American Pacific Mortgage

American Pacific Mortgage

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


RATES: We started out 2014 with the highest rates we’ve seen in years, and then hit the lows of the year at the end of May. Since then mortgage rates have continued to exhibit some volatility but within a fairly narrow range. We are still looking at rates in the low to mid-4’s --and no points-- for most loans. Shorter term loans and ARMs are still in the 3’s…of course rental properties and higher loan-to-values loans still command higher rates.
Home values seem to have leveled off and even dropped in some locations. That makes this is a great time to buy! Market activity slows anyway this time of year, so better than ever for buyers to take advantage of the softening home prices and still comparatively low rates.

JUMBOS: Some very interesting developments in the last few months have included LOWER rates for jumbo sized loans over $625,500 (the conforming jumbo loan limit) and announcements about new jumbo reverse loans for homes valued over $700,000 with loan amounts up to $2,000,000. This is big news because we know that the majority of Americans have most of their savings in their home. In California with higher home values the FHA reverse products are limited to a max of $625,500 and oftentimes aren’t enough to pay off a current lien. These new jumbo reverse loans are ”proprietary,” meaning they are private and not government loans. So , no mortgage insurance and, they offer fixed rates!

I am a big believer in reverse mortgages for some seniors. I had placed one on my mother’s home, and it was instrumental in enabling her to remain in her home with caregiver assistance, until she passed away. We paid off the reverse loan, and now hold the home as an investment property. So, the heirs have many options to pay off the reverse, or sell the property and retain the equity.


I had a weekend girl’s trip to celebrate two birthdays (BIG ones!) in May. We hit the weather perfectly, enjoyed some great meals out, and had a great time at the Descanso Beach Club. The Club is located walking distance from town, and offers a bar/restaurant as well as private seating on lounges, and cabanas. They have expert masseuses on-site as well as other activities like the zip-line and climbing wall. Although the beach is rocky, swimming and snorkeling are a blast for all ages. We stayed at Hamilton Cove with Killer views of the coastline. Every time I stay here I feel as though I’m in a Mediterranean resort. We lunched at the Bluewater Avalon on the harbor, and dined at Steve’s Steakhouse and the Avalon Grille. Of course we had a drink (or two) at Luau Larry’s while we were at it. Always a hoot, especially with the funny straw hats they hand out!

Our last afternoon we stopped at CC Gallagher on the way back to the ferry, and discovered a killer red wine called Troublemaker. We are still enjoying it, a lovely red blend with Syrah, Zin and another unpronounceable red grape.

Cozumel & Scuba Diving
Steve and I took a week off to dive in Cozumel at the end of June. I had been once, ten years ago, and before I was certified, but Steve hadn’t been there for something like 25 years… so it was all new to us. We stayed at a large “resort” with a couple of pools, restaurants, disco etc…and a lot of people along with some fascinating iguanas.
I wouldn’t recommend the resort, although the food was great and the bars served great drinks! It just didn’t feel authentic to us. And, the worst thing was that the disco didn’t get going until after 10:00 and when you dive, you just can’t stay up that late! YIKES! I guess I’m getting old! Anyway, the diving was pretty awful too. We realized we’ve been completely spoiled by small resorts catering to divers with nice boats (hmm like CocoView on Roatan, Bohio on Grand Turk and the Little Cayman resort). We won’t be going back soon, at least not to the Occidental. The diving was scary, since the currents were pretty crazy and STRONG, and one day we lost one of our divers on our boat. No kidding. But, we found him about 200 yards away.
During some of the dives, I felt a little like superman literally flying over the coral reefs. Not the usual way to view life under water! Conditions on the dive boats were less than acceptable. Well, I don’t need to belabor this. We did rest on this trip, and Steve painted some new fish. Over and out!

I am such a Dallasite, I can’t believe it. I actually look forward to visiting, and being wined and dined in the evenings. They have more restaurants per capita than any other metropolitan area in the US. I love to read at the pool at Museum Tower, visit the museums, and of course I get some work in too. Steve had to move condos since the one he occupied sold, so now we are in a new unit. My last visit in June we discovered a new restaurant by Stephan Pyles, with live music on the patio that we could hear from our place. So, we walked over, danced and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The same band, Latin Fire, is going to be playing at a party here this week…maybe a little salsa dancing will be involved!

Next, I met Katie and her friend Rebecca in San Jose after the USA Water Polo Jr. Olympics, where they were coaching their teams from Ann Arbor. First, we drove down the coast on highway one, through Big Sur and stayed two nights in Solvang for easy access to the Santa Ynez Valley. The girls wanted to do some wine tasting! We also made a stop at the Monterey Bay Aquarium which was a blast. Haven’t been there in years! Our favorite winery in Santa Ynez was Foxen Hill where we had a picnic of wine and cheese. Just beautiful country! We also visited Zaca Mesa and had some fab wines with dinner at Succulent Café. The waiter photo-bombed us! He was too funny! Of course we had two bottles with dinner but luckily we walked home. The charcuterie plate was to die for. Our second night we ate at Root 246, on their outdoor patio, but I have to say we preferred the Succulent Café.

We visited my son Kenny and his girlfriend Moselle in September. He followed Moselle there, and he is working with a lobbying group for affordable housing in California. We had a great time, and some fabulous meals at Ella’s Dining Room and a tapas restaurant , Aioli Bodega. Both highly recommended but pricey. We rented bikes on Saturday and toured the downtown area, all along the river and through the college campus and residential areas. I must say I have a new outlook on Sacramento. The downtown is filled with activity, day and night, for people of all ages. We stayed at The Citizen Hotel which is in a historic building a block from the Capitol. On Sunday we rented SUP’s at the college Aquatics center on the American River. What a blast! And, the weather cooperated and was very pleasant!

We are excited to have a brand new seafood restaurant in the Harbor in Dana Point. Waterman’s is owned by the same group that operates Sunset’s Bar and Grill in Capo Beach, and Stillwater’s in Dana Point. Located on the Harbor with open air patio dining on both floors, it offers great views but even better food. Fish tacos, ceviche, chowder, poke, everything is really tasty. And, they have an oyster bar…don’t miss it! It is adjacent to the Catalina Express pier.

Happy Fall! Go Team! I love football season, even when my team loses.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Milestones, Spring and Wedding Season!

There is so much to report, I don’t know where to begin! Let’s get business out of the way first:


Rates have been slowly creeping up, but still in an erratic fashion. International events, such as the recent actions of Russia in Ukraine, have had a positive effect on mortgage rates.

For now the overall outlook is positive in terms of Real Estate sales volume, steadily rising values, and mortgage rates still in the mid-4’s for most loans. Of course there are many variables that affect your rate! Some programs have loosened guidelines, and I have even seen hints of bank statements-only programs….but overall we are still working in a very conservative underwriting environment.


Both Steve and I celebrated BIG birthdays (!) in grand style earlier this year. We had a lovely dinner party at our home for him in January, and hosted family and close friends.

In mid-February we took our entire family (14 in all, including my baby grandson and spouses/partners) to CocoView on Roatan in the Caribbean. We had an absolutely marvelous and unforgettable time scuba diving, playing games, snorkeling and just generally relaxing. Our family flew in from Vermont (Ken) Michigan (Katie and Paul) Illinois (Courtney) Sacramento (Moselle) San Jose (David) and the rest of us all from LAX via Houston or Dallas.

You can imagine it was a logistical nightmare---but we all arrived eventually-- and we stayed in three rental homes right on the beach.

We held a ceremony one afternoon to celebrate my late mother Patricia’s life. I can honestly say this trip was the best vacation of my life. It doesn’t get any better!


My birthday was in March, and I had a quick trip to Dallas the week before which was filled with evenings out. I really enjoy the restaurants in Dallas! We had a birthday dinner at Al Biernat’s, an institution in Dallas. Our last evening we went to Nick and Sam’s where we were served with complimentary champagne and caviar, for my birthday. Wow! I can’t wait to return in May…it will be nice and warm. The pool at Museum Tower is the absolute most beautiful pool in Downtown with views of the skyline.

My daughter Katie was married April 26th in Palm Springs. All in all, it was a lovely week from beginning to end, and involved non-stop parties and never-ending things to do. Her new husband Paul is from Wisconsin, so there was a large contingent of friends from Wisconsin and Michigan, where they live now, and plenty of locals from SoCal and NorCal. Katie’s bridal party were all athletes from Cal, Michigan and UCLA. Notable guests included Katie’s high school swim coach, her childhood babysitters from our old neighborhood, and lots of new and old friends and relatives who traveled a long distance to witness the event. The reception was held outdoors at the Historic Cree Estate which boasts the largest private pool in the desert (it actually has two pools and a Jacuzzi on-site).

The estate was occupied by most of the wedding party from Friday through Monday. A fun-filled time was had by all! I rented another home, the Sonny and Cher estate, with my sister and stayed there with her kids and Steve’s…we hosted a family event before the wedding. Nice digs! I love VRBO-


I attended a fabulous concert in Denver – Justin Timberlake or “JT”, for those of you in the know. I met my sister and daughter in Denver, where we were joined by my niece --who attends the University of Colorado, Boulder. We stayed at a “Hip” hotel walking distance to the concert. Unfortunately when we left the venue after the concert, it was near blizzard conditions, so we couldn’t walk back, and had to fight over a car to get back. However my sister is very persistent, and convinced a cabbie he HAD to take us! We all lived to tell the tale!

I hadn’t been in Denver for years and the downtown is experiencing a resurgence of new restaurants, wine bars, galleries, etc. All in all, the 20/20 Experience concert was the best I can remember ever, and I love concerts! Do see it if you have the chance. The sheer variety of genres JT can handle is amazing, and his dancing had me trying the same moves on the way home (not a good idea in the snow!!!)

Life is great and I feel very lucky! Here I am with my two handsome sons. Next up: Cozumel in June...
Take Care!