Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Friday, March 29th, 2013
The Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act, a recently proposed bill in the House of Representatives, would help millions of homeowners refinance at lower interest rates, thus saving thousands of dollars a year and rewarding those who have been responsible in keeping up with mortgage payments.
HARP, he current refinancing program, only saves homeowners on the average about $2500 a year, but the new bill would increase the savings and the opportunity to refinance for millions of borrowers who met the eligibility requirements. The new bill also will supposedly help many who do not qualify under HARP.
Here is what else the new bill will do:
• Allow for streamlined refinancing options for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac borrowers, whether or not they are currently underwater. Under the HARP program many underwater borrowers were cut out because of a lack of equity; the new legislation will require all servicers to adhere to the same set of rules, thus providing more underwater borrowers the opportunity to refinance.
• Eliminate appraisal costs for every borrower under the program
• Reduce refinance fees that are paid up-front
• Remove other barriers to competition, so that other lenders could compete for your business
• Streamline the application process so it is quicker
• Extend HARP for one year, so that eligible borrowers could access the program
I am happy that this new bill may help some borrowers be able to refinance into lower rate loans, however, the new bill will still only apply to borrowers whose loans are Fannie or Freddie loans. There is still a very large pool of homeowners out there who would love to refinance but do not have Fannie or Freddie loans. There has been talk of legislation that would help these other borrowers, but so far we have not seen it materialize. My hope is that this will be the next big focus of our legislators.
To track the progress of this bill you can visit this site.
Monday, December 24th, 2012
I wanted to wish everyone a wonderful holiday and a very happy New Year. I hope that you all are able to spend time with loved ones this holiday season, and that those times are filled with love, joy and laughter.
It has been a pleasure blogging for you over the last year, and I look forward to continue keeping you updated on the real estate market and local news in the coming year. If there are any particular stories about which you would like me to write, please do let me know.
Wishing you all the best in 2013,
Saturday, March 19th, 2011
It is hard lately to not feel depressed. After what happened in Japan last week, with tens of thousands presumed dead and many homeless, with the now confirmed statement that there is a threat of death from radiation exposure to citizens, to the violence in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain, and the ongoing problems in other parts of the middle east and our own economic problems here at home. There seems to be so much going on that it is hard to not feel sad. Many people question whether they should go on with their lives and have fun, do happy things, in the face of such sadness.
Moving forward and looking at things from different perspectives can help us all to recover. I know that my beautiful sister-in-law, my birth father, and many others who died too young would want me and my loved ones to carry on, to make a difference and help others. They are not here at all, and I am sure they would have given anything to live longer. In honoring their memory, and the many loved ones who have passed, I feel better and can move ahead.
I am talking with my children about all the problems that are occurring in this world right now, but I am also teaching them to go forward and live, to make each moment count. I teach them not to forget that others are suffering, and to give whatever they can to help those in need, to think of things they can do to ease the pain of others. It is a great discussion to have. We cannot be strong for others if we do not take care of ourselves. So find ways to give, to help, to make a difference. But don’t forget to live.
Saturday, January 22nd, 2011
Mello-Roos taxes are common in many areas of California, so if you are buying a home that is newer you should know what they are. Many people do not understand the purpose behind them, or why they have to pay them; in fact, it is a question many buyers have asked me over the years. Here is what you need to know about mello-roos, in a nutshell.
Definition: Mello-Roos are fees paid by a homeowner that are assessed by the builder. They enable the formation of Community Facilities Districts (CFDs), which provide community funding for public improvements and maintenance. The CFDs decide where the collected money will go.
History: Mello-Roos (named after a Senator and Assemblyman who coauthored the Community Facility Act in 1982, which is now simply referred to as “Mello-Roos”) are assessed by the local CFD. If a new community or a school is planned in your CFD tax exempt municipal bonds are issued to finance the construction.
Benefits: Mello-Roos taxes are used to fund and maintain projects within your community, such as road improvements, traffic lighting, storm sewers, libraries, emergency services and schools. By passing the taxes on to the homeowners the builders can keep the cost of housing lower, and owners benefit from having well-maintained communities.
Payment termination: These bonds are paid off over a period of time, usually 25 years. Once they are paid off the taxes stop. If the home is sold before they are paid off the taxes transfer to the new buyer.
Tax Increase or Decrease: Mello-Roos can only increase at a maximum rate of 2% per year over a 25 year period. It is possible that the tax may also decrease over that time. If state or other funds become available the bond indebtedness can be reduced, which could lower residence tax payments. Although I do not see indebtedness being reduced in California any time soon, keep in mind that it could happen.
How to Pay: There are several ways to opt to pay your Mello-Roos tax bill. It can be added to annual property tax or paid upfront upon the purchase of a new home. The latter option may not make sense unless the owner knows he or she will be living in the home for a long time.
In conclusion, although people may complain about Mello-Roos taxes the benefit to you as a homeowner are plentiful. Think of them as insurance that your community will look it’s best and be a better place to live.
Thursday, September 9th, 2010
AP posted a story at about 1:30 PST today that Terry Jones has agreed to refrain from burning copies of the Koran, in exchange for a promise from the property owner of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in NY to refrain from building a much debated Muslim mosque there. One crisis averted.
Friday, January 22nd, 2010
The FHA has announced it is to make changes that will provide easier access to home ownership for borrowers and strengthen its reserves, allowing it to better manage risks. The changes are expected to go into effect this spring and early summer. They include:
1. Increase the mortgage insurance premium (MIP). The goal is to bring back private lending, which will offer more choices to borrowers. At first the upfront MIP will be raised to 2.25%, with a request to raise it to maximum levels allowed by the legislature. Upon authorization the MIP premiums will then shift to the annual MIP. The benefit to the consumer will be an increase in capital reserves, as the annual MIP will be paid over the life of the loan in lieu of being paid at closing time.
2. Update the FICO score and down payment requirement for new borrowers. To qualify for the FHA’s 3.5% down payment program a new borrower would have to have a minimum FICO score of 580. A lower score would require a down payment of at least 10%. To put it simply, the riskier the borrower the higher the interest rate and down payment needed to secure a loan. This change would take effect in early summer.
3. Seller concessions would be reduced from 6% to 3%. Doing so will prevent inflated appraisal issues.
4. Increase enforcement of FHA lenders. There are several measures included to keep lenders in compliance.
There will also be a moratorium on the 90 day anti-flipping rule. This rule stated that investors had to wait 90 days after purchase of a property before they could place it for sale on the market. The problem with this rule is that it ended up affecting average home buyers too, who did not have the opportunity to purchase homes bought by investors until the waiting period expired. Investors need to sell these properties quickly. There are some further details involved, so if you would like that information please let me know and I will get it for you.
Michael Mekler of Benchmark Mortgage, who is an FHA lending specialist, says that there is a silver lining in all these changes: “The increase in PMI will offset losses already incurred by HUD, and not decrease the volume of FHA borrowers. The lifting of the 90-day rule gives FHA borrowers a better chance of being able to buy a rehabbed home.” Mekler believes that even with the increases in MIP, FHA loans will still be a popular choice amongst borrowers. For more detailed information on the new rules you can contact Michael at email@example.com or call toll-free to 1-888-218-0094.
Wednesday, January 13th, 2010
On Tuesday, January 12 the Carlsbad City Council was presented the Community Vision. This is a plan for the future of Carlsbad and focuses on growth, sustainability, preservation and future planning. It is a very positive step in the collaboration between City officials and residents, and is great news for Carlsbad.
The Envision Carlsbad Program, sponsored by the City of Carlsbad, played a major role in obtaining input from over 7,000 residents via surveys, interviews, workshops and citizens’ committees. The process really focused upon the needs and wants of Carlsbad citizens, and on and continuing to make Carlsbad a wonderful place to live, work and visit.
Topics of interest included maintaining a beach town feel, education, the arts, culture, nature preservation and trails, recreation, transportation, neighborhood revitalization, connectivity, local economy, tourism, livability and sustainability.
The next step in the process will be for the City to compare the residents’ vision to the plans, regulations and policies of the City of Carlsbad. The City will then be able to determine how to effectively incorporate the vision into it’s General Plan. The acceptance is a wonderful indication that the City wants to work with residents and help drive Carlsbad into the future with purpose and fresh ideas. To learn more please visit http://www.envisioncarlsbad.org.
Monday, December 28th, 2009
Many cities have opened recycling centers for trees, and Carlsbad is no exception. To find out where you can get your tree environmentally recycled, or whether and how to recycle at the curb through January 18, 2010, go to:
Saturday, November 14th, 2009
Home sales in North San Diego in October seem to be improving, despite problems with the lending industry. Sales of both attached and detached homes in North County decreased 1.33% in October from September. Here are the October statistics, according to HomeDex:
Detached North County Homes:
Median price $430,000
Total units sold: 772
Median market time: 35 days
Attached North County Homes:
Median price: $239,250
Average price: $289,869
Total units sold: 314
Median market time: 38 days
An article in the paper this morning predicted that the market prices will rise in 2010 and that there are more buyers purchasing homes now than there have been in a long time. This is predicated upon two main factors–housing prices being lower and the federal tax credit to first time homebuyers. Now that the tax credit has been extended AND expanded to include ALL buyers (who meet the criteria), many Realtors feel this will continue to boost sales.
Sunday, June 14th, 2009
Summer is just beginning and that means it’s time for sunscreen. But do you know that chances are the one you favorite brands may not only offer inadequate protection against the rays, but may also be unsafe?
Research has indicated that almost 85% of sunscreens available to consumers do not adequately protect us from the sun. Even if your favorite brand says it has an SPF of 30 or 45+ this may not be the case.
Another major concern with sunscreens is the list of ingredients that are added. One of the most harmful is Oxybenzone, which has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, cell damage and low birth weight in baby girls whose mothers were exposed to the chemical. The FDA implemented new guidelines for sunscreens back in 2007 but they have not been enforced as of yet.
It may surprise you to know that almost 600 brands of sunscreen sold in the U.S. contain Oxybenzone! It is also found in facial moisturizers, lip balm and some lipsticks.
Don’t fret‚Ä¶there is a solution. There is a great website you can visit to see how your favorite sunscreen rates and whether it contains chemical ingredients. Go to www.cosmeticsdatabase.com. You have a few choices once you get there. You can simply go to Enter Your Name Brand and look your brand up, or you can click on the National Brand Buying Guide to get a list of those that are safe to use. There is also information on other products that contain Oxybenzone and other harmful ingredients.
This site is full of information and will definitely keep you protected throughout the sunny summer‚Ä¶without the worry!