Have you ever had an experience where you said, “Wow, what a coincidence.” Maybe it was more. Maybe it was a synchronicity. Let me explain through a Jungian perspective.

Carl Jung, the prominent Swiss psychiatrist, believed synchronicity meant ‘more than a coincidence.’ Jung, the thinker and founder of analytical psychology, connected synchronicities to the bigger world: the collective unconscious. These were not just assumptions on his part, Jung believed the collective unconscious was universal, meaning common to all people, because he listened and researched for decades the overlapping stories and myths that people shared with him, people from various cultures and societies worldwide. Jung also recorded people’s dreams from these many cultures and uncovered repetitive and often dominant themes and motifs. He called these themes archetypes and reasoned that they resided in a collective unconscious.

Some examples of universal archetypes are life, death, love, mother, father, child and the hero’s battle between good and evil. (Think Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.) The archetypes might have a different symbolism specific to that culture’s religion or cultural myth but the archetype remains the same. Consider the Virgin Mary known for her mercy as the all loving mother for the Christian community but Kwan Yin the Goddess of Compassion for Buddhism.

Therefore, if we wish to evaluate an event’s synchronicity, Jung believed certain elements and conditions needed to be present: first that the episode transcends a concrete event in a spiritual way and that outside events did not cause the synchronicity. Second, that the synchronistic occurrence must reflect back personal meaning to the individual experiencing it. Third, that the event is tied to deep emotion within that person. Fourth, that the synchronicity occurs at times of important transition in an individual’s life as, for example, after a death in the family or divorce or serious illness when how one proceeds afterward in his or her life seems unclear. (Clifton Snider, Ph.D.)

But how does this translate for you or me and how would it appear? Well, allow me to share two personal examples of what a synchronicity actually looks like and why a synchronistic experience feels extraordinarily meaningful to the person having it.

Last Thursday I boarded The Amtrak Vermonter and headed to Burlington to visit a friend and colleague I met in 1993 at The C. G. Jung Institute in Kusnacht, Switzerland. Eleven hours later my friend Jackie met me at the station. That evening we dined in. Following dinner Jackie abruptly leapt from her chair, “Mare, I want you to ‘see’ this.” Adeptly winding a little music box she handed it over. Two lady bugs – lemon yellow and cherry red in color – spun and twirled about. Beethoven’s beautiful “Fur Elise” tingled in the air. And here is the first synchronicity when time became suspended between two worlds. You see, my friends, Fur Elise was the favorite classical composition my deceased daughter Katie played often for me, a fact that Jackie had no idea about.

This awesome synchronicity led to a few tears, a tender hug, and a glance heavenward on this my first trip back to Vermont since dear Katie died. Yes, this experience hit my heart hard and fast because for me it transcended earthly existence because I felt it was a sign of Katie’s presence, a Devine presence, or both.

The weekend ended – as all things do – and I headed back to Philadelphia. This is where the second synchronicity begins to unfold. Shortly after leaving Vermont, the train stopped and a young family of three boarded. We exchanged smiles as they seated themselves across the aisle. From the corner of my eye I couldn’t help but observe the little boy’s joyful spirit. Naturally, I didn’t want to intrude (or did I?) but about an hour later I saw he had nothing to play with so what’s a therapist, mother, and grandmother to do with all of her extra paper and pens?

I leaned toward the father and inquired if his child might like to have a pad and pen. They asked him. He nodded affirmatively. I passed the pad and pen over to this little guy and returned to my reading. Fifteen minutes later he stood next to my seat. “Hello!” I looked up and smiled. He handed me a picture. It was a drawing of a woman and a little boy. The woman had glasses on. I had glasses on. I looked at him smiling so luminously.

“This is you” he said “and this is me!” He told me he was six years old. I was so delighted by this sweet and generous gesture and his emerging ego strength.

“What a wonderful picture you have drawn! Thank you! Would I be able to keep it?” He tells me that yes, it is mine now, and I think this is the best train ride I have ever had.

“What is your name, dear boy, so I will always think of you and this special day together on the train?”

He looked directly into my eyes with the hold of a king and answered in the voice of an angel, “My name is Vishnu.”

I am spellbound. This was my second synchronicity. Here is why. This little boy’s name was not Johnny or Tommy; his name was Vishnu, a major god in Hinduism who is normally depicted with four arms. In each hand he holds something symbolic. In one hand he holds a conch shell because its sound ‘Om’ represents the sound of creation. In another hand he holds a chakra (small weapon) which represents the purified mind. In another hand he holds a lotus flower which represents spiritual liberation. In another hand he holds a mace which represents great spiritual, physical and mental strength.

I felt astounded and humbled that a little child with a prominent and religious Hindu name would so randomly cross my path. This synchronistic experience felt not only meaningful to me but transcendent. Why? Because I am in a personal transition for a new path and I felt it was yet another sign of Katie’s presence, a Devine presence or both supporting me.

Source by Mary Jane Hurley Brant

Considering the rapid rise in home prices over the past several years, home sellers are taking a hard look at the commission they have to pay to a real estate brokerage to market and sell their home. Real estate commissions vary across the country; they average in the four to seven percent range.

According to the 2004 National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers fourteen percent of homes were sold by-owner. The NAR study listed the two most difficult tasks for for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) were preparing and fixing up the home for sale and getting the pricing right.

Invite three full-time mid to high producing agents to your home to give you an opinion of price. Understand that if the three price opinions are not what you think the property is worth, you should understand the danger of an over-priced property. Homes that are over-priced have been studied by large national real estate brokerages and over-priced homes take longer to sell and sell at a lower price as a percentage of the original list price.

Ask the agents to give you constructive feed back on what you should do to make your home visually appeal to the majority of buyers. Below are some staging tips to prepare your home for market.

1) Research how to “stage” your home to maximize its appeal to homebuyers by creating a spacious and pleasant home environment for buyers.

·Start by removing the first thing that gets in your way.

·Take one or more major pieces of furniture out of every room to make it more spacious.

·Keep matching furniture pieces together to build uniformity in a room.

·Create seating areas where two or more people can talk.

2) Keep the eye moving when staging a room.

·Use furniture placement to direct the buyer’s eye toward a room’s features.

·Move large pieces of furniture away from windows.

·Place large furniture at entry end of room to lighten visual load at opposite end of room.

·Use area rugs to anchor seating arrangements.

·Have your dining table closed to its smallest size.

3) Use furniture placed on angles in a room to give it a quick update.

·Angle a bed in a corner of a bedroom to focus attention.

·Angle furniture in a V shape in living and family rooms.

·Angled furniture can help fill a room short on furniture and lend a designer look.

4) Create vignettes in rooms to set mood.

·Breakfast tray with coffee cups, newspaper, flower vase on bed.

·Set the dining room table with linen tablecloth, china, silverware,and stemware.

·Set up game table for chess, bridge, or backgammon.

5) Effective model homes focus on creating the right environment.

·De-clutter so buyers can overlay their furnishings and lifestyle.

·Clean, fresh, and new smell.

·Attention to detail. Clean rooms and landscaping trimmed.

·Subtle background music, classical, light jazz, or rock.

·Interior décor and wall colors accent home’s architectural features.

·Live plants or fresh flowers add finishing touches.

6) Understand decorating basics that can guide you to repositioning a room.

·Color. A little goes a long way.

·Scale. Do furniture sizes complement or overwhelm a room?

·Pattern. Easy does it to avoid distracting from room itself.

·Lighting. Use it to define dark corners. Helps to fill out a room.

·Focal point. Fireplaces, views, art, find one in every room.

·Texture. Adds visual interest, warms cold spaces and finishes.

Understanding and completing the paperwork in a real estate transaction was number three of the most difficult tasks according to the NAR study. Once your home is priced right and ready for market you should retain a real estate attorney to help you review contracts, disclosure forms and to help you qualify potential buyers of your home. An experienced real estate attorney can help you avoid the common pitfalls in real estate negotiations and will facilitate a smooth transaction.

Here are some cliff-notes on real estate contracts.

·Use an approved real estate contract by your state real estate attorney association or local Board of Realtors®.

·Real estate contract. A binding agreement between buyer and seller. It consists of an offer and an acceptance as well as consideration (i.e. money).

·Acceptance. Agreement by the parties of the terms of a contract.

·Contract length. Research customary contract lengths, the standard is 45 days from contract to closing.

·Have sold comparables properties on hand for prospective buyers.

·Comparable. Closed prices for similar homes in age, condition, location and size.

·Price. Study average sold prices as a percentage of lists in the last six months.

·Low-ball offers. Buyers should offer over 87% of list if they are serious, otherwise you will should not responding at all to low-ball offers.

·Counteroffer(s). The response to an offer or a bid by the seller or buyer after the original offer or bid. Request all counteroffers to be in writing.

·Require all buyers to present the highest level of mortgage commitment with their contract.

·Mortgage Commitment. A document by a mortgage lender that commits the lender to providing a loan at agreed terms and conditions.

·Mortgage term, rate and amount. Look for strong down-payments of thwenty-percent or more. Interest-only loans signal that the buyers could be stretching to qualify for a loan.

·Cash offers in lieu of mortgage financing should be confirmed with a letter from your financial institution stating funds are on deposit to close the contract.

·Federal law requires Lead-Based Paint Hazard disclosures.

·Lead-Based Hazard. A disclosure of reports or knowledge of Lead-Based Hazards. Buildings built after 1978 do not present Lead-Based Hazards.

·Read Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home by the US EPA.

·Real property disclosures required by the federal or your state Written statements by the seller(s) of a property disclosing any known defects.

·Local disclosures. Local requirements of disclosure that the seller provides and the buyer acknowledges, such as certificates of occupancy.

·W-9 form. An IRS form requesting taxpayer identification and certification numbers of buyers to receive interest on earnest money from delivery to closing.

·Subject to appraisal. Most contracts as part of the mortgage contingency require the subject property to appraise at a minimum of contract price.

·Appraisal. An objective third parties opinion of value by a licensed or certified appraiser.

·Earnest money deposit. Money given to the seller at the time the offer is made as a sign of the buyer’s good faith.

·Research customary earnest money deposits as they vary. The larger the deposit, the increased motivation you buyers show to perform the contract.

·Refund of earnest money deposits. Contracts should provide for refund of the entire earnest money deposit within agreed contingency periods. Seller’s attorney should hold earnest money deposits.

·Attorney approval period. Your attorney reviews and makes changes to the contract, typically 5-7 business days.

·Property inspection period. The right under a contract for the buyer at their expense to discover the actual condition of the property. This period typically runs 5-7 business days.

·Well and septic inspections. These are independent of structural and mechanical inspections.

·Timelines for contingencies run concurrently.

·Contingency. A provision in a contract requiring certain acts to be completed before the contract is binding.

·Closing/ escrow date. The date of the end of the transaction process where the deed is delivered, documents are signed, and funds are dispersed.

·Possession date. The date agreed by contract when the buyer can occupy the property.

·Final walk-through. A property tour before closing or escrow that permits the buyers one final verification of condition, agreed repairs and personal property.

·Tax pro-rations. The amount of credit given to buyers at closing for unpaid property taxes, when taxes are paid in arrears. Pro rations should always be more than 100 %.

·Personal property. List and initial all personal property included with the sale, such as air-conditioners, appliances, and playground equipment.

·Home sale contingency. The contract is contingent on the sales of the buyer’s property.

·Buyers show motivation when including a home sale contingency by having their current property already on market.

·Home closing contingency. The contract is contingent only on the successful closing of an existing real estate contract.

Marketing your home to prospective buyers should include these methods.

·A professionally painted yard sign.

·Newspaper advertisements classified and photo.

·Public and broker open houses.

·Internet: virtual tour and at least eight photos.

Source by Mark Nash

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.1% annualized pace in the third quarter, picking up speed from the second quarter’s 2% rate and surprising economists, who expected the Commerce Department’s second estimate to be unchanged at 1.9% on Wednesday.

The upward revision was based on stronger readings for private inventory investment, nonresidential fixed investment, and personal consumption expenditure, the Commerce Department said.

While growth has slowed from the blistering 3.1% pace recorded in 2019’s first quarter, fears of a recession are abating as low mortgage rates drive a rebound in the mortgage and housing markets. Refinancings are at a three-year high, and much of the savings borrowers get by lowering their rates get plowed into GDP in the form of spending.

While spending is being supported by an unemployment rate near 50-year lows, a slowdown in the pace of job creation along with sagging consumer confidence and stagnant wage growth are causing some economists to question how long that can continue.

Consumer spending, which accounts for almost three-fourths of the U.S. economy, was unrevised at a 2.9% in the third quarter from a year earlier, the Commerce Department said.

Federal Reserve officials voted to cut the central bank’s benchmark rate at each of their last three meetings to stimulate a slowing economy. Chairman Jerome Powell said the official outlook on the economy was positive and said the policymakers planned to keep rates steady, barring a significant development.

The Fed next meets in two weeks in Washington, D.C., for their last gathering of the year. There was nothing in the latest GDP report that would spur a change in the Fed’s outlook, using the gauge Powell described last month.

“We’re going to be watching all factors and if developments emerge that cause a material reassessment with that outlook, we would respond accordingly, but that’s what it would take: a material reassessment of our outlook,” Powell said on Oct. 30.

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The founder and CEO of a New York investment firm will spend
more than four years in prison after being convicted of lying about the value
of hedge funds that included residential mortgage-backed securities.

The Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced this week that Anilesh Ahuja, the founder, chief executive officer, and chief investment officer of Premium Point Investments, was sentenced to 50 months in prison after being convicted of engaging in a securities mismarking scheme.

According to the Attorney’s Office, Ahuja and Jeremy Shor, a former trader at Premium Point who focused on non-agency RMBS, participated in a scheme to overinflate the net asset of the value of firm-managed hedge funds by more than $100 million between 2014 and 2016.

Court documents show that Ahuja co-founded PPI in 2008. The
company managed hedge funds that primarily focused on structured credit
products, including residential mortgage-backed securities.

One of PPI funds, launched in 2013, focused on purchasing
and securitizing pools of mortgages that were not issued or guaranteed by a
government agency.

According to court documents, from at least 2014 through
2016, Ahuja and Shor participated in a scheme to defraud PPI’s investors and
potential investors in the company’s various funds by “deceptively mismarking
each month the value of certain securities held in these funds, and thus
fraudulently inflating the (net asset value) of those funds as reported to investors
and potential investors.”

In order to accomplish this, PPI “fraudulently obtained
inflated quotes, including from corrupt brokers, and manipulated its valuation
process to inflate the purported value of securities held by the funds,” the
U.S. Attorney’s Office stated.   

These actions allowed PPI to materially overstate the
reported net asset value of the funds by more than $100 million, which
benefited the firm in two ways.

First, the firm was able to charge its investors higher
management and performance fees. Second, the firm was able to delay investors who
would have requested their money back had they known about the funds’ true
performance and operating health.

According to court documents, the scheme was conducted as a
result of Ahuja demanding that the firm maintain its image of success and “keep
pace” with the performance of other similar funds, despite market conditions
and the actual performance of the funds.

As a result of the scheme, Ahuja was sentenced to 50 months
in prison, while Shor received a sentence of 40 months. Both Ahuja and Shor
will also be required to serve three years of supervised release upon the
termination of their prison sentence.

“Anilesh Ahuja, founder of Premium Point Investments, was
convicted of participating in a scheme to mismark securities and thereby
mislead investors as to the true value of the funds that Premium Point managed,”
U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a release.

“Ahuja conspired with others in his company and corrupt
brokers to fraudulently inflate the value of the assets under their management,
which in turn allowed them charge higher fees and avoid redemptions by
investors who otherwise would have pulled their money from Premium Point,”
Strauss continued. “The substantial prison term imposed on Ahuja appropriately
holds him accountable for his criminal acts.”

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Nothing beats that intuitive sense that says, "I know exactly where I'm going." Unfortunately, we are simply not programmable, as robots are. We cannot just download directions into our brains to be stored forever, so we rely on maps. Over the years, mapping has become so much more than just street maps and road atlas functions. Today we use online maps to advise us on local businesses, news, weather, traffic and more.

Google Maps has become the template of choice for a number of local food maps. At Menurequest, you can plot restaurants on a map of your city, as well as read / write reviews, make reservations and get driving directions. In Philadelphia, Communitywalk is an amazing resource for local event organizers who want to ask a number of nearby restaurants to participate.

At Toeat, you will find a number of dining options in your neighborhood. In major cities like NY, Paris, Bangkok and Chicago, you will find baked goods at Yummybaguette. Or you may need to get your burrito fix at Burritophile. Drinkers can appreciate Wineandtimes, which helps plan a winery tour, as well as Drinktown, which lets you know all the local booze specials.

Google Maps is not the only "mashup maker" on the block, of course. A number of non-Google applications have popped up to serve a wide variety of functions. For instance, if you live on a fault line, then visit Lerdorf, as you may appreciate the "Real-Time Earthquake Map." If you are looking for nearby bloggers, movie showtimes, gas prices or driving directions, then you can see "Atlas" (based on MSN's Virtual Earth platform) at Atlas Freshlogicstudios.

One of the most popular mapping sites is Flickr, where amateur photographers can share their pictures and create maps of their favorite places, people and things. Readers have given rave reviews for Gutenkarte, where lit lovers can read full books (such as Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days") chapter by chapter, while viewing a map of the locations discussed in the book. If you prefer news to fiction, don't miss the world and local news at Mappedup or Poly9 Viavirtualearth (where MSNBC news is plotted out on a map!)

You can find directions on your computer, on your GPS device or even on your cell phone. The trend is that programmers are finding ways of bringing online maps to you, no matter where you are. For instance, if you find yourself lost somewhere with little time to recoup, never fear: Loki can track your location via satellite and send you a map to your next location on your mobile phone. A number of phones, from the iPhone to the Android G1, are making MapQuest, Google Maps and Yahoo Maps technology available to you when you are on-the-go.

Source by Mike Ramidden

Sales of new homes fell in October to an annualized rate of 733,000, according to the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but it still looks like 2019 is going to a vast improvement over 2018.

According to the Census data, the October pace fell slightly off September’s pace, which was upwardly revised from 701,000 to 738,000.

But given that September’s rate was adjusted up as much as it was, October’s pace looks strong, especially when considering that October’s total was 31.6% higher than October 2018, when it was 557,000.

“Aside from one disappointing month in the spring, 2019 has been a resurgent year for new home sales, and this stronger-than-expected October data – on the heels of strongly upwardly revised September data – only reinforces the trend and proves that high builder confidence is not entirely unwarranted,” Zillow Economist Matthew Speakman said.

According to analysis by the National Association of Home Builders, new home sales for 2019 are 9.6% higher so far this year than during the same period in 2018.

Beyond that, the past two months represent the highest monthly sales rate since October 2007. 

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new homes for sale by the end of October was 322,000. This represents a supply of 5.3 months at the current sales rate, holding steady from the previous month.

The median sales price of new homes was $316,700, while the average sale price was $383,300.

National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said that these sales represent a solid demand for housing.

“This huge jump from one year ago partly reflects builders now building less expensive homes. Several of today’s fresh data on home price and new home sales, combined with earlier data on existing-home sales and the median home price, essentially say the same thing: housing demand is solid,” Yun said. “But buyers are facing not enough choices. Therefore, prices are getting bid up, especially in the starter home market and in the Mountain States.”

The latest Housing Market Index, which gauges homebuilder market sentiment, indicates that homebuilder confidence rose to 70 points in October, just three points more than in September.

NerdWallet Home and Mortgage Specialist, Holden Lewis, said that builders are now making homes that the consumer can afford.

“Excluding September, this is the strongest pace of new home sales since July 2007, before the housing crash,” Lewis said. “With a boost from low interest rates, builders are succeeding in making new homes that people can afford.”

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FormFree, a provider of technology solutions for the mortgage industry, announced a new partnership with lead generation platform Teo.

Through the partnership, Teo will now leverage
FormFree’s Passport verification service to help assess the quality of incoming

Once leads are pre-screened to ensure
quality, Teo’s AI assistant then manages follow-up communication using the
prospect’s preferred channels to quickly convert leads to loans, according to
the company.

 “When it comes to the digital superhighway, if you’re not first, you’re last,” said Brent Chandler, FormFree’s founder and CEO. “Our Passport verification services are already used by thousands of lenders to gain insight into loan applicants’ ability to pay, and by partnering with Teo, we’re moving those insights even earlier in the sales funnel to power an entirely new way of engaging with prospects.”

NetDirector, a cloud-based data exchange and integration platform
for the default servicing industry, announced several updates to its core
integration offerings.

Among the offerings include the EZTran Suite, which is a collection of no-coding, high customization options for events, documents, document requests and more.

Additionally, the company launched another new transaction
option called Fees & Costs, which is automated for the Black
Bankruptcy and Foreclosure solution.  The offering is a transaction that a firm can
receive directly from Black Knight’s Bankruptcy/Foreclosure application when a
servicer has requested fees and costs.

“Our cloud-based integration platform has always
been quite versatile. EZTran takes our service to the next level with zero
coding options for rapid deployment of new automation,” said Harry
Beisswenger, NetDirector’s CEO. “We will continue to innovate and expand
our automation and integration offerings into the future, and we look forward
to collaborating with our existing and future clients to help develop even more
innovative services.”

Automated mortgage compliance software company QuestSoft announced the addition of a new CRA Saleability module to its Compliance EAGLE platform.

According to the company, the CRA Saleability tool will help lenders identify potential investors based on geographic location. The new module will also enable lenders to uncover additional opportunities for revenue generation through the identification of CRA-qualified loans in low- and moderate-income areas at the point of application.

“The CRA Saleability tool helps lenders identify opportunities in LMI markets while maximizing the return on investment possible in the secondary market,” said Leonard Ryan, QuestSoft’s founder, and President. “This is just another example of how big data can help lenders become more profitable while simultaneously demonstrating their commitment to the communities they serve.”

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Today, we are faced with many challenges, both personal and financial; but how we handle these challenges will determine our future.

In every case, the basic stimulus for these challenges is the same. We want to do things differently, better, improving ourselves and our circumstances or both. Unfortunately, for many or more likely most, these decrees of self-improvement rarely last any longer than a day, a week a holiday or just a fleeting thought. For some, the individual struggles endlessly with finding the inspiration or faith to believe that the change is even possible. Others, struggle to unearth the energy necessary to take action. For those that are lucky enough to have both the energy and the faith in the beginning, it is quickly put to the test the moment the first real obstacle presents itself.

Here is where the excuses and procrastination begins. Their motivation fades and soon they fall back into the 'grooves' that their past habits and decisions have worn into their lives.

I am hoping that I can grab the attention of those individuals whom are now facing some of those motivation-robbing obstacles. I also hope that some of the tools included in this article will help you to overcome the barriers that will keep you from making it over the top of the hill.

First, let me start off by assuring you that YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN! Problems small and large, heartaches deep and painful may be looming on your horizon or right in your face this very moment.

However, no matter how helpless or hopeless you feel in the face of these circumstances YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN! Trust me on this one. Why? Because I know how you feel. I have traveled (and at times still travel) that rough and rocky road of adversity. I have survived the levels of stress that can turn coal to diamonds, while at the same time, standing back up after falling down, as a result of personal and professional disasters.

So, without a doubt I can say with heartfelt honesty that "I know what it feels like to be long on trouble and short on resources."

Through these times, I learned many valuable lessons, however, the one thing I learned that stands out is, YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Problems, failures, and disappointments have battered and bruised your pride and personality, but no matter how messed up, passed over or knocked down you feel – take heart in knowing YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN – you can start anew.

Below are seven steps to help you with your new beginning. There are many different ways in which you can become your own personal phoenix, rising from the ashes of past failures and defeats creating a new life out of the old.

Applying these practices now, will not only create this new beginning, but also serve as a blueprint for a set of destiny changing habits, that can help you develop and realize the life you dream, desire and deserve.

Charles Reade once said, "Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a Habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny."

7 Steps to make it happen

1. To get inspired, to start anew, you must know exactly what you want to change as well as deciding upon your goal. Like a professional athlete at the starting line, you need to be able to visualize the outcome and your victory before the race begins. Furthermore, do not simply except subtle change, dream the big dream. Focus on your dream and the sharpest of detail and construct your hopes in the highest manner, blueprint and then explode into action.

2. Know you are a worthy traveler. Realize your ability to change. The main way to stay inspired and at the top of your game is to realize that you have an innate ability to reconstruct your life completely. As soon as you understand that you possess all of the tools needed to change your life, this should not only be a source of inspiration but a bountiful source of motivation as well.

3. Map your route. Your dreams, goals and aspirations will seem far more real, exciting and attainable, as you get more detailed in envisioning them. However, any good traveler knows that to get to your destination or goal you need to have a precise map and action plan. Having your map and action plan will keep you on track and enable you to quickly reroute yourself when any obstacles detour you from your destination. As you sit down to map out your route to success, be realistic. Do not ask yourself to cover impossible terrain, or rough terrain without the proper preparation. If you do, you will probably give up and turn back. Set yourself up for success not for failure by breaking larger goals down into manageable steps, so you can see and measure your progress, in reaching your final destination.

4. Wake up recharged and energized. An essential step to staying motivated and starting anew is to consider each day a new beginning, a new opportunity with endless possibilities. Carpe Diem, which is Latin for "seize the day and make it yours." Give each and every day your full attention, for the time you have the most control over, is now. So, do not dwell on the past – but instead learn from it. Avoid being bogged down with regrets and missed opportunities. The two most wasted days of the week are yesterday and tomorrow. Yesterday is in the past, it is already written down in the history books. No one can change the past. And tomorrow hasn't happened yet. No one can predict the future, and no one knows if tomorrow will come, so live today, in the present. You can control their outcome.

5. Always keep your engines running and your tank full. Staying relaxed and focused are two key essentials to helping in the fulfillment of your destiny. When you are tired you are spending your time just trying to survive, not spending it trying to thrive. Take a little extra time each day to sit quietly, dream ambitiously and plan strategically. This will do much to fire up your enthusiasm, ignite your inspiration and renew your perspective.

6. Prepare for your journey. Make sure that you pack enough mental provisions to sustain yourself along your journey. Inspiration and optimism go hand in hand, but remember true optimism is not just the belief that all will be well. It is very different indeed. Optimism is the belief and confidence that taking the right actions will result in the attainment of one's goals and desires. This belief fuels a passionate persistence to take those actions consistently, even faithfully. Optimism allows you to take confident initiative and proactively approach your goals. Thus, the odds are better that you will be willing to make a new start or accept a new challenge. Here are two ways to strengthen your fuel for your trip to success.

a) Practice positive thinking. Your thoughts are the driver of your outlook, attitude and action. Your body is affected by your thoughts – negative thinking will have a negative impact on your physical well being, so optimistic, enthusiastic thinking will have a positive effect on your mind, body, and spirit.

b) Feed your mind with healthy input. Inspirational books and tapes are a great source of healthy input for you mind. The reason that so many professionals in the world listen to motivational tapes and read inspirational books is that they work; plain and simple. Your mental diet is as important to your success, as your physical diet is to your health. Immersing yourself in information that is motivational and inspirational in content will help you regulate your thoughts.

7. Rev up your engine and begin your journey to success now! If you want to start anew then start now. Do not wait – for there is no more of a destructive action than inaction. Inaction is the cancer that will affect your inspiration like the action of inaction. Taking action, exerting effort and gaining ground on your goals will inspire you to take more action, exert more effort, thus gain more ground. Begin now! Do not let your past missteps deter you from attaining your goal. Learn from them! Many of the most successful people in our history overcame obstacles to become the figures we all know.

Remember it is YOUR journey to success. While YOU will have to make the effort, you will also be the one to reap the rewards. But now is the time to start your journey not tomorrow, NOW! Never doubt that YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Source by Kenneth J Van Liew

Blackstone’s bet
on the single-family rental market is now complete, as it was revealed this
week that Blackstone is selling off its remaining shares in Invitation Homes for more than $1.7

In the early part of this decade, Blackstone began pouring money into distressed residential real estate, spending billions to buy up foreclosures and other distressed properties, then turning those houses into single-family rental properties.

Blackstone’s move into single-family rentals was conducted through Invitation Homes, which the firm helped grow into one of the nation’s largest single-family rental operators.

Blackstone eventually took Invitation Homes public in 2017, with its initial stock sale raising more than $1.5 billion.

Then, earlier this year, Blackstone began selling off part
of its investment in Invitation Homes.

Back in May, Invitation Homes announced that Blackstone was offering 40 million shares of Invitation Homes stock for sale. The company priced that share offering at $25.30 per share, meaning that selling off 40 million shares at that price would bring in approximately $1.012 billion for Blackstone.

And this week, Invitation Homes announced another stock sale
consisting of 57.6 million shares, all of which belong to Blackstone.

The company later priced the share offering at $30.10 per
share, slightly above its current trading price of just below $30.

Selling off 57.6 million shares at $30.10 per share would
bring in approximately $1.73 billion for Blackstone.

Invitation Homes said that the company is not offering any
shares of common stock and will not receive any proceeds from the sale.

According to Invitation Homes, the stock sale will close out
Blackstone’s investment of the company.

Blackstone currently owns 57.9 million shares of Invitation
Homes, but plans to distribute 300,452 shares “to its partners.”

After that is done, Blackstone “will no longer beneficially
own shares” in Invitation Homes, the company said.

Initiation Homes has grown significantly since Blackstone took the company public in 2017. Later that year, Invitation Homes merged with another of the single-family rental industry’s big players, Starwood Waypoint Homes.

Just before Invitation Homes announced that Blackstone was selling off its shares, Blackstone posted an article to its website that addressed its investment in single-family rentals and attempted to clear up “false, misleading claims about Invitation Homes’ business and practices.”

Over the last few years, Invitation Homes and Blackstone have been accused of providing sub-standard living experiences, excessive rent increases, and other questionable business practices.

Blackstone’s article, entitled “Correcting the Record on
Blackstone and Invitation Homes,” sought to address those complaints mere days
before the company stood to bring in north of $1.7 billion from the stock sale.

“We are proud of Invitation Homes and the positive impact it
has had on local communities,” Blackstone said in the article. “The $10 billion
invested to acquire these homes and subsequent $2 billion invested in upfront
renovations to improve them (many of which were sitting vacant or in disrepair)
stabilized local housing markets, spurred economic growth and created jobs in
communities in the wake of the financial crisis.”

In the article, Blackstone addresses complaints against Invitation
Homes, including claims that Blackstone “profited” off of the housing crisis.

“Blackstone did not own any single-family homes before the crisis and didn’t foreclose on any of the properties Invitation Homes purchased,” the company wrote. “The company began purchasing homes in 2012 – many of which were sitting vacant or in disrepair, dragging down property values for surrounding homes since the financial crisis.”

The company also claims that Invitation Homes is not “driving
up rents” in the markets in which it operates.

“Invitation Homes has virtually no ability to impact broader
rent trends in its communities. Invitation Homes is a tiny part of the market
and operates in some of the most competitive housing markets in the country, and
it must follow market prices or no one would rent from them,” the company wrote.
“Indeed, Invitation Homes charges rents in line with the broader market –
otherwise it wouldn’t have such high levels of occupancy (96%).”

The company also addressed the “myth” that Invitation Homes is
“crowding out” first-time homebuyers.

“The properties Invitation Homes bought required substantial rehabilitation and capital expenditure (approximately $22,000 per home). This is not the same market as that for first-time homebuyers, who typically do not want to take on a home that requires such significant repairs,” the company wrote. “What’s more, the notion that a company that represents less than 0.1 percent of the single-family homes in America is having a significant impact on this market is not based in fact.”

With those protestations stated, Blackstone’s Invitation
Homes’ stock sale is expected to close on Nov. 26, 2019.

Invitation Homes currently owns more than 80,000
single-family rentals in 17 markets in the U.S.

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Although the nation’s potential existing-home sales experienced a monthly
decline in October, data shows the rate improved from the previous year,
according to First American’s
Potential Home Sales Model.

October 2019, the housing market exceeded its potential, as actual
existing-home sales exceeded market potential by 4.6%, or an estimated 239,000
seasonally adjusted annualized sales,” First American Chief Economist Mark
Fleming said. “Housing
market potential decreased relative to last month but increased 0.6% compared
with October of last year.”

According to the company’s analysis, the market potential for existing-home
sales fell by 0.6% from September but rose by 0.6% from 2018, equating a gain of
33,050 sales.

Two factors drove the month-over-month decline in the potential for existing-home sales – a month-over-month decline of 0.8% in consumer house-buying power and the continued impact of rising tenure length, meaning people are remaining in their houses longer.

The decline in house-buying power dampened market potential substantially, Fleming said.

“In October, mortgage rates increased by 0.08 percentage points, the first monthly increase since November 2018. While household income increased by 0.2% compared with one month ago, it was not enough to offset the negative impact of the increase in mortgage rates on house-buying power,” Fleming said. “The resulting decline in house-buying power dropped the market potential for existing-home sales by nearly 22,000 sales.”

During the month, tenure length, the average length of
time someone lives in their home, increased by 6% compared with January 2019,
and 0.7% compared with last month, Fleming said. Increasing tenure length
reduced the market potential for existing-home sales by 31,800, he said.

“Tenure length and house-buying power are two of the
most influential forces on market potential, and they combined to drag down the
market potential for existing-home sales by 0.6% compared with last month,
despite positive contributions from new home construction (1,300 potential home
sales), looser credit standards (7,500 potential home sales), rising house
prices (9,600 potential home sales), and increasing household formation (6,500
potential home sales).”

That being said, Fleming suggests improvements
heading into next year, as mortgage rates and consumer buying power are
projected to strengthen in 2020.

“One month of declining house-buying
power is not a trend. Mortgage rates are
currently hovering at 3.7% and forecasters currently expect rates will remain
somewhere between 3.7% to 3.9% in 2020 – still near historical lows,” Fleming
said. “Meanwhile, household
is expected to
continue to grow as wages rise. It’s possible that house-buying power in 2020
may dip lower than in the spring and summer of 2019 but will likely remain near
historical highs.”

Nevertheless, Fleming warns tenure length is likely to
climb next year, which could dampen the housing market’s potential home sales.  

Overall, Fleming warns the market
potential for existing-home sales in 2020 will largely depend on the strength
of the rate lock-in effect and whether house-buying power can increase
sufficiently to offset it.  

NOTE:  First American’s potential home sales report measures existing-homes sales, based on the historical relationship between existing-home sales and U.S. population demographic data, including income and labor market conditions, price trends in the housing market and conditions in the financial market.

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