The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 9 No. 28 - April 1, 2009


Service is first at Waterside

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTO/LOUISE BOLGER Dia Wilson and Lynn Zemmer
are ready to serve you at Waterside Lending.

If you’re mood has been less than jolly recently trying to make sense of the doom and gloom being plastered all over the airwaves and newspapers, I know a place you can go for a shot of cheerfulness without even leaving the island.

You wouldn’t ordinarily think of Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach as a location where serious business is conducted. But right alongside restaurants, miniature golf courses and T-shirt shops is Waterside Lending, conducting the serious business of helping people acquire financing for home purchases and home refinancing. Lynn Zemmer, the owner broker and CEO of Waterside Lending, and Dia Wilson, a mortgage consultant, are the Waterside Lending team, and I doubt you have ever met two more positive women.

Zemmer relocated from southern California in 2006, bringing her 10 years of mortgage financing experience with her to Anna Maria. She opened Waterside Lending in November of 2007 and has seen the business steadily increase with significant changes since the beginning of the year. Wilson, a long-time resident of Longboat Key, has joined Zemmer at the Bridge Street location, contributing 14 years of banking experience and more than three years as a mortgage broker. Their mission is to provide the best possible service to their clients with integrity and a large dose of optimism.

Service is the word you hear over and over from Zemmer and Wilson. They are quick to point out that out-of-the-box financing is their specialty. As opposed to banks, that only offer their own financing programs, Waterside has a broad spectrum of products available from many different lenders including private investors. This provides them with the ability to shop the best rates for their clients and to find the best product fit tailored to their client’s needs and individual financial profiles. They also attend all local closings as a service to their clients in the event of any last minute problem at the closing table.

In addition, Waterside has many programs available for foreign nationals wanting to buy property in Florida. Frequently, buyers from out of the country have difficulty finding individual banks willing to work with them. Zemmer and Wilson point out that at this time loan offers working at banks are not required to be license by the State of Florida, whereas anyone working for a mortgage broker must be licensed.

With mortgage rates at an all time low, below 5 percent for 30 year fix rate mortgages and 4.25 percent for 15 year, Waterside has been extraordinarily busy with home refinancing requests, however, in recent months their new home purchase business has picked up considerably. People who are considering a primary, second home or investment property purchase should not be deterred from going forward. According to Waterside there is financing available, and they invite people to come in for a free evaluation and pre-qualification.

Zemmer says "God didn’t make any more land near water and Anna Maria Island has some of the best of it." She and Wilson are convinced it’s the perfect time to buy with low mortgage rates and real estate values leveling off. Optimism infused with cheer wrapped up in a positive package, Waterside Lending where your faith in the financial system has a good chance of being restored.

Waterside Lending, Inc.

104 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach

Lynn Zemmer
Dia Wilson

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story
Tax-free yields advantageous for many

Investment Corner

Thanks to the readers for the positive feedback on our recent article regarding the attractive yields currently available on both high-quality and high-yield corporate bonds. While these investments do carry a higher level of risk than government bonds or bank savings instruments, we believe they offer a high enough current yield to compensate for that risk, and with time may prove to be a very profitable investment as we ultimately recover from the current economic slowdown.

One reader suggested I cover another area of current opportunity – tax-free municipal bonds. I have written on this topic previously, but it might be a good time to review this concept and opportunity again.

Tax-free municipal bonds pay interest which is free from federal income tax and also free of state income tax, if the bond is issued by a municipality in the state in which you reside. (This is a moot point for Florida residents because there is no state income tax).

Because of this tax-free status, these bonds historically pay lower levels of interest than a U.S. government bond of the same maturity. When the credit crisis emerged over a year ago, investors began to price municipal bonds with a higher level of risk, and perhaps rightly so, and demanded higher yields to be rewarded for this increased uncertainty.

The risk in a municipal bond is that the issuing municipality runs into financial difficulty and cannot make its interest payments, or perhaps defaults on repayment of the bonds principal value at maturity. With the economy slowing and tax revenue declining, this risk became more real to investors, and municipal bonds had their worst year ever as an asset class in 2008.

Of course, crisis creates opportunity. For investors who can see some light at the end of the tunnel as far as an economic recovery, and for those who don’t think there will be large scale municipal failures, tax-free yields on municipal bonds are now higher than the taxable yields on U.S. government bonds of similar maturity.

In other words, you can earn more yield and earn it tax free. In recent weeks, the 10-year U.S. Treasury Bond’s yield has fluctuated between 2.8 and 3.0 percent. Triple-A rated municipal bonds have been yielding around 3.2 percent. Doesn’t look like a big deal until you realize that for someone in the 28 percent federal tax bracket, the after tax yield on the 10-year treasury bond is about 2.1 percent, while the 3.2 percent yield on the municipal bond would be tax-free.

None of these yields are earth shattering in terms of absolute levels. You can earn more on municipals by accepting slightly riskier, lower rated bonds. Of course, you should understand the risks involved in any security before purchasing. My best advice for the investor not familiar with bond ratings or with sufficient capital to diversify adequately, is to use one of the many tax-free bond mutual funds or exchange-traded funds available today. By using the pooled concept of the funds, you obtain instant diversification across dozens or perhaps hundreds of securities, minimizing the impact of a potential default on your portfolio. This is the same advice I gave a few weeks ago in the article highlighting the opportunities in corporate bonds, which was mentioned earlier.

Good luck and good investing.

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing.

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