Diane's Mortgage Blog

As this year draws to an end, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on this past year and focus a little on the future. It has been such an energetic year and we’ve seen significant growth and changes happen over the last twelve months. Overall, though extremely busy, it’s been a lot of fun. And I have you to thank for it.

Welcome 2014I love originating loans and working with people to secure financing for their homes and investment properties. It gives me the chance to meet terrific people, work with some of the best real estate agents out there, and I get great satisfaction to go to work every day. For that, I am grateful!

2013 has been no exception; I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of cherished past clients as well as many wonderful new ones that I’m looking forward to working with again in the future. As a result we were afforded the opportunity to make a number of home ownership dreams come true for some very remarkable people!

On the professional side, I have been honored to work with so many fantastic real estate agents. Many of these consummate professionals work countless hours and are so incredibly dedicated to their craft. They are truly inspirational in their dedication; I am thankful for their professionalism and the example they provide to the community they serve.

This year was filled with ups and downs. The government shutdown had us scrambling a little bit, but our lenders, agents and clients worked with us through the process. We managed to roll up our sleeves, dig in and push through the challenges that presented. We had some challenging loan scenarios crop up and we were able to pull together as a team and get the job done.

To that end, I have a remarkable team of people working with me. We had some changes mid-year, and new additions to the group really seamlessly stepped up to keep our busy pace. I am blessed to have such great people supporting our operation; and ultimately, supporting you.

Looking ahead to next year, we have some big plans. We are looking forward to growth within the market and are excited to serve a myriad of new people. As our organization changes and grows in 2014, we look forward to serving you with the same vigor, dedication and commitment we have always proud to display.

For you, we hope the New Year brings joy, happiness and prosperity. May you enjoy the fruits of your labors, the people you love, and the community in which you live. Again, thank you for the support you’ve given us over the year.

We wish you a very Happy New Year!

Diane Giannelli is a successful Direct Lender with First Nations Home Finance. Her expertise is in working with military buyers, USDA Agricultural Loans, Veterans Administration (VA Loans), and FHA. She has worked in the Real Estate and Title industry for more than 20 years and has been a leading coach for successful real estate agents.

Contact Diane Giannelli today to see how she can help you achieve your dreams of home ownership!

Tel: (760) 415-7982
Fax: (760) 365-5528
Email: diane4loans@gmail.com

Diane Giannelli
First Nations Home Finance
7398-B Fox Trail
Yucca Valley, CA 92284-2957

CA DRE #01856154
NMLS #316284



Posted in:General
Posted by Diane Giannelli on December 23rd, 2013 8:02 PM

Once again we find ourselves in the home stretch of the year staring the Holiday’s in the face. As I’ve mentioned before, many people find this time of the year personally and financially stressful; and for some, the Holiday’s end by ushering in a new year of financial instability. I’ll say it again, though; it doesn’t have to be that way.

I certainly don’t want to be a downer. Yet I know that a number of people reading this are planning on buying a home or investment property in the next year. So think ahead, get started now and manage your finances and stress going into the holidays, so you come out of it prepared for the New Year!

This is a great time of year for family financial planning. With Thanksgiving tomorrow and a few days off from work, and family by our side, this is a fantastic time to sit down and sketch out a plan for 2014. By sitting down with your family and jotting down your goals for the next year and outlining a budget, you are getting everybody in the house on the same page. Not only does budgeting for the next year keep your family’s heads in the future, it will help focus everyone’s attention on Holiday spending (especially with Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner).

Around this time last year, I outlined the Four Easy Steps to a Budget, so I wanted to readdress the topic again. To me, this is important for your financial success, especially if you want to buy a new home or invest in an income property in the coming year.

Four Easy Steps to a Budget

Identify: The first step in creating a budget is to identify how you are spending your money now. Get your credit card statements, bank statements and any other financial receipts you have and figure out where your money has been going for the last year. Write them in categories of what’s “necessary” (utilities, rent/mortgage/food); “niceties” (car payment, gym membership, occasional night out, etc.); “things you don’t need but you do it anyway” (daily $4.00 lattes, lunch at the drive through, dinner out three times a week, that blouse or shirt you just had to have, etc.). These columns and what goes in them are up to you. If your morning coffee is necessary to the survival of your coworkers, then by all means, put it in the “niceties” column, just be honest with yourself.

Evaluate: Once you’ve gotten your spending categorized, spend some time evaluating where your money is going. This is your chance to look at your long-term financial goals and see if your spending supports what you are trying to achieve. For example: If you see a lot of charges to your neighborhood coffee shop or sodas from the drive through, you may have just identified a habit that needs changing!

Plan: Now that you’ve identified where your money has been going, and have a pretty good idea of where you want it to go in the future, you can pen a plan and put it in place. By having your goals, your budget and your plan written down, you’ll have a living document that you can refer to periodically to make sure you’re on track. Think about it like driving a car and using a map to get somewhere you’ve never been. We rarely get in the car and just drive and hope we end up where we need to go. We have a plan, we know we have to go somewhere, we figure out the way to get there by aid of a map or directions, and we drive there according to that plan. We might hit a construction detour that wasn’t on the map, but we refer back to our map and find a new way to get where we need to go. Budgeting is the same way; we have goals and our budget is what we use to get us there. Writing it down lets us know we’re committed to seeing it through; which leads us to the fourth step in our budgeting process.

Tracking: When you have written your budget out, you’ve set in place a series of guidelines to keep your spending within. It is monumentally important that each month you take a look at your spending and compare it to the plan you have in place. By tracking your progress each month, you will discover where your cash leaks are coming from. Cash leaks are the places where we need to make adjustments to our spending. Other times we may need to reexamine the budget and make a change there because our initial planning may have been unrealistic. This takes a little discipline, but once you’ve gotten in the habit, you will find huge rewards are in store for you and your family.

Overall, don’t drive yourself crazy. Budgeting can seem like a daunting task, but once the initial pain is over with, the rewards are great. If you’re using a software program to make a budget, be careful not to micromanage yourself into frustration. That could cause you to abandon the process altogether.

What about all the other Holiday Stresses?

This year, I wanted to deviate a little and write not just about finances, because it occurred to me that many people experience a myriad of other stresses over the holiday season. And these stresses can lead back to devolving finances. So I did a little homework and came up with some easy stress management tips that should help lighten the load in other areas of your life this holiday season.

Monitor Thyself

1. The best thing you can do for yourself to reduce, eliminate, or manage your stress, is to take good care of yourself. If you know that being around your family for an extended period of time can cause stress, before the first guest arrives, decide on a place to escape and a plan for how to excuse yourself. Even if the night is proceeding without issue, spend an extra few moments in the bathroom, take a deep breath and appreciate the trouble-free time of celebration.

2. Think beyond yourself; one of the easiest ways to put your worries in perspective is to place yourself in the shoes of another. The holidays are full of opportunities to spread joy and help others; find a shelter to serve food with, help an organization fundraise, or purchase toys for a low-income family. Nothing feels as good as giving and giving back does.

3. As laughable as it may sound, eat well…or at least try. The holidays are notorious for being the time of year when indulgences happen and pounds are packed on. When you shop, limit your snack items and high-calorie food purchases, and make wise buying choices. You don’t have to avoid all treats, but try smaller portions and healthier alternatives; semi-sweet or dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, red wine instead of white. Save your calories for times when you’re eating out or enjoying a meal at the home of another. Not only will you be proud of yourself because you made smarter choices, but your body will feel lighter and less tired which helps relieve stress.

Prepare Thyself

· Managing your time is easier said than done, yes, but the more work you do in advance, the more stress you can avoid. If you will be hosting a family dinner or a party with friends, start preparing at least a week prior. Spread the chores amongst those in the home and clean or straighten a room a day, leaving yourself the day before the event to prepare food.

· Create a budget, and stick to it, no matter what. In preparation for the time of year when consumerism is at an all-year high, don’t fall victim to buying just because you see it or just because it’s on sale. Make a list of the family you want to buy for, friends you want to gift, and neighbors, service workers, and co-workers you would like to give to. Remember, home baked goods and custom-made items are great gifts for non-family, so if you’re handing in the kitchen or a regular Martha Stewart, save yourself some money. If the budget allows, buy extras; scarves, gift cards, movie passes, quick gifts are perfect to keep handy in case you’ve accidentally left someone off your list or someone brings a plus one to dinner.

Undoubtedly, the most stressful and difficult thing about the holidays for some is the memories and feelings it can bring up. If you have recently experienced the loss of a loved one, if this is the time of year that you lost someone close to you in years prior, or if you aren’t able to physically be with your family, be proactive. Depending on your comfort level and ability, surround yourself with those you love and those who love you. Enjoy the life and love that close friends, coworkers, and family offer and if you are dealing with depression or under the care of a doctor or counselor, schedule an appointment and visit them during this time of year. If spirituality or religion is important to you, be sure to spend time in meditation or prayer.

As we roll into the Holiday’s, above all else, I think of it as a happy time of year where we celebrate one another and revel in the friendship and kinship of those around us. We want to wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season, and invite you to participate in all the joy this time of year has to offer, both financially and personally!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Diane Giannelli is a successful Direct Lender with First Nations Home Finance. Her expertise is in working with military buyers, USDA Agricultural Loans, Veterans Administration (VA Loans), and FHA. She has worked in the Real Estate and Title industry for more than 20 years and has been leading coach for successful real estate agents.

Contact Diane Giannelli today to see how she can help you achieve your dreams of home ownership!

Tel: (760) 415-7982
Fax: (760) 365-5528
Email: diane4loans@gmail.com

Diane Giannelli
First Nations Home Finance



Posted in:General
Posted by Diane Giannelli on November 27th, 2013 1:39 PM

CLOSED!You are the most important part of my business. Without you, my business wouldn’t function, whether you’re a buyer, a refinance client, or a valued real estate agent I serve, you are integral to our success. And I pride myself on the work I do for you, because I value every relationship that each transaction creates.

With all that has been happening amidst the government shutdown, you, many of my customers, have been caught in the middle. I know that buying a home, can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. Add to it twenty-four hour news channels buzzing, politicians digging their heels in and refusing to budge, the economy in a whirl, and the federal agencies we rely on to perform the tasks necessary to closing loans closing their doors, and we have a perfect storm.

So I just wanted to take a few minutes to let you know that we are working very hard to get every loan through the system right now. Sadly, there are some places that our hands are tied. So just for your edification, I’ll let you know where we are running into government road blocks until Washington has things sorted out.

FHA and VA: These workers are furloughed, though there are a few personnel turning on the lights and performing the work. At this significantly reduced capacity Case Numbers can still be ordered, but there is a mounting back log thereby increasing the time we can open new loan packages and usher them through the process.

USDA: The USDA has been furloughed so they are not issuing Commitments (approvals). That means that USDA backed loans are on hold for the time being.

IRS: Most loans now require a Verification of Transcripts before they are about to fund. If this had not been issued by the IRS prior to the Federal Government shutdown and it is a requirement for funding, these loans are now on hold.

Our office is doing everything it can to fund the loans we have and we are queuing up all new loan packages so they can be ushered through the system in a timely manner when Uncle Sam opens up shop again.

We will, of course, be posting updates on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/diane4loans) and Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/diane4loans).

If you have any questions regarding your transaction(s), please don’t hesitate to contact our office; we are happy to talk to you and truly want to be of service.

Diane Giannelli is a successful Direct Lender with First Nations Home Finance. Her expertise is in working with military buyers, USDA Agricultural Loans, Veterans Administration (VA Loans), and FHA. She has worked in the Real Estate and Title industry for more than 20 years and has been leading coach for successful real estate agents.

Contact Diane Giannelli today to see how she can help you achieve your dreams of home ownership!

Tel: (760) 415-7982
Fax: (760) 365-5528
Email: diane4loans@gmail.com

Diane Giannelli
First Nations Home Finance
7398-B Fox Trail
Yucca Valley, CA 92284-2957

CA DRE #01856154
NMLS #316284



 

Posted in:General
Posted by Diane Giannelli on October 4th, 2013 1:45 PM

US Dept. of Veterans AffairsVeterans Affairs (VA) home loans have experienced a wave of growth over recent years. And because of our proximity to several military bases throughout southern California, we do a fair number of VA loans. As a matter of fact, the VA is on track to back over 600,000 home loans in 2013! With that knowledge in hand, there are a few things real estate agents need to know about VA loans and their buyers.

Essentially, the VA offers a variety of home loan guaranty programs for Active Duty Service-members, Veterans, as well as National Guard and Reserve members. These Purchase Loans help a qualified buyer purchase a home at a competitive interest rate; often without requiring any down payment or private mortgage insurance. And though there are monetary loan limits imposed on VA buyers, there are exceptions to many of the higher priced regions in the United State (including San Diego). These and many other factors make VA home loans extremely attractive for many buyers in our market.

As a real estate agent, there are a number of things you need to know. Not only does a buyer have to qualify, so does the property. Though the VA has a pretty long list of “do’s and don’ts,” there are five overall encompassing rules regarding VA loans that a real estate agent should know:

1. No Vacant Lots or Farm Land
Technically, a VA qualified buyer can buy a lot in conjunction with a VA Construction loan, but the qualifying conditions make in extremely difficult see these loans through. It’s been our experience that a buyer who is looking down this path, may have many other more reasonable options available to them which we will ultimately pursue.

Keep in mind, the framers of the VA loan programs were originally trying to get service-members into a primary residence. Over time, the program has evolved to help a wider swath of qualified buyers.

2. No Fixer-uppers
If your buyer is looking to walk into “the deal of a lifetime” that will require some serious elbow grease to get the property habitable, keep looking. The VA has “Minimum Property Requirements” for a home to qualify. The overall list is available on the VA website, but here are a few line items to take under advisement as you’re searching for a property for your VA Home Loan approved buyer:

  • Property must be accessible year-round
  • Must be at least 75% residential space
  • Property must have a bathroom, space for living, sleeping, cooking, and dining
  • Not more than four units sharing laundry, storage and utility rooms
  • Year-round water supply
  • Waste flows unencumbered into septic or public sewer

3. Check the Roof
The roof is one of the first things a VA appraiser is going to look at. Water is a deal killer when it comes to a VA home loan. And a home’s first line of defense against water is the roof. The VA requires that the roof prevent the entrance of moisture into the domicile. It also requires the roof to “provide reasonable future utility.” In other words, they want to see that the roof is going to last for, at a minimum, the next five years.

4. Like I Said—Water is a Deal Killer
After looking at the roof line, the VA appraiser is going to look down; and one thing he or she will look for is not just the presence of water, but the ability for water to be a burden on the structure. In other words, basements or crawl spaces need to be mostly free of water; grading needs to be such in that water will be ushered away from the living structure; and gutters must be present or in good working order if necessary.

5. “Reasonable Future Utility”
Similar to the roof, all the other major systems that service the property must have “Reasonable Future Utility.” That means plumbing and electrical need to meet building codes. There can be no exposed wires, overloaded fuse boxes, or outlets that fail to meet minimum codes.

Plumbing can’t have leaks, must feed the sewer or septic without fault; and heating systems have to keep areas with plumbing heated to at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s a great honor to serve those who have served. Having an understanding of what is required of a property your military buyer may be interested in will help you to serve them in the standard they deserve.

And remember, if you have any questions about a property your buyer is looking at, you can also contact us!

Diane Giannelli is a successful Direct Lender with First Nations Home Finance. Her expertise is in working with military buyers, USDA Agricultural Loans, Veterans Administration (VA Loans), and FHA. She has worked in the Real Estate and Title industry for more than 20 years and has been a leading coach for successful real estate agents.

Contact Diane Giannelli today to see how she can help you achieve your dreams of home ownership!

Tel: (760) 415-7982
Fax: (760) 365-5528
Email: diane4loans@gmail.com

Diane Giannelli
First Nations Home Finance
7398-B Fox Trail
Yucca Valley, CA 92284-2957

CA DRE #01856154
NMLS #316284



 

Posted in:General
Posted by Diane Giannelli on June 30th, 2013 10:42 PM

Earth Day is upon us and in celebration I thought it a pertinent to write April’s Blog on recycling and conservation. In the Morongo Valley, our local mountain communities, and throughout southern California, we are no strangers to conservation. In most of our communities conservation and recycling are even legislated.

Reduce, Reuse, RecycleDespite legislation, and not to sound too “preachy,” we have a duty to conserve our resources. Our communities are growing and the infrastructure we use isn’t expanding as rapidly as our needs. Power grids aren’t able to handle peak loads in many of our communities, and the water we rely on is in more demand. From planting drought tolerant plants around our properties and capturing rain in barrels and cisterns; to using less power by consumption, conservation has become a way of life for us.

More and more properties we lend on have implemented new and interesting ways to conserve on resources. Here are a few things you can do around the house and property to help you conserve and save money on a monthly basis:

Water Conservation

  • Leaky faucets and toilettes are literally dollars down the drain! With a $0.50 gasket, you could potentially save hundreds of dollars a year.
  • Don’t let the tap run until the hot water shows up. If you’re waiting for the hot water, keep an old milk or water jug by the sink and in the bathroom. When you run the water to get it hot, capture the cold water for later use. That water can then be put in the refrigerator for drinking, watering your pets, or even for watering your houseplants or garden.
  • Invest in a rain barrel or two. Some communities (currently San Diego is running a rebate program for a dollar a gallon) will even incentivize you to install rain barrels or cisterns. This is water that can be used to water your garden, fauna and houseplants.
  • Replumbing your home? Consider a gray-water system. Gray-water systems are increasing in popularity, and as such, many communities are making it easier to permit and install a system that uses shower/tub and laundry water to use in gardens and lawns.
  • Replace those old toilets and showerheads with low-flow equipment.

Energy Conservation

  • Flip the switch! We’ve all done it, moved from one room to the next and left the lights on. Next thing you know, you are walking around the house and every light is on. Save yourself time and money; try getting into the habit of turning off lights and appliances you’re not using.
  • Speaking of appliances, look into replacing older appliances with newer, more energy efficient ones. The savings in energy costs alone may pay for a new washer or refrigerator.
  • Use energy efficient light-bulbs. There is a huge move from incandescent lights to compact florescent lamps (CFL). Now there are LED light-bulbs that are readily available at your local hardware store that are even more energy efficient and are longer lasting. Though one LED bulb may cost $15-$20, it will have an estimated life of approximately 20 years!
  • Consider obtaining your energy from other sources like wind or solar. You don’t have to rely entirely on the wires coming into your house. Many are making a move to solar power as a cost effective way of generating their own power. Small wind turbines are also becoming more affordable as more people turn to alternative energy sources.

My “Conservation List” could go on and on; and I encourage you to do your homework. Get online and search for ways that you could make a positive impact around your home! But conservation is only one part of the puzzle, being an effective recycler can, over time, save you thousands of dollars!

Recycling, as I mentioned earlier, is legislated by many communities; it’s the law. There are a number of reasons many cities have turned to it, but it all really boils down to money. Landfills are expensive to operate and as communities grow, they fill up faster and faster. Also, municipalities that require recycling make money off the items you recycle with them. Just as if you were to go to a local recycling center and turn in cans and bottles for a few dollars, the municipalities and companies paid to haul away your curbside cans earn money on a larger scale. So it makes sense for a municipality to recycle.

Whether you leave your recycling to the city or county in which you live, pay to have it hauled away by a third-party provider, or want to do it yourself, there are some key items to consistently recycle.

Paper and Cardboard

  • Newspapers should be saved in their own bin. Few people know this, but newspaper as a material goes directly back into newsprint recycling. Simply recycling a four-foot stack of newspapers saves the equivalent of one 40-foot fir tree!
  • Magazines, glossy printed flyers or newspaper inserts, phone books, envelopes, computer paper, old letters, and paper packaging can be saved together in their own bin. Staples in paper are acceptable as they are easily eliminated in the cleaning process; but remove rubber bands or plastic wrap as this is significantly more difficult for recyclers to remove as a waste product.
  • Cardboard, specifically corrugated cardboard, is a highly valued recyclable. It is important, however to try and keep it dry.

Plastic

Plastic does not break down in landfills, and since it can be recycled to make a multitude of products, efforts should be made to recycle all of your plastic waste.

  • Plastics are numbered based on type and how it is recycled. Most plastic bottles are made of #1 PET plastic and is considered a very valuable recyclable.
  • Clean your plastics before placing them in your recycling bins.
  • Remove the tops from bottles, though they are still recyclable, bottle tops are made from a different type of plastic and are recycled in a different manner.
  • Many plastic grocery bags are recyclable, however most recycling centers (especially municipalities) will not take them. Most grocery stores maintain recycling bins for them.
  • Polystyrene (cups, food trays, egg cartons, etc.) does not biodegrade. Discover if your recycling center accepts polystyrene for recycling; many now accept this material. Please, try to reduce your use of this material, landfills are inundated with this material that does not degrade.

Glass

  • Glass is recycled according to color: clear, green and brown. Recycling centers prefer it when glass is separated this way, but not always necessary. For curbside recycling, don’t worry about separating them by color.
  • Light bulbs, sheet glass, mirrors and pyrex are often not accepted by private recycling centers, but some municipalities will take them. Check with your local community to see you’re your can and cannot put in your curbside bins.
  • INTERESTING and little known fact: Most recycling centers will not take your compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), however they may be recycled at your local IKEA or many chain hardware stores.

Aluminum, Steel & Copper

  • As is the case with plastics that contained food, your food cans should be rinsed.
  • Aluminum cans are very valuable as recyclable items and some recycling centers request they be not crushed flat. This is one of the easier items to recycle.
  • Aluminum foil and foil packaging are also important to recycle; they are reprocessed into aluminum mechanical components, such as engine parts and machined goods.
  • Paint and aerosol cans are recyclable, but are considered hazardous waste and need to be kept separate from other metals. Leave the labels on these cans so the recyclers know the contents. Try to return the lids along with empty paint cans.
  • Copper is one of the most recycled and recyclable of metals. In fact, copper is 100 percent recyclable, as are all its alloys, such as bronze and brass. The recycling of copper requires only 15% of the total energy otherwise consumed in mining, milling, smelting and refining. For this reason, many recyclers pay handsomely for copper.

When it comes to conservation and recycling, being effective at it is simply a matter of developing positive habits related how you operate on a daily basis. These positive changes will ultimately save us time, money, and resources. As I wrap up this post, I urge you to consider your impact upon the community at large and what efforts you can make around your home to save yourself time and money. With that, I leave you with some interesting facts about recycling and the impact you can make.

· Every ton of recycled paper saves 17 forty foot Douglas Fir trees.

· Paper takes up as much as 50% of all landfill space.

· Up to 90% of recycled glass can be reused to make new glass items, such as bottles and jars.

· Every glass bottle recycled saves enough energy for a 100 watt light bulb to be lit for 4 hours.

· Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild the entire commercial airline fleet every six months.

· Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run your TV for 3 hours.

· Thirty-six recycled bottles can make one square yard of carpet.

· 130 billion beverage containers are sent to US landfills each year.

· Recycling a 1-gallon plastic milk jug will save enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for 11 hours.

Happy Earth Day!

Diane Giannelli is a successful Direct Lender with First Nations Home Finance. Her expertise is in working with military buyers, USDA Agricultural Loans, Veterans Administration (VA Loans), and FHA. She has worked in the Real Estate and Title industry for more than 20 years and has been a leading coach for successful real estate agents.

Contact Diane Giannelli today to see how she can help you achieve your dreams of home ownership!

Tel: (760) 415-7982
Fax: (760) 365-5528
Email: diane4loans@gmail.com

Diane Giannelli
First Nations Home Finance
7398-B Fox Trail
Yucca Valley, CA 92284-2957

CA DRE #01856154
NMLS #316284



Posted in:General
Posted by Diane Giannelli on April 22nd, 2013 4:53 PM