Cliff’s Notes on real estate… October 2016
Welcome to the unofficial start of the holiday season! With October, we begin to see Thanksgiving and Halloween decorations, reminding us that Christmas is not far behind.
In keeping with the spirit of the season, I’ve included a funny Halloween story in this month’s Cliff’s Notes newsletter, plus an explanation of why we have fall colors.
Other fun content includes a light-hearted fly story, a description of how Google blew $1 billion this year, and a bunch of sage advice about health. For instance, you’ll learn about:
- Slowing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Tips for turning your heart healthy.
- How pet health can save you money.
If you’re thinking about a real estate move before the holiday season, now is the time to take action. Please contact me at 650-346-7366 to get started. Please think of me as your resource center on real estate, which you can always count on to be in your corner and not let you down.
Talk with you soon.
Your friend in the real estate business,
On a particular afternoon as I was visiting my elderly aunt, a fly landed in my tea. I must have registered a look on my
face, because immediately my attentive aunt said, “What’s wrong?”
“It’s nothing,” I said, not wanting to make her uncomfortable. She took great pride in the cleanliness of her home, and I felt it would embarrass her. So I thought I’d just find a discreet moment to empty my tea in the kitchen.
But my aunt was not naive, and she prompted me. “I can see that something is wrong.”
“Oh, it’s nothing,” I said, laughing lightly to soften the situation. “Just a fly landed in my tea.” “Oh, my,” she said.
But she rose and peered inside. “Oh, dear,” she said, shaking her head. Now I began to be embarrassed at how disturbed she was.”It’s no problem,” I assured her, putting my cup on the table.
“I’ll take care of it and be right back.” She took my cup to the kitchen, and returned after several minutes. I assumed she was making a new cup, but when she came back, she was empty handed. I raised my eyebrows questioningly, wondering about the tea.
Seeing my look, she sat down and patted me reassuringly on the knee, “He’ll be all right. I got him dried out and he flew away.” ~ Cliff
A tourist in Vienna is passing Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof graveyard on October 31st. All of a sudden he hears music. No one is around, so he starts
searching for the source. The tourist finally locates the origin from within a grave. The headstone of the grave reads: Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770-1827.
The tourist listens for a while. He recognizes symphony music, but can’t identify the score. Puzzled, he leaves the graveyard to get a friend, an expert in music. When they return, they hear the music again. “I know that music!” says the friend. “It’s Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, but it’s being played backwards!”
They turn and run to the caretaker’s house and bang on his door to wake him. They tell him what’s happening and urge him to come hear it for himself.
But the caretaker pats them on the arm and says, “Oh, it’s nothing to worry about. He’s just decomposing!”
October Quiz Question
Q: Why did the phlebotomist go to art school?
Everyone who texts, emails or calls in the correct answer by the last day of this month will be entered into a drawing for a $30 gift certificate to Starbucks
Q: What is a 10 letter English word for an item that is fast becoming obsolete and can be typed using only the letters in the top row of the keyboard?
Congratulations to this month’s winner:
Melanie Reitzel of Pacifica
|We Buy Houses: 415-805-6899—CASH—FAST—AS-IS
“Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story.” ~Mason Cooley
Google Blows $1 Billion
In just one financial quarter this year, Google “wasted” close to a billion dollars. But they weren’t spending it on new search algorithms. Instead, parent company, Alphabet, was spending it on “moonshot” ideas that may or may not pay off in the future.
The futuristic projects, include everything from seawater gas, to internet-beaming balloons, to solar-powered contact lenses. According to Astro Teller, head of Google X labs (I kid you not), “We try to steer X to be ‘responsibly irresponsible’ as we develop new products.”
In this way, Alphabet is following in the footsteps of old-time technology companies who used to devote significant budget to new and exploratory ideas, not simply incremental ideas that would make them more money in the short term, as many companies do today.
Those efforts in the past played a role in creating some of the 20th century’s most significant innovations. For instance, Bell Labs invented the transistor, the foundation of modern electronics. And Xerox pioneered the graphical user interface that allows us to navigate our computers visually, rather than typing in coded commands.
Are You Ready For A Job Loss?
Any of us could lose our jobs at any time for many different reasons. Are you prepared? Here are three pieces of advice from financial experts:
- Have at least six months’ worth of living expenses on hand. To calculate that amount for yourself, take the following steps:
- Create a list on paper. Down the left-hand side write all your fixed monthly expenses: mortgage or rent, insurance policies, car payments, medical expenses, etc.
- Continue to list other major spending categories such as food, utilities, entertainment, gas, etc. These are called variable expenses.
- Next to each item, list the actual amounts you spend for fixed expenses and estimates for the variable expenses. If needed, go into your financial records—your bank account, ATM charges, cancelled checks—to get a realistic estimate for your variable expenses. Add the total expenses, then multiply by 6 to get a six-month figure for your emergency fund.
- In addition to your emergency fund, you should also have on hand an emergency credit card with the largest credit limit you can qualify for. Apply for this card before an emergency hits, as credit card companies are less likely to give you a line of credit when you are without income. Save this card for unusual expenses that go above and beyond your six months of padding.
- As soon as the emergency hits, stay level-headed about finances. Immediately cancel unnecessary services, such as cable TV. Consider trading in the car with a high payment. Shop for less expensive food and drink. Many people who are used to a steady middle class income can come up with an extra $300 to $500/month, just by watching what they spend.
WE BUY HOUSES
How Fast Can I Learn?
A martial arts student went to a teacher and declared he wanted to learn as fast as possible. He asked the teacher how long it would take. The teacher replied: “Ten years.”
The student, a bit impatient and not satisfied with the answer said, “But I want to master it faster than that. I will work very hard, practice 10 or more hours a day, if necessary. How long would it then take?” The teacher replied: “Twenty years.”
The student bowed and said, “Then let’s go at your pace, master.”
Scientists searching for causes of and cures for Alzheimer’s disease may have discovered a source of protection. A Scandinavian study followed of 271 people ages 65-79 for seven years. They periodically tested blood levels for a marker of vitamin B12, as well as an amino acid called homocysteine.
At the beginning of the study, none of the participants showed signs of dementia. Over the following seven years, 17 participants were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The researchers found that study subjects who with more homocysteine had a 16% higher risk of developing the disease, while those with more of the B12 marker (which is associated with lower levels of homocysteine) had a 2% reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.
The indications seem to support the use of vitamin B12 in slowing the onset of Alzheimer’s. Vitamin B12 can be found in eggs, fish, poultry, and other meats, and is best consumed through a balanced diet, not vitamin supplements.
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“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ~L. M. Montgomery
A Bridge To Success
In the 19th century, engineers doubted they’d ever be able to build a bridge across Niagara Falls. The problem: They couldn’t see any way to get a line from one side of the great gorge to the other. No boat could cross the river without being pulled over the powerful falls. The other common method,
shooting a line from one shore to the other with a bow and arrow, was impossible because the gap was too wide.
An engineer named Charles Ellet had an idea: He sponsored a kite-flying contest. The prize was $5 to whoever could maneuver a kite across the gorge and lower it to a height where someone on the other side could grab the string and use it to secure a line that joined the two sides. With that line in place, he could begin building the bridge.
Great ideas connect dreams with achievement—and often do so with simple tools.
It’s Never Too Late To Fix Your Heart
Adults who change their lifestyles can decrease their chances of developing heart disease later in life, according to a study conducted by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Researchers collected data on lifestyle
habits of approximately 5,000 participants between the ages of 18 and 30, then analyzed the status of their health 20 years later.
They found that 25 percent of participants who had adopted at least one healthy habit (maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, exercise, etc.) had cut their risk of developing heart disease. The 40 percent who had dropped one or more healthy practices had increased their chances of cardiac problems.
The takeaway: Dropping unhealthy habits at any age can have a positive effect on heart health, so don’t assume you can’t help yourself just because you’ve pursued the wrong path up until now.
Don’t stand in line be one of the first to know about a home you can afford to purchase
Imagine me as your real estate consultant. What I do for you is invest my time consulting, negotiating, and organizing the details of your transaction because I want you to have a superb experience that will cause you to want to introduce me to the people you care about most.
The purpose of my business is referrals, which means I must bring the type of value that makes you feel comfortable introducing me to the people you know that need my help.
After all, a referral is sending someone you care about to someone you trust. Cliff Keith
“If your objective is to make money, you are going to innovate, not invent.
But if your objective is to make the world a better place, you must invent,
not merely innovate.” ~ Anonymous
The Job You Save May Be Your Own
Your organization may not be able to avoid business downturns, but you can cut your chances of becoming a casualty. Here’s how to enhance your job security:
- Know your organization’s mission. Understanding how you fit into your organization’s goals is crucial to making your own job “mission critical.” Work on tasks and projects that your organization can’t survive without.
- Be hard to replace. Find out what skills are common in the workforce market and which ones are valued and rare. Keep your training up to date so the organization doesn’t have to look elsewhere for cutting-edge talent.
- Ramp up your performance. Take on more projects, beat your deadlines, increase your results. Organizations weed out poor performers when they need to cut costs, not top-level contributors.
Why Leaves Change Color
Through the spring and summer months, trees convert sunlight to energy that is used in transforming carbon dioxide and water to carbohydrates, such as sugar and starch. Without that process we would have no maple syrup.
The chemical that makes this process possible is called chlorophyll, which has
a green color. Although leaves naturally contain yellow and red pigments, too, the amount of chlorophyll is so high in the spring and summer that it blocks all the other colors. It’s only when the process of energy conversion goes dormant that we see the other colors, as chlorophyll shuts down for the season. But there are other reasons for different color intensities in the fall.
Weather Affects Color Intensity
Temperature, light, and water supply have an influence on the degree and the duration of fall color. Low temperatures above freezing will favor anthocyanin formation producing bright reds in maples. However, early frost will weaken the brilliant red color. Rainy and/or overcast days tend to increase the intensity of fall colors. The best time to enjoy the autumn color would be on a clear, dry, and cool (not freezing) day.
Healthy Pets Save Money
We love our pets, but they can be expensive to care for, especially as they age. You never want to have to choose between your pet and your bank balance, so consider these simple tips for saving money while keeping Fido or Fluffy healthy and happy:
- Get regular checkups. The money you spend on vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and routine medical care will pay off in preventing more expensive illnesses later.
- Groom at home. Lots of grooming—brushing, washing, clipping claws—can be done on your own. Also learn to do the unpleasant tasks of cleaning ears and anal glands.
- Get annual dental care. Talk to your vet about keeping your pet’s teeth clean and preventing infections. Dental problems are one of the leading causes of dog or cat health problems as they age.
Consider pet insurance.
Shop around for some insurance to cover medical care in the event of an emergency.
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Q: Why did Miss Muffet need a road map?
A: Because she lost her whey.
This newsletter is intended for entertainment purposes only. Credit is given to the authors of various articles that are reprinted when the original author is known. Any omission of credit to an author is purely unintentional and should not be construed as plagiarism or literary theft.
Copyright 2016 Cliff Keith dba SF Bay Homes with Today | Sotheby’s International Realty. This information is solely advisory, and should not be substituted for medical, legal, financial or tax advice. Any and all decisions and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a qualified physician, attorney, financial advisor[Tweet “Not your average real estate newsletter. It makes me a better person…”]
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