At Home with April

You’ll find my blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because I care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. I’d love to talk with you!

Feb. 11, 2021

Why Henderson, NV, Deserves to be in Your Portfolio of Rentals?

Why Henderson, NV, Deserves to be in Your Portfolio of Rentals? 

February 10, 2021

By April Huynh

Las Vegas, Nevada, is known around the world as “Sin City” and as “the Capital of Entertainment” of the world. One wouldn’t expect that the city that literally borders it is one of the best areas to live in in the entire United States!

A Pleasant Surprise

For quite a few years now, Henderson, Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas, is just a 15-20 minutes drive from the Strip, has been considered a wonderful “place to call home,” the tagline of the City of Henderson.  It has consistently been rated by numerous sources as one of the most desirable places to live in. According to website PR Underground, “Henderson, was ranked twice as one of the top ten “Safest Cities in the United States” by Forbes Magazine from 2011 thru 2017. Along with safety it is ranked one of “the best cities to live in America” by Bloomberg Business and one of “the best places to retire” by Money. A new report by Goodcall has Henderson, NV as “possibly the #1 safest and best city to live in America.”


In my opinion, then, Henderson deserves to be on your list of one of the best places for an investor to own properties as rentals.  Everytime I get a new home to rent in Henderson, I get excited because I know it’s going to rent out in no time and at the highest rent possible.  Because of the above reasons, the pool of renters is large and good homes are rented with ease to the choicest candidates who pay on time and are consistent.  If anything, the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic is raising the desirability of Henderson. 


Let’s now take a look at some current and future developments in Henderson to what exciting things are in store for the city, ensuring that it continues to be a top notch place to call home.


A Downtown Renaissance

One of the most exciting things happening is the Water Street District project.  Once considered to be an outdated downtown with nothing but public buildings and small mom and pops in structures in desperate need of updating, the City has been working hard to completely change Downtown Henderson to transform it into a fun, modern and immersive community.


Included in this is Water Street Rehabilitation project, which will transform the street from Lake Mead all the way to Major Avenue.  This exciting project includes the new Lifeguard Arena, the collaboration between the Henderson Silver Knights hockey team and the City of Henderson.  This brand-new facility which opened on November 10, 2020, will serve as the practice home of the Henderson Silver Knights and a community center for the residents.  “Lifeguard Arena features two sheets of ice, retail space, meeting space, and team space for the Henderson Silver Knights.  A full service restaurant and a coffee shop will open at later dates,” states the grand opening news release. 


In addition, Henderson's newly renovated and renamed Water Street Plaza which perfectly complements the adjacent Lifeguard Arena, is an excellent venue for special events and community programming.  The Plaza features a new splash pad and playground for kids, while adults relax in the shade structure and take in the artwork.  A viewing area and large-screen TV round out the amenities, perfect for movies and hockey watch parties!


When completed, the area will offer road upgrades for easier accessibility and walking paths, allowing events such as car shows, festivals, and of course, all things hockey-related.  This is a $50 million dollar commitment to revitalize and remake this historic area.  It’s an exciting development as city officials seek to define itself as “having small town values and large town amenities,” according to a news report on FOX 5 News. 


Henderson West

Meanwhile, on the other end of Henderson sits the new Raiders Headquarters and Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center in the west end of Henderson. This massive facility will include “a three-story, 135,000-square-foot office area, along with a 150,000-square-foot field house that will house one-and-a-half indoor football fields. There are three outdoor football fields and a 50,000-square-foot performance center,” states their website. 

Furthermore, the Raiders Headquarters will be the anchor to a whole lot of exciting developments for the city.  Among these is the development and park agreement for a project called Henderson West, -- a 102.9-acre mixed-use project, along both sides of St. Rose Parkway, an area that had been underdeveloped since the Great Recession of 2008.  Here,  this property is expected to serve as a live-work-play community with sidewalks and interconnected walking and biking trails. 

“Henderson West includes a 4-acre park featuring an amphitheater, recreational fields, sports courts, and picnic and play areas. Incorporating the new Henderson urban park standards, the plan also includes an additional 9 acres of park and open space located throughout the community,” according to a KTNV Las Vegas news segment.  Construction is expected to start the second quarter of 2021.  These developments are fully in line with the city’s developers goals to create a quality of life for residents and businesses, once again underscoring the value and  livability of Henderson.

This is only ONE of the many developments going on in this area of west Henderson.  A Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper article written in October 2019 cites “at least 36 projects, covering more than 1,000 acres and featuring nearly 6,900 homes.”  Others include a 600,000 square foot Amazon distribution center and a 279 acres the city sold to Haas Automation for nearly $27.4 million to develop into a 2.3 million-square-foot facility for their company, as well as buildings that would be leased or sold to others.


The Great Opportunity

As you can see, there is much excitement and opportunity for investors to benefit from this across the city of Henderson.  Aside from being Las Vegas’ little brother, Henderson is carving its own future and identity as a great place to call home.  Investors have long benefited from this reputation and now offer even more as the city’s population is set to explode due to smart business vision and agreements.  

Add this explosive growth to an already existing base of excellent neighborhoods and communities and you have a winning formula for investors.  City officials have long carefully planned the methodical growth of Henderson with a strong park to population ratio, zoned in bike and walkways, and designed and implemented a pleasing layout of the city to achieve their primary goal of keeping a high livability and enjoyment for their residents.


As I said at the beginning of this blog, rents continue to go up for owners here because of the desirability of this area.  All the exciting developments discussed above as well as future plans, the impact of Covid-19 on the Las Vegas community which creates the need for more renters, and the great exodus from California all will supply investors with an unending stream of good renters in this wonderful city for years to come.

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Nov. 18, 2020

4 Ways to Transform Any Space into the Best Home Office


Even before the COVID-19 global pandemic, more and more professionals were shifting to remote work or exploring home-based businesses. Running a business out of your home means less time stuck in morning traffic, less money spent renting office or storage spaces, and more time for doing what you love most.


Whether you lead your own consulting business, make and sell unique products, or freelance as a writer or designer, there are many ways to create your ideal home office. We asked some of our Las Vegas clients who work from home some of their recommendations. If you are in need of a productive space for your home business, check out these 4 tips from folks who have been right where you are.


Renovate Your Garage

A remodeled garage is one of the most effective home office set-ups, according to our past clients. Once you look beyond the car, the toys, and the tools, there is plenty of potential awaiting. First, be sure to make your garage climate controlled, so you are comfortable in your home office year-round. 


Next, eliminate the garage-feel of the space by painting the walls, installing a ceiling, and adding a coat of epoxy to the floor. This will not only hide old stains but also prevent further damage from occurring. Some homeowners tackle this as a weekend DIY job, but if you cut corners, you could unintentionally trap moisture in the floor, which often results in bubbling and buckling. If you want the job done right, consider hiring a pro.


Try Minimalism For Small Spaces


Your home office should reflect who you are and what you want your business to be. Even small home offices can be places that motivate entrepreneurs, small business owners, and freelancers. If you are trying to renovate a small space into a home office, you may feel like there are a lot of extra hurdles to cross. But small spaces are often filled with big opportunities—especially if you take a minimalist design approach. Use a corner desk and vertical wall shelving to maximize space and keep inventory close.


Form a Limited Liability Company for a financial boost


Not sure you have the financial ability to set up your home office and get your business off the ground? You might be able to address these concerns, and others, by forming an LLC. For Nevada residents, Limited Liability Company does not require an attorney and can cost as little as $75. Not only can you take advantage of specific tax breaks, but you can also protect your personal assets from any financial situations that arise in your business.


Buy a new home to accommodate more space


Right now is a great time to consider a new home in Vegas, especially for people looking to expand their homes for a home-based business. Many e-commerce entrepreneurs look for large, climate-controlled basements or attics for storing inventory. For consultants planning on meeting clients, consider a home with a separate entrance to a private office. Don’t forget to ensure you have access to wifi and smart technology throughout the house. And if there is an HOA, be sure they allow and support home-based businesses. 


When you decide to run your business from home, it’s like you become two separate versions of yourself in one place. There’s the business side and the at-home, relaxed side. Try out some of these suggestions for setting up your space to make sure you strike the right balance. And if you decide that your current place just won’t cut it, contact April Huynh at 702-305-2473. Homeowners throughout Las Vegas have partnered with us for their buying, selling, and renting needs—and they all will tell you it was a “win-win” situation!


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Posted in Real Estate
Aug. 28, 2020

Are Home Warranties Worth their Price?

Are Home Warranties Worth their Price? 

August 25, 2020


By April Huynh

Ah -- the famous question that begs an answer! With so many complaints about how ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to,’ when it comes to the modern-day costly appliances, does it make sense to purchase a home warranty? The answer, as it often is, it depends. Yes, I know, that’s not the easy answer you were probably looking for but, truly much of it really depends on which appliance we’re dealing with and what the issue is when something goes wrong. So let’s delve into that a bit.

What’s Their Purpose


Home warranties are not insurance policies.  They are designed to fill the gap that insurance doesn’t cover.  The concept is actually sound.  Homeowners insurance policies are in place to cover your home and its contents against losses covered by the policy but they are filled with “exceptions” and ‘loopholes.’  One of these is ‘wear and tear’ and, therefore, you cannot make a covered claim because your appliance suddenly broke down.  That’s where home warranties come in.  And that’s where the proponents of these products will vouch for their value.  


There are many different home warranty companies.  For the most part, they cover the same things.  They are offered by title companies that tweak a few of the benefits to minorly distinguish them apart.  I personally don’t have a preference of one over another. I let my clients do the research and let me know which one they want to go with. However, the caveat is that, in a real estate transaction, my buyer never pays for the home warranty unless they want to. If my client is a homeowner and I am managing their property and they have a home warranty already, we’ll use it when we can. If they don’t have one, I typically will not recommend one. Let’s talk about the pros and cons and you will see why:

Their Pros


A home warranty is great for when your dishwasher, washing machine or dryer breaks down as these are not essential life-sustaining appliances. We can live without them, especially for a short period of time. Home warranty companies typically will hire a third party company to come out, assess what the problem is, and fix it. The service call fee is usually between $65-$75. If they can fix it, they will, and replace it, if necessary. There usually is an extra charge on the yearly warranty package for fridge, washer, and dryer coverage, as these are not fixtures, but are considered personal property.


If you have a pool, you can add that to the coverage for a bit more per year, which is nice if your pool equipment breaks down. Here in Vegas, there are lots of pools, and this is probably a good idea if you have one.


Home warranties also cover HVAC, which is great if your AC breaks down in the middle of summer and it’s 1000 degrees outside. Obviously, they tend to break down when it’s the peak of the heat, when they are pushed to work to their limit.  The other time I see them breaking down is the first heatwave of the summer, after they’ve been resting for a few months from their last use. The same can be said for the Heating portion of the system. They typically need servicing at the beginning of the heating season or during the coldest stretches. 


There are times when you can request to use your own contractor, but that requires pre-approval from the home warranty company and is usually only given if they cannot find someone to fix whatever it is within a reasonable amount of time. If they approve it, they will reimburse you for the repairs that you paid for. They will need the estimate from your contractor and the final invoice.

Their Cons


I may seem like I’m either repeating myself or contradicting myself but honestly, the pros can also mean cons. You can get coverage on your washing machine and dryer, for example, but expect the service call to take some time. That’s the first con -- the time it takes to get the matter handled.. 


Once you make the claim, the warranty company will put the work order in and within a couple of days, someone will call you to make an appointment to come out and diagnose the issue. If you miss their call, the repair process just got a little longer.  Therefore, make sure you answer your phone as the service company is generally quite busy and may move you to the bottom of the stack. If you’re lucky, some of the large companies will make another effort to contact you, but they tend to pass you over if they cannot contact you within a reasonable amount of time, they will move on, leaving you quite frustrated.


Remember too, that just to use your warranty will cost you a service call fee. So you have the money paid for the year, anywhere from $400 to $800 and then typically another $75 when you need to use it, per visit. Some years you will use it, other years, you won’t use it at all. It’s a toss up.


Another con is that if you haven’t purchased the “upgraded package,” i.e., the more expensive one that covers more issues with the HVAC, then you may end up spending a whole lot more than you would if you found someone on your own that fixes air conditioners. In my property management business, we’ve been able to find HVAC guys that have their own business and don’t charge an arm and a leg.  This, in my opinion, is where the warranty owner is most frustrated.  


Because an HVAC system is an essential item, legally it cannot be down more than 48 hours without someone getting to work on it.  As I’ve stated earlier, units tend to break down at certain times in bunches and this causes a delay in which service repairs folks can get to you.  Most of the time the repairs are done within three or four days.  However, the problem becomes exacerbated after that 3-4 days and there is a dispute between what they determine to be wrong with the unit and whether to repair or replace it.  On numerous occasions, those HVAC repair men I referred to in the last paragraph have offered a less costly and quicker solution to my owners.  


Since home warranty companies are not bound by the same laws as we property managers have to abide by when it comes to the speed in which these need to be done, and because of that, some property managers have refused to work with a home warranty company.  .


Finally, there is the problem with the third party companies that they send out that will just put a bandaid on the problem. They don’t always fix the problem, which means that it’s going to break down again, and you’ll have to pay another service fee. That is, if you still have a home warranty when it does break down again.



While there is a place for home warranties, consider the age of the appliances in the house, especially of the HVAC and plumbing, and then decide if you want a home warranty.  In the end, for every occasion in which there is a breakdown, the balance between the time it takes to get the appliance or unit repaired or replaced must always be weighed against its costs. 


In my own experience in working with home warranties in property management, it looks like a coin toss.  With non-essential appliances, the value they offer can benefit the homeowner and often justifies the cost of the warranty.  However, with essential units, I have seen that home warranties are not worth their costs when it comes to the speed and final costs of repair or replacement.


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July 17, 2020

The Life Expectancy of Main Home Appliances

The Life Expectancy of Main Home Appliances

July 17, 2020

By April Huynh


Recently I’ve gotten a surge of renters submitting repair requests for several appliances that have failed this summer.  It led me to wondering about how long appliances will last and I thought it would be a helpful source of information for my investors and homeowners.  Knowing and understanding how long appliances in your homes or rentals can last is important so that you can plan and budget your expenses properly. 

The Reality Today

“They don’t make ‘em like they used to” is something I often hear repairmen say when they are out at one of the rentals servicing appliances.  

I saw this first hand about 7 years ago when my aunt bought an older home in a neighborhood in Henderson.  It was one of the homes constructed in the early 1950’s in a whole subdivision in which all the streets were named after trees.  Here was a house that looked like it got stuck in time.  It proudly sported the term “vintage” throughout with appliances straight out of the late 60’s or early 70’s that were still in working condition circa 2013! 

Nowadays, appliances simply do not last that long.  While we might wistfully reminisce about the good ‘ol days and how sturdy and reliable things were made back then, we also have to realize that manufacturers have equipped us with some pretty amazing features that weren’t available back then either.  Furthermore, website makes another good point here when it states that “appliances are often replaced long before they are worn out because changes in styling, technology and consumer preferences make newer products more desirable.”

Nevertheless, here’s a list of what you can expect out of today’s appliances’ life expectancy according to  If there are additional comments that follow each item, they are provided by inspection company Caveat Emptor,


Dishwashers: 9-10 years  “When they do need to be replaced, replacement Energy-Star dishwashers are often more energy efficient and consume less water.”

Fridges, fridge-freezers and freezers:  10-11 years  A valuable basic rule of thumb:  “If your refrigerator is more than 15 years old, it is so inefficient compared to modern day refrigerators that it should be replaced. A 10-year old refrigerator consumes twice the amount of energy as a modern day Energy-Star rated model.”

Ovens and Stove:  13-15 years  “Life expectancy of these components differs depending on whether it is gas or electric. Gas ranges / ovens seem to have a slightly longer life expectancy, one of the longest life expectancy appliances in the home. Gas range ovens typically last 15 - 18 years. Electric ones typically last approximately 9 - 12 years.”

Microwaves and Countertop Convection Ovens:  8 years  “Built-in microwave ovens seem to have a longer life expectancy, 9 – 12 years, than the countertop units, 5 - 7 years.”

Washing Machines:  10 years (top and front loader)  

Clothes Dryers:  10-11 years  “Excessive heat greatly contributes to failure of dryers. Excessive heat is often the result of inadequate air flow. Inadequate air flow occurs when the vent becomes clogged. It’s very important to clean the dryer vent no less than biannually.”


Of course, how long an item lasts often depends on how they are cared for.  Repair folks frequently stress the need to have these major items checked and serviced regularly to get the most out of them.  Unfortunately, I find that most homeowners and investors (including myself) rarely make this a routine part of maintaining their homes.  We really only react to them when they don’t function or work as properly as they had been.  

Is there a cost-effective way to keep our appliances working for the longest time possible?  Perhaps the solution may be a home warranty insurance package.  We’ll explore the value that such a plan may offer in my next blog. 

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July 11, 2020

What is Your Policy on Pets in Your Rentals?

What is Your Policy on Pets in Your Rentals?

July 10, 2020

By April Huynh


Recently I read that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in which we were pretty much all in lock down, that dogs in the local animal shelters in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, have all been adopted.  As a dog lover myself, I thought that this was fabulous news -- all dogs need a loving home! That thought has led me to the content of this blog: Pros And Cons of Allowing Pets in My Rentals. .

The Numbers

There’s no question that the majority of people living in the US love their pets.  According to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) , “Sixty-seven percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet,” states the Insurance Information Institute (III) website.  

This reflects an upward trend over the last couple of decades because since 1988, the first year the survey was conducted, there is an increase of 11 million households in the amount of pets owners in the country.  This is supported by figures provided by the APPA, as they show that “for 2020, it is estimated that $99.0 billion will be spent on our pets in the U.S.,” an increase from $90.5 million in 2018, a growth of almost 10 percent.  There’s no doubt that Americans value their pets!

As far as what kind of pets people are having, III offers the following breakdown:    

63.4 million households own dogs     

42.7 million households own cats   

11.5 million households own fresh water fish

Another 17 million combined households own a variety of other types of pets such as reptiles, salt water fish, birds, horses, and other assorted small animals. 

The Cons

Let’s talk Cons first because I think it’s important that if you are leaning towards NOT allowing pets in your rentals that have the following solid reasons.  

First -- The risk of damage. This is the one reason most homeowners cite when deciding against allowing pets.  Homes can suffer greater wear and tear when there are claw marks on the doors, walls, pillars, and floors of the house.  But perhaps even a greater concern than the visible physical damage is the odors caused by the pets, particularly their urine. Unless cleaned immediately, pet urine will seep in and remain in furniture, baseboards, carpeting and other areas.  Aside from the nasty odor, pet urine can negatively affect the health of those living in your house. 

Second -- The potential noise and disturbance of others.  Usually, this is an issue unique to dogs and is more of a problem with multi-family or apartment settings.  The barking and running around of dogs may deter others from renting your other units as they may prefer a pet-free environment due to allergies or peacefulness of their surroundings.

Third -- The liability exposure.  Last but not least on my list is the exposure to bite or attack from dogs or cats.  This can range from a simple drawing of a bit of blood to significant harm or even death to others.   When insurance claims arise out of these events, it may extend over to your liability coverage as well.  For renters who like to have fish as pets, then there is the potential for water stains or latent damage in and around the fish tanks, outright spills from filling or removing water, and accidents from tanks being knocked over or breaking. 

Bonus consideration:  If you decided on a no pet policy, please be aware that there are Federal Housing laws that can supersede your decision.  The website says regarding this: “Even if you have a no pets policy, you cannot violate the housing rights for the disabled who require an animal for their well-being. You can ask for a note from their physician verifying their need for an assistance animal. The definition of “disabled” is broadening every day. Service dogs for the blind or paralyzed used to be the norm. This law has now expanded to allow animals for groups such as the clinically depressed and those with post-traumatic stress because the animals can provide emotional support.” 

The Pros

As indicated in the beginning of this blog, pets are a growing part of families these days.  They are more than just animals to many people today.  They are relied on as companions, emotional support friends, and viewed as children by some or as a form of protection and security, in the case of dogs, for others.  So let’s get to the Pros.

First -- Increase of applications.  In other words, if you exclude pets, you dramatically excluded a large pool of potential renters.  That may translate into longer time that the home remains on the market.  In fact, often one of the first criteria for a property for renters is that pets are allowed.  Being excluded from this important criteria may make it more difficult to rent out your investment property. 

Second -- Pet deposits.  This deposit is usually charged per pet and is designed to be a hedge against any potential damage caused by pets.  Yes, it is a deposit and, therefore, can be refundable if there was no damage caused by the pet(s).  Additionally, some homeowners are even able to collect an additional monthly charge called as ‘Pet Rent’ which is an additional source of income and could be viewed as extra money collected to help offset the costs of repairs, if they were needed.  (By the way, you have the freedom to decide, if you decide to allow pets, to exclude certain animals (ie dogs but no cats), their breed, limit their size (pets under 30 pounds) or how many are allowed.

Third -- Keeping the tenant in longer terms.  In an area like Las Vegas, where the rental market is very strong and good homes are able to get rented quickly with multiple applications on it, allowing pets may encourage tenants to renew their lease. It was hard enough to find the home they are in and they are probably grateful that your policy is favorable to their pet, so if they continue renting, it is much simpler to just renew the lease. 

Fourth -- Deter the sneaking in of pets.  It’s been a shock to more than a few owners who had a no pet policy that upon moving out, the owner finds that a renter snuck their pet(s) in and that the home has been damaged!  Better to know about the furry friends in advance and be able to charge appropriately for them than to get an unwanted surprise later. 

Fifth -- Potentially higher rents and happy tenants.  If there is a shortage of rental homes in your area, you can most likely charge higher rents and find that renters will be glad to pay to accommodate these loved members of their family.  And, once in a home that their pets are happy in, these renters tend to be happier too.  Happy tenants typically equal regular and on time paying tenants!

Bonus consideration:  Have a sit down with your insurance agent on your liability exposure to having pets to see if there are specific breeds excluded, how high your liability coverage should be, and what limitations may be to this coverage. As is so typical of insurance needs, claim time is NOT the time you want to make sure you have the proper coverage. 


Like all policies, the policy regarding pets has risks and rewards and should be weighed carefully.  I hope this list is of help to you so that you can make the right decision for your situation.


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July 6, 2020

Down Payment Assistance Programs for Nevada Buyers

Down Payment Assistance Programs for Nevada Buyers

July 6, 2020

By April Huynh

In my property management business, I often see renters willing to pay $1600 to $2500 per month to rent a house.  This range of monthly payment is certainly more than enough to get them a decent home here in Las Vegas, Nevada.   When asked why they are not purchasing, almost always, one of two things come up that prevent these renters from purchasing a home for themselves.  One is a lack of or bad credit which takes some time to work through.  (In an upcoming blog, I will address the credit situation.) 

The other is that they do not have the down payment available.  In this time of the pandemic, I thought I would share what plans for down payment assistance may still be available from reliable sources in our market. 

What’s Available

Not being a loan officer myself, I rely on information provided to me from the Nevada government website and loan officers for these programs and their availability.  

First, directly from Nevada’s government website,, you will find the Hope Brings You Home program.  This program is generous in what it offers prospective home buyers.  “Southern Nevada home buyers in eligible zip codes can now take advantage of a down payment assistance program that provides a forgivable loan of 10 percent of the purchase price, up to $20,000, toward the purchase of a home,” states the website. The italic in the previous quote is mine to alert you that it is zip code specific, so that you are aware that these are the areas the state is encouraging in. 

The link below will take you to the Nevada government website map of the areas the loan is available for.  (The funds for this program comes and goes, so please check to see if, at the time you are looking to purchase, whether the program is available or not.)  

Nevada's Hope Brings You Home Zip code map

Here’s how the loan works as quoted directly from the website:  “The first-come, first-served program will be offered until its $36 million allocation has been distributed.  A minimum of 1,800 qualified home buyers will receive down payment and closing cost assistance. Once approved, the financial assistance comes in the form of a second mortgage with a zero percent interest rate and no monthly payments for a 3-year term. The loan is forgiven at the end of the 3-year term.”  

For the latest information, please contact the site’s representative for availability and qualifications: 

Teri Williams

Public Information Officer

(702) 486-0407


Next, there are other Down Payment Assistance Programs (DAP) for borrowers to not only use funds for their down payment but also to cover closing costs.  These programs are designed to increase home ownership opportunities for low-to moderate income borrower(s).


According to Duane Irons, Branch Manager and Loan Originator at Grand Lending Group, there are several Down Payment Assistance Programs available currently.  However, there is one that he considers to be especially beneficial, standing out above the others.  


Named Within Reach, this DAP program is one that works best for FHA borrowers. “What I like about this DAP program is that it allows borrower(s) to purchase a home with little to no money down, and allows them to be considered up to 140% Area Median Income,” says Irons.  That means that the program allows higher income borrowers to have access to the down payment assistance for their purchase.  “So, if you have borrower(s) making over the 80% limit then the program with FHA will allow them to go up to 140%,” concludes Irons.  (Conventional loan borrowers will be allowed up to 80% of the Area Median Income.)


The DAP amount can range from 3 up to 6% of the purchase price.  In addition, seller contributions are also allowed on the closing costs.  Furthermore, borrowers do not need to be first time homebuyers to qualify. However, the program does exclude non-occupant co-borrowers.  (Underwriting guidelines and program restrictions apply.  Terms and programs are subject to change without notice.)  


Similar to the Hope program above, the DAP comes in the form of a second mortgage with no payment or interest loan that is forgiven after 60 months from the date of close. However, if the borrower sells the home or refinances before the 60 months is up, the DAP will need to be paid off.   (Note the difference that this program requires two more years than the Hope program in order for it to be forgiven.)


As a broker of loans, Irons states that their company has access to other DAP’s that allow for 80% of the Area Median income so that borrowers might have a choice as to which one may fit them better.


For additional information and qualifications, please contact: 


Duane Irons

Direct: (702)996-7864

Mortgage Loan Originator/Branch Manager

NMLS# 1869786

Proudly Serving These Areas:

Nevada NV# 64995    Florida FL# LO65569   Hawaii HI-1869786

Michigan 1869786     Oregon 1869786          Arizona 1007832

California-CA-DBO1869786    Washington MLO-1869786   Texas-SML

Office:(702)602-0195 Ext.113



Licensed by Nevada Dept. of Business & Industry/Mortgage Lending Division

Member: FAMP Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals


It’s nice to know that there are programs out there that assist people to get into their own homes.  I hope this blog is helpful to those that are considering purchasing but aren’t aware that they don’t always have to have a down payment saved in order to achieve the “American dream!”


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Posted in Real Estate
July 2, 2020

Vegas Growth and Redevelopment Areas

Vegas Growth and Redevelopment Areas

July 2, 2020

By April Huynh

Las Vegas is an exciting city to live or own real estate in.  Due to the nature of the famous Las Vegas Strip, which requires constant innovation to remain in the forefront of the entertainment world, city officials are ultra-forward in their thinking with regards to accommodating the city’s ever-changing landscape. 

A (Very) Little Vegas History Lesson

Originally under Mexican rule, the area that is now Las Vegas was occupied by native Americans and only the hardiest of plants and wildlife.  In 1848, the war with Mexico ended and Las Vegas came under American control.  

The city itself had its beginning in the form of a Mormon settlement and then the rush to mine silver.  (Till this day there is still a large part of the population that are members of the Latter Day Saints, also known as Mormons.)  Due to the prevalence of silver found in the region, mining operations were established during the mid 1800’s.  Mining is still important to Nevada’s economy till today.  No wonder the state is known as the Silver State. 

“At that time silver was literally shoveled off the ground in Nevada; heavy gray crusts of silver had formed on the surface of the desert over millions of years and were polished by dust and wind to the dull luster of a cow horn (called ‘horn silver’). A big silver bed could be tens of meters wide and more than a kilometer long…The Nevada Mining Association credits silver deposits as the key to statehood and a driving force in the state’s economy in the mid-nineteenth century,” states the website,

In time, on May 15, 1905, Las Vegas officially was founded as a city.  This occurred “when 110 acres (45 ha), in what would later become downtown, were auctioned to ready buyers. Las Vegas was the driving force in the creation of Clark County, Nevada in 1909 and the city was incorporated in 1911 as a part of the county,” states Wikipedia. This development was aided by the opening of a railroad that linked Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.

With the establishment of additional rail lines, Las Vegas began to grow quickly.  Ironically, on October 1, 1910, “shortly after the city's incorporation, the State of Nevada reluctantly became the last western state to outlaw gaming. This occurred at midnight, when a strict anti-gambling law became effective in Nevada. It even forbade the western custom of flipping a coin for the price of a drink, “ added Wikipedia.

It wasn’t until 1931 that Las Vegas really began to take the shape that it is now.  This was due to the construction of the Hoover Dam, which drew thousands of men who came looking for construction work, raising the city of 5000 inhabitants five-fold, to 25000.  This singular fact resulted in the creation of big-time entertainment to meet the needs of the male workers -- and today’s version of Las Vegas was born.  Local businessmen and mob crime families quickly delivered showgirls theaters and casinos for the entertainment of the men who were there for work and, as they say, “the rest is history.”

The Next 60 Years

Las Vegas, probably like most cities, grew from old Downtown outward in every direction.  Incidentally, if you look at a map of Las Vegas and put a pin in the center of the downtown area, you would come pretty close to where the Stratosphere (which indeed looks like a gigantic pin) is located.  As the industries that caused the rise in Las Vegas began to grow in the next few decades, the city’s population grew accordingly, pushing the city’s boundaries from the inside out.  Therefore, the closer you get to the center of the cities, the older the homes are.  

Like all cities, there are pockets and areas of town now that have suffered over time due to demographic changes of the neighborhoods, leaving homes in these areas needing revitalization.  As out-of-town folks moved in, they were attracted to the brand new or newer subdivisions all over the city, opting to live in nice outer neighborhoods rather than the older downtown smaller homes or multi-unit developments nearer to the Strip.  Additionally, the market crash of 2008 made Las Vegas ground zero as the poster child for all things gone wrong in a massive real estate bubble burst, resulting in thousands of foreclosed homes in all areas. 

Due to these factors, city officials and business owners have launched a couple of major projects to revitalize the downtown and other areas.  One such project was DTP, a passionate and personal project spearheaded by CEO Tony Hsieh started in 2012 with a 5-year plan to completely renovate downtown.  For the most part, the project looks to be a success, despite some rocky times through the years.  Injecting hundreds of investment dollars into this area has transformed old downtown Las Vegas into a hip and modern hot spot for many.

“DTP allocated $350 million toward revitalization, with $200 million in real estate and development, $50 million in small businesses, $50 million in tech startups through VegasTechFund, and $50 million in arts and culture, education, and healthcare.  The $200 million to real estate and development includes approximately 45 acres of land in and around the Fremont East and East Village Districts, and approximately 11 businesses that we wholly own and operate,” states the website.  DTP has since “invested in more than 100 tech businesses, with about half of those businesses located in downtown... Additionally, about 40 percent of the investments were made in businesses helmed by women.”

Another project initiated by The Redevelopment Agency (RDA) since 1986 is "to revitalize downtown Las Vegas and the surrounding aging commercial districts. The RDA works with developers, property owners and the community to recruit businesses, create new jobs, eliminate blight and diversify our economy,” as found on the website.  

At this time, there are two development areas.  Both are completely funded from new property tax revenue called a tax increment that is generated exclusively through higher property values, as well as new construction within the city's two Redevelopment Areas. 

According to the website, these two Redevelopment Areas are:


  • Redevelopment Area 1 encompasses 3,948 acres. The area generally includes the greater downtown Las Vegas area east of Interstate 15, south of Washington Avenue, north of Sahara Avenue and west of Maryland Parkway. It also includes the corridors along Charleston Boulevard, Martin L. King Boulevard and Eastern Avenue.

  • Redevelopment Area 2 spans almost 1,050 acres covering Sahara from Interstate 15 to Decatur Boulevard, Charleston from Rancho Drive to Rainbow Boulevard and Decatur from Sahara to U.S. 95.




In conclusion, Las Vegas offers investors with many opportunities.  Within the Redevelopment Areas or Downtown Project an investor can find hidden gems or diamonds in the rough in multi family units or older homes that need rehabbing, provided they are willing to wait for strong gains down the road.  However, if investing in aging areas is not something you can stomach, perhaps solid and steady growth in newer and attractive massive communities such as Southern Highland, Summerlin, Rhodes Ranch, and Green Valley (in Henderson) might be for you.  My experience in these areas is that they draw higher income earners who compete for these homes, resulting in quick rent, often accompanied by multiple applications.

If I can be of assistance to you to find the right properties for you, please contact me. 


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June 20, 2020

Working in Real Estate While Living With a Seizure Disorder

June 19, 2020

By April Huynh

2020 is a year like no other for all of us.  Who could have foreseen COVID-19 throwing our economy upside down and turning our lives inside out?  Aside from the economic wreckage, the death toll and the human suffering for over 8,000,000 people that have had the sickness as of this writing have been huge.  

While neither me nor my family have had the virus, I thought I would share with you what medical condition I do have and how it’s affected my work. 

With this blog, I wanted to share with my readers something very personal about me that is truly difficult for me to deal with and be open about.  I envisioned this blog to be primarily about real estate but I also wanted to make sure that you get to know me as a person and can potentially connect with me as well.  At the end of the day, I am just another of some 9 billion human beings on this planet, and if I have the opportunity to work with you on your real estate needs, I felt that you should know me a bit more.   

It Runs in the Family

My father is the first one I know of in my family that has had seizures but he had his after I had mine.  My first seizure occurred at 18 years old, shortly after my graduation.  I was immediately put on medications to combat them and, for the most part, life went on pretty normal for me for the next 30 years or so.  Once in a while, if I was sick and dehydrated, ultra-tired, or missed my meds, I would have a seizure.  I married at 20 years of age and only suffered a half dozen episodes once every few years.  

I’ve now been married for 29 years and have two grown children, one of whom is also on meds for a seizure disorder.  The other one is seizure-free.  (Let’s hope he never has to deal with it.)  So, while I’ve had to live with it for a long time, it hasn’t disrupted my life greatly...until  last year.  We’ll get to that later. 

What It’s Like 

When I say that I had a “seizure,” I’m referring to what they call tonic clonic seizures (formerly called grand mal seizures), in which I lose consciousness, seize up, and mildly convulse for a few minutes.  While these are major events in my life, as I said earlier,  they only happened once every few years throughout my 20-s and 30’s, even to mid 40’s.  But what I am troubled by the most, something that even my medical doctors or neurologists can’t specifically diagnose for me, are the constant mental blocks that last a few seconds to even a minute or two.  During these episodes, which are completely unpredictable and occur even when I am regular with my meds, strike me sometimes throughout the day, and the severe ones, make me feel really tired.  Therefore, the best way that I can deal with them is to get a couple of hours of sleep.  These are the ones that cause much difficulty in my life, possibly even more than having the tonic clonics!

It is these absence seizures (formerly called petit mal seizures) that cause me the most trouble.  They can occur right in the middle of a conversation with a client and I can’t understand the client or get words out to let them know that I am having some trouble at the moment.  I find it very embarrassing and most of the time, just pretend to my clients that I got distracted by something or I awkwardly make up some stupid excuse for an interruption.  I have a hard time trying to explain what these episodes feel like to my family but I am not even sure that they completely get it.  It is a huge frustration for me to live with it, especially feeling that nobody around me truly understands what it feels like.  And, since I know of no one else dealing with this, I felt really alone and defeated. 

About two years ago, I finally learned what these episodes are.  Turns out it is a condition called aphasia, defined as a loss of ability to understand or express speech, caused by brain damage.”  I saw an online video of a news reporter having an aphasia episode on air.  I saw the frightened look on her face as she spat out garbled speech while trying to do her report and I immediately recognized that THIS was what I was experiencing.  

Digging further I found another female reporter suffering a similar thing who recognized what the first reporter experienced!  (If you want to know what that looks like, you can google “Reporter suffers black out on air” or something similar and you can see these YouTube clips that have gone viral.)  These are different women who suffered aphasia on air and obviously caused a lot of concern for them all over the Internet.  People suggested possible strokes, migraines, seizures, etc.  

You cannot believe the relief I experienced when I first saw these clips.  While I recognized that it must have been humiliating for these women to have had to go through this live and on air, I was so excited to finally show my family members that I was not the only one afflicted with this and so relieved to learn that there was such a condition! 

These women, it turns out, have what I have.  They appear to be seizures but not the full tonic clonics that cause us to lose consciousness.  These aphasia episodes cause us to not be able to talk so that our speech comes out garbled and we apparently form new words.  The women looked frightened and completely helpless.  

Regrettably, my medical professionals have not been able to assist me at all with these aphasia episodes, and even worse for me, they have increased as I have aged.  In the last 10 years or so, the frequency and length of these episodes have occurred more and more.  Doctors say that stress and the approach of perimenopause are the probable causes of this.

What Work is Like Now

So while all of this is increasing, major seizures were still infrequent and occasional in between several years until 2019.  That was a life changing year.  In that year alone, I had at least five major seizure episodes that I can recall.  My neurologist switched meds for me twice and, while in the process of waiting to see if these would work,they may have contributed to some of these seizures, as the drugs take a while to work.  

Thus, for the last one and a half years, these tonic clonics have disrupted my real estate work majorly because, after each major seizure, I cannot drive for at least three months.  Can you imagine being a real estate agent and not being able to drive?  Ridiculous, right!?!  This has added a layer of difficulty to an already complex and challenging career.

In addition, they sapped my strength, so I ended up having to take some time off to recuperate.  As I started to gain strength after each event, I turned to my family and they drove me around to my showings, listing appointments, property management work at my rental properties, etc.  

I didn’t tell you about my sickness to gain your sympathy or to complain.  I’ve been a full time in real estate agent or in property management for seven years now, working the whole time while dealing with aphasia and seizures almost on a daily basis.  Yet I’ve never shared what I am sharing now with the majority of my clients.  I just didn’t want them to view me differently or that I wasn’t capable of handling their real estate needs.  I feel comfortable and safe enough within this medium of my own blog, that I am now willing to share this personal side of me for a couple of reasons:

1. I would like you to know me as a person better 

2. While in conversation with me, if one of these aphasia episodes hit me, please don’t be alarmed.  I am aware that I am going through one and will do my best to give you heads up by gesturing “Give me a second…”  It will pass momentarily and I will be back in conversation with you.  

3. Please do not fear that I will have a tonic clonic while working with you.  I vigilantly stay on my meds.  Also, my seizures have occurred only late at night within the last two years.  And, if I am not feeling well enough, I know enough to not be out working face to face with clients. 

My Determination

Now you know my deep, dark secret.  I’m glad I finally am able to disclose my situation to you.  I sincerely hope this doesn’t freak you out but, rather, promote a better understanding of my situation.  

Despite all the above, though, I have found strength and resilience in me that I didn’t know I had.  Currently I am not driving again, as my last seizure was just a month ago after having had a break from them for almost six months.  Yet, It has not slowed me down any.  Instead,  I am proud to say that my business has even grown during this time because I’ve been able to persevere through these challenges and conduct my business while carefully monitoring my health. 


What I want to convey now most is to reassure you that I am committed to working with you to the best of my ability.  I can do this because I refuse to allow seizures to dictate the career and life I want to have, because I have the support of my family and friends, and because I have my team that continues to rise to the occasion to assist me.  I won’t let this health problem of mine interfere with doing my best for you -- my clients.  I am grateful for the business that comes my way because it brings me great satisfaction to do a good job for you in order that you can accomplish your real estate goals.  I welcome your comments as to how you overcome your health challenges.


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June 10, 2020

Let’s Talk HOA Pros & Cons


June 8, 2020

By April Huynh


“With nearly 3,000 homeowners associations in Nevada, chances are, you live in a community governed by an HOA,” says the State of Nevada Department of Business & Industry website. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, sooner or later you will come across one.  Homeowners know too well how they are affected by HOA’s.  “But what if I’m just renting?  I’m not a homeowner,” you reason.  If you rent a home within an HOA, you will be affected as well.  We’ll circle back to this in a bit. But first:

Exactly, what IS an HOA? 

Wikipedia defines a homeowner association to be “a private association often formed by a real estate developer for the purpose of marketing, managing, and selling homes and lots in a residential subdivision.” In the United States, these associations are developed for subdivisions, planned communities, and condominiums.  People who purchase property within an HOA's jurisdiction are automatically required to be members and thus agree to pay dues, known as HOA fees. 

An HOA is created to protect the residents’ interests in the community and, therefore, residents themselves can volunteer and are voted in by the homeowners, to serve on the HOA board.  The board then comes up with regulations, policies, and guidelines to govern the community in terms of its usage and maintenance.  It starts with establishing a document called the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, (known as CC&Rs) that sets forth certain conditions on owners and their properties. 

Since HOAs are generally incorporated, they are subject to state laws. But because they are a self-governing body put in place by the homeowners, they even have considerably more authority to enforce the agreements established by the CC&Rs.  While this sounds like a negative thing, as most folks do not like others telling them what to do regarding their own homes, read on to see why they may agree to this.  Besides, it makes sense to have the association govern its own community because, in theory, it's better for the residents to work to protect their own interest, rather than putting the governing of it in outside hands.   

HOA pros 

An HOA offers many benefits for homeowners living within its community.  Perhaps the biggest benefit of an HOA is that it serves its members by providing guidelines and regulations with the goal of preserving the community’s look and feel, so that the community's property values are maintained or even enhanced.  

They do this by enforcing the CC&Rs’ for the community.  These “may include structural restrictions such as the type of fences or landscape allowed, or minor selections such as the color of paint on a house. This document usually also outlines the penalties for violating the CC&Rs, which may include fees, forced compliance or in some cases, litigation” states the website Investopedia.  While this seems rather restrictive, when done right, the end result is a beautiful community that has a beautiful look and feel to retain its high value and makes it a desirable community to live in for many individuals.

Therefore, even renters (mentioned in paragraph one above) of homes within an HOA, are also subjected to the CC&Rs, requiring them to maintain yards or clean the driveways of oil and grease leakage.  They are sent HOA violations for these and other conditional requirements that, either they or the owner must respond and adhere tand correct.  Otherwise, either may be subject to fines. Again, this is all done with the goal of keeping up the desirability of the community. 

In addition, an HOA may also provide numerous amenities such as swimming pools, club houses offering such services as party spaces or workout facilities, additional parking, landscaping for all the HOA members.  Some HOA’s emphasize their benefits highlighting security needs with either gates requiring entry codes, guard-gated officers requiring rather strict identifications and reasons for guest visits, or even patrolled guards.   Others may offer additional value by covering monthly costs of trash, water and sewer, or even cable service within the HOA dues.

Obviously, the more the HOA provides in benefits, the higher the dues are.  In Vegas, dues seem to range from $10 to $2500 per month.  On the low end, the HOA exists largely to maintain common areas of the community.  On the high end, they are found in high rises which offer the best in city and resort amenities, such as private cellars for storing wine for owners or even  private garages with space for live-in chauffeurs!  Despite those seemingly large numbers, Vegas has been ranked in recent years to offer some of the lowest average HOA’s in the nation.  One blog* reported “on average, HOA fees on HOMES FOR SALE IN LAS VEGAS cost $198 per month – the second least expensive metro behind Nashville at $194 per month.”

HOA cons

From the above discussion, it’s fairly easy to see some points of contention already for some folks.  

First is the independent spirit within many people.  THEY DON’T LIKE OTHERS TELLING THEM WHAT THEY CAN OR CANNOT DO REGARDING THEIR OWN HOMES!  These ones, if they know themselves well enough at the time of purchase,  will probably never purchase a house with an HOA.  Invariably though, some of these folks end up putting up with an HOA if they found just the right home that they fell in love with.  These will begrudgingly live with an HOA.  Others eventually have found out they will have to move just to get out of the HOA. 

Second, another reason I repeatedly hear against HOAs is how stringent some of them are.  Many have had bad experiences living or renting with them sending out HOA violation notices on what they perceive as nitpicking or needlessly restrictive.  It’s unfortunate that some purchasers were not aware of the points established in the CC&Rs when they bought the home either for themselves or for their rentals.  On the other hand, some HOA management companies have also been part of the problem, as they either managed the HOA ineptly or have taken their license to enforce the rules a little far. 

Next, at the end of the day, there’s the actual cost of the HOA dues.  Although, as previously stated, HOAs in Las Vegas are comparatively low against other metro areas, the average of about $190 per month can still be a significant payment, especially if the homeowner doesn’t  see the results they expect from their HOA.  When they observe things in disrepair such as palm trees in the common areas that need trimming of their dead palm branches or the streets are dirty, they gripe about the payment they have to make every month.  Nowadays, with neighborhood watch apps such as Nextdoor or Facebook neighborhood groups, the negative conversations about their HOAs, especially regarding how inefficiently or poorly they are operated.  This, of course, is exacerbated when the HOA sends out an assessment or an increase of the HOA dues. 

In the end, HOAs have their place in real estate.  While they do indeed offer strong benefits for their neighborhoods or communities, by definition -- they can be a challenge for some folks.  

The good news is, in the Las Vegas market, there’s a wide choice for buyers.  Determine what is really important to you and work with your realtor to find the right home for you, whether there is “No HOA,” a small HOA fee that only handles what you see as necessary, or one with a large HOA that offers you benefits beyond paying for the dues.  I’d love to hear your feedback on how your experience with HOAs has been or what your opinion of them is by leaving them in the Comments section below.  


*source - 


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May 31, 2020

The Closing Process Explained

May 31, 2020

April Huynh


One of the things I noticed that my clients have questions about is the various steps of the closing process.  This is, of course, normal, since the escrow process is a big deal.  For most clients, the selling or buying of a house involves the largest financial decision that they make in their lives.  So let’s take a closer look at this process and see if we can make it a little less intimidating. 

What Escrow Is and Why It Is Needed

“Escrow is the process of transferring the home ownership from seller to buyer.  The escrow company, who is usually the title insurance company acts as an intermediary between the buyer and seller.  The escrow/title insurance company searches the title history, obtains the owner's payoff amount (if applicable), prepares the settlement documents and manages the closing between buyer and seller,” states the website  

Various terms are given for this third party or company -- "escrow agent/representative," "escrow company," or just "escrow."   (Some states utilize real estate attorneys rather than escrow companies during the closing process.)  

Because time is required for the buyer to obtain their financing, the escrow company will need a place to hold the funds involved in the transaction, so an escrow account is opened.  Because it involves the handling of money in the account, the escrow agent is a neutral third party that works neither for the buyer nor the seller in the transaction.  Escrow requires instructions agreed upon by both sellers and buyers to release funds to either side. 

The goal for all parties in escrow is obviously to close it, resulting in good news for everyone.  Buyers have a new home to move into, sellers can move on to wherever they are going, and real estate and escrow agents get a transaction closed and are finally paid for the work involved!

The Nevada Escrow Process

From here on out, what I discuss for the rest of this blog is for escrow in the state of Nevada ONLY, as this may vary depending on what state your transaction is in.  

“Congratulations!  Your offer has been negotiated and accepted so now we can open escrow!”  These are wonderful words that are good news to both buyers and sellers. 

The Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) is the first thing that goes into the escrow account.  The EMD is an amount the buyer promised to the seller that represents the buyer's good faith to buy a home.  It will become part of their down payment once the loan is funded.

As we go through the escrow period, there are three milestones that serve as precautionary guards for buyers in Nevada.  Each of these is like a ‘stop’ sign on this path toward closing that is designed to protect the buyers EMD.  Let’s now delve into how buyers and sellers navigate through the closing process if the purchase is a financed transaction.  Cash transactions are much simpler and typically don’t involve as much.

Escrow From the Buyers’ Side

Buyers have much to do to perform per terms of the sales agreement so they’re more involved in the escrow process.  The time needed for the escrow to close is determined by the closing date as agreed upon in the purchase agreement, which is largely dependent on when the financing funds will be available, as deemed by the loan officer.  In the current climate involving the coronavirus pandemic, this may be around 45-60 days, or even longer, as lenders are being more strict in their underwriting of the loan.  In more normal  times, it can be as little as 30 days for loan final approval and closing.  Here’s the discussion on each of these milestone stop signs:


  1. The “due diligence” period is the first one to be encountered.  It is the agreed upon  window of time (usually between 10-14 days) that begins the next day after the sales agreement is executed and gives the buyer the time to get an inspection done so that they can know what defects the home may have.  An inspection is not required but is strongly recommended.  This is done over and above the Seller Real Property Disclosure (SRPD), provided by the seller to let prospective buyers know what may be wrong about the house and what repairs the sellers have done to correct items in the past.  The SRPD is a document letting buyers know to the best of the sellers’ knowledge what they know to be wrong. 

These both serve to give buyers a good idea of the current condition of the house they are purchasing.  While in the due diligence period, the buyer should pay a few hundred dollars for a professional inspector to come and inspect the house.  Yes, this is an additional nonrefundable, out-of-pocket cost incurred by buyers to inspect the prospective new home.  From the list of recommended items, the buyer and seller will negotiate any repairs to be done.  Once completed, both parties can proceed on to the next step and this stop sign is removed.  

It is in this due diligence period that the buyer has the most liberal opportunity to change his or her mind as to whether they will continue with the transaction, since they literally are able to walk away for any reason.   

  1. The appraisal contingency is the next stop sign to overcome.  This one typically lasts 20-25 days from the day after the execution of the purchase agreement.  The appraisal is ordered by the loan officer and is another third party that works neither for the buyer or the seller. 

Todd McClure, a loan officer with Umpqua Bank, says, “I request the appraisal after I learn from the buyer’s agent that the sales process has progressed nicely, that they’ve moved past the inspection and repairs, and that we are moving toward a close just as soon as the appraisal is returned.”

Buyers, please note that the appraisal cost is the second out-of-pocket cost to be incurred by them.  These are non-refundable costs and are a part of the purchasing process.

  1. The loan contingency is the third and final stop sign.  This window also begins the very next day from the execution of the sales agreement.  All agreements specify that the buyer is to begin their loan process within a day or two typically from opening of escrow and have an agreed upon number of days (typically 25-35 days in non-pandemic times) to complete the underwriting process to get final approval for their loan.  During this time, the lender will underwrite the loan by verifying the buyer’s qualifications and confirming their employment status.  This loan contingency date can be extended and if this is needed, to protect your EMD.  However, both buyer and seller need to agree upon an extension date. Loan officer, McClure, says that because he gets his clients to provide their documentation early in the qualification process for the majority of his loans, he can move the loan through his process within 7-10 days after the buyer submits their loan disclosures to him. 

It is imperative that the buyers refrain from any purchases other than the ordinary cost-of-living purchases and not use their credit cards at this time.  Please follow the advice or directives from your loan officer in this period, as any additional purchase(s) can affect whether or not you are able to obtain the loan! 

Once you have final approval from the underwriter, this stop sign can be removed and we can move forward.

On that note, the last thing I want buyers to be aware of is the closing costs of their purchase.  Closing costs are provided by escrow and are generally rolled into the financing of the home.  Website states,  as of April 7, 2020,  “across the state, the average home sells for between $300,000 and $400,000. If you buy a property in that range, expect to pay between $3,996.75 and $7,105.33 in closing costs after taxes.”

Escrow From the Sellers’ Side

While buyers have quite a bit more work to do while in escrow, there are some things that sellers need to be aware of.  So here’s the summary of how the closing process involves them:

  • Sellers can stay in touch with their listing agent to know the buyers’ progress as they move through the above process, as communication is on-going between both agents to update each other. 

  • As the buyer progresses past each of the three stop signs, sellers will want to make sure that they are progressing on their move out of the house.  Be sure to arrange your packing and stay on top of your moving timeline.

  • Closing costs.  Sellers have their own costs involved in the selling of your house.  While less than the buyers’ closing costs, sellers can expect to spend about 1-2% of the sales price toward their closing costs.  These include everything from escrow and recording fees, Nevada Real Property Transfer Tax and Form 1099 fee, among others. 

Stay in communication with your agent and the escrow agent to make sure you understand your closing costs, which in most cases, will be deducted from your proceeds.  All of this is prepared by escrow.  These costs are in addition to broker commissions to be paid to both agents that you agreed to when you began the listing with your chosen real estate agent. 


In the end, the closing of a home is an exciting event for all parties involved.  While most escrows do indeed close, the process can be rather stressful, requiring agents to assist their clients through a variety of bumps and unanticipated surprises.  Like snowflakes, no two closings are the same, at least in my own experience.  There are many different things that can happen during escrow that may delay the closing of the sale.  However, good communication between all parties usually leads to a solid closing and everyone is relieved and happy!


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