Educating You - To Save You Money
Position Yourself For Success with Integrity Financial Services-Lakeland @ www.MinocquaMortgage.com
BLOG.MINOCQUAMORTGAGE.COM

WEN by Chaz Dean or not?

My hair is falling out by the hand fulls!
Two years ago I started  using WEN by Chaz Dean with wonderful results.
But now, the rest of the story.
Two years ago I had to complete two medical procedures. First a very difficult round of antibiotics for H-Pylori to cure the gut bacteria which causes cancer. That cure caused another problem, all those antibiotics left my system vulnerable to fungus, I got a toenail fungus. So second, I completed a round of dyflucan anti-fungal.
After these two procedures I noticed loads of wonderful improvements ...
<< MORE >>

GOOGLE Sold Your Data

Yes, GOOGLE sold your data last week to our government. Oh joy! Big Brother is getting too big for their britches! ... << MORE >>

Tax Strategies & Solutions

Tax Strategies & Solutions was the title of the webinar presentation I attended. I took notes and here is my synopsis. Some of this is really great and worth the time to investigate with your tax accountant.

You can re-do your taxes for the prior three years. You need to file a 1040X and can get the form at IRS.gov. Print 3 and re-do the last three years tax returns. Bonus, the IRS pays interest on back over payments you may have made.

Small Business: You have ... << MORE >>

Credit Optimization

This is not credit repair, it's secret ways to tweak your credit scores to an 800+ score.

First we have to understand how credit works. Your credit score is a living, breathing entity and you must know and follow the rules to win the credit score game.

Yes it is a game. We all know that your mortgage interest rate is based on your credit scores. You need a 740 - 760+ credit score to get the very best of the best these days. Only about two years ... << MORE >>

Expanded 1st Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

 Expanded First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Becomes Law

In the hopes of sustaining the real estate market's recent momentum, Uncle Sam has made more than two-thirds of current homeowners and nearly all first-time buyers eligible for thousands ...

<< MORE >>

Home Buyer Tax Credit Expanded

First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Extended, Move-Up Buyers Included

Congress recently extended the first-time home buyer tax credit (which was due to expire November 30, 2009) and expanded the opportunity to include qualified move-up home buyers, as well. Qualified first-time buyers are those who have not owned a principal residence in the three years prior to closing/settlement on the new home. Qualified long-time homeowners are those who have lived in their ...

<< MORE >>

Asset Protection - Land Trusts and Irrevocable Trusts

Protect Your Assets and Your Business
Shield Your Wealth - use Trusts, Corporations, and Other Entities

If there is any potential downside to becoming rich, it is asset protection. The more money you have, the bigger a potential target you become. Therefore, asset Protection may not sound so scary, or does it?

Scary, sure considering  nearly one out of every six jury awards in the U.S. exceeds $1 million. In some states, one out of every four jury awards exceeds $1 million. During the last five years, more than seven percent of all U.S. companies, both large and small, suffered a lawsuit costing them in excess of $5 million.

The good news is that although you may not be able to avoid being a target, you can avoid getting hit. Protect your assets by shielding your wealth through entities and other protections.

Asset Protection Basics

Successful people are not only interested in making money, but also in protecting it. You can have many streams of income, but if you aren't careful about how you develop and protect them, you could lose them, all. It's important to understand how to protect what you've worked so hard to get.

Realize that asset protection for someone who owns 20 hotels and 15 apartment buildings will be more significant than for someone who just has a beat-up car and an overdue credit card bill. So start thinking about asset protection today, even though you may not have any worries now. Here are two suggestions:

   1. Stop officially "owning" things. The more you own, the more likely it is that you will get sued. Research indicates that if you earn more than $100,000 a year, you have a one-in-four chance of being named in a lawsuit. If you earn at least $250,000 a year, you have a one-in-two chance of being named in a lawsuit. Learn how to take things out of your name so that you don't "own" them--one of your entities does.
   2. Get assets out of your name. The fact is, most wealthy people don't put possessions in their own names. If your business is real estate, you can buy property in a corporate name or in a trust name. You can set up a land trust or a true irrevocable trust. Buy and sell properties, own properties, and partner with people through trusts and corporations so your name won't be on the deed or title.

Entities that Offer Asset Protection

Several types of business entities exist that can serve your individual needs. Insurance is your first line of defense.  Most businesses in the United States operate through a corporation or partnership of some kind. These entities make you look more professional, allow you to run your business(es) with a level of asset protection, and can continue past your life if you choose.

There are two types of trusts for you to become familiar with are land trusts and irrevocable trusts.

Land Trust
Do you know that the worth of your home and the original amount of debt owed is on public record when your home is owned in your name? Anyone, including a plaintiff's attorney, can find out what it is, where it is, what it is worth, and what the approximate debt on it is. To be anonymous, many people take their properties out of their names and put them into a land trust. Then you don't own it; the land trust does.

This is an excellent way to hold real estate or "take title" to property. Investors, real estate companies, and corporations often form a land trust--a legal entity designed specifically to hold real estate. A trustee is named, and you are the beneficiary. But only the trustee's name appears in public records, not yours. You have liability protection because it is a separate entity--and best of all, you have anonymity.

The thing to remember about land trusts is that you control it and still get the tax advantages, even though it's not in your name. Trusts are also advised if you are wholesaling or lease-optioning houses. Put them in a land trust that you control.

Come back tomorrow for your lesson on irrevocable trusts.

As always, your questions and comments are encouraged. Contact us at www.minocquamortgage.com or marcia@minocquamortgage.com

Seller Disclosure Example

We often are asked about what sellers must disclose to buyers. Here is an answer to a recent question that may help you too.

Q: Does a seller have to
disclose that the owner passed away in the house? Or do they have to
disclose that the owner passed away, even if it was in a hospital? The
relatives are selling the property. - R. D.



A: Disclosure requirements vary from state to state. Check
with a local Realtor to find out what is required in your area. If
someone dies of natural causes on the property, you may be required to
disclose that fact. Some people simply ...<< MORE >>

Lender Fraud Example

DEAR BERNICE: My husband and I would like to purchase an investment property in the suburbs where we grew up. We are currently renting a great loft condo downtown and love the city lifestyle. Our mortgage broker is telling us that if we do not occupy the property, we will have to pay a much higher interest rate. Can't we tell the lender that we're going to move into the property and then change our minds and rent the house instead? How's the lender going to know? --Michelle B.

DEAR MICHELLE: The answer to your question is that "yes," you could ...<< MORE >>

WARNING! Cash For Clunkers "Fine Print"

WARNING - READ ALL THE FINE PRINT BEFORE YOU AGREE.

CAUTION...CAUTION...CAUTION!

PLEASE DO NOT LOG ON TO THE "CASH FOR CLUNKERS" WEBSITE. WHY?

ALERT COMING DOWN THE PIPELINE - WARNING
 
WHEN YOU LOG INTO THE "GOVERNMENT'S CASH FOR CLUNKERS" WEBSITE YOU ARE REQUIRED TO CHECK THE "I AGREE" BOX BEFORE YOU CAN CONTINUE TO FIND OUT WHAT YOUR CLUNKER CREDIT WILL BE. 

WHEN YOU "AGREE" YOU ARE AUTHORIZING THE GOVERNMENT TO TRACK EVERY MOVE YOU MAKE ONLINE - FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!

THIS "AGREEMENT" AUTHORIZES THE GOVERNMENT TO TAKE ALL YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION OFF YOUR COMPUTER, EASE DROP ON SKYPE CALLS, ...<< MORE >>

Bad Appraisals Hurt Qualified Buyers

“The increase in existing-home sales occurred in all major regions of the country,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, who compile the data. He said sales should continue upwards “due to tax credit incentives and historically high affordability conditions.”


Key Data:


Single-family home sales rose 2.4% to a pace of 4.32 million in June. That's 0.2% below June 2008 levels.
The national average for a 30-year mortgage rose to 5.42% in June from 4.86% in May. In June 2008 the 30-year rate was 6.32%.
Total housing inventory June fell 0.7% in June to 3.82 ...<< MORE >>

Bad Appraisers Still Work in Industry

According to an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, one in six appraisers whose licenses were revoked or surrendered in California and Florida since 2005 kept their real estate sales or broker's licenses. The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit digital news organization that conducts research and produces investigative stories on public policy issues.

Some appraisers who lost their licenses also took positions in appraisal management companies. 

The ability of former appraisers to make the switch to real estate sales -- or continue in management positions in the appraisal industry -- is the result of fragmented state bureaucracies, divided regulation of the real estate industry, and poor communication between regulators, the center concluded in reporting its findings.

For example, the California Office of Real Estate Appraisers has responsibility over more than 16,000 licensed appraisers, but its computer systems are not linked up with the California Department of Real Estate, which licenses real estate brokers and agents.

In Florida, the Division of Real Estate oversees boards that regulate real estate agents and appraisers. All revoked appraisal license cases are reported to the Florida Real Estate Commission, which has the authority to revoke real estate licenses, the report said. But nine of the 54 appraisers who lost their appraisal licenses in Florida since 2005 kept their real estate broker or sales licenses.

Hundreds of former appraisers may be working in the real estate industry nationwide, the report concluded, but determining the exact number is difficult because regulation is so fragmented.

The report, "Rebuked Appraisers Reborn as Real Estate Agents," is part of the Center's Land Use Accountability Project, which examines how local land use decisions are made and the consequences of those decisions for issues like sprawl.

In a previous report, "The Appraisal Bubble," the center detailed the role of appraisals in the housing boom, obtaining copies of blacklists that lenders allegedly used during the housing boom to boycott thousands of appraisers who refused to inflate home values.

The Home Valuation Code of Conduct, which took effect on May 1st  for loans slated for purchase or guarantee by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, was an attempt to insulate appraisers from coercion by lenders.

But critics say it has resulted in a shift of appraisal work to appraisal management companies -- some of them subsidiaries of lenders -- who may employ inexperienced appraisers.

Industry groups including the National Association of Realtors say the code, while well intentioned, is derailing sales because properties may be undervalued when inexperienced appraisers cite distressed properties as comparable sales.

Appraisers say market conditions, not faulty appraisals, are more often to blame when valuations don't support an agreed-upon sales price.

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation that includes provisions that would allow states to regulate appraisal management companies and disqualify appraisers who lose their licenses from taking high-level positions in the companies.

The bill, HR 1728, the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2009, passed the House May 7 in a 300-114 vote.

But it contains many controversial provisions that are likely to be subject to debate in the Senate, where it has been referred to the Committee on Banking. Citing industry sources, the Center for Public Integrity said a Senate vote on HR 1728 is expected by October.

The bill, which is aimed at taking away incentives for mortgage brokers to put borrowers in risky loans while requiring lenders to retain some of the risk involved in the loans they make, could hurt consumers by constricting mortgage lending, industry critics say.

As amended by the House, HR 1728 would also delay by one year implementation of changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), including the introduction of standardized mortgage loan disclosure forms that are scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.

Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan says he remains committed to implementing the RESPA changes, saying they will save consumers an average of $700 per loan by helping them shop around for the best deal.

Another pending bill, HR 3044, would suspend implementation of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct for 18 months. The bill, introduced June 25 and referred to the House Committee on Financial Services, now has 30 co-sponsors.

As a past Real Estate Broker and Certified Residential Appraiser agree when a license is revoked the licensee should refrain from conducting business in the industry. The few unscrupulous always ruin it for the majority.

Stay tuned for further updates on this and other industry issues. We encourage questions and comments. Contact us at www.minocquamortgage.com or marcia@minocquamortgage.com

Google Knows You - says Watchdog

Provided below is an article I received from a reliable source and I have "repackaged" it for you to read. Here is the link to the actual article if you want to read more - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/08/consumer-watchdog-takes-o_n_228232.html

CommentsConsumer Watchdog -- which, as the name implies is a consumer watchdog organization -- is raising alarms over privacy concerns that have been brought to the fore as online search company Google engages in wheeling and dealing before the House Communications and Consumer Protection Subcommittee.

At issue is legislation that might affect Google's practice of "behavioral advertising," the process by which Google serves ads to users based upon personal information gleaned from individual users' browsing habits, which many deem invasive. Potentially, lawmakers could inhibit Google's ambitions in this area by making it possible for users to opt out of Google's meticulous tracking. Worse for the online giant is the possibility that users will have to opt in in order to be tracked in the first place. At the very least, Google might find itself subjected to a "Do Not Google" list, similar to the "Do Not Call" lists that have been applied to the telemarketing industry.

The question has grown more urgent with Google's announcement that it will release a new operating system that moves currently computer-based functions to its proprietary Internet "cloud". Congress is considering forcing Google to adopt an opt-in model where users must actively allow Google to collect browsing history and user data.

"The Justice Department should be worried when Google tries to obfuscate its data tracking capacity and reach rather than disclose all of it," said Judy Dugan, research director of Consumer Watchdog. "Congress should demand that Google stop tracking Americans' online behavior without their prior permission."

Google's new operating system could also comb users' stored documents for information on those "interest categories." The depth of this potential data collection is not mentioned in the Google spin document. ...Instead, it boasts repeatedly of Google's commitment to transparency and "user friendliness" in delivering the lucrative advertising.

Consumer Watchdog spoksperson was explicit in his concerns: "No one knows more about Americans than Google...The FBI doesn't know as much about us as Google. That has to worry Congress as much as it should worry Americans as they learn about it." Regarding the proposed operating system, "People just don't get it that your documents are at Google, not on your computer," making those items subject to the same processes that power Google's "behavioral advertising."

To emphasize their point, Consumer Watchdog has obtained a confidential "spin document," thanks to "an anonymous industry insider who has previously provided other Google spin documents." In the first place, yes: "Confidential" "spin documents" on transparency and privacy are awesome monuments to irony. And the document in question, Consumer Watchdog believes, is "associated with a June 18 Congressional hearing that questioned online "behavioral advertising." What makes this better however, is that Consumer Watchdog has done their own "satirical annotation" of this "spin document." And the annotated document is full of fun Google facts, like the byzantine click odyssey one must go on to opt out of being served Google Ads! And the four hours of videos you need to watch to get briefed on privacy!

Story continues below  But the important part of the satiric annotation are the questions for lawmakers that are helpfully provided:

1. Why isn't Google's behavioral advertising opt-in rather than opt-out?

2. Why not prominently include a link allowing users to permanently opt-out of Google tracking?

3. 2008: Google says it has no plans to use behavioral advertising... [that] it doesn't work. What changed?

4. Is Google's behavioral advertising really about delivering more interesting ads or is it about expanding its data collection and targeting activities?

We look forward to hearing your comments on this very debatable topic. Contact us at www.minocquamortgage.com or marcia@minocquamortgage.com


Google Knows You Better Than Your Husband

Google knows more about you than your WIFE
My tech-savvy next door neighbor Elizabeth sent me an article about Consumer Watchdog who is deeply concerned that "Google knows more about you than the FBI."


Google knows every mental itch you've ever tried to scratch in the last 5 years. Heck yeah baby…


Dude, Google knows more about you than your WIFE.


"The Justice Department should be worried when Google tries to obfuscate its data tracking capacity and reach rather than disclose all of it," said Judy Dugan, research director of Consumer Watchdog. "Congress should demand that Google stop tracking Americans' online ...<< MORE >>

More Loan Application Changes

Mortgage Disclosure Improvement Act of 2008 (MDIA)


 On July 30, 2009, some of the provisions in the final rule for revisions to the Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA) become effective. The requirements that become effective for all loan applications received on or after July 30, 2009 are detailed below. These requirements are not applicable to Home Equity Lines of Credit. Additionally, MDIA requires additional language for adjustable-rate loans; however, this provision is still forthcoming by the Federal Reserve.


 Application of the TILA Requirements – TILA disclosure requirements will apply to any closed-end extension of credit secured by real estate regardless of occupancy.

...<< MORE >>

Twitter for Business

How powerful would it be if, as a real estate professional, you could tell when someone looking to purchase a home and was unsatisfied with their current broker? Or if another person is questioning something about the mortgage interest rate they got from the broker they are currently with? Or what if you could tell when someone was interested in moving to your city? All of this type of information is invaluable to any R.E. professional. These are hot hot hot leads, people that need your help right now. Well these same people are putting this information right out there on the internet for anyone to see; you just have to know where to look.

I will be the first to admit; at first I thought Twitter was stupid. In fact, I am still not 100% sold on it. I have found ways to make it work for me for my business, but why hundreds of thousands of people use it every day to announce to the world what they are doing really doesn't make sense to me. However, if people want to tell the world they need the service I provide and I know how to find them, then that is a positive thing for your business. So without much further adieu; I introduce to you Tweet Grid.

There are multiple social search engines designed to search your various social networking sites that can in some form or another yield similar results as Tweet Grid. However, Tweet Grid does not function like a normal search engine, other than the fact that you don't need to setup any kind of an account to use it and it is free. It is (as the name suggests) a grid where you can type in multiple search phrases and the results are fed in to the grid in real time. In other words, you don't search for one thing, see your results, and then search for another thing (refreshing the page), see your results, and so on. With Tweet Grid you can have up to 9 searches happening simultaneously - in real time. So as someone tweets the question "am I being taken by my broker?", you can be one of the very first people to see it - and respond to them. Take a look at the Tweet Grid. Type in your key phrases and search for results.

At the time I was writing this blog post, there was:

1) Someone thinking about buying another house as a rental - maybe they a real estate broker and need financing.
2) 3 people are house hunting in my home town - maybe they need a broker and financing as well.
3) 11 days before the scheduled closing someone is getting some bad vibes from their mortgage company - maybe they could use a second opinion, you may not win the business this time since it is so close to closing, but you could use this opportunity to earn their trust, then maybe add them to your mortgage marketing campaign and be there to earn their business next time.
 
Someone who thinks they are being taken by their broker because they are now being told of "changes" for whatever reason, you can come in with honest information and educate this prospect and I bet the business is yours.

I may not be a big fan of the concept of Twitter; but as a business owner I know that if people want to talk about needing my services then I certainly need to listen.

Comments and questions encouraged. Contact us at www.minocquamortgage.com or marcia@minocquamortgage.com

 

New Appraisal Guidelines

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is pleased with one underwriting guideline adjustment made last week by government sponsored enterprise, Freddie Mac.


Freddie Mac's Bulletin 2009-18 announced several changes to the GSE's underwriting guidelines.  The changes deal mainly with the documentation required for income and asset verification, make "condominium hotel" loans ineligible for purchase, and eliminated Form 70A, Energy Addendum as a required attachment to appraisals.


More notably, Freddie Mac made several "Best Practices" recommendations for selecting appraisers and reviewing their products.  One of these contained the statement that Freddie does not require appraisers to use Real Estate ...<< MORE >>

More Good Websites to Try

I have been collecting more great websites for you to try. Check these out.

www.Lifehacker.com  - get tools for virus prevention, recover data on your hard drive, etc.
www.Daytipper.com - solve householde issues
www.BillShrink.com - guess
www.healthmanager.mayoclinic.gov - medical information
www.Geezeo.com - boost your business
www.visualcv.com - visual resume
www.AAD.org - free skin cancer screening
www.missingmoney.com - find some for me too, search businesses, and misspelled names.
www.pocketsmith.com - stocks
www.rentbits.com - real property
www.covestor.com - you can play with stocks using fake money
www.NAPFA.org - list of Fee Based Financial Planners, the only kind to hire
www.Billie.com - buy ...<< MORE >>

Protect Your Auto's "VIN" Number

VIN CLONING - What's next?

Couldn't believe my ears when I heard this one. The crooks are more creative all the time and this one takes the prize.

Seems the car jacker now steel the whole car, it's faster and easier than piece by piece black market sales. So what's the twist?

Lets say the thief steels your new, black, Cadillac SUV. The twist - he also steels a "VIN" number from another car, exactly like the stolen SUV. Next he "clones" the stolen VIN number into the stolen car. Now the stolen car is ready for resale. These vehicles are showing ...<< MORE >>

There's an APP for that!

Do you travel Smart?

Mobile applications for smartphones promise instant travel help, they're cheap (or Free) and some "apps" actually live up to their hype. Whether you are traveling to the Lakeland area or out of the country, check these "apps" out.

Getting Oriented Anywhere
Based on your location, the Wikitude AR Travel Guide (G1, $1) shows nearby landmarks and popular attractions plotted on a map. Touch a spot on the screen such as a museum, a bridge, a skyscraper, to read a Wikipedia entry about it or to view user-shared Panoramio photos of the attraction.

When You're Tired and ...<< MORE >>
Blog Software