American Dream 21st Century

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) - What Is It?

PMI is insurance to protect your lender in case you do not make your mortgage payment. You pay for it.

When you are borrowing using a conventional mortgage loan with less than 20% down, and you have good credit, the insurance coverage allows the lender to make the loan and you get your home now – not in 5 to 10 years from now.

Of course, it is an extra expense. But, did you know you could make it go away? After your equity grows to 20%, you notify your lender to cancel the PMI. How do you get there? Make your mortgage payments, enjoy the market appreciation, and your sweat equity like remodels or upgrades.

Why not wait and save for more money down? While you are saving, home prices are going up – can you save faster than prices increase? Interest rates may also be going up. In addition, the big one – if you are renting, that monthly payment is gone forever! And, did I mention the tax deductions that you would be giving up until you are a homeowner?

For more, click on the link above and have a look at today’s report.

Mortgage Interest Rates Have Begun to Level Off

Rates are not going crazy at the moment – good news for homebuyers and the economy. However, they have gone up from where they were and could go up again. They are projected to move upward later in the year.

So, did you ever want to buy something and then waited for a better opportunity which never came? In fact, same scenario – but instead the price increased instead of going lower? The mortgage rates today are a great window of opportunity. Whether you are looking at buying your first house or moving up to a more expense one, this is a great time to act on it.

This is so important that we have a page on this blog just to show the impact that interest rates have on your purchasing power and monthly payment:

You Don’t Have to Pay Your Parents’ Interest Rate

Holy smokes! Did you know that there was a time mortgage rates shot up to rates like what you pay on a credit card?

I know modern medicine has allowed us a greater life expectancy in this century, but the thought of a greater number of years making mortgage payments is not appealing! I am glad interest rates have returned to a level of sanity.

Click through to today’s report and have a look at the history of rates. One thought comes to mind when I see the peak – YIKES! And, yours truly was right in the middle of buying a 10 plex at the time – that story will be a blog post for another date! We will call it “creative financing”.

COST of Your Next Home Will Be LESS Than Your Parents’ Home

Go back and read the title again – I said COST. I did not say price! There is a difference.

I am not going to say much here. I need you to click on the link above to see the chart and the explanation. It is amazing when you think about it.

Building Your Wealth Helped By Rising Prices

Building wealth! Who does not want to do that? Owning a home is a step in that direction. We already shared with you the estimate the a homeowner's wealth is 44 times that of a renter.

The Home Price Expectation Survey reports an expected 5-year growth of just over 18%. My regular readers know this – but let’s take a quick look at what you can do with $10,000 today.

You can leave it in the bank for 5 years and get___ interest. While you are doing that, you could be paying rent. Or, you could use the money for a down payment on a $200,000 house – and pay the PMI – and in 5 years, if the growth prediction is accurate, enjoy cumulative appreciation earnings of 18% on the TOTAL house value – not just on your $10,000. By the way, remember you can ditch the PMI once the equity position reaches 20% and you will lower your monthly payment.

Looking at the possibilities, let’s suppose the 18% prediction is too high. Let’s get really negative and say in five years’ time appreciation is only half that, or a quarter of that – and you earned lower appreciation on your TOTAL house value. How does that compare to what the $10,000 in the bank would have earned? And, those rent payments.

Click the link above to check out the report. It is a short read – worth it!

WORTH - Homeowner vs Renter

NOT Owning Your Home Can Cost Money!

This sounds crazy – sort of like fake news – but studies show that a homeowners worth is 44 times greater than that of a renter.

I’ll wait – go back and read that again!

Is there magic involved? No, not really. There are benefits for homeowners that are simply not available to renters. Typically, you invest some of your money and borrow the rest – it is called leveraging. You earn appreciation not just on your investment – but rather on the total package. Whatever your home is worth is the basis of appreciation. Call it a forced savings program!

As a homeowner, you earn the appreciation, you make a monthly payment (paying down your mortgage balance) and, if you make smart upgrades, you earn on that investment and enjoy their use as well. Another possibility is do some of the work on upgrades or improvements yourself. The combination is a great way to enjoy your home, your investment and improve your wealth. Be sure to follow the link above for more information.

Cost of Renting vs. Buying

I am just going to leave you to your own to check out this chart – and do click on that link above to open it up. Rents are moving up (when do they ever move down?). The current spread is ridiculous. Are you ready to buy?

How Much Do You Need to Make to Buy a Home?

Where you live matters. If you click the link and view the map, the “average” in Texas is $50k. Depending on your city or town, it could be more or less. Compare that to $89k in California!

Texas has much to offer – including jobs. San Antonio is a great city and still holds on to much of its small town character. Friendly folks are everywhere. If you are looking to relocate, come on down and visit. Judge for yourself. If you are local, you already know that. If you are a local renter, time to change that to being a local owner!

Home Buying Myths

This section is addressed mainly to renters who are considering becoming owners. You are also known as potential “first time buyers”. It is time to jump in, don't let obstacles get in your way and become an owner!

There are all kinds of bits and pieces of inaccurate information floating around about what you need for a down payment and what your credit scores need to be. It is time to get the facts and good information. Click on the link above to open up today’s article.

My number one bit of advice is – GO FOR IT. If you want to increase your wealth and ditch the rent payments, you simply owe it to yourself – and if you have a family – to take a shot at getting approved for a mortgage.

What is the WORST that can happen? If someone says “no” you can use that to find out what you need to do to get a “yes”. Once you are approved, we can go house hunting with confidence! Sound like a plan? Call me.

Home Prices Will Increase - 99% of Experts Agree!

Oh lordy, I just love when you can get experts to agree en masse. Nothing is a “sure bet” but the number of experts in agreement lends credence to a predictable outcome. If you click through to today’s report, you can see some varied opinions on how much prices will appreciate, but the upward direction is highly favored.

However, you can toss all that out the window! Just on housing cost alone – not factoring in appreciation - once you become an owner, you can freeze your payment for 30 years. It is most unlikely that you can do that to your rent payment! (If you can, please call me and share THAT secret). Oh, and did I mention after 30 years your payment can go down – yes, down – to zero. Of course, property tax and insurance is not going away any time soon, but principal and interest can be gone! Walk with us on the road to better wealth!


We are excited to share this news on Earth Day - this real estate blog is now a secure website for your viewing safety.

If you have us saved to your favorites, save us again - this time as https://www.SanAntonioRealEstate.Blog (that "s" in the http matters!)

Our main real estate site is secure too! https://SanAntonio.Homes

Thanks so much for following.

When You Need Space

Our latest video short!

There comes a time when we may have outgrown our present living space. If you have that feeling, you can checkout the homes available and then call to find out how much yours is worth. If you have not bought your first home yet, what is holding you back?

Highland Estates

We visited a great new community and just want to share a little information about it with you.

Highland Estates is a developing community near 281 and Borgfeld Rd. There are a few great builders there - on this trip we visited Imagine Homes and Whitestone Homes. You will find homes in various stages of construction and, at this time, a nice choice of buildable lots. The views in the area are over the top! If you are looking for a REALTOR to represent you and help you design your new home, call me. I am very excited about new construction and that is why I earned the RCC and CNHS credentials. The builder pays my services! You will find out more about me here: and my main (secure) website:

Warmer Place

This is the first of our new video series. We decided to invite family and friends - and folks who want to be new friends - to move to a warmer climate. Checkout San Antonio!

A little behind in posting - this event was last Thursday. This was the first visit and the beginning of what I understand will become an annual event. REALTORS working for you!

Current issues..... the directional signs (open houses) and short-term rentals (infringement on owner's rights). Our visit was organized by SABOR - the San Antonio Board of REALTORS.

2 Interesting Sites on Texas.Gov

Information is Power - is an old term - and still true!

Search and Compare what Insurance Companies offer homeowners and renters.

Search the Texas Archives on TRAIL.

More about Texas and San Antonio on our FLIPBOARD

The Final Post on the DNA Results

What you see here is me!

Yeap, look at that. Look beyond Italian and German. It seems by DNA, multiple ethnicities! And so, I am Caucasian, Hispanic, African, Middle Eastern and probably many other Tribes if they could go back that far.

Perhaps we are evolving - beyond the clan, the tribe, and the labels are becoming less important. Maybe once the little green guys land, we will be simply "human".

Might be time to contemplate our place in the great adventure and use the technology available to us. Why not start documenting family history digitally - today! If your family is fortunate enough to still have grandma and grandpa around, consider getting them in front of a camera and let them share stories. Someday, your descendants 300 years from now may be trying to figure things out. A digital recording would provide a record of our time and the people who came before them.

Thanks for following!

Winning The Lottery

Let's Jump To 2018

NO - I did not win the lottery (as of the date I am typing this). Perhaps you have seen articles where it is suggested that you NEVER tell anyone if you win the lottery. The DNA results corroborate that!

Have a close look at today's image. The family results go to the 8th cousin and perhaps beyond. I stopped at page 128 of potential cousins.

They say when you win the lottery, you suddenly have family and friends that you never knew you had. Consider the potential from a DNA test.

I repeat - I HAVE NOT WON THE LOTTERY! (yet)

The Final Chapter in this series, tomorrow.

Immigration 1900 to 1950

1900 to 1925

They just kept coming over. The ancestors knew a good thing when they saw it! The United States of America was the dream destination of a lifetime. This was the new world. This was a place where you could start with nothing, earn a living, support your family and, in some cases, get very wealthy. This was the land of the free.

It appears my Italian side made it to California - I met some of them in person years ago. Won't get into it here, but I did manage to trace more immediate members of the family clearing through Ellis Island... and, well, the rest is history.

1925 to 1950

Most of the German side was in the US by now - though I remember some last minute folks that came in right about the time PanAm had 707 travel.... another story. The Italians were still working their way over.

More to come tomorrow.

Immigration 1800 to 1900

1800 to 1825

It appears the ancestors multiplied and are on the move west. Not much happening in crossing the big pond.

1825 to 1850

On the move again. More folks making the crossing and settling in places further North and West. That top line looks like it may be Wisconsin.

1850 to 1875

OMG! Maybe the carriers were offering discounted travel. There is lots of activity and it appears to be the first entry into Texas by my German side. Hmmm - maybe if you all will share this I can connect to some of the family that I have not met yet!

1875 to 1900

They were coming over in much greater numbers by now! The image shows the German side and finally, the Italian side making the move. I remember my Italian grandmother came over right around 1900 and recall her telling me that the ship had sails and an engine. The voyage was so rough that she would forever refuse to go on a ship again.

One Really Big Move - 1700 to 1800

Looking at 1700 to 1750

There is no United States yet! Coming soon!

I did one of those DNA test and have decided to share it with you over the next few days. This is the first look at my ancestors moving from Europe and finding their new homes and spreading their roots.

Note the image indicates there is a mix of cultures and ethnicities coming from the European side - not pure German or German tribes. And, it looks like most settlers of the time made homes in what was to become the North East - Atlantic part of the United States.

1750 to 1775

Still no United States yet - but by now folks must have been talking about it. Looks like the number of immigrants has increased.

1775 to 1800

By this time, the United States of America has been formed and the adventure that was forever to change the world began. Looks like the family ancestors were not traveling over here much during that time.

More to share in the next post.