Archive for May, 2009

Lest we forget….

Drive-by Blogging

So here is a bunch of random stuff, because in many ways, this week has kicked my lily-white butt, and I’m tired.

Government-sponsored mortgage programs?  Not working.  Here’s a really good commentary on that from Henry Blodgett: along with good ideas on what lenders need to do instead.  But won’t.  Utah mortgages are the same as everyone else’s in this respect.  I continue to recommend with all the force I can – do business locally, with local people, as much as humanly possible.  Even in something as grand and mysterious as the real estate market, this is absolutely critical.  Give the guy on Main Street the same shot you give the big multi-national bank.  He’ll surprise you, this I promise.

Your weekend’s soundtrack is provided by Stacey Kent, especially her brilliant Breakfast on the Morning Tram album.  You’re welcome in advance.

The Nuggets are better than the Lakers. This is really not disputable.  I believe the Cavaliers are better than the Magic, too, but I wouldn’t be willing to state it under oath.

Twitter is the single most underutilized market research tool in the history of the world.  Follow me for a day and I’ll show you.

FriendFeed might be even better, for businesses.  Put a group together.

Knowing Bryan Pope has been terrible for my daily work ethic and phenomenal for my business creativity.  Actually, I lie about that first part – Bryan yesterday gave me an idea that helped both things so much that I’ve already got more done today than the previous three days put together, and made that work far, far more effective than it has been before.  Get to know this guy.  I mean it.

The Provo Daily Herald newspaper needs serious, immediate, direct intervention.  I write for them, and I can tell you that if they learned how to aggregate local news feeds they could make money.  A lot of money.  They show no real signs of wanting to do this.  I understand this to be typical of most news organizations.  Guys, stop thinking of news as something you provide to people and start thinking about it as something you collect and report.  You have great collection mechanisms, but you will never be able to tell me what I want to know better than I can tell you what I want to know.  When you get this, you’ll start profiting again.

Within the next month, you’ll hear something about the Main Street Group from somewhere other than this blog.  It’s that great an idea, and that powerful a group of people.

RateWatch ALERT – Thanks for nothing, CreditSuisse!

Market:  We got whacked today by a report out of CreditSuisse that speculates that the Fed will slow down its buying of mortgage-backed securities in order to conserve its cash, so that it can keep rates lower longer.  This is speculation.  I think they’re wrong.  This doesn’t matter at all, because the markets spooked and bonds went in the tank.  That will take rates up by as much as .25%.

Analysis: CreditSuisse has a lot smarter people on board than I am, so maybe they’re right.  But here’s my question – if the government started out with a $750 billion buying plan, then felt the need to up it to $1.25 trillion (of which well less than half is spent), and did so without any difficulty, why on earth would it have any trouble doing it again if it needed to?  Is the $1.25 trillion some sort of hard cap?  Who made that the limit?  Is there any evidence that President Obama would hesitate to write more checks if he wanted to?

For now, though, if you were waiting to tell me what rate you wanted, it might be smart to pull the trigger and call me (801-310-3407) or email me ( or tweet me (@chrisjoneslehi).  We could be in for a fun ride here.

Lon’s Cookin’ Shack Review

No suspense about this review.  I loved this place.

I had been hearing about it from my pals over on Cougarboard for some time, but hadn’t ever been.  When my meeting with Enoch Chapman (@dellojoio) presented the opportunity, I grabbed it.

My normal procedure when I go to a place I’ve never been is to let the people that work there tell me what to eat.  I asked the gal at the register what she recommended, and she told me that if I’d never been there before, I ought to do the pulled pork plate.  As you can see from the photo, a “plate” means “and old pie tin”, which suited me just fine.

As for the sides, Enoch told me I’d regret not getting the cauliflower, and I’m a huge fan of mashed potatoes, so I did the garlic mashies as well.

First off, the service was fast.  That’s a big deal.  The food was hot and ready quickly.

Second, there was an amazing array of sauce to choose from.  I’m not a fan of hot stuff, so I stayed away from the really fiery sauces, but managed to get some moderately hot sauce on my plate, along with the chipotle sauce, which is hot but not the same way.

Third, Lon came by to say hello.  He says business is tough.  Well, if I can fix that with this review, I will.

The food was outstanding.  The pork was tender and mated very well with the sauce.  The standard sauce on the table was perfect, very tasty and brought out the juiciness of the pork.  When I have a puddle of sauce left at the bottom of the plate, I know I enjoyed it.  I did.  And I did.  There wasn’t quite enough, but I never think there’s enough barbecue.  I missed the bun, though – I’m used to a hamburger bun for my pulled pork, but it wasn’t a major issue.

The potatoes were very good.  Rough-mashed, lumpy and with skins on, perhaps a little lighter on the garlic than I would like.

The cauliflower was a revelation.  I like my veggies fine, and I like cauliflower anyway, but the deep-fried breading on these babies was something otherworldly.  Next time, I think I’m doing a double-helping of that and forget the other stuff.  Apparently you can order the sides by themselves.  It’s tempting.

All in all, a great meal for an excellent value.  I would heartily recommend Lon’s, and the next time you’re on University Avenue, make it a point to drop by.  4 stars out of 5.


Once, a thousand years ago, there were new loan programs coming out every day or two.  Now there are only a few left, and no innovation coming from the private loan markets, because it is the Fed that is doing all the dictating.
But they are doing some dictating.  Yesterday HUD said it is writing rules for making the $8000 tax credit, currently available to first-time homebuyers, usable as down payment or closing costs.  This has been on-again, off-again, but HUD apparently means business this time.

We’ve finally got good requirements for the DU Refi Plus program, also driven by the Feds, that allows people with good credit to refinance their houses up to 105% without changing the terms of the original loan (other than the interest rate).  That means that if you bought with an 80/20 loan, and your current 1st mortgage is not more than 105% of the value of your house, and you can get your second mortgage company to subordinate (tricky, but not impossible), you can probably pull off a refinance and chop your rate, without adding mortgage insurance.  There are no CLTV caps here. Even if the total of your two loans is 140% of the value of your house, as long as the 1st fits into the 105% window, we can take a shot at it.

And for those in tight financial straits, maybe missed a payment or two, there are loan modifications possible that can reduce your interest rate substantially.  If you’ve been hearing about loans being modified to 2% – that’s what this is.  And it is not smoke and mirrors.  There really are such programs.

Bottom line, folks, is that there are a lot of options out there for those that are looking at financing their homes, whether purchase or consolidation, or what have you.  We’re answering lots of questions about this stuff every day, so if you get voicemail, just shoot me an email or leave me a message, and keep trying.

Oh, and rates are flat after a bad-but-not-terrible-day yesterday.  Housing numbers actually improved, if you strip out multi-family.