Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Michigan Ponzi Schemes

If you receive a call from any of these 11 people asking you to invest in a can't miss get rich investment, RUN FORREST, RUN!

From MLive: The Scam List

John Bravata: Billionaire Boys Club (stole $53 million from investors)

David McQueen: The 'diversified' companies

Dante DeMiro: Municipal scheme (he raked in money from schools and local governments)

Michael Winans Jr.: Saudi oil bonds (from the Winans gospel family - used his famous name and connections to bilk local clergy out of $11 million)

Mark Carpenter: All for God (if you can't beat em, join um - got scammed by Winans, and decided to join in)

Martin Royster: 240 percent returns (well, if you're foolish enough to believe in 240% returns, maybe you don't deserve your money)

Scott Pionk: A gambling man (when he said he was going to invest his clients' money, he apparently meant at the craps table)

Roger Clark: 'Successful advisor'

Raymond Joseph: Personal expenses 

Richard Johnson: For charity (investors thought they were buying products that benefited charities)

Rita and Richard Gosselin: On the run (any relation to Kate?)

Monday, December 20, 2010

5 Mortgage Trends For 2011

MSN Money predicts the mortgage trends for 2011:

1. Mortgage rates will stay low
2. Foreclosure "overhang" possible
3. Processing times will remain long
4. Temptation grows for zero-cost refinances
5. Jumbos look attractive, but buyers are scarce

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Treasury Department Jumps Into the Blogosphere

This month the U.S. Treasury Department joined the world of blogging.  The blog is aptly called Treasury Notes (Treasury Notes, get it?).  "Treasury Notes will be a place where senior officials and staff throughout the Department and Bureaus will post news, announcements and information so you can learn more about us and the work we do here at the Treasury."  OK, that sounds sort of cool to me.  They've also set up accounts on Facebook and Twitter.

Treasury Notes kicked off their first in a series of “Five Questions” interviews with Elizabeth Warren, Special Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury.  

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lender Instructions To Signing Agent - Would You Really Do This?

This week I received a U.S. Bank loan package with the following instructions: "Borrower must sign exactly as name is typed.  If typed name is not correct, add "also known as" or "formerly know as" language to the signature line.  Say what?  If the lender mistakenly spells the borrower's name incorrectly on their loan documents, the borrower should sign that they are know by that name or were formerly known by that name even though they aren't?  Absolutely no way.  Seriously, who thinks of this stuff?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Your Home Value - Do Appraisers Even Know What It's Worth?

Over the last two years, I've been lamenting about the fact that appraisers are valuing homes brutally low with little reasoning or accountability.  We've gone from appraising homes at artificially high values to appraising them at artificially low values (to an appraiser, apparently every home looks like the one on the left).  Or as Walter Molony of the National Association of Realtors puts it, "There's been a pendulum swing in appraisals comparable to the one we've seen in mortgage credit, from foolishly lax to overly restrictive."This special report from Reuters documents the frustration and struggles that homeowners are having with trying to get a fair and reasonable home value assessment:

Reuter's Special Report: What's Your Home Worth?  Pick A Number, Any Number

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sticking With The Holiday Gift Giving Theme

Here's another unique holiday gift idea I've used in the past: Jillian's Giant Fortune Cookies.  The cookies come in several flavors and gift baskets are available.  The fortune is completely customizable.  I created six messages that promoted my business and emphasized why they should use me for their mobile closing needs such as "experienced full time closer," "over 6000 signings performed," "reliable and courteous," etc.  The cookies are handmade, hand-dipped, and absolutely delicious.   

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Another Holiday Gift Idea

Here's a nice little idea for your business or a holiday gift idea for your favorite clients: Tuxedo Self-Inking Artistic Stamps.  Create a customized logo for your business or have one created for your client.  Use the stamp on envelopes, letters, or any mailings or correspondences.  They can be purchased at Notary Rotary (about half way down the page). 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Say Thank You With Chocolate

Although the commercials and music started in October, I can't think about the holidays until the calendar hits December and the temperature dips below freezing.  Well, it's that time now.  And now is a great time to say thank you to your best clients.  If you're looking for something special to give to your clients at a reasonable price, here's a suggestion: Haute Chocolat (that's the fancy French spelling for chocolate).  These homemade chocolate pots are the most amazing things you've ever tasted.  I gave them to my clients last year and I've also served them at parties.  My clients and my guests raved about them.  I loved them so much that I offered to redesign their Haute website for free (and no, I didn't get any free chocolate out of the deal.  Booooooo).

It is far and away the best chocolate I've ever had.  Your clients will love them.  And you'll hate yourself if you don't order a box for yourself.