Experience the difference with

The 707 Real Estate Team

     Keri Akemi Hernandez

Real Estate Professional/REALTOR©
       Cal DRE License # 01273602

(707) 235-4963

Knowledge, Integrity, Results!

​"Your local expert to trust for a
Lifetime of Real Estate needs" 

Property Search

Wine Country Brokerage
25 East Napa Street, Sonoma, Ca  95476

Real Estate Mortage Resources


Real Esate Mortgage Resources

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions that many people will make in their life.  Being an informed consumer and working with a trusted professional to guide you through the process of homeownership is essential. 

For access to unlimited Listings, to inquire about current Market Trends, and to get Pre-approved, contact Keri today.

Keri recommends the following Resources to get Pre-approved before looking at homes.

At Sotheby's International Realty, we focus on bringing buyers and sellers of distinctive properties together, but we don't stop there. We know that is actually just the beginning. Even before a contract is signed, many variables can impact the negotiation and purchasing process. Of these, financing may be the most critical, often making the difference between a smooth transaction and one that never closes at all.

Understanding the impact that the choice of mortgage provider has on the buying and selling experience, we worked to identify strong local providers that could meet our clients' high standards of service and expertise.

The following two companies have been specially selected as preferred providers for Sotheby's International Realty in their respective regions. They are qualified to assist you in identifying and implementing the best financing solution for even the most complex situation. They have the resources and client service focus required to make the closing process as smooth and successful as possible.

We offer direct access to a designated Mortgage Concierge from the detail page of each property for sale in the regions below. In addition to this personal service, we offer a  Mortgage Qualification Guide  and monthly payment calculators on every listing detail page.

Mortgage Calculator

Mortgage documents

Common Ways to Hold Title in California

Preferred Mortgage Professionals

Dean Coney
Sean Marek
Hilda Hensley
NMLS# 235286
NMLS # 281271
NMLS #280206
Sean is a preferred Mortgage Broker, with over 11 years in Residential and Commercial lending, in the Greater North Bay Area serving the communities of Napa, Sonoma, Marin and Solano Counties.  His goal is to provide clarity, professionalism and success to my clients during the most important financial transaction of their life - with great emphasis on finding the financing to suit the current need and the ability to see the big picture.
Dean is a preferred Mortgage Lender, with over 25 years in Residential Mortgage lending experience and Private Money resources, and who serves the greater San Francisco Bay Area communities.  He is dedicated to the individual client needs to match them with the best loan option,  and at the most competitive rate.  He will make the process of acquiring a loan as painless as possible.  
Hilda is a preferred Mortgage Lender, with over 20 years in Residential Mortgage lending experience and proudly serves our  Napa and Sonoma County communities.  She is dedicated to helping buyers secure the best California home loans possible and getting homeowners refinance loans deals.  Hilda is also bilingual in Spanish and can better serve your financing needs.

Se Habla Español
More about Sean
More about Dean
More about Hilda
(925) 718-7148
(707) 332-8352
(707) 254-8891
Make Your Dreams Reality
I am dedicated to serving you and exceeding your expectations. I will listen to better understand your unique goals. You will feel confident from my extensive knowledge and ability to analyze the market to help you determine the best action plan that fits your needs. I treat every client with an equal amount of professionalism and compassion. If there are challenges that arise, we will face them together and look for the best possible solutions. I will coordinate the process with you from start to finish and communicate with a network of professionals to manage each detail to allow for a smooth closing. I thrive in a fast paced environment and have the ability to maintain the multitude of tasks that are of demand. The best way to show you how you will benefit from this directly is through your own personal experience as my client.

Steps to Take before you Buy

Get Pre-Approved
Not to be confused with  pre-qualifying, a pre-approval is a full loan approval whereas prequalifying is simply an opinion letter. It is best that you take this step before looking at homes. Finding out what you qualify for will help you look in the right price range. You would be disappointed if you found a home you liked and then found out you couldn't qualify for it. By the same token you may be able to look at more expensive homes than you originally thought possible. Getting pre-approved will help you in the following ways:

A Pre-approval can help you have more negotiating power:
A pre-approval will determine your purchasing power, which gives you a guideline as to how much home you can afford – before you start looking. We will show you a variety of different types of financing (Fixed Rate, Adjustable, Interest Only, and 100% Financing), and will determine how much you qualify for with each of those types. Based on your desired payment level and type of financing with which you feel comfortable, we can determine your purchasing power.

Calculate What Your Down Payment Will Be and Provide Financing Options
You need to choose a home based on how much money you have available. Based on the funds you have available, we can design a loan that will work for your individual needs.

Estimate What Your Monthly Payment Will Be
Before picking a price range for buying your home, you should make sure that you can handle your total monthly payment: Principal, Interest, Taxes, Insurance (Mortgage Insurance and HOA dues, if necessary).

Turn You Into a Cash Buyer
In today's market, buyers are not the only parties concerned with financing, sellers are equally concerned. In cases where there are multiple offers for homes, the buyers must put themselves in the best possible position to have their offers accepted. Getting pre-approved also puts the buyer into a better negotiating position. Why? The seller knows the buyer is ready, willing, and able to buy, and the financing is not in question. Buyers who are not pre-approved will have less chance of obtaining an accepted offer on the house they wish to buy, and are therefore at a disadvantage.
Hire a Real Estate Professional
Congratulations! You are one step closer to owning your own home. Choosing Keri Akemi-Bezayiff as your professional real estate agent is a very wise decision worth making. By utilizing the services of she has to offer will give you the piece of mind that you will receive the best service with much less hassle and anxiety.
Your Real Estate Professional will:

  1. Help you Determine your Wants and Needs This will help them find in order to find the perfect match between the home that best meets your requirements and budget.
  2. Keep your Personal Tastes and Lifestyle in Mind Taking your style into account will help them pinpoint which properties to visit.
  3. Find the Properties for Sale in your Preferred Area Through the multiple listing service and their own resources, realtors can find all properties in your preferred areas. Newspaper ads and "For Sale" signs are not always a true reflection of all properties on the market. Your real estate agent always knows what's available at any given time, including properties, which will be on the market soon.
  4. Allow you to Make your own Decision who will work for you and respects your opinion. Keri will not try to force you into a decision you don't feel comfortable with.
  5. Protect your Rights  Real estate laws have become increasingly complicated and your real estate agent is there to assist and protect you in every way.
  6. Negotiate for you Once you've found the home you want to buy, your real estate agent will write up your offer and present it to the seller. This gives you the best opportunity to have your contract accepted.
  7. Guide you each step of the way, through the entire process to ensure a successful close of escrow on your new home or other real estate property investment.

Mortgage FAQs

Q: What is a prequalification?

A: This is the process of determining whether a customer has enough cash and sufficient income to meet the qualification requirements set by the lender on a requested loan. A pre-qualification is short of approval because it does not take into account the credit history of the borrower.

Q: What is the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification?

A: A pre-approval can put you in a better negotating position than a pre-qualification. Why? The pre-approval process is much more complete than pre-quaification. For pre-qualification, the loan officer asks you a few questions and provides you with a pre-qual letter. Pre-approval however, includes all the steps of a full approval, except for the appraisal and title search.

Q: When does it make sense to refinance?
A: The decision to refinance can be difficult.  Generally speaking, most people refinance when doing so will save them money. There are a variety of ways to save, by either obtaining a lower interest rate, reducing the term of the loan, or converting  an adjustable loan to a fixed loan, or consolidating debt.

Try the following calculation to see if refinancing can help you save money:
  1. Calculate the total cost of the refinance
  2. Calculate the monthly savings
  3. Divide the total cost of the refinance (#1) by the monthly savings (#2). The is your "break even" time. If you will own your house longer than this, then you will save money by refinancing.
  4. Since refinancing is a complex topic, consult a mortgage professional to walk you through your options.

Q:  What is a rate lock?

A: A rate lock is a contractual agreement between the lender and the buyer. There are 4 components to a rate lock: loan program, interest rate, points and the length of the lock.

Q: What is the difference between a mortgage broker and a lender?

A: A mortgage broker counsels you on the loans available from different wholesalers, takes your application, and usually processes the loan which involves putting together the complete file of information about your transaction including the credit report, appraisal, verification of your employment and assets, and so on. When the file is complete, but sometime sooner, the lender "underwrites" the loan, which means deciding whether or not you are an acceptable risk.

Q: Will I save money going directly to a mortgage lender?

A: Not necessarily. In fact, if you are a reasonably astute shopper, you will probably do better dealing with a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers do not add any net costs to the lending process because they perform functions that would otherwise be done by employees of the lender. Furthermore, because mortgage brokers deal with multiple lenders--in a typical case 25-30, they can shop for the best terms available for you on any given day.

Q: What is a fully documented loan?

A: Both income and assets are disclosed and verified, and income is used in determining the applicant's ability to repay the mortgage. Formal verification requires the borrower's employer to verify deposits. Alternative documentation, designed to save time, accepts copies of the borrower's original bank statements, W-2s and paycheck stubs.

Q: What is a good faith estimate?

A: It is the list of settlement charges the the lender is obliged to provide the borrower within 3 business days of receiving the loan application.

Q: What is a conforming loan?

A: A loan eligible for purchase by the 2 major federal agencies that buy mortgages: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Q: What is a jumbo mortgage?

A: A mortgage larger than the maximum eligible for conforming purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Q: What are points?

A: It is an upfront cash payment required by the lender as part of the charge of the loan, expressed as  a percent of the loan amount (ex: 2 points= 2% of loan balance).

Credit Score FAQs

Q: What is a Credit Bureau Score?

A: Credit bureau scoring is a statistical means of assessing how likely a borrower is to pay back a loan. A credit bureau score is based on the data available in the borrower's credit report. The score measures the relative degree of risk a potential borrower represents to the lender or investor. It is not a measure of a borrower's income, assets, or bank account, although those and other factors are still considered by lenders and investors, independent of the score. A credit bureau score does not include any of the following in the score calculation as this would be discrimination by FCRA guidelines: gender, race, age, or Zip Code.

Q: How is a credit score calculated?
A: Fair, Isaac Credit Bureau scores range from approximately 300 to 850 points, and are available through 3 national credit data repositories:

Equifax (800) 685-1111

Trans Union (800) 888-4213

Experian (800) 397-3742

Each bureau calculates its own score, based solely on data within its individual credit file. 

A Fair, Isaac Credit Bureau score, sometimes referred to as a FICOSM score, is calculated by a system of scorecards. In developing these scorecards, Fair, Isaac uses actual credit data on millions of consumers, and applies complex mathematical methods to perform extensive research into credit patterns that forecast credit performance. Each pattern corresponds to the likelihood of whether a consumer will make his or her loan payments as agreed in the future. The score is based on all the credit-related data in the credit bureau report – not just negative data such as missed mortgage payments or bankruptcies. 

The types of credit information used in the credit bureau scorecards are typically the same items an underwriter would use to make a credit decision. The final score is based on the following factors:

Payment History (35%)  -  Outstanding Debt (30%)   -  Credit History (15%)  -  Pursuit of New Credit (10%)  -  Type of Credit (10%)

Fair, Isaac Corp. (FICO) observes a very large number of credit report histories of mortgage borrowers to determine which credit report items or combination of items are the most predictive of future risk: this data indicates the amount each item contributes to an accurate assessment of credit risk. 

FICO does not use race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, or age as predictive characteristics. Occupation and length of time in present residence are also not used in the Credit Bureau Score. Also, any information that is not present in a repository credit file is not used in creating a Credit Bureau Score.

Q: What Does the Fair Isaac Credit Bureau Score Mean?

A: A Fair, Isaac Credit Bureau score is a means of rank-ordering potential borrowers based on the likelihood that they will pay their credit obligations as agreed. A higher score indicates better credit quality. If all other things are equal, borrowers with a score of 680, for example, are less likely to default on a loan than borrowers with a score of 640.

Title Insurance Q&As

Q: What Does the Title Company Do?

A: As part of the process of buying a home, the title company will run a title search on the property, and you will need to obtain title insurance.

Q: What is a Title Search?

A: Lenders require a title search to prevent fraudulent sales. They want to be sure that the seller is indeed the owner of the property. The title search also attempts to uncover any "encumbrances" on the title. This includes liens (legal claims against a property) filed by creditors in an attempt to collect unpaid bills, as well as liens filed by the IRS for nonpayment of taxes. Any such claims against the property must be paid either before or at closing. In Santa Clara County, the seller generally pays for this search.

Q: What is Title Insurance?

A: As further insurance that the seller is giving the buyer a "marketable title," the lender will require that title insurance be purchased. There are two types of policies, and you will be required to purchase both at closing:
  1. a lender's policy (ALTA)
  2. an owner's policy (CLTA or ALTA)

The lender's policy protects the lender in the event a flaw is detected in the title after the property has been bought. The owner's policy protects you. The buyer pays for the lender's policy: the owner's policy payment will vary from county to county.

The escrow officer is the neutral third party in the transaction. They cannot do anything without written instructions. They receive instructions from the seller or seller's agent, from the buyer or buyer's agent, from the lender and from any other parties requesting funds (i.e. termite companies, home inspectors and insurance agents). If there are any conflicting instructions, they cannot proceed until the conflict is resolved.

After your loan has been approved, the lender will prepare the documents that you will need to sign, and then will have them sent to the title company. The escrow officer, upon receipt of the documents, will prepare them for you to sign. He or she will call you to schedule an appointment and let you know exactly how much money is needed to close escrow. 

After you have signed the papers, the escrow officer will return them to the lender for review. The lender will then "fund" the loan (give the money to the title company), who will in turn record all of the documents and disburse the funds to the appropriate parties.

Supplemental Tax Q&As

Q. When did supplemental  tax come into effect?

A. The Supplemental Real Property Tax Law was signed by the Governor in July of 1983 and is part of an ambitious drive to aid California’s schools. This property tax revision is expected to produce over $300 million per year in revenue for schools.

Q. How will supplemental property taxes affect me?

A. If you don't plan on buying new property or undertaking new construction, this new tax will not affect you at all. However, if you do wish to do either of the two, you will be required to pay a supplemental property tax, which will become a lien against your property as of the date of ownership change or the date of completion of new construction.

Q. When and how will I be billed?

A. You could be billed in as few as three weeks, or it could take over six months. "When" will depend on the individual county and the workload of the county assessor, the county controller/auditor and the county tax collector.

The assessor will appraise your property and advise you of the new supplemental assessment amount. At that time you will have the opportunity to discuss your valuation, apply for a homeowner's exemption and be informed of your right to file an assessment appeal. The county will then calculate the amount of the supplemental tax and the tax collector will mail you a supplemental tax bill.
The supplemental tax bill will identity, among other things, the following information: the amount of the supplemental tax and the date on which the taxes will become delinquent.

Q. Can I pay my supplemental tax bill in installments?

A. All supplemental taxes on the secured roll are payable in two equal installments. The taxes are due on the date the bill is mailed and are delinquent on specified dates depending on the month the bill is mailed as follows:
If the bill is mailed within the months of July- October, the first installment shall become delinquent on December 10th of the same year. The second installment shall become delinquent on April 10th of the next year.
If the bill is mailed within the months of November through June, the first installment shall become delinquent on the last day of the month following the month in which the bill is mailed. The second installment shall become delinquent on the last day of the fourth calendar month following the date the first installment is delinquent.

Q. How will the amount of my bill be determined?

A. There is a formula used to determine your tax bill. The total supplemental assessment will be prorated based on the number of months remaining until the end of the tax year, which is June 30th.

Q. Can you give me an idea of how the proration factor works?

A. The supplemental tax becomes effective on the first day of the month following the month in which the change of ownership or completion of new construction actually occurred. If the effective date is July 1st, then there will be no supplemental assessment on the current tax roll and the entire supplemental assessment will be made to the tax roll being prepared which will then reflect the full cash value. In the event the effective date is not on July 1, then the table of factors represented on the following panel is used to compute the supplemental assessment on the current tax roll.

(Example: The County Auditor finds that the supplemental property taxes on your new home would be $1,000 for a full year. The change of ownership took place on September 15 with the effective date being October 1: the supplemental property taxes would, therefore, be subject to a proration factor of .75 and your supplemental tax would be $750. )

Q. Will my taxes be prorated in escrow?

A. No, unlike your ordinary annual taxes the supplemental tax is a one time tax which dates from the date you take ownership of your property or complete the construction of the tax year on June 30. The obligation for this tax is entirely that of the property owner.

Common Questions 

  1. 1
    How should I prepare for our initial consultation?
    Everyone who is a decision maker should be present. Bring a wishlist of important features that you must have in a home. Let me know whether you are looking for your primary or second home, or investment.
  2. 4
    When should I apply for a Home Loan?
    Before you begin searching for a home, it is important to get Pre-approved for a mortgage. Once you receive a Pre-approval letter, we can begin searching for homes according to your budget and goals.
  3. 5
    What do I need to bring to my appointment with a Lender?
    Bring copies of all pages of 3 years Tax returns, 1 year of bank and asset statements, Drivers license or passport. Each applicant has unique circumstances which may require additional documents to be provided.
  4. 3
    How much money do I need for a downpayment?
    Start saving. Ideally, you should have 20 % of the purchase price saved for a down payment. There will be an additional 3 to 7% of the purchase price for closing costs. Closing costs: include taxes and insurance, etc.
  5. 6
    What are some common things to expect during the homebuying process?
    Be prepared to experience a roller coaster of emotions, and to negotiate on several properties before finally closing on your home. I will keep you informed about the market conditions to advise you accordingly.
  6. 7
    What is the difference between a Pre-qualification letter and a fully underwritten Loan approval?
    Pre-qualification only takes into account basic information. An Approval requires a Mortgage professional to review all documents to confirm the following: income, credit, debt, assets, and down payment, etc.
  7. 2
    What is the recommended FICO score?
    Get your credit in order. Good credit ranges between 740 to 900. Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately.
  8. 8
    Can I still use my credit cards or apply for credit while I am trying to purchase a home?
    You should not make any large purchases or apply for additional lines of credit while you are trying to purchase a home. One of the most important guidelines to keep your debt to income ratio below 40%.
  9. 9
    What are the different ways that you can hold title in a property?
    Single conveyances: Sole Owner or Trust, Tenancy in Common, Joint Tenancy Community Property , Community Property with the Right of Survivorship, or as Business Partnerships: LLC, LP, Corporation, REIT.
  10. 10
    How long is the typical home buying process?
    The home buying process varies on the type of property you are purchasing and a variety of factors. The typical timeline is between 30 and 60 days, from when your offer accepted and closes escrow .