Best Mortgage Moves in a Slowing Housing Market

(ARA) - Given the recent changes in the mortgage and housing markets, many current and potential homeowners are asking themselves the question of what to do next in regards to their home financing situation. Whether you are looking to purchase your first home or are already a homeowner and want to maximize your investment, there are a number of home financing options to consider.

GMAC Mortgage ( offers the following tips to help you make your next mortgage move.

First-Time Homebuyers
The biggest concerns for first-time homebuyers right now are fluctuating interest rates and home values. However, buying a home with a fixed-rate loan now will ensure that future rises in interest rates will not impact your monthly payment. In addition, because of current market conditions, many first-time homebuyers have a large inventory of homes from which to choose. Prices in many markets have stabilized or moved off their highs over the past year as demand has softened, so your dollars could go much farther than they have in the past.

If you decide to move forward with the search for your first home, consider getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Becoming pre-approved will give you a much better idea of your buying power as well as reassure home sellers that you are a serious buyer.

Existing Homeowners
If you are a homeowner with an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), hybrid ARM, or interest-only mortgage, now is a good time to consider refinancing into a fixed-rate loan. Even if the overall interest rate rises, there is a good chance that a fixed-rate mortgage payment will be lower than what you may pay if your adjustable rate loan adjusts soon.

Homeowners currently repaying variable-rate home equity lines of credit also should review their options. Refinancing to a fixed-rate home equity loan could be advantageous, but you should first check with your lender.

Another option, whether you are considering refinancing your current mortgage or exploring your first mortgage, is to elect to buy down the interest rate. With a “buydown,” a borrower or seller pays part of the interest upfront, lowering the borrower’s monthly rate for a set period of time.

With the proper research and the assistance of a qualified mortgage professional, securing the right mortgage product can put you in a more advantageous situation to help you meet your homeownership goals.

For more information on mortgage strategies, call (800) 888-GMAC (4622) to find the GMAC Mortgage office near you.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

You Don’t Have to Live with Chronic Pain Anymore

(ARA) – Colleen Foley of Mount Horeb, Wisc., used to be a hairstylist, and as such, would spend hours on her feet, doing repetitive motions with the scissors. “Eventually it developed into tendonitis on my left side which regularly causes pain that goes up the back of my neck, down my arm to my hands. Sometimes it would get so bad, I couldn’t continue working,” says Foley.

She used to turn to oral Ibuprofen to take the edge off, but it wasn’t always effective. Recently she changed her strategy. “I’ve read a lot lately about how bad it can be for your stomach to be taking oral pain relievers all the time,” she says, “so when a friend recommended I try a topical Ibuprofen cream instead, I was game.”

Foley started using Ibunex, a new topical cream designed for muscle and joint therapy at the end of July, and was instantly amazed by the results. “The first time I used it, I rubbed a little bit of the cream into my hands and knuckles, and worked it between my fingers and over my forearm, and got relief almost immediately,” says Foley, who now also uses it on her shoulder and neck when they start to bother her.

Ibunex, manufactured by Osceola, Wisc.-based Core Products International, Inc., targets inflammation at its source. A single .2 gram pump of Ibunex, contains a mixture of key ingredients known to have wide benefits in joint health management of pain and inflammation. These include Ibuprofen, Glucoasmine, Chondrotin Sulfate, MSM and Bromelain.

“What I really like about Ibunex over anything else I’ve tried is I get immediate relief. It goes right to the spot where it hurts and hits the nerve right away,” says Foley, who recently started using Ibunex’s companion product, Gluconex, as well. Gluconex is designed to provide maintenance therapy for long term conditions like tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow.

Foley credits the one-two punch she gets from her newfound therapy with helping her sleep better at night, and allowing her to once again pick up a guitar, something she hadn’t been able to do for years. “It has really improved my quality of life. I recommend this therapy to anyone who has ever suffered from pain.”

Ibunex and Gluconex are available for purchase through health care providers and are also available for purchase online at
Courtesy of ARAcontent

Many people don’t know how to select motor oil that will help them get optimum performance out of their car.
ARA) - People often just select the oil their father used, or they may take the suggestion of a counter person at an auto parts store who may not know any more about cars than they do.

There are meaningful differences in motor oils and choosing the right one can have a major impact on how well your car runs. Selecting the right oil is the quickest and cheapest way to improve your car’s performance and reliability.

Two components determine how well motor oil will perform in your car. One factor is the base oil, and the other is the combination of chemicals (additives) that are added to the base oil.

Base oils
The two primary types of base oils used are mineral and synthetic. Mineral oils are by-products of refined crude oil. Refining helps reduce the impurities but leaves molecules of all shapes and sizes. Synthetic oils are manmade compounds whose molecules are all the same size and shape; consequently, synthetic oil has less friction and performs significantly better than mineral oils.

There’s been sizable growth in the use of synthetic oils over the years. In fact, synthetic oils are often the factory fill in many new performance and luxury cars.

Regardless of the base oil used, chemicals must be added to give motor oil the characteristics needed to do its job. Typical additives that may be added to base oil include detergents to reduce the formation of residue, defoamants to deter absorption of air, anti-wear agents, antioxidants and others.

Although additives are typically only 15 to 25 percent of the make up of motor oil, they can impact a lubricant’s performance much more than the base oil. For instance, mineral based motor oil with a very good additive package can easily outperform synthetic motor oil with a mediocre additive package.

There is no easy way for a consumer to determine the quality of motor oil’s additive package. Price is often an indicator of quality since the more advanced additive technologies cost more to produce. Performance is the ultimate measure of additive package quality.

Advances in lubrication
Some of the biggest technological advances in lubrication are now coming through advancements in chemical additives. These breakthroughs have been developed by a handful of companies that specialize in high-performance lubricants, as opposed to major oil companies whose primary focus is refining and selling crude oil by products like gasoline and other fuels.

One high-performance lubricant company, Royal Purple, has developed lubricants that outperform both leading mineral oils and other synthetics. Their oil has been proven in numerous independent tests to dramatically reduce engine wear, increase horsepower and torque, and reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Cars using their oils can also go further between oil changes, saving the owner time and money, and reducing the impact on the environment. More information about their products is available at the Web site

How to Choose
Mineral-based (conventional) motor oils. These are the cheapest and most widely available oils. They typically use standard additive packages that provide minimum levels of performance and protection.

Synthetic motor oils. These man-made oils are more expensive that mineral-based oils but are still widely available. Their performance advantages come predominantly from the synthetic base oil used. They have a longer service life and offer some improvements in protection. They typically use the same additive packages found in mineral-based oils.

High-performance ‘specialty’ synthetic motor oils. These motor oils are the most technologically advanced oils. Although they significantly outperform mineral based or synthetic motor oils, they are about the same price as standard synthetic motor oil. They are typically only available through auto parts stores and select oil change centers. These oils primarily differ in their use of more advanced, proprietary additive technologies.

Still confused? For a used car with little life left in it, stick with the cheap mineral-based motor oil. For a car you plan to keep for a few years and want to get a little better performance from, you should at least upgrade to synthetic motor oil. To get the most performance out of your car, truck or RV, or to protect a vehicle you really care about and want to last, upgrade to a high performance motor oil.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

What Keeps You Awake At Night?  How a Financial Professional Might Help !

(ARA) - What keeps you awake at night? If you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably more than once found yourself up in the wee small hours, lying on your back, staring at the ceiling above your bed, having a little conversation with yourself.

On the one hand, you’re feeling pretty good about things. But on the other hand -- and this is why you’re awake -- there are those nagging little questions that can get in the way of anyone’s peace of mind: “Am I doing all that I should to protect my current lifestyle? Have I done enough to look after the people I love the most? Am I doing enough to take care of me?”

For many, the answer to these late night eye-openers is a resounding “no.” That’s because those typical “everyday” concerns such as paying bills tend to distract people from thinking about their long-terms plans. But working with a financial professional can have a positive impact on people, according to a recent study commissioned by Northwestern Mutual.

“We found that those people who work with a professional demonstrate more knowledge about financial matters than their counterparts who do not,” says Janie Schiltz, vice president of Northwestern Mutual. “Moreover, the study reveals that working with a professional can have a positive effect on a person’s financial behavior as well.”

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