By: Stephanie Diana Gast- Wilson

Tonight I am writing about a great opportunity. I am working on a business plan and business model to redefine how the mortgage industry handles condo compliance underwriting. As we see smaller lenders struggling to afford condo teams and builders creating projects that cannot be approved through traditional lending when they get to the sales of their units. It is time to revolutionize the process and create something to help keep compliance sale’s strongest tool.

So, I am looking for people to collaborate with on this project in taking CondoLand to the next level. The platform would involve all employees working remote as a method of keeping overhead costs down.

The backgrounds needed for this project include the following:

  • Real Estate/ Real Estate Compliance Attorney,
  • Business and funding development specialists/ Marketing, and
  • IT specialists.

If you are interested send an email with your resume, letter of interest, and social media contact info to condolandconsultants@gmail.com. You can also reach me through DM on twitter @sdgwwgds

If you have someone to reference that you think would be interested in such an opportunity I would love to reach out to them. Also, remember sharing is caring share away on social media.


Disarming the Mortgage Sales Force: How the Changes to the CFPB are Hindering Sales Reps

By: Stephanie Diana Gast- Wilson

I was reading Rob Chrisman’s daily news letter and how the compliance aspect of the mortgage industry is putting their hands up to comment on the fact that the financial crisis of 2008 didn’t happen by accident. It happened because the mortgage industry neglected a sales reps best defensive weapon… the compliance department.

For those who don’t know me from working with me or reading my blog or social media regularly I am a Condo Underwriting Compliance Specialist within the mortgage industry. While, working in this arena I have earned my Masters of Science in Operations Management at Southern New Hampshire University and I am working on my Doctorate in Business administration at South University. Working in this industry I am lucky to have both the in the field perspective along with the academic perspective. Having these vantage points allows me to look at the battle field that is the mortgage industry in an interesting and dynamic way.

However, from my vantage point I have noticed an industry wide systemic issue. This issue can be best explained by looking at the holiday arguments I have with my brother who is a loan officer. One of these debates ended with him saying something that still strikes me every day. He told me, “You compliance people are all alike. You don’t get that you are what is standing in the way of progress”. In looking at interactions within the mortgage industry sales seems to hold this adversarial attitude about compliance people. When in reality mortgage compliance specialists are a sales reps best defensive weapon.

Even without taking a look at the global viewpoint implications of lowering compliance regulations and how that can cripple the American Economy, compliance is a reliable defensive weapon sales people are just getting the hang of wielding. See compliance departments protect sales reps, borrowers, and the company they work for as a whole. An example in my own work is sometimes when I have had to talk to the borrower when a loan is declined for condo compliance issues and I explain the fact that the property might be your dream home but; based on a list of reasons it will quickly become your financial nightmare and no one wants that for our buyer. This helps protect sales people from lawsuits but; also helps borrowers make good financial choices. Which, is the most important reason why compliance the undervalued weapon of sales needs to be enhanced. Not deregulated.

Down Payment Assistance Programs and Condos

By: Stephanie Diana Gast- Wilson
A question I have been getting asked a lot lately is regarding down payment assistance programs and how they affect condo project underwriting? For investors and future home buyers a down payment assistance program where money is not directly given towards the purchase of a home from say a local government or nonprofit towards the purchase of a home. When doing a loan there may be a down payment which is a purchase can be as high as 100% Loan to Value Ratio otherwise known as LTV

The main programs that I personally see a lot and get a lot of questions about are CALHFA and USDA loans.

First as usual always touch base with your local underwriting and real estate professional to see if these products will be helpful for your situation. Also, be sure to check with your lender. Now that the CYOB (Cover Your Own Bottom) portion has been covered let us tackle the topic of down payment assistance home loans and how they relate to condo underwriting.

Starting with USDA loans. First off a USDA loan has very little to do with meat since many of us associate this department with food inspection so easy mistake but; let’s clarify a bit. Also, many mistake USDA home loans for only helping those in rural areas. Which is a common misconception that needs to be squashed. USDA home loans is a down payment assistance loan product that allows borrowers in both suburban and rural areas to come in with no down payment and purchase a home. The nice thing about these types of home loans with regards to condos is the fact that per the published USDA underwriting guidelines the project either must be eligible for Fannie Mae full CPM (Condo Project Manager) approval, or the project must be actively approved by HUD through FHA review or VA condo approvals which are published on the HUD website. Although if the subject unit being purchased is detached or a PUD than condo review is not required. However, check with your lender as some lenders are more cautious than others about this topic and may still require a full review. But, remember if there is litigation against the HOA or the developer that may throw a wrench into things so always again investors always check all the condo docs provided by the HOA just in case the lender misses something. No one wants to pay hundreds for a lemon.

Now CALHFA is similar as it is a down payment assistance type program in California specifically where if one has the amount for the down payment then the loan program can be put into the back end of the loan towards closing costs or the other way around. The difference between a CALHFA loan and a USDA loan is that the Direct Underwrite program must be set as conventional, FHA or VA and how this is set up depends on what kind of condo underwrite is required. So, if the CALHFA product is added to the loan as a down payment assistance program but; the loan is an FHA loan then the project the subject unit is located in must be located in an FHA approved condo project. So, research on a project is key to starting this process so that the condo underwriting part of the loan is as simple as possible.

Another fun fact about CALHFA loans is that they are designed for people who are low income and not only must the borrower max below a max amount based on the area of California that the borrower is shopping in. But; the subject unit has to be a max value. Which can be challenging to in areas like silicon valley or San Francisco. However, every obstacle is an opportunity for more condo sales since condos tend to be more affordable. There are also condo units with deed restrictions that have to be sold for lower prices to people with less income. (See article on deed restrictions).
Hopefully, this article has helped you. Remember sharing is caring so feel free to share this article. Also please feel free to us on topics or questions at condolandconsultants@gmail.com or on facebook at condoland or via twitter directly to the author @sdgwwgds

Waivers Blessing or Curse for Builders?

By: Stephanie Diana Gast- Wilson


As with all posts let’s get the disclaimer out of the way in that builders should always touch base with their preferred and do your own research on the topic of PERS otherwise, known as Fannie Mae (FNMA) waivers or agency new construction waivers.  Like any lending product, there are draws and drawbacks so always be informed.  


Now that we have gotten that out of the way for those who are not familiar with what new construction waivers are they are exceptions made on a case by case bases for projects that do not fit to the letter of new construction underwriting guidelines. For example, projects that have more than the max amount of commercial space.  In these cases, depending on all risk factors a lender can send the file to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac for a waiver.  However, there are some risks that the borrower has to account for.  


Such as the costs of getting a PERS review from Fannie Mae.  Per their most updated PERS overview published May of 2017 which can be seen in PDF format https://www.fanniemae.com/content/fact_sheet/pers-overview.pdf the price is finally posted online.  Now their charges are nonrefundable and are just for the review itself with no guarantee of approval.  This can be costly for the builder/ developer depending on the size of the project but; this can also be an added risk for the lender.  


Not all lenders are willing to do the work and obtain the required information to submit for waivers as if a waiver is approved for a whole project or a phase of the project it opens up a can of worms not all lenders want to deal with.  Specifically, when a project gets a PERS approval it is published on Fannie Mae’s website as being approved by all lenders.  Which adds risk for preferred lenders regarding other lenders doing loans in the project.  Yet, at the same time, it helps so that the preferred lender does not end up having too big of a loan concentration.  Which helps so if the economy falls again like 2008 the whole project will not be owned by one lender.  


Although builders also need to think bigger picture.  Such as projects with too much commercial space or large single investor concentration or other non-warrantable issues on new construction projects can cause the HOA after the control is taken from the developer to have issues.  The issues it can cause is making it so that the HOA has to work with lenders and pay money to get waivers for the project just so unit owners can always be able to sell or refinance their units. Which hurts investors in the long run.  


Hopefully, this article helps you with project planning and investing.  Remember Sharing is caring.  So share away.  

​Standing Rock and How Completion Will Hurt Condo Loans

By: Stephanie Diana Wilson
Normally this blog is socially and politically neutral but; the topic of protecting water and environment is near and dear to me.  The topic of environment also has the possibility to hurt not only mine and much of the US economy’s bottom line and the future health and financial well fare of the children who will become future home buyers.  Lets for a moment forget about the financial facts that more money is there to be made and more jobs can be created by the use of green tech and alternative energy resources such as solar and wind.  Ignoring these facts but paying attention to the facts that oil spills, can cause water and soil contamination.  

The reason I bring this up is because all the major lending agencies have very strict guidelines regarding environmental hazards within land that condos and single family homes.  This blogs focus is in condo guidelines and it could cause a project to become unwarrantable.  As we have noted on numerous occasions always check with your mortgage advisor and underwriter with questions on specific properties.  However, if we look online at Fannie Mae’s underwriting guidelines (keep in mind that the guidelines change frequently and again check with your underwriter) environmental hazards can be researched in section B4-2.1-03, 04, and 05.  This can be seen on the Fannie Mae guidelines online at https://www.fanniemae.com/content/guide/selling/index.html.  

In the underwriting guidelines it details everything from legally acceptable amounts of radon and other soil contamination, water contamination and seismic issues.  However, even if a lender’s condo department does not catch these issues the news advertising an environmental hazard will drop appraisal values.  This was observed during the gas leak in Porter Ranch, California.  The LA times wrote an article in April about how the gas leak had dropped home values in that area.  The article can be seen online at http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-porter-ranch-sales-20160406-story.html.  Even before these Porter Ranch loans of any kind came to underwriting many lenders may have been cautious about doing loans there because of the underwriting issues that come with environmental hazards.  

Another example of environmental hazards hurting the real estate market is Flint Michigan.  Michigan was hit hard as a whole state after the financial crisis of 2008.  Now that the city has been without clean drinking water since 2014 the housing prices have dropped to around $14k!  CNN documented how the people in that community have been hurting with the financial crisis that the water contamination has caused.  Please see link to CNN’s article at http://money.cnn.com/2016/03/04/real_estate/flint-housing-water-crisis/.  Many residences cannot move because, they can’t sell their home to afford to move.  Which is causing a real estate crisis throughout the country as more pipelines are being pushed through despite a stop ordered by the US government.  

At Standing Rock which are trying to protect not just the land that the pipeline is being built which is actively used native burial grounds but; the river that supplies water to the local reservation. There the Water Protectors are protesting the possibility that a pipeline might rupture.  Unlike in Lycoming County Pennsylvania where they have recently had a pipeline burst.   NPR wrote an article when it happened https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2016/10/21/sunoco-gas-pipeline-ruptures-in-lycoming-county/.  Also we cannot forget how New Orleans and Texas suffered during the oil spills in 2010 and how it harmed their housing prices as well.  https://www.clearcapital.com/newsroom/press-releases/clear-capital-impact-of-bp-oil-spill-reaches-beyond-gulf-coast/.   

This comes as more pipelines are being built across the country and as reports come in not stopping in North Dakota even though the government has halted their approval of the project on the land.    Even though using the Bush concept of asking for forgiveness being easier than permission has been showing not to be the case.  Going against the wishes of the native people has cost the NDPL reps more money than expected and brought to light the issues they are causing around the country.  

Although the issue of property values dropping due to environmental hazards is being published and this is being done across disciplines.  Such as the US National Library of Medicine published an article on home prices that have been effected by plants being opened or closed near properties.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4847734/. There is even an article on Jstor.org from the University of Wisconsin Press on how the building of pipelines has hurt property values.  https://www.jstor.org/stable/27647732?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents. You can also find the same article at http://le.uwpress.org/content/82/4/529.short.  Some environmental hazards can be abated or monitored to fit within agency guidelines.  Such as the information detailed in one of my earlier blog posts on Meth being the new four letter word in mortgage.  Though in the case of an oil spill not only does it cause a issue with housing prices and value but for gas prices.  https://insideclimatenews.org/news/20131125/neighborhood-shattered-families-emptying-out-oil-hit-arkansas-town.  

With all the homes and condos all along the Mississippi the construction of pipelines throughout the country is becoming costly to the American People and the businesses that sponsor them.  The Department of Energy in the US has a website for people to find all the wonderful jobs in green energy including those in the labor and construction aspects of the industry.  Links to that info can be found at https://energy.gov/eere/education/clean-energy-jobs-and-career-planning.  

I get this is a highly political issue regarding treating and social economical discrimination and racial discrimination along with corporate and governmental corruption.  But, if all parties sit down and see how these actions are hurting both the American Dream of home ownership and the financial stability of the nation and its real estate industry which ends up hurting everyone’s pocket books change can be attained.  These companies investing in green energy instead of oil will increase their profits, put them in line with the rest of the world which is going or has already gone totally green.  It would also starve a potential national financial collapse by not polluting soil and ground water causing numerous homes property values to plummet.  This ability to plan ahead and adapt to an ever changing world is what made America great in the first place.  If we want to keep America great investments need to be shifted to account for geo political changes and environmental changes.   This will create jobs and raise the real estate values and the financial industry as a whole.  All parties need to look at this issue much like financial planning for a child while planning a will for ourselves.  We want to make sure we leave our kids with a sound financial footing and room for them to grow that way as well.  Our children and the economy cannot thrive if we have unrest and massive pollutants hindering financial and physical growth.   

​Is Commission The Best Payment System for Loan Originators?

By: Stephanie Diana Gast- Wilson

So, to give some back story to the topic noted in the title.  I am taking an HR Human Behavior course within my Master’s program.  The term long case study we are examining is a company that used a Scanlon bonus pay plan to encourage morale long term and if this was shooting the company in the foot and if so what behavioral plan would you put in place to get the company back on track?  Of course my plan is to use six sigma cross training to not only develop appreciation at all levels for what each employee contributes but it empowers the employee by making them feel invested in and developing additional transferable skills should they be laid off.  Also allowing the company to be able to run lean with a skeleton crew if needed and find other cost saving strategies through entire company collaboration.  

However, when doing the research I found that studies since the 90’s show that bonus and commission pay plans are meant to be temporary quick morale boosters and tools for startups to keep costs down till the company can have a salary and hourly system put in place as they gain money.    According to an article in the Harvard Business Review there is a direct statistical link between quality falling and incentive plan pay systems.  You can find the article written by Alfie Kohn at  https://hbr.org/1993/09/why-incentive-plans-cannot-work.   Even the Society of Human Resource Management has an article from 2012 on the pitfalls the incentive pay plans have within the view point of HR and the employee/ work force behavior. The article can be found online at https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/compensation/pages/incentivetips.aspx.
This got me thinking with all the issues that the mortgage industry has had and now the push for quality control and compliance focus why is the mortgage industry still paying sales people commission and no base?  I work with sales people all day long trying to help them navigate the underwriting guidelines with regard to condos.  

What many may or may not know Realtors, Loan Originators, Loan Officers, Account Executives, Account Managers, Sellers Agents, Brokers Mortgage Loan Officers, etc., are the sales force in mortgage and they are only paid based on a percentage of the loan that is being taken out.  Investopedia has a great article that details the way that sales people in this industry are paid. 

“Loan officers get paid in a way that they call “on the front” and/or “on the back.” If a loan officer makes money on the front, that means they are charging for things that you can see. This money is either out-of-pocket or is incorporated into the loan when you sign the papers. These are things like processing fees and other miscellaneous charges that are charged for processing your loan. If a loan officer makes money on the back that means money is being received from the bank as a sort of commission for filing the loan.”  

You can read more on this article at http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/lending-loan-officers-perspective.asp.  Also you can get more info on a similar article by Forbes.com at http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/07/17/secrets-of-a-mortgage-loan-officer/#681157e839c0.

So, since studies show that quality takes a hit when sales people are paid in an incentive based pay plan why do we keep using that same system in this industry?  Right now every lender in the country is looking for sales reps and coming up empty because of a number of reasons.  Some reason I hear from those I know who have left the industry include are numerous but the root is the pay scale and how the compliance focus has made the job even harder for sales people.  When really it is only harder because, the pay plan is set up for quantity over quality while demanding higher quality.  Which is absurd when you think about this issue with a global view within the Business Administrative and Operations Management scope.  
Another thing that many who do not work in the academic aspects of mortgage may or may not know is that the risk assessment model that the mortgage industry has been using until 2010 was the same one used since 1945. In the risk model developed for mortgage post World War II it viewed mortgage loans as a win, win for the lender.  The reason it was seen this way is if the borrower defaulted then the bank got the property back and could sell it off again. Which led to the development of lending products that created a potential for subprime issues.  However, as we all saw in 2008 that isn’t always a win, win in the event the whole company has a financial collapse.  There is a great working paper written by Robert Ban Order at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan which can be found at https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/55317/1086-VanOrder.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y .  The scholarly article not only breaks down the history but also the math.  (Which again is why I feel mortgage should be pushed as a career path at the college level and looked at as a STEM field.)  We often forget about the detailed math and science that goes into developing the guidelines and risk analysis in mortgage.

Which brings me back to my original question should we still have a commission based payment system for sales people in mortgage?  We need to face facts sales people when paid in a commission/ incentive payment plans quantity becomes the game.  Cause if they don’t make sales they don’t eat.  If sales reps don’t make sales they can’t make the basic living needs.  And this payment plan sets sales reps up to fail.  

If the mortgage industry makes an overall change to provide a base pay to sales professionals the research suggests that the industry will stop feeling like they need more sales people to keep up with quota and people leaving the industry.  It will also promote quality which will lower the industry wide repurchase issues.  Furthermore the research shows that if the industry wide increase in quality starting with giving a base pay to sales reps then sales will increase.  Mostly because, sales reps will have a product that isn’t such a hard sell.  Sales people are the back bone of the mortgage industry but they are paid in a way that statistically sets them up to fail and have constant low morale.  That’s not fair nor is it logical from a business stance. When employees feel stable and empowered they perform miracles. 

This is theoretical though.  But, I welcome people to send messages on twitter and facebook.  Condo Land’s facebook page can be found under the name Condo Land Blog.  Send tweets to @sdgwwgds.  Also leaving comments on this page is helpful too.  Remember sharing is caring and if you found the info in this article informative and helpful.  

​Schrodinger’s Litigation

By: Stephanie Diana Wilson- Gast

A question that comes up to me often regarding structural defects cases is if the HOA has investigated structural defects and they are in the early stages of litigation but they aren’t officially in litigation.  Does this still count as a litigation review required?  

When asked this question it brings to mind the Big Bang Theory episode about Schrodinger’s cat.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNTMYNj2Ulk big bang theory episode

  This scenario is Schrodinger’s litigation.  Meaning it is both in litigation but yet not.  

For those not familiar with this theory Schrodinger’s Cat is a thought experiment where a scientist in my opinion was committing serious bouts of animal cruelty.  He put a cat in a box with a vial of poison and we don’t know if it opened or not.  So, thus until one investigates the box the cat is both alive and dead. Though the concept and experiment is deplorable to me and if I go further into why it bugs me I will just sound like the anti- Sheldon Cooper. 

Per usual my CYOB please contact your underwriter and real estate professional for case by case comparisons of your condo that you are investing in as each file differs.   

Now that legality is out of the way as a general example this Schrodinger’s Litigation this counts as litigation though the HOA hasn’t officially sued.  And yet it doesn’t still count as litigation.  But, most condo review specialists like myself are not attorneys.  So, it is not our jurisdiction to determine if the project’s litigation is dead or not in this generality.  

However, in this scenario the file has bigger issues that should be dealt with before it ever becomes a condo department issue.  Such as the underwriter will need to verify the structural defects are repaired and thus the property meets collateral requirements.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both deem that litigations where there is an issue of habitability or safety structurally is not acceptable.  But, none the less that’s a question for the underwriter to ask well before it gets to a Condo Review Specialist’s desk.  

However, on the condo side of it there are some details regarding litigation files as a whole that need to be documented.  Such as again if the structural defect has been repaired and the HOA is just trying to get their money back from the developer for the repairs they had to make.  Which is logical cause if there is structural defect even in the common areas that is just more law suits sitting around waiting for a time and place to happen.  No HOA wants that risk.  Also since most of those litigations are monetary in nature FNMA requires proof the insurance is covering the costs of the defense and if the HOA loses, and how much is sought after and that the amount is covered by the insurance policy.   Also the appraisal needs to comment if the litigation will affect the marketability of the project.  

Again reach out to your underwriter or real estate professional as guideline update and change and each case is different from the last one.  And no one wants to be left hanging with a Schrodinger’s Litigation.  Both a do able deal and not do able deal. 

Hopefully this article helped you.  Remember sharing is caring.  Also if you have an idea of a topic on condos you would like to see researched shoot us a tweet at @sdgwwgds or email us. Comments below are also helpful too. 

Resume Fashion Tips

By: Stephanie Diana Wilson- Gast

Normally I stick to Condo specific topics but, recently I have been handed other people’s resumes and asked to take a look and there are a few topics that should be addressed.  Since I work in the Business arena and many of those who read my blog are as well the importance of a resume cannot be understated.  And in the academic arena of business not enough is really ever taught about writing and updating a resume.  So, I have developed some tips on updating your resume.  
Keep up with trends in resumes

Resumes are a lot like fashion things fall in and out of style.  A great example of things falling out of style is the Objective statement.  The muse has written a great article about how it is considered a faux Pas to put an objective statement in a resume. The articel can been seen on  https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-only-time-its-ok-to-use-an-objective-statement-on-your-resume  
However, much like the wearing of white after labor day it has been changed to fit in certain circumstances and changed to fit what is in trend now.  Welcome the new trending concept in resume writing called the Branding Statement.  US News’ Money section has an article on this topic that defines a branding statement as, “Your branding statement should be very brief. It’s not your job title, nor is it a list of your skills. It should provide a description of you, your attributes, the value that you provide to your employer, and things that differentiate you from your competition.”. So summarizing it is a lot like the intro statement on a twitter account.  Short, to the point and says a lot about you.   To Check out more on this topic check out the article noted above at http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2013/01/15/resumes-101-swap-a-stale-objective-for-a-fresh-branding-statement.  
Another trend is the concept that a resume should only be one page and others feel that a resume should be as many pages as they can.  Monster.com has a great article on this specific topic and the fact the current trend is 2 pages.  One page a person tends to make the fonts so small to accommodate that no one can read it without a microscope.  But; it all depends on what type of job you are applying to.  I think my little sister who just graduated with her undergrad put it best when she asked similar questions about writing a resume my resume would look totally different from hers because, “That’s right you have a grown up career”.  Applying to jobs in the mortgage industry will look different than small company Office Management jobs.  So research is always in style there.  You can check out more on monster.com on this topic at http://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/how-to-decide-on-resume-length. 
Formatting is really important.  We have all heard the studies about the few seconds a resume has to make an impression on an HR rep, Hiring Manager, Manager, or Recruiter but, the info on your resume can be all for nothing if the formatting looks like something whipped up in a high school study hall class on resume basics.  TG’s Adventures In Education has a great example of what I am talking about.  http://www.aie.org/find-a-job/write-your-resume/sample-resumes-and-templates/Resume-Template-High-School-Student-Academic.cfm
Now this doesn’t mean you need to go and do a “Legally Blonde” resume moment by putting your resume on colored paper or in any way drastically dressing it up.  Just go into your Microsoft Word program or if you are like me and love Chromebooks go to the Google Docs program and when creating a new doc select the resume formats that they have standard.  They are professional and add a level of professionalism that the above noted high school example leaves out.  

Also and this is really important to your own sanity save the work you have done as a word doc.  If you have a chromebook do it as both a google doc and a docx format.  However, also make an uneditable PDF version.   The gdoc/ docx, and doc format save helps so you don’t have to start from scratch every time you want to update your resume.  
The reason for an uneditable PDF is often we apply to jobs through craigslist or other sites and it is important to protect the information that you transfer.  An uneditable formatting will make it harder for people to copy or change info on your resume.  We can all never be too careful with our personal info.  
Don’t Show Your Age
One time when I was still new to mortgage I went into an interview and I didn’t think about putting the year I graduated high school and college.  When in the interview the company manager actually told me, “aww you are just a baby”.  Luckily I was raised to be quick witted and replied with, “I may be young but, I am highly educated, experienced, and dedicated”.  That usually shuts things down right away that and when they comment on how young I look patting my hair and saying, “Yeah in my family on my mother’s side we age really well” and saying “I am blessed to look younger than my years and experience prove to be”.  But; this all proves an important point before an interview is lined up thing like that allude to age.  And where age discrimination is illegal who is to say that isn’t happening when someone reviews a resume.  
Another fatal flaw in the age topic is if you put too much experience on your resume or list how many years of experience you have in a summary or branding statement.  Monster has a great article on this topic at http://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/5-things-you-should-never-put-on-your-resume.  
An actual life example is one of my friends gave me her husband’s resume to edit which was a five page resume showing his 30 years in manufacturing.  By cutting down to the most recent experience within the last 10 years it made his resume 2 pages and gave him a digital face lift.  The long and the short of it is most employers don’t want to know what you did at the very start of your career most job fields have changed so drastically that what you did even ten years ago as is asked on most standard applications may be outdated and unhelpful.  So, rule of thumb keep it current and keep it on point.  Sleek and fashionable like a timeless little black dress.  
Social Media

Social media is an important tool in both hunting for jobs and creating a resume.  Many companies and application sites are requiring you to log in and apply with linkedIn so having a LinkedIn account can make or break your job search.  Much like with a resume some things you need to leave on the private setting on facebook and other things you can post on LinkedIn which is more or less facebook for careers for those who don’t know.  
So, putting your twitter handle or your link to facebook should be done with causion.  Much like the reason for uneditable PDF format resumes the internet is a scary place filled with people who want to be you.  So, protecting your ID is vital.  Also we all put things we will joke about with friends and family on facebook that we wouldn’t want to account or comment on with coworkers.  Or at least we wouldn’t want to comment on these posts with co workers for fear of making HR reps twitch with the disturbance in the force.  
This same principle goes for using LinkedIn or Twitter for Business don’t put anything that you wouldn’t converse with coworkers about.  Articles you write or any scholarly publication, artistic publication.  If you can’t talk about it around the water cooler without fearing for your job then don’t even add it to the publications section of LinkedIn (where I will post links to this article in mine [shameless plug done]). 
Have A Portfolio Ready

Now this again is determined based on what type of job you are applying to but; many times an employer wants to see examples of your business writing, or materials you have contributed to help with the furthering of your department.  So, always draw up materials separate on your own time that do not contain proprietary info and keep it as a portfolio.  Also starting a blog on your career field and keeping some of those published articles also can be helpful.  It all depends on the job and company applying to.  And if you put a lot of research into your writing.  If there is no research or teeth to your writing it will be a resume fashion accessory victim as Joan Rivers would have equivocate it.  

References Provided Upon Request… duh?

Seriously don’t put “references provided upon request” at the bottom of your resume.  It kind of makes those reviewing the resume make Homer Simpson like sounds because of course when they ask you will have to provide references.  That’s the whole point in the background check.  Regardless of applying for school or work you need to have people vouch for you.  Putting this quote anywhere on your resume is like a man wearing high heel shoes for fashion reasons.  It was acceptable in the 18th century but; now in the 21st century not so much.  Now it kind of looks like a Napoleon Complex issue.
To Address or Not To Address That Is The Question?

I learned quickly in college putting your address or even just city and state on a resume is a gamble.  Like we mentioned about applying to jobs online putting address info can be risky although most business communications courses still teach you to do it.  Amanda Augustine at the Ladders wrote an awesome article on this topic as well.  You can catch it online at https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/things-you-should-never-put-on-your-resume/.  

I had applied to a job while in my Senior year of college for an Onsite Resident Manager position for a small property management company.  And I made the fools mistake of putting my address on my resume as that was what I was taught in school.  A week later some strange man showed up at my door from the company saying he was doing an impromptu interview at my home because, he wanted to see if I keep my home well and thus would keep the unit they would be providing equally well.  My well kept apartment helped him decide to hire me.  However, I turned him down because that was super creepy and I adopted a dog shortly after.  You can never be too careful.  

To sum up this has been seven tips for writing a resume.  We all need to protect ourselves and our data along with making sure we stand out from the crowd and look professional while doing so.  You have a short amount of time to make that first impression with your resume and those moments can’t be undone.  So, keep your resume current, on point, and fashionable.  
If this article helped you remember sharing is caring.  Also follow me on twitter at @sdgwwgds and subscribe to this blog Condo Land.  

Sharks and Real Estate

By Stephanie Diana Wilson- Gast


Personally I have always loved “Shark Week”, on the discovery channel.  They are beautiful and misunderstood creatures.  Being a native Californian and living most of my life in the San Francisco bay area sharks are a relatively common concern.  As a child I loved the Shark exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the display of adolescent aged Great White Shark teeth from a shark caught off the coast of Santa Cruz.  Or when they have an exhibit on the Great Whites they used to catch from the wild to study.  There is a great article on this breed of shark on the Monterey Bay Aquarium site at https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/fishes/white-shark.  Oh and the Shark Experience at Vallejo’s 6 flags Marine World https://www.sixflags.com/discoverykingdom/attractions/shark-experience is fun for all ages.  And it is a relativley common sight to see Sharks eating seals in San Francisco, http://abc7news.com/news/cluster-of-20-great-white-sharks-spotted-near-pacifica/1050614/.  We even have Killer Whales that have been recorded attacking and killing great whites in the San Francisco Bay.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7MCq4gkbm4.  In Southern California locals are used to news and weather reports that include shark warnings.  


You may be reading about my love of local Sharks (which includes the San Jose Sharks hockey team), and wondering what does any of this have to do with Condos and real Estate?  Well, California is always in a boom for housing and the state is its own Condo Land.  So, is Hawaii which is a popular place to buy condos as well if only for a second home.  

Both Hawaii and California are known for their sharks and shark attacks which does not deter home or Condo sales.  However, with Florida finally starting to come out of the real estate slump it has been in since the 2008 financial crash and the news regarding Florida revolving around the recent gator attack, an enormous gator on a golf course and the recent shooting in Orlando.  (Our Hearts are with those mourning loved ones in Orlando). I have to say honestly it is a common to get an appraisal that has a gator on the patio and a note saying there were no pictures on the patio because of a gator. What we don’t hear about is the fact that Florida is home to the most amount of sharks in the country.  

This includes Bull Sharks which live in fresh and salt water.  http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-riviera-beach-sailfish-marina-shark-attack-20160413-story.html.  Bull Sharks are known for being extremely violent.


The National Geographic website posted a map on http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/shark-attacks-in-the-us/ showing that the most shark attacks happen on the South East Coast and Gulf of Mexico which both waters boarder Florida.  


Also currently in the news in Texas off the Gulf Coast they are suffering from a Flesh eating bacteria that is being found in their sea water.  http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Report-Another-man-gets-infected-from-8325546.php   And although Shark attacks are not as common in Texas they are home to Great Whites.  I guess everything’s bigger in Texas.  
I could get onto a soap box and note that over fishing and pollution are driving these once thought to be deep sea sharks.  Though I believe there is a way to fix the environment to help these creatures go back to their natural habitats and not be on our beaches so much that America has a rich tradition of Shark Attack movies.  However, that is a conversation for another day.  Today being the first day of Shark week I encourage everyone to learn about these wonderful creatures and respect that when we buy homes on the beach we are paying to look out into their homes.  Respect should be given to these creatures and caution to those who live near them.  


Environmental Hazards and Condos

By: Stephanie Diana Wilson- Gast

As many of us are aware there has been well published issues with environmental hazards going on within the country.  Most notably recently on national news has been found in Flint Michigan and Porter Ranch in California.   This being said it seems like the best time to discuss the FNMA Environmental Hazards guidelines.
First let us get the CYOB aspects out of the way.  We are only noting based on publicized documentation from FNMA. You may find these guidelines online at https://www.fanniemae.com/content/guide/sel121515.pdf .  If you have questions please reach out to your underwriter or real estate professional. 
Now that we have gotten this out of the way as noted above this information is pulled from the FNMA seller guide dated 12/15/15 which is the most current guideline at the time of writing this article.  The section for this information can be found in section B4-2.1-03 through section B4-2.1- 05. 
Section B4-2.1-03 starts out with the types of Environmental hazard assessments.  In this case there are 2 phases of this section.  Phase I is done by the lender or someone employed by the lender where information is obtained from various sources to evaluate the environmental soundness of the project as a whole.  One comment I get a lot is, “the environmental issue is not in the building the subject unit is located in”.  To them I have to point out that this is nice but in Condo review we don’t care about the individual unit but rather the project as a whole.  These sort of issues in a project are a form of collateral issue within the project as a whole which is why FNMA has these items reviewed.
In phase II of this section these reviews are done by an environmental consultant.  This being said phase I must be done and problems with the project must be identified.  Then it needs to be determined if the issue is inconclusive or not?  Also please see FNMA’s guideline in this section on acceptability of consultants. Where FNMA doesn’t currently have a format for consultant’s report they do want the following items addressed.
include a full description of the sampling procedures
include the laboratory results
include the consultant’s recommendations
follow all regulatory standards and good management practices at all times,
especially when physical sampling and laboratory analysis are involved
include the signature of an officer of the consulting firm that conducted the work
include a certification in the report that:
the assessment was performed diligently and in accordance with all regulatory and good management standards; and
to the best of the consultant’s knowledge, the results are complete and accurate
Section B4-2.1-04 goes into Unacceptable Environmental conditions.  Please see the list and the limits of concentration on page 682 of this guideline.  Section B4-2.1-05 covers remedial actions and it details that remediation can be done under the advice of a qualified environmental consultant.  But, all remedial actions must be taken in accordance with all regulatory and good management standards.  However, this section notes the following:
“The following conditions:
•A qualified environmental consultant states in writing that remedial work needed to make the property eligible under the environmental standards can be completed within 90 days.
The project’s developer or sponsor signs a contract with a qualified firm to perform the remedial work within 90 days.
The lender must warrant that the job has been satisfactorily completed and the property meets Fannie Mae’s environmental eligibility standards.
The project developer or sponsor must provide a performance escrow equal to 150% of the gross contract amount to ensure the completion of the remedial work.”

Hopefully this article will help shed more light on environmental issues in condo projects.  If this article helped with your research please like us on facebook and twitter.  Also remember sharing is caring.