Big lenders in the reverse mortgage business — Wells Fargo this month and Bank of America earlier this year — have pulled out of the market and won’t issue any new reverse mortgages. But MetLife and several smaller companies plan to stay in the market, so you won’t have issues finding a reverse mortgage if you want one. Read
Yorkies, or Yorkshire Terriers, as they are formally known, are fascinating dogs. They have great personalities and are very smart. They are designated in the toy group of dogs because of their small size. According to their breed standard they must not exceed seven pounds.
They have a very characteristic coat as well. Almost all Yorkies have a blue and tan coat. Their coat is also very long and silky if left to grow out.
They are always one of America’s favorite breeds of dogs consistently ranked in the top ten. According to the latest statistics from the American Kennel Club (AKC), they are the number two most popular dog breed in America, second only to the Labrador Retriever.
The Yorkie originated in Yorkshire, a territory in northern England. It is believed that Scottish miners coming to England for work brought along several small long haired terriers that would go on to form what we know today as the Yorkie.
Huddersfield Ben, is the dog that is believed to be the foundation sire of this breed. He was born in 1865 in the county of Yorkshire. Legend has it that he won over 70 prizes at ratting contests, thus earning him popularity throughout the region and making him a highly sought after stud dog.
Yorkshire terriers were not their original name. Originally their name was Broken-Haired Scotch Terriers. It wasn’t until 1870 that their name was changed.
The Yorkshire Terrier did not arrive to the United States until 1872, and was not recognized until 1885 by the AKC. In fact, this breed is one of the first breeds to be recognized by the AKC. Since their arrival Yorkies have always had widespread popularity in America.
This breed is considered on of the more intelligent dog breeds. In fact one study of dog intelligence ranked them 27 out of 132 breeds. Yorkies are very easy to train and pick up commands quite quickly.
Due to their popularity, breeders are always trying to cross them with other breeds. Some popular combinations are crosses with the Maltese (Morkie), the Miniature Pinscher (Yorkie Pin), and the Poodle (Yorkie-Poo).
Yorkies have also enjoyed a lot of popularity on TV and in movies. In fact one the original dog from the Wizard of Oz was a Yorkie, although it was later played by a Carin Terrier.
As you can see there are many interesting facts about Yorkies. If you want to learn more about this great breed be sure to check out websites and books about this breed.
For more information on buying a short sale or to get a list of short sale properties available where you want to purchase, contact my mommy 703-217-1234. Or check out our website at www.MQSells4u.com.
7 Hot Home Improvement Trends that Make Your Home Work for You
Home improvement trends embrace energy efficiency, low maintenance exteriors, and double-duty space.
Trend #1: Maintenance-free siding
We continue to choose maintenance-free siding that lives as long as we do, but with a lot less upkeep. But more and more we’re opting for fiber-cement siding, one of the fastest-growing segments of the siding market. It’s a combination of cement, sand, and cellulosic fibers that looks like wood but won’t rot, combust, or succumb to termites and other wood-boring insects.
At $5 to $9 per sq. ft., installed, fiber-cement siding is more expensive than paint-grade wood, vinyl, and aluminum siding. It returns 80% of investment, the highest return of any upscale project on Remodeling magazine’s latest Cost vs. Value Report.
Maintenance is limited to a cleaning and some caulking each spring. Repaint every 7 to 15 years. Wood requires repainting every 4 to 7 years.
Trend #2: Convertible spaces
Forget “museum rooms” we use twice a year (dining rooms and living rooms) and embrace convertible spaces that change with our whims.
Foldaway walls turn a private study into an easy-flow party space. Walls can consist of fancy, glass panels ($600 to $1,600 per linear ft., depending on the system); or they can be simple vinyl-covered accordions ($1,230 for 7 ft. by 10 ft.). PortablePartions.com sells walls on wheels ($775 for approximately 7 ft. by 7 ft.).
A Murphy bed pulls down from an armoire-looking wall unit and turns any room into a guest room. Prices, including installation and cabinetry, range from $2,000 (twin with main cabinet) to more than $5,000 (California king with main and side units). Just search online for sellers.
And don’t forget area rugs that easily define, and redefine, open spaces.
Trend #3: A laundry room of your own
Humankind advanced when the laundry room arose from the basement to a louvered closet on the second floor where clothes live. Now, we’re taking another step forward by granting washday a room of its own.
If you’re thinking of remodeling, turn a mudroom or extra bedroom into a dedicated laundry room big enough to house the washer and dryer, hang hand-washables, and store bulk boxes of detergent.
Look for spaces that already have plumbing hookups or are adjacent to rooms with running water to save on plumbing costs.
Kitchen remodels open the space, perhaps incorporating lonely dining rooms, and feature recycling centers, large pantries, and recharging stations.
Oversized and high-priced commercial appliances—did we ever fire up six burners at once?—are yielding to family-sized, mid-range models that recover at least one cabinet for storage.
Since the entire family now helps prepare dinner (in your dreams), double prep sinks have evolved into dual-prep islands with lots of counter space and pull-out drawers.
Trend #5: Energy diets
We’re wrestling with an energy disorder: We’re binging on electronics—cell phones, iPads, Blackberries, laptops—then crash dieting by installing LED fixtures and turning the thermostat to 68 degrees.
Are we ahead of the energy game? Only the energy monitors and meters know for sure.
These new tracking devices can gauge electricity usage of individual electronics ($20 to $30) or monitor whole house energy ($100 to $250). The TED 5000 Energy Monitor ($240) supplies real-time feedback that you can view remotely and graph by the second, minute, hour, day, and month.
Trend #6: Love that storage
As we bow to the new god of declutter, storage has become the holy grail.
We’re not talking about more baskets we can trip over in the night; we’re imagining and discovering built-in storage in unlikely spaces—under stairs, over doors, beneath floors.
Under-appreciated nooks that once displayed antique desks are growing into built-ins for books and collections. Slap on some doors, and you can hide office supplies and buckets of Legos.
Giant master suites, with floor space to land a 747, are being divided to conquer clutter with more walk-in closets.
Trend #7: Home offices come out of the closet
Flexible work schedules, mobile communications, and entrepreneurial zeal are relocating us from the office downtown to home.
Laptops and wireless connections let us telecommute from anywhere in the house, but we still want a dedicated space (preferably with a door) for files, supplies, and printers.
Spare bedrooms are becoming home offices and family room niches are morphing into working nooks. After a weekend of de-cluttering, basements and attics are reborn as work centers.
Lisa Kaplan Gordon is a HouseLogic contributor and homebuilder.
Consumers are looking for an outdoor space that has the creature comforts of indoor rooms, which they can enjoy in any weather. Here are some of the issues they should consider on this kind of home project.Decks, pergolas, and outdoor kitchens all enhance a home owner’s enjoyment of a yard and improve the resale value of the home. But at the top of the wish list for many consumers nowadays is an “outdoor room,” which resembles an indoor space for its creature comforts and sense of enclosure, but also gives home owners additional living space in good weather — and sometimes in bad weather if some kind of covering is included.
“Because home owners are staying put longer, we find many are interested in building an outdoor room, which can be more cost-effective than adding interior space,” says Brian Brunhofer, president of builder Meritus Homes in Deerfield, Ill. Brunhofer advises home owners to live in their house for a year before they build an outdoor room to ensure they know what they want.
For home owners to gain maximum use of outdoor rooms depends on factors including its size, location, amenities, and furnishings, says architect Mark R. LePage, owner of Fivecat Studio in Pleasantville, N.Y.
As a real estate pro, you can help home owners understand the importance of other key decisions, such as:
1. Whom will they hire?
The decision should hinge on what functions it will serve and what elements it will include. If it’s just a deck with seating and maybe a pergola, a contractor may do the job well. But if it’s also going to include some kind of water element or a living green wall, they may be better off hiring a landscape designer or architect. Help them find the right professional by checking the Web sites of the American Society of Landscape Architects and American Association of Professional Landscape Designers.
2. How many will use it, and for what purpose?
The number of people who will use the room regularly and the primary purpose of the space should greatly influence its size and layout, says landscape architect Jeff Plusen, owner of Plusen Designs in Catonsville, Md. For some, it may be a place to sit in the morning and sip coffee, while others may want the room to feature a large al fresco dining table, buffet, and outdoor kitchen for a crowd.
In recent years, outdoor rooms have taken on other uses, ranging from TV nooks — with screens that can weather the elements — to chef-style kitchens for an entire meal rather than just the main course, says landscape architect Steve Chepurny of Beechwood Landscape Architecture and Construction in Southampton, N.J.
Caveats: Any room should relate proportionally to the site and home, Chepurny says. And those who have generous acreage may desire a series of rooms with different purposes linked by paths or gates, says landscape architect Jeff Allen in Winston-Salem, N.C.
3. Where should the outdoor room be located?
The location should be based on these considerations:
▪ Distance from the house: How close or far and how to access to the room are all key decisions. “Home owners may not want visitors to cut through their house to reach a room out back but prefer them to use an outside walk,” says Norwood, Conn.-based landscape designer Donna Christensen. Functionality should also affect choice. An outdoor room with an eating area might be located near the back kitchen for ease. Yet, one arranged at a distance and with proper amenities can offer a sense of adventure, Plusen says.
▪ Topography: A sloped or rocky spot may be more difficult to build on and require steps, thereby spurring the choice of a more level site, LePage says. Both natural and manmade drainage are essential for the room to avoid being flooded, adds designer Paige Rien, host of HGTV’s show “Hidden Potential.”
▪ Natural vistas: Picture-postcard views of woods, mountains, water, or other scenery should be considered as backdrops, if other factors are right, Brunhofer says.
▪ Sun, shade, or a combination: The amount of sun and shade can make a big difference in enjoyment, though it also necessitates certain additions. A very sunny spot may require a shaded canopy, whereas a heavily wooded area might be screened to avoid annoying mosquitoes.
▪ Unusual locations: Not all outdoor rooms are located at ground level or a few feet above. Many residents of high-rise condos are lucky to have a terrace that they can transform into an outdoor room. The height, climate, and proximity of other buildings should be factored in. Additionally, strong winds may require low-growing materials rather than trees and furniture that’s bolted down, say Denise LeFrak Calicchio and Roberta Model Amon, coauthors of Rooftop Gardens: The Terraces, Conservatories, and Balconies of New York (Rizzoli, 2011).
4. What else helps transform a terrace into a room?
Here are some essential features:
▪ Walls: Christensen prefers to plant materials on a trellis and keep it relatively open to allow in light. But a stone wall can work, and if low enough, function as extra seating. Plusen suggests two layers — one to enclose the room for privacy and a second to accent it with texture and color.
▪ Flooring: The choice of flooring should be selected according to its use, climate, and aesthetics. Honed stones are easier to walk on, last a long time, and can create an elegant old-world feeling, while a lawn will be softer for bare feet and suggest a more rustic look. Allen likes to mix materials such as brick pavers bordered by stone to connote an area rug.
▪ Furnishings: New materials can withstand inclement weather so home owners can leave furnishings outdoors year-round. Some mimic natural reeds and grasses.
▪ Lighting: Illuminating a room with lamps in trees to highlight branches or on the ground to provide a clear pathway will make the room more user-friendly at night as well as provide pleasant views from inside out. Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, provide the most long-lasting, efficient illumination. Christensen advises incorporating white flowers since they’re most visible in the dark.
▪ Music: Take your pick — an iPod and docking station, wireless speakers, or even trickling water add more sensory delights and block neighbors’ distracting noises or street traffic.
5. What’s the total budget?
Because an outdoor room can mean anything from a kitchen with simple barbecue to an elaborate set-up with a fancy grill, refrigerator, sink, warming drawer, dishwasher, beer tap, and pizza oven, home owners should fine-tune their wish list. The various components plus labor add up quickly — and vary based on materials and the home owner’s location. A fire pit handcrafted from locally quarried masonry generally runs between $5,000 and $7,000, while a fireplace may cost double or triple that, says contractor Dean Marsico, cohost with Derek Stearns of DIY’s “Indoors Out.”
Before home owners proceed with a new outdoor room, make sure they know that it doesn’t have to be finished so quickly that they shortchange choices. It’s better for them to get exactly what they want for maximum enjoyment, and, if necessary, spread phases of the project over several years rather than in a few months to get their desired results.
Where to use: Best choice for walls with many imperfections. Use on ceilings and bedroom, dining-room, and living-room walls. Do not use in the kitchen or bathrooms.
Touch-ups and scrubbability: Flat or matte finishes are easy to touch up but hard to clean. Premium flat paint, such as Benjamin Moore Regal Matte Finish or California Paints Super-Scrub Matte Finish, has better washability.
Where to use: This low-sheen finish is a great choice for living-room or bedroom walls. Do not use in high-traffic areas, like hallways, because the delicate finish mars easily.
Touch-ups and scrubbability: Eggshell has a washable finish that can be easily touched up.
Where to use: With a silky, pearl-like sheen, it’s a good choice for woodwork as well as walls in the family room, children’s rooms, laundry room, kitchen, and bathrooms.
Touch-ups and scrubbability: Satin has a warm finish that’s scrubbable. More difficult to touch up because any difference in sheen will be apparent.
Where to use: Semigloss is a popular choice for trim and moldings, and is also ideal for kitchen and bathroom walls because it is more resistant to humidity and withstands stains, chipping, and scuffing.
Touch-ups and scrubbability: Durable and easy to clean, it’s the most scrubbable sheen for walls. However, semigloss is more difficult to touch up because the difference in sheen may show up more easily.
Where to use: Gloss is rarely used on walls because it shows imperfections like a mirror does. It is typically used on woodwork, trim, moldings, and works well only for surfaces that are truly smooth.
Touch-ups and scrubbability: It’s the most durable finish and the easiest to clean, yet is the most difficult to touch up because the difference in sheen may show up more easily.
Need more information on perfect paint colors for your home before you sell? Contact my mommy! She sells real estate, homes for sale in Sterling, homes for sale in Potomac Falls, real estate in Lowes Island, homes for sale in Herndon, real estate in Reston. 703-217-1234 www.MQSells4u.com
The Tarte Lock & Roll Creaseless Shadow Duo has a waterproof cream shadow on one end and a shimmery loose shadow in a roller-ball applicator on the other. Apply the cream first and top with the loose color for a long-lasting budge-proof look. Available in eight shades.
Q: I’m moving cross-country, and I need to figure out the best way to transport my two Persian cats there. Is it safe to ship them by air cargo? — via email
A: Because Persian cats have short noses and can be prone to breathing difficulties, they should not fly in the belly of an airliner. Travel in the cargo bay is not only extremely stressful for any pet, it also exposes your pets to extremes of heat and cold, both of which can affect their ability to breathe comfortably. Animals with flat faces, like your Persians, as well as Pugs, Boston Terriers and Bulldogs, to name just a few, are less tolerant of temperature extremes than other breeds.
And no matter what type of animal you are shipping, there is always going to be some risk involved. Pets get lost or escape from their cages and become injured or even killed if their kennel overturns or falls off the conveyor belt as they are loaded or unloaded from the plane. Some pets become frantic and hurt themselves trying to get out of their shipping crates.
The best solution is to take a flight in which you can carry your cats on board. If that’s just not feasible, look into shipping them with a company that transports pets in the cabin of the plane, with attendants on hand to care for them, or a company that specializes in shipping pets and can ensure that your cats are properly cared for.
If there is no alternative to flying your cats in cargo, choose a direct flight, an overnight flight or one at off-peak times. Take your cats to the veterinarian for a complete checkup beforehand to ensure that they don’t have any underlying health problems that could be affected by the flight. Do not tranquilize your cats beforehand. Tranquilizers can blunt an animal’s ability to pant or to deal with temperature extremes he may encounter in the cargo area. Make friends with the cargo personnel and ask for a phone number that you can call to follow your cats’ progress. Make sure they have your cell phone number so you can be reached immediately if they have any questions or problems.
Reblogged From: Kim Campbell Thornton - Pet Connection
These DIY kits are filled with all the essentials for a salon-perfect look at home.
Christi Harris Precision Brow Planning System
For Impeccable Brows: Christi Harris Precision Brow Planing System
Surely the world’s most comprehensive brow kit, it comes with three brow powders that blend with all hair colors, a brow-filling cream for sparse patches, a highlighter, brushes, and a brow planer (a razorlike gizmo that slides painlessly across skin to extract hairs). Breathe easy: A Web tutorial shows you how to use everything.
Here are some great homes for you to look at in real estate in Potomac Falls. My mommy, Michelina Queri, specializes real estate for sale in Sterling, Lowes Island, Cascades, Herndon and Reston. Her website is www.MQSells4u.com.
By Elisa Huang, Mark Lasswell, and Elizabeth Schatz
With its unfamiliar smell and dated stenciling in the kitchen, a new house can seem haunted by its previous owners. To exorcise the ghosts and make it feel like your own, decorate with art and family photos as soon as you move in, recommends H. Don Bowden, president of Bowden Architecture, in Mobile, Alabama. “Your home will instantly feel more familiar,” he says. Or pick a room and attack it. “Even if it’s just the bathroom, totally customize it to reflect the way you live. It’s a way to claim your territory.” Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, an interior designer and the host of Changing Rooms on BBC America, suggests painting a room in an adventurous shade. “You might end up with a dining room that’s poisonous green,” he says, “but paint is cheap, it’s easy to change, and it makes a personal statement.”
Talk about multi-tasking! Huge Lips, Skinny Hips lip gloss plumps puckers while simultaneously curbing appetites. Thanks to active ingredients such as lemon peel oil, which soothes lips once plumping agent vitamin B3 activates, and Hoodia, an herb that suppresses appetite, you can watch your waist and score full lips all at once.
Before falling head over heels, determine whether a pet is the right fit for you.
At a breeder: “When you are introduced to the litter, sit down in a chair, not on the floor, and observe the puppies,” says Kellyann Conway, director of animal training and behavior for PetFinder.com, an online database of adoptable animals. While the first puppy that comes bounding over may seem full of spunk, he may prove to be a difficult pet. “You want a little hesitation, especially if you are looking for a family pet,” says Conway. “The puppy that immediately runs over might be too assertive and test boundaries when he grows up.” On the other hand, a puppy that hides in shyness or cowers in the corner won’t be a good match, either, especially for a social family. “You want a dog confident enough to come over and say hello,” says Conway.
Note, too, how the puppies interact with one another. You don’t want the puppy that pushes his siblings around, or the runt. Often, when a runt is taken out of the environment where he is bullied, he can become overly extroverted.
Next, get on the floor. Look for puppies that interact with you. Some will be more assertive, pulling on your hair and tugging at your clothes. If the puppy’s behavior makes you uncomfortable, “go with that feeling,” says Conway. When you think you have narrowed down the selection, get some alone time with that puppy.
At a shelter: Here you may not see a whole litter, just one or two puppies. (Puppies generally get adopted quickly, so if you’re looking for one, call your local shelter and put your name on the waiting list.) Conway is in favor of adopting an older dog (four months and up) so you can look for attributes that wouldn’t be obvious in infancy: approximately how large the dog will be, how much exercise he requires, what his general level of energy is. Once you’ve made your selection, spend time alone with him, at least 10 to 15 minutes, to see if he can relax with you.
The verdict is unanimous: It’s slower than AT&T’s, but it rarely drops calls
Pre-orders for the Verizon (VZ) iPhone began Thursday, and deliveries will begin next week, but Apple (AAPL) made review copies available to its favorite publications — before Verizon’s network might suffer, like AT&T’s (T) did, the strain of a few million new bandwidth hogs.
With that caveat, a sampling of the reviews:
The New York Times' David Pogue: “To answer everyone's question, the Verizon iPhone is nearly the same as AT&T's iPhone 4 — but it doesn't drop calls. For several million Americans, that makes it the holy grail.
The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg: “What about the trade-offs? Chief among them is data speed… despite a few Verizon victories here and there, AT&T's network averaged 46% faster at download speeds and 24% faster at upload speeds.”
TechCrunch's MG Siegler: “Yesterday, I made a 45-minute phone call from my office. This seemingly unremarkable statement is remarkable for two reasons. First, I was able to place a call from my office — something which was impossible for me to do a week prior. Second, I made it through the entire 45-minutes without the call being dropped once. Again, this was impossible a week prior.”
Bloomberg Businessweek's Rich Jaroslovsky: “There are two significant drawbacks to the Verizon iPhone. One is that, unlike the AT&T version, you can't talk and access the Internet over the 3G connection at the same time. So you can't, for instance, check movie times while you're on a call with a friend… The other drawback is that CDMA, which was developed by Qualcomm Corp., is far less widely used outside the U.S. than is the standard AT&T uses, which is known as GSM. So if you need to use your phone internationally, AT&T may make more sense.”
Daring Fireball's John Gruber: “The hotspot feature works so well that I can't really see paying for a 3G iPad again. I'd rather have a Wi-Fi-only iPad and my iPhone's hotspot, when needed, than pay $15 a month for a 3G data service that only works on the iPad itself.”
Still unclear is when the Wi-Fi hotspot feature will get turned on for AT&T iPhone customers, and what it will cost..
While renting offers zero tax breaks, buying a home offers several tax benefits that can make homeownership more affordable. Real estate professionals need to be careful in providing detailed tax advice to clients to avoid lawsuits, but you can ensure clients have the information they need to understand the all of the tax benefits of home ownership.
The following is a few of the tax benefits to home ownership, according to Stephen Fishman, an author and lawyer who specializes in small business, tax and intellectual property law.
▪ Home mortgage interest deduction: Home owners can take an itemized deduction on interest paid on a mortgage or mortgages of up to $1 million for a principal residence and/or second home. This deduction could potentially reduce the cost of borrowing by one-third or more. ▪ Property tax deduction: Home owners can deduct from their federal income taxes the state and local property taxes that you pay on the home. ▪ Deductible home buying expenses: Several closing costs in a home purchase are also deductible, such as loan origination fees (points), prorated interest on a new loan, and prorated property taxes paid at settlement. ▪ $250,000/$500,000 home-sale exclusion: Home owners who have lived in their home for two of the prior five years prior to its sale do not have to pay income tax on the majority of their profit — $250,000 for single home owners and $500,000 for married homeowners who file jointly. ▪ 14 days of free rental income: Home owners can rent the home up to 14 days during the year and pay no tax at all on the rental income.
According to the a recent article in the Washington Post Real Estate section; homes located in Northern Va that were staged went under contract in half of the days of the No. VA average and for almost 3% more. Staged properties often sell more quickly, and pictures of staged homes are more appealing than empty rooms to buyers conducting online searches. Some practitioners include staging consultations in their basic commission and require sellers to cover staging costs, while others will increase their commission rates based on how much they spend on staging.
If your daytime color palette is usually confined to beige, brown, and taupe, consider this new neutral: lavender with gray undertones. “It’s a fresh variation on smoky eyes that’s wearable for day,” Page says. (Women with dark skin tones should stay away from lavenders that are too pale—it will look frosty on the skin.)
Going from cold, windy air outside to dry heat inside sucks the moisture out of your skin, says N.Y.C. facial plastic surgeon Jennifer Levine, who suggests switching to a heavier moisturizer in the winter (try Olay Definity Night Restorative cream, $25; target.com). If you’re acne prone, look for an oil-free formula (like Philosophy When Hope Is Not Enough hyaluronic acid–peptide capsules, $50; philosophy.com) loaded with water-binding hyaluronic acid.
Whether your skin needs deep exfoliation-or just a mild buffing- Sephora Dual Action Exfoliator ($24; Click to Purchase) fits the bill. The plus-sized jar is divided into two equal chambers: one contains a gentle exfoliating cream, the other a more aggressive gel scrub. The two may also be mixed to create a customized dead-cell-removing cocktail. Use once or twice a week for ridiculously smooth skin.
Scams Even You Could Fall For—And How to Avoid Them
Learn how to avoid the most common swindles—from high-tech password theft to low-tech door-to-door hustles.
by Susan Stellin
The rip-off: Websites like Facebook have become fertile ground for scam artists who hijack members’ accounts to spread viruses and spam. Via news feeds and messages, they distribute videos or phony gift certificates that appear to be from friends but, when downloaded, install damaging software on your computer. Two cons going around Facebook this year: a page offering a $1,000 Ikea gift card in exchange for your personal information; and messages asking for money, supposedly from friends in trouble who are traveling overseas. These scams can spread through e-mail, too. A recent one, a bogus coupon for a free bag of Doritos, did not harbor a virus, but it did cause Frito-Lay a big headache.
The tip-off: Although lots of legitimate companies send customers special offers by e-mail and use Facebook to market promotions, these deals rarely involve opening an attachment. As for those $1,000 or $500 gift cards? Facebook warns members on its security page (facebook.com/security) to be wary when overly generous offers are dangled in front of you. And any request for money should set off alarms. Last year Erin Fry, 41, of Chelsea, Michigan, received a Facebook message supposedly from her mother saying that she had been robbed while on vacation, along with a plea for money. “I knew my mother wasn’t in Europe,” says Fry, “but some of her friends who also received the message thought the request was legitimate, since my parents do travel frequently. Luckily no one sent any money.”
How to protect yourself: Don’t be seduced into opening an attachment unless you’re absolutely certain of its origin. If the offer or video is tempting and it seems legit, first peruse websites like Snopes.com (a fact-checking source for Internet rumors) and Consumerist.com (a consumer-advocacy website); they’re quick to publish news about fake deals and viruses making the rounds (no, the Olive Garden did not recently offer Facebook “fans” $500 gift cards). You can also go to the Coupon Information Corporation (cents-off.com), which lists counterfeit coupons. To avoid catching a virus—or getting scammed—on Facebook, don’t click on links in messages from friends that seem out of character, especially ones soliciting money. Would a friend really use social media to ask to borrow cash? Probably not.
There’s nothing worse than stuffing your feet into boots and then realizing your socks made a complete 180-degree shift. Cotton socks with no-seam toes will guarantee happy feet. Available in three bright colors.
Don’t wait until the month before a special occasion to begin to save. Instead, start planning now. “Look at last year’s expenses, divide that number by 10 and pay yourself 10 percent each month,” says Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. For instance, if you know you tend to spend $1000 on Christmas gifts, save $100 a month into a dedicated account. Looking back now at last year’s expenses will also help you anticipate periodic bills, like insurance premiums and heating oil, that can catch you off guard.
While home prices are expected to continue to fall in most metro areas, Clear Capital’s Home Data Index report says a few cities are already on the rebound and showing some gains in home values.
“There really is this segmentation of these markets occurring where the one-size-fits-all national level numbers to represent all numbers really isn’t valid anymore,” Alex Villacorta, senior statistician at Clear Capital, told MSNBC. “Overall we’re seeing prices start to stabilize going into 2011, but unfortunately some of those markets will stabilize in the downward direction where others will see a sustained recovery.”
Clear Capital takes into account unemployment rates, foreclosure rates, and real estate inventory in its index.
The following is a list of 10 cities that Clear Capital expects will rise in property value in 2011:
Meanwhile, Clear Capital reports that real estate markets in Florida and the Western parts of the U.S.—such as cities in Arizona and “Breadbasket metros” like Oklahoma City, Okla., and Dayton, Ohio—likely will see the largest price drops in home values over the year. Virginia Beach, Va., is expected to have the highest drop in 2011, with a 12.8 percent price decrease, according to Clear Capital report.
If you want to know what Cascades VA homes prices are or Lowes Island VA real estate prices, please call The MQ Team at 703-217-1234 or www.MQSells4U.com.
Home warranties can be attractive to home owners or buyers who are looking at purchasing a property. These service contracts can cover all of a home’s major systems, such as the furnace or air conditioner, and will cover needed repairs if the appliance breaks or damaged.
Some sellers are offering a home warranty to try to lure buyers.
But not all home warranties are the same. Experts say you should carefully weigh costs, policy allowances, and customer feedback before making a decision so that you ensure you’re getting the best deal. Home warranties cost about $250 to $500 a year.
Here are some more tips from experts in shopping for a home warranty:
▪ Find customer reviews. Web sites, such as homewarrantyreviews.com, provide reviews of home warranty companies. You also might check how each company is rated with your local Better Business Bureau. ▪ Check for extra fees. Will you have to pay a fee for service calls? ▪ Check the coverage allowance. Are there any exclusions to coverage? Will the allowance cover the entire cost of a broken appliance or just some of it? For example, if you have older appliances and mechanicals, will the policy cover the full cost of replacing it or just the depreciated value? If the policy only covers the depreciated value when a 20-year-old furnace dies, for example, the reimbursement may not be enough to buy a new one. Also, verify what appliances are all included in the coverage. Some companies will allow you to add coverage for swimming pools, while others won’t.
"The biggest thing is awareness of what the exclusions are," Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com, told the Chicago Tribune. "The mere presence of a warranty, by nature, tends to have exclusions. Being aware of that can aid in the decision-making process."
The key — for at least the top four states on the list — is they boast low unemployment rates compared to the national average.
Housing Intelligence, an independent research company, says in its weekly Key Indicator Alert that “it’s certainly no surprise that states with healthier labor markets have healthier housing markets, but it underscores the vital need for better job growth elsewhere across the nation.”
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If you love the classic look of a collared shirt under a sweater but you’re not a fan of feeling uncomfortably bulky, you’re going to be thrilled with Julie Kalimian’s creation, dubbed the SkinnyShirt.
This ingenious shirt has a stretchy, knit body paired with a woven cotton collar. From the neckline up, the shirt appears to be a classic button-front collared shirt. But below the neckline, it’s all about comfort. Imagine your favorite stretchy, comfy camisole — that’s how the SkinnyShirt feels. In fact, that’s just how Julie came up with the first prototype for the SkinnyShirt. She asked her local tailor to merge one of her collared shirts and a camisole.
The idea really took off when Julie tapped into her network and connected with Alexandra Shuman, a designer at Michael Kors who helped take the SkinnyShirt from concept to closet. Julie achieved the smooth, slimming result she had envisioned. Paired with sweaters, dresses, jackets, tank tops and short-sleeve tops, SkinnyShirt is a great way to give your wardrobe a more sharp, professional look. It’s fashion that fits just right.
As soon as mine is delivered I’ll post thumbs up or thumbs down on whether the product delivers!
What it’s meant to do: A primer is designed to temporarily smooth skin on the lips, the eyelids, or the face with silicones and polymers. “Most contain waxes that bond with cosmetics to give them longevity,” says Jim Hammer, a cosmetics chemist at Pharmasol Labs, in Easton, Massachusetts.
So who needs it? “Someone with fine lines around her mouth can benefit from a lip primer, since it keeps lip color from feathering,” says Jeannette Graf, an assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center, in New York City. Women who have trouble with shadow that creases might consider an eye-makeup base. Makeup primers are ideal for those with sunken scars, since they level the skin.
There’s a good reason wire hangers are free: They’re basically worthless. If you want to prolong the life of your clothes, don’t keep them on wire or flimsy plastic hangers. Wood and padded hangers are the best ways to go for maintaining the shape of a garment.
Proper clothing care calls for appropriate hangers: satin padding for more delicate items and sturdy wood hangers for tailored jackets.
You don’t have to get out the power drill or call a handyman to add a second rod to a closet. Hanging rods that hook over existing rails are a smart, inexpensive, and instant way to create extra room for short hanging clothes.