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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 14

Quick Tip: A Simple Bathroom Make-Over

by Rob Zwemmer

 

Tired of your bathroom decor? Try a few easy changes and transform the room! Color Change - A fresh coat will do wonders for any room. Choose a bright, light color to make the room appear larger. Paint the trim and walls to freshen up the entire room. Lay drop cloths all over the floor and fixtures before painting, and apply painter’s tape along all wall and tile borders.Extra Touches - Get new switch plates, vent covers and towel rods. These items are easy to remove and reinstall. With a power drill, the work will go quickly. Remove the old stuff prior to painting, and replace with the new material once the paint has dried.

Imagine What You Can Do!

by Rob Zwemmer

In 1987, a 74-year old rickshaw puller by the name of Bai Fangli came back to his hometown planning to retire from his backbreaking job. There, he saw children working in the fields, because they were too poor to afford school fees.

Bai returned to Tianjin and went back to work as a rickshaw puller, taking a modest accommodation next to the railway station. He waited for clients 24 hours a day, ate simple food and wore discarded second-hand clothes he found. He gave all of his hard-earned earnings to support children who could not afford education. In 2001, he drove his rickshaw to Tianjin YaoHua Middle School, to deliver his last installment of money. Nearly 90 years old, he told the students that he couldn’t work anymore. All of the students and teachers were moved to tears. In total, Bai had donated a total of 350,000 yuan to help more than 300 poor students continue with their studies.

In 2005, Bai passed away leaving behind an inspiring legacy. If a rickshaw-puller who wore used clothes and had no education can support 300 children to go to school, imagine what you and I can do with the resources we have to bring about positive change in our world!

Less is More!

by Rob Zwemmer

"Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little." ~ Edmund Burke
 
"Inches make a champion." ~ Vince Lombardi
 
LESS IS MORE! 
 
During an NFL matchup, one of the announcers observed that the favored team’s quarterback had been guilty of trying to do too much on the field. Apparently linemen, receivers, and running backs had not been pulling their weight last season, and the quarterback was feeling all of the pressure to produce a winning performance for the team. 
 
What changes did the coaching staff make? For one, they brought in players who could run the ball better and more often, relieving their offensive leader of having to throw so many passes. With other players stepping up their performances, the quarterback didn’t feel so much pressure, and his completion percentage went way up. 
 
It’s a classic case of “less is more.” When the pressure is released and we feel that we don’t have to do so much, we actually feel free to do more! We learn to share the responsibility with those who are there to support us when we let go of our “universe will end if I don’t make this work” mentality. 
 
By asking others to step up and share responsibility, we become more successful. It should never be up to one person to make the project work, although having a leader helps keep everything organized and focused. 
 
The leader understands that success is not all about leaps and bounds. It’s about each individual taking the right small steps that will carry everyone forward. Louis L’Amour wrote that "victory is won not in miles, but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later win a little more." 
 
Don’t make the mistake of doing nothing because you think you can only do a little. On the flip side, don’t try to do everything because you feel you must. Sometimes doing less will allow you to do even more.

"Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little." ~ Edmund Burke "Inches make a champion." ~ Vince Lombardi LESS IS MORE!  During an NFL matchup, one of the announcers observed that the favored team’s quarterback had been guilty of trying to do too much on the field. Apparently linemen, receivers, and running backs had not been pulling their weight last season, and the quarterback was feeling all of the pressure to produce a winning performance for the team.  What changes did the coaching staff make? For one, they brought in players who could run the ball better and more often, relieving their offensive leader of having to throw so many passes. With other players stepping up their performances, the quarterback didn’t feel so much pressure, and his completion percentage went way up.  It’s a classic case of “less is more.” When the pressure is released and we feel that we don’t have to do so much, we actually feel free to do more! We learn to share the responsibility with those who are there to support us when we let go of our “universe will end if I don’t make this work” mentality.  By asking others to step up and share responsibility, we become more successful. It should never be up to one person to make the project work, although having a leader helps keep everything organized and focused.  The leader understands that success is not all about leaps and bounds. It’s about each individual taking the right small steps that will carry everyone forward. Louis L’Amour wrote that "victory is won not in miles, but in inches.

Win a little now, hold your ground, and later win a little more."  

Don’t make the mistake of doing nothing because you think you can only do a little. On the flip side, don’t try to do everything because you feel you must. Sometimes doing less will allow you to do even more.

APR vs Interest Rate

by Rob Zwemmer

 

Lenders are required to display an additional number called the APR (Annual Percentage Rate) when advertising mortgage rates. The advertised rate is the one used to calculate your mortgage payment. Borrow $100,000 at five percent with a 30-year term, and the payment is $537. But an advertised rate tells you nothing about the cost of the loan or if it's a good deal. Suppose you're offered two loans. Both have a five percent rate, but one costs $1,000 and the other costs $4,000. They're obviously not the same!


How is APR calculated?
In the example above, the payment for both loans is $537 per month. But because the first loan costs $1,000, you're only actually getting $99,000 for that $537 monthly payment. When you pay $537 a month to borrow $99,000 the rate is 5.09 percent. The second loan costs $4,000, so for your $537 a month, you only get to borrow $96,000. In that case, the APR is 5.35%. You don't really need an APR calculation to tell you that the first loan is the better deal - it's pretty obvious. But what if a five percent loan costs $1,000 but a 4.5 percent loan costs $4,000? Which is a better deal? That's where APR comes in. The APR of the five percent loan in this case is 5.09 percent. The APR for the second loan is 4.85 percent. That means over the life of the loan, the second loan costs less than the first loan.


Is the loan with the lowest APR always the best?
Many people think that the loan with the lowest APR is automatically the best deal. That's not true unless you keep your mortgage for its entire term. If not, the upfront costs of getting your mortgage are spread out over a shorter period of time, and that changes the true cost of the loan. Look at our two $100,000 30-year fixed loans again, but this time we'll assume that you'll sell the home in five years. When you change the first loan's term from 30 years to five years, its APR increases from 5.09 percent to 5.41 percent.  And the second loan with its $4,000 in costs? It increases from 4.85 percent to 6.12 percent!


ARMs
Because no one can predict how interest rates will change over the years, the APR for adjustable-rate mortgages is calculated on the assumption that the loan is adjusting at that time. So if you have a 5/1 mortgage starting at three percent, and if it were adjusting today its rate would be six percent, that's the rate used in the APR calculation. Even though it's highly unlikely that rates in five years will be exactly what they are today.

The most important thing to remember when comparing APRs of ARMs is that they are calculated based on current economic conditions.  The APR of a loan on Monday may be different from the APR of that same loan on Friday. Get mortgage quotes on the same day (preferably at the same time). This is easiest to manage by getting your quotes online.

 

*Information Courtesy of Lending Tree.

Median Price Per Sq Ft in the Valley

by Rob Zwemmer

After the two-year, 60 percent rise in Coachella Valley prices, we decided to show where prices stand on a longer term basis. The chart above shows the median Coachella Valley price per square foot going back 11 years — from before the start of the bubble. We’ve also drawn in a line that represents a 4.5 percent growth in price since 2002, a date and price often considered a good starting point to measure the natural long-term growth of prices throughout the state.

The chart displays two things: it would take another 60 percent price increase to reach the price peaks of 2006, and we’re still 30 percent below the long-term price trend. While we don’t expect another 25 percent price gain in 2014, we do expect prices to continue advancing, possibly between 15 percent and 18 percent, next year. This all comes from two fundamental positive factors: 1) historically low inventory and 2) declining distress sales.

The inventory this Sept. 1 was 2,647, almost identical to last September and once again near-historic lows.likewise, distress sales are now only 15 percent of sales and still falling, while last year they were 37 percent. We continue to expect distress sales to drop below 10 percent by year end and to effectively vanish this spring.

This is all positive for continued higher prices.

*Information courtesy of Market Watch - Monthly Desert Housing Report

Plan a Realistic Goal!

by Rob Zwemmer

A farmer had a dog who used to sit by the roadside waiting for vehicles to come around. As soon as one came he would run down the road, barking and trying to overtake it. One day a neighbor asked the farmer "Do you think your dog is ever going to catch a car?" The farmer replied, "That is not what bothers me. What bothers me is what he would do if he ever caught one." Many people in life behave like that dog who is pursuing meaningless goals.
Life is hard by the yard, 
but by the inch, 
it's a cinch. 
A farmer had a dog who used to sit by the roadside waiting for vehicles to come around. As soon as one came he would run down the road, barking and trying to overtake it. One day a neighbor asked the farmer "Do you think your dog is ever going to catch a car?" The farmer replied, "That is not what bothers me. What bothers me is what he would do if he ever caught one." Many people in life behave like that dog who is pursuing meaningless goals.

Life is hard by the yard, but by the inch, it's a cinch. 

Monthly Coachella Valley Sales

by Rob Zwemmer

Sales in the Coachella Valley remain consistent with the last 2 years, both on a 3-month and 12-month measuring basis. This August's 3-month sales were 767 units compared to 792 last August. Year-over-year sales were 790 units compared to 812. Historically, these sales rates are slightly less than normal. This may trace back to both low inventories and a buyer less inclined to chase higher prices.

 

* Courtesy of Market Watch - Monthly Desert Housing Report

Foreclosure Crisis Coming to a Close

by Rob Zwemmer

 

The number of new foreclosure filings in August hit its lowest level in nearly eight years, according to RealtyTrac, an online marketer of foreclosed properties.
Soaring home prices and a big decline in underwater borrowers -- those who owe more on their mortgage loans than their homes are worth -- have helped drive the trend.
August's initial foreclosure filings fell 44% to 55,575, just below the 56,063 that were recorded in October 2005. The foreclosure crunch began in summer 2006, at about the same time that housing prices hit their peak.
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"This is a strong indicator that the crisis is over," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "The foreclosure floodwaters have receded in most parts of the country, although lenders and communities continue to clean up the damage left behind," he added.
The mopping-up process continues, however. In August, for example, the number of homes repossessed by lenders rose 6%, compared with July, to 39,277. But that still represents a drop of 25% year-over-year, and is more than 60% below the peak of repossessions in September, 2010.

 

The number of new foreclosure filings in August hit its lowest level in nearly eight years, according to RealtyTrac, an online marketer of foreclosed properties.
Soaring home prices and a big decline in underwater borrowers -- those who owe more on their mortgage loans than their homes are worth -- have helped drive the trend.

August's initial foreclosure filings fell 44% to 55,575, just below the 56,063 that were recorded in October 2005. The foreclosure crunch began in summer 2006, at about the same time that housing prices hit their peak.

"This is a strong indicator that the crisis is over," said Daren Blomquist, VP at RealtyTrac. "The foreclosure floodwaters have receded in most parts of the country, although lenders and communities continue to clean up the damage left behind," he added.

In August, for example, the number of homes repossessed by lenders rose 6%, compared with July, to 39,277. But that still represents a drop of 25% year-over-year, and is more than 60% below the peak of repossessions in September, 2010.

Market Update

by Rob Zwemmer

PRICE GAINS RANKED BY CITY The East Valley continues to outperform this year as La Quinta is the strongest city in the valley with a 33 percent year to date return. This is followed by Indio, Desert Hot Springs, and Cathedral City. For the first time in a long while Palm Springs, on a year to date basis, is the lagging city in the valley. 

*Courtesy of Market Watch - Monthy Desert Housing Report

Keep A Young Mind!

by Rob Zwemmer

 

"Learning is the fountain of youth.
No matter how old you are,
You mustn't stop growing." 
 
- Taoist Meditation, Deng Ming-Dao
 
KEEP A YOUNG MIND!
 
Don't believe the phrase "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." Creativity isn't only for artists, writers, or musicians. Creativity isn't just what is represented by a canvas or a novel or a song. We can all be creative in our own way, and the most common way that we can all do this is through learning.
 
As long as we continue to learn and to try new things, we keep our minds fresh and young, and we engage in the act of "creating ourselves" continually. Today's world presents plenty of opportunities for learning, especially about the environment, other cultures, and technology. Technology itself provides ever-easier ways of accessing knowledge through computers and the Internet. And no one is too young or too old to start!
 
Look around you at the most vital and energetic seniors you know. What do they have in common? A continuing interest in learning and sharing their knowledge and experience with others - so they are engaged constantly in the process. They keep their minds challenged and young, and in so doing, feel younger in body and spirit. They are certainly different than in their youth, but they continue the learning that began there.
 
Each new phase of our lives brings us new challenges and opportunities for growth. Growing older necessarily means learning new things. We are constantly creating ourselves in this way, and we can adapt ourselves to any situation by that continuing act of creativity that keeps us young.

 

"Learning is the fountain of youth. No matter how old you are. You mustn't stop growing."  - Taoist Meditation, Deng Ming-Dao 

KEEP A YOUNG MIND! Don't believe the phrase "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." Creativity isn't only for artists, writers, or musicians. Creativity isn't just what is represented by a canvas or a novel or a song. We can all be creative in our own way, and the most common way that we can all do this is through learning. As long as we continue to learn and to try new things, we keep our minds fresh and young, and we engage in the act of "creating ourselves" continually. Today's world presents plenty of opportunities for learning, especially about the environment, other cultures, and technology. Technology itself provides ever-easier ways of accessing knowledge through computers and the Internet. And no one is too young or too old to start! Look around you at the most vital and energetic seniors you know. What do they have in common? A continuing interest in learning and sharing their knowledge and experience with others - so they are engaged constantly in the process. They keep their minds challenged and young, and in so doing, feel younger in body and spirit. They are certainly different than in their youth, but they continue the learning that began there. Each new phase of our lives brings us new challenges and opportunities for growth. Growing older necessarily means learning new things. We are constantly creating ourselves in this way, and we can adapt ourselves to any situation by that continuing act of creativity that keeps us young.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 14

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