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By Paul A. DiSegna | Real Estate Pro in Rhode Island
  • 5 Things You Need to Know to Sell a Home That's Underwater

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Rhode Island, How To... in Rhode Island, Property Q&A in Rhode Island  |  November 20, 2011 9:25 AM  |  638 views  |  No comments

    RISMEDIA, Saturday, November 19, 2011—

    More and more people are in over their heads when it comes to their home. In this tough economy, many have fallen behind on their mortgages and don’t know where to begin to rid themselves of the property that they can no longer afford. Real estate agent and short sale trainer Mike Cuevas of Exit Realty and Agent Redefined has five things homeowners need to consider when their home is underwater.

    1. Understand the process. A short sale is when a lender agrees to discount a loan due to an economic hardship on the part of the homeowner. Typically, a short sale is used to prevent a home from being foreclosed. Usually, a bank will allow a short sale if they believe it will result in a smaller loss than the expense required for foreclosing.

    2. Compare it to foreclosure results. Foreclosure can be extremely damaging to an individual’s credit report and it can have long-term effects. Since we live in a credit driven society, keeping a good credit rating can save a family thousands of dollars in attractive finance rates for vehicles, home mortgages, and other large items. A negative credit report and poor score can affect everything you do from renting an apartment to buying a car.

    3. Bankruptcy and its impact on your future. Filing for bankruptcy will consolidate your debt and can wipe out your liabilities, but it will not prevent an eventual foreclosure, it will only delay it. However, if all you need to do is delay a foreclosure and there is little to no other major outstanding debt which needs to be settled, then there are other methods which may be more suitable. Trying to conduct a short sale while in bankruptcy requires strategy and a plan. It is best to consult with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney prior to making any decision in order to gain the proper information and make an appropriate plan. If your home is the only debt that is creating an uncontrollable situation for you, a short sale option is likely your best bet versus a bankruptcy. If you have other debt you need resolved after filing bankruptcy, a short sale is still a necessity unless you don’t care about a foreclosure eventually being reported onto your credit.

    4. Discover if you are qualified. Though the process differs based on individual, it is broadly understood that in order to qualify for a short sale, the seller/homeowner must show legitimate hardship. Common reasons include: death, divorce, loss of job, relocation, etc. As long as the property is inevitably headed towards foreclosure it will qualify for a short sale.

    5. Consider the benefits. One of the major benefits of a short sale is that it ends the financial and emotional nightmare quickly. From the day a homeowner accepts a contract to the time the property will close can take up to 90-120 days. Losing one’s home is a painful process, but short sales can help families to decrease the time and frustration they spend in financial limbo, and it can help to maintain their credit and move forward into the future.

    For more information, visit www.chicagolandshortsale.com/.

  • Q&A: Short Sale Sometimes Comes with Cash Incentive

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Rhode Island, Home Selling in Rhode Island, Property Q&A in Rhode Island  |  October 17, 2011 5:28 AM  |  397 views  |  No comments

    RISMEDIA, Monday, October 17, 2011—

    (MCT)—Question: I heard that some banks give homeowners money in a short sale to help them move out of the property. Is this true?

    Answer: It sounds too good to be true, but it’s legit. The Sun Sentinel wrote about this in June. Many lenders will offer homeowners a few thousand dollars to leave the home in good shape following a foreclosure, but some lucky borrowers get up to $20,000 for completing short sales.

    Some lenders offer financial assistance, either through internal initiatives or the government’s Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative program. Chase and Wells Fargo were two lenders mentioned in the Sun Sentinel story, but they were intentionally vague about who qualifies for the money and why. My experience tells me that eligibility for these programs is rare, but it never hurts to try.

    In some cases, you must contact your lender and ask for the money before you have a buyer in place. This is quite different from how a normal short sale works in which it’s a waste of time to contact your bank before you have a bona fide contract to sell the property. Typical incentives given by the bank are relocation assistance from $3,000 to $20,000 and a waiver of the deficiency between what your home is worth and what you owe your lender.

    These programs are limited in scope, often limited by the location of the property and by who owns the loan. For example, properties in Florida are generally eligible, but loans insured by government entities—such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Housing Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs—often are ineligible. If your loan is not eligible, it may very well still be approved in a “traditional” short sale.

    Check Scams: Be aware of two check scams that have popped up recently.

    One such scam involves a potential tenant who gives the landlord a cashier’s check or some other official check, often from a Canadian bank, as a deposit for a lease, with plans to work out the details later. There is some small dispute and the landlord and tenant can’t come to terms on the lease, and the tenant asks for the money back. The landlord tells the scammer that the cashier’s check was deposited, and the tenant agrees to take a personal check from the landlord. Often the scammer will even take less than the whole amount deposited “for the landlord’s trouble.” It’s only a few days later, when the cashier’s check bounces, that the landlord finds out the check was counterfeit, and the landlord is out the money. Be sure to call the issuing bank to verify a check before you deposit it.

    Another common scam happens when the victim gives a personal check to the scammer for some service or product. A few minutes or hours later, the scammer comes back to the victim and says he had problems cashing the check. The scammer then asks the victim to take back the check and pay cash instead.

    Again, the scammer may even offer a discount for the “trouble.” Several days later, the victim finds out that the scammer deposited the check with one of the smartphone camera apps allowing remote deposit and the victim is out both the check and the cash. Of course, the account is now closed and the scammer is long gone. The moral of the story: Once a check is out of your sight for even a second, do not take it back.

    ©2011 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

    RISMedia welcomes your questions and comments. Send your e-mail to: realestatemagazinefeedback@rismedia.com.

  • Doing Business in 'The New Normal'

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Rhode Island, How To... in Rhode Island, Property Q&A in Rhode Island  |  October 9, 2011 5:02 AM  |  449 views  |  No comments

    RISMEDIA, Saturday, October 08, 2011—

    Like many an industry catch phrase, ‘The New Normal’ has quickly risen to real estate vernacular. But what does the term really mean? Is it, in fact, even valid? Two tell-it-like-it-is members of RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN)—Joe Clement, Broker/owner, RE/MAX Properties, Colorado Springs, Colorado and Todd Hetherington, CEO, Century 21 New Millennium, Metropolitan D.C. area—discuss what it takes to succeed in The New Normal...and beyond.

    Seems like everyone is using the term ‘The New Normal’ to define the real estate market as we know it today. In your opinion, is this an accurate term? An overused term? Why or why not?
    Joe Clement: I don’t like the term. I’ve been in this business for 33 years. I’ve seen four recessions, 17% interest rates, and I’ve seen hot markets, too. After you’ve been in this business for a while, you get used to the fact that you can never be complacent with what’s going on because it’s probably going to change. There are always external factors that affect the business, whether it’s interest rates, the economy, jobs…whatever. We are going through challenging times; we are going through some adjustments that are, quite frankly, necessary.

    Todd Hetherington: The term is irrelevant. You can call it what you want…The New Normal, rational reality…anything, it really doesn’t matter. We call it life. You deal with it, adapt, learn how to play the game under the new rules and master it, or you get left behind.

    Has The New Normal officially arrived? What does it look like?
    TH: Sure. We are all forced to deal with what life brings our way each and every day. Over the past several years, life has thrown at all of us in this industry the challenges of dealing with short sales, REOs, declining prices, tightening credit standards, mortgage reform…the list goes on and on. To me, The New Normal is about how we rise to these challenges and what we do to overcome them.

    JC: What we got into in 2002 through 2006 was craziness. I keep telling my agents and clients that we are going through something that is necessary. We are going through challenging and frustrating times, but we have to get to the other side. We have to get through a whole bunch of issues before we see a real estate market that is more on a steady pace of appreciation.

    What are the critical skills brokers and agents must possess to succeed in The New Normal?
    JC: We have increased our education tremendously over the last three years. In the 2000s, we got spoiled. We had people who forgot what their job really was. As a real estate professional, our daily job is lead generation. My job is to generate leads for agents through different technology systems. And you have to have education, from one-on-one training to group classes. You have to be serious and committed to succeed right now. This market is great for getting rid of those who are not committed to lead generation, education and going to work in the morning and doing their job.

    TH: The first skill is flexibility. We need to be able to adapt quickly and efficiently in order to meet all of the challenges. The second skill we need to master is becoming business-oriented. In the past, many broker/owners have been excellent REALTORS®, but terrible business people. Today, we have all been forced to get a little smarter and analyze the ROI on everything we do. We have had to develop far more comprehensive, written business plans detailing every facet of our business. All our branch leaders and directors have detailed action plans calendared out in order to achieve their three main objectives of recruiting, retention and lead generation. We teach this same type of business planning to our agents. It works.

    The third skill is focus. We have to have a laser focus and only do those activities that pertain to achieving those goals in our plan. Even though we are beating every one of our metrics—units, volume, sales price and, most importantly, profitability, we still push each other in an effort to continue to raise the bar.

    RISMedia welcomes your questions and comments. Send your e-mail to: realestatemagazinefeedback@rismedia.com.

  • Your Place: Replacing Cabinets or Refacing Old Ones

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in Rhode Island, Design & Decor in Rhode Island, Property Q&A in Rhode Island  |  May 13, 2011 5:20 AM  |  800 views  |  No comments

    By Al HeavensPrint Article Print Article

    RISMEDIA, May 13, 2011—(MCT)—Q: You recently wrote about reglazing instead of replacing ceramic tile. My oak kitchen cabinets are about 23 years old and are structurally sound, but are outdated and showing wear. I am wondering if the idea of reglazing rather than replacing might apply to cabinets, too. I would also add new doors and handles.

    A: I’d first go to a couple of showrooms for ideas to spruce up the cabinets or even, perhaps, look at replacements. I realize that times are tough, but sometimes you have to let go.

    If you are shopping, look for ads from outlets that offer deals or closeouts on cabinets. People I’ve talked to have found bargains on brand-name cabinets at half their retail price.

    Builders may have stocked cabinets for houses they haven’t been able to build and might be willing to sell you some at a discount to get the expense off their books.

    Are the boxes and frames in good shape? New doors and hardware may be all you really need. Look at refacing by a professional.

    Refacing uses veneer to cover the exposed faces of frames, and new plywood or door panels to cover end panels. New doors, drawer fronts, and moldings are added, as well as new hardware.

    The cost of refacing tends to be all over the map, depending on the job, although some consumers have been complaining lately that refacing can cost as much as buying new cabinets. As with any project, the price for a cabinet refacing will be determined, in part, by the quality of materials selected.

    Q: For years, I’ve had trouble with the paint adhering to the plaster walls in my bathroom. I’ve tried acrylic, and that’s not good at all, so I’ve tried to stick with oil-based products, which are getting more difficult to find.

    The walls in the bathroom are half tile, half plaster over lath. The ceiling is plaster over diamond mesh. The area beyond the ceiling is attic with some insulation. And, because it’s a bathroom, there is moisture, but there’s also an exhaust fan. It still is moist.

    A fresh coat of paint with an oil primer may last six to eight months but then begins to peel. I’ve done this repeatedly, but I’m starting to believe that’s crazy. Maybe a marine paint would be better?

    A: I wouldn’t use marine paint in a bathroom. From my own experience, making sure those plaster walls are free of grease, soap scum, and hair-spray residue and using a top-quality paint are the keys to keeping the paint from peeling off bathroom walls—with or without exhaust fans.

    The experts I’ve spoken with say high gloss holds up better the closer you are to the source of a lot of moisture, but I’ve never found it to matter much. Speaking of paint, I finally had the opportunity to use a no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) primer and paint in our dining room to accommodate a change in furniture styles.

    I’ve never had a problem with VOCs, but a family member is sensitive to the paint odor related to them, so rather than delay the work until the next long business trip, we decided to go with water-based Zinsser’s Bulls Eye Zero primer and Benjamin Moore’s Natura no-VOC brand in New London Burgundy.

    I had been wary of the performance of both primer and topcoat, only because I remember that the first generation of low-flow toilets never flushed properly and wasted more water than what they were replacing. Would no-VOC products cover as well as their less environmentally friendly predecessors? Would they live up to their claims to seal tannin and graffiti?

    The primer did indeed seal tannin and covered the walls well, especially a bright red under the chair rail. The Natura went on easily, and two coats did the trick. (We used slightly less than a gallon on perhaps 300 square feet.)

    Price was a shocker. Zinsser’s Zero cost $24. The Natura was $49 a gallon. But it did the job to my satisfaction.

    For more information visit http://www.philly.com/

    RISMedia welcomes your questions and comments. Send your e-mail to:realestatemagazinefeedback@rismedia.com.

    Have you heard about RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN)? RREIN is an elite network of leading real estate companies dedicated to providing consumers and their agents with leading real estate information, and committed to the belief that Information Share Equals Market Share. Having only launched this past June 2010, the RREIN network is already comprised of 40 leading brokerages, which make up 575 offices, 30,000 agents, 167,000 closings and represents over $41 billion in transactions. How can RREIN help your recruiting efforts and differentiate your company today? For more information, email rrein@rismedia.com.

  • Idaho Legislation Places New Requirements on Lenders

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Idaho, Home Selling in Idaho, Property Q&A in Idaho  |  April 23, 2011 8:20 AM  |  623 views  |  No comments

    04/22/2011BY: HEATHER HILL CERNOCH Printer Friendly View

    Under a new Idaho State law, lenders must respond to requests for loan modification within 45 days and cannot proceed to a foreclosure sale until after responding to the request.

    House Bill 331, which takes effect September 1, also stipulates that lenders must meet in person or over the phone with the borrower if the borrower requests it.

    Additionally, the lender must file an affidavit in the County Recorder’s Office in the county where the primary residence is located at least 20 days before a foreclosure sale.

    The bill also makes it a violation of the Idaho Consumer Protection Act to charge or receive any fee in connection with a mortgage loan modification unless licensed or exempt from licensing under the Idaho Residential Mortgage Practices Act.

    House Bill 331 was the result of collaboration between Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and the Idaho Bankers Associationto address foreclosure complaints from homeowners.

    Since 2008, Wasden says he has received more than 300 complaints regarding issues or problems with loan servicers.

    “Idaho citizens are facing foreclosure at an unprecedented level,” Wasden said. “This legislation addresses the very complaints Idahoans have been sending to my office. It will provide real help to thousands of distressed homeowners in Idaho, and it will help Idahoans better understand their rights, obligations, and options with respect to keeping their home.”

    The bill also requires a trustee pursuing foreclosure to mail written notice of rescheduled foreclosure sales. Under existing law, when a foreclosure sale is postponed, a trustee may carry out a subsequent sale with no advance written notice to the homeowner.

    In addition, lenders must provide a written notice in cases involving potential foreclosure of a homeowner’s primary residence that details the obligations owed and the ramifications of foreclosure if the homeowner does not cure the default.

    The notices must also encourage homeowners to contact their lenders to ask about available loss mitigation programs such as a mortgage loan modification, and include a modification request form.

  • Around the Home: Dispose of Hazardous Waste Properly

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Charlotte, How To... in Charlotte, Property Q&A in Charlotte  |  April 17, 2011 8:15 AM  |  749 views  |  1 comment

    By Terri BennettPrint Article Print Article

    RISMEDIA, April 16, 2011—(MCT)—We all have one—that shelf or cabinet with leftover paints, old bug killers and unwanted cleaners. You don’t want that toxic stuff near your kids or pets so you keep it out of reach.

    It’s equally as important to keep those dangerous chemicals out of the environment. So when it’s time to get rid of hazardous household items, make sure you do your part and dispose of them the right way.

    It’s estimated that every American home has an average of 100 pounds of hazardous household waste. This includes everything from paint and thinners to used motor oil, pesticides, bleach, cleaners and even batteries. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) are also considered hazardous waste due to the small amount of mercury they contain.

    Let’s start with what not to do when getting rid of all this stuff. Pouring hazardous household waste down any drain sends the toxins directly into our water supply.

    Drains include the ones inside your home and the storm drains outside. Pollution flowing into storm drains is called storm water pollution and it’s the leading cause of fresh water pollution in America.

    You should also never put hazardous household waste in the trash. Whether it’s sending it to a landfill or burning it in a trash pile, both can release toxins directly into the air, land and water. Hazardous household waste needs to be disposed of properly. This means taking it to a qualified recycling center. You can also contact your county waste collection office for recycling information. Many communities hold hazardous household waste collection events throughout the year so be looking for those too.

    Another way to reduce the amount of hazardous household waste in your home is to start buying less of it. Many times there are natural alternatives that work just as well. Eco-friendly cleaners and pesticides are more widely available on store shelves and while they may cost more to purchase, keep in mind the true cost of an item is always more than just the money you spend.

    Just because the hazardous household waste may be out of sight in your home, it shouldn’t be out of mind. Identifying it, disposing of it and reducing the amount in your home are all easy ways to do your part for everyday green living.

    (c) 2010, The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.).

    Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

    RISMedia welcomes your questions and comments. Send your e-mail to:realestatemagazinefeedback@rismedia.com.

    Have you heard about RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN)? RREIN is an elite network of leading real estate companies dedicated to providing consumers and their agents with leading real estate information, and committed to the belief that Information Share Equals Market Share. Having only launched this past June 2010, the RREIN network is already comprised of 40 leading brokerages, which make up 575 offices, 30,000 agents, 167,000 closings and represents over $41 billion in transactions. How can RREIN help your recruiting efforts and differentiate your company today? For more information, email rrein@rismedia.com.

  • Understanding Short Sales & Foreclosure

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Newport, Home Selling in Newport, Property Q&A in Newport  |  March 25, 2011 1:36 PM  |  742 views  |  No comments
    Logo Clean
    House Under Water Thin
    ** FREE SEMINAR **

    Understanding Short Sales & Foreclosure

    (3 CEU Credits Offered*)

    Where:Best Western Mainstay Inn
    151 Admiral Kalbfus Road
    Newport, RI 02840

    Driving Directions

    Tuesday April 5, 2011 
    Registration: 8:30 AM
    Seminar: 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM EDT
    Add to my calendar



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    Free Information For Consumer Struggling Financially

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    When: Wednesday, April 6th 

    Time: 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM 

    Dear Paul, 

    Are You Ready To Take Advantage Of This Growing Market??


    Lepizzera & Laprocina is holding a FREE seminar to discuss one of today's most relevant industry topics, Understanding Short Sales & Foreclosure. Take advantage of the tremendous opportunities this market offers and solidify your business for years to come. Discussion will include the mechanics of the Short Sale process, current market conditions & trends, how to identify & market to potential Short Sale clients, and using your "team" to successfully negotiate, finance and close Short Sale transactions.


    Lepizzera & Laprocina has been negotiating Short Sales and helping distressed homeowners for over three years. Having closed over 1,000 short sale transactions with over 500 Short Sale files currently under negotiation we have the experience and knowledge you need to ultimately be successful. We are the leaders in Short Sale education throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts and are now bringing our state of the are seminar to you and your associates. Learn from the best so that you can be the best, we look forward to seeing you there! 


    This educational seminar is FREE to attendees with the option to receive* 3 CEU credits.

    ** Limited Seating Available **

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    I can't make it

    * There is no cost to attend this seminar. If you wish to receive CEU credits there will be a charge of $20 made payable to the Eastern Real Estate School, payment will be accepted the day of the seminar in either cash or check form.


    If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you for your attention and we look forward to seeing you there!




    Shana Boyer
    Lepizzera & Laprocina

    Help For Homeowners In Distress


    With so many homeowners in distress and struggling to make ends meet in today's economy it is important that they know and fully understand all of their options. Join us for a confidential *webinar* that can be viewed right from the comfort and privacy of their own home.


    We will be covering a variety of topics including government programs (such as HAMP & HAFA), Short Sales, their effects on sellers credit, and the steps they need to take to recover afterword. This webinar is FREE and completely confidential. Let your clients learn from the experts and our attorneys and

    know that foreclosure is NOT their only option.  


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