Wednesday, December 17, 2008

US Government and City Creative Loans.

I read The article on The Wall Street Journal yesterday about the USDA Loans program.

DECEMBER 16, 2008

Home Buyers Turn to USDA for Mortgages
Agency Program Backs Loans to Aid Rural Development; No Money Down -- Even Now

To be eligible for a USDA-backed loan, a borrower can't have income that exceeds 115% of the median county income, and the loans are restricted to areas with lower population density -- generally towns of no more than 25,000 residents. So while home buyers in big cities aren't eligible for the loans, residents of many of America's fastest-growing towns and exurbs do qualify. The loans that come through the program are made by private lenders, then insured by the government and sold to Ginnie Mae, a federal agency that sells mortgages to investors.
Home builders, many of which have overbuilt properties in these areas, are eagerly promoting the program to sell excess inventory.

The USDA program accounted for 40%-50% of sales in October and November for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based home builder Meritage Homes, says John Bargnesi, vice president for sales.

"It's one of our main tools right now."


City of Temecula - Home Improvement Loan for FTHB Program

The City of Temecula Redevelopment AgencyHome Improvement Loan Program for First Time Home BuyersThe City has determined that many homes eligible for the First Time Homebuyer Program are in need of some repair. In the current market many of these affordable homes are Bank-Owned properties that may have suffered some distress either at the hands of former owners or through neglect and vacancy.

This program is designed to work in tandem with the First Time Homebuyer Program.Property Type: Single Family detached homes, condominiums, townhouses and manufactured homes on a 433 permanent foundation.Property Location: Within Temecula City LimitsMaximum Amount: $10,000Loan Terms: A ten year loan at 5% interest.

The loan is forgiven on the maturity date if the terms have not been breached. If title to the property is transferred, the borrower ceases to occupy the property or the first mortgage is refinanced with cash taken out the loan becomes due and payable immediately.

Requirements: The application must be processed concurrently with the First Time Homebuyer Program.Eligible Repairs: Housing staff will perform a pre-inspection of all work to be done to determine eligibility. Eligible repairs include, but are not limited to:

Code items
Deterioration of structure or fencing
Repair or replacement of roof
HVAC systems, wall heater or evaporative coolers
Windows, Screens, Garage Doors & Entry Doors
Exterior Painting
Non-working or missing major appliances

Repair items damaged by neglect, vandalism or theft Participant must obtain a minimum of 2 bids from licensed contractors. All work must be inspected by housing staff or building inspectors prior to payment. Payment may be made directly to the approved contractor or to the homeowner as reimbursement.

Qualifying Income:Family Size / Income

1 / $52,100 2 / $59,500 3 / $67,000 4 / $74,400 5 / $80,400
6 / $86,300 7 / $92,300 8 / $98,200

Farm Service Agency
How about the FSA Loans to First Time Farmers & Ranchers?

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides direct and guaranteed loans to beginning farmers and ranchers who are unable to obtain financing from commercial credit sources. Each fiscal year, the Agency targets a portion of its direct and guaranteed farm ownership (FO) and operating loan (OL) funds to beginning farmers and ranchers.

More loans and Disaster Assistance Programs on USDA FSA site.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

And This Too, Shall Pass

And This Too, Shall Pass

With all our blessings, however, is one day of thanks ever enough?

Absolutely not. In his book “Discovering the Laws of Life,” the famed money manager and philanthropist John Templeton recommended a different approach. He called it thanksliving.
Thanksliving means practicing an attitude of perpetual gratitude.

That’s not hard when times are good. But for many, it’s tough out there right now. The economy is weak. The job market is soft. Credit is tight.

Combine these with the real estate slump and the recent swoon in stock and bond markets and an attitude of continual thankfulness becomes a tall order.

Yet Templeton offers a radical solution. Don’t just give thanks for your blessings. Be grateful for your problems, too.

This seems wildly counterintuitive at first blush. But facing up to our challenges makes us stronger, smarter, tougher, and more valuable as parents, mates, employees… and human beings.

Calm seas never produced a skilled sailor. Solving problems is what we’re made for. It’s what makes life worth living.

“Adversity, when overcome, strengthens us,” says Templeton. “So we are giving thanks not for the problem itself but for the strength and knowledge that will come from it. Giving thanks for this growth ahead of time will help you to grow through - not just go through - your challenges.”
Circumstances alone never decide our fate. We all have the ability to shape our destiny. And it begins with believing we can.

Worries, regrets, and complaints solve nothing. They change nothing. Rather they undermine your health, your social environment and your quality of life.

Difficult situations are rarely resolved with positive thoughts or gratitude alone, however. It takes another crucial ingredient: sustained action.

Even then, some problems are intractable. Others - like the death of a loved one - are insoluble. In certain circumstances, only an attitude of acceptance moves us forward.

Most of our day-to-day problems, however, are created by the person in the mirror.
We made them. And we can fix them.

According to Unitarian pastor Preston Bradley, “The world has a way of giving what is demanded of it. If you are frightened and look for failure and poverty, you will get them, no matter how hard you may try to succeed. Lack of faith in yourself, in what life will do for you, cuts you off from the good things in the world. Expect victory and make victory. Nowhere is this truer than in the business of life, where bravery and faith bring both material and spiritual rewards.”

This lesson is best learned at an early age. Once when I was about seven years old, for instance, my father asked me to load some heavy-looking boxes into his car.

I looked them over doubtfully. “I can’t,” I said.

It was one of the few times I’ve ever seen him really angry. “What was that word you just used?” he demanded.

“Can’t?” I asked, sheepish.

“I don’t ever want to hear you use that word again.”

Then he strode off… as I (ahem) loaded the boxes.

Journalist Sam Levenson had a similar experience:

“It was on my fifth birthday that Papa put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Remember, my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.’”

I’m not suggesting that it’s wrong to ask for help. Under certain circumstances, you won’t succeed without it. We could all use a boost from time to time.

But it’s much more satisfying - and dignifying - when we solve our problems ourselves.

In addition to showing us what we’re made of, working through our setbacks makes us more sensitive to - and more compassionate toward - the problems of our fellowmen.

Look around and you’ll see plenty of good people with more troubles than you. This is the season to remember them, incidentally. (Although the true spirit of Thanksliving means remembering - and giving - all year round.)

Whatever problems you’re grappling with - personal, social or financial - the best course is always to face them with all the courage, patience and equanimity you can muster.

And, if possible, be grateful. Opportunity often shows up disguised as hard work.

On occasion, of course, our problems are simply bigger than we are. In an address in 1859, Abraham Lincoln recounted the tale of King Solomon:

“It is said that an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him with the words: ‘And this, too, shall pass away.’ How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!”

And how applicable in every day and age…

Whatever your problems, few of them can withstand the onslaught of optimism, persistence, and a genuine spirit of gratitude. So get moving.

As the poet Robert Frost reminds us, “The best way out is always through.”

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chicken Little Doesn't Sell Houses.

A good article by Rismedia.

Chicken Little Doesn’t Sell Houses
Click stars to vote (left is low, right is high)
(48 votes, average: 4.42 out of 5)

By Mike Parker

RISMEDIA, Dec. 9, 2008-”One day, Chicken Little was walking in the woods when-KERPLUNK-an acorn fell on her head. ‘Oh my goodness!’ said Chicken Little. ‘The sky is falling!” Thus begins a timeless tale that seems more relevant each time I read another “authoritative” article positing that the recovery in real estate is years away.

I want to scream: “Your 2009 will be what YOU make it. The sky is not falling and you can be sure that many people will succeed in 2009, just as many continue to succeed, even now.”
We should refuse to buy in to “informed opinion” that predicts three more years of economic morass. It’s time we take responsibility for our own success and make things happen for ourselves.

Once we get through January, I believe we will see the beginnings of recovery. Credit will loosen, people will begin to regain some confidence that Washington has an idea of what they are doing, and opportunities to succeed will abound. Oh, it never will be 2005 again, but who really wants that, anyway? Agents who fail to take strong action to succeed despite conditions will be dropping like acorns in a stiff wind.

Are you Chicken Little? Paralyzed by fear and “informed opinion?” Or, are you a real professional, determined to harvest the opportunity that you know will manifest itself when confidence returns?