Homes & Money - 1st Quarter 2012


Michael Hunt
Loan Originator
AmeriFirst Financial Inc.
Phone: (928) 308-8238
Fax: (928) 263-6563
NMLS : 196929 / AZ LO-0914163



Mortgage News
What Do GDP and QE3 Have to Do With Home Loan Rates?

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

That popular idiom could be applied to the Advance Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reading–or first of three readings–for the 4th Quarter of 2011, which came in at 2.8%, a bit below expectations of 3.2%. This number will be revised two more times, but if the final GDP remains at 2.8%...then the overall GDP for 2011 would be a scanty 1.57%.

GDP represents the market value of all goods and services produced within a country in a given period–and is an indicator of our standard of living–so that number would certainly be a "Gross" Domestic Product, especially when you consider that the government has underwritten more than half of that economic growth with the Payroll Tax benefit.

What's more, besides being subsidized by the government's Payroll Tax Holiday, the GDP reading was driven mainly by a build up in inventory (retailers buying from wholesalers) and NOT new sales to consumers. It is quite reasonable to see this trend reverse in the first part of 2012, which would make for a weaker GDP reading. And a weaker GDP reading will make a third round of Quantitative Easing (QE3) a virtual lock.

So, why is this significant and what does this have to do with home loan rates?

First, it's important to understand that home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds, and when Bonds improve, home loan rates typically move lower. History has shown that Bonds improve in anticipation of Quantitative Easing, but then selloff once the official announcement is made. Think about the old investing adage: "Buy on the rumor, and sell on the news." So if rumors of QE3 continue to swirl, we should continue to see great home loan rates leading up to any actual announcement.

Even if the Fed doesn't do QE3, rates will likely remain attractive as the continuing debt problems in Europe will make our Bonds a safe haven for investors. The bottom line is that now remains a great time to purchase or refinance a home. If you have any questions or need any help navigating today's opportunities, call or email me anytime.

If you know anyone who is looking to buy, sell or refinance a home, please forward their name and telephone number to us. We will happily provide the same high level of service that we have provided to you. The greatest compliment you could possibly give us is the referral of your friends and family.



Finance News
Can a Credit Score Kill a Job Offer?
No, but your credit report might, so be upfront about problems.
By Lisa Gerstner,

Despite what you may have heard or read, employers do not have access to job candidates' credit scores. That should come as a relief to cash-strapped job seekers with maxed-out credit cards or other score-busting blemishes.

But your prospects for getting hired aren't immune from a poor credit history. In most states, employers are able to check a potential or current employee's credit report, which lists information such as balances on your loans and credit accounts, late payments, and debt collections.

About 13% of employers check credit reports for all candidates and 47% check for those applying to selected positions, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Employers are usually most interested in the credit backgrounds of applicants who will handle finances, hold an executive-level position or have access to other employees' confidential information (such as human-resources professionals). The black marks that might give an employer pause are ones that leave the deepest stains on your record: a loan default, a bankruptcy, a debt that's gone to collection.

An employer must obtain your permission to pull your credit report. But declining is "like saying no to a Breathalyzer test," says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for "The consequences are sometimes worse than just getting it over with," he says – namely, the employer could choose another applicant for the job if you are secretive.

Be honest and upfront about any problems. A potential boss may be sympathetic to the financial trauma that a layoff and long bout of unemployment have caused. And keep in mind that your credit record is only one piece of your profile. According to the SHRM, credit history ranked lowest among criteria employers used to vet candidates.

Reprinted with permission. All Contents ©2012 The Kiplinger Washington Editors.



Creative Cuisine
Quick and Easy Vegetable Soup (4-6 servings)

Soup is good food, especially when the temperatures are cool outside. Here's a recipe for my Quick and Easy Vegetable Soup (4-6 servings):

- 4 C chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 C water
- 1 14-15oz can chopped tomatoes in puree
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 1 cup fresh green beans, chopped into 1-inch long pieces
- 1 ear of corn, kernels removed
- 1 14-ounce can white cannellini beans, drained
- 1 Tsp Herbs d' Provence, or Italian seasoning
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a soup pot, heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium flame. Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Season with salt and pepper and allow the vegetables to cook until the onions just start to soften (3 to 4 minutes). To the vegetables, add the canned tomatoes, chicken stock, water and herbs. Season with salt and pepper, mix well and bring just to the boil. Add green beans, corn, and canned beans. Reduce to a very low simmer and allow the soup to cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the green beans soften, but remain slightly al dente.

No stranger to professional kitchens, Kirk Leins currently devotes most of his time to cooking instruction, food writing, and producing television. You can visit Kirk's website at


Street Smarts
Life Saving Knowledge

Every two minutes, sudden cardiac arrest strikes one American–and for every minute that passes without CPR or emergency treatment, the survival rate decreases by 10%.

Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) increase a victim's chance of survival by 90%–if applied to a victim within the first minute of a heart attack. That's why, more and more public places like airports, schools, and health clubs host this life-saving device.

Knowledge is power–and in this case–it's knowledge that can save your life, or the life of someone you love! Here is some important information you should know about AEDs:

  • AEDs are well marked and located in visible, high traffic areas like elevators, exits, fire extinguishers, restrooms or telephones.
  • The American Red Cross and American Heart Association state that the AED should be placed such that a person could get the device and get back to a victim of sudden cardiac arrest within three minutes.
  • The American Red Cross offers Heartsaver® CPR-AED classroom courses and eLearning courses.
  • AEDs are a bit expensive; however they are an investment that can save a life. They can be purchased by visiting the Centers for Health and Public Safety website.
  • AED rules and legislation varies by state, however under The Good Samaritan Law, limited immunity is offered "for individuals who render emergency treatment with a defibrillator. Specific protection varies by state."

To learn more about AEDs, visit the Centers for Health and Public Safety website.



Home News
4 Tips for a Cozy Décor

Love the cozy feeling holiday decorations bring to your home? Here are four great tips for creating that ambiance any time of year:

Family photos. Groupings of family photos should be first on your list. Find shelf space or side tables that could use a personal touch, and then add a few family photos. The frames don't have to match, but they should coordinate...and they should have the same design as the mood you're trying to create. If it's coziness you seek, try adding rich wood frames and classic designs to your décor.

Heirlooms and antiques. You'd be surprised what an antique camera can add to a display of family photos. Or how an antique vase can set the tone for an entire room. These items are inexpensive to purchase at an antique store, but if you have a family heirloom with a story it's even better.

Personal or seasonal touches. Remember, your family and your community are unique and should be celebrated. So, for example, if your family took a unique vacation to a sandy beach last year, you can fill a decorative jar with the sand and surround it with a photo or two. Or, you can simply bring natural elements–such as pinecones or autumn leaves–inside and place them in a large bowl or dish with photos or candles.

Warm the senses. Don't forget to fill the air with a fresh fragrance that fits the mood you're creating. Often, those fresh scents are the first things that visitors notice. So consider lighting scented candles, purchasing plug-in air fresheners with seasonal scents, or just baking homemade cookies before company arrives.



Facts and Figures
Fumble? Foul? No...Just the Facts!

In honor of Super Bowl XLVI we turned to the Census Bureau for some fun facts about the demographics of the host city (Indianapolis) and the cities (New York and Boston) represented in this year's big game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

  • New York ranks first on the list of the nation's most populous cities.
  • On average, it takes New York residents 38.7 minutes to get to work–and 55% of them take public transportation.
  • Median home value of owner-occupied homes in Boston is $369,600.
  • 44% of Boston residents 25 and older have a bachelor's degree or higher, according to data from 2010.
  • According to data from 2010, the estimated population of Boston was 617,594.
  • The median household income for Indianapolis, Indiana is $38,502.
  • The median home value of owner-occupied homes in Indianapolis is $118,100.

Table of Contents

· Mortgage News
· Finance News
· Creative Cuisine
· Street Smarts
· Home News
· Facts and Figures
· Five Quick Tips
· Did You Know?
· Quote of the Day
· Special Offer
· Trivia Challenge
· Book Review

Did You Know?

Did you know that the USPS allows you to print labels and ship packages from the courtesy of your own home?

Did you know that your kitchen is more infested with germs than your bathroom? Here are some tips to help you combat the germs that are often lurking around your kitchen:

Tip 1: Ditch the dishrags. Repeatedly using dishrags to wipe down your countertops guarantees the spread of germs. Consider using disposable disinfecting wipes.

Tip 2: Regularly wash reusable grocery bags. While these bags are good for the environment, they can harbor harmful bacteria.

Tip 3: Keep your purse off of the kitchen counter. Women often put their purse on the ground, which makes the bottom a breeding ground for bacteria like E.Coli and Staph.

Tip 4: Disinfect drains. There are more than a half a million bacteria per square inch in your drain so disinfect daily.

Tip 5: Never leave dishes in the sink. Dirty dishes should be washed within two hours of being left in the sink.

Quote of the Day

"Don't just let your business or your job make something for you, let it make something of you."

– Jim Rohn

Special Offer

Trivia Challenge

What ancient Roman is behind the origin of Leap Year?

  1. Constantine the Great
  2. Justinian
  3. Augustus
  4. Julius Caeser
  5. Claudius

For answer, scroll down to the bottom.

Book Review

The Available Parent
Radical Optimism in Raising Teens and Tweens
By Dr. John Duffy

Raising teenagers can be tough. Your once happy child can turn moody or sullen–sometimes overnight–for reasons you can't understand. Communication with them can be reduced to one-word answers, the silent treatment, or even slamming doors. Luckily, things don't have to be this way.

In The Available Parent, top teen expert Dr. John Duffy not only helps you understand what's causing this type of behavior, he also provides a step-by-step guide for how to enjoy a healthy relationship with your teen. He explains what your teen is experiencing, how you can build your teen's self confidence, and ultimately how you can become an available parent who has a great connection with your child.

Dr. John Duffy is a highly-sought after parenting expert and clinical psychologist who has been working with teens, tweens, and families for over fifteen years. For more information on this helpful and timely book, visit

Thank You

As always, we wish to thank our clients who have been kind enough to refer business to us. We appreciate the opportunity to provide excellent service to your family, friends, and co–workers.


Trivia Answer

D. Julius Ceasar


This is not the opinion of Brad Bergamini, Realty Executives Northern Arizona or any of its affiliates.  This post is for informational purpose only and is not guaranteed and does not render as legal advice.  Buying and selling Real Estate in Arizona or Prescott Arizona is a serious task and should be consulted with personally with Realtor or Real Estate Attorney.  Please visit my website for contact information or


© Copyright 2012. All About News, Inc.