The Lending Coach

Coaching and teaching - many through the mortgage process and others on the field

Great Christmas Gifts for the Baseball Minded

Paul Petricca’s Hitting With Torque

This is a fantastic read – not only from the physical adjustments that must be made, but to the mental side, as well. Get in your ready hitting position early, players!

Paul is the hitting coach at Wheaton College in Chicago, and I know him pretty well. He works with both softball and baseball players to maximize their power from the ground up.

Ken Ravizza and Tom Hanson’s Heads-Up Baseball 2.0

Two of my favorite and “go-to” mental guys in the baseball world are Dr. Ken Ravizza and Tom Hanson.  I’ve mentioned them before – and I’d highly recommend that you read their book and take it to heart.

Steve Springer’s Quality At-Bats “Mental Side” CD

Steve Springer is the former mental hitting instructor for the Toronto Blue Jays and one of the best instructors out there.  I’d invite you to visit Quality At-Bats site to find out more about him. His “Mental Side” CDs are fantastic and can really help a player learn how to find the right mental state prior to competition.

Jeff Passan’s The Arm

For three years, Jeff Passan, the lead baseball columnist for Yahoo Sports, has traveled the world to better understand the mechanics of the arm and its place in the sport’s past, present, and future.

Totally worth the read for parents and players

Zepp Baseball Swing Analyzer

The Zepp product helps players by giving information on everything imaginable From hand speed to the amount of time it takes to make an impact, this device provides a wide variety of data. It can even help by pairing to the camera on your phone or tablet to create HD videos that players can use. Hitters can compare their videos to the 3D models that the tracker makes.

This device can create custom training programs to help the hitter figure out what they need to do to improve.

Refinance 101 – Now Is The Time To Estimate Your Monthly Savings

Tapping into home equity with a mortgage refinance is becoming very popular for many borrowers.

Many borrowers can now save hundreds, possibly thousands on their overall monthly payments by consolidating debt inside of a new mortgage.

As housing values across the country have appreciated nearly 35% over the last 5 years, homeowners now have access to a much larger source of equity.

With current mortgage rates still historically low and home equity on the rise, it’s a perfect time to refinance your mortgage to save not only on your overall monthly payments, but your overall interest costs as well – and take best advantage of today’s tax implications.

Improve Your Debt Profile

Using a refinance to reduce or consolidate other debt like credit cards, student loans, home-equity lines, and car payments is a great reason for a cash-out refinance.

We can look at the weighted average interest rate on a borrower’s credit cards and other liabilities to determine whether moving the debt to a mortgage will get them a lower rate.  Some borrowers are saving thousands per month by consolidating their debt through their mortgage.

An Example

Let’s assume that you purchased your home 6 years ago (or longer) for $270,000 and you currently have a little less than $200,000 remaining on your existing mortgage.

Well, that home today may well be worth in excess of $350,000!

Even if you’ve refinanced since and have an interest rate in the 4% range, if you have any other sources of debt, a refinance will most likely result in a large monthly savings.

Debt List

Let’s assume you have a debt list that looks something like this – or a combination of similar liabilities:

A few credit cards, a car payment, and a student loan (or even a home-equity line of credit) can easily total nearly $50,000 overall and over $1,000 per month.  Many of the customers that work with me are in situations very similar to the one listed above.

New Payment and Monthly Savings

So, when you combine all of your liabilities into the mortgage, here’s what your new overall payment looks like:

Note that the monthly savings is nearly $900 per month!!

New Loan

Here’s what a new refinanced loan might look like:

Your loan amount has increased by about $50,000 – and your mortgage interest rate has also increase by over 1.25%. However, your OVERALL interest rate of all debt will most likely be similar to where you are today (assuming credit card debt is more like 15% or more). Also, you will only have one payment to manage – versus balancing multiple payments.

Better Options

Now, let’s do a little more math…

Let’s say you take that $900 in savings every month and apply it to the new mortgage:

That’s right – you would save $55,000 over the life of the loan and reduce your number of payments by 213! You would be turning your 30-year mortgage into a 12.25 year version.

The numbers are staggering.  One other thing to do would be to check with your CPA or financial advisor, as the interest on the new loan would most likely be tax deductible, whereas any home equity lines and credit card interest are generally not tax deductible.

Please do reach out to me right away and we can take a look at your current scenario to see if a refinance might be a good option for you, as it would be my privilege to help!

 

Home Pricing Data Explained: Continued Appreciation Expected

Many buyers ask me about home prices, interest rates, and if now is a good time to buy.

Some are disappointed that they didn’t make a move 18 months ago and have decided to “wait and see” in hopes that prices and interest rates will actually go down.

The Forecast Data

The graphic shown above is very, very important for current and would-be homeowners, as well as those in the real-estate profession in general.

Home prices are continuing their solid rates of appreciation – and most experts believe they will keep climbing into 2019, although not as rapidly.

The graph above shows that home prices escalated 5.6% year-over-year – and that the CoreLogic forecast for 2019 is that housing will continue to appreciate at a 4.7% clip.

It’s really important to understand that home prices are in no way projected to go down.  They are just increasing at a slower rate than over the last 2 years.

Many potential buyers are sitting on the fence, waiting to see if the market has “topped-out”, but as you can see, this is not the case.

You can find out more about why there is no bubble and why 2018 looks nothing like 2007 here…

The CoreLogic/Case-Shiller indexes help securities investors, mortgage banks, servicing operations, and government agencies make property valuations, assess and manage risk, mitigate losses, and control appraisal quality.

In essence, these guys are the best in the business in real-estate pricing data and forecasting.  Interestingly, their forecasts have actually been quite conservative – they’ve been on the low side when predicting appreciation over the last few years.

Yes, forecasted growth will most likely slow some, but not by much…and remember, this shows that appreciation is increasing at a slower rate, not a loss in value.

Interest Rates

Secondly, based on the latest economic data and comments from the Federal Reserve, there’s very good reason to believe that interest rates will continue their ascent.  You can find out more about that here….

Now is not the time to sit on the sidelines if you are looking to purchase residential real estate.  If you wait another 18 months, I’m sure you will be looking back wondering why you didn’t act in 2018.

If you would like to discuss this more in detail, please do reach out to me, as it would be my pleasure to help!

2018 Is Not 2007 All Over Again (and it’s not even close)

I hear a lot of sentiment from buyers and agents that the current housing market is the same as 2007.

In essence, are we on the verge of another financial crash?

Is 2018 just 2007 all over again? Are we looking at a new real estate bubble?

Well, I can’t tell you if we are going to have another housing correction, but I can tell you that if we do, it will not be because of the same market dynamics as 2007.

As a matter of fact, many believe now is a very good time to purchase residential real estate because of today’s economic environment.

The mortgage market and collateralization of homes is simply different today then it was back then.

I’d invite you to check out a few resources to find out more – Mike Nelson at Efficient Lending and The Motley Fool

A Real Estate Bubble?

A bubble is simply a sudden escalation in the price of an asset class, such as housing, due to increased demand or speculation.

Per The Motley Fool…“In real estate, bubbles take place in the housing market, commercial property, or, simply, land, and all have been a popular target for speculators over U.S. history since there’s a constant need for real estate and housing, banks are generally†willing to lend money for real estate and housing purchases, and its high value can allow for large profits.”

Though housing prices are on the rise today and are outpacing wage growth and inflation, it’s nothing like the housing bubble of the 2000’s as the economy is continuing to expand and stocks are growing at an even faster pace.

In reality, the last six years have not seen the kind of explosive rise in home prices that impacted cities like Las Vegas and Miami a decade ago.

In Las Vegas, for example, home prices jumped 130% from 2000 to 2006, surging a whopping 46% in 2004 alone. Meanwhile, in Miami, home prices skyrocketed 165% from 2000 to 2006, but especially heated up the last two years of that time frame rising 62%.

Even in the hottest real estate markets today like San Francisco and Seattle, prices have not accelerated like this. That’s a sign that the market is not falling victim to the type of euphoria and speculation that causes asset prices to skyrocket.

Mortgage Rates and Their Impact

There may be no more impact factor in influencing home prices than interest rates, as low interest rates encourage homebuying as the majority of homebuyers use a mortgage to a buy a new home. The lower the mortgage rate, the less the actual cost of their monthly payment would be, effectively making the home cheaper to buy for them.

According to most analysts, mortgage rates will likely cool off the housing market and slow the increase in housing prices down.

During the housing bubble of a decade ago, mortgage rates were lower than average, hovering around 6%, but still above today’s lows. In other words, low mortgage rates can encourage a bubble-like atmosphere, but it is just one of many factors that come into play.

Some experts believe that rising mortgage rates have encouraged home buying, as homebuyers want to lock in low rates while they still can. If that proves to be the case, higher mortgage rates will eventually cool off the housing market.

Therefore, real estate prices are more likely to go up when rates are low or falling, while rising rates are likely to tighten the market or cool off home purchasing, assuming all other things remain equal.

To Buy or Not To Buy

It’s almost impossible to say when the real estate market will peak, and homebuyers and investors are best off monitoring the local economic climate in their areas.

Some speculation is a normal part of the real estate market, but the rampant home-flipping we saw during the housing bubble of the 2000’s was a clear sign of something not right as was the expansion in subprime lending.

Home prices will pull back at some point just as the economy will eventually slow.

However, many of the factors that led to the last bubble such as lax lending standards, excess supply, and rampant home flipping, seem to be mostly absent from today’s real estate market.

Sources: Mike Nelson at Efficient Lending and The Motley Fool

Arizona FCA – Run Your Race

I’m really grateful to be a supporter of a great organization, the Arizona Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The FCA mission is to lead every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His church

 

Please do join us for a morning of running and fun for the FCA Run Your Race 5K or 1 mile fun run/walk.

When: December 1st, 2018

Where: Sandra Day O’Connor High School

What time: 8:00am to 10:00am

Registration: https://fca.regfox.com/arizonafca5krunwalk

This is a great opportunity to get out with others for a great morning of activity and fellowship – I hope to see you there!

FHA and Conventional Mortgage Options – Which is Better?

I’m often asked about the different types of loans available for those with a limited down payment.  The main options are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conventional mortgages or FHA loans.  But which one is best?

The FHA versus conventional analysis involves taking a look at your credit score, your available down payment, and your long-term financial goals.

Let’s take a look at all 3 issues:

1. Credit score – buyers with low-to-average credit scores may be better off with an FHA loan. FHA mortgage rates are generally slightly lower than conventional ones for applicants with lower credit, and FHA loans allow credit scores down to 580.

2. Down payment – borrowers can come in with a lower down payment with conventional products, at just 3% down. FHA requires 3.5% percent down.

3. Long-term goals – conventional mortgage insurance can be cancelled when the home achieves 20% equity. FHA mortgage insurance is payable for the life of the loan and can only be canceled with a refinance. Buyers who plan to stay in the home five to ten years may opt for conventional, as the FHA mortgage insurance can add up over time.

For a more, I’d invite you to visit the source at The Mortgage Reports and Dan Green’s post.

FHA Or Conventional – Which is Superior?

There are a multitude of low-down payment options for today’s home buyers but most will choose between the FHA 3.5% down payment program and conventional options such as HomeReady, Home Possible, and Conventional 97.

So, which loan is better? That will depend on your circumstance.

For example, in deciding between an FHA loan and a conventional option, the borrower’s individual credit score matters greatly. This is because the credit score determines whether the borrower is program-eligible; and, it affects the monthly mortgage payment, too.

FHA loans are available with credit scores of 580 or better. The conventional options, by contrast, require a minimum credit score of 620.

Therefore, if your credit score is between 580 and 620, the FHA loan is essentially the only available option.

As your credit score increases, though, the conventional options become more attractive. Your mortgage rate drops due to the lower score and your mortgage insurance costs do, too. This is different from how FHA loans work.

You can find out much more about mortgage insurance here….

With an FHA loan, your mortgage rate and MIP cost the same no matter what your FICO score.

Therefore, over the long-term, borrowers with above-average credit score will typically find conventional loans more economical relative to FHA ones.

In the short-term, though, FHA loans generally win out.

A Second Thought

One main consideration has to be the length of time you would expect to “keep” this mortgage. 

Borrowers should take into consideration that FHA MIP is forever but conventional mortgage insurance goes away at 80% loan-to-value. This means that, over time, your conventional option can become a better value — especially for borrowers with high credit scores.

It’s hard to know for how long you’ll hold a loan, though. Sometimes, we expect to live in a home for the rest of our lives and then our circumstances change. Or, sometimes mortgage rates drop and we’ve given the opportunity to refinance.

As a general rule, though, in rising-value housing market, if you plan to stay in the same home with the same mortgage for longer than six years, the conventional 97 may be your better long-term fit.

One other thing to consider is upfront charges.

The FHA charges a separate mortgage insurance premium at the time of closing known as Upfront MIP. Upfront MIP costs 1.75% of your loan size, is generally added to your balance, and is non-recoverable except via the FHA Streamline Refinance.

Upfront MIP is a cost. The conventional versions do not charge a fee.

FHA vs Conventional Infographic

 

Image Courtesy of  The Mortgage Reports

You can find out much, much more about low-down payment options, as well as the specifics of these loans here.

For today’s low down payment home buyers, there are scenarios in which the FHA loan is what’s best for financing and there are others in which the conventional option is the clear winner. Rates for both products should be reviewed and evaluated.

It would be my pleasure to help you find the version that’s most optimal for your situation, so please do contact me for more details!

3% Down Payment Options with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Home purchasing has just become a lot easier for a large number of potential buyers. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the country’s two main mortgage giants, now have programs for home purchases with just a 3% down payment.

 

If you’re shopping for a low down payment mortgage, there are options as low as 3% down!

By the way, that’s even lower than FHA requires.

A 20% down payment is considered ideal when buying a home, but saving up that much can be a challenge.  The good news is there are a number of low down payment mortgages available today.

Many homebuyers assume they need impeccable credit scores to qualify for a loan that requires just 3% down. That’s not the case, either.

Here are some of the programs available:

Fannie Mae’s HomeReady

With its new HomeReady mortgage, the giant mortgage backer looks to help first time homebuyers and repeat buyers alike.

Here are few of the highlights of the HomeReady mortgage program:

  • As little as 3% down payment
  • Lower private mortgage insurance costs
  • Down payment sources include gifts, cash-on-hand, and down payment assistance programs.
  • Use income from non-occupant co-borrowers to qualify
  • Income from non-borrowing household members helps your approval.
  • “Boarder income” (income from a roommate) helps you qualify.

Fannie Mae’s HomeReady low down payment home loan allows for buyers to obtain loans up to $453,100 with as little as 3% down.

The borrower(s) must live in the home, so you can’t buy second homes or investment properties. You can buy two- to four-unit properties as long as you’re living in one of the units, but your down payment requirements will increase if you buy a two to four-unit property.

Income Limits for the HomeReady Mortgage

Income limits are set by geographical areas for this particular loan program. In underserved areas, there are no income limits. In more economically developed areas, Fannie Mae has limited the amount of money HomeReady applicants can make.

Essentially, this policy ensures the program is reserved for the ones who need it most. The following is a breakdown of income limits.

  • Properties in low-income census tracts: no income limit
  • Homes in high-minority areas and designated disaster areas: 100% of the area’s median income
  • Properties in any other area: 100% of the area’s median income

For instance, a home buyer in Los Angeles County finds a home within an area that limits income to 100% of the median income. The median income for Los Angeles is $67,200 so that is the most the buyer can make and still buy the home.

If the borrower makes more than this, he or she could find a home in an underserved area with no income limit. Upon a successful home search, he or she could use HomeReady.

Fannie Mae has published HomeReady eligibility maps for each state that detail each geographical area. It can be difficult to see the exact boundaries. Be sure to check the property address of the home you want to buy and your income by contacting me here….and there is a mandatory home counseling class that must be done online for a small fee.

Home Ready mortgages do require mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance is an extra fee on top of the monthly mortgage payment. You can find out more about mortgage insurance here….

For more, see Tim Lucas’ post at My Mortgage Insider

Freddie Mac’s Home Possible (and Home Possible Advantage)

Home Possible and Home Possible Advantage are two conventional loan programs created by Freddie Mac. They are affordable given their smaller 3% to 5% down payment requirement. The one that’s right for you will depend upon your income, the type property you wish to finance, and property location.

Both the Home Possible and Home Possible Advantage programs help primarily first-time home buyers. With that said, neither program restricts “move-up” buyers.

However, to use either program you cannot have an ownership interest in any other residential property.

For example, if you are a move-up buyer, you must sell your current home before taking on a Home Possible loan.

Both programs are used for purchases or refinances. In the case of refinances, no cash-outs are allowed. Refinances can only be used to change the interest rate or term, as would be the case when switching from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage.

Home Possible Down Payments

Many mortgage programs require that some of the down payment funds come from the borrower. Home Possible mortgages allow funds from a variety of sources to help you reach the 3% to 5% down requirement. Money used for your down payment can come from:

  • Family and friends
  • Affordable seconds programs (federal, state or municipal programs that provide down payment assistance)
  • Employee assistance programs

If family and friends help you with gift funds, you and your donors will need to sign a mortgage gift letter – a legal document that states all funds are truly a gift, not a temporary loan you’d pay back.

Home Possible Income Limits

Because the Home Possible loan programs are designed for low to moderate-income borrowers, income limits apply. To be eligible for either mortgage program, your income cannot exceed the Area Median Income (AMI) where the property is located.

There are a few exceptions to the income limit guidelines. The first exception is in high-cost areas, as you’d find near big cities. In more expensive areas, higher incomes are allowed. For example, 140% of AMI will still qualify in some parts of California.

Second, there’s no borrower income limit in rural or underserved areas. The easiest way to determine your local income limits and property eligibility (e.g. underserved area) are to search using Freddie Mac’s income and property eligibility tool.

Home Possible mortgages do require mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance is an extra fee on top of the monthly mortgage payment. You can find out more about mortgage insurance here…. and there is a mandatory home counseling class that must be done online.

Conventional 97

This low down payment home loan allows for first-time buyers to obtain a loan up to $453,100 with 3% down. It must be used for a primary residence, so this loan isn’t available for a 2nd home.

The difference between this program and Fannie’s Home Ready version, is that there are NO income limits or geographic restrictions.

You can use your own funds or gift funds from a family member for the down payment, and the home must be an owner-occupied single unit home (including condos).

Conventional 97 Loan Limits

Loan limits are the maximum loan amount available to borrowers who wish to take out a mortgage. Loan limits are set by county (and sometimes at a more granular level). A price adjustment is made so that the maximum loan amount reflects average home prices surrounding the property.

Borrowers get a little more headroom to the upside when buying in a big city than rural areas. So there are two core limits outlined below: the first one applies to most counties across the United States and second one applies to big metro areas. Fannie Mae provides a search tool to find conventional loan limits by property address. Conventional 97 loan limits are as follows:

  • $453,100 in most counties
  • $679,650 in high-cost areas

Conventional 97 mortgages are 30-year fixed loans, and do require mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance is an extra fee on top of the monthly mortgage payment. You can find out more about mortgage insurance here….

As you can see, there are plenty of low down-payment options available to borrowers today please do reach out to me for more information, as it would be my pleasure to help!

Rising Interest Rates and Increasing Property Values – Updated Forecast 2018-2019

The question asked to me most often over the last few months is “is now a good time to buy?”

Many potential buyers are concerned about rising rates and property values. And yes – both are going up.

My answer to their question might surprise you – as I truly believe now is a great time to purchase real estate.

Purchasing Today – Why Now?

It was clearly more advantageous to purchase real estate last year, when looking through the rear view mirror.  But I’m convinced that purchasing today will be MUCH better than this time next year.

Why?  Well, for one, property values are increasing at over 5% per year, so that home you are looking at today will most likely be 4-5% more expensive next year.

Secondly, the Federal Reserve has signaled 3 to 4 more interest rate hikes over the next 15 months, the next most likely coming in December of this year.

So, let’s be clear about the fact that most experts agree that both prices and rates will most likely be higher next year versus today.

Why the shift?  Read on for more….

First: The Good News – and There’s Lots of It

Unemployment is at it’s lowest level since 1969.

“This is the best job market in a generation or more,” said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at recruiting site Glassdoor.

Unemployment rates below 4% are extremely rare in 70 years of modern record-keeping. The two longest sustained periods came during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, when the combination of strong growth and the enlistment of young men from the civilian labor force helped to largely wring unemployment out of the economy.

Real wages were up nearly 3% in August of this year.

Per the Wall St. Journal, the Atlanta Fed’s “wage tracker” showed a 3.2% increase year-over-year for June. Most encouraging is the report of a bounce in labor productivity growth in the second quarter to 2.9%. That’s the best jump since the first quarter of 2015,

Home prices are rising steadily at over 5% year-over-year.

Home price gains are starting to decelerate (they are growing, but at a slower rate than last year)— but they’re still strong and are running well ahead of wage gains and inflation.

Inflation, the arch enemy of bonds and interest rates – is holding at the federal reserve target of 2%.

In a speech last week, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell suggested he sees little urgency to accelerate the central bank’s pace of interest-rate increases or to signal a more restrictive policy path ahead, in part because inflation is so low and stable.

Rates Today – and What We Can Expect

The stronger than expected economic data released over the last weeks and months are actually bad news for mortgage rates, and rates reached their highest levels in many years.

Last Wednesday’s bond rout sent the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note, a closely watched barometer of investors’ sentiment toward growth and inflation, to its highest level since July 2011. Risky assets rallied, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record and crude-oil prices to multiyear highs.

Together, the moves suggested investors are once again growing more and more about future growth, a shift from the more cautious outlook that many held for much of the year.

Interestingly, mortgage interest rates don’t necessarily move in step with the federal funds rate, as they are more closely tied to the 10-year Treasury Bond. So, borrowers today looking to get a mortgage aren’t directly affected by the latest Fed hike.

However, the federal funds rate does contribute to the longer-term trends of the 10-year Treasury, and long-term fixed mortgages as a result.

Here’s a little perspective on average mortgage rates since 2000:

Graph Courtesy MarketWatch

With the Fed likely lifting rates multiple times over the next year plus, the trend for long-term mortgage rates is up. It would not surprise me to see 6% interest rates in 2019.

Here’s a piece I wrote earlier this year that outlines more regarding rates and what we can expect in 2019…

The Bond Market and Interest Rates

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.7%, its lowest level since 1969, the Labor Department reported Friday. Average hourly earnings, meanwhile, rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% from August—the third straight month of solid, inflation-beating gains.

Fed officials raised their benchmark short-term rate last week and penciled in four more quarter-percentage-point increases through the end of 2019. That would lift the rate to a range between 3% and 3.25%. Until recently, many investors doubted the Fed would go that far.

The Fed is raising rates to keep the economy from overheating. If the economy becomes “too strong”, that could send inflation higher, and the Fed doesn’t want that to happen. They combat inflation by raising interest rates.

In essence, the bond market is starting to believe the Federal Reserve.

Finally, I’d invite you to read this article on how rising interest rates are not deterring buyers in today’s market…

What About Another Bubble?

Many clients are talking about a potential bubble, and they don’t want to be on the wrong side of it, if it were to burst.

However, most economists are not the slightest bit concerned about this.

Why? It’s about supply and demand. And the supply is tight. It isn’t forecasted to meet demand until sometime in 2021 or beyond.

Actually, it’s the lack of supply and the accompanying home prices quickly rising are the sources of market headaches.   Remember your Economics 101 class on supply and demand? When supply is down and demand increases, prices move up.

In reality, the supply shortage is a much better problem to have, compared to a demand shortage. The current problem also portends no meaningful price decline nor an impending foreclosure crisis. Rather, there is a good possibility for solid home sales growth once the supply issue is steadily addressed.

As to new home building activity, housing starts did fall by a double-digit percentage in June, as mentioned above, but are up 7.8% year-to-date to June.

More will need to be built, as there is still a shortage. As more homes are built, an additional boost will be provided to the local economy along with more local job creations.

In Conclusion

So, it is safe to say that we will continue to see pressures in the bond market and mortgage interest rates overall. These increases do look to be gradual for the time being, but consistent and into 2019, for sure.

With that said, home prices are increasing nationally at over 5%, so the increase in interest rate will be more than offset by the increasing value of one’s home!

Secondly, home buying power is still extraordinarily high, despite rising home prices and rate hikes.

Find out more about that here.

In reality, now is a fantastic time to purchase. Contact me for more information, as it would by my privilege to help you.

References:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/bond-investors-catch-up-with-feds-plans-1538767826

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lawrenceyun/2018/08/02/no-housing-recession-over-horizon/#3d8212a5f79c

https://www.wsj.com/articles/real-wages-are-rising-1536359667

Hitters: Never Be Satisfied – Torque Hitting and 4 Key Things

I’ve linked to Paul Petricca’s Torque Hitting before (his blog is here and I highly recommend his book which can be found here).

Paul is back as the hitting coach at Wheaton College in Chicago, and I know him pretty well. He works with both softball and baseball players to maximize their power from the ground up.

I‘m a believer of what he teaches. I love his passion for hitting…and the commitment he has to his players.

Here are a few excerpts from one of his torque hitting blog post, entitled “Hitters Should Never Be Satisfied”:

“As a hitting coach, it is difficult for me to observe the “real” swings of my hitters until they are in the batter’s box in live games. The goal of every hitter should be to use the same hitting mechanics in games as they do in the batting cage. Unfortunately, many hitters struggle with this.”

Hitters…

  • Don’t be content, even if you are leading your team in hitting.
  • Continue to search for small ways to generate extra power by using your body more effectively.
  • Strive for more consistency by continually working on perfecting every hitting key, which will lead to a repeatable swing.
  • Transfer your batting practice swing to games.
  • Never be satisfied!

Here are 4 of his torque hitting hitting keys….

Hands Back

Even though I can objectively prove to my hitters with a swing speed radar that by merely moving the hands back toward the catcher a few inches, bat speed will increase dramatically, some don’t trust this advice in games.

They move their hands in towards their body in an effort to be “quicker to the ball”. This only leads to a slower bat and less power. I’m convinced that most hitters don’t want to accept this very simple fix to their swing, because they want to look “cool”. They see professional hitters with their hands and bats in all kinds of crazy positions before the pitch is thrown.

What they don’t see is how all professional hitters move their hands back toward the catcher at some point before the pitch is thrown. They can get away with some pre-swing bat movement, but amateur hitters cannot!

Powerful Load

Hitters who adopt a leg lift that is slow and powerful will enjoy both increased power and consistency. Hitters who decide not to lift the front leg at all will be at the mercy of pitchers who are able to effectively pitch on the corners of home plate. They will have to reach for outside pitches and will be forced to swing earlier than necessary for inside pitches.

I tell my hitters that hitting success begins with a slow and powerful leg lift (load). Without this important hitting key, the entire swing sequence is negatively affected. In my book, Hitting With Torque: For Baseball and Softball Hitters, I detail why lifting the front leg is imperative to be a complete hitter.

Back Elbow Rotation

The most common cause of inconsistency in hitters, especially fastpitch softball players, is the collapsing of the back elbow as the swing sequence is initiated. When hitters move the back elbow close to their bodies as the swing begins, the bat quickly loses the important 45-degree power angle.

This angle is critical for consistent hard contact with the ball. The back elbow should be totally still as it rotates around the body. This rotation without lowering the back elbow will ensure the angle of the bat is maintained until the arms move toward full extension at impact with the ball.

High Finish

In practice, I encourage my hitters to let the bat finish where “it” wants to finish, which is high and away from the body. Average hitters will often manually change the path of the bat (higher or lower) before the swing is fully completed. Not only does this affect the flight of the ball, it also decreases bat speed and power.

Some coaches and hitters erroneously believe that where the bat finishes is not important. They contend the ball is already gone, so it doesn’t matter where the bat finishes. I believe the velocity and trajectory of the ball off the bat has everything to do with the path and finish of the swing.

Ask any professional golfer the key to a successful swing. They will always point to a balanced, powerful, and high finish to the swing. When hitters focus on the end of the swing and trust the rest of the swing sequence, the results are typically very good!

Both baseball and softball players alike can take a ton away from what Coach Petricca is saying here….and best of luck to Paul and his Wheaton team this upcoming season!

VA Loans: Some Specifics and Fee Structures

Veterans Affairs mortgages, better known as VA loans, offer considerable benefits for eligible military veterans, service members and spouses who want to buy a home.

What makes the VA loan so attractive to veterans is that they offer no down-payment loans and more lenient credit and income requirements than conventional and FHA mortgages.

With that said, there is some confusion surrounding what can and can’t be charged to the veteran at closing. The article below will outline some of the benefits of the VA loan as well as the fee structure associated with the loan.

The Specifics

VA loans generally offer more competitive rates compared to conventional financing. In many cases, these loans consistently offer the lowest rates on the market, according to reports by mortgage software firm Ellie Mae.

VA mortgages are made through private lenders and are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, so they don’t require private mortgage insurance, known as PMI.

Most members of the regular military, veterans, reservists and National Guard are eligible to apply for a VA loan. Spouses of military members who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability also can apply.

The Details and Fee Structures

The seller is allowed to pay all of the veteran’s closing costs, up to 4% of the home price. So, it is possible to avoid paying anything out of pocket to close your home purchase.

If you have little or no funds available for closing cost, let your real estate agent know that you are purchasing your home with a VA loan. Your agent may be able to request that the seller pay for some or all of your closing costs.

Also, the VA limits the amount of fees the lender can charge. This is a great benefit to the VA loan.

Fees Not Allowed to be Charged to the Veteran

Some fees are not allowed to be charged, per VA loan guidelines. Here are the specifics:

Attorney Fee

An attorney fee cannot be charges unless it is for anything besides title work.

Escrow Fee/Settlement Fee/Closing Fee

The VA does not allow the veteran to pay an escrow fee. The escrow fee varies greatly and can be quite expensive, so this is a great benefit to the VA loan.

Application Fee

This is a fee the lender sometimes charges up front before the borrower takes an application. This is not allowed on VA loans.

Mortgage Broker Fee

Sometimes charged by mortgage brokers when they broker a loan out to the lender.

Closing Protection Letter (CPL)

The CPL fee is often included in the escrow fee but sometimes charged separately. It is a letter that makes the title company responsible if escrow does not appropriate loan proceeds correctly.

Document Preparation Fee

Fee charged by escrow for preparing final loan documents.

Lock-in Fees

Fees charged by the lender to lock the interest rate.

Courier Fee/Postage Fees

Sometimes there are original documents that need to be hand-carried or sent via overnight service, and can’t be emailed or faxed. In this case, the escrow company will often charge a courier fee to ensure these services are paid for. The veteran is not allowed to pay these fees.

Notary Fees

Fees charged by escrow to send a notary to the borrower for a signing appointment outside escrow’s office.

Termite Report

The veteran cannot pay for a termite inspection or report in all but 9 states in the US.

Tax Service Fee

This fee is paid to the mortgage company to ensure they pay the real estate taxes.

The Fine Print

This list of allowable and non-allowable fees above is not all-inclusive and there may be other fees on your purchase transaction that are not mentioned here. In that case, it’s best to contact your lender to find out if the charge is allowable on VA loans.

Fees That Can Be Charged to the Veteran

VA Upfront Funding Fee

This fee goes directly to the Veteran’s Administration to defray the costs of the VA program. This is not a fee that is generally paid for in cash at closing – usually VA homebuyers opt to finance it into their loan amount. If the fee is wrapped into the loan amount, it does not increase the total amount of cash needed to close the loan.

Appraisal Fee

The appraisal is paid by the veteran and is usually paid at closing.  For more regarding appraisals, go here….

Origination Fee

The VA limits the lender’s compensation on VA loans to 1% of the loan amount. This fee is meant to compensate the lender in full. Fees for items such as processing and underwriting may not be charged if this 1% fee is charged to the veteran.

Third Party Fees

Companies involved in the transaction other than the lender are called third parties. Examples are title and escrow companies, credit reporting agencies, and appraisers. Their charges are called third party fees. Common fees are title insurance policies, recording fee, credit fee, and flood certifications.

Prepaid Items

Prepaid items are items the buyer has to pay in advance. Lenders require insurance policies and taxes to be paid in advance. Not paying for taxes and insurance can jeopardize the integrity of the collateral for the loan, which is the house.

More Information Available

For more information regarding VA loans and eligibility, don’t hesitate to contact me – as it would be my pleasure to help!

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