Back-to-School Organization

28 Aug 2015 · by Virtual Results PubSub

Back-to-School OrganizationWith school starting, it’s time to do a little reorganizing to make early mornings and after-school activities run smoothly. When starting school after moving to a new Loft, consider some of the additional challenges your children face and plan accordingly. Implement changes to the household gradually so that your kids adjust before that big first day!


Over the summer, kids typically wake later in the morning and fall asleep later in the evening. To ease the adjustment, begin walking back the bedtime hours until you reach the optimum time at least a few days before the start of school. To help in the transition, install blackout curtains in bedrooms and avoid blue light from television, computer, tablet and phone screens.

Breakfast and Lunch

Stock your refrigerator with quick, nutritious options for breakfast and to-go lunches. Choose health-conscious options that your kids like and have them help you pack their lunch the night before school.


If your children wear uniforms, having several options so that you don’t have to launder them at night during the week is helpful. Have children pick out their clothes the night before. Create a special space in their closets just for school clothes so you can tell at a glance if you need to replenish their wardrobe before the weekend.


Creating a shoe station at the door saves time on hunting for that lost shoe and keeps wet, dirty or muddy prints from tracking through the Loft. Consider a separate shoe cubby for each child and hang hooks above each cubby for jackets and backpacks. If your child plays sports, create a separate cubby for uniforms, equipment and sports shoes.

After-School Snacks

Set up an afterschool snack station in a basket or decorative bin on your counter and a specific shelf in your refrigerator for juice, sports drinks and veggies or fruit.


Create a Homework station. For younger children, a specific space off the kitchen or living area keeps supplies and assignments contained and organized. Set up organizer boxes for each child to place assignments and set a calendar and bulletin board above the station to keep track of due dates, after-school activities and special events.

Older kids benefit from having a desk or study area in their rooms or a quieter office space, but a calendar on the outside of the door lets you keep track of their schedule while offering them some privacy.

Preparing For the Big Day

Starting a new school in a new neighborhood requires advance preparation. If your child walks to school, take the time to go over several routes to and from school. Learn where crossing guards assist on busy streets and where sidewalks offer safety as they walk to and from school. Locate bike lanes and the safest biking routes from your Loft. Locate bus stops and learn the correct bus numbers.

If you’re looking for a Loft in a specific school district or need information about your neighborhood schools, check with your local real estate professional for up-to-date statistics and data.

Prepping for a Cross-Country Move

21 Aug 2015 · by Virtual Results PubSub

Prepping for a Cross-Country MoveWhether you’re moving across the country (or even across the state) to attend school, take a new job or just experience someplace new, a long-distance move is different from an across-town move. To take some of the stress out of the move, and to avoid some costly mistakes, follow all, or at least some, of these guidelines.

Sort, Filter, Discard

When you’re moving across town, it’s not too difficult to rent a truck, grab all your stuff and load it up with the help of a few friends, than unload it into your new place in the space of a morning or afternoon. You can even pile your things into a friend’s pickup, use some tie-downs and even make several trips. When moving across the country, however, the logistics differ in several important ways.

Making several trips or using a friend’s pickup isn’t realistic, so you’ll need to consider either (a) driving a rental truck across the country; (b) hiring a moving van; or (c) utilizing a pod-type unit. Each has obvious advantages and pitfalls, but all of them base cost on size and distance. The larger the vehicle/pod and the more miles traveled, the more expensive the cost.

To keep your costs down, you need to reduce the size (since you can’t really reduce the distance). To do that, take a critical look at what you own.

  • Furniture: By far the largest space in the moving vehicle is for your furniture. Moving subjects furniture to extra stresses and strains. Low quality furniture—that made from particleboard, for example—often does not hold up well during moves and is susceptible to chipping, ripping or joints loosening. Consider if the cost (the space required in the vehicle) is worth the cost of the piece, especially if there is a chance it won’t survive the move. If you can sell the piece, or donate it and take a tax credit, you may be farther ahead. Use the money made or saved to purchase just the right piece for your new Loft in your new city.
    If the pieces you’re taking come apart, you’ll be much farther ahead in the “space” department. Taking legs off tables, dismantling bookcases and other options can reduce the size of vehicle needed to transport it. On the other end you’ll need less space to store it if you’re arriving without a new Loft picked out.
  • Clothing: If your new Lofttown will be in a different climate, be ruthless in your sorting. In addition, get rid of anything torn, stained or that doesn’t fit. The cost to move it often is more than the cost to replace it. The same holds true for children’s clothing.
  • Toys: If you’re moving with children, have them help you choose their favorite toys that they currently use, and perhaps one or two smaller keepsakes. Then pass on the rest to friends and family or donate to a shelter or charity.
  • Craft and hobby supplies: It’s easy to hoard up hobby and craft supplies, bits and pieces of leftovers from projects and stashes of extra fasteners, buttons, bolts, or old patterns. Pare down your supply to the important things like tools and sell or give away the rest. Truly, the space they take up in the moving van far outweighs the cost to replace them most of the time.
  • Garage and outdoor items: Hoses, planters, garden tool, trash cans and other outdoor items take up space, and may be a hazard to move. The prevalence of invasive species of weeds or insects moved from one locale to another makes moving these items dangerous to your new Loft.
  • Linens: Part of the enjoyment of a new Loft is having fresh, new sheets and towels as part of the experience. But, rather than discarding the old ones, use towels and sheets as packing material for breakable items. Blankets and comforters can protect furniture in the moving truck. Just have them cleaned or discard them once you arrive in your new Loft. Moving is dusty, dirty work and linens full of dust and kick up allergies.
  • Food, candles and other stuff: Use up or donate all of your food. Don’t move it to your new Loft. That includes items in your deep freeze. Get rid of those bottles of condiments. Even during a well-planned move, delays or weather changes can damage foodstuffs, so why take the risk. Candles often melt or become misshapen in temperature changes, so get rid of them too.

Once you’ve pared all of your belongings down, go through them one more time to see if you’ve kept anything that you don’t really like or have a use for. If it’s a family heirloom, offer it to another family member for their “turn” to use it before passing it on.

Now you’re ready to reassess the size of moving container or truck you will need.

To make the arrival smoother, contact a real estate professional that specializes in relocation to help you find temporary housing and to begin your search for the perfect new Loft in your new city.

Qualifying for a Mortgage When You’re Self-Employed

14 Aug 2015 · by Virtual Results PubSub

Qualifying for a Mortgage When You're Self-EmployedDuring the past several years, as folks struggled to survive the economic downturn and job loss, many smart people turned to entrepreneurship. In fact, working for yourself, either part-time or as your full-time gig is the reality for millions of Americans. Additionally, many companies turned to hiring freelance or contract labor (1099 status) rather than fully employed workers (W-2 status) in order to cut costs and reduce both overhead and employment expenses such as benefits, labor insurances and employment taxes.

While many of us returned to regular full-time employment since the economy started improving, a large segment of the population continue to earn income through self-employment, free-lance or contract work, enjoying the freedom from dress codes, specific work hours and income limitations of regular jobs. Additionally, as “business owners,” self-employed taxpayers qualify for a whole host of tax breaks that reduce their bottom line and consequently, their provable income. The freedom is great, but how do you qualify for a mortgage?

Since the mortgage industry bases credit-worthiness on provable income, using W-2 forms and tax returns, qualifying for a conventional loan may prove difficult for many self-employed would-be Loftowners.

Conventional lenders

Since conventional lenders follow prescribed formulas in proving income and credit-worthiness, most mortgage underwriters only look at the after-tax and post-deduction income, resulting in a far lower provable income than most entrepreneurs or self-employed workers believe expresses the reality of their situation. In a few cases, certain lenders allow specific deductions to be added back into your income including some one-time investment expenses, depletion or deductions for business use of your Loft. But for the most part, qualifying for a conventional loan is much more difficult for the self-employed buyer with an irregular income.

Alternative lenders

While a conventional loan (salable to government-controlled agencies such as FannieMae and FreddieMac) may not be an option for you, some investors see an opportunity and are funding smaller lenders that offer loans outside these restrictions. For these loans, the risk is higher, so to hedge their investment, these loans typically have a higher interest rate and require a down-payment of at least 20 percent and sometimes more, or a large portfolio, or really great credit.

The bottom line

If you’re newer at the self-employed lifestyle but know you want to buy a Loft in the near future, you’ll need to start now to position yourself to qualify. Here are the best practices to incorporate into your business and personal life to set yourself up to be approved:

  • Be organized: Keeping organized and accurate business and financial records supports your income claims. Most lenders will request a couple years (or more) of tax returns to prove your average monthly income. If your first year was low (this is true for most), give yourself three years or more to back up your income claims. Lenders take the net income from two years and divide it by 24 to get an average, so if in your first year you had only two or three sporadic clients and now you have 10 or 12 regular clients, that additional year will allow you to increase the verifiable income your lender uses.
  • Keep track of your earnings: Use an accounting system that can give you earnings or revenue statements, expense reports, profit and loss statements and a balance sheet. If you’re looking for simple workable accounting systems, a couple to check out include QuickBooks online and Freshbooks. Either of these systems is created for the non-accountant give you access to a variety reports, support and useful information.
  • Work to improve your credit score: Your credit score may seem out of your control—after all, some companies only report your bad habits and not your good ones—but there are some areas you can take charge of. Your payment history makes up more than a third of your score. Position yourself to make payments early and on time. Another thirty percent of your score is based on the amount you owe compared to the amount of credit you already have, and other loans such as school and vehicle loans. That means if you have a credit card with $5,000 available and only owe $250 on it, you’re at just 5% of your available credit and you’ll receive more points in this area, but if you have a credit card with $500 on it and you owe $250, you’re at 50% of your available credit, so expect that scenario to negatively impact your score. In other words, pay off what you already owe. The rest of your score is a mixture of the length of your credit history, new credit accounts and the mixture of types of accounts you have. Contrary to some popular practices, closing your oldest accounts when you open new ones is a bad idea. The older accounts that are in good standing offer you more points than a newer account.
  • Report your payments: If you don’t currently use credit (i.e. have no loans or credit cards), but you consistently pay your bills like rent, electricity, insurance or subscriptions, consider utilizing one of the alternative reporting services to prove you make your payments on time and consistently.

Don’t wait until you want to buy a Loft to start getting your financial Loft in order. If may take several months to up to two years to create a provable paper trail for yourself.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Hack Your Downpayment

7 Aug 2015 · by Virtual Results PubSub

Hack Your Downpayment

The biggest hindrance to Loft-ownership for most young couples is the dreaded downpayment. In fact, may couples believe that between living expenses and school loans, they’ll never be able to save up enough for a downpayment on a Loft or even a condominium. If making the move from renting to owning is a priority for you, you’ll need to become aggressive in your savings and spending-cuts.

Since the median price for a Loft is around $450,000, you’ll need around $90,000 for the downpayment with a conventional loan. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Create a separate savings or money market account for your downpayment monies. Having your money in a separate account helps you avoid infringement into your nest egg when emergencies crop up. In fact, you should set aside about $1000 for emergencies outside of your downpayment savings to cover pesky things like blown tires, unexpected fines or other unforeseen drains on your money.
  • Make a big lifestyle change. If your extended family is on board with your Loft purchase, see if you can move in with them for a while. A year with the in-laws might be uncomfortable, but in the end you could save an extra $12,000 to $20,000 from rent.
  • Take an extra job. If you can pick up some hours in the evenings and weekends and earmark ALL of the income for your downpayment account you can boost your account considerably. On the other hand, avoid trying to make side money with a hobby unless you already own the equipment (cameras, tripods, etc., if you’re a photographer or saws, power tools and other equipment if you’re into woodworking), because you may end up spending more than you make.
  • Make extreme decisions such as selling an expensive vehicle and driving a less expensive one or ridesharing for a specific period. During this time determine to socialize on a more limited basis … instead of eating out, host a potluck or BYOM barbecue.
  • Evaluate memberships and subscriptions (gym membership, Netflix, cable, coffee of the month) and consider suspending them for 12 to 15 months and redirecting that money into your savings. Or, substitute Netflix for cable and movie night if you’re the type that goes out a lot.
  • Make your savings fun. Create games and competition to see who can save the most. If you’re saving alone, find a friend in a similar situation and create a savings race with them.

Don’t forget to set aside a little fun money along the way. Too much austerity can cause stress and friction when you’re used to more extravagant spending habits. So, when you reach a milestone, have a dinner out, or go see a movie. Just don’t slip into retail therapy without specific limits or you’ll just be frustrated when you don’t reach your goals as soon as you planned.

If you need more suggestions on ways to save up for a downpayment, or options for loans that require a lower downpayment, your real estate professional can help.

The Title Guarantee Building

1 Aug 2015 · by ChrisSampaio

The TGB building is coming up for sale soon and I was able to get a sneak peek this past Friday. Was my first time in the building and I was pleasantly surprised.

Here are some pictures and my first impressions.

Is located across from Pershing Square in between the financial district and the jewelry district. The building stand alone and is surrounded by parking lots. The area is improving a lot and is very walkable. A few thing to note are the farmers market on 5th St and the gorgeous Perch Restaurant.

The building is charming with lots of character and historical architectural details. Each unit comes with valet parking included in the HOA.

Floor plans
There are 76 units and 68 will be up for sale in September. The other 6 units are being purchased by current tenants. Most of the units have views and good light, since there is currently no other building close by. There are 2 level units and some with balconies.

The bathrooms and nicely appointed and the kitchens have nice appliances with gas stove for the cooking minded buyers. One thing that caught my attention was the abundance of closet space, with most units having walk in closets.

Prices are around $700 per Sq Ft. One bedrooms will be on high $600’s, Two bedrooms will start on the high $700’s. Penthouses will be on the Millions and some of them are spectacular including one with a infinity pool.


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