Yes You Should Refinance. But How?

With mortgage rates dropping like a brick, it’s becoming a no-brainer for us to refinance our home loan. Even though we just got a 30-year loan 2 years ago at 5.875%, we can get 30-year loans now for around 4.5% or lower. You might be in a similar situation. Rule of Thumb The rule of (more…)

Free “Avoiding Forclosure” DVD via NFCC

We received an email from Melissa Minkalis of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). They are offering a Free DVD about avoiding foreclosure.

I did not order the DVD or know much more about it. I did quickly verify that the NFCC is a legit organization and doesn’t seem to be simply harvesting contact info, etc.

(more info from the email we received after the fold)

We’re Buying a House

A BuildingSo Kim and I are in the process of buying a house. We’re going through a lot and learning tons of stuff that would be great to share with all of you.

Perhaps more importantly, there are a bunch of folks smarter than me who occasionally read this. So I’m hoping we can get some good advice here and there.

But to start I’ll just try to give a little background in this post before I get into some more specific topics later. For those who don’t know, I do web development with my wife Kim. We work for our own company Stranger Studios and work from home (our apartment right now). This is all going very well. Work is good. Making your own hours is great. Spending every minute of every day with the woman I love is truly incredible. I doubt most couples could do it, but Kim and I pull it off with style.

Life is good. Ok.

Because we work from home, we could live anywhere. And we’ve been conscious of this. We’ve considered a number of places to settle down for the next 5 years or so: Arizona, New Mexico, Mexico Proper, San Francisco, Napa, Oregon, Idaho. One fun game we had was to open up Google Maps and just zoom into a random spot on the map. We’d look for lakes, rivers, small towns, or anything else that looked interesting to live near.

What are the Best Online Resources for Beginning Real Estate Investors?

My father-in-law is nearing retirement and looking to get into some real estate plays to diversify his investments. I’ve already referred him to The Millionaire Maker: Act, Think, and Make Money the Way the Wealthy Do and Start Late, Finish Rich: A No-Fail Plan for Achieving Financial Freedom at Any Age (Finish Rich Book Series), (more…)

The Fall of the All Consuming Yankee

The consumer is tapped out. After consistent 25 basis point increases to the Federal Funds Rate, we are finally starting to see the effects on the stock market.

Yesterday morning we saw three headlines that caught my attention. The first detailed Sears’ guidance for this quarter – a reduction from $2.12 to from $1.06 to $1.32 per share. These revisions are, at best, a 30% reduction and, at worst, a 50% reduction from their previous optimistic estimates.

Notably, declines were across all categories. If you follow the theory that the consumer is on thin ice, then it is hardly surprising to find big ticket items are not being purchased. Sears is having trouble selling new stainless steel fridges and widescreen TVs because consumers do not feel confident about their financial situation. The only sector that wasn’t hit as hard was women’s apparel and footwear – suggesting stressed housewives may be engaging in retail therapy.

My Head Says One Thing, But My Gut Says Another Thing!

One of the things that I do to rationalize positions is take the opposite side and create my own debate. I often do this when my head says one thing, but my gut feeling is saying something else. So for this blog entry I am going to spill my guts and hope somebody wants to add their own two cents.

Ok, here is my problem that my gut keeps telling me, and its from from a comment Greenspan made.

Alan Greenspan said the housing downturn is more of a problem than credit quality and said the lending worries would be fixed if house prices rose 10 per cent.

Greenspan has been saying quite a few things lately with some things being that we may have a recession in the fall. I was reading in Business Week Greenspan is behaving the way he is because Bernake can’t tell the truth.

What Gives With Interest Only Being Better Version 2?

My original version of this blog entry has been deleted because I did find some errors in my spreadsheet. I saw them when I was explaining what I thought I had found while doing my calculations. The new calculations are not as I thought they were, but still some interesting things can be extracted from (more…)

Six Quick Book Reviews

I was going to write an individual post reviewing in depth each of the six books listed below. But since I’m a bad citizen and have given in to the fact that I will never find enough time to do so, I’m going to give a quick review for each of them here. So in the order I’ve read them…

Included are reviews of:

Invest to Win

On Saturday afternoon, a friend of mine called me and said “You don’t have to watch the Illinois game.” I said, “They lost right.” He said, “They were up 25-7 and the quarterback had 175 yards passing in the first half. He ended up with 190 yards passing for the game because they kept running the ball to milk the clock.” I said. “They were playing not to lose.”

I think all fans hate it when teams play not to lose. Every sports fan wants their team to continue pouring it on, go for the jugular, forget the prevent defense!

Cap Rates

What is a cap rate? A cap rate (or capitalization rate) is the net operating income divided by the price of a property. If you have a $100,000 property and its net operating income is $10,000 the cap rate for this property is 10%.

What does this mean to you? How have cap rates affected the current real estate boom?