Archive for April, 2007

A Death in the Family

Rachel Eve McCumber, born on Monday, died on Tuesday afternoon, daughter and third child of Benjamin and Melissa McCumber, who are both clients and friends.

I was privileged to attend the funeral, where there were many things said for comfort and from grief. I have no idea what it is to lose a child. I have no idea what it is even to lose a close family member. We have been richly and impossibly blessed all the days of my life. I was therefore impressed by the remarks made by many who spoke at the funeral of this little girl.

“We do not know God’s ways. We cannot tell what it is that He is doing. But we trust Him. He loves us.” – Ben McCumber

“I promise you that peace will come. It may take its time, but it will come.” – Bishop Beck

“I am so grateful for the Spirit of God that can give me peace even when everything hurts so terribly.” – Melissa McCumber

and my personal favorite:

“Melissa and Ben are so good, should we be surprised that their children are perfect?” – Bishop Barry Gardner

She who was behind us, to come after us, is now gone before us. All she was sent here to do she has done.

The hall wasn’t exactly full of people; it’s very difficult for people to get off work on such short notice and in the middle of the day, and of course this little precious one would have no friends here of her own, so there was only a goodly amount of family, and a few others of us lucky enough to know about the service, and that was all. There wasn’t any announcement of the funeral, just a couple of small paragraphs in the obituaries that Leslie Christofferson, another close friend of the Group, called us about, thinking it was Ray and Chrys’s child. God moves. Mysteriously, but He surely moves.

All of us there were affected by this little soul, though we never knew her. She will not do any of the things in this life that we do, but perhaps some of us will do things differently because she was here. Isn’t that more important?

One tiny lesson I learned from this: as I reached home after the funeral, my wife told me that the southbound entrances to the freeway were blocked off. It seems the Vice President of the United States is in town to give a commencement address, and in order to facilitate his movement, the freeway has been cleared, so that his long, black limousine might pass unimpeded.

This roadblock has caused a great deal of traffic jamming in its wake, and stuck in the jam is another long, black limousine, this one carrying a small plastic box with the tiny body of a little girl inside. Close behind it is a small old car in need of some repair, where the parents of that little girl will sit for another couple of hours, looking into the curtained back of the hearse at the resting place of their daughter.

I am strongly of the opinion that the roadblocks should be placed rather differently, if they are to reflect the true rank and stature of those going south today.

Sleep tight, little Rachel. We will tend your tulips for you.

I’m From Virginia

You’re watching the Virginia Tech coverage, so I won’t repeat any of that stuff. But I have some comments and some questions.

1. The person most likely to hate his life for the longest period after this is the chief of campus police at Virginia Tech.

2. This is by far the longest-duration shooting in history. It took roughly three and a half hours.

3. During this entire 3 and a half hours – 210 minutes – the shooter was not confronted with one other person with a weapon, with the possible exception of right at the very end.

4. Virginia Tech is a weapons-free zone.

5. Weapons-free zones are also known as “target-rich environments” by people that want to shoot other people.

6. How on earth does someone shoot a dozen people in one part of the campus, take an hour and a half, get a latte, go all the way across campus and take 30 or so more lives?

7. May God Himself bless the incredibly fast response of the Salt Lake City PD at Trolley Square. I think it is now possible to see how monumentally unusual that kind of speed is.

8. It takes an unbelievably long time to kill 32 people.

9. What almost always stops a shooting is the presence of other people with guns.

10. Even the experts – even security experts – admit there is absolutely no way to “secure” a campus and make sure that the students are safe in the event of a shooting. This is not a problem that can be eliminated altogether and it CANNOT POSSIBLY be prevented by a government that still allows any sort of civil liberties.

11. It has always been true that you have one good method of defense against being shot by someone: have the means to defend yourself. I’d add one more: hang around with people that can defend you if you don’t want to do it yourself.

12. My wife and I both just looked at each other and confessed that if this kind of thing happens at our kids’ school, part of us will hope that our children are the ones that are killed, instead of someone else’s. We’re ready. We know our kids are on loan to us from a God that knows their names, and that He’s going to want them back. They’re ready, too. Our family knows where to find God in time of trouble. We also know so very well that most people don’t. We’re not asking for it. We love our children as much as any parents. But this life is not the beginning, and it’s not the end, and we’re all going to come into it and leave it at some point. Dying in bed after 20 years of pain is not necessarily better than being shot while protecting someone else – and I know my sons. They’d be protecting someone.

13. That said, if I can find a school where it is broadly known that every teacher is licensed and trained to carry a weapon on campus, my children are going to go there no matter what it costs us.

14. Many people are going to be angry and/or horrified by things I’ve written above. Post what you like in the comments about it. My way is not the only way.

15. God keep you and yours safe. If you read this, Diana, call me. I know you live hundreds of miles from Tech, but I just wanna check.

This is Not Thechrisjonesgroup.ORG

I got a question today from a client that was unhappy with her origination fee, so I thought it might be well to repeat my opening of the kimono on the subject.

Just wanted to make something clear about how the origination fee stuff works. Obviously, all mortgage people get paid. Some get paid more than others. Some are even worth it. I get paid pretty well for the industry, and I think I earn it. I also pay most of it out to all the people I have helping me, so very little of it ends up in my pocket, but that’s another story, and a personal choice. Not relevant to our discussion.

Mortgage people get paid in two ways – one, they charge origination fees, and two, they get paid to re-sell the mortgages on the secondary market. The first fee is transparent. It’s stated clearly on the Good Faith Estimate. The second is not. It is supposed to be disclosed per federal law, but it often isn’t (it’s a fairly new law). In essence, mortgage people are able to hide how much they are really making on a deal by raising the interest rate and “lowering” their fees. Most people only look at the transparent fees and don’t think that .125% on the interest rate is that big a deal.

Well, it is.

I worked on a deal this morning where I’m competing with a lender that does not charge origination. Lots of people like that. I’m going to win, though, because I know the borrower and I know that the additional .25% in interest the other lender is charging (in order to make the money she wants) is going to end up costing the borrowers more than $10,000 in additional interest over the life of the loan, and several times that if they are really trying to get rid of their debt.

This is a business. We’re not a charity. We get paid to do this. Well, okay, not THIS, exactly, because blogging is kind of a freebie, but we get paid to find people the best loans there are. And we do that. From 5:30am to 8pm every weekday.

Also wanted to mention that I’m going to be on the Geoff Beckstrom show on from 3pm to 4pm today, right after I get out of my Rotary District Conference. Busy day. And fun.

Chicken Little Grows Bigger

But it doesn’t matter very much. The National Association of Realtors says that it forecasts the very first drop in average home sale price EVER. That’s right. Never in the history of the NAR has the average year-over-year sale price dropped, but the forecast is that it will this year.

By .7%. That’s not 7%. It’s point seven percent. In other words, a $300,000 house would decline in value by $210.

It is perhaps accurate to say at this point that the sky doesn’t appear to be falling.

It’s also clear from the report that most of the decline, piddly as it is, is coming from the East and West coasts, where the declines are as large as 10%, and not from the flyover states (hooray!), where there are only a few places declining and most rising a little. Utah appears to be headed for a 7% increase this year, which ought to be in the top 10 in the nation. Nobody’s going to get rich quick at 7%, but that’s a decent return nonetheless.

Of course I should mention here – per usual – that none of this data has any relevance to YOUR house. Within a place as small as Lehi, there are massive variances in property valuations, including both increases and decreases. Get professional help.

Apropos of that, please visit Harry, as most of you know, is our Realtor of choice bceause he’s the best there is. He’s running a contest where you can win tickets to the July 4 Stadium of Fire show in Provo. It’s always a great show, and Harry is generously giving away those tickets and other prizes to those that enter. Do it.

Gator Chomp

Florida is the greatest sports juggernaut in the history of collegiate athletics.

I don’t care if you like Florida or not, this is an indisputable fact. Other teams have won back-to-back national championships in basketball (and UCLA has won many more than that), but nobody has ever done that and the mythical football national championship at the same time. The fact that they did so while beating Ohio State each of the last two times rankles in Columbus and is a fascinating little footnote, but of no particular interest except that it makes the Buckeyes the Buffalo Bills of collegiate sports.

But Florida is the juggernaut. I dislike Florida a good deal – as I dislike all Florida teams except Jacksonville State – but I’ve found a silver lining to the cloud. The biggest proponent (that matters) of a D1A football playoff is Bernie Machen, the President of the University of Florida. As much as I want to see anyone else win besides Florida (well, okay, not ANYONE), I want a D1A playoff even more, and anything that strengthens Machen’s hand in getting it to happen is a good thing on balance.

So Diana and Ben, chomp on in peace. Don’t forget about us little guys while you’re doing it.