Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bon appetit

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Hey Y'all,
Think about this, My friends and readers...
Sometime in the grand scale of things, The great Creator allows a thought to creep into your mind, no matter how dense your mind may be, it somehow gets in there and rolls around pestering you... you just can't shake it out no matter what you do. It's sorta like a tune embedded in your mind and you catch yourself constantly humming the tune all day long. Some times you are haunted for days or even weeks, until you succumb to it and write it, or cook it, or play the music yourself. Then as quick as it appeared to you... "poof" ... it's gone, leaving only the memory, Good or Bad, then you file it to the experience file, to revisit it sometime later... or maybe never! That's not the point, who cares, right?

I am bad about getting these messages in the form of exotic recipes (not erotic, mind you). I have found some great recipes that way, but truthfully I have gaged on some of them too.

My best friend, who happens to be with the Kingston Trio, George Grove absolutely loves my flat bread concoction and he and his wife serves it often to guests when they visit.

Here is one that invaded my mind yesterday. It will persists there until I do it... A recipe ... Yep, just the mindset of a twisted hungry "Fatso" perhaps ... But 'ere 'tis mate!

Bacon wrapped water chestnuts with almond slices
Marinate the whole water chestnuts in Terriyaki sauce with Garlic and butter for 30 min.
Wrap Hickory smoked Bacon around the water chestnuts and include the thinly sliced Almonds. The bacon can be tightly wrapped and held together with a toothpick. Fry in double virgin (sounds better than just a single virgin), Olive oil. Fry to crisp or to your liking.
Serve with a salsa dip or dip into Terriyaki... (If you like cheese, then perhaps you might overlay some provolone after cooking while it is hot.

This sounds like a great appitiser don't you think? I shutter to think about the caloric factor though...

Hey Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Imported toxic Chinese drywall mystery

Chinese Toxic Drywall Classes to Begin.
Everything you wanted to know about the imported Chinese toxic drywall will be taught in a class at Lakeland Association of Realtors, on September 23rd. Watch for more details.
There has been found in Florida and eighteen other states, health problems and toxic gasses being emitted by imported drywall manufactured in China, causing health problems.
What happens if you find the toxic drywall in your home?
How do you know if you actually have drywall that may be causing you illness?
How dangerous is toxic drywall gasses?
Who is responsible for fixing the toxic drywall problem in your home?
Can the toxic drywall problem be fixed?
Will the Chinese Toxic drywall problem render my home unlivable?
Is Toxic drywall Radioactive?
Here is your chance to get these questions answered and learn more about this toxic drywall problem...

Monday, August 24, 2009

MesotheliomaCancer Center

Central Florida Asbestos Prevention and

Green Tips for the Home

Located in the southeastern part of the United States, Orlando is a city in the state of Florida. Highly regarded for hosting world class theme parks, beautiful sandy beaches and a vast culture, what potential homebuyer would not want to call this city their home?

The journey to purchasing a home is an enjoyable time in one’s life. But it is one that will bring many additional responsibilities. Having the assistance of an honest Central Florida real estate agent can make all of the difference during this process.

Often appearing in roof shingles, popcorn ceilings, piping and insulation, asbestos became one of the most popular building applications of the 20th century. Generally utilized as a form of insulation for piping, roofing and flooring, its flame resistant and highly durable qualities made asbestos the ideal form of insulation for many industries.

One of the main things that can go unnoticed is taking simple precautions to avoid asbestos exposure. Homes built prior to 1980 may still harvest asbestos materials. This should not make you jump out of your chair because asbestos exposure is easily avoidable by taking simple precautions.


If you locate any suspected asbestos in the home, most experts suggest leaving it un-disturbed and un-touched until a home inspector can examine your property, take evaluations and determine the safest course of action. Sometimes the best action is no action at all. Disturbing asbestos in good condition may cause its fibers to be released into the air.
Long term exposure to damaged airborne asbestos fibers can lead to the development of a severe lung ailment known as mesothelioma. Asbestos-related illnesses may not appear until 20 to 50 years after exposure, which makes mesothelioma diagnosis even more difficult.
Healthy Tips & Green Alternatives
Removal of asbestos in public facilities, workplaces and homes should be performed by licensed abatement contractors as long as the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) are not violated. They must wear protective equipment such as masks and gloves to avoid any exposure. The materials should be removed in as large pieces as possible and places in disposable bags.
If asbestos is removed, green forms of insulation should be used as replacements. These include the use implementation of recycled building materials such as lcynene foam, cotton fiber and cellulose. These alternatives not only allow for a healthy and safe home, but can bring down annual energy costs. For example, the use of cotton fiber foam has demonstrated to reduce energy costs by 25 % per year. As education and technology of green sustainable practices increase, the numbers will continue to rise.
Recently, congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law. Included in this act were extensions to the tax incentives placed for energy efficiency in 2005, as well as new credits for homeowners who remodel or build using eco-sustainable methods. Existing homes are eligible for a series of efficiency measures that pertain to the home shell (Insulation, Windows, Sealing) worth 30% of the installed cost (materials only, labor is not included in the credit basis).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ask Questions about Toxic Drywall

Do you have questions about Chinese Drywall?
What do you know about Chinese drywall?
Do you as a Realtor® have a fiduciary responsibility to your clients to know and disclose it?
During the construction “boom” of 2004 through 2007, a shortage of building materials ensued due to catastrophic damages caused by nine hurricanes within those years, wall board or drywall among other building materials were imported from China.
Health problems began to surface and continue to be reported in addition to gases and the corrosive nature of the Chinese toxic drywall that was evidently manufactured using suspected elements and chemicals banned in the United States such as Fly Ash.
A “rotten egg” smell and corrosive sulfur-like gases are emitted when the temperature and humidity are high in houses built with defective drywall, causing alarm and uncomfortable conditions. Defective drywall was used in over 100,000 houses built between 2000 and 2009. Reports of mysterious illnesses and deteriorating conditions of fixtures and wiring have appeared in homes where toxic drywall was used.
This defective drywall not only corrodes plumbing, electrical wiring and fixtures, it could also cause fires in some instances, and may be radioactive. I will share detection methods and other important information with you, if you only ask.
I am in contact with drywall suppliers, builders, testing organizations, politicians, and governmental agencies, to gain co-operation for presentations of this problematic occurrence.
With the number of foreclosures and abandoned homes historically high, the toxic drywall problem has been down-played by the industry and continues to be studied by the government. No one, at this point, has provided any definitive answers or directions for those who encounter toxic drywall. Scammers are rampant and lawyers line up by the hundreds to litigate class action lawsuits.
Find out who to contact if you suspect a house has Chinese drywall in it. Know the health risks and the legal liability you have as a Realtor® when showing houses with Chinese Toxic Drywall.Ask me here, ask me now! Leave comments.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Toxic Drywall Danger

Toxic Drywall Classes Planned
August 19, 2009 Lakeland, Florida: JR Hafer a Florida Realtor® with Plantation Realty announced today that he is planning to conduct classes to educate Realtors®, Homeowners and potential buyers about Toxic Chinese drywall.
During the construction “boom” of 2004 through 2007, and a shortage of building materials as a result of catastrophic damages caused by nine hurricanes within those years, wall board or drywall among other material was imported from China.
Real health problems continue to be reported in addition to the corrosive nature of the Chinese toxic drywall that was evidently manufactured using elements and chemical compounds banned in the United States.
The “Rotten Egg” smell and corrosive sulfur like gases are emitted when the temperature and humidity is high causing alarm and unlivable conditions in houses over 100,000 houses build between 2000 and 2009 when reported mysterious illnesses as well as deteriorating conditions of fixtures and wiring appeared.
This defective drywall not only corrodes pipes, fixtures etc., but it could be causing fires, and might be radioactive. How do you detect it? What can you do about it? What’s going on? All this information and more will be revealed to the public by Hafer in his classes.
Hafer is in contact with drywall suppliers, builders, testing organization politicians, governmental agencies, who he hopes to gain their co-operation in presenting this problematic impending catastrophe looming over multiplied thousands.
With the number of foreclosures and abandoned homes historically high the toxic drywall problem has been down played by the industry and studied by the government, but there has been no direction provided. Scammers are rampant and lawyers by the hundreds are forming class action suits. But no answers have been provided until now.
Watch for announcements when and where these classes are will be held or Call 863-224-2242.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Media-Driven Market
By JR Hafer

Those who keep abreast of what’s happening in the world by getting their information from the news media are behind the times. The media brings us dramatic words while describing news. Words like “underwater” to describe the current negative equity situation of homeowners.

Everyone knows that “upside down” indicates that one owes more than something is worth. However, the media in their effort to be more dramatic use the word “underwater”, which indicates to us, that we may need flood insurance.

The media sometimes use data that’s three to six months old and report information as current. That type of reporting is disgusting and misleading at best, especially to those in the real estate industry who can inform you, in real time, what is currently happening. You may want to talk to a Realtor for current news on the real estate market.

Realtors know there is a time gap in reporting of the news regarding the health and condition of the real estate market. Realtors® are see the data, Realtors® feel it, they live it every day, they understand their marketing area. This world depends on the news media to give correct information. Therefore, it is a media-driven market.

News Flash! There is no flood in Polk county Florida… But there are over 50% of homeowners in a negative equity situation. Not underwater but “upside down”, in other words, they owe more than their homes are worth.

The average individual equity loss, over the last eighteen months, is 60k to 100k for Polk county residents. Their market values dropped almost 8% during the first quarter of 2009 due to short sales and bank-owned properties selling at “fire sale” prices.

Some news media outlets say: “The housing market is in a freefall and will not recover before the end of the year”. The truth is, the house hunters are trying to buy houses now, they are coming in droves, right now, but the banks have tightened their lending criteria so much folks are having a tough time getting loans unless their credit is almost flawless.

Foreclosures are historically high and unemployment is higher than most report. Much higher, even double digit levels; But when the displaced self-employed is included and counted in the reports. Another flaw of the reporting media.

The good news is: Buyers are searching for the great deals. Realtors® are seeing, in some cases, bidding situations occur due to multiple offers, which morph into bait and switch tactics and the banks are capitalizing on these situations which are increasing daily.

Between bank-owned properties, short sales and other desperate situations, appraisals will not support much, if any, increases until those types of sales clear off the books, or thin out substantially. Like everything else, the real estate market is cyclical and prices will rise again, this is inevitable.

The media reports there are encouraging signs on the horizon. But, Realtors® will tell you the signs have arrived and contracts are being written. Hopefully, the smoke and mirror politics and the government handout programs are almost over. The American public will soon realize; the government throwing money at problem isn’t the answer.

It’s time for the banks to step up to the plate and stop changing the rules. I challenge the media to ask Realtors what’s going on and report today’s statistics today.

The media have the power to make presidents, control markets and drive an industry. They depend on, politicians and Wall Street statistics, and bank data to report the news. Aren’t they the very ones who got us into this mess in the first place?
But then they would only be reporting the news rather than making it. Indeed, it is truly a media-driven market.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Chinese Drywall

Chinese Drywall Misery
By JR Hafer
During the out of control housing boom of 2005 combined with the rebuilding of annihilated homes and other structures, after nine major hurricanes, the demand created a shortage of concrete, drywall and various building materials setting the stage for a perfect storm.

Have you noticed your jewelry excessively tarnished and your light and plumbing fixtures and door hinges corroding? Do you keep checking the garbage for rotten eggs? It could be your drywall. Yes, your drywall, it could also be making you sick and irritable.

Drywall is an interior building material that replaced plastered walls in the 50s and 60s. Drywall is gypsum material sandwiched and pressure pressed between two sheets of paper dried in a kiln at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit.

Laboratory tests have identified volatile chemicals in drywall mostly manufactured in China and imported into the United States during 2001 through 2007. The chemicals identified as carbon disulfide, carbonyl sulfide and hydrogen sulfide are emitting sulfurous gases. These emissions have the aroma of rotten eggs.

The chemical gases emitted worsen with higher temperature and humidity. As a result of these emitted gaseous fumes, homeowners have contracted respiratory infections, skin rashes, severe headaches, watering eyes, sinus problems and nostril lesions and bleeding.

The drywall identified as manufactured in China causes copper and silver surfaces to corrode, turn black and have a powdery residue that is indicative of a chemical reaction with hydrogen sulfide.

There have been reports that some imported drywall could be radioactive as well. This could very well be another nail in the coffin of our national economy and free wheeling lenders who have been collecting foreclosures like others collect antiques and artifacts.

The problem of American drywall shortage was exacerbated by the rebuilding demands of nine hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004 and 2005. Over 550 million pounds of Chinese manufactured drywall was imported affecting over 100,000 homes.

Not all drywall manufactured in China is tainted and not all tainted drywall is marked as manufactured in China either. Some toxic drywall bears U. S. Company’s names too. It is not known if those were re-branded here but also made in China or not.

Common sense would indicate that thousands of foreclosed houses that have been abandoned probably have Chinese drywall issues. If this is the case, then the toxic drywall issue could become another broadside hit to the lenders who have foreclosed on property and are trying to re-sell them on the market. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is currently studying the problem.

Meanwhile, scam artists have already started preying on the fears of homeowners and potential buyers with bogus remedies including test kits, ozone generators and chemical cleaners. It is important to note: there is no home test kit, chemical sprays nor air filters that can test or rectify the atmospheric problems caused by Chinese manufactured drywall.

Be cautious of anyone offering testing or remediation services for toxic drywall issues. At this time there are no tests, short of tearing out sections for testing by government agency laboratories. Contact local authorities and building code offices for advise regarding toxic drywall.

The noxious odor combined with corroded wires and health issues are signs of possible toxic drywall materials present in your home. A warning has been issued by the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission, stating it is not safe to wash the walls or steam clean your floors and carpets if you suspect your home has the unsafe drywall.

As of yet, there are no known deaths directly attributed to Chinese drywall and the long-term effects are unknown. However, there are factors to consider when investigating health problems that may be suspect and concurrent with moving into a newly constructed home during 2001 through 2008.

There are no easy remedies if you suspect that you have this toxic drywall problem in your house. If you are experiencing any physical ailments, including coughing, wheezing, excessive sneezing, eye irritation, sore throat, bloody nose dizziness, headaches and nausea which ease or cease upon leaving your home, you need to seek help. You should contact your physician right away.

Every homeowner of houses constructed within the specified time period and having the symptoms mentioned should be aware of other potential problems as well, such as power outages, hot electrical switches, flickering lights, and unusual sounds. Odors and mild tingles should also cause you concern.

If you have gas service in your home and you have these problems and gas odors, the possibilities of gas line corrosion is a serious concern. Contact your gas supplier immediately and vacate the premises. If you cannot contact the gas supplier’s office, call the fire department right away.

The toxic drywall problem is real and to this point has been downplayed but it is a dangerous brewing storm on the horizon one we shall all remember. We all should take note of this savage storm looming over us. The government doesn’t know what to do and right now there is nothing short of partial demolition, re-wiring and re-plumbing to cure the problem. It will affect us all in one way or the other, just wait and see. Do we smell another bail out down the road maybe? It smells like something is rotten doesn’t it?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Making house payments, is it too late?

Should I continue to make House Payments?
Even though the process has started to foreclose on my home?
When you’re facing foreclosure should you continue to make house payments or not?
During this foreclosure tsunami many are asking that very question. The answer to that question is a difficult one, and depends upon your individual circumstances. The first thing I advise; is to seek the advice of an attorney. I am no lawyer and cannot give legal advice. But I can tell folks what I see happening in the real world and what I would do.
I would never tell anyone to stop making their house payments. I can, however, explain the way banks look at, and treat, pre-foreclosure situations. However, I must add, lenders are all different and all of them approach situations differently.
However, one common thread that all creditors want to achieve is the need for communication in order to resolve a matter that demands a solution. Everyone loses when the only resolution is repossession or foreclosure, except the attorneys.
I can never stress enough the importance of communication with your lender. Most folks generally expect a confrontation, therefore, they hide from collection calls and won’t communicate with their creditors. They erroneously think if they avoid the phone calls and disregard the collection letters, the situation will heal itself, but that is absolutely the opposite of what actually happens.
Paying or not paying has a lot of collateral effects and the debtor must know before making such an important decision is made. Often a creditor doesn’t know your situation, it is his job to find out what the problem might be and to rectify the situation if possible. It is essential for any debtor to talk directly to the firm that has the vested interest. They have the power and the authority to adjust, accept, or modify the payments, extra charges, penalties and fees.
The foreclosure process generally will not start unless you have missed at least three payments. By the time the foreclosure process does start, payments may be as many as five, six or even more months in arrears.
Lenders really want to work something out with you, just as bad as you want to save your home. You must know that the process of foreclosure costs a lender from forty to sixty thousand dollars to foreclose on a mortgage. This expense rises when the lender must defend their actions from a proactive homeowner. It cost time and money for the lender.
As a Realtor®, I can provide you other options, but my advice to any homeowner having difficulty making their house payments is to communicate with their lender first.
The lender has the incentive and the authority to work out a loan modification, or even forbearance of payments. You may want to discuss a short sale option with your lender and your Realtor® as well.
Although it has been said that you do not have to be in arrears with your payments prior to discussing and getting a loan modification, the practical reality is, the lender lacks much incentive to modify a loan when you are current with your payments.
Bank rules constantly change and the government intervention continues to cause the lenders to change their mode of operation. The only thing constant about bank rules and guidelines is they constantly change.
Apart from some voluntary government programs regarding government mortgages (Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac), no lender will absolutely not deal with a borrower. However, you must have a plan to be willing to negotiate and perhaps accept changes. Banks deal with all sorts of situations and they’re motivated to protect their financial interests. A typical borrower calling a lender may hear absolutes, but that is a bunch of smoke and mirrors. Lenders would rather negotiate an equitable solution than to incur additional unrecoverable cost.
Remember, nothing can happen if you don’t communicate. No solution, no remedy can be had if you do not communicate. The worst that can happen is nothing will change.
The following are things you must consider, before you decide to continue to make your mortgage payments or not.
The general rule of thumb to use is if you can pay your mortgage and maintain your current life style, you may consider keeping the loan current. But chances are you wouldn’t be asking if that were the case. But, if you need to choose between buying food, medications and other necessities of life or paying your mortgage, the decision is already clear to you and you are asking for confirmation: Your life necessities take precedent over all other things.
Your mortgage is in place to provide your family a place of shelter and security. Therefore, it should be a priority over everything else, other than food, medications and other necessities. Credit cards and other bills should be arranged into their priority before making the decision to continue to make house payments or not.
House payments or partial payments that are made after the foreclosure process has commenced will not be accepted by the lender anyway. Remember that other charges, penalties and fees are accruing exponentially during this period. In Florida and some other states, there is no right of redemption. This is to say that the homeowner has no right to buy his home out of foreclosure, once the process has started.
Here’s my advice to you: If you are in foreclosure or just a couple of payments behind, formulate a plan of action. Communicate with your lender. If you can’t work out a solution, then have a concrete plan “B” and make sure you don’t end up out on the street. Always have contingency plans and communicate with your lender. The right will answer present its self and provide you with valuable knowledge. Remember knowledge is power.