Archive for March, 2013

USDA Map Changes Postponed Until September 2013

March 29, 2013

USDA Map Changes Postponed Until September 2013

Last week the House passed the Senate’s revised Continuing Resolution (H.R. 933) to fund the Government for the next six months. This bill included language to not implement any changes to eligible areas for Rural Development for the next six months.

There will be no changes to the USDA maps at the current time. The President signed this legislation on March 26, 2013 and we expect the formal announcement from USDA RD soon.  

Up to now there was a news that some towns/cities that were previously eligible for USDA loans, are now not eligible anymore based on the latest census 2010. This worried many home buyers, especially first time home buyers and home buyers with low income. But, this has been postponed at least six months.

What is USDA loan? The USDA Guaranteed Loan Program is a federal program offered through the United States Department of Agriculture. Rural Housing through the USDA program provides a number of homeownership opportunities to rural Americans, as well as programs for home renovation and repair. This is an excellent product and benefit for those individuals that qualify.

What are USDA Advantages? There are several advantages to using USDA’s Home Loan Program.

·         USDA 100% Financing

·         Low Monthly Mortgage Insurance(MI)with a USDA loan

·         Low USDA Mortgage Interest Rates

·         USDA Low Closing Costs

·         USDA Zero Down Payment.

·         Easy Credit Qualifying with USDA

·         Government Guaranteed Mortgage

What Are USDA Eligibilities? Rural Housing also offers 100% financing opportunities for those who qualify. In order to be eligible for many USDA loans, household income must meet certain guidelines. Also, the home to be purchased or served must be located in an eligible rural area as defined by USDA. This typically covers towns with less than 10,000 populations.

USDA Property Eligibility Info Basically, the USDA home loan program has 2 things it looks at when determining property eligibility: (1) Location (2) Physical Properties of the house. Location Eligibility: Determining the location eligibility is simple. Just click here and use this tool to determine if your area is eligible. Simply click on your State, the whatever County your looking in. This will bring up a color coded map. The areas shaded in “orange” are ineligible, all other areas are O.K. It’s that simple! Physical Properties:

·         Single family homes only (no multi-units homes)

·         Condos/Townhomes OK

·         Home must be in working order (no “fixer uppers” with mechanical issues)

·         No mobile homes

·         Swimming pools cannot be used to determine the value of the home

·         An FHA appraisal will be used

·         Basically, standard homes in working order is what’s expected…this is NOT a “fixer upper” program.

USDA Home Loan Income Limits Rather than loan limits, USDA has implemented income limits. These limits are generous as they are 115% of the moderate income level for the household size of the County your buying in. Like all home loans, your income will determine what size loan amount you can qualify for. Click here to use USDA’s income chart. Click on your State link, then look at the County you’re buying in underneath the column that reflects your household size. Use the largest income number on the chart. Note: Regardless of who will be on the loan, ALL household income for ALL adults must be considered.

For more information about USDA loan, USDA Property Eligibility, Household income requirements and USDA Home Loan Income Limits please see USDA website at

Please Contact Us for your question on Real Estate issues.

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What should we do with today’s Real Estate Market Shift?

March 24, 2013

Dallas Fort Worth market is the seller’s market since last year or so with low inventory. Part of the North Texas, especially in Collin County, there is a shortage of new build homes too. Many homes in the mid range prices go so fast and many have multiple offers. This means buyer’s power of negotiation is less and in some cases the house is sold higher than the original listing price, due to multiple-offer situation.

Also, the interest rate from one year ago is slightly higher. Additionally, some loans such as FHA have higher FHA MIP rate (10 base points) starting April 1st, 2013 and Duration of MIP will remain in effect, starting June 1st, 2013, until the life of the loan or minimum 11 years vs. today’s case that whenever the balance reaches 78% of the original loan amount and/or 5 years the MIP stops.

Increase Monthly MIP rate, starting April 1st, 2013, for a loan amount of $400K would be $32.18 per month. The effect of MIP duration change for the life of loan (30-year fixed at 4% Interest Rate) would be an additional $106,472 MIP compared to today’s scenario. This affects the affordability of the buyers and pay more every month for the same house today.

Please see my other blog ( ) in activerain for more detail information about these changes and their affect on the buyers.

What do we (as REALTORs) need to do?

The bottom line is that home prices are rising, interest rates will not stay at this record low rate for a long time, rules and fees for loans are changing toward higher cost to buyers, etc.

The buyers should be educated and be aware of these facts and changes and act soon, if they are really in the market. The sooner they buy, the better would be.

Persian New Year No-Rooz, Wednesday March 20th, 2013 at 6:02:13 AM CST

March 5, 2013

Persian New Year No-Rooz, Wednesday March 20th, 2013 at 6:02:13 AM CST

“No-Rooz”, or in many variations  of its spelling; NoRooz, NoRouz, NowRouz, etc., is the Farsi word (Persian language) meaning the “New-Day” signifying the first day of the Persian New year. “No-Rooz” is the major holiday of the Iranian people, which are celebrating for 13 days. Schools, Colleges and universities and most of the workforce are off for these thirteen days enjoying their long vacation, traveling, visiting family and friends, etc.

No-Rooz starts on the exact moment the spring starts. Spring is a symbolic representation of a new beginning. Spring is seen as a time of growth, renewal, of new life (both plant and animal) being born, new beginnings, blossoming life and a love in the air.

Iranian uses the Solar Calendar which is based on the rotation of the earth around the Sun. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and that is the beginning of the spring and therefore beginning of the Persian New Year (“No-Rooz”). The calculation is very exact and accurate up to a second and it is based on one complete round rotation of the Earth around the Sun, which is 365 days, 6 hours, 48 minutes and some Seconds.

The Beginning Time of the Iranians New Year – “Saaleh Tahweele”

Due to the nature of being so exact, the beginning of the spring or the first day/time of the Persian New Year will not happen on the same day and time every year. This usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on when and where it is observed. The Iranian year is also different than the year in USA. 

The date, time and the Year of the upcoming Iranian New Year, in USA for the year of 2013, is Wednesday March 20th at 6:02:13 AM in Dallas, Texas Time (CST), and the Iranian year would be 1392. This is the exact moment of the Spring Equinox, when the sun is positioned directly over the equator of our tilted Earth.


What Iranians do before, at and during No-Rooz?

Before the New Year:

1.    Cleaning the house entirely, buy new clothes, etc.

2.    ‘Chahar Shanbeh Soori”: Celebration of the “FESTIVAL OF FIRE” which will be occurred in the last Tuesday night of the Iranian Year.
Due the size of explanation of this event, please see my other articles in


<pstyle=”text-indent: -.25in;=”” .25in?=””>3.    Grow “Sabzeh”:


4.    Setting up a Table of “Sofrehe Haft Seen”: Sofreh means Table, Haft means 7, and Seen mean Alphabet letter “S”. à The entire word means a Table Containing 7 special items starting with letter “S” in Farsi. Each of these 7 items represents good fortune, health, well-being, happiness, prosperity, life-rebirth and posterity. These are (as minimum):

4.1.  “Sabzeh” means Sprouts, usuall wheat or lentil representing re-birth

4.2.  “Samanu” is a pudding in which common wheat sprouts are transformed and given new life as a sweet, creamy pudding and represents the ultimate sophistication of Persian cooking

4.3.  “Seeb” means apple and represents health and beauty

4.4.  “Senjed” the sweet, dry fruit of the Lotus tree, represents love. It has been said that when lotus tree is in full bloom, its fragrance and its fruit make people fall in love and become oblivious to all else.

4.5.  “Serkeh” means vinegar, represents age and patience

4.6.  “Seer” means, represents medicine

4.7.  “Sekeh” means coin, represents good fortune and wealth.

In addition to the above 7 “S” items, almost all household have other things starting with “S” and for other purposes: such as:

<pstyle=”text-indent: -.3in;=”” .55in?=””>4.8.  “Somaq”


4.9.  Candle

4.10.              Mirror

4.11.              Colored Eggs

4.12.              Flowers

4.13.              Fish bowl

4.14.              Quran or a poem book by famous Iranian poet, Hafez

4.15.              “Ajill” a mixture of many Persian Nuts

4.16.              Mixture of many Cookies, Chocolates, Persian Bakery and Pastry

5.    “Sabzi Polo Ba Mahi” for the dinner the night before the new year day: Traditionally, Iranians have a big new year’s dinner. It will usually include, in addition to many other foods and deserts, special fish dish (white fish plus Rice with special herbs and, greens (known as Sabzi Polo ba Mahi), Kookoo Sabzi (made up with spinach, special herbs and eggs). <![endif]>


At the New Year Time (“Saaleh Tahweel”):

When the New Year starts family members cheers, and hug each other and wish them a happy new year. The Farsi word for that is “Eideh Shoma Mobarak”. Also, older people give brand new paper money to the younger and kids.

During the New Year Holiday (After “Saaleh Tahweel”):

Most People are off for thirteen days, which they use to visit family, relatives, friends, or even taking vacation going out of town/country, etc. Pastries, nuts, and fruit will be on the tables for family and guests to enjoy.

The last day of New Year Holiday (“Sizdeh Bedar”):

The last day of the Persian New Year (No-Rooz) holiday, 13th day, is called “Sizdeh Bedar”.  In many culture, as in Iran, number 13 is bad luck, trouble, unlucky number. On the 13th day of the New Year, people go to parks or county sides for picnic and enjoy the day and throw the 13 out. At the end of the 13th day, people, throw out their “Sabzi” that they had made prior to the New Year into the field or streams.

Also, those young single ladies that wish to get marry by next year, they will tie the grasses and will sing a song in Farsi “Sizdeh Bedar Sizdeh Bedar, Saaleh Digar Khaneheh Shohar” wishing Sizdeh bedar, next year I be married and be in my husband house.


The UN’s General Assembly in 2010 recognized the International Day of Nowruz, describing it a spring festival of Persian origin which has been celebrated for over 3,000 Years. No-Rooz (Nowrūz) was officially registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Events around the Time during Persian New Year Holiday:

Almost any major city or Metropolis in US and all around the word organized special events; shows and concerts with famous singers, dancers, special foods, etc.

Currently, These Persian New Year related events are scheduled in Dallas Fort Worth area:

Tuesday, March 12


Char Shanbeh Soori – Ancient Persian Fire Festival

Location: Oak Point Park. 2801 E Spring Creek Parkway in Plano, Texas, 75074 Presented by: Texas Persian Cultural Center 6 – 9 pm 972-492-0604 View WEBSITE

Tuesday, March 12


Char Shanbeh Soori – Festival of Fire after the Picnic




details: 10 PM – to 2 AM


★•★•★•★•★ Proudly Presents  ★•★•★•★•★

  ★•★•★•★•★•★•★ FESTIVAL OF FIRE ★•★•★•★•★•★•★ AVENU Lounge

► 2912 McKinney Avenue Dallas, TX 75204                           

Contact Babak Davani, (214) 248-3858

Saturday, March 9, 2013: No-Rooz Celebration at PCC Starts 7:30 PM Texas Persian Cultural Center 525 W. Arapaho Rd., Suite #10 Richardson, Texas 75080. (214) 570-8500


Saturday, March 16, 2013: A Private Dream Play Starts 8 PM Majestic Theater, Information: 214-207-4914


Saturday, March 30, 2013: NowRuz Festival 5PM to 8PM Children Programs 8PM to 11PM Parents & Family Programs Plano Center 2000 E. Spring Creek Pkwy Plano Information: (972) 233-0505

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