Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

How To Fix A Running Toilet

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

Fixing a leaking toilet is a pretty easy thing to do and it only takes a straight blade screwdriver and a pair of pliers. This video was emailed to me and it does a good job of explaining how to repair a leaky toilet. If you like this video you can go to a find other video that may be helpful to you.

10 Questions to Ask Your Condo Board

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

Before you buy, contact the condo board with the following questions. In the process, you’ll learn how responsive—and organized—its members are.

1. What percentage of units is owner-occupied? What percentage is tenant-occupied? Generally, the higher the percentage of owner-occupied units, the more marketable the units will be at resale.

2. What covenants, bylaws, and restrictions govern the property? What grandfather clauses are in place? You may find, for instance, that those who buy a property after a certain date can’t rent out their units, but buyers who bought earlier can. Ask for a copy of the bylaws to determine if you can live within them. And have an attorney review property docs, including the master deed, for you.

3. How much does the association keep in reserve? How is that money being invested?

4. Are association assessments keeping pace with the annual rate of inflation? Smart boards raise assessments a certain percentage each year to build reserves to fund future repairs. To determine if the assessment is reasonable, compare the rate to others in the area.

5. What does and doesn’t the assessment cover—common area maintenance, recreational facilities, trash collection, snow removal?

6. What special assessments have been mandated in the past five years? How much was each owner responsible for? Some special assessments are unavoidable. But repeated, expensive assessments could be a red flag about the condition of the building or the board’s fiscal policy.

7. How much turnover occurs in the building?

8. Is the project in litigation? If the builders or homeowners are involved in a lawsuit, reserves can be depleted quickly.

9. Is the developer reputable? Find out what other projects the developer has built and visit one if you can. Ask residents about their perceptions. Request an engineer’s report for developments that have been reconverted from other uses to determine what shape the building is in. If the roof, windows, and bricks aren’t in good repair, they become your problem once you buy.

10. Are multiple associations involved in the property? In very large developments, umbrella associations, as well as the smaller association into which you’re buying, may require separate assessments.

8 Ways to Improve Your Credit

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain


Credit scores, along with your overall income and debt, are a big factor in determining if you’ll qualify for a loan and what loan terms you’ll be able to qualify for.

1. Check for and correct errors in your credit report. Mistakes happen, and you could be paying for someone else’s poor financial management.

2. Pay down credit card bills. If possible, pay off the entire balance every month. However, transferring credit card debt from one card to another could lower your score.

3. Don’t charge your credit cards to the maximum limit.

4. Wait 12 months after credit difficulties to apply for a mortgage. You’re penalized less for problems after a year.

5. Don’t purchase big-ticket items for your new home on credit cards until after the loan is approved. The amounts will add to your debt.

6. Don’t open new credit card accounts before applying for a mortgage. Having too much available credit can lower your score.

7. Shop for mortgage rates all at once. Too many credit applications can lower your score, but multiple inquiries from the same type of lender are counted as one inquiry if submitted over a short period of time.

8. Avoid finance companies. Even if you pay the loan on time, the interest is high and it will probably be considered a sign of poor credit management.

5 Things to Understand About Title Insurance

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

1. It protects your ownership right to your home both from fraudulent claims against your ownership and from mistakes made in earlier sales, such as mistake in the spelling of a person’s name or an inaccurate description of the property.

2. It’s a one-time cost usually based on the price of the property.

3. It’s usually paid for by the sellers.

4. There are both lender title policies, which protect the lender, and owner title policies, which protect you. The lender will probably require a lender policy.

5. Discounts on premiums are sometimes available if the home has been bought within only a few years since not as much work is required to check the title. Ask the title company if this discount is available.


Foreclosure “crisis” is overblown

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain

Although the national foreclosure rate rose 79 percent between December 2006 and December 2007, the rate was still only 1.033 percent of all homes. This is a regional problem, not reflective of the overall real estate market.


• Foreclosure statistics are rarely presented in context. Because about 30 percent of homes are owned free and clear, only seven-tenths of 1 percent of all homes were in foreclosure last year.
• If you rank the top 100 foreclosure areas identified by RealtyTrac as reported by MSN Money, only 34 areas had foreclosure rates above the group average.
• Fifty-one areas had foreclosure rates of 1 percent or less.
• Foreclosure rates actually fell in 14 of the top 100 foreclosure areas.

To read the full story, please click here

10 Things a Lender Needs From You

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain


2. Copies of one or more months of pay stubs from every person signing the loan.

3. Copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements for both checking and savings accounts.

4. Copies of personal tax forms for the last two to three years.

5. Copies of brokerage account statements for two to four months, as well as a list of any other major assets of value, e.g., a boat, RV, or stocks or bonds not held in a brokerage account.

6. Copies of your most recent 401(k) or other retirement account statement.

7. Documentation to verify additional income, such as child support, pension, etc.

8. Account numbers of all your credit cards and the amounts of any outstanding balances.

9. Lender, loan number, and amount owed on other installment loans—student loans, car loans, etc.

10. Addresses where you lived for the last five to seven years, with names of landlords, if appropriate.

1. W-2 forms or business tax return forms if you’re self-employed for the last two or three years for every person signing the loan.





Reprinted from REALTOR

® Magazine Online by permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®  Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Web Site Resources for Consumers

by Carol or Jim Chamberlain
Provides an easy way to assess energy use and get quick tips on saving energy.
Environmental Protection Agency,
A one-stop shop for advice on testing for and mitigating pollutants, from lead paint to radon to mold.
A source of credit reports.
Experian (formerly TRW),
A source of credit reports.
Offers a list of consumer articles about home sales, financing, and maintenance.
Ginnie Mae, http://
Provides advice to buyers on affordability and homeownership, including calculators.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, http://
Offers advice to buyers on finance, fair housing, and more.
Provides links to contractors and architects for remodeling projects for buyers and repair services for sellers. For a small charge, buyers can use the site’s Estimators to determine how much renovating a property they’re considering would cost.
Helps buyers and sellers with packing tips and timetables, online mover links, and places to store belongings so that homes look less cluttered. click here to go to
Offers consumer information for buyers and sellers as well as home listings and links to service providers. click here to go to
Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC), http://
Offers a homebuyer’s kit with useful information and checklists.
Trans Union Corporation,
A source of credit reports.

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

Contact Information

Photo of Carol and Jim   Real Estate
Carol and Jim
Preferred Home Brokers
3230 E Imperial Hwy, Ste 125
Brea CA 92821

Carol & Jim Chamberlain 714-726-3166 or 714-726-3144                  "Yes, We Can Be In Two Places At Once!"                                              BRE Lic Numbers: 00912962, 01015143