Declaration_of_HomesteadLast month I was wondering about my personal liabilities and did I have my important assets adequately protected. One of my most important assets is the home I own and live in. I remember that my real estate agent, mortgage broker, and even the title company would make sure they reminded me about the importance of filling out my “Nevada Declaration of Homestead” form. It seemed like it was always mentioned by and promoted by real estate professionals and related industry professionals.  I don’t believe that is the norm today. If your reading this and have a question mark in your head right now, then you might want to go to the county recorders office and verify that you have this document on file.

I realized I had that big question mark in my head as well. I also understood new homeowners had Homestead Laws available to them for protection of the equity in their homes. I just wasn’t sure if I filed my “Nevada Declaration of Homestead” form in the first place. Normally the form is  filed with the county recorders office, right when you first purchase your home. For some reason I totally forgot, and I’ve been in my home for over 10 years. Panic!!!  I went to a satellite office for the “Clark County Recorders Office” and asked them if I filed the form. I found out that I had not! It took me about 30 minute to complete the form and have it recorded and I was out the office. They actually had a notary in the office as well. Great service!!! Why was this important to me and maybe important to you?

I got this directly off of the Clark County Webpage (http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/depts/assessor/services/pages/Homestead.aspx):


When you record a Declaration of Homestead, Nevada law protects the equity in your home up to $550,000 from general creditor claims (unpaid medical bills, bankruptcy, charge card debts, business/personal loans, accidents) but would not preclude a seizure or forced sale of your residence from general creditors if your equity exceeds the $550,000.  A creditor may file suit and can record a judgment lien against any real property you own.  Recording a Declaration of Homestead protects your principal residence up to the statutory maximum.  For example, if the value of your home is $645,000 and you have a first mortgage of $485,000 plus a second mortgage of $10,000, the equity is $150,000.


The Homestead law does not protect you against debts secured by a mortgage or deed of trust, payment of taxes, IRS lien, mechanic’s lien, child support or alimony payments.

Don’t be like me and wait 10 years to file a “Declaration of Homestead”. It cost just $17 and a little time out of your life to secure up to $500,000 of protection for your home. I’m not an asset protection specialist but this is a basic, easy solution that the state of Nevada provides you.

Also those of you who may be in other states other than Nevada, you might have something similar. Check with your state or county offices.


702-862-9506 / smunford3@cox.net: Steve

702-499-7826 / kimbamunford@gmail.com: Kimba


A Real Solution To Raise Your Credit Score !!!

imageYour credit score could go up with the new changes FICO is implementing right now. Paying off your medical bills could drastically improve your credit score. FICO will erase any record of overdue medical bills and blemishes from late pays on your credit record for paying off your medical bills.

FICO is the most widely used service for businesses to check on consumer credit worthiness. The San Jose, California based company has updated its scoring system and this change is expected to increase median credit scores for consumers with major delinquencies on their medical bills. Consumers could potentially see a 25 point improvement to their credit score.

This could have a positive effect across the board for all Americans, where 1 in 4 American families have had a hard time paying medical bills. 25 percent of families with health insurance are still having a hard time paying medical related fees. (Stats: National Center for Health Statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The economy should get a nice jolt with this new credit scoring update. Housing and credit card company’s should see the benefits, since FICO is the most widely used credit scoring system in the country.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau did a study and found that some credit scoring models may have overly penalized individuals on medical debt issues.

With 90 percent of all lending decisions utilizing FICO scores, this could be a nice shot in the arm to a slowly improving real estate market.

A 1/3 of Homes In Foreclosure have Equity In Them- What a difference a year makes

Home prices have seen a huge increase since this time last year in the Las Vegas area alone. I have seen a 3000 square foot home listed in April of 2013, list for $160,000. Today, in that same neighborhood, that same house, lists for $260,000. Over a $100,000 increase in one year. That home was a distressed property… short sale. Today those same owners could be sitting on some equity and not even know it. More homeowners that are going through the foreclosure process are finding out that their home is no longer underwater. They may have equity and buyers are willing to pay market price for their home. In fact, in Las Vegas, for example, we are sitting on very low housing inventories. Normally in the Vegas market, GLVAR( Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors) has about 10,000 to 15,000 homes listed for sale on the MLS(Multiple Listing Service). Today we have around 6,000 to 7,000 properties for sale. That has helped cause a jump in prices and demand.

RealtyTrac Vice-President, Daren Blomquist, reported, “Because of rising home prices, many of the home owners in the foreclosure process — more than a third — actually have positive equity,”. Blomquist went on to say, “That will enable some of them to avoid foreclosure,”. This can help many distressed homeowners see a way out. It could be possible to either sell or refinance their home and avoid a foreclosure all together.

The problem, Blomquist added is,“many distressed home owners with equity may not realize they have it and, in some cases, have vacated the property already, assuming that their foreclosure is inevitable,”

A list of Metro areas with a large amount of homes in foreclosure with positive equity:
• Denver
• Boston
• Minneapolis
• Houston
• Washington, D.C.
As much of half the homes in these areas, in foreclosure, have positive equity.

Last year there was about 10.9 million homeowners (26% of all properties) who were upside down on there mortgages. Their house in many cases could be as much as 25% lower in value than the amount owed on the loan. Today its down to 9.1 million homeowners (17 percent of all properties) who are upside down on.

Avoid mistakes like this in the future and call a real estate professional. They aren’t like an attorney or accountant… we don’t bill by the hour. We can give you the information you need to make the right decisions involving your property.

Investing In Las Vegas Real Estate… Where Was These Investors 12 Month Ago?

Investing in the Las Vegas Market has changed quite a bit from only 12 months ago. A 3000 square foot home in the northwest area of Las Vegas was around $50 per square foot or $160,000. It was easy to find these deals and you knew they would eventually go up in price to what is a normal market price. Today that same home is close to $250,000 or around 80 per square foot. That is probably the average for the whole Vegas market. Everything is about $70 to $80 per square foot and it seems the banks want to keep that way, for a while. Many believe the banks are holding as much as, 20,000 to 40,000 homes off the local Las Vegas real estate market. Do banks really have this many properties? Nobody is talking and nobody is sure.

The fact is that this market is being held in limbo right now by the banks. Prices are not budging; neither rising or going down.

What does this mean? What will the banks do? I believe we will see a nice increase in home prices in the second quarter. That’s an educated guess. Banks are spreading the word that they will be providing sub-prime loans again. These loans will be scrutinized more; no more fogging up the mirror and qualifying for a loan, like the good ole early 2000’s. They will be looking to get people into loan products and generating some income. In my opinion the Federal Reserve has to change its policy in supporting bond markets and might very well pull the reigns back on quantitative easing. I’m no stock market expert, but this will have to change sooner than later.

Do I have the answers? Hell no!!! But I do know that banks are holding a lot of inventory. I do know that current Las Vegas area MLS listings (Inventory) are around 6,000 to 8,000 homes. This is low… Builders are building. Investors are overbidding on properties, and Scott and Amie Yancey of “Flipping Vegas” are not flipping properties, they are holding. From 12 months ago it is so much harder finding deals. I have investors but I have no properties!!!  Have go back to the old school ways of farming. No bandit signs though!

This is my first blog in the blogosphere… I will be getting more out on a regular basis. Hopefully with a lot more meaningful information than I just blogged.

But my wife and I have been in this market for over 10 years, both as real estate agents and investors, and have done well in it. So we know something about it. We have never lost any money on any of our investments. Real Estate has been good and profitable for us. I have worked with some of the best in the business.
Gene Burns (Author: 52 Homes in 52 Weeks), and Agora Realty to name a few. Enough of tooting my own horn, I will let you be the judge and see how you like my blogs.

Have a great day and will be blogging again with you all very soon.

Steve Munford