Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why an Earnest Money Deposit is Required When Purchasing a Home

Q. I am saving money to buy a home, but I’m not totally clear on what the term “earnest money” means. What is earnest money?

A. First, let me commend you on saving money for a home. Buying a house is probably the most important purchase you’ll make in your lifetime – and having cash available gives you more options with your purchase.

Earnest money is an important factor when you’re making an offer on a house. When you make an offer to purchase a house, the “earnest money” is the deposit that shows the buyer you are serious about the purchase. The money opens the escrow and can be applied to the buyers’ down payment or closing costs.

The earnest money amount is negotiable. It typically varies depending on the price of the house and strength of the market. Generally, it’s recommended that your earnest money deposit be about two percent of your offered price. And although earnest money is not required by law in most states, it’s standard practice in real estate transactions.

When the seller accepts your offer and earnest money, the property is taken off the market. In a hot real estate market, a large deposit may impress a seller enough so they will accept your offer instead of someone else’s. However, buyer beware…it can also put you at significant financial risk if for some reason the transaction runs into trouble not covered by a contingency in your purchase agreement.

The Standard Offer And Purchase Contract stipulates under what conditions your earnest money will be returned if the contract fails. If you are in the market for a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Migraine Sufferers Take Note

Is A Strange Bacteria
Causing Your Headache?

Did you know that bacteria can trigger a migraine headache? About 50% of chronic migraine sufferers are infected with the ulcer-causing stomach bug Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).

Migraine sufferers who were treated with antibiotics reduced the frequency of migraine attacks. Among those who were also treated with supplements of the friendly bacterium Lactobacillus, 80% were headache free for one year. Lactobacillus has been shown to inhibit growth of the H. pilori bacteria.

If you suffer from chronic headaches, ask your physician if you should be tested for H. pilori – and if treatment with antibiotics and/or Lactobacillus is right for you.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Every Step Counts

Walk Your Way To Weight Loss!

Would you like to get more exercise, but just can’t find the time? The America on the Move (AOM) program at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center says there’s an easy way to get moving. You can lose weight, and increase your energy by wearing a pedometer. A pedometer helps you monitor how much exercise you’re getting each day. More exercise adds up to weight loss and an increase in your energy.

Just by adding about 2,000 steps a day to your daily activities and eating 100 calories less, (about what’s in a slice of bread), you’ll begin to see results. Every step counts and you can see them adding up. You’ll be more likely to park farther away from work or the store in the parking lot. You could take a short walk after dinner in the evening.

And it’s EASY...no trips to the gym, no exercise equipment to buy, and you can monitor how much exercise you’re getting during the day.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Get Fit America - Today's Top Trends

Resolve To Follow These
Fitness Trends In 2010

The American College of Sports Medicine has ranked the top fitness trends for 2010 based on a worldwide survey of fitness professionals. Make a New Year’s resolution to incorporate these trends in your family’s fitness program this year:

 Educated and experienced fitness professionals. As the fitness market becomes more competitive, consumers are realizing the importance of working with professionals who have been certified through accredited health/fitness educational programs.

 Strength training. This was once the domain of bodybuilders, but it’s now an essential part of a complete physical activity program.

 Children and obesity. This is the year to reverse an alarming trend of rising obesity rates by getting overweight kids involved in exercise.

 Personal training. As more personal trainers are educated and certified, they are becoming more accessible to a greater number of people.

 Core training. This training specifically emphasizes strength and conditioning of the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen and back.

 Special programs for older adults. Fitness facilities are offering more exercise programs for active older adults. Get your parents involved now!

 Sport-specific training. High school athletes are now training during the off-season to prepare themselves for their specific sports.

 Pilates. This form of exercise that targets the core of the body has become a mainstay of most fitness facilities. If you haven’t already done so, try it this year to increase your flexibility and posture.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Value Drives Remodeling Trends

Q. What Are The Remodeling Trends For 2010?

A. Obviously, your return on investment depends on where you live. But according to Remodeling Magazine’s “2009-2010 Cost vs. Value report,” which compiles results from members of the National Association of REALTORS® in 80 cities, the trend is toward small-scale projects and replacements.

There’s no doubt that curb appeal helps sell homes. You can improve your home’s exterior without spending a great deal of money by adding a deck, replacing a lawn or enhancing the entranceway.

Because of all the government incentives available, it also makes sense to make any improvements that add to your home’s energy efficiency. For example, you can get a federal tax credit for 30 percent of the cost (up to $1,500) for installing certain products such as energy-efficient windows, insulation, roofing, and heating and cooling equipment. Go to www.energystar.gov for details.

Prospective home buyers continue to look for improvements to kitchens and bathrooms. Instead of a high-end remodel, more people are choosing moderately priced upgrades that will improve their chances of a sale.

If you have any questions, or need capable and trustworthy representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Use These Travel Secutity Tips on Your Next Vacation

How To Be Safe, Not Sorry
On Your Next Trip

Everyone loves to travel, but there are some precautions you should take just to be on the safe side. Use these travel security tips to help make your next international trip stress-free:

• Be prepared in case your passport is lost or stolen. If your passport is lost, you must immediately notify the embassy or the State Department and report details of the incident. Take copies of the passport, birth certificate and marriage certificate for each person on your trip. You’d need these documents to authenticate yourself to authorities.

• Leave your itinerary and the numbers or copies of your passport with a friend or relative. You also can register your travel for free with the State Department so you may be contacted in case of a family emergency or because of a crisis in the area in which you are traveling. Go to http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html for more details.

• Don’t take your eyes off your laptop. Hundreds of thousands are stolen each year and 97 percent are never recovered. To protect yourself, remove any sensitive information from the laptop before you go and encrypt the data that’s on it. Take a security cable to attach it to a piece of furniture if you leave it in your hotel room. Better yet, you can actually buy tracking software that allows you to record a message (“Get your hands off me, I’ve been stolen!”) that will play when the thief turns it on.

• Purge your wallet or purse of extra credit cards, receipts and any reference to your social security number. Leave your checkbook and debit cards at home.

• Keep a grip on your valuables (especially in crowds). To thwart pickpockets, use security travel purses, bags, belts and money clips. If you’re a man, keep your wallet under your clothes or in your tightest pocket. If you’re using a fanny pack, secure the zipper by using a safety pin or a paperclip fastened to a rubber band around the belt strap.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Got Burn-Out? Take These Steps

Are you bummed by job burn-out? If quitting your job isn’t an option, take these five steps to improve your situation.

• Identify stress factors and learn how to manage them. Be proactive rather than passive about workplace issues. Know the difference between the “shoulds” and the “musts.” If you have too much work and too little time, talk to your supervisor.

• Reconnect with your core work. Maybe you’ve strayed from what you were originally hired to do. Focus on the work you enjoy doing.

• Take care of yourself. Take time off to recharge your batteries.

• Build new relationships. Make friends with people who might have fresh ideas and perspectives. Do something different – open a Twitter account.

• Plan your next move. Outline what you’d have to do to change careers and start taking action.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Don’t Read This Sitting Down

Do you sit at a desk all day and become a couch potato on the weekends? Recent studies have shown that those who sit most of the day have an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart problems and other diseases. That’s because the enzymes that burn fat shut down, slowing your metabolism and possibly lowering your beneficial cholesterol.

Even if you do exercise regularly, you need to move your muscles frequently (called non-exercise activity) throughout the day. Follow these tips:

Try to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. When you’re not exercising, don’t remain sedentary for long. Get up and move, whether that means walking to someone’s office (instead of sending an e-mail) or going to the copy machine. Even standing burns calories since you tense your leg muscles and shift your weight from one leg to the other.

Turn off the TV. You’ll burn more calories doing almost anything else, such as playing games with the kids, cleaning the house or walking the dog.

When you do watch TV, change your seating. Watch it in a rocking chair (yes, it burns energy!), sitting on a therapy ball or riding an exercise bike. Move around during commercials, which can take up 20 minutes each hour.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Save BIG When You Shop for Groceries

Use These Strategies To Shop Smarter For Groceries
You can read plenty of articles on the internet about how to save money on groceries, but do you really have a grocery shopping strategy? Here are some supermarket tips and secrets that will make you a savvy shopper.

 Approach grocery shopping like a job. You need to have a plan (take a list) and a budget to make the best use of your time and money.

 Stick to a time schedule. Shop for what you need and get out. It is said that if you’re in the store more than 30 minutes, you’ll spend an extra 50 cents to $1 per minute as you walk the aisles.

 Shop alone. Real Simple Magazine says parents will spend 10-40 percent more if they take their kids along. It might be worth it to hire a babysitter!

 Only buy “food” at a grocery store. Generally, you’re better off buying toiletries, cleaning supplies and pet food at a big-box discount store.

 Know the floor plan. Shop the perimeter first for fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and milk. You’ll find some good buys in the center aisles, but you’ll also be tempted by items like frozen convenience foods.

 Don’t assume everything on sale is a bargain. Stores often display “sale” items at the end of the aisles. Manufacturers pay to have their products put there so they aren’t necessarily a good deal.

 Check “price per unit.” Sometimes it’s cheaper per unit to buy two smaller items than it is to buy one supersize package.

 Look high and low. Stores often place higher-priced items at eye level (brands pay for the space). Check prices on the top and bottom shelves.

Pay attention at checkout. Shoppers lose up to $3 billion a year on scanner mistakes (current sale prices not reflected

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Help Stop Identity Theft

You Can Protect Yourself
From Identity Theft!

The average victim of identity theft spends about $500 on phone calls, certified mail, and their valuable time, says the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). But there are ways to protect yourself. First, credit card and insurance companies offer identity theft insurance, which can range anywhere from about $30 to $60 per year. American Express has policy, which covers $2,000 in lost wages and $5,000 for attorney fees.

The FTC offers free help for identity theft at www.ftc.gov. There you’ll find instructions on how you can prevent identity theft, and what to do if you are ever a victim of identity theft. You can also contact “Call For Action, at 1-866-ID-Hotline (toll-free). Counselors trained in identity theft can assist you.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Easy Travel Tips

Pack These Travel Tips!

Next time you’re traveling by air...here’s a few nifty tips you can pack that’ll make your trip go more smoothly!
• The best time to fly is midday...you’ll avoid long lines and delays!
• Pack water, antibacterial lotions you can use without water, a DVD player, DVDs , and zip lock bags for car keys, change, watches, etc.
• If you’re a large person, the Airbus A320 or Boing’s 777 business class seats will be more comfortable for you. United, American and Delta have 60-inch spaces in the 777 seats, for taller individuals.
• Go to the bathroom before landing. You’ll avoid the long lines at the restroom upon arrival.

Monday, March 15, 2010

No More 3000 Mile Oil Changes!!

Five Auto Maintenance Myths

Hit the brakes! You may be spending unnecessarily on car maintenance. Here’s how you can save money: For starters...make sure you read your owner’s manual! Most newer cars require a lot less maintenance than your family’s first car. Here are 6 more tips…
1. Oil Change. Some newer cars call for oil changes every 10,000 miles; the industry recommends every 7,500 miles. If you follow the factory schedule, your car will be in good shape well past the warranty period.
2. Lubricating The Chassis. Cars built in the past 10 years don’t require lubrication. Adding grease may end up costing you $$$.
3. Standard Tune-up. New cars have computer-controlled engines making the standard tune-up unnecessary. (No points and rotors...and some don’t have the standard distributor caps).
4. Flushing The Automatic Transmission System. Check your owner’s manual, but most manufacturers say it’s not needed until 60,000 miles.
5. Draining The Radiator. Most cars have closed systems and no longer need the radiator flushed twice a year. A new car’s coolant can last up to two years before it needs changing.
6. Changing Filters. Filters need replacing, but not at every oil change. Check your owner’s manual for recommended replacement intervals
For more information, or to find a mechanic in your area, check the Car Talk section of http://www.cars.com.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Seven Ways to Stay Happily Married

Seven Secrets To A
Happier Marriage

Ah...marital bliss...if only it were true. You’re not married? Don’t stop reading! There’s valuable information ahead for having healthy and happy love relationships. This applies whether you’re the spouse, the boyfriend, the girlfriend, the dad, the mom, the child, or the grandparents.

Research shows it’s not the conflict that’s important in relationships, it’s how you manage the conflict. Here are seven secrets to improving your marriage...or any relationship that you want to enrich:

1. Keep Things Positive. If you want a happy relationship, researchers say you must be good-natured and friendly to your partner. Criticism and nit-picking are poison to good relationship building.
2. Follow The 1:5 Ratio. For every negative thing you say or do to your partner, you must balance it out by saying or doing five positive things.
3. Be Considerate and Respectful. Happy marriages and relationships are based on friendship and respect. Couples who like each other’s company and respect each other are more likely to stay together.
4. Don’t Try To Resolve The Irresolvable. There are times in a relationship that certain issues may not be resolvable. The key is to accept it and go forward.
5. Honor Differences. Couples who understand and accept each other’s quirks and idiosyncrasies are more likely to stay together.
6. Sometimes It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say It. Ninety percent of the friction of daily life is caused by the wrong tone of voice and word choice. Think before you speak. (If necessary, discuss conflicts while on the telephone, rather than face-to-face.)
7. Practice Relationship-Building Skills. Many couples think that, for things to improve, big changes must take place. Actually, making small changes in ourselves (acts of thoughtful kindness, compliments) can effect big, positive changes in your relationships.

Remember that marriage is like a bank account—you get out what you put in...with interest!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Turn Off Your Cruise Control in the Rain

Lose The Cruise On Slick Roads!

The American Automobile Association recommends turning off your cruise control when it’s raining or snowing. Tapping the brakes will usually disengage the cruise control. Roads covered with snow or ice are dangerous. And when driving on rain soaked roads at high speeds (60 mph or above) hydroplaning can occur, where there can be total separation of the tire from the pavement.

On wet and snowy roads, the AAA recommends:
1. Slow down and turn off your cruise control.
2. Avoid hard brakes and sharp turns.
3. Stay in the tracks of the car in front of you and increase your distance behind the car.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hidden Dangers in Your Home

Watch Out For These
Home Health Hazards…

Are you aware there may be hidden dangers lurking in your home? These little known health hazards could be causing you and your family health problems…and you may not know it. Here are six hazards you can avoid by eliminating them from your home, or being attentive to the potential danger:

1. Do not reuse plastic drinking water bottles. After exposure to air and mouth-borne bacteria, these bottles can contain enough bacteria to be a biohazard.
2. Throw out corroded aluminum cooking pans. Recent research has shown that foods cooked in these pans absorb toxic amounts of aluminum. This can result in kidney failure, affect brain function (possibly associated with Alzheimer’s disease), and possibly contribute to abnormal behavior.
3. Be careful using electric blankets, especially anyone with occlusive arterial disease (result of blockage in an artery). An electric blanket’s uncontrolled heat can cause gangrene by increasing metabolism, but not circulation.
4. Don’t take aspirin and Vitamin C together in heavy doses or long-term. This can lead to ulcers and gastritis.
5. Never burn or over-heat your food in the popular non-stick cookware. This can impart traces of toxic fluorocarbon resins to foods. Throw out pans if the non-stick surface becomes scratched or peels.
6. Use over-the-counter eye drops sparingly. They relieve redness by the action of constricting blood vessels in the eyes so they will look whiter. If drops are used frequently, they can develop permanent (and very red) varicose veins in the eyeball.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

10 Ways To Live Forever

We all want to feel better, look better, and live as if we are a finely tuned instrument, or well-maintained vehicle. Here are the first 10 of 100 tips I’ll share over the coming months to get you started on the road to feeling, looking, and living better and increasing your chances for enjoying life.

1. Smile. Researchers at Harvard found that people with positive attitudes are more likely to have fewer heart ailments.
2. Take Monday Off. Researchers in New York found that missing a few days of work lowers your risk for stroke by 30 percent…not to mention most heart attacks occur on Monday morning!
3. Eat Oatmeal Cookies. University of Connecticut researchers found that eating oat-bran cookies daily can lower your LDL cholesterol by 20 percent.
4. Go To Bed Early. People who are fatigued have high levels of fibrinogen, a blood-clotting protein that reduces blood flow to your heart and brain.
5. Wash Your Hands. German scientists found people with high levels of antibodies from fighting infections also had more clogging of their arteries.
6. Read A Good Book. Need I say more?
7. Meditate 30 Minutes A Day. Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University found meditation may reduce depression and anxiety by up to 25 percent.
8. Drink Cranberry Juice. People who drink 8 ounces of cranberry juice a day increase their HDL cholesterol levels by 10 percent…reducing heart risk by 40 percent, according a New Jersey study.
9. Bike Your Blues Away. Biking was found to be as effective at relieving depression as antidepressants reported Duke University researchers.
10. Join A Group. People who have a circle of friends handle stress better and have less heart disease, according to University of Chicago researchers.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

10 Key Strategies for Your Family

10 Proven Strategies For
Strengthening Your Family!

Is the quality of your family life important to you? According to a recent Harris poll, the majority of working men and women place the highest value on a work schedule providing plenty of time for family. We sure don’t need to look very far to discover the challenges families are facing today. The good news is there are quick and easy ways to strengthen your family and promote each other’s personal growth.

Here are 10 positive key strategies that you can use today to improve and strengthen your family now…and for years to come.

1. Make Family Your First Priority. Strong families spend lots of quality time together. We’ve all heard the well-known quote, “How do kids spell love?” T-I-M-E! Strong families spend lots of positive time working on family projects and playing together. And they enjoy being together too.

2. Appreciate One Other. Strong families appreciate each other’s unique qualities and contributions and express their feelings openly. Make a commitment to compliment each other at least once each day.

3. Foster Communication. Strong families listen to each other, respect each other’s opinions, and avoid interrupting. One of the most valuable ways to foster communication is by having at least one meal together each day. During the meal, make it a point to engage everyone on their daily experiences, discoveries, challenges and goals.

4. Strengthen Commitment. Strong families work together to solve their problems. They may not always agree, but they are willing and able to bring things out into the open and to talk about them.

5. Create Traditions. Strong families stay connected – another reason for having at least one meal together each day. Also, give your children the gift of friendship with their cousins, aunts, and uncles by keeping in touch regularly. You’ll be giving them happy memories and friendships to last a lifetime.

6. Set Rules and Expectations. Strong families set and put into practice clear guidelines and limitations. Family members take responsibility for their actions.
7. Support Each Other. Strong families support one another during challenging times. When family members feel valued by one another, they know they have someone they can turn to for support.

8. Identify Your Family’s Strengths. Have each family member write down something he/she likes about each family member (animals included!). Put them up on a bulletin board or refrigerator magnets for everyone to see.

9. Set Achievable Family Goals. Setting and achieving family goals, even if they are small, cultivates success and creates unity. Set goals together whether it’s saving for a family trip, a car, or a new home. The ideas are endless.

10. Strong Families Love Unconditionally. Strong families love with unconditional acceptance that builds strong heart and faith connections.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How to Know if the House is Overpriced

Q. We’ve just listed our home for sale and we’ve agreed on a listing price. How do we know if our home is priced too high?

A. In a hot real estate market, an overpriced home may sell easily. However in a softer market, an overpriced home may sit on the market for months. How long is too long? Well, it depends on the specific market. In general, if a home is on the market more than 3 months with no serious buyer interest, it’s usually a sign of an overpriced home.

The first buzz of activity usually occurs in the first month a home is on the market. During that time, there’s lots of activity: scheduled showings, REALTOR® tours and open houses. If agent activity is slow, it may indicate that agents think the home is overpriced and not worth showing to their clients. If your home is on the market longer than 6 months, and you have no buyer interest, there is either something wrong with the home, or it’s overpriced.

What are the tell-tale signs that your home is overpriced? The first thing to examine is other properties in the neighborhood. If your home is priced well above these properties without some specific reason, it may signal a problem. Second, how long has your home been on the market? If it’s longer than 3 months with no buyer interest, it’s time to think about a serious price reduction.

Finally, if you priced your home by taking your purchase price and added the cost of any remodeling, you may be disappointed. The value of your home is not determined by how much you have invested into it, but what the market is willing to pay. Be careful not to get “upside down” on your home by spending beyond its market limit with remodeling improvements. If you’re thinking of buying or selling soon, and require competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Aspirin Study to Prevent a Heart Attack

Aspirin Therapy Alert!

Many people take a small 81 mg. baby aspirin as protection against heart attack or stroke. But did you know that baby aspirin may not be enough to protect you?

Taking a small 81 mg. chewable aspirin every day is supposed to thin your blood, which lowers your chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke. But in a recent study, 56% of people measured had no blood-thinning effects.

The study also found that taking coated aspirin (which has a shell to protect your digestion system) may not be effective. The study found that a full 65% of people didn’t benefit from coated aspirin.

What should a consumer do? Talk to your doctor about your options for heart attack and stroke prevention. And ask them if you may be a good candidate for taking an uncoated adult strength aspirin (325 mg.) each day instead.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Please, Don’t Pass The Salt!

Americans consume almost two times the recommended amount of salt everyday! Most salt is hidden inside common foods...spaghetti, soup, pizza, and especially frozen dinners. Too much salt can increase your blood pressure...and high blood pressure can wreak havoc on your heart, brain, and kidneys.

The average person should eat no more than 2,400 mg. of sodium daily, which is the equivalent of one heaping teaspoon a day. The average American eats over 4,000 mg. a day, and 75 percent of it from processed food and restaurant meals, according to Dr. Stephen Havas, a researcher at the University of Maryland.

So before you buy food at the store, check the nutrition labels. Ask yourself, how much sodium is in one serving. Remember restaurant food can have even more sodium, so watch what you order. Ask for low-sodium entrees, or select fresh salads, and avoid those French fries. Cutting salt could save your life!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fast Facts & Helpful Tips ...

Positive Thinking May Prevent A Cold!
Yes, people with a positive attitude and sunny outlook may get fewer colds! That’s according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. The researchers squirted the cold virus into the noses of happy and grouchy people. They found those with a positive outlook were able to immobilize the cold virus.

Leading Driver Distraction: Unruly Kids
Ask anyone what is the leading cause of car crashes...and he will say, “cell phones.” But, did you know that one of the greatest driver distractions is drivers dealing with unruly kids in the backseat! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that driver distractions are responsible for one in four car crashes.

Consumer ALERT: Unwanted Medication Dangers
There’s a danger lurking out there that most of us don’t even know about — and it’s drugs in our groundwater. Dumping unused medications down the toilet is causing dangerous traces of medications in water samples from 30 states, according to authorities for the U.S. Geological Survey. Putting them in the trash is the better place to dispose of unwanted medications.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Boost Your Memory Everyday

Five EASY Memory Boosters!

Have you misplaced your keys again? If you’re like most people, it’s an occasional annoyance. But if it’s happening more frequently than you’d like to admit, maybe it’s time for some memory boosters to help strengthen your mind. Here are five easy tips to improve your memory power:

1. Keep Items Where You’ll Need Them. Keep your keys by the front door;
eye glasses in the same place everyday, and wallet/purse in the same location.
2. Keep A Notebook With A Calendar. Keep names, phone numbers, important
dates, medical information, to do lists, and a notepad. Carry it with you (or
carry a small notepad), so you can jot down information as needed.
3. Minimize Distractions. Focus on one thing at a time. Turn off the TV or radio
when you need to focus your attention on a task.
4. Exercise Your Mind. Read, do crossword puzzles, play cards, chess, or a
musical instrument to keep your mind active. Watch television shows like
Jeopardy or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
5. Take Care Of Your Body. Go for a walk, swim, or bicycle. It’ll clear your
mind. And remember to eat a balanced diet and get enough rest!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Get Ready to Sell This Spring

Q. We are getting ready to sell our house. What suggestions can you give us to prepare it to sell for top dollar?

A. Buyers are looking for a home, not a house. They want a home they would like to have as their own, so focus your attention on making your home as pleasing as possible. Start by viewing your home at the entrance. Is it well kept and in good condition? If not, make the necessary changes needed to get you the most return for your home. Here are several steps you can take to make your home ready for show:

 Begin at the curb of your house. Sweep the sidewalk, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden, and clean any debris from the yard.
 Clean all the windows—inside and out.
 Deep clean all rooms, furnishings, floors, walls, and ceilings. Make sure the bathrooms and kitchen are spotless!
 If your house needs painting, go ahead and make the investment. When you do, it’s best to choose neutral colors.
 Organize all the closets, and clear away all the clutter.
 Be sure the basic appliances and fixtures work. Fix any leaky faucets in the kitchen or bathrooms.
 If you have a small room and want to make it appear larger, add a mirror.
 Place several vases of fresh flowers, and plants throughout the house.
 Make sure the house smells pleasing. You can bake cookies, muffins, or simmer scented tea to add a pleasant aroma to your home.

Your accessories can enhance a room by setting a mood. Keep in mind a few interesting accents are better than a lot of knickknacks that clutter. Choose complementary accent colors and arrange them around the room.
You also may want to purchase some items specifically for decorating. Sometimes just by adding a few furniture pieces, pictures, lamps, plants, dishes and other items, you can turn your ho-hum house into a lovely showplace!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Public Speaking Tips From The Experts!

You’ve just been asked to lead a meeting, introduce someone at a dinner or church, or give a speech in front of a large group. Are you feeling panicked?
If you’re like thousands of people, you may have a real fear of public speaking.
But there’s really no need to worry, says Janet Esposito, author of “In the Spotlight: Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking and Performing.”

“Your audience wants you to succeed!” she says. “The key to success is in the preparation.” You can make your next public speaking experience a success by following these expert tips:

1. Make a list of material you want to cover. Outline your material, and then write down the words you want to use and revise as needed.
2. Check for accuracy, redundancies, and clich├ęs. Use everyday language that both you and your listeners are comfortable with. Avoid using a lot of technical terms and statistics.
3. Use a tape recorder and practice aloud until you are comfortable with your delivery.
4. Print your key points on index cards. You can refer to them while speaking.
5. Consider your audience’s level of knowledge on the subject. Be prepared to answer questions.
6. Picture yourself speaking with confidence in a loud, clear voice.
7. Don’t mention that you are nervous or that you have problems with speaking. That calls attention to something the audience hasn’t even noticed.
8. Focus on your message and the information your audience needs, not on yourself.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Oops…The E-Mail That Got Away

Remember that email you sent…and then wished you hadn’t. Maybe you inadvertently passed on some business information that was a secret, or data that wasn’t quite right. Well, you’re not alone. Now there are a few new programs on the market that can delete or recall your email—even after you’ve sent it!
Authentica, Inc. offers encryption technology that lets you look at e-mails but it does not save, copy, print, or forward them. And you can recall or kill off your
e-mails, even after they’ve been opened by another person.
Omniva Policy Systems offers an e-mail “shredder” that lets you specify a “detonation time” of from 30 minutes to years after the e-mail is sent. And even while the e-mail is still live, the receiver must have a special password to read it. Visit www.authentica.com or www.disappearing.com for more information on this revolutionary technology.