The Lending Coach

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

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Handling Slumps in Baseball

The dreaded hitting slump is something every baseball player wants to avoid. When the hits stop falling in it can bring a lot of frustration and added pressure.

As I’ve mentioned previously, one of my favorite mental coaches is Dr. Patrick Cohn of Peak Sports Performance. Dr. Cohn is a sports psychologist out of Orlando Florida.

He’s always preaching about mental preparation – as well as the techniques athletes can use to grasp it to improve performance…and handling a slump is right in his wheelhouse.

He sent out an e-mail blast recently that I’ve posted below regarding slumps in baseball – and how to best get through them.

Peterson’s Example

Here’s a portion of his piece, with a great example from Joc Peterson, the Chicago Cubs’ outfielder:

Chicago Cubs left fielder Joc Pederson utilized a mental cue to break out of his early season slump in 2021. Pederson had one of the best pre-seasons in the Major Leagues, hitting .372, 11 extra base hits and 7 homeruns in 17 games for the Cubs.

Unfortunately, Pederson started the regular season with a bit of a slump going 0-15 at the plate in his first few games. Pederson ended his little slump by hitting a solo home run in the eighth inning of a game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

After the homerun, Pederson was awarded a waffle maker in the dugout by teammate Ian Happ. After the game, Pederson explained the meaning of the waffle maker.

PEDERSON: “We haven’t really been getting too many hits as a team. So I texted him and a couple of (other teammates) last night. He said, ‘Yeah, I’m bringing the waffle maker.’ You know, going to waffle some balls. It was pretty funny.”

The mental cue of a “waffle maker” kept Pederson focused in the present on what he wanted to do, “waffle some balls,” and not on the slump itself.

Cause and Effect

What is the main cause of slumps? Per Cohn, if a player was to look back at their past slumps or performance ruts, they would probably identify the inability to focus as the primary cause of staying stuck.

Yet, when most ballplayers are in the middle of a slump, they look for a physical or mechanical solution. Many players will take additional batting practice, work with their hitting coach, change up their mechanics, and even switch bats trying to get back on track.

Cohn states: “When you ruminate and replay strikeouts, failure to move runners, missed opportunities to drive in runs, and difficulty making contact with the ball, strong negative emotions arise and battle for your attention.

When you pay attention to all the distractions during an at-bat, your body tenses up and throws off your timing.

Breaking out of a slump requires you to change your thinking or what you focus on. For example, a mental cue is a verbal or visual reminder to narrow your focus on what you want to happen”

More from Dr. Cohn

You can find more from Dr. Cohn here:

Peak Performance Sports, LLC
Mental Training for a Competitive Edge
888-742-7225

https://www.baseballmentalgame.com/
https://www.peaksports.com

Home Appreciation 2020-2021: Onward and Upward!

If you were a homeowner in 2020, you were a big winner, thanks to fantastic home price appreciation. 

Real estate analytics firm CoreLogic reported that the U.S. Home Price Index rose 9.2% in December from a year earlier, largest annual gain in more than six years. 

This was primarily due to low inventory and attractive low-interest rates.

Per CoreLogic’s press release:

“The housing market exceeded expectations in 2020, closing out the year with the highest annual home price gain since February 2014 in December at 9.2%. Despite a blip in April, home-purchase demand surged as record-low mortgage rates persuaded first-time homebuyers to enter the market. Meanwhile, the consequences of the pandemic were seen in the dwindling supply of homes — dropping, on average, 24% below 2019 levels — as homeowners delayed selling.”

Key Findings from 2020

  • Nationally, home prices increased 9.2% in December 2020, compared with December 2019. On a month-over-month basis, home prices increased by 1% compared to November 2020.
  • December 2020 gains across all of the 10 select metropolitan areas (see table 1 below) surpassed their December 2019 levels.
  • Affordability concerns continue to persist as prices continue to steeply rise. For instance, in San Diego, prices increased 10.4% year over year in December 2020 compared to the 3% gain December 2019. San Diego home prices are also forecasted to increase an additional 8.2% over the next 12 months.
  • At the state level, Idaho, Indiana and Maine had the strongest price growth in December, up 19.1%, 16.1% and 15.2%, respectively.

“Two record lows are fueling home price gains: for-sale inventory and mortgage rates,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. “Prospective sellers with flexible timetables have opted to delay listing their home until the pandemic fades or they are vaccinated. We can expect more inventory to come available in the second half of the year, leading to slowing in price growth toward year-end.”

Home Ownership

More good news…the percentage of Americans who own a home—67.4% in the third quarter of 2020—was the highest in 12 years. In the third quarter of 2019, the rate was 64.8%.

You can find out more regarding the 2021 forecast here…

Second Homes and Investment Properties – New Regulations and Rates

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are tightening the underwriting criteria for second homes and investment properties. They will also begin to limit the number of these mortgages that they will acquire.

“Recent amendments to our senior preferred stock purchase agreement with Treasury impose additional risk criteria on the loans we acquire,” the Government Sponsored Enterprise said in a letter. “One of those restrictions is a 7% limit on our acquisition of single-family mortgage loans secured by second home and investment properties.”

This means that non-owner occupied transactions (2nd homes and investment properties) will become a bit more difficult in terms of qualification and slightly more expensive, in terms of interest rates.

Lenders are now being forced to add to the cost of the loan and raise interest rates – anywhere from 50 basis points to as high as 250 bps.  That can mean an increase in rate of 1/8% to 1.25%, depending on the investor.

Finance of America, my employer, has added 50 basis points for all 2nd home and investment property purchases and refinances. This is on the low side, relative to many in the industry, as others that I’ve spoken to have added as much as 250 bps.

From Investopedia: “Basis points, otherwise known as bps, are a unit of measure used in finance to describe the percentage change in the value of financial instruments or the rate change in an index or other benchmark. One basis point is equivalent to 0.01% (1/100th of a percent) or 0.0001 in decimal form.”

Don’t hesitate to contact me for more information to see how this might impact your upcoming purchase.

9 Mental Keys for Young Pitchers

A big part of playing consistently and confidently is training not only the body, but also the mind. This is especially true for young pitchers.

Staying calm, breathing, forgetting what just happened and only focusing on what’s in front of you at that second—this is all much easier said than done.

Trust, clarity, detachment, simultaneously being calm while channeling peak intensity—these are all qualities confident, mentally tough pitchers have perfected.

I’d like to reference an article from Steven Ellis at YouthPitching.com where he elaborates on 9 key mental training “secrets” for young players.  It’s a great read and you can find it here…

Some key highlights from Ellis’ article:

Visualize Success

One coach postulates that the pitchers who simply visualized their mechanics to the plate and visualized themselves hitting the spot they’re throwing to, had an increase of 25% accuracy versus pitchers who just get their spot and throw.

Eliminate Fear

Once a pitcher accepts that fact that risk is present, he might as well start focusing on the reward and opportunities that exist:

  • The opportunity to be the hero
  • The opportunity to get the big W
  • The opportunity to take over and control a game
  • The opportunity to help the team win 

Only once a pitcher realizes this, can he throw with 100% authority……and without reservation.

Maintain a positive attitude

There will be times in your pitching career where you will have ups and downs. 

Your success over the long haul, however, will come down to attitude.

Taking at least one deep breath when nervous or in trouble helps to calm the mind and body. The extra oxygen into the bloodstream chemically relaxes or slows down the built up tension.

There’s much more in Ellis’ article, so please do visit his site and read the entire piece!

March 2021 Mortgage Rate and Market Update

laptop internet writing technology
Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

As inflation rises, it typically causes mortgage rates to move higher as well.  That’s because inflation is the arch enemy of interest rates, since it erodes the buying power of the fixed return that a mortgage holder receives.

While inflation may look tame to everyone at this time, that looks like it will change when you dig a little deeper. 

Inflation Fears

But in the coming months, the inflation levels are expected to rise significantly, as the readings for the more current months replace the extremely low numbers from 2020. 

A look at the closely watched “Consumer Price Index Core Rate” of inflation, which strips out the volatile food and energy sectors, shows a current reading of just 1.3% inflation for the past 12 months.  This has helped interest rates remain low.

It’s quite possible to see the rate of inflation rise towards 2.5%.  It’s likely that this will influence interest rates to higher levels.

For borrowers, the good news is that inflation is likely to become more tame later this year.  So now may be a great time for you to take advantage of the low-rate environment before these inflation readings start to move higher.

Secondly, our central banks have artificially depressed sovereign bond yields for years. Now, a small rise in yields can cause a move higher in interest rates, as well.

2nd Home and Investment Properties

Finally, Fannie Mae is tightening the underwriting criteria for second homes and investment properties, the government sponsored entity said Wednesday. 

“Recent amendments to our senior preferred stock purchase agreement with Treasury impose additional risk criteria on the loans we acquire,” the GSE said in a letter. “One of those restrictions is a 7% limit on our acquisition of single-family mortgage loans secured by second home and investment properties.”

This means that non-owner occupied transactions (2nd homes and investment properties) will become a bit more difficult in terms of qualification and slightly more expensive, in terms of interest rates.

Use That Equity

One other thing to consider for current homeowners – a cash-out refinance to utilize the equity in your home to eliminate all other consumer debt.  Many of my clients have saved anywhere from $500 to $1,750 per month in their overall payments.  Find out more on that here…and do reach out to me for more on this subject!

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