February 2008 Newsletter NOW Available -- Start Your Campaign This Week!

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- Real Estate Update
- Buyers & Seller's Corner
- Home Improvement
- Trivia Challenge
- Health & Fitness
Upcoming Movie Releases
Recipe of the Month

- Cool/Free/Fun/Trendy
- Forward to a Friend

February 2008

2 -- Groundhog Day
3 - Super Bowl Sunday
8 - Boy Scout Day
11 - Thomas Edison Day
12 - Lincoln's Birthday
14 - Valentine's Day
18 - President's Day
22 - Washington's Birthday
29 - Leap Day

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
-- Dorothy Nevill

 

 

Stable Existing-Home Sales Expected in 2008

According to the latest forecast by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), existing-home sales are expected to hold fairly steady during the next few months as indicated by pending sales activity, then rise later in the year and continue to improve in 2009.

“On the one hand, we have a pent-up demand from the 4 million jobs added to our economy over the past two years of sales decline,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "On the other, consumers continue to wait for additional signs of market stabilization. There are more people with financial capacity now than in 2005, but many are trying to market-time their purchase. As a result, the exact timing and the strength of a home sales recovery is a bit uncertain. A meaningful recovery in existing-home sales could occur as early as this spring, or it may be further delayed toward late 2008.”

According to the forecast, existing-home sales for 2007 should total 5.66 million, the fifth highest on record, then edge up to 5.70 million this year and 5.91 million in 2009, compared with 6.48 million in 2006. Existing-home prices for 2007 are likely to be down 1.9 percent to a median of $217,600, hold even this year and then rise 3.1 percent in 2009 to $224,400.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is expected to rise slowly to the 6.3-percent range by the end of 2008, but an additional cut in the Fed funds rate would lower short-term interest rates, the report said.

TOP

You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.
-- Henry Ford

 

 

3 "Real" Important Buying Considerations

Whether you're buying your first home or your tenth, the home-buying process can be overwhelming. But, some things never change, including these three very important considerations when buying a home.

Location -- You've heard it before, "location, location, location." The reason you've heard this is because it's true! Unlike the rental world, where neighbors come and go, a house is a long-term commitment. If you fall in love with the house, be sure to check out your neighbors as well. One bad neighbor can turn your dream home into a nightmare. In addition, schools, shopping and major roads should be considered. If there's a highway nearby, some questionable properties, an unfriendly feeling, or anything else that feels uncertain, it might be wise to pass on that property. You can't change your home's location, so it's critical you are happy with everything in the area.

Major Repairs -- Be sure to check out the property thoroughly, yourself. A home inspection is good, but YOU really need to see it for yourself as well. Go along with your inspector and ask questions while he's there. You'll learn a lot. The most expensive things to repair include: roofing, furnace, central air, and plumbing and electrical systems. These can add up fast. It's still OK to buy a home that needs major repairs, just be sure you've taken them into account in your price negotiations.

Water Damage -- Is the house located in a flood area? Is the roof or basement leaking? Is there water ponding in the yard? If water damage occurred once it's not likely to stop unless the problem has been corrected (and not just temporarily covered up). Water damage often leads to expensive irrigation systems and major repairs, including mold removal.

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When we got into office, the thing that surprised me the most was that things were as bad as we'd been saying
they were.
-- John F. Kennedy

 

 

The Right Way to Store Your Paint

With the price of paint nowadays, and the ever-growing concern with the environment, what is one to do with their leftover paint? Keeping it for touch up and repairs is a good idea, but more time than not, the paint has "gone bad" by the time you use it. Well, here's how to properly store your paint so you can use it a year from now.

  1. Wipe away any paint residue left in the rim of the paint can. The key to keeping paint good is to keep it airtight.
  2. Cut a small piece of plastic from a grocery or garbage bag into a circle a few inches larger than the paint can lid.
  3. Blow into the can before Step No. 4. This displaces some of the air in the can with carbon dioxide.
  4. Place the plastic on top of the paint can before putting on the lid. The plastic acts as an air seal and keeps the air away from the paint -- preventing the paint from drying out.
  5. Use a rubber mallet, or a hammer and a block of wood, to "tap" the lid down tight to reseal it. It's important not to damage the lid, or you'll have air leaks.
  6. Store the paint in a dark, cool and dry place.
  7. Keep in mind many paints can't be used after freezing, so the garage may not be the best place.
  • Also: If you don't want to store the paint, check to see if your community has a paint recycling group. Empty containers can usually be thrown out with your regular trash, but be sure to leave the can open for a few days so the paint dries out completely. Never pour paint down a drain.

TOP

What is written without
effort is in general read without pleasure.
-- Samuel Johnson

 

 

Trivia Challenge

Question 1.) The second of February is Groundhog Day. It is also a special day for Roman Catholics. What is it?
a.) Ascension Day
b.) St. Andrew's Day
c.) Candlemas Day
d.) Michaelmas Day

Question 2.) What is the birthstone for February?
a.) Amethyst
b.) Garnet
c.) Ruby
d.) Sapphire

Question 3.) When did Valentine's Day become commonly observed in the United States?
a.) During the Civil War
b.) Around 1900
c.) In Pioneer Days
d.) During World War I

Question 4.) February was originally the last month of the year. True or false?
a.) True
b.) False

Question 5.) Where did the first American Mardi Gras take place?
a.) Las Vegas
b.) Mobile
c.) New Orleans
d.) Panama City

TOP | ANSWERS

The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a
thousand things well.
-- Horace Walpole

10 Tips for Better Mental Health

Society spends a lot of time focusing on physical health. While this is important, it's equally significant to focus on your mental health. What's the point of looking good if you don't feel good? Try some of the following ideas to raise your spirits.

  1. Value Yourself -- Don't be too hard on yourself. Treat yourself with kindness and respect. Make time everyday to do something you enjoy and broaden your horizons.
  2. Build Confidence -- Identify your abilities and weaknesses, accept them, and learn to make the most of it.
  3. Take Care of Your Body -- Exercise, eat nutritious meals, drink plenty of water, get a good night's sleep, and avoid smoking and excessive drinking.
  4. Accept Compliments -- If someone gives you a sincere compliment, enjoy it, and remember it when you need it.
  5. Hang Out with Good People - Don't take your family and friends for granted. Make plans with good people and seek out positive activities together. Nurture these relationships.
  6. Live Within Your Means -- Financial problems cause stress, often leading to other problems.
  7. Volunteer -- Give your time and energy to help someone else. You'll meet new people, and you'll feel good about yourself.
  8. Manage Stress -- Stress is a part of life. Learn to deal with your stressors head on and practice good coping skills. Try to find some humor in your problems.
  9. Seek Help -- Sharing a problem with others who have had similar experiences may help you find a solution. You're not the first person to have a problem. Seek professional help if you have a mental or substance abuse problem.
  10. Shake It Up a Bit -- Routines may make you more efficient and feel more secure, but they get monotonous. A change of pace, such as a road trip, mini-vacation, trying a new restaurant or learning something new is good for your mind.

TOP

Drama is life with the dull
bits cut out.
-- Alfred Hitchcock

February Movie Releases

  • Feb. 1
    • The Eye
    • Over Her Dead Body
    • Strange Wilderness
    • Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour
  • Feb. 8
    • Fool's Gold
    • Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins
  • Feb. 14
    • Definitely, Maybe
    • Jumper
    • Step Up 2 the Streets
    • The Spiderwick Chronicles
  • Feb. 22
    • Be Kind Rewind
    • My Mom's New Boyfriend
    • Vantage Point
    • Witless Protection
  • Feb. 29
    • The Other Boleyn Girl
    • Penelope
    • Possession
    • Semi-Pro

*Wide releases only. Opening dates subject to change.

TOP

If you cannot convince them, confuse them.
-- Harry Truman

Seafood Fettuccine

This alfredo sauce tastes great with seafood. And it's quick; about 35 minutes total time. Serve with a Caesar salad and garlic bread for a real treat.

Ingredients - Serves 6

  • 16 ounces fettuccine noodles
  • 3/4 cup green onions -- chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves -- peeled and minced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 pound shrimp -- peeled and deveined
  • 3/4 pound sea scallops
  • 1-1/2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1+ tablespoon cornstarch (optional - to thicken)
  • 1/2 cup wine and mushrooms (optional)

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly-salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. Melt butter in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add shrimp and scallops, stirring to combine, and cook 3 minutes more. Reduce heat to medium-low. If the sauce is too thin for your liking, add a bit of cornstarch until it is the right consistency. If using frozen seafood, be sure to thaw and drain it before adding it to the sauce.
  3. Add cream, salt, and pepper (wine, mushrooms) into the pan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Do not boil. Gradually sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese over seafood mixture and continue stirring another minute. Remove from heat.
  4. Toss cooked pasta into the pan, coating thoroughly. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese, and serve.

Wine Pairing

  • Villard Estates Esencía Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2001

TOP

About the time we think we can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends.
-- Herbert Hoover

Cool/Free/Fun/Trendy: Web Resizer

If you need a quick way to resize an image, consider Web Resizer. This free, online-photo-editing tool easily optimizes your images for use in email, blogs and websites.

Web Resizer is particularly handy because you don't have to boot up big, memory-hungry programs, you don't have to own or download any software, and all you need is a browser and internet access. You can upload and manipulate images as large as 2.25 MB -- and then download the edited image to your desktop.

Features include:

  • Reduce image size
  • Crop photos
  • Sharpen
  • Resize (change width and height)
  • Rotate
  • Adjust contrast, brightness, saturation
  • Convert photo to black and white
  • Add a border
  • No registration or downloads required
  • It's FREE!
  • Learn more at: http://webresizer.com/.

TOP

  Trivia Answers
#1. c.) Canclemas Day; #2. a.) Amethyst; #3 a.) During the Civil War; #4. a.) True; #5. b.) MobileJohnson; #5. b.) Turn left

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Rainer
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Special Rate for AR members.
Jan 28, 2008 09:00 AM #1
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Definitely worth checking out.
Jan 29, 2008 01:05 AM #2
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