Monday, December 27, 2010

What Were You Born To Do?

Discover the Work You Were Born to Do

By James Gonyea, Monster Contributing Writer

So you've been hearing that voice again, the one that says you're not doing what you were born to do. That may be true, but how do you figure out what you should be doing?

To begin answering this question, examine whether your current career path matches your core interests, beliefs, values, needs and skills. Professional career counselors usually undertake this strategy when attempting to help clients identify appropriate career directions.

Here's what I ask clients to help them find their core. Ask yourself these questions, and record your answers:
1. What subjects do you most enjoy reading about?

2. What television or radio programs do you most enjoy?

3. What are your favorite types of movies?

4. What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes?

5. What type of volunteer activities do you prefer?

6. What subjects do you enjoy discussing with friends?

7. What subjects come to mind when you daydream?

8. What have been your favorite jobs?

9. What were your favorite school subjects?

10. What are your pet peeves?

11. If you doodle, what do you often draw?

12. If you ran the world, what changes would you make?

13. If you won a million bucks, what would you do with it?

14. Who are your favorite kinds of people?

15. How would you like to be remembered after your death?

16. What are your favorite toys?

17. How would you describe your political beliefs?

18. Who do you most admire in life and why?

19. What tasks have brought you the most success?

20. What tasks do you think you could do well that you haven't yet done?

Examine your answers. Do you see a certain behavior or belief in more than one aspect of your life? What information do you see repeated that seems to reveal a behavior pattern? What are your long-lasting interests?

Using this information, paint a self-portrait by completing the following statements:
I am mainly interested in…

I believe most in…

I most value…

For a good life, I feel I need…

I can do the following well…

Now ask yourself if your current job helps you achieve these five statements. If it does, you're probably in the right career. Chances are, however, that the nagging voice means your current career is not satisfying your core features. If this is the case, then it's time to find a better fit.

If the right career choice is not obvious from the information you have gathered about yourself, then try reading What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles.

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Lincoln's Christmas Message

Abraham Lincoln never really sent out a Christmas message for the simple reason that Christmas did not become a national holiday until 1870, five years after his death. Until then Christmas was a normal workday although people did often have special Christmas dinners with turkey, fruitcake and other treats.

If Abraham Lincoln were president today we can only imagine what he might say in a Christmas message. During the Civil War, he and his wife, Mary Todd, and also their son, Tad, would visit wounded Union soldiers in hospitals. The Lincolns also used their own money to buy lemons and oranges for soldiers so they wouldn't get scurvy. Lincoln was also an innovator and known for using the telegraph to keep in immediate and up-to-the-minute touch with his generals and troops during the Civil War. Today, he would probably tweet and like many recent presidents videotape messages to the country and the troops stationed abroad.

He would be sensitive to the trials and tribulations of Americans who are out of work and who have lost their jobs and homes during the Great Recession. Given his deep sense of empathy, he would feel for those who can't find work and all the stress and sorrow that come from not having a paying job. Like his feelings for the plight of the slaves, Lincoln would probably express a profound understanding for the situation faced by those in poverty during a joyful and generous time like Christmas.

As a man of principle but also a clever political strategist, Lincoln would balance his words in such a way that he would acknowledge the pain without making new enemies or revealing any impending political decisions. As we learned from the Gettysburg Address he knew the power of brevity. He also knew that people want to believe in something greater than them. His Second Inaugural Address is filled with the sense of a higher power that knows better than mortal humans what might be best for all. He spoke to that Almighty power and connected that source to the work at hand -- bringing the Civil War to its just conclusion.

Interestingly, Lincoln did have something to do with the image of Santa Claus, as we know it today. In 1863 he commissioned his friend and former campaign poster artist, the cartoonist Thomas Nast, to illustrate Santa Claus handing out gifts to Union troops. Lincoln wanted to cheer them up. Before Nast, Father Christmas was shown as tall and thin but Nast made him bearded and plump. Besides creating the image of Santa, Nast also created the donkey and elephant images for the Democratic and Republican parties and the familiar image of Uncle Sam.

Revisiting Lincoln today makes sense because we are living in a time of policy technocrats and dealmakers. Visionaries at the national level are few and far between. Our leading voices seem diminished rather than larger than life and mired in the messy politics of the moment to the point that they lose sight of something greater than the next election cycle.

If Abraham Lincoln were president today in the midst of two wars, the prolonged economic collapse, growing income inequality, battles around net neutrality, rampant consumerism and creeping climate change, this is what I imagine his 2010 Christmas message to be:

To the American People:

In this season of peace and hope arriving at a time of much suffering among many of our fellow citizens, I ask you to take solace in knowing that you live in a nation founded on the principles of fairness and equality and these birthrights shall endure as long as this country stays true to their promise. Our destiny as nation of democratic ideals is still evolving.

Remain steadfast in the knowledge that, in time, good conquers evil and truth will triumph. Be patient through these dark days and compassionate for the less fortunate. These difficult times are but momentary ripples in the history of our nation.

I extend the nation's appreciation to our soldiers in distant lands and wish them a swift and safe return home. To our allies I offer our continued friendship. And, to the enemies of freedom and fairness, whether they are within or without, I say that we will never waver in keeping our people free, safe and secure. The pursuit of life, liberty and happiness still guides our journey forth.

In this time of uncertainty, hold hope close to your heart and know that America will return to its rightful inheritance of freedom and justice once again.

May the Almighty bless the American people and bless this great land.
Max Benavidez

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This is so exciting! Its my favorite time of year...bucket list dreaming & goal setting for 2011!

Save the Internet!

Two roads diverged in the wood & I took the one less traveled by ~ Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that, the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Steve, you will be missed.

Have you ever met a person who instantly puts you at ease, a person you feel like you’ve known your whole life even though you’ve just met?  Steve Dery was one of those people to me.  Steve was an amazing spirit ~ the type of person who was always thinking of ways to help improve things for others.  He tried with words (one afternoon a few months ago) to show that he was full of bravado by exchanging ‘glory’ day’s stories with another co-worker in the tech area, but he could not convince me that he was tough like that.  It’s like trying to put a rock over a light, the brilliant beams always find a way to squeeze around the heavy and the dark allowing for the shine to emerge.  When he spoke to you, he often looked up to the right or left just as he was about to deliver his point...and then like a pendulum that stops right in the middle, he would lower his eyes back to meet yours and deliver the ‘key’ idea or line. This style reminded me of how little boys talk to their teachers, never holding back or hiding any vulnerabilities because they just don’t know how to.  In my life, I have met very few people like Steve.  People who are so good and so honest that simply being next to them makes you feel safe and protected...a person that you know has no hidden agenda and then takes you at face value and proceeds to enjoy the moment.  A couple of times, I was lucky enough to sit with Steve to enjoy his company in the brief time I knew him  The first time was at a leadership event for work and the last time was at a holiday charity luncheon. Each time he would talk about Pat and her family and like Charlie Brown, listening to his teacher, I didn’t really hear his words.  What I heard was his heart.  Steve loved Pat, and Pat was his world end of story.  All of the other family concerns were rooted in his mind because of his need to feel worthy of being Pat’s husband; she was his everything and most of us long to have the kind of relationship that Steve & Pat had for more than 30 years.  At the charity luncheon, Steve could see that I was struggling because my hands were cold.  He quickly cupped his hands around mine and said, “I do this for everyone.”  I chuckled because I knew that was right, and for a few seconds I dropped all awareness of what others would think and just allowed him to help me.  At that same luncheon I told him that I loved the wreathes that were up for auction but could not afford to buy one.  He asked, “Can you make one?” and I said, “Yes, but I will never be able to remember what they had on them.”  A few days later I heard that Steve was in the hospital with chest pains, but it seemed that he was out as quickly as he went in. On Friday he tapped me on the shoulder after the company meeting and asked, “Did you get the email I sent?”  I looked at him and noticed he was wearing a new purple silk shirt and said, “I’m so glad you’re back.”  He then insisted that I open my email to look at the pictures he had sent from the charity luncheon.  As the pictures began to load, I could see that he had carefully and lovingly took a picture of each wreathe from the auction so that I may choose one to reproduce.  Steve was an amazingly thoughtful man.  Yesterday I bought a plaque to hang next to my bathroom mirror.  It reads: “LOVE LIFE HERE & NOW”, when I got home I received the sad call that Steve had passed....I glanced down at the words and couldn’t help but think that this is how Steve lived and this is what he would say to me.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lisa Ekanger Realtor, Saint Clair, MI 48079-4951 - Seek And Find

Congratulations St. Mary's School & Parish! You've just hired the best realtor in your area!

visit or call 810-357-8404 for answers to all of your real estate questions.

Lisa Ekanger Realtor, Saint Clair, MI 48079-4951 - Seek And Find

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Real Estate News: Jack Frost nipping at your...HOMES! The cold is c...

Real Estate News: Jack Frost nipping at your...HOMES!
The cold is c...
: "Jack Frost nipping at your...HOMES! The cold is coming. Time to winterize your home! Winterizing TIPS: 1) Furnace Inspection Call an HVAC ..."

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Perspective from Gary Keller

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Think about what bothers you and what you like… Then adjust who you are to attract what you are!

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!
How Do You Have to Be to Attract What You WantDec 14

Think about what bothers you and what you like… Then adjust who you are to attract what you are!

Be on purpose on how you act, how you show up & how you react.

The Annoying Orange

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The “X” in “Xmas” — Learn the sacred, 1,000-year-old meaning of the “X”

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

The “X” in “Xmas” — Learn the sacred, 1,000-year-old meaning of the “X”

December 13, 2010 16 Comments Share Here’s a holiday surprise that only the dictionary can provide. Do you find the word “Xmas,” as an abbreviation for Christmas, offensive? Many people do.

You won’t find Xmas in church songbooks or even on many greeting cards. Xmas is popularly associated with a trend towards materialism, and sometimes the target of people who decry the emergence of general “holiday” observance instead of particular cultural and religious ritual.

But the history of the word “Xmas” is actually more respectable — and fascinating — than you might suspect.

First of all, the abbreviation predates by centuries its use in gaudy advertisements. It was first used in the mid 1500s.

X is the Greek letter “chi,” the initial letter in the word Χριστός. And here’s the kicker: Χριστός means “Christ.” X has been an acceptable representation of the word “Christ” for hundreds of years. This device is known as a Christogram.

The “mas” in Xmas is the Old English word for “mass.” The thought-provoking etymology of “mass” can be found here.

In the same vein, the dignified terms “Xpian” and “Xtian” have been used in place of the word “Christian.”
Can I join the I hate winter club now?

The woman language translator

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!
Where are you Christmas?
Call me I will answer all of your Real Estate Questions.
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Team Advantage

Team Advantage ~ The "A" Team
Contact us at Keller Williams 810-357-8404
Team Advantage has helped countless people with their real estate transactions.

             The current market demands that you hire a team that will work hard to get the job done!
                ~ Hiring Team Advantage means that you don't have to face the current market conditions alone...and

                   Team Advantage puts over 50 years of collective professional experience in your corner to help you buy or sell in todays real estate market!

Our group is founded on these simple principles . . .
•It should be easy to get real estate answers and especially help and guidance when you or a loved one is facing foreclosure.

•You should always be able to get a FREE consultation.

•We always put the client first

•We always give honest advice about your unique housing needs

•We always return phone calls promptly

•We have a sterling work ethic

   We specialize in assisting buyers find the right home ~ and in helping sellers find solutions (like the short sale option to avoid foreclosure) that match their unique situation to quickly sell their home. 
       HIRE THE POWER TEAM THAT IS ON YOUR SIDE! Call 810-357-8404 and ask for Lisa Ekanger

Prepare yourself to be floored: Google Maps keeps evolving

Prepare yourself to be floored:

Google Maps keeps evolving, expanding the ability to drill down into granular detail. The latest updated trick? Mapping foreclosures for sale.

This great and terrible Google trick has been around at least since 2008 — but it seems to have become much more robust earlier this year (See Dregs of the Future‘s post in January 2010).

Our friends at Chart Porn — a blog that got its name from one of our posts (honest!) — remind us of this, with a step-by-step lesson of how to use Google maps:

Google Maps Foreclosure Listings

1. Punch in any US address into Google Maps.

2. Your options are Earth, Satellite, Map, Traffic and . . . More. (Select “More”)

3. The drop down menu gives you a check box option for “Real Estate.”

4. The left column will give you several options (You may have to select “Show Options”)

5. Check the box marked “Foreclosure.”

I wanted to demonstrate the full extent of Foreclosures in the US, so after setting GMaps on foreclosure listings, I slowly zoomed out of the map. Voila! Most foreclosures that are for sale in the USA are now showing on your screen.

Note: This map does not reveal any of the millions of REOs that have already been sold by the banks that hold them.

But the maps do reveal an entire nation littered with foreclosure sales. It is an ugly and graphic depiction of how much inventory is out there, and why housing is stillmany years away from being healthy.

Let’s try to zoom in and see exactly the extent of foreclosures in Florida, one of the biggest boom & bust regions.

(Click the image to enlarge . . . The link for each Google Map is below each screenshot)


Welcome to Foreclosureland:

(America seems to have caught the Measles; Bad real estate deals are apparently contagious)

Click for Google Map


Lets zoom the map on to the state of Florida

(A state that knows a thing or two about bad real estate)

Click for Google Map


Then we can zoom closer — to South Florida

(Thank goodness the Everglades stemmed the tide of foreclosures!)

Click for Google Map


Zoom a bit more . . . Welcome to Miami!

(Playground to wealthy South Americans, Europeans, and other defaulters)

Click for Google Map


Let’s Go Shopping . . . On Miami Beach!

(I’m sure easy financing is still available)

Click for Google Map


The repercussions of the Housing boom & bust are likely to continue for years to come.


UPDATE: December 9th, 2010 10:15am

Jonathan Miller notes his wife’s family comes from Detroit, where the map is nearly solid RED :

Click for larger updated Detroit map


Category: Foreclosures, Real Estate, Web/Tech. Digg this! Technorati Reddit Newsvine Stumble Facebook 21 Responses to “Google Map Foreclosure Tricks”

Bruman Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 7:11 am

Wow! This is really clever! I tip my hat to your creativity (or ChartPorn’s).

The only real issue is that it’s hard to get a sense of what are “normal” rates of spotty google maps. Sure, it looks like a lot, and all the news flow suggests that it is a lot, but what would it have looked like in 2004? I suspect that it would still be surprisingly spotty, even if it’s not quite like this.

I suppose one can look at the national foreclosure rate and try to “thin out” the dots based on how the present foreclosure rates compare with past ones. And yet, there is likely a spatial correlation between foreclosure rates and foreclosure locations that mean it’s not quite as simple as that.

gd Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 7:34 am

Miami Beach may be busy, but a quick look at wealthy areas outside Boston (Concord, Carlisle, Wayland, Weston) shows pretty clean. Even some Boomer/McMansion suburbs like Westford are fairly free, and the few there seem to be where I know some oldtime neighborhoods are, e.g. boarding houses converted to apartments around long-gone mill villages. The spots having cruddy condo conversion apartment buildings in good school districts (Acton) are clustered largely on those buildings. It’s not all 100%, but a clearer trend than I would have expected with a few minutes inspection. If I was a budding sociologist or economist, I’d have a lifetime of work on wealth distribution mapped out. There’ll be blood in the streets if the tea party rank and file ever figure out what’s really going on.

Hot Links: Christmas 1992 The Reformed Broker Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 8:00 am

[...] You'll be blown away by the Google Maps view of Foreclosureland. (TBP) [...]

Transor Z Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 8:12 am

The way it usually works here in Mass. is that, if you go to a foreclosure auction to buy RRE, it typically takes place right in front of the property. The bank’s rep usually starts the bidding at the outstanding mortgage balance plus $1. You have to do your homework to find places (a) you’re genuinely interested in buying and (b) that aren’t so underwater as to make it worth your while to bid. Note that there will probably be other potential buyers there with the same thought, a number of whom are experienced hands on the foreclosure purchase trail.

So the bank normally ends up buying back the property and hiring a custodial service to look after the place/make basic repairs while they hold onto it. The opportunity for good deals (at least here in Mass.) tends to be when the house then goes on the market as a REO. At that point, like any other seller, the bank has to adjust asking price until they start to get nibbles.

rktbrkr Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 8:13 am

The foreclosure dots are going to be heavy in areas where there were a lot of turnovers during the bubble years of peak prices, a big gated community in S FL that was sold out in the 2002-2007 timespan is going to be a sea of red.REO sales are largely corked up now but there will be a deluge soon, especially as the banks feel a squeeze on their cash flows – sort of a twisted version of a land rush

sorry for the double post, funny how Bernanke twists his description to suit his purposes, yes we have no bananas…yes we are not printing currency we are increasing the money supply which is effectively printing currency but no we are not literally printing currency – and you can trust us to know exactly when to reverse our policy of not actually printing currency…

Lee Adler Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 8:48 am

The New York Fed’s interactive mortgage and credit maps are fun.

Mark E Hoffer Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 8:55 am

this is a nice example of ‘Data Analytics’..

hybrid these results with what this Co. (as ex.) does..

LSS: this, the GOOG Maps Mash-up is, in more ways than one, just, the ’30,000 ft.-view’.


and, contra to an earlier Post, on “Quants”, these are the ‘Data Jockeys’ to pay attention to–ask Jim Simons, see if he agrees..

curbyourrisk Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 9:12 am

Great tool…….WOW…..Farmingdale is loaded. Funny, when I looked up at the North Shore of Long Island (where all the beautiful people live)…..NONE!!! But then again, they are beter than the rest of us.

rktbrkr Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 9:32 am

Fannie has an online listing of their REOs, only 3% downpayment required with 3.5% allowance for owner-occupied – so essentially nothing down. No appraisal or mortgage ins required. Nothing said about title ins. Special financing for renovations/repairs.

I believe there will be at least one more wave of markdowns in the sand states once the foreclosure train regains momentum, the normal areas might be near bottom now as long as we can hold at 90% employment.

If BB screws up and mortgage rates soar then it’s good night Irene for homeowers even at this level

beaufou Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 9:32 am

Can you google map the notes for those foreclosures?

Livermore Shimervore Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 10:33 am

interesting: Click on both the “For Sale” and “Foreclosure” check boxes and then unclick “For Sale”. Very different maps.

curbyourrisk Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 11:28 am

But, but Barry said the bottom was in/near in housing…

Mannwich Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

This one is a must-read today:

louis Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Move along, these aren’t the dots your looking for – Que Ostrich.

Google Maps adds Foreclosure Results » The Art of Short Sales Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

[...] interesting find over at The Big Picture, detailing how to use Google Maps to find foreclosures: Google Maps keeps evolving, expanding the ability to drill down into granular detail. The latest [...]

Use a Google Maps Filter to See Nearby Foreclosures [Real Estate]
Berry Live Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 4:02 pm

[...] state of the economy, and for seeing what homes go for when they’ve been left in the wind. Google Map Foreclosure Tricks [The Big Picture via BoingBoing [...]

Foreclosure Listing On Google Maps? « Daniel's Rants & Raves Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 5:24 pm

[...] I know Google Maps can be used to see directions to some place in the area you never been to, you can see street views of places, and so many other wonderful uses for Google Maps but now you can actually check the Foreclosures in a particular area using Google’s Map Service which is crazy, check out this article for more Details HERE. [...]

FMT Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Immensely sad to reflect on the family stress and pain many of these dots will represent.

michael Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 11:06 pm

its probably worth noting that even this badly understates the problem. a home across the street from me was short-sold and the family lost all of their equity and the money’s for a major addition they had put into it; they of course aren’t shown. also, the house next to them went through foreclosure. its since been bought and a new family is living there. since its not currently in foreclosure, its not displayed either.

Rob Says:

December 9th, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Been having fun looking at foreclosure properties in my area this morning.

Didn’t know that was even a possibility on GM.

Stumbled upon something that was really cool that I’ve never seen before.

Well sort of. If you look at a property using the “street view” then you

can checkout the area around the property. (yeah, bear with me, I know that

isn’t “new”) But while you looking at it in street view, right mouse click

on the image and select “3D mode on.” Now that’s bad ass.

I use to do mechanical design work and our computer did a similar “trick” as

this. When you were designing a 3D part you could put it in 3D mode and the

part you were designing became 3D (with the glasses of course) While it was

a super nifty trick, it didn’t have much purpose in the design process.

Similar to this street view thing I guess, really nifty but not much

purpose…. yet.

In case the 3D thing isn’t available everywhere, here’s the property I was

looking at.


TheCenterLane Says:

December 10th, 2010 at 3:51 am

I wouldn’t get too excited about that unit at 3425 Collins Ave. I used to live right nearby for 9 years.

Even in this depressed market: You get what you pay for.

Caveat Emptor. ‘Nuff said.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Awesome Diet cookie from the 17 day diet

Dr. Mike's Cookies

Packed with flavor but low on fat, Dr. Mike Moreno's 17 Day Diet cookies contain fiber, aid digestion and are delicious!


1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons almond paste

1 tablespoon flaxseed oil

10 packets of Truvia

¼ cup agave nectar

1 large egg

½ teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup whole wheat flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ cup vanilla whey powder

2 cups oats

1 cup dried cherries

½ cup sliced almonds


- Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

- Beat together applesauce, almond paste, flaxseed oil, Truvia and agave nectar.

- Beat in egg and vanilla. Mix well.

- Add flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and whey powder. Beat thoroughly.

- Stir in oats, cherries and almonds. Mix well.

- Divide dough into 18 cookies.

- Drop the batter by large tablespoons onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with vegetable cooking spray.

- Flatten each cookie with the back of the spoon.

- Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until brown.

- Remove from oven. Cool and store in a plastic container.

Each cookie contains 128 calories and can be enjoyed on the Activate, Achieve and Arrive cycles for breakfast or as a snack. Each cookie counts as 1 protein and 1 natural starch.

The Meaning of Home.

Yesterday I spent most of the day on the National Mall in D.C.; and being that it was a miserably cold Monday; I really wondered whether or not I would be able to enjoy myself outside walking from building to building. My skepticism was quickly removed however as I stepped into the Natural History Museum. Immediately upon entry, visitors are greeted by life-sized prehistoric animals and of course the giant remains of some of the scariest dinosaurs that ever existed. I was transported back to a time to when my son was about 3 years old....he begged and begged to see Jurassic Park and I wouldn't let him see it; finally I relented when he was about 5; then just as I feared, he proceeded to have nightmares for the next 3years!

As we made our way to the American History Museum I really started to take in the sheer volume of monuments and larger than life memorials dedicated to politicians, movers & shakers, soldiers, victims and heroes. And then it hit me, this is not just a place to honor the high achievers & the brave; we are all represented here because this is a snapshot, a concentrated cluster of sentiment and stories. These regular people were husbands & wives, mothers & fathers, sons & daughters each stepping forward throughout history to try to make a difference so that future generations could reap even greater success. And we (the ones who are left) feel certain helplessness because we know that their sacrifices were huge and that words can never truly express the gratitude felt in our hearts. The best we can do, is to try to ensure they are never forgotten by erecting massive amounts of cold and lifeless stone that can never quite capture the true, the raw and the sincere ~ this is definitely hallowed ground.

If you could reduce the formal etched memorials and commemoratives to the very core essence, you would find that the central them is very simple ~ the theme is home. We protect our home (and our homeland) and when we leave home, we are always looking to return there. The thousands of soldiers that are buried in Arlington plus the thousands more who are buried all over the country didn't know upon their deployment that they were seeing their homes & their homeland for the last time; and while they knew they might risk death, they didn't know for certain how they would return home if they were to return at all.

Inside the American History Museum I saw more of this same theme just represented in different ways. I saw Dorothy's Ruby Red Slippers ~ I imagined them tapping at the heel 3 xs and I could hear Judy Garland's voice, "There's no place like home." Then there is Archie Bunker's favorite recliner (which we all know was his territory as a man) in his own small kingdom he called home. There were the original Muppets gathered together dusty with frozen grins ~ I remember watching the Muppet Show on family night as they seemed to leap right out of the T.V. and into our living room. The marketing of the post war box to newly returning G.I.'s was one of my favorite exhibits, it reads: "A Kitchen for the Lady, A Den for the Returning Soldier and an Extra Bedroom for the Bundle of Joy!" I looked at the blueprints and saw a 2 bdr. 750 sq. ft. home with a 9 x 8 kitchen and thought to myself: "Wow, there was so much gratitude for these humble little homes back then.... now we have come to expect homes with granite & stainless in the kitchen." Have we truly become spoiled? The huge chunk of the Berlin wall represents the reuniting of a divided country; people were allowed to return home after many years apart where they we not even allowed to communicate in any possible way. And last, but not least I saw the heart of the home ~ the exact kitchen that Julia Child's used to create her gourmet magic ~ this was where I spent the majority of my time pressing my face to the glass trying to take mental inventory of all her amazing vintage gadgets, appliances and copperware.                                         A piece of her home = a piece of her heart that she left (as her legacy) for all to see, I can't wait to go home!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Short Sale What Is It? Call me, I will explain it to you 810-357-8404

It is happening all to often in today’s market. Your home is not what is worth last year, or even a few months ago. Professionals are now calling it an “upside-down house” in which you owe more on the mortgage than the house is now worth. If you cannot ride out ride out the financial storm, then you may want to consider a short sale to avoid a foreclosure situation.

A short sale is when the house or property is sold for less than the balance due on the mortgage. The lender takes the loss, but not a such as a foreclosure process. A short sale is not always the best option for everyone. You need expert real estate short sale expert advice to decide on the pros and cons of a real estate short sale.

If you are thinking of doing a short sale on your home, here are some pros and cons to consider:

•No Foreclosure – Foreclosures can be a very hard and stressful process for a family. It can take anywhere from six to twelve months for a foreclosure to complete.

•Being proactive – Facing foreclosure head on will help give you some control over the process. By choosing a short sale, finding a buyer and negotiating terms with the bank, the huge effect on your credit score by a foreclosure can be dodged.

•Start Newer, Faster – Minimizing damage to your credit score can help you and your family get back on your feet faster. You’ll be eligible to purchase another house faster than if you entered foreclosure.

•May not owe anything after the Short Sale – You can try asking the bank to cancel your debt altogether. It does happen, but not all the time.

•You no longer need to pay large monthly mortgage payments

•The lender may forgive the difference in debt between what you owe and the final price.

•You are spared the lengthy and traumatic foreclosure proceedings.

•Your credit score will usually recover more quickly than a foreclosure

•You can re-qualify for a new mortgage loan more quickly than a foreclosure

•You are more likely to escape bankruptcy

•If the short sale occurs between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2009 you won’t be taxed on the debt forgiven.

•If you are not able to pay the mortgage premium, or work with the lender on getting a lower monthly payment, a short sale is the best case scenario…even though it means losing your home and investment.

•There is still damage to your credit – When a short sale is done on your home, it is still documented on your credit but won’t have the same impact as a foreclosure for most creditors. Although lenders will view a short sale somewhat similar to a foreclosure. The chances of getting a home loan will be slim during the ‘wait period’.

•Tax Consequences – there may be tax consequences if the bank forgives the debt and will issue a 1099 for the amount of debt forgiven. This form is sent to the IRS to allow the bank to write off the loss. The IRS treats the forgiven debt as a taxable income which means you will need to pay taxes on the amount owed. Although due to the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, no taxes are owed on the forgiven debt.

•Bank Could Demand Payment for their Loss – The bank doesn’t have to forgive the debt. They are able to ask you pay them back for the difference on the sale and what is owed, but you’ll need to agree to this. There are 2 options. You could negotiate the provision out of the short sale or if they insist on the repayment, you could let it go into foreclosure. It’s best to consult professional help regarding your specific situation.

•The lender does not have to say yes to a short sale

•You must show proof that you cannot make your mortgage payments and the proof must be reasonable. The lender will not approve a short sale if you gambled your savings. A few hardships accepted are such things like illness, divorce, or a job loss.

•The lender will make sure you do not have any recourse, savings or other assets to pay off the rest of the debt.

•You don’t have to be in default of your loan to be approved for a short sale. If you are in default, you may have less time to jump through necessary hoops (like proving you cannot make payments)

•A short sale is not short. It is a long process and it depends on how quickly you put together the right papers, how it is provided and how quickly the lender reacts. There are many people in this situation, creating a backlog in the process.

•Lenders are notorious for not communicating quickly to approve short sales.

•If your home has liens, 2nd mortgages, or a home equity line of credit, each lender has be consulted for approval, which can take up a considerable amount of time.

•Once the lender approves the short sale, the successful transaction depends on a good offer from a good buyer.

•Because the lender is losing money, the real estate agents involved will usually get a smaller commission.

•The lender may require you to sign a promissory note for the debt forgiveness in order to approve the short sale.

•The lender may pursue a repayment of the debt forgiven after the short sale is completed.

•Your credit score is going to take a hard hit as it would if it went through a foreclosure. Consult tax and legal advice.

•You could be taxed on the debt forgiveness if the property sells for more than 2 million or is not your primary residence. Consult a tax professional.

There are no guarantees in a short sale whether the bank will approve the bank or even forgive your debt, but Short Sales offer a better alternative to minimize the downside of facing a foreclosure.

A short sale is a difficult process for both the seller and buyers. There are so many details involved (more than what the average homeowner is aware of). Make sure to consult professionals who have a history of success with short sales.
Just remember that you do have options, I will explain them to you.
Call me!
Lisa Ekanger
Keller Williams