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January 2008

1 -- New Year's Day
17 -- Ben Franklin Day
21 -- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
22 -- Full Moon Day
30 -- Jazz Day

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
-- Bill Vaughan

 

 

Home Sales Expected to Trend Up in 2008

According to the latest forecast by the National Association of Realtors®, existing-home sales are projected to trend up in 2008, with pending home sales showing a slight near-term rise.

“The unusual mortgage disruptions that peaked in August were clearly seen in lower home sales that were finalized in September and October, so the market was under-performing,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, adding the worst part of the credit crunch has already worked its way through the data. "Now that mortgage conditions have improved, some postponed activity should turn up in existing-home sales over the next couple of months, and I expect sales at fairly stable to slightly higher levels.”

According to the report, existing-home sales are likely to total 5.67 million this year, the fifth highest on record, rising to 5.70 million in 2008. Existing-home prices are expected to be down 1.9 percent to a median of $217,600 for all of 2007, and then rise 0.3 percent to $218,300 in 2008.

“Home price growth in the vast affordable midsection of America will help raise the national median existing-home price slightly in 2008," said Yun. "Then expect price appreciation to return to more normal patterns in 2009, perhaps rising one or two percentage points above the rate of inflation."

Areas showing healthy price gains include disparate markets such as Gary-Hammond, Ind.; Binghamton, N.Y.; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Spokane, Wash. “We can’t emphasize enough how much local conditions vary, even within a given area, so it’s important for consumers to make decisions based on local market conditions,” said Yun.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is estimated to rise slowly to the 6.4 percent range by the end of 2008, with additional cuts in the Fed funds rate lowering short-term interest rates.

TOP

Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter.
-- D.H. Mondfleur

 

 

If You Want It Sold -- Depersonalize

If you want to get your home sold -- now is not the time to show off your beer can collection, your masterpiece from Painting 101, your dusty bunny animal collection or your "they could have been models" family photos.

As a home seller, this is often hard to accept, as demonstrated in many homes on the market. But the truth is, future home buyers would prefer to think nobody has ever lived in the property. You want to "depersonalize" your home because you want prospective buyers to view it as their next home. Seeing your family photos and your bowling trophies only reminds them it's your home, not theirs.

So, put it away, pack it up, or throw it away. That goes for most of your family photos, artwork, trophies, collectibles, souvenirs and other knick knacks. If you need to, rent a storage unit for a few months and keep your items there. Whatever you do, don't store the boxes in the attic, garage, closet or basement. Part of preparing a house for sale is to remove "clutter," and that is the next step in preparing your house for sale.

Just remember, when you want to sell, strip it of all the things that make it a personalized home, and turn it into a generic product that can be personalized by someone else.

TOP

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.
-- Albert Einstein

 

 

Good Indoor Project: Record Your Valuables

In most parts of the country, January is a good time to focus on indoor tasks. One good winter day project is to take photographs of each room and make a room-by-room inventory of everything of value in your house. Taking pictures helps aid your memory when filing a claim and provides proof of what you owned in the event of theft, fire or other disaster. Follow these five easy steps.

  1. Take pictures of every room from multiple angles. Zoom in to shelves with small items, and open drawers to ensure all your belongings are in the pictures.
  2. Photograph valuable items individually. You may even want to place them against a white background to capture more detail. Having adequate light is very important.
  3. Use the camera's macro mode for very small valuables like watches, coins and jewelry. Place another item in the picture if it's important to reference size (like a ruler or quarter).
  4. Be sure to get a picture of the serial number on electronics and software. This will help prove to your insurance company you owned the item and assist law enforcement in recovery.
  5. Burn the picture files to multiple CD's, DVDs or Flash drives. Keep one copy in a fire and water proof safe and the other copy in at a safe, off-site location.

TOP

Curiosity is a willing, a proud, an eager confession of ignorance.
-- S. Leonard Rubinstein

 

 

Trivia Challenge

Question 1.) How long is the average NFL football player's professional career?
a.) 3.5 years
b.) 5.5 years
c.) 7.5 years
d.) 9.5 years

Question 2.) Where were attics invented?
a.) Attica
b.) Antarctica
c.) Pennsylvania
d.) Maryland

Question 3.) What color is polar bear fur?
a.) White
b.) Blue
c.) Clear
d.) Pink

Question 4.) What is Whoopie Goldberg's real name?
a.) Kathryn Smith
b.) Caryn Johnson
c.) Whoopie Goldberg
d.) Katie Jones

Question 5.) What behavior is displayed when a bat leaves its cave?
a.) Swoop down then fly up
b.) Turn left
c.) Circle before leaving
d.) Turn right

TOP | ANSWERS

Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.
-- Wayne Dyer

January Movie Releases

  • Jan. 4
    • One Missed Call
  • Jan. 11
    • 27 Dresses
    • First Sunday
    • In the Name of the King
    • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A Veggie Tales Movie
    • Rogue
  • Jan. 18
    • Cloverfield
    • Mad Money
  • Jan. 25
    • Be Kind Rewind
    • Meet the Spartans
    • Rambo
    • Untraceable

*Wide releases only. Opening dates subject to change.

TOP

He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot. He that dare not
is a slave.
-- Andrew Carnegie

9 Tips to Help You Stretch Your Travel Dollars

  1. Pack light -- you'll have much more flexibility regarding transportation and accommodations. After all, it's not easy to change rooms if you have 12 heavy suitcases.
  2. Book early -- you can save a lot of money by booking months in advance.
  3. Last-minute deals -- the opposite of booking early, sometimes you can get a huge discount by taking a last minute deal. Travel operators don't like to have empty seats.
  4. Hostels -- they can be very affordable places to stay in most major cities (be sure to check for restrictions).
  5. Walking -- save money on taxis and keep fit. You might discover a hip bistro or bed-and-breakfast.
  6. Camping -- take a tent and enjoy some destinations that don't have hotels.
  7. Group travel -- Share the costs with others and get group discounts at many attractions.
  8. Budget -- before you go on your trip, write a budget for all costs and stick to it.
  9. Discount cards and vouchers -- save money by getting discounts, freebies and two-for-ones.

TOP

Consider what you think justice requires, and decide accordingly. But never give your reasons; for your judgment will probably be right, but your reasons will certainly be wrong.
-- Lord Mansfield

Surf and Email with Complete Privacy

StealthSurfer is a Windows XP-compatible, key-sized, USB device that comes with Mojopac, Tor, Hushmail Premium, Roboform Pro, Firefox and Thunderbird, integrated for optimum privacy. When using StealthSurfer, all your sensitive internet files (cookies, internet history and cache) are stored on the device instead of the computer.

StealthSurfer conceals your web surfing habits, files and history from anyone who has physical access to your computer to stop identity theft and keep your surfing information hidden and anonymous.

Advanced and secure e-mail programs are included in StealthSurfer so your email is portable and private. In addition, the Mojopac software turns the device into a portable computing environment, so you can install your own programs and documents on the StealthSurfer and take them with you.

StealthSurver has no moving parts and it is virtually indestructible. Small and sleek, the device fits easily on a keychain and plugs into any USB slot and is immediately recognized as a removable disk. It is available in 2GB, 4GB, 8GB and 16GB. Prices range from $179 to $339.

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Oh, for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money.
-- Author Unknown

Cool/Free/Fun/Trendy: del.icio.us

del.icio.us is a social bookmarking website which allows you to store and share bookmarks on the web, instead of inside your browser. This has several advantages.

First, you can access your bookmarks from any computer with an internet connection. Second, you can share your bookmarks publicly so other people can view them for reference, amusement and collaboration. Of course, you can also keep bookmarks private. Third, you can find other people on del.icio.us who have interesting bookmarks and add their links to your collection.

Another benefit of using del.icio.us is using tags to organize and remember your bookmarks -- a much more powerful and flexible system than folders. Keeping links to your favorite articles, blogs, music, reviews, recipes and news sources has never been easier -- all you need is a browser and an internet connection.

Learn more at: http://del.icio.us/.

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You can have up to 12 content submissions for an additional $6 per content/picture combination. Get started now!

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  Trivia Answers
#1. a.) 3.5 years; #2. a.) Attica; #3 c.) Clear; #4. b.) Caryn Johnson; #5. b.) Turn left

This eNewsletter contains information, facts and opinions from various individuals and organizations. This eNewsletter is provided on an "as-is" basis without warranties of any kind, either express or implied. I/We are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Consult with your doctor, fitness consultant, attorney, accountant, or other professional advisor when necessary.

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