Friday, April 25, 2014

Some Productive Ways To Use Your Free Time

On rare occasions you might find yourself with a little extra time on your hands.  You can actually prepare yourself to really productive when this occurs.  Avoid the guilt of wasting this precious free time by applying the following tips.

1. Create a "To Read" File
Clip magizine articles you want to read.  Print the interesting email or report you received, but don't have time for now.  Place them in a folder called "Reading File."  Keep it with you and whenever you have a chunk of time, such as in the waiting room at the Dr. Office, you will have some quick reading.  How cool is that?

2.  Create a Calls List
Create a list with non-urgent phone calls you need to make.  Take it with you everywhere. Whenever, you have a free minute you can check off a bunch of those calls in a short amount of time.  As a bonus tip, include the contacts' phone numbers on your list.  Look at you.  You are a productivity machine!

3.  Create an Emails List
Most of us have smart phones.  If you don't call me and I will introduce you to 2003 over a dram of Scotch.  If you take the time to make a list of emails you need to make and keep the list with you, it will prove to be extremely useful.  You can knock out quite a few emails with little effort while you are waiting for your oil to be changed, or in the line at the super market.

4.  Create a "To Listen" File
I store MP3's and voicemails in here for later review. I love this for the commute to work.  You will too.  I don't care for pop music anyhow!

Bonus Tip:
In our digital world this can all be done on your smart phone.  I suggest using Evernote.  If you need any help with this please do not hesitate to give me a call and I will be glad to get you set up.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bumpy Road Ahead for First-time Buyers

Market Watch
Winter weather pummeled housing across much of the nation last quarter. As spring weather brings a thaw for busier months, the focus is now on whether there is enough inventory to satisfy demanding buyers, particularly first-timers. Low housing supply, tightened credit guidelines, increasing rates and rising prices are all stacking up against first-timers' odds at calling a place their own. No answer on when new Building Permits, which rose 7.5 percent to just over 1 million in March, will be approved for new home construction to meet demand.

Homebuyers in general are reportedly less confident about the market. Following January to February's 10 point drop in the monthly builder sentiment index from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), it rose 1 point (from 46 to 47) in March. Readings below 50 indicate that more builders view housing market conditions as poor, rather than good. This reflects builders' inabilities to find lots and labor, according to Kevin Kelly, NAHB Chairman. More than ever, buyers will be requiring the help of skilled real estate professionals to represent them in what could be competitive purchase transactions this season.

Fannie and Freddie on the Chopping Block?
Late last quarter, the Senate Banking Committee said it would introduce a bill to reform the U.S. housing finance system by scaling back and possibly eliminating Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC). The government-backed enterprises oversee the secondary mortgage market. By purchasing home loans from lenders, packaging them up, and selling them to investors as mortgage backed securities, they free up liquidity for lenders to continue financing homes. Both regulate home loan guidelines with the goal of making home ownership more attainable for Americans.

Fannie and Freddie were largely criticized for securitizing bad loans which contributed to the subprime crisis. This story will be watched closely for its impact on housing and potential future housing reforms for many years to come.