Your pod made mod.

:: Five Home Trends for 2010 December 28, 2009

white house organic gardenRemodeling and decorating trends in 2010 are likely to reflect the fact that many home owners are settling in for the long haul.

Here are some ideas for updating homes and gardens from decorators and leading real estate practitioners:


  • Environmentally sensitive furniture. Natural fibers, sustainable woods, and recycled products are key to attracting environmentally concerned buyers.
    eco-modpod says:
    Greek flokati rugs are IN!


  • Classic neutral colors. Deep gray browns and gray blues, muted beige, and chalky white will be particularly popular shades, Pittsburgh Paints predicts.
    eco-modpod says:
    Indian White by Benjamin Moore is still my favorite!


  • Backyard gardens. First Lady Michelle Obama led the way in 2009 when she installed one at the White House.
    eco-modpod says: Urban farming is a growing trend!


  • Backyard living. Wood-deck additions offer an 80.6 percent payback, according to the annual Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling magazine and REALTOR® magazine. Simple fire pits and outdoor fireplaces also will be popular, trend-watchers say.
    eco-modpod says:
    Wood decks are OUT! Trex and other recycled materials that require no maintenance are way, way IN!  Large decks expand your living area at a smaller cost than adding an enclosed room to your house… consider adding french doors or other styles of large glass doors that open on to your deck to really enhance the space.


  • Made in America. As more people feel compelled to support local employment, U.S. manufactured products and antiques will become more popular, says Patricia Shackelford, author of design blog, Mrs. Blandings.
    eco-modpod says: Modern and contemporary style continues to grow in popularity and is becoming mainstream again. Antique furniture and a few antique items used sparingly can easily be added to a contemporary home decor with gorgeous results!

Source: Orlando Sentinel, Jean Patteson (12/26/2009) and Kansas City Star, Stacy Downs (12/27/2009)


:: Upgrade Your Driveway for Less by Going Eco December 16, 2009

Redoing a driveway doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Steve Gerischer, owner of Larkspur Garden Design in Los Angeles, built a new driveway out of recycled brick and broken concrete.


The result was an attractive, patterned driveway that cost about $250.

Gerischer excavated 3 to 4 inches of dirt and compacted the soil below. He spread 2 inches of road gravel. Then he arranged the pieces of concrete and brick to create a decorative pattern.

Gerischer suggests checking Craigslist for people who are giving away bricks or other material.


He also offers this installation advice:

  • Turn bricks on edge so they sink deeper into the gravel.
  • Use large chunks of concrete in key areas where there will be lots of traffic.
  • Stabilize the design by spreading road gravel between bricks and concrete.
  • Top off the design with play sand or plaster sand.


Source: Los Angeles Times, Debra Prinzing (12/12/2009


:: Interest Rate Update – 4.5% 30 year fixed November 20, 2009

30 Yr   4.5%
15 Yr  4.125

3 Yr   3.5%
5 Yr   3.375
7 Yr   3.75

30 Yr   4.75%
15 Yr   4.375

30 Yr   6.0%
15 Yr   5.45
5 Yr ARM  4.55%
7 Yr ARM  5.25

Market Comments –
Yesterday, the Treasury announced they will unload $118B in securities next week, starting with a record $44B in 2-Year Notes on Monday, a record $42B in 5-Years on Tuesday, and another record…$32B in 7-Years on Wednesday.  This is an enormous amount of supply, and the market’s ability to sop it all up will be tested next week.

Stocks are trading lower for the third consecutive day, as the US Dollar has stabilized from its freefall.  Stocks have been a beneficiary of the falling Dollar – this is because our Stocks appear cheaper for foreigners.  Additionally, large multinational corporations that trade on the exchanges will increase their exports and bottom line, as the goods that they ship appear less expensive to places around the world with stronger currencies.  Stocks have been due for a pause, but it remains to be seen whether the slide in Stocks will continue here, or if even higher levels will be reached through the end of the year before a more meaningful correction takes place.

The Federal Reserve purchased $16B in Mortgage Backed Securities last week, bringing the total to $1.023T out of the $1.25T allotted for the program.  This is up slightly from last week’s purchases of $13.5B.  However, with the rationing of the purchase program underway and the end of the program in sight, rates will edge higher over time.  And as we’ve been discussing in recent Updates, the next catalyst around the corner is the coming wave of refinances and purchases that were closed during September and October.


Michael Delzer
First Class Financial Services
(720) 904-9048,
Home Mortgages with Honesty, Integrity, Service & Trust


:: Green Renovations Becoming all the Rage

Green Renovations to Gain Market Share

Green market research firm SBI Energy forecasts that in the next five years, the market for energy-efficient home renovation products will grow 15 percent, 50 percent faster than the renovations market as a whole.

According to the report, the energy-efficient market will reach $35 billion and claim 15 percent of all home renovation dollars spent.

“The growth will come as a result of the tax credits, new incentives, and the reality that more agencies and utilities are promoting the fact that adding improved energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to decrease home utility bills,” says Norman Deschamps, author and SBI Energy analyst.

Source: SBI Reports (11/19/22009)

Vaulted ceiling with 1-1/2 inch polystyrene vent system and 9 inches of Icynene Foam Insulation R40, 98% thermal performance, and complete air seal.

eco-modpod says:

What does this mean?

1) As eco green product demands increase the selection and availability will increase.

2) As more eco green home renovation products hit the market and are used, the prices for these products will decline

3) Buyers will favor homes with greater energy efficiency, knowing it will save them money and increase their comfort.

4) Consider eco green renovation / remodeling products and features such as:

– R40+ insulation

– Low-e glass

– Triple pane windows

– Low flow and dual flush toilets

– Low energy appliances, at least energy star rated

* Refrigerator, dishwasher, washer/dryer

– Newer furnace… 90% efficient compared with older models that can be 60% or less efficient

– Tankless water heater

– Solar panels for electricity (connect to grid)

– Hot water solar (not connected to grid but no rebates offered)

– Light colored roofs, where sun and hot temperatures dominate

– Evaporative coolers, instead of AC, in dry climates

– CFL and LED lighting


:: Interest Rate Update November 14, 2009

30 Yr 4.625%
15 Yr 4.25

3 Yr 3.5%
5 Yr 3.5
7 Yr 3.5

30 Yr 4.75%
15 Yr 4.375
3 Yr ARM 4.125
5 Yr ARM 4.0

In economic report news this morning, Consumer Sentiment came in lower than expected – estimates were for 71, and the number came in at 66 – but this doesn’t strike us as much of a surprise. The media has been beating the drum in seeming attempts to rouse some euphoria…and while Wall Street might be buying it temporarily, Main Street isn’t.

The Fed stepped in with more buying of Mortgage Backed Securities yesterday, helping Bond prices recover from news of a weak Treasury Auction. Overall, Fed purchases have averaged about $14B per week so far in November. Looking back, October averaged $17B per week, down from May’s peak of $25B per week…and the weekly purchases will continue to decline as the program winds up. The total Fed purchases made since their buying program started is just over $1 Trillion, leaving $244B left to purchase until the program wraps up at the end of March 2010. This would leave on average, about $12.8B to be purchased each week – a bit less than current levels.

Remember, as the Fed winds down their buying support, this will be a contributing factor in Bond prices moving lower and home loan rates rising over the coming months.

Next week will be loaded up with high impact economic reports, including Retail Sales numbers and a look at inflation with the Producer Price Index and Consumer Price Index.

Have a great weekend and feel free to call with any questions!


Michael Delzer
First Class Financial Services
(720) 904-9048,
Home Mortgages with Honesty, Integrity, Service & Trust


:: Homebuyer Tax Credit Changes November 5, 2009

For a side by side comparison of the previous Homebuyer Tax Credit and the new version visit:

Homebuyer Tax Credit Changes


:: Are Mortgage Rates Rising? October 29, 2009

What are the signs that mortgage rates, now at historic lows, are about to go up?

One way to catch a clue is to read the minutes of the Federal Reserve. For instance, the Federal Open Market Committee said in its September minutes that when it came to interest rates, there is “no policy change.” And the minutes said that while the Fed believes “an economic recovery is underway,” it regards a weak economy as a greater risk than inflation. Upcoming meeting minutes are likely to be just as forthcoming if an uptick is in the cards.

Other signs include:

  • Declining unemployment: The unemployment rate is sitting at 9.7 percent. If lots of Americans go back to work, an increase in interest rates is likely.
  • Rising discount rate: The rate the Fed charges banks that borrow from it directly stands at 0.5 percent. If it rises or the spread between it and the Federal Funds rate widens, then mortgage rate increases won’t be far behind.

Source:, Marc Roth (10/28/2009)