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Each month, we publish a series of articles of interest to homeowners -- money-saving tips, household safety checklists, home improvement advice, real estate insider secrets, etc. Whether you currently are in the market for a new home, or not, we hope that this information is of value to you. Please feel free to pass these articles on to your family and friends.

ISSUE #1260
 FEATURE REPORT

How To Reduce Crime In Your Neighborhood
While we don't like to talk about it - or even think about it - crime is on the increase in North America, and throughout the world. The number of burglars, muggers, auto thieves, robbers, purse snatchers, etc., is growing at an alarming rate.
Now you, as a resident, working with neighbors can help reduce the crime rate.




Also This Month...

6 Mistakes To Avoid When Trading Up to a Larger Home
Unlike the experience of buying a first home, when you're looking to move-up, and already own a home, there are certain factors that can complicate the situation. It's very important for you to consider these issues before you list your home for sale.



 
 

Get An Extra Hour Out Of Every Day
How can you get an extra hour from each day? This is a basic challenge for all of us in today's stressful society. With each of us having to deal with some sort of pressure in our lives, whether it be work or lifestyle, it becomes important to learn tactics to successfully manage your time. We've come up with many practical ways to secure one more precious hour from each day. Each of these tips is probably adaptable to your particular situation. Here are some useful, concise, and simple ways to help you to get the most out of the limited time you have.



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How To Reduce Crime In Your Neighborhood

While we don't like to talk about it - or even think about it - crime is on the increase in North America, and throughout the world. The number of burglars, muggers, auto thieves, robbers, purse snatchers, etc., is growing at an alarming rate. Now you, as a resident, working with neighbors can help reduce the crime rate.

How? By organizing and/or joining a neighborhood program in which you and your neighbors get together to learn how to protect yourselves, your family, your home and your property. Working together, you can get the criminals off your block and out of your area.

There's safety in numbers and power through working with a group. You'll get to know your neighbors better, and working with them you can reduce crime, develop a more united community, provide an avenue of communications between police and citizens, establish on-going crime prevention techniques in your neighborhood, and renew citizen interest in community activity.

"Citizens Safety Projects" are set up to help you do this. It is a joint effort between private citizens and local police. Such programs have been started all over. Maybe one already exists in your community.

These organizations don't require frequent meetings (once a month or so). They don't ask anyone to take personal risks to prevent crime. They leave the responsibility for catching criminals where it belongs - with the police. This is NOT a "vigilante" group.

These groups gather citizens together to learn crime prevention from local authorities. You cooperate with your neighbors to report suspicious activities in the neighborhood, to keep an eye on homes when the resident is away, and to keep everyone in the area mindful of the standard precautions for property and self that should always be taken. Criminals avoid neighborhoods where such groups exist.

Through cooperation with local law enforcement agencies, some of the things you will learn - and all free - are:

  1. What to do in an emergency.
  2. How to best identify a suspicious person.
  3. How to identify a vehicle being used in a suspected criminal activity.
  4. Signs to watch out for before entering a house or apartment that may be in the process of being burglarized.
  5. What to do in case of injury.
  6. What to do about suspicious people loitering on your street.
  7. How to identify stolen merchandise.
  8. How to recognize auto theft in progress.
  9. How to protect your house or apartment.
  10. How to recognize a burglary in progress.
  11. How to protect yourself and family - and much more.

It's easy to get your group started. All you have to do is contact your neighbors and arrange a date, place and time for the first meeting. Hold the meetings at your home or that of a neighbor. Try to plan a time that is convenient to most of your neighbors - preferably in the evening.

Then call your local police department. They will be happy to give your group informal lectures, free literature - and in many instances, window stickers and ID cards. Remember, police officers can't be everywhere. Your cooperation with them is for the benefit of you, your family, your neighbors and your neighborhood.

 

 

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6 Mistakes To Avoid When Trading Up to a Larger Home


".....you have to sell your present home at exactly the right time in order to avoid either the financial burden of owning two homes or, just as bad, the dilemma of having no place to live during the gap between closings...."


Unlike the experience of buying a first home, when you're looking to move-up, and already own a home, there are certain factors that can complicate the situation. It's very important for you to consider these issues before you list your home for sale.

Not only is there the issue of financing to consider, but you also have to sell your present home at exactly the right time in order to avoid either the financial burden of owning two homes or, just as bad, the dilemma of having no place to live during the gap between closings.

Six Strategies

In this report, we outline the six most common mistakes homeowners make when moving to a larger home. Knowledge of these six mistakes, and the strategies to overcome them, will help you make informed choices before you put your existing home on the market.

1. Rose-colored glasses

Most of us dream of improving our lifestyle and moving to a larger home. The problem is that there's sometimes a discrepancy between our hearts and our bank accounts. You drive by a home that you fall in love with only to find that it's already sold or that it’s more than what you are willing to pay. Most homeowners get caught in this hit or miss strategy of house hunting when there's a much easier way of going about the process. For example, find out if your agent offers a Buyer Profile System or House-hunting Service, which takes the guesswork away and helps to put you in the home of your dreams. This type of program will cross match your criteria with ALL available homes on the market and supply you with printed information on an ongoing basis. A program like this helps homeowners take off their rose-colored glasses and, affordably, move into the home of their dreams.

2. Failing to make necessary improvements

If you want to get the best price for the home you're selling, there will certainly be things you can do to enhance it in a prospective buyer's eyes. These fix ups don't necessarily have to be expensive. But even if you do have to make a minor investment, it will often come back to you ten fold in the price you are able to get when you sell. It's very important that these improvements be made before you put your home on the market. If cash is tight, investigate an equity loan that you can repay on closing.

3. Not selling first

You should plan to sell before you buy. This way you will not find yourself at a disadvantage at the negotiating table, feeling pressured to accept an offer that is below market value because you have to meet a purchase deadline. If you've already sold your home, you can buy your next one with no strings attached. If you do get a tempting offer on your home but haven't made significant headway on finding your next home, you might want to put in a contingency clause in the sale contract which gives you a reasonable time to find a home to buy. If the market is slow and you find your home is not selling as quickly as you anticipated, another option could be renting your home and putting it up on the market later - particularly if you are selling a smaller, starter home. You'll have to investigate the tax rules if you choose this latter option. Better still, find a way to eliminate this situation altogether by getting your agent to guarantee the sale of your present home (see point number 5 below).

4. Failing to get a pre-approved mortgage

Pre-approval is a very simple process that many homeowners fail to take advantage of. While it doesn't cost or obligate you to anything, pre-approval gives you a significant advantage when you put an offer on the home you want to purchase because you know exactly how much house you can afford, and you already have the green light from your lending institution. With a pre-approved mortgage, your offer will be viewed far more favorably by a seller - sometimes even if it's a little lower than another offer that's contingent on financing. Don't fail to take this important step.

5. Getting caught in the Real Estate Catch 22

Your biggest dilemma when buying and selling is deciding which to do first. Point number 3 above advises you to sell first. However there are ways to eliminate this dilemma altogether. Some agents offer a Guaranteed Sale Trade-Up Program that actually takes the problem away from you entirely by guaranteeing the sale of your present home before you take possession of your next one. If you find a home you wish to purchase and have not sold your current home yet, they will buy your home from you themselves so you can make your move free of stress and worry.

6. Failing to coordinate closings

With two major transactions to coordinate together with all the people involved such as mortgage experts, appraisers, lawyers, loan officers, title company representatives, home inspectors or pest inspectors the chances of mix ups and miscommunication go up dramatically. To avoid a logistical nightmare ensure you work closely with your agent.

 

 

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Get An Extra Hour Out Of Every Day

How can you get an extra hour from each day? This is a basic challenge for all of us. We've come up with many practical ways to secure one more precious hour from each day. (Remember that each of these tips is probably adaptable to your particular situation.) Here they are...

1. Make up and follow a detailed, daily schedule.

2. Get up earlier.

3. Do less passive reading, TV watching and the like.

4. Avoid allowing others to waste your time.

5. If you commute to work, use the time to study or plan.

6. Organize your work; do it systematically.

7. Make creative use of lunchtime.

8. Delegate authority if possible.

9. Spend less time on unimportant phone calls.

10. Think first; then do the job.

11. Do instead of dream.

12. Work hardest when you're mentally most alert.

13. Eliminate activities which make little contribution to the best results for your life.

14. Always do the toughest jobs first.

15. Before each major act, ask: Is this REALLY necessary?

16. Choose interesting and constructive literature for spare-moment reading.

17. Learn how to sleep. Sleep soundly, then work refreshed.

18. Skip desserts.

19. Stop smoking.

20. Write notes or letters while waiting for others.

21. Always carry an envelope with paper in it, stamps and a few postcards.

22. Combine tasks which are done in the same area.

23. Be prompt for all appointments.

24. Lay out your clothes the night before.

25. Relax. Ready yourself for the important jobs in life.

26. Concentrate on the specific task you're doing.

27. Make constructive use of those five or ten-minute waiting periods. Carry with you magazine article clippings on helpful subjects.

28. Always carry a pencil and paper to capture important-to-you ideas.

29. Learn to do other "unnecessary things" while watching TV or listening to the radio.

30. Call on specialists to accomplish work you cannot do efficiently.

31. Learn to read more rapidly.

32. Nap an hour after dinner. Then take a shower. Begin the evening hours relaxed and refreshed.

33. Avoid making a "production" out of small tasks.

34. Avoid interruptions.

35. Tackle only one job at a time.

36. Search out job shortcuts.

37. Know your limitations.

38. Work to your top capacity.

 

 

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