All Western Mortgage’s Derrick Strauss Says Closing Costs Climb as Interest Remains Low

Derrick StraussDerrick Strauss says that the real estate market is well on its way to a new norm, which trades reasonable interest rates for high closing cost. Today, Derrick Strauss answers questions about these fees and clues homebuyers in on the states with the lowest prepaid costs.

A Gathering of Experts: What are closing costs?

Derrick Strauss: Closing cost are essentially the monies it takes to cover the administrative costs of the loan. This can include title insurance, origination fees, and appraisal, credit checks and other incidentals like document processing and courier fees.

A Gathering of Experts: What is the national average for closing costs?

Derrick Strauss: Most people in the United States are going to see closing costs hovering right around $2,400.

A Gathering of Experts: How does that compare to previous years?

Derrick Strauss: In 2012, we saw closing costs closer to $2,260 for an average $200,000 mortgage. 2013’s rates are about 6 percent higher across the board.

A Gathering of Experts: Can you explain what origination fees are?

Derrick Strauss: Origination fees, also called underwriting charges, are what the bank actually charges for the loan. This is the money that actually goes to the bank.

A Gathering of Experts: And how much of the closing costs are these underwriting charges?

Derrick Strauss: It varies according to the lender. Some may charge a flat fee while others calculate underwriting charges as a percentage of the loan.

A Gathering of Experts: If you had to put a dollar amount on the average credit check and appraisal fees, what would it be?

Derrick Strauss: Most homebuyers are going to pay a little under $700 for these two items.

A Gathering of Experts: Have low interest rates contributed to the rise in closing costs?

Derrick Strauss: I think so, yes. As interest rates decrease the number of homebuyers increases, which means that lenders feel more comfortable charging more.

A Gathering of Experts: Are closing costs increasing on both home purchases and refinances?

Derrick Strauss: Yes, refinancing a home is actually a completely new home loan process and includes virtually identical closing costs.

A Gathering of Experts: Are there any differences?

Derrick Strauss: Some refinancers may not have to pay a title search if theirs is recent.

A Gathering of Experts: What states have the most expensive closing costs?

Derrick Strauss: Hawaii, which averages around $2,920. Alaska is second at around $2,675. South Carolina homebuyers can expect to pay almost $2,660 in closing costs.

A Gathering of Experts: Where’s the cheapest?

Derrick Strauss: Wisconsin, Missouri and Kansas average between $2,100 and $2,200.

A Gathering of Experts: Are closing costs negotiable?

Derrick Strauss: They can be, especially in competitive markets. It never hurts to ask.

A Gathering of Experts: But interest rates are not?

Derrick Strauss: No, but different loans will have different credit requirements for the best rate.

A Gathering of Experts: Is now a good time to buy a home?

Derrick Strauss: Absolutely. Rates are still comparatively low.

A Gathering of Experts: What advice would you give a new homebuyer before talking to the lender?

Derrick Strauss: I would suggest getting acquainted with the different types of available loans and what sort of financial commitment these require.

A Gathering of Experts: Like interest rates and closing costs?

Derrick Strauss: Yes, but also ask current homeowners in your area how much mortgage insurance and home insurance is. Many first-time homebuyers fail to plan for not only a down payment and closing costs but don’t calculate escrow fees.

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Lindsay Rosenwald on Improving Cancer Survival Rates

Lindsay RosenwaldAccording to Investment Partnership co-founder Lindsay Rosenwald, medical experts continue to make strides toward eradicating cancer. Lindsay Rosenwald believes that the increase in cancer diagnoses has resulted in more research and development projects related to the disease. Recently, Lindsay Rosenwald discussed how technological advancements have assisted in the improvement of cancer survival rates.

A Gathering of Experts: Is the population of cancer patients increasing?

Lindsay Rosenwald: More people are being diagnosed with cancer due in part to an aging, growing population and better diagnostic technology.

A Gathering of Experts: How is the medical community coping with this epidemic?

Lindsay Rosenwald: The survival rates are improving because of new therapies that have been primarily developed by American biotechnology companies.

A Gathering of Experts: What has been the key factor in the treatment of cancer patients?

Lindsay Rosenwald: Medical experts continue their efforts to increase access to the latest cancer control methods and raise awareness about them.

A Gathering of Experts: How can patients curb the symptoms of cancer?

Lindsay Rosenwald: Effective therapies are available that control cancer and cancer treatment; side effects including nausea, mouth sores and general pain.

A Gathering of Experts: How has technology played a role in cancer research?

Lindsay Rosenwald: The industry continues its efforts to optimize its usage of information technology in order to facilitate cancer research while accelerating all other efforts designed to control cancer.

A Gathering of Experts: How is the medical community reacting to the current state of cancer?

Lindsay Rosenwald: As time goes on, the medical community continues to invest in cancer research in an effort to improve global health.

A Gathering of Experts: How so?

Lindsay Rosenwald: Combination chemotherapy is now standard in treating many cancers and has contributed to increasing survival and cure rates.

A Gathering of Experts: What’s one major example?
Lindsay Rosenwald: Combination chemotherapy involving the drug Cisplatin led to cure rates for testicular cancer of nearly 95 percent.

A Gathering of Experts: How effective has treatment been?

Lindsay Rosenwald: Treatment has been so effective that approximately 80 percent of patients with metastatic testicular cancer can now be cured.

A Gathering of Experts: What’s the status of cancer vaccines?

Lindsay Rosenwald: Multiple cancer and cancer prevention vaccines have been approved so far by the FDA, and many more are in the development pipeline.

A Gathering of Experts: Could you describe them?

Lindsay Rosenwald: One of the cancer prevention vaccines, the hepatitis B virus vaccine, could potentially prevent several forms of liver cancer.

A Gathering of Experts: That’s remarkable.

Lindsay Rosenwald: It’s very encouraging. Two vaccines target human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18.

A Gathering of Experts: How will these vaccines help eradicate cancer?

Lindsay Rosenwald: These vaccines have an enormous potential to prevent an estimated 70 percent of all cervical cancers, as well as other HPV-associated cancers.

A Gathering of Experts: What other diseases might potentially be treated?

Lindsay Rosenwald: Several cancer treatment vaccines are being tested in clinical trials, including vaccines for ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, multiple myeloma and melanoma.

A Gathering of Experts: Have medical professionals experimented with different types of therapy?

Lindsay Rosenwald: Medical experts have further refined their radiation therapy techniques as well.

A Gathering of Experts: What have these therapies achieved?

Lindsay Rosenwald: These recent advances have resulted in much better patient outcomes, including survival benefits.

Lindsay Rosenwald is an accomplished doctor and financial professional with more than three decades of experience in the medical field.

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Robert Rehak of Rehak Creative Services on His Book of Chicago Uptown Photos

Rehak Creative ServicesRobert Rehak, founder of Rehak Creative Services, received an unexpected surprise recently when photos from the 1970s that he recently published online went viral. Before establishing Rehak Creative Services, Robert Rehak worked as a creative director at agencies in Chicago, Dallas and Houston. Below, he shares the unlikely story of how these compelling photos were “rediscovered.”

A Gathering of Experts: When did these photos gain a new life?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: A woman named Joanne Asala, who resides in Chicago, is the editor of CompassRose.org. She stumbled across these photos when she Googled “Uptown images” and then requested permission to post a couple of them on her blog earlier this summer.

A Gathering of Experts: What drew her to these images?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Her blog focuses on the history of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. After she published a story about the images, other blogs like UptownUpdate.com also found them. News of the images spread from there.

A Gathering of Experts: How would one describe the Uptown neighborhood?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: In the 1920s, Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood had been a popular entertainment district for the city’s rich and famous. However, things had changed dramatically by the 1970s.

A Gathering of Experts: How so?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Uptown had become a crumbling ghetto for poverty- stricken residents of Chicago.

A Gathering of Experts: What’s the title of this book?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: The working title is Uptown: Portrait of a Chicago Neighborhood in the Mid-1970s.

A Gathering of Experts: How will the book be structured?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: The book will focus on the images from the 1970s, along with an introduction and captions that will put them into a historical perspective.

A Gathering of Experts: What’s the impetus behind publishing this book?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: These photos depict a once-proud neighborhood that had hit rock bottom.

A Gathering of Experts: What’s the current status of the Uptown neighborhood?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: It appears that Uptown is slowly bouncing back and once again developing into a more attractive area.

A Gathering of Experts: How much traffic was driven to your website?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Before this blog post, BobRehak.com had welcomed around 100 visitors each day. Within 24 hours of this CompassRose post, traffic exploded to nearly 10,000 visitors.

A Gathering of Experts: Remarkable numbers.

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Exactly. That’s more than 100 times the regular rate just from this one link.

A Gathering of Experts: Were there messages from former residents of Uptown?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Many site visitors who once lived in Uptown emailed to say how this photo portfolio brought back bittersweet memories of their time in the area. Some even inquired about purchasing prints.

A Gathering of Experts: Are they the main audience for this book?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: They’re one of the main audiences. But the images have also interested people who live in Uptown today and want to learn more about its past.

A Gathering of Experts: Are there others?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Photographers, especially those who appreciate documentary photography, social activists, artists, urban planners. And people who are just plain interested in how such a great neighborhood could sink so low and defy the normal process of redevelopment.

A Gathering of Experts: Have readers of your blog volunteered any answers to that question?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Yes, the project has turned into sort of a collaborative history. Since word of the collection has spread, I get emails daily from people in the photographs.  They are providing information about how they came to Uptown and how Uptown affected their lives. They’re also helping to define the locations in the photos.

A Gathering of Experts: Why is that important?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: There’s tremendous interest in seeing how things have changed. With precise locations, I’m able to link to Google Maps Street View in my blog.

A Gathering of Experts: Has your website sustained that initial interest?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Yes. Through daily updates we attracted more than 1.5 million hits in the first month since going viral.

A Gathering of Experts: What other lessons did you learn that might be applicable for Rehak Creative Services?

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Content is king. Marketing communications professionals need to devote more time to creating quality content…

A Gathering of Experts: That makes sense.

Robert Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Fresh and relevant content is what makes viral communication happen.

Based in Houston, Rehak Creative Services is an award-winning advertising agency. Rehak Creative Services produces effective communications to help clients build sales. Rehak Creative Services roster of local and international clients includes Halliburton, TransCanada and ChevronPhillips.

 

 

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All State Van Lines Relocation Identifies Moving Trends

All-State-Van-Lines-Relocation-familyAll State Van Lines Relocation is a moving brokerage firm based in Margate, Fla., that coordinates residential and corporate moves and relocations nationwide. In the following interview with A Gathering of Experts, All State Van Lines Relocation discusses moving trends around the U.S.

A Gathering of Experts: Why is it important for a company like All State Van Lines Relocation to research moving trends?

All State Van Lines Relocation: We’re a service company. We must stay in touch with moving trends to ensure that we have access to those who want to be connected to moving help. All State Van Lines Relocation needs to have a presence in high volume markets to find and serve customers.

A Gathering of Experts: Let’s start with trends for last year. How many people moved in the U.S. in 2012?

All State Van Lines Relocation: The U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent figures show that the nation’s overall moving rate increased from a record low of 11.6 percent of the U.S. population in 2011 to 12 percent in 2012.

A Gathering of Experts: How many people does that represent?

All State Van Lines Relocation: About 36.5 million people on the move in 2012, compared to 35.1 million in 2011.

A Gathering of Experts: Why the record low?

All State Van Lines Relocation: It’s hard to be precise, but it’s clear the economy was still bad in 2011. The major reason people move long distance is job related, either to find a new job or relocate for a job.

A Gathering of Experts: Does this mean that the economy improved in 2012?

All State Van Lines Relocation: By that calculation, perhaps so. All State Van Lines Relocation is optimistic on that score.

A Gathering of Experts: Are most of these moves local?

All State Van Lines Relocation: Yes. 64.4 percent of people moved within the same county. Of those who left their previous county, either to another county within the same state or to another state, the average distance moved was less than 50 miles.

A Gathering of Experts: So most moving business is local?

All State Van Lines Relocation: Yes. All State Van Lines Relocation movers generally spend much more time packing and loading than driving. We specialize in arranging long-distance moves, not local moves.

A Gathering of Experts: How do you gauge the top regions of the nation for moving?

All State Van Lines Relocation: The Census Bureau measures it state-to-state. All State Van Lines Relocation pays special attention to those statistics.

A Gathering of Experts: What are the top state-to-state moves?

All State Van Lines Relocation: New York to Florida and California to Texas are the top two with about 59,000 relocating people each. California to Arizona and Florida to Georgia are next. New York and New Jersey swapped just about the same amount of residents, about 41,000 each.

A Gathering of Experts: That’s interesting.

All State Van Lines Relocation: Research shows that is a lot of business people moving around the New York City metropolitan area. They’re short distances but often big lifestyle differences.

A Gathering of Experts: Can you name some other top state-to-state statistics?

All State Van Lines Relocation: California to Nevada, Georgia to Florida, and California to Washington are numbers 7, 8 and 9 on the Top 10.

A Gathering of Experts: Which is last?

All State Van Lines Relocation: Texas to California rounds out the Top 10 with approximately 37,000 people moving.

A Gathering of Experts: By comparison, in the middle of the country, people are staying put.

All State Van Lines Relocation: That’s about right.

 

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Interview With Paul Kadri on His Love of Sports

Sports Equipment on WhiteLike many others, Paul Kadri loves sports. In this interview, he reflects on the sports he likes to watch and the sports he likes to play. Whether as a child or adult, sports have always been and always will be important to Paul Kadri.

A Gathering of Experts: So where did your love of sports begin?

Paul Kadri: I did not get my love for sports from my parents as some children do. When he was young, my father was a runner, which is something that didn’t interest me. My love of sports came from rooting for local teams. I grew up just outside Detroit, so I was a big fan of the Detroit teams.

A Gathering of Experts: Did you have one sport or team in particular that you enjoyed most?

Paul Kadri: As a kid it was definitely baseball. The Detroit Tigers were my team, and in the 1970s they had a pretty good team. I played Little League on the local field. Unfortunately, the Little League season was very short, and there were no other opportunities to play like kids have now.

A Gathering of Experts: Did you go to Tiger Stadium to watch games?

Paul Kadri: Yes. The company my dad worked for had tickets for great seats. I remember going as if it were yesterday. I brought my mitt and was quite sure I would get a foul ball, but I never did.

A Gathering of Experts: You told me earlier about an exciting opportunity you had. Could you share it?

Paul Kadri: For my birthday, I was given a gift to go play golf with the Detroit Tigers from when I grew up in Las Vegas. The event took place right after 9/11. Many people were afraid to fly, but nothing was going to stop me. They still held the event, and I had the chance to play golf and spend a lot of time with all the Tiger greats. I actually came in first place and there’s a jersey signed by everyone on my wall in my house.

A Gathering of Experts: Are the Tigers still your favorite team?

Paul Kadri: All the Detroit teams are still my favorites. At some point in my life I did switch to loving hockey more than baseball. The Detroit Red Wings are my favorite team.

A Gathering of Experts: Do you like the Detroit Lions?

Paul Kadri: Now you’re being a wise guy. For those who don’t know, the Lions football team almost never wins. It is painful to be their fan.

A Gathering of Experts: Someone told me you have a relative who used to play football. Is that true?

Paul Kadri: Yes, my uncle was drafted by the Washington Redskins many years ago. My uncle is a very big man. He tried his entire life to get me to be a Redskins fan and could not understand why I stuck with the Lions.

A Gathering of Experts: What sports have you played?

Paul Kadri: In high school I played baseball and football. Baseball is my favorite, and while I liked football, I didn’t love it quite as much. Like my uncle, I have a large build, so people expected me to play football. When I went to college I tried to play football but I was too slow. I played rugby until I severely hurt my knee. That was when I took up golf and made the golf team. In business school and as an adult I played baseball and hockey.

A Gathering of Experts: You just took up golf and were able to make the team?

Paul Kadri: I did take lessons from someone who was excellent, and I found that I had some natural talent in golf. I did hit the ball farther than anyone; I just needed to learn how to hit it straight. I played all through college and considered trying to play professionally, but that is a very difficult sport to break into.

A Gathering of Experts: Do you still play golf?

Paul Kadri: Every chance I get.

A Gathering of Experts: You mentioned you had an interesting story about playing baseball in New York?

Paul Kadri: in the early 1990s I was working in New York for a bank. All the banks had baseball teams that competed against each other. It was a competitive league because some players were former professionals. The bank I work for was purchased by the world’s largest bank, which was a Japanese bank. When the playoffs started I began seeing some Japanese men watching the games. The coach announced that the president of all U.S. operations would be attending the next game. It was the quarterfinals and the other team had a pitcher who had played professional baseball. We lost but I had the only two hits for our side. The next thing I know, I’m being invited by the president of the company to have dinner with him. He explained to me that after World War II baseball was the only distraction they had from despair. They valued good play, and having dinner with me was his way of expressing his appreciation.

A Gathering of Experts: Any other sports thoughts before we conclude?

Paul Kadri: I have a daughter, and probably one of my greatest moments was taking her to the World Series last year in Detroit. She loved it. Unfortunately I took her to the Stanley Cup Final when the Red Wings were playing and she hated it. I have to work on her!

Paul Kadri is a public school administrator who has always emphasized sports in addition to arts and academics. A saying of Paul Kadri is that we develop the body, mind and soul of our students. Athletics is the body. For more information about Paul Kadri, visit his website at paulkadrionline.com.

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