Monday, February 1, 2016

10 Credit Do's and Don'ts to Remember Prior to Getting a Mortgage Loan

By Toni Ryan, Princeton Capital

How can a fully approved loan get denied for funding after the borrower has signed loan docs? Simple, the underwriter pulls an updated credit report to verify that there hasn't been any new activity since original approval was issued, and the new findings kill the loan.
This generally won't happen in a 30 day time-frame, but borrowers should anticipate a new credit report being pulled if the time from an original credit report to funding is more than 60 days. Purchase transactions involving short sales or foreclosures tend to drag on for several months, so this approval / denial scenario is common.
Why this happens?
It's can be an ugly cycle where by the buyer receives an approval and thinks everything is OK so they make a credit impacting decision (buys new car, furniture, runs up credit card balance).
The lender's Funder pulls new credit report right before they fund the loan to check for changes. The Funder sees the new credit or larger balances and denies the loan.
What do you need to know?
In the hopes of stemming the senseless slaughter of perfectly acceptable loan approvals, check the “Ten Credit Do's and Don'ts” List below to help ensure a smoother loan process. These tips don't encompass everything a borrower can do prior to and after the Loan Pre-Approval process, however they're a good representation of the things that will most likely help or hurt an approval.

1.   DO continue making your mortgage or rent payments
2.   DO stay current on all accounts
3.   DO keep the balances on your credit cards at less than 35%
4.   DON'T make a major purchase (car, boat, big-screen TV, furniture, etc…)
5.   DON'T open a new credit card
6. DON'T close any credit card accounts
7.   DON'T open a new cell phone account
8. DON'T consolidate your debt onto 1 or 2 cards
9. DON'T pay off collections (especially old ones!)
10. DON'T take out a new loan

Follow these Do's and Don'ts for a smoother mortgage approval and funding process.
Just remember this simple tip: Wait until AFTER the loan closes for any major purchases, loans, consolidations, and new accounts and always consult your loan professional for advice before you make any changes.

5 Habits that Ruin Business 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 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’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 2016 ROCK!

Swedish Massage: The Basic Stress & Pain Relief Method

By Joel Curry, MSW, CMT, Pathways To Health

Swedish massage is gaining acceptance as a complementary treatment for many stress related symptoms. Studies have shown that massage can relax the body, decrease blood pressure and heart rate, and reduce stress and depression. Swedish is used as symptomatic treatment for headache, facial pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, other chronic and acute conditions, and athletic injuries.
The specific techniques used in Swedish massage involve the application of long gliding strokes called effleurage.  Friction, and kneading and tapping movements on the soft tissues of the body are also used for deeper work.    
Oil or cream is used in Swedish to facilitate the sliding motion of most of the massage techniques that are used. The main massage stroke, effleurage, is a flowing motion that follows the shape of the muscle group being addressed.  The therapist's hands are open and most of the contact is with the flat of the hands. It is the move used mainly to calm and relax the receiver. When a therapists begins to work, he or she uses effleurage to apply oil over large areas and to generally check out areas of tightness.
When tightness and knots are encountered, the therapist may go a little deeper using Petri sage - a kneading motion that lifts, squeezes and rolls tissue to release muscle tension, improve blood flow and increase lymphatic drainage.
When more pressure is needed, the therapist uses friction, the stroke generally used in deep tissue massage. The  therapist uses body mechanics to apply pressure using  the flat of their hands and the pads of the thumbs, knuckles, fingers, or the back  of the forearms, and then releases the pressure slowly and gently. This movement should be a continuous sliding motion or a group of alternating circular motions.

Vibration is a technique used to release muscle tension in more delicate areas, such as those on the face or along the spine. To effect vibration, the massage therapist gently shakes or trembles the flesh with the hand or fingertips, then moves on to another spot and repeats this stroke.
Other movements usually employed in more vigorous, deep tissue work are tapping and percussion, called tapotement.  The therapists may form their hands into a cup shape and use chopping motions in quick succession.  The same motion can be used with the sides of the hands as well. Loose fist may be use to rapidly pummel large muscle groups of the thighs and buttocks.
Although most experienced massage therapist use a variety of bodywork methods, Swedish forms the basis of most of their work.

Meadow Vista Community Center Update

Should I Sell My Home Now or Wait Until Spring?

By Christine Schlittenhart, Sierra Pacific Real Estate

As with every decision in life, there are pros and cons, and choosing when to sell a home is no different. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before deciding when to sell a home. Many homeowners believe selling a home during the winter months is not a good idea and that the spring is the only time a house should be sold. This is the furthest from the truth. Certainly most real estate markets across the United States experience a "spring market rush" every year. There is no doubt that the "spring market" is a great time to be selling and buying real estate, however, the winter season may be the best fit for you for many reasons.
Here are several reasons why choosing to sell your home NOW may be a better decision than waiting until the spring:
Less Competition
We are currently experiencing limited inventory in our area.  One great reason to sell your home now and not wait until the spring market is there is sure to be less competition.  The fewer number of comparable homes for sale, the greater the probability that a buyer will look at your home. Not only will less competition increase the probability for showings, but it will also increase the probability that an offer will be received and you will get the maximum amount of money for your home.

Serious Buyers Are Out There
Homes are sold and bought 365 days a year, period!  Many homeowners believe that buyers aren't out there during the winter months. This simply is not the case. Serious buyers are always out there!  Some buyers may stop their home search because it is the fall or winter, but serious buyers will continue to look at homes, no matter what time of year it is.

Mortgage Rates Are Low
If you've read about real estate in the past year, it's likely you've read that the mortgage rates are still very low.  You also probably read that there is an expectation that the rates will increase very soon. Since mortgage rates are so low right now, buyers are able to afford more expensive homes.  Bottom line: take advantage of selling your home while the rates are this low.

Quicker Transactions
Right now, there are fewer real estate transactions than there will be in the spring.  The fewer number of transactions means the mortgage lenders have less loans to process, title companies have less closings to do, and home inspectors have fewer inspections to do.  All of these factors should lead to a quicker transaction and closing for all the parties involved.  One of the most frustrating things for a seller to deal with while selling their home is not getting answers in a reasonable amount of time. A quicker transaction is going to be less stress for you.

Conclusion?  NOW is the time to list your home for sale with one of your Meadow Vista Merchant Realtor members.

Protecting Yourself Against IRS Scams

Provided by J.C. Harrison, Simplified Business & Tax Service

The Internal Revenue Service receives thousands of reports each from taxpayers who receive suspicious emails, phone calls, faxes, notices claiming to be from the IRS. They fraudulently use IRS name or logo as a lure to make the communications as more authentic and enticing. The goal of these scamsknown as phishingis to trick you into revealing your personal and financial information. The scammers can then use your informationlike Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbersto commit identity theft or steal your money.
Here are five things the IRS wants you to know about phishing scams.
1.  The IRS never asks for detailed personal financial information like PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.
2.  The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email request personal or financial information. If you receive an inquiry from someone claiming to be the IRS or directing you to another site:
  a. Do not reply to the message.
  b. Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that   will infect your computer.
  c. Do not click on any links. If you clicked on links in a suspicious e-mail or  phishing website and entered confidential information, visit the IRS website and  enter the search term 'identity theft' for more information and resources to help.
3.  The address of the official IRS website is Do not be confused or misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. If you discover a website that claims to be the IRS but you suspect it is bogus, do not provide any personal information on the suspicious site and report it to the IRS.
4.  If you receive a phone call, fax or letter in the mail from an individual claiming to be from the IRS but suspect they are not an IRS employee, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine if the IRS has a legitimate need to contact you. Report any bogus correspondence. You can forward a suspicious email to
5.  You can help shut down these schemes and prevent others from being victimized. Details on how to report specific types of scams and what to do if you've been victimized are available at Click on “phishing” on the home page.

Meadow Vista Lions Club Update

Submitted by Etta Gross, MV 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 Tri-Tip & Shrimp Dinner on February 6th. 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, March 26 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 8 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.  

Some Valentine's Day Facts

In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.
Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.     (Information provided by