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HOW TO PULL CASH FROM THE HOME YOU JUST BOUGHT

 

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

As this exuberant housing market takes shape, the chance to harvest equity – to tap into idle cash – from your home may prove to be a worthwhile endeavor. In March 2011, Fannie Mae lifted the requirement that you had to hold title to a property for six months before you were allowed to access your cash equity.

The change has since allowed homeowners to acquire property and then immediately cash-out refinance to replenish liquidity, purchase other real estate, do home improvements or pay off debt. However, while it is a viable strategy, successfully sealing the deal on the “delayed financing” is something else entirely. Here’s what you need to know.

Read more here:  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/pull-cash-home-just-bought-100031717.html

 

Defense Furlough Days Cut from 11 to 6

August 19th, 2013 by gaelite

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Tuesday that the Pentagon is cutting the number of planned furlough days for department civilian employees this year from 11 to six.

Hagel also said that some key squadrons are flying again and the Navy has restarted some deployments that had been on hold because of the mandated budget cuts because of savings that had been achieved elsewhere.
The furlough days had been ordered in May in the wake of mandated budget cuts called sequestration. The department faced shortfalls of more than $30 billion for regular operating costs, Hagel said in a statement.

Read article here:  http://www.13wmaz.com/military/article/241768/319/Defense-Furloughs-Days-Cut-from-11-to-6

New State Car Title Tax Law

There are a few changes coming your way March 1st when the state’s new title tax law rolls out.

If you own a car in Georgia right now, you pay an annual excise tax on your vehicle tags that comes due once a year on your birthday.

They call it the “birthday tax.”

Come March 1st, that will start to change.

The new tag law allows car owners who bought or are buying a vehicle between Jan 1st 2012 and March 1st 2013 a choice to opt in to the one-time title tax.

“It’s only if you’re purchasing a vehicle you’re going to be paying this fee,” says Houston County Tax Commissioner Mark Kushinka.

People who bought a car after March 1st will now pay a one-time tax.

But this doesn’t mean the birthday tax is disappearing altogether.

“If you have a vehicle that you’ve had for years and are paying a birthday tax, you will continue paying that birthday tax until you get rid of that vehicle,” he says.

In 2013, car owners who choose the one-time tax will pay 6.5 percent of the vehicle’s market value.

For example, that would be $650 on a $10,000 vehicle.

You might be saving money depending on the car you have and when you buy it.

 

HOA

Avoid a HOA Nightmare

Here are three things potential condo buyers should do with those documents:

1. Read the past year’s meeting minutes

Above all, read the minutes of the HOA monthly or quarterly board meetings. You can learn a lot about the HOA’s inner workings, such as the politics and how enforceable its rules are. You’ll get a sense of how the HOA works, who’s on the board and how flexible or difficult they are to deal with.

The most obvious red flag is any discussion in the minutes of an upcoming assessment or any major project (painting, roof repair, boiler replacement). These conversations generally happen months or years before the work (and assessment) is enacted. Other potential red flags would be documented conflict between homeowners and board members.

2. Review the house rules and regulations

Nearly every HOA has its house rules and regulations. In a suburban subdivision, typical rules would include restrictions on how your home looks from the street (no pink houses on Elm Street). In a condo building, restrictions often cover noise, such as no loud music or noise between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., or that 85 percent of your hardwood floors must be covered by area rugs in living, dining and bedroom areas.

While there are generally accepted common rules, from time to time more excessive ones stand out that may not sit well with a potential buyer. Some examples include no RVs in the driveway or the required removal of Christmas lights by Jan. 15. A buyer’s response to such rules is subjective. But it’s better to know the type of HOA you’re buying into before you sign the final paperwork.

 3. Review the financials

Be on the lookout for HOAs that can barely cover their monthly expenses. Since the housing crisis began, many HOAs have been forced to foreclose on homeowners who are behind on their HOA dues. If you have a third of homeowners not paying, that affects everyone, as the money needs to be made up somewhere.

Another red flag is the lack of a reserve fund. If the HOA only has $5,000 in reserves, and there’s mention in the meeting minutes of a major sidewalk replacement, you should assume that funding for the project will come from a one-time “special assessment” levied on the homeowners. Don’t want to be stuck with a $10,000 mandatory assessment six months after you move in? You may want to reconsider this property.

 Advice to sellers

If you live in an HOA community that has some issues, be sure to disclose them upfront. It’s not much different from disclosing the leaky window or recent crime in the home. You don’t want to create a giant red flag for potential buyers, of course. But if they find out about something major after the fact, it could come back to haunt you. Work with your real estate agent and strategize about some of the best ways to make the HOA documents or disclosure information available to buyers during escrow.

Schools Names Family-Friendly

Two Houston County Schools Named Family-Friendly

The Georgia Department of Education wants to encourage parent involvement in schools across the state.  They went on a search for the most family-friendly schools, and turned up two, out of only three selected, in Houston County.  Morningside Elementary in Perry and Miller Elementary in Warner Robins stood out among the state’s best.

Christal Reid comes to this Morningside Elementary classroom five days a week. With the amount of time she spends there, you might assume she’s the teacher, but no. She is a parent volunteer.

Reid said, “I think it’s one of the best schools there is, and my child loves to come.”  She feels 100-percent welcome, too.

That is the goal of family-friendly strategies principal Pat Witt incorporates.

Witt said, “There’s a lot of things were doing here at Morningside that are innovative ways of making sure families stay involved with their children.  We have come up with some creative ways of going to them, going to their house, going to their place of business.”

Miller Elementary is celebrating their successes, too.

Principal Gwen Pearson-Kilgore said, “We have an open door policy. Parents are free to come, to call.”

She said they invite parents into the classrooms once a month, sometime for the entire day.  The parent resource library offers adults an education in technology and their child’s curriculum.  For parents that don’t have computers at home, they’re welcome to use the computers set-up there.

The state also graded them on customer service, looking at their phone manners, waiting areas, signage and student work displayed throughout the building.  The state chose the winners using some surprise tactics. Employees or selection committee members posing as parents called or visited the schools, incognito.

In late November, State School Superintendent John Barge will visit both schools to present them an award

Area Unemployment Drops

Unemployment in Georgia has dropped to 9 percent in September, according to a report by the state’s department of labor.

Macon fared well, adding 1,600 jobs from September 2011. The city’s number of unemployment claims dropped 28.7 percent.

Warner Robins added 200 jobs and saw its unemployment claims drop by 12.5 percent.

This time last year, the jobless rate in Georgia was 9.8 percent.

According to a news release from the state department of labor, the state as a whole lost 400 jobs from August to September but it still added 61,800 jobs since September 2011.

The biggest gains in the state were in professional and business services; trade, transportation and warehousing; and education and health care. Manufacturing was up 8,700 jobs and technology, up 1,100.

 

LONDON (AP)

Legally blind archer Im Dong-hyun set the first world records of the London Olympics, breaking his own record in the 72-arrow mark and helping South Korea set a team record in the ranking round on Friday.

Im broke the record he had set in Turkey in May by three points with a score of 699, hours before the 2012 Games official opening ceremony.

”This is just the first round, so I will not get too excited by it,” said Im, who has 10 percent vision in his left eye and 20 percent in his right.

 

Im Dong-Hyun

RECORD BREAKER

Find out more about Im Dong-Hyun, the legally blind archer who set the first two world records of the London Olympics.

 

He combined with Kim Bub-min and Oh Jin-hyek, smashing the record for 216 arrows with a total 2,087. That was 18 better than the mark South Korea set in May.

The 26-year-old Im has said that when he looks at the targets, he sees colors with blurred lines between them. He does not wear glasses in competition, saying he relies on distinguishing between the bright colors of the target.

He won gold medals in the team event at the 2008 Beijing and 2004 Athens Olympics.

Spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of the action were turned away from Lord’s cricket ground.

Preliminary rounds were listed as non-ticketed, so several thousand spectators showed up at the venue expecting to get in for free.

A spokeswoman for the London Games organizing committee said tickets were not advertised or sold for the qualifying events and ”we have always made it clear” that the early competitions were not open for spectators.

5 Tips for Moving With Young Kids in Tow

1. Pack your child’s room last. Unpack it first. Children of all ages crave stability and comfort. Make your child’s bedroom a safe place for them in your old home and recreate that same sense of ownership for them in their new bedroom. Older children may not want their new bedroom to be identical to the old (in fact, new furniture or decor could help dull the loss of school friends and activities), but younger children will benefit from a room nearly identical to the one they left behind. Make the moving disruption as minimal as possible by packing your child’s room last and unpacking it first upon arrival.

2. Know (everything) before you go. Have the information handy for the local hospital, a new pediatrician, a dentist, your closest pharmacy, the grocery store, and the nearest chain restaurant that the kids love before you depart and arrive at your new home. If your infant gets an ear infection en route, your toddler chips a tooth and gets a bloody lip on that new front step, or your last bottle of infant pain reliever runs out on your first night in the new house you’ll want to know where to go for help. Moving is a completely different experience with children; move prepared.

3. Enlist help with the kids for moving days. Your moving days are going to be incredibly hectic. Don’t subject an infant or a toddler to the chaos. While older kids might want to be around, and may get closure seeing their house empty and their things all packed up, that isn’t the case for younger children. If you can’t find childcare, consider splitting you and your spouse splitting up for the day and entertaining the kids away from the house.

4. Try to keep your cool. Moving can be a stressful time. However, if you’re moving with infants, toddlers, or both, effectively managing your stress is absolutely essential. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that kids feel their parents’ stress, and infants aren’t excluded. A calm mom and dad may equal a calmer, less colicky baby. There’s already going to be plenty of reason for your baby to be feeling the effects of the move, so try to focus on staying calm and avoiding extra stress when you’re relocating.

5. If it’s important to your child, it should be important to you. Never make the mistake of letting the movers pack your toddler’s favorite toy or special blanket. Keep these items with you at all times. This will help ease any separation anxiety your child may experience from the changes, and minimize your stress when you arrive if you can’t put your fingers on it right away. If it’s important to your infant or toddler, it should be just as important to you — don’t let it out of your sight when you’re moving.

 

Trim Your Remodeling Cost: 4 Ways to Save

Case Remodeling recently featured several ideas at its blog on how to make those remodeling projects more budget friendly. Here are a few ways to trim remodeling costs:

1. Don’t change plumbing or electrical configurations. Keep your plumbing fixtures and electrical work where they’re at. Instead of moving the plumbing or electrical all over the room, Case recommends for remodelers to “think about supplementing and extending your existing wiring instead of ripping it out and starting over,” which can be much more costly.

2. Find savings in materials. “The cost of cabinets, counters, fixtures, paneling, etc. can constitute up to 70 percent of your remodeling budget,” Case Remodeling notes in its blog. “While labor costs may be hard to reduce, the choice of materials is within your control.” For example, solid surfaces can look similar to marble, and granite tiles may be an option over stone to curb costs.

 

3. Build up, not out. You’d be better off adding stories or building upward than expanding those rooms outward on the lower floor, according to Case Remodeling. Adding another story to a home, like over the garage, can be cheaper than laying a foundation to extend a home out.

4. Consider energy efficient upgrades. By selecting energy efficient windows and appliances, you may have to pay a little more upfront but in the long-run, you’ll be saving. Energy efficient upgrades may be an item worth splurging on initially in order to cheapen your utility bills and the cost of operating your home.

 

The Manliest Cities….

Top 10 ‘Manliest’ Cities

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2012

You may not have considered how your city ranks in the masculinity department. But COMBOS, along with “Best Places to Live” researcher Bert Sperling, released the fourth annual ranking of America’s manliest cities.

The 50 largest metro areas were ranked on the quantity of “masculine” offers, such as number of major league sports teams; the availability of so-called “manly lifestyle” activities like fishing, woodworking, and home improvement work; and number of “manly businesses,” like home improvement stores and steak houses. 

The following cities topped this year’s “Manliest Cities” list: 

  1. Oklahoma City, Okla.
  2. Columbia, S.C.
  3. Memphis
  4. Nashville
  5. Birmingham, Ala.
  6. Houston
  7. St. Louis, Mo.
  8. Toledo, Ohio
  9. Cleveland
  10. Charlotte, N.C.

Sources: “The ‘Manliest’ Cities Where Real Men Live,” AOL Real Estate (June 15, 2012) andCOMBOS

 
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