Search for your New Home

A soaking tub in your new home

Search the Southern California Multiple Listing Service MLS from your smart
phone or desktop free

I offer this application for free. You can shop during the day or night. You can look up the value of your own home. Search for comparable sales in your neighborhood. It will tell you all the open houses near to you on any given day. It links to the Multiple Listing Service directly. When a Realtor uploads a new listing, it is live and available for you to view. A helpful way to search for a home from your smart phone, car, apartment desktop. To sign on you will need my secret code. The secret code is my phone number with no dots, no dashes, no parenthesis... 9496378190 Once you sign in then you will set up your own personal user name and password. Feel free to look at properties as often or as little as you may need. Shop for a friend, share it, be my guest.

When you need a mortgage or home loan just remember me and that I gave you this free Birthday present. Any questions my friends? Please feel free to call me. I am here to help.

Bath tub Bathroom remodel

NMLS 324982


John McLaughlin painting

John MCLAUGHLIN oil on canvas paintng

John Dwyer McLaughlin (May 21, 1898 – March 22, 1976) was an American abstract painter. Based primarily in California, he was a pioneer in minimalism and hard edge painting.
He lived in Dana Point California about two blocks from my house. My father met him in 1969, they had mutual roots in Sharon Massachusetts. I own four paintings of his work, two drawings and some letters This painting is in excellent to perfect condition which is unusual for his work. John sometimes used house paint, and acrylic over oil that crackled on purpose.
John McLaughlin painting


Plan Before You Buy A Home

Plan before you buy a home.
When purchasing a home plan for the next ten years. Most homeowners only stay seven years, but the older you are the longer you will stay statistics show. 

Two people close to me: my mother and prior business partner Bill Broza both suffered from strokes in the past years. They have similar dilemmas. My mother owns a two story house in  Laguna Niguel with no downstairs bedroom and only a powder room on the first floor. Bill also lives in Laguna Niguel in a Spanish style two story with only a tiny powder room on the first floor.

A house can be adapted. We reviewed adding a stair lift or elevator but both are costly and unsightly. A stair lift is a motorized rail and chair that attaches to existing stairways. I was concerned that my Mom could easily fall off the lift and be stranded on the stairs perhaps for hours. I looked into adapting each house by adding a elevator. Cost to construct this was about thirty thousand dollars, and because it would change the functionality of the homes and elevator might bring the value down.
Other possible remodeling such as enlarging the downstairs bathroom to add a stand up tub can cost between ten and thirty thousand dollars. Adding a funky bath is not going to help her when she does choose to sell her home.

My mom is set on staying in her home. The cost of care layered with remodeling is prohibitive. Temporarily last year she lived with me.

My point is: for example you are a young couple who may have children in the coming years. Look to what future the subject property may need to be changed to fit the lifestyle.

When the downturn occurred many homeowners could not easily sell their home and make changes. They owed on mortgage loans larger than the value of the home. Life always holds surprises ahead. Planning for them makes it easy when they occur.

Cute bath just outdated

Did FICO Lie to You?

Old school house

Fair Isaac announced in the news this week that they are now offering a kinder gentler credit score the FICO 9. Who is running the schoolhouse?

 What they did not say is:
They were forced to do this by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Richard Cordray is more powerful than President Obama. If Cordray can get William J Lansing to change his business model, imagine the possibilities ahead...

Fair Isaac Corp. creates products and services that help businesses to automate, improve, and connect decisions to enhance business performance. It provides a range of analytical solutions, credit scoring, and credit account management products... They are used in mortgage lending, commercial loans, employment applications, and information gathering. Consider them the inventor of constantly improving and growing software that snoops, measures and predicts.

How did CFPB get FICO to change how they award points?
CFPB saw inequities in credit scoring for the “underserved.” Perhaps CFPB just wanted some of the secret sauce of exactly how the mathematical models make up and individual’s score from day to day. 

So what changes will now inflate FICO scores?
A bad debt later paid off through collections, that bad debt won't affect FICO scores anymore.
Yesterday I dealt with a collection company for a Borrower. Amy sat at my desk while we called the company that four years ago wrote a letter stating they knew this was not her debt, that it belonged to someone else in another state with a similar name. The collection had been cleared from her credit in 2010. This same collection company now reinstated the account against her name.
We called the owner of the collection company, as his name is on the letter.
“Mr. Norman may I fax you the letter you wrote to me in 2010 that states you researched and discovered this tow truck collection is not mine?”
“Hell no I’m not giving you my fax number. Go take it up with the bureaus.”
“I did Sir but they state your company is reporting this again.”
He hangs up.
The frustration of dealing with clearing an erroneous collection is great. It’s difficult to prove information from years in the past. Victims of identity theft have it even harder.
Any debt relating to medical problems will have less impact on scores. In fact, if the only bad debt someone has relates to a medical problem, those people might see an increase of 25 points or more in their FICO numbers.
This one is important because if you ever went to a hospital, even with health insurance, the bills fly in from all directions. It is easy to miss one.
Fair Isaac will evaluate people with little credit history using a new algorithm that will give them a higher grade.

Steve Brown, president of the National Assn. of Realtors, excited about the new score's potential that he predicted it would "make a real difference in the lives of millions of Americans who have been shut out of the housing market or forced to pay higher mortgage interest rates because of flawed credit scores." Perhaps Mr. Brown is just looking for any good news with the fights NAR has with Zillow ahead, but I digress.
What the news media missed (and the CFPB is probably already planning) is this won’t help consumers. It gives the CFPB a second phase step into regulating the software and hardware that every private and public mortgage lender, bank, credit offer(er) uses.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced they aren’t going to use FICO 9. They respectively have their own software – DU and LP which lenders access nationwide. Fannie and Freddie are not going to add in updates or new software to allow for FICO 9. Think of it this way: I love Netflix but they aren’t going to allow a Film company to tell them they have to use smell-vision. Also all the direct lenders, banks, credit unions and mortgage companies have twenty different platforms they use that would have to be changed or trashed to add in a new score.
Why would thousands of companies change? Can we expect CFPB will make it so?  Tell me what you think. Tell me your story about errors on your credit.

Fair Isaac is a NYSE traded stock as FICO they are based in San Jose California

Cute bedroom with teddy bears on the beds the kind of dream home everyone wants
Glass house guess I shouldn't throw stones
Fair Isaac is a NYSE traded stock as FICO they are based in San Jose California

C G Barbeau


Protect Your Assets and Credit from Hackers



Your social security number should be kept private. The easiest way for a criminal to steal a social security number from you is by going through your trash. Mail sometimes has your number, name, address and account numbers.
Reduce the amount of mail that comes to your home. 
Throw away junk mail in your recycle bin, envelopes and items that are not credit card, brokerage, or asset related. All asset related items should be shredded and separated half in the recycle and half somewhere else.
Pay your utility bills by auto pay online.
Opt out of junk mail and soft credit offers.  HERE is link:  
My eighty two year old mother has been a victim twice. I reviewed her habits and we came up with a plan to change. Mom likes the comfort of receiving stock statements and saves some for ten years. This information is available without keeping all that paper in her garage. I took the statements and scanned them and put on labeled CD's that she keeps in a secure place. Then I shredded the three boxes and discarded a third in the recycle, a third into my office shredder and kept a third to discard the next week. Seven years ago her brokerage accounts had her social and the full account numbers prominently printed on each page. It wasn't quite as easy to convince her to change her habit of paying for gas with a card at the pump. She doesn't like to carry a pile of twenties in her small wallet. She even dangerous used stand alone ATM machines which are often skimmed. Solution was to open a checking account at a bank down the street whereby she could easily walk up (during the daytime) and withdraw a hundred dollars, and the account doesn't have a large balance. Inconvenient, yes, but she hasn't had the problem occur again.

Don’t close your existing accounts, that can lower your FICO score. 
Look at the monthly bills and mid month look at the charges online. 
I suggest you DO NOT signup for any service that monitors your credit. DO Not pay for any service that runs your credit every month. This is another source of possible fraud.
There are many ways bad guys can get your information.
Superhero Captain Credit Saver at the Turkey Trot in Dana Point

·         Never give out your social security number to any third-party unless you know they need it (e.g. a credit application or mortgage loan). Medical offices should not be using your social as I. D.
·         Before handing over your social security number to any company, ask if it will ever appear on a document they send you in the mail. Also find out how it is securely stored on their servers so it will be protected in case of a hack. All systems can be hacked (Target is an example, and many banks don't publicly report being hacked.)
·         Avoid entering your social security number online unless you are absolutely sure you're on a secure connection and dealing with a company you trust. If you're not, call them to verify or don't do it.

·         Set up activity alerts on your accounts. Most bank and credit card online accounts let you set text or email alerts for activity, such as charges over a certain limit.
·         DO NOT USE BILL GUARD, CREDIT SESAME, FREE CREDIT, Mint, Life lock, TRUSTD IDnone of these services are there to protect you. They hold your information in the cloud, on paper and are just as likely to be hacked as anyone else. Some guy in Kazakhstan and Mongolia will be able to get in with your user name and password tomorrow.
·         DO NOT USE A CREDIT CARD OR DEBIT CARD EVER AGAIN AT SHELL and CHEVRON gas pumps. Perhaps all gas stations are targets of the Armenian Mafia and organized crime in India and elsewhere. CHEVRON and SHELL will tell you a bogus story about how they have identification bar code tape covering the computer box on every pump thus preventing skimmers. This is a joke. The criminals can get your debit code password by a remote camera and the electronic strip on the card is duplicated sometimes thousands of times. Use cash at gas stations. IF you MUST use a card, pay inside. The register inside the store is manned by a person, and assuming they aren’t the gangster at least there is some protection from skimming your card.
    If you use a debit card, NEVER leave a large balance sitting in the debit account. Don’t choose overdraft protection. Transfer small amounts from savings or deposit small checks as needed.
    Don't carry your social security card in your wallet
IF you have been compromised:
Notify the police and FTC, and keep the report
Notify your banks, credit card companies, the IRS and social security office IN WRITING and call.
Putting a fraud alert on your credit with Trans Union, CBI and Equifax will slow down a thief but it doesn’t stop the pretty teenager at Bloomingdales from opening a fraudulent $1000 line for the criminal to buying a Chloe purse and then return it for cash.
Identity theft is painful, messy and time consuming. It can crash your FICO score and make it difficult to get a mortgage.
As always I am happy to answer your questions and help you fix your FICO for free.


International Borrowers Mortgage Loans in United States

Closing a mortgage from another country as a non citizen of the United States on a castle, a house or a condo
When buying a home in the United States, foreign buyers often pay cash because it's an easier, quicker process. Foreign nationals can negotiate a lower price and faster closing with cash. We offer a cash out refinance within weeks after closing. The cost for a cash out refinance is slightly higher than a purchase money loan.
Mortgage rates are low in the United States. An international borrower will not get the same rate as a U. S. citizen with excellent credit buying an owner occupied home. There are risk pricing “adds” or pricing increases for non-owner or rental property, type of property, credit, and for foreign nationals. International buyers can opt to finance their purchase. Patience and understanding of the U. S. process is required. Buyers must supply all paperwork requested. Compile your asset and income information before you make offers into labeled pdf documents.
We can meet the increase in demand for a foreign national loans. Borrowers come from a wide range of countries, but most applicants are from China, Canada, Brazil and the United Kingdom.
We offer home loans to foreign buyers. This type of loan is available for your purchase or refinance. All loans are full recourse loans. The loan is taken in your personal name. Only on commercial property, 5-25 or more units are loans in the name of a LLC or Corporation.
When buying a condo in an existing development, buyers who are from Canada, China and South America are finding deals in California. We are willing to offer mortgages for international buyers. Condominium projects have their own requirements: 51 percent owner occupied, no lawsuits and solid financials. A good listing agent should know if a conventional loan or FHA loan was closed in the complex in the past sixty days. We can still loan on unwarranted condos but the rate is almost double.

Requirements to get a mortgage
A foreign buyer should expect to pay least 25 to 30 percent of the value of the home as a down payment, depending on property type and credit of the borrower. The borrower will be asked to provide documentation to show sufficient income in the past two years, bank statements for the past sixty days, paychecks for the past 30 days and two forms of identification, existing mortgage statements, HOA bills and existing fire insurance policies are required.
The foreign applicant should be aware that it is extremely important for the lending institution to know their borrower. This knowledge comes predominantly from paperwork. Information in other languages will require translation services.
The lender is required to conduct detailed reviews of a borrower's income and asset documentation. Bank statements will be verified with the home bank, and deposits over five hundred dollars that are not payroll must be provided with a history of where the deposits came from. Business accounts are not used the same as personal accounts. If all the funds are in business accounts an accountant will need to write a letter stating the withdrawal of the funds in no way harms the ongoing business. Some of the requirements of American lenders may seem strange and difficult. Having a loan officer such as Caroline Gerardo who is closing these types of loans for twenty five years will enable smart and quick answers to your questions.
Underwriting Review is looking for transparency from borrowers, getting an understanding of how income and wealth is generated why financial assets may transfer around. It is best to be detailed and frank about your situation before you apply.
Online mortgage application starts here:
I am here to answer your questions.
NMLS 324982
phone (949) 637-8190
Efax: 885- 833- 4303

 Edward Hopper
Thomas Seawell Front Door

HELOC In Trouble?

TransUnion's completed a research study on Home Equity Lines of Credit in the United States. Study here:

There are almost eight billion dollars outstanding on HELOC loans. Fifty percent of the total were originated from 2005 through 2007 at the height of the mortgage boom. Most have a ten year draw period with interest only payments until the end of the ten years. 
Some lenders in 2007 closed down HELOC available lines of credit. For example Bank of America reviewed Countrywide HELOC’s that they took over and on borrowers who were not using lines available, they arbitrarily closed the balance down, or decreased the line to the existing balance. Reasoning for this was most HELOC’s were underwater. Lenders used Broker Price Opinion valuations and online appraisal tools to mark properties with at risk HELOC’s. Many of those HELOC’s are now coming into time framed in the promissory notes that require principle and interest payments and catch up clauses. Will Americans be able to handle the jump in payments? Is there trouble ahead?
Certain market areas: Coastal with view, California Bay Area, and states where there was not a big bubble in property values will not be at risk. Borrowers can refinance the second into a new low rate first. 
Borrowers in pocket areas where the value has risen back to 2006 levels, can even find HELOC products that are amortized over thirty or forty years rather than the standard HELOC that will roll to a principle and interest payment amortized over fifteen after the ten year interest only time period. 
Others in markets that still have a long way back to valuations of 2006 (Arizona, Florida and Michigan) may see defaults.
If you have a HELOC that is adjusting and you want free advice how to fix it, please contact me I am happy to help


Deal With Squatter

Squatters in your listing, rental property, vacant home? 
Worse than ghosts?
The new trend of squatters who move in and change the locks seems to be increasing. 
Recently in Laguna Beach two listings were invaded by homeless persons who set up house. 
They are bold when approached by owners or Realtors.

Legally an owner must go through a court eviction to remove them from the premises, even though they have no lease or rental agreement. This can be a time consuming and costly process. First the owner must uncover the squatter’s legal names. Next they must post and serve a Notice to Vacate, then wait and file an Unlawful Detainer. Court date is often a month away, meanwhile these con artists set up cable, make a mess and can be destructive. You still need to pay your mortgage and expenses.

The Sheriff or police may not want to be the judge, as squatters will claim they have a lawful purpose to be in the home.They often provide a bogus rental agreement. Hopefully the officer can acquire their legal name to run for outstanding warrants. If you are the legal owner you could file a citizen’s arrest for breaking and entering but succeeding in having the officer arrest a person who appears normal and has no prior record will be difficult.

Things you can do to protect yourself as an owner:
1       1.  When you list a property put your telephone number and name in each photograph. Gimp is a free software that you can navigate
2.      2.  If you plan to leave town for an extended period of time (job move, tour of duty, long vacation) have a trusted person check on the house and enter once a week. Change the lights, pick up mail, and make adjustments
3.       3. If you are leasing a vacant property out of town, use a local Realtor to list.
4.      4.   Don’t post on Facebook that you are away.
5.       5. Having a house sitter might be a good protection.

What Lenders can Do to Protect REO, foreclosure, empty short sale

1.       Hire local Realtor who will check on the subject
2.       Check the locks and security
3.       Keep the front lawn up.
4.       Change things around.
5.       Allow Real Estate Agents to hold open house a couple days a week
6.       Price the house to sell

If you have questions, I'm happy to help.


You've Been Hacked?

I'm posting lovely photographs I took of a neighbor's garden this
morning to accompany an ugly subject.

A debit card hacked again.
I swear I will not pump gas, even inside the store
using a credit card or debit card.
I only transfer $200 to my debit account so
they could not steal large amounts of money again.
Why wont Shell and Chevron stop these mafia
Because they don't feel responsible. They will show you
how they put foil tapes over the scanner computer at the
pump to stop theives from putting duplicating chips on
the slide bar. They could check for cameras that theives
use to monitor as customers enter passwords. They don't

Rental scams are on the rise. All realtors and real estate
agents should put in every single listing photograph their
name, telephone number and license number. Stop the scamsters
who post those photographs on Craigslist, Trulia and
Zillow claiming to be the owner. Some guy in West Africa
won't use your home and ask for funds to be wire transferred
to their account because you will notice the contact name in
the photograph. Easily completed by running your photos through
GIMP a free software.

Had your email hacked? That's a hassle. What do they get out
of reading my Mom's joke emails?  My Mom's 82 leave her

Change your passwords,
and don't make them all the same. Your paypal and bank account
passwords need security, you can use dummy1111 for all those
junk websites that ask you to sign up just to read their story.
End of rant. Go look at the pretty gardens and relax.
Then go change your passwords and pay for gas with cash.
If you have been a victim of identity theft I have some free strategies
to prevent it, and what to do in the aftermath.

longer post here:

USDA changes


USDA Mortgage Loan is a great mortgage product. It allows borrowers to purchase a home with zero down, as long as the home is within a “rural” geographical area as designated by USDA.

USDA requires that the subject property be located in a rural area. The definition of rural area is deligated and regulated by the United States Census which is completed every ten years.
To see if a property location is eligible go here

These eligible geographic areas are about to change, but you can apply for a USDA loan here to ensure you are able to use USDA financing for your home purchase. The 2010 census revealed changes to populations around cities and towns that will make some areas ineligible for USDA financing. Many people have moved away from sparsely populated areas and closer to cities and suburbs since 2000, when the last census was taken.

Because of this, some areas that were once eligible will exceed population limits set by USDA, becoming ineligible. The boundaries for USDA loans will change as of October 1, 2014. -You need to apply early September and close before OCTOBER first of this year. If you have questions or comments I am happy to answer. After 27 years as a mortgage banker and more than two billion dollars of closed loans, I have answers, free,
Caroline Gerardo
NMLS 324982

Here is C G in rural Glen Oaks California with her son

No PMI Loans

Wouldn't you love to do a cash out refinance to install
a new luxury bathroom?
Rates are low.
Get rid of your FHA loan and reduce your payment by
cancelling PMI
I just helped a family that closed a purchase of a small
condominium in Laguna Niguel with a FHA loan in January
2014. They were struggling with expenses of a newborn.
We sat down and were able to save them $498 a month by
refinancing their loan to a conventional one with no
PMI payment. That's more than five thousand a year.
Let's talk about it. I won't recommend anything that
doesn't save you money. 

Or find a new home?
I have low interest rate loans with NO PMI for
those with income under the median or in
low to moderate income census tracts.
Call me and see if you qualify
(949) 637-8190
NMLS 324982
C G Barbeau
Santa Ana, Anaheim, San Juan Capistrano, Silverado Canyon
up to 95% loan NO PMI


Save Money

FREE Galardia Seeds.
For some reason they went crazy this year. I have thousands
of varigated, yellow and peach. No guarantee what color they
will be when you plant them. Call me and I will mail them
If you know anyone who has an FHA loan I have a mortgage
product that they can refinance to and get rid of their Mortgage
Insurance Premium (PMI) thus saving hundreds a month.
Save money while the rates are low!

Kale going to seed next


Amaranth Recipe

Amaranth Recipes (2014)
Amaranth plant in my garden
Amaranth grows in my yard about 15 feet tall. Orange County, California
Amaranthus is easy to grow.  I grew mine from seeds from a friend.
I don’t use fertilizer or any pesticides. It is a good companion plant for other vegetables. Colorful and edible and gluten free

Popped Amaranth this was made by daughter age 9

Día de los Muertos treat made from popped Amaranth. 

Amaranth Day of Dead Treat

Popped Amaranth Honey 

Gluten Free Fun

Amaranth is gluten free

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
 Serves 4

Recipe Ingredient:
  2 cups popped amaranth,
  2 cups local honey,
  1/4 cup sugar,
  1/4 warm water,
  1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Pop the amaranth in a heavy pot with lid, no oil about 3 minutes
Microwave honey in water and sugar for 20 seconds, 
mix dry and wet ingredients with hands. 
Shape into little heads and place on waxed paper. 
Decorate with seeds, raisins, peanuts or m and m candies.

Prep time: 2 minutes of fun

Cook time: 5 minutes

Cuisine: Ancient, Mexican, Children, Holiday

Category: Dessert 

Author: Caroline Gerardo

Nutrition facts:
One average sized head is 100 calories
Amaranth is source of Lysine. 
It also contains primary proteins called albumin and globulins, which, in comparison with the prolamins in wheat, are more soluble and digestible.
 One cup of raw amaranth contains 15 milligrams of iron, 18 milligrams of fiber;  9 grams of protein.
High in manganese calcium magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Amaranth contains 6 to 10% oil, predominantly unsaturated, or around 77% unsaturated fatty acids, including linoleic acid, required for optimum nutrition. Not least in this list, amaranth is the only grain with documented vitamin C content.  

Chinelos Mexican Dancer her
purple plumes remind me of Amaranth

Other uses:

I use a few red leaves in salad for color, it’s stronger like arugula, an acquired taste.

An easy colorful side dish:
Saute one finely chopped garlic clove in average olive oil (don’t waste your Extra fancy virgins)
Toss in torn leaves but save the stems for your compost pile.
Add salt, pepper and a pinch of paprika.
Cook like spinach 2 minutes

Author: Caroline Gerardo

Studies show amaranth can reduce blood pressure and
is helpful in preventing heart disease

Amaranth towering above the garden
Another sample amaranth in Laguna Beach growing with tomatoes

Other fun in my garden
vegetable gardening fun
Chinelos mask with leopard elephant nose  Day of the Dead Mask
Thanks for reading!
October 31st