Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dumbass of the week: When you find an unexpended .22 shell in your yard, what should you do with it?

Last week in Pleasant Lake, IN, George Fath found a .22 caliber round in his front yard.  If you were in this situation, would you: A. Throw it away, B. Bury it, C. Put it away in a box in the garage to never be seen again, or D. Place it on top of a rock, hit it with a hammer, and shoot yourself in the stomach?

Mr. Fath, of course, chose D.  The bullet went off, and shot him in the stomach, or so he thought.  The police report said that Mr. Fath did not get shot, and was not bleeding.  According to his own account, Mr. Fath went to the hospital to have the bullet removed.  Nothing against Mr. Fath, but I'll believe the police report on this one.

To put this simply, rounds do not have to be in a weapon to fire, you may in fact set them off with a tapestry needle if you hit the primer right.  Hitting a round of any size with a hammer on top of a rock in your front yard has earned you the Mongoose Dumbass of the Week award!  Congratulations on being one of the dumbest people in the country last week.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Film Star and Temecula Resident Tyrese Gibson divorces wife of 10 months

Temecula, California - Tyrese Gibson who shot to fame in 1994 after appearing in a Coca Cola commercial, later released CD's that went gold and tyrese.jpgplatinum and starred in films like 2 Fast 2 Furious and Transformers is in the middle of a divorce and apparently signed a pre-nup with Norma, his soon to be ex-wife.

According to the document Tyrese gets to keep everything and only owes her $50,000 for every year they were married and according to court records they were married for only 10 months. In addtion to getting none of his money and stuff, within 60 days of the divorce the pre-nup states that Norma must leave Tyrese's home on Avenida Del Oro in the hills above Temecula - or face eviction!

Dude drives a hard bargain for sure - but heck, she signed it!

What do you think, messed up, or smart business deal on his part??

Friday, April 10, 2009

Details About the Making Home Affordable Refinance Program

This has been a much hyped program believed to be one of many steps that will help people who are upside down on their mortgages and want to refinance and take advantage of the low interest rates.  However, it may not be all that helpful to those who purchased a home in S.W Riverside county over the last six years.  Residents of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, which is considered ground zero for the housing mess, are typically more upside down on their mortgage than this program allows for.  But if you did make a considerable downpayment when you first purchased your home (and didn't use the equity as an ATM) there may still be hope. Originally expected to help 8 to 9 million homeowners, it has been downgraded to help maybe 5 million homeowners.  The Making Home Affordable program "looks the other way" with respect to falling home values, approving mortgage applications based on borrower payment history and benefit to the homeowner.

Not every homeowner is eligible for a Making Home Affordable refinance, however.  There are 3 basic criteria that must be met.

First, your existing home loan must be backed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  Thankfully, both companies provide online lookup services.  Start with the Fannie Mae site because Fannie has a greater market share and because Freddie Mac's site requires your social security number.

Next, you must have a perfect mortgage payment history over the last 12 months.  Even one payment made 30 days late disqualifies you from participating in the Making Home Affordable program.  It is okay, however, if you were 20 days late on your payment and incurred late fees.

And lastly, the balance on your mortgage cannot exceed your home's value by more than 5%.  The math formula is (Mortgage Balance) / (Home Value).  If the quotient is greater than 1.05 then your loan-to-value exceeds 105% and you are not eligible for Making Home Affordable.

Now, assuming you meet the criteria, there are some noteworthy details of the Making Home Affordable program:

  1. If you didn't pay mortgage insurance prior to refinancing, you won't have to pay it after refinancing -- even if your loan-to-value exceeds 80%.

  2. All refinances require income verification -- even if the original mortgage was a stated income loan.

  3. Second mortgages cannot be paid off using loan proceeds -- they must be subordinated

There are other guidelines, too, and both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have dedicated portions of their website to the Making Home Affordable program. To the layperson, unfortunately, the information may be a bit technical.

Even the government's fact sheet can be a little dense at times.

Therefore, if you have specific questions about the Making Home Affordable program and your own eligibility, first check to see if Fannie or Freddie is backing your loan.  If they are, pick up the phone and call me to plan your next steps.

The program ends June 10, 2010.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Stupid products for stupid people

Sometimes, I really wonder just how stupid some of these companies are.  Even worse are the people that buy the products.  Well, I have found quite possibly the dumbest get rich quick scheme I've seen in a while, and while it is highly amusing, it leaves me scratching my head.

Introducing the jumpsnap, the worlds most expensive jump rope.  The catch you ask?  NO ROPE!  That's right folks, you too can own a set of plastic handles that can seemingly give you the illusion that you are jumping over a rope.  At $40 a pop, I'd say you should feel violated if you purchased this particular product. Check it out here for a good laugh, www.jumpsnap.com.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Temecula food: Chronic Tacos, get your fix

Temecula, Ca – Is it the middle of the afternoon and you’re seriously hungry? Well, you are in luck. Chronic Tacos is your fix. Located in the Tower Plaza center off Rancho California Rd in Temecula, Chronic Tacos offers a wide array of Mexican-American food. Picky eater? Chronic Tacos has everything from Burritos to breakfast and tacos to tamales. They even have a catering menu suited to serve 10, 25, or 50 person parties.

We were just cruising around without a plan when we happened upon this little gold nugget eatery. Being vegetarian, we are skeptical of restaurants. Will there be anything we can eat? Are they going to be irritated if we ask questions? As soon as we looked at the menu, I was happy. Not only are there a ton of different veggie options, they also have a potato taco for only $1.09! Plus, all of the staff members were friendly and knowledgeable about the food, and willing to answer anything we asked.

Our “picky eater” got a Potato Taco with only cheese and my husband and I each got a Veggie Taco. I asked, “What are you veggie options?” The cook (who ended up being one of the owners) said that I could have any of the rice, beans, salsa, and toppings as well, he would sauté up some fajita veggies if I wanted. Of course we both opted for the huge stack of sizzling red, orange and yellow peppers and onions. We asked about the rice. As most veg*ns know, most restaurants use chicken or beef stock to make their rice. Chronic Tacos uses water and spices to make their two kinds of rice, White Lime and Spanish.

Carnivores need not worry. If meat is your thing, Chronic Tacos has plenty of it. Take your pick from Carne Asada, Pollo Asada, Carnitas, Al Pastor (spicy pork), Breaded Fish (Tecate beer battered Mahi-Mahi), Grilled Fish, and Shrimp. Any of these options can be added to your burrito, tostada or taco. Or if you are in the mood for breakfast, try a chorizo, machaca, or gringo burrito (egg, potato and bacon). Just thirsty? Chronic Tacos offer fountain drinks, Rockstar, bottled water and beer by the bottle or glass.

The best part about Chronic Tacos is the price. Nothing on the menu is more than $7.50 (not including catering menu) with most prices falling between $3 and $6. In the near future, Chronic Tacos will be hosting live music in the evenings for your listening pleasure. So go have yourself some Chronic! Check them out online at www.eatchronictacos.com, or call the Temecula restaurant at 951-491-0373. Temecula’s Chronic Tacos is located at 27523 Ynez Rd, Temecula, Ca 92591.

If you are interested in playing at Chronic Tacos in Temecula, they are looking for mellow acoustic performers over 21 years old. Please contact Nick Newcomer at 949-929-4768.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Get in Line for Your $18,000

Feeling left out watching the Government doling out gajillions of dollars to all these failing banks, car manufacturers, states (ours) and other businesses?  Just in case you missed it, the Federal government wants to give YOU money too.  To help revive the housing market, the Federal government is offering an $8,000 tax credit to all first time home buyers (FTHB's) who qualify.  What is a tax credit?  A tax credit is not a deduction or reduction of your taxable income, it is a literal dollar for dollar amount of money the IRS will give you if you purchase a home before November 31st, 2009.  So if you normally get $100 back after filing taxes, next year you would get $8,100!

The $8,000 Federal Tax Credit is:

  1. Non Repayable (unless you sell the home before 3 years of ownership).

  2. Available to FTHB who occupy the home (not for buying a home to rent out).

  3. Has income limits of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples.

Our California government also jumped on the bandwagon of giving money away to help both home builders and home buyers like you, but with a few different criteria.

Details on the California $10,000 Tax Credit:

  1. Available to ALL home buyers purchasing owner occupied homes (don't have to be a first timer).

  2. Must purchase home before March 1, 2010.

  3. Property/home must be a new built home.

  4. No income restrictions/limitations

  5. Non-repayable unless you sell the home within two years.

  6. The credit is paid back to you over a three year period.

  7. Funds are limited, on a first come basis to $100,000,000.

So far there have been 1,710 applications for the California tax credit.  So hurry up and decide if you want to buy a home before the money runs out.  Guess what?  Add the tax credits together and the $18,000 dollars would pay your mortgage payment for about 11 months!  This could be your own personal bailout.

To read more about the tax credits, have questions about how to buy a home, or anything else having to do with Real Estate or home loan financing, check out my blogsite.

What does this mean for our local Inland Empire residents who rely so heavily on the housing market?  These incentives will help sell off the existing inventory of both existing and newly built homes and get rid of all those for sale signs that say 'Bank Owned' on them.  When this happens, builders will start building more homes, ordering materials, and hiring more workers.   All of which will help stabilize our local economy.  The tax credits, which put cold hard cash back into a home buyers pocket, should spur spending on things like home improvement, car purchases, entertainment, paying off debt, and much more.