Laura Houle Real Estate Services

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’

Thoughts 0

Posted on June 05, 2013 by laura

I save things from time to time that are meaningful for me. Here are just a few:

“I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present.” Donald Trump

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
Pablo Picasso

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not, nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. Sincerely… Lawrence E. Wikander, Curator, Calvin Coolidge Memorial Room, Forbes Library, Northampton, Mass.

First, Do No Harm…. 0

Posted on May 30, 2013 by laura

The above admonition has always been considered circumspect with the practice of medicine. Instead it comes from Socrates. Socrates was convinced that it was impossible to to do harm to others without harming ourselves.

I think our legislators should be paying attention to principle and all actions should be based on it. Only in that way will their actions be those of a responsible person and for the good of all.

How many times has a political figure flip flopped in their belief? Every decision should be based on the “do no harm” principle. The consequences of our actions has far reaching effects. It takes a little thinking, of which it appears that most, in the political arena do not do, or of which they are not capable.

The book that had the most profound  effect on my life was “Right and Reason” by Austin Fagothey, a Jesuit priest. I read it in the 50’s when I was taking philosophy classes at the University of San Diego, and I plan to read it again now, many years later than the first read. I recommend it to all.

A Timeshare Traveler in Puerto Penasco 0

Posted on October 28, 2012 by laura

We had banked our Manhattan Club week with SFX (San Francisco Exchange) and because it is such a desirable destination, we were offered a bonus week along with our exchange. Since we had never been to Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) we chose the Mayan Palace there for our bonus week.

Puerto Penasco is like an Arizona beach. It’s only about 100 miles from the Arizona and Mexican border. A new coastal highway makes it even easier and a shorter trip for Californians by 100 miles. Unfortunately we didn’t know about this new toll road (and since it’s not on the map, though I did see a sign!) we flew past it on Highway 2, only to be brought up short by the massive road work that was going on. The ride was alternately pavement and dirt, seeming to be mostly dirt. Returning home to San Diego, we did take this coastal route which was free of traffic, shaving off quite a bit of time. If we ever go back, we’ll probably save even more time by entering Mexico at Algodones, rather than at San Luis. That highway (186) passes by the Quechan Casino, which is a great place for a meal and a rest stop going both ways.

Our one big disappointment with the Mayan Palace was that it didn’t have complimentary wi fi as most timeshares do, and it was rather expensive if you used it. That is why the question of going back is iffy. They need to recognize how important wi fi is. You’re kind of stuck out there (maybe 20 miles to town?) and wi fi is a necessity.I refused to pay them the $87.00 per access and turned roaming back on on my iphone. I used it sparingly because I wasn’t sure what the cost was going to be. I’m waiting for the bill!

Other than that, it’s a delightful spot, not the tourist trap that you may be accustomed to in other Mexican resorts. I saw no homeless people and was not besieged by hawkers of jewelry, hats and the like, that you usually encounter on the beaches and in town at the various other resorts.

Ordinarily I log my travels on a daily basis on Facebook, along with my photos. The lack of internet accessibility put the kibosh on that endeavor, so I am writing on my blog which will go on my Facebook, along with the photos.

Hopefully the Mayan Palace will wake up and catch up to the other resorts who offer this very important amenity!

Amazon and the Sales Tax 0

Posted on September 14, 2012 by laura

I just sent this off to the Union-Tribune, but not everyone takes the UT!

So Amazon is being forced to charge a sales tax? This could and should open a can of worms. The Board of Equalization collects this tax, but they say they have told vendors that it is not to be collected on the basis of zip codes. The city of El Cajon has one of the highest sales taxes in the San Diego area. For years taxes have been collected from individuals who share a zip code with them but actually do not live in the city. I fought this for years and tried my best to make others aware of it. The legislature is always passing laws of which they don’t know the consequences. This is yet another one. So should these people get some kind of a rebate? From the City of El Cajon? It’s certainly not going to be from the Board of Equalization. They’ll tell you it’s a problem, but not theirs. A rebate on your federal taxes?

Or is everybody just going to roll over and never question it?

So You Want to Refinance? 0

Posted on September 02, 2012 by laura

For some people it’s virtually an impossibility to refinance their home, despite an optimum FICO score and an absolute lack of negatives on their credit report for a substantial amount of time.. No late payments. no bankruptcies, no foreclosures. Nada.

There seem to be underwriting judgments out there that are totally unreasonable, that don’t take under consideration good money management at all. In fact, they actually are judging you on your life style, as effective as it might be.

The last time I tried to refinance, after a preliminary approval, I was asked if I owned any timeshares. Well yes, I do.  I then was asked what my assessments were. Bear in mind that these show up nowhere. The vacation ownerships that we own are absolutely free and clear. There are many ways to handle these travel weeks and I am quite proud of my ability in this respect.  I told the bank that this would be a killer if they were to add these to our expenses. After all, if you book a trip and pay $10,000, it shows nowhere. So why should it matter if you use another system that allows you to travel even more? Well, you guessed it. They added it to the debt and the  loan was denied.

Other harmful items are how you pay for things. I rarely use cash because I love points. These points play right into my travel plans. As a result I charge everything, even every day expenses, that normally would not show up anywhere.  I pay all my charge card bills monthly. Nothing is carried over so there are no interest charges. However, if you have high balances during  your qualification period, the underwriter adds that in too, to your overall debt, permanently. Never mind that the bill is paid monthly and automatically too! There really should be a revamping of underwriter’s guidelines and a little bit of common sense wouldn’t hurt either.  How about stellar credit over many years? Where’s the risk? I actually have paid extra principal monthly on the loan that I’m trying to refinance. Why not look at that history in conjunction with everything else? Why this cookie cutter mentality?

Hey, I tried to apply for loan modification with my bank, but they said there was no hardship and the modification was denied. I then attempted to refinance with this same bank, the one who currently holds my loan and they said my debt to income was too high. Never mind that I could save $800 to $1000 per month! They just want me to keep paying this exorbitant payment! Now, if I didn’t make my payments, maybe I could get a loan.

The HARP loan? Well, I could do that except that my loan is not owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac so it doesn’t qualify. I’m sure there are many others in this situation.

I thought that I had finally found a bank that qualified me. It was ultimately denied because the owner occupancy at my condo project was at 57%. For other lenders, this is perfectly acceptable, as it is a principal residence and has been for over five years.

Again,  good FICO score, excellent  credit, etc. What’s wrong with this picture?

Land Use 0

Posted on May 30, 2011 by laura

“How great it is to have a third of our nation in public ownership so that anybody and everybody can come and utilize these lands.” Joan Friedlander, district ranger. (UT 5/30/11)
This is precisely why the Board of Supervisors should not vote for the back country down zoning. I bought land years ago, paid property taxes year after year. Now it is absolutely restricted by the new San Diego County General Plan Update.

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