Friday, December 28, 2012

Housing Market - Halfway Back?

Reposted from : Trulia (12/28/2012)
Halfway Home: Housing Recovery Crosses 50%

Each month, Trulia’s Housing Barometer charts how quickly the housing market is moving back to “normal.” We summarize three key housing market indicators: construction starts (Census), existing home sales (NAR), and the delinquency-plus-foreclosure rate (LPS First Look). For each indicator, we compare this month’s data to (1) how bad the numbers got at their worst and (2) their pre-bubble “normal” levels.

In November 2012, home sales saw strong increases, and the delinquency + foreclosure rate held steady–both signs of market improvement. However, new construction starts declined.

Hurricane Sandy appears to have lowered construction (and sales, to a lesser extent) in the Northeast. Average monthly construction starts were 14% higher nationally in October and November – the months affected by Sandy – than in the previous four months, but 5% lower in the Northeast. Average monthly home sales were 7% higher nationally in October and November than in the previous four months, but just 3% higher in the Northeast.

•Construction starts dipped in November but remain strong. Starts in November were at an 861,000 annualized rate, down 3% month-over-month and up 22% year-over-year. For the past three months, construction starts have remained solidly above 800,000–the highest level since September 2008. Nationally, construction starts are 37% of the way back to normal.

•Existing home sales rose once again in November. After climbing in October, existing home sales rose 6% month-over-month to 5.04 million in November–the highest level since November 2009. Sales are 73% back to normal. Even better, “distressed” sales (foreclosures and short sales) represent a declining share of overall sales, making way for more “conventional” home sales.

•The delinquency + foreclosure rate maintained a new post-crisis low. In November, 10.63% of mortgages were delinquent or in foreclosure, down a hair from 10.64% in October. The combined delinquency + foreclosure rate is at its lowest level in four years and is 41% back to normal.

So is it time to finally call your real estate agent (that's me!) to make your plan for success in real estate? Buying, selling or investing now before the market rises is a great idea, let's get started!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary (Newtown, CT) Tragedy

It is with a sad heart that I am once again blogging about a tragedy such as this where too many innocent lives were unexplainably taken way too early. This past Friday, December 14th, 2012, an armed gunman forced his way into the (locked) school and took the lives of 20 children and 6 staff members before taking his own life. We later learned he had already killed his own mother as well. What could possibly drive a person to commit such a crime? We may never know. How do we prevent this from ever happening again? Do we take guns off the market or arm everyone? Do we keep our kids home 24/7 or do we teach them to suspect everyone? How do you help a 6 year old understand the horror he or she has just witnessed? How can you supress that feeling that you can not protect them from the evil in this world no matter how hard you try? In the weeks to come we will see and hear this story evolve and rumors will fly. Please check your facts before you share them, is a great place to start. If you fee the need or are able to, send along a note of condolence or a gift to help the victims families in their darkest hours. The USPS has dedicated a post office box: Messages of Condolence for Newtown, P.O. Box 3700, Newtown, CT, 06470. (Please do not send them to the school as it may not be functional for a long time and there is not enough staff to handle the volume expected.) In the mean time, love those children, hug and kiss them often, if they are old enough, talk about it with them. If they are having a hard time with this tragedy, seek professional help. If we learn nothing else from this, we need to take a good look at the way mental illnesses are treated and viewed in this country. There has to be a better way. God bless the souls of those taken away and comfort those left behind.  (Photo:, sobbing woman kneeling at a makeshift memorial in Newtown, CT,  surrounded by teddy bears.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Around the World

Christmas is celebrated around the world in many different countries and in many different ways. It's interesting to see how others celebrate the season so I found a link for you to see some of the traditions
that other places and peoples practice. Click here to see Other Traditonal Celebrations.   I personally will be waiting (with my grandsons) for Santa on Christmas Eve and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, Our Savior. No matter how you celebrate the season here's hoping it is a happy and healthy one.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Sandy" Day at the Beach

Hurricane Sandy has swept thru the region, for the most part sparing us here in Va. Beach but leaving a path of devastation throughout the Northeast. See my link here for the New York Times article covering the story:
We suffered only minor flooding and wind damage here. The usual items like siding, shallow rooted trees, drivers who tried to forge thru deep water but failed or parked cars in the wrong place and low lying homes were affected most. To those of you up North affected by this massive storm, my prayers go out to you for a quick recovery. This was a storm for the history books. Future storms will be compared to this one and let's hope there isn't another one like it again!

Friday, October 19, 2012

"Disturbing" Spirits

At Halloween time, we hear way more stories and tall tales about spirits and such, check out this article I found about remodeling ...   do you think it can rouse the spirits?
Visit for more articles like this.
Now some people are true believers in "paranormal" events ... others, not so much and there are outright skeptics. I am a believer in things that are just plain unexplainable. I've had some incredible things happen to me personally so I am not a skeptic. Have you had any "other worldly" experiences? I'd love to hear them. Happy Hauntings!

Friday, September 28, 2012

The "Ref's" are back!

After much controversy and some really bad calls by the "replacement refs" in NFL football, the "real refs are back! Those guys (the real refs) must have been really basking in the momentary limelight, when as they took the field they got a standing ovation ... not typical for the refs of any league. But after the lock-out and contract disputes came to an end, likely hastened by the last major "bad call" at the Green Bay/Seattle game, the crowds showed their appreciation for the real refs at the Baltimore/Cleveland game Thursday night. I am an NFL football fan. I play in a football pool (no money, just a traveling trophy) and I have instituted "football Friday's" at work, (agents are allowed to wear jeans if they also wear a football jersey) and I look forward to Sunday's games. I really like to watch at my son in laws house because he has the big screen with the 8 way picture in picture!  I'm not up to date on what the actual dispute was (something to do with 401k plans) but I am just glad to have them back. Maybe now, the teams that should statistically win, will, without those replacement refs making bad calls and throwing games. Hey, I can respect that the replacements were simply "way out of their leagues, literally" but the fans want the caliber of sport we have been accustomed to. Glad they resolved that before people stopped buying tickets to games and advertisers started pulling ads! So, are you ready or some football? (Good football?) I am!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dirty Politics - 2012

     It's that time again, you get that nightly interruption at the dinner table asking if you could "just answer a few short questions" about the upcoming elections, then 10 minutes later, you're eating cold food! Who else is sick and tired of hearing the slander and back stabbing that goes on every time there is an election? I say, it's time to make a new rule:
     All political advertising must be about the candidates him or herself. No mention of the other guy or gal, only facts about yourself ... period. I don't need to know what bad things the other side did, it's likely an exaggeration anyway, tell me what you have done personally and what you are going to do for me and my school/group/country if I elect you. That's all. Common sense.
Heck, they should call it "common sense campaigning". You agree?
     Please register to vote: Register to Vote - USA

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Aurora Tragedy - July 2012

What just happened? Better yet, why? What can we do to prevent this from happening again, ever? So many questions and no answers. Even if we get answers they won't erase the damage that's already been done. A crowd of happy movie go-ers settles in for the latest big box office hit and some "mad man" opens fire on them for no apparent reason. You and I have been to the movies, it could have happened to us at any given time, what do we do? Retreat into our locked up homes and not go out anymore; not change a thing, having learned nothing and put ourselves in dangerous situations; or find a happy medium where we pay a little extra attention to our surroundings, learn how to protect ourselves but keep on living ... I think we have to keep on living, if we don't, the "mad men" win, by making us live in fear. The angry part of me wishes there had been just 1 person in that theater with a concealed weapons permit, things may have ended differently ... the compassionate part of me says, whoa, how screwed up is that guy to go to that extreme? There must be a million "what-if's". In the months and years to come we will surely hear more about the details of this horrible tragedy and hopefully set in motion steps to prevent other tragedies. How far back will we find out the damage to this "mad man" goes? Was it drugs? Bad childhood? Too many video games? Poor mental health? Bullying? Religious calling? I'm sure there will be more than one thing blamed before it's all over. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the familes and friends involved, you have my heartfelt sympathy. Speedy recovery to those who need it. Take this thought with a grain of salt: what can you do to (or with) your own family and friends, to make them happy, well adjusted, healthy, functioning members of society? If you see something going wrong with them (at any time), step in ... it may not be just their life you save.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Western Wildfires (2012)

Seems like many parts of the West are literally on fire. Idaho, Colorado and Utah. It's hard for us here on the East coast to imagine it as we have had plenty of rain this year, they on the other hand, have not. Is this more signs of "global warming"? Temperatures in the 100's, no rain. At the time I wrote this one, I was actually in Salt Lake City, Utah, awaiting the birth of my 3rd grandson. So dry and hot. Grass is all brown and crispy in most places. Dust blowing on a hot wind. I can see fire burning in the canyon along the rim of the mountains, billowing smoke. Wish we could send some of our rain in the East out here where they need it. I took a picture yesterday of the clouds ... they looked like they were dropping rain but it was evaporating before it even got close to the ground, weird. This is a good reminder that we do not have an infinite supply of water here on this planet. And also what global warming (pollution) is doing. We have to take care of what we do have and use it wisely. Check out Wildfires Getting Worse?  an interesting article I found on the internet (by the Washington Post). Consider this: are you conserving water when you can? Every little bit helps. Couldn't you turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth? Couldn't you let the water run a little less before you get in the shower? Try turning it off while you lather up. Do only full loads of dishes and laundry. Be sure to use a shut off nozzle on the garden hose, you know the deal. Go crazy and use the left over pasta water or melted cooler ice to water your plants. You want to be really green? Try installing a rain barrel. You have any crazy ideas? Love to hear them. I'm all for finding new ways to be kind to the planet. Hey lastly, if you are the praying kind, please pray for rain in the West.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Salute 2012

     Wikipedia defines "memorial day" as: (and I copy and paste here) Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
     As a military wife, who's husband did his 20 years in the US NAVY, military folks have always held a special place in my heart. I was one of the fortunate ones, my sailor came back to me, safe and sound. I try to never forget the ones who did not.
     Take the politics out of it and what you have left is one person, trying to do do what his or her country has called upon him or her to do. Ready and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for others. They are protecting the freedoms you and I enjoy. Try not to pass up the opportunity to thank a service member next chance you get.
     To our service members, past, present or future, I personally thank you for your service. And to the families of those service members, I salute you as well ... been there done that.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Star Wars 35th Anniversary

Happy Anniversary "STAR WARS" ! You are 35 this year.

It seems like a lifetime ago that Star Wars was the biggest thing to happen to the movies, ever! George Lucas sure did change what movie goers expected from their sci-fi films from that point on. I never really was a sci-fi lover, but I certainly have seen all the Star Wars movies and probably most of the Star Trek episodes. Hey, that was what was on tv then, you know, back when you had to get up to change the tv channel? Lost in Space had nothing on the new fangled cinematography. Danger, Will Robinson! Wookies, storm troopers, Ewoks and Jubba the Hut are all light years ahead of you! Movies today all seem to use Star Wars as a reference, when trying to top the effects, themes and impact it had on a whole generation. Maybe it's time we dust off the VHS, sit down with our own kids and watch the original Star Wars again. Heck, I'll bet some of you have the "trilogy" box set! If you can figure out how to connect the old VHS player to that flat screen HDTV, good on ya! May the force be with you.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Buying a Home Won't Get Much Cheaper (CNN)

(I quote the following article posted on May 3rd, 2012 by CNN Money:)
By Les Christie

     Buying a home may never get any cheaper than this. Several housing experts are predicting that this year will be the last chance for bargain hunters to cash in on the best deals of the weak housing market. With home prices down 34% nationally since 2006 and mortgage rates at historic lows, homes have never been more affordable -- but it won't stay this way for much longer.
     Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC Financial Services, said he expects home prices to flatten out by the third quarter and start climbing by next year. A number of factors will help bolster the housing market, he said, including a decline in the number of foreclosures and continued job growth. In addition, homebuyers will have better access to mortgages as they get their finances in order and improve their credit scores. "This is a strong indicator that we will start seeing home price indexes, like the S&P/Case-Shiller, start to report home price increases this summer," he said.
     Prospective homebuyers who've been sitting on the fence shouldn't worry if they aren't quite ready to make the leap. Analysts are predicting that the initial price gains will be modest, at least, in most markets.
Read more at CNNMoney. Or contact me to take a look at your own situation. Is now the right time for
you to buy a home? It may never be a better time than this.

Monday, April 30, 2012

REALTORS* Nationwide Open House Weekend

This past weekend I took part in the "Nationwide REALTOR* Open House Weekend" and I had visitors. If you haven't been out looking at open houses lately you should. There are some amazing houses out there and sellers are really trying to make their homes shine! It's fun to see how other people live and be nosey. Not to mention there are some amazing deals out there to be had too. Never really thought about it? Ponder this: You have a nice sized stash of money in your savings account earning what, maybe 1% interest? What if you took that cash out, bought some real estate (right now at these low prices) made a profit on it each month, (like a rental property) and held it just long enough for the market to turn? You could sell it for more than you paid and you will have been profiting from it the whole time you owned it. And, if you have paid down the mortgage while you owned it, you could have some serious "cash in hand" when you sell. Hmm, income from real estate every month then profit when you sell. I'll bet that earns you way more than your measley 1% would have. I do it, you can too. In this volatile economy, there are many people who just can not qualify to buy, well, they have to rent from someone. Why not you? You can pay someone else's mortgage, pay your own mortgage or have someone pay your mortage for you, that last one sounds nice right? If you would like to explore this idea even further, contact me, let's take a look at some the numbers and check out some "deals". Want to explore a little on your own, try the mortgage calculator (link) I have attached for you. Then visit my listings website at:   Not all investors are "Donald Trump's", they are people who made a plan, partnered with a professional and invested their money wisely. Plan now for your own (near) future.

Monday, April 23, 2012

DNS Malware (July 9th Computer Virus)

What is "DNS Malware" and better yet, why do I need to know? First remember this, I am no computer genius, as a matter of fact I was born BC (before computers)!
     Apparently there has been another major computer virus type thingy (malware) out there on the internet, infecting millions of computers without notice. Even the FBI has been working on this one trying to get it cleaned up. How do you know if you are infected? Well, when the FBI shuts down it's backup system on July 9th, 2012, if you can no longer connect to the internet ... yep, you've got it! So how can you prevent that from happening? Go to the FBI website ( ) search for more information or click on the link
HERE that I have provided to the best FBI article I could find on it. It tells you how to determine if you have it. (Click on "check your computers DNS settings", then choose your link by language) It's an easy click through, and simple to read (color test). It even gives some links to instructions for how to get rid of it. Do it before July 9th, just in case! After that, you're on your own.
     I checked mine, I am good to go! Guess I'll still be blogging after July 9th. Hope you will still be here to see me.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

US Navy Jet Crash in Virginia Beach

   It's been called an "Easter miracle" on Good Friday . . . a US Navy F-18 fighter jet crashed directly into an apartment complex at noon, during spring break and no one lost their life! (See picture above)
   For the residents of Virginia Beach there was nothing unusual about the days flight activity until the smoke. We knew what that particular shade of black meant and word spread faster than the flames. Immediately our first responders, our thoughts, prayers and donations went out to those affected by the crash but just days later, around here, it's business as ususal.
   Jets are once again flying overhead and we do not live in fear. We live in freedom. We understand the risk involved and that freedom isn't free, it's paid for by pilots, captains, grounds troops, and every service member, and they must train.
   Remember how annoyed we all were when the entire region held it's annual "mock tragedy" so that all the local bases and EMS's could learn how to work together, because it backed up traffic and panicked those who didn't know it was only a drill? This crash is exactly the reason they do those. Proof that it works? No loss of life! A fine tuned rescue effort and no loss of life.
    We may never know what truly happened up there to bring this jet down, so be it. We do know that
through a combination of pilot skill, the grace of God and sheer luck, no one paid with their life.
    Thank you God for sparing lives in this recent tragedy. I say, if a jet crashes in to my house, consider it my donation (duty fulfilled) to the United States of America and the constant fight for freedom.

Just in case you didn't see it or just want more info: Link to USA Today's article (4/7/12)

Friday, January 27, 2012

EZ Way to Make Home Inventory

Visit for more articles like this.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year (of the dragon) 2012

Happy Chinese (Lunar) New Year! It is officially the year of the "dragon". I've been rooting around the internet and have discovered (thru many sources) that: to the Chinese, dragons are mystical creatures that always come from the sky (heaven). It is the only Chinese zodiac symbol that is mystical and not taken from real life so it is special. New years takes place on January 23rd, 2012 along with the "new moon". The celebration goes on for 15 days, right up until the "full moon". This is the biggest Chinese holiday there is. Families get together and celebrate, pay respects to family members past, enjoy feasting (often on fish. oranges and sweets), dancing (the lion dance) to clear out old bad luck and usher in good, and culminating with a "lantern" festival on the last day. Feng shui says: clean your house before new years, wear new clothes and the color red, keep oranges around, display a dragon in your home and give out small bits of money to children and the underpriviledged in red envelopes. I'm not Chinese but it sounds like a good reason to celebrate to me! Anyone up for some "moo goo gai pan"? Think I'll have some tonight and maybe even get me a small dragon statue. Can't hurt! Happy New Year 2012 (Year of the Dragon).