Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bright Spots

The news has been so poor lately that I thought I'd write about what is good that's happening out there. As I came through Yahoo to get here I caught a brief "Five Reasons to Suspect Your Job is in Jeopardy" headline. I'm sure I could return for more bad news, but who needs it?

This morning in the paper ( a real estate deal was announced. In Elbridge, the residents of the Champion Mobile Home Park have banded together to buy their park for 3.6 million dollars. They formed a homeowners association and borrowed money to do so, all with the gentle nod of the owner who had kept it running in good form for years. That means 350 families became home owners today. I think that's wonderful!

I opened my mail for my monthly bill from M&T. I borrowed, like so many did, from my home equity line of credit this year to get past a very slow real estate spring and a very expensive tax season. The interest rate has dropped from about 5.5% six months ago to a munificent 4.0%. I'll be able to pay it off with the next closing, and there are closings on the near horizon.

My e-mail produced rate quotes from Ed Nash who seems to e-mail everyone in all the offices. I keep his quotes as reference points. Today he promised a 30 year fixed rate of 5.1%. If you only want 15 years the rate drops to 5.0%. I won't tell you about the ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages). I'll just let you guess that they are lower.

When I bought my house in Skaneateles in 1990, my rate was 9.5%. My attorney, John Yuhas, congratulated me on getting such a good rate. His was presumably much higher. Think of that. A 100K home garnered about $10,000 in interest alone back then. The yearly interest now is a much lower $5,000. Prices of homes are higher, yes. But there is equity accumulating, not interest for the banks.

The brightest point for me now is the realization that I have the ability to give to others. It may all sound a bit hokey, but I am glad that I can send a check out to the Food Bank ( or Wanderers' Rest ( where we found Boo. I am sorry so many people need extra help this year, but I am thrilled I can provide some of it. I'm not alone. Pat Snyder from Williams Realty told me she had a grand time buying blankets and chocolates for Christmas baskets and the elderly this week.

So take some of that interest you've saved and spread it around to those who need it this year! It will warm your soul and create a bright spot that no gloom and doom headlines can take away.