Be Awesome or Be Extinct!

“Lions don’t follow the sheep.  Instead, they eat them.

And then they pick their teeth with their bones.”

–Tom Hackelman

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in society, specifically in the workforce.  Something has happened to the American soul that has shifted our philosophy to one that accepts mediocrity.  We have become so obsessed with everyone’s feelings that we don’t want anyone to feel second best.  We’ve created a culture where youth sports give out trophies to all participants rather than just to the winners of the season.  After all, everyone participated.

We’ve become a society where parents are so unwilling to push their children that, rather than recognizing their student needs to step it up and study harder, get tutoring, ect., and instead point the finger at the teacher.  After all, it must be their fault.  They must be a poorly skilled, ineffective teacher.

In his article, In Defense of Being Average (Manson, 2015), Mark Manson writes:

     “We’re all, for the most part, pretty average people. It’s the extremes that get all of the publicity. We all kind of intuitively know this, but we rarely think and/or talk about it. The vast majority of us will never be truly exceptional at, well, anything. And that’s OK.

Which leads to an important point: that mediocrity, as a goal, sucks. But mediocrity, as a result, is OK.

Few of us get this. And fewer of us accept it. Because problems arise — serious, “My God, what’s the point of living” type problems — when we expect to be extraordinary. Or worse, we feel entitled to be extraordinary. When in reality, it’s just not viable or likely.”

Manson goes on to argue the point that society seems to have embraced that we should just accept the fact we’re all average.  He states that striving to be great, to be the best, is a pointless endeavor.  So pointless, in fact, that we should just slow the hell down, smell the roses, enjoy our latte, and accept the fact that we are all part of an average group of beings.

Ah, HELL NO!

What he misses, and so many others as well, is that it’s the average that get the raw end of the deal.  Just look at the so-called Middle Class.  Over the past two decades, it’s been fading away ever so slightly.  Since the Great Recession of 2008, wages have fallen stagnant while corporate profits have risen.  Wages are stale while Wall Street rockets through the roof.  The Middle Class is being given the proverbial middle finger and we’ve grown so weary that we accept it.

Or we become angry and look for solutions.  And sometimes those solutions, when we’re angry and demand our Middle Class back, we make stupid, long lasting decisions that end up biting us in the ass.

So What Do We Do?

According to Pareto’s Principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 Rule, 20 percent of people who are reading this will actually take any action on changing their approach.  So what’s to follow is for the 20 percent who are unwilling to accept the status quo.  It’s for the 20 percent who are unwilling to be another sheep in the herd, another lemming heading to the cliff of life only to fall into the abyss.

What do we do?  We start with drawing a line in the sand and change our focus.  No longer will we accept “average” in our lives.  We intend to be awesome, because anything less is just average – or less – and that’s not what I signed up for.

No longer will I be one of the bleating voices calling out for my share.  Instead I’m going to grab life by the balls and make shit happen.

If you are part of the 20 percent who desire to be awesome, join me on the journey.  The pages to follow in this book will chart a new course.  They will direct us on a new path.  They will guide us to greatness.

After all, it’s time to Be Awesome or Be Extinct!  #babe

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#MeToo #NeverAgain

MeToo

There has been an outpouring of women, fueled by the Harvey Weinstein news and reports, to start a movement with the hashtag #MeToo.  It represents every woman who has experienced, at least once, sexual harassment, abuse, and violence.

If you or someone you know is participating by issuing the hashtag #MeToo, I encourage you to help support a cause that is dedicated to these women.  The Women’s Resource Center, based in Norman and helping women across Cleveland County in OK, helps women escape physical and sexual abuse.  The Center provides lodging for the transition, support, guidance, counseling and resources to aid women who have been subjected to abuse.

Whether you can contribute $5 or $500, any amount will make a difference.  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so this is your opportunity to put your wallet where your mouth is and take a stand and say, instead of #MeToo, say, #NeverAgain!

#domesticviolence  #womensresourcecenter #metoo

Get Cash to Renovate Your Home or Investment Property

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Domestic Violence: You can Help!

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I am a Team Captain for the fundraising campaign for the Women’s Resource Center in Norman, OK.  I am asking for your support.

The following was published today by by The Oklahoman Editorial Board

ACCORDING to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 12 million people in the United States are affected by violence involving an intimate partner. Roughly 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical abuse or stalking by their partner. Among women 18 and older, one in four is a victim of domestic violence.

These sorts of statistics are all too familiar to those who work with domestic violence victims in Oklahoma, because they see it all too often.

Oklahoma ranks No. 15 nationally in the rate of women killed by men, at 1.37 per 100,000, according to 2015 figures from the Washington, D-C.-based Violence Policy Center. This actually represents a slice of good news, because Oklahoma was ranked among the top five states (at 1.94 per 100,000) in the same rating just last year.

Until every act of violence is stopped, whether against women or men, we must support efforts to make a difference.  Supporting the Women’s Resource Center is a way you can help stem the tide of physical and sexual abuse.  I need your help today!

I am asking everyone to consider donating at least $10 towards their campaign to support this tremendous program.  Regardless where you live in the U.S., your contributions are tax deductible.

Please join me in contributing to this program.  CLICK HERE

#Women #support #domesticviolence  #domesticabuse  #violence

The Norman, OK Housing Market – October 3, 2017

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Here are some trends to consider regarding residential property in Norman, OK.

Homes valued in the $200,000 to $250,000 range:

  • There 84 homes listed for sale
  • Based on the sold activity for the past six months, a home in this range will sell between 3 and 3 1/2 months.  If your home is valued in this range, this is an optimum time to list your home and take advantage of the market.  If you aren’t sure of your home’s value, you can click here to get a quick market value report on your home and compare it to what’s on the market.

Homes valued in the $250,000 to $300,000 range:

  • There are 111 homes listed for sale
  • Based on the sold activity for the past six months, a home in this range will sell in around 5 months

Homes in the $300,000 to $400,000 range:

  • There are 81 homes listed for sale
  • I consider this segment to be on the bubble.  The average inventory ratio indicates home in this range will sell within 6 1/2 months.  As long as you understand that it may take around 6 months to sell your home and you’re okay with that, I’d go ahead and test the market.

Lastly, Townhomes and Condos are good sellers right now:

  • There are 13 Townhomes and 40 Condos listed on the market
  • The ratios indicate a turn rate of 4.2 months making this a good time to consider selling your Townhome or Condo

If you have any questions about this or need more information, please contact me at (405) 537-3395 or by email at tom4yournewhome@gmail.com.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Nextdoor: a Pro-Con List

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The growth of Nextdoor has been nothing short of amazing. Current numbers show that it’s currently in 160,000 homes, has expanded to the Netherlands and the UK, and has just launched in Germany, according to TechCrunch. But it’s not without its issues, and, as users will tell you, having access to so much information about your neighbors and your neighborhood can sometimes be too much of a good thing.

PRO: You may discover an amazing new home baker in the neighborhood who is taking pie orders to support the adoption of three foster kids who lost their parents in a tragic accident (true story).

CON: She may be kicked off the site because of the complaints by another merchant, spurring a lively conversation about what constitutes commerce (also a true story).

PRO: It’s great if you love to know all the gossip.

CON: But not so much if you’re the focus of the gossip.

PRO: Your neighbors may help you find your lost dog

CON: You will inevitably get some character commenting on how irresponsible pet owners are because there’s always a dog on the loose, causing you to use all your strength in not responding with the middle finger emoji, which would get you kicked off the site for using profanity.

PRO: You may be able to help someone else find their lost dog.

CON: See above.

PRO: You’ll be warned when there is a wild animal sighting in the neighborhood.

CON: Wild animal sightings are generally not isolated incidents, so expect that 27 people will all comment at the same time on said wild animal, which will probably just turn out to be a large housecat.

PRO: It’s a great way to buy or sell a piece of furniture or accessory (or even a car!) without having to leave your house.

CON: There’s always someone who’ll list 45 items in the general category, one at a time, clogging up your feed.

PRO: There is an “Urgent” function, which allows you to blast everyone in your neighborhood who is signed up for Nextdoor with an email.

CON: Not everyone agrees on what constitutes “Urgent.”

PRO: You may get a good lead on a babysitter.

CON: Another babysitter in the neighborhood may report the post of the first babysitter thereby causing a war between all people who offer services in the neighborhood which will then be up to the discretion of the neighborhood lead to delete or leave alone, and which will undoubtedly not be enforced evenly, which will cause a huge ruckus.

PRO: You may be able to catch a thief easier.

CON: Of course, that thief might just be a local elementary school student selling cookies door to door. Yes, someone really will complain about an 8-year-old making door-to-door cookie sales.

Read the rest…

3 Types Of Loans To Go For If You’re Credit Challenged

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The latest numbers from mortgage analysts Ellie Mae show that the average FICO score of approved conventional mortgages is 732. If a borrower has low credit scores (650 and under), then that average FICO score could seem like a chasm between them and the home they want to buy. But just because the average credit scores for a conventional mortgage are above 732 doesn’t mean low-credit borrowers are shut out of homes.

There are a good amount of options, and the federal and state level for mortgages can help even low-credit borrowers get the home of their dreams. Here are three types of loans you may want to explore.

1. USDA Loans

USDA loans are a great option for borrowers with low credit scores, because the minimum score for approval is 640. Not only that, but you won’t have to make a down payment for this mortgage. It sounds like an incredible deal and, for the consumer with bad credit, it is a legitimate option.

However, borrowers need to know the very clear limits the USDA places on where homes can be bought. Because the program was initially started to provide economic stimulation in rural areas, only homes outside of urban areas are eligible for the USDA mortgage program.

As far as the hard numbers go, several sources indicate that the borrowers’ mortgage can’t be more than 29 percent of their income, and the overall DTI is 41 percent. Both home prices and borrower income are capped, and that cap depends on the area in which the borrower wants to buy.

To understand exactly where the urban limits are for the city in which you live, the USDA’s website has a straightforward mapping app that shows clear boundaries between urban and rural.

Read the rest…

Don’t Fight The Home Inspection

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Question: We are selling our house and have just received an offer to purchase. The offer contains a contingency for the buyer to obtain a home inspection report.

The buyer is asking for a general inspection contingency, but our real estate broker is advising us to use the specific inspection contingency. Can you explain the difference and give us some assistance?

Answer: In my opinion, it is imperative for a homebuyer to obtain a home inspection after the contract for sale is signed by all parties.

Buyers often purchase real estate based on emotions rather than facts, and a good home inspection is important to satisfy the purchaser that the property is substantially in sound condition.

A buyer should always include in a sales contract a contingency to the effect that the contract is contingent on the purchaser obtaining, at purchaser’s expense, a satisfactory home inspection within three or five business days after the real estate contract is ratified.

Sellers may think, at first blush, that an inspection is not in their best interests. However, if the seller stops and thinks about it for a moment, it becomes very clear that even from the seller’s point of view, it is advisable to let the buyers have a short contingency to back out of the contract if they are not satisfied with the condition of the house.

I would rather have a purchaser back away early in the process than wait until the very last minute and raise all sorts of problems and concerns on the day of settlement.

Of equal importance, if the purchaser has obtained a satisfactory home inspection report, that same purchaser will be hard-pressed to raise issues about the condition of the house on the day of settlement. Often, I have heard sellers tell buyers “you removed the home inspection contingency; if you have a problem with our house, look to your own home inspector. You could have backed out of the contract based on the inspection contingency.”

As you have indicated, there are two basic inspection contingency arrangements. The first is known as a general contingency, which gives the buyers the absolute right to back out, if for any reason whatsoever, they are dissatisfied with the inspection report. In practical terms, however, buyers often tell sellers that the contingency will be removed if the seller makes certain repairs.

The other contingency is known as the “specific contingency,” which works likes this: After the buyer has completed the inspection, the buyer must submit a list of items to be repaired or corrected to the seller. The seller has a couple of days to advise the buyer whether they will do any or all of the items on the list. The buyer then has one additional day after receiving the seller’s response in which to determine whether to buy the property or to declare the contract null and void.

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Have You Checked Your Home’s Value Lately?

OKC

If you haven’t checked your home’s value lately, you’re likely going to be surprised.  A lot of people are!

After the Great Recession of 2008-2010, housing values took an unprecedented hit.  But since then, property values in Oklahoma and Cleveland Counties have consistently risen over the past 5 to 6 years.

What does that mean for you?

It means your home is worth more today.

It means there’s a great opportunity to pursue that new home you’ve been putting off.

It means you may potentially have more available to put down on the home you’ve always wanted.

If you are curious, I provide a completely FREE, no-obligation tool that will show you what your home’s value is.  This doesn’t mean you have to sell or do anything.  Just knowing will put you in a more powerful, more knowledgeable position.  Click here to get your FREE report.

And isn’t that what we really want and deserve?

Don’t hesitate; go ahead and click!

Financial Don’ts When Getting Ready To Buy A Home

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If you’re in the process of buying a home, you’ve probably already met with a lender who advised you on what to do and what not to do during the escrow process. But if you’re just getting ready to buy or plan on doing so in the near future, following a few financial tips can mean the difference between qualifying…and not, and also getting a decent rate. These are a few universal “don’ts” that will help you stay on track, even before you get a lender involved.

Don’t take out more credit

If you’re thinking you’re going to buy a house in a matter of a few months, forget that new laptop on the Best Buy card, forget that new car, and forget that Old Navy card. Sure, it’s only a $30 pair of pants. But, taking out more credit can harm your debt-to-income ratios, which can make you look like a credit risk. And that’s not worth it, no matter how cute the pants are.

Don’t pay off all your current credit cards

Your lender will tell you specifically what you should pay down and what you should leave alone, but banks tend to like responsible credit management. In some cases, that may mean carrying a small balance on one or more cards.

Don’t charge up all your cards to the limit

“Responsible credit management” does not mean running every available card up to the limit and/or only making minimum monthly payments. Banks will not look kindly on this when you go to get approved for a loan.

Read the rest of this article…