Archives for January 2011

Vintage Hitchcock Play At The Attic Community Theater

A great local playhouse opens with Vintage Hitchcock. Great family fun you should enjoy!

The Attic Community Theater

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Raise your Credit Score Fast, Easy and Free!

One of the quickest and easiest ways of raising your credit score is to opt out of pre-screened offers of credit being offered on the credit bureaus. It only takes a few moments to go to this website, complete the form and submit. This generally improves your score by at least  5 -15 points. 

https://www.optoutprescreen.com/?rf=t

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First Lady Obama Comments on Good Morning America

This morning on Good Morning America,  Mrs. Obama was asked why she does not wear American made, American designed clothing especially when she attends important world functions. She said, “I wear what I love” and totally ignored the question any further.

Am I the only person in America that has a problem with this? Here we are in the worst economy possible and she doesn’t think it’s important to promote American business. Isn’t that the important issue here? She is a role model and she chooses to just wear whatever she loves. I’m quite sure she can find a few Americans to love. Hmm….  But then again,  she buys all of her groceries from Mexico too.

On a smaller scale, whenever possible, support Costa Mesa by shopping in Costa Mesa!

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Costa Mesa Thank You, I owe you this…

While today is my last day as a Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commissioner, I have many things to be thankful for. First and foremost, the city staff at Costa Mesa City Hall are second to none. They all care and love this city with the utmost in respect for keeping it a beautiful place to live. While we all know they are doing more with less money, they are doing a great job at maintaining a level of professionalism to make things happen and get the job done. I have the privilege and honor to work with great people, City Manager Alan Roeder, incoming City Manager Tom Hatch, Peter Naghavi, Steve Mandoki, Bruce Hartley, Lisa Mcpherson, Joyce Santos and the many others that I know I did not mention. Thank you all-

As I reflect back on the last four years, I am most thankful for the valuable learning experience it provided me. I became a Parks and Recreation Commissioner out of the love for our great programs, parks and sports facilities. The desire to improve upon what was already a great thing had been the driving force behind everything I did as a commissioner. I can tell you that any and all decisions I made; the votes I posted were always given with great thought and not without public consideration. Not once did I make a decision that I felt were political in anyway. Not once did I make a decision based on my political future. But rather, I made decisions based on what I thought were the best decisions for our city. Period. Besides, who was I fooling; I’m just a Parks and Recreation Commissioner right? I mean, I can count on my hand the rare instance that any member of the city council every called to disuss important issues with me regarding the decisions we were making at Parks and Recreation. In the last four years, I was Vice Chairman for one year, Chairman for two years, and commissioner for one year. You would think that the council members would care enough about our city and issues concerning Parks and Recreation that they would want to have open communication with our commission but, not once did I ever receive a call from Mayor Mansoor, Councilman Bever, and Councilman Monahan.  And then it came to me; they are the politicians. Wow what a realization. Revelation. I was so naive to think that they actually cared about our city. But don’t get me wrong, some of them did call me…. Katrina Foley who has moved to the Newport Mesa School Board which is a great place and position for her, she cares. Wendy Leece who has been all but alienated by her fellow council members has little she can do, but she does care. I received calls by them, but they are out. Literally. The only other calls I got where when they asked for me to endorse them for their campaigns; Councilman Monahan, and Councilman Righeimer you are welcome. I can tell you that I received many, many, many calls from then Planning Commissioner Mensinger, now Councilman Mensinger and believe me, once I did not do something his way, I knew my commissioner days were heading for the highway. And so the reality of that is coming to fruition today.

Now I know where you are all heading with this, Kurt is just salty and upset he did not get reappointed… He’s just taking it out on the City Council. While it is easy to say that, the answer is no. No I am not mad. But rather, I am saying all this because I think the citizens of Costa Mesa need to wake up and take part in Costa Mesa’s future. We all need to stand up and be heard. At the same time, we need to demand that Costa Mesa City Government actually talk to each other. That Commissions and Council meet every other month in a public forum to discuss important issues and items that are going to shape the future of our city. What has been the status quo should be status no. No more. Important decisions need to be made and how can we really achieve greatness in our city government when the right hand doesn’t talk to the left. That a council member doe not even have a conversation with commission members unless it’s at a ribbon cutting and the media is around. This is what needs to change.

That is of course just my opinion; let it be known that I have always had an appreciation for all those members of the community that go before our city government on a regular basis to voice their opinions. While many of us think they are whacky and even crazy for doing so, at least they step out on that limb. It now it looks like I have joined them!

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Costa Mesa Real Estate Market Update

In This Issue…

Last Week in Review: Stocks continue to like the good economic news we have seen, but how are Bonds and home loan rates faring?

Forecast for the Week: It will be a heavy week of economic news ahead – including several that will directly relate to the housing industry. Find out what to expect.

View: Have a teenage driver? Worried about skyrocketing insurance costs? Have no fear with this advice from Kiplinger.

Last Week in Review
It’s been said that “no news is good news….” And while that can be true, lately many of the economic reports we have seen have been very good news, as they show signs that our economy continues to improve.

Stocks just enjoyed their seventh straight week of gains, due to the positive economic reports that have been streaming in. While this is certainly cause for celebration, an important question we need to consider is what does this mean for home loan rates in the short and long term?

On the one hand, improvement in the economy is good news on the housing front, as once people feel better about keeping their job or getting a new job, home purchasing activity will rise, and values will follow. But on the other side of the coin, as the labor market and economy improve, home loan rates will have to gradually rise as well. And remember, this all ties in with the Fed’s plan to inject the full $600 Billion into our economy as part of their latest round of Quantitative Easing, known as “QE2.”

Remember, the three part goal of QE2 is to create inflation, lower unemployment, and boost Stock prices – and we are seeing evidence of these goals occurring. Not only have Stock prices improved over the last seven weeks as we discussed above, but December’s Jobs Report posted the lowest unemployment rate since May of 2009. And last week, we saw some evidence of inflation as the Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures inflation at the wholesale or producer level, came in higher than expected. While December’s Consumer Price Index wasn’t quite as hot as the PPI, going forward our increasing budget deficit could cause inflation to spike down the road.

So what’s the bottom line if you have been thinking about purchasing or refinancing a home? Home loan rates are still very attractive right now, so call or email me if you want to get started. Or forward this newsletter on to someone you know who may benefit from today’s historically low rates.

Forecast for the Week
There’s a holiday shortened week ahead, as both the Stock and Bond Markets are closed Monday in honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. But the rest of the week has plenty of news in store, including a read on the housing market:

  • There’s a double dose of real estate news with Wednesday’s Housing Starts and Building Permits Report and Thursday’s Existing Home Sales Report. Analysts are expecting to see a bump higher in Existing Home Sales to a 4.80M pace, and some moderate improvement on the new construction side as well. Check back with me on Wednesday to get the breakdown of how the news actually arrived!
  • There’s also a double dose of manufacturing news. Tuesday’s Empire State Index looks at New York State’s manufacturing sector and is a good gauge of manufacturing overall, while on Thursday we’ll also see the Philadelphia Fed Index, another important report.
  • Thursday’s weekly Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims Report will be an important one to watch this week. Last week Initial Jobless Claims came in at 445,000, well above expectations of 415,000 and the highest reading in two months. Was this spike just a paperwork backlog because of the holidays… and will this week’s claims be close to that 400,000 mark that will show the labor market is continuing to improve?
  • Also, earnings season continues, with reports from Citigroup, Apple, Google, GE, Goldman Sachs, and more.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

As you can see in the chart below, Bonds and home loan rates ended the week about the same place as where they began. If I can answer any questions for you about your personal situation, please call or email anytime.

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Chart: Fannie Mae 4.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday Jan 14, 2011)
Japanese Candlestick Chart
The Mortgage Market Guide View…
8 Ways to Cut Insurance Costs for Teen Drivers

You can prevent your auto premiums from skyrocketing.

By Kimberly Lankford, Kiplinger.com

My 16-year-old son is about to get his license, and I’m afraid of what that might do to our auto-insurance rates. How can we lower insurance costs?

You’re right to be worried — your auto-insurance premiums are likely to skyrocket when your teenage son starts driving. But a few key moves can help you cut costs significantly.

1. Raise your comprehensive and collision deductibles to at least $1,000, which lowers your premiums and prevents you from filing small claims that could jeopardize a claims-free discount. Add some more money to your emergency fund so you’ll have the cash to pay the deductible if anyone in your family does have an accident.

2. Drop collision and comprehensive coverage entirely on older cars that are worth little more than the deductible. You may be paying more in premiums than you could ever get back from the insurer, even if the car is totaled. Look up your car’s value on Kelley Blue Book.

3. Get a safe car. Having your child drive a safe car will help you sleep easier and keep your auto-insurance rates under control, too. Check safety ratings at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

4. Encourage your kids to get good grades. Most insurers offer a big discount for young drivers who maintain at least a B average in high school or college. College kids generally need to take at least 12 credits to qualify for the discount, says Trisha Mujadin, an independent insurance agent with NRG, a Seattle insurance agency.

5. Tell your insurer if your child goes away to college. If your child goes to school more than 100 miles away and doesn’t take a car, you can usually get a big break on your premiums but still have coverage when he or she comes home for vacation.

6. Ask about other discounts for teenage drivers. Some insurers offer discounts for driver-safety programs, cutting costs if the kids take a special class, watch a DVD, or read a driver-safety book and take a test. Ask your insurer what your kid needs to do to qualify.

7. Make the most of multipolicy discounts. You’ll usually get a break on your auto insurance and your homeowners insurance if you keep both policies with the same company. You may get an additional discount if you include an umbrella policy, which provides extra liability coverage beyond your auto-insurance limits and can be particularly valuable when you have a teenage driver.

8. Shop around. Some insurers offer much better deals than others for teenage drivers, so it’s important to compare costs. The insurance company that offered the best rate for you and your spouse may have some of the highest rates when you add a teenage boy to the policy (and it’s almost always better to add the child to your policy rather than have him get his own policy). “One company we work with is really great with young drivers and another is horrible,” says Mujadin.

You can get price quotes from several insurance companies at www.insurancerates.com (a new site by InsWeb.com) or get personalized service from an independent insurance agent who works with many companies (you can find a local independent agent at www.iiaba.org). You may not want to switch from a longtime insurer just to save a few dollars, however, because your current company may be less likely to raise your rate or drop you if your child has an accident, says Mujadin. “If you stay with the company where you’ve been, there’s some value to that — there’s more room for forgiveness.” Also keep in mind that if you’ve been getting a multipolicy discount, your homeowners-insurance rate might rise if you take your auto-insurance business elsewhere.

One thing you don’t want to do in an attempt to reduce your premiums is skimp on liability coverage. Mujadin recommends liability limits of at least $250,000 per person, $500,000 per accident and $100,000 for property damage (or a policy with a “combined single limit” of $500,000, when available, which doesn’t limit the coverage to $250,000 per person involved in the accident). Young drivers are more likely to have accidents, and lowering your liability limits could leave you on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses if your child does hit another car or injure someone.

Reprinted with permission. All Contents ©2011 The Kiplinger Washington Editors. www.kiplinger.com.

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Economic Calendar for the Week of January 17-21, 2011

Remember, as a general rule, weaker than expected economic data is good for rates, while positive data causes rates to rise.

Economic Calendar for the Week of January 17 – January 21

Date ET Economic Report For Estimate Actual Prior Impact
Tue. January 18 08:30 Empire State Index Jan 12.0 10.57 Moderate
Wed. January 19 08:30 Housing Starts Dec 550K 555K Moderate
Wed. January 19 08:30 Building Permits Dec 560K 530K Moderate
Thu. January 20 08:30 Jobless Claims (Initial) 1/15 425K 445K Moderate
Thu. January 20 10:00 Existing Home Sales Dec 4.80M 4.68M Moderate
Thu. January 20 10:00 Index of Leading Econ Ind (LEI) Dec 0.6% 1.1% Low
Thu. January 20 10:00 Philadelphia Fed Index Jan 20.5 24.3 HIGH
The material contained in this newsletter is provided by a third party to real estate, financial services and other professionals only for their use and the use of their clients. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness and as a result, there is no guarantee it is without errors.
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