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Here you will find a list of the Top Five information from our past shows, including information on past guests.

If you would like to contact FirsTrust directly, feel free to do so at
913-312-2000 or email us. Any of our Certified Mortgage Planners, or Assistants, will be happy to answer your mortgage and finance question.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Erik Collier, The Collier Real Estate Group
Kansas City Regional Homes, Inc.
Office: 913-538-6900
Cell: 913-481-1987
FAX: 913-681-3602

Visit Erik Collier online at www.CollierSells.com

Eric believes pricing your home realistically as soon as you list it is the most important thing you can do if you want to sell your home in a reasonable amount of time. He also thinks that we have not yet hit the bottom of the market, but will by 2015. As a result, this is definitely a buyer’s market. There are some very good deals out there. People who are planning to “buy up” will make up for losing a little profit when they sell their home, because chances are good that they will be able to purchase their new home at a competitive price.

TOP 5 Things to Consider when
Pricing Your Home to Sell

1. Square footage: Total square footage is an important consideration when establishing a home's sale price, but this is usually just a starting point for buyers who will use it to narrow down the field, but make an actual purchase decision based on many other factors. There are some general rules of thumb to know when considering a home's price per square foot, such as smaller homes generally get a higher price/foot than large homes, and single stories will sell for a higher price/foot than a two-story.

2. Location within community: Homes that back up to a busy street get, on average, 10-20 percent less than homes elsewhere in a neighborhood. Anticipate this type of obstacle and factor it into the original sale price to avoid inevitable price reductions down the road. Quiet cul-de-sacs, golf or water frontage, lots that offer privacy are value adds that can certainly justify a higher sale price than other homes in a community — or be leveraged as an advantage against competing listings.

3. Upgrades and features: It's a simple formula: Upgrades equal a sale. For a home to sell quickly and for the price desired, it must be "finished" with as many structural and interior design upgrades as possible . . . and nothing's too small to leverage in establishing a home's price point. From crown molding to faux painting to door and cabinet handles/knobs with modern finishes, to more obvious upgrades such as appliances, window, counter, cabinet and floor treatments and surround sound wiring, any functional or beautification enhancement to a home are considerations in establishing its true value and strategic sale price.

4. Price your home referencing sold comparables: Price per square footage of other homes that have already sold in your community, up to 3 months old maximum, as looking beyond three months is simply not a realistic portrayal of current market conditions and may steer you in a wrong direction. It's also as important to compare your listing to active competing listings (homes currently for sale) which is the best tool for honing an effective pricing strategy, particularly for highly motivated sellers.

5. Current mortgage conditions: The current mortgage market has tightened its proverbial belt and many lenders now require higher credit scores coupled with higher down payments, which can cash-strap a buyer who will most definitely be holding out for the best deal possible. Every seller naturally wants to get the most money for his or her product, but a savvy seller will understand the mortgage industry's impact on the buyer and will price accordingly.

Sunday July 3rd, 2011

The REO Mentor

Tony Alvarez
P.O. Box 9072
Lancaster, CA 93539


Tony’s TOP 5 Most Practical Pieces of Advice
To Consider Before Becoming a Real Estate Investor:

1. Decide what you want to do and why: Make sure that you have your goals clear in your mind. In other words, you must not only know what you want to do, but understand the underlying motivating factor for your actions. For example, do you need a large amount of money to pay down debt? Are you looking to increase your monthly income to subsidize your current job? Are you building up a portfolio of rental properties for your retirement? Each one of these will take you to slightly different areas of the business.

2. Choose your target market and know it better than anyone else: In other words, you must pick a specific geographic area and understand the real estate market within that area thoroughly. The smaller the better especially if you are just starting out. However, it does not have to necessarily be local to where you live. For example, when Tony first started out, he drove approximately 70 miles in one direction daily from where he lived to a market that was more suitable to achieve his goals.

3. Load your GPS (Goals, Plan and Systems): First, set a specific Goal: It might be a dollar amount or the number of houses you want to accumulate over one year. Something you want to accomplish within a specific amount of time. Decide whatever is important to you.

4. Make a Plan: How are you going to accomplish this goal? Where are you going to find your deals? Will you be buying REOs? Short Sales? Will you be working with professional real estate agents to acquire REOs and Short Sales? Will you be buying at the courthouse steps? Where are your equity capital and your financing coming from? How will you handle your repairs? Will you hire contractors? Can you get away with just a handyman? What's your exit strategy? Will you flip houses to make a quick profit? Will you hold long-term? You really should have a solid detailed plan as to how you are going to complete your mission and not just fly by the seat of your pants.

5. Create daily action steps that you must take regardless of situations: Systems are basically a daily schedule of events. How many agents will you call? How many sellers will you contact? How many lenders will you visit? You must also adjust your systems along the way because what works for one person may not work for another. What works in California may not necessarily work for you in Kansas.

It's not absolutely necessary, but it's highly recommended, that you find a trail that someone has already walked successfully, that you can emulate. For example, Warren Buffet is a great person to emulate when it comes to learning the importance of evaluating data and management. It's good to find someone who has already succeeded in doing what you want to do because they've probably made (and overcome) most of the errors you are about to make. It's also good to have more than one mentor. They don't have to be alive; Benjamin Franklin was a great businessman. And it doesn't have to be someone who charges you monthly for advice over the phone. You have to find a person who you respect and, more importantly, like to follow in their footsteps. Sooner or later you'll hit the jackpot as well.

Save up to $500 on an annual subscription. www.realtytrac.com
4 months for $99,
12 months for $199

Sunday July 26, 2011

The Truth in Lending Show’s Vacation Home Experts

Bobbi Bash, Broker / Owner
§ Bobbi Bash Realty
§ Office: 877-365-2622
§ Cell: 573-434-1782
§ E-mail: bobbi@bobbibash.com

TOP 5 Reasons to Buy a Vacation Home
at the Lake of the Ozarks

1. This is a great time to buy because of great pricing, high inventory and fantastic interest rates
2. The Lake of the Ozarks is within three hours from Kansas City and St. Louis; the new HWY 54 Expressway from Lake Ozark to Camdenton makes getting from one end of the Lake to the other quick and easy
3. The Lake is supported by a solid tax base, which keeps your real estate taxes down
4. There are great health care providers at the Lake and great Emergency and Trauma services
5. Shopping is amazing, with many excellent shopping destinations and large well known name brand designer outlets


§ Kraig Forbes, Founder
§ Forbes Sotheby’s International Realty
§ Office: 970-845-0400
§ Cell: 970-390-3006
§ Email: kraig@fsir.biz

TOP 5 Reasons to Buy a Vacation Home
in Vail, Colorado

1. Wonderful climate and lifestyle. People come to Vail because of the winter skinning and stay because of summer
2. Easy access via I-70 or Eagle Airport (EGE)
3. Best combination of amenities of any Alpine community including skiing, golf, cultural activities at Ford Amphitheater and Vilar Center for the Performing Arts, over 100 restaurants, fishing, biking, hiking, competitive events weekly
4. A good selection of inventory of quality properties in great locations
5. Values are down 20%-30%
6. Beaver Creek offers an unparalleled, safe and private environment for the entire family


§ Michelle Kleier
§ Gumley Haft Kleier
§ Office: 212-371-2525 x350
§ michelle@ghk.com
§ http://www.onethousandocean.com/home.asp

TOP 5 Reasons to buy a Vacation Home at
One Thousand Ocean, Boca Raton, Florida

Conveniently located midway between Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, with proximity to international airports, and just minutes from an executive airport for those who enjoy private jet travel
Nautilus shaped, seven story building with beach villas and penthouses positioned on the beautiful Boca Inlet Peninsula. Prices range from $2,600,000 to $15,250,000 and living spaces range from 2,600 to 7,550 square feet
All residences have fabulous Ocean, Intracoastal and City view
Units feature floor-to-ceiling walls of glass, fireplaces, gourmet kitchens, large terraces, outdoor kitchens, private plunge pools, private elevator entries and private garage
Amenities include a fitness center with Pilates, yoga and aerobics rooms, spa treatment suites, conference rooms, children’s playroom, oceanfront pool and sun deck, pool butlers, private cabanas, desk attendant, full time concierge, 24/7 Valet, full time security and on-site management

May 22, 2011

Kitchen Remodeling

Schloegel Remodel Design

Debby Allmon, Vice President
311 West 80th Street
Kansas City, MO 64114


Regarding Kitchens
Beverly Gilbert, President
9980 Lakeview Avenue
Lenexa, KS 66219

The Kitchen is often considered the “heart” of the home. It used to be where people simply prepared food, but now it has become the gathering place of the home. The kitchen has become the place where most family members spend the majority of their time. Many people say their family lives have changed for the better once they have remodeled their kitchen. When it comes to remodeling, the kitchen has the highest return on investment!

TOP 5 Top Points to Consider when Remodeling

1. Budget! Know how long you plan to stay in this home. If you are only going to be in the home for five years or less, you should spend less money on the remodel than if you plan to stay in the home forever. Be sure to consider the current value of your home and keep your remodeling investment in line with that value.

2. Pick the right contractor!
a. Go to the NARI website and find the list of professional contractors committed to the best practices.
b. Pay attention to how long the remodeler has been in business.
c. Know the background and history of the remodelers’ business
d. Check for references and referrals
3. Design! Know the style of your home so you can determine the correct design and style of your new kitchen. It is important that the style of your blends well the style of your home.
a. Country French
b. Contemporary
c. Traditional
d. Transitional

4. Prioritize! What are your priorities? Know and understand your “wants” versus your “needs”. Are you stuck on the WOW factor?

5. Specific Features! Think carefully about products and selections.
a. Countertops
b. Appliances
c. Cabinets
d. Floors
e. Lighting


Midwest Professional Insurance Services
Felisha McDougald, Agent Principal
4501 College Blvd, Suite 260
Leawood, Kansas 66211
Phone: 913-747-1000 x 1003

TOP 5 Things To Do When Your Roof is
Damaged by Severe Weather

Braden Roofing
“The One With the Great Reputation”TM
8414 W. 98th Street
Overland Park, Kansas 66212
Phone: 913-341-0200
Fax: 913-341-0203

1. Get good information: Do you have storm damage? How much? Says who? What is your deductable? Are your neighbors getting claims approved? Are you in danger if immediate leaks?

2. Make sure you are not in immediate danger of leakage: The truth is, most hail damage will not result in immediate water leakage in your home. While the hail can certainly damage a roof and cause an otherwise good roof to break down quickly, the margin of time is typically measured in months and years, not days and weeks.

3. Don’t PANIC! Most insurance companies allow two years or even more to make claims. This should be plenty of time to make sure you are getting the contractor and roof that you really want. Yes, most quality contractors are going to be booked out, and it is important to get the process stared so you find a new one. But, it is better to plan than to panic!

4. Understand your insurance numbers are only an estimate: Do not be surprised if the numbers provided by the insurance company are incomplete or inaccurate. Frequently, incorrect prices are inserted in the itemizations. A knowledgeable contractor will help you through the insurance process.

5. Remember the “Old Rules” still apply: The best contractors have a solid workload, but they are worth waiting for! You want a contractor who has been in business for at least several years, had good references and high ratings from the various consumer advocacy organizations in town. Be cautious of “door-to-door” solicitations for roof repair. Some are good…and some may be not-so-good. Do your homework, check references and only choose companies with excellent reputations.

May 15,2011

Kyle Wells Design

Kansas City:
4048 West 79th Street
Prairie Village, KS 66208
T- 913.945.1446
F- 800.945.4394

South Florida:
610 Clematis
Suite 631
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
T- 561.629.9496
F- 800.945.4394

TOP 5 Design Tips for Staging Your Home
So It Will Sell!

1. Drive-by Appeal: Don’t overlook the front door. Make sure it is freshly painted and has a shiny kick plate and an interesting door knocker. Chinese red or black have universal appeal. Make sure your landscaping is well balanced and well groomed. Urns and color from flowers and plants help tremendously. Pay attention to the shape and balance of the entire front door picture. It should have a broad appeal.

2. What do you want your home to communicate? Your foyer sets the tone for your potential buyer. You do not want it to be cluttered. A mirror is always good so when people can see themselves when they walk into the home.

3. Create a focal point in every room, and other views that support it: The focal point should draw your guests into the room to create interest. You can de-clutter too much and make the place cold and impersonal.

4. Remember scale and color when you are filling your home with furniture: And, don't over-accessorize! Get rid of all the faux flowers…they don’t do a thing for the appeal of your home!! Don’t over buy your space. Buy what you can afford and budget for furniture. Jan and Doug think you should paint your walls neutrally. Unless your trim is extraordinary quality wood, paint your trim white. It has universal appeal. If this is the home you are going to stay in for life, then go ahead and invest in more expensive, faux or textured walls.

5. Show by example how to arrange furniture into comfortable conversation areas with good flow: In other words, place your furniture to create a flow so the potential buyers can see your focal point. Your TV should not be the focal point of your home. Move it out of there while you are trying to sell your house!

April 17, 2011

All About Remodeling!

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry

NARI is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to the professional remodeling industry. The Kansas City Chapter is #5 size-wise across the US. We have a lot of “old housing stock” Kansas City. Remodeling Magazine has put Kansas City in the Top 100 hottest remodeling communities and Johnson County in the TOP 25 hottest remodeling communities.

NARI is made up of a company-based memberships, not individual . To become a member, a company has to be in business for one year and complete an application. Trade references, bank references, licenses and insurance. We call all references and we check with the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General’s Office. Existing members must show proof that they have renewed their license and insurance each year.

NARI membership has grown over the past 17 years. It dipped to its lowest in January of 2009 dipped due to the economic environment…about 10% However, 2011 has brought new members again.

The 14th Annual Kansas City NARI Remodeled Homes Tour is scheduled for Saturday, April 30th from 10am to 5pm and Sunday, May 2st from 11am to 4pm.

Go to www.remodelingkc.com for a listing of all 25 homes on the tour. The cost is only a $10 ticket at the door. The ticket is good for admission to any home on both days. Part of the proceeds from the tour will benefit The Children’s Place right here in Kansas City!

How to finance your remodeling project:

1. Do a NO COST REFI and pull come cash out of your existing home’s equity.
2. Get a second mortgage. At this time, you may be able to get a low cost HELOC. Or, you could get a closed end second mortgage at a slightly higher rate that is fixed. Some lenders may go to 85% or 90%. Understand that the interest rate may be variable or shorter term. Be sure to know how you will pay this loan off or have an exit strategy to get out of this loan if you need to.
3. Use CASH from savings or other assets. Don’t tap out all your reserves. You need to have a balance in your plan; be sure to use money that is producing a nominal rate of return. Perhaps a combo of some cash assets and a smaller loan is an option.
4. Get a construction loan from a local bank. They will often lend up to 80% of the subject to value. You have to have a general contractor to secure this kind of a loan. Note that they do NOT have a fixed rate and are short term loans until the construction is complete.
5. Check out government grants or lending opportunities for historical communities, underserved communities trying to drive growth, energy efficient improvements. etc.


Best steps to take when considering doing a remodel:

1. Call The Kansas City NARI Chapter: Jan Burchett, Executive Director

Phone: 913-362-8833
8015 Shawnee Mission Parkway
Merrian, Kansas 66202

2. Check References; don’t be afraid to cal and ask questions
3. Go on the NARI Remodeled Homes Tour!! The remodeled homes tour is a great way to get a good feel for the work the contractors have done. You can see real life work, not just photos!
4. Websites help…check out their work and their current employees
5. Don’t always go with the cheapest…the highest quality is not going to cost the lowest dollar. Beware of the cheapest bids. If you have a large project, look at the largest company!
6. Make sure the builder is pulling their own permits…not YOU! If they ask you to pull the permit, DON”T USE THEM!!!

RARE Construction, Inc.

Mr. Rae Person, Owner/Contractor
Sheila Lanier, Designer
3333 Roanoke Road
Kansas City, MO 64111


Here are TOP 5 most important steps you need to take

BEFORE you begin your remodeling project:

1. Slow Down! The process can take up to a year before the renovation begins…You must take the time to educate yourself.
2. Plan, plan and plan some more! Read as much as you can, check out everything you can about the products and building techniques you think you want to use. When you do your homework first, you will be prepared to speak intelligently to the people you interview to do your renovation.
3. Hire the right people! Check out your contractor.
a. Set up a meeting.
b. Did they show up on time?
c. Did they walk in professionally with proof of insurance, licensing and a list of references?
d. Check out their references!
e. Ask them if they LOVE what they do for a living?
f. Don’t leave town while they are working in your home!
4. Go Legal and Go Safe: Get the permits you need and always exceed building code!
5. Let the renovation begin…and end! It will get messier before it gets better, so be patient. If you’ve done your homework, you will be happy with the ending.

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

TOP 5 Myths about the Reverse Mortgage Product
From Kevin Lee

Doug Heyen - Reverse Mortgage Specialist
FirsTrust Mortgage, Inc.
dheyen@geta mortgageplan.com

1. The bank or investor will keep all of the remaining equity in the home once the senior passes away and the reverse mortgage lien is paid off.

2. The reverse mortgage loan program is a risky loan program for a senior.

3. The reverse mortgage program will cause further indebtedness to the heirs to the senior customer.

4. The payment options available for a reverse mortgage are limited.

5. It is extremely complicated for a senior to access their available funds in a line of credit program.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

MIKE HOLMES, Star of HGTV's #1 Show

TOP 5 most important steps you need to take
BEFORE you begin your remodeling project

1. Slow Down! The process can take up to a year before the renovation begins…You must take the time to educate yourself.
2. Plan, plan and plan some more! Read as much as you can, check out everything you can about the products and building techniques you think you want to use. When you do your homework first, you will be prepared to speak intelligently to the people you interview to do your renovation.
3. Hire the right people! Check out your contractor.
a. Set up a meeting.
b. Did they show up on time?
c. Did they walk in professionally with proof of insurance, licensing and a list of references?
d. Check out their references!
e. Ask them if they LOVE what they do for a living?
f. Don’t leave town while they are working in your home!
4. Go Legal and Go Safe: Get the permits you need and always exceed building code!
5. Let the renovation begin…and end! It will get messier before it gets better, so be patient. If you’ve done your homework, you will be happy with the ending.


March 13, 2011

Kim Tucker, Director
Mid-America Association of Real Estate Investors
Networking & Education since 2003

Realty Resource

Angela Dunbar
Keller Williams Key Partners
4200 Somerset Drive, Suite 101
Prairie Village, Kansas 66208
Direct: 913-825-7734
Cell: 913-706-4875

TOP 5 People you MUST HAVE on your
Real Estate Investment Dream Team

1. Real Estate Professional
2. Someone in finance
3. A Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist
4. An business Tax expert
5. A good Real Estate Attorney
6. A fantastic Home Inspector.
7. A contractor who you can trust.

February 27,2011

Laura Rosich, MGIC in Kansas
800-634-8256 x 7157

TOP 5 Steps to Cancelling PMI

1. Call the company who is servicing your mortgage and obtain your mortgage balance. Find out the current home values in your neighborhood to help determine if any change has occurred in the value of your home.
2. Once you know where you are, if you are not close to having 20% equity in your home based upon your original property value, start making additional payments to principal each month.
3. If you determine that you are at 20% equity in your home based on the original appraised value of your home, then contact your mortgage servicer (the company to whom you are making your payments.).
4. Your mortgage servicer will then ask you to submit your request to cancel PMI in writing and may ask you to get another appraisal. Once you have submitted your written request and have the appraised value, the servicer will say yes or no.
5. If you have been making your payments on time and reach 22% of your original loan amount, your PMI is automatically discontinued.

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

TOP 5 Way to Mess Up Your Mortgage Closing*

Once you have applied for a mortgage loan and your lender is in the process of securing that loan for you, NO NOT do the following: provided by Holden Lewis at Bankrate.com:

1. Do NOT open a new credit card! Lenders have long admonished mortgage applicants to avoid getting new credit cards and auto loans while their home loans are in underwriting. Fannie’s Loan Quality Initiative adds urgency to this request. Right before you loan is about to close, most lenders check credit for any new accounts.

2. Do NOT purchase a new car, motorcycle, boat, etc.! If the mortgage lender doesn’t know about a new, large purchase and the borrower misses a couple of mortgage payments, Fannie Mae can look back, discover the undisclosed loan for a car or a boat, etc. and make the lender buy back the bad mortgage!!

3. Do NOT charge up your existing credit cards!! Mortgage approval is partly based on debt-to-income ratio. The lender looks at the borrower’s minimum monthly debt payments and compares them to income. IF the ratio of debt payments to income is too high, the borrower could be turned down for a mortgage.

4. Do Not change jobs! Changing jobs is another good way to derail a mortgage before closing. Other potential deal-breakers include staying with a current employer, but switching from a salaried position to one where the primary income comes from commissions or bonuses. You usually need a two year history of earned income. If you do not have the history, that income cannot be included and you may not qualify for the loan.

5. Do NOT change your marital status...file for a divorce! If you plan to file for divorce, please make sure you speak to your lawyer and your mortgage planner first! It will have serious ramifications on how your assets are divided. If it makes more sense to get your refi going first, do so; but not before you consult with both sides and both attorneys. If you haven’t done anything yet, first seek legal counsel, then speak with our mortgage planner!!

*For more information please go to Holden Lewis’s article at www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/3-ways-to-mess-up-a-home-mortgage-closing.aspx

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Just in Time for Valentine’s Day!

"Love and Money"

TOP 5 Items to Update When You Get Married or Divorced:

These updates are very important, especially since lenders are now scrutinizing credit more closely and asking questions about discrepancies!

1. Get certified copies of your marriage license or divorce documents and any other property settlement agreements
2. Go to the Social Security Administration Office and State Driver’s License Office and update both with your new name
3. Update work records and benefits, payroll information and income tax deductions
4. Contact your bank and change all records to your new name
5. Notify creditors in order to link credit files

For more information, go to www.bankrate.com and search for “Checklist for name change after marriage" by Leslie McFadden.

Where to find Professional Advise on Home Inspections

Home Inspections:
American Society of Home Inspectors
National Association of Home Inspectors http://www.nahi.org

National Society of Professional Engineers http://www.nspe.org/index.html

Society of Professional Inspectors http://www.sprei.org/
International Association of Certified Home Inspectors http://www.NACHI.org

National Society of Home Inspectors http://www.nshi.us/find_inspector.html

Mold, Radon and Environmental Inspections:

National Association of Mold Inspectors http://www.nami.us/find_inspector.html

National Environmental Health Association http://www.neha.org/

National Radon Safety Board http://www.nrsb.org/
American Association of Radon Scientists/Technologists http://www.aarst.org/

Termite and Infestation Inspections:

National Pest Management Association http://www.pestworld.org/For-Consumers/Finda-

Kansas Department of Agriculture http://www.ksda.gov/pesticides_fertilizer/cid/1304

Missouri Department of Agriculture

January 30, 2011

First Annual 2011Real Estate Summit
Part Two on January 30th, 2011


Marilyn Barth 33+ Years
Barth Real Estate Development
RE/MAX Innovations
Footprint: Kansas City, “The Northland”, Platte and Clay Counties

David Conderman 24+ Years
The Conderman Group
Keller Williams Realty Key Partners
Footprint: “The Close-In Market” from Downtown to Old Leawood

Dan O'Dell 16+ Years
Group O'Dell
Realty Executives of Kansas City
Footprint: Johnson County

Kristin Malfer 20+ Years
Kristin Malfer & Associates
Reece and Nichols
Footprint: Johnson County Upper Bracket and Luxury Listings

TOP 5 Things a Seller Should do to
Move Their House in Today’s Market

1. Kristin: De-clutter! Oh my, clean it out!
2. David: Painting and flooring. Make it look fresh!
3. Marilyn: Landscaping and curb appeal; get the repairs done before you put your home on the market!
4. Dan: Know your numbers! Have a plan for what you can do with the sales numbers, where ever they come in. Partner with the realtors that are the market players!
5. David: Little efforts of remodeling make a world of difference. If you have a couple of unfinished things left to do to your home, get them done before your home is listed.

Bonus: Kristin: Bring someone in to look at the property before you list and put together a plan for your projects. Any agent you are considering listing with should be more than willing and able to give you that kind of feedback.

Bonus: Dan: Make sure you understand how your home will look photographically when your listing is placed online! This is often the first impression someone will have of your home. If they like the way your home looks online, they call for an appointment.

Bonus: Kristin: Make sure your realtor spends the money to have your home photographs done professionally.

TOP 5 Tips to Negotiate The Best Deal on a
New House in Today’s Market

1. Dan: Negotiating is a sport that is not for the “weak kneed”. It is a win-win process. No two sellers are the same in this market. You have to be aware of the specific situation of the seller at the time you are negotiating.
2. Marilyn: Try to find out why the seller wants to sell and how quickly they want to close. Know the needs of the seller, exactly what they are looking for.
3. David: I am a big believer in comps and we have a very detailed spread sheet on comps in the areas where we are writing offers.
4. David: If you know where the appraisal will probably come in, you will be in the best position to negotiate.
5. Kristin: Sometimes everyone wants a deal, but sometimes the house is priced accordingly. The agent needs to show the seller the comps that are true. If you know it is priced fairly, then the agent should educate the buyer about the validity of the asking price of the home they want to purchase. Sometimes comps are difficult due to foreclosures in the market.

January 23, 2011

First Annual 2011Real Estate Summit
Part One on January 23rd, 2011

The Boveri Realty Group
Broker/Owner 10+ Years
FOOTPRINT: Downtown, Westport and Plaza Condos and Rentals

Kansas City Real Estate, Inc.
Broker/Owner 22 Years
Realty Executives of Kansas City
FOOTPRIINT: Eastern Jackson County

Lynch Real Estate
Broker/Owner 10+ Years
FOOTPRINT: Tonganoxie and Leavenworth County

Angel Berry Realtors, Inc.
Realtor 38 Years
FOOTPRINT: Johnson, Jackson and Cass County


TOP 5 Things to Do When Selling Your Home

1. Cliff: Make it beautiful or price it right…it’s either a beauty contest or a price war!

2. Fawn: Pay attention to color; update light fixtures; paint your front door, and make it look sharp. Color matters…check out Real Simple Magazine for the latest color ideas!!

3. Dan: Kitchens and bathrooms need to be clean and orderly; fix any delayed maintenance items; a pre-inspection will help you know what to fix; bring your home up to date with new fixtures, faucets and doorknobs; fresh paint; de-clutter everything!!

4. Christina: Make sure you have a professional and aggressive agent who is an “on the street marketer” and is willing to work hard for you. If he/she does not have a professional presentation on how they plan to market your home, don’t hire them!!

5. Everyone: PRICE YOUR HOME TO SELL! You have to be realistic about your price!


January 16, 2011

Ward N. Kinne, President, CEO

Heritage Advisors, LLC
8826 Santa Fe Drive, Suite 100
Overland Park, KS 66212
phone: (913)642-0700 ext. 11
fax: (913)642-0704
cell: (913)515-8022
website: www.heritageadv.com

Top 5 Financial Tips for 2011

1. Stay committed to fundamentals:
a. Have 3-6 months income in savings
b. Eliminate all consumer debt
c. Tithe 10%, Save/Invest 10- 20%

2. Do a risk tolerance test before investing

3. Invest in companies with strong histories-dividend paying stocks

4. When investing in high yield, high risk vehicles, understand the potential for loss

5. Work with a Financial Advisor who is independent and process driven, not product driven


January 2, 2011

Ken Easley, CMCR, LLC

(PHONE) 913-384-6159/800-930-7627
(FAX) 913-362-7626/800-230-762



At CorrectMyCreditReport.com we mainly provide credit score improvement suggestions specific to each consumers three national credit bureaus, short-term and long-term for point potential. We always first look for errors and omissions and assist in disputes.

1. Obtain your three national credit reports. Review for accuracy. Address any Disputes or Updates needed, and consider joining a Credit Watch monitoring service.

2. Ensure lowest balances on revolving credit card accounts possible. And, ensure posted at all three credit bureaus. Ideally $1 to 10% of credit limit for maximum score value.

3. If you don’t have any revolving credit cards with at least a $1 balance, get one. The best way to do this is to get a True Secured credit card that reports to all three C.B.’s.

4. Avoid NEW: inquiries/pursuit of other credit, consolidating debt, closing accounts, opening new accounts, and most importantly any potential new late payments/collections.

5. TIME: Time can heal most wounds. The more good payment history & time since Delinquencies and/or New Accounts the less negative impact on your credit score.

DISCLAIMER: Everyone’s credit report is a snap shot in time and there are no two alike. Given credit scores are not stagnate and are scored according to the industry inquiring, based on what is reported at the time accessed. Each credit bureau has its own database that does not always contain all the same items, with the exact same information. Even if they did the scores would vary a little bit.

FYI: Collection, Charge off, Repossession and Foreclosure accounts: Generally only if the account is reported as revolving should you try to reach settlement to reflect a zero balance on your credit report. Generally non-revolving bad debts; unless removed, only time will lessen their impact on your credit score. If you want to settle these accounts, try to do it through escrow at closing or outside the application process. NOTE: Paying on non-revolving bad debts could result in a negative impact to your credit


Special Guest Dr. Chris Kuehl

Managing Director
Armada Corporate Intelligence
4015 N. 110th St.
Kansas City, Kansas 66109
(816) 304-3017

TOP 5 Ways the Extension of the Bush Tax Credits
Will Personally Affect You

1. It will save the average taxpayer with an average income about $3,000 dollars in 2011

2. It will eliminate the payroll tax for most earners this year.

3) Business will be more likely to invest in new machinery this year due to the ability to write it off - that will have some impact on hiring given some additional demand.

4. The extension of the tax cuts is only for two years and they will be an issue in 2012 - making it hard to count on them and that will affect some tax decisions for the next two years

5. The loss of some $900 billion in revenue for the government over the next several years will mean that other "revenue enhancements" will figure prominently. Look for many more user fees, temporary taxes and some additional taxes like an expanded energy tax. One of the most talked about provisions will be a new energy tax targeting the transportation sector; they are actually thinking of a federal gas tax. This could make it impossible for people to keep up with inflation. There could be added fees for using national parks, federal facilities and land. If this does happen, generally businesses pass these taxes on to the end user.

Dr. Chris Kuehl’s Prognostication about 2011

Chris believes we will finally experience a bit of stabilization in 2011. He is projecting a GNP growth of 3% per quarter. The big thing will be inflation. As soon as it appears, people will start buying.

A lot of how quickly we recover will have to do with what people do with the money they save. Originally, taxation was simply a revenue stream to pay the bills for running the government. Now it is used to influence, manage and stimulate economic growth

If our current debt stays as is or continues to grow, we will head on the same course such as Greece and Ireland. At some point we have to stop spending and pay our deficit. Our deficit is as bad today as it has been since the end of the WWII. However, the money we owed in the deficit from WWII was all owed right here in America. Today, much more of the money we owe is owed across the ocean to China!

The Kansas City economy will come out of the recession faster than most! We are looking at respectable growth in the KC area Even our automotive manufacturing sector is doing better. Most new industries in the Midwest have done better than other industries. Believe it or not, North Dakota is doing much better than most states. Over all, food and fuel costs will rise, but not as high as they will on the coasts.


Rick Sharga, Sr. VP if RealtyTrac.com

TOP 5 Things to Consider if You Plan to
Purchase a Foreclosure:

1. Start with the end in mind.

This is one of Steven Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, and really applies to real estate investors. Are you looking for properties to hold onto as cash flow properties? Are you looking to buy, fix and flip? Are you looking to buy at a deep discount and sell wholesale? Are you looking to buy non-performing notes at a discount and rehab the loans? Do you want local properties you can manage, or remote properties that have a higher ROI potential? While the end game is to make a profit on your real estate investment, you won't be successful unless you start with a sound plan. That plan will drive the rest of your real estate investment activities.

2. Get your financing in order first.

It doesn't matter that mortgage rates are at all time lows if you can't get a loan. It doesn't matter if you find a great deal on a property if you can't afford it or can't get the financing you need. So if you're not a cash buyer, get pre-qualified before you start looking at properties. Investor financing can be a lot harder to get than homebuyer financing, so start looking at your options early. Do you want a hard money loan? A short-term ARM with low initial rates? If you're a cash buyer, how long will your money be tied up before you can re-finance your purchase or re-capture your cash to do your next deal? Being pre-approved is almost a mandatory requirement if buying a home via short sale; and it's an advantage if you're competing for the purchase of a bank-owned property. Contingency purchases are not looked upon favorably by banks in today's market.

3. If you're buying a foreclosure property, understand which type of foreclosure property best meets your needs.

Do you have the patience and negotiating skills to work through a short sale with a distressed seller and his lender? Are you a seasoned investor with cash who can tell the good deals from the bad ones at a foreclosure auction? Do you want to look for the maximum discount using traditional financing on an REO (bank-owned property) purchase? Short sales may take longer and may not deliver as big a savings, but you might not have any competition for the sale, and might get a property in very good condition. An auction gives you immediate access to properties at the end of the foreclosure process, often at a great discount. But do you know what to look for to make sure you don't make a financially-disastrous mistake? REOs typically offer the best discounts but might need the most work as they're often vacant for long periods of time. And you might wind up competing with other investors bidding against you. Knowing how much risk you can tolerate and what type of work (negotiating vs. carpentry) you're most comfortable with are very important.

4. If you're buying a foreclosure property, don't underestimate the repair costs.

Most new investors underestimate the amount of repair work necessary - and the costs that will be incurred - when buying a foreclosure property. That error can be the difference between making a profit and taking a loss on a property. If you're going to rent the property, it will need to be attractive to potential tenants; if you're going to sell the property, it will need to meet FHA minimum repair requirements to qualify for FHA financing. It makes great sense to get a home inspection and maybe even hire a contractor to give you an estimate for anticipated repairs. Can you build these costs into your financing? If not, do you have enough cash or lines of credit to do the work after you've purchased the property? This is one of the two biggest mistakes real estate investors make.

5. If you're buying a foreclosure property, don't overestimate the value of the home.

This is the other biggest mistake real estate investors make. Buyers become infatuated with the "discount" on the property compared to the last time it sold. How can you go wrong buying a home for $100,000 that sold a few years ago for $200,000, right? Unless that 50% drop is the average price decline in the neighborhood. How much will the property rent for? Are you sure? Do you have good comps? Do you know how long it might take to find a tenant, and do you have the financial means to "float" the property until it's rented? What's the likely resale value of the property once it's repaired? What's the average time on market for one of these properties? Are prices in the neighborhood trending up or down, and are there local market conditions that might affect things one way or another (like a plant closing or new businesses opening)? Buying a home at a discount is a great first step, but it's only the first step: of you can't sell the property at a profit, or rent it at a positive cashflow rate, it wasn't really a good deal.

David Conderman, Realtor
The Conderman Group
Keller Williams Realty Key Partners
4200 Somerset, Suite 101
Prairie Village, KS 66208
(913) 825-1111 Direct Phone
(913) 825-1114 Direct Fax to my Desk

TOP 5 TIPS on What a Seller do to Update Their Homes
Before They Put Them on the Market:

1. Paint, paint, paint! You receive your highest ROI in the money you spend on paint!
2. Flooring…clean the existing carpeting or install new carpeting, refinish hardwoods, get rid of old worn-out linoleum, etc.
3. Update landscaping and continue yard maintenance while the home is on the market.
4. Clean the house! Make sure everything is spotless and shiny! Industrial strength cleaning makes a huge difference!
5. Update lighting fixtures. Nothing says the 80’s like a tarnished old brass chandelier! Replace it!

TOP 5 Tips on How to Improve your Credit Score:

1. Pay your bills on time! If you are not current, get current. If you are past 30 days, please call the account and make sure you tell them the payment is coming, or try to work out a payment plan.
2. Instead of moving debt around to different credit cards, you are better off keeping the card and paying it off as quickly as possible.
3. Don’t close unused credit cards to lower your score. You need some debt or credit. Use those cared occasionally and pay them off each month.
4. Don’t open a bunch of new accounts too rapidly. Strategically pace your purchases over a longer period of time.
5. It’s OK to have credit cards, but manage them responsibly. Only one credit card may not be enough. Pay BEFORE the statement cutoff date.

CRAIG’S ADVICE: NEVER dispute an account on your credit report. When you dispute an account, such as a credit charge or a doctor bill or a car loan, it will lock down your ability to get a mortgage loan until you alleviate the dispute or eliminate the problem. You are much better off resolving the dispute directly with the creditor and getting it eliminated as quickly as possible.

If you are having problems and need advice, you can go to the following websites for help:

· findaforeclosurecounselor.org to locate a nonprofit, HUD-approved counseling agency near you.

· makinghomeaffordable.gov to find information about refinancing and loan modifications options available under the Home Affordable Refinance Program


TOP 5 Things To Consider if You are Laid Off*

*Adapted from Suzanne Thornberry, 10/24/07, 10 things you should do if you get laid off/10 Things/TechRepublic.com

1. Make sure you receive everything your company owes you before you exit.
a. Be sure to file any remaining expense reports
b. Make sure you receive any remaining vacation or PTO pay for which you are eligible
c. If you have stock options, review the company’s vesting policy There could be a window of time when you must exercise the options or lose them.

2. Jump back into the job market right away. Get your resume updated and out the door. Tell your family, friends, church members and networking groups that you are looking for work! Search different company websites for jobs openings.

3. Make a list of all your sources of income
a. File for Unemployment. Companies that lay off employees rarely contest unemployment claims. Unemployment insurance programs are administered by the state and companies usually provide you with the basic rules and contact information for the program.
b. Be prudent with your spending. Evaluate how far you can stretch your severance package.
c. If you have a spouse, how far will your spouse’s income go in covering expenses?
d. If your cash will be scarce and your expenses are high, should you take a job, any job, to head off a serious shortfall? Figure out at what point you would have to make that decision.

4. Prioritize your expenses:
a. Do your best to make your house payment first
b. Water, power, health care insurance and home owners hazard insurance are usually the largest and most critical expenses after your house payment, so be sure to make them on time. Keep in mind that, if you get a utility cut off, it will cost a lot more to get it reconnected than if you pay it right away.

5. Keep up with your debt payments
a. At the very least, get your minimum payment made on time.
b. This is no time to be adding debt to your credit cards. Do without! You will soon find out the difference between wants and needs.

BONUS TIP: Make raiding your 401k your very last option. There will be tax implications so make sure you don’t do it unless you absolutely have to.


If you think you have been involved in a SCAM
here is where to FIND HELP:

If you are concerned that you may be looking at a foreclosure situation or are unable to make your mortgage payments, here are some websites that you can turn to for help and advice:

· loanscamalert.org
o Here is where you can learn more about loan modification scams and how to avoid them
· makinghomeaffordable.gov
o Here you will find detailed information about homeowner assistance programs
· findaforeclosurecounselor.org
o This website will help you locate a government-approved housing counseling agency in your community
· Homeownership Preservation Foundation’s HOPE Hotline: 1-888-995-4673
o You can speak to someone and receive comprehensive information on homeowner assistance programs.

November 7, 2010

Craig Miller’s TOP Five Steps to Getting Financially Fit in 2011!

We are only seven weeks away from making our New Year’s Resolutions. There are two main motivators in life: CONSEQUENCES and CONVICTIONS. If you want to improve your financial situation, you need to be committed to BOTH!

The number one cause of stress in America and the seventh item on most people’s New Year’s Resolution List is MONEY and/or FINANCES!!! Here are Five Steps you can take to get Financially Fit in 2011:

1. Money IN and Money OUT:
a. You need to have a BUDGET! You need to know how much money you have coming in each month and how much money you are spending each month.
b. Pick nine months out of the year, three in the spring/summer, three in the fall and three in the winter and get an average for your monthly expenses. When you take an average of nine months out of the year, you will get an idea of where you are spending your money. Use these averages to build your monthly budget.
2. Commit to your PERSONAL SAVINGS PLAN:
a. What you SAVE should be an affordable percentage of what you earn…5%, 10%, 20% or more. If you are participating in the 401k plan at work, make sure you are contributing at least the minimum to receive your company’s match. Do your homework and figure out what kind of savings plan you can commit to and then STICK TO YOUR PLAN!
b. Commit to paying off your debts! You need to put together a plan to have your debts paid off. Keep in mind, there’s a time and place to use debt wisely. If you have a 0% car loan, don’t pay off your car loan! Just make your monthly payments and use the rest of your money to pay off other high interest debt; or, put your extra cash into an interest earning account or CD so it is earning money for you!
3. Hire a Financial Advisor: Take your time to shop around, meet with various Financial Planners and interview them. Do your own research on them before you choose the right Financial Planner to handle your personal finances.

4. Hire a Tax Preparer or CPA: Don’t rely on your own skills or various income tax preparation software programs. A CPA or a professional, experienced Tax Preparer is up on the very latest tax laws and can help you save more money and take advantage of the tax benefits of your mortgage.

5. Hire a Certified Mortgage Planner: When you are ready to purchase a new home or refinance your current home, consult with a Certified Mortgage Planner. Your home is probably going to be your biggest asset and your largest debt. Make sure you are working with someone who will find you the very best mortgage plan for your personal financial goals.

TWO CRUCIAL SAFETY TIPS that You Must Have in Place!

Be sure to have one year’s worth of your monthly expenses in an interest bearing account that cannot lose value. Not just three months or six months! We all know that an emergency fund gets used up fast when you have a financial crisis or if you lose your job and don’t have any income coming in!

Make sure you have at least some kind of Life Insurance and Disability Insurance to protect yourself and your family.

October 31,2010

Scuyler (Sky) Kurlbaum, Attorney
Kurlbaum Rinne, LLC
913-334-5444 sky@kurlbaumlaw.com

Sky returned to complete his
"TOP 5" Points to keep in mind when
planning your Will and Trust

Please scroll down to September 26th for all the details of
Sky's "TOP 5"

October 24, 2010

"TOP 5" Barriers to Getting a Mortgage*
(*From msn.com/realestate and Investopedial.com documentid=2582886)

1. Lender Paranoia: Mortgage lenders naturally want to avoid repeating mistakes, so it's not surprising that they would look more closely at applicants' financial situations. But, changes in the secondary mortgage market have made them extra cautious. FOLKS, THESE ARE SIMPLE GOOD BUSINESS PROCEDURES, THE RULES ARE THE RULES! YOUR LENDING ISN'T PARANOID, he's just following the rules! If you are qualified and you tell the truth and you get it verified, you will probably get a loan!

2. Restrictions on eligible income: Even if you earn income from a second job, lenders may not care. To count as eligible, income from a second job needs to be derived from the same source for 12 months or from the same field for 24 months without more than a 30 day interruption. You must also show this second income as income on your last tax return. Documentation is the key!

3. Tighter income-verification standards: Same as above! Documentation and verification is the key! It used to be that "no income/no asset loans were cleared; but that is no longer the case!

4. Great scrutiny of credit reports: If you manage to get pre-approval, don't let your guard down. IF you take any action that affects your credit score or any item on your credit report, you'll have to explain. YES and NO says Mark McDougald! You must have higher credit scores than the scores required in the past. FHA and VA are a minimum of 650 and the ideal score for a conventional loan is 760.

5. Uniformed and/or inexperienced loan officers: Gone are the days when just anyone could get approved. If you really want a mortgage, don't pick just any old loan officer. Find one with expertise who truly understands the lifetime implications of what will probably be the largest investment you will every make!

TOP 5 Tips on How to Get a High-Quality Remodel for Less*
(*From Josh Garskof, Money Magazine, November, 2010)

1. Think Off-Season: Doing a project when other Homeowners aren't may save you about 10%. In the Fall, consider putting in a patio or sprinkling system: int he winter, consider a new air conditioning unit, etc.

2. Look for a Mom-and-Pop contractor: Mom-and-Pop contractors have lower overhead compared to larger organizations with estimators, sales men and labor crews. You can save 5% to 20% with a small family business.

3. Combine Small Jobs: Get more work fo ryour money by saving up your odd jobs and hiring someone to do them all at once.

4. Get a Tax Deduction: Give your demolition castoffs - sinks, paneling, doors, cabinets, etc. to a building produce rescue center such as Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. Get a receipt and you can deduct the value of the item as a charitable contribution.

5. Put in some "Sweat Equity": Take on some simple projects yourself, such a s sealing your new fencing or staining your deck. Or, pay your teenager to do it for a modest fee.

October 10, 2010

TOP 5 Reasons your loan has been turned down

1. Appraisal: The home did not appraise as high as the borrower thought it would. A lower appraisal could throw the Loan-To-Value ratio below acceptable standards.

2. Tax Leans or Judgements: You might have an unknown tax lean or judgement against the home. Make sure the seller provides you with a clear title.

3. Income Level: If you are in business for yourself or if you are creative with your tax returns, your income may be lower than you think. BE sure to tell your lender your exact income and anything you might deduct from your income when you prepare your income tax returns.

4. Unpaid alimony or child support counts as a monthly debt.

5. Flood Zone issues: The cost of flood insurance could affect your debt-to-income ratios.

6. A credit score below 680: That is something you should know upfront, before you apply for a loan. In some cases you may be able to qualify for a loan, but a sub 680 score could throw you back.

October 3, 2010

Dan O'Dell of Group O'Dell
Realty Executives of Kansas City
11401 Ash Street Leawood, Kansas 66211

TOP 5 signs that the real estate market is making a comeback
1. The reality is that there are trends out there that indicate the market is coming back. Inventories are starting to reduce as prices are being corrected. Real estate is the first indicator of a recession and the first indicator of a comeback. Phones in real estate offices are ringing more. The average time a house is on the market is about 120 days. That number is down from a couple of months ago.

2. Not everyone is a "real seller" and not everyone is a "real buyer". Sellers must first understand WHY they are selling and have a real understanding of the economics of their market. Sellers that have equity and actually put homes on the market at a realistic price are "real sellers". A seller must understand why they are in the market, and they must understand the market economics and must seek good advice. If you are currently upside down on your home and have to sell, get the best advice you can from a professional, seasoned real estate broker and know how to play and win in this market.

3. The SECOND home stimulus is now in affect! What on earth does that mean?? We all know that the first stimulus is over, but the second stimulus is MARKET driven! Buyers can come into the market and take advantage of the low interest rates and combine that with the fact that home prices have finally bottomed out. RIGHT NOW is the time that you can actually save MORE money than the $8,000 Federal stimulus money!

4. With the right kind of optimism and expertise, a larger number of people can play in this market and come out ahead. ACT NOW because the economy is going to get better! This is one of the finest times to be making a play in real estate market.

5. For sellers who have had a home on the market for a longer time, buyers are beginning to be realistic in their negotiations. Realtors are not coming to sellers with insulting offers. Price your home right and the buyers will come.

What do Dan O'Dell and Group O'Dell do that sets them apart for other realtors in Kansas City?

Dan is a 15 year veteran in the business. Individual situations are improving. The real estate professionals are now allowing the public to hear what they have to say. Same with Lenders. Right now 3 out of four people that come to us cannot be helped immediately. There's a lot of detail to cover in this market and you must have a positive attitude about it. It's messy and takes time and attention to figure out. If you want to win, thrive and kick but, you have to put in the time and do the work!! A passionate professional like Dan O'Dell will always find the best opportunity for you.

July 26, 2010

Scuyler (Sky) Kurlbaum, Attorney
Kurlbaum Rinne, LLC
913-334-5444 sky@kurlbaumlaw.com

TOP 5: Points to keep in mind when
planning your Will and Trust


1. Current Status of Estate and Gift Tax Laws:

a. "Congress Punts on Taxes: - Lead headline in Friday's 9/24/10 Wall Street Journal headline

b. Talk of increase in exemption per individual ($1,000,000 or $3,500,000) and returning to 45% top rate as in 2009 with possible eventual reduction to a 35% rate

c. Those who die in 2010 may owe a big capital gains tax even though no estate tax; heirs of those who die in 2009 may get choice of using 2009 rules

d. "Portable Exemption" - Allowing surviving spouse to use deceased spouse's exemption automatically is being considered

e. Closing of perceived avoidance techniques ("loop holes" or "work arounds")

f. If nothing is done, tax will return in 2011 with a $1 Million exemption per individual and a top rate of 55%

2. Issues with "Do-It-Yourself" Wills

a. Having a Will is better than having nothing. But you have to be careful with the details and pay close attention to what you say, how you say it and how you type it!

b. Consider meeting with Legal Counsel first to see if you have issues that need to be better addressed

c. Remember that a Will is only a ticket to the probate court; consider use of other tools such as a revocable trust

d. Documents are only as good as your plan; plan first, then prepare your documents

3. Inner Workings of Wills and Trusts

a. Taking care of Incapacity Issues

b. Naming Guardians

c. Personal Representatives and Trustees

d. Fiduciary duties of Trustees

e. Trusts created for tax purposes

f. Trusts created for asset protection and management reasons

g. Incentive Trusts

h. Issues of holding a residence in trust

4. "Funding" Trusts

a. Why funding often fails

b. Differences between Missouri and Kansas regarding funding

c. Why each asset can be different

5. Asset Protection Features of Trusts

a. Spendthrift protectiuons

b. Discretionary Trusts

September 19, 2010

TOP 5 Trends we are seeing the average consumer
executing during these tough economic times:

1. Many people are staying put in their homes instead of buying up. This makes sense if your job is unstable, if your credit is bad, and/or if your personal debt is high. HOWEVER, if your job is secure, your credit is good, your debt is under control and you can afford a new home, NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO PURCHASE! Interest rates are at historic lows and the the number of homes on the market are at historic highs! This is a GREAT TIME to be negotiating the purchase of your dream house!

2. Many consumers are trimming back on credit card charges, shopping around for good interest rates and only using a couple of credit cards with the most competitive rates. This makes sense any time, especially now! Revolving credit, which includes credit card debt, fell in July 2010, its 23rd consecutive monthly decline. This total peaked in August 2008 and has fallen every month since then. The nationwide total of revolving credit has fallen 15% since its 2008 peak. (Source: Federal Reserve)

3. People are taking better care of their cars, keeping them longer before they trade them in to purchase new cars. The length of time people are keeping their cars is as much as eight months longer than before the recession.

4. People are actively shopping around for deals on health care. This is smart! Be sure to understand your employer's benefits and take advantage of them if they make sense for you...i.e. cafeteria plans, 401k's, etc.

5. People are saving more money for their retirement and managing their asset allocation with more attention than they have in the past.

TOP 5 Suggestions for all Mortgage Industry Professionals

1. Continue to educate yourself about viable mortgage loan options for your clients' varied mortgage needs.

2. Continue to educate your clients about everything they need to know and understand before they commit to a mortgage loan. Make sure you present various loan options for them, so they can make the wisest choice for their financial future.

3. Take responsibility for our Mortgage Industry!

4. Be proud of what you do because you are helping people realize the "American Dream of Home Ownership"!

5. Be passionate about what you do for other people. You are empowered to make a positive difference in the lives of your clients.
If you aren't passionate about your job, find one you are passionate about!

September 12, 2010

Top 5 Important Things to Consider When
You Purchase or Refi Your Home

1. How long are you planning to live in the house you are refinancing and how long will you need that mortgage?

2. Do you work with a Financial Planner and have you consulted with him/her on this major purchase?

3. Do you have a college savings plan in place for your children's education?

4. Do you have a Will? If not, go to legalzoom.com and get a simple will.

5. Do you have life insurance? Disability Insurance?

These are the simple reasons why you need to consult a Certified Mortgage Planner for what is most likely your largest financial investment. The mortgage for your home should be the cornerstone of your financial plan. A Certified Mortgage Planner will take the time to show you how to develop a mortgage plan and how your mortgage can be leveraged to achieve future financial objectives.

September 5, 2010

Top 5: Things to consider when you are picking your
Home Owners Insurance Agent*

1. Loyalty is over rated! Many insurers have been raising rates to make up for losses they suffered during the financial crisis. At the same time, other insurance companies are competing hard for new customers, which mens some of them are cutting better deals for new policy holders.

2. You may have too much coverage. For now, it is not a bad decision to pass on inflation protection coverage because construction costs have fallen.

3. Your past can hurt you! Insurers can tap into national databases such as Comprehensive Lost Underwriting Exchange to see what claims you've filed. Check your insurance report for mistakes at choicetrust.com.

4. Small claims can cost you. Go with the highest deductible you can afford and bank the savings to cover the cost of minor repairs.

5. A home's history matters! Previous claims made on a home before you bought it can result in your paying more than you would otherwise.


*Sara Max, Money Magazine, September, 2010

August 8, 2010

Top 5: Things to Consider Before You
Go Into Strategic Default

1. Regardless of the reason for going into a strategic default, you will be doing incredible damage to your credit score! Your FICO can drop from 100 to 400 points. Your default will stay on your credit for at least seven (7) years!

2. You will have significant difficulty in getting another mortgage. Freddie Mac makes you wait four (4) years before you can apply for a new mortgage and Fannie Mae makes you wait seven (7) years.

3. You will have to deal with tax liabilities! The Debt Relief Act for 2007-2012 will give you some relief on your Federal Taxes; however, you will still have tax liabilities on the state level.

4. It is UNETHICAL to file for strategic default for personal financial gain just because your home has gone down in value! It is one thing to default if you have lost your job and cannot make your house payments any more; but if you are doing it strictly for personal financial gain, the banks and/or mortgage companies will know!

5. Educate yourself before you make the decision to go into default! Be sure to take the time to consult with an Attorney and a CPA for guidance before you decide and throughout the default process.

Express Appraisals, Inc.
Ryan Tebbenkamp, President
Top 5 Ways to prepare Your Home for an Appraisal

1. Give your home a thorough cleaning. It doesn't have to be spotless, just clean and uncluttered.

2. Perform any deferred maintenance, ie. Peeling wall paper, touch up painting, leaking faucets, over grown landscaping.

3. Make a list of all improvements or remodeling projects you have done to the home in the past 3-5 years and give it to your appraiser.

4. If available, provide a copy of the blueprints for your home and/or a survey of your site.

5. Provide any current sales data or comparables you may know about in your immediate area. There may be a for-sale-by-owner the appraiser may not know about.

August 8, 2010

Top 5: Money Tips for your College Bound Students

1. Help your kids build a budget.

2. Clearly establish financial expectations

3. Highlight the consequences of poor choices

4. Suggest on line tools for tracking their finances

5. Underscore the rewards of financial responsibility.

August 15, 2011

Top 5 Reasons to Refinance Today

1. Record Low Rates – Don’t miss this chance to take advantage of these rates while you can!

2. Record High Fees - Do your homework and make sure you understand all the charges and get them in writing!!

3. Yes, you may qualify to refinance, even if your home went down in value. As long as your credit is in line, you may qualify. Look closely at all the numbers.

4. Do a No-Cost Refinance - not always will this be an option. You have to do the math first. Find out the breakeven point and why you must strongly consider a no cost refinance.

5. Make your mortgage a part of your financial plan!! It has to fit into your overall financial picture. Look at the entire financial picture, set you financial goals. Be sure to save for yourself, your family, your kid’s education!!

Top 5: Simple Facts You Should Know
About Flood Insurance

1. Water that covers 2 or more acres or damages two or more homes is considered a FLOOD!

2. Flood Insurance does not usually cover the contents in your basement except for the furnace, water heater, and other mechanical elements, etc. Flood Insurance does not usually cover jewelry, furs, art, etc; it does not cover anything valued over $2,500.

3. Once purchased, Flood Insurance does not go into effect for 30 days unless you purchase it at the time you are getting a mortgage for the residence.

4. Flood Insurance does not cover loss of use!!

5. 25% of flood claims are not in flood areas - the average claim is $35,000.

July 18, 2010

According to current figures provided by FICO, Inc., the credit scores of millions of Americans are sinking to new lows. 25.5 percent of consumers, nearly 43.5 million people, now have a credit score of 599 or below, making them poor risks for lenders.*

(*KansasCity.com, July11, 2010; by Eileen AJ Connelly, AP Personal Finance Writer)

Mark McDougald and Craig Miller offer you two TOP 5’s to help you understand your FICO score and what to do to improve it.:

Top 5: What Makes Up Your Credit Score?

1. 35% What is your payment history? Are you consistently paying your bills on time?
2. 30% How much do you owe? Do you have a high balance against your credit limit?
3. 15% How long have you had credit with a specific account. Longer is better.
4. 10% Have you opened up any new credit accounts recently?
5. 10% Do you have a varied mix of types of credit? (Credit cards, car loan, mortgage, equity line of credit?)

Top 5: Things You Can Do to Get Your Credit Score UP

1. Pay your bills on time!

2. Keep your balances LOW on all your credit cards. It is better to have several credit cards with low balances rather than have one credit card with a high balance.

3. Pay off debt rather than moving it between cards.

4. Apply for and open up new credit cards only if you really need to!!

5. Check your credit report for accuracy by going to www.annualcreditreport.com

Craig’s Credit TIP: Pay your balance prior to the date your credit card company cuts their statements. Most credit card companies cut their statements in the middle of the month.

July 18, 2010

Chas Rampenthal, VP & General Council

Top 5 Things to Consider Chen Creating a Will

1. Get a Will/Living Trust. Make sure that you have a document that sets out your wishes for your belongings, children, pets, etc. If avoiding probate is important, consider a living trust.

2. Get a Living Will. This is the document that details your wishes if you can’t speak for yourself. Think Terry Schiavo in Florida.

3. Engage in Tax-Free Giving. This is a BIG one. You can reduce the size of your estate TAX FREE by gifting money to your heirs each year. The current limit is $13,000 per person, to another.

4. Make sure to notify your Executor/Trustee/Health Care Rep. If they do not know they are named, it’s harder for them to do their job!

5. UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE! All the finest legal documents in the world, if not updated, will go stale. Marriage, children, death home purchase - these are just some of the major issues that face families every year, and can cause an estate plan to be out of date.

Go to Legalzoom.com for more information on Wills and other Legal Documents.
Type TRUTH in the Referral Box when you check out to receive special savings.

June 25, 2010

Top 5: Tax Deductions many Taxpayers overlook when submitting informtion to their tax preparer

Provided by Chris Winans, CPA and President
The Winans Group

1. Personal property taxes paid on vehicles, motor cycles, boats, four wheelers, etc. are all deductable.

2. Miles driven to and from medical appointments.

3. Medical expenses for fertility treatment.

4. Unreimbursed business expenses.

5. Estimated tax returns and the dates paid.

READ. READ. READ any tax organizer provided by your tax preparer. That document normally contains questions that can be crucial to identifying additional tax deductions or credits!

The Truth in Lending Show is brought to you by Mark McDougald (CEO) and Craig Miller (Senior VP) of FirsTrust Mortgage. www.getamortgageplan.com

FirsTrust Mortgage 4501 College Blvd, Leawood, KS 66211 and 447 SW Ward Road, Lee's Summit, MO 64081 800-492-4664 . 913-312-2000 . 816-222-2200