Archive for February, 2013

No man is an island entire of itself.

February 22nd, 2013

Made famous by Hemmingway, a long time ago, the poet John Donne wrote:

No man is an island entire of itself.

Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…..

Each man’s death diminishes me for I am involved in mankind.

Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls.

It tolls for thee.

This morning, my partner Randy got the news that his brother died last night.  His brother was 54.  He had contracted a virus that spread to his heart, caused his heart to throw off blood clots, which caused several rapid strokes and within 3 days, he was gone.  A week ago he was busy with life; running his landscaping business, plowing snow in Iowa, and having an occasional steak dinner with his adult kids. He was just going about the business of living when suddenly he was taken.  I did not know Craig, yet his life is intricately woven into the fabric of my life by his relationship to my friend and partner.  As his life enriched those around him, his death diminishes all of us.  Each day, and each of us, matters.

I was sitting at my desk yesterday and my Iphone started to sound like a fire alarm.  I turned to see what was up and saw the words, Amber Alert, flashing across the display.  Somewhere, a child had been stolen.  A cell phone somewhere else flashed the first ever amber alert message and a man, looking out his window, spotted the woman who had stolen the baby.  He called the police and the police found the baby, safe, in the woman’s basement.  The baby was reunited with his mother within hours.  Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs did not know in the 1970’s that their labors would reunite a mother and child. Nor did all of the unheralded professionals who designed the individual pieces of technology that went into making the alert possible.  Yet, it was the one obscure man, who took up the baton, used the technology and called 911 who made it possible for this miracle to occur. Read the rest of this entry »

…And Now For Some Good News

February 15th, 2013

I was sipping a little Folgers from my cup this morning and scanning the Star Tribune when Jim Buchta’s article jumped out at me.

“Sales of foreclosed homes in Minnesota fell to the lowest level since 2006, a sign that the economic recovery and efforts to help homeowners are slowing repossessions.”

Will there be a HARP 3 to help everyone that was left behind?

There’s a rumor that is circulating but I haven’t got any real data on it yet.  The Home Affordable Refinance Program for underwater borrowers which launched in 2009, was initially supposed to help about 7 Million borrowers refinance.  Unfortunately, it only applied to those holding loans held by Fanniemae and Freddiemac, and from what I can discover has only helped about 2M families to date.

Read the rest of this entry »

The National Association of Home Builders is Bullish on housing starts for 2013

February 8th, 2013

On a year-over-year basis, the nominal value of spending on new homes has risen over 28%.  In addition, since bottoming out around the midway point of 2009, construction spending has surged 59%.

NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) has offered a similar judgment on recent home improvement activity as the current and future market indicators have achieved their best readings since the first quarter of 2004.”  -Posted by the National Association of Home Builders Feb 1, 2013.

The New Normal for Construction Financing Read the rest of this entry »

We’ve partnered with the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency for over 25 years to bring affordable lending products to first time homebuyers.

February 1st, 2013

Start Up and Step Up

We’ve partnered with the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency for over 25 years to bring affordable lending products to first time homebuyers.  They are always looking for new ways to make home ownership in Minnesota safe and affordable.  This year they’ve restructured their traditional programs and are now offering assistance to both first time buyers and move up buyers.  They are also helping those with current MHFA loans refinance.

The Start Up program for first time home buyers provides a below market interest rate and three different types of down payment assistance.  There are income threshholds for each type of assistance.  When I checked this morning, the interest rate on a 30 year MHFA/FHA loan was 2.75%. Wow!  Full details are available at:

Refinancing a current MHFA loan Read the rest of this entry »