Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams rides a pedal-assist Citi Bike in August.

A new, better mode of transport—but it’ll cost you

Get ready to see more electric bikes on NYC streets: Citi Bike announced a major expansion of its fleet of pedal-assist e-bikes, with 4,000 of the speedier cycles rolling out over the next few months.

The downside: Using one of the e-bikes will cost an additional $2, or an additional 50 cents for those who qualify under the reduced fare program. Currently, it costs $3 to take a 30-minute trip on one of bike-sharing services normal two-wheelers. And even those who have a Citi Bike membership won’t get off scot free; the $2 surcharge applies to them as well. The extra cost is a necessary evil: Citi Bike will need to hire extra employees to keep up with the demand for e-bikes, whose batteries need to be replaced every 45 minutes, as well as maintenance costs.

E-bikes have proven very popular since they first landed on city streets last summer, so much so that it was hard to find one in the early months of the roll-out. With thousands more hitting the road by June, Citi Bike sees them not just as a last-mile transportation option, but new, dedicated mode of transport.

“Many people currently use Citi Bike for a short trip or to solve a long walk, but the pedal-assist bikes will open up a completely new way of thinking about Citi Bike,” Julie Wood, a Citi Bike spokesperson, told Streetsblog.

Data released by Citi Bike shows that riders using pedal-assist bikes are using them for longer trips—including more trips over East River bridges—and that the bikes are getting more use in inclement weather. The e-bikes reach a top speed of 18 miles per hour, and the pedal assist feature—which kicks in as soon as you start pedaling—makes them easier on inclines and other challenging rides.

In addition to the e-bike expansion, Citi Bike also announced that it’ll add 13 new stations in “our busiest areas,” along with 2,500 new docks. Additionally, the company says it will “provide free upgrades after April 27 for members who dock electric bikes at certain stations along the L train corridor (more on that soon) or if there are only electric bikes at a Citi Bike station.”

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If you are a Native American and have trouble getting home loan financing, there could be help with the Section 184 Home Loan program. This HUD program helps Native Americans afford home ownership by allowing low down payments and low interest rates. HUD guarantees the Section 184 Loans 100%, which means they work in much the same way that other government-backed programs, such as the FHA loan work.

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Finding a Bank

HUD sets the guidelines for the Section 184 Loans and even guarantees them, but they don’t underwrite them. Instead, the funding bank does it. The banks have the final say in which loans get approved and which don’t.

It’s the lender’s job to make sure that the loan meets the Section 184 guidelines at a minimum. Lenders can add their own rules or overlays on top of it, but at a minimum they must follow the Section 184 guidelines. It’s often easier to use lenders that other tribe members have used and you may even find an approved list of lenders from your tribe.

How to Qualify

Qualifying for the Section 184 Loan means that you meet the following requirements:

  • You must be a member of a Federally recognized tribe
  • You don’t need a certain credit score; the bank decides if you are a good risk or not
  • You will need a debt ratio that doesn’t exceed 41%, but there are exceptions to the rule, especially if you have a strong financial record
  • You must live in one of the approved Section 184 states
  • You should have a two-year employment history
  • You can be either a first-time or repeat home buyer
  • The home must be for your primary residence

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The Benefits of the Section 184 Loan

If you are part of a Native American tribe, you have a low credit score, and low income, it can seem impossible to find a loan. That’s where the Section 184 loan steps in and helps. Aside from being a loan that can help Native Americans in this situation, it provides the following benefits:

  • You may only need to put down 1.25% on the loan if you borrow $50,000 or less. If you borrow more than $50,000, you must make a 2.25% down payment.
  • You can still qualify for the Section 184 Loan if you have bad credit. The loan program isn’t based on credit score. Lenders look at each loan individually in order to make a lending decision.
  • You can buy single-family properties or 1-4 unit properties as long as you live in a unit as your primary residence.
  • You can use the loan to help you pay for home renovations or rehabilitation; it isn’t just to buy a home.
  • You can use the loan to build a new home or to refinance your current home.
  • You can only get a fixed rate loan – adjustable rate loans aren’t allowed.

Paying Mortgage Insurance

Like most government-backed loans, you will need to pay mortgage insurance on a Section 184 Loan. First, you pay 1.5% of the loan amount at the closing. If you don’t have the money to pay the fee at closing, you can opt to roll it into your loan amount.

If you borrow more than 78% of the home’s value, you will pay monthly mortgage insurance equal to 0.25% of the loan amount. This amount changes as you pay your mortgage principal down, though. For example, if you borrow $100,000, you would pay $20 per month. As you pay the principal down, the premium you pay would decrease even further.

The Section 184 Loan is a great way to help Native Americans with poor credit and low-income get a loan. It’s a great way to get flexible financing with low, affordable interest rates. As with any loan program, make sure you shop around to find the deal that is just right for you.

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Click to See the Latest Mortgage Rates»

The post Understanding the Section 184 Home Loan for Native Americans appeared first on Blown Mortgage.

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Have you seen Martina McBride’s show on the Food Network called “Martina’s Table”? In the episodes you’ll often see celebrity guests like Sheryl Crow and Faith Hill walking up to this farmhouse’s big front porch and knocking on the gorgeous old door. The house is on the market in Franklin, Tennessee, so now we can […]

The post The Modern Farmhouse Where “Martina’s Table” Was Filmed appeared first on Hooked on Houses.

Walt Disney Concert hall in Los Angeles, California (2003).

Always experimental, always provocative

World-renowned architect Frank Gehry turns 90 today and continues to be one of the busiest people around. The Pritzker winner has an online architecture class and Facebook Live experience under his belt, and, of course, big new projects like the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C., and a museum for architecture and model trains in Massachusetts underway. In this past year, Gehry also unveiled another new building for Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters and signed on to design an expansion to a performing arts school in Los Angeles.

Indeed, it’s Gehry’s inimitable designs that are sure to keep catching new eyes around the world. A Harvard design school dropout, Gehry has been challenging norms for decades with his unwavering Deconstructivist style. Whether it’s massive metal sails and ripples or an unabashed use of color, his buildings are always experimental and, as a result, provocative.

In honor of Gehry’s birthday, here’s a toast to some of his greatest hits, from the grand Walt Disney Concert Hall in his beloved LA to the now iconic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.


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The Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, France (2014).

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Biomuseo, the Museum of Biodiversity, in Panama City, Panama (2014).

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The 76-story residential skyscraper 8 Spruce Street in New York, New York (2010).

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The Stata Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts (2004).

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BP Pedestrian Bridge in Chicago (2004).

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The Fisher Center Performing Arts at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York (2003).

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As seen from the Space Needle: The Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Washington (2000).

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A night view of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain (1997).

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Dancing House, designed in collaboration with Czech architect Vlado Milunić, in Prague, Czech Republic (1996).

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The Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis (1993).

Photo by Elizabeth Daniels

Frank Gehry’s residence in Santa Monica, California, circa 1978.

Spring is typically the hottest homebuying season of the year. But in 2019, that trend might not hold true. With mortgage rates near one-year lows, home sales down and showings on a steep downturn, spring is shaping up to be a pretty good time to buy a home.