Posted by: T. Argerous Filosofos | August 18, 2009

Dont Ever Give Up!

I have written in the past about never giving up

and especially the lessens learned from my Father (read my blog “He Never Gave Up” ) I dont remember who it was but a friend on Facebook sent this to me which just reaffirmed the belief, which is one should never give up and they should continue to work towards what they believe in. It is the lesson my father taught me and countless others. I hope you enjoy it.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road your trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with it’s twist and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a fellow turns about

When he might have won had he stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow

You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer then

It seems to a faint and faltering man;

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor’s cup;

And he learned too late when the night came down,

How close he was to the golden crown.


The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It might be near when it seems afar,

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit

Rest if you must, But DON”T Quit.

~~ Author UnKnown

Posted by: T. Argerous Filosofos | August 16, 2009

Would You Rather Be Right or Happy?

Saw this on another blog, This could have been written about my family as well as my dad and I – Enjoy – TAF

Would You Rather Be Right or Happy?

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Steve of Freedom Education.
I come from an Italian background.  Both my parents were born in Italy.
When I was growing up we didn’t say the words “I love you.”  It wasn’t normal in our family to do that.  This wasn’t good or bad, right or wrong, it’s just […]

I come from an Italian background.  Both my parents were born in Italy.

When I was growing up we didn’t say the words “I love you.”  It wasn’t normal in our family to do that.  This wasn’t good or bad, right or wrong, it’s just the way it was.  We just didn’t say those words and express ourselves verbally.  We expressed ourselves in other ways that were non-verbal.

My dad and I used to have these conversations.  And in these conversations my dad thought he was right and I thought I was right.  We both thought we were right.

You see, this was a real big problem.  Here you have two grown men who think they’re both right, which means nobody is listening.

When I played hockey when I was younger I heard my dad point out all the mistakes I made.  I always heard the corrections I could have made, but I never heard him say how great I was doing or how proud he was of me.

It doesn’t mean he didn’t say those things, I just never listened to him that way.

In March 2006 I participated in the Landmark Forum.  It’s a Saturday and I phone my dad.  I’m at the course and I’m really nervous to speak with him.  I was scared.  So I get on the phone and my mom answers:

Mom: “Hi Steve, how are you?”

Steve: “Oh, hey mom. (huge relief ) I was calling to speak with dad, but I guess he isn’t around.”

Dad: (on another line) “Hey Steve, it’s your dad.  What’s up?”

Steve: (sweating like crazy) “Oh, hey dad.  Well, there is something I wanted to tell you

… (long pause) …

Steve: I just realized that it must have been really tough for you and mom to raise me when you were young.  I mean, you were in your early 20’s and you had so much responsibility.  It must have been hard.  I just wanted to tell you that you did a great job raising me and that I’m responsible for raising myself from now on.  I also wanted to let you know that I care for you and that I love you very much.”

Dad: “Well, your mom and I want you to know that we are really proud of you and your brother.”

That one statement “I’m proud of you,” totally changed me.  It was the first time I heard him say those words.

Why am I telling you this?

You see, my dad and I have an amazing relationship today; we really do.  And I’m so happy and grateful that he is a part of my life because I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.  It doesn’t matter who’s right anymore.  What really matters is that I got my dad back.

Steve is a Life Coach and the creator of Freedom EducationMind Power for Your Personal Growth. He is also the author of the ebook, The Genius Within YOU. You can download his ebook here.

Tagged as: gemini relationshipslandmark educationpeace love and happiness

Posted by: T. Argerous Filosofos | August 13, 2009

How Do You Peel Your Banana?

My 17 year old son is a pretty intelligent human being. I am always amazed at the way he looks at life and things around him.

Last week he came and asked me “Dad, how do you peel your Bananas?” What i said?,

Banana Peeled

Banana Peeled

“How do you peel your bananas – like a human or like a monkey?” What the heck does that have to do with why the stock market is down again today I asked? I dont know I break the stalk off ( do they call it a stalk?) and peel it and then I eat it. Is that human or monkey?.

“You eat like a human”    And thats a problem why?

“When you break the stalk off, does it sometimes just bend and kind of like mashes the banana up and makes a mess?”, Sometimes I replied but that is part of eating Bananas, whats your point son?

“Monkeys are smarter, they pinch the little spot on the bottom of the banana and it pops open and it is easier to peal and less messy” “You never have a mashed Banana”  Well I guess that is a good thing to know but why is it that us humans break the stalk off and peal it that way. There must be a reason.

I pondered this for a few days, and then, one day, no one was around, I took a banana and looked at it. I looked at that little spot on the bottom, How can pinching that make eating a banana any easier than it all ready is to eat?  Well no one is home, and I am not in public, if I pinched the banana no one would know, especially my son, so what do I have to loose? He makes me crazy like this. I may end up looking like a fool, but hey I do that daily I think so……….

I pinched it!

It popped open like my son said. It pealed, just like the way humans normally peal there’s, except this one felt as though it was upside down. So I ate it. It tasted the same. But I did notice one thing, I found that while I was eating it I was holding the stalk. (do they call it a stalk) Sort of like eating a Coney Island dog or something like that. The banana seemed easier to eat?!?. How could this be?  I was eating the banana not from the top down, as we had all been taught, but rather from the bottom up which my son told me is how the monkeys do it.

So whats the deal here? Well I googled Banana tree to look at a picture, I used to have a banana tree in the back yard and my suspicions were true. Banana’s grow up with the stems (there not called stalks) facing down.

Banana tree

Banana tree

So now the question is, if the bottom is really the top and the top is really the bottom and monkeys have been eating bananas this way all along, who is smarter?

I hate my son. I thought I had life all figured out and he comes along and does this to me.

I always thought i was pretty smart. But now this , this experiment has caused me some confusion. Am I eating food the correct way? What else have I been doing “wrong”. And who taught me how to eat a banana that way anyway? And isn’t there a theory that we descended from Monkeys? Well if that is true how come they didn’t teach us how to eat bananas the correct way?

What going on here?

Life! Like everything else there is no right way or wrong way – it is what your used to doing. We do the same things over and over again with out thinking about it. We very seldom change because it is awkward or hard or uncomfortable. Try putting a spoon in your other hand and eating soup with it. Make sure you wear a bib!

Change is hard. But change is good. I’m going to eat banana’s now like a monkey. My son and I will be able to share something together. I was supposed to be the teacher here, but the roles are now reversing. He helps me to better understand life and that to move forward one must accept change.

I, like most out there, are struggling in a number of areas and realizing that how we did business in the past, how we spent money in the past, how we enjoyed ourselves in the past, may need to change. Many of us (including me) are struggling with that. We all need to go back to school. We all need to change our ways. We all need peel that Banana differently!

I love you Theo very much, but I hate you. You drive me crazy with questions like that, —  but I never want you to stop asking them. They are very important. Both you and your sister are always telling me I don’t know what its like to be a kid. I thought I used to tell my parents that. Well maybe I need to be a kid again and learn new things.

I think we can all do that. If you have your own business or are the CEO of a company, take some one you normally dont talk to out to lunch or for a cup of coffee. Ask them if you were running this business today what one thing would you change and why?

Better yet ask them How They Peel Their Banana!

You may be surprised by the answer.

As for me, I am going to start eating banana’s like a monkey and you know what, as soon as I buy a bib, I am going to eat some soup with my left hand and see where that leads me.

Posted by: T. Argerous Filosofos | August 7, 2009

Probe freezes major lender

Just received this and thought you may be interested in it. Florida is definitely having some problems. It has always been my belief however, that from problems, grow opportunity. What can we learn from this, what opportunity can we find from this? It is a great time to be buying right now. But how do we get the financing? Where there is a will there is a way. If there is a problem (no financing) there is opportunity!

Tell me what you think that would be in this market? What would you do to solve this problem, and how would you implement it?  There are all of those loans out there with no immediate funding source now. How can you help them?

Interesting thought process?

TAMPA, Fla. – Aug. 7, 2009 – Ocala-based Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. (TBW) said Wednesday it is stopping its mortgage-lending operations after federal agencies suspended it from making loans, according to a statement sent to mortgage brokers, regulators and a bank trade group.

Wednesday’s shutdown is another major blow to Florida’s struggling real estate market. Taylor, Bean & Whitaker is one of the largest providers of FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans in the Sunshine State, and loans in its pipeline won’t close, said Valaire Saunders, president of the Tallahassee-based Florida Association of Mortgage Brokers.

“It’s definitely going to be detrimental to our state’s economic recovery,” she said. “This will delay Florida’s housing recovery, and we can’t afford that.”

The firm, ranked among the largest U.S. home lenders, was barred this week from selling or servicing loans by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae, the statement says.

“TBW must cease all origination operations effective immediately,” the statement says. “Regrettably, TBW will not be able to close or fund any mortgage loans currently pending in its pipeline.”

The closing came after an announcement Tuesday by the Federal Housing Administration that it found possible fraud and had decided to suspend business with the lender. Calls to Taylor, Bean & Whitaker were not returned.

Taylor, Bean & Whitaker was a major lender of FHA loans, typically used by first-time buyers, and one of the few lenders who funded FHA loans on manufactured housing, Saunders said.

“I have three colleagues with loans set to close this month, and they’re scrambling,” she said.

Taylor, Bean & Whitaker was FHA’s third-largest lender. It ranked 12th among U.S. mortgage originators in the first half of this year.

The lender didn’t submit a required annual financial report and “misrepresented that there were no unresolved issues with its independent auditor,” the FHA says in a statement. The auditor discovered “irregular transactions that raised concerns of fraud,” the FHA says.

An October 2006 investigative report by the Tampa Tribune found that at least four of 36 suspicious loans involving a Tampa real estate agent and mortgage broker had been funded by the lender.

The story found that the homes sold, on average, for $60,000 above the asking price. At least $2 million collectively was paid to third parties, and in some cases, two sets of documents were used to secure the loan.

At the time, Lee Farkas, chairman of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, said his institution did not realize the property had sold for more than originally listed. “There’s no way we would do a loan structured like that,” he said. Farkas said his company had policies against such loans and said he would investigate the deals.

Jane Floyd, a Tampa mortgage broker with Diversified Home Mortgage, said the closure will negatively affect the area’s pending home sales.

“I’ve worked with them for years and had a good relationship with the people there,” Floyd said. “This is very sad.”

Copyright © 2009 Tampa Tribune, Fla., Shannon Behnken. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. Information from Bloomberg News was used in this report.

Posted by: T. Argerous Filosofos | July 29, 2009

Panama’s Ecomony Virtually Stable

Hola my Friends. Those who know me know that I have been going to Panama for a number of years (over 30 years actually). I love Panama and all that it has to offer. I have said for many years and still believe, that Panama is one of the better bargains in the area for many reasons. Many of you have told me how great Costa Rica is and I will not argue the point. Costa Rica has a lot to offer, but I really believe, if you look and compare closely all of the options, that Panama will come out ahead.

Having said all of that there has been much discusion on the state of the economy in Panama and the economic slow down and how it has impacted the area. The following article is a quick view of what is happening there now. The economy in Panama this past year shrunk by less that one quarter of one percent! In my mind that seems to indicate a somewhat stable economy.

Next week there is a meeting being held at UCF about Panama/ Florida Relations. the Ambassador to Panama as well as other American and Panamanian Dignataries will be there.It should be an interesting conference.
Florida exported $44.8 billion in manufactured goods to the world in 2007.  95% of the nearly 29,000 companies that exported goods from Florida in 2005 were small and medium-sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.  Florida is the nation’s second ranked exporter of fruit.  Air cargo activity accounts for over one third of all of florida’s international trade dollars.  Goods moving through Florida’s seaport gateways in 2006 were valued at nearly $73.5 billion.This event will provide businesses with an overview of opportunities for international export. We will learn of the resources available in our community so that one can evaluate international opportunities and begin exporting your products. With the widening of the Panama Canal, new opportunities for trade are expected. At this event, we will also focus on the importance of the Florida-Panama relationship and opportunities for trade with Panama.

Panama has the largest Free trade zone in the world behind Hong Kong. It is said that Panama FTZ will become #1 in the world with in the next 5 years.

If you want to start a business in Panama give me a shout. There is a lot going on down there. I will let you know what happens at the conference.

Panama’s Ecomony Shrinks by .22%

Monday, July 27 2009 @ 03:05 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 139

Money Matters By Elizabeth Garrido A. and Marianela Palacios R. for La Prensa – The Panamanian economy registered a contraction of 0.22% between January and May 2009, according to the Monthly Index of Economic Activity (IMAE) published by the Comptroller General of the Republic. The new report caused concern among government authorities, because according to historical records of IMAE, last year saw a growth of 8.5% over the same period. This means Panama has entered into an “economic downturn,” said Economy and Finance Minister, Alberto Vallarino. However he said still no one should call this a “recession.” This report means economic activity in the country suffered an overall reduction in goods and services but it has not entered into a period of negative growth in gross domestic product (GDP) for three consecutive quarters. Vallarino said the contraction in the economy is related to the effect of the global economic crsisis and the fall in exports. However, the minister is optimistic and said they hope the second half of the year “will be better.” Most affected – According to the IMAE, sectors that are contracting are: manufacturing (-1.37%), trade (-9.21%), fishing (-12.24%) and real estate activities (-2.33%) and agriculture (-9%). The sectors that are still growing but at a slower rate, are: construction (15%), mining (8%), transport, storage and telecommunications (4.6%) and hotels (0.10%). In fact, this sector is one of the most affected, since last year, hotels and restaurants had a growth rate of 16% in this same period IMAE. (See Comments)

Editor’s Comment: Want to hear some great news? From January through May 2009, Panama’s economy has shrunk by only .22% (as in less than one quarter of one percent.) Yee-ha! That’s great news when you put that sentence into context of the overall global economic crisis. Panama’s economy when compared to the rest of Latin America will still be one of the best performers. So, you have to take this kind of thing and put it into a greater context in order to understand – we got hit by a tricycle when everyone else is getting hit by a bus. Take your pick, which one is better?

Posted by: T. Argerous Filosofos | July 29, 2009

Why the NAR call to action for HR 3044 is a joke

Hi There, Saw this article in an Active Rain Blog  I thought it interesting and discussing something I dont think many have thought about in these troubled times – TAF

I recently received an email asking me to call my representatives and urge them to co-sponsor H.R. 3044, which would place an 18-month moratorium on the HVCC.  Along with the email were links to several articles talking about how low appraisals are hurting real estate, essentially saying that appraisers are responsible for the slow economic recovery.

New Home Appraisal Rules Stir Industry Backlash – Associated Press (July 14, 2009)

Low Ball Appraisals Spark Uproar – Post (July 3, 2009)

Appraisal Management Chart

While I understand the real estate industry’s frustration, yet another delay in implementing the HVCC is not the answer.  I think that with the exception of the appraisal management companies, everyone is in agreement that the HVCC has solved nothing except how to force good appraisers out of the business and increase the overall cost of an appraisal to the consumer.  But what is really needed, and what has been lacking in the appraisal industry for quite a while, is OVERSIGHT.

Appraisals coming in too low and killing your deal?  One of three things has happened, then.
1. If you are the selling agent, you priced it too high.
2. If you are the buyers agent, you did not do your due diligence with your CMA to determine what the property value truly was, and so your client has offered to pay more than the house was worth.
3. Your lender is using an Appraisal Management Company that has found someone willing to do the work for a substantial discount (although the borrower will pay at least the same fee).  This person has little incentive to do a good job (how much effort would you put into selling a house if you were getting a flat $500 fee before broker expenses?), and may be coming from a great distance away and may have no real local knowledge.

I understand that it is the selling agents job to get the highest possible price for you client, so I have no real beef with you.  If someone loves the house enough, they will come up with the extra money.  But if you know that the house is overpriced, don’t blame the appraiser for killing your deal.  And please, try not to spread the idiotic concept that if a buyer and seller agree on a price, then that is the market value.  Go take an appraisal class before you perpetuate that rumor.

You would probably not believe how many houses I look at that are blatantly overpriced, yet the buyers agent has allowed their client to make a full-price offer.  Just like in the appraisal business, there are plenty of lazy and/or incompetent practitioners.  I understand that some properties are harder to value than others, but I’ve seen plenty of homes in standard subdivisions where there are three recent sales with the exact same floorplan, same upgrades, and same condition, yet you have offered $5,000 more than any of those sold for.  Again, don’t blame me because it was easier to submit a contract and keep your fingers crossed that the appraiser would “play ball”.

However, I’ve been reading a lot of the comments that realtors have been making, and there is a definite trend of low-priced (read “desperate”) appraisers driving hundreds of miles to do an appraisal in a town they have never been in.  Please understand that while I feel bad for these appraisers, they are violating USPAP, which are the standards of practice that every appraiser must follow.  More specifically, it is a violation of the Competency Rule, wherein an appraiser must be familiar with, among other things, a geographic area or market.  So if you have an appraiser coming in from 5 counties away to do your appraisal, then you need to find out exactly how many appraisals he/she has done in your area and what makes them competent to do your appraisal.  If they are not, tell the lender you want someone else.

This has been an issue for a long time, and it points to a lot of what the HVCC was originally meant to do.  Appraisers are supposed to be the “voice of reason”, the impartial 3rd party, the one who makes sure that in the event that a buyer were to close and then immediately walk away from the property, the lender would be able to sell the property without incurring a loss.  However, what has happened is that the viewpoint has changed, casting appraisers as just another complicit party to the transaction, rubber-stamping the contract price and collecting their fee.  Now our opinions are looked at with a great deal of suspicion (witness the flood of underwriter conditions lately) due to the actions of some appraisers.

So the real problem is not how to make sure appraisers jump through hoops by providing several extra pages of information in the report to pin them down more on their numbers (like the 1004MC form).  The real problem is doing something about the bad seeds in the business.  I’ve done some review appraisals that have just been god-awful, where it was very, very obvious the appraiser was trying to hit a number, or are just severely lacking on education requirements.  But if you submit a complaint to the state board, do you know what happens?  Next to nothing.  Maybe a slap on the wrist.  There is simply not enough government funding to adequately police all appraisers, and this lack of oversight (and punishment) has allowed a culture to develop that flaunts the rules.

So delaying the HVCC another 18 months is not going to fix anything.  For one thing, lenders have already made their decisions on using AMC’s, and they are not likely to return to the prior method of letting loan officers select their own.  The damage has been done.
What is needed is a law that disallows any lender to directly or indirectly own an AMC.  Think of it this way.  If you are the buyers agent on a house and the appraisal company was owned by the selling agent (or the homeowner) wouldn’t you be worried?  Also, the AMC’s need to be held to the same standards as the appraisers.  A broker is responsible for his agent, and that is essentially the same setup as AMC’s and their appraisers have.
Beyond that, enforce the Competency Rule.  I have no problem with a realtor or borrower asking me about my experience in the area, and neither should any other competent and ethical appraiser.

Article by Mike Lay Austin TX.

Posted by: T. Argerous Filosofos | July 27, 2009

Commercial mortgage delinquency up 585%

Maybe home sales are beginning to come back but as we have been saying the Commercial sector has a little work to do yet – God time to be looking as well as buying. Especially if you have cash to spend! Let us know if your interested!   TAF

Monday, July 27, 2009, 10:12am EDT

Jacksonville Business Journal – by Katherine Conrad

Delinquencies on commercial mortgage backed securities soared $10 billion in June, hitting a 12-month high of almost $29 billion, according to Realpoint Research.

California led the nation with the highest amount of delinquent loans, closely followed by Texas and Florida.

Late loans across the country are up an “astounding” 585 percent from a year ago when just $4 billion were delinquent, reported the Horsham, Pa.-based research firm. The low point for delinquency was March 2007 when $2 billion was delinquent.

Realpoint reported that the total unpaid balance for all commercial backed mortgage securities pools under review by the firm was $817 billion in June, down slightly from $825 billion in May as a result of a delay in reporting some deals.

The three states with the most delinquent loans accounted for more than a quarter of the unpaid balances. Realpoint said that California with almost $3 billion in delinquent loans, or 10 percent of the exposure, and Texas with $2.5 billion, or 9 percent of all delinquencies, “remain a major concern.” In California, the delinquent properties are spread across the state, compared to Texas where the problems are located mainly in Dallas-Fort Worth.

The other states among the top 10 are Michigan, Arizona, New York, Georgia, Hawaii, Nevada and Illinois. If delinquencies are counted by only metro areas, Phoenix has the highest at $1 billion and San Francisco has the lowest at $605 million.

Not all late loans were declared delinquent, as $105 billion worth of loans were either liquidated or handled through workouts. Of those 26 loans, 10 experienced a loss of only 1 percent, while the others experienced an average loss of almost 64 percent.

According to Foresight Analytics LLC, which tracks delinquencies on a quarterly basis in residential mortgages, construction loans and commercial loans, delinquency rates on commercial mortgages rose in the second quarter to 4.5 percent from 3.6 percent in the first quarter. That figure is more than double the first quarter rate of almost 2 percent 2008.

“The 4.5 percent delinquency rate is still well below the 8 percent rate in the third quarter 1991, but it is worrisome in light of an eroding economy, severely constrained credit availability and high volume of commercial mortgages coming due during 2009 and the next several years,” wrote Matt Anderson, a partner in Foresight Analytics.

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