How to buy a $475k condo with $25k down and pay $1,950 per month!

Building wealth takes discipline and sacrifice, but sometimes a little creativity goes a long way. As a mortgage broker, I am frequently asked if I have any tricks up my sleeve to help bring down the cost of a mortgage.

Here is one way to buy a condo (or house) for up to a $475,000 purchase price with $25,000 down and pay $1,950 per month!  That payment includes utilities, Internet and cable TV, applicable tax deductions and taking a roommate

Here are the basic requirements:

  1. A minimum $85,000 income.

If you do not make $85,000 per year, you will need more income to qualify. One solution is a co-signer. A family member, for example, with good income and low debt can help you qualify for the loan.

  1. You must be debt free.

If you have credit card debt, reduce your spending and start paying off those cards asap.

If you have a car payment, sell the car or return a leased car back to the dealer asap.

Take whatever money you have available and buy a car for cash. My financial advisor has reminded me over the years: If you need to finance a car, you can’t afford that car. I’m not saying we can always avoid going into debt but it’s a good point. Drive a clunker for a few years while save you tons of money.

Here’s my personal story on this topic: Many years ago, I too needed to get my finances in order. I was overspending and it needed to stop. For a 2-month period I (painfully) wrote down every single penny I spent. The results were rather shocking to me. I had spent $22 on parking in 3 days, for example. To this day after (finally) becoming successful, I would rather park on the street for free 3 blocks away and walk 4 minutes to my destination than to pay a valet to park my car.

Cooking at home replaced the constant eating out. I never realized food is actually fairly inexpensive. Costco sells Japanese Wagyu Boneless Ribeye Roast at $99.00 per pound and chicken, turkey and ground beef under $3.00 per pound. Take your pick.

From there, saving money turned into a fun game – how to find ways to have a great time with spending little to no money.

I sold my car and purchased a used 20-year old Honda Accord for $3,500 cash. Honestly, driving that car made me feel semi-embarrassed at first. But soon those feelings were replaced with happiness and the joy of not having a car payment.

Driving that Accord saved me tons of money, never broke down, and I sold the car for $3,500 2 years later! True story. Next, I bought a used Ford F150 for $10k cash. Gas prices went up that year so after filling up for $100 on a Monday (and again on a Wednesday!), I sold the truck bought a used Toyota Camry for $11,500. Five years later someone hit my car and totaled the Camry. The insurance company cut me a check for… take a guess… yes, $11,000! I had driven that car for 5 years for $500. Yes, I got very lucky. But it all started with my decision to live within my means and pay cash for whatever car I could afford.

  1. Find a 2-bedroom condo for sale.

As of my writing this article there are 2-bedroom condos for sale for $475k or less in Studio City, Santa Clarita, Burbank, Glendale, Koreatown, Sherman Oaks, Long Beach, Reseda, Stevenson Ranch, Torrance…etc.

  1. Find a roommate who will pay you $1,250 per month rent.
  1. Educate yourself about the tax benefits that come with owning a property.
  2. You can deduct the property taxes and mortgage interest, which literally puts money back in your pocket. So let’s count those savings when calculating the monthly payment.

    Let’s take a look at the numbers:

    Purchase price: $475,000

    Down payment: $23,750 aka 5% down

    Closing cost: Negotiate seller to pay in full.

    Principal & interest: $2,400

    Property taxes: $495

    Homeowner association fee: $300

    HO6 insurance: $25

    Mortgage insurance: $0

    Utilities, Internet and TV: $300

    Roommate: $1,250

    Estimated Tax break: $4,800 per year

    Payment calculation: $3,200 mortgage payment + $300 utilities, Internet and TV –  $1,250 roommate – $400 tax break = $1,950 per month.

    Disclaimer: I am not a CPA. Please consult your CPA for current tax laws and your specific tax savings. Principal & interest payment are based on current rates for qualified buyers only. HOA payments will vary. Utilities, Internet and TV costs will vary. HOA insurance cost will vary. Property taxes may vary. Roommate figures may change. All numbers mentioned are subject to change. All loan programs are for qualified buyers only.

    Here’s one thing I know. Many financially successful spend way below their means. What feels cool to them is saving money, not spending money and always owning and never renting. When I bought my $3,500 Honda Accord, my successful friends praised and validated me while my financially challenged friends pitied and felt sorry for me – which is hilarious. And those same financially challenged friends are still financially challenged 10 years later – which is less hilarious.

    Real estate has been a great investment over the past 50 years. Let’s figure out a plan how to get YOU into a property whenever the time is right for you.  Feel free to contact me anytime with questions at [email protected].

LIBOR is going away in 2021!

A series of fraudulent transactions connected to the LIBOR first reported

Here are 5 things to know about LIBOR:

  1. LIBOR stands for Intercontinental Exchange London Interbank Offered Rate, the world’s most widely used benchmark for short-term interest rates.
  2. LIBOR rates are published Monday-Friday at 11:30am London time.
  3. Banks commonly use LIBOR as the benchmark rate to charge each other for short-term loans.
  4. LIBOR is used for debt instruments including student loans, credit cards and Adjustable Rate Mortgages.
  5. Adjustable Rate Mortgages adds the LIBOR rate + ARM Margin rate to calculate the variable interest rate portion.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages are 30-year mortgages with an interest rate fixed for 5, 7 or 10 years. For example, a 7-year adjustable rate mortgage is a 30-year mortgage with a fixed interest rate for first 7 years with a variable interest rate for the remaining 23 years.

The ARM margin rate is determined by the bank and is fixed for the life of the loan. A common margin rate is 2.25%. Today, the 1-year LIBOR rate is 1.73%. Based on these rate, ones adjustable rate mortgage would be 3.98% today.

“This date is far enough away to reduce the risk and costs of a more sudden change”, says Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority in Britain. “By having a date by which transition will need to be complete, however, we give market participants a schedule to plan to, and make it easier for them to engage as many counter parties and Libor users as is practicably possible in that planning.”

How will the outstanding $1.33 trillion of mortgages affected once LIBOR goes away? Nobody knows yet.



The Impact of Solar Panels on Your Home


Residential solar is becoming more and more popular with peoples desires for independence from the grid and a greener lifestyle. Local and state governments are still offering incentives to install solar panels. Many new home construction builders include solar panels as an energy saving option. Solar may or may not become a major player in generating cheaper energy – only time will tell. What is the impact of Here are a few things to consider when looking at the property value impact of solar panels.

  1. Government incentives will not last forever.
  2. Solar panels can cost upwards of $20,000 and may be financed.
  3. Selling your property with financed solar panels? Financing agreement can be transferred to the new homebuyer or must be paid in full before or at the time of closing escrow. The best-case scenario is the new homebuyer loves solar panels and is willing to take over the financing agreement. Worse case scenario, the new homebuyer hate solar panels and wants the panels removed entirely before purchasing the property.
  4. What is the life expectancy of a solar panel?
  5. How much are maintenance costs?
  6. How much value do panels add to the value of the property?

Solar has a cool factor in my opinion but the cost is still fairly expensive. The government is betting big on solar panels, hoping solar panel technology will become more effective and cheaper in the future. With Porsche just announcing 50% of its production to be electric by 2023, it would appear our appetite for low-cost electricity is not going anywhere anytime soon.

How to Make Money by Downsizing

Downsizing can truly mean “less is more.” If you are a homeowner and considering a lifestyle change, following are the top 3 benefits of downsizing from a larger to a smaller home.

$250,000 to $500,000 Home Sale Tax Exclusion! The Home Sale Tax Exclusion is one of the last remaining incredible tax benefits out there today! Sell your home, and pay ZERO taxes on profits up to $250,000 if you’re single or $500,000 if you’re married. To qualify, you need to have owned a primary residence for 2 years.

Save Money, Save Time! For homeowners who no longer need a larger home or do not want to maintain a larger property, downsizing might be the perfect option. Consider the incredible amount of time and money you will save over a one year period maintaining a smaller home.

Build Equity in a New Property! Build equity in a new property and qualify for the same $250,000 to $500,000 Home Sale Tax Exclusion. Or keep your property as a rental and start building your portfolio.

Living in Los Angeles gives us many lifestyle options from which to choose: from living in a beautiful condo by the beach to living in a house in the hills, and everything in between. Discover the possibilities. You might find an even better living situation than one you’re already in.

How to Qualify for a Home Loan IMMEDIATELY Following a Short Sale, Foreclosure, Bankruptcy, or Loan Modification

Qualifying for a home loan IMMEDIATELY following a short sale, foreclosure, bankruptcy and loan modification is now possible. Waiting periods have plagued home buyers looking to qualify for a home loan following a credit issue ranging from 2-7 years. If the credit issue was related to severe medical issues, acts of god, or for reasons that were truly not your fault, obtaining financing without a waiting period has always been possible with shorter waiting periods.


Today, buyers have the option to potentially qualify for a home loan IMMEDIATELY following a foreclosure, short sale, bankruptcy and loan modification. Larger down payments are mandatory along with a good reason why this credit issue occurred.

Tell me your story! Email me what your credit issue is, and I will let you know if financing is available to you.

Top 5 Ways to Raise Your FICO Score

Having excellent credit comes down to following 3 simple rules: Use your line of credit regularly, make at least the minimum payments, and make your payments on time. Borrowing money and paying it back on time increases your “good” credit points and raises your FICO score. Late payments, collection accounts, liens and judgments increase your “bad” credit points and lowers your FICO score.

Here are The top 5 Ways to Raise Your FICO Score:

1. Keep your Credit Card Balance Below 30% of the Credit Limit

Make sure that each of your credit cards carries a balance of no more than 30% of the total limit. If you feel the need to borrow more money than that, try to use another credit card. It is better to spread out credit card debt over multiple cards than to have a large balance on one card

2. Remove “Late Payments” Reported on your Credit Report.

Many creditors (though not all) will remove one 30-day late payment record upon request. Call the customer service phone number on your monthly statement and ask to speak to the department in charge of adding and removing late payments. Tell them the late pay was an honest mistake, and ask if they would remove one 30-day late payment record as a courtesy to you. If they say no initially, don’t be too proud to beg a little.

3. If You Have to Make a Late Payment, Make Sure It’s Less Than 30 Days Late.

Pay the minimum payment no more than 29 days after the payment due date. You will not be reported 30-days late if you do so, and your FICO score will not be negatively affected.

4. The 3-Credit-Card Rule: Use 3 credit cards on a monthly basis.

The more you borrow money and pay it back on time, the more your FICO score will increase. You do not need to carry a balance, and you do not need to buy large ticket items.

5. Pay Off or Settle “Derogatory” Accounts.

Derogatory accounts are unpaid collection accounts, tax liens, and judgments. Unless you pay off or settle these accounts, your score will never improve.

If even if you have a low FICO score, the good news is that the past need not equal the future. Starting today, make every payment on time, and watch your credit score start to skyrocket!

Top 3 Things to Know About Your Income

When qualifying for a home loan, a high FICO score and a large down payment are commonly considered the most important factors. In fact, many other factors are equally important, but the #1 factor that affects your ability to qualify for a home loan is income. Income is king!

Here are the top 3 things to keep in mind when calculating your income for a home loan:

1. You need to have received any bonus income, commission income, or overtime income over a 2-year period for it to qualify as “income.” And if your bonus, commission, or overtime income declined from one year to the next, it will not be considered income at all when qualifying for a home loan.

2. Self-employed borrowers qualify using their AGI (adjusted gross income), i.e. the income reported after deductions. If your business grossed $1,000,000 but $990,000 was expensed that year, your income that year, as far as the lender is concerned, was only $10,000.

3. Employee expense deductions. According to the IRS, non-self-employed people are allowed to write-off various employee expenses. Those expenses are deducted from your gross income to calculate the income used to qualify for a home loan.

Not all money one earns will necessarily be considered income when qualifying for a home loan. Complete a thorough pre-approval with your lender so you know exactly what your lender considers your income. Always know your true buying power before starting to shop for a home!