Be Safe When Selling a Home During Holidays

Our column from the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Dec. 20, 2014: The holiday season is a time for giving, sharing … and protecting yourself. As Americans prepare for family gatherings, with beautifully wrapped (and expensive) gifts under the tree, thieves are working overtime. The Grinch can spoil the party. But the real financial damage when Snoopy shows and finds the sensitive documents many people leave in the open. Here are some tips to help keep your home and your privacy safe during the holidays ...

Foreclosure Tax Break Headed for Extension

Our column from the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Dec. 13, 2014: The House of Representatives late last week approved a one-year extension of a bill that would shield distressed homeowners from paying massive tax bills after a short sale, foreclosure or loan modification. The U.S. Senate was scheduled to consider the bill late this week before recessing Dec. 11 for the holidays. If both chambers approve the tax-extender bill, it would then move to President Obama for a ratifying signature. ...

Pressure Mounts to Extend Foreclosure Tax Break

Our column from the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Dec. 6, 2014: The National Association of Realtors is putting pressure on Congress to extend an expired law that protected distressed homeowners from paying massive tax bills after a foreclosure or loan modification. As the holiday recess nears, federal lawmakers still have not acted on any of several bills to extend the federal Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which expired at the end of last year. ...

To Get Highest Price, Prep Your Home for Sale

Our column from the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Nov. 29, 2014: Thinking about selling your home after the first of the year? Then you’ll need to take a few steps now if you want to be ready. Even though interest rates are at all-time lows, buyer demand has ebbed as prices have increased. Days on market (the time it takes to sell a home) has doubled in the past year. Sellers who ignore small problems in their home could pay the price if they list their property for sale prematurely. Here are some preliminary steps to prepare your home for the market so that you can sell for the highest possible price in the shortest period of time ...

Q&A: Help for Anyone Selling a Home in Probate

Our column from the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Nov. 22, 2014: After the death of a loved one, the survivors often endure overwhelming loss and stress. And it can make them feel as if they are alone with the heavy responsibilities. But for those who have the right people in their corner, the probate process can be less complex and thankless. Here are some answers to common questions for executors and administrators of an estate. ...

Pricing Mistakes Can Kill Your Home Sale

Our column from the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Nov. 15, 2014: Regardless of the time of year, or the economic cycle, or even the phase of the moon, it’s crucial to price a home correctly. But at the end of the year, as the real estate market enters a seasonal slowdown, it’s even more crucial. Why? Because the ranks of homebuyers thin. And a home is the hottest it’s going to be during the first 30 days on the market. After that, interest plummets. Here are some pricing tips to help ensure your home doesn’t sit on the market too long … and you don’t leave money on the table. ...

Holiday Season is a Great Time to Buy a House

Our column from the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Nov. 1, 2014: The holiday season is a time for family gatherings and mall madness. But it can also be the most wonderful time of the year to buy a home. The combination of fewer buyers and committed sellers can bring holiday cheer for a homebuyer. Below are some factors to consider when searching for a home at the end of the year. ...

Foreclosure, Loan Mod Tax Breaks Still Mired in Politics

Our column from the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Oct. 25, 2014: As November elections approach, Californians facing foreclosure or working on loan modifications anxiously wait to see if they will face massive tax bills. Lawmakers, who failed to extend the federal Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act at the end of last year, remain head-down in politics and focused on control of their legislative bodies. Meanwhile, tax break extension bills have been sitting in committees for months. Today, for Californians, only short sales are protected from hefty tax bills, shielded by different legislation that does not expire. ...

Thanksgiving Feast for Needy Scheduled Nov. 22

Our column from the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Oct. 11, 2014: A small group with a big heart can do huge things. The Third Annual Dream Big Thanksgiving Feast for the Needy is scheduled Nov. 22, 2014, at Riverside Community Church. Organizers hope to feed at least 500 people this year. Last year, with no marketing, more than 250 residents enjoyed a home-cooked meal of 19 turkeys, 150 pounds of mashed potatoes, assorted sides, and 32 pumpkin pies. The leftovers went to local homeless shelters. ...

6 Tips to Sell Your Home During the Holidays

Our column from the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Oct. 4, 2014: When the holidays approach, some people take a break from the real estate market to focus on family activities. But those who must sell a home between November and January can turn negatives into positives. The holiday season presents opportunities not available the rest of the year. Here are some tips to help you turn the end of the year into a merry holiday selling season: ...