Wildfires and Real Estate

Photo by Lisa A Combest

With the recent devastation due to wildfires in the Central Texas region, we thought it would be appropriate to outline the impact wildfires can have on real estate and the housing market. While not specific to the most recent fires, these are common effects a wildfire can have on a local market.

IMPACT ON THE MARKET

The most significant impact to the local market happens in the immediate aftermath of the fire.  In a case where a large number of homes were partially or completely destroyed, the real estate market immediately following a wildfire will likely experience a lull in sales activity, whether new or resale.  Those in the path of destruction are not ready to move forward and will likely have delays associated with insurance claims. Those who were looking in the area before the fires hit are likely to delay their purchase or begin searching elsewhere.  Because the natural beauty of the land is so drastically altered after a large wildfire, the desire to move into such an area will decrease, at least in the short term.

If the area contains rental units, those displaced residents will seek new accommodations elsewhere.  Because they did not own, they would not have the ability to wait for rebuilding to occur before they find a new place to live.  If the area contains owner-occupied structures, insurance delays and the time to rebuilt will slow any normal real estate activity. Owners in the area whose homes were up for sale and not damaged by the wildfires will find fewer potential buyers interested in their homes, thus delaying the time for them to sell and move to another location as originally planned.

INSURANCE AND WILDFIRES

Home owner’s insurance is a very localized product. Every area is subject to their own risks and have distinct histories, forcing insurance companies to evaluate each scenario to determine the impact on policies in the area. Immediately following a fire, some insurers will stop writing policies in the area out of fear that they will be insuring an already damaged home. Most insurers will also increase premiums for those who file claims and sometimes across an entire region due to the cost of paying out benefits to those impacted.

Interestingly, even though the potential for future wildfires in an area is drastically reduced after the initial fire, the insurance premiums rarely goes down. The premiums paid are as much an indication of future risk as they are an attempt to recoup losses from previous claims.  In the insurance companies’ defense, the risk of an individual structure catching fire does not disappear simply because vegetation in the area has been removed. However, future residents will almost certainly be made to feel the impact of the wildfires when new insurance policies are written.

Watch for the potential of higher premiums, especially in higher risk areas. Also, underwriting standards could intensify in wildfire prone areas. Some insurance companies may even add more loss control services to save the individual properties they insure, such as brush removal, roofing material recommendations, etc. In the recent fires in Central Texas, one insurance company had wildfire protection service teams on the ground in Bastrop, Spicewood, and Steiner Ranch spraying non-toxic fire retardant on the homes they covered in the impacted areas to try to save as many structures as possible.

RETURN OR MOVE ON

Fire is a unique problem. The devastation can be quick and complete.  The visual imagery is startling and the landscape becomes a lingering reminder of the destruction, even months after the fire. The emotional impact on those whose homes are damaged or destroyed can be enormous. Some will fight tooth and nail to rebuild and return to the life they remember. Others will move away from the area never to return again.  Each community is unique and there is no way to predict the percentage of residents who will return versus those who will leave.  What is certain is that the scars last and that includes the scars on the housing market.

While there is no steadfast rule, those who have owned in a particular area for long periods of time are more likely to return and rebuilt.  Newer residents, and especially renters, are less likely to have built up a strong enough connection to the area to go through the complete rebuilding process. The time it takes to rebuild will also impact the decision to stay or leave.

WILDFIRES AND DELINQUENCIES

The insurance and rebuilding process becomes complicated when the original property was delinquent in their mortgage payments. The lender would be protected in this instance by the home owner’s insurance policy for the amount of the principal owed. However, it is less clear what happens to fees and fines that are due.  When possible, the lender would expect to have those paid as well. The situation becomes more complicated when the rebuilding begins. If the home was in a delinquency status, the lender will use the money from the insurance claim to cover the principal remaining on the original note. The displaced resident will most likely be unable to obtain a new mortgage loan due to the delinquency status of the previous loan, so they would most likely be unable to rebuild unless it could be done in an all cash transaction.

Homes that had already gone through the foreclosure process and were bank-owned (REO) at the time of the fire were almost surely insured, allowing the lender to recoup the losses from the destruction of the property and they would still maintain the land to sell in the open market.

PROPERTY VALUES AND TAXES

One of the lingering impacts of a wildfire is on property taxes.  While rare, in some instances following a larger fire event, the tax district will reappraise the homes that are destroyed providing a much-needed break to the wildfire victims. However, this comes at a price. By reappraising homes at a lower value as the result of  a fire, the taxing entity (city, county, school district, etc) would take in less money to provide nearly the same amount of services. In these times of tight budgets and looming shortfalls, lowering tax revenue can hurt more people than it helps. Of course, every wildfire has its own unique set of circumstances and decisions of this nature are taken by each location independently. At face value, reappraisal seems like a nice thing to do, but a look at the impact of reappraisal quickly makes it clear how much the taxing entity could suffer as a result. Just from the properties that will not rebuild, the overall tax collections are going to decrease, so reappraising an entire area could have a major impact on government services and budgets going forward.

By some estimates, values of the land could decrease 50% or more. Remember, value is a measurement of supply and demand. If the visual beauty of an area is destroyed or damaged, fewer people will want to reside there, bringing values down.

Another option that is available to residents of Texas comes from a state law that allows property owners the option of paying their taxes in installments, rather than as a single lump sum. The installments stretch over as much as seven months and do not include any additional fees or penalties. This law is already in place and only requires that the property was damaged and resides within a designated disaster area.

It isn’t often that we have to deal with a catastrophe of this nature, so understanding all of the ramifications is difficult. The housing industry is an important part of any rebuilding efforts and we hope this information helps to clarify the impact of wildfires on home ownership, lending, insurance, and property values.

Information for this post was taken from:
Marketwatch.com
Star-telegram.com
Statesman.com

For more information about ways you can help the wildfire victims, please see our previous post by clicking here.

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Austin Is A Top 5 Job Market

Downtown AustinAccording to a recent survey by Manpower, a staffing and research agency, the Austin area has the fifth best job outlook in the nation. The survey looked at numerous factors to determine their rankings, including hiring and layoff plans. The Austin Business Journal covered the Manpower survey results in a recent article.

PLANS TO GROW

Out of all the companies in the survey in our area, 71% indicated that they plan to maintain the current level of employment into the near future. 19% said that they plan to increase headcount and 8% plan to decrease the number of employees.  While this is not a landslide of labor growth, it does place us fifth in the nation for the outlook on future employment.  As a state Texas placed third in the nation on the same survey.

In the Austin area, companies within the utilities and transportation sectors indicate plans to shrink overall.  Industries with the most promising outlook include financial professions, manufacturing, wholesale and retail sales, and professional services. Oddly missing was the tech industry, which has made huge progress in our area in the past 10 years. Recently, we’ve seen large job announcements for customer service and sales roles, across various industries. Other job opportunities in our area we’ve noticed recently are software engineers, programmers, and other technical disciplines. 

For the original story in the Austin Business Journal, please click here.

 

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Four Things To Do In Austin This Week

This feature highlights four events or activities in Austin and the surrounding area every week. If you have suggestions for events to be mentioned, please email them to info@missionmortgage.com.
We are releasing this week’s list of suggestions a day early in honor of ACL Festival.  Truthfully, we are releasing early because this blogger plans to be at Zilker when this article would normally post!

1. For those not going to ACL Festival who may want to escape the crowds, Old Gruene Market Days will be held this weekend, featuring 100 artisans offering their handmade items as well as live entertainment and specialty dining options. Click here for more info.

2. A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be staged at Playhouse Smithville every Friday and Saturday through September 24. Regarded as one of Shakespeare’s most poignant works, the play is another perfect excuse to get out of town this weekend. For details, click here.

3. UT Football takes on UCLA on Saturday in California. Want to watch the game in style and comfort? Go to Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek or South Lamar to see the game on the big screen. Click here to learn more.

4. For those going to ACL Festival, here are our suggestions: On Friday, check out Cold War Kids, Pretty Lights, and Coldplay and eat a Mighty Cone from Hudson’s. On Saturday, grab a bucket of chicken from Olivia and watch Iron & Wine and Skrillex. Toss up between My Morning Jacket and Stevie Wonder. Finally, on Sunday listen to The Head and The Heart, Airborne Toxic Event, and Elbow and enjoy a blackened fish burrito from Wahoo’s. See you at the park, everyone!

Compiled by Michael Ikeya, Marketing Coordinator for Mission Mortgage, September 15, 2011
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AISD Changes Facilities Planning Approach

AISD LogoWe have been covering the potential closures of a number of schools with the Austin Independent School District (AISD) since the initial rumors began circulating. After all of the heated discussions and town hall meetings, AISD administrators are proposing to change course from the original planning approach and is now suggesting that decision making about facilities occur on a yearly basis, rather than formulating a 10-year plan.

THE NEW APPROACH

In a drastic change in approach, the new plan for handling facilities planning will call for an annual review of needs and opportunities, to be acted on almost immediately. One trustee explained that with so much uncertainty in the overall economic picture, planning for 10 years down the road is unrealistic. Oddly, this is exactly opposite the explanation that was previously offered with respect to the original 10-year plan, which was supposed to help guide overall decision making so decisions in each year adhere to a larger facilities program. In other words, where AISD had once thought having a big picture approach would be the best course of action, they now believe that having a big picture approach is unrealistic.  

Starting next September, recommendations would be made each year for the following school year. Final voting on any recommendations will occur in December and would begin to take effect the following August..

IMPACT ON 10-YEAR PLAN

Interestingly enough, the last time we heard about this issue, Superintendent Meria Carstarphen asked for final recommendations for the master plan to be submitted this month, with a final vote by the end of November. Since the new announcement seems to do away with the 10-year plan, it is unsure what will happen with the recommendations that were included in the draft document.  It was in the draft document that AISD had first announced a plan to close some neighborhood schools to cut facilities costs.

It also remains to be seen if educators, school-level administrators, and members of the public will have a place at the planning table, as they did with the 10-year plan. By moving to a one-year model, the Board can essentially wipe the slate clean of the controversial recommendations that were included in the original 10-year plan draft.

WILL SCHOOLS CLOSE?

The answer to the biggest question now seems even less clear. While the previous timeline would have indicated some idea of closure plans by the end of this month, the new plan seems to delay any actual facilities decisions to next year, potentially placing any plans to close schools on hold. The 10-year facilities planning drew very little interest until word got out that schools were recommended to close their doors for good. At that point, a very motivated group of citizens, parents, and educators began their fights to keep various schools in operation.

This winding tale continues to meander and sway, while we wait for some sort of concrete decision from the school district. A changing demographic distribution in Austin means some schools are overcrowded while some are underutilized and with the budget cuts expected in the next few years, the cost of maintaining all of the existing facilities seems unaffordable, even though the solution would be extremely unpopular.

For more on this latest development, click here for the original Austin American-Statesman article.

For our past posts on this topic, please visit these links:

–  AISD Considers School Closures (Jan 10, 2011)
–  AISD School Closures Considers Alternatives (Jan 20, 2011)
–  More AISD Schools Added To Closure List (Jan 27, 2011)
–  AISD Backs Off School Closures (Mar 10, 2011)
–  Imagine Austin Proceeds Forward (Mar 15, 2011)
AISD To Look Again At School Closures (May 17, 2011)

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What Is Mortgage Insurance?

On the Mission Mortgage blog, we recently covered a couple of stories regarding Mortgage Insurance. In response to our posts, we’ve received a number of questions asking us “What is Mortgage Insurance?”

MORTGAGE INSURANCE: DEFINED

Mortgage Insurance, sometimes called MI, is a program that allows home buyers to purchase a home with less than a 20% down payment. The insurance is protection for the lender in the event of a default. Because the lender allows the buyer to take possession and occupy the home with less than 20% paid down, they are assuming the risk associated with a default or foreclosure. To protect them from these risks, Mortgage Insurance premiums are paid to a central agency or private mortgage insurance provider who will cover the lender’s loss in the event of a default.

 

HISTORY OF MORTGAGE INSURANCE

Mortgage Insurance originally surfaced in the United States in the 1880s and grew substantially until it becaome completely bankrupt during the Great Depression. The US Federal Government began offering Mortgage Insurance in 1934.  No private mortgage insurance providers were allowed again until 1956.  In 1956, Wisconsin passed a law allowing privately-backed provider  Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC) to be chartered and begin offering Mortgage Insurance. MGIC is still a primary provider of Mortgage Insurance today.

More recently, we reported on PMI Mortgage Insurance Group, who was ordered by the State of Arizona to cease writing new Mortgage Insurance policies. They are currently in the process of determining how they will manage their existing client base while they prepare to shutter the company eventually. To see our full coverage of this story, please click here.

MORTGAGE INSURANCE TAX IMPLICATIONS

Another important current concern about Mortgage Insurance is whether or not it will continue to be tax deductable from individual income tax filings.  For 2011, our current tax year, Mortgage Insurance remains tax deductible. For more information, you can read one of  our previous blog post blog posts by clicking here.

However, during the most recent Debt Ceiling negotiations in Washington DC, the future of the Mortgage Insurance deduction is now in question. The temptation to remove the deduction in order to move towards lowering the federal deficity grew stronger and stronger as the Debt Ceiling debates continued. The end result of the Debt Ceiling negotiations is unclear. The agreement that kept the US Government running did not outline specific reductions or cuts, but did specify that a bi-partisan committee is expected to make recommendations by the end of November. Any changes to the deduction would apply to 2012 at the earliest. To read more about the Debt Ceiling impact on Mortgage Insurance, please click here.

MORTGAGE INSURANCE DETAILS

Specifically, here’s how Mortgage Insurance general works.  A home buyer takes out a loan and pays a down payment less than 20% of the purchase price. As a condition of accepting the loan, the buyer must agree to pay a Mortgage Insurance premium. The formulas vary from Government-sponsored Mortgage Insurance to each private provider, but generally include an upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium and/or a monthly premium payment. The Mortgage Insurance contract determines if the premiums stop once the equity in the home reaches the 80% threshold. Generally speaking, premiums are charged for at least 2 years, regardless of equity.

The benefit to home buyers is that they can purchase a home without having to save up a 20% down payment. However, because the risks due to default are greater with borrowers who do not pay at least 20% down, the Mortgage Insurance premium is charged to defray lender losses associated with defaults or foreclosures. The 20% down is an industry standard and does not reflect any specific loss formulas, as far as we could determine. Essentially, the lenders who issues home loans are fairly confident that, on average, a home that is taken back by the bank in the event of a foreclosure could sell for a 20% discount. Thus, the lender can avoid most losses by charging a 20% down payment. But, this leaves a huge majority of the public unable to become home owners, so Mortgage Insurance fills the gap and puts more people into their own homes than would otherwise qualify.

WHAT MORTGAGE INSURANCE IS NOT

It is important to note the difference between Mortgage Insurance and other elements of the home purchase.  Mortgage Insurance is not the same as Home Owner’s Insurance. Home Owner’s Insurance is the owner’s protection against certain damages and catastrophes and is unrelated to the loan.

Mortgage Insurance does not provide protection against defaults or foreclosures for the home buyer. Remember, Mortgage Insurance is for the protection of the lender and the premiums are paid by the buyer for the privilege of buying a home with less than 20% down.

Some information for this article comes from Wikipedia. Click here for the Wikipedia post. 
Information was also found in this excellent article from HSH.com. Click here for the HSH.com article. This is an excellent article that provides numerical information to explain the theory.

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Austin’s Housing Market Trends – Q&A with Mark Sprague

Mark Sprague, Mission Mortgage of Texas, Inc.Q&A WITH MARK SPRAGUE
Mark Sprague is a noted and respected expert on the real estate industry and the Austin market, in particular. He is also the Director of Business Development for Mission Mortgage and we are fortunate to have access to his expertise and opinions. Recently, Mark was asked questions regarding trends in the Austin housing market. Here are the questions and his responses.

 

QUESTION: What’s your take on the housing market for homes in the $1,000,000 to $2,500,000 range?

ANSWER: Demand will come at different levels in different price channels and locations, with $200K to $500K being projected to be the strongest channel over the next few years due to demand and lack of inventory. As with all real estate, however, purchases will be highly location driven. Homes priced from $1 Million to $4 million is still a challenged market with a lot of inventory, particularly west of 360 in Austin.  The supply of homes in this price range, when compared to sales data, indicates that there are years of inventory to work through.  However this has happened before. Most markets can be healed by job creation, which Austin continues to blessed with.

QUESTION: Which subdivisions are seeing the most new starts?

ANSWER: Based on available data and anecdotal evidence, these subdivisions appear to be experiencing the most new starts.  The list is presented in alphabetical order.

Belterra
Crystal Falls
Falcon Point
Falconhead
Paloma Lake
Ranch @ Brushy Creek
Sun City
Steiner 
Teravista
Walsh Trails

QUESTION: Which builders are getting the majority of the business?

ANSWER: Total starts have dropped. In the last 12 months, we saw just 5,800+ new home starts in this area and it is projected that this year will show similar results. Over 4,000 of those starts were created by just 10 builders.  The remaining 1,800 starts were spread out among all remaining builders in the area.  The top 10 builders recently, in terms of starts, are listed below in alphabetical order.

Buffington
D R Horton
Gehan
KB
Lennar
Meritage
PulTex (Pulte/Centex)
Stan Pac
Taylor Morrison
Weekley Homes

QUESTION: Proportionately, which is increasing its volume more:  resales or new construction?

ANSWER: Resales will run about 18,000 to 22,000 this year.  Values are up, sales are down a little.  Presently resales are attracting a strong audience in the lower values due to foreclosures and short sales.  With new home starts projected to be around 5,800 this year, it is clear that resales will represent roughly 3 times the volume of new home construction.  Neither market (new or resale) is drastically increasing volume currently.

Mark would like to thank the people who show a genuine interest in what he is saying and he appreciates the questions that he has been receiving. If you have questions that you’d like Mark Sprague to answer, please send them to us at marketing@missionmortgage.com.  Even if we don’t post your question on our blog, we’ll get you an answer.
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Four Things To Do In Austin This Week

This feature highlights four events or activities in Austin and the surrounding area every week. If you have suggestions for events to be mentioned, please email them to info@missionmortgage.com.

1. “You’ve got two empty halves of coconut and you’re banging them together.” The Alamo Drafthouse Ritz is screening Monty Python and the Holy Grail on Friday in quote-along fashion, probably because you can’t watch it without saying some of the lines out loud anyway, so might as well make an event out of it! Alamo is also donating 5% of all sales this weekend to the Austin wildfire relief efforts. Click here for more info.

2. The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas is currently offering an exhibit about censorship called Banned, Burned, Seized, and Censored. Visit the center to learn how censorship is impacted by the times and how it continues today. For more details, please click here.

3. Listen as filmmaker Richard Linklater and artist Mika Tajima discuss their work in a live interaction at the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas on Tuesday. Mika Tajima has an installation currently on display at the center as well. Click here to learn more.

4. ACL Fest is just around the corner and the city warms up this week. Here’s our recommendations for your live music adventures. First, check out Wild Frontier Fest at Emo’s featuring Octopus Project, Balmorhea, and White Denim on Saturday.  By the way, a new Emo’s venue also opens this weekend on East Riverside. For an ecclectic night of strings playing songs you know and love, go see Will Taylor and Strings Attached play Nutty Brown on Saturday, promising a show of Police and Sting tributes.  Due to high demand, a second show was added with Santana and Michael Franti playing ACL-Live on Monday and Wednesday.  Also generating enough demand to schedule two nights is Deadmau5 at Austin Music Hall next Tuesday and Wednesday. If you haven’t seen a Deadmau5 show, this is something you should definitely attend. He blew away the ACL Festival crowds last year and his shows are always entertaining.

Compiled by Michael Ikeya, Marketing Coordinator for Mission Mortgage, September 9, 2011
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Austin Wildfire Relief Efforts

Photo by Lisa A Combest

The Central Texas region has been dramatically impacted by the recent wildfires, some of which continue to burn. Thousands of people have been displaced with many still under mandatory evacuation orders until it is safe to return to their neighborhoods. The images we have seen are matched only by the thick, hazy smoke that hangs over Austin and the surrounding area.

Mission Mortgage sends our heartfelt concerns to those who have been effected. The devastation to property is minor compared to the loss of personal heirlooms and memories and the new fear that is gripping our area about where the next fire may occur. In an effort to help those who have been impacted, we are providing a list of ways that you can help.

Because we are members of the housing industry in Austin, we start with efforts by members of our industry.  The following collections and benefits are being spearheaded by business leaders, realtors, builders, and others within the housing market community.  If you would like for us to post additional announcements, please email the appropriate information to marketing@missionmortgage.com

Mission Mortgage of Texas, Inc: We will be collecting items for donation in the lobby of our building at 901 S. Mopac Expwy, Building V, through at least the end of next week. Here are a list of the items we were told would be most in need:

Medical Supplies

  • BP Cuff
  • Nebulizer
  • Thermometer
  • Glucometer
  • Pen lights
  • Tongue depressors
  • Ibuprofen
  • Gauze wrap
  • ACE bandages

Other Supplies

  • Sleeping bags
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Towels
  • Shampoo
  • Body wash
  • Toothpaste
  • Paper plates, cups, napkins, plastic utensils
  • Deodorant sprays for men & women
  • Disposable razors
  • Shaving cream
  • Baby wipes
  • Baby diapers
  • Baby shampoo
  • Sanitizer

Most desired food donations are healthy, non-perishable items such as:

  • Water, Gatorade
  • Ready to eat meals preferably will pull or pop tops, e.g. chili, stew, canned pasta w/sauce
  • Single serving snacks such as protein or granola bars
  • Lunchables or other single serving foods that do not require refrigeration
  • Baby formula

Mission Mortgage can also provide information about interim and permanent financing of homes being rebuilt due to loss from the wildfires. We will gladly answer any questions you may have about the rebuilding process. Please email us at info@missionmortgage.com with your questions.

Austin Board of Realtors: ABOR is welcoming the use of the MLS system to post short term lease opportunities for evacuees. Property owners who are offering free or substantially discounted properties to fire evacuees can instruct licensed realtors to enter details in the MLS system.  The available properties will be featured at www.austinhomesearch.com.

ABOR has also posted information for buyers and sellers impacted by the wildfires. Whether looking for a new home or wondering about how this impacts selling a home, you can visit www.austinhomesearch.com/disasterrelief for more details.

Home Builders Association of Greater Austin: The HBA has put together information about selecting a reputable and qualified builder to reconstruct homes destroyed by the wildfires. With so many homes impacted, the HBA anticipated the common questions that homeowners may have and has provided the best information available. To see the release from the HBA, please click here.

Belvedere Lake Travis Fire & Rescue Appreciation Event: On Saturday at Belvedere (located on Hamilton Pool Road), a celebration in honor of the Lake Travis Fire & Rescue units will be held. Live music, food, and opportunities to donate to the LTFD Benevolent fund. For those who owe their lives and homes to the LTFD, this is a great way to say thanks.  Email Karen Shultz for more info at kzelina@yahoo.com.

HomeAway: HomeAway has set up a Central Texas Wildfire Housing Directory for evacuees to find temporary housing in a vacation rental.Vacation rental owners and property managers are offering their homes at a discounted rate or free of charge. Click here to see the HomeAway directory.

The following list includes other opportunities to help and support victims of the Texas wildfires. Many others surely exist and we will gladly add any to our list by simply emailing the details to marketing@missionmortgage.com.

KVUE: KVUE is teaming up with Randall’s to take donations directly at any register. Visit any local Randall’s for more information.  KVUE is also sponsoring a benefit event at Nutty Brown Cafe on Saturday.  Click here for more info.

Alamo Drafthouse: Alamo has stepped up to help out our community by donating 5% of all profits for this entire weekend. If you are heading to a movie this weekend, please consider going to any of the 6 Austin Alamo locations so that you will also be supporting your neighbors in need.

Pizza Hut: On Thursday, September 15, 10% of sales from all dine-in, delivery, and carry out orders will be donated to the relief efforts. 

The Red Shed: Local musicians will sing to benefit the Red Cross of Central Texas at The Red Shed on Sunday, September 11 from noon until 8pm. The Red Shed is located at 8504 S. Congress Ave. For more info email rachael.oneil@gmail.com.

Boomerz: Saturday night, come to Boomerz (near the Y in Oak Hill) for a special benefit concert and fundraiser featuring local band Rational Method. Boomerz is donating 15% of all sales for the evening. For more details, click here.

BookPeople: A portion of all sales (in store and online) will be donated to the wildfire relief efforts for all purchases made from Tuesday through Friday.

SportClips: SportClips is offering a free haircut to any firefighter in our region simply by showing a badge or other proof of employment. The offer lasts through the month of September.

Spicewood Fire Fundraiser: Sunday, September 11 from noon – 8:00 pm at Spicewood Vineyards (1419 CR 409 Spicewood, TX 78669).  Live music, BBQ, wine, and silent auction.  Tickets are $40 and benefit victims and local rescue services in Spicewood. (Thanks to Annie Berg from Spicewood Vineyards for sharing the event information with us!).

There are dozens of agencies and organizations who are collecting donations. Please visit the Austin American-Statesman website for a list of places where you can drop off your donations.  Click here for the details.

Please feel free to add events in the comments section below or email us at marketing@missionmortgage.com and we’ll post it to this blog article.

Thanks to everyone for helping out our neighbors and friends during this horrible tragedy. Step up and help someone now, when they need it the most.  Also, please remember that we are under a strict burn ban.  Please extinguish all flammable materials carefully and completely.

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Important Opt Out Information

Did you know that the consumer credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion) are allowed to include your name on lists used by creditors and insurers so they can pre-approve you for their various credit or insurance offerings?

Have you ever noticed that shortly after you apply for credit that your mailbox becomes full of additional credit and insurance offers?

 

The consumer credit reporting agencies are not government entities and they have publically announced their intentions to use the data they maintain to create lists that they sell to third party vendors. They are allowed to do this because they disclose this information and require all credit reports to have authorization prior to execution. 

From the website:
“Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Consumer Credit Reporting Companies are permitted to include your name on lists used by creditors or insurers to make firm offers of credit or insurance that are not initiated by you (“Firm Offers”). The FCRA also provides you the right to “Opt-Out”, which prevents Consumer Credit Reporting Companies from providing your credit file information for Firm Offers.”

YOU CAN OPT OUT OR OPT IN

If you would like to opt out of the offers and solicitations initiated by these lists, you can do so by visiting www.optoutprescreen.com.  This is a legitimate service that is made available by the agencies to allow you to prevent your name from being included on their lists.

Requests to opt out will last for no less than 5 years, after which time you will need to re-submit your request to extend it for an additional 5 years, subject to change at any time.

You may also opt in.  If you haven’t recently had any inquiries to your credit, but would like for creditors and insurers to use your information to provide you with offers and solicitations, you may use the same website to request to be added.

Or if you’ve previously opted out and would like to opt back in, you may do so from the same website.

 

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Four Things To Do In Austin This Week

This feature highlights four events or activities in Austin and the surrounding area every week. If you have suggestions for events to be mentioned, please email them to info@missionmortgage.com.

1. The Dougherty Arts Center opens a new exhibit with a reception on Friday and the display ongoing through September 25. This installation includes forty new pieces of art by 21 Texas artists who use wax instead of traditional paints to create their work. Click here for more details.

2. High school football started last week, college football kicks off this week, and the NFL gets back to business next week. It might not feel like it, but Fall is in the air when it comes to football in Texas. This week, The University of Texas hosts Rice at 7:00 pm on Saturday to start the new season. Tickets are still available by clicking here.

3. Anything called BrewBQue is probably fun. This weekend Buda hosts their 3rd annual BrewBQue festival featuring live music, games, contests, five thousand pounds of BBQ, and presumably plenty of beer. Go watch the lumberjack sports contest or the Chihuahua races and see how they let loose in Buda. Click here for the official website.

4. Music doesn’t get much better than what we hear live in Austin every week. This week, we’re recommending all local talent so you can go out and show your support for some homegrown musicians and groups. Check out Chili Cold Blood at Ruta Maya on Friday for some classic fuzzy guitar sounds with a southern rock influence. The Eric Tessmer Band at Antone’s on Saturday offers straight up blues by one of the Austin’s best young blues guitarists. Talmadge D’Amour at Skinny’s Ballroom on Saturday plays a blend of pop and electronic with some smooth vocals. Finally, Paula Held at Flipnotics on Sunday will provide an up close listen to one of Austin’s best singer-songwriters. Enjoy!

Compiled by Michael Ikeya, Marketing Coordinator for Mission Mortgage, September 2, 2011
Posted in Austin Facts, General Information | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment