Expect Mortgage Rates to Rise

If you’ve had refinancing on the brain, you may want to put that thought into action soon. The Fed recently announced the subsidies that have artificially pushed mortgage rates to record low levels through most of 2009 will end in the first quarter of 2010.   Read this article to get a summary of how and why the government has kept rates incredibly low, and why their slow pull out of the mortgage market will force rates up.  According to its author, “It is a given that once the Fed ceases its purchases (of mortgage-backed-securities), interest rates will climb significantly higher … most likely back above the 6 percent area.”

If you are an eligible homeowner who would benefit from a refinance, I encourage you to act now before rates go up.  Contact me and I’d be happy to determine what options you may have.

Mortgage Rate Rally!!!

stock-market-trading-floor1

I watched the movie Wall Street last week (1980s classic with Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen), and I had to laugh at the scenes of the stock market trading floor where traders are buying and selling stocks in a frenzy during a stock market rally.  I chuckled, thinking things don’t work like that anymore with increased technology and market efficiencies in today’s stock market.  The days of frenzied brokers are a thing of the past, I thought!

Ironically, I found myself today inside the frenzied pit of a mortgage market rally as mortgage interest rates have plummeted below 5% for conforming 30 year fixed loans, below 4.5% for 15 year fixed loans, and 4.25% for 10 year fixed loans!  I’ve tried to be on the phone with as many clients as possible because, as with any market rally, you never know when it will stop and you don’t want your clients to miss the boat.  I was just like those crazed traders on the trading floor trying to get great deals for my clients before the deals are gone!

As the day winds down, rates have continued to remain incredibly low for qualified home owners and buyers.  Tomorrow has the potential to be an even better day with a very important unemployment report scheduled to be released.  If our country’s monthly unemployment report shows higher than expected unemployment numbers, mortgage rates may fall even more!!!  If you want to talk about your refinance options, please give me a call as soon as possible to discuss your options.  Or, please let your friends and family know that you heard from your awesome mortgage and real estate consultant for life that mortgage rates are low and they too should consider refinancing or buying.  Regardless, I appreciate you reading my memos.  Now, I’ve got to slip my colored jacket back on, dive into the pit, and get back to locking more low rates!

Waiting for the market to bottom out? You may be too late!

I’ve repeatedly been asked when I thought the Sacramento housing market would bottom out.  My answer was always the same: “The only way to see the bottom is to be past it.”

The latest home sale statistics show that the bottom of Sacramento’s housing market may be behind us.  The median home price in Sacramento County in August was $190,000.  Compared to February 2009’s reading at $167,000, that represents a 13.8% increase in Sac-town’s median home price.  The graph below shows how a trough in the median home price has developed over the last nine months.

The last 9 months show a trough starting to form on Sac-town's median home price
The last 9 months shows a trough developing

Market timing is more luck than skill.  For those waiting to time the bottom, you may be a few months late.  But, that doesn’t mean you’ve missed your chance at buying a home at an incredible value.  There are still 2,993 properties for sale in Sacramento for less than $190,000.  Opportunities still abound for those decisive enough to follow the facts

Study finds walkable neighborhoods command higher prices

A report done by CEOs for Cities concluded that walkable communities command higher prices for their homes.  Hopefully this and other studies will steer city planning across our country towards more mixed use, higher density development as opposed to segregatedly zoned suburban sprawl.

Curious about how your neighborhood ranks in walkability?  Go to www.walkscore.com. Very cool tool!

A Letter from Spencer

Hi There,

Matt has given me the honor of guest writing this month’s Matt’s Memos.  If you have been reading his Memos you probably know my name.  Matt has been sending his letters to all of my clients as well as his while I spent the last year battling cancer.  I had multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.  It was the fight of a lifetime and I almost lost.  However, I had a bone marrow transplant at Stanford last September and I am now cancer free.  The recovery from a bone marrow transplant has been rough but I am mostly back at work now. 

It was the experience of a lifetime.  My family and I had amazing support from our community.  That includes family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and my clients.  The support we received came in the form of many person-hours doing everything from preparing meals, babysitting, driving back and forth to Stanford, dental work, construction work, housecleaning, nursing, doctoring, financial planning, and most of all, prayer and good wishes.  My gratitude for this support is something that I have trouble expressing in a meaningful way.  The fact is that I can never repay all of the good karma sent my way, but I want to acknowledge it here.  Thank you!!  

Probably the biggest support I received was from Matt.  He worked double time to take care of my job duties and my clients while I was gone.  He also asked nothing in return for this.  Anyone that knows Matt knows he is a good guy, I am here to say that he is the kind of guy that would make huge sacrifices to take care of a friend.

It is said that every dark cloud has a silver lining.  For me, the silver is in discovering just how powerful a community of people from many different walks of life can rally to a cause and make a big difference.  That is a lesson that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.  It gives me hope that through all of the craziness of today’s world, that the goodness in all of us will prevail over the challenges. 

Philosophizing aside, I am now back at work and ready to face the next stage of my life; living life as a cancer survivor.  My experience has made me appreciate everything I have even more. Furthermore, I’ve made a commitment to Matt to help him take care of his clients whenever he has the need.  As a result you may be speaking with me from time to time if you are doing business with Matt. 

Another commitment that I have made is to live my life fairly openly so that others may learn from my experiences.  I have received a lot of positive feedback for my blog and how it has helped others understand what it is I went through.  I started it back before I got sick.  The entries follow the arc of my process and are often raw, sometimes profane and personal and they rarely have anything to do with business.  It is there for you to read or not.  I still put in new updates on a regular basis.  The address is http://www.puddinrider.blogspot.com.  Also, I am an avid Facebook user.  If you are too, please send me a friend request.   Of course if you want to chat, give me a call.

Best Wishes,
Friend of your Mortgage & Real Estate Consultant for Life
Spencer Rubin

Opt In to Opt Out

I attended an insightful seminar today on credit reporting procedures, and it reminded me about a valuable credit protection step everyone should take.  I commented on it as a guest blogger on another web site in April 2008.  It’s message is as important now as it was 16 months ago.  Be sure to read the blog and my comments, and follow through with www.optoutprescreen.com

Time Management

I recently went on a relaxing vacation with my wife.  But getting out of town was anything but relaxing.  I was at work at 4:30 AM the day before our trip to get things done; I was calling and emailing on the drive to the airport to calm client concerns.  Why was I so crazed leading up to a time of rest and relaxation.  Was it because I felt guilty about going on vacation?  Nope.  Was it because I wanted to make sure my clients were taken care of?  Sure, but I have an awesome team who’s capable of doing that in my absence.  Was it because of bad time management?  Absolutely!

Good time management is an essential part of life, especially with juggling multiple facets of life like jobs, kids, family, and vacations.  We all know this, but forgetting the obvious can be all too easy.  My friend Spencer once directed me to a great lecture on time management by Randy Pausch.  Mr. Pausch was a professor diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in 2006 and given 3 to 6 months of good health at the time. He also wrote a New-York Times best-seller called “The Last Lecture,” and passed away in July 2008.  His down-to-earth perspective is something everyone can connect with, and I would encourage you to either pick up his book or listen to his audio lectures.  Feeling a need for inspiration and improvement on time-management, I listened to the lecture almost immediately.

Time Management

The message had an instant positive impact on me.  I adopted little suggestions Randy made like having two computer screens at your workstation and removing the annoying envelope icon that pops up whenever a new email arrives.  These two things have vastly improved my daily time management at the office.  But, over time, I’ve lost the over-arching message: time is valuable, and you must “spend” it wisely.

Many of us are smart with our money.  We know where it goes, we have goals for it, and we spend it wisely.  We need to apply these same adages to our time.  Life is short and much too demanding to spend our time inefficiently.

We all need little reminders to improve our time management.  Like a preacher reads his Bible more than once, we too need to revisit important messages for our lives.  For me, I will start to make a point of returning to this lecture every so often to keep its meaning fresh.  If you too would like to watch Randy’s lecture on time-management, see it here or download it for free on iTunes.

Folsom Home Prices Remain Resilient

Over the last 12 months the Dow Jones Stock Index has fallen nearly 20%.  Considering how battered real estate has been relative to other parts of our economy, you’d think Folsom home prices haven’t fared much better.  But, in actuality, the Folsom median home price has remained essentially flat.  In June 2008, it was at $384,000, and in June 2009 it was $382,000.  It feels great to live in a community that has weathered the real estate down-turn better than others in our region.  Since real estate prices in the Sacramento region peaked in August of 2005, the median home price in Sacramento county has fallen 54%.  In Folsom, only 30%. Here is a history of median home prices since the market peak in August 2005

Also, here is a wonderful article that details how many home renters are becoming home owners as the difference between their old rent payment and new mortgage payment has become marginal.  Give it a read.

Buying is now cost-effective for some renters

Preach What You Practice

The old adage “practice what you preach” is sound advice.  Actions always speak louder than words, and no one wants to be preached to when those words are not backed up by supporting actions.  When wanting to teach or share wisdom with others, you must practice what you preach.

I was recently reminded, however, that when wanting to learn from yourself, you must also preach what you practice.  Last week I was invited to be a panelist to discuss referral marketing.  As a professional who has primarily built my business on referrals within a competitive industry and during a difficult market cycle, I was excited to share my insight.

In participating on the panel, “preaching” my practice reinforced to me the most important elements to my business.  I also realized there is room for improvement in my own business on the very things I was suggesting to others.  Simply put, sharing insight with others reminded me to follow my own advice.

We must make sure we’re listening to and applying our words to our own lives.  This is true not just with business practices, but also with our values, faith, and daily habits.  Yes, it can be easier to keep these things to ourselves and not “preach” to anyone, but in doing so we can skirt accountability from ourselves.  If you tend to be introverted with your “practices” (as I am), then challenge yourself to “preach” from time to time.  Don’t preach to be the revered or all-knowing preacher, but rather to encourage self-reflection and reinforcement of your own practices.

The most significant suggestions I gave as a panelist emphasized the importance of actively asking for referrals and regularly describing the impact referrals have on your business; I was preaching what I practice.  I realized, however, it has been some time since I’ve done that with my own clientele.  You surely know my business grows from your referrals, and for that I am incredibly grateful & fortunate.  Through your referrals I am able to focus on serving my clients rather than devoting resources to marketing and making new contacts.  I get to spend my time on you, and do a superior job as both a mortgage consultant and REALTOR. 

The real estate industry has changed dramatically, and it has become even more paramount for people to find a trustworthy, knowledgeable, and devoted consultant when wanting buy, sell, or finance a home.  The current market has also created a perfect storm for home buying and refinancing.  Interest rates below 6%, home prices at decade-low levels, and tax incentives for 1st time home buyers have made real estate a hot topic in our struggling economy.  You will surely have a conversation with someone in the near future that could benefit from my services.  I encourage you to pass along my contact info in order to help them receive trusted and comprehensive service, to help you so I can keep my focus on my valued clients, and to help me continue to follow my business plan of growing a referral-based business.

Thank you in advance for your referrals, and remember to occasionally preach what you practice in your life.