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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.


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.


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.


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


My idea of exercise is
a good brisk sit.
-- Phyllis Diller

Add the Warm-up Stretch to Your Routine

If you don't already, add the warm-up stretch to your exercise routine. Stretching gets your muscles ready for activity, increases flexibility and greatly reduces the chance for injury.

Sport-specific stretching increases coordination and the body’s readiness to perform the specific motions associated with the activity involved.

  1. Begin your warm-up with joint rotations to lubricate them and get them moving smoothly.
  2. Follow the joint rotation with an aerobic warm-up to get the blood flowing and raise the core body temperature. Jumping rope, jogging and jumping jacks are good for this (about five minutes).
  3. Once your body is sufficiently warmed, start stretching. Begin with your back and torso, then upper body, then lower body. Many trainers recommend stretching opposing muscle groups one after the other for best results.
  4. Include sport-specific stretching, as a golfer won't necessarily need the same stretches as a tennis player. Do some low-intensity motions similar to the ones you will be making to get your body ready for those movements (for example, a golf swing).
  5. Spend about 30 seconds on each stretch -- to mild discomfort -- then stretch a bit further and hold once the discomfort passes.


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.


No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.
-- Voltaire

Personal Chicken Pot Pie

Cold weather is here and it's time for "comfort food." A traditional favorite is chicken pot pie. Serving this dish in individual serving bowls gives this old favorite a new twist.


  • 2 (12.5 oz) cans chicken breast
  • 1 package frozen veggies
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 2 tbsp. garlic herb seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Frozen puff pastry


  1. Cook all ingredients (except pastry) covered in a skillet until hot and blended.
  2. Fill cups with mixture and cover each with a square of the puff pastry. Pinch edges of dough lightly onto bowl edges. Bake on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Wine Pairing

  • Chateau du Basty Beaujolais Villages 2006


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/.


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

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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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Show All Comments
Matthew Zgonc
Aksland Real Estate - Modesto, CA
Realtor, CFS, CVS
Depersonalizing a house really helps selling a house. People just don't understand the importance of that.
Jan 08, 2008 01:48 AM #1
Joyce Heffner-Williams
Keller Williams Clients' Choice Realty - Monument, CO
Owner/Broker/EcoBroker - Monument Real Estate

Going to check it out.  Looks and sounds interesting!

Jan 08, 2008 01:55 AM #2
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