Saturday, September 29, 2007

Let’s Remember to be “Thankful”

Lately, I've been back and forth between home & Memphis & have not had the time to blog. The following is an article from my newsletter that I sent out about one month ago & just wanted to share it with others.

Originally, I had planned to write an article that was real estate related and might be useful to you. But, then I came to experience a set of events and wanted to write on a more personal level and more to the point about time, life, awareness and being thankful. Forgive me if I tend to ramble for there are many things that come to mind. Additionally, many of the comments that I will make may pertain to some and some to others; in other words, there will be a lot of generalizations.

I don't know how many of us wake up each day and reflect on how thankful we are for what we have - intangible as well as materialistic - and where we are in life. Now, I'm sure that most of us are cognizant of this on some level, but do we really think about it? Or, do we, in most cases, just take it for granted?

Now, in the 21st century, more so than anytime before we find ourselves running from one place to another - trying to get this done, that done, take care of our family, work, home, etc. And, it seems that this list just goes on and on. We find ourselves with not enough time to accomplish just our daily living activities and even enough time to read this article. But, I thank you if you've gotten this far.

We hear about tragedies occurring daily in the news. More often than not, we think about this but do not even consider that it could happen to us, our acquaintances, our friends, our family. But it can and oft times it is too late to say the things that we might have wished; taken the time for that phone call that we would put off; or, even just to be thankful.

The reason that I am bringing this up is because a situation of sorts did occur to my family & myself and I realized while spending many hours bedside, who would have thought that this could happen to us. And then, when I came back home to Orlando for a respite I started thinking of all the things that I needed to be thankful for.

We know that life is not easy, but it is just what it is - Life! We've all had our ups and downs and some more of one than the other. But, generally, when you really get down to it, we are all so very lucky. Sorry to say, but there are usually many people less fortunate than us. I'm not saying in any way that this is fair, just generally a fact.

Life to me is made up of a series of patterns. We all have them - some good, some innocuous, some not so good, and some down right bad for us. Think of it and you might realize that this is so. Think about the way that you prepare for the day. Do you generally do the same thing step by step each day? Most of us do. Even the way we drive to work, or how about the way that we eat?

But on the other hand, I believe that patterns are meant to be broken - especially the bad ones. How many times have you seen someone doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result. This will not happen. How about that friend that we have that keeps on making bad decisions with a mate. I know, I've been there myself.

Sometimes we have to be introspective. We need to take the time to look at ourselves and see what makes us tick. Why are we making that decision? What is leading us up to that outcome? If you look within you will note that there is a pattern. Once you realize this than half of the battle is completed. But, that isn't enough, then you have to want to change that pattern so you won't be doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. You will be doing something different and yes, you will most likely come up with a different result.

We don't know what tomorrow will bring. Our situation and life can change in a nanosecond without any warning.

So why don't we take that time in the morning when we arise to reflect upon what we may have to be thankful for? Why don't we have maybe some sort of phrase taped to our bathroom mirror so that while we are preparing ourselves for the day that we can just remember to say something to someone; or remember to make that call; or just be thankful? Ten to one if we don't do it now, we'll just put it off again and again until it is too late.

I apologize if this upsets some for that is not my intention. It's just something that I felt writing about and to possibly make us more aware.

Til next time...Marc It Sold!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Disorder in the Court - R-ish rated

Now, mind you, I have nothng against lawyers, but this was sent to me & I had to share it with you. These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!
ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: Uh, he's twenty-one.
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shittin' me?
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Uh.... I was gettin' laid!
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Are you shittin' me? Your Honour, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Now whose death do you suppose terminated it?
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people. Would you like to rephrase that?
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Huh....are you qualified to ask that question?
And the best for last:

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Friday, September 14, 2007

On This Day in History...

On This Day in History...

1st lighthouse in US was lit in Boston Harbor in 1716.

The Gregorian calendar was adopted by Great Britain and the American colonies in 1752.

Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key in 1814.

2 billion board feet of lumber destroyed in Tillamook Oregon fire in 1933.

Graf Zeppelin II, world's largest airship, made its maiden flight in 1938.

Ground breaking ceremony for UN world headquarters in 1948.

Western allies rearmed West Germany in 1950.

1st prefrontal lobotomy performed in Washington, DC in 1956.

Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi-Arabia & Venezuela formed OPEC in 1960.

Til tomorrow...Marc It Sold!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Uh Oh - I Must Be Getting Old!

On this date in history...

NY City became the 1st capital of the US in 1788.

1st loan to the US Government was from NYC banks in 1789.

US Gen. Winfield Scott captured Mexico City during the American-Mexican war in 1847.

1st naval battle of Civil War - Union frigate "Colorado" sank privateer "Judah" off Pensacola, FL in 1861.

Xavier University, the 1st US University for Blacks opened in New Orleans in 1925.

Margaret Chase Smith (R-Me) elected senator in 1948. She was the 1st woman to serve in both houses of Congress.

11 guards & 31 prisoners died in a take over at Attica State Prison in upstate New York in 1971.

Uh Oh - I Must Be Getting Old!

OK! So, I've never owned an iPod; never downloaded music; can only guess what an iPhone is. Need I go on?

I used to always consider myself quite technically savy. I was always a tech junkie, even had a computer in the late 80's. It was an AT&T and I think it was a model 6300. Definitely used to be an audiophile, but guess that I'm dated in that my stereo system (yes, isn't that also a dated word) is from the 80's as well.

Wow, now here's a concept, am I still stuck in the 80's? Have to admit that I still like vinyl records. Don't get me wrong, I have lots of CD's.

Can't get used to screw top wine bottles. There is something about uncorking a wine bottle & not unscrewing like a bottle of soda of Boone's Farm. Hope I don't into trouble with that. Do they still make that Apple or Strawberry Wines? And what about sniffing the cork? What am I supposed to do, sniff the aluminum bottle cap?

I've never had a cam, whether it be a cam recorder or the computer cam. Yes, I do have a digital camera and have actually had several. But I do still have a 30 year old Chinon SLR. Think the new digital SLR's are cool! Ut oh, is that a passe word. I still use it and still use the phrase 'cool beans.' Can't tell you why, it's just part of my vocabulary. Can't even remember when I started using it, but I like it.

Never had an MP3 player. Took me quite a while to understand what one was. But I always thought that I was technically savy. Is there a point in our lives that we reach and then boom we lose our saviness and then we are labled 'old'. OK, so I'm being somewhat sarcastic here. I surely don't consider myself old. I've always been young at heart & pretty much always felt that age is just a number. Granted, the body doesn't work like it used to, but it ain't ready to be thrown out onto the heap.

I think I understand what RSS is, yet don't know how or where to use it. This is something that I do need to learn & will. Don't have a Blackberry or similar product yet, but probably will. Have a Palm, a hand recorder and a regular cell phone. Yes, I know that I can integrate these, but for some reason am not ready. Can't justify the cost vs. benefits.

Definitely have seen quite a bit in my lifetime so far. Don't quite understand what happened to simple, basic manners and courtesy. When the hell did they get thrown out the window? I'm not looking to blame anyone, just don't understand the lack of common courtesy. Isn't this part of the 'treat others as you wish to be treated?'

Yes, I'm in my early 50's. I can still call it that because I'm 53. I'm even thinking of getting my SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist). I still strongly believe in education. I've been a member of AARP since I turned 50. I don't feel old. Don't think that I act old. Don't think I dress as some people might feel an older person dresses. But, then again I don't know what that is anymore.

Every decade of my life has seemed better than the previous one. I enjoy being in my 50's. It's funny because I've never written 50's before. On one hand it feels old or I should better say sounds 'old'; and, on the other it is just something that's 'cool.' For some reason, it appears to me that I've gained quite a bit of wisdom since I turned 50 or maybe just became more aware of it. Won't deny that I've a better understanding of myself, my wants & needs & I think life in general.

I know that I'm on the downward spiral of life. I've lived most of my life. I don't worry about the end, we'll all get there somehow & sometime. I do enjoy life & plan on living the rest of my life the same way that I have.

So, onward we go.

Thanks for reading my ramblings. If this was on an RSS feed, wouldn't you then be listening? I still have to try to get that right.

Til tomorrow...Marc It Sold!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

On This Date in History...

On this day in history...

1st submarine was tested in London in 1624.

Lusitania arrived in NYC after a record 5 day crossing of the Atlantic in 1907.

World's 1st female cop, Alice Stebbins Wells, appointed to the LAPD in 1910.

Millionaire Howard Hughes flew his own designed plane at 352.46 mph in 1935.

John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in 1953.

Nikita Khrushchev became the 1st Secretary of USSR Communist Party in 1953.

US Supreme Court ordered Little Rock Ark high school to integrate in 1958.

Honestly, I had thought of a post for today, but must admit that I'm having a major brain f__t. So with that said...

Til tomorrow...Marc It Sold!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Dreaded 'R' Word - Recession

On this day in history...

Benjamin Franklin wrote "There never was a good war or bad peace" in 1773.

Alexander Hamilton appointed 1st Secretary of Treasury in 1789.

Stephen Foster's song, "Oh! Susanna" was first performed at a saloon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 11, 1847.

1st newspaper cartoon strip was printed in 1875.

1st commercially successful electric bus line opened in Hollywood in 1910.

Spain left the League of Nation due to Germany joining in 1926.

Boulder Dam was dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936.

Jewish ghettos of Minsk & Lida Belorussia were liquidated in 1943.

1st mobile long-distance car-to-car telephone conversation in 1946.

The twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City disintegrated after being hit by 2 commercial airliners hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorists in 2001 killing 2793 and unfortunately more due to health risks that occurred from this disaster.

I was originally not going to put this one in because we all should be so firmly aware of it, but an article in yesterday's USA Today entitled, "Is 9/11 Becoming Just Another Calendar Date?" brought back feelings that I had last year in wondering the same.

In December 2001, this date was also proclaimed Patriot's Day by the US Congress.

The Dreaded 'R' Word - Recession

Even the Fed appears to be concerned about the reality of an economic slowdown. It has to. The jobs report showed that August was the first monthly drop in four years. This almost solidified the fact that the Fed will reduce the rate by at the least of 1/4%. It really needs to be at least 1/2%, but...

The mortgage debacle and real estate slowdown are affecting other industries. There have been widespread slowdowns in many industries due to what's happening in these industries. The fallout is there. There have already been cuts with companies providing home siding, nevermind that of the construction industry itself. Kohler, a major plumbing supplier, is cutting back and therefore eliminating jobs. And there are more job losses to come from this. Unfortunately, there has to be. We are already seeing cuts in the automotive, furniture and wood products & semiconductor industries. We've even heard of Home Depot & Lowe's posting lower than expected earnings. You'd have to be blind to not notice that many of these are a direct reflection on what's going on in the real estate world.

So we have unemployment up and consumer confidence down. There is turbulence in the world financial markets because of such. You don't think that this could push the economy toward a recession!

Let's look at the big picture. Many have used the equity in their home for continued consumer spending. This market is tapped with lower home prices & higher interest rates equating to lower household wealth, people will have to reduce spending. We are seeing that with the retail reports.

I hope that we do not head into a recession. Granted, I don't know if the Fed has the ability to stop it. But then again the market can change around quickly. Time will tell. Wish I had a crystal ball, but...

Til next time...Marc It Sold!

Monday, September 10, 2007

So You Don't Think It Matters!

On this day in history...

Jews who survived a massacre in Constance Germany are burned to death in 1349.

George Washington asked for a spy volunteer, Nathan Hale volunteered in 1776.

The rickshaw was invented in Japan in 1846.

The sewing machine is patented by Elias Howe in 1846.

Lincoln Highway opened as 1st paved coast-to-coast highway in 1913.

Canada declared war on Germany in 1939.

Swanson sold it's 1st "TV dinner" in 1953.

U. S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps was incorporated in 1962.

Today is also Suicide Prevention Day. According to the National Mental Health Information Center, "Every 17 minutes someone in America commits suicide, and for every completed suicide, there are approximately 25 attempts. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, suicide is currently the eighth leading cause of death in the United States."

I apologize if I've upset anyone by this, but this is unfortunately something that we ignore until it is usually unfortunately too late. Interestingly enough, it also ties in with my blog item today. Please read on...

So You Don't Think It Matters!

Yes, the title is a little obscure and what brought me to write this little story is an experience that has occurred to me recently and I wanted to share that with you, my readers.

Unfortunately, I've been dealing with a situation and have been in Memphis more than my home in the Orlando area. A lot of my time here is spent in the hospital. Each day I need to go to the information desk and get a Visitor's Pass for the day. Now, my first visit here was on 8/11 and I would do this for the next 10 days.

What's interesting and quite amazing to me still, is that when I returned 9 days later, several of the people at the front desk remembered either my name and/or the patient's name. I was amazed at this. How could this person who greets, at the least, hundreds of people a day remember me? And it was more than one person too. I do not consider myself a striking individual. Yes, I was always kind to these people and wished them a nice day as I was leaving their desk.

So, I had to wonder, what kind of impression we leave on people. It's obvious that we leave an impression on people when we least expect it or at least unwittingly. It just amazed me the power that we have in altering someone's day.

A simple smile generally makes the other person seeing that smile do the same. Kindness and courteousness also go a very long way. I was just thinking about what I'm going to write and it rang through my head that I've stated this before. Please do not get me wrong, I am not looking to turn back time. Wait, I take that back, in my brother's case I would love to, so therefore he might not be in a trauma unit.

But again, we tend to forget the little things because we are so busy. Too many people find themselves rushing from one place to another. Yes, I know that we all have so much to accomplish, but we do need to take a moment to reflect and remember the little things. For they all make up the greater of all. The little things are just as powerful if not moreso in many ways. I recently published my newsletter, but unfortunately do not have the article on disk that I wrote. It's about remembering. I will post that again when I return home. I didn't think of it as a post at that time, but I think it is something that is pertinent to our lives and living.

Interestingly enough, I couldn't finish this post before it was time to go to the hospital. The young lady giving out passes questioned me about my brother's room since he had to go back to the ICU from the Step-Down unit and she remembered that.

It just goes to show that the mind is such a powerful thing & the impressions that we leave upon others is very powerful in itself.

Wishing all a safe & kind day.

Til next time...Marc It Sold!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Grandparent's Day

On this day in history...

Columbus' fleet set sail westward in 1492.

The New England colonies declared war on Wampanoag Indians in 1675.

1st steam engine arrived in US colonies in 1753.

"The United Colonies" were renamed the "United States" by the Continental Congress in 1776.

California became 31st state in 1850 and they call today "Admission Day."

Orville Wright made the first 1-hr airplane flight at Fort Myer, VA in 1908.

National Broadcasting Company (NBC) was created by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in 1926. For all intents and purposes is still owned by the same company today since GE bought over RCA in 1986.

The Allies (US, British & French) landed at Salerno, Italy during what was called Operation Avalanche in 1943.

Allied forces liberate Luxembourg in 1944.

President Eisenhower signed the 1st civil rights bill since the Reconstruction era.

Today is Grandparent's Day.

I have to admit that I thought this was just another "Hallmark Holiday." It appears that National Grandparents Day was originated with Marian McQuade. She was a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia. Her primary motivation was to champion the cause of lonely elderly in nursing homes. She also hoped to persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide. President Jimmy Carter, proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day in 1978.

Again this is time to reflect. In our busy society it is too often that the elderly are relegated to the 'back seat' so to speak. This is a sad reflection of our culture and times. The Orient always revered their elderly. There used to be time, even in our country, when this was so. It was only 40-50 years ago that the family unit revolved about not only our immediate family (parents & children), but grandparents and great grandparents, if they were still alive.

Yes, there are family units that still believe in this value. I remember with my father's family, it always revolved around "Bubbe." This was my grandmother. It is a Yiddish expression for grandmother. I later came to know that her English name was Sarah.

Every year there was an annual picnic usually in June, that my mother used to help organize, at Biertemple Park in Union, NJ. We would rent the park & everyone would bring different foods. There used to be at least 70 people there. And everyone always went to greet Bubbe.

Each month there was also a family circle meeting at someone's house. These were always grand events with lots of socializing and minutes were taken just like at any business meeting. Granted, this was for our parents and the children mostly did not attend.

On holidays, we almost always visited my Aunt Mary & Uncle Max, because that is where Bubbe lived and Aunt Mary was her oldest child. Now, this was not a small family by any means. There were 11 children in all with my father being the next to last. I remember that he had cousins around his age if I'm not mistaken. Gosh, remembering all those names used to be quite a task. But we were together.

That was until a few years after Bubbe died and I have to admit that things feel apart. Yes, we saw each other at bar/bat mitzvahs & weddings & unfortunately funerals. But the family unit was not the same. Granted, this was about the time that we can see a change in the make up of the family structure. Around this time, more mothers were going out and getting jobs, they weren't staying home and being housewives.

My reason for bringing this up is twofold. Firstly, with every change there is both good and not so good. I don't want to call it bad, because I feel that is very incorrect term. Change is necessary, but sometimes in this instance, we lose touch with, in the long run, who we are and where we came from. They were our parents just as you are your childrens parents. Why do we not give the same values of that to our children? Why does it seem that the grandparent and more in general, the elderly are not revered. OK, I'm not saying put them on a pedestal, but surely don't just cast them aside.

It's funny, but I'm 53 and now that I've reached this point in my life, I'm also going to be in that group of people also. Surely, in lesser than time than anticipated. Granted, I don't feel old and surely don't act it also. I consider myself somewhat vibrant and full of life. But so are many older people.

Not to get gross, but I remember reading an article recently. I can't remember if it was the newspaper or AARP (yes, I'm a member), but it was about the elderly's sexual apetite & I was so surprised to see what they had to say and how sexually active they are.

We are living longer and many elderly have a lot to offer in the way of knowledge, experience and wisdom. They've learned a lot of life's lessons and can probably also teach us a lot of their business acumen.

So, please think twice when you see an elderly person or address them. Think of the many lonely elderly out there. That is a very sad thing and a sad testament to our day and age. I'm glad Marian McQuade thought of Grandparent's Day.

Happy Grandparent's Day to the many grandparents out there.

Til tomorrow....Marc It Sold!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Fed Rate Cut

On this day in history...

The Spanish expedition established the first permanent European settlement in North America, St. Augustine, in 1565.

The Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the British, who renamed it New York, in 1664.

NY Athletic Club formed in 1868.

1st appearance of " The Pledge of Allegiance" was published in The Youth's Companion in 1892 to commemorate the 400 anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America.

Gaeston, Texas was struck by a hurricane that killed an estimated 8000 people in 1900.

The comic strip "Blondie," created by Chic Young, was first published in 1930.

A peace treaty with Japan was signed by 49 nations in San Francisco in 1951.

President Gerald Ford granted an unconditional pardon to former President Richard Nixon in 1974.

Today is International Literacy Day, which was designated by UNESCO in 1965.

Today is also the second annual International Angel Day, which is dedicated to children.

The Fed Rate Cut

Well, even though, the Fed stated that the real estate market and mortgage debacle are not directly related to the overall health of our general economy. They must take note of the recent jobs report. With more and more layoffs and foreclosures, they is almost no way that they can get away without a rate cut. I think that almost everyone would agree that this is certain. But now the question comes into play of how much of a rate cut. Many feel that it should be 100 basis points (1%). I doubt if the Fed will go to that extent. I'm pretty sure that they would rather due only a 1/4% cut, but this is not enough. It has to be at least a 1/2% cut to be of any value at this point in time. We'll see when they meet on the 18th.

To further enforce this feeling, Countrywide announced that it was cutting its workforce by 12,000 jobs, which is approximately 20% of its work force. Even IndyMac, which actually noted a profit recently, is cutting its workforce by 1,000, which is approximately 10% of its employees. But this extends way beyond just the mortgage and real estate industries. Office Depot it cutting back on store openings. They only plan on opening 100 stores, down from 150 of earlier this year.

This is affecting us all. It is unfortunate that Congress and the government can not agree on how to handle this situation. I am not proposing helping out the lenders, for they helped create this situation that we are all facing, but something needs to be done to reduce the foreclosures that are on the horizon and I think that there are more there than most can imagine.

Til next time...Marc It Sold!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Fall Clean Up

On this day in history...

1st closed-circuit auto race held at Cranston, RI in 1896.

The historic Farley Post Office building in New York City opened for postal business in 1914.

First Miss America Pageant was held in 1921.

Interpol is formed in Vienna in 1923.

Boulder Dam, now the Hoover Dam, began operation in 1936.

Integration began in Wash, DC & Baltimore, MD public schools in 1954.

The PLO hijacked 4 planes in 1970.

ESPN premiered in 1979.

Fall Clean Up

Spring isn't the only time to clean up your home. Fall is a very important time as well. Many of you in the northern areas will need to start to winterize your home - getting it ready for the winter ahead.

For most of us in Florida. It is a time, usually mid-October, that we can open our windows again after the long summer.

It's funny because as I've looked around on the internet for fall clean up ideas, it appears that what would be the normal clean up projects up north are our normal projects come the spring time. The reason that I can gather this is that up north you are preparing for the winter and snow, while down here in the spring, we are preparing for the rains. The reason that I come to this conclusion is that two of the jobs that I keep on seeing repeated are check your roof & clean your leaders and gutters. Now, granted, these are good to do at both seasons.

It appears that all of the ideas that I'm finding for a fall clean up are basically the same as the spring clean up. The only differences really are checking the heating as opposed to the a/c system - generally the same unit down here in Florida. Up north you're starting to pack your summer furniture away and down here we are starting to use ours again.

But the basic cleaning is just normal cleaning that should be done all along.

Oh well, there goes what I thought would be a good blog on tips for a nice fall house cleaning.

Til next time...Marc It Sold!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mortgages & Closings

On this date in history...

Great fire of London occurred in 1666.

1st US lighthouse was built in Boston in 1716.

Women's Right's Convention met in NYC in 1853.

Carnation processed its 1st can of evaporated milk in 1899.

William McKinley, the 25th US President was shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the New York Buffalo Pan-American Exposition in New York in 1901. He died 8 days later on September 14th.

The Harlem Globetrotters were organized 1927.

All Jews over the age of 6 in German territories ordered to wear a star in 1941.

WINS NYC began playing rock n roll with Alan Freed Show in 1954.

Mortgages & Closings

The Federal Reserve issued its economic update yesterday. It reported that credit problems in the U.S. have impacted housing, but haven’t hurt the general economy. I don't see how this can be so. Now, granted, the only reason that I can see for them to report this is because they are not wishing to reduce the rate again at the Sept. 18th meeting as many have anticipated.

Additionally, look at all the layoffs in the mortgage industry. Just yesterday & today, there were over 3000 layoffs announced and this doesn't include all of the previous ones mentioned, including the firms that have either closed or been disbanned. Add on top of that all of the mortgage brokers out there that are either being laid off and can't even procur a loan for a client.

A mortgage broker that I deal with has said to me that loan programs are being eliminated daily. Additionally, it was noted in an AP news story that a third of home loans failed to close in August. According to the article it was noted that three years ago only 4% of loans failed to close.

By the way, this information was obtained from a survey of 1700 mortgage brokers. "The survey also found that nearly half of borrowers with adjustable rate mortgages were not able to refinance their loans." It was also noted that 2.5 million ARM mortgages are set to adjust to higher rates this year and a great deal of these loans will most likely be foreclosed on.

On another note, even though the house & senate want to try to ease the present crisis, there does not appear to be any agreeement on how to do this. You may have also read about banking regulators and The Fed urging loan service companies to work with defaulting borrowers, but these are only suggestions and nothing is mandatory.

So, yes, they say that the mortgage and housing debacle are not making an impact on the general economy. Maybe this is so from the current statistics that they are utilizing, but wait until the next ones are recorded. This has stretched way beyond just the industry itself. It is affecting people across the board.

There was an article in yesterday's USA Today about the majority of calls to company helplines are about finances and foreclosure. Also, it was stated that how this will definitely affect productivity, etc. So, let's get realistic. This is a widespread epidemic of sorts.

Til next time...Marc It Sold!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

On This Date in History...

Russia's Peter the Great imposed a tax on beards in 1698.

The 1st Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia in 1774.

1st gasoline pump is delivered to a gasoline dealer in Ft Wayne, Ind in 1885.

The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues formed in 1901.

FDR declared US neutrality at the start of WW II in Europe in 1939.

"Mad Tuesday" 65,000 Dutch nazi collaborators fleed to Germany in 1944.

JFK signed a law against hijacking (the sentence would be the death penalty) in 1961.

21 killed by hijackers aboard a Pan Am jet in Karachi Pakistan in 1968.

11 Israeli athletes are slain at Munich Olympics by Black Sept. in 1972.

Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford in Sacramento 1975.

Anwar Sadat, Menachim Begin & Jimmy Carter began a peace conference at Camp David, MD in 1978.

Karachi Pakistan army stormed a hijacked US Boeing-747 in 1986. 19 were killed.

Today is Fight Procrastination Day, which is observed on the first Wednesday in September. So do tomorrow what you can do today. OK, so I'll try to work on that, tomorrow!

Have a great day! Will try to write more tomorrow when I'm home, but unfortunately do not have the time today.

Til then...Marc It Sold!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Mortgages - Imagine That!!

On this date in history...

English astronomer Edmund Halley sees his namesake comet in 1682.

Robert Fulton began operating his steamboat in 1807.

General Robert E. Lee invaded the North with 50,000 Confederate troops in 1862.

George Eastman patented thefirst roll-film camera and registered the name "Kodak" in 1888.

1st transcontinental TV broadcast by President Harry S. Truman addressing the opening of Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in 1951.

Mark Spitz became the first athlete to win seven Olympic gold medals in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.

Palestinians hijack KLM DC-9 to Cyprus in 1976.

Today is Newpaper Carrier Day - Barney Flaherty became the 1st newsboy (10 years old for the NY Sun) in 1933.


There are definitely mortgages to be had out there and some very good ones at that. You just won't be able to find the easy no documentation, low down payment & stated income mortgages of the past.

The reasoning is quite obvious. Goodness knows we've heard the news. And this is all understandably so. People need to properly qualify for mortgages. This is a major part of the breakdown of the mortgage industry. In the recent past, people with borderline credit were afforded mortgages. Some of these were low down payments; some ARM's in which they were only able to qualify at the initial rate not the fully indexed rate. This should have been common sense all along, but 20/20 hindsight does not prove anything. Hopefully, the lesson will be learned from this and we will not see a repeat of such.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for helping someone achieve homeownership. I consider that the crux of my job. I get such a thrill out of helping people achieve this goal - the supposed American Dream. But I can not in all good consciousness afford someone this fully knowing that they will probably have an issue repaying this debt and putting them in a position of possibly losing their investment, savings & home. The thought of that is abhorrent to me.

But there are some very good loan products out there. Yes, most of these are for people with good credit. But then this might be a wake up call for someone with marginal credit to try to work on improving that. This can be done, but let me warn you about credit counseling services. Firstly, the use of these usually ruins your credit to begin with. Secondly, what they are doing, you should be able to do yourself.

It's called discipline.

Til next time...Marc It Sold!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day

On this date in history....

Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolutionary War was signed in 1783.

Labor Day was celebrated as a legal holiday for the first time in 1894.

First professional football game was played in Latrobe, PA in 1895.

The First U.S. bowling league was established in 1921.

In 1939 World War was II declared when England and France declare war on Germany.

Labor Day

Labor Day differs from other holidays in that it celebrates the working man. Unfortunately, now a days, the meaning of this holiday has been greatly lost. It used to be that it was generally a day off for workers. It was to be a celebration with parades and picnics. Today, our commercial society has morphed this holiday into a sales extravaganza and the people that this holiday was to honor are now forced to work. Years ago you would not find a store open, but today...

Unfortunately, this is somewhat a sad testament to our society and how we treat our workers.

Anyway, enough of that. The founding father of Labor Day is a little murky, but it appears that the Central Labor Union in New York adopted a proposal for such. The first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday.

The first state to pass legislation making Labor Day a legally recognized holiday was Oregon on February 21, 1887. They were followed that same year by Colorado, Massachusetts, New York & New Jersey. It became a national holiday June 28, 1984 when Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday.

Happy Labor Day to all & may yours be Safe & Fun!

Til tomorrow...Marc It Sold!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

On This Day in History...

On this date in history....

The Great Fire in London destroys 13,000 houses & kills 8 in 1666.

Last day of the Julian calender in US & England (no Sept 3-Sept 13th) in 1752.

US Treasury Department established by Congress in 1789.

Machine gun 1st used in battle in 1898.

National Commission recommends a best-of-9 World Series in 1919.

1st non-stop airplane flight from Europe to US (37 hrs) in 1930.

Holocaust diarist Anne Frank was sent to Auschwitz in 1944.

V-J Day - Japan signed a formal surrender in 1945.

Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace prevents integration of Tuskegee HS in 1963.

Philips introduces CD-video in 1987.

Til tomorrow where we will have more on this date in history....Marc It Sold!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Mortgage Debacle, The Market & The Fallout!

Today on this date in history...

First federal tax was levied on tobacco in 1862.

Emma M. Nutt Day, she was the first woman telephone operator in 1878.

Labor Day was declared a U S national holiday by Congress in 1894.

World World II began when German troops invade Poland in 1939 at 5:30AM.

Lead in paint is declared illegal in 1977.

The Mortgage Debacle, The Market & The Fallout!

Several things have been in the news. Yesterday, I touched briefly on the possible expanded role of the FHA in helping people to be able to refinance before they lose their home to foreclosure. I think that this is a necessary step by the government to help people and especially our economy, but my concern comes down to part of the criteria.

To qualify, homeowners would have to prove they paid their loan on time before it reset to a higher rate and must have at least 3 percent equity in the home. That is fine and also the fact that Pres. Bush is asking Congress to raise the present loan limits. But part of the criteria for one of these loans is that to compensate for the added risk, the borrowers would have to pay higher premiums on the loans and also some of the closing costs. Right then and there you are going to eliminate a lot of people who might be in dire need of help. They are already tapped to the limit. If they can't afford their present loan, how might they afford one with a higher interest rate & possibly having to come up with some of the closing costs, nevermind 3% if they do not have enough equity.

I agree that help is needed, but have to be concerned about the repercussions of this. There was an article in USA today in which Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute said, “If you’re going to help someone to refinance, you’re going to bail out the person who financed him in the first place.... This will only cause the problem to arise again.” Yes, this may be true and is a concern, but that all depends on how the government handles the whole situation.

Another major group of foreclosures is coming from the investor group. We've all heard about the investors trying to grab a piece of the pie/cake. Unfortunately, this cake didn't rise as anticipated. The numbers are quite large in comparison. Nevada leads the pack of investor defaults followed by Arizona, Florida & California. Yes, all four of these states have been in the news quite a bit due to the change in real estate market conditions. They all have had incredible growth, but with that growth also comes some fallout as we are seeing now.

It was recently noted that even though Florida has shown a year over year price decline of almost 1%; the overall 5 year stats show a price gain of over 95%. Granted, this bodes well for most of us. The people that are obviously being negatively affected at this point are the sellers, especially those who've purchased within the past two years; those with ARM's that are being adjusted to higher rated; those with 100% financing, which I've always tried to dissaude people from getting involved in; and, especially investors.

Now, there is another group of people that are feeling the brunt of all this, and that's renters. According to another article that I've recently read, rents are projected to rise about 4 percent this year and next. This is being affected on many levels. Many previous owners that are finding themselves in foreclosure are turning into renters again. Additionally, more renters are also renewing their leases because they can no longer qualify for mortgages.

The only good part of this, is that some landlords are renting for less than their present mortgage on their investment properties, basically looking to just cut their loses. These people are avoiding foreclosure by doing such and because they have the present ability to afford it as well.

Anyway, till next time...Marc It Sold!