Monday, November 24, 2014

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

-->

 

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.