Costco entering the mortgage business

Big news yesterday from Costco.  Or was it?  In case you missed the story, Costco announced a partnership with several lenders to offer home mortgages through their website.  As a loyal “Costcultist” I was very curious to see how their rates would compare to what I have to offer so I ran a refinance scenario using my “executive” membership rate.  Here were the results:

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Their fees do not include title fees.

Based on my pricing I can offer the same rates and my closing costs are actually a little lower!

So keep shopping for your big screen TVs and tires at Costco but stick with a local professional for your mortgage.  Feel free to check out the other guys, but come back for personal, professional and local service.  I will happily walk you hand-in-hand through the home purchase or refinance paperwork.

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Indian Princess Sleepover

Emily and I had a fantastic time this past weekend at the Museum of Science and Industry Snoozeum.  I love these daddy/daughter activities and I’ll be so sad when she’s too old for the Princess program.

The MythBuster exhibit had tons of hands-on activities that the girls loved and a few for the older fans as well.  Who would have thought that I could hurt my arm throwing playing cards into a target.  Unfortunately the IMAX projector was broken so we weren’t able to see the Rocky Mountain Express movie but Emily didn’t seem to mind.

All in all it was a very well run activity and a big thank you to all the museum volunteers / employees who made it such a great experience.

Eagle Scouts: Merit Beyond the Badge

I’ve always said that I’ve learned some of my most important life lessons from scouting.  Now there’s independent research to back up how special Eagle Scouts really are.

This independent research was funded by the Templeton Foundation and conducted by Baylor University. The Boy Scouts of America has linked to it with the permission of Baylor University Institute for Studies of Religion, Program on Prosocial Behavior.

One hundred years after Arthur Eldred of New York earned this nation’s first Eagle Scout Award, new, independent research demonstrates the significant, positive impact Eagle Scouts have on society every day.  Since it was first awarded in 1912, more than 2 million young men have achieved the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank. The study conducted by Baylor University, Merit Beyond the Badges, found that Eagle Scouts are more likely than men who have never been in Scouting to:

  • Have higher levels of planning and preparation skills, be goal-oriented, and network with others
  • Be in a leadership position at their place of employment or local community
  • Report having closer relationships with family and friends
  • Volunteer for religious and nonreligious organizations
  • Donate money to charitable groups
  • Work with others to improve their neighborhoods

http://www.scouting.org/About/Research/EagleScouts.aspx

 

Great mobile apps for us Road Warriors – courtesy of Trulia.com

5 Mobile Apps for Route Planning While You’re Out Touring

With the buying season in full swing, agents are burning more gas (and time) than ever on the road. And, while every listing tour starts with a plan, listing technology and online open house promotion mean you have to be able to adjust your route on the go. Check out these great mobile apps for real-time route planning and enhancing your tours. (All are available for iPhone and Android, some for other mobile devices as well.)

1. Garmin’s GPS App

While most agents have a GPS of some sort (mine is built into my vehicle), there are benefits to being able to program a GPS app for a tour while you’re out or while sitting at your desk. A Web-based GPS, like my favorite Garmin’s GPS app ($39.99), will typically have access to all the latest streets and subdivisions that older in-car or handheld units may not have.

2. Route4Me

The cool Route4me app takes all of your tour addresses and maps the best possible route like many GPS apps. The major difference is, this one is free. Route4Me let’s you map while you’re out and load the addresses on your computer to send custom links for different tours to your mobile device.

3. Google Maps for driving and walking

Occasionally, you need to find a specific location, school, business, home address, etc. – nothing beats the Google Maps app for locating anything. Type in the item you are looking for (it will frequently auto-fill for you), and click on the “Get Directions” link. In addition to providing directions from your current location, you can also add additional destinations along the way to provide a seamless route.

Showing a number of units in a large condo complex? Occasionally, the developments can be very confusing to navigate. The Google Maps app lets you list all the addresses in the development, click the “Walking” icon, and receive walking instructions for the exact locations of the units you want to see in the development and the suggest the easiest way to walk from one to the other.

4. Where App

Buyer tours aren’t all home showings. If you have buyers who want to take in the lifestyle side of a listing, the Where app gives you the capability to find what is close by, including restaurants, parks, gas stations, stores, and even schools. And, as a bonus you can access available coupons for nearby discounts.

5. CloudCMA App

You can load the properties you’re going to show into CloudCMA using their app ($29.999/month) – or, if available, for free through your MLS – to set up a buyer tour. However, the major benefits of CloudCMA App kick in after your tour is set.

Once set, you can send a custom link to yourself and clients for the tour. Through the link, you can see available pictures, property data, exact distances to local schools and amenities, neighborhood demographics, walkability scores and more statistics on each listing along the way.

CloudCMA is also green. It eliminates the need to print tour sheets, allows you and your clients to write comments in the notes space provided, and even syncs to note taking apps such as NoteTaker HD for easy note storage and sharing.

There are more than a half-million apps out there, but these are my suggestions for getting you started. What other apps are you all using to help you “get there” when it comes to buyer tours?
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About the author

With the motto, “Helping You Write The Next Chapter In Your Life™”, Carl Medford, Trulia Mayor, is a Prudential California Realty Realtor based in the San Francisco East Bay. In addition to his Trulia presence, Carl writes for various venues including the weekly Real Estate Reality column in the San Leandro Times and Castro Valley Forum.