Saturday, September 30, 2006

Risks Of Home Ownership

It is often said the American Dream is owning your own home. But, is it right for you? There are risks involved and understanding these will help you make a good decision for you and your family.

1. Increase in monthly housing expenses. Taxes and insurance costs related to your home are sure to increase overtime, but usually these increases are off set by tax advantages and a pride of ownership.

2. You are your own landlord. No more calling the landlord when something breaks down. Maintenance and upkeep are yours. but, youo can also decorate anyway you want!

3. You must sell to move. No picking up and moving with a 30 day notice. You must plan ahead and give enough lead time to get your home sold before relocating. However, you benefit from the equity buildup since you first purchased your home.

4. Property values can go down. Over the long term real estate appreciates, but markets are cyclical and in the short term there is a possibility for your home's value to go down. Take into consideration how long you will live in the home prior to deciding to buy a home.

If you would like to discuss if buying a home is the right decision for you, contact me. I'm glad to help. Also, visit my website to search all Vermont real estate listings.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

What The Fed Said - A Translation

If you are one of those people who keeps an eye on interest rates and the stock market, and listens intently to what happens on Wall Street and with Federal Reserve, you will appreciate the post on, What the Fed said: A Fed translation.

No need to learn Fedspeak, it has been translated for you!

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a serious crime impacting more than 10 million victims each year. Often, consumers first learn they are identity theft victims when they are in the process of buying or renting a home. The National Association of Realtors is working with the Federal Trade Commission to educate comsumers to minimize the risk of identity theft. This new initiative, Deter-Detect-Defend is focused on empowering consumers to protect themselves against identity and to minimize its impact.

‘Deter’ Tips to Share with Consumers
1. Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
2. Protect your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is the key to your identity and must be closely protected. Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.

3. Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.

4. Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, type in a Web address you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer; keep them up-to-date. Visit for more information.

5. Don't use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother's maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

6. Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house.

‘Detect’ tips to share with consumers
Be alert to signs that require immediate attention:

1. Mail or bills that do not arrive as expected

2. Unexpected credit cards or account statements

3. Denials of credit for no apparent reason

4. Calls or letters about purchases that were not made

1. Your credit report. This contains information about you, including what accounts you have and your bill paying history.

** The law requires the major nationwide consumer reporting companies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—to give you a free copy of your credit report each year if you ask for it.

** Visit or call 1-877-322-8228, a service created by these three companies, to order your free credit reports each year. You also can write: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.2. Your financial statements. Review financial accounts and billing statements regularly, looking for charges you did not make.

‘Defend’ tips to share with consumers
1. Place a "Fraud Alert" on your credit reports. A fraud alert on your credit report tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open any new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. Each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies has a toll‑free number you can use to place an initial fraud alert. Only one call is necessary; the company you call will notify the other two. An initial fraud alert is active for 90 days. If you want to place an extended (seven-year) fraud alert, you must follow additional procedures.

** Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
** Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
** TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your credit reports. Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open, and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain.

2. Close accounts. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.

* Start by calling the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your authorization. Follow up in writing and include copies of supporting documents.

* Use the "ID Theft Affidavit," available at, to support your written statement.Get written verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts have been discharged.

* Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.

3. File a police report. File a report with law enforcement officials – for example, state or local police. It will help you work with creditors who may request documentation that a crime has occurred.

4. Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your information helps law enforcement officials across the country with their investigations.

** By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338), or TTY,1-866-653-4261
** By mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse Federal Trade Commission 600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, DC 20580

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Friday, September 08, 2006

What Is Earnest Money?

In medieval days, a father would send an entire herd of cattle as a not-too-subtle hint that his daughter be married into a certain family. Nowadays, when you've decided a particular home is "the one" for you, you can, thankfully, leave the cattle at home. You are asked, however, to deposit a small percentage of the sales price of the home you want to purchase--it's called "earnest money.

"Your earnest money is a good faith deposit that accompanies your offer. It is usually a personal check, but a short-term promissory note is sometimes acceptable. A sizeable earnest money deposit indicates financial strength and assures the seller of your commitment to purchase the property.

Once your offer is accepted, your earnest money check is cashed and deposited with the title company, attorney or with the listing broker. Your funds are held in a separate trust account reserved only for earnest money deposits. In most cases, everything proceeds smoothly to the closing day when the total amount of your earnest money is credited to you as a portion of your down payment.

Your earnest money is totally refundable if the offer is not accepted or if some condition in the contract is not satisfied. For example, your earnest money is refundable if financing is not approved with the terms specified in the contract.

If you're thinking of buying a home in Vermont, give me a call or visit my website., were you can view all real estate listings, get the current market value of your home and more. It would be a pleasure to assist you in finding "the one" that you'd like to call "home." My knowledge of today's real estate market will aid you in making wise decisions in every step of your transaction.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Vermont State Fair Opens

161st Vermont State Fair To Open Today

The 161st annual Vermont State Fair opens today and runs through September 10.

Fair Trivia

1. The first Rutland Fair took place in 1846.

2. In 1859 the first Rutland Fair was held at it's present location.

3. The Fair was closed for the first time in 1917 due to an influenza epidemic.

4. The Fair started as a one day event.

5. In 1926 the Rutland fair was rated the third largest in New England and among the top 10 in the nation.

6. On June 17, 1939 the great fire completely destroyed the grandstand. The reconstruction of the grandstand took just 40 days.

7. In 1972 The Rutland Fair became officially the Vermont State Fair.

The Fair today offers 10 days of fun and entertainment for all ages. Hope to see you there!

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