A 100% Financing Message to First Time Home Buyers – Seller Concessions, FHA & CalHFA

A couple of years ago you could get declined for a Discover card but you could qualify for a home loan. Think for a moment about the logic because I am not exaggerating. There were hundreds of thousands of people that got into loans that they were not qualified to handle, thus developing the onslaught of foreclosures and Short Sales that have come to pass. The rules of the game have changed and the difference now is that people will have to qualify and in some cases over qualify for financing. Lenders and consumers both have taken massive losses and new policy and laws have been set into motion to make sure that we never end up in a similar situation.There are numerous reasons to learn more about 100% financing besides that fact that about 90% of it completely disappeared. For instance, you could be a first time home buyer or know someone who is looking, that could benefit from this knowledge. You could be a realtor who needs to be kept up to date with the few remaining 100% programs so you can let your clientele know about them or, you could be a mortgage lender who wants to learn more about available products so you can serve your clients in a more effective manner.What ever your situation, I want to share some extremely valuable information that could keep you and the people you know, from wasting a ton of time and losing a large amount of money.100% financing in California is available through government sponsored programs. The two most common programs are called CalHFA and FHA. This article will dominantly focus on the CalHFA and FHA because they apply to the largest demographic. There are also other programs for educators and employees who work for a school district and receive salaries and if you are a U.S. Vet then the VA is a great option as well.For First Time Home Buyers, CalHFA offers down payment assistance programs which provide a helping hand of 3% of the sales price. This has to be paid back when you sell or refinance your home and is extremely beneficial because if there is a lack of funds to close, the 3% helps to absorb the closing costs and you don’t have to pay those “absorbed” out of pocket expenses. There are different down payment assistance programs and the parameters differ upon which of them you qualify for.Seller concessions are also important because they will absorb other closing costs as well. Seller concessions are common (especially in a buyers market) and CalHFA allows seller concessions designed as follows:o 3% of you are borrowing 90% of the property value or more.o 6% if you are borrowing 90% of the property value or lessAdd the Seller Concession to the Down Payment Assistance and you are looking at some major help to get into your home.FHA allows 6% Seller Concession and there are similar down payment assistance programs available (similar to that of CalHFA).Neither CalHFA nor FHA loans are subject to the California declining market decrease of 5% because CalHFA is its own entity (separate from mainstream housing lending) and FHA loans are federally insured.I highly suggest that if you are a First Time Home Buyer then you look at these opportunities and get a professional to pre-approve you, NOT pre-qualify you. The difference is a pre-qualification is a verbal go ahead and means nothing to a lender. A pre-Approval is a green light to go and get a house because under the approved information that you have submitted, you will be able to proceed into negotiations. A pre-approval is also a green light for an appraiser, a realtor, as well as buyers and sellers.Experienced real estate agents who know that they are doing will have you get pre-approved before they take you out to look at homes. This gives you a clear picture of how much money you can spend and it gives your realtor a chance to do some research on the available inventory of homes so they can show you exactly what fits your needs.For future information, there are many discussion boards, blogs, news sites, magazines and other sources of information that are available for you to review. It is always a good. My intent is to educate you so that you know that there are still opportunities out there and they are available to those who are willing to qualify for them.

Business Traveller Flying to London? A London City Guide for Getting to the Centre

London. The vibrant, beating heart of the United Kingdom. It’s one of the world’s most popular destinations for tourists, and for business travellers too. The amount of commerce that goes through London is staggering, with a financial centre second only to New York, and service industries that cater for both the UK, European and international markets. As the world’s most multicultural city – there are over 300 languages spoken by a population of over eight million people (twelve million if you include the metropolitan area) – the opportunities for business are clear.With the UK strategically positioned for the business traveller on the western edge of Europe, London is a global hub for air travel, providing easy access to mainland Europe, and a stepping stone to the United States. Primarily served by five airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Stansted and Luton – London is easily reached from anywhere in the world. But with the exception of London City Airport – smallest of the five and located in East London, close to the business district of Canary Wharf – the other four airports are satellites evenly dispersed around the city. The most popular, Heathrow, is located to the west of London; Gatwick is situated to the south; Stansted to the north east; and Luton to the North West. Knowing this before you make your travel plans can be useful. Since the greater metropolitan area of London covers over 1,000 square miles, your final business destination may not be right in the centre. Researching which airport is closest to your destination can save you time, effort and money.However, whether you’re a business traveller flying from within the UK or from overseas, your starting destination may often determine the airport you arrive at. Other factors, such as your chosen time of travel, budget and availability will also make a difference. For example, if you’re travelling with a major international carrier from a major city, such as New York, the chances are you’ll arrive at Heathrow or Gatwick (Stansted also receives flights from New York but is the smallest of the three). If you’re travelling locally from within the UK with a budget carrier you’re more likely to arrive at Stansted or Luton (though not exclusively). And if you’re travelling from a major European city, particularly a financial capital, such as Frankfurt, London City Airport is a likely arrival point (the airport was created specifically to cater for short haul business travellers, particularly between financial centres).Each airport is served by comprehensive rail and road infrastructure, providing business travellers with a variety of options to enter London. All five airports offer direct rail travel into the heart of Central London, coach travel to the main Victoria terminus, and hire car, mini-bus, licensed black cab and taxi services by road. If you’re a VIP business traveller, chauffeur services are also available, and with the exception of London City Airport, each also offer direct helicopter transfer into the heart of the city.London Heathrow AirportThe busiest of the five airports is London Heathrow. Located less than twenty miles from central London, Heathrow is situated to the west of the city within the M25 motorway metropolitan boundary. The fastest route into London is via the Heathrow Express train service, taking just 15 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3 to Paddington station (located on the western side of Central London). If your flight arrives at either terminal 4 or 5 it’s a further four and six minutes travel time respectively, and you’ll need to transfer on to the main London-bound service at terminals 1, 2 and 3.The service is excellent, offering comfort and convenience, but does not always suite everyone’s travel budget. The standard ‘Express’ single journey ticket costs £21.00 (€25.00 / $35.00), but business travellers can get better value when purchasing a return ticket, priced at £34.00 (€40.00 / $56.00). The ‘Business First’ ticket is more expensive, with singles costing £29.00 (€35.00 / $48.00) and returns £52.00 (€62.00 / $86.00), but it does afford business travellers considerably more leg room, the privacy of a ‘single seating’ layout, and a fold out table. The experience is akin to that of air travel. All passengers across both pricing structures enjoy access to electrical sockets, USB ports and free Wi-Fi. The overall quality of service and passenger experience generates a ‘wow’ factor, and if your budget can afford it, is certainly the smoothest, quickest and most convenient way to travel into London from Heathrow. Trains run regularly every fifteen minutes in both directions, particularly useful for last minute dashes to the airport.There are two further rail options available to business travellers, both considerably less expensive, though this is reflected in the quality of service. That’s not to say either is not a good solution for business travellers, just that there is a noticeable difference in convenience and comfort.With a service typically running every thirty minutes, and a journey duration – depending on the time of day – of between 23 and 27 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3, Heathrow Connect is more than adequate for business travellers who are not in a hurry. Like the rival Express service, Connect also arrives at Paddington station, but unlike its faster rival stops at up to five other stations before reaching its terminus. The ‘inconvenience’ of this less direct journey is compensated for by a considerably less expensive ticket price. Single journey’s cost £9.90 (€12.00 / $16.00) while a return is £19.80 (€24.00 / $32.00). There is no saving to be made from purchasing a return ticket. While the convenience and comfort of the traveller experience cannot match the Express, the Connect business travel solution is an acceptable compromise that suits a greater number of travel budgets.The third – and least expensive – rail option is the London Underground ‘tube’ network. Despite the network’s name the majority of the journey from Heathrow is overground, until the business traveller nears Central London. Starting on the Piccadilly Line, the service connects all five Heathrow terminals and provides frequent trains into London, stopping at a considerable amount of outlying stations before arriving in the capital’s centre. This continually ‘interrupted’ journey – there are seventeen stops between Heathrow terminals 1, 2 and 3 and Paddington Tube station (the nearest equivalent tube terminus for a fair comparison) – and takes approximately fifty minutes journey time on average, considerably slower than its more direct rivals. This journey comparison also requires the inconvenience of a transfer between lines.So why would the business traveller consider using the tube from Heathrow to Central London? Simple. The frequency of service, the array of destinations, and the cost. At a cash price of just £5.70 (€6.80 / $9.50) for a single journey in either direction during peak hours (06:30am to 09:30am), financially the Underground is an attractive option. At nearly half the price of the Heathrow Connect, and at just over a quarter of the price of the Heathrow Express, this service is comparably good value for money. Further value can be found if the business traveller purchases an ‘Oyster Card’, the ‘cashless’ electronic ticketing system beloved by so many Londoners. Available to purchase at Heathrow London Underground stations, this useful option allows you to get tickets cheaper than for cash – in this case a reduction to just £5.00 (€6.00 / $8.30). Off-peak travel with an Oyster Card offers even greater value, with Heathrow to Paddington in either direction costing just £3.00 (€3.60 / $5.00) per journey. The Oyster Card can also be used for unlimited travel on buses and trains throughout London, with a maximum daily spend capped at £17.00 (€20.00 / $28.00) peak time and just £8.90 (€10.60 / $15.00) off-peak for a six zone ticket (destinations across London are divided into six main zonal rings. Travelling from Heathrow to Central London crosses all six zones).The Underground is primarily a city-wide mass transit system, rather than a ‘train’ service. As such the level of comfort and convenience is substantially less than that of both the Heathrow Express and Connect services, and at peak hours can be considerably uncomfortable. Having endured a recent flight, business travellers who choose this option run the risk of having to stand up the entire journey if travelling during peak hours. If the carriage is full to squeezing point (as is often the case at peak time) managing your luggage can be a challenge. It should also be noted that the tube network – which, as the world’s first urban mass-transit system is over 150 years old – is often prone to signal failures and delays. If the time between your arrival at Heathrow (don’t forget to factor in clearing immigration control, luggage collection and customs) and your business appointment is tight, particularly during peak hours, it is not unfair to say that you are taking a risk if you choose to use the Underground.Compared to using rail, travelling by road into Central London is far less convenient. Like every major city around the world, traffic congestion plagues the streets of London. The M4 and A4 route from Heathrow into London is always busy and in parts can be slow moving at times. No matter what your method of road transport, the business traveller is vulnerable to the risk of delays and accidents.Buses and coaches are plentiful. The dominant carrier is called National Express. They operate services between Heathrow Airport and London Victoria, the main coach terminus in London. From here travellers can travel to many other destinations around the UK. The coaches run from Heathrow Airport Central Bus Station, which is located between terminals 1, 2 and 3. Its well sign posted so easily found. If you’re arriving at terminals 4 or 5 you’ll need to first take the Heathrow Connect train to the central bus station. From Victoria Station you can get to any other part of London with ease, via the Underground, plentiful buses, local trains and licensed black cabs / minicab taxi services.A single journey tickets start from £6.00 (€7.20 / $10.00), while returns cost £11.00 (€13.20 / $18.00). Although you can purchase your ticket at Heathrow, it is advisable to do so in advance, and online. This will ensure you have a guaranteed, reserved seat on your coach of choice, and also provide you with the opportunity to select a time of departure and/or return that best suits your needs. Typically this service runs three coaches per hour to and from London Victoria coach station. The journey time can vary, dependent on the route taken, the time of day and traffic conditions, but you can typically expect your journey to take between 40 and 90 minutes.National Express also offers business travellers a Heathrow hotel transfer service to and from the airport, known as the Heathrow Hoppa. With hundreds of services each day running around the clock, it’s a clean, comfortable and affordable way to get about, costing £4.00 (€4.80 / $6.60) for single journey and £7.00 (€8.40/ $11.50) for a return journey. This service is particularly useful if your business appointment is located close to Heathrow and you have no need to travel into Central London.An alternative to coach travel is taking a bus. This can be particularly useful if you arrive at Heathrow late at night. Depending on the day of the week, the N9 night bus runs approximately every 20 minutes to Trafalgar Square in Central London, from 11.30pm to 5am. The journey time is approximately 75 minutes, subject to traffic delays. It’s a very affordable service, and as part of the Transport for London infrastructure a single journey can be paid for with an Oyster Card (£1.40 (€1.70/ $2.30) or by cash (£2.40 (€2.90/ $4.00).If your journey into London requires the freedom to choose to travel whenever you want, to wherever you want, or you simply require privacy, then private hire transport is readily available at Heathrow. If you’re just interested in getting from A to B and back again, without any other journeys in between, taking a licensed black cab or minicab taxi may suit your needs. Travelling in an iconic licensed black cab into Central London will take approximately 45-60 minutes, subject to traffic delays, and can typically cost between £50.00 (€60.00/ $83.00) and £80.00 (€96.00/ $132.00). If you do find yourself delayed in traffic the journey will cost more, since black cab meters also charge for waiting time when not moving. Black cabs are readily available at all hours, and good sign posting at Heathrow means they’re easy to find. At a squeeze up to five business travellers can be accommodated, though if you all have large luggage it will be a problem.An alternative private hire to black cabs are licensed taxi services. This could be a better option for the business traveller, particularly if a number of people with luggage are travelling together. An array of vehicle types are available, ranging from standard 4/5 seater saloon and 6/7 passenger people carrier cars, up to 15 or 17 seater minibuses and even coach taxis. An added advantage is you can book your vehicle of choice in advance and at a fixed price. With so many different companies offering these services, prices – and quality of service – can vary, but typically for a single journey the business traveller can expect to pay a fixed, advance price of £40.00 (€48.00/ $66.00) for a saloon car; £50.00 (€60.00/ $83.00) for an estate car; £55.00 (€66.00/ $90.00) for an executive car; £55.00 (€66.00/ $90.00) for a people carrier; £65.00 (€78.00/ $108.00) for an 8 seater minibus; £80.00 (€96.00/ $132.00) for an executive people carrier; and £165.00 (€198.00/ $272.00) for a 16 seater minibus. Savings can be made on all tariffs if a return journey is booked in advance.Travelling by black cab or licensed taxi affords the business traveller the freedom to travel at his or her own pace, and can take the hassle out of a journey. It can be a very relaxing way to commute from the airport into London, particularly after a long flight, and offers the business traveller an opportunity to unwind prior to their business appointment.If you need to arrange senior executive or VIP transportation, chauffeur driven services are readily available (booked in advance) between Heathrow and London. The vehicle type and the length of time you require it for will dictate the price you’ll pay. Chauffeur driven services are readily available to find online. The same is true of helicopter charter services which can transfer the executive business traveller from Heathrow into Central London (Battersea Heliport) in approximately 15 minutes. Flightline Travel Management is experienced at providing our customers with both modes of transport, and we’re happy to take your enquiry.© Copyright Flightline Travel Management Ltd. All rights reserved.All prices correct at time of publication.

Skin Care Do’s and Don’ts for Perfect Skin

Before the age of 25, you have the skin your mother gave you. After age 25, you have the skin you gave yourself. Evidence for the truth in this skin care mantra can be seen in the faces of women all around you. Up until their mid-twenties, most women enjoy naturally vibrant, glowing skin. As the thirties approach, however, the skin begins to lose its elasticity and suppleness.Fortunately, there are certain preventative measures you can take to keep your skin looking its best. Furthermore, certain products (such as Clarisonic’s deep pore cleansing system) can help you uncover your most radiant skin. Make the skin care dos listed below a part of your daily skin care regiment in order to see radiant skin for decades to come. On the flip side, by avoiding certain harmful skin care no-nos, you can prevent your skin from looking wrinkled and tired as you age.Skin Care DosDo wear sunscreen. Everyone loves to feel the warmth of the sun on their skin, but remember that UV rays can cause wrinkles, sunspots and even skin cancer. Take care of your skin by applying sunscreen whenever you anticipate being out in the sun, even if only for twenty minutes. As a bare minimum, apply sunscreen to the face, chest, neck and hands, as the skin on these areas is generally the most sensitive to UV rays. A product such as Uber Dry Sunscreen SPF30 by Peter Thomas Roths.Do eat healthy foods. Food writer Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food advises readers to, “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Pollan’s simple, liberating approach to diet is certainly healthy for your skin as well. Vegetables and fruits are chock full of antioxidants, or special chemical compounds that break down cancer-causing free radicals in the body. Free radicals also cause cell damage to the skin. For healthy skin from the inside out, include colorful vegetables and fruits with every meal, and especially aim to ingest plenty of vitamins C, E, A and beta carotene.Do drink plenty of water. Water flushes out toxins and improves circulation. Drinking 64 ounces (eight glasses) of water every day will keep your skin looking soft and supple. Additionally, it’s good to have a couple of versatile moisturizing products on hand for those days when you know your water levels are low. For instance, after a night of heavy drinking, you might notice your cuticles drying out, causing painful, unsightly hangnails. This is a sign that there may be other areas of dry skin that need a little TLC.Rather than buying a whole shelf of separate moisturizers for occasions like this, it’s best to have a few go-to products that will perk up your skin every time. A product like Smith’s Original Rosebud Salve, for instance, can be applied to dry lips, minor burns and patches of rough skin, such as on the knees and elbows. And best of all, Rosebud Salve is easy to keep on hand for whenever a skin care emergency pops up, since it is packaged in a small, round tin.Do apply eye cream. The skin around your eyes is some of the most sensitive, delicate skin on the entire body. Take care of it (and avoid those telltale crow’s feet!) by applying a daily eye cream. In case you’re looking for a recommendation, check out Peter Thomas Roth’s Un-Wrinkle Eye, which consumer studies have shown reduced wrinkle size up to 72% in just 28 days.Skincare Don’tsDon’t smoke. If you need motivation to quit, just take some time to examine the skin of long-term smokers. Yellow, papery skin with plenty of wrinkles around the lips – this is what smoking will earn you. Quit. Today. Your skin will thank you for years to come.Don’t skimp on moisturizer. Moisturized skin is happy skin. Indeed, you’ll notice that just after applying moisturizer, your skin will naturally plump up – sometimes enough to fill in those pesky wrinkles. Apply moisturizer when your skin is still damp from your shower or bath – this will lock in moisture and keep your skin looking plump and healthy all day long. Body oil is an especially luxurious way to moisturize your skin. Like all oils, Patyka’s Absolis Precious Woods body oil creates a barrier layer that moisture cannot penetrate.Don’t be sporadic about your skincare. Cleanse and moisturize every day to offset the pollution and other toxins your skin is exposed to on a daily basis. Whatever skincare products you choose to apply, use them religiously. An investment of just five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening can make a huge difference for your skin over a lifetime.One way to encourage yourself to complete your skin care regimen is to invest in enticing products that make you excited about taking care of yourself. For instance, it’s hard to put off using a Clarisonic Mia skin care brush, when just one daily application of your Clarisonic brush leaves skin looking almost brand new. (The Clarisonic brush vibrates back and forth more than 300 times per second, which thoroughly cleans skin and leaves pores so open that they actually absorb other skin care products better.)In the end, your daily skin care choices will determine how youthful (or aged) you appear as the decades march on. Nurture your skin by following the dos and avoiding the don’ts listed above, and you’ll enjoy perfect, healthy skin well into your golden years.