Simple Tips for a Seasonal Spruce Up


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As the heat of summer mellows into the chill of fall, it’s natural to want a change of design to match the shifting seasons. Warmer colors, spicier scents and richer textures all combine to turn your home’s interior into an inviting autumn retreat. But what about the exterior? The outside of your abode sets the tone for visitors. And whether you live in an apartment or a single-family home, there are plentiful ways to make a fantastic first impression.
Here are a few easy ideas to jump-start your creative juices:
image4 Blissful Balconies

Whether you use it to sip tea and read or visit with friends, your balcony is an ideal spot for a special seasonal sanctuary. If space is limited, create a comfy nook with furniture like garden stools that can double as a seat or table. Fill a small basket with fall decorations (acorns, leaves, apples, etc.) and place it on an end table or balcony railing for added fall cheer.

Create Coziness

As the temperatures cool, make your outdoor space warm and inviting. Add soft pillows and fuzzy throw blankets made of knitted wool or faux fur to your patio chairs and couches. Use decorative candles and lanterns for a soft glow. Diffuse essential oils in traditional fall scents like cinnamon or clove for added relaxation.

 image6 Chalk It Up

Chalkboard signs aren’t just for java joints and diners. They’re actually a fun and easy way to punch up your porch appeal. Choose a board that can hang on your front door or stand alone as an easel. Grab a collection of colored chalk and design a greeting of your choice. Leave space on the board for friends and family to add their own good wishes or artistic expressions.

Great Gourds

Pumpkins may get the most press this time of year, but there are other members of the gourd family that deserve some attention, too. Fill pottery bowls with acorn or turban squash in colors that range from bright green and orange to white. Gather fresh wildflowers in rustic vases and intersperse them with different sizes of gourds in a cascading fashion down your front steps.

image8 Distinctive Doormats

The humble doormat may not seem like a key design element, but the right one can add a dash of style to your entryway. Try swapping out the traditional fibrous mats for ones made of fancy faux iron or colorful rubber or vinyl. Personalize them with your own heartfelt or humorous welcome message.

Try out a few of these easy embellishments to make your outdoors truly great

*The views, articles, postings and other information listed on this website are personal and do not necessarily represent the opinion or the position of American Pacific Mortgage Corporation.


Price predictions, Millennial mentality and what’s the world worth?


The September Home Price Insights (HPI) from CoreLogic says U.S. home prices rose .4% between August and September and 5.6% year-over-year. The HPI is not forecasting a price decline; however, the report predicts prices will grow slower from September to October at .6% below the previous month’s gain rate.


Mortgage interest rates rose to levels not seen since 2011 according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Rates for the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose .11 week-over-week and 1.04 year-over-year in the week ending November 7.


Millennials are interested in homeownership, but the vast majority of that demographic views affordability as the biggest hurdle. A 2018 study by RTi Research found that 40% of Millennials are interested in buying a home now and 64% regularly monitor home prices in their area. The study noted that while 80% of Millennials plan to move within four to five years, 73% cited affordability as the biggest obstacle to buying a home. CoreLogic CEO Frank Martell confirmed RTi’s findings, saying, “Our consumer research indicates younger Millennials want to purchase homes, but the majority consider affordability a key obstacle. Less than half [of them] who are currently renting feel confident they will qualify for a mortgage.”


Real estate could replace tea as a hyperbolic favorite to describe great value. Though there’s no established price tag for “all the tea in China,” Savills World Research found that the total value of all commercial and residential real estate in the world is $280.6 trillion dollars. Savills also found that 44% of global residential real estate value is owned by 17% of the world’s population.

Interesting indicators, owner increase & “bubble, schmubble”


The National Association of Realtors (NAR) predicts that the number of home sales will increase next year, but the rate of price appreciation will slow. Speaking at the 2018 Realtors® Conference & Expo, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun rejected speculation about another housing bubble, saying “…people are living within their means and not purchasing homes they cannot afford. This is a stronger, more stable market compared to the loosely regulated market leading up to the bust.”


Mortgage interest rates receded slightly in the week ending November 1 according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Even though the 30-year fixed rate mortgage has been rising all year, the government-sponsored entity says, “…the chronic lack of entry-level supply is a larger hurdle than higher mortgage rates because choices are limited and the inventory shortage has caused home prices to rise well above fundamentals.”


September new home sales were down 13.2% year-over-year, following downward revisions for sales in June, July and August. Economist Elliot Eisenberg, PhD says it’s not necessarily a sinister stat, noting that “…housing sales need to consistently fall about 20% Y-o-Y before a recession follows.”


Homeownership is up according to the Census Bureau. The U.S. homeownership rate reached 64.4% in the third quarter, up from 64.3% in Q2 and 63.9% year-over-year.

Lower highs, shopping stats and nicest neighbors

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Whether it’s curb appeal or a custom kitchen, no two people have the same exact idea about what makes a home ideal. But most everyone can agree that having great neighbors is a good thing. With holiday spirit in the air, it’s the perfect time to connect with those around you…especially the people who live close by.

A good way to gain great neighbors is to be one yourself – today and all year long.

Here are some excellent ways to reach out and build lasting bonds:
image4 Keep it Clean

Want instant brownie points on your neighborly score card? Keep your property tidy. Hide your trash receptacles in the side yard or garage. Rake the leaves and clean up grass clippings. Give your house a periodic pressure wash and fresh coat of paint.

Straight Talk

“Good fences make good neighbors” is a popular sentiment for a reason: boundaries must be respected. But there are times when frank communication is equally important. In spite of any initial awkwardness, inviting honest dialogue creates trust in the long run. Address shared interests like worn out fences and overgrown trees on the property line before they get out of control and work out a plan that keeps both parties happy.

 image6 Welcome Wagon

In our tech-savvy, online-obsessed world, it’s easy to forget that nothing replaces the old-fashioned personal touch. Whether they’ve just moved in, or you’ve simply fallen out of touch, a delivery of baked goods or a homemade dish is a great way to break the ice with your neighbors. Or invite them to a casual dinner or backyard barbeque at your place. Your kindness will be remembered and likely reciprocated!

Swap Digits

Sharing contact info with your neighbors is a great way to foster a sense of community and camaraderie. Whether it’s picking up a package from your doorstep or watching your home while you’re on vacation, it’s comforting to know your next-door compadre has your back. Offer your phone number and email first and ask if they’re comfortable sharing the same.

image8 Helping Hands

Instead of waiting until they ask for help, make an effort to anticipate the needs of your neighbors. If they’ve got children and you like to babysit, tell them up front that you’re willing to watch the little ones. Offer to help with lawn care or a gardening project (which beautifies the neighborhood as a whole – win-win!).



Consumer confidence in the housing market slipped slightly according to the latest Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI). Fannie Mae’s Chief Economist Doug Duncan says, “HPSI remains flat this month as perceptions of high home prices and expectations for rising mortgage rates continue to weigh on potential homebuyers. In September, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate increased for the second consecutive month to its highest level since May 2011.” Even though the net share of Americans who said it’s a good time to sell remained the same, the number who said it’s a good time to buy rose by 5%.


Mortgage interest rates mellowed out after several weeks of rapid increases. The U.S. weekly average for the 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped .05 for the week ending October 18 according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.


A new scoring method could help consumers who are trying to establish their credit for the first time or repair damage from financial distress. Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), Experian and API provider Finicity will debut the UltraFICO™ Score pilot program early next year and widespread availability is expected by mid-2019. The new credit scoring method requires consumers to grant permission to gather information from banking statements, including the length of time accounts have been open, frequency of activity, and evidence of saving.


For the second time this year, Fannie Mae has issued a warning to lenders to help them identify an increasing number of companies that appear to be fake being used on mortgage applications. So far this year, Fannie Mae has identified 40 companies alleged to be spread throughout California, including the Los Angeles and Silicon Valley areas.

Sources: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Fair Isaac Corporation, Experian, Finicity

*The views, articles, postings and other information listed on this website are personal and do not necessarily represent the opinion or the position of American Pacific Mortgage Corporation.


Household bliss, validating values & economic indicators


A whopping 83% of homeowners say they love their home according to the 2018 Consumer Housing Trends Report from the Zillow Group. Additionally, 64% describe their homes as a financial investment, while 36% say they “see their home more as a reflection of their identity.” This year’s survey was conducted among 3,116 homeowners between April 25 and June 10.


The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage reached its highest point since April 2011 according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The survey began tracking rates in 1971, and notes that while rising prices and rates are quelling demand, “the monthly payment remains affordable due to the still low mortgage rate environment.”


Miami is the most overvalued real estate market in the U.S. according to the latest CoreLogic HPI Forecast Validation Report. The Irvine, California-based property data provider lists Austin, TX in the number two spot and Fort Myers, FL came in third. On the other end of the scale, Connecticut has the top two most undervalued real estate markets nationwide – Bridgeport and Hartford, with Detroit, MI at number three.


Economist Elliot Eisenberg analyzed all recessions in the seven largest democracies since 1960 and found the following: Monetary policy was to blame 26% of the time, bursting of a credit bubble was the next largest cause at 17%, oil price shock or the bursting of a housing bubble were next at 12% each, and banking crises were the cause in 10%. Eisenberg predicts that monetary policy will bring on the next U.S. economic slowdown, but notes, “Good times lead to overly optimistic forecasts and loosening of credit standards, which leads to risk mispricing and increasingly risky financial behavior, which sets the stage for the next recession.”

*The views, articles, postings and other information listed on this website are personal and do not necessarily represent the opinion or the position of American Pacific Mortgage Corporation.


Mortgage Rates continue in a sideways pattern, just above key technical levels while Stocks retreat after yesterday’s huge rally.

In housing news, both September Housing Starts and Building Permits declined from August while single-family starts also decreased.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to the highest level since February 2011. From a historical standpoint, rates are near the lower end of the spectrum.

I am recommending floating but be aware that the Fed minutes will be released this afternoon and could have an impact on the markets.

No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone is isn’t trying. 

-Tony Robbins

*The views, articles, postings and other information listed on this website are personal and do not necessarily represent the opinion or the position of American Pacific Mortgage Corporation.





Higher Stock prices are capping any gains in the market as prices as well as yields are near unchanged.

The Labor Department reported a record high number of job openings in August as the sector continues to strengthen.

I am recommending floating, but Mortgage Rates are on shaky ground after the labor market report.

Don’t watch the clock; Do what it does. Keep going. 

-Sam Levenson

*The views, articles, postings and other information listed on this website are personal and do not necessarily represent the opinion or the position of American Pacific Mortgage Corporation.




Mortgage Rates begin the week modestly higher being supported by a weak Retail Sales report along with lower Stock prices.

In housing news, Trulia reports that price cuts for homes on the market in August hit their highest level since 2014.

With the Stock markets lower today, I am recommending floating.

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.

-Milton Berle

*The views, articles, postings and other information listed on this website are personal and do not necessarily represent the opinion or the position of American Pacific Mortgage Corporation.




After the recent steep plunge, Stocks are rebounding this morning and are weighing on Rates.

Stock investors are looking for bargains after the mini-correction, which is always healthy given prices recently hit all-time highs.

Today I will continue to recommend floating.

Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now. 

-Audre Lorde

*The views, articles, postings and other information listed on this website are personal and do not necessarily represent the opinion or the position of American Pacific Mortgage Corporation.