Ilona Bray


Ilona Bray, J.D. is an award-winning author and legal editor at Nolo, specializing in real estate, immigration law and nonprofit fundraising. 

Educational background. Ilona received her law degree and a Master's degree in East Asian (Chinese) Studies from the University of Washington. She is a member of the Washington State Bar. Her undergraduate degree is from Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in philosophy. She actually viewed law school as an extension of her philosophy studies, with its focus on ethics, fundamental rights, and how people can get along in society—of particular concern to her as the daughter of a WWII refugee. 

Working background. Ilona has practiced law in corporate and nonprofit settings as well as in solo practice, where she represented immigrant clients seeking asylum, family-based visas, and more. She has also volunteered extensively, including a six-month fellowship at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle and a six-month internship at Amnesty International in London. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers' Association (AILA), the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE), and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). 

Working at Nolo. Ilona started at Nolo in 2000 as a legal editor. Since then, she has not only continued to edit other writers' books and online articles, but also has taken an active role in planning and authoring new Nolo books. Many of these have become consistent Nolo bestsellers and award-winners, among them Effective Fundraising for NonprofitsNolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home, and Selling Your House.  Ilona particularly enjoys interviewing people and weaving their stories into her books. She also won the 2012 "Best Blog" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE). 

Spare time. (What spare time?) Ilona enjoys swimming, gardening (though she's still looking for a vegetable the squirrels won't eat every last morsel of), cooking gluten- and sugar-free meals, and writing children's books.

Articles By Ilona Bray

Can U.S. Citizen Living Abroad Sponsor Family to Enter U.S. With Green Cards?
Only someone living in the U.S. can act as financial sponsor, which complicates the matter of petitioning for a family member if the citizen still lives abroad.
When to Refinance a Home Mortgage
Trading in an old home mortgage for a new one can reduce your interest rate, but raise the amount you'll pay long term.
How Do I Get the Best Deal on a Home Mortgage Loan?
Tips for wading through the options and getting the best home loan for your needs.
Real Estate Terminology for Home Buyers
Here are some common vocabulary terms to know when getting ready to buy a home.
Am I Ready to Buy My First Home?
Homeownership can be great, but it isn't for everyone, or at least not right away. Think seriously about whether your lifestyle and finances are suited to the initial and ongoing costs of owning a home.
Comparative Market Analysis Helps Sellers Price Their Home
Pricing a house right is crucial to bringing in buyers. That's where comparing it to other properties comes in.
How the Asylum Office Referral Notice Can Help You Prepare Asylum Claim for Immigration Court
In preparing an asylum claim for an immigration court hearing, you'll want to focus on the reasons the Asylum Officer gave for denying your affirmative I-589 application.
Biden Administration's First Changes to U.S. Immigration Policy
February 2, 2021 President Biden's initial actions concerning immigration address DACA, the border wall, enforcement and deportation priorities, Liberian DED, and more.
Ban Imposed on Travelers From Europe Due to Coronavirus Threat
January 25, 2021 Ban continues on travel to U.S. from regions of Europe, owing to coronavirus threat.
TPS Extended Into 2022 for Current TPS Holders From Syria
January 29, 2021 DHS Acting Secretary announces redesignation and extension of Syria's TPS (Temporary Protected Status) designation for 18 months, through September 30, 2022.