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Mortgage Debt Relief Extended for another year

by Jamie Namock on January 3, 2013

The Mortgage Debt Relief Act (“MDRA”) enacted in 2007 was scheduled to expire December 31, 2012.  In the “fiscal cliff” legislation just enacted by Congress, however, the MDRA has been extended until December 31, 2013.  Therefore, after a foreclosure or a short sale of a home in Arizona, any debt forgiveness of a mortgage loan used to purchase or improve the home will continue to not be taxable income. As the Arizona Housing market is trending upward we can expect the need for this type of government legislature will be almost none by years end.

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2013 Home owner tax environment

by Jamie Namock on December 4, 2012

A look at what we know about the murky 2013 tax environment

Congress and President Obama continue to negotiate in an effort to avoid the “fiscal cliff” if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire at the end of the year. As a result, many features of the 2013 tax environment remain murky.

No one knows, for example, what the personal income tax rates will be in 2013. However, we do know a few things for sure: The IRS has announced many of the inflation adjustments for 2013 and employers in many states will face increased federal unemployment taxes.

2013 inflation adjustments

Every year the IRS adjusts for inflation tax brackets, tables, exemptions, thresholds and other items. The IRS has announced some, but not all, of the adjustments for 2013.

  • The annual exclusion for gifts in 2013 is $14,000, up from $13,000 in 2012.
  • The amount unearned income of minor children that is not subject to the “Kiddie tax” is $1,000 for 2013, up from $950 in 2012.
  • 401(k)/403(b)/457 contribution limit: $17,500 (up $500 from 2012).
  • The income limit for full Roth IRA contributions for 2013 is $127,000 for singles and $188,000 for married joint filers.
  • The income limit for making deductible contributions to traditional IRAs rises to $115,000 from $112,000 for married couples filing jointly ($69,000 for singles) if the worker is covered by a workplace retirement plan.
  • For 2013, a qualifying high-deductible health plan (HDHP) paired with a Health Savings Account must have a deductible of at least $1,250 for self-only coverage or $2,500 for family coverage, and must limit annual out-of-pocket expenses of the beneficiary to $6,250 for self-only coverage and $12,500 for family coverage. For 2013, you can contribute up to $3,250 for self-only coverage or $6,450 for family coverage. These amounts are increased by $1,000 for people over 55 years of age.
  • The standard mileage rate used to calculate the deductible cost of operating an automobile for business is 56.5 cents in 2013, up one cent from 2012.

Higher unemployment taxes in some states

Employers in any of the several states that have not repaid loans from the federal unemployment fund will have to pay higher federal unemployment taxes (per the Federal Unemployment Tax Act) in 2013. Employers in Indiana will pay 0.9 percent more up to the $7,000 annual ceiling. This translates to as much as $63 extra in tax per employee. Employers in the following states will have to pay 0.6 percent more — up to $42 more tax per employee: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. Employers in Arizona, Delaware and Vermont will have to pay 0.3 percent more, a tax increase of up to $21 per employee.

Medicare premiums rise

In 2013, the basic Medicare Part B premium will rise to $104.90 per month, up $5 a month over the charge for this year.

Remember, if you’re self-employed, you may be able to deduct your Medicare premiums as a special personal deduction. See “How to deduct your Medicare premiums.”

 

By Stephen Fishman
Inman News®

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Price your house to sell fast

by Jamie Namock on August 22, 2012

If home lacks features of recent comps, it’s time to subtract value

By Dian Hymer
Inman News®

A first-quarter survey of homebuyers and sellers done by HomeGain.com, a real estate services website, revealed that 76 percent of homeowners believe their home is worth more than the list price recommended by their real estate agent.

Homebuyers usually have a better grasp of current market value in the area where they’re looking to buy than do sellers who own and live there. Buyers look at a lot of new listings. They make offers, know what sells quickly and for how much, and what doesn’t and why. HomeGain reported that homebuyers still think sellers are overpricing their homes.

Your home is worth what a buyer will pay for it given current market conditions. This may not be the same as your opinion of what your home will sell for, or what you hope it’s worth. Relying on emotion rather than logic when selecting a list price can lead to disappointing results.

The prime opportunity for selling a home is when it’s new on the market. This is when it is most marketable. Buyers wait for the new listings. Usually, listings receive the most showings and have the busiest open houses during the first couple of weeks they are on the market.

This is the opportunity to show your house off to advantage with a list price that attracts buyers’ attention. Listings that sell today are priced right for the market. Buyers need to feel comfortable that they are getting a good deal.

Buyers won’t overpay if they feel home prices are still declining, and in some areas of the country, they still are. In areas of strong sales, buyers may shy away from multiple-offer situations if they feel the recovery is fragile and that prices may slide further before stabilizing. Even in areas where home sales have been strong in the first half of 2012, local practitioners wonder how long the uptick will last.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: When selecting a list price, it helps to understand how real estate agents and appraisers establish an expected selling price or price range for your home. They research the recent listing inventory for homes similar to yours that sold. The most recent sales give the best indication of the direction of the market.

They analyze these comparable sales giving more value to your home for attributes that it has that the comparables don’t, like a remodeled kitchen. Value is subtracted from your home for features it lacks when compared to the sold comparables, like an easily accessible, level backyard.

It’s difficult for sellers to step back and take an attitude of detached interest in their home. But it’s essential to do so if you want to sell successfully in this market. For example, your home could actually sell for less, not more, than a comparable sale because you added a swimming pool in an area where most homebuyers would rather have a yard with a generous lawn.

If the comparable sale information suggests that the value of homes like yours is declining, select a list price that undercuts the competition to drive buyers — and hopefully offers — to your home. You can take a more aggressive stance on pricing if the comparables show that prices are moving up.

If there is high demand for homes like yours, you may receive more than one offer. But don’t list too high. It’s better to stay in the range shown by the comparables and expose the house to the market before accepting offers. The market will drive the price up if it’s warranted.

THE CLOSING: Don’t rely on rumors circulating in the neighborhood about how high a home sold. Prices tend to get inflated when passed from one person to another. Select your list price based on hard facts.

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Proposed mortgage rules would preserve points & fees

by Jamie Namock on August 22, 2012

Regulators: Consumers should have option to buy down interest rates

By Inman News
Inman News®

Mortgage lenders would have to give consumers the option of a no-point, no-fee loan under proposed rules put forward by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with the intention of helping consumers understand mortgage costs and comparison shop.

The proposed rules would require that lenders provide an interest-rate reduction when consumers elect to pay upfront points or fees.

“Consumers have a hard time comparing loans when they are dealing with a bewildering array of points and fees,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a statement. “We want to provide consumers with clearer options and enable them to choose the loan that they believe is right for them.”

In its latest proposal, the CFPB is backing down from a plan to ban origination points that vary with the size of the loan. In May, the bureau said origination points are easily confused with discount points, and that it was considering allowing lenders to charge only flat origination fees. The new rules would still prohibit the payment of incentives to mortgage loan originators for steering borrowers into higher-priced loans.

The new proposal, if adopted, “would promote stability in the mortgage market, which would otherwise face radical restructuring of the current pricing structure” in order to comply with provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act aimed at steering, the bureau said.

Dodd-Frank places certain restrictions on the points and fees offered with most mortgages and the qualification and compensation of loan originators. Without the proposed rule-making, Dodd-Frank would prohibit payment of upfront points and fees for most mortgages, even when consumers prefer a loan with a lower interest rate and some upfront costs, the CFPB said.

The bureau is seeking public comments until Oct. 16, which it will review before issuing final rules in January 2013.

In a statement, the Mortgage Bankers Association said it “applauds the bureau’s efforts to protect borrowers by eliminating steering, and the proposed rule appears to be a good step in that direction. Consumers benefit from a vibrant and competitive mortgage market with a diversity of players, and this rule, as it relates to loan originator qualification and screening, should ensure a level playing field for originators, regardless of business model.”

The MBA noted that the CFPB has unveiled  a number of proposed rules in the last few weeks that, “if finalized properly over time, will go a long way toward proving needed clarity and certainty to lenders and consumers, helping increase access to credit for qualified borrowers, stabilizing and growing the housing market. We look forward to reviewing the proposed rule more thoroughly over the coming weeks and providing comprehensive comments.”

Last week, the CFPB said it also intends to require lenders to provide home loan applicants with copies of written appraisals and other home value estimates developed in connection with their loan application.

Another proposed rule that would establish new appraisal requirements for higher-risk mortgages would require lenders to obtain an additional appraisal at no cost to the consumer if the seller obtained the property for a lower price during the past six months.

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Refinance or not to Refinance

by Jamie Namock on July 12, 2012

Don’t restart the 30-year clock on a refinance

Rates on 10- and 15-year mortgages now in the 2s

By Tom Kelly
Inman News®

For a guy who once begged for a home loan under 12 percent, I could not believe my ears.

“For people with decent credit and some equity, we’re quoting fixed-rate loans in the twos.”

The conversation took place on a city bus, between two friends headed downtown for lunch. Local lenders soon verified the information. Better yet, family friends validated it by sharing their second-home example.

Home mortgages in the twos? Uncharted territory. While 30-year, fixed-rate loans have been under 4 percent at several times this year, I underestimated the possibility of a lower rate with a shorter term. As loan terms are reduced, so is the lender’s risk in extending credit, hence a lower interest rate.

To confirm what I heard on the bus, I made a few calls to lenders.

Mark Palmer, vice president of loan production for Seattle Mortgage, said a growing number of his refinance customers have requested 15-year and 10-year loans and a few have made inquiries on new-purchase loans. Rates and fees are the same for both principal residences and second homes.

“Consumers are much more savvy about saving money,” Palmer said. “They don’t want to restart the 30-year clock on a mortgage, especially if they have been in the home for a while. When they see they can get a 10-year loan in the twos, they are willing to listen to what’s possible.”

It used to be that borrowers tended to take the lowest interest rate available, knowing they would probably sell and move on to a bigger and better home. Now, with double-digit appreciation no longer a given, they are staying put longer and viewing the home more as a comfortable shelter rather than an investment gamble.

Recent data supports the growing pay-it-off mindset. A recent Freddie Mac report showed that 31 percent of recent refinancers shortened their loan terms, which is the second-highest level since 2002. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that applications for 15-year loans were at their highest point of the year.

“Historically low rates and an average of three-quarters of a percentage point difference between 30- and 15-year mortgage fixed-rate mortgages are important drivers for moving to a shorter term,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

(When we went to press, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.89 percent, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage market survey. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.62 percent. Both rates were all-time lows.)

Lenders say many consumers are still unaware of how low rates have dropped in relation to their present interest rate. Others simply don’t want to go through the hassle of refinancing even though they might save a few bucks each month.

Unless you are haunted by an immediate want or need for a large sum of money — for example, for medical expenses or a major investment — the decision to refinance should be based on how long you will be in your house. If you are going to be in the house a short time, the fees and other costs may outweigh even the record-low interest rate.

If you are reluctant to refinance because of your unknown time in the home, there are ways of reducing your loan principal yourself without refinancing. You can always pay more each month toward the principal.

Another option gaining popularity is to take the money you would pay for refinance fees (plus maybe other cash you’ve saved) and plunk it down on the principal portion of the loan. The money would pay off the original loan faster and save interest along the way. It’s not a bad idea considering you could borrow the money back via a lower-fee (but higher rate) home-equity loan.

One family that took advantage of a fixed-rate loan in the twos were friends who restructured the ownership of their lake cabin. After a remodel that included a bunkhouse and an enhanced living room and kitchen, the parents and their three adult children all “went on the line” for a new mortgage.

In essence, four parties with equal shares in the property signed for the mortgage. All parties pay a monthly amount into a fund that takes care of the mortgage, property taxes, insurance and maintenance. The mortgage, a 10-year loan at 2.65 percent, is automatically deducted each month from the fund.

“We could have done it with a higher payment and longer term,” the father said. “But now it will be paid off when the kids are still relatively young. While we didn’t really want to get a mortgage, having a loan in the twos doesn’t feel so bad.”

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Bank of America is offering a great deal for distressed home owners that can qualify for a short sale, see below.

Short Sale Relocation Assistance Program:
Home owners could receive $5,000 to $30,000 in relocation assistance 

 Financially distressed Home Owners  want to avoid foreclosure. I want to help you and so does B of A

That’s why Bank of America is excited to offer enhanced relocation assistance. Qualified homeowners who initiate a Preapproved Price Short Sale (without an offer) could be eligible to receive $5,000 – $30,000* in relocation assistance and owe no more on your mortgage with the sale of their property, depending on the investor involved. 

Don’t miss this limited-time offer to get your distressed clients the help they need by initiating a Preapproved Price Short Sale today.

Homeowners must participate in one of the Preapproved Price Short Sale Programs, such as:

  • HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives)
  • Bank of America’s Cooperative Short Sale Program

Specific investor participation and eligibility criteria do apply to these programs.

Homeowners not meeting eligibility requirements for the enhanced relocation incentive may still qualify to receive $2,500 – $3,000 in relocation assistance from government- and bank-sponsored programs.

For more information call Jamie at 602-740-0747.

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Interest Rates at Record Lows

by Jamie Namock on May 14, 2012

Mortgage rates hit record lows for a second week in a row as investors — including banks — continue to see mortgage-backed securities that fund most mortgage loans as a hedge against economic uncertainty.

The Federal Reserve reports that banks are more reluctant to originate mortgages to borrowers with flawed credit than they were in 2006, but are nevertheless stepping up their purchases of loans that have been packaged into mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.83 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending May 10, down from 3.84 percent last week and 4.63 percent a year ago, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey. That’s a new low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971.

For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 3.05 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 3.07 percent last week and 3.82 percent a year ago. That’s a new low in records dating to 1991.

Rates on five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans averaged 2.81 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from 2.85 percent last week and 3.41 percent a year ago. Rates on five-year ARMs hit an all-time low in records dating to 2005 of 2.78 percent during the week ending April 19.

For one-year Treasury-indexed ARMs, rates averaged 2.73 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from 2.7 percent last week and 3.11 percent a year ago.

Although mortgage rates are down nearly a full percentage point from a year ago, applications are at about the same level, according to a separate survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Demand for purchase mortgages during the week ending May 4 was up a seasonally adjusted 3.4 percent from the week before, but was down 0.4 percent from a year ago, the MBA said in releasing its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

Addressing a conference on banking today, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke restated the Fed’s concerns that mortgage lending standards remain too tight.

While a return to “pre-crisis lending standards” for home loans “wouldn’t be appropriate,” Bernanke said current standards “may be limiting or preventing lending to many creditworthy borrowers.”

A recent Fed survey showed banks are less willing to originate loans that meet Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s minimum credit scores than they were in 2006 — in some cases, even when borrowers make 20 percent down payments. The reason, Bernanke said, is the risk that Fannie and Freddie will make them buy back defaulted loans if the underwriting or documentation is judged deficient.

In a Jan. 4 white paper, the Federal Reserve outlined what it sees as “extraordinary problems plaguing the housing market,” including an excess supply of vacant homes, tight mortgage credit, and the costs of an “unwieldy and inefficient” foreclosure process.

“The significant tightening in household access to mortgage credit likely reflects not only a correction of the unsound underwriting practices that emerged over the past decade, but also a more substantial shift in lenders’ and (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s) willingness to bear risk,” the white paper warned.

Ironically, Bernanke said that banks are also stepping up their purchases of mortgage-backed securities, particularly those that are guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie.

“In this challenging time for housing markets, banks are attracted by the securities’ government guarantee,” he said. Some larger banks “may be accumulating these securities in preparation for more-stringent liquidity regulations.”

The Fed says banks’ purchases of MBS “have grown rapidly” in recent months. Increased demand for MBS pushes their prices up, and their yields down. So while banks are still keeping stringent underwriting standards in place, they are helping push mortgage rates for borrowers who can qualify down, by channeling more of their reserves into MBS.

Article written by Inman News.

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Things to know about Arizona

by Jamie Namock on April 25, 2012

Here are some facts you might not know

 

1.   Arizona has 3,928 mountain peaks and summits-more mountains than any one of the other Mountain States (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming).

2.   All of New England, plus the state of Pennsylvania would fit inside Arizona’s borders.

3.   Arizona became the 48th state and last of the contiguous states on February 14, 1912.

4.   Arizona’s disparate climate can yield both the highest temperature across the nation and the lowest temperature across the nation in the same day.

5.   There are more wilderness areas in Arizona than in the entire Midwest. Arizona alone has 90 wilderness areas, while the Midwest has 50.

6. Arizona has 26 peaks that are more than 10,000 feet in elevation.

7.   Arizona has the largest contiguous stand of ponderosa pines in the world stretching from near Flagstaff along the Mogollon Rim to the White Mountains region.

8.   Yuma, Arizona is the country’s highest producer of winter vegetables, especially lettuce.

9.   Arizona is the 6th largest state in the nation, covering 113,909 square miles.

10.   Out of all the states in the U.S., Arizona has the largest percentage of its land designated as Indian lands.

 

11.   The “Five C’s” of Arizona’s economy are: Cattle, Copper, Citrus, Cotton, and Climate.

12.  More copper is mined in Arizona than all the other states combined, and the Morenci Mine is the largest copper producer in all of North America.

 

13.   Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, two of the most prominent movie stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age, were married on March 18, 1939, in Kingman, Arizona.

14.   Covering 18,608 sq. miles, Coconino County is the second largest county by land area in the 48 contiguous United States.

15.   The world’s largest solar telescope is located at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Sells, Arizona.

16.   Bisbee, Arizona is known as the Queen of the Copper Mines because during its mining heyday it produced nearly 25 percent of the world’s copper and was the largest city in the Southwest between Saint Louis and San Francisco.

17.   Billy the Kid killed his first man, Windy Cahill, in Bonita, Arizona.

18.   Arizona grows enough cotton each year to make more than one pair of jeans for every person in the United States.

19.   Famous labor leader and activist Cesar Chavez was born in Yuma.

20.   In 1912, President William Howard Taft was ready to make Arizona a state on February 12, but it was Lincoln’s birthday. The next day, the 13th, was considered bad luck so they waited until the following day. That’s how Arizona became known as the “Valentine State.”

21.   When England’s famous London Bridge was replaced in the 1960s, the original was purchased, dismantled, shipped stone by stone and reconstructed in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, where it still stands today.

22.   Mount Lemmon, in the Santa Catalina Mountains, is the southernmost ski resort in the United States.

23.   Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch in Picacho, Arizona is the largest privately-owned ostrich ranch in the world outside South Africa.

24.   If you cut down a protected species of cactus in Arizona, you could spend more than a year in prison.

25.   The world’s largest to-scale collection of miniature airplane models is housed at the library at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.

26.   The only place in the country where mail is delivered by mule is the village of Supai, located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

27.   Located on Arizona’s western border, Parker Dam is the deepest dam in the world at 320 feet.

28.   South Mountain Park/Preserve in Phoenix is the largest municipal park in the country.

29.   Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, located about 55 miles west of Phoenix, generates more electricity than any other U.S. power plant.

30.   Oraibi, a Hopi village located in Navajo County, Arizona, dates back to before A.D. 1200 and is reputed to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in America.

31.   Built by Del Webb in 1960, Sun City, Arizona was the first 55-plus active adult retirement community in the country.

32.   Petrified wood is the official state fossil. The Petrified Forest in northeastern Arizona contains America’s largest deposits of petrified wood.

33.   Many of the founders of San Francisco in 1776 were Spanish colonists from Tubac, Arizona.

34.   Phoenix originated in 1866 as a hay camp to supply military post Camp McDowell.

35.   Rainfall averages for Arizona range from less than three inches in the deserts to more than 30 inches per year in the mountains.

36.   Rising to a height of 12,643 feet, Mount Humphreys north of Flagstaff is the state’s highest mountain.

37.   Roadrunners are not just in cartoons! In Arizona, you’ll see them running up to 17-mph away from their enemies.

38.   The Saguaro cactus is the largest cactus found in the U.S. It can grow as high as a five-story building and is native to the Sonoran Desert, which stretches across southern Arizona.

39.   Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, grew up on a large family ranch near Duncan, Arizona.

40.   The best-preserved meteor crater in the world is located near Winslow, Arizona.

41.   The average state elevation is 4,000 feet.

42.   The Navajo Nation spans 27,000 square miles across the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, but its capital is seated in Window Rock, Arizona.

43.   The amount of copper utilized to make the copper dome atop Arizona’s Capitol building is equivalent to the amount used in 4.8 million pennies.

44.   Near Yuma, the Colorado River’s elevation dips to 70 feet above sea level, making it the lowest point in the state.

45.   The geographic center of Arizona is 55 miles southeast of Prescott near the community of Mayer.

46.   You could pile four 1,300-foot skyscrapers on top of each other and they still would not reach the rim of the Grand Canyon.

47.   The hottest temperature recorded in Arizona was 128 degrees at Lake Havasu City on June 29, 1994.

48.   The coldest temperature recorded in Arizona was 40 degrees below zero at Hawley Lake on January 7, 1971.

49.   A saguaro cactus can store up to nine tons of water.

50.   The state of Massachusetts could fit inside Maricopa County (9,922 sq. miles). 51. The westernmost battle of the Civil War was fought at Picacho Pass on April 15, 1862 near Picacho Peak in Pinal County.

52.   There are 11.2 million acres of National Forest in Arizona, and one-fourth of the state forested.

53.   Wyatt Earp was neither the town marshal nor the sheriff in Tombstone at the time of the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral. His brother Virgil was the town marshal.

 

54.   On June 6, 1936, the first barrel of tequila produced in the United States rolled off the production line in Nogales, Arizona.

 

55.   The Sonoran Desert is the most biologically diverse desert in North America.

56.   Bisbee is the Nation’s southernmost mile-high city.

57.   The two largest manmade lakes in the U.S. are Lake Mead and Lake Powell-both located in Arizona.

58.   The longest remaining intact section of Route 66 can be found in Arizona and runs from Seligman to Topock, a total of 157 unbroken miles.

59.   The 13 stripes on the Arizona flag represent the 13 original colonies of the United States.

60.   The negotiations for Geronimo’s final surrender took place in Skeleton Canyon, near present day Douglas, Arizona, in 1886.

61.   Prescott, Arizona is home to the world’s oldest rodeo, and Payson, Arizona is home to the world’s oldest continuous rodeo-both of which date back to the 1880s.

62.  Kartchner Caverns, near Benson, Arizona, is a massive limestone cave with 13,000 feet of passages, two rooms as long as football fields, and one of the world’s longest soda straw stalactites: measuring 21 feet 3 inches.

 

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Heart Disease Week, Signs of the Female Heart Attack

by Jamie Namock on February 24, 2012

I first wanted to share my own story  personal heart disease and why I am posting this article. I had been feeling sick for about a week.  I had chest congestion aches, pains, coughing and weakness. Early Tuesday morning, 8/30/11, around 2a.m. I woke up feeling just miserable. I was nauseous and having some very persistent pain in my back. My wife Teresa rubbed my back and that felt better and I went back to sleep. Later that morning I was still sick but I was starting to get better. Good enough to work  most of the day. The next day, 8/31/11 around 11:30 a.m. I began feeling a lot more pain from the bottom of my rib cage up. Everything was hurting, arms, neck, head, back and chest.  I went to my local urgent care thinking I just had a severe cold or maybe even the flu. The doctor did an X-ray on my chest and gave me a prescription for some extra strength cough medicine and sent me home. Meanwhile my pain level was increasing. My loving and caring wife just knew there was something else going on with me so she consulted one of her nurse friends. After listening to my symptoms my wife’s friend had said “I don’t want to alarm you but he is probably having a heart attack” and with that we rushed to the hospital. I want to Thank my wife and her friend Lisa for saving my life.

 

The story below was sent to me from one of my clients, Gwen, author of the article is unknown. I want to share this with you because many women also have heart attack and the symptoms are not always so pronounced as they are in men but still just as deadly.

A NURSE’S HEART ATTACK EXPERIENCE

I am an ER nurse and this is the best description of this event that I
have ever heard. Please read, pay attention, and send it on!

FEMALE HEART ATTACKS

I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best
description I’ve ever read.

Women and heart attacks (Myocardial infarction). Did you know that women
rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing
heart attack.. you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold
sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the
movies. Here is the story of one woman’s experience with a heart attack.

‘I had a heart attack at about 10:30 PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior
emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was
sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my
lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually
thinking, ‘A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy
Lazy Boy with my feet propped up.

A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you’ve
been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a
dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you’ve swallowed a
golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most
uncomfortable.. You realize you shouldn’t have gulped it down so fast and
needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to
hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial
sensation–the only trouble was that I hadn’t taken a bite of anything
since about 5:00 p.m.

After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing
motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably
my aorta spasms), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my
sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR).

This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into
both jaws. ‘AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening — we
all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals
of an MI happening, haven’t we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, Dear
God, I think I’m having a heart attack!

I lowered the foot rest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a
step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this is a
heart attack, I shouldn’t be walking into the next room where the phone is
or anywhere else… but, on the other hand, if I don’t, nobody will know
that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in
a moment.

I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next
room and dialed the Paramedics… I told her I thought I was having a
heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating
into my jaws. I didn’t feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts.
She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the
front door was near to me, and if so, to un-bolt the door and then lie
down on the floor where they could see me when they came in.

I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost
consciousness, as I don’t remember the medics coming in, their
examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance,
or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly
awaken when we arrived and saw that the radiologist was already there in
his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of
the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something
like ‘Have you taken any medications?’) but I couldn’t make my mind
interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not
waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the
teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my
heart where they installed 2 side by side stints to hold open my right
coronary artery.

I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken
at least 20-30 minutes before calling the paramedics, but actually it took
perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St Jude
are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go
to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had
stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the
stints.
Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want
all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first hand.

1 Be aware that something very different is happening in your body, not
the usual men’s symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my
sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than
men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn’t know they were
having one and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or
other anti-heartburn preparation and go to bed, hoping they’ll feel better
in the morning when they wake up… which doesn’t happen. My female
friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to
call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you’ve not
felt before. It is better to have a ‘false alarm’ visitation than to risk
your life guessing what it might be!

2. Note that I said ‘Call the Paramedics.’ And if you can take an aspirin.
Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER – you are a hazard to others on the
road.

Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking
anxiously at what’s happening with you instead of the road.
Do NOT call your doctor — he doesn’t know where you live and if it’s at
night you won’t reach him anyway, and if it’s daytime, his assistants (or
answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn’t carry
the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do,
principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr will be notified later.

3. Don’t assume it couldn’t be a heart attack because you have a normal
cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated
reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it’s unbelievably high and/or
accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs are usually caused by long-term
stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly
hormones into your system to sludge things up in there. Pain in the jaw
can wake you from a sound sleep. Let’s be careful and be aware. The more
we know the better chance we could survive.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people,
you can be sure that we’ll save at least one life.

*Please be a true friend and send this article to all your friends (male &
female) who you care about!*

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The Arizona real estate market is on an upswing. All the economic news and stats are pointing toward a long sustained recovery. 6 of our most recent listings have had multiple offers from aggressive buyers competing for their homes. So what info do we have that leads us to believe this white hot market will cool off in a few short months? Check out our Market Update below.

Article Summary

1.) Arizona housing inventory is the lowest it has been in over 5 years. (see chart below)
2.) The 5 largest banks just settled a major suit with the government, bringing nearly 2 Billion to the AZ economy.
3.) Home prices in AZ have risen for four consecutive months, first time since the housing collapse. (see chart below)
4.)HomeSmart agents handling a large portion of the foreclosure business in Arizona have seen foreclosures dry up in recent months.

The Good News

Arizona real estate has been in the news quite a bit over the last month. First, there was the report released that confirmed Arizona was the only state in the U.S. that experienced an increase in home values. The speculation is that because Arizona was one of the hardest hit states when the housing bubble burst that it is also going to be one of the first to rebound.
Next came the news that the 5 biggest mortgage companies in the United States agreed to a 26 Billion dollar settlement with the government. This 26 Billion is to go back into the pockets of homeowners that had been harmed by fraudulent foreclosure processes put in place by the banks. This is also seen as great economic news for the state of Arizona. Arizona residents are expected to receive nearly 2 Billion dollars from the banks settlement, that money will go directly into the Arizona economy.

So with all this good news, what is this 90 day window we are talking about? Before we explain why all this good news might not last, let me give you one more piece of good news. Take a look at the three charts below, for the first time since the market collapsed all of the major market trends are pointing in the right direction.

Average Sales Price In Arizona.

We have now seen the average sales price rise for 4 consecutive months. The metric jumped nearly $15,000 in 4 short months. So what are the reasons for the turn around?

Why is Arizona the only state that is seeing this kind of improvement? The economy is partially to thank, but the real secret is the shortage in houses for sale.

Arizona Housing Inventory

The housing inventory in Arizona has been steadily declining now for the past year, this has more to do with the lack of foreclosures being processed by the banks than anything else, but we will get to that in a moment. At the height of the housing crisis, there were over 57,000 homes on the market in Arizona, as of the writing of this article there are just above 16,000. We have not seen inventories this low since the height of the market back in 2005 and 2006.

Days on market

The average days on market has been nearly cut in half over the past year, this is truly incredible when you consider this is not the amount of days that it takes to receive an offer, but instead it reflects the amount of days necessary to complete the entire transaction. Still not stunned? Consider this, the days on market metric also includes short sale listings, which can take upwards of 6 months to get closed. Yet the DOM is still under 90 for the first time in years.

 

Fallout from the bank settlement

The truth is all of these current factors, the low inventory, the rising home values, and in some part the economic turnaround are due to one forgotten truth. While the banks were in negotiations with the federal government they basically quit foreclosing on properties. They did this because they knew they were going to have to pay out a sum of money for every house they foreclosed on between 2009 and when the agreement was reached.

So the banks made a strategic decision to halt foreclosures and save themselves the penalty they would eventually be paying. So many homeowners that were late on payments never received a foreclosure date, and many of those that had already been issued a foreclosure date saw that date pushed back until after a settlement could be reached.

Short Term Gain

This dramatic decrease in foreclosures eventually helped dry up the houses for sale in Arizona, which in turn increased competition for the current homes on the market and drove up prices. There is however a flip side of the coin. Even though these huge banks were not processing as many foreclosures, it does not mean that homeowners were not still falling behind on their payments.

Long Term Pain

So as the banks begin to ramp back up their foreclosure process, they will not only be dealing with the foreclosures to come, but they will also be cleaning up all the foreclosures they let slip through the cracks during the bank negotiations. Its possible, because of these circumstances prices might not only fall, but fall back even further than they were just 4 or 5 months ago.

What got the banks into trouble in the first place was moving to quickly, and not paying enough attention. Lets hope that the banks have learned their lesson and will take their time getting these foreclosure homes back on the market. While we can’t predict the banks, one thing is clear, with the banks ramping up their foreclosure process again the inventory levels can’t stay this low. More homes on the market means less competition, and less competition typically means lower prices.

Now that we know the banks have come to an agreement and will resume the foreclosure process, we expect it will take nearly 90 days before the market will see a major impact. Let us know in the comments below how long you think it will take, and if you disagree with us completely please let us know, we value your opinion.

The foreclosure nightmare that has plagued the U.S. and Arizona in particular over the last few years will eventually come to an end, but what we are seeing now is not that end, but it paints a good picture of what the end will look like.

Article Written by Relocateaz

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