Tuesday, February 17, 2015

First-Time Home Buyer Programs with Down Payment Assistance

By Toni Ryan, Princeton Capital

There are several programs available that assist the first time homebuyer in purchasing their first home.  These programs provide up to 105% financing at low rates and allow for higher debt to income ratios.  The eligibility requirements include a minimum of a 640 middle credit score, zero interest second mortgages with deferred payments to cover the down payment and closing. There are maximum household income requirements so it is important to check with your mortgage professional regarding income and property eligibility.

• CalPLUS Conventional Program

The CalPLUS Conventional program is a first mortgage loan insured through private mortgage insurance on the conventional market. This loan is fully amortized for a 30-year term and is combined with the CalHFA Zero Interest Program (ZIP) for down payment assistance only.

• CalHFA FHA Program

The CalHFA FHA program is an FHA-insured loan featuring a CalHFA fixed interest rate first mortgage. This loan is fully amortized for a 30-year term and can be combined with the California Homebuyer's Downpayment Assistance Program (CHDAP).

• Cal-EEM + Grant Program

The Cal-EEM + Grant program combines an FHA-insured Energy Efficient Mortgage first mortgage loan with an additional Cal-EEM Grant, making energy efficient improvements even easier. The interest rate on the Cal-EEM is fixed throughout the 30-year term.

• Placer County First Time Home Buyer Assistance Program (FTHB)

This program is designed to promote home ownership for low-income, first time homebuyers. The assistance is in the form of a deferred loan (second mortgage), due and payable upon sale, default or transfer of property. The amount of assistance cannot exceed $100,000 and no more than forty percent (40%) of a home's value. The maximum sales price shall not exceed $300,000 for single family homes and $185,000 for condominiums. The combined loan to value cannot exceed 97%. This program does require the buyer to have 3% of the sales price for a down payment but those funds can be a gift from a family member.
Additionally, be sure to ask your lender if you qualify for the Mortgage Credit Certificate Tax Credit Program (MCC). This MCC Tax Credit program is a federal credit which can reduce potential federal income tax liability, creating additional net spendable income which borrowers may use toward their monthly mortgage payment. This program may enable first-time homebuyers to convert a portion of their annual mortgage interest into a direct dollar for dollar tax credit on their U.S. individual income tax returns. Borrowers would need to seek the advice of a financial professional.
The options are available to make homeownership a reality. Not all mortgage lenders offer these programs so check with a trained mortgage professional to understand your choices.
Prices are affordable and rates are low. Now is the time to take advantage of the assistance available and buy a home.

5 Habits That Ruin Productivity

By Ashlei Jackson, Qlixite

Our lives (and our businesses) are run on a valuable commodity that runs in limited quantity...time! When time is money and family and stress and health (did I mention money?), it matters how we spend it. Productivity is maximizing the amount of time we have to create a valuable result. Take a moment to "learn" from these bad habits to keep your productivity running strong:

Habit #1 - Touching emails more than once

You’ve got mail! What you do with that new message matters. Open it. Read it. Act. The faster you can deal with the email message and file it away - the less time you will spend re-reading, re-thinking and re-adding it to your to-do list. If you don’t have time to “act” - don’t read the message until you can. This also keeps you from checking your messages constantly throughout the day.

Habit #2 - Meeting without an agenda

Whether this applies to a staff meeting, a follow-up with a client or meeting with a new prospect...you need a plan. This might be a goal, a formal agenda, or an outline but by the end of the meeting, you should be able to clearly identify if the meeting was successful. Make sure you also stick with a time limit. This keeps the meeting moving forward and allows you to stay on schedule.

Habit #3 - Letting Mistakes Go Unnoticed

Mistakes are going to happen which is okay because it’s part of risk taking. However making a mistake over and over is just bad business. It’s much better to take the time to acknowledge a mistake, identify a way to correct it and establish a go-forward plan than to wait it out. You will end up wasting more time making the mistake repeatedly than if you take the time to respond right after it happens.

Habit #4 - Allowing app distractions

In the world of smart phones and tablets, you are probably surrounded by apps. If you stick with the default settings (which allow alerts called push notifications) on these apps like social media, news, email and more then you are also encountering the constant flow of distractions. “A new message is waiting,” “Sally left a comment,” “You might enjoy this new article.” These alerts cause you to look at your phone/tablet and might even tempt you to stop what your doing and click. Make sure your notifications don’t make sound or buzz or remove them altogether. Check your apps when you want to - not when they want you to.

Habit #5 - Prioritizing everyone else

We’ve all heard the saying - “the customer is always right,” but if every time someone complains about something, you change your business plan or if you drop everything to meet a client whenever they call...you’ll end up ruining your business. Yes, you want clients to be happy but don’t sacrifice your business to literally make everyone happy. That’s impossible. Listen to what is being said and evaluate if the complaint is valid and should be fixed or if it’s just one person’s point of view. One bad review won’t kill your reputation like an inconsistent business strategy will. And if that client who calls you and wants to meet asap threatens to go to a competitor if you don’t comply - let them go. You can’t make everyone happy but you can certainly make yourself miserable trying to.
If you found that you have one or more of these habits - don’t worry. Take it one habit at a time and make 2015 ROCK!

Recipe: Butterscotch Bread Pudding

Own a Local Business? Join MVMA!

The Meadow Vista Merchants Association is an offshoot of the Auburn chamber of commerce. When you become a member - not only will you get a discounted rate to advertise here in the View Magazine but you’ll get exclusive invitation to our Member & Sponsored Events!

• In April we hunt for Cash Filled Easter Eggs in True Value. Members and their spouses are invited.
• In June, we serve ice cream at Dessert & a Movie and member businesses get to participate & sponsor the ice cream for added exposure.
• In September, we enjoy Merchant Game Night where members can test their movie and TV knowledge to win tech goodies.
• In October, we hand out candy to cowboys and princesses at Trick-or-Treat trail in downtown Meadow Vista
• In December, we host Christmas in the Village Scavenger Hunt that gets families out to your business for holiday fun.
We’d love to have you as a member! Learn more at MeadowVista.com

Meadow Vista Friendly Neighbors 2015 Thank You

Submitted by Gerry Hinkle

A special Thank You goes out from The Meadow Vista Friendly Neighbors Club to all those businesses, organizations, clubs, churches, schools, and individual residents in the Applegate, Christian Valley, Clipper Gap, Meadow Vista, Weimar, and even in the Auburn and Colfax areas, who helped make our 2014 Christmas Food and Toy Basket Program a great success by donating canned foods, monetary donations, and toys.  

We are truly fortunate to live in a community that cares for its friends and neighbors, and this certainly showed during the assembling of Christmas food boxes on Friday evening, December 19th, Sierra Hills Multipurpose Room.  Thanks to all those wonderful hard-working volunteers, approximately 80 families (300 people) received enough food to last at least two to three weeks. It definitely warmed the hearts of those families who were experiencing some extremely difficult times.  

Thanks to Wells Fargo Bank for helping collect and store the many beautifully wrapped donated toys from generous community members.  Santa certainly had an abundance of gifts for all those happy little children on Christmas Day.

Thanks to all your caring support, our 70-year old Club has been able to continue helping local families in their time of need, provide emergency assistance whenever needed, and help support community activities and events.  

Happy New Year 2015!

Laser Therapy for Pets

By Dr. Pam Pussich, DVM, Meadow Vista Veterinary Clinic

Laser therapy is a drug-free, surgery-free, non-invasive innovative treatment for your pets.  Laser therapy stimulates the body to heal from within by sending photons (packets of light) to deep tissues.  These non-thermal photons of light are administered to the body for about 3-8 minutes, depending on the condition, and are absorbed by the injured cells.  These cells are then stimulated to produce ATP (the energy or fuel for the cell), which can not be made at an optimal rate by injured cells.  This increased rate of metabolism will result in decreased inflammation, accelerated tissue repair and cell growth, decreased pain, improved circulation, improved nerve function and several other beneficial effects.  These effects will result in faster healing times with more comfort, less scar tissue and better strength/elasticity of scar tissue, increase mobility and motion in joints, as well as providing relief for chronic conditions. Conditions that we are seeing positive outcomes include:
• Arthritis, degenerative joint disease or hip dysplasia
• Post surgery pain management
• Skin problems (hot spots, lick granulomas, infections)
• General pain management (sprains, strains and stiffness)
• Ear infections
• Dental procedures
• Fractures and wounds (snake bites, abrasions, burns)
During a laser treatment session you can expect your pet to relax and enjoy the treatment because it provides relief.  Pets often respond similarly to people having a massage.  The almost immediate relief of pain will allow your pet to be comfortable and any anxiety that your pet initially experiences will dissipate. There are no known side effects to the treatment so for chronic conditions laser therapy is an excellent long-term treatment.  There is also no need to clip the hair and pets can go right back to their normal or prescribed activity.
Laser therapy has been around for approximately forty years and there a numerous studies showing the benefits to this treatment.  On the human side many of the professional sports teams are using the treatment modality.  Meadow Vista Veterinary Clinic is excited to now offer our clients and their pets this amazing treatment.  It can be used as the sole treatment or in conjunction with other treatment protocols.

Clean Molars...Ugly Smile?

By Dr. Scott Thompson, DDS, Winning With Smiles

Most people would be surprised to find they are cleaning their molars more effectively than their front teeth.  Most of us think we are getting our front teeth the cleanest and need more effort in the back.  The truth is, the cheek muscles have little leverage against the tooth brush and so the brush gets the whole tooth easily.  The lips, on the other hand, are great protectors of our gums around our front teeth.  Their orientation allows them to interfere with the tooth brush and handle, preventing the brush from fully reaching the gum line.  The end result can be devastating!

Many dental exams reveal more bacterial plaque, gingivitis, bleeding, and damaging tartar build-up at the lower front gum line than other areas of the mouth.  This explains why many of you notice the dark unattractive look of lower front teeth during conversations (when the lips reveal the teeth and gums).  It also explains why so many people lose their lower front teeth first from gum disease and infection.  This is definitely not attractive in a smile.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE:  Spend an extra 5 seconds on the lower front teeth, making sure your lip is getting out of the way and you are feeling the brush actually brushing the edge of the gums.  For some of you this may cause some bleeding of the gums the first week you do this.  Please persist!  If the gums are kept clean for a week the bleeding will stop.  Persistence over a long period of time will result in stains diminishing if you have some coffee/tea stains on your teeth.

Meadow Vista Community Center Update

Medication Safety in Children

By Richard Peatman, PharmD., Meadow Vista Pharmacy

Did you know that medications are the top cause of poisoning in kids?  Here are a few answers to some questions parents commonly ask about medication safety for kids.

1. Where should I store medications?  People may call it the “medicine cabinet,” but it's not a good place to store medications. Bathrooms are moist and can lower the strength of a medication. Plus, they're a little too easy for little hands to get into.  Instead, keep drugs, eye drops, and vitamins out of sight and out of reach of children. Try a high place, such as a hall closet or kitchen shelf.  Consider using safety caps.  Yes, they are a hassle, but they are an excellent deterrent for kids.

2. How should I measure medicine?  With young children, it's especially important to get the dosing right. Always use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. Measuring spoons or other home utensils aren't the same as a medication syringe or cup. If you use a syringe, try squirting the medicine on the inside of the cheek where there are fewer taste buds.  If your child takes the wrong dose, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.  It is staffed 24/7 with experts who can help you immediately.  

3. If your child objects to the taste of a medication, it is usually okay to mix a liquid medication with chocolate or maple syrup. However, don't do this for babies. If they don't finish a bottle, they won't get the right amount of medication.  Be careful about crushing and mixing a tablet or capsule with food.  Some medications should not be crushed or mixed.  If you have questions, ask your healthcare professional.

4. Is it okay to share prescription medications?   No matter how similar their symptoms, don't have your kids share medications.  And never repackage them. Keep medications in their original childproof container.  Serious errors can occur if drugs are not properly labeled.

5. How long can my child use a medication?  Be sure to not use drugs past their expiration date. Most drugs lose their strength after about a year.
6. Are OTC drugs safe for kids?  Be sure to read labels.  Not all over-the-counter (OTC) medications are safe for children of all ages.  Some medications that work in older children and adults do not work in the very young.  For example, the FDA recommends against the use of cough and cold medicine in children under the age of two.  Instead, rest, clear fluids and a humidifier may be the best route to recovery from colds and flu.  Of course, never give aspirin to any child - it can cause serious illness, even death.

Make sure you know a drug's potential side effects.  But stay alert to any adverse reactions.  Kids can be more sensitive to drugs than adults.  When in doubt, call your healthcare professional.

2015 Real Estate Update

By Fred Eichenhofer, Sierra Pacific Real Estate

Last year was a very active year in real estate, sales slowing down somewhat towards the end of the year, but it is still a good real estate market.  It is a new year and it started out with a bang, activity picked up just after the first of the year.  I went to a California Association of Realtors Convention in October 2014 attending a luncheon where an economist spoke.  She said that prices have come down some, and activity has slowed, she didn't know if prices would continue to fall, her thoughts are they will probably remain stable, but in time we will know if lower prices would be a trend.
The challenge now is home affordability, inventory selection is still a problem for buyers, but should increase in 2015 since equity has gone up with the rise of prices, thus allowing homeowners that have wanted to move is now giving them the ability to put their home on the market which should increase inventory.
Interest rates are still low and have come down some in the last few weeks.  The Federal Reserve is talking about raising rates, so we don't know what this will do with real estate lending rates.
The real estate market should remain strong throughout 2015 provided the economy remains stable and interest rates remain low.
Factors that could hold back a recovery are, tight credit standards, lack of first time home buyers.
To maximize the value and price of a home, presentation is important.  It helps to have everything in place, clutter picked up and having good curb appeal.  It is best to have the home depersonalized, removing family photos, walls painted a neutral color, this allows the buyer to visualize their furnishings in the home.
Meadow Vista is usually a very stable real estate market, but is not immune from the ups and downs to the fluctuations of the real estate market in general.  Meadow Vista is a very desirable place to live and should hold values better than other areas.

2014 Christmas in the Village Winners

This past Christmas in the Village Treasure Hunt was a tremendous success. Congrats to our 3 winners (two are pictured above) who gathered all of the treasures and submitted their entry by 6pm. Each won a $50 Visa Gift Card. Thanks again to all of those who came out for this fun family & community event. See you next year!

MV Lions Club News & 2015 Events

Submitted by Etta Gross, Meadow Vista Lions Club

A special Thank you to all who purchased See's Candies from us in front of Holiday Market and at True Value Hardware.  The proceeds will be shared equally between Sierra Reach Ministries Food Closet and Meadow Vista Friendly Neighbors Club. We also appreciate those that attended the Crab Feed on February 7th. This fundraiser helps to support many of our yearly community causes and we appreciate your help.

Mark your calendars for our up- coming events:  

Easter Egg Hunt, April 4 at  Placer Hills School play-yard (Soccer Field) begins at 10:00 a.m. SHARP!  The hunt is over within 10 minutes, so please arrive early.

Mothers' Day Breakfast,  Sunday, May 10 at Sierra Hills School Auditorium. More information will be posted throughout town as we approach the dates.

We welcome potential members to join in our meetings held on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday at the Grange Hall.  Meetings start at 7 p.m.  For additional information contact our Club President Ron Carmichael at 637-5805 or any Meadow Vista Area Lions member.