Real Estate Information Archive


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Whittier first time home buyers, are you aware that there are two (2) types of 203(k) programs that might help you?  The first is the Rehabilitation 203(k) Mortgage Insurance Program, known as the Regular 203(k).  The second type is, Steamlined 203(k) Limited Repair Program with a HUD-Mortgagee Letter 2005-50 that helps to explain the differences between the two programs.

As with all government documents it is very detailed and can be confusing.  However, if you persevere you will learn a lot that can help a first time home buyer.  If reading the government site, , becomes overwhelming – and it will – stop.  Just take your time and digest the information. 

HUD defines a first time home buyer as: “a person(s) who has not had an ownership interest in a principal residence within the three years preceding the date of the execution of the mortgage loan documents.”

You will be expected to verify this requirement by producing certified copies of signed federal income tax returns from the three previous years.  If the borrower was not required by law to file a federal income tax and certify that claim than the requirement is waived.

According to HUD, “the borrower can get just one mortgage loan, at a long-term fixed (or adjustable) rate, to finance both the acquisition and the rehabilitation of the property.  To provide funds for the rehabilitation, the mortgage amount is based on the projected value of the property with the work completed, taking into account the cost of the work.” The major differences between the Regular 203(k) and the Steamlined 203(k) are the amount of monies that you can borrow to do home improvements.

With a minimum repair cost of $5,000 the accepted Regular 203(k) improvements are:

  •  Structural alterations and reconstruction
  • Changes for improved functions and modernization
  • Elimination of health and safety hazards
  • Changes for aesthetic appeal and elimination of obsolescence
  • Reconditioning or replacement of plumbing
  • Installation of well and/or septic system
  • Roofing, gutters, and downspouts
  • Flooring, tiling, and carpeting
  • Energy conservation improvements
  • Major landscape work and site improvement
  • Improvements for accessibility to a disabled person

The Streamlined 203(k) home rehabilitation loan is $35,000 without a minimum repair cost however; there are some repairs that the Streamlined 203(k) program will not cover.  So peruse the website, do your due diligence, have a good property inspection – not a property appraisal, and find a good realtor to help you through the process.


How much is your home worth?


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Angel Food Program Helps La Habra’s Community

by The Domis Team

In April, La Habra’s Community Resources Care Center began a new program – Angel Food, with Landmark Development Corporation as a donor.  This program came about because Mike Murphy, the new president of the board, realized more and more people were coming to the Care Center for help with feeding their families. 

As a police chaplain, the pastor of his church, and the new president of the Center, Mike Murphy was in a unique position to help the community at large.  Landmark Development Corporation had some money they needed to donate to the community.  The two came together and the Angel Food program began.

The Angel Food idea has two sources:

In 1989, “Project Angel Food Program” was started in Los Angeles by Marianne Williamson “as an outreach program of the Los Angeles Center for Living, which helps people with life-threatening illnesses”..  In 1994 this group was delivering 650 meals a day; with the food being prepared in the Crescent Heights United Methodist Church. The Project Angel Food Program, with the movie industries influence, has exceeded beyond its original concept.

Georgia Pastor’s, Joe and Linda Wingo, started their “Angel Food Ministries” in 1994 by feeding friends and neighbors when a local plant closed down and created a need.  From this beginning Angel Food Ministries’ has grown into a “non-denominational organization dedicated to providing food relief and financial support”, that is supported by churches all across the nation.

Mike Murphy has done a good thing by utilizing Angel Food Ministries and Landmark Development Corporation to meet a need in our community.

If you have need more information on assistance contact CalCareNet

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Passive Solar Energy – Not a New Idea!

by The Domis Team

Did you know that the Greek and Roman civilization used solar energy?  The Roman’s laid out their avenues by using a grid of north and south and east and west in order to maximize the use of solar energy in heating their homes during the winter months.  They also used glass to contain the heat in their homes as well as using glass in building greenhouses to grow food year round.  The Romans went as far as making it illegal to build anything that would block the sun’s rays from a person’s home.

This type of solar energy is known as passive solar energy and is used around the world for thousands of years and still is being used today.  As long as the sun shines there will be this type of energy available.  Everything on this earth – plants, animals, soil, humans, etc – uses this energy and it is free.

To properly use the passive solar energy in a home environment depends on where the house is located on the land.  In the northern hemisphere have your house face the southern exposure and of course, if you live in the southern hemisphere have your house face the northern exposure.  By positioning the house correctly you will maximize the benefits of the sun and lower the cost of heating your home. 

There are other things that can be done to make your home more energy beneficial:

  • Insulation
  • Draught proofing
  • Ventilation
  • Windows
  • Landscaping
  • Shading
  • Thermal mass

All of the above usages will aid in cutting down the carbon footprint of mankind and boost the other types of solar energy equipment being used (i.e.; solar panels, solar cells, etc.) and more importantly the invention of future equipment.

There is a program being offered by the federal government and the state government for rebates and tax credit to people who decide to use solar energy. Check back as we discuss the rebates and tax credits being offered to the public.

How much is your home worth?

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Whittier do you think Roth IRA conversion is it a good idea?

by The Domis Team

In a Roth IRA account your savings are tax free and when you withdraw your funds during retirement it will also be tax free.  Of course, converting from another type of savings will incur state, federal, and local taxation.   However, with the new federal estate tax taking effect in January 2011, you will be able to leave the Roth IRA as an income tax free inheritance.  So is a Roth IRA conversion a good idea?

An article from gives some good pointers on why you should convert. 

Why convert:

  • Federal Tax – expect a rise in taxes
  • Moving – state income taxes
  • 70 ½ years old - you will not have to take an annual distribution
  • Inheritance – tax free
  • Taxable Estate – reduce estate taxes
  • IRA investments - decline in the growth of wealth
  • Spouse – loss of your life long partner
  • Social Security – possible taxation

Why should you convert to a Roth IRA if you are moving to another state?  Many states have state income taxes plus other taxes that will hinder your retirement fund.  Also, if you have a taxable estate, the first million is tax free; there are at least 19 states that have estate taxes.

The decline in the growth of the IRA investment has a really good point for converting to a Roth IRA.  There is a special provision for taxpayers to take advantage of and it is possible to undo the conversion, if your investments are still in a decline or just not growing.

As always, having a good lawyer and accountant will aid you in making these decisions.

How much is your home worth?


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Whittier - What is Life Style Creep?

by The Domis Team

What is life style creep?  I have read a few people’s opinions but, the one thing they all agree on … it creeps up on you and is not “keeping up with the Jones”.

How can a life style creep up on someone?  Basically it starts with having  a little more spending money, and then you buy things that you don’t really need.  One person used a dishwasher as an example, another used buying an outfit and another said it was about people close to retirement.  One person even said it is about people trying to keep up with the wealthy and famous.

Owning things is considered a sign of success.  So where does the line between success and excessive start? Some would say it is when your stuff owns you and you don’t own it.  When you live beyond your income or you don’t plan for the future. 

In today’s economy many people have to adjust their life style, wants, needs, and ideas of success.  People are learning or re-learning to pay themselves first and save for, for example, to buy their first home or upgrade to a bigger home.  Others are using their creativity to adjust their lifestyle. 

Whatever you choose to do – don’t forget to laugh.  Change can be fun!

How much is your home worth?


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La Habra’s First Ever Citrus Fair

by The Domis Team

The first ever Spring Citrus Fair was held in April at the Burch Ford property.  And as any good fair will do it was held over the entire weekend.  

The La Habra Chamber of Commerce worked on putting this fair together for months.  Concerned there might not be enough publicity for the first Spring Citrus Fair:  the Fair committee decided to have a parade involving mascots.  To announce the opening day of the Fair the La Habra High Drum Line lead the way.  The Drum Line was followed by the main attractions, the mascots.   The stars of the parade were Knotts Berry Farm’s Snoopy and Chick-fil-A’s Holstein Cow, along with Red Robin’s Red.  Of course, there were the Citrus Fair mascots which represented the locally grown fruit of avocados and oranges.  After all, at one time La Habra was famous for its citrus groves and packing plants, hence the name of the fair.

A fair just wouldn’t be a fair without carnival rides.  There was the Super Shot, the Ferris Wheel, and a beautiful carousel that was built for MGM, along with many other rides.  Helm and Sons Amusements, Inc, owners, consider themselves more of a “portable amusement park.”  Being second and third generation carnival people; the Helms know their business.  They send personnel for safety training to Florida or Texas, have a 2% turnover in personnel, fingerprint and documentation on personnel, and will recruit locally.

What was really nice – there was an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 people at the Fair.  The sponsors and Chamber made a nice profit after expenses were paid.  It looks like the Spring Citrus Fair is here to stay.  See you next year at the Fair.

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Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6




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Linda & Ryan Domis - The Domis Team
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16310 E. Whittier Blvd. Suite F
Whittier CA 90603
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