Thursday, September 29, 2011
I have been presented an exciting opportunity! Just last week, I was contacted by HGTV to flim a My First Place episode here in Dallas. They are looking for fun, high-energy people in and around the Dallas-Ft. Worth area who are buying their first place! Singles, couples and families are all invited to apply.
My First Place is returning for its 11th season, and will again focus on the trials and tribulations of looking for, bidding on, and buying your first place – whether it's a single-family house, townhouse or condo. They looking for fun and interesting Real Estate Brokers and people who are willing to share their personal and financial struggles during the home-buying process.
In addition to the once-in-a-lifetime experience, upon airing of our episode, you’ll also receive a DVD copy of our show—giving you a lasting memory of your first time buying a home to cherish for all time!
If this sounds like an exciting, fun experience to you (we think it is!) and you are or know of someone planning on buying their first place in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, please call me today. They are encouraging us to get our buyers applications in ASAP. If selected, I will contact you about the next step in the process!
*Candidates who complete taping will receive a monetary gift as part of the show.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
It's a "Sellabration"! Join us & the University of Houston in recognizing Rafael as the 2011 #1 SEI Alumni!
Rafael has always enjoyed selling homes & even more so helping his clients wade through the recently "murky" waters of real estate. It is rewarding to hear that his honest commitment to his clients & hard work is being recognized by his Alma Mater. He desire's to continue offering his clients the same honesty, integrity & hard work that has been making their home buying experience easy for the past 12 years. Ringing true to Rafael's motto, "Home Buying The Easy Way".
SEI Announces Top 15 Alumni At Anniversary Celebration
Published on May 5, 2011
Inductees into Hall of Honor Include Top Producers in Sales for Leading Companies
The Sales Excellence Institute at the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business kicked off a week of “sellebration” on May 3 to mark its 15th anniversary, with an event to announce the Top 15 Distinguished Alumni.
The group is the first to be inducted into the SEI Alumni Hall of Honor and was selected by a committee based on sales performance, public service in the community and involvement with the program.
“We’re excited to honor so many terrific alumni and show what a fantastic group of people and a fantastic family we’ve developed here over the past 15 years.,” said Michael Ahearne, executive director of SEI.
SEI Top 15 Distinguished Alumni:
Class of 1999
Broker/Owner, Carrasco Real Estate Co.
Class of 2000
Sales Manager, Crown Lift Trucks
Class of 2000
Regional Vice President, BlackRock
Class of 2000
Account Executive, BMC Software, Inc.
Class of 2000
Houston Rockets, Vice President of Player Personnel
Class of 2004
Founder, President & Senior Agent, Boss Alliance Financial Group
Class of 2004
Director of Finance, Hilti
Class of 2005
Agent, State Farm
Class of 2001
Senior Manager- Treasury, KBR
Class of 2004
Senior Sales Professional – Metabolism Division, Sanofi Aventis, U.S.
Class of 2007
Sales Representative – OEM Markets, 3M
Class of 2008
Store Manager, Mattress Firm
Class of 2009
Sales Manager, Waste Management
Class of 2006
Sales Consultant, Pulte Group
Class of 2009
Corporate Account Manager, EMC
Monday, May 2, 2011
The FHA's PowerSaver program allows eligible owners to borrow up to $25,000 at fixed rates for as long as 20 years to finance energy-conservation retrofits. Fannie Mae has an energy-improvement mortgage add-on program.
If you've been looking for a way to pay for energy improvements to your house, two little-publicized new mortgage programs could provide the cash you need.
The FHA's PowerSaver program allows eligible owners to borrow up to $25,000 at fixed rates between 5% and 7% for as long as 20 years to finance high-efficiency windows and doors, heating and ventilating systems, solar panels, geothermal systems, insulation and duct sealing, among other retrofits.
Although PowerSaver is officially a pilot program, Shaun Donovan, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, estimates that 30,000 such loans will be closed in the next two years. It eventually could become a major national program for residential energy upgrades, with total loans extending into the millions, he said.
One important element in the program is energy audits. Although they won't be mandatory, most participating lenders are expected to encourage owners to sign up for an energy efficiency analysis by a certified specialist. The audit should pinpoint where your house is leaky or otherwise inefficient in energy use, and should recommend the specific types of upgrades or additions that could help cut your bills and reduce greenhouse emissions.
The FHA will insure loans to cover the improvements up to the $25,000 maximum under the following guidelines:
•The house must be your principal residence, detached and single-family only. No rentals, no investor homes, no second homes.
•You'll need to demonstrate that you are a solid credit risk. Minimum FICO credit scores of 660 are required, plus your total household monthly debt-to-income ratio cannot exceed 45%.
•Houses with negative equity will not qualify. You'll need some level of equity in the property; there is no mandatory minimum stake, but the combined primary mortgage debt plus the PowerSaver second lien cannot exceed 100% of the appraised market value of the house. You could, for example, have a 10% equity position in a $200,000 home, and still qualify for up to $20,000 in a PowerSaver.
•Lenders are likely to take an extra hard look at all your income and asset documentation because, unlike other FHA-insured mortgages, PowerSaver will cover only 90% of the lender's loss or insurance claim in the event of a default.
Eighteen lenders around the country have signed up so far to participate, including giant Quicken Loans — a Top 10 national mortgage originator — and local players such as California-based Sun West Mortgage, Seattle's HomeStreet Bank, the Bank of Colorado, Stonegate Mortgage in the Midwest, Pennsylvania-based AFC First Financial Corp. and the University of Virginia Community Credit Union. A spokesman for Quicken Loans said the company hoped to offer PowerSaver in as many as 34 states during the pilot period.
Some pros and cons of PowerSaver: The biggest plus is its low fixed interest rate and long term — especially in comparison with most homeowners' alternative options such as bank home equity loans and lines of credit, which typically cost more and may have less favorable payback terms.
The main potential drawbacks center on the program permitting total household mortgage debt loads of up to 100% of market value. Some borrowers could encounter payment problems if they experience even slight income declines. If property values in the area decrease, the loans could put owners into negative equity territory.
Fannie Mae's "energy improvement" mortgage add-on program is significantly different from the FHA's. Rather than a separate loan to finance the energy retrofits, Fannie folds the cost of the improvements — capped at up to 10% of the estimated market value of the home following the energy-efficiency enhancements — into the mortgage amount itself.
In effect, Fannie's program, which is available through participating lenders nationwide, allows you to buy an existing house and improve its energy usage significantly with one mortgage at current market rates. Most single-family properties are eligible for the program, except for manufactured houses and cooperative units.
Be aware that Fannie requires an audit by a certified Home Energy Rating Systems expert upfront to justify the proposed modifications to the house as truly cost-efficient. The audit must be paid for by the borrower, but Fannie will credit an extra $250 through the lenders to partially defray this expense.
Article By Kenneth R. Harney
Distributed by Washington Post Writers Group.
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Before having Carrasco Real Estate photograph or, in some cases, videotaped, your home you'll want to make sure that it's in the best possible shape. But what exactly does that mean?
Getting your home ready for a photo shoot is not quite the same as getting it ready to have dinner guests. Yes, there's the same cleaning rituals such as dusting, and picking up items lying around the house. But making a home picture perfect is about creating an atmosphere that's welcoming, interesting, and even beckoning viewers and then allowing us to capture it with our lens.
How is that done? For starters we'll use the right equipment to get the job done. Wide angle lens to make the home look larger and show off adjacent rooms in a single photo are one good method. Early morning and late afternoon photo shoots make use of the best lighting times in the day.
Before the shoot you'll want to add some props and take away the clutter. These should be your top priorities.
Let's start with empty rooms. Showing an empty house isn't ideal for in-person visits or pictures. Why? You can't get a feel for how to use the space and when you see an empty room in a picture and it's hard to grasp its size. The Wall Street Journal suggests bringing in props such as furniture (even just a chair and small table) that will help give the viewer a sense of scale.
If at all possible, rent, borrow some furniture to have at least a few objects in the room. You don't need as many pieces of furniture as you would have if you're living in the home, just some nice tables, lamps, and chairs to create a homey mood.
Kitchen comfort. Here's where you get to have some fun. Think of yourself as a set designer. Your job is to look closely at your kitchen and tuck away all the unnecessary objects. If you leave out an appliance (maybe a good-looking stainless steel one) hide the cord. The appliance isn't there for use–it's just a prop.
Now, add some other props–a basket of colorful fruit in a clear glass bowl (nothing too distracting). A plate of cheese and bread with a wine bottle nearby helps set a scene to make the viewer feel welcome.
When it comes to the exterior of your home, put away those unsightly garbage cans, the seasonal decorations, and those "no soliciting" signs.
Remember, you're making your home not only picture-perfect but model-home perfect too... and that could just be priceless.