Beyond The Headlines

NEWS FLASH

 

Call your member of congress today to protect the mortgage interest deduction
Congress, as part of negotiations on avoiding the “Fiscal Cliff,” has made direct references to “closing loopholes” and “limiting deductions” as a way to raise revenues. Clearly, the mortgage interest deduction is high on this list of revenue raisers.

 

Losing the mortgage interest deduction will disproportionately affect the middle class because a larger proportion of the middle class takes the deduction. In California 89% of those who took the mortgage interest deduction earned less than $200,000. Losing the deduction would cost the average California taxpayer over $3,900.

 

What you can do to help:

 

Call Congress. First and foremost, we are urging the public to get involved by calling Congress to ask that the mortgage interest deduction be preserved. The public may reach Congress by calling 202-224-3121.

 

The Capitol switchboard operator will help callers identify their member of Congress and connect them.

 

The public can reach Congress by calling (202) 224-3121.

 

Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Eastern Time.

 

Get the word out. Many people seem to be blissfully unaware that their mortgage interest deduction is in danger. Please do the following to make sure that the message spreads.

 

  1. Forward this message to your family, friends, and clients.
  2. Post this information on your personal and office websites and blogs.
  3. Share this information on Facebook and urge others to share it as well.
  4. Tweet about it on Twitter and urge others to retweet. Use the hashtag: #keepthemid.
  5. Link to the following web page: www.KeepTheMID.com.  This site has information about contacting Congress, more information on the MID, and links to articles.
  6. As you see new information and articles, share these on all your social networking sites.

Watch and share this video about preserving the MID.

 
Mercury News

 

How to stage your home to sell during the holidays
By properly staging a home, it is possible to sell a house during the holidays, even with the slowdown in house hunting during November and December.

 

Making sense of the story

  • Homeowners should make cleaning and decluttering the house their number one priority when looking to sell their home.  The house should show at its absolute best, which means light, bright, and extremely clean.
  • It’s okay to decorate for the holidays, which can make the home feel warm, inviting, and festive.  But the “less is more” mantra definitely holds true.  The goal is to have the house appear spacious and open, and too many decorations may do the opposite.
  • A tall Christmas tree is great for those trying to accentuate a two-story foyer or great room, but otherwise, homeowners should opt for a smaller and thinner tree.  Additionally, sellers should use a cohesive color scheme and theme for ornaments that are used for the interior holiday décor.
  • Even the gift wrap for presents under the tree should complement the color and style of the décor and tree.  Limit the gift wrap to beautiful neutral colors such as silver or gold metallic, then choose colorful ribbon that matches the rest of the scheme.  Limiting the number of gifts under the tree also may help.
  • No matter what time of year, when a house is available for sale, it’s always recommended that homeowners remove all or most family photos.  During the holidays, take this one step further by keeping the personalized stockings over the fireplace put away.
  • It’s also recommended that specific religious or cultural decorations be stowed away in order to appeal to the largest group of people and so as not to offend anyone.

Read the full story

 

 

In other news …

 

Los Angeles Times

 

Index of California consumer sentiment falls slightly in quarter
The California Composite Index of Consumer Confidence decreased to 92.7 from a revised third-quarter reading of 93.4, which was its highest level since the recession, according to a Chapman University index released Tuesday.

 

Read the full story

 
CNN Money

 

The automated home is one step closer
By remotely controlling heat, locks, even the sprinklers, one company is making the house of the future a reality.

 

Read the full story

 
Mercury News

 

“Boomerang” home buyers bounce back from foreclosure
The number of boomerang buyers – locals who lost their home to foreclosure or short sale, but are jumping back into the market just two to three years after default – are small now, but real estate agents and home builders say that while these buyers don’t currently make up a big share of their clients, there’s evidence that their ranks are set to rise noticeably, and that could have implications for local home sales and neighborhood vitality.

 

Read the full story

 

Los Angeles Times

 

Housing is adding more vigor to the recovery, report says
The U.S. housing market is becoming the leading source of strength for the long-sluggish American economic recovery, outpacing both business investment and exports.  But even with the return of that crucial linchpin, job growth is expected to remain weak next year, a new report by UCLA says.

 

Read the full story

 
The New York Times

 

Upshot of the foreclosure backlog
Foreclosures are taking significantly longer in states where lenders must go through the courts, and the delay may or may not be good for borrowers, depending on their circumstances.  But some researchers say that dragging the process out hurts society at large.

 

Read the full story

 
Los Angeles Times

 

House flipping gets an expensive twist
Luxury-home flipping is heating up in affluent neighborhoods as well-heeled builders and investors seek better returns than they get on other investments.

 

Read the full story

 

 

 *Talking Points

  • During the holidays there are several organizations requesting donations for various causes – many of them legitimate.  However, consumers should take precautions and adhere to certain guidelines to stay safe and avoid being scammed.
  • Consumers should be cautious of individuals representing themselves as victims or officials asking for donations via email, in person, or social networking sites.
  • Also, never respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming emails, including clicking links contained within those messages, because they may contain computer viruses.
  • Additionally, beware of organizations with copycat names similar to, but not exactly the same as, those of reputable charities.

 

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