Tuesday, December 21, 2010

5 Mental Attitudes of Winners

Success in life, starts by first developing and maintaining an expectant attitude of success. Simply put, all top performers expect that they are going to succeed, and because of this they consistently take the actions that lead them to achieve their goals and become successful.

It is their mental attitudes that allow them to meet obstacles, set backs and temporary failures with a new resolve to keep trying, or to try something different, until they succeed. That’s what puts them in the top 20% producers.

The other 80%, on the other hand, expect things to be difficult, have already accepted that they might not succeed, and they are easily discouraged when things don’t go their way. This attitude allows them to justify and accept the results they get.

If you are serious about changing your life, then get in the practice of working on your mental attitude first. Adopt these 5 mental attitudes of winners to powerfully change your ways of thinking and to permanently change your results.

1) Understand the law. There are many absolute laws in the universe – the law of gravity, the laws of mathematics, etc. The most powerful law in terms of your success is the law of attraction. In short, whatever you hold in your consciousness you will manifest in your life.

So if you don’t like your results, then look at their source (your thoughts, expectations and beliefs), and work on changing those first. Once you do, your results will automatically change.

2) Stop blaming. So many people blame the economy, their boss, their family, etc., for their failure. But the truth is this: You are 100% responsible for your life and your results. Winners accept this and that’s where their power comes from. When you accept 100% responsibility you then gain access to 100% of the solutions.

3) Stop struggling. Success is easy because all results are simply an out picturing (a physical manifestation) of what we hold in our consciousness (our beliefs). The reason most people struggle (and fail) is because they try to achieve something without first changing their mental attitudes.

Winners recognize and work on changing their attitudes and beliefs and expectations first, and then they easily and naturally take the actions that lead to the achievement of their goals.

4) Live life’s formula. Most people live under the false belief that if they HAVE a lot of money, then they would DO the things that would allow them to BE happy. This is totally backward.

The real formula for success is to first “BE”– act, feel and live in your mind as if you had already achieved your goal – and then you will naturally DO the things (take the actions) that will enable you to HAVE what you want. This is life’s true formula and the sooner you live it, the sooner you’ll experience success.

5) Stop worrying. All thoughts turn into things. If you constantly worry about not having enough money, you will never have enough money. If instead you develop a money consciousness, then you will attract all the money you need. Believe me, there is enough money in the world for you to have the things you want!

Carefully monitor your thoughts right before you fall asleep at night and first thing in the morning. Then ask yourself, “What am I asking from the universe every single day?” Chances are, what you are dwelling on has already shown up in your life.

As we move toward 2011 and new resolutions - I hope these 5 mental attitudes of winners resonated with you. Like gravity, they work in and on your life whether you consciously practice them or not. The key is to understand and use them purposefully to achieve the results you want. Once you do, you will manifest success just like the top 20% do.

by Mike Brooks compliments of Bill Oliver

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tax Tips: Expanded Recovery Act Tax Credits Help Homeowners

From The Internal Revenue Service

People can now weatherize their homes and be rewarded for their efforts. According to the Internal Revenue Service, homeowners making energy-saving improvements this fall can cut their winter heating bills and lower their 2010 tax bill as well.

Last year’s Recovery Act expanded two home energy tax credits: the non-business energy property credit and the residential energy efficient property credit.

Non-business Energy Property Credit

This credit equals 30 percent of what a homeowner spends on eligible energy-saving improvements, up to a maximum tax credit of $1,500 for the combined 2009 and 2010 tax years. The cost of certain high-efficiency heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters and stoves that burn biomass all qualify, along with labor costs for installing these items. In addition, the cost of energy-efficient windows and skylights, energy-efficient doors, qualifying insulation and certain roofs also qualify for the credit, though the cost of installing these items does not count.

By spending as little as $5,000 before the end of the year on eligible energy-saving improvements, a homeowner can save as much as $1,500 on his or her 2010 federal income tax return. Due to limits based on tax liability, amounts spent on eligible energy-saving improvements in 2009, other credits claimed by a particular taxpayer and other factors, actual tax savings will vary. These tax savings are on top of any energy savings that may result.

Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit

Homeowners going green should also check out a second tax credit designed to spur investment in alternative energy equipment. The residential energy efficient property credit equals 30 percent of what a homeowner spends on qualifying property such as solar electric systems, solar hot water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, wind turbines, and fuel cell property. Generally, labor costs are included when figuring this credit. Also, except for fuel cell property, no cap exists on the amount of credit available.

Not all energy-efficient improvements qualify for these tax credits. For that reason, homeowners should check the manufacturer’s tax credit certification statement before purchasing or installing any of these improvements. The certification statement can usually be found on the manufacturer’s website or with the product packaging. Normally, a homeowner can rely on this certification.

The IRS cautions that the manufacturer’s certification is different from the Department of Energy’s Energy Star label, and not all Energy Star labeled products qualify for the tax credits.

Eligible homeowners can claim both of these credits when they file their 2010 federal income tax return. Because these are credits, not deductions, they increase a taxpayer’s refund or reduce the tax owed. An eligible taxpayer can claim these credits, regardless of whether he or she itemizes deductions on Schedule A. Use Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits, to figure and claim these credits.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Another way to value residential real estate

We have been barraged with headlines and news stories telling us that home values will continue to soften for the next several quarters. Some experts are predicting that today’s values will drop and not be seen again until the middle of 2012 at the earliest. We concur with these estimates based on the current demand for housing in relationship to current supply of both the visible and the shadow inventory of houses. Here we are discussing ‘market value’.

However, there is another way to value residential real estate. Housing analysts look at the ratio between current wages and sales prices. They use a multiplier to determine how much home the average buyer can afford and compare that to the average price at which a home sells. DSNews just ran an article on this subject. They stated:

The sharp fall in residential property prices in the third quarter means that housing in the United States has become even more undervalued, according to the analysts at Capital Economics.

Based on the latest S&P Case-Shiller index, Capital Economics has concluded that house prices are now 17 percent undervalued relative to disposable income per capita. Housing has never before looked as undervalued, the firm pointed out in a research note released to DSNews.

Looking at the data included in the index compiled by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), residential home prices are 14 percent undervalued, which is also a record, according to Capital Economics.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has their own Housing Affordability Index. According to NAR:

The affordability index measures whether or not a typical family could qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home. A typical home is defined as the national median-priced, existing single-family home as calculated by NAR. The typical family is defined as one earning the median family income as reported by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. The prevailing mortgage interest rate is the effective rate on loans closed on existing homes from the Federal Housing Finance Board and HSH Associates, Butler, N.J. These components are used to determine if the median income family can qualify for a mortgage on a typical home.

In their article, DSNews also addresses the NAR index:

The housing affordability index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) remains close to its record high. Capital Economics explained that NAR’s affordability assessment indicates that a median income household with a 20 percent down payment can now more easily afford the monthly mortgage payments on a median-priced home than at any time in the last 30 years.

By each of these historic measurements, homes are at all time values!!

Bottom Line

Lack of consumer confidence has caused many buyers to refrain from taking advantage of the golden opportunities that exist in housing today. However, buyers should look at COST (price and interest rate) not just price.

People who purchase today will reap the reward of buying an undervalued asset and should enjoy excellent appreciation when inventory levels return to normal levels.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Insider Secrets To An Optimal Credit Score

Yesterday we explained  the Basics of CREDIT scoring.  As a continuation, today we will address how you should prepare to apply for credit (like a home mortgage) understand that it is significantly better to have your best possible credit profile BEFORE applying. Working to improve your score during the mortgage process can be done, but there are two problems. One, time to clear up items can become an obstacle when compared the time you are anticipating a closing. And two, lower scores upfront can give an underwriter an additional reason to be uncomfortable with a file. “Sooner, rather than later” should be the mantra of credit score improvements. Here are some tested ways to do it:

Credit Cards – Revolving Debt proportions

Look on the credit report for revolving debt (not installment loans, or “open” accounts)

As a general rule of thumb, the balance should be no more than 30% of the credit limit. So, if it’s more than that, have you should make every attempt to pay it down.

If there are many revolving accounts with high balances, you will most probably need to pay down most or all of them for the best score.

If there is nothing derogatory on the credit report, just high balances on revolving debt, you can often improve the score significantly. But, if there are many derogatory items on the credit report, paying down revolving debt may not help the score very much.

Many lender have software programs that can quickly determining for you which (if any) revolving accounts need to be paid down, and to what balance.


Paying off or satisfying such a derogatory account does not normally improve the score because the derogatory account still exists, and so still hurts the score. In fact, paying off an old collection may even make the score drop.

However, for collections, the borrower can ask for the account to be completely removed or deleted. If you have not yet paid the collection, you can use that as a bargaining chip.

If there are many collection accounts, removing just 1 or 2 may not do much good. You always need to look at the overall credit picture.

Charge-off accounts behave a little differently than collections. You can sometimes gain points by paying those off.

Your lender likely has a What-if Simulator to experimentally see what affect removing an account has on the score.

Late Dates

When you look at the overall credit report and you see LOTS of late dates, especially ones from within the last year, there is not much you can do to help the score…those lates simply need to drift into the past.

However, if you just see 1 recent late date on 1 account, and just 1 other recent late date on another account, you should call those creditors and ask…beg…for those single late dates to be removed as a courtesy. It may also be that the late dates were a mistake, but don’t push the creditor to admit to making an error. Just ask them to remove it as a courtesy since you have an otherwise perfect payment history with that creditor.

Your lender can use the What-if-Simulator to experimentally see what affect removing a late date has on the score.

Authorized User Accounts-removing or adding

Piggybacking on someone else’s account can help or hurt your score.

If that account has recent late dates, you can most probably improve the score by having the actual account holder remove you as a user.

If the account is a revolving credit card and it’s “maxed out,” you might also improve the score by removing it, but only if you will still have other revolving credit cards on your report.

What about adding someone as an authorized user to a credit card? This may help, but the better course of action is to get the actual card holder to make it a joint account with you. This guarantees that the account will show up on the credit report within a month or two. But be careful…the account should have a lot of history, no late dates, high credit limit, and low balance.

Other things to help

Keep old revolving credit cards open…don’t close them.

Regularly check your credit report to catch errors early. You get a free one each year from each bureau. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com. Don’t do all 3 bureaus at the same time…space it out throughout the year.

Learn more about credit from websites like www.myfico.com and to get addresses to write the bureaus.

Compliments of KCM Blog

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mortgage Interest Rate Daily Tracker --- yes, we went down.... 4.875%

Yesterday 5.125 and today 4.875

Did You Know....

You can still text someone if your cell phone isn't charged.

It’s true; most cell phone providers accept text messages sent via email when a special format email address is used. If you type the phone number, plus the “@” symbol, followed by the cell phone provider’s mobile message domain, in the “To” field, a text message is sent!

Example: if your client has an iPhone (AT&T), and their number is 555-123-4567, you would type 5551234567@mms.att.net in the “To” field of your email program. And if they text you a reply - you get an email! (Note - the email may turn up in your "Junk" folder.)

Try it now using your cell phone!
To get started, here is a list of some cell phone providers and their current text messaging domains:

Alltel = @message.alltel.com

AT&T = @mms.att.net

Nextel = @messaging.nextel.com

Sprint = @messaging.sprintpcs.com

SunCom = @tms.suncom.com

T-Mobile = @tmomail.net

VoiceStream = @voicestream.net

Verizon = @vtext.com (text only)

or @vzwpix.com (pictures and videos)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mortgage Interest Rate Daily Tracker - 5.125%

The Basics of Credit Scoring

Today, we are going to be centering on the basics of an increasingly important portion of a buyer’s mortgage application – the credit score. 

The 3 major national credit bureaus are: Experian (XP), Transunion (TU), and Equifax (EF)….  but better terms to describe their function are:

Repository – they are huge “holders” of data; information about you and millions of other people.

Credit Reporting Agency (CRA) – these “repositories” get their data when creditors and courthouses “report” to them; and when you pull someone’s credit report, they in turn “report” that data to the entity that requested the information.

Credit Scores (in general)

What is a Credit Score? It’s a number that, at a glance, helps lenders determine how likely you are to make your proposed payments on time.

How is it generated? A score is only created when you pull someone’s credit file, and all the data retrieved is fed through a complex mathematical formula. As a person’s data at the repositories changes, their score would change also….positively or negatively.

Why are scores different? Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) created the mathematical formulas that generate the score, BUT….There are different score formulas depending on what you are applying for….a mortgage, credit card, auto loan, insurance, or even if you are not applying for anything at all and get a “consumer” score directly from one of many websites that advertise “scores” these days.

The 3 bureaus typically don’t have the exact same data on a consumer. So, if the data is different or has changed, the scores will also be different.

The FICO score on your mortgage credit reportThe score range is 300-850.

What makes up the score? (The info below is from www.myfico.com).

1. 35% of the score is based on Payment History

a. Account payment information on specific types of accounts (credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts, mortgage, etc.)

b. Presence of adverse public records (bankruptcy, foreclosure, judgments, suits, liens, wage attachments, etc.) collection items, and/or delinquency (past due items).

c. Severity of delinquency (how long past due).

d. Amount past due on delinquent accounts or collection items.

e. Time since (recentness of) past due items (delinquency), adverse public records (if any).

f. Number of past due items on file.

g. Number of accounts paid as agreed

2. 30% of the score is based on the Amounts Owed

a. Amount owing on accounts.

b. Amount owing on specific types of accounts.

c. Lack of a specific type of balance, in some cases.

d. Number of accounts with balances.

e. Proportion of credit lines used (proportion of balances to total credit limits on certain types of revolving accounts), often referred to a Percentage of Usage.

f. Proportion of installment loan amounts still owing (proportion of balance to original loan amount on certain types of installment loans).

3. 15% of the score is based on the Length of Credit History

a. Time since accounts opened.

b. Time since accounts opened, by specific type of account.

c. Time since account activity.

4. 10% of the score is based New Credit and Inquiries

a. Number of recently opened accounts, and proportion of accounts that are recently opened, by type of account.

b. Number of recent credit inquiries.

c. Time since recent account opening(s), by type of account.

d. Time since credit inquiry(s).

e. Re-establishment of positive credit history following past payment problems.

5. 10% of the score is based on the Types of Credit Used

a. Number of (presence, prevalence, and recent information on) various types of accounts (credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, mortgage, consumer finance accounts, etc.).

Special Note About Inquiries

This is always a hot topic because borrowers think they will hurt their score because their credit report is pulled. But as explained above, New Credit only accounts for 10% of a person’s score, and of that, inquiries is only a part.
Also, keep in mind what an inquiry represents – application for additional credit. If your credit report and score shows that you are a responsible borrower, then applying for more credit will have a minimal affect on your score. But if you appear to be an irresponsible borrower, then the inquiry may drop your score a few points, or several points.

Note what Fair Isaac itself says about inquiries at www.myfico.com:

“For many people, one additional credit inquiry (voluntary and initiated by an application for credit) may not affect their FICO score at all. For most people, a credit inquiry will only decrease their FICO score by a few points.”

“Looking for a mortgage or an auto loan may cause multiple lenders to request your credit report, even though you’re only looking for one loan. To compensate for this, the score ignores all mortgage and auto inquiries made in the 30 days prior to scoring. So if you find a loan within 30 days, the inquiries won’t affect your score while you’re rate shopping.”
Article wrttten by KCM Blog

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stunning Delafield Home -- Huge Price Reduction ($80,000) for this Sunday's Open House 12-2

This home is Stunning! 

4BD,3.5bath 4.5garage home on 2+ acres in the prestigious Waterleaf Subdivision.

State of the art Gourmet kitchen is an entertainers delight: granite island,custom maple cabintry, walk in pantry,double oven,builtin expresso maker,veggie steamer and warming oven, wolf and subzero appliances.

Not enough to dazzle you? Then you need to see the custom stone and maple features,2 fireplaces, home theatre,wine cellar,dual entry garage/rec room, large deck with gas grill hookup. Master Suite with private outdoor entry plus more!

Plus...deeded access to Bark River with non motorized access to Nagawicka Lake. Private park with Tennis and Basketball. Custom window treatments throughout.

Click on link for additional information

or come see for yourself this Sunday  OPEN HOUSE from 12-2 

In the Spirit of the Holiday season ---- Enjoy a cup of "hot chocolate" with a non perishable food donation to the local food pantry at my Holiday Open Houses the month of December.

Mortgage Interest Rate Daily Tracker --- we keep creeping up! 4.875%

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mortgage Interest Rate Daily Tracker - 4.5 today!

Do you know how to clean up a spill from your beautiful carpet?

"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing." Phyllis Diller  

"Oops! I spilled!" Do you know how to clean up a spill from your beautiful carpet? Whether it's a child's spilled milk or an adult's goblet of wine, the first and most important step for preventing a spill from turning into a stain is by blotting up as much moisture as you possibly can.

If there are solids, scrape them up and blot with lots of clean towels. Paper towels work well. Here is one key pointer. Do not rub! If you're thinking of using spot remover, wait until you have thoroughly blotted the area. You probably know that club soda is an instant spot remover. Pour a little on the spot, wait a few seconds, and blot the area.

While you are waiting for the spot to dry, if you'd like the latest real estate news, or to check recent home sales in your area, please visit my web site at lisabear.remax.com. You'll see that we've taken the time to prevent problems in buying or selling real estate by providing the most current information the real estate marketplace.

I promise that when you invite me over to talk about buying or selling real estate that I'll deliver RE/MAX Premier Customer Service. And I'll be neat. No spills!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

There Is Still a Tax Credit Available!

As Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving passed, I forgot to remind everyone to thank those who have served our country AND to remind everyone out there in the blogosphere that eligible Veterans are still able to take advantage of the Federal Tax Credits that expired for the rest of the population a few months back.

Yes, eligible First Time Home Buying Veterans only need to be in contract by April 30, 2011 and close by June 30, 2011 to receive the up to $8000 tax credit on their income tax return.

And yes, eligible Repeat Home Buying Veterans can receive the up to $6500 credit.

And no, they do not have to take VA mortgages to get the credit (even though we have often discussed the benefits of VA financing in this space).

Scenarios to think about:

1. Home buying Veteran gets their tax credit to fund some home improvement

2. Or to buy furniture

3. Or to consolidate other debt

4. Or to pay discount points (two benefits here. One, the points are tax deductible. And two, they result in a lower rate to help qualify for bigger mortgage/better home or just lower the monthly carrying costs.)

5. What this tax credit may be able to do is ease the pain of a seller who is a veteran that has to lower their asking price because they will receive the benefit on their home purchase.

I have heard the arguments about whether or not the previous tax credits helped sell more homes, but I don’t think that matters because that is an “industry/political argument”. What I am talking about here is the opportunity for individual families that shouldn’t be wasted because of a lack of knowledge.

The mission of this blog is to get the information into the hands of the people. Well, people….are you going to make sure every Veteran you know is aware of this opportunity?

by Dean Hartman

Friday, December 3, 2010

FRIDAY Fish Frys in Wisconsin are the best ------ Share some of your favorites

Lake Country Wisconsin Fish Fry Reviews - fishfryblog.blogspot.com 

Here are some suggestions I've had already.... please add to our list.  And if you try any of these -- let us know what you thought!

Dan Herbst,  Lisa--The Roundup--East of Park Falls on Hwy 182. Great broiled fish and fried fish. The fried chicken is outstanding, and the prices are right. My daughter said they had the best cheeseburger. And its in God's country. Northern Wi.

My suggestion - Jamie and I stumbled upon the old Sharkies (Master Z's) in Waukesha a short time ago and its tasty! We've been back several times --- all you can eat for $9.99. The burgers are tasty too!

Sue Zieche  - Michaels House of  Prime in pewaukee.

Kay Joseph Strauss -  I always liked the Five O' Clock Club in Pewaukee (SS to G). Yummy.

James Schlesner The Avalon in Benoit WI is The Best (Walleye). This town is tiny the 1 gas station, is also the post office, beauty shop& grocery store. and the family raises their own beef and sells it there! A TRUE step back in time! G & M Country Store

23835 County Hwy F,Benoit WI 54816
(715) 746-2241

Lawrence Zubke - The Five O clock club is 2nd to no one, especially the pan fried perch..Kay is right.

Rosie Schroetter -  The Cornerstone in Palmyra(its in the bowling alley) its pretty new, good fish and potatoe pancakes.

Krista Braasch Cyskiewicz, I say Kegel's Inn in West Allis-excellent. But by far....My grandma Kuehl's- it's crazy good.

Amy Chapman  - I have a few -  Milford Hunt Club, Elias Inn (Watertown) and Ras' on Main in Hammond, WI for Minnesotans who have to drive for a FF.

Mortgage Rate Daily Interest Tracker ----- today we are at 4.65%

At one point yesterday we were up to 4.75.  People, now is the time to BUY!  Take advantage of the rates before they elevate more.. and don't forget about the 100% Rural Housing Loan!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Car Maintenance Tips for Cold Weather

The sight of your white breath just after leaving your house is usually a good sign to head back inside and grab a hat to protect yourself from the cold. Similarly, when cold weather hits and you start seeing harmless, steamy, white exhaust from your car, it’s usually a good sign that you should protect your car from the cold.

Follow these tips and winter driving will be a little easier.

1. Routine Maintenance - For winter, it’s important to ensure your vehicle’s battery and charging system are in good operating condition. In cold weather, a battery’s cranking power is reduced significantly. At the same time, the electrical power needed to start your car increases when the temperature plunges. Having quality jumper cables or a portable power pack in your trunk is a superb way to prepare for the worst. At the same time, check to make sure your heater and defroster work. Finally, check your wiper blades.

2. Lubrication - To ease engine startup during cold weather, use a multi-viscosity oil such as Mobil 1 0W-30 or Mobil 1 5W-30, which will help protect your car at temperatures below zero. Low-viscosity oils not only speed startup, but help reduce wear by flowing oil quickly to critical engine parts. Fully synthetic oils, such as Mobil 1, are specifically designed to protect your engine in all temperatures.

3. Filters, Coolant and Hoses - Make sure all filters — oil, gas and air — are in good condition. Check your coolant level and thermostat functionality to ensure proper engine warmup. Coolant should be changed every two years; extended-life coolants last about five years. Check for leaking or soft hoses and replace. Also, be sure to check the radiator or coolant tank pressure cap.

4. Tire Pressure - Examine your tires, checking for excessive wear and proper inflation. Good tread is needed to stay safe on snow and ice. Additionally, both under-inflation and over-inflation are undesirable. Low pressure increases wear and fuel consumption, while over-pressure can reduce traction, especially in icy conditions. If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, consider snow tires.

5. Vehicle Warmup - You should allow your car to idle for a few seconds to make sure the lubrication is circulated throughout the engine, providing protection. It’s not necessary to idle for a long time, as that simply wastes fuel and offers no more protection than a few seconds of idling will. Nonetheless, drive easily at first.

6. Slow Down - With less than ideal winter driving conditions, slow down. Do not exceed speed limits and keep safe driving distances. Avoid gas-wasting jackrabbit starts and pace your driving to help avoid the need for sudden stops, which is especially critical during wet and icy road conditions.

7. Dealing with ice - Make sure you have window ice scrapers and de-icers for the locks. When you’re stuck, having a small shovel is useful to dig out of the snow. The weight of a bag of sand in the trunk will give added traction in rear-wheel drive vehicles and can be used to sprinkle on the snow and ice to gain better traction. And don’t forget personal protection such as a warm coat, hat and gloves, and a blanket, in case you get stuck in a storm.

8. Keep Fuel in the Tank - Never let the fuel tank drop below the half-full mark. A sudden storm with unexpected heavy snowfall could leave you stranded for hours. Having an adequate fuel supply will allow you to idle the engine from time to time to keep warm.

 “Take care of you car in the cold and it will keep you from being left out in the cold.”