Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Hands down. Bar none.

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I'm so thankful for Thanksgiving

Sure, it doesn’t offer the loot from Christmas/Hanukah, the fireworks on the Fourth of July, or the New Year’s Eve party (a personal toughie since it’s my birthday).   What it does give me is a 4 day holiday – a boon engrained from every school year from kindergarten through 20th grade.  Learning wasn’t restricted to math, social studies and French; I learned right away that once a year a Friday becomes a Saturday.  “School’s closed” shares honors with its subsets “snow day” and “summer vacation” as my most cherished 2-word phrases.
The gift of an extra Saturday is so much better than a winter respite of just a 3-day weekend pass from President’s Day or Memorial  Day.  And don’t get me started on how nice the extra hour of sleep is for daylight savings because they it take back 6 months later.*  Now, slip me an extra hour of sleep every weekend and then maybe DST could give TG a contest. 
Being idle on Friday was built into my belief system.  Even now as an adult I believe we should all have the day off.  (Editor’s note: Please do not tell my staff I wrote that!)   But it’s not just the day off that lets me celebrate it as a kid’s holiday.  I love that my only obligation is to over-consume. This is perfect because Gluttony and Sloth are two of my favorite 7 sins.  Actually, my other 5 have their own holiday milieus: Greed and Envy rule at Christmas, Wrath and Pride duke it out at New Year’s over year-end bonuses (the report card for adults), while Lust is powerful enough to claim Valentine’s Day for itself.
To eat and collapse, that’s my ticket.  And there are cornucopias a-plenty.  My first year in Los Angeles I was invited to 5 Thanksgiving dinners – and didn’t miss a leg, a wing, a haunch, a slab, a cut of anything that flew or walked.  And true to my inner kid’s delight, Thanksgiving meals are without vegetables - at least not in their naked form.  Carrots are a cake, zucchini is a bread, sweet potatoes come coated with melted marshmallows, pumpkin only exists as pie, spinach is heavy creamed, corn has so much butter it’s “corn Kiev”, and anything else green is submerged under so much gravy I consider it a beverage. 
“Carbohydrates?” I hear you say?  Biscuits, muffins, rolls, popovers – I eat my daily bread hourly.  And passing on stuffing (aka: more bread!) is plain bad manners.  Have some bread and stuffing leftover?  Try a stuffing sandwich with gravy.  You’ll never go back to Hamburger Helper. 
And on to dessert.  The Halloween sugar binge was a dinky warm up lap to the sweet Thanksgiving marathon.  Pies, cakes, cookies, nuts, puddings, syrups, ice cream (sorbets are banned for the weekend!), caramel, chocolate Turkeys, whipped cream…  Yum!.  Plus I wash it all down with ciders, beers, wines, and all sorts of free-flowing alcohol, for which I cite Tiny Tim: “God Bless, Uber, everyone.“
So this Thanksgiving, when I recall what I’m grateful for, I will give thanks to our Pilgrim forebears who did mimic bears and packed on as much fat as fast as possible in anticipation of winter.   So, bring me my mead - and have a wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving!

*I’d call that “Indian giving” but that’s especially weird on Thanksgiving when Native Americans saved the lives of the Pilgrims.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mortgage: As Little as 5% Down Can Move You In to a New Home

Opportunity Plus: A New Way to Purchase Multi-Family Homes

By: Selene Garcia

Guaranteed Rate would like to announce a home-grown mortgage product tailored to suit your purchase needs – Opportunity Plus. If you’re interested in purchasing a single unit or multi-family home, Opportunity Plus can help you with flexible down payment options and in-house underwriting which translates into an inside track to the closing table.
In-house underwriting offers face-to-face communication with our underwriters, eliminating miscommunication through email and allowing underwriters and mortgage professionals to address issues on the spot.
Let’s take a look at Opportunity Plus and what the Guaranteed Rate mortgage program can offer:
Types of Purchases
Opportunity Plus allows for the purchase of a home to be used as a primary residence. Additionally, no other real estate can be owned at the time of purchase while using the Opportunity Plus program.
Allowable Housing Types
Single family homes, warrantable condominiums, Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) and 2-4 multi-family homes.
Down Payment Options
Options will vary depending on the type of home you choose to purchase:
  • 1 unit requires 5 percent down. The entire down payment can be a gift from a close family friend or family member.
  • 2 unit multi-family requires 5 percent down. At least 3 percent must come directly from your savings.
  • 3-4 unit multi-family requires 10 percent down. All 10 percent must come directly from your savings.
Mortgage Insurance
A down payment of less than 20 percent will require monthly mortgage insurance.
Guaranteed Rate’s exclusive mortgage insurance product is available for loan amounts up to $801,950 for 3-4 multi-family purchases.
Contact your seasoned mortgage professional for a mortgage insurance quote when taking advantage of the Opportunity Plus program.
Home Buyer Education
All first time home buyers and multi-family buyers will need to complete mortgage counseling, provided free online or over the phone. Mortgage counseling includes:
  • First time home buyers will be required to attend first time buyer counseling to better understand the responsibilities that come along with home ownership.
  • Multi-family purchasers will attend landlord counseling. The counseling will ensure soon-to-be landlords have a clear understanding about the responsibilities associated with managing rental units.
Our goal is to create a group of mortgage savvy home owners and home buyers who are able to make educated financial choices with available mortgage tools. Contact Bill Rayman today to find out if this mortgage product is the best for you. 

Bill Rayman Home Mortgage

12121 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 350
LA CA 90025

424-354-5325

bill.rayman@guaranteedrate.com
https://GuaranteedRate.com/BillRayman

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Should You Get a Mortgage Now or Wait? Interview with Bill Rayman, Los Angeles Mortgage Broker

 

 
Los Angeles Mortgage Broker, Bill Rayman

Low Interest, but high qualification requirements make this a tricky time for mortgages


Is it easier to get a mortgage today than say a year ago, or three years ago? Are interest rates going up or down or sideways? What about closing costs and down payments? What kind of credit score do I need today to get a mortgage?

We interviewed Los Angeles Mortgage Broker Bill Rayman of Guaranteed Rate the other day to see if we could get some kind of clear advice regarding how to time a home purchase mortgage or to refinance an existing mortgage.
There is also a lot of conflicting stories about whether this is a good time to buy a home or other residential property for an investment.

RK  Is it easier to get a loan now?

BR  No, it’s somewhat harder due to procedural issues, not necessarily because of  qualifying. One thing that has changed is the number of mortgage products that are available. This does allow a mortgage broker to help find a better mortgage that suits the borrower more exactly.

RK  Why is it so hard to get a mortgage?

BR  Even though the credit score requirements have dropped, the debt to equity ratio requirements remain tight and the real issue today is paperwork. There are many more compliance issues due to the Dodd-Frank regulations taking effect this year, and the lenders are scrutinizing every document to be sure they meet the most conservative interpretation of vague guidelines.  You have to have proof of everything you say, and this can be a problem for some, even well qualified, borrowers.

RK  Where do you see housing prices in West Los Angeles in the next few months?

BR  I try not speculate on such things. However, there seems to be a little softness right this minute. Will it last? Who knows?  Based on history and the low number of homes on the market right now, one would expect the normal bidding wars to commence in April as usual.

RK  What about interest rates?  Up?  Down?  Stay the same?

BR  Same answer. Interest rates are based on supply/demand and fear/greed just like any other market. Any little thing can trigger a big increase or push rates down another few basis points. Right now, rates have been pretty stable for a while, and the Fed seems to like it that way.

RK  Then what criteria should a someone use who wants to buy a new home, trade up, or buy an investment property?

BR  That is a question I can answer.  With rates at historic lows, don't fret over an eighth of a point. Decide what to do right now based on what serves you and your family best. If you need a home or a bigger home or an investment, find the best opportunity today and go for it. If those purchases are not high on your list of priorities or you think your circumstances could change in a year or two, you may want to hold off. Interest rates have historically averaged around 6%, so even if you wait and get a 6% loan two or three years from now, you can feel like it is a good deal.

RK  That sounds like good advice. Anything you want to add?

BR  If you get a mortgage now at around 4%, you are almost certainly going to be happy with that decision 5 years from now. And, if it rates drop to 3.5%, we will be happy to get you a new mortgage at the lower rate at little or no cost to you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Kick Your Landlord to the Curb! Become a Homeowner

 

Ask everyone you know over 40 this simple question: Where is their largest nest egg?


Some will say their pension, and it might be. Some might point to their business or Social Security.  But the vast majority of folks have their largest single equity position in their home.  For every $250,000 in value, there is likely to be a potential $1000 a month income stream in rent.  Even if your pension is more than that, $1000 a month in retirement is nothing to sneeze at.

But the fun doesn't stop there. You buy a home with a $1000 a month mortgage in 2015, and 15 years from now the mortgage is still $1000 a month. Did that every happen with your landlord. Not a chance.

When you rent, a landlord can send you packing anytime they feel like it (assuming the lease allows or they are willing to break the lease.) Maybe they want to knock down the building an use it for another purpose. Maybe they want to convert to condos. That can't happen when you own.

Are you tired of the nasty, old fashioned kitchen in your apartment? Do you love communal clothes washing? And then there are those neighbors. Do you go for a lower floor and have noise above? Or do you go for an upper floor and tip toe around. Does grandpa next door have a hearing problem, and you get to listen to his TV at 5:00 AM?

I've always hated the idea of forced savings. I'm a big boy. I'll save. Not! I saved through the company 401k, my life insurance, and my home. All "forced" savings. Maybe you are good at putting that 10% aside every month, and never using it for a large, important expense.




Thursday, October 30, 2014

5 More Ways to Save $52,000 on your Mortgage Interest

 

Digging a Little Deeper to Lower Your Personal Overhead


The other day we suggested that you could easily cut your budget by $250 a month, which if applied to your mortgage payments would reduce the total outlay of interest by $52,000 over the 30 years of paying on the loan. This was based on a $200,000 mortgage at 4%.  You can five those 5 easy steps here.

Now, just to put some icing on the cake, here is a another 5 slightly harder ways to get even more savings out of your budget. Use it to pay off your mortgage even faster, invest, or spend on wild living. As with the first five, these won't reduce your quality of life at all.
  1. Shop your car insurance. I recently was able to chop $350 a month on my policy by switching carriers. We have 4 drivers on the policy, so your results may vary. I went with Costco. You should also review your other insurance policies annually to make sure you have the coverage you need, and to see about savings on rates.
  2. Speaking of Costco. The savings by purchasing your groceries and other items at Costco are real and significant. Costco marks up all items by 15%. What they buy for $10.00, you pay only $11.50.  Most discount department stores mark up from 50% to  double.  So you would pay $15.00 - $20.00. I know you have to buy huge quantities. I have found nooks all over the house for storing commodities. I have an extra freezer, too. Small cost for huge savings.
  3. Amazon Prime. When it isn't a Costco item, why not buy on Amazon Prime?!? Pricey toothpaste, supplements, household items and more are almost always cheaper on Amazon than at Target or CVS. And there is no freight and no auto expense. When you need more, you have a record of what you bought. 
  4. Get rid of any high interest credit card. Use the savings from these other suggestions to first pay off all credit cards with interest rates higher than your mortgage interest rate. The only good use for a credit card is to build credit. Pay them off every month.
  5. Get rid of one expensive, useless or worse, habits. Smoking, buying booze in bars, fast food, gambling (including lotto.)  
There is potentially a lot more than $250 a month in savings in this list. Just number five could be $250 or more for many folks.

You have now saved $250 from list #1 and $250 from list #2, now you might want to invest that $500 in some rental property. Call Bill Rayman for an analysis of what you could afford.

Bill Rayman Home Mortgage

12121 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 350
LA CA 90025

424-354-5325

bill.rayman@guaranteedrate.com
https://GuaranteedRate.com/BillRayman

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How to Save $50,000 or More on Your Mortgage


 Pay an extra $250 per month to save $52,000 over 30 year loan


Now that you have the answer, think about how you could use $52,000. Amazingly, if you just let the money ride, you will pay off the 30 year loan in just a tad over 20 years.  This estimate is based on a $200,000 loan at 4% interest. Now that was the easy part. Doing a math calculation to determine your potential savings is simple. Where will you find that $250 per month could be a more difficult question.

Here are 5 ways that you could potentially get $250 a month in savings without reducing your lifestyle in any significant way.

  1. Call your cable TV provider. Tell them you are considering going off grid or switching to satellite. If you have satellite, call the provider and tell them you are thinking of switching to cable. Watch the dance begin. You are very likely to end up with at least $20 or more in savings. Now call the competition with your new rate and see what they will do. You are likely to end up with the same or better rate and a $200 gift card for switching. 
  2. Go off the grid on cable. Between Apple TV, On Demand, NetFlicks, RedBox, Amazon Prime, and other TV offers, it is hard to justify any upgrades to basic service on cable or satellite. 
  3. On to your cell phone, internet, and land line providers. This gets a bit more complicated, but the cost of all of this is dropping fast. By changing providers, bundling, unbundling, and just shopping, you are very likely to end up saving another $30 a month and improving MBPS. Recently I tried to end my land line service, but the bundle cost less with it that without. 
  4. Saving on your utilities. The water company (at least in California) will be happy to help you cut down your water use. Check with your supplier to find out how to get free or reduced costs products to reduce use in bathrooms and irrigation. Then check to see what the recommended water needs are for your yard. The electric company will help you with lighting and other wasy to save on electricity. LED lights are fantastic and save a huge amount of money. Switch appliances to natural gas to save even more.
  5. Budget. Keep a penny by penny ledger of all expenses for three months. There are many online tools that can help with this process. Once you see where the money is going, you will almost certainly be able to find ways to cut that won't hurt even a little bit. 
 Reducing your interest expense to create $52,000 is based on saving $250 and putting it towards your loan. That is a great way to save and to help with being disciplined about saving. You could potentially make even more money by investing the savings in various types of investment vehicles. With your mortgage at 4%, paying down the mortgage may not be the best use of the funds. However, it may give you the most peace of mind.

All of the above assumed your mortgage was 4%.  If it isn't, you need to call Bill Rayman and see if you can save money by reducing the interest rate on your current mortgage by refinancing. There is no cost of obligation for the free consultation with Bill. 

Bill Rayman Home Mortgage

12121 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 350
LA CA 90025

424-354-5325

bill.rayman@guaranteedrate.com
https://GuaranteedRate.com/BillRayman

Monday, October 27, 2014

Changing Mortgage Market - Should You Use Broker, Mortgage Banker, or Bank?

Bank, Banker and Broker - What's the difference in 2014?

By: Selene Garcia
As you move through the mortgage process, you may have been inundated with information about the mortgage and banking industry and from your vantage point, a lender is a lender. However, in an effort to offer clear, simple mortgage education, Guaranteed Rate wants you to know not every lender is created equal. Distinguishing the differences between banks, mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers can save you some frustration, time, and in some cases, money.

As a mortgage banker and broker, Guaranteed Rate understands how the following types of financial institutions impact your mortgage financing. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of each:

Banks
Banks are typically local brick-and-mortar financial institutions which offer mortgages as well as traditional banking services, such as checking and savings accounts, along with other financial services such as wealth management and investment advising. The law requires that banks use a percentage of their deposits for lending purposes.  Interest earned from loans allows a bank to lend money for many types of loans such as: auto, personal and mortgage.

Advantages
Disadvantages
  • Competitive rates.
  • Physical presence for servicing issues.
  • Flexible lending due to long-term business relationship.
  • One stop shop for all of your financial needs.
  • Conservative lending guidelines.
  • Limited loan options.
  • Lengthy processing time.
  • Underwriting and appraising managed through national channels vs. local channels.
It is important to know bank mortgage advisors are often not well-versed on all possible mortgage lending options and do not have the lending flexibility of a banker or broker. The reason for this is two-fold: bank employed mortgage advisors are not required to attain federal mortgage licenses and are usually limited to the mortgage products their bank sells. Additionally, unlike true licensed loan officers (who are employed by bankers and brokers), mortgage advisors from your local bank earn a salary and do not have to cultivate consumer relationships.

Mortgage Banker
Mortgage bankers are a one-stop mortgage shop of sorts. With access to lenders such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Wells Fargo and Chase, bankers are able to offer a vast array of home loans such as Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA and USDA. Unlike banks, mortgage bankers concentrate solely on mortgage lending without the distraction of other lending products or personal finance services. They typically employ in-house underwriters and loan processors; however in this case, in-house loan processing translates into accelerated loan processing – this allows them to close loans within 30 days or less.
Advantages
Disadvantages
  • Competitive rates.
  • Variety of flexible loan options.
  • Swift loan processing.
  • One-stop mortgage lending shop.
  • Local Appraisers.
  • No other financial instruments.
  • No physical presence for servicing issues.
  • No flexible lending due to long-term business relationship.
When you conduct business with mortgage bankers you are working with federally licensed professionals. Licensed loan officers have chosen to sell mortgages as a career and are well-versed in lending laws, lender guidelines and are 100 percent vested in counseling you, structuring your loan and closing the deal.

Mortgage Broker
Mortgage brokers are federally licensed firms or individuals who sell loan programs on behalf of lenders. Loan officers who work for mortgage brokers facilitate your search for the most suitable mortgage product and structure your loan to suit your financial goals. The main difference between a mortgage broker and mortgage banker is that mortgage brokers do not process any loans – every loan is sent to the lender for processing. Additionally it is the lender, not the mortgage broker, which provides the funds for your loan.

Advantages
Disadvantages
  • Competitive rates.
  • Flexible non-traditional loan programs.
  • No in-house loan processing.
  • No physical presence for servicing issues.
  • No flexible lending due to long-term business relationship.
Interestingly, a broker and banker can be one in the same. So here is where it gets tricky, from a consumer’s perspective, a broker is anything that is not a brick and mortar bank; however, from an industry perspective, this is how the two are defined:
Mortgage Banker: Lends you money using a warehouse line of credit and processes your loan.
Mortgage Broker: Sends your loan file to a lender who will lend you money and process your loan.
If the two types of institutions are combined, the consumer can benefit with a wider variety of mortgage financing options.

What about online lenders?
Online lenders are structured as both bankers and brokers. The only difference is, all of their business is conducted online. You will not meet face-to-face with your loan officer and you will securely submit all of your loan documents electronically.

The type of financial institution you choose should suit your financial needs and goals, offer a competitive rate, employ seasoned mortgage professionals and provide top-notch customer service.