April Showers Bring May Flowers

Just like the housing market is springing up as more and more homes are coming on the market, the flowers are beginning to bloom to remind us all that Spring is here and summer is fast approaching.

Spring is not only the best time to plant flowers but also to sell your home.

Landscaping can add tens of thousands of dollars to the value of your property. In fact, it is one of the few home improvements you can make that not only adds value immediately, but also increases in value as the years go by. While interior decor and design concepts regularly go out of style and mechanical systems wear down, plants grow fuller and more robust as the years go by. Planting an array of beautiful flowers is a quick and inexpensive DIY project that can impact the curb appeal and sales price of your home right away.

A Tribute to Dipladenia – The Super Silicon Valley Perennial

You have to be tough to make it in this valley, even if you are a delicate ower. Very little watering necessary, shade-okay. “A owering plant that grows like a weed here all year round, if they made grass like this it would be a top seller”, said Anna of Home Depot Garden Depart- ment on Camden Ave. “The only problem is that the snails like them, I have a hack for that” she explains, “put a glass bowl of beer near the plants and they are drawn to that rather than your owers – problem solved!”.

BEST ROI: Dipladenia’s are priced at around $3.50 each and come in reds, yellows, pinks, whites and a vibrant orange. So don’t delay, there’s still time to plant your super Silicon Valley perennials today.

Karen’s Mortgage Minute/Housing Market

Current Rates – 5/1/18

15 Year Fixed – 3.625% No Points 3.69% APR *

30 Year Fixed – 4.125% No Points 4.16% APR *

Market Commentary: The stock market continues near an all-time high. April Consumer con dence exceeded the consensus expecta- tion. Further, Consumer Confidence indicated that 94% of the American Public feel that their income is going to rise on the short term.

So what does that mean for us (the consumer)? It means that interest rates will rise in the short term. Currently the 10-year Treasury bond is oating around 3% (the Highest level in four years). A rising 10 year bond always means higher interest/home loan rates. There is a direct relationship between interest rates and the economy. The Fed uses interest rates to manipulate the economy. Therefore, when The Fed lowers interest rates it is to stimulate the economy and drive investment. In our case, the current market is robust and there isn’t a need to lower interest rates. The economy is “hot” and doesn’t need stimulation. Therefore, the Fed will raise interest rates to slow down the economy due to normal in ation concerns. Lastly, The Fed has indicated that they will continue to raise Fed Funds an additional four times this year. Many experts believe that we will see a 3.25% ten year bond and a 5.5% Prime Rate by the end of 2018.

40 Year Fixed / 10 Year Interest Only Program

  • Lower Your Payments + Get Long Term Rate Stability
  • Perfect solution for those that currently have a shorter term ARM program such as a 5/1 or 7/1.
  • Need a mortgage loan? Contact Karen today. (408) 399-3300
  • *Based on $400k loan size, payments 30 year $1938.00. 15 year $2884.00 Rates are subject to change and to quali cation.

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS
FOR THE CUPCAKES
1 box white cake mix (or straw- berry cake mix)
1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 egg whites
1 1/4 c. Champagne or Prosecco 2/3 c. diced strawberries
FOR THE FROSTING
3 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp. Champagne
FOR THE STRAWBERRY TOPPING 4 sliced strawberries
1 tsp. sugar
INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven based on cake mix box instructions and grease the bottom and sides of a cupcake tin, or ll each cup with cupcake liners.
Make the cupcakes: Beat cake mix, egg whites, oil, and champagne until thoroughly combined (it will be bubbly). Fold in straw- berries, then ll each cup of the mu n tin about two-thirds of the way full with cake mix. Bake according to the box instructions for cupcakes—typically 350° for 18 to 20 minutes — or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs (no gooey batter). Set aside to cool.
Make the frosting: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter on low until combined. Gradually stir in vanilla and champagne, starting with just 1 tablespoon and gradually adding more until the consis- tency is smooth and easy to spread. (If it gets too thin, add a spoonful of powdered sugar.) Frost each cupcake.
Make the strawberry topping: Slice straw- berries and add sugar. Let them sit for 18 to 20 minutes to release juices, then top each cupcake with a slice.