5 (Totally Legal) Tricks to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

So, you’ve decided next year is the year you’re finally going to buy a house. Congrats! But now you’re a little panicked because your credit score isn’t exactly going to make lenders swoon.

You’re not alone. The national average credit score is 695, while only half of consumers fall in the desired 700-plus range. Although you certainly can get a mortgage with that score, you’ll need a 740 or higher to get the best rates. And that point is not lost on potential home buyers, 45% of whom wait for their credit scores to improve before applying for a mortgage.

While credit history isn’t built (or, for that matter, destroyed) overnight, there are still some things you can do right now to boost your credit score—fast. Here are some sneaky yet totally legit ways you can improve that all-important three-digit number in record time.

Here’s the Five Ways to Boost Your Credit


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Tour de Force: Don’t Make These 10 Huge House-Hunting Mistakes

You’ve been thinking about settling down and buying a home for a while now, and you finally think you’re ready. It’s time to tour some digs!

But hold up—you need a game plan. House hunting is about more than popping into a few open houses and picking the one you like best. In fact, there’s a science to it: A smart search means you’ll save time, money, and your sanity during the rest of your home-buying process.

So before you hit the trail, make sure you’re aware of some classic mistakes to avoid. We promise—it’ll mean happy hunting from here on out.

10 Huge House-Hunting Mistakes



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When to adjust your Homeowner’s insurance

Here’s a great article from a fellow REALTOR:

Homes often grow and change alongside the people living in them. If you’ve added expensive furnishings or made substantial upgrades, it’s important to re-evaluate your homeowners insurance and make sure your policy reflects those changes. Here are four instances when it may be beneficial to review and adjust your coverage.

Remodeling or Renovation Work
Home improvement projects typically increase the value of your home, which usually calls for more coverage. But that doesn’t necessarily mean your insurance rates will automatically increase. In fact, some projects, like adding a new roof, may help you save on your monthly home insurance premiums. Just be sure to notify your provider before any work begins.

Adding a Pool or an Outdoor Trampoline
Because these fun home features come with increased risk of injury, they’re labeled an attractive nuisance. Upping your liability insurance can help keep you protected if there’s ever an accident on your property and a subsequent lawsuit.

Acquiring New Valuables
Whether you inherit them or purchase them, expensive goods such as jewelry, art, rugs and antiques should be added to your policy. Increasing your coverage is the only way to safeguard them in the event of damage or theft.

Starting a Home Business
Many home-based business owners don’t realize they have little, if any, coverage from a homeowners or renters insurance policy. Since a new home business likely means purchasing new technology and expensive equipment, you may need to get additional protection.

You worked hard for your home. Secure your belongings by updating your coverage to match your circumstances.


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City of Maricopa Real Estate Sales for August & September 2017

Maricpa Real Estate Market Update for August & September Home Sales.
Our city has had over 300 sales in the last two months.
According to Cromfordreport.com , our median, annual appreciation for the city of Maricopa is 9.1%
Here is the complete list of sales in two files that you may view and/or download from DropBox. I’ve added a column to note when the home has a private pool.

Sold Homes in Acacia Crossing, Cobblestone Farms, Homestead, The Lakes, Province, Rancho El Dorado, and the Villages

Sold Homes in Alterra, Desert Cedars, Desert Passage (Smith Farms), Glennwilde, Meadows, Palo Brea, Rancho Mirage, Santa Rosa Springs, Senita, Sorrento, and Tortosa

Note: The subdivision is provided by the listing agent of each property.  (Some agents will enter the community name or parcel with the subdivision name). If you have a specific address, please contact me and I will gladly research it for you.

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From the National Association of Realtors: Millions of Middle-Income Homeowners Stand to Lose Under “Big 6” Tax Proposal

WASHINGTON (September 27, 2017) – A group of legislators and administration leaders known as the “Big 6” today released an outline for comprehensive tax reform that if enacted, according to the National Association of Realtors®, could lead to a tax on homeownership for millions.

According to the Big 6’s framework for tax reform, changes to the current tax code would eliminate important provisions, such as the state and local tax deduction, while nearly doubling the standard deduction and eliminating personal and dependency exemptions. NAR believes the result would all but nullify the incentive to purchase a home for most, amounting to a de facto tax increase on homeowners, putting home values across the country at risk and ensuring that only the top 5 percent of Americans have the opportunity to benefit from the mortgage interest deduction.

NAR President William E. Brown, a second-generation Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties said that the proposal reaffirms Realtors®’ concerns from earlier in the year and urged lawmakers to keep homeowners in mind as they proceed with comprehensive tax reform with the following statement:

“We have always said that tax reform – a worthy endeavor – should first do no harm to homeowners. The tax framework released by the Big 6 today missed that goal.

“This proposal recommends a backdoor elimination of the mortgage interest deduction for all but the top 5 percent who would still itemize their deductions.

“When combined with the elimination of the state and local tax deduction, these efforts represent a tax increase on millions of middle-class homeowners. That tax increase flies in the face of a reform effort ostensibly aimed at lowering the tax burden for Americans. At the same time, the lost incentive to purchase a home could cause home values to fall.

“Plummeting home values are a poor housewarming gift for recent homebuyers and a tremendous blow to older Americans who depend on their home to provide a nest egg for retirement.

“Congress can still score a win for American families by promoting lower rates and comprehensive reform that doesn’t single out homeowners for a tax hike, while also preserving important investment incentives like 1031 like-kind exchanges. We look forward to continuing the discussion in the weeks and months ahead.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Link to the article on the nar.realtor website     




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Illuminating the murky business of Phoenix-area HOA foreclosures

Most of us who live in the City of Maricopa live in a community managed by a Home Owners Association. Please check out this article from USA TODAY:

Illuminating the murky business of Phoenix-area HOA foreclosures


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New Program to Help Buyers Bypass Appraisals

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac has announced a new program allowing some home buyers to skip a traditional appraisal, which could lower the fees the buyers pay and speed up the closing process. Full Article: New Program to Help Buyers Bypass Appraisals


  • Buyer saves the appraisal fee of $500.
  • Buyer could close on the home sooner (about 7-10 days).
  • If the appraisal is no longer an issue, the buyer and seller do not have to re-negotiate a sales price, if the appraisal comes in too low.


  • This is a tough one…The appraisal is put in place to protect the lender from not lending more money than the home is worth…translation…it also keeps the buyer from over-paying for a home.

Bottom line! Get good help from a REALTOR who understands how to:

  • Estimate a reasonable market value for the home before you present an offer to a Seller.
  • Work with an appraiser to dispute an appraised value, if it comes in below the contract purchase price. (If you do have a loan that requires an appraisal.)

appraisal photo

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How accurate is a Zestimate on Zillow?

On Zillow’s website, they answer this question for us.

Data Coverage and Zestimate Accuracy

Over the years, Zillow has become the most visited real estate website. When we meet with a seller to list their home for sale, the topic of the Zestimate is almost always part of the conversation. To give you an idea of their accuracy, here is a screen shot from the Zillow website. Their statistics for accuracy on Phoenix homes was last updated 8/8/17.

Zestimate Accuracy

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What Buyers want in a new home: Fixer-Upper vs. Move-in Ready

According to the Bank of America Home Insights Report, more buyers want a move-in ready home versus a home that they need to make repairs. We’ve noticed this as a very strong trend during our entire 2017 buying season. Sellers need to take note that a “turn-key” home will sell faster and for a higher sales price than a home that shows it will need some repair.

Homebuyer debate fixup or move in ready

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Why paying all cash for a house might not be a smart move

An interesting, brief article on things to consider before buying your home with cash instead of a mortgage.  Full Article

If you have the financial means as a buyer and you plan to hold the home for 5+ years, this strategy is worth considering.

A few things to remember, your home value is not related to how you paid for the home (cash or mortgage).

Ask yourself, can you invest this cash elsewhere and make a better rate of return? This gets a bit complicated when factoring in the tax breaks, cost of the mortgage interest, the initial loan closing costs, and cash flow. To keep it simple for decision making purposes, I use amortization schedule on the loan amount, the rate of interest, a 30- year mortgage, and assume I will hold the home for at least five years. It will give you the amount of interest paid for the first five years of the loan. Bankrate.com Amortization Calculator

amort schedule bankrate






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