Ramesh Rao Blog September 27, 2023


Ordinarily, when a homeowner sells a property, any outstanding mortgage balance gets paid off. If the buyer needs a loan to purchase the house, the buyer obtains a mortgage that has nothing to do with the seller’s loan.

In a “subject-to” sale, the buyer takes over the seller’s existing mortgage and begins making payments. The parties don’t notify the lender that the property has been sold.

Benefits of a ‘Subject-To’ Transaction

If a buyer can’t get a mortgage with a competitive interest rate and the seller has an existing loan with a low rate, buying a property “subject-to” can be an attractive option. A lower interest rate can lead to much more affordable monthly payments. In addition, the buyer can avoid closing costs, which are typically several thousand dollars.

Having the buyer take over the seller’s loan can also speed up the process and help the parties avoid any delays associated with financing. A quick transaction can be advantageous for one or both parties.

Risks of Selling a Home ‘Subject-To’

A “subject-to” sale can be risky for both the buyer and the seller. Some lenders don’t care who makes mortgage payments, as long as they receive the money that they’re owed every month. Other lenders, however, require a mortgage balance to be paid off when a property changes hands.

If the two parties agree that the buyer will take over the seller’s loan payments but don’t get approval from the lender, then the lender finds out, the buyer can suddenly be expected to pay a huge sum of money. If the buyer can’t pay off the loan, the lender can start foreclosure proceedings. That can damage the seller’s credit, since the mortgage is still in the seller’s name.

Because there is no official arrangement with the lender and the loan is in the seller’s name, the buyer is not legally obligated to pay the mortgage. If the buyer doesn’t make payments, the property can go into foreclosure, but the seller’s credit will be impacted since the seller’s name is on the loan.

If the seller declares bankruptcy after selling a house “subject-to,” that can put the buyer at risk. Obtaining insurance on a home that has been sold “subject-to” can also be complicated.

Reasons to Consider a Loan Assumption

A loan assumption is a process that allows a buyer to formally assume a seller’s mortgage. The buyer has to get approval, as with any other type of mortgage. The buyer also has to pay a fee, although it’s less than the fees that buyers typically pay when taking out a new home loan.

A loan assumption can allow both parties to avoid the risks associated with a “subject-to” sale. It’s an option with some government-backed loans, but not with most conventional mortgages.

Ramesh Rao Blog September 27, 2023


Hiking is an excellent way to get some exercise and connect with the natural world, but it can be risky. Be aware of the dangers you might encounter so you can prepare and stay safe on your hiking trip.

Research the Area 

Learn about the place where you’re planning to hike. Find out how long trails are and what the terrain is like (i.e., flat, steep, etc.) so you can choose a path that’s appropriate for the fitness levels of everyone in your group.

Familiarize yourself with the animals, plants, and insects that are common in that region. Know how to avoid danger and what to do if you encounter a dangerous animal or come into contact with a poisonous plant.

Go with a Friend or Tell Someone Where You’re Going

There is safety in numbers. If possible, have one or more people go hiking with you so you can help each other if something goes wrong. If you go hiking alone, let someone know where you’re planning to hike, when you’re going to set out on your trip, and when you expect to return. If you don’t check in by a designated time, that person can alert the authorities.

Check the Weather Forecast

Before you go hiking, find out what the weather is expected to be like. If the temperature will be very high or low, you can be susceptible to heatstroke or hypothermia. Rain can be more than an inconvenience when you’re out hiking; it can make the ground slippery and increase the risk of mudslides and overflowing rivers. If weather will create hazardous conditions, consider postponing your trip.

Dress Appropriately

The way you dress for your hiking trip will affect your comfort and safety. Choose clothing that’s appropriate for the temperature that’s expected. If there is a chance of rain, bring a jacket or coat, hat, and possibly gloves. Wear shoes or boots that are designed to handle the type of terrain where you will be hiking.

Bring Essential Supplies

Bottled water is a must for any hiking trip. If you’re going to be out for a significant amount of time, pack some nonperishable food. You should also have a basic first aid kit. A map and compass can help if you get lost. If you’re going to be in a remote area where you won’t have cellphone service, consider taking a locator beacon.

Stay Safe on the Trail

Once you set out, stick to a marked trail. If you venture off the path, you might get lost or suddenly find yourself in dangerous conditions.

Drink plenty of water and take breaks when you need them. If you feel short of breath, slow down or stop for a little while. If two or more people are hiking, adjust your pace as necessary so that everyone can stay together.

Ramesh Rao Blog September 27, 2023


A standard homeowners insurance policy covers many types of perils but doesn’t cover everything. Sometimes homeowners find that out the hard way – they assume that a policy covers something that it doesn’t, then feel surprised and dismayed when their property is damaged or destroyed and their insurance claim is denied.

Don’t let that happen to you. If you’re concerned about certain threats that your homeowners’ insurance policy doesn’t cover, you can purchase catastrophe insurance for additional protection.

What a Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy Does and Doesn’t Cover

Homeowners’ insurance companies offer different types of policies that cover different things. A named-perils homeowners insurance policy will only cover damage caused by a specific list of perils. Some homeowners insurance policies cover all perils except those that are specifically excluded.

Flooding, earthquakes, and several other types of perils are generally not covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy. Homeowners who want protection against those types of disasters have to purchase additional coverage.

What Catastrophe Insurance Covers

Catastrophe insurance is a type of rider that you can use to supplement your existing homeowners insurance coverage. Catastrophe insurance can protect you against one or more types of natural disasters, including hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes, as well as disasters that can be caused by people, such as explosions, terrorist attacks, and riots.

Difference between Catastrophe Insurance and Hazard Insurance

Catastrophe insurance and hazard insurance are different types of coverage. Hazard insurance covers some types of natural disasters. This type of coverage may already be included in your standard homeowner’s insurance policy. Catastrophe insurance goes beyond that. It covers a wider range of perils, including ones caused by humans.

How to Choose the Coverage That’s Right for You

Although catastrophe insurance can protect you against a wide range of perils, you don’t necessarily need all the types of coverage that are available. Depending on where you live, you may be more concerned about certain threats than others. For instance, your area may be at risk for earthquakes or tornadoes, but you may not be worried about the threat of a hurricane.

Think about the specific risks that your area is most likely to face and decide which forms of coverage make sense for you. You can purchase one or more riders to cover specific types of disasters.

Under some circumstances, you might be required to purchase catastrophe insurance. In areas that tend to experience certain types of disasters, sometimes the risk is so high that the state government requires homeowners to purchase insurance that covers that type of peril.


Ramesh Rao Blog September 27, 2023


When a homeowner with a conventional mortgage sells a house, the outstanding loan balance gets paid off with proceeds from the sale. The buyer might take out a new mortgage to purchase the property or pay with cash.

If the owner has a mortgage approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), things work differently. If the seller has an outstanding loan balance, the mortgage can be transferred to the buyer through a process known as a transfer of physical assets (TPA).

How Does a Transfer of Physical Assets Work?

In a TPA, both ownership of a home and the existing loan associated with the property can be transferred to the buyer. The parties have to submit a series of forms and supporting documents to HUD and get preliminary approval before a sale can move forward.

A transfer of physical assets can be full or modified. In a full transfer of physical assets, ownership of the property and the outstanding mortgage are completely transferred from the seller to the buyer.

In a modified transfer of physical assets, ownership of a property doesn’t completely change, but the structure of ownership does. This can occur when only a percentage of ownership changes hands. The procedure involved depends on the percentage of ownership that will change and the type of entity involved, such as a partnership, corporate mortgagor, or trust.

How Can an Agreement That the Current Owner Made with HUD Affect a Sale?

HUD often makes agreements that place certain requirements on buyers in exchange for tax incentives and lower purchase prices. The terms of those agreements can differ from one property to another. If the owner of a property with a HUD-approved mortgage entered into one or more agreements with the Department, that can affect a sale.

Residential properties with HUD-approved mortgages are sometimes subject to an Assignment or Assumption of Housing Assistance Payments Contract. A property can be designated as affordable housing, and a certain number of units can be rented out to low-income tenants for less than market rates through the Housing Choice Voucher Program Section 8. Some HUD properties have Use Agreements that place limits on rents. Preservation Use Agreements may contain other terms.

If an agreement with HUD is already in place, the buyer will be required to assume the agreement. That might affect whether a potential buyer is interested in buying a property and the amount the buyer is willing to pay.

Ramesh Rao Blog September 27, 2023


Older homes often have low ceilings. While you might enjoy the character and charm of a historic house, low ceilings can make it feel small and cramped. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to trick the eye and make a room with a low ceiling seem larger than it really is.

Select Furniture That Will Make the Ceiling Less Noticeable

Tall furniture can make a room with a low ceiling feel even smaller. Choose horizontal pieces that sit near the ground, such as couches and long tables. That will maximize the amount of visible wall space between the furniture and the ceiling and make people focus less on the room’s vertical proportions. Select pieces with simple designs that won’t be distracting.

Draw the Eye Upward

Decorating the room in a way that makes people naturally look toward the ceiling can create the illusion that the room is taller than it really is. Floor-to-ceiling drapes will draw the eye upward and make the windows seem taller. Use simple window coverings so people will focus on the way they fill the vertical space and won’t be distracted by a pattern.

A tall bookcase can draw people’s gaze upward so they don’t focus on the low ceiling. Vertical artwork can have the same effect.

You can also use plants to your advantage. A tall potted plant or flowers that grow upward will draw people’s attention toward the ceiling and create the impression that it’s higher than it really is.

A tall mirror can make a room with a low ceiling feel more spacious. A mirror will also reflect light and may cause people to catch a glimpse of the ceiling. That can make the room seem larger.

Choose the Right Paint or Wallpaper

Painting the walls and ceiling the same color will create a seamless effect and make the ceiling seem higher than it is. That’s because there won’t be a clearly defined visual barrier separating the walls and the ceiling. If the room has a dado rail that separates the walls into two sections, paint the bottom part in a darker color than the top.

If you would prefer to decorate the room with wallpaper, choose a style with a vertical pattern. That will naturally cause people’s eyes to move upward.

Use Light Fixtures That Will Make the Room Feel More Spacious

A light that hangs from the ceiling can make a room with a low ceiling feel even smaller. You should avoid using ceiling fans for the same reason. Instead, use a series of lamps that sit on the floor or on tables or mount fixtures on the walls so they can cast light in several directions.

Ramesh Rao Blog September 27, 2023


You’ve heard the warnings about global warming, you feel compassion for stranded polar bears and you worry about overwhelming the landfills. As a homeowner, you may not be ready for composting, but there are ways to become an eco-friendlier household.

Ecologists provide simple but useful tips that even the laziest activist can use to do their part in helping the environment:

Cut down on water use. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. Drink tap water in reusable containers instead of plastic bottles. Lower the water level when doing small laundry loads and don’t run the dishwasher until it’s full.

Use less power. Shut off the lights before you leave in the morning, and unplug electrical equipment that you aren’t using during the day and while you sleep—especially your work and home computers.

Adjust the thermostat. Set it for a few degrees higher in summer, and a few degrees lower in winter. You likely won’t feel much of a difference, and you’ll like the decrease in utility bills.

Replace your light bulbs. Sources say if every American household replaced one regular lightbulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, the pollution reduction would be equivalent to removing one million cars from the road.

Change your shower-head. A low flow version will save water while providing just as much pressure.

Save on paper. Keep a digital calendar and notes instead of paper ones. Whenever possible, re-use the back side of old printed sheets for new but less important print jobs. Sign up for paperless billing and pay your bills online.

Use less plastic. Use reusable grocery bags even where they’re not required. Re-use empty plastic food containers with tight fitting lids, such as cottage cheese containers, for leftovers and storage purposes—be sure any unwanted plastic goes into the recycle bin.

Eat less meat. If you’re not ready to go vegetarian, try committing to a meatless dinner once or twice a week to decrease the resources you use. Producing wheat and even veggies takes far less water than producing beef, and there are plenty of tasty meatless recipes online that families can explore together.

Ramesh Rao Blog September 27, 2023


Emergency preparedness is vital for every homeowner. Unfortunately, learning about emergency preparation can become overwhelming very quickly. There are a plethora of options on the market, and it can quickly feel like you can never buy enough emergency prep items. If you are just a beginner who wants to be reasonably prepared, there are some low-cost and free tasks and items to check off your list.

Have Non-Perishable Supplies Stocked

Keeping a reasonable supply of non-perishable goods is key in any emergency. You should have at least some potable bottled water and some emergency food rations. Don’t be intimidated. If you are just beginning, having a small storage of extra items that you already eat can be a great start. You don’t need to jump to buying a giant container of dehydrated food flakes immediately. Keep things simple at first.

Add Yourself to Your Local Emergency Alerts

Local emergency alerts are very important to receive. Adding yourself to a list can ensure that you will be emailed or sent a text with important information.  If a pipe were to burst in your area rendering your water unsafe to drink or if an evacuation is required in your neighborhood, you will want to know as soon as possible. Adding ourselves to these lists can give you that essential information quickly.

Buy a Small Radio

A battery-operated radio is essential when power is out, and you are trying to learn about any important information during an emergency. If an emergency occurs, cell phone towers could experience outages due to an overwhelming amount of calls. An inexpensive battery-operated or crank radio may help you get the vital information you need.

Keep Your Insurance Updated

In the event of a natural disaster, your first priority will be the safety of your family. After this has been secured, there will be the matter of dealing with any financial and home damages. Be sure that you are giving yourself the least work possible when dealing with this procedure. Ensure that your insurance is up-to-date and that you have documented your belongings, including recording any essential information about expensive items within your home.

Take a First Aid Class

You never know what situation you could find yourself in. Taking a first aid class could be a life-saving decision. First aid classes are relatively inexpensive and can prepare you to be able to help with emergency situations and day-to-day injuries.

Ramesh Rao Blog September 27, 2023


Bringing home a pet can be an exciting time, but just like with a small child, there are certain precautions you must take to ensure your home is ready to house a pet. Keeping your new pet safe is paramount, and these five tips can help ensure that your home is a safe and comforting environment for your new furry friend.

Cover Your Trash Cans

Curious pets may intrude on your garbage if they think they could garnish a delicious meal. Be sure that you keep a lid on your trash can so your pet doesn’t attempt to eat something that could hurt them. Some food for humans is actually toxic to dogs and cats, and a hungry pet may be tempted to eat a food wrapper (causing intestinal blockage) or may stick their head in an empty food bag, causing constricted breathing.

Remove Toxic Plants

House plants and outdoor plants alike can be toxic to your pet. Before you bring home a furry friend, be sure you know which plants are okay to stay in your home. The lily plant, for instance, is extremely toxic to cats, so you will want to remove these from your home before your curious new friend attempts to take a bite.

Remove Choking Hazards

Just like a small child, curious pets may attempt to swallow a toy left out. If you have children, be sure they clean up any toys to prevent a dangerous situation. Small toys can cause a choking hazard, but a new puppy may be tempted to chew on a larger toy causing any toy to be a potential danger.

Move Chemicals to Secure Areas

A curious pet may accidentally spill or may chew on any chemical bottles that were left out in the open. Be sure to lock any hazardous materials out of reach. Now is also a good time to swap out your cleaning supplies for verified pet-safe versions to ensure that you don’t make your pet sick during your next cleaning day.

Install Fencing

Fencing can boost your home’s sellability while ensuring your pet’s safety. This makes fencing an expensive–but worthwhile investment. Consult with a local company for a quote or DIY your fence. Either way, your new pet will love having a secure place to play outdoors.


Ramesh Rao Blog September 27, 2023


Cleaning your appliances is key to ensuring they perform at their best and last for years to come. These tips can help you maintain your appliances and keep them grime-free–inside and out.


Your refrigerator isn’t hard to maintain, but without the proper care, you could find yourself reducing its longevity. Your fridge has a few main areas of concern when it comes to cleaning.

  • Exterior: Many modern appliances have a stainless steel exterior, and using the wrong cleaning solution on this material can spell disaster. Be sure you are using a cleaner designed for stainless steel, otherwise, you’ll face streaks or damage to the surface of your fridge
  • Interior: Keeping your fridge smelling odor-free is easy with a little elbow grease. It can be tempting to use the first cleaning product you have on hand, but using food-safe cleaning products can be a better option.
  • Behind: Behind or beneath your refrigerator is a coil that needs to be dusted and vacuumed regularly. This spring cleaning task is often forgotten, but left unattended will result in a faster deterioration of the appliance.

Washing Machine

Your washing machine may wash your laundry, but that doesn’t mean it won’t need a good cleaning itself. Be sure that you prevent odor buildup by using washing tablets according to your manufacturer’s instructions. Additionally, make sure you are cleaning the coin trap of your frontloader washing machine, as this can accumulate with debris and pet hair, causing odors.


Perhaps the messiest of all your appliances, the microwave is also the simplest to clean. Simply wipe out your microwave as needed. To remove stuck-on gunk, use a steaming tool to make removal easy; inexpensive items can be purchased for this purpose. If you have an above-stove model microwave, you will want to change your charcoal filter semi-annually.


Your dishwasher is a heavy lifter in your kitchen, so be sure you are treating it well.

  • Interior: Another item that needs to go through a cleaning cycle, your dishwasher should be thoroughly cleaned monthly. Use a Manufacturer recommended cleaning tablet or liquid to ensure that your dishwasher performs at its best. After you have performed this cleaning cycle, don’t forget to clean out your dishwasher filter and add any rinse aid to keep your dishes sparkling the next time you use it.
  • Exterior: For the exterior of your dishwasher, be sure that whatever cleanser you use is rated for your dishwasher’s exterior material. This is particularly important if you have a stainless steel dishwasher.
Ramesh Rao BlogUncategorized September 27, 2023


No one wants mold or mildew to grow in their homes, but many homeowners have to contend with the issue. Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t address common mold prevention techniques, making their homes a welcome place for mold to grow. These tips will help you mitigate the risks of mold and mildew in common areas throughout your house.  If you need to mitigate your mildew or mold situation, please call me.

Reduce Moisture:

Use the Bathroom Fan

When showering or running a bath, steaming water can cause your bathroom to trap moisture. This results in mildew and mold growth over time. Not only can this damage your health (especially for those with allergies), but it can degrade your bathroom fixtures if it is left untreated.

Keep Your Floors Dry

Any water that is trapped by a poor shower door or curtain pools onto the floor. An improperly fitting shower door can spell disaster for your floor. This is especially true if you have small children or teens who are not readily cleaning up any spills or leaks. If every time a household member takes a shower, your floor is bombarded with water, you may see damage long-term. If your subfloor ends up soaked, this could be a very expensive problem. Instead, take the time to ensure that your shower curtains or shower doors are adequately protecting your floors from rogue shower water.

Perform Regular Maintenance:

Fix Leaks Quickly

A small drip from under the kitchen sink may not seem like an imminent problem, but the risk of mold and damage is very high when leaks are left unattended. If you notice a leak (even a small drip) be sure to address the problem promptly.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you do notice an area that was wet due to an undetected leak, be sure to help it dry quickly. A fan can help with small leaks, but a dehumidifier can be crucial to ensuring that mold does not build up when a bigger leak occurs.

Check for Leaks Regularly

Inspecting your home regularly is key to mitigating any possible damage. Periodically, check under sink cabinets and other areas with water hookups. The sooner a leak is detected and addressed, the cheaper the repair will be, and the less likely it will be for mold to grow in the space.