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6 tips to limit the risk of costly financial fraud

by Samia S. Morgan


While theft of company resources by employees is a far more widespread problem, financial fraud is a more costly issue. Financial fraud costs businesses an average of $4 million per incident, while asset fraud costs companies $135,000, according to a report by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Keith Ferrell gives tips to limiting the risk of financial fraud, including having audit tools and clear, written policies.

Read the rest of the article by visiting InformationWeek SMB

Samia Morgan is proud to be listed with the Better Business Bureau -
BBB Accredited business since 03/01/1994

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How to win at the credit card game

by Samia S. Morgan

By some estimates, small businesses will pay $420 million more in credit card finance charges this year than they did in 2009. To blunt the impact, look for cards that reward you for paying your balance early or ones that allow you to cap employee charges, Gwen Moran suggests.

Read the rest of the article by visiting Entrepreneur

Samia Morgan is proud to be listed with the Better Business Bureau -
BBB Accredited business since 03/01/1994

Your San Mateo Real Estate Advisor

BBB - TrustBrief - Advancing trust in the marketplace

Avoid These Deal Killers!

by Samia S. Morgan

If you are selling your home, you are probably aware of the  challenges that sellers face due to the current real estate market. Once you have located a buyer and are ready to being the process,  the last thing you want is to have your deal fall through at the last minute.

 While things do happen and sometimes buyers will back out, below are some of today’s top deal-killers and what you can do to minimize fall-out.

  1. Buyer’s remorse – Everyone gets it; and while you can’t prevent buyer’s remorse, there are a few things you can do to lessen the chances that your buyers will change their mind. First of all, be totally up front with the flaws of the house. Don’t let an inspection reveal problems that you should address with potential buyers and offer to fix.
  2. Financing– Everything from stricter credit requirements to increased down payments has thrown the mortgage market into a tizzy and many buyers are finding that they can’t qualify, even if they have been pre-approved for a mortgage. Consider owner financing if you can, or offer to pay for repairs that give the buyers more cash for down payment options.
  3. Low appraisals – Make sure that you know the true market value of your home BEFORE you put it on the market and adjust accordingly. You may have to take a hit on the house, but it’s better than spending money on it through the sale process only to lose that money and the deal because you can’t get the appraisal up.
  4. Failure to communicate – Negotiations are a key part of a home sale and you have to be flexible if you really want to sell your property. Don’t automatically reject low offers and contract contingencies – be willing to work with the seller and keep communications open. You may be able to agree at the end of the day.

Stay on top of your current market – don’t let national headlines guide your decisions. You should have a good feel for your local economy, neighborhood comps and your home’s current value. Become the expert on your market and you’ll be better equipped to deal with the challenges and deal busters that come your way!

Do you have any other  "deal breakers" that we did not list here? Let us know your thoughts to help other home sellers.

/kh

5 tips for year-end cash flow issues

by Samia S. Morgan


The end of the year is a perfect time to review your business plan, Rosalind Resnick writes, with an eye toward tweaks that can help you survive a cash crunch. Other steps you can take to get through a lean November and December: Use credit cards instead of your checkbook, start lining up work for 2011 and cash in loyalty points for holiday gifts or parties. 

Read the rest of this article by visiting The Wall Street Journal

Samia Morgan is proud to be listed with the Better Business Bureau -
BBB Accredited business since 03/01/1994

Your San Mateo Real Estate Advisor

BBB - TrustBrief - Advancing trust in the marketplace

 

Brand yourself and your business simultaneously

by Samia S. Morgan


Brand yourself or brand the business? Dan Schawbel has tips for doing both at the same time. For instance, establish yourself as an expert in a field related to your business; then, every time you make a speech or give a media interview, your company gets a free plug. Also, knowing that potential customers will want to learn more about you, establish a blog or biographical website using your full name as the URL. That way, when customers Google your name, your own site will come at the top of the search results, helping you control the conversation.

Read more by visiting Entrepreneur.com

Samia Morgan is proud to be listed with the Better Business Bureau -
BBB Accredited business since 03/01/1994

Your San Mateo Real Estate Advisor

BBB - TrustBrief - Advancing trust in the marketplace

Getting the Most from Your Mortgage Bank

by Samia S. Morgan

Lately we’ve had inquiries about the differences between a traditional bank, mortgage broker and mortgage bank, especially in light of recent Bank of America news that they are exiting their wholesale lending business. Realtors and other real estate professionals should be clear on the advantages and disadvantages of each lending sales channel.

A home buyer can get a mortgage loan in one of three ways: Through a traditional bank, a mortgage broker or a mortgage bank.

Traditional Bank
A traditional bank, such as B of A, Wells Fargo and Chase, works directly with retail loan officers at their respective companies and the bank underwrites and funds the loan. After the loan closes it is usually packaged with other loans and sold to the investment world. Each month the bank cashes the borrower’s mortgage payment, keeps a little for itself, and then passes the money on to the investor that purchased the loan. One benefit of getting a mortgage loan from a traditional bank is that they promise the money for the transaction; it is the bank’s checkbook that funds the loan. A downside to this type of mortgage loan is that the borrower is limited to that bank’s loan programs and rates, and it is time consuming and costly to switch to another loan provider.

Mortgage Broker
A mortgage broker is a person or company that has relationships with traditional banks through each bank’s wholesale channel. They also have the ability to broker to other lenders who would otherwise be unknown to the customer. The broker sends the borrower’s documentation to one of the lenders for the loan to be underwritten, approved and funded. Essentially, brokers can go to any of the banks they have relationships with, and they have the freedom to switch to any other bank. In practice, this has become more difficult due to disclosure regulations and timing. Additionally, during the past few years many banks have closed their wholesale channels. Bank of America is the most recent to do so. The benefit of working with a mortgage broker is that the customer has multiple choices of possible lenders, programs and rates. The major drawback is that the brokers have little control because they are not underwriting, preparing documents or funding the loan themselves.

Mortgage Bank
A mortgage bank, like Opes Advisors, can offer the best of both worlds. A mortgage bank is similar to a traditional bank in that it processes, underwrites, draws docs and funds loans, thereby maintaining control of the entire process. The mortgage bank will then sell the loans after the close of escrow. They typically sell these loans to one of the major banks through their correspondent channel. A mortgage bank can also broker loans when this option is optimal or necessary for the customer due to qualifying issues or program requirements.

So a mortgage bank maintains the two most important aspects of the transaction: it promises the money and it is also not beholden to any one lender, loan program or rate. If needed, at any time in the course of a transaction, a mortgage bank can switch to a different lender provided the lender’s guidelines are met by the borrower. With a mortgage bank your clients can get the best of both worlds.

Opes Advisors takes the ‘best of both worlds’ one step further when we help our clients make financial decisions that are inclusive of their overall financial goals. We review their financial plan and give them confidence that their decisions are consistent with their financial ambitions.

Please contact me to discuss your specific mortgage or financial strategies.

Andy Block - Mortgage Advisor & Financial Advisor
Opes Advisors
Email Me

Direct: 650.931.0605
Fax: 650.931.0601

License #01096311
400 S. El Camino Real
Suite 250
San Mateo, CA 94402
Fax 650.931.0601


Opes Advisors is licensed as a registered investment advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is licensed as a Residential Mortgage Lender by the CA Dept of Real Estate.

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If social-media sites can't drive sales, what are they good for?

by Samia S. Morgan


Bars and restaurants may find it relatively easy to increase their customer base through social media, but that goal is "unrealistic" for other business types, Ryan Caligiuri writes. For most companies, the goal of using Twitter, Facebook and similar services should be credibility, trust and confidence rather than actual sales. "If you want revenue growth, it would be best to choose another tool from your tactical tool belt," he writes.

Read the rest of the article by visiting The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

Samia Morgan is proud to be listed with the Better Business Bureau -
BBB Accredited business since 03/01/1994

Your San Mateo Real Estate Advisor

BBB - TrustBrief - Advancing trust in the marketplace

Why increasing prices could be better for business than cutting them

by Samia S. Morgan


More small businesses are cutting prices than increasing them as the economic slowdown continues, according to data from the National Federation of Independent Business. But experts say lowering prices may not be the best tactic even if it pulls in more customers. Increasing prices even slightly can have a bigger effect on profit than lowering them, according to a study in the McKinsey Quarterly.

Read the rest of the article bu visiting The Wall Street Journal

Samia Morgan is proud to be listed with the Better Business Bureau -
BBB Accredited business since 03/01/1994

Your San Mateo Real Estate Advisor

BBB - TrustBrief - Advancing trust in the marketplace

What You Should Know About Moving Insurance

by Samia S. Morgan

Once you have purchased your new home, the next step of the journey is the actual move. Even if you are just moving cross-town or moving cross-country, hiring the best moving company is vital. Price, time, and of course quality are major considerations. You want to find a reputable company who will not only give you a fair price, but also take great care of your belongings.

However the reality is that accidents can happen, even with the best of companies. Moving insurance is something to be considered to protect your belongings.

Many moving companies will provide "valuation" not insurance. Valuation is the predetermined limit of liability on your moving contract or official inventory sheet.  This is automatically part of the contract with no extra cost. In most cases, valuation is based on weight, not actual property value.

Below is more information on valuation:

  1. Declared value: The value of your possessions is based on the total weight of the shipment multiplied by a specific amount per pound. For example, if the specific amount is $1.50 per pound, and your household goods weigh 15 000 pounds, the mover would be liable for a maximum of $22,500.
  2. Lump sum value or Assessed Value: If your household goods do not weigh much, but are valuable, you can purchase insurance for a specific amount per $1,000 of value. This must be declared in writing in your contract, inventory paperwork o bill of lading.
  3. Full value protection: This type of valuation most closely resembles actual insurance, and it includes lost, damaged or destroyed property. Just as with an insurance policy, the coverage will pay for the repair or replacement and deductibles will apply.

In the event that your property is lost or damaged, you should report the problem as soon as possible. Most companies have a window during which you can file a claim against the delivery – anywhere from three to nine months. Just as you do when you rent a car or lease a property, you should go over the inventory sheet quickly and get the mover to acknowledge receipt of your claim.

It is a good idea to also check with your insurance company or agent to see if your current homeowner’s policy covers all or part of a move. Additionally, you might choose to purchase a supplemental insurance, sometimes called ‘Goods in Transit” policy directly from your homeowner’s agent. Your agent or company representative can help you find the coverage that is best for you and your family.

Share your experiences on this type of insurance, has anyone had thier items damaged during a move?

 

/kh

Feds seek to help merchants manage credit card fees

by Samia S. Morgan


The Justice Department has reached an agreement with Visa and MasterCard that could make it easier for merchants to fight back against high transaction fees by offering discounts to customers who use another form of payment. Two possible drawbacks: Merchants still can't tack on a fee for credit card use, and American Express has vowed to fight the Justice Department in court.

Read the rest of this article by visiting NYTimes.com/You're The Boss Blog

 

Samia Morgan is proud to be listed with the Better Business Bureau -
BBB Accredited business since 03/01/1994

Your San Mateo Real Estate Advisor

BBB - TrustBrief - Advancing trust in the marketplace

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 12

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Samia S. Morgan, Inc.
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San Mateo CA 94403
650-678-3633