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For all the folks with cell phones. (This should be printed and kept in your car, purse, and wallet. Good information to have with you.)

There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies.

Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival.

Check out the things that you can do with it:

FIRST (Emergency)

The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an Emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly, this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.

SECOND (Locked Keys in Car)

Have you locked your keys in the car? Does your car have remote keyless entry? This may come in handy someday. Good reason to own a cell phone:

If you lock your keys In the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other ‘remote’ for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk).

Editor’s Note: It works fine! We tried it out and it unlocked our car over a cell phone!’

THIRD (Hidden Battery Power)

Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell phone next time.

FOURTH (How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone?)

To check your Mobile phone’s serial number, key in the following Digits on your phone:

*#06# .

A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe.

If your phone is stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won’t get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can’t use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.

And Finally….

FIFTH (Free Directory Service for Cells)

Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don’t have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial:

(800) FREE411 or (800) 373-3411

without incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell phone now.

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I have so many customers ask me the same question: What are the most important simple improvements I can make to my home if I want to increase my value?
Here are 10 Ways to Increase your home value:
1. Get rid of all that unnecessary Clutter
2. Remove all pet aroma and anything that shows you have pet at the home
3. Try to remove the kids’ stuff
4. Clean up the Porches and remove all the junk from the yard
5. Clean up the walkways
6. Pressure Wash the outside of the house including porches and decks
7. Paint the rooms that just need a touching up
8. Replace those light fixtures that just look WAY old
9. Change out those leaky Faucets
10. Make it STINK-I mean in a nice way. Why, because smells are like anchors to good or BADS thoughts and will help the customer remember your home.
By the way, I have lots of buyers right now… The market is heating up BIG time!! So if you know somebody who is consider selling, e-mail me or give a call so I can help them get their home SOLD!

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Seven Ways You Benefit From A Walnut Creek Short Sale

A home owner thinking of a short sale recently asked me why they should short sale versus just walking away and letting their lender foreclose on the home. I gave them the normal answer: “It’s much better for your credit.”

That was the first thing that popped into my head. But, I knew there are more benefits to a home owner than simply better credit. So I put together the entire list and here they are.

1. The upside down debt is erased in most cases. If you are selling because of a financial hardship, then the upside down debt will be automatically erased in most cases. Is your loan is owned or insured by the following agencies: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and or VA? If you are short selling because of a financial hardship, their policies state that your debt will be erased.

2. You are eligible to buy another home much sooner compared to a foreclosure. The most common loan program, Fannie Mae, stipulates that you can buy another home under their program in 2 years. FHA, a popular low down payment loan program stipulates that you can qualify for an FHA loan within 3 years.

3. No Cost To You. That is right. A short sale costs you nothing. All of the expenses are paid for by your lender. That includes the title insurance, any county taxes or fees on the sale, attorney fees, and the Real Estate Agent. If the lender foreclosed on the house and then tried to sell it, they would have to pay all the costs. So why not pay the costs with a short sale?

4. Your credit suffers less damage. Most people think that a short sale will be the kiss of death to their credit. That is the one big advantage of a short sale over a foreclosure.

Upon completion of the short sale, your credit score will drop between 50 and 100 points. However it will rebound fairly quickly. The other benefit is that you will have less debt. (A lot of debt hurts your credit score.) You will have a lower debt to income ratio, which will boost your credit.

In a couple of years your credit will be back to normal and you can buy another home. In addition, anything and everything bad on your credit can be fixed thru the dispute process.

5. You can often rent a comparable house for less than your former mortgage payment. In one example, a homeowner in foreclosure found a larger home. It even had a fenced backyard for their kid and a garage. Their prior mortgage payment was $2,500. They rented the nicer, bigger house for $1,750 a month.

6. You avoid the humiliation of a foreclosure.

7. You don’t have to pay rent during the short sale process. A short sale can take up to 6 or 9 months. Not all of them do. But, some do. If you aren’t concerned about your credit, then you can stop making your mortgage payments during the short sale. You can use the savings for the deposit on a rental.

Thinking about a short sale? I can help you short sale your property and never pay the bank another penny.

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Has your power bill has been a little over the top this year? You thought everybody in your home had been working hard to be frugal about it, yet each time the electric bill you wonder what happened. If so here are some simple tips that you can take to drop those winter electric bills DOWN.
1) Look at that thermostat; consider changing it out to a programmable one could save you a $100.00 a month. You can do it yourself if are just a little bit of a home handyman.
• Have that programmable thermostat set it to lower the temperature at night and whenever the house is unoccupied. Lowering your thermostat by 10 degrees at night can reduce your heating bill by 10 to 20 percent.
• Make sure your programmable thermostat is:
o Programmed appropriately – a programmable thermostat only saves energy when it is programmed.
o Not located in an unheated space, a poorly-sealed or seldom-used room, or in direct sunlight near a heat source. The thermostat should be able to sense the average temperature in your home. If it is not in the right place, contact a heating and air conditioning professional about having it moved.
2) Plug up those leaks around the house
• Check all exterior doors for air leaks and weather strip and caulk as needed. A one-eighth-inch gap around a door is equivalent to a 6-inch-square hole in the side of your house and causes a lot of energy loss. You can check doors two ways:
• Have someone stand on the other side of the door and shine a flashlight around the door’s perimeter. If you can see light through the cracks, your door needs sealing.
• Hold a piece of paper between the door and the frame and shut the door. If you can pull the paper out without tearing it, you should weather strip around the door.
3) Check your ductwork for leaks. Also most Energy Companies offer Free Home Energy Checks, where they crawl in the attic checking them for you (just ask).
• It is estimated that one-third of all heating and cooling is wasted at leaks in the joints of your duct work.
• A Home Energy Check provides residential customers with a comprehensive analysis of energy consumption, and will help you identify and evaluate cost-effective energy-saving measures for your home.
4) Close the doors of the rooms you don’t use that much.
• Seal off unused rooms (as long as the room is less than 100 square feet and isn’t the room where the thermostat is located). Close the floor or wall registers and return air vents, and keep the doors closed.

Hope those tips help, e-mail me if I missed any that you use yourself to save Cashola.

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You can prevent your auto premiums from skyrocketing.
By Kimberly Lankford, Kiplinger.com
My 16-year-old son is about to get his license, and I’m afraid of what that might do to our auto-insurance rates. How can we lower insurance costs?
You’re right to be worried — your auto-insurance premiums are likely to skyrocket when your teenage son starts driving. But a few key moves can help you cut costs significantly.
1. Raise your comprehensive and collision deductibles to at least $1,000, which lowers your premiums and prevents you from filing small claims that could jeopardize a claims-free discount. Add some more money to your emergency fund so you’ll have the cash to pay the deductible if anyone in your family does have an accident.
2. Drop collision and comprehensive coverage entirely on older cars that are worth little more than the deductible. You may be paying more in premiums than you could ever get back from the insurer, even if the car is totaled. Look up your car’s value on Kelley Blue Book.
3. Get a safe car. Having your child drive a safe car will help you sleep easier and keep your auto-insurance rates under control, too. Check safety ratings at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
4. Encourage your kids to get good grades. Most insurers offer a big discount for young drivers who maintain at least a B average in high school or college. College kids generally need to take at least 12 credits to qualify for the discount, says Trisha Mujadin, an independent insurance agent with NRG, a Seattle insurance agency.
5. Tell your insurer if your child goes away to college. If your child goes to school more than 100 miles away and doesn’t take a car, you can usually get a big break on your premiums but still have coverage when he or she comes home for vacation.
6. Ask about other discounts for teenage drivers. Some insurers offer discounts for driver-safety programs, cutting costs if the kids take a special class, watch a DVD, or read a driver-safety book and take a test. Ask your insurer what your kid needs to do to qualify.
7. Make the most of multipolicy discounts. You’ll usually get a break on your auto insurance and your homeowners insurance if you keep both policies with the same company. You may get an additional discount if you include an umbrella policy, which provides extra liability coverage beyond your auto-insurance limits and can be particularly valuable when you have a teenage driver.
8. Shop around. Some insurers offer much better deals than others for teenage drivers, so it’s important to compare costs. The insurance company that offered the best rate for you and your spouse may have some of the highest rates when you add a teenage boy to the policy (and it’s almost always better to add the child to your policy rather than have him get his own policy). “One company we work with is really great with young drivers and another is horrible,” says Mujadin.
You can get price quotes from several insurance companies at http://www.insurancerates.com (a new site by InsWeb.com) or get personalized service from an independent insurance agent who works with many companies (you can find a local independent agent at http://www.iiaba.org). You may not want to switch from a longtime insurer just to save a few dollars, however, because your current company may be less likely to raise your rate or drop you if your child has an accident, says Mujadin. “If you stay with the company where you’ve been, there’s some value to that — there’s more room for forgiveness.” Also keep in mind that if you’ve been getting a multipolicy discount, your homeowners-insurance rate might rise if you take your auto-insurance business elsewhere.
One thing you don’t want to do in an attempt to reduce your premiums is skimp on liability coverage. Mujadin recommends liability limits of at least $250,000 per person, $500,000 per accident and $100,000 for property damage (or a policy with a “combined single limit” of $500,000, when available, which doesn’t limit the coverage to $250,000 per person involved in the accident). Young drivers are more likely to have accidents, and lowering your liability limits could leave you on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses if your child does hit another car or injure someone.
Reprinted with permission. All Contents ©2011 The Kiplinger Washington Editors. http://www.kiplinger.com.

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The holiday season is a special time of year, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants to remind everyone that it can also be dangerous. So the CPSC has issued a number of safety tips for the holidays and a holiday safety video to help keep families healthy, safe, and happy this season.

Here are just three of the important tips that the CPSC posted on its website:

1. Choose Age-Appropriate Toys. Look at the age recommendation on the toys you are choosing and match that recommendation to your child. Avoid toys with small parts for children younger than three-years-old. Those small parts can cause a child to choke. For children under six-years-old, avoid play sets or building toys with small magnets. A child can swallow those magnets, which can result in a serious injury or even death. Starting at a young age, teach your children not to put toys in their mouths.

2. Gear Up. If sports-related gifts such as ride-on toys, bicycles, skates or scooters are on your gift list or around your house, make sure to include helmets that are sized to your child’s head and other appropriate safety gear. And then, make sure your child wears the gear properly EVERY time he or she uses the toy or sports equipment.

3. Plastic Wrap. Keep a trash bag at your fingertips while your kids are opening presents. That way, you can immediately throw away plastic wrappings and other toy packaging before they become dangerous playthings. As an added bonus, it makes your cleanup faster, too.

Plus…

Here are two bonus tips from the CPSC’s Twitter account:

“Heated rooms rapidly dry out live trees. Be sure to monitor water levels and keep the tree stand filled with water.”
“Never put wrapping paper in the fireplace. It can result in a chimney fire.”
If you ever have questions about the safety of a toy or product, visit the CPSC’s website at http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/.

You can also follow the CPSC on Twitter at http://twitter.com/OnSafety and even watch safety videos on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/USCPSC.

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Yes it’s kind of funny to realize sometimes the simplest things in life can save you so much money. So caulk your windows and caulk all the places in the house where air comes in and comes out.

Also changing your air filters on a monthly basis. We’ll see you a lot of money on your electricity bill.

PG&E can do a free energy audit and really show you how to save big $ on your heating and cooling bills!

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