Derrick Strauss: Wealthy Americans Struggle to Obtain Mortgages

Derrick Strauss

According to All Western Mortgage marketing manager Derrick Strauss, even some of the nation’s most well-heeled homebuyers are facing challenges buying property in a post-recession economy, despite slightly loosened credit requirements and ample liquid assets.

It seems a little backwards, says Derrick Strauss, but wealthy homebuyers may face some of the biggest hurdles in a post-recession economy. The problem is not their ability to pay for mortgage but the lack of a steady income. According to Derrick Strauss, many of the country’s richest residents are being denied mortgages—often for second homes or vacation properties—because they have no annual income statement.

Derrick Strauss points out that those with plenty of resources can usually qualify for a first mortgage without problem. However, most banks want to see an income and put very little weight on reserved funds.

Property appraisals questioned

Another problem with wealthy buyers is that they tend to purchase expensive properties, says Derrick Strauss. While in the past banks welcomed these high-value homes with open arms, they have learned their lesson with the foreclosures of countless overvalued properties. Property appraisers today are subject to strict oversight by lending agencies. Historically, luxury homes had few comparable properties to assess against, leaving their value open to interpretation. Derrick Strauss says that banks are no longer willing to accept a property’s assessed value without plenty of data to back it up.

Banks beginning to thaw lending freeze

After the housing bubble burst in 2008, banks seemed to stop lending, recalls Derrick Strauss. As the market regains its footing, some lending institutes have begun closing loans once again, instilling confidence in buyers and sellers alike. Wealthy borrowers, points out Derrick Strauss, have seen the most benefit from the slightly less stringent requirements, but first-time homebuyers and those with moderate incomes may still have a rocky road to home ownership.

Derrick Strauss does point out that most banks and financial institutes have eliminated interest-only and no-documentation loans, which were considered major culprits in the overactive foreclosure market.

Bad loans still filtering through market

Though the foreclosures have slacked a bit in the last year, Derrick Strauss says there are still plenty of bad loans for lenders to focus on. Many properties are still in litigation or sit vacant as a testament to long-term irresponsible lending practices. Derrick Strauss points to the high profile case of Teresa and Joe Giudice of TV’s Real Housewives of New Jersey. The couple, despite adequate finances today, was recently charged with data tampering on home mortgage paperwork dating back more than 10 years. This goes to show that banks are trying to make right the wrongs that led to the crash, says Derrick Strauss.

Shopping around an option

Like any major marketplace, Derrick Strauss points out that the mortgage lending industry is a competitive one. Derrick Strauss explains that one mortgage lender’s requirements may be different than another’s and encourages all potential homebuyers to shop numerous providers to find the right mortgage for their situation.

Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald Says Biotechnology’s Future Is as Yet Unimaginable

Lindsay Rosenwald The future of biotechnology is beginning now, says Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald of Investment Partnership.What is biotechnology?

According to Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald, at its core, biotechnology utilizes living organisms or systems to make industrial, medical, and other products. The technology itself, in a much more crude form, has been used for many centuries in agriculture. However, with the advent over the last several decades of new technologies and a greater understanding of the almost limitless number of genes and processes in living organisms, the discoveries and applications of those discoveries are happening at a rapid and accelerating pace. This trend is likely to occur for the next several decades, says Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald.

Medical breakthroughs

Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald notes that through research in biotechnology, and the decades and hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions of dollars already, that have been invested, there are dramatic advances in bio engineering, bio imaging, cellular and tissue engineering, molecular biology, applications of the human genome, and more.

Lindsay Rosenwald predicts that as progress continues, and continues to accelerate, there will come a time where all diseases will be treatable and curable. Already, over the last decade or so, diseases such as lymphoma, multiple myeloma, other blood cancers, have gone from routinely fatal to curable and/or chronic, manageable conditions. Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald believes that in 10 years or less, the vast majority of cancers will be in that same category.

Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald believes that we are not too far away from being able to create medicines through biotechnology that allow most chronic diseases to be curable. In fact, Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald believes that through biotechnology, science and industry will collaborate and be able to develop replacement organs so that patients suffering from organ failure, whether the organ is the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, etc., organs will be grown and implanted on a very routine basis. Lindsay Rosenwald believes that even less serious conditions, more cosmetic, such as baldness, wrinkled skin, and probably all other cosmetic conditions will be treatable and curable through biotechnology advances.

Agriculture Breakthroughs

Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald believes that the agricultural uses of biotechnology are ahead of the medical uses. Lindsay Rosenwald believes that we are well on the way to creating a world where there will never be a shortage of food for the planet. Lindsay Rosenwald notes that biotechnology in agriculture dates back thousands of years with the newer uses of genetic selection for higher yielding crops, pest resistant crops, and all other potential attributes that biotechnology can give to agricultural products, that trend is also accelerating.

An investment with intrinsic value

Lindsay Rosenwald is a partner in New York’s Investment Partnership, an investment firm that focuses specifically on medical biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. In his 26 year career, Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald has found that medicine is an excellent sustainable investment with far more benefits than simply producing profits. His belief that wealth should be utilized to improve life for everyone has made Lindsay Rosenwald a major power player in the biotechnology investment market. In 2002, Lindsay Rosenwald was ranked No 1. on the Genetic Engineering News list of “100 Molecular Millionaires” for his financial and academic contributions to medical science.

Biotechnology does more than just cure disease and stabilize agricultural growth, points out Lindsay Rosenwald. The Temple University School of Medicine graduate explains that biotechnological research will result in cleaner chemical manufacturing and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent. These contributions, says Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald, will improve health and living conditions for every human being on the planet. Combined with the increased viability of advanced biotechnological pharmaceuticals, the biotechnology market will most certainly lead the way for countless medical discoveries in the coming decades.

Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald has acquired more than 100 licenses for clinical-stage medicines, including at least two that have been indicated in the remission of prostate cancer and certain types of leukemia respectively.


Rehak Creative Services on Product Positioning for Small Businesses

Rehak Creative Services Rehak Creative Services founder Bob Rehak believes that product positioning is the first step to improving sales results for businesses of all sizes. At Rehak Creative Services, the experienced staff works with clients from many different industries. Below, Bob Rehak expounds on how Rehak Creative Services excels in the area of product positioning for small businesses.

Q: What is the most important element of product positioning?

Bob Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Product positioning is about finding a space in the marketplace where the company can best compete.

Q: Where does this task fall within a new ad campaign?

Bob Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: This is one of the first steps in developing a new ad campaign. However, it can be time consuming and costly.

 Q: Is product positioning a true necessity then?

Bob Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: In consumer markets where advertising budgets range into the millions, it’s money well spent.

Q: What about smaller businesses?

Bob Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Smaller companies have limited financial resources, so a market-research based study is often not affordable.

Q: How does Rehak Creative Services make it affordable?

Bob Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Rehak Creative Services uses a shorthand methodology to hone in on the most successful strategy. Working with clients’ sales and marketing organizations, we identify things clients do well that their customers need that competitors can’t match.

Q: What should be the primary goals for the client?

Bob Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Differentiation, honesty, and making sure prospects understand all the value that clients have built into a product or service.

Q: What are the major obstacles of reaching the average consumer?

Bob Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: The average consumer is inundated with unwanted advertising. Because of this trend, the natural tendency is to ignore most messages they receive.

Q: How are these pitfalls avoided?

Bob Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Fresh perspectives, good positioning and making a human connection. You don’t have to exaggerate to get attention.

Q: What happens next?

Bob Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: It’s important to determine a compelling focus of these communications and formulate a strategy around that.

Q: Are the old ways of doing business out the window?

Bob Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: No. Product, promotion, pricing, packaging, and placement are still important. We’re just using new technologies and terms to do those things.

Q: What advice should be top of mind at all times?

Bob Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Without a solid communications strategy, the whole effort is wasted.

Q: Messaging is important too, right?

Bob Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: If the company is not saying all the right things, then it makes little to no difference.

Q: Constant interaction with the audience is key.

Bob Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Exactly. A company must be proactive, as opposed to reactive or even passive, about the process of product positioning.

Q: While offering a different product or service into the market.

Bob Rehak, Rehak Creative Services: Yes. Occupying a specific niche for the product, service or brand is of utmost importance.

Rehak Creative Services is an advertising agency headquartered in Houston. Since its inception in 1994, Rehak Creative Services has earned more than 100 industry awards.


All State Van Lines Relocation Creates a Family Environment on the Job

All-State-Van-Lines-Relocation-CustomerServiceStaff2 All State Van Lines Relocation is a moving brokerage firm based in Margate, Fla., that coordinates residential and corporate moves and relocations nationwide. In the following interview with ZRYLW, All State Van Lines Relocation describes how family is at the heart of their business.

ZRYLW: All State Van Lines Relocation is a family owned business, is it not?

All State Van Lines Relocation: Yes, our company was founded

in 2010. The company has employed family members and tries to keep that kind of family-business atmosphere.

ZRYLW: What do you mean by that?

All State Van Lines Relocation: While having quality employees is a major part of a good company like All State Van Lines Relocation, fostering a climate where employees genuinely like each other helps as well.

ZRYLW: Can you explain that further?

All State Van Lines Relocation: Well, research reveals that family-owned businesses tend to be operated by leaders who take the long view, thinking about long-term success over generations, avoiding short cuts that can compromise a company’s future. Employees notice that kind of leadership, and it gives them confidence to do their jobs with excellence as well.

ZRYLW: What other advantages emerge?

All State Van Lines Relocation: Like other family-owned businesses, All State Van Lines Relocation has a strong commitment to quality, since it’s connected to the family name.

ZRYLW: And family lends a certain kind of personality to the workplace, right?

All State Van Lines Relocation: Yes, it’s known to add more humanity to the work equation where employees are thought of more as extended family than merely workers. All State Van Lines Relocation is no different.

ZRYLW: And does this make things work better?

All State Van Lines Relocation: Well, there can be tension with families, too, but frankly the family environment makes business run more smoothly at All State Van Lines Relocation.

ZRYLW: How is that?

All State Van Lines Relocation: If a friendly atmosphere exists, and employees know the owners actually care about them, they tend to work harder and use strategic methods to get things accomplished in a timely manner because they know it’s good for the company. All State Van Lines Relocation has proven this to be true and our retention rates back it up.

ZRYLW: How else does a family atmosphere benefit your business?

All State Van Lines Relocation: It’s clear to us that All State Van Lines Relocation employees are more committed to the success of the company because they know their welfare matters to the owners. It inspires loyalty.

ZRYLW: How does it affect an ordinary day?

All State Van Lines Relocation: It’s just more fun to work with people you like, isn’t it?

ZRYLW: Are there challenges?

All State Van Lines Relocation: For actual family members who also work together, it can be tough sometimes to know where the work-family boundary is, but that is only for them to work out. The All State Van Lines Relocation family is the kind you can leave at the end of the day feeling confident that the work-family environment is a satisfying, fulfilling place to be.

Paul Kadri on the Use of Data to Improve Student Achievement

A+ Grade on Homework

Paul Kadri, a 16-year public school administrator, has been on the forefront in designing data systems to help schools improve student achievement. In this interview, Paul Kadri shares important information to consider when establishing a new system.

ZRYLW: Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts on improving student achievement.

Paul Kadri: It is my pleasure. This is a critical topic for success in education.

ZRYLW: People have noted that you have a lot of experience in data systems. Tell us more?

Paul Kadri: You can’t have a good system without technology. I have a deep interest in technology, and I enjoy finding ways for technology to help organizations. Turning data into valuable information is critical to success. I’ve been involved in doing this for quite a while.

ZRYLW: When did you develop your expertise in technology?

Paul Kadri: My undergraduate degree is in electrical engineering. I focused mostly on computer science and specifically on artificial intelligence. Back then, we were exploring the limits of computers in replicating what humans do.

ZRYLW: And you carried that interest into your career?

Paul Kadri: I did. My first job was with IBM, and aside from learning a tremendous amount about the technology, they helped me understand the many ways in which technology can help organizations. I have been taking that skill and applying it in all of my jobs, whether in the private or public sectors.

ZRYLW: What made you focus on data and information?

Paul Kadri: It is readily understood that an organization that has valuable information has a much greater chance of success than one that doesn’t. Creating a system that gives employees, at various parts of the organization, information that helps them do their jobs more effectively is the ultimate goal.

ZRYLW: You believe the same holds true in education?

Paul Kadri: Probably more than any other industry. Helping students reach their potential is a very complicated process that can only become easier if good information is available.

ZRYLW: You’ve been quoted as saying that education is data rich and information poor. Is that true? What does that mean?

Paul Kadri: It is absolutely true. When you think about it, we have data on everything in education. We give state tests, local tests, chapter tests, quizzes, standardized tests, etc. What happens to all that data? Many teachers will get this data and be asked to interpret it and apply it in how they deal with their students. The difference that can exist between how one teacher looks at data versus another can be dramatic.

ZRYLW: How does the data system help with that problem?

Paul Kadri: A data system allows these data elements to be organized in a way that makes valuable information both reliable and valid. If set up correctly, a teacher can get information that requires little interpretation but offers valuable insights on how to best impact the students.

ZRYLW: Doesn’t this take the teacher out of the valuable part of data interpretation?

Paul Kadri: That is a common misconception. Interpretation should not take place at the end; it should be done in the beginning. In other words, when you are setting up the way the system will organize the data, you have key stakeholders involved to make sure they agree with what is taking place. After that point, interpretation is done and information is automatically distributed for consistency.

ZRYLW: Once you get this established, do you ever revisit it?

Paul Kadri: Absolutely. On a regular basis you revisit your assumptions and how you organized your data and make sure it is giving you valuable information. You change things if you think they can be improved.

ZRYLW: To conclude, can you describe your ultimate goal when establishing a data system?

Paul Kadri: The best way to do that is by offering an example. If a teacher has an hour of time, I would like them to spend as much of that hour helping their students improve. We know that valuable information helps the teacher, but at what cost when it comes to using part of that hour? A good data system is valuable information to the teacher without taking more than a minute or two of that hour.

Paul Kadri was last superintendent of the Groton public schools in Connecticut. In addition to his expertise in data systems, Paul Kadri is also known for his extensive knowledge of school finance and site-based budgeting. For more information about Paul Kadri, visit his website at