This Month's Make-Over

Home buyer: Nancee Daly, 40

Occupation: Facialist

Gross monthly income: It fluctuates, but on average $3,750.

Goal: To purchase a two-or three-bedroom single-family home in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles.

The problem: Daly works on commission, so her income fluctuates as much as $1,000 a month. Also, she wants to buy in an area of town she currently cannot afford and is worried about getting in over her head.

Recommendations:

* Wait a year to see if the Miracle Mile market, which has increased 125% since 1995, cools down.

* Buy a condo and build equity so she can buy a single-family residence later.

* Expand home search beyond the Miracle Mile area.

* Have at least six months' mortgage payments in reserve for emergencies.

* Consider changing exemptions for withholding for state and federal taxes to increase her monthly take-home pay.

Meet the Experts:

Ken Scheele is the assistant vice president in business development with Community Mortgage Funding for its Covina, San Diego and San Francisco offices. He has originated home loans for 12 years.

Sherry Rothschild, a broker with Prudential John Aaroe and Associates Pacific Design Center office, has sold real estate for 21 years and specializes in the Beverly Center and Beverly Hills areas.

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