American Pacific Mortgage

American Pacific Mortgage

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


As I write this the end of 2013 is here. This year has brought about many changes and I’d like to update you on those affecting the Mortgage business, as well as my personal updates.

The State of Mortgage Lending

Rates fluctuated up and down within a fairly narrow range all year, but were steadily rising since May. We now see most mortgage rates in the mid-to high 4’s depending on loan term, loan amount, and property occupancy.
The biggest change coming up for 2014 is the new requirements vis-à-vis Frank Dodd for “Qualified Mortgages” which are loans with specific characteristics leading to a high probability of payback. Meaning, goodbye to most interest-only loans and hello to strict income qualifying ratios, and fully amortizing loans.

Purchase business continued to pick up this year in the face of rising home values and still relatively low interest rates. Next year should prove to show us more of the same, with rates steadily rising.

The Family

Steve and I bought a home in September, in Dana Point. We have a nice ocean view from the hills above Dana Point Harbor. We moved into the home in October after painting and installing new flooring ( but we still have a lot to do, to include Kitchen and bathroom upgrades. My friends tell me Rome wasn’t built in a day and it will just take time! We’ve had fun buying new (and some consignment) furniture. My favorite is our Restoration Hardware dining table of salvaged boatwood. It’s different!

Unfortunately we also lost my mother in October after a prolonged illness. At the age of 88, she had a long and full life and is dearly missed. She was my best friend, and best sounding board for many many years. Sort of encyclopedic, she was a great source of information. I’ve been receiving her New Yorker Magazine and now I know how she kept up on so much! She read voraciously and was in the middle of one of Proust’s novels.

Happier notes:

My son Kenny is working at his Alma Mater Marlboro College in Vermont as an Admissions Counselor and enjoying his work which allows him some travel (yes even here to the West Coast) on recruiting trips. We got to see him here in mid-October.

My daughter Katie and her Paul are planning their wedding in April in Palm Springs which will involve a mass exodus for many of his relatives (over 150) from Wisconsin. It should be a great party and beautiful wedding. She continues to coach water polo at a local high school and for her own club, and is now teaching Barre classes at the local Pure Barre.

Last but not least, my eldest son Drew had a great season of fishing this year on his sport fisher The Pacific Queen, and currently has his boat in dry dock in Ventura for winter repairs. He and Mary Grace are very busy with their my grandson Theo, who turned one on December 16th. What a charmer he is!

Thanksgiving was quiet since all our kids were celebrating elsewhere. We had a quiet evening at my favorite Wine Bistro. We were joined by Steve’s sister Kerry and her husband Chuck.


Steve and I were in Dallas over Halloween, and also had a fun trip to Dallas for his office Christmas party this month. I was prepared for the worst in terms of weather, but it was actually warm – in the 70’s – and lovely during my visit. I was able to complete my dreaded continuing education on mortgage fraud and regulations, so all in all it was a very successful trip. Dinners out included CBD Provisions, the new restaurant in The Joule where we enjoyed a pig’s head(!) Hmmm, not sure I’d recommend it for the faint of heart…or stomach! It was interesting…

We also enjoyed a great meal at Nick and Sam’s in Uptown. I had their foie gras, which is now illegal in California, but happily readily available in Texas. This is a quintessential Uptown steakhouse with a great bar and chef. I bumped into some out of town visitors – well, they bumped into me, and I knew they weren’t from Dallas since they didn’t apologize. It’s true! Dallasites are extremely polite people! All in all a wonderful time. Here is the view from Steve’s condo:

I wish all of you a fabulous NEW YEAR!

Monday, September 30, 2013

ARM loans - An Alternative

Steve and I just closed escrow on a home in Dana Point. We bought a condo-- due to location and view—and the amenities it affords us.

I don’t usually recommend condos, due to the control you hand over the HOA on a variety of issues. Then again, an HOA that is well-structured and managed can take a lot of headaches off the homeowner! We’ve just completed painting and are in process of installing new flooring ( before we move in this weekend. It has been quite an adventure so far!

Why am I telling you this? We selected a 5-year arm. Here's why...

Most of my clients prefer 30- or 15-year fixed rate financing, due to the opportunity to lock-in record low rates that will be fixed for the life of the loan. But as I always tell everyone, you need to consider the whole financial picture when selecting the loan program that is right for you. It all depends on how long you intend to remain in the home, as well as other factors.

In our case, we decided on a five-year ARM with a slightly lower rate than the fixed rate programs (that are still low!) as this better suits us.

So while 30- and 15-year fixed rate loans will remain the preferred financing approach for most people, don’t rule an ARM or even interest-only financing, if there is a reason this type of loan might better fit your personal financial needs.

Here's a photo of the before picture with yellow paint and brown carpet. Updates to follow!~

Thursday, September 12, 2013



My last update in May signaled the end of our record low interest rates. Rates jumped up rather rapidly by 1% and have drifted higher since, with a few minor ups and downs. When clients complain about rates that aren’t in the 3’s I remind them that we are still very near the bottom of the rate cycle over the last 30 years +.

Currently we are looking at rates in the mid-4’s to low 5’s for 30 year fixed programs, depending on various factors. You can still get a rate in the 3’s if you are interested in an ARM. The spectre of inflation, coupled with expectations of the end of Quantitative Easing, was the signal to the market to move, and it did!

We’ve seen property prices rise this year along with rising rates. The good news is, your property is worth a lot more than last year. However, the seller’s market has slowed in the last month, and is transitioning toward a buyer’s market today.


Maybe it’s my age, but it passed so quickly!

I went on the Rock Creek Pack Station Horse Drive in June. It is an endurance event as always! This time I was accompanied by four friends, and they weren’t quite prepared for what was to come. Luckily, they all rallied and had a great time. For the uninitiated, it involves moving stock (horses and mules) up the Owens River Valley from Independence to Rock Creek Lake above Bishop over four days and covering around 100 miles. It is hot, dusty, hard work, hot, dusty, long, and dusty. Did I say it is HOT and DUSTY? It is also a lot of fun. This year, for the first time, I was assigned to ride a mule and I was unsure whether it was a prize or punishment. Actually, the mule was great! The other “guests” were from all over the US, and mostly expert riders. I highly recommend it if you want to try something different! I have known the station owner Craig London my entire life and have ridden with them often over the years. My first time on a horse-- at age 3, was with Craig-- and our mothers. Here I am:


July saw us travelling to two weddings. We visited friends in Calistoga for the 4th, and then drove over to Nevada City for the first wedding. While in Napa, we drove over the hill to Aetna Springs (Pope Valley) and went swimming in their swimming hole, which was a treat. By way of explanation the Pope Valley is adjacent to Napa Valley to the east, and grapes grown there carry the appellation of Napa which is worth a lot of status and $$. We had dinner one night at the SolBar at the Solage, always a favorite.

Later in the month we spent a long weekend in Santa Barbara for Steve’s niece’s wedding, which was quite an extravaganza, at a private estate in Montecito. For his trip we rented a home ( in the Mesa area of Santa Barbara with an ocean view. Nice! Both weddings were beautiful and memorable events. Here is Steve’s niece Emily and her husband, Justin. Beautiful couple!

My daughter announced her engagement to her beau Paul in July, making it even more exciting! I had an early hint during their visit with us in June.

August was relatively quiet with only one vacation to Mammoth with Steve’s boys. We fished, hiked and generally relaxed. I LOVE Mammoth in the summertime. We hiked up the Rock Creek Canyon, and one day we rented a pontoon boat on June lake and lazed around, trying to catch fish without success. However we drank a lot of beer!
We had a quick family get-together in August, for my mother’s party, and here is a pic of my me, my sis, my daughter and my niece Page together:


We just returned from a weekend jaunt to Catalina at Two Harbors. We went over on a 44’ sailboat Friday morning (motoring) and returned Sunday.
The highlights were: snorkeling at Emerald Bay, running out of quarters at the pay showers on-shore (hmmm mid-shower) dancing at the Harbor Reef Saloon Saturday night, and attempting to sail in what felt like gale force winds for about fifteen minutes, during which time I was sure we were all going to perish. Luckily we didn’t. Figuring out which lines went where was complicated!

Oh, and did I forget to mention we fouled our mooring line (actually the sand line got tangled in our engine prop the last night) and we had to have the Harbor Patrol, a boat diver AND Vessel Assist all help us to remove ourselves from the harbor. What can I say, it was an adventure! Can’t wait to go again!

I also had a visit to Dallas squeezed in there… fun as always. I still swear by Stampede 66, the Stephan Pyle restaurant. This time we took the building’s driver for a tour of McKinney before getting dropped at the restaurant. Very stylish! I could get used to it! The walk home was only a few blocks through the new Klyde Warren Park. The Park offers exercise classes most weeknights (Yoga, Zumba, Cross-training) and has free concerts too!

I want to get in a plug for my favorite new restaurant in Dana Point, the Wine Bistro Dana Point. The Wine Bistro is next door to Hennessey’s and is owned by Paul Hennessey. I had the pleasure of meeting him at their First Anniversary Party this summer. I try to visit every Monday night for their special $20 three-course food and wine tasting. A great deal, and always fun and interesting food. Chef Nael does a great job.

After all this, I am tired and I just want to stay home for a while. I hope your summer was fun and eventful too!
Now I’m glad it’s football season and we can watch TV on Saturdays…

Monday, May 6, 2013


Interest Rate update:

Rates hit record lows yet again the first of May but backed off slightly on Friday May 3rd. With home values rising rather rapidly this year, many people are now able to refinance who were prohibited in the past -- due to their home value; and many on FHA loans with Mortgage Insurance are now able to refinance into a conventional loan without MI.
On the home sale and purchase front, recent reports suggest that reluctant sellers may start coming off the sidelines now that prices have risen. It’s still a seller’s market, but with more inventory coming on the market, it is still a great time to buy…but you MUST be pre-approved before getting out to look. Many programs have loosened guidelines, but it still takes a mountain of paperwork to obtain loan approval.


Turks and Caicos

Steve and I took a vacation to Grand Turk in March. We stayed at the Bohio Dive Resort and had a fabulous time. We did two morning dives every day, and the diving was equal to the best we’ve had. Afternoons were spent reading, painting (in Steve’s case) and generally just relaxing. The food was spectacular, and we met some really fun people staying at the resort. Dive resorts don’t fit the typical “resort” profile but this one came pretty darn close…great service, inventive cocktails, and wonderful food. They had live entertainment three nights we were there and it was definitely the “happening” place on the island.

Diving: Lots of turtles, nurse sharks and various other Caribbean tropical fish...there was always a lot to see. On our last day we chased a whale in our dive boat, and jumped into the water with him briefly, until he swam away. Spectacular! The island is tiny, and although there is a sizable native population, there is nothing to do or see, other than under the water. The end!

Palm Springs

I’ve had a couple of visits to Palm Springs this spring, both around birthday celebrations. The first in early March was a quick weekend jaunt. Dinner at the Steakhouse at the Spa Resort Casino was the highlight ….other than my company, Susan Green. We met with some of her extended family (Italians!) and they call Palm Springs their second home. What can I say? We danced and visited with my son Kenny who is home FOR GOOD from Europe. Thank Goodness!

I also visited Palm Springs with a girl’s group in April. We rented a home in the “Movie Colony” that was spectacular, and had dinner at the Workshop—pretty groovy—and Melvyn’s, an old Palm Springs tradition. Dinner at Melvyn’s was an elegant affaire, just like the old days. The piano bar there is a crack-up.
Here is the link for the Workshop:

Our last evening we ate early at Lulu’s and watched the PS Follies’ which was a pretty extraordinary event. I mean these really old chicks—in their late 50’s 60’s and 70’s—are the showgirls, and they really look and act the part. They are amazing looking! Just to be clear here I AM in that age group, but these showgirls put me to shame. Plastic surgery is very fashionable in the desert areas. (!)

Whatever you do, if you attend, don’t sit in the front row as the MC likes to pick on people sitting there. WATCH OUT! He’s pretty funny but a bit caustic.


I always enjoy my visits to Dallas. This was my last visit to Steve’s loft in The Beat Lofts on Southside Dallas since he’s moved into the building where he is selling…Museum Tower. We did a lot of shopping for furniture for the new place. It was a bit painful (Chinese water torture?) since he takes a long time to decide, and I’m a finger-snapper. Oh well, it was fun anyway. I am very excited to visit him next time in the Tower since the pool level is sooo cool… I’d be willing to camp out on the lawn there. Of course, they wouldn’t allow it, but it would be fun!

This is a picture of me with two models--painted like statues--for a fundraising event held at the Tower:

The views from the Tower are amazing, and it is right next to the new downtown park named the Klyde Warren Park where they hold daily classes like Yoga, Zumba, and have all kinds of activities including weekend concerts, etc. A real people meeting place in a downtown area.

There are many restaurants within walking distance, not to mention the museums and theatres. This visit we enjoyed meals at Stephan Pyles, Stampede 66 and the Village Marquee Grill and Bar in Highland Park. We were pretty cool. haha I must say that Dallas has more great restaurants than anywhere I’ve ever been, save San Francisco and New York City.

My favorite evening included cocktails at the NYLO Rooftop Bar, and nightcaps at Cedars Social. Just real people go there! Always fun! Their champagne/vodka cocktail is the Best.

Lest you think I am vacating when in Dallas, think again. I have a work station in Steve’s office so I am completely functional with my computer, and their scanner/printer, etc. I am doing mortgage business while they are selling homes. I can’t lend in Texas unfortunately, since I am not licensed in Texas. Most of the buyers are all-cash buyers, or have their own bank loans.


My prodigal son has returned to the USA for good...and is seeking employment. While completing his portfiolo and resume, he's taken some time off to climb in Joshua Tree. He completed a first ascent of a new route there. This is a photo of him in Yosemite and is almost as scary as the Joshua route photos...which I can't seem to upload here. Ready, GULP!

Last, but Not Least

My baby grandson Theo is growing by leaps and bounds, and I need to visit more often. Last time I was with him was in February. He’s already almost five months old and a real looker. Here he is:

Best wishes to all!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Almost Spring...Can't Wait!


We’ve seen many changes to the markets since the election, not the least of which is the stock market has been improving….and bond prices are down, which means interest rates are rising. We all agree that the bottom of the rate cycle has passed. That said, rates are still very attractive, and there are lots of people out there who haven’t taken advantage of a refinance.

Rates for most 30-year loans remain in the range of the mid 3’s to low 4’s, and there are lower rates for some products (15 years, ARMS and FHA/VA loans). Speaking of FHA financing, there are many changes coming up in the short term. Mortgage insurance charges are increasing.
On the bright side, new programs for conventional loans are making it easier to purchase homes with lower down payments...if you can find a property! It is definitely a seller’s market with little inventory, and rising home prices.

SHORT SALES, BK’s and FORECLOSURES: When are you eligible for a new loan?

Short Sale/Deed in lieu:
2 years with 20% down; 4 years with 10% down –conventional loans
3 years FHA financing (unless no late payments prior to transfer)
3 years FHA, 7 years conventional
2 years FHA, 4 years conventional

Updates to MY WORLD


The holidays were especially wonderful for me since I had all my children together for Christmas, INLCUDING my brand new grandson, Theo, who wasn’t yet a week old.

Katie and her beau Paul flew in from Michigan, Kenny was home (for GOOD!) from Berlin, and Drew and MaryGrace arrived from San Diego with baby Theo in tow. Mom was with us, along with all three of Steve’s boys, so it was a real family affair. The hit of the evening –other than Theo--were two battery-powered Shark balloons ready for battle.

We celebrated New Years at a local restaurant, the Dana Point Wine Bistro, and had a fabulous meal with best friends while dancing the night away!


I was in Dallas in February for a grand opening party for Museum Tower. I was able to tour the building for the first time, and view the model homes, which were beautiful. The party hosted over 500 who were served food and beverages at a number of stations throughout the building. We were treated to music in three separate locations, and one location had a dance floor!

The biggest hit with the party-goers was the 38th floor – for its expansive views of Dallas and environs—but my favorite locale was the pool deck , which was quite frankly luxury defined, at least for me. Great views, beautiful pool, two separate fireplace seating areas, bocce ball court, Jacuzzi, interior bar seating area….all with the backdrop of downtown Dallas. I inquired as to whether they allowed camping on the pool area lawn, but was politely declined. Darn! I told them I’d just shower in the gym, which is on the same level, but no go! Check it out at

As sales activity has been picking up, so has Steve’s time spent in Dallas. The weather there is pretty strange and changeable, but the people are really friendly and fun. My favorite dance class ever is at the T. Boone Pickens YMCA—downtown—on Thursdays. I always try to make the class when I am visiting. Great combination of hip hop and Zumba, with the emphasis on hip hop. Meals at Truluck’s and Stephan Pyles were great as usual, but my favorite was Stampede 66, a NEW Stephan Pyles restaurant. Fun, casual atmosphere and CRAZY Fried green tomatoes.


We ended 2012 with a tad over $600 million in loans funded, and I was the #3 Loan Officer. I’ve been officially initiated into the “Chairman’s Club” with the Top Four, and am waiting to receive my gold-embossed business cards. Nice! Keep the loans coming!


Scuba diving in the Turks and Caicos Islands in March….