Question: “Can you borrow the money for the down payment on a home?” Answer: It depends how and when you borrow the money. Generally, banks only want you to borrow from a secured asset: HELOC, car loan, savings account loan, 401-k loan, etc. They don’t like personal loans that are not secured by an asset

Question: “Hi Gary. We own a home in Pacific Beach that we’ll be calling you to sell in a couple of months. But for now we just want to find out the selling costs so we can do some planning. Can you help us with this?” Answer: To be fairly safe, you can typically figure

How do Property Taxes Work?

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 by

Question: “I’ve never bought a home before. How do property taxes work? How are they determine how can they change?” Answer: Your annual property tax will be a certain percentage of the assessed value. In San Diego County, it’s 1% + some add-ons which bring it to between 1.1% and 1.2%. When you buy a

This week’s crazy building is the Principality of Sealand, off the coast of Essex, England. This time around, our crazy building is (depending on who you ask) also its own country. Originally a British WWII naval fort known as Roughs Tower, it was occupied by pirate radio broadcaster Paddy Roy Bates in 1967. By 1975,

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Question: “I’d like you to handle the sale of my duplex in Clairemont. How do you handle the showings with the tenants?” Answer: Most duplexes are marketed as “show with offer.” So buyers make offers without going inside, contingent on approving the interior. If they don’t like it, they can cancel their offer, even if

The Lowdown on Termite Fumigation

Thursday, 23 July 2015 by

Question: “Gary, I had my house tented about two years ago. I believe it is effective for three years, so is it true that I won’t need to tent again should I sell within three years?” Answer: I’m not sure if you’re asking… Does a fumigation kill termites for 3 years? Is there a 3-year

Question: “What do you think of buying a home at a foreclosure sale down at the courthouse?” Answer: For sophisticated investors, it can pay off well. However, there are many very real risks and downsides to buying at a trustee sale: Low supply / high demand: There are very few foreclosures now, but plenty of

This week’s crazy building is the House of Bottles in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina. After the Argentinian economy went bust in 2001, Alfredo Santa Cruz was reduced to sifting through trash. But in an inspiring tale of lemons into lemonade, he decided to make that trash into a home. More specifically, using a system of over 1,200

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Question: “Can I use an FHA loan to buy apartments that I’m going to live in?” Answer: FHA loans are for 1-4 unit owner-occupied properties. So in theory, you can use one if you buy a duplex, triplex, or fourplex. However, the qualifying for a triplex or fourplex is so poorly thought out that’s it’s

Question: “We may be out of town when our sale closes. Is the closing done via esignatures, or do we have to be present?” Answer: Good news. Unlike other states, in California you do not need to sign anything at closing. It’s all signed beforehand. Of course, there could be some last-minute document to sign,

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