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There are many banks who offer loans for apartment buildings, but some are more flexible than others:

  • Multi-family (5 or more units)
  • Mixed use
  • Commercial / Industrial buildings
  • Self-storage
  • Mobile home parks


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What Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Hanukah Have In Common

 


What Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Hanukah Have In Common

“When we are surrounded by the darkness of the short days of winter, we bring light into our lives to remind us about the upcoming spring.”

Today, Friday, the 26th day, the next day after the celebration of Christmas, and two days after the last day of Hanukah is another holiday. Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966-67. The week-long celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture. One of the traditions is to light seven candles in a candleholder called a kinara. The tradition is similar to lighting candles on Hanukah (which is one day longer than Kwanzaa). On January 1st, the end of the holiday, there is a tradition to give gifts. Many celebrate this holiday in addition to Christmas.

As we can see, the obvious similarity between the three holidays is the giving of presents. All three were originated by the decree of men (unlike some of the holidays decreed by God in the Torah). But there is something else—last week I wrote about “Where To Find The Light”.

 

What really unites all three remarkable events is light. During the eight days of Hanukah, also known as the “Festival of Light”, many Jewish households and even public places like Union Square in San Francisco, are adorned by the candelabra called a Hanukiah and every day during the holiday, oil lamps or candles are lit (some use electrical lights).

Before and during Christmas, people decorate the inside and outside of their homes with beautiful lights. When I grew up in Riga, we decorated a fir tree with candles and other decorations to celebrate New Year’s. Candle light is used to celebrate Kwanzaa. Since candle light is only visible at night, their purpose is obvious. Thus the celebration of every holiday has a clear mission—to bring light to brighten our lives. As a reminder that it does not matter how dark it is outside, we can always have light. 

 

In ancient times, the source of the light was oil. But oil itself cannot bring any light. Nor can beeswax. What all of these energy containing materials need is human contribution—the wick.

Throughout the human existence, we perfected the use of the sources of light. But we also have to remember that too much light can destroy our wellbeing. Many fires were caused by candles on the fir trees. When the first light (I wrote about last week) was created by God (according to the Torah), it was too much for the humans to handle. Therefore, it was replaced with the sun and the moon. However, the intrinsic knowledge of how to bring light to our lives remained (throughout the holidays). We can celebrate everyday by looking for the source and bringing it out to brighten the lives of others.

P.S.

The end of the year celebrations are filled with beautiful decorations in and out of our homes. Many use very elaborate color themes, which obviously can be only visible at night. I hope you enjoy some of my light interpretations. 


 

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Mortgage Solutions For You!

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It’s difficult to buy a property in San Francisco for $430,000. But according to Ildiko Pali, real estate broker with Princeton Real Estate, it is possible to find properties around San Francisco in this price range. The advantage of those Fannie Mae loans vs. FHA loans are not only less down payment, but the amount of the mortgage insurance is also much less.


 

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Where To Find The Light


Where To Find The Light


“We are surrounded by light–sometimes we just need to open our eyes.”

In the Torah, the manifestation of light was the first act of the creation of our world.

“God said, ‘Let there be light and there was light. And God saw the light and it was good, and God separated between the light and between the darkness” (Genesis 1:3-4).

What is the meaning of this primordial light? After all, the sun and the moon were created only on the fourth day.

“And God said, “Let there be luminaries in the expanse of the heavens, to separate between the day and between the night, and they shall be for signs and for appointed seasons and for days and years” (Genesis 1:14).

Today December 19th, Jews and their friends are celebrating the third day of the holiday, Chanukah, which is known as “The Festival of Light”. It is connected with events that happened over 2000 years ago. A small group of Jews started a revolt against the Syrian Greek Seleucid Empire and in 166 BC, released the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. During the rededication of the temple, the large menorah had to be lit every day, but there was only one container with the purified oil. Miraculously, it lasted for eight days until new oil was produced. The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of the nine-branched menorah or Chanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday professing to the eighth on the final night. The additional (ninth) light is called a shamash or attendant, and is used to light the rest of the lights.

There are a number of traditions associated with this holiday.  Since the original light in the Temple was lit with oil, there are “oily” foods associated with the holiday, such as doughnuts and latkes (potato pancakes). Though latkes are not necessarily good for those who are concerned about their waistlines, they can make a delicious meal (especially prepared by my wife, Elfa).

But what does this story have to do with the primordial light? As we’ve seen before, the good, the light, and the darkness were the basic elements of the creation of the world. And it is man’s and woman’s (who were created on the sixth day) task to always strive to find the good by separating the light from the darkness.

Happy Chanukah! Enjoy the latkes and stay dry.

P.S.

The word “photography” comes from the Greek word phos, photos—light and graphos—writing. It literally translates to writing with the light—or to be more accurate, drawing or painting with light. To support this story, I’ve used Chanukah candles, which replaced the oil for the menorah. Light, my camera, and software on my computer were used to create the painting of my vision. Enjoy!

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Clients had an adjustable loan and were paying about $6,300 a month. Since the interest rates dropped, we could get them a 30 year fixed rate and drop their monthly payments to $4,774.

However, there was a catch.They also had a line of credit (L/C) of $450,000. Thus to refinance the first loan (or combine the 1st and L/C), the appraisal value had to be $2,165,000.

Currently, it is not quite there yet. We had no choice but to wait.

Perhaps with the property’s increase value, the client will be able to save about $1,500 every month.


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Are You Ready?

 


 

Are You Ready?

“Being ready is a state of mind. Be ready.”

 
When I grew up in Latvia, we belonged to the Pioneer organization at school, similar to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Our organization was co-ed and our greeting was “Are you ready?” The answer, which was accompanied by a salute, was “Always ready!” This came to memory after reading an article in the SF Chronicle, “In time of drought, Bay Area gets ready for a deluge”.  The article describes how for the preparation for “the biggest storm in five years”, the Department of Public Works in San Francisco ran out of sandbags after distributing 3,500 bags for free. We were one of the recipients.
After the heavy rain last week, we encountered a strange smell in our basement. Upon investigating where it was coming from, we discovered a wet carpet, which covered part of the basement floor. Upon further detective work, we realized that the water penetrated from a damaged window. The next day, I called my great contractor Michael Wolfe, who has taken care of our house for years, fixing problems big and small. While deciding which type of new window to order, I also needed to get us ready for “the next storm”. Thankfully my wife Elfa, found out where to get the sand bags and it seems that got there just in time.

Being ready doesn’t only relate to the rain storm. We all have different kinds storms in our lives—or good tidings. Let’s say you have a gifted child who wants to study in an expensive school, or there is a medical emergency or forthcoming wedding, or law suit, or the purchase of a new home, or sudden unemployment, or a car accident, or old age, or a trip around the world. Are you ready?

Recently, we met with Harry Kamataris at his “Financial Survival Workshop”. He helped us review our retirement annuities, and insurance policies, and gave us advice on how to financially prepare for the future. (Something I’ve procrastinated for a long time about.)

I can also talk about being ready for mortgage refinancing. Many of my clients, whose loans I’ve helped to refinance have low interest rates. Nevertheless, since interest rates came down, it makes sense to consolidate debts, or to extend low interest rate adjustable loans for another seven years. Do not wait until “the storm”—high rates will return. Make yourself ready.

P.S.

On a rainy night last week, I photographed the wet street in front of our house and created some of the abstract images above. Enjoy.

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What Not To Do When You Are Unhappy


What Not To Do When You Are Unhappy

“Happiness or unhappiness often does not depend on the actions of others, but on your own.”

 

Lately a lot of print space, social media, and tv has been devoted to the events in Ferguson, MO. I knew about it in passing and read about the protestors  in Oakland and the resulting damage and looting in the stores. But when I read Debra J. Saunders’ article in the Sunday’s SF Chronicle, “Don’t shoot (your mouth off) before all the facts are known”, I got a much clearer picture about what has been going on.

There is so much going on in the world where different groups are trying to make their point by killing each other. I don’t usually follow these stories, since there is little I can do to prevent these things from happening, other than listening or reading about them in the news.

For me, Ferguson is far away and even problems in Oakland are not exactly my problems. (I have a handful of my own.) But, what happened in San Francisco was closer to home. Especially since I was on the Union Square before peaceful protests turned violent. And again, I found out about what happened only on Sunday in the SF Chronicle.

I do not like crowds, but on Black Friday afternoon, I went to downtown to photograph shoppers for my online photo book, “Encounters in San Francisco”.

There were mobs of people in front of Macys and other stores. A long line standing to get to The Cheesecake Factory restaurant. A small group of policeman was peacefully chatting.  I went into Macys where from the 5th floor, I photographed the crowded Union Square. (Images coming soon in my Christmas newsletter.) Afterwards, I went to the square where a crowd had formed. In the middle was a group of people with place cards, mostly white folks. One yelled some slogans into a megaphone, which others would echo. Then there was another white guy who would whistle and the crowd would respond in return. People were expressing their opinion against “police brutality” in peaceful democratic form. I took some of the images and left, pursuing other photo-opportunities.

Apparently after I left, a group of hooligans, whose purpose was to distract the joyful crowd, attacked the police, broke windows, and looted, perhaps to get attention made all of the noise. Will their looting and violence bring justice to those who deserve it or change anything? In my view, true peace and justice be accomplished only through good intentions, never through intimidation or violence.

P.S.

My images only tell part of the story, but I have others, more joyful ones which I will share with you later.

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I received an email from a client, whose loan we refinanced last time in 2011. It was a mortgage fixed for 7 years and the rate would become adjustable in 2018.
Since then, she accumulated credit card debts, which cost her about $600/month. Being on a fixed income, this situation was challenging. After checking the rates, I saw that we can get her the same rate, extend her fixed loan until 2022, add $30,000 of the credit cards to the mortgage, and her monthly payment would go up only $20/month.
Huge Savings!


 

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Cheers,

Manny<br />
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