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Leslie Edwards

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Alternative to Airport Body Scanners

by Leslie Edwards

A great alternative to body scanners at airports . . .
  
The Israelis are developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners at the airports.

It's a booth you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on you. They see this as a win-win for everyone, with none of this crap about racial profiling. It also would eliminate the costs of a long and expensive trial.  Justice would be swift. Case closed!

You're in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter an announcement comes over the PA system . . . "Attention standby passengers we now have a seat available on flight number 1234. Shalom!"

Home Prices Continue to Fall

by Leslie Edwards

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Home prices are falling further, suggesting a bottom hasn't been reached in many metro areas.

Millions of foreclosures are expected to pour onto the market in the coming years. That's likely to force prices down and hurt even cities that had begun to rebound. Investigations into banks' foreclosure paperwork could further deter buyers and weigh down prices.

The past few months have been the worst time in a decade for the housing market. Few people have bought homes, and among the small pool of buyers, many have purchased foreclosures and other distressed properties.

The impact was apparent Tuesday when Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller released its latest index for home prices in 20 major U.S metro areas. The average price for all markets fell 0.2 percent in August and 15 cities posted declines.

But the foreclosure problem is far from over. A "shadow inventory" of homes on the verge of foreclosure is bound to force prices lower well into next year. About 2 million loans are in foreclosure, and another 2.4 million borrowers have missed at least 90 days of mortgage payments, according to LPS Applied Analytics.

"It's like a never-ending supply" of homes, said Daniel Alpert, managing partner at the New York investment bank Westwood Capital. He expects prices to fall another 10 percent over the next year -- and not improve much after that.

Most troubled homeowners are concentrated in cities that have already been battered by the housing bust. One in 15 homeowners in Las Vegas received a foreclosure notice in the first half of the year, according to foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc. In the Fort Myers, Fla. metro area, the ratio was one in 20; in the Phoenix metro area it was one in 23.

"If you're going down the hill, you tend to keep going down the hill," said Mark Fleming, chief economist at real estate data firm CoreLogic.

In Las Vegas, prices have fallen 57 percent from the peak four years ago. They are now at the lowest point since spring 2000. In August, they ticked up slightly -- 0.1 percent -- according to the Case-Shiller report.

Investors buying properties to sell or lease have helped to stabilize the nation's worst housing market. Demand is also coming from retirees, said Paul Bell, a real estate agent with Prudential Americana Group in Las Vegas, who noted that 45 percent of the city's buyers are paying cash

That's "helping to contribute to a floor" in the city's home prices, Bell said.

Some markets are doing relatively well. Chicago, Washington and New York have been showing consistent price increases since spring, though the pace of those increases faded over the summer. In the nation's capital, the large number of federal employees and government contract workers have kept the economy strong. New York has seen fewer foreclosures than other cities.

California may offer the most complex housing picture. Even though the state's major cities have started to show weakness, prices are well above the bottom of spring 2009.

The San Francisco area's home prices have surged more than 21 percent since then. Prices in San Diego have risen nearly 14 percent and had increased for 15 consecutive months before falling in August.

In Los Angeles they have increased by more than 10 percent in that period. Home prices would have to rise by more than 50 percent in each of the markets to return to their peaks during the housing boom.

It's still unclear how the allegations of lenders using flawed documents to foreclosure on homes will affect housing markets. Bank of America and Ally Financial Inc.'s GMAC Mortgage have started processing foreclosures again, after calling a temporary halt while they reviewed mortgage documents.

Some buyers are worried that the sale of a foreclosure could be contested -- or even canceled -- if the previous owner claims the foreclosure was invalid.

Stimulus Package Example

by Leslie Edwards

Stimulus Package, How it Works

 It is a slow day in the small Saskatchewan town of Pumphandle , and streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody is living on credit

A tourist visiting the area drives through town, stops at the motel, and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs to pick one for the night. As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

 The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer. 

 The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Co-op. 

 The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her "services" on credit. 

The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner. The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveler will not suspect anything. 

 At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 bill and leaves. 

No one produced anything.  No one earned anything.  However, the whole town is now out of debt and looks to the future with a lot more optimism. 

 And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how a Stimulus package works 

 

 

 

List Your Home For Sale In Winter

by Leslie Edwards

Sellers will often take their homes off the market if they have not sold by Fall or they will wait to list until Spring because a common belief is that homes do not sell in the Winter months.

Although there are fewer buyers looking during the 2nd Season (Fall to Spring) than during what is considered the hot Selling Season, a lot of the people looking when the weather is nice and school is out, never buy anything. 

I have found that if people are looking at  homes during the 2nd Season (Winter) are serious buyers who intend to buy. Fewer showings but the buyers are ready, willing and able to buy. Since showings tend to follow the light of day, the showing hours are compressed and evening appointments are very rare. Fewer, more convenient and better quality showings are less intrusive for the family.

Since most Retail Sellers (not distressed, short sale or foreclosure) believe nothing sells in Winter, there is less competition for the buyers who are looking.

According the National Association of Realtors 1 in 4 home sales across the US involved a distressed property.  In some areas of South Metro Atlanta the number is much higher making short sales and foreclosures the biggest competition for Retail Sellers.

Recently, some of the largest mortgage companies, including Chase, announced that they were halting foreclosures until they work out some paperwork and process issues that could void some foreclosures.  Many mortgage servicers typically slow down on foreclosing during the holidays.

If there are fewer foreclosures on the market, there is less competition for the Retail Sellers.

Less competition, less intrusion, better quality prospects.... Three good reasons to market your home now. 

I am expecting a lot of 4th Quarter real estate activity so call me and let's get started.  I offer FREE Buyer and Seller Consultations with no obligation because I want to be your real estate resource.

If you or anyone you know is behind on their mortgage, call me.  I help people avoid foreclosure.

leslie edwards                                                                       770.460.9448

CDPE Certified Distressed Property Expert                                              CRS   Certified Residential Specialist                                                      Epro  Certified Internet Professional                                                      ABR   Accredited Buyer Representative                                                       Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider

Fax  770.460.0739

Selling South Metro Atlanta including: Clayton, Fayette, Henry, Coweta, Meriwether, Pike, South Fulton & Spalding Counties                                      All the towns and cities south of the Atlanta International Airport,

Including:  Brooks, College Park, Fairburn, Fayetteville, Hampton, Jonesboro, Locust Grove, McDonough, Newnan, Sharpsburg, Stockbridge, Peachtree City, Tyrone and many more

Moving Families Since 1978

Let My Experience Work For You

leslie@leslieedwards.com

RE/MAX Around Atlanta

 See all of the properties for sale in the MLS at www.SouthMetroAtlantaMLS.com

 

 

Top 7 Behavior Based Interview Questions

by

Top 7 Behavior Based Interview Questions

 

By Michael Pate, M.A., Organizational Psychologist in South Dakota & Guest Author at ILostMyJob.com

Behavior-based interview questions are becoming increasingly common as companies look for better ways to hire high-quality candidates amid the flood of applications that they receive. These questions, in contrast to theoretical interview questions that ask what candidates would do, ask candidates what they have actually done regarding important job characteristics. Companies that use behavior-based questions have often identified competencies, or groups of behaviors, that are important to success at a given position, and will ask questions about these competencies during in-person or phone interviews.

These question types are great because you have the opportunity to tell interviewers what you have actually done in a specific situation and the positive effects that your actions have had, rather than telling them what you might have done. However, these questions also require a different approach compared to typical theoretical interview questions.

Companies look for three parts when they ask behavior-based questions:

  • The situation leading up to your action.
  • The actions you took.
  • The results of you action.

For example, let’s say you’re asked the following question: “Tell me about a specific time when you remained calm during a stressful situation.”

A high-quality behavior-based answer to this question might be:

  • “As a store manager at ABC Office Supplies, I was in charge of every employee’s safety. One day, an employee accidentally cut her hand with an Exacto Knife and began bleeding profusely.” (The Situation)
  • “As the first person to reach her, I used a clean towel to stop the bleeding, called 911, and helped her remain calm until the paramedics arrived.” (Your Action)
  • “After seven stitches at the hospital, the employee was on her way to recovery, and because of my composure under pressure, the CEO of ABC Office Supplies wrote me a very positive note of recognition that went into my permanent personnel file.” (The Result)

In contrast, a low-quality answer could be:

  • “A couple years ago, I helped an employee that had cut her hand.” (No Situation and a very vague Action)
  • “The employee was fine and I got a pat on the back from my company’s president.” (A vague Result that underplays the recognition received by the candidate)
    • When asked a behavior-based question, always remember to include all three parts so that your interviewers have a strong understanding of the situation, your actions, and the positive results of your actions. If you don’t have a work-related example, you can use a work-appropriate example, e.g. when you were team captain of your softball team or when you served as music director for your church.

 

The following seven questions are frequently asked in a variety of forms and address some of the most common competencies that companies look for in candidates. For each question, I’ve provided tips on how to phrase your answer...

7. “Give me a specific example of when you had to start a task without being asked.”

For this question, focus on an experience where your initiative made the difference between a significant success and a harmful failure in your company.

For example, describe how you recently finished your weekly tasks early, so you started and finished the monthly report before its deadline. Unexpectedly, your supervisor needed the monthly report early for an important meeting with the COO, and since your initiative saved him from scrambling to get the report finished, you received a written thank you note from your supervisor because he was able to immediately provide the COO with the requested information.

 

6. “Tell me about a time you successfully worked with a difficult coworker to complete a task.”

Everyone has worked with a difficult coworker, so impress your interviewers by describing how you used teamwork to successfully complete the task while remaining professional. Feel free to talk about learning your coworker’s strengths and weaknesses, and respecting the differences in work styles or skill levels between your coworker and you.

5. “Provide a specific example of a time you had to juggle multiple projects simultaneously.”

Managing multiple tasks has always been, and will always be, essential to success in any position. For this question, describe how you managed multiple project/tasks/duties of differing levels and priorities.

For example, describe how you picked up two national advertisement clients while your coworker was on maternity leave. In order to balance these new clients with your existing clients, you came in an hour early each morning to prioritize your tasks for the day and ensure that all of your clients’ needs were met. As a result, both of your temporary clients agreed to extend their contracts with your company because of the excellent service they received from you.

 

4. “Tell me about a time you had to switch from one project to another without warning.”

Being adaptable is important, especially as more companies expect their employees to perform duties outside of their usual responsibilities. For this question, show how you effectively moved from project-to-project and completed your current project successfully.

 

 

3. “Describe a time when you succeeded at work because of your ability to communicate.”

Although communication-related questions can be redundant since interviewers will view your communication skills firsthand, it’s important to provide them with a specific example of how your written and oral communication abilities helped you succeed at work. Remember to describe how you communicated effectively by describing the results of your actions. This may be a good time to talk about commendations on any reports or meetings you led.

 

 

2. “Give me an example of a time when you caught a coworker doing something illegal.”

Be careful of this question. Nearly all candidates know that if you say anything besides “I reported my coworker’s behavior to my supervisor immediately”, your interviewers will assume that you are untrustworthy or negligent. Answer this question honestly, and choose an example where you either confronted your coworker on his/her behavior or reported his/her behavior to your supervisor. Good examples of results may include how your actions promoted increased awareness of company policies, improved workplace safety, or decreased lost revenues.

1. “Describe an instance where you made a significant mistake.”

This question is one of the hardest to answer. Often times, candidates do one of two things: they wimp out and say that they haven’t made a significant mistake (which is never true) or provide such a horrendous example that they are immediately removed from consideration.

To answer this question successfully, provide an example of a moderate mistake, what you did after you realized you made a mistake, and the result of your actions to correct your error. For example, describe how you overlooked an important project deadline, and upon realizing your error, contacted your supervisor to develop a solution to the problem. After deciding that the best solution was to work all-night to meet the deadline, you spent the next 12 hours working on the project. As a result, you made the deadline, and after recuperating from your all-nighter, identified several procedures to ensure that this oversight would not happen in the future. Although your supervisor was initially upset, he thanked you for taking responsibility for your actions, and ultimately, making the deadline.

STAR POWER

by Leslie Edwards

I spent the past several days attending the Star Power conference.  The information was terrific and helped many of the attendees get back their enthusiasm for the job of selling real estate.                                                                                        Keynote speakers included the always delightful, Howard Brinton, the founder of the Star Power organization, Alex Charfen, founder of the CDPE designation and new owner of Star Power, Dave Liniger, a true visionary who founded RE/MAX, Alex Perillo from Realogy and Dave Ramsey, the financial guru with an easy to follow plan to get out of debt.                                                                                                   The STAR speakers, agents who are currently working in real estate, were able to speak to current market conditions, share a wealth of ideas and encouragment. There was certainly something for everyone.  If you have never been to a Star Power event, plan to attend the next one.  It is totally different from any other real estate event.

If you have a referral to South Metro Atlanta, let me know and I will treat them as my highest priority.

                                                                                                                              leslie edwards

770.460.9448

CDPE Certified Distressed Property Expert

CRS   Certified Residential Specialist

Epro  Certified Internet Professional

ABR   Accredited Buyer Representative

Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider

Selling South Metro Atlanta including:

Clayton, Fayette, Henry, Coweta, Merewether, South Fulton & Spalding Counties

All the towns and cities south of the Atlanta International Airport,

including:  Brooks, College Park, Fairburn, Fayetteville, Jonesboro, Locust Grove,

McDonough, Newnan, Sharpsburg, Stockbridge, Palmetto, Peachtree City, Tyrone and more

Moving Families Since 1978

Let My Experience Work For You

fax:  770.460.0739

www.SouthMetroAtlantaMLS.com

leslie@leslieedwards.com

RE/MAX Around Atlanta

 

 

You Can't Change the World One Person at a Time

by Leslie Edwards

I watched a documentary last night on HBO called "A Small Act".  It was about a single woman, Hilde Back, who sent $15 a month to help a child in Kenya pay to go to school.  Education is the only way out of poverty in Kenyan and only the families with money or very smart children with scholarships get to go to high school. The boy she helped went on to graduate from Harvard and works with the UN for Human Rights around the world. He started an organization to pay for children's education by providing scholarships to the brightest students in Kenya and named it the "Hilde Back Foundation" although he had never met the woman who helped him.

While it is true that you cannot change the world one person at a time, if you help one person, you can change their world.

leslie edwards

environmentally aware, socially conscious, politically active

South Metro Atlanta real estate  770.460.9448 

 

This is not what I signed up for....

by Leslie Edwards

Way back in Elementary School, my expectation was that I would go to college and study to be a therapist.  Some say that lots of crazy people go into the field to figure out what is going on with themselves. Hmmm...                        College came 5 years after High School (that's a whole other story) and it took me another 5 years to get a degree in Psychology while working full-time.          It was pretty exciting when I got my first job/internship with the Fulton County Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center.  I thought I was on my way to the career I had planned for since Elementary School.                                                       The reality of the situation was not at all what I expected.  The failure rate of addiction treatment was huge compared to a very small success rate. I found out quickly that the chance that I could actually help someone was minuscule.  All I could really do is listen, which left me seriously depressed.  If the patient cried, I often cried too.  I carried their pain home with me and it did not take me long to realize that the job was too hard on my own mental health.                  

In 1977 I got a real estate license on a lark.  Part time I closed a few transactions and soon, real estate was in my blood. I could actually help people get what they wanted and if they came back, it was a success, not a failure. At closing, everyone was happy. The buyers got a house, the seller got a check, agents, loan officers and attorneys all got paid a fair fee for their work. 

There is a "new normal" in real estate today and my job has changed so much that it now looks and feels more like my Therapist experience than my real estate experience of the first 30 years.

Today, buyers have to wait months to close a foreclosure or a short sale, both of which dominate the current real estate market.  Sellers who have to move, because of the foreclosures and short sales in their neighborhoods, are bringing money to closing or negotiating a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure with their mortgage companies, which has a huge negative effect on their credit ratings.  The fees for real estate agents, loan officers and attorneys have steadily decreased while expenses and the work involved have more than doubled.  So rarely at closings today, is everyone happy.  Often nobody is happy.   Listing appointments today consist of telling sellers their homes are not worth what they paid and finding out if they are behind on their mortgage payments and if so, how much.                                                                 It often feels like I am in my Psychologist mode rather than in my Sales Person mode.  A lot has changed in the past few years. So many sellers are experiencing hardships that make it impossible to make the payments and are at risk of losing their homes.  When I listen to some of them tell me their stories, I still want to cry and I still take their pain home with me                                                         

It does not look like things are going to improve any time soon.  The news reports claim people are once again spending money so the economy must be recovering.  I don't think so.                                                                  Often, right after people have an accident or serious illness, they will drive more cautiously, quit smoking, eat right and exercise.  Human nature is such that, over time, these same people will start falling back into their old habits. 

           My sense is that those spending money are just reverting to old spending habits that got them into trouble in the first place.

Foreclosures are moving steadily up in the higher price ranges.  There are also many interest only loans that cannot be refinanced because the appraisals willl not support the loan amount they approved when the interest only loan was made.  Because we have had historically low interest rates, those loans have remained manageable for many.  Once the interest rate starts moving up, and it will, those interest only loans will start to adjust to higher interset rates and monthly payments, causing a whole new stream of foreclosures and short sales.

The job has changed. Because I have 32 years of experience in the real estate trenches, I can help some people fix their problems and that is some consolation. Some people can't be helped.  Sometimes it is their own fault but most often something bad has happened to cause them to lose their home.

If you know someone who needs help, have them call me. I will do a free consultation to find out what we can do for them.

I am ready for the business to return to the time when we all got to be happy at closing, but until then, I am trying to help everyone I can.

You cannot change the world one at a time but if you help one person, you can change their world.

leslie edwards 770.460.9448                                                               selling real estate throughout South Metro Atlanta

environmentally aware, socially conscious, politically active

 

 

Dave Ramsey's Thoughts on The National Debt

by Leslie Edwards

As a Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Real Estate Provider, I regularly receive interesting information from Dave.  One of the things I like about Dave Ramsey is that his message is clear and he presents a plan that anyone can follow regardelss of the amount of their debt.  Another thing I appreciate about Dave is that he makes no bones about his politics. 

If you need help with your finances, call Dave.  If you need help with real estate, call me.

leslie edwards                                                                                                     770.460.9448 direct                                                                                            RE/MAX Around Atlanta                                                              leslie@leslieedwards.com                                           www.SouthMetroAtlantaMLS.com

Dave's Thoughts on the National Debt

Dave's Thoughts on the National Debt The nation's debt now exceeds $13 trillion. Yes, $13 trillion. You know what you could do with just $1 trillion? You could pay the rent for every renter in the U.S. for three years or pay the monthly payments on all U.S. mortgages for 14 months. A $1 trillion stack of $1 bills would wrap around the equator 2.72 times!

And $1 trillion is just a fraction of the money the U.S. owes. Since Dave can't stand debt, including the national debt, he had some tough things to say as he discussed the issue recently on The Dave Ramsey Show. Listen to the clip here.

What Is National Debt?
The government uses debt to cover its expenses when it spends more than it makes from taxes or other revenue sources. There is no requirement that the country operate on a balanced budget, so, since the country was founded, the national debt has continued to grow.

In 2008, the national debt stood at $9 trillion—the total debt for the entire history of the U.S. In two years, we added $4 trillion to our debt, increasing it by almost 50%!

It is no different than one of us racking up credit card debt on groceries, then getting a car loan and a mortgage on top of that. All the money you make goes to keep up your payments. Not smart.

The Lines Are About To Cross
While $13 trillion of debt is overwhelming to think about, what's worse is the breakneck rate of spending. It only took six months to go from $12 trillion to $13 trillion!

Imagine the U.S. debt and revenue as two lines on a chart. The revenue line is pretty flat, if not declining, but the debt line is shooting straight up. The two lines are about to cross, and that means the country's debt will exceed its ability to pay the payments.

A Political Revolution
The majority of people in America want an environment that gives them a shot to make their own money, and they are not happy with the redistribution of wealth that is happening today. The ballooning debt is just one more reason for a political revolution—to fire the politicians who are doing the spending, regardless of their party.

That's why Dave doesn't buy in to the gloom and doom some political analysts believe. He talks with people all over the country who are angry about the direction the country is headed, and they are not willing to put up with it anymore.

Our debt problem has given our country the opportunity to come up with a solution. With such an impressive problem, the solution it inspires is bound to be great!

Health Care Smealth Care

by Leslie Edwards

Subject:  2011 W-2 Tax Forms--Surprise, surprise!

 Should you want to verify this, go to http://www.thomas.gov/, enter "HR 3590" 
in the search box and look for "CRS Summaries."  This is what you'll find. 
  
Title IX Revenue Provisions—Subtitle A:  Revenue Offset 
"(Sec. 9002) Requires employers to include in the W-2 form of each employee 
the aggregate cost of applicable employer-sponsored group health coverage 
that is excludable from the employee's gross income (excluding the value of 
contributions to flexible spending arrangements)." 

 Starting in 2011—next year—the W-2 tax form sent by your employer will be 
increased to show the value of whatever health insurance you are provided.   
It doesn't matter if you're retired. Your gross income WILL go up by the amount 
of insurance your employer paid for. So you’ll be required to pay taxes on a larger 
sum of money that you actually received.

Take the tax form you just finished for 2009 and see what $15,000.00 or $20,000.00 additional gross income does to your tax debt. That's what you'll pay next year. For many it puts you into a much higher bracket. This is how the government is going to buy insurance for fifteen (15) percent that don't have insurance and it's only part of the tax increases, but it's not really a "tax increase" as such, it a redefinition of your taxable income. 
  
Also, go to Kiplinger's and read about the thirteen (13) tax changes for 2010 that 
could affect you. 
    
Additionally, the current 2.9% Medicare tax goes up to 3.8% and in addition to applying to payroll taxes, now also applies to interest, dividends, incentives, & all other income types.
Remember, the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year...that places everyone in a higher tax bracket.
_________________________________________________________________ 

Yet another very good reason to vote in the primary and the November elections.  Vote out the tax and spend politicians, whether they are Democrat or Rebublican.  The only change in the direction this country is taking will be the result of our votes.  See you at the polls. leslie edwards

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 84

If you hear of anyone who wants to buy or sell in any of these areas, please mention me and then call me so I can contact them. I appreciate your referrals!