Don’t Forget Your Goals

2018 is well on its way. Hopefully, your goals for the year did not get left back on January 2nd. It can be difficult to keep New Year’s resolutions and end up reverting back to old habits. Here are some tips to help you refocus on any goals you set for the year.

  1. Be Realistic: If you want to get a novel published, it might be over zealous to try and make it happened by the end of the year if you haven’t even started writing it. Give yourself the time you need to accomplish your goals.
  2. Be Specific: Again, if you want to get a novel published, you might want to have a complete draft written by the end of the year. How long is the novel going to be, and how many pages do you need to write each week to accomplish this goal? Make sure you can measure your goal, and break it up into monthly, weekly, or even daily tasks.
  3. Be Public: Accountability is your best friend when it comes to accomplishing goals. If you wrote down your goals on your phone at the beginning of the year, and no one else knows about them, who is going to be disappointed if you don’t accomplish them? Who is going to help encourage you throughout the year? Let your friends and family know about your goals.
  4. Be Rewarding: Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool. Humans are members of the animal kingdom. Although we many be far more intellectually advanced than our animal friends, we still share many similarities with them. If you reward yourself along the way, your brain will associate working on your goals with the reward. Plan on buying yourself something you enjoy If you are making measured progress on your goals.

Understanding Millennials

Millennials is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but who exactly are millennials? Often times we use the term to refer generally to young people. It may be useful to first understand what a generation is before defining a specific one. Often times generations are divided into a range of dates when the members of a generation were born. This is not the most useful way to define a generation. The value in dividing people into generations is to do so by their preferences, characteristics, and values. Typically, people raised around the same period of time have many similar experiences. Those experiences may be technology, economics, global events, parenting trends, and many others. A generation is not constrained to a strict timeline, it relates more to similarity in mindset and motivation.

Returning to the original question; who exactly are millennials? The experience that many millennials had in common was an explosion of digital technology in everyday life. This is why most sources will cite the beginning of the millennial generation around the same time as the invention of the internet. The values that help define millennials are strongly influenced by technology. Millennials value collaboration. This may be because technology has made communication simple and instant. Cultural changes in the United States have also adopted a strong sense of equality. This equality helps foster an environment that can create diversity in collaboration. Diversity in collaboration and thought is generally considered valuable in the workforce. Millennials also place a strong value on freedom of choice. This can be traced to both parenting styles of Gen X as well as the saturation of choice that technology has made available for consumers.

The best way to understand millennials, or any generation, is be aware of their values and trends, but ultimately to understand individuals. There are outliers in any generation. There are also far more similarities than differences in individuals from different generations. That is because all generations are a smaller subset of the human family.


Stress Relief

Life can be stressful. Whether you are trying to sell your house and move to a new city, or trying to balance work and family life, it is important to have healthy methods of stress relief. Here are 5 ideas to help reduce your stress.

  1. Avoid Substances: Remember this is a list of healthy ways to reduce stress. There are certainly many different substances people use when they are stressed such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Most habitual substances are usually a depressant or a stimulus, neither of which is healthy stress relief. It’s may not come as a surprise that eating a healthy diet helps improve overall wellness including stress levels.
  2. Exercise: You may have an aversion toward exercise perhaps because it’s challenging when performed properly. Maybe you even feel stress thinking about it. Don’t worry; exercise will reduce your stress levels. There are certain hormones that are associated with high stress levels. These hormones are combatted by moderate levels of exercise.
  3. Relaxation: This can come in many forms. Different relaxation techniques include meditation, self-hypnosis, or even different forms of yoga that mix exercise and relaxation. Whatever your approach, relaxation techniques become more effective with practice.
  4. Sleep: It is no surprise that low amounts of sleep can lead to higher levels of stress. Sleep deprivation is generally regarded as unhealthy by most medical professionals. There is even a rare disease that leads to the complete inability to sleep. This usually results in death after several months. Don’t kill yourself; get some sleep.
  5. Say No: This is a simple but sometimes overlooked concept. If you are stressed, adding more things to your to-do list will likely increase your stress. There is only 24 hours in each day. Don’t plan on doing 34 hours of work for days on end. This also relates to getting enough sleep.


The Best Places to Ski

Winter trees

Utah certainly has exceptional skiing. Some resorts in Utah are among the top ski resorts in the world. What resorts you should visit? It all depends on what type of experience you’re looking for. Here is a breakdown of a few Utah skiing destinations.

  1. Deer Valley– Located east of Salt Lake City in the Wasatch mountains, Deer Valley is known for its world class customer service. With 21 ski lifts and 101 runs, there is a wide range of difficulties for skiers of all experience levels. Deer Valley is for skiing only, and does not allow snowboarding.
  2. Park City Mountain Resort– A popular destination among Utah skiers, the massive Park City Mountain Resort is home to a staggering 314 trails within a 6-mile area. Park City hosted the snowboarding events during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
  3. Brighton– A more economical option, Brighton is still an excellent winter destination. There are more night skiing runs here than any other resort in Utah.
  4. Powder Mountain– Maybe you bought a home in Utah and are looking for a more off-the-beaten-path location. If you want to avoid the tourist crowds, Powder Mountain earns its name with over 500 inches of annual snowfall.

Drive Safe in the Snow

Winter driving is no laughing matter. Everything from changing weather to bad road conditions can make travel more difficult. Preparation will help you drive with more confidence. Before you head out for a winter’s drive, consider these tips to keep you and your family safe.

1.  Plan Your Route and Let Someone Know About It

If you’re traveling far from home, plan your route out in advance. Traveling in unfamiliar areas is particularly dangerous in the winter because roads that may look okay on a map might be closed or unused during winter months. If you can, stay on well-trafficked roads in case you run into trouble. It’s important to let someone know your intended route and what time you expect to arrive at your destination. They can alert authorities if there is a problem. Then, stick to your route. If you have to change your plans, let your contact person know.

2. Check Weather and Road Conditions Before and During Your Drive

Check predicted weather conditions for each leg of your journey before you start driving. Many state Departments of Transportation have hourly road condition updates. Some have apps you can download to make checking conditions that much easier while you travel.  Watch for any mountain areas that may have avalanche conditions and warnings because road closures may be common.

3. Slow Down but Keep Your Momentum

Slow down in snowy conditions but not so much that the car loses momentum. Ice beneath your tires can make it difficult to get moving again on hills if you slow to a crawl. In heavy snow conditions, you may want to decrease your speed by as much as 50 percent to maintain an adequate reaction time.

4. Brush Up on Skid Recovery Techniques

Successfully recovering from a skid can save your life as a little review in this area can go a long way. If you haven’t done it before or if it’s been a long time since you’ve done it, review how to recover from a skid. Lay off the brakes and gently steering the vehicle in the direction you want to go is the best place to start.

5. Give Yourself a Break

Winter travel is stressful. You have to be more alert which brings on fatigue much faster than in the summer. Tired driving is always dangerous no matter the time of year. Taking regular breaks keeps you more awake and gives your mind and body a chance to rejuvenate. Stop, walk around, stretch your legs, and throw a few snowballs if you have to, but stay on top of your game.

6. Stay with Your Car

If you’re stuck in the snow, stay put. Don’t abandon your car for any reason. Clear the area behind your exhaust pipe to prevent carbon monoxide from building inside the vehicle. Your

Buy or Rent

If you want something, there are two common ways to get it: buy it or rent it. What are the advantages of owning and renting?

Owning Advantages

  1. Ownership: Wait, how is ownership an advantage to owning something? That seems a little bit redundant. Well, an extra measure of pride and excitement typically accompanies buying something like an automobile or a home. From a very early age, humans have an innate sense of ownership. Simply ask any parent of a two-year-old what their child’s favorite words are. The answer will likely be “no” and “mine.”
  2. Better long-term solution: Over a long period of time, you will pay less money if you own a home. If you are going to be using it every day for the next ten years, perhaps you should consider buying it. There can be also financial gains when owning things like property.
  3. Stability: When it comes to owning a house, it can actually be beneficial to overall wellness to be settled down in one location.
  4. Safety: Especially in suburban areas, when you own a home you are surrounded by other homeowners. Because homeowners have more to lose than renters, they are usually more vigilant in trying to deter criminal activity.

Renting Advantages

  1. Tax deductions: I know what you’re thinking. All those years of renting an apartment and you didn’t see a dime of tax deductions. Well, unfortunately for all the renters out there, property is a major exception to the rule. The tax deductions of renting primarily applies to businesses.
  2. You can’t afford to buy it: How is this an advantage you say? You can still have it by renting it.
  3. Less Risk. Houses are one of the few material things that can appreciate in value over time. However, there can also be occasional problems with the housing market. You don’t need to worry about any of that if you are renting.
  4. Less responsibility: You can decide if this is an advantage. Typically renting requires less maintenance. If you rent an apartment, often things like upkeep on the grounds is taken care of. If you lease a car, typically things like routine checkups are covered by the dealership.


What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 28, 2017

Last week’s economic reports included readings on pre-owned home sales, weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims and consumer sentiment. The weekly news cycle was shorter due to the Thanksgiving holidays on Thursday and Friday.

Sales of PreviouslyOwned Homes Jump in October

Sales of previously owned homes grew by 1.20 percent in October as compared to September’s reading of 0.10 percent growth month-to-month and indicated a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million sales. October home sales increased as inventories of available homes declined. There was a 3.90 months supply of homes in October as compared to a 4.40 months supply of available homes in September. Real estate pros typically consider a six-month supply of homes a healthy balance between homes available and potential home buyers.

Analysts said that October’s inventory of homes for sale was the second lowest on record from 1999 to present. The National Association of Realtors®, which produces the Existing Home Sales report, said that sales to date were 4.60 percent higher year-to-date.

All regions tracked by the National Association of Realtors® reported increased sales of previously owned homes. The Northeast posted a 4.20 percent gain; the Midwest posted a gain of 0.80 percent and the South posted a gain of 1.90 percent. The West posted the highest gain in pre-owned home sales with 2.40 percent growth rate.

Analysts expect sales of pre-owned homes to rise by 3.70 percent in 2018; proposed revisions to tax laws could sideline home buyers if homeownership is “dis-incentivized” by tax reforms.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims Lower

Freddie Mac reported mixed results for average mortgage rates. The rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages fell three basis points to 3.92 percent. Average rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages each rose by one basis point to 3.32 percent and 3.22 percent respectively. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims were lower last week with 239,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected 240.000 new claims as compared to the prior week’s reading of 252,000 new claims.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index fell from an index reading of 100.7 in October to 98.5 in November.  This was the second highest reading in thirteen years. Consumer sentiment remains high despite headwinds including potential tax reform.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic readings include reports on new and pending home sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and inflation will be released. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Are you Ready for Home Ownership? Find Out by Answering These 4 Questions

Have you been dreaming about a larger, roomier or more luxurious living space? Or perhaps just want to experience the joy of owning your own home and building your net worth instead of renting? Let’s explore a few questions that can help to answer whether or not you’re ready for a new lifestyle as a homeowner.

Can You Realistically Afford To Buy A Home?

The first consideration to make is a financial one: can you afford it? Buying in a home is a significant financial investment. In most cases, you’ll need to manage monthly mortgage payments for many years. The good news: owning a home is a more affordable than you might think. If you’re already a stable renter then you’re most of the way there.

Do You Have Your Down Payment Saved Up?

If you’re confident that monthly payments are no problem, then the next step is saving up enough to cover your down payment. This is a lump-sum investment that you make when you buy the home. Typically your down payment is around 20 percent of the home’s cost, but there are assistance programs which can reduce this further.

Do You Know What Type Of Home You Need?

Once you’ve cleared all of the financial hurdles, you will next need to decide exactly what kind of home you need. If you’re a single young professional, a condo or apartment might be the perfect starter home from which you can upgrade later. Or you might prefer something more rural which comes with more yard space, perfect for pets.

Are You Ready To Set Down Some Roots?

Finally, it’s worth taking some time to decide whether or not you’re ready to emotionally and physically invested in your local community. Is your career stable enough that you won’t be moving for at least a few years? What about that of your partner or spouse? If you don’t already, do you envision having children in the future? All of these are considerations that will help you choose the right neighborhood.

When you are ready, our professional mortgage team is here to help you finance the home of your dreams.

Four Pieces of Mortgage ‘Advice’ That You Should Take With the Proverbial Grain of Salt

Are you in the market for a new home? If you have been talking to friends and family or researching online, you have likely come across quite a bit of mortgage-related advice. As with anything, there is low-quality advice out there which is essential to avoid. In today’s blog post we will share four pieces of mortgage-related advice that you should take with the proverbial ‘grain of salt.’

#1: Only Get A Mortgage From Your Bank

Have you heard that you should only get a mortgage from the major bank that you use regularly? Many people believe that working with a large bank that you have a history with provides advantages, but this is not always the case. The right advice here is to seek out a mortgage lender offering products that fit your current and future financial needs.

#2: Always Take The Lowest Interest Rate

The next piece of advice you might hear is to always take the mortgage product with the lowest interest rate. As you may know, rates vary based on a wide range of factors. Taking the lowest rate might mean that you miss out on some favorable mortgage terms. It is best to trust your mortgage professional to provide you with some options here.

Don’t forget that, over time, you will be able to refinance your mortgage if rates move in a way that is advantageous for you. So you can feel safe in choosing the right mortgage now and adjust later.

#3: Always Borrow As Much As You Can

Another questionable piece of mortgage advice is to always borrow as much as you possibly can. Keep in mind that a mortgage is a loan and that you are required to pay it back. The amount you borrow should be in line with your needs and financial goals.

#4: Don’t Bother With A Pre-Approval

Finally, you may have heard it suggested that you can avoid the mortgage pre-approval process. While it is possible, this is not a good idea. Many home sellers will require proof of your pre-approval before they will commit to selling their home. If there are other buyers trying to bid on that home, they are more likely to win the bid if they can prove their finances are in order. When you are ready to buy, a pre-approval can help.

These are just a few of the many bad pieces of mortgage advice that you might hear in conversation or read online. When you are ready to discuss your mortgage options with the experts, give our professional team a call. We would be happy to share our insight and experience to help you choose the best mortgage.