieces of the inspection.  And if they recommend repair work or a further inspection, your client is advised to hire a licensed inspector.  As always, when your buyers have questions you call the inspector with your buyers on speaker phone — and even go back to the property for another visual inspection if needed.
What can possibly go wrong with … (9 comments)

first time homebuyer: Do Not Buy New Furniture! - 06/29/16 08:31 PM
One of the biggest mistakes that new homebuyers sometimes make is purchasing new furniture, electronics, or appliances.  A homebuyer may get so excited about her new home, that he will purchase furniture or appliances for the new home.  Perhaps the homebuyer wants new electronics, such as a television, computer, or stereo system in his new home.  That’s the biggest mistake a homebuyer could make!
It is easy to get excited, but buying items on credit can ruin your mortgage loan approval.
How would you like to have new furniture, brand new appliances, a new flat-screen television, and yet have no house to put them in?  … (8 comments)

first time homebuyer: Negotiating Process - 06/22/16 11:23 PM
Why does your REALTOR® advise you to offer a fair price?  Why does he request a quick turnaround time for the offer approval?
Until the seller accepts your offer, he or she can continue to review and accept other offers. The quicker you get your offer approved, the less chance that another buyer will get the property. During this negotiating process, until all parties finalize the contract, the seller can and will continue to accept other offers.
Now you are in the negotiating process.  While the buyer and seller are negotiating, the contract is still open.  In other words, the contract is … (7 comments)

first time homebuyer: Protect Your Largest Investment: Meet with a Financial Adviser - 06/19/16 11:34 AM
A great financial advisor can help you look at your overall budget and recommend strategies to help you increase your income, protect your assets, and plan for the future. Some financial planners also advise you regarding life insurance, estate planning, and investing in securities. Look for a professional whom you can trust. Check out our web site for tips on how to interview and find a great financial advisor.
The main tip I would give you for hiring a financial planner would be to select a professional with a CFP designation (certified financial planner), or possibly even a chartered financial counselor (ChFC) … (4 comments)

first time homebuyer: Home viewing: Write down defects - 12/17/15 10:25 PM
When you're viewing homes for purchase, write down obvious defects with the property and any questions.  If you see problems or defects, point these items out to your REALTOR®.  If you have any questions, ask your agent.  Keep in mind that she may not have the answers and she may have to ask the listing agent.  So be sure to write down your questions or issues so they can be addressed later on.
Remember you will have the opportunity to request that the seller repair things at their expense.  That’s another reason to write down any possible defects with the property.
Read more … (1 comments)

first time homebuyer: Narrow to One House - 12/05/15 01:49 AM
Wow, that is hard! You saw so many homes you loved, how do you narrow down your list to your #1 top choice?  Here are a few tips:
Review your notes Compare the features of each house Consider the style and design you like best Talk with each other and your Realtor® Figure out how much fix-up work or re-decorating you will need to do Calculate the value you get for the size Think about how your family will use the floor plan Narrow it down to just 1 house, but keep 2 homes on your list as back-ups
As you have … (3 comments)

first time homebuyer: Home Buying Tips: Keep a Backup Plan - 11/25/15 11:11 AM
What are the reasons NOT to get your hopes up too high in the beginning of the escrow?
Many transactions “fall out” of escrow and you may be disappointed So you can make a good business decision to cancel your contract if needed Keep a backup plan for the other houses you liked Many transactions “fall out” of escrow.
Okay, we are now in escrow.  We hope to be closing on our new house in about 2 weeks so we are packing and preparing, and we are starting to get excited.  However, we do not want to get our hopes up too … (4 comments)

first time homebuyer: HVAC / Mechanical Lingo - 11/11/15 06:20 AM
By Regina P. Brown
While we typically would not check “under the hood” of a house, we do verify that the visual components are available and appear to be in good condition. Here is a primer for real estate professionals who want to know what’s going on behind the walls when they need to advise their buyer or selaler clients.
When taking a listing, do you know what to mark in the heat/cooling fields? Learning the HVAC components will help you understand and describe your listing. When working for your buyer clients, product knowledge equips you to recognize defects and negotiate repairs shown … (7 comments)

first time homebuyer: Steps on Finding a House - 08/27/15 11:29 AM
First, we are going to drive by our favorite houses and narrow down our list.  Then, we will select which houses we want to view with our REALTOR®.  
Next, we will meet with our REALTOR® and bring our checkbook along, ready to make an offer.  Our REALTOR® will show us the inside of the houses we already drove by and marked as our favorites.  
We are going to take notes about the size of the house, the features, and write down any questions.  We will snap a few photos, if allowed by the seller.  
Then we will all huddle together and … (3 comments)

first time homebuyer: The "Hidden" Money Drains - 06/28/15 10:42 PM
If you're planning to save money for your home purchase, watch out for the hidden money drains.  A huge drain on the budget is that “little” coffee habit.  If you spend $5 per day at Starbucks, did you know that is $1,825 per year?  Over 10 years, that adds up to $18,250.  Over the life of your 40 working years, spending merely $5 per day adds up to $73,000.  So look at what you are spending on coffee, snacks, alcohol, and fast food.  It can add up to a staggering amount of money, which should be going back into your household … (8 comments)

first time homebuyer: Home Buying: Make notes of what is in the home - 06/02/15 10:07 PM
Was there a dishwasher, refrigerator, washer or dryer, window coverings, light fixtures such as a chandelier, shed, workbench, or any other personal property?
To keep track of what’s inside each home, write down which appliances are in the house, or any items of personal property that may be staying with the house.  You will need to refer to this list later on when you write your offer to purchase.  The MLS data sheet should list the personal property items that are (and are not) included in the purchase, but it is not always accurate.  So it’s best to do your own visual … (42 comments)

first time homebuyer: Select Houses to View - 05/27/15 12:55 PM
If you have 30 houses on your list, you should narrow it down to a handful that you really like.  Then you can easily make a decision to purchase one of your favorite “finalists”.
Did you know that a “green” home may cut your utility bill in half?  When you think about the cost of water, electric, and fuel each month, all year long… you understand why it’s important to search for homes with green or energy efficient features.  Ask the seller for a BPI report or a HERS rating to verify your monthly energy cost, and to determine if rebates or … (5 comments)

first time homebuyer: Sign Buyer/Broker Representation Agreement - 05/25/15 01:16 AM
What is the value of signing a Buyer/Broker Representation Agreement?
• It is an employment agreement to hire your Realtor®
• You and your REALTOR® are committed to working with each other
• It allows your REALTOR® to write offers, submit offers, and negotiate on your behalf
• It allows your REALTOR® to receive compensation by working for you
Sign a Buyer Broker Representation Agreement (BRE) so the agent can begin working for you right away.  A Buyer Broker Representation Agreement allows your agent to work on your behalf, to show you homes, to write and submit offers, and to negotiate those offers on your behalf. … (5 comments)

first time homebuyer: When Items Break, Repair Them Right Away - 05/12/15 01:09 PM
You know “Murphy’s Law”: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. When you are least expecting it, something will break, and if you don’t get it fixed right away, it could lead to other problems.  That’s where your home warranty comes in handy.  Most things will be covered and all you will have to pay is a small co-payment, so there is no reason to procrastinate fixing things.
Get electrical work and plumbing repairs done by a professional
TIP:  Always use licensed, bonded contractors who are trust worthy.
Check their references before hiring them, and get your receipts in writing.  If you do … (7 comments)

first time homebuyer: Take Notes - 04/30/15 11:24 AM
Make notes of the following items at the houses you view.  Look carefully at both the inside and the yard areas.  Does the house include these items?
• Dishwasher
• Refrigerator
• Clothes washer and/or dryer
• Window coverings (blinds or built-ins)
• Light fixtures (such as a chandelier)
• Shed
• Workbench
Take a notepad and write down the pros and cons of each house
What notes should you be taking?  Jot down what you like and do not like about each home.  These notes will be invaluable when you are trying to make your purchase decision later.  After a full day of house hunting, all the houses start … (8 comments)

first time homebuyer: Take Care of the House - 04/21/15 01:26 AM
Now that you’re a homeowner, you are ready to take on the responsibilities and take good care of your new home.
As soon as you get the keys, conduct an orientation of your new home.  Make sure you know which keys unlock what, that the garage door opener actually opens the garage, and how to turn off the utilities in case of emergency.  
Here’s a checklist to keep you on track:
Test all the locks and keys Garage door opener Gate codes / remotes Common area entry keys (swimming pool gate etc.) Mailbox key Smoke detectors & test Carbon monoxide detector & … (14 comments)

Regina P. Brown, M.B.A., Broker, Instructor (MBA Broker Consultants) Rainmaker large

Regina P. Brown

M.B.A., Broker, Instructor

Carlsbad, CA

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Top California Broker and Realtor Regina P. Brown writes articles and blogs about local real estate trends, houses for sale, and tips for home buyers.




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