Millie Gil & Carlos Gil Cascades Realtors
Bold Real Estate Group
1860 SW Fountainview Blvd. #100
Port St Lucie , FL 34986

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Schedule Ample Time for Your Cascades Port St. Lucie Home Inspection 

Congrats! Your offer has been accepted and you are officially in escrow. Now what?  Usually the first order of business is to arrange your Cascades Port St. Lucie home inspection. When you were house hunting, you were weighing so many factors it was next to impossible to thoroughly examination of every nook and corner of every one of the serious contenders…in fact, it wasn’t necessary. But now that you’re moving forward to a purchase, you want to do more than kick the tires. It’s time to get under the hood!

Here is a taste of just some of the areas you and your inspector will be examining during your Cascades Port St. Lucie home inspection:


You will be taking a close look at the tiles around the handles on the bath tub or shower. If they are a different color, it could indicate a plumbing problem. A look under the kitchen sink for stains beneath the pipes can also indicate leaks—something you’ll want to know more about from the seller.


HGTV’s home inspector Rick Yerger lists water as enemy #1. "Of the many homes I have inspected," he says, "water damage to the structure has been the most damaging and costly, causing foundation problems, rot and the dreaded mold."  He recommends close examination of exterior grade for sloping (or draining) back toward the home; stucco issues where they’re applicable, and roofing materials.

Inspect the Yard

If there is a yard on the property, take the time to do a thorough walkover. Look at the condition of the shrubs, grass and flowers. Check the irrigation, the lighting. You should also look closely at the fencing and gating: they can be expensive to repair.


Exposed wires can result in a house fire or other devastating damage. Open splice wire (where wire is conjoined using only electrical tape and/or wire connectors) is a common do-it-yourself mistake often seen in attics, garages, and crawlspaces. Any issues found with the wiring should be corrected ASAP.

These are only a few of the many areas your Cascades Port St. Lucie home inspection will cover, so when you are scheduling the day, don’t make other appointments that might rush the process. Of course you hope that everything will be found to be flawless, and if only minor problems are uncovered, the seller may simply volunteer to correct them. But if the home inspection reveals that a significant amount of work will have to be done to bring it up to an acceptable standard, you and your agent will probably be submitting additional terms reflecting the requirements. As always, if you’re looking for that agent—the one you will want by your side throughout the entire home-buying process—I hope you’ll give me the call!


The Benefits Of Home Ownership in Cascades St Lucie West

By Millie Gil

The decision to purchase a home is exciting and a major investment for your future.  Because there is only so much of it to go around, real estate is the top choice for many investors and the desire for most families.  This article is designed to highlight some of the many benefits of home ownership and how buying a home can often turn the American Dream into a reality. 

One of the most profitable markets in real estate is rentals, which means that many families are paying to live in a home that isn't their own.  In some cases, renting a home is necessary.  For all others, the money that would be spent on rent could instead be used to pay a mortgage.  In fact, monthly rent payments often exceed that of a typical mortgage payment.  One of the greatest benefits of home ownership is putting money into something that you can call your own and knowing that the monthly payments are going toward your home's equity. 

Speaking of equity, many properties experience a growth in value as more development moves into the area or the economy strengthens through an increase in job opportunities.  If this happens, home values soar and owners can bask in the glory of their newfound profit.  When you purchase a new car, it depreciates the moment that you drive off of the lot.  When you buy a home, however, it has the potential to appreciate year after year.  There are few things in life that can offer you a return above and beyond your original purchase price, but a home can.


When you own a home, you will enjoy the freedom of decorating and making any changes that you choose without needing the permission of a landlord or property owner.  In addition, you may even be able to use your home's equity to finance some needed improvements and/or repairs.  In some cases, these changes may even increase the value of your home.  An upgraded kitchen or bathroom, hardwood flooring or an additional room are examples of changes that could result in added value.


Another advantage of home ownership is the tax benefits that are available.  The interest paid on a home mortgage as well as most property taxes paid are tax deductible.  For additional information on deducting mortgage interest and property tax, consult the IRS or a tax professional.


In addition to providing yourself and your family with a feeling of stability and permanence, home ownership can also help strengthen your credit profile through timely mortgage payments and a steady financial history.

About the Author: Millie Gil is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group. For more information please forward email to



Buying Verses Renting A Home


By Millie Gil


When it comes to a home, you have two options: buy or rent.  What is right for one person may not be right for another, which is why it's important to know which is the best option for your individual situation.


Why People Rent


There are a number of reasons why someone may either choose or be forced to rent, including sporadic or unpredictable income, a high debt-to-income ratio, a bankruptcy or foreclosure within the last six months, unpaid collection accounts or judgments, frequent relocating for employment or the inability to save enough money for a required down payment on the purchase of a home.


Maintenance Matters


As a homeowner, you will be responsible for any maintenance or repair issues that arise.  This is a big consideration when choosing whether to rent or buy.  When you rent, the property owner is responsible for repairs and it may not always be obvious that these issues can be very costly.


How To Know When It's Time To Buy


If you have steady income with a good employment history, can provide a down payment of at least 5-10 percent of the purchase price and are current with all debts, it may be time to consider buying a home instead of renting.  In some cases, the cost of rent may even exceed that of a typical mortgage payment.


When deciding to buy, job stability is a big factor.  If your job does not require frequent relocation and you plan to live in the home for at least 5-10 years, you may want to consider making the purchase.  If you need to relocate after that, you may have enough equity from the sale to use as a down payment on another home.


Home Buyer's Checklist


If you can answer yes to the following questions, you may be ready for home ownership.  Your REALTOR® can help you to find the perfect home based on your individual needs.


·      Have you been steadily employed for at least one year, but preferably two years?


·      Do you plan to live in the home long enough to build equity?


·      Can you provide a down payment and still have enough money left to pay for closing costs, utilities and home furnishings?


·      Are you current on all debts, including auto loans, credit cards, etc.?


·      In addition to any current debts that you may have, can you afford a monthly mortgage payment which will likely include property taxes and insurance?


·      Do you have the time to devote to shopping for a home and comparing interest rates from various lenders?


·      Have you checked your credit reports for inaccuracies and disputed anything that needs correction with each of the three major credit reporting agencies? 


The decision to buy or rent is a very personal one that can only be determined after a careful evaluation of your situation. A REALTOR® can show you the perfect home and a lender can tell you whether or not you can afford it, but it's up to you to make the choice as to whether or not you are ready to make the move.


About the Author: Millie Gil is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group. For more information please forward email to 


Home Buying Checklist: The Process Of Buying Your New Home

By Millie Gil

Once you've made the decision to buy a home, it's time to start thinking about what comes next.  Every buyer needs a checklist that will guide them through the process of searching for the perfect home, evaluating their choices and making a purchase.

Learn The Lingo

When you set out to buy a new home, you will need to familiarize yourself with various real estate terms, conduct research on the market value of homes in the area in which you intend to shop and learn the art of negotiation.  This information will help as you browse homes, talk with REALTORS® and get further into the buying process.

Get A Free Credit Report

Every 12 months, you are entitled to request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies - Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.  You should make this request before you begin looking at homes in order to allow yourself enough time to identify and dispute any inaccuracies in your credit file(s).  When you approach a lender, you will need to make sure that everything is correct and up-to-date.

Get Pre-qualified

Pre-qualification is different than pre-approval in that it gives you a possible price range that you can afford, but does not guarantee you the loan.  Pre-qualification is important because it will help you narrow your search to include only homes that you can afford.  Knowing what you can pay beforehand will save you both time and disappointment in looking at homes that do not fit your budget.

Speak With A REALTOR®

Nobody knows the real estate business like a REALTOR®, so let them help you to find your new home.  Based on your specific requirements, a REALTOR® can locate a home that will suit you at a price that's within your budget.  When he/she finds one or more possible candidates, you will be invited to tour the home.  At this point, you should take a camera for the purpose of later reviewing each house with visuals instead of relying solely on memory.

Make An Offer

Once you find the perfect home, make an offer that's less than you are actually willing to pay.  This way, the seller can make a counteroffer that would hopefully still be within your budget.  It's important to familiarize yourself with the art of negotiation so that can learn how to get the best deal without insulting the seller.  If you have not yet been pre-approved, make sure that your offer is contingent upon your being able to obtain the necessary financing.

Obtain A Loan

Once you and the seller agree on a purchase price, you may be required to provide an earnest money deposit that will secure the home as you obtain a loan (if applicable).  A lender will require a home inspection and appraisal for the property in connection with your loan application.  In most cases, you will know within 24 hours whether or not your application is approved, but the actual closing will not occur until the inspection and appraisal are complete.

Get Moving

Now that the papers are signed and you have the keys to your new home, it's time to get moving - literally.  Remember to decorate your new home and add all of those special touches that reflect your personality.  After all, a house is only a house until you make it a home.


About the Author: Millie Gil is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group. For more information please forward email to 


Buying Your First Home - Seven Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

By Millie Gil


Now that you've made the decision to purchase your first home, a hearty congratulations is in order!  Becoming a homeowner, especially for the first time, can stir up some feelings of anxiety and excitement.  With the knowledge that you gain through individual research and the help of your REALTOR®, you will soon begin to feel like a seasoned house hunter.


Tip # 1: Do Your Homework

Did you know that there are a number of incentives available to first-time home buyers?  Everything from a 3-5 percent down payment and interest rates as low as 5.75 percent are just a few of the ways that lenders help to make the dream of home ownership into a reality for many.  An FHA loan, for instance, is especially appealing to first-time home buyers.  The best way to find out what's available, in terms of down payment requirements and interest rates, is to do your homework by comparing offerings from various lenders.


Tip # 2: Save Money

Although many loans are geared toward offering lower down payments to first-time home buyers, it's important to save as much money as possible so that you will have enough to provide an earnest money deposit (if applicable), pay for closing costs and still have the funds to furnish and decorate your new home.


Tip # 3: Get Your Credit Profile In Order

When you apply for a loan, the lender will access a copy of your credit report and will use the information to determine your creditworthiness and/or interest rate.  This means that you will want to make sure that the information contained in your credit report is accurate and up-to-date.  You can do this by requesting a copy of your file from each of the three major credit reporting agencies - Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

In addition to past credit history, lenders will also look at your current debt ratio in order to determine whether or not you can afford the home.  This means that you may want to consider paying down some of your existing credit card debt and avoid taking on any new debt before applying for a mortgage.

Tip # 4: Start Your Search

With the World Wide Web being what it is today, it's no surprise that many potential home buyers start their search online.  A Realtor's Web site is designed to not only list real estate, but also to educate a buyer as they move through the process of searching for a new home.  In addition, the internet offers a way for consumers to browse through color photos and virtual tours, both interior and exterior, along with information pertaining to the homes themselves.  The convenience of being able to find a home that you like without having to wait is just one of the many benefits to shopping for a house online.  When you are finally ready to meet with a REALTOR®, you will already have one or more prospects in mind.

Tip # 5: Have Patience

Perhaps you will find the perfect house this week, or maybe it will take a little longer.  Some buyers find exactly what they are looking for right away, while others have to do a little more searching to find their dream home.  As a first-time home buyer, it's a good idea to begin the process with an understanding that good things really do come to those who wait.  You may see a number of homes, take numerous photos and may even make an offer or two, but patience may very well be the key to finding your new home.

Tip # 6: Take Notes

If you see a lot of homes, it will be impossible to remember the features of each.  For this reason, you should consider taking a notebook and writing down each unique or defining aspect that you like or dislike about a particular house.  This information, along with any photos that you take, will help you greatly when it's time to make a choice.

Tip # 7: Don't Settle

A home is a big investment and it could, quite possibly, be the largest you will ever make.  For this reason, along with the fact that you will be living in the home every day, make sure that you get what you want.  There could be an instance where you need to make some type of compromise, but you may want to avoid choosing something just because it's within your price range or you feel as though it's your only option.  New houses are placed on the market every day and, as a buyer, the next one listed may just be your dream home.


About the Author: Millie Gil is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group. For more information please forward email to 


Finding Your Perfect Home

By Millie Gil


As the old saying goes, real estate is all about location, location, location.  But, there is a lot more to it than just plain geography when it comes to finding your perfect home.  There are a lot of things to consider during the search because, for most, a home is the most significant purchase they will ever make.  

Choose A Good Area  

When searching for your perfect home, the obvious place to start is with the selection of a location.  If you have children, you may want to choose a home that is close to good schools and is also located in a family-oriented neighborhood.  Many people also look for a home that offers a short commute to and from work.  If you are shopping within a specific price range, you can also narrow the choices by finding an area that offers the best value for your dollar.  

Select A Style  

The perfect home for you is one that has all of the elements that you want.  Whether it's a garage, basement, extra bedroom or bath, a large kitchen, fireplace or open floor plan, choosing the style of home that you want is an important first step in finding the perfect place to hang your hat.  You may also want to consider whether you prefer a single-level or two-story home.  Many home buyers also factor in floor plans when searching for a house, including those that offer an open and flowing design.

Get Pre-Qualified  

Now that you know what you want and where you want it, it's important to find out how much of a home you can afford.  Pre-qualification is not the same as pre-approval.  With pre-qualification, your lender will request specific information relating to your income and expenditures and will offer a possible price range for you to keep in mind while shopping.  Pre-qualification does not guarantee that you will receive an approval, but it does give you a good indication of how much you can afford based on your current situation.  


Nobody knows the real estate business like a REALTOR®, so let them help you in your search for the perfect home.  They can answer questions relating to the neighborhood, recent inspections on a particular home and any needed repairs.  Because a REALTOR® has access to a number of area homes, they have the ability to show you various choices within your preferred area and price range. 

Ask About Amenities  

One of the most significant concerns of any home buyer is what a home has to offer.  Utilities, such as water, sewer, cable, phone and electricity are just a few of the things to consider.  If the home is in a subdivision that requires the payment of association dues, how will these funds be used?  What amenities does the home owner's association offer?  These are all questions to ask your REALTOR® when shopping for the perfect home. 

In conclusion, you should know that the search for your perfect home is a journey.  It may be either long or short and with or without some bumps along the way, but the greatest satisfaction will be at the journey's end and your future's beginning. 


About the Author: Millie Gil is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group. For more information please forward email to 


What Is An Earnest Money Deposit?

By Millie Gil


An earnest money deposit, also known as a good faith deposit, is a specific dollar amount that a potential buyer pays to the seller in an effort to display their serious interest in a property.  It's important to note that an earnest money deposit is not the same as a down payment.


The Purpose Of An Earnest Money Deposit


An earnest money deposit is used to secure a purchase contract, which means the buyer doesn't have to worry about the property being sold out from underneath them.  Without an agreement, the seller would be free to sell the home at anytime.  An earnest money deposit, however, secures the availability of the home as the potential buyer obtains an inspection, appraisal and financing for the purchase.


How Much Good Faith Is Enough


So, just how much of an earnest money deposit is required?  Truthfully, it depends on a number of factors, including the home's purchase price, your location and the standard as set by other sellers.  In most cases, the earnest money deposit is negotiable and the seller will be happy in knowing that the potential buyer is serious enough to offer their money in good faith.


How An Earnest Money Deposit Is Used


If the transaction is successful and the buyer follows through with the purchase, an earnest money deposit is most commonly refunded to the buyer or applied to closing costs.  If the buyer defaults or is unable to obtain financing, the seller often has the discretion to retain the earnest money deposit as damages or as otherwise described in the purchase agreement.


Using Your Dollars And Sense


When it comes to an earnest money deposit, it's essential that buyers know who should receive the money and how to handle the payment.  In most cases, the deposit should be made payable and presented to a licensed real estate broker, an attorney or escrow company.  Your REALTOR® can assist in getting your earnest money deposit into the right hands.  It's important to obtain a receipt, which should clearly outline the purpose of the deposit.  The funds will be handled in accordance with the purchase agreement and/or as agreed upon by both the buyer and seller.


Before handing over a good faith deposit, make sure that you have faith in the person accepting your money.  Potential buyers should not give an earnest money deposit directly to the seller, nor should they give it to anyone who claims to be with a brokerage firm unless their credentials are verified.


About the Author: Millie Gil is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group. For more information please forward email to 


What Is A Home Warranty Plan?


By Millie Gil


A home warranty plan, also known as a home protection plan, is a service contract that offers homeowners a way to safeguard themselves against possible breakage or a malfunction within the home.  It's impossible to predict the future, which is why so many buyers look for that little extra peace of mind to comfort them when life unexpectedly throws them an unforeseen problem.


Who Needs A Home Warranty Plan


Basically, anyone who purchases a home and is concerned with the cost of repairs should consider a home warranty plan.  This is especially true of first-time home buyers who may not be familiar with home maintenance.


Factoring In The Cost


When factoring in the potential cost of repairing a major appliance or other home component, a home warranty plan may not be a bad investment.  The actual cost of warranty coverage will depend on the plan chosen and the items protected.  As is the case with everything in life, it's best to shop around and compare prices.


Who Pays For A Home Warranty Plan


As a buyer, you can order a home warranty plan in conjunction with the purchase of your home.  However, some sellers or builders may include this type of offering as an incentive to attract potential buyers.  In this case, the plan is yours at no additional cost.  Some REALTORS® may also offer a home warranty plan as a gift to customers who buy a home through their agency.


What's Covered & What's Not


Just like a car warranty, no two policies are the same.  Coverage varies by location and issuer, and your REALTOR® can help you to choose a warranty plan that best suits your needs.  Most basic plans cover a home's heating and cooling system, electrical system, plumbing, water heater and major appliances, including a dishwasher, range/oven/cooktop, garbage disposal, etc.  Coverage does not apply to items that are misused or damaged, either intentionally or through negligence.  Instead, most home warranty plans are designed to protect the homeowner from defects that result during the course of normal wear and tear.


When considering the purchase of a home warranty plan, review the complete contract and familiarize yourself with exactly what's covered under your policy.  If you want an upgraded policy, don't hesitate to ask your REALTOR® if one is available.  Most companies do not require a home inspection and will notify homeowners when their coverage is about to expire.  The good news is that most policies are renewable.


What To Do If A Problem Arises


If you are unable to satisfactorily resolve an issue with your home warranty plan, either due to denial of a claim or undesirable service, talk to the REALTOR® who sold you the home.  If he/she refers a lot of business to this particular company, it may be possible for him/her to speak with them about reaching an amicable resolution.


The purchase of a home is a big step and it's likely to be the largest purchase you will ever make, so be sure to consider all of the options available to help protect yourself from costly repairs.  Ask your REALTOR® for more information relating to available home warranty plans.

About the Author: Millie Gil is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group. For more information please forward email to 



Why Ask For An FHA Loan?

By Millie Gil

There are lots of reasons to ask your lender for an FHA loan instead of taking a conventional or an expensive and risky sub-prime mortgage loan. Why not take advantage of the many benefits and protections that only come with FHA:

Easier to Qualify - Because FHA insures your mortgage, lenders are more willing to give loans with lower qualifying requirements so its easier for you to qualify.

Less than Perfect Credit - Even if you have had credit problems, such as bankruptcy, its easier for you to qualify for an FHA loan than a conventional loan.

Low Downpayment - We have a low 3% downpayment, and that money can come from a family member, employer or charitable organization. Other loans don't allow this.

Costs Less - Many times, FHA loans have competitive interest rates because the loans are insured by the Federal Government. Always compare an FHA loan with other loan types.

Help You Keep Your Home - The FHA has been around since 1934 and will continue to be here to protect you when the others walk away. Should you encounter hard-times after buying your home, FHA has many options to help keep you in your home and avoid foreclosure.

There is more to buying your home then the monthly house payment. Why not ask for an FHA loan that will help you buy your house and keep it too? Tell your lender you want an FHA loan for all the reasons above- FHA is a wise choice.

About the Author: Millie Gil is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group. For more information please forward email to 


Getting the Best Mortgage Rates in the New Economy

by Brandon Cornett

All home buyers want the lowest mortgage rate possible when applying for a home loan, because it directly translates to a smaller payment each month. And who doesn’t want to shrink their monthly expenses?

But how does one obtain a low rate on a mortgage loan and, for that matter, why is it important in the first place? These are the subjects we will discuss in this tutorial for first-time home buyers.

How Your Credit Score Relates

When you apply for a home loan, you be sure that the lender will request your credit reports and scores from all three of the reporting companies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Lenders also reserve the best rates for borrowers who fall into a certain credit category.

What score you need to qualify for this category will vary from one lender to another, but it’s safe to say that the better (higher) your credit score, the lower the mortgage rate you’ll receive. This in turn translates into a lower payment each month, which is the whole point to all of this.

Here’s something not many home buyers realize. Over the last few years, the score needed to qualify for the best rates on a loan has risen. This is largely due to tougher restrictions on lending institutions (as a result of the subprime loan crisis of 2007 - 2008).

In fact, I saw Jean Chatzky (financial editor for the Today Show) on TV not long ago, talking about this very subject. She said that in May of 2008, borrowers needed a score of at least 620 to qualify for the best rates. By May 2008, however, that requirement had increased to 760 … an increase of 140 points! Today, in 2010, those higher standards are still in effect.

How You Can Improve Your Score

This is a good time to introduce you to another acronym related to home loans, a term you’ve probably heard before on television. The acronym if FICO (pronounced fie-coh). It stands for Fair Isaac Corporation. This is the company that created the scoring model that is used today. Basically, it’s a computerized scoring model that turns your financial history into a numerical score between 300 and 850 (with higher being better).

So with all things being equal, a higher FICO number means that you’ll be offered a better rate on your loan. That’s because a higher number tells lenders you know how to manage your finances, and that you’re responsible when it comes to paying bills.

You can maintain a good score by paying all of your bills on time. This includes credit card balances, car payments, rent, utilities, etc. It also helps to reduce your overall debt, starting with those credit cards. These are the keys to being a successful home buyer in the new economy.

© 2009, Cornett Communications.

About the Author: Brandon Cornett is the publisher of the Austin Mortgage Center, a resource for home buyers in Austin, Texas. You may visit the author's website at to learn more about this topic.


Go online and start researching the topic of credit scores, and you will quickly be overwhelmed with information and analysis. But in truth, there are only a few important concepts that you, as a first-time home buyer, should know about credit scores.

Here are five of the most important things to keep in mind when you start shopping for a mortgage loan — an even long before that.

1. Mortgage lenders will check your score.

When you apply for a home loan, you can be certain that the mortgage lender will review your credit score — among other financial factors. It’s not the only thing that will determine their decision, but it is one of the top factors of the mortgage-approval process.

If your score is low, you won’t even get your foot in the door. You will be rejected right from the start, or you’ll have a much harder time finding a willing lender. If your score is high, you will have more options and better interest rates available to you.

2. Your score partly determines the interest rate.

The interest rate is one of the components that will make up your monthly mortgage payment. Obviously, the principal amount you borrow is the largest factor that determines your monthly payment. But the interest rate plays a major role as well.

If you have a high credit score, you are more likely to get a low rate on your home loan. This in turn will reduce the amount you have to pay each month toward the mortgage. On the contrary, a bad score generally means a higher interest rate — and therefore a higher monthly payment as well. How much higher, you ask? That’s our next point.

3. A good score can save you thousands of dollars.

The difference between a good and bad credit score can greatly affect the interest rate you receive from the lender. It could be the difference, for example, between a rate of 5.5% and 7.2%. These may seem like small numbers on the surface, but when you apply them to something as large as a mortgage loan, we are talking about thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

4. Your score comes from your own actions.

Credit scores are not arbitrarily assigned to consumers. Your score comes from the information contained within your credit reports. You have three of these reports by the way — one for each of the consumer credit-reporting bureaus.

So where does the information within your credit reports come from? It comes from your own personal actions, your financial history, and your previous use of credit. In other words, it’s a snapshot of how well (or how poorly) you have managed your credit in the past. Good behavior creates a good score, and bad behavior has the reverse effect. It doesn’t come out of thin air — it comes from your own actions.

5. There are no mysteries to improving a credit score.

There are a lot of companies out there who would like you to think that it takes some kind of special knowledge to improve a credit score. These companies make money from people who don’t realize they can handle it for themselves. So let’s set the record straight right here and now. You are the only person who can improve your credit score, and you can do it without paying any other company for assistance.

Pay all of your bills on time, maintain low balances on your credit card accounts, and use credit sparingly. These three things alone can help you earn and sustain a good score for years to come. And there’s no certainly mystery in that!

About the Author: Brandon Cornett is a consumer advocate and publisher of the Home Buying Institute. You may visit the author's website at to learn more about this topic.

Should I buy a house now or wait until later? This has always been a common question among first-time home buyers. But with the uncertainty of our current economy, this question becomes even more important. In truth, nobody can answer this question for you. It’s up to you, the home buyer, to decide whether or not it’s a good time to take the plunge.

Five Good Reasons for Buying Now

Should you buy a house now, or wait until next year? Here are five things to consider when making this important decision.

  1. In May 2009, housing starts rose by 17% over April. This surprised many economists, who were not expecting such an increase. This rise in housing starts (new construction) indicates rising confidence within the building industry. This kind of trend usually coincides with housing recovery in general.
  2. Many economists are saying that the housing market has reached bottom in many parts of the country. In other cities, prices are still falling but are expected to reach bottom in the near future. This means that buyers could get into a home at “rock bottom” prices, and without losing any further value after the purchase.
  3. Mortgage rates have been at record lows for several months now, but they are starting to rise. During the week of June 8, 2009, the average rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage reached their highest point in seven months. Nobody has a crystal ball, of course, but many economists expect rates to exceed 6% by the end of this year (they were around 5.3% at the time of this article). Rising rates are another good reason to buy now instead of later.
  4. “First-time” home buyers who have not owned a home in the last three years can still qualify for a tax credit on their purchase, up to $8,000. Currently, this program is set to expire in December 2009. So it’s yet another reason to buy a house now, rather than later.
  5. Prices are still relatively low in most cities across the United States, but this may soon change. The positive signs mentioned above will be bring more buyers into the market. This will eventually reduce the huge surplus of homes for sale, which in turn will drive prices upward once again.

Here’s what it all boils down to. Only you can decide if now is a good time to buy a house. You need to review your finances and establish a budget, before you can answer this question with any certainty. But there are plenty of good reasons to buy a home sooner, rather than later. So give it some serious consideration!

About the Author: Brandon Cornett is a consumer advocate and publisher of the Home Buying Institute. You may visit the author's website at to learn more about this topic.


The Popularity of LEED Homes

By: Millie Gil

With more people wanting to take an active role in "going green", there is growing interest in the concept of LEED homes.

This nationwide green building program can apply to any structure, from corporate buildings to private residences. There is a very precise certification system that allows a home to qualify as a green structure, and it can be an expensive endeavor. For many, the upfront cost can be a deterrent, but for anyone that cares about the environment and their health; it's a small price to pay.
Understanding the long-term benefits of a LEED home encourages many homeowners to take the plunge and go green. In fact, did you know that going green can solve many allergy problems? With childhood asthma and allergy problems on the rise, parents are readily considering the concept of living green.

It is expected that in the next few years green homes, like hybrid cars, will become more common. As popularity rises, upfront costs to go green will go down, allowing more people to enjoy the benefits of living this way. To achieve certification, a home must meet many criteria and be rated by a professional in the LEED industry. They will ensure that the home will operate under certain guidelines before they can deem it a green home.
Some of the qualities necessary to becoming a LEED home are water efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environment quality, and innovation in design. It's also important that the home meet certain sustainability standards’, meaning it is built on land that was already developed and doesn't impact the environment in a negative way. Going green is something homeowners all over the country are considering. With so much opportunity for solar energy, it's no wonder homeowners continue to see more people opting to build LEED homes.

The benefits of a green home are numerous. For many people, the fact that they are making a positive impact on the environment is incentive enough, but it's nice to consider the other things that one can enjoy with a LEED home.

Lower energy bills, less risk of certain toxins, and improved resale value are some of the benefits. It's no wonder so many people are trying a cleaner green concept in all areas of their lives. From recycling to living green, you can save money and have a clear conscience at the same time.

Bold Real Estate Group. Your one-stop source for residential and commercial real estate. Our site makes your search for Florida Real Estate very easy. The site includes all Florida properties for sale or rent in a searchable online database by Listing City or MLS Number. We assist Buyers, Renters and Sellers Locally, Nationally and Internationally. Bold Real Estate Group strives to provide the highest standard of real estate service by combining today’s technologies with yesterday’s caring attitude. Our goal is to give our clients the confidence to know that their transaction will be completed successfully.

About the Author: Millie Gil is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group.  For more information please forward email to



How To Present A Winning Back Up Offer In Cascades

By Millie Gil

Have you found your dream home in Cascades community but just learned that it already has a pending offer in place?  This is a very common occurrence,  especially if the home is in perfect condition and worth every penny they are asking for it.  So what should you do?  Should you give up?  No!  You should submit a back up offer.  However, there are a few things you should learn before submitting your offer.

Here are a few things that will help you submit a winning back up offer.

1.  It is not necessary to offer significantly more than the asking price.  You don't want to overpay for the home.  Remember, it will still have to have an appraisal and be approved for that appraised amount.  However, it is recommended that you offer the seller what they are asking for the home or just slightly more if the current offer is already at the asking price. 

2.  You should always get pre-approved before attempting to buy any home.  This could mean the difference between having the seller accept your offer or someone else's offer.   If you submit a back up offer, and the other deal falters in any way, you will more than likely get the backup offer over someone else that has not been pre-approved.  In addition, you should include in your offer that your credit and your financials have already been reviewed by your lender.  This just puts you one more step ahead of everyone else.

3.  You should show the seller that you are flexible.  Sometimes sellers need to close quickly and others need a longer period of time close.  The more flexible you are the more likely you are to have your back up offer accepted over another offer.

4.  Try to write your offer without contingencies or as few contingencies as possible.  If  your offer has no contingencies and with the other offer the seller will have to wait for the buyer to sell their home, you will more often than not get the deal. 

5.  Try to appeal to the seller on an emotional level.  Ask Realtors Millie and Carlos to give the seller a personal letter from you introducing yourself and letting them know what you love about their home and why you feel you are the perfect buyer. 

Generally, a seller has an emotional attachment to the home and wants to see it go to someone who loves it as much as they do and will care for it as they do.  Also, by doing this, you will put a "face" to your offer whereas all of the other offers are all going to come across as impersonal, anonymous offers.  It's worth a try.  You never know what might get through to a seller. 

Talk to Realtors Millie and Carlos about any other tactics they have successfully used to secure a winning back up offer.  Your realtor deals with these types of things every day and will be able to guide you through to the purchase of your next perfect home.

About the Author: Millie Gil is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group. For more information please forward email to

Do You Need A Home Energy Audit?

Are you wondering if you're paying to heat and cool your attic?  Or, if you're flushing money down your toilet?  Those are legitimate concerns and if you haven't done an energy audit in a while, well then, you probably are.
There are several types of energy audits available to you.  You can choose anything from a free audit to a do-it-yourself audit or you can have a professional  come to your home and do one for you.

Here are a few things that will help you determine what type of home energy audit is right for you.

1.  Free Home Energy Audit.  You can find these on your local utility company website or at Home Energy Saver or Energy Star.  These are all free for you to use and they will help you determine the areas of your home that are costing you money.

2.  Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audit.   In order for you to utilize this type of audit, you will need a few tools before you can get started.   This audit will cost you around $50 if you don't have the proper tools.  If you have your own tools, it will essentially be free.  Here is a link for a DIY home energy audit.

3.  Hire A Professional.  A professional energy auditor will give you a visual inspection or a diagnostic inspection depending on your budget.  A visual inspection will generally cost around $150 and due to the auditors experience,  will be able to give you many options for reducing your energy waste.  A diagnostic inspection will cost anywhere from $350 - $650.  This type of inspection is performed using equipment such as a thermal scanner and a duct blaster.  With this type of equipment, your energy auditor can easily find leaks, toxic fumes and where your insulation is lacking.

For any of these energy audits, you will need some specific information such as what your energy costs and usage were from the previous year, what type of energy source powers your home and what the square footage is for your home, etc.  It is well worth the savings for the little bit of time you will spend working on your energy audit which is usually somewhere between two and four hours depending on what option you choose.

If you decide that you would like a newer, more energy efficient home, call Realtors Millie and Carlos.  They would be more than happy to give you a list of available homes in Cascades Port St. Lucie.


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