How Long Does a Foreclosure Affect Your Credit?

I am constantly asked  how long does a foreclosure affect your credit.   What can I do to get my credit back and buy a San Diego North County home?  The article below deals with foreclosures and a “notice of foreclosure.”

Having a foreclosure is not the death knell to your credit score, but it does make a big hit.  How long you have to wait to buy that San Diego North County home depends on the reason for the foreclosure and other circumstances. The general rule is that a foreclosure stays on your credit report for seven years.   A foreclosure is considered a major derogatory item.  Your credit score will start to suffer as soon as a “notice of foreclosure” is filed on your property.  The damage a foreclosure makes can vary, but it can be as much as 200 points.

Rebuilding After a Foreclosure

After your foreclosure, your priority has to be rebuilding your credit.  You have some time because Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have strict rules on how long it will take before you are eligible for another North County home loan.  For example, at Fannie Mae, if you have a foreclosure with extenuating circumstances, such as a job loss, medical issues, or a divorce, you must wait about three years.   Same is true at Freddie Mac.  If you do not have extenuating circumstances, Freddie Mac, says the wait is five years.  If your home foreclosure was caused solely from your own financial mismanagement, you must wait seven years before you can buy that North County home.

Tips on Improving the Odds

If  you have been through a foreclosure there are things you can do to make lenders want to take a chance on you again:

  • Save money for your downpayment. 
  • Clean up your credit score by paying off or paying down your debts.
  • Establish a record on “on time payments”
  • Get your credit score as high as possible
  • Show stability in you job
  • Monitor your credit report.  Make sure paid off lines of credit and loans show closed.
  • Talk to a good lender

At Prudential California Realty, I work with some of the best lenders in the business.  My partner at HomeServices Lending, Curtis Fox, would be glad to take a free look at your credit and see what we could do to get  you into your next San Diego North County home sooner.  Contact Gary Harmon, your North County real estate expert.

All content by .

Home Maintenance Tips

Fall is, for many San Diego North County home owners, the most enjoyable of all the seasons. One reason for this time of year’s popularity is we usually have great weather here in San Diego County.  Many times it is warm, and some of our clearest days are this time of year.  (On my morning walk this morning, I could see San Clemente and Santa Catalinia Island, and I live in San Marcos.  Now that is clear.)   We also get to enjoy Charger football.

While you are out enjoying the fall colors, the nice weather, Bates Nut Farm, and Fall activities, take some time to prep your San Diego North County home – both indoor and outdoor – for winter with the below the photo fall home maintenance tips!

Outdoor Maintenance Tips

  • Make sure the weather stripping on your windows and doors fit and is in good condition.
  • Clear debris out of you window wells, gutters, downspouts, and storm drains. 
  • Look for cracked glass and damaged screens or storm windows. Check for loose putty around glass panes.
  • Clean your windows. Sparkling clean windows let in lots of sunlight that will help chase away winter’s doldrums.
  • Use a good winter fertalizer with weed killer to keep you lawn healthy.

Indoor Maintenance Tips

  • Change the batteries in the smoke detectors.
  • Change the filters in the furnace.
  • Get your heating system checked by a professional.
  • Make sure you have proper insulation in both your attic. 
  • Check your duct work to make sure there are no air leaks.  It is a very common problem for ducts to come apart in the attic.
  • Clean out any dust that has accumulated in vents to reduce exposure to indoor pollutants and cut down on winter colds.
  • Remove hair from drains in sinks, tubs, and showers. 

To help you get ready for the next big holiday, see Thanksgiving in San Diego 2010.

If you are considering buying or selling a San Diego North County home this fall, contact Gary Harmon, Prudential California Realty, North County Realtor.   Gary specializes in San Diego North County homes including:  Carlsbad homes, Oceanside homes for sale, Encinitas homes, Vista, San Marcos, and Escondido real estate.  Gary Harmon also specializes in San Diego North County homes for over 55 seniors.  North County Homes for Over 55 (55+) covered on this blog include Ocean Hills Country Club homes, Oceana homes, and Emerald Lake Village (all in Oceanside). Other homes included are Rancho Carlsbad homes(Carlsbad), Oaks North homes and Seven Oaks homes (both in Rancho Bernardo).

Team Up with the Best – Sell Your Ocean Hills Home

Prudential California Realty

Why work with the rest?  Team up with the best, Gary Harmon and Prudential California Realty.  If you were selecting a doctor or lawyer, you would want the best.  When you are selling your most expensive asset, your Ocean Hills Country Club home, you owe it to yourself to also have the best.  Gary’s winning team is the best.  You don’t have to take our word for it, see the objective opinions of the San Diego Union and J.D. Power and Associates.   Put Gary Harmon’s winning team to work for you today.

Once again this year, Prudential California Realty has been honored by the Union Tribune, 2010 readers poll. “Of all endorsements real estate professionals can receive, the ones that come from our clients mean the most.”  Thank you San Diego Union readers for voting us the best for 2010. I can assure you that we are already working to be the top in next years poll.

Prudential California Realty was again recognized by the San Diego Business Journal as being #1 in real estate home sales in San Diego for the 14th straight year.

Nationally, Prudential Real Estate Network ranked “Highest Overall Satisfaction for Home Sellers Among National Full Service Real Estate Firms” in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2010 Home Buyer/Seller Study. This marks the second time in three years that the Network ranked highest in seller satisfaction.
Nationally, Prudential was ranked by JD Power as top.

I am proud to have Prudential California Realty as part of my winning team. Maximize the chance of selling your Ocean Hills home for more money and less time, team up with Gary Harmon and Prudential California Realty. For more questions contact Gary Harmon, your top Ocean Hills Country Club Realtor.

$10,000 CA Tax Credit

The State of California has passed a new credit for qualified first-time home buyers who buy a qualified principal residence from May 1, 2010 through the end of the year.  This would apply to almost all San Diego North County homes for sale.  Escondido homes or Encinitas homes can be mobile homes, manufactured homes, attached homes, condos, or even a houseboat.  Haven’t seen many of those in San Diego North County.

To be a buyer eligible to buy these San Diego North County homes you must be a first-time buyer.  You or your spouse cannot have had an ownership interest in any home, anywhere, in the last 3 years.  You are not eligible if you used the 2009 new home tax credit or if you are under 18.

Applications for these credits are being accepted now by the State.  The State has set aside $100,000,000 for this program, but when the money runs out, so does the program.  It is strictly, first come, first serve.  It is estimated that the money will run out by the end of May.

If you want to get in on this great opportunity you had better get started.  Contact Gary Harmon, your top North County Realtor today.  For more information see California 2010 Tax Credit First Time Buyer.

Now is the Best Time to Sell Your Escondido Home

It is spring in the Escondido real estate area and the flowers around your Escondido home are starting to bloom.    The skies have cleared of rain and the days are mostly sunny.  The lawn is looking lush green and is at its very best.  First impressions of your Escondido property are always the most important. NOW is when Escondido buyers will get that great first impression when they drive up in front of your home. 

In is a know fact in the San Diego North County area that Escondido buyers like to buy in the spring.  One of the main reasons is that tax season is over and they can now concentrate on their Escondido home search.   Another reason is that buyers like to buy in the spring so they are ready to move when school is out for the summer.  After summer the Escondido real estate market slows considerably.  So, the best months to have your Escondido house on the market are April through August. 

The San Diego North County real estate market is getting stronger.  Data Quick released results yesterday saying  the market has improved and prices have increased over this time last year.  The State of California is coming out with a new tax credit of $10,000 on May 1st  to help boost California real estate sales for new and first-time home buyers.  Interest rates are still relative low.   So the best thing you can do is list your Escondido real estate now.

To get a free CMA (competitive market analysis) of your Escondido home, contact Gary Harmon, your top Escondido Realtor.

New California First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

With the Federal Tax Credit expiring on April 30, 2010, Governor Schwarzenegger saves the day by signing AB 183 into law.  The new first-time homebuyer tax credit becomes effetive on May 1, 2010.    It will be on a first come, first serve basis and when the $200 million runs out the credit is over.  Unlike the previous state tax credit which applied only to new residences, this credit will be split equally between new (previously unoccupied homes) and existing homes.   This website will discuss how the credit affects Escondido real estate purchases, but the same rules would apply to other San Diego North County real estate sales. 

First of all to qualify for the first-time homebuyer tax credit, you must be a first-time Escondido home buyer.    The amount of the tax credit on your Escondido home purchase is limited to 5% of the Escondido home for sale price or $10,000, which ever is smaller.  You will receive you tax credit over three consecutive years.  To be eligible you must purchase a qualified Escondido home between May 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010.   If you enter an enforceable purchase contract before December 31, 2010, it must close escrow before August 1, 2011 to qualify.   Again, when the money runs out the program is over.

The new California first-time homebuyer tax credit is expected to have a very positive impact on the Escondido home economy and around the state.  Nearly 40% of first-time home buyers said they would not have purchased without the Federal tax credit.  The California credit is expected to provide similar results.   For more information about tax credits, contact Gary Harmon, your Escondido Realtor.

Tax Man and Escondido Real Estate

YouTubeAfter that solem State of the Union speach last night, I think everyone can use a little humor. If you don’t find this YouTube video funny, you must at least admit this video is creative.  With a little research, I found the music was based on the Beatles song, Taxman. To avoid the tax man, read below.

On of the best ways to avoid the tax man or to save on taxes is to own Escondido Real Estate. If you buy an Escondido home now through April 30, 2010 and close escrow by June 30, 2010 you can take get up to an $8,000 tax credit if you are a new first-time  home buyer. You can use the credit on 2009 or 2010 taxes.  If you are an existing Escondido home owner you can get up to $6,500 as a tax credit for buying an Escondido home. If you own your Escondido home as a principle residence can write off your interest and taxes. If you have Escondido investment property there are many ways to help avoid the taxes. Escondido real estate ownership is still on of the best ways to help avoid the tax man.

For more information on owning Escondido real estate, contact Gary Harmon, your Escondido Realtor.

Before you take anyones tax advice, talk to your own “tax man.”

Cracked Slab – Escondido Dream Home

I just answered a buyers question on and I though my answer might benefit some of my Escondido buyers.  Question:   We found our dream home and it’s going to auction in a few weeks after not selling as a short sale. Perfect area, etc .. but has a cracked slab.  Could we get an FHA loan for it “As is” ?  We have a very tight budget so big money for additional contrctor’s inspection isn’t an option.  Loosing sleep over this. Any suggestions ?

My answer is as follows:  You have some very good advice from fellow agents, but my advice is to RUN AWAY from that house. There are many good Escondido homes on the market and myself or any other fine Escondido Realtor would be glad to help you find one. Auctions are a hard way to buy and no-one has your six.  Also, you will need to sell your Escondido home someday and would have to disclose to a potential buyer that your home had a cracked slab. Even if it is fixed and is perfect, future Escondido home buyers will have doubts and skip it in favor of a home with no preceived problems. We all have enough problems, leave this one for someone else.

If you would like my help in finding a great Escondido home call me at 760-745-1220 or check out my blog at or web at

Preparing Your Escondido Home for Sale

Escondido Home  Bathroom Remodeling

Escondido Home VanitiesAlthough this is not part of my post on “100 Ways to Prepare Your Escondido Home for Sale,” it will help you increase your market value.  If you want to increase the value of your Escondido home, try remodeling the bathroom before listing your Escondido home for sale.  The bathroom is one of those places that homeowners often seem to overlook in favor of their living rooms or bedrooms. Ironically, the bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your house, and one of the first things prospective Escondido home buyers will look at when they shop for Escondido real estate. It’s no secret that renovating a bathroom can increase the market value of your home, and will certainly improve your chances of making the sale.

On paper, it is always nice to ensure that your plumbing is up to date; no one will care how nice your bathroom shower is if you’re running it on outdated pipes that barely transport enough water to your showerhead, especially if that water takes fifteen minutes to heat up. Unfortunately, a repair like this only shows up on paper, so prospective buyers won’t be able to see your new plumbing for themselves. Make sure you let them know that the plumbing is up-to-date.

Bathroom Lighting

Bathroom lighting is also of the utmost importance when listing your Escondido home. As a general rule, the better-illuminated a bathroom is, the cleaner and more spacious it appears. To that end, a great way to improve the visibility (and sell ability) of your bathroom is to install new fluorescent light fixtures and perhaps even add a skylight or widen a window. It should be noted that before you do anything, you should clean up and de-clutter the bathroom. No matter how well-lit it is, a bathroom won’t look good if it is crowded with junk. Installing jet baths or whirlpool bathtubs also seems to improve home market values, though it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense why: few people even seem to make use of these luxury items.

Bathroom Vanities

Of course, changes like this take lots of time and a good amount of money. Assume that you want to upgrade the bathroom in your Escondido home and thereby improve your Escondido home’s listing value, but you don’t want to spend months of contractor work doing it. There are a number of ways to add value to your bathroom in as little as a single weekend.  First, consider replacing the tiles on your floor, especially if they are moldy or discolored. This can be done simply and quickly with new adhesive laminate tiles or linoleum. Installing simple amenities like new shower curtains or towel racks also helps. For a swift and thorough means of improving your bathroom’s value, try installing a brand new bathroom vanity: these appliances are often the focal point of the room and the very first thing a visitor will see. New and stylish bathroom vanities will beautify any bathroom and increase your Escondido home’s listing price tag.  For more your information about selling your Escondido home, contact Gary Harmon, you top Escondido Realtor.

Varadero Lake San Marcos Home

Nestled in the quiet Lake San Marcos homes community, this highly-upgraded turnkey property offers resort lifestyle living. Residents in Varadero enjoy their own community pool, spa and BBQ. In addition, they have access to the Lake San Marcos recreational facility with its own club, billard room, paddle boats, tennis courts, swimming pool and spa. The Lake San Marcos golf course is just minutes away. For full golf access, resident can join Lake San Marcos Country Club for a fee.  This property is a rare opportunity as you will discover many upgrades that translate to value that your client will truly appreciate. There are 3 bedrooms,3.5 baths and a den that can easily be converted to a 4th bedroom.  Among the upgrades you will find are custom built-in bookcases in the living room, custom painting through out and faux paint in the formal dining room, custom window treatments and plantation shutters, fireplaces in the living and family room, master bathroom boasting his and her water closets and oversized walk in closets. Low maintenance upgraded porcelain tile in high traffic areas and upgraded carpet in selected rooms. You must check out the gourmet kitchen!