Thursday, July 30, 2015

10 Home buying mistakes to avoid at all costs.

These common home buying mistakes could cost you time, money, and sometimes the chance to buy your dream home.

Buying the oddball home.
Homes go up in value when other homes with similar layouts in the same neighborhood sell for more. These “comparables” or “comps” allow an appraiser to officially justify an increase in value, and therefore you’ll have more equity if you want to sell or refinance. So it’s important to buy a home that is uniform to most of the other homes n the neighborhood, or else the appraiser will have few or no sales to use as comps. So don’t purchase the only 2-bedroom home in a neighborhood full of 3 and 4-bedroom homes, and never buy the nicest house in a bad neighborhood.

Focusing on cosmetic issues.
Too often, home shoppers walk into a sizable home with a great floor plan in a wonderful neighborhood, but automatically cross it off their list because it has ugly carpet, bright paint colors, or the kitchen or bathrooms are outdated. Don’t be afraid of cosmetic fixes, and in fact, you may get a better deal and have less competition because of them. It’s easy and cheap to get the minor cosmetic fixes and updates done, but adding square footage, putting on a new roof, or the opportunity cost of buying in the wrong neighborhood etc. can get prohibitively expensive.

Becoming emotional.
Of course buying a home stirs up feelings up hope, elation, and even a little fear, but buyers need to remember that the most important thing is that they focus on making good business and long-term decisions.

Not having a strategy.
House hunting takes a lot of time, energy, and diligence, but without proactive planning you might just be spinning your wheels. So make sure to sit down with your Realtor and formulate a plan of attack so you end up finding the right house at the right price in the right neighborhood most efficiently.

Paralysis by analysis.
There are two ways we choose a home: with information or with emotion. Hopefully, you’ll use both when house hunting. But some times, people get so focused in on analyzing every single statistic, detail, and shred of data that it holds them back from making any offers or having a chance at buying any house, their ultimate goal! Fear of making offers, not looking at the market realistically, and expecting to get every single item on your list of needs and wants for a home are all symptoms of paralysis by analysis.

Overlooking important problems.
At some point in your house search, you’ll probably walk into a home and very quickly think, “This is it!” But no matter how much it “feels right” or you love the house, don’t ignore flaws or problems. Always get a home inspection and pay close attention to the big-ticket problem items like foundations, roofs, electrical, plumbing, etc. just because you love the house.

Not checking your credit report and getting preapproved.
When do you start the home buying process? Ideally, you should begin getting your finances in order 6-12 months ahead of time. In addition to saving for your down payment and carefully budgeting, you’ll also want to check your credit score and take action to boost it as much as possible. The difference between a good and a great credit score could make a huge difference in the loan you qualify for, your interest rate and payments, or even being an attractive homebuyer to sellers and getting your offers accepted.

About 2 to 3 months before you’re ready to get in a Realtor’s car and start shopping for homes, you’ll want to sit down with a mortgage professional to get preapproved for a loan. That will let you know exactly what you qualify for, what’s affordable for your budget, and therefore which homes in what price range you’ll be able to hunt for, saving everyone’s time - and probably money.

Picking your real estate agent and lender blindly.
You’ll need a great working relationship with your Realtor and mortgage lender, one that’s based on trust, market knowledge, and industry experience. It’s too big of a decision to just go with the first Realtor who approaches you or someone just because you know them. Contact some neighborhood experts, ask your friends and coworkers for great recommendations, read Yelp reviews, review their website and testimonials, and don’t be afraid to interview perspective agents and mortgage professionals.

Not hiring a home inspector.
Your home is probably the biggest investment you’ll make in your life; way too important to skip the few hundred dollars it takes to get a home inspection. A home inspection will disclose both cosmetic flaws and the big, important problems with the house that could cost you thousands of dollars down the road.

Not researching your neighborhood.
Remember the old home buying wisdom, “Location, location, location?” Well it still applies, as you’ll want to get to know the neighborhood very well. Are there train tracks nearby? Street noise? Crime problems? Good schools? Is it an easy commute to your work? Are values generally going up in that neighborhood? These are all questions you’ll want to ask with the help of your real estate agent.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The 10 most expensive watches in the world.

What do you spend on a watch? $100? $250? Or do you really splurge and fork out $5,000 for that prized Rolex or Tag Heuer that really announces, “I’ve arrived”?

Well even with the most expensive designer fashion or luxury watches we see in stores or ads in magazines, we’re not anywhere near the stratosphere of the world’s most expensive time pieces. These chronographs are more bejeweled, handcrafted works of art than just watches, but if you have a few million dollars to spend – or much more – you may find one on your wrist!


Price tag: $2.7 million

Designed by Swiss watchmaker Franch Muller in 1991, the watch with the full name “Aeternitas Mega 4 Grande Sonnerie Westminster Carillon” has 36 complications and 1,483 individual components, earning it the honor of being the world’s most complicated watch.


Price tag: $2.9 million

Patek Philippe & Co. first started making watches in Switzerland in 1839, and is one of the highest quality makers of timepieces still today, guaranteed to appreciate in value. This model has an 18k gold case, shows several time zones, and a polychrome dial that details a map of North America.


Price tag: $3 million

This watch was part of the Henry Graves, Jr. signature collection, built in 1895 with the case completed in 1927, it recently went for $2.994 million at a Sotheby’s auction.


Price tag: $4 million

The Swiss company that produced this masterpiece, Blancpain, has been around since 1735 but continues to innovate. With this watch, they combined two traditional methods of combatting the degenerative effects of gravity on time keeping, tourbillon and carrousel methods. It’s the first watch in the world to use both, making it an instant classic of quality.


Price tag: $4.6 million

This chronograph is truly out of this world – and that’s not just my opinion, but fact! That’s because this watch, built as a series of four tourbillons in conjunction with Luc Labenne, is built with pieces of moon rock, but also a meteorite from Mars and an Asteroid!


Price tag: $4.7 million

Horophiles (time piece connoisseurs) appreciate the quality and luxury produced by the Swiss Group, and Breguet & Fils is a branch of that tree, founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet. This watch is 18k gold with two timepieces and two movements. 

Price tag: $5.5 million

Built in 1943, this was the most expensive wristwatch in the world at the time. It features an 18k yellow gold case and a silver matte dial that accentuates its chronograph, perpetual calendar, and moon phase display.


Price tag: $6 million

Designed to commemorate Patek Philippe’s 150-year anniversary in 1989, this is the world’s most complicated pocket watch with 33 complications and 1,728 complications, weighing more than 2 pounds and taking the design team more than five years of research and 4 years of manufacturing to build.


Price tag:  $11 million

This watch comes not only with a big price but a fascinating story. Back in 1927, Banker and watchmaker Henry Graves Jr. entered a contest with his friend, James Ward Packard of the Packard Car Company, to produce the world’s most complicated watch. After four years, Graves emerged victorious when he produced this gold pocket watch with two faces and 24 complications. When it sold at auction, Sotheby’s appraised it at $5 million but it actually sold for a then-record $11,002,500.


Price tag: $55 million

We saved the best (and most expensive) for last with this only women’s watch o
n the list. Encrusted with rare gems and a face of diamonds set in platinum, this one-of-a-kind watch (they really only made one!) debuted last year at the iconic Baselworld watch show, becoming an instant legend – and a price tag that makes it the most expensive watch in the world.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

15 Proven methods to detect if someone is lying to you.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."
-Sir Walter Scott

If you’re like most people, you probably tell a few white lies during the course of your day, half-truths to make others feel better, avoid conflict, or out of polite social necessity. But then there are the big lies – the manipulative or mean spirited falsehoods people spread that can really hurt others. So if someone lies as they’re trying to sell you something, lies to you at work, or the worst of all, lies to you in a relationship, how are you supposed to know what you can trust? How can you detect when someone is lying to your face? 

Numerous studies, such as those conducted at Stanford University as well as training offered by the CIA, FBI, and other intelligence organizations, have revealed that definitive patterns emerge in the nonverbals, physiology, and language of someone who is lying. These cues are accurate predictors of deception and when used in combination, are almost a surefire way to tell if someone is lying to you. 

1. Ask unexpected questions and watch their initial response.
It’s not the information in their answer you’re looking for as much as the way in which they answer. Carefully watch them during the first few seconds before they respond – if they pause, stall with “ums” and “ahs”, repeat the question, or lowers their voice and looks down, they are probably lying, no matter what they say next.

2. Look for insincere emotions and microexpressions.
It’s almost physical impossible for most people to fake a smile - the timing will be wrong, it will be held too long, turn into a frown at the end, their eyes will be too squinted, etc. This is just one manifestation of what are called microexpressions, which last only 1/25th of a second and reveal the person’s true emotion when they are being insincere.

3. They provide too much information.
If you ask someone a question or to explain themselves and they lie to you, they often ramble on and give far too much information. They also tend to use qualifying language like “to tell you the truth,” “in all honesty,” and “as far as I know,” that’s easy to spot.

4. Ask the person to tell their story or go over the answer in reverse chronology.
Psychologists reveal that our brains aren’t wired to retell stories or reconstruct memories in chronological order, as we often start with the most emotional parts then fill in information. But when someone is lying, they carefully arrange the story – and retell it – chronologically, so asking them to do otherwise will trip them up.

5. Measure their attitude.
People who are being dishonest often become agitated, defensive, or uncooperative when you ask to discuss something or for help filling in the details.

6. Verbal cues and speech patterns.
Certain words and phrases or speech patterns reveal deceit. If a person uses excessive religious imagery (I swear to God), overemphasize their truthfulness and honesty, repeat themselves (a way to buy time while they’re gathering their thoughts), or question or attack the question, it may be an indication they’re lying.

7. Are they minimizing?
"Minimizing language" is used to try and downplay or distract from the importance of the question or the facts, such saying “It’s not a big deal,” or referring to “the company” when they would normally say “we.” 

8. Changing their head position quickly.
When you ask someone a direct question and they make a sudden head movement, they could be lying. If their head is jerked back, retracted, bows down, or tilts to the side right before they respond, it could be an inadvertent signal.

9. Their breathing shifts.
When someone tells a lie, their breathing usually changes, becoming shallow, their shoulders rising because the increased heart rate and blood flow, nerves and tension, change their normal breathing patterns. 

10. They either stand very still or shift their feet.
When someone gets nervous, defensive, or feels they are backed into a corner, their flight or fight response usually kicks in. That means they’ll either hold perfectly, unnaturally still, or shift and move far too much for relaxed conversation.

11. They touch or cover their mouths.
One of the easiest ways to tell if someone is lying or at least being shifty is if they touch their mouth, their face, or put their hand over their mouth when they speak or answer a question.

12. They cover certain parts of their bodies
Likewise, if someone inadvertently covers up certain vulnerable parts of the body like their throat, chest, head, or abdomen, assuming defensive positions, they may be lying. If they bite their lips, pull on their chin, or play with their hair, it may be more signs of fibbing.

13. It becomes harder for them to speak.
When someone lies, it can actually become physiologically harder for them to speak, as the automatic nervous system decreases the flow of saliva during stress, make their mouths and lips more dry. 

14. They don’t blink enough – or too much.
People blink more when they are nervous – like when they are lying - but some liars overcompensate and will hold a stare too long without blinking.

15. They point a lot.
If someone points a lot during their answers to questions or explanations, it may be an unconscious sign of the passive-aggressive nature of lying.

Monday, July 20, 2015

How is Placer County measuring up with four important economic factors?

Population in Placer County:

The population of Placer County was estimated at 357,463 people as of the close of 2013.

The largest population center in Placer County is Auburn with 357,463 people. Roseville is next with 123,514, and unincorporated areas combined hold 109,739 people. Colfax is the smallest incorporated area in Placer, with only 1,969 residents.

Since 2003, the population of Placer County had grown 114.9%, with the largest increases in Roseville (31.3%) and Rocklin (26.5%). Since 2008, the population has grown 7.1% Loomis and Colfax are the slowest growing towns.

It’s estimated that by 2018, Placer County will have a population of 389,883 people, a 9.1% increase from its current mark. And by 2023, that number could be up to 420,187, a 17.5% increase.

Income in Placer County:

Per capita income in Placer County was $52,444 at the close of 2012. That represents a 33.9% increase since 2002 and an 8.4% increase since 2007. Those numbers are just about consistent with Sacramento income growth.

The median household income for Placer County was $70,30 as of the close of 2012, which is a modest 2.3% increase since 2007.

Projections show that Placer County income growth will continue to be positive and steady, with an anticipated 14.2% increase by 2017 for a $60,024 median, and a 22.4% increase by 2022 for a median household income of $64,337.

Employment in Placer County:

Placer County now has approximately 131,800 employed citizens, representing an increase from 120,700 employees in 2002, or a 9.2% rise. However, since 2007, Placer County has seen a -6.1% decrease in employed citizens. But that’s still better than the corresponding employment numbers for Sacramento, who experienced a -1.2% decrease since 2002, but a sharper -8.9% decrease since 2007. 

Since 2007, business growth has been most prominent in the fields of Agriculture (33.3%), Education and Health Services (29.1%). However, during that same time, Mining and Logging (-100%), Construction (-42.9%), and Manufacturing (-25.9%) saw rapid declines.

Employment projections for Placer County are still strong with an anticipated 21.7% increase to 160,464 jobs by 2017 and a 32.4% increase to 174,441 jobs by 2022.

The lion’s share of growth will be in certain industries such as education, health services, and utilities. In fact, it’s projected that by 2022, about 20% of employment will be in the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities field, and another 16% in Educational & Health Services.

Paralleled by employment numbers, unemployment in Placer County has remained lower than Sacramento averages. As of 2012, unemployment was 9.4%, which compares unfavorably to 2002’s 4.9% mark. But with the recession and real estate bust of 2008, unemployment rose to 6.4% in 2008 and an alarming 11.5% in 2010, so today’s numbers are a healthy reversal of that trend.

Real estate in Placer County:

In the 2000s, real estate sales in Placer County exploded, with many luxury new home divisions built. Currently, the median value of single-family homes in Placer is $404,900 and the median sale price is $380,250. Those numbers have risen about 5% in the last year, with stable appreciation and secure values with Placer County real estate. Houses for sale in Placer County only stay on market an average of 78 days.

Only 9.9% of homes in Placer have negative equity or are underwater, compared to the U.S. average of 16.9%. 79.9% of homeowners still have a mortgage in Placer County, with just over 20% owning their homes free and clear.

The homeownership rate in Placer County is 70.6%, with 27% of residents renting. There are currently 26.2% more housing units than existed in 2002 and 4.8% more than in 2008.

Home sales in Placer County are expected to stay hot over the next year with values increasing steadily, based on market factors and the desirability of living in the area.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The top 15 professional athletes born in Sacramento.

When people think of Sacramento, the birthplace of pro athletes usually doesn't come to mind, but in fact, there's a distinguished list of professionals in the sporting ranks that came from Sacramento, Placer, or Yolo Counties. Here is our list of the top 15, arranged alphabetically by last name. Are we missing anyone who should be in the top 15? Who is your favorite Sacramento athlete? Let us know, and play ball! 

1. Ryan Anderson
Sport: NBA basketball
El Dorado Hill’s Anderson has enjoyed a surprisingly productive early NBA career after being drafted in 2008 by the New Jersey Nets. He was quickly traded to the Orlando Magic where he earned a spot in the starting rotation and caught the league’s attention as a power forward who could stretch defense out to the three-point line with his accurate stroke. He won the NBA’s 2012 Most Improved Player Award and was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans, where he’s enjoyed scoring and rebounding success despite some injury frustrations.

2. Dusty Baker
Sport: MLB baseball
Johnnie B. "Dusty" Baker, Jr. lived in Elk Grove before his standout 19-year career as a major league baseball player with the Dodgers and Braves. But his most notable sports accomplishment was as a manager of the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Cincinnati Reds for 20 years.

3. Lance Briggs
Sport: Chicago Bears, NFL football
Briggs, a 6-1, 242-pound linebacker who was drafted by the Bears in 2003, was born in Sacramento on November 12, 1980 and attended Elk Grove High School, where he was named Sacramento Bee Player of the Year as a senior.

4. Teddy Bruschi
Sport: NFL football
The heart and soul of the Patriots championship defense, Bruschi went to high school in Roseville before attending Arizona University and being drafted to the NFL in 1996. Along with Tom Brady, Brushci and the Pats found unparalleled success that led to three Super Bowl trophies.

5. Bill Cartwright
Sport: NBA Basketball
Fans of the early Michael Jordan Bulls teams may remember their gangly and spirited center, Bill Cartwright. Standing 7’1”, Cartwright started his hoops career at Elk Grove High before going on to the University of San Francisco and 16 seasons for the Knicks, Bulls, and SuperSonics in the pro ranks.

6. John Daly
Sport: Golf
Most people don’t realize that Daly, one of the best golfers in the world in his day, was born in Carmichael, California, although his family moved to Arkansas when he was still young. Daly went on to a storied career as a pro golfer and plenty of championship hardware, best known for his 300-yard plus drives (earning him the moniker, Long John), and sometimes boisterous personality.

7. Uriah Faber
Sport: UFC/mixed martial arts
The California Kid is the pride and joy of Davis, California, where he went to school and wrestled. He’s gone on to great things in the pro ranks of the WEC and UFC, including holding several championship belts and becoming one of the most recognizable names – and smiling faces – in the sport. His contribution extends beyond his own career, as he’s the founder of the Alpha Male team that grooms many other successful fighters.

8. Kevin Johnson
Sport: NBA basketball
Kevin Johnson was born in Sacramento and attended Sacramento High, where he was a standout in both baseball and basketball. He had a stellar career in the NBA, almost all as the face of the Phoenix Suns organizations, earning three nods to the All Star team. After his basketball career, Johnson earned a degree in Political Science from U.C. Berkeley and founded two education initiatives in his home city. Oh, and Johnson also is the current mayor of Sacramento – not a bad post-NBA career!

9. Kyle Larson
We all know they drive fast on the streets of Elk Grove, but resident Kyle Larson, born in 1992, used his lead foot to an advantage on the raceway track. Larson drove his way to fame as the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Rookie of the Year and champion, the 2013 Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, winner of the 2015 24 Hours of Daytona, and the 2014 Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year.

10. Derrek Lee
Sport: MLB baseball
“The Pride of Carmichael,” Derrek Leon Lee was born in 1975 and started playing major league baseball with the Padres in 1997. He went on to play for the Marlins, Cubs, Braves, Orioles, and Pirates, winning the World Series in 2003 with the Marlins. He’s also earned individual accolades: the 2005 NL batting title, two All-Star selections, and three Gold Glove awards.

11. Manny Parra
Sport: MLB baseball
Manuel Alex "Manny" Parra graduated from Casa Roble High School in 2000 and American River College in 2002, where he earned the National Junior College of the Year Award. He pitched a perfect game in AAA before getting called up to the majors with the Milwaukee Brewers, and now as a standout relief pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds.

12. Dustin Pedroia
Sport: MLB baseball
Born and raised in Woodland, California only a few miles from Sacramento, Dustin Pedroia is burst into the major league scene in 2006 as a diminutive spark plug second baseman for the Boston Red Sox. He won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2007 and went on to four All Star appearances and an AL Most Valuable Player Award, leading the Red Sox to two World Series titles.

13. Summer Sanders
Sport: Swimming
Summer Elisabeth Sanders grew up in Roseville before going on to swim competitively at Stanford University and than participating in the 1992 Olympics, where she won gold, silver, and bronze medals. She’s now a commentator and media personality that represents her sport and her country with aplomb.

14. Dante Stallworth
Sport: NFL football
Everyone in Sacramento knows that Grant Union High School produces plenty of notable athletes, but none were better than the young Stallworth, who excelled in track and football. He went on to a notable career as a sure-handed wide receiver with the Saints, Eagles, Patriots, Redskins, Ravens, and Browns. But perhaps the best team he ever played on was back at Grant as a high schooler along with teammates Seneca Wallace (NFL quarterback), Onterio Smith (NFL running back), C.J. Wallace (NFL Safety), and Paris Warren (NFL receiver.)

15. Tony “The Tiger” Lopez
Sport: Boxing
Long before Uriah Faber or TJ Dillishaw made a name in the pro fighting ranks, Lopez was a scrappy middleweight boxer representing Sacramento. Born in the Californian capitol city in 1966, Lopez went on to distinguish himself as a skilled brawler with a 50-8-1 record, including 34 knockouts and Fight of the Year honors in 1988.