Monday, December 01, 2008

Mortgage Fraud

Check out this video regarding mortgage fraud. Take the advise and don't ever do anything to give up control of your property. If you are not able to make the payments, contact your mortgage company to work out a plan. Anyone telling you that they can eliminate your deliquency is not telling you the truth. Others may help you but the final control is with your lender.

We work with homeowners to negotiate new payment schedules and or loan terms... however, we have no authority to make that commitment to you, it is a decision that must be made by your mortgage company.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Tips to Avoid Foreclosure

If you are unable to make your mortgage payment, you may have 2 or 3 months before the bank starts the foreclosure process. They will contact you by phone and mail to try to collect the past due balance. If they are not able to contact you, this tends to speed up their process.

If you will talk with the bank, many times you can work out a new payment plan. These days, banks are more willing to add the past due amounts on to the loan balance, reduce the interest rate, extend the length of the loan or consider other ways to help you keep your home. The good news is that banks do not want to take back houses. This creates more work and expenses for the bank to maintain the house.

1 - communicate with the bank as soon as you realize you won't be able to stay current on your mortgage payments.

2 - do what you say you'll do. If you ask them to consider a loan modification, make sure you will be able to make the payments if they accept your offer.

3 - if you see that you can't afford the house, see if the bank is willing to consider a short sale. This will keep you from going in to foreclosure and usually banks are willing to accept less sice it is very expensive for banks to foreclose.

4 - don't pay anyone for help to avoid foreclosure. You can negotiate with the bank on your own or contact a Realtor who is familiar with short sales and loan modification negotiations.

5 - the negotiators at banks have many files they are working on. Make sure you have all the required forms to them at one time. Otherwise, you may get put on the bottom of the stack since other files are complete and waiting for their approval.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

RE/MAX Associates Athens - Sold On A Cure

Jennifer Westmoreland, Evie Brassie, Carol Bitner and Jerri Stracener -- Sold On A Cure - RE/MAX Associates Athens
We will walk 60 miles at the Breast Cancer 3-Day over the weekend of October 24-26. Each of us must raise a minimum of $2,200 in order to walk. As a team, we've raised over $10,000 so far -- and have a goal to raise $12,000 by October 24.
The walk starts in Alpharetta and ends at the World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta. I've been told that we will spend 2 nights somewhere around Duluth, but that's not official yet.
The training has been hard. I walk 4 days a week - Tuesday and Thursdays are short days (only 5 and 6 miles each day) but the weekends are the long days. The longest distance I've walked was 18 on Saturday and 15 on Sunday. That was a couple of weeks ago. I'll be walking 18 again this Saturday but only 8 on Sunday.
Annabell has walked every day with me. We met a new friend, Kim Knotts, who will be walking in the Breast Cancer 3-Day in San Diego in November. We walk together on the weekends.
If you would like to make a donation on my behalf, please click here. Any amount is greatly appreciated.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Athens GA - How to avoid foreclosure

If you're past due on your mortgage payments and won't be able to catch up, here are some options that may help. Typically, you need to be 3 payments past due before you can start the process to get help from the lender.

1. Call the lender and see if they are willing to work out a new payment plan. Many times they will forgive the past due amount completely or add it to the existing balance of the loan. Either way, it reduces the amount you have to pay now. Sometimes, the lender will reduce your interest rate, extend your finance period or reduce the balance on the loan.

2. If you can't get a solution that you can work with, you may need to sell the house. Unfortunately, with the recent housing situation, many homeowners are finding that they owe more than the house will sell for. If that's your situation, the lender may be willing to accept less than the balance on the loan as full payment. This is called a short sale. The bad news is -- they won't tell you that they will accept a short sale until you have a contract to present showing that a buyer is willing to buy the house.

3. If you need to get a short sale approved, the lender will require information from you, including 2 years tax returns, current pay stub, a financial statement showing your current debts and income and a letter explaining why you are not able to continue to pay your monthly payments.

It can be very difficult to get answers from the large mortgage companies. They have so many employees and each time you call, you get a different person. Even when you are assigned to a specialist to handle the "work out", you can't call them. And it can take several weeks to get any answers.

We have been working with several mortgage companies over the past few months as well as a company that is retained by the mortgage companies to work out past due loans. As a result, we have the experience to help you get the best solution for your situation. There is no charge to you for this service. If we do list your home for sale, the real estate commission will be included in offer to the bank. A short sale will allow you to avoid a foreclosure on your credit.

If you have any questions about the process, please contact us. We will help figure out the best options for you. Jerri 706-296-4395 or e-mail:

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Countdown to Kickoff

The third annual Countdown to Kickoff! charity event is in two weeks at the UGA practice fields.

Former UGA players Matt and Jon Stinchcomb and David Greene are hosting the event. Fans will be able to get pictures, autographs and run drills with current and former UGA and NFL players.

This fundraiser will be held on July 18 and 19th and is to benefit the following:

Georgia Transplant Foundation, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, The Children’s Tumor Foundation, and UGA’s Pediatric Exercise Motor Development Clinic

For more information, click here

Monday, June 09, 2008

New method for searching the Athens GA MLS

In the next few days, we will have a new MLS search tool on our website. I will set up different searches, such as "Athens GA condos", "Oconee County homes from $150,000-$250,000","East Athens $80,000-$150,000", and more. I will probably do a breakdown by neighborhoods in Clarke and Oconee counties. After I learn to use the new system, I can provide you with lots of information without you having to spend a lot of time customizing searches. I believe the search I do will have addresses. If not, just e-mail the MLS#, and I'll send you the address.

I'll probably add a few links on the blog too. Let me know if you have suggestions for improving the MLS search when it is added. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

3-day Walk Benefiting Susan G. Komen For The Cure

I am a 3 -Day Walker!
It's a 60 mile walk (over 3 days) to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research.

It started on Saturday night -- at a party, an agent in our office mentioned that she has always wanted to do this walk. Another agent said, "so, let's do it". Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but the next morning, I got nervous about raising the money to qualify. I have to raise $2,200 in order to be able to walk... I sent e-mails out last night to family and past client/friends and have already received almost half the required amount! So, now I'm excited and will probably raise my goal.

So then the reality of walking 60 miles started to come over me. Our broker said "that's like walking to Atlanta!" Wow! I sure didn't think of it like that. But, I'll start training next week and I know I'll be ready by October. Three other agents in our office have said they'll sign up, but I'm not sure how many we'll have in the end. Whatever happens, I know I'm in.
To find out more about the walk of if you want to make a donation, here's the link . To keep up with my successes, just check back on this blog.

Ashford Manor Saturday Sounds of Summer

Ashford Manor is a beautiful Bed & Breakfast in downtown Watkinsville. The grounds are fabulous and the rooms are individually decorated with very unique themes.
Onn Monday nights during the summer, they have music on the grounds. You can bring food and your own chairs -- or rent a table and order dinner from Donderos' Kitchen.
Today, I received an e-mail with this new schedule of once a month Saturday music events. It's a fun way to spend an evening. Click here to get the Monday night music schedule and information on staying overnight at Ashford Manor.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Southworks 2008

MAY 24th & 25th
10 AM to 5 PM each day

Southworks 2008 is this weekend in Watkinsville. There will be over 60 artists and live music by various bands. It's always lots of fun and a good time to help support our local artists.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Buyers Market

We have seen a slow down in sales in the Athens market... so, that makes it a great time for buyers. Not all sellers are going to be willing to sell their home at a reduced price but with a wide selection of homes on the market, it it easier for buyers to find a good deal. We have been working on "short sales" and some foreclosed properties lately. Unfortunately, these homes have an effect on all sales. In the newspaper last week, there were over 80 foreclosure properties listed. Hopefully, this will slow down soon and everyone can get back to a more predicitable market. But, for now, take advantage of a perfect time to buy. Interest rates are low and there are lots of homes on the market. Call (706) 296-4395 or e-mail us to get set up to receive new listings the same day they come on the market. Search the Athens MLS for your next home

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Athens to beat state in economic growth rate

Morris News Service Story updated at 12:05 AM on Thursday, February 28, 2008

ATLANTA - The Athens area will avoid a recession this year and grow at twice the rate of the rest of the state, according to Georgia State University's Economic Forecasting Center.
In a quarterly outlook released Wednesday, Georgia State economists predict metro Athens will add 1.6 percent more jobs - compared to the anemic 0.8 percent growth forecast for the rest of Georgia.
While Athens should dodge a recession, the local economy will see fewer new jobs in 2008 than in the last quarter of 2007, when the city added 2 percent more jobs.
The authors of the forecast note the recession-proof nature of the taxpayer-funded University of Georgia as the area's largest economic engine.
"For this reason, we expect the employment growth in Athens to remain stable and increase by 1.6 percent and 1.7 percent in 2008 and 2009, respectively," they wrote.
The local unemployment rate rose slightly from 3.6 percent in December of last year to 3.7 percent in the same month this year.
Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 022808

Friday, February 01, 2008

New listing in east Athens

Check out the virtual tour to a home we've just listed in east Athens. The home has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and it's listed for $129,900. It has hardwood floors, a new roof, new interior & exterior paint, fenced yard and beautiful landscaping! Let us know if you want more information or if you'd like to set an appointment to see theis great house.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Continuing Education at UGA

Twice a year, we get a catalog from The University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education. They offer a variety of classes for everyone. Some of the main categories are Business & Career Development (Accounting, Customer Serivce, Real Estate), Certificate Programs (Executive Coaching, Personal Proerty Appraisal), Creative Expressions & Personal Enrichment (Dance, Golf, Home Decorating, Wine Appreciation) and there is a lot more.

I have taken a couple of computer classes but the one I enjoyed the most was Feng Shui. I learned about colors and placement of objects to enhance good chi. There is a new course (just 1 session) being offered this time. Also, there is a course on Organizing and Preparing Your Home to Sell (Or Just Getting You Life in Order). That one sounds good to me.

You can also learn a new language, golf, photography, and real estate investing. The link to the catalog is

Saturday, January 05, 2008