Monday, December 15, 2008
Even with the hugh week of economic news due, we may see mortgage rates stay relatively flat. The most important item of the week is likely the release of the Fed's policy statement following its last meeting fo teh year. Expectations are for another interest rate cut, but the Fed's rate is having slightly less influence on mortgage rates in these challenging times. The recent promise of Treasury support for the secondary mortgage market has driven rates about as far down as is reasonable to expect without some significant event or governmnet program. Continued sour economic news and more evidence of waning inflationary presure should service to keep rates relatively low.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tomorrow I am off for the holidays. To see my family, it's been way to long, a whole year since I've seen my children and their families. We have a new baby coming into our family during the month of December we are not sure when but soon. A boy and that will make 5 grandsons for me. I am sooo soooo excited about seeing all of them. I need my fix!
So as you can see . I have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas
I'll post some new picture of my family in the near future so come back or follow my blog - you get more RE News and information on our crazy ass economy and I'll throw in some animal - kids and holiday fun in the mix.
Thanks for stopping by, don't forget to leave your comments. I love to hear from all of you
and I'll check out your blog too.
I'd like to leave you with this hilarious dog having a blast in snow.
Please write a comment and tell me about your crazy animal or what you think of this dog! FUNNY stuff.
Check him out it will be well worth the time.
Happy Holidays Bloggers - Keep in touch.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Well enough play for this morning. I’ve got a busy day with work today. No chance of lazing on the beach today. Work – Work – Work is calling me.
Have a wonderful day wherever you may be! Leave me a comment or short story, use your imagination – tell me what comes to mind when you look into my pictures of this morning’s sunrise on the North Shore of Oahu.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Mortgage rates may continue moving downward for the first few days of this week as little economic news is due out. Of course an announcement of another goverment program could sway rates wildly either direction. The biggest economic data of the week will likely be retail sales data. With the current environment a drop much below the expected 1.9% could spook markets and send rates moving even further downward. However a positive reading may send mortgage rates upward.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
For all you mainlanders suffering with temperatures in the teens and freezing your behinds off. I'd like to offer you just a few minutes of tropical breezes and big wave surfing - go ahead take a short Hawaii vacation without leaving your home of office.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Mortgage rates may continue to remain low as we head into another week of data that is almost certain to contain more news of a souring economy. Both ISM indices are due this week with expectations of drops in both manufacturing and services. Monthly employment data is also due.
If we lose anywhere near the 300K jobs expected to have been lost in November and the unemployment rate ticks upward we could see rates continuing to trend downward into next week.
Monday, December 1, 2008
As I told you last week my laptop got a virus while online with blogger so be careful and don't leave your computer logged into blogger or any site for that matter.
Anyway I've got my DT working now after 6 hours of rebooting and adding back software.
Crazy! When it rains it poors!
If you are a buyer or even remotely thinking of buying a home this year. GET OUT THERE!
Call your REALTOR and go shopping for a home. There is a great inventory of homes available nationwide. Some homes have been on the market for a long time and have anxious and some desperate seller trying to move on, (hint) it's a buyer's market. But the best news is the RATES are dropping!!! YES even more.
Today started out just under 6% and then most lenders repriced by almost .50% down to
5.5% to 5.375 for a 30 year fixed. FHA loans are available and guidelines are accepting borrowers with FICOs as low as 550 - 580. If you don't have a credit score they will allow alternative credit, i.e your cell phone bill- cable bill- utility bills - they need a 12 month good payment history and you will be considered. The FHA loan limits are changing very soon so again Call your REALTOR if you don't have one call me 808 637-0011 and I'll help you find one in your area. New home buyers could make a hugh positive impact on our economy. GET out there! The time is right now!
If you need more information or have any questions I am always just a phone call away.
Friday, November 28, 2008
- What does the day after Thanksgiving mean to you? If you can roll yourself out of the house, like most people or should I say women. YOU go shopping right?
This day has been called the official first day of the Christmas shopping season OR
Black Friday. It’s not an official holiday but many take the day off anyway just to
get a head start and a mad dash to the malls all over the USA. Black Friday can be traced all the way back to the 60’s and is deemed the biggest shopping day of the year by retailers. So if you are heading out with the masses you need to do some home work prior to leaving the house. Here are some tips you will want to write down and fellow.
- Make a shopping list of all the people you will be buying for this Christmas.
- Determined the big ticket items first and try to get them first as most savings will be found on Black Friday.
- Get your newspaper and check out all the specials, see if any ads are offering early incentives. Look for the items on your list.
- It is important if possible to research your market area before Friday compare prices.
- Most important advice I’ll give you is this. STAY HOME and do yourself a favor.
- GO Online and check the web for all your items on your list. In most cases you can order them with your favorite online retailer offering free shipping for the holidays.
- You will be avoiding traffic – saving on gas – NOT standing in line for everything You do – buy – or eat!
- If you’re a die hard shopper and you like trenching through the masses than
Happy shopping – drive safety – and shop till ya drop!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Most stories of Thanksgiving history starts with the harvest celebration of the pilgrims and the Indians that took place in the autumn of 1621. Although they did have a three-day feast in celebration of a good harvest, and the local Indians did participate, this "first Thanksgiving" was not a holiday, simply a gathering. There is little evidence that this feast of thanks led directly to our modern Thanksgiving Day holiday.
However, since most school children are taught that the first Thanksgiving was held in 1621 with the pilgrims and Indians, let us take a closer look at just what took place leading up to that event, and then what happened in the centuries afterward that finally gave us our modern Thanksgiving.
The Pilgrims who sailed to this country aboard the Mayflower were originally members of the English Separatist Church (a Puritan sect). They had earlier fled their home in England and sailed to Holland (The Netherlands) to escape religious persecution. There, they enjoyed more religious tolerance, but they eventually became disenchanted with the Dutch way of life, thinking it ungodly. Seeking a better life, the Separatists negotiated with a London stock company to finance a pilgrimage to America. Most of those making the trip aboard the Mayflower were non-Separatists, but were hired to protect the company's interests. Only about one-third of the original colonists were Separatists.
Governor William Bradford sent "four men fowling" after wild ducks and geese. It is not certain that wild turkey was part of their feast. However, it is certain that they had venison The term "turkey" was used by the Pilgrims to mean any sort of wild fowl.
Another modern staple at almost every Thanksgiving table is pumpkin pie. But it is unlikely that the first feast included that treat. The supply of flour had been long diminished, so there was no bread or pastries of any kind. However, they did eat boiled pumpkin, and they produced a type of fried bread from their corn crop. There was also no milk, cider, potatoes, or butter. There was no domestic cattle for dairy products, and the newly-discovered potato was still considered by many Europeans to be poisonous. But the feast did include fish, berries, watercress, lobster, dried fruit, clams, venison, and plums.
George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789, although some were opposed to it. There was discord among the colonies, many feeling the hardships of a few pilgrims did not warrant a national holiday. And later, President Thomas Jefferson opposed the idea of having a day of thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving was proclaimed by every president after Lincoln. The date was changed a couple of times, most recently by Franklin Roosevelt, who set it up one week to the next-to-last Thursday in order to create a longer Christmas shopping season. Public uproar against this decision caused the president to move Thanksgiving back to its original date two years later. And in 1941, Thanksgiving was finally sanctioned by Congress as a legal holiday, as the fourth Thursday in November.
If the last time you looked at your mortgage was when you closed on your loan, it’s time to take it out for an annual once over.New loan programs and opportunities to leverage your home equity can bring you lower mortgage payments and new investment opportunities.
Is a fixed rate mortgage the best choice for you?
Many of us opt for the certainty of a 20 year or 30 year fixed rate mortgage when we get our first mortgage.If you anticipate selling your home within the next 10 years, one of our new hybrid loans may be a better financial fit for you.Hybrid loans typically have a lower fixed rate than a traditional 20 or 30 year mortgage.The savings you receive can well be worth switching to a hybrid loan.
Are you paying for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)?
There are a lot of new loan programs available that can help you eliminate PMI, even if you have less than 20% equity in your home. The monthly savings adds up quickly. This money can be put to better use to help you achieve other short-term and long-term financial goals.
Are your taxes and insurance up to date?
Even though your mortgage servicer is responsible for paying your taxes and insurance out of your escrow account, it just makes sense to periodically check to see that these payments are being made properly. While you’re at it, you’ll want to review your homeowner’s insurance policy. It’s a good idea to review your policy every two to three years to make sure it covers recent home improvements, replacement costs for the contents of your home, and that its reconstruction coverage is keeping pace with inflation.
Do you have a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) for emergencies?
Many homeowners are making the proactive choice to secure a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) for emergencies. A HELOC is a revolving line of credit that only charges interest when you actually draw money from the line of credit. As you repay the balance of the draw, the credit becomes available again. Securing a HELOC in advance can be a great help if you’re ever laid off or have an unexpected medical or other emergency.
How’s your credit report?
The information in your credit report has a huge impact on whether or not you will again qualify for a mortgage loan. That’s why it’s important to periodically check your credit report.
Now it’s even easy to do so. A recent amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) mandates that each credit reporting company provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once a year. To request your free credit report, visit http://www.annualcreditreport.com. (Free reports are being phased in over a nine-month period, rolling from the west coast to the east beginningDecember 1, 2004. By September 1, 2005, free reports will be accessible to all consumers.)
Are you making the most of your home’s equity?
With rising home prices, you may have more equity in your home than you realize. Taking out a home equity loan to payoff credit card debt, car loans and other higher interest debts makes good financial sense.
Is it time to refinance?
The timing might be right to refinance your mortgage loan. New rates may help you significantly lower your monthly payment. Or you might want to “cash out” some of the built-up equity in your home, which you can use to consolidate debt, improve your home, take a vacation - whatever! Perhaps by refinancing you can even pay off your mortgage sooner!
I will work with you to determine if the timing is right to change your loan program, considering your cash on hand, how likely you are to sell your home in the near future, and what effect refinancing might have on your future plans.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The holidays can put a dent in your savings especially if you're planning to buy a home. But there are several ways to cut costs so your finances aren't in the red by New Year's Day. Consider the following money saving tips:
- In lieu of buying presents for every family member, suggest a gift exchange and draw names out of a hat.
- Agree on a spending limit for gifts for friends and family and stick to it.
- Make your holiday meals a potluck and assign each guest an item to bring.
- To prevent the urge to overspend when shopping, use cash and leave your credit cards at home.
- Consider buying a joint gift rather than individual gifts for a family such as a zoo membership or movie tickets.
- Instead of holiday wrap, buy monochromatic wrap in holiday colors such as green, red, or gold that can be used all year.
- For young children, half the fun of holidays is often opening the gifts. Wrap small, inexpensive items separately - coloring books, crayons and picture books or novels, even stocking stuffers work well. Or recycle hand-me-down toys by wrapping them up and putting them under the tree.
- Instead of spending a lot of money on gifts from the mall, give homemade treats like fudge, truffles, cookies or jams and jellies.
- To cut down on postage and holiday card costs, send mail only to out-of-town friends and family you're not likely to see throughout the year. Or send e-cards, which are usually free.
- To keep your electricity bill down, use a timer to turn outdoor lights on and off at designated hours.
- If you know you won't be able to pay your credit card off right away, make sure you use a single low-interest card to make purchases - that way you can easily track them.
- When traveling during the holidays, try to fly on the day of the actual holiday (Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day). It's usually cheaper and there are plenty of seats.
- Subscribe to receive e-newsletters from your favorite online merchants. They will often e-mail coupons to use for savings on purchases and shipping costs. Or subscribers may receive private sale information.
- Sometimes buying an item online is cheaper than going to the store since many sites don't charge sales tax and offer free shipping. Use the savings to have the gift mailed directly to the recipient instead of standing in line at the post office.
- Instead of buying an expensive gift, make a donation to a worthy cause in a friend or family member's name.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
When holiday shopping:
- Don't park in unlit areas at night.
- Put your shopping bags in your trunk. Don't try to cover items on your seats with a blanket. Better yet, take your packages straight home after a shopping spree and then go back out.
- Don't carry large amounts of cash with you, or else, keep it in your front pocket not in your purse or wallet.
- Be extra careful when carrying a purse - they are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas. If you must carry one, make sure it has a strap that can go over the shoulder and be held under the arm, making them more difficult for purse snatchers to grab.
- Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
- Beware of strangers approaching you. This is the time of year when thieves may try various methods to distract you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
- When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.
- Leave a light on when you leave your home at night or put your lights (including Christmas lights) on an automatic timer.
- Make sure your holiday gifts are not visible through the windows and doors of your home.
- Never say you are away from home on the outgoing message on you answering machine or voice mail. Simply say you are unable to answer the phone at this time.
Monday, November 24, 2008
blogger. It pretty bad as I cannot use my laptop at all and will probably have to take it in
to the Geeks to fix it.
FYI - don't leave your computer idle and logged into blogger or any site for that matter.
It probably didn't have any thing to do with blogger but just beware.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I think I’ll curl up with a good book.
The perfect day!
Tell me what makes a perfect day for you?
Friday, November 21, 2008
I would like to keep it business related to my field of expertise but then I like to write about myself and do more personally posts and show off my pictures too! I am considering TWO blogs.
I am not sure how I will managed both blogs but I think it might be worth a shot.
This blogging thing is addicting isn't it? I've really taking to it quite nicely! It's a great stress reliever. Takes up some of my time I'd otherwise spend thinking about and stressing about my business. So that has been very good, who needs to do that.
Being in the mortgage business I have nothing but time now as not a lot of business is coming my way and even when it does it's like pushing a square into a round hole. The lenders are just not loaning $$ right now. I've never seen such a TIGHT money market. Not impossible but very difficult. If you are thinking about buying or investing - get off the fence and do it. There has never been a better time.
It's a very depressing state of affairs. Just when I am sure I'll pull through this crisis no worse for the ware, guess what I get in the mail????? You'll never guess! A letter from the IRS, its an audit demand. So now I am being audited! GREAT! When it rains it poor - well of course if does!
At first I just panicked! Mainly because the audited date and time has passed and I just got the notice - my mail comes from California once a week so it runs about 2 weeks late.
Plus all my paperwork and files are in CA. in storage and I am in Hawaii. Not a good situation at all. Oh and did I mention my CPA is also in CA. and on vacation!!
Well now you know why Friday is such a GREAT day in my world!
I normally save Fridays for myself - I work 1/2 day and then I get to do something I want to do.
My freedom day!
Today I think Molly and I will go to the park!
If you have a minute to leave a comment - I always like reading them - If you have any suggestion about my blog or my predicament please by all means pour it out.
And just because its beautiful - I'll leave you a beautiful picture - Just because!
Mahalo (Thank You)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
APPEARANCE As obvious as this sounds, looks can be deceiving. A potential renter's appearance should give you a general idea of the person's income level. If a man arrives in a three piece suit to rent a delapidated trailor, you have to wonder what is going on. Is he trying to go over the top with his appearance to scam you into renting to him? On the other extreme, someone who shows up for an interview in their pajamas might signal a problem too.
BODY LANGUAGE You can tell a lot about a person by their body language. How does the renter react to your questions. Do they crossing their arms defensively or avoiding eye contact? Are they open with you, keeping their arms at their sides? Notice the way couples look at each other as they look around. Take note of any whispered conversation that would alarm you to a potential problem. If they seem secretive, then they probably have something to hide.
NEATNESS OF APPLICATION Did the person take time to write neatly while filling out the rental application? Are any questions left unanswered or filled out improperly? Make sure to point these things out and request a completed application before you go any further in the rental process.
CREDIT CHECK After the application is completed, do a credit check to make sure there is not a history of unpaid debts or bankrupcy. You should set certain credit standards for the tenants you accept. This will give you an easy out when someone doesn't check out.
BACKGROUND CHECK Beyond knowing the financial history of perspective tenants, you need to know if there is a criminal history. Do a complete criminal background check and run the tenant's name to see if it appears on the national registry for sex offenders.
REFERENCES Require applying tenants to give you contact information from prior landlords. Do not accept only personal references. Verify that the people are indeed landlords and not just a friend doing the tenant a favor. Once you have spoken with prior landlords, do a driveby of the property where your tenant is currently living. See how it is maintained to be sure they will not trash your property.
CHECK WITH THE BANK Verify information from the application with the tenant's bank. Do they actually have an account with that bank? Is it in good standing? You certainly don't want the first rent check to bounce!
REQUIRE A DEPOSIT Set a significant deposit fee to weed out those tenants who are not looking for long-term arrangements. Make sure your contract states that the deposit is non-refundable if the lease is not honored or if the property is damaged.
REQUIRE A LONG-TERM LEASE Leases should ideally be for a minimum of one year. This insures that you do not have a constant influx of tenants. If a renter is serious about the property, this should not be an issue worth arguing over. Most good renters understand that a lease agreement is standard procedure.
GUT INSTINCT When all else fails, go with your gut. If something inside of you says that this renter will be a nightmare, then find a reason to turn them down. Somewhere along the way, you will find a reason to turn the renter down. If they check out as perfect, but you still feel uneasy, just take someone else instead. Then you can let the renter know that the apartment/house has already been leased. You can offer to keep their application on file if it will ease the blow. Just make a note on your personal records of your uneasiness so you will remember them when you go throught your applications in the future.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Most people are aware that you can reduce your taxes by deducting expenses and qualified charitable contributions. What most people don’t realize is that small business owners live and die by those deductions. Tax rates have risen on the self employed more than any other segment in our society. To counter these tax hikes, legislators created more “loop-holes” write off’s and deductions for small business owners to use.
For this reason, small business owners rely on creative CPA’s to maximize their deductions in order to show less income and pay less taxes.There are nearly 23 million small businesses in America and over 35 million sole-proprietors and almost every one of them employ savvy CPA’s to keep them in the black. The draw-back is that by doing this most self employed borrowers are unable to prove enough income on paper when applying for a loan or a mortgage.
Traditional mortgage lending practices of yester-year required that borrower’s prove sufficient income when taking out a loan. Over the years, taxes have risen for small business owners at staggering rates, far above what they have for W2 employees. At the same time the self employed borrower's “provable” income has dwindled proportionately. Under traditional banking rules most of the self-employed people wouldn’t be able to qualify for business loans or mortgages. This would ultimately force small business owners out of business and cripple our would economy.
This new business paradigm literally forced the banking industry to create lending products that catered to small business owners who could not prove all of their income. These products were called “stated” income loans and did not require borrowers who had good credit to prove their income. These products originally required good credit and sufficient assets in order to qualify for them. Responsible guidelines and common sense underwriting kept default rates on these products in line with conventional mortgages. Unfortunately, as competition for this segment of borrowers stiffened between lenders the stringency to qualify for these mortgages softened, thus the mortgage crisis.
It is exactly this type of loan that our law-makers are trying to do away with through legislation. The new mortgage bill being bounced around has specific remedies for irresponsible lending. Meaning, if a bank loans you money and it can be proven in court (attorneys like this law by the way) that the bank was irresponsible in doing so they could be penalized. The definition of “irresponsible” is did the borrower have the capacity to repay the loan, meaning did they prove enough income. This bill will kill stated income loans, period.
So where does this leave the responsible self employed borrowers who needed these loans to live and operate their businesses? This leaves them with higher taxes. Should this bill pass self employed borrowers will be forced to claim more income each year on their tax returns in order to qualify for car loans, mortgages and even business loans. This will negate any of the loop-holes and deductions they were promised in lieu of higher taxes.
This means the government will rake in billions in extra revenue as a result of this bill. For example, let’s assume that a small business owner claimed $40,000 in income last year after deductions and business expenses. If she was in a 40% tax bracket she would pay roughly $16,000 in taxes. Under the new banking guidelines that same business owner may have to claim $80,000 In order to qualify for mortgages, car loans and business loans. Assuming she’s in the same tax bracket, she would now have to pay $32,000 in taxes.
Multiply $32,000 by 23 million business owners and that’s one huge pay-day for Uncle Sam. You can bet that the Senators pushing this bill through congress are well aware of this left handed tax raise. You will never hear them mention it either, I wonder why?. You will hear about the naughty lenders that put good wholesome red blooded Americans in the street through predatory lending practices. You will never hear about the 20 million business owners who paid their mortgages on time and actually need these loans to stay in business.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Garskof says there are 6 things you can do, that will initially cost about $1,500 but will save you about $4,000 within a one-year time period. Best of all, once you do them, they will continue to save you money year after year. Even if you don’t have the $1,500 to spend right now, doing just a couple of these energy-saving tasks will save you a ton of money.
1. Insulate Your Attic – The attic floor is the most important barrier to heat
loss because heat rises. The insulation thickness should be at least
10 to 12 inches.
Cost: $500 to $1000 Savings: $500 to $1,000 per year
2. Cover the Heating Ducts – Locate your “exposed” heating and cooling
ducts, normally located in the attic or basement. If you find exposed
metal ducts; seal the seams with foil tape. Scotch-brand Duct Sealing
Foil Tape is suggested. After sealing the seams, cover the entire
ductwork with insulation (Thermwell Self-Adhesive Duct Insulation).
Cost: $50 to $250 Savings: $500 to $1,000 per year
3. Use a Programmable Thermostat – Lower the heat when you go to bed at night and set the time to warm up the house just prior to your alarm clock ringing. Just by lowering the temperature by 7 degrees, you will knock off 10% from your heating bill.
Cost: $40 Savings: $500 per year
4. Seal Cracks – Seal holes and gaps in your basement, attic, floorboards, chimney and recessed lighting. Use expanding foam insulation and you can save an additional 10% in heating and cooling costs.
Cost: $14 Savings: $500 per year
5. Wrap Your Water Heater – Keep the heat from leaking away by wrapping a
water-heater blanket around the tank. But don’t stop there. Wrap pipe insulation
around the cold and hot water pipes leading to the water heater.
Cost: $40 Savings: $100 per year
6. Service Your Furnace & Air Conditioner – Hire a pro to clean, repair and
service your heating and cooling systems. Gunk and dust build-up reduces the
efficiency of those units.
Monday, November 17, 2008
This week was also filled with announcements regarding numerous government programs related to housing. Both the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation announced programs offering bounties to mortgage servicing companies for modifying troubled mortgages. New RESPA rules also began implementation, along with the announcement that the $700 billion dollar Troubled Asset Relief Program would not be used to buy toxic mortgage debt off financial companies' books.
While financial markets may continue to be rocked on a daily basis, we hope to see mortgage rates remain calmer again this week. If data from the Industrial Production numbers and both the CPI and PPI point to economic slowing with lower inflationary pressures rates my continue downward.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
- Inside Your Home
- Have your furnace system serviced to ensure it's working efficiently and not emitting carbonmonoxide.
- Clean permanent furnace filters and replace paper or disposable filters.
- Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- If you have a wood stove or fireplace, have your chimney swept thoroughly. It should be cleaned before the soot build up reaches one-fourth inch thickness inside the chimney flue.
- Check your hot water heater for leaks and maintain proper temperature setting (120 degrees recommended by Department of Energy). On older water heaters with less insulation, for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit you lower the temperature, you save 6 percent of your water heating energy.
- Check the attic to see if insulation needs to be added or replaced. This is the most significant area of heat loss in many homes, so it is also important to see that it has proper ventilation. Inadequate ventilation could lead to premature deterioration of the insulation materials. You may also need to check insulation in exterior walls, crawl spaces and along foundation walls.
- Check all windows and doors for air leaks. Install storm windows and putty, caulk or add weather stripping as needed.
- Check basement and cellars for seal cracks or leaks in walls and floor.
- Make sure all vents are clean and operating properly.
- Clean and vacuum baseboard heaters, heating ducts and vents.
- Remove or winterize air conditioning units.
- Outside Your Home
- Store or cover outdoor furniture, toys and grill.
- Purchase rock salt for melting snow and a shovel or snow blower if you don't already have one. Make sure you have the right kind of gas and oil on hand for your snow blower in the case of an unexpected snowstorm.
- Caulk joints and minor cracks on exterior walls and siding.
Look for deteriorating finishes. Minor problems can be patched to preserve the wood. Put bigger jobs, such as scraping and refinishing painted or stained areas, on the calendar for next spring or early summer.
- Drain and shut off sprinkler systems and other exterior water lines to avoid frozen and broken pipes. Leave all taps slightly open.
- Insulate exterior spigots and other pipes that are subject to freezing but can't be drained or shut off.
- Rake and compost leaves and garden debris, or put out for yard-waste pickup.
- Clean storm drains, gutters and other drain pipes.
- Check the foundation for proper drainage. To do this, spray yard with a hose to see if water runs away from the house. A little shoveling to reshape the earth next to the house may make the water run away from the foundation.
- Make sure dirt or piles of wood don't come into contact with or touch siding, inviting termites and carpenter ants into the house.
- Seal driveway and walkway cracks, if needed, before ground freezes regularly.
- Inspect the roof for loose, damaged or missing pieces.
- Check attic vent openings for nests or other blockages.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
If you have a well trained pet this is very rewarding and a really great way to put smiles and happiness in someone life. Call your local Animal shelter or Humane Society and ask them if your area has a Dog Therapy program.
When you refinance, you might be able to lower your interest rate and monthly payment -- sometimes significantly. You might also be able to "cash out" some of the built-up equity in your home, which you can use to consolidate debt, improve your home, take a vacation -- whatever! With lower rates and balances, you might also be able to build up home equity faster with a shorter-term new mortgage.
All these benefits do cost something, though. When you refinance, you're paying for most of the same things you paid for when you obtained your original mortgage. These might include settlement costs and other fees, an appraisal, lender's title insurance, underwriting fees, and so on.
You might have to pay a penalty if you refinance your previous mortgage too quickly. That depends on the terms of your existing mortgage. These penalties are illegal in some places, and more often than not when you have one of these penalties on your current mortgage it applies only for the first year or two. So you’ll want to check your current note and see if you have prepayment penalties.
You might pay points to get a more favorable interest rate. If you pay (on average) three percent of the loan amount up front, your savings for the life of the new mortgage can be significant. You should be aware that the IRS has recently said that points paid for the purpose of refinancing your mortgage cannot be deducted in their entirety in the year you pay them, unless the refinanced loan is primarily for home improvements. Consult your tax professional before deducting points you pay on your new mortgage from your federal income taxes.
Speaking of taxes, if you lower your interest rate, naturally you will be lowering the amount of mortgage interest payments you can deduct from your federal income taxes. This is another cost that some borrowers consider. So you’ll need to do the math or ask a professional mortgage consultant or CPA for advice.
Ultimately, for most people the amount of up-front costs to refinance are made up very quickly in monthly savings. I’d like to add that the cost of refinancing in most cases does not come out of pocket but will come out the new loan proceeds. Make sure you get the best loan for you and are working with a company that explains the many options available to you. Read your loan documents. In most states when you’re refinancing your primary home you have a 3 day rescission use that time to review your Note carefully and understand all the terms of you new loan.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
All three of the major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) use a slightly different system to arrive at a score. The best known is called the FICO score, based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company (hence the name) and used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON, while TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. While each of the models considers a range of data available in your credit report, the primary factors are:
Credit History - How long have you had credit?
Payment History - Do you pay your bills on time?
Credit Card Balances - How much do you owe on how many accounts?
Credit Inquiries - How many times have you had your credit checked?
Each of these, and other items, are assigned a value and a weight. The results are added up and distilled into a single number. FICO scores range from 300 to 800, with higher being better. Typical home buyers likely find their scores falling between 600 and 800.
FICO scores are used for more than just determining whether or not you qualify for a mortgage. Higher scores indicate you are a better credit risk, and thus may qualify for a better mortgage rate.
What can you do about your FICO score? Unfortunately, not much. Since the score is based on a lifetime of credit history, it is difficult to make a significant change in the number with quick fixes. The most important thing is to know your FICO score and to ensure that your credit history is correct. Conveniently, Fair Isaac has created a web site (www.myFICO.com) that let's you do just that. For a reasonable fee, you can quickly get your FICO score from all three reporting agencies, along with your credit report. Also available is some helpful information and tools that help you analyze what actions might have the greatest impact on your FICO score. Each of the credit services offers similar services on their web sites: www.equifax.com, www.experian.com, and www.transunion.com.
Armed with this information, you will be a more informed consumer and better positioned to obtain the most favorable mortgage available to you.
Do you have a question - you know what to do!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
But like so many recent home buyer’s that purchased during the boom you will want to make sure you can afford your new home. One of the first things I always ask a potential buyer is; what is your monthly housing comfort level. That is the best place to start because you may qualify for a larger payment but will you be comfortable making that payment. Remember you what to live in your house and be happy. NOT live to make your house payment. So be careful when someone tries to give you something you can’t afford, you are the only one that knows really what you can afford. Make sure you understand the terms of your loan. Make sure you have a well planned budget you can stick to.
Benefits of rent vs. own……
Renting leaves you free to move on when you want. NO ties to hold you down. With a home you are there until it sells. If it’s a seller’s market well no worries, but if you have to sell in a buyer’s market or slow market then you could be there for a while. Just as there are good reasons to rent so are there for owning your own home. The obvious reason come to mind like NO landlord, who needs someone always butting in if you want to paint your room purple or bring home a lost puppy. When you own your home it’s yours. Have your pets and purple room all day long. Oh and did I mention the tax benefits to owning. Well that’s just the frosting on the cake. You will get to write off the interest that you paid your lender every year on your taxes reducing your income and thus reducing your debt to the IRS.
Your geographical location could make all the difference……
Some areas in the good old USA are really hard for first time homebuyers. Here in Hawaii the medium Single Family Resident (SFR) is $625,000 while condos mediums are $300,000. Rents starts out around $1100.00 and up to $3000.00 for a normal 3 or 4/2 home on Oahu. Needless to say there are not many first time homebuyers in Hawaii. In fairness Hawaii does have areas of affordable housing we just need more. But many other states have this same problem. They too are finding ways to incorporate affordable housing and are closing the gap for the first time homeowners. Be patience – save your money – make good investments and if your company has a 401K plan you should be taking advantage of this benefit, if your company matches funds and you’re not participating then you really need to start participating today. Remember a 401k has penalties for early withdrawal but some will allow a withdrawal for the down payment of your primary resident.
If your thinking about buying and have questions - Ask and I'll anwser.
Even if you not buying I'd like to hear your opinion.
Monday, November 10, 2008
The answer is actually fairly simple - call the company and ask for a lower rate. In most case the first customer service representative that you speck with will be unable to help you, so make sure to ask for a supervisor. If you've been with the company for a longer period of time and have never had any late payments, make sure you point this out. Pointing out good credit scores and reminding the company that you can easily close your account and move to another issuer will often be enough for the supervisor to get the process started for your new lower rate.
If you have any comments or questions I'd like to hear them.
The first data of the week is September's Goods and Services Trade Balance report Thursday morning. It helps us measure the size of the U.S. trade deficit, but usually is not a major influence on bond trading or mortgage pricing. It does affect the value of the U.S. dollar, which makes U.S. securities more attractive to international investors when the dollar is strong. This is because the securities' proceeds are worth more when sold and converted to the investor's domestic currency. However, its results will not likely directly lead to changes in mortgage rates.
There are two reports scheduled for release Friday. October's Retail Sales report is the first. This report is very important to the financial markets because it measures consumer spending. Since consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy, any related data is watched closely. If this report reveals weaker than expected sales, the bond market should thrive and mortgage rates will fall. Current forecasts are calling for a drop in sales of approximately 1.2%.
The last of the week's three reports comes late Friday morning when November's preliminary reading of the University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment will be released. This index measures consumer confidence, which gives us an indication of consumer willingness to spend. It is expected to show a reading of 57.0, down from October's final reading of 57.6.
There are 10-year Note and 30-year Bond auctions this week, Wednesday and Thursday respectively. Strong or very weak results from these sales could affect the momentum in the bond market and lead to afternoon changes in mortgage rates. It i s common to see pressure in bonds ahead of these sales, but as long as interest from investors is decent we should see those pre-sale losses recovered during afternoon trading of the sale days.
Overall, look for a fairly quiet week in the mortgage market compared to previous weeks unless something totally unexpected transpires. As long as the stock markets remain fairly calm, I am expecting to see mortgage rates follow suit.If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Lock if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days... Float if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days... Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now... This is only my opinion of what I would do if I were financing a home. It is only an opinion and cannot be guaranteed to be in the best interest of all/any other borrowers.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
It was the day that the jury was to decide whether the man was guilty or not for auto theft. While the man sat inside the courtroom, bystanders outside noticed an SUV with dogs inside. With the warm temperature the bystanders alerted the police. The man exited the court and headed to the SUV where police charged him not only with animal cruelty but also with stealing the SUV he drove to his auto theft trail!
If you have a bonehead story, I'd like to hear from you.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Property Taxes 66%
Property Insurance 83%
Friday, November 7, 2008
The Labor Department gave us some surprising readings this morning, saying that the U.S. unemployment rate jumped from 6.1% in September to 6.5% in October. They were expected to show a 6.3% unemployment rate. This was the highest rate of unemployment since March 1994.
The number of payrolls added or lost during the month also opened some eyes. The economy lost 240,000 jobs last month, which was worse than the 200,000 that was forecasted. But equally as bad was a large revision to September's payrolls. What was previously announced as a loss of 159,000 jobs in September is now being estimated at 284,000. This was the 10th consecutive monthly drop in payrolls and brings the yearly total to 1.2 million jobs lost and the first time we have seen 1 million jobs lost since 2001.
Today's report gives us little to be optimistic about in regards to the employment sector. It is becoming more and more clear to many analysts that the economy is actually in a recession despite the lack of an official announcement or other benchmark indicators. What is equally concerning is that many think the problems are going to get worse before better. This could be good news for bonds and mortgage shoppers, but the crazy volatility we have seen in the markets recently makes it very difficult to follow historical patter or make realistic predictions. There is little doubt that we will see more volatility in the coming weeks.
Next week is light in terms of the number of relevant economic reports scheduled for release. We will get some important data late next week, but the first part of the week there is nothing scheduled for release to be concerned with. This make sit very likely that the stock markets will be the biggest influence on bonds and mortgage rates the first couple of days of the week. But look for more details on next week's event sin Sunday's weekly preview.
If I were considering financing/refinancing a home, I would.... Lock if my closing was taking place within 7 days... Lock if my closing was taking place between 8 and 20 days... Float if my closing was taking place between 21 and 60 days... Float if my closing was taking place over 60 days from now... This is only my opinion of what I would do if I were financing a home. It is only an opinion and cannot be guaranteed to be in the best interest of all/any other borrowers.
Oh my market report will be finished soon. It will be interesting to see if anyone is interested or if you are all just tried of hearing about the market. It's alot of work so if no one wants it or comments on it - I will delete it from my blog. But you be the judge and let me know!