Chicago Life and Style.

Your Home. Your Life. Your Style

Month: May, 2009

Mortgage Rates Up, and Up, and Up again!!

Mortgage rates rose THREE times today. According to RWF Mortgage, LLC, the average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage will be 5.625% by tomorrow. Last week, that same benchmark was at 4.75%.  Its often said that the housing market is one of the first to get started again when the economy improves. Perhaps all the news of things getting better has gone to the mortgage industries’ head.  But, under 6% is still a tremendous deal.  And, if you are one of those people sitting on the fence and debating whether or not to make the move into home ownership, this is yet another push. We may very well be at the bottom of the market–and that’s another way of saying there may never be as good an opportunity to pick up your perfect home at a great price and finance it at a great rate.  Do something optimistic–start looking today!

Preakness Winner Is -gasp- a GIRL!!

Ok, so I am a little late getting this up but its such a worthy topic, I’m doing it anyway.  Saturday was the Preakness–for those of you that don’t know or care–it’s the second leg of the Triple Crown series of horse races. The Derby winner was running but with a new jockey. The reason the champion jockey (Calvin Borel) wouldn’t be on his mount is because a new entry was put into the race at the somewhat last minute. A filly (girl horse) named Rachel Alexandra.  Calvin knew her from riding her before and gave up riding the Derby winner so he could ride Rachel because he felt she was so good.

Now, leading up to the race several of the most recognizable names in racing–Bob Baffert for one–tried to have Rachel disqualified.  Why?  ‘Cause she’s a girl.  Yes, that’s right, no other reason. There is no rule that says the Preakness can only be run by boys, they just knew how good she was and didn’t want to get shown up by a girl. Luckily there are enough horsewomen with influence who objected so strongly, they had to let Rachel run.

Well, Rachel didn’t just run, I am absolutely delighted to say that she won–convincingly.  And she won even though Calvin said she didn’t like the track and was struggling at the end. I have never cheered so loudly for a horse race and may never do so again! Even my daughter got excited and started cheering because mom was so into it!

The best part of this story is that just two weeks before the race Rachel belonged to someone who scoffed at the idea–he didn’t think girls .  He spoke quite animatedly and publicly about his objection to such an idea. But then he sold Rachel to a more enlightened owner who scoffed right back and said “Champions should run with champions”.  Way to go buddy! I won’t be silly enough to try and overlay this situation over any larger societal issues, but it sure was nice to see a girl beat the odds in such a wonderful, fashionable way.

Housing Market to Stabilize This Summer

Everyone has been saying that things are looking up but everyone has been exceedingly cautious about putting a time frame on the supposed recovery. Well, Sam Zell was brave enough to do so in front of an audience of 2,000 at the ICSC convention in Vegas.  He said things will look up this summer–yep, that’s summer of THIS year, 2009.  I’ve been to the ICSC convention during my years in commercial real estate and I say it’s not insignificant that he chose that venue to make the assertion. Although it would have made news if he had said it in Podunk Town, America, that fact that he said it at such a large, well-known, industry gathering speaks to his confidence in his foresight. Full article here http://www.chicagorealestatedaily.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=34086

Let’s hope he’s right!

GREAT opportunity! Attention First Time Homebuyers

So, things are tough out there. We all know it. They’ve been tough for a while and they will continue to be tough for a while longer. But, we are not at the end of the world, really, we aren’t.  I read some interesting statistics that compared our current crisis to the Great Depression–we aren’t even close to the lows that this country has seen and survived before.  It doesn’t feel like it now, but we will not only survive this–we will live to thrive again!  Ok, enough pep talk. 

Most everyone has heard of the $8,000 tax credit that is being offered to qualifying first time home buyers.  We all know that’s a good thing but a lot of us don’t really know what that means, its something that happens after the fact and its a concept most of us aren’t used to thinking about or dealing with, and that can be scary. Well.  Things just got less scary.  The FHA has just approved use of the tax credit as part of your down payment! Yep, that means that AT CLOSING you are getting the benefit.  Now that is a compelling advantage. Read more at http://www.housingwire.com/2009/05/12/fha-preps-tax-credit-for-down-payment-use/

So, if you have the slightest inkling to make the leap into home ownership, now is the time.  Yes, it will take courage to make such an optimistic move, but what a great return on that optimism, a home of your own!  Things WILL get better and this crisis will become a memory but your home will still be there, something to enjoy and celebrate for many years to come.  There may not be another time that there are so many incentives to make the move so if it makes sense for you–take advantage!!

Attention CTA Commuters!!

The CTA has come up with a system that will email or text you when your bus will be arriving!  Isn’t that cool?!  I used to live at Irving Park and Lakeshore Dr and I spent many a frigid morning standing in the 80 mph wind off the lake waiting for my bus.  Often one or several was delayed so there would be 20 minutes of nothing and then four arrived at once.  Had this been in place back then–I could have gone back inside and waited instead of turning into an icicle!  Check it out here http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-cta-bus-tracker-12-may12,0,5939804.story

Its in the first stages so of course, there will be bugs and tweaks to make before its perfect, but for the sake of all the bus riders out there–may your commute be easy, short and comfortable!