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Get More Out of Household Items with Double- Duty Tips

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From removing stains to shining shoes, you can do more than you think with common household items. Here are a dozen ideas just to get you started:

Mayo for water rings – Water rings on the table? Dab on mayonnaise (not the lite kind), let sit for a few hours and wipe away the mayo and the water ring.

Eyeglass case – When packing for your next vacation, use a spare eyeglass case for safely stowing jewelry, ear buds, chargers or other small items.

Kitchen tongs – Use them to help you grab something from a high closet shelf or something that fell behind the washer or dryer.

Liquid laundry pre-treater– Use it to loosen labels on washable hard surfaces or that annoying adhesive left by price stickers.

Emery boards – Use them to gently buff away stains on your suede handbags or shoes.

Table spoon – After chopping onions or garlic, neutralize the smell by rubbing your hands on a stainless steel spoon under running water.

Kneadable art eraser – It does a fine job of removing scuffmarks from tile or wooden floors.

Drinking straws – Making a bouquet or floral centerpiece? Firm up the stems of tulips, daffodils and other flowers by inserting each stem into a drinking straw before adding it to a vase or bowl. Cut straws to size if you need to.

Newspaper – Spiff up dark colored shoes in a pinch by rubbing them with a balled-up sheet of black and white newspaper. (No polish needed.)

Cooking spray – Spritz a little on a squeaky door hinge, then swing the door back and forth a few times until the squeaking stops.

Rubber gloves – Grab one from under the sink and use to help you open a tight or stuck jar lid.

Kitchen colander – The old pasta drainer provides a wring-proof way to get the water out of hand-washed delicates.  Push the water out, let drip for a bit and lay flat to dry.

Copyright© 2014 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.

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6 Leadership Classics Worth Reading (Or Re-Reading)

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Here are six leadership classics worth reading (or re-reading) to help maximize your success:

How To Win Friends and Influence People. Dale Carnegie’s classic is a one-to-one communication manual that covers techniques for handling people, making people like you, winning people over to your way of thinking, and even helping them change (for the better!) without arousing resentment.

Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization. The legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden knows how to create winning organizations. In this book, he teaches you how to do the same through his Pyramid of Success, stressing the importance of preparation, and perhaps more importantly, the processes.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares why creating an office culture that values happiness first can produce amazing results, not only in customer satisfaction, but also in employee motivation and loyalty—and your own happiness as a result.

The One Minute Manager. Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson’s book has sold over 13 million copies worldwide, and focuses on three techniques: clarifying the goals of your organization, giving praise to your team, and appropriately reprimanding when things go wrong… all in one minute each!

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. This leadership “fable” by multiple-best-selling author and business consultant Patrick Lencioni reveals what’s at the heart of why teams fail—regardless of the dedication of key members—and the timeless method he uses to fix the problem.

Good to Great. Jim Collins offers the results of an exhaustive five-year study of all Fortune 500 companies. He identifies why only 11 of those companies achieved excellent long-term results, while the rest floundered under poor leadership—and how you can avoid making the same mistakes in your team.

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Mortgage Market Weekly – 7/21/2014

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In This Issue…

Last Week in Review: Housing numbers and retails sales were disappointing, wholesale inflation is heating up, and tensions overseas had a big impact on the markets.

Forecast for the Week: Key housing and inflation reports will be released, while earnings season and tensions overseas could impact the markets.

Last Week in Review                                         

Some like it hot. That sentiment does not apply to the Bond markets, when it comes to hotter than expected inflation. Learn what sectors of the economy are heating up, which ones are cooling off—and how the markets and rates responded.

Housing Starts were gloomy in June, as they declined by 9.3 percent from May to an annual rate of 893,000, well below the 1.020 million expected. This was the slowest pace in nine months, led by a drop in single-family homes and apartments. Building Permits, a sign of future construction, also fell by 4.2 percent to an annual rate of 963,000, coming in below expectations. There was a bright spot, as the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index came in at 53. Readings above 50 indicate that builders see conditions as good, and this was the first reading above 50 this year. Overall, the housing sector has shown signs of recovery, but activity has leveled off and some readings this year continue to be disappointing.

Retail Sales for June also cooled, coming in at the lowest level since the near -1.0 percent recorded in January. Retail Sales account for about one-third of consumer spending, and they are one of the main drivers of U.S. economic activity, making this report an important one to monitor. On a bright side, the report showed that consumers continue to spend at a better than modest pace.

Meanwhile, the Producer Price Index for June showed that inflation at the wholesale level came in hotter than expected. Remember that inflation is the arch enemy of Bonds, as it reduces the value of fixed investments like Bonds. And since home loan rates are tied to Mortgage Bonds, when inflation heats up, Bonds and home loan rates typically worsen. The upcoming Consumer Price Index for June will be closely watched for any signs that inflation is heating up at the consumer level.

What does this mean for home loan rates? If inflation continues to heat up, it could have a negative impact on Bonds and home loan rates, as we saw early last week. However, the continued tensions in the Ukraine and the Middle East could keep investors in the safe haven of the Bond markets, which would help home loan rates in the process. And earnings season is sure to have an impact—if numbers disappoint, Bonds and home loan rates could benefit.

The bottom line is that home loan rates remain near some of their best levels of the year and now is a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance.


 Forecast for the Week                                          

Key housing and inflation reports dominate the headlines. Plus, earnings season is in full bloom.

  • Look for the closely-watched Consumer Price Index for June on Tuesday.
  • In housing news, Existing Home Sales for June will also be released on Tuesday, followed by June’s New Home Sales on Thursday.
  • Weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be reported, as usual, on Thursday. Claims continue to hover near the 300,000 level.
  • Ending the week, Durable Goods Orders for June will be delivered Friday.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result. The chart below shows Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which are the type of Bond on which home loan rates are based.

When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving—and when they are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further—a red “candle” means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green “candle” means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes were on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Bonds worsened in the beginning of last week, but improved after tensions overseas caused a flight-to-safety into the Bond markets. Home loan rates remain near some of their best levels of the year and I will continue to monitor them closely.

Chart: Fannie Mae 4.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday July 18, 2014)


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