August 2020 Newsblog

August, 2020 NewsBlog

First Wave? Second Wave? Continuous Wave? Micro Wave?

As I write this upcoming month’s news blog, the big news (in California) is that we have now surpassed New York and we have the distinction of being the state with the highest number of COVID cases. A distinction that we can do without, particularly when we were one of the first to shut down and one of the last to open up gradually. 

My company is always looking to protect our staff. Update on PPE stuff:

  • Toilet paper – no problem
  • FDA approved hand sanitizers – none to be had. Check if they are on Do Not Purchase List 
  • Antimicrobial/antibacterial disinfecting hand soap – $50 per gallon
  • Disinfecting wipes – none to be had. Used to be Costco had them…..
  • Lysol disinfectant spray – 19 oz can $40 plus $6.75 for shipping – but you have find it first
  • Non-contact thermometer – $60, in stock
  • Fingertip Pulse Oximeter – $30 +/-, in stock
  • Masks – buy them, make your own, whatever, just wear them

The world is still going crazy.

Yes, mortgage rates are at record low, supposedly under 3.2% although I have seen teaser ads for 2.50%. But me, I am holding out for under 2% for owner occupied and under 3% for non-owner. Then, maybe I will refi….But this may be wishful thinking. 

Oh, if only I had $1 million bucks. I could do so much with it. In fact, one of the nation’s largest banks advertises that all you have to do is deposit that amount in their bank and voila! They would give you a jumbo loan! So I pay them a million dollars and they give me 0.05%. Then they lend me $765,600 (or more) and I pay them interest at about 3.19%. Even I know this math does not make sense!  

Pandemic time, fraud time, scam time. The rates are going down, the mortgage industry booms, but the pandemic is still forcing staff to work at home. Guess what happens when you work at home: Mistakes abound (underwriting a large commercial loan while your kids are whining for attention), tech security issues bring the system down (the teenager got on the computer and downloaded a virus), and client personal information protection gets hacked (loss of internet quality and strong tech protection ). All these issues mean a huge increase in the risk of mortgage fraud and how companies are finding that working at home could lead to heightened security issues.  This is one of the reasons why many escrow companies, particularly the small ones like mine, prefer that our staff work from the office where we have more control over the security of our clients personal information. The trade off is the never ending research for PPE products to protect our staff.

And as we all turn to shopping online (because who wants to stand outside Costco for 2 hours to get in), the Federal Trade Commission asks us to watch this video on the protection of your online information before you click that “buy” button. 

Do you know what an “ADU” is? Guest house, granny units, man-cave, woman-relaxation unit… second home….many names and many uses. It is an “accessory dwelling unit”  and today it is a nice “accessory” to enhance the looks and value of your castle. This article states that they are popular, and no wonder! Great place to travel to during the pandemic. Hook it up with high speed internet and it becomes your office away from the kitchen table. Tired of screaming kids? This can be your meditation area. Worried about elder relative? Put them there so you can access their care easily and they will be less apt to be infected with bad viruses. Or just rent it out and make some income. 

Which brings me to the next topic: If you are not aware, if you are willing to sell, it is a Seller’s market out there. Inventory is still low so what is out there that is priced right will garner multiple offers. What do these homebuyer wannabe’s want? Maybe a larger backyard, less neighborhood density, but now, the ability to fashion a home office space out of the existing area, is the biggest attraction. Are you a real estate agent or Seller looking to enhance the property to be sold? See if you can fit in “home office” in your listing description. You gotta ride with the times!

What has this year been like? Take a look at this Life under the Pandemic” jpeg graph from Rob Isn’t this the truth! One of these days, when the pandemic is over, the mask line will straighten out. 

Yes, it has been, is now, and will be, a crazy year. So how will history define this year? This straight from the internet: “2020” will become synonymous with “crazy”. For instance:. 

She’s “2020”
No, way, are you “2020”?
That escrow is driving me “2020”!

Google Analytics is a wondrous thing, and even more wondrous are those who are able to access it, put it together, and spit it back out to give us clueless people for some fun information.Take a look at what this company did – the most googled things by state on a day-to-day basis from 2010- 2020.

So what’s this obsession with Selena Gomez? That is sooooo “2020”!

This month’s funny is brought to you by a CAT (no, that’s not an acronym; it’s the actual animal). I like cats but as I am allergic to them so I don’t have much interest in them except to keep them away from me. Have you noticed the more you want to keep them away the more chummy they become? Anyway, here is a little fun cat video. Apparently it likes to watch TV and when it is a horror movie, it has the same responses that we larger mammals have.

I had just finished an educational video of a life lesson learned this last week when I received news that a member of our escrow community passed away unexpectedly. The unexpectedness of it was shocking and leads me to ask: when you have a moment, look at my following video – “Life, Death and Your Escrow” – on my YouTube channel under “Stories from the Trenches”. 

Take care and until next month!

About growing old…
Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.
Forget the healthy food. I need all the preservatives I can get! 
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.

You Have Questions? We Have Answers!


“Escrow is my FOREMOST language!”

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The opinions expressed in this blog are solely the author’s. 
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