Question: “I heard you can’t get a loan any more if you buy a flip property. Is that true?” Answer: No, but there was one change involving buying a flip, or renovated resale property. FHA announced that starting January 1st, if you want to get an FHA loan, you can’t even WRITE your offer until

Question: “Hi Gary, My wife and I want to sell our home in La Jolla. We live part of the year in Phoenix and part in San Diego. We want to get the $500,000 principal residence exclusion. How do we know which one is my principal residence?” Answer: According to industry journal California Real Estate

This week’s crazy building is The Wave in Vejle, Denmark. Constructed in 2009, this pair of wave-shaped apartments was originally meant to be a set of five before the economic downturn. It was designed by Henning Larsen Architects and inspired by the Sydney Opera House. This building may be crazy, but it’s also critically acclaimed:

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Are 1031 Exchanges Hard to Do?

Thursday, 11 December 2014 by

Question: “I’d like to sell my rental house here and use the money to buy to exchange into a fourplex. But I’m a little concerned about 1031 exchanges. I don’t know much about them. Are they hard to do?” Answer: Good news: 1031 tax deferred exchanges are easy! And they’re quite inexpensive to do too…usually

Question: “I converted my garage without a permit. Will this be an issue when I sell?” Answer: Assuming your conversion was of good quality, you will face a few minor to moderate challenges when selling: First, most homebuyers prefer a garage to a garage conversion. And the “nicer” the neighborhood, the more people will want

Question: “Should I check with the Better Business Bureau to find an agent?” Answer: There are a range of opinions about the “BBB.” Some say it’s a fine consumer protection organization that provides a great service. Others say it’s really just a for-profit business that charges businesses to be listed. Some say it’s a relevant

This Week’s Crazy Building: Emporia

Monday, 08 December 2014 by

This week’s crazy building is Emporia in Malmö, Sweden. Constructed in 2012 for over $250 million, Emporia is one of the biggest shopping malls in Scandinavia. It contains roughly 200 shops and restaurants in its 1,000,000 square feet of of shopping space. On top of the three-story mall is a rooftop terrace garden where people

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Question: “We’d like to refi and get our rate down, but we’ve had this loan 10 years. So we just have 20 years left and don’t want to start over on a 30 year loan. Is there a way to get our current lender to just lower the rate or refinance the loan in place?”

Question: “We’re trying to figure out the costs when we sell our home. What are they?” Answer: As a rule of thumb, figure 8% of the selling price for all selling costs, including a cushion of 1% to 1.5% for repairs and NOT including last mortgage payment and property tax prorations. Specifically, in San Diego,

Question: “Is it a realistic target to want to buy a home and keep my payment no greater than the rent I’m paying now?” Answer: I don’t know your current rent, your down payment, or what you want in a home to answer for your specific situation. But I can say it’s tough to buy