Carbon Monoxide - Must Read Could Save your Life or Someone Else!!!!

January 8th, 2010

Here is an article from a Realtor, Connie Zulu in Saint Mary’s, ON, that hits home about carbom monoxide poisoning.  In the Winter months we are closing our homes up tight and never thinking about the possible results from carbon monoxide.  Please read!

The story below looks long.  But you will not regret taking the 5 mins. to read it.  What it just may do is save your life?  This is a true story from a girlfriend of mine for more than 20 years.

 This is the story of what has happened to me over the last 3 months. The email is long, but I urge you to PLEASE read it. It could save your life or keep you from becoming very, very ill!   Flashback to 3 months ago:   I start feeling ill with dizzy spells and the feeling of coming down with the flu. A couple of weeks go by and I am still feeling this way. One day at work I became confused doing a routine task and decided I better see a doctor because something is just not right. The doctor tells me it sounds like I have hypoglycemia and makes an appointment for me to meet with the dietician. After meeting with the dietician and following her advise a couple weeks go by and I still feel ill all the time. I go back and see my family doctor and I tell him I don’t think I have hypoglycemia. I’m doing everything I should and eating every two hours but I am still sick. He decides he is going to test me for an insulin secreting tumor. The test is done and nobody bothers to call me about it. I call the clinic and they say the test came back normal. Now I have been left hanging…..still sick but nobody offering to do more tests. (more)

Inspiration for 2010 and Beyond

January 8th, 2010

Great Post!

 

Via Linda De Fusco (The De Fusco Team):

Inspiration for 2010 and beyond…I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, as well as a few webinars. I don’t know if anyone else is noticing, but we are in a more rapid phase of change than I’ve ever experienced in my lifetime. From technology, Facebook and other social media, changes to our financial frameworks, and a mindset to approach business and relationships differently than ever before. Here’s what I believe.
Get on board or be left behind!
One of the strongest messages I’ve received most recently was dealing with self talk and fear issues. Though fear represents different things to different people, what it actually becomes is an obstacle. However we decide to deal with the obstacle determines our ability to obtain our goal. The insight I’ve gained is treating fear as an opportunity to grow. The lesson I heard stated, “treat the fear as a façade or a mirage, as that is truly what it is. Go into that fear and it disappears. The fear is in the mind used as, what ifs, to protect.  This has really opened my mind and my abundant possibilities in life. Could it be I’ve been my own biggest obstacle? Perhaps!
But it is not too late to get on board!

Major Changes Coming to FHA Policies & Program

January 8th, 2010

There is alot of change happening in the mortgage industry.  FHA is tightening up some of the loan requirements and this is going to make a big differance in the ability of buyers to qualify for basic mortgages.  I think the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction now.

Here is an article from Lorna Campbell at Franklin American Mortgage Company:
 There are major changes coming to the FHA program that we expect will be implemented in 2010, starting later this month.  Dave Stevens, FHA Commissioner and his team have been reviewing FHA’s performance data and operations for several months and we believe there will be dramatic changes to the FHA program and policies. 
Over the next several months, we expect policy changes to at least five major areas in the FHA program.
I. Major Changes to FHA Underwriting & FHA Program.
A.      Improve FHA loan quality

*  Increase “upfront cash that a borrower has to bring to the table”

*  Two options  

1) eliminating the ability to finance the upfront premium  

2) raising the cash investment requirement above 3.5%

a) Reduce seller concessions (from 6% to as low as 3%)

b) Raise minimum FICO score

c) They could impose an LTV maximum by FICO score, borrowers w/higher FICO scores could have higher LTVs)   

B.      Increase MIP

a)  Up-front premiums can be raised up to 3%

b)  An increase to about 2 - 2.25% is more likely

c)  FHA could also establish higher premiums for specific products (e.g. refinance

transactions)  

We expect these changes to be announced later this month and could be implemented as early as a couple of months.

II.            FHA Budget Proposals

The President will announce in his State of the Union speech in late January-early February, several legislative initiatives as part of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget.  The things that we expect to see are as follows:

1)  Increase the current cap for annual premiums (currently .55%)

2)  Get legislative changes to Credit Watch to facilitate the suspension of an FHA Lender’s entire operation not just individual branches

3)  Accountability increased for FHA Lenders for fraud or misrepresentation.

We expect these changes to take place within the next several months to enact and then more months to implement.

 III.            Credit Watch Expansion

Although FHA appears to be ready to implement Credit Watch for underwriting lenders FHA will be comparing Direct Endorsement lender’s early default performance for loans underwritten to HUD similar to what FHA has done for retail branches.  FHA could compare a lender’s performance on all loans underwritten (including retail) or loans underwritten for third parties (ie. mortgage brokers or principals) to the field office average.

This will probably be announced within the first quarter.

 IV.            FHA Lender Eligibility Changes

FHA proposed a rule on lender eligibility changes in late November - December.  The rule would raise net worth requirements for FHA approved lenders and eliminate the loan correspondent approval and renewal process.  This means that FHA approved mortgagee’s would be permitted to accept a loan from any source if the originating entity met State laws and federal regulatory requirements (eg. RESPA).

Three main parts to the rule:

1.       Elimination Of Loan Correspondent Approval Process

Currently FHA has about 8,000 brokers currently in the FHA system.  There will be no approval of new correspondents and no renewals of existing correspondents.  This means no grandfathering in existing correspondents into the FHA process.  This program will be stopped entirely.  Only FHA approved mortgagees will be able to request FHA case numbers and the loan would have to close in the FHA approved lenders name.

Of course this has sparked many comments from Brokers to HUD for HUD to establish a Broker approval standard.  Of course we don’t know at this point if this will happen.

2.       Increased Net Worth Requirements

The proposed rule will increase the net worth requirements from $250,000 to $2.5 million over a three year period.  All participating mortgagees would be required to have a net worth of $1 million, of which 20% must be liquid assets within one year of the final rule and will have to be maintained.

3.       Codification of rules in Mortgagee Letter 2009-31

Implementing changes to the lender eligibility criteria in the “Helping Families Save Their Home Act”.

We believe that HUD will act quickly on finalizing this rule because of the number of renewals for approximately 8,000 brokers currently in the FHA system waiting to be processed.

V.            Risk Management Improvements

Risk Management improvements has to do with the early payment defaults that have to be reviewed on loans that result in claims for the first couple of years.  It’s a possibility that “poor performing” lenders will be more prominently displayed on their website and in press releases.

Conclusion

According to the statements that FHA Commissioner Dave Stevens has outlined above FHA will be transformed over the next few years.

Vision Boards for Setting Goals in 2010

January 8th, 2010

Here is a great thought from a fellow Realtor - Dana Smithers in Vancouver, BC

I am one of those people who loves to set goals each January. I don’t make new year’s resolutions as that sounds too negative to me. I like to use the 9 section Western Feng Shui bagua as my guide and put pictures, photos, sayings, etc. reflecting how I want 2010 to materialize. This is one of the Law of Attraction strategies that I have personally found to be very powerful. It seems that if we know what we want we have more opportunities of achieving our goals. If you want 100 new awesome clients this year then say so and then put that into action. I want to attract 100 new enthusiastic entrepreneurial home staging students who want to get out and stage homes to sell quickly and for top dollar for YOU!

What to Consider When Relocating Unexpectedly

January 7th, 2010

Article written by Liz Miller, Realtor in Arizona

So you just landed a job in this tough economy.  However, you will now have to relocate to a new state.  Whether you’re moving because your new employer is asking you to or because your current employer is relocating their business and needs you to tag along, there are things you need to consider when relocating unexpectedly.

When relocating, you will be facing much more than finding a home, packing and moving boxes.  It can be huge step for any family.  However, there are steps that can make the transition a lot easier for everyone. (more)

Home Staging: The Ten Best Do-It-Yourself Tips For $100 Or Less

January 7th, 2010

Home staging is one of the simplest ways that you can improve the salability of your home.  Many times the improvements are inexpensive and simple to make.  Here are some great suggestions by Nakisha Brisco, a Realtor from Louisiana.

Home Staging: The Ten Best Do-It-Yourself Tips For $100 Or Less

  ·    Potted Plants, small or large, are one of the easiest and least expensive ways to create visual appeal.

·    Home Fragrance such as scented candles, sprays, and plug-in type fragrance gadgets in delicate scents can work wonders.

  ·    Steam Cleaning-Rather than investing in a professional service, rent the machine for one day, and rejuvenate carpets and drapes.

  ·    Baskets and Decorative Containers can help organize scattered items and eliminate clutter.

  ·    Light Bulbs and Dimmer Switches-Brighten dark areas and rooms or soften harsh light with dimmers and the newer soft light bulbs.

  ·    Paint over unusual colors or update stark white walls with a contemporary neutral tone.

  ·    Fresh Flowers-Inexpensive arrangements in vases you already own look beautiful and will smell naturally fresh.

  ·    Throw Pillows will instantly update an old sofa or chair or make a plain bed look luxurious.

  ·    Maid Service can be costly, but hiring one for a day or a few hours is affordable-and it’s worth it to make a kitchen or bathroom sparkle!

  ·    Snacks!  A bowl of polished apples, a bunch of grapes or a plate of fresh cookies makes your home look warm and inviting.

 Nakisha Brisco, Realtor

 Abek Real Estate 820 Oak Harbor Blvd. Slidell, La 70458, 504.301.7183 cell, 985.646.2111 office, 985.646.2772 fax, e-mail: arealtorworking4u@yahoo.com

Last chance to refinance below 5%

January 7th, 2010

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — By Les Christie, staff writer

If you want to refinance your mortgage into a loan with a sub-5% interest rate, better hurry. Your window of opportunity is closing fast.

Lenders are still advertising rock-bottom interest rates, but for most borrowers, rates are rapidly rising into the 5%-plus category. (more)

Fed debating fate of MBS program

January 7th, 2010

Purchases credited with helping keep interest rates low

Inman News

Mortgage markets could come under pressure if the Federal Reserve winds down ongoing purchases of $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities by the end of March as planned, members of the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee acknowledge, and some are in favor of expanding and extending the program. (more)

December home-maintenance checklist

January 6th, 2010

This month usually brings the first big snowfall, and with it, a number of tasks for keeping your home cozy and secure. It’s also a great time to create your home-improvement plan for the year ahead. (More)

By Anne Erickson of MSN Real Estate

Good Credit Score Not Good Enough Anymore

January 6th, 2010

Good Credit Score Not Good Enough Anymore

by Melissa Ezarik
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
provided byBankrate

With historically low rates, many homeowners are watching closely for the right time to refinance their mortgages. Those with good credit may well recall being showered with praise by a mortgage broker during the initial purchase for that solid credit score.

That was then. This is now. (More)