Archive for February, 2010

An Afternoon Cup of Inspiration (Feb. 26, 2010)

morning cup of inspiration

Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.

-Margaret Lee Runbeck


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Short Sales at Highest Peak in January

short sale sign and agent


Short sales jumped to 15.9 percent of home purchase transactions last month, according to a monthly survey by Washington, D.C.-based business research firm Campbell Surveys and mortgage industry publication Inside Mortgage Finance.

That’s the highest percentage of short sales since the survey first launched in July of last year, when short sales made up 12.5 percent of transactions. Before January, the peak had been 15.1 percent in October. That figure fell to 12.6 percent in November and rose to 13.7 percent in December.

“Short-sales activity took a temporary dip in November around the expected expiration of the first-time homebuyer tax credit,” said Thomas Popik, the survey’s research director, in a release.

“Few first-time homebuyers wanted to take the chance that their short-sale transaction wouldn’t be approved by the Nov. 30 deadline. But now that the tax credit has been extended, we see first-time homebuyers once again snapping up attractively priced short sales.”

Because mortgage lenders often take several months to approve a short sale, such transactions are most attractive to first-time homebuyers who don’t need to also sell a current home in a given time period, the release said.

The release also outlined possible reasons why short sales might be more palatable than REO transactions.

“Short sales typically result in lower lender losses and houses left in more saleable condition. Moreover, borrowers that agree to a short sale can often buy another house with mortgage financing after only two years. For borrowers going though the foreclosure process, mortgage financing can be unavailable for a period of five to seven years.”

Source: Inman News

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Give Kids the Edge on Money: Igniting their Entrepreneurial Spirit

kids and managing money with the entrepreneurial spirit

  • The average high-school student thinks they will make $145,000 a year.
  • Only 34 percent of teens understand credit card fees.
  • The bankruptcy rate among 18- to 24-year-olds has increased by 96 percent over the last 10 years.

Shocking! You probably agree that we need to start teaching our kids about money. Why don’t parents teach this important subject to their kids? Could it be that they don’t want their children to know that they, too, are in financial trouble?

In this changing economic environment, it’s critical that we teach our children not only how to handle their money, but how to earn it and what the benefits of being an entrepreneur are. Teaching kids financial responsibility takes practice, but it can also be fun.

Here are ideas that can help ensure that your children become money masters, not slaves.

Have Your Kids Pay Your Bills
Our kids are with us when we spend our money—“Just charge it, Mom!”—but they are not typically with us when we are earning our money or paying the bills. Involving your kids in paying the bills is a great first step to helping them understand the living expenses we face each month and how credit cards work and their role in our lives.

Turn a Simple Trip to the Store into a Business Road Trip
The next time you are at a store or fast-food restaurant, start a conversation about all the ways the business makes money and what their expenses are. This is a great way to create a fun dialogue about what is involved in a business, from advertising to paying employees, as well as the phone and electric bills.

Let Them Work and Create for Things They Want
So often, parents just give their kids what they want. Next time they ask for something, have them write out their goal, post it around the house and discuss ways they can earn extra money to achieve that goal. Have them create a business concept for the item they want. This will ignite their entrepreneurial thinking. Ask them to think of who might help them achieve their goal, like a local business owner. You will be amazed at how creative your kids become. For instance, they may want to sell lemonade or make cookies to sell at a local store. Loan them money to buy supplies for what they want to sell, as well as flyers or signage to advertise their business, on the premise that they will pay you back from their earnings. This will show them the real process involved in starting a business. It also gives them a goal to work toward. (Want some help? Check out my step-by-step YOUTHpreneur BIZ Kit that will help you walk your child through the process.) Make sure you celebrate with them when they reach their goal! It is an incredible self-esteem builder.

Volunteer with Your Kids and Teach the Importance of Giving Back
True understanding of money often comes from helping people around you. Your children will become more aware of what they have and more thankful when they are able to help those less fortunate.

Sharon LechterSource:  Sharon Lechter –  c
o-author of the best-selling books Three Feet from Gold and Rich Dad Poor Dad. As a member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Financial Literacy Commission and the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, Sharon is dedicated to improving financial literacy across the nation. Visit to learn more about Pay Your Family First, an organization Sharon founded to teach children about money.

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Help! Fix my credit! (Video)

Backyard Wealth Video on credit repair

Click the screen above to watch the video.

One of the most common requests we’ve been receiving recently is about fixing or repairing credit scores.

We can help.  Go to for more information.

Check out more helpful videos.  Visit the Backyard Wealth Channel.

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Hump Wednesday Funnies

real estate cartoon

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Best to Buy Before New FHA Guidelines

house for sale sold

Starting in early summer, the Federal Housing Administration is tightening lending standards in an effort to bolster its dwindling reserves. The new lending standards will make it tougher for some prospective buyers to purchase a home by requiring a higher down payment than the typical 3.5 percent for some borrowers, higher insurance premiums and reduced seller concessions.

Securing FHA-insured mortgages are attractive to borrowers because down payments are only 3.5 percent. Most conventional loans now require 20 percent down, keeping many creditworthy borrowers on the sidelines.

New Guidelines

The new rules — which are temporary and take effect this summer — come after more than a year of stringent standards from lenders.

Among them:

Better Credit Score — New borrowers will have to have a minimum credit score of 580 to qualify for a 3.5 percent down payment. Previously, there was no minimum score. Those with lower scores will have to make at least a 10 percent down payment. The average credit score of FHA-insured borrowers is 693.

Higher Insurance Premiums — Buyers who get an FHA-insured loan will soon have to pay a higher initial insurance premium. The new premium will be 2.25 percent of the value of total loan amount, up from 1.75 percent now. A $100,000 mortgage would require a payment of $2,250, or $500 more. But buyers can roll the added cost into the loan amount.

Reduction in Seller Concessions — Starting this summer, sellers will not be able to offer as much help to buyers to pay their closing costs. The maximum amount of assistance will drop to 3 percent of the value of the property, from the current 6 percent.

Source:  Octavio Nuiry (

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A Morning Cup of Inspiration (Feb. 12, 2010)

morning cup of inspiration

Life is not measured by the number of

breaths we take,

but by the moments that take our breath away.

– Original Author Unknown

Inspiration and Success

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