[Rumor] Wells Fargo To Discontinue Propel Cards [Last Week]

According to reddit user LA-and-SF (citing internal document) Wells Fargo will be discontinuing the Propel cards on 4/19/21. It is expected that these cards will no longer be available to new cardholders but existing cardholders will be grandfathered. The Wells Fargo Propel World card is still available for sign up over the phone, it offers a 40,000 point bonus and is ranked one of our top credit card sign up bonuses. I’d recommend you sign up for this card ASAP if you don’t already have it as it could easily be pulled before that 4/19/21 date.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

[Rumor – Update] American Express To Increase Personal Platinum Annual Fee

Update 4/7/21: Given the recent confirmation regarding the Centurion lounge changes I feel more comfortable sharing the rest of this rumor from work4amex:

  • $695 annual fee
  • $300 equinox credit
  • $240 entertainment credit, $20 monthly (magazine/news subscriptions, video streaming services and audio/music streaming services)
  • $200 credit for prepaid hotel bookings
  • Annual CLEAR membership will replace TSA Precheck, but Global Entry seems like it’ll stay
  • $100 temp Resy credit

Original post: According to FT user ThroughTheGrapevine, American Express plans to increase the annual fee on the personal Platinum card in Q3 2021 for new accounts and existing accounts will have the current fee apply until January 2022. The fee is rumored to be increasing to $695, but it’s possible a $745 or $795 price point could apply as well. The aim is for benefits to shift from travel to lifestyle.

Earlier this year American Express sent out a survey regarding possible changes to the business card and a new annual fee of $695 so I wouldn’t be surprised if this annual fee increase does happen but I have no idea how reliable this poster is. An increased annual fee would also make it easier to introduce a new mid level card (AmEx Optio).

Source: doctorofcredit.com

American Express Platinum ‘Exclusive Offers’ ($1,700 In Credits)

Update 3/22/21: This is just referring to previously announced credits such as Saks, Best Buy & Home Depot unfortunately.

American Express Platinum cardholders are seeing a new section in their AmEx offers section called ‘Exclusive offers’ 

This would fit in with the rumor that the American Express Platinum annual fee is increasing soon, there was also a survey sent out regarding changes to the Business Platinum card that mentioned up to $1,000 in B2B credits. I suspect this wasn’t supposed to go live on the American Express site yet and we will get more information in the coming days.

Hat tip to jeffersun8

Source: doctorofcredit.com

[Rumor] Wells Fargo To Discontinue Propel Cards

According to reddit user LA-and-SF (citing internal document) Wells Fargo will be discontinuing the Propel cards on 4/19/21. It is expected that these cards will no longer be available to new cardholders but existing cardholders will be grandfathered. The Wells Fargo Propel World card is still available for sign up over the phone, it offers a 40,000 point bonus and is ranked one of our top credit card sign up bonuses. I’d recommend you sign up for this card ASAP if you don’t already have it as it could easily be pulled before that 4/19/21 date.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

For $5.5K/Month, Live the Glamorous Old Hollywood Life at the Historic Villa Carlotta in Los Angeles

For this article, we partnered with sponsor Compass.com. While this is a paid article, its contents reflect our honest opinion and our reporting on the topic has not been influenced.

After an extensive renovation brought new life into L.A.’s iconic Villa Carlotta, the 1920s Italianate villa gloriously returned to market in 2018 as its founders intended — in the form of a swanky extended-stay residential with minimum 30-day lodging.

Now home to 50 rental units, Villa Carlotta plays on its historic past as a home and haunt for the artistically adventurous, only it now adds significant glam to the mix (and quite a few luxury rental perks).

How much will a month-long stay at Villa Carlotta cost you? A one-bedroom suite is $5,500/month, and comes fully furnished — and appointed with designer finishes, appliances for your every need, as well as towels, robes and personal care products lined up in the spa bathroom.

Rental at Villa Carlotta in Los Angeles, CA. Image credit: Compass
Rental at Villa Carlotta in Los Angeles, CA. Image credit: Compass
Rental at Villa Carlotta in Los Angeles, CA. Image credit: Compass

Since the building is a hybrid between your traditional apartment complex and an upscale hotel, renters get to enjoy services like spa treatments, a 24-hour concierge, housekeeping, and a rooftop with a killer view of the Hollywood sign. The common areas are as glamorous as you’d expect from an Old Hollywood beauty, and other onsite amenities include a swimming pool, courtyard, fitness studio, delivery lockers and bike storage. 

Common areas at Villa Carlotta in Los Angeles, CA. Image credit: Compass
Common areas at Villa Carlotta in Los Angeles, CA. Image credit: Compass
Common areas at Villa Carlotta in Los Angeles, CA. Image credit: Compass
Common areas at Villa Carlotta in Los Angeles, CA. Image credit: Compass

For more information on the Villa Carlotta rental, get in touch with real estate broker Laura Pardini.

The century-old history of the Villa Carlotta

Built back in 1926 by architect Arthur E. Harvey — the man behind neighboring manor, Château Élysée, which was once home to Humphrey Bogart, Ginger Rogers, and Clark Gable — the Italianate villa sits proudly at the corner of Franklin and Tamarind avenues.

The building has a fascinating history, starting with its controversial inception; as the story goes, Elinor Ince, the original owner of the building, received funding from William Randolph Hearst to erect the property as an extravagant apology for accidentally killing her husband, silent film superstar Thomas Ince.

Now part of Old Hollywood lore, Ince’s death supposedly happened aboard Hearst’s yacht in 1924, when the media mogul himself accidentally shot Ince with a bullet intended for Charlie Chaplin, who Hearst suspected was having an affair with his mistress, actress Marion Davies. Nothing was ever proven but surprisingly, Marion Davies became one of the first residents of the building (well before she bought the iconic Beverly House).

Villa Carlotta in Los Angeles, CA. Image credit: Compass

Over the years, Villa Carlotta has been home to countless famous residents, including Oscar-winning producer David O. Selznick (Gone With The Wind), Oscar-winning director George Cukor (My Fair Lady), actor Montgomery Clift (A Place In The Sun), and Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons, a Hearst protégé who ended up living in Villa Carlotta’s most luxurious apartment (with rumors saying the residence was a reward for her silence, as Parsons was aboard Hearst’s yacht when the shooting allegedly took place).

And while the apartment complex failed to retain its upscale status in its later years, becoming more of an artist hideout and home to up-and-coming talent, it still nabbed its fair share of celebrity residents; Jim Morrison of The Doors once stayed here, as well as Neil Patrick Harris (post Doogie Howser). Rumor has it Pulp Fiction director-screenwriter Quentin Tarantino tried to rent a unit too, but wasn’t accepted into the building.

Then, in 2018, real estate developer CGI strategies embarked on a $5.5 million restoration and renovation project, carried alongside the Hollywood Heritage Museum and Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources. With careful consideration for the building’s historic nature, the renovation brought the 50-unit complex back to life in the form of a striking boutique rental that combines Old Hollywood charm (think floor-to-ceiling French door) with modern touches (each unit has been equipped with an Apple TV and a tablet connected to the concierge service).

More luxury residences

The Remarkable Sheats-Goldstein Residence in LA: Past, Present and Future
The Unique California Poppy House Hits the Market for the Very First Time
See Travis Scott’s New House: a $23.5M Ultra-Modern, Yacht-Inspired MansionThe Alluring History of the Playboy Mansion

Source: fancypantshomes.com

President Biden could reduce FHA mortgage insurance premiums. Here’s what it means for you

FHA mortgage insurance might get cheaper this year

“Mortgage industry abuzz with speculation of FHA MIP cut,” stated one trade magazine on January 28. And that journalist was right.

Many insiders are confidently predicting a big cut in the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA’s) annual mortgage insurance rates.

FHA borrowers currently pay 0.85% annually in mortgage insurance premiums (MIP). That’s $1,700 per year, or $140 per month, on a $200,000 mortgage.

So it’s no wonder a possible MIP rate cut is big news. It could help new home buyers and refinancing homeowners save big on their housing payments.

Verify your FHA loan eligibility (Feb 8th, 2021)

Why experts think Biden will lower mortgage insurance premiums

Lowering FHA mortgage insurance rates isn’t a new idea from President Biden. It’s a holdover from former President Obama’s agenda.

American Banker magazine explains “The Department of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama had announced a scheduled 25-basis-point [0.25%] reduction in the FHA’s annual mortgage insurance premiums just before President Donald Trump took office.”

But Trump reversed this change at the start of his term, leaving FHA MIP rates at 0.85% per year.

Now, says American Banker, “observers expect the Biden administration to follow through on that 25-basis-point cut and potentially go even further.”

Lowering FHA MIP costs would be right in line with President Biden’s goals of expanding affordable housing opportunities for low- and middle-income families.

Of course, this is only speculation for now. No official announcements have been made.

But the pervasiveness of the rumor — and the absence of denials from the administration — mean a change seems likely.

So potential home buyers and FHA homeowners should be aware of what the (potential) change would mean for them.

What an MIP reduction could mean for you 

There’s good news and bad news.

The bad news is that if you already have an FHA loan if and when the reduction takes effect, you won’t see any savings. You would have to refinance into a new FHA loan to see the reduction.

The good news is that if you haven’t applied for an FHA loan yet if/when the cut is announced, you can likely take advantage of the new, lower fees.

But just how much would home buyers and refinancers stand to save?

A 25-basis-point reduction means MIP rates would fall by 0.25%. So you’d be paying 0.6% of your loan balance each year instead of the 0.85% that nearly all FHA borrowers now pay now.

These mortgage insurance rates are calculated annually but charged monthly.

Example: 0.25% MIP rate cut

Let’s say you plan to borrow $200,000 with an FHA loan. Your MIP rate at current levels would be 0.85%, making an annual charge of $1,700 — or $140 per month.

Now let’s assume the new MIP rate falls to 0.6%.

Your annual charge tumbles to $1,200. And your new monthly MIP cost would be exactly $100 per month.

That’s a saving of $500 a year, which few of us would sneeze at. But there’s a possibility that the savings could be even bigger.

Example: 0.50% MIP rate cut

American Banker wondered whether the Biden administration might “potentially go even further.”

So how does the math work if annual MIP rates were to be cut a little more — to 0.5%?

Assuming the same $200,000 loan, a 0.5% rate would reduce the annual payment to $1,000. And that would make the monthly payment just $83 versus $140 per month at current levels.

That would save you $700 a year over your current payment.

Rates haven’t changed yet…

Remember: this is just speculation. Unless and until an official announcement is made, you should continue to budget for your full, existing 0.85% MIP rate.

But if you’re considering a home purchase or refinance later this year, you should keep an eye out for news from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

If a change is announced, it could be worth waiting on that application until you can secure the lower rate.

Verify your FHA loan eligibility (Feb 8th, 2021)

What happens to existing FHA loans?

Homeowners with an existing FHA loan may not benefit from lower mortgage insurance premiums right away.

An MIP rate reduction likely would not change the terms of your current mortgage.

So if a change is announced, you’d have to refinance into a new FHA loan to take advantage of MIP savings.

Keep Streamline Refinancing in mind

The good news is that FHA borrowers may well be in line for an FHA Streamline Refinance — a simplified, low-doc refi program.

FHA Streamline loans typically come with minimum paperwork, low costs, and no credit check. You likely won’t need a new home appraisal or income verification.

However, you’ll have to pay closing costs yourself — only the upfront mortgage insurance charge can be rolled into the loan balance.

And cashing out is not allowed with the FHA Streamline program. If you want cash-back with your refinance, you’ll need the FHA cash-out loan, which requires full underwriting.

How the MIP cut could contribute to the FHA Streamline “net tangible benefit” rule

Right now, FHA Streamline Refinances have a requirement that you gain a ‘net tangible benefit’ (some clear monetary advantage) as a result of using one.

This typically means you need to lower your ‘combined rate’ (mortgage interest plus mortgage insurance) by at least 0.5%.

Say the Biden administration does cut MIP rates by 0.25%. Under the current rule, you’d also need to lower your mortgage interest rate by 0.25% to be eligible for Streamline Refinancing.

But with rates trending downward through 2020 and into 2021, it’s quite likely that a 0.25% reduction is in reach.

But do keep in mind that your current FHA loan has to be at least 210 days old before you’re allowed to refinance.

When could the change take place?

Some mortgage industry insiders are expecting an announcement during President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office. And they may be proved right.

But there’s a reason we rarely quote speculation from mortgage industry insiders. They’re often wrong.

And the fact is, nobody outside the government knows whether there will be an announcement at all, let alone its likely date. Which raises an important question: What are you supposed to do with this information?

What are you supposed to do with this information?

We wouldn’t be sharing this speculation with you if we didn’t think there was a good chance of the rate cut really happening. But there’s no guarantee it will.

So you probably shouldn’t change immediate plans to purchase a home or refinance.

Today’s FHA mortgage rates are at historic lows — and your interest rate has a much bigger impact on your total loan cost than your mortgage insurance rate.

If you wait on a rate cut and miss today’s low interest rates, it could negate your savings. You could also risk losing out on your dream home by waiting for financing.

Keep in mind, you only need to wait 210 days — about 7 months — from your FHA home purchase or refinance before you can refinance again.

If Biden does cut MIP rates, the change will be long-term. So you can always refinance if it makes financial sense for you to do so later on.

Verify your FHA loan eligibility (Feb 8th, 2021)

Will other aspects of FHA loans change?

Most people who opt for an FHA loan do so because it’s the easiest, most affordable path to homeownership that’s open to them.

American Banker describes FHA borrowers as, “traditionally first-time homebuyers and largely minorities and lower-income earners.”

And they choose FHA loans because they can get approved with lower credit scores and higher existing debts than Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other conventional loans usually allow.

None of that’s likely to change if the Biden administration comes through with the rumored changes.

The only difference should be the amount these borrowers have to pay for their annual mortgage insurance.

Remember, there’s also an upfront mortgage insurance (UFMIP) fee equal to 1.75% of the loan amount. Most borrowers roll this into their loan balance so they don’t have to pay it at closing.

So far, we haven’t heard talk of the UFMIP rate changing — only the annual mortgage insurance premium of 0.85%.

The bottom line

An FHA MIP reduction would be a great win for borrowers, helping to keep monthly housing costs low.

If you plan to buy a home or refinance via an FHA loan later this year, there’s a good chance you could see lower mortgage insurance premiums.

But if you’re already in the process of buying or refinancing, we don’t recommend waiting on news of lower MIP rates. You’re likely to see bigger savings by taking advantage of today’s ultra-low mortgage rates.

Verify your new rate (Feb 8th, 2021)

Source: themortgagereports.com

How to find the right neighborhood

Finding the right house starts with finding the right neighborhood. After all, location is everything. However, evaluating a neighborhood can be tough, particularly if you’re moving to an unfamiliar area. Here are a few tips to help you in your search.

Consider everything

When you’re just starting out, don’t eliminate anything right away. A neighborhood you heard one bad rumor about, or that you’ve only ever buzzed past, may actually be a delightful place to live. Look at all your options with fresh eyes, so that you can make a truly unbiased decision.

Remember what’s important

Just as with home buying, choosing a neighborhood comes down to what you can and can’t live without. Research local schools, average house prices and planned developments. Consider things like traffic noise, proximity of shops and parks, and how close you need to be to work. As you think about all these criteria and more, make a list of your must-haves. If you’re on the fence about a location, use your list to help you decide.

Ask around

Once you’ve found some neighborhoods you like, it’s time for a visit. Try going for a walk in the area, eating at a local restaurant and talking to local business owners as well as potential neighbors. You may even want to rent for a while to really get a feel for things.

In-person visits are the best way to observe things like safety, cleanliness and friendliness. So make sure you take a good look around to be sure it’s the right location for you.

Source: century21.com

Beverly Park, a Privacy Haven for Hollywood’s Biggest Celebrities

Some call it a desperate need for privacy and security. Others call it conscious alienation and paranoia. Whatever the reason, one thing’s clear: the world’s wealthiest all want to live in Beverly Park, Los Angeles’ richest and most exclusive neighborhood. 

What exactly is so special about Beverly Park?, you might ask. Don’t feel bad about not knowing the answer, because the amount of privacy and security around this neighborhood is insane, and that’s exactly why celebrities want to live here. 

First of all, you can’t just go take a stroll through Beverly Park in hopes of running into Mark Wahlberg or Samuel L. Jackson (two of the biggest names on the neighborhood roster). This ultra-exclusive gated community is out of reach even for paparazzis. There are basically no sidewalks, and taking photos is strictly prohibited. But who needs sidewalks when each property spans across acres and acres of land? There is plenty of room for celebrities to roam around without running into neighbors, visitors, or the prying eyes of the press. 

Aerial view of North Beverly Park (via Variety)

Because of the unrivaled privacy and massive land plots, Beverly Park has become the most sought-after residential destination for the wealthy. It’s actually the richest neighborhood in Los Angeles, home to A-listers in industries like show business, technology, and finance. But how did Beverly Park come to earn its status of the highest-earning neighborhood in L.A.? Let’s go back to see how this Hollywood hotspot first took shape. 

The history of Beverly Park

During the 1960s, the area now known as Beverly Park was eyed to become a country club-slash-golf-course for Hollywood’s elite. However, in the 1970s, developers Brian Adler and Elliot Gottfurcht joined forces to turn Beverly Park into “an idyllic community of historic-feeling grand estates that would feel like Beverly Hills of yesteryear.” 

Beverly Park stretches between Mulholland Drive, Sunset Boulevard, Coldwater Canyon Drive, and Beverly Glen Boulevard. It’s divided into two communities, namely South Beverly Park and North Beverly Park. They both boast the famous Beverly Hills Post Office 90210 zip code, even though they’re located in the city of Los Angeles. 

Map of Beverly Park, Los Angeles (via Google Maps)

North Beverly Park is the larger of the two communities, encompassing 64 homes, while South Beverly Park is home to merely 16 residences. North Beverly Park is more upscale than the South section, boasting significantly higher prices and an entrance on Mulholland Drive. Interestingly enough, residents of the two communities don’t always see eye to eye, even if they’re basically part of the same neighborhood. 

In 2008, residents were embroiled in a legal battle concerning the rights of South Beverly Park to use the northern gates at Mulholland Drive. It wasn’t your usual, boring court battle: among the plaintiffs were famous residents like Samuel L. Jackson and Magic Johnson, among others. The dispute was triggered when North Beverly Park restricted access to South Beverly Park via the Mulholland Drive entrance, citing security concerns. After a long legal battle, the courts decided South Beverly residents could use the northern gates freely, but the disagreements left a sour taste for both communities. 

The North Beverly Park entry gate at 13100 Mulholland Drive (via Christophe Choo)

The high profile residents

You know how in some cities in the U.S., local governments impose limits on how big residences can be? Think of that stunner of a mansion featured on Netflix’s Selling Sunset. It’s reportedly the last project of its size to be built in Los Angeles, as the local council voted to regulate the size of new homes in 2017.

Believe it or not, in Beverly Park, a requirement is in place that says homes in this neighborhood must be at least 5,000 square feet in size. Nobody seems too upset about that, given that homes in Beverly Park average roughly 20,000 square feet or more. 

This 5,000-square-foot-minimum rule, which is part of a 70-page property covenant that Beverly Park residence must abide by, is by no means a problem for celebrities. ‘The bigger, the better’ is a motto that famous Beverly Park residents like Mark Wahlberg, Eddie Murphy, Magic Johnson, or Silvester Stallone swear by. 

But one of Beverly Park’s most famous residents is none other than Lisa Vanderpump, aka one of the Housewives of Beverly Hills. A few years back, Vanderpump was living in a palatial mansion designed by Richard Landry, and this mansion made multiple appearances in the popular TV show. The neighborhood is by no means stranger to massive mega-mansions, but the Vanderpump estate definitely stood out in its opulence. 

Lisa Vanderpump’s former Beverly Park home (via Pinterest)

Fast forward a couple of seasons, and Vanderpump reportedly decided to ‘downsize,’ moving to a gorgeous Beverly Hills residence dubbed Villa Rosa. Her former Beverly Park palace ended up being demolished by the new owners, but luckily we still have plenty of glamorous footage to rewatch if we get nostalgic. A bit of fun trivia for you here: the old mansion’s façade was used in the first season of Schitt’s Creek

If you’re feeling sad that your favorite housewife has parted ways with Beverly Park, worry not, because there are still plenty of celebrities in the neighborhood. Notable residents include Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Rod Stewart, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kimora Lee Simmons, among many others. 

The priciest home in the neighborhood

All the homes in Beverly Park are massive, uber-glamorous and jam-packed with amenities and state-of-the-art security features. But there is one property that stands out from all the others, and it’s got an equally impressive price tag. Yes, we’re talking about Villa Firenze, a 20,000-square-foot, 13-bedroom estate that could become the priciest home ever to hit an auction. Rumor has it that the jaw-dropping property is hitting the auction block with a $160 million price tag, just $1 million shy of the previous record-holder, a $159 million Florida listing auctioned off in 2018.

Villa Firenze in North Beverly Park. Image credit: Concierge Auctions

You might ask yourself, what’s so special about this residence that makes it worthy of such a high price tag? Well, besides the 13 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms and 8 powder rooms, Villa Firenze also comes with a home theater, a wine cellar, a gym, a library, a private office, and even maids’ quarters. But that’s not all. There’s also a 30-car courtyard, a tennis court, a massive swimming pool, and even a walking/jogging trail surrounding the estate! 

Bidding for Villa Firenze starts Tuesday, January 26th, and the highest bidder will become the lucky owner of this ultra-luxurious property. So, if you want to compete with the likes of Denzel and the Vanderpumps, this is your chance. You can register to bid on the Concierge Auctions website. Fingers crossed!

You might also like:

10 Major Celebrities — and Celebrity Couples — Who Call Beverly Hills Home
Everything You Need to Know about Brentwood, One of LA’s Most Glamorous Neighborhoods
Check Out 10 of the Biggest Celebrities Who Live in Malibu
The Pocket-Sized Community of Montecito is Home to Some of the Biggest Celebrities (and a Couple of Royals)

Source: fancypantshomes.com

[Rumor] American Express To Open Washington National Airport Centurion Lounge, Expansions For SFO & SEA

According to jona970318 American Express is set to announce a new Centurion lounge will be opened at Washington National Airport (DCA). In addition new expansions for SFO & SEA will be announced. It’s not clear where the new DCA lounge would be located at this stage but Jona speculates it could be landside in the B/C area.

VFTW notes that the SFO expansion would bring the size to nearly 16,000 square feet and the SEA ‘expansion’ is a relocation that would go from 4,500 square feet to 13,700 square feet in space.

Source: doctorofcredit.com