The More You Read, The More You Learn

Why learning is important..."It is critical that a company create the kind of environment in which people really believe they can learn, grow, and prosper. The focus has to be on developing people."


Thursday, May 31, 2007

Avoiding Foreclosure

If you can’t make your next mortgage payment, or if you are already behind, you need immediate help. The Homeownership Preservation Foundation has joined forces with mortgage lenders, nonprofit organizations and city government agencies to provide homeowners with assistance and resources to help you get back on track.

Visit the Hope for Homeowners website, or call the homeownership hotline at 1-888-995-HOPE for immediate assistance.

Here are a few tips from NeighborWorks for avoiding foreclosure:

* Take advantage of pre-purchase counseling or financial education offered by nonprofit organizations

* Free pre-purchase counseling is offered through local governments as well as nonprofit organizations.

* Avoid prepayment penalties and balloon payments.
People who refinance their mortgages with loans containing prepayment penalties or balloon payments are more likely to undergo foreclosure, according to a study by researchers at the University of North Carolina. According to the study, a prepayment penalty increases foreclosure risk by about 20 percent. Mortgages with balloon payments were 46 percent more likely to go to foreclosure than loans without. Protect the equity in your home – it’s a valuable source of wealth that will build over time.

* Stay on top of home repairs and maintenance. NeighborWorks organizations provide counseling in home maintenance and repairs and rehabs that improve the value of a home. Too often emergency repairs and less-than-trustworthy contractors push a homeowner into foreclosure.

What should you do if you miss a payment?
More than half of those in foreclosure did not call for help when they fell behind in their mortgage payments. Calling for help is the most important factor in preventing foreclosures.

Notify the bank as soon as you know your payment will be late. Calling when you are 30 or 60 days late is better than calling when you are 120 days late Remember that foreclosure is not in the best interest of lenders – lenders report that it costs up to $50,000 or almost half the loan balance each time they write off a foreclosure.
Work it out. Depending on the situation, the lender may lower the interest rate, lower the borrower’s monthly payment, or enter into a repayment agreement for missed payments.

What are your options if you cannot make payments?

– You are allowed to delay payments for a short period, with the understanding that another option will be used afterwards to bring the account current.

Reinstatement – When you are behind in your payments but can promise a lump sum to bring payments current by a specific date.

A Repayment Plan – If your account is past due, but you can now make payments, the lender may agree to let you catch up by adding a portion of the past due amount to each current monthly payment until your account is current.

Modifying Your Mortgage – The lender can modify your mortgage to extend the length of your loan (or take other steps to reduce your payments). One solution is to add the past due amount into your existing loan, financing it over a long term.

Selling Your Home – If catching up on payments is not possible, the lender might agree to put foreclosure on hold to give you some time to attempt to sell your home.

Property Give-Back – The lender can allow you to give-back your property-- and then forgive the debt. Give-backs do, however, have a negative impact on your credit record, although not as much as a foreclosure. The lender might require that you attempt to sell the house for a specific time period before agreeing to this option, and it might not be possible if there are other liens against the home.

Again, if you do fall behind on your mortgage payment, don't waste another minute, call your lender before it's too late.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How To Shop for a Loan

There are hundreds of mortgage lenders that will pre-qualify and pre-approve you for a mortgage loan. Don't let these two terms confuse you. See my prior post on pre-qualify/pre-approval for clarification.

Major categories of mortgage lenders include:

Savings & loans: Also called thrift institutions, savings and loan associations (S&Ls) are the largest traditional lenders of residential home mortgages.

A government cleanup of bad loans at S&Ls that ended in the 1990s left behind the stronger S&Ls. These institutions remain a major source of funding for home mortgage loans. S&Ls are often called savings banks in the eastern U.S.

Commercial banks: Commercial banks offer attractive loan terms, particularly if they evaluate their entire banking relationship with you. Some commercial banks have their own real estate departments and will service your mortgage loan.

Other commercial banks sell their mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two major government-sponsored enterprises that specialize in buying residential mortgages from lenders.

Mortgage bankers: Mortgage bankers borrow money from banks or pools of investors, underwrite the loans, and sell them to investors for a profit. They often receive a fee from these investors for servicing your mortgage. Mortgage servicing includes collecting monthly payments, sending out loan statements, and collecting on late payments. For more information, see the Web site of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBAA).

Mortgage brokers: Mortgage brokers circulate, or "shop," a loan application among lenders to find the most attractive terms for the borrower. In exchange, a lender pays the broker a fee.

Homeowners: The most overlooked and a financially beneficial method. You may find that the current homeowner is willing to offer financing in exchange for selling the home sooner. This means that the seller becomes your lender. A common means of financing is for the seller to accept a mortgage note. A mortgage note requires you to make monthly payments to the seller instead of a bank or other lender. See my website for add'l info: AC Associates

Credit unions: Since credit unions are owned by their members, they are called cooperative financial institutions. Since they are nonprofit institutions, credit unions may offer attractive mortgage loan rates to their members. Like commercial mortgage lenders, credit unions sell their loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to maintain access to new sources of funds. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) regulates the credit union industry.

Nonprofit community development and housing organizations: Throughout the United States, there are hundreds of nonprofit community-based organizations that work to rebuild neighborhoods that have fallen into disrepair, or to help low-and moderate-income families buy homes. Often, these organizations have money available from government or private grants to loan for home purchases or for home improvement loans. The interest rates are often less than the cost of bank loans and the repayment terms are easier for new homebuyers. Check with your city housing agency and ask for the names of non-profit housing groups in your area or search for local organizations that are part of national nonprofit networks, such as these:

NeighborWorks organizations: These local nonprofit housing advocates provide many services to low-income homebuyers, including homeownership training, financial counseling, foreclosure intervention, loans for rehabilitation and repair of existing properties, and, sometimes, home loans. There are hundreds of these local nonprofits nationwide. Visit for more information.

HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agencies: These local nonprofit and public agencies offer rental, homeownership and foreclosure prevention counseling. They can also help you obtain mortgage financing directly from them or through referrals to local lenders. Visit HUD's website for more information.

Government Agencies:

State or Local Housing Finance Agencies: Almost every state has a housing finance agency (HFA) that works with state and local groups to revitalize neighborhoods and promote homeownership. They also provide financing for special uses, including rehabilitation of existing home. HFAs may have financing available at lower interest rates or require lower down payments and closing costs for low-and moderate-income or first-time homebuyers. City and county agencies generally perform the same function as state HFAs. Ask your local lender, real estate agent or a nonprofit housing organization about state and local government agencies. You can also visit for more information on state housing finance agencies.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

100 Quotes from "The Secret"

If YOU believe that YOU CAN and WANT to do better for Yourself...
* write that book, start that business (part time or full time), make more money, use your talents, go back to school, get a new career or job, stop settling for less than you deserve, get motivated, pursue your dreams, become motivated, confident, feel good about yourself, change your life, create the life you want and get the results you want...

1. We all work with one infinite power.
2. The Secret is the Law of Attraction (LOA).
3. Whatever is going on in your mind is what you are attracting.
4. We are like magnets - like attract like. You become AND attract what you think.
5. Every thought has a frequency. Thoughts send out a magnetic energy.
6. People think about what they don't want and attract more of the same.
7. Thought = creation. If these thoughts are attached to powerful emotions (good or bad) that speeds the creation.
8. You attract your dominant thoughts.
9. Those who speak most of illness have illness, those who speak most of prosperity have it..etc...
10. It's not "wishful" thinking.
11. You can't have a universe without the mind entering into it.
12. Choose your thoughts carefully .. you are a masterpiece of your life.
13. It's OK that thoughts don't manifest into reality immediately (if we saw a picture of an elephant and it instantly appeared, that would be too soon).
14. EVERYTHING in your life you have attracted .. accept that fact .. it's true.
15. Your thoughts cause your feelings.
16. We don't need to complicate all the "reasons" behind our emotions. It's much simpler than that. Two categories .. good feelings, bad feelings.
17. Thoughts that bring about good feelings mean you are on the right track. Thoughts that bring about bad feelings means you are not on the right track.
18. Whatever it is you are feeling is a perfect reflection of what is in the process of becoming.
19. You get exactly what you are FEELING.
20. Happy feelings will attract more happy circumstances.
21. You can begin feeling whatever you want (even if it's not there).. the universe will correspond to the nature of your song.
22. What you focus on with your thought and feeling is what you attract into your experience.
23. What you think and what you feel and what actually manifests is ALWAYS a match - no exception.
24. Shift your awareness.
25. "You create your own universe as you go along" Winston Churchill.
26. It's important to feel good ( ( ( (((good))) ) ) ).
27. You can change your emotion immediately .. by thinking of something joyful, or singing a song, or remembering a happy experience.
28. When you get the hang of this, before you know it you will KNOW you are the creator.
29. Life can and should be phenomenal .. and it will be when you consciously apply the Law of Attraction.
30. Universe will re-arrange itself accordingly.
31. Start by using this sentence for all of your wants: "I'm so happy and grateful now that.... "
32. You don't need to know HOW the universe is going to rearrange itself.
33. LOA is simply figuring out for yourself what will generate the positive feelings of having it NOW.
34. You might get an inspired thought or idea to help you move towards what you want faster.
35. The universe likes SPEED. Don't delay, don't second-guess, don't doubt.
36. When the opportunity or impulse is there .. ACT.
37. You will attract everything you require - money, people, connections.. PAY ATTENTION to what's being set in front of you.
38. You can start with nothing .. and out of nothing or no way - a WAY will be provided.
39. HOW LONG??? No rules on time .. the more aligned you are with positive feelings the quicker things happen.
40. Size is nothing to the universe (unlimited abundance if that's what you wish) We make the rules on size and time.
41. No rules according to the universe .. you provide the feelings of having it now and the universe will respond.
42. Most people offer the majority of their thought in response to what they are observing (bills in the mail, being late, having bad luck...etc..).
43. You have to find a different approach to what is through a different vantage point.
44. "All that we are is a result of what we have thought" - Buddha.
45. What can you do right now to turn your life around?? Gratitude.
46. Gratitude will bring more into our lives immediately.
47. What we think about and THANK about is what we bring about.
48. What are the things you are grateful for?? Feel the gratitude.. focus on what you have right now that you are grateful for.
49. Play the picture in your mind - focus on the end result.
50. VISUALIZE!!! Rehearse your future.
51. VISUALIZE!!! See it, feel it! This is where action begins.
52. Feel the joy .. feel the happiness).
53. An affirmative thought is 100 times more powerful than a negative one.
54. "What this power is, I cannot say. All I know is that it exists." Alexander Graham Bell.
55. Our job is not to worry about the "How". The "How" will show up out of the commitment and belief in the "what."
56. The Hows are the domain of the universe. It always knows the quickest, fastest, most harmonious way between you and your dream.
57. If you turn it over to the universe, you will be surprised and dazzled by what is delivered .. this is where magic and miracles happen.
58. Turn it over to the universe daily.. but it should never be a chore.
59. Feel exhilarated by the whole process .. high, happy, in tune.
60. The only difference between people who are really living this way is they have habituated ways of being.
61. They remember to do it all the time.
62. Create a Vision Board .. pictures of what you want to attract .. every day look at it and get into the feeling state of already having acquired these wants.
63. "Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions." Albert Einstein.
64. Decide what you want .. believe you can have it, believe you deserve it, believe it's possible for you.
65. Close your eyes and visualize having what you already want - and the feeling of having it already.
66. Focus on being grateful for what you have already .. enjoy it!! Then release into the universe. The universe will manifest it.
67. "Whatever the mind of man can conceive, it can achieve" W. Clement Stone.
68. Set a goal so big that if you achieved it, it would blow your mind.
69. When you have an inspired thought, you must trust it and act on it.
70. How can you become more prosperous?? INTEND IT!!
71. 'Checks are coming in the mail regularly'... or change your bank statement to whatever balance you want in there... and get behind the feeling of having it.
72. Life is meant to be abundant in ALL areas...
73. Go for the sense of inner joy and peace then all outside things appear.
74. We are the creators of our universe.
75. Relationships: Treat yourself the way you want to be treated by others .. love yourself and you will be loved.
76. Healthy respect for yourself.
77. For those you work with or interact with regularly .. get a notebook and write down positive aspects of each of those people.
78. Write down the things you like most about them (don't expect change from them). Law of attraction will not put you in the same space together if you frequencies don't match.
79. When you realize your potential to feel good, you will ask no one to be different in order for you to feel good.
80. You will free yourself from the cumbersome impossibilities of needing to control the world, your friends, your mate, your children....
81. You are the only one that creates your reality.
82. No one else can think or feel for you .. its YOU .. ONLY YOU.
83. Health: thank the universe for your own healing. Laugh, stress free happiness will keep you healthy.
84. Immune system will heal itself.
85. Parts of our bodies are replace every day, every week..etc... Within a few years we have a brand new body.
86. See yourself living in a new body. Hopeful = recovery. Happy = happier biochemistry. Stress degrades the body.
87. Remove stress from the body and the body regenerates itself. You can heal yourself.
88. Learn to become still .. and take your attention away from what you don't want, and place your attention on what you wish to experience.
89. When the voice and vision on the inside become more profound and clear than the opinions on the outside, then you have mastered your life.
90. You are not here to try to get the world to be just as you want it. You are here to create the world around you that you choose.
91. And allow the world as others choose to see it, exist as well.
92. People think that if everyone knows the power of the LOA there won't be enough to go around .. This is a lie that's been ingrained in us and makes so many greedy.
93. The truth is there is more than enough love, creative ideas, power, joy, happiness to go around.
94. All of this abundance begins to shine through a mind that is aware of it's own infinite nature. There's enough for everyone. See it. Believe it. it will show up for you.
95. So let the variety of your reality thrill you as you choose all the things you want.. get behind the good feelings of all your wants.
96. Write your script. When you see things you don't want, don't think about them, write about them, talk about them, push against them, or join groups that focus on the don't wants... remove your attention from don't wants.. and place them on do wants.
97. We are mass energy. Everything is energy. EVERYTHING.
98. Don't define yourself by your body .. it's the infinite being that's connected to everything in the universe.
99. One energy field. Our bodies have distracted us from our energy. We are the infinite field of unfolding possibilities. The creative force.
100. Are your thoughts worthy of you? If not - NOW is the time to change them. You can begin right were you are right now. Nothing matters but this moment and what you are focusing your attention on.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Turn Used Cell Phones Into CASH!

I received a postcard in the mail today from PaceButler. It explains how you can turn your used cell phones into cash. It's simple, fast, and rewarding with their used cell phone buyback program.

They've made it their goal to offer the fastest payment possible. They cut your check within 4 business days of receiving your cell phones!
Not only will you be compensated financially, but by recycling your used cell phone you are taking a stand against environmental degradation by keeping the toxic chemicals in cell phones out of landfills.
Non Profits: Raise Funds By Hosting a Used Cell Phone Drive

Fundraising is easy with their cell phone drive kit. PaceButler ensures that your organization gets a great price for used cell phones and that your payment is sent to you within 4 days of receiving your phone shipment. As a partner, you'll also be listed in the American Cell Phone Drive directory so that local residents can find your organization when seeking a drop-off center. Better yet, for every 250 phones they purchase, your organization will receive a free $50 Visa gift card to spend any way you choose.

4 Easy Steps:

1.) Use the purchase price list to find the buyback value of your phones.
2.) Request a free FedEx pre-paid shipping label so they can pay the shipping.
3.) Box up your phone handsets and batteries (no accessories, chargers, etc.) then ship with their pre-paid label.
4.) Get Cash! They'll issue your check within 4 business days of receiving your cell phones

Here's a chance to make a few dollars instead of your old cell phones taking up space. I know mine are!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Test Your Financial Fitness

Answer the following questions to the best of your ability. Once completed, tabulate your answers to find out about your financial educational needs.
Late payments on bills are a major problem and can lead to a denial of credit when seeking a loan.
True False Not Sure

2) You should keep enough in your savings account to cover three months of living expenses.
True False Not Sure

3) No more than 25 percent of your income should be used to pay off debts that require at least 10 months of payment before the debt is fully repaid.
True False Not Sure

4) If you don’t have enough money to pay your bills, you should call your creditors right away and tell them.
True False Not Sure

5) A bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 7 to 10 years.
True False Not Sure

6) The lowest interest rate on a loan doesn’t always mean the best loan.
True False Not Sure

7) Banks are not required to provide customers the best, most competitive rate based on their credit score and financial means.
True False Not Sure

8) When you use a credit card, you are borrowing money from a bank.
True False Not Sure

9) The practice of keeping your ATM receipts is not a sufficient means of financial management.
True False Not Sure

10) Your credit history has an effect on your ability to get a job or rent an apartment.
True False Not Sure

Get the answers here:

Friday, May 18, 2007

Pre-Approved or Pre-Qualified?

Don't Confuse "Pre-Approved" and "Pre-Qualified" with a Loan Commitment:

These are debatable terms in real estate because not all lenders apply the same definition to each term. I have learned that one leading real estate dictionary contains neither expression because their definitions are uncertain.

According to one school of thought, when you are "pre-qualified," the lender is making an educated guess about how much you can borrow based on information you've provided. When you are "pre-approved," the lender has verified everything you have told him or her and is offering to lend you up to a given amount at current interest rates -- under certain conditions.

Whether pre-qualified or pre-approved, final clearance and a check at closing -- a loan commitment -- are subject to an appraisal satisfactory to the lender, good title, a last-minute credit check, and other verifications. When meeting with lenders, always ask how they define each term and what additional steps will be required to obtain a loan.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Dress Up Your Porch for Under $100

Spring is here and it’s a good time to put out the welcome mat. Your front door and porch area is an invitation to guests and it also says a lot about you.

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Here are five ways to add personality to the porch for less than $100:

Paint Adds Pop
If there’s one thing that says spring, it’s color. Painting the front door is the easiest and least expensive way to dress up your entry. But before running to the paint store for a gallon of fuchsia, look at your home’s existing color palette
Dark colors draw more attention ,but extreme contrasts will detract from details, so it’s important to stay in the same color family. That doesn’t mean if your house is beige, you’re stuck with only browns.
Visit a paint store to see brochures of recommended palettes using your existing colors. Also, most paint companies offer color palettes and advice online.
A good quality exterior semi-gloss enamel costs about $15 a quart. Don’t forget to sand the door before painting, just enough to remove the enamel’s gloss finish, or the paint will eventually peel.

Regardless of the size of your entry, pottery is always a good choice to direct visitors to your front door. Depending on the size of the porch, a large single pot or a group of three smaller pots (vary the size) will look best. Make sure to coordinate the color of the pots with your front door. They don’t need to be the same color, but keeping them in the same family, as with paint selection, will create a striking look.
The least expensive pots are plastic, which look fine from a distance but aren’t always as charming close up. Ceramic pots are the most expensive, about $25 to $50 for a 12-inch pot. Fiberglass can look as appealing, even up close, and are around $10 to $20 for 10 to 13 inches.
A good choice is the venerable terra cotta, which can be easily painted to work with your scheme. A large 16-inch terra cotta pot is about $16. A 12-inch pot is about $6.50. Make sure to use a sealer to coat the inside or moisture will cause the paint to peel. Use an outdoor-rated paint, such as Patio Paint, which comes in a large variety of colors and costs about $5 for an 8 oz. bottle and $1.75 for 2 oz.

Flowers / Plants
This will also give your front porch some needed curb appeal. Even if you don’t use a pot, place a couple of six-packs of bright flowers in front of or along your porch. Keep in mind your color scheme. You probably don’t want orange mums if you are using blues or lavenders.
A one-gallon plant costs about $4 to $5. If you are using pots, use a larger plant as a centerpiece and surround it with quart or six-pack varieties.

Add a Personal Touch
An inexpensive way to add a personal touch is with a doorbell cover. These come in many sizes and styles, from golfers to lighthouses. A nice brass cover with a pineapple — the universal sign of hospitality — and the word "Welcome" above it online for $14. Expect to spend up to $20 for a nice brass doorbell cover.
If you don’t have a doorbell, consider a door knocker. These also come in many styles for around $20.

House Numbers
Replace tired house numbers with new ones in bright brass, antique brass, chrome or black Prices run about $6 each for 4- or 6-inch numbers. There are many online sites that offer a large selection of specialized font styles at around $11 each.

Other ways to enhance your entry include light fixtures, door kick plates or mailboxes.
Light fixtures can be expensive, but you can find a nice light fixture that isn't very costly. Door kick plates in various finishes are $20 to $30 depending on size and material. A simple mailbox in black or white will run $10 to $20.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

3 Simple Ways to Add Value To Your Home

"Families that spent more on home improvements also realize the greatest rates of price appreciation," the Harvard Joint Center study said. "In many regions of the country, homeowners recover as much as 80% to 90% of the cost of home improvements in the form of higher home values. Little wonder, then, that homeowners spent almost $2,300 on average in 2001 to help protect and improve their most important financial asset."

If you're getting ready to sell a house, you want to be among the homeowners who recover 80% or more of their investments in the form of a higher price. The key is thinking like a buyer. And what do buyers do? They drive up to a house and look at it. If they're not repelled by what they see, they step inside and look around.

1) Spend money on what can be seen vs. what can't be seen.
2) Fix up the exterior first, then the interior.
3) Focus first on the "Yikes!" appeal -- clutter, trash and bad smells that drive down a home's value.

The improvements that are most visible are the things you need to focus on.

Do a mini-remodel. Transform the look of your home with paint. It sounds simple, but it works! A fresh coat of paint can make your home look clean and fresh. Color and accessories can change a room's mood.

What color works best for your personality?
Black: You likely proceed with caution when faced with sudden changes and exercise restraint when making decisions.

White: Rational people who rely on their analytical powers and objectivity to solve problems. It helps you free your mind to pursue new options.

Brown: Earthy and sensual. Helps you feel comfortable and secure. It encourages authenticity and living in the moment.

Red: Is fiery, energetic and bold, with a sense of urgency. Self-confident and likes to take risks.

Green: Is natural healing and refreshing. You like to solve problems with a fresh perspective and a dose of quick witted humor.

Blue: You're a steady, stable and compassionate person with a devotion to those you love.

Purple: You rely on your keen intuition to guide you through life's challenges. Others find you mysterious and maybe even psychic.

Pink: Playful, innocent, flirty and fun. Romantics love pale pink. Dynamic personalities go for shock value and like the hotter shades.

Orange: An intense color that appeal to your serious side. You are a ethical decision maker who takes pride in achieving your goals.

Yellow: Your outlook on life is sunny, hopeful and bright. You have a spontaneous and cheery nature that others find inspiring.

The following site Benjaminmoore offers a Paint Calculator. Use this to determine how much paint you'll need for the Exterior of your house or any room(s) within your home. You don't want to get stuck with too much or too little paint.
There is a Personal Color Viewer which is also very useful. Chose the color and the animated room viewer will show you how it will look on the walls. This is a great tool.

*You may have to register to use these tools, but it's free and so worth it. I'm sure you'll visit the site many times for varies home projects.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Another Important Figure You Should Know

When applying for a loan, mortgage loan or other types of credit, Lenders use your debt-to-income ratio (how much you owe on credit cards and loans compared with how much you earn) to help evaluate your creditworthiness.

How You Can Figure Your Debt To Income Ratio:

1) Add up your total net monthly income. This includes your monthly wages and any overtime, commissions or bonuses that are guaranteed; plus alimony payment received, if applicable. If your income varies, figure the monthly average for the past two years. Include any monies earned from rentals or any other additional income.

2) Add up your monthly debt obligations. This includes all of your credit card bills, loan and mortgage payments. Make sure to include your monthly rent payments if you rent.

3) Divide your total monthly debt obligations by your total monthly income. This is your total debt-to-income ratio.

4) Take action if your ratio is higher than 0.36, which industry professionals would call a score of 36. The lower the better. Any score higher than 36 may cause an increase in the interest rate or the down payment on a loan you apply for.

Tips :
When you total your monthly debts, use the minimum payment on your statements.
When calculating your income, a lender will only consider money from a job that you've been at for at least two years.
Unreported earned income cannot be used in the calculation.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Know Your Loan-to-Value Ratio

Your loan-to-value ratio is something you should know. It's an important figure when getting or refinancing a loan or requesting the removal of private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Here's how you can figure it out.

If You Are in the Process of Getting a Loan:

1) Start with the purchase price of the property as the value for the property. (I'll use the amount $150,000 as an example.)

2) Subtract the amount of your down payment ($20,000 in this example).

3) Identify your loan amount (the purchase price minus the down payment; in this case $130,000.)

4) Divide loan amount (loan) by the purchase price (value). In this example, it would be $130,000 divided by $150,000, which equals 0.87, or 87 percent - your ratio.

5) Use this number with your lender when referring to your loan. You would say that you want a loan with an 87 percent Loan-to-Value or LTV.

**Most loans with an LTV over 80 percent require PMI.

If You Already Have a Loan:

1) Get an appraisal of your property. Once you own a home, this is the only way to get an accurate assessment of its value. (If you are just doing this for information purposes, you can save the appraisal fee and simply estimate the value by comparing your property to similar homes in your neighborhood that have sold. This will be the value number for the equation.)

2) Look on your most recent loan statement to find out how much you owe (your balance). This will be the loan number for the equation.

3) Divide the loan figure by the value figure. This is your ratio.

**If you request the removal of PMI, you'll have to provide an appraisal. In removing PMI, you may request in writing to your current lender that the PMI be removed if the ratio is 80 percent or less. If you request an appraisal and the value isn't high enough, you will still pay for the appraisal.

More on Loan-to-Value (From Wikipedia)

Monday, May 7, 2007


Check out my lens

If many of you are not yet aware of Squidoo, I recommend the site. There is no cost to join.

This will even increase traffic to your Blog(s) and/or Website(s).
I personally have 4 lenses and I assure you, I've seen an increase in traffic to my Blog and Business Website. You can see all my lenses by clicking here.

I have been fortunate to read some great blogs lately. Many of you have great content, ideas and information. Spread your word!

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(Click on "about squidoo" bottom left of page)

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126214 Lenses and Counting!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Gardening: Poisonous Trees & Plants for Dogs/Cats/Humans

This time of year brings most of us outside to enjoy the warmth and sunshine. We are now doing outdoor house projects and working in our yards: weeding, planting, raking etc. Perhaps you are getting your house ready for a "Open House" or creating more "Curb Appeal" but,

If you are a dog owner like myself, I should point out that when you're deciding on what trees and/or plants to plant in your yard, BEWARE of what is poisonous to your dog.
Also, certain Household plants can also be very harmful.
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See Below For Names and Symptoms~


Apple (stem and leaves)
shock, mouth inflammation, rapid increase in breathing
Yew(American, English, Western)
Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain
Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain
Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain
Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain
Wild Cherry
Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain
Japanese Plum
Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain
Ficus (Cuban Laurel)
stomach upset
rapid breathing, shock, mouth irritation, increased heart rate
Balsam Pear
Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain
Ficus Lyrata (Fiddle-Leaf)
stomach upset, irritated skin
Varied effects
(Devil's Ivy) upset stomach, convulsions, asphyxiation, death
English Ivy s
stomach upset, hyperactivity, labored breath, drooling, fever, thirst increase, pupil dilation,
convulsions, death
pupil dilation, upset stomach, drooling, heart failure
Matrimony Vine
varied effects
Virginia Creeper
varied effects


Asparagus Fern
vomiting, respiratory problems, kidney failure, tremors, abdominal pain
mouth irritation, stomach upset, asphyxiation, tremors, seizures, death
Colocasia (Elephant's Ear)
mouth irritation, stomach upset, asphyxiation, tremors, seizures, death
Deiffenbachia (Dumb Cane)
mouth irritation, stomach upset, asphyxiation, tremors, seizures, death
Philodendron (Saddle Leaf, Split Leaf)
Mouth swelling, irritation
mouth irritation, stomach upset
Mum (Pot and Spider)
Skin irritation
Umbrella Plant
vomiting, respiratory problems, kidney failure, tremors, abdominal pain
Aloe Vera
Varied effects

Plant Fertilizer: Fertilizers are dangerous to pets, if ingested.
Store these in plastic bags and in a place where it is inaccessible to your pets.

Plants Poisonous to Cats

Plants Poisonous to HUMANS

Source: About Dogs

Animal Poison Control Center 1-888-426-4435


FSBO: Tips For Pricing Your Home

Ok, so you've decided to sell your home yourself. Congratulations! A method that will save you money. Although there is an additional sales strategy I teach that you can use as a "For Sale By Owner", but I will leave that for another post.

Right now I want to give you 4 tips on pricing your home. These are effective ways to arrive at a fair price.

1) Have 2 or 3 real estate agents analyze the value of your home. Have the agents compare this with similar homes that have sold recently in your area. The average selling price can determine the value of your home. Most agents offer this service for "free" because they want listings. Be Honest when you approach an agent. Explain that you're thinking about selling your home. You're trying to get a feel for what the market is like at this time. Of course the agent will want to list your home. Advise them you are not ready to do that at the moment.

2) Have an independent appraiser calculate the value of your home. There is a cost involved with this method. Between $175 to over $600 depending on who you use. An appraisal by an independent can be more accurate because they're not competing for a listing.

3) Simply go down the street, drive around your own neighborhood and check out the homes that have sold recently. Explain to the owners that you're going to sell your house and you're trying to determine the market value. Ask them if they would mind telling you the purchase price. Most will tell you.
If they don't want to say, you can always go to the county court house with the addresses of the homes that sold. It's public information, so you can get the information in the land records or tax assessor's office. Most public information is now available all on the Internet. Call the court house and ask for their web address. This will save you a trip to the court house and be less time consuming.

4) Another way to establish a top dollar price is to advertise for the best reasonable offer This is a great method because it really produces a spirit of competition among home buyers.
When you start to promote your home for sale and are using a newspaper ad, don't put a sales price in your ad.
List as: For Best Reasonable Offer. Deadline for offers July 8th or whatever date you wish.
The deadline does 2 things:
a) you get fast sales action
b) it tells the home buyer that they better move or they'll lose the deal

This is a powerful technique for getting the highest price for your home. Plus, create competition, which produces sales action.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want additional information. I look forward to helping Home Owners DIY and be successful !

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

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