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, June 28, 2007

What Motivates the Need for Power in the Workplace?

The need is like a 'drug'. The source of this drug is 'pride'

When working for a leader who needs power for their sense of well being is a demoralizing experience.

Employees become the personal staff of the one in power when working in a power based company.

Can humility be the antidote for this drug?

Humility shouldn't be confused with weakness. Author Jim Collins calls the tension between personal humility and a fierce professional will is the best way to prevent or undo the ravages of pride.

Leaders who are characterized by humility are determined to harness the influence and authority they have been given to achieve results through hard work and innovation.

Humble leaders know their stengths and aren't afraid to use them. Also equally aware of the weaknesses and welcome feedback to stay on course and enhance their leadership

According to Kogan & Company, a leader should not be:

  • Rigid
  • Small minded
  • Insecure or defensive
  • Selfish
  • Distrustful
  • Overly malleable
  • Poor Listeners
  • Dishonest - financial dishonesty and not following through on their word given

Do you agree or disagree?

Source: Ioma

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Answering Anne's Question

ASK AC ASSOCIATES received a question regarding Home Appraisals...

Anne asks.... "I'm putting my house up for sale soon, should I have a Home Appraisal ?"

There are many reasons for having a home appraisal. A new mortgage, a second or home equity loan, estate sale, divorce settlement, insurance claim or when selling your home.

Each requires an appraisal from an appraiser. An appraiser will make note of any improvements, repairs needed or any defects, may take photos of homes that sold in your area, contact real estate agents in your area that sold homes to get additional information regarding those sales. After all the information is collected, you will receive a written report with the opinion of today's market value of your property. When selling your home, you want a realistic view of your home's value. If your expectations are set unrealistically, this can ultimately cause disappointment down the road.

The home appraisal provides information for both the seller and buyer and if you are not offering owner financing, the lender.The lender does not want (owning) property that is overpriced. The lender will approve a loan after an appraisal is completed.

You can see additional information on my prior post: Tips for Pricing your home

Read the Myths & Facts on Home Appraisals:

Thank you Anne. I hope I have answered your question. Should you have any other questions , please do not hesitate to ASK AC ASSOCIATES

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ask AC Associates

I have already implemented an "Ask AC Associates" page on my Business web site. The response has been fair, so I wanted to include this question page here as well.

In my efforts to help more home sellers and/or buyers, I would like to determine some of the challenges, the questions, the fears people may have regarding selling or buying their home.

I can then tailor my services and the information I provide to better meet their needs.
This will aid in my belief to provide superior customer service.

I need your input in order to help you and others...

Here's your chance to ask your most burning question and receive an answer.

What is the most important question you have about selling or buying a home?

click here to be forwarded to my ASK AC ASSOCIATES Question Page. Your identity will not be disclosed.

I will answer all questions received as a post in this blog.

Thanking you in advance.

Friday, June 22, 2007

7 Secrets for First-Time Homebuyers

1.) Visit a certified housing counselor at a nonprofit organization.
Housing counselors credentialed through a nonprofit agency provide objective advice and unbiased recommendations.

2.) Get your finances in order.
Find out what your credit report and credit score are and correct any inaccuracies. Lenders look at factors called the four Cs of credit: credit history (timely bill paying), capital (money available for a down payment), capacity (income versus debt), and collateral (the value and condition of the house).

3.) Look for down-payment and closing-cost assistance programs. Some nonprofit organizations and state or local government agencies can help you with down payment and closing costs through grant money or low-interest loans.

4.) Make sure homeownership fits with your lifestyle.
If you will be in a particular community for less than three years, if the local economy is not doing well, if unemployment is rising, or if your future income will not provide you with enough for mortgage payments and other financial responsibilities in owning a home, then renting may provide the better option.
Shop around for everything related to your home purchase.

5.) Follow the “rule of threes” by comparing at least three products, professionals or services before making your final selections.

6.) Get pre-approved for financing before shopping for a home.
Pre-approval is different from pre-qualification, which refers to when a lender calculates how much mortgage you likely can afford based on unverified information. A preapproval is a guarantee that the lender will loan you a fixed amount of money, as long as the property appraises over the amount for which you are qualified and you buy within a certain time period.

7.) Carefully select a location.
Research area schools, property tax rates, insurance rates, and crime statistics. Spend time thinking about things that may be important.

You can use this calculator to determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. However, many additional factors play a part in the loan qualification process.

Programs sponsored by your state or local government or other organizations. Just pick your state to search for programs

Source: Neighborworks

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Technology Impacts Real Estate and the Workplace

The changing nature of how and where people work is transforming corporate real estate. Nearly 40% of employers expect their knowledge workers - those who contribute intellectually to a business, rather than manually - to work remotely by 2010.

Advancing technologies that allow workers to accomplish tasks from anywhere has spurred major employers to rethink the real estate paradigm. Many companies feel that a majority of their infrastructure that supports mobility.

As an example, Sun Microsystems, needed a solution to a slowing work product problem as a result of heavy traffic tie-ups in the San Francisco Bay Area. This was remedied by creating a network of small "drop-in centers" enabling employees to work from various accessible locations.

Employees simply log in at remote work kiosks. Incoming phone calls are routed from a main call center to their temporary workstation.

This new multi-office system has eliminated 7,000 workstations. One employee station now serves 1.5 employees. This has resulted in a reduction of about 1 million, saving $71 million in excess real estate costs in the last year.

(Source: National Real Estate Investor)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Refinancing Do's and Don'ts

How many of you receive those "special offers" in the mail...the ones suggesting you've been pre-approved for a mortgage loan, refinance or streamline? I receive at least 5 each week.

Remember my prior post on "pre-approval and "pre-qualified"?
Review that post to know there are differences between those two terms.

When you are wondering how you are going to pay your mortgage and other bills, it may appear very attractive to borrow against your house. But consider this: if you cannot make your current payments, increasing your debt, even if you get some temporary cash, will make it harder to keep your home.

Refinancing your home may be one of the most important and complex financial decisions you'll ever make.
Below is the top ten list of advice to consider before you sign that loan document.

Use your home's equity carefully. Remember, building equity in your home is a key way to build wealth and financial stability. It builds slowly over time. Homeowners may be able to get some cash by repeatedly refinancing their homes but they will lose equity in their homes. A loss of equity also occurs each time homeowners finance new points and fees.

Never borrow more than you really need. When refinancing, borrow only for items that are needed to protect the home’s equity, such as a lower interest rate, home improvement or other asset building expenditures. Don’t throw away your long term financial security on short term indulgences like vacations or other temporary luxuries.

Think twice before using up equity on unsecured credit. Many solicitations lure borrowers with ideas that they can wipe out their credit card debt with a home equity loan or refinancing their current mortgage. Those debts are unsecured but your home loan isn’t – defaulting on that payment could lose you your house, not just affect your credit rating.

Shop around. Borrowers should talk to several lenders to find the best loan for which they qualify. Understand the best loan terms available in the marketplace and compare the APR (annual percentage rate) of loans from different lenders. The APR takes into account both the interest rate and the points and fees of the loan.

Say NO to "easy money." Borrowers should beware if someone claims "their credit problems won't affect the interest rate." If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If a solicitation is really interesting, get it in writing!

Understand the loan terms. Borrowers should compare loan terms from different lenders. Ask for written estimates that include all points and fees.

Find out about prepayment penalties. Borrowers should know if the loan offered to them has a prepayment penalty. Prepayment penalty should be a choice, not a requirement.

Make sure all the loan documents are complete. A borrower should not sign documents that have incorrect dates or blank fields. Be wary of promises that a lender will "fix it later" or "fill it in later."

Ask about additional fees. Borrowers should question any items they didn't ask for. Borrowers should also beware if they are told that single premium credit insurance is required to get a loan, or that purchasing it will help loan approval. Review every fee and compare different lenders' fees to ensure the most competitive loan terms.

If not sure, don't sign. Seek advice from a trusted financial adviser or local NeighborWorks or other homeownership counseling organization.

Source: Neighborworks

Friday, June 15, 2007

What is Your Carbon Footprint?

I came across an interseting article by Linda K. Schneider while reading Parks & Recreation magazine.

What is Your Carbon Footprint?

How much land do people require to support themselves?

This is called a Carbon Footprint. Everyone impacts the earth with our daily routines, just by being alive. How much we impact the earth depends on our habits and rate of consumption of natural resources: water, wood, coal, gas and oil.

According to; Carbon Footprint is a measure of the impact human activities have on the enviroment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon minoxide. At this web site, you can learn how to calculate, reduce and offset your carbon footprint.

We are a culture that turn natural resources into waste faster than any other society on the planet. The carbon footprint is a rough measure of how much productive land any person uses to support their lifestyle. The average Americans carbon footprint has been calculated at 25 acres--that's five times the average Asian or African. If the world's population lived like Americans live, FIVE planet Earths would be needed for survival!!

Small changes can affect someone's footprint: reduce car trips in half by combining errands, go for a walk instead of a drive.

Everyone contributes to this problem daily, BUT everyone can contribute to the solution daily. The goal is to reduce the daily amount of resources used. This problem is quite large, but we can start by thinking small and close to home.

Plant trees. Trees are needed for cleaner air and they give off oxygen. Tress absorb the carbon dioxide that human activites emit. Water is our most precious resource, we can't live without it. Be more aware of the amount of water used for each activity. Energy is used to heat water. Use less hot water, take shorter, cooler showers and baths. Purchase low flow toliets and showerheads. Purchase newer model appliances that are more efficient. Wash your clothes in cold water.

Recycling is another way to reverse the impact on the enviroment. Recycle as many products as you can. Purchase products made with recycled materials.

To learn more about your carbon footprint, find out how you impact the planet, to calculate the size of your footprint, visit the following web sites:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Web sites can generate higher prices than Realtors

"Three economists decided to investigate whether using a for sale by owner (FSBO) web site could actually make homeowners more money compared to selling a house with a traditional real estate agent. The answer, at least in Madison, Wisconsin, is yes."

read more | digg story

Monday, June 11, 2007

Are You Stuck in a RUT?

After speaking to some potential clients, I realized many people are "stuck in a rut" with outdated thinking when it comes to selling their homes. People are so accustomed to traditional or outdated thinking. Why?

Because it's comfortable, doesn't take a lot of effort, you know what to expect and there might not be a chance of making a mistake.

They think the only option they have when selling their property is using a realtor. Some are fearful of learning about a sales method they never heard of.....afraid to learn something new...or think outside their own"box".

In keeping an open mind you allow yourself to learn, grow and become a successful individual.

Change the way you think...

It's common that a lot of people feel nervous before learning or trying something new, myself included at times.
Have you ever talked yourself out of something because you felt that way? I'm sure some people have. Feeling uncomfortable out of the comfort zone...who likes that feeling...but, it's usually only for a little while. Over time, the new becomes familiar. I remember years ago when starting a new job, I felt that way, but that feeling only lasted a short time and then I became very confident.

New ideas and new ways of doing things can challenge you and bring change in your way of thinking.
Learning something new can be beneficial and the rewards can be satisfying. It can also be exciting and boost your confidence.
If you restrict your way of thinking, you are working against yourself. By learning something new you change yourself to be better, stronger, smarter.

In my business, as I see more and more For Sale By Owner signs going up and offering Owner Financing, I smile....Whether it's due to homeowners wanting to save money, receive more money or having more tools available by way of the Internet.... I'd like to think that more and more people are willing to learn something new, change their outdated and old patterns of thinking and realize they can be successful doing things on their own. It might mean having more patience and doing a little more work, but the rewards are gratifying.

"Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change"
Dr Wayne Dyer

"It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped"
Anthony Robbins

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Think About These

Inspirational Quotes by Zig Ziglar

"You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win and expect to win."
"You can have everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."
"You are the only person on earth who can use your ability."
"You've got to 'be' before you can 'do', and you've got to 'do' before you can 'have'."
"Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude."
"Remember that failure is an event, not a person."
"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily."

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Understanding Contract Terms

Let me describe the three basic contracts used to secure payment of money owed on a home.
Trust Deed:
A trust deed means just what it says. The deed to the house is held in trust until the balance is paid off. In addition to the trust deed, a promissory note is signed by the person making payments. The note states all terms required of the buyer in paying off the remaining balance. The note is secured by the trust deed. The trust deed document is secured by your home.

A trust deed document involves three people:
1) The Grantor: the grantor is the home buyer. They make you the monthly payments.
2) The Trustee: The trustee holds deed to the house until the balance is paid. If the trust deed goes into default, the trustee is responsible for foreclosing on the house. The trustee would normally be your attorney.
3) The third person on a trust deed is you.

You're referred to as the beneficiary. The beneficiary is the owner of the trust deed & note. They have all rights to the money owed secured by the documents.

A mortgage does the same thing as a trust deed. However, there is no trustee involved. Again, a promissory note is signed stating how the debt on the mortgage will be paid. A mortgage document involves two people:

1) The Mortgagor: this is the person the home was sold to. They will make the specified payments.
2) The Mortgagee: this is the home seller. They own the mortgage and note, and have all rights to the money owed.

Land Sale Contract:
Land sale contracts can go by many titles in different states; real estate contract, property sale agreement, purchase contract or contract for deed. They all mean the same thing. No promissory note is used. All the terms on how the debt is to be paid are in the contract. Title to the house is held by the seller when using these contracts. When the debt is paid off the seller transfers title to the buyer. The buyer only gets title when you use a trust deed or mortgage.

Some home sellers prefer land sale contracts because they can hold title. If they ever had to foreclose the process is easier. Seek the advice of your attorney on this.

Monday, June 4, 2007

FREE OFFER by AC Associates

When I was interviewed by Hali (see prior post-), I mentioned a free offer by my company would be upcoming. I don't want this sounding like just a sales pitch.

I am proud to offer my 54 guide booklet for free to any home owner wishing to learn an alternate way of selling their property and realize they can receive all cash..This sales method is legal, safe and proven.

Actually, anyone in the real estate business would benefit from using this method of sales, as would developers and/or contractors.

Why am I offering this for free ?

I want to help educate those who show an interest and provide a win-win situation. I want to spread the word that there are other alternatives when selling property.
I strongly believe in helping others.
There is no cost or obligation and I will even pay for shipping.

This sales method gets overlooked far too often simply because many are either not aware they have this option to sell their property or they are so used to the standard, familiar way of selling property. I find that people are afraid to learn something new. Open your minds, knowledge is a wonderful thing! And, how good it feels to accomplish this on your own.

I am in a position to help anyone who wishes to receive all cash by offering owner financing and selling your contract immediately. If you are in a financial position where you don't need all cash, a contract can be a great investment. You can defer paying taxes on the gain, plus you'll get a better interest rate than banks pay. You get a nice income secured by your home. If you need to raise cash in the future, you simply can sell a portion of the contract or sell in it's entirely.

There are so many ways people can benefit from owner financing:
1) Home sellers can sell a house quickly on their own without giving commission to realtors.
2) Real estate agents can sell listings faster.
3) Home buyers benefit by getting terms that are favorable. No bank red tape hassles, no points or origination fees.
4) When Dissolving partnerships, whether in marriage or business, a contract can be easily sold and the proceeds divided.
5) Contractors and/or Developers can (and do) use this method to sell property and receive all cash when selling the new note
6) More individuals are able to purchase homes

The bottom line is owner financing solves many problems and everyone involved is in a win-win situation.

You may be thinking "this sounds too good to be true" and I know the saying usually is, but not this time. This is a solid offer to receive this guide booklet( with sample forms and checklists) for FREE. It explains this sales method in simple, easy to understand language. I provide all the support necessary to be successful.

Just contact me and request your guide booklet.
Here’s What One Happy Home Owner Has Said AfterUsing This Program:
“I sold my rental home to the first couple who looked at it. I had it up for sale for only 10 days and I received over 100 calls in the 1st week from following the methods of advertising. I had been so busywith work that I didn’t have the time to show it, or call people back for the 1st ten days. It cost me $50 in all for advertising. My rental unit had been rented out for 3 years with no repair during that time. As a result, it needed $10,000 in repairs. I didn’t even have to repair anything. Your methods found me a buyer that paid me $2000 over the appraised value price.” John Alexander San Antonio, TX

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Managing Your Money for Homeownership

For many people, home is more than shelter: it is their biggest investment and a considerable financial asset. The difference between what your house is worth and the amount you owe is called your equity.

The first and most important way to protect your investment is to make sure you have enough money budgeted each month to make the PITI (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) payments on your mortgage loan and set money aside for home maintenance. You made a family spending plan when you were saving for a home. Now it is time to make a new spending plan to include all the expenses of homeownership.

To make a spending plan, meet with your family to budget your normal expenses, plus the new costs of homeownership, including:

Mortgage Payments: monthly principal, interest, taxes and homeowners insurance payments, as well as homeowners association fees and mortgage insurance if required.
Utilities: average monthly costs for electricity, gas, water and sewage, and trash collection
Routine Maintenance and Repairs: monthly savings for preventive maintenance and repairs (1 percent of the purchase price of the house for annual maintenance and repairs divided by 12 months)
Reserves: monthly savings for emergencies and/or goals (at least one month’s mortgage payment divided by 12 months)
*Note: Consider signing up for a “budget” or “average payment” plan with your gas and electric companies. Based on the history of gas and electric use in your home, the company will estimate the annual cost and divide it by 12 months. Once a year, the company will adjust the monthly payment up or down to reflect actual use. Then you pay the new amount for another year.

Paying a set amount each month for some of your utilities helps with budgeting since it spreads the high cost of winter heating or summer air conditioning throughout the year.

Developing a Savings Plan
Put money in savings on a regular basis. Ideally, you want enough savings to cover emergencies, routine maintenance and repairs, and your goals. Financial experts recommend building an annual emergency fund that is equal to one percent of your home’s purchase price. The amount of money you need to set aside to reach your goals depends on what your goals are and when you want to reach them.

Remember the Credit Trap
New homebuyers should not take on any new debt for car loans, credit cards or revolving credit for at least one year after closing. It will take that long to get used to making the new mortgage payments and to really understand how much it costs to take care of your home.