The Federal Housing Administration offers a great mortgage product for those of you that don’t have much of a down payment for a house. It’s also good for those that need to live in a more expensive area, but don’t have a 10% down payment given the home prices in the area. Conventional loan lenders have tightened up quite a bit, especially in states such as Florida, Nevada, California, New York, and Arizona that boast a huge foreclosure rate. Bank of America won’t consider anyone for a loan in Florida without a 10% down payment, because they aren’t willing to take a risk on young buyers. Not having a huge down payment doesn’t always mean that you can’t afford a mortgage. The FHA has slightly more lenient underwriting guidelines, because they believe in the American Dream, and they realize that there are still many potential homeowners looking to buy with a solid financial picture.
It’s too early to tell, and I don’t want to jump the gun the way that the media jumped the gun about saying we’re in a recession. They love to play off of our fears, and they rarely have anything POSITIVE to report. Here are a few things that are going on which show traces of improvement in the economy and the private sector itself.
I hope you enjoyed the auto-themed posts by my buddy, Tim. He did a great job, and he even threw in a video post in there. Nice job, Tim! If you enjoyed his posts, be sure to contact me with your feedback. I took my wife on a vacation to Cancun, Mexico for our 3rd anniversary. We didn’t do much for our first two anniversaries, so I thought that a trip was in order. We went to Cancun for our honeymoon, and we loved the hotels and the water. There’s so much to do in Cancun that we still didn’t do everything we wanted to on our second trip there. Naturally, we were on a budget, and we make sure that we get the best deals for our money. Here are three different ways that we saved money while in Cancun.
By Money Crashers
I end my three part post party with a reality check. If you were wondering if the end times were upon us, the following should set you straight:
GasforFree.com is your answer to rising pump prices, and will also visually pollute commutes across America. And though I may sound like I am above putting graphics on my car for gas money, I’m not. I scoured this site for information in the hopes of never having to pay for gas as long as my black/gold paint job holds the vinyl stickers on my Saturn.
In between the car commercials that now label each vehicle’s fuel rating, Chevron is running a new ad as a public service to the gas conscious consumer.
Eventually Chevron will be using ten tips for gas conservation, though currently only one commercial is airing.
The tip: Slow Down
Apparently, driving 55 mph instead of the posted 65 mph can increase your fuel economy by as much as 20 percent. Do that and I will shake my fist at you as I cut you off. From this point on I will refrain from sarcasm for the rest of this post. Promise.
The unusually loud portions of my TV watching have had me thinking: Why does every car commercial boast about mediocre gas mileage? My current ride, a ’96 Saturn, is getting better gas mileage than 99% of those in its class. In fact, I did a little research on MPGs using fuel efficiency reports on fueleconomy.gov and I found that there were more models in production in the 90’s with better gas mileage than produced in 2008. Sure the years of Geo Metros are over, partly because we don’t want to die in a fender bender, but this is the new millennium. Shouldn’t our fuel economy reflect the advancements made in transportation technology?
By Erik Folgate
Sometimes, I have a hard time thinking of a good charity to donate money. I know there are plenty good ones out there, but I also know there are plenty out there that don’t use the money the way that they should. I’m opening up the floor to you all to enlighten me with your favorite charities?
By Erik Folgate
If your finances are heading in the wrong direction, you should be able to tell. Free Money Finance has five signs that you’re living beyond your means. The first step to becoming financially fit is recognizing that you need to change your financial habits. If you’re oblivious to the fact that you need financial help, then read those five signs. If more than one of them applies to you, then you need help.
The good news is that you’re never too far gone to change your financial position. The bad news is that it takes hard work and sacrifice to change your financial situation. You will need to:
By Erik Folgate
Here is the article from the AP, via Yahoo Finance about the House sailing through a bill to bail out homeowners and the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac institutions.
I love how Yahoo Finance titles it a “rescue” when it should be called a “bail out”. Rescue makes it sound like Congress is doing such a great, noble thing. I know that I sound negative about this, and for some families, it will help them out. There were some families who were truly tricked into a mortgage that they didn’t understand. There were others that knew exactly what they were doing, but the power of greed took over and they moved up in house by taking advantage of creative financing. Then, there’s the mortgage lenders who knew exactly what they were doing the whole time. They’ve been in the business for a long time. They knew these people couldn’t afford the houses they were financing, but they still extended the credit.
By Erik Folgate
Some of you will go through your entire life being in debt. You’ll always pick up a car loan, always carry credit card debt, and you’ll always move up in house. My challenge to you is stop the debt cycle in your life. Stop the cycle of always being in debt. If you need some convincing, here are 50 reasons why you should get out of debt as quickly as possible.
This is a good sign, because investors are starting to realize that now is the time to buy domestic stocks. The quasi-recession will be short-lived, and buying domestic stocks at a discount is how you become wealthy. Emerging Markets, European Markets, and the Gold market exchange-traded funds were the hardest hit for investors pulling out their money. These are trendy funds. This means that short-term investors are speculating a fourth-quarter rally for the U.S. economy. I think they’re right.
By Erik Folgate
The real estate market is down. We all know that. Since real estate agents have been dying to make a sale, they’re now pitching the slogan that it’s a “buyer’s market” right now. They’re right, you can find great deals right now on newer construction and properties in pre-foreclosure. We have been looking around for houses in the Orlando, Florida area. This area was hit very hard by the housing downturn. Every other property is either in pre-foreclosure, bank-owned, or a short-sale. We found a few properties that we love. They tastefully renovated, but it appears that speculators weren’t able to flip the property quick enough. Now, they are desperate to sell, and we’re wondering how desperate.
I read an article in the latest Kiplinger’s magazine today about military families getting ripped off by companies such as First Command Financial and American Amicable Life Insurance. These people are serving our country by laying their life on the line for our freedom, and there are scum-of-the-earth companies out there trying to take advantage of their steady paycheck. And it’s not like our military is making a killing, which is a whole other story in itself. The fact that they get paid peanuts for the work they perform every day, is criminal in itself. If you’ve served in the military and you are on leave or were recently discharged, watch out for the vultures that love to surround the military bases.