45 Years Ago Today: Martin Luther King Assassinated

April 4th, 2013
MLK: A Man Whose Words Ring True Today

MLK: A Man Whose Words Ring True Today

MLK was murdered 45 years ago today in Memphis. He was in town to support a strike by sanitation workers. He died supporting common people in their struggle.

More here at the Mary Ferrell Foundation:
Martin Luther King Assassination

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February 15th, 2013


When we launched the PHS website back in 2009 I blogged about a great pizza joint in The Bronx where we’d had the pleasure of chowing down on some awesome slices!

Today on Trulia.com a local real estate agent blogged about Park Slope Pizza! Visit Luke’s blog to read his reviews and recommendations for great pizza in Brooklyn:

Luke Constantino’s TRULIA PIZZA Blog

Thanks Luke for reminding us how much we love PIZZA on FRIDAYS!!!

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HomeBuyer Timeline for a New York Home Purchase

January 24th, 2013

Once your Offer is accepted to buy your home—and before you sign the Contract of Sale—you’ll get your Home Inspection done by a NYS Licensed Home Inspector. The Inspector will help you determine if there are any serious issues with the home you are purchasing that may need to be addressed by the Seller before you sign the contract. You’ll also get a good sense of other important items in the house such as the quality of the heating system, if the electrical service is sufficient or might need to be upgraded, and how many years of “life” the roof has left in it.

Prepare to invest several hours on the day of your Home Inspection. Wear clothing that can get dirty and bring a flashlight. Typical Home Inspections run anywhere from 2 hours to 5 hours.

In a New York home purchase, the timeline goes like this:

1. HomeBuyer and Seller negotiate the Offer. Offer is best presented in writing. After much hand-wringing and back and forth negotiation, both parties agree on a price and terms of the sale.

2. Offer accepted

3. Contract of sale is prepared by Seller’s Attorney and forwarded to Purchaser’s attorney for review

4. Purchaser hires a Licensed Home Inspector (As per NYS regulations, ALL Home Inspectors must be Licensed). The Home Inspection is conducted PRIOR to signing contracts. If inspection reveals a problem with Foundation, Roof, Plumbing, Heating or Electrical, Purchaser’s Attorney discusses with Seller’s attorney to obtain satisfactory remedy PRIOR to contract signing. The remedy can be either a Seller repair or Seller credit to Purchaser at closing.

Since Home Inspection is done before contract is signed, the Purchaser has the opportunity to negotiate or walk away with no obligation to the Seller.

5. Contract Signing. Once all issues and concerns and terms of the Contract of Sale have been satisfactorily worked out by Purchaser’s and Seller’s attorneys—including any Home Inspection issues—the Purchaser meets with Attorney to sign the Contract and present an “Earnest Money Deposit.” This is often misconstrued as the Down Payment.

In fact, this is money presented by the Purchaser for the Seller’s attorney to hold in an escrow account until closing. This is often referred to as the “Good Faith Deposit” because it’s the Purchaser’s way of telling a Seller “I’m serious about buying your home and obtaining the mortgage financing to complete this purchase! Here’s my money as a show of Good Faith.”

6. Mortgage Application. Purchaser applies for and receives approval for the mortgage loan

7. Title Report. Purchaser’s attorney orders a title inspection of public records to verify the Deed can be transferred from Seller to Purchaser with no liens, violations, or other encumbrances. Purchaser’s Lender’s attorney reviews the title inspection, or title report, to verify there are no objections on the Lender’s behalf that would affect the closing of the mortgage loan.

8. Closing! Purchaser completes Down Payment, Mortgage Lender ponies up the rest of the cash, and Seller hands over the Deed and the Keys to the House!

9. Purchaser buys steaks for first Barbecue in their own backyard of their own home.

10. 30 years of Fixed Rate bliss because you own a Piece of the Rock!

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January 21st, 2013



In life, each of us faces choices on the direction to take,

the “fork in the road” if you will.


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. faced such a choice in 1955.


While completing his Doctorate Degree at Boston University, he rejected offers of positions in Academia. Instead he chose to accept the pastorate at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery Alabama.


“On December 5, 1955, five days after Montgomery civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to obey the city’s rules mandating segregation on buses, black residents launched a bus boycott and elected King as president of the newly-formed Montgomery Improvement Association. As the boycott continued during 1956, King gained national prominence as a result of his exceptional oratorical skills and personal courage. His house was bombed and he was convicted along with other boycott leaders on charges of conspiring to interfere with the bus company’s operations. Despite these attempts to suppress the movement, Montgomery bus were desegregated in December, 1956, after the United States Supreme Court declared Alabama’s segregation laws unconstitutional.”—http://www.mlkonline.net/bio.html


Reverend King made a choice that put his life in jeopardy to support something greater than a career opportunity. Ultimately he paid for that choice with his life.


Today we should each pause and reflect on the greatness of this man, his choice, his work, and his sacrifice. If each of us could aspire to only one small percentage of the sacrifice he made, still we would be doing something to help make the world a better place.




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A SPECIAL DAY: 11-11-11 Veterans Day

November 11th, 2011

The buzz in the news today is that, since 11-11-11 only happens ONCE in a century, today is a special day altogether. And it’s Veterans Day.


Take a moment and say to a Veteran you know, “Thank YOU for your service to our great nation!” It’s simple to do and doesn’t require any more elaboration. Saying “Thank You” is enough. Believe me, Veterans appreciate when someone takes those few seconds to say a simple “Thank You.”

There are many Veterans who have performed extraordinary feats in the service of our nation: they were and are the living recipients of the highest honor our nation can bestow: The Congressional Medal of Honor. The CMOH website is HERE.


Many of the recipients of the CMOH lost their lives in the action that earned them the respect and gratitude of a nation. But many recipients survived as Veterans.

Here are some Medal of Honor statistics:
Total Recipients: 3,458
Living Recipients: 85
Double Recipients: 19
Most Recent:

Dakota Meyer is a living recipient of the CMOH and a Veteran. President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Dakota L. Meyer on September 15, 2011. “His unwavering courage and steadfast devotion to his U.S. and Afghan comrades in the face of almost certain death reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”

Another recent, and living Veteran presented with the Medal of Honor is Staff Sergeant Leroy Petry. When you read his citation you can’t be anything but moved by the bravery of this young American. Here is an excerpt:

Still under enemy fire, and wounded in both legs, Staff Sergeant Petry led the other Ranger to cover. He then reported the situation and engaged the enemy with a hand grenade, providing suppression as another Ranger moved to his position. The enemy quickly responded by maneuvering closer and throwing grenades. The first grenade explosion knocked his two fellow Rangers to the ground and wounded both with shrapnel. A second grenade then landed only a few feet away from them. Instantly realizing the danger, Staff Sergeant Petry, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his safety, deliberately and selflessly moved forward, picked up the grenade, and in an effort to clear the immediate threat, threw the grenade away from his fellow Rangers. As he was releasing the grenade it detonated, amputating his right hand at the wrist and further injuring him with multiple shrapnel wounds. Although picking up and throwing the live grenade grievously wounded Staff Sergeant Petry, his gallant act undeniably saved his fellow Rangers from being severely wounded or killed.

Take a moment to read the citations for these and other CMOH recipients, both living and dead. After you do, you’ll realize the extent to which these brave Americans have gone to preserve our American way of life.

You’ll be inspired to say, “Thank YOU,” to a Veteran.


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The Empire State: Home of Gay Pride

June 25th, 2011

From the Stonewall Riots of 1969 to the historic vote in Albany in 2011, 42 years of history supports Gay Rights in The Empire State!  Last night New York State became the sixth and largest state to support Gay Rights by legalizing Gay Marriage.

We here at PowerHouse Solutions are proud of our New York State Assembly and Senate and Governor for doing the right thing! 

As a Mortgage Lender we are committed to providing easy access to mortgage financing to Gay Domestic Partners, and now, to Gay Married Couples.  Our entire PHS Family is empathetic to the specific hurdles that Gay families face when attempting to obtain mortgage financing for a home purchase or refinance.  We have long provided a Gay-Friendly atmosphere to help our clients realize their dreams of  homeownership.  That’s why we are so proud to be licensed by the great State of New York as a Mortgage Lender so that we can join in this historic moment and celebration that is so important to so many of our friends and clients!

New York State, The Empire State and home of Gay Pride!

Gay Pride Empire State

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Happy Clients! Maylene is a First Time Homebuyer

May 28th, 2011

We here at PowerHouse Solutions were proud to stand by our client Maylene yesterday as she closed on the purchase of her first home in our office in Great Neck. Maylene was a true dream to work with in providing our PowerHouse Solutions Underwriting team with all the documents they requested in “light speed” fashion!

As often happens with our clients, we work TOO FAST! Maylene’s FHA Insured Mortgage loan with 3.5% Down payment was approved and ready to close in 3 weeks. Then we joined Maylene and her attorney in sitting around waiting for the Seller of the home to tell us he was ready to close; we all felt the Seller’s delays were rather absurd (NOTE: PHS Blogger being KIND.)

Still and all, everything was wrapped up in six weeks. We don’t understand here at PowerHouse Solutions why everyone else seems to have such difficulty with other mortgage lenders getting their loans approved and closed in a reasonable time frame. We’re all hearing the horror stories of working with other lenders—the delays, the mistakes, the constant requests for documents (daily), the months that pass waiting for a loan approval. We don’t have those problems here at PHS.

Well, we’re just going to keep on doing what we do at PowerHouse Solutions: We help First Time Homebuyers like Maylene achieve their dreams of Homeownership!

Here’s  a lovely email we received from Maylene literally while this blog entry was being prepared. So, here,  in her own words,  is Maylene:

“Hello All,

I just wanted to take a moment out this morning and say THANK YOU again for making my process in buying my 1st home one to be remembered. It was my pleasure working with all of you. You made me feel very comfortable and secure in knowing you had my best interest at hand. We did go through some frustrating times, but I would not choose another team to go through them with!

Thank you for all of your professionalism

Congratulations Maylene on buying your home!

Congratulations Maylene on buying your home!

! AGAIN, WE all made a great team and I would do it all over again with each of you, representing me! Happy Friday!

Best Regards,


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Mortgage Fraud Update: Telemarketers Play Nasty

March 29th, 2011

Mortgage fraud doesn’t just happen within the loan process; mortgage fraud can occur even before a consumer has made their loan application.

Telemarketers for a mortgage company in Wisconsin played nasty when they solicited unwitting homeowners to refinance their mortgages. The State Attorney General for Wisconsin announced his office has filed suit against the mortgage company, First American Funding CO., LLC of Columbus, WI, for egregious violations of the Do Not Call laws and for misleading practices.

The suit alleges that telemarketers for the company represented themselves as representing the existing mortgage company for the homeowners. When homeowners returned these calls they discovered a sales pitch to refinance with the new company, First American. The suit further alleges that First American representatives called consumers whose names were registered on the state’s Do Not Call List. Fines and penalties for such actions can quickly add up to a hefty sum.

If you feel you have been the victim of similarly nasty telemarketing or direct marketing fraud and misrepresentation, please contact your State Attorney General’s office. The only way to clean up the mortgage business is for consumers and ethical mortgage professionals to team up and report violators to the appropriate authorities.

Special thanks to the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel (www.jsonline.com) for its timely reporting of this serious mortgage fraud.

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Be Careful Who Prepares Your Tax Returns

March 22nd, 2011

NYS announced a sweep today, accusing 7 tax preparers of filing fraudulent tax returns for clients.

PHS urges our clients to take care in their selection of a tax preparer. All paid tax preparers are required to sign your tax return and provide their ID number. When a tax preparer does not sign a return, this is a sure sign that something shady may lurk in the background.

Tax professionals who stand on solid moral ground are there for you in the event of questions and/or audit by tax authorities. Shady tax preparers will leave you hanging in the wind.

Here’s the report courtesy of The Wall Street Journal: NY Tax Officials Announce Fraud

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Bronx News Network: Invaluable Bronx Resource

February 23rd, 2011

Whether you are a home buyer, a tenant or prospective renter, or a business owner, Bronx News Network is an excellent online resource for all things BRONX!

Published by the same folks who publish the exceptional Norwood News, the Bronx News Network website is an important community resource.

BxNN, for short, describes its mission this way: “BxNN’s mission is to provide high quality local news and information in neighborhoods where no one else does. We engage, inform and empower residents so they can hold decision makers accountable and build strong communities.”

You’ll find links to housing advocates, both governmental and not-for-profit; you’ll get the latest in local Bronx news, filtered specifically towards a Bronx resident’s viewpoint. Food, Sports, Arts, Culture, Schools, Politics, and much, much more. Bronx News Network brings comprehensive coverage to its readers in a high quality web format, uncluttered and presented in a clean, easy-to-access web experience.

Visit Bronx News Network: you’ll even learn of the origins of the name of The Bronx!

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