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The Driver Team's Memphis Real Estate Blog

Rita Driver


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 19

How much does having my credit pulled effect my credit score?

by The Driver Team

There comes a time in every person's life where they take the plunge to finance something, in order to make a large purchase.  One of, if not THE, largest purchases a person will make in their lifetime is buying a home.  Think about it, the amount of money put into paying for a home, the lengthy terms of most mortgages, the interest paid back for the privilege of borrowing money from a lending institution.  Buying a home is a HUGE investment.  One of the questions that one may have, when it comes time to have their credit "checked" is "How much does a credit pull effect my credit score?"  Most of us have heard that it is not a good thing to do, to have your credit "pulled" (as they say in the industry) very often.  We have asked a few of the lenders that we work with to help us uncover exactly how much a credit pull effects one's credit score.

What we have found is that this question is one that is difficult to find a solid, across the board answer to!  The fact(s) are as follows, the "exact" impact is really unknown, and the answer is a two part answer. FACT #1: EVERYONE's credit file is completely different.  Therefore, every little aspect is calculated differently.  FACT #2: The true value of the FICO scoring equation is "top secret".  If we knew the exact formula, we would all have perfect credit scores! (850 is a perfect credit score). 

Here is what we have been able to decipher, from what is going on "on average".  The effect of a pull on one's credit score is usually anywhere between 2-10 points for a "hard" inquiry.  Hard means the first time someone fills out a mortgage application and inquires about being qualified for a loan.  Anytime ANYONE looks at your credit to establish any line of credit, that is classified as a "hard" inquiry.  This could be for a mortgage loan, car loan, bank loan, credit union loan, etc.  Here is where some other aspects come into play, so being smart if you are shopping around for a better rate, will help you gain access to the most information with the least impact on your overall score---A mortgage "hard" inquiry, theoretically, is on file for 30 days and covers that time period.  So, technically, one could have their credit pulled for an initial inquiry and then shop around for a better rate and as long as the "shopping around" is done within 30 days, all of those subsequent pulls will only count as that ONE, initial "hard" pull!  A consumer could walk into a mortgage company, complete their application, walk out the door and go to another mortgage company, have their credit pulled again, and again, and again, over and over for the next 30 days, and it would only count as being pulled ONE TIME!  Something to keep in mind as you look for the best rate that you can get, when it comes time to financing a home.  Car loans are the same way but the time period is only 5-10 days, as opposed to 30 days for a mortgage.  A "hard" pull is also one that stores do when they entice customers to open a line of credit at a department store or something along those lines.  Those do affect your credit score and those pulls will show on your credit report and lower your score, if only by a few points.

There is such a thing as a "soft" pull as well.  A "soft" pull is one like a bank may do to open a checking account, or that an insurance company may do, just to make sure that the consumer is up to par and to check for credit card interest rates.  Those types of pulls are considered "soft" pulls, and do not affect your credit score at all.

Craigslist Scam- VIDEO

by The Driver Team


Click the link above to view the video we created to explain the Craigslist Scam that we discussed in one of our December blog posts.

DYK? Short Sale Facts

by The Driver Team

Check out our first 'in house' video production.  We have been getting things lined up to be able to start producing quality, informative videos to help get the word out and to help as many people as we can.  Please view the video and be sure to 'subscribe' to our channel so you can receive updates when we post new videos, and please leave comments both here and on the youtube channel about this video and/or about other videos you would like to see us make.


Did you know?

5 things to do NOW, to sell your house in 2011

by The Driver Team

If you are considering selling your house next year, or in the near future, here is an article about things to do NOW that will help you sell your property!


Fraud Alert- "Flopping"

by The Driver Team

"If it's too good to be true, you know the rest"

by: Aaron Edwards, All Stars Realty, Memphis, TN

Recently we have been hearing more and more feedback from our clients telling us about a suspicious phone call, e-mail, or even a letter that they have received regarding the purchase of their home.  These homeowners are, unfortunately, in "Short Sale" situations and are being contacted about a proposed "option" to avoid foreclosure.  Unfortunately the glimmer of hope for instant relief doesn't actually exist, and it is one of the most fraudulent practices going on in the real estate industry today.  With the holidays being upon us and sellers already being in desperate situations (having to short sale their home), con-artists are pulling on the heartstrings of the owners and their need for quick resolution to their plight and the opportunity to get money in their pockets.  

Here is how the scam works:

The homeowner is contacted by an individual/investor whom they have never met, we will refer to this person as the 'buyer' for the rest of this explanation.  The 'buyer' states that they have cash to pay the seller for their house and that they (the 'buyer') will negotiate the sale with the bank, on the homeowner's behalf.  In order for the 'buyer' to negotiate with the bank they will need the homeowner's personal information including bank account info, social security number, financial statements, pay stubs, monthly bank statements, all of the things required for a legal short sale.  This is where the fraud begins.  The 'buyer' makes the purchase of the property contingent on a few conditions.  (a)The 'buyer' submits a low ball offer to the bank, knowing full well that the property is worth far more than what they are offering.  Lets say that the 'buyer' offers the bank $50,000 for the subject property, that is easily worth $100,000 @ fair market value.  (b)While the bank is doing their due diligence to find out if the offer is acceptable or not, the 'buyer' is also marketing the property to new/real buyers at a higher price than what they have offered for the property, while they negotiate a LOWER price with the bank.  (c)The final and perhaps most crucial contingency is that the 'buyer' will ONLY purchase the property if BOTH of their sides of the transaction can close simultaneously (same time, same place).  So in essence, what the 'buyer' has done is that they have purchased the property for far less than market value while at the same time selling the property for much closer to market value.  They have given the bank $50,000, knowing that the house was worth closer to $100,000, they have then turned around and sold the property (at the SAME time) for $70,000, pocketed the $20,000 difference and ripped off the bank to the tune of $20,000.

How does this effect the original homeowner?

It is the duty and responsibility of the homeowner/seller and their agent to mitigate as much of the loss, to the bank, as possible.  If the house can sell on the market for $100,000.00, then it is the seller's and agents lawful duty to sell it for as close to $100,000 as possible.  Most everyone has heard the real estate term "Flipping" as it relates to buying/renovating/re-selling a property, and the negative connotation that now exists relating to that word.  The practice described in the fraud above is referred to, in the industry as "Flopping".  Flopping is the act of profiting from the devaluation of a property rather than an increase in value of the property. It effects the homeowner b/c they are "participating" in the process and have not made an effort to return the "highest and best" offer to the bank, thus limiting the amount of loss on the sale of the property. 

How does the 'buyer' contact the seller?

Sellers/homeowners are usually contacted via a letter in the mail, an e-mail, or even a phone call.  In the case of a phone call, all the 'buyer' has to do is perform a reverse-lookup for the phone number for the specific property.  Most of the information needed to make initial contact is a matter of public record.  Homeowners who will be foreclosed upon, soon, are published in classified ads in publications around the country.  It doesn't take a whole lot of effort to discover a property that is in jeopardy, or a homeowner in need of assistance.  The people who prey on desperate individuals know where to find potential takers for their 'bait'.  As a general rule, if you have your house on the market, as a "short sale" especially, always contact your agent about any letters you receive regarding the purchase, sale, or even foreclosure of your property.  A good agent is worth their weight in gold when it comes to keeping clients out of trouble.  Always check to see what advice they have for you if you think a solid, viable option comes along to help you sell your property.  Chances are, if the idea didn't come from your agent, it may just be "too good to be true".

Property Rental Scam...

by The Driver Team

Homeowners and potential renter(s) BEWARE:

On 11/23/10, a local Memphis news station aired a news story about a citizen who found an online listing about renting a property.  She viewed the property and pictures on a well known real estate website and immediately fell in love with the house and began to see herself and her daughter living there.  When she called the number listed in the ad, all she got was a recording pointing her to an email address.  She used the email address for correspondence with people that she thought were the property's owners.  Turns out that it was a scam and they got an amount of money out of the victim for what she thought would be the first month's rent and a security deposit, via money order.  They "owners" told her that they had just been relocated overseas for work and as a result, would not be able to meet her face to face (RED FLAG).  Also, upon their receipt of the deposit and first month's rent, she never received keys to the property and was asked to send more money (RED FLAG).  At this point, she knew she had been taken for a ride.

Apparently, these con artists look up the names of property owners in public records.  They then assume the "identity" of the rightful owners, through electronic correspondence by signing the emails with the rightful owners names (again, this information is all a matter of public record).  They use pictures of the property that were posted online when it was for SALE or was legally listed for rent.  By doing that, they are able to pass the property off as vacant and ready for move in.

As a general rule, never send money to someone that you have never met face to face.  Don't buy or rent a property that you have not been able to gain access to in order to view in person.  A little caution on the front end can save a lot of money on the back end.

For homeowners it would be wise to periodically perform online searches for your property address.  See what kind of results you get.  If you see anything that raises a red flag, contact authorities and inform them of the situation.  Again, a little caution on the front end can save a lot of anguish on the back end.


NOTE:  To view the actual news piece that was aired, click the link below:,0,7219764.story

Facing Foreclosure- When to act?

by The Driver Team

The number of homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments, today, is staggering.  To those homeowners, what’s even more staggering is trying to figure out what to do and what their options are.  Many homeowners across the country, who were facing this exact predicament, have decided that their best option was to “Short Sell” their property.  When executed properly, by a trained professional, a “Short Sale” may make it possible for you to own another home, in the future, much sooner than if you were to lose your property to foreclosure.

Short Sales are the “norm” in today’s Real Estate market.  Unfortunately, many agents are taking them on without really understanding what to do with them and without ever having received proper education about how to successfully navigate the Short Sale process. 

Some of the toughest questions facing homeowners who are delinquent on their mortgage payments is “when should I do something?” and “what are my options?”.  Look no further, we are here to help!  If you are two payments (or more) behind on your first or second mortgage, the time to act is NOW.  Contact a CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) in your market and schedule a free, private consultation TODAY!  I include the following statement(s) as a sort-of disclosure: be prepared to answer some tough, personal questions, and answer them honestly.  Your agent is going to have to get down to the bare bones of your situation in order to best advise you of your options as well as to help identify which option is best for you.  You should also be prepared to hear some honest answers.  This is no time for sugar coating things or telling half-truths.  Tough questions need to be asked and tough questions need to be answered in order to do what is best for you.

Keep in mind that the market is what the market is.  We don’t control it.  All we can do is try to read it and give you the best advice on what your home will sell for today.  You may not like what we have to say, but it is reality.  We can’t change it overnight, but we are working to improve the market one successful transaction at a time.  Get your property listed as soon as possible, even if it is listed as a Short Sale.  The long term damage to your credit report is far greater with a foreclosure than it is with a Short Sale.

When you are ready to put your house on the market, make SURE that you hire an agent with some credentials who is experienced in working with Short Sales.  Once listed, your Realtor will take over the responsibility (and frustration) of negotiating with the bank on your behalf.  There are a number of Short Sale designations.  We, at The Driver Team, are CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) agents.  My husband Bob and I were the first agents in Memphis to receive the CDPE designation, in 2008.  Since then we have helped hundreds of distressed homeowners through successful “Short Sales” thus allowing them to move on with their lives and start rebuilding both their lives and credit.  We attend annual CDPE seminars and participate in monthly conference calls with agents from all over the US in order to stay up to date with the ever-changing market.  If you are behind on your mortgage payments, time is of the essence.  You simply cannot afford to wait until tomorrow to ask for help.  We can help, we are willing to help, and we want to help, YOU.  

Get your home ready for winter...

by The Driver Team

Below are ten tips to help you prepare your home for winter:

1) Furnace Inspection

  • Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts.
  • Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly.

2) Get the Fireplace Ready

  • If the chimney hasn't been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to clean & inspect the chimney.
  • Buy firewood or chop wood. Store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.

3) Check the Exterior, Doors and Windows

  • Inspect exterior for cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them.
  • Use weatherstripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk around windows.
  • Replace cracked glass in windows and, if you end up replacing the entire window, prime and paint exposed wood.

4) Inspect Roof, Gutters & Downspouts

  • Check flashing to ensure water cannot enter the home.
  • Replace worn roof shingles or tiles.
  • Consider installing leaf guards on the gutters or extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from the home.

5) Service Weather-Specific Equipment

  • Drain gas from lawnmowers.
  • Replace worn rakes and snow shovels.
  • Buy bags of ice-melt / sand.

6) Check Foundations

  • Rake away debris and edible vegetation from the foundation.
  • Seal up entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
  • Seal foundation cracks. Mice can slip through space as thin as a dime.
  • Secure crawlspace entrances.

7) Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Buy extra smoke detector batteries and change them when daylight savings ends.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and / or water heater.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work.
  • Buy a fire extinguisher or replace an extinguisher older than 10 years.

8) Prevent Plumbing Freezes

  • Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.
  • Drain garden hoses.
  • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.
  • If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees.

9) Prepare Landscaping & Outdoor Surfaces

  • Trim trees if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires.
  • Plant spring flower bulbs and lift bulbs that cannot winter over such as dahlias in areas where the ground freezes.
  • Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.

10) Prepare an Emergency Kit

  • Buy a battery back-up to protect your computer and sensitive electronic equipment.
  • Store extra bottled water and non-perishable food supplies (including pet food, if you have a pet), blankets and a first-aid kit in a dry and easy-to-access location.
  • Prepare an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency

We have earned our CIAS designation...

by The Driver Team

CIAS is a designation given to real estate agents who have completed training to become Certified Investor Agent Specialist(s).  As of November 3, 2010 there are only about 100 CIAS' in the US and 3 of us are at All Stars Realty/The Driver Team in Memphis, TN.  We recently returned from a jam packed training session in Austin, TX where we learned the intricacies of working with the different types/levels of investors as well as how to get the most out of every property, for every investor, by doing things the smart/right way!

With the real estate market being what it is today, investment opportunities are at an all time high while purchase prices are at an all time low.  A side by side comparison of the real estate market to the S&P 500 shows that from 1969-2009 Residential Real Estate has shown only 3, out of 40, years with negative appreciation in value, while the S&P has had 11, out of 40, years of negative appreciation.  Add to that, that the max loss in Residential Real Estate was only 13% while the max loss in the S&P was 38% and you start to see why Investing in Real Estate is a smart move!

Latest article in Smart Money Magazine, with input from Rita!

by The Driver Team

Follow the link below to read the article written with input from Rita!  It's a short article, shouldn't take more than just a couple of minutes to read!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 19




Contact Information

Photo of All Stars Realty Real Estate
All Stars Realty
The Driver Team
2857 Shelby St.
Bartlett TN 38134
Office: (901) 387-1199
Cell: (901) 674-7653
Fax: 901-432-5445

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