Date Archives: November 2011

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November
29

November
29

Consumer confidence improved in November, rising 15 points and reaching its highest level since July. With consumers' view of business conditions perking up, and their opinion on job conditions brightening, positivity seeps into what has been a fairly negative past few months. The Index now stands at 56.0, up from 40.9 in October. The Present Situation Index increased to 38.3 from 27.1. The Expectations Index rose to 67.8 from 50.0. The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was November 15th. Says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center: "Confidence has bounced back to levels last seen during the summer (July 2011, 59.2). Consumers' assessment of current conditions finally improved, after six months of steady declines. Consumers' apprehension regarding the short-term outlook for business conditions, jobs and income prospects eased considerably. Consumers appear to be entering the holiday season in better spirits, though overall readings remain historically weak." Consumers' appraisal of present-day conditions improved in November. Those stating business conditions are "good" increased to 13.3 percent from 11.2 percent, while those stating business conditions are "bad" declined to 38.2 percent from 43.7 percent. Consumers' appraisal of the labor market was also more upbeat. Those claiming jobs are "plentiful" increased to 5.8 percent from 3.6 percent, while those saying jobs are "hard to get" decreased to 42.1 percent from 46.9 percent. Consumers' short-term outlook, which had declined last month, was less negative in November. The proportion of consumers anticipating business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 13.6 percent from 10.2 percent, while those anticipating business conditions will worsen declined to 15.8 percent from 21.3 percent. Consumers' outlook for the job market also improved. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead rose to 12.9 percent from 10.8 percent, while those expecting fewer jobs decreased to 24.1 percent from 27.6 percent. The proportion of consumers anticipating an increase in their incomes rose to 14.9 percent from 11.1 percent. For more information, visit www.conference-board.org.
November
25

Even during a recovering economy there are people relocating, downsizing, getting married, starting families and buying a second home. Life goes on. Something to keep in mind, however, is that moving is not the only way to change your environment. Feng Shui is the flow and containment of energy (Qi). Good Feng Shui is the relationship between nature, landscape, buildings and the happy people inhabiting their environment. There are simple practices that can deeply improve the energy in your home or office. Try the following and make a positive change in your life: 1. Get rid of your clutter. Clean, scrub and organize. Make room for new and wonderful things to come into your life! 2. Electromagnetic fields minimize your health and wellness. Move computer screens and televisions further away from you. Even a small difference in distance can make a big difference in your exposure. Pull plugs out of the outlets when you are not using them. Think of options to replace the use of some of the electric items you are using. 3. You may feel unsettled when you sit or sleep in a corner. The energy moves very quickly in that kind of path. Soften the edge of a corner with plants or a wind chime. To avoid restlessness, rearrange your furniture so you are not sitting or sleeping in the corner of the room.
November
16

Credit score requirements for loans are higher than they have been in the past, so a good credit score is more crucial than ever. In today's economy most lenders are looking for credit scores of 720 or higher to secure a low mortgage rate. Here are seven ways to build up your credit score so you can enjoy the best interest rates available.

1. Request your credit reports and assess the situation. Credit bureaus (www.experian.com, www.transunion.com, www.equifax.com) are required to provide you with a free credit report every year. Nationwide consumer reporting companies get their information from different sources, the data in your report from one company may not reflect the same data in your reports from the other two companies, so request all three.

2. Check to verify all of the information is correct. If there are any errors, contact the bureaus immediately.

3. Your payment history accounts for 35% of your score, so make sure payments are on time every month.

4. The amount owed is 30% of your score. A good rule is to use less than 10% of your credit available on each individual card.

5. The length of your credit history accounts for 15%, so maintain your accounts instead of closing them. You are not penalized for available credit.

6. New credit is 10% of your score and every time you apply for credit an inquiry is added to your report, which drops your score.

7. Types of credit used accounts for 10%. Installment loans like vehicle and personal loans demonstrate you can manage various long and short-term credits.

November
6

EAST MEADOW, NY, Nov 06, 2011-When you're in the market for a new home, one of the first things you should do-after getting your finances in order and deciding on a few choice locations-is determine the style of house you are looking for. "Often, I meet with a client who has begun their house hunt, but really hasn't narrowed down the type of property they are looking for," says Michael Litzner, Broker of Century 21 American Homes. Litzner goes on to note that many clients aren't sure how to differentiate among the various property styles, so when they browse listings they don't know what to keep an eye out for. Below, Litzner explains a few of the most popular home styles. Victorian - These homes are ideal for those interested in unique architecture, large porches and picturesque bay windows-all features typical of the Victorian style of home. "As they are older homes, Victorians often need a lot of work, and can vary in price greatly. While it is possible to find updated Victorians, they are generally great homes for those interested in a fixer-upper," explains Litzner. Ranch - "This style of home has only one-level, with a basement and an attached garage," explains Litzner, who notes these homes are great starter properties as they are easier to maintain than a multi-level home. Bi-Level - Also known as a split ranch, the bi-level home rarely has a basement, as the lower level is also the entry level. Popular in the '50s, bi-levels usually feature a built-in garage. Split level - Split levels often have a ground level living area, such as a den or family room, with the next level containing the kitchen and dining area, and bedrooms on the third floor. "These homes offer a good amount of space while maintaining a moderate size, which makes them popular," states Litzner. Tudor - Tudors have a distinctive look, usually involving wood trim, slate roofs, stucco and an interesting combination of angles. They are unique and spacious, generally including a built-in garage. "Like the Victorians, Tudors vary in price and maintenance needs as they are older homes, popular in the 1800s and '20s," notes Litzner. Colonial - "Colonials are classic in both appearance and structure-they are generally well built, spacious and elegant," says Litzner. Many have a traditional layout, including kitchen and living spaces-often with a formal dining room and living room-on the main floor, and bedrooms and bathrooms on a second floor. "Colonials frequently have attached porches, as well as basements and attics, making them desirable properties," Litzner explains. Contemporary - This style of home is becoming more in demand in developed areas, or places with an abundance of vacation properties. "Contemporary properties are extremely customizable, and usually have resort-style features such as cathedral ceilings, multiple decks or unique window units," notes Litzner. They are casual, yet luxurious, which makes them a great choice for a second home. For more information on popular home styles, please contact Century 21 American Homes at MLitzner@C21AmHomes.com, 1-800-270-6318, or Century 21 American Homes. Century 21 American Homes is one of the fastest growing real estate brokerages serving Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn. To find out more about an exciting career in real estate contact us at careers@c21amhomes.com.
November
6

EAST MEADOW, NY, Nov 06, 2011-The day of the closing is an exciting time for a home buyer. However, if you are unprepared, it can also be extremely stressful. The following tips, offered by Michael Litzner, Broker of Century 21 American Homes, will help save you a few headaches and keep your closing on the right track. Before closing, usually the day before or early the day of, be sure to do a final walkthrough and inspection of the property. If you find any problems, or see something you never noticed before, be sure to write it down. "This list can be used if any final negotiation needs to be made, and will come in handy should a problem arise soon after the closing," says Litzner. "It's always a good idea to have a little extra money in your account, and of course, take your checkbook," recommends Litzner. This money acts as a buffer should an unexpected closing cost pop up that requires an unanticipated payment. Bring both your contract and your loan commitment letter to your closing. "The contract is a good reference should something suspicious arise, and your commitment letter can be used for verification should there be a misunderstanding with your lender," explains Litzner. Be sure to have the utilities switched over to your name on closing day, and arrange in advance to have electric and water meters read. "Of course, obvious but critical items, like an ID or driver's license, are also important to have on the day of. You don't want to be frazzled or searching at the last minute," explains Litzner. "Be prepared to sign numerous affidavits and documents at the time of your closing," warns Litzner. The reward? "At the end of the closing, the seller will hand over your property deed and the keys to your new home." For more information on a smooth closing, please contact Century 21 American Homes at MLitzner@C21AmHomes.com, 1-800-270-6318, or Century 21 American Homes.

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