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Albuquerque Real Estate Blog

The Schnoor Team


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Home Buying FAQs

by The Schnoor Team

What is an adjustable-rate mortgage?

An adjustable rate mortgage, or ARM, offers a lower initial interest rate than most fixed rate loans. However, that rate resets periodically, usually in relation to an index. When the rate changes, the monthly payment will go up or down accordingly. For example, the rate on a 5/1 ARM is fixed rate for the first five years, and then adjusts annually each year after that.

Should I pay points in exchange for a lower interest rate?

Each point is equal to one percent of the loan amount. Points are considered a form of interest; you pay them up front in exchange for a lower interest rate. This means more money is required at closing, but you will have lower monthly payments.

To determine whether it makes sense for you to pay points, divide the total cost of the points by the savings in each monthly payment. This calculation provides the number of payments you’ll make before you begin to save money by paying points. If the number of months it will take to recoup the points is longer than you plan on having the mortgage, you should consider a loan that does not require points to be paid.

Are there any prepayment penalties charged for MassHousing loans?

There are no penalties for prepaying a MassHousing loan. In rare cases, a federal recapture tax may be due if you sell the house within nine years of purchase, and you make a large profit on the sale. If recapture tax is levied, MassHousing will reimburse you for the full amount.

Can I pre-qualify for a loan before I find a property to purchase?

Yes. Pre-qualifying for a mortgage loan before you find a home may be the best thing you could do!

What is a Rate-Lock Policy?

A rate-lock is an agreement by the borrower and the lender that specifies the number of days for which a loan’s interest rate is guaranteed. Should interest rates rise during that period, the lender is obligated to honor the committed rate. Should interest rates fall during that period, the borrower will still keep the original locked interest rate.

When Can I Lock?

Your lender will lock your interest rate once you have an accepted Offer to Purchase on a home.
Rate Lock Changes

Once your lender rate locks your loan, you will not be able to renegotiate the interest rate.

What are closing costs and how they are determined?

A home loan involves many fees, such as the appraisal fee, title charges, closing fees and state or local taxes. These fees vary from lender to lender. Lenders must give you a complete and accurate estimate of fees in advance of loan closing.

Fees are grouped by type and described below:
Third Party Fees

Third-party fees include the appraisal fee, credit report fee, settlement or closing fee, survey fee, tax service fees, title insurance fees, flood certification fees and courier/mailing fees. Third-party fees are collected and passed on to the person who actually performed the service. For example, an appraiser is paid the appraisal fee, a credit bureau is paid the credit report fee and a title company or an attorney is paid the title insurance fees.
Lender Fees

Points, document preparation fees, loan processing fees and other fees are retained by the lender. This is the category of fees that you should compare very closely from lender to lender before deciding which loan program to pursue.
Required Advances

You may be asked to prepay some items at closing that will actually be due in the future. These fees are sometimes referred to as prepaid items.

  • One of the more common required advances is called “per diem interest” or “interest due at closing”. All MassHousing mortgages have payment due dates of the first of the month. If your loan is closed on any day other than the first of the month, you’ll pay interestfrom the date of closing through the end of the monthat closing. For example, if the loan is closed on June 15, we will collect interest due from June 15-30 at closing. This also means you won’t make your first mortgage payment until August 1. This type of charge should not vary from lender to lender; it is simply a matter of when it will be collected.
  • If one will be established, you will make an initial deposit into an escrow account at closing so that sufficient funds are available to pay the bills when they become due.
  • Whether or not you must purchase mortgage insurance depends on the size of the downpayment you make.
  • If your loan is a purchase, you’ll also need to pay your first year’s homeowner’s insurance premium prior to closing.


What is title insurance and why do I need it?

The function of a title insurance company is to make sure your rights and interests to the property are clear, that transfer of title takes place efficiently and correctly, and that your interests are fully protected. Title companies typically issue two types of title policies:

1. Owner’s Policy, which covers you, the home buyer
2. Lender’s Policy, which covers the lending institution over the life of the loan

If the loan is for a purchase, Both owner’s and lender’s policies are issued at the time of closing for a one-time premium.

Before issuing a policy, the title company searches public records to determine if anyone other than you has an interest in the property. The search may use either public records or, more likely, the information contained in the company’s own title plant.

After a thorough examination of the records, any title problems are usually found and can be cleared up prior to your purchase of the property. Once a title policy is issued, if a claim covered under your policy is filed against your property, the title company will pay the legal fees involved in the defense of your rights. The title company is also responsible for covering any losses arising from a valid claim. This protection remains in effect as long as you or your heirs own the property.

The fact that title companies try to eliminate risks before they develop makes title insurance significantly different from other types of insurance. Most forms of insurance assume risks by providing financial protection through a pooling of risks for losses arising from an unforeseen future event, like a fire, accident or theft. On the other hand, the purpose of title insurance is to eliminate risks and prevent losses caused by defects in the title that may have occurred in the past.

This risk elimination has benefits to both the homebuyer and the title company. It minimizes the chances that adverse claims might be raised, thereby reducing the number of claims that have to be defended. This maintains low costs for the title company and low premiums for the homebuyer.

What is mortgage insurance and when is it required?

Private mortgage insurance, or PMI, makes it possible for you to buy a home with a downpayment of less than a 20% by protecting the lender against the additional risk associated with low downpayment lending. By purchasing mortgage insurance, lenders are comfortable with downpayments as low as 3% or 5% of the home’s value.

The mortgage insurance premium is based on loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, type of loan, and amount of coverage required by the lender. Usually, the premium is included in your monthly payment and one to two months of the premium is collected as a required advance at closing.

It may be possible to cancel PMI at some point, such as when your loan balance is reduced to a certain amount (below 75% to 80% of the property value). Federal legislation requires automatic termination of mortgage insurance for many borrowers when their loan balance has been amortized to 78% of the original property value.

Is a gift an acceptable source of my downpayment?

Gifts are an acceptable source for part of the downpayment, if the gift giver is related to you or is your co-borrower. The lender will ask you for the name, address, and phone number of the gift giver, as well as the donor’s relationship to you. Prior to closing, the lender will need a copy of your bank receipt or the relevant deposit slip to verify that youve received the gift funds and deposited them into your account.

What happens at the loan closing?

The loan closing is where the loan is finalized and the sale and transfer of the property take place. Learn more in Step 8: Closing the Loan.

Should I have an attorney represent me at closing?

We recommend that you have an attorney at the closing if it will make you more comfortable. If your attorney has any questions about your new mortgage, you should refer them to your Lender.

Can I get advance copies of the documents I will be signing at closing?

The most important documents you will sign at closing are the note and mortgage, sometimes called the deed of trust. Unless there are special circumstances, these documents are usually prepared one to two days before your closing. Other documents are prepared by the closing agent the day before or the day of your closing. If you would like copies of the completed documents to be sent to you after they are prepared, contact your Lender.

I’m self-employed. How is my income verified?

Generally, the income of self-employed borrowers is verified by obtaining copies of personal (and business, if applicable) federal tax returns for the most recent two-year period.

The lender will review and average the net income from self-employment reported on your tax returns to determine the income that can be used to qualify. The lender cannot consider any income that hasn’t been reported as such on your tax returns. Typically, at least a one- or two-year history of self-employment is required to verify that your self-employment income is stable.

What is installment debt?

An installment debt is a loan that is repaid with regular payments, such as an auto loan, a student loan or a debt consolidation loan. Installment debts do not include payments on living expenses such as insurance costs or medical bill payments. Installment debts that have more than 10 months remaining will be considered when determining your qualifications for a mortgage.

What is a credit score and how will it affect my application?

A credit score is one piece of information used to evaluate your application. It is based on information collected by credit bureaus and information reported each month by your creditors about the balances you owe and the timing of your payments. A credit score is a compilation of all this information, converted into a number, that helps a lender to determine the likelihood that you will repay the loan on schedule. Credit bureaus, not lenders, calculate the score, which generally range between 300 and 900. A higher score generally represents a greater likelihood that you will repay the loan on time.

Among the factors that affect your credit score are your payment history, outstanding obligations, the length of time you have had outstanding credit, the types of credit you use, and the number of recent inquiries about your credit history.

Using credit scores to evaluate your credit history allows lenders to quickly and objectively evaluate your credit history when reviewing your application. However, many other factors are taken into consideration when making a loan decision. MassHousing never evaluates an application without looking at a customer’s total financial picture.

How will a bankruptcy or foreclosure affect my ability to obtain a mortgage?

A bankruptcy must have been discharged at least two years prior to applying for a MassHousing mortgage, and the borrower’s credit must be re-established for a minimum of one year. Generally, borrowers with foreclosure and/or deeds-in-lieu less than five years prior to the date of a mortgage loan application are unacceptable. Foreclosures/deeds-in-lieu over five years may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Will inquiries about my credit affect my credit score?

An abundance of credit inquiries can sometimes affect your credit scores since they may indicate that your use of credit is increasing. Note that the data used to calculate your credit score doesn’t include mortgage or auto loan credit inquiries that are made during the 30 days prior to the score being calculated. In addition, all mortgage inquiries made in any 14-day period are always considered one inquiry. Don’t limit mortgage shopping for fear that it will affect your credit score.

Will my overtime, commission, or bonus income be considered when evaluating my application?

In order for bonus, overtime or commission income to be considered, you must have a history of receiving it and it must be likely to continue. W-2 statements for the previous two years and a recent pay stub will be used to verify this type of income. If a major part of your income is commission earnings, copies of recent tax returns may be needed to verify the amount of business-related expenses, if any. The lender will average the amounts you have received over the past two years to calculate the amount that can be considered a regular part of your income.

If you haven’t been receiving bonus, overtime or commission income for at least one year, it probably can’t be given full value when your loan is reviewed for approval.

I’ve co-signed a loan for another person. Should I include that debt here?

Generally, a co-signed debt is considered when determining your qualifications for a mortgage. The lender can ignore the monthly payment of the co-signed debt if you can verify that the person responsible for the debt has made the required payments (by obtaining copies of their canceled checks for the last six months).

I have student loans that aren’t in repayment yet. Should I show them as installment debts?

Any student loan that will go into repayment within the next 12 months should be included in the application. If you are not sure exactly what the monthly payment will be, enter an estimated amount.

If student loans that will not go into repayment in the next 12 months are reflected on your final credit report, the lender may ask for verification that repayment will not be required during this time period.

If I have income that’s not reported on my tax return, can it be considered?

Generally, only income that is reported on your tax return can be considered when applying for a mortgage. Unless, of course, the income is legally tax-free and isn’t required to be reported.

Some lenders may offer a stated income program, which means that you can qualify for a loan based on the income you state rather than the income that can be verified. These programs usually require larger downpayments and offer interest rates that are substantially higher than those of regular mortgage programs. MassHousing does not currently offer stated income programs.

Do I have to provide information about my child support, alimony or separate maintenance income?

Information about child support, alimony or separate maintenance income should only be provided if you wish to have it considered for repaying this mortgage loan.

Will my second job income be considered?

Typically, income from a second job will be considered if you can verify a one-year history of secondary employment.

I’ve had a few employers in the last few years. Will that affect my ability to get a mortgage?

Having changed employers frequently is typically not a detriment to obtaining a new mortgage loan. This is particularly true if you made employment changes without having periods of unemployment between jobs. The lender will also consider your income history as you have changed employment.

If you’re paid on a commission basis, a recent job change could be an issue because, without an established payment history with your new employer, the lender might have a difficult time predicting your earnings.

I am retired and my income is from a pension or social security. What will I need to provide?

The lender will ask for copies of your recent pension check stubs or, if your pension or retirement income is deposited directly in your bank account, your recent bank statements. Sometimes it is also necessary to verify that this income will continue for at least three years since some pension or retirement plans do not provide income for life. This can usually be verified with a copy of your award letter. If you don’t have an award letter, the lender can contact the source of this income for verification.

If you’re receiving tax-free income such as social security earnings, when reviewing your request the lender may take into consideration the fact that taxes are not deducted from this income.

What is an appraisal and who completes it?

To determine the value of the property you are purchasing or refinancing, an appraisal will be required. An appraisal report is a written description and estimate of the value of the property. National standards govern the format for the appraisal, and specify the appraiser’s qualifications and credentials. Most states have licensing requirements for appraisers.

The appraiser will create a written report for the lender, a copy of which you’ll receive at loan closing. If you’d like to review it earlier, contact your lender.

Usually, the appraiser inspects both the interior and exterior of the home. In some cases, only an exterior inspection will be necessary based on your financial strength and the property’s location.

After the appraiser inspects the property, they will compare the qualities of your home with other homes in the neighborhood that have sold recently, called “comparables.”. Using industry guidelines, the appraiser compares the major components of these properties (e.g., design, square footage, lot size, age) with those of your home to determine an estimated value of your home. The appraiser adjusts the price of each comparable sale depending how it rates against your property.

As an additional check on your property’s value, the appraiser also estimates its replacement cost, which is determined by valuing an empty lot and estimating the cost to build a house of similar size and construction. Finally, the appraiser reduces this cost by an age factor to compensate for depreciation and deterioration. If your home is an investment or multi-unit property, the appraiser will also consider the rental income that will be generated.

Using these three different methods, an appraiser will frequently come up with slightly different values for the property. The appraiser uses judgment and experience to reconcile these differences and then assigns a final appraised value. The comparable sales approach is the most important valuation method in the appraisal because a property is worth only what a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to accept.

It is not uncommon for the appraised value of a property to be exactly the same as the amount stated on your sales contract. This is not a coincidence, nor does it question the competence of the appraiser. Your purchase contract is the most valid sales transaction there is. It represents what a buyer is willing to offer for the property and what the seller is willing to accept. Only when the comparable sales differ greatly from your sales contract will the appraised value be very different.

How long does the property appraisal take to be completed?

The lender orders the appraisal from a licensed professional as soon as the application deposit is paid. Generally, it takes 10 to 14 days before the lender receives the written report. If you are refinancing and an interior inspection of the home is necessary, the appraiser should contact you to schedule a viewing appointment. If you don’t hear from the appraiser within seven days of the order date, inform your lender. If you are purchasing a new home, the appraiser will contact the real estate agent or the seller to schedule an appointment to view the home.

If my property’s appraised value is more than the purchase price, can I use the difference toward my downpayment?

If you are purchasing a home, the lower of the appraised value or the sales price will be used to determine the amount of your downpayment requirement. It’s still a great benefit for your financial situation if you can purchase a home for less than the appraised value, but like most lenders, we are not permitted to use this “instant equity” when making our loan decision.

Are there any special requirements for condominiums?

Since the value and marketability of condominiums is dependent on items that don’t apply to single-family homes, there are some additional steps that must be taken to determine if condominiums meet MassHousing guidelines.

One of the most important factors is determining whether the project that the condominium is in is complete. Because the lender cannot be certain that the remaining units will be of the same quality as existing units, which could affect the marketability of your home, many lenders cannot provide financing for condominiums until the project, or at least the phase of the project in which your condominium is located, is complete.

In addition, a lender will consider the ratio of non-owner-occupied units to owner-occupied units. MassHousing considers the ratio of 60% owner to 40% investor acceptable. This could also affect future marketability because many people would prefer to live in a project that is occupied by owners rather than renters.

Finally, a lender will ensure that the appraisal includes information on comparable sales of properties within the project, as well as sales of properties outside the project to provide a better idea of the condominium project’s marketability.

Depending on the percentage of the property’s value you’d like to finance, other items may also need to be reviewed.

Do I need a home inspection and an appraisal?

Both a home inspection and an appraisal are designed to protect you against potential issues with your new home. Although they have totally different purposes, it makes the most sense to rely on each to confirm that you’ve found the perfect home.

The appraiser will make note of obvious construction problems such as termite damage, dry rot or leaking roofs or basements. Obvious interior or exterior damage that could affect the salability of the property will also be reported.

However, appraisers are not construction experts and won’t find or report items that are not obvious. They won’t turn on every light switch, run every faucet, or inspect the attic. That’s where the home inspection comes in. Home inspectors perform a detailed inspection and can educate you about possible concerns or defects with the home. See Step 7: The Home Inspection to learn more.

3 Dangerous Short Sale Myths

by The Schnoor Team


With all the talk about foreclosure and short sale out there we thought we’d take some time today to make sure you aren’t believing some of the most common myths out there.

1. The Bank Would Rather Foreclose than Bother with a Short Sale

This is one of the most common misconceptions. The reality is that banks do not want to foreclose on your property because the foreclosure process is incredibly costly. Banks, investors, and even the federal government have all publicly stated that if a person is qualified for a short sale, the deal needs to be considered.
Overwhelmingly, banks receive more on their investment through a short sale than a foreclosure. The qualifications for a short sale include:

Financial Hardship – There is a situation causing you to have trouble affording
your mortgage.

Monthly Income Shortfall – “You have more month than money.” A lender will
want to see that you cannot afford, or soon will not be able to afford your

Insolvency – The lender will want to see that you do not have significant liquid
assets that would allow you to pay down your mortgage.

2. You Must Be Behind on Your Mortgage to Negotiate a Short Sale

While this may have previously been the case, today lenders are looking for verifiable hardship, monthly cash flow shortfall, or pending shortfall and insolvency.

If you meet these three requirements and believe that you soon may be unable to afford your mortgage, act immediately. Any delay could limit your options. Do not wait until the countdown clock to foreclosure has started and you have even less time left.

3. There is Not Enough Time to Negotiate Your Short Sale Before Foreclosure

This is a myth that probably hurts homeowners the most. Many do not realize that
foreclosure is a process, and that there is time to make decisions that may result in better outcomes.

The foreclosing party-in most cases a lender-can stall a foreclosure up to the final
day of the process. Today, many lenders will stall a foreclosure with as little as a phone call from you explaining that you are trying to sell, and almost all lenders will stall a foreclosure with a legitimate contract. For real estate professionals who understand foreclosures and short sales, there is time available until the foreclosure process is complete.

Get experience on your side! Contact us today!

Is Your Home Making You Happy?

by The Schnoor Team


We thought you might be interested in this discussion of how your home can be a powerful influence on your emotions and if it such a force, how do we create an environment that makes you happier?

Take a tour of your home. Grab a pen and a piece of paper.

Start from outside the front door and notice your mood. Are you feeling tense or relaxed? Are you happy – or anxious, angry, or depressed?

As you walk in, do you feel relief, excitement, anxiety, dread, joy, or despair? Briefly write down your feelings.

Continue to pay attention to your emotional reactions as you walk through your entire home even those places that make us feel uncomfortable. As you enter each room note how your mood changes. Perhaps the soft light and scented soap in your bathroom make you feel relaxed, but you tense up when you near the disorganized pile of unpaid bills in your home office. Maybe you love the thought of snuggling into the soft cushions on your living-room couch, but you feel gloomy as you approach the darkness of your bedroom closet.

Give each area of your home a number representing how you feel in that space.

Don’t forget to take into account the smells and sounds of a room!

If your breakfast nook fills you with bliss, give it a score of +10. If an area is disgusting, it gets a -10. If you feel nothing at all about a room, it gets a score of 0. If a room is okay but not great, it may get a +4, and so on. Pinpoint the problems. Go to the lowest number on your list. Imagine standing in the designated space, and scan it slowly with your mind’s eye. Observe how your mood reacts to different elements of the room.

Sensory elements are everything you experience physically. Start with the visuals. How do the room’s colors, lighting, and patterns make you feel?

Touch things, are your modern chairs are hard and cold, you’ll never be able to fully relax in them.

Utility: Is it convenient to do whatever you need to do there?

Organization is about order and chaos. Is your space too tidy, or too cluttered? Either merits change.

The Fix!

Once you’ve identified your least favorite part of your least favorite area of your home, write out a list three adjectives that describe your less than delighted assessment of it. For example, your kitchen might be “disorganized,” “cluttered,” and “crowded.” Perhaps a corner of your family room is “stark,” “unremarkable,” and “boring.” Then list an antonym for each one. For instance, an obvious antonym for disorganized is organized. For boring, you might use exciting. Now think of objects would suit the space and would cure your antonym. Kitchen items that fit the word organized might be drawer dividers and ceiling-hung cookware racks might come to mind. If the antonym for a stark family room is comforting, you might want to add big pillows and homey wallpaper. Focus your attention on the objects, colors, and lighting you could use to transform the room.

Bring in one thing that makes you happy, and you’ll think of ways you can complement that object. Transforming one area of your home from an emotional downer to a source of uplift has a double benefit: It cheers you up, and it reminds you of your capacity to create places that shelter you emotionally as well as physically. By recognizing that you have the power to change one small space, you can move on to make sure that your whole home brings you happiness and satisfaction.

Albuquerque Harvest Wine Festival

by The Schnoor Team







Wine Festival Ticket Information

Tasting Ticket (21 years or older):

Includes commemorative wine glass and wine tastings from all wineries. 

$15 online. Online sales will end on September 2.

$20, at the Gate. Tickets will be available at the gate, all weekend.


$3 Off for Service Members and First Responders – on Monday, Sept. 4 only.
Free Viva Vino Wine Key: for first 100 people to buy tickets valid only on Monday, September 4.
Wellness + Wine, $25: Includes onsite yoga & pilates class, festival ticket (wine glass and tastings), and complimentary glass of wine. Classes scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, 11am and 12pm.

Non-Drinkers & 16–20 years olds (an all ages event) : $5 in advance or at the gate all three days

Ages 15 and under: Free


  • Must bring VALID government issued photo ID.
  • We cannot accept any vertical IDs.
  • Temporary licenses are accepted only with a back-up, government issued photo ID such as passport.
  • If you are bringing children under the age of 18, you must be their parent or legal guardian.

See full details at:


Buy Tickets


Common Home Buyer Fears

by The Schnoor Team


I get a few people who contact me from time to time questioning whether or not they should get a house. Their questioning is usually based on the unknown, or fear that they aren’t the right kind of person to buy a home, or that perhaps the market still isn’t stable enough to buy now. Everybody is the right kind of person; it just takes some fine-tuning to really determine what’s really right for the buyer. Here are some of the most common buyer fears that I hear most frequently.

Do I have enough money to buy a home?

Before worrying too much about this, the best thing to do is get pre-qualified for a mortgage. This doesn’t mean that you are signing on any dotted lines that are going to lock you into something; it simply means that the bank is going to let you know what you are qualified to spend on a home. Also, take a step back and look at your finances. Ideally, you should have around 20 percent of the purchase price to put down, but anything is better than nothing. You should also have less than a 36 percent debt to income ratio. Be sure to include all of your monthly obligations in that equation, including student loans, child support payments, alimony, car payments, credit cards, etc. Once you’ve looked at your savings, make sure that apart from your down payment, you’ll have enough left over to pay closing costs. You also need to have money left as a cushion. What if unexpected repairs, either to your house or car, come up? What if you or a family member needs medical attention? Be sure that you have enough money left over after the purchase to keep your life running smoothly.

Will I regret buying my house?

There is no such thing as the perfect house, so you should prepare yourself for some mild feelings of “what if”. You may have to give up a few “wants” to get a few “needs” when you buy your next home. Or if this is your first purchase, you may have to buy something a little short of your dream house, and build equity in order to move up at a later date. Try not to lose sight of the big picture. This is a home that you own. You now get the benefits of tax breaks. You are building equity as you pay off the loan. And, hopefully, your home will appreciate in value over the coming years. I remember my husband and I buying a little tiny house after we got married. It wasn’t our dream home, but we sure did fix it up the best we could and then sold it some years down the road to move into something a little nicer.

How can an unhandy owner handle repairs?

Before you swear off doing some of your own projects or repairs, know that everyone starts somewhere. Take a class at your local home improvement store, invest is a handyman’s guide, or ask a friend that has already tiled their bathroom or fixed a leaky sink to come and give you some pointers. Just remember, before the YouTube videos and full-color guides you find at the bookstore, people learned by getting your hands a little dirty. Be prepared for repairs, maintenance, and updates. Even with a new home, there will be projects. Plan accordingly financially. And if all else fails, hire a professional.

9808 Bentley Court NW, Albuquerque, NM [Video Tour]

by The Schnoor Team

Take a tour of this amazing home! 

See full details at:

Amazing views! Beautiful custom home with 2 true owners suites! Perfect for mother-in-law quarters or multi-generational household. Enjoy stunning views of Sandia Mtns and city lights from the huge covered deck and from several rooms inside. Impressive entry with beautiful tile floors, high ceilings, leading to a fabulous kitchen. Granite, stainless appliances, ample cabinets. Formal dining and nook. Office/4th bedroom. Choose your owners suite on either level. 2 large living areas with fireplaces. Gorgeous wrought iron staircase. Wonderful curb appeal with courtyard and brick walkway. Backyard is amazing with covered patio, flagstone walkway, lovely shrubs, flowers, grass and covered patio. 700 sq ft 3 car garage too!

See full details at:

5 Ways To Increase The Value Of Your Home

by The Schnoor Team

There are plenty of ways to improve the value of your home whether you want to sell up or just invest some money into the place that you live.

Of course building an extension is one strategy, but that isn’t exactly a practical or affordable option for the majority of people. So here are 5 alternatives which won’t cost quite as much and can quickly add a little Hello bit of value whilst at the same time making your home a little bit nicer to live in.


This is one of the simplest ways to quickly reinvigorate your home if it is looking a little bit shabby. You are never going to make a fortune just cheap mlb jerseys by painting a few walls of course, but if your decor is looking a little shabby, a fresh lick of paint can make your house a whole lot more salable and it will certainly pay for itself in terms of the cost.

Update the Exterior

Curb appeal really does matter and if the outside of the building is out of date or run down it could knock significant value off of your house, so consider putting right what you can, make sure your windows look solid, clean and are in fitting with the Innovative type of home (sash and case windows go great with cottage style homes) – replacing them if needed, make sure your guttering is all in place and consider re-painting your front door if needed.

Redo the Garden

Just as can the outside of your house, having a shabby and unkempt garden can cost your house a significant amount of money. Tidying up your garden doesn’t have to be expensive, just having a well kept lawn and keeping it free from weeds might be Commerce all you need – but a nicely landscaped

Loft Extension

This is a slightly more expensive job, but it is certainly cheaper than a full extension and if you happen to have a good sized loft an extra bedroom can actually add significant value onto your home. The key is to use the space effectively, don’t leave yourself with a house that doesn’t make much sense – like having 4 bedrooms and only 1 rest room.

New Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your house in terms of value, and if your kitchen is looking a bit old or ???? un-inspiring, getting a new one can often add significant value. If you are able to fit the kitchen yourself you can potentially make a profit, but even if you have to pay someone else, you will probably add enough value to offset the cost of the investment.

Follow me on twitter and Facebook for more home improvement tips!

4 Piedra Lisa Court, Placitas, NM

by The Schnoor Team

New Listing Alert!

4 Piedra Lisa Court, Placitas, NM 

See full details at:

Amazing views! Stunning views from every room in the home. This Southwest contemporary home is perfectly situated on 3.2 acres, high on a hill with unobstructed views of the Sandia Mountains from each room and from the exquisite outdoor patios. Enjoy the fabulous New Mexico sunsets from spacious front patio. A Tom Ashe masterpiece boasting an unbelievable kitchen with a Brazilian hardwood integrated table, quartz countertops and cherry cabinets. Built in stainless steel appliances make this kitchen a true chef's delight. Plenty of room for entertaining. All plank tile floors throughout. Huge Pella low E windows to enjoy the views. 2 gorgeous fireplaces, exposed beams and abundant lighting. 3 full baths and a over 1,000 sq ft of garage! This home is a cream puff that is clean, clean, clean!

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Why Getting Mortgage Pre-approval is a Must!

by The Schnoor Team


We get calls from buyers every day. Some of them have been pre-approved through a lender while others have not. Those that haven’t often want to start seeing houses right away, before they have started the loan process. These potential buyers get to start seeing houses right away, so why are they at a disadvantage?

What better way to explain than with a realistic scenario. Let’s say that you’ve decided to start seeing houses without preapproval. You end up finding one you like in a great location that fits all of your needs and more. Fantastic, right? Not exactly. It is almost a certainty that the listing agent (or seller) will not even look at your offer without a pre-approval letter with the offer.

Okay, no big deal. You head over to your lender of choice and start the pre-approval process. You will receive a pre-qualification letter but unfortunately that is not going to suffice. You will need to provide your loan officer with all of your income documentation including your tax returns. A day or two passes while before you can gather up all the correct documents but you finally get it: your pre-approval letter. You head straight over to the agent and present the offer again (this time with the pre-approval letter). Trouble. While you were gathering your income information and talking to a loan officer getting pre-approved the seller received another offer from another buyer who already had a pre-approval letter and are moving forward. There is a chance that it will not work out in the end but it is out of your hands now.

So why didn’t the listing agent accept a pre-qualification letter? It comes down to what it means. Pre-qualification means you have contacted a loan officer who has reviewed your credit report. Information you have provided about your income and debt payments have been reviewed. Based on this information, and using the affordability calculations and ratios that we discussed in the very beginning of this Article, the loan officer will determine a given loan amount you should be able to obtain. Based on this information, the lender will provide a pre qualification letter, which shows your borrowing power. You can visit as many lenders as you like and get several pre-qualifications as this service does not cost anything. Although this still does not guarantee lender approval, the odds are much more likely.

Pre-approval is a firmer and more formal commitment on behalf of the lender. During this process the lender does all the work of a full approval except for the appraisal, title search, and underwriting. Once you’ve been pre-approved you can start your search for a new home with more certainty and a big advantage over other buyers who have not been approved. Additionally, sellers are more likely to view you as a solid bet.

So how early should you get pre-approval? Starting the pre-approval process 60 days before you start even looking at homes is not too early. Little problems can crop up that may delay pre-approval. It is not uncommon for it to take 30 days, 60 days, or even more to get these issues cleared up and you can be sure that there will have been another offer on the home you have your eyes in that amount of time.

If you are thinking of buying a home, do yourself a favor, get a leg up on the competition, and talk to a lender as soon as possible. Just remember that neither a pre-approval nor a pre-qualification means you are guaranteed a mortgage. Lenders still need to look at property appraisals, re-check credit before agreeing to make a loan. Still, it’s worthwhile to obtain pre-approval as early as possible in the buying process to know how much home you can afford, and to avoid the headaches and embarrassment of not qualifying for a home you have under contract.

The Schnoor Team has created a map to guide you along the path to getting the financing you want and need to enable you to buy your dream home.

Need help with financing? Get expirence on your side and contact The Schnoor Team Today! 


Selling a home can be a complicated process. To successfully sell your home you must plan all the steps involved and fit the pieces together while avoiding the potential pitfalls along the way. As a Albuquerque Real Estate Professional in the business of accomplishing all the steps that are needed to make the process easier, faster and end up with the best price for your home.

I was going to write this blog as a countdown from 7th to the #1 most important, but I decided if I was reading this I would want to know what the #1 most important factor first followed by the other important things you need to consider. So, here we go.

#1 Price

Despite a perfect Listing Plan, Staging, and Marketing Plan, PRICING your home properly is the single biggest factor that will determine whether your home sells or not sell.

If your house is too expensive compared to similar properties on the market, viewers won’t even consider taking a look at your home. You must Position your home’s Value and Price correctly from day one.

Every Potential Buyer is watching each new listing as soon as it comes on the Market. If they are going to buy they will compare all the available homes, and select the home that gives them the Most Value and the Best Price. You have a 90-day Golden Opportunity Window to capture these buyers before your home becomes stale merchandise

You only get one chance to make a first impression. POSITIONING is the key.  Your home needs to rank as high as possible among the pool of all competing homes. Price and quality are what makes up value.

Price will make your home rise to the top of homes that Buyers want to see and Agents want to show. Showings are how buyers determine the relative value of your home compared to all the other available competing properties.

#2 Bad Décor – Staging

It is your home and it is your decor but how does it look to the potential Buyer. As soon as the buyer walks in, they must say “I could live here.”

Ever walk into an open house or a model home and notice how perfect it looks? That is because the property is “staged. That means the place has been dressed with floor coverings, paint, furniture arrangements, and accessories that have been carefully chosen to highlight the home’s strengths, downplay its weaknesses.

Staging is about appealing to a broad range of buyers. It’s about creating an image of a lifestyle that buyers can’t resist. Staging doesn’t require a big budget. Start with big things: Clean till it sparkles, De-clutter, De-personalize, less is more, let the sun shine in (light and bright), add splashes of color.


#3 Dirt and Grime

A little dust or dirt may be only cosmetic, but to a potential buyer who doesn’t know you or your home it can signal that your home may not be properly maintained or cared for. Yes, clean homes show better, and sell faster and for more money. Again, consider the new model  home.

Here are the most important areas you need to make sparkle:

  • Kitchens and Bathrooms are at the top of the list!
  • Windows and Skylights
  • Baseboards and Walls
  • All Tiled Areas
  • All Closets and Cabinets

#4 Poor Curb Appeal

Buyers DO judge a book and your home by its cover. 

Curb appeal is an intangible, subjective quality – but it is one thing that can really sell a house. It is that quality that makes the buyer start thinking emotionally about living here, and makes them want to go inside.

Even if you have a limited budget, you want to put a good part of it toward sprucing up the front entrance to your home.

  1. Pets

Even a small dog, cat, or noisy bird can be nerve wracking and distracting to buyers trying to view your home. Worse than that, some Buyers may be allergic to animals. Almost everybody loves pets except the home buyer who is buying your house. Don’t ask me why, but that’s often how it works out. So keep your animals away when you have viewings so your potential buyers aren’t distracted or, even worse, scared. You want their initial experience to be pleasant and memorable in a good way.

  1. Unpleasant Odors

Most home owners have become accustomed to any offensive odors in their home such as pet or smoking odors, but buyers are not! A simple thing to try is to crack ALL the windows in the home open for about an hour prior to any viewings, and burn a vanilla scented candle.  While your home is going through the selling process, smoke outside and consider solutions for your pets.

Do not use air fresheners. People with allergies will react. Try enzyme cleaners such as Simple Solution , Nature’s Miracle, or call a professional ozone company.  After everything else you should invite a friend or neighbor in and ask if they can smell any residual odors.  If they can, a last resort may require painting and re-carpeting because this may be where the odors have been absorbed.

If a buyer can smell it – We can’t sell it.

  1. Signs of Dampness

Problems with dampness are a major turn-off to many buyers. Why, because dampness can mean possible mold. Go through every room, wall, floor, and closet to be sure there is nothing smells or looks damp, and be sure there are no signs of water stains on the walls or ceilings. Deal with these issues right now to avoid losing potential Buyers.

Once a potential buyer sees these they immediately think of mold. No matter what you say they won’t forget it. Get these areas inspected and repaired.

If you are considering selling your home, you may want to know what your home is worth in today’s Albuquerque Market.

Click here The Schnoor Team will email you a Comprehensive Market Valuation for your home.

We don’t just sell homes. We are here for all of Your Real Estate Needs.
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