Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas in the Village 2014

2014 Oktoberfest Thank You

Federal Reserve Says Lending is Getting Easier

By Toni Ryan, Princeton Capital

Yahoo News recently reported that buying a home is actually getting easier. According to Ellie Mae research, in July 2014, out of all mortgages that were applied for - 67% actually closed. This is a major increase from the last year when the rate of mortgages that closed was at 53%. According to the president of Ellie Mae, Jonathan Corr, this is due, in part, to lenders easing their qualifying standards.
Does this mean that if you were turned down for a home mortgage in the last few years that you should reapply? Corr says, “Yes - depending on your circumstances, your chances of approval may have increased.”
Yahoo attributes this increased flexibility in the lending industry to 3 key factors:

1. Lower Credit Score Requirements - Many lenders have lowered the required credit scores to qualify for a mortgage. In July 2014, the average score for qualification was 727 - which may still seem high however in the past few years, that number has hovered around 750. The study also found that 32% of closed loans had an average FICO score of less than 700 which is 25% more loans than previous years.

2. Higher Debt-to-Income Allowances - Lenders assess your risk by considering your debt and income ratio. For example, if your gross income was $5,000 and all of your debt payments came to $1,500 - your DTI would be 30%. According to the study, as of July 2014, the average DTI for closed mortgages stood at 37% - up from last year. This means lenders are more confident in the economic recovery and people’s ability to stay solvent to allow for little more debt. Corr adds that, like credit scores, this is an average and should not worry those with slightly higher DTIs. He believes that borrowers with a DTI of 40% or even 43% can qualify.

3. Fewer Investor Overlays - An investor overlay is essentially a stricter standard imposed by a lender or bank even though it’s not required by the government. For example, FHA mortgages are insured by the government and might have guidelines that require 3.5% down and a minimum credit  score of 580. However a lender offering an FHA loan might have an overlay that requires a minimum score of 620. This doesn’t contradict the FHA guidelines, but traditionally these overlays are added due to economic fears & defaulted loans. Thanks to the strengthening housing market, lenders are imposing less stricter overlays which allow more options for borrowers.
As you can see - 2015 is looking to be a great time to apply for a home mortgage. Keep in mind that everyone’s financial picture is different which is why it is essential to work closely with your mortgage professional to develop a strategy and identify all of your options.

9 Content Ideas to Change Up Your Social Posts

By Ashlei Jackson, Qlixite

If your business is on Facebook or Twitter or Google+ - it’s likely you find yourself wondering what to post. Fans and followers on these sites are interested in being connected with businesses because they offer value. If every message you post is focused on “Buy Now” or “Call Today” - odds are your fans are not very engaged. Try adding some of these posts to increase the value you deliver and get more people to see your posts.
• Quick Tips - These can be text-only posts that relay something that people don’t know or often forget about.
• Product Review - You know what works and people love to hear your opinion on what’s the best buy. Pick an item that relates to your industry, write a review and share!
• Testimonials & Reviews - Post a recent review from a client. Including a picture is a great bonus or link to your Yelp page.
• Link to 3rd Party Resources - Your fans know you don’t have all the answers but you still want to be the “go-to” person that keeps them in the know. Link to articles from the big names and brands to keep them informed.
• Timely Information - Let people know what’s happening with you, in the industry and in the news.
• Local Information - Let people know what’s happening in your area and share feedback on other businesses. This will also set you up well with local businesses who might share info about you on Facebook.
• Coupon or Discount - Fans like to feel special so show them you appreciate their connection with a “fan only” discount or coupon.
• Contests & Giveaways - Contests and giveaways can be a great way to get people involved and capture their email. Make sure your prizes are substantial to get people excited. Use a system like to collect email entries and pick a winner.
• Quote, Joke or Story - A quick inspirational quote, funny joke or a short story about your adventures is a great post that is fast to make and creates a feeling of connection for fans. These kinds of posts tend to get AWESOME engagement (likes & comments).
Whatever you do - do it consistently! Make sure your fans are hearing from you at least twice a week and don’t forget to interact with fan comments.

Brushing After Sweets...No?

By Dr. Scott Thompson, Winning With Smiles

Does brushing after eating sweets help prevent cavities? Surprisingly, the answer to that is no! To have a cavity one requires a tooth, some of the right kind of bacteria concentrated in an area where they can create and harbor acid on the tooth, sugar that the bacteria will eat and convert to acid, and some time for the acids to dissolve calcium out of the tooth enamel to make a hole.
So you see, if sometime during the day you cleaned all the bacteria off your teeth so they are not there to create any acid, then the sugar has no affect on the teeth. Also note: If bacteria have been successfully cleaned off the teeth, then it will take 24 hours for those bacteria to multiply and aggregate adequately to create and concentrate acid in a sheltered place on the tooth. In other words, your teeth are safe for 24 hours.
So THE TRICK here is to know how to effectively clean your teeth once each day to make them safe. Check our web site regarding disclosing solution as a tool to teach yourself effective tooth cleaning, and as a tool to monitor yourself periodically to verify you are still keeping your teeth safe.
Teach yourself to be a superb once a day effective tooth cleaner. And it makes absolutely no difference when during the day you do this cleaning.

Add Some Tradition to Your Holidays

By Ashlei Jackson, Qlixite

The holidays are centered around tradition! Everyone has that time-honored activity or item that reminds them of childhood memories of Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza...or however you celebrate - these traditions make this ‘Wonderful Time of the Year” special and give meaning to the holidays.    Thinking of adding a new tradition this year? Here are some various traditions that can add to your festive season!
• The Christmas Pickle - The exact country of origin for putting a pickle ornament on your tree is fairly unknown but visit any ornament section of the store and you’re bound to find a pickle ornament! The Tradition: The ornament is hidden on the tree on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, all of the children in the house take turns looking for the pickle ornament and the child who finds the Christmas pickle receives an extra present for his or her good work.

• Caroling - Also called a noel, song or hymn - the act of groups of people singing outside in the wintertime goes back to the Middle Ages making them some of the oldest musical compositions still regularly sung. The Tradition: Whether you physically go sing in a choir or caroling group - include singing as a family (not just listening) to your regular holiday activities to add an uplifting note.

• Hang Holly - To the Irish Celtics, holly represented both life and rebirth; the evergreen leaves symbolized life during a time when all else was bare and the red berries represented the coming of Spring. The Tradition: Add Holly to your home to welcome in the New Year and remind you of hope.

• Light a Rememberance Candle on the Winter Solstice - The Winter Solstice is the day of the year when the position of the earth in respect to the sun results in the shortest period of daylight hours. It became very important for many cultures to ‘remind’ people that the light would ‘return.’ The Tradition: On the evening of the Winter Solstice, sit in a darkened area and each person take turns lighting a candle. Whether you choose to light candles to symbolize those people who may have passed away or choose to have the candles represent goals is up to you. Leave the candles lit until bedtime, then use a lid to extinguish the flames instead of blowing them out which would blow away the good ‘luck’ or ‘memories.’

• Stocking Buttons - Children often go through minor depression the day you take down all decorations. The Tradition: On the chosen day of clean up, at dinner, a small box is set next to the dinner plate of each person. Inside is a button that relates to the person/child. After dinner each person sews the button on their stocking which then gets packed away. This special activity makes cleaning up a positive event.
Whether you choose to adopt one of these traditions or all of them - remember not to add so much to your plate that you end up adding stress. This is a wonderful time of year - let’s keep it that way!

Make Your Home a HOT Commodity this Winter

By Christine Schlittenhart, Sierra Pacific Real Estate

Although the holiday season can be a hectic time to show and sell your house, there are distinct advantages to staging and showing your home at this time of year  you have a chance to show your home at its very best, adorned with warmth and cheer that's sure to charm. Nothing is more inviting than a home brimming with greenery, twinkling lights and holiday decorations.
First impressions are important. Do you have late fall leaves littering the ground? Rake them up. Also, make sure the walks and stairs are free of ice.
A few exterior holiday lights or decorations show pride in ownership and seasonal cheer, but they don't add anything during the day when potential homebuyers will be looking at your home, so don't overdo them. Another thing to consider: Would-be buyers may view it favorably if nearby homes are brimming with lights  it shows unity and neighborliness  so you'll want to find a tasteful balance.
As you set out to win over holiday homebuyers, here are a few other tips to keep in mind:

Trim outdoor trees so unexpected winds don't knock down branches that could damage your home or hurt someone.
Place a holiday welcome mat outside the front door.
Keep the door area clear of bicycles, toys or parcels left by the mail carrier.
Hang a festive wreath on your door.
Play holiday music in the background.
Keep the house cozy. Entering a cold house could chill potential buyers' enthusiasm.
Light a fire in the fireplace just before the agent shows your house. (But never leave a fire unattended.)
Choose a tree and decorate it to complement the room where it's displayed. You don't want the tree to appear to take over the entire living or family room. Remove furniture, if necessary.
Keep decorations on the conservative side. You want your house to be noticed, not your decorations.
Be certain your windows are sparkling clean.
Let there be light. Open blinds and curtains and turn on interior lights to reduce the pervasive dreariness of winter months.
Bake holiday cookies and treats to fill the home with enticing aromas before the prospective buyers arrive.

Ultimately, you want to convey the love, comfort and joy your family has shared in the house so that buyers will be eager to move in and create their own holiday memories.  As always, contact a local Meadow Vista Merchant Realtor today to get you started on preparing your home for sale during our Winter market.

Meadow Vista Friendly Neighbors Update

By Gerry Hinkle

Many thanks to Meadow Vista and surrounding communities for supporting our 7th Annual Christmas Basket Pancake Breakfast held on November 8th.  It not only brought our community together for breakfast, but also helped raise funds for the 2014 Christmas Food and Toy Basket Program.  A special thank you to the Meadow Vista Lions Club for their expert cooking skills.
We are very fortunate to live in a community that cares for their neighbors, as it shows through our Annual Christmas Food and Toy Basket Program.  Our 70-year old Club has always been there to help local families (Applegate, Christian Valley, Clipper Gap, Meadow Vista, Weimar) in their times of need.  Our goal is to have enough food to last for the two weeks of Christmas vacation from local schools, as some recipients' children are on the school lunch program.
In addition to canned goods being collected by Sierra Hills School, Weimar Hills School, local churches, and organizations, collection barrels and money collection containers are available in businesses throughout Meadow Vista and surrounding communities.
Christmas ornaments for toys are available at Wells Fargo Bank in Meadow Vista.  Please select an ornament, purchase your gift, and return your wrapped gift with an ornament attached to the package (please reconfirm the gender/age are legible so Santa's elves can ensure children receive the appropriate present.  Your generosity allows these children to have a wonderful Christmas after all.
On Friday, December 19th, at Sierra Hills School, starting at 5 p.m., with help of community members, we will begin assembling Christmas food boxes for the families in need.  The assembling process gives helpers the true Christmas spirit.
We are very grateful for your support, and should you have any questions, please call Etta Gross @ 530-637-5359, or Gerry Hinkle @ 530-878-6117.
The Meadow Vista Friendly Neighbors Club is a non-profit 501-c3 organization, so your tax-deductible donations are greatly needed and very much appreciated.  Please remember to consult your Tax Advisor for current tax deduction laws.  Please mail your donations to TMVFNC, P.O. Box 764, Meadow Vista, CA 95722.
We wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and Happy, Healthy 2015 New Year.

Meadow Vista Lions Club Update

Submitted by Etta Gross

Just a reminder Santa is Coming to Town at dusk on Saturday, December 13, 2014.  There will be free hot drinks and delicious special homemade cookies by our local Girl Scouts.  The bon fire will also start at dusk to keep everyone warm.
Christmas See’s Candies sold by the Lions will be available on the following Thursdays through Sundays.  The dates are: November 20-23, December 11-14, 18-21, 2014.  Along with being available at M.V. True Value Hardware.  The proceeds will be equally split between the Sierra Reach Ministries Food Closet and The Meadow Vista Friendly Neighbors Club.  Please remember when you are buying your See’s Candies locally you are helping your community at the same time.
Please save the date for our 41st Annual Crab Feed held on Saturday, February 7, 2015 at Gold Country Fair Grounds (Auburn) starting with no host cocktails at 6 p.m. with dinner around  7 p.m.  Cost is $45 each ticket.  This is our community fundraiser.  The proceeds is how we are able  to do all the community events such as Santa Comes to Town, Easter Egg Hunt, eye care costs for those residents in need and many more community projects.
  If you would like to visit one of our meetings, our scheduled times will resume in January 2015  to the 2nd and 4th Wednesday starting time is 7 p.m. at the Meadow Vista Grange.    Any questions please call Lion President Ron Carmichael at (530) 637-5805 or see any Meadow Vista Area Lions.  Our webpage is and our email address is