Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Paws’itive Teams

Paws’itive Teams trainss service dogs for disabled people in San Diego County. When the service dogs have completed their training, Paws’itive Teams places them into homes based on the specific needs of the people.

To watch a video of the dogs at work, or to sponsor a dog, go to http://www.pawsteams.org/index.php

Friday, July 22, 2011

Conforming Loan Limits at Stake - from the California Association of Realtors

Thinking about buying a home or investing in a rental property? Now is truly the best time to do it. Below is a California Association of Realtors article (full link at the bottom) that expalins yet another threat to homebuyer's ability to qualify for loans in California:

Drop in conforming loan limits would raise cost of housing financing, hamper housing recovery
LOS ANGELES (June 23) – More than 30,000 California families will face higher down payments, higher mortgage rates, and stricter loan qualification requirements if conforming loan limits on mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac are reduced beginning October 1, 2011, according to analysis by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). 

“By reducing the conforming loan limit, thousands of California home buyers will be shut out of homeownership,” said C.A.R. President Beth L. Peerce.  “The higher mortgage loan limits are critical to providing liquidity in today’s housing market and are essential to our housing recovery.  We urge Congress to maintain the current limits and make them permanent to provide homeowners and home buyers with affordable financing and help stabilize local housing markets.” 

Barring Congressional action, the maximum FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac conforming loan limit will decline to $625,500 beginning Oct. 1, 2011, from the current $729,950 limit, though the majority of counties will fall far below the $625,500 maximum.  The conforming loan limit determines the maximum size of a mortgage that FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) can buy or guarantee.  Non-conforming or jumbo loans typically carry a higher mortgage interest rate than a conforming loan and require a higher down payment, increasing the monthly payment and negatively impacting housing affordability for California home buyers.

Under the new GSE loan limits, Monterey County would see the greatest drop in the loan limit at $246,750, followed by San Diego ($151,250), Sonoma ($141,550), Solano ($140,500), and Napa ($137,500) counties.  Under the new FHA loan limits, Monterey County would see the greatest drop in the loan limit at $246,750, followed by Merced ($201,450), Riverside ($164,650), San Bernardino ($164,650), Solano ($157,300), and San Diego ($151,250) counties.

C.A.R. and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) have long advocated making permanent higher conforming loan limits.  As a result of C.A.R.’s and NAR’s efforts, in 2008, Congress temporarily raised the conforming loan limits from $417,000 to $729,750 and has extended them annually through fiscal year 2011.

Regionally, Marin County would be impacted the most, with more than 12 percent of home sales rendered ineligible under the lower GSE loan limit, followed by Contra Costa (11.5%), San Mateo (10.7%), San Francisco (9.9%), Monterey (8.8%), San Diego (8.2%), Sonoma (7.9%), and Santa Clara (7.8%) counties.  Under the lower FHA loan limit, San Francisco County would be impacted the most, with more than 14 percent of home sales rendered ineligible, followed by Santa Cruz (13.9%), Orange County (13.3%), Marin (13.2%), San Mateo and Ventura (both at 12.7%), Santa Clara (12.2%), San Diego (11.9%), Alameda (11.8%), Riverside (11.5%), and Contra Costa (11%) counties.
Leading the way...® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with more than 160,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.
# # #
Impact of Lower Loan Limit for GSE-backed Loans 

2011 Limit
HERA Limits (GSE)
$ Difference
% GSE Loans
% Calif. Households
Alameda$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 6.30%4.30%
Contra Costa$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 11.50%3.00%
Los Angeles$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 2.30%25.70%
Marin$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 12.20%0.80%
Merced$472,500 $417,000 $55,500 0.00%0.60%
Monterey$729,750 $483,000 $246,750 8.80%1.00%
Napa$729,750 $592,250 $137,500 3.80%0.40%
Orange$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 6.20%7.90%
Placer$580,000 $474,950 $105,050 4.40%1.10%
Riverside$500,000 $417,000 $83,000 1.70%5.50%
Sacramento$580,000 $474,950 $105,050 1.10%4.10%
San Bernardino$500,000 $417,000 $83,000 0.70%4.90%
San Diego$697,500 $546,250 $151,250 8.20%8.60%
San Francisco$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 9.90%2.70%
San Luis Obispo$687,500 $561,200 $126,300 6.40%0.80%
San Mateo$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 10.70%2.00%
Santa Barbara$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 5.80%1.10%
Santa Clara$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 7.80%4.80%
Santa Cruz$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 7.10%0.70%
Solano$557,500 $417,000 $140,500 1.60%1.10%
Sonoma$662,500 $520,950 $141,550 7.90%1.50%
Ventura$729,750 $598,000 $131,750 5.80%2.10%
Average/Total   5.90%84.90%

  • Analysis covers all major counties affected by a change in the loan limits, 22 counties covered.
  • 22-county analysis covers 85% of the households in California, according to the Dept. of Finance 2011.
  • Based on projected level of annual existing, single-family home sales in California for 2012.
  • Down payment of 20% for GSE analysis.
  • Share ineligible based on the calculated loan amount given down payment assumptions at the current loan limits versus HERA loan limits.
  • HERA loan limits from http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=FHA_Loan_Limits_HERA.pdf*Fresno included in FHA analysis but not GSE because under the GSE loan limits, there would be no change.
Impact of Lower Loan Limit for FHA-backed Loans

County2011 LimitHERA Limits (FHA)$ Difference% FHA Loans Ineligible% of Calif. Households
Alameda$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 11.80%4.30%
Contra Costa$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 11.00%3.00%
Fresno$381,250 $281,750 $99,500 6.50%2.30%
Los Angeles$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 5.40%25.70%
Marin$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 13.20%0.80%
Merced$472,500 $271,050 $201,450 3.20%0.60%
Monterey$729,750 $483,000 $246,750 9.70%1.00%
Napa$729,750 $592,250 $137,500 7.80%0.40%
Orange$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 13.30%7.90%
Placer$580,000 $474,950 $105,050 4.20%1.10%
Riverside$500,000 $335,350 $164,650 11.50%5.50%
Sacramento$580,000 $474,950 $105,050 1.10%4.10%
San Bernardino$500,000 $335,350 $164,650 5.30%4.90%
San Diego$697,500 $546,250 $151,250 11.90%8.60%
San Francisco$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 14.40%2.70%
San Luis Obispo$687,500 $561,200 $126,300 10.30%0.80%
San Mateo$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 12.70%2.00%
Santa Barbara$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 7.40%1.10%
Santa Clara$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 12.20%4.80%
Santa Cruz$729,750 $625,500 $104,250 13.90%0.70%
Solano$557,500 $400,200 $157,300 4.80%1.10%
Sonoma$662,500 $520,950 $141,550 9.30%1.50%
Ventura$729,750 $598,000 $131,750 12.70%2.10%
Average/Total   9.30%87.20%

  • Analysis covers all major counties affected by a change in the loan limits, 23 counties covered.
  • 23-county analysis covers 87% of the households in California, according to the Dept. of Finance 2011.
  • Based on projected level of annual existing, single-family home sales in California for 2012.
  • Down payment of 3.5% for FHA analysis.
  • Share ineligible based on the calculated loan amount given down payment assumptions at the current loan limits versus HERA loan limits.
  • HERA loan limits from http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=FHA_Loan_Limits_HERA.pdf*Fresno included in FHA analysis but not GSE because under the GSE loan limits, there would be no change.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Eagle Peak Preserve

Eagle Peak Preserve is a wildlife preservation area made up of about 516 acres in San Diego County. In 2007, approximately 85% of it was burned by the severe wildfires. Today, the San Diego River Park Foundation is continually moving toward recovery. To find information on visiting the preserve or learn more about it, go to http://www.sandiegoriver.org/eagle.php

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Volunteer Match

Ever get that feeling that you could be doing more? What causes are important to you? At Volunteer Match, no matter where you live or what your skills and takents are, you can be matched with an organization that needs you!

Just enter your location and keywords, or search through a variety of non-profit organizations to get started!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Buying a Short Sale: Is It Worth It? (And Does It Really Take Six Months?)

I just wanted to post one of my recent articles, reprinted from a wonderful financial website, Money Under 30 (Moneyunder30.com)  Money Under 30 contains articles about real estate, finance, budgeting, credit, managing debt and more. Below is part of my article, the full article can be read at:

Many U.S. real estate markets are flooded with short sales and, according to the National Association of Realtors, that number is only expected to increase in the near future. So if you’re in the market for a new home, there’s a good possibility that you’ll fall in love with a home that’s listed as a short sale.
If you’re considering bidding on a short sale, here’s some basic information you should know.
A short sale is a real estate transaction where the owner’s lender or lenders agree to accept a purchase offer of a new buyer, short of what is owed by the original owner.
For example, if a homeowner has a loan of $175,000 but the property is only worth $100,000, the lender may be willing to accept $100,000 from a new buyer. Because participating in a short sale rather than foreclosing on the home saves lenders money, some banks have even created streamline processes to make short sales faster and easier.
In a short sale, the seller’s agent lists the property for sale and collects the seller’s “hardship package” including bank statements, loan information, and a hardship letter explaining why he or she had to do a short sale. Then, when you as a buyer put an offer in to buy a short sale, the agent submits that offer, along with the hardship package to the lenders and the negotiation process starts.
One of the biggest challenges is getting multiple lenders to participate in the short sale. Even though junior lien holders would get wiped out if the home were to be foreclosed on, they often require monetary contributions to release the lien. This can also lengthen the negotiation process. 
You’ve probably heard horror stories of buyers waiting six months or more to find out if their offer on a short sale is accepted, and then getting a counter-offer at a price much higher than they can afford to pay. While a rare handful of lenders can accept short sale offers within a month or two, acceptance can typically take four to six months, or even longer.
And when there are junior lien holders, each one will typically have their own Broker’s Price Opinion (BPO) done at the property before they accept the offer. When viewing properties, find out if the short sales have been “approved” or not. Approved short sales are those where the lender has already agreed to take a specific price. Short sales that have not yet been approved take the longest. Good communication from your agent can make this anxious time period go by faster. Don’t forget that just because you have an offer pending on a short sale, does not mean that you have to stop looking at homes.
Is it possible to save money by buying a short sale? Absolutely—yet not every short sale is automatically a deal. Make sure that your agent provides you with recent comparables (statistics of active, pending and most importantly recently sold homes in the area with similar characteristics). Just because the seller isn’t getting any money out of the sale of the house doesn’t mean they will automatically accept your offer.
Keep in mind bidding wars can happen before the listing agent submits the highest and best offer to the lender. How do you ensure that your offer will get accepted over others?
There’s no one winning formula, and it’s not always about the highest price. For example, the financing and terms are also important.  “Some banks may prefer the buyers with large down payments while others just want the highest price regardless of down payment”, according to an article in Realty Times.
An important point to consider is that with some short sale transactions, the junior lien holders may require the buyer to come in with extra cash to release the liens.
So, when the listing agent markets a property at $200,000 based on comparables, the lender in 1st position may accept a purchase price of $205,000, but the lender in 2nd position may require an additional $6,000 to release the lien. Every transaction is different, luckily. Buying a short sale where the owner only had one loan is generally going to save you time and money, but in certain markets, those are far and few between.

..... to read the rest, go to

Thursday, July 7, 2011

PLEASE VOTE for baby AUTUMN!!!!!!!!


EVERYONE PLEASE vote for my wonderful friend Holly's baby, Autumn, to win the Gerber baby photo contest so that she can win money for college. It's easy to vote, please go here:


THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

The Rock Church Blood Drive

The Rock Church (2277 Rosecrans St. in San Diego) is holding a blood drive event to save lives, this coming Sunday, July 10th from 8:30am-2pm. For all the details, go to http://www.therocksandiego.org/eventcalendar/8638/

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Win baby clothes from Zutano!

Buying new baby clothes can be expensive, especially as they grow. Zutano offers affordable and certified organic newborn, infant and toddler clothes as well as baby gifts. The Zutano brand also helps support educational programs for children and donates to fighting hunger.

You can buy Zutano clothes online at http://www.zutano.com/ or you can win them!

The Bragging Mommy, one of my favorite blogs, is giving away a $75 gift certificate to Zutano's online store! To enter, go to http://www.thebraggingmommy.com/2011/07/06/zutano-baby-clothing-review-and-75-gc-giveaway/

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Miracle Babies

Having a baby in the NICU is not only emotionally overwhelming for new parents, it's often financially overwhelming as well. Dr. Sean Daneshmand helped to found Miracle Babies, a group that helps qualified families with their basic expenses during their newborn's stay at the NICU. If you know someone who needs to apply for financial help and has a baby in the NICU or if you would like to donate go to http://www.miraclebabies.org/

Monday, July 4, 2011

Warm Coats and Warm Hearts Drive

Now that it's July, you may be feeling like you don't need some of those heavy winter coats anymore. You may have outgrown some as well. Burlington Coat Factories are participating in Good Morning America's Warm Coats and Warm Hearts Drive. To find out how you can donate your old coats, visit http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/WarmCoats/

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Talking Bibles!

Talking Bibles, based out of Escondido, CA, provides complete audio bibles in the native languages of people in remote villages all around the world. This way, people who cannot read can still learn about the God that loves them! Recently Talking Bibles have been distributed in Mozambique, Ghana, Ethiopia and India. Amazing! YOUR PRAYERS can really help. For a list of prayer requests and thanks, see http://www.talkingbibles.org/prayer.cfm You can also purchase a Talking Bible to be sent to a village for only $72 http://www.talkingbibles.org/donate.cfm