Real Estate 101 Glossary

October 16, 2009

Lola and me

Today I  will tackle the “C’s”

CALL OPTION   a REMAX logoA clause in a mortgage which allows the lender to demand payment of the outstanding balance at a specific time.

CAP   Associated with Adjustable Rate Mortgages. A limit on how high monthly payments or how much interest rates may change within a certain time period or the life of the mortgage.

CAPE COD COLONIAL   A single-story house style made popular in New England. Often characterized by a steep roof with gables.

CAPITAL   Accumulated goods and money which is most often used to generate additional income.

CAPITAL EXPENDITURE   An outlay of funds designed to improve the income-producing capabilities of an asset or to extend its economic life.

CASH-OUT REFINANCE   Refinancing a mortgage at a higher amount than the current balance in order to transform a portion of the equity into cash.

CAULKING   A pliable material used to seal cracks or openings such as around windows.

CAVEAT EMPTOR   Literally translated: ”Let the buyer beware.” A common business tenet whereby the buyer is responsible for verifying any and all claims by the seller of property.

CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT   A document showing that the bearer has a certain amount of money, at a particular amount interest, on deposit with a financial institution.

CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT INDEX   An index based on the interest rate of six month CD’s. Used to set interest rates on some Adjustable Rate Mortgages.

CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILITY  A document issued by the Veterans Administration that certifies eligibility for a VA loan.

CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY   Issued by an appropriate jurisdictional entity, this document certifies that a building complies with all building codes and is safe for use or habitation.

CERTIFICATE OF REASONABLE VALUE (CRV)   Usually based on an independent appraisal, a CRV for a particular property establishes the maximum amount which can be secured by a VA mortgage.

CERTIFICATE OF TITLE   A document designating the legal owner of a parcel of real estate. Usually provided by a title or abstract company.

CERTIFIED GENERAL APPRAISER   Generally, any professional who has met the local or state requirements, and passed the appropriate certification exam, and is capable of appraising any type of property.

CERTIFIED RESIDENTIAL APPRAISER   A sub-classification of appraiser who is only licensed to appraise residential property, usually up to four units.

CHAIN OF TITLE   The complete history of ownership of a piece of property.

CHATTEL   Any personal property which is not attached to or an integral part of a property. Chattel is not commonly taken into consideration when appraising the value of real property.

CIRCUIT BREAKERS   Electrical devices which automatically open electrical circuits if they are overloaded.

CLEAR TITLE   Ownership of property that is not encumbered by any counter-claim or lien.

CLOSING   A torturous process designed to induce cramping in a home buyer’s hands by requiring signature on countless pieces of documentation that nobody has ever read. Or, the process whereby the sale of a property is consummated with the buyer completing all applicable documentation, including signing the mortgage obligation and paying all appropriate costs associated with the sale (CLOSING COSTS).

CLOSING COSTS   All appropriate costs generated by the sale of property which the parties must pay to complete the transaction. Costs may include appraisal fees, origination fees, title insurance, taxes and any points negotiated in the deal.

CLOSING STATEMENT   The document detailing the final financial arrangement between a buyer and seller and the costs paid by each.

CO-BORROWER   A second person sharing obligation on the loan and title on the property.

COLLATERAL   An asset which is placed at risk to secure the repayment of a loan.

COLLECTION   The process a lender takes to pursue a borrower who is delinquent on his payments in order to bring the mortgage current again. Includes documentation that may be used in foreclosure.

CO-MAKER   A second party who signs a loan, along with the borrower, and becomes liable for the debt should the borrower default.

COMMON LAW   As opposed to statute law. Laws that have been established by custom, usage and courts over many years.

COMMISSION   A percentage of the sales price or a fixed fee negotiated by an agent to compensate for the effort expended to sell or purchase property.

COMMON AREA ASSESSMENTS   Fees which are charged to the tenets or owners of properties to cover the costs of maintaining areas shared with other tenets or owners. Commonly found in condominium, PUD or office spaces.

COMMON AREAS   Any areas, such as entryways, foyers, pools, recreational facilities or the like, which are shared by the tenets or owners of property near by. Commonly found in condominium, PUD or office spaces.

COMMUNITY PROPERTY   In many jurisdictions, any property which has been acquired by a married couple. The ownership of the property is considered equal unless stipulated otherwise by both parties.

COMPARABLES   An abbreviated term used by appraisers to describe properties which are similar in size, condition, location and amenities to a subject property whose value is being determined. The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) establish clear guidelines for determining a comparable property.

COMPOUND INTEREST   Interest paid on the principal amount, as well as any accumulated interest.

CONCESSIONS   Additional value granted by a buyer or seller to entice another party to complete a deal.

CONDEMNATION  The official process by which a property is deemed to be uninhabitable or unusable due to internal damage or other external conditions.

CONDENSATION   The transition of water vapor to liquid. Typically forms in areas of high humidity.

CONDOMINIUM   A development where individual units are owned, but common areas and amenities are shared equally by all owners.

CONDOMINIUM CONVERSION   Commonly, the conversion of a rental property such as an apartment complex into a CONDOMINIUM-style complex where each unit is owned rather than leased.

CONDUIT  The pipe through which electric wiring is run.

A loan made to a builder or home owner that finances the initial construction of a property, but is replaced by a traditional mortgage one the property is completed.

CONTIGUOUS   Connected to or touching along an unbroken boundary.

CONTINGEnCY   Something that must occur before something else happens. Often used in real estate sales when a buyer must sell a current home before purchasing a new one. Or, when a buyer makes an offer that requires a complete home inspection before it becomes official.

CONTRACT  A legally binding agreement, oral or written, between two parties.

CONVENTIONAL MORTGAGE   A traditional, real estate financing mechanism that is not backed by any government or other agency (FHA, VA, etc.).

CONVERTIBLE ARM   A mortgage that begins as and adjustable, that allows the borrower to convert the loan to a fixed rate within a specific timeframe.

A form of ownership where each resident of a multiunit property owns a share in a cooperative corporation that owns the building. With each resident having rights to a specific unit within the building.

CORPORATE RELOCATION   A situation where a person’s employer pays all or some of the expenses associated with moving from one location to another, usually over a substantial distance. Relocation expenses often include the amounts, such as brokerage fees, incurred in the selling and buying of the employee’s primary residence

COST OF FUNDS INDEX (COFI)   An index of financial institutions costs used to set interest rates for some Adjustable Rate Mortgages.

COVENANT   A stipulation in any mortgage that, if not met, can be cause for the lender to foreclose.

CREDIT   A loan of money for the purchase of property, real or personal. Credit is either secured by an asset, such as a home, or unsecured.

CREDIT HISTORY   A record of debt payments, past and present. Used by mortgage lenders in determining credit worthiness of individuals.

CREDITOR   A person to whom money is owed.

CREDIT REPORT   A detailed report of an individuals credit, employment and residence history prepared by a credit bureau. Used by lenders to determine credit worthiness of individuals.

CREDIT REPOSITORY  Large companies that gather and store financial and credit information about individuals who apply for credit.

CUL-DE-SAC  A dead-end street. One with only one entrance/exit. French for bottom of the bag.

Santa Monica Art Walk and Car Show

October 15, 2009
ake a walk on the wild side 

Pico Art Walk & Car Show
Pico Improvement Organization
Saturday October 17, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Stroll on down to The 4th Annual Pico Art Walk & Car Show. This is a community-based festival dedicated to raising the profile of Pico Boulevard, its diverse local businesses and its contributions to Santa Monica’s vibrant art sector. The Art Walk features children’s activities, musical performances and “A Taste of Pico” food booths at Virginia Avenue Park, but you shouldn’t miss the rest of the fun all up and down the boulevard. A Vintage Car Show, at the SGI Buddhist Center, is definitely worth a look. Tour Pico Boulevard’s galleries, shops and studios in a double-decker bus provided by Starline Tours — one of this year’s sponsors — and shuttle along Pico Blvd free of charge. Enjoy art, music, cars, food, and fun for the entire family.

This event is FREE to the public.

Virginia Avenue Park
2200 Virginia Avenue (at Pico Blvd.)

SGI Buddhist Center
2601 Pico Blvd.
For Information call 310.829.9303

Real Estate 101 Glossary the “B’s”

October 14, 2009

Today, I am working on the “B’s”, 

BACKFILL   Lola and mea REMAX logoThe slope of the ground around a house.

BALL COCK VALVE   The valve inside a toilet tank that controls the filling of the tank.

BALLOON MORTGAGE   A mortgage loan in which the monthly payments are not large enough to repay the loan by the end of the term. So at the end of the term, the remaining balance comes due in a single large payment.

BALLOON PAYMENT   The final large payment at the end of a balloon mortgage term.

BANKRUPTCY   When a person or business is unable to pay their debts and seeks protection of the state against creditors. Bankruptcies remain on credit records for up to ten years and can prevent a person from being able to get a loan.

BEAM   A structural supporting member.

BILL OF SALE   A physical receipt indicating the sale of property.

BIWEEKLY MORTGAGE   A mortgage where you make “half payments” every two weeks, rather than one payment per month. This results in making the equivalent of 13 monthly payments per year, rather than 12, significantly reducing the time it takes to pay off a thirty year mortgage.

BLIGHTED AREA   Any region of a city or town that has fallen into disrepair or otherwise has become undesirable.

BONA FIDE   Any genuine offer, made without intent to defraud or deceive.

BRIDGE FINANCING   An interim loan made to facilitate the purchase of a new home before the buyer’s current residence sells and its equity is available to fund the new purchase.

BRIDGING   Structural members used between beams to strengthen the structure.

BROKER   An individual who facilitates the purchase of property by bringing together a buyer and a seller.

BTU   British Thermal Unit. A unit of measurement used to describe heating or cooling capacity.

BUFFER ZONE   A segment of land between two disparate municipal zones which acts as a shield to keep one zone from encroaching upon the other. Often used to separate residential districts from commercial areas.

BUILDING CODE  Regulations that ensure the safety and material compliance of new construction within a municipality. Building codes are localized to ensure they are adequate to meet the risk of common hazards.

BUILDING LINE OR SETBACK  The statutory distance between buildings and the property line, imposed by municipalities, home associations, or other agreements.

BUILT-INS   Specific items of personal property which are installed in a real estate improvement such that they become part of the building. Built-in microwave ovens and dishwashers are common examples.

BUNGALOW  A one-story, home-style dating from the early twentieth century. Often characterized by a low-pitched roof.

BUY DOWN   Extra money paid in a lump sum to reduce the interest rate of a fixed rate mortgage for a period of time. The extra money may be paid by the borrower, in order to have a lower payment at the beginning of the mortgage. Or paid by the seller, or lender, as incentive to buy the property or take on the mortgage.

Real Estate 101 Glossary

October 13, 2009

I thought that I would assist people with the buying and selling process.  Last week I had the Buyer’s 10 Commandments and this week I will be posting a glossary of real estate terms.  Please contact me should you have any questions.

a REMAX logoLola and meABSORPTION RATE   
The ratio of the number of properties in an area that have been sold against the number available. Used to show the volatility of a market.

This method of estimating the value of property uses similar properties available in the same market to extract the value of a parcel of land.

A provision in a mortgage that gives the lender the right to demand immediate payment of the outstanding loan balance under certain circumstances. Usually when the borrower defaults on the loan.

A building separate from the main structure on a property. Often used for a specific purpose, such as a workshop, storage shed or garage.

The natural growth of a piece of land resulting from forces of nature

43,560 square feet. A measurement of area.

The amount of time that has passed since a building or other structure was built. See also: EFFECTIVE AGE

The date the interest rate changes on an adjustable rate mortgage.

Taxes assessed based on the value of the land and improvements

A supplement to any document that contains additional information pertinent to the subject. Appraisers use an addendum to further explain items for which there was inadequate space on the standard appraisal form.

A type of mortgage where the interest rate varies based on a particular index, normally the prime lending rate.

The value of an asset (property or otherwise) that includes the original price plus the value of any improvement, and less any applicable depreciation.

ADJUSTED SALES PRICE   An opinion of a property’s sales price, after adjustments have been made to account for differences between it and another comparable property.

The additional value a property enjoys based on subjective criteria such as look or appeal.

A declaration that a certain set of facts are truthful.

A calculation used to determine an individual’s likelihood of being able to meet the obligations of a mortgage for a particular property. Takes into account the down payment, closing costs and on-going mortgage payments.

A person who has been appointed to act on behalf of another for a particular transaction.

Any feature of a property that increases its value or desirability. These might include natural amenities such as location or proximity to mountains, or man-made amenities like swimming pools, parks or other recreation.

An organization of appraisal professionals and others interested in the appraisal profession.

The repayment of a loan through regular periodic payment.

The breakdown of individual payments throughout the life of an amortized loan, showing both principal contribution and debt service (interest) fees.

AMORTIZATION TERM   The length of time over which an amortized loan is repaid. Mortgages are commonly amortized over 15 or 30 years.

The rate of annual interest charged on a loan.

A sum of money paid at regular intervals, often annually.

A form used to apply for a mortgage loan that details a potential borrower’s income, debt, savings and other information used to determine credit worthiness.

A ”defensible” and carefully documented opinion of value. Most commonly derived using recent sales of comparable properties by a licensed, professional appraiser.

A not-for-profit educational organization established by the appraisal profession in the United States in 1987. It is dedicated to the advancement of professional valuation and responsible for establishing, improving, and promoting the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).

A world-wide organization dedicated to real estate appraisal education, publication and advocacy.

The basic building blocks of the property valuation process, including property inspection, market analysis and basic economics.

The end result of the appraisal process usually consists of one major standardized form such as, the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report form 1004, as well as all supporting documentation and additional detail information. The purpose of the report is to convey the opinion of value of the subject property and support that opinion with corroborating information.

An independent board of the APPRAISAL FOUNDATION, which writes, amends, and interprets USPAP. The ASB is composed of up to seven appraisers appointed by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. The ASB holds public meetings throughout the year to interpret and amend USPAP.

An opinion of the fair market value of a property as developed by a licensed, certified appraiser following accepted appraisal principals.

APPRAISER   An educated, certified professional with extensive knowledge of real estate markets, values and practices. The appraiser is often the only independent voice in any real estate transaction with no vested interest in the ultimate value or sales price of the property.

The natural rise in property value due to market forces.

ARMS LENGTH TRANSACTION   Any transaction in which the two parties are unconnected and have no overt common interests. Such a transaction most often reflects the true market value of a property.

The value of a property according to jurisdictional tax assessment.

The function of assigning a value to a property for the purpose of levying taxes.

The comparative relationship of a property’s assessed value to its market value.

The jurisdictional official who performs the assessment and assigns the value of a property.

Any item of value which a person owns.

Transfer of ownership of a mortgage usually when the loan is sold to another company.

A mortgage that can be taken over by the buyer when a home is sold.

ASSUMPTION   When a buyer takes over, or “assumes” the sellers mortgage.

Any number of houses or other dwellings which are physically attached to one another, but are occupied by a number of different people. The individual houses may or may not be owned by separate people as well.

Real Estate Buyer’s 10 Commandments

October 7, 2009

1.  Thou shalt not change jobs, become self-employed or quit your job.

2.  Thou shalt not buy a car, truck or van (or you may be living in it).

3.  Thou shalt not use charge cards excessively or let your accounts fall behind.

4.  Thou shalt not spend money you have set aside for a down payment and closing fees.

5.  Thou Lola and meshalt not omit debts or liabilities on your loan application.

6.  Thou shalt not buy furniture.

7.   Thou shalt not originate any inquiries into your credit.

8.  Thou shalt not make large deposits without first checking with your loan officer.

9.  Thou shalt not change/close bank accounts.

10. Thou shalt not co-sign for anyone.  You may become responsible for the debt.

Los Angeles 10th Annual Triathlon

October 3, 2009

October 4th-beginning as early as 3:30 am.

for traffic crossing points-

Good luck to all who participate!

AltCar Expo 2009 in Santa Monica

September 25, 2009

a REMAX logoLola and meAltCarExpo-2009

 October 2-3 10-5pm. free admission, parking fees or better yet take your bike.

Santa Monica Civic Center-Main and Pico

  Fourth Annual City of Santa Monica Alternative Energy and Transportation Expo

Expo exhibitors featuring the most cutting edge options in alternative vehicles, transportation technologies, alternative and renewable energy, bikes, urban planning, mass transportation, tax rebates and credits, and more• AltCar Expo Speakers Schedule including: Peter Ward, CEC Dan Neil, Los Angeles Times Dr. Andy Frank, University of Berkeley Steve Ellis, Honda Dave Barthmuss, GM Tom Gage, AC Propulsion Craig Perkins, Energy Coalition 


• First viewing opportunities of vehicle debuts at the Expo

• AltCar Ride & Drive area for hands-on experience with all technologies. Most vehicles in this area are available for immediate purchase

• Major bike debuts, free bike repairs and free bike valet

• Ecological Footprint charting

• Sustainable Café








Should Tax Credit be Extended?

September 24, 2009

I believe the tax credit should be extended as it has juLola and mea REMAX logomp started  the real estate market.  Whenever we are in a recession, real estate  always leads the way toward recovery. 

You may not know, the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit has had a positive impact on our market this year. Over a third of all sales have been to First-Time Homebuyers, and research shows that each home sold puts about $60,000 into the local economy. A great return on the government’s investment.

 The Tax Credit has been beneficial and it needs to be extended. It would also be helpful to expand the credit to include all homebuyers. In normal times, we would not favor such government involvement, but these are not normal times. I feel strongly that such Tax Credits will not only help stabilize housing prices, but will help us from falling back into recession.

First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit Closing in on Deadline

September 24, 2009

Lola and meThe Clock Is Ticking as First-Time Buyers Intensify Their House Hunting a REMAX logo

By Amy Hoak Print Article RISMEDIA,

September 18, 2009—(MCT)—Tired of paying rent and enticed by a first-time home buyer tax credit, 25-year-old Garrett Rebel began his search for a home in August, scouring the suburbs of Dallas for a house to meet his current and future needs. And he’s already running out of time. The federal tax credit for first-time buyers is “a huge motivator” for Rebel, and he may end his search if the Nov. 30 deadline arrives and he still hasn’t closed on a deal. He unsuccessfully submitted an offer on one house; after going back and forth with the seller couldn’t come to a price agreeable to both parties. “I haven’t found anything that I’ve fallen in love with,” Rebel said. Timing is everything for many first-time buyers today. For those who purchase a home this year, the tax credit is for 10% of the purchase price, up to $8,000. Those who have owned a home in the past three years aren’t eligible. Buyers also have to meet eligibility requirements regarding income; the current credit begins to phase out for singles who make more than $75,000 and couples who make more than $150,000. Unless it is extended, this credit will expire on Nov. 30. “We are seeing an increase in buyers wanting to get closed prior to the tax credit closing deadline,” said real-estate agent Amy Downs, who represents Rebel. “We are seeing an increase in sellers wanting to get their homes on the market and closed by this deadline. I feel that if we can get the homes priced accordingly and a strong offer by mid-October, we can beat this deadline with a reputable lender working the buy side.” Some real-estate agents and mortgage brokers are recommending that first-time buyers close no later than the week before Thanksgiving to ensure that no holiday-related office closings or abbreviated schedules interfere with the process. That means finalizing a purchase on or before Nov. 20. In fact, to make sure you can take advantage of the credit, it’s probably best to go under contract no later than the first or second week of October, said Jim Sahnger, mortgage planner with Palm Beach Financial Network in Florida. The National Association of Realtors reports that it’s taking about two months to complete a home sale in the current market, as lenders scrutinize borrower paperwork and issues with appraisals pop up. In short, first-time buyers probably need to select a property and make an offer by the end of this month. But rushing to meet the deadline is a double-edged sword. The purchase of a home—let alone your first one—isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. “For anyone, the decision to buy a house has to be a right one,” Sahnger said. “While the $8,000 can be great to have, I wouldn’t let that force you into a decision. But there is something that works and you want to take advantage of the credit, you can’t afford to delay the decision.” For buyers who don’t make the deadline, there is a chance the credit will be extended. There are at least 20 bills drafted regarding the credit; one-third of them have been introduced recently, said Lucien Salvant, managing director of public affairs for NAR. Some proposals would not only extend the first-time buyer credit into next year, but would also expand it to include all home buyers, remove income restrictions and raise the maximum amount of the credit, up to $15,000. By including all buyers, there could be more of a ripple effect as more Americans spend money on moving vans, lawn equipment — any items or services associated with making a move, said Jerry Howard, president and CEO of the National Association of Home Builders. NAHB and NAR have been lobbying heavily for the extension. “The first priority is going to be to renew the $8,000 credit, but we have some good arguments for expanding it,” said Jerry Giovaniello, senior vice president and chief lobbyist for NAR. He argues that the credit doesn’t cost much but has a huge impact. If you’re a first-time buyer, however, waiting is a gamble. “What you have in front of you now is a tax credit. After that, you don’t know what you have,” Salvant said. “This thing can go all different kinds of ways.” NAR estimates that about 1.8 million to 2 million first-time buyers will take advantage of the tax credit this year, and says that roughly 350,000 sales wouldn’t have taken place without the credit. But the effectiveness of the credit will eventually peter out because there are only so many potential first-time buyers, said Richard Green, director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at the University of Southern California. He said that the credit is likely getting many first-time buyers to make their purchases six months to a year earlier than they would have anyway. “In terms of how effective it is, I don’t think it does any harm at this point. It’s pushing sales forward that would have happened anyway,” he said. “You’re giving money to people who were going to buy anyway.” Increasing the credit amount to $15,000 and expanding it to everyone, however, could end up translating to higher home prices, he added. Still, there is growing Capitol Hill support for the extension of the credit. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said it needs to be extended by the end of the year, according to a spokesman from his office. And Washington Research Group, a unit of securities firm Concept Capital, recently put the chance of extension at 60 percent. Yet with Congress currently focusing on other issues, and concerns about the country’s rising deficit, some wonder how difficult it will be for housing to garner attention anytime soon. “All eyes are on health care,” said Bruce Hahn, president of the American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance. According to, first-time buyers on average search 12 weeks to find a home. But there are ways for buyers to expedite their journey to closing: Sign up for automatic alerts for properties that fit your criteria. Many buyers start their search online, and it’s possible to sign up for e-mail alerts when properties that meet your criteria are added, points out. If you’re working with a real estate agent, he or she also may be able to register you for automatic alerts when homes are listed. But make sure the information you receive is fresh — you don’t have time to look at unavailable homes. Do all you can to ensure a smooth mortgage process. Collect pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns to prove income. Get prequalified. And while your loan is in process, don’t make major purchases on credit cards — that could delay closing, said Julie Reynolds, a spokeswoman for Prepare for closing costs early. Get your insurance company and, if applicable, your homeowner association, to forward a cost estimate to the escrow company early, recommended in a news release. In many states, closing costs must be paid — in cash — at closing. Read more:

West Coast Green

September 19, 2009

Lola and meOctober 1-3 in San Francisco at the Fort Mason Center

Green innovation conference of the built environment