[schema type="organization" orgtype="LocalBusiness" url="http://4salebydonna.com" name="Real Estate Agent Donna Baker" description="Real Estate Agent showing homes for sale and available real estate in Monrovia, Pasadena, Arcadia the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California." city="Monrovia" state="Ca" postalcode="91016" email="donna@4salebydonna.com " phone="(626) 408-7766 "]

I know what a “shovel” looks like.

March 6, 2009

In the Fall of 1970 I got my first real job. My friend told me that a new department store was opening in my hometown. WT Grant Department Stores was opening store #1247 in Ridgecrest, California and they were hiring “everyone”. I quickly proved that to be true, as they hired this inexperienced High School Senior (notice how I capitalized that to give it some status, I think it worked on my job application at the time, too).

In any case I applied at 3 pm and was working by 5 pm. I was placed in the Home and Garden section of the store and while I felt a little lost and there were a lot of things I did not know, I tried to focus on what I did know. I was in a whole new world but at least I knew what a shovel looked like.

I think, in some ways, that is how a lot of us feel about the real estate and mortgage industry today. In many ways it is a whole new world. Some things look familiar but other things have been “moved to a different department” or are no longer offered for sale. To keep things in perspective (not always an easy task) I am trying to focus on what I do know. I know what an excited first time homebuyer looks like. I know what a concerned homeowner seeking solutions looks like. In finding those solutions, I know what a “shovel” looks like.

With that in mind, over the next several weeks, we are going to focus on some of the things we do know in the mortgage industry. In particular some of the facts coming out of the new economic stimulus package signed into law last month.

Shovel #1: There is up to an $8000 Tax Credit for First Time Home Buyers if a home is purchased before December 1st of this year. One of the unique features of this credit is that a buyer may have the option to apply this credit to either their 2008 or their 2009 tax return. According to the IRS “…this special feature can put money in their pockets right now rather than waiting another year to claim the tax credit.”

Shovel #2: More details of two new home loan refinancing programs were announced by the Obama administration this week. While all the details have not made it to the consumer yet, we do know this. The first program is designed to help homeowners who are current on their payments but cannot refinance because they do not have enough (or any) equity. The second is designed to help those homeowners behind on their mortgages. There are limits and guidelines to both programs, and not everyone will qualify. Some of the details of the programs are not in place yet but we will focus on how this will work over the next few weeks as the facts of these programs become reality.

I hope this news has been useful to you. If you would like to discuss these facts or any other mortgage or credit matter, just give me a call. In the mean time I look forward to speaking with you again next week.

All the Best!
BWA Mortgage

A few “good” things to keep in mind when obtaining a mortgage in today’s challenging environment

Donna Baker, monrovia real estate, city of monrovia, real estate agents 91016, buying a house, home sales,

My good mother taught me to be optimistic and make the best of your circumstances. I grew up in a rented home, with 8 siblings and 1 bathroom. We took our lunch to school each day. Even if there had been a free lunch program there was no way my dad would have allowed us to participate. Baloney Sandwiches, Moon Pies and Milk in a Thermos, life was good! Oh yea, we even recycled! You folded the lunch bag and brought it home with you in your back pocket to use the next day.

You had “good” pants you wore to school and “play pants” you put on when you got home. Those used to be your “good” pants but now they had patches on the knees with grass stains from a game-winning diving catch made in the end zone of your own “superbowl”. Our after school program was walking home with your friends.

Now, I don’t tell you this because I had it any better or worse than anyone else. Heck, most everyone I knew was in the exact same circumstances as we were and I had a great childhood!

So why am I sharing you with this today? I was thinking about our country’s difficult times. I was thinking about what makes this country so great and so resilient. It is the individuals and families of this great nation. Everyone who gets up each day and does what they need to do, that’s what makes us great! We don’t sit around and complain, (at least not for long), we get out and we do what needs to be done. We don’t run away from our troubles, we face them! Most of us do not control the big picture but we do control our actions in our daily lives and that is all we can do. Sometimes we do great things, mostly we just do good things.

With that in mind, here are a few facts. A few “good” things to keep in mind when obtaining a mortgage in today’s challenging environment:

Fact #1. It is important to keep things in perspective. Lenders are absolutely making home loans! Paperwork intensive but they are making lots of loans!

Fact #2. Be prepared and be patient. As I stated above, lenders are making loans but everyone, and I mean everyone, is documenting (and sometimes questioning) each and every aspect of each loan request and the process is taking longer than we are used to.

Fact #3. Don’t take it personally. Your 800 FICO score, your 30% down payment, your great employment status does make it easier to qualify but it does not make the process perfect.

Fact #4. Make it a team effort. We are all in this together and many are feeling the stress. I love the quote “First seek to understand, then be understood”. I need to do more of that.

Bottom line, Life is Good! The challenges in the world of mortgage lending continue. My personal opinion is that the challenges we face will continue for some time. While we cannot control the big picture we can control what we do, individually, to help get us back on our feet, where we all want and need to be. Call me if I can help and in the mean time, hang tough!

All the Best!

BWA Mortgage
La Canada Flintridge
Phone 818.952.2726


I made it through the Credit Crisis of 08 and all I have to show for it is…

Those who do not learn from the past are most certainly destine to repeat it. But, in a year as we just had, those who dwell on the past are often just as likely to be stuck there for much longer than they would like.

So, in lieu of t-shirts that say “I made it through the Credit Crisis of 08 and all I have to show for it is this stupid t-shirt?” we want to offer of the positive things we have to look forward to in the New Year!

Fact #1: Mortgage Rates are the lowest I have seen them in my 23 years of arranging home loans. 30 Year Fixed Rates can be had for as low as 4.875%+1.00 point in some cases.

Fact #2: Fannie Mae max loan limit is extended to $625,000 for Los Angeles County for 2009!

Fact #3: Jumbo loans markets are making noises about actually loosing up a bit.

Fact #4: Lenders are making loans! In fact, we closed 2008 having been able to fund and close every loan we said we could. Some were more difficult than others but we got them funded! We plan to keep that record going forward in 2009!

Fact #5: BWA Mortgage had no lay offs in 2008 & has increased staffing for 2009!

I look forward to helping keep you informed in what is very likely to be another year of changes and opportunities in the Real Estate and Credit Markets.



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