Homeowners Who are Underwater are Not Alone in Massachusetts

Posted: May 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

By Anthony Buono

If you are in a position where you are underwater on your home, you are not alone in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, 17% of homeowners are underwater in Massachusetts. If you think you need to sell your home, and you believe you will have to sell at a loss, it is important to solicit the help of a real estate attorney. There may be ways to keep you in your home. But, if you think you are in financial trouble, the time to act is now.

Losses Rise as the Boston Housing Market Tumbles

Greater Boston’s housing market has tumbled back to 2002’s pricing levels, and one out of every three homes being sold is resulting in a loss.

The price declines have left approximately 17 percent of the Massachusetts homeowners underwater, that is, holding a mortgage balance that exceeds a home’s value. Greater Boston’s “underwater” rate — essentially one in six homeowners — is up from the 14 percent of Massachusetts homeowners who were underwater at the end of 2010 and is far ahead of the 11.7 percent mark set a year earlier. The national negative-equity rate is 28.4 percent.

The local housing data was included in a national report published Monday by Zillow.com.

According to the Zillow analysis, Boston-area home values were down 5.3 percent on a year-over-year basis as of March 31 and had tumbled 2.6 percent from the end of 2010. The region’s average single-family home value was $305,800 at the end of the quarter, versus the national average of $169,600. Pricing averages are derived from Zillow’s Home Value Index and include all homes, and “not just those that sold in a particular period.”

Boston-area prices have slipped 23.2 percent since their peak in July 2005 and are back to where they were nearly a decade ago in June 2002.

The trends appear to be forcing more homeowners to sell at a loss. According to Zillow, 33.9 percent of all first-quarter sales went for less than their prior purchase prices. That was up roughly 3 percent on both a year-over-year basis as well as a quarter-to-quarter basis. Nationally, 37.7 percent of all home sales were at a loss in the first quarter — a new record.

Original article-Boston Business Journal by Craig M. Douglas

Kitchen Renovations are Affordable with Countertop Resurfacing

Posted: May 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

There is nothing stating that a kitchen remodeling project needs to be more than you can afford and let's face it; remodeling a kitchen can be an expensive endeavor. Appliances and paint to floors, cabinets and countertops, completely transforming a kitchen requires quite a bit of money and time. Often, doing the entire project at once is cost-prohibitive. But there are ways to transform your kitchen without spenging too much. How? Creative solutions to kitchen renovation, like countertop resurfacing. You can save a lot of money and hassle with countertop resurfacing as opposed to replacing them. Countertops are heavy and cling to everything, including the kitchen sink. By just resurfacing, you can avoid the labor and cost of completely removing them, let alone replacing them.

In resurfacing your countertop, one option is to remove the old laminate and replace it with new laminate. But, there are other options for countertop resurfacing as well. You can install ceramic tiles over the old countertops. You can also polish existing old stone or other solid material countertops to give them a brighter and fresher look. The countertops are a focal point for the eye when you enter a kitchen and they dramatically change the style of an area. Changing the countertop will allow you to carry through with the design you want while visually impacting the space with just one renovation. Countertop resurfacing can transform your kitchen into something cozier and more stylish without killing your home remodeling budget.

Ford Cars That Can Rebuild The American Auto Industry

Posted: May 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: truck, vehicle | No Comments »

The American auto industry has always faced stiff competition against foreign manufacturers. But Detroit's Big Three - General Motors, Ford and Chrysler - have really taken a beating over the last few years. Soaring manufacturing costs have hampered production, forced plant closures and left tens of thousands without jobs. Rising gasoline prices and sticker shock sent potential customers running for cover to less expensive, more efficient models.

And then there was that little matter of an economic crisis that wreaked havoc on the financial nuts and bolts of the industry. But after some tough sledding, the American auto industry seems poised for a rebound, and car makers are pulling out all the stops to create fuel-efficient, fun-to-drive, attractive and affordable vehicles.

It's not surprising that the Big Three are focusing for the most part on smaller vehicles, but they're also redesigning tried-and-true favorites that earned Detroit its moniker, "The Motor City". Here are a few examples of Ford cars that America is banking on to revitalize the industry stateside.

Ford Focus & Focus Electric
The Ford Focus was introduced in North America in 1999 for the 2000 model year in three styles: as a hatchback - perfect for small families; a compact four-door sedan; and a larger four-door wagon. It quickly became one of the top sellers in America, but fell out of favor with increasing competition. However, the 2012 edition of the Ford Focus has been redesigned to include high-tech interior options, like keyless ignition, touch-pads on the steering-wheel and a rearview camera. It also has a sleeker, sportier exterior and is listed as the eighth most affordable small car. Ford is also set to throw its hat into the electric car ring with the Focus Electric model, scheduled to launch later this year.

Ford Mustang & Taurus
Among Ford's other offerings are its again-redesigned Mustang, ranked the top muscle car on the market. Its 305-horsepower V6 engine, tweaked steering and suspension settings and estimated 31 mpg highway help make this baby a keeper. Also, redesigned to attract a hipper audience is the Ford Taurus, which has been ranked the best large car for the money.

The Bottom Line for the American Auto Industry
Experts are predicting that U.S. automakers are on the rebound. Shares and profits are up; sales are on the rise, and the Big Three seem to have emerged from the financial crisis intact and ready to move on. And while challenges remain and automakers shouldn't count their proverbial chickens before they hatch, all signs are pointing to a positive, upbeat road ahead.

Original article on SFgate.com by Angela Daidone

Heart Rate Charts

Posted: May 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

... By Karli Taylor

You’re on the treadmill walking at a nice easy warm-up pace. With nothing else interesting to look at, you start to read the heart rate chart that is printed next to the digital display. You find your age and follow the row over to find your current heart rate and… you are working too hard?

This is a classic example of why you should not believe everything you read. Yes, I know that this chart is printed on the cardio machines in every gym you have ever stepped foot in, and I’m sure it hangs on the wall in many group exercise studios across the globe as well. The simply truth is this: it is wrong. The numbers on this chart are based on a formula used to ESTIMATE maximum heart rate. This basic formula, 220-age= max heart rate, is inherently flawed. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.

Mrs. Smith is a 30 year old marathon runner. She runs approximately 40 miles a week, is an ideal weight and is in good health. Her friend, Mrs. Jones, is also 30 years old. The similarities end there. Mrs. Jones is a smoker. She has not exercised in over 10 years, and according to most guidelines for height and weight, she is morbidly obese. Based on the chart found on that treadmill, both Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Smith should be working in the same heart rate range to burn fat...

Sound right? At 75% of their estimated max heart rate (220-30= 190 * .7 ), or 133 beats per minute, one of these ladies is barely sweating while the other is gasping for breath. If these charts are all wrong, what do you do? There is a simple formula to find your target heart rate range (70-85% of your maximum heart rate), but to calculate it, you need to find your resting heart rate.

If you wake up without an alarm, take your pulse 3 mornings in a row before your feet hit the ground and take the average number to get your resting. If you do rely on an alarm, take your pulse if you get up on the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. If you do not wake up during the night, take your pulse right before you fall asleep. Try not to watch and scary or suspenseful television shows in bed though!

Once you get that number, plug it in to these formulas to get the high and low end of your target heart rate range:

220-age- resting * .70 + resting = 70% max heart rate.
220-age-resting *.85 + resting= 85% max heart rate.

Kick Start Your Weekend on Wednesdays in Downtown Charlotte

Posted: May 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Alive After Five is how the city of Charlotte kick-starts the weekend. As the largest weekly happy hour and free entertainment celebration, Alive After Five provides a destination for friends to gather and unwind, while enjoying great live music, tasty beverages and a fun, casual atmosphere. With its prominent location at Piedmont Town Center, close to other great restaurants, bars and shopping, Alive After Five is the launching pad for Charlotte’s nightlife and entertainment.

The Bands play at Piedmont Town Center from 5-10pm on Wednesday nights. Official after parties will be held at Whisky River, Suite, and BlackFinn. Wristbands from Alive After Five will allow guests free entry into after the after parties.

The Band schedule for June:
June 1- Liquid Pleasure
June 8- Bad Daddies
June 15- Black and Blue

But Alive After Five has even more benefits than live, free music. All that music and fun can really make you hungry! There are $20 Dining Deals in area restaurants such as Vida Mexican, Kitchen y Cantina, BlackFinn, Enso, StrikeCity, and Libretto's. And, each restaurant offers a special dining menu.