5 Ways a Mortgage Lender Can Work Better with Real Estate Agents

Real estate is a rapidly growing industry with various individuals and companies looking to invest. Since the process is rather complex, it involves stakeholders such as the clients, real estate agents, authority and financial institutions. Mortgage lenders have a crucial role to play since many of the real estate transactions are not on cash basis. Mortgage lenders and real estate agents need one another in order to accomplish smooth operations.

Although it is the responsibility of both parties to establish good relationships, there are five ways a mortgage lender can work better with real estate agents.

Have clear channels of communication

Communication is key in all aspects of life. Since the process of loan approval takes various steps, the loan officer should take the initiative to inform the real estate agent of progress or new developments. It may not be easy for the agent to understand the process. However, make a point to communicate on a regular basis. Furthermore, schedule calls and meetings after a pre-determined time for updates.

Frequent communication helps to build confidence in the mortgage lending company such as www.quantumfinance.com.au which means more referrals leading to growth. Another important thing when communicating is to ensure the information you pass during the updates, as a mortgage lender, is helpful.

Be accountable

As much as we would want to be successful in ensuring the approval of loans for all clients, it is not possible. The lending industry is complicated and unpredictable. The situation differs from one client to another since the considerations are different.

Beforehand, be open about this to the real estate agent and explain all the possible outcomes. A reasonable individual understands that there are always risks. Also, work to reduce any instances that may lead to the process being unsuccessful. For example, ensuring all documentation is available and accurate, ensuring compliance with requirements. Avoid making promises that you can’t keep and be objective.

Establish objectives

Not everyone is easy to work with. As a result, conflicts may arise often. However, you as the mortgage lender can control this by establishing objectives that you have in common with the real estate agents. Before proceeding with the process, discuss the outcome that sits well with the two parties. After this is done, create a plan on how to work towards it.

According to statistics, a higher success rate is recorded when people are working towards a similar objective. A similarity in objectives creates a drive and focus to work for fulfilment making all parties satisfied.

real estate and mortgages


When making your presentation to the real estate agents, be factual. Avoid making unrealistic promises and terms that you are not certain you can deliver. For example, never promise that the loan will go through and you have no control over the process. Remember, the industry is unpredictable and there are lots of issues to consider.

Instead, be realistic and offer guidance to increase the success rate. In this way, both parties will be okay no matter the outcome.   

Educate each other

There is no better way for individuals to work together than in sharing helpful information. As a mortgage lender, build a better relationship by educating them on matters in the finance industry that affect them. It might be in the form of new legislation passed, informational articles on social media or current trends. Also, give yourself the opportunity to learn from the real estate agents to increase knowledge base.

This not only helps to build the relationship but increases the likelihood of wanting to work together which is a win for all parties.


Real Estate Investment Scams in Malta & How to Avoid Them

Real Estate Investment Scams in Malta & How to Avoid Them

The amount of property for sale in Malta with Sea Views is limited. And the prices are sky high. So we decided to put up this article to show you how to avoid property scams where you are over charged for the apartment.

Whether you are buying or selling real estate in Malta, there are a certain number of real estate investment scams that both buyers and sellers alike should be made aware of. While there is no telling exactly how many scams are out there, several warning signs will help to safeguard both your money and your property.

One of the most obvious, but often overlooked, real estate investment scams is the rush approach. In this type of situation, either the buyer or seller could be the victim of a fast facade. If you are the buyer, be wary of a seller who tries to rush you through the purchase process.

The same is true if you are the seller who may be in a hurry to sell due to financial distress and come into contact with a questionable buyer. The best way to avoid any problems is to refrain from signing anything that you have not read thoroughly or do not completely understand. In addition, make sure that all agreements are in writing and not strictly verbal.

property for sale in malta with sea views

If you are struggling financially and someone claiming to be a buyer approaches you with an offer to pay off your mortgage and/or present you with a certain amount of money once the property is sold, be aware that you could be the victim of a scam. In this scenario, the buyer may recommend that you move out and deed the property to them. After that, the buyer may simply collect rent on the property and never pay the mortgage, which forces the original lender to foreclose.

Informed Property Investment

When you invest in Malta real estate, it is often difficult to know who to buy from. This is especially true if you are an investor who likes to find a bargain anywhere in Malta. Real estate investment scams are often well disguised, especially on the internet. If you are shopping for real estate online, you must be very wise and mindful of your decision with where to shop. Don’t trust anyone, always trust yourself! Listen to your gut, if something doesn’t feel right – Back off!

Neither credit cards nor PayPal offer buyer protection relating to real estate, so you cannot afford to be sluggish with your research. As a buyer, you should check out the seller’s reputation with the Better Business Bureau, get an agreement in writing before any money exchanges hands and always perform a search to confirm that the seller owns the property free and clear of any liens, judgements or other incumbencies.

As a final thought to avoiding real estate investment scams, always avoid any seller who refuses to answer your questions directly. These may include the condition of the property, the status of the deed, whether or not all taxes are paid and current or whether or not any liens have been placed on the property.

As a buyer, you are required to perform due diligence, but if someone is reluctant to respond to your questions, it’s a good indication that they have something to hide.

Wedding Day


How to organize a perfect wedding

For the actual wedding day there are several things you should plan to accomplish. Your goal is to remain calm and direct the troops as they are going ashore at Normandy—D-day is here. A friend of mine, Brigette Polmar from wed our way wedding organizer, offered several excellent suggestions that I have taken to heart and intend to accomplish on my daughter’s wedding day. Here they are only slightly altered.
1. Father of the Bride, buy the Mother of the Bride a gift and give it to her privately the day of the wedding. Jewelry is preferable, but isn’t it always? Although “Here” may be our standard presentation speech, it won’t suffice in this case. Deliver the gift along with some kind words of thanks for raising a wonderful daughter or a sweet memory of your own wedding day.

2. At weddings everyone wants to help, but few know what to do. This, unfortunately, can lead to a gaggle of people (usually women and children) to form a “what can I do for you” circle around the poor bride, drowning her in requests and pleadings. This is where you can be particularly helpful. Work with the maid of honor or wedding planner to set up a protective barrier around the bride (something the bride should know nothing about). Dad, head off those well-meaning friends and family at the pass. Be armed with a list of little duties. You may want to say something like “Sally is so glad that you’re here and so am I. It means the world to us on this exciting day. Do you think you could make sure there are three candles on each table? I just haven’t had the time and I don’t want to bother Sally with that. Could I just put you in charge of that?” This works well with children who are drawn to brides like Cindarella at Disney World. Once they’ve completed a task, they tire of the exercise and go play by themselves. Some other send them away tasks:

“Hey, Bob, I don’t think Sally can talk right now, but I really need someone to watch the gift table and card basket. We wouldn’t want anything walking off and it would really take a lot off my mind if you could be in charge of that.”

“Hey, Billy, a lot of the younger kids may not understand how important this big day is and may get a little bored. You’re a big kid. Could you help keep them busy? I think the little girls really like ring-around-the-rosie.”
3. Your daughter may not realize it, but her walk down the aisle as a bride may be the last steps she takes with your last name. Find a moment or write a simple note to tell her how she carried your family name with grace and charm and made you proud. Thank her for being the wonderful woman she is and tell her how lucky her new family is to have her carry their name.

4. Often that special moment between father and daughter is missed in the flurry of wedding day activity. If you insist on nothing else – and you should insist on very little – insist that you get that 60 seconds for a special word or two or at least a long hug – one-on-one – father-to-daughter. (P.S. Even if you don’t believe your relationship with your daughter is close, have the moment anyway. That moment will grow in value as the years go by. And you only get one shot!)

5. No matter how much you can’t stand him, on the day of the wedding (or at any wedding event) don’t speak an ill word about your soon-to-be son-in-law. It will only backfire on you. A simple dodge: “We’re just so happy that Sally is happy today.”


6. Don’t ask your daughter to have a wedding just like another sibling’s. In fact, don’t draw any parallels between your children’s weddings. Just like them, each one is unique and special. There are no cookie cutter kids and you shouldn’t expect cookie cutter weddings.

7. Don’t wing it at the father/daughter dance. Lead your daughter – it’s your last chance. If you can’t dance, take lessons, surprise your wife and daughter. And have something to say. It’s hard to come up with something touching when everyone is looking at you and your counting out the waltz. Try something schmaltzy like: “This reminds me of dancing with the other most beautiful woman in the world, you’re mother.” Or “This moment is more than I could have asked for. You have made me so proud today.” Or “He’s a lucky guy, but you’ll always be my little girl and I can’t imagine loving you any more than I do right at this moment.”

8. The spotlight may be on your little girl, but don’t forget you’re the master of ceremonies. These are your friends and family, too. Weddings are chaotic. Work with the wedding planner or maid of honor to make sure you’re helping to lead the night from one special moment to the next.

Getting married abroad can be a mission impossible on its own. For whatever reason (maybe financial reasons) you should never ever try to save money on a wedding planner. With him or her, your wedding could be a total mess and a complete disaster.
I want to thank Brigette for her excellent suggestions for the Father of the Bride. If you have any suggestions/tips, please send them in. And we would like to wish Lucy and Ethel a big big good luck for their future married life. May god bless them and give them an abundance of happiness, joy and laughter.

Lucy Ethel Getting Married in Croatia

Croatia – A gem in the Mediterranean


Getting Married in Croatia has always been a dream for Lucy, since she was like 10 years old. How was this desire implanted into her?

She saw this movie … “god forbid a worse thing should happen which was release in 2002 and got a rating of 8.0 out of 10 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0329421/

I can vouch for Croatia, it is such an amazing place. The people are very warm, the food is yumm and the beaches are stunning. Clear blue water, fine sand. We hired a yacht which was a little bit expensive BUT it’s such an amazing experience. We went snorkling into the caves. There’s caves everywhere and we also went around some uninhabited islands. What’s fascinating is the spirit of the Croatians, they are laid back and never worry about material stuff like us Americans do.

Croatia is much like Greece where families and the community are at the center of every Croatian human being. I also like their old buildings with the traditional stone and wooden beams.

The Wedding

Jake, her fiance (at the time) decided he wanted to buy the tungsten ring from Croatia. He found only 1 shop in Bosanka, which was 2 hr drive from where we were staying in dubrovnic. BUT when he got there, Jake was told that the shop has closed down just 1 week before. So he had to find an online tungsten shop in the US. Just 3 days before the wedding, he submitted the order and paid extra for express delivery, luckily FEDEX delivered the ring on time!!

The wedding was amazing, the atmosphere, the food and all that, I would not have changed a single thing. What a night to remember.

We drank wine, danced all night to the rhythm of modern dance music, and even had a dip in the clear blue sandy beach at 5am in the morning. The water is so warm in Croatia nothing like in the US where we live.

If you are contemplating of ever getting married overseas, I really suggest you plan ahead and hire a local wedding planner. All in all it was an unforgettable experience and we are so greatful that MR and MRS Flanks have invited us to this wedding in Dubrovnic. God bless them and may they have all they want in life.

But most importantly, LOVE, HEALTHY and HAPPINESS … and lots of kids.. hahaa

Butter Cream Biscuits Recipe

Yummy to the tummy….

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold (!!), cut into very small chunks
1 cup buttermilk

Butter Cream Biscuits

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. “Snap” the butter into your flour mixture. Literally pick up the small chunks of flour covered butter and snap them between your fingers. This will flatten each little piece of butter but keep the butter “in tact” so you will be able to taste it in your biscuits. Don’t try to cream the butter into your dough. You can see the butter in my dough in the picture above.
4. Add buttermilk until it’s just combined. Do not over mix. Dough should be very sticky.
5. Turn dough out onto a floured dough board and gently press it to 1/2″ thick. Do not use rolling pin. It should be lumpy and bumpy! Fold the dough in half and gently press it together again (don’t press together too much…that “fold” is what makes them easy to split open once they’re baked!). Fold it in half one of more time and press it out to 1″ thick.
6. Using a biscuit cutter, cut into rounds.
7. You can use the scraps but they will not be nearly as good as the original biscuits.
8. Place biscuits on a cookie sheet- if you want soft sides and “taller” biscuits, make all of the sides touch on the baking sheet. If you want “crunchy” edges, don’t let them touch.
9. Bake approximately 10 minutes until golden brown.

Home is where the heart is

I obviously baked mine without the sides touching which is why they aren’t as tall as you’re probably used to seeing them. The insides are still incredibly fluffy and perfect, they just have a nice “crust” on the outside which I personally love.

I love biscuits and honey…especially this honey from the Blue Ridge Mountains. I swear the taste better if the honey is dripping down between your fingers.

Some people swear that White Lily flour is far superior to any other type of flour…it’s all I’ve ever used because that’s what my grandma uses. It’s what I grab when I’m at the grocery store just like people who prefer Heinz over Hunts…or Duke’s (or Blue Plate!) over Kraft. Whether it’s really better…well, you be the judge of that. 🙂

ETA: There was a question about using self-rising flour opposed to the all-purpose flour I had originally listed in the recipe. I used self-rising which is what I pretty much use for everything. I have a special seasoned flour I use to frying things so nearly everything else I bake would only benefit from the leavening and salt in the self-rising flour. Sorry for the confusion. 😉

Busy Wedding Planning

So..it’s been a little while. December is such a crazy month. I know it is for everyone. On top of the holidays, it’s my busiest month for work so I decided that I would put off wedding planning until January. I think before we were engaged, I expected that I would love wedding planning. I have always loved looking at pictures of other weddings so why wouldn’t I love planning our own? Well. Hah! First of all there is that little thing called a budget. I would suspect that wedding planning is a breeze is you have an unlimited budget but we do not. And then I’ve found myself really just not caring about a lot of stuff. I’ve asked Todd approximately 15 times if we can just elope. I even found a great elopement package at the Old Edwards Inn but he wasn’t having any of that so onward we will go.

I’m a pretty decisive person- I know what I like, I pick it and then move on to the next thing so I’ve got a great deal of the wedding details already planned out in my head. We are going to look at the venue at the end of the month and hopefully pick a date while we are there. I haven’t decided how much I will share beforehand but I will tell you, we’ve got about 10 months to plan, and it will be in a state that neither of us are from. THAT I am excited about! I’ve already picked out bridesmaids dresses (although I haven’t formally asked my bridesmaids yet) and their gifts, all of my accessories, and the reception and ceremony decor. I’ve contacted a caterer with menu ideas and requested a proposal and requested a proof for invitations.

There are certain things though that have made me roll my eyes. I found invitations that I liked online so I requested a sample. Then the next day I went into a local paper store to see what they had- I like to shop at local stores so if they had something and their prices are good, I’d go with them. Well, as I was going through the details with the girl in the shop I asked her “can’t I just put our wedding website on the invitation?” She about fell out of her chair. I mean REALLY. You want me to pay an extra $1.50 for an enclosure card just for a website? That’s almost an extra $200 for a 2 inch piece of paper. “Well, you want your invitations to be timeless.” Listen sister. It’s going to hang on someone’s fridge for a few months and then it’s going in the trash. We might have a picture of it in an album somewhere and we might look at it a total of 4 times in the next 30 years. And is the internet going somewhere? Are URLs going to be outdated? Maybe I should get one of those little scanny squares instead and then they can just scan it with their phone to find out wedding details. I’m just going to apologize ahead of time, if you get an invite and it has a URL on it, I’m sorry for being so tacky.

I’ve been emailing back and forth with my friend Kristen a bunch and one thing she told me that has really stuck is “no one is going to care about the chairs, napkins, and china. Just get a pretty dress and a great photographer.” It seems so obvious but when you get sucked into the wedding monster, it’s easy to forget. The last wedding Todd and I went to was in Asheville- I cannot tell you what the napkins looked like, I can’t remember whether they had white chairs, gold chivari chairs, or if they used real china. I remember that their venue was beautiful, the bride was stunning, and they had like 6 different kinds of really, really good cakes.

If I disappear for a few weeks, it’s because Todd finally gave into my elopement pressure.