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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns to host lectures at Chautauqua

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns will host a series of morning lectures next week at Chautauqua Institution, covering his acclaimed “Civil War” series and an upcoming release about the Vietnam War.
Starting Monday and ending Aug. 8, Burns will give talks about the subjects of his documentaries in the Amphitheater each morning at 10:45.
“A Week with Ken Burns: Historian, Documentarian and American Conscience” will cover different works throughout the week:
• Monday, he will join his daughter, Sarah Burns, and son-in-law, David McMahon, to discuss their 2012 documentary “The Central Park Five,” about black and Latino teenagers falsely accused and jailed for the 1989 rape of a white woman. The film premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
• During the rest of the week, Burns also will discuss his nine-part series “The Civil War” and an upcoming work about the Vietnam War to be released in 2016.
• Aug. 7 and 8, Burns and his longtime collaborator, historian Geoffrey Ward, will preview their newest film, “The Roosevelts,” to be released this fall. It will tell the story of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the history of their times from Theodore Roosevelt’s domestic program to the New Deal and the founding of the United Nations.
Also next week, National Public Radio host Krista Tippett will host an interfaith lecture series in the afternoon.
Her guests include Brazilian philosopher Roberto Mangabeira Unger, who will appear Monday, and a Tuesday conversation with Imani Perry, a professor of African-American studies at Princeton University and author of “The Hood: Politics and Poetics of Hip Hop.”
Day tickets to the institution range from $14 to $40. Call 357-6250 or check

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Lucille Ball Comedy Festival Returns

August 6-10, 2014
The 2014 Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy is bigger and better than ever with performances by Jay Leno, Tom Cotter, Caroline Rhea, Lucie Arnaz, and a whole host of up and coming comedians.  The annual festival returns August 6-10 and features over 50 events in five days throughout Ball's hometown. Featured performances include a Stand-Up Showcase with Caroline Rhea (Aug. 7; Free for veterans), comedian Tom Cotter (America's Got Talent finalist (Aug. 8)), a Free kids comedy show with Nels Ross (Aug. 9), a special cocktail reception with Lucie Arnaz (Aug. 9), and a night of comedy with the legendary Jay Leno (Aug. 9; Sold Out). Limited tickets to many events are still available and may be purchased by visiting or calling (716) 484-0800. The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival is hosted by the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum & Center for Comedy

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Chautauqua County Fair opening on Monday

DUNKIRK – The 132nd Chautauqua County Fair opens Monday on the county fairgrounds, located on Central Avenue in Dunkirk.
The fair has many 4-H exhibits and numerous livestock and animal displays. The event features a 4-H sale where students sell their mature animals to the highest bidder.
A midway with rides and games is included and a grandstand where nightly entertainment includes two demolition derbies, music and a truck and tractor pull. There will be a new auto “thrill show” this year featuring the Black Cat Hell Drivers.
There is an outdoor theater on the grounds for family-friendly entertainment and inside Floral Hall there will be photography, fine art, needlework and antiques on display. County residents participate in judging in several categories, including beer- and wine-making and bakery items.
The fair has a pay-one-price admission policy.
Gates open at 9 a.m. daily. Midway rides start at 1 p.m.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Erosion-abatement plan that aims to reduce algae in Chautauqua Lake is reviewed

MAYVILLE – A $438,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture project to stabilize the stream banks at Goose Creek near Ashville was reviewed Wednesday at the meeting of the Chautauqua County Planning and Economic Development Committee.
The goal of the project is to try to eliminate erosion along the stream and to try to reduce sediment that flows to Chautauqua Lake. Over 8,000 feet of stream will be improved according to the plan. Erosion and sediment were listed as major causes of the algae problem in Chautauqua Lake.
A local match for the project included $80,000 from the Sheldon Foundation of Jamestown. Also, $10,000 from the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy was dedicated for the work.
County Executive Vince Horrigan said he was pleased the project was recognized with federal funds. Members of the committee agreed to add $50,000 from the county’s occupancy tax fund to help contribute to the local share of the project.
A new Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance group received $50,000 in funding for their new administrative costs. Funding for the group was also proved by the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation in the amount of $50,000 and $100,000 from the Reg Lenna Foundation of Jamestown. The alliance is in the process of applying for status as a nonprofit agency.
Horrigan said the organization will seek an executive director and staff and will seek grant funds. Nine communities around Chautauqua Lake are expected to participate in the new alliance.
Richard Dixon was named to the Southern Tier Extension Railroad Authority Board. Dixon replaces the term formerly held by Industrial Development Director William Daly.
New IDA Director Kevin Sanvidge was approved as a member of the Southern Tier West Regional Planning Board. Sanvidge is Daly’s replacement at the IDA.
Legislator Beth Kresge, D-Jamestown, was named as a member of the Chautauqua County Landbank Corporation.
All of the resolutions will be on the agenda at the next session.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Gerry Rodeo hosts 70th annual event

on July 13, 2014 - 8:41 PM
updated July 13, 2014 at 8:57 PM

GERRY – This Chautauqua County community will come alive July 30 to Aug. 2 during the 70th annual Gerry Rodeo on the grounds of the Gerry Fire Department, off Route 60 north of Jamestown.
Allen Peterson, 77, has never missed a rodeo. Peterson owns a farm in Fluvanna, where he raises vegetables and beef cattle. He vowed to attend this year’s rodeo at least once – and more than that – if he can get away from his duties at the farm.
“I really appreciate the events that show off the good horses and all their training,” said Peterson, who promised not to miss the traditional roast beef dinner, either.
“The dinner is just fabulous and gives me a chance to socialize with folks from the area and enjoy a really good meal,” Peterson said.
Fire department members, with Tom Atwell chairing the rodeo effort, depend on community residents for both help and attendance. The rodeo requires about 300 volunteers for preparations. For many families, the rodeo is an occasion for children, grandchildren and friends to return to the community.
“My children and grandchildren will be here,” said Paul Cooley, who manages publicity and information for the rodeo committee. He said many families plan vacations to be home in Gerry for the rodeo.
The efforts of the local fire department have been noticed by many of the event’s sponsors. This year’s rodeo brought in more major sponsors than ever before.
The rodeo started in 1945, when a working cowboy named Jack Cox moved to Gerry and suggested that the new fire department could raise funds with a rodeo.
Ward Tolman, 94, is the last surviving member of the charter committee that started the first rodeo. He remembers that there were many naysayers at the suggestion, but the community came together, borrowed bleachers from nearby schools and in just 70 days planned the very first Gerry Rodeo.
“Putting up the bleachers and building fences was a lot of work,” said Tolman, who recalled that Cox persuaded everyone the task could be done.
“We had to take the bleachers down and put them back up at the schools when the whole thing was over,” he said.
The livestock, provided for the first rodeo by Col. Jim Eskew, arrived by train. Local traffic came to a halt when the bulls and horses were brought to the arena from the center of town along Route 60.
The fire department has always contracted with a rodeo sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Participants pay an entry fee and points earned in Gerry count toward qualification to the annual National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev., in December. The contractor for this year’s event is Painted Pony Championship Rodeo of Lake Luzerne. The husband and wife team of Shawn and Shana Graham have been producing rodeos for more than 10 years.
Over the years, constant improvements have been made to the rodeo facilities. Additional land has been acquired, permanent bleachers have been installed in an arena capable of seating 4,000.
The new lighting makes nighttime shows easy to watch and the old dining hall has just been enlarged, refurbished and air-conditioned to accommodate the hundreds who come each year to enjoy the world-famous beef barbecue dinners.
More than 1,000 pounds of beef is cooked daily in pits over wood fires outside the dining hall. Throughout its long history, the rodeo also has remained an alcohol-free event.
“I don’t ever recall a fight or big problem here,” Cooley said.
Discount, advance-sale tickets are available on the rodeo’s website at The free children’s events are scheduled for 11 a.m. Aug. 2. Also, the “calf scramble” for children is held before the main events each day of the rodeo.
Proceeds from the rodeo are used to purchase equipment for the community fire department.


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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Mortgage Hassell The Real Goal Is The Perfect Loan File


We help you make sense of your finances.
The Perfect Loan File

Mark, Greene , Contributor


The media has it all wrong - securing mortgage approval and satisfying credit

underwriting guidelines are not the difficulties plaguing mortgage consumers. It's in

meeting the rigorous documentation requirements that most people fall flat. The good

news is, the fix is simple. Just scan, photocopy, fax, and deliver every aspect of your

financial life. Then, shortly before closing, check everything again.

Mortgage consumers who enter the mortgage approval process ready to battle their

chosen mortgage lender will come out with a nightmare story to tell. As the process,

requirements, and guidelines are the same for everybody, your mindset is the gamechanger.

Accepting the redundant documentation necessary for lender approval will

make everyone's life easier.

When I was a kid, my father occasionally issued directives that I naturally thought were

superfluous, and when asked why I needed to do whatever i t was he wanted me to do,

his answer was often: "Because I said so." This never seemed to address my query but

always left me without a retort, and I would usually comply. This is exactly what

consumers should do during the mortgage approval process. When your lender requests

what seems to be over-documentation and you wonder why you need it, accept the

simple edict - "because I said so." You will find the mortgage approval process much

less frustrating.

So, what's the perfect loan? Well, it's one that (a) pays back the lender and (b) pays b ad

the lender on time. Underwriting the perfect loan is not the goal that mortgage lenders

aspire to today.

The real goal is the perfect loan file.

Mortgage lenders have suffered staggering losses and gone out of business because of

the dreaded loan repurchase. As mortgage delinquencies increased, FannieMae and

FreddieMac began to audit mortgage loans they had purchased and discovered

substandard and fraudulent underwriting practices that violated representations and

warranties made, stating these were high quality loans. Fannie and Freddie began

forcing the originating lenders of these "bad" loans to buy them back. So a small

correspondent mortgage lender is forced to buy back a single mortgage loan in the

amount of $250,000. This becomes a $250,000 loss to a small mortgage business for a

single loan, because i t will never be repaid.

It doesn't take many of these bad loan buybacks to close the doors on many small

mortgage operations. The lending houses suffered billions of dollars of losses

repurchasing loans from Fannie and Freddie, and began to do the same thing for loans

they had purchased from smaller originators.
The small and medium sized mortgage originators that survived created underwriting

guidelines and procedures to eliminate the threat of future loan repurchase losses. The

answer? The perfect loan file.

It's no longer necessary to have excellent credit, a big down payment and stable

employment with income sufficient to support your debt service to guarantee your loan

approval. However, you must have a borrower profile that meets the credit underwriting

guidelines for the loan you are requesting. And, more importantly, you have to be able t<

hard-copy-guideline-document your profile.

Every nook and cranny of your financial life has to be corroborated, double- and triplechecked,

and reviewed again before closing. This way, if the originating lender has

created a loan file that is exactly consistent with published underwriting guidelines and

has documented while adhering to those guidelines, the chances are that your loan will

not be subject to repurchase.

Borrowers also need to prepare for processing and underwriting. Processors and

underwriters are the people trained and charged with gathering (processors), all of your

required-for-approval financial documents, and then approving (underwriters), your

loan. You can assume these people are well trained and very experienced, as they are

tasked with assembling and approving a high-quality-these-people-will-pay-us-back

loan file. But just how do they go about that?

The process begins with the filter - the loan originator (a.k.a loan officer, mortgage

consultant, mortgage adviser, etc.) - tasked to match the qualifications of a particular

mortgage deal to the appropriate underwriting guidelines. I t is the filter's job to

determine i f a loan scenario is approvable and to gather the documentation to support

that determination. I t is here, at the beginning of the approval process, where the deal is

made or broken. The rest of the approval process is just papering the file.

The filter determines whether the information provided by the borrower can be

validated and documented. This is simple, since most mortgages are approved by

automated underwriting engines such as Desktop Underwriter, and the automated

approval generates a list of the documents needed to paper the loan file. An underwriter

can, at this stage, request additional supporting documentation evidence at their

discretion, as not all circumstances neatly fit into the prescribed underwriting box. I f thi

filter creates a loan file with accurate information, then secures the documentation

resulting from the automated underwriting findings, the loan will close uneventfully.

So, let's begin with the pre-approval call. Mortgage pre-approval is typically

accomplished with a telephone interview. A prospective borrower calls a mortgage rep

(filter), and the questions begin. There will be lots of questions as this critical phase of

the process is akin to the discovery period in a trial - you'll need to disclose everything.

Expect to answer queries on what you do for a living, how long you've been employed in

your current field, and what your salary is. If there is a co-borrower, they will have to

answer the same questions.

Every dollar in checking, savings, investments and retirement accounts, also known as

assets to close, as well as gifts from relatives and non-profit grants, has to be accounted

for. Essentially everything appearing on a borrower's asset-radar-screen has to be

documented and explained.
I f you were previously a homeowner and sold your home in a short sale, or if you own a

home now and plan to keep i t as an investment or rental property, there are new and

specific underwriting guidelines created just for you. In these cases, full disclosure of

your credit and homeownership past can potentially eliminate unforeseen mortgage

approval woes. For instance, FannieMae has a new underwriting guideline called "Buyand-

Bail," for current homeowners' planning on keeping their existing home as an

investment/rental property. Properties not meeting the 30% equity test for "Buy-and-

Bail" result in additional asset requirements to purchase a new home. Buyers with a

short sale history may have to wait two to three years before they are eligible for

mortgage financing again. Full vetting of your previous mortgage life will save you the

dreaded we-have-a-problem call from your mortgage lender.

It all comes down to your proof. If the lender asks for a specific document, give them

exactly what they are asking for, not what "should be OK," - because i t won't be. This is

where the approval process tends to go off the rails, when the lender asks for specific

documentation and the borrower supplies something else. Here, too, is where both side;

get frustrated. So if the lender asks for a bank statement and there are 5 pages for that

bank statement, send them all 5 pages, and not just the summary. If you send them the

summary page and they ask again, don't complain that the lender keeps asking for the

same thing when you never sent it in the first place. This may sound elementary, but the

vast majority of mortgage approval process woes stem from scenarios just like this.

The reason the mortgage approval process is now so rigorous is simple. Avoiding

defaults and loan buybacks has become the primary goal of mortgage lenders. Higher

standards are reducing loan defaults, which should mean fewer foreclosures in the

future. Government data shows that less than 2% of loans originated in 2009, that were

resold to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae went into default after 18 months, down from

more than 22% default rates for 2007 loans.

So when your lender requests specific documents from you, give it to them just "because

they said so."

You can thank my dad for that.
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