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Thursday, December 2, 2010

How do stock prices effect Mortgage rates? How do Stocks get bought and sold on Wall Street?

With the announcement of Quantitative Easing 2 (QE2) by the Federal Reserve Bank three weeks ago, the Fed has included a four fold purpose in spending money (buying bonds).  The $600 Billion will be put to work to meet specific Fed Goals. 

One of the goals of QE2, which gives rise to my question in the Title of this Blog Post of "how are stocks bought and sold on Wall Street?", is that QE2 wants to push stock prices higher.  The additional goals of QE2 are to increase employment, increase inflation (to fight deflation), and to devalue the dollar (to make our goods cheaper and more inviting to foreign markets).

All of the stated goals or purposes of QE2 are arch enemies to Bond prices and with falling Bond prices, if QE2 is successful in reaching its goals, we will see higher interest rates.

Call me if you would like to visit about your refinance or purchase mortgage options before rates increase from these historically low levels.  :)

Following is an interesting discussion of how Stocks are bought and sold on Wall Street...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Phone call questions I got today: Can you get me a mortgage? I'm self employed

One or two years of tax returns will determine income for the self employed borrower (one year of taxes are needed with excellent credit for Conventional Loan Financing and two years of taxes are needed for FHA financing).

Good to excellent credit is a must, and it doesn't help to get the borrower "more easily qualified".  Because the maximum Automated Underwriting debt to income ratios are presently set at 45% (max.) for Conventional and 55% (max.) for FHA, if the borrower doesn't have the income, the approval will not be possible.

There is going to be a trade-off between income tax paid and ability to get an approved Mortgage loan when tax time comes.

NOT having to pay taxes because the self employed borrower has a great Tax Accountant who shelters the income with expenses and write-offs so the borrower has a small tax liability, may in fact backfire when the same borrower tries to qualify for Mortgage financing.

If you need some direction about how you should file your taxes in 2010 (for your 2009 income) so that you have the ability to obtain the mortgage financing you would need, call me and we can review your options.

With an In-House Underwriter (Jenette sits in my office across the hall from me), she can give us insights into tax liability and taxable income strategies to maximize your opportunities.

Keep warm air INSIDE this winter!

Keep old man winter’s cold hands out of your pocketbook
  By TERRI BENNETT    McClatchy Newspapers
     The winter chill is preparing to take a bite from our bank accounts. We’ve all heard that “winterizing” our homes will help keep utility costs down and is easier on the environment.    

Here’s a short list of options that are simple to do, and which will yield the most immediate results.

   Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. This is one of the simplest ways to keep warm air moving inside your home.    In the colder months, your fan blades should turn in the clockwise direction to force warmer air collecting at the ceiling down toward the floor. You can tell that the blades are turning in the wrong direction for the colder months if you feel a breeze pushing down on you when standing directly under the fan.      
Another smart place to check for leaks is in your attic. First, make sure the attic door itself is insulated and seals when shut. As for the actual attic space, if you can see the ceiling joists, you probably need more insulation. And, if your fireplace is more ornamental rather than functional, use a chimney plug to prevent warm air from escaping.     

Windows and doors are the biggest places where warm air escapes. Use a match or lit candle to search for leaks. If the flame blows out when held next to windowsills or doorframes, there’s a problem. Replacing windows and doors with efficient new ones are your best bet, also costly.    One alternative is to put up insulating storm windows and doors. You can also use window insulating kits or heavy drapery   to help keep winter drafts from entering your home through windows.    And, weather-stripping is an inexpensive solution for filling gaps in doorframes. For high-traffic areas, rubber weather-stripping is your best bet because it is more durable than foam variety.    
Don’t forget to keep up with the maintenance of central heating   units. Furnaces should be checked each year to make sure they are operating at maximum efficiency and with clean filters.    A clogged filter makes the unit work harder, costing more to operate and creating a fire hazard.    Another good idea is to check the ductwork in your home to make sure there aren’t any leaks. You   can easily fix any that you find with metal-backed tape found at any hardware store.     

And finally, if your water heater is located in a cold garage or closet invest in a water heaterinsulating blanket. This keeps your unit from having to work so hard to heat the water.    These do-it-yourself jobs can be as big or as little as you want  and they all add up to energy and money savings. Do your part this winter to keep warm air inside your home and even more money in your pocket.    

Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, syndicated columnist, and host of DoYourPart. com where you can find everyday green living ideas that are better for you and the planet.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The History of Thanksgiving

The Little Known – but true – History of Thanksgiving…

Despite the popular belief that Thanksgiving originated with the colony at Plymouth Plantation in 1621, researchers have actually pinpointed the actual first Thanksgiving to have been held a whopping 56 years earlier.
According to scholars, the first known Thanksgiving took place during September 1565, in Saint Augustine, Florida when Spanish settlers held a Mass of Thanksgiving after arriving safely in the new world. It wasn’t until 1619 when English settlers in the Virginia Colony held a similar day of thanks…and then two full years after that, the colonists at Plymouth Plantation celebrated the famed Thanksgiving of 1621.
But the story doesn’t end there.

Around 1789, President George Washington proclaimed “a day of thanks” to be observed. It was not an official national holiday, but it did become popular with many Americans, who would select their own state or city observance day, usually in the fall. But not everyone was in favor…there were people going through hardships who were actually against having a day dedicated for giving thanks. In fact, Thomas Jefferson himself scoffed at the idea of a thanksgiving day.