Today's Headlines - Realty Times
Posted On Wednesday, 25 August 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Tuesday, 24 August 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Monday, 23 August 2021 00:00 Written by

“You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation.” 

How strong are you financially?  Is your source of income stable? If something personally earthshaking should occur, do you have enough savings to cover your expenses for three months or even a year?  Are you investing in things that continue to build your wealth even while you sleep? For example, real estate has historically been an effective hedge against the effects of inflation. 

If you own your home, your net worth is probably looking better and better, with the values on homes appreciating at over 15% year over year. (Median home prices have risen at a higher percentage, but affordability is not calculated on median home price. Affordability is determined by comparing household income with the appreciation rate.) Lawrence Yun, the chief economist with the National Association of Realtors, predicts that home prices will continue to rise over the next year or more but not at the lightning speed we have been experiencing.   

Renters are having a tough time. Rents in many parts of the country have increased over 10% year over year and are predicted to continue rising.   Rising rents are compelling renters to gear up to trek into the homebuying market.   Good news for those entering the homebuying market—more homes will be coming on the market this fall and next year.  The bad news is pricing is still going up, making it a little more challenging to find a home with a payment that matches the budget. However, once you own your home and lock in a mortgage with a low, fixed-rate, you get to enjoy a principal and interest payment that never increases.   

If you want to build a good life living in a home that you own, here are some ways to get started building a solid financial foundation:

1. Get a job with a stable income, even if it is part-time.  If you are self-employed, you will need to show at least a two-year income history on your tax returns.  Mortgage underwriters average the last two years of  NET income. (Some paper expenses can be added back to your income for qualifying purposes.)
2. Set up a realistic budget. Take two or three hours to review your credit card statements and bank statements. Then, find ways to eliminate as many expenses as possible, replacing them with a different product or service that gives you the same benefit at a much lesser cost.  Once you know what you spend each month compared to your income, you will confidently know how much you can afford on a house payment.
3. Build up your savings. Arrange with your payroll department to have a set amount of your paycheck automatically sent to a savings account and let it grow.
4. Improve your credit.   Review your credit at and correct any errors. Make your payments on time. If you want your credit scores to improve, keep your balances on credit cards showing LESS than 30% usage on each card.
5. Get a clear vision of the life you want for the next 12 months,  the next five years, and the next ten years. Then, what steps do you need to take to move you closer to that life gradually? 

Get your own copy of Jo Garner’s new book “Choosing the Best Mortgage-The Quickest Way to the Life You Want.”  An essential mortgage guide with people stories for finding the right loan and overcome common barriers. Buy on Amazon and Barnes and Noble or 

Posted On Monday, 23 August 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Monday, 23 August 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Saturday, 21 August 2021 05:38 Written by
Posted On Friday, 20 August 2021 00:00 Written by


Sonia Gaby Martinez immigrated to the USA in 2000 after her country went through critical economic and political issues. After working in sales for several years in her original country Ecuador, Gaby's first job in the USA was at a tie factory sewing ties by hand,  later and with very little English Gaby became the receptionist of a Real Estate Company in Hallandale, FL.  She obtained her real estate license in 2006 and has been servicing Sellers and Buyers since then. In 2013 Gaby and Her husband founded Xtreme International Realty, a full service Real Estate company, one of the fastest growing real estate firms in Broward County with over (200) associates.  She mentors new agents in their real estate career. Gaby is married and has 2 children 15 and 20 years old.
A little more about me: Selected as 2018-2020 Miami Real Estate Board Governor, 2021-2022 Florida Realtors Director, Voted as one of the 10 best real estate agents in Davie, FL, Chosen as "Best of Zillow" 2 years in a row. Chosen as #30 of 100 best realtor/social media in the state of Florida, 2020 Chosen as #1 of 10 Best realtor/social media in Town of Davie. 
Real Estate Designations: 
CDPE Certified Distressed Property Expert PSA, Pricing Strategy Advisor, 
Broward school voluntary, 
Co-Founder of Xtreme Responders (Annual toy drives for elementary schools, food drives for Hurricane impact victims) 
Featured in Channel 10 (Community/First responders).  
Featured in Our City of Davie, 2019, 2020 and 2021
Featured in Our City of Davie, Women in Business.
Posted On Friday, 20 August 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Thursday, 19 August 2021 14:07 Written by

Nora Crosthwaite spent years in software development and left to do something meaningful and positively impact the world around her. With no sales, marketing or real estate experience, 

After showing hundreds of homes since 2015, Nora realized there was a need for helping sellers prepare their homes for the sale and make them shine. Nora wanted a convenient online staging consultation but couldn't find the right fit. So, she created it: Stagerie. 

Nora runs a real estate team of three agents at Home Sweet Des Moines (brokered by RE/MAX Precision) and is growing Stagerie, available nationwide. Stagerie launched in 2020 and was one of six companies chosen for the Iowa Startup Accelerator program in spring 2021. Now, Nora has worked to make Stagerie the only occupied staging company that is a RE/MAX approved supplier and is actively looking for other partnerships. Stagerie has stagers in five different states, with more coming later this year. 

Outside of Stagerie and real estate, Nora continues to build the Des Moines community. She was a finalist for the Inspiring Women of Iowa Character award in 2021, completed the Greater Des Moines Community Leadership Program in 2020, and is a member of the Iowa Association of Realtors Diversity Committee. She focuses efforts on several nonprofits, such as Pi 515, Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity, and the upcoming KIAP Foundation. In her free time, Nora spends time with her husband Paul, teenage daughter Layla, and three cats, usually catching up on the latest Star Wars or cooking shows. She is a live music fan, martial arts practitioner, and loves to travel. 

Nora can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow her on Twitter at @NoraCrosthwaite. 

Posted On Sunday, 15 August 2021 20:22 Written by
Posted On Wednesday, 18 August 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Tuesday, 17 August 2021 00:00 Written by

“Financial independence is the ability to live from the income of your own personal resources.” Jim Rohn

It’s a secure feeling, owning your own home with an affordable payment so you and your family can enjoy living life together.  It’s a feeling of satisfaction knowing that as the value on your home goes up, and the balance on the mortgage gradually gets paid down, you are building wealth for yourself and those you love. 

1. Know your comfort level for a payment and down payment. 

Experts on podcasts and financial posts suggest keeping your total house payment under 33% of your gross income.   They recommend keeping your total house payment and payments on other debt no more than 43% of your gross income.   Keep enough savings in the emergency fund to get your family through an emergency.  Don’t rely on the mortgage loan officer to tell you what you can afford.  Mortgage software often approves borrowers for up to 50% or more for their total income-to-debt ratio. How can you enjoy life if you are tied down with over 50% debt?

2. Create multiple profitable exit strategies.   

Susan was trying to decide to rent or buy a home.  “I don’t feel like I can afford a mortgage. What if I want to move?”  Susan put together a team consisting of a reputable realtor, a lender, and her financial advisor.  Susan’s realtor found her a home in a neighborhood with a long-term track record of going up in value. Rents were going up too.  The FHA mortgage that Susan was getting had a qualifying assumable clause in it.  

Susan felt more secure and comfortable with her decision to buy a home instead of renting. If the market was not good for selling a home when she was ready to sell, she could always rent the house to tenants and make a profit.  A future buyer might pay her a large chunk of money one day to qualify with the mortgage company for assuming the payments on a lower interest rate loan. 

Looking at the real estate market today

The lack of homes for sale, lots of money floating around the country, and Millennials nearing their peak homebuying years, are all stoking the housing boom. As a result, home prices continue to rise, construction costs are higher, and investors are grabbing up starter homes for rentals. 

How long will the real estate boom market last?

Emerging groups of future home buyers look like they will keep the housing demand high for many years. However, the Federal Reserve is watching the employment reports, inflation, and the pandemic situation. The Fed will decide if they will taper off buying mortgage-backed securities later this fall.  If they pull back their buying, mortgage rates are predicted to go up. 

Real estate has historically been an excellent hedge against inflation.   Locking into a low fixed mortgage rate can add a layer of financial security.  Renters’ pocketbooks are squeezed as rents move up over time.   With a fixed-rate mortgage, the principal and interest payment stay the same, giving the homeowner more discretionary funds as his income goes up. 

Posted On Monday, 16 August 2021 00:00 Written by

It’s the middle of August, which means you have 90 days to get in front of everything you are going to close and get paid for this year. Silly as that sounds; it is the reality. We really need to get ready for the sprint to the wire that is the next 90 days and we can start with knowing where we are.

By now you know what is going to close in August, or pretty close to it. You also have a good idea of what September is going to look like. This will get you ¾ of the way to your annual numbers. It also sets the parameters of what you need to do to get to where you want to go the rest of this year.

Key questions:

• Are you tracking ahead or behind your business plan?
• Are you off your blend of loans purchase/refinance?
• Are your referral partners on target to meet your projections?
• Who in your pipeline of pre-approvals is looking?
• What is the number of obvious refinance targets you are going to try and convert?
• What are the other targets in your business plan and are you on track to meet or exceed those numbers?
• Is what I am doing now sustainable?

Some people are worried about their numbers. Those that are behind last year or who are overly refinance heavy in their loan mix are starting to wonder how to stay on top of generating new opportunities?

If your plan is working well, keep working the plan. If you have any issues with the above questions, it’s time to focus on getting the answers! Before you know it, you will be looking at Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the end of 2021 with a pipeline that is empty isn’t a lot of fun going into 2022!

Questions or comments: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Posted On Monday, 16 August 2021 00:00 Written by
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