Listening to Myself

Friday, June 17, 2005

Mortgage madness

I was reading this article in the Contra Costa Times "Buyers see new line of mortgages" and it just makes me want to scream. At some point, it seems like the banks would run out of crazy financing options, don't you think? Well, no, I guess not, we Americans are a creative lot, aren't we. *sigh*

But I think I have come up with the a new mortgage product, that should be available at a bank near you in the next 5 years or so. It is the 75 year life option loan! The loan is a interest only loan, where the APR adjusts at whatever intervals the bank offers when you sign up for the loan. Best of all, built into the loan payment is a life insurance policy for the principle of the loan, allowing you to pay off the loan when you die, leaving an inheritance for your spouse and/or offspring that you didn't even have to save for! There would never be that scary time when you'd have to start actually paying into the principle of the loan. Just think how low your monthly payments could be!

Anyways, silliness aside, here's another interesting article (NY Times, reg required) on how the whole adjustable rate mortgage thing is going to come to head soon. In 2007, one trillion in mortgage debt is going to convert from from the original fixed portion of an adjustable loan to a yearly adjustable loan. I wonder if it will just set off another wave of refinancing or if something more will happen. I guess it depends a lot on what the interest rates are like then - if they stay pretty low like they are now, it will probably just set off another huge wave of refinancing but if they move a couple points higher then things could get rather uncomfortable for some people. (Especially if wage growth stays as flat as it has been over the past few years)

Also, check out the map that goes along with this article - it shows the growth of interest only loans in the past 3 years, and where the hotspots are for these loans.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

A visit to Santa Cruz

I took Emma to Santa Cruz on Friday, to do a couple errands and to visit our old neighbor. Matt wanted some Sweet Italian from Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company (yum, so good!) and some green coffee and a beer kit from Seven Bridges. I wanted to get a couple copies of Emma's birth certificate (not that I need them immediately or anything, it just seems like a good thing to have) and go out to lunch at one of my favorite little cafe's, Walnut Ave Cafe. It must be graduation weekend for UC Santa Cruz this weekend, because there were a large number of parents with college age offspring waiting to be seated at the cafe as well. It was funny to see the well made up moms with their tasteful jewelry, nice clothes and perfect hair, the dads with their tidy khakis and button down shirts joined up with their daughters who were wearing the Santa Cruz uniform of long hippie skirt, tight tank top, no bra, partially shaved head and nose ring. It really made me laugh to see this pairing up again and again during my visit... and I had to wonder what these parents make of their children now, and what they looked like when they went off to college at 18.

Another thing that struck me as really funny - I was driving along and a late model mid-sized SUV pulls up at the stop light next to me. There was an arm sticking out of the window, tapping enthusiastically along with the beat... the music sounded familiar, but it took me a minute to place the song. Once the chorus started though, it was instant recognition. "Billie Jean is not my lover..." Now there is a middle-aged white guy who is secure in his masculinity I suppose.

Ah, Santa Cruz.

My neighbor informed me that the house we sold last year is going to go back on the market any day now. I wonder if the next buyer will have a bit more staying power. I also wonder what she's going to ask for the place, especially since it has only been a year, and it doesn't look like prices have been rising in that area as fast as they have in other parts of the Bay Area. The other thing I thought was odd was that she pulled out almost all of the garden that we put in. All that is left of the deer fence is two posts and the gate, and almost all of the beds have been ripped out. Our neighbors were at least able to salvage some of the wood to build a retaining wall... but still it was a little sad to see. The other thing I thought was kind of funny and sad about this all was that when we had the house appraised for our refinance two years ago the appraiser said that the garden area that we put in added 20-30K in value to the house! I guess she couldn't imagine that a garden would have any value to anyone.

I really don't miss living there at all (except for the neighbors!), but I do think it is a little harder to let go when you are going back every six months or so to visit.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Does this surprise anyone?

I thought this was a kind of neat little quiz... and yes, I know, it is pathetic that this is all I seem to be posting these days. I am not feeling particularly extroverted these days (which isn't saying much for me, I suppose) so I haven't really felt like posting much.

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

I hope my dear husband takes this little quiz, I'm quite curious to see where he comes out in it.