Monthly Archives: February 2008

Don’t Be a Victim!

Having an aggressive career in Real Estate sales affords me the opportunity to talk to hundreds of people per week about this HOT, HOT, Houston market. People want to know how to get into the real estate business? Does Kristi really make any money? More importantly, how can they make money “flipping” houses, with no money down, and no education – like they saw on TV? These questions come with the territory and give me a better perspective on what some of the needs are in the market. However, as of late, when I approach perspective clients to give my business card, I am asked a different question – can I talk with them privately about their “situation“?  In essence, them being caught up in some type of mortgage fraud. There’s not just one type of mortgage fraud, but many “situations” that an unsuspecting person can get involved in, but once it’s done, and money changes hands, it is almost always too late.  What kinds of real estate deals should you question??

·         Someone offering an investment “opportunity” to you, with no money out of your pocket, no experience in real estate or investing, no requirements of you other than the use of your good credit score.

·         Contracts, paperwork, or any documents claiming that you earn more money, have a different job title, or work at a different company, than you actually do. Don’t sign anything with false information on it – ever.

·         Investment “opportunities”  in which you purchase more than one property at a time, and are promised that tenants are already available to move in and pay the monthly notes on these homes. In reality, could you really afford to pay 3 mortgage notes totaling $7000, if you had no tenants?? If these homes were to foreclose, because a tenant skips out, whose name would they be under?  Yours .

·         Be leery of companies or individuals who don’t want you to ask questions.  If everything was on the up and up, why would they care???? Ask, Ask, ask again!!

·         Ask the company or individual what is their cut of the money or return? How much will they make from the deal?  It’s never zero, and trust me, they don’t like you that much to give you free money!!

·         Remember that mortgage fraud is a business, and most of these individuals are very savvy sales people and are great at persuasion. Don’t rush to do any deal, until you become a savvy investor yourself.

·         These are only a few tips in a world of very complex and involved transactions.  As with any deal, ask your real estate professional to represent you, and if need be, get your lawyer to look over any paperwork before you sign a thing!!

So what should you do if a once in a lifetime deal comes across your plate???? Ask the business or individual for references, (not testimonials, they could be fake).  Check out the business with the better business bureau, www.bbb.org, to see if they are an actual business and if there are any complaints against them.  Ask to see past deals on paper (the profit and loss statement) and in person- meaning drive by the property yourself.  Research, research, research!! The normal individual doesn’t have all of the tools that a real estate professional has, but there are many ways to do your own due diligence.  Check out, www.hcad.org, to see the tax records, owner(s), and approximate value of a home.  Also check www.zillow.com, to get an approximate value for the property you are interested in.  Checking with a real estate professional who will answer questions and also represent you, can give you added comfort. Lastly, if something doesn’t feel right, you can’t find this company through any research, or if the “opportunity” seems too good to be true, simply don’t sign any paperwork and definitely don’t extend your personal credit!!

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Got Plan For Your Tax Return?

Got Plans for Your Tax Return?

So it’s finally tax season and Uncle Sam’s been borrowing your money interest free for an entire year. You feel like you have earned the right to blow it on that new Louis Vuitton bag, or flat screen TV, right? But wait, you made New Years Resolutions to pay down debt, start a business, start investing in the stock market, or even buy your first home. More importantly, you made a promise to yourself to be in a better position this time next year. Some politicians believe within this tight budget, one of our only paths to reaching our financial goals is by making the best use of our income tax return. Let’s see what $3000 can do for you. Goal to Buy a Home? Did you plan to buy a home this year, but think your tax return can’t help you reach that goal? The average home in Houston sells for $154,000, with earnest money usually at 1% of the sales price of the home. An inspection, appraisal, and option money are needed, so $1540 earnest money, $300 inspection, $350 appraisal, and $150 option fee, still leaves you with approximately $660 remaining to pay for movers, new furniture, or to put towards closing costs( if you have any closing costs). Your $3000 income tax return can get you out of an apartment and into a home of your own! Want to Start a Business?? Over 73% of entrepreneurs fund their startup with their own money and many start their business with $1000 or less. So, could your $3000 income tax return really help you start that dream business??? Definitely!! Buying a basic computer and printer (most computers today come with a free printer) can cost less than $1000. Designing and printing 1000 business cards can be done for less than $100. Filing incorporation papers or a DBA is less than $350, which leaves $1550 to buy products, set up a website, buy a domain name, and start a marketing plan. $3000 can definitely help you towards your goal of starting a business. Want to Get Out of Debt or Start Saving?? $3000 Return Pay Off Credit Card Start Saving Invest in Stocks $8000.00 Balance 0.00 Initial Balance 0.00 Initial Balance 18% Interest Rate 4.75% Interest Rate 12% Average Return 200.00 Monthly Minimum Pay 0.00 Monthly Deposits 0.00 Monthly Deposits 0.00 Withdrawals $3000 One Time Payment $3000 One Time Yearly Deposit each year for 10 years $3000 One Time Yearly Deposit each year for 10 years Saves 30 months $37,296.00 Total 10 Year Balance $ 52,646 Total Average 10 Year Balance Saves $2995.01 in Interest $7,296.00 Total Interest Earned $ 22,646 Total Average 10 Year Gain You see there are many options for your income tax return to have a direct impact on your present and future life, help you reach your goals, and put you in a better position this time next year, and many more to come.