Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Holiday Quote of the Day: “Christmas is the season when you buy this year’s gifts with next year’s money.” – Author Unknown

Wuss’Up This Week: A busy few days of economic reports that can sway interest rates in either direction. Tomorrow we have Weekly Jobless Claims, U of Michigan Consumer Sentiment (this is a report that gives an indication of consumers’ willingness to spend; a weakness will lead to lower rates), and Leading Economic Indicators (this is an indication of future economic activity; my Visa has hit its limit so no future for me!). Tomorrow we have Durable Goods Orders (this is an indication of the demand for “big ticket” items that last more than three years, such as cars, refrigerators, and the Melrose Place Seasons 1-7 box sets).

Interest Rate Update: I just looked up my first blog of the year to see where interest rates started for 2011. On Jan 5th the 30-yr fixed was in the low 5s. Today they remain a full point lower! ARM rates are still about a point lower than the 30-yr fixed. It’s a glamorous time to be both buying and refinancing as rates have never been this low…where they will go in 2012 is anyone’s guess. Don’t forget to let your peeps know that for any purchase or refinance loan over $240k I will eat all lender fees – a $1,200 savings!

HARP – a bad instrument? It is when it comes to refinancing. There have been a lot of things written about HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program), which is the government’s program designed to let people refinance their homes without having to pay PMI if there is less than 20% value in the home (or if the home is “underwater”). Many of those things written are false or misleading. The bottom line is this: If you are looking to refinance under this program, in 99% of cases you will have to wait until the middle of March when all of the details have been ironed out and most of the banks have hopped onto the HARP bandwagon. I will keep you posted.

Holiday Quote of the Day 2: “A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.” – Mitch Hedberg (comedian)

Timeout for Trivia: Congrats to all who correctly guessed John Malkovich as the December 7th answer. Want to be entered into a drawing to win Kathie Lee Gifford’s It’s Christmas Time album? Me neither, but it might be a good gag-gift. To be entered into the raffle simply email me the answer to this week’s “Who Am I?” question. Good luck: “I turned 48 on Monday. Born and raised in Chicago, I was asked to star in St. Elmo’s Fire but turned it down because I was going to school at Yale at the time. Maybe it was Yale that shaped my Showtime series’ character (an Ivy League-educated lesbian). I was recently asked to appear on Dancing with the Stars but I am not a dancer…or a welder…or a stripper.”

I will be working… but I’m giving the blog a vacation. See you all in 2012 with more fun-filled mortgage facts and trivia questions. Happy Holidays to all, and thank you for your business, Mortgage Fans. It is truly appreciated.

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