Thursday, May 31, 2007

Top Growth Cities and States


U-Haul, which provides relocation solutions for do-it-yourself movers, recently published its 2006 U-Haul National Migration Trend Report. Compiled from more than 1.62 million U-Haul transactions, the study measured top destination cities and states for movers relocating in 2006.
Top Destinations: Based on U-Haul moving data reflective of nationwide statistics and movers traveling more than 50 miles, Los Angeles was the No. 1 destination, while Houston remained No. 2 for the second year in a row. Atlanta ranked No. 3, while Chicago dropped to fourth, down from last year's top rank. Sacramento, California, was in fifth place, dropping three places from last year.

Top Growth States: For states with more than 20,000 families moving in 2006, Georgia had the highest percentage of growth, with 5.52% more families moving into the state than out. For states with 5,000 to 20,000 families moving, Delaware had the highest percentage of growth, with 5.81%.

Top Growth Cities: The U-Haul report indicates that for cities with more than 10,000 families moving, Austin, Texas, had the highest percentage of growth for the second year in a row, with 8.15% more families moving in than moving out. For cities with 5,000 to 10,000 families moving, Des Moines, Iowa, had the highest percentage of growth, with 14.17%.

To see the top 50 in each category, visit uhaul.com. U-Haul was started in 1945 and has grown to more than 15,400 locations in all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Contribution to Society



I am rebellious, quirky and eccentric and one of the things I am most eccentric about is my unwavering commitment on how to make this world a better place. To me, it is not a corny or impractical Miss America sentiment at all, but an endlessly fascinating puzzle to be tackled over and over again. Right now, I’ve got innovative ideas aplenty on how to improve things for everyone on this tiny blue marble.

My current platform as Miss American Home Mortgage (ha ha) is to create credit savvy citizens with a sense of fiscal responsibility. This is easier said than done. How to become an added value, not an inconvenience to the masses? I was hit with a win-win idea that will not only benefit my business but the community as whole. A speaking tour for graduating seniors and incoming college freshman.

I have given credit seminars many times, but only to prospective homebuyer’s. Why not expand and bring it to the generation that will benefit from it the most? Why not arm these kids with the knowledge and the power they deserve? Of course, competing against the likes of VISA, MC and AMEX, who want nothing more than to offer these kids credit, may be an issue of itself. For the time being, I am crazy excited about this new adventure!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Do It Yourself!


The cost savings and gratification of do-it-yourself (DIY) home repair motivate homeowners to tackle projects ranging from laying hardwood floors to fixing a squeaky garage door. Here are some resources to suggest to clients in need of more DIY help:
Your library or bookseller. Most libraries offer various DIY titles. Besides multivolume series on home improvement, clients can find single titles on specific jobs, such as plumbing, windows or kitchens. For clients who prefer to purchase their books, a vast selection of titles is available online. Barnesandnoble.com offers more than 8,000 home repair-related items, while amazon.com has more than 9,000.
The Internet. The web is full of how-to reference sites, blogs, podcasts and discussion groups. By simply accessing their favorite search engine and typing in a few keywords, clients can pinpoint DIY information and either print it out or add it as an easy-reference bookmark. Four great sites are onthehouse.com, doityourself.com, ehow.com and hometips.com.
Home improvement and hardware stores. Aside from having a great selection of DIY books, most retail centers employ home-repair experts -- and some even offer training courses on household projects, from easy to complex. Check out their websites for more how-to information.
Some final advice: People without much DIY experience, such as many first-time homeowners, should consider starting with novice-level projects, and work their way up to more complicated jobs as they acquire new skills and knowledge

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Don't Be Stupid When It Comes to Home Buying

Listen, I know that owning a home is a big deal. You can paint your walls any shade that your little heart desires, have pets and the built in savings account in the form of equity doesn't hurt either. This is where the listen part comes into play. No matter what anyone tells you, you are not going to buy a home with zero money out of your pocket. It's just not going to happen. End of story.
First, when you find your perfect home and decide to make an offer you will need to give the agent what is called Earnest Money. This money shows the seller that you "earnestly" or seriously want to buy the house. It is actually a deposit made in the form of a check or money order that is held by the real estate broker or settlement company. Typically, this is anywhere from 2-5% of the purchase price or can be as little as $500. There are no set percentages for this, however, if you are purchasing a home in a seller's market, be prepared for the higher end of the spectrum.
Alright, so now were out of pocket at least $500. Next, you need to get an appraisal. typical appriasal fees are anywhere from $325 to $450 depending on your location and must be paid outside of closing. Which means, the fee cannot be rolled into the loan.
Our out of pocket total is up to $825. This is the low end mind you. Now we have to think about closing costs. Points, fees, title insurance, title fees, taxes, insurance, escrow. You can expect your closing costs and prepaids to be about 2.5% of the loan amount. On a $200,000 loan, that is roughly $5,000. Now, I am not saying you need to have that money in the bank. Perhaps your agent worked out a deal to have the seller offer some closing cost assistance or a family member is willing to give you a gift. The fact still remains that our current total for money needed is at $5.825.
I am not trying to scare you. I am simply being honest with you. If you are thinking about purchasing a home, set a little money aside every month to cover these costs. Prepare yourself for the cost of not only purchasing the home, but furnishing it, landscaping it and making it your own. Occasionally, an unforseen repair may come up. You don't want to be stuck with an empty wallet and a huge repair. You don't have to be a millionaire to purchase, but zero down ain't gonna cut it either.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Why Home Buyer Education is a MUST!

Would you let a doctor operate on you without a medical license? How about letting an attorney practice law? I can think of few things in life that don't require some sort of education in order to do them. Raising a child? You get advice from parent's, friends, books. Driving a car? You certainly didn't just get behind the wheel and hit the gas. So why do people take on the largest financial burden of their lives without a clue?

Your community most likely offers home buyer education classes FREE OF CHARGE. The only investment you need to make is time. By attending these classes, you will learn what items you need to have in order to begin the home purchase process, also, you will save yourself from being taken advantage of by predatory lenders. Oh yeah, those people LOVE IT when you don't know what the heck is going on and you trust them implicitly. That is another story for another day. Right now, it's about you and making sure you make the best decisions for yourself and your family.

Heck, I might even start a series here on if your interested.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

FHA LOANS ARE EASY!




Fully backed by the Federal government, FHA loans are generally less expensive than traditional, conventional loans. Qualifying for an FHA loan is also easier! Plus, changes in the past year have streamlined the FHA appraisal process, which helps get your loan closed faster!


Great for first-time homebuyers

Forgiving of past credit issues

Low, down-payment requirements

95% refinancing available for primary residences

Less cash out of pocket required than a typical "conventional" loan

Purchase and renovate a house with only one loan: the FHA 203(k) program

Cosmetic fixes previously required prior to closing now acceptable "as is"

May qualify even if currently in Chapter 13 or credit counseling programs

Only two years' discharge from Chapter 7 required

Up to 100% financing if you qualify!
Call me today to learn more! I'm ready to help, any time.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Smart Car Buying Strategies

With nearly 40% of today's auto loan balances upside-down (owing more than the car is actually worth), it's wise to pursue a smart car buying strategy. Great Deal? Your dealer offers you a new car for very little or nothing down, plus a low interest rate and lengthy period to repay the loan. What a great deal! However, consider that your car may depreciate up to 30% during the first two years. If your auto is stolen or totaled before you repay the loan, insurance will cover only the market value, not what you owe. Therefore, consider Guaranteed Auto Protection, which will cover a shortfall between the insurance payout and the loan amount.

Hurry It Up. If your new car's interest rate is near the prime rate, keep the loan period as short as you can. Avoid rolling the debt from your last car into your new loan. Otherwise, you'll be paying on a car you don't even own anymore. Put the maximum down you can afford (some experts recommend at least 20%), and pay off the loan as quickly as possible.

The Fleet's In. When you can't afford a new car, your best bet is probably to locate a used car through an auto club, credit union or other organization offering fleet rates. You may be able to purchase it at or below the mid-Blue Book price, and get a limited warranty.