Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Are you safe? NOT

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!
2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM . Toss it away from you....chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!
3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.
4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON'T DO THIS!) The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.a. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.
5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
a.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
b.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
c.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably ! in a zig -zag pattern!
8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP . It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
9. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird. The police told her "Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.

"The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, "We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Internet cafe words et al..................

Internet Word of the Day - googlonymous: \gōō'gəl-on-uh-mus\ - A nickname for using a proxy server to search Google anonymously.Many people don't realize that when you do a search on Google, your IP address, the time, and the keywords you entered are stored in their database permanently.

Did you know?
Kilobyte, which can be abbreviated as KB or kbyte, is a unit of measurement equivalent to one thousand bytes of computer memory or disk capacity. For example, a device that has 256k of memory can store approximately 256,000 bytes (or characters) at one time. In decimal systems, kilo stands for 1,000, but the computer world is based on a binary system of twos instead of tens.

So, a kilobyte is actually 1,024 (210) bytes. To distinguish between a decimal K (1,000) and a binary K (1,024), the Institute of Electronics Engineers, IEEE, has suggested using a small k for a decimal kilo and a capital K for a binary kilo. In international English, outside the U.S.A., the equivalent unit is sometimes seen as "KB" or "kbyte." Note: Kb is kilobit, KB is kilobyte

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Looming deficit impedes federal housing agency

As the president and Congress propose extending the benefits of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insurance to hundreds of thousands of homeowners in need of mortgage assistance, the FHA itself faces a deficit for the first time in its history due to problems with its seller-financed downpayment loan program. If these problems continue, the agency could face a $1.4 billion deficit by 2009

  • The seller-financed downpayment program today accounts for 35 percent of all FHA loans, up from 2 percent in 2000. Under the program, sellers cover the buyer’s downpayment and typically add it to the total cost being financed through a mortgage. These loans became more popular as homebuyers struggling to qualify for a home abandoned conventional FHA loans in favor of subprime mortgages. Between 2002 and 2006, the number of conventional home loans insured by the agency plunged from 1.3 million to about 314,000. Congress has been urged to take action to discontinue these loans, but opponents of such an action argue the program is necessary to help first-time buyers.
  • Despite worries about FHA’s future, since September the agency has helped more than 150,000 homeowners refinance their mortgages. The president hopes to increase that number to 400,000 by the end of the year, and Congress is considering legislation that would expand FHA programs to even greater numbers of Americans.
    To read the full story, please click here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/business/09fha.html?_r=3&th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Bernanke, Greenspan agree cash arms firms for slump

Corporate balance sheets of American businesses – other than banks – are in better shape today to face a recession than in previous economic contractions because they have banked some half a trillion dollars in cash, reduced short-term debt and slashed inventories, according to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspace and current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. That means companies aren’t likely to be as reliant on beleaguered banks to fund their operations.


  • Since the last recession, disciplined companies have been rewarded with 20 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth in profits. S&P 500 companies alone have amassed about $615.5 billion in cash, compared with $352.4 billion prior to the 2001 downturn and $95.5 billion prior to the 1990-91 recession.
  • Debt as a percentage of net worth for non-bank companies was only 63 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007, compared with 93.6 percent in 1990-91.
    Together, these figures indicate that companies may have to do less trimming of excess capacity and workers than they have done in recent recessions. Some companies are even expanding, albeit cautiously.
  • While these trends don’t ensure a rapid recovery if the country falls into a recession, it does position companies to ride out the storm.

To read the full story, please click here: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=ao6RcBfOUJz8&refer=home

Housing market continues plunge

Low-end houses slip; high-end ones stagnate
  • April 15 provides an annual reminder about the tax benefits of owning a home: Most people know that mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible in most cases, as is the interest paid when homeowners borrow against the equity in their home. What they may not realize is that the Tax Payer Relief Act of 1997 provides that owners who have lived in their home for more than two years don’t have to pay taxes on the first $250,000 of profits (if they are single) and $500,000 of profits (if the owners are married) when they sell the home.
  • Watch out for Generation Y prospects! The 2008 Swanepoel Trends Report notes that younger buyers represent a larger portion of the total home-buying population than ever before. Between 2003 and 2006, the percentage of under-30 homebuyers skyrocketed. Forty-two percent of the under-30 crowd reported owning a home, but what’s more surprising is that buyers under age 25 accounted for one-quarter of the home sales to this demographic group.
  • The economy has replaced transportation as the San Francisco Bay Region’s most pressing problem for only the ninth time in 28 years, according to an annual survey conducted in early March by the Bay Area Council. Twenty-two percent of residents surveyed ranked the economy first, 18 percent said transportation was the biggest issue, and 15 percent cited housing as the region’s greatest challenge in this year’s poll. The economy was last cited as the greatest issue in 2003, but only 7 percent of those surveyed in 2006 ranked it at the top of their list, reflecting the top-of-mind nature of the current mortgage credit and economic situations. Despite economic concerns, Bay Area residents were relatively optimistic: 59 percent said their financial situation would be about the same as last year, with 30 percent saying they expect to do even better this year. Only 13 percent said they expect to be worse off. And 74 percent rated their quality of life in the Bay Area “very well” or “going somewhat well.”

To read the full article go to: http://www.insidebayarea.com/sanmateocountytimes/localnews/ci_8861454

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Some of Life's Stress Relievers

Today's live can be a bit on the harried side at time....with work, play, family, economics et at. I was reading today and found these and I thought they were worth sharing.

Check these out and do as many as you can in an effort to reduce stress in your life.

1. Pray

2. Go to bed on time.

3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.

4. Say No, to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.

5. Delegate tasks to capable others.

6. Simplify and unclutter your life.

7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)

8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.

9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.

10. Take one day at a time.

11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you to do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.

12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.

13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamp s, etc.,

14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.

15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.

16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.

17. Get enough exercise.
18. Eat right.

19. Get organized so everything has its place.

20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.

21. Write thoughts and inspirations down.

22. Every day, find time to be alone.

23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.

24. Make friends with Godly people.

25. Laugh.

26. Laugh some more!

27. Take your work seriously, but yourself not at all.

28. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).

29. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).

30. Sit on your ego.

31. Talk less; listen more.

32. Slow down.

33. Remind yourself that you are not the general mana ger of the universe.

34. Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Califonia Agents Representing Investment Buyers

California agents have not been able to represent investors on properties which there is a notice of default filed because the law stated that buyer's agents needed to be bonded. The issue is that the bond didn't exist. Below is information from the California Association of Realtors legal department with the latest news on this subject!

C.A.R.'s Member Legal Services team has published a revised legal article, "Notice of Default and Investor-Buyer Transactions: Home Equity Sales Contracts," which has been revised to reflect the holding in the case, Schweitzer v. Westminster Investments, 157 Cal. App. 4th 1195 (2007), review denied March 26, 2008.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal held that the bond requirement under Civil Code Section 1695.17 for an equity purchaser's representative is "void for vagueness under the due process clause and may not be enforced." The California Supreme Court has declined to review this case which means that the bond requirement has been eliminated from the Home Equity Sales Contract Law.

This article can be found on the What's New and Legal Articles pages of the Legal section on C.A.R. Online (www.car.org).

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Taking an Interest in your Credit Card Rate....

Credit cards are one of the most pervasive forms of your financial picture. On a daily basis, they provide the flexibility and freedom to reserve a hotel room, travel without carrying cash, and purchase just about anything at anytime.

As such, your credit cards can have a major impact on your financial wellbeing and even your credit score. But did you know that your credit score can also impact your credit cards...specifically your interest rates? Although some companies have abandoned the practice, many won't hesitate to raise your interest rate if your credit score declines - even if you are paying them on time! By following these tips, you can help avoid inflated interest rates on your credit cards...and perhaps even enjoy more trips to the ballpark:

Understand the terms. The best way to protect yourself from high interest rates and hikes is to read and understand your credit cards policy terms. Pay particular attention to the interest rate, how long that rate is in effect, and what actions can lead to a hike - such as a late payment on your card, a declining credit score, or even a late payment on a completely unrelated bill.

Don't be late. Making a late payment can lead to increased interest rates on all your cards. In addition, they can lower your credit score, causing you even more problems down the road. So make a schedule and always pay on time.

Watch the mail. We all get junk mail, but some of it may not be junk after all. Whenever you receive any information in the mail from your credit card, read it carefully in case any policies or interest rates are changing.

Make a call. If your rate does change, call the company. If you've made your payments on time consistently, you may be able to get your original rate restored. If the company seems hesitant, you may want to threaten to transfer your balances to another card - customers in good standing may find they have more bargaining power than they realize. And don't just threaten to make a change...actually do it if it makes sense. You may find the grass actually is greener on the other side.

Be careful what you close. Closing a card that has a current balance will likely send your interest rate soaring. In addition, closing your oldest credit cards can have a negative impact on your overall credit score. So make sure you check and double check which cards are best to close.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

America's riskiest real estate markets

Using data from a variety of sources, Forbes has compiled a list of the nation’s “riskiest” real estate markets – which includes San Diego and Sacramento. But, the magazine concludes, there are signs that improvement may be on the horizon for these two major California markets.

The riskiest markets are those with high foreclosure rates, slow or no job growth, and a glut of homes on the market. Markets like Detroit, Cleveland, and Miami display all three characteristics.

< By contrast, transactions are rising in San Diego, and that’s a good sign assuming the increase is sustained. Rising transaction numbers may mean credit is becoming easier to come by and buyers are looking somewhat more favorably on the market. In fact, Forbes suggests prices also may begin to rise over the next six months. That’s because there usually is a lag between increases in transaction numbers and price increases.

< The Forbes report also projects better times ahead for San Diego and Sacramento thanks to a 125 percent increase in Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac conforming loan limits. In San Diego, the report notes, 18 percent of the market will see improved lending conditions.

Spring Cleaning on Your Credit Report

As spring comes into bloom and you clean out your home, your closets and your yard, don't forget to clean up something that can really impact your life: your credit score. Having this information is important for when you need a car loan, home loan or even a student loan, so that you have the ability to live the life you want without financial restrictions.

By viewing your credit activity on a regular basis you can manage any detrimental items that need to be removed or fixed. These actions will create a better rating under your name and benefit you throughout your life. The easiest and fastest way to do this is by going online.

Go Free Credit offers an easy way to check your credit instantly. You can try this service free for 30 days to monitor any activity and make changes in your life so that your score increases. You will get a detailed, personalized analysis of your credit report with advice on how to improve it. You will also find information on how to understand your credit report. Experts advise checking your credit report more than once a year, but checking too often can make your credit score go down.

Credit monitoring, automatic notification of credit activity and a detailed personal analysis are all included in this service. You can find out who has recently viewed your credit report and even see the best ways to improve your credit score based on your personal history. Improving your credit increases your options for financial success. Bankruptcies, judgments, collections and past 30-days late payments are the top damaging factors that can negatively affect your credit score and need to be checked now. Additionally, by being aware of the activity on your credit report you can keep a close eye on fraudulent activity and be confident of your financial future.