Shannon O'Brien

Freelance Writer and Real Estate Expert

Although her first love is real estate, and she has over a decade of residential listing and sales experience, Shannon O’Brien is a freelance real estate writer. Her hands-on experience with homebuyers and sellers gives her a unique perspective that many professional real estate writers lack. As a short-sale specialist, she has steered clients through the distressed property trenches and offers common-sense advice to homeowners in trouble. Upon her exodus from California almost 10 years ago, Shannon left not only the state, but her real estate career as well. Since then she has put her California State University creative writing degree to good use, publishing numerous real estate articles for, the San Francisco Chronicle’s website, and individual real estate agents’ websites in the U.S. and Canada.

Filing for bankruptcy will affect a credit score, but there are steps that can be taken to work toward buying a home after bankruptcy

Americans can undergo several types of bankruptcy proceedings, but the two most common are known as Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes out all of your debt (with a few exceptions) while filing a Chapter 13 obligates you to pay back your debts over a period of three to five years. The courts won’t allow you to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you have enough disposable income to pay your debts every month. So, which process is the better choice . . .

Read more about Buying a Home After Bankruptcy


Selling a house means paying a number of costs, including taxes, fees and insurance and other expenses

First-time home sellers are typically in for a bit of a shock when they receive the closing statement. Yikes! It seems like everyone in town has their fingers on part of the proceeds from the sale of the home. From taxes to insurance to real estate fees, what you think you’ll get at closing is chipped away until it’s far less than what you expected. . . .

Read more about The Cost of Selling a Home

{ 1 comment }

New home construction is booming in Houston, Texas and other cities

Toward the end of each month, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development release residential construction activity statistics for the previous month. The statistics are broken down into several categories; the most heavily anticipated being the number of groundbreakings – which they refer to as “housing starts” – and the number of building permits issued. The latter is an indication of future new home construction. . . .

Read more about New Home Construction


There are three major red flags that homebuyers should watch out for when touring a home

Although there are many so-called “red flags” to look for when touring a home, let’s take a look at the top three that – if you see them – should make you reconsider submitting an offer without a contingency for further inspection. . . .

Read more about 3 Reasons NOT to Buy That House



The process of buying a home for the first time brings with it a lot of confusion. From how to finance the purchase to what happens at closing, it’s not something most of us do very often. One of the most important steps in the purchase process, if you won’t be paying cash for the home, is seeking out a lender and obtaining a loan preapproval letter. But how do you shop for a lender and a loan? . . .

Read more about How Avoid Overpaying for a Mortgage


Dual agency is common, but is it a good idea for homebuyers to use the seller

The National Association of Realtors® estimates that perhaps 40 percent of residential deals are being handled by a single agent. So, why do some homebuyers use the seller’s agent, and what are the ramifications? . . .

Read more about Using the Seller’s Agent


There are pros and cons for homebuyers to consider before purchasing a vacation home

Whether you love tropical beachcombing or hitting the powder on a ski slope, if you find yourself vacationing in the same locale year after year, you may have considered purchasing a vacation home there. If not, perhaps you should. Like many things in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to owning a second home, and like any investment, buying a vacation home requires taking stock of your finances and your plans for the future. . . .

Read more about The Pros and Cons of a Vacation Home


If you

May, June and July are the months most people move, according to KVUE TV in Austin, Texas. Since that time period is rapidly approaching, we think it’s time to take a look at some of the biggest problems people encounter with movers and give you some tips on how to avoid or deal with them. . . .

Read more about Disputes With Moving Companies


We chose three of the best small cities to raise a family by looking at schools, crime and home prices

Life changes when singles become couples, and it changes dramatically when the couple evolves into a family. Priorities change, habits adjust and, most of all, lifestyles morph. One of the biggest changes is location – where does a family live, when schools are a priority but convenience to work is still important? Crime rates become more of a consideration, as does housing affordability. To help you find the ideal small city to raise your family, . . .

Read more about The Best Small Cities to Raise a Family


Before signing on the dotted line, homebuyers should check zoning and tax history for their property and the surrounding area

Homes surrounded by open space are attractive to many homebuyers. For these people, you just can’t put a price on the seclusion and serenity such a location offers. Vacant land near a residential area, however, should raise a red flag. After all, if it’s vacant, it’s buildable. . . .

Read more about 2 Things Homebuyers Must Do

{ 1 comment }