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Karina Rakhimova

    CDPE - Certified Distress Property Expert

Direct: (954) 993-1027

Office: (954) 396-5900

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RE/MAX Preferred
2810 E Oakland Park Blvd Ste 200
Fort Lauderdale, FL
(954) 396-5900

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Selling/Buying a property: negotiation points. Fort Lauderdale – Florida

Posted by Karina Rakhimova | on Friday, November 5th, 2010 at 8:23 pm
Category: Buy a House.
Tags: , , , , ,

It is commonly believed that a purchase price is mostly only a subject of negotiation in a real estate transaction. It is not entirely true. I would like to discuss some other terms that can be negotiated and help to achieve a buyer or seller’s goals and successfully close the sale of a property.

  1. Time for move-in – move-out. A buyer, who wants to move in the house quickly, might be willing to pay a little more, instead of waiting while the seller finds a place to live. On the opposite side, a seller who needs more time to stay in the property might take less in exchange of more time in the house.
  2. Financing for the purchase. If the offer is contingent upon a Buyer getting financing, it is important to have this clause spelled out for each party. Seller should be certain that the financing contingency is based on reasonable economic conditions (rate, type of mortgage, down payment). The financing contingency, usually, has two parts to it:  1). Buyer should secure the financing within a specific number of days; 2). the mortgage rate can’t be more than a certain percentage. Seller should make sure that a Buyer applies for a mortgage within a certain number of days so if the Buyer is not qualified, the property can be placed back on market without too much lost time. Also, a Seller should to make sure that the mortgage rate is not too low; otherwise, the contract is worthless.

If a Buyer can offer a cash transaction, with no financing contingency, he/she might seek a somewhat lower price.

  1. Inspections. It is always recommended for a Buyer and sometimes for Sellers to check the property with an independent third-party inspector to find out as much as possible on a house’s condition. The inspection findings can be a base for renegotiating. For Buyer: if the findings are not satisfying, he/she will want a deposit back promptly and in full. At the same time Seller should specify the time period for such inspections where the Buyer gets it done promptly so the property is not put in limbo. If a Buyer waives the right to inspect, the offer becomes somewhat stronger without this contingency.
  2. Fixtures and appliances. What will be conveyed with the property has to be spelled out clearly in the contract. These items can be key bargaining tools.
  3. Closing costs. Even though it is locally customary who pays what at closing (items or percentage), it still all open to negotiation.

The role of a Realtor is to facilitate agreement between parties. The goal or purpose to successful negotiating is always an agreement, which implies a “win-win” outcome. When this is achieved, the outcome is successful, people commit to what they’ve agreed upon, stress is reduced, successful relationships and personal happiness is more likely, and people feel satisfied!

Call me with any questions at (954)993-1027

Karina Rakhimova

ReMax Preferred

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Short Sales: HAFA program for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans – Fort Lauderdale, FL

Posted by Karina Rakhimova | on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 at 5:58 pm
Category: Short Sales.
Tags: , , , ,

In one of my previous posts I talked about HAFA program that was launched on April 5th, 2010 and implemented by many lenders. One of the limitations of the program was that a borrower with a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac cannot be eligible to do a short sale through HAFA. The GSEs’ (Government Sponsored Enterprise) exclusion from HAFA was questioned by many experts and borrowers because it would be logical for Fannie and Freddie (own over 50% of all loans in the country) that are operating under full government control to be the first institutions to participate in something like HAFA. In response, Treasury officials were saying that Fannie and Freddie were working on their own short sale friendly programs. Finally, on Tuesday, June 1st it was announced that both Fannie and Freddie encouraged their servicers to begin implementing their HAFA procedures immediately and by August 1st, 2010 all of them must have incorporated HAFA into their operations and begin offering HAFA solutions to eligible buyers. The program is effective through December 31st, 2012.Unlike the non-GSE HAFA program, Fannie and Freddie require that HAFA can be applied only after “all other home retention workout options have been exhausted”.

Fannie Mae’s HAFA  guidelines and Freddie Mac’s set specific and reasonable time frames for the review and acceptance of a short sale and  allow them to pay financial incentives to both servicers and borrowers.

One of the HAFA requirements (for GSE and non-GSE short sales) is that the property must be listed with a licensed real estate professional. Choosing one with the most expertise and experience not just in regular real estate transactions but in short sales is imperative for getting a short sale closed as easy and smooth as possible for every party.

Call me with any of your questions and real estate needs at 954-993-1027 and together we will find the best solution for you and your family.

Karina Rakhimova,

Realtor, CDPE ( Certified Distress Property Expert )

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Short Sales: Can Seller Benefit from a short sale? – Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Posted by Karina Rakhimova | on Friday, June 4th, 2010 at 8:26 pm
Category: Short Sales.
Tags: , , , ,

There has been going on for a couple of years a discussion about whether short sale benefits or not the seller. In my opinion, any situation where you can negotiate is better than one when the cold hearted system will take away your home and just give you the “final bill”, a foreclosure and judgment against you.

What you can achieve through a short sale:

  1. If it is your primary residence, you can negotiate a debt forgiveness (or automatically given through the HAFA program) from the first lender and, by law, removal of a tax liability on that forgiven debt (The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation) . Forgiven debt is a difference between how much you owed and for how much the property was sold (with all acquired expenses during the process).  In the case of foreclosure, the lender has the right to file for a deficiency judgment within 5 years after foreclosure sale and attempt to collect it for 20 years.
  2. If it is your investment property, you can negotiate a debt forgiveness or promissory note for the smaller amount than a deficiency between selling price and owed amount to your lender.
  3. Doing a short sale through HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative) program you can be entitled for $3000 relocation money.
  4. You will have less impact on your credit compared to the foreclosure that stays there for 10 years.
  5. You may be eligible to buy another home in 2 years under Fannie Mae guidelines while with a foreclosure that stays on your record – up to 7 years.
  6. The foreclosure legal procedure could be postponed for some time during the short sale negotiation and you can stay in your house for that time.

Indirect positive implication:

  1. Selling your house for slightly under market or at market value helps the community to keep a higher market value in general.
  2. Helping to reduce the losses for the Condo association/HOA by bringing a new owner and negotiating as high as possible amount towards outstanding maintenance with the lender or buyer.
  3. New owners will appreciate you keeping the house in habitable condition.
  4. The lender’s losses aren’t as high as in foreclosure.
  5. Bringing some business activity and income to local realtors, title companies, appraisers, inspectors, etc.
  6. Local budget gets the property taxes on time.

Before you make a decision on letting the property go to foreclosure, I suggest you explore other options including the mortgage modification and short sale. Speak with the professionals: realtors, accountants, lawyers. By educating yourself, you will make this unpleasant experience easier and less emotional. “Knowledge is Power” (Francis Bacon, “Meditationes Sacrae” (1597)).

Call Karina Rakhimova with any questions at (954)993-1027 or email at:

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Is it time to buy Real Estate in Fort Lauderdale, FL?

Posted by Karina Rakhimova | on Friday, May 28th, 2010 at 1:48 pm
Category: Housing Market.
Tags: , , ,

This question has been asked by so many people who are wondering whether it is time for bargains or just another downward spiral. Human nature is an ambivalent substance and you always find two opposite points of view on any question. Let’s look what the motivating factors are to buy now and what the drugging arguments are to stay put.

Buying a home today in Fort Lauderdale gives an opportunity to find a property in a prime area that has been unaffordable or rare to find for a long-long time. The prices have dropped in Fort Lauderdale 25-40% (in some cases even more) since the peak of the market.

Why it is time to buy real estate in Fort Lauderdale:

  • If you have good credit and your plan is to stay in a home for a few years (average time to live in a primary residence  is 7 years), you won’t be affected much by value fluctuation in the near future but, most likely, gain it over a several years.
  • If you need financing to buy a home in Fort Lauderdale, you will find unbelievably low rates today and it will be beneficial over the years by paying low interest rates and building equity. 
  • If you are renting now, you can be living in your home now for the same money and, again, building equity instead of irrevocably spending the money.
  • It is definitely, time for finding a place that you like and negotiate the price and terms with the sellers that are more willing to work with you than ever before.

Now, why you should wait to buy real estate in Fort Lauderdale:

  • There more foreclosures coming on the Fort Lauderdale market that will have an effect on the value of the properties.
  • There is still large real estate inventory which makes the market unbalanced. It, also, affects the regular (not short sale or foreclosed property sale) sellers’ decision to put their property on the market and buyers are waiting for “better deals”. It leads to prices dropping even more. People don’t like to buy depreciating assets.
  • Distressed properties and sales created in some cases are a serious impact on the communities, their lifestyle, maintenance and stability.

As you can see there are always arguments for each side and only you who can make a decision what is best to do. I can assure you that there will be people who win big time buying in this market and people who will regret their choice.  I believe in an educated decision when it comes to a big step such as buying a home or making such a big investment. I can just offer my knowledge and expertise to help you make up your mind and choose the way to go.

Call Karina Rakhimova with any questions at (954)993-1027 or email me at

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Buy a condo in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Type of condominiums.

Posted by Karina Rakhimova | on Sunday, May 16th, 2010 at 6:52 pm
Category: Condos.
Tags: , , , , ,

In my previous blog , I started a series of articles about  buying a condo in Fort Lauderdale. I described the advantages of buying a condo last time. This time I would like to bring your attention to different types of condominiums in Fort Lauderdale and some of the main points of living in the condo. Word condo or condominium comes from the two Latin words: “con” –meaning together and “dominium” – meaning property. The most popular types of condos in Florida are: an apartment, townhouse, condo hotel. Also, some condominiums are specially suited for a certain lifestyle, such as retirement communities, golf or waterfront communities. Apartments can be located in high-rises (example: Sapphire Condo in Fort Lauderdale)  or low rise (example: The Fountains Condo in Fort Lauderdale)    buildings with covered or uncovered parking spaces (usually, enough for all homeowners and their guests) and a variety of amenities located inside the building or in a separately built dwelling.

Townhouses  can be built as single or multi-storied structures, often with an attached garage (example: Harbor Vista Townhomes in Fort Lauderdale). Usually, the townhome is attached to other townhomes with one or both sides sharing common walls. Townhouses can be grouped together as small units or can be a part of a big complex. In the bigger complexes it is common to find all the same amenities (or even more) as in apartment buildings: gated entrances with security guards, pools, tennis, volleyball courts, state of art gyms, etc.  Townhouses often offer a small private backyard, backyard patios or upstairs balconies to enhance the feeling of open spaces.

Another common type of condominiums in Fort Lauderdale is a condo-hotel. Typically it is a high-rise building developed and operated as a hotel with a recognized brand name (example: The Ritz Carlton condo-hotel in Fort Lauderdale). It has a part that operates only as a hotel and part that is just a condo. The owner of the condo can use all the amenities and benefits of the hotel. In some places you can own and use your unit as a vacation home but when you aren’t using it, there is an option to rent and manage the unit through the hotel management. Usually, the maintenance fees are higher than in the regular condo buildings due to a higher level and variety of services.

As you can see, in Fort Lauderdale, you have many choices of residences that best suits your needs and lifestyle with a fantastic level of amenities, luxury,activities and most importantly, in this economy, value.

Call me with any questions!

Karina Rakhimova Re Max Partners

Cell: 954-993-1027


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Advantages of buying a condo in Fort Lauderdale

Posted by Karina Rakhimova | on Sunday, May 9th, 2010 at 11:38 pm
Category: Condos.
Tags: , , , , ,

There have been always two types of people who want to live either in a condo, or in a house. The condominium lifestyle is not for everyone but condos in Fort Lauderdale have become an increasingly attractive ownership option for singles, young couples, families and retired couples, people using it as a vacation home, investment or first time homebuyers. What is so attractive about living in condominium:

  1. Less maintenance that has to be done by the owner. No lawn mowing, no replacing broken fixtures, no taking care of a pool, no worries about a roof leak or flooding. Yes, you are paying the monthly or quarterly maintenance fees but you are not required to perform the maintenance yourself.
  2. A variety of amenities that you can use and don’t spend additional time or money to get in other places. You can exercise without having an expensive membership in one of the area gyms, you can enjoy your Sunday BBQ without buying and maintaining a grill, you can have a game of pool with your buddy or dock your boat right outside your doorway.
  3. Security that gives piece of mind while you live in the condo or going away for a long vacation or a quick business trip
  4. Community environment that you are getting in, usually, is well established in popular neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale.
  5. It is easier to rent it out if you decide to move to a house or other place.

When you buy a condo, what you actually own is the inside of the unit itself. All unit owners own everything outside of their unit, proportionately and collectively. In most communities, owners elect members (other condo owners) to form a Condominium Association.  This organization establishes a budget, collect dues from unit owners, manage the repair and maintenance of common elements, and oversee the affairs of the community.

In the next posts, I will describe how to buy a condo in Fort Lauderdale, the potential disadvantages, selection of condominiums in Fort Lauderdale, and their price ranges.

Call me with any questions!

Karina Rakhimova ReMax Partners

Cell: 954-993-1027


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Buying a bigger home in Fort Lauderdale.

Posted by Karina Rakhimova | on Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 at 4:10 pm
Category: Buy a House.
Tags: , ,

Your family got bigger, or you just want more room in your place, or you follow the real estate market and see that you can now afford the house of your dreams. Great! It’s just the time! Trading up a property is a bit different from just buying a home. This time you already own a home. Before you start looking for a bigger house, you should plan and get as much information as possible, so there are fewer surprises on your way to the home of your dreams. What you should consider:

  1. Find an agent who will analyze your situation and based on given criteria supply you with updated information on what is available for you and discuss the strategies for selling the property that you now own.
  2. Get your mortgage pre-approved. One of the very important questions whether you will finance the new property while you own your current home. Lenders’ latest guidelines are saying that you have to have enough income to cover both mortgages for the properties and be qualified for the second loan.  Investigate a possibility to get an equity loan that can be repaid when you close. Speak with a mortgage professional and get your Mortgage pre-approved before you make the next step.
  3. Sell your house first, if you can’t have two mortgages at once and even when you can. Selling first not only helps your bargaining position, but also in purchasing the new one when you have no strings attached.
  4. Do a research on temporary housing that you might need between selling your old home and moving into the new one. It is not always easy to find short term rentals. Consider selling your house and rent it from the new owner for short time.
  5. Coordinate two closings if you decided to sell and buy at the same time. Two major transactions could be somewhat overwhelming with many people and events involved: seller, buyer, home inspectors, appraisers, loan officers, attorneys, agents, etc. Work closely with your agent and be informed on each step of transaction beforehand.

Being prepared and getting a help from your agent will make your experience of buying a bigger home in Fort Lauderdale satisfying and fascinating. Remember, a down market represents an excellent time to trade up!

Call me with any questions or if you need a help of buying a bigger home in Fort Lauderdale:

Karina Rakhimova ReMax Partners


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The HAFA Short Sale program – Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Posted by Karina Rakhimova | on Monday, April 26th, 2010 at 11:12 pm
Category: Short Sales.
Tags: , , ,

Short Sales”: these two words create ambiguous reaction from homeowners/sellers, buyers, realtors and lenders. Short Sales can mean hope, or a “good deal”, or useless time loss, or disappointment, or … So many different experiences are out there. The bottom line is that very often the short sales are unpleasant and uneasy, even though, it is a huge segment of the current real estate market not only in Fort Lauderdale, FL but everywhere.  Good thing is there are people looking for the solutions and creating regulations to help to get through these times.

The new Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program went into effect on April 5th, 2010. The main concept of the program is to help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure through a streamlined, incentive-provided short sale process. If HAFA program is implemented by lenders in the way as it is presented on the paper, some benefits could be predicted for each party of the short sales:

Homeowners /Sellers:

  1. Uniform procedures and expedited timelines for a short sale
  2. No deficiencies, contributions, or promissory notes asked by the lenders
  3. Pre-approved short sale price will attract buyers with serious intentions to buy the specific property and stop “hunting” and making offers at the same time on other properties, hoping that one out five will get through.
  4. Relocation incentives for up to $3,000 at the closing


  1. No more months of waiting for  a lender to approve, reject or counter the short sale offer , instead the process is predictable and organized
  2. Pre-approved price
  3. Lender will give enough time for a closing
  4. No battles with non- motivated sellers who doesn’t want to move out of a property for as long as possible


  1. Possible pre-approved short sale price before listing
  2. No commission reduction if it is 6% or less
  3. No more hours on the phone waiting for a response or months of negotiating with tons of paperwork
  4. Standardized requirements for short sale package

As any program, HAFA is not for everyone. This program is not mandated for all lenders but for ones that voluntarily participated (more than 85 of the biggest lenders as of now). It does not apply to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans, at least at the present time. Some of the requirements for homeowners in hardship:

  1. The property has to be a principal residence
  2. Loan originated before January, 2009.
  3. Current unpaid principal balance on the loan is less than $729,750
  4. Mortgage is delinquent or default is reasonably foreseeable
  5. Borrower’s total housing payment exceeds 31% of gross income
  6. Short sale must be an Arm’s Length transaction and Purchaser cannot sell the property within 90 calendar days of closing.

Main points of program and incentives:

  1. HAFA short sale process employs standard form documents and has specific timer fames for all steps of the process.
  2. If homeowner is approved for to do a short sale, the lender will give 120 days to market the property (can be extended up to 12 months). Property cannot be foreclosed during this time.
  3. Property has to be listed with a Realtor
  4. List price or acceptable sale proceeds have to be approved.
  5. Borrower is to be released from repayment and deficiency to the first mortgage holder
  6. Upon successful closing of a short sale – borrower will be entitled to a relocation incentive of $3,000.
  7. Lender will allow a portion of net proceeds to be paid to other lien holders for release and full satisfaction of their liens.
  8. Borrower will be required to pay the amount of monthly mortgage payments that must not exceed 31% of the borrower’s gross monthly income.
  9. Executed purchase offer has to be submitted within 3 business days following its receipt.
  10. Within 10 business days the lender has to indicate approval or disapproval of the offer.


In my opinion, the program has its heart in the right place. Now is a question of how it will be implemented by lenders and their servicers. I’m sure it will take time to create an easy flow in processing the short sale through the HAFA program. I believe that only a collective effort of homeowners, buyers, realtors and lenders and constant education of ourselves on the subject will help us to make the best out of this program.

Call me with any questions!

Karina Rakhimova ReMax Partners 954-993-1027

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