Category Archives: Weekly News Columns

A Cup of Coffee

By Mark Hopper

There are a lot of coffee places in Diamond Bar. We have at least two Starbucks; the It’s A Grind and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.  Plus McDonalds has the McCafe.  I’m sure that the possibilities are endless.

 

My wife likes me to bring home a cup of coffee for her from one of these local shops. It is called Julie’s Cafe. It is near our home and located in the Walmart – Crunch Fitness shopping center at Diamond Bar Blvd and Grand Avenue.

 

Since I don’t drink coffee, I can’t compare the tastes and flavors offered at Julies with other coffee shops in town.  But I know that my wife prefers the Hazelnut coffee with two packets of sweetener and a lot of cream.  I have memorized the formula.

 

I think that one of the things that make Julie’s so popular is the hospitality. The setting is peaceful and comfortable. I have seen Julie (the owner) personally trimming the potted plants on the patio and tending to the flowers that enhance the atmosphere.

 

They serve a variety of breakfast items and they have a large lunch menu. They prepare each item with great care on site. They are not open for dinner and are closed on Sunday and Monday. Julie’s Cafe is often filled with people of all ages enjoying good coffee and great food.   Guests enjoy the pleasant atmosphere and warm hospitality.

 

There are a number of verses in the Bible that emphasize the importance of hospitality.  You can examine a few for yourself like Romans 12:13, First Timothy 3:1, Hebrews 13:2 and First Peter 3:9. All of them highlight the importance of welcoming others into your home, church, business or office and treating them as your guests.

 

I wonder how you are doing in this area of your life.  Do people feel welcome and comfortable in your home or business?  Do you greet them with a warm welcome and friendly smile?  Do you make an effort to learn their name and how you can help them?

 

I think we could use more emphasis on hospitality in our culture today. Let me encourage you to do more to exercise hospitality to your clients, friends and strangers, too. You will be glad you did and they will too!

 

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org

 

Housing Prices Declining?

Nef Cortez

By Nef Cortez

I reported last week that the Diamond Bar Condominium and Townhome market saw an increase of almost 11% year over year (2nd quarter 2018 as compared to 2nd quarter 2017) in its Median Sales Price (MSP). What happened to the price of detached homes in Diamond Bar for the same period? According to the California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS) the Diamond Bar Single Family Detached Home (SFDH) market also saw an increase in the Median Sales Price.  The 2nd Quarter 2018 saw the MSP number for this segment of the housing market go up to $750,000 for all of Diamond Bar, as compared to $720,000 for the same period in 2017. The $30,000.00 increase in one year translated into an annualized rate of increase of 4.2%. It did not increase at the same rate as Condo/Townhome MSP.  The 4.2% increase was approximately 40% of the rate of increase in MSP for the Condo/Townhouse segment of the market.

The number of sales of Single Family Detached Homes also saw a decrease of approximately 20%, going down to 101 from 125 for the same period of time the previous year. The Condo/Townhouse sales transaction numbers went up almost 21%, with 64 closed sales in the 2nd quarter 2018 versus 53 for the same period in 2017.

It is evident from the statistics as reported by the MLS, the home prices overall continue to climb here in Diamond Bar, although the rate of increase is slowing down, and the housing sales numbers have definitely seen a slowdown.  Before prices can start to decline, they must first plateau, and before they plateau or flatten out, they must first start to slow down in their rate of increase.  We are at that stage in the housing cycle now.

This article was written by Nef Cortez who is a licensed Real Estate Broker, Ca DRE lic # 00560181, licensed since 1976. He can be reached for more information via e-mail at nefcortez@gmail.com, or website www.nefcortez.com. Please feel free to email any questions regarding real estate.

Being Back In School

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist

Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

By Nancy Stoops

I work with so many young people that have recently started school again.  They are all feeling a lot of stress due to the transition from summer to school.  The homework is coming at what seems to be a rapid pace. It’s important for these students to take one day at a time and to not overwhelm themselves.  Going back to school after summer break has been hard on every generation.  It’s important for these students to be well organized with a good notebook and a separate folder for each subject.  It’s a good idea for them to have a folder for work and papers that need to come home and another for what needs to be turned in or go back with them.  A place for pens and other necessary supplies is essential.

I find so many students really struggle with time management and are starting homework much too late in the evening after they have already been up for ten to twelve hours.  It’s ideal for a student to come home and have a good snack and start their homework about thirty minutes after they have arrived home.  I think if they can get their homework out of the way they might actually have part of an evening to relax and renew to prepare the right mindset for the next day.  It’s hard to a successful anything if one is running on fumes. Another important essential is a designated place to study.

Learning is really a lifelong event and it’s important to help somebody be an effective learner.  Being organized, not becoming over whelmed, learning effective time management and having an environment conducive to learning can make a huge difference.  As parents it is our job to help our children with these things so they can be successful lifetime learners!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  She has a private practice in Diamond Bar and is currently accepting new clients; she is also a motivational speaker who can inspire your employees or group members.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups on how to manage anger.    For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at (909) 229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancystoops@verizon.net. You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.com.

 

 

Fun With a Grandson

Pastor Mark Hopper

By Mark Hopper

 

My brother and I grew up in Arizona. We didn’t have major league sports in the Phoenix area when we were young but there were several Major League Baseball teams that did their Spring Training in Arizona.

 

One of my memories as a little kid was going to a Major League Baseball game with my brother and our grandfather.  The stadiums were much smaller and we got to see some well known players in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.

 

Now, sixty years later it was my turn to take one of my grandsons to a Major League Baseball game at Angel stadium.  We have gone to several games with our whole family but this was the first time it was just grandpa and grandson. I wondered how the two of us would do on our baseball adventure.

 

We stopped at In N Out Burger for a quick dinner. We both enjoyed burgers and fries and shared a Milk Shake for dessert. We saw other Angel fans who were going to the game. We arrived at the stadium in time for the National Anthem.  As we entered the stadium we each received a free T-shirt marking all star player Mike Trout’s 27th birthday!  My grandson was impressed!

 

A friend had given us two tickets to the game. We didn’t realize they were near the Angel’s dugout less than 15 rows from the field.  My grandson and I were very excited to be sitting so close with a great view of home plate.

 

It was a great game to watch.  The visiting team got off to a quick start getting two runs in the first inning.  But, the Angels came back in the bottom of the inning scoring five runs. They would score six more runs during the rest of the game and win 11-5!

 

We brought some snacks with us to enjoy during the game and my grandson also brought his own baseball glove and hoping to catch a foul ball. A couple came in our direction but none were close enough for us to catch. We also did some shopping in the Angel’s team store. He selected a souvenir so he could remember this special time with Pop Pop.

 

I wondered how long my grandson would want to stay. I asked him a couple of times if he was getting tired and was ready to go home. To my surprise he said that he didn’t want to leave early but wanted to stay until the end of the game. So we stayed until the last out and cheered the Angel’s victory.

 

I took a lot of pictures with my cell phone and sent them to my wife and his mom and dad. In addition, we were on the Jumbotron during the game as a cameraman captured us and other enthusiastic fans in our section. My grandson was also excited to be part of the “Wave” where fans stand and cheer as the “Wave” sweeps around the stadium. And, we sang “Take me out to the ball game” in the 7th inning.

 

It was an eventful night at the ballgame.  I’m sure it is an adventure that we will remember for a long time.  I held his hand as we walked across the parking lot and I couldn’t help but smile – Grandpa and his grandson at a baseball game.  As we drove home, I asked my little buddy if he enjoyed the game.  He said “Yes”.  Then he asked, “Can I close my eyes now?”

 

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org

 

Diamond Bar Condo Market Update

By Nef Cortez

The Diamond Bar Condominium and Townhome market continues to roll along! The Median Sales Price (MSP) of Diamond Bar condos and townhomes went up Year over Year by almost 11%. The increase of the condominium/townhouse MSP went up from $360,000 in the 2nd quarter (April-May-June) of 2017 to $399,000 in the 2nd quarter 2018 (The Median Sales Price is the price which was the mid-point between the highest and the lowest priced sale). The lowest priced condominium transfer was at $230,000, and the highest priced sale transaction closed at $855,000.00. In comparison, the lowest priced condo sale in the 2nd quarter of 2017 was at $200,000, with the highest sales price for the same period closing at $742,000.  The MSP price increase paralleled the Single Family Residence (SFR) Medium Sales Price increase in Diamond Bar as well.

The sharp increase in the MSP was not accompanied by the same problem that has plagued the SFR market. Whereas there has been a decreased number of transactions in the SFR market in Diamond Bar for the 2nd quarter this year as compared to 2017, the condominium and townhome sales number saw an increase at the same time that the MSP increased.  The sales transactions number went up almost 21%, with 64 closed sales in the 2nd quarter 2018 versus 53 for the same period in 2017. In comparison, the SFR market saw transaction numbers drop by 19%, going down from 120 for the 2nd quarter 2017 to 97 in the 2nd quarter 2018 (data drawn from the California Regional Multiple Listing Service-CRMLS). It appears that as the Diamond Bar Single Family Residential Median Sales Price became less affordable (exceeding $735,000 in  the 2nd Quarter 2018), the buyers shifted over to purchasing the comparatively more affordable Condominium or Townhome. This is typical for  fluctuations that occur in the residential housing market.

This article was written by Nef Cortez who is a licensed Real Estate Broker, Ca DRE lic # 00560181, licensed since 1976. He can be reached for more information via e-mail at nefcortez@gmail.com, or website www.nefcortez.com. Please feel free to email any questions regarding real estate.

 

 

Help Make This Your Child’s Best School Year

By Nancy Stoops

School has just begun and you already feel worried.  You worry about your child repeating last year’s mistakes and you wonder just how to prevent this.  You tell yourself you did all you could to get them off to a good start and now you know most of it is truly up to them.

Maybe this year you need to get them some tutoring or maybe even some counseling.  It’s important for a student to feel good about him or herself.  It’s important for a student to believe that they can be successful if they truly try their best.  I know it’s hard sometimes to figure out the missing component but don’t wait this year until they are at the point of no return.

If your child is being bullied or having emotional problems I guarantee it will get in the way of their academic performance.  Think about how it feels to go to work when you’re emotionally struggling, it’s just as bad if not worse for your child.  Don’t be afraid to talk with your child or to ask for some help. You may have to learn to ask very specific questions to get them to give you more than a” yes” or a” no” or an” okay”.

There are so many pressures on our children and teens today.  So many of the children and teens I’ve had the honor of working with just feel so very alone and different.  These feelings can really get in the way of their academic performance and in the way of them being successful adults.  Many of our students get into drugs and other bad things because they think that’s the only way they can make it through their days.  Make this the year you don’t ignore the red flags.  I know you are vey busy but you only have the here and now to help your child grow into a responsible and proud individual.

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens.  For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at (909)229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy atnancyjstoops@verizon.net. You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.com.

 

Special Day For Special Needs By Scout Pack 2017

Melody Kraemer – Autisim Mom

Eastvale – The 2nd annual Special Needs Game Day event in Eastvale was held on Saturday, August 4th at Harada Park. I was so excited for this day since both my boys are autistic. It was very special day that was made possible by Tom Donatoni and Scout Pack 2017.

It was a special gesture to have a free event that was designed just for them, the little heroes in our lives. The event ran from 4 pm to 8 pm and had over 1000 participants, approximately 3 times as many as the first year.

 

I had been excited for weeks waiting for this day, both my boys are autistic and participants in the games.

We all were given a wristband upon check-in, and the kids were given numbers on their wristband.  The numbers were for the groups they would be in for the games.

 

There was opening ceremony, it consisted of the pledge of alliance and a prayer from Mark Lee, the pastor of Vantage Point Church in Eastvale.

 

After the opening ceremony, an announcement was made about where to line up for the games according to the number that each child had on their wristband.

 

The games that were in the middle of the event consisted of Tug a war, an obstacle course, bean bag toss, foot races, water balloon toss and many more.

 

There were some very helpful vendors in attendance that had program and services information for the parents of special little heroes. They also had special activities for them to participate in. Pack 2017 thought of everything on this day, having three jumpers and a slide set up for the kids. (I think this was my youngest son’s favorite. He loves to bounce and bounce).

 

There were also many characters in cosplay costumes walking around interacting with the kids and posing for pictures.  My boys loved the Power Rangers, and the characters from the Star Wars universe and many others.

 

Water stations were set up, and free water bottles were given out to all that needed cold water. It was a very hot day, and that water was much needed and appreciated.

 

A BBQ Dinner was served to everybody in attendance and there was plenty of food to go around and was enjoyed by all.

 

The organization of this event was very well orchestrated and made possible by many wonderful volunteers who were in attendance.  I am so happy that we attended this event.  It was a great day, and my little heroes sure enjoyed themselves.

 

A huge thank you to Tom Donatoni and Eastvale Scout pack 2017 for bringing this unforgettable selfless event to our little heroes. It indeed was a fantastic day!

A Familiar Face

By Mark Hopper

Some of our grandchildren and their parents have been staying with us for a few weeks.  It has been fun to have a house full of four energetic and enthusiastic young children.

 

One day one of them found a small newspaper on our driveway and brought into the house. I suggested that we look through the paper and see if there was a picture of anyone we might recognize in it. I said, “I wonder if there is a picture of Pop Pop (me) in the paper”.  My six year old grandson replied, “No Pop Pop – they only put pictures of famous people in the newspaper”.

 

I wasn’t exactly sure how to reply to his comment, but I thought it might be fun to look through the paper anyway. As we proceeded to turn the pages, he did not see anyone he recognized.  Several of the advertisements had pictures of people and several of the news articles did too.

 

As we looked at each page, I asked him, “Is there a picture of Pop Pop on this page?” His  answer was always the same – “no”.  But, when we got to page eight, he was startled to see a picture of me!  The expression on the face of my grandson was priceless.  He looked at the photo and looked at me several times. He couldn’t believe it – there was a picture of his grandfather in the newspaper!

 

I explained that I get to write articles for the “Weekly News” publication. I assured my grandson that a lot of people read my article every week. I don’t know the exact number of readers but I’m sure there are a lot.  He asked what kind of things I wrote about so I showed him a few copies of articles that I had cut out from past issues.

 

We sat on the couch and read a few of the articles together. I was surprised at his level of interest in what his grandpa had written. I told him that I had even written a few articles about him and his sisters. He was surprised but seemed happy to hear that I had written about them.

 

I couldn’t help but smile as I thought back on that conversation. “Only famous people have their pictures in the newspaper”.  I don’t consider myself famous.  I’m just glad I get to share my thoughts with a few readers each week. But, if my grandson wants to think that his Pop Pop is famous – I’m ok with that!

 

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org

 

Are You Living to Die or Dying To Live?

By Nancy Stoops                                     

Our lives are truly about our mindset and how we view our lives.  I must ask you if you are living to die or are you dying to live.  These two ways for which people live sure do look and sound the same but they couldn’t be more different.  Take a look at the first one, living to die.  To me that means the person is merely existing and just going through the motions until they die.  I don’t believe there is much joy or quality of life with this style of life.  I believe a pretty unhappy and dissatisfied person lives according to the idea of living to die. Now on the other hand a person who is dying to live has a life of joy and quality.  I believe they are satisfied with their lives and appreciate each and every day they are honored with life.

 

So how do you live?  Which of these two mottos do you follow? It’s never too late to change.  It all starts by changing your mindset.  It starts by letting go of your past, forgiving yourself and others and on being grateful each and every day we are honored to be here.  As you begin the healing process your mindset will start to help you see all the good in everyday and you will start to feel empowered by the self- induced changes in you and the way you think.

I hope the change will start by reading this article.  I hope you believe you deserve a better life and use this as a road map to take you there.  I have faith in you that you can make the change and get the life you are worthy of!

 

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  She has a private practice in Diamond Bar and is currently accepting new clients; she is also a motivational speaker who can inspire your employees or group members.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups on how to manage anger.    For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at (909) 229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancystoops@verizon.net. You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.com.

 

 

Housing Bubble Chatter

Nef Cortez

By Nef Cortez

 

As a licensed agent since 1976, I have seen a few cycles of the Real Estate market.  None that I have seen have been exactly like one of the others.  Lately, there has been a lot of “Chatter” in real estate circles, or in articles written about whether we’re in the middle of another housing bubble, or at the brink of and about to head into a real estate housing recession.

The interest rate environment had been trending upward for the previous few months this year, and it seems to have had an impact on the number of sales being transacted, with fewer properties being sold in the first part of this year as compared to last year.  After reaching an average high of close to 5% in the last few months, the 30 year mortgage has settled back into the mid 4% range.

The decreasing affordability of housing has triggered the increasing number of news articles and housing industry pundit discussions about a slowing down of the housing market.  The increase in home prices year over year exceeding 5% combined with the interest rate increase seen lately in the 30 year fixed rate mortgages are but two financial factors that have led to fewer sales transactions this year (as compared to last year). These discussions lead into the topic of a recession in home prices as well in the not to distant future. The inventory of homes on the market is slowly increasing, with the length of time that homes are on the market slightly increasing as well. These two factors in combination will provide an easing in the upward pressure on prices. Before a drop in prices can occur, a slowing down in the rate of increase must occur, followed by a leveling off in the increase in prices.

According to the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), a Government Sponsored Entity created by Congress to provide liquidity to the housing market, the “Consumer optimism about purchasing a home continued tot fade in July, as low inventory, rising prices and higher interest rates are affecting their market perception”, Fannie Mae said.

This article was written by Nef Cortez who is a licensed Real Estate Broker, Ca DRE lic # 00560181, licensed since 1976. He can be reached for more information via e-mail at nefcortez@gmail.com, or website www.nefcortez.com. Please feel free to email any questions regarding real estate.

 

Peanuts And Cracker Jacks

By Mark Hopper

Some of our grandchildren have been visiting us for the past few weeks. We have enjoyed having them and their parents staying with us at our house. One of the things I have enjoyed while they have been here is playing baseball with them in our front yard.

 

We use a plastic baseball and plastic bat. We play in the front yard so there is plenty of room to hit the ball. The best time to play is late in the day as the temperature cools off and the sun is going down.

 

Baseball has a lot of rules and regulations. It is difficult to explain and takes a while to get used to. While they have been learning how to play baseball, we have also talked about going to a real baseball game together.

 

They have been to a few games in past years, but now they seemed ready to really understand the game. We decided to go to a Saturday night game at Angel stadium. The Saturday games start earlier and they usually have a fire work show after the game.

 

Food at the games can get pretty expensive, but the Angels allow people to bring their own snacks and food into the stadium. So, we purchased two large bags of peanuts and two large bags of Cracker Jacks at a local grocery store and brought them and some bottles of water with us to the game.

 

The grandkids were in awe of the big stadium.  We had good seats in the upper deck on the shady side of the field.  The grandkids were very excited and had a lot of questions about the field and the players. They were excited to see Mike Trout hit a home run in the first inning.

 

Our peanuts, Cracker Jacks and water bottles came in handy as we munched throughout the game.  I was surprised at how much they consumed.

 

It was a good game for the home team. The Angels scored eleven runs and they defeated the Seattle Mariners by a score of 11-6.  During the 7th inning stretch we sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”.  The grandkids knew most of the words!

 

Between innings, they often show photos of fans in the stands. They actually showed our family on the big screen!!  It happened so quickly that we didn’t have time to take a photo. It was our family’s ten seconds of fame on the big screen at Angel stadium!

 

After the game, they had a great fireworks show.  All of us really enjoyed it. They also showed a movie after the fireworks, but we didn’t stay. Our young fans were pretty tired out and we were too.

 

Did I mention that our baseball experience actually continued the next day?  Because the Angels scored at least ten runs, a local restaurant chain offered all of those in attendance a free chicken Taco the day after the game.  We enjoyed eating our free Taco at Fresca’s Mexican Grill in Brea on Sunday afternoon!  It tasted great!

 

I suspect that whenever we play baseball in the front yard with our grandkids in the future, we will remember our special adventure to Angel stadium together.  It was an evening we will remember for a long time!

 

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org

 

Who Ate My Cookie?

By Mark Hopper

Recently, I was playing golf with some friends in the mountains outside Salt Lake City, Utah. It has been pretty hot here in Southern California, so it was nice to get away and enjoy cooler temperatures in the Wasch Mountains in northern Utah.

 

The sky was blue and the hillsides were covered with pine and aspen trees. There were several sparkling mountain streams running through our golf course.  It was a perfect setting for a round of golf with some old friends.

 

While our wives are out shopping, the husbands usually spend part of the day playing golf. Our wives think it is only fair that they get to spend the same amount of money on shopping as the men spend on golfing. This arrangement has worked out well for many years.

 

The men usually eat breakfast before heading to the golf course. Then we pack some snacks to take with us on the course.  We are too old to carry heavy golf bags and walk 4-5 hours playing 18 holes, so we rent golf carts to help us get around.   There are usually two golfers in each cart.

 

We load our golf bags on the carts and bring a few snacks with us, too. Sometimes we bring a bottle of water or purchase a soft drink at the snack bar to keep us hydrated on the course.

 

However, there are not only golfers on a golf course; there are small animals and critters living on the golf course too. In fact, we saw at least one deer each day we played.

 

Some of the full-time residents like squirrels and birds have learned that there is food on those golf carts. Often they will steal food when the golfers walk away to a tee box or putting green.

 

This year was no exception.  While we were taking turns on the putting green, we discovered that a squirrel had climbed up into our cart and was searching for a granola bar or bag of peanuts.  They knew exactly what they were doing and when to launch their raid on our goodies!  It was clear that they had become skilled, professional thieves who knew exactly how and when to attack.

 

Fortunately, we noticed they were in our cart before they could do any damage.  We chased them away and scolded them for trying to steal our snacks.  However, there are a lot more critters than there are golfers on a golf course.  This is their home territory. They know every tree and every hiding place on the golf course. They are permanent residents and we are only the visitors. They have home field advantage. We were at a distinct disadvantage.

 

Fortunately we were able to finish our round of golf without any loss of life or snacks. However, I must admit that we did leave a few goodies behind on the course to express our appreciation to the local residents for sharing their beautiful golf course with us.

 

Let me warn you the next time you go golfing, watch out for the local thieves and bandits on the course. If you are not careful, they will eat your lunch or steal cookies when you are not watching. But, you may want express your thanks to them by sharing a bite or two. You will be glad you did and they will too!

 

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

Sunday services: 9:00 & 10:45 Am

Efreedb.org

 

When Does 1% = 12.5%?

Nef Cortez

By Nef Cortez

Is this an example of “Modern Math”? 1 % can be a BIG number in the Real Estate industry, as well as in the Home Lending industry.  As the economy improves (and this last quarter’s 4.1% increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) indicates that it is), home loan interest rates are expected to go up.  The 30 year home mortgage averaged 4.53% in July 2018, as reported by the Federal National Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FREDDIEMAC). That number compares with 3.97% a year ago in July 2017. That is a full .55% higher than it was just one year ago, before the economy seemed to start revving up.  It could easily go up another .5% in the next six months, as long as the economy continues to perform at or near its current pace.

How much of a difference in the housing payment would a 1% increase in the interest rate represent to a Diamond Bar home buyer?  The Median Sales Price (MSP) of a Single Family Residence (SFR) in Diamond Bar reached  $735,000.00 for the last quarter including sales from April through June 2018. Assuming the purchase with a 20% down payment, and the monthly interest rate of 3.97%, the 30 year fixed rate conventional mortgage would have a monthly payment of $2,797.00.  Projecting another .5% interest rate increase, a similar mortgage in the amount of $588,000 with a fixed rate at 4.97% (1 % higher than July 2017’s) would have a monthly principal and interest payment of $3,145.00, a difference of $348 per month, representing an increase of 12.5% in the payment as a result of the higher interest rate.

This is a case where 1% (increase in mortgage interest rate) equals 12.5% (increase in payment)! The risk of missing out on the lower interest rate is causing many buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines to “get off the fence” and buy.

This article was written by Nef Cortez who is a licensed Real Estate Broker, Ca DRE lic # 00560181, licensed since 1976. He can be reached for more information via e-mail at nefcortez@gmail.com, or website www.nefcortez.com. Please feel free to email any questions regarding real estate.

 

Getting Ready to Start School

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist

Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

By Nancy Stoops

In just a few weeks our care free summers will end and school will begin. The lazy late nights will be replaced by endless hours of homework and studying. Very soon sleeping late during the week will come to an end and rising early and on time, will be the goal.  Don’t wait until the evening before to change behavioral patterns.  Start right now on adjusting sleeping schedules and give your child or teen an advantage.  It’s really hard to make that sleeping change all at once and in one evening.

Getting organized correctly can be such a help for creating an organized student.  A good notebook with tab dividers and a separate folder for each subject within the dividers can be very helpful.  A pouch with the necessary writing implements, a hole puncher, stapler and whatever else will help is also very necessary.  I think some type of planner or organizer to write assignments down can really help as well.

Help you child or teen figure out why they didn’t meet the academic goals they had for last year.  Teach them to set daily, weekly, semester and annual goals that are realistic and obtainable.  It’s important to understand that many times just doing class and homework isn’t enough and that studying as well, is an important part of academic success.  I work with many young people in my practice and they seem to have a hard time asking their teachers for help because they don’t want to appear stupid in front of their peers.  Help your student find ways to get the help they need and in a way that they are okay with.  Remind then to tell you right away before they are failing and can’t raise that grade.  I wish you success this year!!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  She has a private practice in Diamond Bar and is currently accepting new clients; she is also a motivational speaker who can inspire your employees or group members.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups on how to manage anger.    For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at (909)229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net.  You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.com.

 

Interest Rates Affect Home Values

Nef Cortez

By Nef Cortez

Interest rates have been trending at historically low levels for the last decade. Beginning with the Great Recession (which many have termed a Depression), interest rates on home loans carrying a fixed rate and a 30 year payback term, have meandered under 4.75%.  They have ranged from the current 4.5% down to as low as 3.5%.  In that same decade, beginning with the upturn of prices from the bottom point of the real estate market crash of 2008, the Median Homes Sales Price (MSP) of a California Single Family Home (SFH) has been on a steady increase.  Because of the Great Recession, the Median Sales Price of the California median single family home dropped from its high point of $595,000 in May 2007 down to its low point of $245,000 in February 2009. This represented a drop of more than 59%, a huge number. The record number of foreclosures recorded in the last decade were both an outcome and a factor in the spiraling down of the California MSP, as it was across the United States. In fact, many other parts of the world suffered through a similar real estate market recession.

The California Median Sales Price in 1990 was $195,000.00 as reported by the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.).  The interest rate on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage was approximately 10%, according to the Federal National Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC). A decade later, in July of 2000, the California MSP had risen to $245,000.00, and increase of 25% in ten years.  The interest rate in that same period of time had dropped to close to 8% from 10% a decade earlier.  This represented a drop of 20% in the cost of a mortgage. As the cost of money went down, the Buyer was able to and did pay a higher price in the MSP or purchase price of the home.

The “CRAZY!” increase in home prices between June 2000 and May 2007 was not driven nor greatly influenced by the mortgage interest rates but more so by the crazy disregard for common sense underwriting guidelines.  The California MSP saw an increase from $245,000 in June 2000 to the then record high MSP of $595,000 in May 2007. This represented an increase of 142% in MSP in only 7 years, an astounding 20% annual increase! Totally unsustainable, as was evidenced by the subsequent housing market crash. Where do you think we are now in the current real estate cycle? E-mail me your opinion.

This article was written by Nef Cortez who is a licensed Real Estate Broker, Ca DRE lic # 00560181, licensed since 1976. He can be reached for more information via e-mail at nefcortez@gmail.com, or website www.nefcortez.com. Please feel free to email any questions regarding real estate.

 

Free Counseling is Available

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist

Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

By Nancy Stoops

For the past twenty years I have had the honor of facilitating a free counseling group every Monday evening.  Our group meets at the Walnut Teen Center and Gymnasium located at 21003 La Puente Road in the city of Walnut.  We meet year round from 6-8p.m. every Monday unless it is a holiday.  Their phone number is (909) 444-0089 and my contact number is 909 229-0727 should you have any questions.  You do not need to have any appointment to attend this group you are all free to drop by anytime.  This group satisfies many court mandated needs.

Even though this group meets at a teen center I invite people of all ages with all types of issues.  This group helps parents, students, and all people that are just struggling in their lives.  My goal is to just make our community be healthier and make its’ population be effective in their lives and create successful human beings.  We work on any array of issues that many people present day are dealing with. There is no reason for anybody to be stuck in an unhealthy place.

If you are tired of the fight between you and your child regarding homework or need some more effective ways to communicate this is the group for you.  Maybe depression or anxiety seems to be holding you or a loved one back and finding solutions could be life changing.  If you or somebody you know is struggling with drugs or drinking this group is a great place to get some coping skills to get clean.  We talk about ways to deal with bullies and how damaging it can be for somebody’s self-esteem.  Bring in an issue and I promise you will feel hopeful and have new tools to help you confront the issue head on.  Don’t let embarrassment stop you or a loved one from getting the help you need to reclaim the wonderful life you are so deserving of.

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens.  For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at (909) 229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjsttops@verizon.net. You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.com.

 

 

There Is No Taste Like Home

By Mark Hopper

Last spring, my wife and I traveled to see some of our children and grandchildren who live overseas. We actually flew to Poland and spent a couple of days with them touring Krakow. Then, we went south on a road trip from Poland to their home in Slovenia.

 

It was fun to see another part of Europe that we had never visited before. We drove through Poland, the Czech Republic and Austria on our way south to Slovenia. These beautiful countries are filled with endless miles of farms and fields producing crops of all kinds.  We saw some fields where seeds were just sprouting and others where the corn and wheat were growing rapidly.

 

Part of our road trip included a stop in the Czech Republic at the headquarters of the organization our children work with. This beautiful conference center is situated on a hillside overlooking the forests and fields below.

 

As we continued on our road trip, our son-in-law informed us that we needed to stop at a warehouse to purchase some food items that are not available in Slovenia. Our curiosity got the best of us as we inquired what we were looking for in Czech that was not available in Slovenia.  He was looking for authentic Mexican food.

 

Don’t misunderstand; you can actually buy Mexican food items at many stores in Europe.  For example, many of the large grocery chains sell Tortilla Chips and other items.  But they don’t always taste the same as what we are used to here in Southern California.

 

We were looking for a warehouse that actually imported authentic Mexican food.  It was quite an adventure trying to find this small warehouse.  It was not on a main highway.  We took some smaller two-lane country roads following the advice of Google Maps.  Even with the help of technology it was hard to find.  But eventually we found what we were looking for.

 

Here we were in the middle of Europe at a warehouse that imported real Mexican food.  They had Mexican spices, enchilada sauce, beer, tortillas, cheese, spices and a lot more.  All of these were authentic – made in Mexico. Our son-in-law was in heaven when he saw so many familiar items that he knew we would enjoy.

 

“They also had Tortilla Chips that were actually made in Mexico!  The chips tasted so good that we bought four cases that each contained 10 large bags. Yummmmy!”

Actually, some of the cases of chips were for other American friends who were hoping to get in on deal.  They would not be disappointed.  Four cases of Chips were on their way to Slovenia.  There would be no shortage of authentic Tortilla Chips in Slovenia for quite a while.

 

I suspect that there are certain foods that remind you of your home too.  We have a broad diversity of cultures in Southern California.  Along with these different ethnic groups comes the foods and flavors of their homeland.  I know we have grocery stores right here in our area that specializes in Indian, Chinese, Korean and Indonesian products and spices. There are probably many more that I am unaware of. There is something special about enjoying familiar food and sharing it with others.

 

Let me encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and go explore the grocery stores and restaurants in our area.  Find a familiar food from your home country and invite a friend or neighbor to enjoy it with you.  You will be glad you did and they will too!

 

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Vacation Bible School July 23-27th

Efreedb.org

Millennials # 1 in Housing

Nef Cortez

By Nef Cortez

Millennials have now surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest segment of homebuyers.  According to a report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), millennials comprised 38% of all buyers across the US in 2013, surpassing the 32% comprised of Baby Boomers. Since then, Millennials have consistently been the largest segment of the homebuying population.  Millennials are defined as people having been born between 1980 and 2000.

The US Census shows that the Millennial Generation is larger than even the Baby Boomers, who were the largest demographic in the history of the United States. The 92 million Millennials outnumber the 77 million Baby Boomers by more than 16%. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the sheer number of Millennials coming into the prime home purchasing years (25 years old to 45 years of age) will continue to grow and the percentage of millennials purchasing a home will also become a larger segment of the homebuying population.

Another factor that is expected to impact the growing number of purchases by Millennials is that they have been putting off moving out of their parent’s homes and/or getting married. The median age for married Millennials was 30 years old here in the 2010’s, where just 40 years ago, the median age was only 23. Assuming the legal marriage age of 18 as the beginning number, the median number of years that marriage has been put off by millennials is 7 years, an increase of 140% in the median years before marriage.

Marriage is seen by most people as a major life event that in many ways drives people toward home-ownership.  Seeking stability, gaining privacy, and building equity are seen as reasons to buy versus continuing to rent (not to mention sharply rising rents). As a larger number of Millennials reach the current median age of 30 before getting married (and so far, only 40% of millennials have), this factor will be even more impactful on the real estate market.  An overwhelming number, more than 90%, of Millennials age 18-35 who currently rent plan to buy a home some day. That compares favorably with the less than 40 % of Baby Boomers who now plan on buying in the future. That demographic is thinking more of retirement than they are on getting started all over again on a 30 year mortgage.

All indications point to Millennials being the largest driver of the housing market in the next decade.

This article was written by Nef Cortez who is a licensed Real Estate Broker, Ca DRE # 00560181, licensed since 1976. He can be reached for more information via e-mail at nefcortez@gmail.com, or website www.nefcortez.com. Please feel free to email any questions regarding real estate.

 

 

 

Connecting With Your Spouse

Courtesy: Google Images

By Melody Kraemer-Stillwell

 

I looked at my husband sitting on the couch and wondered to myself, who is that man? He almost felt like a stranger living in our house. Then it dawned on me,  when was the last time we had a meal together that didn’t involve picky eaters, feeding a child, cutting up meals, and more?  When was the last time we had a conversation that didn’t include a million interruptions? When was the last time it was just him and I? It had been so long, I couldn’t remember when it was just us. I started to feel the distance between my husband and me, and I realized we were co-parenting in the house and that was it.  What happened to us? Kids and life!

Having an autistic child who is almost nine but is still, mentally, around the age of four can be challenging and exhausting.

We as parents need each other. It’s vital we stay connected. We can go out for a date night, but it’s not that easy. Having two autistic children, we can’t just hire a babysitter and head out the door. We came up with some ways we stay connected that what works for us:

  1. Say I love you daily to each other
  2. Smile at each other
  3. Text each other (and yes sometimes it is when we are in the house together)
  4. When we pass each other, in the house, make it a point to reach out and touch the other one.
  5. Random hugs
  6. Make it a point to get up early with your spouse and spend a few quiet moments together before they leave for work.
  7. Complement each other.
  8. Say thank you to each other (Thank you, honey, for doing the dishes..)
  9. Try and stay humble and never assume you know what the other is thinking (ok this is a hard one)
  10. Discuss things and try not to argue, and be honest with each other.

Though life can be challenging and daily living will get in the way, we have to stay connected as a couple and not just as co-parents. There will be times you may still feel distant from your spouse then look over to them and smile they will smile back all is right in our world.

Melody is the publisher of Macaroni Kid in Eastvale and Riverside.  Check out her online newsletter for fun family things to do at: http://www.jurupavalley.macaronikid.com

 

Freeing Oneself

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist

Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

By Nancy Stoops

Do you find yourself chasing your tail or taking one step forward and two backwards?  Do you seem to be living life if a very circular pattern?  What would need to happen to get you and to keep you moving forward?

We all have left over stuff that truly seems to become part of us.  It’s the stuff from our childhood or from a tragedy we experienced.  It’s the stuff that stops us dead in our tracks and spills over into all the other areas of our lives.

Now that a new year has begun make a commitment to start getting some help.  Find a therapist or a support group and really start working on your issues.  Think about how much healthier you could be by the end of the year if you started now.  Getting rid of the issues that stop you from being all you could be, is the best thing you could do for yourself.  It truly is the most precious gift one can ever give themselves.

Picture yourself free from the issues that once bound you and got in the way of the life you want.  Now think about why you haven’t started on your journey to freedom and to having a life and self that you have only dreamt of.  Are you afraid of what might be uncovered or do you dread the energy that needs to be put forth?  Now for a moment, think about how frightening it is thinking about never being free of all of it and never having the life that you deserve. For me, that’s even more frightening! I have faith in you and know you can and will do this.  I wish you well on getting your wings and on letting go of what keeps you from soaring high!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  She has a private practice in Diamond Bar and is currently accepting new clients; she is also a motivational speaker who can inspire your employees or group members.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups on how to manage anger.    For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at (909)229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net. You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the therapy dog on Amazon.net.