The name Roberto Isaias is famous in his native homeland of Ecuador due to the sheer amount of entrepreneurial success the business person has enjoyed. He gained his knowledge and skill set from both his family and his studies and he is a member of the third generation of the Isaias family. He learnt much of his talent from his uncle Nahim Isaias, who was his primary mentor and his grandfather Emilio Isaias and father Estefano Isaias also played a big role in his success.

When Roberto was only 11, he was sent to attend boarding school in New York and it was here that he completed his studies at high school. The family business was already set up in Ecuador and they started out by importing fabric from the Far East. The textiles company was called Compania Anonima de Comercio EICA and they branched out into other industries as they expanded.

Roberto went to college to study Textile Management and Marketing at the Philadelphia College of Textile and Science while the family business established itself as a leading player in the textiles industry. He was committed to the business from an early age and in his summer holidays he returned to Ecuador to help run the family company. Once he graduated, Roberto used his knowledge and experience to take the company to a whole new level and created many new ventures that ensured the continued growth of the business.

Roberto took the company to new levels of success in the agricultural, commercial and industrial industries and he eventually moved into the real estate sector. It was this investment that helped the company to become what it is today and office blocks, multifamily housing developments and shopping centers were commonly invested in by Compania Anonima de Comercio EICA.

Under Roberto’s command, Compania Anonima de Comercio EICA invested money in Miami and New York real estate and soon after this move; he began concentrating on the communications industry. He invested in a multitude of broadband network channels, two magazines and four radio stations as well as two television networks.

The company soon owned large shares in two banks: the Republic National Bank of Miami and the Filanbanco S.A in Ecuador. The Filanbanco S.A was at the time the 6th largest bank in Ecuador and Roberto was named President and CEO in 1985, and the bank went on to become the largest bank in 1994.

A holding company named Pacific Cable Television Inc. named Roberto as its president and he still holds this position in 2011. This is where the majority of the company’s investments are held and he now works to find good investment openings for the family business in the US, where he has lived since 2000.



Source by Steav Martin

1. Michael Vick

Sunday Night Football will be a track meet as Vick returns to Atlanta with the Eagles. Philadelphia is still trying to prove they are a “Dream Team,” and Vick will want to show off in his return to Atlanta. The Falcons on the other hand will be fighting to not go down 0-2, after being the number one seed last year. Both teams will put up a lot points, which will be good for fantasy teams.

2. Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers was incredible in the Thursday night opener, and he should be able to put up similar numbers against a bad Carolina defense. Also, while Ryan Grant is working his way back into the offense, the Packers will continue to pass much more than run.

3. Tom Brady

Brady set all kinds of records putting up 511 yards against Miami on Monday night. He will come back to Earth against a solid San Diego defense, but he is still the best QB in the league. He will put up strong numbers, especially as the Patriots struggle to find a consistent running back.

4. Matt Schaub

Kerry Collins got a lot of the blame for the Texans drumming of the Colts, but Indianapolis was unable to stop the Texans in the first half. Schaub did not have a huge fantasy day, but his touchdowns should increase this week. The Dolphins pass defense was atrocious against the Patriots, and Schaub will exploit Miami’s defense for a big day in week 2.

5. Tony Romo

Despite falling apart the final 3 possessions in New York, Romo had a really good fantasy week. The Jets have an elite defense, which Romo, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten were able to move the ball against for three quarters. San Francisco struggled to stop one of the worst offenses in the league lead by Tarvaris Jackson. Romo will have a big day in a bounce back game for the Cowboys.

Sleeper: Matt Stafford

The Lions beat down Tampa Bay, which has a pretty good defense. Stafford to Calvin Johnson is a great matchup that will put up huge numbers if they can both stay healthy this year. This week the Lions return home against a Kansas City defense that gave up 41 points to the Bills last week. Stafford and Johnson are a greater scoring threat than anyone on the Bills, and although KC should play better, Detroit has the ability to hang 30 or 40 points on them.



Source by Bill A Parks


In July, home prices rose 0.5%, declining 3.8% year over
year, according to First
American
’s Real House Price Index.

According to First
American’s data, unadjusted house prices sit 7.4% above the housing boom peak.
Whereas consumer buying power ticked up 0.5% between June and July,
increasing 12.2% year over year.

This means when consumer
house-buying power is factored in, home prices are actually 41.1% below their
2006 peak and 17% below prices from January 2000.

“School bells ringing don’t just mark the beginning of a new school year, but for those in housing, they also signal the end of the typical home buying season, which begins in March,” said Mark Fleming, First American chief economist.

According to Fleming, the beginning of the school year marks the end of the spring home buying season, a season that brought in strong marks for affordability.

“Indeed, two of the three key drivers of the Real House Price Index, household income and mortgage rates, continued to trend toward increased affordability in July,” Fleming said. “The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell by 0.8 percentage points and household income increased 2.4% compared with July 2018. When household income rises and mortgage rates decline, consumer house-buying power increases.”

Despite this increase, Fleming notes that the third component of the RHPI – nominal house prices – experienced a year-over-year increase of 8% in July, moderately stunting affordability.

“Yet, even though nominal house prices increased, the RHPI declined 3.8% compared with one year ago,” Fleming said. “Affordability improved year-over-year as the increase in house buying power more than offset the impact of higher nominal house prices.”

According to Fleming, between March and July 2019, overall affordability improved 2.7%. Consumer house buying power fueled the affordability growth, which increased to $410,271, a 6.7% gain since the start of the home buying season in March.

Mortgage rates continued their spring swoon in July, falling to 3.77%, 0.5 percentage points lower than March,” Fleming said. “The decline in mortgage rates alone increased house-buying power by $23,900 since March 2019. Over the same period, household income grew by 0.4%, boosting consumer house buying power by $1,600.”

“Cumulatively, overall consumer house buying power increased by $25,500 in July compared with the beginning of the spring home buying season in March,” Fleming continued. “Once again, the growth in purchasing power was more than enough to offset the 3.8 said percent gain in nominal house prices over the same time. So, nationally, affordability did spring forward during the 2019 home buying season.”



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Ditech Holding is one giant step closer to
selling off its forward and reverse mortgage businesses after a federal
bankruptcy court judge approved the company’s plan to sell to New Residential Investment and Mortgage
Assets Management
.

Earlier this year, Ditech agreed to sell its forward mortgage
originations and servicing businesses to New Residential and the stock and
assets of its reverse mortgage business, Reverse Mortgage Solutions,
to Mortgage Assets Management.

And this week, the United States Bankruptcy Court for
the Southern District of New York approved the sale of both companies,
setting the stage for the sales to go through later this year.

According to Ditech, New Residential has agreed to acquire “substantially
all of the assets” of the company’s forward mortgage servicing and originations
business, Ditech Financial.

“We are glad that the Court has approved the agreement and
that we can proceed with the closing of this acquisition,” said Michael
Nierenberg, chairman, chief executive officer and president of New Residential.

“As part of this acquisition, we are adding a number of very
talented personnel to our servicing, origination and corporate functions and we
are very excited to welcome them to our family,” Nierenberg added. “From the
beginning we have been focused on achieving an outcome that is in the best
interest of the long-term strategy of our Company and our shareholders, and
believe that today’s confirmation from the Court allows us to move forward with
executing our vision.”

Under the agreement, New Residential will purchase Ditech’s
forward Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae and non-agency mortgage
servicing rights, the servicer advance receivables related to those MSRs and
other net assets involved with the forward origination and servicing
businesses.

Additionally, New Residential agreed to take over certain
Ditech office spaces and make employment offers to a “number” of Ditech
employees.

The final purchase price for Ditech Financial will be
determined at the closing of the acquisition based on the tangible book value
of the related assets, subject to certain agreed upon adjustments, New
Residential said.

Additionally, Mortgage Assets agreed to acquire “certain
stock and assets” associated with Ditech’s reverse mortgage business, Reverse
Mortgage Solutions, and to maintain the current operations of RMS as a
wholly-owned subsidiary.

The move to sell came after years of financial trouble that
saw Ditech, the nonbank formerly known as Walter Investment Management, file
for Chapter 11 bankruptcy twice in 14 months.

It all began in 2017 when the company filed for bankruptcy after a long string of financial losses. The company completed a restructuring plan that eliminated $800 million in corporate debt and changed its nameemerging from bankruptcy a year later.

But that was apparently not enough to set the company on solid ground, as it filed for Chapter 11 again just 14 months later. This time, it included its subsidiaries, Ditech Financial and Reverse Mortgage Solutions, in its restructuring plan.

At the time, Ditech said it was considering “strategic alternatives”
that could include selling off some of the company’s assets, changing the
company’s business model, or selling the company. In the end, Ditech chose the
latter.

But the move to sell wasn’t without some stumbles.

After announcing its plans to sell off its reverse and
forward businesses, Bank of America,which has a reverse mortgage servicing
agreement with Reverse Mortgage Solutions, objected to the deal, claiming that
it “threatens to abandon the thousands of elderly borrowers” whose reverse
mortgages are being serviced by RMS.

According to Bank of America’s objection, the sale does not
uphold its agreement with RMS, which stipulates that RMS provide Bank of
America with extensive lead time to establish other arrangements for the
servicing of its reverse mortgage borrowers should RMS no longer be able to
handle the business.

Once an originator of reverse mortgages, Bank of America exited the HECM business in 2011, subsequently selling off the servicing rights of its reverse loans to RMS.

 in 2011, subsequently selling off the servicing rights of its reverse loans to RMS.

Eventually, a “Committee of Consumer Creditors” was formed
to “protect the rights of borrowers” who had legal claims against Ditech and
RMS.

The Consumer Creditors’ Committee also disagreed with
Ditech’s and RMS’s original bankruptcy plan because it did not “sufficiently
protect borrowers’ rights.”

Ditech and RMS then worked with the committee to develop a
bankruptcy plan that would allow Ditech to sell the companies, while also
protecting borrowers’ rights.

The parties eventually agreed to a settlement that provides
for $10 million to be set aside for borrowers with allowed legal claims against
Ditech and RMS. Borrowers are also able to sue “other third parties or the new
owners” if they choose to.

With that settlement agreed to and approval from the court,
the sales can now move forward. According to New Residential, it expects the
deals to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Until the acquisition closes, Ditech Financial and RMS will
continue to operate as part of Ditech Holding and service their existing
customers.

“With the Court’s approval and confirmation of our plan, we
are able to move forward with these value-maximizing transactions and achieve
the best path forward for our stakeholders, including homeowners,” said Thomas
Marano, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Ditech Holding. “I
would like to thank all of our employees for their hard work and dedication to
serving our customers throughout this process.”



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Buying real estate at auction can be a daunting process. Purchasing at auction is stressful and heavily slanted towards the sellers benefit. Why? Because it brings a group of buyers together in a single place, usually right in front of the object of their desires… the house. This psychological advantage should not be overlooked when considering to purchase a property at auction.

The best scenario for you, as the buyer, would be for there to be nobody to turn up but you. Can you see where I am going with this? If, of course, price is not your main motivation, and you are fine with paying whatever is required simply because you have fallen in love with the property, then of course, bidding in an auction may not present any issue for you.

But like many people, especially these days, we are price sensitive and will draw the line at a certain sum and bid no further. Often it is a relief to bid your limit and find somebody behind you has made a new bid, letting you off the hook.

As far as the practical considerations of bidding at auction are concerned, you need only make a gesture of some sort while referring to the auctioneer and he/she will generally assume an increment or get a feel for what you want to bid, and then state that loudly as your bid.

You may already have a relationship with one of the agencies real estate people and they may be there next to you to assist you and yes, encourage you to make further bids. They may bid for you according to your instruction, and some people even do this over the phone.

There are bargains to be had at auctions, but they are rare. The process typically helps the vendor sell their property fast and for the best possible price. This does not mean going to auction is not a good idea, but you should always have a figure in mind that is the absolute best representation of the properties current worth, then stick to it and be unwilling to pay a cent more.



Source by Martin Thomson



For at least the sixth time in the last handful of years, CoreLogic is growing its massive real estate data and technology empire by acquiring a company.

In just the last few years, CoreLogic has acquired a la modeMercury Network, LandSafe Appraisal Services, FNC and RELS. And now, the company is adding a new acquisition into the fold: National Tax Search.

CoreLogic announced Wednesday that it has acquired National Tax Search, which provides property tax management services to lenders, real estate investment trusts and property management companies.

As part of the acquisition, CoreLogic will obtain TaxQ, the NTS property tax portal that provides users with access to detailed tax information.

“The acquisition of NTS combines premier property data and real estate expertise from CoreLogic with NTS’ leading technology and excellence in customer service,” said Nancy Langer, executive, real estate tax and payment solutions at CoreLogic. “As a result, we are creating a unique foundation that will digitize the commercial tax market and bring an enhanced user experience to our customer base.”

As stated above, the acquisition of NTS is just the latest in a string of companies purchased by CoreLogic.

Last year, CoreLogic bought a la mode, which provides subscription-based software solutions to more than 40,000 appraiser professionals across the U.S.

That deal came on the heels of CoreLogic buying LandSafe Appraisal Services, FNC and RELS for a total purchase price of approximately $587 million.

In 2016, CoreLogic closed on the acquisition of FNC, a provider of real estate collateral information technology and solutions that automate property appraisal ordering, tracking, documentation and review for lender compliance with government regulations, for a total purchase price of $400 million.

Before that, CoreLogic purchased LandSafe, an appraisal management company, from Bank of America for $122 million in 2015. CoreLogic also acquired the rest of RELS, a provider of property valuation and appraisal services, from Wells Fargo in 2016 for more than $60 million.

Beyond that, CoreLogic bought Mercury Network, a purchase valuation technology company, from Serent Capital, which bought Mercury Network from a la mode back in 2015.

In the time that Serent owned Mercury Network, the company acquired Platinum Data Solutions, a QC technology company, in 2016, and Appraisal Scope, a valuation management software provider.

Now, Platinum Data Solutions, Appraisal Scope, Mercury Network, RELS, LandSafe, FNC and a la mode are all part of CoreLogic. As is National Tax Search.

“We’re excited to bring together tax industry leaders and offer a new depth of industry experience through our experienced teams,” said Lori Eshoo, president, National Tax Search. “By unifying our operations with CoreLogic, our joint capabilities will drive a new standard of transparency, helping to facilitate the delivery of unmatched solutions for our customers.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.



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He was just a man. He was just a man dreaming of being found. Lost. Lost. Lost. And inside of me there’s a feeling, this feeling of being stuck in traffic in a thunderstorm. A feeling of thirst, a painful thirst and wandering, believing that my brother captures everyone around him with the electricity and lightning daze of influence. There’s a bold intriguing force of electricity and lightning within him. Lightning and electricity. And with that thought, that knowledge comes needles of them, of thoughts. A pinprick that feels life threatening. A flash. A burst of thought. And then the rain would come like a dream, like sleep. First drops and then it begins to pour. The rain would mean water, fresh, sweet, pure water, entitlement, privilege, being born with a silver spoon in your mouth, waiting, always waiting for that opportunistic moment, that mind hurdle that tells me I’ve been awake all my life but for the poor ones it would mean flooding. Their homes would be flooded. They would have to walk with skirts hiked up to get to where they had to go, barefoot, humiliated, scooping the water out of their homes with plastic buckets, helpless, homeless, sleeping on damp mattresses. How do people live like that I’ve always wondered? Where do you go from extreme poverty? Who will give you a hand-out? For the poor it would just mean another uncomfortable experience that they would have to deal with.

I press my knee against the foot of the table. Jew. Jew. Jew. Jew hair. Jew nose. Her hair looked like a Maltese poodle’s hair. How did she get the brush and comb through that mess every night? How quick she was to dismiss me, hide her smile. I’ve forgotten my words. Forgot the poem I years have been from home. Forgot the last two verses of the poem by Emily Dickson. I watch her mouth, Jewess, her soft lips making the drawing of a pout. Her lips were mouthing words. Words I could not make out. But I could make out the smile and the quiet laughter that gave me a sour taste in my mouth (already I had been used to this taste in my mouth for a very long time now, and I would never get over the anxious butterflies in my stomach, my thoughts racing but I would never get used to laughing and smiling with them at my expense even though my mother said I should almost as if she knew something I didn’t for the longest time) and for a long time I was very serious about feeling ashamed about the way I looked. It took me forever to work it out of my system. Her lips looks like the shade of an expensive perfumery sticky pink lipstick. She smells like Revlon. She smells expensive. Her nails are shiny, manicured. I do not accept her principles, the standards that she judges me by. The color of my skin, my faith. The sound of my posh voice bouncing off the walls. Her face gives her away. I wish she’d like me. I wish we could be friends anyway. Her mother did my hair and make-up at the theater for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. When my mother dropped me off outside the theater she told me crossly to smile and speak to the other children. ‘Be nice. Don’t be shy.’ She told us to enjoy ourselves at the rehearsal. All the other children were White. My brother, sister and I were the only children of color. Color. Colored. Mixed race. My golden-haired sister had a pink rose in every cheek. My brother was olive-skinned. He looked like his father. Dark and handsome. Bones. I didn’t understand why they were like they were. Every one of those highty-tighty Whites. I didn’t like the Jews because they didn’t like us. I didn’t understand how some of them could have straight hair and some had curly hair. They were like us but in other ways they weren’t like us. I watched her but then in a way I felt sorry for her when I imagined her in her storybook life. It didn’t seem all that wonderful to me. Liar. She didn’t let her mother put make-up on her. Instead she told her mother she could do it herself. And her mother said fine, go ahead, just like that. We all left seeing farms, cows and horses in fields on long drives to Grahamstown in the distance past. Rehearsals, scripts, being dropped outside the theater, the five minute call before opening night when the three of us left school. And my sister became a paler version of my mother. My brother grew taller, grew darker of complexion. My nickname could have been less-than-zero.

I must have fun like other girls my age. Why am I so serious, so sullen all of the time? And then I remember my mother’s mantra. Smile. My sister is happy even if I feel excluded from her happiness. I don’t feel I must be included in her plans anymore. I must have sunshine, try and sunbathe. Get a tan. Get as brown as a berry. Get some of that sun into my skin to seep into all of my sadness. Even sadness has grace, a personal space where you are free to express a torn idea that can rip you apart, terrify you as if you are in that moment of writing about a disaster or war or violence, (physical violence shattering all truth or sexual violence). She is always trying to get me to try harder. In her life money makes the world go round. It fires her up. She is wired to it all the while I am failing magnificently. I do not please her. She is not accepting of people who do not meet her standards, her criteria. And so I crazily, wildly fail again. I should be living it up, acting out, and not feel so vulnerable in relationships.

Is my brother like all men a man just wanting, waiting to be found? He is up to the primitive challenges and mating rituals of the slick futuristic society we live in today. Drinking with his mates, drinking them under the table. No self-defeatism in his voice. He is immune to it. In some regards we are alike. We are both quick to condemn the fainthearted, those cowards who do not meet the requirements of living up to the best intentions that their parents had for them.

If I write what I like am I asking for trouble? Should I tread with caution where angels fear to tread? There is no turning back. Your moon face rises out of air to meet me like people of the stars. Mummy, the creator of man, a boy, a baby boy, this woman intrigued me like a celebrity hanger-on. Those people who so desperately wanted to live in the public eye. They lived a life separate from their private one caught for a second in a frame, caught in a snapshot. It couldn’t really be called history until there was enough time for it to be called history. Until it was looked at in retrospect. I hear her laughing in the kitchen talking to my brother and his girlfriend who is cooking furiously in the background. Always cooking furiously in the background. Stirring things up in the pots and pans that I could never dream of. Always baking a dream of cake. My brother is her chosen one. I am a disappointment. I have failed her. I am the one who has to live with that. I am too old-fashioned, too clever, and more magnificent than her when it comes to my father. For her I think revenge must be sweet. Give enough rope to the handmaiden and she will hang herself. Look for example at Joan of Arc and Antigone. Look for example at Adam.

What is the nature of the beast that is found in man, in all of us (most of all human nature), the true nature of the heathen, the suffering of slaves, and the writer who is demanding of their readers? The world is not as it should be. One day poverty might not exist and that is the true nature of the beast. To divide and rule. Liberty, freedom, equality, fraternity, democracy. Do they exist in a futuristic apocalyptic world made out of our sensory perception? What is the basis of all politics? Possessions. Think. One day all technology will surpass all humanity and then what will become of the humanitarians and the philanthropists. Think of what our richest possession is. For me that is humanity. The soul. Soul consciousness. Being aware of the self, human behavior, social interaction, social cohesion in rural and urban districts. What is the true nature of the seasons? There is a time and place for the conscious.

Meanwhile our unconscious spirits us away. Are we truly ‘agents of conquest’ every one of us? From those who are con artists by day and night trying to put on the table for their growing family (and in every household like that there’s a woman making a hot plate for a man who will arrive late after the kids have been put to bed and who had spent his day’s wages at the club on the horses or drinking cheap wine). Are the sushi kings of this world flushed with sticky rice, California rolls and raw fish? And when we come to the greedy megalomaniacs stuffing themselves with shellfish and garlic butter, to monomaniacs drowning in (or driven crazy by it) paper money, to the regular blue collar maniacs who had from their honest day’s work dirt under their fingernails, when we come to the history of human rights, monopoly, don’t they all, doesn’t it have the energy of being an agent or ‘agents of conquest’ too? How quick the righteous become self-righteous?

Are every one of us not supposed to be instruments of change? Look for example at Joan of Arc and Antigone. Look for example at Adam. They were never found California dreaming as much as modern-day Africans (white and black, colored faces, the mixed races of different ancestry). The ones who most want to cross the history wilderness to make it to modern-day Los Angeles, making their mark, making a notch in their belt, traversing the plains in the counties of the Midwest of America. Words like Stevie Wonder, ebony, ivory, Times Square, Chicago and Wyoming, lake, tobogganing, Time, Newsweek, social media, the network, broadcast news, the land of the free and the home of the brave would sing arias inside of me alongside an orchestra.

Diary, journal, you think you’re the only one who has felt pain in this world. Pain that runs deep, as deep as a river. Bravery can sometimes be a mission. There’s such a cool detachment about man when he is brave. When he has a steady tolerance about him when he enters a world filled with a minefield of ghost disciples. When his smile carries with it a warmth and dignity. When his person has a cleanliness about him. Boys even those with a fearlessness about them cry (even those who have an easiness about them, those careful emperors can be sensitive and understanding, compelled to understand the vulnerable in a younger, less experienced female). The lonely can see lonely coming from a mile away usually (usually predictable) and they’re not like minded nor a match made in heaven. They’re haphazardly swinging from the chandeliers, hanging on for dear life to their sanity, sharpening their set of skills. Man, man in recovery sees therapy as sweet ritual. For centuries the man waiting to be found has journeyed in words. Wise people wiser than their years who did not have an easiness about them. Every man, even the homosexual is wise on his own terms. If you ask him what courage means (to him) won’t he answer you? The words will roll off his tongue. For every man leads a double life. For every man is beautiful and wise in his own way. For every man walks to the beat of his own drum. It is loyalty from a band of brothers that gives them (and not necessarily a loyal woman that has a high regard for them) a flaming spirit.

Whenever I think of girls I think of Swaziland, that green feast. I think of youth. I think of the young and how fresh and new their ideas must be to them and the world, a very adult world that must have been so far away from them. I remember the faces of the girls and the boys. They all had the skin of dark chocolate. As smooth as velvet. Creamy. Beautiful. The colored girls were also pretty. I remember how all the girls would straighten their hair (it is a painful chemical process, sometimes your scalp would burn) how the curls would frame their faces, how much time and effort they all took with their appearance for appearance’s sake. They had names like Lulu and Katanekwa. They were from other places too from as far afield as Zimbabwe and Zambia. Places whose names sounded so exotic. I wanted the O levels. I wanted to go to England. To study film was something that became all-important to me once upon a time. The escape was also part of the plan. To escape from dysfunction, to escape from family, from a difficult mother who was killing me, casting me out adrift into a grown up world I was not ready for. She loved to see me bump up against things that frightened me into a silent world where I would hold my tongue for once and not speak. Some of them wanted to go to South Africa. They wanted to matriculate there. Some were borders. I remember how the girls would hike their skirts above their knees so if they bent over everybody could see the color of their undergarments.

Whenever I think of I think of dirt, poverty, common sense, con artists, thieves and how much effort the church puts into saving souls for Jesus I think of the Salvation Army.

Whenever I think about the dirt-poor and poverty I think about the streets of Johannesburg filled with crime. And I think about Bruce Springsteen’s streets of Philadelphia. Whenever I think about violence (violence as a volcano building up inside of man) I think of the women and children I met at a shelter for abused women and children. The women and children I ate with, slept with, bathed with, and worked side by side with in the stinking compost heap filled with creepy crawlies under sometimes a hot day, a pale sky feeling the sweat and not feeling the sweat, and not feeling uplifted in any way by it, by doing what I was doing. I was unpacking and packing crates alongside women and children who has lost all emotional and financial security from the man in their lives and the lives of their children. I was giving away stale cake and breads, rotting vegetables going off to black families queuing up hungry, torn. I worshiped with them. With all of those black faces. And they became like family to me. The mothers of those children, absent fathers for every one of their children that they brought with them from their shadowy past forever in their lives became like a mother to me more than my own had ever shown me. They showed me love, a return to love. Taught it to me parrot fashion as if I had to get it inside my spirit come hell or high water. Love was an invitation to a movement. It was a sonnet, a verse. They taught me to fight ideas with ideas.

The rats really do represent the working classes. No freedom, liberty, fraternity for them. No democracy. Scavengers everyone. They’re left miserable, wet or dry or on the shelf hungry for a better life.

And when I think of the times I spent with the homeless, with the educated and uneducated, with the inferior-minded (not of their own making, not of their own fault) and those who had a superiority complex about themselves, when I think about Johannesburg I think about the failings of my mother and how the city itself rescued me when I was writing, studying, running up streets and down streets. I thought about the failings of my father. How safe he was in the life he thought he had built for his children. He thought we had it made or that we made it but how wrong he was. I think often now of the road before us, how long it was and how often we wandered off the path through the periods of our lives when we took ‘mini-breaks’ from life. University, college, recovery and rehab, hospitalization after hospitalization, counseling session after counseling session, homelessness, helplessness, loneliness, isolation, rejection.

The extraordinary child, the gifted child (once their gift has been noted by their teachers, and their offspring and once their parents are careful of praising them), the chosen one never looks a gift horse in the mouth if they can help it from there on out. All they see is an age of dreams if they are protected, kept safe from the world at large with all its distortions. At first I could not see the power of the emotional abuse of a pervert in Nabokov’s Lolita and then slowly it began to dawn on me have we not created a life for them? Have we not created a world for them in which to suffocate the human dignity of the vulnerable with their injustices? And when the abused child grows up don’t they become the abuser of a child’s trust or the most vulnerable human being they can lay their hands on? The abuser, well they inflict, and their intention is to harm, to control, to frighten the living daylights out of their captive or captives. And when they succeed at all costs it gives them a slight reprieve from the memories that make them stand on tenterhook in nightmares and flashbacks of their own abusive childhood. There is no one in the abuser’s life that will say to them, ‘Save yourself first before you try and start saving other people.’ Isn’t that sad. Isn’t that at the heart of the matter, that in this pure and fantastical land it is hard to change, transform families from not thinking that the weight of this huge sin matters? When our children hurt, when the vulnerable hurt we are all responsible. How simple and easy it is to let down the entire human race by going about our day being selfish stupidly and steadfastly. Why not be the adult. Be the saint. Be the Savior. Be someone’s Savior. Step up as high as the planets. There’s a joy that you get from the particles of the familiar and a peace of mind. It’s the same joy that you get from being kind.

I have been shamed and ashamed. But haven’t we all been shamed and ashamed. Trauma. Lived it. I’ve survived it. Everybody has stories like that that they’ve carried with them since childhood. I believe that wish-fulfillment (self-fulfilling prophecies), believing in yourself and what you are capable of doing can solve anything. And I’ve come to realize that no problem is too big for my shoes or humanity to fill to fill once you get your head around your own limitations. Everybody has limitations, flaws and weaknesses they cannot cast asunder no matter how merry, easy-go-lucky and terrific they may seem on the surface.

And so throughout the centuries the man dreaming of being found was never be robbed of his insight, his will, and his intelligence again through this realization, that the world was his oyster, that the conch shell he held up to his ear really did in fact hold the mystifying ocean-sea’s mist of a burden-of-a-breath, that every woman in the world really was beautiful.



Source by A George


In August, the nation’s home-sale prices rose 2.7% from 2018 levels, coming in at a median of $312,200, according to a report from Redfin.

August’s growth, which is modest at best, is right on trend as America’s home prices have been growing between 1% and 3% year over year since September 2018, according to the company.

“Although home-price gains remained relatively modest in August, supply and demand are now heading back toward sellers’ favor,” Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said. “Home sales are accelerating as buyers eat into a diminishing number of homes for sale.”

While these trends are to be expected given that mortgage rates have been declining since late last year, global economic uncertainty and talk of a looming recession in the U.S. are staving off many aspects of hot seller’s market, Fairweather said.

According to Redfin’s report, home sales spiked 10.8% from last year, marking the largest annual increase since 2018. However, the supply of homes for sale fell 5.7% year over year, representing the biggest decline since April 2018.

“Just 20 of the 85 largest metros tracked by Redfin saw an increase in the number of homes for sale compared to a year earlier,” Redfin stated. “Housing inventory is falling even faster than we expected it to, thanks to a dearth of new listings, which fell 3.7% year over year in August, the largest decline on record since Redfin began recording this data in 2012.”

During August, the biggest declines in the number of homes for sale were in relatively affordable markets, including Tacoma, Washington; Salt Lake City; and Tulsa, Oklahoma. In these housing markets, home sales declined 26.8%, 26.1% and 24.4%, respectively.

The three housing markets with the biggest increases in the number of homes for sale were all in housing markets with home prices well above the national median, including San Jose, California; Oxnard, California and Honolulu.  In these housing markets, home sales increased 12.5%, 11.5% and 11.4%, respectively.

“It’s important to remember that in August 2018, prices, sales and inventory were just beginning to indicate the onset of a cooling housing market,” Redfin Economist Taylor Marr said. “With that in mind, last month’s year-over-year sales increase and inventory decrease are only slightly exaggerated.”

“The fact that our seasonally adjusted measure of sales increased 4.9% from July to August as new listings and overall inventory declined tells us that supply is constricting and demand is growing meaningfully, signs that the market is heating up as we head into Fall,” Marr continued. “If not for recession fears, price and sales growth would likely be even stronger given this summer’s record-low mortgage rates.”

The image below highlights August’s home-sales growth:

August home sales growth



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Thanks in large part to continually rising prices, investors are making smaller profit margins on home flips than they have in eight years.

According to ATTOM Data Solutions’ Q2 2019 U.S. Home Flipping Report, 59,876 single family homes were flipped in Q2 2019. This is up 12.4% from the previous quarter but down 5.2% from last year. 

But despite home flipping rising in the second quarter, investors’ return on their investment is falling.

According to the report, homes flipped in Q2 2019 typically generated a gross profit of $62,700 (the difference between the median sale price and median paid by investors), up 2% from the previous quarter, but down 2% from a year ago.

ATTOM notes that the the typical gross flipping profit of $62,700 in Q2 2019 equaled a 39.9% return on investment compared to the original acquisition price, down from a 40.9% gross flipping ROI in Q1 2019 and from 44.4% in Q2 2018.

According to ATTOM, returns on home flips have fallen six quarters in a row and eight of the last 10, and now stand at the lowest level since Q4 2011.

“Home flipping keeps getting less and less profitable, which is another marker that the post-recession housing boom is softening or may be coming to an end,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. “Flipping houses is still a good business to be in and profits are healthy in most parts of the country. But push-and-pull forces in the housing market appear to be working less and less in investors’ favor. That’s leading to declining profits and a business that is nowhere near as good as it was a few years ago.”

Overall, homes flipped in Q2 were sold for a median price of $220,000, with a gross flipping profit of $62,700 above the median purchase price, $157,300. This is up from the gross flipping profit of $61,500 in Q1, however down from Q2’s price of $64,000.

Investors have seen double the profits with home flips in five markets, including Scranton, Pennsylvania with 134%; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with 132.5%; Reading, Pennsylvania with 129.3%; Kingsport, Tennessee with 104.1% and Augusta, Georgia with 101.1%.

Markets with the smallest rates of returns saw less than 18%, including Raleigh, North Carolina with 10.9%; Las Vegas, Nevada with 15.2%; Phoenix, Arizona with 15.3%; San Antonio, Texas with 15.6% and San Francisco, California with 17.1%.

The average time it took nationally to flip a home was 184 days, compared to Q1’s timing of 180 days. A year ago, it took an average of 183 days. 

The metro that saw the shortest days it took to flip was Memphis, Tennessee, which took 137 days to flip a home. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Florida saw the most days to flip a home, with 239. 

The total value of homes flipped with financing topped at $8.4 billion, a 13-year high. The homes flipped in Q2 represented 5.9% of all home sales during Q2. This is down from the post-recession high of 7.2% in Q1, but up 5.4% from a year ago. 

Although overall home flipping numbers have gone down, 104 of 149 metros saw a year over year increase in their rates in Q2. Raleigh, North Carolina saw the highest increase, with number of homes flipped up 72%. 

Lending volume has gone up 31% from last year, now at a 13-year high. In Q2, the amount financed to home flipping purchases totaled $8.4 billion, which is up 31.1% from Q2 2018’s total, $6.4 billion. This is the highest amount financing has reached since Q3 2006. 

Salt Lake City, Utah saw the highest percentage of completed flips purchased with financing, at 93.7%.



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Before you start any backyard landscaping project you should keep these things in mind. Deciding on the right landscaping idea to implement will be crucial. Before investing your hard-earned money and time into any project you should have a well thought out plan. My first suggestion is to first identify the reason or reasons for wanting to do this.

The Main Reasons That I Hear

There are 3 main reasons that I hear all the time. You just moved into a house and you want to upgrade. Maybe you just got married and you and your spouse plan on starting a family one day. Or maybe you are planning on selling your home and you know this is a solid investment to make. At this point in my life the last one is my favorite. You simply want to enjoy what you already have. These are absolutely all good reasons so let’s get started.

It all starts with a plan

Before you start digging anything up you need a solid plan. This should include the entire property you want to incorporate. If not your end result could look like a mishmash of designer magazine. You must know your desired outcome before you start. Sometimes you will run into road blocks that you did not foresee no matter how well you planned everything out. This will happen from time to time. Just remember this though, your earlier preparation will pay huge dividends if this should happen.

Take advantage of the type of land you have

A good plan will put importance of taking advantage of the land you have and its features. What I mean is this. Lets take the sun for example. Are there certain parts of your yard that get the sun in morning and shade in afternoon. Or maybe you are in an area that gets the sun in one part and shade in the other all day. And what about your soil type. Is it fast draining or does it drain on the slower side. How about your climate. Do you have cold winters or do they average in the 60″s. This is something that you should consider.

What Is Your Vision

Objects appear smaller in the rear view mirror than they actually are. Do you remember that. Well the same applies here only in reverse. Some types of hardscaping are actually larger than what you vision in your mind. Be cautious and extremely careful before you decide on something that could be very costly to fix if wrong.

Know The Maintenance Involved

And of course there is the maintenance of it all. Some of our favorite additions that we want involve a lot more work than others. Things such as ponds, waterfalls, and pools require more maintenance than rocks, stones and fences. How much time do you want to spend on all of this. After all I am sure you want to take some time and enjoy it.



Source by Michael Lenz