Independence Day – 2019

EXP Realty of California Inc.Chuck Barberini Real Estate

 On our nations Independence Day, remember why we celebrate. Despite the constant attacks on the United States, we are the greatest country ever created. Brave men and women have in the past and continue to fight for our way of life. We, as citizens have been entrusted to fight daily, to hold on to the legacy that was handed to us by our forefathers all the way back to our nation’s fathers. People smarter than I, with an awful lot to lose put their lives on the line because they knew that a government for the people was far better than the ruling class that they left behind. They warned us about government intervention and what would happen when the government has too much power.

The founding fathers believed in a limited government and that is why they believed that they needed a constitution and that it needed to be written. If the constitution is written, all the citizens would know the limitations of the government and that they could prevent the government from exceeding their limitations.

Contrast that to what is happening today, and could we be living in the world that our founding fathers warned us about? Open boarders, Socialism, large government, free health care for all, race baiting, erasing the past, reparations?

These are the very things that our founding fathers fought against and for some reason we are living in these times where common sense is shunned and ostracized.  Is it any wonder, since civics is no longer taught in schools, that kids don’t even know anything about WW2 or what it was about much less the Civil War or Revolutionary War?

Taxation without representation? What is socialism? Although we are a Democratic Republic, I keep thinking back to a quote that I wrote down years ago that was said by a Scotsman named Alexander Fraser Tyler over 200 years ago, he said; “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. … will endure until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.”

My challenge this Independence Day is to spread the word, teach our young and to fight for common sense and to save our great nation, because it is worth fighting for.

God Bless America

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors,

and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army;

another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or

hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes,

and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. 

Eleven were merchants, 

nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, 

but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured. 

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family 

was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. 

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It’s not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: freedom is never free!

I hope you will show your support by sending this to as many people as you can, please. It’s time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball games.

#ChuckBarberiniRealEstate

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  8. Captain Charlie

DIY Doesn’t Mean Doing It All Yourself

EXP Realty of California Inc.Chuck Barberini Real Estate

How handy would you say you are? Can you fix a leaking faucet or install a new backsplash? Do you own all the drills, power saws and sanders used by the pros?

It can be tempting to DIY it all — especially if you’re on a budget. After all, you can have an active role in improving your home, and save cash to put toward other things. Why wouldn’t you want to?

The truth is not all projects are suited for a DIYer — no matter how much of a shiplap expert you might be. 

If you’re considering a few renovations, here’s when to put on your toolbelt and when you might want to call a pro: 

In the Kitchen: You can probably replace a sink, reface your cabinets or install a new dishwasher. 

Want to move the sink or add recessed lighting? You’ll want a pro.

In the Bathroom: Installing new floor tiles, upgrading your toilet seat or changing your showerhead are all tasks you can do. 

If you want in-floor radiant heating or to install a tub where there isn’t one, bring in a pro.

On the Exterior: Looking for more curb appeal with a new garden bed and a fresh coat of paint on your front door? Have at it. 

Substantial upgrades like installing a skylight, repairing your roof or repaving your driveway are better suited for a professional.

Structural Changes: If you’re super handy, you can probably install drywall or relocate a door. 

But if you’re changing an area that’s load-bearing? Definitely call a pro.

Remember, DIY doesn’t mean doing everything yourself. You’ll want to hire a professional for anything that requires specialized knowledge. There’s no shame in asking for help from an expert. 

Want to discuss what home renovations might improve your property’s value? Get in touch today.

#ChuckBarberiniRealEstate

Helpful Links:

  1. Today’s Mortgage Rates
  2. EXP Realty – The Agent Owned – Cloud Based Company
  3. Probate Property Specialist
  4. Search for Homes
  5. Tax Deferred System
  6. Real Estate 4 Life
  7. Property Management
  8. Captain Charlie

May 27th – Memorial Day 2019

Remember, it once was and still is worth fighting for. God Bless America.

May 27th – Memorial Day 2019 is more than just the kickoff to summer or a day off work. Take a minute say a prayer and give thanks to those that fought and died so that we can live in the greatest country ever created. Although we are going through some changes and tough times and many have forgotten who we are and what we stand for, The United States of America was once worth fighting for and I believe that it still is. For those that fought and died for our great nation, take a minute to give thanks.

Greater Love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Did you know? Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

Do You Know the Difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?


Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2019 occurs on Monday, May 27. 

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

Early Observances of Memorial Day

The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.

By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day.

Waterloo—which first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.

Decoration Day

On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed.

The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.

History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

Memorial Day Traditions

Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C.

Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. Some people wear a red poppy in remembrance of those fallen in war—a tradition that began with a World War I poem. On a less somber note, many people take weekend trips or throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because it unofficially marks the beginning of summer.

“In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Article Title

Memorial Day

Author

History.com Editors

URL

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history

I wrote the top paragraph and I took the rest off of a couple of History.com articles… Good stuff I was feeling extremely patriotic today and wanted to get something out to share. I made a donation yesterday to the Vets and picked up a poppy… I feel horrible that civics is no longer taught in school and that young people these days want big government and socialism… What the heck? That is what our great heroes fought for and against. I believe that there are enough good people and that the pendulum will swing and people will come back to what made us great and why our heroes left their homes and put their lives on the line in a foreign soil… How about the men who gave up everything to become outlaws and kick England the heck out of here. They didn’t want big government… The fought to be free men. Remember, it once was and still is worth fighting for. God Bless America.

#GodBlessAmerica

#ChuckBarberiniRealEstate

Hire an Agent – Chuck Barberini Real Estate

EXP Real Estate – BR Real Estate Group – Chuck Barberini Real Estate

https://www.barberinico.com/

Building your house? How an agent can help.

Hire an Agent When Building a House

Many homebuyers think they don’t need to hire an agent when building a new home. After all, you’re buying directly from the builder and they already have contractors, lenders and inspectors. Why should someone else be brought into the mix?

The truth is, buying any home without an agent can be a costly mistake. It can mean paying more than you should, missed opportunities for upgrades, contract errors that aren’t in your favor or a delayed closing.

Thinking of buying a new construction home? Here are three reasons to have an agent on your side before visiting the sales office:

  1. Expert Negotiation:While their advertising would have you believe otherwise, builder’s prices aren’t always set in stone. Agents are skilled negotiators who can likely get the price dropped slightly or have a few upgrades thrown in.
  2. Preferred Vendors:Your builder might have an affiliate mortgage lender or title company, but chances are they aren’t going to offer the best deal. It’s important to shop around, and what’s better than a vendor your agent already knows and trusts?
  3. Guidance and Support: The homebuying process can be complicated, with lots of twists, turns and steps along the way. When buying new construction, you also have design reviews, electrical work and other construction needs. An agent can guide you through all of these, making sure your purchase stays on track, on time and on budget from start to finish.

It’s important to note that while you may be working with an agent or representative from the builder, they may not have your best interests at heart. Enlisting your own trusted agent can give you an advocate from the very first meeting to closing day.

Are you interested in buying a new construction home? Get in touch today for more info about builders in the area.

Helpful Links:

Chuck Barberini Real Estate

The Ultimate Moving Check List – Chuck Barberini Real Estate

The Ultimate Moving Check List

4 Things to Put on Your Moving Checklist

Moving can be hectic. With dozens of to-dos, a tight timeline and a growing pile of boxes, it’s easy to get frazzled and let things fall through the cracks. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Get organized now by making a checklist to work from. Set deadlines for the most critical tasks like hiring movers, renting a storage unit and turning on your new utilities. Aside from packing up room by room, make sure your list has these often forgotten items, too:

Forward Your Mail: The post office makes it very easy to ensure your mail gets routed to the right place, at least for the first year after your move. Just head to a local branch or go online to update your address with the date you’ll be moving, and your mail will automatically forward.

Measure and Decide: Take a measuring tape to your new home and jot down the measurements of each wall and nook. What furniture and decor will fit in your new space? What won’t? It’s better to make decisions about what to donate or sell before moving day.

Refill Prescriptions: It may take a bit to get your prescriptions forwarded to a new pharmacy and even longer for you to find the time to pick them up. If possible, get your prescriptions refilled ahead of time from your current pharmacy.

Back Up Your Electronics: Back up your computer and phone to the cloud, and make sure you’ve uploaded all your photos and documents somewhere safe. In the event something happens to your devices during the move, a backup will get you up and running faster.

Are you ready to make a move? Whether you’re considering selling your current home or thinking of finding a new one, get in touch today for help and resources to guide you through the process.

@ChuckBarberini

@EXP Realty

@Charlie_Barberini

@RealEstate4Life

Well In My Day – Chuck Barberini Real Estate

Chuck Barberini Real Estate – BR Real Estate Group

I follow a blog by Doug Giles called Clash Daily it is mostly political and most of it is conservative politics.

Doug has written several books, none of which I have read, the latest might be on my list to knock out soon “Pussification: The Effeminization of the American Male”. Just from reading some of Doug’s blogs and listening some of his pod casts, it occurs to me that Doug is a master of stating the obvious, making connections that we have been conditioned to overlook or ignore, or more importantly accept as the norm. Like cooking a frog, societal changes take place gradually over time, the heat slowly gets turned up, the frog gets comfortable, then sleepy then cooked. One of Doug’s most recent blogs is called 20+ ‘Dangerous Things’ Kids Used to Do – Before P*SSIFICATON Took Over. It is a fun article and insightful and something that we have all talked about, without sounding like an old fart “well in my day” … Check out this blog and let me know what you think and see if you can come up with a few of your own.

20+ ‘Dangerous Things’ Kids Used To Do – Before P*SSIFICATON Took Over

Safe spaces?
Aw, HELL no! Back in the day, that’s the LAST thing any of us wanted!

If you’re old enough to remember when being a kid meant riding your bike in the summer, with your curfew being ‘when it gets dark’, you will remember some of these awesome ‘dangerous pleasures’. (h/t ArtOfManliness)

How many of these are from YOUR list?

Play with fireworks:

Does anything quite compare with the anticipation of lighting, followed by the thrill of watching when it goes off?

(Also, you learn pretty quickly which mistakes you really, REALLY don’t want to make with combustible materials.)

Hammer a Nail

Do you know that not everything that gets put together comes out of a ‘flatpack’ from Ikea?

Knowing how to hit a nail, properly, without tapping it 200 times, bending it in half or flattening your thumb is an important life skill. Let kids learn how while they’re young, so they don’t have to embarrass themselves with ‘Hashtag Adulting’ the first time they need to hang a picture on the wall,

Stick Your Arm Out a Car Window

Because it’s fun. Fun that gives you a ‘hands-on’ physics lesson in aerodynamics, resistance, lift, drag. As long as you’re not trying to learn Braille at 55MPH, relax… your arm will be fine.

Jump Off a Cliff

(Preferably into water.)
If kids learn to manage risks early on, they won’t be paralyzed by the fear of them later.

Use a Bow and Arrow

(Or better still, build your own.) Marksmanship isn’t just about shooting. It’s about a steady hand, judging distance, and understanding variables like wind, and gravity well enough to compensate for them.


Cook a Meal

Because you’ll want options besides Ramen Noodle and take-out when you’re out on your own. The sooner they learn, the better they’ll get.

Climb a Tree

If we need to explain why this is awesome, you’ve been indoors too long. Just go and try it. You’ll thank us later.

Roughhouse

Lions do it. Wolves do it. We should too. It’s Science!

DeBenedet and Cohen boldly claim that roughhousing “makes kids smart, emotionally intelligent, lovable and likable, ethical, physically fit, and joyful.” In short, roughhousing makes your kid awesome.
Source: ArtOfManliness

Sledding
If you have snow where you are, don’t let it go to waste. And high-speed wipeouts just make it all the more awesome!

Drive a Car

I was 5 the first time dad put me on his lap and steer a moving vehicle. And most of my farm kid friends were driving the farm vehicles before they turned 10.

If you’ve got somewhere safe to let them learn, like my dad did and see what’s involved, go for it!

Then again, how about if you want a safe way to let them drive independently, even before they’re street legal?

There’s always the go-kart tracks, where some of those go-karts can hit speeds that can still make the grown-ups sweat.

Burn Things With a Magnifying Glass

A useful skill, and a lot of fun.
(Just make sure they’re not starting fires on school property. School officials get real twitchy about ‘insurance’ issues and such.)

Walk or Ride a Bike to School

Exercise is important for success in school. (Look what happened with the school that tripled their recess!)

What did the other ‘dangerous things’ on the list look like?

Shoot a Gun
Stand on the Roof (one of my personal favorites), Squash a Penny on a Railroad TrackSword Fight With SticksShoot a SlingshotExplore a Construction Site(another favorite, and demolished/burned down buildings were fun, too), Use a Pocket Knife (now in some places there’s a minimum age to even buy one!), and Ride Your Bike Off a Ramp.

(The number of times we all ‘should have died’ doing dumb stuff on our bike is past counting. But, somehow, we lived through it all!),

Don’t forget Climb a Rope (how many people can still do that?), explore a tunnel, or Make a Fire (that magnifying glass is only one way. It’s also important to know the basics of how to go from a single flame to a sustainable fire.)

The list keeps going and going chock-full of memories of what made childhood awesome!

Did our list miss any? Name them in the comments.

Better still, drop a picture in the comments to let the poor kids suffering under today’s ‘structured play’ programs what they’re missing out on.

Maybe they’ll get restless and demand change!

Effeminization Of The
American Male

by Doug Giles

Doug Giles, best-selling author of Raising Righteous And Rowdy Girls and Editor-In-Chief of the mega-blog,
ClashDaily.com, has just penned a book he guarantees will kick hipster males into the rarefied air of
masculinity. That is, if the man-child will put down his frappuccino; shut the hell up and listen and obey
everything he instructs them to do in his timely and tornadic tome. Buy Now:The Effeminization Of The American Male
Wear this to the gym and I guarantee you’ll get some comments.

#TodaysMortgageRates  – #EXPRealty

 #Taxdeferredsystem  –  #PhoenixPropertyManagement

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Chuck Barberini Real Estate – BR Real Estate Group

I follow a blog by Doug Giles called Clash Daily it is mostly political and most of it is conservative politics.

The Gratitude Fad – Chuck Barberini Real Estate

The Gratitude Fad – Chuck Barberini Real Estate – BR Real Estate Group

I have been following Jay Voorhees of JVM Lending’s blog for years, he always has something impactful to say. He deals with market conditions, interest rates trends and some of his best stuff is on life and human nature. Today’s blog, in honor of Thanksgiving week, he discusses gratitude and the “Gratitude Fad”. As a person that has relied on gratitude to pull myself out of dark times and has recently incorporated using the Best Self Journal into my daily routine, which emphasizes writing what you are grateful for at the beginning and end of each day, I really enjoyed what Jay had to say… Check out his blog below and then take a minute to reflect on how blessed we all are.

The new Prager University video “The Key to Unhappiness” also talks about being grateful for what we have and not focusing on what we don’t have.

I have been following Jay Voorhees of JVM Lending’s blog for years, he always has something impactful to say. He deals with market conditions, interest rates trends and some of his best stuff is on life and human nature. Today’s blog, in honor of Thanksgiving week, he discusses gratitude and “The Gratitude Fad”. As a person that has relied on gratitude to pull myself out of dark times and has recently incorporated using the Best Self Journal into my daily routine, which emphasizes writing what you are grateful for at the beginning and end of each day, I really enjoyed what Jay had to say… Check out his blog below and then take a minute to reflect on how blessed we all are.

The new Prager University video “The Key to Unhappiness” also talks about being grateful for what we have and not focusing on what we don’t have.

Thanksgiving and the “Gratitude Fad” – More Than Meets the Eye

Every Thanksgiving we are reminded ad infinitum to give thanks, to be grateful, to show gratitude…until it gets annoying. Equally annoying is the entire “gratitude fad” – the constant reminders all year long to show, think and express gratitude.

But, here’s the thing.

It works.

It not only makes the recipients of your gratitude feel great, studies show that it strengthens your immune system, helps you sleep better, reduces stress and depression, and opens the door to more relationships.  

So, I am piling onto the gratitude fad with this blog. 🙂 It is Thanksgiving week after all.

There was a wonderful article in the WSJ recently about a Jewish woman who was kept in hiding by total strangers during WWII in Greece. The strangers risked their lives and most definitely saved the woman’s life.

She has spent her recent years writing a book about her experiences, and just the act of writing sparked such strong feelings of gratitude that her well-being improved markedly.

The article quotes psychologists who remind us that we can’t just sit around and feel thankful to get the full benefits of gratitude. They suggest the following:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal with detailed entries.
  2. Write sincere thank you notes and emails.
  3. Verbally express and show gratitude – smile and say thank you more often, open doors for people, and just say “hi.”
  4. Avoid ingrates. If the people around you don’t feel gratitude, you probably won’t either. Gratitude is contagious, and so is the lack of it.
  5. Remember the bad.  Remembering difficult times helps you appreciate the good times.

As somebody who practices all of the above, I can say from experience that it really does work.

Thank you everyone for supporting JVM and for reading my blogs (about thanking everyone). 🙂

Jay Voorhees at (925) 855-4491
Real Estate Broker, CA Bureau of Real Estate, BRE# 01524255, NMLS# 335646 

Rates Hold

30 Year Fixed Rate Loan at a Cost of One Point: 3.875%* (APR = 4.105%)
Rates remain unchanged as we head into Thanksgiving week. Quick reminder that the market will be closed Thursday, with an early close Friday as well.

*The above rate quote has the following assumptions: $500,000 purchase; $400,000 loan amount; 20% down payment; credit score above 740; property is SFR; borrower has sufficient income to qualify; Estimated closing costs affecting the APR include $4,000 for Origination Fee; $995 for Lender Fees; $2,300 for Title Insurance (CLTA and ALTA), $800 for Escrow Fee; and $1,000 for Prepaid Interest.

JVM Lending
1850 Mt Diablo Blvd #140
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
United States

#TodaysMortgageRates  – #EXPRealty

 #Taxdeferredsystem  –  #PhoenixPropertyManagement

#ExperienceTranontTranont

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 The Gratitude Fad – Chuck Barberini Real Estate – BR Real Estate Group

FHA vs Conventional loans – Chuck Barberini Real Estate

Chuck Barberini Real Estate – BR Real Estate Group

FHA vs Conventional loans – Thursday November 9th

I get asked this question a lot and for the most part I either defer to the lend or say that FHA offers 96.5% loan. There are different qualifications for the property in FHA appraisals that are much stricter. The subject property is not only appraised for value, it is also inspected for safety, soundness of construction and adherence to local code restrictions. I came across this article yesterday written by Hal Bundrick a staff writer at NerdWallet, it does a great job of explaining the benefits and disadvantages of FHA loans. Take a moment and read this article and share with anyone that is considering purchasing a home in the near future. If you have any questions, I work with quality lenders that can further explain what loan better fits your situation.

Tech Sec

I saw this article On Linkedin this morning, a couple of big names teaming up:

New Salesforce and Google Partnership Shakes Up the Cloud Race

FHA loan vs. conventional mortgage: Which is right for you?

Nerd Wallet

11:59 PM, Nov 7, 2017

When exploring mortgage options, it’s likely you’ll hear about Federal Housing Administration and conventional loans. Let’s see, FHA loans are for first-time home buyers and conventional mortgages are for more established buyers — is that it?

Not necessarily.

Actually, the differences between FHA loans and conventional mortgages have narrowed in the past few years. Since 1934, loans guaranteed by the FHA have been a go-to option for first-time home buyers because they feature low down payments and relaxed credit requirements.

But conventional loans — which are not insured by a government agency like the FHA, the Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. Department of Agriculture — have gotten more competitive lately.

Both types of loans have their advantages. Here are the factors to consider when deciding between an FHA and a conventional mortgage.

Property standards

What kind of property are you buying? You can use a conventional loan to buy a vacation home or an investment property, as well as a primary residence.

The same can’t be said about FHA loans.

An FHA loan must be for a property that is occupied by at least one owner, as a primary residence, within 60 days of closing. Investment properties and homes that are being flipped (sold within 90 days of a prior sale) aren’t eligible for FHA loans.

FHA appraisals are more stringent, as well. Not only is the property assessed for value, it is thoroughly vetted for safety, soundness of construction and adherence to local code restrictions.

Loan limits

Where you’re planning to buy your home can play a role in what kind of loan is best for you. FHA and conventional loan guidelines allow wide latitude for borrowers in expensive areas, but in some cases you may end up needing a jumbo loan, which is bigger than FHA or conventional limits.

FHA loans are subject to county-level limits based on a percentage of a county’s median home price. In certain high-cost areas, the limit in 2017 can be as high as $636,150 — and in Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands, limits can be much higher than that.

For loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that help fund the conventional mortgage industry, single-family home loan limits are $424,100 in most of the country. Again, higher loan ceilings are available in pricier counties.

You can find your county’s loan limits for FHA (shown at the link as “FHA forward”) and conventional mortgages (“Fannie/Freddie”) on the Department of Housing and Urban Development website.

Down payment

This is where conventional loans have really improved. FHA loans used to be the low-down-payment leader, requiring just 3.5% down. But now, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both offer 97% loan-to-value products; that means a 3% down payment option — even lower than FHA — for qualified buyers.

From time to time, you can find lenders offering down payment options that are even lower on conventional loans. Quicken Loans, for instance, has offered a 1% down loan.

Foreclosures

Another instance where FHA and conventional standards have converged: how bad credit is accounted for. Over the past few years there have been numerous changes to the policies regarding bad-credit issues and how they are treated for FHA and conventional loans, with new standards implemented — and then expiring.

However, as it stands now, for a buyer to qualify for either an FHA or conventional loan, it typically must be two years since a bankruptcy was discharged and three years since a foreclosure or short sale.

There will definitely be hurdles to clear to prove to a lender that you have re-established your creditworthiness:

  • You’ll have to document that circumstances leading to the financial setback were beyond your control
  • You may have to attend a credit education course
  • Your loan will likely have to go through a manual loan approval process, which means approval and closing will likely take longer.

Mortgage insurance

With a down payment of less than 20%, both FHA and conventional loans require borrowers to pay mortgage insurance premiums. This insurance helps defray the lender’s costs if a loan defaults.

There are some differences between the two insurance programs.

With an FHA loan, if you put less than 10% down, you’ll pay 1.75% of the loan amount upfront and make monthly mortgage insurance payments for the life of the loan. With a down payment of 10% or more (that is, a loan-to-value of 90% or better), the premiums will end after 11 years.

Conventional loans with less than 20% down charge private mortgage insurance. It can be charged as an upfront expense payable at closing, or built into your monthly payment — or both. It all depends on the insurer the lender uses.

“The rates for PMI vary according to two factors: credit score and loan-to-value ratio,” Joe Parsons, a senior loan officer with PFS Funding in Dublin, California, says. He provides the following examples:

  • A borrower with a 620 score with a 97% loan-to-value will pay 2.37%
  • The same loan for a borrower with a 760 score will cost 0.69%
  • A borrower with a 620 score and a 90% loan-to-value will pay 1.10%
  • The same loan for a borrower with a 760 score will cost 0.31%

PMI generally can be canceled once your loan is paid down (and/or your property’s value appreciates) to 78% of your home’s value.

Mortgage insurance

FHA Conventional
Upfront premium cost 1.75% Depending on the insurer, there may or may not be an upfront premium. You can also opt to make a single-premium payment instead of monthly payments.
Monthly premium cost Cost varies. Based on loan term, amount and down payment. For purchase loans, the premium ranges from 0.45% to 1.05%, according to the FHA. Cost varies. Based on credit score and loan-to-value. For purchase loans, fees can range from 0.55% to 2.25%, according to Genworth and the Urban Institute.
Duration With down payments less than 10%, you’ll pay mortgage insurance for the life of the loan. With a loan-to-value equal to or greater than 90%, you’ll pay the premiums for 11 years. Usually can be canceled once your loan balance reaches 78% of your home’s value.

Credit score standards

Here is the primary distinction between the two types of loans: FHA loans are easier to qualify for. As far as a credit score, FHA sets a low bar: a FICO of 500 or above. Lenders can set “overlays” on top of that credit score requirement, hiking the minimum much higher.

But to qualify for the lowest FHA down payment of 3.5%, you’ll need a credit score of 580 or more, says Brian Sullivan, HUD public affairs specialist. With a credit score between 500 and 579, you’ll need to put down 10% on an FHA loan, he adds.

The average FICO score for FHA purchase loans closed in 2016 was 686, according to mortgage industry software provider Ellie Mae.

Conventional loans typically require a FICO credit score of 620 or better, Parsons says.

“A borrower with that score who can document income and assets will, in all likelihood, receive a loan approval,” he says. “They will pay a higher price for that loan because of ‘risk-based pricing’ from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but it is unlikely that they will be declined because of their credit score.”

Risk-based pricing means compensating the lender for taking the additional risk on a borrower with a lower credit score (the average FICO score for a conventional loan was 753 in 2016, according to Ellie Mae). In other words, the lower your credit score, the higher your mortgage interest rate.

Debt-to-income ratios

HUD’s Sullivan says your debt-to-income ratio — including the new mortgage, credit cards, student loans or any other monthly obligations — must be 50% or less for an FHA loan. Ellie Mae reports the average debt ratio for borrowers closing FHA purchase loans in 2016 was 42%.

Conventional loans usually require a debt-to-income ratio no higher than 45%, Parsons says. In 2016, borrowers with conventional purchase loans averaged a 34% debt ratio, according to Ellie Mae.

Mortgage rates

Another distinction for FHA loans: generally lower mortgage interest rates. However, the difference between the two was incremental last year. The 30-year fixed rate for FHA purchase loans closed in 2016 averaged 3.95%, compared with a conventional mortgage rate on the same term of 4.06%, according to Ellie Mae.

Refinancing

As far as mortgage refinancing goes, the edge goes to FHA “streamline” refinancing. With no credit check, no income verification and likely no home appraisal, it’s about as easy a refi as you can get. But there are five requirements for an FHA streamline refinance.

So, which mortgage to choose?

Your decision may initially be based on your credit score. If it’s well below 620, an FHA loan may be your only choice. Above 620 and you’ll want to run the numbers on both to see what works best for you.

However, if you are serving in the military or are a veteran, a loan backed by the VA may be the way to go. VA loans usually require no down payment. And if you live in a suburban or rural area, a USDA loan could be a smart option, too.

FHA Loans vs. Conventional Loans

  FHA Conventional
Property type Financing for a primary residence only Financing for a primary residence, second home or investment property
Down payment  Down payments as low as 3.5% Some programs offer down payments as low as 3% or even lower
Mortgage insurance Mortgage insurance premiums required: 1.75% upfront and monthly premiums that vary with your loan term, loan amount and down payment, from 0.45% to 1.05% With a down payment lower than 20%, private mortgage insurance is usually required. Monthly fees vary according to credit score, loan-to-value and insurer, and range from 0.55% to 2.25%.
Credit score Credit score of 500 or better is usually required, though this depends on the lender. Average FICO score in 2016: 686. Credit score of 620 or higher is usually required, though this depends on the lender. Average FICO score in 2016: 753, according to Ellie Mae.
Debt ratio Average 2016 debt ratio: 42% Average 2016 debt ratio: 34%
Interest rates Interest rates for FHA loans tend to be slightly lower than for conventional loans Interest rates for conventional loans tend to be slightly higher than for FHA loans

Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: hal@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @halmbundrick.

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FHA loan vs. conventional mortgage: Which is right for you?

 FHA vs Conventional loans

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Are Homes More Affordable – Chuck Barberini Real Estate

Chuck Barberini Real Estate – BR Real Estate Group

Check out this article from Realtor Magazine Online. It is a real unique look at the housing market and offers a very original point of view. It gives us some good insight into the rapid rise of house prices and how they compare to the prices prior to the pre-crash prices.

Homes Are More Affordable Than 20 Years Ago

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 08, 2017

Homes are actually more affordable now than they were in the late 1990s, according to the latest Mortgage Monitor Report by Black Knight Inc., a mortgage data and performance information provider.

A Closer Look: NAR’s Housing Affordability Index

Interest rates have plunged by 40 basis points over the past six months. However, the bulk of the potential savings is offset by the accelerating rate of home price appreciation across the country.

“Rising home prices continue to offset the majority of would-be savings from recent interest rate declines, which has kept affordability near a post recession low,” says Ben Graboske, executive vice president of data & analytics for Black Knight. “That being said, when viewing the market through a longer-term lens, affordability across most of the country still remains favorable to long-term benchmarks.”

As of September, 21.4 percent of the median income nationwide was required to purchase a median-priced home. From 1995 to 1999, that percentage was 24.2 percent, and from 2000 to 2003 it was 26.2 percent, according to Black Knight’s report.

While the monthly payment needed for a median-priced home is up $100 from a year ago, the national “payment-to-income” ratio remains 2.8 percent below averages from the late 1990s, according to the report.

“In looking at the affordability landscape across the country, we certainly see varying levels of affordability in each market compared to their own long-term benchmarks,” Graboske says. “But, by and large, the overall theme is that affordability in most areas, while tightening, remains favorable to long-term norms.”

Black Knight researchers note that 47 of 50 states’ payment-to-income ratios remain below their 1995–2003 averages. Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., are the lone exceptions, where payment-to-income ratios are higher today than their long-term benchmarks.

Source: Black Knight Inc.

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It’s Christmas – A Different Kind of Poem – Chuck Barberini

It’s Christmas – My boy Christopher is home for a couple of weeks and I saw this last night and it really hit me… It touched me and made me sad, it made me happy and proud, it made me think about the sacrifices of so many and how blessed we are to be American… Thank you to those in service all over the world, away from home… Merry Christmas.

Take a minute to read this poem and let me know what you think.

Different Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.


Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.


My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.


The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.

Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.


My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.


A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.


“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”


For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts…
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said “It’s really all right.


I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night. ”
“It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.


My Gramps died at ‘ Pearl on a day in December,”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers. ”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘ Nam ‘,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.


I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.


I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.


I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”


”  So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right. ”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?

It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son. “


Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.


For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us. “


PLEASE, would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many
people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our
U. S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these
festivities. Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq

“Real Integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that no body’s going to know whether you did it or not. “

PFC Christopher Barberini

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