The State of the Timeshare Industry

Timeshares are often thought of as very luxurious and accommodating vacations that can even end up costing you less than traditional hotel vacations. Despite how wonderful these extremely luxurious vacations are, due to the recent recession many timeshare owners are in need of a way out of their timeshares.

Because of this huge demand from existing timeshare owners to sell their timeshares, a few troubling problems have surfaced. The main problem is that with all of this supply of used timeshares there is little to no demand to purchase a used timeshare on the resale market. This has resulted in many timeshares being listed on popular e-commerce sites such as eBay and Amazon for as little as $1. These listings are basically a last ditch effort to get out of the timeshare contract.


Why I Won’t Pay Off My Mortgage Until I Retire

Having a mortgage is a wonderful thing.  In fact, I owe much of my work longevity to my mortgage. When I was 24, I came across a lot of cash due to a couple good stock picks.  I was just lucky, because goodness knows I can’t pick stocks for doodoo.  I never really told anybody how much I had, but it was enough to put 25% down on a median priced home in San Francisco and still have several years of mortgage payments left over.

By my mid 20s I began questioning the meaning of work. Perhaps I was simply suffering the lesser known “quarter life crisis.”  Because I had arrived at what I considered to be too much money too quickly, working to make more money lost its appeal.  It didn’t matter if I added another thousand or ten thousand to my savings, making money was so uninspiring.  I was demotivated because of a couple chance trades that required very little skill, just a lot of balls.  The great irony is that I don’t need much of anything to live a comfortable life.  Give me some clean clothes and a place overlooking the beach with a hot tub off the bedroom balcony and everything will be OK!


Sweet Talking Your Home Appraiser Pays Off

It took 63 days, but my mortgage refinance is finally over!  Back in the good times, a refi would take at most 40 days to complete.  Nowadays, banks are asking for every single document out there, making sure the borrower is legitimate.  Fine.  At least I can sleep well knowing that due to the new standards of due diligence, there will be a lower chance of another housing crisis in the future.  The same concept goes with airport security come to think of it.  Getting strip searched is a pain in the butt, but one should take comfort in a safer flight.

My lender required two independent home appraisers for my refinance.  I don’t care so much because the bank is eating the cost, which is an extra $750 for 30 minutes of appraisal work.  What a joke.  The first appraiser was a man who I left alone to do his thing.  He took the measurements with his laser tape, asked some basic questions on home improvements, and took some notes.  A week later, I got the report in the mail and was pretty stoic.  The appraised value was right at the middle end of the range.

A week went by, and I started to feel a slight sense of panic because I kept hearing about people getting their refinances denied due to high loan-to-value ratios.  I started to worry that after 40 days, I might very well get rejected from my 3.625% mortgage refinance rate due to some appraiser who might be in a bad mood that day.


Renters Should Pay More Taxes

Mailbox Graffiti TaggedEvery winter and spring, millions of homeowners across America pay their property taxes. In California, homeowners have to fork over roughly 1.2% of the assessed value every year to the local government. Put it another way,  in 83 years, a homeowner will have paid 100% the value of his or her home in taxes! How sick is that?

It is the American way for all citizens to pay their taxes, except for the many who don’t. We know by now that the often cited “47%” are the elderly or those who make under $20,000 so that’s fine. If you are one of them, just don’t vote to raise taxes on the 53% who already pay 100% of all federal income taxes please! Let’s all pitch in or starve the beast instead.

So why is it that homeowners, many of whom initially struggle to pay their mortgages, have to pay extra taxes while renters don’t? Let’s explore and discuss, shall we?


The clearest reason why homeowners have to pay property taxes while renters don’t have to pay renter taxes is because the government perceives homeowners as Lords! The word “landlord” makes it very clear that homeowners are considered the superior class. Back in the old days, peasants had to toil in the fields to pay for shelter. They couldn’t even afford regular food, let alone pay extra in taxes to help build schools and maintain roads.

Hundreds of years later, it’s odd that this archaic term and concept still holds true, even though America has grown to become the wealthiest nation in the world.  For anybody to equate renter to poverty is just ludicrous. Sure, there are some studies that show that the average net worth for a homeowner is 40X greater than that of a renter ($160,000 vs. $4,000). But overall, many more Americans nowadays rent out of choice, not out of insufficient funds.

On A Mission To Refinance America

Recently, I’ve been on a mission to tell anybody who will listen to refinance their mortgage.  I get nothing in return, just the satisfaction of knowing that someone who isn’t a rate hawk like me can get a nice kick in the pants to save some money every month for the next 5-to-30 years of their lives.  Nobody gave me a kick in the pants when I locked in my refi, which is why I had to pay 0.125% higher than I should have because I was unsure and waited a little too long.

Banks have promotions all the time, and your duty as a borrower and saver is to identify which banks are offering the most attractive terms at any given moment.  That bank is Citibank, with mortgage rates often 50 basis points (0.5%) cheaper than any competitor out there for 5/1 and 30-year mortgage products.  Citibank is on a rampage to build up their loan book again.  As patriots, it’s our duty to spread the word and make sure we don’t fall off a cliff again!