The ‘golden rule’ can pay off—literally—when you’re a homeowner

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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as financial advice.


  • Raoul Pascual, a partner at Alpha Property Management in southern California, gives his perspective on the real estate industry.
  • Pascual believes now is an ideal time to consider refinancing your home since the rates are so low.
  • He says empathy (and following the golden rule of treating others how you’d want to be treated) is critically important during this time.   

If you’re a homeowner and are struggling financially, in addition to talking to your lender regarding your mortgage, you may want to contact your property manager and the HOA board. They may surprise you. We sat down (virtually!) with Raoul Pascual, a partner at Alpha Property Management for his take on being a homeowner in the “new normal.”   

Our Q&A with Raoul is below.                                

Is it smart for homeowners to refinance their home now?

Yes, now might be an ideal time to refinance since the interest rates are so low. My company manages 60 homes, and five homeowners are choosing to refinance now. The reason I know this is because homeowners have to come to me for the paperwork, whether it’s for refinancing or selling their home. 

Is California doing anything different from other states for the homeowners who lost their jobs?

The state temporarily suspended the enforcement of its strict mortgage and rent payments. This has helped several homeowners avoid foreclosure. 

How are you helping homeowners who cannot pay their HOA dues right now?

Two of the 60 homes we manage asked for a grace period, as they were adjusting to the changes, and the HOA board was very generous. The board granted them a grace period and didn’t even require any signatures or documentation for this particular arrangement. Both of the homeowners happen to be business owners and reopened about a month ago, so they are now paying their HOA dues again. It’s so important to show sympathy or empathy at this time and try to give those who need more time that courtesy where possible to get back on their feet.

Any other tips or advice you have for homeowners who are currently unemployed?

  • Move to a less expensive area. Why pay for a high cost of living when you can work at the same job in more affordable surroundings? (If you are considering this, you should confirm your employer’s policies for working remotely or relocating.)
  • Consider roommates. Move in with friends or accept boarders and share the costs.
  • Don’t lose hope. This may be a time to bond on a deeper level with friends or develop new friendships. 

For additional tips on how you can save money on your mortgage, check out this realtor’s story about how refinancing save him $600 per month.

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