Timeshare and Mortgages

“God created beauty in nature and a sense of appreciation in humans. It is our task to experience and enjoy it.


We own a few weeks in various timeshares. We purchased our first timeshare in 1984 in a place called Arnold, located in the foothills of Calaveres County. We have only stayed in that timeshare two times–the rest of the years we’ve exchanged it through the RCI System. Someone recently asked me if it was a good investment. For our family–it was. We have traveled the world, visiting places we would probably never get to if not for this “mandatory” timeshare vacation. On each trip to a new location, promoters try to sell us yet another resort or another deal. And through the years, some of them were successful. My wife Elfa became an expert in finding our next vacation through the timeshare websites. Internationally, we have traveled to various parts of England, Germany, Austria, Whales, the South of France, Holland, and many beautiful locations in Canada…not to mention Hawaii and Mexico. And we have travelled throughout the United States as well. Each resort has a different charge for the yearly maintenance fee. Extra weeks can be banked for future use. We have used our weeks in the bank to get additional units to allow our family to join us. When we weren’t going to use our weeks, Elfa has sold the extra week for the cost of the maintenance.



At the end of March, I had a marketing conference in Phoenix, Arizona. On the spur of the moment, Elfa asked me if I can have a week off. I knew that I needed a rest, besides I had to work on my book, “Mortgage Solutions for Smart People: 5 Easy Ways to Get Your Mortgage Approved”. Luckily, she was able to find us a timeshare in Sedona, which is about a two hour drive from Phoenix.  We’ve been to Sedona before. It is a secret ground for Native Americans, known for its’ energy vortexes in the red cliffs around the area. I wrote for eight hours a day, only going out for a few hours in the afternoon. The result–a finished book and only a few photos. In between, I had to put out a few “fires” with some closing loans for sales transactions.



What prompted me to write about this subject was a very unusual email my office received a week ago from one of our lenders. After we refinanced a mortgage for a client, his loan was, as it is customarily done, sold to an investor–who could be Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or another bank. Two months later, our lender was notified that after the quality control procedure, the investor found some missing information in our clients’ file. If this information is not provided on time, the file is returned to the lender. If (God forbid) this happens, it is a very big problem for everyone. The investor claimed that apparently our client owns a co-op in San Francisco, which he did not disclose. I refinanced for this client a number of times, and I did not remember him ever mentioning any other properties (usually clients tell me everything).



What turned out was that this co-op building was transferred many years ago into a timeshare project. Our client owned a week of time not physical space. Though there is a yearly maintenance fee, which included a prorated tax, it is basically a prepaid vacation plan. The solution to this “big” discovery was very simple–to write an explanation letter. But what it demonstrated to us was that when lenders require so many documents or verifications, which takes our extra time and drives everyone crazy, it is not so much the lenders, but the Government owned investors. After losing billions in the reckless lending before 2008, the screws are getting tighter and tighter.

In spite of this, we close most of our loans and most importantly get clientsVERY LOW INTEREST RATES.


I just had a few images to share with you where I usually showcase my artistic interpretation. Hope you like them…let me know. You can see more beautiful Sedona images (not mine)–right here.


Best Wishes,


A Genuine Grin Can Help the Heart

Smile more–feel better, live healthier. A smile does not guarantee that you live longer, but why not try?Manny Kagan


When we stepped out from our hotel on the streets of Havana, we were greeted with a smile. Young people walked toward us with a genuine grin on their face. They did not notice us, and the smile was not for us…just for themselves.

We spoke with an American guide, who lives in Havana, and asked him , “Are Cubans happy?”

His answer was “Yes… are they content? No.”

People have very little, materially. Life there can be tough with much fewer resources and opportunities than we have here in the US.  So, what makes them happy?

As I wrote before, the reason I want to go back to Cuba in December is because I would like to be in the presence of these people and their smiles. I’ve provided more examples of what I’m talking about in these images. I decided to write about “Stress-Busting Smiles”, after reading the article with this title, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal on February 26, 2013. We went to Cuba with a US Treasury Department permit for travel with the “People to People” exchange. We were supposed to bring them ideas of the US way of life. I am sure Cubans can learn a thing or two from us, but what I’ve learned from them is to be happy in any adversary situation.




After reading the Wall Street Journal article, I try to remember to smile whenever I can. According to the article, this is not only beneficial for your health; but also, the physical act of smiling actually lifts your mood. Next time, try to smile and be angry, or depressed at the same time. Mission impossible.

Read the article to live a healthier life.




The mortgage business is plagued with a lot of new government regulators imposing changes. In my humble opinion, these new regulations–while they are called Consumer Protection–have an anti-consumer reality. But what can I do about it? After a trip to Cuba and reading the article, I found a solution.

I smile.

Actually, I have a lot of compassion for those hard working regulators, who also have children in private schools, have to pay mortgages, and are simply lucky to have a job in today’s economy. As far as mortgages are actually concerned, we need to find solutions in the given circumstances, like the one I describe below.

We just closed a mortgage for a client, who bought a pre-foreclosure property. We had very limited time, and our client had a number of personal issues and problems–solutions for which I describe in my forth-coming book, “Mortgage Solutions for Smart People: 5 Easy Ways to Get a Loan”. We submitted the loan to a bank, but because of the date of a possible foreclosure, (which was actually postponed), the lender declined the loan. We only had three weeks to close the loan. As it often happens in my life, at the last moment, I found a bank that could close a mortgage in three weeks on a no income (remember the ol’ good days?) loan. Where there is a will, there is a way.


If you want to meet smiling people, join us in December for a trip to the Havana Jazz Festival.

Best Wishes,


What is Good About Good Friday?


The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man be perfected without trials.”Danish Proverb


In the Torah, the process of creationis divided into six days with the seventh as a day of rest. By the end of the sixth day, all the creation was completed.

And God saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.Genesis 1:31

According to the Jewish calendar, the daily count starts on Sunday, so Friday is the sixth day, which in God’s view was very good. In the King James version of the Bible, the word “Good”, meaning “joy and pleasure”, appears 809 times. How then is it possible to call the day when Jesus, the Son of God, who was crucified by Romans “Good Friday”? Christianity, like any other religion is full of the controversies. There is a belief that the original name for this day was “God’s Friday”, which over the years became its present name. According to Wikipedia, this day is also called “Holy Friday”, “Great Friday”, “Black Friday”, or “Easter Friday”.

After Jesus died on the cross and the Roman centurion (soldier) pierced his body with a lance and blood and water came out, he was proclaimed dead and was buried in the cave. Three days later (i.e.  on Sunday), his body disappeared from his grave and there were some witnesses who claimed that they saw Jesus alive. Thus the story of the resurrection was born, which is now celebrated on Easter Sunday, which is probably the most celebrated Christian holiday. But what do bunnies and hard boiled painted eggs have to do with the resurrection?


According to GotQuestions.org, ancient Roman Catholic church authorities mixed this event with the pagan celebration of the goddess of spring called “Eastre”, whose earthly symbol was a rabbit, which was also known as a symbol of fertility, in attempt to attract non-believers.

In religion, like in other aspects of our lives, marketing and packaging sells. My concept of marketing, which coincides with Good Friday is to “Find good in any adversity”.



On March 13, 2013, Catholic Christians learned of their next spiritual leader, The New Pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) is Spanish speaking from Argentina. Cuba, which was occupied by Spain for many years as well, not only adopted the Spanish language, but also the Catholic faith, which often blends with some Caribbean influence.  For the last 53 years, Cuba has been a socialist country which follows Karl Marx’s doctrine that the “Religion is Opium for the masses”.

On our trip to Havana, we saw many dilapidated, old and beautiful buildings. But when we visited two cathedrals, we were shocked by their beauty and opulence and perfect condition. Miracles do happen.

You can discover for yourself how beautiful these places of worship are by joining us on our next trip to Cuba in December. Meanwhile, enjoy some of the images I photographed.



I do not want to spoil your Holiday spirit, therefore I will write about what is good in getting a new mortgage next week.

Happy Easter!


Best Wishes,

Manny<br />