Happy Holidays!

December 24, 2014

seasonsgreetings

Wishing you a
Happy Holiday Season!
This year we started a new tradition, prompted by yours truly, of putting out Santa pictures since we had our first child (Luke) in 2004.  What I always find fascinating is how frightened little ones are of Santa. I wonder if it’s the beard, hat or just the whole red/white combination. Anyway, we’ve had kids crying in pictures most years, but this year has to be the best non-crying picture we’ve been able to get thus far.

Libby & Darcy (18 months), Seth (3), Luke (6)

Libby & Darcy (5), Seth (7) and Luke (10)

As I started to look at the pictures I was struck by the changes in our family as we grew from one child-to four-in a five year period. Then, another five years later how we’ve graduated from the baby/toddler stage to the little/big kids stage.  While I loved it while they were little, I cannot tell you how grateful I am to be able to go out without a diaper bag, changes of clothes or back-up snacks. Now that I’ve come out of that parental haze created by a perpetual lack of sleep, I now realize that they grow up too quickly…..and that in less than five years my oldest will be driving a car!

So, here’s what I want for Christmas…for my kids to stop growing up so fast.  In the meantime, I’m going to savor every minute and try to make the most of this Christmas season. Whatever holiday you celebrate, I wish you many blessings and a Happy New Year.

May 2015 be the best year ever for you and yours!

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Worlds Greatest dad

December 12, 2014

So my kids told me I was in the running for the Worlds Greatest Dad competition again this year but I told them #Frisco has tons of great ones!! Great work to you the great dads!!!!

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Home Away From Home

September 30, 2014

Lego man waterskiingLike many of those in Real Estate, the Federal Reserve’s intent to keep rates around their current level is good news. If you have been on the fence regarding a vacation home, investment property or a refinance there’s no time like the present.

If you’re like our family, taking a trip to anywhere seems to add up quickly. When looking at the price of taking a family on a vacation – even down to Sea World in San Antonio – things can start to get pricey. If you are considering someplace more high-end (e.g., Disney, Hawaii) you probably feel like you have to dip into your children’s college savings. But what if you could have both? A place to vacation that could offer a return on your investment in fifteen years when you need the money for college? A second home can offer you the opportunity to let your family experience what’s it like to have a home away from home – and be a good investment. The “good investment” part of the equation is critical!

Location, Location, Location!

If you’ve purchased Real Estate before, you’ve heard this mantra. Location is one thing that will never change about a property so it’s important to choose wisely. If you haven’t spent considerable time in an area, I highly recommend renting there first. Trying several locations near/in the location you want and (ideally) during the times of year you plan to be there can help paint a realistic picture.

Do the numbers work?
If you plan on using this home exclusively for your use (i.e., not renting the home) getting to this answer is somewhat easier than if you are looking at it as a rental property. Here’s a place to start:

1. Look at the annual cost of ownership (e.g., mortgage payment, maintenance, improvements) over the time period you plan to keep the property
2. Take the annual cost of ownership and ballpark how much you’d make if you invested it in a college fund or in the market
3. Taking into account how much the property will appreciate during the time period you plan to keep it, estimate how much the property will be worth when you’re ready to sell

After comparing the return on investment (ROI) between the two options (buying vacation home vs. investing elsewhere), you’ll be in a better position to understand the trade-offs and consider what’s best for your family.

Memories are Priceless
No matter how you want to slice it, the memories you make with your family last a lifetime. Buying a vacation home gives you a gathering place you can spend with those who matter most while building equity. Whether it’s roasting marshmallows by your cabin in Colorado or watching children make sand castles in North Carolina-you’ll never regret helping to create those memories.

Do you want to learn more about purchasing a vacation home? Give me a call or email me to learn more.

$165k Broken Bow 1-Acre Cabin

$480k Beachfront in Maui

$170k Minnesota Lakefront Family Cabin 


Back to School in Frisco!

August 25, 2014

Back to School FriscoMortgageGuy

It’s the first day of school for Frisco ISD! More than 6,000 teachers, administrators, and staff members on 61 campuses (7 high schools, 13 middle schools, 37 elementary schools, and 4 special program centers), will welcome over 49, 500 students back to school this morning! Best wishes to all of the students, teachers, staff members, and parents this morning.

Remember to watch those school zones! Time to slow down and put the phones away. The fine for cell phone use in a Frisco school zone is $327! It can wait.

Have a great day, everyone!


Happy Father’s Day!

June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day, Dads!


Perfect Father’s Day Gift for Active Dads

June 13, 2014

running Father's Day

Do you have an active runner or cyclist for a husband, dad or brother and need a good gift for Fathers Day? How about an ID they can have with them while out on the bike or on a run? The standard in the industry is the company Road ID – I have multiple models from them, great product. A new one on the market, called ICEdot take a new approach – it is a sensor that can tell if you have crashed or fallen. It might take me a bit to get comfortable with this idea but one you might keep your eye on and see what type of market share they achieve.


A Six Month Old with a 770 FICO Score?

March 5, 2014

fico scoreYes, it’s possible. Even a baby can begin to establish credit at a tender age.

As a parent, I want to teach my kids to leverage credit to achieve certain goals (e.g., home ownership), but to keep a “cash” mentality similar to that of Dave Ramsey to be “debt free”. Right after my eldest son was born, I added him as a authorized user to one of my credit cards. After six months, he had an amazing credit score-but why does it matter?

The reality is that having a good credit score, whether you choose to use credit or not, is a helpful tool in our society. Beyond letting you buy a car or home with better interest terms, a good credit score can also help you when it comes time to look for a job.  Many employers now run a candidate’s credit to look for any high risk behaviors or delinquencies that may indicate he/she is not a good fit.  Cash is always king, but having some credit history showing that you can responsibly take and pay-off debt, helps lenders better assess your ability to meet the terms of major loan products (e.g., buying a house). How far back, or how long your credit history is accounts for 15% of your total score-so, it certainly doesn’t hurt to start early. While this doesn’t seem important now, eventually it will matter.  As a parent, you always want to set your child up for success and helping them establish a good credit score before they leave the nest is a gift.

To be clear, I’m not advocating the use of credit cards by children or teens. What I’m suggesting is that you leverage your good credit and payment history as a parent to help start your children off on the right foot credit-wise. Here’s how to begin:

Step One:  Select one credit card where you have a solid payment history and have never had a late payment

Since your payment history, and overall credit use on this card, will become your child’s credit it is key that you ALWAYS pay this bill on time. If you’re not willing to commit to this step, you should not begin this process until you’re in a place where you can. Otherwise, you are likely to hurt your child with a sub-par credit history.

Step Two:  If/When a card arrives in your child’s name, destroy it

Given they will not be actively charging with the card I suggest destroying it, or at a minimum, putting it in a safe. If the credit card was to “disappear” or go missing, you would be unlikely to notice it since you don’t use it on a regular basis. If the card was to get into the wrong hands, you could be dealing with fraud issues-which is never fun.

Step Three: Consider a Credit Monitoring Service

The downside of setting up credit for your children is that it also opens them up to the same sort of fraud we experience as adults. You will even start to see new card solicitations hit your mailbox! This means that you have to commit to checking their credit report twice a year for fraud or even easier, set them up on a credit monitoring service. You don’t need to spend a bundle, but do look for one that provides you with a credit report/update more than once a year.

Step Four:  Brace yourself for this question….Should I give my teen a credit card?

When your child becomes a legal adult at age 18, he/she will be able to apply for their own credit.  The question then becomes, should they be able to use a co-signer credit card from your account when they are teens?  I think every child is different, so it’s completely subjective. I would suggest that if you do give your teen a credit card to use that it come with an extremely explicit set of rules, and consequences, related to its use.  I also recommend reducing the credit limit, to shield you and your teen from incurring too much debt.

If you have any questions about my experiences in this space, or around credit in general, please feel free to call me or email me to discuss.