The poor economy over the last few years has been a life-changing experience for most of us.   People find themselves reevaluating their financial decisions everyday.

Financial planner Michelle Singletary has written a book called “7 Money Mantras for a Richer Life.”   Her inspiration for her book, and her career as a financial planner was inspired by Big Mama, her grandmother.   Big Mama raised Michelle and her four brothers and sisters on a salary that never reached more than $13,000 per year.   Yet at her death, Big Mama owned her own home, had paid off a car loan, and had a beautiful collection of Sunday-go-to-meeting church hats and a savings account that supplemented her Social Secuirty check and small pension.   Most important, she had taught Michelle “7 Money Mantras for a Richer Life”

Here they are:

1.   If it’s on your ass, it’s not an asset!

2.   Is this a need or is it a want?

3.   Sweat the small stuff.

4.   Cash is better than credit.

5.   Keep it simple.

6.   Priorities lead to prosperity.

7.   Enough is enough.

Thanks Big Mama!   These Mantas are great!

If you would like more info on Michelle Singletary please check out her website.   There is a wealth of knowledge there.

http://www.michellesingletary.com/

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THE HOME

Good

Average

Poor

Square Footage

 

 

 

Number of Bedrooms

 

 

 

Number of Bathrooms

 

 

 

Practicality of Floor Plan

 

 

 

Interior Walls Condition

 

 

 

Closet/Storage Space

 

 

 

Basement/Dampness/Odors

 

 

 

Attic

 

 

 

Cable TV

 

 

 

Exterior Condition

 

 

 

Lawn/yard Space

 

 

 

Fence

 

 

 

Patio or Deck

 

 

 

Garage

 

 

 

Energy Efficiency

 

 

 

Windows

 

 

 

Screens

 

 

 

Roof Age and Condition

 

 

 

Gutters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Good

Average

Poor

Nearby Homes Appearance

 

 

 

Traffic

 

 

 

Noise Level

 

 

 

Safety/Security

 

 

 

Age Mix of Inhabitants

 

 

 

Number of Children

 

 

 

Pet Restrictions

 

 

 

Parking

 

 

 

Zoning Regulations

 

 

 

Fire Protection

 

 

 

Police

 

 

 

Garbage Service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SCHOOLS

Good

Average

Poor

Age/Condition

 

 

 

Reputation

 

 

 

Quality of Teachers

 

 

 

Achievement Test Scores

 

 

 

Play Areas

 

 

 

Curriculum

 

 

 

Class Size

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONVENIENCE TO:

Good

Average

Poor

Grocery Stores

 

 

 

Schools

 

 

 

Work

 

 

 

Child care

 

 

 

Hospitals

 

 

 

Doctor/Dentist

 

 

 

Recreation/Parks

 

 

 

Restaurants/Entertainment

 

 

 

Church/Synagogue/Mosque

 

 

 

Airport

 

 

 

Freeways

 

 

 

Public Transportation

 

 

 


Make sure you print out this list, and take it with you when you are shopping for a home.   Also, feel free to contact me and I will email you this checklist in Microsoft Word format.

 

Whether I am representing you as a Buyer or Seller, I have some exciting new advanced technology to enhance your Real Estate transaction overall.

Thank you for consideration.

 

Give me a call or send me an email.


Ms. Tafari

The REALTOR ® with a Heart!

310-839-9944

MsTafari@MsTafari.com

MsTafari.com

TafariGroup.com

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If you have ever considered buying any kind of real estate, NOW IS THE TIME…

Prices are very good right now, and interest rates are as low as ever!

In the future, people will brag about how they got their deal in 2010.   But before you jump in, think about the following points:



1. Don’t buy if you can’t stay put.

 

If you can’t commit to remaining in one place for at least a few years, then owning is probably not for you, at least not yet. With the transaction costs of buying and selling a home, you may end up losing money if you sell any sooner – even in a rising market. When prices are falling, it’s an even worse proposition.

 

2. Start by shoring up your credit.

 

Since you most likely will need to get a mortgage to buy a house, you must make sure your credit history is as clean as possible. A few months before you start house hunting, get copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you discover.

 

3. Aim for a home you can really afford.

 

The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that runs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. But you’ll do better to use one of many calculators available online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford.

 

4. If you can’t put down the usual 20 percent, you may still qualify for a loan.

 

There are a variety of public and private lenders who, if you qualify, offer low-interest mortgages that require a down payment as small as 3 percent of the purchase price.

 

5. Buy in a district with good schools.

 

In most areas, this advice applies even if you don’t have school-age children. Reason: When it comes time to sell, you’ll learn that strong school districts are a top priority for many home buyers, thus helping to boost property values.

 

6. Get professional help.

 

Even though the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings, most new buyers (and many more experienced ones) are better off using a professional agent. Give me a call.   I will work with you, keeping your best interest at heart, and I will help you with strategies during the bidding process.

 

7. Choose carefully between points and rate.

 

When picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points — a portion of the interest that you pay at closing — in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you stay in the house for a long time — say three to five years or more — it’s usually a better deal to take the points. The lower interest rate will save you more in the long run.   Let me help you with your financing decision.   With two decades of real estate finance experience, I will educate you on your choices.

 

8. Before house hunting, get pre-approved.

 

Getting pre-approved will you save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford and put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Not to be confused with pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history.

 

9. Do your homework before bidding.

 

Your opening bid should be based on the sales trend of similar homes in the neighborhood. So before making it, consider sales of similar homes in the last three months. If homes have recently sold at 5 percent less than the asking price, you should make a bid that’s about eight to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.

 

10. Hire a home inspector.

 

Sure, your lender will require a home appraisal anyway. But that’s just the bank’s way of determining whether the house is worth the price you’ve agreed to pay. Separately, you should hire your own home inspector, preferably an engineer with experience in doing home surveys in the area where you are buying. His or her job will be to point out potential problems that could require costly repairs down the road.

If you have ever thought about buying a home or an income property, now is the time.   If you think you are ready, let me know.

Whether I am representing you as a Buyer or Seller, I have some exciting new advanced technology to enhance your Real Estate transaction overall.

Thank you for consideration.

 

Give me a call or send me an email.


Ms. Tafari

The REALTOR ® with a Heart!

310-839-9944

MsTafari@MsTafari.com

MsTafari.com

TafariGroup.com

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Flipping Homes is back, with South Central Los Angeles, Compton and Watts as the Hot Spots!

According to the L.A. Times article dated April 25th, investors are sifting through the wreckage of Southern California’s real estate bust, snapping up foreclosed homes in hopes of making a quick killing. The rapid-sale rebound comes amid a general recovery in housing prices and sales, and the epicenter is South Los Angeles.

MDA DataQuick, the real estate research firm, ranked Southern California Zip codes by frequency of flips, which it defined as homes resold within three weeks to six months of purchase. Three of those Zip codes were in South Los Angeles, and two others were in the nearby unincorporated county communities of East Compton and Willowbrook.

In Watts, about 1 out of every 6 homes sold during the final three months of 2009 was flipped, making it the neighborhood with the highest concentration of flipped properties in all of Southern California, DataQuick said.

Along with low prices, real estate investors are drawn to the area because of its proximity to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Los Angeles International Airport and other job centers, including factories.

It seems like investors are finally seeing the good qualities of neighborhood in South Central that we have always known.

South Los Angeles and its neighbors was were largely spared the rampant overbuilding that has left areas like the Inland Empire littered with boarded-up subdivisions. However, subprime lending was prevalent in South Los Angeles, making foreclosures common.

Flipping was also given a boost in February when the Federal Housing Administration temporarily suspended its “no flip rule,” which prohibited people using FHA loans from purchasing properties from sellers who had owned the homes less than 90 days. The one-year suspension was designed to give the housing market a boost.

Investors have long been active in and around South Los Angeles, but their numbers have surpassed even the boom years. The percentage of homes sold to absentee buyers in a large swath of neighborhoods, from Jefferson Park just west of USC to East Compton, peaked at 17.3% in the first three months of 2004, bottomed in the fourth quarter of 2006 at 9.4% and then hit a fresh high of 28.9% in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to DataQuick.

If you have ever thought about buying a home or an income property, now is the time.

Whether I am representing you as a Buyer or Seller, I have some exciting new advanced technology to enhance your Real Estate transaction overall.

Thank you for consideration.

Give me a call or send me an email.

Ms. Tafari

The REALTOR ® with a Heart!

310-839-9944

MsTafari@MsTafari.com

MsTafari.com  

TafariGroup.com

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Are You Ready For The Next Big One?

If you are a California resident, like I am, the thought of earthquake preparedness must cross your mind occasionally.   Although we live in “Earthquake Country;” and after just witnessing the devastation in Haiti and Chile; we still seem to take things for granted, and never get around to getting prepared.

The following is a helpful list to get you prepared:

Essentials

  • Water — 1 gallon per person per day (a week’s supply of water is preferable)
  • Water purification kit
  • First aid kit, freshly stocked
  • First aid book
  • Food
  • Can opener (non-electric)
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Portable (solar if available) radio, flashlight and spare batteries
  • Essential medications
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses
  • Extra pair of house and car keys
  • Fire extinguisher — A-B-C type
  • Food, water and restraint (leash or carrier) for pets
  • Cash and change
  • Baby supplies: formula, bottle, pacifier, soap and baby powder, clothing, blankets, baby wipes, disposable diapers, canned food and juices.

Sanitation Supplies

  • Large plastic trash bags for waste; tarps and rain ponchos
  • Large trash cans
  • Bar soap and liquid detergent
  • Shampoo
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Toilet paper
  • Household bleach

Safety and Comfort

  • Sturdy shoes
  • Heavy gloves for clearing debris
  • Candles and matches
  • Light sticks
  • Change of clothing
  • Knife or razor blades
  • Garden hose for siphoning and firefighting
  • Tent
  • Communication kit: paper, pens, stamps

Cooking

  • Plastic knives, forks, spoons
  • Paper plates and cups
  • Paper towels
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Camping stove for outdoor cooking (caution: before using fire to cook, make sure there are no gas leaks; never use charcoal indoors)

Tools and Supplies

  • Axe, shovel, crow bar, broom
  • Adjustable wrench for turning off gas
  • Tool kit including a screwdriver, pliers and a hammer
  • Coil of 1/2″ rope
  • Plastic tape, staple gun and sheeting for window replacement
  • Bicycle
  • City map

Hopefully the Big One won’t come, but it’s better to be prepared!


Whether I am representing you as a Buyer or Seller, I have some exciting new advanced technology to enhance your Real Estate transaction overall.

Thank you for consideration.

Give me a call or send me an email.

Ms. Tafari

The REALTOR ® with a Heart!

310-839-9944

MsTafari@MsTafari.com

MsTafari.com  

TafariGroup.com

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There is going to be a Home Buyer’s Fair this weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center.   This is a great event to attend if you are considering purchasing, and if you are, please meet me at the event.

The press release follows:

The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS ® and Los Angeles Times present the
Southern California Home Buyer™s Fair
WHAT: The Southern California Homebuyer™s Fair, sponsored by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS ® and the Los Angeles Times.
Educational seminars will be presented in English and Spanish and cover a wide range of topics,
including:
¢ How to Find and Qualify for a Home Loan
¢ Keeping Score: How to Monitor and Fix Your Credit
¢ What to Know Before You Buy
¢ How to Buy a Short Sale, REO, or Foreclosure
¢ How to Save for a Home of Your Own
¢ Finding and Working with a REALTOR ®, and more!
WHERE: The Los Angeles Convention Center in Downtown Los Angeles, 1201 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015.
WHEN: Saturday, March 13, 2010, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, March 14, 2010, from
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

WHY: This two-day event is free to the public and will include educational œhow-to seminars designed to help home buyers navigate today™s real estate market with confidence and peace of mind.

EXHIBITORS: The Southern California Home Buyer™s Fair also will feature exhibit booths, where
visitors can obtain information from industry experts about a vast range of programs pertaining to
homeownership and the home-buying process.

SPECIAL PROMOTIONS: Free movie tickets to the first 200 attendees each day(one ticket per person).

ADMISSION: FREE

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please visit www.homebuyersfair.com

Here is another video you should check out if you are considering purchasing.   FIRST-TIME HOME OWNERSHIP

Whether I am representing you as a Buyer or Seller, I have some exciting new advanced technology to enhance your Real Estate transaction overall.

Thank you for consideration.

Give me a call or send me an email.

Ms. Tafari

The REALTOR ® with a Heart!

310-839-9944

MsTafari@MsTafari.com

MsTafari.com  

TafariGroup.com

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Home designers and builders speaking at the recent International Builders Show in Las Vegas say that buyers are seeking cost-effective features and rejecting things that don™t have lasting value.

œIt’s all about family togetherness “ casual living, entertaining and flexible spaces,” says Carol Lavender, president of the Lavender Design Group in San Antonio.

Paul Cardis, CEO of Avid Ratings, which conducts an annual survey of buyer preferences, identified these must-haves in new homes:

1. Large kitchens with islands
2. Energy efficiency, including energy-efficient appliances, super insulation, and high-efficiency windows.
3. Home offices
4. Main-floor master suite
5. Outdoor living space
6. Ceiling fans
7. Soaking tub in the master suite and/or an oversize shower with a seating area
8. Stone and brick exteriors rather than stucco or vinyl
9. Community walking paths and playgrounds
10. Two-car garages, but three-car garages are even more desirable

Source: MarketWatch, Steve Kerch (01/30/2010)

Whether I am representing you as a Buyer or Seller, I have some exciting new advanced technology to enhance your Real Estate transaction overall.

Thank you for consideration.

Give me a call or send me an email.

Ms. Tafari

The REALTOR ® with a Heart!

310-839-9944

MsTafari@MsTafari.com

MsTafari.com  

TafariGroup.com

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You should take a look at my new website.  It is at  MsTafari.com.  While there, of course, you can search for properties and find out how much your property, or any property, is worth.  You can play around with the financial calculators.

You can also find out about weather and sports in the Los Angeles area.  One of my favorite features is the Community Blog.  On this blog you will be updated on events happening in our community.  In fact, if you have an event you would like for me to promote, let me know.  I will gladly post it to my Community Blog.

Most importantly, you should know that if you choose me as your listing agent I will utilize the internet, in a big way, to market your property.  Check out the Featured Listing section of my website.  Your property could be featured there, as well as on Realtor.com, TheMLS.com and Zillow.com.

I also have available some exciting new advanced technology to enhance your Real Estate transaction overall, whether I am representing you as a Buyer or Seller.

Thank you for taking the time to take a look.

Give me a call or send me an email.

Ms. Tafari

The REALTOR ® with a Heart!

310-839-9944

MsTafari@MsTafari.com

MsTafari.com  

 

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If you haven™t yet completed your home purchase, you have almost waited too long to receive the REFUNDABLE, $8000, tax credit!   The deadline is November 30, 2009.

I emphasize the word REFUNDABLE, because that means you actually receive CASH with your tax refund!   That™s completely different from a tax deduction.

So, if you have thought about making a purchase in 2009, think about doing it today.

While momentum is building on Capitol Hill to extend the $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit, President Obama’s housing secretary said Tuesday the administration has not decided whether to support its expansion.

Supporters believe that keeping the credit in place could further boost home sales, stabilize housing prices and generate jobs.

Opponents say extending and expanding the credit would be a waste of money and only temporarily stave off further price declines.

Whether or not the credit is extended, forecasters are expecting further price  declines in many markets due to rising foreclosure and unemployment rates in 2010. Supporters of extending the credit believe it could help mute those price declines.

I am hoping the Obama administration will extend (and maybe increase) the credit so I can help more future homebuyers.

Let me show you how the credit can work for you.   Also, contact me if you need a more detailed explanation.

Give me a call or send me an email.

Ms. Tafari

The REALTOR ® with a Heart!

310-839-9944

MsTafari@MsTafari.com

MsTafari.com      

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2 Responses to “FIRST TIME HOME BUYER CREDIT TO EXPIRE”

  1. Name*nailah says:

    Thanks for this is exciting news. folks just need to remember to decrease their debt and if they r really serious about buying a home, don’t buy a new car first (more debt). with the home
    prices dropping this is a great time to be a first time home buyer.

  2. Nailah says:

    thanks for this exciting news. Get debt free and buy your 1st home..thank you ms tafari for assisting me in my 1st home purchase.

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The housing collapse has made it even tougher for Blacks and Hispanics to get mortgages, according to a new government report.

While credit has tightened for everyone, Blacks and Hispanics are being denied loans at higher rates than whites, according to new federal data.

And the gap is widening.

Lending to Black and Hispanic borrowers also fell more quickly than average between 2006 and 2008, according to the 2008 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, released Wednesday by Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.

The council consists of the five U.S. bank regulators.

Blacks were denied mortgages 36.1% of the time in 2008, while Hispanics could not get a loan 31.1%, according to the data.

Whites had denial rates of 13.6%.

Meanwhile, Blacks’ share of the loan market tumbled to 6.3% in 2008, down from 8.7% two years earlier.

Hispanics’ share dropped to 8.5% from 12.1%, while whites’ rate jumped to 69.1%, from 62.7%.

These trends reflect the collapse of the subprime lending market.    

Black and Hispanic borrowers relied more heavily on these high-priced loans for their home purchases during the boom.

Some 43.4% of Blacks received high-priced loans, defined as at least 1.75 percentage points above Freddie Mac’s prevailing rate, in 2006.

Two years later, that rate fell to 5.7%.

Hispanics’ share of costlier loans dropped from 37.8% to 5.8%.

The rate for whites fell from 13.7% to 3%.

The disappearance of subprime lending has led to an explosion in government-backed mortgages.

The number of loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration tripled between 2007 and 2008, with 51.4% of Black borrowers and 44.7% of Hispanic borrowers receiving FHA mortgages last year.

These statistics are based on  14.2 million mortgage applicants at 8,388 financial institutions and 2.9 million loans purchased by banks from other institutions.

Homeownership is at the foundation of wealth creation.

So although this news is not surprising, it is certainly disheartening.

The housing collapse threatens the strides Blacks and Hispanics have made in increasing our homeownership rates.

Let’s turn this situation around.   I can help you qualify for a mortgage.

Give me a call or send me an email.

Ms. Tafari

The REALTOR ® with a Heart!

310-839-9944

MsTafari@MsTafari.com

MsTafari.com      

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