Homeowners Make Long-term & Happy Employees

July 5, 2009

By Brian Short, CMC, CRMS, GMA  – Certified Mortgage Professional

As a business owner who has hired and trained many employees and who has worked closely with hundreds of business owners during my career, I have come to a very critical conclusion: Business owners must hire and cultivate “happy employees.”

empty deskI have heard trainers working for Sandler Sales Institute claim that it costs an average employer over $10,000 to hire, train and “on-board” an employee. Yet, according to the US Bureau or Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/tenure.t05.htm) the average employee will stay at his or her job less than 4 years. As a business owner or manager, you could be spending over $10,000 every 4 years just to keep a body at that desk or covering those accounts or keeping your customers happy.

In this day of cutting costs and trimming budgets I believe that it is imperative for all employers and managers to look at ways to find, nurture and keep employees who will give your company stability, productivity and profitability. One very simple strategy is to help your employees become homeowners. How does this simple strategy develop “happy employees” who will come to work and work hard for you for long periods of time with a strong work ethic? Let’s explore some of the answers to that question.

1. Employees who are homeowners will work harder for you.

Homeowners take pride in their homes and are reminded that they are building equity in their homes EACH MONTH when they make their house payment. They are investing in their largest asset when they send in their house payment and are motivated to do all they can to keep that asset and pay it off over the term of the loan toward which they are paying.

2. Employees who are homeowners will work longer for you.

These employees are putting down roots, raising their kids, contributing to a community and contributing to a local economy. They are developing an identity with the locale when they own their house. They are becoming part of the fabric of their neighborhood and will not easily uproot themselves or their families because of short-lived work-related set-back or for a couple of additional dollars per pay-period. Your competition across town or across the country will find it more difficult snatch away your top dollar producers if they own their home and are part of the community where they live.

3. Employees who are homeowners will desire to see your company grow.

Those who are set on making a long-term contribution to a job and a community will more likely share the same goals as the owner or manager than a “short-termer”. Your home-owning employees will more quickly demonstrate that they are on your team and desire to see you and your company succeed if they have come to accept that their identity is wrapped up in their long-term employee for you.

4. Employees who are homeowners will miss less work and be more willing to work occasional overtime.Craig

Those who are making their house payments to pay off or pay toward their largest investment will want to make sure that they are keeping a steady stream of dependable income to meet their obligations and pay their bills. They will not miss work if they can avoid it and will be willing to work extra in order to continue to get ahead in their house payment or to make improvements to their house.

5. Employees who are homeowners will see the long-term value of their work.

An employee who has big goals and is making steady progress toward meeting those goals – outside of the workplace – will be happier employees. They will see that their work and your company are making a contribution to their wealth, happiness and success. These employees have come to accept that life is full of trade-offs: they work hard for you and your company gives them the rewards to move them toward the financial security and independence that they treasure.

6. Employees who are homeowners are more honest and dependable.

Employees who are making monthly payments on their house will be less likely to participate in any behavior or action to damage their company, their reputation or the likelihood of their continued status as your employee. They need your continued favor, your pay and the possibility of any advancement at their job. Some have called your employee’s house payment as your “golden chain” which will ensure that your employee stay loyal to his or her job. Again, it should be a mutual dependence between the grateful employee and the appreciative employer – both benefiting from the arrangement hard work and fair pay.

Do you need to cut your employee-turnover costs? Do you have current employees who are making a valuable contribution to your company, branch or office but are not homeowners? Do you or your employees need some professional advice on how they could become homeowners? Download and complete this Pre-Approval Request Form and return it for a free homeownership consultation.

I will also come to your company to make an onsite presentation to your employees or a group of them about the possibility and benefits of homeownership. Many of your employees will qualify for an $8,000 refundable tax credit if they buy a house by December 1 of this year. Contact me today (BCShort@bellsouth.net)  to set up an onsite presentation at your company or office.

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First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

June 27, 2009

 The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 authorizes a tax credit of up to $8,000 for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.

 The following questions and answers provide basic information about the tax credit. If you have more specific questions, we strongly encourage you to consult a qualified tax advisor or legal professional about your unique situation.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Home Buyer Tax Credit  

 1. Who is eligible to claim the tax credit?

First-time home buyers purchasing any kind of home—new or resale—are eligible for the tax credit. To qualify for the tax credit, a home purchase must occur on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. For the purposes of the tax credit, the purchase date is the date when closing occurs and the title to the property transfers to the home owner.

  2. What is the definition of a first-time home buyer?

The law defines “first-time home buyer” as a buyer who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. For married taxpayers, the law tests the homeownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse.

 For example, if you have not owned a home in the past three years but your spouse has owned a principal residence, neither you nor your spouse qualifies for the first-time home buyer tax credit. However, unmarried joint purchasers may allocate the credit amount to any buyer who qualifies as a first-time buyer, such as may occur if a parent jointly purchases a home with a son or daughter. Ownership of a vacation home or rental property not used as a principal residence does not disqualify a buyer as a first-time home buyer.

 3. How is the amount of the tax credit determined?

The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000.

 4. Are there any income limits for claiming the tax credit?

Yes. The income limit for single taxpayers is $75,000; the limit is $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. The tax credit amount is reduced for buyers with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) of more than $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. The phaseout range for the tax credit program is equal to $20,000. That is, the tax credit amount is reduced to zero for taxpayers with MAGI of more than $95,000 (single) or $170,000 (married) and is reduced proportionally for taxpayers with MAGIs between these amounts.

 5. What is “modified adjusted gross income”?

Modified adjusted gross income or MAGI is defined by the IRS. To find it, a taxpayer must first determine “adjusted gross income” or AGI. AGI is total income for a year minus certain deductions (known as “adjustments” or “above-the-line deductions”), but before itemized deductions from Schedule A or personal exemptions are subtracted. On Forms 1040 and 1040A, AGI is the last number on page 1 and first number on page 2 of the form. For Form 1040-EZ, AGI appears on line 4 (as of 2007). Note that AGI includes all forms of income including wages, salaries, interest income, dividends and capital gains.

To determine modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), add to AGI certain amounts of foreign-earned income. See IRS Form 5405 for more details.

6. If my modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is above the limit, do I qualify for any tax credit?

Possibly. It depends on your income. Partial credits of less than $8,000 are available for some taxpayers whose MAGI exceeds the phase-out limits.

 7. Can you give me an example of how the partial tax credit is determined?

Just as an example, assume that a married couple has a modified adjusted gross income of $160,000. The applicable phase-out to qualify for the tax credit is $150,000, and the couple is $10,000 over this amount. Dividing $10,000 by the phase-out range of $20,000 yields 0.5. When you subtract 0.5 from 1.0, the result is 0.5. To determine the amount of the partial first-time home buyer tax credit that is available to this couple, multiply $8,000 by 0.5. The result is $4,000.

 Here’s another example: assume that an individual home buyer has a modified adjusted gross income of $88,000. The buyer’s income exceeds $75,000 by $13,000. Dividing $13,000 by the phase-out range of $20,000 yields 0.65. When you subtract 0.65 from 1.0, the result is 0.35. Multiplying $8,000 by 0.35 shows that the buyer is eligible for a partial tax credit of $2,800.

 Please remember that these examples are intended to provide a general idea of how the tax credit might be applied in different circumstances. You should always consult your tax advisor for information relating to your specific circumstances.

 8. How is this home buyer tax credit different from the tax credit that Congress enacted in July of 2008?

The most significant difference is that this tax credit does not have to be repaid. Because it had to be repaid, the previous “credit” was essentially an interest-free loan. This tax incentive is a true tax credit. However, home buyers must use the residence as a principal residence for at least three years or face recapture of the tax credit amount. Certain exceptions apply.

 9. How do I claim the tax credit? Do I need to complete a form or application?

Participating in the tax credit program is easy. You claim the tax credit on your federal income tax return. Specifically, home buyers should complete IRS Form 5405 to determine their tax credit amount, and then claim this amount on line 67 of the 1040 income tax form for 2009 returns (line 69 of the 1040 income tax form for 2008 returns). No other applications or forms are required, and no pre-approval is necessary. However, you will want to be sure that you qualify for the credit under the income limits and first-time home buyer tests. Note that you cannot claim the credit on Form 5405 for an intended purchase for some future date; it must be a completed purchase.

 10. What types of homes will qualify for the tax credit?

Any home that will be used as a principal residence will qualify for the credit. This includes single-family detached homes, attached homes like townhouses and condominiums, manufactured homes (also known as mobile homes) and houseboats. The definition of principal residence is identical to the one used to determine whether you may qualify for the $250,000 / $500,000 capital gain tax exclusion for principal residences.

11. I read that the tax credit is “refundable.” What does that mean?

The fact that the credit is refundable means that the home buyer credit can be claimed even if the taxpayer has little or no federal income tax liability to offset. Typically this involves the government sending the taxpayer a check for a portion or even all of the amount of the refundable tax credit.

 For example, if a qualified home buyer expected, notwithstanding the tax credit, federal income tax liability of $5,000 and had tax withholding of $4,000 for the year, then without the tax credit the taxpayer would owe the IRS $1,000 on April 15th. Suppose now that the taxpayer qualified for the $8,000 home buyer tax credit. As a result, the taxpayer would receive a check for $7,000 ($8,000 minus the $1,000 owed).

12. I purchased a home in early 2009 and have already filed to receive the $7,500 tax credit on my 2008 tax returns. How can I claim the new $8,000 tax credit instead?

Home buyers in this situation may file an amended 2008 tax return with a 1040X form. You should consult with a tax advisor to ensure you file this return properly.

 13. Instead of buying a new home from a home builder, I hired a contractor to construct a home on a lot that I already own. Do I still qualify for the tax credit?

Yes. For the purposes of the home buyer tax credit, a principal residence that is constructed by the home owner is treated by the tax code as having been “purchased” on the date the owner first occupies the house. In this situation, the date of first occupancy must be on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.

 In contrast, for newly-constructed homes bought from a home builder, eligibility for the tax credit is determined by the settlement date.

 14. Can I claim the tax credit if I finance the purchase of my home under a mortgage revenue bond (MRB) program?

Yes. The tax credit can be combined with the MRB home buyer program. Note that first-time home buyers who purchased a home in 2008 may not claim the tax credit if they are participating in an MRB program.

 15. I live in the District of Columbia. Can I claim both the Washington, D.C. first-time home buyer credit and this new credit?

No. You can claim only one.

 16. I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I claim the tax credit?

Maybe. Anyone who is not a nonresident alien (as defined by the IRS), who has not owned a principal residence in the previous three years and who meets the income limits test may claim the tax credit for a qualified home purchase. The IRS provides a definition of “nonresident alien” in IRS Publication 519.

17. Is a tax credit the same as a tax deduction?

No. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in what the taxpayer owes. That means that a taxpayer who owes $8,000 in income taxes and who receives an $8,000 tax credit would owe nothing to the IRS.

 A tax deduction is subtracted from the amount of income that is taxed. Using the same example, assume the taxpayer is in the 15 percent tax bracket and owes $8,000 in income taxes. If the taxpayer receives an $8,000 deduction, the taxpayer’s tax liability would be reduced by $1,200 (15 percent of $8,000), or lowered from $8,000 to $6,800.

 18. I bought a home in 2008. Do I qualify for this credit?

No, but if you purchased your first home between April 9, 2008 and January 1, 2009, you may qualify for a different tax credit. Please consult with your tax advisor for more information.

 19. Is there any way for a home buyer to access the money allocable to the credit sooner than waiting to file their 2009 tax return?

Yes. Prospective home buyers who believe they qualify for the tax credit are permitted to reduce their income tax withholding. Reducing tax withholding (up to the amount of the credit) will enable the buyer to accumulate cash by raising his/her take home pay. This money can then be applied to the down payment.

 Buyers should adjust their withholding amount on their W-4 via their employer or through their quarterly estimated tax payment. IRS Publication 919 contains rules and guidelines for income tax withholding. Prospective home buyers should note that if income tax withholding is reduced and the tax credit qualified purchase does not occur, then the individual would be liable for repayment to the IRS of income tax and possible interest charges and penalties.

Further, rule changes made as part of the economic stimulus legislation allow home buyers to claim the tax credit and participate in a program financed by tax-exempt bonds. Some state housing finance agencies have introduced programs that provide short-term credit acceleration loans that may be used to fund a downpayment. Prospective home buyers should inquire with their state housing finance agency to determine the availability of such a program in their community.

The National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) has compiled a list of such programs, which can be found here.

20. The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development has announced that HUD will allow “monetization” of the tax credit. What does that mean?

It means that HUD will allow buyers to apply their anticipated tax credit toward their home purchase immediately rather than waiting until they file their 2009 income taxes to receive a refund. These funds may be used for certain down payment and closing cost expenses.

 Under the guidelines announced by HUD, non-profits and FHA-approved lenders will be allowed to give home buyers short-term loans of up to $8,000.

 The guidelines also allow longer term loans secured by second liens to be used by government agencies, such as state housing finance agencies, to facilitate home sales.

 Housing finance agencies and other government entities may issue tax credit loans, the funds of which home buyers may use to satisfy the FHA 3.5% down payment requirement.

 In addition, approved FHA lenders will also be able to purchase a home buyer’s anticipated tax credit to pay closing costs and down payment costs above the 3.5% down payment that is required for FHA-insured homes.

 More information about the guidelines is available on the NAHB web site. Read the HUD mortgagee letter (pdf) and an explanation of the FHA Mortgagee Letter on Tax Credit Monetization (pdf). An FAQ about monetization (pdf) is available at the NAHB web site.

 21. If I’m qualified for the tax credit and buy a home in 2009, can I apply the tax credit against my 2008 tax return?

Yes. The law allows taxpayers to choose (“elect”) to treat qualified home purchases in 2009 as if the purchase occurred on December 31, 2008. This means that the 2008 income limit (MAGI) applies and the election accelerates when the credit can be claimed (tax filing for 2008 returns instead of for 2009 returns). A benefit of this election is that a home buyer in 2009 will know their 2008 MAGI with certainty, thereby helping the buyer know whether the income limit will reduce their credit amount.

 Taxpayers buying a home who wish to claim it on their 2008 tax return, but who have already submitted their 2008 return to the IRS, may file an amended 2008 return claiming the tax credit. You should consult with a tax professional to determine how to arrange this.

 22. For a home purchase in 2009, can I choose whether to treat the purchase as occurring in 2008 or 2009, depending on in which year my credit amount is the largest?

Yes. If the applicable income phase-out would reduce your home buyer tax credit amount in 2009 and a larger credit would be available using the 2008 MAGI amounts, then you can choose the year that yields the largest credit amount.

 NAHB is providing the information on this web site for general guidance only. The information on this site does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind nor should it be construed as such. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action on this information, you should consult a qualified professional adviser to whom you have provided all of the facts applicable to your particular situation or question. None of the tax information on this web site is intended to be used nor can it be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The information is provided “as is,” with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose. 

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Copyright © 2009 National Association of Home Builders. All rights reserved.

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Choosing Your Mortgage Professional

June 20, 2009
By Brian Short, CMC, CRMS, GMA
 
“Shopping for a Mortgage Professional is much like shopping for a medical doctor or an attorney. Choosing your medical or legal care based on “who is the cheapest” may not really be the best strategy. You want you choose a professional who is trained, certified, experienced and has a good reputation.” 
 
Often times, this is my response to those asking for me to give them a detailed list of all their closing costs if they select me and my company to provide the financing for their upcoming home purchase or refinance of their current home.
 
I have heard of real estate industry partners telling their customers that choosing a mortgage professional is as simple as getting a “Good Faith Estimate” and comparing the costs contained on those documents.  This sets up the borrower to work with the “best liar”, too early in the 30-60 day process of finding a home, rather than getting the most professional financing help to get the deal closed correctly.
 
How can this be?  Aren’t all “Good Faith Estimates” accurate?  Aren’t all mortgage professionals the same?  Aren’t all mortgage companies the same? 
The truth is: the numbers on the “Good Faith Estimate” given too early in the process are RARELY CORRECT!  You see, the numbers on that document are affected by one or more of the following 13 variables below:

-> Sales pricegood-faith-estimate

-> Appraised value

-> Loan amount

-> Borrower’s employment status and history

-> Credit scores and payment history

-> Amount and source of down-payment

-> Date of closing

-> Immigration or citizenship status of the borrower

-> The housing type and location (Single family dwelling, Duplex, Condo, Townhouse, PUD, suburban, rural, urban, etc.)

-> The county where the home is located

-> Mortgage Interest Rate

-> The Term (length) of the Loan

-> The Title Company being used to close the loan

I have worked for several mortgage companies during my mortgage career and even owned my own company for 5 years. I know that some “loan guys” will “low-ball” the initial estimate, only to pull out the “surprise” at the closing table when your options for making any changes are very limited.  Of the 21 separate line-item fees on the “Good Faith Estimate” I give to my borrowers when they sign their loan application forms and disclosures, only one of those fees is the same for every loan and is not dependent on any of the variables listed above.

Mortgage interest rates change daily (sometime, even more often!). I could simply print off a “Good Faith Estimate” with made up numbers as some customers request (as other “loan guys” may do) but it will not be accurate because of all of these variables I have mentioned.  That process of collecting “Good Faith Estimates” prior to having all of the above variables identified will very time-consuming and wasted effort by the borrower and “loan guys” passing out worthless forms with inaccurate numbers.

My goal is to take the worry and uncertainty out of the process of originating, processing, underwriting and closing the loan.  I help guide my borrowers through their negotiations with their seller by providing honest numbers as they become available rather than simply making up numbers to get “my hook set”.

I have been in the business for over 11 years and nearly 100% of my business comes from referral and repeat business. A businessman can not build that kind of business by being a con-man, cheating others or participating in the bait-and-switch tactics that have riddled this industry for years.

This helps my my borrowers understand how I have built my business and how I provide a level of confidence and professionalism which will make my borrower’s Real Estate purchase a very smooth and cost effective transaction over the next.

So, you ask, how should I select the Mortgage Professional to close my loan for me?  I’m glad you asked.  Allow me to give you a few guidelines for starters:

1. Choose a Mortgage Professional who is EXPERIENCED.  Was he selling shoes or washing cars last week and then some buddy of his talked him into “trying out the mortgage business”?  Does he really know what he’s doing?  Has he been originating mortgage for 5-10 years?  Does he do this full-time or this just a hobby or part-time gig? 

NAMBCertified2. Choose a Mortgage Professional who is CERTIFIED.  Has proven to anyone that he knows the laws, the process, the programs and theory and mechanics behind the mortgage industry.  Has he taken courses and exams to measure his competency?  Is his certification a national designation? Is his certification from a professional association who can objectively measure and monitor his expertise or from some mail-order outfit looking to make few bucks?

3. Choose a Mortgage Professional with a GOOD REPUTATION.  Is your selection a true professional who is respected and well-known in his industry.  Who knows him and what kind of work he does?  Who has ever closed a loan with him?  Who can speak for his level of trustworthiness, honesty and attention to detail?  What do you know of his character and personality?

4. Choose a Mortgage Professional who is a PROFESSIONAL.  Does your choice know the market, the industry, the community, the history, the trends and your desires?  Is he a member of his professional association?  Has he been awarded and recognized by his peers and fellow business associates for his contribution to the industry and community?

During the month that your loan is supposed to close it is the most important transaction in your Mortgage Professional’s office.  “Getting it cheap” doesn’t mean much when your “loan guy” drops the ball and makes a mess of the whole deal simply because  he has “never seen anything like this before.”  That stack of bogus “Good Faith Estimates” collected 30-60 days prior to your closing will mean very little when you find out that returning phone calls, diligently following up on underwriting conditions, and working long hours to insure that all of the bases are covered on your deal are not his priority or part of his work ethic.

Paper is cheap, and ink toner to print fictitious loan estimates is even cheaper.  Experience, Certification, a Good Reputation and Professionalism are priceless life-long attributes and qualities you want in your Mortgage Professional.  Leave the spreading of such worthless papers to those lying, low-balling, bait-n-switching, short-termers who do not deserve to work with someone like you who, understandably, expect it to get done right the first time.


The “New” Rules of Rapid Refinancing

May 23, 2009

By Brian Short, CMC, CRMS, GMA

Many of us who have “survived” in the mortgage business are very busy these days with folks who desire to refinance their homes.  With rates in the range from low 5% to high 4%  for a 30 year fixed for many borrowers, this is an ideal time to consider refinancing to lock in an historically low long-term interest rate on your house.  Maze

However, the rules have changed for many borrowers.  The days of no documentation, high loan-to-value, cash-out, debt consolidation mortgages have come to an end. 

Does that mean it is impossible to accomplish any of these goals in a relatively painless refinance process – absolutely not!  Just take heed of the new “Rules for Rapid Refinancing”:

1.  Get your documentation organized and copied for your mortgage professional.   Employed workers and self-employed business owners will all need to prove their income and their assets to qualify for a new low interest loan.  I remind my customers that they should keep the following documents for the following length of time – just to be safe.

     a. Pay Stubs – Keep these all year until you receive your W-2 and have completed your tax return for the year.

     b. Bank Statements – Keep these 5 years.  The IRS can audit you for the past 5 years.  It your responsibility to prove your case if you would be audited.

     c. Tax Returns and W-2’s – Keep these until you die.  Let your kids throw these away for you and be amazed at how little (or how much!) you made when they were kids.  You never know when you will be asked to document income, deductions, businesses, rental houses, etc.  File a copy away in a cabinet (and scan a copy to your hard-drive in case you need to e-mail a copy for your kid’s college financial aid application, etc.) each year.

2.  You will not be able to pull cash out of your house for more than 85% of appraised value.  If you owe more than 85% of your current appraised value then you will not be able to get any cash to consolidate debt, pay off other obligations or even make improvements to your house.  Trying to get cash out of your rental house will be nearly impossible unless you owe very little on the rental house.  Getting cash out of Real Estate is not something Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (or FHA or VA) are too interested in doing in this economy.

Does this mean that you can’t refinance your house?  Absolutely not!  You can still lock in a lower rate, shorter term (go from a 30 yr to a 15 yr), longer term (go from a 15 yr to a 30 yr), switch from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate, or combine your 1st and 2nd mortgages into one mortgage payment with a lower payment or a payment which includes principle reduction.

3.  Use this time to focus on getting out of debt and limiting your purchases of “things” to those items you can pay for with cash.  Running up credit card debt and buying vehicles (cars, boats, motorcycles, RV’s, etc), furniture, appliances or TV’s with credit is generally not the way to get or keep your finances under control. 

4. Pay cash.  Use cash.  Save some cash.  Keep some financial margin in your life buy having some cash in the bank to carry for 3-6 months in case your job, your health, your spouse – fail to meet your expectations.  Having a good payment history on your current obligations will get you in the door if you need or want to refinance your house.

5. Anticipate the future – as much as possible.  One of my Dad’s famous sayings is: “No one will loan money to a poor man!”  Once you lose your job, get sick or hurt or get behind on your payments, you’re stuck.  Especially in this current market – the squeaky clean borrowers are getting good loans.  Don’t wait to lock in on historically low fixed interest rates if you don’t have one and could qualify.  Waiting might put you into one of those categories of people who can’t qualify for one.

Is this a great market for quick and painless refinancing – absolutely!  However, there are some new rules.  Some of you are saying, “these are not NEW rules!”   “These are the rules we all used to live by.”  I agree that these rules may be new to this current generation of borrowers but are really time-tested rules for ensuring financial success – even when much seems to be crashing in on those all around us.  Whether these rules are new or old stand-bys they are in place for now.  Knowing them and playing by them will make you a winner – even in this economy!  Now, let’s play!