Archives for November 2007

Happy Thanksgiving


On Thanksgiving I think back to a dinner I was making for my entire family in my small condo I had just bought in Des Moines.  I was a fairly new single Mom and my son, who was in Kindergarten, was watching me prepare the feast.  One of the dishes was sauteed pearl onions which called for frozen onions; Birds Eye brand to be exact.  Well after my son watched in horror as I made the turkey dance around the kitchen trying to be funny, he was pretty much transfixed to what I was doing in the kitchen.

Dinner was very cozy in my my small dining-living room.  Everything really turned out nice when suddenly my son let out a huge yelp, “nobody eat the onions, they’re bird’s eyes!”

Every time this year I remember that dinner and just get a huge chuckle. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Mortgage Master is closing at 2 p.m. today and we will reopening for business as usual on Monday, November 26, 2007.   I will not be posting mortgage rates on this Friday. 

Are you occupying or not occupying? THAT is the question.


Telling a lender you’re going to occupy (live in) a property and then not doing so is a form of fraud.  I’m amazed at how people what steps people will take in order to shave a little bit off of their interest rate (NOO is roughly 0.5% higher in rate for a 20% down fixed conforming product).

Here are basic lender guidelines for what is considered "owner occupied":

  • You must live in the home for a majority of the year.   Typically, a borrower is agreeing to live in the property for a minimum of 12 months following obtaining a mortgage.
  • The home needs to be located within reasonable distance to your work.
  • The home should make sense with your family (is it large enough for your dependents).
  • You do not have a rental agreement on your "owner occupied" home.
  • You can only have one "primary residence".

Second or vacation homes have these guidelines:

  • Typically located in a "vacation" area and available for year round occupancy.
  • Should be approx. 50 miles away from current residence.
  • The property cannot have "time-share" interest and cannot be rented.
  • You can only have one financed "second home".

If your property does not meet the guidelines above, it may very well be considered an investment property (non-owner occupied) in the eyes of an underwriter.   Recently new guidelines became available that accommodate borrowers helping family members, such as The Family Opportunity Mortgage.

Many of the guidelines are up to underwriter discretion and plain old common sense.  If you are buying a home as "owner occupied", the lender is anticipating that you will live in the property. 

If you have other intentions, it’s important that you openly discuss them with your Mortgage Professional so that you don’t unintentionally commit lender fraud.

The FBI states on their press release from December 2005:

Mortgage Fraud is one of the fastest growing white collar crimes in the United States. Mortgage Fraud is defined as a material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission relied upon by an underwriter or lender to fund, purchase, or insure a loan….The borrower makes a few misrepresentations, usually regarding income, personal debt, and property value, or there are down payment problems. The borrower wants the property and intends to repay the loan. Sometimes industry professionals are involved in coaching the borrower so that they qualify. Fraud for Property/Housing accounts for 20 percent of all fraud

When you’re obtaining a conforming mortgage, at application and again at closing, you sign affidavits stating that you intend to occupy (or not to occupy) the property that is being mortgaged.    It is much better for you to be upfront and ask your Mortgage Professional if your situation meets the guidelines of an owner occupied property than to have the lender call your Note due, or worse…how about a little jail time?   

Roasted Asparagus with Pancetta


This is the dish I’m requested to make for just about any family gathering…including Thanksgiving.   It works year round and you can easily substitute various ingredients (for example, bacon instead of pancetta or Gouda instead of goat cheese).  It’s quick, easy to make and very versatile.   This Thanksgiving, I’m going to try adding julienned sun dried tomatoes.  This is also commuter friendly if you need a dish to pack and go to a relative or friends house for the holidays.    And its delicious for any meal from brunch to dinner. 

The only down side for me is that it’s the only dish that I’m requested to bring to my husbands family (I love to cook).   

Grill 1 lb. pancetta until crisp.  Drain on paper towel and chop/crumble.  Set aside.

Wash and trim ends off of 2 pounds of asparagus (medium thickness).   Drizzle with olive oil and add generous amounts of sea salt and pepper (I prefer sea salt with herbs, such as Sale Alle Erbe della Marlunghe which you can find at stores like Metropolitan Market).   You can either roast the asparagus in a hot oven (450 degrees) or you can pan roast until they are crisp tender.  The asparagus should just begin to turn color and sweat.

Arrange asparagus on a platter.  (Typically, I use a round platter and point the spears outwards working my way inward with layers of the asparagus (layering some bacon and goat cheese between layers).   I top the center with lemon slices which creates a visual of a flower).    Sprinkle with 3 1/2 oz. fresh goat cheese and then pancetta.    Drizzle with 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 tsp. grated lemon peel.   

Serve at room temperature.


Searching for Answers

I always find it interesting how readers find Mortgage Porter.  With the platform for my blog, I’m able to see what words were used for the search engine to point a reader in my direction.   Here are some recent phrases that were used over the last 24 hours:

  • Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, what happens if I can’t adhere to my repayment plan?
  • How do I figure first mortgage payment due date from closing date?
  • is it possible for a woman who had to take chapter 7 to get a low doc loan
  • Mortgage Programs that don’t require 4506
  • minimum credit score for mortgage
  • how much principle paid in ten years on a 30 year mortgage
  • Is it ever smart to use a home equity loan to pay off credit card debt
  • annual adjustment with 2/5 cap adjusted rate mortgage
  • wachovia mortgage pick a pay option
  • 24 hr mortgage trigger
  • 4506 after closing deal
  • amendments to hr 3915
  • divorce mortgage

What did we do before the internet and blogs?   

A Friday Funny just in time for Thanksgiving

Oh no, Daddy is cooking…I hope you enjoy this spoof of Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 and have a very happy Thanksgiving.   "Kitchen, this is Houston; is it ready yet?"

Mortgage Master will be closed on Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23, 2007 to honor Thanksgiving.   

Bon Appetit!

Michelle Brown


It’s been brought to my attention that I’ve been writing more about non-mortgage issues.   It’s just kind of what’s been going on these days.  I’ll be back on track soon.

I just learned two days ago that my friend, who happens to my Processor until the last year or two, is near the end of her battle with Breast Cancer.  This is according to her Doctors.   I am hoping and praying for a miracle.   Michelle and I shared an office together for over five years where she trained me right.   We would have more fun laughing together and sharing stories.   She’s a sister.   She’s just a year or so younger than me.   Michelle was diagnosed with this disease a couple of years ago; she is the second woman under 40 in our office to have this aggressive form of breast cancer.  It’s heart breaking.   Hospice is now coming in to help make her comfortable during this time.  Her family is flying in to be with her now and over the holidays.   Our office is taking turns making various dishes of food to help Michelle and her husband, Robert, while they "entertain" their loved ones. 

Please think positive thoughts for Michelle and say a prayer.

Have Mercy, MRSA

In honor of Jackie Nelson, my first "full-title" sales manager at Chicago Title from when I was in that industry; I want to help get the word out about MRSA and how it’s impacting our local area.  I was deeply saddened to learn that Jackie lost her husband, Don Nelson, to MRSA a few months ago.   Here is Jackie’s interview by KING5 where she says she shares her story about this deadly bacteria.

MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a staph infection that is resistant to certain antibiotics; it is treatable if properly diagnosed in time.  Once primarily found in hospitals, MRSA is now showing up at local schools and spreads from close contact with infected people.

Here is a short list of things you can do to help protect yourself from staph infections, such as MRSA (from the King County Health Department):

  • Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently; lather and rub all surfaces of your hands for at least 10 seconds.    Hand sanitizer containing at least 60% ethyl alcohol can also be used.
  • Do not share personal items (e.g. towels, razors, clothing) with other people.
  • Clean objects and surfaces that are shared (such as athletic equipment, shopping carts) before you use them.
  • Keep cuts and abrasions cleaned and covered until healed.
  • Avoid contact with other peoples wounds or materials that may have contacted the wounds.
  • If you have a staph infection, contact your health provider immediately.

We’ve been discussing MRSA more often to our teens (who are all in sports).  When I told them about how someone I know lost her husband to this bacteria; it really hit home.   

Jackie, my heart goes out to you and your family.   

Veteran’s Day

In honor of those who serve our country, Mortgage Master Service Company will be closed on Veteran’s Day.  Mortgage Master will reopen for business as usual on Tuesday, November 13, 2007.


This photo was taken during April of 2004 while our kids were on Spring Break (they’re in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial).