There are a few different ways to acquire US passports. The most common is to visit a local post office and provide them with the documentation required. Processing times can vary from 2 to 8 weeks during normal periods and up to 3 months during busy season (generally May through August). You may pay additional for faster return shipping of your completed passport which will be sent out directly from the passport office when issued. This is the least expensive way but results in longer processing times. If you are preparing for a far off trip or just keeping things up-to-date, this is your best choice.

If you are lucky enough to live in a city that has a passport office (Boston, MA, Chicago, IL, Cherry Creek, CO, Norwalk, CT, Honolulu, HI, Houston, TX, Los Angeles, CA, New Orleans, LA, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA and Washington, DC), you may call the US governments passport appointment hot line at 1-877-487-2778 and schedule an appointment to be seen in person. Appointment availability can be as early as the next day or two but are often booked a week or more out. An appointment will authorize you to enter to waiting area during a morning or afternoon session and you will generally be seen in the order in which you show up. Fulfillment times can be as fast as same day (for morning appointment holders) or as long as 3 days. This process can end up taking a full day (or two half days) between waiting to be seen and retrieving your new passport, but offers a fast turnaround time and saves on return shipping fees.

Passport expediting firms help fill some of the gaps. Expediting firms register with the US State Department and go through minimal screening to ensure that no employees have been convicted of federal crimes or other public trust crimes and are issued a number of “slots” or pre-registered appointments. Most firms receive between 7 and 30 slots with pre-determined processing times. These times vary from passport office to passport office and sometimes even within the same office. For instance, registered forms with the Washington passport office receive 7 same day slots (meaning the company drops off an application Monday morning and picks up the completed passport Monday afternoon) and 7 3-day slots (meaning the company drops off an application Monday morning and picks it up Thursday afternoon). Expediting firms are not empowered to issue the passports themselves or even to verify the applicant or documents, those responsibilities rest on the government. The expeditors simply facility faster than normal processing and less inconvenience than traditional methods. For a cost, of course. Prices for these services can range from $55 to upwards of $300 on top of the governments fees depending on how quickly the passport is needed.

Although the passport expediting industry used to be like the wild west where everyone could get in, through up a web site and start making money, the industry has consolidated and had some tightening by the government in recent years. The overall slot allotment is basically still the same as it was in the late 90’s meaning that hundreds of new firms are now waitlisted at passport offices throughout the country. Some of the smaller firms were bought outright by larger firms just to gain control of their slots and gray area mergers of multiple small firms in different cities occur in order to provide support when one is overloaded with applications. Corporate travel and large scale agencies have found passport expeditors to be very useful in ensuring travelers make their flights and their leverage for higher quality services has brought some of the better firms up to a new level and consequently left some of the smaller ones to feed for the leftovers on the Internet. The major players, of which there are a dozen or so, have an estimated 70 percent share of Internet and retail customers and nearly 95 percent of the corporate and travel agent market. These large firms control slots at multiple passport office throughout the country and often have office in multiple cities, 24 hour call centers and modern technology that provides up to the minute changes in requirements, processing times, delays, online status checks and more. These firms also process business and tourist visas for travel to almost any country.

Expediting firms are easy to use, provide fast service and are available to assist with questions for what amounts to a fair price. Competition has ensured the pricing structures are reasonably consistent and reasonable across the board. If you need a passport quickly and conveniently, expediting firms exist to serve you. Try for more information.

Source by Mark P Harris

Housing professionals and economists repeatedly assert that American homeowners are staying in the same houses longer and provide a few theories as to why.

One such theory is the rate lockdown thesis. It claims that Americans are staying in their homes longer to keep their lower mortgage rates. When mortgage rates rise, it becomes less desirable to move up to a bigger, more expensive home. 

Personally, I have never been a fan of this thesis. The idea that homeowners, en masse, are refusing to move due to their individual mortgage rates goes against well established economic fundamentals.

Logan Mohtashami
Logan Mohtashami, Columnist

The rate lockdown thesis is easy to test.  If it holds up, then when mortgage rates fall, homeowners who have been anxiously waiting will put their homes on the market, and inventory will open up. 

Except that has never happened in this cycle. Inventory always went down when rates lowered because demand got better. The only time inventory went up was when mortgage rates went higher, demand got softer and sales went down.

Makes sense, right?

We saw this in 2013-2014 and again in 2018-2019.  In each of these periods, when rates went higher, demand fell and inventory went up. However, when it went lower, demand got better and the monthly supply fell. We never saw the releasing of inventory that some had hoped for when rates went lower. 

The other fallacy of logic in this theory is that it assumes that homeowners believe they will be locked into a higher rate mortgage for the life of the loan. Maybe these theorists never heard of refinancing.  

The truth is that people moved when they need to. So why is housing tenure increasing?   

Well, if it is generally true that people move when they need to, then it is also true that people don’t move when they don’t need to. 

Americans are staying in their homes longer because the house they have is perfectly suitable for their family’s needs. For more than four decades, home sizes have been getting bigger while family size, as you can see below, has been in decline. 

2019 Household

The so-called “starter home” these days may be big enough until the kids leave for college. The growth in multi-generational housing plays into this as well.

Unless the homeowner was living in a small single-family resident or condo, the four-decade push of bigger homes fit their needs.

As you can see below, we got as high as 2,698 for the average square feet floor area for single-family units in Q2 2015:

Jan 2020 Median size and average

It is true that after the housing bubble and crash, the lack of equity prevented some people from moving and led to an uptick in housing tenure.  

But that is an old story.

Today, people move because of kids, school, jobs or divorce. Aside from periods of a job loss recession, inventory for both new and existing homes has been steady since 1996.

Moving forward in this decade, we do have one possible positive trend that could facilitate more move-up buyers and an increase in inventory in the starter home market… Kids! 

The U.S. is entering into a big demographic patch of people ages 30-39 —  and with this age group comes marriage and kids. 

2018 Marriage Housing

An increase in children means more first-time homeowners should be move-up buyers if their current home is too small. Birth rates, while currently low, have the potential to grow in the next 10 years.

Housing marketers love “if-only” excuses for why the housing market is not at record-breaking highs. “If only the inventory were better, we would have more sales. If only interest rates weren’t so gosh-darn high, we would have more sales.”

I’ll leave you with this: Beware of the “if-only” excuses and stick to the data if you are really interested in understanding the U.S. housing market. 

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Federal Reserve officials used to worry that if the U.S. unemployment rate dropped below 5% it would spark inflation, which would lead to higher borrowing costs, including mortgage rates. Now, they say the tightest labor market in 50 years could get even tighter without concern.

The jobless rate was 3.5% in November, matching the September measure that was the lowest since 1969. The rate for December comes out on Friday morning.

“Participants remarked that there were some indications that further strengthening in overall labor market conditions was possible without creating undesirable pressure on resources,” according to the minutes of the Fed’s Dec. 10 to 11 meeting, released on Friday.

The average annual U.S. salary for full-time workers rose to a record high of $69,181 in November, up 3.4% from a year earlier, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Adjusted for inflation, median household income in November was 7.5% higher than it was in 2007 start of the Great Recession.

Fed officials “discussed how maintaining the current stance of policy for a time could be helpful for cushioning the economy from the global developments that have been weighing on economic activity,” the minutes said.

The minutes showed policymakers worried about a steep slowdown in the U.S. manufacturing sector. The Institute for Supply Management said Friday that its index for factory activity fell in December to the lowest level in over a decade. It was the fifth consecutive month the gauge declined.

“Overall manufacturing production appeared likely to remain soft in coming months, reflecting generally weak readings on new orders from national and regional manufacturing surveys, declining domestic business investment, slow economic growth abroad, and a persistent drag from trade developments,” the Fed minutes said.

According to futures markets, 91% of investors are betting the Fed maintains its current stance at its next meeting, Jan. 28 and 29, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool on Monday. That was down from 96% a week ago, a reading taken before the U.S. drone attack on Friday that killed Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s top general.

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Conservation easements are complicated legally binding restrictive agreements that can affect values for generations indefinitely. A careful analysis of the benefits should be considered before entering into a conservation easement.

In a basic way we can define a conservation easement as an agreement to restrict some form of use of the land for a tax benefit in return. Conservation easements by design have but one goal and that is to restrict the development potential of the land in the future. A conservation easement can come about in many ways. A majority land owner may want to dedicate a portion of the land for the public use in creating a park, or a farmer may want to protect the farm from development and keep the farming tradition alive in the community. Likewise, a property owner may agree to discontinue the practice of logging and leave the property to a community trust. Whatever the motivation, the effect of the conservation easement is to restrict the use or development of the property for an indefinite period. Certain tax benefits are derived from these types of gifts, grants or restrictions in the form of tax deductions equal to the dollar loss experienced by the land owner due to the restrictive nature of the easement.

The Federal taxing authorities are very much interested in anyone who gifts or deed restricts their property for a tax benefit. With this in mind, a property owner will want to gather as much information as possible about the tax effects, legal implications and long term affects of placing a deed restriction on the property. An appraiser who is qualified must be employed to evaluate the eventual diminished value and certify it to be accurate. If the gift or restriction is sizable then a second opinion as to value will be required.

Conservation easements have been used to prevent Urban sprawl for many decades. The method that has been used is to purchase the development rights (a sending area) from a rancher, farmer or majority land owner with a covenant (Conservation easement) not to develop the land. The development rights are then transferred to a (receiving area) as designated by the Land planning authorities of a city or county. The sending area land owner can reap a cash benefit in the form of either cash from the developer or tax savings from the government. Another form where conservation easements are used would be to restrict a portion of the land for the public use and then develop the neighboring parcel which may experience a greater value due to the neighboring open space.

Whatever the motivation, a land owner should be careful to stay away from abuses of the Federal tax code. Some charitable trusts have been found to participate in illegitimate schemes to accept a gift leaving the land owner with something less than a favorable tax outcome. Conservation easements are permanent and run with the land forever. Caution should be employed whenever considering a conservation easement. If the goal is to restrict a certain use, then a negative or restrictive easement may be a candidate.

If you are considering a conservation easement for your property consult a qualified CPA, Land use Attorney, and Appraiser before entering into any agreements.

Source by Douglas Ferguson

Shopping for homecoming dresses and accessories to make you look your best.

It’s that time of the year when you need to start planning and getting ready for that big day – the homecoming dance. There are so many things to do. What kind of dress should I get? What’s hot and what’s not? Should I wear a lot of jewelry or just a few pretty gems to match the dress? What kind of shoes should I wear? Everyone knows that it’s the shoes that make the dress look hot and helps complete the outfit. The wrong pair could destroy the outfit. You also have to decide what type of hairstyle you are going to use for this homecoming. You need to think about how you want your makeup to look. There are so many things to do, so you look your best. You are probably asking yourself, “Where do I begin?”

It may seem like a lot to take in all at once, but with the help of we will help walk you though it step by step, so this important part of your life will be a memory to remember.

Most girls when asked, “What type of style are you looking for this homecoming season?” Most will reply by saying, they want to look glamorous. They want a dress that looks like it would be worn by an actress walking the red carpet on the night of the Oscars.

This year, designers have passed the word around that there is no particular style that’s in fashion. Designers have said that anything goes. They are no rules. Whatever is comfortable and looks good on you is in style for this season. Many popular designers being used are Alyce Designs, Mori Lee, Tiffany, Jovani and Riva Designs.

To help make things easier the first thing you want to do is decide if you want a dress that is going to stand from crowd or do you want a traditional dress, so you can blend in with the crowd. A traditional dress is usually a simple dress like a plain black or white dress.

If you chose a flamboyant dress so you can stand out form the crowd then there are some things to consider:

Fashion tips 101

Flamboyant dresses

  • Reds or bright colors are good color choices if you want to stand out from the crowd.
  • Don’t wear too much jewelry. Flamboyant jewelry or wearing too much jewelry will take away from the dress. It could also make you look like a clown instead of a celebrity.
  • Wear plain shoes. Too much glimmer will take away from the outfit.

Traditional, plain black and white dresses

  • The fun thing about wearing traditional dresses is that you can have fun dressing up the outfit with accessories (jewelry, shoes, and handbags).
  • Lots of stunning jewelry and accessories will make you look like an elegant and glamorous movie star.


This is your one time to shimmer, so make sure you pamper yourself by finding the right style that makes you feel glamorous. The natural look is in style. Many wear their hair down; many choose a bun or ponytail. Again, what you feel comfortable with and what looks good with your dress.

  • A flamboyant dress will probably work well with a sleek sexy style that had a unique niche, so you can stand out and be your own individual.
  • An elegant or traditional dress will go with anything. You can live it down, put it in a stylish ponytail or bun to give you a look of elegance.

Make- Up

  • Look in the mirror and decide which of your facial features are the most stunning. Those are the features you’re going to want to bring out. And if you have small eyes or lips liners for the lips and eyes are great ways to make your not so great features hot.
  • Don’t over do it. Natural beauty is the best way. Use colors to go with your outfit and bring out your features.
  • Long, thick lashes are always a plus. Long, thick lashes make women look sexy.

The best collection of dress designers for homecoming season is put on each designer dress presents its own individual personality. carries the latest styles and fashions.

Our homecoming dresses have been influenced by cultures and popular styles. All at affordable prices so is sure to take advantage of these deals! guarantee’s the unconditional quality of merchandise stress free ordering and shipping.

If you wish to learn more about our prom and home coming dresses go to website address

Source by Sorin Adrian-

From Christine Beckwith’s point of view, what will set mortgage lenders apart in 2020 and beyond is their ability to evolve quickly. That’s a lesson some learned the hard way last year when interest rates reversed course and birthed an unexpected refi boom — at least, for those who were ready to accommodate it. Beckwith, president and chief operating officer at 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching, works with some of the nation’s largest lenders to train and equip executives and loan officers, and sees first-hand the difference a proactive approach can make.

“I think the greatest [staffing] challenge I see among lenders are people who felt like they missed out on the chance to grab volume in 2019, which means a lot of people were moving companies,” Beckwith said. “Lenders and loan officers felt that there were a lot of apples on the ground and they didn’t have enough baskets — that they missed the moment.”

Navigating the ups and downs of the housing market requires executives to be forward-thinking and make sure their staff, especially their loan officers, are trained for what’s coming next. That’s the mission of Beckwith’s coaching and training curriculum, developed from her 30 years of experience in the industry, and one of the reasons she is serving as emcee for a full day of sessions at the engage.talent event on Feb. 6 in Dallas.

The event features sessions on attracting and retaining top talent for digital roles, operations and fulfillment staff and, of course, top performing loan officers. It will also cover LO comp, developing bench strength for future growth, the impact of company culture and much more, all with Beckwith shepherding speakers and topics as emcee.

The timing of the conference is key, Beckwith said, as “this year is going to continue to be very competitive for top talent.”

In a market where margins are thin and lenders have to raise their rates to cover costs, LOs are tempted to jump to greener pastures. But smart companies can counter that trend.

“In the beginning of 2019, good companies provided preventative education to their sales team, letting them know it was going to be the same everywhere they went — margins were thin everywhere. Loan officers might swim over to another company for a better interest rate sheet, but that’s giving up all you know and there are tons of other variables. Loan officers can get tunnel vision over rates, so there was a whole lot of first- and second- quarter attrition.”

Preparation is crucial for success in this environment, and so is providing the tools and training LOs need to adapt quickly to new business and marketing opportunities. Beckwith said executives sometimes only see the value of training those new to the industry, but many current employees — particularly those in their 50s and above —already feel adrift in such a fast-changing environment and get a great benefit from training in social channels and digital adoption.

“What we see over the 12-month training program we provide is that it lowers the attrition rate for current employees. They see the investment the company is making in them and see how they can be more successful. Beyond that, training helps them differentiate themselves from the competition,” Beckwith said.

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more from Beckwith and other top talent leaders at engage.talent. Register here.

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As a beginner real estate investor organization is key. I wrote a book once about staying organized as a real estate investor and a lot of the things I did then have changed. However, I still keep a phone log especially when I have a house for sale, one for rent, or I am wanting to buy something. I used to keep it in a spiral notebook the kind high school kids use and I kept it right by the phone. I made an entry of the date and the beginning of the day I never wrote down the time a phone call came in, but I did them in order so I could almost tell you what time of the day.

Those phone logs have come in handy so many times when I have needed to get back to someone because what I thought was going to happen didn’t and now I needed a new buyer, a new tenant, or maybe other circumstances changed and I could get right back to the people who were interested in what I had to offer or had something to sell that I might be willing to buy. That’s my biggest tip: Create a phone log and keep it by the phone. Keep it in a place that everyone in your office knows where it is, should you be away from your office you can call back someone can get a phone number from that phone log quick and easily for you.

The other thing that I still do is I keep things in folders, each project is in a different folder and those folders move around from time to time as projects move along.

I also keep a day timer and in that day timer I have phone numbers of key people. All of us should have our team: Our Title Company; Our Mortgage Company and a Lending Agent; A Surveyor; an Appraiser; a Home Inspector; a very good Realtor … the list goes on.

I’m hoping that your list contains some of your real estate investing friends and if you don’t have any then there is a Nareia Cruise [Nareia stands for National Real Estate Investors of America] that will be leaving Fort Lauderdale on the 7th of February 2009 and returning on the 14th. That might be a good place to meet some. Another good place to meet other real estate investors is at your local club. Find a club that has people excited about real estate investing. They can be your allies when you get stumped. And I don’t know anyone who has not been stumped at least once or twice.

I have discovered that sometimes just talking out a situation with friends starts ideas flowing.

Just saying it out loud helps. Eventually the right idea comes through my mind or my friends mind. And then that stumped feeling goes away. That’s part of your team as well. Keep those phone numbers handy.

In the trunk of my car I keep a few things mostly a few empty black trash bags. If I am going over to a house where a tenant just moved out of I usually need at least one. While I’m there viewing things, I might as well leave a trash bag behind for someone else to fill up.

I keep my digital camera with me, whether buying, selling, and fixing up all stages of things. It’s just a nice record. I don’t have to write much down. It’s a good way to stay organized. Down load that on to your computer. Then you can print out the photos you need and put them in the appropriate files.

Now I still keep a three ring binder for each property that I own. Inside the three rings binder are dividers.

The first section is how I acquired the house and all the paperwork involved with it.

The second section has to do with repairs and any other information about the hot water heater, the dishwasher etc, etc. including the paint that I used on that house.

The third section is my exit … either where I sold it or I rented it and if I have rented it and turned it into a rental then I would keep all my leases there. If I sold it then I have my closing statement. It makes it really nice if you need to evict a tenant. You’ve got everything you need in a three-ring binder. You could just take the binder to court or an IRS audit it’s all there: Where you paid for the property, the repairs; and how much you made when you sold it …one property at a time.

They sit on the shelf very nicely. I keep the properties address in this binder. I might also keep an extra set of keys in there. Today the Title Company put the information on a CD and those CD holders fit in those three-ring binders quite nicely.

Then comes your time and that is the most important aspect of management. Each day you should write down: What your purpose for that day is; what your goal for that day is. Doing this lets you keep that in perspective. It can be motivation to make sure it gets done.

Always separate what is important from what is urgent. I get a ton of E-mails each day most of them are not important, but they all say urgent. Sometimes your family will try to interfere and there are times when you need to let them. They are important. There are other times when your family’s requests are not as severe and they could be put on hold temporarily.

What Oprah has to say on any given day could seem important to Oprah, but it might not be so important to what you are doing. Remember that … it could be a football game that could be important to that team to get them into the playoffs, but maybe not so important to your business. I will just say you need to get the things you need to get done, done first and then let other things happen.

Do take time to relax and enjoy yourself. There is no sense in making a lot of money and not enjoying each day. Gratitude, will take you a long way toward success. Paying attention to other people’s needs, but stay focused. If I have a big project I like to use a milestone chart. I know the day I want to finish and the day I want to start.

For me I’ve been known to have my crew start working on a house that I want to rehab the same day that I meet for closing. The money is already at the Title Company and I know that it is going to close and I let my crew start working. They have been instructed as to the things I need done first. Not all of you would take that risk and not all of you should. For me I understand time value of money and it makes sense to get things done as fast as I can.

To the rest of you, manage your time well. You all are given the same amount of time each day. There are some shortcuts and you will learn them as you go and your office will run differently then everyone else’s. That’s the way it should be. It’s your office and it’s your personality. But, do make it as efficient as you can.

Source by Judy Cook

October 2019 saw an annual increase of 3.3% for home prices across the country, rising from last month’s pace, according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index from S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic.

During the month, the 10-City and 20-City composites reported a 1.7% and 2.1% year-over-year increase, respectively. And eight of 20 cities reported increases before seasonal adjustment, whereas 18 of 20 cities reported increases after seasonal adjustment.  

Craig Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said October’s housing data continues to be reassuring.

“With October’s 3.3% increase in the national composite index, home prices are currently more than 15% above the pre-financial crisis peak reached July 2006,” Lazzara said. “October’s results were broad-based, as both our 10- and 20-city composites rose. Of the 20 cities in the composite, only San Francisco saw a year-over-year price decline in October.”

According to the index, Phoenix; Tampa, Florida; and Charlotte, North Carolina reported the highest year-over-year gains among all of the 20 cities.

“At a regional level, Phoenix retains the top spot for the fourth consecutive month with September’s 6% year-over-year gain,” Lazzara said. “The Southeast region was also strong, as Charlotte, Tampa, and Atlanta all rose at greater than a 4% clip.”

In October, Phoenix led with a 5.8% year-over-year home price increase, followed by Tampa with a 4.9% increase and Charlotte with a 4.8% increase. Twelve of the 20 cities reported larger price increases in the year ending October 2019 versus the year ending September 2019.

 “As was the case last month, after a long period of decelerating price increases, the national, 10-city, and 20-city composites all rose at a modestly faster rate in October compared to September,” Lazzara said. “This stability was broad-based, reflecting data in 12 of 20 cities. It is, of course, still too soon to say whether this marks an end to the deceleration or is merely a pause in the longer-term trend.”

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With the advent of the great American pastime, Players, Coaches, Parents and Inventors have made amazing strides in the development of baseball mitts and gloves. Advancing Player performance at all levels which is tempered by distributed cost are the challenges faced by all.

Many significant advances are protected by United States Patents. Contemporary gloves make these original designs seem obvious in their development. But at the time, these changes were ground breaking.

An early Patent, Ball Players Glove. Although not baseball specific, the abstract gives full detail on what it is used for and whom they are to protect. Filed by Edwin Loucks of New York on August 23, 1887 under Patent Number 368,724. Essentially, this is an open finger glove with leather palm and rear strap with buckle.

The ringing goal for his invention was to be ‘serviceable, cheap and extremely durable.’ Here, Player protection while participating in this new game drove its development.

As it has been said before, what is old is new again with time. Even in 1887, cost control for players was in the thoughts of their parents and equipment makers. The best mouse trap in the world is useless if the cost to acquire it outweigh the benefits of having one.

Further United States Patent 1,056,909 in 1913 by Charles M. King of Washington DC as assignor to AG Spalding & Brothers a New Jersey Corporation. In the Abstract, “The object of my invention is to produce a base ball glove or mitt in which the palm portion is constructed to present a more adherent surface in catching a base ball.”

Notice that baseball way back then was two words. But this summary pretty much starts it all; modern age of improving glove technology and the gloves ability to catch a baseball. Here creating equipment to functionally assist the Player.

US Patent Number 01,496,824 Robert F. Nixon Jr. of Philadelphia Pennsylvania took things up a notch with his patent in 1924 by most notably adding fingers to his Baseball Gloves and Mitts Design.

Through the history of baseball, design changes like these have been added to those then contemporary models. Each improvement enabling Players to stretch just a little farther or make plays during the heat of the moment not previously seen.

Another US Patent Number 2,750,594 by Henry Denkert of Johnstown NY added one of the most recognizable features still used in baseball glove and mitt manufacturing today. He created the baseball glove with a pre-formed pocket. His creativity forever solved an ongoing problem. “Gloves of conventional construction take considerable time for the pocket to form properly and since the padding can shift its position, the pocket may not retain its proper shape.” This break through occurred in June 19, 1956

From this point forward gloves look much as they do today. Changes in assembly, materials and processes still add to the equipments ability to function at a higher level then their predecessors.

One lingering question on the mind is would the historical greats have done better or worse if contemporary equipment was available to them. Would a 1924 Major League short stop have the same skill and ability if he was trained with a superior performing glove. Would he have learned to use two hands as well as he did when his glove demanded two hand performance?

It almost seems obvious that the player using a pocketless glove would have a significant in developing the use of two hands for all catching situations. When choice is provided between using two hands or clasping with one, modern players, particularly new players, opt for the single hand solution. Without great Coaching, breaking these habits is extremely difficult and could spell the demise of the Players advancement.

Source by Mitchell Dowdy

From bankruptcies to new Federal Housing Administration rulings, 2019 was an interesting year in the world of housing.

In honor of that, we compiled a list of the top 10 most-read articles that HousingWire published this year. We’ve already covered part one, (stories 6-10) here

Now, as we usher in 2020, here is a look back at the top 5 articles of 2019. 

5) Bill eliminating VA loan cap signed into law

Shortly after the Senate unanimously approved, “The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act” in June, President Donald Trump signed it into law. This act allows the Department of Veterans Affairs to back loans that exceed the conforming loan limit, as the bill eliminated this cap. Homebuyers can now borrow above the 2019 limit of $484,350 for most counties without any down payment.

4) Ditech files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for second time in 14 months

Ditech announced in February that it, along with its subsidiaries Ditech Financial and Reverse Mortgage Solutions, entered into a “restructuring support agreement” that will seek to restructure the company’s debt. The company’s struggles carried on through the rest of 2019, as HousingWire reported in October that Ditech sold its forward and reverse mortgage businesses to New Residential Investment and Mortgage Assets Management.

3) FHA eliminates two “unnecessary and outdated” lending roadblocks

Entering the top three, the news took off that the Federal Housing Administration was reducing some of the regulatory burdens that belabor the lending process. In short, the FHA eliminated the FHA Inspector Roster in order to expand the pool of inspectors for lenders. The agency also got rid of the requirement that borrowers purchase 10-year protection plans for new construction homes, thereby reducing expenses for the borrower.

2) Mortgage rates at 18%? That’s what we got the last time a president strong-armed the Fed

The second-most read story of the year came from HousingWire’s Real Estate Editor KK Howley, as she took a dive into the history of Federal Reserve rate cuts. Perhaps the most interesting statistic out of the story was that, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, President Donald Trump’s numerous Twitter attacks aimed at the Fed knocked a combined 10 basis points off the expected Fed funds futures contract, the equivalent to about 0.3 basis points per Tweet. 

1) HUD announces new rules for down payment assistance on FHA mortgages

Drumroll, please. The No. 1 most-read story for all of 2019 was published in April, when the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it was issuing new rules for down payment assistance on mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

The FHA stated at the time that current documentation requirements needed to be “clarified to provide Mortgagees with specific guidance regarding documentation that will give greater assurances that the standards for providing the MRI have been satisfied by the Governmental Entity.”

Although, it should be noted that the HUD and the FHA eventually repealed the new rules for down payment assistance after being sued.

Thank you for reminiscing with us. Here’s to another year of covering all things housing!

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