Nondelinquent Borrowers Soon to Be Eligible for Short Sales

Nondelinquent Borrowers Soon to Be Eligible for Short Sales

Daily Real Estate News | Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued new rules, which will take effect Nov. 1, that will allow short sales for underwater borrowers who have never missed a mortgage payment. Previously, Fannie and Freddie allowed only home owners who had missed payments to qualify for a short sale.

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Lackland BMT Graduation Parade

On Parade

by Celia Hayes

The son of our neighbor whom my daughter encouraged to enlist in the military graduated last Friday from basic training. And because my daughter is close to Sylvester’s family, we both went down to Lackland for the graduation parade. There is certainly a great deal more pomp and circumstance laid on for these things now. When I finished basic, early in the spring of 1977, they did nothing much more than hand us our orders and travel vouchers, and tell us to pack our duffle bags and clear out of the training squadron dorm … which we were quite happy to do, let me tell you. I’ve never since been able to endure the sight of concrete block walls and industrial linoleum with out the miserable feeling that someone was about to appear, their heel-taps clicking like castanets and begin shouting at me. I couldn’t have imagined my parents and family schlepping all the way to Texas for three or four days, either … but such was the case when I came back to Lackland for my final tour of duty. It’s all very much expanded now – there is even a regular visitor’s center for the families, in what I recall as the Skylark Recreation center – the recruit airman trainee’s home away from home.

Even then, the place had changed from what I recalled – not that I could recall much, since most of the time I was outside, I was in the middle of a formation with a view restricted to the back of the neck of the woman in front of me. Most of the old WWII-era two-story temporary buildings had been torn down by 1995, and even more of them are gone now. Lackland used to be blocks and blocks of those old buildings, shaped rather like the little white-painted Monopoly hotel tokens, interspersed with a chapel, or a single-story office complex. But all gone now – replaced with new buildings, some of them very imposing.

The old base HQ is gone – now there’s a grand, glass-walled building on the far side of the parade ground. And the parade ground itself – which had a number of historic aircraft on static display around the perimeter when I retired in 1997, now has even more historic aircraft and all of them in much better repair. Seventy years worth of aircraft – trainers and fighters, bombers and transport, jet-propelled and piston-engine, single or multi-engine, and relics of every war since WWII. Some of them are fairly common – but one or two are rare birds indeed; like the Twin Mustang long-range fighter escort. It was designed and built at the end of WWII; two engines and two fuselages, connected by a short stretch of airfoil.

It looks like a sort of aeronautical Siamese twin, but there are only five of them still in existence, and one of them is on display at the Lackland Parade ground. It’s worth a trip to the base for an enthusiast, just to walk around and look at all the classic aircraft. I don’t think there is a place any closer than Wright Patterson AFB which has so many aircraft on permanent display in one small area.

The graduation parades are every Friday morning at 9:00 – come for the parade, stay for the aircraft.

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Hill Country Road Trip

Road Trip: Fredericksburg by Bulverde, Sisterdale and Luckenbach

by Celia Hayes

Some time ago, my daughter and I discovered the back road route from our North-East San Antonio home, to Boerne; basically, going up 281 to Route 46 and then west to Boerne. This last weekend, we went a step farther, by going north up Bulverde Road and bypassing the horrendous 1604-281 nexus entirely. Really, as they get closer and closer to completing the interchange, traffic just gets worse and worse. And once we got to Boerne, we decided to take Ranch Road 1376, or the Sisterdale Road north to the Pedernales Valley – this turned out to be a fantastic way to get to Fredericksburg; scenic, little traffic and just about as rapidly as by the highway … except for being tempted to stop at so many interesting places – even if it were only to take some pictures.

The first of these temptations was just outside old Bulverde, proper; a charming Victorian cottage painted in bright yellow with aqua-blue trim and shutters, with a low stone wall in front, and some old stone buildings behind. It’s actually the remains of the old Pieper homestead. Behind the cottage is a the original stone farmhouse, which has barely held on to it’s original shake roof, and the stone barn beyond it, which has not. The current owners are in the midst of restoring the Pieper house, which when first built was the largest stone house around. The house and barn, and the backyard – shaded by an immense oak tree – is currently being used as an event venue and the pretty cottage is a bed and breakfast. We pulled in to take some more pictures – and wound up getting a tour of the whole place. I only wish that I had enough money from my books to buy a place like it; it’s spectacular in a low-key kind of way.

On to Boerne – with a pit-stop at the Squirrel’s Nest for my daughter’s weekly thrift-shop fix – and into the Hill Country by way of Sisterdale. Sisterdale was one of the original German settlements founded by the Adelsverein pioneers – one of whom was the Baron Westphal, Karl Marx’s brother-in law. Today Sisterdale is a little string of a hamlet spread out for several blocks along the road, and distinguished by Sister Creek Vinyards, housed in an old cotton gin building, and the Sisterdale Dance Hall and event center. My daughter was more interested in the swap meet going on next to the Sisterdale Market … and I was interested in the market because it was housed in one of those old 1920’s era peak-roofed cottages, with bead-board paneling throughout – and it actually seemed to be a very complete and efficient little one-stop grocery. So – discouraged my daughter from making a bid for either of their two shop cats – and on up the road.

Luckenbach is the next hamlet of any distinction, mostly because of Willie and Waylon and the boys. Besides the dance hall and concert venue – another destination in itself, the Armadillo Farm campground sprawls alongside the road. It seemed pretty crowded this last Saturday, although since it was a long weekend, I should not have been surprised. We were tempted to stop in at Uptown Luckenbach, mostly so I could take a picture of the towering old factory building – mostly gone to rust, but still spectacular. There was also a souvenir shop on the grounds, but a hand-painted sign noted that sometimes it was a self-help arrangement. That afternoon was one of those times.

We did eventually get to Fredericksburg – but that is another story.

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Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy has been downgraded to a severe storm that still is impacting parts of the Northeast U.S. with wind, rain, and flooding.

Our thoughts and best wishes are with all of you that experienced Hurricane Sandy’s brutal force and are still experiencing the after effects of the hurricane. We hope for swift relief, speedy recovery and rebuilding efforts for all who have been impacted. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected.

Winterizing the Garden

Winterizing Our San Antonio Backyard Garden

by Celia Hayes

So, now that it is cooling off a bit, and maybe the seasonal trees are about to start thinking about the possibility of perhaps changing color sometime soon, it’s time to sort out the garden for winter. A few of the hanging tomato plants still had a few slowly-ripening tomatoes on them, but the rest were pretty well done for the year. So this last week before the rain kicked in, we pulled them up, and tossed them into the mulch pile, and moved the hanging frame around to hang facing the kitchen window. Oddly enough, the eggplant, okra and various Bell and jalapeno pepper plands are still going great guns, and I intend to let them go on as long as they can. I once had a jalapeno pepper plant that went through three seasons, due to being planted against the south-facing wall of the house, and sheltered from cold winds. So, all to the good, now that summer is over – we certainly will not have to buy any more pepper plants in the spring.

Having gotten through the worst of summer, now we must face the worst of winter – and there will be a worst, I am certain. There will be some days and nights where the temperatures will plunge to the twenties and even below … and now we have even more plants which will need sheltering. The spider plants and the hanging baskets full of herbs will not handle cold at all well, and there is really not enough room now to bring them inside, or shelter them in the garage. But this year, we have a solution to that. But I am getting ahead of myself…

Some of the bedding plants which I had optimistically set out just as the summer heat reached apogee did not thrive as expected, in spite of daily watering, so we had to reconfigure that back corner of the garden … perfect for the folding greenhouse.

This was an item put out by one of our neighbors this spring – a large, round carrier, and a bag of stakes, and another of support poles. They put it on the curb with a note saying that whoever wanted it could take it. And we did, although to be honest, we thought it was something else – the white gabled oblong structure that we had seen in their back-yard. We thought this was something which would exactly fit over the raised bed that we planned to build in a tiny square space at the back of the house … but on Monday, when we unzipped the carrier and took out the body of the greenhouse, we discovered several things; it wasn’t the white gabled oblong … it was actually clear plastic, round and simply huge. It was a name-brand portable conservatory – and originally a rather pricey item. I have no idea why it became surplus to our neighbors’ garden needs, although the difficulty of putting it up and taking it down might have something to do with it.

No, it wasn’t as easy as advertised – it took the two of us two hours, spread over two days. Slightly used in condition, it is still a very cleverly-designed product, and it looks positively magnificent. We zipped the windows open, moved in the garden table and two chairs, and a number of plants in pots – and there we are. When it becomes cold, all the other tender plants will be moved into it, the whole thing will be zipped up tight – and there is even a little flap to run an electrical cord for a heater, or maybe even a single light-bulb, to keep it all warm. Winter can come any time, now … although since it is expected to be in the eighties this first week of October, I don’t think winter is in any hurry about it.


Guten Tag – Oktoberfest and Wurstfest

Guten Tag, Y’All – This is Texas!

by Celia Hayes

When I first came to Texas, at the express request of the US Air Force some (mumble) seventeen (mumble) years ago I thought I knew all there was to know about the place: the Alamo of course, and the Riverwalk, too. I knew that Houston had a Grand Opera, that Lubbock was a flat as a pancake griddle with some Monopoly houses set on it, I had read Edna Ferber’s Giant, and I knew about cattle drives and the King Ranch, and that Texas was called the buckle of the Bible Belt … I knew pretty much what any well-read traveler could pick up through the medium of pop culture and the base library.

What I did not know, until well after I got here and began to look around – was how very much more there was. Like all those other ethnic and cultural groups who came to Texas and make their mark – of which the Germans were the largest and most distinctive part. Who knew that Gillespie, Kendall, Comal and Kerr Counties had been almost exclusively German-speaking since before the Civil War and well up into the twentieth century. Now I do know – having spent the last few years researching and writing about that fascinating anomaly, as well as partaking in a good few of those local and particularly German celebrations. Right now we are coming up on Oktoberfest, as celebrated here in Texas. The original and still-ongoing Munich Oktoberfest began in the first decade of the 19th century, as celebration of the marriage of King Ludwig (then Crown Prince) of Bavaria to suitably Germanic princess, to which the general public was invited to attend. Once in the mood to celebrate, everyone was keen on keeping it on, and so it metamorphosed into agricultural fair – since this would be about the time that the yearly harvest was completed – a horse race, a parade … and all sorts of other things, to include beer, music, and partying.

So, it’s an honorable tradition, now having been celebrated for two centuries, almost without interruption, and those parts of Texas settled by Germans have taken to celebrating also, with suds, wurst, gusto and enthusiasm. No, really – you may see more funny hats at these bashes than you would have ever thought possible. In the main, they are local festivals, where outside enthusiasts are warmly welcomed; just as everyone is Irish for St. Patrick’s Day everyone is German for Oktoberfest – or in the case of New Braunfels, Wurstfest.

The most conveniently located Oktoberfest is in San Antonio, on the verge of Southtown, at the sprawling venue and gardens owned by the the Beethoven Maennerchor. One of the other big enthusiasms brought to Germany by German settlers was an appreciation for music, specifically choir-singing. The Beethoven Maennerchor Oktoberfest organization has a lovely outdoor terrace, where the revelry will continue for two nights; Friday and Saturday, October 5th and 6th – and Friday is coincidental with First Friday in Southtown.

Fredericksburg Oktoberfest, a short hour’s drive north in the Hill Country also has theirs, beginning on Friday, October 5th, but it continues through Sunday, on Marketplatz, in the heart of downtown Fredericksburg. This year, organizers plan for a mass performance of the chicken dance on Main Street, among other entertainments and diversions.

And finally – ever the non-conformists, New Braunfels’ big autumn German bash celebrates for sausage and beer rather than beer and then sausage … Wurstfest New Braunfels takes place later than everyone elses’, starting on the Friday before the first Monday in November; this year it all kicks off on November 2nd, at the permanent venue in Landa Park. So, get out the lederhosen or the dirndl, put on those cowboy boots, and get ready to party this month — German-style, in the heart of Texas.